She sings like a goddess.
She sings and behind her slurred melody is the percussion of a spinning roullette table and the sound a glass makes when it is slammed against wood after being rapidly emptied of its piss-taste contents.

There's a pair of suspenders
and a black visor

playing a piano in here somewhere.

I push my chips across the felt through a sea of smoke.
"Alright, Buck, whip it out and let's fucking measure."
I tell myself that my face is chiseled out of stone, counting on zen concentration to save me from the harsh reality of an inebriated bluff.
Buck just smiles the smile of a bookie with missing teeth and my stomach kicks through my chest as he stands up like he's expecting spotlight to flood over his body and a thousand men to applaud.

And you know, a wise sage once said, "Keep your words sweet. You never know when you might have to eat them," which is something I say to people often, but, like all people who mix advice with scotch, I'm notorious for having ears that do not pick up the sounds that come out of my mouth.

I draw back the hammer on my gun (which is a shame because I really liked this town) and (with cat-like reflexes
and phenomenal aim
and incredible timing
and the balls that come with heavy drinking and watching your money leave you in large amounts) firmly catapult myself about a mile up shit creek.
Or, if you want to get technical, you could also say that I just shot an infamous villain in a saloon owned by his friends.

But hold on. Before he actually expires,
before the shock,
before the uproar,
before the human stampede,
before anybody even notices that anything has changed,
let's pause time so I can give you a little history on ol' Buck McClenehen.

You see...

He was a son of a bitch, and I'm not.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Jack Florence, you have been arrested on six counts of murder, as well as several other acts including, but not limited to,
theft of property, bank robbery, unnaturally consorting with strange folk, arson, and being a general menace to the public. Your punishment,
should this jury find you guilty, is for you to be sentenced to death by hanging. Do you understand the nature and seriousness
of your crimes?"

They've got my hands tied behind my back in a very complex sailor's knot. If I were a normal person, this would be a very serious problem. However, if you know anything about me at all, you know that I am definitely not a normal person.

"Yes I do, absolutely."

"Good. How do you plea?"

Now here's the thing: this particular courthouse, for reasons completely unbeknownst to me, has a window leading outside that is in serious disrepair. It's in that condition that suggests that if you were to look at it wrong for any great length of time it would just shatter to pieces. The other thing is that I was in India last year and a really charming young man taught me some interesting things that just so happen to be of use when you find yourself with your hands tied.

"As guilty as I possibly can."

"Alright. Let the record show that the defendant has pled guilty to the charges brought against him."

So, at this point my hands have been completely free for about two minutes. I jump out of my chair, vault over the table, hit the ground running, take three giant, sprinting steps, leap forward, slam one booted foot onto the front rail of the jury stand, dive through the window and--

--land...in a...small...room?



to be continued.

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