The Shooting of Dude McCoy

Damon Runyon

Nobody back in my old home town will ever forget the time my grandpap shoots Dude McCoy, and the great indignation which it causes Dude.

In fact, this is one of the most exciting things that ever comes off back in my old home town, and it is written up very big in The Chieftain, which is my home town paper.

This Dude McCoy is a ranchman down in the Arkansaw Valley, and he is called Dude because he always wears a white shirt and a white collar when he comes to town, but Dude is by no means stuck up, and is highly respected by one and all, especially as he is considered a bad guy to monkey with.

He carries a six-pistol in his pocket at all times, and when he is drinking it is a good idea to give Dude plenty of room, because sometimes he does not realize who he is shooting at.

As a general proposition he means no harm to nobody, but liquor seems to have a peculiar effect on his eyesight. So when Dude comes to town and starts drinking, traffic never gets clogged up in front of him.

Well, if there is anybody my grandpap has no use for it is this same Dude McCoy, but of course my grandpap is no chump, and he does not mention anything about his feelings to Dude when Dude is drinking.

But Dude knows pretty well what my grandpap thinks, because this business between them goes back to years and years ago when they are young squirts, and he is always trying to pick a quarrel with my grandpap. Well, of course, my grandpap tries to avoid such a thing, because he is a peace-loving man, but one day Dude sends word ahead of him that he is coming into town to knock my grandpap off, which is Dude’s way of saying he will kill him.

Naturally this proposition worries my grandpap more than somewhat, as he is not the man he used to be, so he gets out a Winchester 30-30, loads her up, and goes down town to the First Chance Saloon, which is on the street that Dude generally hits first when he lands in town.

My grandpap’s idea is to see Dude and argue things out with him peacefully, and he takes the 30-30 along more for company than anything else, as he is used to having a rifle around.

Well, when he gets to the First Chance Saloon, my grandpap stands the 30-30 up in a corner near the window, and he does not notice that right in that same corner is a little .22-caliber rifle, one of these little popguns which belongs to Joey Curtis, whose old man runs the First Chance Saloon. Joey is only about ten years old, and it seems he uses this .22-caliber thing to shoot rabbits, and so forth, with.

Well, Grandpap is standing up against the bar talking to old man Curtis, and he loses track of the time, when all of a sudden he hears a yell out in the street, and he knows Dude McCoy is coming.

So my grandpap hurries to the corner where he leaves his 30-30, grabs up the rifle, pokes the nozzle out the front door and turns it loose on Dude McCoy, who is outside on a horse yelling like blue blazes.

For all my grandpap not being the man he used to be, he pops Dude slap-dab in the gizzard the first shot, Dude falls off his horse, much surprised. Then my grandpap comes on home, walking not too fast, and not too slow, and waits to have the coroner subpoena him for the inquest.

Well, the next thing we hear, Dude McCoy is in the hospital, by no means dead. In fact he is not close to dead, but he is very indignant, and what he is indignant about is my grandpap shooting him with a .22-caliber rifle.

It seems that Grandpap grabs the wrong gun and shoots Dude with Joey Curtis’ popgun, and naturally Dude is very sore. He says he does not mind Grandpap shooting him, but he cannot see why he insults him by using a pea-shooter, instead of a man’s gun.

Well, of course, my grandpap is much ashamed, and the upshot of it all is he walks right over to the hospital and apologizes to Dude for such actions. He promises Dude if he ever takes another shot at him it will be with a decent gun, but then they get to talking over old times, and finally fall on each other’s necks.

The next thing we hear of them they are out and around with Joey Curtis’ popgun, for which they trade him the 30-30 and what they are doing with it is to take turns shooting at other citizens, so it all comes out all right after all.