The trouble in Crooked Hollow started when Bullseye Goodwin rode into town the day after Christmas and took every man in the Sunny Saloon to the woodshed over a “friendly” game of cards.
Lawful Pearson, who owned the place, didn’t much like seeing his customers bilked out of their money by a fella he reckoned was a card sharp at best and more than likely an outright cheat.
The two men exchanged words, and Lawful tossed Bullseye out of his tavern, with instructions to never come back.
And Bullseye hadn’t come back … but he had opened up his own saloon across the street — the Thirsty Toad.
Over the next few months, Bullseye built his business to cater to a rough crowd who rankled plenty of locals, but who also brought money with them.
Sides were drawn, and Crooked Hollow was divided pretty much down the middle.
For the most part Bullseye and Lawful managed to avoid each other, but it wasn’t uncommon for their patrons to dust it up late at night. Then there were the lawsuits flying both ways, each man trying to shut down the other.
And it was as they headed to the magistrate’s office one morning that all heck broke loose.
One of the men said something that chafed the other, and a roaring fistfight erupted. The ruckus rolled out into the middle of town, and the hombres came up with their pistols cocked.
Each had just drawn a bead on the other when a thunderous rumbling stopped them cold. The men turned just in time to see … the bedroom door fly open.
Mabel stomped in and snatched the toy guns from her two sons.
“Have you been fighting again?” She demanded. “Well, looks like these six-shooters belong to me now … Pardners.”
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