Welcome to Saturday SerialsYou may remember Mistress Sweet from past Saturday Serials as the protective Dominatrix.
But at Mister Valance's Porch she's Miss Sweet, owner of a cozy saloon and a broken heart. Below is her story.
Miss Sweet's Saloon Part XII - Gus's Last Meal
Bewildered at this mysterious tale of love and loss, Gus struggled to keep up with the mood of the crowd and the three men who currently held his life in their hands.
Rock and Hard Place seemed to have loosened their hold on his arms just a bit and distraction showed clear on their faces as they stared at his bared chest scar. The "u" shaped mark had never brought him luck in the past, and was in fact a painful memory of all he had lost. The day he knew his Sweet Pea had his heart.
He had bartered with the blacksmith, cowboys don't beg, to act farrier to her stables on his own. If'un he was going to be a master blacksmith one day, he needed to know how to ply his wares. And whilst shoeing one of her feisty mares he found himself paying more attention to her rear bent over the feed bucket than the balancing horse in his hands.
Next thing he knew he was on his back in the barn relearnin' how to breathe. His eyes opened to her bent over him with a strange mixture of laughter and concern in her eyes. The type of look a woman gives a cowboy when she cares about him and his idiotic antics.
Sittin' up into her arms took the edge off his lovestruck haze to the reality of warm blood soaking through his shirt. With shaking fingers he unbuttoned the sticky cotton to reveal the mark of a horse-shoe on his chest, a permanent testament to his distracted heart.
He couldn't breathe right for a good three weeks after that particular incident and had to wrap his chest every morning just to think about earning his keep. Sure as rain at a funeral he couldn't strike an anvil any better than a wet-behind-the-ears youngen and was delegated to bellowing the fires and fetching and carrying. But despite the demotion and the daily grinding pain, Doc said something about a cracked sternum, his step was easy with the memory of the care in her eyes.
She was everything a man could want, sweet and pretty, gifted with the horses and smart enough to keep a man's mind sharp. He thought he had found the meaning to life--wild land and a good woman. But it turned out it was the woman who was wild and he ended up watching as she ran out on him and his heart.
The blade across his neck brought him back to the present. But with his heart lost, he didn't see much reason to fight for his life.
The scoundrel loudly cleared his throat from his position behind Gus and the restless crowd of thieves quieted.
"That's right, men. This here is The Naive Young Cowboy of our darling Sweet's stories."
Shouts rose again as Gus tried not to struggle and draw his own blood. Had this cowpie just said Sweet Pea's name? HIS Sweet?!
The two bulls on his arms held him tighter as the scoundrel moved back in front of him to look him straight in the eye and laugh, a creepy slightly cracking laugh that did more to raise the hair on your arms than illicit any sort of joy.
"There! I see it, that glint in your eye. You know that girl that broke your heart? Well, we here got the mighty fine privilege of turning her into a woman." A sneer twisted his face bringing his waxed mustache into a diagonal slash across his face. Hoots and hollers resounded around them, cat calls echoing in the night air.
Stunned, Gus's brain refused to register the brash statement. Denial pervaded his thoughts as the scoundrel drawled on.
"And we grew mighty fond of her too. Miss Sweet, why she is everything wild about the west. And the way I see it, you hurt that woman. She came to us with shadows in her eyes that had a strange resemblance to you, Mister Cowboy." This statement brought ominous low boos and hisses from the surrounding throng.
"And when she left us, it weren't completely gone. No, you still stain her heart. And I don't reckon I like that none at all." The knife slid from his neck to trace down his chest and the scar.
"Mayhaps if'un she knows you ain't ever gonna accept her wildness then she'll come back to us…" The pondering tone to his speech sent a chill down Gus's spine. At least the knife was no longer at his neck but this weren't going no where he wanted it to go. Truth or not, this conniving scoundrel believed what he preached to this crowd of thieves.
Taking this slim chance to speak for his life, Gus asked, "And what would convince her?" Though he already feared he knew the gist of the answer.
A nasty glint brightened his eyes as he answered, "I reckon that scar on a nice soft piece of leather would do the trick. A much easier gift to deliver than a dead body tied up with ribbon."
Gus fought not to let the fear show on his face but he could feel the blood rushing from his head to his rapidly beating heart.
The scoundrel's grin grew wider at the sight of his pale face. "But I'm feeling like you should get yourself a last meal before the ultimate sacrifice for your lady love. So join us. Eat drink and be merry and we will tell you stories of our Miss Sweet before we cut you out of her heart like a rotten eye from a potato."
Did you miss the beginning of this wandering wild west story?
Part I • Part II • Part III • Part IV • Part V • Part VI.1 • Part VI.2 • Part VII • Part VIII • Part IX • Part X • Part XI