He would always be an outsider in this sleepy mountain town, but he’d stay a while. The innkeeper and his daughter were keen to take his money, no matter whence it came, and no one gave him any trouble. His reputation proceeded him.

Annette, who spoke a little English when she had the nerve, brought him biscuits every morning, saying she’d put them on his bill. In six months he’d never seen any kind of a tally, but she wouldn’t let him refuse. “You have to eat, or you will die. I will bill you. Do not worry.”

She owned him by this point, most likely. Someday she’d cash in, though what she planned on doing with a wreck like himself, he couldn’t rightly figure. “Thank you much, Miss Annette. I do so like your biscuits.”

At the edge of the bar, he savored a single bottle of whisky for the rest of the day.

“You’ve got a lot of nerve, showing your face in public.”

He shrugged at the man, an either short or hunched-over sort he didn’t recognize. As he lifted his bottle to his lips, he tried to think of who it might be. Some banker he’d ripped off? Some rancher onto whom he’d pawned a dead horse? Could even be an ex-lover, or an ex-lover’s lover. He squinted, trying to recognize any familiar feature in the man.

“I figure someone has to,” he said, gesturing to the empty room. The stranger or old friend or old enemy, whoever he was, made some threat and stomped away. They’d fight later, at sunset no doubt. Another man dead, another identity to take. This next time, he hoped it was someone interesting.

By @nohoperadio - Leah Lindsaychen

Facilitator and Proprietor of Tales of Insecurity, a podcast of post-modern existential horror. I like to make the best of a bad situation, and also to make better ones. I'm here to be helpful!

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