The Right Choice by Belinda

Word count 844


Authors note: This is a short story using a line and scene from a movie starring Tom Selleck. It was a challenge and I could truly see Johnny Madrid in this scene and decided to use it. With a little change here and there I sort of formatted it to fit. The line from the movie that inspired it will be the first thing Johnny says. As for disclaimers well the usual stuff that everybody says goes for me too.

Thanks to SF for doing a wonderful job of making sure this is fit to read.

Five men stood opposite of him, sweat pouring down their faces and necks and not necessarily from the heat. Looking them over, Johnny sized them up and figured by the way they wore their rigs none of them were skilled professionals, three were hired guns; two were back shooters and the youngest and last a green kid wannabe.

Riley Tanby stood before Madrid and studied him closely. Hell he can’t be more than 15 or 16 he thought to himself. He knew from stories not to underestimate the famous kid gunslinger. Johnny Madrid was a name that could make grown men go pale at the mere mention. Now, here he was face to face with the notorious gunhawk and other than being a rather cocky little turd, he didn’t look like so much.

Totally at ease, Johnny gave no physical indication that he was concerned about the number of men he faced. His stance was loose limbed as he stood staring at Tanby, glancing from time to time at the other four men. The one on the left of Riley Tanby was his brother Gerald. He was older by the life weary looks of him but Riley seemed to be the spokesman of the two. The other three men stood slightly off to the right of Riley and the kid wannabe kept inching his hand closer to his gun. Johnny figured if he yelled boo the boy would piss his pants and that thought brought a slight curve to his lips, turning the corners of his mouth up in a knowing smirk. Catching the kid’s eye, Johnny gave a slight shake of his head warning the boy that he was about to make a fatal mistake.

“You sure you want to do this, son?” Riley took his hat off and wiped his face with his bandana and the inside of his Stetson and then rammed it back on his head with a shaky hand.

Johnny stood his ground; his hands tucked into the front of his pants giving the air of a most unconcerned individual. The smile still graced his lips and he could tell by Riley’s uneasy actions that he was beginning to grate on the man’s nerves.

Perturbed, the older man tried to shake the young gunslinger’s confidence. “Look in front of you, boy! There’s five of us and only one of you.”

Johnny freed his hands from where they had been resting and shifting his weight, stood more erect, completely facing Riley. He stared hard at the older man; his watchful eyes noting the apprehensive gulp the man took, obviously swallowing down fear.

Riley could feel that there was a change in Madrid’s demeanor but he continued with false bravado. “You ain’t got a chance, Madrid. I got five guns to your one. You won’t stand a chance.” Riley was powerless to stop the anxiety he was feeling from showing in his voice.

Clouds drifted in front of the sun, shadows darkened the street as Madrid began to speak. “First one I kill will be you. Second one that goes down will be your brother. After that you really care?” Johnny smiled as his words sunk in. Gerald stepped back and looked at his brother, fear taking a hold of him like a fever. Johnny’s eyes involuntarily went to the man’s crotch to see if he had pissed his pants.

Riley looked at the kid and decided that maybe this wasn’t the time to push the issue any further. He licked his lips as he studied the boy gunfighter before him; all he saw was the promise of death. Madrid might only be a kid, in years, but his reputation and skill made him a man to be reckoned with, one experienced at killing.

“Alright, Kid. Watch your back cause this ain’t over yet. Not over by a long shot.” Riley mounted up and motioned for the others to follow suit.

Johnny watched as the five men lit out; disappearing in a cloud of dust, the last indication they had ever been there. It’s ended today and tomorrow it begins all over again. Tomorrow somebody is gonna die. Maybe the kid wannabe, he thoughtJohnny turned and walked back to his rocking chair in front of the hotel. Tomorrow someone would die and it didn’t make him feel good. He knew it would be just one more face haunting his nightmares.

 ~ end ~


Thank you for reading! The authors listed on this site spend many hours writing stories for your enjoyment, and their only reward is the feedback you leave. So please take a moment to leave a comment.  Even the simplest ‘I liked this!” can make all the difference to an author and encourage them to keep writing and posting their stories here.  You can comment in the ‘reply’ box below or email Belinda directly.


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