Quick Draw | By: Bil Nadeau | | Category: Short Story - Western Bookmark and Share

Quick Draw


Quick Draw   

As soon as the cowboy could see his home he spurred his brown gelding into loping.  He quickly reached the hitching post. 

   He dismounted and tied the horse up to it.   

   The cowboy rushed through the front door. In the living room he yelled, “Honey I made it back.”

   The cowboy did not find his wife sitting there reading by the candle like she usually does. He shrugged his shoulders.

  The cowboy went into the kitchen.  It was also empty.

   He yelled, “Honey I’m tired of that chuck wagon.”

   The cowboy checked the only bedroom. It was neatly taken care of.

   He yelled, “Honey long cattle drives up to Kansas City pay better than local herding.”

   The cowboy checked out the rest of his house. He could not find his wife anywhere he looked. 

   He said, “I wonder where she’s at.”

   The cowboy went out to the hitching post. 

   He told the horse, “We gotta go hunting. “

   The cowboy untied the horse. The horse nosed the ground looking for something to graze. 

   The cowboy jerked on he reins. He said, “You’ll get some grain first.” 

   The cowboy led his horse to the small brown shed by the horse corral. A small wagon was right next to it.

   The cowboy led the horse by it. The horse sucked back towards the shed. 

   The cowboy said, “Whoa. Not going to have you pull it.” 

   He led his horse over to the shed. He fed him a cup of grain in the grain bucket.

   The cowboy said, “Ain’t no way she’s walking into town for any shopping. Wonder if her friend Martha is taking her in her wagon.” 

   After the horse raised his head the cowboy put away the grain bucket. He looked at the trail that goes north to town. 

   He said, “No wagon wheel tracks. I just see some hoof prints heading that way.”

   The cowboy quickly got into the saddle.

   He said, “Come on it’s deer hunting time.” 

   The cowboy spurred the horse into loping on the trail heading to town. When they reached the midway arroyo he slowed him down to walking. The horse took the narrow trail down to the creek. 

   The cowboy dismounted. The cowboy petted the mane as the horse quenched his thirst. 

   When the gelding raised his head the cowboy mounted him. 

  The cowboy said, “I guess this really is deer hunting season,”

   As the cowboy reined his horse up out of the arroyo a gentleman came riding down to the creek. They both said whoa to their horse and stopped.

   The cowboy said, “Mark I’m kinda lost. Did you see Cindy riding in as you left Clayton?”

   The gentleman shrugged his shoulders as he said, “Yes Bill I saw her. This is strange. I wonder what is going on with her today.”

   The cowboy said, “Huh, doesn’t just about every cowboy’s wife go into Clayton to get some shopping done?”

   The gentleman shrugged his shoulders and said, “I usually don’t see them going to town like that.”

   The cowboy said, “Like what?”

   The gentleman said, “I saw Gray-jack, the gunfighter, riding double towards town. He had Cindy sitting in the saddle in front of him.”

   The cowboy said, “Mark was that my blond headed wife?”

   The gentleman said, “Yes, Gray-jack had both his arms around her so she would never fall from the saddle.”

   The cowboy said, “Really Gray-jack? I thought that gunfighter got shot and killed over in Boise City.”

   The gentleman said, “No he is so quick at drawing his pistol he probably will never loose a gunfight.”

   The cowboy took a deep breath then said, “That gunfighter has got my wife. I got no choice but to gun him down.”

   The gentleman frowned and said, “Gray-jack carries a Colt 45. He is known for quick draw. Many men back in town will not face him.”

   The cowboy shrugged his shoulders and said, “Ha, I still got the Colt 44 Army I got on active duty. I never could afford one of them new Colts like the Peacemaker.”

   The gentleman said, “That long barreled cap and ball pistol cannot beat a smokeless powder revolver out of the holster. It is going to get you shot dead.”

   The cowboy said, “I got the front of the trigger guard cut off. The long barrel no longer slows it down. I just have to make sure the hammer is set between caps so it will never go off if it drops out of the quick-draw holster when I swing my leg up over the saddle mounting my horse.”

   The gentleman couldn’t help shrugging his shoulders. He said, “With all the slime around that are afraid of him one must really watch out.”

   The Cowboy reined his horse around the gentleman’s horse and spurred him up hill. When the horse reached level ground the cowboy spurred him again and yelled, “Giddy-up and go.”

   The cowboy loped his horse all the way to town. When he reached the outskirts he slowed him down to trot. The cowboy trotted the gelding all the way downtown. He jerked back on the reins and yelled, “Whoa,” right in front of the Eklund hotel.

   The cowboy quickly dismounted. He tied the reins around the hitching rail. 

   He patted the manes and said, “Hang loose it’s the only saloon in town.”

   He went in through the swinging doors. 

   The bartender yelled, “Cowboy Bill what you need.”

   The cowboy saw some others at a round table playing poker.

   He said, “Tom I’m here to gamble.”

   The bartender smiled and said, “I guess that means whiskey.”

   Bill frowned and said, “Nope not today. I’m here to gamble with Gray-jack. My ace of hearts over his ace of spades.”

   The gunfighter’s name hit the saloon like a rattlesnake. Everyone there feared gunfight crossfire.

   The bartender said, He’s not here. I saw him over at the horseshoer getting his horse shod.”

   One of the poker players said, “What? I saw him at the blacksmith  getting a double barrel shotgun sawed off.”

   The saloon girl by the stairs frowned as she said, “Liars, liars, mules kick hard. I saw him at our dressmaker. He’s getting one for someone else.”    

    A lumberjack at the bar set his whiskey glass down. He said, “Gray-jack ain’t no jackrabbit. He don’t run. He kills.” 

   Bill glanced around. He said, “A skunk like Gray-jack smells like horse manure. The coward will be easy to track down.”

   The dealer at the poker table watched Bill closely as he went out the swinging doors. He whispered, “We can’t have no cattle driver screwing things up.”

   He layed the cards down and sneaked out behind the bar to exit the saloon. 

   The dealer rushed across the street to the gunsmith shop. Once inside he hollered, “Grey-jack, Bill is here to shoot you down for his wife.”

   Grey-jack stopped spinning his Colt on his forefinger. He grinned and holstered it. The gunfighter said, “My pistol just got cleaned. That Yankee ain’t got a chance. I’ll get his sweetheart.”

   The dealer said, ”Wish I could take any young blond headed girl myself”

   Grey-jack said, “Let me kill him out on main street. That will show you how.”

   The dealer grinned as he left. He said, “I can’t wait in line. Better hit the Eklund brothel and get some now.”

   The saloon girl caught the dealer sneaking in. She frowned and shook her head. When he made it past the bartender she dodged upstairs into one of the whorehouse rooms. The bar-maid whispered, “Cindy your husband is here to kick some ass.”

   Cindy was amazed. She said, “How did my cowboy husband track us down? I hope he don’t get shot and killed.”

   The saloon girl frowned and said, “I wish some man had enough balls to save me from Grey-jack, take me home and marry me.”

   Cindy said, “There are all kinds of cowboys around here. Why hasn’t one of them out drawn Grey-jack for you?”

   The door opened and the dealer rushed in. His fear of Grey-jack kept him from grabbing Cindy. His lust made it easy to change his mind and grab the saloon girl.

   The saloon girl struggled for freedom. 

   The dealer said, “Stop it whore. It’s my turn.”

   He dragged her next door to her room.

   Cindy kept silent. She quickly moved over to the porch door and started watching for her husband.

   Grey-jack walked proudly out of the gunsmith shop. He stopped right across the street from the swinging doors into the Eklund hotel. 

   Cindy had to stay hidden so Grey-jack wouldn’t catch sight of her.

   Grey-jack hollered, “Billy boy come on out. Let me teach you a lesson.”

   Cindy thought the sun was shining just right for her. She grabbed the small mirror right off the room desk and got closer to the hotel room porch. 

   Bill came out of the hardware store on Grey-jack’s right side. He said, “You are a dead grizzly bear.”

   Grey-jack turned towards bill. He said, “This will be in self defense.”

   Cindy held the mirror up into the sun light so it reflected back down into Grey-jacks face blinding him.

   Bill cocked the Colt 44 Army as it was drawn out of the holster and pulled the trigger. He shot Grey-jack in the chest before he could start drawing his pistol.




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