A BOLD BAD MAN
Bull had halted a moment outside the door of the shack to roll a cigarette. Before he pulled out his tobacco bag he leaned the rifle against the doorjamb.
His eyes, unaccustomed to the darkness, did not see the crouching Racey Dawson within arm’s-length.
Both of Bull’s hands were cupped round the lighted match. He lifted it to the end of the cigarette. He sucked in his breath and—a voice whispered: “Drop that match an’ grab yore ears.”
Bull did not hesitate to obey, for the broad, cold blade of a bowie rested lightly against the back of his neck. Bull swayed a little where he stood.
“I got yore rifle,” resumed the whisperer. “Walk away now. Yo’re headin’ about right. Don’t make too much noise.”
Bull did not make too much noise. In fact, he made hardly any. It is safe to say that he never progressed more quietly in his life. The man with the bowie steered him to a safe haven behind a fat white boulder half buried in sumac.
“Si’down,” requested the captor in a conversational tone. “We can be right comfortable here.”
“Dawson!” breathed the captive.
“Took you a long time to find it out,” said Racey Dawson. “Si’down, I said,” he added, sharply.
Bull obeyed, his back against the rock, and was careful not to lower his hands. Racey hunkered down and sat on a spurless heel. The rifle was under his knee. He had exchanged the bowie for a sixshooter. The firearm was trained in the general direction of Bull’s stomach.
Racey smiled widely. He felt very chipper and pleased with himself. He was managing the affair well, he thought.
“You show up right plain against that white rock,” he remarked. “If yo’re figuring to gamble with me, think of that.”
“Whatcha want?” demanded Bull, sullenly.
“Lots of things,” replied Racey, shifting a foot an inch to the left. “I’m the most wantin’ feller you ever saw. Just now this minute I want you to tell me where it was you met up with Bill Smith and what it was he did so bad that you and Marie think you’ve got a hold on him.”
“You was listenin’ quite a while,” muttered Bull.
“Quite a while,” admitted Racey Dawson. “Quite a while.”
“But you didn’t listen quite hard enough,” suggested Bull.
“No,” assented Racey, “I didn’t. I’m expecting you to sort of fill in the gaps.”
Bull shook a decided head. “No,” he denied. “No, you got another guess comin’. I won’t do nothin’ like that a-tall.”
“And why not?”
“Because I won’t.”
“‘Won’t’ got his neck broke one day just because he wouldn’t.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” sneered Bull.
“You must forget I heard all about how you tried to bushwhack me from the second floor of the Starlight,” Racey put in, gently.