Doc John put his valise behind the door out of sight, then got down his traveling instrument kit and spread it open on a small table. The top trey of indented velvet held the tools of his trade. He lifted this tray out of the way to reveal twin Colt .45’s nestled beneath.
He removed one of the pistols, and for easy access, stored it in the top left desk drawer. This was insurance in case that mule foricator Frank pulled something.
Doc John did not cheat at poker. He didn’t have to cheat – he was that good. He watched the eyes and manerisms of the others – the quivering hands, the gritted teeth, the ones that look at their cards too often, those things and more told him all he needed to know.
Two weeks ago Frank Bishop was one of six, playing stud poker, and was losing badly. At his last hand he lost to John, and John wouldn’t take his marker for more. That was when he made his fatal mistake. He stood and called John a card cheat, and drew down on him. John was unarmed at the time.

John talked Frank down that day, but vowed to himself that never again would he play cards unarmed, and that he would get even with Frank Bishop. The next day John bought a double barrel Derringer.

John glanced around the small room. Everything was ready.
He heard someone step on the boardwalk in front of his shop. He smiled when he heard the jangle of spurs. Frank always wore spurs.

John planted his best smile on his face and went to meet Frank.

Pleasantries were passed; ending with John assuring Frank that there were no hard feelings between them. Frank sat down on the velvet and brocade covered chair and leaned back, asking “This ain’t gonna hurt is it, doc?”

John smiled “No Frank, this isn’t going to hurt a bit. This new gas will put you to sleep. It’s called laughing gas. After you wake up you’ll be laughing. Hell, we’ll all be laughing.”

John covered Frank with a stained sheet, then pulled up a stool and sat. He covered Frank’s mouth with a small cup with a hose attached.

The End

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