As the scarlet sun rose over Grange Hill, ah could see Around Here in mah sights. Mah trusty horse, Turpentine, had grown weary on the long trail from Excitement an' I'd been forced to abandon her a few miles back. She was strong, but unlike me she didn't have the adrenalin rush of vengeance in her veins. She had horse blood. I had left her in a layby.
Months later ah would pass the same spot to see some varmints had smashed out her eyes, stolen her teeth and legs - left her on blocks and set her alight.
Ah had been on the trail of the notorious Lightnin' Lance Likely for almost a month now. My journey had taken many wrong turns, dead ends an' detours. The map I'd been given was badly outdated an' covered much unchartered land. I had had to fight bandits, pull my horse out of quicksand an' faced starvation. The scorchin' heat beatin' down on my dehydrated skin. Plus I'd had to stop for a shit every couple of miles.
I staggered into town weary, sore and tired. But Justice J. Lawman is not a man who is easily beaten. Every achin' step my legs took brought me closer to Likely, every day spent burning under the searin' heat was fueled by the knowledge that Likely was nearer to that single bullet with his name on.
Around Here was deserted when I arrived. I ran to a trough full of muddy water and splashed my singed skin. With bleary eyes I cased the town that lay before me. A sign hung above the entrance: "Around Here: est 1848" 'neath the peeling once-white letters someone had scrawled "turn back now".
Beneath the welcome message hung a sign stating the town's population. It had been adjusted so many times you couldn't read it, but with every fresh addition the population had lowered. I knew these settlers hadn't moved away, but met their maker at the hand of an outlaw.
This God-forsaken town had a curse an' it's name was Lightnin' Lance Likely. I was here to lift that curse and free the poor souls who'd stayed in this settlement out of fear for what might happen if they tried to leave.
To my left stood a row of dilapidated houses, each with more windows broken than not, each with enough burnt in gunshot wounds to kill a really big dinosaur fox. Ghosts of a thousand conflicts this town has had to suffer. That, or termites.
Beyond the houses stood the Saloon. The Saloon was roaring with the angry noise of villainy at large, the temptation was to storm in and shoot every man dead for incase he were Likely, but I walked quietly by in order to take in the rest of the town first.
Dead bodies littered the steps of the Court House, a fresh kill a couple a days ago maybe, Likely's handy work no doubt. I payed my respects by removing my hat.
I then removed my trousers and took a whizz again' the side of the buildin' while no-one was lookin'.
The Post Office was a sorry sight. I could see the old buildin' had seen more robberies than it had ever seen parcels. The Postmaster had put up a sign sayin' so in the one remaining window.
The barbershop had long since been burnt out, the poor hairclipper musta given Likely a cut he didn't much care for and Likely took it out on his livelihood. Or the barber left a hairdryer on overnight. Either way, he ain't gonna cut any hair in this town in a while. He was lyin' cold dead on the porch, head shaved and with a bullet in his skull. Which totally ruined his hairline.
A couple more houses and then a Livery and an Ironmonger's that I knew dealt solely in stolen horses and hot pistols. The General Store had closed outright, the lootin' that had clearly stripped it's shelves had no doubt happened before the owner up an' left. The only flourishin' business in this town was the kind of place you find scum; the Saloon, the Tobacconist and Whorehouse.
The Tobacconist and Whorehouse was a mighty strange name for a Saloon.
Reynold's Hardware had a sign boasting the various things on offer inside, every one had slowly been crossed off with the word "guns" replacin' 'em.
As I stood in the town square I looked up to the clock tower to set my watch.
"Lookin' for a good time Cowboy" came a sultry voice from behind me.
I reached for my pistol, by which I mean gun not my cock, and turned to find the voice. In front of me stood the ugliest whore I've seen this side of Uglybitch Canyon.
"Cuz if ya are, I'd advise ya ta leave"
She smiled a grin so full of gaps I'd have thought it was a piana. Her face was battered and bruised, her dress tattered and torn, her nosebleed dripped seductively down between her lopsided jugs. She had rickets, scurvy and gout, as well as a thousand other diseases the eye couldn't detect.
"Mighty late for a lady to be out" I said, tipping mah hat.
"It's 7am in the morning" she gargled.
"Mighty early for a lady to be out" I adjusted, tipping my hat once again.
The ugly whore spotted my uniform and badge. 'You a Lawman?" she inquired.
"Why, you gonna give me a discount?" I snarled, as I turned away from her.
A searin' pain in my little lawgivers followed as the wretched hag introduced a finely laced boot to my groin from behind. I fell to the ground clutching my bollocks and howling like a coyote on a day trip to France.
As she turned to lollop away I raised my pistol from it's holster and shot the ground before her. "Lady, you just assaulted an Officer, I aughtta shoot you where you stand".
"Looks to me like you ain't gonna shoot nothin' for a while" she sneered, lowering her gaze to my swelling saddlebags.
I let her go and continued my mission. I watched as she entered the Saloon. She'd give a warnin' of a new Lawman in town to every Whiskey-drunk savage inside. I had to work fast.
I needed to procure me a new identity before Likely got wind of my arrival. I looked around for a tailors.
Miraculously I spotted one in the corner of town, the window was full of dead men's clothes, no doubt stolen from their still-warm bodies as they twitched in the noonday sun. He was profiteering from Likely's outlaw ways, but I had no time to argue with my conscience. I headed straight toward the tailor, it was just next to Starbucks.
- Sheriff Justice J. Lawman.