Tuesday, January 31, 2012


     Buckshot Bill McCoy rode into town on his black horse at high noon. Most of the townspeople didn’t even notice him until he reached the Marysville town square. He stopped in the middle of the road and just sat there with the brim of his hat tilted down to cover his face. Lifting his head ever so slightly, he scanned the scene without any visible movement. In a flash, his eyes darted back and forth twice, and that was all he needed. Bill McCoy had traveled to enough dingy towns to know what to look for quickly.
     To the left, a blacksmith hammered horseshoes. Next to him, a local shop owner arranged a display of fancy-looking ceramic plates. On the right side, a preacher man stood on a barrel in front of a saloon and lectured a small audience, which included the unconscious town drunk. Straight ahead was the Marysville jail. The man sitting on the front porch was clearly a deputy, not the sheriff. The sheriff would have taken notice of a stranger who just rode up the street; the man on the front porch didn’t even look in his direction. That was good for Bill McCoy.
     The town of Marysville looked just like the other twenty small Texas towns Bill McCoy had visited, with one big difference: the man crossing the street between the saloon and the jail. He had a curly white mustache, round spectacles, wore a clean suit and walked with a long silver cane. The cane is what gave him away. Bill McCoy remembered that cane from the first time he saw it. That was many years ago, on the day this man ruined his life.
     Bill McCoy remembered that day well. He remembered the tears, the screaming. He remembered the hardships that followed. He remembered growing up tough and learning to fend for himself. He remembered working hard for a few morsels of food, and spending all his free time learning to shoot—learning to kill. Bill McCoy practiced shooting for many years to become the fastest shot this side of the Mississippi—he hadn't earned the nickname "Buckshot" for nothing—and it was all for this moment. He had waited for this day ever since his family lost their farm, and now he was finally going to get his revenge.
     Bill McCoy moved his horse to the side of the road. In one smooth move, he dismounted and tossed the reigns around a post. He didn’t need to worry about tying up properly because he wasn’t planning on staying long. Depending on how that deputy reacted, he may need a fast getaway. But getting out alive wasn’t Bill McCoy’s top priority. Revenge came first, at any cost.
     The timing was perfect. Bill McCoy walked up the street and intercepted the man with the silver cane when he turned to cross the square. He couldn’t have planned it better; it was as if fate brought him to this exact place and time. When Bill McCoy faced the man, standing directly in his path about ten paces ahead, he held his ground and threw back his cloak, showing the two shiny revolvers hanging from his belt.
     The man with the cane saw him and also stopped. They stood facing each other in silence for half a minute. The man looked at Bill McCoy quizzically, as though he struggled to place his face. Bill McCoy looked back at the man hard, his eyes filled with hate. Only then did the townspeople take notice. They didn’t know the stranger with the guns, but they knew he was trouble. Within seconds, the streets were cleared.
     “Doc Larson!” shouted Bill McCoy.
     “Yes, that’s me,” said the man with the cane. He squinted through his spectacles. “Do I know you?”
     Bill McCoy spat on the ground. He spent many sleepless nights imagining what he’d say at this moment, but none of the speeches he prepared seemed appropriate. Instead, he just said the words as they came into his head.
     “’I’ve been lookin’ for you a long time, Doc Larson. You took my family’s farm, took my folks’ money, took everything we had. You ruined my life, and now—“
     “Why, little William McCoy? Is that you?” Doc Larson took a step forward for a better look.
     “Sure is, Doc.” Bill McCoy spat again. “Now it’s your turn—“
     “William McCoy!” Doc Larson ran over to embrace him. “I’ve been searching for you for years! Yes, you’re right, I did take your family’s farm and everything you owned. It was a horrible mistake, but I’ve seen the error of my greedy ways and want to make amends. I’ve been carrying this deed around with me for years, and it’s made out to the McCoy family. I’d like give you a bigger farm than you’ve ever owned, and I’m happy to help you out financially in any way I can.”
     Doc Larson pulled a deed out of his pocket and showed it to Bill McCoy. Sure enough, it was made out to his name.
     “Well, how about that?” said Bill McCoy, looking over the paperwork. “That sure is swell of you.”
     And the plot thinned…

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