The American Duel
Nevermind the exchange of letters, epithets, the appointing of seconds, choosing of time and place (Vidalia, Weehauken, The Oaks…) the wrangling over the nature of the insult (“Sir, though you may say you meant Miss Slather no offense, your left eyebrow indicates otherwise so now I must call you rude, Sir, and a calumniator.” Instead of that let us choose a pistol, eschew rising early and wetting our boots and pant-cuffs with dew. Instead, let us meet after brunch in the undertaker’s parlor, let us sit knee to knee, the pistol on a stool beside us. Then, after saluting each other and instructing our friends our honor is ours only, let us, let us flip a coin and the winner shall take up the pistol and shoot the loser between the eyes or, if it be over an insult (as in this case) to the fairer sex, let the winner shoot the loser in the heart. This is an American duel, how we fight, how we respond to nose-pulling, unlike the foppish French or the English, who wrap their umbrellas so astonishingly tight.