Saturday, April 3, 2010

Anasazi Strip - Chapter 1 - Part 2

"You folks have a band in here on Fridays?" asked the Killer.

"You betcha." She pushed her long dark hair behind her ears. "Tonight's the Cactus Rose Band and there's a three dollar cover."

"They any good?"

"If you like Country Western, they're okay."

"I like to dance." He winked, the dark mirrors of his eyes shining.

"Well then, Mister, you sure as hell came to the right place. They'll be packed tighter'n a goddamn cattle drive out there on that dance floor, from the time the band cranks it up, until we close it all down about two."

The barmaid avoided locking eyes with the curious stranger who simultaneously attracted and frightened her. She reached over and emptied an already empty ashtray. She knew what was coming next.

"Sounds like fun," he said. "Who knows? Maybe you and I could try our luck at a little country swing later on? How's that sound to you?"

The barmaid considered the proposition and then focused again on the man's dark, cut-glass eyes – eyes that seemed to see right through a person. This guy was trouble any way you sliced it – better to just walk away.

"Hey, it's Friday night, and anything can happen," she laughed as she headed for the other end of the bar to wait on the thirsty pool players.

The killer laughed out loud in agreement. "Ain't it the truth, my dear, ain't it the truth?"

He swiveled around on his stool and scoped-out the front of the bar. There was an unoccupied booth by the oak door. Picking up his beer the big man slid onto the green, vinyl-covered cushion, his back against the wall, a stuffed buffalo's head above his own. He now had an unobstructed view of the only entrance into the bar and could blend in with the scenery. This could be a long wait.

The killer was carrying a color photograph of the man he was looking for in his denim jacket, but knew it by heart. The picture showed a Paiute Indian in his late forties grinning a nearly toothless smile from the driver’s side of a bright, new, yellow Chevy Blazer truck. The killer had heard that the man in the photo always hung out at the Buckskin on Friday nights; if true, this was going to be that poor Indian's last big night on the town.

The Indian, Charlie Tizno, was guilty of having a big mouth, normally not a capital crime, but in the line of work he had recently been engaged, relic hunting, such a careless attribute could attract the attention of the law. Of late, Paiute Charlie had been getting loaded and shooting off his mouth around town about some of the illegal digs he had been a part of, becoming a liability to his employer. The killer had been sent by the Judge to make sure that this careless Indian ceased to be a problem.

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