Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 23

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The double doors of the Gem swung open. Bullock moseyed on in and didn’t like what he saw. He wasn’t against a good belt of whiskey to calm his nerves now and then. And though he didn’t particularly care for raucous behavior, he’d seen enough of it as a lawman that it rarely bothered him to be around it.

Sure, the topless whores were letting it all hang out just a wee bit too early in the morning for Bullock’s tastes.

“Wow,” Lorelai said, flashing her smile despite the missing tooth. “Aren’t you handsome?”

Bullock sidestepped the prostitute and kept moving.

“Figures,” Lorelai lamented. “The good looking ones never buy it.”

The drinking. The swearing. The gambling. All activities Bullock found crude but he bypassed them. When he saw two barflies locked in a heated argument that looked like it was about to come to blows, he stopped at the table, tapped on his star, and they both piped down.

Standing on the bar was a fully lit woman wearing pants. Bullock hadn’t met her yet though you, the noble reader, know her as Jane. She had reached the giddy stage of her bender and was holding court, regaling an audience with humorous anecdotes, an art form that would eventually come to be known as stand up-comedy.

“So I says to this feller I says…” Jane was all giggles. She slapped her knee and guffawed at herself.

The crowd was eating it up. “Come on Jane!” a man yelled. “What’d you say?!”

Once Jane’s laughing fit passed and she’d taken a swig of whiskey, she tried it again.

“I says, ‘Mister, if that isn’t a rattle snake I feel crawling into my pants then you and I have a problem!’”

Uproarious laughter. The tale hadn’t even been that funny, but booze makes everything seem hysterical.

The barkeep was not amused.

“Twat in trousers,” he said. “Either buy me a new bar or stop scuffing this one up with your Goddamned shit kickers.”

“Aww hell, Al…”

That name stood out to Bullock. “Al.”

“…I’m just blowing off some steam. No need to get your britches in a knot.”
Al responded by poking Jane in the behind with the whisk end of a corn broom, trying to sweep her away as if she were some kind of undesirable rodent.

“Get!” Al shouted.

“All right, all right!” Jane said as she gulped the last bit of her drink. She tossed the glass over her shoulder, unconcerned about where it would land or that it would shatter when it did.

The show was over and the crowd had begun to amuse themselves with their own conversations. Jane was too hammered to realize no one was paying any attention to her.

She threw her arms out and shouted, “Catch me, boys!”

Literally no one but Bullock noticed when she fell face first into the floorboards. Alas, Bullock had been too far away to have made a difference and as a general rule, if drunks were about to hurt themselves, he rarely got involved.

“Ungh.” Jane groaned and chewed the crowd out. “What fucking part of ‘catch me boys’ did you ignorant yahoos not understand?”

She griped a few seconds more and then passed out, falling asleep right there on the floor.

Bullock walked over and leaned down to put a finger under Jane’s neck. He felt a pulse and stood up. Just another drunk who’d had one too many.

The new Sheriff bellied up to the bar, where Al was busily wiping the bar down with a white rag.

“You Swearengen?”

Without looking up, Al answered. “Who wants to know?”

Bullock waited until Al spotted the star.

“What in the name of Mary Todd Lincoln’s saintly pubic hair is that?!”

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5 thoughts on “Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 23

  1. well that was a line to end a chapter on

  2. […] Chapter 23       Chapter 24       Chapter 25 […]

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