Monday, July 23, 2012

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

Episode Nine concluded with:

             “This cloth was torn from the dress I was gonna give my sister on her birthday. Only she don’t want the dress no more. Not since my old buddies murdered me in front of the store where I was buyin’ it. So, here, Stan, this is for you!”
            He dropped the piece of cloth onto the bartender. Stanley Wiggins gave no response. He’d never respond to anything again.
            There was a loud pounding at the door. Sheriff Rob Laverty shouted from outside, “Stanley, you in there? What’s goin’ on?”
            One Arm Lightning stood up and looked at the door with anticipation. “Well, well, looks like the party is jus’ gettin’ started.”

Episode Ten


            “Try again, Laverty! What’s this town paying you for?” A few stray pieces of tobacco flew from Fenton Goulding’s mouth as he made his demand.
            The sheriff took a deep breath. Goulding had been harsh and demanding on him since the ambush of Wes Torveen. Laverty figured Goulding was trying to reassert his authority after failing miserably in helping to bring down One Arm Lightning.
            Rob Laverty again pounded on the locked door of the Shooting Star. “I don’t think there’s anyone in there, Mr. Goulding. Stanley has probably gone home for the night.”
            “I’m not so sure. Two barflys came by the Rome a few minutes ago and told me they heard a shot from inside there.”
            “Well, if you want me to break down this door on the word of two barflies--”
            “You don’t have to break down the door!” Goulding brought a key ring out of his pocket. His hands trembled as he loosened one key from the bunch. Laverty realized that the saloon owner really thought there was something wrong inside the Shooting Star and wanted no direct part in it.
            As if to confirm Laverty’s thoughts, Fenton Goulding handed the lawman a key, and harrumphed, “Report back to me when you’re finished.” He then stomped off.
            The sheriff gritted his teeth and said nothing. He only had a little more time of putting up with the likes of Fenton Goulding. Soon, stories of the man who killed One Arm Lightning would be everywhere. Rob Laverty would be a hero, and heroes don’t have to tolerate fools.
            The sheriff opened the door and was surprised by the lights that were still on behind the bar. “Stanley,--you here?”
            Laverty moved cautiously toward the bar; even so, he collided with several chairs. The back lights covered only a small patch of the saloon.
            But when he got behind the bar he had a clear view of the corpse of Stanley Wiggins. The lawman inhaled and took a step back as if death were a disease that could be transmitted.
            He slowly stepped toward the body and crouched over it, picking up a piece of fabric that lay on the corpse. “It’s gingham, looks like it was cut from that dress Torveen bought for his sister,” the sheriff whispered.  A piece of paper was pinned to the back of the fabric and there was writing on it.
            The note made Laverty’s throat go tight.  What he heard caused his entire body to tremble.

Tomorrow: Episode Eleven of One Arm Lightning