The Duel

by Russ

This was not the holiday Cathy had hoped for.

She unhooked an arm from hugging her knees, and picked up her authentic Wild West cardboard cup, sucked sarsaparilla through the authentic Wild West plastic straw, and pulled an authentic Geordie face of disgust. Putting the cup back in the dirt beside her, Cathy rubbed her hands over her arms, shoulders, neck, stomach, and legs, before dragging all ten fingertips from her hairline to her chin. There was dust over her skin, over her clothes, in her hair. Quickly checking she wasn’t observed, Cathy slid a thumb around the crotch panel of her specially bought Daisy Dukes and tried to wriggle them into a more comfortable position - there was dust everywhere.

The sound of an authentic Wild West gong brought Cathy’s attention back to the scene, and she half joined the authentic Wild West rattle of applause, managing to put together a pair of unenthusiastic claps before leaning back against the fibreglass wall off the authentic Wild West saloon behind her, and trying to pull her face into something other than open contempt, as the person responsible for all this turned to smile at her.

Stuart, the man Cathy had married, or at least some middle-aged approximation of him, was currently fumbling his fingers into what she could only assume were authentic Wild West shooting gloves. Twenty paces up the street, a significantly more attractive man rolled his eyes in faux-disdain and spat a marble of phlegm into the authentic Wild West sand which covered the street. Receiving a not-so-subtle thumbs up from the adolescent who’d been jockeying ‘Lone Star Stu’ into a state of something like readiness, the character cowboy began calling out his bespectacled opponent with a hackneyed string of compound adjectives.

A pubescent page waved his arms in a downward motion to signal the assembled crowd into a hush, as somewhere an authentic Wild West bongos player tried to drum some tension into the atmosphere. Stuart turned once more to Cathy, like a toddler checking its mum was watching, so she threw him a bone by pulling her fingers to her mouth in parody of a nail-biting pose.

What Cathy could only assume was an authentic Wild West multi-purpose female had stepped into the space between the two men, and was dangling an authentic Wild West silk handkerchief from sun-leathered fingers. She looked to each gunfighter, tipping a stage-wink at Stuart, and dropped the frilly prop before quickly backing away.

Each man pulled a trigger, one markedly before the other, and shots rang out. Some idiot in the crowd gasped, while everyone waited for the result. It was clear, even from where Cathy sat, that Stuart’s aim was somewhere off towards the authentic Wild West car-park on his right, but that didn’t stop the man directly inline with her clumsily-costumed husband from suddenly clutching his chest, bursting a blood capsule between his fingers, and taking a controlled fall to the floor.

Cathy pulled her authentic Wild West iPhone from the pocket of her shirt and checked the time. Two minutes until the saloon started serving authentic Wild West cider, thank Jesse James for that!