Candice cradled the remains of my gun in her lap. Somehow the cylinder went out of alignment and misfired on the last shot. Luckily it didn’t turn into a black powder bomb in my hand. My last shot was the last shot it would ever take. To me a gun was a tool to her it was alive. She wrapped the gun in the oil cloth it was stored in and placed it back in the rosewood box. I let her keep the gun. I would use the two break-top Schofield revolvers from Pete. He won’t miss them. He had about three hundred and fifty rounds with him. He was armed for war. The weight must have been difficult on his horse with all the ammo and the ass on the saddle. Candice leaned in and whispered, “come over tonight I want you.”
The rest of the day I walked around thinking of her and not about the shooting. Her smell, how she looked in just a shirt all sweaty and clinging to her. How close her lips came to my ear, how soft they felt. The feel of her breast as she hugged me. Some people nodded to me while others seemed to turn away. It wasn’t until I made it back to my office that I saw all the blood on my shirt. I wanted to try and get the image of her nearly naked, working her press out of my mind. I went through Pete’s belongings. I found one of the pamphlets. We sent these out trying to tell people we weren’t what the books said we were. Maybe that was a mistake?
That night I changed into a good shirt and pants and went to see Candice. She was in her apartment above the print shop. I could see the oil lamps lit. They seemed to glow with a subtle yet distinct hew. An invitation to something warm and almost loving. I knocked. Waited a few minutes then knocked again. She eventually answered the door. In her nervous excitement, she had a little ok, a half a bottle of whiskey. She was drunk off her ass. So, the night didn’t end the way we thought. She spent the night either passed out or vomiting. I stayed to make sure she would be ok.
We woke up the next day with her head in my lap. She was confused and more than a little sick. She never drank a drop in her life. I gave her a cup of coffee and told her to breath it in. Let the vapers clear the cobwebs from her head. He looked at me then down at her wrinkled vomit stained clothes. She asked, “did we last night?” I replied, “did we watch you realize you shouldn’t drink so much so fast. Yes, we did. Did we do anything else. No.”
When I knew she was going to be fine on her own I left to speak to Chief Apenimon. Clearly our plan backfired. The Chief said, “maybe the stories kept the bad ones away. Our printing of the truth showed we were open for bad things.” We weren’t sure what to do next. The Chief asked about the girl. I looked behind me just to be safe. I said, “she realized she shouldn’t drink last night.” The chief asked, “did you take your prize?” as he asked he made a hole with his left hand then used his index finger to simulate penetrating the hole. I told him I won’t use her like that. He just smiled and said, “I thought all you people did was use each other.”
I went to speak to the mayor about the shooting. He was happy about the incident. He felt the reputation of a gunfighting sheriff would go a long way in promoting the town. I sometimes get the feeling he would sell his soul of it would help promote the town. I told him about the books and the pamphlets we printed about the books. Let’s just say he wasn’t very happy. He remined me that the job of Sheriff was one appointed by the Mayor. I was easily replaceable. He said he would speak to The Chief and develop a plan. I was clearly out. If I am the sheriff I would do my job. I went to the outskirts of town to practice with the new revolvers.
The one with the smaller barrel was clearly weighted for the right hand. At first it was a little awkward. The gun was very different from my old Colt Navy. The top-break and cartridge based ammunition was very nice. I read the top-break was a weak point for the gun but it felt strong and reliable. I shot twenty rounds through both the 3-and-a-half-inch barrel and the seven-inch barrel. The felt good in the hand and made wasting ammunition easy. I will need to have the holster adjusted to fit me. I gave the lever action to the Chief. He added some opal and topaz accents then put it up for sale.
A recent arrival to the town is a man named Thomas Leeds. He is a saddle maker. I will go see him and see if he can adjust the holsters. Until then I’ll carry the three-and-a-half-inch barrel in my old holster. It’s not a good fit but it’s better than nothing. The whole concept feels weird. I haven’t carried a gun for a while now. I may have to use them soon. Can I shoot another man again? Will I ever get the look of that guy’s face out of my memories?
I spoke to Candice later. she needed to work on a special printing for a client so she wasn’t available for anything tonight. She has her work. I will however find myself near her shop for a little window browsing. It is interesting to watch her work that press. With that on my mind I went to the office. There was a new face in the office. The Mayor took it upon himself to hire a new deputy. This one was just like the last. He said he was sent by the Mayor and reported to him not me. He was leaning back in my chair smoking a cigar with what looked like a shot glass of whisky on the desk. I kicked the chair sending him flying backward. His gun fell out of his holster. He went for it. Without thinking about it I shot the gun away from him. He froze on the floor. Then a pool of urine flowed on the floor. I scared the piss out of him. I said, “until such time as I am remove I will do all the hiring here. Now get out!”
About an hour after the new guy left one of my real deputies came in. Jack Fritz was a very tall at 6’ 9”. He had to duck to walk in the doorway. He looked over at the broken revolver on the floor then back at me. He shrugged his shoulders and went to his desk. I turned to him and told him as of right now we will all need to carry our guns. He had an 1873 Colt Single Action Army Revolver. A good solid gun. I have one on order. In his hands, the gun looked like a child’s toy.
These stories will be based in the old west and an attempt at a modern western (later on).
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