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By Rob Vaux A tale of Deadlands Weird West

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"Its the arrogance of the act that galls me, Mr MacNeil!" Howard Findley slammed his fist on the desktop for emphasis. "This second rate claim jumper has the savings of an entire town at his feet, and chooses to ignore it all - all except ours."

The bearded man opposite him looked incredulous. "How much did he take?"

"The amount is irrelevant, Mr. MacNeil," Findley replied. "What matters is that he has humiliated the Sweetrock Mining Company. He didn't rob the First Bank; if he had he'd have taken it all. He robbed us and our ghost rock. That they happened to be located at the bank is circumstance."

"And the sheriff hasn't done anything about it?"

"He doesn't understand Sweetrock's position in Gomorra. If he knew how important we are to this town, he'd have tried and hung the whole mangy gang of them by now."

"Bank robbery's a serious offense, Mr. Findley." MacNeil's gaze was unwavering. "You're saying he hasn't moved on it at all?"

"I'm saying he has no concept of its implications. Gomorra is our town. We built it, we own it, and we intend to keep it. The faster the inhabitants realize that, the better off they'll be. But now, even as we establish our presence, they see this...this 'Black Jack' tearing it all down. They see him destroy our property, steal our assets, THUMB HIS NOSE at everything we do...It weakens us Mr. MacNeil. And I will not tolerate anyone weakening us."

"So you want me to kill him."

"We've let you suckle on our teat long enough; it's time for you to justify our confidence in you. Bring me his head on a plate, Mr. MacNeil. You do that, and you can name your price."

"And his compatriots?"

"Without the head, the body will die. Take as many of them as you wish; we'll match any bounty placed on their heads. But I want you to make an example of Black Jack. A warning to anyone else who crosses this company."

MacNeil stood up. "You'll have it, Mr. Findley."

For the first time since the conversation started, Findley smiled.

"Good, good."

At the door, MacNeil turned and looked back at his employer.

"By the way, a little bird told me that Sheriff Coleman's already got a warrant out on Black Jack. The way I heard, it sounds like the whole country's after him."

"They're after him Mr. MacNeil, but they won't catch him. He's too slippery and too clever. I trust you won't have the same problem."

MacNeil stroked the butt of his pistol. "I'll drag him out of whatever hole he hides in and make him wish he'd never crossed Sweetrock Mining."

Findley's smile widened. "I expect nothing less."

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