Part The Second of TWELFTH FIGHT finds Frank, our hero in the Bath House. He’s taking time to rid himself of the dust of the trail. Spending a penny or two getting all the accoutrements of cleansing his tired body and soul.
While he revels in the froth of the tin bath, a gloomy, angry figure approaches from the west and confronts Frank in all naked vulnerability. Our hero immediately stiffens and puts out an arm’s length opening ejaculation.
“Wilt thou tarry disturbing such rich suds
and pray give me dignity of my duds.”
Mr X snarls out,
“Your hand hidden, holds hollow sword not soap.
Your tongue wields flannel, takes me for a dope.”
Frank retorts with,
“Avaunt you cur, tis not hatred I desire.
Yet, you persist ‘til time begs you retire.”
Frank springs up , suds all over and, given his special nakedness, Mr X stands stunned at the sight but not for long as a couple of shots ring out and Mr X lurches forward into the soapy water. In a gruesome Eureka moment, the soapy water resembles sarsaparilla as it spouts all over the floor.
“Tis in pity I see you undermin’d
by calumny’s blinkers, they made you blind.
Not a word but by bitter hollow sword
now the play is ended go letheward
but I go on and learn more of laughter
you’ll crave silence in that hellish hereafter.”
Frank dries himself and dresses in readiness for a night on the town. He emerges on to the main street of Fiscal, Taxes and as he passes the undertaker, he throws out a subdued couplet.
“Spread your wings and measure his last, sad length,
follow me yet in your customary strength.”
Solomon Grungy retorts with a hint of business-like excitement,
“Should I good sir, order more solemn wood?”
Frank, almost at the saloon again, replies with a resigned tone,
“Request it sadly, here there’s too much blood.
I’ll strive to avoid such craft as I should
tho’ drab sword slingers choose metal not mud,
biting hatred when they might chew the cud.”