Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Now Playing: One Arm Lightning 
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Episode Twelve of One Arm Lightning

Episode Eleven concluded with:

            “Step out from behind that bar, Rob. Let’s find out how fast you really are.”
            Laverty pounded his fist on the bar and screamed at the man in the doorway. “You go back to Hell or wherever you demons come from! Leave me alone, Wes Torveen, leave me alone!”
            Rob Laverty began to cry uncontrollably. He rested his head on the bar and put both arms over it. He refused to look up, like a child hiding under a blanket, hoping the boogieman would disappear.
            But he could hear the voice that continued to taunt him. “I see you don’t feel up to a gunfight this evening, Robbie. Don’t worry. I’ll be coming back to see you soon.”
            Laverty continued to keep his head down for several minutes after the voice ceased. When he finally raised his head, all he could see was a vacant doorway made blurry by the tears that cluttered his eyes.

Episode Twelve


            “This was found on Stanley Wiggins’ corpse, Mr. Lowrie. It was ripped from the dress that Wes was going to buy for Rebecca.” Buck Torveen handed Bertram Lowrie a checkered cloth with a note attached to it.
            An angry female voice snapped at Buck. “My brother did buy that dress for me. You can bet Blake Oliver got his money from Wes before he sent him out to be ambushed. Not that Rob Laverty and those other fools could bring it off. You had to lend a hand, didn’t you, Buck?”
            Buck Torveen looked downward as another male voice spoke to his sister. “This is hard on everyone, Rebecca. You saw the good side of Wes. But we all know he was a dangerous man. Buck did what he had to do.”
            The young woman sighed deeply, “I suppose so. I’m sorry, Buck.”
            As Buck replied to his sister, Rance Dehner assessed the five people sitting in the living room of the Torveen ranch. Two people sat on a sofa: Buck and Rebecca Torveen. Both were tall, dark haired and tanned by long hours spent in the sun. Buck appeared nervous and defensive. His sister was angry and seemed inclined to lash out. Her apology to Buck had been nothing more than a formality, and the tone of her voice made sure he knew it.
            Sitting on a chair beside the brother and sister was a sandy haired man with long arms and legs that made him appear gangly. He also looked a bit uncertain of himself, as if not sure he really belonged. The man had been introduced as Forrest Connors, Rebecca’s fiancé.
            Facing this threesome and sitting on two rawhide bottom chairs were Rance and his boss, Bertram Lowrie. Lowrie was tall, almost skeletal in appearance with a prominent nose and chin. The former British military man had been intrigued by the wire received from Rebecca Torveen and decided to accompany Rance, since Rebecca had asked for the services of two detectives.
            Dehner tried to get back to business. “Do any of you know exactly what became of the dress after Buck placed it in the wagon?”
            Buck spoke up immediately. “I didn’t give the dress much thought till I drove the wagon back here to the ranch a few hours after Wes was killed.”
            “Murdered,” Rebecca said in a low voice.
            A quick grimaced appeared on Buck’s face, then he continued. “I noticed the dress when I got back to the ranch and jumped off the wagon. Just left it there.  At the time, I was thinking about how I could break the news to Rebecca about Wes’…about…Wes.”
            Dehner shifted his gaze to Rebecca. “So, you never actually saw the dress, Miss Torveen?”
            The young woman’s voice took on a neutral quality. “No. Buck told me about it, but I didn’t want to see it.”
            Rance tilted his head back to Buck. “When did you notice that the dress was missing?”
            Buck Torveen shrugged his shoulders in a sheepish manner. “Not until the morning after Stanley was killed. Sheriff Laverty rode out here and showed me the piece of gingham cloth. I immediately recognized it as coming from the dress. I’m sure I left it in the wagon, but when Laverty and I went to check, the dress was gone.”
            Bertram Lowrie joined the questioning. His voice was staccato. “You say the dress was missing. Was the box still there?”
            “No, the box was gone.”
            “At the store, did you see Mr. Oliver place the dress in the box?”
            Buck appeared surprised by the question. He squinted and went quiet for a moment before answering. “No, come to think of it, Wes and I were busy looking around. Blake just handed me the box and said the dress was inside.”
            Lowrie held up the piece of cloth with a paper pinned to it. “This note on the cloth consists only of the number three. Can you explain that?”
            Buck Torveen sighed and nodded his head. “The last time Wes was here, about a year ago, he goaded two of his former school mates into a gunfight. He killed both of them. He wanted to go after the rest but the sheriff at the time, Allen Hodge, stood in his way. Sheriff Hodge had been kind to Wes when he was a boy and my brother didn’t want to go up against him.”
            Bertram Lowrie’s face crunched up before he spoke. “So, this number three was Wes’ way of telling the men who had bullied him as a child that he had come back from the dead in order to finish his gruesome task.”

Tomorrow: Episode Thirteen of One Arm Lightning