Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - ,

The Wild Cat and the Sheriff

by India Heath
Published: Jun 28, 2014
Words: 22,601
Category: romance, western
Orientation: M/F
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1885. St Elmo, Colorado.

"Damn it, Charlie," said Hank, "what the hell is all that racket going on outside my saloon? Can't a man get a decent morning's sleep around here any more?"

Charlie continued to clean whisky glasses without even looking up. "Sorry boss. My guess is it's that new little lady in town - the one holding meetings every Sunday after church. She's been preaching about the sin of alcohol and gambling and getting the women folk hereabout all fired up."

Hank Reynolds frowned and scratched his dark shaggy head. "What new lady? For crying out loud, why would anyone be against a man having a drink and a game of poker?"

Charlie shrugged. "Don't ask me, boss. I ain't even married. Women and the way they think is a total mystery to me. But there's a whole bunch of females outside who wanna see this place shut down... reckon it's a den of wickedness, they do."

"A den of what?" Hank stopped trying to work out what his barman was going on about and instead marched out through the swing doors to assess the situation himself. There in front of his saloon were a group of women holding placards. Their annoying chants reinforced the messages on the white-painted boards, clearly aimed at ruining him. Slogans like 'Wicked Whisky' and 'Satan's Saloon' caught his eye. He held up his hands to attract their attention and hopefully shut them up. Their high pitched squawking was giving him a headache.

"Whoa there," he finally shouted as their raucous protests grew louder. "Hold up there and quit all the yelling, will ya?" His deep voice must have penetrated their determined throng, for the voices petered off and a dozen pair of female eyes turned on him with resentful glares. "You ladies are blocking my doorway and making a racket. You all have five minutes to disappear before I send for the Sheriff and have you arrested for disturbing the peace." His piercing blue eyes scanned the cluster of indignant protesters, recognising the majority of them. "And I'm guessing most of your husbands and daddies won't be too pleased about you causing trouble in town either."

There was a low ripple of muttering across the group and Hank hid a grin of triumph as several of the protest boards were lowered dejectedly into the dirt.

"My Sam would take his belt to me if he knew I was here," one woman admitted loudly. Several others nodded and there was a low murmur of assent.

"Daddy said he'd whup me if he ever caught me within ten yards of the saloon," announced a young girl. "And Daddy's strap hurts something awful when he takes it to my bare backside. I'm sorry, Eliza but I think I'd better be getting home."

As the women all began to slowly disperse, a petite figure dressed in black stepped forward and raised her hands urgently.