Nothing aggravates me more than a stranger who shoots at me with a Colt .44. He’s on the sidewalk, and I’m sitting at a stoplight in my ’80 Mustang convertible.
The downtown area of Stopgap, Oklahoma, isn’t a hustling metropolis with shoppers and foot traffic all in a hurry. It’s simply a neat, tidy little town that’s usually fun to visit, and that makes the idea of being shot at more perplexing.
My car is near the center line. I’m waiting to turn left. A teenager pulls up on his motor scooter and stops on my right. His machine idles as we both wait for the light to change…and suddenly it does.
The instant the signal switches from red to green, the scooter backfires…loud as a gunshot. The report startles a man on the sidewalk. He snaps his head in my direction and sees the open end of a black anodized pole sticking over the window ledge of my car, aimed directly at him.
Stopgap has an open-carry gun law. The man on the sidewalk draws his revolver in a flash and blasts off a single shot at me. His aim is poor. My rearview mirror, situated about six inches from my head, explodes in a ball of glass confetti. The slug ricochets off the mirror’s support arm, whistles through the sun-warmed air, and embeds itself in the crotch of a tuxedo-clad mannequin on display in the window of a formalwear shop.
I think, “This ain’t gonna be good, Junior.”
I see a cop with gun drawn; he’s inching along beside a parked car that’s between him and the shooter.
The cop’s face is snow-white. “Drop the gun. Do it now!”
The armed man wheels around, trying to locate the voice.
“Drop the gun and raise both hands. Do it now or I’ll shoot.”
The gunman lets his revolver fall from his hand. It strikes the brick sidewalk and discharges. The right front tire of a new Lexus wheezes loudly and deflates.
The police officer rushes to the scene and kicks the revolver as hard as he can. It skids over the edge of the curb and vanishes down a storm drain.
“Oh, NO, Junior. This definitely ain’t gonna be a good day.”
–See? A western doesn’t always need horses, a lot of dust, and tumbleweed rolling around. However, true to form to the genre, it’ll have good guys, bad guys, a pretty woman or two, and a problem that needs solving. I hope you enjoyed reading th part of the first chapter in my book, Come Sundown.–
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