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In the Year of our LORD Jesus Christ
-- 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.

It is likely that the entries to this blog will be less frequent than in years past. I do intend to keep this blog active, and to offer insightful information and/or opinion (and sometimes humor and/or entertainment on occasion) when I do post.

Peace and Liberty. Semper Fidelis.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fictional Short Story: Recollections of a Western Deputy (1871 -1897): Circumstances Leadin' To The Deaths Of The Wife's Father and Judge Cork

January 18, 1877   

Circumstances Leadin' To The Deaths Of The Wife's Father and Judge Cork

       Earlier this month, me and the Mrs. had our 4th Wedding Anniversary.  It seems to be a new thing that people are bringin’ up, as when I was a young un’, sometimes the only way one would ever knows when you was hitched was by peekin’ in your family bible, as even the date and the number of years was just kept THAT private.   Or maybe it was just the way we was in the area I was reared up in, out on the farms and in the small towns about us…I reckon I don’t rightly know. 

But now, near 12 years after the Great War, things are changin’.   We’re a continent where most of both Protestant and Catholic Europe is becomin’ a big part of our one nation, and new traditions are sometimes bein’ created by us; and, you could say, maybe even for us (in order to sell us somethin’ we never knew, wanted, or though we needed afore).   This country is buildin’ a lot of what they call industries in the east, but north of the Mason-Dixon line, and a lot of the financial robbery of the South (which is what them top varmits in their various syndicates  invaded the South over) was found to have been merely to make sure that another country hostile to their greed wasn’t at their underbelly while they often enslave the free white man in industrial slum and mine shack livin',  and for the moment call it "voluntary un-indentured low wage with high profit yield servitude", according to Banker Sneed (whose two older half-brothers work as accountants reportin’ regular to some of these families of high finance out of New York and Boston).  But enough with politics, as to us out here in the near to Wilderness Areas of this vast continent, what happens back East might as well be happenin' on the other sid of the planet for all we care.  It's only what directly affects us that we have either the time or energy or inclination to care about, because livin' is both hard and a family (and sometimes greater group than that) effort.  

The other Deputy Marshals have all gotten sick with the fever, so I have had to stop doin’ what I was special hired to do, in bein’ a ramrod and trouble shooter with a deputy Marshal’s badge and a Marshal’s authority,  and to take over the court proceedin’ duties of securin’ Court Sessions to bein’ peaceable and deliverin’ and removin’ those in or those takin’ into custody.   Personally, I am glad that this will be over soon, as the session we had a week ago is an example of why I had enough of this kind of Deputy Marshalin’ already, even though I will still have to do regular servin' all day in Court at the beck and call of the judge in the future.  This part, I have trouble bein' patient with. 

On last week’s Monday, on the 8th, we had a situation where two farmers livin’ on opposite ends of town argued over who owned a no brand Jersey cow.  One of the farmers was my father-in-law.  Judge Cork was still fillin' in for Judge Hollister, who no one knew what had happened to him, except that he went away south to Texas somewhere.  Unfortunately, Judge Cork was makin' unwanted intimations on the wife's 16 year old female cousin, who was livin' under the watchful eye of her uncle, my father-in-law.  Many of us were concerned that his intent was to corner her somewheres and rape her, be it in a field or in the woods or even by forcin' her into an outhouse or somethin'.  The Marshal said his papers as a Judge were in order, and until I had somethin' definite, I wasn't to touch him.  Over the previous month, I seriously considered bush-whacking him about 30 or more ways, scoped out locations and thought of means and times and ways with most of them almost guaranteeing no witnesses, but I always held back and refocused that to a better use, on helpin' the wife have another little one instead.

Judge Cork knew full well that my father-in-law's cow was the only one with a unique bell-shaped blood red birth spot on its left hind quarter.  I suspect Judge Cork put former banker Redmond's brother-in-law up to lyin' in Court and committin' perjury.  I spoke up as an Amicus Curiae, a friend of the Court, in which I could resolve the matter and speak to a bill of sale that was given Judge Cork in my presence earlier by my father-in-law that he claims to no longer have.  Judge Cork told me to "Shut the hell up.  You will speak only when spoken to, and when I tell you to do something, you will do it without question or hesitation, or I will hold you in contempt of Court and fine you $200 and 30 days.  And in case you wonder why so high a fine and so long a jail sentence...it's because I can."  

The judge decided to see which of the two could better recollect the particulars of the cow.  It bein’ too cold to go outside, I was then ordered to bring that fat she thing into Maywood’s bar, where we was holdin’ court, and produce it near the new fangled pot-belly stove where the Judge was.  After lookin’ the cow over, Judge Cork ruled against both claimants, and ordered that the cow be executed, and that I was to do so forthwith.   So I quick pulled my right  .45 revolver, placed it behind the cow’s left ear, and shot it without hesitation.  That was a mistake, as the cow didn't fall down and die, it went wild, and side swiped me on her left some 9 feet back into the bar, knockin' over tables and chairs, and losin' control of its bowels.  Then it went over to the right side ways and then back end in a circle, knockin' over another half dozen tables and twice that more chairs, and came round and fell iver and on top of the new pot-belly stove, screamin' moo in pain as it was brand sizzlin' and finishin' it bowel and urinary movements.    I then shot it through the forehead, where i should have shot it the first time, and then shot a third round in her again between the eyes just to make sure.  At which time the Judge jumped up and was screamin’ what in the blazes was I doin' as he wanted to hang the cow.  With that, he fined me $50 to pay for damages and ordered the cow be removed and taken to Butcher Beavers, who would divide the cow up into equal portions for him, the Marshal, and the town council.  Havin’ shot the animal in his Court, I wasn’t to get any, and was ordered to clean up the mess.  Not only was I upset that I was unfairly fined $50 for doin' what he ordered lest I be fimed $200 and 30 days in jail,  but my other contention is this.  Now what kind of a Judge would ever hang a cow as a way of slaughtering the critter?  

Afore I would kill this motherless son of a, I wanted my dang money back.  But first I had to hook the hind legs of the cow by rope to the horn of the saddle on reindeer, and drag that cow out of the saloon, where I then hitched the rope to a two horse flatbed wagon, and dragged it the 26 or so rods to Butcher Beavers store, and he took care of the rest, right thar' in the street once I hauled it onto a set of planks he laid out for me to drag it upon.  After which, I took a shovel, a couple of buckets, a broom,  some rags and three gallons of turpentine to the mess.  I moved all the tables and chairs to the side of the room well away from the mess all in the middle of the floor.   After I got the main mess up, between the shovel and the broom, I laid down two gallons of turpentine afore I realized there were still hot coals in that dang pot belly stove.  In an instant, I had the entire center of the floor on fire lickin' flames 4 and 5 feet high!  At first I took a couple whiskey bottles and began pourin' that on the flames, but that didn't work and it only make the stink smell a little better and the flames lick a little more orange. A few of the townsfolk sounded the alarm, and eventually about 20 of us soon put the flames out about 5 minutes later.  No real damage done, but I figure it would be a few months before the stink got aired out.   When I got home, the wife chased me from comin' in the house, hittin' me 30 or 40 times with a broom.  She then sent me to the stalls to change and ordered me to bury the clothes, as she said they was the same as bein' skunked, and beyond savin'.  The kinds of drafts and chills I got changin' as fast as I could in near O degree weather, made me appreciate what them women in dresses have to put up with in cold weather.  The wife then made me privately bathe with hot water in the kitchen, and change clothes again.  After which, she served me up a vegetable stew and fresh baked bread and only cold water to drink  (as we had run out of coffee and tea, and I forgot to buy some from Beth at the General Store afore comin' home).  

Come Wednesday, just as you walked in Maywood's, you could still smell the burnt bourbon faintly.  Just about every fella in the place suddenly had the urge to take up smokin'.  Most smoked pipes and cigars, and some smoked that fairy tobacco called cigarette, which is like havin' a tobacco toothpick burnin' off the lip, and is rarely puffed at by those usin' it from what I see.  One out of town fella came into Maywood's and aside from the near fog-thick smoke, he  noticed the "burnt" smell of the floor that looked like it had been through a fire, and said the place not only smelt like it had a fire and but that it had the nice faint fragrance of bourbon.  Then he made a mistake of comin' in a few more steps and whiffed and almost gagged, and asked "What, pray tell, is that other odor?"   In unison, from half a dozen or more came the reply, "Don't ask!"  And with that, he turned and almost ran out of the place.  
Judge Cork decided to invite himself to sit with me and the boys in our monthly poker night, and then upped the stakes from cents we always played for, to dollars.   I got all the money I was fined back at poker on Wednesday night, and cleaned the judge out for the entire $138 he earned in court fees from Monday to that Wednesday afternoon.  He was finger-nailin’ the deck, and I let him think only he knew which cards they was after he had done it.  The then took the $50 I needed for Court costs, and gave the boys $22 apiece as part of the winnings.  They and their wives was all sure happy about that.  

That was the calm before the storm.  Two days after that, on Friday mornin', disaster was comin' and seem to be startin' with the wife havin' nightmares. She kept on wrastlin'in her sleep, twice chokin' me awake at the Adam's Apple and sayin' a whole lot of words in Dutch and Danish, one of which translated was "I will never forgive you." and another translated was, "I will not!  She's not yours to take!  Go to hell!"     

      Twice more after that I had to wake her as she punched and kicked me in bed.  Then finally, she awoke as if in another moon rage again, and was so offended about whatever it was in her dream, that with both feet she kicked me in the front thighs right out of bed.   Then she fully awoke and realized what she did and we checked...yep, it would be two big black and blue marks a comin' on the front of my thighs.  I was grateful she didn't break my legs, but that didn't slow the pain down for the next 45 minutes none.  After a while she was totally settled down, and eventually we both went to a somewhat restful sleep for about 2 hours. 

At about 4 in the mornin', about half an hour after time for milkin' cows,  I got up earlier and set about the kitchen to prepare the mornin' meal when a knock came at the side kitchen door, with word from her 16 year old Dutch female cousin.   She rushed past me and said "Judge Cork had just killed Uncle..." when a knife came flyin' out of the dark as I jerked back, and its sharp blade cut a 19 inch slice through the skin from just to my right side of the inny belly button to a place on my chest just over the heart.  The wife's cousin screamed somethin' in Dutch, perhaps two words, at the top of her lungs.  My left hand caught the left handed knife wielder, and I twisted in such a way that I dropped him to the floor under me, disarmed him of the knife with the right hand, and instantly placed that Arkansas toothpick all the way through his forehead with such force, that the point went through the back of his skull and pinned it to the floor.  I jumped up and reached for the shotgun over the kitchen door and checked a few steps to the outside for others as the wife came into the kitchen wieldin' both my .45   "6 guns" she got from the bedroom.  Two of the neighbors down the street saw there was a commotion and came to look.  They saw I was pulsin' blood and seemed to be losin' some of it fast.  After gettin' me to lay down and have the wife and her cousin apply a clean cloth with pressure, one went for the doctor and the other went for the Marshal.   Judge Cork had killed the Mrs.'  father with a knife blow from behind and chased her cousin more than a mile and a half on foot across the farmin' field, through the woods, and down the road to where we was.  Had Judge Cork stabbed instead of slashed...well, I really don't even want to think about it.  

In most all of 1863 and part of 1864, I served with three different trick shooters who taught me how to become a perfect and near perfect shot most all the time.  They didn’t mind as it help pass dead time and because I already had a natural talent and lots of prior ability in shootin’.    The last 4 months with Corporal Harry Sutter, I was able to make a leather holster rig so that I could learn how to quick draw a revolver, rather than to have it snapped shut and lose precious seconds drawin’ it out when the enemy came on us sudden-like.  Just afore he died, Harry made me a second rig, and we practiced on my left hand fast draw and what I needed to know for two-handed fast draws.  I think he was able to impart most everything I needed to know, but I couldn’t help but always think and regret that there wasn’t one or two more things he could have taught that I would certainly have wanted to know. 

After the war, there was a few times I put on a sharp shootin’ show to make money at it; but 8 times out of 13, the money I made didn’t even cover the cost of replacin’ the ammunition.  Folks was just tired of war and guns and even the noise.  “If you want to pop off them 6 guns”, one town constable said once, “why don’t you head out west of the Mississippi River, and take your 4 ‘follow the leader’ boys with you.”    And that is exactly what we did.  Our homes was all gone, the whole South was turned into a mostly tyrannical and near lawless run place (from what we saw of it)  that sided with thievin’ Yankee Carpet baggers, and sometimes our helpin’ our own was doin’ a bunch more hurt than good.  So we hopped up on our horses, and moseyed out West, crossin’ by ferry in Tennessee.   We had 14 Yankee dollars in borrowed money from a no good carpetbagger who tried to single handedly hold me up, and two gold watches the boys had left from the war...but only one was runnin' and the other was broke and only worth its encasement.   My quick draw and sharp shootin' ability really came in handy after the war...but not now.  Not now.  

And here I was, on a floor, about to have 84 stitches that will lay me up for the next 6 weeks, sliced at my own kitchen door when I was without my guns on and surprised out of the dark like some 14 year old who's not quite what one would expect to be a man yet, and all the fancy quick draw and trick shootin' accuracy I had for that moment I needed my guns and didn't have them, that ability didn't account for a hill of beans without my guns.  I plan on spendin' a lot of time gettin' back to readin' the Bible, which is a regular textbook in schoolin' and education,  so that in perhaps 3 days or less I could reread the entire New Testament and the Psalms, and give thanks for at least bein' able to be able to save my wife's cousin and kill that no good skunk.   I figurin' on that because I found some other passages that say somethin' about grinding even bones of the wicked into powder or dust,  and found them to be comfortin'.  One might even say, inspiring as well.  But who's to say?   

Come Sunday, having left the door wide open, it was discovered by one of the men assigned to doin' a night watch on the town that someone left $50 in gold pieces for a like amount of black powder they took from Jake's Mining and Farming Supply Store, and blew up that no good Judge's corpse into nothin' but sharps - blood splotches - and little red chunks of flesh (at or about  2 in the mornin' after they threw it in his open grave before any ceremony could be commenced for him at 10 that same mornin').   It was by sheer coincidence that I broke 11 stitches after goin' to the outhouse out back of the house near or about the same time the explosion happened more than 2 miles away, and a few of the more vocal women publicly and without proof accused me of plantin' a long fuse, perhaps an 18 minute or longer fuse,  which would allow me an alibi.  I told my accusers they was crazy, and as far as breakin' 11 stitches, that as at least when I go, sometimes I have to use my stomach muscles and grunt a few extra squeezes to get mine to pass, and anyone who don't ever have that experience either uses Castor oil like some drunks down whiskey or rye, or perhaps they must be doin' like the witches and ridin' the broomsticks and gettin' splinters in places they don't want mentioned.  That shut them up right quick.   I sure hope it also make them pack up move out of town to some other part of the country as well, and good riddance.  But so far, all I get now is a bunch of dirty looks from most everybody for havin' said it. 

-- Deputy B.  

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