The Lord protects his flock
The horse trod slowly into the village, his rider urging him on despite knowing his pain.
Their ride had been long and the tracks were rough and dry, but they kept going.
Pedro, the horse hobbled and stumbled on the rocky road as the pair moved slowly into the village.
The pair came to the village center where the bar was, the man got down and patted his friend; "We can rest here for a day or two, Pedro. Our journey is long and we're not getting younger, but the work of the Lord never ceases."
Don Miguel Astansia took a look along the road they had traveled and thought Lord, your work is worthwhile, but at times I wish I could rest my bones, the road goes on forever. Don Miguel took down his saddlebag and pulled out his Bible. The man of God had been on the road for so long he forgot the last village he went to, or from which direction he'd come; the Lord was guiding his travels.
He glanced behind him to see Pedro sipping the water from the trough slowly through parched lips, "I'm sorry that you've had to endure this torment," he said as he patted his friend. Pedro looked up from drinking with sad, tired eyes and returned to sating his thirst.
Don Miguel left his friend and walked to the saloon doors, as he entered he paused to cross himself, "Lord, you've sent me a challenge I may not be able to fulfill this time, but I will try."
The saloon's noise died as the man on the Lord walked to the bar, he brushed some of the sand off his lorn brown coat, and said, "Can I have a glass of water, please?"
At the back of the room was the poker table, and the man dealing was the worst of the worst of the gamblers, Dick Sanders. Even the pit bosses stayed away from Sanders, men who tried to take Dick Sanders on, usually took the journey to the cemetery. The presence of Sanders meant nothing but trouble, so when he put the cards down and stood up, the room went deathly quiet.
"Well, what do we have here? I don't recall asking for a Padre in my town!"
The barman out the glass of water on the counter, and reached down for the hidden gun, expecting a gunfight, but Don Miguel saw him and shook his head. The barman stopped what he was doing, but kept his hand near the stock of the gun.
Don Miguel said, "I don't know who you are, or what you've done. I do not think I am any threat to you, so keep your hand off your gun, or you will regret the next thing you do!"
Sanders sneered at his cohorts, "Look at that, if that wasn't a challenge, then my name isn't DIck Sanders and this ain't my town! What're you going to do Padre?"
"I won't do anything unless you do. I am a man of God and wish you no harm, but don't think you pose a problem to my soul if I need to kill you. I made my peace with God and he knows what's in my heart."
Don Miguel realized the situation needed to be handled carefully, so he placed his Bible gently on the bar, leaving his left hand on the cover.
The next thing Sanders did was the biggest mistake of his short life, as he reached for his gun.
Before he'd cleared leather, the Padre reached down to use his swivel holster and fired. The bullet tore into Sanders' hand and he dropped the gun to the floor.
The next few seconds flew past, those at the scene didn't believe what they'd seen as Sanders lay before them clutching his gun hand. The crowd gathered around watching as the blood seeped into the sawdust and formed clogs of red amid the yellow dust.
As the Padre tied his gun down again, the barman asked, "As a man of God, how do you live with carrying a gun, as it goes against your reading?"
Don Miguel smiled as he took the first sip, then he replied, "As I said, I#ve made my peace with the Lord. He'll take care of my spiritual needs and he allows Mr. Colt to allow me to protect my physical needs. I won't kill a man unless it's in the defense of a life." Looking at the writhing figure on the floor, he finished, "That is why you're clutching your hand, not your stomach, sir. If I felt the need to have killed you, I would have done so on a clear conscience."