A Saw, a Gun, and a Map

Ben sank down to the floor, resting his back against the splintery wall and I quickly followed suit. He glanced over the map and chewed on his cigar thoughtfully.

"Can't say I'm any too pleased with this here situation we've landed ourselves in," grumbled Ben, taking a pull on his cigar. I wondered how many cigars he had smoked today, and how he had managed to fit them all into his pockets.

"Can't say I disagree with you," I said, examining our dark, uncomfortably hot prison. It was quite empty apart from Ben and I and quite unlit apart from the shafts of sunlight that lanced through the barred windows. Clouds of dust motes sparkled like fairy dust as they meandered lazily through the sunbeams. "I don't suppose you still happen to have your gun on you?" I asked after a moment.

"As a matter of fact, I do," said Ben drawing it from its concealed location in his boot. "But there's not much I can do with it besides shoot you, now is there? Guns don't open doors as far as I know."

"Yes, but still, it could be handy in case things get sticky," I said.

"As if things aren't already," grunted Ben.

I got up and decided to be useful and begin looking about for a way out. First I checked the door, but it was locked quite securely and I had nothing to pick it with. And I suspected it was probably bolted shut on the other side anyway. In the end, there was little I could do except hope that Jimmy would come through for us, and I was not feeling particularly good about that. As much pluck as the boy had shown, I didn't think he could do this. And I wasn't sure if he would even want to. It was far safer to stick with his father and leave us to rot away in a dusty, small-town jail somewhere. Finally, I gave up and slumped down beside Ben once more.

"Well, looks like we'll just have to wait for Jimbo to spring us out," said Ben without conviction.

I grunted, taking off my hat and running a hand through the red hair that had earned me my name. There wasn't much for it but to wait and see, I supposed. It had been my idea to trust Jimmy with this after all. I would just have to hope that he was as promising as I had thought and that he would come through for us.

"You know, this map looks kinda familiar," said Ben suddenly.

I looked over with raised eyebrows. I had quite forgotten about the map in the face of the altogether more pressing issue of our current situation. However, after a quick glance, I realized he was right.

"Hey, that looks just like —" I began to say when the sudden, deafening crack of a gunshot filled the air and froze the rest of my sentence in my throat. Ben and I both whipped our heads around at the door and Ben dropped the map into my lap to snatch his gun from his holster.

"What in the name of Jehosaphat has that boy done now?" Ben groaned as the two of us got to our feet. I stuffed the map into the inside pocket of my vest, then crossed quickly to the door and peered through a crack in the wooden slats.

"I can't see much," I said, "only that there's some manner of altercation going on out there."

"Well I could tell that much for myself," said Ben as shouts erupted from the next car.

I, meanwhile, was experiencing a rather strange, uncomfortable feeling which took me several moments to put a name on, and when I did, I was quite surprised to find that it was concern. I was feeling genuinely worried for Jimmy, not to mention guilty that if anything happened to the lad, it would be my fault as this whole plan had been my idea after all. Trying to shake off this feeling, I stepped back from the door and turned to Ben.

"Now what?" I asked. "I have the feeling that Jimmy's not having the greatest success in getting us out of here. But while they're distracted, this might be our best chance to free ourselves."

"Yeah, well, how do you propose we go about doing that?"

I turned back to the door and gave it a few good kicks, but it was soon evident that it was made of strong enough stuff to resist anything less than a battering ram, and unfortunately, there didn't appear to be an overabundance of them lying around. Meanwhile, the sounds of conflict seemed to be moving away and I was between the combined actions of hoping and praying that this was a good sign, when I suddenly heard pounding footsteps on the roof of our car.

I looked up, bemused. Then a sudden movement at the edge of my vision caught my attention. A shadow had cut across the golden sunlight streaming through the window and I looked over just in time to see a pale hand shove a dark something through the bars where it clattered noisily to the floor. Then the hand was gone and the steady stampede of many boots on top of the train could be heard stomping overhead.

I dashed to the window to examine the object that the apparent hand of God had delivered us through the window, and realized that it was a smallish, rusty wood saw. Puzzled, I held it up to show Ben.

"Well if that ain't curious, I don't know what is," said Ben.

"Jimmy!" I exclaimed. "He must be being chased along the top of the train and he chucked this in for us."

"Well then, you'd better get to using it, Henry," said Ben leveling his gun at the door. "Don't know how much time we'll have."

I nodded, then thrust the saw between two planks in the wall and began to cut.

The End

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