For Jessica and Johnny Flores,

offspring of the Gods . . .


Roy Bean was mixing a cocktail of his own

concoction—something he referred to as Mexican

Widow—and prognosticating the changing seasons.

“The wooly worms is black as a smashed thumb,

and the chickens are all molting, and the spiders’ webs

is thick as twine. Boys, it is going to be a bad winter

that befalls us, and I for one am heading back south be-

fore it does.”

This came as a major surprise to the men drinking

with Roy Bean in the Three Aces. Roy Bean had ar-

rived in town that previous spring and established

himself as somewhat Sweet Sorrow’s honorary mayor

and jurist. He had been instrumental in forming a

town committee made up of more than saloon owners

and whores to set the wheels to civilization in motion

once the old crowd had been swept out in a hail of

bullets, namely two lawmen of bad reputations.

One of the bullet deliverers was standing at the far

end of the oak sipping coffee—Jake Horn. Jake had

killed the previous city police, had shot them fore and

aft with the help of a half-breed Mandan Frenchman

named Toussaint Trueblood. The two police that Jake

and Toussaint had put under the sod were Bob Olive

and his deputy Teacup Smith, a pair of corrupt souls

who, when not riding roughshod over the locals, were

off in other counties performing as robbers of banks,

individuals, and almost anything that moved that

looked like it had a dollar attached to it.

Jake hadn’t shot them for no reason, as they had

done him when they first came upon him. Shot and

robbed him and left him for dead. But dead didn’t

work out as they’d planned it and Toussaint True-

blood had found the man and brought him into Sweet

Sorrow figuring the white people there would be de-

cent enough to bury one of their own at the very least.

But Jake survived his wounds and as things most

sometimes happen in such dire circumstances, came

round full circle and justice was served in its own pe-

culiar way—frontier justice.

What most didn’t know, but what Roy Bean and

Toussaint Trueblood suspected, was that Jake Horn

wasn’t exactly as he represented himself. And indeed,

he wasn’t. Other circumstances, or some might call it

fate, had arrived him in Sweet Sorrow. Fate being in

the form of a conniving woman named Celine Shaw,

whom Jake—or as he was known as then, Tristan

Shade, physician—was in love with. The problem was

that the lady in question was married—something

that caused Jake, ne Tristan Shade, to go against his

Hippocratic oath and violate even his personal ethics.

He fell fool for her, and in the end he paid the price of

most such fools. It was she who pulled the trigger on

her husband and blamed Jake for it. And it was he

who ended up running for his life, not her. The alias

was that of a now-late uncle whom Jake was bound to

hide out with way up in Canada. Bob Olive and

Teacup Smith put a change in his plans. And some

would say, he put a change in theirs also.

The irony of all this was that having rubbed out the

duo, Jake was induced to take over the dead men’s job.

He was reluctant to stick around and eager still to make

the border. But eventually he succumbed to the fast-

talking Roy Bean, who in spite of his bombast tended

to make sense half the time, like when he suggested that

Jake might be better hid in plain sight, as a lawman. “If,

indeed there are those looking for you for something

you may or may not have did in other climes,” as Roy

delicately put it.

Jake let his beard and hair grow and with a new

name and wearing a badge and residing in such a far-

flung frontier town as Sweet Sorrow, it seemed at

least possible he might avoid detection by either fed-

eral marshals or any private detectives the family of

the dead man might hire. Thus far it had worked out

pretty fair.

He listened with only mild interest as Roy Bean

now went on about what a bad winter was coming.

“Snow will come so deep one Indian standing on

the shoulders of another will be buried up to his hat.

Men’s limbs will bust off from the cold. You won’t be

able to take a piss without it freezing to the end of

your whistle. I’ve heard tales of horrors from cow-

boys who survived and made it to Texas. Most

claimed they’d never winter again in the Dakotas.”

Such predictions were hard to believe, for the cur-

rent weather was quite balmy after the previous

month of September being little more than cold rain

and several ice storms. Indian summer the locals

called it. Best enjoy it while you can.

Вы читаете Killing Mr. Sunday
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату