The rum-gagger was about to shake the bullet. He'd enough cat speak to make any wise man dumb, but on this occasion the cat was without claws and destined for hell. Was this where the chicken got the axe? And fuck, he'd only believed parrots deserved almonds... Taking the dagger from the tall boy, he thought of drowning himself. The highway surveyor had played her ace against his jack. The gagger knew she's bulldoze a show of white feathers. She wasn't about to fear shaking her cloth in the wind. He tried to break a straw with her but blandiloquence drew a blank. Red, red against green. Red, red against green. He'd got ooperzootics on the brain. His father got them, caused the old git to run around the house, naked, whooping and such-like. One-armed, queer-gammed, and sharp as the corner of a square table. Warm as they come. He wore yellow stockings for his queen of the dripping pan. The highway surveyor's former handle. Goodyear's pig had forded the river a spit away. Peeled eyes were the order of the day. Above, sun-dodgers prepared to turn the black spotlight on.