Tumbleweed Thompson and the Sharpshooter: The Conclusion!

Tumbleweed Thompson and the Sharpshooter: The Conclusion

by Glenn McCarty, illustrated by Joe Sutphin


Illustration by Joe Sutphin

Illustration by Joe Sutphin

The sun broke over the Rocky Mountains with grace and glory that Saturday morning, and everything – juniper, columbine, even the scraggly sagebrush – seemed to glow with promise. Bursting out of bed, I darted to my chest of drawers, where I had laid out the costume I had acquired the night before at the Thompson’s room in Cutler’s boarding house. Neither of the room’s two occupants was home, but fortunately, one raccoon was. I found the rest of what I needed in a pile on the floor in the corner.

First, I donned the white checked shirt, pulled on the corduroy overalls, and tightened the skinny string tie. I was pleased to find everything fit fairly well, even though they were meant for someone taller and leaner. Then, it came time for the hair.

With a glance in the mirror, I bid a fond goodbye to my carefully-arranged straight locks. Then, I went to work with the pomade. Working up a generous palm-full of the thick, greasy goop, I pushed my hair back from my face and up in some sort of ridiculous pompadour. With a few more adjustments to height and angle, I believed I had finally found a look that would render me completely unrecognizable, or, even better, recognizable as someone else. It wasn’t red, like Tumbleweed’s hair, but I was betting he had disguised his hair when masquerading as me. I yanked the borrowed boots out from behind my door and pulled them on. They were much too big, but the clomping actually added to the picture of a gangly frontier drifter. Which was exactly who I needed to be.

For the final touch, I slipped into the kitchen, pulled a bottle of molasses from the cabinet, and dotted my cheeks, careful to fade the freckles into something resembling a sandy brown color. With one more glance into the mirror, I was satisfied. It was time for Tumbleweed Thompson masquerading as Eugene Teitsworth – I was calling him TumbleGene for short – to claim his prize.

Read the rest at Story Warren

New Tumbleweed Story!

Tumbleweed Thompson and the Sharpshooter

by Glenn McCarty, illustrated by Joe Sutphin


Illustration by Joe Sutphin

“You’re aimin’ too high. Gonna blast a hole clean through my window. And I like that window. Lower your arm a touch.”

“High? Are you sure?”

“Sure I’m sure.”

I turned to where Wendell Jenkins, graying barber of Rattlesnake Junction, sat dispensing wisdom from a slat-backed rocking chair on his front porch, eyes half-shut as his mouth opened in a yawn.

“You’re not even looking at me. How can you tell?”

Wendell’s eyes popped open, wide and gray below a mass of stringy black hair flecked with silver. “Don’t need to see you. I can tell. Your aim’s off.”

I shook my head, but something in his quiet confidence told me to heed his advice. Besides, as my boss for a few hours a week, he was something of a benefactor for my brand new slingshot, purchased a few hours earlier at the general store. Squeezing my left eye shut and tightening my grip on the handle, I lowered my arm, pulled back the strap, and let go.


As if yanked by a string, my tin can target leaped off the fence post and tumbled to the ground. It had happened so fast I hadn’t even seen the rock fly. I grinned and looked at Wendell.

“Hmph,” he grunted. “Guess I still got the ole’ eagle eye, don’t I?”

His voice was as quiet and gravelly as ever, but I could read surprise on his face. Heck, I was a bit surprised. Five out of five cans in a row isn’t something to sneeze at. I must have been all those Dead-Eye Dan novels I had been reading. My brain had been soaking up information while my hands were waiting to be filled with the small, mighty power of a slingshot.

Read the full story at Story Warren

And while you’re at it, catch up on all the Tumbleweed adventures:

#1: Tumbleweed Thompson’s Youth Tonic

#2: Tumbleweed Thompson and the Popping Pepper (Part 1)

Tumbleweed Thompson and the Popping Pepper (The Conclusion)

#3: Tumbleweed Thompson and the Fiddler’s Daughter (Part 1)

Tumbleweed Thompson and the Fiddler’s Daughter (The Conclusion)

Horace and Oscar – The Story Behind the Story

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” That’s what they say, right? Today, I have a brand new story up over at Story Warren called “Oscar and Horace Visit the Lake” that’s a good example of that saying. Because I love to hear about the creative process and how stories emerge and evolve, I thought I’d share a little about how this particular story was born. Here goes:

A few months back, my friend Jon posted this photo on his Facebook feed: a whimsical shot of his newborn baby Henry’s stuffed giraffe looking wistfully out the window during a rainy afternoon.


Something about the photo was instantly compelling. I thought – and told Jon – “There’s a story in there!” Wheels started turning. The summer rolled on.

Then, Jon posted this second photo, introducing a second character, the stuffed bunny in the blue coat.


I knew it was time. I rolled up my sleeves and went in search of the whole story about these two characters. I started with the obvious question. “Who is this giraffe, and why is he looking so forlornly out the window?” Couple that question with the follow-up – “What’s with the conspiracy to escape the crib?” and I began to form the basic outline of the story. These little stuffed animals began to take on personalities. One – the giraffe – became Oscar, a nervous homebody who loves comfortable chairs, his blanket, and the company of good friends. The other – the rabbit – became Horace, the dreamer, eyes on the sky. Naturally, Horace persuades Oscar to break out of the nursery and visit the lake across the lane. Then there was a goose, some especially anxious moments dangling from a door handle, and the story was off and running (Like Oscar and Horace).

Thanks to Jon Hartt (www.harttphotography.com) for a couple of gorgeous, evocative photos! I hope you and your family enjoy the story, and a little peek behind the curtain.