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Nowhere Special

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Jim: Where you headed, cowboy?
Bart: Nowhere special.
Jim: Nowhere special... I've always wanted to go there.
Bart: Come on.


It was thirsty work riding into the sunset, even in a limousine.

Bart opened the liquor cabinet and chose two tiny bottles of Lagavulin. He offered one to The Kid, but Jim waved him away.

“You got no cause to be finicky, baby. This is some high-end hooch, right here.”

“No no, you go right ahead.”

Bart unscrewed the little cap, saluted and downed the bottle, sprawling against the limo's posh upholstery like an unstrung cat before fixing Jim with a raised eyebrow.

“It seems to me that you're not much for the hard stuff these days.”

“It's true. As a fundamentally lazy man, I do tend to enjoy the easy way out. And besides, this thing has much better suspension then my horse.”

“I think you know that I meant the whiskey.”

“Mm. Well, I've spoken to my liver about it and we've agreed to the occasional beer. And my stomach seems very interested in sandwiches these days. What can you do? As a man, I'm ruled by my baser impulses.”

“If I may ask, what changed your mind?” There was no mockery in his tone, but Jim angled the brim of his hat over his eyes just the same.

“Ah, you don't really want to know that.”

“I do, I do.”

“If you must pry.”

“I must, I must.”

“It's just that I have certain responsibilities, is all.”

“You mean now that you're a hero to the people.” Bart nodded sagely, and uncapped the second tiny bottle. He quirked a sly grin Jim's way and finished the second shot with a languorous, groaning sigh.

“A deputy to a hero, I'd say.” Jim tipped his hat Bart's way and the sheriff spread his hands expansively.

“Who am I to argue with an honest man?”

“Besides, you need a good gunman at your back. The world is peopled with morons, I'm afraid.”

“You're not wrong about that,” Bart allowed glumly. He tapped the last drop of whiskey out of the bottle and tucked it in his gun holster.

“In fact, I was going to ask if you needed any help, you know, with being heroic and bringing justice to the land, that sort of thing.”

Bart's grin rolled back onto his face.

“Oh, all I can get.” He held his hand out and Jim took it, and they shook once. Bart's hand was somehow elegantly callused. “Glad to have you aboard. Now, since we're partners, what would you like to do?”

“I believe you're already acquainted with any and all of my hobbies.” Jim resettled his hat and spread out a little, his knee bumping Bart's companionably. He considered his friend's noble profile, his ready smile, his easy charm. What's a dazzling urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like this? “Unfortunately, I left my chess set back in Rock Ridge.”

“Ah, but it just so happens that we have a backseat,” and Bart sidled up against him, “good company,” and tossed Jim's hat over his shoulder, “and plenty of schnitzengruben, baby.” He took Jim's hand in his and set it on his suede-clad knee. “I think we can find a way to pass the time.”