THE SHOWDOWN

This town ain't big enough for both of us, friend",
he said as he wiped his jaw.
I hoped he wouldn't notice me shaking;
I was all the town had as the law.

The big one was fast; I'd heard of his draw;
but the problem was far worse than that;
His dangerous kid brother stood five steps away;
eyes glaring out from under his hat.

I didn't know much about the young one's speed;
but if he was anything like his brother
The folks who'd picked me for the town marshall
would soon be seekin' another.

The sun was hung high in that cloudless sky;
this showdown had been long a-pendin'.
Them brothers was fast and I dared not be last;
If I hoped for a happy endin'.

The big one spat amber and wiped his brow;
he'd already sweat through his denim.
He wasn't real shore he could take me
before I could get one or two in him.

I flexed out my gunhand and loosened my arm;
somebody was bound for boot hill.
Both of them knew I wasn't much of a gun;
but they'd heard I was real hard to kill.

The young one shuffled his feet in the dirt;
I ignored his attempt to distract.
I knew just to take my eyes off the big 'un
would trigger him to the attack.

I lowered my head and tilted my hat
to shade my eyes from the sun.
I took a big chance; gave the kid a quick glance;
he'd alreadyhalf-drawed his gun!

The big one's name was Sunset Carson;
the young one said he was Tom Mix.
I'd heard about their reputation;
it looked like I was in a tight fix.

Their fame as shootists was widespread;
bloodlust was plain in their eyes.
Sometime real soon; perhaps 'fore high noon
would be my time to die.

It was quiet;
there was nary a sound.
All the boasts and the bragging just hung there;
to preclude anyone backing down.

So it's finally down to the shootin';
the air even seemed a mite thinner.
But this shootout must wait we don't want to be late;
Mama just called her three young sons to dinner!

copyright 1993 Sam Elmore