100 COFFINS

“You tryin’ to get me shot to pieces?” Cadman said defensively. “What’s goin’ on in here anyhow?”

Another man approached, shouldering through the crowd. He extended his hand to Cadman. He was a young man, clean-cut, with a round, reddish face. He smiled. “We didn’t think the outsiders were going to make it,” he said. “But we’re certainly glad to have you here with us tonight. My name is Joseph, sir. And I am very pleased to meet you.” Joseph exuded congeniality, too much in fact. His was an artificial personality, constructed with an eye to a strict agenda.

Cadman turned, leaning his back against the bar. “Roth Cadman,” he said, shaking the young man’s hand. There was no need to turn the thought over in his mind; Cadman didn’t like the fellah for an instant.

At the sound of Cadman’s name, the old man at his side grinned widely. “Cadman?” he asked. “Well a man would be mighty amiss if he hadn’t heard of you. Joe, you know who this fellah is?”

Joseph shrugged blankly. “A child of the lord.”

“Why, he’s a bounty hunter. Been in the paper several times. Three weeks ago when he nabbed Charlie Volquez just north of the border. Roth Cadman. Name’s Mortimer J. Alexander,” the old man said loudly. “I’m impressed to hell with what you do, young man.”





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