Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Now Playing: Last Job
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Episode Six of Last Job

Episode Five Concluded with:

              “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?”

Episode Six

Dehner shook his head.
Tully answered his own question. “Boredom. Laziness. Never cared much for workin’ steady. Thought bein’ an outlaw would be excitin’ and fun. I was just gonna do it for a year or so, but it didn’t work out that way. I also thought I’d never kill anyone…”
“That didn’t work out either, did it?”
“No.” This time Tully only stared at his coffee. “I’m thirty-eight years old. With Grinder gone, I got no friends. I never had a home. I gotta pay anytime I want to keep company with a female. Maybe I thought goin’ back to Hard Stone would make up for some things.”
Brooks looked in the direction of the mining town. His eyes conveyed the deep sadness of opportunity delayed too long. “You and me got certain things in common, Rance.”
“Like what?”
“We’re in the same line of work, just on different sides. Both of us are always careful about not leavin’ much of a trail. Good idea, I suppose. But in the end, you’re a man who just disappears one day and nobody much cares.”
Dehner once again peered into the fire, this time to avoid having to reply to his prisoner. When he looked back, Tully Brooks had set down his coffee, his arms were crossed and pressing against his body.
“I got a favor to ask, Rance.”
“Go ahead.”
“I’m not gonna be up to doin’ much for a while. Could you ride into Hard Stone? Don’t want an innocent man to suffer for what I did.”
Rance steadied the outlaw and helped him to lie back down. Rance Dehner then opened his own bedroll and tried to get some rest. Sleep didn’t come easy. Dehner wondered if Tully’s words would also apply down the trail to him, “…you’re a man who just disappears one day and nobody much cares.”
The color of blood was again returning to the sky when Dehner awoke to cries of pain. He scrambled over to Tully Brooks, whose forehead was dotted with drops of perspiration. Rance tried to speak in a comforting voice. “I’m going down to the stream and get you a cold, wet cloth.” He took off his bandana. “We’ll bring down that fever, then I’ll get the doc.”
Tully listened to Rance’s departing footsteps and then began to cry. He cried for the Marshall he had killed two years back. He wept for a life he had never lived, for friendships never made and for the girl he had loved when he was fourteen and whose name he couldn’t remember.
Tully thought he heard Rance’s footsteps hurrying back and tried to stop the tears. He couldn’t let Rance see him bawling like a baby. That would be a terrible humiliation, he had to stop…
When the detective crouched over Tully Brooks, he knew the cold cloth would be of no use. He mistook the dampness on the outlaw’s face for perspiration. 

Tomorrow: Episode Seven of Last Job