206. Roulette Rogue

The Rogue knew her face. He had seen her riding with Nasty Dan in the days following the stickup at the bank. Twenty-five hundred dollars and sixty pounds of gold were taken. Only sixty dollars and three 10-pound bars were recovered. The man with the acne scars swore that there were only three of them involved, and when they were camping off the trail, bandits came upon them and took everything away before running off into the west. The other two said the same thing. They were all lying.

She slipped her jacket off, and then undid the top two buttons on her blouse, revealing a pale neck damp with sweat and red with a heat rash. The constant dry weather took its toll on the just and unjust like, it seemed.

She hung up her jacket. He wondered how she breathed at all through a corset that tight. She held her chin high as she sat before his desk. She didn’t say a word. She wanted The Rogue to initiate conversation.

“What do I call you?” he began. She said he could call her Kitty.

“That’s a stupid-ass name if I’ve ever heard one,” he said. The corner of her mouth twitched, like she was trying to suppress a smile. She lowered her chin and stared at him through emerald eyes. Said it’s the only name she has.

SPIN

The girl named Kitty didn’t seem perturbed in the least bit by the cigarette smoke. The Rogue was almost impressed. Most of the ladies, at this point, would already have a handkerchief over their nose. Then again, most ladies didn’t run around with Old Danny.

“What did you do this time?” he went straight to business.

Dimples formed on her left cheek. “Whatever it was, detective,” she purred, “Be glad it wasn’t to you. But that’s not what I’m here for.”

He caught his gaze falling down her neck and into her exposed cleavage. The Rogue averted his gaze by picking up his glass of bourbon. He swirled the amber-colored liquid inside it for a bit. He could feel Kitty smiling at him. He took a sip of the burning liquid. It stung his throat on the way down.

Outside, the rain was getting heavier.

SPIN

“I don’t run with the force anymore,” The Rogue told her. “Turned in my badge and gun three weeks ago. You’d best know that before you go on.”

Kitty smacked her lips at him. She leaned forward, and he saw the material of her black cocktail dress stretch. “It’s not the force that I need, sweetheart,” she said. “Too much paperwork. Bureaucracy’s a bitch. Consider this an anonymous tip.”

Thunder rumbled in the distance. It seems like there would be rain tonight.

“You know Danny, don’t you? Or do you call him Lancaster?” she asked. It was a genuine question. He told her that the name written on the files was Daniel H. Lancaster. “Well then,” she continued, “Rumor has it that he can be found hanging around a bank. Three o’clock. Rumor also has it that there will be guns.”

SPIN

“What, twenty five thousand minus sixty dollars wasn’t enough?” The Rogue growled. “And all that gold? What is he trying to do, start up his own bank?”

Kitty fanned herself with a Chinese fan. “You didn’t hear it from me, deputy,” she said. “But I think there’s something for you if you come around to Old Man Ham’s saloon a week from now at noon.”

“For the second time, I’m no longer a deputy,” he said.

“But you are. You always will be,” Kitty smirked.

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