"Don't that beat all?"
"Bull Creek? Oh my, I wish't I'd been there to see it done."
"He been beat up jes' grand," said Hoss Reilly. "I seen it myself." He looked admiringly at the Spalding Executive.
They had moved up and clustered around, dusting the golfer off and slapping him on the back. The golfer dodged them. "You mind telling me something?" he asked. "What about those folk that were in here before—the Tanner people, Claude, the woman in the sunbonnet? What about that man in the black suspenders?"
"You're talkin' 'bout Mark Tanner's kinfolk," Hoss Reilly said. "Well, I reckon they're fetchin' up some more kinfolk and mebbe in a few days we'll be havin' a hot time in Mullins. Regular ol' shoot-out. 'Course, it's you they'll be gunnin' fur. After all, you was the one who popped Mark Tanner and got our kin Dan Reilly all nice and avenged. Mebbe you'd be doin' the healthy thang to clear out of Mullins."
The golfer murmured uneasily. His mind lingered briefly on his difficulties with the conductor of the local train. He gripped his golf club. "I got to have me some money," he said sharply.
The hillbillies looked at him.
"Well, how about my feel" the golfer asked. "You ain't reckoning," the golfer said in a voice thick with a variety of tough accents, "that I come down from Memphis and knock off Dan Reilly...I mean t'say Mark Tanner...without charging for my services. Why, I usually charge 10 Gs for putting the slug on a man. You got to pay for someone who's so highly skilled. In Memphis we're taught by the very best people. It's a great art to mash a man to death with a wood golf club—to foozle a guy we call it—it's right up there with learning how to use an ice pick properly, and building cement shoes for a guy you want to drop in a river; a very technical skill. Particularly using a Spalding [he brandished the golf club] with its small head. And no aluminum shaft, mind you, like everyone's going to these days, but the steel shaft—not your old hickory which is what they did the bludgeoning with in the '20s, but steel, your good 100% steel. I put this shaft in myself. That's what you call craft! And mind you," he went on without drawing a breath, listening to the rush of his words with surprise, "take a look at these expensive shoes with the spikes for getting a good footing [he held a Pro-Shu-clad foot aloft] to creep up on your man in case he's chopping wood or something on the side of a hill. And look at the blue glove I've got here [he pulled it dramatically from his back pocket] just in case the bludgeoning goes badly and you've got to step forward and strangle your man...." As he talked he watched the hillbilly faces opposite, discerning there through the bewilderment a faint tightening of the features. Apparently fees were not topics which came easily to them.
"Look," he said. "I'm willing to give you good folks of Mullins a break, considering that you can't be expected to pay big-city fees for having a guy cooled. The fact is, I am willing to waive the purse money and charge you just the expenses back to Memphis, or even better to Jacksonville, Florida, where I am scheduled to foozle a guy with my Spalding the day after tomorrow." He looked at them firmly. "How about $30 on the barrel head?"
Hoss Reilly was speaking. "Wal, I reckon you get owed something," he admitted. He dug into his coveralls and the golfer could hear the jingle of change. Then he noticed Reilly's brow furrow slightly and the hand came back out empty. "Hold on heah," he said. "Les' do a bit of figurin'. Now Mark Tanner warn't worth much more than $6 on the hoof—no 'count rascal! And I ain't sure he could fetch $3 alive, much less'n $5. Now the big question is what he might fetch daid. I don't reckon very much. Why I don' know any folk hereabouts who'd fork out a nickel for him daid." He shook his head. "Now mebbe in the big city, Memphis, sort of place you come from, why, daid folk get some value, but aroun' Mullins we jes' don't stock sech things. In these parts you couldn't give away a daid person, nor indeed a whole truckload of 'em."