The one thing I can say about Johnny Behan is that he is persistent. He persistently shows up at my doorstep, trying to be every bit the dandy and impress me with flowers and bits of ribbon or niceties that any man could buy for any ten women who’ve caught their eye. Johnny Behan also quite persistently succeeds in raising my ire, just as surely as one would make a cat sore at rubbing her fur backward. Still, with the offer of dinner and the possibility of meeting some of the town officials that could possibly help me with my cattle problem at the Hacienda Las Glorias, I found myself relenting to his relentless, if not overzealous, entreatments.
I took my time getting ready, but not so that he would notice. Surely, though it was dinner out, I made certain to dress modestly. I made it absolutely certain that I would be staying at hotel – alone and would pay for it myself. There would be no talk, I was not about to have that. It would not do to have the Tombstone gossips getting the idea that I was doing anything other than taking the evening with Johnny Behan and going straight back out to the Hacienda, even if I had to arrange passage myself. To say I did not have an idea who to trust at this point is quite the understatement.
The town was bustling with activity. Johnny Behan did not bear any mind to the other wagons and horsemen in town that kept at a steady pace, but rather would pass them as if he were on fire fleeing Lucifer himself! The lurching and ratling of the buggy was nearly making me ill, and to be honest, I was already regretting agreeing to this night in town, but what was done was done. In our haste, I caught sight of Wyatt Earp who tipped his hat to me. I only prayed that he did not think worse of me for being with who I was. Business, as I have always said, is business – and even if I am a woman, I expect to be treated as any other person of commerce. I had a ranch to run and I was damned if I was going to let my sex stand in the way of being treated with deference and respect!
We pulled to an abrupt stop in front of a restaurant called “The Star”. It was a very rustic place, but it was clean and well known in the Territory for having very good steaks. We went inside and were immediately seated and given menus.
Johnny Behan wasted no time in going over the wine list and pretended to deliberate. After some moments he ordered a bottle of Bordeaux that was a bit more expensive than the rest. Clearly Johnny Behan was trying to impress me.
“After dinner, my dear,” he said after the initial toast, “ I was thinking we could take in a show. There is so much to do in this town and all the finest people will be out,” he said stroking his moustache, “leave it to me to introduce you to those who can best help you. We’ll get to the bottom of that unfortunate cattle problem of yours, rest assured.”
We perused the dinner menu for several minutes. After careful deliberation I decided that perhaps I would like to have the steak. A man, rather oily and nervous came out onto the floor of the restaurant, a towel draped over his arm I the fashion, I was certain, that he perceived that waiters at fine eating establishments must all do. On this particular fellow, unfortunately for him, it looked ridiculous. In his hand he carried a bottle of French cognac and two small snifters.
“Why Johnny Behan, I’m so glad to see you here, and what a lovely guest!” he turned to me with nearly a flourish, offering me a sweaty palm to shake, I’m Isaac Clanton and this is my place.”
“Oh yes! Forgive my manners. Miss McKay, this is Ike Clanton. He’s quite the man about town these days. He has a spread with his brothers further out. It’s quite the holding.”
Without asking he poured one for Johnny Behan and one for myself and placed it on the table. I watched him carefully and noticed that his smile was a bit too wide, his hands trembled just a bit too much and his manner was just a tad too friendly. I knew the Clanton name well enough from the times that my Uncle Angus had mentioned them. Old Man Clanton, who I thought must be Ike Clanton’s father, was definitely not one of my uncle’s friends. In fact, from what I could recall, their association had always been a tense one. Still, I was going on what my Uncle had relayed and could not be entirely sure that the sins of the father could be visited on the son.
I managed a small, but minimally polite acknowledgement. There was something about the oily little toad of a man that didnae sit well with me at all. His overreaching and eagerness to please was just too attentive.
“Can I interest you in the oysters tonight?” Ike asked solicitously.
“No, Ike,” Johnny Behan said, with a decisive tone, “I want steak. Fanny?”
I nodded in agreement, “Aye, that would be fine.”
“The lady will have the steak as well,” Behan said in keeping with how most of genteel society ordered dinner, “While you’re at it,” he said, “this wine is very good, have you another bottle, Ike?”
“Why I am sure that we do, Johnny,” Ike nodded overemphatically, “but I will have one of the staff check in the cellar to be sure. Now you all let me know if you all need anything, you can trust ol’ Ike Clanton! Yes’sirree, Ma’am! This is my place and Im right glad to be meeting Angus’ niece. I heard tell she was pretty, but the stories don’t match up to the reality. I’ll go get on those steaks right now!”
I watched as he retreated into the kitchen. There were a few shouts and scurries that could be heard along with some clanging of pots and pans. To be honest, it left me wondering if I would be hearing the sound of a cow’s lowing next.
Muse: Fanny Fae / Faelyn
Fandom: Folklore / Mythology History (Tombstone)
Word Count: 400-ish