The Ramblin’ Kid crouched, panting, over the massive bulk.
Sabota slowly opened his eyes and started to raise his battered head. With a laugh the cowboy swung terrible right and left blows into the Greek’s face. The head dropped back.
Again the Ramblin’ Kid stooped low, waiting for another sign of life from the prostrate form.
Red Jackson slipped from behind the bar, half bent forward, moved stealthily up behind the Ramblin’ Kid; one hand drawn partly back held, by the neck, a heavy beer bottle. Skinny saw his intention. Instantly the Quarter Circle KT cowboy’s forty-four was jerked from its holster and the blue-steel barrel swung against the side of the bartender’s head. He pitched over in a limp heap and the bottle crushed against the brass foot-rail, breaking into a thousand fragments. A half-dozen of Sabota’s crowd started forward. Skinny’s gun whipped around in front of him.
“Keep back, y’ sons-of-hell!” he snarled, “Sabota’s gettin’ what’s coming to him!”
The Greek’s eyes opened. His fingers touched the butt of the Ramblin’ Kid’s revolver and began to close slowly over the handle of the weapon.
“Make him quit,” one of the pool-room loafers whined; “he’s killed him!”
The Ramblin’ Kid saw Sabota reach for the gun. He answered the speaker and the Greek’s effort to get the forty-four at the same time:
“Not yet—but now!” he cried with a low laugh and leaped with both heels squarely on the bloody face of Sabota! There was a horrible crunching sound as of bones and flesh being ground into pulp. The fingers about to close on the handle of the revolver grew limp, the Greek’s head, a hideous, scarcely recognizable mass, slumped to one side and lay perfectly still.
An instant longer the Ramblin’ Kid looked at him, then reached over, picked up his gun and slipped it into the holster at his hip.
As he straightened up, Tom Poole, the marshal, rushed into the pool-room. He covered the Ramblin’ Kid with his revolver and placed him under arrest.
“You don’t need to get excited, Tom!” the Ramblin’ Kid laughed. “I didn’t do nothin’ but kill that damned black cur layin’ there! Come on—I want to get out in th’ air—I never like to stay around where dead skunks are!”
They moved toward the door.
Poole dropped his gun back in its scabbard and walked at the side of the now apparently peaceful young cowboy.
At the door the marshal looked around:
“Some of you fellers get the doctor or undertaker—whichever he needs—and take care of Sabota!” he called to the group around the body of the Greek.
Like a flash the muzzle of the Ramblin’ Kid’s gun was pressed against the side of Poole.
“Put ’em up, Tom!” he snapped, “I don’t want to kill you, but I will if I have to—I ain’t goin’ to rot in no jail just for stampin’ a dirty snake-to death!”