He shouldered through the swing doors, sauntered up to the bar, iron studs echoing on the polished hardwood floor, spurs jingling.
“Four Americanos, one macchiato, one latte, a cafe mocha, and two cappuccinos. To drink in. Pronto, signor.”
“No problemo,” said the barista, “You just back from a drive. How was it?”
Slim pushed back his battered Stetson, mopped his brow with his neckerchief, “Sure was long. Long ’n dusty.” He narrowed his eyes, stared into the distance, thoughts of days in the saddle, meals of bacon and beans, the taste of dust, all running through his mind. They hadn’t lost many this time – one or two to coyotes, half a dozen to rustlers. Not bad for a herd of several hundred. The boss would be pleased.
“Anything else?” said the barista.
Slim looked over his shoulder at his crew slouching at the window table, “Any pastries, boys? Or cookies? Chocolate, mayhaps?”
The men hadn’t had any luxury for weeks now and it took a bit of time to for them to make their decisions. The spell away from town had taken its toll and tongues were tripping over some of the pronounciations. French didn’t come easy to unschooled cowhands like these and they were far too proud to walk up to the displays of croissants, pan aux raisins, and mille-feuille and point.
Just as the barista was about to complete the order, the older of the hands, Ole Rusty, called out. “I’ll have me an Earl Grey, not a cappuccino.”
The room went quiet. Chair legs scraped on the hardwood. Slim tensed, adopted the position, legs akimbo, hands loose at his sides only inches from the butt of his Colt 45. He spat out his well chewed cigar. In the opposite corner a hard man dressed all in black and with a star pinned to his chest reached for the shotgun resting on his knees. The two saloon girls crept out through the back door.
“Sure, no problemo,” said the barista.
The relief was palpable. Slim tossed some coins into the tips saucer, the man in black went back to his Sudoku, and the saloon girls returned to drum up some business.
“Now, lads,” said Slim sipping on his coffee, “After this, it’s off to the Gents’ Emporium for showers and some grooming. Try and avoid hipster style. And your wages have been deposited in your accounts.”
“Yippee-Yi-Ay,” sang Rusty.
“Ghost riders in the sky,” chorused the others.