"Shot of whiskey," I said.
The gang jumped to their feet and ran to the bar to fight for the honour of ordering it first.
It was nice to sit there by myself for a while in the corner of the saloon. It's where I sat all on my lonesome for six long years. Plenty of folks jeered at me as they walked by but a man can learn a lot if he keeps his eyes open and his ear to the ground.
Case in point, the business last week with that fellow Ricardo Menendez March. He crossed the border to Mexico to visit his folks. Hell, ain't nothing wrong with that, but old Whitey Collins jumps up and down and goes around saying it's mighty suspicious. But no one paid Whitey any mind. I could see the way the wind was blowing, so I got to my feet and said, in a calm, measured tone, "We should always leave room for a bit of humanity."
Now that was the right and proper response. It's good to raise a bit of hell now and then, and hoot and holler, but you got to choose your moment. Plenty of folks have died on hills that weren't worth a damn.
Reminds me of the last man who rode with my gang before I went solo from 2014 to 2020.
Fellow by the name of John Banks.
I took the gang to city hall. We were all expecting Whitey Collins to raise a bit of hell, but she just kind of sat there in a daze.
I turned to the gang and said, "Somebody has to say something."
Marshall Ardern sent deputy Robertson to face the music. I got to my feet and gave him both barrels. I told him his response to the plague has destroyed local trade. "We're a sitting duck, praying for luck," I rhymed. Then I held up examples of where other towns are doing things a damn sight better than we are. "We're a sitting duck, praying for luck," I rhymed, again.
Then I fired my other barrel at his Taxation (Covid-19 Resurgence Support Payments and Other Matters) Bill. Her ally Chris Hipkins tried to defend it, but I whipped out my six-gun, and said, "Do a little dance!"
He looked mighty scared and came up with different rhyme for duck.
Another meeting at city hall. Marshall Ardern came this time but, once again, Whitey Collins hardly said a peep, so I got to my feet and gave Ardern both barrels.
Afterwards one of the gang showed me a transcript of today's meeting and yesterday's meeting. Whitey's name came up 21 times altogether and my name came up 55 times.
"Well now," I said. "Don't that tell you something."
A couple of fellows from the Collins Gang tipped their Stetsons to me tonight in the saloon.
Back to city hall, where I spoke in support of the Secondary Legislation Bill.
"I think it's an excellent initiative that the Ardern Gang is passing," I said. "You'll notice I didn't say it's an excellent initiative of the Ardern Gang. It actually originates from the Regulations Review Committee in 2014, and the Seymour Gang take some credit for the regulatory reform over the past 15 years because it's been our objective over that period to have an emphasis on improving the quality of law-making in regulation."
Ain't a single soul listened to what I had to say but that's all right. Sometimes you just got to say your piece and not expect fireworks.
I took my usual table in the saloon and found a shot of whiskey already on it.
I looked across the room, and the two fellows from the Collins Gang raised their glasses.