The clock struck twelve.
Vi was alone when the scraggly form of Salty swung open the front door and let in the scuffle of people from outside. Two of the wizened little prune’s burly “business associates” followed him in, six-shooters hanging from their gun belts. Despite the burning sun outside, the interior of the saloon was cool. Later, the glow of the foot lights and the happy warmth of lanterns would light the room, but at the moment all was cool and calm inside its walls.
The bottle of whiskey sat open and inviting in the center of the table, an empty glass waiting in front of an open stool.
She motioned to the vacant seat. “Come sit a spell, Salty.”
“That’s very kind of you, Miss Viola,” he said with an oily grin. “But I’m afraid I have an appointment.”
“Interesting.” Vi poured herself another drink and held the bottle out. “It isn’t the sort of appointment I told you couldn’t happen here anymore, is it? Where you use my place of business to hustle people?”
Salty glanced over his shoulder and licked his lips; a nervous tic she’d noticed the first time they’d met. He jerked his chin at the bar. “Give us a moment, boys.”