The next morning Jack was awoken from a dreamless sleep by the sound of a hand tapping a staccato rhythm on a desk. The Sheriff’s hand on his office desk to be precise. The Sheriff, who had obviously been waiting for Jack to awaken, immediately started talking.
“Here’s your breakfast Jack,” he said as he handed Jack a bowl of something that looked like porridge, but had the consistency of a drying mud brick.
Jack ate his rations silently almost gagging at its stale taste, but managed to keep on a straight face. After he had finished he began chatting with the Sheriff, pressing him for details about the man who betrayed him.
“So Larry, how is Vince Doon doing?”
“Same as usual, cheating people, stealing their land, basically the same things that he always does.”
“What’s he going to do with the $10,000 that he got for turning me in?”
“Nothing, at least not until the County Marshall comes. He doesn’t get the money until the Marshal gets here, and the Marshal isn’t coming until the day after the judge arrives.”
Jack felt his insides glow at these words, for it meant that if he could escape, Doon would not be able to collect the reward money and would still have to pay Buck for bringing him in. At least that would be the fair way, but Jack didn’t want to be fair, he wanted to punish Vince himself. To do that however, he would first need some information.
“What kind of a place does a rich man like Vince live?
“Oh, he lives alone in a giant ranch-house about a half a mile north of town.”
“I bet a man like Vince has the best security that money can buy, eh?”
“Actually the only thing that keeps people from going in and out is a barbwire fence that goes all the way around his property and two guns for hire whose names are José Walker and Wild Tim Donohue, why do you ask?”
This new piece of information did not bode well for Jack, who could easily get through the barbed wire fence, but was not looking forward to meeting with two guns that were almost legend among the outlaws in Texas. Despite his worry Jack managed to keep a straight face and a seemingly unconcerned voice as he said, “Oh, no reason.”
It was obvious that the young Sheriff was getting suspicious so Jack wisely changed the subject. They spent the rest of the day talking about various things. It soon became apparent to Jack that Larry took pity on him and was trying to make Jack’s last days more enjoyable for him.
Or at least he thinks these are my last days, Jack thought to himself.
By the time Larry had to leave Jack had learned all that he needed to know and a vague plan of escape was forming in his mind. Tonight he did not fall asleep at all. Instead he stayed awake, forcing his body to continue functioning as he thought of his plan. Finally at sunrise as he put the finishing touches on his risky and desperate plan he dozed off knowing that he would need all the rest that he could get.