Monday, February 22, 2016

Place Your Bets: Which Members Of Our Party Will Die On The Oregon Trail?

by James J. Hamilton
It's 1849 and we're taking the Oregon Trail. It's an expensive journey, and we're poor folk, so we've decided to finance the trip by taking bets on which members of our party will die before we make it to the Oregon Territory. We're setting out from St. Louis tomorrow, so head down to the White Cloud steamboat casino and place your bets before it's too late.

Junior (Odds: 4/1)
Junior is a 12 year old boy who enjoys killing small animals and throwing rocks at girls. He has a hardy constitution, but somehow managed to contract dysentery and cholera before we even left home. Probably picked 'em up playing with them gutter children, which he was repeatedly told not to do, but the boy just plain don't listen.

Ma (Odds: 5/1)
Ma is 91 years old and has never been sick a day in her life. She can run the 40 yard dash in under 6 seconds and once killed an entire Indian warband with nothing but her cooking. She is known among the Comanche as Death Biscuit.

Pa (Odds: 3/1)
Pa is 92 years old and his only past medical issue was having both of his arms amputated at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. Pa is wont to say George Washington was a personal friend of his, but everyone knows Washington thought Pa was annoying as hell and was just too nice to tell him to piss off, on account of Washington felt bad for Pa being without arms.

Cousin Eli (Odds: 7/1)
Cousin Eli is a farmer who's taken to drink after five consecutive years of crop failures. Rarely seen without a bottle in his hand, Eli is known for his amusing anecdotes, his affection for animals, and his deep-seated, unfathomable rage. Eli hopes the move to Oregon will enable him to evade his many creditors, as he recently borrowed thousands of dollars to finance an ill-fated scheme to grow "hydroponic" potatoes with whiskey instead of water. Eli's Hard Spuds, Inc. went under without successfully growing a single potato.
Auntie Sue (Odds: 6/1)
Auntie Sue is a four-time state knitting champion who don't take no guff and makes her living selling illegal potions to girls who are "in the family way."

Auntie Sue's boyfriend Paul (Odds: 6/1)
Paul and Auntie Sue have loud sex every night in the wagon, right next to where we all sleep. Judging by the noises Auntie Sue makes, Paul fucks good, but he's pretty much useless at everything else. Ma says "that fella ain't right in the head" and Doc Brown has diagnosed Paul as "plum retarded," but Auntie Sue says she don't give a hoot. She and Paul are living in sin, much to Ma's chagrin, because no priest will marry them on account of Paul's retardation.

Baby Jane (Odds: 1/1)
Baby Jane is 6 months old and will almost definitely die on this trip. Fragile and colicky, she will make an excellent feast for the wolf packs that roam the countryside around Fort Laramie.

Judge Holden (Odds: 666/1)
He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.