Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Black Hat

Yonda, Westridge Mountains
Spring, TN1935

"Dick, you serious?" the pretty young woman in desert clothes looked at her companion in astonishment. This was rich, even for him.

"Letty, I mean to walk into this here bar," Richard "Dick Ache" Stevens stood on the boardwalk in front of a saloon marked "SAL ON" and gesticulated to the bat-wing doors, "I mean to get shot down by every woman in the bar not once, but twice..."

Letty raised her eyebrow. It was already evening, and there was only so much time.

"Ok, ok, just once each," Dick smirked, "but then I mean to take at least two upstairs with me. What do you say to that?"

"I say that I wish Billie were here to see you try this," Letty chuckled and then nodded, offering out her hand, "ok Dick-Ache, fifty dinar says you can't."

Dick shook Letty's hand and then pushed his way into the crowded bar. With a grin, she followed him in, and sat at a corner table.

Watching Dick-Ache Stevens work was like watching a hummingbird, or an acrobat, or a lion on the hunt, Letty wasn't sure which. The man moved and spoke with a grace generally not associated with lechery. The propositioning of every member of the female species in the bar got Dick-Ache laughed at, a couple of scoffs, a couple of dark looks that Letty wasn't sure how to interpret, and three slaps to the face. He also attracted the ire of a handful of men. All this in about twenty minutes.

"Hey, sugar, how about it?" Dick was suddenly sitting next to Letty, a smooth grin on his face that exuded confidence and presence. She had to hand it to him, he was true to his word.

"I would, Dick-Ache, if I could be sure you'd survive it," Letty brushed her friend off playfully.

"Had to ask, as per our agreement," he nodded, took a sip of her whiskey, and continued. It would only take him another fifteen minutes to canvass the bar's female population.

"I got me some prospects," Dick sat down next to Letty in the corner as the crowd continued its merry-making. He downed a whiskey and wiped his mouth on his sleeve.

"Oh? I just saw a man go down in flames over twenty times."

"Well, sure, but now I got 'em all thinking about what their plans are this evening, and well, if I may, what sort of piece I'm--"

"Yeah, Dick-Ache, I get it," Letty failed to suppress a grin.

"It's not just that Letty," Dick shrugged, "lots of guys and gals here in the bar. Lots of horny young miners, all looking to blow off some steam. You just gotta watch for the opportunities, and then take your shot when they come up." Letty nodded. This was Sam's philosophizing, applied to wenching, the same way Letty worked her con games.

"Well, who do you think--" she began, but Dick was already up and dancing with one of the prettier miners in the bar. Letty's mirth was interrupted when a pale-skinned man in travelling clothes walked into the saloon. He scanned the bar quickly, fixated on the dance floor, and then sat at the bar. Letty watched him scare off the bartender with a look, and scan the room again. Her heart sunk when his eyes flagged Letty in the corner. He moseyed over to her.

"Hey there little lady," he began, sliding up close to Letty quickly, "never seen you around these parts before."

Letty sneered as the man's pale hands were on her. She hesitated a moment, allowing him access; she then put him in a delicate wrist lock. Only it was her wrists that were held in his iron grip. She squirmed, bile rising in her throat.

"No, I don' think so," the man's pallid face was close. His breath was heavy, and his odour pungent. She opened her mouth to scream, and the man kissed her roughly. Letty looked into his eyes in shock. There was no lust, no brutality, no emotion at all. She breathed in sharply.

It was a con.

"Hey!" Dick's yell carried through the bar, causing the band to stop playing. The saloon-goers froze in confusion as he ran towards Letty in the corner, his hand on his revolver.

The pale man's hand slid to Letty's throat, the other to his own pistol. He drew in one fluid motion, his eyes still fixated on Letty's pretty face. He pointed his massive shooting iron at the approaching gunslinger. Dick skidded to a halt and drew his revolver, but the pale man had him cold. The revolver's report echoed loudly through the saloon. There was a scream, and Richard "Dick-Ache" Stevens fell to the floor, shot through the heart.

The pale man got up, never taking his eyes off Letty. She sat there, feeling his iron grip around her throat relax. She whimpered.

"The name's Tobias," he said in an even, cold voice, "tell Sam I'll see him soon."

Letty dared to look down at Dick for a moment, and then back up to Tobias. But he had already walked out of the saloon.


Game Thug said...

And you're to blame
Darling, you give love
A bad name.

I'll be glad to never, ever have to read this character's name again.

Charlie Bottoms said...

What's wrong with Tobias?

Game Thug said...

I'm pretty sure we'll see Tobias again.

Heavy Josh said...

Ah, the sweet, dulcet tones of Slippery When Wet. Usually I would balk at John Bon Jovi as a reference in our game, but I can't say I mind this time.

Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.