Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Hate This Gun...

Somewhere in the vast deserts of  the old west, there was a dusty, ragged and rugged old mining town. And in that old mining town-- just like so many others like it-- there was a saloon. The saloon was poorly lit, dirty, and smelled of alcohol with an aftertaste of blood and semen. Every creaking wooden nook was densely populated with shady characters, all of whom were a minimum of tipsy, and none of whom had bathed recently. There was yelling and fighting, gambling and vomiting, and of course the occasional gunshot. Everyone was having a perfectly perverse time.

The doors swayed lazily open as a man in a long coat and dark brown hat--tilted so that all of his face save his mouth was in shadow-- strode in. Any of the men who were sober enough to notice him fell silent as he walked passed and many left promptly after. He walked up to the bar and took a stool next a man who was dressed in a black vest and pants. The man had slick black hair and a thick black beard. He was lazily taking swigs of a tall glass of foamy beer.

"I know what it's like," the man with the brown hat said.

"What what is like?" the man in black asked irritably.

"Killing a man. I've had to put a few down in my time. I know the toll it takes. That why you're drinking?"

"Do I know you, stranger?" black said forcefully as he slammed down his empty glass.

The man in the hat pulled his overcoat back a bit, revealing a shiny gold star.

"Ah. A law-man. How can I help you sheriff?"

"You can start by confessing to the murders of Jonathan Henry and Kenneth Smith."

"Excuse me?" the man in black said, shocked. "Why would I be confessing something I haven't done?"

"Because I know you've done it before," the sheriff answered. "We've received telegrams from three other nearby towns of a stranger in black riding into town and staying for two nights. Every time, he's left two bodies in his wake. You fit that description perfectly."

"This is ridiculous--"

"Can we continue this outside, please?" the sheriff interrupted.

They both stood and the sheriff walked closely behind the man in black as they left the saloon. The street was deserted and the sun was setting. The town was silent save for the drunken complaints of the saloon.

"We found three .38 caliber bullets in Smith this morning and another three in Henry about an hour later. We know enough about you from the other towns' sheriffs that I can put you away for a long time."

"You aren't listening," said the man in black, "I didn't kill them!"

"Your best course of action is just to cooperate here, son. I don't want to shoot you, but I will. Now turn around and--"

The man in black swung his fist and struck the sheriff in the side of the head. The sheriff fell to the ground and the man in black sprinted down the road. The sheriff regained his composure, drew his gun, took aim and fired.

A bullet shattered through the man's skull and out through his face.

The body collapsed to the ground, motionless.

The sheriff stood up and walked over to the body. He searched the pockets for any sort of evidence and found nothing aside from his gun: a Colt .45. The sheriff heard the clattering of horse hooves approaching. He turned and looked at the approaching rider.

The horse was black in both fur and mane, and its rider wore a black hat and cloak and was covered in shadow. He rode up to the sheriff and looked down at him.

"Howdy!" he said cheerfully. "Just passing through. Seems like a good town to kill some time."

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