Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Whodunit

"Honey, how about we invite Paul Davidson and his wife, Lynn, over to Thanksgiving?" "What? Beth, you know he's my enemy!" She rolled her eyes at him. "He's your business rival, but that doesn't have to mean he's your enemy." "Well he is! He stole Lynn from me and is the main reason my company is #2 in our area. And guess who's number one?" "You still have that grudge? Give it up, you were young, and, well, she wasn't the right type for you. Besides, I hate it when you go 'Oh, Lynn, I miss you,' or 'Oh, sweet Lynn' or whatever. We are married and we've been married for fifteen years so please, just get over it." "Fine."

"Oh, hello Mr. Johnson, Mrs. Johnson, how do you do?" "We're fine Lynn, thanks." "And you all remember Harry here, right?" "Oh, little Harry, he's grown so, don't you think Jeff?" "Yes, and his hair is starting to grow." "Paul! Paul! Yes, for the last time, you look fine, now come on in!" "Hello, Mrs. Johnson, hello Jeff." "Afternoon." "Jeff, what's wrong with your throat?" "Oh, ehm, nothing, nothing." "Okay, then, let's all sit down and we'll start with the appetizers." "Wonderful idea! Let me just get little Harry here all settled. Come on, Harry! Harry!" "He's grown so, Lynn. You're growing a wonderful child." "Oh, thank you." "Mmmm, I hope you two here baked pie, otherwise I'm leaving." "Paul!" "No, I'm just kidding... Seriously though, if there was no turkey..." Everyone busted into laughter.

"I'm going to go get some spices. I hate my turkey alone." "Oh, Lynn, it's okay, I'll get them." "Oh, no, no, no, I'll get them myself, it's no problem." "I'll be right back." "Jeff! Don't leave!" "I said I'll be right back." "Alright, but hurry back!" "Here we go." "What's this?" "Oh, just some seasoning for the turkey." "Oh, Jeff, you're drowning the turkey in seasoning!" "Beth, you can never have enough seasoning." "Lynn, did you find the spices?" "No... oh, there they are! Jeff, you found them!" "It's okay, I already put them on the turkey." "Lynn, why don't you take the first bite?" "No, no, Beth. Paul?" "No, no, Lynn, please." "I really can't Beth." "No, no, do!" "Here, Paul." "No!" "Why, sure. I don't mind if I do. It's okay Beth. Mmmm. Turkey looks scrumptious. Lynn, is this my favorite spice?" "Sure is." "Well, I don't really... Lynn, how about you have the first slice?" "Yes, yes, have it!" "Umm... No thanks. Paul, really, have the first slice. You don't need to make a big fuss about it." "Okay. Fine." "No, wait!" "Mmm... not bad. Ugh. Are you sure this is my favorite... argh!" "Paul, don't be rude!" "Argh! Ugh! Kahk! This is my favorite spice? It tastes horrible, it... it... Ugh... Blegh..." "Paul? Paul? Speak to me! Paul!" "Jeff, what's going on?" "I... I don't know!" "Klegh... unghhhh..." "Paul! Paul! Somebody, do something!" "Does he have a pulse?" "I don't know..." "Jeff, do CPR!" "Ummm... no, Beth, I don't think that's necessary... umm, mabye he's recovering!" "No! Lynn, really! Oh God, I hate to do this, but... Huhhhh... Sshhh! No, it isn't working!" "Oh God, call the medics!"

"Paul... oh Paul..." "I'm so, so, sorry Lynn. There's nothing we can do." "Ohhhhh Paul!" "Here, let me try a little experiment. Here's a slice of turkey with seasoning, and here's one without seasoning..." "And?" "And, we give it to two mice." "How will this help?" "Sshhh, look!" "Hey, the mouse that ate the turkey alone is doing okay!" "But look at the one that ate the turkey with seasoning!" "It's... it's... stone dead!" "Oh, Jeff, how could you do this?" "What is it Beth?" "You... you... there's poison here on the kitchen table! The one you bought! Oh, you evil man! I knew he was your enemy, but..." "Hold on Beth! I only bought that to kill the mice!" "You only bought it after I invited Lynn and Paul over!" "Beth, you're talking crazy!" "Jeff, you poisoned him! You poisoned Paul! You tried to poison Lynn, too!" "What? Beth, I put the seasoning on only, nothing else! That was the seasoning container! The one we bought with the seasoning in it?" "Jeff, look in the trash! Look!" "Seasoning! How? But, what? I never!" "Jeff, your finger-prints are on the rat poison, the container's top, and the container! 'You can never have enough spices', I see what that was about! Oh, Jeff, you sick, sick man!" "But, I didn't!" "Jeff, you were the only one in the kitchen in the past half hour besides Lynn, who went to the basement after a few seconds of searching!" "She could've!" "Then why are your fingerprints on the poison? And the container?" "I wanted to spread the poison for the mice, but I decided it wouldn't be suitable for our dinner, so I put it back." "Look in the poison box! Empty! Oh, if Lynn hadn't fainted, she'd be murdering you! Jeff, you murderer! I can't believe you! I'm calling the police!" "Wait, what if you did it?" "Jeff, that's ridiculous! Paul was my boyfriend in high school! Why would I do it? Admit you did it!" "No, Beth, because I didn't do it, and I'll prove it. Now put down that knife. Let's question Lynn as soon as she comes to." "Oh, she wouldn't do it! She's pure and wouldn't commit murder. Besides, she's happily married. At least she was... until you came in! I never thought you had such a black heart, such a strong grudge. She loved Paul, unlike you, you... wretched killer! I don't know what's stopping me from raising this knife and dialing 9-1-1!" "Common sense is, Beth. Common sense. I have proof I didn't do it!" "And that proof is?" "Lynn. Lynn there. Let's see what she has to say."

"And where were you before you went to the basement?" "In the kitchen, you know that, Jeff." "Aha. Well, I happened to find the seasoning. Why didn't you?" "Well, I... I didn't see it Jeff, I told you!" "Mmmhhhmmm. And when I came in, it was on the counter, in plain sight." "According to you!" "Yes, according to me. Beth, didn't you see it there too?" "Well, yeah, but that doesn't prove a thing-" "Ah, ah, ah, but yes it does. So, it was in plain sight, and you didn't see it?" "I... um... mistook the container for, uh, something else..." "Sure." "Well, you know I have sight problems!" "Yeah, sure. Didn't I hear Paul boasting that you had 20/20 and Beth had less?" "Yeah, well, ummm... Since she doesn't have 20/20, maybe she didn't see the container. Maybe, maybe she saw something else!" "But you just said it was in plain sight." "Uh, no it wasn't. Maybe she saw..." "The coffee maker!" "Beth, we don't own a coffee maker." "Oh, um, what I meant to say is..." "Okay, this question's turnout seems obvious. So far evidence points to Lynn."

"Okay, Lynn, are you happily married?" "Uhmm, well... y-y-yes, I am..." "And you love your husband? He never beats you?" "N-no, never. I, I, I-I I love him s-so, uhmm, er much..." "I notice you're hesitating. Are you nervous? Lying causes nervousness." "Stop testing me! I'm not nervous and I'm not lying!" "Okay... is that a lie?" "Y-yes, no, err, I mean to say..." "Okay, enough on that question. Who's your husband?" "He's a - Oh no, you're not getting me with that one. He's Paul Christian Davidson Junior, a wealthy man of 42." "I see... Now, what is this?" "Poison." "How do you know this?" "Because I've seen poison." "When you poisoned the turkey?" "No! I've used poison... in the past. Besides, you spread the 'seasoning' all over the turkey!" "Okay. I saw a napkin lying next to the poison box and the seasoning container. Could it be that you used it to wipe-" "She did not wipe off her fingerprints! Um, err, not to say they were there... But, uh..." "Beth, I was just about to say that. And I think she did. Did you?" "No!" "How do I know you're not lying?" "OK, I swear to to tell the whole truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth. I am happily married, love my husband, my husband never hurts me, I never saw the seasoning, I went straight to the kitchen then the basement, I'm not lying and I didn't use the napkin to wipe fingerprints off the jars. Happy now?" "Not quite. Why did you offer Paul the first slice? Why not take it yourself?" "Oh, for heaven's sakes, I'm not even going to answer that!" "Alright Jeff, so far you've proven nothing. I'm going to have to-" "Hold your horses, Beth Mary Johnson! I want to ask you some tough questions."

"What is the meaning of this? We all know you-" "Shut up! I examined those fingerprints on the poison box and the seasoning container. Some of those fingerprints were yours as well. But that's not all. I read your stupid secret diary. You still love Paul. I read your letters to him too. You plotted this. First, kill Lynn. Then, kill me. The whole 'poison story' will give you a reason for murder: self-defense. Why kill me too? Well, for one, it would get rid of a good CEO in the company, wiping out my company, which is in close competition with Paul's and, of course, in cased I catch on like I did now. You married me just to get close to me, just to plan this evening, you sick, sick person. You never loved me. All the love, all the acts of love were so fake. Beth, your plot was so transparent." "Yes, it was, wasn't it? But now you've foiled my plans and I'll have to murder you both." She sprung at Lynn with a large knife. Jeff hurled a plate at her head. After a loud shatter, Beth clutched her bleeding forehead and thrust her knife into Jeff's shoulder. Collapsing in pain, Jeff gave her a punch that knocked her off her feet. Lynn raised a frying pan and smacked her hard in the face. Grabbing the unconscious Beth by her feet, he signaled for Lynn to grab her hands. They hoisted her into the oven and turned on the gas...



Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

Sunday November 23, 2008

"I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I've ever known." - Walt Disney

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lunch Table Wars

The night was silent. The soldier slowly crept into the base. He was long beyond enemy lines. Checking his pistols to see if they were loaded, he stopped. What was that? Could he have been sighted? No, probably not. But just then, he heard a low humming sound. He quickly spun around and standing there, right in front of him, were sixteen enemy soldiers! Of course there was only one, he knew this because he had gotten used to his vision almost since the day he was born. He raised his arms, but too late. The enemy drew a shotgun and fired at him. The soldier fell to his knees. A giant white blanket scooped him up and took him away. The day was safe.

This scene was natural several hundreds, nay, perhaps thousands of years ago. The near-but-not-exactly-microscopic robots, or nanobots had been created by schoolchildren when a pesky fleet of mosquitoes began molesting them at their lunch table in the cafeteria, landing on their food and biting them. No matter how many they took out, more came. So they invented these nanobots to fight off the mosquitoes. They built one first, then it evolved, built others, arms and bases. They always changed, always coming out with new prototypes. These children later graduated, went to middle school, then high school, then college. They went to work, married, had children, grew old, had grandchildren and later great-grandchildren and died. But the nanobots remained. They remained for the next generation of schoolchildren, for those first school children’s children, and their children and so on. They remained for the next few decades, then the decades after that. They remained after many periods of war and many periods of peace. They remained through man’s development. They remained throughout rises and falls in the stock market. They remained after countless births and deaths. They remained after natural disasters and plagues. They remained after shuttle launches and moon colonies. They remained after the rise… and fall… of man. They were there, as they always would be. Their war was never complete, nor was it over. No side was winning or losing. After countless millenia, perhaps eons, or even millions of millenia, they were still there. After Earth became a desolate, lifeless desert, they were still there. After man no longer reigned in the Solar System, they were still there. After the primary inhabitants were bacteria and mosquitoes, they were still there. After the Sun swelled up and all the oceans and lakes and ponds and rivers evaporated in three days, they were still there. They were always there, and they always would be, until the end of Existence itself, when Clockwork collapsed on itself and space became non-existent, and when the nothingness would be so full and consuming that nothingness itself couldn’t exist, an entity much beyond nothingness took over, which was no entity at all since there wasn’t anything, not emptiness nor fullness, neither something nor nothing, for within nothing there is too much, darkness, silence, air; no all the laws of physics would be nonexistent, as would Existence itself, for there was, is and could be nothing. Much like a page without any writing on it, except the page itself wouldn’t be there. No Existence, no air, no sound, but no silence, no anything but no nothing, it would drive the human mind insane contemplating this, fry the brains, murder Logic and Reason and altogether wipe out thought and Intelligence such as a tidal wave does to a simple wooden shack. The existence of existence existing in itself is Existence, therefore nonexistence becomes tangible and the word I am looking for itself is nonexistent, because there is no word to describe the nonexistence of nonexistence, and yet again, that is tangible and inaccurate. Back to the war, the robots had now upgraded and changed themselves so, the original schoolchildren wouldn't have even recognized them. The mosquitoes, after picking up some radiation from the robots (shortly after they were built) became intelligent as well. And so the real table wars began.

We pick up with one of their battles, the year God-knows-what A.S.R (After Second Renaissance, a hundred-year period one year after 10, 000 A.D.), the table now a blood-stained battlefield, with no rain (though the roof had long ago broken apart) since Earth was now a desert wasteland and all the clouds evaporated immediately. After the many bombings and grenades, the table's landscape had drastically changed. So, here we are, the robots having taken all the good sniping robots, and the flies dropping like... well... flies! The robots are taking out the flies with machine guns, but the flies are blowing things up with grenade launchers. A certain robot, a good soldier, X-3417HG9 Series 5 Flame Attachment Ultra Combat Trooper, releases his flamethrower attachment, burning the flies. They squirm and squeal, groaning in pain. A fly, Shinalf, sneaks up behind X-3417 and zaps him with his Double-Barreled Automatic Electro-Shoot Zapper. X collapses and Shinalf stabs him with a spear. Immediatally ZW-29, his friend, rolls to his friend. "Are you okay?" he asks. "Ughhh... circuits fried a bit." mutters X. ZW draws his Heavy Duty Repeater and guns down Shinalf. "We got a man down here!" he screams. The doctor, D. HQU 9748, drops to X's side. "Hmmm... he may not make it. They breached his Concentrated Transmodulator..." "Oh, no, X!" "It seems that his Aneminator has been fractured, and his left Fire-Producing Mechanism severed. His Alpha One Knowledge Memory has been pierced as well. Hmmmm. He has a 200 to 1 chance of survival. Hmmmm." X was panting now, his breathing labored. "Take him back to base, then call an Alpha Minor Delta Counter-strike Variation 3 Green Field! You'll be OK, buddy. Oh, and take this measly maggot back to base to be tortured." he said, nodding at the injured Shinalf. "You heard me. I want him in immediate medical care, and ASAP. This guy is really gonna get it. But of course, as all of his vile kind, his recovery will take a few days. I'll be anticipating for him to get better. We might perhaps spare him... to be used as a training fly." Shinalf winced. He knew what "training fly" meant in nanobot POW terms. Those poor creatures were used for nanobots that were training, and went to the infirmary hundreds of times in a single week. But they were the lucky ones. Nanobots were brutal. They did unimaginable things to fly POWs. And Shinalf knew well what they did. Half of it would give a fly a heart attack.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quote of the Day

November 16, 2008 Sunday

"Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words." - Edgar Allen Poe

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Hole

In the Universe there is a galaxy. In that galaxy there is a solar system. In that solar system there is a planet. In that planet there is an ocean. In that ocean there is an island. In that island there is a hole. In that hole... is the unimaginable.

The two castaways were neither friends nor relatives. One was in his seventies and balding, he was old yet robust; the other was in his twenties, silent and ominous, with long, dark black hair They had been aboard the Silverina before the storm destroyed the ship, leaving them as the only two survivors. They had little food and water and no tools or trinkets. The island was quite near tropical and located in the Pacific. It was not very big, about a few miles long. They had little chance so far to explore it. They were so shocked that they were silently doing tasks, not sobbing or screaming, in a deadly calm state. The older one was trying to crack a coconut with a rock, the younger one building a crude hut. So far they knew little about the island, except that it housed no habitants except some lizards, birds and lobsters. They had no weapons for hunting and planned to build those next. They doubted their own survival, but kept to their thoughts, ever silent.

Then, one of the two broke the silence like a knife through cardboard. It was the elderly one. He said the following: "If we are indeed to be marooned on this island together, we might as well get to know each other better. My own name is Samuel. Do you care to share yours?" The young man took a moment to digest this, then gave a grunt. "I'm Steel, and call me that." Samuel gave a chuckle. "Is there some problem, Steel?" Steel looked at him inquisitively. "Problem? Oh, no problem. It's just that Silverina went down along with everything I own and the very few people I love." Samuel looked gravely at him. "We have both lost much, but painful reminiscence will help us not. Instead, we should focus on survival." Steel's eyebrows formed a twisted V as he scowled. "Survival? Right now, I don't give a rat's tail about survival! I'd rather die, right here, right now, than work myself to death making stupid preparations for a hermit's life that have no purpose!" Samuel looked at him through shimmering blue eyes that seemed magnified a thousand times with spectacles. "I don't believe you actually mean that Steel. Neither do I believe that our preparations will be fatal or purposeless. We are merely preparing for rescue." "Rescue? Rescue? Rescue from God-knows where? Samuel, we're smack dab in the middle of the Pacific on some small god-forsaken dot of land that doesn't even have a given name! Face the facts, we're doomed to die here." Samuel chuckled again. "Much you do not understand, much you have to learn." "Hey, look here old man, I've had a fruitful and good life. I don't know about yours, but my life was not a waste of time. This is." He disgustedly tore down what little imitation of a shelter he had attempted constructing. "It's no use. Just no use. I know when luck's against us, trust me, I'm a gambler. And luck is now completely against use. You can't fight Lady Luck. You get on her bad side, it's over. Listen, old man, can you spell DOOMED? Can you read it? 'Cause it's tattooed all over our foreheads. Just wanted to clear that up for you." Samuel merely chuckled and shook his head. "Steel, Steel, Steel, we will be rescued, but meanwhile we must prepare. Perhaps it is lucky we are on this island. Perhaps it was meant to be. Perhaps it was fate. Perhaps it was prophecy. Perhaps..." "Perhaps you will shut up now. How the hell would this be lucky, eh? I'm going to go gather some shellfish, you do whatever the hell you want." Samuel shook his head, smiling. "Steel, the best ingredient for survival is cooperation." "Okay, can we substitute an artificial flavor?" Steel barked back.

That old man's out of his mind, Steel thought. He's gone nuts. Lost his marbles. What a basketcase. Steel absentmindedly gathered shellfish, and he accidentely drew up a crab. It pinched him on his finger and he swore loudly, threw it to the floor and stepped on it. He examined his bleeding finger then looked to the crab mush that was laying on the sand. Well, there's dinner, he thought. "Samuel, I got a crab! Happy now?" Samuel merely smiled back at Steel. What the hell is with that guy? Steel thought. He is screwed up! "Yeah, good eating tonight." Steel proclaimed, marching back to the spot with the revolting mess he called "dinner." "I get half, catcher's priority." he snarled, though not actually planning to eat it. "This is good, Steel, this is good, but we need more. I shall go gather some... other food." Old man ain't happy with this. What the hell does he expect? A freaking steak house? Steel thought. "Well, at least we've got something to eat." he boasted. Samuel nodded, silent in his scrutiny of the sand for anything edible. "Yeah, fancy eating tonight." Steel grumbled.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Liars and Bullets

This is a story of trust, deception, sorrow, woe, and revenge. You can call it any darn thing you want, an adventure, an ameateur story, a Western, a classic, it really doesn't matter. The story is still the same.

My name is Virgil, but they call me Vengeful Virgil. This here story I'm about to unfold is going to tell you that there are wrongs that can't be righted by any state ranger or sheriff, or even Almighty God for that matter. It all started a while ago, 'bout four or five months I'd say. I was riding with my friend Doc Springfield and my brother Jackson. We'd just found gold, scooped it up by the nuggets and put it in several bundles, even some 'kercheifs. We were, well, doggone far out in Texas, in places that are just plain wild. No towns, just an occasional Indian tribe. Nothing much. I was on Silver, my trusty steed, with Jackson on his swift Bullet, and Doc slowly making his way with the old - but noble, no denying that - Fearsome, who once lived up to his name. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to knock ol' Doc, but Fearsome's name had pretty much expired. We were a small band, all right, but we weren't stupid. Doc always nursed an old shotgun under his arm, and Jackson and I had six-shooters, the trusty revolvers, in our holsters, ready as an itchy trigger-fingered no-good bandit to pull 'em out. We were fine up until a brush with a tribe of Indians. No one on our side was hurt, save a bullet-holed poncho. But the chase after made us completely lose what little sense of direction we had. We were lost like two tan rabbits in a sandstorm on a moonless prarie night. But even then we were better off than when we bumped into old no-name.

At first we thought he was a lone Indian, but then we saw him closer and judged he'd come from anywhere but an Indian camp. Just by looking at his person you could tell he was newly-stocked, with his clean, straight hat and brand-new guns. We asked him who he was and what he wanted. He replied that his name was Bill Carson and that he was looking for money, or a good showdown. We told him we didn't want neither, and that we were looking for a town, any town. We had no intention of going straight home. Gracie'd died last summer, Ma sent us away after she heard of what we'd done during our travels and Pa was outlawed, probably hiding in some faraway town with a new name.

He asked us if we were lost and we nodded. Then he told us that he knew the way and would lead us, but it would cost us. I looked at Jackson and Doc and the looks on their faces told me they thought it was an okay idea. I nodded to him and we shook hands. I don't care where we went or how we got there, but the moment we agreed, he did lead us. He led us straight to Hell, where the scoundrel belonged, the devil take him. He was the worst, dirtiest varmint all of the South had ever saw. It was too bad we didn't know that right 'n then. But I suspected his shifty little eyes and twitching hand. That greedy hand twitches for two things: money (gold, dollars, you name it) and guns. It was extremely unfortunate, just pure bad luck I reckon - because how could what happened be good luck - just pure unfortunate bad luck that that hand would twitch to take our money and twitch to draw guns... ones meant to kill us.

We crossed an Indian camp... and to our misfortune it happened to be the one where Crazy Bronco resided. Crazy Bronco was the most well-known man in the West, along with Old Quick-hand, The Cowboy and Wyatt Earp. Jackson and I noticed a peculiar amount of dead bodies on the way. Traitor probably led us this way on purpose. Of course, he didn't expect what happened next. Now, I'm telling you, Crazy Bronco, I reckon he's crazy, maybe the craziest of those scattered tribes out there, and most of them are crazy. Now, as I was saying, Crazy Bronco was really crazy. His voice could silence men like a rifle shot. And truthfully, I feared him as well, still do. Anyhow, we had a brush with him, and a pretty brush it was not.

When I head his scream, the hairs on the back of my head pricked up. That morning was suspicious. No birds in the sky, no critters on the plains. Just eerie silence. Then, a sceam shattered it all like a bullet shatters a window. I knew it had to be Crazy Bronco. No other man in the West had such a scream. And apparently, we had entered his tribe's land. We were unwelcome visitors and treated as such. Crazy Bronco ran up, arms flailing, a rifle in one. The mere sight of him made us want to scream. Now, not only is he crazy, he also has a good aim. He shot one of our bags of gold and watched the yellow stuff tumble out. We didn't bother to pick it up, otherwise we would've been dead.

Doc raised his gun and shot at Bronco once. It was a far shot, I'll give him that. The shot hit Bronco in the shoulder, but due to the distance, the bullet slowing down and the clothing, it wasn't fatal. But man, did it get old Bronco mad. As soon as he saw the blood, he went mad. He screamed once more, and shot at Jackson. It was intended for Doc, but hit Jackson's arm instead. We were galloping away on horses by now, of course. Jackson nearly fell off his horse, but managed to stay on. I tossed him a cloth to ease the bleeding and he muttered a word of thanks. Jackson was screaming bloody murder by now, that bullet hurt. Angrily, I shook my fist at Crazy Bronco and fired for Doc, who was busy seeing to Jackson. The bullet was in inch away from killing him, and I regret it didn't. Crazy Bronco just yelled once more in that wild, blood-curling war-cry and fired again. This time, he shot my hat off my head.

I scooped it up and swept it back on. We were far away from Bronco now. Doc and I started yelling at our "guide" for leading us right into Crazy Bronco's camp. He said that he was just following his instinct and couldn't help it if he was wrong. We warned him he better not be "wrong" again. At around dawn the next day, he pointed out that we were being followed. I saw a group of Indians, Crazy Bronco in the front, snarling at us and screaming curses. Doc raised his gun and fired a couple of times, knocking some down. But it was no use. Jackson and I tried firing and killed one or two, but they still outnumbered us. The stranger said he knew a shortcut and a place we could hide out that the Indians knew nothing about. We were hurrying. We were scared. We were worried. We trusted in him. That turned out to be our biggest mistake ever.

He led us to a small, wet, dark cave in the middle of nowhere. He suggested we hide inside while Crazy Bronco and his posse pass us. And they did. That Crazy Bronco ain't the sharpest tool in the shed. Afraid of Bronco and his men, we didn't know what to do. That rascal suggested we camp out in the cave, then leave for town the next day. We agreed, but that was just another part of his evil plot. He insisted on guarding the gold, and we were reluctant, but he swore he would protect it with his life, and we finally gave in. That was the mistake that doomed us.