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Excerpt from Blowing Smoke:

“Sparrow!” he shouted, none too friendly. “I knew I’d catch up with you sooner or later!”

“Marshal Ray.” I looked up from my breakfast. “I expected you sooner.”


“I aim to arrest you!” he growled, menacingly. “Or maybe just skip the proceedings and shoot you down right now.”


“Yeah?” I asked evenly. “You, and what posse?”

He laughed, but his body language betrayed his confidence. He took half a step backward, rather than toward me, and his hand trembled slightly when he pointed at me. “People ‘round here love to talk about you, Sparrow. Lots of people. They got lots to say about you. In fact, rumor has it that you are short on ammo!” He laughed, and his emphasis on the word ‘short’ made me suspect that he thought he had made a clever joke at my expense. Nobody else caught the joke. I certainly didn’t laugh.


“I’ve got two pistols, fully loaded,” he continued, “That’s twelve bullets, each one with your name on it. And you’ve got what, three rounds left?”


My voice was calm and level. “It only takes one,” I said.