After a good nights sleep and a fill of a very tough steak at the Saloon, I set about catching the next train outta Excitement and movin' on to Around Here. I headed straight for the station. After an hour or so one of the local townsfolk drawled that Excitement didn't have a train station and if I was lookin' to leave this sorry town I would have to get myself a horse or a damn fine pair of walkin' boots.
Some bargaining with a farmer, involving my telling him I'd not bring him in for selling the Saloon horse meat an' tellin' 'em it was beef, he gave me a fine horse. All I needed was an idea of which way out of this town would lead me back on the trail of Lightnin' Lance Likely. I'd already lost a day and these damn yokels weren't forthcoming in helping me outta their stinkin' town.
The town may be called Excitement but the Lord in heaven only knows why. It's a dusty dirty town full of weather beaten buildings and wife beatin' men.
Conversation with the townsfolk led to nothing. Not a damn one of them knew which way to go. I wandered back to the Saloon and tied my horse up. The barman asked me to tie it up outside instead, so I obliged.
"Barman. What have you got for a Lawman on the trail of an outlaw" I asked.
"This" he replied, gesturing with his middle finger.
"I need directions out of this town" I continued, ignoring his abuse.
"Follow the finger and fuck off, Sheriff" came the reply.
I marched over to the bar and grabbed the bar tenders hand, crushing his lewd gesture in my fist.
"Listen, cocksucker, I'm bein' mighty civil to y'all, so either give me what I want or I'll break your fuckin' arm off"
He laughed and smiled. I let his hand go and he brushed himsel' down.
He produced a whiskey and poured out two glasses. "On the house, Sheriff..."
I glared angrily at him.
"Sheriff SIR" he added.
"Forgive me, but I ain't used to such nobility in mah fine establishment" he said, slooing back a shooter of fire water.
A broad smile crept over my face, like a prairie dog huntin' out a parsnip. "Why thankya" I said, Toasting his generosity. "Now, perhaps you can help me. I'm lookin' for the way to Around Here"
"You want to go to Hell?" came the response.
I rose of mah stool like a jack-rabbit shittin' oysters, pulled mah pistol out and shot a round at the mirror behind the barman. "Dammit boy! Ah done told you to watch your mouth!"
"No Sheriff no!" he pleaded, "I didn't mean go to Hell, it's just that's what we locals call that good for nothin' place!"
I sat back down, warily placing mah smokin' pistol back in my holster. I could feel the warmth of a freshly shot round against my thigh. The warmth stimulated my weary muscles and I let out a bit of a guffer. He didn't notice.
"Go on..." I insisted, taking a sip from my whiskey and a lungful of mah own stink.
"Well... that's pretty much it. We call it Hell"
"And why, pray tell" I sneered, "do you call it Hell" hoping for a more detailed answer.
"Because" came a voice, "It is a place of evil"
I turned to face a man dressed head to toe in black. Black hat, black coat, black boots, black waistcoat, black shirt and black tie. I reckon this cowboy even had black undergarments, and not 'cos he's shit himsel' and let it dry on neither. He was a mean lookin' man with a moustache not to be reckoned with.
"Howdy stranger" I said, tippin' mah hat and standing to greet him, "Who might you be?"
"I'm a man who knows about terror is all" he approached the bar and stood face to face with me, "Reckon' I've seen places that would make you shit with fear, but none so terrifying as Around Here"
"That ryhmes. You some kind of poet?"
He ignored my question and helped himself to some whiskey. "Around Here is a place without God, a place where the Devil himself walks the streets. 'cept he ain't no Devil, he's a man. A myth. A legend"
"Likely!" I exclaimed, jumping of my stool.
"You don't wanna go to Around here Sheriff, you'll never leave alive" he warned.
"Son" I said, standing to face him and pushing him to arms length, "Spare me your yakkin' and set me on the trail to Around Here. I'm fixin' to run Likely out of town faster than you can piss an Oxo Cube, and I ain't scared of your tall tales"
"Sheriff, I can see you're a man of God and a man of conviction. I will help you, just so long as you swear when Likely puts a bullet in your brain for enterin' his town, your ghost don't come back and haunt me"
I glared at the stranger and tipped my hat forward. "The quicker you tell me the fastest trail outta here, the faster I'll come back and slap your damn moustache off for doubtin' me. I'll be back before you finish your damn drink."
The stranger looked me up and down one last time. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small piece of parchment. He placed it in my palm and headed for the door.
"I bid you goodbye Sheriff, I know we'll meet again"
I opened the paper. I shouted after the stranger, "What the Hell is this boy?"
He turned in the doorway, His tall slim silhouette filling the doorway. "You wanna know the quickest way to find Lightnin' Lance Likely? Follow me..." He paused a moment as I realised what had just happened.
"Likely!" I shouted, pullin out my pistol and shootin' the bastard so full of lead you coulda used him to strain biscuits.
"Fuck, Sheriff!" shouted the barman, collecting the paper from the floor "You gone and killed
Ian the travel agent. This is his business card".
Luckily, his secretary was in the office when I called and furnished me with the number for National Trail Enquiries. By nightfall I was headin' over the hill to Around Here.
Tomorrow I would meet Likely and Likely would meet his match. Then his match would kill him. With a fucking gun.
- Sheriff Justice J. Lawman