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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Western · #2252385
Misery -- and trouble -- loves a little company.
“I didn’t expect to be so sore,” Gary said. He eased onto a log on the other side of the fire from Tom and Wes.

“Here we go again,” Fred said as he plopped down next to Gary. “I don’t know why you have to always be bringing new guys into this, Tom.”

Tom poked a stick into the fire and watched embers spark into the air, floating toward the sliver of a waxing moon high above the canyon floor.

“You know why, Fred,” Wes answered for Tom. “The more good men we have, the less likely we are to run into trouble. We have to protect each other.”

Gary hugged himself, rubbed his hands over his sleeves. “How long will it take ’til it stops hurting?”

Fred rolled his eyes. “More like crybaby men,” he said to Wes.

Tom shot a harsh look at Fred, then nodded to Gary. “It’ll take a couple months. Just gotta get used to the changes.”

“Well, how long until it stops hurting this month?” Gary asked.

“Look, Mr. Lawyer,” Fred growled. “You just have to wait until it grows out a little.”

Tom pointed to the sky.

“New moon was last night. By the time it’s half full, you’ll hardly notice anything different.”

Gary nodded and looked around the fire at the men who shared his predicament.

Tom, the school teacher.

Wes, the town marshal.

And Fred, the railroad tycoon.

Gary winced and clutched his shoulder. “Tell me again why you had to bite me,” he said through clenched teeth.

Tom sighed. “That’s just the way it works, Gary.”

Somewhere out in the desert, a wolf howled.

Fred snickered. “That’ll be you in about two weeks, Gary, old boy.”
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