He killed someone today.
Of course, it’s par for the course in this remote pocket of the Arizona territories, but even in a time where death by shootin’ is effectively natural causes, it was shockin’. An’ that’s down to the fact that John Peters Ringo ain’t the kind of man who wastes bullets on frivolities. Not for him the drunken thrills of shootin’ at the moon. Heck, no. He’s way above that kind of puerile approach.
A gun, he says, should be used for emphasis. A period. An exclamation mark. Never a comma.
I’ll share a secret. Most folks in town don’t understand more than half of what Ringo says. He’s educated, see. Mostly self-taught, but nonetheless has a capacity for knowledge and learnin’ that most of us here in town can’t even start to comprehend. Round here, things come in multiples of ten. Beyond that, stuff starts to get complicated. Johnny Ringo stands out head and shoulders because he’s got smarts.
There’s them who keep tally on the score – that long-runnin’ intellectual battle going with that two-bit Georgian dentist, but the pair of ‘em have the decency to keep their so-called superior intellect off the streets. Ain’t nobody wants to see two well-dressed dandies squabblin’ over the correct conjugation of the verb ‘to go’ in Latin.
Ringo don’t drink as much as the others of his ilk. Which ain’t to say he don’t drink at all – that would be incorrect information. He drinks hard an’ he drinks heavy. But he don’t let it dictate his actions. First man to check his hardware at the bar usually, an’ the last to reclaim it at a night’s end.
So what happened, I’m hearin’ ya ask. Well, my friend, it was like this. Louis Hancock was in town, an’ ain’t nobody likes him around. Arrogant don’t even start to cover it. Man’s attitude is one of the most unpleasant goin’. Thinks he’s better than anybody else. More handsome. Stronger. Better with the ladies. An’ get this – in a move so stupid ya couldn’t even start to comprehend the magnitude of it – he gets so drunk he can barely stand. He heads into the Oriental, standin’ square an’ he tells Johnny Ringo that he ain’t so clever.
Ya ain’t got more than ten brain cells to rub together in that head of yours. Think y’all are smart? If that were true, ya sure as hell wouldn’t be hangin’ out here in this run down minin’ town, adornin’ yaself with cheats an’ whores.
Well, it so happens that Mr. Ringo has his current favourite gal on his arm, don’t he? Bess, they call her. Pretty thing, too. An’ he tells Hancock to mind his manners an’ watch his mouth. But Hancock’s well away with the whiskey fairies by now an’ he starts insultin’ Bess with a mouth so dirty even the mules wouldn’t go near it.
Well, Ringo’s got a surprise up his sleeve. Literally. The Derringer finds its target, enterin’ Hancock’s left cheek an’ lodgin’ in what little brain there is in that head. Rips the man’s tongue clean apart an’ kills him pretty much instantly. Ringo sits there, Derringer smokin’, an’ stares without any comment at Hancock as he topples like the biggest tree in the forest.
Ain’t nobody makes disparagin’ remarks about women ‘round Johnny Ringo.