Tequila – Part 3
By: James Dubeau
“You can’t burn down my cantina just to kill a couple of train robbers. That building is my livelihood. I’ll be in my rights to bill you for everything destroyed.” Reyes’ voice rang through the shattered window.
“Settle your damn horses,” the sheriff’s words rose above all other noise. “Damages will be paid from the money they stole. We’ll give them some time to surrender before torching your place.”
“Let us ride out of here or I’ll shoot our hostage.” Dave shouted.
“You’ll be doing me a favor. He owes me a lot of money.” Reyes said. “When they murder Owen you will pay off his complete tab, sheriff.”
"That can be arranged." The sheriff said.
“They don’t like you much do they?” Dave pointed his gun at Owen. “How are you doing, Jeff?”
“He’s fine,” Owen poured tequila into his mouth before he shared with Jeff and splashed some upon the wound. “Be careful where you point that thing. You wouldn’t want to accidently shoot your brother.”
“I’ll point this gun wherever I want to.”
“Truth be told, I’m more scared of those men outside. With the money I owe Reyes he’ll plug a hole in me just to get to you and pay off my tab. The sheriff will kill us all.” Owen teetered and fell. His flailing body knocked over a table on his way to the floor. He staggered to his feet and drank from the bottle. “Didn’t lose a drop.”
“I’m not scared of no sheriff.” Dave returned his attention to the exterior. Sweat beaded upon his forehead.
“Be scared for your brother. He’s not walking anywhere.” Owen wobbled to Dave and peered through the window. The sheriff was behind a water trough across the street and held a rifle steady.
“I can ride if you get me to my horse.” Jeff used the bar to pull himself upright.
Owen plopped onto a chair with a heavy sigh. His eyes hung heavy. “I’ve been bending my elbow all day. I’m not sure I could get myself to your horses let alone carry him there.”
Dave tossed a small bag onto the table beside Owen. Gold coins fell through bag’s mouth. “That’ll give you some strength and pay for your services. If you falter I will shoot you before Reyes does.”
“Should be enough for what I owe.” Owen pocketed the bag and lurched to Jeff. He let the bandit support his weight on his shoulder and the pair staggered to the door. Owen took one last drink off the bottle of tequila in his hand. “For courage,” he told himself.
“When I kick open the door, get to the horses.” Dave turned to the entrance and thumbed back his hammer.
Owen swung with the bottle, catching Jeff in the face, and grabbed the revolver out of the falling injured man’s hand. Dave turned as Owen pulled the trigger. The large man crashed through the door and fell to the boardwalk outside.
“What have I done?” Owen sunk to his knees.
“You did a brave thing.” The sheriff had rushed into the cantina. Reyes and the deputies were not far behind.
Tears streamed down Owen’s face. Shattered glass and tequila was strewn across the floor. “My tequila has gone to the great siesta in the sky.”