A Right Good-Looking Gal

Damon Runyon

It is a very hot day in the late eighties back in my old home town out West, when One-Arm Jack Maddox and his gang come a-cussing and a-shooting into town to hold up the Stockgrowers’ National Bank.

I am not there myself, of course, but I get the story from my grandpap, who is sitting under the awning in front of the Greenlight saloon with his chair tilted back against the wall, when One-Arm Jack rides in.

This One-Arm Jack Maddox is a train robber and cattle thief, and an all-around no-good guy, generally, and every man in his gang is about the same, although some may be worse than others. He has riding with him this day Zeb Coultry, Bad Pete Jacobs, Chew-’em-up Charley Williams and the two Karrick boys, and they come galloping in on their horses raising the very dickens.

They all have six-pistols and Winchester rifles, and as they go tearing along Santa Fe Ave. toward the Stock-growers’ National Bank, they take pot shots at everybody in sight, including my grandpap.

My grandpap says he gets up off his chair very quietly and steps into the Greenlight saloon as if he is just going in for a drink, because he does not wish to be a party to a holdup, even as a witness, but my Uncle Abner always tells the story a little different.

My Uncle Abner says he is inside the Greenlight playing a little stud poker with some of the boys, when all of a sudden something goes by him like a bat out of a cave, and the next thing he hears is a terrible crash of glass as my grandpap takes the window in the back of the joint.

But, of course, you never can believe my Uncle Abner, as he is always stretching things.

Well, anyway, people are very scarce in the streets, indeed, by the time One-Arm Jack Maddox and his gang reach the Stockgrowers’ National Bank. The only one in sight is old Pat Dillon, the marshal, and he is stooped down behind an iron fireplug, and is cracking away at One-Arm Jack for all he is worth with a six-pistol. But old Pat is not much of a shot and One-Arm and his bunch do not pay much attention to him until the old boy sticks his noggin out a little too far around the fireplug and Sid Karrick clips him with a Winchester.

One-Arm Jack, Zeb Coultry and Bad Pete Jacobs hop off their horses when they reach the bank, and go inside, leaving the others outside to shoot at anybody that shows up.

One-Arm Jack walks up to the cashier’s window, shoves his six-pistol in a face that he sees inside the cage, and says like this:

“Shell out that gravy in there,” he says, “and be quick about it, too.”

Well, the next thing One-Arm Jack knows, but the nozzle of the pistol is pushed aside, and he finds he is looking smack-dab into the face of a right good-looking gal, and the gal is saying to him like this: “Why, hello Jack! What is the matter!”

Well, sir, who is this gal but Daisy Bartfield, whose old man, Dan Bartfield, is cashier of the Stockgrowers’ National Bank, and what is Daisy doing in the cashier’s cage, as it comes out afterwards, but working for her dad, who is down with the rheumatism.

Well, One-Arm Jack stands there looking at her with his mouth open, not knowing much of anything to say, and Daisy Bartfield goes right on talking, as pleasant as a basket of chips.

“Where are you keeping yourself all these years, Jack Maddox?” she says to One-Arm Jack. “What are you looking at me that way for? Don’t you remember me—Daisy Bartfield?”

Well, naturally, One-Arm Jack does not, for he never sees Daisy Bartfield before in his whole life, and, as a matter of fact, not many people back in my old home town ever see her, either, because she is just back for a summer vacation from a college in the East. She is only stalling One-Arm for time.

Now, naturally, all this gab takes a little time, maybe five or six minutes, maybe more, and a few minutes are very valuable when you are robbing a bank.

While One-Arm Jack is standing in there sort of petrified with surprise, the citizens of my old home town hump themselves and get their guns, and all of a sudden from every roof and window along the street comes a-boiling bullets.

Hearing all the shooting, One-Arm Jack and Zeb Coultry and Bad Pete comes bursting out of the bank, and old One-Arm goes over with his only other wing busted from a shot which nineteen of our best citizens afterwards claim.

Bad Pete, who is as game a guy as ever steps in shoe-leather, picks up Chew-’em-up Charley and throws him over his horse and rides away, head up, and paying no attention, whatever, to the bullets whizzing around him.

Zeb Coultry tries to pick up One-Arm, but a bullet chips him in the shoulder and he has all he can do getting onto his horse alone.

Well, they all get away but One-Arm himself, and after Doc Wilcox patches up his arm some they take him off to the sneezer, which is a way of saying the jail. As they lock him up One-Arm is looking mighty puzzled, like a guy who is thinking of something to himself, and finally he says to Bob Davis, the sheriff, like this:

“Bob,” he says, “I do not place this gal in the bank. I do not remember ever seeing her before. I am commencing to think she is mistaken about knowing me.”