June 17, 2024

My book "Heartbeats Across Borders" is available now on! Be sure to get your copy! And sign up for my mailing list.

Image of the cover of the book of short stories titled


A Collection of Short Stories

image of cover of the book titled

Heartbeats Across Borders

Two hearts, two countries, one love

A cover pic for the story The Notion

A new short story - The Notion

July 29, 2022

"Joey, I got me a notion to kick ya in yer ass," Marlon said as he slowly approached the man who just knocked his drink out of his hand.

"Holdup, Marly, 'twas an accident. We don't need ya actin' on yer notions. 'Round here, we knows who ya are, we knows yer notions always end bad, so how'bout we just pour ya nother drink, okay?" Joey said as he slowly backed his way towards the swinging doors leading out of the saloon.

Marlon was a big man. Others estimated him to be about 6 feet 6. Nobody ever got close enough to him to actually measure his altitude, but they knew it was up there in the clouds, somewhere. And along with that height came a lot of weight, some 300 pounds of it. Marlon was a man nobody wanted to tangle with.

"Yer jus' 'bout outdoors, don't let 'em hit ya in yer ass on yer way out, or I'll do it for 'em!" yelled Marlon. He took four very quick steps towards Joey and Joey turned and high-tailed it out of the saloon as quick as a jackrabbit.

"Now, Marlon," said Randolph. Randolph was the barkeep. "Jus' relax, have a drink, it's on me. Now sit back down and get back ta yer game."

"Looka my shirt, he done ruined it!"

"Well, actually, Marlon, that shirt didn't have much more ruinin' lef' in it," Mikey said from the other side of the table.

"It'sa good thing yer over there sos I can't reach ya, or I'd ring yer neck, little Mikey," Marlon said with a lot of emphasis on 'little'.

Jimmy jumped into the conversation, and ended on the wrong side, "Marly, Marly, Marly, now just calm yerself down." Marlon stood up, took two long steps, and slugged Jimmy square between the eyes. Jimmy flew backward and landed on top of another table which then flung all the chips and money from here to Jack's Hole, which was a might of a distance away.

Mikey jumped away from his table like a jack-in-a-box and went straight out the door, he knew better than to stay around Marlon when he got into one of his moods.

Marlon stood there and looked at the disarray he had just caused, and smiled. Then he turned and looked at the other men in the saloon, snarled something none of them understood, and then sat back down. He picked up his cards, looked up, and saw that the others, all of them, had scampered away quick as scolded dogs.

Randolph rounded the end of the bar and walked over to Marlon, placed a hand on the man's shoulder, and just about said something, but he was interrupted by Marlon's fist. Two of Randolph's teeth went one way, his face went another, and his feet almost went a third.

"See Billy, in these parts ya don't mess with Marlon. Not even big Randolph can stand up to 'im," said Amos to his new neighbor.

Billy had just moved into town from Jack's Hole. He thought Deadwood might be a nicer place to live, despite its name, which wasn't much better than Jack's Hole. And he was learning that the town itself wasn't anything to write home about, as well.

"Yeah, I see. When Marlon gets a notion, your feet best be in motion," said Billy. He laughed as he thought of a way to make it fun when writing about it for the local newspaper.

That probably wasn't the smartest thing for him to say out loud, in the same bar where Marlon was sitting. The few that were left in the place had gone silent and Marlon heard his cute little remark.

Marlon didn't look over at the table the sound came from, he stood up, stared at the empty chairs around his table, and slowly moved away from it. First, he walked to the bar and got himself another drink since Randolph was nowhere to be seen. Then he turned and looked around at the few still in the saloon. His eyes settled on the table between Billy and Amos. Amos cleared his throat to get Billy's attention, and Billy saw him nod toward the door. But, it was too late. Marlon had slowly walked across the saloon and was now blocking the only exit.

Amos looked at the windows, one was open, and he quietly said to Billy, "Billy, you best throw yerself through that open winder before ol' Marlon throws you out it. That'll be worse for you, believe you me."

Marlon couldn't block both the door and the window, no matter how big he was, and being a big man he was none too quick on his feet. Billy took Amos's advice. He jumped up from the table and ran fast as lightning for that window, but to everyone's surprise, the giant Marlon anticipated just such a move and had started his move at the very same moment. The two met halfway between the table and the window and Marlon knocked Billy down like a fly against a baseball bat. Billy lay on the floor, his left foot twitching, and his breathing sounded like a slow steam train.

"Is he dead?" asked Amos, not wanting to move an inch from his current position, which was closer than he wanted to be to Marlon.

Nobody dared move. Marlon stood over Billy's body. Billy's foot twitched a couple of more times, then stopped.

"Yep," said Marlon, "think so."

"Shit," said Amos.

"Damn, Marlon, tha'twas one helluva hit, would've been a home run ifin it'd been outside," said one of the few men left in the bar, most of whom were now standing in a far corner.

"I 'spose someone oughta get the doc," said another man from under a table.

"Why?" asked Marlon as he continued to look down on poor ol' dead Billy. "Nuthin' he ken do about 'im now. He's done dead. Git the undertaker."

"Well," said Amos, "he won't be writing for the newspaper, 'specially 'bout you." He looked at Marlon. Marlon smiled.

Then in walked Sheriff Roy, a more normal-sized man with a more normal-sized ego, but one of the best aims in the territory. He stepped into the saloon, had a quick gander at the situation, and asked, "Okay, Marlon, why'd ya hav'ta go an kill another one?"

Marlon looked at Sheriff Roy, ignored his question, and returned to his table of empty chairs. He collected the money off the table and stuffed it into his pocket. Nobody was going to argue with him about it not being his to take.

The sheriff chose one of the empty chairs at Marlon's table and called out, "Hey, Randolph, get me a whiskey!"

"He ain't here, git it yerself," Marlon said.

"What'd ya do, kill'im too?"

"No, he lost a cupla teeth, though."

"Shit, Marlon, what's wrong with you? Were yer mommy and daddy brother and sister?"

"No, my daddy was my mommy's pappy, okay?"

"Oh, yeah, that's makes all the difference, Marlon. I understand."

"What'cha understand, sheriff? That I'll knock ya through those there doors you come in?"

"Now, Marly, don't go gettin' yerself all worked up again."

Marlon stood up, grabbed Sheriff Roy by the scruff of his neck, and threw him through the door he had just entered. The sheriff rolled three times and ended in a pile of horse dung. His nose was broken. "Don't ever call me Marly!" Marlon shouted at the top of his lungs from the doors of the saloon. Probably everybody within a mile heard him. Marlon flung the bar doors closed so hard that they both went flying out into the dirt road.

Jimmy, the one Marlon smashed his fist into first, finally had an inkling to move. He started to crawl along the wall, around, he'd hoped, to the doorway with no doors, and escape the raging bull.

Jimmy was just about to the open doorway when Marlon turned around to return to his table and just about tripped over poor ol' Jimmy who dared to call him Marly. Marlon glared at Jimmy, snorted like a mad bull, and picked up Jimmy. He looked him square in the face, snarled, then threw him out the doorway and into the dirt street. He landed near where Sheriff Roy had been just a minute before. Sheriff Roy was making his way to the docs office. Marlon filled the gap that is usually filled with swinging doors and nobody inside dared move, not even a twitch. Marlon stood there and took in a breath so deep he just about sucked all the oxygen out of the tavern. The last few men in the tavern did everything they could to melt into the walls, floor, or anything they could try to hide behind.

Marlon turned around and faced outside, then he stepped out onto the wooden walk in front of the saloon. The boards creaked and moaned under the weight of the monster of a man torturing them with his every step. As he stomped along the sidewalk every person in sight ran for the hills, or at least into the nearest open door, then slammed it closed and locked it. Not that that would have stopped Marlon if he had had a notion to go swing a fist at yet another hapless bystander.

Amos dared to poke his head out of the doorway of the saloon and saw the backside of the giant as it entered the livery. Then appeared the head of a horse, a great big horse, with a great bigger man sitting on it. The only horse Marlon could ride was a draft horse. It wasn't particularly fast or agile, but it supported Marlon's excess of weight and made decent enough forward momentum while doing so.

Sheriff Roy stepped out of the doc's office, stopped and took in the sight of the empty street, except for the still body of Jimmy, and slowly walked over to see if he was dead or alive. He was alive, but only because someone helped him turn over onto his back to get his face out of the not-too-pleasant puddle that was where a horse had been not too long before.

Marlon rode slowly by Sheriff Roy and said, "Hey, sheriff, ya best stay outa my way, hear me?"

Mikey, who hightailed it out of the saloon early-on, peeked around the corner of the mercantile, saw monster Marlon riding past, then quickly jumped back so he wouldn't be seen.

Everybody within earshot suddenly heard screams coming from the dentist's office. Randolph was getting his teeth fixed, or something like that, and it wasn't a very pleasant experience for Randolph or anyone within earshot.

Sheriff Roy looked at Marlon. The sheriff gave him a blank look, his nose bandaged, then turned his attention back to Jimmy. The Doc and another man had made their way out to Jimmy. They picked Jimmy up, gave a cursory glance at Marlon, and quickly carried him to the Doc's office. After an examination, Doc announced, "Jimmy has two broken ribs, one broken arm, and a chunk of table stuck in his back. Least he's above snakes, right? He'll recover..." He looked at Jimmy's eyes. "Eventually... Probably." Then he walked back into his office to hide from everyone.

Amos took dead Billy back to Jack's Hole expecting to let his family bury him. Turned out he had no family, so they left him with the undertaker and returned to Deadwood. Deadwood was quickly becoming known as Deadman. Sheriff Roy wasn't happy about that.

Two days later, in a bar in Jack's Hole, Marlon was playing cards, when Jackson, sitting next to Marlon, started to say, "Marly..."

He didn't get any further.