Dust settled on my jacket while I waited for the Mexicans in the rocks on either side of the pass to put away their rifles.  They thought I couldn’t see them, and I couldn’t.  That didn’t stop me from knowing they were there, rifles trained on me, sweat on their brows, finger twitching with fear on the trigger, one false move away from oblivion.  My horse swayed and stepped uneasily beneath me.  He sensed that something was wrong, but how could I convince him that 6 untrained Mexican farm boys hiding in the rocks with second-hand rifles pointed at me were no match?  He would just have to wait until the smoke cleared.  Or the paunchy middle aged man who seemed to be their leader came to his senses and called off his boys.  I didn’t mind spilling some blood that day, but it would slow me down and I needed to be on my way.  Someone was expecting me, and she wouldn’t take kindly to being made to wait.  Men had died for less.

My hands held the reins, my rifle strapped to the side of the horse, my pistols in their belt.  None of them were loaded.  No need to carry the extra weight. Read more