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The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard Part 56

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The cowboy was frowning now beneath his hat brim, squinting up at Bo Catlett. He said, "Pistols, it's what you use."

Catlett nodded. "If I say so."

"Well, what else is there?"

Confused and getting a mean look.

Catlett slipped his hand into the upright end of his bedroll and began to tug at something inside-the cowboy watching, the Circle-Eye riders in the street watching, the desk clerk and manager in the doorway and several hotel guests near them who had come out to the porch, all watching as Catlett drew a sword from the bedroll, a cavalry saber, the curved blade flashing as it caught the sunlight. He came past the people watching and down off the porch toward the cowboy in his hat and boots fixed with spurs that chinged as he turned to face Catlett, shorter than Catlett, appearing confused again holding the six-shooter at his side.

"If I choose to use sabers," Catlett said, "is that agreeable with you?"

"I don't have no saber. saber."

Meanness showing now in his eyes.

"Well, you best get one."

"I never even had a sword in my hand."

Irritated. Drunk, too, his eyes not focusing as they should. Now he was looking over his shoulder at the Circle-Eye riders, maybe wanting them to tell him what to do.

One of them, not Wayman but one of the others, called out, "You got your .44 in your hand, ain't you? What're you waiting on?"

Catlett raised the saber to lay the tip against Macon's breastbone, saying to him, "You use your pistol and I use steel? All right, if that's how you want it. See if you can shoot me 'fore this blade is sticking out your back. You game? . . . Speak up, boy."

IN THE HOTEL dining room having a cup of coffee, Catlett heard the noise outside, the cheering that meant Capt. Early had arrived. Catlett waited. He wished one of the waitresses would refill his cup, but they weren't around now, n.o.body was. A half hour pa.s.sed before Capt. Early entered the dining room and came over to the table, leaving the people he was with. Catlett rose and they embraced, the hotel people and guests watching. It was while they stood this way that Bren saw, over Catlett's shoulder, the saber lying on the table, the curved steel on white linen. Catlett sat down. Bren looked closely at the saber's hilt. He picked it up and there was applause from the people watching. The captain bowed to them and sat down with the sergeant major.

"You went up the hill with this?"

"Somebody had to."

"I'm being recommended for a medal. 'For courage and pluck in continuing to advance under fire on the Spanish fortified position at the battle of Las Guasimas, Cuba, June twenty-fourth, 1898.' "

Catlett nodded. After a moment he said, "Will you tell me something? What was that war about?"

"You mean why'd we fight the dons?"

"Yeah, tell me."

"To free the oppressed Cuban people. Relieve them of Spanish domination."

"That's what I thought."

"You didn't know why you went to war?"

"I guess I knew," Catlett said. "I just wasn't sure."

About the Author.

ELMORE LEONARD has written more than three dozen books during his highly successful writing career, including the bestsellers Mr. Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, Mr. Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, and and Rum Punch. Rum Punch. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and and Be Cool. Be Cool. He is the recipient of the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife, Christine, in Bloomfield Village, Michigan. He is the recipient of the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife, Christine, in Bloomfield Village, Michigan.

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Also by Elmore Leonard Mr. Paradise When the Women Come Out to Dance Tishomingo Blues Pagan Babies Be Cool The Tonto Woman & Other Western Stories Cuba Libre Out of Sight Riding the Rap p.r.o.nto Rum Punch Maximum Bob Get Shorty Killshot Freaky Deaky Touch Bandits Glitz LaBrava Stick Cat Chaser Split Images City Primeval Gold Coast Gunsights The Switch The Hunted Unknown Man No. 89 Swag Fifty-two Pickup Mr. Majestyk Forty Lashes Less One Valdez Is Coming The Moonshine War The Big Bounce Hombre Last Stand at Saber River Escape from Five Shadows The Law at Randado The Bounty Hunters

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The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard Part 56 summary

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