Uh-Oh: I Accidentally Said “Cowboy Bake Me Away,” and Now I Shall Be a Farmhand’s Treat
It all started when my friend Filip Criptip alerted me to a new appetizer film for The Dark Tower. Like a sharing plate of jalapeño onion rings, it was cool. It featured many cowboys doing their ultimate thing: The gun blast! And the hat-n-coat. There were blammos, you see, and a long thin building, and it scintillated me. What a fun fest. I couldn’t contain my funthusiasm for these cowboys and their quest for bullets.
I was so engorged by the sizzling cowboy clips that I told Filip, “Cowboy take me away.”
Only I didn’t say “take.”
No, in a shocking turn of events, my mouth was full of Cooper’s® Brand Oatmeal and my “T”s sounded like “B”s. So in actual truth, I blurted, “Cowboy bake me away.”
We both let the scent of my catastrophe hang in the midnight air, in that empty city street. I throat-slammed the last of my oaty chud, knowing full well what was about to befall me.
Any moment now, a cowboy would swoop into my life, as requested, and ferry me into the oven to make a fine pie or scone.
Filip took four customary steps backward, to prepare a path for the eventual farmhunk’s steed, and offered me one final Crip Tip: “The only way we can be sure the Earth isn’t flat is if we get a free trip to space to observe. This is my final Crip Tip to you.”
I thought this was a lame Crip Tip, and told him so.
He responded: “I save my best Tips for my real friends, not burbling oatmeal oafs. God as my witness, I will not die on this blue-green dinner plate. Instead I shall bathe in the orbs of Jupiter. Unlike you.” He curled up his Crip Lips in a frightful smile.
With that, we heard the approaching clop of a Brown Muscle Tallcow, the hoofed compatriot to any fine cowman. My fate was sealed. I closed my eyes and said “Let the bake be a treat, let me fill the boys of my Final Ranch with a sugary surge of pleasure.” But who could say? I might be flesh-sloughed into a savoury Salted Pie, and I would have no say in the matter. It was entirely up to the cowboy I summoned.
Picture my insane fright when there was not one, but four curly-hatted dusty dogs. My error was truly extreme to have wished four of these sunset chums bearing down on me! This clopping consortium careened closer and closer, and my eyes clamped shut in abject terror.
I felt a hand grab my shirt scruff. Another hand grabbed my boot tread. A third hooked its iron-rigid pinky into my belt loop. And the fourth held my nose shut so I would be forced to breathe between screams.
It was a classic Cowboy Carry, only I was the prize hog!
They airlifted me exactly this way, all 789 miles back to their ranch, the Oopsy-Daisy Prairie Dungeon for Those With Accidental Tongues. With a “Heave Ho, You Can’t Go,” they hurled me into the electric Ingredients Cage. Oh, how I landed square on my rump bone! What a callous end to an otherwise cloud-soft Cowboy Carry.
I opened my eyes to perform a cage gaze.
Totally inescapable, as I predicted.
At least 10 volts of skin-shredding electricity in each wire, stacked four feet high. Dare to jump, and you’d find yourself with a nasty case of the Sizzle Jiggles. Put your hand on the post to get an extra boost? No way, idiot. Dig underground? That would be an insult to gophers. Don’t even think about it.
Resigned to my fate, I looked around at the other adult children who were abducted and figured it was time to make a few friends before the end. I had already lost Filip with my bumbling blurts. I asked the first gentleman what he was in here for.
“I said ‘Cowboy, bake me away,’” explained Horace.
That made sense to me. I then turned to another captive klutz to ask what his whole beef was.
“I was a spelling bee judge in North Carolina,” murmured Joshua through a painful smile. “The word was ‘Bake’ and a child asked me to use it in the form of a sentence. Well, I’m just absolutely nuts for cowboys, those galloping border-busting jackals of the Wild West. So I think you can wager what I said next.”
I nodded sagely. Joshua would be a fine meat mate, if we were to be jumbled up together in a pie. I made note of that and moved on to another fellow, diminutive and edgy in nature. What, I wonder, was his story?
“I said ‘Well, square my face and chuck me in a cubed torte for the King,’” chuckled Four-Cornered Luke. “How wrong I was to insist upon those things. I miss my body, I miss the round. Can’t even roll my head side to side on this damnable Oops Ranch. Nope, my flat edges keep me trim and fixed on this here sunset. Soon we’ll be on the dessert table I reckon. Sit and watch the heatsink with me awhile.”
So it was us, then! Me, Horace, Joshua, and Four-Cornered Luke. Just a couple of down-lucked blunderbusters, whistlin’ away their final moments in a zaptrap way out yonder. What a feast we’d be! We played all the games to pass the time:
- The pancake game: Will we be pancakes? Whose topping shall be the finest? Luke picked watermelon, “The roundest fruit,” because it reminded him of his sweet smooth knees. We felt bad and he won.
- Which Cowboy Is Your Favourite: A pretty self-explanatory game, in which we argued for several hours about which six-shootin’ Lasso Bastard was our most cherished. Based on my Cowboy Carry, I loved the calloused, cinnamon smell of Banjo McMillan’s fingers as he clutched my nostrils shut. Had to be him. Joshua said Banjo was “merely an okay boy” and I swear to God I almost baked him into a hateful treat myself! Just kidding, we were having fun. Horace won the game hands down when he said Clutch Houlihan “could lasso the sun with his smile.” Amen, brother.
- Cube Volleyball: Sound the whistle, here come three chums for the bump set and spike, with Four-Cornered Luke as the willing ball! We played one round because his corners hurt us so bad.
The sun dippety-dooed into the dark of Night. It was getting to be baking time, and we bid adieu to each other with a forehead touch and closed-eye bye-bye cry. The lankiest cowboy, Aloysius Slim, approached the electrified cage with a gleam in his gold teeth.
“Y’all roughnecks been hossed up on account a’ yer fiendery in misabusin’ the English language. Who here got the guts to stand up and declare themselves First Treat?” He bellowed, with a fierce bluster that shook the willow wisps.
Joshua clambered to his feet. “I am. Name my body’s destination, sir: Am I meat or treat?”
“CHUNK PIE!” Roared Aloysius with a haughty glob of spittle. Joshua wept, for he, like myself, desired to be a sweet treat. Chunk Pie was the lowest of the western foodstuffs. But he shuffled along, hopping over the electric fence to join Aloysius. They walked side-by-side to the Clay Chamber in the middle distance, which already started to sport a mighty billow of smoke in the top.
Next, Clutch Houlihan came. “Jehovah knows I de-test a square boy. Which a’ you two buttery rascals sees fit ta’ offer themselves up ta’ the Good Clay fer their Twilight Bake?” He pointed to me and Horace.
Horace leapt up, seizing his opportunity to impress his favourite cowboy. “Horace Bottomweather, at your service Mr. Houlihan! I’ll have you know you are the group’s favorite cowpokin’ Chaos Pioneer, for I chose you as the Supreme Boy and won the game!”
Clutch chewed a goblet of cud and thought about that. He smiled. “I always win. Hey, whatchu wanna be when ya get baked up?”
Horace could barely contain his excitement, but knew this request was potentially a massive overstepping of his boundaries: “A…treat. Of any kind.”
“Ah, so it’s a sugar-slop you’re craving to body dive into.”
“Only if you deem my supple limbs worthy of the plunge.”
“Of any kind, you say?” Clutch growled, narrowing his eyes.
“Dealer’s choice, of course.” Horace knew he couldn’t make it seem as though he was calling the shots in front of Clutch. One wrong step could hurl him into another boring Chunk Pie for the Cowboy’s Equinox Feast.
“Then I say, Horace, I deem you fit ta’ melt into a Fine Chocolate Goo-Torte with Alabama Whitesauce and a Whiskey Drizzle! Onwards, treatman!”
Wow, thought Luke and I. The finest treat in all of Cowboy Lore. From the bubbling ivory of the sour whitesauce to the hazy boozeglaze of that mighty fine Whiskey Drizzle, the Goo-Torte was simply a Wild Westerpiece! There was no topping those toppings, no beating that treat!
Horace proudly hopped over the small electric fence to join his favourite man on their glory walk to the Clay.
It started dawning on me that maybe this fence was actually easy as shit to jump over. Maybe putting my hand on the post could give me leverage, like it did with Horace and Joshua. And with Pete to stay behind, incapable of movement, I would surely have enough time to make it to the mountains by sun-up. Then it’d just be a matter of changing my name in the nearest town registry, and bashing my face into a rock enough times until I resembled someone new.
As I debated this potential route of escape, a third Sundown Stud approached. Though it was getting dark, I could snort a whiff of his cinnamon hands easily. It was the baking fiend Banjo McMillan. His fingers were of many talents, and his lips were of few words.
“Next,” he rumbled from beneath his bristling beard, an intoxicating brew of vanilla extract and old age.
I turned to Four-Cornered Pete. “I think you should proffer your cube to Banjo.”
“But he’s your favourite man, not mine!” Whined Pete, who was really getting on my nerves with his complaints at this point. “I desire the affection of my own favourite, Ashley Brashchaps!”
“Ashley is way out of your league and you know it,” I whispered to him. “Tell Banjo of your many feats and qualities and you may find yourself in a modest torte! Leave nothing out!”
Pete prepared a song.
My name is Pete and I’m a cube
A handsome fool, a tasty rube
I fit in brownie tins so neat
I’m Pete, the sweet treat — please, no meat!
I sing the song of Sugar Slop
I crave to be your gourmet glop
Start by gobbling up my top
But beware — you just can’t stop!
Banjo tapped his foot to this incredible song as I hopped over the electric fence. Amazingly, I managed to use my hand as leverage on one of the posts, and it gave me a good boost.
By the time I hit the horizon, galloping as fast as your average trotting Brown Muscle Tallcow, I could hear Pete finishing his song with a high note, and Banjo murmuring “Welp…Chunk Pie” under his breath. I covered my mouth before I could scream for poor Pete, as the flat lands provided excellent travel for sound and I’d have been heard in an instant.
No matter: Pete’s wails easily outmatched any screams I’ve ever heard, as he was lassoed up and dragged by his corners to an ignominious fate: Just another jagged Chunk Pie.
I sank into the cover of the mountain shadows, as the smoke rose higher and higher from the Body Bakery . I escaped the Oopsy Daisy Prairie Dungeon with my life intact.
And yet, as I caromed from rock to rock down the other side to the glittering safety of the nearest village, I wondered if my fate would not be better consigned to the warm flaky crust of a sumptuous torte, than a few more measly decades of breathing. Is it not the highest honor one could bestow upon a lowly bloopermouth like me, to be melted up into a fanciful gobblepot for those intrepid riders on the range?
What have I done? Why have I fled the ranch kings?
Why did I live?