SHOOTS PLENTY, THE COWBOY, AND THE DREAM CATCHER

Carmen walked out of the general store carrying the merchandise she purchased that included a slab of bacon, cornmeal, and flour as well as some other dry goods when Shoots Plenty approached her and relieved her of her burden.
“You needn’t do that, Shoots Plenty. I am certainly capable of carrying these things.”
“Shoots Plenty wishes to,” he replied. “You work very hard. It gives me pleasure to help.”
“Hey whore, what are you doin’ with a filthy Injun,” a gaily dressed cowboy barked. “No one in they’s right mind is gonna wanna touch you after you with one of ‘em.”
Shoots Plenty stopped and turned to look at the cowboy sitting his horse in the middle of the street with his hand resting casually on the butt of his gun while looking at Carmen.
He was wearing leather leggins with a gun belt sporting a Colt .44 revolver on his right hip. His brown Stetson was adorned with a rattlesnake skin hat band that was sweated through and caked with mud from the dust gathered from riding the dry trails in western Texas. The hat was retained by a leather cord caught about the back of his neck and garnished with 3 perforated silver dollars. He was wearing a red handkerchief knotted loosely around his neck with the knot around the back of his neck so he could wipe the sweat from his face on those hot Texas days when the sun beat down unmercifully on both man and beast. He wore iron spurs and his chaps were made from the hair of a Newfoundland. The hair was thick and long and laid in the correct way that defied the rain. His saddle was made of fine Spanish leather, stamped with an intricate design with gold inlay on the saddle horn and cantle. His saddlebags, or war bags, were made of the same Newfoundland hair and most likely contained his wardrobe, a change of underwear and another shirt.
Shoots Plenty handed back the merchandise to Carmen and stepped into the street.
The cowboy got off his horse, slapping it in the rump as it walked slowly to a water trough located in front of the general store.
They made an odd couple, standing there in the street. Shoots Plenty with his cotton shirt and deerskin leggings, knee-high moccasins, and a black stovepipe hat, bearing an eagle’s feather, cocked precariously on his head. He was covered with crossing bandoliers slung sash-style over his shoulder and across his chest filled with .45 shells for the two Colts he had holstered on each hip, with the butts of the revolvers facing forward affording a faster draw. The bandoliers kept the ammunition off his hips, making it easier for him to retrieve ammunition when needed, something he learned from his old friend and fellow bounty hunter, Esben Hjerstedt
Shoots Plenty recognized the cowboy he was facing from a poster Esben had given to him before he came to town that morning. He was a hired gunman from Paris, Texas who was wanted by the law for killing a store clerk in Austin, Texas. He had been on the run for close to two years, hiding out in the New Mexico Territory and Matamoros, Mexico. At the top of the poster it said $500 Reward. That was all Shoots Plenty needed to know.
It was a game of two and Shoots Plenty got there first, slapping leather so fast the cowboy looked stunned as he gazed down at the hole left by the .45 round that pierced his chest before his hand was even able to twitch. He folded like a paper fan.
Shoots Plenty bent down and removed the gun belt containing the Colt .44 revolver and threw it over his shoulder.
“Are you all right, my brave chief?” Carmen asked.
“I am. You should go to your crib and I will meet you later. I have a gift for you but first I have to file for my reward money.”
“Reward money? What reward money?”
“This man is wanted by your Texas Rangers. We help your Rangers find bad men and bring them in dead or alive. I prefer dead.”
Shoots Plenty went over to the cowboy’s horse and picked up its reins and led him in the direction of the Marshall’s Office. Maybe now Wasichus will take this pretty horse and let me shoot his one-eyed mule.
Later, after finishing off a meal of cornbread, fried bacon, and bean soup, prepared by Carmen, Shoots Plenty reached into his bag and removed a dreamcatcher that he made for Carmen to keep in her crib.
“What is this, my big brave chief?” she asked.
“It is what we Lakota call a dreamcatcher. Dreamcatchers represent the web of life. You should hang it above your bed. It will sift your dreams and visions capture the good dreams in the web. They will be carried with you but the evil dreams will escape through the center’s hole and will no longer be part of you.
There are many forces and different directions that can help or interfere with you and the harmony of nature and also with the Great Spirit and all of his wonderful teachings.
The Lakota believe the Dreamcatcher holds the destiny of their future.

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