The dust hung low within the wooden, old world town creating a ginger haze that drifted about the ankles of anyone who staggered out into ‘main’ street. It filled every nook, cranny, and pore akin to water pooling into a depression after a hardy rain. The warped timber sign above the saloon hung listlessly by a single rusted eye hook swinging to and fro like a restless child swinging his legs at the dinner table. It read “-ro- L-ng.“
Soon there was a motion; it was slight, calculated, and curiously cautious for a man with no worries. He swung the saloon doors open slightly as he stepped into the shambles of the once immaculate bar room floor. Upon the poker table laid a man with a still smoking gap beneath his sternum, upon the bar laid another unconscious man with the remains of a shattered mug across his skull…all about the patrons of the bar were strewn about at a myriad of obtuse angles and varying degrees of injury.
The only one still erect was the bartender. He seemed clueless to the apparent mayhem about him. He shuffled back and forth in front of the dirt laden mirrors and liquor cabinet while he steadily wiped down the dirty bar with an equally soiled rag. Slowly but surely he was gathering up all of the broken glasses and disposing of them properly whilst cleaning. The man who had so silently, yet wearily entered the “Iron Lung” sat down on one of the few bar stools till readily available and unoccupied. He said nothing; he merely thought. Almost as if on cue the bartender came trundling on over bringing the slight smell of oil with him.
The man upon the barstool could hear the whirring of gears and the hum of the bartender’s uranium enriched power cells fueling his movements as the bartender asked the man in a garbled voice if he’d wish to order.
“Give me a Jerry and coke.”
The hum of the bartender’s rusted gears began to hum once more as he stiltedly began to undulate back and forth down the oak bar gathering the necessary supplies to create Jack’s drink. He swiveled around in his barstool and propped himself up against the bar to again look at the carnage. As the bartender came over once more to deliver the finished cocktail the man smirked, flashing his jagged teeth, and whorled. He cracked the robotic bartender’s glass faceplate and light bulb simultaneously; he reached into the head of the metal creature and pulled out a sweaty little bit of man straight out of the robot’s crumpling frame.
“You,” spat the little man.
“Didn’t think I’d find you McCreedy?” rasped the man. “I could smell you as soon as I walked in…I’m honestly surprised you’re not glowing.”
“You can go to…”
A shock of light as the little two-shot energy pistol discharged into McCreedy’s eye danced about the bar. Not a single soul stirred within saloon. Just a small plume of white smoke could be seen listlessly wafting upward from behind the bar.
And just as quickly as he came…the man left.