two aces, two eights

The long, frizzy hair, slicked flat at the top but bumping out and falling at the sides like a Spaniel’s ears (the effect of all those years in a hat, I guess); the lachrymose handlebar moustache; the face open and smooth but then sharp at the cheekbones, like it’s been planed from a block of maple; the sad, ‘sorry I had to shoot you’ kind of eyes – it all adds up.

Mr Smith is a spit for Wild Bill Hickock.

And if it’s true, then what a falling off there was.

From the glitzy sawdust rings of the world, to a glitchy two-ring cooker. From shooting plates from the back of a galloping horse, to aiming into a bottle from an armchair.

Deadwood to Deadbeat.

Mr Smith hasn’t moved from the chair since the ambulance left him there last night. He scarcely knows what time of day it is.

‘Saturday?’ he says, his head inclined to one side. ‘Thursday?

The heat in the flat is overwhelming, but it’s impossible to get to a window because of all the crap in the way.

A gang of flies is busy cutting a pentagram into the noisome space above his head.

He reaches down beside him, not for a whiskey, but for a two litre bottle of cider.

‘We need to move your furniture around a little, to make it easier to get about,’ we tell him.wildbill

He shrugs.

‘Just so long as I’m not sitting with my back to the door,’ he says.

Takes a slug.

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