To Dusty Fog's eye, it seems like a killer's conventionis set to convene in Corpus Christi in honor ofthe arrival of a European crown prince. And it's Dusty's job along with fast-draw artist Waco, a knife master called the Ysabel Kid, and other members of Ole Devil Hardin's Floating Outfit to keep his highnessbreathing while on American soil. But things are threatening to get seriously out of hand, because there're a lot more than just a few hired gunswho want a shot at this royal target. And it's looking like Fog's going to be facing an old adversary again the world's most feared assassin even though Dusty's already killed him once!
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About the Author
J.T. Edson brings to life the fierce and often bloody struggles of untamed West. His colorful characters are linked together by the binding power of the spirit of adventure and hard work that eventually won the West. With more than 25 million copies of his novels in print, J.T. Edson has proven to be one of the finest craftsmen of Western storytelling in our time.
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By Edson, J. T.
He'll Kill You if You Do
"In the name and authority of
THE STATE OF TEXAS
To all to whom these presents shall come
CAPTAIN DUSTINE EDWARD
Texas Light Cavalry, C.S.A., Rtd.,
is hereby commissioned by us to act as bodyguard
and protector for our distinguished foreign visitor:
CROWN PRINCE RUDOLPH OF
As it is known that conspirators are plotting against the life of our distinguished visitor and it is essential that his safety be assured at all costs, Captain Fog is therefore authorized to pose as an outlaw and, without prejudice to his honor and good name, to consort with known or suspected criminals in the execution of this commission.
By virtue of the authority granted through my office, I, Stanton Howard, do hereby command all law enforcement agencies within the boundaries of the Sovereign State of Texas to afford any and every assistance Captain Fog may request in the commission of this assignment.
In testimony thereof, I have hereunto signed my name and caused to be affixed the Seal of State at the city of Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas, this 16th day of June, A.D. 18751
Having read through the pronouncement, mouthing some of the longer words half audibly, Town Marshal Benjamin Digbry shoved back his round-topped brown hat to scratch his head and looked in a puzzled fashion at the man who had handed the notice to him. It was a most impres-sively worded and official seeming document. However, in spite of its solemn content, it had been folded to just wider than the two inches' diameter of the imposing cogged-edged, embossed gold leaf Seal of State attached (when it was fully open) to the bottom right-hand corner.
Although Digbry was the head of the municipal law enforcement agency of what was fast becoming the major seaport of Texas, Corpus Christie, he was neither too intelligent nor efficient in the performance of his duties. Rather he held his appointment by virtue of his skill in a roughhouse brawl, and because his ability at handling a gun was more than the local average. Such qualities were proving no use whatsoever in the present circumstances. Taking his hand from his head, its scratching having done nothing to help him find a solution to his dilemma, he wiped his fingers on the trouser leg of his brown suit. Having done so, he tugged at the unaccustomed collar and necktie with no more beneficial results.
Middle-aged, tall, burly, heavily mustached and surly featured, the peace officer looked as ill at ease as he was feeling. Just as he was about to leave for an important social function, he had received a summons in the name of a person whom it would have been most impolitic of him to ignore. Arriving at the Edgehurst Warehouse as required, he had found that somebody entirely different was waiting for him. For all that, he had considered it advisable to refrain from raising objections to the subterfuge. He had also ensured that neither of his hands went anywhere near the short barrelled Colt Model of 1871 "Cloverleaf" House Pistol, a revolver in spite of its name, in the cross-draw holster under the left side of his jacket.
Receiving no enlightenment from the only other living occupant of the large building, Digbry turned his gaze to the body which was sprawling face upward and with arms out-thrown on the floor. When he had first seen it, he had assumed that he had been called to attend to the legal side of a straightforward, if unpleasant, matter which would bring a financial renumeration for his services. However, the document he had just finished reading suggested that the affair might be much more complicated and far reaching than he cared to contemplate. In fact, it might even prove a threat to his future career as town marshal.
Clad in what appeared to be the usual brown habit, bare legs and sandals of a Mexican Catholic mission padre, the corpse's features -- distorted by agony and a hatred that seemed out of keeping with such attire -- were suggestive of some more northern European origin. Not far from the right hand lay a wicked looking fighting knife and what was clearly its sheath was strapped to the exposed left wrist. The weapon's spear point was coated with something blackish that might be dried blood and could account for the fact that, despite his priestly raiment, it was necessary for two bullets to have been planted in the center of his chest.
Failing to form any helpful deductions from the body, Digbry returned his scrutiny briefly to the first communication he had ever seen from the Governor of Texas. There was no evidence of greater comprehension as he lifted his gaze to the person responsible for his perturbation. Having looked the man over from head to foot, he stared yet again at the document as if unwilling to credit the evidence of his eyes.
"Captain Dustine Edward Marsden Fog?" the peace officer read, making the words into a question rather than a title. "B -- but that's -- he's -- you -- he's Dusty Fog!"
"They call me 'Dusty' as being short for 'Dustine,'" answered the man to whom the words were addressed, his accent that of a well-educated Texan. "But it's also because my hair's a sort of dusty blond color -- most of the time, anyway. Right now I've got it dyed black."
"You can -- You're Dusty Fog?" Digbry croaked, changing the format of his statement to something less dangerous than accusing his informant of lying. "B -- But Buck Raffles told me your name's Rapido Clint!"
"Well now, that could have been because I'd told him my name was Rapido Clint," the man replied, showing no embarrassment over having deliberately deceived another person with a false introduction ...Continues...
Excerpted from Texas Killers by Edson, J. T. Excerpted by permission.
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