In this fifth interview we meet the second of Ace’s five associates. Our fictitious interviewer, Mr. Bigg Faquir, is unable to make bail, and so he will not be joining us. As I watch my guest coming in, I must say it’s quite a sight. He removed his Stetson and ducked his head to get through the doorway. I hope his boots and spurs don’t mark my floor up. His checkered shirt and leather vest are cheery enough. He has dark hair, beard stubble and he’s borderline emaciated. His walk is a rolling amble, made necessary by a genuine case of bowleggedness.
GW: Greetings, Tombstone.
Tombstone: Howdy, pardner. Nice digs ya got.
GW: Thank you. Tell me, what’s your full name?
Tombstone: Ah’m Gregory Jamison, born an’ raised in th’ vicinity of El Paso, Texas.
GW: I would have guessed Tombstone, Arizona.
Tombstone: Because o’ the nick? Ah picked it up on the French front durin’ the Great War. Tell ya what, to them Limeys, it’s all the same. El Paso an’ Austin an’ Tulsa an’ Tombstone might as well be the same town instead o’ hundreds o’ miles from each other.
GW: Mostly true, I suppose. On the other hand, can you put Devonshire or Stratford on a map?
Tombstone: Nope! Good point, pardner.
GW: What was your role in the war?
Tombstone: Communications engineer. Meanin’ radio communications, o’ course. Radio’s quite the amazin’ thing, y’know. Ah got a feelin’ we’ve only scratched the surface o’ what radio can do.
GW: What year is it?
Tombstone: You feelin’ all right, there, son? It’s 1921.
GW: I’d say we’ve only scratched the surface of what radio can do. What do you think of Gooper?
Tombstone: That overstuffed egocentric top-heavy ginger walrus? Oh, he’s a nice feller. Mostly nice. Well, nice after ya get used t’ the smell.
GW: Heh. So, what about the rest of the associates?
Tombstone: Tell you what. Sam’s the one you’d buddy up to after hours, but they’re all good workin’ pardners. Diff’rent strengths an’ weaknesses, you know. I got somethin’ else to say, too. Ev’ry one of ‘em, even that lard butt Gooper, would take a bullet meant fer you. I mean me. I mean any one of us. Heck, you, too, ya four-eyed li’l squirt.
GW: I’m honored. I think. What is your relationship to Ace?
Tombstone: She’s the glue, son. She’s the gas in the engine, an’ the oil, too. She brung five headstrong varmints goin’ five diff’rent ways and made ‘em into a team.
GW: And what’s the goal of the team?
Tombstone: Ah ain’t gonna answer that straight. We got a detective agency an’ we take cases. Let’s let it ride right there.
GW: Now I want to know more.
Tombstone: Ask somebody else. I’ve got t’ ride.
GW: You mean, you have to go?
Tombstone: I mean I got t’ go, and I got t’ ride. Ride away on mah horse, Sparky. Good luck, there, pardner.
GW: Good luck to you, too, Tombstone. Happy trails.
Here are some choice quotes from Tombstone, taken from the Ace Carroway books.
- Gooper abuse 1: “Oh, who invited you, Gooper? Ding-nab it! Out o’ th’ fryin’ pan and into th’ fire! I ain’t sure I kin stand bein’ cooped up with this here blubbery Brit!”
- Gooper abuse 2: “You jes’ try it, ya ginger donkey butt.”
- Gooper abuse 3: “Aww, keep your hat on. You’re not bulletproof, you knuckleheaded Limey.”
- An expression of surprise: “Well, rope my ankles and call me a dogie!”
- Soothing the resident genius: “Don’ get a burr under yer saddle, Ace! You’re a cyclone an’ ain’t none of us Pecos Bill enough to lasso you!”
- On hunter-gatherer society: “Shewt. We think we got it tough. Jes’ think about them cave people. Even if they hunted a critter, next thing you know they’d be fightin’ t’ keep it against sabretooth cats or giant bears!”
- When a plan is hatched: “Ma’am? Let me offer a translation on behalf o’ my cohorts. All of that means: We’re in, and when do we start?”
I have two limericks today because they’re both awful, and I’m hoping that, somehow, by presenting twice as many, it will be their meager virtues that double, not their considerable demerits.
Tombstone’s a tall drink of water.
He’s six feet from boot toes to snotter.
He can’t play the harp.
With a rifle, he’s sharp.
With ‘lectrical gear? Slick as an otter.
Tombstone’s a tall drink of water.
He charts AM waves on a plotter
Transceiver or Stetson
He’s ready to fetch some
Varmints for Carroway’s daughter
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