In which Mr. Higgins is introduced to a real cowboy:

ON BOARD THE TRAIN, THE COLONIAL – LEAVING THE STATE OF NEW YORK

Mr. Higgins is woken by the sound of another passenger entering his coach compartment. The man is tall and wiry, and his face is shadowed by a large black cowboy hat. Mr. Higgins eyes the guns slung in holsters at the man’s hips and turns a shade paler. Mr. Higgins clutches the tape recorder, pushing the record button. The cowboy doesn’t say anything, but pulls off his hat, exposing a dark, weather beaten face. His hair is thick, curly, and reddish blond and his mustache is glorious. He sits down on the cushioned bench across from Mr. Higgins.

MR. HIGGINS:

“He-he-ll-ll-o.”

THE COWBOY:

“Howdy.”

The cowboy’s voice has a thick friendly drawl, and Mr. Higgins releases his grip on his recorder, his eyes brightening with curiosity.

MR. HIGGINS:

“Allow me to introduce myself, I am Edgar Higgins, traveling from Britain on an expedition.”

The cowboy leans back in his seat and lights a rolled cigarette. Blue smoke fills the room. Mr. Higgins coughs. The cowboy raises an eyebrow at Mr. Higgins and points the cigarette at the recorder.

THE COWBOY:

“Hickock, James Hickock, though most folks call me, Bill. You make a habit of recording folks?”

Mr. Higgins looks down at the recorder still in his lap in surprise. He blushes and turns it off.

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