I just thought I should write something silly, so here’s …
The Ballad of Bishop Murray
Out here in the West, where a man does his best
To survive in the rain and the snow,
It’s always been told that you’ll never strike gold
If you don’t know the places to go.
Now the Last Chance Saloon’s always full before noon
And the whiskey runs free as a river.
Never let it be said that a man went to bed
Without tryin’ to pickle his liver.
When the sun starts to fade and and the tables are laid
And the gals with their beaux come along,
The old piano-man stands and starts wavin’ his hands,
He says, “Boys let me talk you a song”,
And we shudder in fear at the story we hear,
It’s a tale of deceivin’ and lies,
How a man came to town in a cape and a gown
With a dangerous glint in his eyes.
The storm was a-howlin’, old-timers were scowlin’.
Such weather they never did see.
And the hailstones were tappin’ like Satan was snappin’
His knuckles and laughin’ with glee.
Then one-eyed old Nell rang the grubbin’ up bell
But the diners went all of a scurry
When in from the dark came a man with a mark –
The hombre they call Bishop Murray.
Out here in the West there are names that are best
Never spoken out loud or in song
And the Bishop is one you don’t talk of in fun
If you plan to be livin’ for long.
Now they told in times past of a gun-hand so fast
It could out-strike a rattler snake.
He won many a bet, and fifty men met
Their demise in a mustang-tail’s shake.
Some people would joke when he came to be spoke
Of as Bishop but yet it felt right.
He was raw, he was mean, he was vicious and lean,
He could stand like a dog in a fight.
He could quote Holy Verse, but in whiskey he’d curse
Like a sailor out paintin’ the town,
He could doctor a sheep, and put children to sleep
He could argue a duck from its down.
And though nobody knew where he came from, it’s true,
They could all see a man who was clever
And they knew by the grip of the gun on his hip
That the time to resist him was never.
Now there stood at the bar a man with a scar
All darkened and hidden in shade.
His red hat was pulled down, it was bent at the crown.
On his belt hung the tools of his trade.
“Two fingers of rye”, said the Bishop, “I’ll buy
You a whiskey, now pilgrim sit down.
For I’m anxious to know how a stranger might blow
Like a tumbleweed into my town”.
The stranger stood back and unfolded his pack
And he spread it all out on the table.
“There’s a deputy’s star, a bible, a jar
of gold dust, and a bill from the stable.
“You skedaddled that night and you left me to fight
Do you recognise these for your own?”
Then he threw off his hat, “You despicable rat,
Make your play, for your cover is blown.”
Well the Bishop was fast and the crowd was aghast.
His hand flew so quick it was blurry,
But the stranger was quicker, his action was slicker,
And he outdrew the dread Bishop Murray.
“I’ll give you one final chance”, said the stranger, askance,
“Though you made us look bad. I should kill.
By my grace you’re alive, and this Colt forty-five
Is what stands between you and Boot Hill.”
Then he turned his back and he shouldered his pack
And he pushed through the crowd for the door.
“Dermot Martin’s the name, trouble-shootin’s my game.
So get gone. I’ll be back here at four”.
Never known for a fool, Bishop Murray stayed cool,
This wasn’t the time to draw down
On a stranger with eyes that could see through the lies
Of a man in a cape and a gown.
When the stranger rode out there was no-one to shout,
For they’d all seen the Bishop outdrawn.
His name fell to dust. It was gone in a gust
Like the smoke from a pistol at dawn.
Well he stood there a while, then he cracked half a smile
And he dropped a gold pouch at his feet.
He said, “This is my lot. All the killers I shot
Are standin’ out there in the street.
“So it’s whiskey all round, I’ll be eastern-bound
To account for my bad-livin’ habits.”
Then the piano was plinkin’ as the crowd set to drinkin’
And dancin’ like crazy jackrabbits.
Any man who was there would be willin’ to swear
That the Bishop was startin’ to pray.
And the piano man knew of the shadows that flew
Through the window and took him away.
Now nobody talks of the creatures that stalked
On the boardwalk. It isn’t a worry.
There was only one man that they had in their plan.
The hombre they called Bishop Murray.