The year’s 1876. Old Grandma Jones is washing dishes in the gutter. We tell her not to. It’s dangerous up there. Carrying hot water up a ladder’s not safe, and all the suds just run away down the drain pipe. She doesn’t get a good lather, but she squeals at us if we try and stop her.
I remember the day clearly because it was the first time I wore my lucky hat, plus my mother and father were killed, and my two sisters. I was also wearing that hat when the fire station burnt down, and the year there was no crop for harvest, and the time my uncle got ran over by a stage coach. Come to think of it, I shouldn’t wear that hat so much.
I’ve gone and given away the ending, ‘cause what happen next was Boss Fitzgerald swanned into town. Man, that’s quite a sight. Most of us rode horses. Imagine a 300 pound, six-foot man with a full beard and a six shooter strapped to each side riding a swan, tugging its elongated neck to and fro down the main street. You got to hand it to that swan. Man, that was some swan.
He comes in and shoots to death my mother and father and two sisters, without so much as a word of thanks, and then swans back out of town. If I wasn’t holding the ladder for Grandma Jones to I’d be shot through too.
I guess in some ways, that really was a lucky hat.