That Last Kiss

Contributor: John Laneri

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It was a Saturday night, and a group of us from the Double T were celebrating at the Dead Horse, a saloon on the outskirts of San Angelo. We had just ordered beers when a cute little lady wearing jeans and a red tank top started circling our table.

“I’m selling kisses for five dollars”, she said in a friendly voice.

I tossed her a smile. “Cowboys don’t kiss. It ain’t’ natural.”

“And, why not?” she asked, as she settled onto my lap and draped an arm about my neck. “I bet cowboys are good kissers.”

“We are, but we only kiss when we have good reason.”

She fluffed her hair and offered me another smile. “I’ve always liked rugged men with happy faces.” She paused to look me over, her eyes going from my curly hair to my freshly polished boots. “You're exactly my type.”

“That’s good enough for me,” I said, as I pulled five from my pocket and proceeded to lay a big one on her lips.

She sighed deeply, her softness pressing me close.

Coming up for air, I said, “Wow… that was great.”

“Was it your best ever?" she asked playfully.

“I need another kiss before sayin' for sure. But, you’re better than Mildred.”

Her eyes searched mine. “Who’s Mildred, your wife?”

“No ma’am,” I replied laughing. “I’m not married. Mildred’s my horse.”

She smiled politely, as if she had expected to hear something more lasting, then she came to her feet and headed toward Charlie, one of my friends from the ranch.

I settled back to work my beer, watching while she moved around the table, going from person to person presenting them her lips. By then, I was beginning see her in a different light, and I liked what I saw.

From time to time, I noticed her look my way, and soon, we were communicating something special between us. It was as if we had been friends forever and were ready for some serious re-acquainting.

Finally, she returned to my lap and quietly settled her head against my shoulder, her eyes going to mine. “I've never known a man like you. You make me feel so hot. I could kiss on you all night long.”

I sought her lips. She responded eagerly, the warmth of her caress overwhelming me with pleasure – that is, until the thud of boots stopped beside us.

“What the hell are you doing with my girl?”

Suddenly, she went flying off my lap like someone shot from a cannon. I came to my feet trying to explain her little game and found myself confronting fiery eyes and a bull neck. It wasn’t long before I was on the floor kissing a size twelve boot.

“Don’t hurt him, Big Jake…please. He's a good man. I was only selling play kisses.” She reached into her pocket and shoved a hand full of money toward him. “I’ve already turned twenty-five dollars – just what you wanted.”

He eased off the boot, and grabbed the money. “Twenty-five dollars! That ain’t enough. I told you to charge these yahoos ten bucks a head.” He returned to me. “The lady’s worth more. How much you got, cowboy?”

I mumbled something unintelligible.

He gave the boot another nudge and growled, “I asked you a question, and I don’t have time to stand around.”

“Probably about twenty,” I replied quickly, using the side of my mouth to talk.

“Then, hand it to her – you underpaid.”

I did as he asked and felt the boot ease away. Soon, I watched him stomp out the door with her in tow.

Feeling a bit dazed from the ruckus, I lifted my head and turned to my friends, “Why are you fellows grinning like that? She liked me.”

Charlie slapped his leg in laughter. “I've never seen a girl jump so high. I’m bettin’ you tasted like Mildred; otherwise, she’a stayed in your lap and finished that last kiss.”

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John is a native born Texan living near Houston. His writing focuses on short stories and flash. Publications to his credit have appeared in several scientific journals as well as a number of internet sites and short story periodicals.
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