Today I received a letter from a miner from east of the Pecos.  He had gotten word from Judge Roy Bean that the Gorman Gang was making its way to the Arizona Territory!  These varmints had a long history of bank robbery, horse thieving, murdering and dirty underwear.  How they ever escaped the clutches of the law back east was a wonder.  The real problem was that they counted me as a friend back in the day.  But that was before my conversion.  After that close call in Tombstone where I took a couple slugs while holding up the Wells Fargo stage, I changed my name and became a lawman.  I was now the Honorable Marshall Wyatt Rush of the Arizona Territory and I knew the Gormans were banking on my help to get them over the border.  A showdown was looming and it was going to throw me into a pickle that no dogie in a stampede could survive.

  The Gorman Gang was led by the meanest Ma’am to ever strap on a stirrup,
Calico Cathy Gorman.  Raised on the dusty streets of Pittsburgh she made her way out West after narrowly escaping a date with the hangman for plugging a lawyer who had the gall of questioning her moral turpitude.  Soon she was rustling cattle and pulling down stages full of pay for the cavalry.  Willing to draw against any slinger earned her a reputation of being reckless and fickle but she had an organized mind and could talk her way out of any jam.  With the face of a stage actress and the body of a soiled dove she would charm the uninitiated before blagging them down in a hail of gunfire. 

  Riding alongside her were the three of the most desperate desperadoes to ever put a shadow on Cleveland.  That’s saying a lot!  First there was Banjo Bud Gorman.  Not related to Calico Cathy by blood but by marriage, he was the brother of Pioneer Paul, who had once lassoed Calico Cath in her younger days. 
Calico Cathy on the Run
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Marshall Wyatt Rush & Calico Cathy Go Way Back
Banjo Bud started in the Seminary but soon became a wayward soul in search of action and adventure.  Despite his clear-eyed disposition and wearing his age well he fell in with his dark side and soon was shooting it up over things as small as bad omelets.  His wife, Lucky Louise, tried keeping Banjo in line but soon her penchant for fine living and exotic locales had her encouraging Banjo to take up with Calico Cathy in her gluttonous pillage of perverse pirating.  It is with this fine upbringing Mesa Mike did grow up.  The youngster of the gang and the offspring of Banjo & Lucky, Mesa Mike grew up on the mean streets of Cleveland with little hope of ever knowing what it was like to cheer a winning team.  Left to his own devices, he would spend most his time under the card tables of Saloons.  This is where he picked up the habits of lifting bloomers on women and kicking spittoons.  Rarely could he be found without a fresh slap mark on his face or spittle on his jeans.  Although he was an affable sort, he kept to himself.  This led to a lot of confrontations with the roughnecks who took his quiet air for disgust.  No matter, Mesa Mike could out draw them all.
 
  It wasn’t until two days later when Do-Si-Do Di came breathlessly into my office with the news that the Gorman Gang had been spotted on the outskirts of town.  Her heaving breasts could barely pant out the words.  “Calico Cathy and her Gang have been spotted in Tempe!  They say they’re here for some big hootenanny but I think they’ve come to get you!”  The locals didn’t know about my past and they all assumed that the Gang had come to gun me down for the way I treated her brother,
Tommy Smiles.  But Calico Cathy knew that was between me and her brother and she was only looking for a way station on her trek to the border.  I had a few places in mind where she could hole up but my better nature flirted with turning her in for the reward money.  The Gorman Gang would bring big money and then I’d have enough to finally buy that cabin in Montana and be able to write my manifesto!  Alas, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Calico Cathy had done me a good turn in me younger days.  She had let me whitewash her whole house when I didn’t have two bits!  She paid me handsomely for slopping it on like a farmer on a pig.  This small gesture by her would now save her life...I would find a place to hide her.  
Do-Si-Do Di, Lucky Louise & Calico Cathy Lost in the Desert
Mesa Mike & Banjo Bud of the Gorman Gang
Do-Si-Do Di had to be told the whole story.  She would find out sooner or later anyhow.  I tell those heaving breasts everything. So she side saddles with me down to Tempe to meet with the Gorman Gang.  I tell them of a place I know where they can avoid the real law, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  In the shadow of South Mountain, way off the beaten path, lies the Mystery Castle.  Abandoned years ago by an eccentric recyclist, it now stands alone in the desert.  There had been rumors that his Daughter has taken the place over but she doesn’t get any news other than what the Indians tell her.  A little gold dust would keep her curiosity at bay and the Gorman Gang could shack up there for a while.  We arrive only to find her giving a tour to some of local Navajos.  After some small talk and bribery, she shows Calico Cathy her accommodations.  The house is filled with so much bric-a-brac and knick-n-knack this lady must be Patty Whack!  But she goes by the name of Joan Wayne.  I tell her of my upcoming nuptials to Miss Do-Si-Do and she insists on showing me her chapel and honeymoon suite.  They have some strange customs in these parts, including brides that “leave their shoe so that the groom will be true.” Mesa Mike is more interested in what is in the cellar but no one is going to tangle with that gator to get to it.  It is no wonder this is such a great hiding place, with stairs going nowhere and lookout spots that cover the whole valley.    

  Calico and I do some catching up on the good old days and she tells me of her two boys and how they managed to live the straight and narrow. 
One of her boys writes for a big eastern daily and covers the exploits of up and coming gamers.  She brags that the boy has his own byline!  The boy has my dream job and probably still complains!  The other boy is, of course, a lawyer.  No doubt he cut his teeth on the law by going to the many trials of his mother...or was it his Aunt?  I bet it was his smooth-talking soliloquy that got Calico Cathy out of the noose in the first place.  The boy had already gotten one murderer off; imagine what he’d do for his Mom!

  While Calico and the rest of the Gang tried to
blend into the crowd, I was surveying the high plains for Sheriff Joe and his “Posse of Publicity Poodles.” It wasn’t long when word got out that Calico was at the Mystery Castle and Sheriff Joe, one not to miss a photo-op, was on his way!  The Navajos scattered like sand in the desert.  Sheriff Joe was a cold blooded opportunist who would willingly hang everyone in sight, as long as it got him mention in the newspaper.  I told Calico it was high-time we went.  So we jumped on the horses and rode into the desert like coyotes after a rabbit.  In the mayhem we soon found ourselves lost in the sweltering heat.  We rode for miles and miles only to find out that one saguaro cactus looks like the other saguaro cactus!  In our haste we had forgotten to bring water and now we were surveying plants in the hope of finding what us desert dwellers refer to as “Liquid Gold.”  We hacked at plants hoping they would turn into fountains only to find that this was only an old wives taleWe couldn’t decide which way to goWe were lost in the desert! Finally, Calico Cathy had had enough!  She knew which way to the border but knew we would never make it without water.  “We are going this way!” I don’t know if she was pointing at water or the border.  Banjo Bud had other ideas, “Head for the hills! We can hide up there and bushwhack the Sheriff!”  In the hope of saving my own hide, I convinced them to get to Scottsdale and to avoid a confrontation with the wacky Sheriff.  After a few more hours of wandering lost we managed to find the pass to Scottsdale.  Over the hills and through the arroyo we go to Scottsdale. 

  Scottsdale would be our last respite before the Sheriff would track us down.  Scottsdale is not your typical western town.  Run by greedy saloonkeepers and high-priced ladies of the night, it has gained a reputation of overpriced excess. We wandered its broad avenues with a low-profile and high anxiety. 
Calico & Mesa Mike sit a spell as we try to figure out what to do next.  I warn them that they ought to get something to eat at the chuck wagon (The Grapevine Restaurant) before they have to mosey along.  We eat heartily and gorge ourselves on fondue.  Time seems to pass like a stampede.  Calico Cathy, Banjo Bud, Lucky Louise & Mesa Mike pause for one last photo on the streets of Scottsdale.  The posse is hot on their trail.  Do-Si-Do and I bid adieu.  As a now law-abiding citizen and officer of the law, I can no longer be seen with these scoundrels.  I wish them luck and good riddance, farewell and hightail, Godspeed and Bye-Bye.  There are tears shed and then they fled.  Off into the sunset...
Calico Cathy Looking For a Place to Hide
Do-Si-Do Di & Calico Cathy in the Prickly Heat
Mystery Castle
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