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Five Fingers, Four

A western short story about betrayal, addiction, and The Fountain of Youth.


Jessie’s forehead smashes into a beer-soaked wooden table, smearing damp cigar ash across his face. The bustling saloon instantly falls silent, like a jabbering coterie of prairie dogs upon a coyote’s howl.

Batwing doors across the saloon creak open to reveal the outline of a round person, then pendulum back to stasis. A cane taps the floor behind each pair of steps as the figure advances.

It’s the coyote.

The Satin Spur’s owner, Wyatt, approaches Jessie. He’s wearing a brown suit topped with a bright red bowtie and a devious smirk. Jessie knows that smirk. He’s seen it a thousand times. “People will never respect you,” Jessie’s father used to tell him of men like Wyatt, “you have to force their hand...Givem’ no other choice.”

Where in the World are Zack, Shelby, and Skutull

Current location:  London, England
What we’ve been up to: Enjoying stand-up comedy, 70mm film screenings, and various food markets around London.
What’s challenged us: To put it simply, UK door locks. You see, the locks here lock automatically when you shut the door. You don't need to put your key in and turn the deadbolt when you leave. In a way, it's nice because you never have to worry if you remembered to lock the door ten minutes after you leave. However, as I recently discovered, it's also possible to walk out the front door, pull the door shut, and as the lock clicks the deadbolt into place, realize that you've forgotten the key inside. No need to worry, the locksmith broke in within 30 seconds, which left me wondering if the door locks are worth having at all.
Miles traveled: 25,483 (1.02x )
Days nomadic: 326 (0.89x )
 Our Story |  Map of Our Journey |  Future Itinerary

Favorite Stories & Resources

  • Movie: Parasite - An exhilarating Korean film that beautifully portrays the "every man."
  • Book & Movie: Pride and Prejudice - The classic love story set in the English countryside.
  • Quote: "No worthy problem is ever solved in the plane of its original conception." - Einstein

Message from Zack

I wrote the first draft of Five Fingers, Four in early 2021 as a standalone short story, but was inspired by the themes and characters upon completion. I spent about a month in the summer of 2021 outlining a full novel that expanded upon it. I may some day write this western novel, but I concluded that I have higher priority novels to write for the time being. For now, I hope you enjoy the short story, but don't be surprised if I someday send you new stories starring Jessie, Mary, Davy, Dorothy, and Jessie's father, James.

You can reply to this email if you have any thoughts, questions, or just want to say hi. 

What did you like? What could you do with less of? I'm always trying to improve both my writing and this newsletter. 

Thank you for your support!

Enjoy the journey,

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Copyright © 2022 Zack Thoutt, All rights reserved.

Zack Thoutt
9450 SW Gemini Drive
Beaverton, OR 97008

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