Thursday, January 30, 2020

Huntinghawk and Wolverine (Part 2 of a 5-Part Story), Post #106

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NOTE: For the remainder of the segments in this story, I’m posting one at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday. Once the five-parter is finished, I’ll revert to my 1irst and third Thursday schedule.

Last week, Hawk spotted his shoes in a bar. Does that mean he’s found Wolverine, a notorious drug trafficker? Read on to find out.


          The man wearing Hawk’s boots sat with his torso leaning forward and one leg tucked under him, exposing the bottom of the boot. There were people in the way so Hawk couldn’t see the man clearly. He meandered to the bar, bought a Mexican beer and took a chair at a table behind the man. A couple of girls tried to strike up a conversation, but he was so distracted, he was barely polite, but he learned from one of them that the stranger’s name was Brit Guerrero.
          Hawk was staring at the back of the man’s head when the other man stiffened and slowly turned in his chair. He held Hawk’s gaze for a long moment. Something in the eyes flickered before he returned to the conversation at his table. Hawk nursed his beer until closing. Ignoring everyone else, he kept his eye on Guerrero… hell, wouldn’t you know the guy’s name would be ‘Warrior’? It was obvious Guerrero knew he was being watched. In the parking lot, he saw Guerrero hand off his lady to another car and dally at his truck, a shining new Blazer, pitch black in color with not much chrome to reflect light. It looked to be a powerful machine. Hawk leaned on the fender of his Dodge pickup and watched to see what would happen.
          When most of the cars were gone, the man strode purposefully across the lot. “Light?” he asked, stopping in front of Hawk.
          “Don’t smoke.”
          “No? Neither do I. What’s up, man. You been watching me.”
          “Just want my boots.”
          “Your boots? You crazy man? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
          “Course you do, Wolverine. You took them when you shot me. That’s not so bad, but you’re using them to leave tracks all over the desert. Even that wouldn’t bother me except my partners think it’s funnier than hell. So I’ll just take them back.”
          “Don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”
          As they stood studying one another, Hawk assessed Guerrero. About his age, twenty-eight. Probably within a pound or two of his own weight. Mostly Indian but probably some other blood too. Had the look of a breed. White blood, if Hawk had to guess. He was disconcertingly good-looking, except his eyes held something that Ramon’s and Grove’s lacked… cruelty. Not exactly cruelty, more like a don’t-fuck-with-me-and-expect-to-live attitude.
          After a long silence, the other man couldn’t contain his curiosity. “Wolverine? That’s one I haven’t heard.”
          “Yeah, I know. You’re El Espectro to the others. But to me you’re Wolverine. You ever run across one? Mean spirited little beast.”
          “Tenacious,” Guerrero mused. “Brave. Aggressive.”
          “Mean spirited,” Hawk said again. ‘I’ll take my boots now.”
          “I bought these off a fellow, so can’t swear they’re not yours. But I paid good money for them. Good boots. What’d you pay for them new?”
          “Two-eighty across the border. Best they had.”
          “Worth it,” Guerrero said with a smile. “Well, since I can’t swear they’re not yours, give me what I paid for them and you can have them back.”
          “Okay,” Hawk said, turning to rummage around on the floor of his pickup cab. A moment later he dropped a 30-30 cartridge in the man’s hand.
         “What’s this?”
         “What you paid for the boots. And this is what I paid,” he said, pulling a finger across the hairline scar on his upper forehead.
         “Not sure I like your attitude, Hawk,” the man said. “Don’t think we can do business.”
         “How’d you know my name?”
         “Same way you know mine. I asked. Curt Huntinghawk, one of Rezagados Colorados best, so I hear.
         “If you know that, then you know I’ll get you sooner or later. Right now, all I want is my boots. Give them to me, and they can’t incriminate you. Keep them after I know you’ve got them, and they’ll help put you away.”
          The man seemed to consider this for a moment. “All right, stud, you can have them. But only because I’m feeling good tonight. Had a good day,” he said with an infuriating smile, “and gonna have a better night. You wanta come join me'n my mama? I can get you a woman.”
         “Thanks, I get my own women.”
         By the light of the parking lot lamps, Hawk saw the haughty eyes, as deeply black as his own, raked him insolently. “I’ll bet you do. Probably have them waiting for you all over town. You’re a good-looking fucker.”
         Hawk felt himself coloring. Did the man mean anything by that? Did he know something? Hawk calmed his breathing as Guerrero leaned against the pickup and unlaced first one boot and then the other.
         “Damn! Pavement’s still warm. Not as hot as the desert, I guess,” Guerrero said with a wink and smile. He called back over his shoulder as he walked away. “Maybe I’ll stop by your place one night. You rent the old Marta Hokkai place, don’t you?”
         Hawk watched until the tall, well-built figure reached the Blazer before crawling in his Dodge and following the other vehicle out of the lot. He thought about tailing the man, but they’d just drive around all night and accomplish nothing. Hawk went his own turn and soon pulled into his driveway.
         As he lay in bed later, he reviewed the evening. He knew who Wolverine was now, and he’d retrieved his boots. There wouldn’t be any more jokes about that, but how should he handle things? He thought about it so long and hard that he failed to rise with the morning star, something he habitually did.
         He remained home the rest of the weekend and was cleaning his Winchester at the kitchen table Sunday night when he heard a noise outside. Suddenly nervous, Hawk eased out the back door and sidled around the corner of the house.
         “Over here,” came a deep baritone. Hawk turned and walked openly to the back of the parked Blazer. Wolverine leaned against the rear. ‘You spooked about something, Hawk?”
         “Not polite to lurk about.”
         Guerrero laughed aloud. The sound was pleasant. “Lurk about? Is that what I was doing?”
         “Yeah, probably had some nefarious deeds planned too,” Hawk said.
         That brought a second pleasing gust of laughter. “You got a cold one in there?”
         “Yeah. But I wouldn’t want some bozo planting something in my house.”
         “If this bozo was gonna do that, he wouldn’t do it while you were home.”
         “Then come on in.”
         When they were settled at the kitchen table, Hawk resumed putting his weapon back together.
         “Good rifle,” Wolverine said admiringly. “You know, somebody stole mine. Probably in Vera Cruz by now.”
         “You don’t need to worry,” Hawk said. “We didn’t recover a bullet.”
         “I don’t—”
         Hawk leaned forward and pounded the table. “You shot me, you bastard. And you stripped me and left me to die. What I can’t figure out is why you didn’t finish the job.
         Guerrero considered him for a long time. “Maybe I should have. “But when I saw you lying there helpless, I decided you deserved a fighting chance. You were so damned.…”
         “Damned what?”
         “Never mind. Anyway, when I saw the Mexican kid, I knew he’d help you get to your stash at the water hole.”
         “You hung around that long?”
         “I was hightailing it when I saw a kid stumble up the arroyo. I almost laughed aloud when he saw you. Fucker died in his tracks, then he took another few steps. Leaned over to touch you, but when you moved, he jumped like he’d been shot.” Wolverine laughed. “Wanna guess what he was gonna touch? Tell me, you fuck him that night or wait till later? Pretty little son-of-a-bitch. Almost as good-looking as—” Wolverine looked as if he were reconsidering his words, then finished his sentence. “—you.”
Whoa! Did Wolverine make a pass at Hawk? If so, how will the Indian react. Tune in next week.

For those of you who have not already done so, please order  Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns from Dreamspinner Press. I’d like to convince them to publish the rest of the Cut Hand Series, including the unpublished manuscript Wastelakapi… Beloved, It’ll take some help from readers to get Dreamspinner interested.

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Until next time.


New posts at 6:00 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month.

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