Have you been following the story of Jack, er, um, Brig? You know… Brig Coyle, the gunslinger?
You can find everything you need to know to get caught up right here.
“Why are you looking for Brig Coyle, the gunslinger?” Brig Coyle, the gunslinger, asked.
“Have you seen him?” The question was posed by the man seated closest to Dan and the door to the Gunnison Inn.
“I thought he was dead,” Brig replied. The regular, onto his second drink, looked up in surprise and then quickly went back to his drink. Dan immediately engaged the man in conversation to keep him occupied and thankfully the two newcomers didn’t notice.
“Have you seen him?” This time the question was posed by the second man.
Brig donned a look of confusion, “That’d be hard to do if he is dead.”
Neither man was pleased with that response as evidenced by their dark glowers and the second man spoke up again, “Are you avoiding the question?”
Yes. “No, it just seemed a bit odd that you were asking if I had seen a dead man. Have I seen Brig Coyle, the gunslinger? Have you seen Wild Bill Hickock? I mean, he’s only been dead a couple years, maybe I should be on the lookout for him too?”
The two men did not appreciate his sass or his tone and their countenances darkened further. I wouldn’t have thought that possible.
“Listen here, son,” the first one spoke, “there’s no call to get flippant with us. Sure, we’ve all heard the rumors that he was dead but we’ve also heard rumors he was spotted on the Shavano train before the Gunnison station but not at any of the stops afterwards.”
“Why are you looking for him?” Brig asked again.
“Have you seen him?” The two men replied in unison.
This could go on forever. Well, probably not forever, eventually they’ll get fed up with me and show me how good they are with those tie-downed pistols.
“Brig Coyle, the gunslinger?”
“I haven’t seen him recently, no.”
“Have you heard if he is in town?”
“Brig Coyle, the gunslinger?”
“I’d heard a rumor that he was spotted a few days ago. I’m not sure if there was any substance to those rumors though, and I’m fairly certain he hasn’t been seen since.”
“Why didn’t you tell us that immediately!” They glared at him for a moment and then the two men dropped their voices and began to confer in such soft whispers that Brig couldn’t pick up a single word despite his close proximity.
“So, what can I get you gents to drink?”
They looked up, glared, said nothing to him in response and then resumed their quiet conversation.
“If you aren’t going to order something I’m going to have to ask you to leave. You’re taking up spots for paying customers.”
They looked up, scowled, looked around the empty bar, glared at Brig again and then went back to ignoring him.
At that moment the door to the Gunnison Inn swung open and some more regulars came in. This could get interesting, Brig thought as he moved away from the two gunslingers, greeted the newcomers with his normal smile and said, “Good morning, what can I get you?”
The men pulled up the chairs at a table near the door, their usual table, and mumbled their own greetings. Luckily, most of the novelty of having a famous gunslinger for a bartender had worn off quickly for the majority of the regulars. Plus, it was still really early in the day and they were only partially awake. Brig got them their drinks and took them to the table with only a small spattering of audible words passing from their lips. Once they were squared away, Brig returned to his place behind the counter, placed the coins he’d received from the regulars in the strong box and then tried to appear nonchalant as he edged his way as close to the gunslingers as he dared. He was hoping to pick up the thread of their conversation but they kept their voices low enough he wasn’t able to catch any part of it.
The door opened and shut again, more regulars coming in for their pre work send off, and Brig came out from behind the counter again to get their order since they took the seats at another table by the door. He returned to the bar briefly to pour their requests and then took them back to their table. The gunslingers continued their whispering and Dan continued to chat up the man seated next to him at the counter. Well, I can’t imagine the two men staying much longer and for now things seem to be going as smoothly as could be expected.
The door opened again and in walked Emmalou Marsch. Every head in the place turned to catch a glimpse of her as the first rays of the morning’s sun streamed through the open door, illuminating Emmalou in all her beauty, before the door swung shut and she was left standing in the dingy light thrown by the flickering oil lamps. The men at the bar went back to their conversation. The men at the tables near the door went back to their drinks. Dan picked up his dialogue right where he’d left off. Brig’s mind was working a mile a minute, a veritable switchyard with hundreds of thoughts piling in at once and each one clamoring for attention as they thundered down their tracks.
My god, she is stunning. What is she doing here? I hope she doesn’t say my name out loud. That could really complicate this situation. Is she here to tell me she won’t be able to sit with me in the afternoons anymore? Is she here to tell me that she’s decided I can stay as long as I want? Is she here to walk me to the train station and see me safely out of her town? Considering the two men seated at the counter right now I couldn’t really blame her for that. Is something else wrong? Does she need my help? She’s here, she’s here, she’s here.
Consequences be damned, Brig couldn’t help but smile at Miss Marsch. She smiled in reply.