Brant Grisbee is away on fraternity leave.
* * *
"They call him The Bum. He roams the territory without a home. Cain't be killed, neither," Prado said.
He packed more tobacco into his maw, juice running down one side of his face. He offered some to his fellow deputy, Goldschmidt. The rookie declined. He was too busy cleaning his rifle. They were all busy cleaning their rifles, preparing for what was to come.
"Don't wanna hear none of that business. No legends come into my town and add another chapter to their story," growled Sheriff Gibson from across the room.
He stood six feet tall if he was a foot, yet his gait was not that of someone who stood tall over his peers - which, indeed he did - but rather as someone who was walking across a floor covered with infants trying not to smash in any skulls. He moved and spoke and simply existed in the space between clubbing civilization to death and trying to live within it like a civilized man. He hated giants. And a legend was a giant worth hating. And destroying.
"Take this bucket with you and start smashin' windows all over town. Collect all the glass you cain and bring it back here, y'hear?" he barked at Montero, his squatty lieutenant. There were always whispers amongst the townsfolk of Snakeston that Gibson and Montero were more than just "the law", but in the heat of battle lust for murder and lust for loins could be easily confused by a civilian.
But there would be no confusion in Snakeston on this day. The Bum was on his way to rescue his beloved Win. Rumor had it - Snakeston was known and reviled for its ability to rumormonger and cast aspersions on anyone they considered to be an outsider - that Winifred Cutter was engaged to The Bum up in Oregon Territory, but a land dispute led to her being kidnapped and kept as property. Some claim the kidnapper was Sheriff Gibson himself, done as a favor or perhaps as a repayment of prior debts to Mr. Trevor Cahill, the local sinkhole baron and richest man in the territory. However, all acknowledge that the Winifred Cahill who lives amongst them is not in Snakeston or with Mr. Cahill by acquiescence.
* * *
"You came alone. How country of you," said Mr. Cahill.
The afternoon sun beat down on the muddied town square. They knew this is where The Bum would stop first. This is where every hotshot with a gun or criminal interloper checked in when visiting Snakeston. A demonstration of strength; to puff out their chest; to establish dominance.
The Bum stared down Mr. Cahill as the sinker baron used his earwax to coat the ends of his curled mustachio. He knew he couldn't simply off the man who stole his beloved from him. He could not risk losing her. Not now when he was so close.
"Where she at?" The Bum choked out between snot rockets from each nostril.
Mr. Cahill looked back to Sheriff Gibson and his deputies, their presence giving him the confidence to say and do whatever he wished. A man with power and money needs only a little reassurance in the face of a superior physical force.
"If you're referring to my wife, then I'm afraid that's none of your business."
Suddenly, The Bum's horse whinnied. It's hooves had sunk into the muddied street.
"It seems as though you won't be leaving here unless it's by force. Get him, boys!" Cahill cackled, waving the law enforcement in The Bum's direction.
"KILL, EAT, POOP, KIIIIILL!" Sheriff Gibson roared as he charged The Bum.
The sinker baron had slowed The Bum in his quest, but The Bum had been in this situation before. Anybody who had ever faced The Bum discovered that when it came to firing his piece, he knew how to hide it well. They didn't see the gun come out until it was too late.
BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!
Four shots in on the charging law's hands and they were disarmed.
"I'm impressed, Bum. But he's not," Mr. Cahill teased.
The Bum arched an eyebrow just before he gasped. Stabbed in the back.
"You didn't know The Man With Two Names lived in Snakeston?" Cahill teased.
The Bum staggered forwarded, turned and looked back. Standing before him was another legend: The Man With Two Names. They called him that because he had one name at one time of his life and then changed it to another name later in life. And yet, it was never clear which side of society he stood on: right or wrong.
The Bum dropped to his knees, life and the hope of getting his Win fading.
BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!
A loud burst of violence and it was all over. The Man With Two Names drew no breath. Mr. Trevor Cahill had shed his mortal coil. Snakeston's law enforcement had been exposed to the ether.
The Bum looked up in the direction of the gunshots.
"HEY! I TOLD YOU I'VE GOT YOUR BACK, BUM!"
The Bum snot rocketed with joy. It was Sandoval, a friend for life.
"AND LOOK WHO I FOUND!"
And then The Bum saw her. It was his Win. He hadn't found her on his own, but he had found her all the same.