The little guy just stood there, the broken chair gripped in his hands; he stood there looking down at the knocked out Bull, and turned slowly, deliberately to the rest and said:

"I don't approve of fighting like that."

I guess I ran lightning a close second the way I got to my feet. The place was full of miners. I knew these guys. Their conception of fair play was a long way from the man who had saved me. No fight, no matter how dirty it may seem, brooked interference. Even as I stepped to his side I could hear the growls of the men.

Without turning my head from the circle of sullen, bearded faces which had suddenly formed a ring about us, I took the chair from the little guy. I felt a surge of admiration for him. He was breathing in gentle nasal gasps. And I could see from the corner of my eye that he was as unflustered as if all this was a meeting he was to address.

"Better step aside, Gloomy," somebody said from the rear. I have always noticed that it's always someone from the rear who starts the ball rolling, keeps feeding the flames. The guys in front are the ones who do the battling. "Okay, boys," I said softly. "Fight's over. Go on back to your eatin'." "Fight's over for you," the voice said. "But not for nosey Joe. We want him!" "Better do as Gloomy says," Jennie's voice commanded.

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She was suddenly the center of the stage. I guess we had all forgotten her in the excitement of the fight. She was unforgettable now. I looked up at her; she stood on top of the counter, a .45 looking a bit incongruous in her hand, yet somehow as if it belonged. And her eyes were narrowed in determina- tion. There was no doubt in my mind that if needs be, she would use the gun. I guess it struck the rest that she would, too.

"If you guys think," she continued, "that I'm goin' to run my size nines down to the ground because your food got cold, you got another think coming. That hash you ordered's gettin' mighty heavy just sittin' around. And I ain't gonna cook up a new mess."

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That did it. Jennie was not only the waitress, she was also the cook, and the proprietor of the place. Someone laughed, another said, "Atta gal, Jennie," and another said, "Well nothin's cookin', gang, let's go."

The sigh that I heaved came right out of my boot tops. No wonder it squeaked, the way I laced up my twelve inchers. But the little guy wasn't fazed at all by the excitement. He resumed his seat and turned again to me. It was as if nothing had happened.

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Neural Network Novellas: Wanted - Dead Man #4