A Tale from the Life of David Murphy, aka Longhair.
Part One of a tale told around many cattle driver campfires.
"An Insurrection" is one of many tales.
“Hey, Longhair, get your ass out there! The drunks are gettin’ restless!”
He got to his feet, outside the office, a very vocal crowd, a busy night at Jake’s Saloon. A quick turn to the right and he opened the door of the office separating him from the front gambling room. Approached the threshold and received a violent greeting, a blistering wooden frame provided by a shotgun blast. Out of line of sight, a patron yelled out. “You sack of shit cheat!” ...
Next to the same doorway that just splintered, an Easterner stood in silence, shaking. Therefore, a question needed asking; the enforcer stepped up, “You a cheat?”
“No, no, sir, he’s a terrible gambler.”
He turned to the sound of the ratchet of a shotgun. He stepped between the drunks target and the business end of the shotgun, the triggerman hesitated.
“A simple question I ask you, Sir.”
“What the blazes do you want, Longhair? You ain’t involved with this! The house has its money!”
“My question is, you willing to die because this fella whipped you at the table?”
“Cheatin’ ain’t winning and I don’t give a rat’s ass if I go through you to get him.”
“You see, that is a detail I must argue, the problem is, that you have threatened an employee of this fine, respectable, gambling establishment. If I let everyone that comes through those doors kill the winning patrons, how do you think that would look to my boss?”
The losing gambler was so infuriated his face turned dark red. Drool rolled down his chin, his left hand squeezed the barrel, and he planted his left foot firmly. It was clear he intended to make his move.
The enforcer was well aware of the situation, palm to revolver, pull, hammerlock, trigger, flash. Exit wound of the patron went from right to left through the torso. Blood splattered the man next to him, the body slumped forward, the shotgun discharged into the floor. The force of his guns expulsion rolled the limp body backwards to the table. Lying on the table, blood surrounded the body. From the front door, a shout roared out.
“BOBBY! What the hell!”
The new visitor had two guns drawn and blazing, not concerned with actually aiming, the first two rounds exploded a lamp hanging on the wall behind the victor of round one. That was all the time he needed. Revolver still in hand from the previous encounter, he quickly lifted it, hammerlock, and trigger. The front wall and door, directly behind loser number two, decorated with brain matter, skull chips and blood. His body fell backwards out the door. The saloons enforcer scanned the room to assure that no one else wanted to get involved. “No takers? Anybody else? Anyone?”
The room went quiet. Then the boss yelled out. “Clean up this damn mess, all I need is the new comers thinking they can’t enjoy a night of gambling. The cattlemen will be getting here soon. Let’s go. Longhair!”
“Nice shootin’, you think you could stay a little more focused?”
“Go home and get some sleep!”
He stepped over the carcass at the front door and walked to the front. Mounted his longtime companion, snapped the reins and rode into the dark.
The silver of the rising sun chased the stars of the night into the west. It had been a long hot night, dusty, dirty and no rain in a while. The cattle companies began converging to sell their herds. A chaotic race across the surrounding states, all competing for top dollar, whiskey, gambling and women. This year was different, the gunman known as Longhair to most, David to his close friends, had a special concern, his dad’s brother was coming, and he had not seen him since before the civil war.
Arrived at the place called home, seated on the small rickety porch, cigar in hand, and a bottle of whiskey at his side, it was time to relax. He pulled a letter out that his Uncle Henry sent a few weeks back.
It’s been too long, I’m sorry I haven’t sought you out sooner. Good news though, bought a ranch a couple years back in New Mexico. I have called it the Slanted H Ranch. Hired a staff and we are going to be heading up to ya with about fifteen hundred head of cattle. This will be the first attempt at a sale since I took over the place. I will be departing the third of next month for your hole of a town. Be prepared, I heard you are a quality enforcer and tracker, might even know your way around a gun. If you are anything like your dad, I am gonna need someone like you, so start thinking about relocating again. It’s gonna take me some time to move these animals so see ya soon.