Just under an hour later, the scruff returned. He sauntered down the stairs, a little less scruffy. The clothes were still old and dirty, hanging like dry hide on his shoulders. His beard still screamed at the world in an angry tangle of dark wiry strands. But his hair was combed over and his cheeks, in the places where the hair hadn't conquered, was rosy clean flesh.
The barkeep nodded as the scruff sat before him once again. "Time for a drink?"
"I reckon it may be." He said pulling out that same palm full of coins and slapping them on the counter. "Whiskey"
Again, the barkeep slid away the required amount. "You're awfully trusting for a traveller." He said, pouring him a whiskey.
"Letting me take your coin without counting it. I could be having a lend of you."
"Well, I know how much I had when it was changed over, and it's enough to lose without batting an eye."
"So you're not here for money?"
The scruff peered over at the man. "You're a nosy one aren't you?"
"I like to know who's going through my house."
"I'm here looking for a man."
The barkeep laughed. "It's mostly women that look for men."
"I'm lookin' to kill the man I'm lookin' for." He said plainly.
"I see." The barkeep let one hand down beneath the counter. "You'll probably need a gun to kill a man. You kill a lot of men?"
The scruff laughed. "I don't know how it is down here my friend, but during my swell time on this here earth I've come to realize that killin' a man's like taking a shit; the need arises every day or so. Sometimes twice a day if you're particularly runny. A gun could make things easier, you got one?"
The barkeep laughed awkwardly. "Maybe. Who‘s this man you‘re looking to kill?"
"See the thing about killing men and takin' a shit is that they're usually both preceded by an act of the mouth. When you‘ve got the shits, it's usually 'cause you, or someone near you, ate the wrong thing. It‘s like a spreading disease. Whereas, if you‘re killing lots of men, it‘s usually because you, or someone near you, said the wrong thing. Or asked the wrong question. So maybe the man I'm lookin' to kill is standing right in front of me if he don't stop asking the wrong questions. Catch my drift?" The scruff said, pulling a blade from his sleeve with skilful slight of hand.
The barkeeps face went stone solid and in one quick movement he pulled a coach gun out from beneath the counter. "Try me."
"I'm lookin' for a man too." Came another voice from behind. It was deep and rough, like it was coming off a sandpaper tongue.
"Oh?" Said the scruff, keeping his eyes trained on the trigger of the double barrelled shotgun pointed at his head.
"Yeah. Maybe you know him?"
"What's his name?"
There was an awkward moment of silence. "Hmm... doesn't ring a bell."
"Why don't we go outside to have a more ..." The man took in a deep raspy breath. "... civilized exchange."