“Bob,” I said, “you know us. Just set us free and we won’t cause trouble.”
Sheriff J Robert Oppenheimer locked Mr. Ree and me in jail. He sat behind his desk. He look tired, haggard, and was pounding a whiskey bottle.
“Sorry boys,” he replied. “But we have enough trouble with Dillon B Dickleburg coming into town and buying up all the gold mines. This town is a powder keg.”
“Well shit Bob! You are a man of science. You said that gold was a part of your time travel weapon. Just build another time machine and send us back to our timeline.”
“Like I said, even if I could do that, it’s highly improbable that I can get you back. In fact, it’s definitely impossible with 19th Century technology.”
“Have you even tried? Come on, you were a legend in our timeline. What happened to you?”
“You just don’t understand.”
A ten year old boy then walked into the jailhouse. He went up to Oppenheimer and gave him a hug.
“Who are these men papa?” the boy asked.
“These are just strangers Malachi, now go home to your mother. She’s been looking for you,” he replied.
The boy rushed out of the jailhouse.
“Ohh I get it now,” I said. “You’ve settled down. You traded in your lab coat for a badge.”
Oppenheimer put down the whiskey bottle.
“I arrived in this timeline through the spacetime ripple 15 years before you two showed up,” he said. “I met a woman, we settled down. I now have a son that I’d do anything to protect.”
“I’m just asking for your help,” I replied.
“I killed countless people with those damn nuclear weapons,” Oppenheimer continued. “Not again. I have an opportunity to do it right this time. I’m going to do whatever it takes to protect my family and this community from dangerous people like you.”
“Bob, please,” I said. “We’re not here to cause problems. In fact, if you need assistance handling this Dickleburg fellow, Mr. Ree and I can help.”
“You two have done enough damage.”
There was some commotion outside. I could hear one of the deputies ask “how can I help you Mr. Dickleburg?”
“Ah shit,” Oppenheimer said. He grabbed his shotgun and walked outside. “What seems to be the problem?” he asked.
“Mr. Rockwell up in them hills has been chasing us off that land,” I could hear Dickleburg saying.
“I’ll have you know, Mr. Dickleburg, that Mr. Rockwell is the rightful owner of that property. If he wants to chase you away, he’s well within his right,” Oppenheimer said.
“Why sheriff, all I want to do is offer him a business proposition.”
“Now Mr. Dickleburg, I’d advise you to leave that man alone. If you have a message for him, I’ll make sure he receives it.”
I could hear Dickleburg pull out his six shooter. “I own this town Sheriff,” he said. “I am the rightful owner of that property and all the property around it. That means I own you.”
I could hear the clicking of Oppenheimer’s shotgun. “The people of this town are the rightful owners,” he said. “You go back to that company of yours in Helena and you tell them that if they come back, there will be a bloodbath.”
“I’ll be back,” Dickleburg said. Him and his men galloped away on their horses.
Oppenheimer came back into the jailhouse. He took the keys, opened our jail cell, and handed back the 357.
“Men,” he said, “I now pronounce you deputies of Elkhorn, Montana.”
TO BE CONTINUED