Chapter One - John
Everybody looked at the door when the gunslinger entered in the saloon. Their eyes, snooping and blind because of the fire water, followed his way until the bench in front of the slab, where Wesley sat down. They knew who he was, as certainly every men, women and child in Texas. The only difference was if they admired him or if they desired to see him hang on the top of a tree.
Wesley felt their eyes on his neck, but he didn’t care a shit about it. He had other priorities in mind. He made a sign to the bar tender to achieve then first one of them.
“Whiskey”, he said with a throat dry as a bone because the desert heat.
Louis, the waiter, a well-built man on his fifties, gulp down spit and with a trembling voice warned to the living legend facing him: “We only have the home-made one, and I wouldn’t drink it, I tell ya”.
“It is not to drink, amigo”, said the gunfighter, “Keep the bottle here, if you’re so kind”. Louis did it and went back to dry glasses with a filthy cloth.
Slowly, because of the pain he felt and for precaution, Wesley started to give up his waistcoat. A Walker Colt with sandal wood’s butt appeared. Every single eye was wide open. Dry blood drew a crimson orchid on the white shirt. The gunslinger was sweating plenty. It was just two hours ago when that damned mestizo shouted him.
Everyone there will remember from a long time how Wesley spilled half bottle in the open wound without crying out or even groaning. Everyone will remember except Hickoc, of course. Marshal Wild Hill Hickoc stayed sitting down, cool, apparently playing a solitaire.
Walking firm but exhausted, Wesley went to the slab again. “Please, tell me how much I owe you, amigo”, he asked Louis.
“Err… nothing”, hesitated him, “house courtesy”.
“Ah, yes”, grumbled Wesley, “the famous Abilene hospitality”.
“God bless thee”, said Hickoc, “if you allow me a toast for it”.
“Be my guess”, answered Wesley.
“Well, well. Look, people, who has come to our beloved and peaceful town looking for troubles”, said Hickoc walking to the slab. “The famous John Wesley Hardin”.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not looking for any kind of troubles; neither Abilene is a pacific town”, answered the gunslinger with calm.
“Don’t you like our gorgeous place, John?”, asked the marshal now really close to him.
“I’ve seen so many sin cities, but I think Abilene can beat them up”, replied Wesley.
“Oh, I really regret that you have such opinion about our splendid town”, said Hickoc sardonic. “All of us feel really sad about it”.
“I don’t care a buffalo shit about their belief. Neither yours, Wild Hill Hickoc”.
“So, you know who I am, don’t you?”
“I met you when you were merely a stagecoach rider. And, look at you now! A marshal! Congratulations”.
“Thanks. Yeah, that’s what I am. And as a marshal, I have the mission to avoid that outlaws and bloody gunfighters as you come to mi home to fuck up. That’s why I must require your gun, John. Weapons are not allowed in Abilene… except mines, for sure”.
Wesley’s face contracted with visible disgusting. He wasn’t able even to talk in his usual way. “I won’t… I won’t give my gun to a filthy Baptist coyote as you. If you want it, come for it, if you have enough guts”.
Hickoc was shocked, trembling with fury and anger. His face started to be red and his eyes were on fire. Slowly, his right hand went to its side. Wesley’s right hand repeated the same operation too. Louis, with caution, decided that maybe could be safely to stay in the floor behind the slab. Everybody trembling with expectation. That was the calm before the storm, or they believed so at last.
“I’m only gonna tell you one more time”, said the marshal. “Gimme your weapon or get fuck out of my town”.
“Then, you must come to take it”, answered Wesley, extended his revolver to Hickoc. “Come on, just take it”.
The marshal hesitated. He had heard about John’s damning speed too. He watched the apparently quiet and peaceful Wesley’s face and his serious mouth barely hidden beneath the brown and bulky southern-style moustache. His arm still stretched, offering the gun to Hickoc. The outlaw had grabbed the weapon only for the canyon, his fingers two inches far away the trigger. It was impossible he can shoot him. Absolutely impossible. But he doesn’t like the situation. He doesn’t like it at all. But he doesn’t like even more to be a coward in front of everybody there. In this side of the world, every single scabby dog can see when its leader has floppy legs. And takes advantage of it.
Quickly, Hickoc targeted Wesley’s face. “Put the gun on the slab y get away from it, John”, ordered him in a severe tone that, he hoped so, must make clear who wears the pants in Abilene.
“No”, said Wesley. “I already told you. If you want it, you may come for it”.
“Gimme that fucking weapon, John!”, cried Hickoc.
“I said my last word”, answered the gunslinger, very smoothly.
“Gimme it or I blow your damned head up!
“Go on, then”.
Desperately, Hickoc aimed firmly to the gunslinger’s head. His forefinger was trembling on the trigger. Wesley opened his eyes suddenly. It was then, when he did his movement.
Decades after, people for Abilene would still be talking about it. The gunslinger’s Walter Colt moved so fast that looked like it turns by itself. Nobody known ever how could be possible. Nobody saw his fingers made rolling the weapon. Merely, Wesley had the gun taken with his fingers, and half a second later, it spun and he shot. The bullet ruined marshal’s chest. He bit the dust already death, with a surprise expression on his face that he gave it with him to hell.
Cayetano Gea Martín