The Bonnie Lass was a madhouse. More so than usual. The Buchanan Boys were out of control – laughing, singing, drinking, shouting, shooting, fighting, helping themselves to the hooch, breaking and/or stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down and chasing Miss Bonnie’s girls around with nary an interest in their right to refuse service.
Miss Bonnie walked over to the back corner where Blythe sat, holding his aching forehead in the palm of his hand, oblivious to all of it.
“Mr. Blythe,” Miss Bonnie said.
Blythe didn’t respond.
He looked up. “What is it?”
“Mr. Blythe,” Miss Bonnie said. “I’ve had all I can stand of this. These men need to go before I start using their asses as target practice.”
That ticked Blythe’s funny bone, but the laughter made his head throb harder. “I apologize, Madame. I’m a bit under the weather.”
“Well, I don’t give a good golly what you…”
Blythe looked at the businesswoman, ready to hit her with his red eyes again, but a migraine split his skull. He grabbed his forehead once more then after a moment, stood up and buttoned his jacket.
Blythe stepped out onto the main floor.
“Who’s going to pay for all this?!” Miss Bonnie shouted.
“Keep a running tab, my dear,” Blythe said. “The Legion Corporation shall reimburse all damages promptly.”
“Corporate reimbursement?” Miss Bonnie mumbled to herself. “Hell, I’m gonna invent some shit these asshole broke then. HEY!”
Miss Bonnie was none too pleased to see Roscoe Crandall getting roughed up by Jasper and Kirk Buchanan. Jasper punched Roscoe in the gut while Kirk rummaged through Roscoe’s wallet. Miss Bonnie felt strongly in the fact that only she was allowed to do the latter.
“Knock it off! That’s a paying customer!”
Jasper and Kirk divied up Roscoe’s cash then split. Miss Bonnie helped Roscoe to his feet.
“You all right?” Miss Bonnie asked.
“Yeah,” Roscoe replied. “I’d be a lot better if we could get some alone time.”
Miss Bonnie slapped him across the face. “I told you I don’t do that anymore, dummy!”
By the bar, Doc peddled his elixir to a bevy of bewildered Buchanans, who were taking bottles and handing Doc money as fast as he could grab it.
“It cures rabies, scabies, and every variety of pox, chicken on down the line,” Doc said. “Genital fungus, every abnormality among us and you can even spread it on toast.”
Jeremiah Buchanan released a foghorn grade belch then tossed back another beer.
“Does it cure alcoholism?”
Doc slapped the drunk on the shoulder. “My good man, as a medical professional I can tell you that the quickest way to beat one addiction is to trade it for another and this product is filled with the most splendid drug to be hooked upon – cocaine!”
“Cocaine?” Jeremiah asked.
“Indeed sir!” Doc said. “Good for what ails you. It is an undeniable scientific fact that when you are under the effects of cocaine, it is virtually impossible to worry about any of the other things going wrong with your body, thus rendering all of your problems cured!”
Jeremiah took a bottle and gulped it.
“That’ll be two dollars sir,” Doc said.
“Two dollars?!” Jeremiah balked. “Up yours!”
Doc flipped his wrist and out popped his revolver, which he pointed straight at Jeremiah’s nose.
“I don’t control the free market, my good man,” Doc said. “It’s all about the law of supply and demand.”
Jeremiah begrudgingly slapped two bucks down on the bar for Doc to collect. Doc flicked his wrist again and his revolver retracted back up his sleeve.
“A pleasure doing business with you sir!” Doc said. “Remember, you can’t put a price on good health!”
Out on the floor, Blythe’s attempt to walk off his headache wasn’t working. He winced in pain as he walked past the bar. Doc noticed the counselor and abandoned his customers to follow Blythe upstairs.
“Mr. Blythe!” Doc said.
Blythe rubbed his temples and ignored the fast talker.
“Mr. Blythe! So wonderful to see you again! Doctor Elias T. Faraday by way of Boston, Massachusetts…”
Blythe interrupted and concluded Doc’s patented self-introduction, having suffered through it in the past. “But no relation to those infernal Chestnut Hill Faradays who will pick my pocket and so on. Good day, Doctor.”
“Good day, Mr. Blythe!” Doc slapped the counselor on the back. That didn’t help Blythe’s condition at all.
“Mr. Blythe,” Doc said. “I surely would like to thank you. I have been able to help so many people improve their health thanks to your company’s ingenious formula.”
“So glad to hear it,” Blythe said as he continued up the steps.
“And I can’t complain about how wealthy it’s made me either,” Doc said. “But mostly for me it’s about seeing the smiling faces of my patients when they are restored to full vitality.”
“Lovely,” Blythe said. “If you’ll excuse me.”
Doc pressed on. “Mr. Blythe, if I may be so bold, shouldn’t Legion Corporation’s name be on the bottle? I do appreciate that you allowed me lend my good name to the concoction your scientists invented, but I feel a bit guilty that your fine company isn’t receiving the credit it so richly deserves.”
“Think nothing of it,” Blythe said.
“Such modesty,” Doc said. “Especially in light of how you’ve allowed me to keep a hundred percent of the profits.”
“The Legion Corporation could care less about money when it comes to this matter, Doctor,” Blythe said. “All we wanted was for a renowned medical expert to make the case for this revolutionary formula to ensure this great nation is healthy, strong, and able to take full advantage of all the products and services that Legion has to offer.”
“What a visionary bunch you must work for,” Doc said. “And to think, when you were searching for a spokesman to extol the virtues of this miracle elixir, every other doctor you met with turned you down. How fortunate I was to have been passing through Colorado when you were interviewing candidates.”
Blythe put a hand on Doc’s shoulder. “You were the forward thinker we needed, Doctor. Only a man of your brilliance and oratory acumen can pitch the curative properties of a drink consisting of cocaine, laudanum, and spider eggs mixed in for texture. Now I must insist that we part, for I am feeling quite ill and must lay down.”
“Heavens!” Doc said. “Would you care for a sip of some Miracle Cure-All?”
Blythe turned the knob to his room. “No thank you. I had cocaine for breakfast.”
The counselor entered the room and slammed the door in Doc’s face, then locked it behind him.
“What an asshole,” Blythe said.
Blythe found a quiet place just in time, for once he was inside the room, the pain in his head knocked him down to his knees. Blythe’s eyes turned red.
“Oh how I despise board meetings,” Blythe said.
The vampire’s entire body froze like a statute, with his face staring at the ceiling and his mouth gaping wide open.