Thermopolis Konan and The Murder Business…unedited/incomplete…

Billy pulled out a cigar and lit it. He blew smoke in the direction of Konan. His eyes rested upon Konan, like a hawk would watch a rat in a pasture, Lilly kept her eyes upon Billy. His demeanor reminded Lilly of a snake poised to strike at the first opportunity. Konan knew that look. he saw it during the war, when Billy murdered their interpreter’s family.
“Sounds to me this guy messed around and found out. For instance, it’s like he walked into the lion’s den and got lippy with the lions. Kind of like what you’re doing, Konan.”
“I know you put a hit out on me and my partner, Cartwright. Ric Terrace said as much before he had a blade slammed into his guts.”
“Why would I want you dead, Konan? Sure, you never had the heart to do what needed doing, but you always were a great soldier- even when your decisions led to the death of your men, you were great.”
“Ric Terrace threatened to kill us. I’ve taken your former police chief out of commission, your assassin died, and I’m not done yet. You’re going to screw up and when you do, I’ll put the final nail in your coffin.”
“So, one last ride into the fray? Saddle up, cowboy. If you want it, I want to give it to you. You never should have crossed me. The law is not in place for you to enforce it on me, son. It’s there to provide me with the legal means to destroy your worthless life. I don’t have to kill you, Konan. I’ll take everything you care about and burn it to the ground.”
“I’ll give you an out, Cartwright. Billy pays for the crimes, and you go free. Call it a gesture of goodwill from one friend to another.”
“Well, now that’s a generous offer,” Cartwright said while pulling out a cigar. He lit it and blew smoke at the floor. “But I can’t do Billy like that. We’ve been friends a lot longer than you and I. Therefore, I regret to say I must decline such generosity. Still, in the spirit of cooperation, I’ll make you a deal.”
“I’m listening.”
“You resign from police work. Come back to work for me. Your partner here will keep her life, and I’ll ride out of your town to never return. This deal is for a limited time only. Think it over.”
“If I decide against it?”
“Mess around and find out.”
Cartwright and Billy stood and put on the coats. Billy walked by and winked at Konan. ‘See you,’ he muttered as he passed by. Cartwright placed his hand on Konan’s shoulder.
“We don’t have to end up enemies, son. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, come home and get out of the cold.”
Then, he walked through the throng of people and vanished from sight. Konan cleared his throat and stood to his feet. Lilly touched his hand, and he turned to face her.
“Are you okay, Konan?”
“I don’t know. No, but there’s nothing I can do to stop them. Whatever is going to happen will happen. Only then can we react.”
“So, it’s hopeless?”
“I’m afraid so. They know we have nothing. Ric Terrace would have given us what we needed to nail these guys, but he’s dead now. Unless one of those two betrays the other, we’re screwed.”

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