Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Now Playing: The Witch of Cooper, Arizona
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Episode Six concluded with:
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.”
Six people stared at the pile of money on the sheriff’s desk and said nothing. Five of them were mesmerized and puzzled: Buck Stephens, who stood behind the desk, David and Judy Martin, Lamar Burke and Rance Dehner. Only Vicki Burke looked a bit restless, as if bored by the display of filthy lucre. The girl held tight to her magic box, occasionally giggling as if privy to some private joke.
“One thousand dollars in ten dollar bills,” the sheriff looked incredulous. Not knowing what else to do, Buck reviewed details with the pastor. “You were there when I talked with Whit Krammer at the bank. He told us he didn’t have any money missing, right?” The moment he stopped speaking, the lawman felt ridiculous.
David Martin simply nodded his head.
Lamar Burke appeared even more exasperated than the sheriff. He placed a hand on his niece’s shoulder and asked a question for the third time. “Vicki, do you know how the money got into your hat box?”
Vicki’s eyes became playful and she began to giggle. “Magic. It all happened by magic!”
She looked at her companions with such child- like delight that all concerned smiled politely or laughed a bit. Nobody wanted to drag more trouble into Vicki’s life.
Buck Stephens sighed and pulled out his pocket watch. “In about thirty minutes, I’m taking this money over to the bank. Krammer promised to meet me there and lock up the loot. He’ll look into it, as best he can, tomorrow morning.”
Lamar’s entire body seem to slump in resignation. He spoke gently to his niece. “We should be leaving for home. Ruth will miss us.”
“Mrs. Judy, will you come along?” Vicki asked. “There’s plenty of room at the ranch. You could stay for a few days!”
Lamar Burke now looked flustered. “Honey, it’s not fair to ask Mrs. Judy a question like that. She has plenty to do here in town.”
“Please?” Vicki persisted.
“Perhaps she could come out and visit us for a few hours tomorrow,” Lamar looked to the pastor’s wife as he spoke.
“Of course, I’d be happy to,” Judy Martin replied.
“Great!” Vicki’s voice exploded with delight as she spoke to Judy. “Walk with us to the wagon?”
“Of course,” Judy smiled as she quickly glanced at her husband, and stepped out of the office with Vicki and Lamar Burke. The moment they were on the boardwalk, Vicki challenged them to a race and then ran for the buckboard.
Judy stood beside Lamar. They both watched Vicki running joyfully to the wagon.
Lamar spoke in a soft, awkward voice. “Mrs. Martin, I really appreciate you being a friend to Vicki the way you have.”
“It’s my pleasure. Vicki is a very sweet girl.”
“Ruth and I have done everything we can for the kid, since my brother and his wife died. But, we really don’t know why she is…the way she is.”
“I know it must be hard on both of you, especially with Ruth bedridden since the accident.”
Lamar nodded his head as they both stepped off the boardwalk and strolled toward the buckboard. “Things have gotten a bit worse for Vicki since school started up again.”
Lamar gave a deep sigh. “Vicki is fifteen now. Kids that age can be very cruel. And, of course, she has blossomed into a lovely young lady, which presents problems…”
Lamar Burke looked down at the ground as Vicki began to shout, “I beat both of you!” from the wagon.
“Vicki won’t be going to school anymore.”
“Are you sure that’s the right thing to do, Mr. Burke?”
The rancher looked up and waved at his niece, acknowledging her victory. “No. I’m never sure about anything when it comes to Vicki. But Ruth needs almost constant care and Vicki is good at that. The two of them get along fine, and to be honest, Vicki can’t seem to understand anything at school. Not much sense in making her go.”
They arrived at the buckboard and the mood turned playful. Judy and Lamar smiled as Vicki called them “slowpokes.” As the wagon pulled out, Vicki waved to the pastor’s wife shouting, “See you tomorrow!”
As she waved back, Judy Martin took a last look at the object Vicki held tightly. The girl hadn’t let go of her magic box since causing a near riot only a short time ago.
Tomorrow: Episode Eight of The Witch of Cooper, Arizona