Johnny Woods stood there, turned sideways to me, on the street
of Whiskey Gulch in the year 1872. The wind came up the street,
like it always does, damfools built the town the wrong way so's the
wind always comes up the main street, stead uh crossways like it
oughta be. Johnny Woods was waitin for me to kill him or his chance
to kill me. Why people get so set on killin folks I just can't figger.
I took myself outta the moment and went into his
mind. He was
usin but a sliver, the rest was a clankin haunted house full of blocked
memories and ideas more suited to an animal than a human -- ideas,
fact, an animal wouldn't even listen to, animals got more sense.
Just the littlest twist, and Johnny Woods like got
the idea it'd be
best to unholster his pistol and lay the hole up gainst his own temple...
it scratched an itch he felt suddenlike.
"Whatchoo doin, Johnny?" I said, all disingenuous-like.
"Dunno. I just dunno," said Johnny.
"You fixin to gun down your own self?"
"Don't want to, but it feels like I orter."
"Mebbe. Listen. What say we just kinda forget about
it and go on
"Yeah, mebbe that'd be a better idear."
I left that twisted and curled up somethin else.
He put his gun away.
He would never ever raise his gun fixin to shoot me ever again. That yen,
easy to find cos he was thinkin right about it, tied off forever like a
tourniquet on a wound.
Name's Herb Wonders. I'm one mind-readin gunslinger.