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In the Year of our LORD Jesus Christ
2017
-- As of January 20, 2017
A Sigh Of Relief With The Inauguration Of Donald John Trump as President of the United States of America, And Hope For A Prosperous Future For All United States Citizens (we who are a nation called "the melting pot of the world"). We shall be great and exceptionally great again.




Peace and Liberty. Semper Fidelis.





Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fictional Short Story: Recollections of a Western Deputy (1871 -1897): Reminiscing

  

Fictional Short Story: Recollections of a Western Deputy (1871 -1897): Reminiscing

December 10, 1876

     Most of the town is talkin' non-stop about what "8 fingers General Mackenzie" did to the Cheyenne at the Powder River in what I knowed not that long ago to be the Red Harrigan (Indian lover) part of the country.  The hope is that this will bring peace negotiations and lasting peace between the savages and humanity.  As I heard a number of people talkin', it got me to thinkin', and then I made a mistake I rarely make, it also got me for just one sunny afternoon on a day off, to drinkin'.  I bought a bottle of whiskey and took it home, sat a chair in the yard under a tree in the warmest part of the day in this warm spell break in the weather, bein' now in the mid-50s on the new thermometer gadget I bought several weeks ago, and I began to down the whiskey like it was tea.  I thought I would get drunk, but for some unknown reason, even at near two-thirds of the bottle down in less than 20 minutes, I felt like it had no effect.  I saw the wife come out the side door, and shake out a throw rug, and look over kind of concerned like.  She then quietly went back inside the house.   I felt tired.  I never tired lookin' on the Mrs.  Never.  Usually she always pepped me up.  I had a hammock with a blanket on it pitched between two poles, and the sun was shinin' down so it still felt warm, and the breeze was blowin soft like.  So I lay myself down, threw the blanket over my legs, and remembered.  I don't know why.  And then, I think I fell asleep, but still rememberin'.  I awoke to the wife kissin' me awake a few hours later, but before that, this is what I was reminiscing on in my dream, and all of it was true.  


     In early 1872, about mid-March,  I first saw the young woman who was to become my Mrs., only I didn't know it, and frankly, I didn't expect it.  I was now (at that time) 28 years of age and she was all of 16.  And at the first, I didn't know quite what to make of her, as I rode up on my horse to investigate a horse stealin' complaint.   It had rained heavily the night before, and I had to trot my horse carefully through the fields to get thar' as there wasn't yet any roads in that part of town back then as we was still new.   Her family lived just out of town along a Creek that flowed out and even tributaries a small branch of it off which regularly filled Duck Lake, past the hills north of Rustler's passed, Rustler's Pass bein' just outside the boundaries East of town. They had been here all of 4 months by then, rarely had anyone but a few of the older men come into town, and didn't associate with anyone except Lars the Blacksmith and his wife and kin, it seemed to me. 


 Already they built a 9 bedroom one story house, and had perhaps 16 men and boys and 9 women and girls livin' thar, a mix of familial relations all pitchin' in on a 160 acre section with 40 acres of farmin' land that they would be plantin' in 20 acre alternatin' year rotation, while bringin' only certain kinds of leafs  and prairie sod  (sometimes grass but never with weeds)  to compost in pens, and then spreadin' it in the fallow fields as fertilizer.  They had also erected a mostly completed barn with 14 stalls, and was just beginnin' to put the fencin' in.  I noticed that they was makin' the mistake on their fence posts by not soakin' that two foot section they was puttin' in the ground with coal oil.  You always want to soak it at least over night, by a day to no more than a day and a night is better, as it keeps the part that is in the ground from rottin' out, and makes the fence last years longer.  I would later tell and show them this, and eventually get pulled into doin' more than 400 fence posts for them...but that's for later.    


As I rode up for the first time, from a distance, all I saw from the back was a bunch of  far too over-sized clothes that looked like they belonged to what might have been a boy tryin' to grow into his father's britches, or somethin', and put to very hard labor to prove it.  Her hat had a large brim, and if it were any larger, it might have passed for a sombrero, but it wasn't.  I was half-expectin' some buck-toothed freckled face boy who the family was a hidin' because they was workin' all out by their lonesome.



 I rode up closer, to within a stone's throw, and when she turned, I was so taken aback on how beautiful and radiantly so wonderful and breath-taking she was at that moment, I guess I must have been tryin' to dismount, because right then I fell off my horse on the opposite side from where she was, my left foot caught up in the stirrup.   My horse, Reindeer, then proceeded to step on my hat, and then my left hand (pressin' it into the two inch mud I was sittin' in) as I slap the back of his leg with my right and he quickly got off afore puttin' his full weight on it.   But as suddenly as he was off my hand and afore I could even shake the pain out, after I slapped Reindeer in the back of the leg, he then lurched forward and began to trot through the mud in a loop back the way we had come, draggin' me hands and arms and face first in the soft mud like we was in a slow race because of rain and he was a mudder.   About 60 or more rods into the soft wet field, my hung up left boot came off as Reindeer keep chargin' across the field, and headed for the Office.   I had gotten out by movin' from face down over to bein' drug on my back, and reachin' up a second time after gettin' horseshoe bruise clipped in the back of the right arm,  I tucked a bit more away from Reindeer and reached and got hold of the stirrup with both hands,  and somehow pulled myself free,  foot first, so that I again did a belly flop as my fingers were caught up a bit in the stirrup and I had to work myself free.  I was dragged along on my waist may 9 or 10 rods, and at first, it felt as if I had taken up 40 or more pounds of mud in the front of my britches, and was aware of that before lettin' go and then doin' a face first body splash in what was probably near a two foot deep puddle.  I hit it very hard, and landed on some big rocks that bruised me serious in 9 places.  I then crawled out and watched as my horse Reindeer continued trottin' across the field for a half mile or more before I stopped lookin'.  I felt like the puddle washed and knocked away the load of mud from the front, and was worried that I might have cracked some bones on them rocks, but it would only be a day later that I realized I did not.     

After that, I spent several more minutes composin' myself and checkin' my left hand, and washin' my hands and face off in the clear water part of the puddle, I limped back to where the 16 year old girl was, feelin' like I sprained my left ankle, and tried to git her attention with a couple of hellos and let her know that I was sent from the Marshal's Office.  

    The future Mrs. put down hat she was a doin', and took up a single barrel 10 gauge shotgun, and with 3 more rounds in her left hand as she held it pointed at me, with her right finger on the trigger, hammer cocked back, she yelled at me:  first in Dutch, and then, after I didn't respond, she shouted behind her in Danish while also keepin' one eye on me, as she called out for her mother.    Within seconds someone was ringin' a bell and someone else hittin' a hammer on somethin' iron.  In less than two minutes, the whole clan was out, armed and runnin' or walkin' up ready to shoot.  Her father, recognizin' me, told everyone in Dutch and Danish that it was alright.  And as she told him what happened in Dutch, her mother translated for some of the others in Danish, and as they each was told in their native languages,  they all started  a laughin'.  Then at the end, he asked me to lift my left foot, and seein' it was just a muddy barefoot with my ankle swellin' up like water was waterfallin' under the skin down into it to make it almost twice its normal size,  they all (exceptin' the mother and father and the young woman)  went back to the house, a couple of the kin laughin' so hard they had to have two others of their kin put weight under their arms lest they slipped and fell in the mud, as they was so weak from laughin' so hard.  I couldn't see what was so funny.  

Her father then told me to lift my right foot, and I did.  It too, was barefoot. I saw that I lost my other boot.  I must have looked at him in an odd way, as I was thinkin', "I lost my other boot.  So what?  How's that so funny?' 

 Then he asked me if I noticed anything else.  I said, "No."  Then as I was checkin' more closely, I realized from the waist down, I was wearing only my long-john, entirely covered in mud, and as I looked up higher, I saw that even my guns and holster was gone.  I whirled around and looked at where my horse Reindeer had run, and thought to myself something to the effect of 
"That dang horse stripped me of my britches, my guns, my socks, and my boots!"

 and at that point, the back flap on my long-johns fell down and I heard a pair of harmonious shrieks as I turned back and saw mother and daughter runnin' back to the house in haste.   Suddenly, the father's gun was leveled back at me for sure.  I told him I would be goin' over and gettin' my belongings out of the field, if I could.  He move over to a tree stump and sat on it, lit up a long pipe, smoked, and watched me go back into the field where I lost my belongings.  

It took me near an hour to find my guns and holster, and my other boots.  I permanently lost my socks and my pants, and if they ever found them again, no one ever told me about it.   As I was still searchin' for my pants, Marshall Jackson rode up with Reindeer an hour after he had run off, and told me to saddle up and ride back.  He then rode over the house and spoke to the family patriarch, and they had a good laugh.  I rode back and cleaned up, changed into my only other clothes, and had some supper. 

 The Marshal returned before I was finished eating, and at first came in ranting that I must have been born in a corral where horse and donkeys would gather, or words to that effect.  He then insisted that I would return the next day and track down those that rustled the 4 horses, or he was hisself goin' to lose a boot by kickin' it up my backside, and tellin' me that HE was the Marshal, and that means as bein' only a Deputy Marshal myself, that means he can get away with what would only be a disciplinary action...that no one would dare call it "child abuse".     I hadn't had words like that used on me since I was 12 years of age, so that made me feel mighty low, all the way into the next mornin', especially when I saw the face of the future Mrs. again, this time givin' me a look of "here comes the village idiot" kind of look, before rushin' off out of sight, and stayin' hid while I was there talkin' to her father, and only comin' back out as I was a mile or so off I noticed.   Yes sirree...I was feelin' mighty low.  


After 3 days, I returned without success, comin' in from the north.  The creek was only belly deep to my horse at this time of year, and after crossin' I noticed some kind of ruckus.  It was that girl again.  At about 90 rods, I saw she was usin' a pitchfork to defend herself from 5 men on horseback, so I set my horse Reindeer at a trot, preparin' him for the Charge.  I pulled my Winchester .44-.40 from its saddle sleeve, and cocked the hammer.  I was now about 70 rods away.  Then things got out of hand.   3 of the 5 men got off their horses, and she poked one of those 3 comin' at her with a Jim Bowie Arkansas Knife  through the left arm holdin' with the knife with her pitchfork,  as she reached over in 2 or 3 more steps, and fell to the side of her against the fence leanin'  10 gauge shotgun, which she fired off a shot to another's face, as the 3rd man ran 4 or 5 more steps on her and the men on horses was almost arm's reach as close. 

  I was already givin' Reindeer the Charge.  I fired and missed, and then fired again and shot one of the unmanned horses down.  The one of those 3 unwounded men quickly  pistol whipped her with one blow into unconsciousness , and with one hand scooped up her 110 pound frame and gave her to one of 2 others who immediately rode off with her.  He pulled his Henry Rifle, and fired off two quick shots, as I rode closer, not firin' as yet.  The one who had been pierced through the arm pulled a revolver, and began firin' at me as well.  As the two riders rode West across the field, the girl's father shot the one  with the pistol dead with a shot through the heart from the back.  One of the girl's cousins and her father put 8 slugs from their two revolvers into the man with the Henry repeatin' rifle.    Reindeer then tripped on a dirt berm or somethin' and we went down.   I immediately jumped up, in a second or two made sure I had my revolvers, got Reindeer up in another 5 seconds or more, mounted and then sunk spur.   I made a bee-line after the two riders who stole the girl, as one of the family members picked up her hat as I rode by.  I will never forget that look of shock and horror I had likewise seen so many times durin' the Great War.

Those two skunks had a lead of near a quarter of a mile, and they were hard pressed to give that lead  up.  They made their way to Main Street, which was just 20 or 21 buildings with a graded dirt road back then, and there one of them threw the girl in a moving two horse team carriage goin' west, jumped off his horse to where the seat is,  threw out the 13 year old boy drivin' it, and stole the carriage.   By the time I made it into town, the lead still had not shrunk too considerably, but as we went West, slowly I was gainin' ground.  Even while she was layin' unconscious in the carriage, the skunk drivin' it was tearin' at the girl's clothes.  By 5 miles West of town, I was within 20 rods again, and took aim, and plugged the one on horse-back through the back of the head and out the bottom of his nostrils.  The girl was just beginnin' to awaken, usin' her hands to push back from bein' grabbed at; but by this time, she was completely naked.   I was able to get up alongside the carriage and jump on just as he pulled his revolver, cocked the hammer and pointed at the girl.  I brought my hand down and the hammer snapped down onto my right hand's smallest finger, and as I instinctively yelled "Ow!", my hand pulled back and the gun along with it. 

 Then I saw the blood.  I had indeed hit him in the right shoulder blade area earlier, but like an animal that is shot, he was still a goin'.  I told the girl "Look down! Look down!"  She did.  I then pulled my right revolver as he drew his left and tried to shoot behind him, and as he shot wildly once up into the air, I pressed my revolver to the back of his head and pulled the trigger.  Then I reached over, not wantin' a through shot to shoot the horses, and pulled his head back by the hair, and shot him 5 more times through the back of the head in an upward trajectory and then cast his body to the left out of the carriage.  I grabbed up the reins, whoaed the horses to a stop, applied the brake, and then called Reindeer up, and covered her naked body with my saddle blanket.  She seemed to be shiverin', so I took off my leather vest, and she then opened the blanket and threw her naked bosom against my shirt, rested her head upon my chest, and wrapped her hands and the blanket around us both.  We stood there for perhaps all of 5 minutes or more.  I was in shock.  her shiverin' body felt amazingly hot, and I was beginnin' to pour out sweat.  And all I could think was, "I hope nobody else is around."  


I got her to take my vest and put it on, and then (havin' learned from a few days before to now bring an extra pair, which I bought before leavin' to try and find her family's horses), I helped her into my new britches and tied it off at the waist in such a way that it would hold up as long as she was sittin' down or held it with one hand while walkin'.  I put the blanket back around her, and sat her up in the seat.  I tied my horse Reindeer to the back, and then took the long way around back to her home.  The Marshal came up on the trail about 15 minutes after we had left, then trailed and spotted us, and kept a half mile distance all the way back.  Townsfolk were never told the details after the young woman was thrown in the carriage and skirted away.  She was unmolested, and absolutely retained her virginity.  I was the only man outside her family who ever looked upon any of her nakedness, and with an unease, they accepted me as a friend of the family.  I dared not take any romantic interest in her, yet I couldn't help bein' on good terms with her and her father.  Her father also spoke German, which I could once again practice as my family used both German and English Bibles when I was a child, and for about 5 or 6 years, it was the only language me and my cousin Beth (who lived with us) spoke when we talked to one another.  Her father would always revert to English in the presence of most of his family, though, as most had not yet picked up the language enough to hold a conversation with.  


I felt sorry for the girl, and bought the family 2 teams of 2 Oxen to plow the fields with, and then went out and round up 11 wild horses 4 days west of town (after carryin' out a fugitive warrant), and brought them back by myself.  I gave them to her family on account of her as a gift for the horses I couldn't recover.  This really stunned the family.  Her father took me aside, and we talked.  I asked how the girl was dealin' with it emotionally and in the mind, and after we spoke awhile of how things was in Europe before he left his mother and father to carry on in Maastricht, he then approved that I could help his daughter that I had saved at planned times with some chores, when two or more others could chaperon or supervise the occasion.    The girl seemed content, not happy, just content to have me help her.  In my extra spare time the Marshal gave me, I split near 800 rails in the course of 2 weeks, and then over the next 2 weeks after that, I coal oiled and planted 400 rail fence posts.  Her family put the rails up.  Then I heard how the family needed milk, so I bought a few goats, and gave them as a gift (again, on her account, figurin' this would keep her family from lookin' down on her after her bein' through what she went through and all).

  Once I saw that she was fine, and her family was cold and no longer bein' receptive towards me after that, I explained the situation to her, and I told her I was glad she was alright now, and wished her the best on findin' a future husband, as she was so perfect, that I would never find as kind and lovely a gal if I had a lifetime of tryin'.  That was in late May of 1872, I think it was, and from then, all the way up until New Year's Eve, except for a private hand wave or two a month after that, I neither saw or heard from or about her again.  And when one of the boys from my old unit durin' the Great War settled within eye-shot of her place, I always kept a lookin' out that way, hopin' to see her, but never did.  Sometimes I even took extra trips to say hello for 3 or 5 minutes to the fellow ex-soldier, hopin' for just a glimpse of her in the distance...but I never did see her.  Even though I never kissed her, and never hugged her aside from the one time when I rescued her, I sure missed her company.  I missed her awful bad.  It was like there was a new hole in my heart that only she could fill.  GOD had His hole in my heart which He filled, and made me content and she was somehow the other that I now needed filled also.  I kept this to myself, and I refused to mention or share it with anyone.


  But in the meantime, in order to deal with pushin' the ache down deep or even away from myself, I began becomin' obsessed with reward posters and makin' money thataway.  But even so,even with this new obsession I was gettin' to make money in earnin' my keep like a Bounty Hunter at times, still I was reachin' out for help, for a way back home I could never git back to.   I sent word back to my Cousin Beth, who was just widowed and with children, and through a Wells and Fargo shipment I staked her $800 to help her, to keep if she wanted it, but with the hope she would also come out where I was and settle.  And when she got here, it surprised her that I had near $2000 more, and insisted on givin' it to her to stake a new life for her and the children here.  She knew somethin' was amiss, and told me to keep it until I told her that as far I was concerned, I just wanted to throw it to the wind.  So with that, she took it for safe keepin'.  

I told Beth that we could use a fair priced and honest General Store in this town, as the one runnin' his now, sells rotten and poor condition goods at higher than new prices.  I knew she had experience with her husband runnin' a general store for 7 or 8 years back in Virginia before her husband sold it (or rather lost it in a gamblin' debt, and then got shot dead anyway by party or parties unknown).  We both sat down and plotted what we had and what we needed, and what needed to be done over the next 3 days.   She not only now had the additional $2000 I was stakin' her with, but good woman she is, Beth still had the original $800 I sent her, plus another $232 of her own money on top of that.  Beth is a decent lookin' and no nonsense fine woman with a head for business better than most men, and she picked up French and Spanish fluently as that helped her in business dealings with pirate merchant ships in helpin' the South get much needed supplies at cheaper prices than they otherwise could have gotten durin' the war, which I never knew about until she told me.   So with that money I staked her with, plus the money she had,  we began to build her a General Store that we could expand upon, with her and her kids livin' over the store in a second story.  And of course, I spent months of my free time helpin' her get the store and home built, gettin' to know those young'uns I never knew afore, and put a rush on myself to complete the store with haste, so she could stop livin' in a tent and be sheltered all snug and warm before the winter frost came. 

Meanwhile, the last of the 4 men from the old troop with me in town was married, and I was always hearin' this and that of 
"Who are we goin' to find for Sergeant Major B.?"  
 To which the usual reply would be, 
"Who in the hell can put up with him?" or   
What kind of woman would even want to wake up to THAT face in the dark wee hours of the mornin', let alone have to look upon it durin' the daytime! "  

Come New Year's Eve and what happened after,  I come to find out.  Shotgun weddin' and all...and cleaned out of every cent I had left, I still got the very best part of the bargain.  And as I awoke, I woke up extremely overjoyed and feelin' so very blessed.  

---    Deputy B.


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