Go Through The Mill
"Jesus Murphy! I ain't ever seen a shot knocked into a cocked hat like that before, is that a bluff or do you mean it for real play?" Yes I was being a little harsh, no I take it back, I wasn't being harsh at all. A shave tail will get you beefed before you can say presto.
And I don't mean beef us purposely, I mean they be so stupid the shoot you in the arse while trying to beef the guys fifty metres on my right. The only thing worse than a dangerous rival is a shave tail gunslinger on your rear.
Being generous enough I decided to go easy on the boy, taking a break in the middle of nowhere I'd set up a series of targets using empty bean cans, seemed to me that this test was so easy even a dragged out dolt with rocks for brains could do it.
Hey, I'm only human, I can't always be right. Shaking like he was hosting an earthquake in his body he looked at me nervously, that's what I hate about shave tails, its simple really, aim and shoot. "I'm dreadful sorry Malcolm, I aim and..."
He was on the verge of crying now, I killed deadbeats like him for less but I was determined, by hook or crook, this shave tail would be as good as me, maybe even better. " God damn it, shut your big bazoo and pay attention." Snatching the pistol out of his hand I held it in front of me.
Looking sideways I asked, " You even know how a gun works? I mean a six shooter, not your rifles made by the jap slaves, a real man's gun." His blank look being all the answer I needed I sighed, " Jeez Louis boy, Pay close attention"
There was a spark of interest in his eyes now, didn't SKA teach him anything, " The basic gist of it is you pull the hammer." As I talked I pulled the hammer, obviously he knew this, even a gospel sharp knew this. " Then one of them six firing chambers comes into place, and you aim and fire."
Aiming up I got the target in sight and fired, sending the can to high heavens. Pulling the hammer less than a fraction after I repeated this, taking down all six cans in less than a minute. " Them cans don't move Zack, next time they might be people instead shooting at you, trying to beef you."
Tossing him back his pistol I walked back to the horse, the dried meat had been good but it had run out a weak ago, fortunately I still had way too many bear signs. Taking a bite from the bear sign I layed got back on the horse, " We gotta go, we don't wanna hang around in the desert at night."
Getting on his horse we rode on, it wasn't that bad, having a partner. Hard case as he was the boy had potential, I'd beefed younger ones and would do him over if it came down to it, but I knew I wasn't no god. You can be game and fine as cream gravy, but we all have our bad days.
Where our reaction slows a second, and if I was to meet a Pinkerton having a good day on one of my bad days, then I'd be gone up the flume. Looking ahead I spotted dust rising, pulling my sturdy pair of binoculars out I looked ahead. Then I spotted them, damn it, five of them armed with similar rifles to the one I had now.
Turning to Zack he frowned, " Twig or not Zack you better become a gunslinger to the manner born and directly, Japs riding hard on us, by the looks of them raiders with young horses, we can't skedadle so we gotta fight like Kilkenny Cats."
The distance was already cut in half, damn them Japs were quick, funny how they could hold that dead complexion even in a day where it was as hot as a whore house on nickel night and the sun was shining down like a peeping tom watching a grass widow changing.
They were good shots, even better kong fu shit fighters. I was a brawler, when it comes down to it a good punch beats all the fancy moves any day as far as I'm concerned. Guns at the ready we waited as the horses got nearer. Turing to Zack I said, " When I say give in we start shooting ok?"
Nodding in comprehension I just hoped his gun skills could be just as good as his brains. Now circling us the Japs trailed their rifles on us, what I assumed to be the two leaders began to argue in their native tongue, probably getting their backs up on which one of them was the real boss.
Finally as one of them backed off the shortest Jap jumped off his horse, " Fork over the horses, guns and money. No getting out of this dry gulch for you Curly wolf, or your kid friend unless you do as we say."
Well educated he was, hardly had an accent, nothing more than a foreign flannel mouth as far as I was concerned. Jap, bean eater or nigger, they were all the same to me. I didn't have a racist bone in my body, I just disliked everyone in general.
Smiling I begin my Dicker routine, " Bosh, of course there's another way out of this. Come on Japs, use your noggins for a minute now. I'm flush and you got the bulge, I ain't on the shoot so here ya go." Hands moving slowly to peace makers I handed them over to the Jap, giving the shotgun on the horse and the rifle I smiled.
Still smiling he said, " I'm not stupid, your Malcolm Kramer, known foryour bowie-knifeyou keep hidden on your backside. So fork it over, hilt facing me." Damn, I guess foreigners are smarter than locals. Pulling the knife out I handed it over, " Seems like been playing to the gallery too much."
He then looked past me, luckily the boy was still in the shave tail habit of having an ace in the hole. Personally I found it to be a bad idea, weapons out you could draw em dreadful fast. I followed his eye sight, turning back to face him, " Is that a bluff or do you mean it for real play? You really think I let my kid go around heeling."
Turning to face him I said with a smile, " Go ahead Zack, got no choice but to give in I reckon." Almost perfectly on cue I ducked as he drew his six shooters with ease, pulling the hammers on both of them I looked as shock took over the Japs' faces. Pulling the trigger two of them fell.
As he struggled with reloading the leader aimed at Zack, jumping off my horse I knocked him to the ground. Other Japs turning on me shot me twice, feeling the led go into my shoulders I cursed as I grabbed the knife and slit the leader's throat. Grabbing his guns I turned, just in time to see them both shot in the hearts.
Getting up on my feet painfully Zack got off his horse and ran as I stumbled back down, " I did it, I beefed them just like you said I could." Groaning in pain I put my good leg in the saddle, lifting myself up I said, " Ace high job for a shave tail, no time to blow, we better get to a burg before its too late."
Getting back on his horse we began to ride, " How about your leg? You go see a doctor and they'll send you to the Calaboose, but you'll die if you..." He was a dude originally, that much was clear as day, always dependant on doctors.
Putting my hand up I stopped the horse, " Stop being such a croaker, you been through the mill and done relatively well. But you still need to learn this, it might hurt but if you got a bullet in you just grab a pair of tweasers and pull em out."
Grinning at my response we rode on to the next burg, however this was going to work out I was no stuck with this partner, I could beef him but he'd be more valuable as a gun than dead meat.