By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 723
“Whiskey, thanks.” Paul Black grunted at the barmaid.
He turned to face the crowded saloon, surveying every dirty, dust covered cowboy and local critically. Paul knew what to look for in a bounty hunter and was sure he spotted two playing blackjack at a crowded table. One of the bounty hunters wore a tan jacket to hide his pistols, red shirt buttoned up to the neck and denim jeans. The other wore all gunmetal gray, boots, trousers and shirt, he had no jacket on and his two six-shooters hung low.
The barmaid placed a dirty glass on the counter and filled it with watered down whiskey, of the cheap and nasty kind. Paul gave her the evil eye, and she shrugged her shoulders back. Saloon’s like this were a dime a dozen and nothing would change that. A man on the run had to make do with this kind of service without making a fuss. Less he wants to end up with an even bigger bullseye on his back. Nothing like making ordinary folk remember you more than ticking them off or being just down right disagreeable for no reason.
Paul took the glass and drank it in one fast swallow. It tasted more of the dirty and grim in the glass than of the whiskey. He tossed a coin on the counter and moved towards the piano near the small stage. From this position, he would be able to keep an eye on everyone in the saloon, and get a pretty good close up of the women dancing in their corsets and suspenders.
“I ain’t no cheat!” yelled one of the scruffy old men at the card table.
He knocked his chair back as he staggered to his feet in a drunken stupor. Paul watched the two bounty hunters closely; they looked like the kind of low life that would gun down an old man for no big reason. They looked like the kind of varmints that would get a laugh out of gunning down a drunken old man for fun too.
Paul moved quickly and was at the card table before the two bounty hunters had a chance to draw their six-shooters.
“You need to go home and sleep off your mood, ol’ timer.”
“Mind your business, stranger.” The bounty hunter in the tan jacket said to Paul.
“I make it my business when any ol’ timer is about to be gunned down over a card game.”
Paul did not like the attention he was getting from the crowded saloon now, but he knew it was a chance to get these bounty hunters off his tail for good.
The other bounty hunter was on his feet with his hands at his sides, ready to draw.
“Why don’t you sit back down, partner?”
“I will, once we finish our conversation with this cheatin’ dog.”
“I ain’ no cheat.” The crusty old poker player said, reaching for the gun at his side. With his drunken vision, he grabbed at the gun he thought was real and was surprised when his hand passed through it.
The bounty hunter in grey took to bullets in the chest from Paul’s colt peacemaker before firing off a single shot. It passed by the old man, clipping him on the right leg before thudding harmlessly into the bar. Paul gunned down the second bounty hunter as he leapt to his feet before he got a shot off. Paul’s bullet hit him in the forehead before he even had a chance to draw his pistol. It thudded to the floor, unfired a second after the owner crashed down.
“You alright, ol’ timer?”
“Dirty, stinkin’ bastard. I ain’ no cheat, mister.”
“It’s alright. They won’t be giving any a hard time now.”
Paul picked up the loose notes on the card table where the bounty hunters had been. He counted out six hundred dollars for himself; the amount they would have received for bringing Paul in for a crime he did not commit, and gave the rest to the old man.Time to move on he thought to himself. He slowly walked from the saloon and rode out of town. Without these two on his tail, he knew he had a good two weeks head
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Here at The Fringe Magazine we publish Short Stories, Flash Fiction, Poetry in all genres and reviews of books, roleplay games, music and movies.
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Our variety seems to be hiting the mark with over 100,000 views of our Online Magazine with a good spread across all articles.?xml:namespace>From surveys we've conducted, our readers are like most people and enjoy reading all kinds of books, both fiction and non-fiction.
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