Each weekday on this blog you will find an episode of a western short story featuring Rance Dehner, a detective who operates in the old West. When the story concludes, it will be archived for those readers who prefer to read a story from start to finish.
A sense of urgency
came into the doctor’s voice. “Be careful, Fenton! Rebecca is right. Rob
Laverty is unhinged. There is no telling how he will react to losing his
“He’s got no choice in the matter!” Goulding proclaimed as he placed a hand on
Spur Sanders’ shoulder. “Are you ready, Spur?”
“Ah, yes sir.”
“Then let’s get to it. I need to take away Rob Laverty’s badge and swear in our
new sheriff.” Fenton Goulding began to exit the office in a very ceremonious
manner. Everyone except the doctor followed him.
Rance was the last one out the door. He turned to the physician, who was still
sitting at this desk. “Nice meeting you, Doctor.”
“Yes, yes. The same here.” Dr. Brooks looked very worried. Rance understood
why. Firing Rob Laverty was going to be a dangerous undertaking.
The five people walked to the
sheriff’s office in silence. Not until they were a few feet from the office did
Spur Sanders break the silence. “Miss Torveen, Mr. Torveen, I got no authority yet
to tell you to do this. But I’d appreciate it if you’d wait here. Mr. Connors
will be released shortly.”
Both Torveens looked surprised by
the request. Buck was the first to speak. “Of course, Spur. We’re both happy
that you are taking over as sheriff.”
Fenton Goulding, Spur Sanders, and
Rance Dehner entered the office. Rob Laverty was standing behind his desk.
“Mornin’,” Laverty knew immediately
that something was up, but he wasn’t too worried. He knew Wes Torveen’s ghost
was now pleased with him. He had framed Forrest Connors for the murders of
Blake Oliver and Stanley Wiggins. No one would suspect Torveen’s ghost.
Despite his earlier bluster, Fenton
found it hard to get to the point. “Ah, are you having a busy morning, Sheriff?”
“Yeah, sorta, got to go over to the
restaurant and let them know I have a prisoner. They’ll need to bring his
That statement didn’t allow Fenton
Goulding any more time to fiddle about. “That won’t be necessary, Sheriff
Laverty. Mr. Connors is to be released from prison immediately.”
Rob Laverty’s face went red. “Not as
long as I’m the Sheriff!”
“Mr. Laverty, you are no longer
Sheriff,” Goulding blurted out. “I am here to take your badge.”
Laverty’s head moved backwards as if
absorbing a punch. Wildness took over his eyes. He jabbed a finger in
Goulding’s direction. “You think gettin’ rid of me will make you safe?”
Goulding looked confused. “Safe?”
Rob Laverty’s voice became a yell.
“You think because you didn’t fire a shot from the roof during the ambush, that
Torveen’s ghost won’t kill you like he did the others?”
Goulding returned to his officious
manner. “Sheriff, I must demand your immediate--”
“You can have my badge!” He ripped the
star off his vest and threw it at the saloon owner. Walking around the desk he
began to unbuckle his gunbelt. “The town bought this gun for me when I became sheriff.
You can have it back too.”
The disgraced lawman began to hand
Fenton Goulding his gun but as he did, he slipped the six gun from the holster
and fired into Goulding’s face. As blood splattered over him, Dehner drew iron
and triggered a bullet directly into Laverty’s chest. The lawman stumbled
backwards and fell.
Spur Sanders and Dehner quickly
checked the bodies of Fenton Goulding and Rob Laverty. It was a matter of
routine. They knew both men were dead. Rance noticed a shiny object, spotted by
blood, lying on the floor between the corpses. He picked up the badge and
handed it to Spur Sanders.