And so it was, one night in mid-August a herd pushed to the edge of town just after midnight, and after gettin the cattle settled in, a few thirsty boys made their way to the Rum River Saloon to properly honour the trail.
One of these happened to be Chester Travis, who was as far from being a cowboy as they come, but he had come upon the herd half-way up the Rum and somehow convinced the trail boss of the need of his services. He was a good talker.
It was Thursday night and Lil was sittin in on a few hands while Grandy slept unaware down the street.
Her eyes instinctively turned up from her hand as soon as he walked through the door. He was hard not to notice; he wore a low black hat tipped low over one eye, fancy duds not fit for cowboying, and polished shooters on both hips.
And his boots! They were so polished that light shone off of them like the moon on Lake Shasta.
If Grandy's walk was heads, Chester's walk was tails. Whatever was missing in power was made up for in the glide.
Chester had became Chet on the cattle drive which suited him just fine as it was a made up name anyhow, and if Lil was the queen of shenanigans in Rum River, Chester Chet was the king of trouble everywhere else.
He was a tall fellow with a quarter- moon grin that made a man wanna hide his money and a lady wanna pray harder on Sunday-he just couldn't be overlooked.
Chet got a drink and made his way to the table as though by accident while Lil sized him up without anyone noticing.
Chet had pretty much sized up the entire table in the mirror while orderin his whiskey and had not only noticed Lil's pile but the way she was getting it as well.
Lil now had to be careful as Chet stood and watched cuz she knew he was on to her, and it annoyed the hell out of her and her leg swingin over the other showed it.
Still, she won more than she lost and a couple of drunk, broke cowboys stood and staggered toward the door calling it a night, not botherin to check for their watches.
Lil shuffled the cards slowly as if thinkin up nuclear energy.
Without lookin up she said, "You gonna stand there all night like a little boy who lost his sick dog, or ya gonna sit down, Slick?"
Chet's quarter-moon silently grew teeth and he took a chair.
As she began to deal and again without looking at him, Lil spat out, "You don't look like no cowboy to me."
Chet watched the way her fingers spritzed the cards before picking up his hand and responding..
"And you don't look much look like the law"
Lil tried not to smile but couldn't help herself.
"Fair enough, cowboy."