So, now listen up, you cowpokes … I’m more than a bit tired of this whole cowboy storytellin’ in which we girls need protectin’ by you Men of the Pen. It’s true that you men have been cause of more sufferin’ and more grievin’ than any known population on this here planet — something you never see fit to write about — but that don’t mean we women need you to come save us, either. We ain’t no damsels in distress out here, ya hear?
We girls can take care of ourselves, if you all would just get back on yer horses and get clear out of Dodge. Why, I can shoot a hat off a man at 300 paces, clean as a whistle. I can outrun a deer and wrestle a bear to the ground. I can talk three language, including “male” when need be. And I live in peace out here with the Indians around me, too. Not many men around here can say the same. Or the ones who thought that to be a fact are long gone, if ya know what I mean.
My name is Charlene. Charlene of the Hills. You might say I have a teensy bit of Robin Hood in me, if Robin Hood were really a woman, which he might have been for all we know — writers tend to put stories in a mirror and twist ’em all around and call it “truth — and I might be our own Robin Hood if them woodsy places where Robin Hood lived outside that castle were really the Hills of this here Wild West. I’m still looking for my Big John, my right hand woman, but I aim to find Big Johanna soon enough.
Oh, I’m not alone here. Don’t get that impression. Nope. I got me a whole house full of friends, mostly women I have saved from them men who needed a lesson or two taught to them about how to treat other people in this dang world. And we got room for more. More than enough room. You need shelter, or a heavy hand, you let me know.
Yep, them sheriffs in town don’t quite understanding what someone like me is doing up here in these Hills. But I tell ya … if you come traipsing through here, you’re going to leave our Hills a little lighter once we take your money and anything else we want. And if we see a man mistreating a woman … well, let’s just say, we’ve got some Hill Justice in our bones out here. We don’t take kindly to that, partner. Not kindly at all.
There always a price to pay.
So while all them newspaper writers do their honky tonkin’ about these Men of the Wild West, know you this: Charlene of the Hills is out here, too, and she don’t take kindly to being sidelined in the stories of the West. Might come a time when we ride down from our Hills and start writing a few stories of our own. Might come a time … soon.
From the Hills and Beyond,