March 9th – 7:00 a.m.
Last Chance City Jail
The front door of the jail slammed open and Marshal Tucker turned, one hand resting on the butt of his revolver.
Colt pushed to the far side of his cell to get a better look through the doorway.
Morris Diddley had slammed the door behind him.
“Geez, Mo,” the marshal complained. “Quit slamming the door! It’s too early for that shit. I ain’t even had my first cup of coffee.”
“The general store,” Mo gasped. “It’s... there’s...”
“Come on, Mo,” the marshal said. “Spit it out.”
“Mr. McGuinn is dead!”
“What? Dodger is dead?”
Colt rattled the iron door of his cell.
“Come on, marshal!” he yelled. “Let me out! I’m missing all of the excitement.”
But Marshal Tucker ignored him.
“What happened?” the marshal asked Mo.
“I saw the whole thing,” he replied. “It was Rango Starr!”
The marshal laughed.
“Okay, Mo,” he said in a comforting tone. “Have you been dipping into the moonshine again this morning? Rango Starr is dead.”
Mo Diddley looked confused.
“But I just saw him. Your deputy was draggin’ him up the street. I thought he was drunk or something. Rango started moaning and Elvis dropped his legs. Figured he was comin’ round considering all the draggin’ through the dirt and everything. The next thing I knew Rango had gotten to his feet and you could tell he was still drunk ‘cause he wasn’t too steady. And Elvis, well, his eyes got big and he just took off runnin’. Like maybe he had bad eggs for breakfast and was headin’ for the nearest outhouse.”
The marshal grabbed him by the arm.
“That ain’t possible,” Tucker said. “Rango Starr is dead. I saw him.”
“You must have been mistaken,” Mo said with a shake of his head. “He sort of lurched across the street and saw Dodger sweeping the boardwalk in front of the store. The next part is weird. He staggered over and took a bite out of Dodger’s arm. Just like that. Blood was spurtin’ everywhere and Dodger was screamin’ like a cow at breedin’ time. Next thing you know Dodger is lying on the walk and Rango is clawing at his chest. That’s when I figured I’d better get over here and let you know.”
“You sure you haven’t been drinking?” the marshal asked.
“I swear on my mother’s grave, marshal,” Mo replied.
“Your mother isn’t dead, Mo,” the marshal said.
“Oh, yeah,” Mo replied. “But I swear I haven’t been drinkin’. You want to smell my breath?”
“That won’t be necessary,” the marshal informed him. “Let me grab my hat and we’ll go check this out.”
Colt pounded on his cell door again.
“Marshal! Don’t forget about me!”
“You’re the least of my worries, Colt,” he replied. “I’ve already had two deaths in Last Chance this morning. Well, I think I’ve had two deaths. Hold your water. I’ll be back.”
“Right. Hasta la vista, baby,” he whispered.