a short long mix-up

They were playing cops and robbers, again, and chasing each other around the sprawling backyard.  The sandbox was police headquarters.  The lawn was the the business district.  The trees were the alleys and hidden doorways.  Sirens blared and gunfire erupted sporadically as good attempted to assert itself over evil to maintain order, to maintain the peace of the land.

“Bang!  Bang!”  LeFors leveled his gun hand at the chest of his quarry after firing the warning shots, “Don’t move, bozo, or I’ll gun you down.”

Ringo smiled, charming, unafraid, as he let his right hand ease down and he looped the thumb in his gun belt.  The lawman had the drop on him, but the desire to pull leather and blaze away was nearly overpowering.  Experience alone stayed his hand.  He would play it cool and wait for his chance to strike or slip away, “Okay, Joe, you’ve got me.”

Expecting a trap, master lawman that he was, Joe LeFors didn’t budge an inch.  He knew Johnny Ringo to be a conniving, cowardly, conman, the worst kind, and refused to do anything to give up the advantage he currently had.  He set his jaw, and with steel resolve in his voice, he ordered the Cowboy to give up his weapon, “Slowly now, loose the buckle and let your gun belt fall away.”

“You know I can’t do that, Joe,” Ringo’s smiled broadened.  His eyes danced with mischief and burned with anger.

“You’ve got no out, no place to go, no chance to get away,” LeFors countered.  “Don’t be foolish.  Don’t give me the chance to use my short arm of the law.”

“Uh…”  John’s face scrunched into a look of confusion,  “What?”

Joe frowned, “The short arm of the law.”  A second later, completely breaking character, he added, “That’s a saying, right?”

John removed his hand from its resting place near the holstered toy gun and scratched his scalp near his temple as he tried to figure out what his young sibling actually wanted to say.  While he waited for the game to start up again, Joe grew bored and started digging at an exposed root with the toe of his shoe.

“Oh, no,” John said when he figured out the confusion, “you are mixing up a couple different sayings, I think.  The ‘long arm of the law’ refers to the lengths lawmen will go to pursue the criminals they are after.  They leave no stone unturned.  They have vast networks of informants and colleagues.  There is no place the bad guys can hide safely.  And, ‘long irons’ refer to the style of revolvers carried in the old west.  Though,” John paused for a second, confused again, “why did you say short arm?  You should have said, ‘Don’t give me the chance to use my long iron.'”

Joe looked down at the snub-nose cap gun still clutched in his small hand, shrugged, and replied, “It’s not very big.  Small seemed more appropriate.”


Tuesday?  Check.  Silliness?  Check.  Flash fiction?  Check.

It must be.  It could only be.  It is…  another Inspiration Monday writing challenge:

Inspiration Monday logo

The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.


No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:







I swear I didn’t even mean for these brothers to have names that started with the same letter.  I’d noticed I was doing that frequently in my more recent posts so I was going to avoid that… but, then I picked the two historical characters I wanted the brothers to be playing as and started writing.  It wasn’t until the end that I realized both their names started with “J.”  My mind is a silly place of happy coincidences.

Have you seen the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?”  How about “Tombstone?”  Do you like Westerns?

Did you have favorite games to play with your brothers/sisters growing up?

54 thoughts on “a short long mix-up

  1. Matt, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is in my top five of my favorite films. The cinematography, to the cast, to the script — nothing like it.

  2. Johnny Ringo from Tombstone. My all time favorite western. “Why, Johnny Ringo, you look like someone walked all over your grave.” Or, “I’ll be your Huckleberry.” Gosh, I loved Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday.

      • Me too, if you couldn’t already tell. Might have to see about watching it again. 🙂 I really like how your little brothers take playing westerns so seriously. That is until a phrase trips them up.

      • playing western is serious business. if you don’t play it right when you are young, how can you ever expect to grow up to be a cowboy? 😉

  3. Cute bit of silliness. My sister and I, along with the brothers down the street, would re-enact the cop shows we just watched. Usually, it turned out nothing like the show, but was fun all the same.

    Regarding westerns, I love Clint Eastwood movies. He is badass.

  4. I like this. Just flowed really well, and took me into the story right away. Read your other story from today, too, about the photo of the cavern, but I like this one much better.

  5. This is so entertaining. I like that you introduce the fact it’s a game in the beginning, but then you write them so well, I get into the story as deeply as the boys do. And you made me laugh at the end. : )

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