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The Wildest West

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There I was, pinned carefully to the sheriff’s jacket, gleaming sharply. I had been polished the night before, so my 5 points looked deadly and dangerous. I was the sheriff’s star badge, his partner in solving crime.

Sitting quietly at the desk, the sheriff rustled through his paperwork. What a week it had been! No horse robbers, no drunken men singing songs against the tavern’s porch, not even a fingernail had been broken while we were on duty.

“Sure wish something would happen real quick.” The sheriff sipped his cold coffee, probably trying to savor the last bit of warmth left, hidden at the bottom of the mug. I nodded, agreeing. The sheriff couldn’t see me do it, of course. He almost never looks down at me. Wonder if he could feel it, I thought.

While I was off daydreaming, a shout rose down the street. The sheriff jumped up, and rushed to the plain wooden door, finally excited something was happening, but naturally concerned about the townspeople’s safety.

The heavy door in our way was thrown open, and together, we charged out to the porch steps. A woman carrying a baby ran quickly past, and a young boy with dirty red hair came sprinting up to meet my partner and I.

“Sheriff Good!” Heavily heaving against the heat in the day, the boy gasped for breath. “He’s back! Black Bart, sir! He got me boss up at the bank tied up real good, with a gun at his head! He told me to come, me being his errand boy, to get you real quick, and boy, I came quick!”

“Thank you, sonny, I’ll come straightaway!”

So the sheriff and I hurried like there was no tomorrow. Panting, we arrived at the bank, which was between the barber shop and tavern. Ol’ Steve, the barber, was peering out of the front window, while drunkards inside the tavern paid no attention to us at all, whatsoever. Small groups of people were gathered together, talking in hushed tones well out of our way and the danger inside the upcoming building. Sheriff Good and I marched up, and the talking stopped altogether. We were a few feet away from the porch steps when Black Bart stormed gleefully out, obviously pleased with the days’ work.

“Hold it, Bart. You ain’t gonna get away that easy.” Sheriff Good looked determinedly into the robber.

“Yeah, and who’s gonna be crazy enough to stop me?” Bart retorted, a wicked smile spreading across his face, a glint of mischievousness in his eye.

“I darn will,” cried an old man, drunk and oblivious to what he was saying, sitting on a bench outside the bank. He stood up, staggered towards the 3 of us, and began punching his fists lazily into the air, as if he could hurt someone and become the hero in his wildest dreams. The old man stumbled, then passed out, sprawling on the floor. Bart kicked him, and he rolled down the steps into the dust.

“I challenge you to a shooting duel. If I win, I keep the loot and go free, freer than any man alone in the heavens. But if ya’ll win, you’re the hero and get the cash. Last man alive is the lucky man who wins. Agreed?” Bart challenged.

“All right. Go ahead.” No man backs down from a shooting duel once started, and I felt the tension and excitement rise above the dust.

We came together, the sheriff and I, against the robber. Then we turned and took 10 steps, walking slowly but surely on the unpaved road. I encouraged the sheriff, giving him words of praise and advice. He of course didn’t acknowledge or thank me for my kind words, but looked confident none the less.

Raising a pistol, the robber took aim and fired. Sheriff Good jumped aside, but the bullet still grazed his shoulder. I gasped, shocked. Bleeding slightly, the sheriff nursed his wound, trying to stop the flow of the red substance.

Looking at Bart, the sheriff took aim carefully, and pulled the trigger. Bart, still in shock from actually hitting Sheriff Good, didn’t move. He wasn’t an experienced shooter, which was surprising, since he was a wanted criminal. The bullet plunged gracefully into his heart, and he fell over, dead before he hit the ground.

“Is that it?” The judge asked abruptly, having us come back to the present. I nodded, having just finished my testimony against Black Bart. We were in an old courtroom; all the testimonies of witnesses were given. “Thank you, then. Sheriff Good, you may, uh, pick up your badge and leave the room while the jury makes a decision.”

My partner and I left, hoping and praying that we would not be charged of murder without a cause. When we were called back into the old courtroom, the judge spoke.

“Sheriff Good, the jury finds you not guilty of murder, having been protecting the people and money of the town from a dangerous bandit who was wanted for crime. Thank you.”

The judge and jury began to clap and cheer, and I smiled. Another robber stopped, and the people of the town out of harm’s way. For now.





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