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A Million Ways to Die in the West by Seth MacFarlane.

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Title: A Million Ways to Die in the West.
Author/Artist: Seth MacFarlane's.
Genre: Fiction, humour, western, satire, romance.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 2014.
Summary: Mild-mannered sheep farmer Albert Stark is fed up with the harsh life of the American frontier, where it seems everything and anything can kill you: Duels at high noon. Barroom brawls. Poisonous snakes. Cholera-infected drinking water. Tumble-weed abrasion. Something called "toe-foot." Even a trip to the outhouse. Yes, there are a million ways to die in the wild, wild West, and Albert plans to avoid them all. Some people think that makes him a coward. Albert calls it common sense. But when his girlfriend dumps him for the most insufferable guy in town, Albert decides to fight back—even though he can't shoot, ride, or throw a punch. Fortunately, he teams up with a beautiful gunslinger who's tough enough for the both of them. Unfortunately, she's married to the biggest, meanest, most jealous badass on the frontier. Turns out Albert has just discovered a million and one ways to die in the West.

My rating: 6.5/10.
My review:


♥ Albert Stark was a coward. Not a quivering, jittery, weak-kneed sort of a coward, but the kind who viewed his cowardice as an act of sensibility: a coward in the name of pragmatism. To Albert, his cowardice functioned as a shield that existed to service the very sensible goal of self-preservation. In the West, brave men fgot killed. Cowards stayed alive.

Death was everywhere on the frontier.

♥ Dirt farmers watched patiently. Women fanned themselves, desperately attempting to force a few little bursts of air between their numerous layers of clothing. Well-to-do gentlemen checked their pocket watches and smoked the sort of fine cigars one can only truly enjoy outdoors in 112-degree weather. Children fidgeted and played idly with their favorite toys, such as apple cores, bits of string, and deceased mice. Dogs lay panting on the ground, no doubt wondering how the fuck any human being could live a non-suicidal existence in such an awful, depressing place.

♥ Inside, the wooden shelves were lined with various bottles of medicines, elixirs, tonics—but who the hell was anybody kidding? It was all just liquor. On the frontier, medicine was merely booze with a fancy label.

♥ Ruth's sex talk had always been a bit clumsy, but her heart was in the right place, and as a prostitute she was exemplary: always on time for her shift, freshly bathed after every fifth customer, and willing to accommodate all types of fetishes. Edward admired her work ethic. The seriousness with which a person took professional obligation said a lot about their character. He was lucky to be with such a woman.

♥ "Ugh, don't remind me!" Edward laughed. "The shoe business has been so slow since the Civil War ended."

"Really?"

"Yeah, there's just a lot less legs."

♥ She was a rare beauty, even discounting the standards of the western frontier, where most women were indistinguishable from bears. She had all her teeth too, which was another wondrous anomaly. Albert would often sit on the front porch with his arm around Louise, counting her teeth as they watched the setting of the desert sun.

♥ "Louise, that's what girls say when they have a good thing staring them in the face and they're too up their own ass to know what to do with it. I know you. You're not up your own ass. You're out here. Outside your ass. Where I can see you. And... you're the most beautiful woman I've ever known."

♥ Ruth put a comforting hand on Albert's. He smiled, but he subtly pulled his hand away. Not because he didn't appreciate Ruth's attempt, but rather because he knew how many local rectums her fingers had been inside. Is it rectums or recta? he wondered. What's the plural? Perhaps tomorrow he would ride over to the next town and see if they had a dictionary. He could look up the plural of rectum. That would be a fun day.

♥ "Yes, I'm fucking serious. There's nothing but shit for me here, and I'm out. I hate the frontier, I hate everything in it, I'm done."

And then all hell broke loose.

♥ "I have a farm abut two miles from here."

"Oh. Cattle?"

"Sheep."

"Ah."

"Yeah."

"Well, that's gotta be fulfilling work, right?" she asked, plainly hearing the dolefulness in his voice.

"It's great," he answered flatly. "It's like being a dog walker for a hundred and fifty really stupid dogs."

She laughed openly for the first time. "It can't be that bad. Sheep are cute."

"That's the problem. I mean, if I was a cattle farmer, that'd be one thing, y'know? That's a manly job. You use cows to make beef. Leather. Tough things. With sheep you make sweaters. I'm basically a sweater farmer."

"That's good; we're all hoping for a bountiful sweater harvest this year."

♥ "San Francisco. You know, civilization. A place where you're not taking your life in your hands in eight different ways by walking to the outhouse to shit."

"Well, you gotta do what makes you happy, I guess." She shrugged.

"Happy is a tall order," he said, staring off toward the moonlit mesas in the distance, "but at least this'll make me not dead."

♥ She put a hand on his arm. "Look, the West sucks," she said, "but your problem isn't just the frontier. It's you. You need a little confidence boost."

♥ Albert stared, legitimately astonished despite himself. "Holy shit," he exclaimed, wide-eyed. "So, all I gotta do is get Foy to let me shoot seventy-one times before he shoots, and I win!"

♥ The boy knew something of the famous outlaws of the West from reading stories and playing games with his schoolmates, and, like any boy his age, he was fascinated by the glamorous, adventure-filled lives they seemed to lead. In the eyes of a seven-year-old, these were heroes of a sort, possessing colorful, ribald, charismatic personalities that honey-coated their dastardly acts, making them entirely forgivable.

He could tell instantly that he was looking at a real-life outlaw. However, this man was nothing like the rustlers, train robbers, and gunfighters he'd read about. There was no swashbuckling magnetism here, only a frosty darkness that emanated from eyes as reptilian as the little lizard that had surely by now made its escape.

♥ "Well, this'll be fun," she deadpanned. "It's nice to put on some loose, comfortable clothes and just relax, y'know?"

"Yeah, I love formal frontier dress," muttered Albert. "How many foot undergarments are you wearing?"

"Let's see, I've got two pairs of wool calf pantaloons, three pairs of Dutch socks, a set of bear-hide foot mittens, and a brace of wood-button overshoes. You?"

"Uh, I've got four pairs of Dutch socks, one set of sealskin ankle moccasins, two layers of Klondike heel officers, and a blanket-lined oilcloth foot coat."

"I'm really comfortable," she said, adjusting layer number 47.

"Me too. I'm glad I remembered the six items I somehow require to hold up my pants."

He turned his attention to her rear end. "I like your bustle, by the way."

"Thanks," Anna said. "Yeah, I love that the most alluring fashion statement a woman can make today is to simulate a fat ass."

"If I was a black guy, that's the meanest trick you could play on me."

"Especially 'cause, when you lift it up, it's just a big metal cage." She raised the back of her dress to reveal the bustle's support system: a complex curved iron framework that resembled a warship under construction.

"Look at that," said Albert. "You are ready to relieve the stress of the day."

"Completely."

♥ "Oh, Jesus, no, I suck at dancing."

"No one'll notice; you suck at everything."

♥ ...Marcus Thornton began bellowing the song in his deep, operatic baritone:

You men who are looking for love
Don't ever give up in despair
For I'll tell you a secret I know
To capture the hearts of the fair
Now, maybe you haven't the looks
Or maybe you haven't the dash
But you'll win any girl anywhere
If you've only got a moustache!
A moustache! A moustache!
If you've only got a moustache!

You may be the lowest of low
With nary a glimmer pf pride
But you needn't be born of a king
To make any maiden your bride
No matter you haven't the name
No matter you haven't the cash
You can make any woman your own
If you've only got a moustache!
A moustache! A moustache!
If you've only got a moustache!

You may be as fat as a bull
You may be as ugly as sin
The ladies are shutting you out
You're wondering how to get in
Well, here is a piece of advice
For making a hell of a splash
You can turn every head at the ball
If you've only got a moustache!
A moustache! A moustache!
If you've only got a moustache!

A moustache! A moustache!
Big moustache! Thick moustache!
My moustache! Your moustache!
How I love the word moustache!
A moustache! A moustache!
If you've only got a moustache!


"God," said Albert. "I hate it here."

♥ Her eyes snapped wide open. "Holy shit!!"

"I know, right?!" Albert said giddily.

"He's smiling! In the picture!"

"I know! I bought it off a peddler who was coming through town a few days ago."

"This is the guy I heard about! I can't even believe this exists!"

"Yeah, and apparently he's not insane."

"Bullshit."

"That's what the guy told me."

"It takes thirty seconds to take a photograph. He would've had to smile for thirty sustained seconds."

"I know. I've never been happy for thirty seconds in a row in my life."

"It's the West—no one has. He's gotta be insane."

"Yeah, probably."

♥ And there, looking on from the rows of assembled townsfolk, in almost the exact same spot she'd occupied on the day of the Charlie Blanche encounter, was Louise. On that day she'd been part of his life—an extension of himself that he'd considered as constant as the seasons, as vital as a limb.

♥ He made his way west, west, and father west, until he reached the southern Arizona territory. Here, there was barely any law at all. Here, the toughest men forged the moral compass with their whims. This was where he belonged.

♥ "Well, any of us could die tomorrow. I mean, we don't know what's gonna happen. And... I think we should have sex."

His full attention doubled. "What?"

"I think we should have sex tonight."

"Okay."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. Let's."

"I mean, under the circumstances, God will forgive us," she said, looking to him for affirmation.

He gave it to her. "I think so. We'll make sure there's a Bible in the room so God can watch. Then He can be a part of it. Ahhh, I'm getting excited now!"

♥ He regarded Cochise with a look of gratitude. Albert had begin his odyssey as their prisoner, and now he wad closing it out as the beneficiary of their wisdom and kindness.

"Thank you for everything, Chief Cochise. I don't know what I would've done without you."

Cochise gave him a look that was almost paternal. "There is an ancient proverb among my people: Sometimes the only way for a man to discover his true path is to take drugs in a group."
Tags: 19th century in fiction, 2010s, 21st century - fiction, 3rd-person narrative, agriculture (fiction), american - fiction, american indian wars (fiction), american pioneers (fiction), crime, fiction, humour (fiction), poetry in quote, prostitution (fiction), romance, satire, screenplay to book adaptations, western
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