Nevertheless the tension remained, and something was going to have to give. A town meeting was called and the chief vigilante/ whorehouse owner/ deputy mayor Jack Daniel (that was his name) said, “We want Miss Shitsville Out; we want Roger In.”
Fair enough, I thought, but what about all of the funding I had found for civic projects, re-opening the high school, restoring the historical blue room in the whorehouse, etc. I had organised six successful cattle raids, abolished the dreaded curfew, the Shitsville economy was booming etc. etc. etc. All to no avail. It was Roger they wanted. Outside the desert wind was blowing the trees straight over so they made snap-snapping sounds. The union reps from the Shitsville whorehouse clacked their lace fans at me curtly.
“Fine,” said I. “If you want Roger you will just have to come to the sheriff’s office tomorrow and fill out an Application for a Leadership Challenge form.”
So I was at the sheriff’s office at 12 the next day, oiling my rifle as I was wont to do at that time. Roger came in. He looked slightly awkward as he asked me for a form. I told him they were readily available on the internet so he went to the computer against the wall and printed one out. Then he came back to me and asked for a lend of my Bic so he could fill it out. Then he stood at the desk filling it out slowly. He looked very boyish and lovely filling out that form with his corn-golden hair falling in front of his corn-flower blue eyes, and sniffing every now and then so his moustachios twitched, with his tongue between his teeth to concentrate – oh and I should mention, he had a slight lisp. A mother’s heart would melt like a tub of butter in the white Shitsville sunlight. I have been very clever here and ably demonstrated the fine line you can walk between being in love with someone and wishing they were dead.
Then I told him he had to take the form to the Post Office. I would be there from 3. We went and had lunch together at the saloon while he waited for the P.O. to open. We got very drunk. He was a very cool cousin and did a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the saloon organ with the Shitsville drunkard/Baptist supplying Texas-style percussion by rattling his collection tin . Roger was quite musical like a lot of cosy upper middle class boys are. Then at 3 I opened up the P.O. and Roger came in there. I sold him a stamp and he posted the form. At 5.05 I was sorting the mail and at 6 o’clock I posted it in my own mailbox.
Well that is all very well and good but in Shitsville when you want to have a leadership challenge what you do is arrange a duel. Duels go back to jousting and courtly codes from like King Arthur’s times and basically the belief is that judicious God will fight on the side of Right and so hypothetically the good guy will always win. Unless of course God is a sly bastard, as I sometimes suspect. I’m sure you’ve seen it in the movies once or twice.
Roger had challenged me to a duel in the main street at 12 noon. Sorry to go on about the administrative procedures but they are important because essentially the form declared, officially and legally, etc., that whoever won the duel would be allowed to become / remain Mayor of Shitsville and no body would have the right to question their authority; whoever lost the duel would quietly withdraw and never challenge the winner again, nor incite violence, etc.
So at high noon the following day – the sun in the sky cracked Shitsville in half like an egg – the whole town turned out to see me and Roger duel. We shook hands. “All right, cousin,” we said, and winked. We turned our backs, we took twenty paces, the whistle blew and I – I –
– I shot Roger Shitsville dead.
Accidentally, of course.
Read Next: At the Very End, In Texas