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Shootout in El Dorado
- The shotgun blast rattled the windows in the general store. George Watts, the heavyset storekeeper, fell backward. His chest open and bloody, his hands grabbed at the rows of shelving behind him. He tried vainly to keep standing but sank to the rough wood floor and died in a sitting position with his eyes open, almost as if he could still see the man who’d shot him and was now robbing the cash register.
Negroes working in the cotton gin near the river stopped loading ripe cotton bolls from a wagon bed into a separation hopper inside the old tin building and rushed outside to stare up at the direction from where the sound of gunfire came. They saw nothing, of course, until Trace Tucker ran outside with a double-barrelled Hopkins and Allen in one hand and a wad of Union dollars in the other. Those he stuffed inside a suitcoat pocket as he unwrapped the reins of his horse from a hitching post and swung into the saddle.
He snatched the reins short causing his dark roan to dig in his hooves as he skittered to a stop in the middle of the street. Tucker saw the deputy U.S. marshal’s badge flashing in the sunlight and pointed the barrel of his shotgun in the direction of the man wearing it. He didn’t see the man himself running toward him, just a combination of blues and reds from the clothes he was wearing and, of course, the badge. Tucker didn’t care if it was a lawman. He pulled the trigger on the unused barrel and the shotgun barked again. When the man with the badge dropped to the street, Tucker rode his horse over the man’s body on the way out of town.
In a flash, he was gone.