Friday, March 9, 2012
Now Playing: The Witch of Cooper, Arizona
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Episode Four concluded with:
The main street of Cooper began to resemble a battleground as people scrambled to grab as many bills as they could. Fist fights broke out and some men drew their guns. David Martin jumped onto the wagon. Standing on the bed, he tried to make his voice heard above the tumult.
“People, come to your senses! That money is not yours! We have to--”
“We’ll pray for forgiveness on Sunday morning!” Came one shout. A woman’s voice could be heard yelling, “You never helped the poor this good, preacher!”
David Martin could spot the sheriff, Buck Stephens, at the edge of the crowd. The lawman’s gun was drawn. He was arresting three men who had planned on using their firearms to get to the cash now lying on the ground. The three hardcases were arguing with the sheriff who had handcuffed one of them. The pastor realized that Buck had his hands full and it would be a while before he could help with controlling the mob.
Martin heard a cry of pain. Skimming his eyes over the pandemonium, he spotted an elderly man trying to keep his balance as the crowd jostled him. The old timer fell. Four men rolled him over to grab the bills he had fallen on, then began to fight over the money.
Vicki Burke remained calm. She stood on the bench of the wagon with a benign smile on her face as if she were watching rambunctious children at play.
The pastor was scared, though he tried not to show it. Someone would get killed if this riot wasn’t stopped soon. A sense of desperation tinged his voice as he tried again to calm the unruly throng. “People, listen to me--”
“No! You listen to us, Martin! Tell that witch to make more money!” The shout came from one of the jaspers who had rolled the old man.
“Yeah!” a woman shouted. “There ain’t enough here fer everbody. That’s not fair. All of us should get rich! Tell her to make more money!”
The mob chanted, “make more money, make more money” as it advanced on the buckboard. Judy Martin, who was standing in front of the wagon, held up her palms in a stop gesture. She was pushed against the wagon.
“Step back,” David Martin yelled. “You’re going to crush her!”
A rifle fired. Martin turned to see Sheriff Buck Stephens standing beside him holding a Winchester which he had just fired into the air.
“You heard the preacher, step back!” The mob reluctantly complied. There were now about ten steps between the town’s folks and the buckboard.
Sheriff Stephens kept his Winchester pointed above the crowd. David Martin eyed the lawman carefully. Buck Stephens was an honest man: young, strong and dedicated to his duty. But he had only been on the job for about six months. Buck could handle unruly drunks and hardcases trying to shoot up the town. But this was something very different. Buck had never dealt with a mob of normal citizens who had collectively gone insane.
Buck took off his hat and set it, upside down, on the buckboard between himself and the pastor. He started to pat his brown hair into place but abruptly stopped. Both hands were needed for the Winchester. “Now, I want you folks to come forward peaceful like and put that money in my hat. I’ll find out where it came from and where it belongs.”
“The devil!” came an angry shout. “You’re gonna keep that money for yourself!”
Another male voice sounded from the middle of the crowd. “He’s going to arrest Vicki and keep her in jail where she can conjure up stacks of money for him!”
“Let’s take Vicki ourselfes!” This time the voice was female. “Find a place for her. Somewheres where she can make us all lots of loot. I’ll bet she can make gold too!”
“Yeah!” This time both the pastor and the lawman spotted the jasper who was shouting: Hector, a miner who frequently slept off his drinking binges in jail. “Let’s take her right now!”
Monday: Episode Six of The Witch of Cooper, Arizona