Chapter 1 – The Blacky Encounter
The outlaw, Bandolero, was not always an outlaw. Before he became an outlaw, he was just a kid. A naive kid in a world full of promise and wonder. But after being punched in the gut every time he tried to achieve fulfillment of the promise and wonder of his dreams, he ultimately realized that the world was run by ruthless liars, cheats and backstabbers. They weren’t branded as the criminals they were. No, they were supposedly fine, upstanding citizens by all measures except the one measure that mattered above all other measures to Bandolero, honor. So it came to pass that Bandolero saw the truth, that to live an honorable life he must become what the fine upstanding world would brand as an outlaw. (1)
The day Bandolero left the home of his mother and father is told elsewhere.
The next day, on a remote mountain trail, Bandolero met Blacky. The two stared into each other’s faces for quite some time. Neither had expected to encounter another person on this particular mountain trail, since it was a trail used mostly by mountain goats although there were rumors that outlaws used it sometimes. According to the rumors, small bands of outlaws sometimes rode the trail very fast on their horses, usually followed a short time afterwards by large bands of men dressed in spiffy blue uniforms. Consequently, Bandolero and Blacky were surprised to encounter another solo hombre on the trail, particularly one traveling in the opposite direction.
Bandolero, being only freshly departed from the home of his parents and inexperienced in the ways of the world, was the first to break the silence, other than for the sounds of crows and other birds who were flying around, and the wind rustling the weeds and other vegetation, and the distant howling of dogs that may have been onto the scent of jackrabbits or some other morsels.
“Who the hell are you?” he asked, attempting to sound like what he thought a rough outlaw would sound like. It didn’t work. Blacky was unimpressed.
“I’m Blacky,” answered Blacky. Who the hell are you?”
“I’m Bandolero, the outlaw!” proclaimed Bandolero with pride, unaware that Blacky was unimpressed. This lack of insight wasn’t due to any weakness of mind but, rather, simply inexperience since Bandolero had not yet actually met any other outlaws in person.
“Big deal,” said Blacky. “Anybody can call himself an outlaw. What have you done to become an outlaw?”
This question stumped Bandolero. It was true. He was a man of few words, and fewer actions.
“Well,” he finally said, “what about you, huh? Are you an outlaw?”
“Damn right I am!” said Blacky. “And I have the scars to prove it.”
It was true. He did.
“Shit,” said Bandolero. “I want some scars, too!”
“You’re all right, kid,” said Blacky. “Tell you what. Let’s team up. I think we can do great things together.”
And so it came to be.
For quite a while, their outlaw activities went unfettered, because nobody recognized them. The wanted posters, due to a misprint, offered a $500 reward for the capture of Black Bandolero. Everybody thought it was just one black guy whereas, of course, Blacky and Bandolero were both white as the driven snow.
But things would change before long.
(1) This closely tracks a famous quote attributed to Nelson Mandela: “Cuando un hombre se le niega el derecho que vivir la vida en la que cree, no tiene más remedio que convertirse en un bandito.” For our English readers who aren’t versed in Spanish, this translates, more or less, to: “When a man is deprived of the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” It is unclear at this time whether Bandolero was inspired by Mr. Mandela, or just inspired.