(This one happened six years ago on this date...)
“Any last words, pardner, ‘fore we whup this horse you stole out from under ya and send ya down to the fiery pits o’ hell?”
“Last words? Why, no,” I said. “Not really. I admit it, I stole this handsome palomino, and I know that’s a hanging offense here in the fine territory of New Mexico.”
“Okay,” said the big man, and he raised his riding crop.
“However,” I said.
“Yes?” said the man, keeping the crop raised.
“However, you might be interested in knowing why I stole this fine animal.”
“Not in the least,” said the man, and he raised the crop higher.
“What if I told you that I was trying to make my getaway from robbing the Yuma train out in Arizona.”
“Ain’t no business of ourn what you done in Arizona.”
“Very true. However, what if I told you that after my horse broke his leg up in the San Andreas mountains here in New Mexico that I buried the loot under a rock up there, up in the mountains, in a very secluded spot. What if I told you that after stealing this palomino I was on my way back to that hidden loot when you good fellows captured me. What if I told you I was willing to share this loot with you fine gentlemen of this posse. Provided of course you don’t hang me.”
The big man lowered his riding crop.
“How much loot we talkin’ about here?” he asked.
“Forty-two thousand,” I said. “Forty-two thousand two hundred and fifty-three to be exact. US dollars. In gold coin.”
“Forty-two thousand?” said the man.
“Forty-two thousand,” I repeated. “In gold.”
What a bunch of greedy saps. I left them behind that very same night, and this time I took an even better horse, a pretty roan mare I named Polly.
Talk to the Six-Gun! by Horace P. Sternwall; an E-Z Original, paperback, 1955; serialized in abridged form in Savage Adventures for Men, Oct. to Dec. 1957, as I’ll Let My Six-Gun Do the Talking! by “Howard P. Stone”.
(Scroll down the right-hand column of this page to find a listing of links to the opening passages of some other fine but sadly out-of-print novels by Horace P. Sternwall.)