No makeup. No fancy hairdo. Not even a garter or lingerie or a frilly dress. Miss Bonnie strolled out of the Bonnie Lass wearing a simple white blouse and a blue prairie dress, her hair tied back in a pony tail with the help of a pink ribbon.
She carried a tin of blueberry muffins, purchased from Anderson’s General Store, of course. It was the thought that counted.
“Rain,” she mumbled to herself under her breath. “I’m sorry. I’m very sorry? No. I’m sorry’s good enough. Hell, what do I have to be ‘very’ sorry for?”
As one might expect, the local brothel keeper turned a few heads as she walked by. No one had ever seen her dressed in a respectable manner before.
For the first time since her divorce courtesy of Smith and Wesson, Miss Bonnie felt ready to give her heart to another man. Well, to allow him to take up space in it at least. She wasn’t about to roll over easy and she still wanted Slade to work for it but she figured a tin of muffins was a good investment to get things started.
Alas, her hopes were dashed when she spotted Slade eating a piece of fried chicken whilst being chatted up by his new love interest.
Miss Bonnie spoke to herself much louder this time.
“Who in the HELL is that cu…”
An old man who managed to sneak up on her cut her off mid-sentence, er…insult.
“Bonnie Lassiter, as I live and breathe, is that you?” Gunther asked. He was fresh from the telegraph office with an envelope in his hand.
“Who is that?” Bonnie asked.
Bonnie and Gunther watched as Slade quietly ate lunch and Sarah beamed at her new beau.
“Who?” Gunther asked. “The Widow Farquhar?”
“The Widow Who-quar?”
“Farquhar,” Gunther said. “The new proprietress of the Olmsted property. Taken a real shine to our fearless leader.”
“What in the…” Miss Bonnie was livid. “Has HE taken a shine to her?”
“Hard to say,” Gunther said. “I’ve seen more talkative cacti than the Marshal but I suppose he wouldn’t have spent so much time fixing up her place if he wasn’t sweet on her.”
“Sweet on her?” Miss Bonnie protested. “She looks like a damn broom stick with tits!”
“Miss Bonnie,” Gunther began but was cut off by Miss Bonnie, who felt it necessary to opine whether or not the Widow Farquhar was “lousy with syphilis.” She leaned toward the affirmative but she may have been biased.
“Miss Bonnie,” Gunther tried again. “Seeing you without your can can girl outfit on… without all the fancy straps and bells and whistles and so on…”
“Shut up, Gunther.”
“…dressed like a school marm with a handful of muffins. I’m liable to deduce you’re on your way to court our illustrious Marshal.”
That deduction was met with a spontaneous raspberry. “Pbbbhhht!”
“Like I’d ever give a hoot about that worthless jackass,” Miss Bonnie said.
She looked over just in time to catch Sarah laughing as she brushed some crumbs off of Slade’s cheek.
Ophelia Hutchins, the corpulent, elderly wife of local banker Ed Hutchins walked by.
“Afternoon, Deputy,” Ophelia said, ignoring Miss Bonnie, as most who disapproved of her profession tended to do. “I say, did you happen to peak at the Marshal and the Widow Farquhar?”
“They make a handsome couple, don’t they?” Ophelia asked.
Gunther opened his mouth to answer then closed it when he saw Miss Bonnie’s scrunched up face. That was her signature move whenever she was doing her best to hold back tears, or rage, or whatever emotion was on the way, rage being more likely in this case.
“I’ll have to uh…study that topic and back to you Mrs. Hutchins,” Gunther said. “Good day.”
“Good day, Deputy,” Ophelia said and then as she waddled away, “Whore.”
“Why does everyone call that bitch ‘The Widow Farquhar?’” Miss Bonnie asked.
“I don’t rightly know,” Gunther said. “It’s a title I suppose. Like ‘President Hayes’ or ‘Governor Montgomery’ or ‘The Widow Farquhar.’”
“So that’s all you have to do to get a title?” Miss Bonnie asked. “Just marry some asshole who up and croaks on you and then everyone considers that the best achievement a woman can ever have so you’re ‘The Widow Whatever-Your-Dead-Husband’s-Name-Was for the rest of your days?’”
“Her first name’s Sarah,” Gunther said. “I don’t think most folks call her ‘The Widow Farquhar.’”
The white haired, good natured, ever smiling Reverend Cavanagh happened by.
“What a glorious afternoon,” he said. “Hello Gunther. Hello Whore.”
“Reverend,” Gunther and Miss Bonnie replied in unison. She wasn’t lying to Slade earlier when she told him she was used to being called a whore.
“Ahh!” the Reverend said as headed to the church. “Excuse me but I must introduce myself to the Widow Farquhar and welcome her to our humble community. Take care, Gunther and Miss Bonnie, I’ll continue to pray for your blackened soul.”
“Yeah,” Miss Bonnie said. “Thanks for that.” Then to Gunther she added, “See?”
“I don’t what to say,” Gunther said. “I’m sorry you’re miffed, Miss Bonnie, but I’m not sure it’s my place to get in the middle of something.”
The muffin tin was spiked on the ground and its former handler stormed off back to her house of ill repute. Gunther picked it up.
“You want me to give your muffins to Rain?” the old man asked.
“He can have that slut’s muffins!” Miss Bonnie cried back.
Gunther helped himself to a muffin, chomping down on it like it was the tastiest thing he’d ever eaten.
“He won’t miss one.”