Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wicked Work in Progress

Me ca.1957
The title of the first chapter of my WIP—Stryker’s Posse—is: The Sack of Silverton.

(I’m going to put a title on each chapter in this book to see if there’s any difference, of any kind.)

Here’s how the wicked Shadow Box Gang shows up.

. . . the Shadow Box Gang chose Jesse Clark’s place on Bullion Road where all seven men tied their horses to the hitching rail with slipknots that would come free at a jerk if they had to beat it out of town. That was not Cahill Bowman’s intention. He came to make Walt Nation wish he’d never been born.

Some information about Jesse Clark’s place, and then:

Bowman stepped through the front door and walked three steps toward the bar. Six Shadow Box men followed and spread out against the wall back of Bowman, who drew his six-gun and shot the two men at the bar. “Don’t reach for the sawed-off,” he said to the bartender. “Instead, you might want to bring me Elly Nation. You do that and you just might live.”

Flapjack Kranz and Big Ed Grainer went into the restaurant before the family could collect their senses and leave. Flapjack waved a converted Colt Navy at them. “Just set right there and you might live to tell the tale. Try and be brave and you sure as hell won’t live.”

The family froze. “We’re just passing through,” the man said. “Please don’t mix us up in local problems.”

Flapjack laughed. “You’re plenty mixed up, you surely are.” He raised his voice. “Maggie Brown. You in there?”

A matronly woman hesitantly put her head out the door leading to the kitchen. “Yes?”

“You Maggie Brown?”

She nodded.

“Come on in and sit down with the mister and missus and their tit suckers.”

“I’ve got dishes to wash,” she said. “Ain’t no one else here.”

“I reckon you’re a liar, Maggie Brown. Where’s the Frenchy cook?”

Maggie’s eyes went wide. She sputtered. “F…f…frenchy c…c…cook. Umm, we don’t have one of those. Besides, Gerard, our regular cook, has gone out to choose vegetables for the supper meal.”

“Well then, Maggie m’dear, just come on in and sit down with your customers.” Flapjack waved his big Navy Colt toward the family. Maggie marched across the room and sat herself down in a chair not far from them.

Flapjack Kranz raised his voice. “All clear in here, Bow. Mommie and Daddy and two tit-suckin’ kids, plus Maggie Brown. Ain’t no one else in here.”

“Good,” Bowman said. “Rastus?”


“You and Geebee grab them dead ones and dump ‘em in the street, couldja?”

“Gotcha, boss.”

Rastus Smythe and G. B. “Geebee” Mills each dragged a dead drinker from the bar at Jesse Clark’s place and rolled them off the porch to lie in a jumbled heap at the foot of the steps leading up to it.

The bartender ran for Elly Nation. When he got back with her:

When he got to the steps leading to the porch, he sidestepped the bodies in the road and quick timed up and into Jesse Clark’s. He burst through the door and put Elly on the floor. “Here’s Walt Nation’s kid,” he said, and Cahill Bowman shot him between the eyes.

“Get him outta here, Rastus, Geebee,” Bowman said. “Dump him on the others.”

Rastus and GeeBee took an arm and a leg each, hauled Phil Stone out the door and tossed him atop the two dead drinkers.

Bowman grinned at Elly Nation, who stood like a stone, shock showing in her wide-eyed stare. “Thank you for coming to see us, Elly. You’re just what we needed right now. Would you like some sarsaparilla?”

Elly shook her head.

“All right then, if you’d please come with me into Jesse’s restaurant, we’ll get you a comfortable place to sit and wait.” Bowman held out his hand. “Come along now.”

“My daddy’s the sheriff, mister,” Elly said in a tiny voice.

Bowman’s grin turned into a wicker smile. “Yes, he is, Elly. Yes, he is. And I’m quire sure we’ll see him come in here before long. Now, let’s go and find you a place to sit.” Bowman reached for Elly’s hand, but she put her hands behind her back.

“Don’t be silly, girl. Come along.”

With no alternative, Elly followed Bowman into the restaurant.

Unlike some of the other wicked people we’ve talked about on Wednesdays, Cahill Bowman truly is wicked.

A family in the restaurant comes afoul of Cahill Bowman, too. Like this:

Flapjack tossed the money belt where Bowman said to.

“Pull your pants up, man,” Bowman said.

The man did as he was told, his hands shaking. He had to hold his waistband as the suspenders no longer worked. “That’s all we have, mister,” the man said, tears forming in his eyes. “We are going to Arizona to make a new start.”

In my mind, Bruce Dern is Cahil Bowman
“Life ain’t fair,” Bowman said. “Now, all of you, get in here.” He hooked his head toward the doorway of the barroom. “Now!”

The man and his wife went past Bowman on their way into the barroom. The son and daughter followed. The boy stopped to stare up at Bowman. “You’re mean, mister,” he said. “Really mean.”

Then he uses Elly Nation to get her father, the Sheriff, to come to Jesse Clark’s place. Like this:

Bowman grinned. “You just stay ready, Flapjack. I think Maggie realizes the boy’s life is in her hands. Now. Maggie darlin’. Are you ready?”

“Let the boy go,” she said. “You can have me for whatever, but let the boy go.”

“Good. We’ll think about the boy.” Bowman came over to stand by Maggie. “You go on out there, Maggie. You go on out there and tell everybody who’s wondering what’s going on in here. You tell them who’s in here and how they’re going to die unless the people out there do what I say.”

Maggie nodded.

“And you tell them, Maggie, you tell them the Shadow Box Gang wants the gold in the McQueen bullion room. Silver ain’t worth carrying, but gold. Now gold is something else. You tell Walt Nation that he’s to bring the gold himself if he ever wants to see little Elly again . . . alive, that is.”

Maggie nodded again. “I’ll tell them,” she said.

“And you come back when you’re finished, Maggie. You come back or the kid’s dead. Got that?”

“Yes,” she said in a tiny voice.

“What? Cain’t hear you, Maggie.”


Bowman showed his wicked smile again. “Good. Good. You just go on out there. Make sure Walt Nation comes in here. And make sure he’s carrying that gold.”

I’m not going to give you any more, but I’m sure you can imagine how Matt Stryker will have trouble bringing the Shadow Box Gang to justice. The book, Stryker’s Posse, will be out from Piccadilly Publishing in the early fall.

Monty McCord now in ebook form.


  1. Ewwwww....that just makes me shiver. Perfect. Isn't Bruce Dern the perfect evil character? Ugh!

    1. Yep, they're mean. I think about the meanest and most believable evil actor is Gary Oldman, especially in Leon: The Professional and even more so in True Romance. She scared the daylights out of me in the latter. But, yeah, Bruce Dern can be extremely scary.

  2. Looks like a good one Chuck. Your idea of the evil eye is perfect.

  3. Deliciously wicked. And you write all this when you are sipping your Java coffee?

  4. It is helpful to cast an actor when developing a character. Bruce Dern is dead on for this guy.

  5. Yes, Oldman is an excellent evil guy. But surprisingly, so is Gene Hackman.