The Saga of Miles Forrest

By the time I arrived at the jail, Grizz had taken the body off the pack mule he was leading.  Charlie helped him lay it out in the alley beside the jail.
    “Now, I’m a-warnin’ yuh all, this isn’t a sight that I‘ll want to think of at the dinner table.  The ravens and other varmints have been feastin’ on him for a few hours.”
    Pulling the tarp away from the body the putrid smell of dead flesh hit you square in the face.  The man had his eyes eaten out, most likely by the ravens and other spots on his face.  But what got your attention was the mess where his leg had been amputated.  
    As soon as the smell hit me I threw my arm up over my nose.  “Billington,” came the gagging voice of Charlie Gold.
    “Yuh know this stiff?” asked Grizz.
    “Cover him up!” ordered Charlie.
    “Did,” I answered.  “He was the head of the bank here in town.”
    “My land!” exclaimed Grizz.  “Hard to tell with all the varmints eatin’ on him, but looks to me like someone blasted him with a shotgun; then had his leg amputated.”
    The smell had lessened after Grizz covered him up.  “You’re a regular detective, Grizz.  That’s exactly what happened to him.  In fact, I’m the one who shot him.”
    Grizz raised his eyebrows.  “Then how come I came about findin’ him lyin’ off a the ridge northwest of Chama?”
    People were starting to come around to see what was happening.  “Mind if you take him on down to the understaker’s?” I asked of Grizz.  “Then come over to the diner and I’ll tell you what I know.”
    Grizz bent down and wrapped him up in the tarp and flung him over the horse, not bothering to tie him down and started off toward the furniture store that was also owned by the undertaker.
    “I better get the news to Denton,” said Charlie.  Looking at me he continued.  “You should be glad you weren’t here a bit earlier.  Denton has a lawyer now and he’s a doozy.  Yelling all about habeas corpus and the civil rights.  I just told him to take it to the judge.”
    I was ready to make my get-away from that place as there was still the lingering aroma of putrifying flesh.  Doc was just coming out the door as I was entering the diner.  “Doc, you might want to come back in.  Grizz found the body of Billington and as soon as he drops it off at the undertaker he’ll be along.”
    The diner was fairly full as it was the beginning of the lunch crowd.  Doc and I went to my table.  “More coffee, Doc?” I asked.
    Shaking his head no, I grabbed a cup for myself, and also put one on the table for Grizz.  Molly came over after taking food to a table.
    “What did Grizz want?” she asked.
    “He found the dead body of Billington,” I paused as I poured the two cups full.  “He’ll be along any minute.”
    Sitting down I started telling Doc the condition of the body keeping my voice low so as to not spoil the dinner of any of the customers.
    Molly came back by, reached down and took a sip of my coffee.  “Hon, why don’t you bring an open-face hot beef sandwich for me and Grizz?” I said pleadingly and smiled.
    The timing was perfect.  Grizz walked in the door as Molly walked out of the kitchen with our lunches.  One thing for sure, ol’ Grizz knew how to use a fork.
    I would take a bite, then relate the story to Grizz, who would stop enough to look at me, nod, then continue eating.  As he finished, he grabbed his bandana and wiped off his beard.  “Think there some pie in the kitchen?” he questioned.  Molly happened to be standing near, so she whirled off to the kitchen.
    “Billington, could leave a sour taste in my mouth,” said Doc.  “But if he didn’t have any morphine or laudanum he would have been in excruciating pain.  I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”
    Molly brought back a piece of pie for Grizz and looked at me.  “Last piece, morning crowd ate us out,” she said and shrugged her shoulders.  “If I get time I’ll bake something for supper.”
    “Now there are at least four men out there, looking for money.  I haven’t a clue as to what they look like or who they are,” I informed Doc and Grizz.
    Wouldn’t you know it!  In through the door walked…