Tight Spot

Jesse James sat at the bar in the Mixed Grill, debating whether or not to ask Harry for advice. Everyone seemed to think Harry was like Houdini. Well, maybe not exactly like Houdini. Jesse didn’t know if Harry was capable of getting himself out of tight spaces, but the bartender did have a reputation for helping everyone else out of their own tight spots.

And he was in one.

A big one.

“Mr. James,” Harry acknowledged Jesse as he set his scotch in front of him. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Well, Harry. It seems I’ve developed an undeserved reputation around here.”

“Indeed, Mr. James. I believe they call you the Outlaw.”

“That’s right. Not that I’ve done anything to actually earn that title.”

“No. I believe Vance christened you the Outlaw even before you set foot in town.”

“That’s true. So, you know, I can’t exactly be held accountable for it sticking.”

“Most of Vance’s nicknames do stick.”

“Yeah, but my girl—she attends the University of Colorado—and unfortunately, she’s caught wind of this Henderson Happenings e-newsletter and has signed herself up.”

Harry tilted his head. “Neither of you lives in Henderson.”

“I know, right? I just come to play in Pinks’s band on occasion and to see my brother Duncan.”

“So why is your girlfriend interested in the Henderson Happenings?”

“Because she happened to hit the website and saw a picture of me playing the guitar and singing. It was the one that caught that girl Lolly tossing her sweater onto the stage. The one they won’t take down even though I’ve asked them to repeatedly. So now, my girl thinks that’s what goes on when I’m here. That all kinds of women are taking off their clothes and throwing them at me.”

“That sort of is what happens when you’re in town,” Harry confirmed.

Jesse leaned in. “I know that. And you know that. But I’m not interested in her knowing that.”

“I hear ya,” Harry said, wiping his hands on a dishtowel. Then he placed them both on the bar in front of him like he was bracing to deliver Jesse James the bad news. “But it’s the truth.”

“The truth can be misconstrued. Like she might think I like it when women do that.”

“Don’t you?”

“Well, yeah. I do. But, again. I’m not interested in her knowing that.”

“You like this girl?”

Jesse shook his head. “No. I love this girl. Fiercely.”

Harry shrugged. “Then that’s it. You love her, and no matter how many women toss their clothes at you, they can’t turn your head. Tell her that.”

“What if she doesn’t believe me?”

Harry winked. “Pretty sure someone worthy of the nickname the Outlaw knows how to convince his woman to believe him.”

Jesse thought for a moment. Then he held up his scotch in toast to the guy who just handed him the key to getting himself out of a tight spot.

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