An excerpt from the journal of Gene Cerney
I awoke this morning with the energy of anticipating coursing through my body. Each step felt lighter than in previous days. The apprehension of Mexican Joe gave me a satisfaction warmer than a spoonful of of Cookie’s red sauce.
I admit I am anxious to tell Ming of this success. We are meeting today to discuss Sing’s departure. That too, will provide me with a source of relief. It is a better morning than I have had in a long while.
An additional entry to Gene’s journal the same day
This morning marked Mr. Ramsey’s hearing with Judge Haverty. I spent prior days preparing for this, I knew with a firm confidence that I was ready. Joseph recounting of the incident differed greatly from that of Ms. Brubaker’s. Joseph stated that he became acquainted with the Brubaker’s by taking a few odd jobs as a property handyman. Mr. Brubaker spent much time away from his wife at work as an official for the Union rail and in gambling establishments. She was not equipped to the work of maintaining their property alone.
Joseph denied that there had been any physical relations between himself and Mrs. Brubaker. She might’ve made moon eyes at him, but he never acted upon it.
On the eve of the late Mr. Brubaker’s death, Mr. Ramsey attested that Mr. Brubaker engaged himself in a game of cards with a pair of acquaintances, Cal Willard and Eli Martin. Mr. Ramsey confirmed his involvement in the card game as well. He stated that the game was held in a public establishment known to all four men. Mr. Ramsey was succeeding with fair margin at the time of the incident. Mr. Brubaker, on the other hand, was having a poor night and on the verge of losing all his committed money.
Joseph recalled Mr. Brubaker growing more drunk and belligerent as the evening went on until his anger peaked. He rose from the table, declared that Mr. Ramsey had been cheating. Whether it was at cards or with Mrs. Brubaker was left unsaid. But it was Mr. Brubaker who drew first. Mr. Ramsey also declared that after the incident he awaited the arrival of the Marshall and did not resist when the Marshall took him into custody.
Many of these details did not match the tale of Mrs. Brubaker. She declared the game had been at her home. Both she and a maid saw Joseph draw first and kill Mr. Brubaker in a cold, jealous rage. She mentioned nothing of being acquainted with Mr. Ramsey as anything other than a lover. She went so far as to declare that on the eve of the incident, Mr. Ramsey had pretended to be a white man when clearly he was a half-bred native. She had also discredited the presence of Mr. Willard and Mr. Martin.
Further research into the case led me to a series of discoveries. The case had already been tried. Twice, in fact. Mrs. Brubaker had brought the case before a judge in Kansas City, where the even occurred, and in Dodge City. Mrs. Brubaker testified to nearly missing Mr. Ramsey at his latest stop before Shady Gulch. Presumably, she would have put forward the case there as well.
The recorded facts in the case file I received from Judge Haverty confirmed that Mr. Martin and Mr. Manning both witnessed the event. They testified that it had taken place at an establishment which Mr. Brubaker often frequented. They also testified that Mr. Brubaker had been drunk and pulled a gun on Mr. Ramsey. Ramsey, the quicker gunhand, drew and fired in response. He did, in fact await the Marshall’s arrival. Both men could not recall seeing Mrs. Brubaker at the scene of the incident and did not know how she came by the information in her testimony. the also said that night, Mr. Ramsey looked particularly indian in the dim lighting and speculated that might have had something to do with Mr. Brubaker’s unusual fury. The Union rail often had difficulties with indians.
The Judges in Kansas City and Dodge City, both ruled Mr. Ramsey’s involvement as self-defense.
I submitted as testimony to Mr. Ramsey’s character that he had aided in the recovery of the town’s finances. He had not resisted either the Marshall in Kansas City or Sheriff Truelock when they came to take Mr. Ramsey into custody. And he did not engage into a duel challenged by Quick Mike earlier in the week.
As had the other Judges, Judge Haverty ruled in Joseph’s favor.
Emerging from the hearing, I felt quite encouraged about my choice of Shady Gulch as a place of residence.
Scribbled Entry from the Journal of Gene Cerney
The sonofabitch escaped! Someone buffaloed Hal and broke Mexican Joe out of his cell! So frustrated. What to tell Ming?
Additional entry to the journal of Gene Cerney
I can’t sleep, so I might as well write. It’s mind-numbingly difficult and I can feel my pen scrabbling almost uselessly across the page. Words stick in the fog of my mind as rain in a pregnant cloud. I sit here wishing for something to take my mind off this incessant howling but it is nearly impossible!
I shall try to start at the beginning of this journey. After Sheriff Truelock revealed the escape of Mexican Joe, Moose, the man who bounces at the Golden Nugget informed myself and my acquaintances that Mr. Kilburn wanted to see us.
Attending upon Mr. Kilburn at his office above the Golden Nugget, I, and my compatriots sat as his behest. He explained that we should be most thankful to see him this morning. He was aware that my fellows had something to do with the most recent attack upon the Sioux Dog Soldiers. He also proudly declared that he had “taken care of it” through utilization of his own skills and at his own expense.
My companions were none too pleased by the thought of men innocent to the crime taking the fall in their place. However, Mr. Kilburn only said he had resolved the issue. He did not specify how. He went on to declare that he believed this mean my companions owed him a bit of a favor. Now, he was a reasonable man and not in need of any handouts. So instead he proposed a stint of employment. He had a courier who needed protection travelling to Deadwood.
To my shock, he then asked me to explain the rest as I was the acting envoy in our business venture. If my companions were displeased before, now they were clearly angry. I am quite sure they believed my involvement with Mr. Kilburn was somehow a knife in their back.
I tried not to hesitate in my explanation. I didn’t want Mr. Kilburn springing any other surprises on me. The man is as oily as grease from a pig. I told the others that I had a business opportunity to share with Shady Gulch. Working with Jake, I had secured support and bankroll from the town for the construction of a telegraph to Deadwood. They did not appear to see the new technology as a benefit, but Jake assured them this “misadventure” was a great opportunity to put Shady Gulch on the map.
Thankfully the funding for this project was at my discretion and I could hire fairly who I chose. Luckily, my companions agreed. I set off procuring us a stage coach, but there was still the matter of Ms. Song to handle.
We met and determined that putting heron a stage out east that afternoon was the best thing for her. Mr. Clockwork signed a letter of introduction to his family and made the necessary arrangements.
We set about procuring a disguise. Justice knew of a woman in town who would have a black dress that would conceal Ms. Song from prying eyes long enough to get her on the carriage. We called upon the home of Ms. Tanning, the Sheriff’s daughter, I was told. She invited us inquite graciously and was clearly an experienced hostess. Her house was well appointed and I presumed the Sheriff had something to do with that. I did not see many photographs or sentimental personal affects. Justic spoke plainly with the lad, much to my displeasure.
Though I was too late to voice it, telling anyone the real reason why we required lady’s garments was a foolish action. Justice has developed a most disruptive habit of giving away secrets that are not his own in distressing fashion.
I interjected when asked for the particulars of ladies attire we required. I requested a black dress and to my dismay the good woman broke into tears. I had never seen a woman manage to retain her beauty while crying before meeting Ms. Tanning. She was a noble and beautiful woman to be sure.
I, on the other hand, felt about as noble as a rat raiding hen house eggs. I took advantage of the opportunity to retreat after offending the poor widow and retrieve the dress from her trunk upstairs. One would think a person should mention that the woman from whom you are going to request a black dress is recently widowed!
The word “Justice” is becoming colored with irony."
Now in possession of the necessary disguise, Idressed Ms. Song in it and turned her over to Johnny to escort to the coach. The rest of us stood watch searching for other agents like Mexican Joe who might wish the young lady harm. I asked a grizzled war veteran taking the stage to please protect the young lady and he agreed. At least there was some good news for Ming.
our own stage arrived a few hours later. It was a steam coach, a most curious contraption. I am accustomed enough to the site of them, however, my companions were most intrigued. The driver, however, did not inspire confidence. He spoke with horses who did not exist to pull the coach. There was something clearly wrong with this this man’s understanding of the device he drove. But Ms. Brillo assured me he was the finest driver in the plains.
And that brings me to where I sit now. This ride has been the most uncomfortable of my life. The coach emits a grisley howling from the ghost rock and it clanks and rattles incessantly so that it is impossible for me to achieve sleep. I have been awake through an entire night as I write this and not one position in which I have situated myself has provided any solace from the cacophany and disjointed shuddering around me. It might be survivable were the coach not so damnably hot. I have removed every piece of clothing I decently can and still have sweat through what remains. Opening the windows offers no relief. It simply allows dust in. I wish that this journey would end qui…
The journal ends abruptly