In the morning, Candice woke up in the back in a covered wagon. Hung over again. She was still in the dress and derby but the boots were gone. The wagon bucked. They were moving. She went to the front. She found me driving the wagon with her boots sitting next to me. I had to explain she tried to set her boots free to roam the wilds of the territory. I said, “you kept calling them bunnies and you wanted them to multiply.”
About an hour later we arrived at a small town. Well, more of a weight station than a town. It had one building that seemed to do it all. The general store, saloon, hotel, post office and barber shop. We went inside and looked for a pair of boots for Candice that weren’t filled with beans. Because bunnies eat beans to multiply. We found her a pair of used boots that fit her batter than the bean filled bunny boots. After that I promised to stop talking about bunnies.
I said we should hop over to the post office to the what was the news. She just stared at me. So, really no more bunny talk. The post office had a newspaper from Flagstaff. It spoke of the unrest among the Indian tribes. It also spoke of General Lewis and his heroic defense of Knuckle Back. Candice just shook her head and asked, “Knuckle Back?” There was no news about the martial law or the destruction of the only newspaper in town. The arrest of the city officials also didn’t make it in. We just looked at each other.
Outside there was a commotion. At first, we thought it might be the army. Maybe they found us. A kid maybe six or seven stormed in and proclaimed there is a ten-foot-tall black man outside. It was Apple. He had gone with the mayor and his group to the capital. The shop owner wouldn’t allow him in so we took a bottle of whisky to him. He turned it down in favor of dunking his head into a water trough. He then sat down and told us about the mayor and his party.
He said, “we made it to a town along the railroad. From there Mister Mayor sent a telegram east about what was happening.” He gestured for the bottle, opened it and took a sip. He then continued, “we made it about six or seven miles out of that town when they wanted to stop for the night. I was to watch the horses because they didn’t want me near the white folk.” He took a longer sip of the whisky. Then he handed it to me. I took a sip then almost handed it to Candice then thought twice. He said, “I guess that saved me. I woke up on the other side of a ridge when I heard a commotion. Those blue coats were around the mayor and his party. They shot all of them then.” He took a longer drink of the amber poison. He said, “they skinned the top of their heads off, pilled the bodies in a heap and pissed on them.”
I said, “they are still trying to sell the idea that it was all Indian attacks.” Candice took the bottle and took a long drink. In a raspy voice she said, “without the Mayor we have no one who will believe us.” She handed the back to Apple. He took one more drink and said, “none of the soldiers here are looking for us.” He pointed to a distant point about four miles away. He said, “There are some colored soldiers over there. They said I could go with them for a while or until they meet up with a white detachment.” Just before he left he handed me some papers. It was two newspapers and a pamphlet. They told us much.
The newspapers were from Charlestown, South Carolina. It spoke of their native son General Gerald Lewis. He was no Yankee at all. He essentially bought his command. All his talk about the war was a lie. He didn’t serve on either side. His father was a rice grower and made a fortune in the rice fields on the backs of his slaves. Before the war he had sold all the slaves and the plantation. They moved to Charlestown where they setup a shop. All the while they exchanged their currency for gold. When the war ended they still had their money. His son the General married into money and went west to find a reputation. The pamphlet was the most incriminating. It was essentially a campaign promotion. It urged the reader to demand this great leader be awarded with the governorship of the Arizona Territory and spoke of his ascendency to the White house. I said, “this man has something to lose.” Candice said, “yes as soon as I can get close enough with a blade he is going to lose something.”
I told her about the end of the war and how many of the men in our outfit would talk about how many Yankees they killed even though we never fought in any battle. I said, “some of them were from rich families who thought it would bring honor to them if their sons were war heroes. Even if it was for a losing side.” She told me about the war from her view in Baltimore. She is about thirteen years younger so she was five when the war ended. Her parents were for the union but they didn’t like all the restrictions within the city. She leaned in and kissed me. I kissed her back. she looked up to the rooms above the one and only building in town and said, “maybe we should take this upstairs.” So, we are going to try this again.
These stories will be based in the old west and an attempt at a modern western (later on).
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