The Relic Hunter

by Thomas Edward

Holy crap! Holy crap! Holy crap! Ive got to leave the barbershop quickly. These guys werent any help. My feet are sliding everywhere on these dirt roads. Ive got to steady myself. Good job, Mark Tenor. You get yourself into more trouble the longer you screw around. Watch out for horses and carriages! If its not bullets, Im going to get run over by a stampede.

Wait. Where is it! I dropped it! I cant leave without it! Theres too many horses in the street to see where I dropped the satchel. Keep looking, you moron. Where did you drop it? Look harder, and maybe- There it is! Ive got to grab it quickly. Got ya! Hold onto it tight and run!

Its time to hide if I cant make an exit. With few routes away from the busy street, I need to jump over this water trough. Ah, back on the wood planks outside the buildings. Theres no time for a plan. I need to choose my next hiding place. Ill just hide in here if the doors are not locked. Whoa! Uh, not that I have a problem with scantily clad women, but Im not hiding in the bordello. Stop screaming, ladies. Please, stop screaming! Ive got to get out of here. Its back out to the street. I hope they didnt hear that.

I need to slow up in the road and look for any avenues to get away. Im not sure where they are, and if theyre close to catching me. Damn! I think thats their horses in the distance! My hearts racing too fast. I cant think straight. I might be safe if I sprint down the alley and into the next street. Crap! Theres more traffic here than back there. Where is the blacksmiths shop? I dont know! Get out of the way! Im playing dodge em and cant see anything! Id better start heading for the side of the road.

More bullets are whizzing by! Im going to get shot unless I do something soon! Id shoot back, but Ive only got one bullet left in my gun. Ill get around the back of these horses for a temporary shield. Crap! I keep losing my footing with these stupid cowboy boots! I know the girls look cute when they wear them at the clubs, but how do people in the old west cope with having no traction! Calm down. Look for a hiding spot. Ah! Im near the general store! Jacob ODell is the owner of the store and my buddy! Im sure hell help me out again. Sorry about the abrupt entrance, but I dont need to get shot.

Ouch! I hit that door too hard! Close it quick, you idiot! At least Im inside. I dont hear any more shots being fired. Did I lose them? Should I look out the window? Maybe Ill hide behind-

What did ya do now? Its Jacob, right on cue.

Stay down and cover your heads!

Mr. Tenor! Mr. Tenor! Its Kenny Baumgaurt and his mother. Shes scared and pulling Kenny back behind a large pile of bagged wheat.

Ya cant jus come in here like- The bullets come ripping through the walls, and Jacob is quieted and sent scurrying to get behind the counter. I guess Ill hide behind these bags of corn. Not sure if theyll stop anything from hitting me. Yikes! More glass flying at us, hitting me in the head. I cant hear a thing with all of the gunshots! The relentless barrage is deafening! When are they going to run out of bullets and need to reload? Just cover your head and youll be fine! Maybe I would have enjoyed the bordello more!

Wait. Why is it so quiet? The shooting has stopped. Its too eerie in the store without any noise. I guess I can lower my hands. Is it safe to look over the bags?

Whod ya get all soured now? Jacob sure is annoyed.

Oh trust me, you dont want to know. Everyone kosher? Uh, anyone hurt? I keep forgetting about what year it is.

Kenny is crawling closer. Stay down, kid! Im alright, Mr. Tenor. What happened?

Kenny! Git back here, boy! Cant you see? Hes done no good! I told ya he would! Settle down, Mrs. Baumgaurt.

I assure you, maam. Nothing bad is-

Git yer scrawny carcass out here, Mark!

Jacob comes crawling over, really mad. Ya done pissed off da Gerritt boys?

Dear lord help us! Chill out, Mrs. Baumgaurt!

Hey! Its just a misunder-

Give us back what ya stole from us!

I might have done something to piss them off. My bad.

Jacob is looking at me funny again. Ive got to stop with the modern day lingo. Jacob peeks over the bags as well. I dont need no trouble here. They dont got no problems with me.

Its only Leftus and Wayne. Its only two of the three stooges. It could be worse. Moe could be here. My jokes arent working to lighten the mood.

Mr. Tenor, ma boys tell me ya got somethin that don belong to ya!

Great. Moes arrived. I roll my eyes and sigh.

Its Homer Gerritt! You got that right, Kenny.

Shh he doesnt know youre here. He only wants me.

I want my property back! Not getting it back Homey. I dont play that. You can give it back, or Ill burn you and the store to the ground!

Just give it, and hell go away! Jacob needs to chill too.

Mom, Mr. Gerritt aint so nice. He wont stop. Remember what he did to pa?

What happened to your pa, Kenny?

Dont you tell him nothin, boy. Your pa dont matter to him none. And they only want him, not us. I know they do, but youre not helping Mrs. B.

Yeah, I am who they want. Do you have a backdoor, Jacob?

Jacob points with a shaking finger. Sure do. Youd better run fast.

Im not looking to increase my cardio. I've got to stop that, seriously. Running, keeping your heart rate uh, right. Its not that century yet. Can you guys do me a favor?

Sure can, Mr. Tenor!

Kenny, no! Git back here!

If theyll leave my store alone, Ill do it. Good man, Jacob.

Opening the cylinder on the revolver, and crap! Theres only one bullet remaining. Alright, once you hear the gunshot, run out front and yell that I ran out the back.

Mr. Gerritt will kill us all! He don care none bout us! Geez, Mrs. Baumguart could use some valium!

Mom, Mr. Tenor helped us so Homer Gerritt wouldnt take all our animals and home. Now Im gonna help him back.

Alright, head toward the rear of the store. Just act a little scared. They need to believe youre afraid.

Times a running out! If I get down from here, people will die! Shut up, Homer! I can hear you.

With no shots being fired, getting to the back door was a breeze. Ill just take a quick peek and theres nobody out back. Perfect! Wait! Stop squeaking, door! Every door in this town squeaks when you open it! Has no one heard of WD40? Actually, they havent. My bad. Okay, take a slow peek and see if anybody showed up. Nope. Not a soul. Alright, open the door wide. Pull back the hammer of the revolver, and toss the gun as high and as far as possible.

That throw is beautiful! I could have played for the Cowboys. Ah! Isnt that a hoot to think about? Now if it will just land right. Duck down in case of a stray bullet. And

Bang! It worked! Now, if Jacob can do his part. Wait.

Jacob runs out the front, right on cue. He headed out da back! Hurry!

Close the door and listen. I hear the horses galloping. Time for my Snagglepuss impression. Exit, stage left.

Sorry about this, guys! Stay inside and keep your heads down! Thanks again! I run through the store and out the front door. Once the dirt is under my feet, I lose traction again. Slow down, regain my balance and head for the other side of town. Keep it steady, but gain speed if I can. I dont hear them. Maybe I lost them. I could be home free!

There he is! Crap! The three stooges are on to me. Ive got to run faster. Go, go gadget legs. Now theyre shooting. But at this distance, the bullets arent even close. Just keep running. Dont look back. I can hear the horses hooves getting louder with each gallop. Dont look back!

I looked back! Double crap! Theyre getting so close so fast that Im not going to make it! The bullets will get me before I can get to the blacksmith shop! The shooting slowed. Theyre reloading! Time to book it to safety! The door is in sight! Theres a weird light thats getting brighter in the blacksmith shop! I can feel the rush of energy. I think Im going to make it! Now theyre shooting again! Ouch! I think a bullet grazed me! Jump for it! Jump! JUMP!

Oh, its tough to open my eyes. Everything is so blurry. Squinting isnt helping at all. Feels like Ive been asleep for a year. Im back at the office at work. I dont see anyone looking at me funny, so I think Im good. Oh, yeah. I have the satchel. Killer, man! Ive got to open it and see my prize. In my hand is a silver pendant on a well-crafted, leather necklace. Boy am I feeling great. Things couldnt be better.

You missing sleep again, or should I ask what her name is? Oh god. Its my boss, Oscar.

Quick hide the necklace. Oh, sorry. Uh, its Margaret. I had something I needed to do for her.

She got a hot sister? Oscars such a sleaze.

Sister? Turn off the monitor before he comes closer.

Yeah. Any man being that tired as much as you are, it would be worth my time to meet her siblings. Like I said, sleaze.

Sorry, shes an only child.

That figures. I guess the club girls are calling me. You coming out tonight? Dwayne from advertising is buying.

I really dont care cause Im not going, but I should act like I do. When and where is everyone meeting?

Seven oclock at the usual, and bring your girl. Thats not going to happen. I want to meet this frisky dynamo you have.

Ill see if shes available. No I wont.

Walk away Oscar. Dont turn back. Dont turn- Im holding you to it! Great. Now I have to schmooz with the boss later on. Nothing I would like better. Oh well. At least the boss is out the door.

Make sure there is no prying eyes before I take care of the necklace. Why is everybody still here? Its well after 5:30pm. Thats it, guys. Get on the elevators. Where did I put the envelope? It must be in the bottom drawer. Yup, right where I put it. Okay, find a piece of paper to write on. There we go. Now, how do I address this? Here goes:

Dear Margaret Schall,

I heard about your story and it made me think back. I realized the pendant you spoke about was the same one I had found. Im returning it to you and your family so that the memory of your ancestors will forever be remembered and cherished. I hope that it brings closure to the past that can be buried and forgotten, while bringing about new and wonderful memories. Have a wonderful life.

Sincerely,

Mark Tenor

I hope the letter is okay. I worry that I could say the wrong thing. Ill wrap the necklace with the letter for a pleasant surprise. Now it has to go into a padded envelope for safety when mailed. After I deposit it in my briefcase, I think Ill head home.

Oh man! Theres blood on my pant leg! I guess I wasnt as good at dodging bullets as I thought. I didnt feel anything. I wonder if thats a side effect. Everyone hasnt left the building yet, and I dont want people to see. If I reach slowly, I can grab my coat and use it to cover the blood stain. Its long enough as long as I button is far enough down. Perfect. No one will be able to tell. Ouch. Ouch. The walk home is going to be a pain. Shut down the computer and grab the briefcase. Ouch. Yeah, going to be a long walk home.

Every step hurts. Why did I move up to the third floor? It wasnt for the scenic view of another building across the street. I do love the extra space. Two more steps. And there we are. Take a deep breath and keep moving. If I stop, I may not want to get going again. Ah, home is where the door is, and the door is at the end of the hallway. The pleasant dcor of this building is so comforting. Open the door and welcome home.

I hang up my coat on the back of the door, and oh crap. The blood got on the lower edge of my coat. Just great! And its dried too. Well, there goes another $1200.00. Why do I buy nice things? Yup, I got a grazing shot on my thigh. Off to the bathroom to strip down. Well, it didnt get me too bad. Wash it off and disinfect it first. Ouch! Stop it, you baby. Just a couple of gauze pads and an Ace wrap should handle that. The pain pulsates while the sink water swirls with my blood. Every time I have to fix myself up provides another reality check. I have to start being more careful.

Put on my comfy robe and feel the relaxation take over, but not without a drink. Lets see. I like the look of the bourbon for tonight. Yum. What better way to celebrate than a mouthful of heaven. I forgot all of the mail here on the table. God I hate bills. Wait! It can't be! I could have won a million dollars! Bite me. Throw that in the trash. Oh, remember to grab the suitcase as I retire to the den.

My lovely den. You are my sanctuary. All of my books, magazines, encyclopedias and binders cover the racks that line against the walls. My projection television is showing me soothing images of the Knicks game. They're down by 12 in the first. I guess not so soothing. Oh well.

Now it's time to move on to my collection of boards, both chalk and cork. Alright, let me see. I know the article is around here on these corkboards. I think the name on the header reads, A Necklace That Could Bring Closure. There it is. Ill take this down and deposit it with the others that Ive taken care of. Where is that frickin folder? Look at all of the crap on my desk. Theres too many books and papers. I could use an assistant right now. How about a maid? She could be cute, in her little outfit. Ah, the folders buried at the bottom. Ill file this article in the Completed folder for later. I should get the package out, since it needs to get delivered back to the family. Set the briefcase on the table next to the desk where I have room and open says me. This padded envelope contains the necklace that I hope will finally give that poor women some peace of mind. What was her name again? Oh yeah, its Margaret Schall. I hope you are sleeping well tonight, Mrs. Schall. Because by this weekend, if youre not, youre going to be too happy to ever lose sleep again. Ill set the envelope on the outgoing pile of mail.

Wow! There are still so many articles left pinned up there. Scanning them all is giving me a discouraging feeling. So many people, so many things being lost, and each article representing another task for me to do. I may never be able to die if I have to do all of the things with the stuff pinned up there. Another drink doesnt solve all of this, but sure helps me to relax before I turn in and watch the rest of the game. I guess Ill be hunting for relics again soon, somewhere back in time.

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