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The Watering Hole: An Undead Saloon (Fourth-Wall Friday)

Fourth-Wall Friday

Cowboy and a Vampire - Fourth-Wall Friday


NOTE: Night time excursion – mid-level risk – possible paranormal exposure – bring a stake!!


Sipping my beer, which is getting warm and flat fast, I am wondering if the intel was right about the two writers. Calling up the notebook app on my phone I start typing, the awful piss-water which was the draft special.

Something is up here, and it seems to be leaning against the bar wrapped up in a delicious set of muscles and dreamy eyes slamming vodka back like it’s water. Damn it, I need to be able to keep a low profile on this eavesdropping excursion because the rumors are true, the area is saturated with vampires. I do not get it? It is a hick town, with a hick diner, albeit great pie and coffee, and weirder yet, there seems to be an influx of money lately. That or someone had struck gold and was going for the United Nations look.

Slipping the phone back into my purse, I raised my head to see about getting someones attention for a refill, they had to have something other than Coors LITE, this was awful. Just then I finally noticed a poker game. Quickly I check my images, sure enough that is him, Clark Hays, author and apparently the rumors were true, a real cowboy, but what really caught my attention was the bounce of long brown hair headed towards the bar…


Clark just hit a full house, which keeps him in the game — but just barely. I’m down nearly twenty bucks.

My clothes and hair will stink like smoke by the time we leave —a stagnant cloud front of cigarette smoke is parked over the place at about shoulder height. A few cowboys lean against the bar drinking Coors Light. An old movie poster of John Wayne hangs limply on the wall and an even older man with skin like a tan alligator plays penny slots next to me. The television blares a football game.

Bars in rural western towns never serve decent wine. Usually it’s the screw-top, single serve, no-name bottles you get on airplanes.

After thirteen years of being married to a cowboy, I’ve been through a thousand towns like this and drank crappy wine in a thousand similar bars.

There’s an authenticity to these towns that makes me, a city girl, feel oddly at home. I’ve learned from firsthand experience that the cowboy myth was created, packaged and sold by Hollywood. There are real cowboys of course, but they are human just like the rest of us. One thing’s for sure though, western men ­— and women — will always tell it to you straight. There’s value in that.

Clark improbably hits a straight flush. That’s gas money for the next few days. I let him know I’m headed to the bar for another mini-bottle of chardonnay.

I should know her name, the bartender; we’ve been in here enough times. Clark told me that in high school, she was a “destination resort” for all the boys and even a few girls. Two decades later, she still looks pretty good. She’s single now, I heard, after the third divorce.


Clarisse, I think. She looks nervous though. Well, a mixture of nervous and intrigued. Judging from the cut of his expensive clothes, the man in front of her at the bar is definitely no cowboy. And Clarisse is flushed, a patch of red flaring brightly at the base of her throat.

As if sensing my gaze, he turns to face me.

Wow. Broad shoulders, carefully trimmed hair, a dazzling smile. This might be the most handsome man I have ever seen in my life. He smiles and scoots his barstool to the side giving me access to the bar.

You like vodka?” he asks.

Sure,” I answer.

Clarisse! A shot for my new friend.”

Quick as can be, there’s a glass in front of me and he lifts his, motioning for me to do the same.

To Lazarus. And to Lizzie,” he says.

We both down the shots and the alcohol goes right to my head.

Is Lizzie your gal?” I ask. It’s odd how my language seems to devolve to the expected vernacular in these western towns.

No. She is the queen of vampires and our only hope. But soon, I fear, she will be dead. Permanently inside The Meta and my kind will be extinguished like a candle blown out.

I was mesmerized by his dark eyes and his Russian accent. My face feels hot. Did he just say vampires? I should leave, but my legs aren’t listening.

He pours me another shot, which I leave on the bar, fighting the desire to throw caution to the wind.

To Mother Russia,” he says, downing his and slapping the bar. “Bring me another bottle,” he says to Clarisse.

I can sense the growing irritation of the cowboys at the other end of the bar. This is Wyoming and they tend to be a little insular. Plus, they don’t like foreigners. I’m pretty sure they won’t cotton to a Russian spouting off about what they probably still think is a communist country. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a bar fight, but something tells me this man is tougher than most. He’s got a feral kind of confidence.

The temperature in the room seems to have changed.

I look back at the video poker machines and Clark is watching. He asks with his eyes if I’m okay. I think I am, so I nod and turn back to the Russian. His stare is fierce, wolfish even.

What is your work?” he asks.

I’m a writer.”

Of what?

I’m a journalist and a novelist.

Well, lovely writer, I have the biggest story of your life if you wish to hear it.”

I’m equal parts scared and excited and I know I should leave, but my good sense fled at the site of his smile.

It is about ancient bloodlines and power beyond all reckoning. It is about a woman who holds the fate of the world in her hands and in her womb. And I don’t need to tell you the story, I can let you experience it yourself, if you allow me to send you to another place, to a place between life and death. All I ask is a few minutes with your neck.” In his hand, a tiny sleek blade glints.

This got weird and creepy fast, but it still makes such perfect sense. I feel like I should let him do that, show me whatever he wants.

Then Clark is standing beside me with his hand on my arm.

How you doing?” he says. “I’m Clark. I see you met my wife Kathleen.

Ah, so you too have a cowboy,” the Russian says. “I grow weary of cowboys.

That’s an odd way to say hello,” Clark says, nodding to Clarisse, who pours a double of Maker’s Mark over light rocks and places it on a sodden cardboard coaster. “Let’s try again. I’m Clark. And you are?

Forgive me. I am Rurik,” he says. “I was offering your wife the story of a lifetime.

Clark looks at me quizzically. “Yeah, what about?

If she gives her blood to me, I can send her to The Meta and she will see the face of her God,” he says. “I can send you just as well.”

Yeah, that’s not gonna happen,” Clark says, stepping between us. I feel his muscles tensing.

Just then, one of the cowboys at the end of the bar, turned to face us. “Hey, Count pain-in-the-ass-unov,” he said. “Take it easy over there. We’re trying to have a conversation here.”

The man named Rurik smiled evilly at us and looked at the winning video poker receipt in Clark’s hand. “I guess this is your lucky night.” He turned his attention to the men.

My friends, you are right, I was rude. Drink with me,” he says, a wicked grin in his voice.

I take Clark by the hand and squeeze. “Come on, let’s get the hell out of here.

He cashed in the video poker ticket, paid for our drinks and we walked out into the tiny main street, looking up at the star-spattered sky above.

That was weird,” I say.

Seriously. What was his deal?” Clark asks.

I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out. Think there’s any possibility we could find a vegan pizza in this town. I kind of want to spend some time in the hotel room. With a chain on the door. And chair under the doorknob.



Clark Hays, a true cowboy


About the books

Blood and Whiskey (Pumpjack Press, May 2012), by Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays, is the second book in the The Cowboy and the VampireIt’s a wickedly funny tale of love, loyalty and sacrifice in the modern west.

Read my review of Blood and Whiskey


Find out more about The Cowboy and the Vampire Thriller Series




Clark & Kathleen - the real cowboy and vampire behind the book series

Clark Hays grew up in Montana in the shadow of the Tobacco Root Mountains. In addition to his fiction work, he is a cowboy, a published poet and occasional food critic. Recently, he was nominated for Pushcart Prize for short fiction and not so recently for a Rhysling award for poetry. Clark brings a deep knowledge about the modern west, weaponry, country music and existentialism to his writing. Kathleen McFall grew up in the heart of Washington, D.C. She worked as a petroleum geologist and, later, as a journalist, and has published hundreds of articles about scientific research, energy and natural resources. An interest in the overlap of science and mysticism are an essential aspect of her fiction writing. She received an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship for fiction writing.




SPECIAL GUEST POST & AUTHOR HIGHLIGHT – Allow yourself as an author to open up a new avenue of sharing your AUTHOR PERSONA & WORLD BUILD in a unique and creative fashion.. Just take a chance, write fluidly and from within that “place” you hangout at with your muse when you are writing. Walk in the door and sit down, watch your characters, talk to them… this is not a character interview. Why I call it Fourth-Wall is because it allows you to look out at us, your readers and audience and occasionally say, hey, what can I say, they are fairies/spies/cyborgs/zombies/policemen etc.. or step in and grab a soda at the local store from within your world build.

Interested in bringing your own Fourth-Wall Piece to Cabin Goddess?


PLEASE peruse the archives if you are wondering just what a Fourth-Wall Friday can do for you as an author and just how special it is!

(as much as I abhor Wikipedia this is a quick run down.)

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  1. Thanks for letting us buy you and your readers a round in the Watering Hole. It’s our favorite drinking establishment in LonePine. A night out can leave you feeling a little drained, however, which is why we tend to be daytime drinkers when we visit.

  2. Awesome little back and forth here. The series looks intriguing!

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