part 4 & 5
My day went back to normal with my usual walk. Then I went back to my office. Inside I found one of my three deputies. A man named David Wednesday. He’s about 6’ even with a mustache and short thinning brown hair. He was from the deep south and speaks with a strong southern drawl. He asked me about the writer. Then he asked, “so she said she was saving herself for you?” I guess I will be hearing that one for a while. I just look at him. He can tell when it’s time for work. We went over the daily reports and any new weapons checked in. He had a request from Chief Apenimon asking if I would see him later. So, I left the office and went to see the Chief.
It’s unusual for him to request a visit. We are usually a little less formal. The Chief was in his store. At a glance, he looked like a Mexican land owner. Dark suit with bolo tie and white Stetson hat. Most people call him Chief Abe or just Chief. His people call him Father. I just stick with sir. He greeted me at the door. This must be bad. He was right to work. He handed me a box with six books. It was copies the books Miss Martin had with her. Volumes one through six. He asked, “do you know of these?” I said, “before yesterday no.” he told me how these books talk about the people of Knuckle-Smash.
Chief Apenimon said, “I have heard of other towns were such books brought in a bad crowd. We have something good here and we want it to remain that way.” He sat down and tossed one of the books on a table. He went on, “the way this clown writes about my people. I worry it may bring the army. We have tried to worn Washington to stay away from the Apache and Cherokee. This could mean war.” Our town sits on a crossroad between two mighty nations. It also is an essential point in the trip west. The chief then asked, “what is with the girl?”
I said, “I just don’t know. She seems a little crazy. She is very beautiful, but I just don’t know about that girl.” The Chief just smiled pointed behind me and said, “no, what is with that girl?” Yes, she was standing behind me. She was smiling until she saw the Chief. I said to her, “we need to talk.” I introduced her to Chief Apenimon. She did a curtsey which seemed both out of place and right at home. It was something I remember from Virginia. Chief Apenimon just smiled. It was clear he wasn’t used to such formalities. It was also clear she was both afraid and determined. We explained to her that these books were not the truth. Not even close. Someone took our names and wrote a piece of fiction around it.
She said, “I don’t understand this was written by a man from here.” The Chief said, “no, I don’t know anyone by this name and I know most of the people here.” She smirked a little in disbelief. I said, “if it wasn’t for Chief Apenimon we wouldn’t be here.” I explained the fragile position we were in between two waring nations. I said, “both nations respect Chief Apenimon and that respect allows us to exist.” She just looked a little puzzled and asked, “do you mean tribes?” I said, “no, never call them tribes. It’s offensive and you may find yourself out in the desert, naked staked to the ground getting a deep tan. That is what happened to the first sheriff” The Chief chimed in, “well he was sleeping with a Chiefs wife. And daughter. Also, his other daughter.”
For the next three months, we talked about the town and how wrong the books had it. I also talked about my past. She asked me about my first love. I told her about Margery. Going up there was a gang of us that would play around. A mix of boys and girls. We were young and innocent. We would all skinny dip in the hot months of June, July and August. We did this until we reached the age of around ten then our parents told us to stop. From then on, the boys and the girls would swim in different ponds.
One day around the age of fifteen Margery and I were near the old pond we would swim in. It was very hot. We saw no real reason why we couldn’t swim together if no one found out. I waited for her to strip and get in the water. She turned her back and waited for me. As I walked toward the water she turned around. The whole thing turned awkward. She watched me jump in the water. After a minute or two everything went back to normal. That is when something in my mind forced me to kiss her. I have kissed girls before, just not like that. She looked back at me then kissed me back. Not just a peck on the cheek. This was a deep meaningful kiss. We made it to the shore kissing all the way. On a large bolder by the water we made love together or as she put it I stole her maidenhood. Afterword we lay together naked, staring up at the sky. She would never speak to me again. She avoided being in the same place as me. As it turned out she was arranged to marry a man more than twice her age. It would happen just as soon as she turned sixteen. She married him and went on to have at least six children. Who knows maybe more by now.
I stopped talking. Candice had stopped writing and was just staring at me with a dream like look on her face. She looked down at her paper and realized she didn’t write most of what I said down. She said she could recite that from memory and asked if I could give her the rest of the day to finish this and work on the paper. She was on her sixteenth addition of her weekly newspaper she named The NS Gazette. She printed local news as well as anything that came in with the stagecoach. She also was printing pamphlets about the Knuckle-Smash Kid books. Hopefully they would reach the reading masses and these stories would end.
On those hot days, she would take off her pants and just wear a long sleeve men’s shirt as she worked the press. Somehow it didn’t occur to her people could see into the print shop. Her shirt would cling to her as she sweat working the heavy press. I would find a reason to walk by the shop when she was printing. Most of the other men in town stayed away. Maybe out of respect of her or me but most likely for Chief Apenimon who took this girl in like a daughter. I was growing fond of this girl.
One day a man rode into town. He had on two six guns and a Henry lever-action on his back. he passed the sign saying you must turn in any hand guns at the Sheriff’s office. He had on his saddle bag a collection of scalps and ears. This man was the kind of trouble the Chief was worried about. He rode into the center of town. He climbed out of his saddle and looked around. A man named Harold Dogwood walked up to him and told him he needed to either check the guns in or leave town. This man answered him by pistol whipping him across the face. The action was quick and brutal. Harold hit the ground. I heard the commotion. I went and unlocked my revolver then loaded it.
We met in the center of town. It was about midday. He saw the badge on my shirt and smirked. He said, “the law in this town is a joke. I am Mad Dog Pete. I am the law now.” He drew his gun and shot into the air. I kept my calm and slowly unhooked my gun. I ordered him to drop the gun and cease. He lined up with the sun above him and raised his gun. He shot first. I drew, aimed and fired. I remember back from the Army they said when you shoot you aim for the center. I emptied my revolver into him every shot center mass. He stood there looking at me. His gun dropped to the ground then so did he.
Candice watched this from her window. She looked down and realized she was nearly naked. She dried off and dressed as fast as she could. She came running to me. she looked at him then me checking for wounds. She asked, “how did that happen?” I said, “it’s better to be a little slower and aim then to just shoot wildly at someone. Aim beats luck almost every time.” She hugged me tight and whispered into my ear, “if I didn’t have a deadline we would be doing it right here and now.” With that image in my mind I had to wait for our local doctor to help Harold and take the body away. He is also the undertaker.
These stories will be based in the old west and an attempt at a modern western (later on).
PDFs are on new Story PDF page
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