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The French Cowboy

The French Cowboy

My homage to Louis L'Amour.
The wind was whipping the dust into tiny twirling columns that appeared and disappeared seemingly at will. It was brutally hot in the late August afternoon even though the sky was darkening and storm clouds were threatening. On the hour the Lutheran church was tolling its bell, its open door beckoning to wavering souls. John walked with the gait of a young leopard, his eyes watching every corner, every window. He was headed to the “Last Chance Saloon” across the street.

Except for the new church the town of Shalako was dilapidated and run-down. The older grey weatherworn wooden slat-board saloon and the new sap-stained yellow-pine timber church faced each other like adversaries, like pugilistic antagonists both hoping to lay the other flat. They were merchants that bartered with lost souls as their currency. The detritus of America wavered from one side of the dusty grey main street to the other. On the north side of the street salvation was offered from the words of an ancient book. The preacher’s hectoring pronouncements competed with a more lubricated form of salvation being offered by the amber gold in a glass at the saloon.

The preacher in the new pine-board church offered redemption, forgiveness and seemingly endless chances. The owner of the saloon, a one-legged creature named “Dusty”, knew from hard life’s experience that often you only had your last chance. That was it. If you fucked up your last chance, well then you might as well be six-feet under. The population of the town needed to weigh their chances and choose their poison.

The jolly-green giant “Trick” stood guard at the saloon’s door. He smiled at the newly appointed deputy U.S. Marshall with his shiny brass badge pinned to his leather vest. Trick’s shoulders and thighs were almost as wide as the swinging wood-panel saloon doors. To Trick’s left was the white painted sign that read in green painted letters, “No Guns Allowed”. Below the painted sign was a box, guarded by Trick, and piled high with gunmetal blue Colt revolvers. To the side several Winchester levered rifles were leaning against the wooden wall. John put his hand down and caressed the handle on his 12” barreled Buntline Special Colt revolver, but Trick flicked his eyes in consent. As the newly appointed deputy U.S. Marshal John was permitted to keep his weapon.

The swinging doors creaked open noisily as John ambled inside. The motley crew of patrons turned and looked his way. Their eyes saw a skeleton, a corpse. He was dead to them already and their faces carried uneasy and nervous grins. No one, and I mean no one, liked being this close to a corpse, especially when it was still walking and talking. The huge Negro “Digby” who was responsible for order inside the saloon motioned John to an empty table and raised his hand in a subtle gesture to catch Dusty’s attention.

Dusty spied John and the whole saloon had fallen silent; you could hear a bullet drop. The sound of Dusty’s wooden peg leg reverberated in the saloon’s looming silence. His wooden leg was dragged awkwardly and hit the rough pine timber floor as he swung it in a tortuous swinging motion to make his way over to John’s table. The rustle of movement and voices talking recommenced and heads turned away from the walking corpse as the business of the saloon resumed, John’s presence now ignored. He was practically a ghost after all. John’s eyes were averted. He was looking intently at the fine wood grain in the oak table penetrated here and there by the vicious impact of a knife’s tip.

“So what will it be Marshal?”

John looked up, but not far. Dusty was barely five-foot tall. Rumor had it that he had once worked in a famous circus from Kansas. He had been the guy shot out of the cannon: the “human cannonball”. Something had happened otherwise how had he ended up in this god-forsaken dustbowl of a town? Common opinion had it that being shot out of a cannon held many career advantages to running a saloon in Shalako. The town was the last stop on the railway where there was little law and even less money. People in Shalako mostly survived on the barter of un-kept promises and hope. Even the dour Lutheran preacher, so full of hell-fire and brimstone, hoped for miracles. He and his long neglected flock waited disappointed month after month. Dusty cleared his throat waiting for his new patron to answer.


Dusty nodded and motioned to his barmaid Patty to get John a whisky. He held up his forefinger to indicate that she should pour the good whisky, the Canadian Rye whisky and not the New Orleans rotgut that most patrons got. A man about to die deserved a decent last drink. Patty returned and her eyes flitting nervously from Dusty to John. She slid the amber drink in front of the handsome cowboy. John removed his cowboy hat, brushed it casually to remove the street’s dust and set it down on the table deliberately. He slowly lifted the drink to his lips, his eyes always assessing the room. Dusty cleared his throat again his eyes darting nervously unable to look John in the eye.

“So I hear Robert Ford has made you deputy Marshal. He’s gone and left town is the rumor.”

John knew the rumor. He knew everyone sitting in the pews of the Lutheran church right now were shitting their pants and praying for a miracle. He knew what everyone knew. Sherriff Ford had taken a runner and was on his way to Portland, or god knows where. He knew everyone considered him a dead man. The stonemason was probably chiseling his tombstone from cheap easily crumbled granite already. John angled his head to the side and looked Dusty in the eyes.

“It’s true. He’s gone for a while.”

John paused sipping his whisky, feeling it burn.

“Don’t know if he’ll be back. I’m the Marshal now.”

Dusty’s hands shifted nervously and his eyes moved around like they were following an imaginary hummingbird flitting before his eyes. Was he searching for a way to escape? John smiled inside but kept his face like stone. At twenty-nine he was old to be a gun fighter, but he had experience on his side. He knew how to keep still when others couldn’t help but act jumpy. He knew wanted men; desperate men, and he felt he wasn’t quite ready to die just yet.

Dusty tried to make small talk, but John was not a man for small talk. The town’s folks called him the “French Cowboy”. He had ambled into town two summers ago and somehow had just never left. It was true he had French parents and his real name was “Jean d’Langham”, but he was one hundred percent born in America. To everybody he was known as simply “John”. Actually he had been born in the train station in Boston as his parents were waiting to go west. He had departed his mother’s womb a month early and totally ruined his parent’s original plan. John had a way of ruining people’s plans.

John’s mother had died of TB when he was two. His father had gotten lung-rot working in a variety of mines and furnace jobs. His lungs had been clogged and John had ended up in an orphanage in St. Louis. He had not one good thing to say about the orphanage or the religious order that ran it. As such he put no stock in the prayers being offered across the street. John, however, did have a smile and a good thought for sister Maria who saved him in the end. Women John knew had a power to redeem; a power of re-birth that men simply didn’t possess. Men were destroyers, killers; they had the seed but they couldn’t nurture, not in the hard Wild West anyways. Women he knew were the key to survival.

John was an incredibly handsome young orphan and at sixteen he was expected to leave the orphanage. A weedy pale young priest had snuck into his bed. John had felt the priest’s soft milky callous-free hands pulling at his bedclothes. The merchant of souls had tried to put his tiny catholic cock up John’s ass. He would never tell anyone other than sister Maria what had happened that night. Sister Maria had arranged to get John out of the orphanage the next day. He had been on his own ever since. John had killed men in his day, but always in self-defense. At the bar by the railroad yard in Chicago the two robbers had tried to jump him. A man had to do what he had to do.

Dusty looked at John as he finished his drink. His brain was full of thoughts, full of worries, like everyone else in Shalako. What hope did anyone have? Ben Thompson and his gang were pure killers. Thompson had started his criminal career at the age of seventeen when he killed a man who tried to cheat him at cards. It had been a brutal knife fight. Ben still bore the rough scars on his face and arms. Thompson had a reputation for a lightning fast draw after killing two men in the same gunfight on Christmas Eve in 1876. He had tried to leave a life of crime by becoming the Marshal of the cow town Austin, Texas. He had to go on the run again when he killed Jack Harris after they got into an argument over a bargirl. No one knew exactly how many men Ben Thompson had gunned down.

Somehow Thompson had found his way to the dead-end town of Shalako. With the natural affinity of criminals he’d tied-up with the Craig boys on the outskirts. Tom and Dan Craig made their way by rustling. Life was already hard enough in Shalako without people stealing your cattle. Marshal Ford had deputized John and sent him out to deal with the Craig boys. John had no money and no prospects so becoming a U.S. Marshal seemed to hold some prospects. Besides he wasn’t afraid of anyone.

One thing had led to another and Tom Craig was dead. He had been a criminal, but that didn’t offer any solace to his younger brother Dan who now wanted revenge. The whole town knew now that Dan had convinced Ben to ride into town tomorrow at high noon. There would be a gunfight. Only one man would be standing in the end: the law or the rustler. The town had already voted and it looked like the law got the short straw. Dusty spoke again.

“So you are wanting to spend the night?”

John looked up again, lost in thought. He was thinking of the rolling green hills of southern Alberta. He’d been up to Canada once and it still tugged at him. He’d seen in the paper how they were offering free land again. Patty who could read had told him what the paper said. In his mind he was picturing a ranch, a few cattle, a woman in a flowing cotton print dress, a running child. It was no good; it was all just a dream. The image faded and even though he grasped to hold on to it, the picture dissolved like dissipating cigar smoke. John’s big brown eyes looked rock steady and Dusty wondered if he knew it was his last night.

“Yes I was wondering if Miss Jessie might like to have a visitor?”

Dusty grunted like he was making a bowel movement. He spit a big wad of chewing tobacco phlegm into the dented brass spittoon by John’s feet.

“Well you know young Miss Hazel is a bit too skinny and gangly to get many visitors so I’m pretty darn sure she’d welcome a handsome visitor like you. She’s over with the preacher right now done getting her soul saved. She’ll be back in a while. Another drink?”

John nodded affirmatively.

“Don’t worry I’ve got a silver dollar. Marshal Ford gave me an advance.”

Dusty shook his head and gently put his hand on John’s shoulder.

“No need young man; on the house. Besides she’s sweet on you.”

The floor above the saloon was comprised of six different rooms, each allotted to a different dancehall girl. If a man took a fancy, or had a need, he could pay a visit by tipping Dusty a silver dollar. Jessie Hazel was the newest girl. A scraggly, bug-eyed brown haired scrawny girl with almost no breasts Jessie was a few days from turning seventeen. Like John she was an orphan and had not the slightest clue of where she was from or who her parents might be. From the first day she could recall she had been alone in the world. She assumed she always would be, that was her plan. John had a way of ruining people’s plans.

The Sisters of Salvation had raised Jessie and had made sure she was a god-fearing girl who believed in final salvation. They had placed her in a home as a domestic servant. When the husband, a wealthy bank manager, had tried to rape her she had been forced to run away. Prospects for an orphan were highly limited in the rough and tumble of newly minted America. When the skinny young waif had shown up at the door of Dusty’s “Last Chance Saloon” he knew the girl would have no appeal to his “regulars”. My god she was practically skin and bones. But the emptiness of her eyes had caused him to pause. He’d offered her room and board in return for occupying the last dancehall girl room. He’d sensed from her eyes that this was her last chance and that was Dusty’s specialty. Last chances and Dusty were like a pair of well-worn shoes. Since Jessie did not get many male visitors they eventually did a deal where she would wash dishes and clean the outhouse out back.

John waited calmly and sipped his drink. Dusty moved away to attend to the card games and chat with those whose tabs were running a little high. If the Marshal were to be dead tomorrow then recovery of accounts could be a problem. John’s eyes were drawn to motion at the back. He watched as Jessie in a long cotton frock, her pink bonnet laced under her chin, her hands lifting her dress at her hips to avoid tripping, made her way delicately up the wooden stairs. Dusty motioned to her and she leaned in so he could whisper in her ear. She looked up and her eyes caught John’s across the room. He blushed. Even from this distance she must know. It made his cheeks flush red.

Jessie disappeared up the steps, a new lightness in her step, her face beaming. John looked away trying to feign lack of interest. He was a man after all, a gunfighter. After a while Dusty made his way back to John.

“She says give her a while to get ready. You go up and visit when I give you the signal.”

John nodded and then decided to amble outside. He stood on the wooden sidewalk elevated off the mud street so that you could avoid the muck when bad storms came in. He looked up and down the stretch of road where in a few hours he would need to stand and draw his gun. His stomach had butterflies. Any man in this situation who didn’t feel butterflies would most probably end up dead. He looked for likely places to ambush and let his critical eye size up the situation.

His mind drifted off to Alberta again. The rye whisky and its full-grain flavor lingered in his mouth and its warmth still touched his throat and stomach. He thought of Jessie, he thought of being alone in the world, he thought of Alberta and the lush green rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains. He pulled out a hand-rolled cigarette and scratched a light on the post. He took a deep draw feeling the harsh cheap tobacco burn his throat. His last smoke, would it be his last smoke? He wondered. Life he knew was uncertain and precarious. To divine its course was the devil’s work. Even the preacher had no idea who would live and who would die. Of that John was certain.

John moved back inside the saloon and Dusty motioned with his eyes towards the stairs. John picked up his cowboy hat. His boots made rough sounds as he ambled across the wood floor to the stairs. Patrons looked up again, but their eyes were dull. Who cared, he was as much as gone. With patient deliberate steps John made his way to his only salvation, to take his visit, to spend his last hours, his last minutes perhaps, with Miss Hazel. Outside the clouds gathered, the sky blackened and the storm threatened.

John could not read nor write. He’d never learned. If he could he would have written Jessie a note. Some would call it a love letter perhaps. He would explain to her that if and when he was gone, she should leave town and go to Alberta. Yes that is what he would have written, in a sealed note. He would have told her. “If I die tomorrow open this letter.” But he could not write. He was lost and his mind confused as he made his way closer and closer to her room.

John had been with so many women. Sex was like eating and sleeping, like a drink of whisky, like a game of cards. It was just something a man did. It was nothing special. But Jessie was different. She was like him. She had been completely alone; she was an orphan and there was an inexplicable connection. He knew that at every turn her heart would tell her to avoid the hurt, to avoid the pain. Orphans did not fall in love; there was just no percentage in such business. But in her eyes he knew they belonged together. How he knew it he had no idea. This concept of having a woman, of having another human being to care for had never entered his head before. It was not part of his plan. John could even ruin his own plans.

John made his way down the dark dank hallway to Jessie’s door at the very end. As he passed buxom Shania’s door, the second on the left, he heard the grunting sounds of animal sex and heard her cry out in orgasm. Shania was the favorite among the men, the ranchers especially, with her large breasts and wide hips. The rumors said her mouth felt more glorious than any pussy on earth. Perhaps? More than one bar fight had taken place over the right to visit with her.

John moved on lightening his step. His palms began to sweat the closer he got to her door. He had visited before, but they had only held hands and talked. They had never done anything carnal such as a man might want to do. They had broken no commandments. It’s not that she was unwilling. They had just both been satisfied being in each other’s presence. The touch of her hand was the most powerful thing John had ever felt in his life. More powerful than the feeling of his Colt in his hand and blue smoke whispering from its barrel.

John reached the door and became uncertain. What would he say? What could he say? He was no wordsmith and poetry did not fall off his tongue. Perhaps if he had been trained as a journalist and could write flourishing verse things would be different. He would need to rely on his eyes, on his heart. He had picked up a book once. All the characters had just drifted in a jumbled mass of meaningless black and white mumbo-jumbo. He’d put it down frustrated and ashamed.

His heart began to race. Why would a god-fearing girl, a girl who could read and write, a girl who was raised good by sisters; why would she ever pick a man like him? There was no good reason he could think of that’s for sure. John tapped lightly on the wooden door. His tap was so timid that inside Jessie thought her ears might be mistaken.

“John is that you?”

Her voice was mellifluous and feminine and floated in the air like early morning light. The sound of her voice brought an involuntary smile to his face. He tapped a little louder.

“Yes Mam it’s me Miss Hazel.”

The door opened slowly. Jessie peered out of the crack to check that it was only John. All he could see was her brown hair, her cute nose and the color pink. With a loud creak Jessie pulled the door wider and motioned for John to come in. He held his hat in his hand and entered slowly and with great uncertainty. Jessie motioned to the chair.

It was easier than John had ever imagined. What did they talk about? If you asked John to recall that visit it is unlikely a single thing would come to his brain. That’s just how easy it was. The exact pink color of her nightdress? The shirt he was wearing? Neither one of them probably took notice. So mesmerized was he by her flawless beauty, a beauty born of her spirit and not her flesh; and so mesmerized was she by his certainty, his sureness of heart. Each was in thrall of the other; imperfections had ceased to exist.

John’s nerves were telling him to leave, to turn around, to get out. He had no way to tell her and he was afraid. But his steady heart told him absolutely not to go. His hand was shaking and she noticed. She reached out and held it lightly, calming him. It was getting dark and thunder cracked outside. She lit a candle and the amber glow lit up her face a golden hue like she was an angel come to earth. The sound of rain, a veritable deluge could be heard outside the window. Was this a new flood? Would god punish them all a second time?

Jessie’s small side table had a white linen tablecloth with a lace edge. It was dirtied with dark smudges, but to John it looked pure white. His heart was pounding, as he looked at his angel, his brown eyes finally steadying and his heart calming. She smiled. She hadn’t known if he would return. The last time, like the time before he had done nothing except hold her hand. She felt she had disappointed him as a man, as a lover. She felt a woman should offer more.

Jessie knew her skinny teenage body was not much. She knew men did not knock on her door for a reason. She had tried to be “pretty”, but she knew she had failed. The other girls had offered to show her ways to be pretty. For them it made them look sexy, but for her she always looked ridiculous. For some reason, however, when this man John looked at her she felt beautiful. She had no reason for it; this was just the way it was.

She heard his voice whisper her name. Her brown eyes looked up gently encouraging him to continue. His hair was messy from his cowboy hat, but he looked cute. The corners of her mouth rose into an infectious smile. He got caught smiling back, a goofy, gob smacked, deer in the headlights smile of a man who is lost. As if on cue, they both began to laugh in a soft easy laughter, the laughter of lovers. She squeezed his hand. She knew inside he was sweet even though his exterior was hard. In her brain she had nicknamed her secret lover “turtle”, hard shell, soft heart.

Jessie looked deep into the chaotic beauty of his eyes. She too began to become lost. It was almost impossible for her to look away. Her stomach began to tumble in butterflies as his hand stretched out and touched her cheek. This was the most intimate moment they had ever shared. She felt her body tremor. She had never loved anyone and she was petrified. Her breath became irregular and her pale skin flushed pink to match her smock.

She felt the hair on the back of her neck raise up and her cheeks were burning hot. What was he doing? Her palms began to clam up. Her mouth babbled stupid words like a rain swollen brook. He just smiled and met her eyes and touched her cheek again, feeling her heat, feeling her need. His eyes smiled and his face moved closer. She felt sweat in her underarms and sweat on her brow. This would not be like kissing any other man she had ever kissed. This would not be business; this would be something of a different character. She stuttered and stammered. It was too soon. She felt dizzy and thought she might fall out of her chair. What if he died? Everything depended on the next few hours and she was terrified.

Jessie jumped out of her chair like a skittish colt. John rose and put his hands on her shoulders to steady her. She turned away from him in shame. The words of the priest, the words of the sisters who had raised her, clanged in her brain like a warning bell. She looked timidly towards John. She had to tell him, she had to warn him of the danger he was in.

“I’m not good for you. I’m…..”

Her words were halting. Her voice was unsteady and vibrated from the nerves in her throat. John said nothing, but his eyes did not waver and his heart did not shy away. Jessie did her best to collect her self.

“I’m a broken woman. You know that. I’m a fallen woman. The devil has already taken my soul. The….”

John’s finger gently stemmed the flow of words, stemmed her apology for her miserable life. He crooked his finger and lifted her chin gently so their eyes could meet. With the softest and most caring voice he had ever summoned he spoke.

“There is no such thing as the devil Jessie.”

She averted her eyes nervously. A tear formed in the corner of each eye. Though she tried her best gravity defeated her. Both tears coursed down her cheeks in a zigzag pattern of sorrow. She was trying her best to stifle sobs that dearly wanted to escape. She had not had much chance in her life for self-pity. This was something new for her. John used his fingertip to gently collect each tear. He brought them to his lips to taste the salt of her life, to join her salt with his salt.

“You are beautiful Jessie. You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. You are like an angel.”

Jessie’s cheeks bloomed an even brighter red. No man had ever spoken to her like this. She knew it was lies. These were the words of the “golden tongued men” the priest and the sisters had always warned her about. And yet? She looked up into John’s eyes, her own brown orbs glistening with tears and she knew. She knew he was telling the truth. How could that be? She was not beautiful. Was she? She was simple, scrawny, and mousy, anything but what the word “beautiful” conjured up. And yet in his eyes there was something else? She turned bashful never having been desired by another heart.

It happened slowly after that. There was no urgency. They had the whole night. All the movements were graceful and nothing was awkward like she thought it would be. She had removed his boots with the care a wife would. She pulled and twisted gently so as to not hurt his feet. When she had risen from her knees his fingers had fumbled at her ivory-colored small bone buttons on the front of her pale pink cotton nightdress. He had been with women, but this was different. His fingers felt numb and dumb, not following his brain like they should.

Jessie reached back and loosed her hair from the red ribbon holding it. Her hair tumbled forth across her bony shoulders. The candlelight illuminated her hazel eyes to an amber glow. At that moment he wanted to speak to her of Alberta, of the green rolling foothills where cattle could fatten, of free land, of children running, but his tongue was as dumb as his fingers. For her part she wanted to apologize to him, to tell him she wished she were more pretty, her breasts larger; to warn him that she was terrified of being heartbroken. But Jessie also could not unscramble the words. To express her feelings in mortal vowels and consonants seemed beyond her?

As her nightdress fell open she blushed a furious red. She covered her tiny breasts. Instinctively he leaned down and blew out the candle enveloping their bodies in a new almost-darkness. Before the light had disappeared her beauty had stunned him, her perfection branding itself into his brain; his breath taken away he would carry that vision until the day he died. If that day were tomorrow, then so be it he thought. He could now die happy.

In the darkness she let her guard down. When he reached out she eased into him. He first kissed her eyelids in turn with soft, sweet, tender butterfly kisses, her fingers gripped his skin in fear as to be treated like this was foreign to her. Men were rough and fast; this tenderness was different. Then his nose touched hers and his hand stroked her hair with a gentleness she had only heard of in the pews of a church, but never experienced. He moved his mouth to her ear and softly she felt the warmth of his moist breath. She shivered and he held her in his strong arms.

“There is nothing more perfect, or more beautiful, than the heart you carry inside you Miss Jessie Hazel.”

Where had he found those words? He had no idea. For Jessie the perfection of the moment made more tears form in her eyes. She pressed her mouth into his hard shoulder and she tasted his skin, his male taste, for the first time. She bit on him in an effort to retain control. She wanted to reach down, to feel him. Was he hard? Did he want her like she wanted him? She was still filled with self-doubt and fear. Would this feeling ever end? And yet his words made her knees near-buckle as she weakened. She knew not where this inflamed desire had come from and it almost scared her. How could you want another human being this much?

John’s arms slid around her waist. Without warning his lips found hers. The pent-up passion was loosed and Jessie could not remain bashful tasting his sweet lips. She felt his heart beating furiously, she felt the warmth of his skin, and she felt his thick hardness. Her heart soared as she realized how much he wanted her. Their bodies swayed, as their kiss seemed to go on endlessly; time had ceased to exist for both of them.

If we were to tell the truth, the hard truth of life, in effect this was the first real kiss for each of them. Whatever had transpired in their lives before this moment was now a void, a nothingness. The only reality was their now connected bodies. If souls have a corporeal presence in times of magic, those rare ancient times Christians call “miracles”, then for John and Jessie this was a time of miracles. Their souls became present and mingled and joined.

Somehow John’s clothes were gone. Jessie gently washed his body with a wet cloth. She did so with a reverence, like a young fertile female attendant to a god. Truly she was worshiping John at this moment. John likewise would humble himself at his lover’s feet and do her bidding. They offered humility and submission each to the other. In this fashion they recovered the dignity the world had stolen from them. Together, tonight, naked and as fragile temporal human flesh, they had truly been redeemed; bread had turned to flesh and wine had become blood in a sitting room in a saloon. As John felt Jessie’s slick wetness and she felt his thick male hardness they both felt salvation.

The lovers lay on the small rough bed and kissed. Slowly they explored each other’s bodies. Jessie no longer felt ashamed as John suckled onto her tiny breasts. She felt a new growing confidence mingled with rising lust and desire. As she reached down and felt his large, thick hardness, she felt tremors; he was large and bigger than any man she had ever taken. Yet she wanted him inside her, wanted his seed, she wanted his child.

As they kissed more passionately whimpers and moans came from her body. She had never made such sounds before in her mechanical paid-for couplings. This was new and exciting; it was as if her body was completely new. She felt like a woman and it thrilled her and made her wet. She silently thanked God for sending her this man. She implored God not to kill him on the morrow. He was the first man to display a gentle hand, to touch her tender heart and his kindness shone a new light on the world. More than anything she willed him to live.

As she whimpered and quivered under his large male body John’s desire became uncontainable. He pushed Jessie’s legs apart. She wrapped her arms around his neck hugging him tightly as if to strangle him. She was terrified in a way and yet in another way she wanted him to hurry-up and fill her as a woman. She had waited long enough to be in love. Every additional second felt like eternity and was too long. Finally she was feeling that thing she knew everyone else called “happiness”. She was greedy for more of it.

Jessie’s left hand reached down and found his huge thick hardness. She smiled a satisfied smile. Yes she was sure they could breed and have children. He was so hard and large he could certainly make her happy as a woman. She positioned his thick engorged cockhead at her wet lips at her vagina entrance. She was already so wet and slick; this did not usually happen so when she rubbed his cockhead it slipped in the first inch with ease. She groaned as he moved his hips forward, gently entering her, his male hardness filling her soft female vessel, stretching her wide.

Jessie felt her pussy being violated by his long thick rod, but she welcomed him and spread her legs wider. As he stretched her pussy to the limit she bit down again on his shoulder, drawing salty blood, as the sensations overwhelmed her young brain. John pushed gently and rocked and slowly filled her until their hips were joined. Finally she felt the base of his cock hit her clitoris. The sensations were so new she ground her hips back into him wanting more. She had never been like this before? What was happening to her body? Whatever it was it was glorious and liberating.

John moved but he was too timid. He was afraid of hurting her. He thought if a man “loved” a woman he should be gentle. Jessie was now desperately horny. Her young body urgently wanted more. Using her legs and hips to send an unspoken message she rolled John onto his back. Now she riding his body, her legs splayed astride his hips. She was amazed to be riding his big cock. She did something she had never done. Using her arms she pushed on his chest and sat up. She looked down at John’s broad chest; his handsome face smiling and it made her pussy tingle. She felt John completely inside her, impaling her tiny body. She looked deeply into his brown eyes; she saw him looking back at her body and felt his desire burning her skin.

Jessie smiled like a wanted-woman. She had never felt beautiful in her life. At this moment, his hard cock filling her, his eyes showing her that her beauty was delirious for him, she felt beautiful for the first time. She began to thrust her hips and ride his hard cock. John could not help his sounds. The thin wooden walls would offer no privacy, but the young lovers had not a care in the world. They were joined; they were one; they were together and their passion was true.

John knew a woman could have a child like this. He was uncertain. Would Jessie want him to pull out? He could be dead in a few hours and on the high noon she could be alone again in the world. If she were with child it would not be easy. Jessie could see the fear and pain in her lover’s eyes, but she had the certainty of a woman. She had a certainty a man can never have. She looked down almost with pity at the man she had fallen in love with. How could he not know? She giggled a soft feminine giggle and kissed her finger. Using her fingertip she transferred the kiss to his soft lips.

“Don’t worry John. If I have your child, our child, it will just be one more miracle.”

How did she know? He was befuddled. Were their brains connected? Did she know about Alberta? His thoughts got lost as Jessie increased the speed of her hips thrusting down on his burning rod. Her own female desire was beginning to consume her. She forgot about her lover and his body. It was like their bodies now were simply “one”. She was coming close to her orgasm. Achieving this feeling in the arms of a man who loved you was so new, was so exciting, it was exhilarating. In a moment Jessie simply lost control.

Her cry was almost animal it was so desperate and primal. Her fingernails ripped at John’s chest as she thrashed above his body in a frenzy of gyrations. Her sudden unleashed passion took him by surprise. Her contracting pussy drove his burning cock over the edge. John watched her body thrashing above him, amazed and dazzled her beauty and the wild fury of her sexual release. He was oblivious to the red tracks she was ripping in his chest as she convulsed on top of him, crying out into the black rain night.

John felt his balls contract up and then in a rush of burning lava his cum shot out and filled her. He clenched his eyes shut. Blast after blast was released into Jessie’s tight madly contracting pussy. Her pussy sucked onto his blood-engorged rod seeking his seed, seeking to suck him dry. Jessie drove her hips down again and again as she reached peak after peak of release, each higher than the last. Nothing like this had ever happened to her before. She closed her eyes and became one with John, their bodies fused. She could no longer feel where her body ended and his began. John and his cock were like an extension of herself and her ecstasy.

Jessie collapsed as suddenly as she had exploded. She fell into John’s arms sated by her complete release and they were gentle with each other. His cock shriveled and flopped out of her. They kept talking soft words, they kept touching; he was young and soon enough he was hard again. This time they made love slowly and they looked in each other’s eyes for every moment. When John came the second time it was with less urgency. He felt Jessie tremble against his body in mutual release and their eyes were locked and their lips were touching, their tongues playfully dancing. The second time was soft, gentle and caring.

The whole night John never slept. Even when Jessie finally fell into darkness, exhausted by their lovemaking, he simply watched her, content to be by her side. He loved simply watching her breath. That was enough for him. He stroked her hair, touched her skin, and always worried she would disappear and he would find this was all a dream. At one point she whimpered in her sleep and he worried she was having a nightmare. He stroked her softly to calm her. Too soon morning light, grey and foreboding, creased the cracked window. The pane was streaked with grey grit and dust. John realized it was soon time.

Jessie awoke as well. She wanted to beg him to run away. She wanted him to take her far away, to take her to a place where he did not have to die. But she stilled her tongue. She knew what kind of man he was and she knew John was not a man to run. She washed his body again and they laughed. They pretended he would not die today and that they would have a future together.

He held her hand for every moment, not wanting to let her go. With time running out they kissed. What she knew is that she would not cry. She must not cry when he went out the door. She would watch from her balcony overlooking the street. She would pray to God. If God existed then her man would come back. If he was struck dead, then for Jessie God might as well be dead too, of this she was now certain.

The High Noon Gun Fight

Ben Thompson rode into town on a large chestnut mare. He tied his horse in front of the dry goods store. Everyone pretended to go about their business, but everyone’s eyes were nervously on Mr. Thompson and his lethal Colt revolver. John had cleaned his own gun several times and checked the bullets. Killing required proper preparation and a clean gun. He checked the position of the sun. It wasn’t good. Behind him it would be right in his eyes. An ambush was likely.

John moved away from the front of the saloon. He hadn’t seen Dusty and wondered where he might be. He knew the preacher was huddled terrified inside his church with a gaggle of followers hoping for a miracle. If John died every person in the town knew the consequences. John rolled the barrel magazine holding the six bullets against the palm of his hand. He felt the pearl handle warm and smooth in his palm. Killing was never good, but dying was worse.

John knew the range of their respective weapons was similar so whoever drew first John would need to run, close the gap and fire as fast as he could. From what he knew of Thompson he was pretty sure he’d either try an ambush, or try to get the first round off. Ben was the best there was, but John had killed as good in his day. He just needed some luck. He was the Marshal so the law was on his side, whatever that might count for in a god-forsaken town.

Thompson pulled his own weapon and checked the magazine and then re-holstered it. He began to walk towards John with even paced strides. John checked his back, but the sun was glaring in his eyes. He began his own deliberate paces. To his right John knew Jessie would be on her balcony watching, no doubt praying to her god. John put no stock in prayers, but felt they could do no harm. His spurs jangled as he walked. Mud clung around his boots with each step. The sun was blazing and drying last night’s rain fast. The mud was caking grey and would soon become dust again. As the distance closed the church bell began to toll.

Suddenly behind him a huge shotgun blast rang out. John stopped keeping his eyes on Thompson. The blast seemingly shocked Thompson too and he likewise was immobilized. Seeing he was out of range John turned to take a look. There was one-legged Dusty standing at the side of the street with a smoking two-barrel held in his hands. John looked up just as the body of Dan Craig slumped from the roof corner. The slack body fell with a lead thud to the ground raising its own clump of muck. John cracked a small smile. Dusty waved in acknowledgement.

The planned ambush no longer a factor John concentrated every fiber of his being on staying alive. Jessie and his baby were counting on him. The two gunfighters closed the distance. Jessie clasped her fingers, closed her eyes and prayed to her Christian god. Shots rang out and then the sound of running and then more shots. The entire town was silent except for Jessie’s cry that rent the air as if cracking the sky as it rose towards heaven.

Inside the bar old man Richards who was near blind and hard of hearing as well turned to the barmaid Patty.

“What happened? Who got killed? Is the town safe?”

When the barmaid did not immediately answer old man Richards asked her again.

“Did Jessie scream, ‘Oh NO God!’ or did she scream, ‘Oh THANK you God!’ Which was it?”

If perchance you should ever decide to think back on John and Jessie then just picture in your mind the rolling green foothills of southern Alberta; picture a young woman in a long cotton print dress; picture a running child; picture fat cattle and green grass; picture a young cowboy riding in and waving to his wife, his work day at an end; and then dream your own dream.

The End

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