Drawing a happy face in the head of his beer was the only mantra he’d ever known, even if mantra was in his vocabulary.
“Damn, I’m thirsty,” He called out to nobody and drew no attention. He felt it important to note the legitimacy of his frothy beverage for some reason or perhaps it was his pride trying to tell all that he had something more to glean from a pint than them. Either way, the bartender nodded; no amusement or hospitality shone on his face.
Hamish thought to himself but was clearly speaking aloud, “Let’s see what the rest of the world thinks about this.” He drew from his pocket a fistful of shining silver and slapped it on the roughly cut and poorly stained bar.
“And keep em’ coming!”
There was a band playing on the dusty street for some festival announcing the arrival of a mayor or some official who’d surely change the town. He heard the sharp and metallic wail of a harmonica and the twang and pluck of a banjo drifting in through the saloon doors but he was largely unaffected.
Wrapped in the glamour of a seventh jar, a numerical rarity for a man of his talents and income, he acknowledged the music only by a tapping of his foot. For Hamish, the world had taken a rosy yet foggy hue; it was abstract, foreign and disarming. Hamish toyed with his glass.
The saloon door opened and the celebratory music increased momentarily in volume; a breeze rolled in from outside, kicking up dust and spilling beams of sun into this dark place. The music died softly as a quarrelsome group entered. They were covered from the red dirt of the trail and stinking of sweat and labor. The four walked slow as molasses into the guts of the tavern, slowly walking past patrons who stole timid glances; They strode brazenly into the poorly lit room. Their direction wasn’t scattered but a bit desperate by the look of their gait. Each man donned a swagger that evinced a stout and dangerous superiority to the denizens of this miserable establishment who succoured their feverish thirst in the stunning darkness.
Approaching the bar, several called for drinks, however their interest was directed towards one person.
Hamish was laughing to himself, seemingly oblivious and red in the face. He was flicking peanut shells at different targets and making childish noises as he’d hit the targets. He turned his stool and aimed a shell at a patron’s glass. It missed and sailed up, over it, hitting the man who just entered square in the forehead.
“Pow!” He exclaimed “Got ya!”
The man stood up and slammed his glass down and his eyes looked like pointed daggers ready to do the cutting by a just an excruciating stare. The tallest, most serious of the quarrelsome party picked up a shell off the counter and sipped froth from his jar. He kicked Hamish’s stool with enough movement and sudden violence to knock him almost off the seat.
He reeled with confusion. With his reveries demolished, he stood and spat on the ground.
“Who shit in yer’ pork pie…!” He turned towards the aggressor. The stool fell over and made a crashing noise that put the room on mute.
“What do you…”
His face went pale and he wiped his mouth with an open palm.
Hobbie Pulled his britches up from around his ankles and began buttoning them. Some pretty, young thing influenced by silver and gold, lay benignly smiling on a red upholstered divan.
“I had to, you see, I wanted to help your family.”
He looked at her with a furtive glance but her expression was mute and her eyes were glassy from the drug.
Hobbie heard noises and violence from downstairs; he hastened his toilet, threw on his duster and girdled his holster and pistols.