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Short Stories

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Commuter Series
Paperback compilation of the four Commuter books

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Funny Stuff To Read OnThe Commuter Bus, Train, Plane, HOV Lane.

Preview-HOV Lane

The Old Cowpoke


“Now, I wan’ ya to lissen to me. I ain’t gonna have no time oncet we leave to be doin’ no ‘splanin’. Iffen ya think ya horse is goin’ over a cliff, don’ worry none. Ain’t no horse goin’ to kill it’s own self. ‘Course, it might stumble but ya nevah know when so no sense worryin’ ‘bout it. Last yer we lost a dude for that. He thunk his horse was goin’ over so he jumps off. Well, he was still goin’ forward las’ time we seen ‘em. Right off the cliff. The horse he done stopped short a the edge. No, ain’t no horse goin’ off except maybe Old Bullet. He’s kinda suicidal. Iffen he does, well heck, wave your hat and go on down in a blaze a glory.”

The dudes all looked at each other. Is this guy for real? Is this part of the package here? This guy looks a lot like Jack Palance in those Billy Crystal movies, but not as good looking or as friendly. This guy was downright ugly. No one asked. Everyone prayed, even the atheists. They figured that if there was ever a time to come to Jesus this was it.

Inside of a mile lots of butts were sore. Some were rubbed raw. The women were doing fine since they had ready made cushioning. No one complained about it though. The only one to complain to was this ugly cowpoke leading them. He didn’t strike anyone as being one to accept complaints very well. He struck everyone as the type to give you something worse to complain about. The very worse thing was that they were paying him. Paying him and deathly afraid. How does that work? How smart were they?

He finally stopped for lunch. “Vittles”, he said. For real, he said vittles. It was beans and jerky. Not that stuff you buy at the convenience store or at a bar when you’re drunk and toss back up when you drive home.. This was real beef jerky. Well, it was jerky. The dude group assumed it was beef but with this guy it could be prairie dog and the odds were that it was.

“Ah, this is the life. A man, a horse, and wide open spaces. Wish I’d a bin borned 150 yer ago. What a life. Roundin’ up cattle, fightin Indians, wenchin’ and a drinkin’. You folks have it too soft, ya know? Well, you’ll learn a bit of the rough side this week. Heck, give ya somethin’ else to talk about in yer fancy Dan bars with ya fancy Dan friends.”

They rode on through the afternoon. They rode through a dust storm; they rode through a rain squall. The rain cleaned the dust off. Then the dust became mud and they wore it. Everyone was miserable. Everyone was trying to remember how this stupid idea got into their heads. The women were thinking about how stupid they were if this is the best vacation idea a man could think up. Must have been drunk at the time. That’s the only rational explanation for doing anything this irrational- marrying them and being here.

“OK, this here be as far as we go today. Gather some wood for a fire and unroll your blankets. Oh, and guys? This here pistol be real, not no make believe. Don’t none of ya be botherin’ the womenfolk.”

“Hey, that’s too much, that’s just too damn much, This ‘womenfolk’ here is my wife. Her and I-”

“You gots somethin’ wrong with ya ears, boy? I said none a ya. Did I make some sort a exception fer you? Iffen ya think that, you is crazy as a cow in a patch of loco weed. Speakin’ of which, I don’ go fer none of thet either. I’s a light sleeper too.”

The guys were sitting off to one side. They were muttering.

“We should kill this guy. I have a bad feeling about him”, one of them said.

“No kidding? You have a bad feeling about a guy who is obviously insane? We can’t kill him. That’s ridiculous”, another replied.

“We probably couldn’t. This guy sure as Hell didn’t get to be as old as he is with that personality by being easy to kill”, said a third guy.

The first guy then commented, “The girls would probably warn him. They’d probably help him. Notice they didn’t complain about him telling us to stay away from them.”

“I didn’t notice your wife saying anything, that’s for sure.”

“None of them did!”

“He wasn’t talking to us. He was talking to you, threatening you to be honest about it. Your wife just smiled. You got problems there, bub.” This from the second guy, who was the first guy’s brother.

“Well, uh, well, if we aren’t going to kill him or do anything else we might as well get to sleep.”

“Yea, and remember- he sleeps light.”



The next morning they heard movement in the predawn. They ignored it at first, thinking the old cowpoke was guarding them. No one and no thing was going to sneak up on him. Soon they began to smell something very bad.

“Hey, it smells bad here. It was okay last night. It smells like shit burning.”

“How would you know what shit burning smelled like?”

“I don’t but if shit was burning I think this is what it would smell like.”

The all got up and moved towards the fire where the old cowpoke had coffee brewing. The closer they got the worse the smell.

“Say, old-timer, it smells like shit burning. I know it isn’t but-”

“It is shit burnin’. In the olden days they didn’t always have wood to burn. So, they used buffaler shit for cooking and heatin’.”

“Yea, well, this ain’t, I mean, isn’t the old days and they ain’,aren’t any buffalo around so what’s up with that?”

“Well, I likes to make thing as real as I can and this here shit is ass close as it gets. Coulda used my own shit as I usually do but I needed a bigger fire. Pour some coffee while I saddle the womenfolks’ horse’s. Ya can saddle ya own, I reckon. Be careful-”

One of the men picked up the pot by the handle and set it down again quickly. He tried not to scream and not to cry. He refused to look at his hand.

“Be careful not to pick the pot up with no gloves on. It’ll take the hide offa ya. I guess ya know that now.”

“He need first-aid. You have anything for burns?”


The day was one miserable thing after another. It climaxed when they got to a stream. The old cowpoke told them to hold the horse’s heads up. If not, they’d start to drink and wonder downstream.

“Horse’s are stupid. Don’t let them make you stupid too.”

Sure enough one of the horse’s started drifting downstream. One of the men was riding it.

“Well, I guess he don’t listen too well. I’d a thought it would be one a the womenfolk, them being weaker an’ all. Well, it ain’t like he’s gonna go over a falls. Ain’t one a them nears here. Don’t look like rain so I reckon he’s safe from a flash flood. Them are excitin’ although a bit hard on ya. I guess the horse will get tired a bein’ in the river and come out. Hope it’s on this here side.”

When they camped that night the guys had no appetite for shit-cooked food. They went off a way and went to sleep. When the guys woke up the next morning the first thing they noticed was that the old cowpoke was gone. So were the girls. There was a note pinned to one of the saddles.

“Took the womenfolk on down to San Lucas. They didn’t seem to want you to go with them. Sorry, dudes.”


The Rob Saga The Rob Saga is available as an ebook and in paperback. It is available at Createspace and Amazon.


There are people living on the edge in what is called Appalachia. They're called ridgerunners, rednecks, hillbillies and backwoods mountaineers. No one thinks of them very often. They don't earn much to society's standards.They stay where they are because they love the area. They are hard workers when they have work and self-sufficient to an extent not known to "outsiders." They are also very funny; they have a great sense of humor about themselves.

They are the salt of the earth and the backbone of America. Their stories are America's stories. These are the stories Of Appalachia.

Book is available as an e-book or in Paperback.
See a preview.

Appalachia Again

More stories of the people of Appalachia.

More of Joe Bob, Bubba and Earl, Mosh Henry and all of the rest of the good folks in Wabash County.

Book is available as an e-book or in Paperback.

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Funny Stories Don Roble
Funny Stories
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