Setting ‘em Up
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 707
“Set me up with a stiff drink, Vinnie,” Irv said. “Maybe it will help me forget all that’s happened.”
Vinnie slid a shot glass of whiskey down the counter to the tired gunslinger. Irv grabbed the glass before it stopped and swigged it down in one gulp. Before he could ask, another appeared in front of him. This one, he sipped, savouring the malted barley. Irv took his tobacco pouch out and rolled a cigarette with the last of his leaf. At least he was in a semi-populated region and busy town, so it would not be a problem picking up some more tobacco in the morning.
“You catch those varmints, Irv?” Vinnie asked. “Bet they must have given you a run for your money this time?”
Irv knew he’d be able to rustle up some free tobacco and maybe even a shot or two from the bar tender in exchange for a good yarn. That would be a fair trade and tide Irv over until the morning. Vinnie must have read his mind; cause he slid is tobacco tin down the counter to Irv.
“Top up your pouch, friend,” Vinnie said. “Can’t have you running dry till the morning.”
Irv took a deep drag from his smoke and a sip from his drink.
“Wasn’t the easiest bounty to collect, but ain’ the hardest money I’ve ever earned either. It took me two weeks and across the Shady Plains to catch up to the Kelly Gang.”
“Shady Plains,” Vinnie said. “There still vampires haunting those parts?”
“Sure is, friend. Bloodsuckers living underground can trap you day or night. Many a pilgrim been sucked into the sinkholes they set up. Trapped until night when the vamps come out to collect their dinner.”
“That why you the only one game enough to cross the plains after the Kelley’s?”
“Or stupid enough. Takes at least three days to cross the Shady. That’s two nights too much for most folks, even the toughest bounty hunters. I staked four of those critters the first night, didn’t see any the second. I think the Gang was kept busy though. Found the headless corpse of two of the brothers when I past their camp the following day.”
“Must have been a few vamps to outwit those seven boys?”
“Looked like they took out a dozen of the night crawlers by the count of the staked bodies I found. Anyways, once I caught up with them, they were tired and worn down and didn’t put up much of a fight. After I took two of them down with my blasters, the other three just gave up. Guess they thought loosing half the gang was worth more than the princess they kidnapped.”
“Did you bring the heads of the four boys back for the bounty?”
“Na didn’t even bring the three live ones in. They’d been so traumatised by their run in with the vamps that it wasn’t worth it. Ain’t no way they’ll be troublin’ anyone anymore. Besides, the reward for bringing the princess back safe and sound was enough for the effort I put in.”
“Bet they wish they’d skirted round the plains now?”
“Or taken a speeder. I know there few and far between these days. It would have been quicker, but they’d have drawn more attention to themselves than they’d have liked.”
“Why don’t you use a hover cycle, Irv? Wouldn’t it be quicker to catch the outlaws that way?”
“I prefer the old ways, Vinnie. And the cost of running and maintaining those vehicles is outrageous. A good horse will give you the edge any day.”
“So when you going out on your next bounty hunt?”
Irv swigged the last of his whiskey and it as quickly replaced by another. He rolled another cigarette and lit it.
“I hear that the Miller Gang has robbed the Great Divide Monorail. The Rail Company is offering a big enough bounty to let me retire.”
Vinnie switched off the mp3 recorder under the counter. He hoped that Irv wouldn’t retire. Vinnie was making a killing writing novels based on Irv’s stories.
Setting ‘em Up
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