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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  GENERAL TOPICS  |  Saddlebag Tales (Moderators: Marshal'ette Halloway, Lucky Irish Tom)  |  Topic: At Wit's End 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: At Wit's End  (Read 35509 times)
Scarlet Angel
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« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2010, 01:17:54 am »

Scarlet had been going through wanted posters off and on since she’d come back from town. She had gone through the posters she’d kept from bounty hunting to find the one on Jim Hoss. She’d marked on them the day the men, mostly just the heads, had been brought in for positive identification and to collect the bounty. Then there were the ones she’d kept when she rode with Hart, confirmed arrests, done by the book, all of them had been tired and found guilty.

Scarlet had three neat stacks, men she’d hunted before becoming a deputy, men after and those that had been ridden with Hoss from time to time, most of them small time criminals that hadn’t been worth her time as a bounty hunter, after Hoss died they had all ridden the wind in different directions.

She eyed the stacks trying to be objective judging herself. This person had a good arrest record; before pinning on a badge had been ruthless, picking mostly those you could bring back dead, and walked a thin line just inside the law, as far as the law knew. After she’d been difficult to control and strong willed, but the arrests always held water and those that had died had died from firing upon the posse.

Scarlet glared at the telegram that she had tossed on the desk saying Phillips was coming. Houston had seen fit to replace this person with someone who had very little experience as a deputy and none as a marshal. She was losing respect for Thompson every time she thought of it.

She flipped through the posters of the men that had been arrested while she’d worn her badge. Houston didn’t seem to care about her abilities, maybe she should just tell them to piss off she thought. A stack of letters among the posters caught her eye. Without looking she knew there were a couple of letters of commendation, one from Wheeler and one from Hart, of all people. There was also letters from Pete Sutherland, the deputy who had almost lost his life to one of her oldest enemies. She pulled it out but didn’t have to open it and read it to know what it said.

Dear Angelina,

Would you believe I have accepted a position as a Marshal? Most thought I would quit after we made it back alive, but I kept thinking if it wasn’t for deputies like you and Sonny what might have happened to me.

I will be passing through El Paso in a week. Be prepared for me to do anything short of begging to get you away from Hart. I need a good team that includes you.

When times are tough I think of you staying and holding my hand instead of riding off and leaving me.

I have not forgotten the frog jump. When are we going?

Haha. Love Pete.

There were more inside of it asking her to join him as part of his team. One telling her he was sorry to hear of Hart’s death and asking her to ride with him, one congratulating her on her upcoming marriage to Fritz and looking forward to being at the wedding. That one ended with “He must be some kinda special to you.” Scarlet smiled he sure is she thought.

She looked at the small pile of letters stacked neatly on the desk that had recently come and reached for them, pulling out an envelope she opened it and read the letter again.

Dear Scarlet,

I am very sad you never joined my team, but so happy that John Ross has passed the Marshal’s badge to you. Houston should have done that years ago. I would still like us to bring in some outlaws together.

You would be impressed at how good of a Marshal I have become, maybe as good as Ross, or even Wheeler was, I learned much from Hart but more from you and Sonny. Houston is lucky you have stayed on. I am lucky to have another Marshal I could reach out to and trust to know would help.

Next time you’re in Galveston make sure y’all look me up.

Looking forward to the next time our trails cross.

Your friend Pete. 

She scooped up the letters and put them back with the posters from bounty hunting and tucked all but the one on Hoss and the man she had seen in the Ace in the file that was her private file.

She leaned back in the chair and thought of Pete and Sonny.

“Scarlet!” Lily yelled running towards the office. “Scarlet!  Ella says the bank is being robbed!”

Scarlet leveled her gaze at Lily, if Lil had been five minutes earlier Scarlet might have told her to let Phillips deal with it, but the thoughts of Pete and Sonny had made her decide if they were going to remove her they were going to have to do it face to face and if she ended up in Houston to get that meeting folks back here would probably hear her yelling if for nothing more than the pure satisfaction.

“What else?” Scarlet asked standing up reaching for her rifle.

“Patches sent me to fetch you to come back, more details were coming in.” Lily replied running next to her back to the office Patches sat in.

“Seven riders, in the bank.” Patches said as the other two came in the door.

Scarlet cursed under her breath.

Patches sent and received the information as fast as Scarlet could talk.

“Where are Fritz and Jimmy?”

“Last seen Marshal’s office. Nobody on street.”

Scarlet cursed again, they were at least 30 minutes hard ride from town, even if she did cut across the property and not stay on the roads.

“Come on.” She said to Lily. “I’ll be right back and tell Eddie to get all exits out of town covered tell him…”

Patches finished her sentence “to get men from the Ace if need be.”

Scarlet ran for the corral with Lily on her heels. “Saddle your horse, and cut a fast one out to ride now, we’re cutting across the Starr.” Scarlet said as she put her gear on Lucky.

“What’s going on?” Jimmy asked riding in.

“Bank robbery going on now.” Scarlet replied to the man she called her brother.

Jimmy slid off his horse and ran for the house. By the time Scarlet and Lil had their horses ready and got back to Patches Jimmy was there with Bo and her father, Johnny, was headed towards her.

“If they come this way they won’t make it far.” Johnny said rallying some of his men and riding out.

The group was mounted when Patches yelled out of the door. “Riders headed out east on main road, no sign of Phillips or the deputies.

“See if you can pick up a trail Jimmy.” Scarlet said before turning her horse towards town.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

Elegant Ella
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« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2010, 10:56:10 am »

It seemed longer, but fewer than ten minutes passed before the robbers calmly left the bank, looking like a rancher and his hands finished with routine business. Eddie hadn't come back yet. Ella hoped that was because Tink was transmitting questions from Scarlet and Patches and answers from Eddie. She doubted that Marshal Phillips had asked any questions. Actually, she doubted that Marshal Phillips had listened to Eddie at all. Otherwise, some lawmen ought to have shown up before the robbers left, or blocked off the exits from the stret.

She hadn't heard any shots fired, but there still might be injuries in the bank. Ella left Bella with the parcels and went across to offer her aid. The door was shut, the blinds were drawn, and the sign said "Closed". It being siesta time, most people would believe the sign and come back later. Ella pushed the door, and it opened. Ella used her boot knife to release the guard, Joshua Evans, and sent him to the Marshals office. She released a male customer, and he helped her release everyone else. As the gags were removed, everyone started talking at once.

"It was terrible!"
"They held guns on me and made me tie up other people, then they tied me up."
"There were 10 of them!"
"No, there were 20!"
"They took my watch and chain."
"They took my reticule."

Ella took the bank president, John Corning, and the teller, Suzanne Johnson, into the president's office, leaving the customers to chatter. "What did the robbers take?" she asked.

"They got about $5,000 in gold coin," replied Corning. "I'm so glad they didn't come last week, when I had the Army payroll here, and that they were here today instead of next week, when I'll be holding the payment for a cattle shipment."

"Can you describe any of them?"

"They had their bandanas up over their mouths and noses. The boss was dark-haired, tall and skinny. Two of them were Mexican. There was one real carrot-top, another dark-haired and one blond."

Ella quickly sketched a portrait of Perry White and showed it to him. "Was he the boss?"

"No, but that could have been the other dark-haired one. How did you get here so soon after they left?"

"I was inside the barber shop and saw them ride away." Ella didn't know why she didn't tell him that she had seen the robbers enter the bank as well. Since the barber knew when she had sent a message to the Marshal, half the town would know it soon enough.
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« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2010, 11:44:45 am »

Lily had to wonder where they were headed as they cut across the land at a speed that made her eyes water. Scarlet had been teaching her to be very aware of her surroundings, she made a mental note to question Scarlet on the two sets of riders that had seemed to parallel them for a while. Scarlet and Bo paid them no attention, they probably knew who they were.

 Scarlet finally slowed her horse to a canter and began watching her surroundings.

“Is your horse tired?” Lilly asked riding up next to her. “You’ve finally slowed.”

“He’s tired but we’ll make town with out a problem.” Scarlet replied “we’ve left the Starr, we’re on our own if something happens.”

It dawned  on Lily the riders had been escorting them in a sense. She felt her heart pick up few beats but they seemed to be the only ones on earth.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2010, 07:53:25 am »

It had taken some doing, but Fritz finally convinced Marshal Phillips that the best option was to actually go down to the bank and check out Eddie's story.  Fritz carried the 12-gauge, and Eddie carried his '66.  Both of them stayed on opposite sides of the street, under the boardwalk, using cover as much as possible.  Phillips walked down the center of the street, as if nothing had happended.  "Either he has sand" Fritz thought, "or he's spent too much time reading those dime novels."  The truth however was far less romantic; the bank robbers were already gone.  The trio arrived at the bank to a cachaphony of voices describing the scene.  Miss Ella was in the midst of it.   
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« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2010, 01:12:32 pm »

Louder talk in front announced the arrival of Marshal Phillips. "It sounds like time for the official investigation to start. I suggest that you do not mention the Army payroll and cattle payment that the robbers missed. He's not going to be happy that I was questioning you already."

"What questioning? You took me back here to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack," replied Corning with a conspiratorial grin that was echoed by Suzanne.

When Marshal Phillips with Jimmy and Fritz came into the president's office, John Corning was reclining in his chair with his feet raised, Ella was checking his pulse and Mrs. Johnson was holding a glass of water.

"What are you doing here?" demanded Marshal Phillips of Ella.

"Checking on my husband's patient." She released Corning's wrist, and left the bank, after whispering to Fritz, "I'll have Bella pack food for the posse. Eddie will bring his and Jimmy's horses to meet you at the Ace."

Eddie was back at the barber shop when Ella got there, with Bobby Corbin. The boys divided up the parcels for the walk home.

Eddie announced, "We know which way they went! Mrs. King told me to get people to watch the different ways out of town. I went to Mrs. Wilson's school and borrowed all the bigger boys. I figured robbers weren't going to pay any mind to boys playing."

Bobby interrupted, "And I'm the one who saw them. They left on the stage road, going east."

"Not across the river?" asked Ella. "They came from the direction of the river."

"Nope. And then I went to Mr. Tinker and he wired to Cousin Scarlet so the posse knows, too."

"Did you get a good look at any of the men, Bobby?"

"I saw a couple of faces clear."

"How about you, Eddie?"

"I only had a glimpse before you sent me off."

By now, they had reached the Coatsworth house. After the parcels were all put down in the kitchen, Ella asked Bobby, "Would you please go ask your mother if you can go with me out to the Marshals office at the Starr? We want to look through the wanted posters to see if we recognize any of the robbers. We should be back by your bedtime. I'll call for you in a half hour."

Bobby nodded and ran off.

"Eddie, please get the carriage ready, then saddle up the other horses. You and Jimmy will need yours for the posse. Put Dr. Alan's saddle on Aaron and take him as a spare. Take my field hospital saddlebags. I think your job will be to take care of the horses and do field medicine, but do whatever Mr. or Mrs. King tell you."

Ella told Bella to pack food for the posse, then went in to Alan's office to let him know about her day and her plans. The habit of secrecy was still strong, so she didn't mention Perry White's name. Then Alan surprised her, "I'll ride out with the posse."
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« Reply #30 on: March 02, 2010, 01:32:16 pm »

Scarlet dropped her hand, signaling the others to slow, when she saw the carriage on the road. She was glad to recognize Ella and stopped.

"What's going on? Where are Fritz, Jimmy and Phillips? Did Phillips do anything useful before the robbers left town?" she demanded.

"The robbers took $5000 in gold coin and took personal belongings from customers. Bobby and I saw faces of some of the robbers, so we're going out to the Starr to put names on the faces. I saw one of the folks we met at Fort Fetterman, but not the other."

Scarlet asked, "No sign of Archie?"

"None. Between the faces I saw and the physical description of the leader from the bank president, I think the robbers were six members of the Beanpole Gang. Our acquaintance did not act like the one in charge. Phillips came to the bank with Fritz and Jimmy. I went home when Phillips started to interview witnesses."

"Did Phillips interview you?"

Ella laughed, "He was hardly going to ask, in front of the bank president, why I sent a message in time for him to have caught the robbers at the bank! At home, I had Bella pack food for the posse and Eddie saddle the horses. He and Dr. Alan will meet you at the Ace."

"I'd rather have you along, Ella." Scarlet reviewed what she knew about the Beanpole Gang. It had shown up with a dozen men when it robbed the bank in Santa Fe four months before. Most reports of its activities mentioned around a dozen men. It might have been the Beanpole Gang robbing the bank in Pleasanton month before last, but no good identification was reported.

"I think it's important to get Bobby's identifications down soon. Dr. Alan on Aaron will be able to keep up with the posse. He won't use a gun, but he can hold horses. You'll like him fine once you get to know him better."
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« Reply #31 on: March 02, 2010, 11:55:46 pm »

“I trust I’ll like him fine Ella, tell me this though and I don’t mean any disrespect to Alan. If he has to defend himself is he sufficient with one?” She asked quietly so the others would not overhear.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2010, 12:29:29 am »

"He can defend himself with a pistol, if need be," replied Ella. "He's gone with me to the range for practice several times."
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« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2010, 11:35:06 pm »

Scarlet smiled at Ella “You two be very careful ask someone to escort you home. You and Bobby are both good shots but if someone thinks you may be a threat having seen them it may not be safe.”

The townspeople were jumpy by the time Scarlet and the others arrived, six horses coming down the center of town looked threatening until folks recognized the riders.

Suzanne came out into the street. “Did you hear our bank has been robbed?” She said looking at Scarlet. “Do you know how long it’s been since there’s even been an attempted robbery here? Scarlet that Yankee Marshal is having us all interviewed by all the law in there, you’re not going to interview us to are you?”

Scarlet rolled her eyes and slid off of her horse. “Been a long time since somebody tried this place Suzanne, longer since they were successful. Where’s Marshal Phillips?

“Interviewing people in Mr. Corning’s office.” Suzanne replied.

Scarlet half smiled and nodded in acknowledgement as she tied her horse to the hitching rail. She turned to Bo who heard her softly say “One damn week he’s here and look what happens, he’s not the only one that only answers to Houston.”

Bo slid off his horse, he felt her mood shift. The air had some how gotten colder when Suzanne mentioned the last time there was an attempt on the bank. Scarlet had been waiting for some kind of a reason to pick a fight and have a good reason. He knew her comment regarding Houston meant she was about done recognizing Phillips as any authority.

Scarlet spotted Fritz when she walked in. She could tell by his look he shared her feelings.

“I saw Ella, she filled me in on a few things. Is there any more use in interviewing people?” She said quietly stepping up next to him.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2010, 09:19:12 am »

Fritz opened the action of his shotgun and cradled it in the crook of his arm.  The sound frightened some of the customers, but there was no concern.

“No…they’re all saying pretty much the same thing.  If Phillips were a smart man,” Fritz said, “he’d have segregated there people, rather than let them sit together.  The stories get homogenized real quick.”

Scarlet suppressed a giggle at the ‘smart’ comment.  “There’s a posse forming up outside.  We know the direction the robbers took off in.  Buddy is saddled and ready.  Your ’66 is in the scabbard.”

Fritz squeezed Scarlet’s hand.  “You are SUCH a good wife,” he whispered.  Scarlet’s cheeks warmed.  The color looked good on her.
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« Reply #35 on: March 04, 2010, 11:35:04 pm »

“I’m trusting you and Deputy Jimmy have gathered descriptions.” Scarlet replied walking towards Corning’s office.

She knocked as she opened up the door. Marshal Phillips glared at her.

“I’m in the middle of business here. If you were in the bank I’ll get to you, if not you have no business here.” He said in a tone that told Scarlet she had been dismissed.

“Ma’am, thank you for your time answering Marshal Phillips questions.” She said to the lady who he had been interviewing “we’ll call on you again if we have any more questions.”

“Oh thank you dear.” She said leaving the office.

Scarlet smiled sweetly at her as the lady left closing the door behind her, the smile left as she turned to face Phillips.

“The posse is ready to ride.” She said flatly.

“Posse? What posse? I have not ordered a posse and again I’ll say you have no business here. Go home.” Phillips replied.

“What do you intend to do? Interview these people until the bank robbers get away free and clear?”

"There are six ways out of town. Half of them lead into Mexico, where you can't go. What's the point of riding around aimlessly?"

Scarlet shook her head and rolled her eyes as she turned on her heal and went out the door.

Phillips smiled thinking he had successfully dismissed her. “Next!” he yelled out the door.

Scarlet walked past Deputy Jimmy “I will be riding out very shortly with a posse.” She said never stopping. Jimmy looked to Fritz who had turned to follow. He looked back towards Marshal Phillips who seemed caught up in his own little world and followed after Scarlet and Fritz.


to be continued
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

Scarlet Angel
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« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2010, 11:52:39 pm »

“I guess she couldn’t convince Marshal Phillips to go with us. I don’t know why we would want him along anyway.” Jimmy said to Bo as the group followed Scarlet to the stables at the Ace.

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer Jimmy” Scarlet replied overhearing him “and never under estimate me, we haven’t left town yet.” She said with a smirk

Dr. Alan and Eddie were waiting with food and the horses just like Ella had said. Scarlet took a deep breath looking over the group, Bo and Fritz were the only ones she was used to riding with and knew what to expect from. Lily looked nervous and excited at the same time as did Jimmy and Eddie, Dr. Alan looked confident, yet a little nervous. She would have preferred more experienced riders and fewer green ones than what she was looking at.

“If anybody is not up for a long, hard ride followed by a long cold night with little or no sleep and probably cold food you should ride out of leave now. We’ll be following men who prefer to see you dead and won’t think twice about trying to see you get that way. If you are going turn tail and run when the gunfire starts you should leave now. I will not hold anything against you if you decide to stay behind.”

Nobody moved, they didn’t even exchange glances. Scarlet looked at Jimmy. She didn’t have to say anything he’d caught her look plain as day. He followed her to the door.

She spoke softly as she stepped out looking towards the bank “Jimmy, you know Tensleep didn’t hire Eddie because he thought he was too young. I know he rode with you a long time too, so I imagine he’s seen some things in his life, perhaps had to make decisions he shouldn’t have had to make.” Scarlet looked him in the eyes ”Age only makes up part of a man, experience and heart makes up the other parts. Eddie is your brother, I’m asking you as his older brother do you think he should be out there with us. This is no game and I would be a fool to think the there’s no possibility of someone getting hurt or killed. I will ask him to stay behind if I feel it’s the right thing to do and I’m trying to make that decision.” 

"Eddie is good to take along. He's better at using cover than I am - I think he learned that last summer. He's been studying hard with the Coatsworths, so that he can be a good medic." Jimmy said.

“Very well. Please go to the livery tell them we’d like use the dark bay, they call him Whiskers. Meet us in front of the bank.”

“Yes ma’am.” Jimmy replied going towards the livery at a fast walk.

“Mount up!” Scarlet said swinging onto Lucky and riding out leading Jimmy’s horse.  She listened to the sound of hoof beats behind her. Nobody had chosen to stay.

Scarlet pulled her horse to a stop in front of the bank. “Marshal Phillips. Your horse is ready and the posse is waiting on you!” She yelled loud enough for half the town to hear.

Phillips came bursting out of the bank doors. “What are you doing?!” He demanded.

Scarlet looked down at him “Do you know how to ride Phillips? Buggies don’t go where we’re headed.”

Phillips bristled “Of course I can ride.”

“I can do it but I prefer not to track in the dark. Mount up.” She said pointing at the horse Jimmy was standing next to.

“I’m in charge here.” He hissed “you have no authority here.”

Scarlet shifted in her saddle “My orders come directly from Houston, Texas Carpetbagger. If you don’t got the sand to ride with a Texas posse you stay right here, explain to these folks while you held us up waitin’ for you to take statements when you had no intention of riding with us to put them to good use.”

Phillips didn’t have to look to know she had drawn a crowd, and if he didn’t go she’d just made a fool of him in front of them.

“I must send a wire to Houston. It is imperative.” He stated.

“Hurry Marshal we’re waitin’ on ya!” Scarlet replied.

Phillips spun on his heel and made a hasty retreat to Tinker’s office. Tinker had heard the entire thing but kept a straight face as Phillips entered.

Bo waited for Phillips to go before he said “Why Miss Scarlet you are an EVIL woman.”

Scarlet smiled and blew a kiss his way.


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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2010, 12:24:56 am »

"May I help you, Marshal?" asked Tink.

"I require you to tell me if anyone has you send a telegram to the Houston Marshals office."

"I could do that," allowed Tink, mentally adding, "but won't until Hell freezes over."

"I'll have a report for you to send to Houston in a minute." Phillips took the message form and pencil and composed a short report in marshals code, then thrust it at Tink. "Send that to Marshal Thompson."

Tink took it to send, reading the code as easily as he would have read a message written out plain.

TO LUTHER THOMPSON
US MARSHALS OFFICE
HOUSTON
FROM ISAIAH PHILLIPS
EL PASO
LARGE BAND OF MASKED MEN ROBBED EL PASO NATIONAL TRUST STOP
POSSE IN PURSUIT STOP

Tink sent it, and added a postscript after glancing out the window at Scarlet:
PETTICOAT POSSE IN PURSUIT
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« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2010, 10:00:18 pm »

It seemed like it took Phillips forever to do what he needed to do. There was very little urgency about the man. Scarlet had seen this once in a deputy that was afraid to face outlaws. His career with the law was short lived. Scott Hart had kindly suggested he find a new line of work, which he did and now ran a very successful mercantile in another town.

“Take point Bo.” Scarlet said seeing Phillips finally headed back out.

Bo looked at her, he knew she didn’t trust Phillips and intended to ride behind him and watch him closely. He touched the brim of his hat and turned his horse down the main road out of town.

They had not even ridden far enough to pick up Jimmy’s trail but the posse was out ahead of Phillips and Scarlet, too far for Scarlet.

“If you stopped hanging on his mouth he’d keep up with the other horses. He can keep up with them just fine.” Scarlet said.

Phillips chose to ignore her comment.

Scarlet rode faster hoping Whiskers would pick up the pace, which he did until Phillips gave good yank on the reins making Whiskers toss his head in the air; which in turn made Phillips yank on the reins more.

“What the hell are you doing?” Scarlet yelled coming to a stop.

“Like you this horse needs to learn some respect for men.” Phillips hissed.

Scarlet took Whiskers by the bridle and rubbed his face. “Respect hell man, you got to earn that out here. I don’t think a lot of you, or any of the skills I’ve seen from you thus far.”

“Let go of my horse and go home where you belong!” Phillips growled.

Scarlet touched the brim of her hat, spun Lucky around and said “Come on Whiskers!” as Lucky took off at a gallop, followed closely by the Whiskers.

Phillips bounced terribly in the saddle, Scarlet figured he did it on purpose to try and get the horse to stop to relieve the bouncing, it made Whiskers go faster. Phillips pulled on the reins but Whiskers ignored him now.

Bo had stopped; the posse had watched nearly the entire exchange.

When Scarlet and Phillips stopped he jumped off his horse. “What did you do? He said looking at the horse “besides try and get me killed?”

“Don’t give me any ideas.” She said tossing the horse’s chinstrap she had swiped off the bridle at him.

“You are trying to get me killed! This horse could have run off with me and I wouldn’t have been able to stop him at all.” He said buckling the strap back on the bit.

“I could only hope the horse that is rented out for the kids to ride would run off and dump you someplace. Get back on him, keep off his mouth, and try to stay up with two girls.” She said as Lucky moved off again.

“Don’t let me get shot in the back.” She said passing Bo.

Lily grinned at Scarlet’s comment about Phillips trying to keep up with two girls as she let her horse move out at a fast clip.

Logged

"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2010, 09:30:52 am »

Fritz was riding the right flank, his '66 facing outboard.  He'd watched the whole exchange between Scarlet and Phillips.  It was clear who was ramrod in this outfit.  A the last comment about getting shot, Fritz fell back a bit, so he could keep a better eye on Phillips.  The man made eye contact with him, and Fritz stared back until he turned away.  At this rate, Fritz doubted he'd be a Deputy for long, but he'd be a husband for far longer.

He smiled.
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« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2010, 01:59:43 pm »

Dr. Alan rode along easily, staying beside Eddie. He was very glad that he had taken Ella's advice and practiced riding during the eight months he had been in El Paso. The first time he had accompanied her on a house call, he understood why she didn't use a carriage much. The carriage was fine for paying calls in town, or going out to visit the Longknives, but most of the trails she used to reach her patients were much better suited to travel on horseback. The Gladstone bag didn't attach to a saddle, but his medical supplies fit into a pair of saddlebags just fine.

Dr. Alan just hoped he wasn't going to have to apply the shooting lessons.
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« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2010, 10:46:55 pm »

Scarlet couldn’t believe how Phillips slowed them down; she’d never ridden with anybody so intent on slowing down the rest of the group. She wondered what she could throw him in the jail cell for. Maybe she’d just kidnap him and stuff him in there for amusement, keeping that thought in mind she could probably smile at him now and then.

She felt better that both Fritz and Bo were back there with him, the man could probably be dangerous if he really put his mind to it. Scarlet couldn’t believe Thompson had made such a poor choice as to put a badge on this man, then again some thought the same thing about here.

She slowed Lucky as she saw Jimmy leading another horse coming at them.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #42 on: March 11, 2010, 11:20:37 pm »

“Is that’s what’s left of the bank robbers? The rest of us take to long getting out here?” Scarlet asked stopping next to Jimmy and looking at the man whose horse he was leading.

“Found ‘im suckin’ sand out there.” Jimmy glanced beyond Scarlet. Philips was still riding towards them. “All he could say was Coatsworth and El Paso. Do you know ‘im?”

Scarlet glanced over her shoulder, the one time she wished Philips was taking longer, then turned back to Jimmy.

“Met him briefly at Fort Fetterman.” She said giving him a look that closed the line of questioning.

“Dr. Alan please take him back to El Paso and see that he gets care.”

“I gave him some water; he’s been out since then.” Jimmy said to Dr. Alan

Dr. Alan shook his head yes taking the horse’s reins. 

“Eddie please go with him.” Scarlet said.

“I would prefer to stay with the posse.” Eddie replied.

“Nobody rides alone.” Scarlet said.

Eddie opened his mouth to protest again, his brother called him over “Marshal King is asking you to do something important Eddie. That man was friends with a couple of outlaws that Mrs. Coatsworth arrested at the fort, Marshal is only being polite, she’s not really asking. If you want to be a deputy someday you should do as she asks and make sure that the three of you get back safely. She could send one of the other men, but she’s giving you a chance to prove yourself here.” Jimmy whispered in to him.

Eddie looked from Jimmy to Scarlet and Dr. Alan. “Yes ma’am. You can trust me.” He replied.

“Y’all watch yerselves.”  She said.

Philips rode up flanked by Bo and Fritz.

“Who is this?” Philips asked.

Scarlet and Jimmy both ignored him.

“I don’t know you, who are you?” Philips said to the man he didn’t recognize.

Jimmy looked him up and down but didn’t answer.

“What happened? Is that man going to be alright?” Philips demanded looking at the man on the horse Dr. Alan was starting to lead away.

Jimmy stepped closer to Scarlet. “The hoof prints lead to a group that’s forted up in a box canyon. They’re watching.”

“Everybody needs this information.” Scarlet said with half a smile at Jimmy.

He turned to the group “The hoof prints out of town lead to a group that’s forted up in a box canyon. They have a man on watching the back trail. There are a couple of dozen horses and half as many men. They don’t look very concerned about a posse and it looks like they’ve been camped there a few days already.”

“Thank you Jimmy.”

“You’re welcome” both Jimmys replied.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #43 on: March 12, 2010, 12:23:35 am »

Perry was trying to figure out where he had seen the woman he'd spotted in town. Her group had gone into the barber shop before he caught more than a glimpse, but the way she moved was familiar. Max Collins had looked and said that the women were sitting watching the barber cut the boy's hair, and not paying any attention to the bank. But a feeling of familiarity had been nagging at Perry ever since.

The men were chatting. Fred Rico and David Jackson were praising the charms of the girls working at the Ace of Hearts saloon, while Bernie Thomas and Ed Perez were recommending the Pink Palace. Given how close Fred and David Jackson had come to blowing the whole operation, Perry had thought that the men should stay out of El Paso entirely. Ben had still given the men their liberty, but given the orders that the men going in on Friday or Saturday were to stay away from the Ace and stick to the Pink Palace. At least Eyes had come through, and released the men promptly. But that deputy had been too alert at the Ace, and the bartender too fast to support him with a scattergun.

Eyes had done a good job in Pleasanton. He had formed up a posse, and led it on a wild goose chase after the robbers, while the rest of the gang had made a second trip into town the next morning, and spent part of the bank's money on supplies and whiskey. The men were looking forward to doing that in El Paso, before starting on the 150 mile trip to the Castle.

Perry kept reviewing the job. They had approached the bank from one of the bridges over the river. A few people had still been out on the streets, showing no alarm. Everything had stayed quiet at the bank. It was well into siesta time when they left, and they had not seen anyone on their way out of town except a couple boys playing. It should have taken an hour or two for someone to get free. By then, the normal traffic on the main road would have obscured their tracks. They had left the main road by jumping off the road into a small creek, and followed the creek a good ways before heading into the camp.

Archie would have been able to distract him from this nagging feeling that something was going wrong. Why had Archie snuck off like that? That was something for him to do. Perry headed for the horses and saddled his.

"Where are you going?" asked Ezra Barnes.

"Going to find Archie's body and make sure he wasn't carrying anything."

"He was off that way when he came off the horse."

Perry nodded and headed that way. He found Archie's blood trail easily. The man had moved much farther than expected after coming off the horse. The blood stopped, but the crawl marks didn't. It looked like Archie had rested in a little cave here, maybe drank at the spring in it. Then he had moved again, staggering, but on his feet.

Perry kept following the tracks.

Here Archie had fallen down, and his horse had joined him. What were these other tracks? It looked like someone had found Archie and his horse! Those tracks headed west and south, back towards El Paso.

The nagging feeling of familiarity was back. Deputy and El Paso. That bounty hunter at the fort who worried Archie so much - she had been said to be a deputy marshal in El Paso, along with the doctor lady! Eyes had reported, "Two deputies", but Eyes would never have counted women as deputies. The doctor lady had moved just like the woman in town! If the doctor lady had recognized him, she would have summoned the bounty hunter. If the bounty hunter had arranged a posse, Eyes would not have been able to stall or mislead it, and the posse could be at the camp at any minute.

There wasn't time to get back to warn the camp. They were just hirelings, anyway. It was time for Perry to turn north, and disappear.
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Elegant Ella
1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #44 on: March 12, 2010, 03:28:45 pm »

Bo looked to Fritz.  "Box canyon, eh?  You thinking what I'm thinking?"

Fritz nodded.  "If we can get up on the heights at either side, we should be able to cut off their escape.  Then they have the choice to either fight or give."

Bo nodded.  "Yep.  That's the way I figured it.  But we've gotta count on them having lookouts on those heights."

A sly smile scrossed Fritz's lips.  "Then we do it real quiet-like.  I wish I had something a bit more potent than the old '66."  Fritz looked to his wife to see what she carried in her scabbard.   
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« Reply #45 on: March 12, 2010, 11:36:41 pm »

Bo half smiled as he watched Fritz look at Scarlet’s scabbard.
“Two things I can always count on Fritz.”

Fritz looked his way “What’s that?”

“When Scarlet is hunting men, she’s got that Sharps. When Jimmy is hunting them he’s got that ol’ Whitworth.”
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #46 on: March 13, 2010, 11:40:43 pm »

In the office at the Starr, a couple posters were waiting on the desk. The picture on one of them matched the blond robber. Ella read both posters, and went to the files. She pulled out a dozen posters to show Bobby. It took an hour, looking at posters, then pulling out paper on known associates, but they found paper on five of the robbers they had seen.

They went out to visit the horses before heading back. Ella decided to send a wire to Deputy Hayes to report the sighting of Perry White, so she turned Bobby over to Rose, and went into the telegraph office. Patches was feeding her son, and waved Ella over to the key.

TO AMBROSE HAYES
US MARSHALS OFFICE
HOUSTON
FROM EW COATSWORTH
EL PASO
SEVEN MEN TOOK 5000 IN GOLD COIN FROM BANK STOP
YOUR INTERESTING PERSON WITH SIX MEMBERS OF BEANPOLE GANG STOP
BEN POLE STOP
MAXWELL COLLINS STOP
FRED RICO STOP
GUS RODRIGUEZ STOP
JUAN SANCHEZ STOP
MUTUAL ACQUAINTANCE NOT SEEN STOP

Ella dropped Bobby off at his home on the way back. The boy was full of excitement over the visit to the foaling barn and over helping to train Solomon. He had been the first person to sit on the two-year-old son of Lucky, even for only five minutes!

The sight of their shingle over the front door, with the words "Coatsworth Family Doctors", still gave Ella a thrill. She was very content with the house. Alan almost left it off the list of possibilities, because he thought they couldn't afford it and the alterations and repairs needed. But Tensleep and Becca had convinced him to include it. The house was a large single-story square around a central courtyard with a well that was perfect for Ella' herb garden. The back side was the stables, the front had been converted into medical offices and surgery, one side was rooms for guests or patients, and the fourth side was their residence.

The riders from the Starr didn't leave the sides of the carriage until Ella drove around the house and through the gate into the stable yard.

Bella took charge of the carriage and told her, "Dr. Coatsworth wanted you to see him as soon as you got back."

Alan was in his surgery examining at an unconscious man with assistance from Eddie. "James Bradbury found his horse standing over him north of town. The man roused a little when James gave him water, and mumbled something. James heard 'El Paso' and 'Coatsworth', so Eddie and I left the posse and brought him back here. I think Bo and Jimmy recognized him, do you?" he asked.

Eddie spoke up, "Marshal Phillips looked like he recognized him as well. Jimmy said he was a friend of some outlaws you arrested."

Ella looked, and remembered. "Yes. How is he?"

"He got hit by two bullets, one went clear through. He's lost a lot of blood, but the wounds are clean. I'd like him to be stronger before I remove the second bullet."

"Did you find anything in his pockets?"

"His clothes are over there. I haven't looked at them. Can you give me a name to call him?"

"Call him Archie. Can he be moved to the infirmary out at the Starr tomorrow?"

"We've room for him here. Why do you want to put him there?"

Ella looked through the pockets of Archie's clothes. Finding the old badge helped her decide to tell Alan and Eddie more of the story. "He's a Deputy Marshal who went undercover a couple years ago. The person he has been watching was one of the bank robbers this afternoon. I'm going to the telegraph office. I won't be gone long."

Tinker's office was only a couple blocks away. Tink came out from the back when the bell on the door sounded, "Good evening, Miz Ella. What can I do for you?"

"May I use your key to send a message?"

Tink nodded, and opened the counter to let her through to the desk with the key. The uncoded message went to Houston, and was acknowledged by the operator there.

When Ella was through with the key, Tink commented, "Marshal Phillips was very insistent I tell him about anyone who has me send a message to the Houston Marshals office. Since I didn't send your message, I don't see any need to mention it to him."

"Can he legally request that information?"

Tink shrugged, "He can ask anything he wants, but he can't require me to tell him anything. Kicking up a fuss about his request would just rile him up more."

-------------------------------------

Houston

Ambrose Hayes was working late, looking up the names that Mrs. Coatsworth had sent in her report on the El Paso bank robbery, when the telegraph operator brought him another message. After reading it, he decided it was worth disturbing Marshal Thompson at home.

Ambrose Hayes knocked on the door of Luther Thompson's home. When he was admitted to Thompson's sitting room, he said, "I received a couple interesting wires from Mrs. Coatsworth this evening."

Thompson interrupted, "I am not going to recall Marshal Phillips."

"She didn't say anything about Phillips. Look for yourself."

TO AMBROSE HAYES
US MARSHALS SERVICE
HOUSTON
FROM EW COATSWORTH
EL PASO
A MUTUAL ACQUAINTANCE JUST DROPPED IN STOP
PLEASE COME VISIT STOP

Thompson read the telegram, then looked up at Hayes, "What is she talking about?"

"You have to give her credit for discretion if her meaning is unclear even to someone who knows why I met her. 'Mutual acquaintance' means Archie. She used 'your interesting person' to mean Perry White in her report on the bank robbery."

Marshal Thompson interrupted, "What did she say about the bank robbery? Phillips didn't have any real information in his wire, and there was an odd postscript from the El Paso telegraph operator."

Hayes handed over another telegram. "She identified six of the seven robbers. White was there, but not Archie. In her second wire,'dropped in' is a significant choice of words, although I'm not sure what she means. But I think she would have said 'stopped by' if Archie had arrived under his own power. He might be injured and under medical care, or he could be dead and there is information on his person. Although she might have been clearer if Archie were dead. I think she's asking for me to visit because she won't transmit information in any way that could be intercepted. I can catch the 10pm train, and be there by Thursday evening."

"Sounds good. Maybe the case will finally crack."

After Hayes let himself out, Mrs. Thompson came into the sitting room, "I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but were you talking about Izzy's school friend, Perry White?"

"What!" exclaimed Thompson. "Did Perry White also attend the Morgan Academy?"

"Yes. He and Izzy were great friends, even though Perry is a couple years older. They've kept in touch over the years."

Marshal Thompson headed for the door, saying, "I need to get to the office. I'll be back in an hour or so."
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« Reply #47 on: March 14, 2010, 10:08:41 pm »

Scarlet looked at Jimmy. “A Box canyon? Are you sure there’s no other way out?”

Jimmy raised an eyebrow at her “course I’m sure.”

“That’s just foolish.” She replied.

“No it’s not.” Philips said.

Scarlet looked at him surprised, he’d almost sounded offended. “It’s not?”

“You only have one way out to defend. You don’t have to worry about getting surrounded.” Philips replied.

“Well we can sit out here and wait, they got to come out for food at some point, we can ride in and burn ‘em out, blow ‘em out.” Scarlet commented.

“Why don’t we just ride in and announce U.S. Marshals and let them give themselves up?” Philips asked.

Scarlet would have laughed at the comment if he hadn’t sounded so serious.

“From the description of the witnesses we are following Ben Pole’s gang. They’ve never shot any one during a robbery. David Jackson is riding with them he is no stranger to bloodletting, and has become more active doing so in the last couple of years. They may give up easily, but don’t be foolish enough to count on it. If they open fire on us, shoot to kill.” Scarlet said to everyone, then looked at Philips “He rides fast and we know where we’re going, we'll not wait for you, you best keep up because this is no place for a greenhorn at night.”

They rode hard for about an hour before Jimmy pulled his horse to a stop and dismounted. “Ok y’all, they had a couple of lookouts not far ahead, one on each side.” He looked between Bo and Fritz “One o you can take one and I’ll get the other.”  He said as he took the heavy rifle from its scabbard.

“After you do that we can see if Marshal Philips wants to ride in and announced us.” Scarlet said.

 


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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #48 on: March 15, 2010, 07:33:29 am »

"I've seen what Firtz can do with a Springfield or a Berdan," Bo replied, "but I think I'm probably quieter than he is."

Scarlet knew both men.  She'd make the call.

"Bo," she said, "you and Jimmy take out the sentries.  Fritz, you're with us.  No offense."

Fritz nodded, and pulled the '66 from its scabbard.  "None taken."
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« Reply #49 on: March 17, 2010, 08:53:37 pm »

Scarlet turned to Lily. “Please hold the horses. The rest of you find good cover and get ready.”

Lily looked disappointed.

Scarlet helped her lead the horses to good cover. When they were out of earshot Scarlet turned to her. “If Philips comes back alone he can take his horse, nobody else’s. I don’t care what he tells you. You stay here unless someone else comes for you. If he tries to take the other horses, do what you can.”

“You think he’s going to try and leave us out here without horses or something?” Lily asked.

“Look Lil, if tries anything funny, threatens you in anyway and you feel just cause, shoot him.” Scarlet said.

“I knew you didn’t like him but this goes beyond that.”

“I don’t trust him at all Lil, be aware of what he’s doing.”

Lily smiled knowing she was doing more than just holding horses.

Scarlet took her rifle and disappeared. Lily listened and kept a sharp eye out.

Scarlet made it back to cover just before she heard Philips yell out “Give up, U.S. Marshals”. She knew Bo and Jimmy had made it into place but just barely. He had not waited for any sign from them.

He was fired at by one of the outlaws for his trouble, to which he replied “Ben Pole, give up, this is Marshal Philips my posse has you surrounded.”

“Ride on outta here Philips and take your posse with you.” One of the outlaws replied.

“Give up it’ll go easier for you.” Philips yelled back.

One of the outlaws fired in his direction.

Scarlet leveled her rifle and squeezed the trigger.

She heard the man scream, she knew the bullet had found its mark in the man’s shoulder. She saw Philips looking to see where the gunfire had come from. She could see his face, he was mad but he had no clue who had taken the shot.

“Throw down your weapons and give up!” Philips yelled.

Scarlet couldn’t tell if that tone in his voice was anger or panic.

More shots rang out from the outlaws who had now started to find cover.

Scarlet heard the roar of Jimmy’s rifle from above them followed by other members of the posse.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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