Monday, February 13, 2012

Now Playing: Last Job
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Episode Five of Last Job

Episode Four concluded with:
             Both men skidded down the slope. Dehner palmed his Colt and smoked a shot into Tully’s chest seconds before the outlaw collided with the boulder Dehner had been crouched behind.
            Tully Brooks dropped his gun; a second explosion from Dehner’s pistol landed near the fallen weapon. The detective hurried onto his feet and retrieved Brooks’ Smith and Wesson. “You won’t be needing this anymore, Tully.”
            “‘Fraid you’re right.” The outlaw leaned his upper torso against the rock, then closed his eyes and slid downwards.

Episode Five


            Tully Brooks opened his eyes and thought he was in hell. Bright flames dominated his vision, and a terrible pain twisted through his body. But the cup handed to him changed his mind.
            “Guess they don’t serve coffee in hell,” Brooks spoke as he slowly sat up, accepted the cup, and leaned against the tree that was behind him.
            “If they do, it probably tastes like mine,” Rance Dehner said.
            Tully took a sip. “It might at that.”
            “Getting you off that mountain was no easy job,” Dehner looked back at the mountain as he sipped from his own cup. “Your wound is serious. Tomorrow morning I’ll ride into Hard Stone and bring back a doctor.”
            “What about Grinder?”
            “My horse, Grinder, I know he took a bad fall…”
            The anxious quality in Tully’s voice caused Dehner to speak softly. “He had a broken leg. I’m sorry.”
            Brooks looked away for a moment. “You know, Grinder was a little past his prime, shoulda got me a new horse. But…he was the only friend I had. Just couldn’t give him up.”
            The detective allowed his prisoner a few moments of silence, then helped him out with a question. “You seemed to be riding toward Hard Stone. Why?”
            Tully laughed carefully; he was in too much pain not to be cautious. “Funny… I’ve lived a pretty useless life… the one time I decide to do somethin’ decent, I end up gettin’ shot.”
            Dehner remained on his feet and looked at Tully curiously. If the prisoner wanted to talk, Dehner would listen.
            “How did you happen on my trail, Rance?”
            “The Lowrie Agency has what you might call a standing order on you.”
            Once again, Tully laughed softly. “Bet it’s from Wells Fargo,--those hold ups I pulled last year.”
            Dehner nodded his head. “I was finishing up a case in Denver when I got word you had been there. Decided to look into it. You’ve made a fool out of me in the past, Tully. Guess I got sort of a bug in my ear about capturing you.”
            “I was the fool in Denver, just went there to have a good time. Made one big mistake.”
            “What was that?”
            “Read a newspaper.” Tully Brooks paused for several moments. He tried to look calm but his body trembled. The outlaw seemed to be battling a terrible wave of pain.
            The wave passed, or at least subsided. “Tell me Rance, hear anything about a bank hold up in Hard Stone two weeks ago?”
            “Can’t say I have.”
            “That was my last job; helped a banker rob his own bank.” 
            Brooks enjoyed the surprised expression on Dehner’s face. He explained about his experience in Hard Stone.
            “Sounds crazy,” Dehner stared into the fire as if there might be some answers there. He looked back at Tully Brooks. “You said there was something in a Denver paper about all this?”
            “That’s why I was ridin’ back to Hard Stone,” Tully took a long sip of coffee and waited for it to settle. “The paper says they got a man in jail for pulling that robbery. George Conklin, the banker, has positively identified him as the guy who pulled the hold up.”
            “Sounds like there was more to your last job than you thought.”  Dehner gave his prisoner a cockeyed expression. “Don’t tell me you were going back to Hard Stone to confess to the crime!”
“Don’t know exactly, I sure don’t want Conklin gettin’ away with framin’ an innocent man.” Tully raised the cup of java to his lips, this time taking only a small sip. He seemed to be using the gesture to collect his thoughts. “Know why I became an outlaw, Rance?”

Tomorrow: Episode Six of Last Job