4th Excerpt from “WESTERN LEGEND”
For Those Who Came In Late: Told in “false document,” the story of “Western Legend” details a chance encounter among a motley group of aging historical legends in the Autumn of 1899, their afternoon spent entertaining adventurous children with tales of the Wilder days of the West — and an astonishing sequence of events that play out over the next 24 hrs.
The story so far: a young Irish immigrant has been terrorized by a full company of horse rustlers. The Town Sheriff, and his friend and former Texas Ranger, John Armstrong, have discussed what they believe to be the current situation. Armstrong has cabled the State Capital for assistance.
The following is a brief excerpt from:
FOUR — AN EXCITEMENT ON MAIN
Down the street, the Sheriff glanced up from reading a small piece of paper, just in time to spot Armstrong separate from the Earps and begin jogging his way. In no time, The Major stepped back up onto the sidewalk next to his old friend, and appeared overjoyed with the current development. As the Earps and the crowd passed, heading to the Saloon, Armstrong gave the Sheriff the news, “Messrs. Virgil and James Earp, respectively. State Capital sent them here in response to my request. Can you believe that?”
“Uh, huh…right,” the Sheriff grumbled, suspicious, “and Frank James?”
“It’s coincidence, Alton — nuthin’ to get unsettled about.”
“Hope you’re right,” the Sheriff said, handing Armstrong the paper, “Barkeeper just passed me this note. Tom Horn just walked in his saloon and sat down.”
Armstrong quickly scanned the note, blinked in surprise, and looked down the sidewalk toward the Saloon. He could see the figure of the Barkeeper rushing back to his saloon, while throwing constant, nervous looks over both shoulders the whole way there.
The Sheriff commented, derisively, “You don’t s’pose State Capital sent ‘em all here, do you?”
Armstrong threw his friend a petulant look.
Behind them, Miss Spinners snuck past the men, yet again — yet again, having overheard everything. Not a moment later — just as Virgil and Jim transferred from the gawking crowd, and into the Saloon — she hoofed it past the crowd in a most conspiratorial manner, and gossiped in heavy whisper, “…And I just heard Tom Horn’s in there as well; I think there’s a-gonna be a fight amongst ‘em — clear out, fast!”
Reaction from the crowd was varied. Some took off like a shot, some voiced disbelief. Others cried out in mock horror, while the rest merely engaged in further gossip.
And beneath it all, the adrenaline level of the Four Boys shot sky-high.
“Let’s go see Frank James,” J.D. said.
“J.D! Tom Horn is right in there!” Mahlon pointed at the saloon.
“ — And Frank James’ll prob’ly head straight for the saloon, J.D. — they always do that!” Foster begged.
“ — But it’s FRANK JAMES!!” J.D. cried out in desperation.
There was a pause. Then all four darted; with Mahlon commenting in exit, “Let’s go catch him!”
In a journal entry written the following day by a Francis Hall: “The previous morning, and from the second floor window of my little room, I stood with my backside upon the sill and watched as some young boys — I’d say between nine and twelve years, navigated a heavily trafficked street, like mice scurrying a live mine-field. And they come perilously close to getting stomped on by horse, wagon, and all manner of crowds, every step of the damn way.”