Scott Wahrenberger

The English Editor


   There were but a few things in life Howard Taft Winston the Third couldn’t stomach. For the most part, he is an affable gentleman with hardly a harsh word for anyone. For anyone but two classes of people, Americans and writers of the Western genera as both vexed him beyond words.  Over the past thirty-years, he occupied his workday as a proofreader for the prestigious publishing house of Davis, Robert, and Alexander. In that time, he had always been punctual, always professional, and always endured the ranting of American writers of the Western genera.

   Now after three decades of what he considered a personal insult to the English language he took his revenge. On the last day of his employment, he struck vigorously at the groups of people he despised. In this case, a manuscript submitted by a Shamus O’Scari an American that took to writing Western sagas. 

   If thirty-years ago somebody told him, he would have the audacity to pull the stunt he was, he would’ve laughed and ask him or her to leave. Now after decades of abuse he did it. He picked up the manuscript of ‘The Ballad of Knuckles McGee’ and grinned. Entering it into his computer, he proceeded to edit it to hell and back. Thrice.

   After proofreading his editing choice he smiled widely submitted it to his editor and left early. He spent the rest of the day at the Howling Beagle wafting pints of red ale and playing darts. Supremely proud of his achievements in defending the English language from Westerns and Americans.

   His editor read the following the next day on his office computer;


The Ballad of Knuckles McGee

(The Most Proper British Translation)


Shamus O’Scari

 Trans. H.T. Winston III

The old west was categorically silent, too silent. Tumbleweeds rolled past the tavern.

Bang! Crack! A horse backfired.

“What was that!” the bartender enquired. Then everyone stepped out of the tavern.

“Ha, ha, ha, no one can stop me now social contacts! Tootles!” Billy the Kid shrilly screamed with a lisp. Then he rode off into the desert with two million pounds and a half penny. The horse still backfired; the timing maybe off or possibly the muffler is badly in need of replacement. Then a sheet of glass fell from the bank’s skylight. The Barrister of Dull Trivial Municipality put up a notice.

“For the arrest of Billy the Kid, assuming that togged up tramp is still regrettably breathing, is two thousand pounds, maybe more if he’s inert,” declared Mayor John, he stood next to his barrister both are dressed alike.

Nine days had past but no one captured Billy the Kid until one day, Knuckles McGee said, effeminately, “I will grab hold of Billy the Kid.”

The next day he set off to locate him. Five days pass but no significant person of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant oppressive ancestry had seen McGee. They then followed the cogs that had let loose off of Billy’s horse. The next day he returned with nothing but the two million pounds but no half penny.

“I need your finest men, squire, AT ONCE!” shrieked McGee. The mayor gave him his five excellent well-dressed fellows. They set off into the desert. After ten days, they found the burglar. Consequently, they came across a cavern in one of the foothills; they sauntered in and saw a faint light at the end of the fissure.

“I am moneyed, well heeled beyond belief!” whispered Billy the Kid he held his hand limp at the wrist and tittered. In his other hand, the halfpenny glittered. The light came from the flaming former horse parts.

“Reach for it…the cavern ceiling I mean… you glorious animal you! Billy the Kid we have you encircled, I dare say you cannot shake off the studded leather straps we have to tie you with!” yelled McGee. They detained him, rode to the neighborhood, and threw him in the detention center.

“Billy the Kid has been fetched to righteousness!” Mayor John announced with devoted godliness.

“Oh thank the paranormal life form,” lisps Father Peter, the rural community clergy person blushed.

“Hip hip hooray,” the town’s people shouted with a dreary despondency.

  Knuckles received his two thousand pounds and went to the tavern…where he squandered his hard-earned notes on red ale and, just to impress his next of kin, a watery tart that wasn’t getting any younger. His horse expired in destitution soon after.

  Three months into his retirement, Howard Taft Winston opened his publisher’s trade periodical, The Monthly Heliograph and turned to the recently published articles. The first and number one best seller for the month is ‘The Ballad of Knuckles McGee’.

 He spent the rest of his retirement in an institution.





I have also written the sci-fi novella He Came From Earth and it's no available from or many other places.Authors comment


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Published on on 02/10/2009.


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