Authors: Robert J. Thomas
“Don’t worry, we can handle it,” said Jess. “Barkeep, get one of your best bottles of whiskey and pour us a drink?”
Jake quickly grabbed his best bottle he had and three glasses and filled them. Jess told Jake to pour one for himself too and Jake wasted no time in obliging him. As soon as he poured his drink, Saul Wicks walked into the saloon holding a Winchester and Jake poured him a glass too.
“Well, Saul, what did the mayor and town council say about our offer?” asked Bodine.
“Every one of them said you have all the leeway you want if you men are willing to risk your lives ridding the town of that bunch of gunslingers,” replied Saul. “I’ll throw in with you too. Jake, do you have that extra double-barrel you keep in the back?”
“I sure do. I always keep one below the bar and an extra one behind the doorway,” he replied, as he retrieved the extra one from behind the door going into the back.
“That’s a good choice in light of that bad shoulder,” said Jess. “I guess now we just wait and see how many come in. Make sure we split up a little and be sure neither of you two gets in front of me and John here.”
“Why not?” asked Saul.
“Because as soon as they come into the saloon, me and John are going to open up on them with these cut-down double-barrels,” replied Jess.
“Holy shit, those things will hit just about anything on that side of the bar. I guess those stories about you really are true,” said Wicks.
“I guess you’re right,” replied Jess, as he poured another round of drinks.
Jess, Bodine, Parks and Wicks were just finishing their second drink when they heard horses riding into town. They immediately turned to face the front door of the saloon and Jess and John removed their two cut-down double-barreled shotguns and had one in each hand. Kelly Winn, Blake Shelten and Hanson Bradley along with two other men walked into the saloon. The only reason Winn didn’t shoot Saul on sight was because he was standing next to John and two other men. The fact that John and one of the other two men both had two cut-down double-barreled shotguns in their hands and pointed directly at Winn and his other four men was the other reason he didn’t make any move.
Winn looked over at Saul. “I thought I told you to keep your ass in the jail when we came into town.”
“You ain’t giving any orders anymore,” said Jess, who was pointing his two cut-down double-barreled shotguns directly at the five men, his fingers on the trigger.
“Oh, really, and why do you think that?” asked Winn.
“Because your days of raising hell are over for good,” replied Jess. Winn was unnerved by Jess’ cool and calm demeanor as well as the purposeful sound to his voice.
Winn turned his attention to Bodine. “I ain’t forgotten the wound you gave me in this here shoulder a while back.”
“I should’ve finished you off right there in your jail cell. I really regret that now.”
“Yeah, but it’s a little late for that now,” replied Winn.
“It’s never too late,” said Jess.
“Well men, I guess we’ll have to go back to our camp and get the rest of our men and come back here and teach you how thing really go,” said Winn.
Winn started to turn around to leave when Jess stopped him in his tracks. “What makes you think that we’re letting you go back to your camp and get you’re other men. Do we look stupid to you?” asked Jess.
“I don’t see any badge pinned on the three of you and Wicks there knows that locking us up will be the worst mistake in his life,” replied Winn.
Jess smiled directly at Winn and cocked his head slightly. “It seems that you’ve made a slight mistake about our intentions in this matter. Who said anything about locking you or any of your other men up?”
Winn became nervous, which was unusual for him. He always tried to be the one in control of a situation, but he wasn’t sure what to do at this point. “Well, what in the hell are you planning on doing? Are you just going to open up with those double-barrels and shoot us down like dogs?” Winn asked.
Jess looked over at John for a second. “I think he’s finally getting the idea,” said Jess, as he fired off all four barrels as Bodine did the same.
All five of the men were peppered with lots of pieces of buckshot. As soon as Jess fired of the two shotguns, he dropped them to the floor and slicked his pistol out and fanned all six rounds off, putting one slug in each man and two in Kelly Winn. Bodine put two slugs into Winn too. Parks emptied his six-shooter and Wicks emptied both barrels of his shotgun. When the smoke cleared, Jake came back out and saw the carnage. Winn and his four men were all on the floor with multiple holes in every one of their bodies. They were bleeding out fast. There was a lot of damage to the front of the bar.
“Jesus Christ! I thought a war was going on out here,” exclaimed Jake.
Jess reloaded his spent cartridges in his pistol and both of his shotguns. “I wouldn’t really call it a war. It was more like an execution, but a necessary one. Jake, will you carry the bodies out behind the saloon for me. I don’t want his other men to see the bodies if they come into town later. If they saw them that would give them a little warning and I want to keep the advantage of surprise on our side.”
“I can tell you that I was sure surprised,” exclaimed Jake, as he and Bodine drug the five lifeless bodies out behind the saloon.
Jess, Bodine, Wicks and Parks waited in the saloon for several hours. Jess told them to drink slowly because he wanted everyone at the ready if and when the other men came into town.
“So why are you so sure that the other bunch of gunslingers will come into town tonight?” Wicks asked Jess.
“Because that’s exactly what I’d do. I figure when those five behind the saloon don’t return to their camp, their pals will get curious and come into town to find out what happened to them,” replied Jess.
“Jess, when those other men come into town, will you do me a favor?” asked Parks.
“Sure, what do you want?”
“Before you go and fill them full of lead, let me pick out the one who claims to be the fastest so I can challenge him in a fair fight,” replied Parks.
“Still worrying about that reputation of yours, huh?” asked Jess.
“I wouldn’t say I was worried about it, I just want to further it and it’s kind of hard to do when you start throwing lead,” replied Parks.
“Alright, I’ll let you pick out the fastest of the lot of them, but if he doesn’t oblige you, I’m not waiting long before I start firing off these double-barrels and fill them full of lead.”
“Hey Saul, was there still a bounty on Winn’s head?” asked Bodine.
“Yeah, and they doubled it to five hundred dollars after he killed the sheriff. As a matter-of-fact, all five of those men in the back you killed are all worth five hundred dollars each,” replied Saul.
“Damn, did you hear that Jess? We ain’t been here a whole day yet and we already made twenty-five hundred dollars,” exclaimed Bodine.
“Just remember you said we were going to split up the money three ways,” said Parks.
“I thought all you were worried about was that reputation of yours,” replied Bodine.
“Yes, but the money sure won’t hurt any,” replied Parks.
They waited around about another hour and they heard the sound of horses again coming into town. They readied themselves and the plan was the same, except for the part about Parks trying to goad whoever claimed to be the fastest into a fair gunfight.
Eric Lamar, Brad Pitts, Keith Horn and two other men rode up and reined their horses in front of the saloon and tied them to the rail. Jess had the other five men’s horses taken around behind the saloon. As soon as they walked in and saw what they were facing, they all became nervous.
Brad Pitts, who was the second in command and the fastest with a pistol, looked over the scene. He gave the sign to his men not to make any move yet. “Wicks, what the hell is this?”
Saul Wicks, who was feeling a lot braver at this point, especially after losing his good friend, and nursing a bad wound all at the hands of these men, decided to give them some of the same treatment they had given him.
“I’ll tell you what it is asshole! This is the worst day you are ever going to have in your miserable life,” exclaimed Wicks.
Brad Pitts riled all too easily and he was pissed off at the nerve Wicks had just displayed. “You kiss my ass, Wicks. Who the hell are these other men? I don’t see any badges on them.”
“They don’t need any. They got the blessing of the mayor and the town council to handle your men any way they see fit.”
“Spread out, men,” said Pitts. The other four men started to move apart a little.
“I wouldn’t do that,” said Jess, staring Pitts in the eyes. Pitts’ men stopped moving.
“And why the hell not,” retorted Pitts.
“Because if they move one more inch, me and my friend over there will open up with these double-barrels here without so much as a warning,” replied Jess.
“That’s nothing less than murder, Mister. Wicks, You’re a lawman, you can’t let this kind of thing happen,” complained Pitts.
“I already did,” replied Wicks.
“What does that mean?” asked Pitts.
“Your other men that came in here several hours ago are all piled up in the back of the saloon and they ain’t breathing any more air, if you get my drift,” replied Wicks, a sarcastic tone in his voice. Wicks took his badge off and put it on the bar. “Now, didn’t you brag to me that you were the fastest one out of the bunch with a pistol?”
“That’s right. You aim to take me on Wicks? I’d love to put a bullet in you. You can’t beat me and you know it,” replied Pitts.
“Oh, he’s not the one who is going to take you on, I am,” interjected Parks.
“Who the hell are you?” asked Pitts.
“My name is Jeff Parks and I’m challenging you to a fair gunfight.”
Jeff was staring into Pitts’ eyes, trying to get a read on him. Pitts was doing the same thing. The other four men with Pitts were frozen where they stood. Pitts took one step forward and removed his hammer strap very slowly as if to let Parks know he wasn’t going for his gun—yet.
“So, are you sure you’re the fastest one out of this bunch?” asked Parks.
“What the hell does it matter to you anyway? You’re going to be dead in another few seconds,” replied Pitts, moving his hand a little closer to the butt of his pistol.
“I simply want to make sure before I beat you because I’m trying to improve on my reputation with a pistol,” replied Parks.
“Well, if you do happen to get lucky, which I doubt, you’ll do exactly that. I’m widely known around here for being one of the fastest men with a gun,” replied Pitts.
“Great. I guess all that’s left is for us to find out which one of us is faster,” replied Parks.
Pitts went for his pistol. He got it out of the holster and almost leveled with Parks when a slug from Parks’ gun found the center of his chest. What happened next surprised the other four men. Parks put one more bullet into Pitts before he fell to the floor and Jess and Bodine opened up with the shotguns as Parks emptied the last four rounds in his pistol. Jess dropped his shotguns and fanned off all six rounds and Bodine did the same. Wicks didn’t even shoot the shotgun he was holding. His shoulder was hurting like hell and he didn’t need to shoot anyway. The men lay dead on the saloon floor, no less than two bullets and several pieces of buckshot in each one of them. Jess was right; it was more of an execution than a gunfight, with the exception of the fight between Pitts and Parks.