Maynard Blackoak is the author of the short story
Dangerous Dan Tucker: Vampire Gunslinger in the
NEW Vampire Anthology
Dangerous Dan Tucker: Vampire Gunslinger
The north Texas night found me perched wearily atop my faithful mustang, Mesquite. We had been riding since the break of dawn, headed for a range war just across the Red River, into the town of Cale, in Choctaw Nation. Fred Sterritt, the man who had hired my gun hand, awaited my arrival with a one hundred dollar payday for my services. It was to be a quick job, with only a rival rancher’s young, inexperienced hired gun and a few slow handed cowhands that I would be facing.
Feeling Mesquite’s lumbering gait, I knew my horse and I would need a decent rest before continuing on to Cale to meet with my latest employer. As we topped a hill in Dennison, overlooking the Red River, I spotted a cantina sitting on the Texas side of the river. I decided to pay the little establishment a visit, for a few drinks and a period of rest before continuing with my journey.
While my horse refreshed himself in the waters of the river, I ventured inside the lively confines of Rosarita’s cantina. Strolling casually, I made my way through drunken cowboys and the saloon girls who coquettishly helped separate patrons from their money. Two of the ladies approached me, as I headed toward the bar. Not wishing to be relieved of my money, nor in the mood for their brand of company, I declined their offers.
After purchasing a cheap bottle of watered down whiskey, I searched for an empty table where I could enjoy my drink in solitude. Spotting a place in a corner, I navigated through the raucous crowd. Sidestepping stumbling cowboys and prancing saloon girls, I was vigilant to keep from bumping into anyone along the way.
The slightest wrong move on my part could instigate a fight that I wished to avoid. Not that I feared any man there. I knew that I could take any one of them if it came down to it. However, I lived by a strict code. I didn’t believe in looking for trouble. But rest assured, I was ready with a gun if it found me. That code had kept me alive in a dangerous profession for many years, while most my contemporaries had met their ends long before.
As I neared the table, my eyes inadvertently made contact with the most alluring woman I had ever seen. Her eyes were like the blackest velvet, sprinkled with stardust that sparkled in the flickering candle light. Long, black hair flowed behind her like a train, gently rippling in the breeze. Her silky smooth, burnt umber skin wrapped her in beauty, enhancing her perfectly constructed features.
I was struck by the odd nature of her presence there. While most the women who worked saloons had a tendency to be hard and coarse in appearance, she seemed soft, almost demure. She carried herself elegantly, passing among the rowdy patrons and shamelessly flirtatious women.
“May I join you?” she inquired, after gracefully strolling up to my table.
“Nothin’ personal, m’am. I’m just not lookin’ to share right now. I just want to have a quiet drink alone.” I refused, even though I could not take my eyes off her.
“I only want to sit and talk to you.” she countered with a sly grin, “I have no interest in your drink.”
Though I wanted to be alone, I found myself agreeing to her company. There was a mysterious hold her eyes had over me, something that not only prevented me from turning her away, but kept my own eyes fixated on hers. Never before had I encountered such mesmerizing beauty. The longer I stared into her sparkling pools of darkness, the more I felt myself drawn into a desire to be with her. I found the situation both vexing and at the same time, pleasing.
“I am Felina.”
“Dan Tucker m’am.”
“Dangerous Dan Tucker, the fastest gun in all the west?” she asked with a lilt of excitement in her voice.
I looked at her with a hint of surprise showing in my expression. I had not expected such a graceful lady to know of me and my reputation with a gun. Still, I have to admit it pleased me that she did.
“The one and the same.” I replied, a twinge of vanity showing in my tone. “But I ain’t so sure about being the fastest m’am. I ain’t faced ever gunslinger out there. Truth be told, if I had my druthers, I’d just as soon not.”
She nodded, chuckled amiably, then said, “Please Dangerous Dan, call me Felina.”
“Alright Felina it is. And what’s say we keep the Dangerous Dan talk under our hats. Don’t want any of these yahoos gettin’ ideas about makin’ a name for themselves by takin’ on ole Dangerous Dan Tucker.”
“It will be our little secret….Dan” READ MORE
Maynard Blackoak is a freelance writer living in the backwoods of Pawnee County, Oklahoma. He began writing as a student in high school. His first piece was published in 1976 as part of an anthology of stories and poetry written by high school students in Oklahoma. He has written many short stories, reviews, articles and conducted interviews for various magazines. His latest work, Under the Black Oak Tree, a short story included in The Endlands Vol 2 anthology through Hobbes End Publishing, is currently available in print and ebook form.
The INTERVIEW with Fiona
Lives in Pawnee County, Oklahoma
Prefers night to day and enjoys aimlessly walking along a dirt road or absorbing the darkness in a forgotten cemetery. Two daughters, two granddaughters and one grandson with another due to arrive in December.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I will have two short stories in the soon to be released anthology, A World of Dark Spirits and the Fay.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as a senior in high school at the urging of my creative writing instructor.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I honestly don’t consider myself to be a writer. I just don’t have the body of work.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your story?
I was researching some interesting characters of the wild west and learned about a gunfighter who simply vanished from sight.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve never really thought about it. Perhaps I’m just a story teller in an old fashioned balladeer style.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title came from the main character, Dangerous Dan Tucker
Fiona: Is there a message in your story that you want readers to grasp(?
I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just to show that history can be fun
Fiona: How much of the story is realistic?
Only the main character is based on reality. He was a lawman who decided he could make more money selling his gunhand.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and A Christmas Carol
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’d be insulting one of the classic authors to consider them a mentor
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I recently read The Grapes of Wrath
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are a few I’d like to read. However, there are still some classics I need to read first.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I really don’t have anything new at the present. I’m in somewhat of a holding pattern, waiting to see if something good happens.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Not really. I just don’t believe the talent is there.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I haven’t published a novel. So I can’t answer that.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My high school teacher suggested it. I just didn’t pursue it seriously until recently. One day about twenty years ago I dabbled with it, though.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
About a month ago, I wrote a novella about antihero who tortures and assassinates corrupt politicians and corporate heads
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The challenge is to get published. There are too many talented writers out there.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Poe for his darkness. Dickens for the images his stories paint in my head. Conan Doyle for the way his novels challenge my mind. READ MORE
- Here is my interview with Maynard Blackoak (authorsinterviews.wordpress.com)