“…either of you gentlemen have any tobacco?” asked Whiskey
The two bowler sporting, scraggly looking, desert bums by the piano looked at each other. Whiskey watched them with playful daggers. There were no drinks at their table, there were no ashes, no spittoon by them. There was no food or any other indication that those two men were actual patrons of the establishment or that they had been there long. By the way the bartender looked back and forth in her peripheral vision, she could tell that they were in some kind of kahoots yet to be determined.
If anything was constant out in the boonies it was silence. Silence bordered everything, people out in the middle of nowhere spoke more in looks and action. Like wild animals. She knew that they were likely sizing her up just as much as she was. She cursed herself for showing two dollars already. However, they were all somewhat afraid of her and thought she could be the notorious bandit Bloody Jess. So she had that on her side.
After a moment the big one reached into his pocket. Whiskey tensed and felt the handle of her revolver become clasped in her hand. The large man then slowly produced a drawstring pouch. He opened it and took out a little booklet of papers.
“Happy to oblige ma’am”
The woman smiled, letting the pistol loosen “Thank you kindly.”
She hopped off the barstool and strode up to them, her boots knocking heavily on the floorboards. She took out a paper from the booklet and a pinch of tobacco that sat on the table. The three men in the room all watched her as she distributed the brown leaf and licked one side, rolling it over to make a thin tight cigarette.
The skinny one leaned forward “Where you say you from girl?”offering her a struck match.
She leaned forward and puffed the smokable alive.
The large one said “you don’t seem much like a city girl.”
“ifn’ your looking for lodgings, my brother and I run the hotel across the street. Cant say we have every amenability but we have a room and a bed for just two dollars.”
Whiskey considered the offer and whether a trap was in store for her. What it came down to was that she needed to spend the night somewhere. It was fast approaching as could be seen through the western window, the windmill made a flip show of the sunset reaching it’s brilliant peak. Blood orange tinged with mysterious dark blue. At this point she didn’t have a choice, she would be spending the night here, but that did not mean she’d allow herself to get cornered.
She took a draw from her cigarette and released the smoke in a puffy cloud above her head. “It might be I only have one dollar left.”
The bowler brothers looked between eachother before the skinny one stood and said. “Well I’m sure that can cover it, If you haven’t noticed, this ain’t a metropolis.”
The sky outside darkened and the bowtie bartender lit a small lamp.
“You fellas don’t play cards do you?”
They smiled and the large one produced a deck.
“We only play holdem here.”
A glimmer of excitement snapped through her, but her features remained still. She was raised in a casino, Holdem was her favorite game, and she had never honestly lost. Whiskey pulled up a chair and sat at their table.
“I don’t play that too often where I’m from, but there’s a first time for everything.”
To be continued…
The big one