The Dual

It was a day much discussed and the whole town gathered around the dueling trees, hoping to see a man die. The sun beamed through the leaves of the eastern oak tree, displaying a serene pattern on the ground and shimmering in the early morning dew where blood was to be shed. Leather clad feet crushed the new spring grass as people ambled up the small hill. Every man and many of the women in the town were gathering to witness the challenge. Some of the older children also found a way to sneak up the hill in hopes of watching a gallant battle. A challenge had been made and the citizens of New Orleans all wanted to know one thing: What weapons would they use?

"Mornin' folks. Fine day today," the witness said in a long drawl, as people approached the dueling site. "Hope to see a fine fight today. Odds are on Mr. Robins. Place your bets with the man in the cap over there. That's right. Has anyone seen our warriors yet?"

"I have arrived," said a tall gentleman walking up the hill. His hair was drawn back in a ponytail that whipped out from behind his gold-rimmed, black fedora and tumbled halfway down his crushed velvet coat. "Where is the cowardly son-of-a-wrinkled-brown-pork's-ass?"

"The son-of-an-ass has arrived and you had better keep Mama out of it, or she'll be the one killing you today."

"And who might you be, sir?" asked the witness, indignantly.

"My name, sir, is Oswald G. Pilthrot, and I am here to answer a challenge from this slanderous dog." Oswald had his hair cropped short and his hat was slanted off to one side due to lack of care. His dusty leather jacket was wrinkled and looked like he had not bothered to remove it for bed. His trousers had no crease and his shoes wore a fine layer of mud. His only claim to finery and his station as a gentleman came from his ability to defend himself with the solid oak, ivory-hilted cane which he always carried with him. "Now, shall we get on with this insanity?"

"Please state your names for the record, gentlemen, then sign here." The witness signed his name and instructed the other two men to do the same.

"Alcee Robins," said the tall gentleman.

"Oswald G. Pilthrot. Let's forget all this crap and go find a beer -- on him," said Oswald, clapping Alcee on the back.

"We shall do no such thing, you ill-mannered Yankee dog! I . . "

"Now, now. There'll be plenty of time for that later. Please state the offense given and reason for the challenge." The witness then handed the duel book to Alcee, pointing to a line near the bottom of the page.

Alcee spoke his entry aloud, "The monstrous horse's ass, pile-of-elephant-dung, bucket-of-maggot-infested-lard. . ."

"Ahem, please keep it brief," said the witness.

"Yes, sorry. Oswald looked at my wife with lustful eyes."

"Is that all?" whispered someone in the crowd. "I wanna change my bet."

"Are you both prepared to die in defense of your honor?"

"Yes," proclaimed Alcee in a proud, confident voice.

"Be it possible, yes," Said Oswald in a nonchalant manner.

"Be it possible???!!!" exclaimed Alcee in a shrill voice, highly excited. "What in bloody hell does that mean?"

"You shall see."

"Now, what weapons will you two be using, Oswald? Pistols, swords, knives?"

"I have brought two weapons with me today. . ." Oswald beckoned a friend to approach with a box. The crowd parted, clenching their hands to their noses in disgust to let him pass.

He proceeded to set the box on a stool and opened the lid to face Alcee.

"What? Is this some kind of sick Yankee joke? You expect me to fight with one of those?" shrieked Alcee in a thoroughly outraged tone.

"You were man enough to issue a challenge. Are you not man enough to follow through?"

"This is madness! I fefuse to fight with. . . with. . . THAT!" Alcee stalked off down the hill.

"Suit yourself, coward, don't kick yourself in the ass on your way home to that lovely wife of yours!" Oswald shouted after him. He then walked over to his friend, picked up the box and shouted, "Party at Moe's Tavern, folks! Eats and drinks is free!"

"How do you fight with a fish that size?" asked a man as he walked down the hill, intent on a free fish barbecue.