Dangerous Calling 1
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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Dangerous Calling 1
Dangerous Calling 1
Episode Fifteen concluded with:
Fargo buoyed onto his knees, gun in hand. He fired a shot. Dunning felt a horrible burn in his right arm and let his .45 fly off into the darkness. Fargo collapsed. He was losing blood quickly and no longer a threat. But Abner Coogan was. Dunning let go of his crutch and dropped to the floor. He began to pull himself in the direction of where he had inadvertently tossed the gun. He could hear Coogan’s footsteps moving toward him.
Frank’s right hand collided with the weapon. He gripped it and turned his head in time to see Coogan coming at him, gun in hand.
“Well, well, Mr. Mayor. I guess we got a stand off, here. Think you can fire that gun before I kill you?”
“If I die tonight, Coogan, I’ll take you with me. Leave this place right now and ride. It’s your only hope.”
“I can’t do that Mr.Mayor, I got me a sermon to preach tomorrow mornin’.”
Frank Dunning knew the old church building well. He thought he heard a front door begin to brush against the thin carpet as it opened. The mayor needed to stall.
“Your charade is finished, Coogan!” Dunning yelled, hoping to cover the footsteps of whoever was entering. “How are you going to explain my death, or for that matter, the killing of the young woman? There’s going to be blood all over the church tomorrow morning.”
“You’re right, Mr. Mayor. But if I let you and the lady live, there will be a posse on my heels tonight. If I kill you now, I got a whole night to get far--”
A voice suddenly boomed from the shadows. “You’re going to a jail cell or a graveyard, mister, make up your mind fast.
Coogan stared into the darkness. “Who’s there?!”
“A man who is going to fill you with hot lead, unless you drop that gun.”
Coogan lifted his weapon toward the voice. Two loud shots roared through the darkness. Abner Coogan twirled and fell.
Rance Dehner looked through the window into Hurley’s Café. Amanda Olson was sitting at a table. Frank Dunning was with her, along with a kindly looking couple, who Dehner guessed owned the café. There were coffee cups in front of everyone.
The café was obviously closed for business; Dehner walked in anyway.
“I’m sorry, sir--”
Frank interrupted the woman. “This is the man I told you about, Stella. The detective who saved our lives a few hours ago.” He turned to the newcomer. “Rance, meet Stella and Glenn Hurley.”
There were hellos all around. After shooting Abner Coogan and untying Amanda, Rance had explained that he was a detective employed by Bishop Karl Larkin who was concerned about Jim Goodman. He didn’t go into details about Larkin regarding Reverend Goodman as an incompetent.
“How’s your arm?” Rance asked Frank as he sat down at the table.
“Fine. The bullet just grazed me. What’s the story on the two outlaws?”
“Fargo died less than half an hour ago. According to the doc, Coogan will live to hang. He’s wanted for murder.”
Amanda’s voice sounded frail and shaky. “Did he say what they did to Jim?”
Dehner nodded his head. “He confessed to killing Reverend Goodman. Coogan posed as the pastor in order to get the money which was saved for the new church.”
Amanda stared into her coffee.
A jittery silence followed. Frank broke it with a question. “Tell me, Rance, how did you know we were at the church?”
“I arrived in town this evening,” Rance explained. “Bishop Larkin had given me your home and work address. When I didn’t find you at either place, I decided to check out the saloons. It seems you had a little run in with a cowboy named Jeb. He told me where you were headed.”
The conversation drifted along for a few more minutes. It was obvious that Frank Dunning and the Hurleys were primarily concerned with Amanda’s well being and Dehner’s presence wasn’t much help in that regard. The detective excused himself, saying he wanted to get a good night’s sleep before leaving town the next day.
Pausing outside the restaurant, Dehner looked through the window again and watched three fine people try to comfort a grieving young woman. He had an odd feeling which came to him often: a feeling that he didn’t belong.
Tomorrow: Episode Seventeen, the conclusion of Dangerous Calling