It was evening at Smosh town. Most folks were crowded in the small saloon runned by Ryan along with his nephew, Tanner. The saloon was biggest building in the town, but it was not surprising, as the rest were just small houses, expect small brothel hidden at the end of town, where Sarah was taking care of all the girls as the keeper. There was also a small church, which was situatued on the small hill, but was currently abandoned and people were usually avoiding it if they weren't visiting the cemetery which was situated in the same place. There were some strange rumors about the hill and even though there was no comfirmed danger at the hill, folks were still afraid of going there.
But it definitely wasn't the biggest threat to the town. Though the sheriff Matt Raub was doing his job very well, along with his deputees, Joe and Sonny, they had many enemies. But there was one group which was definitely the most dangerous one - they called themselves Randy Bandits. Folks in the Smosh town were even afraid of saying the name, not only because of the terror the outlaws were spreading, but mostly because of the shame the group put on the town. Why? Because all of the Randy Bandits were from the very same Smosh town. They all grew up there, but at some point all of them decided to leave the conventional, righteous lives they were living, for multiple reasons. Ian Hecox was the first one, but soon was joined by five other younglings. They were stealing cows, robbing trains and caravans, taking hostages... They were doing whatever they wanted and sheriff, even with his two sidekicks couldn't help it. And that's why they needed support.
Other young people of the town rallied and formed a group to fight the outlaws, calling themselves cowbaes. They had no specific leader, sense of duty to defend their home was the thing that bonded them. And so they were helping sheriff protect the town. Since then the raids of Randy Bandtis were hapenning not so often... but it didn't meant the fights started to be less violent and dangerous. Actually it was otherwise - everything was only getting more intense. And that's why sheriff Matt and his deputees were gone from the town at the moment - each of them went to different towns to ask for help, searching for some solution or just seeking for some more information about the dangerous group. In any other town the absence of not only sheriff, but also both his deputees would casue serious trouble - but here, in Smosh town, there were the Cowbaes who kept the order. The town was safe.
Shayne entered the saloon, causing all of the people inside to look at him. Most of them only nodded slowly or lowered they hats in a respectful gesture - they all knew Shayne was one of the Cowbaes, some people were saying he was the best one, though he defintely wasn't the leader. He looked around and saw mostly the regular visitors of the saloon, all of them were from the Smosh town, he saw one man that he remembered from the Clevver town, which was near them. But then he saw a stranger - a young man, sitting by the bar and drinking a beer lonely. He saw there also Matt Sohinki talking with Courtney - both of them were Cowbaes as well. So he walked towards them, still keeping his eye on the stranger, though.
"Good evening" he said, taking off his hat. The guy nodded to him and the girl smiled widely.
"Hi, Shayne, good to see you... Is everything fine at the hill?" she asked him. The blonde guy just returned from the patrol to the old church and graveyard, but as usual, there was nothing suspicious there. It seemed like even the Randy Bandits were a bit afraid of the place and were never using it even though it was a good spot for hiding, planning raids and many other secret activities.
"Yeah, it's all empty as always" he answered and looked at Tanner, nodding to him. The guy understood what he meant and after a while Shayne got his beer from the guy. "And how was the mine?" he asked them. He knew that Courtney and Sohinki altogether with Ericka were checking the mine, which was actually very dangerous place. It was abandoded just as church, but for the very different reasons. Church was in its state because after the death of last pastor still no new one showed up. The mine was closed because most of it had collapsed long time ago, but even though it was very dangerous to go there still, as the surface could fall down every second, it was a perfect hideout for all kind of outlaws, so the Cowbaes had to check it out often.
"Fine as well... I also have talked with Wesley and Keith, the railroad and the road to the river also seems fine. Everything is too peaceful for me, if you know what I mean..." Courtney answered, looking at him.
"Yeah, I feel it too... I won't believe that they hadn't planned anything when they realized sheriff is gone. And they found out for sure" he said, a bit quieter. Then he pointed discreteley at the stranger and then looked at the girl again. She shook her head slowly as a sign that everything was alright.
"Some German merchant or someone like that. He doesn't seem to be any danger" she whispered.
"Maybe everything is gonna be alright, I would not worry so much... Even if they come, we are preapred, right?" Matt said, his voice was calm, though he could see that he was a bit nervous as well.
"Maybe you're right... So, what's new? I mean, beside the job..." Shayne said, changing the topic. At the same moment, Ericka and Keith appeared.
"Hey, guys... Is Sohinki talking about takin over the saloon again?" Keith asked, laughing. Tanner, who was still standing close to them, also smiled and grabbed two more glasses for them. Everyone in town knew that Matt, called Sohinki more often, wanted to run the inn. Some were joking about the innkeeping blood in his veins, as he was Jewish, and since the guy was also very embarassed of his hidden 'desire' to run the saloon, his reactions to comments about that was always funny. Also this time he got red on his face and he looked upset even after Courtney put hands on his back to calm him down a bit.
"C'mon, you're not making fun of Boze wanting to take over the brothel, so why is it funny that I would like to run the saloon?" he asked, angry. The nickname for Ericka came from her surname and people preferred to use that instead, since she was kicking ass of mostly everyone who dared to call her by her first name.
"Because I would be hella good madame!" she answered laughing.
"So what? You think I would be a shitty innkeeper?" he asked.
"Yeah, probably..." Keith said, also smirking.
"Cause, you know... Just looked at yourself! You? As an innkeeper? Come on!" Keith continued, as the rest laughed. Shayne was only observing the discussion, because he heard it multiple times before and also he was just lost in his thoughts as he was drinking his beer. He was also still looking at the German stranger, but the man seemed to be just a traveler.
'What's up, my a bit less handsome twin?" Tanner asked, as he was filling his galss with beer again. Shayne smirked at the joke reffering to the fact, that they were looking pretty much alike, but was not in a mood, so he only nodded to thank the guy and then started to drink again.
"Nothing, just... I'm tired, I think" he answered.
"Just now, or more like, tired of your job?" he asked him, wiping the desk with some rag.
"Well... I like what I'm doing and I know I had to, otherwise the town wouldn't be safe... But I guess, yes. I'm a bit tired of it... I would enjoy some free time..." he said.
"You're doing great job, man, you deserve some rest... Maybe you should leave for the other town for few days to, you know, have some fun, meet new people?" he asked, cleaning the glasses.
"Yeah, right, and what if they come when I will be gone? I can't do that, I know it... Maybe when I get older and someone will take my place. Maybe then..." he said.
"As you say, my friend"
"But, wait a minute... Who's this guy?" Shayne whispered, pointing with the tilt of his head at the German.
"A German merchant. He came from Clevver, he rented a room for tonight and said he's leaving tommorow... Why do you ask? He looks like some fraud for you?" Tanner responded, also in a quiet voice.
"I'm not sure yet... I just want to have everything in control, you know".
Tanner left him to take care of something else, as his teammates were still talking about Sohinki's skill in brewing or something like that. Shayne didn't really care who would run the bar as long as he had his beer, so he wasn't paying attention. But then, all of them heard quick foot steps outside and soon Joven, as they called Joshua Ovenshire, appeared. His face was red as he definitely runned to them, but he didn't look exhausted - he actually looked very excited.
"Wes gave the sign! They're coming from the west, get up!" he said loudly. And for a while, Shayne was just as excited as him - something was happening, finally. And as they left the saloon and folks started hiding, the Cowbaes were getting onto their positions, ready for a fight. For a while they were just waiting, some of them were very patient and calm, as Courtney or Keith, some of them were quite nervous, as Sohinki, and Wes and Joven seemed to be just excited... And Shayne was, well... He felt nothing. He was just focused on his gun, on the small hill on the west where he could see the sun setting... and after a while, also small figures in the distance. There were six of them, as always. After a while, he could see some more details - those dark clothes they always wore, their horses, all stolen from various towns, red bands covering their faces... He just took a deep breath, grabbed his rifle, aimed... and just as he breathed out, he shot.