We arrived too late in the evening for me to send a telegram to Marta. The place hadn’t changed much since the last time I had traveled to Farmington. That was about four or five years ago. A couple new saloons, some signs changed, more Anglo than in the past.
I sat in the saddle looking around pondering the situation. The region was pretty dry, so that would mean a dry camp, or we could spend the night in the hotel.
“Senor, is there something wrong? You’ve been shaking your head,” inquired Lucas.
“No,” I replied with a laugh. “Just thinkin’ how my Molly has spoiled me over the years.”
Now he gave a laugh. “That is for sure. She makes you a pie almost every day .”
That deserved a scowl, so I gave him one. “Not every day!”
My reply only made him laugh harder.
“Let’s get the horses put up. Remember not to call me ‘Marshal,'” I ordered. “I don’t want anyone to know who I am.”
At the livery the hostler looked us over. “What yur doin’ with a Mex kid?” he asked.
I didn’t care much for his attitude, but I didn’t want to make him mad and not take care of the horses so I simply replied, “Travelin’.”
“He is my uncle,” spouted Lucas. “His brother married my mother. They are dead–Apaches. He now is taking care of me.”
The look I gave Lucas, well I hoped the hostler didn’t see it. “Lucas, you can sure tell a whopper,” I thought to myself.
“Tough kid,” responded the man taking the reins of Two-Bits. “Apaches are mean critters. I had a run in with them when I lived down at Lordsburg. One reason I moved up to this part of the Territory.”
I took care of Hawk while Lucas began to unload the pack animal, the hostler already had the saddle off Two-Bits. “All right to leave my gear here?”
“Shouldn’t be a problem, though I can’t guarantee it,” he stated. “I sleep here and keep the door locked so reckon it will be all right.”
He looked at the shotgun in my hand. “Yuh always carries that thing around?”
Looking in his direction, I replied. “Can’t hardly go to sleep without it by my side. It’s just reassurin’ company.”
Nodding, I put my hand on Lucas’ shoulder to guide him out. “Cantina across the street serves good food,” came a holler from back in the stalls.
We ate then went to get a room at the hotel. Lucas had never stayed in one before so it was an experience for him.
The night went by slowly, but I noticed that Lucas didn’t have any trouble sleeping. That’s just not right; he should have a guilty conscience for running off and telling that big lie to the hostler. Morning came and I reckoned the bedbugs didn’t get me. I woke Lucas and we went out to eat breakfast at the cantina; I had huevos rancheros on my mind. Well, they had eggs–they must have been quail or from pullets they were so small. But the tortillas, fresh side, and beans were good.
From there we went to the telegraph office. Lucas stayed outside while I went in to send a telegram to Marta. At least I wouldn’t have to hear her chew me out. “Marta–Lucas is with me–I take care of him–Miles.”
I paid the operator and as I turned I heard, “Kid, get out of my way!” Then heard the sound of Lucas bouncing off the office wall.
Sighing I went out…