May 2, 2012

Las Cruces

Smith sat quietly inside the stagecoach, thumbing the rotating cylinder. Bullets had been flying. When the coach stopped, the guard riding shotgun had dropped to the ground, heavy like a sack of barley seed, a hole through his throat.

“Everybody out,” one of the riders had shouted.

Smith was thinking about a simple premise his Pa had taught back on the farm.
“Size up the situation. Figure out the possibilities. Take your best shot.”
Smith and his wife Millie had worked hard, scraped the land bare for the meager return the parched ground had been willing to release. It was never enough. His Millie deserved better. Now, after losing the farm and his Pa, they were headed south.

“I said, everybody out.”

Smith gave Millie a nod, then calmly stepped from the stage. Without hesitation, he flashed the gun and fired four shots, his steady hand as sure as the truth. The three riders tumbled from their vaulting horses.

The stagecoach driver, Hank Barrett sat gravely wounded on the carriage deck.
“You saved us son,” he whispered. “The bank too.” He rubbed a slow hand along the silver strong box. “Over ten thousand dollars worth I’d say.”

Smith rotated the cylinder; there were two cartridges left. He thought about his Pa’s words as he put one through Barrett’s left eye. He turned to Millie who looked out at him through the coach window, a beatific smile crossing her face.

“Darlin’,” he asked. “Would you like to see Mexico?”

No comments: