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Aug 9, 2013

like i was tanqueray
Going with 1890.


Aug 9, 2013

like i was tanqueray
Shooting Sharp
996 Words
Year: 1890

After cocking my Winchester rifle, I pushed aside the frilly lace of my bonnet and gave a quick nod to Wild Bill. The townfolk had gathered to see a proper show, and I swore my aim would not falter again.

Bill held out an empty beer bottle for a moment, then flung it high into the air. The rifle was heavy in my hands when I pulled it skyward to trace the flying glass, glinting against the noonday sun.

I fired once; I fired wide.

It was that damned bonnet, blown into the both of my eyes by a rapid southern breeze, that’d been spoiling my aim. Not that I cared to be seen wearing any kind of garment with frills and the like, but even a woman born with a rifle in her hand ain’t exempt from doing up like a proper lady.

Still rudely intact, the bottle bounced into the dirt, winged only just at the neck. It was my first day onstage and my third miss, and the crowd spared no small heap of jeers for it.

A big man’s voice rose above the rest. “I done told y’all womenfolk can’t shoot!” he shouted from the first row, cackling amongst his wretched confederates, all-alike poking each other in the ribs. He grabbed at his crotch and called up to me, “Why dontcha stick to handling a piece like this’n here, little miss?”

My face burned to crimson. I figured myself to be fired from the show already, having missed all my shots, and so thought nothing of letting the leering prick know just what I thought of, well--his prick.

“I’m afraid, sir, that I am accustomed to a weapon of a more considerable caliber,” I called out.

Now they were laughing at him, though I hardly needed to turn my head to know Wild Bill would be shaking his massive, fuzzy head in disappointment, surely scratching my name off his flyer.

So much for Annie, the Lady Sharpshooter.


Inside the tavern, the din of drinking glasses and poker chips mixed with shouted bets and foolish calls. Louder still was a thumping piano tune that had set my head to aching from the very moment I planted myself at the cornermost barstool.

My cheeks were already flush as roses by the time I raised a third cup to my lips, and I admit to surprise when Wild Bill come to set himself down, with a thud, on the barstool next to me.

“Thought I might find y’here,” he said to me, waving over the barkeep with a thick-calloused hand.

“Wasn’t looking to get found,” I muttered, staring into my cup. “Come to fire me in person, then?”

He’d ordered some kinda fancy Mexican beer, and began to sip on it. “Well, I’ve got to, haven’t I? Though hell, that was as big a payin’ crowd as I’d ever had--I ‘spect most come to see you. And boy-howdy,” he chuckled, “that were some zinger at the end.”

Then he pulled his red, bushy eyebrows into a frown. “Though, showcasin’ a sharpshooter that can’t shoot-sharp...”

I sighed and drained the last of my cup. “I get it. Any room in the act for a dancin’ girl?”

Before he could reply, the doors to the tavern swung wide, and standing there was none other than my unseemly heckler from the first row. He straight-lined towards us, his footsteps heavy with both drink and a slighted manhood.

He arrived with nostrils flaring. “If you had a lick of brains, whore, you’d-a quit this town the moment you made an rear end outta me,” he spat, pushing aside his waistcoat to reveal an ivory-tipped Colt revolver.

Bill moved to grab my Winchester from where it lay on the bar, but I had already clutched it into my hands. And no sooner than I had gotten to my feet and turned to face him, than the music had cut away, blanketing the room in a gawking sort of quiet. When the big man saw my rifle, his beady eyes bounced in their sockets as he roared in laughter; most in the bar saw fit to match his amusement.

“Now look here, pard--” Bill started, before the man raised a trembling hand.

“Stay yourself, old-timer,” he snapped. “I’m thinkin’ the lady here owes me an hour’s time in bed for my unease. There’s all manner of better use for that mouth.” He dragged his eyes, slowly, over the sight of my body. “And for the rest of her, too.”

“You’d sooner scare me out of a bed than into one,” I said, my voice loud but with a slight quiver. My palms began to slicken with sweat.

His face darkened as he thumbed the snow-white handle of his revolver. “It’s either a bed or a bullet, darlin’.”

Slowly, I pulled the bonnet from off of my head, then dropped it to the floor. I saw Bill’s knuckles whiten around his beer.

“Care to wager I’ll miss a fourth time?” I said.

Though the big man hadn’t yet gone for his pistol, Wild Bill, bless his heart, couldn’t bear to sit out. He raised his arm up high, beer bottle clutched in-hand, hurtling downward towards the big man’s skull.

I exhaled and time came to a crawl, like everyone but me were moving underwater. My hands flew on their own, leveling my rifle and tracing the path of the bottle.

I fired once; I fired true.

The glass exploded, leaving only a jagged bottleneck. Glittering shards and dark ripples of beer rained down onto the big man’s head and into his eyes, like shooting stars in cooled molasses. He still hadn’t touched the metal at his side. He stood frozen, before raising up both hands slowly, eyes wide.

The music resumed; Bill shook off his wet hand and then began to grin.

“Come on,” he said to me, laughing. “And bring the rifle.”

I left that damned bonnet behind.

Aug 9, 2013

like i was tanqueray
Would've Left You Anyway
25 words

She gives me the pill, says it won’t hurt. Soon you spill out of me, splashing my legs, the floor.

“It won’t hurt.”

It does.

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