Smash cut to: the vile, spluttering face of the Cowboy, who is drowning in a swamp. As his strength gives out and his legs stop kicking, those craggy features slip at last below the surface, turning sepia in the murk before vanishing entirely. A shaking hand, still crusted with alligator blood, claws for the sky as it follows him under. Then he is gone. His only memorial is a trio of bubbles, that wobble to the surface and burst in a puff of whiskey vapour. He died, apparently, because he could not take cocaine while swimming.
Howdy folks! It’s time for the second episode in this series of short films following my adventures through the grim darkness of Red Dead Redemption 2, as I led Matthew and Dave into Cowboy Purgatory during the RPS Christmas livestream. Last time, we went on what was billed as a nature tour, but which rapidly descended into a one-man mass extinction, despite my best intentions going in. This time, we're headed to the Big City.
As already indicated, and perhaps in an expression of cosmic justice, the Cowboy drowns immediately. But God will not allow him to die, for to the Cowboy, life itself is hell. And so he wakes again on the shores of the swamp, with an even fouler mire - the metropolis of Saint Denis - sprawled smoggily before him.
With a new life granted to him, the Cowboy hopes to turn over a new leaf. But it’s a matter of seconds before his attempt to withdraw a fishing rod morphs into a gunpoint robbery which even he hadn’t intended - and once the gun is out, there’s no going back. Things escalate. As I remark to myself sadly, at the crescendo of the disaster, “You take your eyes off the goal for one minute, and suddenly you’re strangling an army man”.
There’s a lot of strangling in this episode, in fairness. It looks like the Cowboy enjoys strangling a little too much. But it’s not all leathery hands and constricted windpipes: in this episode, we learn about apotropaic wards, discuss how it feels to eat five crackers in sixty seconds (worse than you think), and learn the secrets of the Diagonal Mosey:
Once again, the video was produced by my old friend Mark, who is bound - just as I am - to the fate of the Cowboy. You can find more videos on the theme of this one in this Twitter thread of our previous adventures. This Episode also features the theme from “Last of the Summer Wine”, rearranged as a Western dirge by musician Joe Swarbrick.
Join us next time for the momentous conclusion to this short series, where we will learn - at last - the truth about Cowboys.
If you had fun with this video, or you just want to wash away the sin conferred by having looked too long into the soul of the Cowboy, it’s not too late to donate to the livestream’s JustGiving page, which is still live. Donate £5 or more and let me know in the comments, and I’ll prepare an apotropaic ward for your specific protection.