The 1880s were a violent and harsh time all across America, but none more so than in Texas and the Indian Territories. Lawlessness was rampant, and the law was only beginning to gain a foothold. Heroes and villains gained in notoriety as the "Penny Novel" made its impact on young and old minds alike. And while we know the names of the most notorious and fabled, there were so many more names that were lost to time.
Jase Pinto is but one of those lost names, as he faded in and out of history like a ghost - supporting law and order wherever he traveled. Whether with his knives, his Winchester, or his Colt, Pinto doled out justice to some of the worst outlaws in the Territories and North Texas.
Who was this mysterious man known as Jase Pinto? Only a chosen few ever knew his secret, or his real identity. Pinto's Run reveals his story, and how the legend began.
"Nicky, there is a man out front that says the soup is bad. Did you try something different again?"
"No, Petra, same old recipe we've always used, Papa Agathon's recipe. What does he say is wrong with it?"
"He didn't, just that it tasted like horse dung."
"Offer him something else, and on the house. See if that calms him down." Nicky turned back to the stove, finishing up the current order before starting on the next.
A few minutes later his cousin returned, "Nicky, that man says no. He wants what he ordered, but done right. He's beginning to make a nuisance of himself."
"Has anyone else complained about the soup?"
"No, no one. I even had it myself and it tastes fine to me."
"Is Alexandros still out front?"
"Have him talk to the man, see if he can convince him to leave."
Alexandros was one of his cousins who only worked at the restaurant on occasion, filling in as a waiter, cashier, dishwasher, or wherever else he was needed. Rare was the time his six foot five, two hundred eighty pound size was needed, but this was one of those times. It was already past ten o'clock at night, and Nicholas Jase Pintzopoulos wasn't in the mood to cook anything new for anyone. All he wanted to do was finish the orders in front of him, drink a cool beer, take a hot bath and get some sleep. Each of the family cooks regularly took an entire day so each of the others could have a full day off, and this was his day - all sixteen hours plus of it.
He was just starting the last order when he heard the scream, and then the shot. Without thinking, he grabbed a cleaver and sprinted through the swinging doors leading to the serving area of Agathon's, the well known and beloved Greek restaurant located in downtown Austin.
The first thing he saw was his cousin Petra being held by the throat by a scraggly bearded man about his own size holding a gun in his right hand. The second thing he saw was Alexandros lying motionless on the floor with a gaping hole in his side, blood gushing out onto the floor. No one else was moving; all seemed to be frozen in place by what had happened. All except he and Petra, who was kicking and screaming at the man in complete, unbridled anger.
Nicholas Jase continued his now steady, wordless advance on the man. The shooter turned his head toward the young cook, and then started to swing his Colt up and in Nicholas Jase's direction. Without thinking, the cleaver was up and on it's way. It struck the bearded man squarely in the face, right between the eyes, dropping him like a stone beside Alexandros.
"Petra, grab some fresh napkins and a tablecloth." When she didn't move, he yelled his instructions to her. "Petra, now, dammit! Get some fresh napkins and a tablecloth!"
She jumped out of her stupor and into immediate action. Turning to one of the remaining customers, Nicky said, "Please go find a doctor for my cousin. There's one at the other end of the block, Dr. McNulty, above the drugstore. And you'd probably better notify the law."
The stranger jumped up from his seat and then ran for the door, along with another man Nicholas Jase recognized as a regular customer. He kneeled over his cousin, and then reached up to take the napkins from Petra as she approached.
"Nicky, is Alex dead?"
"No, not yet, Petra," he said gently stuffing the first napkin into the open wound. "But we have to slow down his bleeding. Cover that body with the tablecloth," he said nodding toward the dead body lying next to Alexandros. He slowly rolled Alex onto his side; pushing another napkin into the bullet's exit hole once he could access the gaping hole. He was almost delighted to have the big man groan and flutter his eyes as he delicately rolled his cousin back onto his back.
"Alex, I've sent for the doctor. You hang on until he can do what he has to do to fix you up, all right?"
Alex gave a slight nod, and then let out a deep groan and fell back into unconsciousness. A few minutes later, Dr. Angus McNulty appeared and started barking orders. "Get this dead body out of my way! Let's get this man up onto a table, a big table, so I can get a look at the damage. Someone get me a pan of hot water, and keep the water coming. It looks like I'll have to operate here and now if I'm going to save this man."
Several of the other cousins had arrived, as word passed through the family as though by magic, and began creating a makeshift operating room right in the middle of the dining area. Soon, Alexandros was on the table on his side, and the doctor was cleaning the wound. Two young female cousins, Althaia and Leda, were assisting as much as the doctor would allow them. Both had worked with several of the Catholic Sisters who practiced nursing around the area, and were hoping to be able to attend the University of Texas Medical School being planned for in Galveston. As the doctor tired, he allowed each of the girls to do more to assist, and was amazed at their ability and dexterity.
An hour after the skirmish ended, a police officer strolled in like he owned the place, demanding to know what had happened, then virtually ignoring anything he was told other than Nicholas Jase had killed the dead man with a meat cleaver. He lifted the tablecloth to reveal the face underneath, or what was left of it, and then abruptly stated, "Kid, you're under arrest for murder." The few patrons who still were hanging around, along with all of his attending family, including his parents, protested the arrest of what they viewed as a hero for killing the man who had beaten and mistreated Petra, and possibly killed Alexandros. But Nicky was placed in cuffs and hauled off to jail nonetheless.
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