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From the Wagon Train Diaries
The wagon train stopped outside of a small town called Hutch Corner. There they could pick up the much needed supplies and also look for a new cook. The wagon train’s old cook, Josh Johnston ran off with a young Indian woman from Cheyenne.
The Wagon Master Alastar Brown was so angry about how they handled the death of Little Red Dove and O’Shea he just wanted to get away for some alone time.
Alastar and his Indian scout White Deer had settled at a table and had a bottle of whiskey delivered along with two shot glasses. The Indian sitting at a table designated for white men caused most of the people in the saloon to turn and look. The scout placed his Remington .44 on the table next to his whiskey and surveyed the saloon. That movement was a threat, which no longer interested the other customers. They could hate him, but it would have to be from a distance, and silent.
Alastar sipped his whiskey and quietly took in the saloon. No one seemed to be paying particular attention to them, mostly due to White Deer’s weapon on the table. That just suited Alastar Brown just fine.
Soon their attention was captured by a conversation at the table directly behind them. At it sat two men and a young Chinese girl. One of the men was big and brawny. He had a hard face and was also missing his front teeth. The other man appeared to be soft, delicate and smooth skinned. His face was light and almost perfect. His fingernails were manicured and painted a light pink. He was very dainty and almost feminine.
“Ten dollars for one week,” said the smaller man.
“I don’t have to feed her anything, right?”
“My good man,” started the smaller man. “She is property, not people. You can get your use out of her and drop her back off to me in any condition. I really don’t care.”
“Five dollars,” shouted the burly man.
“My price is set at ten dollars.”
The Wagon Master became bored with the people at the next table, what they were doing was certainly none of his business. He had a wagon train loaded with passengers and short a cook, to concern himself with anything else.
White Deer’s curiosity continued. He turned and stared at the people sitting at the next table. Particularly the young Chinese girl who had that help me look on her face.
“Ten, if I could sell her to my men at the ranch after I’ve used her?”
“Do what you want with her,” replied the smaller man. “Just remember, it’s only for a week. There are other people who want to use her services. Ten dollars will get you that week, my good man.”
“What happens if she dies?” asked the burly man. “I mean sometimes when the boys get drunk they get a little rough. Understand that I’ll do my best to get her back in one piece, but I ain’t going to make no promises.”
“Listen up my good man,” the smaller man started. “Her father died of heat stroke while laying railroad tracks down for the railroad company. She has no family, and I paid three dollars for her. If she dies, I would already have made my money back, so don’t you worry about it.”
“Three dollars and you want to charge me ten?”
“Just business my friend,” replied the smaller man. “Besides, she’s just another savage, just like the Indi…”
The feminine man stopped talking abruptly when he noticed White Deer looking directly at him. He also noticed the scout’s weapon on the table.
The burly man laughed and slapped a large hand on the table, knocking over the glasses, and the half empty bottle of whiskey. “Come on; don’t let that red devil scare you. Say what you mean, he won’t get angry. He’s just another savage!”
White Deer shifted his chair so that he would face the next table head on. If he moved it any closer he’d be sitting at the table along side them.
The burly man scowled and sat up straight. “If you even think about using that weapon, I’ll put a hole in your red skin.”
The scout downed the whiskey he had left in his shot glass, reached into his shirt pocket and tossed ten dollars over to the feminine man. “I’ll take her from you.”
The burly man suddenly pushed himself away from the table and stood. He was even bigger than he had appeared to be when he was sitting. His right hand went to the holster on his hips.
“Hey, it’s just business,” said White Deer.
“I’m going to shoot you like a savage!”
Patrons dived under tables and behind the bar in search of cover. They wanted no part of the gunfight that was about to happen. The scout stood up to face the burly man without a hint of fear on his face. In fact, White Deer smiled sheepishly.
“Remember one thing, red skin,” said the burly man. “If you beat me, they’ll hang you because you’re a red skin. They don’t like it when a savage kills a white man even in self defense.”
The scout twisted his neck, to straighten out a kink. “Maybe my hanging will be worth me killing you.”
“Just remember,” said the burly man. “Kill me and you swing. I kill you and I’m a hero. Either way it’s a win situation for me. The town will get rid of another savage, trust me.”
Before the burly man could pull out his weapon, the Wagon Master fired off a round from his weapon. The bullet caught the burly man in the side of the head. It blew a hole where his ear use to be. His next shot caught him in the chest knocking him over the table behind him.
The burly man looked up at the Wagon Master and sneered. “You Indian lover.”
“You’re right about one thing,” said Alastar as he holstered his weapon. “The town did lose just another savage.”
The scout turned to the young Chinese girl and saw her kneeling over the feminine man. She smiled as she removed a knife from his chest. His pink face was pale.
“Come with us,” he said. “You’ll be safe.”
“She’s coming with us?” asked Alastar Brown.
“We need a cook and she needs a home.”
“Two dollars a month is all I can pay her, plus a place to sleep and a horse she could use.”
“Three dollars a month, her own wagon with a horse and week ends off.”
“What? Hell I’ll take that job!”
The young Chinese girl smiled as they argued on the way out of the saloon.
© 2013 Frank Atanacio
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