SLOUCH HAWKINS -BOUNTY HUNTER
By Norris ChambersHello again from Hanks Holler. I never knew Slouch Hawkins, but Stinky Fowlers dad knew the whole Hawkins family. They lived on the other side of Crying Cat Mountain.Stinky told me several tales that his dad told him about Slouch.I suspect that most of those tales are true.
Slouch Hawkins was a bounty hunter. No one knew his real name, but the ones who knew him called him Slouch. He was not a handsome man nor a well dressed one. Dirtyoveralls and a whiskered face pretty well described him. He didnt even wear a gun belt,but the big pocket on the right hand side of the overalls held a six shooter that had killed several men. Actually, he seemed to prefer bringing in his victims dead.
He had been tracking Byron Byrd, wanted for robbery and murder, for several days and had come to the wooded cattle country of central Texas. He lost the trail there, but continued to circle and hunt. He had an old wrinkled wanted poster with Byrons picture on it. He thought he had pretty well memorized the face and felt sure he could recognize him.
It was about noon when Slouch smelled smoke
and cautiously made his way toward a small fire
at the edge of a grassy meadow. A man was huddled
over the fire, apparently
eating. The day was a little chilly and the fire probably felt pretty good. The hunter crept up to within ten feet of the man, whose back was toward him, and looked him over for a
few minutes. The suspect had brought a sack lunch with him and was warming pieces of
meat impaled on a stick over the little fire. Slouch felt sure this was the man he was
looking for, but it was hard to tell from behind. He was about the right size.
Slouch pulled out the pistol and pulled the
hammer back. The slight click alerted the diner
and he turned his head toward the noise. Slouch made a split-second examination of the face and aimed and pulled the trigger. The victim fell forward into the fire and lay still.
The killer caught the victim by the foot and pulled him free of the coals, then booted him over on his back where he could get a good look. He was satisfied.The mans horse was grazing a few yards away in the meadow. It took only a few minutes to bring the animal around and throw the lifeless body across the saddle.
It was late in the afternoon when he rode into the county seat of Browntown leading the horse and its lifeless burden behind him. He had never been here before, but it was easy enough to spot the sheriffs office. He had found enough of them in his career and the word sheriff was one of the few words he could read - another one was saloon.
He walked arrogantly into the office and handed the poster to the sheriff.
I brought in Byron Byrd. Hes outside. Id like to get the $1000 reward.
Who are you? asked the sheriff. Slouch replied, Im Slouch Hawkins,bounty hunter.
The sheriff walked out the door, motioning for Slouch to follow him. The victim was hanging across the saddle with his face turned toward the horse. He turned the head around and looked into the face. Turning to Slouch he said, This is Tim Walker, a ranch hand for Bill Newsome.
Nope, thats Byron. I never make a mistake. Im entitled to the reward.
Did you check for the scar on the left shoulder that the poster mentions, and the missing big toe on the right foot?
Didnt know about them, answered Slouch, but the picture fits close enough. I cant read. The sheriff pulled the shirt back, there was no scar. He didnt bother to take the boot off for a toe inspection.
Slouch, Byron Byrd was captured here in town two days ago. Hes in the jail now. Face, scar and missing toe and all that. You are under arrest for the murder of Tim Walker. Slouchs right hand reached for the revolver in his pocket, but before he could draw the weapon the sheriff had a heavy .45 in his hand and pounded it heavily across old Slouchs head. Without hesitation he fell to the ground and the sheriff grabbed him by his long hair and dragged him to the jail.
With a sluggish grin he pushed the body into the small cell where Bryon Byrd was lying on a stone couch covered by a folded wagon sheet. As he slammed and locked the door, he gave Slouch a final suggestion: You are in the same cell with Byron now. You shouldnt have any trouble finding the right man. But the reward has already been claimed!
In due time, both cell mates were
hung. That was the end of SlouchHawkins, bounty