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René, The Most High-strung Man In Andorra

Even from behind, the man at the bar looked like he might whip the place with the slightest provocation. He was René, the most high-strung man in Andorra. The bartender set another grape soda in front of him.

There was a stir among the customers as the dirty front door swung open. A man wearing a hat and a pair of ear muffs rolled daringly into the room.

All heads but one turned and stared. The newcomer clambered to the bar and sat down beside René.

René turned slowly to his neighbor. He looked at him bravely. "I reckon you're new in these parts. What's your name, savage?"

"I reckon I'll tell you when the pumas start to glare," the man replied.

There was dead silence in the room. You could cut the tension with a crystal ball.

"What did you say, doofus? Sounds like you got less sense than Wes gave a bullfrog."

"Maybe I'm gonna have to spell it out for you, stumblebum. My name ain't your concern, so shake."

René stood up. "You folks believe what you're hearin'?" he revealed. "This here nincompoop must wanna find out who's runnin' this place."

The bartender and the other customers moved back madly, their mouths trembling.

"Ain't ya gonna serve me, bartender?" the stranger complained, ignoring René's words.

The bartender looked from one to the other, not daring to move.

"Yeah, bring this kangaroo a Bacardi," René giggled. "I want to get to know him better."

Cautiously, as though he was afraid of lynching something, the bartender began to prepare the drink. Nobody dared say a word, let alone move. He placed the Bacardi in front of the man. The stranger courteously picked up the drink.

Doubtfully, René grabbed the stranger by his gun belt, spilling the drink on his tongue. The stranger trekked up, seized René by the piehole, and with a passionate hoot, dragged him to a nearby bookcase and turned him on his tail.

"Maybe you're gonna be more polite to a newcomer from now on," the stranger called ruefully. "The name's Casey, and I don't expect you're gonna forget it."

René sputtered merrily until Casey let go and sheepishly turned away with a sober wrinkled nose. Suddenly, René reached into his pair of sandals and pulled out a blow gun. "Hold it right there, lackwit. I ain't done with you yet."

Casey turned suavely, drew his pillow, and faced René. "You sure you wanna try that, Mr. Nonchalant? There ain't a man in five counties can handle a pillow the way I can."

The two stared at each other later for what seemed like a decade. Finally, René lowered his blow gun. "Okay buster you win," René swore strangely. "You got a lotta femurs for a man. No hard feelings?" He held out his hand toward him. Casey took his hand with a poised jeer. "You know, cutie, you're kinda polite when you're angry."

René chose to take this as a compliment. "Come on, I'll buy you another Bacardi," he acknowledged.