Chapter Fifty Six

"Arizona!" the Doctor said when they reached the border and the sign welcoming them.

"Land of hotter than Hell temperatures," Jack said. "So hot your shoes will melt to the road."

"Seriously?" Rose said, glancing in the rearview mirror.

"Average summer temperatures are around 40 degrees Celsius, give or take," Jack said. "Sometimes even hotter."

"Blimey," Rose said. "And I thought New Mexico was scorching."

"People of Arizona!" the Doctor said, leaning up and spreading his arms out. "Soon you will be in my power!"

"Oi!" Rose said, laughing. "Put the arms down. I can't see."

"We don't want to run off the road and find insane, hillbilly cannibals," Jack said.

Rose laughed when the Doctor imitated the cackle he heard in the film. He mimed cutting Rose in two and Rose screamed before laughing again.

"Mmm, spleen," the Doctor said, licking his fingers. "Nothing like spleen and mash. Almost as good as custard and kidney pie."

"Desert, nothing but desert all around," Rose said, looking out the windows.

"Well, the hillbillies live in the woods, yeah? So no danger of them," the Doctor said. "Besides, what are you whinging about. The heat, the desert, we had worse on Malfongia."

"Ugh," Rose said, making a face.

"Care to elaborate?" Ianto said.

"Malfongia was this desert planet with lizard people. We visited it before you lot traveled with us and we were captured and staked down in the desert and left to die there. I nearly did and got a bloody sunburn that hurt like hell," she said.

"You know, your lives really suck sometimes," Jack said.

"And yours doesn't?" the Doctor said, turning towards him. "You've never been in that amount of danger before?"

"Oh yeah. But I've never been staked down in the desert before. Nearly was but didn't happen. But speaking of desert, I can tell you a story about this desert because I was in Arizona in 1891."

"Oh?" Rose said, glancing at him in the rearview mirror. "Why were you here?"

"For a lark," Jack said. "I traveled to different countries for awhile out of boredom and came to America. Decided to follow the advice of go west, young man. So I hopped on a stagecoach and made my way here."

"So, what happened?" Ianto said.

"Well, these insane cannibal hillbillies ran us off the dirt road and hunted us for food. I ran miles and miles and…"

He chuckled when the Doctor rolled his eyes at that.

"We did get stopped though. Bandits. Turns out my stagecoach was carrying a shipment of money to the bank in Tombstone. They ordered everyone out and one of them kept us at bay while the other took the money. After that, they got back on their horses and rode off and we went on."

"No shooting?" Ianto said.

"No. Why? Not every story ends with my death, you know," Jack said.

"I think Ianto means he's surprised you didn't try to play the hero and get shot in the process," the Doctor said.

"Yeah, exactly," Ianto said, pointing to the Doctor.

"Now wait a minute. I know when not to play the hero," Jack said in a hurt voice.

The Doctor and Ianto gave him a dubious look while Rose giggled.

"Anyway, before we get in a big argument about this…" Jack said. "So I came to Phoenix which at that time was a one horse town, metaphorically speaking. Not as sprawling as it is now. I jumped off the stage, went to the bar and got acquainted with a whore named Lilly."

Rose laughed when the Doctor looked around at Ianto.

"Let me ask you something," he said to Ianto. "Do you mind him talking about all his sexual conquests like this in front of you?"

"I'm used to it now," Ianto said with a shrug.

"I didn't do anything with her," Jack said indignantly.

Rose howled with laughter when a gigantic "HA!" burst from the Doctor's throat.

"Oh, please Harkness, pull the other one," the Doctor said. "A prostitute in the middle of nowhere and you didn't bonk her. What'd you do, sip tea, eat cucumber sandwiches and play cards all night?"

"I talked to her. I talk to women. I talk to Rose. I've never bonked her," Jack said, pointing to Rose.

"Yes. That's because if you laid your hands on Rose, your hands would have been torn off at the wrists and thrown into the vortex," the Doctor said while Rose quickly looked over her shoulder and threw Jack a smug look.

"There's a perfectly good reason why I didn't shag Lilly," Jack said.

The Doctor turned sideways in his seat, folded his hands in his lap and gave Jack an expectant look while Rose laughed.

"Well? Out with it," the Doctor said when Jack stared at him. "What's the reason?"

"She had herpes."

The Doctor continued to wait.

"She had herpes," Jack repeated.

"I'm waiting…" the Doctor said.

"For what?"

"For the real reason you didn't bonk her."

"She had herpes! I don't want a venereal disease! Put that away!" Jack said when the Doctor took out his sonic screwdriver. "You're not scanning me to see if I have VD."

"No, it was beeping, I was turning it off," the Doctor said innocently.

"HA!" Jack blurted out while Rose and Ianto giggled.

"Alright," the Doctor said, putting the sonic away. "What about Lilly then?"

"Well, I talked to Lilly at the bar," Jack said, ignoring the pointed look and the head shake the Doctor was directing towards Rose. "Suddenly! In walks…"

Jack paused for dramatic effect.

"The Coyote Kid," he said in a hushed whisper.

The Doctor sniggered at that while Rose grinned.

"The Coyote Kid was one of those most dangerous outlaws that ever lived," Jack said indignantly.

"Really? Why haven't I heard of him then?" the Doctor said.

"Because you're a moron?" Jack offered.

"Ooo…" Rose said when the Doctor raised his eyebrow.

"Anyway," Jack said, avoiding trouble from the Doctor. "Lilly was the Coyote Kid's woman."

"Then why wasn't she married to the Coyote Kid?" the Doctor said.

"Because he didn't wanna get married."

"I don't want to marry Rose but at the same time I don't put her to work whoring the drunks in a London pub," the Doctor said, gesturing to her.

"That's because you're a moron."

"Rose, pull over so I can tie Harkness to the bumper and drag him along," the Doctor said while Rose giggled.

"Just kidding, Geez. Anyway, the Coyote Kid saw me with Lilly and he came over there."

"And blew your brains out and you woke up and that's the end," Ianto said dryly.

"No. He challenged me to a duel outside the saloon."

"And the whole thing became one long Clint Eastwood wild west cliché and he still blew your brains out when it's all said and done. The end," the Doctor said while Rose and Ianto snickered.

"No, I accepted his challenge because I knew if he shot me, I had the upper hand," Jack said.

"Bless you, Rose, for endowing him with all encompassing immortality so he can act the fool and challenge windbags to duels just so he can show the world how macho he really is," the Doctor said to Rose while she chortled.

"I'm gonna pull off here for a bit," Rose said, pointing to a lay-by. "I need to rest."

The Doctor nodded and turned his attention back to Harkness while Rose eased her way over to the slip road leading to the lay-by.

"Okay, Clint, so you went out to face the man in black and I'm sure you were dressed in gleaming white, eh?" the Doctor said while Rose slowed the car and headed into the rest stop.

"Sorry, can someone take over driving when this story is finished? I'm dead tired," Rose said.

"I will," the Doctor said, patting her forearm. "You're right, you've driven for hours. You deserve a rest. So anyway, Clint, back to your tale," he added as Rose pulled into a parking spot.

"I got up and started to follow him but Lilly begged me not to go."

"Why? Was she itching to give you her pubic lice?" Ianto said.

The Doctor burst out laughing at the shocked look Jack gave him. Ianto grinned proudly at his pun and shrugged.

"Hardy har har. Anyway," Jack said as Rose turned off the ignition and let her arms drop.

"Hold on. Rose, go in the back and lay down. You can rest while you listen to Jack bang on about whores and famous people who aren't really famous," the Doctor said.

"I need to go to the toilet. Anyone want anything from the slot machines?"

The men reached into their trouser pockets. Jack and Ianto pulled out their wallets while the Doctor pulled out a wad of money.

"Another Fanta Orange pop. They're delish," the Doctor said, handing her two dollars.

"Coke for me," Jack said, handing her two dollars.

"Sprite or iced tea if they have it, thank you, Rose," Ianto said, handing her another two dollars.

There was a chorus of "Thank you, Rose," from the men in little kiddy voices. Rose grinned and told them she'd be back in a minute. She told Jack to go on with his story before getting out.

"See, Rose doesn't wanna hear you banging on about whores who won't whore and gunslingers who are legends in their own minds," the Doctor said when Rose slammed the door.

"That's because she fails to recognize a history in the making story," Jack said.

The Doctor snorted at that.

"So…" he said to Jack. "I'm assuming this shootout was at high noon in the center of the street with the townspeople looking on and the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was drifting through the wind while you stood there and faced each other."

"No, it was three in the afternoon. We were on a side street. I wore my regular clothes and he was dusty as hell and looked like a regular non-black clothes wearing cowboy. The people from the saloon were there but no one else and no theme song was drifting through the air."

"Well, can't be right all the time," the Doctor said with a shrug.

"So, we stood there facing each other," Jack said.

"And you whipped out your John Thomas and sprayed semen in his face."

The Doctor laughed when Jack gave Ianto another shocked look.

"I can be just as bawdy as the rest of you," Ianto said to Jack.

"Um…no, I had my trusty Webley with me," Jack said.

"And?" the Doctor said.

"He shot me in the head."

The Doctor gave him four sarcastic claps.

"But!" Jack said, holding up his finger. "I'm not finished. You see, he came over to gloat over my body and guess who woke up while he was trying to rob me?"

"Ianto woke up because he fell asleep listening to this and it was finally nearing the end," the Doctor said.

"No. I woke up and saw his grizzled face over me and I yelled at him and received the satisfaction of seeing the bastard piss his pants," Jack said. "And for added effect, I said…it's the end of the world, the dead are rising from the grave! And the Coyote Kid nearly died of fright and ran screaming from me."

He looked at his friends but they were staring quietly at him without any reaction.

"I scared the stupid bastard," Jack said.

"We get that. But what happened to Lilly after you scared him?" the Doctor said.

"Nothing. I went on my way."

"Oh puh-leeze! You went back to the saloon and rode her like a mare," the Doctor said while Ianto giggled. "I know you, Harkness, and you wouldn't pass up an opportunity to rub the humiliation in by shagging the competition's girlfriend! You just don't wanna admit that!"

"Believe what you like," Jack said with a shrug.

"Well, I'll believe you had your way with the whore. Because for you not to would be grossly out of character," the Doctor said as Rose came back to the car and opened the driver's side door.

"Hey, what'd I miss?" Rose said to the Doctor.

"Lashings of codswallop. Got my nummy Fanta?" the Doctor said while Jack flipped him off.

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