Lipstick Headlines

Colleen’s mouth fell open as she looked down at the headline in the paper, unable to believe her eyes.  This could not be happening, it just couldn’t.  She tried to reason with herself that the whole thing was some farce, but there it was in black and white starring up at her.  Folding the paper in half, Colleen tucked it in her apron pocket and took off into the woods.  By the time she’d reached a small cave, she was completely out of breath.  Her lungs burned from all the running and her mouth was parched and needing water.  But first she needed to catch her breath and formulate a plan.

 

After nourishing her parched mouth, Colleen returned to the cave, sat down on a nearby rock, and opened the paper, “Freak Show in Colorado Springs,” beneath it were two pictures.  Dr. Mike disguised as man for the Horse Race and Jake and Loren dressed up as women.  Colleen smiled at the memory of Dr. Mike’s lessons to learn how to be a man.  Sully was so patient with her as she tried to learn the part, and even Matthew chipped in his two cents.  She had been so worried their cover might get blown and was even more thrilled when Flash and Dr. Mike won.  What a proud moment that was.  She even remembered the rose Sully plucked for Dr. Mike and how romantic that simple gesture was.

Colleen tried to stifle a giggle when she saw how ridiculous Jake and Loren looked in their get ups.  She had no idea what possessed them to dress up as women.  “They are always up to something,” she thought starring into the trees for a moment.

Looking back down at the pictures, a part of her couldn’t believe someone could do such a thing.  After all Dr. Mike was an upstanding citizen and didn’t deserve this treatment.  Jake and Loren were another matter.  Their behavior was questionable at times, but not Dr. Mike’s.

 

****

Colleen waited patiently for Brian to emerge from the school house.  She needed his help and hoped he wouldn’t be much longer in cleaning up the blackboard.  He had offered to help Ms. Teresa out with the small task so she could go home sooner.  Her patience was rewarded minutes later when Brian came running out, books in hand.

 

“Hey Colleen,” Brian called out as he made his way towards his sister.

 

“Hey Brian,” Colleen replied before adding, “We gotta talk.”

 

Brian looked up waiting for an explanation as Colleen guided him over to the kissing tree.  Once there Colleen looked around before opening up the paper to show him the awful headline.  Colleen watched his eyes widen in shock.  “How can this be?” Brian stammered out.

 

“I don’t know, but we gotta do something,” Colleen replied unwilling to back down as her resolve for revenge grew.

 

“Maybe we could write a letter to the editor or something,” Brian offered up with some hope until he saw Colleen shake her head.

 

“Not sure that’d do any good.  What we need is to figure out who done this and get back at them with a headline.”

 

Brian hung his head a moment before grabbing Colleen’s hand and making a run for the gazette.

 

Dorothy stood up to stretch and wipe her brow after exerting a lot of energy into her press.  With the warm heat the gears liked to stick and she had to work extra hard to get them to cooperate.  Just as she was about to start again, Brian rushed in with Colleen in tow.

 

“Is something the matter?” she asked noticing that both of them were trying to catch their breath and that Colleen’s hat was askew.

 

Brian managed to nod before Colleen handed over the scathing paper to Miss Dorothy.  They both looked over at her with a mixture of emotions, horror at what they hoped she felt too and hope that she might be able to help them.

 

Dorothy stood there starring down at the paper she was handed and felt the shock rising in her body at what she saw.  She couldn’t believe someone had the nerve to print something so awful about her best friend, her brother-in-law and her friend.  It was outrageous, yet she knew such things happened.  Some journalists were corrupt or could be easy swayed to print such pieces.  In the end there was always a mess to clean up after the hard trail to sweep the nasty evidence away.

 

She managed to get out an “Oh my,” when she reached the end, Brian and Colleen looking up at her with hopeful faces seeing that she too felt the shock of it all. 
“We gotta write a letter to the editor for starters to get this article retracted.”

 

“Think that will do any good,” Brian asked with concern in his voice.  He was after revenge too but thought beating the person at their own game was best.  “We gotta try, Brian until we can uncover this mess.”  He gave a relenting nod.

 

****

 

It was another late night at the saloon; pretty girls serving whiskey, smoke rings floating through the air, poker tables filled and lose tongues wagging.  Back in the corner with a bottle of whiskey and a shot glass hoping to blend in was a well dressed man.  He looked a bit out of place with such find clothes, but in the dark that hardly mattered.  After all he was here for the gossip.

 

When a sweet young thing who called herself Opal came to visit, he couldn’t resist turning on his charm.  She was a lovely little thing after all, talking constantly and making sure her bosom was on full display.

 

He tried his best to listen to her chatty remarks but it got to be darn near impossible with the way she flirted.  Before he knew it he was paying the barkeep and disappearing behind a curtain.

 

Opal’s heart was pounding as she led him back to her room with all intentions of not doing what he paid for.  She’d accidentally overheard the Cooper children talking with Dorothy about some awful headline and catching the guy that put that in the paper.  A part of her wanted to stay out of it but with the way the stranger on her arm was acting, she had to find out if he was the one behind all this.

Luring him in had been easy since he was so liquored up and was not immune to the charms of women.  But the real challenge remained to be seen as to whether she could find out who he really was.  That was what mattered she thought to herself, not giving him a pleasurable night.

 

He couldn’t help but inhale her scent as she led him back to her room or stare down at her ample form. Between the two he could feel his body reacting to the moment when he could uncover the wrappings that enclosed her treasures.  Following her into the small room with a bed and dresser, she asked him to be seated while she prepared another drink for him.

This worked for a moment until he couldn’t help but caress her ivory white arm and pled with her to come to bed, as it was killing him to just sit there and wait for her.

 

Opal took a deep breath as she tried to control her emotions.  She felt ill with the touches he was giving her and his breath reeked of whiskey and smoke.  It was a horrible smell and she wanted nothing to do with it except knock him out with another drink.  But with his impatience that wasn’t going to happen.  Instead she reached for an empty bottle, raised it up and let it come crashing down on his head.  She watched him crumple to the floor with a huge bleeding gash on his forehead.

 

“Pity it had to end this way,” Opal remarked to the lifeless body in her room bleeding all over her floor.  Hank would be pissed, but she couldn’t help it.  Opal then knelt down searching through his pockets hoping to find evidence, which wasn’t long in coming.  She pulled out the awful newspaper headline and with it a note that read:

 

“With the front page headline that you’ve created, Colorado Springs will crumble easily.  The west is wild without a doubt, but the folks there belong in some freak show, not out on the streets doing business like everyone else.  I trust that you will use the best methods to destroy this town so that civilization can move in for good.  R. Cummings”

 

Opal pulled some string from her pocket, tied the man’s hands together as best she could, unbuttoned his shirt and wrote the word “Freak” on his chest with red lipstick, as lipstick and headlines went hand in hand. She then slipped out into the night depositing the evidence under the gazette door. 

 

© 2011 by dqmwartist