PREFACE: This is the Discord where these contests take place weekly: https://discord.gg/gdT896j
Two shots of whisky, half a pint of beer, and a glass of tequila in peyote. Russell was now intoxicated enough to wipe his muddy boots down and approach the barmaid he had been eyeing the past week. Slicking back his hair, he pushed open the swinging doors and entered The Lame Horse.
Almford was a hick town, for sure, but it had promise. If the girl was right, Russell was willing to put aside his roving ways and settle down, bring a few boys into the world to share his fortune and keep him cared for in his old age. The settling west wasn't known to being kind to old men- especially those with two enemies to every friend.
He spied the girl leaning on the bar, fixing her hair in a looking glass. God be damned, she was gorgeous with her dark locks and modest frame. She had the hips and youth for a good batch of kids as well, which was equally important as her looks to Russell. He approached her with a swagger that was half drink, half confidence.
“How rare to find a flower this far into a desert,” he started, leaning on the counter. “What did it take to drag you out here, daddy out to find his fortune?”
She looked over at Russell with a quizzical look. “More like I set out for my own fortune only to end up at a dried river with a dead horse and an empty wallet. What about you, stranger?”
“I wandered in on a very much alive horse, but halfway to my grave. Been here for a couple weeks now.”
A sly smile. “A couple weeks here, and only now did you come to see me? You been hanging around, staring me down like a thirsty dog. What did you think, I was going to come 'round first?”
“Pardon me ma'am, I weren't feeling my best, and you deserve better than a thirsty dog.”
“Then come round, handsome, and I'll mix you something to drink.” She winked at Russell and rounded around the counter. Russell sat down across from her and she pulled out a collection of bottles.
“Now I like a man who can hold his liquor. What do you say, out-drink me and I'll consider giving you a chance to woo me proper.” She placed down two shot glasses on the table and poured the first shots. Whisky, import, nine-percent. Russell felt a little queasy inside. His social grease beforehand was biting him in the ass, he already felt tipsy.
The first couple rounds weren't so bad, but by the third, Russell was starting to feel a bit sluggish, and he wondered if his eyes looked glassed over. The barmaid seemed no worse for wear, and raring for more. Russell knew he was beaten, and to save his face, he toppled backwards, tumbling to the ground as graceful as he could.
“Sirrah?” She called to him. He didn't answer, ashamed of his performance. A beat, and her footsteps came towards him. A pause, and he suddenly felt her touch. But it wasn't an affectionate touch. She rustled around his pockets, searching. He launched up and grabbed her arm, and she let out a yelp. He pulled her down, and shifted his weight to be on top of her.
“I'm a retired bounty hunter, ma'am. No one's stolen my purse and lived for it.” He warned her.
The look in her eyes told him she was close to tears, but she bit them back with just a minute loosening of control.
“What's a girl need to steal money from honest folk for anyways in this small town?” He asked, half rebuking.
“Maybe a girl wants to get away from this small town and its honest folk. Maybe she don't want to live her life barren in this barren desert.”
“I suppose you'd be stealing my horse too, eh?” He let go of her arms and climbed off her. She stayed where she was, embarrassed. That pout, and the look in her eyes: he had seen it before, and his heart yearned for her again. “She has a temperament, that mare. You'll need to steal me to ride her.”
The look he gained in response was equally parts enticing as it was mischievous. “Then you'd better be better at riding than you are at drinking, sirrah.”
She stole on last thing: a kiss.