Monday, July 30, 2012

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

Episode Fourteen concluded with:

The sound of stones tumbling down the hillside was followed by fast hoofbeats. Lowrie peered cautiously around his cover to see a rider vanishing over the hillside. Bertram ran to the top of the hill and looked down. “The rotter is either lucky or a good horseman,” Lowrie said to himself. “He’s made it to the bottom without crippling his horse.” 
            Bertram Lowrie turned and looked back. He could spot his horse nibbling at a patch of grass. As he walked downwards, he thought about the attack he had just survived.
            Only a very small number of people knew he was riding out to the Franklin place. Someone didn’t want a detective talking to the mother of Pete Franklin. And  Lowrie  couldn’t be sure that the someone was a man.
            Bertram Lowrie laughed softly to himself. “Apprehending a ghost can get bloody complicated.”

Episode Fifteen:

            Forrest Connors didn’t seem to resent having Dehner ride beside him as he returned to his ranch. In fact, Dehner thought the young rancher appeared more relaxed once they left the Torveen spread. While sitting near his fiancée and her brother, Connors had looked like a guest at a formal dinner, afraid of using the wrong fork.
            The first part of the ride consisted of Connors filling the detective in on the location of the ranches, streams, etc. He had taken Lowrie’s claim at face value. That seemed to be the kind of man Forrest Connors was.
            Dehner knew what Lowrie really wanted. The detectives had not really had a chance to question Forrest Connors. Dehner needed to correct that situation.
            Rance kept his voice casual. “It must have been really rough on Buck, having to take part in an ambush on his brother.”
            “Harder than you know,” Connors replied. “Rebecca told me that Buck was a lot more than just an older brother to her and Wes.”
            “That right?”
            “Yeah. Their momma died young and their daddy drank heavy. Ignored the kids most of the time. Buck looked after Rebecca and Wes as best he could. He tried to stand up for Wes when the other boys ganged up on him because of his arm. Sometimes that worked, but Buck was only one boy and much of his time had to be spent at the ranch doing the chores his pa was too drunk to do.”
            They arrived at the Connors Ranch. The place was well cared for, but only a couple notches above hardscrabble. Forrest seemed to read his companion’s thoughts. “Won this place about a year and a half ago in a poker game. You should have seen it when I took over. Believe it or not, this is an improvement. A big improvement.”
            Rance smiled, “Looks better than anything I ever won in a poker game. Thanks for allowing me to tag along. I’m going to ride around a bit and check out some more of the land.” The detective gave a two finger salute.
            As he stood on the porch of his small ranch house and watched Dehner ride off, Connors noticed that the sun was beginning to set. In another hour or so, he would have to ride into town to keep an appointment: an appointment with a man who was threatening him. 


            Forrest tied up his horse in front of Oliver’s General Store and gazed through the window as he approached the front door. A tattered CLOSED sign took up a quarter of the glassed area but lights were on inside and Blake Oliver could be seen bustling about.
            The door wasn’t locked. Connors stepped through it.
            Blake Oliver’s voice sounded genuinely friendly. “Good to see you, Forrest, beautiful evening, ain’t it?”
            Forrest’s voice was toneless. “Hello, Blake. Yeah, nice evening.”
            Blake scooted behind the counter of his store and began to remove cans of beans from an open case. He grinned malevolently at his one customer as he placed the beans on the shelves behind him.  “I guess you’re here to pay up all the money you owe me. That’s quite a bill you’ve run up, Forrest.”

Tomorrow: Episode Sixteen of One Arm Lightning