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Shotgun Gold

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
A New Hashknife and Sleepy Story “And that’s how it comes that I’m sheriff of Black Horse—and may I be hung with horseshoes and rabbit-feet, et cettery.” Roaring Rigby tilted back in an old swivel chair and looked disconsolately at the white-haired man who sat across the battered desk. The man had a long, deeply-lined face, slightly reddish nose, somber blue eyes beneath white eyebrows. Roaring Rigby himself was long, lean, bony of face and figure, with the pouched eyes of a bloodhound. His nose was long too, and slightly out of line; his cheekbones were almost visible through the tightly stretched skin that covered them. His ears were of the hating variety, and his neutral-colored hair was thin, like foxtail grass on alkali flats. The room in which these two men sat was the sheriff’s office in the town of Turquoise, the county-seat of Black Horse County. It was a small room, unpapered, except for an array of reward notices, a State map and a calendar of the previous year. A desk, several chairs and a gun-cabinet completed the furnishings. The floor was uncarpeted and had been scored deeply by years of high heel scraping. Roaring Rigby lifted his feet and rasped one spurred heel across the top of the desk, as if to express his contempt for such a piece of furniture. “And so Jim Randall, sheriff of this county, went away, did he?” sighed the old man. “He did that.” Roaring Rigby turned his sad-dog eyes upon the old man. “Yea-a-ah, he went away, Jim Randall did. He wrote out his resignation, packed up his fambly, folded his tent, as you might say, and silently stole away. But I don’t blame him, Judge. He’s a married man. You’re as much to blame as he is. You two opined to make Turquoise sanitary. You ought to know better, Judge; you’re an old-timer. Jim Randall was born and raised in a cow-town, and he knew better. ’Sall right to set down upon crime. Oh, I ain’t sayin’ your motives ain’t right. Turquoise needs cleanin’. English Ed’s honkatonk ain’t noways a Sunday School, and that redlight district hadn’t ought to be there, but—” “I know,” nodded Judge Beal. “Yea-a-ah, you know now. You should have knowed before. Jim Randall got his warnin’ twice. They told him he’d get the third one in the dark, and Jim always was scared of the dark. You’ve got your first one, Judge.”