“Someone’s out there,“ I whispered to the others. “I heard a noise.”
Billy tossed me a gun. I recognized it as the one I had picked up in front of the Court House. Frank and George crawled into the corrals and covered themselves with hay. I rolled into a corner on the opposite side of the barn. Billy stood to one side of the doorway, his back pressed flat against the wall with his pistol pointed toward the doorway. Muffled footsteps sounded outside the barn and seemed to be moving slowly closer. My shallow breathing sounded like a tornado in my ears. I raised my head just enough to see the doorway where a pistol pointed inside. I saw Billy ready to take on the gunman.
“Well, come on in, Sheriff,” Billy said when Sheriff Brady stood just inside the barn. “I thought you was some desperado come to shoot it out with me. Come on in.” Billy holstered his gun, but Sheriff Brady kept his aimed at Billy.
“This isn’t a social call, Billy. I’ve got to take you in.”
Billy slapped his knee and laughed. “Sure, Sheriff. What for? Did you catch me spittin’ on the street?”
“Come on, Billy. I’ve got witnesses say you shot John Tunstall.”
Sheriff Brady took Billy’s gun, tied his hands behind his back, and led him out of the barn. When they were gone, Frank and George came out of their hiding places
I joined them in the middle of the barn.
“We gotta get him out,” George said. “Anyone got any ideas?”
Early the next morning we sneaked behind the general store. The jail cells were on the second floor of the building so we couldn’t reach Billy’s cell. Instead we took turns throwing rocks up toward the barred windows. Finally Billy looked out the window and grinned at us.
I picked up another rock, tied a note to it, and pitched it up toward Billy’s window. The note had only one word on it: privy. Billy read it and signaled to us that he understood.
The three of us made our way to the privy next to the Court House. We hid a gun wrapped in a newspaper under a loose plank in the floor and hid behind a large mesquite bush about two hundred yards away.
Three hours later we were still hiding when we heard voices near the privy. Frank peeked through the bush and saw Billy and a deputy coming across the street. Billy’s sense of humor had the deputy laughing as they got close to the privy. The deputy looked inside but didn’t see anything wrong. Billy went inside and shut the door. We got ready to jump the deputy and help Billy escape, but we didn’t have to. Billy dashed from the privy, pointed the gun at the deputy, and fired point blank. The deputy dropped to the ground, adding another victim to Billy’s legendary tally. I hadn’t stopped to think what Billy might do with the gun. I guess I just thought he’d wave it in the deputy’s face to scare him. When I saw him shoot the deputy, I almost lost my breakfast. George grabbed the keys from the deputy’s jeans and unlocked the handcuffs. He shoved the handcuffs at me. “Here’s a souvenir for you,” he said and laughed.
“Let’s get out of here,” Frank said and he grabbed my arm and dragged me through the underbrush toward the waiting horses.
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