Governor T. William Smash waited quietly in the prison yard for the Warden to get back with the specific convict he had requested. Smash almost couldn’t believe his eyes; he had read in the local news paper that the sheriff and all his men had successfully captured the infamous outlaw otherwise known as Maenad. The guy was practically a demigod among the desert communities and seemed to be the answer to Smash’s unholy prayers. He recalled the headline again in his mind, “IBC Bank robber nabbed after five years on the Tarmac”. It had taken all the cities best men but they had done it. The blasted outlaw had been eluding the law for well over five years; killing here and stealing from providences there. Maenad was a perfect person for the job Smash was about to pull out in the blistering hot Tarmac Desert. He just had to convince Maenad to go out there and do it for him.
Smash looked around the bleak prison yard and studied the grim scenery. The place smelled like what you would expect to find at the bottom of a public outhouse; not to mention it looked like a muddy sink hole. A large Fifteen foot wall had been erected around the prison to keep all the convicts from escaping. In the center of the Wichita Correctional compound sat the thirty story holding barracks for all the lowlifes that had ever walked the face of the earth. Smash cringed in side at what the horrible place might look like on the inside. He imagined the walls would be oozing with bodily fluids and viruses. The whole bloody thing was made out of cement, brick, and wood for-pete-sake. It probable didn’t have air conditioning.
Smash wiped his mouth as a thick wooden door opened up on the other side of the ugly building. He watched as ten massive correctional officers exited the building in rows of two; they were surrounding a single man in handcuffs and shackles. They obviously were not taking any chances of having this particular convict escape from their prestigious compound. Maenad was just one of those guys that if you gave him an inch he would take a mile.
“Here he is” stated the Warden, “like you requested.”
Governor Smash smiled as his eyes locked on Maenad in the center of the guards. This outlaw looked as cunning as a desert fox and as charming as a rattle snake, “you have done well Bargo, what has Mr. Maenad been convicted off, might I ask?”
Bargo looked almost surprised at the stupid question coming from the governor; everyone within a hundred miles of anywhere knew what the bloody fool was guilty of. Maenad had left a big trail of dead bodies where ever he went, “Pretty much everything under the sun Governor. He’s not fit to breathe the air we breathe.”
“Then I am safe to assume that he is a threat to society and will be executed as soon as possible?”
Bargo laughed slightly, “I think you would be safe to assume that sir, but if you don’t mind me asking, why do you want to talk to him so much?”
Governor Smash paused for a second to choose his words carefully, “He has something I want Bargo,” he eyeballed Maenad pensively and wiped his mouth again to block the smell of the open prison yard. The outlaw was looking down at his tightly chained feet. His rough hand’s where close together in a praying fashion, “I would like to talk to the man alone if that is at all possible.”
Bargo looked taken aback by this odd request asked by the Governor. He shook his head in protest and held up his hands, “are you sure about that sir? You do know he is a highly experienced outlaw, right? He could kill you if you give him an inch.” He looked back over to Maenad with disgust gleaming brightly in his eyes, “he has only been here for a few days and has already beaten ten of my strongest guards brutally. I think he makes a game out of it all; you know, him being caught in all. He disserves nothing more than the firing squad.”
“I’ll be fine Bargo.”
Bargo Looked uneasy, “sir, I know you are a pretty big man, but you don’t understand Maenad isn’t like other guys…”
“I’ll be fine” persisted Smash, “tell your men to give us some space.”
Bargo knew better then to argue with the Governor; doing that would most certainly get him killed or suspended from his duties. He looked over to his men and gave them the signal to walk away from the convict. When his Men where far enough away he turned to Smash and scratched his head uneasily, “okay, he’s all yours, but if something happens to you then the Wichita Correctional compound is not responsible for it.”
“I know,” said Smash.
“Okay,” said Bargo as he turned and walked away.
Smash watched him go for a minute then turned to face Maenad. The roughed outlaw was still looking down at the ground. He was bare foot.
“I have a proposition for you outlaw.”
Maenad didn’t move a muscle, “with all due respect Mr. Smash, I don’t need your proposition. I don’t need anyone’s help.”
“If you don’t take my proposition you will die here?”
Maenad was quiet; the outlaw seemed sure of himself, Smash liked that in a man.
“I know why you kill people Maenad,” said Smash very bluntly “I know why you run around the Tarmac Desert killing people like you do. You have a vendetta to fill. You’re looking for someone in particular aren’t you; I can help you find that someone. I can help you get out of this pig sty and get revenge on that person you hate more than anything under the sun; in return you can help me out with my upcoming campaign.”
Maenad looked over to Smash. His eyes where almost unreadable but his tone was focused and sharp, “what makes you think I can’t do it on my own?”
Smash chuckled at the outlaw’s cockiness, “I don’t doubt you can do it on your own boy; heck you got this far. I am merely offering you and easer way out of here than escape. Heck I bet you came down here in the yard today to try and attempt one after our conversation.” he looked over to the high walls of the correctional compound and shook his head as if seeing them for the first time, “if you choose my way I promise you there will be lots of pay in it, you will have a clean slate in Wichita City, and you will get the much needed revenge you have been seeking all these years. It’s an all around better alternative.”
“Why should I believe that you are going to do this?”
Smash reached into his vest pocket and retrieved a single piece of white paper. He waved it in front of the outlaw as if he were surrendering, “right here boy lie’s the path to your mortal freedom. All I have to do is hand this baby over to the Warden and you are officially pardoned of all crimes in Wichita City. You will be released and sent on your marry little way. No one will hunt you down to kill you. No one will try to arrest you. No one will do anything to you without me saying it first.” Smash smiled, “in return you will do what I want.”
“What’s the job?”
Smash put the paper back into his pocket and brushed his vest off. He was liking what he was hearing now from Maenad, “the job is a certain train.”
“Which train?” asked Maenad.
“The Flying Bullet.”
Maenad stood quietly as if in thought.
“The best part about it is” said Smash almost devilishly, “J. Maxwell will be the conductor of the train; meaning we both win in this situation boy.”
Maenad nodded his head, “I’ll do it.”
“Excellent choice, I have your team of men already picked out for you, their waiting for you up in Balballing. They will help you get on the train and get that gold for me.”
“I work alone,” said Maenad.“Not on this mission you don’t” said Smash firmly as he singled for the Warden to approach with his men, “I want to make sure that my basis are covered. When that train goes down I want to be ready to take what is mine.”