Chapter 28

I reckon you want some more dramedy western action, right?  (We can’t kid ourselves and continue to call it an out and out comedy anymore.)
I reckon if you need to know what I’m talking about you could start here.

………

Sheriff Brown stopped by the Gunnison Inn just before Brig’s shift was about to end.  The morning rush had come and gone and the post lunch lull had settled in so Dan, Cole and Brig had the place to themselves.  Normally Dan would have gone to take another nap before Brig left for the day but had found himself so wound up by the morning’s events that he hadn’t even attempted sleep.

“Two men came by my office this morning,” the Sheriff started as he pulled up a stool.  Brig had never paid much attention to Cole’s gun before but the one eyed man noticed that Cole made sure it fell in such a manner as it would be easy to draw when he took his seat.

Interesting.

“They wanted to let me know that they were in town tracking down Brig Coyle, the gunslinger.  Wasn’t that nice of them?  I thought so.”

Brig set about his tasks of cleaning up the bar before the afternoon and evening traffic.  He liked to keep the place clean for the next crew, plus he still felt like he owed Dan something extra to pay for the damages caused during the fight with Ed Sans and his cronies and it gave him something to do to pass the time.  The last few hours of his shift would put him to sleep if he didn’t do something to occupy his mind and his muscles.

Well, that was on a normal day anyway.  He had plenty enough to keep his mind occupied and keep himself awake and was doing the chores mostly out of habit as the Sheriff kept on talking.

“They seemed to think that it was in my best interest to let them deal with Brig Coyle on their own, and they assured me that it would be a fair fight so there was no reason for the law to get involved.  When I mentioned that you didn’t even carry a gun anymore they seemed a bit surprised and then started conferring in whispers so low I couldn’t make out what they were saying.

“It was really annoying.

“Anyway, to break up their little tete-a-tete I asked for their names.  Would you believe they had the audacity to glare at me in my own jail house?  I can see by your lack of response that you can believe it.  Well, they didn’t answer, and instead started asking me questions about where they could find you.  I didn’t answer them, obviously, but you know as well as I do that it is only a matter of time before they track you down.

“I did find it interesting, that through the course of my brief conversation with them, I discovered that they had already met the one-eyed bartender at the Gunnison Inn.  I wonder how funny they’ll find that bit of information when they figure out that they’ve already met the man they are hunting.”

“I’m pretty sure they won’t take too kindly to that,” Brig replied.   “I’d say that may just upset them enough to be a little less patient about finding their chance to drawn down on me.”

“I reckon so.”

“Did you find out why they are looking for me: glory or revenge?”

“They didn’t say.”

Brig was not surprised.  The men who had come looking for him over the years had hardly ever said why they were getting into his face.  It was only after families had come to collect their dead that he discovered why they had come looking for him in the first place.  Glory and revenge, those two dominated all other reasons and really just boiled down to pride and youthful ignorance.

How many lives have been lost over the years because of pride and ignorance?  The ones I’ve taken are just a drop in the bucket but…  I regret the need to have taken them.  When it comes down to it though, if it is my life or the life of someone else I will choose to save myself every time.

 Would I choose to save Emmalou’s life instead of my own if it came to it?  Would I make that sacrifice?  I’ve never met anyone I would have done that for before, but for her…  I just might.

“I would have come over to say hello sooner,” Sheriff Brown continued, “but they knew that I knew you and so they waited nearby to see if I’d come running out to warn you.  So, I waited until they grew tired of waiting for me and moved on to The Hammer before coming down to talk to you.  They’ll find all the answers they are looking for in that bar.”

“And now that you are here, you want to know what I’m planning, right?”

“Fight or flight?”

“Neither really appeals to me.”

“I didn’t think they would.”

“Emmalou told me to stay.”  Brig wasn’t sure why he passed on that information, but she had said it in front of Dan so it wasn’t exactly a secret to begin with.

Sheriff Brown raised his eyebrows, “She did, did she?”  With his lips pursed, he leaned back on his stool sizing up Brig, sizing up the situation and pondering how to proceed.  “I would have put money on her telling you to be on the next train out of town.  I guess I should be glad I didn’t take that bet with anyone.”

“I don’t really fancy putting a gun in your hand and finding out if you are still as good as you used to be,” Sheriff Brown said after a minute had passed.  “Then again I don’t like the idea of men coming to my town intent upon shedding the blood of others.  Despite the blood on your hands you are clean in the eyes of the law, and no matter who you were before you are a good man now.

“I don’t much care for people threatening anyone in my town.  I care for it less when it is good people being threatened.  It irks me beyond telling that I can’t do anything about it until they do something wrong.  It seems wrong that the good people are left with the hard choices in these situations but that’s the way of it.”

“You’ve got a plan or you wouldn’t be here, Cole.”  Dan finally inserted himself into the conversation.

Sheriff Brown smiled.  “It’s not a great plan but it’s a start.”

“And?”  Brig asked.

“Once your shift is up I’m going to arrest you on some pretense or other, a false claim that you will be cleared of in time of course, but I’ll be forced to hold you for a few days until we can get your name cleared.”

“They won’t go away.”

“No, but it will give us a couple days to figure out our next move, while keeping you in a place where they can’t get a gun in your hand or shoot you in the back and while also not giving them any need to harass your friends.”

Brig smirked.  “Well, when you put it that way, it’s not altogether a bad plan at all.  Though I’ll need you to explain the situation to Mrs. Sorensen so she doesn’t kick me out while I’m in your custody.  Can you do that?”

“I reckon so.”

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5 thoughts on “Chapter 28

  1. “How many lives have been lost over the years because of pride and ignorance? The ones I’ve taken are just a drop in the bucket but… I regret the need to have taken them. When it comes down to it though, if it is my life or the life of someone else I will choose to save myself every time.”
    Brilliant work, my friend. Just brilliant.

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