Below we present the complete text of “A New Deputy in Town”, episode 2 of our new Weird Western; Where Death Comes Uninvited. This is a brand new (unpublished) series (featuring a brand new roster of heroes including Jim Wilkes – the Sheriff, Annie Deems – the Crack Shot, Speeding Elk – the Tracker, and Sally Turner – the Gambler). If you would like to see these new stories advance from being drafts into polished publications then please consider supporting us by purchasing one or more of our previously published titles. Every sale directly funds the production of new stories.
Where Death Comes Uninvited
EPISODE #2 – A NEW DEPUTY IS IN TOWN
by Philip Craig Robotham
Cover Illustration by Miyukiko
Copyright 2016 Philip Craig Robotham
Creative Commons Attritubution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Edition .
This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) International license. This play may not be commercially reproduced, performed, or sold. Non-commercial production, performance, and reproduction is allowed under this license so long as attribution is maintained. No derivative content or use is allowed. It can be freely shared in its current form (without change) under this license. If you would like to purchase one or more copies of this work (for your own personal non-commercial use, or to help financially support the author) then please return to http://www.weirdworlstudios.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Other works by this author can be found at the author’s website: http://www.weirdworldstudios.com or through select, online book retailers.
Serial #1: Where Death Comes Uninvited
Jim Wilkes, former U.S Marshall, drifts into town to become the new Sheriff, but all is not as it should be. When he arrives, the town is in mourning, many of its children having been killed in a fire at the schoolhouse/church. He greets a wall of suspicion against outsiders, the spectre of multiple unsolved murders, strange and unnatural events, and a saloon keeper that seems to rule the town with an iron fist. In his quest to confront the evil power behind the town he must recruit allies, discover the frightening source of the towns wealth, prevent an indian war, and pass through death itself. Can he do so before death has a chance to claim the entire town?
Episodes in the Host Your Own “Old Time Radio Drama” series are designed to provide a fun dinner party experience for 6–8 participants. Read along, taking on the role of one or more of the characters in the story, and listen as the exciting drama unfolds. This is the theater of the mind, where the special effects are only limited by your imagination, and your participation will build a memory that you’ll treasure for years to come.
Where Death Comes Uninvited
NARRATOR: The Narrator
JIM WILKES: Sheriff of Liberty Gulch
ANNIE DEEMES: Crack Shot and Store Keeper
ABE FARROW: Drifter
PASSER BY #1: Townsfolk
PASSER BY #2: Townsfolk
PASSER BY #3: Townsfolk
PASSER BY #4: Townsfolk
PASSER BY #5: Townsfolk
PASSER BY #6: Townsfolk
DAN WILSON: Mayor of Liberty Gulch
WALLACE LEACH: Deputy of Liberty and Henchman to Dan
SFX: SFX operator (1 required)
SCENE 4: EXT – MAIN STREET – MID MORNING (JIM, WALLACE)
- MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH
- NARRATOR: Jim Wilkes, formerly of the U.S Marshall’s office, has taken a job as Sheriff in the town of Liberty Gulch. Barely preventing a lynching, Jim finds himself saddled with a deputy who, likely, owes his position and allegiance to the local mayor rather than the law.
- WALLA: SOUND OF PASSING HORSES, WAGONS, OCCASIONAL SHOPPERS ETC.
- WALLACE: You kept me waitin’ there a while, Sherrif.
- JIM: You waited. I wasn’t keepin’ you.
- WALLACE: Ahuh. Well, if you don’t mind my sayin’ so. You’re not much better company now than you was when I woke you up.
- JIM: Are you gonna follow me around gabbing all day?
- WALLACE: Well, I am your deputy. What are we doing?
- JIM: I’m gonna look into that Church fire and see what’s what.
- WALLACE: Is that so? Dan, I mean the mayor, ain’t gonna be too partial to that.
- JIM: (IGNORING WALLACE) How’d you end up a deputy, Leach?
- WALLACE: I’s always been the deputy. I worked for the last Sheriff.
- JIM: And what happened to your last Sheriff, Leach?
- WALLACE: He got his-self killed out in the injun lands. Dan’s always saying them savages need to be put in their places. The new world o’ civilization ain’t got room fer the likes o’ them, he says.
- JIM: And how come, as the town deputy, you ain’t been the acting Sheriff this little while.
- WALLACE: Well sir, this is a part time thing with me. I got me a job tending bar in Dan’s saloon. I ain’t the commandin’ type. And there’s a few around town who opposed me bein’ appointed.
- JIM: Like who?
- WALLACE: Annie Deemes for one. After, Dan, she’s the richest woman in town.
- JIM: I doubt “Dan” would like to hear you referrin’ to him as a woman, Leach.
- WALLACE: Now, Sherrif, you know that ain’t what I meant.
- JIM: Sure I do, I’m just funin’ with you. But, since you mentioned it, I think I’ll start by talkin’ with Miss Deemes.
- WALLACE: Heh! Well, sure. But she won’t like you callin’ her Miss Deemes.
- JIM: Why’s that?
- WALLACE: I don’t rightly know. She’s a strange one. Private, like. People around here say she’s had an “education”. Some even say she can read “Latin” and “Greek” and some other heathen lingos like “Hee-Brew”.
- JIM: I’m guessin you haven’t been blessed with a lot of book learning yerself.
- WALLACE: No sir, all them letters’ll give a man a brain-ache.
- JIM: Figured as much. C’mon.
- MUSIC: (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
SCENE 5: INT – ANNIE’S GENERAL STORE – LATER (ANNIE, WALLACE, JIM)
- SOUND: BELL RINGS AS MEN ENTER – LET IT FINISH.
- ANNIE: Be right with you. (BEAT) Oh, it’s you Sheriff. What can I do for you?
- JIM: Howdy, Miss Deemes. I was wondering if I might ask you a few questions about the fire?
- ANNIE: Not in front o’ him you caint… and it’s Annie to you. I ain’t anyone’s Miss… or Mrs for that matter.
- WALLACE: Now Annie, there aint no call for being so rude.
- ANNIE: I’ll talk anyway I damn well please in my place, Wallace Leach. And if you expect anything different yer a bigger fool ‘n even I thought you was.
- JIM: Is there a problem here?
- WALLACE: Well, Sherrif, you see…
- ANNIE: Don’t let the “aw shucks” manner o’ this one fool you, Sherrif. (TO WALLACE) You’re a stone cold killer, ain’t you Leach? An’ a coward to boot. How many men is it you shot in the back?
- WALLACE: Why you…
- SOUND: SOUND OF GUN BEING DRAW AND COCKED BY LEACH – LET IT FINISH.
- JIM: (MENACING) I think you better go outside and cool down Mr Leach.
- WALLACE: But…
- JIM: Put the gun away or I’ll take it off you and put you down myself.
- WALLACE: But you heard her…
- JIM: (SHARPLY) Leach!
- SOUND: SOUND OF GUN UNCOCKING – LET IT FINISH.
- WALLACE: Alright, Sherrif, but only ‘cause you say so.
- JIM: That’s probably the smartest thing you ever did.
- WALLACE: I’m gonna wait outside. (TO ANNIE) But you can bet, I ain’t done with you (BEAT) Missy!
- ANNIE: (JEERING) Yeah, right.
- SOUND: JANGLE OF BELL. DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES – LET IT FINISH.
- JIM: You like to take risks, don’t you Miss, I mean, Annie.
- ANNIE: (DARKLY) I’m harder to kill than I look and the likes of Wallace Leach, don’t scare me much. What’s he doing with you anyway.
- JIM: The mayor lumbered me with him last night.
- ANNIE: You know he’s gonna repeat everything you do and say to the Mayor, don’t you?
- JIM: Uhuh. But in the mean-time, he’s tellin’ me a whole lot more ‘n I’m telling him.
- ANNIE: You take risks of your own, Sheriff. How can I help you?
- JIM: Well, we were discussing who mighta had it in for the preacher the other night, but then we got interrupted by the lynch mob. I’d still like to hear if there was anyone around town with an axe to grind.
- ANNIE: Uhuh. Well, you seem like a good feller, Sherrif, but, as Wallace Leach goes to prove, a friendly demeanour can still hide a dangerous villain.
- JIM: Does that mean you won’t help me?
- ANNIE: It means I don’t know you. And neither does anyone else in this town. You ain’t likely to find out anything useful until we do know you and learn to trust you a bit.
- JIM: The man in that cell back there, doesn’t have that kind of time.
- ANNIE: I know. I’ll tell you what, if you fire that no-account piece o’ trash, Wallace Leach, that may go some ways toward earnin’ people’s trust. He’s hired muscle for Dan Wilson and no-one’s gonna speak freely to you with him around.
- JIM: What’s Wilson’s interest in all this?
- ANNIE: Let’s just say that Wilson uses money and muscle to stay in control of this town and he’s afraid o’ what you might hear.
- JIM: And what might I hear?
- ANNIE: You gonna fire Wallace Leach.
- JIM: I’d already decided on it when he showed up at my door. Him drawing a gun on you in here is the only excuse I need.
- ANNIE: I see. Well, asking around town you might hear that the preacher was an advocate of injun rights.
- JIM: That’d be unusual.
- ANNIE: He was an unusual man. He was captured and tortured by injuns once. It never made him change his tune though. Mercy and kindness were his watchwords.
- JIM: Doesn’t sound like a man to make many enemies then.
- ANNIE: Don’t you believe it. He ain’t the only one to have had experience with torture from injuns. Dan Wilson, went prospecting in injun territory as a teenager. He claims he was captured and tortured before escaping. He crawled back into town half dead, raving about hostiles and monsters. He almost died – in fact the doctor pronounced him dead for about a minute and a half. But then he recovered and has gone from strength to strength since. He made his fortune not long after that. Apparently he accumulated some big gambling wins back East while convalescing and this gave him the money he wanted to set up the Saloon. He’s been all for driving the injuns out ever since.
- JIM: The two men cross swords over that issue often?
- ANNIE: Sure did. All the time. Wilson’s an atheist, the only one I ever met, and he wants prospecting rights on the injun land. The preacher has opposed him every step of the way. The mayor petitioned the governor and our preacher sent a counter petition at the same time. It got so the two men wouldn’t even look at each other if they happened to meet in the street.
- JIM: Is there anything out in that desert worth digging up?
- ANNIE: It’s dry scrub and cactus for as far as the eye can see, but who knows? Maybe. Most people think throwing the injuns off their land is just Wilson’s way o’ getting revenge for what happened to him as a youngster.
- Some folks say he still goes out into the forbidden territory from time to time. Hunting ‘em. But I cain’t say whether there’s any truth to that.
- JIM: That last sounds like gossip. Dangerous gossip, at that. If someone was hunting injun-folk you can bet there’d be reprisals.
- ANNIE: Maybe so. Anyways, it turns out that in the lead up to the fire, Reverand Josiah was claiming he had something to reveal about our Mayor and that he would be commenting on it on Sunday.
- JIM: Convenient. Do you think there was anything to it?
- ANNIE: I knew Josiah Smith well. He was a good and honest man. If he said he had something on the mayor then you can bet that he really did have something. Nothing was found on his body and all his possessions were burned in the fire, so whatever it was he had, it died with him.
- JIM: (SURPRISED) He lived in the church?
- ANNIE: Ahuh. He used to say he liked the feel of consecrated ground beneath his feet.
- JIM: Anyone around town likely to back up these facts?
- ANNIE: A few people. But not while Wallace Leach is there to scare em into keeping quiet.
- JIM: Thanks for your time Annie.
- ANNIE: You be careful, Sheriff, ‘specially if’n you think you’ll be going up against the Mayor. He’s a dangerous man.
- JIM: Yeah? Well, as it happens… so am I.
- SOUND: BOOTS ON FLOOR. JANGLE OF BELL. DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES – LET IT FINISH.
- MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
SCENE 6: EXT – MAIN STREET – MIDDAY (JIM, WALLACE, CROWD)
- WALLA: SOUND OF PASSING HORSES, WAGONS, OCCASIONAL SHOPPERS ETC.
- WALLACE: Hey, Sherrif, you should’na let that painted skirt talk to me that way.
- JIM: Leach, you are an idiot and a liability.
- WALLACE: Now see here, Sherrif, you don’t know what I’ve had to put up with from that…
- PASSERS BY: (INTERESTED MURMURS)
- JIM: You drew a gun on an unarmed woman in the clear light of day. I’m gonna need your badge.
- PASSERS BY: (SHOCKED MURMURS)
- WALLACE: You cain’t take this away from me. You ain’t got the right.
- JIM: I’ve got every right.
- WALLACE: I’ll go talk with the mayor. He’ll see this put right.
- JIM: You can go talk with whoever you want. But only after you give me that badge.
- WALLACE: No! I ain’t gonna give it to you!
- SOUND: GUN BEING DRAWN AND COCKED – LET IT FINISH.
- JIM: Leach, I’m a dead shot with this peacekeeper and I’ve already got the drop on you. I think you’d better comply.
- SOUND: TIN STAR BOUNCING ON THE GROUND – LET IT FINISH.
- WALLACE: (SPITS) Dirt’s the best place for that piece o’ tin. You’ll be joining it soon enough.
- JIM: I don’t take kindly to threats Leach. Now hand over your sidearms.
- WALLACE: These is mine, Sherrif. You cain’t take ‘em.
- JIM: I can and I will. The only people who can wear those inside city limits are peace-keepers. And you ain’t no lawman no more. Hand em over. This is your first and only warning.
- WALLACE: You are one self-righteous son of a gun. (BEAT) Alright, Sheriff, but this ain’t the end. And you ain’t seen the last of me.
- SOUND: JANGLING SOUND OF GUNBELT BEING REMOVED AND HANDED OVER.
- JIM: I’ll keep a weather eye out – over my shoulder, so to speak. From what I hear you ain’t the kind of man to come face another from in front.
- PASSERS BY: (MINOR LAUGHTER)
- WALLACE: You’ll rue the day you called me a coward, Sheriff.
- JIM: I’m too busy ruing the day I had to meet your filthy carcass in the first place. Now git!
- PASSERS BY: (SPORADIC APPLAUSE)
- WALLACE: (AT A DISTANCE) Hey Sheriff? It’s a shame I lost the keys to that fellers jail cell. It’s like to make things a little inconvenient for you?
- PASSER BY #1: You better watch out for that one Sheriff. He’s got a long memory for public slights and a reputation for settling his accounts with a pistol in the back. He’s not a man to be trifled with.
- JIM: That weren’t no man worthy of the name. He’s a cowardly dog. Spiteful, and dangerous. I’m awful afraid I’ll be having to put him down real soon.
- PASSER BY #1: Well, good luck to you sir. More’n one has tried. And you might want to set on this a spell too – Leach was the Mayor’s man. Everyone knows it. Putting down Leach, like you done, is tantamount to declaring war on the richest man in town. He’ll see it as a personal embarrassment and he’ll be looking for a way to make you answer for it.
- MUSIC: (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
SCENE 7: INT – SHERIFF’S OFFICE – EVENING (JIM, ABE)
- WALLA: CRICKETS IN THE DISTANCE – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
- SOUND: DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES – LET IT FINISH.
- JIM: You still here, partner?
- ABE: You’re a funny man, Sheriff. That material go over well with all your incarcerated audience?
- JIM: Well enough. You need anything?
- ABE: I could use some food. Ain’t no one brought me anything since breakfast.
- JIM: I thought Annie might’ve been in.
- ABE: No sir. Maybe she figures the job of keeping me fed and watered is yours now.
- JIM: I guess so. And she’d be right. I’d apologise you’ve had to do without ‘cept I think I’ve got some good news for you.
- ABE: Yeah? Hanging date been brought forward, has it?
- JIM: You’re something of a riot yourself, smart guy.
- ABE: Alright then, out with it?
- JIM: I don’t think you did it and I’m willing to cut you loose.
- ABE: You don’t say.
- JIM: I’ve been talkin’ to a lot of people today. The liveryman confirms that he locked you in the stable for the night and that it was damned unlikely you’d have found a way out… and then back in again to where the townsfolk found you. Most o’ the town knows about the ongoing feud between the mayor and the preacher (though most don’t believe it’d come to murder). And the blacksmith and Kelley Adams both saw Wallace Leach lurking in the vicinity of the Church that night about 20 minutes before it burned.
- ABE: Well I’ll be. Leach, huh? No wonder he was so keen to see me hung? He’d a been next in line for people’s suspicions.
- JIM: I have a suspicion he actually did it and was acting on behalf of the Mayor.
- ABE: Why are you telling me all this?
- JIM: Well, I’d like to discuss you staying on here for a spell as my deputy.
- ABE: Would you discuss it over some food?
- JIM: (LAUGHING) Sure. Give me a minute to find my skeleton key.
- ABE: Leach still has the cell key, huh?
- JIM: Ahuh, claimed he lost it when I fired him today. (BEAT) Here we go.
- SOUND: KEY IN LOCK AND JAIL DOOR OPENS – LET IT FINISH.
- ABE: You’ll have picked up a few enemies getting me out of here today, won’t you?
- JIM: Ahuh.
- ABE: Alright. I’ll be your deputy until we get the fellas who set me up. But then I’m gone.
- JIM: Shake on it?
- ABE: It’s a deal.
- SOUND: SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAP (THE MEN SLAPPING THEIR HANDS TOGETHER TO SHAKE ON IT) – LET IT FINISH.
- MUSIC: (BRIDGE) SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
SCENE 8: EXT – MAIN STREET – NEXT DAY (JIM, ABE, ANNIE, PASSER BY#1, PASSERBY #2)
- WALLA: SOUND OF PASSING HORSES, WAGONS, OCCASIONAL SHOPPERS ETC.
- JIM: You ready, ABE?
- ABE: Ahuh. You, Sheriff?
- JIM: Yup. I guess we’d best start our patrol o’ Main Street. Make sure everyone can see you, and that tin star… but don’t let your hand stray far from your gun.
- ABE: Don’t worry. I intend living ‘til a ripe old age.
- JIM: Liar. If you believed that you’d a headed out o’ town under cover of dark, last night.
- ABE: Heh. I guess so.
- SOUND: BOOTS WALKING ON WOODEN WALK. ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
- PASSER BY #1: Holy!… I mean, good morning Sheriff!
- PASSER BY #2: What on God’s green earth!
- PASSER BY #3: (RETREATING FAST) The Sheriff must’ve exhonerated him?
- PASSER BY #4: Damn, if the mayor aint gonna be mad about this!
- PASSER BY #5: Mornin’ Sheriff!
- PASSER BY #6: This’ll turn some hot heads hotter.
- ANNIE: Now if this ain’t a sight. I was just coming to bring you some vitals you might cook up for your prisoner… and here he is wearing a star n’ all. (BEAT THEN ANGRY) Are you outta your damn mind?
- JIM: Take it easy Annie. He’s been exhonerated.
- ANNIE: Sure he has. He didn’t do it. But what the hell is he still doing here? You shoulda put him on a horse and sent him on his way last night.
- ABE: You might try and avoid talking about me as if I ain’t here, miss Annie.
- ANNIE: That’s just Annie, you jackass. You ain’t got the common sense God gave a rattlesnake, either of you.
- JIM: Now, take it easy. There ain’t no call for getting so riled up.
- ANNIE: Sure there is. How’d you end up talking this idjit into puttin’ on the star. It’s sure as hell gonna get him killed.
- ABE: (ANNOYED) He didn’t have to talk me into anything. Letting me go was gonna cause him a heavy deal o’ trouble – possibly even kill him. I couldn’t just walk away.
- ANNIE: (DISGUSTED) Men! (TO JIM) You might o’ been able to calm things down with the Mayor. This way, you’ve all but declared open war. I ain’t lookin to bury another Sheriff this soon (BEAT) or his no-account deputy.
- SOUND: FEMALE BOOTS STORMING OFF INTO THE DISTANCE – LET IT FINISH.
- ABE: Well, she’s pretty riled.
- JIM: Ahuh. Let’s hope it has the same effect on our good mayor.
- ABE: You want to remind me again why we’re setting out to deliberately spit in the eye of a powerful man like Dan Wilson?
- JIM: ‘Cause we’re hoping it’ll cause him to do something rash, make a mistake, and allow us to git him for the recent killings.
- ABE: You know. When we was talking about it by lantern light last night this plan seemed a might more sensible than it does right now.
- JIM: Aw, you’re just feeling squirly ‘cause I hung a pork chop round your neck and asked ‘em to send in the wolves.
- ABE: Thanks for the pep talk, Sheriff.
- JIM: You’re welcome, deputy. (BEAT) Now let’s see about walking into the lion’s den.
- ABE: Not real big is it?
- JIM: The saloon’s built for a small town. No bawdy house, a bar, a few tables for cards, dice, and faro. From what I hear, the mayor lives above the establishment.
- ABE: Got many hired men in there.
- JIM: A few. Maybe more’n a few.
- ABE: Well, hell. Who wants to live forever, anyway?
- MUSIC: (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
- MUSIC: CLOSING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS
NARRATOR: Hello, I am your narrator. I introduce the cold stormy nights on which our stories take place, the dark alleys, and darker personalities who inhabit the lonely city. It is my job to set the scene and establish the serious tone of suspense and intrigue that will carry the story forwards. It is also my job to remind listeners of what came before in a calm, trustworthy voice and ensure that everyone is oriented to where we are and where we are going.
JIM WILKES: I’m the new Sheriff of Liberty Gulch. I’ve been a lawman fer a long time. Liberty was meant to be a change – a chance to relax after my time as a U.S. Marshall. It don’t look like I’ll be doing much relaxing though. This town badly needs some law so’s I expect I’ll have my work cut out fer me.
ANNIE DEEMES: I run the local store. I’m a woman alone in a tough town and I hold my own. I don’t face too much trouble. Most folks who want to cause any are dissuaded, quick-like, by a well aimed Winchester.
ABE FARROW: I was passing through when someone burned the Church down with a bunch a young-uns in it. As the only stranger in town, I ended up in the jail-house. They’ll be comin’ to lynch me real soon, I expect. Ironic that this is how it’ll end. I’m an ex-lawman who’s gonna swing at the end of a rope.
DAN WILSON: I’m the Mayor of this town and its richest man. I’m charming and friendly and I rule this burgh without being gainsaid. This town is mine and I don’t care who knows it. No-one crosses me and gets away with it.
WALLACE LEACH: I’m the duputy in this town (part time). I work fer Mister Wilson over at the Saloon when I’m not deputying. Fact is, I work for Mister Wilson all the time, really. I ain’t been blessed with a deal o’ book learning, but I can add up well enough to stay on the good side o’ the man who pays me. An’ if he pays me to keep an eye on the new Sheriff, then that’s what I’ll do.
CASTING SHEETS — MINOR CHARACTERS
TOWNSFOLK (PASSERS BY): We’re a community full o’ anger and grief. Our children are gone. Murdered by some drifter. We want them back, but that ain’t gonna happen. So we’ll settle for revenge… and no-one better get in the way o’ that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Philip Craig Robotham grew up in a house full of books and has held numerous jobs as a teacher, computer programmer, graphic and web designer, e-learning consultant and, most recently, writer. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two sons. When he was younger and fitter he enjoyed martial arts, but in recent years his hobbies have tended towards more sedate fare (board games, movies, books, and role-playing games).
He is extremely grateful for the encouragement he receives from his biggest fans — his wife and two boys — all of whom read and enjoy his scripts and in general make his life worth living.
You can contact the author regarding performance rights (or simply to say hello) through his website: http://www.weirdworldstudios.com.
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This post and all its content is copyright © 2013 Philip Craig Robotham and has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. This play cannot be reproduced, shared, or performed commercially without the written permission of the author. The production of derivative content, merchandise, or creative works and materials is expressly forbidden under this agreement. However you may share, reproduce, and perform this play freely so long as authorship is acknowledged, no money changes hands, and the play is not modified in any way.