Sheriff Poole & The Mech Gang

A short story by

Charles de Lint

Copyright 2013 by Charles de Lint

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for John Joseph Adams

who got me to write this story

I know what Tommy Mansfield’s looking at the moment I usher him into the barn. It’s the first thing everybody sees: that old poster from the Showdown Ranch with a painting of the whole Mech Gang facing down a lone lawman on a dusty street. You can see variations on that theme in any of the western art galleries in town, except the bad guys wouldn’t be clunky robot outlaws that look like they should be on the cover of some old sci-fi pulp magazine. But back in the day robots and animatronics were the whole theme of the Showdown Ranch.

“I remember that place,” Tommy says moving closer to the image. “My uncle took me and my brother one weekend—God, years ago. That poster’s still in nice shape.”

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