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Before the Gunfight

Before the Gunfight

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Published by Mel Walker
Jayne has gotten himself in a bit of a mess.
Jayne has gotten himself in a bit of a mess.

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Published by: Mel Walker on Mar 21, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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05/12/2014

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Before the Gunfight
A Firefly Fanfiction
by Mel Walker 
This was written for a writing exercise. The topic was "a cowboy composes aletter at his favorite saloon before going out to face another gunfighter." Idecided that the cowboy could live in the Firefly future as easily as the past. Ido not own any of the characters or situations from the fine show Firefly.
He looked up from his table at the clock on the wall. The barkeeper claimed the clock cameall the way from Osiris, but he'd gotten a closer look and it was clearly marked "Made onGrillion's World." Not that being made in that polluted stink-hole made it less of a clock;anyway, it claimed the time was 11am.He looked back down at the letter he was writing. "Dear Mother." He'd been working on itfor nearly an hour and that was all it said."I've never been very good with words, though," he said to himself and looked around thebar. It was still morning, but there was a fair crowd already. Word of the fight had spreadquickly; this stinking town was in the crap-heel end of the 'Verse and they didn't get muchexcitement."Dear Mother," he said, and began writing. "I am writing to you from a moon called Marion.I have not yet found work, but when I do, I will send you some credits like I done said."There! His mom would like that."I still have enough clothes, as I have made some credits from doing odd jobs. It is warm onthis planet, so I have not got the cough or anything like that there.""Now, I don't want to worry you..." his writing trailed off."Idiot! She will worry if she reads that," he said. He crossed it out."I am doing fine." There, that was better. "I just got me thinking that I missed you, mama,and so I am writing this letter to you." Yep, she always liked hearing that he missed her. Whichhe did; so, okay, then.He looked around the bar once more. The clock had advanced considerably since the lasttime he'd looked, and there were more people around. He looked out the window and saw evenmore people on the street outside. He was becoming a little afraid that the show the people werethere to see would end up with him lying face up in the middle of the ruttin' street! The other man was fast; he seen that in the saloon, back when he'd first arrived in town."I had to get drunk," he muttered to himself. After the insult, a challenge quickly followed,and he'd been just drunk enough to accept instead of clearin' out of town like a smart fella. Helooked at the clock again. Whatever was gonna happen would happen in about a half hour.
 
"Ma, I don't want to you to worry nothing about me as I travel around the 'Verse. I am fineand I aim to be fine for a long time."He hoped so. He was pretty fast with a gun, and he was just about the biggest guy around.Still, what else could he do? No one wanted to hire him; there were too many other people withno jobs here with the war over and all. He hadn't fought in the war. That had sounded like aquicker way to die than this ruttin' gunfight.Still and all, what was there to live for? It's not like anything was coming his way. He staredat the paper, completely at a loss for words."Hey, you!" said a voice.He looked up. "What'dya want?" he snarled.One of the two ugliest men he'd ever seen spoke up. "You any good with that gun of yours?"The other ugliest man he'd ever seen, who was standing next to the first one, said, "Yeah,everyone's bettin' against ya, so we figure to bet on ya."Well, this was confusing as hell. "Why do you wanna bet on me?"The first man spoke. "We think you might be better than everyone thinks. We figure that,even if you ain't, you might get lucky if you're good enough. And we heard how you tracked that[
nan-kan-de
]
 
bear that was takin' the flocks hereabouts. That was some good trackin',what we hear."Huh. "I've always been good at trackin' stuff."The first man said, "We could use a good tracker on our crew, especially if he's good enoughto not get killed. It's a small ship, you'd have to share a room, but we get some good work. With agood tracker, we could get some better work."Now this was even more interesting. "What's the pay?"The answer was quick. "Seven percent of the take."He thought about it. "Just seven?" It seemed a little on the low side."Seven's standard!" said the second man, a little defensively.He looked the two men up and down, thinking about it. It didn't seem all that promising, buthey, a job's a job. "Okay, I'll take it.""Good luck! Don't disappoint us," his new boss said. They walked back outside to placesome more bets.He looked back down at the table, and picked up the pen again."Good news, Ma! I've just been offered a new job." He thought about what to write. After all,there weren't no sense worrying Ma. "They want me to be a tracker like I was always good at.The pay is good so don't worry.""Love, your son, Jayne"

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