Thursday, February 23, 2012
Now Playing: Last Job
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Episode Twelve concluded with:
“You’re getting a bit careless, Stacey,” Rance said.
“Please elaborate,” The gambler replied. “You know how highly I value the insights of the west’s finest detective.”
“Travelling gamblers are a target in a small place like Hard Stone,” Rance explained, as the saloon patrons returned to their fun. “If a well-dressed dude cleans them out, one man provokes a fight while the other one plugs the gambler. That way they get their money back and a good story to talk about the next day.”
“And no one cares about the fate of the itinerant gambler.” Hooper shook his head. “Plato was right. The masses well deserve the designation of ‘beast’.”
A broad smile swept across Stacey Hooper’s face. “But why dwell on life’s little shortcomings? You just saved my life, good friend.” Stacey motioned to the bartender, “Two beers, please!”
Rance immediately noticed that his friend had simply ordered the beers. He had not mentioned paying for them. Dehner smiled inwardly. Stacey Hooper hadn’t changed one bit.
Rush Hunter lay on the roof of Westlake’s General Store and shivered. In early September, the nights were starting to get cool. Or did the coldness come from fear? He had never committed murder before.
So far, luck was on his side. No desk clerk had been around when he entered the hotel and he was able to take a glance at the register. Stacey Hooper was signed in. A quick check of the Lucky Miner revealed that the gambler was plying his trade. No one thought it strange that the sheriff should inquire about a newcomer in town who made a living by playing cards.
“He’ll return here and I’ll rid the world of one useless sharper,” Hunter whispered to himself.
His location was good. The General Store stood at two stories. The roof was far above the occasional lanterns that splattered dabs of murky light along Main Street. A rope was now tied to the back of the building for a quick escape.
Of course, Rush Hunter would be among the first to arrive at the scene after Stacey Hooper lay dead, the dutiful sheriff doing his duty. That last thought made him twitch. He wanted to be able to laugh at deceiving the town folks, but couldn’t.
Hunter tensed up as he heard a voice from down the street: a voice he had heard a few hours ago in the Lucky Miner. “Of course I was cheating, Rance. So was everyone else in the game, or they were trying to. Why, not to cheat at playing cards amounts to gambling, which is a sin.”
The sheriff saw two shadows advancing through the puddles of light. He couldn’t take a chance on the gambler’s friend possibly running after Hooper’s killer. He would have to shoot both of them.
Tomorrow: Episode Fourteen of Last Job