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Mad Molly Shaw

This is the story of mad Molly Shaw
She might be mad now but she wasn’t before
she came home to find her man dead on the floor
She lay down her bible and let out a roar 

She walked into town with her hair in a mess
Fresh mud on her face and her pretty white dress
She knew that such murderers never confessed
Rely on the law... that would be best

And in the law house where the sheriff was found
She said I just put a good man in the ground
So go take a noose and grab Samurai Stan
For he is the one who done murdered my man

He stopped me last week and he wanted some fun
I told him I’m married but he drew his gun
He said that his name was Samurai Stan
And his samurai sword would take care of my man

The sheriff said Stan and I share the same mother
Ain’t wise to come in here bad mouthing my brother 
You show us how tightly that pretty mouth shuts
Or find out how easy a preacher girl cuts

Tin star on the desk where the sheriff was sat
She grabbed it and bellowed ain’t standing for that
No varmint should wear a tin star, it’s obscene 
She flipped it and watched it splash in the latrine

The sheriff jumped up as she made for the door
I ain’t taking that from no Holy Joe Hoor
Mad Molly turned and she stood in the doorway
Our business is done here... at least for today

                    *

Her kin had been preachers since preachin’s been done
So mad Molly Shaw hadn’t handled a gun
She made an acquaintance with two Smith n Wessons
found a gunslinger and paid him for lessons 

Molly learned quickly and so by and by
The gunslinger told her you got a good eye
Your hand is far faster than I’ve seen before
And these things will help if you break with the law

She thanked him for all of the progress she‘d made
And said I must now learn the Japanese blade
I need to know what makes a katana sing
And the gunslinger said, life’s a funny old thing

Some fella came by just a few years ago
But learning the craft he did not want to know
Just quick ways to put a man into a hole
And not how the blade becomes one with your soul

This Samurai Stan, I can swear to your Lord
He’s no Samurai, just a creep with a sword
No matter how often with sword he attacks
He’ll have no more grace than a man with an axe

I decreed that day that I’d never-more train
Any man deaf as I try to explain 
The katana can slash a man’s chest open wide
But it’s mastery dwells in its spiritual side

So, day upon day and many a night
Molly and tutor would practice the fight
In which she was told to go for the kill
While he stopped each thrust with an effortless skill

And when she was ready he told her this
The katana can kill with a featherlight kiss
And it can spill guts with a heftier slash
But you are its mind be you subtle or brash

                     *

So now twenty weeks since her husband was slain
Molly Shaw walked into town once again 
Criss-crossed on her back two katanas dwelt
And two Smith and Wessons in her holster belt

With dust kicking up at her every step
She never looked right and she never looked left
Her shirt front was tied clear of guns at her hips
And the sheriff’s cheroot simply fell from his lips

At the saloon the swing doors sprang wide
And two drunken cow hands were bundled outside
The landlord said, ‘Get lost’, then turned on his toes 
He went back inside...but the doors didn’t close

Inside on the bar leaned Samurai Stan
Who only turned ’round when everyone ran
The sun rendered Molly in sharp silhouette
And Stan said what your man got, you’re gonna get

But lady I’m seeing you sporting a bump
Don’t think that that gift from your God fearing chump
Will stay me from cutting you down don’t you fret
Ain’t killed me no mother in child... as of yet!

Molly scowled, you appear to have only one sword
I’ll match you for that if I don’t get too bored
She drew a katana and took up the stance
Of a samurai swordsman ready to ‘dance’

Samurai Stan with his ungainly grace
Came swinging his sword all over the place
Maybe the Gods could have seen Molly move
But there in Stan’s forehead a deep bloody groove

The sheriff barged in with his Winchester ready
Its aim was at Molly its aim was rock steady 
A pre-strike katana held Stan on one knee 
So her right hand was busy... her left hand was free

With not a word spoken and just the one shot
A revolver smokin, a little red dot
Just under the hat of the sheriff who stopped
Slumped to the floor and died where he dropped

Samurai Stan was still down on his knee
But fear for his life gave him new clarity
He swung his katana in unrestrained haste
And slashed a deep gash across Mad Molly’s waist

Molly stepped back from the force of the strike
She’d thought she could match him at least swipe for swipe 
Stan said you just had to share me your charms
But two lightning swipes and he lost both his arms

He staggered then tripped on his dismembered limbs
And he slumped in a heap to consider his sins
The scowl on his face displayed no repentance
Twas always his fate to be vanquished by vengeance

An ironic grin split Stan’s ashen face
Seems that my death in this time and this place
at the hand of a girl is my wages of sin
His eyes slowly closed as blood ran down his chin 

She turned to her tutor, Hey gunslinger man
I ask of you why did you lend me no hand
The gunslinger told her I did have your back
To step in if your resolution should crack

He stepped out from the shadows, neither gun nor sword in hand
Revenge? A steer that’s only yours if it wears your brand
One man can serve up justice at another man’s behest
Revenge you must take for yourself, and cold by far is best

And then from the floor of that bloodied saloon 
A mumble from Stan who must surely die soon
Molly said Lord I guess you know best
But heaven’s no place for this unwelcome guest

Stan murmured I heard you laid your bible down
She towered above him her face wore a frown
She loosened the knot at the hem of her shirt
And lifted the hem, here’s why I’m not hurt

Stan struggled to raise his head so he could look
Strapped to her belly, a half severed book
My Lord would not watch while I died at your hands
I lay down my bible but took up my man’s

Blood flowed from his stumps but the pressure was low
And with his last breaths he wanted to know
Just tell me please where you learned Samurai
My teacher I killed and I watched him die

His grave is right there by the old sycamore
And then his head slumped and he muttered no more
She said to the gunslinger what going on?
But got no reply, the gunslinger was gone 

Copyright © Terry Flood

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