Red Eyed Sunday – Part 2
I again wiped the sweat from my forehead. I didn’t know, couldn’t say. I was mesmerized. I was also scared, but I was put at ease watching this ghostly figure. And before I actually noticed, he was standing right there, right in front of me. Black as the dead in the devil’s eyes him and his horse were. His stature wasn’t over powering. He was probably no taller than six feet I’d say. But away from his clothes, he also carried a presence about him that shook me. And before I could utter a word or even catch a breath, he was already saying what he needed to say.
“Thelma’s?” he asked.
I stood there, staring. And before I could think about it or know what I was doing, my arm was raised pointing to Thelma’s Saloon and Inn, direct in the center of town.
“Thank you, sir,” he said tipping his hat to me.
Suddenly everything stopped and my presence of mind came back to me.
I tipped my hat back and almost laughed. That was the first time I’d ever been called ‘sir’ before I thought to myself as he began toward Thelma’s.
Thelma’s was run by Thelma Louise, a lady who rarely made a mistake and was respected and liked far and wide, by everyone. A strong woman with a generous heart, and the only reason why I’m still alive today. And Thelma’s was the heart of the town. An inn on top of the only Saloon in town, which was on bottom. It also used to serve as our court house, in different times.
He still moved at the same pace, just calm and steady, almost godly. And it was still early but there were enough glares and closing shutters for him to notice I imagine… There were no men left in town. Hardly any at least. This town’s no longer what it used to be. It used to be our own, now it couldn’t be any further from that.
I just kept watching as he approached Thelma’s. I had no idea who he was or what he wanted. I’d seen a man come into town before that was polite, and even charming, professing more land and good fortune to everyone, filling us all with great hope… only to see that hope back fire and be turned against us. Now nobody’s left. It was a town built on the dreams of men and their families that yielded hope, now it’s a town built on one man’s greed that yields despair, and death. But even if it was just for a moment after he called me ‘sir,’ something about this new rider gave me hope. I’d wait though, and watch… I thought.
When he reached Thelma’s, he walked in and a body already laid dead on the floor. He looked down at the ground to the man and back up. Everyone was flushed. It must have just happened. That’s when he first saw Thelma. At the top of stairs in the back she came rushing in from one of the rooms. Immediately, she saw him. He saw her, and their eyes locked on each other for a moment before she ran down and had to attend to the dead man.
A small crowd gathered around the man at the entrance, and the man dressed in black walked to the bar. A misfit crowd was already gathered at the bar, laughing. They saw him, and laughed even harder.
“Hey, cowboy,” one of them smirked, “Not from around here? You look sorta out of place?”
“I don’t want any trouble,” he responded taking a sip of his drink.
“Then why’d you come here?”
The man in black didn’t respond. But turned away. The dead man was being carried out by a group of women directed by Thelma.
He saw this, and immediately knew why he was there.
Like nothing, he set aside his drink and stood to assist the women. And also like nothing, one of the men sitting at the bar stood and blocked his path.
“This isn’t your business slick. Move along now,” he scoffed.
The other men stood up in protest as well. The man in black turned and looked at them. Then back down at the dead guy being assisted by the women.
“You fellas responsible for this?”
The guy stepped into his face and gave what he felt was an appropriate explanation of the man’s death, and reiterated, “Now you can join him, or you can mind your business, which is taking your drink and leaving.”
The man in black stood there, staring. I thought it was about to be the end of him, but Thelma was there watching the whole thing. She moved in front of the girls and stared at the man in black. She shook her head disapproving of a fight. The man hadn’t made any move for his gun whatsoever but this move by Thelma put any thought of it to rest. No shots were fired. No guns were drawn. The man turned away and went back to his drink. He moved it to his mouth and took a last gulp. Then he stepped out of the way of the man in front of him and out the door, like nothing.
The man standing in front of him blocking his way began laughing again. The rest of the men were already prepared to and followed even louder.
“Nice costume Nancy!” They called out after him. “Hey next time maybe bring a purse instead of a gun around your waist.”
When he exited the saloon, he got back on his horse and began back toward my way. This time I wasn’t nervous at all.
Music: Budos Band – Origin of Man