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Murdock walked over to the piano player, who was making a feeble attempt at "Sweet Betsy From Pike." He tapped the musician on the shoulder. The man looked up and Jack made a cutting motion with his hand. The man stopped playing. A few people looked over at Jack. He placed two fingers between his lips and gave out a shrill whistle. All conversation ceased instantly and everyone turned to stare at the dark stranger.
Jack cupped a thumb in his belt, and in a deep, clear voice said, "I am John Murdock, Black Jack Murdock, and I wish to make an announcement." His dark eyes swept the crowd, lingering now and then on an individual face. "Some of you may know me, and most will know why I'm here. The reason for my presence is to help a few friends with some trouble they're having. That trouble takes the form of three felons named Jones, and a gunslinger who goes by the handle of Snake River Reese." Again the sweeping gaze, and now the black look of John Murdock was there for all to see. He raised his voice a notch.
"Do these buzzards have friends here? If so, let those friends step forward." No one moved, and Murdock repeated, "If you feel you owe allegiance to these men, step forward." A slight pause. "But before you take that first step, make sure you have a weapon in your hand."
He met the gaze of several men and each one looked away. "Your sheriff believes that this Jones bunch and their uncle, Robert Reese, haven't a friend in the world. I tend to agree since I know them to be varlets and skunks of the first water, four pieces of trash, which my companions and I intend to sweep away." Another pause. Every eye in the place was on him. "Does anyone disagree with me? If so,now is the time to speak up."
Black Jack finally nodded and said, "Sheriff Wilkie is evidently correct. These misfits have no friends."
He walked among them, addressing an individual here and there, the ebony eyes boring in. "Greet them with silence," he demanded. "Show your backs to them. Shun them."
Mike, the bartender, watched Murdock like a mesmerized mouse, staring at a cobra. He tore his eyes away, glanced at the wall clock, and saw that it was almost two o'clock. He sure had a story for Dosh Colson.
Murdock reached the exit, turned back to the crowd, and said, "A very pleasant day to you all."