Sheriff Jones pushed through the batwings of the Dusty Rose Saloon and surveyed its hard edged patrons. A rag-tag group of miners, dried up gamblers, cowboys and townies. He hated every last one of them. He made sure to look hard at the ones who looked back, staring right at them until they turned away first. No better than dogs, they needed to know who the master was. Men didn’t come to the Dusty Rose for gambling or women or music, they came to drink and get drunk. As far as he was concerned the sooner he dealt with this lot the better. He sidled up to the bar and slapped his palm on the ring stained wood.
“Whiskey,” he said. “And you better not give me the watered down version, Vergil, or you’ll be thinking about your business practices overnight in the hooscow.”
A couple men chuckled, but Vergil the bar tender wasn’t one of them. He poured the good stuff into a somewhat clean glass and slammed it down hard in front of the sheriff.
“Drinks ain’t free sheriff.”
The sheriff eyed Vergil for several seconds before reaching into his pocket. He slid a coin across the bar keeping his finger on it so Vergil couldn’t pick it up.
“I’m enforcing a new law. As of now Sundays are dry. Since you don’t serve food I want the doors to this place closed.” The sheriff smirked at Vergil and removed his finger from his coin before spinning on his seat to address the crowd that now leered at him.
“The town ain’t gonna go for it sheriff,” said Vergil.
“Tough. I’m sick of picking up your drunken asses seven days a week and I’m doubly sick of unexplained deaths. I need a day to rest and besides, I thought you’d appreciate it, what with the whiskey almost gone.”
Vergil eyed the sheriff suspiciously. “Ain’t no problems with my whisky supply, sheriff.”
“You say so Verg. But that don’t change the way Sunday is going to play out.”
The sheriff turned back to the bar and finished off his whiskey, smiled knowingly at Vergil then left the saloon. He had just opened the ball. Now he had to see if Vergil would dance.
Deputy Murphy was waiting outside the jail house.
“Did they bite?” he asked.
The sheriff shook his head at the bad pun. “There good and riled up if that’s you’re asking.”
“What do you think is gonna happen?” asked Murphy.
“I think there’s gonna be a hell of a lot of pissed off hombres ‘round here. So if I was you I’d stop wasting time and start making room in the jail.”
Murphy got up and slunk into the jail house. The sheriff followed.
“Murph,” he said as he fell into his desk chair. “Truth is I don’t think this is gonna simmer till Sunday. My guess is ole Vergil has someone belly down on a roof somewhere just waiting for me to walk on by.”
“How you want to play it?” Murphy asked. Hoping his nervousness didn’t show through.
“I reckon I’m gonna walk down the street and spring the trap.”
“That’s crazy, there’s got to be another-“
“There ain’t!” The sheriff stood up and walked to a locked room next to the cells. He took a key from around his neck, unlocked the door and motioned for Murphy to follow him in.
“Look Murph, I’m counting on you here. There are still some good people in this town. People that deserve saving. If I didn’t believe that with all my heart, you and I would saddle up and ride like hell wouldn’t have it. I know its suicide, but it’s the only way to give you a shot at Vergil.”
“We could set a trap of our own, here. Look around. We have enough holy water and silver here to stop a horde twice as big.”
“I appreciate what you’re doing here, but if we don’t cut the snake off at the head…” The sheriff handed his deputy two gun belts before buckling on his own.
“After they cut down on me the pressure will be off. There ain’t no way Vergil thinks you have the sand to go head to head with the likes of him.”
“Maybe I don’t have the sand,” said Murphy. He couldn’t look his friend in the eye.
“None of us has the balls to go up alone against one of them and they know it. That, and the fact that you know there are still a hundred or so men, woman and children in this town who are no more than cattle to those monsters, gives me all the confidence I need to walk down that street.”
They stepped out of the jail house and watched the sun start to dip on the horizon. The sheriff’s head snapped back as if he were laughing at a joke. Murphy left him convulsing in the dust.
He ran toward the livery trying to draw off the shooter but no one shot back at him. He turned as he passed the Dusty Rose Saloon and crashed through its doors. Vergil looked up nonchalantly and smiled when he saw it was the deputy. He poured a glass of the good stuff.
“Well Deputy, or should I say sheriff, drinks are on the house.” He slid the glass across the bar then bent to retrieve a large stack of bills. He placed them next to the whiskey.
“Your cut sheriff, you sure you don’t want to add immortality to the list? It’s only right, considering the debt we owe you.”
Sheriff Murphy surveyed the hard edged patrons of the Dusty Rose Saloon. A rag-tag group of miners, dried up gamblers, cowboys, townies and vampires. He hated every last one of them. He pulled his twin colts and leveled them at Vergil.
“I’ll stick with the whiskey.”
Author’s Note: I hope you enjoyed today’s tale. I wanted to write something that commemorated the spirit of self-sacrifice that was demonstrated by first responders and airline passengers eight years ago. This week’s prompt from writeanything.wordpress.com: Your character is determined to do something they know to be a mistake, seemed to fit that sentiment well. Thanks for reading.