Thursday, July 19, 2012

Now Playing: One Arm Lightning 
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Episode Eight of One Arm Lightning

Episode Seven concluded with:

Confident that he had his brother’s trust, Buck hurried to the seat of the wagon and released the brake. The jittery horses immediately lurched forward. A horrifying cry of pain cut the air as one of the back wheels of the wagon ran over Wes Torveen.
Rob Laverty watched all this from his position across the street on the saloon roof. He stared in wonderment at the crushed figure on the ground. Wes Torveen’s arm was moving up and down as if signaling for help. A shrill cry of pain came from his mouth.
Laverty took careful aim and fired twice. Torveen’s arm dropped to the ground.  His cry ceased.
The sheriff smiled as he holstered his gun. He was the lawman who had brought down One Arm Lightning.

Episode Eight


            Stanley Wiggins escorted the last of his customers through the bat wing doors of the Shooting Star Saloon. The two men were both drunk and feisty. One of them turned back as he stepped onto the boardwalk outside. “Jus’ maybe I want to sleep inside the saloon, tonight!”
             Stanley replied firmly. “And just maybe the owners of the saloon will decide you can’t come in here again!”
            “Come on, Fred, let’s  sleep owshide, like aaaways.”
            They staggered off as Stanley closed the door behind the bat wings and locked it. The bartender gave a sigh of fatigue as he went through the Shooting Star turning off the kerosene lights that were attached to the walls.
            A killing sure does increase a man’s thirst, Wiggins thought. The previous night, men had gotten drunk to celebrate the killing of One Arm Lightning. The drinking had picked up again that afternoon following the burial of Wes Torveen.
            Two lights were still burning, both of them behind the bar. Those lights always stayed on until Stanley took the cashbox and locked it in the safe. The bartender yawned as he sauntered behind the bar. He remembered that he had to open up again in only a few hours…
            “Evenin’ Stanley.”
            The bartender gasped and looked around. He couldn’t see anyone, but then darkness shrouded most of the saloon. Wiggins decided that his imagination had become inflamed by recent events. He began to do a check of the materials under the bar as he did every night before putting away the cash box. The familiar routine brought him some comfort.
            But not for long. “Evenin’ Stanley.”  A figure stepped into the murky puddle of light cast by the lamps behind the bar.
            Stanley Wiggins brought his right hand to his face as if shielding his eyes against what stood in front of them. “Wes Torveen!” The bartender spoke in a high pitched whisper. “We buried you hours ago.”
            “That’s right, Stanley. I saw you standin’ near my graveside, you and my other buddies from school days. You fellas were sharing a chuckle or two. After all these years, I can still provide my chums with a good laugh.”
            “We wasn’t laughin’ at you, Wes--”
            “Then who were you laughin’ at? My sister who was in grief?”
            “No, Wes, no, it was that… ah… preacher--”
            “He read from the Good Book. What was funny about that?”
            “Nothin’,” Stanley was confused and terrified. He moved his hand toward the .44 that was always kept under the bar.
            “So, I guess you fellas were havin’ one more laugh on Wes Torveen.”
            Desperation prodded Wiggins into a reckless move. “Let me explain, Wes. All I’m askin’ for is jus’ a minute or two of your time.”
            “Why, sure,” Wes Torveen lifted his left arm in a “go ahead” gesture.
            Stanley grabbed the .44 but, in his nervousness, slammed his hand against the edge of the bar as he brought the gun up. He yelled a loud curse. Those were his final words. A bullet from Torveen’s gun cut into the bartender’s chest. Stanley Wiggins fell to the floor.

Tomorrow: Episode Nine of One Arm Lightning