Disclaimer: "Wild Wild White Sox" is a work of fiction and though characters, locations and events are all inspired by real world counterparts, any usage of actual names or likenesses is used in a fictional and parodic manner.
Tyler Saladino was in a strange, strange place. A week ago he was in Queen City, working in the region's booming gold industry for Knights Trading. Having spent most of his life out west, including some time on the Great Plains, he had enjoyed the change of pace and was finally settling down.
Then Knights Trading received a phone call. Comiskey, a frontier town located in the wild west, needed a cowboy. A real jack-of-all trades. The town was on hard times and Knights Trading operated the local trading post. Due to his experience, and the promise of higher wages, Saladino headed west.
Nothing could have prepared him for what he saw when he stepped off the train.
It was a ghost town. Dark green signs showed age and neglect. The town square had a number of life sized bronze statues, none of which looked like they had been cleaned in a long, long time.
"You must be Tyler."
Saladino turned to face a middle-aged man wearing a black suit. He nodded.
"I'm Rick Hahn, mayor of Comiskey."
"Why did you guys call me out here?" Saladino asked.
"Well Tyler, you see, we had been preparing for a great year here in Comiskey," Hahn said. "Everything looked great as the winter began to fade. We had a bunch of new businessmen and merchants come into town. A new bank, a new ranch, a new butchers shop. Our port on El Rio Verde grew. Everything was looking great. But then everything that could go wrong, did. We were soon being pillaged by roaming gangs and rival villages. Our crops weren't growing and the new businesses failing. Hell, even the old ones started to flounder."
The pair sauntered down the main road, Shields Avenue. Hahn was explaining everything that had gone wrong, but that recently things were starting to look up. They called on Saladino because despite things starting to improve, the town was still in shambles.
Hahn came to a stop outside of a building with a sign, "Spanky's Saloon."
"Come on in," Hahn said. "You can meet our sheriff, Robin."
"Aww, Rick that's no way to introduce one of the greatest men to ever grace this town," bellowed an elderly man sitting at a table inside the saloon. The man was wearing a glove on his left, but none on the right.
"Hawk, we hadn't even set foot in the building -" said Hahn.
"Rick, what's the kids name?" asked Hawk. Saladino was wondering if the man was yelling to speak over the saloon's band, or if it was how he naturally spoke.
"His name is Tyler Saladino, just got here from Queen City," responded Hahn, almost as if he knew where this conversation was going.
"Saladino, kid, you look like a good one," continued Hawk. "Let me tell you, try to emulate our Sheriff Robin Ventura, cause back when he was a cowboy he had the will to win, so no bandit could come through here without losing a tool to that great defender of our fair town. If you end up like him, our town will be better for it."
"Thank you, sir," responded Saladino, not quite sure what he had gotten himself into.
Hahn noticed the confusion on the young man's face and decided to put the conversation back on track. He walked Saladino over to a man sitting at a table. The man had a strange drink untouched on his table. He looked calm but worn, as if the troubles that had befallen the city had begun to manifest themselves as lines upon his face.
"Robin, this is the kid I told you about, Tyler Saladino," Hahn said.
"It's nice to meet you, sir," Saladino responded, a bit nervous.
"Welcome to the wild west, kid," responded Ventura. "We've been keeping tabs on you for a while and from what our men in Queen City tell us, we're comfortable putting you to work right away and seeing what you can do for our town. Things are crazy right now, so I don't know how long you'll be out here, but soon we'll have a definite plan in place for you."
Saladino was trying to hide his excitement. Despite the long train ride, the ghost town appearance of Comiskey and the elderly man's confusing introduction, he was ready for a life on the frontier. When he lived on the plains he had always wanted to live an adventurous life in the wild west and now his career had sent him here.
"Mr. Ventura, it's an honor," Saladino said. "But I have to ask, why is the town so empty right now?"
"Well, not only have we been hit by hard times that have robbed us of travelers and trade, but the Mid-July Assembly is going on," Hahn said. "The Assembly is when representatives of all towns, villages, caravans and gangs in the wild west meet to discuss any issues that need to be discussed. We sent Chris Sale, deadliest gun in the west, to represent us so it will be a few days before you get to meet him. In the meantime, let's introduce you to the group here at Spanky's."
Ventura walked over to the bar, Saladino and Hahn following him.
"What can I get you boys?" said the excitable bartender. He sported a neatly trimmed beard and mustache and wore a bright green apron. Saladino could tell that he was quite the character.
"Give us two martinis," Hahn said. "Stirred, not shaken. Tyler, meet Adam Eaton, owner of Spanky's Saloon. Sometimes it feels like our town is tied to Spanky's, if he's doing good business, then it looks good for the rest of us."
The bartender placed two cocktail drinks on the bar, each with an olive for garnish.
"What is it?" asked Saladino. This wasn't something he had seen before.
"We call them a martini," Eaton said, speaking at a rapid pace. "Gin, vermouth and an olive. Not big yet, but trust me, this drink will catch on. Nice to meet you Tyler, like Rick said, I'm Adam Eaton. Things are beginning to look up around here, don't suppose you'll be here to see us turn things around for this year?"
"Adam, we aren't sure how long we'll need Mr. Saladino's help out here," Hahn said. "But in the meantime, he's definitely going to be an asset to restoring Comiskey. Tyler, let me introduce you to The Middle Infield Band."
They walked over to the corner of the saloon to where the band had just finished rehearsing a song about a woman named Josie.
"On the trumpet we've got Emilio Bonifacio," Hahn said. "That's Alexei Ramirez on the saxophone, Carlos Sanchez playing that standup bass and here's the flashy Gordon Beckham on the piano..."
"Gordon Beckham is the best piano player since Billy Joel, I tell ya!" yelled Hawk from across the room.
"Hawk, who is Billy Joel?!" responded Robin Ventura, with some slight confusion and annoyance.
"Greatest piano man I've ever heard play is who, he always would make stops in Nevada. And I tell you..." Hawk continued his story while the band introduced themselves to Saladino. Ramirez and Saladino became friends quickly once Ramirez learned that Saladino had played the saxophone in Queen City.
Robin pulled Saladino and Hahn over to a table, all three of them with drinks in hand.
"We have to talk business, gentlemen," Ventura said, his voice lowering. "The Royals are coming our way. Chris, Carlos and Jose just came back from a rough business trip in Wrigleyville."
Saladino had heard of Wrigleyville, it was the larger and more popular of the two cities located on El Rio Verde.
"It didn't go as planned," Ventura continued. "Residents of Wrigleyville had heard of Chris and wanted to see those three duel some of their gunslingers. Well, they did and almost walked out unscathed, but Jose got beaten by that Arrieta kid. They're on their way back now, they were even able to steal two of Wrigleyville's prized blue bear cubs. Problem is none of them will be ready to face the Royals come Friday."
"Excuse me sir, who are the Royals?" asked Saladino.
"The Royals are a young, hot-headed gang," Hahn said. "Last year they raided towns left and right and were only stopped by a man named Madison Bumgarner. We've had a few run ins with them already this year."
"With Chris going to the Assembly, I think you know who I'm sending out there to face them," Ventura said.
"Shark? So I guess we aren't even going to pretend to end things nicely," Hahn said.
"Yup. If we're gonna turn things around here, we've got to start showing people they can't come into Comiskey and walk all over us," Ventura replied, finally drinking his martini.
"And that's the will to win, right there! Mercy!" shouted Hawk.
Next on Wild Wild White Sox: Comiskey takes on the Royals
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