Streets of Old Laredo: Episode 3 – The Hanging Judge
October 26, 2006
(Well, last we left ‘em, Tex and ‘ol Seamus were celebrating Tex’s prevalence over the most Provacating of Equines , Bowlegweemiss, when a whole mess of big city lawmen done rode up on them. Or you could start at the beginning.)
The rangy marshal rode forward a little. “M. Barstow, you wanted in Carson City for more crimes than I care to mention.”
“My name’s Tex,” said M. Barstow indignantly.
“Your name’s ‘bullet-riddled corpse’ if’n you don’t shut your mouth and keep your hands up,” replied the marshal, emphasizing his point with his well used rifle.
Now Tex weren’t the sort to let any man speak at him such, but he weren’t no fool neither, so kept up his hands and said real casual like, “Sorry fellers, if’n you’re here for the horse fight your plum outta luck.”
Marshall Quinn nodded at Merl, his ham-fisted slab of deputy; Merl slammed the butt of his shotgun into Tex’s kidneys. Tex crashed to his knees spitting blood and dust
“I suppose I could fight one them fancy horses you riding, just ta’ accommodate ya,” Tex wheezed, taking a weak swing at the Marshals mount. The deputy drove a boot heel into Tex’s spine.
Tex fought through the heaving ache, grinned, then gagged out, “Maybe Seamus here could wrestle a goat. He ain’t tough but it’d be hell of show.”
The humorless deputies rifle stock sent Tex tumbling into darkness. Seamus’ squeal of protest followed him down. “Dang it Tex, you know I’s allergic to gooaaattttsssss.”
“He always so stubborn,” said the Marshall, swaying easy in his saddle.
Seamus, who was riding a mangy pony what was towed behind the hulking deputy, nodded with dimwitted enthusiasm. “Oh that weren’t nothing. He once wore his spurs on the inside of his boots for a month, cause some feller said he wouldn’t.” Seamus paused a moment, straining to recollect. “Actually, I don’t even recall anyone saying he wouldn’t; he just sorta took a mind to it.”
The stoic Marshall half-raised an eyebrow, “Hell of a thing to a do.”
A low moan issued from the slumped and thoroughly tied Tex. “Most comfortable pair a’ boots I ever owned. I only stopped wear’n em cause the blood dyed em’ fancy boy colors.”
The ox-shouldered deputy drew up his horse beside Tex. “I reckon you’re awake then, Barstow,” he growled.
Tex glared at him through mostly swelled-shut eyes. “Maybe. Or maybe your just dreaming ’bout bound up desperadoes again, ya’ double queered, rough riding, sissy.”
The deputy respond with predictable vigor. Marshall Quinn gave Tex moment to clear his head, then got on with official business. “You know why we come for ya’ Barstow?”
Tex drew himself in, all humble and somber like. “Well, Marshall sir, I figured your wife done grown tired of your fumbling and sent you out to fetch a real man what could please her.” Seamus bounced gleefully on his scabbie pony, crudely miming exactly how Tex would go about pleasing the Marshall’s wife.
Quinn waited until Seamus was through the more animated portion of his phantom encounter before responding. “A bit more dire than that I’m ‘fraid to say. We taking you to be tried and hung, boy. Probably hang the little one too, just on general principle.”
Seamus pulled three, of his four, good fingers from his mouth and let out a mournful whimper. “Oooooooh, I hates being hanged, makes your eyes bug out and your boots fall off. How’m I spose’ta get new boots?”
Tex blasted a bloody rocket of snot from one nostril in a dismissive fashion. “Shit Seamus, you too greasy to hang. Sides which they’re ain’t nobody in Carson City smart enough to work a rope.”
The Marshall sighed with casual disaffection, “We’ll see then, won’t we?”
While I can’t speak to their intelligence, the people of Carson City damn sure had a blood thirst to them, as every able-bodied folk what could, was lining the street to take a look at the dead men walking.
“You gonna die Tex, they gonna hang you so hard people two towns over will hear ya’ neck crack!” said the near frothing barber.
Tex rolled his eyes tiresome like. “Shoot, my daddy used hang me harder than that if I was late supper… and I was always late for supper.”
Seamus shuddered and nodded half heartedly, “I ‘member that, sounded like someone was chopping wood with lightnin’.”
“You will be chopping lighting in heaven you godless son of malformed prairie dog,” a half-crazed school teacher screamed in Seamus face.
A beatific smile lit his spit spattered features, “I’m going to Heaven?”
“Yeah… but… not the good one. The one where the Angels hurt you all the time,” replied the teacher.
Seamus hung his head sadly, “I suspected as much.”
A preacher stepped forward and urged the crowd to quiet, then spoke solemnly. “How can you be so barbaric? To clamor and cavort like it’s some grand occasion, that a man is passing into gods kingdom. Destroying his life won’t undo the harm he has done.”
Tex risked a sound ventilating by stopping dead in his tracks. “Why don’t you shut your mouth preacher boy; it’s every good citizens right and duty to enjoy themselves a hanging, and I’ll be goddamned if’n I’ll have mine turned into some weak sister sermon.”
The crowd reeled a moments then yelled out, “You tell em Tex!”
“He’s a man’s man,” claimed a man who was a boy’s boy at best.
“Shut your craw preacher,” bellowed a few tavern roughnecks, a call soon echoed by the rest of the crowd.
“Hang the preacher too!” cried the preacher’s wife, and sure as said the lawmen shackled him down and brought him along. It was long march to the courthouse, but Tex was grinnin’ the whole way.
(Continued in Part 4: The aforementioned Hangin’ Judge)
- Enter Bolegwemiss
- We’s a fightin’
- The Hangin’ Judge
- The Aformentioned Hanging Judge
- The Conclusionation