An Off The Cuff Moment.
Off The Cuff is my local, friendly, supportive writing group. We meet once a week and write off the cuff. Sometimes we’re given a title, sometimes we’re presented with specific words to include within our piece, and sometimes we’re prompted by a hash tag on a text …
It’s a great way to flex the writing muscle.
I have a number of notebooks filled with short stories, flash fictions, poems and possible beginnings to new novels, all written at Off The Cuff. I was looking through my most recent one and thought I’d share my cowboy short with you.
Gunfight at the Not OK Corral.
Swaggering down the street, gun in hand, Gabe’s eyes flicked left to right as he scanned the path ahead. Five minutes had passed since his tussle with Jed behind the old church and neither gunslinger was about to leave town. This was a fight to the death.
Turning the corner, Gabe squinted. The low summer sun was reflecting off the rear window of a large, black four-by-four, blinding him to what lay ahead. Right now, he was vulnerable. Right now, Jed could shoot him down.
Gabe stopped and listened. A scuffing and shuffling of boots carried on the breeze and drew his attention to the front of the vehicle. He raised a hand to his brow, and searched the dusty road for signs of life. There. A brim of a hat. A shadow.
Exposed and with nowhere to hide, Gabe checked his gun for ammo – one more shot. He had to make it count.
‘Jed,’ he called. ‘I know you’re there. Show yourself.’ He tucked his gun into the front pocket of his jeans, thrust his thumbs into his waistband, and waited.
With a hand secured to his hip, Jed emerged from in front of the car. ‘What’s it to be, Gabe?’ he said, his fingers hovering over his holster. ‘One on one?’
Gabe nodded. ‘Yep. Just you and me. We end it. Now.’ He indicated for Jed to turn around, stood with his back to his, and started a count to ten as both cowboys strode in opposite directions.
‘Turn and draw?’ Jed asked at step eight.
‘Yep.’ Gabe’s nerves rolled like tumble weed around his gut. He could take Jed. He just needed to keep his focus. ‘Nine. Ten.’ He wheeled round, lifted his gun and squeezed the trigger. ‘Prepare to get wet, Jed!’ he yelled, laughing as the water spurted from his pistol.
I’m thrilled to have been asked to be a judge at Bridport’s Story Slam on Tuesday 14th October 2015. If you’re in the area, please do come along and listen to the local talent.
I will have copies of Follow Me Follow You available for purchase on the day.