Good morning, evening, afternoon, or whenever it is when you are reading this reply, Dusty,
[Now. Where on Earth should this story begin?]
[I guess the easy answer is in the beginning and all that, but you'll find out how I began pretty soon.]
[Alright, alright, calm down. I know where to begin this here story. The point where my story really begins.]
Hooves beat across the ground as a man rode into town. His silk hat kept the sun out of his eyes as well as the evony hair done up in dreadlocks. His green eyes that matched his green jacket and trousers gazed over to the sign at the town's entrance, Dusty Banks was the town's name. When his brown mustang entered the town, he could see the people look at him. One look, however, and everyone repulsed at the sight of him. Men eyed him as he made his way down the street, women grabbed their children and pulled them inside.
Was it because of the grin he couldn't help but hide? The scar under his eye? Maybe the six-shooters hanging from his holsters?
The man would bet that it was the color of his skin that had them so spooked.
[I'm quite use to people not liking me because of my darker complexion. Suppose I shouldn't be so tolerant of it, but that's just how it tends to go.]
When he got to the town's saloon, he tied his horse to a pole and told it, "I'll be back with your grub in a sec," and headed inside. When he went inside, men continued to look at him. The jovial playing of the piano player had stopped as he too turned to see the black man walk in. They were stunned to see the black man just walk into the bar without any sort of fear or concern. He waltzed onto the front of the bar and took a seat on the stool as the barkeeper looked at him. The two stared in silence, the barkeeper scanning the scared-faced man as he just stared back with a jolly grin on his mug.
"Is there a problem, sir?" The black man asked calmly as a chuckle left his lips.
"Only if ya can't pay."
"That's a relief." He chuckled some more, "was worried I had found another bar that wasn't too welcoming." The black man's smile grew as he dug into his coat pocket and pulled out a fistful of dollars. He slammed the money on the counter and said. "one sarsaparilla for me and oats for my horse out front."
"A, ahem, sarsaparilla?" The bar tender and cowboy could hear the snickering from the other men on the counter as he looked at the man.
"Didn't stutter, sir." The green cowboy gave a nod as the barkeep took up the money and got to work on fixing his order. He set down a bottle and poured the black man a glass of the sugary soda before calling over to the still stunned piano player.
"Billy! If you're not gonna play, go feed this man's horse!"
"R-right, sir!" The player got up from his seat and headed to the back room.
"It's the brown mustang. Can't miss 'em." The black man called over to the employee as he grabbed his soda and started to drink. He ignored the constant jeering from the men around the bar as he drank down his sarsaparilla in one chug. He looked to the barkeep as he grinned a grin that made the man look uneasy. "Ya got a mighty fan establishment here, partner."
"I, er, thank you?" The barkeep was confused by the sudden conversation that he was starting up.
"It must be nice. Running a saloon. Having full reign of the operation. Serving customers in a town where everybody knows your name. It must be nice." The black man tipped his hat as he said, "do you know what I do for a living?"
"I'm afraid to ask."
"I'm a bounty hunter."
The word made the air thicken with tension. The bar tender swallowed the lump in his throat as the black man chuckled at his discomfort. "I'm actually on my way to the next town over. I've got a warrant for the arrest of another fellow and I just stopped by for a quick drink and to feed my horse. I'm sure by now ol' Spade will have finished his own food by now."
the barkeep cleared his throat, "I mean, if that's true, then why are you sticking around here then?"
"Well, cause I'm looking for more than just a soda." He tipped his hat as he asked the barkeeper, "is there anything you know about the Diamondback Gang?"
The barkeeper's face turned pale, his face flushing as he nearly fell over onto the ground. "W-why, uh, w-why would you be askin' a question like that?"
The green cowboy smirked, "oh, you know, I'm just asking a simple question." He turned his head from the bartender to see two men walking over to him. One was a large man. He towered at 7'0 and when the green cowboy gazed at him, he could see he was missing some teeth from his maw. He looked to the other, a much skinnier and lankier man who stood eye-level to him at 5'10.
"Ya shouldn't go around askin' questions like that, nigga." The large man growled at the black man as the two of them gave a sinister scowl.
[Now, you could say I was poking my head in places that it didn't belong.]
"Now come on now, fellas. There's no need to make this ugly now." He flashed a smirk, "well, uglier than it already is."
[And I was.]
The two stopped their grinning as scowls painted their faces. The larger man grabbed the green cowboy by his black undershirt and picked him up out of his stool. "What did you just say to me, nigga?" The burly man growled as he pulled the man up to his face.
"What, about how you look like something the cat dragged in and threw back out or how your breath is so bad, not even the flies will go near your mouth?" The black man swung his leg and struck the larger man's knee with a fierce kick, causing him to drop back onto the ground. As he knelt down to cradle his knee, the black man gave him a hard uppercut, striking his jaw just as he was coming down and knocking him off his feet and crashing onto the ground.
"Holy hells! Red! Yous okays, Red?!" The scrawnier man lisped and spat over the saloon floor as he hurried over to the larger man as he tried to help him up off the ground.
"What are you waiting for, ya idiot?! Shoot the varmint!" Red picked himself off of the ground as he and his scrawny sidekick pulled out their six-shooters. Before they could fire their colts, the cowboy jumped behind the bar as he and the barkeep ducked to avoid getting shot. Beer taps were shot as the drink poured onto the floor below.
The black man sighed, a grin still on his face as he pulled out his own revolver. He pointed it at the bartender and told him, "don't even think about it." Without even looking, he knew the man was reaching for the shotgun he kept under the counter. The barkeep put his hands up as he smirked to him, "you still got questions to answer."
"Look, sir, I-I don't know nothin'! And just who the hell do ya think you are?!"
[I love it when they ask me that.]
The black man smirked, "I'm your Huckleberry."
[Huckleberry 'Huck' Fox.]
He gave a mad cackle as he popped from behind the counter, pulling out his second revolver as he fired a shot at each of the men who had tried to fire at him. The shots impaled their chests as blood was spilled, the two of them falling onto the ground as their eyes dimmed. When the two fell dead, Huckleberry could see more men drawing their revolvers and getting up from their seats in the bar.
"Well shit." Huckleberry ducked back down under the counter as more bullets flew over head, keeping him pinned as more bottles were shattered and drinks were spilling onto the ground below. Huckleberry looked over to the astonished barkeep as he chuckled, "don't ya worry, I can pay ya back once I get the money." The bartender's heart jumped from his chest when he saw a bullet pierce the counter and as he hit the ground. His hands covered his head as he started mumbling a prayer.
Huckleberry snickered giddily, quickly pulling out a few bullets and reloading his revolvers before he moved from under the counter. When he popped back up, he jumped on top of the counter. With his right gun, he started to pop caps, his bullets all landing true into the heads of his targets. Six bullets were fired in rapid succession, six men falling onto the ground as five more pointed their guns for Huckleberry.
Huckleberry leaped from the counter and rolled across the ground, avoiding the constant fire from the bar patrons as he knocked over a table to duck behind.
"Get your black ass out and fight like a man, nigga!"
"Yeah, no. I kind of like not being full of lead." Huckleberry laughed at his own poor excuse for a joke as bullets flew over head. Huckleberry looked around from behind his table, looking at the men on the other side of his table off of a bottle's reflection. He could see the men, as well as the chandelier and ceiling above them.
Using the bottle to aim, he pointed his revolver at the corner of a wall and fired a shot. The bullet bounced off of the wall just right so it would bounce off the wall and struck the chain that hung the light fixture. The unlit lantern fell from above and crashed atop of the group, knocking two of the men unconscious as blood spilled from the wounds on their bodies.
"You slimy son of a bitch! You killed my brother!" One of the men shouted at the top of his lungs as he tried to fire more shots at the pinned cowboy. The sounds of gunfire were replaced by a loud clicking when he pulled the trigger. His associate had tried firing his own shots, but got the same results. They both had used up their ammo. They both hurried to reload, but that was when Huckleberry sprang from behind his cover and fired two shots with his left gun. The shots hit both men in the chest, killing them both as he pointed his gun back at the barkeep, who had regained his composure and was holding a shotgun in his hands.
"Now, what did I tell ya about thinking about it?" Huckleberry smirked as the barkeeper shook where he stood. The barkeep grit his teeth as Huckleberry told him, "now, why don't you put that down before my trigger finger gets itchy?"
"D-don't think you can intimidate me here, nigga! When the sheriff gets here, he'll have your hide!" The bartender shouted at him as he complied with Huckleberry's orders.
"Oh, I wouldn't be so confident about that." He walked closer to the bar, his gun still pointed at the bartender as he dug into his coat pocket and dug out a small black book. He put the book on the counter and opened it up to a page. "Your name wouldn't happen to be Gus Knot, now would it?" The barkeep bent over and looked at the page. He felt his heart stop when he looked at the page's content. It had his name, his fingerprints, information on him, and a reward for $250.
It was a Wanted Poster! Gus flipped through the book a few pages and saw the men who were in this bar, who all pointed their guns at Huckleberry and were now all dead on the ground had their own wanted posters as well. His palms got sweaty as he trembled.
"Ya see here, Mr. Knot, you and all of your little buddies here are wanted men in Texas County. I'm sure you and your buddies here thought that running all the way to Dixie would cover your hides, but it looks like that didn't quite work out, huh?"
"L-look, pal, w-we're all worth $250 each! Th-there's no need to turn us all in when you already got 13 of us!" Gus swallowed hard as Huckleberry pressed his gun against his forehead.
"Tryin' to weasel out of the law's hand again, eh?" Huckleberry's smirk took on an entirely new meaning for him. Gus would swear that his smirk was that of a hungry wolf that was getting ready to bite into his prey's neck. The barkeep was too scared to breath as he squeezed his eyes shut and braced for the worst. But instead of hearing gunfire, he heard Huckleberry talk. "Boy, you're shaking pretty bad. So how about this: you answer my question about the Diamondback Gang and I'll let ya go." He took his gun away from his head as he put it back into his holster. "When the sheriff gets here, I'll turn in your dead buddies and not mention you at all."
"O-oh God. Th-thank you!" Gus broke out into tears of joy as Huckleberry tapped the counter. Gus was a sobbing mess, but me managed to croak out, "wh-what do ya n-need from me?"
He answered, "I'm looking for the head of the gang."
"H-heads? I-I don't know nothin' about," the crying man shrieked when Huckleberry smashed his hand onto the counter. Huckleberry's confident smirk turned into an angry scowl as he breathed hard.
"Morris Humphrey. AKA Morris 'Bullettooth' Humphrey. AKA Bullettooth Humphrey. AKA Bullettooth Diamondback. These names ringing any bells with you?!"
"No! No! I-I don't know 'em!" Gus was starting to hyperventilate, "w-we weren't in the family or anything. W-we just did a few jobs, that's all! I don't know a thing about the Diamondbacks!"
[That was my only lead to finding those five, and now I didn't have anything except freshly fired guns. Oh, and a few bounties.]
Huckleberry snorted as he got up and off the counter. "Looks to me that lead I got about ya'll was just a wild goose chase then." He gave a jovial chuckle, "don't I feel silly."
"S-silly, right..." Gus coughed and hacked pathetically as the sound of galloping could be heard outside. Gus clenching his shirt as his heart started skipping beats.
"You can calm down now.." Huckleberry reached into his book and ripped out the page with Gus's poster on it. He tore it up into pieces and let the shreds blow into the wind. "Never let it be said that Huckleberry Fox didn't keep his word."
Then the shower kicked the door in and shouted, "alright! Nobody-good lord!"
[The worst part of the job is always explaining to the sheriff that I wasn't just putting holes in innocent people.]
The sheriff tried to shake the shock of the scene as he pointed his double-barreled shotgun at Huckleberry. "You there, shoe shine! Don't you even breath!"
"Shoe shine? Really now, sheriff? That's uncalled for."
"I said shut it!" He marched over to Huckleberry, "who do you think you are, shooting up these nice folk in my town?!"
"Well, I'm your Huckleberry." He chuckled at his joke as he said, "and I'm just a bounty hunter." He nudged his head towards the book on the counter, "if you'd just take a look at the marked pages, you'll see that these men had warrants for their arrest. I was just doing my job, sir."
The sheriff snatched the book as he looked over the pages. Sure enough, after looking over pages, and at the dead bodies that littered the ground, he begrudgingly admitted, "everything checks out."
"I thought so." Huckleberry's smirk got under the sheriff's skin as he put his shotgun down and handed Huckleberry back his book. "Come down to the bank with me and we can turn these bounties in for your reward."
"I'd very much appreciate that." Huckleberry grinned as he followed the man out of the bloody bar
[At the end of the day, my trail had ran cold and my hunt for the Diamondback Family would have to start all over.]
[But that didn't matter to me. I was determined. I know I'm gonna find 'em.]