Robert Walton is a retired teacher and a lifelong rock climber withascents in the Sierras and Pinnacles National Park. His publishing credits include works of science fiction, fantasy and poetry.Walton’s historical novel Dawn Drumswon the 2014Tony Hillerman Prize for best fiction. Heco-authored “The Man Who Murdered Mozart” with Barry Malzberg, which was subsequently published in F & SF in 2011. “Do you feel lucky, Punk?” received a prize in the 2018 Bartleby Snopes dialog only contest. Most recently, his story “Duck Plucking Time” was awarded first place in the Saturday Writers short fiction contest.
His website: http://chaosgatebook.wordpress.com/
Star Saloon, April 14th, 1865
John Wilkes Booth
Booth scraped 10th Street’s perpetual mud from his boots before entering the Star Tavern. He strode between busy tables with the poise of a man who is used to being noticed. Indeed, his good looks caused young women to flutter wherever he went, though there were no young women in the Star. Several men looked up from their drinks and recognized the youthful actor as he passed.
He motioned to Peter Taltavul, owner of the tavern. “I’ll have whiskey and a glass of water. Leave the bottle.”
“You usually have brandy, Mr. Booth.
Taltavul placed a glass of water, an empty glass and a brown bottle in front of the actor. “Enjoy, sir.”
Booth poured whiskey into the empty glass, set the bottle down and touched his jacket’s right pocket. It concealed his derringer. He’d loaded it most carefully in his room, fitting a brass percussion cap on the nipple beneath its hammer. He would take one shot, one perfect shot.
He sipped whiskey. A sheathed, horn-handled dagger - his backup weapon- shifted uncomfortably in his waistband.
A drunken man down the bar called out, “Mr. Booth, you’ll never be the actor your father was!”
Booth raised his glass. “When I leave the stage, I will be the most famous man in America.”
Ford’s Theater, April 14th,