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Chili John

“But curling your fingers is actually the slowest part,” Chili John is explaining. “So you slap hard and get some friction, flick it out of the holster, then worry about getting to the trigger on the way up–”

The Teacher is shaking his head. “You still think it matters, how fast your draw?”

Chili John lets himself grin a little at that. “I’ve stood at twenty paces at high noon on the street before, and I reckon I might again, so yeah, I do.”

“Wrong,” says the Teacher harshly. “Only one speed matters, boy. You’re still as slow as your bullet.”

New Mexico

“The thing about Greg Fu,” rasps the Teacher. “It’s like being the fastest draw in town, right? There’s boys lining up trying to be faster, and you’ll take them all down, until you meet the fastest–and then he’s going to take your place. Greg Fu’s like that only they ain’t trying to replace you. They’re trying to learn, and most of them are still going to die. Now, first lesson. It’s hot out. Feel the sweat band in your hat. It’s wet, right?”

Chili John feels, and nods.

The Teacher nods back. “That’s ’cause I peed on it,” he says.