(if: $Minute >=41)[(go-to: "TimesAWasting")]<h4><center>**LOOKOUT BLUES**</center></h4>
<h5><center>by Guy Riessen</center></h5>

Barton Buck [looks]<look| (if: $looks is 1)[ east, past the ass-end of his horse](if:$looks is 2)[ west, toward the building storm], down the muddy and pocked main street of Silverton, Colorado.

The reins of (if: $horses is 0)[[three horses ]<horses|](else:)[three horses ] loosely drape over his forearm, and he's standing in front of the (if: $Bank is 0)[[First Trust Bank ]<bankDescribe|](else:)[heavy iron doors of the First Trust Bank.](click:?horses)[(set: $horses to 1)[

Barton pats the neck of the nearest horse and says, "Y'all are ready to ride, ain't ya, Missy-Sue?" The black mare nickers and tosses her mane.
"That's right. We're gonna have us a good ol' fashion race with Devil, soon enough," Barton says, adjusting the Winchester 1873 under his right arm.
He hates waiting outside while the Boys were inside robbing them good folks at the bank.

*Pisses me off from Hell to Highwater, but there weren’t nothing for it, no sir.*

It weren’t ‘cause he's a lousy shot, or broke under pressure. He was stone cold under pressure and a dead-eye with his rifle, even when riding hard. ‘Course that means he has to stay outside and be ready to shoot what comes when they make their getaway.

*Still don’t mean I need to like it none.*]] (if: $horses is 1)[

His horse stamps uneasily and Barton pats her again, rubs her nose and says, "Patience Missy-Sue."
The black mare nickers and tosses her mane.
"We're gonna git as soon as them Boys stop kicking cow patties in there and get to robbing!"

Scuffing his boot in the wet (either: "slimy", "gloppy", "sticky","tacky") mud, he [[waits|startwait]] impatiently for his partners' signal. The wind is building from the west, and Barton pushes his hat lower on his head.
(click: ?look)[(go-to: (text:"looksDownStreet"+(text:$looks)))]
(click-replace: ?bankDescribe)[(set: $Bank to 1)[First Trust Bank.

The bank is a heavy adobe building with thick brown walls and deep-set, iron-framed windows. The iron doors are set on massive block hinges designed to swing the heavy doors outward when the handles are pulled.]]

Barton pats the chest of his tan duster, feeling the bulge of his [[prayer book|prayer book]], what he and The Boys call their cigarette works, nestled inside his vest.

The chain of his [[pocketwatch|checktime]] is brightly lit by the Colorado sun that makes the wet ground postholed by horse hooves shine like mirrors reflecting the coming storm.
(if: $Minute>=35)[

The wind is whistling down the street, but Barton is [[concentrating on the bank door|TimesAWasting]]. Seems awful dang quiet in there. He yanks his pocketwatch out and glances at the time, $Hour:$Minute]
(set: $Minute to $Minute+1)

The whitewashed Sheriff's Office squats low at the end of the line of buildings, a bleached and dessicated horned toad of a structure looking to snatch any lawbreakers that might happen to mosey down the street.

Shifting his Winchester 1873, he absently flicks at the [[watch chain|checktime]] that dangles from his pocket.
(set: $looks to 2)
Barton watches for the sheriff for a minute, then turns back towards the bank and[[ waits.|Start]]
(set: $Minute to $Minute+1)

Black churning clouds are swelling up around Sultan Mountain casting dark shadows on the far end of town. Despite the chill wind, the sun is bright on this side, and Barton feels a tickling bead of sweat roll down his spine.

There is electricity in the air, the smell of ozone. Light flashes in the depths of the clouds stacked in the distance.

He lifts his hat to let the cool breeze blow across his head, then palms the rough scrub brush of a seven-day beard that’s taken root on his jaw.

Wondering what time it is, he glances toward his [pocketwatch chain]<watch|.
Barton taps his foot, feeling the mud suck and grab at his boot tip. After a minute [[waiting|Start]] for the lightning he knows is coming, he turns back toward the bank door.(set: $looks to 1)
(click:?watch)[(go-to: "checktime")]
(set: $Minute to $Minute+1)
Barton pulls out his prayer book and sloppily rolls a cigarette.

"Once this job's done, I'm sure enough gonna buy myself a box a'them cigars 'cause goddamn but a rich man don't ever have to roll his own," he mutters, pronouncing "cigars" like "sea gars."

Fishing a match from the breast pocket of his duster, Barton drags it across his boot heel. The flame flares and he holds it up to the raggedy end of his cigarette taking a long slow pull.

He hates waiting outside while the Boys are inside robbing them good folks at First Trust Bank. Pisses him off from Hell to Highwater, but there weren’t nothin’ for it.

It weren’t ‘cause he was a lousy shot, or broke under pressure. No sir. He's stone cold under pressure and a dead-eye with his rifle, even when riding to race the wind. ‘Course that meant he's the one who has to stay outside and be ready to shoot what comes when the time was to make their getaway. Still didn’t mean he liked it none too well.

Barton takes another long draw on his cigarette. Exhaling, he watches the smoke coil upward, tugged by the wind, vanishing down the [[street|Start]].
(set: $Minute to it+5) After about five minutes he flicks remnants of his cigarette to the ground and crushes it into the mud.(set: $Watchlook to $Watchlook+1)
(if: $Watchlook<=1 is true)[Barton pulls out his pocketwatch and flips it open. It's a much nicer watch than he could ever afford.

But then, he thinks, glancing at the inscription on the inside of the cover "to my loving Georgy-Porgy," a'course my name ain't Georgy-Porgy neither.

Barking a laugh, he looks at the watch face, the time is $Hour:$Minute](else-if: $Watchlook<=2 is true)[Barton pulls the watch out again and flicks it open. He looks at the watch, the time is $Hour:$Minute]
(else-if: $Watchlook>2 is true)[Barton stomps his boot in the sloppy mud and yanks his pocketwatch out yet again, scowling at the watch face which shows the time to be $Hour:$Minute]

(if: $Minute>=40 is true)["[[Time's a-wasting|TimesAWasting]]," Barton grumbles under his breath. He stares down the street toward the sheriff's office.](else:)[He snaps the watch shut and says, "Damnation, what's keeping them Boys? How long are they planning to keep me [[waiting->Start]] out here!"]
(set: $Minute to $Minute+2)(set: $Hour to 11)(set: $Minute to 32)(display: "Start")(set: $looks to 1)(set: $ShotsFired to 0)(set: $horses to 0) (set: $Bank to 0)
(go-to: "Start")Barton takes one last look toward the bank. There's trouble brewing in there, sure as the Devil likes his heat. Sweat trickles from under his hat and rolls down his cheek.

*Can't hear nothing at all in there,* he thinks. *It might well be a mausoleum as be a bank.*

*That's it, Momma didn't raise no fool,* he thinks as he grabs his horse's saddle horn and rolls up into the leather. Shoving his boots into the stirrups, he turns his horse toward the street.

Barton [[looks to his left|SultanEnd]], then [[glances right|Rockies]] toward where the sun is baking the water from this morning's rain, steaming it into the afternoon air.
(set: $ShotsFired to 0)Glowering down the main street, Sultan Mountain rises dark and brooding, a craggy snow-shod peak wreathed in black gravid clouds. Lighting occasionally flickers in the depths, darting out to lick the air like a rattler smelling for a rat.

(if: $ShotsFired is 2)[Barton's eyes are wide in panic...who knew who'd be coming through that door any second. He looks at the storm licking its way down the steep slopes ]*Could be dangerous, but then the rain would make it hard for a posse to track anything up there,* Barton thinks. *Or I could [[head east,|Rockies]] deeper into the mountains, then head on south once I reach the east side of the Rockies...*

The sharp smell of electricity blows down the street, cloaked in dust and fear. Barton clucks his tongue and his horse whinnies uncertainly. Her eyes roll back, and she tosses her mane as he put spurs to her ribs, and she leaps away from the bank, [[toward the gloaming dark bulk of the mountain.|LastChance]]Barton glances over his shoulder at Sultan mountain as he pulls the reins, and his horse turns toward the heart of the Rockies.

He toys, just for a moment, with the idea of [[heading into the thundering rain|Deluge]]. (If: $ShotsFired is 2)[He gulps, realizing he ain't got no idea who was gonna be barging out that door any second now. *I've gotta ride to be beat the Devil now!*]

Riding hard and fast deep into the Rockies seems the right idea. He's a good rider, and his horse is fresh. The daylight would last much longer if he [[heads east|IntoTheRockies]] away from that storm. Not to mention less chance of being lit up like one of them Jacob's Ladders he saw on display in Chicago a couple years back.

(if: $ShotsFired is 2)[Barton loops a leather thong through the handle of his basket of chicken, clucks his tongue and puts spurs to ribs. His horse leaps away from the bank, and thunders at a gallop along the wagon trail into the heart of the Rockies]
Barton turns his head and looks back over his shoulder at the dazzling sunlight cutting across the storm towering clouds at the edge of town. He rides into shadows cast by the rain-heavy clouds. The brown adobe of the bank walls glows in the last light of the sun before the overcast swallows the light. (if: $ShotsFired is 2)[Ain't nothing moving at the bank's door...yet.

]Beyond the end of the street in that direction, the rolling foothills climb into the peaks in a sunlit patina of dirty browns and scrubbrush greens. He and the Boys had ridden here through those very passes, and they were an [[easy enough ride|Rockies]] without the storm. He looks down at the pock-marked mud of the street. He'll have to ride fast, because even a round-headed posse could follow tracks through that muck.

In the direction he is heading, a veil of gray stretches from the bottom of the clouds fanning out in a mist that hovered over the ground. The rain starts in earnest, and he could head into the storm and not even a Navajo could track him if he [[rides through that deluge.|Deluge]]Barton turns back to face the forbidding darkness of the dour Sultan peak.

Suddenly shots ring out, piercing the air like whip-cracks and echoing off the wooden facades of the street. He's caught out!

*I'm too far away from my lookout spot to fool the Boys if they come charging through the door, and too close if'n it's the sheriff who bursts through the bank door.*

Shoving his hat down low on his forehead, he kicks his horse into a gallop. He'll race the Devil [[into the storm|IntoTheStorm]] and hope the Devil throws a shoe.Barton winds his way up high into the mountain, initially following a mining trail then branching off to follow a deer trail through the sparse trees and scree. The rain makes it hard to see more than a few horse lengths ahead or behind, but as his horse picks her way across an old exposed rockslide, he can hear the clatter of iron-shod horse hooves and the shouts and calls of the posse hundreds of feet below.

Rain is sluicing off Barton's hat in a steady stream as he hunches low, riding into the wind. He knows the mining trail cut across the mountain side at the tree lined edge of the rockslide below.

He's not sure how far the open rockslide continues along this part of the mountain. *It might be better to [[keep a'moving|MoveAcrossRockfall]], if they are on my trail and the rain picks up, this could be too slippery to cross. Then again, maybe it'd be best to [[keep quiet,|QuietRockfall]] in case they don't know I'm here,* he thinks.Lighting crashes, momentarily illuminating the landscape in black and white contrast. The thunder rolls off in the distance.

Clucking his tongue, Barton urges his horse forward, hooves clopping on the stone trail. The sounds below suddenly stop and he hears the unmistakable clack of a Winchester rifle hammer being pulled back. A flash from below, and he sees sparks burst from a rock to just to his left. A sharp sting on his cheek as he hears the whine of ricochet echo into the distance.

his horse snorts and rears back, but Barton retains his seat and tries to wrestle the horse back under control.

His horse bolts forward. Another whining, buzzing bullet slams the rock at his horse's hoof and she dances to the right. Her horseshoe slips on the granite and her leg drops down between two rocks.. There's a sickening crack as her right foreleg snaps at the shin, and Barton is dumped from saddle and [[crashes to the stones|CrashToGround]].Barton stops his horse, quieting her with pats on the neck. He listens, intent on teasing out the words of the men below, but the howling wind and the hiss of the rain on the rocks is too loud. The storm-dimmed light begins to fail as late afternoon turns to dusk.

He stays still and quiet until the sounds from below are muffled again as the posse below moves back into the trees. The rain lets up some; he tugs his pocket watch out by the chain. The wind dies to a whisper as clicks the latch and the watch flips open.

"Damnation!" Barton hisses through his clenched teeth and the tinny, staccato sounds of a music box mechanism trills from behind the watch face. He tries to snap the cover back over the face but something is jamming it open.

The light seems to catch and illuminate the inscription, *to my darling, Georgy-Porgy.* Barton can hear the sounds of voices and hooves growing louder. The posse has turned around.

"God blast it!" Barton says. He can hear the sounds of the posse growing louder and more distinct. He can either try to [[stuff the pocket watch back into his pocket|PocketTheWatch]] or [[throw it as far as he can down-slope.|ThrowTheWatch]]Trying desperately to make the watch stop, Barton shoves it into his pocket. The open cover catches on the fabric and he shoves harder. The cover snaps off, clattering to the rocks. The music box sound of the watch tinkles on. Barton hears the sound of a rifle being cocked just before he sees the flash below, from the edge of the treeline.

The bullet catches him square in the bridge of his nose, knocking his hat askew and blowing the back of his head clean off. His body slumps to the left.

The sound of the rifle shot follows momentarily after, startling Barton's horse and she canters forward. Barton's body overbalances and tips sideways, his head catching on the rocky outcrop of a boulder. His boot remains in the right stirrup but his foot pulls free with a sucking sound. His body is pulled over and off the saddle, his left leg dislocating with a crack.

His horse walks a short distance to the vegetation at the edge of the rockslide and nibbles at the low tough grass growing up between the twisted trunks of the low wind-bent bristlecone pines.

The posse works its way up a couple hours later, cutting Barton's remaining foot clear of the stirrup. They briefly discuss trying to bury Barton, but the storm was only growing more intense. In the end, they leave him where he lay and took the horse back to town to give to the O'Malley twins that lost their ma during the shootout in the bank. Life returns to normal almost immediately in Silverton, and even the twins soon forget that the horse they use to plow their small fields ever belonged to an outlaw.

Legend: 0
Survival: 0

[[Try yer hand at ropin' in some bank loot again, Lookout?|TryAgain]]
*Mamma didn't raise no jack-pudding headed pasture patty stomper*, Barton thought as he threw the watch out and over the boulder-strewn rockfall. It clattered between the rocks far below.

There were some shouts that echoed up from the treeline. Barton saw a flash, followed momentarily later by the distinct sound of a Winchester rifle. Sparks flashed in the deepening gloom where the bullet struck the rocks near where the watch had fallen.

Quick as a fox at the henhouse door, Barton reached down and slipped his own rifle up from the long leather case at the side of his saddle. He snapped it up to his shoulder and stood slightly up in the stirrups. His breathing slowed, he cocked the hammer...it was a long shot to the treeline below. His eyes flicked back and forth across the dim outline of the pine trees, waiting.

The sound of a rifle being cocked drifted up to Barton's ears, then a muzzle flash. He swung his own rifle slightly right and fired. The panic in the shouts that followed made it clear he'd hit his target.

"Yeah, that'll teach your damned eyes to hunt Barton Buck!" He shouted, raising his rifle up over his head [[triumphantly|Triumphant]].Barton lifts his hat and pushes the sweat back into his lanky hair. He puts spur to horse and she immediately leaps forward in a fast canter. He's just leaving the outskirts of town when he hears gunfire rip through the midday air. Glancing back he sees the iron door swing wide and the sheriff steps out, raising his pistol toward Barton. The six-shooter lifts twice, smoke and flame erupting from the barrel, the echoing sound follows after.

Barton hears two bullets buzz past, like bear-ravaged honey bees. He leans down in the saddle. The Sheriff is too far away to hit anything with a pistol, and it'll take a couple hours to raise a posse.

Lightning flashes in the dark clouds stacked high above the western end of the town. Thunder rolls down the side of Sultan Mountain and through the town, echoing off the wooden facades.

Barton kicks his horse into a [[fast gallop|RockiesP1]], trying to put as much distance between himself and whoever the sheriff is going to gather for the hunt.Barton opens his eyes and realizes he is staring up into the maelstrom. The clouds are swirling and dark, and the wind has picked up. Sitting up, the rain pouring off his head and down his neck, he reaches to push his hat lower. Instead of stetson, he touches his matted hair. He rolls up to a sitting position and the world spins...he looks at his hand and in the dim light he sees it covered in blood and clotted bits of skin and hair. He stands uneasily, leaning against a boulder.

His horse is making unearthly screaming sounds as it lies wedged between rocks. Its eyes wild and rolling toward Barton. Barton pulls his six-shooter from its holster, whispers apology and shoots his poor crippled horse dead.

The sound of the gunshot is drowneded in the wind now raging through the rock slide. But still, he hears the shouts of the men below and they're much closer. He's not sure how long he might have been unconscious, but he needs to get a'moving. Turning around, he pauses to consider [[heading toward the treeline|Treeline]] or [[climbing to higher ground|Rockslide]] through the talus.

Barton looks through the pouring rain, his head pounding with the pain of his injury. He's not sure how long he was unconscious, or even whether he was heading to the left or right. Lightning flashes and a bolt splits a tree to his left, its bark crawls with glowing embers. The thunder is louder than anything he's ever heard before. He turns and stumbles toward the tree line to the right, but he's moving slow.

ANother crash of lightning rips across his vision, the bolt seeming to crackle and skip along the surface of the rocks around him.

There's a flash, then another and another, this time from below him. He doesn't realize that it's gunshots and not lightning until he feels his shoulder shoved to one side and he staggers into an open area, clear of the larger boulders.

The flashes continue faster now. Barton feels like he's in a bar fight as body blow after body blow pummel him. He tries to grab for his own six-shooter, but his arms don't work.

*Ain't no gunfighter to just get shot down like this*, Barton thinks, just before a bullet tears through his skull.

It's hard to see where the outlaw fell, and with the storm getting worse, the posse decides that Barton is certainly dead. Or at least he would be before the storm was over, and fearing the lightning and thunder-triggered rockfall, they turn and head back down the mountain.

A funeral is held for the poor feller that Barton shot at the treeline, but once he was in the ground, life returned to normal in Silverton, and soon no one had call to remember the foiled bank robbery, or the failed outlaw, Barton Buck.

Legend: 10
Survival: 0

[[Try yer hand at ropin' in some bank loot again, Lookout?|TryAgain]]Barton begins to move up through the scree and talus boulders. The whine of a nearby ricochet occasionally splits the air followed momentarily by the sound of rifle fire, forcing him to duck and move bent at the waist.
With each shot, it's more obvious that the speed of the posse's horses is outpacing him, and he tries to move faster upslope.

Rocks and sand dislodge and slide down as he hurries upward. There's rumble like Barton had never felt below. Like the Devil himself was crawling up from Hell, shoving aside rock and dirt, claws rending earth and stone alike.

Barton hears the shouts of the men below and the clatter of hooves. He peers around a boulder. He looks quick like, in case they're trying to lure him out, but there are no rifles aimed his way. He looks again, and although dust appears to be rising from the slope to spite the rain that is hammering down, he can make out the men on horseback riding at full gallop back toward the treeline.

The horse in the rear stumbles, and man and beast crash down, sliding and tumbling from the narrow game-trail. The man screams as he tried to scramble from saddle, but he can't seem to gain purchase on the rocks. Wait. No. He can't gain purchase because the rocks are sliding down as fast as the man and horse.

*Aww, Damn it all, an outlaw like me ain't got no understanding of nature*, Barton thinks as the boulder he's peering around teeters forward and with the sound of a grinding mill, starts to roll downhill.

Barton looks up, and see what appears to be everything moving against the still background of the treeline and the peak above. He scrambles toward the trees, but in moments, the Devil's claw has caught his leg and he is yanked down into the thunderous pulverising rubble.

Three good men of Silverton died in the rock slide that night, along with Barton Buck. Miner's avoided that part of the mountain, now called Devil's Slide, claiming the area is still unstable even though no one ever saw it slide again. But late at night, especially when rain was falling, folks say you can hear things banging and cracking--unstable rocks perhaps, or perhaps the sounds of a ghostly gunfight that still rages whenever the storms awaken the uneasy soul of Barton Buck.

Legend: 75
Survival: 0

[[Try yer hand at ropin' in some bank loot again, Lookout?|TryAgain]]Barton rides fast out of town, following the wagon trail at first and then hooking off to the south along a stream. He stops before leaving the trail, and looks back at the massive storm piling up back over where he thought Silverton should be. By the looks, a real gully-washer. Just the kind of thing to halt a posse in its tracks.

Barton smiles and clucks, moving his horse down the steep embankment to the stream below. He rides through the water for over a mile, then as the water deepens, he enters back into the forest at an open beach where animals come to drink.

The ridgelines block his direct view of any evidence of Silverton. Even Sultan Mountain is out of sight. He's been riding for hours and stops to let his horse drink. It's quiet here, and although the light sky means the sun hasn't set yet, the valley he's in is already shrouded in dusk. The shadows in the trees are deep and thick. Thunder booms in the far distance, flat and rolling.

His horse looks tired but he could try [[and ride on|SpendTheNight]] slowly and hope he or his horse can see well enough to avoid danger, or he could [[camp here|Camp]] for the night, and ride on in the morning.Barton camps for the night, and rides out again at dawn. He follows game trails away from the stream and eventually connects back with a wagon trail a fair bit east by his admittedly poor reckoning.

It's late in the season for most wagon-slowed parties to be trying to make it over the Rockies so he doesn't encounter many folks. When he does, he moves off the trail and waits for them to pass. At times he moves along a semi-parallel game trail that often runs along the west side of the trail, sometimes close, sometimes as far away as an hour's ride.

The going is slow, but eventually Barton makes it down to the eastern side of the Rockies. From there he makes his way south. He is able to reach the town of Del Norte, but he doesn't stay long when he realizes there's a wanted poster with his face on it nailed on a post outside the town's sheriff's office.

He continues south and winters in Albuquerque. Finding work as a cowpunch on a rancho run by a feller name of Pablo Escondito, his life is full of hard work, but also a growing network of genuine friendships among both the Mexican and Gringo cowboys. Life is good for years, but eventually he dies of influenza. His fellow cowpokes pour out a drink for him, on his grave, toasting the man who was "one of the best dang boys to ever punch a cow."

Legend: 25
Survival: 80

[[Try yer hand at ropin' in some bank loot again, Lookout?|TryAgain]]
Barton mounts up and he rides on into the dark, following the game trail along the side of the stream.

Suddenly he starts, his head snapping up, and he looks around confused. He had fallen asleep in the saddle. The sound of the chuckling isstream was gone, the only things he can hear are small sounds of night birds moving through the pine needles and brush. An owl hoots in the distance, its forlorn call echoing along the valley walls.

He dismounts. There is no moon up yet, and in the total darkness he moves with his arms outstretched. Nowhere seems free of heavy brush. There is no sign of the game trail at all.

Pulling his rifle from its scabbard on the side of his saddle, he also pulls a long strap from the saddlebag and tethers his horse to some brush. He can't see well enough to tell if there is anything for his horse to eat near here, but he gives her a long enough lead she might be able to find something.(if: $ShotsFired is 2)[He unties the basket of chicken from the where it hangs off the saddle. He sniffs, and even though it's not hot anymore, it still smells heavenly.]

He sits down with his back against the trunk of a tree. Crossing his legs, he lays his rifle across his knees and hoping that no posse can sneak up on him through the dense brush. (if: $ShotsFired is 2)[He sets the basket of chicken on his lap, pulls the red cloth off and tucks it under his chin, and for a short while the act of eating revives him.] But moments later, [[Barton is fast asleep|Sleeping]] with his chin on his chest.Barton wakes when the sunlight dazzles through his closed eyelids and scrubbing his face with his palm, he reaches for his watch. He clicks it open: 10:10. He shakes out his stiff muscles. His horse nickers and stamps her hooves. There is no greenery around for her to eat. Barton's own stomach is rumbling.

Looking around, he can't tell which way the stream might be, but he mounts up and picks his way through the brush. It takes the entire day to find the stream again, but after camping at the water's edge that night, where his horse can find plenty to eat, he follows the water downhill.

*Can't find a damnable trail, but water's gotta come out somewhere, right?*
Barton travels for another two days before he crests a small rise with the stream tumbling over a small waterfall below to his left. He dismounts and walks to the edge of the falls. Below is a small cirque, an tightly enclosed ring of mountains that slope down to the small circular lake the stream feeds.

"Damnation!" He screams at the top of his lungs. His horse nickers and dances sideways, the sudden noise shaking her nerves. Frustrated at the prospect of another night lost, he shouts, "How the gallows-stomping Hell am I [[gonna git outa here|Camp]]?"Barton chuckles wickedly. Lifting the basket of steaming fried chicken, he slides it up against the iron bars in the deep-set window. He watches the faint wisps of steam float up from the red cloth. He reaches in and pulls the cloth back and the steam drifts in through the window. A growling whine rises from the silence of the bank interior...the sound of a very hungry and undoubtedly fat belly.

It's hard to [[see what's going on|LookInside]] inside the darkness of bank, but if he grabs the bars and stands on his toes, he might be able to see inside.

'Course, it's a dang good plan, maybe he just can climb down and [[head to the front|ChickenInPlace]].
(Set: $ChickenBasket to 2)(if: $ChickenBasket is 2)[Barton reaches up and slides the steaming basket of chicken to one side. ]He leaps up off the saddle and grabs the bars. Startled as Barton jumps to the window from his perch on the saddle, his horse whinnies and gallops away.

Grunting, he pulls himself up so that his eyes are shaded by the thick adobe walls. Inside the bank he can see the Boys on the right--Frank has both six-shooters pointing at some townies huddling near the bankers cage. Jimmy has one gun barrel stuffed through the bars of the cage. The banker is all froze up with a stack of bills half in a bag. Jimmy’s other gun points at the sheriff!

The sheriff's fat belly lets out another grumbling, whining growl. Barton grins.

He's got one gun pointed at Frank, and one at Jimmy, and both twitch slightly as he says, "It ain't funny, Boys...I'm durn hungry and it's your fault. Robbing the bank while the sheriff's trying to get paid so's he can eat. It's the first of the month ya idjits, payday. Now put them guns away...no one's been robbed yet, so we can work out a deal, right?"

At that moment the sun peeked around the corner of the bank building, lighting up Barton's face, making it glow in the dark recess of the deep window sill.

Jimmy's [[eyes dart high up towards the window|SheriffLooksUp]]. "Lord save us! There's an app-a-rition come fer our souls, Frank!"Barton's nerves are jangling like spurs on a poke with the falling sickness. Dang... the sheriff could come out of his office any minute now. More’n likely, the sheriff would just sidle across the street to The Rope Dance Saloon for lunch and libations. S’long as there’s no shooting, then [[surely the sheriff had no reason|WhatIfSheriffDid]] to walk up this way.

After all, Barton and the Boys had watched from the hotel above the Rope Dance Saloon, across from the jail, every day this week, wanting to get the timing just so; apparently there ain’t nothing can come between the sheriff and his belly once it's noon.

The plan was near fool-proof, get in to the bank on Friday, after the miners came down from the mountains, looking to change their silver for cash. Cash in the bank, sheriff at the end of town looking to fill his belly with hot fried chicken and corn bread. He and the Boys would be in and out, lickety-split, then ride like a Diablo Wind to the Mexican border.But, then again, what if the sheriff did have cause to walk over here? What if he weren't hungry today, or had hisself a big breakfast? Barton glances at his horse. He could [[ride out|RideAway]], right now... he didn't owe them Boys nothing. And sure as hell, they were taking way too long...

Barton scratches at his chin and swats at a fly buzzing near his ear. He could by all rights, barge right in there and [[give them Boys an earful of vinegar|BargeIn]]...Or maybe he could [[walk around the side of the bank|WalkAround]] and see if he could hear anything coming from them windows. 'Course that would mean leaving his lookout post, but maybe trying to figure what the [[hold up|Pun]] was in there was the key.Barton grabs the door handle and hauls the door wide, levelling his rifle, ready to shoot the first thing that looks at him cross-eyed. Heads and eyes swivel toward his silhouette in the doorway.

The Boys are on the right--Frank has both six shooters pointing at some townies huddling near the bankers cage. Jimmy has one gun barrel stuffed through the bars of the cage. The banker is all froze up with a stack of bills half in a fancy carpet bag. Jimmy’s other gun is pointing directly at...the sheriff?

[[Barton gawped|Gawped]] at the sheriff...the sheriff that, by all rights is still supposed to be in his office, maybe building up an appetite by working over the town drunk or something.
Barton looks around the street that seems empty ahead of the storm, and decides even though it means leaving the lookout post, it might be best to go on around the bank building and try and listen at one a'them windows high in the adobe walls.

He walks around the raised wooden walkway that runs along the front of the bank, and with one last glance down the street toward the sheriff's office, steps between the bank and the mercantile.

The shadows are deep here, cast by the buildings and contrasting with the bright white sun along the open street. Barton looks for the window and...

*Damnation! That goddamn window's gotta be ten feet up at least!*

Barton tries to think...there may be something [[behind the mercantile|Mercatile]]? A ladder or something to climb on? He looks up at the window...
*I ain't no accountant magician at estimation, no sir, but I wonder if I'm twelve feet up [[sitting on my horse|GetHorse]]?*It takes just a half second for Barton to take in the scene before the sheriff slaps leather, drawing both six shooters and putting a bullet through Jimmy’s head. Square between the eyes. Blowing most of the poor poke’s brains onto the wall behind him, while the other gun cleanly lines up with Barton’s form in the doorway and fires.

The first bullet hits Barton in the chest, pushing him stumbling back out the door. The second takes off Barton’s hat along with the top half of his head. Barton’s rifle fires wild and hits poor Frank in the gut, knocking him clean off his feet.

The door swings shut as Barton crumples, blood and brains mingling with the mud.

“Now then, if y’all don’t mind, I’d like to withdraw my pay fer the week and get on over to The Rope fer my lunch,” the sheriff growls over his grumbling stomach.

The sheriff pats his tummy, leans on the teller-ledge and says, "I mean can you believe them Boys? Who robs a bank when a hungry sheriff is inside, impatient to get his money for some grub?"

The teller shrugs and counts out the sheriff's pay.

"Thankya kindly. Now then, I'm off to the saloon. I've built me quite the hankering for some of the Rope's fried chicken!"

The townies and the miners are all nods, ascents, and a bucket-full of "Ayups."

The sheriff tips his hat to everyone on the way out, tosses a coin to Little Timmy who hawks newspapers in town and tells him to run and get the undertaker. Then shoving the door open the sheriff heads on down the street to the Rope Dance Saloon.

Barton, though he didn't live to hear the tales, [[did live on in campfire stories|SheriffWins]].Barton made a bit of a name for himself that day, ripping through them doors just like the tornado that really did whip itself up into a frenzy coming down offa Sultan Mountain, touching down along Main Street later that day.

And while Barton's name was in the stories, it carried no where near the reputation of Sheriff McGuire's, which grew to legend that day.

In all the confusing gunfire, the sheriff himself was credited with all three kills. And even though the Silverton undertaker knew it was a rifle bullet that killed Frank, and not a bullet from a colt six-shooter, he wasn't about to start words with a sheriff that could take down three hardened bank robbers, however it might have gone down.

Poor Ol' Barton didn't do much for his own legend, but at least by propping up the image of Sheriff McGuire he did play a role in growing the grand legend of the Wild West.

Legend: 10
Survival: 0

[[Try yer hand at ropin' in some bank loot again, Lookout?|TryAgain]]Barton slaps his knee and lets out a guffaw as he realizes he just made quite the pun..."what's the hold up" at the bank robbery. He's gonna have to remember to tell the Boys that one, once they'd made off with their loot.

He stares hard at that iron-bound front door...maybe he should just [[bust in|BargeIn]] and lay down the law. Hmmm. Or try and [[listen|WalkAround]] in at one of them high windows on the side of the building.Barton walks around to the back of the mercantile building, but there's nothing there but dirt, tumbleweeds and a lonely barrel.

Barton grins, he's heard of this barrel thing before...
He peers in, but nope, there's no fish to shoot.

He steps back, trying to think but even his poor grasp of weights and measures tells him there's no way he can stand on a single barrel and reach that bank window. Nothing for it but to see if he can't reach it by standing on his horse. He walks back into the alley between the buildings, pauses to see if he can hear anything coming from the window, then [[walks back|GetHorse]] to the front of the bank.Barton hurries back to the front of the bank.

*Time's a-wasting!* he thinks as he unwraps his horse's lead from the hitch.

Barton walks his horse around from the front of the bank, gives her some pats on the neck and swings up into the saddle...

...and stares up at the window still far above his head. *Damnation!*

Maybe there's something behind the mercantile he could drag over and climb? Or, once he saw a travelling circus show where a cowgirl rode her horse standing on the saddle. Surely, if a cowgirl could ride standing up, a rough and tumble outlaw like Barton could [[stand on the saddle|StandOnTheSaddle]] too...right? 'Course, here he is, on his horse...maybe this whole endeavor is just too dang risky? Maybe he could just turn tail and [[ride off|RideAway]]?Suddenly the sheriff looks up at the window(if: $ChickenBasket is 2)[ his stomach growling loudly with hunger], and seeing Barton's evilly grinning face(if: $ChickenBasket is 2)[ with the very steam of Hell coiling about his rictus visage], he snaps his pistol up and fires a single shot. The bullet hits Barton in the face, punching a clean round hole at the bridge of his nose and blowing his brains out through a fist-size hole in the back of his head.

Taking advantage of the momentary distraction Frank whips both of his six-shooters around and fires two shots. One bullet catches the sheriff in the chest. The second bullet rips through the sheriff's scalp, sending his hat sailing to the floor and parting his hair with a bloody stripe down the middle.

As the sheriff falls back dead, lying in a pool of his own blood fountaining from the severed aorta in his gaping chest wound, Jimmy waves his own gun once at the banker who immediately begins to fill the carpet bag with the cash. Frank whoops and shouts, "I don't know how he done it, Jimmy, but I saw the damnable [[Apparition of Barton|ApparitionOfBarton]] (if: $ChickenBasket is 2)[wrapped in the writhing smoke of Perdition's brimstone-fires,] glowing in that high window like to be twenty feet up yonder!"Barton may have died that day, but no one in the bank ever forgot the sight of his grinning face, floating apparently a dozen feet above the Lord's own ground. Kids from then on though, always ate their vittles, lest the app-a-rition of Barton Buck might reach to grab their ankles when they got up to use the chamber pot. Well, all the kids 'cept Mary-Sue--she was sure the app-a-rition of Barton Buck was a floaty ghost not an Under-the-Bed ghost...and if he wanted vegetable so bad, well then, he could eat them hisself.

Poor Jimmy was terrorized for his remaining days and never failed to tell the tale, whenever he got the chance in the dark of night around the campfire, of the day the spirit of Barton Buck rose from the very gates of Hell to that window where he guided Frank's bullet straight into the sheriff's heart.

Frank, for his part, was mostly pissed that Barton's ghost got the credit for his amazing two-pistol shot. It was like some kind of guldurn Robin Hood thing...right through the heart and parting the hair. But all people ever talked about was Barton Buck's face glowing in a window a hundred feet off the ground. Frank was pretty sure the bank wasn't even a hundred feet tall, but not enough to bet on it.

But regardless the two Boys rode out of Silverton that day, escaping eventually all the way to Mexico and into one of the great bank-robbery tales of Western history.

Legend: 50
Survival: 0

[[Try yer hand at ropin' in some bank loot again, Lookout?|TryAgain]]

Arms akimbo for balance, and speaking in soft soothing tones to his horse, Barton manages to carefully lift himself into a standing position. He teeters forward, but catches himself with one hand flat against the wall, and he looks up...

...at the barred window still too far above his head to look through. *Well, goddamn gullywhumping snake piss!* He's so close now he can practically taste the flat tang of the iron bars. Another foot up and he could grab them bars. He could [[jump a foot|LookInside]] or so up, right?

Listening, he can hear better from his perch atop his horse. There is the sound of some shuffling about, but not much...and certainly no shouts or commands to be filling up bags with money. *That ain't right!*

Then Barton hears the strangest thing, a kinda whining, rumbling growl with a high sqeeeeaaaaaaak that trails off. And maybe what follows is a titter of a snigger. A voice snaps, "Hushup!"

Barton ponders the sounds for a moment, then realizes that there's a guldurn belly rumble. As if, in answer, Barton's stomach lets out a high pitched gurgle. He's dang hungry too.

He smacks his lips, his mouth suddenly salivating as he thinks about that delicious fried chicken they serve down the street at the Rope Dance Saloon. He already has his horse here, and it wouldn't take more'n a minute or two to [[slip down to the saloon|GrabChicken]] to grab something to eat while the Boys do whatever fool stuff they're up to inside the bank.
(set: $ChickenBasket to 0)Barton drops into the saddle and, his horse startles and takes off at a gallop. Even though he feels the slight pangs of what might be guilt, he tells himself that the Boys could've fixed this had they gone ahead and loaded up the money bags lickety-split, just like they planned.

'Sides, he'd get them Boys some chicken too.

Riding out from the alley between the bank and the mercantile, he gallops to the end of the street and hops off his horse. He loops the reins around the hitch and [[shoves his way through|InTheRopeDance]] the swinging doors of the Rope Dance. He pauses for a moment, in the darkened interior of the Rope Dance, checking his gut feelings to see if maybe he should forget about the food and [[head on back|HeadBack1]] to bank before them Boys get themselves into a real fix.As he stands there a'contemplating, the familiar voice of Freija Mae calls out, "Heya Barton...hankered up an appetite for lunch?"

"Sure enough did. Can you throw in some extra pieces for the Boys? They're busy, but I'm heading their way," Barton calls back toward the end of the bar that led to the kitchen. Since they'd been staying at the hotel here, he knew the layout well enough. He paused for just a moment as an abnormally clever plan hatched inside his thick skull. "So Freija Mae?"


"The sheriff saw me heading in here and asked if I could pick up his lunch for him."

"I was wondering where he'd got off to. Sure, I'll [[pack up a basket|Baskets]] fer him too, Honey."

"Much obliged, Miss Mae."Barton tips his hat to Freija Mae as she slides two wicker picnic-style baskets across the scarred bar top. She pulls back the red cloth covering just enough to show him the contents, six golden fried pieces of chicken nestled between four squares of yellow cornbread. The smell swirls out in an intoxicating steam cloud of mouth watering promise.

Barton licks his lips, and tosses a silver coin onto the bar. He scoops up the two baskets, nods and says, "Thank you, Miss. I can't wait to dig in, but I'd feel awful guilty if I were to eat while the good sheriff is going hungry."

"Will we be seeing ya for supper tonight, Barton?" She's smiling and leaning on the bar.

Barton clears his throat and stammers, "God willing, Miss." Then he turns and walks quickly outside where he mounts up and [[rides back|RideBack]] to the bank."I can't be just hanging the Boys out to dry like that..." Barton mutters to himself. He turns and stomps out of the saloon. Mounting up again, he rides back to the bank.

The Boy's horses are still there. Barton dismounts, pulling his rifle from its saddle scabbard as he does. Stepping up onto the wooden plank walk that fronts the bank building, he pulls his pocketwatch out and clicks it open. He looks down, 11:59...no wait, the minute hand moves up. High noon. The small music box sounds the watch plays every hour rings out in the otherwise still street.

A gust of wind blows from the West, down from Sultan Mountain, carrying the sharp tang of an electrical storm. Barton snaps the watch closed, shutting off the music. Six gunshots ring out, nigh unto simultaneous.

Barton raises his rifle level so he can shoot from the hip, then grabs toward the iron handles of the bank door, pausing for a half second, torn between [[yanking the door open|YankOpen]], and turning tail and [[riding for Hell or high water|RidingAfterGunshots]].Barton grabs the iron handle and hauls the heavy door open, ready to shoot the first thing that looks at him cross-eyed. It takes just a half second for his eyes to adjust to the scene laid out before him.

Poor Jimmy is hanging with one hand caught in the bars of the bank cage and half his head blown clear off. The teller is standing frozen, caught in a silent scream with poor Jimmy's brains plastered all over his nice suit.

Frank and the sheriff both whip their heads toward the door at the same time. Frank looks like he's bleeding but good, the left arm of his tan duster all painted red and with a ragged hole ripped through it.

The sheriff don't look much better. He's stumbling to the right, and his leg ain't fit to hold him upright. Looks like Frank got him good in the right thigh.

Frank dashes past the banker's cage and grabs the carpet bag from where it tumbled from Jimmy's dead hand. The sheriff's gun booms out again, puffing dust from the adobe well behind where Frank was running.

"Mount up, Barton! [[Let's ride|Ride]]!" Frank calls as he runs out the door Barton is holding open. He grabs at Barton's duster, spinning him away from the heavy iron door just as the sheriff's next bullets clangs against the metal and whines away in a ricochet.*That's it, Momma didn't raise no gulldarn snake spit bathing skunk-kissing gullyjumper,* he thinks as he drops the sheriff's basket, grabs his horse's saddle horn and rolls up into the leather. Shoving his boots into the stirrups, and looping a thong through his own chicken-basket handle, he turns his horse toward the street.

The dull cracks of several pistol shots deadened by the thick walls, startles his horse and Barton [[looks to his left|SultanEnd]], then [[glances right|Rockies]] toward where the sun is baking the water from this morning's rain, steaming it into the afternoon air.
(set: $ShotsFired to 2)Barton and Frank leap into their saddles and turn their horses. There's an uproar inside the bank, but the sheriff won't be following too fast with a bullet in his leg...at least so they hope as they quickly decide to either head [[West|West]] into the growing storm on Sultan Peak, or [[East|East]] deeper into the Rockies.The night is suddenly ripped in blinding white as an arching fork of lightning blasts from the clouds, connecting a jagged line of molten electricity to the barrel of Barton's rifle. Every muscle in his body contracts, forcing him to stand straight up, even as his brain literally boils in his skull.

The men in the posse below look up from their dead friend, shot clean through the forehead. What they see became legend. A figure, standing tall, limned in brilliant white light. A rifle of pure fire held high overhead, lightning shooting from the barrel, and a hatless skull with baleful eyes and glowing smoke pouring from its mouth and nose gazes down at the men, filling them with the fear of God or more likely the very Devil himself.

Neither Barton nor the horse were ever found, and the scree covered slope became known as Death's Hollow, where no dared tread for generations after. The tales were told again and again, and Barton Buck's name, feared by children and miners alike, lived on far longer than the man ever could.

Legend: 100
Survival: 0

[[Try yer hand at ropin' in some bank loot again, Lookout?|TryAgain]]Together, Barton and Frank turn west, and [[ride|RideTillFrankDies]] into the building storm, thinking the rain will make tracking them much more difficult. Their horses gallops down the main street and then up the mining trail climbing Sultan Mountain's forested flank.Barton and Frank ride east, deeper into the Rockies, hoping they have enough of a head start to make pursuit fruitless.

After just a half hour of hard riding though, Barton notices Frank is falling behind and he rides back to see what's wrong.

Frank pushes the brim of his hat back and looks at Barton. His face is sallow, waxy and Barton notices Frank's hands are shaking as they hold the reins.

"Jeez Frank, you ain't looking so good."

"I ain't feeling so good neither." Frank nods toward his left arm. "I can't even lift it to show ya, Barton. And it's bleeding something fierce."

"Damnation, Frank!"

"Grab the bag of money from my saddlebag, Barton. You keep heading east, find your way outa here, maybe head down Mexico way."

"Damn, Frank, ain't no way fer that. I've got too much fried chicken here in this basket to [[go it alone|GoItAlone]]."

"Yeah? Well, you ain't got much choice. I'm staying here. Wouldn't say no to you leaving me that chicken and bread though...""Goddamn but I'm one helluva brilliant lookout! No way them boys woulda thought of this!"

Barton dismounts, grabs his rifle, tucking it under his right arm and lifting the barrel to be ready to shoot. Picking up the basket of chicken and biscuits, he steps up onto the wooden plank walkway in front of the bank.

Whipping back the red cloth that covers the chicken and releasing the delightful aroma, Barton reaches for the iron handle of the bank, set to [[yank it open|YankIt]], then he pauses and considers trying to [[go around to the window|GoToWindow]] on the side facing the mercantile.Barton looks back. Frank is lagging behind.

"C'mon Frank! They've got a posse by now, sure as shooting. We've gotta keep moving!" Barton calls over his shoulder.

Frank slumps forward, and mumbles something but it's lost in a roll of thunder as the first drops of rain begin to pelt loudly against Barton's hat brim.

Barton stops his horse, pulls his pocketwatch out and clicks it open. 4:00pm. The music box sounds the watch plays on the hour, tinkle out then abruptly end as Barton snaps it closed again. He frowns at Frank, who appears to be going even slower, and [[turns his horse back|YellAtFrank]] so he can yell at Frank from much closer.

Frank slumps a little lower in his saddle. Barton considers turning and just riding off on his own, [[leaving Frank|LeaveFrank]] to whatever may come...most likely a hanging.As Barton rides back to his friend, Frank slips and tumbles from his saddle. His horse nickers and moves away, eye rolling back to look his rider sprawled on the ground.

"Aw shit Frank, get up! Boy doesn't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his ass." Barton says loudly.

As he rides up close to where Frank is lying in the rock-strewn grass, he realizes something ain't right with Frank. His friend's duster is all red on the left side, not just the arm anymore. Barton glances at Franks horse and can see the blood has flowed down the entire flank of the horse.

Barton dismounts and walks over. Poor Frank's eyes are wide open...that gives Barton the heebie jeebies now that he's close enough to see the rain spatter into his open eyes and Frank not even be able to blink.

"Dunno if'n you're still in there Frank, but I can't leave ya to swing," Barton says as he draws his six-shooter and puts a single bullet between Frank's eyes, then leans over and slides his lids shut with his hand.

Hearing the voices of men drawing closer, and hoping to put some distance between himself and posse before the rain gets too severe, Barton mounts up and begins clattering up the rocky trail. Once he's put a couple switchbacks behind him, he tries to [[listen|QuietRockfall]] for his followers.Barton turns his horse yet again, and clucks his tongue, urging his horse to a fast trot, not even once pausing to look back at Frank...mostly because even now, in between the clashes of thunder, he's can pick out the sounds of voices and horses over the sound of the rain.

The Posse! There's no turning back now. Frank's on his own.

Ahead the [[trail climbs|IntoTheStorm]] steeply up into the jumbled talus of an old rockfall.Barton helps Frank down from his horse and gets him set up with a right good ambush, if the posse tracks them this far. Next to where Barton props up Frank, with his rifle across his knees, he leaves the basket of chicken.

Barton mounts up, and as he turns off down a game-trail, he pauses and looks back. Frank has a drumstick in his hand, it doesn't even look to have been bitten, and his head is slumped down to his chest.

"Yer a good one, Frank. may God have mercy on your soul," Barton says as he clucks to his horse and [[rides through|RideToMidnight]] the brush trusting his horse to pick out the nigh invisible trail.
A couple hours pass and Barton awakes with a start, his head snaps up and he looks out into complete darkness. No moon is up, 'course that was part of their plan to foil a pursuing posse, but now it meant he could barely see his palm right in front of his face.

In the far distance he can hear the sound of a stream, but in the echoing valley, there's no way to tell exactly where it is. An owl hoots, and he hears small animals shuffling and moving in the brush he can't quite make out, sitting up in his saddle.

His horse is breathing heavy and even. *She's done tuckered out too*
He spends a few minutes, listening in the dark, trying to tease out any sounds of men following from the night noises that surround him. There's no sign of anyone else, so he carefully slips down from the saddle, feeling with his boots to make sure there's no sudden drop off.

He pulls his rifle from its scabbard on the side of his saddle, a long thong from the saddlebag, and he tethers his horse to some brush. He can't see well enough to tell if there is anything for his horse to eat nearby, but he gives her a long enough lead that she might be able to find something.

He sits down, his back against the trunk of a tree, with his legs crossed and his rifle across his knees, hoping that no posse could sneak up on him through the dense brush before dawn. He pats his duster and briefly considers rolling up a cigarette but decides against any open flame that might be seen, and moments later, [[Barton is fast asleep|Sleeping]] with his chin on his chest.Barton realizes it might be better to distract the sheriff from the side, rather than risk going in through the front, barrels blazing.

He takes the reins of his horse and leads her around between the bank and the mercantile. Twelve feet up an iron barred window is tucked deep into the thick adobe walls. Moving his horse until the saddle lines up under the window, he slips his rifle back into its scabbard, then carefully climbs up until he's standing on the saddle. He holds the handle of the chicken basket in one hand, the other presses firmly against the wall to maintain his balance.

Missy-Sue nickers but holds still. Barton can just [[reach|BasketInWindow]] his hand up to the edge of the window sill.Barton whips the red cloth from the basket, grabs the door handle and hauls the door wide, levelling his rifle, ready to shoot the first thing that looks at him cross-eyed. Heads and eyes swivel toward his silhouette in the doorway.

The Boys are on the right--Frank has both six shooters pointing at some townies huddling near the bankers cage. Jimmy has one gun barrel stuffed through the bars of the cage. The banker is all froze up with a stack of bills half in a fancy carpet bag. Jimmy’s other gun is pointing at the sheriff.

Steam, savory delicious steam billows around Barton, and just for a moment, the sheriff's eyes flick down toward the golden crispy chicken. In that moment, Barton fires his rifle. His dead-eye aim, catches the sheriff in the forehead, punching a bullet clean through his head and locking his face in a wild expression of surprised hunger.

In slow motion, Jimmy fires a shot from his six-shooter that catches the sheriff in the chest as he topples to the ground.

Frank whoops and hollers, "Damnation, Barton, I don't know how you done got that chicken, but hooboy, I never saw such a brilliant distraction. Hey banker man, you get to filling that bag up right quick before Barton airs it out like the sheriff there."

Soon as the banker stuffed the bag full of money through the bars, [[the three Boys ran|GetAway]] cheering and caterwauling out through the iron-bound door.Barton and the Boys leap to their saddles, turn away from the storm that is tumbling pell-mell down the steep side of Sultan Mountain, and ride East at full gallop Looking over his shoulder Barton can see the lighting crackling through the far end of town, limning the edges of the buildings with light and the cross on top of the chapel with St. Elmo's Fire.

The thunder roilsand peals, drowneding out the pounding of their horse's hooves. Clapping one hand to his hat, Barton leans low over his horse's neck picking up even more speed as they race down the wagon trail.

After fifteen minutes they pull up short, their horses all lathered up, stomping and snorting. Listening, they can hear nothing except the roar of thunder. Barton dismounts and puts his ear to the ground like he saw an Indian tracker do once.

"Worm'll crawl in your ear and lay eggs in your brain, Barton, if you keep that up!" Jimmy says, laughing.

Barton leaps to his feet, slapping at the side of his head.

Frank laughs, "Jimmy's pulling yer leg, Barton. You hear anything?"

Barton shakes his head, still digging in his ear with his pinky finger, sure he can feel something burrowing toward his brain. "Ain't funny, Jimmy!"

Frank says, "Mount up, [[let's ride|RideOn]]!"Over the next three days, Barton and the Boys ride down out of the Rockies and head south toward New Mexico. They winter in Albuquerque, having a good ol' time with more cash than they'd ever seen before or since.

In February poor ol' Frank ended up getting shot in a fixed poker game that weren't even his fault. But by May, Barton and Jimmy split up the rest of the cash, and Jimmy rode south into Mexico. Barton ain't heard from him since.

Barton took his share of the money and bought himself a small Rancho and a herd of goats. He hired on some cow pokes to take care of the cattle, driving them ones ready for slaughter to the train station at the Texas border where they sold at auction. He not only made his money last, he built his fortune until he owned one of the largest ranchos in the state.

Sitting out on his porch, boots up on the white-washed railing, his face now heavily creased by the sun, Barton pulls one of them "sea gars" from the blue-stitched pocket of his fancy white shirt. Dragging a match along the rough wood of his chair, as he leans back, balanced on two legs, he revels in the fact that it's been years since he ever done had to roll his own.

Legend: 25
Survival: 100

[[Try yer hand at ropin' in some bank loot again, Lookout?|TryAgain]]Barton drops to his saddle and rides to the front of the bank where he dismounts and dashes to the iron door. Yanking the handle, the door swings wide, and sure enough, there stands the sheriff, his head turned up toward the glorious smells wafting down from the chicken in the window.

The sheriff's belly lets out a loud rumbling squeal just his head swivels toward the bright light streaming in from the open door.

Barton's Winchester booms at the same time that Jimmy's colt barks, and the sheriff, hit by two bullets near simultaneous-like, spins himself a blood-spraying pirouette before dropping like a doughy flour sack to the floor.

Blood spattered townies start to scream then hush right up when Frank shoots a couple tough-looking fellers as a warning.

The bank teller slides the overstuffed bag through the bars to Jimmy, and then the three Boys [[saunter out|Saunter]] the open door like they own the world.Barton and the Boys roll up into their saddles and turn away from the storm that is tumbling pell-mell down the steep side of Sultan Mountain, and ride East at full gallop Looking over his shoulder Barton can see the lighting crackling through the far end of town, limning the edges of the buildings with light and the cross on top of the chapel with St. Elmo's Fire.

The thunder roils and peals, drowning out the pounding of their horse's hooves. Clapping one hand to his hat, Barton leans low over his horse's neck picking up even more speed as they race down the wagon trail.

After fifteen minutes they pull up short, their horses all lathered up, stomping and snorting. Listening, they can hear nothing except the roar of thunder. Barton dismounts and puts his ear to the ground like he saw an Indian tracker do once.

"Worm'll crawl in your ear and lay eggs in your brain, Barton, if you keep that up!" Jimmy says, laughing.

Barton leaps to his feet, slapping at the side of his head.

Frank laughs, "Jimmy's pulling yer leg, Barton. You hear anything?"

Barton, still digging in his ear with his pinky finger sure he can feel something burrowing toward his brain, says "Ain't funny, Jimmy, [[we got a posse on our trail|Posse]]!""A posse!?" Frank shouts. "Ah damn! What'll we do, Barton?"

"Yeah Barton? We gonna turn tail and scoot like dogs?" Jimmy asks.

Barton pats his duster and pulls out his prayer book. Taking his time rolling a cigarette while the Boys dance and shimmy with wild nerves, Barton flicks a match alight with his thumbnail. Taking a long pull he says, "Sure, we could [[run|Run]]." He grins evilly. "Or we could make stand up yonder inside that there hanging canyon."

Frank looks up at the notch in the granite about two hundred feet above them. "You're a cowshit stompin sonofabitch if you think we're gonna [[climb up there to be shot|Climb]] like fish in a barrel."

Jimmy's mouth hangs slack as he stares at Barton who nods and says, "Yep."Barton hops back up into his saddle, turns to the Boys and says, "Suit yerselves...maybe living to rob another day is the best idea, Boys."

He clucks his tongue, turning his horse and shouts, "[[Let's Ride|RideOn]]!"Jimmy snaps his mouth shut and grins too. "I ain't one to argue with no chicken-basket-wielding-dead-eye-rifle-shootin-sonofabitch!"

Frank shrugs and says, "I guess I ain't neither."

Barton pulls two sticks of dynamite from his saddle bag. He points to a game trail leading off deeper into the trees. "Jimmy, you take our horses down that trail a piece, so's they can't be seen from the here. C'mon Frank. You'n me are gonna [[head up|ClimbUp]] there to that hanging canyon and set our trap," Barton says as he winds a couple lengths of primer cord around his fist.

Jimmy takes the leads of the three horses and moves quickly down into the brush, following the narrow game trail, as Frank and Barton climb the slope to the notch in the rock wall above.Barton is just finishing placing the dynamite and joining the fuses between the two sticks when Frank whistles. Barton looks over.

Frank says, "I see dust from just beyond them trees. The posse's running flat out for us."

Barton nodded and finished prepping the explosives. He looks out the canyon mouth and sure enough, down below there's a good ten or so horses galloping down the wagon trail.

"Dang, Barton, here comes Jimmy!"

Jimmy came bursting out through the brush, his knees kicking high as he [[runs for all he's worth|JimmyRuns]].Whooping and hollering Jimmy makes a mad dash into the talus at the foot of the slope below the canyon mouth.

Dust wraps up and envelops the posse as they come to a stop and leap from their horses. Rifle fire cracks and echos from the stone wall and the sound of ricochets spang and whiz. Jimmy laughs and yells, "Round headed gully-jumpers couldn't hit a cow if it swallowed the barrel!"

Dozens of shots boom out in response and Jimmy squeaks and surges,slapdash up the rocky slope. Rocks skitter and trundle down the slope and the posse races across the open ground, holding their bodies low as if they're expecting to get shot at.

Barton lays out the short length of primer cord and without so much as a word, strikes a match and ignites it.

"Damnation Barton, yer gonna blow us to Kingdom Come!"

"Then I guess you best be hauling yer bacon away from here, Frank," Barton looks over at Frank. Later Frank would tell the story that Barton looked like death hisself. Eyes aglow beneath the broad shadow of his hat brim. Teeth set in a grin more like the stretched lips of week old corpse bloating in the sun.

Frank looked wide-eyed at the spitting and hissing cord snaking across the rocks to the dynamite and [[turned tail|FrankRuns]] and ran up into the dark canyon.Jimmy's head pokes up over the rocky edge of the hanging canyon. Barton reaches over and grabs him by the suspenders, lifting him into the canyon opening. He looks back over his shoulder and sees the posse not more than twenty feet away. But there's no way they can shoot when they have to use their hands to climb the rock face.

In the canyon, Jimmy's eyes drop down to see what's hissing like rain-drenched cat. "By all that's holy...," he starts to say, but the rest is drowned out in a clatter of rocks as Barton throws him over one shoulder and sprints off.

Not more than twenty feet further down canyon, Barton swings Jimmy down and around, then up and over a boulder wedged between the narrowing rocks walls.

Barton, heaves himself up, his boots scrabling between the boulder and the rock wall. Finding purchase, he scrambles to the top of the [[boulder...|Explosion]]The canyon is flooded in brilliant white light and a shattering explosion so loud that the Boy's can't hear right for a month after that. Frank and Jimmy looks up from their protected spot behind the boulder and it looks like Barton has wings of fire spreading out and around his black silhouette, one hand holding his hat on his head. Rock and debris smack and clatter around them. A huge stone, probably a couple tons or more, crunches down right next to Barton.

Barton scrubs at his chin as the dust swirls in eddies around him, "Boy's that's what I call a welcome party worthy of any posse!" Of course they mostly just heard "mmmrf mmmm rrmf shmrffy."

Barton and the Boys clamber down from the now-wider hanging canyon slot, passing bloody bits of sinew, bone and lots of blood-splashed rocks. From that day on they rode a legendarily bloody path of robbery and destruction, eventually racking up more than two dozen major bank robberies. A half dozen posses met horrible ends before it became known that if the Boys rode into your town, best thing to do was nothing at all.

By the time their activity mysteriously stopped, they had a reputation among outlaws that was unmatched in history, and the story of Barton and his hellish wings of fire were told in whispered tones of fear and awe for decades after last time the Boys rode. Some say Barton lived out a peaceful life in southern Mexico, owner of a massive rancho and unparalleled hacienda filled with riches. Others whispered that the Devil himself finally came to collect the brimstone wings and the dread-soul that wore them.

Legend: 100
Survival: 100

[[Try yer hand at ropin' in some bank loot again, Lookout?|TryAgain]]
So, yeh think y'all got the gumption to try yer hand at it again?

Well, this time you ain't no wet-behind-the-ears, saddle-sore city-slicker outta Chicago.

So then, oil up that action, check yer ammunition, and tuck that duster behind yer holster.

[[Let's Ride!|setVars]]
Barton heads towards the swinging doors. The smell of hot fried chicken and cornbread waft out from the kitchen, making him pause for a second. Dang, on the one hand, he is the lookout for them Boys, and he should probably [[head back|HeadBack]]. On the other hand, taking the chicken back might distract the sheriff, iff'n he's as hungry as Barton thinks. But would the robbery go in pig trough before he gets back? Should he [[wait|InTheRopeDance]]?

*Dangit, why's thinking gotta be so cow-patty-chucking hard?*