A Bit of Western Noir

Had this idea a while ago as I was thinking about America’s great tradition of dark, violent Westerns.  Worked on it in pieces for about a week.  It’s just a little snippet of flash fiction, really, but I like it.

*****

The gunman had just sat down at the table he favored when he stopped at this small town’s only saloon, when a girl scuttled over to him and started pouring out her story.

“Please help me, mister,” she said quickly, quietly, taking the seat opposite him.  “My boss is sore at me, I think he’s fixin to kill me.  Thinks I cheated him outta what I got paid last night.”  She seemed to swallow briefly and composed herself.  “I can tell you’re the kind of man can get me out of here.” She looked down into her lap. “I can’t pay,” she looked up into his face and earnestly continued, “but I’ll do anything if you save me.”

He had already noticed everything.  She was dressed in a little red gown that might have been pretty decades ago, before it had covered a hundred different professional girls.  Her hair and makeup were done in the frontier’s best imitation of mature beauty.  Her eyes were huge with fear, and she had her hands on the table in a pleading posture.  She was too young.

The saloon was tiny, really—long, but narrow and cramped.  Continue reading