No Need for a Hatter

Oily black smoke rose from the scuffed and battered pistol as though the grime on the weapon were seeping into the air around it.

The man in black grinned, hopping over the four prone bodies before him with a step that was nearly a dance. He knelt at each in turn, going through pockets for bills and mouths for gold teeth. He pocketed the former in wrinkled handfuls while knocking out the latter with the butt of his pistol.

After a few minutes of work, he heard a cart pull up. A voice said, “Most people leave that to the undertaker.” He looked up to see a man in a top hat and vest climbing out of a cart piled with four coffins.

The man in black’s eyes sparkled darkly. “Sorry to beat you to it.”

The undertaker slowly withdrew a pistol from his coat. “You fired six times, and I haven’t seen you reload.” He was sweating profusely.

The grin on the man in black’s face only widened. “That’s a proper nice hat you have on,” he said, as he stealthily reached for the two-pound sledgehammer hidden in his coat.

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