Title: Bad Penny
Author: B.M. Bower
In: The Mammoth Book of Westerns (Jon E. Lewis)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Westerns
Dates read: 16th May 2020
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: Never twice in the same setting, flitting like huge birds over the range to alight where water and feed were best, those two tents were home to the Flying U boys – a welcome sight when a long day’s work was done.
Penny is just plain bad. Bad at his job. Bad at thinking. Bad at being on the trail. So what happens next?
This is definitely my favourite western short story so far. It was a little bit funny, and featured a man who is somewhat of a moron. And, as morons do… makes everything go wrong that could possibly go wrong. It just had that nice little extra sense of humour in it that I seriously appreciated.
Cattle rustling is kind of an iconic moment in the mythos of westerns. Or really, anything to do with cowboys and cattle. It doesn’t have to be illegal. Partner that with a moron, a stampeded and some whiskey… it was a good way to journey through this short story.
What was more, this was a short story with a bit of a surprise ending. It wasn’t what I expected… but it was certainly a great ending.