Monday, August 19, 2013

Fiction late arrivals

So I kind of got distracted this week.  Being home with my video games again for the first time in month...yeah, 'nuff said.

Anyway, the challenge for this past week was to use a random title generator and write a story from that.  The generator gave five titles and I went with the first one that gave a strong mental image.  Ended up being not too bad, I think it worked better in the present tense.

That's about all I have to say on his one, hope you enjoy.

At the Gunfighter with a Gambit

            I push through the doors to the Gunfighter, letting them swing closed as I make my way through the saloon.  I already know where McKenzie is.
            Everything stops when I kick open the door to his private dining room.  Waitresses with drinks, men paying cards or darts, even the music grinds to a halt.
            I step into the room.  When one of McKenzie’s men tries to stop me I slow only long enough to clock him with my pistol.  He falls to the floor clutching at his mouth and trying to hold in the blood and teeth.
            I slam my gun onto the table, scattering money and sending cards flying.
            McKenzie looks up at me past the brim of his hat.
            “Boys,” he says to the two men at the table.  “Take a walk.”
            They look at me then back at McKenzie.  No one moves.
            He picks up my gun.
            “Take,” he says and cocks the hammer. “A walk.”
            The room empties.
            One of them was smart enough to shut the door on his way out.  I could hear the music pick back up and knew we’d be left alone.
            McKenzie still held my gun.
“Pretty stupid move, giving up your gun.  I’d heard better of you.”
“Those bounties were business,” I say.  “I don’t usually care what my mark has to say.”
“So this is personal then?  I’m honored.”
“You killed my father.  You’re damn right it’s personal.”
He threw back his head laughing and I could see the grey streaking his red hair.
“Kid I’ve killed a lot of people, and I’m too damn old for shootouts in the square.  Why do you think I settled down?  These days I’m usually napping at the stroke of noon.”
“I don’t care how old you are, you’re still going to duel me.”
“Tell you what, let’s compromise.”
He released the hammer and flicked open the chamber, emptying all but one bullet with a smooth efficiency that belies his age.  I didn’t doubt for a second that he could still duel.
He just didn’t want to.
“You know roulette?”  He asks.
I decided to humor him.
I sat down at the table.  “Who goes first?”
He gestured at the table.
“Why not let the cards decide?”
“One spin of the barrel?”
“High card wins, low card shoots?”
I sit down.
McKenzie clears the table and shuffled the cards.  I cut the deck and motion for him to draw first.  He shrugs and we both take a card.
Ten versus four.
I spin the chamber of my gun and put the barrel to my head.  The hammer cocks back and lands with a hollow click.
As we draw again McKenzie speaks.
“I recognize this gun.”
Five versus jack.
“You should,” I say as the gun clicks harmlessly in his hand.  “It was my father’s gun.”
Six versus eight.
“Your father was a sheriff, tried to stop me from robbing a bank.”  The gun clicks in his hand again.
Nine versus four.
“He was,” I said after the gun hit another empty chamber in my hands.
King versus ace.
“Did you know that he was a made man?”  The gun hits a fifth empty slot and he set it back down.
I don’t say anything as we draw our last cards.  I look at the queen in my hand and watch McKenzie show me what he had drawn.
A two lands on the table.
I watch him pick up the gun and cock it for the sixth and final time.
Before putting it to his head he says.
“Your father was supposed to chase us out of town, you know.  We were going to give him his cut after he made the chase look real.  But when we were out there he got greedy and stupid, tried to take it all for himself.  He tried to kill me with this gun.”
McKenzie points the gun at me and fires.
I don’t flinch as the smoke clears.
McKenzie looks at me dumbfounded for a moment before going for his own gun at his hip.
I drop the derringer out of my sleeve and shoot him before he can draw.
The force of the bullet knocks him back and he falls to the floor.
I kneel down beside him, taking my gun from his limp hand.
His mouth moves, but the bullet had torn into his throat and no sound came out.  I can tell what he was trying to ask.
“I knew all that about my father, I followed him and saw the whole thing.  I saw you try to shortchange him, and I saw your men get ready to shoot him in the back.  My father may not have been a good man, but at least he was better than you.”
McKenzie coughs blood and reaches for my gun.
“I loaded my gun with blanks.  Guess I’m not as stupid as you thought I was.”

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