Friday, March 23, 2012
Now Playing: The Witch of Cooper, Arizona
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Episode Fourteen Concluded with:
“I think Burke is a small man in a large operation. Somehow, a counterfeiting ring found out Lamar Burke was in financial trouble. They use his ranch as a place to make the phony money. His job is to keep the locals away. He probably gets paid well for his troubles.”
“What Mr. Krammer at the bank told me would back that notion up,” the sheriff said. “Lamar Burke got way behind with the bank, but lately he has caught up. Makes all his payments on time.”
David Martin looked at the red bulge in the sky. “We’re about fifteen minutes from the ranch, we need to get there as soon--”
Dehner interrupted him as he looked ahead at the trail. “Gents, I have another idea.”
Zack Gilpin stared with contempt at the man in front of him. “So, Mr. Burke, you decided to put on a little show in Cooper, using Kyle Ryan as a way of keeping people away from here.”
Zack shook his head and looked at a squat, moon faced man who stood beside him. “What did you think of that, Lucky?”
“Sounded pretty crazy to me, boss. I tried to talk him out of it.”
Lamar Burke fidgeted nervously. He looked beside him where his niece and the preacher’s wife were reluctantly putting counterfeit bills into flour sacks. The faces on both women looked pale and grim.
Burke ran his words together as he spoke quickly. “If people thought Vicki was a witch of some kind they’d stay away—”
“Some people would stay away!” Zack took a step toward Lamar Burke. Vicki began to tremble. Judy Martin put an arm around the girl.
“Did it ever occur to you that some people would want to get a look at the witch, especially a blond, pretty witch? There’d be liquored up jaspers at this place every weekend. You fool!”
Gilpin pushed Burke, who collided with the printing press. The rancher was terrified but tried to sound strong as he blurted out, “You’ve got no right!”
“I’ve got a right to do anything I want, Mr. Burke! This ain’t your ranch no more. You’re working for me; I’m the ramrod of this outfit, and I don’t like it when you go off pulling crazy stunts while I’m in Tombstone meeting with the boss.”
“You’re a bully, Zack Gilpin!” Vicki shouted. Judy shushed her.
Gilpin laughed, but there was nothing pleasant about it. He kept his eyes on Lamar Burke as he pointed in the direction of the women. “Okay, so you let the pretty little half wit come in here and grab some loot, which she throws around the main street of the town. Then you organize a bank robbery to get the funny money back. That last part makes sense. A smart banker like Krammer would recognize counterfeit bills. But why did you tell the boys to only take the funny money?”
Moisture formed around Lamar’s eyes. His words came out wobbly. “The whole town depends on the money in that bank for survival. If they had cleaned out the bank, every man in Cooper would have been in a posse combing the countryside…”
“Yeah, I can see that.” Zack was silent for a moment. A look of desperate hope lighted on Lamar’s face. Maybe the ramrod wouldn’t be so hard after all.
“Too bad, Lamar.” Zack’s voice was almost a hiss. The rancher’s hope died fast. “You made a lot of stupid mistakes which made that hold up necessary. Afraid we won’t be doin’ business with you no more. Once the pick-up takes place today, we’ll be movin’ on.”
A tall thin man stepped inside the makeshift building. “Ready, boss.”
Zack spit brown saliva on the floor. “Thanks, Haggart. Lamar, since you’re bein’ so understandin’, I’m sure you won’t mind steppin’ outside with us for a moment.”
“Of course not, Zack.”
“Lucky, you stay here and keep the ladies company. I won’t be gone long.”
“Sure.” The outlaw looked lustfully at the two women.
“Don’t go rushin’ things, Lucky,” there was a warning in Zack’s words. “The wagon ain’t arrived yet. We still got us some work to do. Later on, we’ll get together with these fine ladies and have ourselfes a real nice time.”
Zack gestured for Lamar Burke to accompany him. They departed the building together with Haggart behind them. “You’ve made things kinda rough on us, Mr. Burke. After the wagon comes to pick up the money, we’re gonna hav’ta leave real soon. No time to move the press. The boss man back in Tombstone won’t like that.”
Lamar was walking beside Zack Gilpin. He had no idea where they were walking to. He was terrified, but decided on trying to strike a cordial tone,--two men of the world discussing business. “Sorry things didn’t work out, Zack. I’ll certainly be happy to pay for the press.”
“Nice of you to offer, Mr. Burke. But that won’t be necessary.” They stopped as another one of Zack Gilpin’s henchmen approached them. He was a red headed man Lamar remembered as being called Gruber. Gruber was toting a gun that looked like a Henry that Lamar owned.
“What you need is a nice long rest,” Gilpin chuckled as he spoke.
Not until Gilpin and Haggart stepped away from him did Lamar understand. He tried to run but was stopped by an explosion. It was the last thing he would ever hear.
Monday: Episode Sixteen of The Witch of Cooper, Arizona