GENERAL TOPICS > Saddlebag Tales

Sneak Peak at a short story I'm writing.

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The Trinity Kid:
I need a bigger audience than my sister to read my work, so I thought y'all might like to read my most recent short story.  It is sort of in rough draft stage, so you'll have to excuse any typos, misspellings, things of that sort.  I know there are parts where there could be more detail, or an event that makes no sense, but that'll be fixed later on.  Also, anywhere there is a *(parenthetical with a star preceding) That is a historical note, or small explanation of something unrelated to the story.  Enjoy, I hope.

       "  Sheriff Joe Smith looked around the barroom at the crowd.  There had to be at least a hundred men in the room.  Of those, about seventy five looked to be hostile to his intentions.   Oh man, am I'm in a fix this time. He thought to himself.  Smith was getting too old for the demanding life of a Texas cattle town sheriff.  Pushing sixty, gray adorned his head under the black Stetson hat.  His belly, covered by a white and orange vertically striped shirt, was a little more padded than he would have liked, but it came with his-relatively- physically inactive lifestyle.  Around his ample waist was a well crafted tan gunbelt with a Remington model of 1875 revolver in the holster.  He preferred the .44 Rim Fire cartridge of the Remington to the harder recoiling Colt model 1873 “Peacemaker,” plus the flagging under the barrel took his fancy.  To some, the seven and one-half inch barrel of the Remington would be a disadvantage, but to Smith, it was an asset.  With the detachable shoulder-stock in place, the revolver acted as a close range rifle, leaving his saddle scabbard open for a telescopic sighted Remington Rolling block or Winchester Model of 1876.  Smith was fast with his long barreled revolver, faster than the average person with the “Cavalry” length barrel *(While only the Colt Peacemaker was classed as Cavalry, Artillery and Civilian model revolvers based on barrel length, {7 ½, 5 ½ and 4 ¾ in barrels respectively} any cartridge revolver with a barrel longer than seven inches was erroneously called Cavalry.). So much so in fact, that many people called him the fastest sheriff in Texas.  Whether or not that was true depended on who was acting as law at any given time period, but he never told anyone that minor detail.
   “Listen up ever'body!” he yelled above the murmuring of the crowd.  “I'm takin' Mister Foster in for cheatin' at poker an' killin' that man.” He pointed at the bloody body of a well dressed gambler on the floor.  “Anyone who got's anythin' t' say 'bout it can take it up Monday, after the trial.”  But, like any drinking crowd with a mad on, someone had to cause more trouble.
   “Sheriff, Al there weren't cheatin', the other guy was.”  Said a tall skinny man in a cheap town suit and with a .41 caliber Colt Lightning in a high-quality cross-draw holster. He had a well combed mustache and a rattlesnake skin hatband around a black Kansas style hat. 
   Smith released the handcuffed Foster next to him and dropped his hand to the holster at his side.
   “Mister I don't even know who ya' are.  But I do know that I said that we'll talk this over in the mornin'.” He said keeping an even, cool voice. 
   “My name is Ross, Duke Ross. I'm an associate of Mister Foster.”  Ross said.
   “Are you his lawyer?” Smith demanded.
   “Well, no....”
   “Than shut yer' mouth.”
   Ross put on a disarming smile, all the while letting his right hand creep to about his belt buckle before making the final stab at the little double-action revolver.  Twelve men had fallen to the trick.  Ten were Texans like this sheriff.  They had been put off their guard by the friendly smile, then gunned down unknowingly.  Unfortunately for Ross, sheriff Smith wasn't a drunk cowhand in Dodge City, Smith was a toughened frontier lawman.
   Ross dropped his Colt unfired and clutched at the hole that appeared in his chest.  Smith held his smoking Remington.  He stood with his knees slightly bent, right side towards the crowd, in the gunfighters stance.  The one difference was the position of his left hand.  It was held above the hammer, ready to slam it back should gun need to be fired again.
   “Anyone else have any objections to Mister Foster's arrest?” Smith asked.  Someone started to step forward, but found himself the sole target of the Remington.  “What's that, hombre?” Smith asked, yet his voice held a note of finality.  Nobody responded, so Joe eased the hammer forward and spun the revolver back into the holster. 
“C'mon, you.”  He said and pushed Foster out the door and down the street to the jail.

   The crow of a rooster cut through the sheriff's sleep.  Groggily he opened his eyes and blinked in the light.  The clock on the wall read seven-thirty, which was too early from the sheriff's point of view.
   “Ho doggie, I'm getting too old fer this.”  He said to himself.  He had elected to sleep in the office of the jail instead of the usual sheriff's quarters in the back of the building. Now his back was feeling it.  Across the room, his deputy stood pouring himself a cup of coffee from the pot on the stove.  The deputy was a lanky man in his early forties, with black hair.  He was clean-shaven and wore the dress of a frontier gambler.  Around his waist hung a polished gun belt with two stag-horn butted Colt
Civilian Peacemakers in the well made holsters.
   “Yeah, well 'least ya' didn't take the real late patrol.”  He said to the sheriff.  Joe pulled his feet off the scratched up desk.
   “How many?”  He asked.
   “Well, there's six in the back sleepin' off some Stump Blaster, plus several more down to the livery barn.  So I guess 'roun' ten or so.” Deputy Sam Howell replied.  The sheriff hobbled slowly over to the stove and poured some coffee into a cup for himself.
   “Well, ya' got me by nine.” He said after sipping the hot brew.  Howell nodded.
   “Yep, so that means ya' owe me twenty dollars, remember?” He said.  Smith grunted and ran his fingers through his messed up hair.
   “Double or nothing I get more next Friday.”  He said.
   “Deal.” The deputy said and put out his hand.  The sheriff took it and their bet was sealed.

   Noon came and went in Buford's Ford without incident, as did most Saturday mornings.  The sheriff, never one to miss a meal,  followed his normal routine of going to Lily's Diner for breakfast and dinner, and was just preparing to leave at ten past one, when the Wells Fargo Agent ran in with a telegram.
   “Sheriff, this just came for you!”  He said excitedly.  The sheriff took the paper and handed the agent a five-cent piece in return.   The telegram read:

   “Sheriff Joe Smith, Buford's Ford, Randall County.  Release Alfred Foster immediately.
   Failure to comply will endanger the town.  I will be coming Thursday the 5th. . 
       Wade Foster.”

   The sheriff stared at the buff colored paper for a minute.  Finally he gave a snort, stuffed it into his pocket and started back to the Jail.
   When he arrived, he found six men with every indication of bad hangovers cleaning the front office while Howell sat on the desk and played his harmonica.  On seeing the sheriff, his deputy stopped playing and swept his arm to take in the room.
   “Figured the office could use a mite of cleaning.”  He said with a smile.  Smith nodded and walked over to the desk where he opened a drawer and removed a bugle.
   “What ya' say we play Dixie?” He said to his grinning deputy.  Howell shook his arms and brought up his instrument.
   “One and Two and..” Then they both went into a heart-felt couple rounds of Dixie.  To any student of music, it would have been sickening to listen to, but they played their best and played with vigor.  The real reasoning behind it was to give the prisoners more punishment, and it worked.  They saw several prisoners wince in pain every time they hit a certain part in the song.  When they eventually tired they leaned down to where a couple of cowboys knelt and scrubbed the floor.  One was around six feet with a bristle covered face.  The other was around five-eight and appeared to be a sort of dandy.
   “Want ta' hear some more?”  Howell asked them.  The taller of the pair stopped scrubbing for a moment.
   “If it's all the same to you,  I'm not really in the mood for music right now.”  He said.  Smith put the bugle back in the desk.
   “Good, 'cause my lip's tired.”  "


The Trinity Kid:
Next part.

   "After about twenty minutes of watching the cowboys clean the office, the Sheriff reached into another drawer in the desk and pulled out a bottle of whiskey. 
   “All right y'all.  The fine is five dollars, or you can keep cleaning, Whichever takes yer' fancy.  The five dollar fine also includes a shot o' this here.” He said, hefting the bottle.  All of the cowboys stood up and began reaching into their pockets, producing five dollar bills or gold pieces.
   When all the cowboys had  finished paying their fines and had gone, it left the sheriff alone with his deputy.  He was about to tell Howell about the telegram he had received, when there was an interruption in the form of the Mayors wife.  Five foot-six, and dressed in the height of Eastern fashion-or as close as the mail service could provide-, she was not liked by either the Sheriff or his Deputy.
   “Sheriff,”  she began, her voice holding a note implying that she was addressing her inferiors.
“It would appear that you shot down a gambler last night.”      The sheriff poured some of the remaining whiskey into his empty coffee cup and sipped at it.
“Waal ma'am, It was him or me.”  He drawled.  The Mayor's wife, Mrs. Farley by name, gave a disdainful sniff and bounced her head, making the ostrich plumes on her hat wiggle. 
   “Well sheriff, my husband received a a telegram this morning.  Would you please read it?”
She held out a sheet of paper.  Smith took it and read it aloud.
   “It says,
   'Mayor, Buford's Ford Texas.  Your sheriff arrested my brother and shot down his assistant.  Tell him to release Mr. Foster or I will come with men and get him out.
      Wade Foster.'”

   When he finished reading the note, Howell was standing wide-eyed.
   "What are you going to do, sheriff?”  Mrs. Farley asked smugly.  There was something in her eyes, but Smith couldn't place a finger on it.
   “Well now, Mrs. Farley, I'm going to do my sworn duty as sheriff of Randall County.”  He said.  The Mayors wife smiled.
   “Oh good, I have a room at my house that he can stay in.”  She said joyfully.
   “Uh ma'am,  My sworn duty is to keep him locked up  until the jury decides what to do with the man.”  Sheriff Smith stated.  The woman lost the cheerfulness she possessed seconds earlier and replaced it with surprise.
   “What do you mean?” She asked, suddenly worried. 
   “What he means, ma'am, is that Foster stays right where he is until after the trial.”  Howell cut in.  Mrs. Foster pushed a strand of her blond hair back into it's place and opened her reticule.
   “How much is bail?”  she asked.
   “Ain't got a bail, and won't until twenty-four hours after the offense took place.”  Howell said, perhaps a little more rudely than was necessary.   Mrs. Farley pulled out from her reticule a roll of what looked like hundred dollar bills.
   “Are you sure?” she asked, making a show of pealing seven of the bills off the roll.  “Because I have seven hundred dollars here for bail, plus I can add maybe, oh I don't know,  five hundred for each of you...”  She let the sentence trail off.  She was smiling, but it didn't reach her gray eyes.  Smith had never been over fond of the Mayor or his wife, but with her trying to bribe him into violating his oath of office?  That pushed him too far.
   “Mrs. Foster!”  He bellowed.  “ You leave this office right now or I'll arrest you for attempting to bribe an officer of the law!”    His face was red with anger.  The blond didn't even flinch.  After a moment, she stomped her foot in frustration, turned and walked pompously out the front door.  Joe ran to the door and hung out of it.
   “And stay out of my office!”  He yelled after her.  Several people stopped and stared at the strange spectacle before them.  None of them had seen their sheriff raise his voice without the extra volume being necessary for good communication.  They all just stood and watched the sheriff duck back into the office, than shifted their gaze to the woman walking away with her nose in the air. 
   “Wonder what that was all about?”  Jeremiah Killdeer the blacksmith said to his wife as they stood on the boardwalk in front of the Mercantile.  "

Just seven more parts to go.


Not bad, Pard! My only question regards the reference to the Remington M1875 being chambered for .44 rimfire.  One source on Remington handguns lists the M1875 chambered for a .44 Remington cartridge, and there was some debate as to whether the chambers would accept .44 Colt cartridges. Both were central fire. For the most part, the M1875 was chambered in .44-40 and .45 Colt's (.45LC).  I can't find any reference to the loading of the .44 Remington, but it probably was lighter than the .44-40. I stand ready to be corrected...

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The Trinity Kid:
Thanks Trail Rider!  I'm glad you like it.  As for the guns, everything I've read said that the 1875 was chambered for .44 Remington rimfire cartridge, same as the New Model Army Conversion.  Both were capable of firing the .44 Henry cartridge, just not accurately.  Theoretically, near the end of production there were a few M1875s chambered in 44-40 and 45 Colt, but all the 45's have been bogus, though I'm not sure about the 44-40.  If you are able to get YouTube, Bottom Dealin' Mike has a video on it.  search for duelist1954 and make a search on his channel. It's called "Shooting the Remington 1875" I believe.  Maybe someone else has more info on it.  I'll see if I can make another post and out up the video.


The Trinity Kid:
Here is the link,I hope it works.



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