Buck looked up into the smug face of Jimmy Hickok and narrowed his eyes, contemplating what would happen if he choked the life out of his friend while he was already in jail.
"I sent word to Teaspoon; I'm guessin' he'll be here sometime tomorrow."
"That doesn't comfort me much, Jimmy."
"Now," Jimmy leaned closer, whispering through the bars, "don't you let what the deputy said about a lynching make you all upset and worried."
Buck stared back at Jimmy wide-eyed, "Why not? You come in and tell me not to worry about the town lynching me and that I shouldn't be upset about it?"
"Don't… they won't try it."
"I'm not worried about them trying it." Jimmy smiled and Buck stood up from the bunk. "I'm worried they're going to do it!"
Jimmy waved off the thought and continued on. "'sides, there has to be a trial. Teaspoon will be here before the trial."
Kicking at some of the hay on the floor, Buck turned away from Jimmy. "Deputy's got his mind made up about me and-"
"Innocent until proven guilty, Buck."
"Yeah, right, Hickok. Sounds good in a speech, or some document signed up in the Capitol." He turned toward Jimmy slightly, "You know… a document. Something you can read… right Jimmy?"
The gunfighter ignored the barb. "Really, Buck… it's a case of mistaken identity. They just picked you up because-"
"Because I'm an Indian?"
Jimmy pursed his lips thinking about it for a minute. "Yeah… probably seemed like a good idea, too."
"The darkest one in the room gets blamed."
"Yeah, but the problem is I don't think I can sweet talk you out of this."
Buck gaped at his friend, "When have you ever been able to get me out of anything with words?"
Jimmy ignored the barb. "We'll have to wait for Teaspoon. He'll know how to get you out of this." He stepped back and leaned against the wall. "I think it's best if we wait."
"You can say that-"
Pointing his arm through the bars, he managed to angle his pointed hand toward the window. "They're building a gallows out there!"
Jimmy tried to wave it off. "No one said it's for you, Buck."
The deputy popped his head in the connecting doorway. "Uh, yeah it is."
"Well, thanks, boy… but we didn't ask you."
Jimmy's sharp look had the young man turning around and muttering. "Well they done asked the question… fine."
Buck sank down on the cot and wrapped his arms legs as he pushed back against the corner.
"So," Jimmy tossed Buck a look, "you cold… need an extra blanket or somethin'?"
Turning his head away Buck looked off into the shadows. "No, why waste your money… I could be dead come morning."
Jimmy kicked his foot back against the wall. "Aw come on, Buck, enjoy the moment. Pretty soon you'll have Teaspoon ridin' in… the others'll have their volley guns or somethin' like it... or," he gave a little shrug, "we'll be sayin' a few words over your coffin."
"You are a ray of sunshine, Jimmy."
The older man gave him a smile. "I do try, Buck, kind of you to notice."
"Will you two shush?"
Jimmy turned to look into the other room at the deputy. "I'm sorry, we interruptin' your readin' time?"
"I can hear what you're sayin'."
The retort raised one of Jimmy's brows as he looked down his nose at the young man. "Keep it up boy and I'll be mighty happy to kill you and join my friend in that cell."
Buck leaned his head back and got a drop of water in his eye from the leaky roof. "You're a real big help, Hickok."
"You know what your problem is, Buck?"
He sighed. "I'm sure you'll tell me."
"You need to brighten up your outlook on life. What's say we ask the deputy in there if we can use his checker board and get us up a game to pass the time?"
Buck sat forward on the bunk. "I'd rather you go out there and find out who did this and get me out of here."
Jimmy shook his head. "I'm supposed to be on vacation."
The deputy pounded on his desk. "Will you two shut your mouths?!"
Right at that minute, Jimmy proved exactly why folks said he was as fast draw. "Son, you need to go and take a walk before I shoot you down where you stand. I'm not makin' a joke."
"Now what to we have here?"
Jimmy set his Colt back into his holster and tipped the brim of his hat to the older man in the doorway. "The deputy was just a little bit upset that I was talkin' to my friend here. We had it under control."
The man nodded at Jimmy's rig. "That's one way to see it, son. On the other hand, I might see that you were threatening a law man."
"See?" The deputy waggled a finger at Jimmy. "You ain't supposed to-:
"Then again," the marshal turned back toward the skinny man behind the desk, "you're supposed to make him 'check' his weapons before you let him near the cells." He gave the other lawman a disapproving look. "Bobby, why don't you go take a walk, check on the Saloons or somethin'."
The only word the other man heard was Saloon, and out he went. The marshal shook his head. "He's my sister's boy, if it wasn't for her askin' me to take him in… anyway, it seems like we've got ourself a prisoner and a gunfighter. Why the gunfighter is outside the cell, I'll never know."
"They put me in here because they said I-"
Buck didn't get a chance to get out the whole explanation.
"Let me guess," the man took off his hat and set it on a desk, "the Murphy girl?"
That got Buck on his feet, hands wrapped around the bars. "Yes!"
The marshal waved him back to the cot. "No surprise there, it's not a good week unless little Mary Murphy has cried afoul over some man. You are the first Injun, though." Reaching into his pocket he withdrew a set of keys and set them to jangling as he found the right one. "I'm gonna release you, Mr. … uh-"
"Mr. Cross." The door swung open and Buck stepped out of the cell, taking a deep breath of free air into his lungs. "I just suggest that you," he also looked over at Jimmy, "both of you, stay clear of this town for awhile… at least until Mary finds herself a new man to accuse."
Buck had already made his way into the next room, picking up his coat and hat from the peg in the wall. "No problem here, Marshal."
Jimmy tipped his hat and backed up out of the jail and made his way outside with Buck. When they hit the bottom stair Jimmy gave his friend a wink and a smile. "So, I've still got a few days of vacation left. Where should we go?"
"Oh hell no, Jimmy. I ain't goin' anywhere with you… not after this."
Jimmy shook his head and gave him a hard look. "Chicken."
Characters: Buck & Jimmy