Leaving on the next train.

John ask Frank to name all the diamonds in a deck of cards, as he cranked opened the valve on the nitrous oxide. Frank counted quickly, then slowed until he was asleep.

John hummed Goodnight Irene as he went about his work of pulling teeth. Frank had a lot of teeth, and it was hard work pulling them. Several times John had to stop and rest his hands.

It took John almost an hour to extract all of Franks teeth. Afterward, still humming, Doc John gathered the yellowing teeth and placed them in the center of the table. Then he dealt out two hands of cards and left them face down across from each other on the small table.

John washed up and tidied himself before a mirror. He replaced the pistol from the desk to the instrument case, and snapped it shut. He donned his bowler, glanced around the office once more, then picked up the valise and walked out the door.

Whistling a tune John crossed the dusty street, went behind the saloon and climbed aboard the train.

“All aboard,” the conductor called.

The Savannah, Albany and Gulf railroad, pulled out of Valdosda, Georga on time. A black porter led Doc John thru the cars. John’s valise thumping against the steel armrest of the seats as they went.

The private compartments were all taken, but with the aid of a ten dollar gold piece, the porter had found John a compartment with two ladies and a gentleman, the three were siblings.

John entered the compartment, and was pleased to note that the southern belles were quite comely. Their brother was tall and thin with clear blue eyes. He could have passed as John’s brother.

In his soft southern drawl, John introduced himself. “Ladies, Sir. I’m Doctor John Henry Holliday. You can call me Doc.”

The ladies, Martha Louise, and Kathern Kaye, along with their brother, Archibald, were Myddeltons, from Atlanta, a well known cotton plantation family.

They were all heading west. “Sir,” John asked Archibald. “Do you by any chance play a little cards?”

Martha Louise looked up from her penny novella about western gunfighters, and frowned at Archibald. She seemed to care naught for the scenery, and kept her nose in the paper books.

Archibald returned her look. Then back to John, he said. “Sir I do play a little.”

Kathern Kaye, spoke up “I play cards also.”

Doc nodded to her, smiled and said. “Honey, I don’t mean to offend you, but I’m talking about poker, not Old Maid.”

Kathern bristled at this. “Doctor Holliday, don’t you dare talk down to me. I play poker. Stud, seven card, and draw poker.”

Martha intervened. “Kate! watch your manners. That’s no way to talk to the fine doctor.”

Doc Holliday held a hand up like a policeman. “Please, forgive me. There was no slight intended”

Archibald said, “You might want to watch yourself Sir. Kate is very adept in the sport of card playing.”

“Thank you for the warning, Sir.” John said with a disarming smile. “I do believe I have a fresh deck in my valise.”

Then Doc John had a coughing fit.

The End

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