"A round of whiskey, no make it a bottle," I called over to pretty Kathleen, the fair-haired daughter of Dan Donegal himself. I always felt she had more class than the lot of ladies you find in a saloon. Most saloon girls were either desperate women with no place else to go or whores whose work had worn them out. But Kathleen was here by mere fate of birth. She was gifted with sky blue eyes, surely an endowment from her mother, a mother she had never known, a mother who had given her life in her struggle to give Kathleen her turn at living.
Ben Walters had just laid down two pairs, Kings over tens, when the doors swung open. Then entered the stranger, one of those few that for some unknown reason when they enter a room, people notice. It is a quality some folks have, and I have never been able to put my finger on what quality it is.
He wore a red velvet vest. That in itself set him apart from the ranch hands who made up the greater share of the saloon's clientel. He wore the look of a gambler, maybe, a high rolling gambler from back East. Outside of that vest, the man preferred black: black suit, black duster, black boots, even a black hat, the kind the Mexican gentlemen wear when they ride their fancy horses.
He didn't much look around to introduce himself to the patrons, he instead walked straight on to the bar. "Bartender, I am in need of refreshment, a couple of shots of your better stuff, if you please."
And with that, the stranger with the red velvet vest moved in among us.