Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lose Some, Win Some

It took less than a second for the Construct to register that they had traveled yet again to a new location. This time the scene resembled an old west saloon of ancient Earth history, circa late 1800's or early 1900's. The Construct examined the room, and then went to look at itself in a mirror.

"Human, male. Age, mid fifties," the Construct said, his voice low and gravelly. He lifted the thing in the man's right hand, "lever action rifle, 1860's."

"Why do you always do that?" A woman stood at the bar, pointing a pistol at the man's head.

"1866 fast-draw six shooter by which sufficient damage may occur." The Construct sped towards her, as fast as human anatomy allowed, and grabbed the woman's wrist to twist the barrel away from the man's body.

"By knowing the place and time, I can emulate the requisite behavior. Ma'am, you're under arrest for the murder of ANG'doc'Po."

"Hah," the woman's laughter filled the saloon, animating several patrons who turned to look at them. The bartender walked over and nodded at the woman before turning to stare at the Construct.

"You okay Miss Dumont," the bartender said, his hand resting on the gun at his hip.

"You're a darling, Jack, I'm fine. Thank you for asking." The woman smiled and motioned him away with her head.

"Alrighty then." The bartender nodded to the woman and went to pour drinks for a customer at the opposite end of the bar.

"I did not murder 'Po," the woman said, jerking her arm out of the Construct's hand. She leaned over and grabbed a bottle of whiskey, opened it, and took a long drink.

"I could never have harmed her. She was my teacher, my mentor, and she gave me all of this." The woman waved her arms to encompass the room.

"All of this?" The Construct looked around the saloon.

"Yes, this and everything else. All of time and space. Every last infinite bit of it."

The Construct tilted the man's head. The memory banks available to him did not provide sufficient data.

"Please explain," he said. The woman sighed and held out the whiskey bottle.

"Care for some?"

"No thank you, ma'am."

The woman rolled her eyes. "Ever the polite one, aren't you." She lifted herself up to sit on the bar, and then took another drink. "That'll not serve you well here, Sheriff."

The Construct felt a slight tug, and looked down to see a silver badge pinned to his vest. He looked back at the woman and finally noticed the fishnet stockings, low-cut bustier and feather boa around her bare shoulders.

"Floozy," he said, "a girl or woman who has a reputation for promiscuity."

"That's right." She rested the gun against her knee. "But I didn't kill 'Po."

"Evidence gathered at the crime scene contains samples of your electrical signals. Only yours."

"And 'Po's, don't forget that." She leaned back and rested a foot on the bar. "You do take this job a bit too seriously. I'm going to have to fix that."

"Like you fixed 'Po."

She laughed again. "That's very good, you're getting the hang of this place. But still wrong. Now, how about we join one of those tables and have ourselves a little fun."

The Construct looked away and found itself sitting at a table, a deck of cards in front of him. The woman sat beside him and three other gamblers rounded out the table. They each had a stack of coins of varying heights.

"Deal," she said.

Per the instructions he scanned from the memory banks, the Construct picked up the cards and shuffled. He burned the top card and then dealt out five cards, one to each player and himself in turn.

"Place your bets," he said. Coins were tossed into the center of the table, and someone finally said, "Call." Cards were turned up and the dealer's hand was the best. The Construct pulled the money towards his side of the table.

One of the gamblers stood up suddenly, his chair falling behind him as he pulled out a revolver. "You cheatin' bastard."

"He can't cheat," the woman scoffed, "he's not built that way."

"45 caliber," the Construct noted, just as the gambler fired. The Construct blinked once and then found itself standing in the saloon, facing a woman at the bar.

"Let's try this again," she said.

<word count: 735>

[img src: JR/AL, used by permission]

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