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   Hello, and welcome. I'm not usually here much, but you might find some of my daguerrotypes interesting to look at. As for me, I run an honest Faro game over at the Alhambra Saloon. If you're in the mood for some healthy entertainment, why don't you come on by? Who knows, you might get lucky. Just be sure and check your guns at the front door. I won't abide trouble at my tables.

In the Tombstone Novel:


People frequently ask me about my famous brother, Bat. Here's a story that'll give you a bit of an idea about his character.

Maybe it was due in part to his all-consuming need to take care of people, especially those of us who were close to him. Bat was at his most dangerous when someone threatened someone he cared about. An attack on Bat himself would bring a swift and vigorous response, but an attack on one of his friends or loved ones would set off a horribly violent and almost unstoppable attack, truly frightening to witness.

I remember when a schoolyard bully named Ed Stenson bloodied my nose once on the playground. Ed was 3 years older than I, and twice my size. I sat there on the ground, dripping blood from my nose as kids gathered around us. I was scared, but I was mad, and even at that young age, I knew you couldn't just let someone get away with that. No matter how many times my parents had tried to tell me that it was better to walk away from a fight, I knew different. I knew that if you walked away you were chicken, or at least that's what everybody would think.

And so I got up yelling and ran at Ed Stenson, tears of anger and pain streaming down my face. Even though my nose hurt like sin, and I knew I had no chance against him, I flailed away gamely, figuring at least no one could call me chicken. All my punching accomplished was to elicit a stream of mocking laughter and more painful blows from Ed.

Suddenly, something attacked Ed, a whirling someone, arms and legs everywhere, someone I soon identified as Bat. I donít know where he came from, he was just suddenly there and was all over my tormentor. Although Ed was bigger and older than Bat, if he had had any idea of what was about to happen to him, he would have chosen someone elseís brother to pick on that day. It was the first time I had ever seen Bat really fight.

It went on and on, and soon Ed was screaming ďI give! I give!Ē, but Bat either couldnít or wouldnít hear him. Our schoolmarm, Miss Simpson, tried to pull Bat away, but she couldnít do it, and Bat didnít pay any attention to her screams, either. We kids could see how scared she was when she ran to get Mr. Potter from the feedstore, and that made us all the more frightened. I began to wonder if Bat was going to kill Ed. I had read of such things in the dime novels.

The kids were all hollering something fierce, and they werenít yelling for either Bat or Ed, and none of Edís friends had the guts to put a hand on Bat. Finally, big, burly Mr. Potter ran up and yanked Bat off Ed. There was a horrible ripping sound, accompanied by a high, shuddering shriek of both pain and fear the like of which I would not hear again until I fought Indians. As Potter pulled him off, Batís right hand held a shockingly thick hank of the bullyís hair, and there was a pale, two-inch wide bare spot on the bullyís scalp.

Ed was on his knees, trying to hold himself up with his arms, but they shook too badly, and he collapsed and lay there on the ground, his body heaving and quaking as he fought to breathe. Bat had crushed his nose flat, and it poured blood. Ed's face was as puffed and purple as if he's been stung by a hundred wasps. His breath wheezed and rattled in his chest, and it came to me that Bat might have damaged a lung. Miss Simpson almost fainted once she got a good look at Ed, but she recovered enough to help him to his feet, assisted by Tom Notch, one of the older boys. Miss Simpson covered Ed's ruined nose with her apron, and bright red blood instantly soaked it through. It was all Tom and Miss Simpson could do to keep Ed upright, as he almost fainted several times. Finally, the trio moved off towards the schoolhouse, with Miss Simpson casting a quick, frightened look back at Bat's murderous face.

Potter yelled for someone to fetch Doc McMinn, as it was all he could do just to hold Bat. It scared me to look at my brother. He was still straining, trying to get at Ed. As he fought to free himself from Potter's arms, Bat taunted Ed, laughing deep in his throat, and shaking his horrible fistful of Edís own hair at him.

It was the kind of fight that boys didn't shake hands and make up over. It was the kind of fight that made lifelong enemies of the two participants, and that's exactly what it did. Ed Stenson half-heartedly tried to resume his bullying ways after about a year, but it wouldn't take. If he tried to get the bulge on some smaller kid, the kid would look him up and down, sneer, and say something like "I'm a friend of Bat Masterson." Then Ed would blanch stone white and just walk away, with the kids laughing at him, and him too scared to do anything about it. Pretty soon, he turned his attention to pulling the legs off flies and other studious pursuits like that.

So Ed Stenson might have been Bat's enemy, and mine by association, but we never had another moment's trouble from him, nor did any other kid in our little community. Years later, I heard Stenson had been shot for desertion from the Union Army.

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