baby girl was born to some settlers as they were moving out West. The wagon train stopped just long enough for the midwife to help the mother bear her child and then it continued on. A litle girl was born that day and her parents chose the name Patricia.
By the time the wagon train had reached what is now called Oklahoma, Patricia was walking and running and, as there were no other girls in the wagon train, she had to play with boys. It wasn’t long before she could run faster than they could and, when they tried to wrestle her down, she would throw them off of her back and hold them down.
The wagon train moved on, slowly through terrible snowstorms but Paticia would leave the wagon and play in the snow, even if there was a blizzard. Spring came ever so slowly to the wagon train, which had fought its way through ice and snow to get to Utah. The pilgrims and Patricia’s ma and pa built a mud-house and staked a claim. They now had sixty acres to farm.
When Patricia was just going into her teens, she still did not know any girls. The nearest neighbors had four boys and, on Sundays when both families went to church, Patricia would go out in the churchyard after the sermon was over and wrestle, in her Sunday go-to-meeting clothes, with each of the four boys. She was smaller than the boys but stronger. One by one she would hold them in the dirt.
When Patricia became fifteen, the four boys called her Pat. As she was stronger and tougher than any of them, they decided that she should have a boy’s name. One day she took her father’s pistol down from the wall, where it hung in a hoster, and learned to shoot. She couldn’t hit a thing at first, but she could recover the bullets and repack them and, as time went by, she became a crack shot.
When she was eighteen years old she left the homestead and went north to Laramy. There she went into a saloon and the bartender asked her how old she was, and if she was a whore. Pat got furious at that question but composed herself and said: “If I was, old man, you couldn’t afford me!”
The bartender replied: “If you aint a whore, get the hell out of here!”
“Make me!” Pat bravely said.
The bartender’s face was beet red as he came around the bar but, when he got to Pat, she had her gun drawn.
“You best git behind that bar, where you belong, old man,” she said, looking at him, right in the eye. The bartender knew then that she was serious, so he got behind the bar as fast as he could!
Before Pat went out of the door, the bartender asked her name.
“Pat O’ Reilly” she answered, “and don’t you forget it, old man”.
She went to the livery stable and asked a kid to rub down her horse, give it some grain and hay, and “bed him down good, kid, he’s gonna be workin’ hard tomorrow”.
She then went to the hotel and rented a room.
“Before I get in bed, I want to wash all of this trail dust off of my hide” she said to the clerk.
“Yes sir” he replied, “we have a private bath for men, right in that room!”
“I aint no ‘sir’, I’m a lady can’t you see!” She lifted her shirt and exposed her breasts to the old clerk. “Yes sir!”.
“I mean mam! Oh hell! I’m all mixed up.”
“Just never make that mistake again,” replied Pat, “or you’ll get your head dammed blowed off!”
“Yes Mam!” He made sure he said ‘mam’ this time.
There was a bathtub sent up to Pat’s room and a Chinese woman filled it with hot water. Pat got in the tub and relaxed, letting the hot water soothe her tired body. She washed, got out of the tub and the Chinese lady dried her shining bodyand helped her dress. Then she went downstairs to the resturant and ate. All the while that she was eating, she saw, out of the corner of her eye, the hotel clerk pointing at her, while speaking to strangers. She knew what he was saying, but, it wasn’t true, she was all woman and some day she would have a baby to prove it!
Pat lay in bed, thinking of her past. She had gone all the way through school and she had a diploma to prove it. Besides, the four boys that lived on the next farm and three more in the one-room school were older than Pat but they had all quit school before they got their diplomas. They told Pat that they had to help on the farm but their father had told Pat’s father that they were tired of being beat-up by a mere girl. She lay there thinking what the rest of her life would be like; she was just eighteen. She was determined to have a good life and she fell asleep thinking of what a good life she was going to have.
When she woke up the next morning, she dressed herself as a man. It wasn’t much trouble, after all, the hotel clerk thought she was a man. She didn’t want anyone to see her, so she stayed in the hotel room until the bank opened. She had no time-piece so she watched out of the window and, when she saw the banker unlock the door and go in the bank, she glued on a fake moustache and sneaked down the stairs.
Making sure the clerk didn’t see her, she darted past the entrance to the resturant. No-one saw her as she went to the livery stable and told the boy that her sister had sent her to get her horse and the boy brought it back, saddled as she requested. She paid the boy and walked her horse to the front of the bank and tied it loosely to the hitching rail.
“Stick-em up! This is a hold up! Give me all of the money in the bank”, she told the teller.
“I will give you what I have in my drawer,” he replied “but the banker is the only one with the combination to the safe”
Pat walked to the end of the counter and confronted the banker.
“Get up off of your fat ass and open that safe,” she snarled putting her pistol to his head, “or I will blow your damned brains out!” The banker quickly opened the safe and Pat made the teller and the banker put all of the banknotes into canvas bags.
“Don’t bother with the coins!” she added and, when the bags were full, she put her pistol in its holster and ran out of the door. She untied her horse from the rail, stuffed the canvas money-sacks in the saddlebags, put her foot in the stirrup, and swung up on her horse. She rode as fast as the horse could go, out of town. Then, when she was sure no-one was following her, she pulled up her horse and dismounted. She took off the moustache, changed into a dress, took her hat off and let her long hair drop to her shoulders.
Now she was ready to enjoy her life!
Patricia rode back to town as a Southern Miss, went to the livery stable and asked the same boy to care for her horse.
“We have come a long way! Care for him well” she said. She took the saddlebags and went over to the hotel where the clerk did not regognize her.
“Can a southern lady get a room in this fine establishment?” She asked.
“Yes mam! May I add we are honored to have you, mam.”
Patricia went up to her room, taking the saddlebags, taking the money out of the canvas bags, she spread it out on the bed.
“I’m rich!” she squealed in delight. “Rich! Rich! Rich! It worked and everybody in this town thinks the bank robber left town!”
Patricia went to sleep that night with a smile on her face; she had done the perfect crime, and she was rich.
She awoke the next morning and put on the dress, went downstairs and ate a light breakfast. Then she went to the livery stable, told the boy he could have the horse, handed him a crisp one dollar bill for his trouble, and she caught the stagecoach to Denver. In Denver she bought a gambling hall that made money hand over fist, thanks to the manager that she hired. His name was Jack and they married the following year.
A year later, the girl, who had been known as Pat, had a baby. Patricia and Jack and their son, went back to the old farm that her parents left her. They had made enough money on the gambling house to hire people to run the farm.
Patricia never told Jack where she got the money to buy the gambling house, and Jack never asked!
Patricia by Don Fraser
The author can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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