Western Fantasy Crime

Legends and lies compete for that front-row seat within one’s mind, only to discover that Reality has already reserved the seat.

The legend of Latimore still retains oxygen in the annals of the buck-wild west. It is with him that our tale unfolds.

All eyeball witnesses, around thirty-five, gave nearly the same report. “There were three shots and one hole in the chest of Big Willy.” The account of the much sought-after demise of Big Willy was telegraphed throughout the territory.

Sheriff Beauford Ragdale personally interviewed each of the Eyeballers and was thoroughly convinced that his written report to the Marshall would be seen as both factual and accurate.

Dr. Simon, more often referred to locally as Sawbones Simon, corroborated the Eyeballer’s version of three shots; one hole. Between his numerous tobacco spits, Sawbones Simon said that he hadn’t removed any bullets from Big Willy's chest. However, the Dr. did find three bullets lodged in the bar behind Big Willy. He further stated that all three shots entered and exited the body through a singular hole.

Marshall Terence Tillman had Sheriff Ragdale assemble all the Eyeballers in the White Mule Saloon where the uncanny shooting occurred. Marshall Tillman watched intently as the Sheriff had the Eyeballers assume their respective places in the White Mule Saloon on the night of the shooting.

At the remark that a shootout had occurred, Two-toothed Crenshaw remarked to the assembled mass that no one did any shooting except Latimore. No one cared to rebuke Two-tooth.

Marshall Tillman explained to those assembled that he would assume the role of Latimore to further authenticate what actually occurred on that fateful night. When Sherriff Ragdale was satisfied that everyone was in place, according to his detailed notes, he signaled the Marshall to exit the Saloon and then reenter after a space of time.

Marshall Tillman exited the Saloon, counted to sixty, and finally reentered the Saloon to the applause of the Eyeballers. Sheriff Ragdale cleared his throat to restore the gravity of the moment.

“Now, Marshall, take three steps forward and stop,” said the Sherriff, “Charlie, you act the part of Big Willy.” Charlie needed no further urging as this was his fifteen minutes of fame.

Big Willy (Charlie) shoved Maggie from his lap, stood up, and called out to Latimore (Marshall Tillman). “Now, Latimore, we don’t allow any coloreds in here. Why don’t you go to the back of the Saloon, likes you know how, and wait until the barkeeps wait on you”? By this time, Big Willy (Charlie has placed his thumbs into his gunbelt.

Sherriff Tillman yells to Latimore (Marshall Tillman) to say and act his part.

Latimore (Marshall Tillman) glances around the Saloon and, without looking directly at Big Willy (Charlie), says, “I’ll choose where I want to drink without your help.”

Upon completing his challenge to Big Willy (Charlie), Latimore (Marshall Tillman) throws his white duster back, parking the gathered clothing behind the butt of his Colt. Latimore (Marshall Tillman) then returns his gaze to Big Willy (Charlie).

Big Willy (Charlie) steps out to the center of the Saloon with his back to the bar. Everyone hurries to the sides of the Saloon so as not to catch a stray bullet, and Big Willy (Charlie) releases the leather latch attached to the hammer of his pistol.

As Big Willy (Charlie) releases the leather latch, he allows his hand to drift down the side of the holster of his pistol. Then begins the upward drift to drawing his gun for the impending draw.

All eyes are now fixated on Latimore (Marshall Tillman) as he draws his forty-five Colt.

According to the Eyeballers, Latimore draws his Colt, aims the pistol at Big Willy, and replaces it back in its holster in one swoop. Latimore then allows his right hand to fall to his side and, in a blur, redraws his pistol, shoots Big Willy three times in the chest, and then reholsters his Colt forty-five.

Before Latimore shoots Big Willy, according to the official record, Big Willy is still drawing his pistol from his holster.  He notices that Latimore has already drawn, pointed his handgun at Big Willy, and replaced the Colt in his holster.

Sensing an opportunity, Big Willy chooses to withdraw his pistol when he feels something thud into his chest, followed by two more thuds. What was in question was which of the three bullets finally killed Big Willy.

Two-toothed Crenshaw calmly told Marshall Tillman that the Marshall was way too slow to do what Latimore had done, and it didn’t look right. All the Eyeballers agreed that Latimore's actions were seen as one movement. 

Signaling that the enactment had ended, the Barkeep announced that drinks were on the house, courtesy of the Marshall and Sherriff Ragdale. Within seconds the sight of the bar was obscured.  The crowds of bodies pressed forward for their chance at a glass of Red Eye.

Marshall Tillman looks over the White Mule Saloon, scratches his bristly chin, and heads toward the door to retire to the Sherriff’s office. He begins to secure his belongings for the long ride home. The long ride would give him time to departmentalize the various aspect of the demise of one Big Willy. 

What still puzzled the Marshall was the disappearance of Latimore after the shooting. Latimore was never seen of or heard of again. It was a disappearance that would find Latimore, aka Jol-Bar Gri, in dire straits.

“Now that you have seen a replay of the events that took place during Jol-Bar’s excursion on Earth, I now enter a plea that Jol-Bar receives the ultimate punishment of soul destruction. Jol-Bar Gri deliberately and unlawfully used his skills to defeat a being less than his equal, bringing undue attention to our efforts on Earth. The entity known as Big Willy lost his life unnecessarily, and there must be accounting by us”.

This ended the prosecution case against Jol-Bar Gri in the planetary system of Bureon in the twenty-fourth month of Hia in the year 3554.  After a short period of Bureon time, the Collective Judicial found Jol-Bar Gri guilty of an Intergalactic Interplanetary crime causing the death of a non-evolved creature. 

As Jol-Bar Gri received the verdict, he could already sense the loosening of his atoms and realized that soon not only would his soul be extinguished but also his personality. Jol-Bar Gri would be no more.

June 23, 2023 19:45

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