Handsome Devlin

Devlin pushed the saloon doors open like he owned the place.

He didn’t care about the faces staring at him, or the sound of guns being cocked under the tables. He was there for one reason, to see Argus and collect the past due rent.

“Where’s Argus? Anyone seen Argus?”

No one responded, so he approached the bartender. “Where’s your boss? I need to see him. I have a message from Chuck.”

The bartender ignored him. Devlin reached over the counter and grabbed the man by his bolo, almost strangling the poor fool. As the man gasped for air, he threw his hands around Devlin’s arms to try and make him stop. Devlin wasn’t playing around; he wanted what he wanted when he wanted it. And he wanted Argus. And he wanted him now!

The bartender in Devlin’s grasp was turning blue and about to pass out when Devlin felt a gun poking his back.

“Release him or I’ll shoot ya where ya stand.”

Devlin dropped his hold on the bolo. The bartender, unconscious, slid to the floor. Devlin recognized the voice to be that of Argus, the man he was looking for, so he slowly turned around and said, “You’re a hard man to find Argus; I have a message for you from Chuck. Can we discuss this privately, in your office?”

“Sure, follow me.”

Argus’ office was a mess; he cleaned off a chair for Devlin.

“I told Chuck I would have his money by the end of the month. They robbed me last week. The buzzards cleaned me out; I told him that yesterday.”

“Argus, I’m here to collect. Every month you have a different excuse. You’re three months behind. Rumor has it that you have an active gold mine. If you don’t have the money, you can sign over the mine to clear your debt.”

“It’s not my mine to sign over, besides I gave Chuck my word that I would catch up on the rent.”

“Are you going to sign over that mine of yours?”

“No! I already told you I don’t have a gold mine.”

“You see this handsome face Argus? Notice I’m clean shaven without nicks?”

“Yup. What does that have to do with anything? I don’t care about your pretty boy looks. Nicks or no nicks.”

“Argus, you should care because…”

Devlin grabbed him from behind and put his Solingen razor against Argus’ Adam’s apple and said, “A sharp razor doesn’t nick, it gives a clean cut like this.”

Devlin slit the slacker’s throat and watched Argus slither and slump to the floor like the snake that he was. Then he wiped the blood off the blade and his hands with Argus’ shirt. He put the razor back in his pocket. Walked out of the office and into the saloon, tipping his hat and smiling.

Devlin headed for the exit. Then, he pushed the saloon doors open like he owned the place.

— S. McKane