Once Upon a Time in Montana (Part II)

“Christopher Nolan is a hack,” Mr. Ree said, “Oppenheimer looks nothing like Cillian Murphy.”

“Goddamnit Mr. Ree, I fucking hate the old west,” I replied as I spit out some chewing tobacco, “it’s nothing like the movies. Everyone is drunk all the time and reeks of cow shit!”

“How’s that any different from 21st Century LA?”

“I know we’ve been here awhile,” I said as I drank directly from the whiskey bottle, “but I just can’t get used to it. I miss Miriam. I miss Izzy. I miss my unborn son. Hell, I even miss Angelika!”


I took a few cocaine drops to help with a toothache. “Nevermind,” I replied, “I forgot what we were talking about. I could use some grub though. Where the hell is Maybelline?”

Maybelline, Oppenheimer’s wife, brought out a fully roasted turkey with all the fixins. Mr. Ree and I were joining her and her son Malachi for supper around the fireplace. “Sure looks delicious, Mrs. Oppenheimer,” I said, “will Mr. Oppenheimer be joining us this evening?”

“He’s in town tonight. There’s a public hanging,” she explained, “he probably won’t be back until the wee hours of the night.”

“This turkey is delightful, Mrs. Oppenheimer,” Mr. Ree said, “too bad Bob couldn’t join us.”

“Thank you, Mr. Ree. I didn’t catch your first name, by the way.”

Ree looked up from his plate, mouth stuffed with turkey, and cocked his head. “What do you mean?” he asked.

I changed the subject. “I suppose you’re used to not having Bob around. Being a sheriff’s wife must be lonely,” I said.

“Yes,” Mrs. Oppenheimer lamented, “but I have my dear son Malachi to keep me company.” She smiled and looked over to her son. “Malachi Oppenheimer, how the lord has blessed us,” she continued. Then Maybelline looked at me with a wink and a suspicious, crooked smile. “I also have you two gentlemen to watch after me,” she said, “care for some pie?”

I thought for a moment.

“Well, I appreciate you offering,” I replied, “but because of poor diet and access to copious amounts of narcotics associated with the Old West, I haven’t experienced an erection since I’ve arrived and…”

“I think she means apple pie,” Mr. Ree interrupted.

“Oh yes, of course. I’d love some pie,” I said.

Maybelline got up from the table and departed for the kitchen. I quietly nudged Mr. Ree. “Hey, do you still have that opium pipe?” I asked him.

“What the hell is wrong with you? You are stoned as fuck!”

“I know! I think I have a problem!”

“If we ever make it back to the future,” Mr. Ree whispered, “you’re getting some help!”

Maybelline returned to the table all smiles carrying a piping hot trey of apple pie. Malachi was licking his chops with anticipation. “I want the biggest piece, Mom!” he declared. Mr. Ree and I chuckled.

“It sure is nice having a full house for a change,” Maybelline said, “it keeps my mind from worrying about Mr. Oppenheimer.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Elkhorn used to be a quiet town,” she explained, “but with Mr. Dickleburg from Helena coming down and bullying us townsfolk, Bob has become more worried. He’s just one man, you see. Mr. Dickleburg has a whole army.”

“I assure you ma’am, Mr. Ree and I will do everything we can to help Bob protect this town.”

“It’s not only that,” Maybelline paused, “but he’s also taken to the bottle a lot lately.” She began to weep as she grabbed ahold of my hand. “Oh, he’s just not the same man anymore!” she cried.

“There there,” I said.

Suddenly, J Robert Oppenheimer busted through the door and tossed Mr. Ree and me two Winchesters. “Grab a horse,” he ordered, “we gotta ride into town.”

“But Bob,” I said, “I told you: I’m a terrible shot without my .357!”

“Just point and shoot,” Oppenheimer replied, “I don’t have time to explain. Hurry! Elkhorn is about to have company!”


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