by Kevin L. Harrington
When he had his fill of food and drink, he felt weary and lay down to rest beneath the sparkling sky. It was in the moon when roses bloom and their camp was in some cottonwoods by the river. A fire was still blazing: blue-black smoke turning up to touch the face of stars in darkened evening. Sarah returned from the river and stood back to him in the leaping orange glow of the flames. Hard work in hot sun had tanned her lean frame and toned her muscles. He watched silver rivulets run curving paths down long bronze thighs. Then this: the swift passing of the brush as she bent to comb her sandy brown mane. Her ass was a firm, pale glow beneath the moon. For a moment he thought he saw Orion through the crook of a multi- bangled arm. Then the brush fell and she was with him. There was the earthy taste of wild river water in her mouth.
Chapter 2 ... And young willie's eyes were sharp as any eagle's
he could spot a rider from a good full mile's run
not much for the big towns or the ways of all the people
the only law he knew was when the smoke came from a gun.
William E. Johnson walked slowly around the bar and stood, back to the wall, in a place where he liked to watch the door. He tipped the back of his hat brim up and stared wordlessly for a moment at the roughly hewn wood; waiting for the sound of beer being poured. Shortly there came the thud of his jar upon the bar and Liam O'malley, the bar man, took just enough coin from before the young cowhand. Inside the "Souls of Poets Tavern" the air was warm and redolent of stale beer, smoke and whiskey. Outside a sadistic sun was baking the earth into dust. It rose in tiny cyclone swirls from the road at the slightest hint of hoof or wheel or rare breeze up from the river.
The room was empty save for the two men and a prostitute named Maria. From over at a corner table she called him with her eyes. " Why don't you cume n seet weet me weelie?" And he had a thought to join her, but before he moved a gaunt black man had pushed through the swinging doors and moved silently over to her table satchel in hand. she raised her head as the man bent to whisper some thing in her ear. After stopping at the bar for a bottle, the two of them moved without shyness up the rear stairs towards a small bedroom above.