To Whom It May Concern

Hey everyone. This was a story I submitted for a flash fiction contest. It didn't get accepted, but I figured I would share it with you. This is my first attempt at writing something with a shorter story arc. If you feel like you got something out of it, let me know. 


“Two beers”

“Ok. Waitin’ on someone?”


The man looked at the wood floor and saw the outline of his shoes in the dust leading up to the bar. The strong, earthy smell of tobacco lifted his head toward the old gamblers across the way. The smoke made him sick and reminded him of his father.

“Two beers. Where’s yer friend? They ain’t stayin’ cold.”


The beers were frothy and sweating  and yellow on the counter. Suddenly, a cackle of laughter rose from the table of gamblers. A pretty red-haired prostitute settled into the lap of a man with a scraggly brown mustache and a brand new Remington. Two men sauntered over to the piano and the mustached man danced with the prostitute. The saloon roared into off-rhythm claps and whistles, smiling patrons twirled and tripped and spilled.

“You gunna drink that otha one?”

The man looked down at the two glasses: one empty, one full.

“Leave it.”

Outside, the cool breeze of dusk whisked away the stomping and laughing. The man walked toward the old well and pulled a sugar cube and a worn letter out of his pocket. He hoped to read the letter once more, but the moon was absent and twinkling stars did little to lighten the darkness. The orange and yellow hues of the sunset had disappeared and the distant glow of the saloon was the only light. He took a bite out of the sugar cube and unraveled the crumpled letter. He could only make out the first five words:

“To Whom It May Concern”

The light was too weak. It didn’t matter, he had memorized it by now. The man stood up and left the letter on the ground. Slowly, he raised his rusted Colt Revolver to his head. Looking away from the town and toward the desert, he smiled and pulled the trigger. His body jerked and slumped on the ground next to the well, illuminated by the recently arrived moon.