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The Gun Fighter - A Western Short Story

Updated on December 23, 2012

The Gun Fighter


“That’s five out of five in three seconds flat!”

Luther Johnson spoke from the porch without looking up from the harness he was mending.

“A man should know how to shoot.”

Billy Silvers turned and grinned at the thin old man.

“Lester Wiggins had best step aside, and mind his mouth.”

Luther glanced up at Billy from under bushy brows.

“A man should also know when to shoot, Billy.”

He put up the harness and regarded the young man. He had raised Billy after his father had died and made him an orphan. His mother had died birthing Billy, and his father took to drinking. He died in a saloon, when a stray bullet from a gunfight at another table hit him in the back of the head. Nobody questioned Luther when he said he would raise Billy. After all, there was no one else, and he had been foreman on the Silvers ranch. Billy had grown up referring to him as ‘Uncle Luther’, although they were not related.

When Billy turned eighteen and came into full possession of the ranch, he immediately made Luther Johnson a partner, and changed the name to the Rafter S Bar J. Luther had been stunned by Billy’s generosity, but Billy just smiled and gave the old man a friendly slap on the back.

“It’s me that owes you, Uncle Luther.”

Luther Johnson knew better, but kept his silence. It was better that way.

Billy Silvers had grown into an uncommonly strong and handsome man. He was also good hearted and level headed.

Usually.

“You’re letting this Lester Wiggins get to you, Billy. Looking for trouble with him will get you killed.” He spat into the dust. “So he hurrahed you some! So what? It ain’t worth dying over.”

“He shamed me in front of Molly. That ain’t no small thing!”

“Molly don’t give a tinker’s dam what a drifter like Lester Wiggins says, and you know it! She’s been cow-eyed over you since you was in short pants. This is ain’t about Molly. This is about your own foolish pride, son.”

Billy dropped the empty shells in his pocket and reloaded. Then he walked to the fence and set up five more cans. He turned and walked back to the porch, facing Luther. Suddenly he whirled and drew, all in one motion, firing five times in one steady roar. All five cans went spinning off the fence. Without a word, he climbed the steps and went in the house. Luther picked up the harness and sat back down.

“That boy can shoot,” he thought. “Of course, them cans wasn’t shooting back.”

Lester Wiggins and three other hard cases had drifted into town about a year ago. They took up residence in an abandoned dugout down by Millers Creek, and did odd jobs for other ranches and a business or two. That, and possibly some petty thievery, kept them in drinking and gambling money, and fed them at Baker’s Café, where Molly worked as a waitress.

Molly Blakely had grown up with rowdy cowboys and their rough humor, so Lester Wiggins and his crowd presented no problem to her at all. She quickly put all of them in their place, and it was an unwritten law in the west that molesting a woman would earn the offender a one way trip to the nearest tree limb.

Folks pitched in to help raise George Faley’s barn, so he threw a barn dance in gratitude, and Billy Silvers escorted Molly Blakely, who had recently and joyfully agreed to marry him. Luther Johnson was smoking his pipe in the shadows of a cottonwood when a laughing Billy and Molly came outside for some air. Lester Wiggins, who had been sharing a bottle with two others down by the tool shed, decided to rawhide Billy a little. Words were spoken, and an enraged, but unarmed Billy was forced to back down to the three armed men. He was humiliated, and Luther Johnson was worried. An angry man was vulnerable.

For the next month, things went well, and Billy seemed to cool off. Lester Wiggins and his bunch had business elsewhere, so Billy’s courting of Molly Blakely in town continued undisturbed. Then, on a warm Saturday morning, they drove a wagon to town to pick up rolls of fencing.

“You want breakfast, Uncle Luther?”

“No, I had some bacon and coffee. You go say howdy to Molly, and I’ll get our order together. I see some loafers in the mercantile, so we’ll swap lies until you’re through seeing your lady.”

Billy’s ears reddened. He too had eaten bacon at the ranch and wasn’t all that hungry. He just wanted to say hello to Molly. He walked across the dusty, busy street.

The dark interior of the mercantile was cool and smelled of new denim. Luther placed his order, and while it was being filled, he joined the others sitting around the cold wood stove.

Molly brushed a stray lock back off her forehead. The kitchen was hot, and her lovely brow was damp. She smiled down at Billy and filled his cup.

“I wish I could sit with you, Billy, but lots of folks are in town this morning, and we’re running to keep up.”

“I understand. I just wanted to say hello. I have to help Uncle Luther load up anyway.” He finished his coffee, and waved to Molly as he stepped out the door.

“Looks like something’s happening out there.” The speaker was one of the loafers, standing at the mercantile’s store window and gazing down the street. Luther stood and walked to the front of the store. It was Billy, Lester Wiggins, and two others, facing each other in the street. Luther stepped outside.

The formerly busy street suddenly looked empty as folks crowded inside the various businesses. A few daring souls stood in entryways, their curiosity trumping their good sense. Billy Silvers calmly faced the other three, hoping that his shaking hands were not noticeable.

On Wiggins’ right was a gray haired, hatched-faced older man Billy did not know. On his left was bucktoothed, Jug Swanson, a sallow complected youngster who was rumored to have murdered a sheriff in Oklahoma.

Lester had called to Billy as he stepped out into the street, and Billy had walked over to see what he wanted. As he did, the other two had come from opposite sides of the street and now, Billy was neatly boxed. He had already decided to kill Lester first, if the shooting started. He had heard what Lester had said to Molly.

“Looks like you are armed this time. Maybe you also found some courage.”

Billy knew Lester was trying to force him to commit. Billy said nothing and waited. Then he saw hatchet-face looking at something behind Billy, his face paling. Billy heard footsteps in the dust come up beside him and stop. It was Luther Johnson, and he had the double barrel shotgun from the wagon in his hands. In his waistband was a revolver Billy had never seen before.

“You fixin’ to get yourself killed old man?” Lester Wiggins was almost sneering, but the hatchet-faced, older man was suddenly sweating.

“Les? Maybe we should just drop it.”

“What the hell are you talking about? What is wrong with you?”

“Les, that there old man is Joker Johnson. I seen him before. It’s him for sure.”

Everybody knew the story. Some twenty five years ago, three hard cases had robbed the Cody bank and were getting ready to mount up when a lone cowboy confronted them.

“Is that the bank's money you fellers are carrying? If it is, some of it belongs to me, so you best take it back.”

As a man, all three clawed for their guns, but none of them so much as got off a shot. Folks who witnessed it swore that they never saw the cowboy pull his revolver. It was suddenly in his hand and three shots sounded like one. All three robbers were down, and when the one who was still alive tried to raise his weapon, the cowboy warned him first, and then shot him between the eyes.

The few who knew him called him Joker Johnson, because he liked to tell funny stories around a campfire. No one knew he was deadly with a pistol.

Lester Wiggins hesitated.

“That right, old man? Are you Johnson, the Wyoming gunfighter?”

Luther nodded. “I’ve been called that. I didn’t ask for it.” Billy was stunned at the revelation, but he held steady, watching the other three.

Jug Swanson was now openly looking around for a way out. Hatchet-face took an involuntary step backwards.

Luther glanced at Lester Wiggins, and their eyes held. Suddenly wary, Lester realized he was looking death square in the face. He looked down at the dust. Luther raised the shotgun.

“I want you and your rabble to pack and leave the territory. If I ever see any of you again, I’m going to figure you’re gunning for me or Billy and I’ll shoot you down on sight. Understood?”

Nobody moved.

“Understood? I ain’t askin’ again!”

All three men nodded.

“Now git.’

The three turned and began to walk away. Luther watched them for a moment and then jerked his head toward the wagon. “Let’s go load up, Billy.”

They had turned on their heels when Billy heard the double click of a hammer being cocked. He whirled and drew in one swift motion, just as a shocked Lester Wiggins was bringing his gun to bear. Five shots slammed into Wiggins, and to his left, Billy could hear the roar of the ten gauge shotgun.

“Folks in town all swear that you were well within your rights to defend yourselves, and I have no call to doubt it. Those were three bad men, although I had no papers on them.”

The sheriff drank the rest of his coffee and stood, his eyes on Billy.

“That was some shooting, but don’t let it go to your head son. Gun fighting will get you killed, sure enough.”

Billy nodded. “It was something I had to do, Sheriff, but I still get sick to my stomach whenever I think about it. I’m no killer. I don’t ever want to have to do that again.”

When they were alone again, Luther put a revolver on the table and looked Billy square in the eyes. It was the one he had at the gunfight.

“This has been gnawing at me for years, Billy, and it’s time to come clean. I fired the bullet that killed your father, and that there is the gun I used.”

Billy started at him, the shock plain on his face. Luther nodded at him, and continued.

“Oh it was an accident, that’s right enough, but it don’t make it any easier. I was standing against the wall watching a card game when the dealer was caught cheating. Bullets were suddenly flying everywhere, and when one almost hit me, I drew and fired at that dealer. Then I saw your father go to the floor, and I knew what I had done.” He stopped and wiped at his eyes. “Nobody saw me fire, and they all agreed it was an accident, so I talked to a preacher about it. He said maybe I should just say nothing and raise you to try to make it right.”

He looked at Billy, his old eyes were pleading for understanding.

"Your pa was my boss, but he was also my best friend, Billy. Maybe my only friend, and I killed him."

Billy reached across the table and picked up the gun, turning it over and over, but saying nothing. Then he rose and went to his room. A moment later, he returned and put a small object on the table. It was a partially deformed bullet. Luther looked up at him, a question in his eyes.

“Doc Turner stopped me the day I turned eighteen and took me to his office. He showed me that bullet, and told me he dug it out of my father’s head.” He looked at Luther. “That’s the bullet that killed him. He said I could have it if I wanted it. He’d kept it all these years. I took it.”

He picked up the revolver. “This gun of yours is a Navy Colt, caliber thirty six.”

He looked at Luther for confirmation, and Luther nodded.

“That bullet is a forty one caliber. You did not kill my father, Uncle Luther. We’ll never know who did, but it wasn’t you.”

Luther Johnson, the hardened gun fighter, buried his head in his hands and wept quietly. Billy stood and walked over behind him. He patted Luther on the shoulder and then busied himself washing the breakfast dishes. When he finished, he looked over at Luther and grinned.

“We’ve got us a ranch to run, so let’s get at it, and while we are, I’ll want to hear some of those funny stories you used to tell, Uncle Joker Johnson!”


Two volumes of my short stories are now available, here and here.

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    • Marlin 55 profile image

      Marlin 55 5 years ago from USA

      Great job Willstarr. Smooth prose and a great story. I'm waiting for you to write a novel.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      To carry that guilt all those years and then find out he didn't kill Billy's father after all. What a great story!

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

      I love your stories. You'd be a wonderful western novelist.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      This is a wonderful story. I was glad that he hadn't been the one to kill Billy's father. He did right by the boy even so. I'm glad his guilt if over with.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 5 years ago

      Outstanding story as usual, but what else would I expect from WillStarr? I always love the twist you throw into every story you write.

      For some reason, I am not getting notices on new hubs or comments for a couple days after the fact, so I was late to this party.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Another compelling vignnette of the Old West. Was it really so easy to get away with killing back then?

      Bob

    • Ginn Navarre profile image

      Ginn Navarre 5 years ago

      I have heard it said that "Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead," but here you showed the wisdom that can come from it. Again EXCELLENT!!!!!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Marlin 55, and thanks for reading!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Susan, and thank you for the nice comment!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Lynn! I have a novel or two underway!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Becky,

      Sadly, lots of people live with unearned guilt.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Mike!

      I've notified HubPages about the long delays. It's happening to lots of us.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Bob,

      In the early days, there was little or no law, so you carried it on your hip. Self defense was and still is, an acceptable reason under the law. What good is a right to life if there's no right to defend that life?

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Ginn!

      Thanks for being so loyal!

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 5 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      All your comments suddenly appeared just as I was signing in to comment on your great story, Will, and I certainly agree with what you just told Bob. I agree, but I still can't imagine actually shooting somebody, hey, I even feel bad shooting some critter. In the navy I was a Torpedoman's Mate, I even fired once, but the actual idea of sinking a ship with maybe hundreds/thousands of people on board, didn't really sink in. My sub still included the WWII "steam" torpedos that had to be fired with air pressure, and talk about a blast, it would shake the whole sub. We had electric torpedoes too. With those I guess the fire-control techs just locked in the coordinance. Not sure about that, and those torpedoes just left the sub quietly under their own battery power. The steam torpedoes had gyroscopes too, but only "one" heading, not like the electrics that would go out and "hunt."

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Again, you've hit a bull's eye, Will. Super story and as usual the ending is fantastical and clever! Great read and voted up! Best, Sis

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Ron,

      Harming another human being, even in self defense, will upset any normal person. Most of us just aren't wired that way.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Angela!

      Great to hear from you!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      I like Billy's character--you give him lots of wisdom and lots of spunk!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Audrey!

      Thank you for the nice comment!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 5 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      I never know just what to say...as always a wonderful story...you are the greatest.. and I REPEAT "I want COPY OF YOUR BOOK"...LOL God Bless...:O) Hugs G-Ma

    • VendettaVixen profile image

      VendettaVixen 5 years ago from Ireland

      Excellent story, Will. Great plot, and even better characters.

      Really enjoyed it, as usual.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I really liked this Will..You always leave me thinking and feeling better for reading it..Thank you..

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Well another Great "Cowboy Tale" has been Spun...and now Read, and Enjoyed by Everyone! Thanks WillStarr.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Will I hope you are thinking of adding this one to your first book.

    • DexisView profile image

      Dexi 5 years ago from New England

      Hi Will, I know which Hubs to read when I want to feel the West! Always enjoyable.

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

      Wow all these names like Molly, Lester, Luther are in my past and make the story that much more enjoyable. Rated up as always!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi G-Ma Johnson!

      Thanks for reading!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi VendettaVixen, and thank you!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi always exploring!

      I'm glad you liked it!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, b. Malin!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Good idea, mckbirdbks!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thanks for stopping by, DexisView!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Pollyannalana!

      I like those names too!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Another enjoyable read from the master of western tales. You've done it again! Your characters are well developed and likeable within just a few short paragraphs. Nicely told.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Peg!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Will, great characters and a wonderful story, I'm looking forward to that book...

      A big vote up1

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Movie Master! I'll let you know.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Interesting twist to the gunfighter tale. Great story.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thanks Don!

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Will,

      I always enjoy your stories and this one is no exception.

      Voted up and away!

    • David Warren profile image

      David Warren 5 years ago from Nevada

      Hi Will,

      You truly have a gift, not to take away from the many hours of writing behind you to get here I would guess. Anyway, AWESOME work! I get drawn into your writing instantly. So REAL as if I'm there, great charecter developement, great plot, and great twist.

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 5 years ago

      1st time I've been able to check notices in a while, and, boy, did I hit the jackpot! Guess I've got a special spot for your stories because the first thing I ever read on HP was about the 2 cowboys--one died, the other took the money he wanted him to take to his girlfriend (I think that was it). I've read and read and read so many of you here that I feel I'm really home again. Reading this: I Know I Am! Awesome! Loved your characterizations (always do) as much as the twists to the story! I'm in line for a book! Thanks for my "present."

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 5 years ago

      Morning Will.

      I feel proud to be in a writing group that has a person of your writing abillity and quality. Someone I can call a friend and hubber.

      This is an amazing story of the wild west and probably goes to the heart not only of Americans but to many European heart as well.

      Voted across the board.

      Take care partner.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      Simply awesome tale. Your characters are so alive and your dialogue so good that I am drawn into the story. Up, up, up!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I’m late to the party, again. For some reason, I am not getting timely notices regarding hubs and comments. Oh well, c'est la vie.

      I must sound like a broken record at this point, but you are still the master of the short story. The way you describe your characters, and the way in which you let the story unfold with your own inimitable style, pulls us in and keeps us there. Up and more!

      And again, I will join so many others in our nudging about that book. :-)

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      I too, am so appreciative to be able to have a good relationship with you Will and consider you a friend of mine...your expertise and skills are in a league all on its own.

      I have NEVER once been "let down" by any of your stories....everyone is a pleasure to read.

      In my brain, I have a series of 30 minute westerns....and before each one of them begin, a man named Will Starr walks into the scene (aka Rod Serling)...with a little intro for each mini-saga...Every Sunday night....I'm telling ya, NBC would have a hit! .... better yet, FoxNews needs to add a little "culture" into its line-up with some old fashion, conservative values of the old west.

      Sorry for the ramble...you get all riled up!

      I love it Will

      Chris

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thanks Sueswan, and I like your new avatar!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi David Warren,

      Thank you for the super comment!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Teylina!

      "Guess I've got a special spot for your stories because the first thing I ever read on HP was about the 2 cowboys--one died, the other took the money he wanted him to take to his girlfriend (I think that was it)"

      That was Joe's Final Request:

      https://hubpages.com/literature/A-Western-Short-St...

      Thank you!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Ghaelach, and than you sir! It's a pleasure to know you.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Pop, and I never miss breakfast!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Genna!

      Lots of us are not getting notices or notices that are nearly a day late. I've notified HubPages.

      We'll see about the book!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Chris,

      I've made many genuine friends here, and I count you as one of the very best. Thank you, sir!

    • lilyfly profile image

      Lillian K. Staats 5 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

      I have eighteen or so hours off,(dwindling), but I just wanted to say how incredibly priveledged I have been to know you, and your clean prose. If I were to choose an American Author, I think I'd pick you as the absolute embodiment of Americana. You must live in the soul of the America I know and love. Dear soul, wishing you the very best in this year to come... love, lil

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 5 years ago

      I have always enjoyed westerns, so it's a pleasure to follow you. Another good one, Will!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow, lilyfly, what an endorsement! Thank you so much!

      Stay warm up there, sweetie! Brr!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, MizBejabbers!

    • profile image

      Diane 5 years ago

      YOUR IMAGINATION IS TRULY A GIFT! IT'S AMAZING HOW MANY DIFFERENT STORIES YOU CAN COME UP WITH. THEY MUST COME FASTER THAN YOU CAN WRITE THEM!

      THANKS FOR SHARING ALL YOUR STORIES!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Diane!

      Are you two staying warm?

      ^_^

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Hi Will! Thanks for another great story! Very uplifting!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Dex, and thank you!

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 5 years ago

      Another fantastic story that had me from the beginning. Thank you Will..

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Sunnie Day!

      Thanks for the visit!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I'm always late to the party but I look forward to it eagerly. You are so good at fleshing out your characters in just a short time. Thanks for another good read. Rated up and shared.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      Sometims a mistake slows a quick gunhand for a long time...not the case with Joker...at least not with a 10 gauge shotgun, huh? Good story, it was,Will...well done! WB

    • Nolimits Nana profile image

      Nicolette Goff 5 years ago from British Columbia

      Great story! Ever thought of putting out an ebook of short stories on Amazon? It'd be a best seller!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Suziecat!

      I'm happy you liked it.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Wayne,

      Joker was still a shootist when the chips were down!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Nolimits Nana, and thanks for the visit! An ebook is in the works!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      What a fantastic twist! to carry that burden all those years, they both did each other a favour, I love your stories Will, I remember when I was small, my aunt used to love Westerns, and she had a book cabinet full of them, she would have loved yours too, you are by far up there with the greats, nell

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 5 years ago

      "Joe's Final Request" made me fall in love with the true essence of writing a story w/a twist. You've never failed us, and I'm sure everyone waits for your next story! Thanks so much for all of them. I think they give us 'spirit' to try a little harder!

    • cmp2417 profile image

      cmp2417 5 years ago from Virginia

      I really enjoyed reading this, you should write a novel. I'm going to need to start following you if your turning out stories like this. You have a real talent. Well done, voted up!

      http://www.policehired.com/

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Nell, and thank you. I would have liked your aunt!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you for the kind words, Teylina!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi cmp! I'll have to go look at your site.

    • ourlady profile image

      ourlady 5 years ago from Texas Hill Country

      Check out the PBS "Great American Experiences" this week on Wyatt Earp.....

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I will, and thank you, ourlady!

    • profile image

      Ghost32 5 years ago

      Clearly, I've been away from your stuff way too long. Not by design, just managing to get myself buried in "stuff".

      My favorite line here: "...Luther Johnson was worried. An angry man was vulnerable."

      Isn't THAT the truth, and a truth I learned the slow, hard way at that. In my late twenties, I once lost two weeks out of my life in a red-haze rage against another fellow who'd "insulted" me in public, not unlike Billy's situation with Lester. When I finally came out the other side of that rage-out and realized what I'd done to myself, it dawned on me for the first time ever that "temper" was a liability, not an asset.

      Took me some years to scrub that from my inner workings, but the results have been worth it.

      Voted Up and Across.

    • colpolbear profile image

      colpolbear 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I liked it. Keep on writing!

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thanks, Fred! I too leaned that lesson,and early on.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, colpolbear!

    • Sophie Futuro H profile image

      Sophie Futuro H 5 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      You're the best Daddy!!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you!

    • Houa Lor profile image

      Houa Lor 5 years ago from Minnesota

      I truly enjoyed this from start to finish!

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Houa Lor!

    • aslaught profile image

      aslaught 5 years ago from Alabama

      Awesome!!! Did I say awesome? That's not good enough of an adjective but it's the best I can think of. Seamless, flawless, great writing. Your dialogue is very, very good. Damn! You're just a good writer!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, aslaught!

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      Another great story. I thought I had read this one, in fact I had read the first half. I must have gotten distracted. I'm glad I came to finish it!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Cindy, and thank you!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Looking at your picture you look like my cousin BillyBob, the last time I saw him. Have you written a story about being snowed in at your cousins yet? I am waiting for that one so if I miss it come hunt me down, hear?

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Jackie!

      I'll think about that one!

    • LABrashear profile image

      LABrashear 5 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

      Another great story by the talented WillStarr. I loved this one! Voted up and across and sharing.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      didactic tales and western too/how do you do it? loved this one!! made me cry though :( but a good cry!

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 5 years ago from Tennesee

      Another great story here, Will. I wish you wrote screenplays, Hollywood really needs some energetic new storylines like this for the Western genre.

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, LABrashear!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Barb! If I can make you cry, I did a good thing!

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Beth! You are about the third or fourth person to say that. Maybe I should look into it.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      You know Will, when I first read the title to this I thought 'nah gun fights are not my thing' that was almost 2 weeks ago.

      I came looking today to see if you had published something new, this was the only thing I hadn't read so I jumped in here to read it anyway.

      I am so glad that I did, it is a wonderful story and brought a tear to my eye. Never have I enjoyed a gun fight so much. Lol

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Rosemay50!

      I find most western stories sort of boring if it's all about violence. I like the humanity of the stories.

      Thank you!

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      You're my kind of guy I hate stories with violence in them

    • perfectperception profile image

      perfectperception 5 years ago from USA

      Great story. You are talented!

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you perfectperception, and welcome to Will Starr world!

    • perfectperception profile image

      perfectperception 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks WillStarr. Can't wait to see whats next.

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ....well I haven't been around these parts lately partner but I intend to post this classic Will Starr short story to my Facebook page with a direct link back here - and it doesen't 'stink' like my writing apparently does - lol - love that last comment - you are the master of wit - and the reason I've been busy - well I am conducting an online and illicit affair with one of our hubbers - do you have an idea whom that lady might be ? lol

      see you on Facebook with this one and good to hook up with you once again

      lake erie time ontario canada 7:09pm

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "...I am conducting an online and illicit affair with one of our hubbers...

      Just one? You're slipping, Romeo!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ....ya can only love one lady at a time - any clues Sherlock?

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Not a one!

    • profile image

      jimmar 5 years ago

      hmmm???? Cute little story but the photo of the 9mm cartidges confuses me. I'll read more....

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thanks for reading.

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 5 years ago

      Not sure I call it a "cute little story," (which sounds belittling, though maybe not), just may not be as classic as some others. And, yes, jmmar, they had crude photography back then--just not our sophisticated version of it. Read some of WS's other works. After all, none of us is perfect, and that's what makes this fun instead of a job/career. If you are (or think you are), you're not. That would make you conceited, and conceit is a fault! (I talk too much--more than WS; sorry.)

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Teylina!

      Jimmar is not a Hubber.

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 5 years ago

      Hi back! Doesn't matter--a reader is a read, even not a writer. He probably won't be back, but you know me: just spit it out; we're all entitled to our own opinions! If I didn't say that, too bad--all of you forgive me. Please?

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Teylina!

      He was upset because the ammunition pic I posted is actually modern 9mm, not old, 1800's ammunition. I admit to my laziness in not locating the real thing. I didn't think it was that important or that it would 'confuse' anyone.

      The 'cute little story' is his opinion, I guess. Can't please everyone!

      ^_^

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      BTW, no need to forgive you when no wrong was committed!

      ^_^

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 5 years ago

      Nope. And thanks for straightening me out. To tell the truth, I have some very old ammo from my grandfather, and the ammo I've used since an adult was a while back. Have thought about going back to practice my forgotten stuff, and the pic of the bullets was so clear, clean and "beautiful" I didn't think about comparisons! Besides, when I think of 9mm I think clips. I've used several revolvers and I tell them from a shotgun shell, but not as keen an eye! Thanks for the info.

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      While panning for gold in Cow Creek (here in Arizona), I found an old bullet of around .41 caliber with a nose mushroom-deformed by hitting something soft. An animal? A man?

      Who knows!

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 5 years ago

      Aha, another mystery for you to write! Can't wait for your spin on it!. I'll admit I have to look twice to tell mm differences in handgun bullets, except the one or two I have from the 1800's--maybe older? That "mushroom" deformation gives me chills. Write on, WS!

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Teylina!

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 5 years ago

      Hey, Will,

      A terrific story. Truly terrific, and it packs a powerful message, too.

      It just goes to show that sometimes, we act as the judge, prosecutor and jury against ourselves when we do not even have a strong case against ourselves.

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 5 years ago from On planet Earth

      You sound like you are from texas!! lol, nice story way to go "Will". I like the name hatchet face ;)

      Have a joyous week

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Feenix!

      We often unfairly convict ourselves, don't we?

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi LadyFiddler!

      Texas? Bite your tongue, ma'am! I'm from Arizona!

      ^_^

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 5 years ago from On planet Earth

      U R WELCOME ;)

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Captivating story with a good ending. Thanks for sharing.

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Patkay!

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Awesome job, yet again, Will! The prose was well executed, the storyline planned out well, so on and so forth. Great job, my friend! Voted up :)

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi KDuBarry03!

      Actually, I'm a very unconventional writer...I get an idea and I just sit down and write the story. Then I read it and make any changes. From start to publish takes about three hours.

    • Patriette profile image

      Patriette 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      What Chris and lily said...

      Another superb story, Willstarr!

      Voting UP...

      Lynne

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you for reading, Lynne!

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