Tumbleweed Thompson and the Sharpshooter: The Conclusion
by Glenn McCarty, illustrated 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.