A Gambler’s Final Gunshot – Extended Epilogue

“So, what do you think?” Wyatt asked, sitting back in his chair so far it was lifted off the front two legs. He was careening back with his body and his neck, looking around the wide column at the corner of the porch. He could see Irving Davenport on the other side of the street, in front of the bakery, chatting like he had no concerns.

Maybe he didn’t. He had no idea Wyatt and Luke were after him.

“I say we wait to get him till after we play,” Luke responded, peering from where he was, leaning sideways against another column, this one flanking the top steps with another identical one opposite. He flicked ash from the cigarette he was smoking and squinted at the man in the distance. He slid his blue eyes to Wyatt. “But you knew that, Wyatt. I want to play.”

“Yeah, you’ve gotten pretty good, I gotta say.” Wyatt had to admit it. He nodded approvingly. “All right, we’ll wait. I don’t see why not. He obviously doesn’t know who we are.”

“We’ve done a good job keeping out of the papers. That’s because we move around so much, I bet.”

In the five years since they had met, Luke had become a tall, broad-shouldered young man of incredible strength. He wasn’t just intelligent, he was physically strong, more so than Wyatt thought a man of his age and stature should be.

He and Luke formed a two-man team that even the marshals and most of the sheriffs in Arizona called on when they needed extra hands to capture an outlaw or a gang of bandits.

They’d been on Davenport’s trail for the last five days or so. The man hadn’t been hard to find. For one thing, he was a poker player. Anything having to do with the poker world was right up Luke and Wyatt’s alley. Luke was a supreme player, and Wyatt’s good luck at the table hadn’t wavered.

He’d spotted the outlaw almost the minute they rode into Bluff Springs. The town was thriving at seven hundred strong, and there were quite a few locals attending the poker tournament being held there that day. It reminded him of when he and Luke first met. That was when he’d gained a new appreciation for the game of poker and a new respect for the men who played the game honestly and weren’t sore losers. He appreciated the men who loved the game for what it was and really enjoyed playing.

He was anxious to sit down at a card table again, so he understood and agreed when Luke said they should play the tournament and arrest Davenport after. Maybe the man would win and could go down in a blaze of glory. If he tried to run when Luke and Wyatt attempted to arrest him, they would put him down like the devil’s spawn he was.

Irving Davenport had beaten the lady of the night he’d hired a week ago until she was so bloody she was unrecognizable. Miraculously, she had lived, but many bones in her face were broken, and she would never be the beautiful woman she had been ever again. That was because of Irving Davenport.

He’d escaped the long arm of the law long enough. It was time for him to pay for what he’d done to that woman.

After they played a game.

“Let’s get something to eat first,” Luke suggested, his eyes on the restaurant sign, which featured a carved sandwich on one side and several potatoes on the other side of the name, which simply said, “Spencers.” Wyatt had to squint and focus hard to see that it was indeed a scattered bunch of four potatoes. Potatoes.

Wyatt snorted with amusement. “Yeah, I can see you’re hungry. Let’s get some spuds. Maybe they can fry ‘em up in some oil. Nice and tasty.”

Luke gave him a cockeyed grin, obviously not understanding what Wyatt was talking about. He just shook his head.

“Never mind,” he said with a wave of his hand and a smile. “Let’s go.”

He let the chair down on all four legs and pushed to his feet.

“It’s gonna be busy, I think,” Luke said, already heading down the steps to the road in front of them. He looked to the left and then the right before going across. Wyatt kept up with Luke easy, but the young man was now at least an inch taller than him. Luke was still as respectful as he ever was, but sometimes he liked to tease Wyatt because he was taller.

Wyatt nearly always combatted that question with one of his own. He asked Luke if he could predict the near weather since he could see over everyone’s heads. Thankfully, the young man thought that was hilarious. He’d never given a straight answer, but he had laughed heartily each and every time.

Wyatt had yet to hear, “That’s enough of that question, isn’t it?”

Luke never seemed to tire of it. Wyatt had a mind Luke enjoyed hearing it.

They’d just sat down for a bite to eat when a commotion outside got their attention. They had to leave the table to go to the window and observe like everyone else. Wyatt was a little disappointed. From the looks of things, they wouldn’t be playing in any tournament that night.

Davenport was now in the middle of the road, where he’d apparently been confronted by another man who had a bone to pick with him. There was a shoving match going on. Neither one seemed to be winning. They were circling around each other. Wyatt lowered his eyes and saw no gun belt on either man. He wondered if one of them might have an ankle holster like he had.

He didn’t see any motion to grab for or reach for a weapon. It felt like he was watching two dogs fight. Or getting ready to fight.

To Wyatt’s astonishment, a woman appeared out of nowhere. She first stood at the top of the steps leading to the bakery, where Davenport had come from. She was a little taller than most women Wyatt saw. She had red hair and had both fists balled up and placed firmly on her hips. She had one of the angriest looks on her face Wyatt had ever seen.

His heart leaped in his chest. He lost all the breath in his lungs. Blinking rapidly, he gazed at her in awe of her beauty.

She stomped down the steps and headed for the two men.

“Oh, they’re gonna get it now. Look at Janie. She’s gonna tear ’em both up.”

“Would she do that to strangers?” Luke asked, drawing Wyatt’s attention to the fact the young man was next to him.

“Yeah, she would,” the waitress replied, nodding vigorously. “She doesn’t like that kind of thing going on here in Bluff Springs. This is a peaceful town, and she helps keep it that way.”

“What’s she gonna do when she stands up against someone bigger and stronger who don’t care that she’s a woman?” Luke continued. “She doesn’t look that big, even if she’s strong.” He shook his head. “I’d be worried about a woman like that.”

Wyatt disagreed with Luke’s assessment. Maybe it was because he was twice the boy’s age and had more experience in life. He thought the woman he saw about to break up that fight was fierce and savage, as bold as they come, just the right kind of woman for a man like him.

Plus, she was extremely easy on the eyes.

“I wanna see what she’s gonna do,” he mumbled, turning his eyes from Luke back to the scene outside.

It felt like everyone in the restaurant held their breath, waiting for the ginger-haired Janie to get to the men. Luke let out a surprised laugh, and Wyatt’s heart did another flip in his chest when she reached the two. She held out both her hands ahead of time, and when she got there, the fingers on both hands clamped around the ear of both men. She must have pinched hard because they were both instantly crouched and crying out in pain.

“I don’t allow this in my town!” Janie cried out in a feminine, high-pitched voice that didn’t deter Wyatt’s growing fascination with the woman. Luke laughed again, appreciation in his tone. “You will behave, or you’ll leave. I don’t care if you’re in the poker game tonight. You don’t fight here! And you!” She turned to the man fighting Davenport. “You live here! What’s wrong with you, picking a fight with a stranger?”

“I didn’t like the way he was looking at me.”

The woman rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated gasp. “You have to be kidding me, Donald Brinkman. You know full well everyone in this town gives you those looks because you are a weird son of a gun! Now get on with you and don’t play cards with this man if you don’t trust him. Don’t play cards with any man if you don’t trust him. Mark my words, you will lose out in the end if you play without being able to trust your opponents.”

“Yeah, yeah, all right, Janie,” the man named Donald slouched his shoulders and looked sheepish, like he didn’t want to admit she was right. “I know. You don’t have to tell me.”

“I reckon I do, Donald. Now go on. Sober yourself up, or you really won’t be fit to play tonight. You’ll lose your shirt!”

“Okay,” Donald replied before slinking away.

The fantastic woman that Wyatt was thinking he would have to marry if he expected to live a happy life from that moment on then turned to Davenport. She was saying something to him they couldn’t hear because she’d lowered her voice. She was scolding him in some way.

At first, Davenport looked resistant and angry. The more Janie spoke, the more frightened he looked.

“I think we’re about to lose our bounty, Luke,” Wyatt said just before Janie reached out and took Davenport by the arm.

“You think she recognized him?”

“I sure do,” Wyatt said, squinting to focus better on the two.

Janie lifted one hand and pointed in the direction of the jailhouse.

“What is she doing?” one of the other patrons asked, confusion in his voice.

“She’s telling him to go turn himself in,” Luke answered, his disappointment clear. “He’s a wanted man. A brutal beating he gave he gave a painted lady. He’s going to jail for that.”

“Janie recognized a wanted man?” the same man asked, his tone now fascinated. Wyatt unwillingly felt a streak of jealousy. He narrowed his eyes, casting a glance over his shoulder. He tapped Luke on the chest and gave a nod of his head.

“Let’s get out there and see if she’s really taking him to the jail.”

“Okay.”

He and Luke stepped outside and headed for Janie and Davenport.

“You need to turn yourself in,” Janie was saying. “If you don’t, someone will come and get you. I’m sure of it.”

“Why do you care?”

“I don’t,” Janie replied firmly. “I think you should go turn yourself in. I’ll let them know you’re here before the poker game anyway. You won’t be able to play.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“No, but it’s the right thing to do. I read what you did to that woman. It was horrible.”

“And what makes you think I won’t do the same to you?” Davenport growled. Wyatt was taken aback by the neutral expression on his face considering the words coming out of his mouth.

“We’re gonna make sure you don’t do the same thing to her,” Luke said abruptly, suddenly coming up behind the man and grabbing him by both arms. He held them behind his back and deftly tied them together with a length of rope he’d taken from his belt.

Davenport curled his lips, snarling at the men.

Luke dragged him away, but Wyatt lagged behind to thank Janie for being a conscientious citizen. He was feeling hopeful, something he’d stopped feeling years before. He saw something in the woman’s eyes when she looked at him.

He had a feeling a new chapter was about to begin in his life.

THE END


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20 thoughts on “A Gambler’s Final Gunshot – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Page turning story begins with tragedy, but Wyatt’s patience for waiting to get the right deal led to his finding the one who murdered his family all done with Wyatt maintaining his integrity and finally his new chapter to begin. I am not a poker player, although the explanations in story helped me to understand the game.
    Thank you Derek Levine

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, Virginia. I truly appreciate it!

      So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

  2. I really liked this story just like all the others I’ve read of yours! There’s always lots of action and interesting characters. Great book!

  3. For a noteworthy writer, this is a fine example of competence and compelling storytelling. I am glad I was lucky enough to read it.

  4. Interesting book and good turn of events at the end. Big surprise. I love this book and the way it ended.

  5. You’re becoming one of my favorite authors. The plot was very interesting, and kept me guessing as to what would happen next. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading your books.

        1. Cool story from a unique slice of the old west. I enjoyed the camaraderie of Luke and Wyatt. Will there be a sequel? I hope so, put me on the list for it!

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