A humor novel by Tom Mollica
The year is 1890. A few months after a Tag-Mart opens in Deadhorse City Willie Smooter has closed Smooter’s General Store, purchased a used Sphere Stream RV Travel Trailer, a new cowboy outfit and is on his way to Milwaukee. His vision of the city is a place where happy people drink beer and eat sausages.
Joined by his best friend Claude at the last minute the two have great laughs and adventure on the way to Beer Town. They meet up with an assortment of characters, including picking up passengers like Bob. With Mister Bob is Señor Benito, his rude, trash talking wooden hand puppet.
From Chapter One
Smooter’s General Store
Willie Smooter made sure both strings of his bolo tie were even as he
checked himself out in the small mirror that hung on the rear door of
his two room apartment. One of the rooms was bigger with a kitchen
area in the back. In the front, on the other side of a pot belly stove
were two chairs that faced a fireplace. A filled wood magazine rack
was on the floor next to Willie’s favorite chair- one that was cushioned
and spongy soft. Dime novels were stacked on a table between the
chairs. More dime novels were on a table next to Willie’s bed in the
The bolo tie he was futzing with had been a gift from his Aunt
Clara who had bought it at the Mooseberg Township when she took a
stage coach there to see the popular band Buckwheat Charley and the
Buckaroos. Buckwheat Charley had come all the way from Cedar
Rapids to play a gig at Smiley Sutton’s Saloon. A silver and turquoise
medallion with a capital M in the center of it held the strings together.
Willie had guessed the M was for Mooseberg but he had never
remembered to ask his aunt. Seeing both strings were straight he put
on his light weight canvas vest that had Smooter’s stitched on the left
side in block lettering. The vest went over a white cotton shirt that
had been washed too many times at the Mai Lee laundry. The right
side of the vest covered a half dollar sized burn hole to which Mai Lee
said was in the shirt already when Willie brought it in. Looking at the
square clock that sat on his canned goods shelf he heard the big hand
tick and saw it move to eight-fifty-eight. He took out a silver plated
pocket watch from his front right pocket that was attached to a chain
and secured to a belt loop. Etched on the back of the watch was a
locomotive with whisps of smoke streaming out of the smokestack. It
had been Plucky Jablonski’s watch. Plucky was Willie’s dad’s friend
and he had worked for the railroad. Willie had called him Uncle
Plucky but his dad had called him Boxcar, probably because Plucky
had worked on the railroad, Willie had thought. When he got older
Willie had found out that Uncle Plucky’s true first name was not
Plucky but was Pernel. Uncle Plucky, Pernel or Boxcar had met his
maker when a caboose he was riding in let go of the main train that
was going up a mountain. The caboose rolled backwards, picking up
speed until it was rolling close to one hundred miles an hour before it
crashed off a fifty foot cliff and landed in the middle of a herd of
moose. Luckily none of the moose or the pocket watch had been hurt
in the mishap.
Willie looked at the watch then the clock and when seeing the
times matched he put it back in his pocket and wound the clock. Time
to open Smooter’s General Store. Before stepping through the door
that led into the store he took one last look in the mirror at his slightly
round, ordinary looking face. Seeing a couple unruly stray hairs
sticking up from his combed back light brown hair he used the hand
pump over the sink to get a few drops of water and pat them down.
He was a couple days late on his regular every two week haircut so a
visit to Mario the Deadhorse City barber would be a good idea after
closing the store tonight. There was a dinner date in two days at Miss
Katie’s Diner with his gal Becca May and Willie didn’t want to have
that new haircut look. Plus Mario the Barber liked to put a lot of
talcum powder on Willie after the haircut. Too much, Willie thought
but never said anything. The powder irritated Becca May’s nose and
smelling it sometimes made her sneeze. Once she began sneezing so
hard she threw her back out, although Willie wasn’t sure if she hurt it
or was faking so she didn’t have to help him unload his small wagon
that was filled with a load of potatoes he had picked up at Stubby
Gantry’s potato farm on the ride home after one of their dates.
Before getting behind the front counter Willie took a big dill pickle
out of a barrel. He would get a venison sausage later to finish off his
breakfast. Checking out the store as he took a bite out of the pickle
everything seemed to be okay. Timmy, the twelve year old delivery
boy and shelf stocker had the four aisles of shelves filled and neat.
None of Mabel Tausher’s preserves had turned and leaked out of the
jars so that was good. A couple of the dried meat crates were low but
Homer Deland would be coming in later with an order of sausages
and jerky. Satisfied everything was in place Willie moved behind the
front counter. Finishing off the pickle he sorted through the mail.
After tossing aside a few bills, three advertisements that still came for
his dad that wanted the elder Wally Smooter to join AAOP – The
American Association of Old People and a catalog from a seed store a
grin formed on Willie’s face when coming to a big brown envelope
from the Flamingo Road Company in San Francisco. The envelope
was why the postmaster Nedly Poshard had given Willie a knowing
smile when handing out the mail. Inside it was the latest copy of
Western Girl. Checking to see no one was about to come in he ripped
open the package and pulled out the magazine. On the cover was a
picture of a sexpot school teacher sitting on her desk and holding a
four foot wooden pointer. The pointer was aimed at a chalkboard,
which had “How Naughty Are You?” written on it. Under the picture
of the teacher was written “The Cowpoke and the School Marm. Page
21” There were also stories about the new Mustang Stallion Palomino
Pony, the top twenty-five saloons in the United States, the proper hat
to wear on a first date, cooking a romantic dinner at your cabin with
canned food and the popular letters to Western Girl. Again he
checked that no one was about to come in, bent over behind the
counter and opened the magazine to show the centerfold. The black
and white picture showed a fetching woman. She lay on a bear skin
rug wearing a fashionable cowgirl hat and a dance hall girl dress,
which was pulled up over her knee to show a bare thigh and the top
of her bloomers.
“Whoo wee,” Willie said softly to himself.
A ringing bell and a loud squeak made it known that a customer
was coming into the store. Willie quickly closed the Western Girl,
shoved it under the counter and stood until he saw it was his best
friend Claude Feegle who had opened the door and was stepping into
the store. As opposed to Willie’s short and dumpy build Claude was
tall and thin. Even his head was thin and long. It was shaped like an
ear of corn. Claude was dressed in his usual attire, wearing a straw
cowboy hat, jeans and a faded green denim short sleeve shirt with
two top pockets.
From Chapter Six
Bob and Señor Benito
(Willie meets Bob and Señor Benito in the "sinner lockup" after Willie is arrested
in the eccentric and no alcohol allowed Mootwig Territory - the Kindom of Cows
for having a keg of beer in his Sphere Stream RV Travel Trailer.)
Willie watched the jail keeper write then turned to see a man
sitting on one of the two beds in the cell.
The man said, “They don’t like to tell you a lot around here,”
Willie looked at the man and said, “Right.” He looked around to
check out the cell. There was a small sink with a pump. A wood toilet
was next to it. A table was near the center of the cell and filled with
food. A lot of food too, Willie thought. He saw a big cake and knew if
he stayed he would be trying a piece of it. Taking a few steps in he
checked out the man on the bed. The guy appeared to be about thirty
years old and was dressed in a suit with a red bow tie. The suit jacket
was white and had horizontal blue stripes. With it he had on navy
blue pants. All his clothing was tight fitting, almost like it was one
size too small. Willie now saw that sitting on the man’s knee and
attached to his right hand was a wooden hand puppet.
The puppet wore a black Mexican sombrero. A maroon suit with
white embroidery was painted on. It had exaggerated features with
an oversized nose and big ears. On it was a black mustache the same
color as eyebrows. The puppet’s wooden mouth opened and closed
and it spoke, “Take a look at this huckleberry, Bob.”
Willie looked at the man then the puppet then back to the man.
“That was good, mister. I didn’t even see your lips move.”
The man said, “I’m Bob.” He waved his left hand to introduce the
puppet. “This is Señor Benito. I believe I heard your name is Willie
“Willie Smooter. What a dumb name,” said the puppet Señor
“It is not a dumb name,” answered Willie.
Jail Keeper Jecky yelled over, “See- I told yee.”
“Oh- geez,” said Willie.
Bob moved the puppet so it appeared to be looking at Willie then
Señor Benito said, “Where did you buy your clothes from, buckaroo?
The gringo do da dandy cowboy store?”
“I got them from the Six Gun Johnny catalog,” Willie answered.
“Six Gun Johnny- that dime book cowboy,” Señor Benito said. “If
I’d ever see him I’d give him a sock in the puss.” The puppet got in a
boxer’s pose and began to throw punches with his little hands
punching in and out.
Willie answered, “All Six Gun Johnny would need is one of his
corkscrew punches to knock you out.”
“Oh yea. I just might knock you out,” snapped Señor Benito.
“You’re not knocking me out. That’s for sure,” Willie said back to
The puppet started to box again. “Oh yea.”
Willie talked louder, “Yea.”
“How long they making you stay here?” Willie asked.
“Don’t know. They wouldn’t tell us,” Bob answered.
“They can’t just hold you in this pokey and not tell you for how
Señor Benito answered, “You think this is a normal town? These
looney birds wear cow head hats and moo at each other.”
Bob said, “They can hold us for as long as they like. This is a
county where every town may employ their own jurisdictions and
assign whatever laws and regulations they choose.”
“That’s not good,” said Willie.
Bob continued, “We did have a trial. I named Señor Benito as our
“The puppet was your attorney?”
Bob said, “Señor Benito has trial lawyer experience. He petitioned
the court to turn the udder cheek and moooooove on.”
“Oh boy,” said Willie.
Bob continued, “They said we broke the laws of the Kingdom Of
Cows. Señor Benito said the only time he cared about cows was when
he was eating a T-bone steak.”
Willie eyed Señor Benito and Bob for a few seconds before
replying, “Sounds like he did a great job. I’m surprised your crack
lawyer didn’t get you to face a firing squad.”
Read some excerpts from "The Road to Milwaukee" below.
Order before the publication date of March 8, 2018 and receive a 10% discount. Use the promo code: PREORDER2018.
From Chapter Eight
(Claude meets Yancy Clocker and tries to set up a WIllie jail break.)
From the front of the trailer a young man stepped to it. He eyed
the Sphere Stream in admiration then climbed up onto the left front
seat and sat. On his pasty white face the man had a long chin beard,
the same as other Mootwig males. The beard reached down to the top
of the plain long sleeve egg shell white three button shirt he was
wearing. On his head was a broad brimmed straw hat. Curly hair the
same color as a bale of hay that was next to the barn showed from
under the hat. Brown tweed pants were pulled up high past his belly
button with black suspenders helping to hold them up. He carried a
small cloth bag. The man who looked to be about eighteen years old
looked out, saw no one was around and then pretended like he was
driving the trailer. “Be going horse. Be taking Yancy Clocker for a
ride. Make speed to thee great water.”
With the door to the front opened a crack Claude leaned his head
up and watched the man. He thought a few seconds then crawled to
the door, opened it, got on one knee and put a finger in the man’s
back. He tried to talk in the meanest voice he could muster while also
trying to whisper. It was a tough combination to master and the voice
came out like a cross between an Old Amos sick voice and his mean
Deadhorse City school teacher Miss Crabtree who was a stout woman that would paddle students with a wooden board if they misbehaved.
“All right, hombre. Hands up. I got a pistol in your back and it’s ready
to shoot. Try anything and you’ll be cashing in your chips?”
The man held up his hands. “What be thee meaning? Cashing in
“Uh, it means you’ll be belly up.”
Claude tried to talk even meaner, now going more to his Miss
Crabtree voice. “It means you’ll be getting your rear end paddled if
you keep acting up.”
“Wait- forget that. Never mind,” said Claude. “It means you’ll be
a goner when I fire some bullets from my gun into you.”
“Gracious to Petey. Please do not be doing thee,” the man
implored. “I just wished to see what it be like to drive a superb wagon
such as thee. I be not speeding.”
“Speeding?” Claude questioned. “You weren’t even moving.
There’s not even a horse. Now, who are you and remember to tell the
truth or you’ll be pushing up daisies.”
“What be thee meaning of that? Pushing up daisies?”
“Never mind. What’s your name?”
“I be Yancy Clocker, son of Abner and Pirtle Clocker.”
“Right. I heard you tell the horse that.” Claude pushed his finger
into Yancy’s back a little harder. “Alright- tell me where my friend
“Who be Willie?”
I got to get Willie out of there,” Claude said.
Yancy said, “I be able to help if yee take me with yee when yee
“Take you with me? You want to leave?”
“I want to be a pirate. Like Pirate Petey. I be reading of thee in a
sinner’s picture book I was to be burning.”
Claude thought a moment then said, “Okay then- if you want to
help.” He motioned for Yancy to come into the trailer. “Come in here.
I don’t want anyone to see us.”
Claude moved back into the trailer and Yancy followed. Claude asked, “Who’s Pirate Paulie?”
“Pirate Petey. He be a pirate who robs bad pirates and gives thee
money to thee poor and downtrodden.”
“Okay- sure then. I can get you to Pirate Petey if you help me.”
Yancy looked at Claude’s finger. “You be not having a pistol.”
Claude saw Yancy eyeing his finger. “Right, but, uh- don’t try
anything. I’m a trained fighting killer.”
“I be not trying anything,” said Yancy then continued, “And if I be
staying here I be contracted to be wedded to Bernice Struter in two
“Yea, yea, okay. I’ll get you out.”
“Yee friend’s wagon is to be burned today.”
“What?” Claude again almost shouted.
“Bernice who I to be married to is a tall female with a very
unpleasing manner and has very big feet. She. . .”
Claude held up a hand. “Hold on a second. Go back to what you
said about this trailer being burned.”
The road To Milwaukee, humor novel, humor book, historical fiction, Tom Mollica
Order before the publication date of March 8, 2018 and receive a 10% discount. Use the promo code: PREORDER2018.