This week I have chosen Darcy Posein’s words: Item: whiskey; Word: chaser.
Thanks Darcy! Enjoy!
The sun rose slowly over the hills as the gunfighter looked down on the small town in the valley. As he watched, the sun lit it up from one end to the other as it crawled across the morning sky. As far as he could tell it was a typical middle-of-nowhere town. There was a saloon, a general store, bank, blacksmith, a hotel and a few houses but that was all. And everything looked to be somewhat run down, dingy like, dusty. Still in use but not exactly kept up. He decided his desire for a drink of whiskey was more important than his usual rule of staying away from populated places so he pointed his horse at the town and rode on in.
As he entered town he saw the inevitable sign that was always posted on the outskirts of places like this telling folks of the population and to turn your guns in to the Sherriff first thing. He smiled at that. Not something he was likely to do. As he rode up the main street he could hear folks whispering as he went by. That was something he found as inevitable as the sign. With his scarred face, tall lean body, and Colts on each hip it wasn’t hard for folks to figure out who he was. He stopped in front of the saloon, tied up his horse to the post out front and walked in through the swinging doors.
As he entered the saloon everyone inside stopped what they were doing and turned to look at him. It got deathly quiet. His spurs jingled as he walked slowly over to the bar. Peeling off his riding gloves he gestured to the bartender who came over to him trembling slightly.
“What’ll be Mister?” the bartender said in a croaky voice so low you could hardly hear him.
“Beer. And a whiskey chaser,” said the gunman in clear voice making the bartender jump.
“Right away,” he wheezed.
The gunfighter turned to look around the saloon as he was waiting for his drinks. The other patrons there were staring at him. He saw recognition on some faces, fear on most. But he was glad for what he didn’t see – confrontation. He turned back when he heard the clink of drinks hitting the surface of the bar.
“There ya go Mister,” whispered the bartender. “That’ll be twenty five cents.”
The gunfighter downed his beer in one go and wrapped his fingers around the whiskey glass. As he was raising it to his lips a gravelly voice from just behind him asked:
“He said that would be twenty five cents. You plannin’ on payin’ fer them there drinks?”
The gunfighter slowly set the whiskey back on the bar and turned around. Standing behind him was the Sherriff of the small town, as evidenced by the silver star hanging loosely from his shirt. He stood with his hand on the butt of his pistol ready for a fight.
Very slowly the gunfighter reached into his vest and pulled out a dollar coin and laid it on the bar. He looked at the Sherriff and raised an eyebrow.
“Well that’s all fine and dandy, but what about them guns you’re wearing? Didn’t you see the sign on yer way inta town? Or can’t ya read?” asked the Sherriff in his dusty voice.
“I saw. I read,” answered the gunfighter.
“Well then, what’s yer excuse fer not handing them over?”
“Not my town. Not my law.”
The Sherriff thought about that for a second.
“No, but it’s OUR town and OUR law. Hand ‘em over.”
“Be careful Sherriff,” said one fellow who was playing cards at a table nearby. “Don’tcha know who that there is?” he warned, his voice so low you could barely hear him.
“I know full well who this is, Zeke, but we gots a law and it needs up-holding,” wheezed the Sherriff eyeing the gunfighter.
“Don’t. You’ll die,” said the gunfighter plainly.
The two men stood there, looking at each other. Neither moved for what seemed like an eternity. The tension mounted. Finally the gunfighter sighed.
“I’ll just be on my way,” said the gunfighter, looking around the room and then back to the Sherriff.
“Fine,” whispered the Sherriff in his dry voice, stepping aside.
The gunfighter slowly picked up his gloves and walked out of the saloon. He untied his horse and mounting it, rode slowly out of town. He could hear the town folk whispering about him in their raspy, croaky voices as he went by them.
“That was one hoarse town,” he thought to himself as rode away.