Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Galloway Brothers -- Forgotten Legends

In 1886, identical twins, Ephram and Louis Galloway, came to Carson City, Nevada with nothing but a dream and a horse they took turns riding. (The horse, not the dream.) They were gunslingers and former outlaws looking for a fresh start. The Comstock mines were nearly played out, but the brothers weren't interested in metals--they had decided that the "gold-rush" of the twentieth century was going to be antimatter, and were determined to get in early. Over the next four years, they attempted to build and operate the world's first particle accelerator--a steam-powered atom smasher made of hickory planks and adobe.

But the story starts twenty-six years earlier, with their birth.

Ephram and Louis were born within minutes of each other on March 21st, 1860 in Charleston, South Carolina, to an unwed schoolteacher named Priscilla Galloway. Their father was rumored to be town drunk and frequent nudist known locally as Smudges. (The brothers decided not to take his name.) It was apparent, practically from the cradle, that Ephram and Louis had an astonishing skill with the six-gun. They killed their first man together at the age of five. It was a stevedore and riverfront brawler named Axe, who made the mistake of calling them the "bastard babies of a godless whore".

The young Galloway Brothers left town after that and drifted west, taking work when they could find it and robbing stagecoaches when they couldn't. Many a driver paid dearly for laughing at the pre-pubescent stick-up artists standing before him, when he should have been diving for a shotgun and praying.

At the age of sixteen the brothers found themselves in Santa Fe where they happened to fall in love with the same woman, a Mexican seamstress named Reyna. They married and shared her for two years, alternating nights, until Reyna finally noticed that the birthmark on her husband's thigh kept switching sides. Reyna divorced them and they had to flee Santa Fe one step ahead of her father's lynch mob.

The Galloway Brothers drifted north and disappeared into the Rockies, vanishing from the pages of history for ten years. When they turned up in Utah in 1885, their sandy blond hair had turned completely black and their pupils were vertical and slitted, like a cougar's. One year later they were living in a desolate stretch of the Nevada desert, trying to build the world's first particle accelerator out of hickory planks and adobe.

********************************

The Galloway Brothers died of a congenital heart defect within minutes of each other, one day shy of their thirtieth birthday. Desert creatures scattered their bones across miles of the loneliest country you ever want to see, and their particle accelerator was carried away by the flash floods of spring.

No one knows if the Galloway Brothers ever got their particle accelerator to work.

Despite their duplicity, Reyna couldn't seem to forget them and though she lived to be ninety-five, she never remarried.

9 Comments:

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Francis Marion Tarwater said...

I think this would make a good movie. Here's to the brothers Galloway.

 
At 10:01 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I was just thinking about atom smashers today! Seriously.

I was thinking about how we used to call them atom smashers, but now we call them "particle accelerators."

Damn political correctness.

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Blasted birthmarks, tey've been the downfall of many a good man Latigo.
That Reyna sure paid a heavy price in years of widow-hood for rejecting those boys.

 
At 8:19 AM, Blogger Isaac said...

NEVER LET YOUR WOMAN SEE YOU NAKED. So much disaster can be averted by following this simple credo.

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Anonymous Shannon said...

Loved the story. I agree it should be made into a movie. Better yet, how about a newspaper story! Perhaps soemthing like, " Troubled twins producing particle prise!" I know! You don't have to tell me. That's really lame. I'm just in a silly mood today.

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

So basically, you're saying that Owen Chamberlain was a no-good cheat who stole the ideas of a tragically short-lived pair of outlaws?

The guy did do a lot of work out in the desert, after all.

 
At 6:49 PM, Blogger random said...

Okay, I worked up a quick treatment for the Bros. Galloway movie and submitted it to a major studio. Hope you don't mind.

They said they loved it, but the only way we can we can get a greenlight is if Woody Allen plays both the Galloway brothers and Reyna, instead of a particle accelerator the brothers are working on a machine that reinserts comic books into their little plastic sleeve without getting the tape stuck to the cover and Jabba the Hutt gets a quick cameo.

What do you think, Latigo?

 
At 1:18 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Solace Layfield, you have a magnificent name. Do you know this? Trust me, I know a thing or two about magnificent names--and yours, Solace Layfield, is among the most very magnificent there ever was.

I know LBB, what's this world coming to? Next thing you know, antimatter is going to demand to be called alternatively structured matter.

Nobody wins when true love fails Peter. (Except maybe the ice-cream companies.)

That is indeed a most intriguing credo Isaac. But you'll understand if I hesitate to adopt it.

We have one rule here Anonymous Shannon, nothing we say is even remotely lame. It is a tender, loving rule that serves us all very well--hell, read just a few of my archives. And also alliterations are absolutely divine. (That actually might be two rules, but only squares count rules.)

I was going to say yes Trevor, until I Googled him, saw a picture and my heart melted. So no, plenty of people can develop the same idea independent of each other. I'm certain such was the case with Owen and the Galloway Brothers.

Random, I'm speechless. Do you know how difficult it is to render Latigo Flint speechless? Berserkedly difficult, that how. But nonetheless you've done it. Well done Sir.

(Oh, yeah, and I'll kill Woody before I see him in one Galloway Brothers role, much less three... nothing personal.)

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

I like the picture where he's holding a pipe the best.

 

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