Bourbon, Black Bart, Big Bears Part I (Day 2 Late Afternoon)

The open topped shuttle booked by the doc lowered to its’ skids. Dorian climbed down, before turning to assist Serena as she stepped onto the grass. “Easy now, Little Sistah,” he took both her hands.

Serena giggled as he did, gingerly taking the step down to not ruin the tape she coveted covering the gunshot wound. “Tha drinkin’ age is sixteen,” she reminded him. “An Ah’m sixteen.”

Adler offered his arm. “Yah are out with me,” he reminded her as they made their way into the festive environment. “Ah’ll make sure yah get a coupla tastes. And Ah must say,” he added, “yah look very lovely, mei-mei.”

Serena twirled in the pink floral sundress Yazmina had given her for the occasion, the breeze being refreshing on her legs. “You like it? Ah borrowed it special for the High Spirits,” she told him. “Do yah think they’ll have pretty lights like New Kasmir?”

He reclaimed the girl’s arm to keep her from losing her balance. “Ah need yah tah take it easy,” the medic cautioned. “Prob’ly not lights in tha sky...but it’s a festival. Once it gets dark an’ tha neon comes tah life, Ah conjure it could get very colorful.” Arm in arm, they strolled along the booths of the carnival midway. Barkers shouted their hooks and attractions. “Put the ball in the cup and win a prize! Shoot the Browncoat! Land on the planet and win a teddy bear for your sweetie!”

“No shortage of distractions tahday, “ Adler observed. “Well, mei-mei...what tickles yah fancy?”

“Yah gotta play a shootin’ game,” she said, wide eyed as she took in all of the sights and sounds. “Ah bet you can win anythin’ you shoot at!”

Doirian chuckled. “Lead on,” he gestured.

Serena bit her lip and grabbed his hand, bounding from one booth to the next. She could have skipped, but each time she tried, the tape caused her to wince. One booth had milk bottles set up with a baseball you could throw at them, another had clowns to knock over, but the perfect game for him was easy to spot. “This one!” She said excitedly. The game had a holstered pistol, and an animatronic villain with a robotic am, ready to draw. “Show ‘em what’s what, Da ge! Win a bear in a Keller hat!”

“Welcome to High Noon, Pardner!” the barker greeted Dorian. “Purty simple game. All yah gotta do is outdraw Black Bart! Beat ‘im three times an’ the purty lady gets a teddy bear! Have yah got the courage to face this gunslinger?”

“Ah don’t know,” Dorian quipped at the snarl painted on Black Bart’s cartoonish face. “He looks a might peeved.”

“Just step right up an’ you can shoot that frown right off his face!”

With a smile for Serena, Dorian moved onto the line. The plastic gun hung in its’ holster.

“When Bart says ‘Draw!’, you draw!” the barker instructed. “Now don’t miss, hombre!”

“Come on, Mistah Doctah Adluh!” Serena cheered. “Ah know yah can do it!”

“Ah’m a dead man.” Dorian adopted his usual posture, a casual sort of relaxation. His thumb tapped the belt where normally one of his own pistols would reside. “Ah suppose Ah’m ready,” he said.

“You think you can outdraw me, you lily livered tenderfoot?” the robotic gunfighter taunted. “Get ready to eat lead. Three...two...one...Draw!”

The metallic arm was a third of the way up when Adler’s weapon scored the point. Before the recorded voice could shout “you got me!” the doc had returned the red plastic revolver to its’ holster.

“Two more!” Serena counted, clapping her hands. “Make ‘em push-up daisies, Mistah Doctah Adluh!”

Adler grinned at the girl. ‘Ah’m yah Hā kè bèi lì,” he chuckled. The scowling robot issued a fresh taunt before resuming the countdown.

“Three...two...one...Dr...hoooowee!” Black Bart shouted as his hat flew back on his head. “Got me agin,” you snake!”

“Mister, I din’ even see your hand move,” the barker scratched his head. “How you so fast?”

“Plastic gun,” Dorian laughed, “and no bourbon yet.”

The barker moved off to one side. ‘One more,” he said, “and yer pretty girlfriend gets to choose a bear! You ready?” Undeen by his patrons, the showman rolled up the animatronic gunman’s speed setting.

“He called me pretty!” Serena whispered with a giggle. “Oh he’s ready all right, Black Bart don’t stand a chance!”

The animatronic outlaw spoke again. “Think yer somethin’ special, pardner? “Wait til I put a hole in ye. Three...two...one...Draw!” This time, Bart’s mechanical arm shot upward like a lighting bolt. Dorian squeezed the trigger, but was beaten by the robot. “I got you, you lowdown goat roper!”

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