Monday, March 12, 2012
Now Playing: The Witch of Cooper, Arizona
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Episode Five concluded with:
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!”
The mob began to shout its agreement. Buck Stephens lowered his Winchester. His aim now went directly into the crowd. There was another moment of stunned silence. David Martin had to move his head behind the six foot sheriff in order to get a quick glance at Vicki. She was still standing on the bench of the wagon. He couldn’t see her face.
“You won’t shoot none of us, Buck,” Hector clearly relished his new found role as leader of the mob. “You know all of us too good.”
“Don’t bet on it, Hector! Nobody is taking the girl.” Buck’s words sounded tough, but David Martin could see the perspiration on the sheriff’s forehead streaming down his cheeks.
Hector moved to the front of the line and faced the lawman directly. “Come on now, Buck. How about a few of us just havin’ a little talk with Vicki?”
“Not one more step, Hector!”
“Ahhh. One more step won’t hurt nothin’. You won’t shoot me for that.” Hector had spotted the nervousness in the lawman. David Martin was now certain that Hector would step forward and a slew of folks were ready to follow behind him.
Two shots sounded from behind the crowd. A tall man on a bay held a Colt in his right hand. “Don’t anybody move or I’ll shoot you down like the wild animals you’ve become!”
“Who are you?” Hector wanted to hold on to his status as leader.
“The name’s Rance Dehner.” Dehner kept his horse moving around the mob, carefully assessing the situation. “Last time I visited this town there were a lot of nice sensible folks here. Now, there’s only a bunch of braying donkeys.”
A sullen quiet fell over the crowd as if they were acknowledging the truth of what the new arrival had said. Dehner spotted a familiar face in the middle of the mob. He stopped his horse and leaned on the saddle horn. “Your name is Gerald, isn’t it?”
“As I recall, you’re a deacon in Reverend Martin’s church.”
Gerald’s entire body seemed to twitch a bit. “Yeah.”
“Then start acting like it! You’ve got a bleeding man lying on the ground. He needs help!”
Gerald looked downwards at the elderly man who lay only a few feet from him. “Why, that’s Jethro Sanders. He’s bleeding bad. We need to get him to a doctor.”
Gerald’s wife stood beside him. Like her husband, she pretended to be noticing the injured man for the first time. “Doc is out at the Woodward place delivering a baby. He should be back in a few hours. We can take Jethro to his office and care for him there.”
“Doc always locks his office when he leaves,” Gerald replied.
A dark haired saloon girl wearing a gold colored dress was among the onlookers who were now paying attention to Jethro’s plight instead of the magic box. She stepped forward and spoke anxiously. “I have a key to doc’s office. I’ll let you in.”
“You have a key to doc’s office, Annie?!” Gerald’s eyebrows shot up.
“Ah…yes…ah…doc gave me the key to keep in case of an emergency like this one.”
The surprise remained on Gerald’s face. “Well, doc has been a widower for some years now, I guess…never mind…let’s get Jethro to doc’s office.”
A group of good Samaritans gently lifted Jethro. The crowd parted as Annie led the entourage to the doctor’s office.
As Dehner had hoped, the incident calmed the crowd. Hector shouted something in an attempt to again arouse passions but his words sounded hollow and absurd.
Sheriff Buck Stephens took charge. “I want those people who were kind enough to pick up the money to please bring it forward and place it in my hat,” his voice was only slightly caustic. “Mr. Dehner will be keeping a careful eye out to make sure none of the loot gets dropped by mistake into someone’s pocket.”
Tomorrow: Chapter Seven of The Witch of Cooper, Arizona