There was a thud, of dulled thunder, and a shower of falling dust – the bombardment above continued. The light-fittings danced and the men’s calloused fingers grabbed at bottles and tumblers, to steady the drink that steadied their nerves. Ezra, the bartender, had a plan. So did everyone else, but we sat tight, and followed Ezra’s – we were underground, and we were safe.
They streaked from the skies, trailing plumes of black-blue smoke, their lithe, red flying machines flitted like sparrows across the heavens. Brilliant lights and tongues of flame shot out, barking death from above. They shot the Padre, cooked him alive. Ashes to ashes, eh, Padre?
They had been flying, manically mechanic, overhead for what felt like days. We were gonna sit it out, here beneath the surface – there was grog, and girls. The Sheriff hadn’t made it. That left Ezra, and his great, white beard as the only authority in town – he’d been here the longest, and he had a repeater rifle. The man with the biggest gun is the boss, when the law-man dies.
Ezra’s plan was a good ‘un. It meant he’d be able to sell more drinks, and stop his customers running off to get killed. He figured it was like an Indian raid – short and sweet, try and inspire terror in the soft town-folk, get ’em to up sticks and leave.
When the invaders eventually left he’d have a small fortune behind the bar.
And if they stayed he’d make another one.