“No wonder Mr. Dickleburg’s pissed,” I said to Oppenheimer after we galloped into town, “you didn’t give his man a fair trial!”
“That’s the thing about this timeline,” he replied, “they have no concept of judge and jury. Yet we still come to the same conclusions without them. It’s the damndest thing.”
Sheriff J. Robert Oppenheimer was about to hang one of Dickleburg’s company men on the streets of Elkhorn when word got to him that Dickleburg was riding into town with some hired guns. Oppenheimer and myself, along with Mr. Ree, we’re standing around in the sheriff’s office with the prisoner, Billy Friedkin, behind bars.
“You boys don’t know what’s comin,” Billy said, taunting us.
“I say we hang the son of a bitch right now and send a message,” Mr. Ree opined.
“We can’t do that,” Oppenheimer said, “Mr. Dickleburg will burn this town down.”
“Then why did you arrest Billy Friedkin to begin with?” I asked.
“Because,” Oppenheimer paused, “Mr. Friedkin shot and killed several of Mr. Rockwell’s cattle. The law plainly states that’s an offense punishable by death.”
“Then wouldn’t the government have your back?”
“No,” he replied, “Mr. Dickleburg owns the Montana government. But I had to arrest and hang Billy or else the townspeople would have hung me. You see, I’m between a rock and a hard place.”
Billy began guffawing in his cell. “Shut up,” I ordered, “I could kill you now and get away with it.”
“Relax gentlemen,” Oppenheimer said, “we need to think. Other than the time in that dormant volcano in Hawaii, have you ever been in a gun fight?”
I chuckled in response. “Bob, seriously?” I asked, “I saved Mexico City from a nuclear attack and massacred the entire West Coast mafia up in Big Bear. The FBI was pissed. So I think I know my way around a fire fight.”
“Good,” he said, “because Dickleburg and his merry men will be here in a matter of minutes. We need to set up a defensive parameter. It’s only going to be the three of us.”
I looked over to Mr. Ree. “I think I’m gonna need that opium pipe now,” I said.
Mr. Ree shook his head and dug out the pipe from his satchel. “I don’t think I’ve ever killed a man sober,” I said to him as I took it from his hand.
“Hopefully it will improve your aim,” he added.
“Don’t worry about it,” I replied, “I’ve got this shotgun. Are you any good with that Winchester rifle?”
Mr. Ree held up the weapon and smiled. “I’m no Lee Harvey Oswald,” he replied, “but I think I can handle myself.”
TO BE CONTINUED…