The Man from the Magazine
The Green River Gang
The man from the magazine arrived at his destination with a sense of trepidation on that fated day of May 13. Although not in Lodi, he was near the Green River on assignment as a writer to cover a story about an alleged ragtag band of assorted gunslingers, supposed lawmen, villains, and gamblers, all of them armed with at least two six shooters, a rifle, and packing a shotgun or two. He had just finished a three-year stint doing stories for different county newspapers and now was working on jobs for one of the new glossy magazines that had become popular recently in the territories. His new Publishers down south in Jackson had heard about these git-togethers and wanted some new stories for the eager readers over to the East.
James was the real name of the writer but in print, he went by the byline of Jimbob, and right now he was sore, and a little more than creaky from traveling a trail of what consisted of seemingly endless switchbacks, gully ruts, and fallen timber. He was wearing a pair of sensible sodbuster type round toed boots, his denim britches, long sleeve shirt, and his Bowler hat. Stuck within his traveling bag were his camera, compass, notebooks, Black Warrior pencils, a fountain pen, pocket knife, i-Pad, and his small caliber six-gun loaded with bird shot that he mainly used on rattlesnakes, and other assorted sundries.
For good luck, he also carried a silver dollar that had belonged to his grandaddy Elmer who himself was a former Newspaper man. Elmer was one of his inspirations to keep on writing ever since he’d been given a cardboard box containing some of the old man’s possessions. In that box, he had found the silver dollar, a Kodak Baby Brownie camera, some notebooks and papers, a few photographs, a few telegrams, a telegraph key, pocketknife, and his timepiece.
When Jimbob stood up without his boots on he measured five feet and six inches tall, he would never ride tall in a saddle but, he figured as long as he kept his feet in the stirrups he’d be all right. He had no illusions about being a gunslinger, the closest he would probably ever get to that would be to sling some ink.
Looking over to the flash of purple by the tree line that had caught his eye, he noticed that the purple he had seen was a cloth shirt, hung over the frame of a tall, lanky hombre hitching up his gun belts. The man appeared to be friendly enough, but with his hat shading part of his features, and with that white beard, it was hard to be certain.
Jimbob slowly but surely stepped closer to purple shirt and said, “Howdy, do you know where I can find the trail boss of this shindig at?” “Why sure,” the other man replied, “you’ll want Yak, he should be over yonder past that grove of Beech trees, probably headed for the Sheriff’s Office.” “Say,” he continued in a friendly voice, “you that writer fella from the girlie magazine we heard about?” “I am,” replied Jimbob, “but don’t believe everything you heard about me, remember that it’s my job to make you look good. I might even get a cover photo here today. The bearded man in the purple shirt adjusted his gun belts some more, put on a big smile, and came back with “Well, as long as you keep us off the wanted posters you’ll be just fine.”
Feeling a little more relaxed, Jimbob strode over a small bridge that straddled a dry creek and headed towards the sounds of some conversations being carried out. Stepping through the clearing he saw what appeared to several gunslingers engaged in some friendly banter in front of the Sheriff’s office, but when he looked over to the side of the building he saw that one of the men had a ball and chain shackled to his leg. “must be one of those alleged Vigilantes I heard about’” thought Jimbob to himself. Knowing better than to get involved in someone else’s spat, he found Yak and introduced himself. Yak seemed like an amiable fella that told him to make himself at home, and if he needed anything, to just give a holler.
He also told him that the Green River Gunslingers were pleased to finally be getting some recognition for keeping the county safe by bringing the man in shackles to justice.
Jimbob had his notebook and pen ready and asked Yak “What exactly did this man do to deserve the ball and chain, and what is his sentence?” Yak responded with “We brought him in for assorted Territorial infractions, and the Judge and I agree that now he will have to shoot his way out while wearing that ball and chain.”
Jimbob watched as the temporary prisoner used his two six-guns to shoot at the villains by the tree line, and then use his long gun to knock off the ones up the hill, and finally finish off the up close ones with some well-directed shotgun blasts. Once the smoke cleared and the bystanders finished cheering, Yak declared the man now freed, and cautioned him about not taking part in any more misguided deeds.
After all this commotion and frenzy of gunfire Jimbob had to sit for a spell and settle his nerves. He took out his notebook to do some writing, and his thoughts came back to the man with the ball and chain. He felt glad that the man has made good for his alleged misdeeds, and like his grandaddy always said, “Even a kick in the fanny is forward motion.”
To be continued…