Green Town, by Michael Fontana

#fantasy #shortstories

Inside the Green Town saloon I stood four-foot-six. I wore a gray hat, purple shirt, dungarees, and boots etched in both gray and purple. My hair was long and brown and hung down into my eyes. I carried both a pistol and a whip.

I had arrived in town on a stagecoach which ought to have been robbed along its trail but instead wound unmolested through the cacti and sand of the region, bearing its currency to Green Town, where the murderers dwelled. I had no logical purpose in this world, shifting from town to town as a bootblack, sitting outside of general stores with my rags and kit to clean the dust off of shoes which belonged to better men than me.

I had heard tell of the murderers in Green Town, but that was actually more of an allure than a dissuasion. Didn’t murderers need their shoes cleaned as well? Perhaps I could even run amongst them; they might take me on as an apprentice, or a sideshow, or a mascot, depending upon their collective demeanor.

So, counter to this outlaw atmosphere, I toasted my new drifter friends inside the saloon with a glass of champagne (which was in itself suspicious). No one of any manhood drank such a concoction. The saloon wouldn’t have carried it chilled at all, except for the brothel upstairs and the occasional out-of-town lush on a spending spree of gold looking for just the right trigger to inebriate his whore-to-be.

I stood staring through my flute of champagne at the murderers who sweated behind the broken windows as they took their aim. Few of the citizens made to move outdoors because they knew the consequence. I didn’t care. I was young enough to still consider myself impervious to bullets. Besides, I was just a mellow bootblack and a dwarf, not to be considered a threat to their manhood.

So I stepped outside. The dust swirled serpentine around my ankles. I shouted “Shoeshine, shoeshine,” into the blazing sun.

The murderers trained their eyes on me but didn’t open fire because I spun around in circles like a lunatic, mimicking the vultures overhead. The murderers seemed to find this amusing; one of them even shouted at me, “Get back inside, you damned fool!”

But I yipped and yimmied like to make no consequence of his words. He then actually came outside. He was a gray man: gray hair, gray beard, bolo tie and white shirt, also dungarees and dirty black boots. Much taller than me, he had his pistol trained on my abdomen. I danced a little jig for him and this made him laugh and shoot his pistol into the dirt near my feet.

“Dance you cretin, dance,” he said.

And dance I did until at some point I clapped my hands together then clapped them on my hips. Soon he picked up the cadence. I could hear the laughter of the other murderers inside at such a spectacle until on one of the claps to my hip I removed the whip and let it unfurl with a lash to his wrist, snapping the gun to the ground. When I drew my own it was exquisite, the immediate pop of the bullet into his throat where his laughter ceased and he bunched up into a puddle of human waste.

The murderers stopped laughing, but by this time my vision had broken into that of a fly’s: a million different filaments and lenses, each capable of containing one murderer apiece and slowing their motions down to second-by-second speed. Quickly I ducked behind a rain barrel on the opposite side of the street. They opened fire and punctured the barrel, but the bullets slowed with the wall of rainwater inside and so nothing injured me, just a scratch here and there.

However, my bullets didn’t halt and I knew that one struck another murderer inside because I could hear the collective gasp, could hear the thud of the body to the ground. This emboldened me to run across the street to just beneath their window and then hurtle myself through it. It was beautiful to land among them and catch the fear in their eyes as they scattered rather than battled. All murderers are cowards at heart. They wish to eliminate other lives in lieu of their own. It is a projection of suicide.

So I gave them what they craved by unloading my weapon into them until the walls were decorated red and all the breathing in the room had stopped. From there it was simple enough to walk back out into the baking heat and conduct another jig along the street back into the saloon where the inmates sat gawking over their whiskies at what they had just witnessed. I drank the remainder of my champagne and then rolled upstairs for other pleasures due me for my conquest and my youthful invincibility and my stature which had suddenly grown elevated in Green Town.

(Visited 75 times, 1 visits today)
Send to Kindle