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in the small of the back. All this time he had not
made a sound. One of the men jerked him to his
feet and pushed him up against the wall
'Cool the son-of-a-bitch,' he said, and as the man
sprawled, white faced against the wall, the second
man Set himself, knees slightly bent, and then swung
up at him with a right fist that came from down near
the cement floor and landed on the side of the white-
faced man's jaw. He fell forward on his knees and
then rolled slowly over, his head in a little pool of
blood. The two men left him there and came back
to the bar.
'Boy, you can hit,9 said one.
That son-of-a-bitch comes into town and puts all
his pay in the postal savings and then hangs around
here picking up drinks off the bar,5 the other said.
That's the second time I cooled him/
'You cooled him this time.'
'When I hit him just then I felt his jaw go just
like a bag of marbles/ the other said happily. The
man lay against the wall and nobody paid any
attention to him.
'Listen, if you landed on me like that it wouldn't
make no impression,' the red-headed Vet said.
'Shut up, slappy,' said the cooler. 'You've got the
'No, I haven't.'
'You punchies make me sick,' the cooler said.
'Why should I bust my hands on you?'
That's just what you'd do, bust your hands,' the