My brother, Spencer, loves all things western, especially when they're detective shows set (better still if created in) the 1970s. Think Rockford Files. The fact that Spencer actually owns and frequently wears a cowboy hat (despite having never left New England) made this an easy intro to write.
The biker leaned over me, his hot breath fanning my face. I was still reeling from the car accident and my eyes hadn’t yet adjusted to the burning desert sun. The dust was thick, choking my throat, rasping at the throats of the jeering, cat-calling crowd that surrounded me and Julie. Julie was whimpering – but with two men pinning my arms and the third demanding money I didn’t have, there was little I could do.
“I said, you gotta pay the toll, man,” the biker said. He leaned in closer, his leering face inches from my own. “You gotta pay.”
“I haven’t got anything,” I rasped and grunted when someone jammed a fist into my ribs.
“Well now, ain’t that just too bad?” the biker said and he stepped back. “All right, boys…”
He never got a chance to finish. There was the roar of an over-sized engine, a squeal of tires, a cloud of red-tinged dust, and then, most ominously of all, the booming shock of a shot-gun, fired close by.
The dust settled around an enormous pickup truck. A tall, rangy man with a battered jacket, a cowboy hat, and a tin star stood in the doorway of the cab. He held the shot-gun like it was a part of his arm and his dark brown eyes scanned the crowd as he chewed slowly on a wad of tobacco.
“Party’s over, boys,” Sheriff Traynor said and adjusted the shot-gun ever so slightly. “I think you all better go on home now.”
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