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Tags: Sheriff, West

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

image for The Wrong Sheriff What's my legacy?

The Wrong Sheriff
(A Tale of the West)
by David Beaumont


Back in the spring
Of ninety-seven
Good folks sniffed
A scent of heaven…

The Tory Gang
Were booted out
Clutching stuffed brown envelopes
- And the odd case of gout...

Blair was the man
Who rode into town
Silver tongue spinning
He blasted them down

On a gleaming white stallion
Saddled in red
The people's New Hero
Put the bad guys to bed

The townsfolk rejoiced
At the great Tony Blair
"A man we can trust
To make this town fair!"

"Look at his smile!
And shining, bright eyes!
Sincere as they come!
He's one of the guys!"

The star was duly
Pinned to his chest
And he cried to the people
"I'll do what is best!"

Tony was here!
"Hip Hip Hooray!"
True hope restored!
What a glorious day!

*

And it did seem that day
That a new dawn had come
"Things Can Only Get Better"
- The song that they sung...

*

But was there some detail
That passed us all by?
Did his smile freeze discreetly;
In the blink of an eye?

Was the handshake too eager
To be truly sincere?
And what of those welts
On his white stallion's rear?

It's hard to recall
Except simply to say…
We saw what we wanted:
A hero - that day.

But as folks waited,
For wrongs to be righted,
Came murmured reports
That Tony was sighted

On the edge of town
Consorting with bad guys
But he smiled a bright smile
And said, "Honestly - it's all lies.

You know me,
I'm Tony Blair,
And yes I do,
I really do care."

Folks just grinned back
For this was their man
Who'd vanquished the Tories
And laid the New Plan

Yet Tony's face
Began to change,
One eye stared longer
Looking oddly deranged

His smile - once so natural,
Now stretched like elastic
Across teeth whose enamel
Bore the cheap gleam of plastic

Those eyes, yes they shone -
With a light much too bright!
And some folks did wonder
If they had done right.

Then, there were rumours
Of a nature more strange:
A ranch hand spied Tony
Riding out on the range

At midnight astride
His white stallion, buck-naked
Except for great spurs,
Which drew blood at each kick

'Til he reached the Great Cactus
Towering eighty feet high
A great hand hailing Caesar
As it split the night sky

By the full moon's pale glow
He took its salute
Stiff backed and righteous
In his Emperor's suit.

With a lash of his whip
He wheeled the horse round
Kicking all the way back
As the blood trickled down

Soon after this
His grip on town tightened,
Taking total control,
The people grew frightened

"What is happening to him?"
They each asked - and "Why
Is he doing these things?
- Just who is this guy?

This 'hero' of ours,
This 'Tony Blair',
Who we truly believed
Would make this town fair?"

So, late one night,
They concocted a plan
To uncover for sure
The heart of this man.

They crept up the main street,
Broke into the gaol,
Forced open his desk
And searched through his mail.

And there, on one ominous,
Vellum page
Was the sight that would shatter
This Brave New Age

In curlicued letters
And ink of vivid blue
His name inscribed
Yet spelled out anew...

For now was an 'R'
Where should be an 'N'...!
They shrank back in horror
"Can it be - he's one of 'THEM'?!!"

Yet, worse was to come
- To truly devastate
In the back of his closet,
A gilt-framed portrait

Of old Ma' Tory
"With love to T. Blair
My one and my only
Son and true heir."!

The darkest silence
And deepest gloom
Now descended on
That desperate room

They racked their minds
For signs they'd missed.
For they'd brought the wrong sheriff
Into their midst!

They'd danced with the Devil
Without hearing the tune
And a price they would pay
And knew they'd pay soon.

Then the saddler recalled,
Much too late, a small clue:
"His saddle was red
- But his spurs were blue!"

How should folks take
The betrayal of hope?
Faith & trust shattered;
They reached for a rope

In the cold light of dawn
They searched for their man
But were already pawns
In a much grander plan:

The Sheriff was ready
And placed around town
A gang of paid guns
Who now looked down

From the rooftops, their Winchesters
Cocked and aimed
At the folks on the main street
Whose shouts now proclaimed

Their mistrust of the man
Who gave flesh to their fears
With that light in his eyes
And fingers in his ears.

He stood, legs apart,
On the roof of the bank
And in a voice quite superior,
Said; "One day you'll thank

Me for knowing I am right
And knowing you are wrong
For a war we must fight
To keep this town strong.

Forget all our problems
And think on this theme
A town to the East
Needs a change of regime.

We'll help them my friends
Then I promise you this
We'll fix all our troubles
And our lives will be bliss."

*

As it turned out,
The land to the East
Was the stamping ground
Of a sought after beast

Which roamed in huge numbers:
The buffalo…
The undeclared star
Of the coming show

For Blair's closest friend
Was a powerful man;
The Greatest Trader of Hide
In all of the land

And as fate would have it;
The Greatest Trader of Gun
So war was the way
For Great Trade to be done

The 'campaign' was in fact
A one-sided attack;
Bullet against arrow
Cannon against axe

Whole settlements slaughtered
With military distinction,
The buffalo hunted
Entirely to extinction

Across the Great Plain
Flesh decayed in the heat
(The Great Trader took hides
But discarded the meat)

And though the stench drifted
All the way to the West,
The Sheriff insisted
It was all for the best

And money was made
In fat wads by the trade
In gun and in hide
But it has to be said

That the townsfolk saw none
Of this dubious revenue
- It was channeled through
A well-shaded avenue;

A tree-lined street
On a beach-lined coast
Where the Sheriff retired
To make speech and to toast

With his friend the Great Trader
Of Hide and of Gun
The part they had played in
"How the West Won"

*

So our townsfolk eventually
Learned a bit more
About who they appoint
To mind the store

One thing they agreed
Is perfectly plain
Most so-called 'leaders'
End up much the same

It's true that the power
Simply goes to their head
But what of those years
Trying to get there instead?

The Sheriff endured
An 18-year wait
In the wilderness, striving
To fulfill his fate

Does that not bend heads
Of men such as these
Whose craving for office
Is like a disease?

So the townsfolk concluded
- And we'd best believe it
Not just power corrupts
- But the struggle to achieve it!

So, when choosing a Sheriff
Don't fall for a grin
- For now you can see
What a mess you'll get in!


***

© David Beaumont 2007

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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