Once Upon a Time in Montana (Part XII)

“Ya know, it occurred to me,” said Oppenheimer, “right before the shootout, when Billy Friedkin exploded into a million pieces, I realized that the ions in your body emit a certain quantum signature that is very specific to your spacetime place of origin…,” he continued, but I quit listening that all that scientific shit. “In summary,” Oppenheimer finally concluded, “my time portal device should get you back to your exact timeline, or somewhere very close.”

“That totally makes sense,” I replied.

After we gathered all the gold from Rockwell’s land, melted it, and loaded it up into the time portal device in Oppenheimer’s barn, we were preparing to give our final goodbyes. Rockwell was to go through the portal first. As he picked up his satchel and his precious few belongings, I approached him. “What was that shit you gave me in your basement?” I asked, “I haven’t needed an opium hit at all. I feel great!”

“Oh yeah, about that,” he said, “that’s gonna wear off in a few days.”

Right then, Oppenheimer activated the device. It briefly emitted a brilliant red light and the portal opened in front of us. “Welp! See you later!” Rockwell shouted. And through the portal he went, never to be seen again.

“You mother fucker!” I yelled.

“Mr. Ree, James,” Oppenheimer interrupted, “you’re up next.”

As I picked up my bags full of crap I gathered from the old west, I realized how heavy they were. “I don’t need any of this shit,” I said to Mr. Ree. I threw it all back on the floor.

“Wait!” shouted Maybelline. She walked up to me and held my hands. “Thank you for all you’ve done,” she said. The she gave me an uncomfortably long kiss on the mouth.

Even Malachi gave his farewells. “I will never forget you, James,” he said

“I hardly know you kid.”

“James,” J Robert Oppenheimer said as he extended his hand, “thank you.”

After I nodded and shook his hand, Mr. Ree and I turned towards the portal. But before I walked through, I stopped and looked back to Oppenheimer. “Just one more thing,” I said, “in your name, what does the ‘J’ stand for?”

Oppenheimer warmly smiled. “Ja Rule,” he said.

I turned back around to face the portal. Mr. Ree and I gave each other one last look then we stepped into the portal together. The last thing I heard was Malachi shouting “Jaaaaames!”. But there was a bright flash of light; the old west barn surrounding us slowly morphed into a 21st Century office riddled with bullet holes and empty whiskey bottles.

“This must be some mistake,” Mr. Ree said.

“No. It’s just right.”

We were in my office in Los Angeles. We were finally home.

I walked out into the lobby where I saw Izzy sitting behind her desk and filing her nails. “Where the hell have you been James?” she asked.

“I can’t even begin to explain,” I said. “But I gotta go back to that Amish community in Pennsylvania. Miriam is about to have my child.”

“Yeah, about that,” Izzy explained, “She called and said that Admiral Colonel Majors is the real father. He was cheating on me with her. I’m SO glad that I roundhouse kicked him into that lava pit.”

I sighed.

But then I pushed the pain away by taking a deep breath of the stale nicotine air that was permanently stained into the walls.

“It feels good to be a private dick again,” I said to Mr. Ree.

“Shall we get to work?” he asked, noticing the deep pain I was harboring inside.

“Yes,” I said. “Izzy, where’s the keys to my 2006 Chevy SSR?”

“Chevy SSR?” she laughed, “Sorry James, but you never owned that piece of shit. Here’s the keys to your REAL piece of shit.”

It was keys to a PT Cruiser.

“Well Mr. Ree,” I said, “this might not be our EXACT timeline, but it’s close enough. And being here is certainly better than being in 19th Century Montana.”

“Word,” he replied.


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