Steelie King --- The Path Not Taken

In the article "Writing the Balled of the Steelie King", the point (after the smashing of my aggie) at which the ballad could have taken a more traditional route (crush the evil person) was mentioned. In late 2004, 30 years after the original ballad, I wrote that part (below, unpolished), in a couple of evenings, just for fun.


It was also an exercise that demonstrates how easy it is to follow a "direction" in a story, once started. 





My head held high in the morning sky, I turned away for awhile;

then with eyes ablaze I whirled unfazed and erased that steely smile:

"Look here, you punk, I've got more spunk than your kind will ever know;

I'll bet my stash, shoot with lowly trash, and have you eating crow."


 From within my bag I grabbed a "hag" --- an aggie cracked and chipped

and sent it quick with a firm-jawed flick to my right, where sun-rays nipped.

With a thin-lipped snarl and tight-fist gnarl he sent his steelie flyin'

and when it missed he seemed so pissed I knew his aim was dyin'.


One bomb you get, and his had hit, so now it was my turn;

But I knew to crush his spirit to mush a bombsie I would spurn.

Instead I'd use a sneaky ruse and get inside his head;

So seeds of doubt would slowly sprout and quickly become dread.


"Suppose you lose..." I began the ruse "to my crummy little hag;

Everywhere you go everyone will know, so you better watch your lag.

As King of the hill, it'd be a killer pill, 'cause everyone will laugh;

'Hey there's Top Wheat --- hear he got beat (!) by a piece of lowly chaff!' "


He paused to think, and in that blink I knew I had set the hook;

His inner fear became real clear when his face showed an ashen look.

He knew I was right, what an awful blight for a horse to lose to a mule

Plus a huge disgrace to even play Chase, if it ain't jewel vs. jewel.


So he just couldn't win, and his lips went thin as he looked for any way out;

So I tightend the noose lest he wriggle loose as he stopped and spun about.

"Drop that Steelie down" I said with a frown, "in that gopher hole right there;

Then turn aroun' and get outta town, and we'll call this match all square."


He had no choice and his clenched-teeth voice was naught but a meekly hiss;

While he did as told with a look so cold it could freeze a stream of piss.

Then the sun rose clear as my friends came near, and he headed quickly north

And we crushed that hole with a shovel-handle pole, and banned all steel henceforth.


Instead of more play we partied all day, and even long into the night

We laughed with joy at the clever ploy that caused the Steelie King's flight.

Where he is today, who can ever say?  I think he's gone for good;

'Cause wherever he goes everyone knows of how I got under his hood.

With eyes of ice-steel blue he came

The Steelie King came to town

I only saw him smile one time

And he left with his head hung down



Copyright 2004,  Ron Alan Pierce



It seems that in writing, as in life, there is often a "fork in the path";  how we think, how we see, and how we feel, can determine the nature of the journey --- and where we arrive.





Ballad of the Steelie King   Writing the ballad of the Steelie King    Origins of the Steelie King



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