Honorary Editor: Words Swiderski
The catastrophe began with the piano in the Salt Lick Saloon.
Being the only musical instrument in the valley, folks came from miles around to listen. Silky Sue, proprietor, waved her ostrich fan in the face of tradition and invited women to accompany their husbands inside to listen. But, even here at the edge of wilderness, Two Pan ladies did not break the taboo against women in drinking establishments. They made their husbands stand on the street with them to hear the melodies.
Silky Sue, with a quick eye for opportunity, quickly jerry-rigged a canopy to protect listeners from rain. Then she tried to ply them with overpriced coffee and cocoa delivered by properly clad maids.
Across the street, the ladies at Opal’s Sporting Palace lounged on the porch. Sugar Cherie, a tall woman who claims to be French but is known to lose her accent when excited, waggled her buxom bosom and cat-called across the street, asking the men to come see her when they were in town without their wives.
When a few of the settler women told the whores to shut up, the prairie doves became wilder. Later, when asked about the incident, Big Opal, owner of the Palace said, “All rumors that I’m losing business because of that clinky-dink piano and tone-deaf player are filthy lies. Men always want the bodacious bounty I’ve got. We don’t cater to families. If they’re offended, they need to move their dried-up little carcasses off the street. I don’t know why those self-righteous women are in such a pucker. The girls simply became carried away with the music. The piano is the culprit.”
Two of Opal’s girls, Roamin’ Retta and Kitty Galore stood in mid-street in gauzy white dresses, yowling and goading each other into a horse race.Then they worked bets from the bystanders. The saloon emptied to watch the two women fly down the street on Big Opal’s white steeds, the girls’ hair and gauzy garments flowing behind them.
The settler wives were outraged at the foul language and public indecency. Silky Sue was livid at the loss of business. The bettors were angry because neither horse reached the finish line. A winner was never declared. Having had a few shots of stout liquor for luck, Roamin’ Retta fell into a garden at the end of the street. Kitty Galore rode into the SaltLick Saloon where the horse broke glasses and chairs.
“Damn fine advertising,” was Big Opal’s only comment. “And it’s still the piano’s fault.”
(Based on a true historical event)