“Aye, here’s your grub!” the buxom bar maid bawled as she set down plates in front of the four hungry scalawags at the table.
The bar was filled with drunkards and respectable men alike. Sharon liked what she and her husband had built together. They were known as the best pub in town. But, she still had to wrestle with the handsy ones from time to time. Tonight, most everyone was in line and behaving.
Sharon was dressed in a low cut dirndl with a silken teal skirt. One of the scalawags peered intently at Sharon as she bent over. She didn’t mind, she knew what she had….including the six foot three bartender, always standing near by and watching over her. She looked over at Charles behind the bar and winked an eye. He knew, more tips meant more help for the pub. And Sharon knew how to get them without crossing the line.
“Eat up, you all need your strength!” she winked as she turned to return to the kitchen.
“Whew, I’d like to have a woman like that!” John continued to watch Sharon walk away. “She can cook!”
The other scalawags howled at him. Sure, good food and good boobs are great, but the others preferred the women down at the brothel. “John, you don’t know what your missing man. Come with us tonight to Electric Alley. They’ve got some pretty ones!”
John looked at them. “To each their own. That’s the kind of woman I like!” he waved his hand in Sharon’s direction as she worked with Charles behind the bar.
“Careful, Charles there is her husband. Best you leave that beauty alone!” Sam drilled. “Maybe Madam London will have just the woman for you.”
John didn’t want to reveal how he felt about girls at a brothel. He wasn’t a fan, too many men before and after him. He was a kind soul who linked up with a bunch of rowdy guys to get to here. “Nah, ya’ll go ahead. I’m going to finish my dinner and off to bed with me.” He threw the money for his share on the table, and grabbed his sandwich from his plate and took a final hit of ale. “See y’uns tomorrow.” He headed out the door into the street and back toward the inn next door.
Sharon walked back over to the table, seeing John leave. “Everything alright? Anything you gents need?”
A collective sigh came from the group. Sam piped up, “Our friend John there has a crush on you. But, no, ma’am, we’re all good and ready to head out.” Sam and the crew threw their funds on the table and made their way out.
Sharon smiled, then picked up the plates and money to ready the table, waving the group farewell. She called on a set of more gentlemen over to the table. “What’ll you have?”
The evening continued on.
Back at the Inn, John met up with Larry, the inn keeper. “Do you know of any jobs in the area?”
Larry looked him up and down. “Aren’t you with that band of boys who just rode in here?”
John looked down, “Yes, sir. I just met them two towns ago. I’m thinking of breaking out from them and going it on my own.”
Larry mulled it over, rubbing his chin with his forefinger. “Tell you what son, I’ll ask around. You actually look like a good kid compared to the rest of that troupe. I’d like to help you out.”
John’s solemn look brightened. “Thank you sir! I appreciate it. Is there anything I can do tonight to help you here?”
Larry looked around. “Naw, we’re good here. Go on up and get a good night’s rest.”
John headed back up to his room. He took a seat in the rocking chair in his room, lit the oil candle, and pulled out a book which had a folded piece of paper holding his place. He opened the book and pulled out the letter inside, reading it.
I regret to write you with this sad news. Amelia was taken from us last night. Armed bandits kidnapped her. Rumor is, they’re headed to Ogden. Sally and I thought you should know. We continue to hope for her safe return.
He sighed. He’d left Amelia only a year earlier to strike out on his own and make his way in the Rockies. He had hoped to send for her once he settled, but with this news, he abandoned that and headed out to find her. It had been a month’s journey, but he finally made it to Ogden.
He put the letter back in place. He wanted to find work to have some cash here as quickly as possible so he could learn the area in hopes of finding the rascals that took his woman from her folks. He blew out the light and headed to bed.