THAT NAME’S POISON
“I thought you were pards . . .”
“We rode together, it is true,” Ortiz said, “but that alone did not make us amigos.” He glanced away, squinting to study the rugged skyline. “And still you have not answered my question. Do you think Slip has the money from the bank?”
Sol shifted in the saddle. “If he has it,” he said, “he hasn’t mentioned it to me.”
Paco Ortiz smiled. He glanced at Sol, and there was a sudden momentary warmth in the Mexican’s eyes.
“Amigo,” he said, shaking his head, “you do not owe that one your loyalty.”
Sol was surprised by the kindliness of the tone, and he answered honestly.
“Figgered that out for myself, Paco.”
“Bueno,” Ortiz murmured. “Sol, I will say one thing more, now that we speak the truth. Only this. I do not know where Slip has the money — maybe he has given it to you to hold until he is ready to run. Maybe it still lies where he hid it before the posse caught him. The thing to remember is that one of us will die over that money — Slip or me. I hope you do not get caught in the crossfire, young Sol. I say that from my heart. I remember you when you were no bigger than a jackrabbit. I am not much of a man, but that I remember. I would not like to kill you . . .”