Wednesday, April 18, 2012

T. E. Story #12

The coach pulled up in front of the hospital and stopped with a jerk.  The hospital building was a large two-story clapboard structure, that was painted white.  The driver got the off-street coach door open and when I got there I told the two civilians to get out and give us a hand with the guard, in carrying him inside.  One of the businessmen looked like he was going to argue, but apparently decided it probably wouldn't do much good.  We carried the guard into the Hospital and called for the doctor.  The guard was unconscious and the driver gave the doctor a brief of what had happened.  I sent one of the nurses for the Sheriff.  The doctor nodded his head after his several questions were answered, and about that time the Sheriff arrived with one of his deputies.  The doctor took charge of the guard and hustled him away to an operating room.  The driver explained the attempted robbery to the Sheriff and then I explained my part in the skirmish.  We took the Sheriff and the deputy out to the stage where the two ponies were tied to the back of the stage with the two bodies tied across the saddles.  The Sheriff looked both men over and said to the driver, "both these men are wanted by the law."  He pointed to the big man dressed in black and said," this one appears to be Black Jack Jefferson.  He has been notorious up and down the river for the last year for stopping single horseman coming back up from New Orleans after selling their whiskey and river barges in the Frenchie's city.  The other  feller is  Witchie White.  He's the guy you shot first, Cap.  I reckon you got some reeward a'comin.'"

"Sheriff ," I asked, "what if nobody claims the reward money?"

"Well, after six weeks or so the reward posting expires .  That'd be a real shame!"

"How about if I signed that the money is to go to the wounded guard," I asked? 

"Wal, I reckon that that would be okay with me, since the guard was wounded pretty bad.  My deputy here is up on all the latest rules that this here governmint has come up with of late.  Hey Charlie, what do the rules say about that proposition that Cap has put out there?" 

The deputy who was working with four men untying the bodies and taking them to a nearby funeral parlors, turned at hearing his name.  "The rules don't say nothin' about the guy who gets the reward signing it over to another.  Are you sure you want to do that Cap, " asked the young man?

"You mind your manners Charlie Boy.  This here's Cap. McKay, from the river clearance project downriver.  He's a veteran of the Mex War and I reckon he knows what he wants to do, without you a-askin' fool questions!!"

"I am under orders to get back to Washington City as soon as possible and I need to catch the fastest way out of St. Louis, and since I wasn't shot and the guard was, I think the reward should go to him.  He was the one who clued me as to what I should do by his falling," I explained to both the deputy and the sheriff.  

The sheriff nodded his head and said, " that 's mighty thoughty of you Cap.  I'll be glad to endorse that thought." 

The stage driver said, "The East bound train is due at the station in about two hours."

"That'll give us some time to git the paper signed and Pete here can drive you over to the train station," said the Sheriff.  "Charlie, you run on ahead and git all them papers ready for the Cap to sign, and hurry up about it."  The deputy turned and ran for the white and blue building on the corner.  

"He's a good kid Cap," said the Sheriff with a grin," but sometimes he does git just a tad uppity.  He is a really good kid though."

"I'm sure he is," I said, and the three of us slowly walked over to the Sheriff's Office.

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