The more she struggled the deeper she sank, like quicksand, like a nightmare. The man chuckled, looking back into the deep of the bottle, and after a long sigh, started, "So here we are, the six shooter capital. You aim to draw?"


Angela was near panic.  She hated guns.  Ever since her little brother was accidentally shot in the leg by a friend when they had found her dad's pistol.  She couldn't stand even being near them.  Now this cowboy was taunting her?  She didn't know what to say.  "Is that supposed to be some kind of joke?" she asked finally.  He gave her a quizzical sideways look.  "I saw the gun in your bag."  She said accusingly, in a slightly hushed tone.  He didn't say anything at first.  He just looked back down the neck of his beer bottle.  After a moment he smiled slightly and said, "I guess there's something else you need to see then."  Angela still felt like he was toying with her.  Her heart stopped as he reached for his wallet.  She was sure he was going to pull out another gun.  When he threw his wallet up on the bar, it flopped open, revealing a star shaped badge.  Gold letters formed a circle on the star that read, U.S. MARSHALS. 


This calmed her somewhat, though she tried not to let it show.  "They making you guys take the bus these days?" she said sarcastically.  He smiled, "Nah, I'm on vacation.  I've got some personal business to take care of."  Angela decided to keep up the questions since she had him on the defensive.  "Oh really? the kind of business where you need to bring a gun?"  He continued to smile, although it didn't look nearly as convincing now.  She could tell he was thinking his answer over.  After a moment, he looked her in the eyes and said, "I'm going to kill my ex-wife.  She's getting re-married in Austin in three days." 

Angela didn't know what to say.  She was sure he was joking this time, but the smile was gone.  Nothing but pure honesty on his face.  Her head was spinning, almost involuntarily, she dashed out of the bar, and started across the dusty concrete parking lot towards the bus station.   Halfway between the two buildings, a firm hand on her shoulder spun her around.   He held her at arms length with a firm hold on her shoulder that let her know she wasn't going anywhere until he let her.  The sun was half way down behind the Davis mountains behind his back, and all she could see was his silhouette.  All she could hear was his voice, talking steady and low.  By the time he finished, the sun was gone and they both were crying.  He could see in her eyes that she understood.  At least he hoped she did.  "Come on" she said, wiping away his tears with her thumb.  "we're going to miss that bus."

The End

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