It was a rough town. Hot and dusty, where unshaven men showed off sweaty armpits as a mark of machismo.

Tough Guy pushed open the swing-doors and stepped into the smoky saloon – Bristle and Saddle Sores. He paid no attention to the stench from unwashed bodies. He was unwashed too. He walked over to the bar, placed an elbow on the counter and turned to survey the place.

“What’ll it be, stranger?” A typical welcome from a typical overweight bar-keep.

“Brandy.”

“Ain’t got none.”

“Beer.”

“Ain’t got none.”

“Firewater.”

Bar-Keep scratched his chin that said let’s see now. Then he said,

“Nah. Ain’t got none.”

“What d’ya have?”

“Pina Coloda.”

“Okay, I’ll have the Puerto Rican.”

“One unwashed Puerto Rican coming up.” Bar-Keep turned his back.

‘Si, senor?’ Local drunk sidled up and said,

“Buy me a drink.”

“Why?” said Tough Guy.

“Why? What do you mean why?” Local drunk  has plenty to say. He came close to the stranger. Real close. Like, in your face close. Like you can see last week’s beef jerky stuck in his rotten teeth close. “B’cos I’m thirsty, that’s why.”

“Bugger off.”

“Brit? I thought we whipped you redcoats years back.” Local Drunk knew his history.

“I’m Aussie.”

“How come you ain’t walking no upside down?” Local Drunk knew his geography too.

The saloon had gone quiet. All eyes were on the duo by the bar. No one paid no attention even to Miss Boopsie. Everyone admired her… brains.

“Did anyone ever tell you you’ve bad breath?” said Tough Guy.

“What d’ya mean by bad breath?”

“Halitosis.”

“Why you no good sonabitch.” Local Drunk stepped back and drew his gun.

A shot rang out. Local Drunk flew off his feet and crashed into a conveniently placed table. China-made. Built to shatter real-easy like.

“Anyone else reckon they know my mother?” said Tough Guy. He waved his gun as he spoke.

Cowpokes and card-sharks dived for cover. They found the congressman, the banker and the priest under the table with Miss Boopsie. They were admiring her… brains.

“Take it easy, son,” said Bar-Keep. He knew everyone’s mother. “Here’s your drink.”

Bar-Keep slid the glass across the bar counter. It jumped over the chewed tobacco, skirted a couple of bottles, did a somersault and stopped right next to Tough Guy’s hand.

“Mud in your eye.” Tough guy knew his scripture. Of course he downed his drink in one gulp. Bet you never seen a tough guy take a dainty-like sip.

Peace restored; the piano returned to life. Everyone went back to gambling. And drinking. And hollering. And admiring Miss Boopsie’s… brains.

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019

20 comments

    1. The Chinese are a resourceful people and in general, they stand united. I believe this century belongs to China and India. America, which has replaced the Soviet Union as the evil empire, is in decline. This is sad as I’ve always been a great fan of America. But then again, they have millions of well-meaning decent people and might reinvent themselves yet.

      I also believe India can do better than China if not for the politicians and their provincial politics. And frankly, India holds hope for humanity and a better world – more so than China.

    1. Not meant to throw jabs at anyone, my friend – unless you mean that in a nice way 🙂

      But I always use bankers*, politicians** and priests*** as punching bags.

    2. I knew you meant it in a nice way, my friend 🙂

      If we go down the list of professions – there are many more. Roast the first three and the rest will fall in line, I reckon. For example, the first three hand-in-glove enact the laws – lawyers simply feed off the teats.

  1. And why not! I recently learned on a science TV topic a woman thinks with two hemispheres and a man with only one. Kind of fits in with your story Eric if you get what I mean. Miss Boopsie seems to know that too. You did mention she was clever. It has always been amazing to those in Northern climes how those of us from the Land of Oz manage to walk around without falling off the world. The secret is in the little suction pads on our feet. Let that be our little secret! I’ve walked into one of those bars with swinging doors for a meal in a little settlement far off the freeway in Montana. There was a deadly silence when we entered. Strangers in town! Fortunately no one shot us, however these days that would be a possibility.

    1. Two hemispheres to a man’s one – takes off in many tangents:-)

      Small settlement in Montana fits the description of most villages in India, South East Asia and probably everywhere else.

      Cheers!
      Eric

  2. What a laugh, I like most is “Everyone admired Miss Boopsie’s…brains.” Looking for wrong things at wrong places, LOL.

    You really perk up the day with this, Eric.

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