Shroud Excerpt

PAGE 90/91


Victoria returns to the saloon, passes through the doors and sees FOUR GREYRIDERS (30’s – 40’s, haggard, cruel, dusty) standing at various stations in the saloon. They all turn to the Hollander, and exchange guessing glances. When, they wonder, were the townsfolk they rule going to mention the beautiful visitor and her little brother?

BRISBY (late 20’s, leering, stocky). Brisby’s eyes are always darting around, his weight always shifting with the anxiousness of Billy the Kid. He is impatient one.

“GULCH” GUILLORY” (30’s, quiet, Confederate). Guillory has a mechanical disposition and is always analyzing things rather than people. He is frequently  fixated or fidgeting with an object. He is the curious one.

JAMES TRUEPENNY (50’s, overconfident, disinterested). Truepenny always wants to be somewhere else and is rarely paying attention to the present. Wherever he  is, he is ready for the moment to be over. He is the bored one.

SLOAN (40’s, weathered, confident). Cold with a thousandyard stare that tells everyone he’s seen it and done it all. The leader of the posse, the others all respond to his commands. He is the calculating one.

Victoria raises her chin as Sloan walks up to her, spurs jangling. Sloan removes his hat.


She doesn’t reply as the gunslinger admires her fine European dress and the young, firm figure to which it is enviably fitted.

SLOAN (cont.)
You’re as lovely as rain.

Rain is common in England.

Not in Arizona. Here it is a rare and beautiful
thing, a thing for which all men thirst.

And here I believed that to be whiskey.

At the bar, Comorro smiles.  Brisby is attentive.

Sloan’s false smile weakens a bit. The outlaw looks out the window and sees Elizabeth Undercroft approaching under parasol. Sloan turns back to Victoria.

I’ll see you again.

Only if you can find me, I would think.

I’ll just follow the rose oil. Or maybe those
cute high-heeled footprints you’re leaving
wherever you go. Easy to follow a Lady
when there’s only one around.

Elizabeth glides into the saloon.

How fortunate for me then that you can’t count.

Sloan puts his hat back on and smiles broadly, amused by her fiery ways. He runs his finger across his brim and glances at Elizabeth.

She’s no lady.

Victoria shudders at the evaluation. Elizabeth raises her chin, and her voice.

Mr. Sloan.

Why, Mrs. Undercroft, whatever brings
you to such an undignified place.

Why, your lack of dignity, Mr. Sloan.

And Mr. Undercroft, I reckon.

At once, if you please.

Elizabeth condescends with a smile and leaves. Sloan gestures for his men to follow him, which they do, one by one. Brisby lingers a bit, drinking in Victoria’s figure. He leaves the saloon. In the street, he glances back at Victoria through the saloon window.


~ by David Jetre on February 9, 2010.

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