Me and this girl, whose name is Raquel La Costa, her being Spanish that way, are sitting peacefully at a table and I am just beginning to get started good telling her how her eyes are like dark pools of night (pretty hot, that one; I got it offa Mushy Hansen, who is all poetical like), when I notice her looking over my shoulder at somebody. This irritates me slightly, but I ignore it, and having forgotten what I was saying, my mind being slightly hazy for some reason, I continue:
“Listen, cutey–hey, who are you winkin’ at? Oh, somethin’ in your eye, you say? All right, as I was sayin’, we got a feller named Hansen on board the Sea Girl what writes po’try. Listen to this:
“Oh, the road to glory lay
Over old Manila Bay.
Where the Irish whipped the Spanish
On a sultry summer day.”
At this moment some bezark came barging up to our table and, ignoring me, leaned over and leered engagingly at my girl.
“Let’s shake a hoof, baby,” said this skate, whom I recognized instantly as Bat Slade, champion box fighter of the Dauntless.
Miss La Costa said nothing, and I arose and shoved Slade back from the table.
“The lady is engaged at present, stupid,” says I, poking my jaw out. “If you got any business, you better ‘tend to it.”
“Don’t get gay with me, Costigan,” says he, nastily. “Since when is dames choosin’ gorillas instead of humans?”
By this time quite a crowd had formed, and I restrained my natural indignation and said, “Listen, bird, take that map outa my line uh vision before I bust it.”
Bat is a handsome galoot who has a way with the dames, and I knew if he danced one dance with my girl he would figure out some way to do me dirt. I did not see any more of the Dauntless men; on the other hand, I was the only one of the Sea Girl’s crew in the joint.
“Suppose we let the lady choose between us,” said Bat. Can you beat that for nerve? Him butting in that way and then giving himself equal rights with me. That was too much. With a bellow, I started my left from the hip, but somehow he wasn’t there–the shifty crook! I miss by a yard, and he slams me with a left to the nose that knocks me over a chair.
My brain instantly cleared, and I realized that I had been slightly lit. I arose with an irritated roar, but before hostilities could be renewed, Miss La Costa stepped between us.
“Zut,” said she, tapping us with her fan. “Zut! What is theese? Am I a common girl to be so insult’ by two great tramps who make fight over me in public? Bah! Eef you wanta fight, go out in ze woods or some place where no one make scandal, and wham each other all you want. May ze best man win! I will not be fight over in public, no sir!”And with that she turned back and walked away.