Antony Magnus examined the map to nowhere. “Nowhere” was apparently near the Bluerock Hills.
“These cow-eyed jackasses keep makin’ copies and followin’ it,” said Nero from his upholstered chair in front of his aquarium.
An aquarium in a cathouse, thought Magnus. And he thinks the prospectors are the jackasses?
“Where’s it lead?” Magnus asked. He eyed the broad-bellied gunman at the door, who glowered in return. “And does your girlfriend need to be giving me the come-hithers?”
The fat lackey moved his hand to the butt of his gun, but Nero waved him off. He gave Magnus his best glower and left.
“I told you where it leads,” said Nero, his froggish lips tightening over a cigar.
“‘Nowhere’ ain’t a place.”
“These hucksters sure think it is.”
“Well, what’s the problem?”
Smoke trailed from the corners of Nero’s mouth, giving him an ashen smile. “Ain’t none of them come back. Place ain’t a somewhere until someone comes back from it.”
Magnus chewed on his own teeth, jaw muscles working. He examined the map again. “And why’s a buncha missing miners concern you?”
“Some of them’s loyal customers,” Nero drawled, his face a curtain of smoke. “These empty-headed cactus lizards think it’s some kinda arcanum bonanza, or a mythical paradise or some such. The more folk don’t come back, the more these imbeciles think it’s a place nobody wants to come back from. But we both know it’s more likely a place no one can come back from.”
Magnus sighed, folding the map and stuffing it in his back pocket. “And why aren’t you sending Big-Bellied Betsy out there to check things out? You and I, we ain’t exactly dancin’ partners, partner.”
Nero rolled his eyes and shifted in his seat, head to the side to watch the tiny colorful fish floating lazily in the aquarium. “Batiatus ain’t a spellslinger,” he said.
Hand still resting on the grip of his spellgun, Magnus said, “No he ain’t,” and turned to leave.
“That map is my property, dear boy.”
Magnus half-turned his head on the way out. “Don’t make any trouble while I’m gone,” he said, and opened the door. Batiatus, who was blocking the exit, stepped aside.
Today’s three random prompt categories were, “Aquarium,” “Cowboy wizards,” and, “A map to nowhere.”
15 minutes just isn’t enough time to get some proper cowboy wizarding done. You know what? Let’s make this a two-partner prompt. We’ll see where “nowhere” leads tomorrow.