**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Moon, The Maid, And The Winged Shoes
by [?]

The last place I locked wheels with Mike Butters was in Idaho. I’d just sold a silver-lead prospect and was proclaimin’ my prosperity with soundin’ brass and ticklin’ symbols. I was tuned up to G and singin’ quartettes with the bartender–opery buffet, so to speak–when in Mike walked. It was a bright morning out-side and I didn’t reco’nize him at first against the sunlight.

“Where’s that cholera-morbus case?” said he.

“Stranger, them ain’t sounds of cramps,” I told him. “It’s me singin’ ‘Hell Amongst the Yearlin’s.'” Then I seen who he was and I fell among him.

When we’d abated ourselves I looked him over.

“What you doin’ in all them good clothes?” I inquired.

“I’m a D.D.S.”

“Do tell! All I ever took was the first three degrees. Gimme the grip and the password and I’ll believe you.”

“That ain’t a Masonic symbol,” said he. “I’m a dentist–a bony fido dentist, with forceps and a little furnace and a gas-bag and a waitin’-rooms”. He swelled up and bit a hang-nail off of his cigar.

“Yep! A regular toothwright.”

Naturally I was surprised, not to say awed. “Have you got much of a practice?” I made bold to ask.

“Um-m–It ain’t what it ought to be, still I can’t complain. It takes time to work into a fashionable clienteel. All I get a whack at now is Injuns, but I’m gradually beginnin’ to close in on the white teeth.”

Now this was certainly news to me, for Mike was a foot-racer, and a good one, too, and the last time I’d seen him he didn’t know nothing about teeth, except that if you ain’t careful they’ll bite your tongue. I figured he was lyin’, so I said:

“Where did you get your degree–off of a thermometer?”

“Nothing of the tall. I run it down. I did, for a God’s fact. It’s like this: three months ago I crep’ into this burg lookin’ for a match, but the professions was overcrowded, there bein’ fourteen lawyers, a half-dozen doctors, a chiropodist, and forty-three bartenders here ahead of me, not to speak of a tooth-tinker. That there dentist thought he could sprint. He come from some Eastern college and his pa had grub-staked him to a kit of tools and sent him out here to work his way into the confidences and cavities of the Idahobos.

“Well, sir, the minute I seen him I realized he was my custard. He wore sofy cushions on his shoulders, and his coat was cut in at the back. He rolled up his pants, too, and sometimes he sweetened the view in a vi’lent, striped sweater. I watered at the mouth and picked my teeth over him–he was that succ’lent.

“He’d been lookin’ down on these natives and kiddin’ ’em ever since he arrived, and once a week, reg’lar, he tried to frame a race so’s he could wear his runnin’-pants and be a hero. I had no trouble fixin’ things. He was a good little runner, and he done his best; but when I breasted the tape I won a quick-claim deed to his loose change, to a brand-new office over a drug-store, and to enough nickel-plated pliers for a wire-tapper. I staked him to a sleeper ticket, then I moved into his quarters. The tools didn’t have no directions on ’em, but I’ve figgered out how to use most of ’em.”

“I gather that this here practice that you’re buildin’ up ain’t exactly remunerative,” I said to Mike.

“Not yet it ain’t, but I’m widenin’ out. There ain’t a day passes that I don’t learn something. I was out drummin’ up a little trade when your groans convinced me that somebody in here had a jumpin’ toothache. If you ain’t busy, mebbe you can help me get a patient.”

This particular saloon had about wore out its welcome with me, so I was game for any enterprise, and I allowed a little patient-huntin’ would prob’ly do me good. I drawed my six gun and looked her over.