Chapter 1: A Myth or Reality
It was a typical day at the ColtBit Cantina. The customers were embroiled in card games and wild conversations, the saloon girls were dancing, the drinks
were sliding down the desks to thirsty regular patrons and gold prospectors. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Jack Cobalt, the saloon's best and most famous customer was seated at a table with three of his best friends, Frank Smith, Bill Welmington, and Jim Tuckerfort. Jack was a middle aged man with the largest horseshoe mustache of any ruffian this side of anywhere. He had snow-white hair and unequivocally piercing blue eyes.
He was known for his peculiar and fantastic tales of adventure and intrigue. Bill was a young prospector always trying
to get as many minerals and deposits of silver and gold, or anything he could get his hands on. He always wanted to believe that Jack's stories were true, as he believed himself to be something of a legend, always in search of danger and mystery. Frank was a skeptical bearded old man who didn't believe Jack's stories at was also a famous poker player. Jim Tuckerfort was silent most of the time, and sported a handlebar mustache and two dull glassy gray eyes. He owned a train station, or so he told people. Jack was in the middle of one of his wild tales, when the waitress came over to the table, offering drinks. She was blonde, perky, possessed beautiful invigorating green eyes, and wore a blue bonnet and matching dress.
"Swirling tornado for ya'll?" asked Sally.
"No thanks, we've got a live one" replied Frank. Sally, the waitress, being a vivacious type began giggling up a storm, as she retreated to the kitchen.
Meanwhile, Jack continued his story. It was a story about a man who claimed to face off in a gun duel with the same man every day, killing him daily in an endless loop.
"The wife, now she doesn't believe him," said Jack, as he was in the middle of telling a story. "She been thinkin' he made the whole thing up as a cover story
to prevent her from finding out about a rendevouz with a soiled dove from the saloon nearbye" he added. Frank chimed in, laughing.
"It'd be aces and eights for me if I told a story like that to anyone" said Frank. Jack got cross with Frank suddenly, and began pointing his index finger at him.
"I told you, no more wiseass comments from you. I'm tellin ya right now, John Bucksworth could make poker players fold a hell of a lot
more than their cards just by looking at em. You think I'm making this up go check the papers for yourself" said Jack, pointing at a wooden newspaper holder
near the double doors. Jim, Bill, and Frank all glanced at each other briefly, pondering Jack's statement.
"Jack, what I've got here for ya'll is a proposition. I go over there and check the papers and see if your story's in it. If the story ain't in those papers,
I'll pour beer on all of yaz and head for home. If the story is in those papers, I reckon I'll lease you my ranch for a hefty but reasonable monthly price.
What do you say?" asked Frank.
"Frank, I would not enter into a deal like that if my life depended on it" said Jack.
"Ya'll stay neighborly with each other now," said Sally as she walked by carrying a tray. Frank thought over Sally's words.
"Nah, you're right Jack. It was just a joke. Now let me see this here poodle poop," said Frank, getting up from his seat and steadily walking on over to the newspapers. The three men watched as Frank took out a paper and began chuckling amongst themselves, each expecting an impending beer bath. But Frank could not stop staring at the paper. He wouldn't come back to the table. He just kept staring.
"Guess the cattle finally came back home," said Jack.
"What do you mean?" asked Bill.
"I think he means he's having a moment" said Jim. Sally came over.
"Your friend alright? I can always hustle up a doctor for ya'll if ya need one" said Sally, her left hand on her hip, leaning against a keg.
"Frank? He's a little old for that kind of stuff" replied Bill.
"No, don't bother with a doctor. I was tellin' him what he dun thought was a tall tale, and he just found out it was anything but that" said Jack.
"The day one of your stories turns out true is the day I quit my job and marry ya" said Sally, winking at Jack.
"Better buy a weddin' dress, darlin" said Jack.
Frank came back to the table, beer glass in hand. He took one hearty swig down his gullet. But he took another huge sip and then began letting the beer drip out of his mouth like a leaking faucet. He then began pouring beer all over himself.
"Hooo-wee. It's good to be alive. So good to be alive" said Frank in a high pitched troubling almost insane tone.
Frank then tossed the newspapers on the table violently, took out his pistol, spun it in
the air and then safely put it back in his holster.
"HOOOOOO-weeee! Good to be alive" Frank said again, as he marched out the double doors.
"The story...it was actually true" said Bill.
"I own a railway station," said Jim. "Heh-ha-heh" he added. Then Jim left the building, laughing. But Bill, being of an extremely curious mind, stayed.
"There was one key-detail I left out of the story, son" said Jack.
"What's that?" asked Bill.
"This is somethin' I usually keep between me and Sally, cuz you know how popular I am in this joint, I don't want the word to get out, but I knew the man" said Jack.
"What?" asked Bill.
"Yeah you heard me, young man. I knew him. He wasn't exactly the kind of man you'd ever wanna meet in a dark alley let's put it that way" replied Jack.
"What makes you think you can trust Sally?" asked Bill.
"Oh, I can trust her, believe me. Believe you me I can trust Sally, she's as close to me as beer in a barrel" replied Jack.
"So then, who was this John guy in the papers? Is he still alive?" asked Bill.
"Oh, some say he is, but he's not. It's an American legend that resurfaces time and time again. For being a tough guy he was actually a bit of a jokester, a tall tale teller, you could sit down and have a beer with him and never guess he was the kind of person he was, but he was" said Jack.
"His face is kind of blurred out," said Bill. "Why do you suppose that is?"
"Hell if I know," said Jack, leaning back and taking a puff from a chocolate cigar. "I do know one thing, it's good that he's gone, I bet he's happier now" he added.
"He looks a tiny bit like you Jack, if I squint mah god durn eyes hard enough" said Bill.
Jack gave Bill a very keen firm look in the eyes, and said "You know full well what I mean don't ya son? He's happier now"
Sally walked by and gave Bill a sharp and sly look "Ya know, I thought Jack was dog gurn plumb crazy a long time ago, but he came through for me so many times" she said. She continued, "No one can ever tell me there ain't no dog gum gold in Texas, there was at one time, ya'll didn't hear about it much, would take a fracture in time or a miracle caused by God to bring it back"
Jack and Bill left the saloon. It was night, the town was quiet.
"So, you think you know all there is to know about John Bucksworth?" asked Jack.
"Yeah, I-I-I think so. I think so, I think I know all I need to know, I don't need to know more" said Bill.
"Good, you don't want to know more. He's a happier man now, as I said before" said Jack.
"Yeah, I suppose so" said Bill.
"What's that? You suppose so? That isn't my kind of language boy. Now you've gotta hear the full story" said Jack.
"The full story?" asked Bill.
"Yes, John was a rancher, his ranch was going to be taken by the government to build a railway station" explained Jack.
He began telling a tale, in the middle of the ghost town.
It all began with a rancher and his wife. The rancher's name was John Bucksworth, his wife Bonnie Bucksworth. John was a young man with black hair and blue eyes,
his wife was blonde with green eyes. She usually wore a bonnet and a blue dress. One day, Bonnie was churning butter, while John was out tending to the animals.
John was feeding his horse Swift Pilfer some oats and carrots.
"Here ya go Swifty, good girl" said John. When Bonnie had finished, she approached her husband.
"What do you say we both give Swift Pilfer a run?" asked Bonnie.
"Yeah, why not? Let's do that" said John, putting his arm around his wife. "Course I gotta do up the saddle and tie the cinch"
To be continued...