Cowgirl

The footsteps eventually came to an end, stopping directly behind me. The entire scenery in my mirror was nothing but this man’s outstretched gut; there wasn’t even enough lighting for me to make sure my lipstick was fully applied.

I looked at the gut in the mirror and spoke, “Could you take a few steps back, hun? You’re in my light, and I can’t look too ugly.”

“Too ugly for who?” replied the gut, deep in tone. “You’re the only one here.”

I tilted my head to the side, “Well, you’re here. Plus whoever your owner is. From the looks of it, he’s eating for… three?”

The stomach rumbled with a loud belch following behind it, “Look here, ‘hun.’ You know why I’m here.”

“I have no idea who you or what you’re talking about.” I looked in my pocket mirror and puckered my lips, making sure I got an even coating on both lips.

“Single-Shot Suzanne.”

I stopped my makeup session. I adjusted the angle of my mirror to properly look up at the large man standing right behind me, looking at his face in the reflection. His left eye was covered by a black eye patch. His other eye, lifeless and devoid of color, was glaring down at me. From the mirror, he towered at least a foot over me if I stood up from my seat. His face was covered in scars and marks, some of them resembling burnt flesh on his tan skin. In the bottom of his lip there was a chunk missing as if something tore it apart.

This guy means business, I thought. Has the battle scars and all. However, as I began to focus on the scars specifically on his face, I was able to recognize the pattern and flow of a lot of them—they were bullet scars that grazed him. There was one in particular that I couldn’t keep my eyes off, one that traveled from one corner of his mouth and went all the way to his left ear lobe.

I continued talking to him through the mirror, “How’d you get that scar by your ear? Misfire accident?”

He grunted before answering, “Shoot-out. Barely escaped with my life. I take it you know who I was up against?”

“Perhaps. Why does that matter?”

I looked into the reflected eye of the man, making sure he could tell that I was focusing on him. Even in the mirror I could feel his stare on me, a deadly intent lingering. Neither of us broke eye contact.

Out from the far corner of the bar the bartender casually called out to the both of us, asking if everything was okay. I kept my eyes glued to my mirror as I told him that everything was okay and that this was a friendly chat happening. The bartender didn’t reply, most likely going back to his duties of cleaning glassware. Me and the large man behind me remained silent. As we were locked in a staring contest, the sound of a revolver chamber spinning caught my attention. I broke eye contact and saw the man’s arm twitching down below. He’s just reloaded.

Just from the slight movement, he instantly gave away who he was without me asking. “You’re Slight-of-Hand Hammond, Gunner from the West.”

Hammond sucked his teeth and gave a disgusted look, “I should have known you’d see my movement. Guess the cat’s out of the bag now.”

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