Sunday, April 7, 2013

Do I have to do everything?

Well, since no one else has posted any gunfights, here's an excerpt from Joel Jenkin's "Long Night in Little China," from Six Guns Straight From Hell

Each step of the sprinting tong warriors carried them closer, clots of earth spewing from their feet, and hatchets raising in their hands. Crow burst into action and his Eagle-butted Colt .45, blessed by a prophet in the salty wastes that night the dead came reeling from the grave, leaped into his hand as if by its own volition. He moved to his left so that if the Chinese gunfighter's draw was fast, his aim would be hindered by the body of his sprinting ally.

Crow ducked and a hatchet went whirling by his shoulder, then Crow fired two shots into the chest of the hatchet man, and he fell stone dead, face first in the muck at Crow's feet. Before the dead hatchet man had settled in the mud, Crow turned his aim to the second fighter, who had delayed the throw of his axe while his companion was standing in the way.

Flame belched from the barrel of Crow's .45 and a bullet caught the second hatchet man at the bridge of his nose and he toppled like a burlap bag of corn from the shoulder of a tired farmer. A bullet tugged at Crow's hat and pulled it from his head. Long hair that had been tucked beneath spilled out like the unfurling wings of a raven. If Crow had not been in a crouch that bullet would have caught him in the throat or chest.

The tong gunman held a pistol in each hand and began firing with more enthusiasm than accuracy. The road spit globs of mud as bullets spattered about Crow. The Indian wheeled about and took careful aim and sent his last three bullets winging toward the tong gunman. The first ricocheted from the head of a hatchet concealed beneath his blouse, the second pierced just beneath the ribs and the final bullet caught in the gunman's lung. The Chinese fighter reeled and went to his knees, his guns sagging in his grip.

His enemy was still conscious and holding a pair of pistols, and Crow was out of ammunition. He could reload, but in those precious seconds, his enemy might gather enough moxy to shoot him down. Crow caught sight of a hatchet jutting from the belt of the dead tong fighter at his feet and he plucked it out of the sash. Crow was no stranger to the hatchet, though he preferred the balance of a tomahawk, which he had been trained with since his youth. Still, he plucked it up, and threw it, whirling, over the head of the Chinese girl. It missed her by scant inches, then the axe caught the tong gunman full in the face, splitting his skull to the teeth, and then he fell backward into the muck of the street.
Before Crow took another step, he opened his pistol and shook the empty shells onto the street. He methodically reloaded his pistol, scanning the street with sharp eyes lest more trouble appear. The buildings were a mixture of tents and rude wooden structures packed together in an interminable hodgepodge that possessed no discernible rhyme or reason. There were a number of spectators, standing on the stoop of a Chinese laundry and others who had poked their heads out of their tents when they had heard the sound of gunfire.

Word would get back to the tongs quickly, figured Crow, and it wouldn't be hard for the tongs to identify an Indian wearing a duster and a cowboy hat.

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