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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/856906-Nightfall
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Western · #856906
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The stranger blew into town in a cloud of dust and tumbleweeds. Evening shadows had just begun to spread dark fingers through the deserted street. The only signs of life were a few scrawny nags hitched in front of the local saloon. A creaking sign hung overhead dubbed it 'The Lady Luck Saloon'. As the stranger drew nearer, he heard the giggling shrieks of women, rowdy music, curses and shouts--sounds of folks indulging all their vices.

A good place to start, then. He could almost taste the money. Playing cards was his specialty, and playing cards with drunken fools he found in little saloons like this one, well that was his bread and butter.

He dismounted and hitched his horse next to the others, then strode through the doors. There was a brief moment of silence as the locals checked out this stranger in their midst. He was not a threatening sight, slight and dark, with curling hair and a slightly twisted smile. The menfolk soon turned back to their various pursuits. He was well-dressed, all in black, a bit dusty, but obviously of fine quality, and the whores, scenting money, drifted towards him with welcoming smiles.

He waved them off. He was not here for that, at least, not yet. Business before pleasure. He scoped out the tables, looking for the tell-tale signs of too much drink--the little too loud laughter, the slightly off-kilter look, and soon found what he was looking for.

They were a friendly, foolish bunch, and waved him to a seat at his asking. He dealt the cards, sliding a few up his sleeve, just in case they played better than he expected. Let the game begin...

The play was fast and friendly; he'd even lose a little now and then to set them at ease, but mostly win and win again. Keep 'em happy, buy a few rounds of drinks, smile friendly-like, and win some more. What he didn't reckon with was the local sheriff who'd had an eye on him since he entered.

It had happened before and would likely happen again--the tap on the shoulder, the quick jerk of the head, step outside for the speech. The sheriff couldn't prove anything, but his kind was not wanted in this town, he'd better be moving on.

Under the sherriff's watchful eyes, the stranger mounted up and rode out of town a little richer for his time. A wistful thought of the friendly whores passed though his mind as he drifted back out of town with the tumbleweeds and the dust, alone into the darkness.
© Copyright 2004 Midnight Dawn (abookluvr at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/856906-Nightfall