He was the son of an itinerant weasel defenistrator and he rode into town at high noon one spring day on a tandem built for one. Our glockenspiels glissandoed in trepidation as our knees throbbed with foreboding. Back in those days, this was a small one-marmoset town, little more than a wide spot in the road. The stranger hitched up his tandem to the hitching post and walked on into the saloon.
The music stopped suddenly and the conversations all died as everyone turned to watch the stranger as he strode across the wooden floor towards the bar, his tandem spurs chinking with every step. He wore the long coat and wide brimmed hat of the professional naughty person and his eyes looked straight ahead with the look of a man who has seen the darkest secrets of everyone’s erotic underwear catalogues and still lives with that horror etched deep within his soul.
He stopped at the bar, hooking one dusty tandem boot into the rail.
‘Barman,’ he said with a voice hoarse and gruff from days spent in the saddle. ‘…give me four fingers of Dandelion and Burdock. Quick!’
The barman’s hands shook as he made haste to serve the stranger, spilling some of the precious Dandelion and Burdock on the bar. The barman glanced up nervously into the eyes of the stranger as he quickly wiped up the spilt liquid.
Every person there gasped as they watched the stranger down his drink in one and slam the now empty glass on the bar. There was a sharp intake of breath when they all heard him order another one. Surely, they all thought as one, there was no-one capable of drinking two full glasses of that concoction straight off?
However, the stranger did just that.
A few moments later, he dropped a few coins on the bar and turned to walk out without a single glance at anyone in the saloon. Everyone sat still, listening intently until the squeak of his tandem could no longer be heard.
“Y’know,” one of the saloon regulars said as the piano started up again. “To my mind that had all the makings of the start of quite a story.”
“Yep, it sure did,” said another regular as the hum of conversation resumed around them.