A western for the March lipogram contest. Letter "V" omitted.
Tom stooped in front of his horse. The tracks in the mud clearly led west toward Hole in the Wall. He knew that if he allowed his bounty to get in there he would be unable to capture him. He wanted to capture him so he could see him hanged for his crime. The bounty was an outlaw named Sam Gunner. Gunner was an appropriate name for the outlaw because he gunned down any man who stood in his path. Tom had no intention of being the next man Gunner shot. He knew that Gunner would put up a fight and that was exactly what Tom wanted. In spite of that Tom planned on doing all that was in his power to keep from killing Gunner. There was no doubt in Tom's mind that he could out shoot the outlaw, Yes the outlaw was fast. He was lightning fast. Those who had witnessed the shooting earlier that night said they did not see Gunner go for his Colt. It had happened in a flash. One second Bill Wilson was standing there ready to draw on Gunner and the next Bill was dying on the floor as Gunner kicked the pistol away from Bill's grasp. So Tom knew that Gunner was indeed fast. Tom also knew that he himself was the fastest gun in the territory. If Gunner was smart, which Tom knew he wasn't, Gunner would surrender and Tom could take him back to town for a fair trial before stretching his neck. Tom also knew that Gunner wasn't known to be smart. Fast hands did not equal brains. After the shooting a posse had formed expecting Tom to lead them. Tom was the marshal of the territory. Instead Tom had sent the posse home. Gunner was too fast for most of the cowhands that had wanted to come. Tom wasn't willing to get any of them killed.
He heard the sound of a horse ahead and knew it was Gunner. He couldn't make him out yet but he knew it was him. He was not more than fifty yards ahead. To Tom's delight Gunner had rode into a box canyon with sheer cliffs on each side. There was no place for the gunman to hide and no way to escape. Tom also knew Gunner well enough to know that Gunner knew his way around as well as Tom did. If he had rode into a box canyon he had done so intentionally.
"Gunner I know you're up there and you know I'm back here. Why don't you surrender and make this much easier. I don't want to shoot you. If I shoot you then you won't be able to ride back to town for a trial."
"You sound like there's going to be a trial Tom. Don't I need to be there for that to happen if it's my trial? Why don't you just ride up here and get me?"
Tom entered the mouth of the canyon cautiously. He could see Gunner's silhouette in the darkness some twenty yards ahead. To get a non-lethal shot Tom needed to be closer. He dismounted his horse and low crawled until he was close enough to see Gunner clearly. Gunner was still out in the open. In the interest of justice Tom wanted a fair fight.
"Stand up Tom," Gunner said. "You know as well as I do that I want to shoot you standing."
Tom stood up with Gunner clearly in his line of sight by the light of the moon. Gunner made his play and Tom fired from his hip, faster than he had fired before. He hit Gunner in his gun hand and Gunner's weapon fell to the ground. Gunner tried to pick it up again but found he could not.
You shot my hand? Why did you not kill me?"
"I didn't kill you because I want the hangman to do it," Tom answered. "In case nobody told you Bill Wilson, the man you killed, was my father."
"I had to kill him Tom. He drew on me."
"We'll let the judge and jury sort that out," Tom replied as he pulled the outlaw's hands in front of him and handcuffed them.
"Tom I sure wish you had just killed me. There's nothing quite as humiliating as listening to the whole town singing, hootin', and hollerin' while somebody's about to get their neck put in a noose. Now that somebody's going to be me."
"Shut up and get on your horse before I gag you."
Gunner stepped into the saddle as Tom held the bridle. Just as Gunner was about to throw his leg across the horse he stopped and suddenly kicked backwards. Tom was ready for this and used the butt of his pistol to knock Gunner out, draping his unconscious body across the horse and tying him securely. Gunner came to a few minutes later. "Untie me Tom. I promise I won't try anything else. This is worse than being hanged will be."
"Well I guess you'll be humiliated both ways then."
Tom took the lead to Gunner's horse and rode off to town.
When he got to town he rode directly down the street. The town jail was on the other end ot the street. It was now daylight. The streets were crowded as people stood around talking about the happenings of the night before. When Tom approached with Gunner draped across his own horse somebody asked if they should fetch the undertaker. "No," Tom answered. "Fetch the doctor. Gunner here needs his hand tended to. He has a bullet wound to his gun hand."
"Do what," Jim Houser, the saloon owner asked. "Are you saying you shot Gunner in the hand, draped him across his own horse, and brought him back? Ha, ha, ha, ha!"
""Thanks Tom, Gunner said. "Much obliged."
""Don't mention it. Pleasure was all mine."
Winner March 2017 Round Write Me a Lipogram