Ooo ooo ooo ooo, ooo ooo ooo
rating: +117+x

Cowboy Hephaestus and the Fuck Patrol advanced through the desert sands, keeping low to the ground, their muzak pistols clutched tight. Turning back to his motley band of abominations and rascals, Cowboy Hephaestus put a finger to his lips.

“Grocery store shit only,” he said, tapping his muzak pistol. “Nothing fancy.”

The Fisherman, Hephaestus’ second in command, nodded, the sharks, salmon and trout that made up his ever-changing body wriggling as he did so. Their mouths gasped for water that they’d never receive. Their eyes stared forward - they were like corpses already, truth be told. But they’d never reach that final stage. He raised a hammerhead arm and motioned to the Fuck Patrollers behind him, who adjusted their pistols.

Hephaestus smirked to himself. The Fisherman was eager to get Cowboy Galileo - and it was no wonder. Galileo was the ultimate bounty for something like him.

Before the Fuck Patrol was a tower of emerald and bronze, fluttering and warping in the breeze. It was something that Cowboy Galileo had stolen from another world, like every treasure he hoarded. From the looks of the structure, Cowboy Hephaestus guessed it was from a later era of Oz. You could tell by the emeralds. Bastard king of the place loved ‘em.

“You see that?” he said, adjusting his fiery cowboy hat to get a better look at the windows. “Looks like Galileo’s got a delivery coming in.”

Last Lion Leroy nodded, his thick mane rearranging itself to form a pair of binoculars. He cut them out of the mass with a single swipe of his battle razor, handing them to Cowboy Hephaestus.

“Much obliged,” said Cowboy Hephaestus, accepting the binoculars.

“Don’t mention it,” said LLL in Lion. Luckily, Cowboy Hephaestus was a man of the worlds and the Ways. There were very few tongues he didn’t know.

Cowboy Hephaestus took a look through the binoculars. They were scratchy against his hands - LLL really needed to take better care of that mane of his. From the looks of things, the tower was fairly heavily guarded. Dollerdozers, men that had morphed themselves into the shapes of the long-lost bulldozers, rolled around the perimeter of the building, honking at each other wildly.

Two weeks (UnParisian Time) earlier…

“Cowboy Shakespeare is dead,” said Cowboy Gorgoplex, chugging his UnParisian UnWine.

Cowboy Hephaestus raised his eyebrows, sending sparks up into the air. His own drink of ashes and lit cigarettes went untouched. How could he drink right after hearing that?

“How did it happen?” said Cowboy Hephaestus quietly. He’d never met Cowboy Shakespeare…but from the stories he heard, the old man wasn’t the type to die. They said he’d fought a Meteor God, took it down - that he’d eaten the last of the Sarkic Venesians at the end of Universe 2.3949229B. People who survived things like that…what could possibly kill them?

“Heart attack,” said Cowboy Gorgoplex, taking another drink of the UnWine. The two were sat at the finest UnBar in UnParis, The UnGrail and UnWish. The franchising of these bunker-cities got pretty tiresome around this point in history.

This part of the bar was reserved for Cowboys - set up by Cowboy Macedonia a while back in this timeline. Below the symbol of the Cowboys, twin pistols and swords, were their oath: “Ooo ooo ooo ooo, ooo ooo ooo.” Whatever the first Cowboy had been, that had been their language. Maybe they’d been a monkey.

“Heart attack,” repeated Cowboy Hephaestus slowly. “Heart attack?

“Heart attack.”

“Fuck me.”

“That’s what I said.”

“But really,” said Cowboy Hephaestus, holding onto the bar to steady himself. Twin trails of soot ran down from his eyes. “Fuck. I sent him a letter, you know. Just a couple of weeks ago.”

“You did? What about?”

“He was my inspiration - the reason I became a Cowboy, took my Name. You think I took the Name of some god from Bumblefuck Nowhere because I liked it? I took it because it was from the same planet as his.”

“Huh,” said Cowboy Gorgoplex. “Mine’s just the Name of some frog I saw in the Library. Liked to dissect flies. Thought it was pretty freaky, so I took its Name.”

“I don’t care.”

“So,” said Cowboy Gorgoplex, leaning forward. “What was the letter about?”

“The battles I’d fought, the places I’d seen…the Fuck Patrol I’ve gathered behind me. Even images - photographs of the horrors I’ve defeated.”

Cowboy Gorgoplex visibly paled. “Oh,” he said, rubbing a clockwork hand against his wire hair.


“Well, they say before he had that heart attack, Cowboy Shakespeare saw a freaky photograph.”



Cowboy Hephaestus snapped back to the present, looking around him wildly. Damnit, Galileo had been expecting him. He’d set up Flashback Mines to trap him in yesterdays.

“Watch your step!” he roared to the Fuck Patrol behind him. Stealth was out of the question at this point - he couldn’t afford to lose any members of the Patrol. “We’ve got exposition!”

With the death of Cowboy Shakespeare, Cowboys like Galileo felt free to stoop as low as they wanted. Hephaestus would never let that happen, as long as he was alive. The Cowboys were everything to him, the very reason he - shit, he was letting the exposition take him!

“Cover your mouths!” shouted Hephaestus as he ran towards the Emerald Tower. The Dollerdozers rushed forward to meet him. With a swing of his arm, Hephaestus sent two balls of fire flying at them. Now, the important thing to understand about fire is that it is not fire. You can usually tell this by the bolding. Fire was conceptual, which was a lot more tricky and a lot more fun.

The fire hit the Dollerdozers, rushing back through their timeline and burning away the moments that had led them to this place, at this time. They vanished.

Hephaestus grinned as he charged through the doors of the Emerald Tower, the Fisherman following shortly after him. The rest of the Fuck Patrol stayed at the base of the tower, ready to fight whatever horrors Galileo had recruited or stolen to protect his treasures. As the doors closed, Hephaestus heard the sounds of grocery store muzak ringing out, generic tunes flying back and forth as projectiles. The battle had begun.

Within the Emerald Tower was a spiral staircase - also emerald, of fucking course - that ran upwards to the top.

“Galileo,” shouted Cowboy Hephaestus, his voice echoing up the length of the thick, rigid tower. “I’m coming for you, you son of a bitch!”

He glanced at the Fisherman, who nodded, and then he charged up the staircase, four steps at a time. He had no time for proper stair technique - he was a man on a mission. A mission…of justice.

He burst into the top room of the Emerald Tower, flame pouring out of his hat.

There he was. The bastard. Cowboy Galileo. The one who had escaped from the Earth he was born in, contained in, and became a Cowboy for all the wrong reasons.

The man with a fish’s head, and a comical little top hat nestled atop it.

He was sprawled out on a throne of glass, a kaleidoscope of reclining fish men visible on its surface. It almost hurt to look at it.

“Look at you,” said Hephaestus, spitting a cinder onto the expensive skin rug. It moaned in pleasure slightly. “All the wealth and treasure you could want, and nobody here to protect you.”

Cowboy Galileo chuckled. “Nobody left to protect me? Tell me, Hephaestus, how much money do you have to spend? How much treasure to entice loyalty?”

“I don’t need any of that,” said Hephaestus. “My people…My Fuck Patrol…they’re the kind of people who don’t care for money. Who don’t care for anything except a righteous fight.”

He pointed his muzak pistol at Galileo, who didn't budge. “Any last words?”

“My man,” said Cowboy Galileo, a grin spreading across his face - well, as much was possible for a fish face. Really, his lip curved slightly, if one squinted and looked from the right angle. “You dumb motherfucker.”

Cowboy Hephaestus felt a bullet of muzak slam into his back. His pistol fell out of his hands, clattering unseen onto the floor. The sounds of a busy grocery store expanded inside his skull.

Hephaestus couldn’t move. He could barely even think. The only one in the room who could have shot him, betrayed him…was the Fisherman.

“You are poor,” gloated Cowboy Galileo, walking into view, Hephaestus’ muzak pistol in his hand. “He’s fighting for me.

Fish swam in schools, thought Hephaestus, and then, maybe, he died.

Ooo ooo ooo ooo, ooo ooo ooo.

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