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An Excerpt from Bullet For A Friend

by Thomas Maxwell

Jase Mcmasters is a man of the past stuck in the present. With each passing second the world in all its mystery conjures new life and new deaths. With each passing second, man in all his mystery, conjures new unique ideas and patents that aid life and death.  The civil war ended thirty-five years ago yet the bittersweet taste still leaves a sensation on the back of his tongue. The guilt of act and witness binds him back there, restricting him, and some nights when the heat is just right it coils around his throat pinching his lungs from air.

The people back in Black Creek knew better than to cross him, but that was when this all started. That was when the stench of whiskey, the clicking of coin, and the echoes in the saloon muffled the echoes in his head. That was back when things were easy and the crooked nosed Frenchman weren’t holding him at gun point in the back room of a warehouse in La Tesoro Texas.

The floor boards creaked each time the Frenchman shifted weight from one hip to the other. The annoying way the creaking drug on far too long was nearly as annoying as his accent. Rope bound Jase’s hands to the back of the chair and his feet were neatly knotted together. A lantern hung from the ceiling, casting its light on the chair Jase was tied to and the Frenchman.

“Where the hell is ma hat Froggy?” Jase asked with his stare directed to the floor.

The Frenchman clenched his fist and socked Jase a good one to the jaw. Jase let out a hardy laugh.

“You French sure are a bunch of pussies. Always have been…” This time Jase looked the Frenchman directly in the eyes. “What am I doin in here? Who put ya up ta this?”

The Frenchman lifted his pistol to Jase’s head and pulled back the hammer with his thumb; the muzzle of the barrel rested softly on his Jase’s forehead.