Chapter Eleven

Outside of Sieb, Dan, Jim, the Texas Gang thought it best that I stand trial, so that the Water Hole would not be give to these other ranches. Trial was set at only two days from then, as I believe there had been hopes that I would dodge my trial. I was also on bail for a thousand dollars, and we all rented the second floor of the best hotel in town and lived pretty good and sit in the cafe and argued on whether I was going to trial. I think the gang just wanted to see Hatch carry on like a lawyer. Black Hatch is bringing righteousness to the land, Bill, said Packy. But, Hatch, I said, the cards are stacked against us. Naw, they ain't, claimed Hatch. We can prove that the Water Hole is yours by homesteading, and that it feeds a goodly number of families. We got Fritz and Perez and about a hundred people coming in to back this up. Yeah, what about Sergeant Jones and Lieutenant Hurtz and the U.S. Cavalry? Well, Olive, as I gather, that Colonel is being retired for going insane, and we have at least five hundred witnesses to the fact that the Colonel let his men get drunk and fight and rape a number of women out at our ranch! We got Jones nailed to the wall for killing the rancher. Some of Coon's men have seen'im, and he knows he has got to be a witness for our side and get kicked out of the army, because otherwise he would go before a firing squad. I could see Hatch had some good arguments up his sleeve, and even as the law business was totally over my head and outside the workings of my mind, and the idea of sitting in a courtroom and allowing my enemies and the unnatural type people to be the judges of my soul just turned my stomach, I went along with it, thinking I could maybe help Hatch build his reputation in order that he could support his wife and four kids without further risk of his life. Hatch said we could sue the U.S. Army, and I doubted the success in that, but it was a fine idea, and I told Hatch he could anyway get the Mescans behind him, as for the most part they was anyway, ever since we had robbed all that Gringo money in the bank and tipped the balance of power. In no time word of the big trial, and whether or not Wild Bill would go for it, was all over the country, and the wide family of Senora Valencia already setting out to get my pardon by the Governor. This was Dan's argument-hell, Wild Bill, you got these women behind you, so don't even show up. The other rich woman behind me was Beth Trudeau of course, one Gringo that didn't get busted by us robbing no bank, and her bank was in New York. She found me in the cafe the day before the trial, and the Marshal come in and asked Hatch had I decided to go yet. Get the hell out of here, Marshal, I said with Mrs. Trudeau on my arm, and he did.

The trial was purely insane, went on for days. It was the Texas Gang against the U.S. Cavalry, and the U.S.Cavalry owned the judge, a old fat devil named Breakwater that smelled exactly like a spittoon, and he was friends with the Colonel that run the post, a different Colonel than the one what we drove insane but the partner of the father of that gal Dan grabbed when we robbed the bank, and, since Sergeant Jones had deserted, that young woman was used against us the first thing. With the money that the good people in this town earned in hard work, that nest of thieves and murders referred to as the Water Hole Ranch has been built! screamed the lawyer for the other side. But this young gal could not pick out the bank robbers too good, and for Dan she picked Sieb that was not at the bank robbery, missed old Rattlesnake altogether, maybe cause everybody had a beard now again and Dan was hanging back with our first hundred witnesses and Clemencia. Black Hatch was real good in all this-that he was- would buffalo Judge Breakwater and say, now, will you just let me finish talking-when you talk, I'll let you talk, but when I talk, you let me talk-and I felt sorry for that young girl because Hatch got up there and sneered and made her cry, and it was just her father putting her up to it all anyway, and when she left the courtroom Cynthia Trudeau caught her and blacked her eye, just in female spite, I believe, but the poor girl was too embarrassed with that big black eye to reappear after that. All this was fun for about one day, and the army tried to get Elizabeth to come in as a witness against me for killing Ackerman and Shaw but she would not come in, and I just got so god awful bored I had to smoke pipe after pipe just to sit still, and the judge would tell me to quit smoking and cite me for contempt of his court or some damn thing, and witnesses come and went and although we had a hundred for every one of theirs and was rotating a hundred a day-a hundred would leave for the Water Hole, which they was not going to give up under death, and a hundred at least would replace them-and nine out of ten people in town was for us, they had only one Mescan in the jury, though of course that was all that was really necessary and he kept hanging up the jury. It was just all hard to endure and after the second day I begin each session and ended same with a long wolf howl, followed with Mrs. Trudeau out in the audience saying, oh, my poor savage, and each time of course the judge chalking up more points against me. He would wait for me to howl, then he would chalk up more points and say, I got you for a year at least already.

Every night I had to see Mrs. Trudeau and she kept a open house and we all moved into there, the hundred witnesses and a few others too, all piled here and there and out in her back yard where there was a grand barbecue going all the time, and Mr. Trudeau was the happiest he had been in his life because he had plenty drinking partners, and Mrs. Trudeau was now reasonably calm and easy to get along with and had the plan of us getting married after she survived her husband and I just stayed in a weed fog, and Tiddle seduced Cynthia and did plan to marry her.

Bix, by the care of Felicia, pregnant, and Juanita, with her new babe in arms, come in on the train. Bix leaned a bit and walked on his toes but he was doing good, and had the girls carrying a trunk of peyote buttons. Set it right there, girls, heh, heh, heh, he said when the hired buckboard dropped them at the Trudeau house. We took the trunk to the back yard and drove in posts to fix Bix a hammock next to Sieb's and Coon's. See your new baby, Tom, Juanita said to the father of it. Well, well, said Tom. The next day, the courtroom went a little easier on me, and everybody, and Black Hatch was better than ever, had men scared so they wouldn't sleep in a week and women weeping in shame and love, just by the force of his soul, but the Army had one last ace up their sleeve, which was Captain Ed Cox, the man that had led in the Cavalry chase of me and Sieb, the one that got away with his buddy after getting hit. He had been promoted and sent to Arizona but was now brung in to identify me as having led him into a Apache ambush, to throw more light on the gun running idea. But, when Cox come in the first thing he did was see Bix, and Bix, only one of us to ever make a soldier, had saved his life three times back in the war and he had saved Bix's life twice. Bix! Bix! Aaiiee, Cox! They went into a embrace and Bix went, aaaa-aah! Cox, I'm wounded! What, where, said Cox, and Bix said, let me show you my scar, Cox, and took off his shirt and turned around a few times and everybody in there seen Bix's scar, see, Cox, I had a rib hanging down right there! Can you see it, Cox? I sure can, Bix! God almighty, Bix, you ought to be dead! Damn, Bix, I got a couple I can show you, but none like that and I can't be caught out of uniform, but damn, Bix, how come you ain't dead? Well, said Bix. All because of Wild Bill Olive, that's him sitting over there that's putting up with all these decent folks that's trying to crucify him for living like Jesus! Cox, I was right on my death bed, but Wild Bill Olive puts his hand on my chest, and looks in my eyes, and he says, he says, God, let this man live! He says, God, let this man live, cause though he ain't perfect, he has meant well! No! Yeah, Ed, it is so. Wild Bill has strange powers. Well, I'll be damned. Now, I sure don't want to help crucify Wild Bill, even if he is friends with the Apaches. Wild Bill is friend to all mankind, said Bix. The lawyer for the other side next tried to argue that I was friends to the Apaches but he didn't have much of a case and that was as far as the trial could go that day.

You'd think the other side would of give up by now. Well, they give up in court, because all the court was doing was winning us more'n more support, but in the meantime the other side was more'n more afeard of us seeing the Water Hole just come out bigger'n bigger as everybody just sit around in court, hundreds of'em, breeding like flies, had their own doctors too, enough to fight the whole U.S. Cavalry, with maybe a little help from the Apaches, till they could get the Governor to pardon all the Water Hole and give'em the deed or see R.D. Hatch III elected Governor one. Hatch had already started his campaign, had his posters did up and stuck all over town: R.D. Hatch III for Governor Of The Territory, a Jesus Christ Man. The trial was done, everybody could see that, and the witnesses from the Water Hole was now rotating at about two hundred and a big fiesta turning out from Beth Trudeau's house going all through the town and Judge Breakwater was a laughing stock for not calling everything off and one of the jury got killed in a drunken brawl and public pressure seen another Me scan put in his place. When I'm Governor I'll get you fired, R.D. Hatch III told Judge Breakwater, and the fiesta had poured from the streets into the courtroom one smoke filled morning with two Mescans in the background having a knife fight. Yessir, all the big fat bandidoes dealing with Manuel that could come to town did and as the lever spread and women dancing half naked in the streets this last day of court was interrupted, though it was not truly possible to interrupt this court at this point, by thundering gunfire of a fight between the bandidoes and the Cavalry. WIth bullets going through and splattering off the walls and people jumping at the floor stubborn Judge Breakwater was then heard to cry, this court is adjourned till further notice, arrgh, I'm hit! I was sitting there chewing on a button of fine green, reminded of the death of Senora Gutierrez, and smelled rain about to come down, and the Texas Gang come together and seen we had won again, and Judge Breakwater on one knee and one hand, grips his spleen, gets on two feet, and falling on people, and grabbing at this and that when he goes down, is slowly leaving the courtroom, help me, arrgh, somebody please help me, help a dying man, and people sticking their heads back up realize the court is adjourned, and the two knife fighters dance back and forth and up and down the aisles and on top of everybody.

Let's go see Fritz, I said and run for the water closet down the hall where we could get out a window, feeling a little too possessed to be shaking hands with two hundred witnesses plus town folk. Dan, Hatch, Packy, Mary Ann, Jim, John, Tiddle and Cynthia followed me that way, and we met Beth and Sieb out in front where there remained a trooper and bandido dueling from horseback saber against machete. Tom and Bix was back at the house talking with Ed, that had the news that the ranchers had three hundred secret vigilantes ready to capture us on our way to court next morning and whip us off to hanging the entire Texas Gang, heh. Trooper had a little reach and swordsmanship but the bandido had more weight and horsemanship. A close fight. Gang had brung Grey to town and I stood with him out in the rain talking to Fritz that still did not like roofs. What do you think, Fritz. What do you think, Bill. Well. Ranchers are taking the law into their own hands, eh. How else can they get the lawless, Bill? I guess they ain't going to get'em anyway, Fritz. Damn, wish my right arm was still good, Bill. I'd go prospecting. But, what do you see, Bill? Well, Fritz. I see bodies floating in the irrigation ditches. Don't you think the Water Hole will stay? It will, Fritz. Turn into a half-breed town. Sirens will seduce the soldiers. Why, that's fine, Bill. That is, if you like towns. But a man don't live on towns alone, Bill. No, Fritz, he don't. There was a hard rain and Beth Trudeau taking a nap and Cynthia seducing Coon and we put the peyote and Sieb and Bix and Felicia with a lot of blankets and Juanita and babe bundled in three blankets with his head tween his mother's tits all in the buckboard drove by Sherry and Old Dave and we drove down to Jaurez eating peyote to keep us warm.


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