Anywhere else in Texas, a stranger tooled to the hilt entering a saloon would have instantly silenced the room, but here no one paid him any attention.
The bartender poured out two fingers of drinking whiskey and wordlessly accepted the silver dollar placed on the counter.
Leaning against the bar, the stranger sipped his drink whilst calmly looking around. After a moment he noticed a game of three card brag and sidled over to watch from the shadows.
The game progressed for another half an hour, until the pot at centre of the table was one of the largest he had ever seen.
This game would go down in history. All the greats were here Calamity Jane, Poker Alice, Bat Masterson, Lottie Deno, Bob Ford, Mustache Maude, Doc Holliday, Big Nose Kate Elder. All here to win the big prize and title of Poker King,or Queen.
On the last hand there were only three players left, and angry words rose sullenly in the air as a hush came over the saloon.
'Cheat'. Everyone heard the whispered word.
Bob Ford pushed his chair back and rose from his seat.
Scowled so that a slantwise scar across his upper lip twisted his face he said "You callin' me a cheater, Alice?" "Looks like it."
People scrambled away for shelter.
" I ain't afreed to kill a woman, Alice. Take it back."
Alice smiled. "Nope."
Bob went for his gun.
Alice calmly blew the smoke from her single shot Derringer and put it back in her sleeve.
Bob staggered and fell to his knees clutching his blood soaked chest. In between ragged gasps he asked, "How'd you… know?"
Alice smiled glancing at the table where his full house lay spread out splattered with blood on the green felt.
All the other players were making their way slowly out the door, only Calamity Jane had the foresight to slip some of money into her bodice as she left.
Walking up to him she whispered sweetly "Cause those weren't the cards I dealt yah."
Bob collapsed to the floor dead as Alice turned to collect the winnings. Only to be faced by the stranger.
"Alice Huckbert aka Poker Alice, by the powers vested in me by the US Gambling Commission, I'm arresting you for murder and cheating. I'm taking this money as evidence "
Everyone was quiet as the stranger cuffed Alice and took her outside. Within minutes they were talking about the hard eyed stranger riding out of Reedswood town with Poker Alice prisoner.
As they reached the outskirts the stranger let Alice down on to the ground.
Alice looked up confused "I thought I was going to prison? "
A gunshot echoed out over the plains.
"Wrong. I just came for the money!"