The Bar Call Out
by  Deborah


Johnny and Scott Lancer stood at a bar in Stockton enjoying a beer when 3 young men walked in.  One of them wore his gun belt down low on his hip.

“Not again.”   Johnny groaned.

Scott turned around marveling how well Johnny could see out of the corner of eye.  He stared at the young men and turned back.  “It would seem so,” he said ruefully.  “Let’s do 3.”

Johnny smiled.  “You want to make me work, huh.”

“Madrid!”  the young man with the low hung weapon called out.  “I’m here to call you out.”

Johnny took another sip of his beer as Scott turned around to face the men.

“Gentlemen” he said his voice light.  “Madrid here is a friend of mine.   Mind you I am not a gunfighter but I have seen him in action many times and he is very, very fast.” The young man opened his mouth to speak.  Scott held his hand up.  “Now wait let me finish.  I know how it is….you’re fast too.  Your friends all tell you so.  And you’ve come here to risk your life to challenge Johnny Madrid.  You could win and have the reputation of the gun fighter who beat my friend Madrid here.  Or you could lose but at least you have these two here to be pallbearers… but hey we won’t think about that now.


Scott took a deep breath and smiled.  “But you see once you get that reputation well everyone is going to want to call you out.   Don’t get me wrong its fun at first but after it happens a 100 times you get tired of it.”

Scott went over to the bar and stood beside his brother who had not moved except to take a drink of beer.  The men could not see the grin that played around his mouth at his brother’s antics.   Scott slapped Johnny on the back.

“Well, that’s where my friend Johnny is.  He is tired of these infernal challenges.  But he wants to be fair because he is a gunfighter and he knows he has to give men like you chances to draw on him.  So to be fair to Johnny and you we flip a coin.    You win, he fights you, you lose he doesn’t.”  Scott said in the same light matter of fact voice.   Scott smiled.  “Now doesn’t that seem fair?”

        “But I want to fight him,” the young man stammered.

        Scott sighed and his voice grew more solemn.  “I understand but he doesn’t want to fight you unless you win the toss.”   Scott pretended he was thinking.

        “Tell you what…you lose the toss and you can call him out in 3 months and try again.”  Scott pretending that a great idea had come to him.  “How about it boys?”

The young want to be gunslinger looked at his friends who nodded. “That seems fair” he said in a not so sure voice.

“Good.” Said Scott.  He pulled a silver dollar out of his pocket and showed the men both sides so they could see that it was legitimate.

He then went to stand between them and Johnny.  “Call it in the air.” He said tersely, waiting a few seconds before he flipped it high into the air.  In what seemed like a blur of fluid motion Johnny turned and fired at the coin about the same time the young man shouted “Heads.”  The coin flew up, hit the ceiling and came back down with a clang.  When it settled on the floor you could see a gaping hole through the coin.   The moment of silence was broken by the clamoring of the 3 young men trying to leave the bar as fast as they could.

“Geez  Johnny” Scott called after them in a loud voice.  “Look at what you did.  I can’t read the damn coin.”

Scott and Johnny both laughed and Scott came back to the bar and finished his beer in one swallow.   “I beg to differ on who did the most work.”  Scott said smiling at his brother.

Johnny laughed out loud and playfully punched his brother’s  arm.

“Com’ on Boston” he said more seriously.  “Let’s get out of here.”

Scott nodded and followed Johnny out the door.  It would not to be wise to still be in town when the word spread around of the little melee that had just happened.





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