In a Western movie, he would have been one of the bad guys. Not quite the worst bad guy—the leader of the outlaw gang or the iron-fisted landowner trying to take over the entire valley and marry the small rancher's pretty daughter against her will. No, he'd have been the chief sidekick or the hired gun, the one who never said much but who was always there, a figure of quiet menace looming in the background.
He looked the part, from his wide-brimmed black cowboy hat, to the black denim duster over his black jeans, to his polished black boots. The holster on his belt was black leather ornamented with metal studs. The only light things about him were the blond hair that curled past his shoulders and the three-day growth of whiskers that added an outlaw touch to his weathered face.
He shouldered through the door, pausing for a heartbeat while everyone in the place pretended not to look at him. When he located his target, he started across the room with the slow, deliberate stride of a predator. Each step was punctuated by the thump of a boot heel; only the jangle of long-roweled spurs was missing.
The woman he was after was at the far end of the room. She was tall in her boots and jeans, and slim—hard-work lean rather than fashion-model slender. Her straight brown hair, tied at her neck, hung nearly to her waist. The man in black spoke to her. She nodded and began to follow him toward the door.
As they walked, she showed him what she had in her cart. She had found a pattern, she told him, and the gauzy white fabric and silver wire trim were just what she needed to make angel wings for the church Christmas program.
While she paid for her angel-crafting supplies, he waited near the checkout counter, one hand resting casually on his cell phone in its leather holster. They walked out of the fabric store together, got into a bright yellow Jeep, and drove away.
Western drama just isn't what it used to be.