Tale of a Gunslinger

He wore his silver-toned six shooter on his hip in a holster tat hung loosely around his waist. Despite having to hitch the holster up every half dozen steps, he walked with all the swagger of a true Old West gunman. His silver plated star badge was an indication to all who landed their eyes upon him that he was law in his town.

Currently he was on the look out for two of the towns most notorious lawbreakers. They'd last been spotted with their guns drawn exiting out of the general store, a bag of loot dangling from their greedy hands.

The sheriff knew the culprits well. He didn't have to rush to track them down. There wasn't a hiding place he didn't know about. He only hoped that when he did catch up with them there'd be enough of the loot left to return to the store's proprietor, a kind man who was trying to make an honest living and support his small family.

It didn't take long to find evidence of their trail. They weren't notorious for their stealth in committing crimes. They had yet to ever thwart the sheriff's efforts in apprehending them. This time he was determined they'd no longer be a threat to the peace of the town.

He first came upon "Lucky" Lenny who was about to run out of luck. He waited knowing Lucky's partner in crime Marty "the Menace" would soon be joining him. He smirked anticipating the surprise that would be worn on their faces.

They always seemed to underestimate him. He heard Marty approach before he had sight of him. He looked around before sidling into the barn where Lucky was pacing.

"Where have you been?" Lenny asked in near panic.

"Covering my tracks," Marty answered. "I made sure I wasn't followed."

The sheriff smiled. "Nope not this time," he spoke quietly to himself.

Lenny paled slightly knowing he hadn't been quite so careful. His eyes raced around searching the shadows for any sign of the lawman.

"Do you think he followed you?" Marty asked joining in the futile search.

"I don't know. I don't think so, but you know how he is," Lenny shrugged.

Marty nodded. He did indeed know that the sheriff had inexplicable ways of tracking them down. No matter how clever or careful they were.

"Maybe we should split up our loot and go our separate ways," Marty suggested already taking his bag to divide up the goods.

"Isn't there safety in numbers?" Lenny asked not able to shake his feeling of inevitability down.

"Maybe, but if we're together and one of us goes down, we'll both go down."

"Now that sounds like a great idea," the voice they feared stated kicking open the barn door.

"What does?" Lenny quaked.

"You both go down to the ground. NOW," he ordered.

The hoodlums pushed at each other and managed to each lie down.

"We'll take it all back," Marty promised.

"No, I think I'll be returning it all. You two have done your last stick up," the sheriff intoned menacingly.

"Wh-what do you mean by that?" Marty asked not able to quite hide the tremble of fear tat quivered through his body.

"I mean I'm performing justice here today," the shiny six-shooter appeared in his hand apparently of its own free will.

"You can't just shoot us," Lenny squeaked finally finding his voice.

The smile that spread across the lawman's face was both frightening and menacing- neither which boded well for the criminals. The sheriff raised his barrel and aimed at the head of Lenny.

"Any last words?" he asked but the bang that followed rendered the thief speechless once again. This time indefinitely.

The gun quickly turned to Marty who was begging to be spared to no avail. A second bang echoed of the barn walls.

Stoically the sheriff gathered the bags of stolen goods and left the two lying on the barn floor motionless.

When he arrived back at the general store the owner raised his eyebrows spying the bags he'd been forced to hand over earlier.

"I think this belongs to you," the sheriff said placing the bags on the counter.

"Well thank you Sheriff. That was mighty quick work. What will happen with those two rascals?" he asked knowing that the lawman preferred quick justice.

"They won't be bothering you or anyone else ever again," was the reply.

Wide-eyed the owner realized what had happened to the two thieves.

"Well thank you Sheriff. This town sure will much safer now."

The sheriff nodded his thumbs in his holster at his hips.

"I best be moving along. No telling what other trouble may lie ahead," he tipped his hat and turned toward the door.

Suddenly the owner's wife appeared. "There you are LJ. It's almost time for lunch. You need to get cleaned up," she told the sheriff.

"Okay Mom," the young lawman replied.

"And no gun at the table," she reprimanded.

"I know," he smiled.

She turned to return to her kitchen and prepare lunch for her little gunslinger.

The door to the store opened as the two robbers entered smiling from all the fun they had all morning.

"Those caps sure were loud inside the barn," Marty said dramatically rubbing at his hears.

"Yeah from now on I'll only shoot you when we're outside," LJ smirked.

"If you can find us," Lenny challenged.

"Oh, I'll find you alright," the young boy laughed. Soon all three boys were laughing.

"You best get yourself cleaned up and at the table before your mom comes looking for you again," the shop owner warned.

"Right away," LJ answered.

"You two should probably get home, too," he told the would-be thieves. "But before you go you can each take a piece of your loot for a snack later."

"Thanks Mr. Gibbs," both boys beamed as they each chose a piece of candy from the stash.

Jack smiled as all three boys exited the store. "Those boys sure do have quite the imagination," he shook his head in wonder and smiled as he placed the loot under the counter for the next time they came back to rob him.