One Bullet

by Eric Drewes






  I looked at the chamber.  One bullet left.  I closed it and gave it a spin, lining the last bullet up with the barrel. 


  One bullet. 


  "What are you doing?" I heard.


  "Eh, nothing." I replied back to the voice.

  "Come out and surrender, we've got you covered." the voice answered back.  I could hear feet moving in the background, and the snort of a horse.  I unlocked the cylinder and examined it again. Still just that one bullet left.


  "God damnit." I thought.


  "God damnit" I said.


  "What’re you plannin’ on back there? The moment you move and we don't see your hands, we're taking you out." the voice said.


  I looked to my right, there was just the wood wall, no room to escape.  There was a window up above me but it was much too high to reach, I’d be shot before I even got to it.  I looked to my left my guitar was sitting up against a pile of hay, and beyond that was just the other wall.  I looked at my revolver again.  Still just one bullet.


  "Alright" I said. "I’m comin’ out"


  "Toss us your gun first."




  Let’s reconsider this whole situation.  How did i get here?  I was in the tavern drinking tequila and playing poker...


  "I got three aces” Smokey said (where was he anyhow?)

  "Aha, I’ve got 4 kings."  The old man said, his eye twitching like always.  He put the cards down on the table.  I looked at my cards.  I had nothing, I was bluffing (as usual) but in the nothing I did have there was 1 king. 




I nudged Smokey and indicated to him there was gonna be trouble.  I put my cards down on the table.


"5 kings, we playin’ with an Indian deck?" I delivered the line.


One of the big guys that already folded (coward...) stood up with his hand on his gun. "You callin' the boss a cheater?"  he asked.  I noticed his partners hands drop to their hip.  I counted in my head how many there were.  The two guys playin with us, one at the stairs in the big 10 gallon hat, one at the bar, he was eyeing us since the game began, plus their chief.


6 bullets, 5 guys, no sweat.




  The old sensai always told me, if you knew there was gonna be a fight, take the first punch, and don't give them another chance.  I didn't have to worry about Smoke, he always knew what I was gonna do before I did it.  I went to my hip…


Something went wrong.


  They beat us to the punch.  The guy at the stairs drew and shot, I saw Smokey go down, I fell back in my chair and spun around, drawing my gun and firing at the guy that took him out.  I hit him right between the eyes but not before the guy closest to me drew his gun and fired.  He missed me, and I kicked over a table and took cover. I glanced up, and a bullet hit the table, I spun back around and fired 3 more shots, I took out the old boss man, the one at the table... But I missed the guy at the bar.  How did he get shot? Ah Smokey got him, the shot he took got him in the arm, but that’s like missing in terms of that giant, he had regained his wits and took out the guy at the bar and the last guy at the table.  But this wasn't adding up.  I fired four shots. I had 6 bullets..  When they went down I took off and ran for it, the Old Mule gang was more than the two of us could handle alone, and I wasn't gonna stay for a showdown, I saw Smokey get up and stumble, and then I saw him make it out.  He was safe?


  Four shots, six bullets, I should have two left.  If I had two I’d have a chance, take out the leader of this posse, one more, charge them during the confusion, pick up a gun, and maybe escape.  Tough situation, but I’ve been through tougher... who hasn't?  But one bullet… come on!


  I peaked my head up and looked at who I was up against.


  "That’s it surrender, you have no choice, we don't want to shoot you."


  "Yeah you do" I replied. 


  "Ha-ha" one of the guys in the back said, "you're right.. ha-ha"


  "Eh..." I sighed.


  "That’s it, we're comin’ in after you." the leader spoke up


  The choice was suddenly taken out of my hands; I holstered my gun, readjusted my hat, and put my hands up. As I turned around they all grinned, lowering their rifles. 


  "We knew you'd come to your senses, you knew better then to put up a fight against us, didn'tcha?"


  I smirked.  They moved towards me with a rope, I felt the weight of the gun at my hip.  A few started chuckling.


An odd thing happened:


They were lined up straight coming towards me. 

I had one bullet.

I was a damn fast quick draw.

I winked at ‘em.

I drew.

I fired.



  It was an odd thing in that barn; I think the oddest thing of all is I found that last missing bullet.  My shot had taken out three of em (fools) but I guess I didn't see the guy with the rifle in the other corner until it was too late.   I turned and fired at him but I just heard a click (out of bullets, remember idiot) a second later there was a flash and I fell back, hit hard in the chest. I hit the ground with a thud, I tried to get up and failed.  My head rolled to the side as I tried to gather my wits, then I saw it, that bullet I was missing, it must have bounced out and landed there when I ducked behind the hay.  Damnit all to hell.  I saw my blood seep around me.  I wonder where Smokey was?  I hope the big lummox got out alive.  I also wonder if things woulda been different if I had that last bullet.  My vision was getting blurry and I only had questions, no answers.  My mind was fading, I heard something but it was just noise.  Then I wondered one last thing: Is this the end?


Then, suddenly, I didn’t care anymore.  It no longer mattered.