Friday, November 2, 2018

Piano Man

A 500 Word Short Story by Scott A. Gese

Seth Freeman was a drifter. He had been all his adult life.
Although he had seen most of the territory west of the Rockies, it was the Sierra Nevada area around Madera that held his interest.

The Madera Saloon had a piano and Seth had a knack for playing one. Something his mother taught him as a child. He was a natural and enjoyed tickling the ivory any chance he could. Free drinks and an occasional coin or two dropped into the empty glass he always placed on the lid was all the compensation he needed. The money wasn't for him. Whatever he ended up with he gave to the women who worked at the saloon.
He was an only child and his mother, a widow.
At her passing she left him a sizable ranch that he leased out for a steady income. He had no intention of working it himself. He wasn't the ranching type.

As usual, the music flowed easy from his fingertips while he kept a keen eye on a fine looking young lady who was working the crowd. Her name was May. Her job was to flirt with the men, enticing them with her wit and charm to stick around and buy another drink.

He found it interesting how she would set them up with favors from one of the other girls, but didn't partake in any herself. She was there for one reason only. To make money. An arrangement with the saloon's owner gave her a percentage of the nights take as long as she worked the room. And work it she did.

The bartender saw it coming long before anyone else in the room. He had a knack for sniffing out trouble as soon as it walked in off the street. Tonight was no exception. The trouble went by the name of Harley. He had been in a couple of times previous. He was overly boisterous and a lousy drunk. Harley also had his eye on May and tonight he planned to have his way with her whether she approved or not.

Harley nursed a bottle at the bar. The first time May came close he grabbed her arm and drew her close.

How about planting a big wet one right here.” For emphasis he touched his chapped and weathered lips with his dirty finger.

May pulled away and did her best to ignore him with little more than a laugh and a smile. It wasn't the first time this had happened. Usually that was the end of it. But Harley had an agenda and he wasn't about to be denied so easily. He grabbed his bottle from the bar and caught May by the arm one more time as he forced himself upon her.

A shot rang out.

I heard her scream at the same time the bottle crashed to the floor.” stated the bartender to the sheriff. 

Seth rode hard. He had another piano waiting for him in New Mexico.  

© Copyright 2018 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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