Captain Jones stomped through the creek, righteous rage playing across his square face. “It was you, wasn’t it, boyo?” he demanded, staring hard at O’Shaughnessy.
The Irishman sneered. “Taffy was a Welshman,” he chanted, “Taffy was a thief—”
Jones pistol-whipped O’Shaughnessy across the jaw with the gun in his hand, sending him sprawling into the tall, dry desert grass.
“Taffy came to my house,” Jones finished the rhyme, “and he kicked out all my teeth.”
“Muurrrmph,” the Irishman groaned vaguely from the ground.
“I am reluctant to criticize another man’s work,” the gypsy called out, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, “but you’ve spoiled the rhyme.”
The quip snapped Sam out of his stunned reverie. He grinned. “True,” he agreed. “Though I must say I find the meaning of the revised couplet congenial.”