• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Dram-Shot Jane & Lawman Buck

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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“Where’s your potion-proof vest?” I ask Jane, tossing her the deputy badge.

She plucks it from the air and slides it high onto her tan button-up. The pin scrapes against metal and she shrugs a brown waistcoat on, badge shining proudly at her throat. “Nag your daughters, not me, Sheriff.”

“The Draughtshots are in town lookin’ to pull a bank and a lab job tonight.”

She points to the steel-tempered vest I have on over a uniform shirt. “Wearing that is like showing outlaws where not to shoot you. Dram shot will go right through that, Ashton. It won’t scratch this.”

Jane raps on her chest with her knuckles. The vest rings with a higher pitch than bone-on-iron would.

I snicker as I slide into my leather coat. “Just making sure none of this old age rubbed off on you.” I gesture up and down at my coat, Sheriff badge, and twin gunbelts, saving the greying hair and moustache I can see with my own eyes for last.

Her oval face scrunches tight and she looks around the dusty station. The beaker lamps over the holding cells on the eastern side are new, Jane’s addition, and they spill jaundiced light into the rest of the room. My ledger-heavy desk at the back, the spittoons underneath, and all the logs that make up the walls look like they been pissed-on. Jane’s lip curls up. Her dimple comes with it. “You and your revolvers are the only old things here. Those beaker lamps I installed won’t set the station ablaze either. I’m safe.”

I wad some tobacco out of a box in my pocket and chew it. “Safer ‘n you’re about to be. Them Draughtshots will kill a hundred deputies and judges if any of them try and take their potions.”

“And why don’t you trust potions?” Jane asks, hip cocked to expose her fancy-pants handgun. “I’ve got a nice Steinman Half-Ounce for them if they think we can’t use dram shot like they can. Four shots at once.”

“I trust potions when they ain’t weapons,” I say, boots thudding onto dirt when I step outside into the twilight. Jane follows and shuts the door, bringing a beaker lamp out with her by the handle. I squint at the silver plaque between the window and door.

Ralon County Sheriff Ashton Buck. Voice of Law and of Judge Hammersly.

The names Walt and Julian etched into the metal are worn dull with years.

“Time to re-earn that job, Jane. Money and potions don’t belong in criminal hands.”

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