Mercy for Two Winters

The bar went quiet in expectation, which made Sid’s scraping attempts to scoot to a far corner all the more obvious and frankly a little sad. The preacher stood his ground, by the bar, next to Randon, uncomfortably between he and the stranger at the door.

Randon eyed his tenth shot, one hand wandering down to caress the butt of his revolver, “You here to finish this?” Someone gulped audibly near the piano. One careful stair at a time, the whores retreated upwards. The barkeep became a few inches shorter.

The preacher opened his mouth to speak, a remonstrative finger poised above the retrieved Bible. One look from Randon shut the pontificating orifice post haste.

The stranger tipped his hat, “Nah, like I said, two winters hence. I am, if nothing else, a man of my word.” Doffing his hat he entered the saloon, a slow waltz to unheard music that brought him past the preacher, past Randon, and in the general direction of a still cowering Sid.

The preacher let out his captive breath, “Lord have mercy.”

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