The stranger rode up to the hitching post and dismounted, throwing the reins carelessly over the post. He stretched luxuriously and would have done so a second time, but discovered he couldn’t afford it.
“Crap,” he said, in a voice sonorous with frontier manliness.
An old man sitting on the front porch of the General Store motioned across the street. “Latrine’s thet away, feller,” he said. “By the way, thet’s quite a mount ya' got there.”
The mysterious newcomer leaned forward and glared at the old man. “Are you mocking my mount?” he asked. He leaned forward some more, before finally losing his balance and toppling into the watering trough. Emerging from the water, he coughed and then smiled. “Ah, nothing like a cold bath to invigorate a man after a long day on the trail.” He turned back to the old man. “Now, what were you saying about my mount?”
Obviously worried by the singular poise of the stranger, the codger rose from his seat, knowing that no one would shoot an old man who was off his rocker.
“I was jest observin’,” he said, a bit nervously. “Ya' gotta admit it’s a little unusual fer these parts.”
“I take it you’ve never seen a unicycle before.”
“Can’t say thet I have,” the old man admitted. “Thet’s what thet contraption is?”
“Why, yes,” the stranger said. “Uni means one, while cycle suggests transportation involving the wheel. Therefore, uni-cycle means a one-wheeled mode of transportation.”
“Gotcha,” said the old man. “But ain’t it tough ta' pedal thet thing over rough terrain?”
“Yes, if one is a sniveling wuss,” the stranger said, and flexed his muscles to demonstrate he was neither sniveling nor a wuss. “But I am neither sniveling nor a wuss. I happen to be…a Frontier Hero!”
From somewhere in the lengthening shadows, a dramatic burst of orchestral harmony erupted and the stranger grinned smugly.
“That’s my theme song,” he said. “I had it specially arranged for a full-sized orchestra, although a string quartet is sufficient when funds are low.”
The old man was staring at the stranger with new-found awe. “Dang blast it!” he said. “Good thing I done found this new awe, cause you’re Duke Dookums, ain’tcha?”
“Yes, my good man,” said Duke. “That I am, that I am, that I am. That…I…am.” He hugged himself. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go inside the local saloon, here, and see if I can win some money at craps in order to buy a second luxurious stretch. I always need two after a long day’s ride.”