‘This afternoon when I first got wind of your uncivil plot I dictated an official response from town hall that I intended to Xerox and post in your letterboxes… But insofar as I have just decided to put the mail on strike tomorrow I guess I will just read it out to you now. It’s not as if many of you have the ability to read in any case,’ said I. I took the note from my back pocket:
‘”Dear the lowly residernts of Shitsville–“‘ I read, and stopped. ‘Resi dernts? Who fucking typed this? – MISS SUMMERTIME?’
It was all too much for me. I screwed up the letter and threw it at Miss Summertime’s head. She gave the same screech she does when she sees a bird and held her head as though she was bleeding.
‘Don’t speak to your sexy secretary like that!’ said Roger. ‘You alright, Miss Summertime?’
‘Uh-huh,’ she nodded.
‘Right-ho,’ said Roger, and slapped her arse.
Hubbub. Consternation. I took a minute to compose myself.
‘I’m sorry, simple townsfolk,’ I said at last. ‘I’d like to speak to Roger alone, if I may…’
Roger came up the stairs and we went into the mayoral offices while the residernts stayed downstairs firing into the ceiling whenever they got bored. We went and sat at the desk and I poured us both a slug of the fine old Mayoral whisky.
‘Now Roger, darling,’ I said when he had had a long drink. ‘Things seem to have gotten a bit out of hand here. You and I both know — since we were discussing it just last night over Shitsville’s finest — when I ran into you in the blue room at the whorehouse, remember? — you and I both know, and you know yourself deep, deep, down in your ingrate’s heart, that you don’t really want to be mayor. It is all a very silly idea brought on by too much sun and possible peyote hallucinations and all of that stuff they whisper to you after midnight in the whorehouse when it’s a slow night and there’s no one waiting for the next half hour slot.’
‘Uh,’ said Roger. ‘Maybe? I don’t really know.’
‘The fact remains that duels are very dangerous. Only one of us can come out of this alive. When really I bare you no ill will. Really I should like very much to see you live long and prosper!’
‘You said last week “I hope you die!”‘
‘Last week in Ginger’s…’
‘I don’t seem to recall it…’ I said. ‘But I know if I do sometimes make violent threats to your person, Roger, it is only a kind of Cockney poetry. And when I say things like, well when I said I wish you would hang yourself or choke like Isidora Duncan on the length of that ridiculous frou frou scarf it is only because, well you have such a dear, fair, sweet, angelic little face that I can’t help but wonder… what it would look like if you were to be choked. You sort of belong up there in the ether…’
I poured him another drink before he could protest.
‘Let me tell you something about the citizens of Shitsville, cousin…’ I said confidentially. ‘They’re all mad. They can’t be trusted to know what they want. You’re a visitor too, you should be able to see… Everyone in Shitsville is mad. Everyone in Texas is mad. Every jerk-off I’ve met since I got here… They’re all off their fucking nuts!’
It’s a testament to the incredible spiritual insight you can gain by drinking a shop-floor’s worth of peyote every Tuesday in Shitsville, that very occasionally poor daft Roger would say things that could be considered “perceptive”.
‘But you must be a bit mad too,’ said Roger. ‘Or you wouldn’t have come here.’
Cont’d here: The Very Last In Texas.