Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Story With No Name, Part 8

There's a round robin story wending its way through various blogs and I foolishly agreed to take a turn. You can see the other seven parts by looking at Dave Lewis's excellent blog: Here's my shot:

Marshal Heck Stryker grunted.

“I’ll get rich charging folks four bits a head to watch you hang.”

“Chicken feed,” Walt said. “I’m talking about millions in Spanish gold. You’ll live like the Duke of Prussia.”


Arnside sighed. “No matter. What matters is I can find that treasure ship. Throw in with me and you share the bounty.”

Stryker screwed his face into a contemplative mask, which made him look dumber than usual.

“If you’re worried about Zack Roden,” Walt said, “we can sneak away tonight. By the time he learns we’re gone he’ll be picking breakfast from his teeth. Besides, he won’t know where we’re headed.”

Stryker smiled like a bullfrog who’d speared a fly. “It’s a deal, but heed me. I’ll tote your gun. If you even think about crossing me I’ll sink you with your own lead.”

“Done. Now, loose me from this stink hole.”

Stryker led Walt to the rear of Choo How’s Mortuary, cutting through back alleys in order not to be seen. They entered the unlocked rear entrance. Choo was in the room where he built caskets, laughing .

“Evening, Choo,” the burly marshal said.

Choo jumped up. The laughter ceased. An expression of wide-eyed shock replaced his normally inscrutable countenance. Choo quickly pasted on a smile and kowtowed to the occidentals.

“Ah, marshal, you scare Choo.”

Walt stepped forward. “Where’s the body of Silas Bartlett. He was killed in the attack on the train, burned up pretty bad.”

Choo’s smile widened. “Poor man. Back side all black. Front not so bad.”

“Where’s is he?” Stryker demanded.

Choo indicated a plank coffin, nothing like the opulence Bartlett enjoyed in life. Stryker and Arnside pried the lid off. Bartlett was sunk deeply into rough batting obviously arranged to hide charred flesh. He wore a broadcloth suit, white shirt with celluloid collar, and red vest. Shined boots covered his feet.

Stryker rifled Bartlett’s pockets. Nothing.

“Where’s his goods, Choo?”

Choo fetched a small wooden box.

Walt went through this. Empty wallet, turnip watch, insignificant papers.

“Something wrong?” Stryker asked.

“There’s no map.”

Stryker turned on Choo. “Well, Chinaman?”

“Choo no see.”

Stryker grabbed Choo’s left hand and bent the pinkie finger back. A sharp snap brought an agonized scream from the smaller man.

“The map?”

Give Choo credit, he didn’t surrender the map easily. Stryker broke three of Choo’s fingers and a thumb first.

Outside, Stryker and Arnside made their way to the livery stable. The dead drunk hostler was deaf to the sounds of the men saddling their horses.

“We’ll tie the horses behind the jail. I got supplies in there I keep handy,” Stryker said.

Ten minutes later, with a sack of provisions tied to Walt’s saddle, Stryker turned to his new partner and smiled his ugly smile. “No use waiting,” he said. “Time to dissolve the partnership.”

Walt looked at the .44 aimed at his gut. “Knew you’d show your colors, just didn’t expect it so soon. Go ahead and shoot. Wake Roden.”

Stryker held the revolver steady as he slid a Green River knife from a sheath on his belt.

“Reckon this’ll take you out quieter.”

He took a step towards Walt. The leering lawman’s advance stopped when he heard a wet splat. Then he felt what caused it. His knees buckled and a moment later he was face down in the dust.

Walt looked at the marshal’s recumbent form, then beyond it. There stood Lola, a length of lumber in her hands dripping goo.

“Okay, cowboy, let’s ride.”

Walt gathered Stryker’s weapons and mounted up. Lola climbed aboard Stryker’s horse.

“Like you said, lady, let’s ride.”


Bill Crider said...

Way to go, Cap'n!

Evan Lewis said...

A crooked lawman and a deadly dame. I'd expect no less from the hardboiled Cap'n Bob.

Evan Lewis said...

P.S. Parts 1 thru 6 of the story can be found on Ian Parnham's blog, The Culbin Trail, ijparnham.blogspot.com.
Ian's post also contains a link to Part 7 on THE TAINTED ARCHIVE. Who's next?

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I thought I typed in your blog's address, Dave/Evan. Don't know where it went. Thanks for the link.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

By the way, this screwy line spacing was provided by the blog, not me.

Joseph A. West said...

Suddenly my wife is a Cap'n Bob fan. Nicely done chapter.

Jack said...

This story is going great guns. Absolutely enjoyed part 8.


Things are hotting up - now someone has to take the next part or shall we go around again and try and end it after another eight parts? What does everyone think?

I.J. Parnham said...

Let's Ride, indeed. Great addition.

I'm sure someone will want to write the next bit so I don't think we need any rules about where this is going and when it'll end just yet.

Richard Prosch said...

This is great fun! May I give the next chapter a go?

Evan Lewis said...

We'd all be proud to have you take a hand, Richard. Would you be posting your piece on Meridian Bridge?

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Thanks to everyone for the back pats. I'm sure Bill Crider will want to take a turn in the barrel, maybe after Richard. And how about Richard Moore?

Richard Prosch said...

Thanks, Evan! Yes, sir, I'm glad to host the story next Wednesday at meridianbridge.com.

Cap'n Bob, I'd enjoy a chapter from Bill as well!

Jim Griffin said...

Another great chapter. And we have a possible contributor for Part 10.