A Fistful of Trolls
The Man with No Name narrowed his eyes and shifted his cheroot to the corner of his mouth. "See, my mule don't like people laughing,” he said. “He gets the crazy idea you're laughing at him. Now, if you apologize, like I know you're going to, I might just convince him you really didn't mean it."
The four gunfighters’ eyes widened. They cowered away. One turned and fled headlong, crying out “El Diablo!” A second one followed suit. The panic spread and in seconds all four were running as if for their lives.
The Man with No Name frowned and blew out a cloud of cigar smoke. Their reaction was not what he would have expected. He pondered the unexpected flight of the gunmen for a moment and then he became aware of an odd sound from behind him. A munching, slurping, sound. He flipped up his serape to clear his gun-butt and turned around.
The mule was no longer at the hitching post. Instead a huge man stood there. A man with long red hair, green skin, and horns on his head. He was holding a haunch of bloody meat in one huge hand. “The mule was delicious,” he said, and spat out a hoof.
The Man with No Name pushed back his hat. “You ate my mule?”
“I was hungry,” the stranger said. “I shall recompense you with silver, white haired one, for I can see that you are a true warrior. I am Olaf, mightiest of trolls.”
“Around here they call me Joe,” said the Man with No Name. “You got silver?”
Olaf pulled a bracelet from a pouch and tossed it to the gunfighter. “I have. Yet I have not great store, Joe, and must obtain more. What wars and battles are there in this place that might gain me plunder?”
“Right now, none,” said the Man with No Name, “but I think that’s going to change. The Rojos on one side of town, the Baxters on the other, and me right in the middle. Things could get mighty interesting.”
“That is good,” said Olaf. He belched. “I am thirsty. Where can I get ale?”
“Come on over to the cantina,” the Man with No Name invited. “I don’t know about ale, but they got whisky. And there might be a pretty señorita or two.”
Olaf beamed. “We can drink and make merry sport with the señoritas,” he said, and then his eyes narrowed. His arm whipped back and he threw the bloody leg bone with tremendous speed.
The Man with No Name spun around, his Colt coming out as he turned, and three shots crashed out in rapid succession. The four gunmen had been creeping back towards them with drawn pistols. One was struck by the mule haunch and sent hurtling back against a hitching rail with such force that the thick wood was shattered. The other three reeled under the impacts of bullets and fell dead in the street.
“You fight well,” Olaf boomed approvingly. He strode over to the man who had been hit by his throw and picked up his fallen Colt. The troll tried to fit his finger through the trigger guard and failed. “Puny thing,” he grunted, and hurled the revolver to the ground hard enough to smash the cylinder from the frame. He picked up a five foot section of broken hitching rail and hefted it. “This is a weapon more fitting for a troll. It shall do until I can find a hammer or an axe.”
“You could maybe do with something with a mite of range,” the Man with No Name suggested, and then he realized that the man hit by the thrown meat was just as dead as the ones who had been shot. “Or maybe not.”
Olaf stooped and retrieved the cylinder from the shattered Colt. “This shall serve as a throwing weapon for the time being. Now, show me to the cantina. My throat is parched.”
The two warriors walked back up the dusty street. On the way they passed the coffin maker. “I said three coffins,” the Man with No Name remarked. “My mistake. Four coffins.”
The coffin maker raised an eyebrow at the troll. “Perhaps,” he suggested, “I should prepare another of enormous size.”
The Man with No Name grinned. “Nope, don’t think so,” he said. “Might be an idea if you make a start on some mass production, though. Just how many of the Rojos and the Baxters are there anyway?”