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Chet kept his hat tipped low so that his eyes were not visible to the blond haired stranger, he listened closely to the sound of the strangers boats moving on the floor. With out seeing him Chet could tell that he had turned on the stool to face him.

“No.†Chet simply answered shaking his head an taking another draw from his cold beer.

He tipped his head back an allowed the cold liquid to roll down his throat in thick swallows, an his eyes appeared for a moment an then again disappeared back under the Stetsons wide brim.

“Just enjoying a cold drink, like you.â€

(Cue anyone.)

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Chance headed down the street a bit before slipping into one of the alleyways. There she stopped and glanced behind her, she was half expecting a bullet in the back for how she acted. She had lost also all her gambling money when the table turned over...

but...she grinned as she went into her vest pocket and pulled out the jade earrings, at least the encounter wasn't a total loss. She noted one of the silver clasps had broken off, probably from when she was showing off to blackclad backwater sonofa..gun, but the earrings would still fetch a good price, probably enough to make up for her loss at the table. Having a quick pair of hands aided in both gambling and pickpocketing. Sure, It wasn't the infamous way of life of a horse thief or gunslinger, but it wasn't half as dangerous either.

Tossing the jewerly in the air lightly before, she pocketed them again and continued on down the street. She had a friend in town who would know where she could sell these.

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“Something on your mind?†Chet asked the blonde haired stranger, his cold half blind gaze met the strangers matching brown eyes.

Chet leaned forward in the chair an rested his left elbow on the table, his right hand clutching the chilled beer mugs glass handle. His gaze steady an challenging, he wanted know troubles with the blond haired stranger, but trouble had a way of finding this Duke.

His eyes watched closely, his body still an silent, and his gaze cold and chilling. Chet’s right eye brought him nothing, but what his eyes could not see his ears could hear and he need not the aid of both eyes to draw his .45's an cut someone down in the time it took the average man to clear leather.

Chet had always sported his differences between him and his kin, an sneered on the traits he had inherited from his father. An his kin, the lovely Daisy Duke paused behind the bar for a moment to watch her younger kin, an glance at the blonde haired stranger with worry. Like her family she did not trust Chet an she feared him, respecting him deeply for his dangerous fast draw, the only good trait he had inherited from his kin.

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One of the barmaids watched the exchange between the two men. She turned to a long haired brunette dressed in a hankercheif material top and denim waist overalls. “Think I should get someone?†She whispered.

Daney shrugged and picked up her hat. She started for the tavern’s exit. She needed to check something in Examiner’s saddlebag. She couldn’t remember if she had left a document in her coat. A smile crossed her lips hearing the rowdy laughter of patrons having a good time.

She peeked back over her right shouler to see...

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Valerie wrinkled her nose when the black clad stranger whisked the painted barmaid away upstairs. Enos was gawking at the lady but then stopped when he caught a glance at his sister's expression.

"Come on. I want to get home and relax. Besides you're a deputy sheriff shouldn't you be out looking for my earrings!" She snapped slightly at her brother then yanked him by the arm out of the saloon. The twins left on a horse driven wagon with the sister's belongings. Valerie wanted to get home and relax as soon as possible. However the stolen earrings seemed to plague her mind.

Outside the bar after the twins left, two more fellows showed up on Palomino horses. One horse named 'General' and it's partner 'Lee'. Their riders were two men, one with blond hair and the other with dark. As they dismounted Bo noticed a glimmer of something in the distance. A woman had tossed something in the air then caught it in her hand. He told his cousin about it. They both made note of it but then decided it was nothing and went on inside into the saloon.

(cue whoever)

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A side ways grin crossed the young Dukes face, an his brown eye twinkled for a moment as he got to his feet. He headed towards the swinging doors, he knew he would loose his chance to ride with the blond haired stranger an the black clad figure, but the women with the whip had suddenly stricken his fancy.

Chet had know desire to swing the women over his shoulder an carry her off to some bedroom and have his way with her, know he had more profitable plans then that. But she wouldn’t go without a fight, so he excused himself from the Nest, walking right past the blonde haired figure with the side ways grin still written brightly on his face. An he pushed throw the swinging batwing door and stepped out into the hot sun shine on the boardwalk, his plan wasn’t going to be easy or much fun, but with that women’s brilliant mind an his sharp shot they could have themselves one hell of a deal.

He walked to the end of the boardwalk an the corner of the building an stepped down the wooden planked stairs, his boats making a rhythmic thud over the planks with every step. An he rolled a cigarette in his fingers as naturally as if he had done it everyday since he was born, his eyes gazing around him an never leaving his destination into the shaded alley where his Red steed an three other horses alike stood dozing.

Chet lit his smoke an grabbed his reins that lay on the ground an the leads ropes of the other horses, he stepped into the saddle and rode out of alley an down the back of the buildings to the livery barn. There he boarded the three spare horses an left the care taker with enough money to take care of them for a few days, then he left again. Ridding back in the direction that he had come, carefully staying behind the buildings an out of the public eye.

An he paused suddenly as he came to the alley where the sharp women stood, the one who had nearly whipped the black clad stranger back at the Nest. He readied himself in the saddle, tightening his reins an getting Red, the long legged Thoroughbred excited enough to bolt on command when asked.

Suddenly, Chet hugged the Red horse with his legs and the horse reared an bolted forward headed directly for the gambling women. Chet steered the horse close to her an leaned down in his saddle and scooped her up with one arm an laid her over his saddle as his horse ran out into the street. He steered the lightening quick horse towards the out skirts of town an rode hard until they were a mile down the main rode an a half mile down a hidden trail.

There Chet drew back on the reins hard an the gelding came to a skidding halt on its rear legs, still holding the gambling women in his arms Chet looked back over his shoulder to see if they were being followed. As they had ridden out of the alley, out of the corner of his eye he had seen a pair of Buckskin horses, a pair of unmistakable Buckskin horses. An in seconds he feared his father and Luke would be on his trail.

(Cue anyone. Lights, Camera....ACTION!)

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Meanwhile, Chance was being no passive victim.

"PUT ME THE HELL DOWN, YOU ! @#$@ing !$%@." As if her crude language wasn't foul enough, she squirmed and kicked, trying to get loose. The motions agaitied the horse, already excitable from the chase. When the horse slowed so Chet could looked at his pursuers, Chance took advantage of it. Bracing herself, she spun over so she was facing Chet and let her fist to his nose meet.

The shout Chet made with suddenly having his nose broken accomplished one other thing, the horse spooked and dumped Chance to the ground. In a second, she was up standing and whip ready, blue eyes sparking with fury.

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The Red horse reared for the sky as the women feel to the ground and Chet tumbled to the ground as well.

Chet got to his feet in a flash drawing his right hand .45 an pointed it at the gambling women, his hand holding the gun turned so that his knuckles faced the sky in an odd fashion. He whipped the blood away from his noose that gushed down his face an dripped from his chin.

“Crack that whip....†His chest heaved for a moment. “An I’ll put a bullet through through your head. Now just hear me out for a moment an there won’t be anymore blood shed.â€

Chet wiped some more blood from his face on the back of his hand an held his ground, his eyes intent one the women.

“I’m going to lower my gun so that I can talk to you like a civilized citizen. But so help me gawd, if you hit me with that thing I’ll cut you down before you blink.†Chet slowly lowered his gun to his side an stood with his right shoulder turned towards her.

“I have an offer to make with you, an you could profit a lot of cash from it. You willing to listen or do you want to ride back to town an save me my breath?†Chet’s voice drawled in an unusual yankee tone for living in GA most of his life. But his face showed a seriousness an a business like manner.

(Cue Chance Walker.)

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"Civilized?! You kidnap me and then threaten me with a gun!" Chance watched the man warily, but the whip never moved from where it rested on the ground. She knew the odds of this hand, lead beat leather any day.

And as for his promise to return her to town, she trusted that about as far as she could throw a horse. Chance glanced at the two approaching riders in the distance.

"Better talk fast, Yankee. We're about to have company."

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Quickly Chet holstered his gun and grabbed his horses reins an stood by the tall Red horse facing the gambling women. He glance at the riders approaching at a high rate of speed, in less then five minutes they would be right on top of them.

“Alright, I don’t usually offer this kind of information but in this case you should know.†Chet cleared his throat an rested his hands on his hips over his gun belt, his horses reins still laced through the fingers of his right hand.

“My name is Chet Duke, you have probably herd of me through the grape vein, or from people in this town.....maybe even on a wanted poster.†He looked at the riders again and thought fast. “I stole some race horses from the Atlanta race track, if you help me talk my way into safely delivering these horses I will give you half of what I get for them and....any information I can possibly get for you about the black clad an blondy back at the Nest.â€

Chet paused waiting for the offer to sink in an then he took a deep breath an spoke again with more urgency. “ What do you say?â€

(Cue Anyone)

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In an alley near the tavern, Daney asseted what she had found amidst neighing and whineing. The paper in her hands told of nine stolen race horses. And in less she was mistaken, they had just been found. A gentle, hot wind blew the closest stallion’s mane in her face. “Oh,†She exclaimed and stepped back.

Daney contemplated whether to gather the horses herself and try to lead them to the local authority. Or leave them be while she went for assistance. The thought of becoming Crepe Daney cinched her choice. “You fellas, stay here.†She whispered. Hazel eyes took another glance and she walked back down the alley. Her boots stirring dust with each step.

She walked into the tavern to inquire where the Sheriff was.

(cue anyone)

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One place the Sheriff definately wasn't, at the moment, was in the upstairs rooms of the saloon. And considering all the noise, this was very fortunate.

The sound of female laughter, mixed with male whoops of delight, carried down to the bar. There was the sound of furniture being moved and more laughter. A large thud followed, as if someone had just leapt from standing on the dresser, to swan-dive into the bed. This produced an enormous racket and more sounds of tomfoolery, most of which seemed to have little to do with the sort of events that one would have expected.

Until things became quiet. Of course, the contrast in sound meant that either things were getting down to business, or the outlaw and the saloon girl had killed themselves with their horseplay. It was a question worth a bet until the more traditional noises managed to make themselves heard. And if this was able to be overlooked, the next challenge was ignoring the dust that shook loose from the rafters to drift down into one's beer.

Eventually, a masculine vocalization - one fit for attracting coyotes and timber wolves - cut sharply through the air. It was unknown whether this sound represented pain or pleasure, but in either case, the black-clad outlaw seemed to be getting his money's worth.

After due course, the upstairs door opened, and Brian sauntered out, bumping into the doorframe as he did so. He smiled distractedly and adjusted his hat. He then marched back down the stairs, whistling cheerfully, appearing peaceful, content, and insufferably happy.

He walked back to the bar, returning to keep the blonde drifter company. Waving down a fresh drink, Brian looked around and then opened converastion. "Looks like the place thinned out some. That tomcat-eyed cuss that was over in the corner....did he leave town?"

(cue Alex)

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Alex nodded, shifting towards the dark haired stranger.

"Yeah..the kid took off a few minutes ago and so did that refined lady and her brother. I got the impression that the kid was waiting for you to come back down but he sure seemed to take an interest in me." He had another sip of his beer, setting the mug down on the counter.

"Maybe it was all the noise that drove him away." He raised an eyebrow seeing the stranger's grin. "I guess I don't have to ask how things went upstairs, I kept expecting the ceiling to cave in." A smile came to his own face. "I take it the lady was well worth the money?"

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"I say....I'm neither a horse thief or bounty hunter, so get yourself another girl." Chance glared up at Chet, hands on hips. If looks could kill he would be dead in the saddle. But there was also a code of honor among thieves and Chance stuck to that. "But you're secret is safe with me. Now git before those two see your face."

When Chet offered a hand up to his horse, she shook her head and stepped back. "I'd rather walk." On a rattlesnake bed, she thought silently. Or rusty spurs.

Besides, she had a meeting to get to and two better offers on a ride home coming up fast.

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Chet gazed at the gambling women for a long moment as he tightened his horses reins an gathered his stirrups with his feet. His mismatched eyes looked into her eyes, he could see the stubbornness and unending flame to live and thrive. He gave a sharp nod and urged the Red horse into a fast gallop then pulled back on the reins suddenly and spun the horse back in her direction.

“By the way....you pack one hell of a punch.†He gave a side ways grin and rode away, his horses feet kicking up dirt behind him.

The long legged race horse bolted deep into the GA forest, weaving in and out of the trees and putting a distance between them and Chet’s pursuing kin.

Bo and Luke paused there pursuit only long enough to gather the women and ride on with her in tow.

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Back at the saloon, Brian answered the blonde drifter with a grin. "It was one of the better investments in mah personal health, yeah." He glanced towards the upstairs and gave a chuckle. "Had to pay her for the broken furniture, tho'. "

He took a sip of his drink and let his mind return gradually to more serious matters. Try as he might, he couldn't shake the feeling that the local with the tomcat eyes meant some sort of trouble. And it was trouble that was looking for them. The instinctive knowledge was like a silent tap on the shoulder. Why had that scraggly hardcase ran off in such a hurry? Was there a reason the man was watching them so closely before his exit?

With an abrupt change of mood that passed through his dark eyes like a stormcloud, Brian looked at the blonde drifter and spoke his concern. "I don't know what's on your resume', man, and I don't need to know. But we've had a cardsharp pass through heah, as well as somebody that took the earrings right off a lady. An' somethin' tells me this is just the little stuff. There could be a lot to be blamed for, in this town....and I ain't sure ah wanna be hangin' around..." Brian winced at the unfortunate choice of words - "Uh, I mean, waitin' around, for fingers to start pointin' at convenient faces."

He paused, meaningfully. "Namely ours. There might be a damn good reason those other folk took off. Dig?"

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Alex nodded; he took a slow and easy look around. The feel of the perverbial rope began to tighten around his neck as he rose to his feet.

"I think you're right. We need to slide out of this town slow and easy like before someone gets the idea that its you and me with the sticky fingers."

Casually, Alex moved to the chair his saddlebags hung on and lifted them, placing them over his shoulder. The air in the bar had already begun to grow tense and the gazes of the remaining patrons were becoming less friendlier by the second. Moving back over to the dark haired man, Alex stuck out his right hand.

"I never did catch your name, I'm Alex Jackson."

He wasnt sure whether or not the stranger would shake his hand, but the man had bought him a drink and that alone was worth giving courtesy a try.

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*Please note* This is a joint post by both myself and Pendragon.

Chance had hitched a ride with the two cowboys that were chasing Chet, rewarding each of them with a kiss on the cheek for their trouble, since by far they were the most congenial of the Hazzardites she had met thus far.

After refusing their offers for refreshment ... several times, Chance made her way down one of the alleyways behind the saloon. But instead of crossing to the other street, she hopped up on the wooden staircase that lead to the second floor.

There she paused for a moment; her friend might have company, given her trade. But everything seemed clear, so Chance poked her head into the open window of one of the rooms and could only raise an eyebrow at the mess.

The room looked like a cyclone had hit it, the fancy wooden dresser had been knocked over, the clothes inside it were strewn all over the floor and the remaining upright furniture. The paintings on the velvet wallpaper covered walls were askew, some of them had been knocked off completely and the lacy silk canopy on the bed had been ripped clean off on one whole slide.

"Good lord, Min. One of your customers bring his own stampede with him?â€

The young woman lounged on her bed, a lazy smile on her face as she fanned it with a feather fan.

“No Chance, he was stampede enough--†She sighed as she sat up; smoothing her hands over the silk gown she had changed into. “And don’t worry about the mess--He paid me well for the damages.â€

Never were two women were such opposites, nor greater friends. Min was a lady from the top of her carefully done hair to her lace-up shoes. She had a sweet charm that made her one of the best in the business in this area. Chance was wild, reckless, and true to her name. Although she kept good hygiene, she couldn't give a rip about her hair, makeup or clothes, as long as the former kept out of her face and the latter were in good condition. But the combination of Chance and Min's skills was potent, and profitable.

Chance's eyebrow inched a little higher at Min's sated expression. The blonde woman climbed through the window, righted a chair and sat down.

"Well, sounds like you had a better day than me, that's for sure." She withdrew the jade earrings. "You probably heard the commotion downstairs; I lost my gambling money, but managed to slip these off some dandy lady's ears when I bumped into her." Chance idly walked over and picked up Min's best corset, ripped completely in half.

“So who's your new stallion?â€

“Dark haired cowboy…he was sitting downstairs with a blond.†Min turned away from her friend and went over to a silver cart. She plucked a bottle of whiskey from it and poured two drinks, handing one to her friend.

“All in black…dark velvet eyes and…†A wicked smile drew her lips up in a bow. “I won’t go into any more details than that. But trust me Darling I wish all my customers were that much man, makes my profession a genuine pleasure.â€

Having heard this description halfway through her drink, Chance choked on her whiskey, coughing.

"Oh boy, Min, we see different sides of men in our professions, your stallion is my jackass." She quickly recounted her and the stranger's rather stormy meeting downstairs.

“Not from my side he wasn’t--†Min gulped down the rest of her drink and set her glass aside. “So let me see those earrings.â€

Handing them over, Chance smirked to her friend.

"Had it not been for the fact I needed to leave because I just swiped these, he wouldn't have been any good to you."

Min took the earrings and gave them the once over, they appeared to be custom made, the jade and silver both pure. She turned them see one of the earrings had a broken clasp.

"They're good, should fetch a nice price. Of course that price would be higher if the clasp on this one wasn't busted, what happened?"

"Don't know. Probably fell off in the shuffle." Chance gave a sheepish grin. "It's probably still somewhere in the bar."

"It doesn't matter, the silver can be melted down and the jade can be put in a new setting." Min went back over to her bed and sat down on it.

"How much you want for them?"

"Twenty. I've been snarled at, kidnapped and dropped off for the middle of the prairie for them. Talk about damage payment!"

"Twenty?" Min opened her mouth about to protest but then closed it again. Chance had been through enough of an ordeal today without adding another one to the list. Beside the bed sat a nightstand with a silver box, Min touched the front of her gown then reached down inside it pulling out a key. She unlocked the box and pulled out a bill handing it to her friend.

"Here you go partner, I say you've earned your money today."

Grinning, Chance tipped her hat. "I'll double this by tonight."

Min smiled and shook her head. "I have no doubts about that, you just watch yourself out there all right?"

"Don't I always? You do the same, my friend." The blonde gambler took one last look around the room. "And take it easy on the redecorating binges, huh?" She chuckled and stepped out onto the balcony of the saloon.

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As usual Chet road for a few miles then circled back an took a dear trail back to town, he had lost Bo and Luke, for the time being anyhow. It was time to go back an see what he could find out about the two strangers in the bar, he had never seen them in town before and he had lived there all his life. But he had been absent as of late, an anytime between his absence the two could have passed through.

But by the looks of it they hadn’t ever crossed each others paths, nor had they ever crossed Chet’s and he felt lucky for that. The only thing that troubled him was the fact that he had left the three race horses back at the livery barn an the other six at a safe place known only to him and Jericho, a gang leader that he had ridden with since his decent from his family.

Afternoon was wearing into even as he approached the edge of town once again, he saw his kin drop the gambling women off an move on. They had wasted half there day chasing him an now they would most probably return back to the farm for there evening duties. Chet waited until they were out of site and stepped his horse out onto the road an again road behind the buildings rather then down the street.

He came back to the alley where he had left his horse earlier that day, an he rode down it and stopped near the end in the shadows, watching the entrance of the Boars Nest Saloon. If the two strangers were still in there, sooner or later they would leave and he would see them, both of there horses dozed tethered to the hitching rail out front.

Patently Chet let his reins hang over his horses neck loosely an he hooked his right knee over the horn and began to build a smoke. An he half laughed to himself remembering the blood on his face from his nose that had eventually ceased its release of fresh blood somewhere in the excitement. He lit his cigarette an took his bandanna from around his neck an wetted it a little with the water from his canteen and wiped the blood from his face, careful to groom it out of his black goatee.

Silently he continued his vigil of the entrance, enjoying his smoke and the chance to rest out of the hot sun an the constant watching, staring eyes of the people around him. Red stood quietly, also resting from the run back to town, the tall, fiery red horse stood alert an ready at a moments notice.

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Brian's eyes showed a flicker of recognition at the blonde drifter's name. Whatever the association, he kept it to himself. He accepted the handshake and returned it, offering his own name cordially.

"I'm Brian Coltrane. Pleased to meet ya, Alex."

Before Alex could indicate whether or not the name meant anything to him - and Brian was hoping it didn't - the black-clad outlaw was leading the way to the door. "I'm thinkin' we'd better act like we got all the time in the world. Runnin' only seems to get a man chased...."

With a relaxed walk, Brian pushed through the saloon doors and stepped outside. He strolled down the wooden steps to where Damascas waited. The big black horse opened one sleepy eye at his rider and promptly winked it shut again.

Brian reached up and scratched Damascus behind the ears. "Aww, didja have a nice nap, lazybutt ? Come on, boy. It's time we ambled along..."

Speaking quietly to his horse, Brian untied the reins from the hitching post. Alongside of him, he saw Alex placing the saddlebags over his own horse.

Suddenly, Damascus raised his neck and let out a gusting snort. The Percheron-Arabian's eyes were wide and startled, the ears folded flat against the head. Alex's horse, the buckskin, was dancing nervously in place.

Trouble was near.....

(cue anybody!)

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The black horse raised its neck and snorted Chet drew back on Red’s reins and backed the horse up, drawing him deeper into the dark shadows of the alley. But the mismatched eyes of the young Duke continued to gaze out into the street at the two strangers, watching there every move, his heart thudding in his chest like the constant pounding of a horses hooves.

His long legged Thoroughbred tossed its head eager to take flight, an it was all Chet could do to keep the fast paced horse under control. But He didn’t mind Red’s impatient attitude, when it came down to it, the horses size and legs came in handy. Standing over 17 hands tall and weighing a light 1150lbs, give or take the treats he could out run an out wit most average horses in the town. An he had long since proven to Chet that he was an always would be no matter the odds, his loyal companion.

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A uniformed man took quiet steps until he reached the left side of the young theif's horse. A document in his pocket. He raised a hand and placed it lightly on Chet's knee. His blue eyes were as bright as the sunlight, and gleam of the badge pinned to his shirt. He tilted his head and grinned. "Howdy there," Rosco paused. "Don't believe we're met."

(cue Chet!)

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Chet grinned to himself and drew his right Colt .45 and pressed it to the Sheriffs temple. But he didn't turn his head to look at the old sheriff, not yet, he'd rather play mysterious for a few minutes.

"Are you sure we havent met?" Chet paused pulling back the hammer of the gun with his thumb. "Are you sure you want to meet?" He asked an turned to look down from his tall horse at the sheriff.

Obviously Rosco hadnt reconized the young outlawed Duke boy, he hadnt seen him in many months, maybe a year or more. An he looked different, a manly goatee wrapped around his chin, his thin an dark face looked older an more mature. But it was the Dukes eyes that sent shivers over Rosco, Chet was a wanted man, a wanted man that pressed a .45 to the sheriffs temple.

"How are ya Rosco?" Chet gave his side ways grin.

(Cue Daney!)

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