by Bob Boze Bell
August 24, 1877
A wild picnic is in progress just outside the city limits of Denver, Colorado. Notorious brothel owner Mattie Silks is among the party crowd. She is with her “kept man,” Corteze Thomson, a handsome, fleet-footed gambler.
After numerous rounds of drinking games and bawdy fun, Silks notices a voluptuous business rival, Katie Fulton, displaying an extreme amount of affection toward her man. Words are exchanged, and threats are made. Neither soiled dove backs down.
A duel is suggested and agreed to, with Thomson acting as Silks’s second and Sam Thatcher as a second for Fulton. Pistols are produced. To facilitate better aim, both women strip to the waist. In classic dueling fashion, the two women step off the required paces, turn and fire.
In the twilight, a cry is heard, and a body falls to the ground. Everyone rushes forward through the billowing gunsmoke to see which queen of the demimonde is still standing. To the crowd’s surprise, both prostitutes are still on their feet. Thomson, however, writhes on the ground with a bullet in his neck.
Great story, except for one problem: It didn’t happen.
Here’s the real story...