A Prairie Tale

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Chapter 2: The Sheriff

In the massive lands of the west, there is a small town but still busy and loyal. The town is called Serenity. A standard evening night where shopkeepers are selling their final wares for the day and when everyone else is at the saloon. Drinking, dancing and, of course, gambling.

Two men were at it again, playing blackjack over a woman. Both were on the whiskey and spoke in indistinct words.

“You always win!” said one of the men, slamming his whiskey glass on the table. He then added, “Another one, fire up!” Then the other man said,

“Lady Luck is on my… side….” Then he started putting his arm around the lady and the other around a scotch bottle.

“You’re stupid!” replied the other man. Then the man responded, “No… YOU are!”

A fight was waiting to happen, in the spectators of over 25 people. Then, one man entered the saloon and both men went quiet. He had a strong posture, and his badge indicates him as the local sheriff. Nothing was known about this man, except he is a hard, tough nut to crack and he is known simply as ‘Judge’. He doesn’t just make people obey the law. He is the law.

Judge went over to the 2 men fighting and roughly pushed the 2 men away. He said, “That’s enough you two. You all have homes to go to! Now get goin’! Don’t make me throw you out!”

Both men muttered. One went upstairs with the lady while the other left the saloon. Nevertheless, Judge did his job, and that was all that mattered to him. Because everything was sorted, everyone else in the saloon started talking again in their social friendly way.

Town Serenity was not troublesome, and bandit raids only happened every 6 months or so. But every time there was one, Judge (along with his 2 deputies) stopped it speedily, with him doing almost all the work.

Judge at first sight looks very weak to people. He is tall, thin and lanky with some muscle. Once you’ve met him, you’ll remember the name ‘Judge’. He may look frail, but has the hidden fighter in him.

In the saloon, he always asks for his special made drink, ‘Sentinel’s Shield.’ It is Whiskey and Tequila mixed along with a drop of lavender extract. Despite his ‘toughness’, he sips his drink slowly, catching all the flavour.

It got very dark, and everyone left the saloon quickly and quietly, not making noise or grief when they left. It was just Judge left in the saloon along with the barkeeper, Thomas Cartwright. They had a little conversation on their encounters.

“We are all glad you are putting this town together, Sheriff. Without you this town would probably not exist today. I thank you. Here, it’s on the house.”

Cartwright gave him a shot of his ‘Sentinel’s Shield’ drink and started using his tattered bar rag on the table. Judge then replied,

“Just doing what I am supposed to do. And don’t call me Sheriff. It’s Judge. So anyway, is business going ok?

“The usual. Customers pay, I serve the drink. We gather all types of people nowadays for a pick-me-up. I even saw some Indians and Bandits come in regularly. The bandits never raid the saloon; it is their only public place of ‘Refuge’.”

“You can keep a watch on them both. As long as they aren’t causing trouble, they are welcome. But if not, they’ll have to see the Judge. Also, how did you know they were bandits?”

“A new gang is popping up. You can spot ’em with leather helmets and suits. Strange appearances I can tell you. I think they were called the ‘Trigger Sons’ funnily enough. I saw a traveller come by and tell me about the bandits. You should investigate them. Of what I heard the Trigger Sons have a new leader. He’s very sly, and very dangerous.”

Judge finished his drink in a rush and left. He then said to Cartwright “I may check tomorrow. You take care now.”

He was back at his Sheriff’s office, and once again, was annoyed by the new prisoner. His name was Jonathan Whitby, and spoke in a true West Country accent, and had every moment of him in custody a living humour. Whitby was to be transported to Watts Jail last week. They were held back, and Judge had to cope up with him ever since.

“Done your job again, mister? What you goin’ at again?” Then Judge said aggravated,

“Shut up, Whitby!”

“Uh Oh! Judge is gettin’ all grumpy again!”

Whitby was known to be mad, frustrating and dumb. He got locked up in the first place by robbing a bank using a carrot and a chisel. Of course, Judge got him behind bars quick as a flash. Judge then said to Whitby, “I am off to bed. Are you sure you are getting some too?”

He was always notorious for being all hyperactive and yet not sleeping in days. Whitby was jumping around and responded to Judge,

“G’night Sheriff! Hope you don’t get any sleep. I’m always up allllllll night to cheer that borin’ ol’ life o’ yours!”

“Whatever, Whitby…”

Judge didn’t actually live near his sheriff’s office, with Jonathan Whitby around. He lived next door, but did still get the occasional natters. One time it got so noisy he had to ask Thomas Cartwright to stay at the saloon inn. Luckily, Whitby passed out from exhaustion; Judge went to his room in peace.

There was a slight breeze in the air. He ignored this and went to his old and robust bed. His house was small though, and was only 2 rooms wide. He lived through nights though, and rested quietly. Even his signature drink helped him to sleep.

Morning broke, and saw the usual activities. Travelling merchants are doing their business, farmers tending to their crops, and of course Judge keeping crime out of his town.

Unfortunately, there was another hold-up. 3 bandits made a raid and one of them took a valuable item off a trader. One was a rare-looking, golden statue of a vulture, and Judge quickly came out of bed from the noises he heard, got dressed and rushed over.

A bandit saw Judge and fired a few gunshots, but missed. Judge quickly took shelter behind a rock, but the bandits then took off with the golden vulture, having it tied to a horse’s back. Judge then emerged from his cover, got his trusty horse, ‘Aleman’ and took off chase toward the bandits.

From the attire they were wearing, it was the Trigger Sons, as depicted from Thomas Cartwright from wearing their leather helmets and full suits.

‘Aleman’ was not as strong, but could jump high and is very agile. Judge kept on making it faster, and nearly caught up to them. Over rocks and turf, Aleman rode. And then, Judge got face to face with the bandits, and they all were shooting at him reckless and rapid. Judge didn’t shoot back though, and waited for a crafty trick.

At last, a trap! The bandits were forced by Judge to enter a gap in a canyon, all of them were set-up and outsmarted by the wily sheriff.

But the bandits did the trick, not Judge. They lead him to their hideout, and Judge slowed down as the bandits returned with their prize. He wasn’t discouraged, and continued on foot to observe the camp and to stay hidden.

Despite being a bandit camp, they weren’t living like savages. They all lived in well-made huts and shanties. Judge hid behind a wrecked stagecoach, still remaining undetected. He still needed to retrieve that golden vulture idol back, so he had to take risks. All of this may have caused much trouble, but the idol seemed important to the owner, and was determined to get it back.

Judge made one final charge, and ran right into the camp, where 10 or more bandits were making their base camp. This was probably one of Judge’s most unwise decisions. All of the bandits were pointing guns, from muskets to revolvers, and a tall shadowy man in leather armour and a panama hat walked over to him, chuckling. He walked over casually to Judge and said,

“So you are the man they call ‘Judge’, huh? Here to exploit one of your deeds? You seem the courageous man, barging into this camp while all of us are gladly counting out our loot.” The man spoke firmly but with minor aggression.

“Just give the idol back.”

“Oh this?” The man picked up the vulture idol and showed it to him in success. “If you want this, you need to do a little ‘favour’ if you prefer it. Now listen here, chum.”

Both Judge and the man had a big conversation. He wanted Judge to assist in a bank robbery as a getaway driver. This demand was merciless! He had to make a decision, on his life…

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