Rolf and Zantar are sitting at a rude table imbibing. The bar, like the street outside has a distinctly American Western flavor. It is very crowded. Suddenly the door (the traditional double shutters of Westerns) slams open and the room goes quiet. Rolf and Zantar look up. The door is being held by Loan the Ranger, a very large man who scans the room and then stalks toward Rolf and Zantar. Rolf and Zantar go nonchalantly back to their drinks until Loan is looming over them. He is easily seven feet tall and weighs twice as much as Rolf and Zantar together.
LOAN: Welcome to Winklefranks.
ZANTAR: (glaring) The last guy who said that didn’t really mean it.
LOAN: Yes, I heard. But my welcome is quite sincere, I assure you.
ROLF: And who might you be, sir?
LOAN: My name is Loan, Loan the Ranger, and I’m the local law enforcer.
ROLF: (fulsomely) Well, so pleased to make your acquaintance, sir! My name is Rolf, Rolf the Wizard and my companion is Zantar, Zantar the Warrior.
LOAN: I wonder, sir wizard, if you entered the wrong profession. With your glib tongue you could be an entertaining fool.
ROLF: Ahhhhh. Thank you?
LOAN: Not at all. Now, I wonder if the two of you would like to come to my office for a short discussion.
ZANTAR: I like to discuss in taverns.
ROLF: I must concur with my compatriot, the atmosphere here is entirely conducive to discussions. I see no need to repair to your offices.
LOAN: I must insist.
ZANTAR: Maybe you should ask about the last six guys that insisted to much with us. You think just because you’re big you’ll do any better?
LOAN: Oh, I’ve heard about the bullies you beat up.
ZANTAR: And you think you can take out the two that took out those six?
LOAN: Not by the strength of my arm alone, no. But I have Justice on my side (Zantar snickers), I have Right on my side (Rolf snickers). I have the Law on my side (Rolf and Zantar are both snickering). I have fifteen guys on my side with crossbows, spears, swords, and other pointy things.
Loan gestures and there is a sound of scraping chairs and movement. The heroes look around to find themselves surrounded by fifteen armed men.
ROLF: (observing casually) Men with pointy things, you say? Yes indeed, a venerable and respected method for prevailing in an argument.
ZANTAR: Hard to argue with pointy things.
ROLF: Indeed. Let us repair to your offices, good ranger, and become acquainted.
LOAN: I appreciate your cooperation.
The interior of a typical western sheriff’s office with a few minor concessions to the medieval time period. The door slams open and Deputy1 enters followed by Rolf, Zantar, and Loan. There are other men outside who don’t come in. Loan gestures to Deputy1 who scowls at the heroes then leaves, shutting the door behind him. Loan takes a seat behind a desk and puts his feet up on the desk. Rolf takes another seat and puts his feet up on the desk. Zantar takes another chair and after a few abortive attempts to get his short legs up to the desk, gives ups and pretends he was just stretching.
LOAN: So, who are you two working for?
ROLF: It so happens that we are between employers.
LOAN: I see. Allow me to explain that I’m not going to lock you up for giving me the wrong answer. I’m not taking sides in the game, I just want to keep track of the players. Allow me also to remind you that there are fifteen men outside with pointy things. And finally I’d like to inform you that although I don’t care who you are working for, I do care about you not answering my questions. I care about that a lot.
ZANTAR: I’m shaking in my boots.
ROLF: Uh, what my jittery friend means by that, of course, is that we have enormous respect for your pointy things and are eager to cooperate in any way possible. But as I said, we are currently between employers.
LOAN (after staring for a long while): Very well. I’ll take your word that you haven’t been hired yet. But there’s a lot of money to be made around here so sooner or later you’re going to be working for one of the families and I might as well give you The Speech right now. (pauses) You can kill all the Barkleys and Cannons and their soldiers you want, but don’t mess with civilians, don’t mess with my deputies, and really, really don’t mess with me. (glares for a while) Clear?
ZANTAR: What was that about there being lots of money to be made around here?
ROLF: Yes, sir ranger, please expand on that part of your speech. I was listening intently but I fear I missed some of the details.
LOAN: (ominously) If my speech did not impress you enough, I have other ways to get the point across.
ROLF: (hurriedly) Quite unnecessary, I assure you. The deputies with pointy things quite make your, ah, point for you. No more is needed.
Loan looks at Zantar.
ZANTAR: (shrugging) I’m a peaceful dwarf. You won’t catch me killing anyone.
LOAN: (stares at Zantar for a moment, then answers dryly) I see that you are as witty as your friend, Zantar, Zantar the Warrior. Let me show you how much I appreciate your sense of humor.
Cut To …
Zantar and Rolf are hanging from manacles in a dingy cell. The manacles are medieval, but the rest of the cell is Western.
ROLF: (angrily) “Yes, Sir!” That’s all you had to say, “Yes, sir!” Was that so hard? But noooo. You had to be clever. (mimicking Zantar) “You won’t catch me killing anyone.” That’s your idea of wit? Why didn’t you just slap him on the back of the head and offer to entertain his wife for the evening?
ZANTAR: All right, all right. Krikey! How long are you going to go on whining about it?
ROLF: I’m merely pointing out for future reference that when faced with fifteen men carrying pointy things, you should affect a more diplomatic posture.
ZANTAR: Do you know you’re a nag?
ROLF: A Nag?! A NAG?! I’ll have you know…
The cell door slams open and Loan enters. He stands for a few moments gazing at our heroes as he sips a hot drink from a mug. Rolf tries to look unthreatening, a not very difficult feat considering he is chained to the wall. Zantar glowers balefully. Loan seems unaffected by either pose.
LOAN: You know, why those Barkley hands tried to rough you up?
ROLF: I imagine they are typical human rufians, jealous of the obvious physical, mental, and moral superiority of the smaller races.
LOAN: (choking a bit on his tea) No, that’s not it. They had a reason.
LOAN: Do you want to know what the reason is?
ROLF: (in honest surprise at the question) No I can’t say that feel any interest on the matter. (looking over at Zantar) You, Zan?
Zantar glowers. Loan waits for a minute, then shrugs.
LOAN: Well, I’m going home for the evening. This is your last chance to convince me you two already grasp the situation and don’t need to spend the night in here thinking about it.
ROLF: Indeed we do, sir! We grasp the situation intuitively, do we not Zantar? (tries to look at Zantar meaningfully)
ZANTAR: (mutters something intelligible)
ROLF: You see? We both understand the situation! You may release us forthwith, thank you.
Loan doesn’t move.
ROLF: (a tone of desperation creeping in) I don’t think the noble ranger quite heard you Zantar. Perhaps you can reiterate your detailed understanding of the situation. Or perhaps just the line we were rehearsing earlier. (glancing at Loan) Said in all sincerity, of course!
Zantar is silent.
ROLF: Zan, there’s no ale for dinner in here. And no sausage for breakfast.
ZANTAR: (painfully) We don’t mess with civilians. We don’t mess with deputies. We don’t mess with sheriffs. But I’m not going to grovel or nothing.
LOAN: (smiling and stepping toward the heros with a set of keys) Grovelling certainly would not become you, Mr. Zantar and I by no means would expect it. Let us put this unpleasantness behind us.
Loan unlocks both heroes and ushers them out the door.