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Eddie's Better Side

Eddie’s Better Side

Story by Emmjay

Merv was looking worried.  Well, Merv was almost always looking worried.

“What’s the John Dory ?” inquired Hung.

“It’s our new neighbour” said Merv.

“What, you’re having a cow over some dude moving into the place the other side of Rosie’s Tattoo Emporium and House of Pain ?” said Hung.

“Not just any dude, Hung.  This one raises dodgy to a whole new level.  THIS ONE (Merv cleared his throat and most of the front bar) is none other than Eddie O’Bad” said Merv.

Stunned silence fell hard upon the front bar of the Pig’s Arms.

“That’s right, dear patrons – none other than Father O’Way’s archdiocese nemesis” said Merv.

“Holy Haloumi”, said Hung, “Falafel me dead.  O’Bad’s got a ladyfinger in every pide in town”.

Jules could have sworn he heard a faint trace of the theme to ‘the Magnificent Seven’ – or maybe it was the prelude to the ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’.

A swirl of dust made its way across the car park, dragging a reluctant tumbleweed dislodged from Danny’s long-deceased car yard next door.  The street was deserted – not so much in the way of one of Granny’s after the main course trifles – more by way of the desert sands that were starting to encroach from Erskineville.  It was silent outside save for the mournful wail of the wind and the ghostly whiff of baking biscuits from the old Peak Frean’s factory – gone the way of the Wagon Wheels of Hung’s youth.

Nobody could remember when the honky-tonk piano had arrived in the Pig’s Arms front bar and nobody could recall the crusty old presdidigitator ever playing anything other than “Walk the Line” – over and over and effing over.  And so against a constant backdrop of innerwestern cyberian sallonery, they knocked back shots of pink liquor and chanced their hands at 3 card stud klondike blackjack poker or Yukon whist snap when they weren’t thinking about having a go at some Old Maid.

“It’s pretty draughty here, all of a sudden, Merv” said Hung, sidling up to a tall stool at the end of the bar with a commanding view of the car park. “So why are you sitting at the end of the bar with the commanding view of the car park, Hung ?” inquired Merv without any expectation of a reply that was likely to make sense.

“It’s the Wild Bill Hickock, move, Merv”, said Hung (who never disappointed with a reply).  “The one time he broke his own rule and sat with his back to the door, some mongrel wandered in and shot him in the back”.

“Do you know something that would be really good to share with me at this point, Hung?”

“Look, I’m not sayin’ anything like ‘drive by shootin’, Merv”, said Hung, “But if I was you and you was me and Eddie O’Bad moved into my territory like he’s movin’ into your patch – the patch that turns a fair amount of foamy amber liquid into liquidity, I’d be lookin’ up the phone number of our old mate Crispin Bacon and hopin’ he was in town and open for hire”.  And I’d be hopin’ that the Pig’s Arms archangel Father O’Way was on his…”

The sudden cessation of the piano playing left a sizeable hole in the soundtrack of the pub.  It was filled by the impressive arrival of a largish black limo with seriously opaque windows drawing to a gravel-crushing halt in the Pig’s Arms car park, followed by the ‘kerthunk’ closing of four doors.  And then the sound of the speed dial on Merv’s mobile…