Lonesome in Lodem

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Westerns  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lonesome in Lodem is about the character Roland Abernathy, a cowboy for hire who has lived on Lodem for a couple years now after serving in the galactic military.

Submitted: August 17, 2018

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Submitted: August 17, 2018

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Roland had to tell the pilot twice when he said he wanted to be booted to Lodem. The pilot had kept going on about how it was a “complete wasteland, at the ass end of the galaxy”. And “how a good government boy like him, should really think about settling down in the Capital”. But did Roland listen? Nah, he just shook his head and said “Lodems, the place for me”. Not once in the next few years did he regret that decision. Not even after being shot, stabbed and robbed blind. On the first day no less.

Sure, Lodem had its quirks, bloodthirsty bandits, waring locals, and a rough landscape. But hey, it was a place for him to hang his hat and start fresh. After arriving on Lodem he held many jobs merc, caravan guard, and cattle driver, just to name a few.

 

The town of Grayditch was on fire, the very air seemed to crackle and pop as the folk there threw up sheets and cowered indoors to escape the persistent heat. It was nearly silent besides the flapping of sheets and the clip-clop of horseshoes on mud. But in the center of town, there was a ruckus that shook the walls and seemed to push against the heat itself. The sound of horseshoes came to a sudden stop outside the bar, the rider looked up, tipped back his hat and gazed at the building's sign which read in sloppy red paint "The Bucket o' Blood". Roland scratched his jaw, "Well, I've been to worse".

The door creaked as he pushed his way in past farmhands and tough looking men, towards the sound of jaunty piano music. The air smelled of sweat, booze, and cigarette smoke, it invaded the throat and brought tears to the eye.

Roland broke through the crowd to an acicular opening, where a man in a bowler hat pounded on piano keys, while a small woman in a red dress lounged across the top. It was a good start, at the very least they looked sober.

"Howdy," Roland said with a tip of his hat.

The woman slid gracefully from the piano, bare feet smacking against the wooden floor.

"Well well, what do we have here, another outsider in town," she said her voice low and cynical.

Roland gave a slight nod "Names Roland, you said..."

"Charlotte" the woman interrupted, tossing her hair back.

Roland gave a small laugh, "Charlotte, you said somethin' about another outsider in town?

"Well now that ain't any way to talk to a girl, I thought you were ’ interested in casual conversation" Charlotte pouted in a mocking voice.

Roland sighed, "How much?

"Excuse me"? her eyes flared.

"How much to know where they're at," Roland said quickly.

"I'm not sellin' anything, words or otherwise".

Roland shifted awkwardly “Listen, maybe we…”

“Maybe you oughta go to talk to the barkeep,” Charlotte said sourly and with that resumed her place on the piano.

With a nod and a frown, Roland pushed his way back over towards a group of men with raised hands and voices that were trying to drown the heat. Roland found an empty stool between a couple of farmhands and began rifling through his vest for some cash. The old man tending the bar finally noticed Roland and shuffled over.

The old man leaned against the counter “Need somethin’ son”?

“Beer would be a good start,” Roland said setting down a couple of marks.

The old man scooped up the marks and shuffled off.

The man sitting to the right of Roland shot him a quick sideways glance.

“You with a caravan kid”.

“Used to be, not anymore”

The man frowned “Only people that come this way, are the caravans, and the .

“Not one of those either”

The old man returned setting the beer in front of Roland. Roland went to grab for his drink, but before he could even touch the glass the man's hand flung out grabbing his wrist.

“You're a government boy,” the man said pointing his finger accusingly at Roland's wrist where there was a small faded tattoo in the shape of a v.

“Let me go” Roland tried to yank free, but the man held tight.

The old man shook his head “Jack don’t…”

“No! Jack shouted drawing attention, “He's c'mere to spy on us or cause trouble”.

Roland yanked free and quickly stood up and began to walk away. But Jack was already up he shoved Rolands back causing him to stumble to the floor. There was an audience now, and Jack was shouting again. “We’ve had enough, we don't need you here!” Roland scrambled to his feet “I’m retired”. He said hoarsely.

The piano had stopped now, and Charlotte had quickly come padding over, “Yeah he was asking me questions, about who may be staying here”.

There was a collective murmuring, Roland glanced around the room somehow it seemed even more crowded than when he walked in.

Roland cleared his throat “I ain’t with the government and even…”

Jack pointed at his left wrist “that mark says otherwise”.

There were shouts of “government boy”! And “let’s take em’ outside!”

Jacks face darkened, and he nodded “Yeah c’mon, let's take him outside!”

Roland placed his hand on the grip of his six-shooter, tucked in the front of his belt. “Yeah, yeah I’ll go, but only if I can take Liz here with me,” he said hastily.

Half the room drew guns and the half were trying to push their way out the bar door.

Surprisingly, Jack wasn't one of them.

“You should jus’ leave,” Jack said almost tired sounding now.

“We’re done fighting” That was enough to make Roland have to choke back a laugh.

“Really, now you're playing at being a pacifist? Roland said baffled.

That when a gun went off, Roland turned towards the now empty doorway, where there now stood a woman with a lever action rifle in her hands.

“Alright, that's enough everyone put your guns away,” she said in a clear ringing voice.

“But Cass…” one man with a sawed-off shotgun started.

“But nothin” she snapped. “It's too damn hot for a funeral”

There was a collective laughter, as people went back to their seats and the sound of piano music returned. Cass slung the rifle over her shoulder and strode over to where Roland and Jack were left standing. “You from the government”? She asked Roland bluntly.

Roland shook his head “Not, anymore, I'm retired” he said sheepishly.

That seemed to be enough for Cass she nodded at Jack “Go back to your stool Jack”.

Jack look wearily at Roland, then nodded. He reached into his jack and took out a couple of marks and promptly stuffed them in Roland's front pocket. “Right, here this is for your drink”. Roland laughed “ Thanks, and good eye most don’t notice,” he said taping the small tattoo on his left wrist. Jack simply nodded and went back to his stool.

 





 


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