Paul Freeman: The Ballad Of Black Jake

An alien from planet Mars      
flew off in search of fun;
he chose the old Wild West, on Earth,
the third rock from the sun.

He dressed himself in black attire,
he learned to drawl and sneer;
he said: “I am the fastest gun,
’tis I all men shall fear.”

Most folk in Big Butte, Utah, left
the stranger all alone;
but in the town saloon some took
exception to his tone.

Then while ‘Black Jake’ drank red eye at
the counter he got slugged;
and when he rose and drew his gun,
with bullets he got plugged.

The drunken town physician said:
“This fellow’s time is done,”
and everyone who witnessed, joked:
“So that’s the fastest gun!”

Yet when the undertaker ran
into the bar next day,
the gamblers and the drinkers were
surprised to hear him say:

“That fella that got kilt last night,
his coffin I’ve inspected;
like Lazarus it looks as if
he has been resurrected.

“It seems he’s upped and walked away,
perchance he wasn’t dead;
and yet I saw him laid out with
a belly full of lead.”

A comely barkeep, Anne-Marie,
on furlough from her work,
said: “Even though our doctor is
a fumbling, bungling berk,

“We saw Black Jake get sucker-punched,
by cowards, then shot down,
and Western myth decrees his ghost
wreak vengeance on this town.”

The cowboys who took Black Jake out
were angered by her speech;
for dissing them, poor Anne-Marie,
a lesson they would teach.

But when they grabbed her by the arms,
a baritonal voice,
said: “Cowards! Dogs! Unhand that wench!
or death shall be your choice.”

Black Jake was at the bat-winged doors,
by magic, so it seemed;
but really from the med-lab of
his spaceship he’d just beamed.

The cowboys wheeled the girl around
to use her as a shield;
they thought they had the upper hand
and weren’t about to yield.

But Black Jake had a lesson to
his enemies he’d teach;
and from his trusty six-shooter,
they got two bullets each.

“My hero!” Anne-Marie exclaimed,
“and since you’ve saved my life,
the Frontier ethos now dictates
you take me for your wife.”

Black Jake romantically declared:
“We’ll journey to the stars,”               
and in his spaceship, later on,           
he whisked her off to Mars