Tequila – Part 1
By: James Dubeau
Tequila in the afternoon creates a different kind of drunk. It does not make one hot and want to fight like whiskey does. It does not just give a good beer buzz. The only thing a tequila drinker wants to do is lounge away from the sun.
That was the mood Owen was in that afternoon. He leaned his chair in shadows against the wall in Reyes’ cantina with a hat pulled over his eyes. A mostly empty bottle of tequila was upon the table. Flies buzzed near his head, keeping him on just this side of consciousness. Reyes watched his only patron while he wiped glasses clean.
Owen didn’t budge when the sound of thundering hooves filled the cantina. Soon a pair of men bashed through the door. One pair of boots pounded across the wood floorboards, the other was softer and accompanied by labored breath. Dust from a hard ride on the trail floated on tiny air currents and reached Owen’s lips.
“Whiskey,” the heavy man said at the bar.
The thud of a bottle hitting the counter followed by clinking glasses filled the room. Reyes’ voice wavered. “All I got is tequila.”
“I’m dying, Dave.” The other man wheezed.
Liquid splashed into glasses. Dave threw back his drink and his glass shattered on the wood floorboards. “You drink this coffin varnish? We got money for good stuff. All you shop keepers have a private bottle and it better be whiskey.” Coins jingled across the counter.
“Sure thing boss. I got something good out back.” Reyes’s footsteps carried him from the room and were silenced behind a shutting door.
“They got me good. I can’t ride no further.”
“You can’t hang up your fiddle, Jeff. After a rest we’ll hit the trail again. Not too much further before we are free in Mexico. Just think of all that money we have. That’ll keep you going.”
“That railway man surprised me. He put a hole clean through me. He killed me.”
“You Squabashed him good. He got what he deserved for trying to stop us.” A metal click cut the silence in the cantina, the hammer on a revolver had been cocked. “Who are you?”
Owen’s tequila soaked brain refused to be fully woken from his siesta. In the state he was in he would not have moved for God let alone for a pair of armed bandits. The threat of death was just a welcomed release from life.