Harris Tobias


They called him Otto, the great desperado,

But really he wasn’t that great

He would ride into town

Turn lives upside down

But the town’s population was eight

There was Nelle, the town belle,

And bartender Zelle

And a couple of children named Fred

Bea, the school teacher, and Lee, the town’s preacher

And a store keeper couple named Zed

Bea, the school marm, 

Would sound the alarm

When Otto rode down from the hills

The Freds and the Zeds would hide under their beds

Giggling from fear induced thrills

Otto would shoot in the air, 

Give all a good scare,

Then he’d ride off as fast as he came

He’d holler and yell and raise all kinds of hell

To him it was all a big game

Though he was called Otto, 

The Great Desperado,

It was said with tongue firmly in cheek.

For though he looked mean and acted extreme

In reality Otto was meek

He lived in a shack

Somewhere out back

And spent his days largely ignored

But then just for fun he’d pick up his gun

Simply because he was bored

One day sheriff John Brown

Rode into town

And announced that he was the law

The Zeds and the Freds all nodded their heads

And said, “That’s what we pay taxes for.”

When Otto rode down

From the hills into town

The Sheriff was waiting, guns drawn

Hand over your gun it’s an end to your fun

This behavior cannot go on

Otto was stunned

Whatever he’d gunned

Was nothing more than celebration

His shots in the air were devil make care

No threats or intimidation

Once faced with the law

Old Otto saw

That his fun was being suspended

He thought why not and fired one final shot

And here my tale is upended

John Brown got mad

And said that he’d had

Quite enough of someone like Otto

So he shot him, of course, right off his horse

Shoot first, that was his motto

Now the folks in the town

All gathered around

And accused the Sheriff of police brutality

What have you done? Shot a man having fun

That’s not how we show hospitality

The whole town was shocked

And the sheriff was mocked

They told him to pack up and leave

He left in a hurry while Otto was buried

And preacher Lee led the bereaved

Nelle and Zell 

tolled the school bell

And bid old Otto goodbye

The Freds and the Zeds just shook their heads

And wondered why he had to die

About vision791

Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published fourteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at www.hamptonroadswriters.org
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