“Now this next group of assholes aren’t board members, by they do just as much damage,” Earp explained as he laid out four more cards.
The King of Spades featured a skinny man with crazy eyes, the kind that can penetrate a man’s soul. The Jack of Spades was as big as a bear and just as hairy.
“Johnny Ringo and Curly Bill Brocious,” Earp said. “The ringleaders of the Red Slash Gang. These two degenerate shit stains are giving my brothers and I one hell of a time in Tombstone. So far, there’s been a delicate truce between the humans and the supernaturals but I swear it’s about to turn into one giant shit storm any second. All over silver. Tombstone’s lousy with it. The humans want it to protect themselves. The vamps and wolves don’t want to get shot with it.”
The Queen of Spades card featured a single white porcelain mask.
“Madam Bisette,” Earp explained. “No one knows if that’s her real name or what her face looks like, since she’s always holed up in her sanctuary in New Mexico. But she’s a powerful witch who has aligned herself with the Legion Corporation. Speaking of witches…”
Earp tapped his finger on the Queen of Clubs. A beautiful, long haired Mexican woman. “Isabella Izquierda. Once upon a time she was rumored to have been the mistress of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna himself.”
“Santa Anna?” Slade asked. “His time was long ago. If she was with him, she’d be old or dead.”
“Witchcraft, Slade,” Earp said. “I don’t know how they do it. Abracadabra, presto change-o and poof a wrinkly old hag looks new again.”
Earp put the deck back together and left it on the table. “Ringo’s a vampire,” Earp said. “Brocious is a werewolf. Bissette and Izquierda, witches. Those last three are the only non-vampires that the Legion Corporation has allowed into their inner circle. Vampires are a snobby lot, always treating the other supernaturals as peons so you can imagine the werewolf and the witches must be bringing something to the table.”
Slade slid the deck towards Earp. Earp slid it back. “Keep it. I’ve got my own. Also, take a look at these.”
Earp laid out two wanted posters. “These filthy bastards didn’t make Bill’s list but they’re still of interest.”
The first poster featured a side by side comparison of Ezekiel Kane as a human and as a werewolf.
“Rumor has it that this furry son of a bitch bought it in the train wreck,” Earp said. “Tell me it’s true.”
“It’s true,” Slade said.
“Thank God,” Earp said as he drew an X over Kane’s poster. “Werewolves aren’t so much loyal to the Legion Corporation as they are to the almighty dollar, and so far no one’s been willing to match Legion’s price for their muscle. Of course, they’ll abide by their alpha king’s wishes, and old King Zeke had been in league with Legion for awhile.”
Earp rolled up the poster and stuffed it in his pocket. “Who killed him?”
Slade paused. “Someone who uh…doesn’t want to be involved.”
Earp got the message. “Too bad. We could use all the help we can get. Scary part is, the Western werewolves will be thrust into turmoil now until one of them fights their way to the top of the pack to claim the throne. If only there was a way to put a decent werewolf in charge who could talk the werewolves into becoming our allies.”
Slade closed his eyes and mumbled to himself. “Oh fuck.”
“You all right?” Earp asked.
“Yeah,” Slade said. “Something I ate.”
“I hear you,” Earp said. “I feel that cookie coming back up on me.”
Realizing he just stepped in it, Earp looked at Miss Bonnie and added. “Ulcer, ma’am. Your cookie was fantastic.”
“You hear that, Rain?” Miss Bonnie asked. “My cookies are fantastic.”
“Oh yeah,” Slade said. “That they are.”
“That leaves us with this psychotic,” Earp said. He pointed at the second wanted poster. It contained another side by side comparison. Two pictures. One of Hoo Doo Brown as a man and the other as a skeleton.”
“I’m not even sure how to explain what this fella is,” Earp said. “All I know is that a few years ago, Hyman Neill was a nobody. Now all of a sudden he goes by the name of Hoo Doo Brown and has positioned himself as the top crime boss in New Mexico. People claim he’s got magical powers and in the right moonlight, the only thing you can see are his bones.”
Earp looked the poster over. “Just when you think you’ve heard it all…”
“You end up scratching a scab until a new load of puss bursts out,” Earp said. “I’ve got no idea if Hoo Doo owes any allegiance to Legion, but from what I’ve heard, he’s one violent hombre and is not to be trifled with. I pity anyone who tangles with him.”
Earp tapped his fingers along the arm of his chair for a moment then came out with it. “Slade, you’ve got a great set-up here. Nice house. Lovely wife and baby on the way.”
Miss Bonnie smiled.
“Simpleton brother who means well.”
“I hate to ask you to pick up and leave all this for awhile but, if you’d be willing to round up a posse and ride out on a mission to put a silver bullet in any one of these villains, I’d be much obliged.”
Earp fished around in his pocket for a moment, then pulled out a shiny U.S. Marshal star and slapped it down on the table.
“Your country, or what’s left of it, needs you to put that back on again.”
Slade looked at the lovely face of Miss Bonnie, then to the bulge in her stomach, then to his adoring dopey brother, and finally back to the grim face of Wyatt Earp.