“Jake Salmon, we sentence you to hanging for the murder of a lawman.”
“This is what he said to me.” He blew a stream of the blue cigar smoke into the ceiling and watched it float on the soft glow of the candle light over the table. His mind came back to the hanging. “They put a rope around my neck and tied the other end to the bridge rail.” “Any thing you have to say before you die Jake Salmon.” “Yea,” I said, “you’re a bunch of yellow belly skunks.” “Two of them set me on the edge of the rail so I could look down.” The water below lay frozen stiff and still. “My mind rushed forward to the picture of myself swinging from the bridge till spring; that didn’t favor my thoughts.” “I looked again; the ice is blue as a dead mans lips down there.”
Miss. Breakstone pushed her glass forward for him to fill; “tell me why you didn’t hang Jake.” His trembling hand finished filling her glass and returned to his own when he spoke again in an angry voice. “I ll tell you why I didn’t hang.” Putting the glass to his lips; he drank the shot straight down. “Taking her hand, he placed it on the seam of his trousers at the thigh.” “Give that a squeeze,” he said, as he slurred his words. She squeezed his leg; “what is that Jake?” He laughed; “my secret weapon.” Sticking his fingers into the pocket seam of his trousers, he pulled the ivory handled straight razor from its hiding place and threw it open before her eyes. The blade gleamed bright and dangerous as he turned it around backwards to show her how he cut the hand ropes in half before they hung him.
“No lawman ever gonna take Jim Salmon into custody.”
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