Simon Straw smiled. It was a disarming smile, almost apologetic. It wasn’t meant to give insult. His stance was relaxed, practically nerveless, none of his muscles tensed, his hands at his sides, the elbows slightly bent, like a man ready to pick up a glass. His gun was worn high on the hip, a .44 Remington single-action. “I’m here for you, old man,” he said to Placido Geist.To die in some backwater where there was no law to stop it. They were each off their usual graze, but they were on all too familiar territory with each other.“Your scalp on my belt,” Straw said.“A dubious eminence.”“Fine words butter no parsnips,” Straw said.“Make your play,” Placido Geist told him.He was indeed very fast, and almost fast enough. His left hand moved across his body as he drew the gun with his right, so the heel of his left hand cocked the hammer.Placido Geist shot him through the table with the nine-inch Smith he’d been holding under his napkin, the bullet splintering up through the wood, taking Straw in the chest. He went down in a burst of tissue and bone.Straw’s own bullet had nicked the bounty hunter’s earlobe. Placido Geist touched the napkin to his ear. Fine words butter no parsnips. He regretted having to kill a literate man.