Once Upon a Time in Montana (Part VI)

“Man, I can’t see shit!” Mr. Ree yelled.

Sheriff J. Robert Oppenheimer led the way through the dark of night carrying a shovel and lantern. Mr. Ree and I kept tripping over rocks and branches as we followed behind him onto Mr. Rockwell’s land.

“Shut your goddamn trap,” Oppenheimer ordered, “Mr. Rockwell will shoot us dead if he finds us digging up his property.”

“Bob,” I said, “if several tons of gold is on his land, how will we carry all that weight back to your barn?”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” the sheriff replied, “in the meantime, we just have to determine if it’s here at all.”

“How will we do that?”

Oppenheimer turned around and smiled. “You think I don’t have a plan?” he rhetorically asked. Bob opened his duster and inside he carried a small metal detector. “I’ve been itching to try this thing out,” he continued, “it ain’t easy inventing something like this in the old west. But I’m nearly certain it’ll work.”

We finally arrived at a dried up creek bed some hundred yards behind the Rockwell home. “If the gold is anywhere,” Oppenheimer said in a lowered voice, “it’s right around here.”

Bob took out his makeshift metal detector and began listening for certain radio signatures. Mr. Ree and I stood back while he walked up and down the creek. After 10 minutes of watching him do this, we sat down on a large sandstone rock.

“So we’re gonna die in the old west aren’t we?” Mr. Ree asked.

“Almost certainly,” I replied as I pulled out a flask.

“Well I gotta say, it’s certainly been a lot of fun riding around out here palling around with you. I have no regrets.”

“Yeah, I suppose we’ve had some good times,” I said as I took a few swings of whiskey, “it’s just a shame that I’ll never see my son.”

Mr. Ree patted me on the back. “You never know,” he said, “sometimes impossible things happen.”

I ignored that comment as I passed the flask to him. “Tell me, since you no longer work for the Admiral because he fell into a lava pit, what would you have done if we made it back to LA?” I asked.

Mr. Ree pondered for a bit after lowering the flask from his lips. “Prostitution probably,” he responded, “why do you ask?”

“We make one hell of I team,” I said, “if we do make it back, you should come work with me at my detective agency.”

“Say,” Mr. Ree nodded enthusiastically, “that’s not a bad idea!”

Right then, Bob came rushing down the creek bed. “Grab your shovels!” he ordered, “I think we hit the jackpot!”

Several meters down the creek, the metal detector was wildly sounding off. Oppenheimer put down his lantern and began eagerly digging. Meanwhile, Mr. Ree and I were cackling away. “We might make actually make it out of this shithole town!” I exclaimed.

Seconds later, from out of the darkness I heard the clicking of a Smith and Wesson. “Drop dem shovels fellas,” the Irish accent ordered.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Once Upon a Time in Montana (Part IV)

“Proceed no further,” Oppenheimer ordered the gang. Dickleburg and his men remained mounted on their horses in front of the sheriff’s station. The pale moonlight lit the town square; Patrons at the whore house stood by to see what the fuss was about.

“But we outnumber you five to one,” Dickleburg chuckled to the sheriff.

Only me and Oppenheimer stood ready to confront the gaggle. At that moment, the opium started kicking in. Normally that would drag me down. But Thankfully I took a bump of cocaine to keep me alert. Oppenheimer kept his eyes, along with his pair of six shooters, on Dickleburg. I had my shotgun lowered and cocked on the other nine men.

“If you’ve come here for Billy Friedkin,” Oppenheimer said to Dickleburg, “you may succeed at getting him, but we won’t be the only ones standing on hell’s doorstep tonight. So you need to ask yourself: is it worth it?”

Dickleburg gave another hearty laugh. “I think you misunderstand my intentions here. Of course I’m here for Billy. He is, after all, a very valuable employee to my company. I’m sure you’d do the same for your loyal deputy standing here,” he replied, referring to me with a wink and a smile. “I value all of my loyal employees, which got me thinking: I have not been a very good employer to you Sheriff Oppenheimer. We have a saying in Helena: money fixes everything.”

Dickleburg dismounted his horse, grabbed two comically large sacks- complete with dollar signs stenciled on- and threw them at the sheriff’s feet. “I do hope you accept my sincerest apologies,” Dickleburg continued, “I hope we have a much stronger working relationship moving forward.”

Oppenheimer stood motionless for a few moments as he stared at the sacks of cash. Finally he looked up at the townspeople still congregated around the whore house. “Give me a moment,” he uttered.

I followed him back into the sheriff’s office where he pulled out a large whiskey bottle from his desk drawer. “You aren’t serious about accepting his offer, are you?” I asked as he uncorked the bottle.

After several long seconds of nonstop gulping, Oppenheimer lowered the bottle. “Yes I am,” he finally replied.

“Come on!” I exclaimed, “What the hell is so important about Elkhorn?! Surely to god there’s a lot more places to find gold in Montana?!”

“Other places? Yes,” Oppenheimer replied, “but the best place? That’s right under our feet.”

My intuition, likely aided by narcotics, started kicking in. “So that’s why you’re in Elkhorn,” I said, “tell me: how much gold does it take to kickstart your time portal device?”

“Shit,” an obviously drunk Oppenheimer wondered aloud, “at least a few tons.”

“A few fucking tons?! You are telling me there’s that much gold in this godforsaken town?!”

“Ohhh yeah. But what does it matter now? My family’s here and it’s not like I could make it back to my own time anyway. So fuck it! I’ll take the money.”

I grabbed the sheriff by the lapels. “Goddamnit Oppenheimer,” I shouted, “you can’t give in that easily! You serve the PEOPLE of Elkhorn, NOT the corporations! The gold belongs to THEM…AND the natives they stole the land from.” I then let him go and straighten myself out. “Besides,” I continued, “you agreed to help ME to get back to my timeline.”

Oppenheimer just laughed. “That’s impossible and you know it.”

I shook my head. “Damn it man, if you pick up those bags of cash, I will shoot you myself,” I declared, “are we clear?”

Oppenheimer began rubbing his face. Then he picked up the whiskey bottle once again. “Dickleburg probably has some trick up his sleeve anyway,” he said. He looked out the window at the armed men standing by and took a swig. “I used to be a great physicist,” he lamented, “so what are we gonna do about Billy Friedkin? Do we turn him over?”

“That seems to be the only sensible option,” I replied.

The sheriff picked up the keys, unlocked Billy’s cell, and grabbed him by the arm. “I told you they’d be coming for me,” the prisoner said.

“We know Billy. We expected them to, you fuckin idiot.”

We escorted him outside and released him to Dickleburg. “Aren’t you gonna take the money?” the businessman asked.

“Just take Mr. Friedkin and get out of town,” Oppenheimer replied.

Dickleburg lit up another cigar and nodded. “That’s a shame boy, I thought we’d be partners,” he said. He turned around and signaled for his gang to open fire.

Oppenheimer and I dropped to the ground as bullets ripped up the sheriff’s office. All the townspeople fled into the whore house. We exchanged fire for what seemed like eternity but was likely only a few seconds. Then the sound of a Winchester rifle pierced through the gunfire as Dickleburg’s men began dropping one by one from their horses.

Mr. Ree was to the rescue.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Once Upon a Time in Montana (Part III)

“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…

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!”

“Who?”

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!”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Once Upon a Time in Montana (Part I)

I actually wrote this portion of the story back in 2021. It’s a direct sequel to the “Detective James of Los Angeles” story Dr. Sí.

If you recall, at the conclusion of Dr. Sí, James and his friend Mr. Ree are thrown back in time thanks to a time weapon created by J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer himself, in an attempt to escape Dr. Sí, also went through a time portal earlier in the story, whereabouts unknown.

Since I’m not feeling my other writing project, I’ve decided that I’m gonna finish this story.

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.”

***

“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.”

***

I couldn’t hit shit with my six shooter. I missed every target.

J Robert Oppenheimer’s 10 year old son, Malachi, watched and nodded his head. “Did you really know my father from the war?” he asked.

“Sure, why not?” I replied.

“Whose side did you fight for?”

“Uh, Abraham Lincoln’s?”

“Which detachment?”

“963rd, 9th battalion, 4th infantry, uhmmm, at the Battle of Waterloo?”

“Did you get injured?”

“Oh yeah. All over.”

Malachi scratched his head. He knew I was full of shit. “Are you sure that you didn’t know my father from the future?” he asked.

“How do you know about that?”

“He has a time machine in the barn.”

Malachi took me into the barn and lifted a large tarp off a time weapon—a similar looking time weapon that sent Mr. Ree, Oppenheimer, and myself back to 1879.

“Does it work?” I asked Malachi.

“Of course. My father built it. He can make anything work.”

Oppenheimer stood at the entryway of the barn. “That’s enough Malachi,” he said. “You run along now.”

Malachi shook his head. “Yes father,” he said and went back to tending to his chores.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this, Bob?” I asked Oppenheimer.

“It doesn’t work.”

“Malachi says it does.”

Oppenheimer paced back and forth, rubbing his hand across his face. “Look,” he said, “we can go over this all day. Sure, I can send you to the future, the past, whatever. But it’s almost impossible to get you back to YOUR timeline. I’m sorry James. But we need to look at the present. You’re here. Mr. Ree is here. I need help. This community needs your help. Please help me. I can’t fight Dickleburg on my own.”

I thought through his words. “You love Malachi,” I said. “But did you know that I have a child back in that timeline? If there is a chance, however slim, to get back there, I have to take it. Wouldn’t you do the same if you were me?”

Oppenheimer nodded. “If I’m going to help you,” he said, “then we have to secure these goldmines. There’s a property in gold that makes these time weapons work. To secure the mines, we have to defeat Dickleburg.”

I pulled out my Korth 357.

“I’m no good with those six shooters,” I replied. “But I can shoot a fly’s dick off with this 357. Can you help me make more bullets?”

“That I can do.”

TO BE CONTINUED

Flashback: “Dr. Si”

People ask me all the time: what’s your worst story?

And the answer is the story you’re about to read…Dr. Si. It’s poorly written, the jokes don’t land, and the character motivations make zero fucking sense (much like an actual James Bond story).

Some background though: the last “Detective James from LA” story I posted was The Man with the Golden Eye, which was the second in the series. While Dr. Sí, for all intents and purposes, is a direct sequel to that story, it’s actually the fourth in the series. Magnum Enforcer, the third entry in the Detective James saga, is actually a banger that I might republish here at another time. But you really only need to know two things from Magnum Enforcer: it introduces the Korth .357 magnum WHICH James uses to senselessly kill the villain at a Chucky Cheese in the story’s conclusion, plus Mr. Ree is formally introduced (although he’s in the first two stories)

However, knowing that information prolly won’t change a thing because this story’s still a piece a shit.

Dr. Si

“I’m Amish now,” I said to Admiral Majors and Izzy. “I don’t believe in violence anymore.”

“You mean to tell me we drove all the way to Pennsylvania from Los Angeles just for you to say you’ve taken a vow to never kill again,” the Admiral asked.

“Yes. I killed a man in cold blood. Not out of justice,” I replied. “I felt pure hatred. And I hope to never feel that again. That’s not God’s way.”

“The man you killed was a bent cop AND a serial killer. Fuck that guy!”

“No,” I said. “You see this,” I pointed over to the wide green pastures. Off in the distance, Amish brethren were erecting a barn. “This is God’s way. Hard work and community. That’s what will get us to heaven.”

“I can’t believe I’m hearing this bullshit,” the Admiral replied. “So you wanna play hardball eh? Fine. $2 million. I am offering you $2 million of tax payer money to join my force. One of our top nuclear scientists have gone missing, and we have reason to suspect that the Ionian Liberation Front is behind it. You’ve dealt with those guys before. If you change your mind, you know where to reach me.”

The Admiral stormed off. Izzy bashfully stood around.

“What’s her name,” she asked.

“Miriam,” I replied. “She’s a good woman. She’ll make an excellent mother.”

“I’m happy for you,” she said. “I’m seeing someone too. I gave Admiral Majors a hand job on drive over here. He’s taking me to dinner tonight.”

“I wish you two the best of luck.”

“Thank you,” she said. “Goodbye James.”

“Goodbye Izzy.”

After I finished tending to the cattle, I washed off the bull semen then went to the homestead for supper. Miriam served me up a plate of beans and cornbread. 

Miriam was a plain and simple Amish woman. We married during the fall harvest. Her father was Ezekiel, one of the community leaders. He was generous enough to take me in.

“Didist thou havest a good day,” she asked.

“I did Miriam. This is a well-earned supper after an honest day’s work.”

“The Lord hath blessed us. I am pregnant with child.”

“This is swell news indeed. The community with rejoice at the announcement.”

We smiled and held hands while we sat around the fireplace. I was loading tobacco into my pipe when Ezekiel stopped by.

“The Lord has brought forth good news,” I told him. “Miriam is pregnant with child.”

“Praise the Lord indeed,” he replied. “I am going to be a grandfather.”

The two of us went to the porch to watch the sunset. I took a match to the pipe. “So what brings you by Ezekiel,” I asked.

“I’m afraid Brother Peter is not doing well,” he said. “He won’t likely survive through the night.”

“That’s a shame. Miriam and I shall pray on it.”

“Unfortunately, I bring more bad news. Bandits have returned and stole four more chickens. We don’t have the funds to replace them. I’m afraid that we are having trouble feeding the children and the harvest isn’t bringing what we need. Times are hard indeed.”

“The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away,” I said.

“I wish someone would do something about these bandits. They have drained all of our resources for the winter,” Ezekiel said.

I puffed on the pipe and rocked in the chair. “I’m sure the Lord will provide.”

That night I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned. I sat up and kissed Miriam on the forehead while she peacefully slept.

I grabbed a shovel and hid behind the chicken coup while I waited for the bandits. I heard twigs snapping and bushes rustling. They were close.

“Stop right there or I’ll bash your head in,” I told the two bandits.

They laughed. “You’re Amish,” they said. “You can’t hurt us.”

“Grab my cock and find out,” I replied, referring to the rooster.

We had a stare down. I waited for one of them to make a move. One went for his pistol and I smashed the shovel right on his dick.

“My dick,” he yelled.

The other one leapt at me and I knocked his clean off his shoulders. Blood sprayed all over the coup. I went over to the other man laying on the ground.

“Don’t kill me,” he yelled. But I smashed the shovel right into his guts.

I buried the bodies deep in the woods.

I took the shovel and began digging behind the barn. Out of the dirt I pulled out an old oak box. 

Inside the box: the Korth 357 magnum.

***

“I’m sorry Miriam,” I said before I departed for Washington. “I’m doing this for the money. I must save our Amish community.”

We exchanged goodbyes and I rode my horse and buggy down to Washington DC to rendezvous with Admiral Majors at the Pentagon. 

“I knew you couldn’t refuse my offer,” the Admiral said. “Now take off that Amish bullshit. You’re a colonel in the Army now.”

I donned my uniform and saluted the Admiral. “Welcome to the Kill Force,” he said.

We boarded a plane and flew to The Hague. “What’s this about,” I asked the Admiral.

“We’re going to meet with Angelika Antoluktokoloplos. She knows the whereabouts of our missing nuclear scientist. Right now, she’s standing trial for war crimes.”

Angelika: my former nemesis turned ally during the Franco De Werner case.

Izzy flew along with us. Her and the Admiral were now married. “The President married us. We had the wedding on the White House lawn. You should have been there,” she said. She was trying to make me jealous.

“I’m so happy for you Izzy,” I replied.

Also on the flight was none other than Mr. Ree. “Well as I live in breath,” I told him. “I thought you died back in Los Angeles.”

He laughed. “No, I had an increased blood flow from that massive erection while I was pretending to be a prostitute. That’s what saved me. Thank god for viagra,” he said as he was popping viagra. “Now I always walk around with a boner.”

Me and Mr. Ree shared a few drinks at the airplane bar. “Keep the martinis coming,” I told the bartender.

“I heard you turned Amish,” Mr. Ree said.

“I’m a new man now,” I replied. “I’m only doing this for the money.”

“You get paid to do this?”

We got rip roaring drunk at the bar. I couldn’t sleep on the flight. Mr. Ree gave me a Xanax.

That morning, the plane landed at The Hague. The Admiral, Izzy, Mr. Ree, and myself were escorted to the maximum security prison by a NATO officer, Maj. Jzerkov. 

“Be warned,” Jzerkov said. “The prisoner is uncooperative, she hasn’t given up any information regarding the whereabouts of the Ionian Liberation Front.”

“Just take us to her,” the Admiral said.

Angelika was locked up in a 3×3 glass box, chained to a chair. “Why is she nude sir,” I asked Jzerkov. “To prevent suicide,” he replied. “These terrorists will stop at nothing to avoid answering for their crimes.”

“Well well well,” Angelika said. “If it isn’t the Admiral and his lap dog. It’s Private Detective James from Los Angeles, isn’t it?”

“It’s Colonel James now,” I replied.

“Where’s our missing nuclear scientist, Ms. Antelukolpolous,” the Admiral asked.

“Why should I tell you anything?”

The Admiral took me and Jzerkov aside. “Release her into my custody,” he told Jzerkov.

“This is highly irregular Admiral! She’s standing trial,” Jzerkov replied.

“Look, I need a bargaining chip.” 

Jzerkov thought for a second. “Alright, Admiral,” he responded. “But you owe me one.”

The Admiral nodded and went back to interrogating Angelika. “Okay Ms. Anolupolokolopos,” he said. “We are prepared to cut you a deal: charges will be dropped and you will be released into my custody….IF…if….you provide us any information. Just a name will suffice.”

Angelika sat back in her seat and smiled. “If you plan on going after the Ionian Liberation Front, you better bring bigger guns.”

“Angelika, please cooperate,” I said.

“Alright,” she responded. “You want a name, here’s a name. The man who kidnapped your highly esteem scientist is none other than…,” she gave a long pause. 

“Dr. Sí”

***

Angelika was loaded onto the plane, strapped to a dolly like she was Hannibal Lector. Maj. Jzerkov was generous enough to give her a jumpsuit.

This time, the plane was bound for Hawaii, the last known location of the nuclear scientist and Dr. Si. 

“Are we getting drunk on the plane again,” Mr. Ree asked.

“Damn right we are!”

Admiral Majors joined us at the bar. He was to brief us on our mission.

“The rest of the Kill Squad will join us in Honolulu,” the Admiral said. “Sgt. Private, Captain Corporal, and Lieutenant Sargent have been fully briefed on the situation.”

“Maybe I’ve been too drunk to pay attention,” I said. “But what is our mission?”

“I thought it was obvious,” the Admiral replied. “Retrieve the scientist and kill all the bad guys. How complicated do you want this to get?”

“What about Dr. Sí? What will we do if we capture him?”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

After drinks, I went to the cargo bay to talk with Angelika. I dismissed the guards and removed her mask.

“Can you remove the straps please,” she asked. “I need to use the bathroom.”

I unstrapped her from the dolly and watched her closely while she used the toilet.

“Does this turn you on,” she asked.

It kinda did but I played it cool. “Just making sure you don’t escape,” I replied.

“Where am I gonna go? We’re on a plane.”

I didn’t reply. She wiped and flushed the toilet. “Gonna wash your hands,” I asked.

“Why? I didn’t shit on my hands. So what do you want to talk to me about?”

“What’s the deal with Dr. Sí? Why is he so important?”

“This technology he possesses, you couldn’t possibly imagine its power.”

“A nuclear weapon?”

“No. Something more powerful.”

“What could be more powerful than a nuclear weapon?”

“You have a small imagination.”

I scratched my head. Maybe I was too drunk to have this conversation. “Well what does he want with a nuclear scientist,” I asked.

“Nuclear power can be used for other things than just weapons.”

“Care to divulge?”

“Set me free from this cargo bay and I’ll tell you everything.”

“I’ll have to discuss that with the Admiral. He’s particularly concerned about the….”

I turned around for a second and Angelika leapt at me with a makeshift knife (that she presumably snuck in up her ass (or vagina)). I was quick enough to grab her arm and throw her to the ground.

I laid on top of her for a brief moment. We stared into each other’s eyes while I restrained her, my mouth inches from hers. We were both aroused by the sudden burst of action.

The guards rushed in when they heard the commotion. “I got the situation under control,” I told them.

I stood up and ordered the guards to strap her back to the dolly. “Our conversation is done here,” I said. “I’m gonna go jack of…er, I mean, get a Jack. A Jack and Coke. I’m gonna go get drunk.”

But I didn’t go to the bar. I rushed to my cabin to beat off.

***

The Kill Squad met us at Honolulu Airport. While we were unloading in the hangar, Sgt. Private, Lt. Corporal, and Cpt. Sargent gawked at Angelika.

“I’d like to stick my penis into her vagina, if you know what I mean ,” said Sgt. Private.

I bashed him in the face with the butt of my rifle. “Watch your mouth. Ms. Antolonolupolopolos is under our protection. She is our guest and you will treat her as such.”

“Enough,” the Admiral said. He walked over to Sgt. Private, pulled out a 9mm, and shot him in the head.

“Jesus Christ,” I yelled.

“I will not tolerate insubordination in this unit,” the Admiral said. “Lt. Corporal, Cpt. Sargent…get rid of the body.”

I walked over to Mr. Ree. “Does the Admiral usually shoot people for insubordination,” I asked. 

“Oh yeah! All the time. Don’t worry about it.”

Afterwards, the entire squad, plus Angelika and Izzy, was airlifted by helicopter to a remote location in the jungle…on the other side of Diamond Head. We set up headquarters in a small hut where we planned our excursion.

The Admiral laid out a map on the table. “Dr. Sí and the scientist were last seen at this location,” he said while pointing to a spot on the map. “I believe they’re now here,” he continued while pointing at a different spot. “Do you agree, Colonel?”

“Sure,” I replied. “Why not?”

“Good. We will head out at 0600 tomorrow morning. Load up on extra ammo,” he said to the group. “We’re bound to run into some resistance.”

The squad retreated to their huts around the camp. I ran into Izzy on my way out.

“The Admiral is a great guy, isn’t he,” she asked.

“He’s a crazy asshole. I’ll say that much.”

I noticed that she had a black eye. “You know Izzy,” I said. “If you ever need to talk about anything, you can come to me.”

“Oh, this black eye,” she asked. “This is nothing. We get a little carried away in the bedroom.”

“Well be careful,” I replied. “No choking stuff. I learned that one the hard way.”

Meanwhile, Cpt. Sargent was harassing Angelika in her hut. An explosive collar was placed around her neck in the event she tried to flee or attacked someone in the group.

“If you don’t leave Angelika alone,” I said to Cpt. Sargent, “I’m gonna place that collar around YOUR neck.”

He glared at me as he left her hut.

“I don’t need your protection James. I can take care of myself,” she said.

“I think you do. Any one of us can detonate that collar if you put up a fight. Some men here might take advantage of that.”

I took a seat while she sat up on her cot. I decided to take the first watch.

“The Admiral is gonna get you killed,” she said.

“Probably. But he’s paying me well. That money will help my wife and Amish community.”

“You have a wife? And you’re Amish?”

“You sound disappointed.”

“You’re not my type.”

“Is it because I’m Amish?”

“Just don’t get yourself killed on my behalf.”

We bantered for awhile. She fell asleep and unfortunately I did too. 

Later that night, men snuck into the camp. They hooded, muzzled, and kidnapped Angelika and me. When the hood was lifted from my head, I was in a laboratory.

Angelika was nowhere to be found. 

They placed me on my knees, hands bound behind me. Even worse, the explosive collar was now around my neck.

A man in a white lab coat walked in front me and lowered himself to my face. 

“Hello James,” he said. “I’m Dr. Sí.”

***

“Well shits assholes,” I said to Dr. Sí. “We’ve been looking for you. I guess the search is over! Can I go now?”

“Not so fast,” he responded. “I need to know where your Kill Squad is going.”

“First I want to know what happened to Angelika,” I demanded.

“Fair enough,” he said. Then Dr. Sí turned to the corner of the laboratory. “Angelika, come join us.”

Angelika stepped out, all dolled up with her red hair flowing down to her shoulders. “Sorry James,” she said. “You’re not my type because Dr. Sí is my type.”

The two kissed passionately in front of me.

“I do want to thank you, Colonel James, for returning her to me,” Dr. Sí said.

“Hey, not a problem,” I replied. “Can you return the favor by removing this explosive collar from around my neck? Once when they realize Angelika’s missing, this thing will blow my head off.”

“First, where is the Kill Squad going?”

“They’re probably coming here!”

“We are certainly not at where they are going.”

“Then what are you worried about?”

The doctor turned around and looked at a computerized map of the Hawaiian islands. “I am a man of science, colonel. In order for my experiments to work, I need EXACT measurements. I cannot afford unpredictability. So again…where is the Kill Squad going?”

I was running out of time. The collar was going to detonate at any moment. Then I remembered…

“$2 million,” I said.

“$2 million?”

“Yes, $2 million and I give up the coordinates of the Kill Squad plus any other state secrets you want in order to sweeten the deal,“ I replied. 

I was bluffing about the state secrets part. I didn’t know shit.

“$1 million,” Dr. Sí responded.

“Deal. The coordinates are 113.998N 737.746W. Now get this collar off of me!”

Dr. Sí laughed and ordered the guards to remove the collar. “Thank you for your cooperation colonel,” he said. “But as an insurance policy, I’ll place this collar on one of your acquaintances.”

The guards rolled in Mr. Ree, strapped to an upright gurney.

“They kidnapped me too,” Mr. Ree said. “Can you believe that bullshit?”

“Ohh come on,” I said. “Don’t kill Mr. Ree! He’s cool! Besides, that thing will detonate before the squad reaches its destination!”

“That’s just a chance I’m willing to take,” Dr. Sí replied. 

“Look, I don’t give a damn about Admiral Majors or the Kill Squad. But there’s a woman that’s traveling with them: Izzy. Please don’t kill her,” I pleaded.

“Colonel, relax,” he said. “I’m not looking to kill anyone, except for Mr. Ree over there. I just want to see that thing go off.”

“I don’t understand.”

Dr. Sí put his arm around my shoulders and started walking me around the laboratory. “I understand your confusion. You see, has anyone told you the truth about that missing nuclear scientist?”

“To be honest doctor, for this entire mission, I’ve kinda been asleep at the wheel. I don’t even know that scientists’ name.”

“Ah, let me show you.”

Dr. Sí opened a door and out walked an old man in a lab coat. I think I was supposed to be impressed by this.

“I don’t know who this is,” I said.

“That’s J. Robert Oppenheimer.”

“Who?”

“J. Robert Op…the father of the atomic bomb?! What are you? Some kind of fucking moron?”

“You cloned him?”

“No asshole! I brought him from the past into the future! Don’t you get it yet? I invented time travel!!”

I walked up to Oppenheimer and looked him up and down. “Welcome to the future,” I told him. “We killed Hitler.”

“I know that, dumbass,” he replied. “We should have dropped the bomb on him!”

I looked back over to Dr. Sí. “So what? You invented time travel. Big whoop. How can you use that against the Kill Squad?”

“That’s why I brought my friend Oppenheimer to the present. You see, we created a new kind of weapon: a time weapon.”

“That sounds pretty fucking stupid, Dr. Sí,” I said. “How can you weaponize time?”

“Well you see, if you can triangulate the space time continuum, the quantum field fluctuations will…”

“Okay, sorry I asked,” I interrupted. “That science shit is boring. Cut to the chase. What’s gonna happen to the Kill Squad?”

“I will fire a plasma energy weapon at their coordinates. When the weapon reaches them, it will generate a quantum field around them and they will be transported to a different time and place.”

“My god,” I said. “A non-destructive weapon. You’re a genius Dr. Sí.”

“So you’re not a complete fucking idiot after all,” he replied. “It is far more humane than the nuclear weapons of the last 80 years. Imagine: no more nuclear fallout, no more mass death…we simply transport our enemies to a different time, different place.”

I looked around the laboratory…at all the scientists running around, to Oppenheimer, to Angelika, and then over to Mr. Ree.

“I cannot deny your genius, Dr. Si,” I said. “But it appears that the only one in danger here is Mr. Ree. If you’re really are humane, you’d remove that collar.”

Dr. Sí nodded. “I suppose you’re right, Colonel.” He looked to the guards. “Remove the collar.”

The guards walked over to the gurney and removed the collar. As they were about to dispose of it, it detonated, killing and maiming several of them. 

Out of the confusion, Oppenheimer attacked one of the guards, grabbing his machine gun.

“Put down the gun Oppenheimer,” Dr. Sí said.

“No,” he replied. “You’ve been holding me hostage here. I’m not your puppet!”

“But Bob,” Dr. Sí pleaded. “We’ve been building something special here. Don’t you want to finish our work?”

“No! No more weapons!”

More guards rushed into the room, forcing Oppenheimer to drop his gun. 

“Sorry Bob,” Dr. Sí said. “It appears your time is up.”

Mr. Ree was released from the gurney. The two of us were ordered to raise our hands and were rounded up with Oppenheimer.

“Lock these scum up,” Dr. Sí ordered.

***

“This is science gone haywire,” J. Robert Oppenheimer said. “I should have never agreed to help Dr. Sí.”

“Don’t beat yourself up,” I said to him. “We’ll get you out of here and back to your own time.”

“It doesn’t work like that,” he replied.

“Sure it does. It’s science! Anything is possible.”

“We can’t just go ‘back in time’. Doing so would violate all sorts of Newton’s laws. When the quantum field is generated, the individual is transported to an alternate timeline. The laws of physics remain the same and the outcomes in these timelines might be similar to our own, but it’s not the same timeline. Am I making sense?”

“Nope,” I replied. “But we’ll get you as close to your timeline as humanly possible.”

“Forget it,” Oppenheimer replied. “Our best option is to disarm the weapon to prevent this from happening again.”

“How do we do that?”

“There’s a special property in the element of gold that penetrates through space and time. If the gold is removed from the nano chambers, the weapon would be powerless.”

“Sounds like a plan Bob.” I looked over to Mr. Ree. “Do you think the Kill Squad will alter course and find us?”

“I doubt it,” Mr. Ree said. “I don’t even know where we’re at.”

“We’re at the bottom of a dormant volcano,” Oppenheimer said. “They’ll never find us.”

“Shit,” I said. “Then we have to take matters into our own hands. We just need an opportunity.”

Angelika then peered through the opening of our cell door. “James,” she said, “just hold tight, I’m gonna get you out of here.”

“Angelika,” I replied, “I thought you were with Dr. Sí.”

She then reached her hand through the opening to touch my own. “Dr. Sí is no friend of the Ionian Liberation Front. He’s no friend of peace and justice. I don’t want this technology to fall into the wrong hands.”

“Get us out of here and we’ll destroy it,” I said.

“No! Think about it James. With this weapon, we can right all the wrongs. We can undo our violent past and create a better future.”

“I don’t know Angelika.”

“Please, I’ll get you out of here. But let me have the weapon.”

I thought for a second and agreed to her terms. Then she grasped my hand tightly.

“What’s your wife’s name?” she asked.

“Miriam”

“She’s a lucky woman. Perhaps in another time….”

She let go of my hand and closed the opening. I heard some rustling outside, then a few gunshots. After a few moments, the cell door blasted open. 

Angelika walked across the rubble wearing a skintight leather suit and holding a Heckler & Koch M27.

“Alright boys,” she said. “Let’s blow the top off this volcano.”

***

We stole guns off some guards that Angelika brutally murdered and ran down the corridor.

“The time weapon is is being held three floors above us,” Angelika said. 

We began to feel tremors all around us. I asked Angelika the last time this volcano erupted.

“About 25,000 years ago,” she said.

“Then this thing could go off at any moment. We better hurry.”

We went down the corridors and up the stairs in an attack formation. Angelika and I covered the front. Mr. Ree and Oppenheimer covered the rear.

When we reached the room holding the time weapon, the Kill Squad…along with Izzy….was there. They altered course and stormed into the volcano earlier in a bloody, devastating firefight. Not many survived.

“Thank goodness you’re alive,” the Admiral said. “And you found J. Robert Oppenheimer. Excellent work. Lt. Captain, please dispose of the scientist.”

Lt. Captain cocked his pistol and raised it up to Oppenheimer’s head.

I raised my rifle to Lt. Captain.

“Pull that trigger and you’re dead,” I told him.

“But Colonel James,” the Admiral said, “this time travel stuff is against the laws of God. We must destroy all of the evidence.”

“No,” I said. “Oppenheimer has as much right to exist as the rest of us.”

Dr. Sí then rushed in with his guards. “Well well,” he said. “Glad you’re all here.”

We were surrounded. We dropped our weapons.

Dr. Sí walked up to the Admiral. “I’m happy to see you’re doing well Admiral,” he said.

“This ends today doctor,” the Admiral replied.

“I think not,” he replied.

Dr. Sí walked over to a control panel. In a corner across the room, the floor moved, revealing a lava pit.

“I’m sorry Admiral,” the doctor said. “But you can’t go where we’re going.”

The guards grabbed the Admiral and pushed him towards the pit. “You’ll never get away with this,” he yelled.

“Of course I will. I control time! Think about the possibilities Admiral! We could have taken over the world. You never understood that.”

“Izzy, don’t let them do this,” the Admiral screamed. She walked over to him and the guards.

“You’re one abusive son of a bitch,” she said. Izzy then roundhouse kicked him into the fiery pit. When the screams stopped and the flames died down, Izzy turned around.

“Can I go home now,” she asked. “I didn’t want to be here anyway.”

“I’m sorry madam,” Dr. Sí replied. “I cannot let anyone leave here alive.”

“So what happens now? This volcano will erupt at any moment,” I asked.

“Exactly Colonel. In a few moments, I will time travel out of here and this volcano will erupt, destroying the evidence.”

“You’re not going anywhere,” Angelika said. Dr. Sí walked up to her, grabbed her hair and put his lips on her.

“I’m sorry things didn’t work out between us,” he said. “I gotta go.” 

He went back to the panel and a countdown started. A laser dropped down from the ceiling which would release a plasma field around its target, triggering a spacetime ripple that would permit time travel. 

“Before I forget,” Dr. Sí said to me, “here’s the $1 million I owe you. Where I’m going, this money is no good.”

He threw a metal briefcase as my feet.

“Alright,” the doctor said, “let’s get this bullshit over with.”

The laser then fired out a beam, creating the field around Sí. While the guards were mesmerized by the sight, Oppenheimer ran into the field, pushing the doctor out. 

There was a bright flash of light, then Oppenheimer was gone…lost somewhere in time.

“You fool!” Dr. Sí yelled. 

Out of the confusion, Angelika attacked the guards and took a gun. She began spraying bullets across the room. I picked up the briefcase and ran for cover. 

I grabbed a rifle from a dead guard and began shielding Izzy. Mr. Ree then engaged in the firefight. 

When all the guards were dead, Angelika threw down her semi-automatic and grabbed Dr. Sí. He tried to put up a fight.

“Angelika!” he screamed. “This volcano will go off any second. We don’t have time for this!”

“Time’s up bitch!” she said. Then she threw him into the lava pit. A large flame shot up in the air.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ree was monitoring communications between guards over the radio. “Reinforcements will be here in a minute,” he said. 

I handed the briefcase to Izzy. “Make sure Miriam gets this,” I told her. 

We shared one last look. “Mr. Ree and I will give you cover while you escape,” I said. “Angelika, go with her.”

“But I didn’t get the weapon,” Angelika responded.

“Let it go,” I said. “You can save humanity without it.”

I reached out my hand to hers and we looked deep into each other’s eyes. “Goodbye Angelika.”

She gave a pause. “Goodbye James,” she said.

Izzy and Angelika, along with a few surviving members of the Kill Squad, ran back down the corridor. The tremors were beginning to pick up.

Mr. Ree and I stood behind the control panel, waiting for reinforcements to arrive. “Ready to go where no man’s gone before,” I asked him.

He put a cigar in his mouth. “You’re reading my mind.”

As guards were pouring into the room, Mr. Ree provided cover while I fiddled with the controls. The laser pointed in our direction and released a beam. The field surrounded us. 

Where…or when…we were going, only God knew.

Then there was a brilliant flash of light….

*********

Izzy, Angelika, and the Kill Squad made it out of the volcano just as it erupted. As they watched the explosion from a safe distance, Izzy turned to Angelika.

“Do you think they’re dead?”

Angelika looked to the ash cloud hovering over the jungle. She thought for a moment.

“No,” she replied. “They’re out there…somewhere in time….”

THE END 

once upon a time in montana iii

I couldn’t hit shit with my six shooter. I missed every target.

J Robert Oppenheimer’s 10 year old son, Malachi, watched and nodded his head. “Did you really know my father from the war?” he asked.

“Sure, why not?” I replied.

“Whose side did you fight for?”

“Uh, Abraham Lincoln’s?”

“Which detachment?”

“963rd, 9th battalion, 4th infantry, uhmmm, at the Battle of Waterloo?”

“Did you get injured?”

“Oh yeah. All over.”

Malachi scratched his head. He knew I was full of shit. “Are you sure that you didn’t know my father from the future?” he asked.

“How do you know about that?”

“He has a time machine in the barn.”

Malachi took me into the barn and lifted a large tarp off a time weapon—a similar looking time weapon that sent Mr. Ree, Oppenheimer, and myself back to 1879.

“Does it work?” I asked Malachi.

“Of course. My father built it. He can make anything work.”

Oppenheimer stood at the entryway of the barn. “That’s enough Malachi,” he said. “You run along now.”

Malachi shook his head. “Yes father,” he said and went back to tending to his chores.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this, Bob?” I asked Oppenheimer.

“It doesn’t work.”

“Malachi says it does.”

Oppenheimer paced back and forth, rubbing his hand across his face. “Look,” he said, “we can go over this all day. Sure, I can send you to the future, the past, whatever. But it’s almost impossible to get you back to YOUR timeline. I’m sorry James. But we need to look at the present. You’re here. Mr. Ree is here. I need help. This community needs your help. Please help me. I can’t fight Dickleburg on my own.”

I thought through his words. “You love Malachi,” I said. “But did you know that I have a child back in that timeline? If there is a chance, however slim, to get back there, I have to take it. Wouldn’t you do the same if you were me?”

Oppenheimer nodded. “If I’m going to help you,” he said, “then we have to secure these goldmines. There’s a property in gold that makes these time weapons work. To secure the mines, we have to defeat Dickleburg.”

I pulled out my Korth 357.

“I’m no good with those six shooters,” I replied. “But I can shoot a fly’s dick off with this 357. Can you help me make more bullets?”

“That I can do.”

TO BE CONTINUED

once upon a time in montana ii

“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

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

“dr. sí” part vi

“This is science gone haywire,” J. Robert Oppenheimer said. “I should have never agreed to help Dr. Sí.”

“Don’t beat yourself up,” I said to him. “We’ll get you out of here and back to your own time.”

“It doesn’t work like that,” he replied.

“Sure it does. It’s science! Anything is possible.”

“We can’t just go ‘back in time’. Doing so would violate all sorts of Newton’s laws. When the quantum field is generated, the individual is transported to an alternate timeline. The laws of physics remain the same and the outcomes in these timelines might be similar to our own, but it’s not the same timeline. Am I making sense?”

“Nope,” I replied. “But we’ll get you as close to your timeline as humanly possible.”

“Forget it,” Oppenheimer replied. “Our best option is to disarm the weapon to prevent this from happening again.”

“How do we do that?”

“There’s a special property in the element of gold that penetrates through space and time. If the gold is removed from the nano chambers, the weapon would be powerless.”

“Sounds like a plan Bob.” I looked over to Mr. Ree. “Do you think the Kill Squad will alter course and find us?”

“I doubt it,” Mr. Ree said. “I don’t even know where we’re at.”

“We’re at the bottom of a dormant volcano,” Oppenheimer said. “They’ll never find us.”

“Shit,” I said. “Then we have to take matters into our own hands. We just need an opportunity.”

Angelika then peered through the opening of our cell door. “James,” she said, “just hold tight, I’m gonna get you out of here.”

“Angelika,” I replied, “I thought you were with Dr. Sí.”

She then reached her hand through the opening to touch my own. “Dr. Sí is no friend of the Ionian Liberation Front. He’s no friend of peace and justice. I don’t want this technology to fall into the wrong hands.”

“Get us out of here and we’ll destroy it,” I said.

“No! Think about it James. With this weapon, we can right all the wrongs. We can undo our violent past and create a better future.”

“I don’t know Angelika.”

“Please, I’ll get you out of here. But let me have the weapon.”

I thought for a second and agreed to her terms. Then she grasped my hand tightly.

“What’s your wife’s name?” she asked.

“Miriam”

“She’s a lucky woman. Perhaps in another time….”

She let go of my hand and closed the opening. I heard some rustling outside, then a few gunshots. After a few moments, the cell door blasted open.

Angelika walked across the rubble wearing a skintight leather suit and holding a Heckler & Koch M27.

“Alright boys,” she said. “Let’s blow the top off this volcano.”