Coyote Springs

Discussion in 'Tall Tales & Fabrications' started by Ted Richards, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. Ted Richards

    Ted Richards Well-Known Member
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    That night we were spread out in a semi-circle moving quietly toward the fire with our guns drawn. The sheriff had him one of them Colt revolving shotguns that usually discouraged any argument. There were four more of us in the posse, Joe, Doc, and myself plus that fat little banker. We could see them three outlaws around the fire and they were passing a bottle around and crowing about their success in robbing our bank.

    As soon as we were close, the sheriff opened the ball and shouted “Put up your hands boys, I’ve got a shotgun on ya, so just lift those hands to the sky, you’re under arrest!" I could see right off that dark little mean one wasn’t going to stand and when he dragged iron, the sheriff let him have it with that shotgun and at the same time I heard Joe fire and winged the skinny tall one that was trying to sneak out a gun. Just like that it was over and the kid outlaw was reaching for the stars and his eyes were as big as saucers. I guess it never happened like this in the dime novels.

    Doc and I looked at each other kind of sheepishly ‘cause we hadn’t done a thing to help. Then that little fat banker came a-running out of the rocks waving his gun around and acting real mean. The sheriff told him kind of harsh-like to put his gun away before he killed somebody and go get our horses. While the sheriff tied up the kid, Doc patched up the tall one up and I worked on the dead one to get him ready to pack to town. I’m the undertaker hereabouts and this was my first customer and I was sure-enough planning to box him up and plant him. I know that was Doc’s first customer in a long time too. The only thing that fretted me was how we were going to get paid. I figured maybe the county would pay so I asked the sheriff. He said the county had no funds for that sort of thing.

    Now I’ll tell you how all this came about; I was just minding my own business that day and passing the time with Doc, Three-fingers we call him, on the bench in front of the store. I moved into town and hung up my shingle as an undertaker when I got too old to cowboy. The missus and I figured we’d make out okay what with her egg money and me burying folks. First off, I built me a sign that said “Farly’s Fine Funerals”. After the sign was up, I built five wood coffins so I wouldn’t get behind and then I found out that these are the healthiest folks you ever saw and peaceable-like so there weren’t many shootings either. Looked like I’d have to use them coffins for firewood this winter!

    Doc wasn’t doing so hot either. Nobody ever got sick and those that got hurt couldn’t afford to pay. Doc had a couple of other things fretting him too; he was real taken with that new redheaded schoolmarm, Miss Mary. She was being real standoffish but I think she liked him; she was just playing hard to get. Then the Doc had a run-in with some varmint under the porch of the store. He was trying to get this varmint out of there when it gnawed up his hand something awful! He walked around for about a week with his hand all bandaged up and that’s when we started calling him three fingers and funning him a bit.

    Well, that did help him a lot with the schoolmarm. I reckon she took pity on him because she started bringing him over a basket of food every day until he could do for himself again. Later, he bought one of her pies at the church social and now I hear they’re walking out together time to time.

    As I said, we were a-setting there yarning away when this ruckus started down the street at the bank. All of a sudden, there was shouting and shooting, and three fellers went a-fogging out of town in a dust cloud to the south.

    We ran over to the bank and got there in time to see that fat little banker all red in the face and telling the sheriff how these three fellers just robbed the bank and took every dime. Now our sheriff is a no-nonsense man as tough as boot leather. He reckoned as how he needed a posse and picked Doc and Joe and me. That little fat banker really wanted to be on the posse and after a lot of arguing; the sheriff let him come too. I think that banker figured he’d rather face outlaws than the folks in town.

    We grabbed grub and water and headed out. These outlaws were riding due south, and maybe a bit east which don’t make any kind of sense cause there just isn't anything down that way except desert for about 80 miles. It was getting along about sundown when Joe said "I think they know we’re on their trail and they also know we can’t trail them after dark. I figure after dark they’ll turn west and try to hit the tanks at Lomas Bayas. They’ll need water and I think that’s our best bet."

    Smart! That Joe doesn’t miss a trick! He’s our blacksmith and runs the stable. He’s a big hairy cuss! Long hair, big hairy arms and a wild look in his eye, but salt of the earth, that man! I know some folks he’s helped out time to time. He came in here a couple of years ago with his wife Carol, “The Lovely Miss Carol” he calls her. I can see why, she’s all class, plays the piano in church, and sings! That woman could sing the angels home.

    Well anyway, we turned west toward the tanks at Lomas Bayas and after a couple of hours we were getting close so we rode easy. By then it was dark and we eased up on the tanks. We could see the faint glow of firelight reflecting off the rocks. We tied our horses back in the brush and downwind from them so their horses wouldn’t smell us and give us away. We left the fat little banker to guard our horses, because this was still Apache country and we didn’t want to be set afoot. Then we took those outlaws just like I said.
     
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  2. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Good story.
     
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  3. Ted Richards

    Ted Richards Well-Known Member
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    Coyote Springs
    continued​

    The next morning at daylight we started back for town and after a bit the sheriff allowed as how the bank would have to pay for the burying and for Doc patching up the other outlaw. Well, you should have heard the squealing that little banker put up! After he ran on for a while he asked how much? Well, Doc allowed as how his services were worth a dollar and I figured four dollars should cover the casket, the digging and the service. "What service" he screamed! "That man’s an outlaw!" Well, I wasn’t going to argue about it but since it was my first funeral, I was determined to put on a first class show. I figured we could maybe get the Lovely Miss Carol to sing a hymn. That should grease the skids past the pearly gates!

    Well, that banker squealed all the way to town and then Doc leaned over and asked the sheriff how long it would be until the trial. The sheriff figured about two weeks before the circuit judge came through. Doc said he reckoned he’d need another dollar to look in on the patient time-to-time and change dressings. That set the banker off again but the sheriff looked at him in that firm way of his and it was settled.

    Things are looking up a bit for Doc and me. I put on the finest funeral you ever saw and the Lovely Miss Carol sang her heart out while Joe played guitar. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd and it was a crowd! There hadn’t been that much excitement in town since the hanging two years ago. Now some folks have been asking me to do their burying for them.

    Doc’s doing all right too; I guess that trip made him see the light and he went right over and asked that red-headed school-marm to marry and darned if she didn’t say yes. He didn’t have to tell me that. I knew it when he came walking down the street with that grin from ear-to-ear and a goofy look on his face.

    Now we hear there is a big outfit from Texas moving a herd of longhorns out this way. They plan to ranch around Big Valley, about twenty miles west of here. There are a few dirt farmers out that way, so there may be some gunplay but that’s all right too because Doc and I can sure use the business.

    Things didn’t turn out the way we thought, but it worked out alright in the long run. Them dirt farmers in Big Valley all got together some time back and sent off East for mail-order brides. The girls arrived just before the big herd came in from Texas and the farmers put on a community social and everyone was invited, so we all went. The herd arrived the day before, so most of the cowboys showed up too all slicked up and ready for fun. Well now, that could have been a real disaster but that rancher with the big herd was a pretty smart feller.

    Right at the beginning, he got up and said his piece. He allowed as how they had crossed some pretty good range just before they got to Big Valley and it had creeks and springs about so there was enough water there too. He reckoned it would make a fine ranch if the farmers would swap him hay for beef. He also noticed his young cowboys had been eyeing those pretty girls and he inquired if the girls might have sisters or know some other young single girls that might want to come west too. Well the girls had a grand time and then they wrote letters home. Before too long another passel of pretty young things arrived and they saw those cowboys, and they married, and now we are having a bumper crop of babies hereabouts.

    Doc’s doing just fine now because those kids get sick with everything imaginable and it keeps him hopping. Good thing too, as he and that redheaded school-marm started having boys so now he has a family to support and doesn’t have time to set around yarning with me anymore.

    My missus doesn’t keep chickens any more either and I’ll tell you how that happened too. One morning the banker didn’t show up for breakfast at the Bon Ton. The sheriff noticed right away ‘cause you could set your clock by the banker’s habits, so after awhile, the sheriff walked over to the banker’s house and to check on him and getting no answer at the door, he went inside and found the banker still in bed, dead.

    Now that was a real shock to the town, not that the banker was well liked, he wasn’t, but we needed a bank in town. Doc went over and checked him over, figured he died in his sleep of natural causes, no bruises or injuries, no sign of a struggle.

    Pretty quick, folks were talking and wondering if their money was safe in the bank. The sheriff found the bank door keys in the banker’s bedroom and was going to the bank when my missus stopped him. They went to his office and talked. She told him that her father was a banker in Durango some years ago. He was doing right well until banditos broke in one morning, robbed the bank, and shot her father and her brother dead. They killed a teller too. Her father, she called him papa, always insisted that she and her brother know everything there was to know about operating a bank. Papa said, “You are the only ones that I can really trust”. When they were older, he had both of them working in the bank, though it wasn’t seemly for a woman to work in a bank then. No one told him that though, he was too widely respected.

    Well, anyway, Isabella convinced the sheriff that she should go along and study the bank books to see if the bank was in good shape or not. They spent all day down there with the door locked. They finished up about sundown, and then had a public meeting at the sheriff’s office. The sheriff said he counted all the money in the bank and it came to a bit over $1800. That caused quite a stir! One of the ranchers figured he should have a bit more than that on deposit there. There was a lot of shouting and carrying on and after awhile it quieted down a bit and Isabella stood up to speak. First thing she said was, “Your money is safe”. Then it got real quiet.

    She explained that most banks don’t keep all of the money on deposit at their bank. They just keep enough to meet day-to-day needs and have the rest deposited in a bigger bank where it’s safer. Then she produced deposit receipts for the missing money. The upshot of that was that Isabella knew how to run a bank so she did. Later, the circuit judge confirmed the decision until the banker’s estate was settled. That may take years, as no one has been able to find any relatives of the banker. Now Izzy is so blamed busy looking after the bank that she doesn’t have time to cook me a decent meal anymore, much less look after chickens. So now I’m the chief chicken herder around here and when I’m not looking after them, I’m peddling eggs around town. It’s just as well because nobody dies anymore or not often enough for me to make much of a living at it.
     
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