Asked to give a little bio Joseph West said, "Joseph A. West has written 27 Western novels, including his GUNSMOKE series with James Arness. During his checkered career, he has been a law enforcement officer, newspaper reporter, polo player, stock car driver, mighty hunter and beer enthusiast."
The Story with no Name is a free form western, written in parts by different writers. Joseph pushes the story forward with this, part 7. But before you read it check out the previous entries HERE. The idea is that the first person who sticks his hand up, so to speak, in the comments section can take a go at continuing the story next Wednesday. Each writer has around 500 words to carry things forward...
AND SO PART 7 BY JOSEPH A. WEST
“It’s been a long time, Lola,” Walt said. He reopened the old wound. “Since you ran out on me in New Orleans.”
The woman smiled, white teeth in a pink mouth. “A gambler and a whore ain’t exactly a match made in heaven, Walt.”
“What did you want from me?”
Lola read the question on Walt’s face. She didn’t answer it. Not directly.
“I’m getting older, Walt. My tits and ass are sagging and I discover a new line in my face every morning. More than ever, I need what I tried to find with you, a man to stand by me, steady like, and give me his support.”
She shrugged. “Either that or I end up a dollar-a-bang slut on a hog ranch.”
“You’ve found that man, Lola?” Walt asked.
A rising wind off the Mohawk Mountains to the east rattled the wood shingles on the jail roof and somewhere a screen door slammed open and shut.
Defiance in her eyes, Lola said, “Yes I have. His name is Zack Roden.”
Walt felt like he’d been slapped.
“Roden is nothing but a two-bit killer-for-hire. He murdered Silas Bartlett, Lola. Hell, you recollect ol’ Silas.”
The woman nodded. “He wasn’t much.”
“And he tried to kill me,” Walt said, as though he hadn’t heard.
You! Shut your goddamned trap!”
Town marshal Heck Stryker, a big-bellied man with purple cheeks and pig eyes, crossed the cell floor and thudded a kick into Walt’s cot.
“Mr. Roden told us what happened. Him and his men saw it all. Bartlett told you where to find the big treasure boat, then you killed him to keep his mouth shut. During your getaway, you killed one of Mr. Roden’s men, then you tried to murder Mr. Roden himself in town tonight.”
“Why did Roden run, Stryker?’
“Because you scared him. You’re as guilty as hell, Arnside, and I aim to hang you.”
“Walt, it doesn’t have to happen this way, Lola said. “Zack is well-respected in this town, Walt. He can save you.”
“What does he want in return, Lola?”
“Tell him where he can find the big boat.”
“Go to hell,” Walt said.
“Want me to beat it out of him, Miss Lola?” Stryker asked.
The woman shook her head. “No, not now.” She glanced at the big lawman. “Maybe later.”
The cell smelled of piss and stale vomit and the pain in Walt’s belly was a living thing that clawed at him.
He stared at the cobwebbed ceiling, his mind working.
There was no big boat. A Spanish galleon hadn’t been left high and dry by Noah’s flood, and nobody had dragged it…wherever they’d dragged it.
Suppose it was an itty-bitty boat?
Maybe a golden galleon the old Spanish men had made for their king. Apaches could have stolen it and stashed it somewhere.
A boat like that could be worth a fortune, and the clue to its whereabouts could still be in Bartlett’s private rail car.
Despite his pain, Walt sat up. He would need help to find out.
“What the hell do you want?”
“I want to make you rich,” Walt yelled.He had baited his hook. Now, could he catch a purple-jowled pig?