Ben was below, at a disadvantage, but he was a gamer. Grabbing a handful of Asa's hair in one hand and twisting his ear with the other, he uttered a stream of constant obscenities while all the time grunting and blowing his garlic breath in Asa's sweaty face.
Asa held his own, still trying to hypnotize Ben, but having little effect. Dizzy now from holding his breath against the garlic onslaught, Asa was about lose consciousness and tumble down the stairs, and he knew it.
Ben hooked one leg around Asa's in an effort to hasten the tumble. He grinned inwardly in satisfaction as he heard Asa's knee crack.
"CODSWALLUP!" cried Asa as he let go of his breath and the garlic fumes filled his lungs. Eyes watering profusely now, face flushed, the room spinning, Asa left off his mesmerizing and began to hawk up great clots of garlic-tainted phlem to project into Ben's livid and leering face. It was his only defense now. Making sounds like a cat with a furball, Asa met with success and let fly.
"RASCAL!" "DISHONORABLE TWADDLE!" Ben screamed the invectives, as the vile effluent stung his eyes. "MOLLYCODDLE!" "GOATLOVER!"
The marshal burst into the door and took the stairs two at a time, landing the butt of his drawn pistol solidly into Ben's right kidney. Ben's body went limp and he dropped like a bag of rocks at the marshal's feet.
"Sweet Lord Jesus! Mama come get your baby boy!" Ben implored as he writhed in agony.
With Ben out of the way, Asa tumbled forward in a dead faint.
As Asa tumbled down the stairs past his feet, rolling over the groaning Ben, the marshal shot him in the back at close range. Asa's body stiffened and his coat caught on fire from the close range blast of the marshal's .44.
"Freeze," the marshal barked at Asa.
Miss Mabel had returned and saw the whole thing. "I think you're supposed to say freeze before you shoot, Marshal," she opined.
"I'm new to this job," he shrugged. "I'll remember next time."
Suddenly Ben moaned and began to come to.
"BLAM," said the marshal's .44.
"Damn," said the marshal.
Miss Mabel rolled her eyes and shook her head in exasperation.
(to be continued)