Garrett burst through the saloon doors with such force that they slammed against the wall announcing his entrance. He stopped just inside the door and scanned the room slowly. After tipping his hat back on his head with the tip of his pistol he placed it in the holster which sagged below his right hip. Given the commotion of his entrance, most of the patrons had stopped to look at him, but now resumed their conversations and drinks. Garrett took a few steps, enjoying the sound of his boots on the hard wooden floor.

“I’m here to bring in Ugly Joe,” Garrett announced as he pointed to the silver star hanging on his vest. Garrett heard laugher from a table near the piano.

“You wouldn’t be the first to try that.” The comment was followed by more laughter.

Garrett looked at the man who had spoken. He was clearly not Joe, but he had the ugly part down pat. He was a lumpy man with only a few teeth and eyes that seemed to bulge out of his head. His companions seemed to lack his confidence, but they laughed as he muttered something under his breath.

Garrett had known this would not be an easy assignment, but he was ready for it. He relished the tough jobs. If they wanted this to go the hard way that would just make it more fun. “I’m not worried about the past. Either tell me where he is or bring him to me.” Garrett’s hand hovered just over his pistol.

“He’s up stairs,” the lumpy man responded, “and he doesn’t want to be disturbed.”

“That’s too bad, ‘cause I’m in a hurry.” Garrett took a step toward the stairs as the men at the table stood up.

“We’re not going to allow that. I’d suggest you run along.” The lumpy man waved his pistol at the door as he spoke. His companions glanced nervously at each other, at their leader and back at Garrett. For a moment the saloon fell eerily silent.

Dropping to a knee, Garrett pierced the silence with a single shot sending patrons under the tables and behind the bar. His first shot dropped lumpy to the floor. Garrett then rolled forward, ducking behind a table which he flipped on its side. He popped his head up and fired one more shot in the direction of lumpy’s gang. They were all now running toward a window.

Garrett liked to keep danger within reach so he sprinted towards the fleeing men and tackled two of them with a leaping dive. A few punches were exchanged, but Garrett quickly had them on the floor and out of the fight. His side hurt from the way he landed, but there was no time for pain. Turning around he grabbed the third man by the back of his shirt as he was climbing out the window. Garrett tossed the skinny man on a table and then kicked him to the floor.

Crash! Garrett felt a chair hit him in the back, sending him to the floor and his gun scooting across the floor. He rolled over just in time to catch the attacker with the heel of his boot and push him away. They wrestled for a bit, but Garrett had done this too many times and eventually wore him down. As the man stood gasping for breath, Garrett grabbed him by his belt and flung him across the room. A lamp crashed to the floor as the man’s body fell limp on the piano.

Garrett scurried to his revolver and then looked slowly around the room, daring anyone else to make a move. After a few seconds of reviewing their faces, the broken tables and chairs, and the men lying motionless on the floor Garrett decided it was time to go get Ugly Joe. He pulled his gun belt back up on his hip and holstered his pistol.

“Garrett Simpson! What on earth are you doing!?”

Garrett’s heart leapt in fear. He knew that voice meant real trouble. “I’m capturing Ugly Joe.”

“Well, capture Ugly Joe outside! You’re making a mess in here. What did you do to your nightstand and lamp? And why are all your stuffed animals scattered around the room? I want all of this cleaned up right now. Then come to the kitchen. I made you peanut butter and jelly sandwiches… with the edges cut off.” Garrett’s mom smiled at him as she turned to leave.

“Yes, ma’am,” Garrett mumbled, his head hanging in defeat. Ugly Joe had gotten away again, and this time with the help of the most unlikely accomplice of all – his own mom.