Chapter 29

Howdy y’all.  How’s your week been goin’?  Ready for another rustle with Brig?  Have no clue what I’m flapping my jaw about?  This would be a good place to start.


They made a big show out of it and drew a big crowd.  Both Brig and Cole saw the two unnamed gunmen standing at the edge of the gathered throng.  They didn’t look pleased.  Brig smiled at them as he was being led down the dusty street, forcefully, in chains.  He didn’t mean to provoke them but he couldn’t help it.  Cole didn’t acknowledge them one way or another.

To get the plan kicked off they decided they needed to make it as real as possible, so with Dan’s permission and even a bit of his help, they set about breaking a few pieces of furniture while calling out obscenities and curses and generally making a ruckus.  As the first people began to peer through the windows they saw Dan restraining Brig as Sheriff Brown picked himself off the floor and then proceeded to slap some irons on Brig, with what seemed to be some well placed punches to the one-eyed gunslingers kidneys and stomach.  Brig played his part and took the punches, which weren’t nearly as painful as he made them seem, and cried out in pain before deciding to go peacefully from then.

The calls of “The Sheriff and Brig Coyle are going at it” and “Cole and Brig are having a shoot out” and “Brig is gonna kill the Sheriff” and finally “Sheriff Brown has bested Brig Coyle and is arresting him” came streaming through the open windows.  By the time Cole had gotten the handcuffs on Brig and marched him through the door to the Gunnison Inn a large crowd had already gathered.  That crowd grew as the two men marched down the street to the jail.

Questions flew out of the crowd, “What happened?”  “What did Brig do?”  “Why are you arresting him?”  “It doesn’t look like Brig killed the Sheriff.  You said Brig was going to kill him.  He isn’t even wearing a holster.  What was he going to do, drown the Sheriff in whiskey?”  “Okay, I’m sorry, I heard the two of them were fighting and assumed Brig would kill him.”  “You assumed?  You assumed?  You’re a jack-ass.”  The questions, and other side commentary, followed them all the way to the jail but neither Brig nor Cole answered or responded to any of them.

Once they were safely inside, with the door shut behind them, Cole removed the irons and Brig made his way into the same cell he had frequented when he first came to town.  “It is somewhat amusing how things always seem cyclical.  When I first came to this town I found myself in this cell and now I find myself back here again.”

“Slightly different circumstances, though,” Cole replied, chuckling.  “Can I get you a beer?”

Brig grinned.  “No I think it’s probably best I don’t.  Now, el borracho, he would have wanted one for sure.”

Outside, the sound of the gathered mass wasn’t dissipating.  The words were distorted by the thick wood doors and barred and shuttered windows but the over-all tone was obvious: “we deserve to know what’s going on.”

“You can’t ignore them forever Sheriff.  It’s probably best if you address them sooner rather than later before they’ve worked themselves up into a frenzy.”

“I reckon so.”  Cole locked Brig’s cell and hid the keys just in case things didn’t go as planned.  He didn’t want any overzealous citizens coming in behind him and trying to get their own brand of justice on the gunslinger.  Brig’s identity and reputation wouldn’t be doing him any favors in the coming days and some of the townspeople, who were for the most part fond of their Sheriff, might take exception to Brig’s role in the tale Cole was about to tell.

Brig took a seat on his wooden cot, leaned his back up against the wall, stretched out his legs, and wove his fingers together behind the back of his head.  The game is on now.  We’ll have to play it out until the end, whatever that may be.  I wonder where these tracks are headed…

Cole exited his jailhouse, closing the door behind him and addressed the crowd outside.  They spilled beyond the wooden walkway and into the street beyond.  Men, women, children, they’d all come to see what Brig had done that had landed him in jail.  The two unnamed gunmen were there as well sulking at the back, trying to act inconspicuous but sticking out like a sore thumb all the same.

Sheriff Brown held up his hands to get the crowd to quiet down and eventually they did.  “I’ve taken Brig Coyle into custody for disturbing the peace and for striking an officer of the law,” he started.  It seemed like everyone in the crowd tried to speak at once so held his hands up again until the mob quieted down again.  “He’ll be in custody for a few days while this mess gets sorted out but neither offense is major enough to warrant shipping off to a federal facility.  Most likely, he’ll serve his time here.”

“Why did he attack you?”  Someone shouted out from the middle of the pack.  Cole tried to pinpoint the source but there were too many people in the sea of faces.

“I’m not entirely certain of that yet, he may have been drinking and taken exception to something I said.”

“Will there be a trial?”

Cole didn’t even bother trying to pinpoint the source of the second question; he recognized the voice, Emmalou Marsch.  I should fill her in on the details of our little plan too, she deserves the truth.  I’ll swing by her place later when I stop in to talk to Mrs. Sorensen.  ”No need for a trial, Brig has already confessed and is happy to serve his time, I’ll just need to figure out how much damage was done over at the Gunnison Inn to see what the appropriate sentence is.”

Once the details were starting to unfold most of the crowd lost interest and started to wander back to the tasks they had been about before the shouting started at the bar.  It was just another boring bar fight, nothing exciting, and nothing that deserved their further attention.  If anything else came to light they’d find out about it through the normal rumor mill.  As the bulk of the crowd dispersed so did the two gunmen.


Cole answered a few more questions from the remaining people before the rest of the crowd broke apart and went their separate ways.  Muttered comments floated back to Cole as the last of them walked away, “Well that was boring.”  “I know, there could have least been a shooting or a trial to look forward to.”  “Right, and no one even got shot.”  “Are you still harping on that subject?  I told you I was sorry.”  “Well, you said that…”  “I know what I said, now shut up!”

Sheriff Brown wanted to laugh but kept the stern, no nonsense expression on his face until he had the street to himself, then he went back into his jail to let Brig know how it had gone.  So far so good.

After filling in Brig briefly on the contents of what he had divulged to the townspeople he exited the jail again, this time locking the door to the jailhouse, and then went to find Mrs. Sorensen and Miss Marsch.  He expected Mrs. Sorensen to get a kick out of the whole thing, crazy old battle axe that she is, and he also expected Miss Marsch to slap him first and then hug him.  She’ll slap me for not being able to think of a better plan and then she’ll hug me for keeping Brig safe all the same.  She’s crazy too.


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