Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sizzle (05/02/13)
- TITLE: The Good, the Bad, and the Greasy
By Vince Martella
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The bartender, Flap, hurried to wipe the bar clean in front of Bart.
“Gimme a sarsaparilla, Jack,” demanded Bart. His eyes swept the room like a machine gun. “Make it a double.”
Flap, known to everyone as Jack in these parts, complied quickly. He handed Bart a glass with a trembling hand. “Here you are, Mr. Bacon, sir.”
Bart turned, elbow resting against the bar, and gulped down his drink. It slammed on the bar with a resounding smack. Everyone in Breakfast City knew better than to mess with Bart; had had a quick temper and an even quicker trigger finger. He was one tall streak-o-mean. Everyone called him ‘ol fatback, but none to his face.
Bart walked to a table in the corner, and spoke to the occupied chair.
“Yer in my seat,” he said.
The stranger, back toward Bart, hardly moved. He was hunched over a bowl of chili, his wide brimmed hat obscuring his features. After three days’ ride and little sleep, he was in no mood for a fight.
“Hey, are you deaf or somethin’?”
The stranger turned slowly and said, “I heard ya the first time”.
A hushed murmur ran through the saloon. “That’s him. That’s Wally Waffle.”
Bart grew impatient as the stranger turned back to his chili.
“I’ll be finished in a minute,” Wally said, his mouth full of food. “Then you can have your seat back.”
“You’re finished now,” Bart said, as he spun Wally around in his chair. Bart reached for his gun, but as the chair whipped around, coat tails flying, Bart realized Wally’s gun was drawn all along. The big man eased his gun slowly back in the holster.
On the other end of the bar, the whispers were growing.
“I heard he killed a man in El Paso,” said one. “Shot ‘em right between the eyes.”
“I heard he was wanted for rustlin’ cattle,” said another.
“I hear tell he got into a scrape with the Berry brothers,” said a third. Broke Blue’s arm and shot Straw’s ear clean off. And ‘ol Razz still walks with a limp to this day."
“Listen, I’m not looking for a fight,” Wally said. He backed up slowly, keeping his gun on Bart and dropped a bill on the bar. “Much obliged,” he told Flap.
“You ain’t seen the last of me,” yelled Bart. “You’d better watch yer back.”
Wally stopped in front of the saloon doors, tipped his hat to Bart and slipped out.
Wally knew the rumors were true, and worse, too. After a bath and a nap, he headed toward the stables to retrieve his horse and head out of town. He was determined to leave before trouble found him.
He stopped in his tracks and spun around. Bart was standing in the street; coat tails pulled back, hands hovering over his guns.
“Listen, Bart,” yelled Wally. ”We can talk this out.”
“I ain’t much for talking,” Bart said. “Now draw!”
Wally looked deep into Bart’s eyes and knew he wouldn’t ask again.
They drew, and Wally shot first; but he succeeded only in dislodging Bart’s hat from his head. Bart stood, gun aimed squarely at Wally’s chest.
“It’s time to meet yer Maker, Waffle,” Bart said. “And from the rumors I’ve heard about you, He ain’t gonna be happy to see you.”
“I’ve already met Him, Bart. He changed my life; forgave me for all the wrong I’d done. He can change you too.”
Bart lowered his gun slightly. Then he set his jaw firmly. ”Well…, make sure to tell Him I said hello.”
He cocked the hammer and drew down, but squinted, and wiped his brow and staggered. The sweltering summer sun had had its way on his unprotected head; he was already beginning to sizzle as grease blinded his eyes. He dropped his gun and fell to his knees.
Wally approached, holding out Bart’s hat. “Looking for this?"
Bart donned it and wiped his eyes.
“Thanks,” said Bart. “I appreciate you not shooting me.” He put his arm around Wally’s shoulder. “Say, how ‘bout you and I get a saspirilla and you tell me more about that Maker of yours…?”
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