Monday, July 16, 2012
Now Playing: One Arm Lightning
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Episode Four concluded with:
Wes Torveen was sleeping soundly. His gun belt was slung over a bed post, only a few feet away from his left arm.
Buck Torveen closed the bedroom door. His younger brother was down for the night, as was his sister. He could keep that appointment now.
Buck was only a scant inch shorter than his brother and had a similar build. Like his brother, he had black hair, but unlike Wes, he did not sport a beard. He headed for the stable and quickly saddled a roan. He was tense as he rode toward town.
Buck Torveen had spent most of the evening playing poker at the Rome Saloon, which was at the opposite end of the street from the Shooting Star. Sure, he had heard a shot coming from the Shooting Star, but gunfire from a booze hole was hardly unusual. He hadn’t given it a thought until Sheriff Laverty accosted him on the boardwalk as he stepped out of the Rome.
“Your brother just murdered Pete Franklin.”
“Wes goaded Pete into a gunfight. Technically, it was self defense. I can’t arrest him.”
Buck had to hold back a scornful laugh. Rob Laverty was a bucket of jittery nerves. The town’s new sheriff was often bossy and more than a bit of a bully. Now, he stood as a bully whose bluff had been called. Laverty was terrified of Wes and had no intention of arresting him.
Buck replied in a harsh voice. He had little respect for the lawman. “Whadd’ya expect me to do?”
The sheriff pointed an index finger in Buck’s direction. “You be in my office at three a.m. Don’t tell nobody about this meetin’. I mean, nobody!”
Two drunks staggered out of the Rome, laughing and singing. Laverty gave Buck a hard look and then stomped off.
Buck checked his timepiece after tying up his roan in front of the sheriff’s office. It was a few minutes past 3:30 a.m. A light still shone in the office window and Buck could tell that several men were inside.
As he entered, he received an immediate rebuke from the sheriff. “Took your time gettin’ here!”
“I had to wait until Wes was in a deep sleep,” Buck shot back. “I sorta got the impression you didn’t want him to know about this meetin’.”
Rob Laverty grimaced and looked down. The sheriff was standing behind his desk. He was surrounded by four men, all of them too nervous to sit down: Stanley Wiggins, Ed Horton, Blake Oliver and Fenton Goulding. Fenton was the owner of both the Shooting Star and Rome saloons. He had been at the Rome saloon when One Arm Lightning gunned down Pete Franklin and, like Buck, hadn’t been aware of what happened until it was long over.
Goulding was a man of medium size with a bushy, sand colored mustache. A heavy smoker, Fenton spoke as he built a cigarette. “Buck, your brother is out to kill all of us men who were in school with him. That is, all of us ‘cept you. Wes trusts you. That’s why you gotta help us.”
“Just what are you gettin’ at, Fenton?”
Fenton put his tongue to the brown paper of the smoke and then continued. “Tomorrow your younger brother plans on buying a lot of stuff at Blake Oliver’s store. That being the case, he’ll probably be riding into town on a wagon.”
Torveen shrugged his shoulders. “Probably.”
Fenton fired up a match with his thumbnail and put it to the cigarette. “So, you come into town with him. Once the wagon stops in front of Blake’s store, make sure Wes stands up in the wagon for a spell.”
The saloon owner busied himself a bit more with the smoke before answering Buck’s question. “Rob Laverty is going to be across the street from Oliver’s General Store on the roof of the Rome Saloon. Ed Horton will be inside the saloon. I will be on the roof of the General Store. Stanley will be in the alley between Blake’s store and the gunshop next door. We’re going to ambush your brother.”
Buck looked around the room with scorn. “Aren’t you gents brave!”
The sheriff again pointed a finger at Buck. “Look here, Torveen. You gotta live in this town. You hafta get credit from Oliver, use names as references for a loan at the bank, and get along with most ever body. Your brother is a killer. Sooner or later, he’s gonna get gunned down. Tomorrow is gonna be sooner. This whole town will rejoice. We can manage this without you if need be. Are you with us or not?”
Tomorrow: Episode Six of One Arm Lightning