Charley saw the rider pull up beside the stagecoach out of the corner of his eye; the man had a revolver in one hand, reins in the other. Turning to look, Charley recognized him as a four-flusher who had been skulking about the saloon back in Virginia City.
The gun was a newer Smith & Wesson, likely a No. 3. The hand holding it was lily-white, and the only tarnish on his clothes was dust from hard riding to catch the Wells Fargo stage that Charley the whip was driving. Dude never worked anything but cons. Charley spit a generous mouthful of tobacco juice to the other side – more habit than courtesy – and bellowed over the racket of hooves and coach: “what do you want?”
“Give me the stage, Charley!” His holler barely got above the clatter.
“Piss off!” It would take a right trig marksman to aim that revolver while riding a horse, and this banco was unlikely to be one. Charley squinted his good eye. “She stops at Salt Lake!”
“I know about you! What you’re hiding under all them clothes!”
“What?” Momentarily, his mind failed to grasp it. There’s no way this fella would know One-eyed Charley’s secret.
“I saw you, through a pinhole in the wall at the hotel. A lot of people would pay for that information. Put you out of business.”
Charley swore. Gutless polecat was at the hotel too, and had spied on him! Or had he? He squinted hard with his good eye at the man. “Saw what?”
The dandy told. Charley swore and spat again. “Oh, you woke the wrong passenger!” He drew his gun and sent the wretch up the flume before he had a chance to steady his aim. Freed of its rider, the horse veered off.
Charley pointed his pistol upward and cocked the hammer back with his thumb, allowing the bits of percussion cap to fall out, then holstered it. He tried to settle.
The stage drove on without stopping.
This flash fiction in 333 words was crafted for the Trifecta Writing Challenge, week ninety.
- Trifecta: Surprise (melstepp01.wordpress.com)
- Trifecta-Week Ninety – Grasp (joeowensblog.wordpress.com)
- Missed in History: Charley Parkhurst (blogs.howstuffworks.com)
- Grasp – Trifecta Week 90 (gabriellaswritingcorner.wordpress.com)
- An Eye for an Eye, Blood for Blood (jamesmender.wordpress.com)