My people were probably not gunslingers. Even the ones that went west—our cousins from one island over—probably never skinned a Smoke Wagon in a quick draw. I have never seen a Western where an Azorean strapped on some spurs and aced a bandido or two. We don’t even get to be bandidos, even though the word is also ours. Pirates—some of us had to have been pirates, surrounded as we were by the tough man’s ocean . . . Even Doc Holliday must’ve felt this for what dentist could he look to as a role model? When you’re a kid, it’s hard to choose between Wyatt Earp’s impervious handlebar mustache or Doc Holliday’s double pistols, but as adults we know that being the leader of the gang only looks fun. As the ace gunman, you’re free to leave worry in the dust . . . Who cares if in real life Doc was often so drunk he could barely hit the guy charging him—because someone had to be cheating. We’ll ignore the fact that he probably shot more innocent bystanders than adversaries. The truth was his hands were fast, his ambitions small, and the blood on his sleeve had nothing to do with teeth.
Photo by Andy