Tuesday, August 28, 2012
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Episode Thirteen concluded with:
“We need to get back to Hardin,” Dehner interrupted. He took a coin from his pocket and handed it to Ferlin.
The moonshiner’s eyes went bright. “How many jugs ya want?”
The detective smiled and shook his head. “None. That is for the information and I do have a favor to ask.”
Dehner nodded towards Sahale’s corpse which was lying in the front yard. “Would you bury the body?”
“No trouble attall,” Ferlin spoke in a neighborly fashion. “I’ll plant him in the back. He might make them bushes grow a few more berries. Only there won’t be no marker or nothin’ like that.”
“Ferlin and me never took much to readin’ and writin’,” Irma said.
Marshall Bret Carson paced about his office. “Are you sure about all this, Rance?”
“Well…yes…I haven’t got it all nailed down yet, but I’m getting there.” Dehner assessed the three men who were with him in the Marshall’s office. Bret Carson looked confused and skeptical. Deputy Rip Gowdy looked hostile. Reverend Nate seemed to be the only true believer in Dehner’s theory.
“Rance, I’m no detective like you,” the marshall stopped pacing and stood still. “Just a plain lawdog. Could you go over all this again for me?”
“Sure.” Now Dehner began to pace. “About nine months back, some braves died from drinking bad moonshine. The stuff came from a moonshiner who didn’t know or care what he was doing.”
Rip Gowdy still looked hostile. “So?”
“Akando saw a way to make money. He wanted to buy guns for himself and his fellow thugs. He and his bunch may be renegades, but they still had friends in the various tribes. Akando provided them with safe tanglefoot. Stuff the friends could drink themselves, as well as sell to other members of the tribe. Akando did all this for a price, of course.”
“The Macklin brothers were his source,” Carson was reviewing facts.
“But where does Tully Jones come in?” Gowdy sounded more than skeptical.
“Indians paying regular visits to a moonshiner would draw attention. They needed a middle man. Tully was perfect for the job.”
Bret Carson seemed to be accepting Dehner’s theory. “But something went wrong between Tully and the renegades.”
“Renegades are like any other band of outlaws,” Dehner stopped pacing. “There are usually some in the gang who want to take over as leader. Akando had made enough money to arm about half of his outlaws with rifles. He was probably stuffing away cash to buy guns for the rest. He needs to keep his thugs happy and remain the top man.”
Gowdy appeared exasperated. “I still don’t see where Tully fits in.”
Dehner pushed his hat back and scratched the front of his head. “I think Tully stole the money Akando had collected to buy guns.”
“Akando would have been humiliated to be outfoxed by a petty thief like Tully,” there wasn’t a trace of doubt in Nate’s voice. “He needed to act quickly and decisively not to lose the respect of his braves.”
Gowdy remained doubtful. “Why did one of the Macklins ride up the hill to see Akando last night?”
“Part of the deal with the Macklins probably involved Akando eliminating any competition the Macklins might have,” Rance speculated. “My guess is that some Indians became unhappy with the tanglefoot the Macklins were providing and threatened to switch their patronage to the Barstows. That angered the Macklin brothers and they demanded immediate action.”
“That makes sense,” Carson said, and then fell silent for a few moments. When he spoke again, he changed the subject. “Tully will never tell us where he hid that money.”
“No, but he can still help us.”
“What do you mean, Rance?” The marshall asked.
“I have a plan, but it is dangerous.”
Marshall Bret Carson walked to the front door of his office and opened it. Sunshine hit his entire body and streamed into the room. “There are eleven of them left. In less than four hours they will attack this town and try to burn it down. They will kill everyone they can. I’m ready to try something dangerous.”
Tomorrow: Episode Fifteen of Ultimatum