All right, I changed the title again to "The Bloody Gulch," and it may change a couple more times before I'm finished with it. I have only just over 40,000 words in it so far, but I think I need more, like 60- or 65,ooo, although its a complete novel as is. I think there is a better chance of getting published at the higher number, but I can always revert to make it a tighter story. I think my computer is messing me up by throwing in a lot of minor errors in spelling or punctuation. They come out of nowhere. I read it and it appears all cleared up, and the next time I read it, there are more mistakes. The phantom typist has struck again!
Here is a short excerpt from the beginning of it:
Bill Little rode into town on a Saturday night on his sterling gray mare, tired and ready for a good night's sleep, thinking, "I'm going to stay in town tonight and go home tomorrow, so I don't wake up the wife and kids. It's after ten already and everything is closed up but the saloon. Maybe I better take a look in there to make sure everything's all right."
"Yep, Saturday night is about the only night you'll have to worry about in Roosevelt, Sheriff. That's when all the farmers and Indians come into town to wet their whistles and let off some steam after the week's work, like any town," Mr. Jackson, Vern Jackson, was telling me shortly after I was selected to be the Sheriff. Jackson was a local farmer with a hundred acre spread about a mile to the east on the main road to Heber.
The Sheriff had been attending a meeting of the County Sheriffs' Association in Heber and was just returning, a long, dusty ride through the mountains for about seventy miles, more or less. He missed most of the Saturday activites and didn't intend to be going to work tonight when he dismounted from the saddle, hitched his two horses to the rail in front, and stepped inside the Boot Trail for a quiet nightcap of some sort, beer, he thought.
"Here's the Sheriff now!" some farmer yelled loud enough to carry over the raucous crowd.
"Over here, Sheriff! They're going to kill each other any minute now!" another one yelled.
Bill Little approached and the bar grew quiet, men talking in subdued voices.
"What's going on, Vern?" he asked the man who had yelled to him. "Who's going to kill each other?"
"It's that new feller in town and Clarence Bisquet, Sheriff. They been arguing with each other and it's becoming deadly serious. You can see them, they each drew their guns and are have a Mexican standoff."
Sheriff Little appraised the situation and saw Clarence, who had never been in trouble before and was not the kind to start any fight, not even with people he didn't like, his greenish eyes wide open, glaring at the stranger with his pistol ready for action.
"The stranger looks like a hard-case type, a scar on the left cheek, probably from some type of blow. It's too jagged for a knife cut," Little thought. "His gun belt is riding too low on the hip, not typical for anybody around here who just carries a weapon for snakes and a bear occasionally."
"All right, Clarence, put your gun back in the holster, and you, too, stranger, if you know what's good for you," Little said. "This town don't tolerate any gunfire in its limits, and we don't take it lightly."
The stranger sill had his pistol aimed at Clarence as he took a quick look at the man who was doing the talking and saw a big man, wide in the shoulder, slim-hipped, his hat worn low over his eyes. The bright blue orbs had a certain glint in them that made him think twice about taking the argument further. He slipped his gun back in its resting place on his hip, looked full at the Sheriff with a big grin on his handsome, but slightly distorted, scarred face. His brown eyes weren't laughing as he said, "We were just having a friendly discussion, Sheriff, this gent and myself, and for some reason he got awful upset and pulled his gun on me. I was just protecting myself, is all. If I said anything to make him mad, I apologize. It's just the way I am. Don't mean no harm, I don't. Just having a nice quiet beer or two and he started asking all sorts of questions about why I was here and all, and I just got fed up with it. Go ahead ask him about it. I got to get back to my spread anyway."
(And the trouble begins in the new town of Roosevelt, Utah, for Sheriff Little.)