I’d almost been middleweight champion of the world. But then some doctors told me my heart was no good—from now on everything must be slow and easy; no emotion. Keep your heart locked up. Smile at everything. Play poker all your life.
That was just how I happened to go wrong. I found out that if I worked out slowly, I could still ride a horse, even climb a mountain. All I had to watch were my nerves. Every time I got a nerve shock, my heart went smash. But at the end of three months you could curse me, threaten me, pull a gun on me. It made no difference. I could keep those nerves as steady as a ticking clock.
I still had my fighting nature, but instead of using my fists, I learned to use a gun. And to make money I learned to play poker. I was good at both. My face was like ice, my nerves were steel, my hands were fast. With a gun on my hip, I wasn’t afraid of anything.