05 August 2008

Story Time

We were a day behind the bandits. We'd been behind for the last four days. I think we'd have starting closing ground with them if we hadn't had the tenderfoot, our employer, with us. The job was simple enough, the bandits had taken his wife and son, we were supposed to track them down for him. The problem was he was slowing us down.
He didn't know how to ride for one. He was just plain soft for another. Not used to life outside of a city, probably from some place back east.
Some things didn't add up though. He didn't complain about every little hardship like I'd expect someone from back east to. He at least knew how to dress to keep the weather at bay, or at least didn't complain about being cold up here in the hills. Davis thought that he hadn't always been soft. Said there was something in the tenderfoot's eyes that reminded him of something.
I didn't know anything about that, but I was never a good judge of folks. All I knew about him was he paid in gold, he was soft, he talked funny, he dressed funny and he had too much baggage. And that was slowing us down.

The tenderfoot was toughening up, I had to admit it. Even his horsemanship was improving. I swear we'd even managed to get a bit closer to the bandits. “Just get me a clear line of sight within a mile.” he told me when I mentioned that we might be gaining.

He got his mile today. We'd turned wrong and ended up on top of a butte with no way down to the bandits. I figured it would take us the better part of a day just to get back on their trail. So much for Davis' shortcuts. “Perfect!” the tenderfoot says. Then he starts unpacking some of his luggage. “Mister,” I says, “we got to get going back down to the bottom of the gulch so's we can get back on their trail.” “Won't be a minute,” he says.
That big damn box of his had a big damn gun in it! So big that it was in two pieces. It had a sight on top like I heard tell about in the war, telly-scopik or something like that. He puts that big thing together and lays down on the ground and aims. And aims. And aims. Then he fires! My lordy, that was the loudest gun I heard short of a cannon. And no smoke to speak of either, unless you count the dust. Without even moving, there's another shot, and another and then another. He didn't cock it again between shots or nothin'!
Then he just lays still, aiming again I think. “That's three of them and the conveyor, they're stuck here now,” he says. I look and I see that three of their horses don't have riders anymore and one horse is flailing around with, I kid you not, smoke coming out of the left saddlebag.

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