by Lady Barbara
Corden Booney meets a teen in a small saloon he had no idea that his life about to change.
The light of the setting sun shone upon him. His bow-legged stance and ready hands at his sides left no doubt in the mind of the observer that this was not a man to be messed with. His eyes were drawn in slits, unhindered by the many scars criss-crossing his face, producing a glare so hard, one felt almost sick when feeling it upon him. Beneath the numerous scars on his face, his skin was a deep brown, tanned from many weeks under the burning sun of the west. His broad and muscled torso was covered with a dirty cotton shirt which was open a bit at the neck. Over that was an equally dirty leather vest whose pockets seemed to be empty and unused; not like other vests of its kind where it was quite visible when something lay in their depths. His long legs were clothed also in hard leather pants, his feet ending in boots, their spurs making music as he walked. His great stature and imposing stance impressed the women. The two 29-caliber pistols resting on his hips impressed the men.
All this was taken in by the person standing in the shadows of the building opposite of the cowboy. He watched as the man, Corden Booney he knew his name to be, set out along the dusty road of the town, No Water. Dirty wooden buildings rose up on both sides of the streets. The main buildings of this town being the saloon and the general store, both being on the side of the road opposite he who walked in the shadows. On his side, the main building was the jailhouse, directly opposite of the saloon and there both men stopped, one visible where as the other was not. The sun disapeared for good as Booney entered the saloon.
Corden Booney breathed in the mingled scent of smoke and cheap perfume as he entered the saloon. The room was quite full and noisy with all the men who came here after a hard days work in the nearby silver mine or the neighboring ranches. Seeing an unoccupied stool at the bar, Booney sat himself upon it and ordered a whiskey.
Beside him, two miners spoke, not bothering to keep their conversations to themselves. "It's the same every evening. The cowboys are let from their work early and get to the whores first, who prefer the smell of cows to the smell of dirt, I guess." The first man looked to be freshly bathed, his short curls reaching the base of his neck where a fresh white cotton shirt covered his muscled shoulders, his pants being of the same material.
"It's enough to make me want to puke. When we do finally get a turn, we have to pay extra because it is three or so in the morning and the whores are tired out. Or do you think they are always so horrible?" The second man was just as clean as the first, with short straight hair which only reached the tips of his ears, just cut. His cotton shirt was made of a light blue however.
"I have decided to find myself a wife. She would be there whenever I come home and I wouldn't have to pay to get screwed by a sweaty, already used piece of flesh."
The second man's eyes widened. "Why Earl, that's a good idea! No more burnt food."
"I wouldn't have to wash my clothes myself anymore either."
"Where do you plan on finding a woman?"
Earl leaned in close as if to tell a secret. Booney could barely make out his next words. "I have a catalog. They are called 'Mail-order Brides.' You just pick out a woman from the pictures, pay a little money, and she comes to you."
Suddenly a new voice came from behind Corden where he sat looking into his whiskey glass and eavesdropping.
"Bartender! A whiskey please." Startled, Booney turned, his hand on the butt of his pistol. He hadn't heard the young man come up behind him which very rarely happened.
Looking closely at the young man behind him, Booney deduced that this man was more a boy. He doubted that he had seen more than 15 years of age. He was surprised that the boy even came in here. By his reddish-dark skin, Booney deduced that this boy had indian blood. His dress however, spoke of a mixed upbringing, so he guessed half-blood. The boy's black hair was braided back into a long pony-tail which reached halfway down his back. A large brimmed hat shadowed the boys facial features. His scrawny stature was atired in a cotton shirt and leather vest much like Booneys own attire. His pants however, were in typical redskin style and no spurs adorned his moccasins. On his hips lay two pistols and around his neck a medicine bag. What was missing, it seemed, were all the beads which were typical for Indian wares.
As the bartender came over to them, he looked first to Booney and then to Booney's half-filled glass. The bartenders' right eyebrow shot up in question. Booney shook his head and stuck a thumb in the boy's direction.
"We don't serve redskins here, especially when they aren't old enough to have stuck their prick in a whore." The bartender said harshly.
"Don't be too hard on the lad." A cowboy shouted from the back of the room. "That's probably because no whore would bed with an injun." The saloon room filled with laughter and only Booney and the two miners beside him heard the boy's next words.
"Anyone with brains wouldn't fuck with a disease-filled whore. The money could be better put to use." Booney chuckled at these words and the boy shot him an irritated look. Aloud he asked the bartender for a glass of water.
"I told ya, I don't serve no redskins. You better leave before I call Joe."
"Okay, I'm leaving" said the boy, his high voice tinging with anger. "but before I go, could you at least tell me if a man named Corden Boooney has passed this way?"
"Never heard of him." The bartender said and looked to the saloon's doors pointedly.
The boy looked around the room of snickering cowboys before turning and leaving. As he walked, he kept his back as straight as an arrow and his head held up proudly. Booney looked after him and wondered why he had inquired after him. After a moment, Booney gulped down the rest of his whiskey and left the room.
As Booney stepped out onto the moon-lit road before the saloon, he caught a glimpse of the young man disappearing into a boarding house a bit further down the road, a few buildings past the general store. As he hadn't yet found a place to sleep the night, Booney untied his horse and followed the boy to the boardinghouse, where he asked a stable boy to take care of his horse and entered the building called Rose's Housing.
Rose's Housing was a two story building which looked quite ordinary from the road. As he entered its respectable domain, Corden was almost thrown from his feet at the sight which greeted him. The wooden walls were painted with a fading rosa color. In a corner of the room, a staircase wound its way to the first floor. The whole room, despite its horrible color, gave off a comforting aura. Along the walls, many push chairs and low tables held laughing people, all busy with their own conversations. A table stood beside the stairs, the only piece of furniture in the room with its original color, brown. Behind the man who stood on the other side of it, a board was hung with room numbers and their keys. Despite the late hour, the man didn't look to be tired. Going up to him, Corden laid his hand on the table and waited, not very patiently. Coming over to him, the man asked sharply what he wanted.
"A room for myself and a place int he stable for my horse."
"Only a few days." Grumbling, the man pulled out a thick, leather-bound book from under the desk. The book looked as though it were twenty years old and well used. It's corners were curling and the once handsome brown color was quickly fading. Peeking out form in between its covers, stray pages showed their yellow tint. Corden looked at the book sceptically and answered the man's questions.
"25" The man glanced up at him, his eyebrow raised in skepticism. Corden didn't say a word and stared at him. Shrugging his shoulders, the clerk turned back to the book.
"A single room, or a double?"
"Will you feed and care for your horse or should we?"
"You feed and I'll take care of him."
He was finally given the key to a room and was told to go up the stairs, his room was the third on the right side. Before he went to his room, Corden went outside to the stables where he cared for his horse before slinging his saddlebags over his shoulders. Luckily, the room to which he had been directed coincided with the room number he had been given. Unlocking the door, Corden stepped cautiously into the room, expecting it to be musty, filthy and uncomfortable, as were so many boarding houses in which he had stayed during his travels. As Corden closed the door behind him, however, he was pleasantly surprised.
Moonlight shone through the window and lit up the small bed which stood in the middle of the room, one end up against the window pane. Despite its small size, upon which Corden's large frame would never fit, the cover lit tucked in at the corners looked to be big enough should he have to make himself comfortable on the floor. Seemingly just for this purpose, a thick, hand-made rug was on the floor, right beside the bed. At the foot of the bed was a handsome mohagony trunk and upon its surface Corden set his sattle bags down. Beside the bed stood a little night table upon which stood an oil lamp. The room was quite cozy in the moonlight. Who knew what it would look like in the daytime.