“Goddamn Mr. Ree!” I said while gazing upon the bodies of nine hired guns; their brains were splattered across the dusty Elkhorn street, “I thought you were only decent with a rifle!”
“Heh! I guess I’m better than I thought,” he replied.
“Billy Friedkin and Dickleburg managed to ride away,” said Sheriff Oppenheimer, “we gotta get these bodies off the street.”
Right then the town’s undertaker, Fred Ward, stepped out of the whore house wearing only his long johns. “Sorry for disturbing you on your day off,” Oppenheimer said to him.
“Oh it’s alright,” Fred replied, “I got the whiskey dick anyway.” He immediately began loading the bodies into his carriage.
“When Dickleburg returns,” the sheriff said to me and Mr. Ree, “he’ll bring an army.” He then looked back over the carnage in front of his office. “Son of a bitch!” he yelled, “this went worse than I expected!”
The three of us rode back to Oppenheimer’s place where Maybelline and Malachi were waiting. “Thank goodness you are all alright!” Maybelline declared. She strutted right past her husband and hugged me. “I don’t know what I’d do if you were killed,” she said.
Oppenheimer spoke up. “Maybelline, bring me a bottle of scotch,” he ordered, “come on men, we have work to do.”
We all went out to the barn where Oppenheimer removed the tarp over his time portal device. He began scribbling down some equations on a note pad. “According to my calculations,” he said, “we’re gonna need five tons of gold to get this thing operational.”
“That’s a lot of gold,” I replied.
“And we have very little time to get it.”
“Any idea where we could find that much in such short of time?” asked Mr. Ree.
“The average prospector will only find a fraction of that amount in his or her lifetime,” Oppenheimer responded, “but…”
“But what?” I asked.
“But, the mother load is here in Elkhorn.”
Right then Maybelline brought in the scotch. Oppenheimer opened the bottle and started chugging. “It’s under Mr. Rockwell’s land,” he finally stated.
“So what’s the big deal?” I asked, “we’ll just go over there and take it under the cover of night.”
“It’s not that simple.”
“How do you know it’s there?” Mr. Ree inquired.
Oppenheimer took another swig of scotch. “Because history says it there. One of the largest gold deposits of all time is there.”
“I thought you said history is slightly different in this timeline. It might’ve been there in our timeline, but there’s no guarantee it’s there now.”
Oppenheimer closed the bottle and straightened himself out. “That’s the risk we gotta take,” he said.
I shook my head. “I don’t understand this time bullshit,” I stated, “it’s either here or it’s not. You’re the scientist. Make it make sense.”
“Time isn’t necessarily linear,” Oppenheimer explained, “it’s more like a color wheel. Our timeline might be orange, for example, but the one we’re in now might be light orange. There are some similarities between the two but there’s no telling where the timelines might diverge. To make make matters worse, even if we could get the gold, time is not only a color wheel, but it’s an INFINITE color wheel, seemingly. Pinpointing your EXACT spot on the wheel would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. No…worse…a needle in an entire universe!”
“So we can only hope for the best,” Mr. Ree responded.
Malachi wondered into the barn. “Are you okay daddy?” he asked while rubbing his eyes.
Oppenheimer kneeled down before his son and held him in his arms. “Of course I am,” he said, “everything will be alright. You and your mother shouldn’t worry.”
Maybelline picked up Malachi to escort him to bed. Mr. Ree and I stood silently while we watched the small family comfort each other. After the mother and son left, Oppenheimer kept his back facing us. “Dickleburg will stop at nothing to get what he wants,” he uttered, “if anything happens to me, I want you two to take my wife and son to whatever timeline you end up in. Being there will be safer than being here.”
After he turned around, the sheriff and former scientist wiped a tear from his eye and picked up a shovel. “Tomorrow we’ll ride out to Mr. Rockwell’s land,” Oppenheimer stated, “and we’ll pray to god that we’re in the right timeline.”
TO BE CONTINUED…