‘So do you work in the whorehouse too?’ said Roger.
‘No,’ said I. ‘I’m the mayor.’
‘You’re the mayor!’
‘Yes,’ I said. ‘This is my town. I make the rules. I decide what goes on here. Who comes and who goes. Who can stay and enjoy our fine Texas hospitality and who oughter go and get fucked.’
‘Wowsers!’ said Roger. ‘That’s really cool.’ He looked wistfully at the barman, who had already started to set up the next round without a word from me. ‘Must be nice being mayor.’
‘It is nice, Roger. It is,’ I admitted. ‘But it’s not all boots and badges. Takes a lot of hard work being mayor. I am largely responsible for keeping this place together. If I was sick a single day it’d almost immediately fall to shit. None of the guys would be here if it weren’t for me.’
‘Jimminy,’ said Roger. ‘They must all really respect you and praise the day you came on into town.’
There was a gunshot in the backroom. Plaster fell from the ceiling. Louella got a fright and said, ‘Shit on me. Goddamn I hate this fucking place.’
‘Of course they do,’ I said to Roger. ‘In their own sweet simple cretinous way. It’s different out here in the heart of Texas. Men don’t show their feelings. They think it’s a sign of weakness… Fact is, you can only get hurt when you love something. If you don’t love anything, nothing can hurt you. You could shoot this whole place to bits, or give it back to the tax department, no one would give a shit, they’d just haul their asses [donkeys] on to the next one horse town. But I know they all respect me deep down. It comes out in odd ways.’
By the side Jeff spat noisily into a spittoon. At the tables they were going on with the card game; Texas Strauss laid out a handful of aces; Jack said, ‘Son of a bitch.’
‘And of course it is my first duty as mayor of Shitsville to get on with the job no matter what,’ said I.
‘Who’s that?’ said Roger. He was looking over my shoulder to a bosomy blonde sitting on the lap of Texas Strauss.
‘Oh, that’s my sexy secretary, Miss Georgia Summertime,’ I said. ‘Miss Summertime works with me in the dim government chambers when I’m dictating important council matters.’
‘She looks like a good time,’ said Roger.
‘She can’t type for shit.’
Cont’d here: Takin that long walk off a short pier in Texas.