Part I - Chapter 03 - Psyched in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

The adventure began with a rocky start as the train ride was filled with worries and complaints from Doc as he seemed to be afraid of everything, including doorknobs, sneezes, and sunshine. If Doc was not a necessity, Brisco would have happily exchanged Doc for Socrates, snoring, odd hotel behavior, and all. Only slightly less worrisome was a silent but determined Rachel. With every glance around the area, it was almost as if she wished something would go awry and challenge her toughness or her authority. Brisco began to mentally weigh which event would likely occur first – Doc fainting over something innocuous or Rachel picking a fight with the toughest person she could find. Either way, this was not the trail ride adventure that he remembered. Luckily, it was only an hour train ride between the two cities.

After disembarking the train, the trio walked in the general direction of the center of town. The small rescue party had only been walking for a few minutes when they ran into two men loudly bickering. The men looked as though they had almost every snack item from the local corner store precariously balanced in their arms. One man had a mischievous air about him, short hair, untucked clothing, and a farmer’s tan. The other man was well built with dark skin that seemed to shine in the daylight almost to echo his welcoming smile. Of the two, the second looked as though he was the more professional and honest of the two. You felt like you could instinctively trust him; even if he were to recommend suspicious miracle elixirs to cure all manner of ailments.

Rachel rushed to meet the two in an attempt to assert her authority and asked, “Can you point us in the direction of Santa Barbara-“

“We locals like to call this town Santa,” the black man interrupted.

“Or Barbara,” his friend chimed in.

“Barb for short.”

“Barb’s not dead.”

“Long live Barb.” At the end of this narrative, the two men gave each other a sideways glance and pointed at each other as if they were laughing at their own inside joke.

“Could they have said any stranger than that?” murmured Doc and Brisco had to agree.

“Right,” Brisco stated in an attempt to ignore the odd statements before continuing. “And you are-?”

“The name is Shawn,” began the mischievous man. He took one look at Rachel before piling his armful into the other man’s arms and tipping an imaginary hat to Rachel. He gave his most charming grin before continuing, “I am a psychic detective and this is my partner, Medulla Oblongata.”

“Or Gus for short,” his associate cheerfully offered.

“How is ‘Gus’ short for a part of the brain?” inquired Doc but Shawn ignored the question and began jerking about as though he were a fish being pulled out of water.

“The spirits want me to inquire,” began Shawn as he mustered his most serious yet charming facial expression with arched brow. He took Rachel’s hand before continuing, “How would you like your steak cooked for our dinner tonight?”

Rachel rolled her eyes as she did not have time for boys who played games and quickly removed her hand from Shawn’s grip before giving him a slight shove away, “If you really are psychic, the spirits would tell you that we are in the middle of a man hunt. We need to speak to your local sheriff immediately.”

At the mention of ‘man hunt,’ Shawn’s demeanor seemed to change from a flirtatious and confident swagger to one of caution. Gus looked at Shawn with a look of shock and confusion while Shawn ignored his friend. “We can help you get there,” Shawn stated shortly as he took one small item from Gus’ load.

As they followed Shawn down the street, Doc could no longer hold in his curiosity. “What makes you psychic? I have yet to find any scientific proof of that phenomena, but it has always intrigued me.”

Shawn abruptly stopped and turned around. He looked Doc, Rachel, and Brisco up and down before taking two steps right up into Brisco’s face. Shawn began to sniff in the air like a puppy before taking a step back and placing a finger to his right temple. “I sense that you, young lady, are putting up a wall to prevent me from seeing your aura.” He then looked at Doc and continued, “You are a scientist dealing with experiments that have gone awry.” Finally, he turned to Brisco. “And you, sir, are Brisco County Junior. That is your unfortunate name and not where you are from. You have come from Hollywood, the world of silver screens, big dreams, and broken promises,” Shawn paused for a moment as his face grew darker almost bitter before he continued, “Finally, I sense that you feel a great guilt and that you, sir, should feel every bit of your shame.”

“Shawn, maybe you should ease up a bit” mumbled Gus beneath his breath.

“I have not begun to ease…” exclaimed Shawn, much to the confusion of the listeners.

“Well, that’s by far the most specific that Spencer has EVER been with his visions,” began a newcomer to the conversation. “And if you have incurred the wrath of this excuse for a town bum, then you have my full support.”

Brisco turned to get a better look at the tall and lanky stranger, “And you are?”

“Speaking of town bums, may I introduce the bummer of all bummers, Sheriff Lassiter, or Lassie as I like to call him,” muttered Shawn.

Brisco shook the sheriff’s hand and noticed his striking blue eyes behind a tough smile. The sheriff was tall and hid most of his salt & pepper hair behind the largest hat that Brisco had ever seen.

“Sheriff, we have a private matter to discuss with you.”

“And with that, I feel that Gus and I should continue on with our quest for more snacks!” exclaimed Shawn in a goofy tone. Gus and Shawn turned only to have Gus drop most of his items.

“Shawn!” scolded Gus but Shawn began to speed walk away, leaving Doc to help Gus pick up the items and carefully balance the load back into Gus’ arms before Gus followed in Shawn’s direction. Doc, Rachel, and Brisco had barely entered the sheriff’s office before Rachel huffed into a nearby chair.

“How can you handle those two? Wouldn’t you find dealing with them irritating?” exclaimed Rachel.

“Oh no, it absolutely annoys me! I find it childish and often distracting but he occasionally guesses or siphons the correct answer,” stated Sheriff Lassiter as he waved his hand in mild irritation, “Additionally, his father was one of the best lawmen in the area, so I feel I owe his father. But I do have to say, it is odd to have Shawn walk away from a possible case. Normally, he would be knocking us over to be hired on the case, on ANY case. But, I will take this as a welcome reprieve.”

At this moment, Doc looked at his watch and exclaimed, “I cannot believe I let the psychic distract me. We are running out of time!” Doc immediately began pulling papers and maps from his bag and began unloading them about the desk. Within seconds every square inch of the sheriff’s desk was covered by something owned by the doctor.

“Please come in and take over my desk,” stated Sheriff Lassiter wryly.

“At any moment, James is going to appear near the town hall, accounting for the variance of distance,” Doc was calculating aloud but no one was truly sure if the words were for the group or to himself. “If I add in another couple of meters…” Doc then began to draw a circle around his map, his red pen leaking ink onto his hand and on several other pieces of paper. Completely oblivious to the mess, Doc continued, “Can you help us locate this building and block off the entire area from public access within the next hour?”

“You want me to block off town hall, the local mercantile, and the town corral in the next hour?” asked Sheriff Lassiter. He looked like he was about to toss the group out before Brisco took Lassiter aside. As Brisco explained who he was and who they were attempting to rescue, without explaining any of the futuristic science, Lassiter seemed to acquiesce a bit. The promise to go shooting with the sheriff before leaving town ended up being the final bargaining chip as Lassiter was quite proud of his marksmanship and enjoyed bragging about which famous lawmen and outlaws that he could best in a shooting match. “One more obstacle completed,” thought Brisco.

However, as the group crowded around the table to formulate a plan, Brisco had an uneasy feeling continue to build in his stomach. “Why was Shawn, a stranger, so angry at me? Why had a nosey self-proclaimed psychic detective suddenly not be interested in a missing person case? Did the psychic actually know more than he was letting on?”

Brisco tried to shake these questions off. After all, it had been years since he last worked in the field. It must be some weird paranoia brought on by lack of practice.

“It had to be.”

- - - - - - - - -

Gus followed Shawn towards the town corral which was up the road from the sheriff’s office. After several minutes of calling Shawn’s name, Shawn finally relented and relieved half of Gus’ load. As they awkwardly walked into the stables, Gus began a complicated whistle. At the sound of the tune, James emerged from the shadows. Unbeknownst to Brisco, the three boys had grown up together and considered each other family. So much so, that they often referred to each other’s parents as “uncles or aunts.”

“About time!” exclaimed James. “You left me in an abandoned stable instead of taking me to your place? I could have been enjoying home cooked food and a much better smelling location!”

“Home cooked food would be available at my parents’ house in Hard Rock but since we’re here and both of us are living in boarding houses, we couldn’t sneak you in and out easily like you said you needed. Besides, Shawn’s place is messier and smellier than this place,” commented Gus.

“Hey! I take offense to that!” countered Shawn

“Regarding the time delay, blame it on Shawn’s slight detour to flirt,” Gus continued, despite a glare from Shawn. Gus smirked back before finishing his story, “We went around town scrounging for different items to help get that odd bracelet off your wrist.” As Gus reviewed their errands completed on James’ behalf, he worked on unloading various items onto a nearby table.

“And more importantly – we bring snacks!” announced Shawn he lifted his arms as triumphantly as he could while puffing out his chest. James ignored the ham behavior by quickly moving to the table and eating the nearest bread roll that he could find.

“Thank God! I can’t remember the last time I ate.”

“See? I told you it would be worth it!” Shawn said in a sing-song tone.

I thought you would be back ages ago,” James muttered between mouthfuls.

“Well, it wasn’t just flirting. We also ran into an old friend of Uncle Bowler’s, Brisco County Jr.. Took a bit of time to give him the slip” explained Gus.

“Honestly, I’m starting to care less about who finds me at the moment as long as I can eat and get this stupid bracelet off,” James stated between mouthfuls.

“Really?!?” exclaimed Shawn indignantly. “All of the times that he was supposed to come before your dad died or even when he died? You suddenly are okay with seeing him?”

James sighed. “I appreciate y’all looking out for me. I really do. But some things are more complicated than you realize. And no, I don’t hate him.”

“Don’t worry, I have enough hate for the both of us,” Shawn vehemently muttered.

“Let’s change the subject,” James said in a positive voice to redirect the tone of the room, “Let’s talk about removing this bracelet.”

“Good idea!” exclaimed Gus. He immediately unrolled a leather satchel and began spreading out the tools from inside. James noticed that Gus had attempted to bring any type of tool available which included a set of shears, wire cutters, blacksmith’s hammer, and a gun.

James whistled before laughing, “Well, one of these ought to work!”

Twenty minutes later and nothing had worked. In fact, the shears, wire cutters, and hammer had been damaged in the process of trying to break open the bracelet. Gus and Shawn wiped the sweat off their faces and heaved heavy sighs. There was a moment of silence between the three friends. An unspoken shiver of fear went down each of their spines, “What if they could not remove the bracelet? What if this would be the last time that the 3 childhood friends would be together?”

“What time is it?” asked James

“You’ve been in town for almost 2 hours.”

“Last town was roughly 3 hours. So, we probably have another hour.” Silence began to fill the room again.

“Have you tried just pushing random buttons?” inquired Gus.

James rolled his eyes, “That’s what started this whole problem! Why should I try it again? What if I push random buttons and only my head moves and the rest of me stays here? What if it goes back to moving me every ten minutes instead of every few hours? What if it has me appear inside of a wall or underwater which kills me? Unless there is someone who knows what each button does, I am going to stay away from button pushing.” James looked at his feet before beginning, “Amputation might be-“

“Hell no! We’re not doing that!” exclaimed Shawn as he picked up the gun. “Besides, we haven’t tried everything yet.” Shawn held the gun but noticed that his hand was trembling. “Gus, I can’t do it. You try.”

Gus picked up the gun but also realized that his hands were also shaking too much. “Nope. Nu-uh. Not going to do it.” Gus tossed the gun aside in disgust.

“What did you do that for?” an exasperated James exclaimed. Just as Gus and Shawn were about to bicker, a door slammed open with a man and woman blocking the entrance to the street. Both of them were wearing black leather, large black hats, and each carried a shotgun. The woman was younger with a heart shaped face, sadistic dark eyes, and dark curly hair. The man was older, probably her father. He was pale and drawn and his face lacked all emotion.

There was just enough time for Shawn to get a good look at the couple before shouting “Hit the floor!” The three friends flattened themselves to the floor as quickly as possible. Shawn knocked over the table of snacks and Shawn motioned for James and Gus to hide behind the table. James took a quick peek up at the couple but the couple began firing the rifles over their heads. James quickly covered his face as he belly crawled to hide with Shawn and Gus.

“Who are these people?” shouted James over the gunfire.

“It’s Yin and Yang, a father and daughter that we put in prison awhile back,” explained Gus.

“Guess they got out?” asked James.

“Looks like,” mused Shawn.

“Where’s the gun?” asked James. To which Gus pointed to a clearing in the middle of the room and all air escaped out of the three friends’ lungs. To get back the gun would be putting themselves right in the path of the shootists.

“Options?” whispered James.

“One of us will have to either get the gun or go for help,” whispered Shawn.

“Or both?” suggested James.

“Gus is the fastest among us,” stated Shawn. As Gus attempted to defend himself against a perceived slight against his courage when Shawn lifted a hand, “We don’t have time and I am just stating a fact.” Gus nodded before taking a deep breath to steady his nerves.

Shawn then began to count down, “Three… Two… One… Go!”

With that, Shawn crawled to the right, shouting and making as much noise as possible. At the same moment, James crawled left in an attempt to get to the gun. Gus ran towards the back door on the opposite side of the corral. Just as Gus reached the door, he heard another gunshot and looked over his shoulder to see James hit the floor. Gus did not have time to find out if James was injured or just hiding from stray bullets. Instead, he threw his whole body weight into the door and felt it swing away. Gus stumbled for a moment but regained his balance before running back towards the sheriff’s office and the infamous Brisco County Jr.

- - - - - - - - -

Brisco could barely focus during the meeting between Sherriff Lassiter and Doc. He could feel an uneasiness but could not place what was causing the electricity in the air. But something about the young men that he had met on his way into town just could not be pushed from Brisco’s mind, no matter how hard he tried to focus on the Doctor and Sheriff Lassiter’s plan. So, when gunshots erupted from outside, Brisco was out of the building and moving towards the town corral like a bolt of lightening. As Brisco moved in the direction that he saw the young men take earlier, it took a few minutes before his brain actually processed that the gun shots were actually coming from the town corral. As Brisco’s brain processed that the psychics were probably shooting or being shot at, he noticed a figure running from the town corral and in his direction.

Brisco called out, “Mufasa…or Medula…or whatever the hell your name is-“

“It’s James & Shawn – they’re both in danger and possibly shot.” And then as suddenly as the gunfire began, it stopped. It caused both Gus and Brisco to stop hurrying and turn towards the corral both out of breath and afraid of what the silence might mean. Aside from a few mutterings from local townspeople, the air was eerily silent. Brisco felt his heart plummet to his stomach. “Am I too late?”

“Where are they?” erupted Lassiter who had caught up to Brisco. Brisco could have jumped through his skin at the explosion of sound from Lassiter.

“It’s Yin and Yang,” hurriedly explained Gus

“I thought that they were given life in prison. Are you sure it’s them?” interrogated Lassiter.

“Damn sure!” exclaimed Gus.

“Apparently, they’ve escaped,” chimed in Rachel as she readied her guns.

“I’ll ask again,” asked Lassiter with grim tone, “where are they?”

Gus pointed in the direction of the town stables. The small group moved quickly and silently in that direction. When they were a few meters from the building, the group quietly spread out to encircle the small stables.

Lassiter took a deep breath and shouted, “Yin and Yang! We have you surrounded. Come out with your hands up!”

“Are we just going to blindly shoot? What if they have horses in there?” asked Rachel in a hushed voice.

“Don’t worry, it’s been closed all week for renovations,” whispered Gus.

“Still didn’t answer my question,” Rachel muttered under her breath.

Brisco could hear a muffled rustling inside the stable before the doors swung open. He saw Shawn come out with his hands above his head and a frazzled dark-haired woman behind him with a rifle aimed at Shawn’s back. She looked around at Brisco and the rest of the small party before giggling in a maniacal way.

“Is it my birthday? New weapons, Shawny boy, and the sheriff all in one day? Awww… you shouldn’t have!”

“Where’s James?” shouted Brisco, trying to mask his fear.

“What do you mean new weapons?” chimed a panicked Doc.

The woman nudged Shawn to take a few steps forward but she stayed close behind, ensuring that no one could get a clear shot at her without injuring Shawn. She looked at the group before giggling her eerie laugh.

“Just as Gus was leaving our small shootin’ hoe down, we saw the third boy move towards the gun. Daddy aimed and shot but just when the bullet would have hit the boy, it ricocheted across the room. In all the chaos, I snuck around and got Shawny here. I figured y’all won’t try nothin’ knowing that we have hostages. Me with Shawn and Daddy who’s takin’ a look at the other boy now.”

Just then a loud and frustrated yell poured out from inside the stables. The woman momentarily forgot Shawn and turned to look inside the corral. Rachel took the opportunity to begin shooting towards the woman. Shawn barely had time to belly flop onto the dirt before a bullet found a place in the woman’s hand. She let out a scream of pain as the gun fell from her hands and Sherriff Lassiter ran up and handcuffed the woman. Brisco and Rachel pushed past Shawn, Lassiter, and the woman and ran into the town stables. There was a man on his hands and knees with blood pouring from his nose and head. Just beyond the man was James, holding the shotgun by the barrel. From the looks of things, he must have managed to do some damage with the butt end of Yin’s Winchester rifle. Brisco only had a moment to think of how much James looked like his father and how proud Bowler would be of his son. But the moment was over too soon. A glow poured around James, a loud noise filled the tiny room, and after Brisco blinked, James was gone.

Left standing in the town coral staring at the place James stood, a hollow feeling filled Brisco. He had seen James and lost him, all in a matter of moments.

- - - - - - - - -

The cell door slammed as Sherriff Lassiter closed and locked it. Inside the father and daughter stood, miserable and defeated. Brisco turned away from them as they had cost him precious moments to rescue his best friend’s son from whatever gadget and trouble the Doc had unleashed. Brisco shook the sheriff’s hand and expressed his thanks for the assistance before leaving the jail. Suddenly, being in the same building with those two was still too close in Brisco’s mind.

As he walked outside going in no particular direction, Brisco passed by an alley between buildings and noticed Doc talking with Shawn and Gus. Brisco decided to detour and met up with the men to find out what they were discussing.

“Let me ensure that I have the details of the story correct. James was in town for 3 hours at the last town and how long was he here?”

“A little over 3 hours,” offered Gus.

“He must be getting better at hiding his arrivals and time in a town,” mused Doc as he scribbled into a notebook. “And he arrived in town where exactly? Near city hall?”

“Actually, in a field, about 20 feet from the saloon,” commented Shawn.

Doc pulled out a map for them to point the location before he took additional notes. “I see. And the woman mentioned something about a bullet ricocheting?”

“It was like this-” began Gus, just as Shawn interrupted.

“What is that thing on his wrist? We got all kinds of blacksmith instruments, shears, everything we could carry. Nothing could get the bracelet off his wrist. And then when he was shot at, it was like a weird glowing bubble appeared around him. The bullet hit the bubble and then went flying across the room.”

“Okay, well, thank you gentlemen. That will be all.” The doctor turned to walk away amongst the young men’s protests.

“I think you have taken quite a bit of information and it’s about time that you give a little,” stated Brisco as he blocked Doc’s pathway. Shawn and Gus closed in from behind to ensure that Doc was surrounded.

The nervous scientist ran his hands through his messy hair and shook his head. “It will mess with the time continuum if I provide any information other than what is absolutely necessary.”

“This is nothing like what Uncle Bowler used to tell us about,” exclaimed Gus.

Actually, it kind of is – odd objects, resurrections, powers, a weird guy from the future…” listed Shawn.

Brisco looked past Doc for a moment and studied the two young men. It suddenly made sense. These psychics were not just anyone. These were more than childhood friends of James, they were family to Bowler and Lenore. It seemed that destiny was beginning to weave Brisco towards James after all, even if it was just little by little.

“It sounds to me like these gentlemen already know more than they should,” began Brisco as he pushed the scientist back towards the duo, “Again, it’s time to start giving information.”

Doc sighed before nodding his head to acquiesce. “After John Bly and all of the various people that the orbs affected, we realized that we needed to add safety measures-“

“Like making your gadgets wearable instead of giant orbs?” asked Gus.

“Beyond that. What happens if you realize that someone has a tool to help you move across time and space? That kind of tech could be quite valuable to military leaders, bank robbers, lovesick poets turned homicidal, the list could go on.”

“So, you locked it to ensure someone couldn’t just rip the stupid thing off?” inquired Brisco gruffly.

“Think bigger. What if you cut off the time traveler’s arm? What if you killed the time traveler? We had to ensure that it was programmed to the wearer and that it would protect the wearer from harm. When I landed in this century, I caught fire because it must have reacted poorly to the proximity of the other bracelet. In my haste to put out the fire, I threw off the bracelet. James found it and put it on. He must have pressed some buttons which not only dropped him into all of my assigned trips in history instead of the one trip, but he must have also programmed himself as the designated wearer. Until he deprograms it and removes the bracelet, he will be untouchable.”

“Well, at least it’s protecting him,” sighed Brisco, feeling slightly more relieved to hear the news. Shawn watched Brisco with a new interest.

“I have one last question,” began Gus, “He said that he’s noticing that his time at various locations is slowly increasing in time. But he also said that he’s been appearing in weird places, like just outside of buildings or in the middle of streets. What is protecting him from arriving inside of a building? Is he protected in that scenario?”

“I was afraid of that,” muttered the scientist. Sensing that the group would not allow him to pass until he provided a more thorough answer to Gus’ question, Doc continued. “I did not leave from my platform which forced the calculations for the location parameters’ to be off target. It is trying to compensate by staying in roughly a 50 foot radius but it sounds like it is not consistently landing him in discreet or open spaced landing areas.”

“Again, what happens if he lands inside a wall? Is that possible or are there safety measures against that?” inquired Gus.

Doc looked away from the group before composing himself and hurriedly stating, “That’s why we cannot wait any longer but must get to the next town as quickly as possible.” Doc pushed past Brisco and walked quickly towards the train station to meet Rachel who Brisco hoped had successfully procured tickets for the trio. Brisco turned to follow Doc until he heard Shawn call out.

“Brisco, do you really care about James?”

The question caught Brisco off guard. He turned slowly and cleared his throat. “Of course, I do.”

“Why did you never visit? We heard about you for years but you never came. Not even to the funeral.”

Brisco paused and looked at the duo of friends before beginning. “Friendship is the most powerful gift that destiny can give you. Don’t let pride force you to forget. And if pride does creep in, remember, there’s no such thing as too long of a time to see a friend.” Brisco cleared his throat before continuing, “For me, personally, by the time I was ready to see Bowler, I was convinced that it had been too long. And then, suddenly, he was gone. Don’t make the same mistake. Don’t ever take your friendship for granted.”

Shawn swallowed hard as he looked at Gus. He then turned back to Brisco with an outstretched hand, “Good luck, Mr. County.”

“Good luck, Shawn. Good luck, Gus.” Brisco shook both men’s hands before turning to walk towards the train station. Brisco took a few steps before turning around again. “You are both welcome to continue with us if you would like-“

Shawn shook his head. “Before you joined us, Doc was saying something about home bench.”

“Home base,” corrected Gus.

“I’ve heard it both ways,” insisted Shawn.

“No, you have not!” exclaimed Gus.

“Look, the point is,” began an irritated Shawn, “I am not 100% sure what Doc was talking about, but it does sound like there is a possibility that we might represent ‘home’ as we are part of James’ family. If that’s the case, then we have to stay here and watch for him.”

Brisco nodded in agreement, tipped his hat, and continued toward the train station. Sitting on the train, Brisco looked out the window as the train slowly pulled out of the station. The train slowly passed by an odd advertisement for a fortune teller which read, “In dreams, I am with you.” That’s an odd advertisement, thought Brisco as the train began to build speed.

Brisco closed his eyes to focus on how the hell he would save James. While it eased Brisco’s mind to know that the bracelet would protect James from violence or from Bly type characters, Doc’s silence about the location parameters confirmed that James was running out of time. At any time, the bracelet could kill James, unless they could rescue James first. Sleep washed over Brisco as the image continued to flash in his mind’s eye. “In dreams, I am with you…”

I hope to God that I’ll wake up and this is all a dream, was the last thing Brisco thought before falling asleep.

Part I - Chapter 02 - Viva Ventura


Lenore, Socrates, and Brisco all made it to Ventura by train. As soon as they arrived in town, Lenore stated that she was tired and would check the group in at the local hotel before going to her room for a nap. Brisco attempted to protest as he knew that Lenore was feigning her desire to sleep. But when Lenore gave him a warning look, Brisco decided to let it go. It would be best to find Viva first to create a plan and maybe have a deputy assigned to shadow Lenore for her safety.

Socrates and Brisco had only began walking through the town for about ten minutes before Socrates blurted out, “I’m starving!”

“We passed a café on our way in.”

“That’s what I hate about travel,” muttered Socrates. “You have no idea if what you passed is the only place serving food right now, much less if there is actually something better and open on your way to your destination.”

Brisco agreed saying, “It would also be helpful to have information about the restaurants available when you visit a town. Maybe information on what locals think of the place? Maybe even a rating system that you could use to compare different places?”

“How expensive is it? Does it have a view? Is it pet friendly?” Socrates added. As Brisco smiled in agreement, Socrates teased, “Careful! You might just be thinking of a coming thing.”

Brisco said nothing but walked on, wishing that Comet was still alive to distract him from Socrates. When they finally arrived at the sheriff’s office, it looked like the jail was all locked up with no one around. In fact, the streets almost looked like an abandoned ghost town. Luckily, a man began hurrying across the street which enabled Brisco to holler for instructions to the whereabouts of Sherriff Viva. The man continued speedily moving away from the sheriff’s office as he shouted over his shoulder, making it nearly impossible to understand. About all that Brisco could put together is that there was some kind of town competition occurring.

“What could that mean?” asked a baffled Socrates.

“Well, last time I found Viva in a contest, he was winning a pie eating-“ began Brisco but Socrates was off following the stranger’s hurried direction. Brisco watched both men hurry down the street but found himself hanging back and smiling. Maybe it was the humorous way that Socrates ran. Maybe it was the thought of seeing old friends again. But maybe, just maybe, the old thrill of hunting a man down was coming back.

Brisco turned the corner and found a crowd of people sitting around the town library. People were sitting on benches, on chairs clearly dragged from every corner of the town, and a few were sitting in the middle of the street. But what made the situation so unusual, aside from the location, was that everyone was silent. It caught Brisco off guard. He studied the townsfolk but they were all enraptured by a small group of people in front of the library. Brisco looked across ahead at Socrates but it was clear Socrates was more motivated by the thought of finding food rather than noticing the odd behavior of the town.

Brisco looked around at the faces of people as he passed by. He needed to find someone that seemed at least open to explaining what the hell is going on to an outsider, or at the very least point him in the direction of the Sherriff. Finally, he spotted an elderly couple that seemed harmless enough. The man smoked his pipe while the woman sat knitting away. Both were staring ahead as if they were children watching circus performers. Brisco took a chance and knelt between the couple as they swayed in their rocking chairs.

“Ah- excuse me, uh-“ stuttered Brisco, unsure how to start his line of inquiry.

“Sshhhh!” exclaimed a nearby mother holding a child in her lap. She gave Brisco her nastiest look before turning her attention back towards the library.

Brisco tried again but a bit more softly, “Excuse me, ma’am?”

“They’re tallying the final score now,” explained the woman. She smiled and nodded in the direction that the town was facing as though it was common sense.

“What are they scoring for?”

“The trivia challenge.”

“SShhhhh!” repeated the nosey nearby mother.

“Awh, hell Valerie!” the old man erupted at the nosey mother, “They’re crunchin’ numbers! Ain’t a problem if my Else wants to talk to this man!”

“Ah, thanks,” Brisco awkwardly replied before continuing, “Could you explain a bit more? I’m not following.”

“That’s nice, son,” the woman stated in an all too sweet, almost condescending manner.

Brisco decided to give up and just ask where he could find the sheriff, to which the man replied that Viva was the judge. “Well, that at least points me in the right direction.” Brisco began to move through the crowded street and as he got closer to the library, he noticed a stage set up with 2 men standing on either side of the table with Sherriff Viva sitting in the middle with a hound dog resting at his feet. True to form, Viva had a large spread of food laid out in front of him. While normally Brisco would assume that Viva was involved in an eating contest, this time it seemed more like he was absently snacking and more focused on the men in front of him.

“Aright, the tally shows that y’all are still tied so it’s now or never. Final round, men,” yelled out Viva. He shot his gun in the air and Brisco anxiously watched to see if the men were about to eat, race, or complete some other activity. But to Brisco’s surprise, a grey-haired man from the crowd moved around the table to stand at Viva’s right. He held out a sheet of paper and began asking questions. With each question, the final contestants would attempt to ring their bell first and then respond to the question. Brisco squinted to read the name plates in front of the two contestants. One man’s name plate read “Bing” while the other’s read “Google.”

“What a let-down! All of that build up for this? A question and answer session?”

“Can I help you, sir?” a stern whisper behind Brisco asked. As Brisco turned he was surprised to find Whip Morgan, all grown up and wearing a deputy’s badge. As recognition spread across Whip’s face, he gave Brisco a bear hug and laughed.

“Sshhh!!!” several nearby people stated. Whip smiled and held a finger up to his mouth before motioning Brisco away from the crowd. Once they seemed far enough away from the crowd’s listening ears and wrathful shushing, Whip slapped Brisco across the back.

“Brisco County?!? How the hell are you?”

“I’m fine,” began Brisco. He turned his back towards the crowd and attempted to surreptitiously point his thumb over his shoulder before saying, “So, what’s going on up there?”

“We are in a Trivial Fact Challenge. The town is fanatic about it. We do it every year.”

“Wait.. A what?”

“A game where people try to answer the most questions about trivial facts. Once a year, the whole town compiles a list of facts, and the winner is the person who can state the most correct answers.”

“I see,” stated Brisco still trying to figure out the appeal. “Very fancy…”

“Mr. Jeeves and Mr. Yahoo bowed out pretty early on. It’s now just a contest between Bing & Google.”

“Those are some interesting names,” was all that Brisco could think to say. The whole situation just felt surreal. Brisco did not have much time to think on the oddity of the environment before the whole town began to cheer and celebrate. Whip smiled and excitedly shouted at Brisco to follow him back to see who the winner was. Brisco moved back towards the commotion but decided to walk around the crowd, to move up the steps to the library, and lean against one of the columns in front of the old building. From this vantage point, Brisco could see the whole town. With the contest ended, most of the crowd had already started moving towards bars, restaurants, and homes. A small crowd remained encircled around the finalists in an attempt to offer congratulations or to shake the finalists’ hands. Brisco watched as the sun was beginning to set before glancing down to see the crowd finally dispersing away from the sheriff. Brisco had always assumed that the “double takes” in Hollywood comedies were a farce until he watched Sherriff Viva visibly do a double take.

“Lawdy Miss Clawdy!” slurred Sherriff Viva as he motioned Brisco to come down. Brisco slowly descended before shaking Viva’s hand. Viva had just enough time to invite Brisco to dinner before the sound of gunshots were heard. Brisco was ready to run towards the sound, but Viva held up his hand in exasperation. “It’s prolly just Bing. I told him to hit the road with Bob, but sounds like he’s causing some kinda commotion again. Last year I found him cryin’ in the chapel after the competition.”

With the knowledge that it was probably just a disgruntled loser, Brisco, Whip, Aaron, and the hound dog pushed through the crowd to investigate the gunshots. When they passed by a man with tear-stained eyes that Whip pointed out to be Bing, Brisco started to get nervous again. The closer the trio got to the center of the crowd, the easier it was for Brisco to hear that a woman was shouting. Finally, the sheriff, deputy, and former bounty hunter made it into eye of the storm to find a blonde man laying on the ground as though he had been knocked backwards. His unruly blonde curls looked especially unkempt with his disheveled clothes. He held his hands high in surrender with his wide eyes staring down the barrel of a familiar shotgun. His captor was none other than Lenore.

Lenore glanced up to see her friends before shouting, “That’s the man who stole my son!” As soon as the words were out, Whip and Aaron grabbed each arm of the stranger and hoisted him to his feet. The intent was to drag the man to the nearby cell but with all of the excitement, the stranger seemed to faint just as he was brought to his feet.

As Brisco inspected the slumped head of the stranger, he realized that the kid really was out cold and not pretending in an attempt to avoid talking with Lenore or the sheriff. Clearly, this was a man used to monotony and indoor life. Brisco sighed and thought, “how are we supposed to get answers from him now?” To Brisco’s relief, Lenore had uncocked her gun and was in the process of hiding it among the folds of her dress. She smoothed her skirt as though she had just dealt with a gust of wind instead of a rush of motherly adrenaline. “She was always able to keep calm in a crisis,” thought Brisco. He could understand why Bowler admired this woman but at the same time, could not figure out how she had so masterfully hidden the weapon before and after her encounter with the scientist.

Sheriff Viva called out to the crowd which caused Brisco to let go of his musings and focus on the task at hand. “Put your suspicious minds at ease!” he called out. “This boy will be locked up and the matter investigated. There is nothing to see or to worry about here. Move along and enjoy the rest of the party.”

At that, the town went began to move in their respective directions while Viva and Whip hauled the unconscious man towards Viva’s office. Brisco offered a hand to Lenore in case she needed steadying. At first, she shook her head in an effort to maintain the look of strength but after a couple steps, Brisco noticed that she was trembling. Brisco gently took her arm and held her steadily as they slowly followed the sheriff back to the county jail.

- - - - - - - - -

Trace awoke in a small cell. He blinked his eyes slowly while looking at the cold white ceiling above him. His head seemed to feel 3 sizes too big and his lungs seemed to have trouble with the air. The air was so much different than he expected. In fact, all of his senses seemed to have difficulty processing this past world.

Trace closed and opened his eyes again in an attempt to steady his breathing and recall how he arrived in a jail cell. And then the memory flooded back, the widow had hunted him down and had him arrested. Trace could not believe his own stupidity. For all of his IQ points, he had not calculated enough distance to keep this angered mother out of his way. Not that he could blame her for being angry. But Trace did not have time to waste. The longer that he stayed, the more people he would meet. The more people that he met, the greater the possibility of adversely affecting time. He could create time paradoxes, complicate the future, or even bring something into existence sooner than originally intended.

Trace slowly sat up and began to study his surroundings. Trace noticed that he was sitting on a flattened straw mattress in a small jail cell. Luckily, he seemed to be the only prisoner. Outside of his cell 4 men and the mother were talking in hushed tones.

“So much for being inconspicuous,” mumbled a pale man with red hair and glasses. He seemed to be inhaling the food before him and talking between mouthfuls.

“Bubba Ho-Tep, drop it!” came a shout that made Trace jump out of his skin. He watched as a hound dog dropped a piece of paper that Trace recognized was in his own handwriting. They must have searched his clothes for identification and found a couple of papers in his pockets. The commander of the dog was wearing a sheriff’s badge which shined as the man passed by Trace to gently pat the dog’s head before picking up the wet and crinkled paper.

“Uck!” grimaced the sheriff before he continued. “Bubba, you’ve gone from sniffing elderly individuals’ behinds at Shady Rest Home to destroying evidence at the jail.” The dog whined as though hurt by the sheriff’s reproach which caused the man, to scratch the dog’s ears before saying, “I can’t stay mad at you. You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see.”

Trace was getting nervous. Luckily, the calculations on the paper were incomplete and would not make sense to the most advanced minds of this era. But still, Trace was unsure who to trust but he knew that he needed out of this cell and quickly. All he could do was put his head in his hands and wait for inspiration to strike. And then he heard it in the voice of the red headed man addressing a quiet man in the corner.


- - - - - - - - -

Brisco, Whip, and Lenore had been debating how best to approach the man upon his waking while Socrates continued to finish his dinner. Whip, ever impulsive, wanted to beat the man until he confessed what had happened to Bowler’s son. Lenore wanted to interrogate him at gun point. Brisco agreed that he wanted answers and justice, but this man seemed fragile. If the stranger was going to faint easily, how could they keep him conscious long enough to get all of the answers that they wanted? Brisco had seen all kinds of criminals in his life and this man seemed more likely to jump out of his skin in fear rather than have a master plan as a hardened criminal.

“Brisco, what are you thinking? What’s your plan?” Viva asked.

“Brisco?” the stranger from the jail cell questioned. “Brisco County Jr.?”

The room fell silent and all eyes turned to face the cell. “Who’s asking?” Brisco cautiously asked.

“Not here, Mr. County. I am willing to talk with you, but not here.”

“That’s not how this works!” exclaimed Whip through gritted teeth.

“Whatever you say to Brisco, you can say to all of us,” demanded Lenore as she moved closer to the bars.

“Just a minute,” interjected Socrates. At the stranger’s request to speak with Brisco, Socrates forgot all about dinner and moved between the bars and the small group as his attorney persona kicked in. Socrates nodded at Brisco as if to signal that he would take the communication from here. “We don’t negotiate with kidnappers. If you have something to say, you will address the group.”

“It is impossible to talk to everyone here. I’ll only talk to Mr. County,” insisted the prisoner.

“What information do you have? Can you tell us where James is?” inquired Brisco. He lifted his chin as though to mull over the situation. “What danger can this puny kid really be? We’re wasting time by making him talk to the group.”

“I am the only person who can save your son,” came Trace’s response. Even as the words came out confidently, a small voice in the back of Trace’s head wondered if he truly could rescue the kid.

“What does my son need to be saved from?” cried Lenore. Viva took a look between Brisco and Lenore and his years of being a sheriff in small towns and handling domestic disturbances, arresting miscreants, and doing his best to keep peace, kicked in. He gently escorted Lenore outside and told Whip to take her on a walk to calm her down. Lenore protested but Viva was firm and had the firecracker Whip and the terrified mother removed from the room.

“Put your hands through the bars,” commanded Viva. Trace shakily stood but did as ordered and Viva handcuffed his hands together. Assured that Brisco was safe, Viva tipped his hat to Brisco signaling that the two would be left alone. He then took Socrates out the door for some more dinner before whistling for the dog to follow.

The room had barely emptied before Brisco demanded, “You have your wish. Now tell me. What the hell is going on?”

“I can’t tell you the whole story,” Trace began but at Brisco’s angry stare Trace quickly continued, “But here is what I can tell you. I am a scientist from the future. You and a man named Lord Bowler met my colleague Karina probably 20 years ago, your time. She said that the two of you were men that she trusted with her life. Please, as dangerous as the orb technology was, I cannot begin to tell you what is at stake. Please trust me. Let me take you to the room that I have rented and I can better explain what is going on.”

“Why should I trust you?”

“Because I’m one of the few people who knows that you defeated Bly twice to ensure that Lord Bowler survived the encounter.”

- - - - - - - - -

Brisco had to surreptitiously sneak Trace out of the cell and to his hotel. Luckily, most of the townspeople were still giddy and distracted from the trivial fact contest and did not notice Brisco escorting a man at gun point. As Brisco came into Trace’s room, he noticed newspaper clippings all over the floor littered among sheets of paper with various math problems strewn around the room. Trace grinned sheepishly as he looked about the room as if seeing it for the first time as the mess it was. His smile faded however as he noticed Brisco’s unsmiling face.

“Talk Professor.”

“Um – how to begin,” stammered Trace. “I’m from the future. I believe that you have met a fellow scientist from my time, a woman named Karina.”

“You said that part already.”

“Yes, well… She was part of a failed time improvement program.”


“In that a bureaucrat from my time, Bly, went back in time and corrupted the time stream by searching for the ‘orbs’ as you call them. Anyway, after that failed experiment, we still needed information from this time stream to find a new solution.”

“Solution?” repeated Brisco.

“I can’t get into that and honestly, it’s not important to finding the son. What I can say, is that I was assigned to go back to small sections of history that would not affect my present or your future while enabling me to gather information and research.”


“Essentially, it’s anthropological mission. We needed to watch people and collect data on this time era. The information collected from the past could create a better future for human connection and for our overall existence.”

“Watchers from the future sent to observe key points in history, that science sounds a bit on the fringe for me,” mused Brisco. “What does this have to do with James?”

“James, as in… Lord Bowler’s…?”

“Son. Right. His son,” finished Brisco.

The scientist flinched before continuing, “Right, sorry. Um- as I went to take the inaugural test, another individual came up with a similar device which frankly shouldn’t exist, since this was my design – “ The scientist stopped rambling for a moment, realizing that he had gone off on an unnecessary tangent. Anyway, they weren’t calibrated to be near each other which could have created a potential cataclysmic event based on my calculations.” The scientist paused to point at the math on a handful of pages. Brisco nodded as though he could recognize which scribbles had the math the scientist was discussing in an effort to help the man continue his story. “But instead of causing a rupture in time or an explosion, it sent us both back to this time but different places. I came to Lord Bowler’s house where James put on the bracelet and disappeared. Which honestly, a guy shows up in your house, out of nowhere, and on fire, so you decide to put on a piece of technology that you have never seen before? Who does that? That’s so-” again the scientist cut off his rant, embarrassed for saying too much.

“And then instead of sticking around to explain yourself or to help Lenore, a grieving widow, or to offer a way to find her son, you stole a horse?”

“I apologize for the stolen horse, but I thought I could make it here in enough time to catch James.”

“James was here? When?”

“About 2 days ago. But his timing is off. He is spending a lot shorter of a time here than he should have and by the time I got here, he had already left. So, I stayed here to work on my calculations and to come up with a better plan. I have been tracking both James and the man with the other device.”

“How can you track them? I thought that they can disappear and reappear whenever and wherever. It’s not like they leave tracks.”

“Tracks in the dirt? No. But they do manage to catch attention by appearing and disappearing. So, I have been collecting articles from around the country and it looks like James and the other man are traveling around the area. I am not sure why both of them are locked into this time, why they are locked in only the United States, or why they don’t just take off their time traveling devices.”

Brisco processed the information for a moment before continuing, “So, how do we get ahead of these guys then?”

“I know the various places that James is going. The various places that he has appeared always seems to be within a 50 foot radius of where I programmed the bracelet to go, assuming that it was approved for future jaunts through time. I had programmed the various locations and dates for my future trips already in an effort to save time. The good news is that his time in a single location is increasing. I’m not sure why it was so short originally but it does give us a better chance of finding him and helping him reunite with his mother. Not to mention it will help me get back to my time.”

“His time is increasing?”

“When I originally came to this town, I found out that he was only here for 5 minutes, which was why I missed him. However, in following the rest of the articles, the next town was a 20 minute stay, the next town was 40 minutes, and the last town was an hour. Between the list of locations, what order they should occur in, and an increasing time in each location, we should be able to find him.”

“What about the other man? Is he following the same path as you were supposed to?” asked Brisco as he began studying the articles on the other man.

“I have no idea what his path is set as. He seems more random and he can typically stay at a place for a day or even a week. He seems more controlled and intentional which makes me think that he’s from my time, a competing scientist. Although I have never met him before which means that I have no idea what his intentions are,” Trace paused for a moment before murmuring to himself, “And without the bracelet, I can’t be in 3 places at once.”


“Well, I believe that if James can figure out how to work the bracelet, it will take him home. It is designed to respond to your feelings of panic and it should take the wearer “home” when they experience adrenaline. I had originally hoped that he would panic and his mother would stay home and I could just retrieve it. But based on the fact that you and Lenore are tracking me, he hasn’t gone home yet. The second location is San Francisco. It looks like the unknown man is most commonly spotted in the San Francisco area. I need to figure out who he is in order to discover what motivates him which will enable me to track him down and return him to my time and prevent any damage he might cause.”

“The third being the original path that you were supposed to take throughout the United States?” asked Brisco as he continued to study the walls and notes. Trace nodded.

After a moment’s pause, Brisco turned and looked Trace in his eye before stating, “There is a way to be in 3 places at once, but it means that you will have to trust more people than just me.”

- - - - - - - - -

It seemed almost obvious which party would take each mission. Lenore would head home to Hard Rock with instructions to call Brisco immediately if James appeared. Brisco and the scientist would need to determine how much time is passing for James, to determine why he has not removed the bracelet, and to attempt to reach him and help him get home.

Socrates would go to San Francisco to investigate this man from the future. Brisco didn’t agree with the scientist’s belief that the bearded man with long hair was an instigator of trouble. He was in a hospital gown which to Brisco, seemed more like a potential third victim than a danger. Based on that logic, Socrates would not be in any danger when meeting the mysterious patient. An added bonus of staying in a single location like San Francisco, Socrates could continue to check-in with Hollywood and provide mock status reports of Brisco and his location. Socrates mentioned that the studio had already begun to send angry wires to Socrates inquiring why Brisco had not checked back in with the studio within 24 hours of his departure. While the director didn’t need Brisco, the producer was surprisingly litigious.

Although Brisco agreed to travel with the scientist, he still didn’t fully trust the man. Brisco did not like that it was difficult to pry information from the strange man of the future and that he refused to provide his name. As a last resort, Brisco was forced to nickname the scientist “Doc.” To Brisco’s chagrin, the nomenclature was less out of professional courtesy and more because it seemed to irritate the young man. Of the three missions about to begin, this one seemed most dangerous and he felt the need to keep an eye on the nerdy and disheveled man of the future. Based on Doc’s notes, their first stop would be a town called Santa Barbara.

Shortly after Lenore left on a train towards Hard Rock, Socrates boarded a different train towards San Francisco. As Brisco stood on the platform, Socrates opened his window and motioned Brisco to come close.

“When I checked in with Hollywood, I received some troubling news,” Socrates whispered. “While I was able to negotiate another three days for us, it appears that they will be sending someone to track you down.”

“You make it sound like they’re calling me out like a Bly gang member,” Brisco chuckled.

“May not be that drastic but they still might sue us for breach of contract. Or utilize local police to arrest you.”

“Leave it to Hollywood to make the mundane dramatic,” snorted Brisco sarcastically.

“Remember, don’t bite the hand that feeds,” came the familiar warning from Socrates.

“Relax Soc. I’ll be back before you know it.” The train whistle blew signaling it was about to leave the station. Brisco stepped back and watched on as the train slowly moved away. Socrates offered a weak yet supportive smile to his friend before the train pulled out of sight.

As Brisco headed back to the strange scientist’s room where the Doc packed and Whip stood guard, Brisco’s thoughts were racing. Not about Hollywood but about what his next step might be when they arrived in Santa Barbara. Just as he was turning a corner he felt a sharp pain at the back of his head before the world went black.

- - - - - - - - -

When Brisco awoke, he was sitting in an abandoned alleyway with his hands tied together. The light pierced his eyes and his head hurt like hell. As his vision began to clear, Brisco noticed a figure leaning against a building opposite him. It was Rachel Hawke.

He almost did not recognize her. Gone were the dance hall gowns and fancy hair styles. Gone were the heels and fans. Her was a short woman in boots, jeans, flannel shirt, leather coat, and a gallon hat. She was holding her gun as though she were inspecting it but he could see that she was watching him above the gun. She was making her point clear; Brisco was at her mercy.

“Rachel Hawke…”

She gave a slight and sarcastic bow while grinning. “I told you that I could fight as well as any man.”

“While I never doubted you, I feel like it might not have been a fair fight in that you hit me from behind. The last woman who got the drop on me like that was a bounty hunter named Crystal…”


Brisco looked at her surprised and suddenly it made sense. “Why had he not noticed it before?” Rachel indeed looked like Crystal. The same last name. The same strength of character. And the same need to be seen as man’s equal.

“And here I thought it was a stage name.”

“Turns out, I am my mother’s daughter,” she said sweetly.

“So, why do you have me tied up? Is this an equality play? Women’s Rights’ Movement?”

“I actually am making a point. The director knew I had a background in bounty hunting, trained by my mama actually. He sent me to come find you and bring you back…”

“I was told that I had three more – “

Rachel held up her hand to silence him. “No excuses Brisco. And to be frank, I don’t have time for explanations. My actions were to prove a point. I can catch you and drag you back to Hollywood anytime I want. You aren’t as…”

“Watch it,” Brisco warned.

Rachel considered her wording for a moment. “How about ‘sober?’”

Brisco nodded to accept the adjective although he did not like being told that he was a lesser version of himself in anyway.

Rachel continued, “You aren’t as sober as you used to be? Well, let’s just say you have been gone from this life for longer than you might want to admit and you will probably want all of the help that you can get. And while I do want the whole story of what’s going on, I can only buy us so much time. I can probably get us another couple weeks and I am sure that Sophocles-“


“-is working to continue to buy you time as well. I will work with him to get our stories straight, but this is how your adventure is going to play out. I will come along with you on whatever mission you have decided to take as your last adventure. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, you can have my help to complete it faster. If you fail to include me or don’t complete your promise within the next few weeks, I will drag you back to Hollywood to face their lawyers.”

“What’s in it for you if we do succeed?”

“Consider this my audition. By dragging you back for a failed or accomplished mission, I will have new allies to push for equal screen time, equal action, and maybe even equal pay. Not only from the studio but you personally because you will have seen what I can do and can help advocate for me.”

“Is that all?” asked Brisco, uncomfortable with the thought of having another tagalong to babysit along with the scientist. However, by this point he had managed to cut the rope and tossed it up to her while standing. She had just enough time to catch it and prevent it from hitting her in the face.

“This way, sweetie,” Brisco did his best to pick one of the names Rachel’s mother truly hated. Instead of rattling Rachel, she merely walked beside him with the biggest smile possible.

“My other reason for doing this? Mama said that one of her favorite adventures was working to capture you. She said that all of the future shit was confusing as hell but she never regretted trusting you.”

With that the duo walked briskly back to the hotel to pick up the scientist.

Part I - Chapter 01 - The Western Movie Consultant

1913 – Hollywood

Brisco County Jr. stood behind a bar; his killer chin was set while the former bounty hunter was lost in thought. At over 6 feet, the bar looked surprisingly realistic for a scaled down set piece on a Hollywood lot. Brisco got a glimpse of himself in the faux bar’s mirror, he may have a few more grey hairs than his bounty hunter days, but his brown eyes and charm still enabled him to be popular in whatever setting that he visited.

Brisco turned back to the task at hand, finding the “perfect drink” before the cameras started rolling again and the actors would take over the set. To Brisco’s delight, it had not taken too much convincing to have the prop master stock the bar with actual alcohol so Brisco could work on his project in between takes. Brisco pulled out a little black book and reviewed his notes of the various concoctions he had already attempted. While he had found several great tasting drinks, he still felt that there was a better drink out there, something waiting for him to discover. As Brisco mixed the various liquids together, a figure loomed in Brisco’s peripheral vision.

“Nope,” Brisco stated as he looked up at his long-time friend, attorney, and agent, Socrates Poole.

The two friends were opposite in style and mannerisms. Socrates still managed to keep his red hair short, tailored suit perfectly fitted, and his glasses polished and clean. Meanwhile, Brisco sported pants and a shirt that were rarely ironed and his hair was usually a mess when not hiding behind his hat.

Socrates Poole sat down on one of the bar stools across from Brisco before stating, “Lenore called my office again.”

Brisco repeated, “I said, nope.”

“No, she didn’t call or no it’s not Lenore? Because I’m pretty sure that I have memorized the sound of her voice as she keeps calling me to ask for you.”

“No, I’m not taking her calls. I’m in the middle of an important project. A very important project.”

“Brisco, I can’t see you waste away your life like this. You used to be someone who spent his life searching for the ‘coming thing’ and now you are buried in looking for simply the next drink?”

“Clarification, the perfect drink.” Brisco corrected him and took a sip of his drink. As much as he loved alcohol, he had to admit, this was still not the right concoction. He referenced his black book again before crossing off “Gin & Tonic Water.” Just as he was placing it back into his pocket, two stunt men approached the bar.

“Pardon me, Mr. County?” asked the shorter of the two.

“Do you mind if we practice the upcoming stunt?” the larger and quieter man asked.

“Not at all, the bar is yours,” Brisco replied as he stood and stepped back from the bar. The larger man proceeded to throw the smaller stunt man over the bar to prepare for filming the action shot.

“That’s a pathetic attempt at a throw!” exclaimed a young female voice from behind Brisco. Without turning around, Brisco knew that it was Rachel, the lead actress. She was a stunning beauty recently discovered from a vaudeville or rodeo show, Brisco couldn’t recall. She looked about 16 or 17 with long blonde hair, usually in some updo loaded with curls. Today, it seemed that the curls could not be piled any higher on top of her head. How the curls could stay perfectly balanced defied gravity. She was a petite thing and Brisco would be surprised if she made it to 5 feet tall as she looked to be just shy of that mark. As usual, the lead actress was dressed in a dancing hall girl’s costume.

Brisco held in a laugh as he watched Rachel move them about the set as if she were the director. The first stunt man barely resembled the male lead with his lanky stance while the short and stocky stunt man looking nothing like the villain. But since it would be a quick shot, audience members would probably not notice the difference.

In an effort to move her directions along, Rachel took the first man by the collar and pushed him back to his starting mark while commanding the second one to stand by and observe her movements. Brisco found a chair behind the camera and leaned back to observe Rachel’s latest stunt. It was always amusing when Rachel was in one of her “Women-Can-Do-Anything-A-Man-Can-Do” moods. While Brisco agreed with the sentiment, it was still hilarious to watch Rachel go out of her way to prove it to everyone on the set.

“Brisco…” came the frustrated sigh from Socrates who had followed Brisco to the chairs behind the cameras. “Stop avoiding me!”

“Shut up!” whispered Brisco as he nodded toward the trio. “You’ve gotta watch this,” smiled Brisco. Socrates sighed but when he recognized Rachel, Socrates either temporarily surrendered the battle or experienced a similar sadistic amusement in these moments from Rachel.

“Okay, I’m going to hit you,” Rachel explained as she pushed the sleeves of her dress up and out of her way so that she could have better aim at the first stunt man. Brisco couldn’t help but notice that sweat had begun pouring down both men’s faces as they stared back at her in fear.

“Miss Rachel, ma’am,” came the timid voice of the 2nd stunt man forced to be a helpless observer. “The director said stuntmen ain’t allowed to practice with you no more on account of…”

“On account of what?”

“You have broken two stunt men’s arms.”

“Well, if they did what I said, they wouldn’t have been ill prepared and therefore injured themselves in the process of delivering a believable stunt. Now, I’ve changed my mind. I think it’s best if both of you boys line up and let me hit you!” commanded Rachel as she moved an errant sleeve back up her slender arm.

“No ma’am,” exclaimed the first stuntman as he scurried behind the second stuntman, shoving the helpless counterpart into Rachel’s path. The second man while being pushed forward, stretched his neck and face back as far as he could and scrunched his face, clearly afraid of whatever Rachel might do to him.

“Ugh! You both are such cowards!” exclaimed Rachel as she rolled her eyes. She brushed a curl of blonde hair away from her eyes momentarily as she contemplated her options. Brisco could never understand why the hairstylist insisted on having 1 curl untied and hanging in the girl’s eyes. It seemed so counter-productive but then Brisco was here to comment on the accuracy for the film. That is, if anyone asked him for input. Usually he was ignored by the director and writers, no one really wanted Brisco to enforce the reality of a world that he had helped to shape through his fight for justice. “Fine by me, I get paid by the hour, not by the fact offered,” thought Brisco.

“Fine! I’ve got another idea!” exclaimed Rachel in a loud voice that surprised her victims-to-be.

Rachel moved the second stunt man directly in front of her and turned them both so that he was in front of her facing the bar and she had her back inches away from the bar. She rolled her shoulders back and squared up in front of the stuntman before commanding, “Okay, hit me!”

“Pardon, ma’am?” came the barely audible reply from the clearly terrified stuntman.

“It’s simple! You hit me, I fall over the bar, and illustrate the best way to appeal to the audience for this stunt. And neither of you will get hurt. It’s perfect!”

The bashful stuntman did the softest pretend hit that he could muster only to watch Rachel go flying backwards and flip herself over the bar, narrowly missing the mirror hung at the back of bar. “Wouldn’t it be a better shot to have the mirror shatter and the glass bottles come crashing down?” thought Brisco as he watched the stunt. He took another sip of his drink and grimaced. At the third sip, Brisco definitely knew that he didn’t like the drink, but he would never throw out a good liquor. That would be sacrilege.

“See! That’s what you needed to do. Add more flourish.”

“Rachel Hawkes!” yelled a bald man who barely reached Rachel’s chin in height. He was on the other side of the room but with that loud crackly voice, he could be heard on the moon. Brisco instantly recognized him as the associate producer but could not recall his name. It seemed that so many starting directors and producers wanted to cut their teeth in Hollywood Westerns these days that they all seemed to blur together. When Socrates originally told Brisco about these jobs in Hollywood it seemed too good to be true. But it turned out to be everything Brisco wanted. He could drink all day, watch idiots pretend to hit each other, all while being called a “consultant.” Sure, he gave consultations when asked but he learned early on, that what was accurate was often less important than what made money.

The preferred and standard formula was very simple. Unshaven “bad guy” with crooked teeth and dark clothes kidnaps a helpless damsel in distress. Meanwhile, the “good guy” rescues said damsel from the bad buy and ultimately defeats the bad guy in some standoff, while managing to keep his garish get-up pristine. The setting sometimes changed. The period associated with the costumes changed. The standoff sometimes changed between a gunfight, a French Revolutionary duel, or even a boxing match, but in the end the overall plot was the same. Brisco looked up to see Rachel receiving a sharp lecture from the associate producer. He could see Rachel fuming, but he knew that her idealism would not catch on anytime soon. Brisco granted himself a moment or two of pity for her before allowing himself to turn his attention to back to his drink. Another sip might help him decide what to try next time.

With the lecture finally ended, Rachel moved across the set to sit on the other side of Brisco and await her cue. Socrates stood out of a dying age’s chivalry as Rachel sat down but she merely responded with a forced smile, dripping with attitude. “At least my distress will be genuine today,” muttered Rachel before huffing and crossing her arms in front of her. She could probably be a more popular beauty if she didn’t look like she was constantly chewing on lemons. Before she could speak or glare at Brisco, he turned his attention on the scene about to start as if he hung on every pantomimed gesture in front of him.

Brisco always had to hold in his laughs while watching this particular leading man. In an effort to wordlessly convey strength, he seemed to always find ways to flex his muscles or to unbutton more shirt buttons. It wouldn’t be long before he started completing each scene without a shirt at all. Brisco struggled to think of a sheriff, deputy, marshal, or even bounty hunter more vain that this actor.

After a few moments of watching antagonists pretend to chew tobacco and attempt to rile the overly vain hero, Brisco thought back to his days in San Francisco and Harvard. Being a drama minor, he was able to attend quite a few plays. Brisco appreciated the scripts of classic dramas and comedies and found this pantomimed acting to be lacking any artistic soul. For a moment, Brisco let his mind float. “What it would be like to have talking pictures? Where the actors could speak great lines of genius instead of merely miming simplistic actions? Maybe it could even me a coming…” Brisco stopped the thought with another sip of his drink. No, he would not allow his mind to wander down that path.

After a few moments of silence from Rachel, she began under her breath, “I can shoot better, ride faster, and fight bigger than our leading man over there and yet, I’m stuck over here.”

“And you’ve got a bigger dictionary for cussin’ words than I have ever heard on the trail,” laughed Brisco before he continued “Believe me. If I could help showcase your talent, I would. But as it is, I’m not a respected source here and you’re too…”


“And it’s not what the public wants.”

“You mean what Hollywood says the public wants.”

Brisco turned to Rachel in mock shock and sarcastically stated, “You mean what the public wants and what Hollywood says the public wants may not be the same?”

“Hush you too – never bite the hand that feeds,” cautioned Socrates under his breath.

Brisco and Rachel snickered at the scold but each let the commentary go and turned to watch the scene.

At just that moment, the director called “Cut.” And the leading man, Terrance, called for a make-up artist. Terrance inspected his perfectly manicured nails as the make-up artist added more make-up to his face before Terrance called out to the director. “Please remember that I cannot film any shots of violence today. I am the most handsome man in Hollywood with an upcoming picture series in the LA Times. I simply would hate to break a nail while punching another man.”

“He’s not punching correctly if he’s worried about breaking a nail,” Brisco stated under his breath so that only Rachel could hear.

“My hero,” laughed Rachel as she held her gloved hand to her forehead in a mock swoon. The director, Thomas Ince, called for her to discuss his idea for her entrance, so Rachel stood up, smoothed her dress, and quickly moved to the director to discuss his ideas.

Socrates and Brisco both stood as she left their chairs but as soon as Rachel was out of earshot, Socrates began to whisper again. “Brisco, we need to talk somewhere more private. Lenore –“

To which Brisco angrily snapped at Socrates, “I have told you time and again that I will not take her call! If she asks, I’m not here. If she calls, I am not here. If it’s a telegram then accept it and add it to the pile. I am not here!”

“Would you like to pretend that I am not here too?”

Brisco turned around in his chair to see Lenore standing at the back of the room. She was dressed all in black but her beautiful piercing brown eyes seemed to look directly into Brisco’s soul. Brisco gulped as the guilt and shame that he had been working to bury deep inside began to bubble towards the surface.

“Well, Shit!” Was all the Brisco could think.

- - - - - - - - -

“Whiskey!” Brisco exclaimed while sitting down at the bar. He could still feel his insides shuddering after running into Lenore at the set and clumsily escaping her to the first place he could think of… the nearest actual bar. One with a much larger assortment of alcohol than available on the movie set.

“Just one?” snorted the bartender.

“At the moment, just the one,” Brisco bit out.

The bartender shrugged and poured the shot of whiskey. Brisco stared at it debating how many to order.

“Hell-o Brisco.” a familiar voice trilled from out of sight. Brisco lifted his head and frowned. Without turning to see who the voice belonged to, Brisco grimaced, “Hello Pete.”

Brisco took a sideways glance at Pete Hutter. True to form, Pete still donned long hair, an unshaven face, and dark clothes.

“You wouldn’t still be searching for ‘the coming thing?’” began Pete.

At Pete’s question, Brisco flinched. But instead of immediately responding, he allowed his shoulders to relax the tension as he finished his whiskey and motioned for the bartender to start pouring the next. “Nope. I got outta that business years ago.”

Pete leaned in an whispered - “I happened to be bedizened with a Wellsian-“

Brisco cut Pete off while shrugging Pete away, “While I would love to listen to another one of your rambling monologues about existentialism in the known universe or your odd opinions about art and culture before having you screw me over for your personal interest and leave me in the lurch, I’m not interested. Not now. Not anymore. I’ve been the hero, I’ve been the champion of the people, and what has it got me? Nothing. So, either sit here and drink or get the hell out of here!”

Pete opened his mouth to say something, looked down at his feet, and then said, “I was sorry to hear about Bowler,” before nodding to the bartender to pour three more whiskeys. In a somewhat bewildering moment of sadness, Pete lifted his glass to Brisco.

“To lost friends,” Pete said as the two clinked glasses, toasted the third glass, and downed the shot of whiskey. After finishing the drink, the scheming smile crept across Pete’s face. Pete gave Brisco a wink before tipping his hat, throwing cash on the bar, and strolled out of the bar, whistling.

In the same moment, Brisco felt curious about whatever Pete was up to and a twinge of guilt for snapping at Pete. Brisco shook off both emotions. He was no longer involved in the law and if it was any other individual, Brisco would have felt sorry for snapping. But it was Pete. So, honestly, what did it matter? At that, Brisco motioned for his next whiskey.

“How goes the search for the perfect drink?’” came Socrates’ disapproving voice from the right. Brisco had not even heard the barstool scratch across the floor as Socrates sat down. “Must be getting lazy with the Hollywood life.” Brisco had finished the most recent shot but decided to stare down into his glass rather than immediately acknowledge Socrates. Socrates and Brisco had an easy paying job where they could “consult” idiots, drink all day, and flirt with beautiful actresses. “Wasn’t this what the high life was supposed to be? Why is everyone so determined to have me leave this haven? Even Soc wants to move on. Maybe he should have taken a page from Bat Masterson and changed his name to prevent dumbasses from trying to make him relive past adventures.”

Brisco broke the silence after feeling Socrates’ eyes begin to burn holes into the side of Brisco’s face. “Man’s gotta have a hobby. Besides, I know that I can create the perfect drink, just give me enough time and ingredients.”

“What happens when you find it? What purpose will you have in life then?” demanded Socrates.

Brisco laughed bitterly. “Is it search for the coming thing day? Everyone get together and let’s all ride out into the open horizon? C’mon Soc. There is ‘no coming thing’ and no ‘destiny’ in front of us. Even if I had a destiny, it ended with Bly’s death.” Brisco motioned for another drink. Not because he really wanted anymore whiskey but in an effort to move Socrates’ weekly scold to the next part of the conversation.

“Besides,” Brisco continued, “All I found was loss. Loss of love. Loss of a father. Loss of the government job. Loss of the Westerfield Club and their money. Hell, we can throw in loss of the plains and buffalo while we’re at it!”

“Loss of a friend,” chimed in Soc. “Maybe even loss of justice?”

Brisco winced.

“Honestly, Soc, I’m where I’m supposed to be. And you got me my job here, remember?”

“Don’t remind me,” sighed Socrates as he removed his glasses to pinch at a nose as though a migraine might be forming.

“Soc, I am consulting on a life that I used to live but no longer exists. We have moved beyond from prairie life to an Industrial Age. My world is dated and we’re a thing of the past. So, thank you! Thank you for my job, my life, and my chance to reminisce!” With the words hardly out, Brisco swallowed the last of the drink and motioned for another.

“I wanted to provide a temporary escape not a destination that you settle into for the rest of your life,” Soc sighed. There was a sadness in Socrates’ voice that Brisco had not heard before which shook Brisco. Brisco turned to study Socrates but about fell out of his chair when Socrates called to the bartender, “Whiskey!”

“Based on the way you dress, I would have pegged you for something with an umbrella in the drink,” asked the bartender dryly.

“And I had you pegged as a bartender who served drinks without comment, so I guess we both made a wrong assumption,” sniped Socrates. At the sarcastic response, the bartender shrugged and poured a whiskey for Socrates.

“You don’t drink whiskey! You do normally drink something with an umbrella in it. Or something in a pretty shade of pink. Or something pretty in pink with an umbrella!” exclaimed Brisco.

“I am not here to judge your reaction to Lenore so you are not allowed to judge what I drink tonight.”

As Socrates nursed his whiskey, Brisco watched incredulously. “You know there are other lawmen on the lot that you could bother? Why do you have to be glued to me as my conscious? I mean, I hear Wyatt Earp is only a few lots down from where we’re sitting. How about you bother him for a few days? You might even get a better paycheck.”

“Wyatt has his wife. You have me.”

“Ah yes, the lovely Sadie,” smiled Brisco as he feigned a far-off and dreamy look. “Do you think Wyatt would be willing to trade you for her? One celebrity wife swapped for another?” asked Brisco mischievously.

“We aren’t celebrities and I am hardly your wife,” argued Socrates.

“You nag like one-“

“And,” continued Socrates, “I am sure you would get a bullet for merely suggesting the idea,” muttered Socrates.

“Still-“ mused Brisco. “It’s a nice daydream.” Brisco again pretended to be lost in a daydream but was actually scanning the top shelf alcohol. “Maybe it was time to switch to the good stuff.”

“Did you know that they were in Alaska as part of the gold rush?” chimed in the bartender who had been listening to the conversation between friends.

“I think that I could have done that,” mused Brisco.

“Got married?”

“Led expeditions to Alaska. I think that I would have been an excellent guide in that environment.”

Socrates tried to regain control of the conversation and began with, “She says that it’s about her son. Otherwise, she would not be bothering you-“

“Sadie has a son?” Brisco asked, bewildered.

Socrates rolled his eyes and gave Brisco a sideways glance before placing his glasses back on his nose and taking another sip of his whiskey. “Bowler’s son, James Jr..”

If felt like someone punched Brisco in the gut when Socrates said Bowler’s name. Brisco had to take deep breaths to keep himself cool. Maybe it was because the comment was unexpected. Or maybe Brisco had more alcohol than he had accounted for. But whatever the reason, Brisco found himself finally opening up.

“I was so angry, Soc. So angry when Bowler left our partnership, our business, and our friendship, just to be with Lenore. The job, the partnership, the world, it just… it just wasn’t the same without him. He wasn’t just my business partner or friend. He was the man that I went on missions with and we fought for justice together. We were executed side-by-side and survived a firing squad. He stood by me to take down every man who murdered my father. He was more than a friend, he was my brother. And then suddenly he was gone.”

“I know,” came Socrates’ empathetic response.

“He didn’t even tell me that he left because he found out about James Jr.. It was just suddenly he was gone. Headed back to Hard Rock to marry Lenore.”

Socrates looked across the bar in front of him and then down at his glass. He kept his face expressionless. Socrates was aware of all of this, despite Brisco never voicing these regrets until today. But the day that the national newspaper reported Bowler’s death, Brisco went on a three-day-bender. It would have continued had Brisco not been arrested and Socrates forced to bail Brisco out of jail. “Just like Bowler to battle cancer for months but not tell anyone until he was already gone,” thought Socrates.

“I always wondered how much of what you feel is jealousy?”

“Jealousy and pride,” replied Brisco, who was slightly shocked by his own confession. “Jealous that he married the woman that he loved, had a son, and became a respected sheriff in the town his wife was mayor. It was always a battle between jealousy and pride. One of us had found a home. Neither of us really had that environment as kids.”

Outside of Brisco’s line of sight, Socrates motioned for the bartender to get Brisco a cup of coffee.

“I was going to go back, Soc. I was going to apologize. I was going to talk to him again. In person and not in a letter or over the phone. But days turned into months. Months turned into years. And now, it’s too late. He’s gone and I have never wanted the orb back in my life more than I do right now. To go back and…” Brisco’s voice broke off.

Socrates sighed as he exchanged the shot gloss in Brisco’s hand with a cup of coffee. Seeing that Brisco was too engrossed in regret to even notice the change in beverage, Socrates felt safe to continue Brisco’s thought. “To cheat death on Bowler’s behalf and survive Bly’s original fatal gunshot only to have him die by the silent hand of cancer, is cruel. Unjust even. An unfair twist of life.” With this Socrates reached his hand over and patted Brisco’s arm. “It’s time.”

Brisco did not reply but mutely sipped his coffee.

Socrates continued, “Brisco, it’s time to find out why Lenore’s here. Time to help our friend’s widow. And time to move forward again. Because for her to travel all this way, despite your years of silence, this must be one hell of an emergency.”

Brisco cleared his throat awkwardly, “Did she even stay after my clumsy exit?”

Socrates gave his friend a kind smile and said, “I told her that your driver, Uber, had arrived and if you were late, he’d increase your price or leave you stranded at the lot. But I assured her that we would all meet at my office at 6 pm.”

“How did you know that I would come around?”

“Because I knew that you would regret it for the rest of your life if you did not help Bowler’s widow.”

As Socrates ordered another cup of coffee for Brisco to take on the road and paid the bar tab, Brisco observed, “You’ve certainly come a long way Soc. You are no longer the pushover mouthpiece for a faceless organization parroting their rules and bottom lines.”

“What can I say? You and Bowler had a terrible influence on me.”

“Soc, there’s still something that puzzles me. Who the hell is Uber?”

- - - - - - - - -

“You got the flowers and telegram that I sent for the funeral, correct?” inquired a nervous Brisco. Socrates, Brisco, and Lenore were sitting in Socrates’ small office. The awkward silence ever growing in the room.

“We did. And while I would like to discuss how we would have much rather seen you than the flowers, this is not the time nor the place for that discussion.”

Brisco shifted nervously in his seat before beginning again, “Soc says it is about James? Some kind of trouble?”

Lenore shook her head as though overwhelmed and found herself fidgeting with the clasp on her purse, “I’m not even sure where to begin,” she whispered. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before continuing, “Bowler always said that you were looking for the coming thing. That you always had your eyes forward and believed in the impossible. He said that he had seen a lot of unexplainable things while riding the trails with you and he said that he wouldn’t want to face anything unexplainable without you.”

Brisco became embarrassed and tried to hide his reddening face by taking a big gulp of the coffee. It burned his throat as it went down and all Brisco could think was, “Another round of shots sounds pretty good right now.”

“I truly believe that you are the only man who can save my son, partially because of what my husband said about you and because I think you are the only person who will believe me…” she paused for a moment as Socrates had quietly left the room and returned with a glass of water. Lenore took the glass but merely held it rather than drank it. She finally began the story, “James and I were at the house talking about what things Bowler would want to keep at the house and what we should donate in his memory a museum, when a man appeared in a glowing light.”

Brisco leaned forward. “A man and not a woman?” clarified Brisco.

“Did he have an orb?” asked Socrates.

“Was the light all around him? Was he naked?” interrupted Brisco.

Awestruck, Lenore’s only response was, “You’ve seen this before, then?”

“Maybe-“ mused Brisco. “Did he have a gold metal round thing with him? About this big and heavy,” Brisco used his hand to attempt to share the size of the orbs that he had come across in the past.

“Was there a woman with him?” asked Socrates.

“Boys, I can’t follow your questions and to be frank, they don’t make sense.”

“Our apologies,” said Socrates as he settled back into his chair and gave a look to Brisco to do the same. “Please continue.” But even from where Brisco sat, he could tell that Socrates was as excited and concerned as Brisco felt.

“As I was saying, a man appeared in a light, but no, he was wearing clothes. However, his clothes caught fire. He threw some kind of leather bracelet thing to James and ran outside to roll around in the grass and put out the fire. It was just him, no one else. I followed him outside with Bowler’s shotgun as I wasn’t sure who this crazy man was or how he appeared out of thin air. I was outside for maybe 1 or 2 minutes trying to calm this boy down. He kept asking what date and year it was and saying he was a doctor or professor or something. We were both confused and hollering at each other. Then there was another big light and when I ran inside, my boy was gone. James was gone!”

Lenore paused for a moment to choke back her tears. Socrates took the glass of water and placed it nearby, handed a handkerchief to Lenore, and tried to gently pat her on the back. As tenderness was not really a skill of this attorney, the pat ended up being more of an awkward almost slap on the back rather than a sign of empathy. Despite the sadness in the air, the sight of Socrates’ attempt at kindness made Brisco stifle a laugh. As Brisco covered his face in an attempt to look deep in thought, he could almost see a bewildered look from Lenore. As though to say, “What the hell does this lawyer think he’s doing?” Brisco erupted in coughs as this was not the time to be laughing during the poor widow’s story. It was unclear if Socrates picked up on the social faux pas, but Socrates did sit down which was enough to enable Lenore to continue her story.

“I ran back outside to get answers from the stranger but he was gone. I looked around and found that the leather bracelet tossed at James was missing so I know that the stranger and the bracelet somehow took my son.”

“Do you have any leads on the stranger or James?”

Lenore shook her head before saying, “No leads on James but I think the professor must have escaped with my neighbor’s horse because he stated that it was missing later that day.”

“Does anyone else from the town know anything or did they see anything?”

“Who am I going to tell? Who would believe me?” huffed Lenore.

Brisco and Socrates silently looked at each other.

“We are sorry for your loss but I’m not sure how I can help,” stated an unsure Brisco.

“You are used to odd things. If anyone can help me find my son, it would be you.”

Brisco thought a moment, while he was flattered by the faith in him, how in the world would he even begin the search for James? His mind began to race. If the bracelet is a mode of transportation, kind of like the orb traveling through time, then James could be anywhere, in time or space. If the professor stole a horse, then he must have only had the one bracelet. So, the best start of the search would be tracking the man who is leaving footprints and force him to help rescue James.

“Has the horse turned up anywhere?” inquired Brisco as he could feel his mind begin to turn with ideas.

“I just got a telegram from my neighbor that it was found in Ventura.”

“Seems like a good place to start,” commented Socrates.

“Who sent the telegram?” inquired Brisco. They would need all of the allies that they could get if they were tracking someone from the future.

“Actually, an old friend of ours – Sherriff Aaron Viva. He moved out to Ventura when he lost the election for sheriff to Bowler.”