Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cyrus Skinner: He lived cruel, he died a coward

Have ya' heard tell of Cyrus Skinner?
He was a loser,
not a winner,
though he did have his way a time or two.
With swinging double-doors,
an' sawdust on the floors,
whiskey flowing freely,
an' fantan tables too,
Skinner was a proprietor
of a couple unlucky saloons:
unlucky for patrons that is.
For most customers
the whiskey was watered,
the fantan was rigged,
an' the poker decks were marked.
The saloon girls were dirty,
the barkeep was squirrely,
an' they all looked for purses ta' pinch.
They'd take paper money,
they'd crave silver coins,
they'd sweep up the gold dust,
an' palming nuggets was a cinch.
Skinner's business sense was fair,
though in practice
not fair at all.
His tarnished rep began ta' grow
an' a certain someone came ta' call.
Sheriff Henry Plummer,
whose star was just as tarnished
as Skinner's reputation,
said, "Come out ta' Bannack,
a town in Montana,
where you will serve more than libation."
He'd serve ta' spy
on the drunk an' the high,
the miners who had information.
With whispers or shouts
they'd give up the routes,
as long as the alcohol flowed.
When there were shipments in wagons,
or stagecoach strong-boxes,
the Plummer's gang always showed.
Plummer mocked the law
by wearing a star,
an' he called his gang Innocents.
Skinner was cut from the very same cloth,
he cared not a hoot nor a holler.
He would never repent
or give recompense,
his only care was to steal his next dollar.
Skinner rarely rode with the outlaw band,
cuz' he was the inside man.
The info was key
so he had ta' stay free,
but sometimes the word came too late.
One day came the call
for a really big haul,
an' Skinner took it as fate.
He enlisted Bob Zachery,
another bad hombre,
the two of them held-up the stage.
They came down with gold fever,
they murdered the driver,
an' the townfolk heated with rage.
Two-hundred an' fifty-thousand in gold!
Neither had seen so much loot.
They were tempted ta' hide it,
an' tempted ta' run,
but they chose not ta' feel Plummer's boot.
The gang did divide it,
then kept stealin' more,
they felt unstoppable
with the "law" on their side.
Their acts became bolder,
their attitudes meaner,
killin' with sick twisted pride.
Skinner was there when a Bannack was killed,
his pal took him down in cold blood.
Then Skinner skinned the scalp off the redman
ta' place within his bar.
He didn't even clean off the crude.
But the Plummer gang had run its course,
their cruelty fueled a fire.
Vigilantes ran them down:
justice was their desire.
Plummer was caught,
then he was lynched
on the tenth of January,
in eighteen and sixty-four.
The gang tried ta' run,
but was caught one-by-one,
an' the citizens swore
this was the end.
Skinner believed there was no evidence
that linked him to the Innocents,
so he brazenly stayed at the bar.
But when men are about
ta' have their necks stretched
they'd even sell out their mothers.
Skinner's name
was attached ta' much blame,
thanks ta' his outlaw "brothers."
He was given a gift
on the twenty-fifth,
a necktie made out of hemp.
He broke free an' did run,
he begged, "Please shoot me with yer' gun."
He cringed in fear of the noose.
His captors said, "No.
You chose this show.
Your cruelty cooked yer' own goose."

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