Western Flash Fiction posted May 29, 2016

This work has reached the exceptional level
Old West - flash fiction (800-words)

Cowboy Attitudes

by Ric Myworld

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.

Sunlight flickered off a cowboy’s spurs as he leaned back in a cane-bottomed chair against the wall, legs crossed and feet shaking, humming a faint tune. Chewing on an unlit stogie—hat tilted down over his eyes—spitting an occasional piece of tobacco out the side of his mouth, as his mind wandered.

It was a hot afternoon, mid to upper-nineties in the shade.

The town was quiet, with only a few people stirring. except for every now and then, when an ol’ drunk would stumble out the squeaky, swinging doors of the saloon across the street.

Some hard-boot, heavy stepper came from the livery stable, clomping down the old splintered-oak boardwalk past the entrance to the general store. There sat the cowpoke, humped over, arms dangling, catching a little catnap on and off.

The walker stood, John Wayne sized—a big raw-boned brute with a Clint Eastwood glare—looking meaner than Eli Van Cleef. Would have been a scary sight had he not broken into that huge smile when he spoke.

“So, what-do-ya-say there partner?” he said, trying to sound quite neighborly toward the snoozer, it appeared.

“Say what . . . ? What in the Hell do you mean, partner? I don’t know you,” said the somewhat startled man in the chair, as he pushed his hat up enough to see and show his sourpuss expression.

“Partner . . . like howdy, partner. No offense meant, Mister . . . just trying to make conversation.” Standing there smiling with the bobbing and weaving enthusiasm of a marionette, now he was coming across about as goofy as at first he had looked mean.

“Well, save it for someone else, mister.” The sitter had moved to the edge of his seat. “I’m not much into conversation with strangers . . . or anyone else, for that matter . . . just trying to rest in peace.”

“Huh, a real nasty disposition you have there, fella. My apologies if I interrupted you.”

The rowdy-acting roughneck in the chair, rose slow and deliberate, his eyes boring into the intruder, and said, “You haven’t caught a glimpse of my disposition, yet, Big Boy . . . but, about two more words out-a-yore big mouth, and you’re a-gonna—”

“Now, slow down there, hotshot . . . damned if that don’t sound like a threat . . . and you really don’t want a-go there.”

“Take it anyway ya want. It ain’t personal, I just don’t know ya . . . want to talk to ya . . . and it ain’t taken me too long to figure out that I don’t even like ya.” Obviously agitated, red-faced and slinging spit when he spoke, his voice escalated to a shout when he screamed out, “DO YA GET IT?”

The ol’ grouch didn’t a bit more than have the last words out of his mouth before the stranger drew his Colt-44 revolver—slap-cocking the hammer as he fanned it with his palm—flash-firing all six shots.

His target quivered and slumped back into the chair, dead. Blood spurted from the gaping hole just above the bridge of his nose, with the other five wounds in a clustered grouping encircling his solar plexus, undoubtedly hitting his heart or aorta.
He opened the cylinder on his six-shooter, spun and clicked it one chamber at a time, releasing the spent bullet casings as he blew the smoke from the end of the barrel, and re-loaded.
Then, he walked past the man in the chair, grabbed his left hand full of blood-soaked hair, belt and seat of his trousers with his right, and pitched the man’s limp carcass, easier than a sack of taters, between two crossing wagons.

Heads had popped out from every door and window up and down the travel path, just in time to see the dead-man’s body hit the ground with a thud, raising a cloud of dust.

Everything had come to a standstill. No one moved. There was complete silence.

The newcomer turned around with an evil grin and tipped his hat to the onlookers standing in shock.

He sat down in the chair where the dead man had been sitting. Leaned back, ran a big, fat cigar around in his mouth until it was slimy wet and clamped down on it between his teeth in the corner of his mouth. Pulling his hat down over his eyes, and crossing his legs, his feet started to shake as he began to hum a melody. Then, he said aloud, “‘Rest in peace’ or ‘rot in Hell’ . . . makes no difference to me.”

He hadn’t a bit more gotten comfortable and the words out of his mouth, than someone from out of nowhere walked up and said, “So, what-do-ya-say there . . . partner?”

Things haven't changed much. You never really know anyone.


I'm still playing around with some flash fiction. Working to find a happy medium between concise and to the point, and bare-boned description that muddles the pictures. And yes, the word pronunciations are intentional.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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