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

“Tough luck, cowpoke!” the barker smiled. “But you got two more chances to beat Bart!”

Dorian offered a wry smile. “Looks like old Bart got his settin’s turned up a notch.”

The barker shook his head emphatically. “Strictly an honest game, my friend. But,” he tilted his head, “if you’re up to put some coin on the next shot, we can sweeten the deal.”

“How so?”

“Ten spot on the table. You beat Bart, yer lovely lady friend can pick any bear off the top shelf. You lose?” he smiled. “I take the ten.”

“Gun’s in mah hand...at mah belt,” Adler countered.

“Done.”

“That one!!” Serena said confidently, pointing to a bear with a pink bow.

Dorian placed a 10 credit note on the barker’s counter. He removed the toy pistol from its’ holster, before resting it against his right hip.

“This is it, you pesky varmint!” the robot shootist threatened. “Get ready fer the undertaker! “Three….two...one...Draw!” The mechanical arm burst upward. “You got me!” Bart shouted, spinning around on it’s mechanical pivot. Dorian stood in place, his own gun leveled just above his hip.

“Hey, mister, yer sposed to lift yer arm!” the barker protested.

“Honest game, right?” Adler chuckled as he retrieved his money. “Yah heard Bart...he called tha shot. Ah believe,” the medic put his arm around Serena, “that this lady has chosen her bear.”

“That one!” Serena said practically bouncing on her toes. “On account of you said Ah can pick any bear off the top shelf, an’ he’s on tha top shelf!” She looped her free arm around Mistah Doctah Adluh’s waist. “An tell Black Bart not tah feel bad. “Mistah Doctah Adluh is numbah sevn in tha verse when it comes to gunslinging. We’re glad tah see he honors tha code.”

“Aw,” Dorian shrugged as they walked away with their prize, “Ah doubt old Bart cares much fah tha code.” He laughed at the delight with which she treated the bear. “So, mei-mei,” Adler ventured, “gunfightin’s thirsty work. There’s a booth from Earth-That-Was Distillery ovah there. What say we take Bart Junior in fah a taste ‘o’ bourbon?”

“Thank you for tha bear! Drinkin’ age is sixteen!” she reminded him. “An Ah’m a Connoisseur!”

“Twenty year, if yah please,” Adler lifted two fingers to the waitress as they took their seats. “Neat.” Bart Junior, the prize bear, occupied a chair between them at the small table. Once the glasses were delivered, Dorian offered a toast. “Tah tha last duel Ah evah hope tah fight.” Their glasses clinked together, and he sipped at the earthy beverage.

Serena watched him closely, and took a sip about the same size as his. The bourbon warmed a trail down her throat to her belly, but it didn’t burn her nose like the captain’s. “It’s good… “ She said, pursing her lips together. “A little sweet, but not like sugar, right?” She took another small sip.

He nodded pleasantly. “Just a bit,” Dorian lifted a finger. ‘Take a sip, an’ let it roll around in yah mouth a little, tah get all tha flavahs. Yah’ll find,” he said, “that what tastes one way on tha tip of yah tongue will taste entirely different as yah swallow it.” He swirled his glass. “Aftah time, yah’ll taste grain, perhaps some vanilla, and also even tha oak from tha barrel.” The medic savored another sip, eyeing the teen as she concentrated on her own glass. “So,” Adler said quietly, “feel free tah tell me this is none of mah business...but did yah evenin’ go well?”

“Yah told me…” She replied, swirling the glass like he did. “Tah use discretion. And Ah promised tah only share the bits that a girl should give her big brothah. Ah’ve nevah had a brothah to know what bits one tells or doesn’t tell. Ah still don’t know if Gil like-likes me though.”

“He’s a nervous young man,” the medic offered his reassurance. “His first time, aftah all. Mah first time?” Dorian smiled at the memory. “Ah was a nervous wreck. Only savin’ grace was that tha young lady was equally rattled.” Dorian took a sip, then offered a final opinion. “Mistah Gill seemed awful happy when Ah left y’all last night. Tah discretion,” he reached across the table with his glass for a toast. Not what I’d expected, he thought, watching the girl who clearly wrestled with her thoughts.

“Did yah like-like her? Tha young lady?” Serena asked, toasting him back and taking another sip.”

He nodded. “She was a girl from tha next farm down tha valley,” Dorian offered a smile. “Pretty thing with fire red hair, blue eyes, an’ some freckles across her face.” He signalled for refills. “Ah was evah bit as nervous as Ah saw yah Mistah Gill. Good thing was,” he added, “she was willin’ tah let us try it a few more times….leastways til her parents caught us in their dryin’ barn,” he chuckled.

“Ah can’t pictuah yah bein’ not good at sex.” Serena said, finishing off her glass. “Not if the sound you an Marisol or you an the Lieutenant are any measurin’ bar. And that ain’t all from eavesdropping, there’s thin walls.”

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