Smith reeled backward, blood splurting from a split lip.

“Go on, ask me again,” Jacobs growled. “Ask me again about my wife.”

“I…I don’t wanna…” All the bravado had gone out of Smith’s eyes. They were wide now, scared. Animal eyes.

The bartender was moving, most likely for a weapon. Instinctively, Jacobs lashed out and snatched. He didn’t realize he was holding a 20-gauge pump-action until he saw the barrel in his hands.

“Ask me again!”

“D-did you ever find out…who killed your wife?” Smith sobbed.

“All of it!”

“M-maybe took a…a l-look in the mirror?”

Jacobs viciously slapped Smith with the butt of the bartender’s gun. From the sound it made, Smith might have lost a tooth or had his jaw shattered.

Everyone was staring. Jacobs could feel their hard, judgmental eyes boring through him like searchlights. He pumped the shotgun’s action six times without firing; the loaded shells falling to the ground were the only sound in the bar besides the beating of Jacons’ own heart.

The bartender said something as his gun was returned. Jacobs didn’t need to hear it. He walked out slowly, half hoping that a spare shotshell box under the bar would end it all before he could pass the doorjamb.

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