Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Girl From Kansas City

"You know Javier, poets say that in the spring a young man's thoughts turn to love, but I think they're wrong." Fritz propped his feet up on the table and eyed the coal on his cigar, "A man's thoughts turn to love at about nine-thirty."

Javier nodded, took a sip of his tequila, and returned to the task of cleaning his rifle.

Fritz adjusted his feet and let his spurs dig into the wood of the table before he continued, "At nine-thirty, he has had his dinner and has had a couple of drinks. That is when he is ready for love. Hell, at that point, he is ready for anything!"

Fritz chuckles at his own joke and pulls out his pocket watch and examines it closely through blood-shot eyes. It is an hour until his appointment, so he closes the lid and continues to wax philosophical on man.

"About nine-thirty a man develops an itch like none other. Sure, it is a little stronger in the spring, but any man that would deny that the cold nights of winter don't make it enter his mind is a liar! On a cold night, nothing beats a warm woman!"

Javier looked up from his dirty ramrod and nodded his assent.

Fritz took a puff of his cigar and eyed the nearly empty bottle of whiskey. Javier had most of his bottle of tequila left, but cactus juice would only slow him down tonight. It would make him stupid and slow. No, the whiskey would keep him on edge and ready for whatever would happen next. It always had. Fritz upended the bottle and let the burn settle into his stomach. The burn would keep him safe and warm, while giving him the strength to carry on and be loose, without being stupid.

"I knew a girl in Kansas City that would make your eyes roll back in your head! Not you in particular, as she wouldn't hump Mexicans, but you know what I mean. Now that girl knew how to get rowdy! She'd cut loose and holler 'n yell. She had this little shimmy thing that she'd do..." His eyes glazed over as he recollected, and his spurs dug the gouge into the table a little deeper.

Javier nodded as he filled his rifle with as many shells as it would hold, worked the lever, chambered a shell, and took a bead at a point on the wall. Satisfied, he laid the rifle on the table.

"She would do things that would make you cry 'uncle' and a little more," Fritz said a little wistfully. He sat a little deeper into his chair and blew a large plume of smoke at the roof of the cabin. "What about you Javier? You ever been in love?"

"There was a girl once." He shrugged his shoulders.

"Yeah, and what happened?"

"She died."

"I..I'm sorry to hear that," Fritz muttered.

"The neighbor woman thought her husband was cheating on her with my Naomi and she slit her throat. She didn't know it was Naomi's mother. She died in the street," he said matter-of-factly, then Javier bowed his head for a moment, adjusted his hat, and then finished his drink. He looked Fritz in the eye. "But they paid. They paid dearly." He smiled. "Tell me again, who we got for an inside man?"

"My brother Cormac. He's bringin' his new bride. Some girl he met in Kansas City I guess. His letter wasn't too specific. It was mostly about the job."

"I'm ready," Javier said flatly, "When do we meet 'em?"

"9:30," Fritz checked that his hammer was on an empty chamber in his pistol, dropped his feet to the floor and paused before he got up. "Do you mind if I have a sip of your tequila?" Javier slid the bottle to him. "I just need one more nip to calm my nerves," Fritz explained, and against his better judgement, tipped the bottle back and choked down three long gulps.

"Come on," he said as hie wiped his chin, "that stagecoach ain't gonna rob itself," and they headed to the horses.



  1. Great start. Engaged me right out of the gate.

    Maybe it's this medium we play around with, but bloggers seem too focused on brevity. I would have loved to read more than this conversation.

    As to which likker makes you quicker - Well, I am of the mind that Tequila makes me crazy and alert. Good sour mash mellows me and makes me slow. To each his own I guess.

  2. I'm with MR, you wrote a nice story that should've gone further.

  3. MRMacrum- I don't tend to write with brevity and most of my stories tend to hit the four or five page mark, for example:htmlGarage Door Help-Line
    (noir), or :html The Scrounger (sci-fi time traveler in the Civil War). I even penned a six part Christmas tale ala redneck. I was trying something different this time and tried to cut it just to the bare bones and still tell the story I wanted to tell.

    As far as the likker goes, it just seemed to me that Fritz would have a prejudice against tequila as it was "foreign" and therefore suspect, as opposed to the whiskey he knew. Like most of the story, it's clumsy.

    Skyler's Dad- Thanks, but I learned at the knee of a couple of really good story tellers.

    Cormac- Sometimes, I am my own worst editor. The story is all set up and in the end, they just ride away and leave the reader in the cabin with a gouged table. No follow through or resolution. I broke the cardinal rule of Begining, Middle, End. I just took a slice and left it at that. I wasn't sure about trying to write a "western". For a while I contemplated astronauts with a qoute from "Major Tom" or "Rocket Man" but that seemed a little cheesey. I think my first mistake was not going with my original idea of dinosaurs. Who better to speak of love?


  4. I, too, would've liked a longer version, but I dig the abrupt ending, never knowing whether they'll get shot dead by the western fuzz or not.

  5. Wait, I thought you meant 9:30 AM!

    whatcha' doin for National Blog Posting Month, I wonder??

  6. Doc:

    I very much like the Western feel of your post. It has a bit of a harsher variation of Zane Grey... which I think is a very good thing.

    I especially like the interplay between the two main characters.

    In the "likker" debate... I do not know if my own experiences would help... when I drink, I drink to slow down the thoughts in my mind, and whiskey and tequila do the job pretty equally for me.


  7. Actually read your story last night at work and wanted to post a comment then but all Hell broke loose and never got the chance.

    I liked the gritty feel of the Fritz character and the mystery surrounding Javier. Got me in the mood for a Zane Grey novel. Great work.


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