once upon a time in montana

“It’s hard being a gay man in the old west,” Mr. Ree said.

“Word. Wait…you’re gay?” I asked.

“Well I wouldn’t say I’m gay. But I exclusively have sex with men.”

I took a sip of whiskey. My mind was on other things.

We were in Montana. I reckon the year was 1879. Mr. Ree and myself have been stuck out of time, out of place, for the last two years.

Time travel does strange things to a man. For one, it strips you completely naked. Mr. Ree and me were found in San Francisco, ass to ass, behind a brothel on Haight Street when we emerged from the plasma ripple. But it does something else: you realize that everyone, and everything, you’ve ever known is out of reach.

I’ll never see Miriam again. Or my unborn child that I left back in another timeline.

But Mr. Ree maintained hope. “We might as well get filthy fucking rich,” he said. The gold mines in California were stripped by 1879. Resigned to our fate, we travelled to Elkhorn, Montana to start a new life.

As we sat in the local tavern, townsfolk glared at us. One burly man came up to our table.

“We haven’t seen your kind ‘round here before,” he said.

“So?”

“We don’t take kindly to strangers. I reckon y’all better drink your whiskey and ride out before sundown.”

“Why don’t you mind your own business buddy?” I said. “We ain’t bothering you. How about you ride your fat ass back to your table?”

“Them are fightin words.”

“Damn right pal! You don’t want none of this!”

“Now gentlemen,” Mr. Ree interjected, “there’s nothing here that can’t be settled by a good old fashioned duel.”

The burly man nodded. “I’ll see you outside.”

“The fuck are you doing Mr. Ree?” I asked.

“Don’t worry about it. You got a Korth 357. You’ll blast his ass into the future,” he replied.

“Ree, this is 1879,” I said, “they don’t make bullets for this gun yet. I gotta conserve my ammo. Besides, wouldn’t I be disrupting the timeline?”

“Nah. According to J Robert Oppenheimer, this is a new timeline, remember? We can do whatever the fuck we want.”

I just shrugged and walked outside. The burly man was standing in the street. The townsfolk all stood around.

“Alright,” I said, “fastest draw wins, or however this bullshit works.”

The burly man opened his duster, exposing his six shooter. “Ready whenever you are,” he said.

We had a stare down. The townsfolk stood around nervously, waiting for the fireworks.

Suddenly he reached for his six shooter. I drew my 357. The sound thundered from my gun, echoing across the town and down through the mountains.

I shot off the burly man’s suspenders. His pants fell down, exposing his ass and penis.

I twirled the 357 and placed it back my holster.

Suddenly a shotgun blast went off. The townsfolk scattered. Out of the shadows appeared a man dressed in black. His spurs jingled as he walked towards us.

“I won’t have this nonsense in my town,” the man in black said.

I recognized the face.

“I’m James,” I said. “And this here is my partner, Mr. Ree.”

“I know who you are,” he replied. “And if you fire that gun again, I’ll shove this shotgun right up your ass.”

“Doesn’t sound like much of a threat,” I said.

He stepped a little closer.

Could it be?

“I’m Oppenheimer,” he said. “SHERIFF J. Robert Oppenheimer.”

TO BE CONTINUED

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