The stranger in the rain-soaked Stetson silently cursed the “horse that brung him”.

He watched for the squint signalling a finger tensing on a trigger.

“You’re in charge.“ He soothed, his right hand deep within his unbuttoned oil-skin slicker. “Have your partner come take this saddlebag off me.”

The bartender behind him went silent while the saloon girl in the corner peered out blurry-eyed.

The scrawny kid draped on her belly over a table hadn’t so much as moved to smooth down her torn, uplifted skirt.

Rifle barrel held forward, the ‘partner’ staggered forward, crossing between the would-be robber and the stranger.

Three shots boomed.

Two men lay dead and another dying.

“Holy Mother.” The saloon girl rushed behind the bar, then rushed into the darkness to upchuck cheap whiskey.

Back inside, she grabbed another bottle, swished, and spat on the life-less face of the would-be robber.

She nodded at his back-shot partner on the floor. “We gotta listen to him die?

The stranger placed his sawed-off shotgun back into the folds of his slicker and motioned to the girl on the table.

“I offered myself, mister. But they just hadda be mean. She earns some food money when nobody’s around. Didn’t expect nobody tonight this kinda weather. Then these two shows. The rest stayed at their hidey-hole. Probably come in tomorrow. You’d best be gone by then. Their Boss is a whole ‘nother level of mean and good at it too. They said he’s got two new men, too.”

The Stranger looked up. “Did they describe these ‘new men’?”

“Nah, just said they fit in real good.” She grimaced toward the bar. “Was killing him an accident or did you point that barrel on purpose when you pulled it?”

“Did he try to stop these other two?”

The Saloon girl lowered her eyes.

“Then it doesn’t really matter.”

Lightning flashed.

“Must have one hell of a horse to find your way here on a night like this”

The Stranger shrugged. Thunder rolled.

“Next time, get yourself an old nag that hates to get wet.”

A posting from Kevin McGill’s The Possible Ks

Canadian Satire, Poetry, Social Justice Commentary & Inspiration

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