Chet Douglas strolled through the saloon’s doors with the air of a man who strolled through many saloon doors. He stood a fearsome 6’6” and wore a tattered black ten-gallon hat. His dark moustache hung sinisterly over most of his mouth, and his spiky boot-wheels clicked on the floor as he walked casually to the bar.
“What’ll it be, Chet?” asked the bartender. He was a young man with big sideburns and a part in his hair. He was visibly afraid.
“Gimme the usual, Billy.”
“One martini comin’ right up, Chet.”
As he waited for his drink, Chet glanced around the saloon. All the regulars were there: “Mad Dog” Yanovsky, Old Stinky Pete, and Cliffy the Straggler, as well as a couple strangers.
“Mad Dog!” called Chet in a gruff baritone. “You gonna pay me back my $10 anytime soon?”
Mad Dog looked up from his drink. “You’ll git yer money when I damn well got it.”
“It’s been 12 weeks, dammit!”
Mad Dog stood up with such suddenness that the whole bar quieted down. “I said you’ll git it when I got it.”
Chet nodded thoughtfully. “Cancel that drink, Billy,” he said to the bartender, and walked out of the saloon.
* * *
Outside, Chet was having a look at where all the long-doggies were parked. He spotted a fierce-looking palomino with fire in its eyes. He knew it well, he had seen Mad Dog riding it around town many times. Mad Dog loved that long-doggie.
Chet pulled out his penknife and knelt down beside the palomino. “If Mad Dog ain’t gonna pay me, I’ll have to git my money myself,” he said, and he slashed the long-doggie’s knees.
* * *
That night, Chet returned to the saloon. An angry Mad Dog was there to greet him.
“Chet, you smug sonofabitch!” he shouted, charging towards him. “I’ll kill you!”
Chet calmly pulled out his six-shooter and pointed it towards Mad Dog. “Now hang on jist a secon’,” he said. “If you learned how to pay yer debts, none of this woulda happened.”
From a nearby table, the mayor stood up. “Now see here, boys, what’s the trouble?”
“This sonofabitch let all the air out of my long-doggie’s knees!” exclaimed Mad Dog. “I had to walk home!”
“Is this true, Chet?”
“Yes sir, but only because this fella here owed me sum money.”
“I unnerstand why that made you angry, Chet, but if he don’t know how to pay his debts, violence ain’t the answer.” He put his arm over Chet’s shoulder. “You gotta teach him how to pay his debts!”
Chet put away his gun. “I’ll do it,” he said. “There’s this seminar comin’ to town about how to manage yer money,” he said. “Mad Dog, I’d be honoured if you’d come along with me.”
“Why, that’d be swell!” said Mad Dog. “Everyone, drinks are on me!”
The saloon erupted with cheers as Chet and the Mayor laughed.
“Oh Mad Dog,” the Mayor said. “When will you learn?”
And they laughed all night and into the morning.