Tina Belcher
Flint Rock, Texas
Spring 1881
         Judge Henry Callahan was an honest man. He took the law and
justice seriously and was intelligent enough to have realized long
ago they often had little to do with one another.
         His circuit court included a large stretch of Texas and the
panhandle and he worked hard to ensure that a man arrested in his
region received a fair trial even if he was guilty as hell.
         He also knew that the circuits around him were often not as
unbiased and that having a judge in your pocket was something the
large ranchers in the area took pride in.  Which was why he was so
surprised when the telegram came directing him to Flint Rock.
         The town was built, bought and run by a Texas rancher named
Bo Michaels and some said just existed for his and his family's
amusement and use.  His family included 2 brothers and a sister,
just as mean as he was, all inherited from their late father.
Everyone knew the law, the courts and government in that section was
under his control.  Michaels wouldn't let a man like him in to
decide something unless this part of Texas had turned upside down;
and pulling his buggy to a stop at the entrance to town he sat back
and decided it had.
         The four lawmen with him, also honest and also requested,
stopped and drew their horses in and just stared.
         "Was it a tornado?" one of the deputies gasped.
         "If it was there had to be at least two of them," another
         Callahan leaned forward hoping it would make more sense if
he squinted.  The town looked like it had been hoorahed by the
escapees of an opening of the flood gates of hell.  Buildings were
smashed to rubble, outhouses on roofs, and bathtubs in trees.  Some
structures were just charred remains from a selective fire and were
still smoldering.  And everywhere there was debris, clothes, tin
cans, sacks of feed.  It was as if some great giant had picked up
the town and shook it.
         "It seems we got here a little too late to stop whatever it
was that happened," Judge Callahan said exhaling.  "What exactly did
your telegram say Sheriff?"
         "Just to get down here, some miscarriage of justice had been
averted and they wanted impartial law sorting it out."
         "Well something was averted, but it certainly wasn't
Armageddon," the Judge said dryly and clicking the reins moved his
horses forward.
         "Sure is quiet," a deputy said swallowing.
         "I hear something up ahead," his friend said drawing his gun
from its all ready unhooked holster.
         Turning the corner the group once more stopped in disbelief.
         Originally, and this they were certain about, a saloon had
not been next door to the jail.    This saloon in particular, the
Golden Slipper, had been across the street and four doors down.  And
yet now here it sat cozied right up to the jail even to the point of
sharing a wall…well if there had been a wall.
         Oh the jail still had three…or the one cell remaining
standing did.  The door was still firmly bolted, not that it
mattered much with the roof gone.
         Tucked right along next to it was the main floor of the
saloon.    There was still the bar and the beer kegs and the hurdy
gurdy was playing happily, but as far as any permanent building it
was clean gone except for a stairwell that led up, but that was
about it.
         Several tables were set up, but all the attention was on a
poker game half in the jail and half in the saloon between 7 men.  A
second group of men were watching cheering enthusiastically as each
hand finished.
         At the bar an older blond woman was cleaning glasses and
yelling at the cowboys to stop shooting at the ceiling until she got
one again.
         Judge Callahan considered all this and then putting the
brake on his buggy climbed down and walked over to the group just
congratulating a handsome dark haired young man on his winnings.
         "Gentlemen," he said with great dignity.  "I am Judge
Callahan.  Ranger Pearson is that you?" he said suddenly recognizing
one of the poker players
         "Yes sir," the lawman said standing politely.  "Good of you
to come sir."
         "I don't suppose you could give me a quick synopsis about
         "This gentleman here sir is Sheriff Lom Trevors of
Porterville, Wyoming," the Ranger said indicating the man playing
poker from inside the jail.
         "I read about him, something about being arrested and
convicted of murder.  I see their report that the hanging was
supposed to take place yesterday was an error."
         "Ah yes sir," Trevors said standing politely.  "Little
difference of opinion on that."
         Someone almost laughed, but swallowed it quickly when the
Judge's steely gaze settled over the other members of the group.
         "And the rest of you are?"
         "Friends of Sheriff Trevors. I'm Joshua Smith and this is
Mr. Thaddeus Jones of Wyoming," the dark haired winner of the last
poker hand said standing with a friendly smile.
         "Judge," his partner said standing just as respectfully.
         "Marshall Jared Stone out of Colorado," another man said
         "My we do have quite a group of lawmen here don't we."
         "And Bannermen!"  a voice popped up from the bar where a
thin weasel faced man was leaning.  "Harry Briscoe sir at your
         "Patrick J. McCreedy," a larger older man said relighting
his cigar.
         "Rancher at Red Rock?" the Judge asked.
         "That I am," McCreedy said clearly feeling he was important
enough he didn't have to stand.
         "And this here is Wheat Carlson, Jim Stokely, Trampas and my
cousin…" Trevors finished.
         "Folks call me the Virginian," the tall man said rising and
the Judge quickly noted the similarity.
         "And the lovely lady behind the bar?" the Judge said, once a
southern gentleman, always a southern gentleman.
         "Jenny, Judge can I buy you a drink?"
         "I think a bottle ma'am would be more useful," he sighed
looking around. "I don't suppose there is a hotel left?"
         "Oh yes sir!" the one named Jones said heartily.  "Best one
in town!"
         "Course it is missing the front wall, but you get a real
nice breeze off the prairie at night, you'll sleep like a baby," the
one named Smith smiled.
         "I'm sure I will," he said and taking the bottle Jenny
offered him moved to return to his carriage.  "I'd like to have some
supper and then perhaps I can start hearing this amazing tale one at
a time, I'll let you gentlemen work out the order.  Oh and the rest
of the town?"
         "Well that's kind of a long story Judge…" Smith smiled
         The Judge held up his hand and walked away.  "I can hardly

Judge Callahan looked around the suite he’d been given at the hotel and shook his head.  Amazed that such a nice room had survived.  But then again it was also one of the few rooms that had survived intact.  So calling it a nice room was…being generous.   It actually still had four walls and a ceiling barely.  There were cracks in the outside wall. But so far it held.  The ceiling had a large hole in it and the floor was slightly tilted. The furniture had been hastily dusted.  The curtains were still on the windows, but there was no glass left in them.   Somehow they had managed to find clean linens for him. Casually he strolled over to the window and peered out.   He still couldn’t believe what was before his eyes outside that window.  With a sniffed quiet sarcastic laugh he thought to himself what a nice little town this had been at one time.  He was having a hard time believing what these cowboys had done to it.  As he poured himself another drink and settled into a chair he sighed deeply trying to relax as he pieced the story together that he had so far.  His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door.


“Come.”  He called.  The door slowly opened and a head appeared between the door and the doorway.   The Judge raised his hand and waved the cowboy in.  “Come on in son.”


Trampas slowly edged his way in.  He snatched his hat off his head and stood twisting it around in his hands.  “Ahmmm, your honor, sir, you wanted to see me.”


The judge sighed and pointed toward the only other chair in the room. “Have a seat young fella and tell me the story of what happened here.”


Trampas couldn’t hide that he was nervous, though he did his best too.  “Where exactly do you want me to start?”


The judge smiled, “well I’ve always found the beginning to be a good place.”


“Back as far as when we left Medicine Bow?”  Trampas questioned.


“All right,” Came the Judges nod and shrugged.


“Well…,” Trampas began, “It all started when the boss got a telegram from that Smith fella.”


Judge Callahan interrupted, “Ahmm the boss?”


“Yes sir, the Virginian.”


“Oh I see.  You work for him?”


Trampas frowned slightly, “well sort of.  We actually work for the Shiloh Ranch and the family there.  The Virginian is the foreman there.” 


Callahan nodded his understanding.  “Go ahead son.”


“Right.  Well ya see…”


Several days before….


The two cowhands stood on the porch of the bunkhouse and watched as their foreman purposefully strolled from the main house past them and into the building letting the door slam as he went threw it.


“What’s with him?”  Steve asked.


Trampas shrugged. “Beats me.”


Together they followed him into the bunkhouse.


The Virginian turned and looked at them.  Pointing at Steve, “You saddle my horse up…” then he turned toward Trampas, “You get your gear and saddle up.  You’re coming with me.”  Then the door to the office closed with a solid bang.


Steve and Trampas looked at one another.  “Boy he’s in a mood ain’t he?”  Trampas commented with a shake of his head.


The two men had just finished saddling up the horses and were stowing the gear in saddlebags when their boss joined them.


“Steve, you’re in charge until I get back.”  With that the Virginian swung up into his saddle.   Trampas was already seated in his saddle and waiting for him.


“How long you gonna be gone?”  Steve asked.


The Virginian shrugged, “As long as it takes.”


“Sure you don’t want me to go along too?”


Virginian shook his head, “No. I need for you to stay here and keep an eye on things.”  He kicked his horse into motion and turned down the road leading away from the ranch. 


Trampas waved slightly and followed.  “Where we goin boss?”


Flint Rock, Texas.”


Frowning slightly in confusion, “Ahmm why?”


The Virginian wasn’t a chatty man and talked very little…okay he talked never… about himself or his family, so his statement caught Trampas totally off guard.  “My cousin is in jail.  He’s been accused of something that he didn’t do and needs help.”   The admission startled Trampas so much he almost fell out of the saddle.


Judge Callahan held up his hand to interrupt, “So Sheriff Trevors is related to your boss?”


“Oh yes sir, just like he said when he introduced him to you.” Trampas frowned, “Yea it surprised me too.  He’s never mentioned having any family.”


The judge nodded, “why don’t we jump ahead to the time the two of you arrived in town.”


Trampas nodded. “Okay…” he muttered as he thought remembering.  “Well on the way down we ran into that Stone fella.  He was chasing’ that fella named Wheat.  Seems him and some of the Devils Hole gang attempted to rob the bank in his town and he was after them for it.   This Wheat managed to break off from the rest of the gang and was leading Stone on what was turning out to be a wild goose chase.  The boss was tellin’ me about how his cousin Sheriff Trevors had been arrested for killing the law in this town.  Marshall Stone had heard about what was going on.  He told us he knew Trevors by reputation and couldn’t believe that he would do what they were accusing him of.  Said that he had learned some new tricks and thought maybe he could help.  So he rode along with us.   


When we got here the Ranger met us at the jail…”


Pearson strolled out of the jail and leaned against the railing as Trampas, the Virginian and Marshall Stone rode up “Fella’s?”  He called in way of greeting.


The three dismounted and tied their horses.  “You got a Sheriff named Trevors in your jail here?”  The Virginian asked.




“I’d like to see him.”


“Sure.”  Pearson stood up straight and led them into the jail.  As he reached for the keys, “Gonna have to ask you to leave your guns here gentlemen,” Indicating that they should leave them on the desk in the outer office.


Leaving their guns on the desk Trampas followed the others threw the door into the cells.  Lom slowly got to his feet and met them at his cell door.


“Cousin.”  Lom greeted the Virginian shaking his hand threw the bars and looked at the other two.


“Lom.”  The Virginian responded then turned to introduce the others.  “This is Marshall Jared Stone from up in Colorado and Trampas, he works for me at Shiloh.”  Lom nodded in way of greeting at Trampas and Stone.  “What is goin on here?  Why are you in jail?”


“They seem to think that I killed Bo Michaels and the Sheriff in this town.  I don’t know about the Sheriff, but I know Michaels is still alive.  I’ve seen him.  I just can’t prove it.”


“Why would this Michaels want to play dead?”  Stone asked in curiosity.


“He was planning on robbing the bank.  The man is power hungry.  Didn’t matter that he and his family, own most of this town and the surrounding county, he was out to break the bank.  He thought the best way to do this was to rob the bank and cause it to go bust. Doesn’t hurt that there is a large gold shipment in there that the ranchers around here need for their payrolls.  Then his brother Warren would step in and take over the bank.  He already had his brother Red lined up to step into the Sheriff’s job.  Only thing they are waiting for was for Red to arrive.  He lives out in the county a ways.”


The Virginian shook his head, “Sounds like quite a family.”  He looked his cousin in the eyes.  “Your sure this Michaels fella is alive.”


“Positive.”  Lom went on, “the Michaels brothers have a sister too Sarah.  She’s a business woman here in town and every bit as mean and power hungry as her brothers.  She runs one of the two saloons here in town.  Only hers is a high class pleasure house as well.   An old friend of mine named Jenny owns the other saloon in town.  It’s just a simple place, has some gambling and provides hot meals.  She has a few girls that work for her, but what they do on their own time is their business.  Jenny didn’t turn them out and doesn’t take a percentage of their action.  The girls that work for Jenny really appreciate that so they kick in something every month to help with supplies and things.  Anyway Sarah would like to run Jenny out of business.  With her brothers running the town and controlling the law she can manage to do that.  I saw Bo Michaels go into his sister saloon very much alive after I was supposed to have killed him.”


Pearson joined the conversation from the doorway.  “One thing they didn’t count on was me showing up.”  The others turned their attention to the Ranger.  “Seems the Sheriff was aware that Trevors and I were going to exchange a prisoner here, but he hadn’t shared that knowledge with anyone else in town.”


“So…” Stone began, “You don’t believe Trevors here is guilty either?”


“No sir.  I sure don’t.”  Pearson responded.  “Problem is by the time I delivered my prisoner and got back they had already had the ‘trial’ and convicted him.  I believe that Michaels is alive, but I haven’t been able to flush him out.”


“So what can we do to help get you out of here?”  Trampas asked.


Lom looked at him, “Well…couple of boys that are friends of mine are in town, names Smith and Jones.  The boys heard what had happened and just showed up.”  Lom shook his head slightly, “They do that from time to time.”  All four men turned their attention back to Lom.  “They have been trying to figure out where Bo Michaels is hiding at and bring him in.  I have no doubt that his brothers and Sarah knows where he, but Warren and Sarah certainly aren’t talking and Red hasn’t arrived in town yet.”


“So we find this Michaels fella and we can get you out of here?”  Trampas said.


“Yea.  I believe so.”  Lom nodded.  “Trouble is the hangin is scheduled for day after tomorrow.”


“Hangin!”  The Virginian’s head shot up.  He had been deep in thought.  “Until just now, I didn’t think there had even been time for a trial yet since the judge in these parts is a circuit judge and he hasn’t been here yet.”


Lom looked at him, “Yea well this Michaels bunch has that kind of clout in these parts.  The brother Warren and Sarah decided that they didn’t need a judge to convict me. Rest of the town is so afraid of them they just went along.”


“Okay…”  The Virginian nodded, “Lets get our heads together and see what we can do to flush this guy out.”


As the three men left the jail, Trampas looked down the street toward Sister Sarah’s saloon.  “I think I’ll check out this Sarah’s saloon.”


The Virginian looked at him, “Yea well…stay out of trouble will ya.  We have enough trouble to sort out.”


Trampas grinned at him, “You know me boss.”


“Exactly!”  The Virginian responded.


Trampas gave him a hurt look, adjusted his hat and started down the street.  As he strolled threw the door, he stopped briefly to allow his eyes to adjust to the change in light.   Looking around the room he saw several poker games in progress and several other tables where young ladies barely dressed in their underwear entertained customers.  Strolling over to the bar he ordered a beer and made his way to a table in the back of the room where he could observe.   He noticed that one of the players in the game directly in front of him was about the same age as he was.  Dark hair and eyes, the man also seemed to be as observant as he was trying to be. 


Hannibal Heyes had noticed Trampas when he came in, but didn’t take much notice until he realized that the man seemed to be watching everyone and everything.  The two men eyed one another sizing each other up.   After a short time Heyes excused himself from the poker game and casually strolled to the bar, bought two beers and joined Trampas at his table.


“Howdy.”  Heyes smiled at Trampas and sat the beer down in front of him.


“Ahmm…thanks.”  Trampas looked over at Heyes.  “Something I can do for you?”


Heyes smiled again, but it never reached his eyes, “I was wondering the same thing.”  He sipped the beer and sat back seemingly relaxed.


“Not sure what you mean.”


“Well, you seem to be pretty interested in the goings on here…”  Heyes shrugged.  “Just kinda wondering…” He grinned slightly. “Why?” 


Trampas studied the stranger for a long minute.  He wasn’t sure if he should trust this man.  Finally “I’m just in town to see if I can help out a friend.”


“Uh-huh.”  Heyes nodded as he glanced around.  “Lots of folks coming into town for the hangin’.”




“You wouldn’t be here for that would you?”


Trampas shrugged. “Maybe.  Why do you ask?”


Heyes frowned in thought, then making a decision decided to lay his cards on the table.  “The fella they are gonna hang is a friend of mine.  I don’t believe he did what they have accused him of.”  Heyes smiled sweetly.  “Just thought maybe you might know something to help me out and find who really killed the Sheriff here.”


“Interesting you should say that.”


“Really?  And why is that?”


“Fella they are planning to hang is a family member of my boss.  We came to town to see if there wasn’t something we could do to help.”


Heyes’ grin broadened, “well then in that case I think we should compare notes.”  He leaned slightly forward resting his elbows on the table.


Trampas looked over at Judge Callahan, “seems this Smith fella and his partner…” Trampas thought for a moment, “Jones had been here for several days.  They had figured out that Bo Michaels was hiding out there at his sister’s saloon.  He just hadn’t been able to figure out where.  He knew that there was a secret room in the saloon, but he…”


“And just how did Mr. Smith know this?”  The judge asked.


“Oh well him and Jones sent for that McCreedy feller.  I guess he has a lot of clout in this part of the country and was able to get hold of the blueprints for the saloon.  Smith said he had studied them and the outside measurements didn’t match.”


Callahan nodded. “I see.  Go ahead son.”


“What you two gentlemen got your heads together about?”


Heyes sat back and smiled his most charming smile, “Why nothing Ms. Sarah.  My Friend here and I were just talking about how nice you establishment was compared to Miss Jenny’s place.”


Sarah Michaels had been a handsome woman at some point in her life. Some might have even called her beautiful, but her life had been a hard one and it had taken it’s tole on her. Her eyes were cold and hard.  Her mouth was set in a permanent frown.  Even when she tried to actually smile it never quite seemed to happen.  It usually made her look like she was having some sort of fit.  She was dressed all in black as if she where a widow, but she had never been married.  She pulled up a chair and joined Heyes and Trampas at the table.


“Tell me Mr. Smith, where is your friend Patr…erhumm Mr. McCreedy today.”


“Mac?”  Heyes tried to look surprised, “Well ma’am I’m not sure where Mac is today.  May I ask why you were looking for him?”


“Oh no special reason.”  Slowly she got up and began to head toward her office in the back of the saloon, turning, “Just be sure to give him my best would you please.”


“Yes Ma’am.”  Heyes grinned, then mumbled, “Why that ole goat.”  Trampas gave him funny look.  Heyes leaned forward and quietly explained, “Seems like ole Patrick “Big Mac” McCreedy has been doing a little sparkin’ of Miss Sarah there.”  Heyes shook his head, “the old scoundrel told us he had a plan to try and find out where Brother Warren was hiding out.  He didn’t say it had anything to do with Sarah.”  Taking note of the confused look on Trampas’ face, Heyes added, “I guess you’d have to know Mac to understand.”


Trampas’ attention was drawn to the back of the saloon where Sarah had headed.  As he watched Sarah made a quick look around the room to see if anyone was watching what she was doing.  Quickly he glanced away, all the while attempting to watch what she was doing from the corner of his eye.  Heyes started to ask what was going on, but a subtle shake of Trampas’ head quieted him.  Slowly Trampas turned his attention back to the back of the room. 


Sarah satisfied that no one was paying attention made a slight shift in her direction.  She pushed a panel along the side of the door leading to her office.  Then the office door opened.  Yet it wasn’t the office door.  From the angle they were seated at Trampas couldn’t be sure, but the door appeared to be thicker than a regular door.  Sarah disappeared threw the door.  Trampas couldn’t be sure, but it appeared to him as if the lady had started to go up a flight of steps rather than to enter a room on the other side.


“Lets get out of here.”  Trampas quietly told Heyes.  Together the two men rose and strolled out of the saloon.  When they where on the street heading back toward the jail, a safe distance from anyone hearing their conversation, Trampas turned to Heyes.  “You said you were sure there was a secret room someplace in that saloon where Bo Michaels was hiding right?”


“Yea.”  Heyes nodded as they continued to casually stroll toward the jail. 


“I think I know where it is.”


Heyes glanced at him.  “How?”


“Just now when Miss Michaels headed toward her office she made sure no one was watching when she went in.   Then instead of opening the door and just going in she touched a panel next to the door, and then she opened the door.  I can’t say for sure, cause it was hard to tell from where we were sitting, but I think that the door wasn’t like a normal door.”


Heyes was deep in thought now.  If what he had just been told was correct they needed to figure out a way to get threw that door. 


When they reached the jail they entered to find Kid had returned, he had been off trying to keep Red Michaels from reaching town.  Ranger Pearson, Marshall Stone, The Virginian and Big Mac had all gathered there as well.  The conversation stopped as the two new arrivals entered the jail.


Kid had been in the middle of explaining how the only way he had found to keep Red out of town was to hog tie him and stuff him in a cabin he had found just outside of town.  What he didn’t volunteer was that he had recruited Wheat and the boys to keep an eye on the man.  Ole Red had been spittin mad when he had left and Kid hadn’t been sure how well the boys were gonna do at hangin on to him especially since he was convinced that they were up to something.  But he would have to explain all of that to Heyes, Mac and Lom when the others where not present.


Trampas met the Judges eyes.  “Seems this Smith fella had pretty much figured out what had happened here.”


The Judge nodded, “I see.  And what exactly would that have been son?”


“Well sir.  It seems that Bo Michaels and his brother wanted to have absolute control of this town.  So in order to do that they needed for the bank to go bust, so they decided to rob it, but the sheriff that they thought they had in their pocket turned out to be more honest than they thought he was and wouldn’t go along with their plan.  Sheriff Trevors showed up delivering a prisoner to the jail and then the sheriff here had back up to try and stop them.  So Bo Michaels being the one already in town killed the sheriff and with Miss Sarah’s help they faked Bo’s death and set up Sheriff Trevors to take the blame for it.  Knowing that no one in town would have the guts to question their word.  What they didn’t plan on was Ranger Pearson showing up to claim the prisoner that Sheriff Trevors delivered.  When he showed up the word went out about what had happened to Trevors.”


The Judge nodded again, “I see.  It seems that Sheriff Trevors is a man rich in friends.”


“Yes sir.”


“Okay.  So you boys figured out where Bo Michaels was hiding at, Red Michaels is confined and I think I’m safe in assuming that there was a plan in the works to flush out Bo Michaels.”


“Yes sir.”


“By all means son continue.  I am extremely interested to find out how this town ended up looking like this.”


“Well sir, that’s not exactly entirely our fault.”

The Judge raised an eyebrow. “Really?  Then who’s fault would it be?”


“Well you see that Jones fella was right about probably not being able to hang on to Red…”


Out at the cabin where Kid had left Red Michaels with Wheat and the boys, once ole Red clamed down he started to try and bribe the boys.  At first they did a good job of not paying any attention to what they were being offered.  But then Red mentioned the bank and the fact that there was a rather large shipment of gold being held there for payroll for many of the local ranches in the area.  Wheat decided that ole Red would be okay by himself and he and the boys needed to rob the bank.  They rode off to rob the bank.  Shortly after they had abandoned Red, Red’s own men found him.


Meanwhile Heyes had come up with a plan to flush Bo out of hiding. 


Big Mac made his way to Sarah’s saloon, he had rented a surrey and had the local restaurant pack up a picnic lunch for him.  She blushed like a school girl when he showed up with a large bouquet of flowers and asked her to accompany him.


“While Mr. McCreedy had Miss Sarah out on the picnic Smith, Jones, the boss and I went back to the saloon.  Jones and I started a fight with one another and got as many men as we could in the saloon involved, so Smith would have time to investigate the secret door that I had noticed.  Once he got it open he and my boss went in and found there was a staircase that lead up a short way and there was a room there.  In the room was Bo Michaels.  They dragged him out and the four of us took him over to the jail and threw him in.”


Again the Judge nodded, “I see.  So how did you get him to confess?”


“Ranger Pearson and Marshall Stone went back to the saloon after we brought Michaels in and searched the room.  They found several guns in the room.”  Trampas looked at the Judge, “did you realize that you could tell what bullet came from what gun?”


The Judge tried not to smile, “Yes son I have heard of that science.”


“Well Marshall Stone, see, he had the undertaker take the bullet out of the Sheriff and then him and Pearson compared it to the guns that Trevors had with him and the bullet was totally different, but it did match the guns that they found at the saloon.”


“Very cleaver.”  The Judge agreed, “But that still….”


“Oh I’m getting to that.”  Trampas reassured the Judge.


“Then please continue.”


“Well this is when things start to get kind of crazy.”  Trampas went on.  The Judge looked at him again with a raised eyebrow.  “See when Mr. McCreedy brought Miss Sarah back to town it was earlier than he was supposed to.  Course the weather had started to get bad and he really didn’t have much of a choice.  But when she found out that her brother was in jail she went totally berserk.   Ranting and raving like a crazy person.  Meantime the weather is totally going south.  The sky got black and it started to rain and hail so hard that you couldn’t even see across the street.  The wind was blowing so hard that you couldn’t even stand up.  Then it all just suddenly stopped.  We knew something bad was coming, but before we could get undercover the first twister hit.”


“A Tornado?” Then it dawned on the Judge what Trampas had said, “The first twister?”


“Yes sir.  A big one.  So big we weren’t sure where it began and ended.  In the middle of the whole thing the bank blew up.”


“The bank blew…”  The Judge was having a hard time believing what he was hearing.


“Yes sir.  Seems the Devils Hole gang had decide to rob the gold shipment out of the bank.”


“Isn’t that Carlson fella a member of that gang.”


“Well yes sir.”


“Why isn’t he in jail then?”  Judge Callahan asked.


“Ahmmm…well sir…” Trampas ran his hand threw his hair. “You see your honor…I guess word never got to ole Red that Bo was in jail cause he and his boys went ahead and blew the safe.”


“Wait, wait a minute.”  Callahan frowned, “I thought you said that the Devils Hole gang robbed the bank?”


“No sir.  I didn’t say they robbed the bank I said they had decided to.  They even had a plan, but the bank blew before they got the chance to do anything about it.   They where attempting to go into the bank threw the roof and Carlson admitted that they had place some dynamite on the safe, but then they saw the storm coming up and left in a hurry.  Red Michaels and his boys weren’t so lucky.  They didn’t know the extra dynamite was there and they didn’t see the storm coming so they were still in the bank when they blew the safe. Which was just as the twister hit the middle of town dead on.”


“I see.”  The Judge frowned at him in thought.  “Why do I get the feeling that there is more to this story yet.”


“Yes sir.”  Trampas nodded, “There’s more.  Sister Sarah was so angry about her brother Bo being discovered that she rounded up her brother’s men and they made an attempt to break him out of jail…”


“Don’t tell me…”  The Judge almost grinned.


“Yes sir.  They made their move the same time that the bank was being blown sky high and the twister hit.  Problem was, what none of us knew was there was a second twister coming in from the other direction.  The two storms met almost directly over the middle of town.”


Judge Callahan could only sit and stare at him for a moment.  “My God son!”


“Sarah and Bo Michaels men had set more dynamite outside the wall of the cells.  Course not being real sure which one he was in they set dynamite outside of all the cell walls, somehow they managed to miss one cell and it just happened to be the one Bo was in.  And well none of those men were real familiar with how to use the stuff and Sister Sarah was really angry and kept encouraging them to use more.  So they got just a tad carried away.”


Callahan sat forward toward Trampas, “Boy are you telling me that not only did the blow the bank sky high they blew the jail at the same time.”


“Yes sir.”


“And at the same time two tornados’s converged directly over this town blowing the rest of this town all to hell?”


“Yes sir.”


The Judge sat back in the chair and shook his head, “This is incredible.”


Trampas shrugged, “Yes sir.  But I swear it’s the truth.”


“Oh I believe you son.  I don’t think you could make a mess like this up if you tried.”  Callahan frowned, “But tell me how is it that you all weren’t blown to kingdom come?”


“Jail has a cellar. We managed to make it down there just before the two storms bumped into one another and the dynamite blew.”  Trampas explained.  “For some reason that Carlson fella came back and told us about the storm approaching and what was going on at the bank.  So the Sheriff’s and the Marshall along with the Ranger decided it would be a good idea if we all waited the twisters, well the one we knew about anyway, and the explosion out in the cellar.  We took Bo Michaels with us.”


“Uh-huh.  I see.  Well what happened to Red and Sarah Michaels and the men in their employ?”

“We ain’t found what’s left of them yet.”


The Judge shook his head in disbelief.  “I just don’t know what to say.”


“Yes sir.”


“Well thank you young fella.”  The Judge rose from his seat.  Trampas rose with him.  “What say you we join your friends over at…what was that lovely ladies name who owns the remaining saloon.”


“Ahmm that would be Miss Jenny sir.”


“Yes let’s join your friends for a drink.  I think I’ve heard enough for now.”