Authors: Jon Sharpe
Tags: #Fiction, #Westerns, #General
“Yeah, we’re heading back tonight. First, though, I want a closer size-up of that limestone building at the far end. I’d wager whoever lives there is the head hound in this pack of curs.”
* * *
Fargo and Buckshot moved back out into the open country, hooked around to the west end of the gulch, and again slipped past sentries and penetrated the thick concealment of brush until they could peer over the rim.
The view thus revealed was a far cry from the filth and crudity of the rest of the gulch. The area behind the solid limestone building stretched between both narrowing walls of the gulch, forming a huge triangle completely out of sight except from overhead. Roses climbed a trellis against the house. Despite the late hour, several lanterns burned on
wooden stands circling one of the new metal bathtubs that were shaped like coffins instead of barrels.
Fargo did a double take when a towering, stone-faced mestizo with a machete over his hip came out of the house and poured steaming water from a bucket into the tub. He was followed by another man, of medium height and solid build, likewise armed with a machete, who poured a second bucket of steaming water into the tub. Both men, Fargo noted, wore two Colt Navy sidearms jammed into sashes.
“Are them dumb gazabos takin’ a bath this late?” Buckshot whispered. “Why, the night air has got a snap to it. The one with the flat map is big enough to fight cougars with a shoe. He won’t fit in that tub.”
“I’d say those two are servants or bodyguards or some such,” Fargo whispered back. “Looks to me like the topkick of this shit pit is about to enjoy a soak. Maybe the two of us should drop in on him and make him the meat in a six-gun sandwich.”
“Now you’re whistling.”
The two men brought out one more bucket of water each and returned to the house. A moment later the solid slab door opened again and Fargo forgot to take his next breath. The petite woman was so stunningly beautiful she mesmerized even the vastly experienced erotic acrobat whose amorous escapades were often hinted at in the penny press.
She wore only a thin linen wrapper and carried a porcelain jar. The beauty poured powder from the jar into the bath water, and Fargo realized this lass didn’t let lye soap touch her creamy skin—even from fifteen feet above her Fargo whiffed the lilac scent of her exotic soap.
!” Buckshot whispered hoarsely in his ear. “Skye, she’s gonna get nekkid right in front of us!”
“Hush down, you fool,” Fargo warned him. “Just enjoy the show.”
She reached behind her neck and removed the tortoiseshell comb holding her dark brown hair in a chignon. It cascaded down around her shoulders as she untied the sash of her wrapper and let it fall in a puddle around her dainty feet.
Buckshot couldn’t restrain himself. “Wouldja
jahoobies on that little filly, Skye! Oh, Moses on the mountain! Right off them French playing cards!”
“Damn it, pipe down,” Fargo whispered back. “She’s got ears as well as tits.”
But in fact he was looking, all right, forced to roll onto one hip as hot blood surged into his man gland.
Her tits were full, hard, and pointy, the strawberry nipples hard from the cool air. Her loose hair curtained one of them, just the pointed nipple peeping out provocatively between the dark tresses. Fargo’s eyes slid over the flat, alabaster stomach to a triangle of dark mons hair. When she raised one leg over the edge of the tub to get in, he caught a quick glimpse of the soft inner petals of her sex.
His breathing was ragged and uneven now as the pent-up rut need brought out the savage stallion in him. But even with lust depriving his brain of blood, he noted something odd—the stunning brunette beauty had not removed the string of pearls she wore around her neck. As soon as she had adjusted to the hot water and relaxed, he found out why.
She pulled the pearls over her head and, slowly at first, began rubbing them one by one across both of her nipples. She began rubbing faster, ever faster, until her breathing matched Fargo’s. When she had aroused herself sufficiently, she raised both legs, hooking one over each edge of the tub.
Buckshot was whimpering by now, and Fargo jabbed him with an elbow.
She slid the pearls down into the water and began the same treatment between her legs, many hard pearls rubbing one soft one. Her head rolled back and forth on the edge of the tub, she began to pant, then to groan. Suddenly she cried out as a climax shuddered her body.
Fargo was so stunned and aroused that he almost failed to restrain Buckshot in time when he started to lunge up.
“Damn it, Skye, let’s
bull her right now!” he whispered, the sound almost a plea.
“Settle down or I’ll shoot you,” Fargo warned.
“Settle down, my sweet aunt! My dick is hard ’nuff to quarry with. Oh, to be them pearls!”
Before Fargo could reply, the languid beauty in the tub called out, “Jasmine! Warm up the water!”
A minute later a willowy blonde in a white gingham dress emerged from the house and poured more steaming water into the tub.
“C’mon, sugar britches,” Buckshot urged under his breath, “shuck off that dress and climb in the tub with Pretty Pearls. Grind them tits together, gals.”
But his Isle of Lesbos fantasy was dashed when Jasmine merely returned to the house.
“We’ve seen enough. Let’s vamoose,” Fargo said.
“She ain’t done,” Buckshot complained.
“I’ve seen all I can take, old son. She’s a beauty, all right, but horny as I am, just
her is like staring at a fresh-baked pie when I’m starving and knowing I can’t have a slice.”
“Yeah, I take your drift,” Buckshot said. “I got me one helluva bellyache.”
The two men carefully threaded their way through the protective ring of plum and chokecherry brush. They crept out into open country, eluding the sentries, then headed back to the southeast toward their horses.
“Tell me,” Fargo said in a sly tone, “are you still reluctant to come back here?”
“We got us a duty to them prisoners,” Buckshot asserted, suddenly eager and sanctimonious. “Why, the pond scum in that gulch is holding little children! You know us Western men got us a code.”
Fargo chuckled. “Uh-huh.
you come to Jesus.”
“Skye, that gal in the tub—you figure she’s one a them whatchacallits, a coocoobine? You know, a fancy whore for the man who runs the whole shebang in the gulch?”
“Concubine,” Fargo corrected him. “Well, it don’t seem likely a woman could be ramrod of a cutthroat bunch like that. Especially a woman who looks like her. I’ve seen outlaws’ whores, and they sure’s hell don’t look like that little muffin. Nor that pretty blonde, neither.”
“Ahuh. But you heard of Brasada Betty, ain’tcha? And Belle Winters. Both them gals was pistol-packin’ mamas that run criminal outfits.”
“True, but they both looked like fifty miles of bad road. I do remember a run-in with a pretty gal from New Orleans
who was heisting banks in the Kansas Territory. But this…well, hell, there’s a woman in charge of England. That gal in the tub just might be the big chief.”
Whatever she was, Fargo resolved, after what he’d seen tonight, her naked body was painted on the back of his eyelids. And once a woman got stuck in his mind, he made it a priority to merge with her flesh.
“I never knowed that women diddled theirselves like that,” Buckshot added. “Why, she was pettin’ her own pussy.”
Fargo snorted. “I s’pose you think they all sleep with their hands outside the blankets, huh?”
“Why wouldn’t they? And how’s come it looked like she got her rocks off like a man does? Now, ain’t that uncommon queer? I mean, all they got down there is a hole, am I right?”
“You mean to tell me you don’t know…?”
Fargo trailed off figuring this was no time for a lecture on the female “magic button.” Since Buckshot was a confirmed whoremonger, enlightenment would be wasted on him.
Just before they reached their horses Buckshot spoke up again. “Skye, you’ve bedded plenty of women. Have you
seen anything like what that gal done with them pearls?”
“No,” Fargo replied, a note of wonder creeping into his voice, “I never have. Makes you wonder what else is in her bag of tricks.”
With no need to constantly read sign, and a bright full moon, Fargo and Buckshot held their mounts to a lope and made good time heading north. Fargo allowed for two days additional progress on the telegraph line, veering slightly west. By late morning they reached Big Ed Creighton’s work crew.
“Damn, am I glad to see you two,” Creighton greeted them before they even dismounted. He hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “We’ve got visitors.”
Fargo aimed his gaze past Big Ed and a grin eased his lips apart.
“Look yonder, We-Ota-Wichasa,” he told Buckshot.
The same six Cheyenne who had demanded tribute from the two men just two days ago now sat in a circle wolfing down hot johnnycake and slurping coffee. Their obvious zeal for the eats contrasted humorously with their carved-in-stone, expressionless faces.
“Give you any trouble?” Fargo asked as he lit down and dropped the Ovaro’s bit and bridle before loosening the girth.
Creighton shrugged. “There’s too many of us for them to threaten, I guess. They don’t know a lick of English, so I can’t cipher out why they’re here—except they keep pointing out the telegraph poles and shaking their heads. You don’t need to go to the blanket to know what that means. They do claim this land, after all. Say, who’s We-Ota-Wichasa?”
“Just play along,” Fargo said. “The way they’re shoveling it down, I’d guess that grub has got them in a good mood.”
“I’m glad I ordered a few cases of Gail Borden’s new condensed milk,” Ed said. “They’re death on it—they keep dumping that and sugar in their coffee. They’re tying into the pancakes full chisel, too.”
When the braves saw Fargo and the powerful shaman We-Ota-Wichasa walking toward them, they rose uncertainly from the ground. All of them avoided eye contact, especially with Buckshot, although they sneaked quick peeks to see if his eye had grown back.
Fargo raised his right hand in the peace sign, addressing the leader with the most eagle-tail feathers on his coup stick. Again he mixed sign talk with Lakota and Cheyenne words.
“These wasichus have received you with respect. Their big chief wants to know what you wish from them?”
The brave, still chewing his food, seemed embarrassed after the hostile and ferocious show two days earlier. With obvious regret he set his delicious coffee down to talk.
“We are not here to make he-bear talk,” he told Fargo. “We smoked to the four directions with the big chief. But this land is Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho land. Why are these yellow eyes cutting down our trees? Why do they strip the bark and branches and then plant them again in this odd row? And this hard sinew they tie between them for the birds to sit on—why are they doing these odd things?”
Fargo could tell the brave was far more curious than angry, and this was a good sign. It suggested they believed the white man’s medicine was behind these baffling actions, and Fargo had to play to that belief.
“The white men,” he explained, “know how to turn their words into lightning. The lightning courses through the hard sinew. Just as your tribe sends messages a great distance with smoke, the white men use this lightning.”
The braves discussed this among themselves. Their leader turned to Fargo again.
“We have seen that We-Ota-Wichasa’s medicine is strong. But Indian blood runs in him and places him close to the spirit in all things. We do not believe white men can send lightning through this sinew. Lightning comes from the god who first made days and gave them to men. He is the red man’s god—he would not give his lightning to the white tribe.”
“Ed,” Fargo said, “do you have a good battery in one of the freight wagons?”
“Would a shock from it hurt a man?”
“Nah. Just jolt him a mite. Sort of a tickling tingle.”
“Mosey on over there and get ready to connect the wire,” Fargo said. “Don’t let these wampum merchants see what you’re up to. When you see me put my left hand on my hip, let ’er rip.”