The Saga of Miles Forrest

Sit down!” I ordered.  “Marta can take care of things!  If you don’t I might just have to hobble you.”
    We had been back in Durango for a couple of days.  Molly had some problems walking the first couple of days she was conscious.  She would stand and fall back on the bed.  Finally, she took a couple of steps, then another, and with that she thought she was ready to get back to work.  That is, until she started to fall and I would catch her.  I was close by her side, holding her arm, when we walked to the train station.
    “Let me pour you a cup of coffee,” I offered.
    She grabbed my arm as I was getting up.  “I’d really prefer a cup of tea.”
    With that statement I knew she still wasn’t feeling very well.  I nodded at her and went back to the kitchen.  Marta met me there and said she would have a cup right out.
    Coming back to the table, I grabbed the pot on the stove behind where I normally sat and filled my cup with coffee, not tea.  I had just sat down when Doc Jones walked in the door.  He came straight to our table which didn’t surprise me.
    “How are you doing this morning?” he asked Molly.  He had checked her over when we arrived back in town and again the next day.
    “Much better, Doc, thank you,” she replied with a smile.
    “How ’bout you, Miles?” he said going to the coffeepot before sitting down.
    I had quite a bit to get my brain buzzing.  My first priority was taking care of Molly and getting her settled.  Marta had been a real help in that matter.  She wouldn’t let Molly do much, yet at the same time made sure she had a couple of chores that she could do.  She could stand by the table in the kitchen and roll out her dough and prepare pies for the diner, but she couldn’t take more than a couple of steps away from the table without losing her balance.
    My next inclination was to track down Billy Denton.  To do that I would have to leave Molly.  When we arrived at the station Charlie Gold was there to meet us.  He told me that the bank was missing over $20,000.  On the way to the diner, I stopped at the telegraph station to notify the authorities in Taos to not release Billington’s valise.  I had already telegraphed the marshal’s office in Denver and also the Secret Service of my situation.  A reply was waiting for me when I returned to Durango.  They still needed me there within the month.
    “Thank you, Marta,” said Molly, she had arrived with the tea and brought some honey along with her.
    Marta looked my way.  “As soon as the customers leave, I’ll bring you a piece of apple pie.”
    Molly was sipping on her tea and Doc was observing her hand coordination when in through the door came Franklin Douster, one of the clerks at the bank.  He came over to our table where I motioned for him to have a chair.
    “Coffee?” I asked.
    “No thanks, Mr. Forrester.  You know about the missing money, but I thought I should report that there was a group of tough looking men at the bank yesterday looking for Mr. Billington.  They weren’t miners or cowhands, better dressed than that.  In fact, quite well dressed, but looking at them you just knew they were tough individuals.”
    “Did they say why they wanted Billington?” I asked.  “No, they just said they had an appointment with him.”
    “No sir.  I did tell them that he was on a trip and was down in Santa Fe.”
    I looked up at him and scowled.
    “Did I do something wrong?” he asked worridly.
    “I don’t reckon.”
    “Well, since they said they had an appointment I went to Mr. Billington’s office to look at his calendar.  He didn’t have any appointments scheduled.”
    “Hmmm, thanks Franklin.  If you have any more information be sure and get it to me no matter how trivial you might think it is,” I ordered.
    Douster nodded at me and said that he needed to get back over to the bank.  He stopped after a couple of steps and turned.  “People are going to be very upset if they hear their savings has been taken from the bank.”
    “Franklin, just smile and say that the authorities are investigating and that they will return the money as soon as they are finished.”
    He just nodded and walked on out of the diner.
    “What do you mean, Miles?” asked Doc.
    “I’d stake my piece of apple pie that Marta is bringin’ that Billington was abscondin’ with the money.  I saw thousands of dollars stashed in his valise.”
    Finishing my cup of coffee I looked at Molly.  “I really need to get back to Taos.  I just don’t want to leave you alone yet.”
    “Leave her with Edith and me,” offered Doc.  “That way I can observe her and if she gets to feeling better she can go home.”
    At that time, Marta came with a piece of pie.  She set it in front of Doc.  “Sorry, Senor Miles, that was the last piece.”
    Doc just snickered.  My face must have fallen for all of a sudden Marta laughed, along with Molly.  Magically, it seemed, another plate of pie was placed in front of me.