Bone to Pick

“You looking for me, Othniel Marsh?” asked a man with a thin, pointed face, his mustache overshadowing his lips like an eagle’s outstretched wings. Cradling his drink in his hand, he slowly turned to face the balding, bearded man who sought him. Several other pairs of eyes uncertainly followed.

“You always were the quick-tempered one, Cope. Skipping out…coward.”

“Says the man who writes up a manual of imbuing a town with as much pain in as orderly a manner as possible.”

“You stole my bones!” Marsh bellowed.

“And you stole mine,” Cope countered, swiveling off the stool, “but you don’t see me running halfway to the Pacific in pursuit of you.” He placed a hand preëmptively on his pistol. “And you call me impulsive.”

Marsh drew his lips tight. “Thomas,” he seethed at length. “Benjamin. Charles. James.”

Four patrons jumped up and deftly produced their firearms, pointing them in an arc around their quarry. Marsh was slower on the draw, but readied his as well.

“Drop ’em, boys,” a female voice commanded.

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