Jasper kicked a dirt clod against the side of the boardwalk as he stumbled up to the saloon. The town was quiet. It was always quiet, except when it wasn’t, like last night. Jasper stepped into the shadowy saloon, leaving the sunbaked bodies in the street behind him. He waved away a fly and sloshed his way to the bar. A warm whisky waited for him, poured just before the gunfire had started. He took the shot, wincing as the liquor hit his bloody bottom lip.
He surveyed the bodies in the barroom: two at the bar, four at tables, the bartender in front of him, and the whore with the bad timing. The night flew past his memory like a raging river – the accidental nudge, apologies not made, pride not withheld. Everything after the second gunshot was a blur; the blackouts stole everything exciting from his mind.
Jasper rifled through some pockets, sized up a dead man’s boots, and fought back the slightest twinge of guilt for losing his cool. He threw a piece of silver toward the body of the bartender. “Maybe the ferryman’ll be a bit kinder,” he grunted before walking outside and toward the next town.