The Saga of Miles Forrest

As far as I could tell Covney was able to get Douster out of town on the train with him.  He simply dressed as one of the agents; Gibbons, I think was his name.  McClure would just take the next train back to Denver.
    After the train left I began to move about town looking for Merker.  Besides the saloons, I went into the tobacco shop.
    “Miles,” said Solly Vendor, the proprietor.  “Sure don’t see you in here much.  Are you going to want a chaw or cigar?” He asked joshing me.
    “Solly, if I started chewin’, that would be the last of my kisses from Molly,” I joked back.
    “What can I do for you then?”
    “I’m lookin’ for a man by the name of Merker.  He was in here a few minutes before the jail exploded,” I replied.  “Stockier than me, and a little taller.  He wore a black suit, dark black moustache, curled it some.”
    “Sure, I remember.  He took his time looking over the cigars, then looked at his watch.  After than he purchased a dozen cigars; expensive ones for around here, don’t sell many of them,” lamented Solly.  “Don’t know why I even carry them.”
    I chuckled along with him.  “Next time he comes in here, I want to know immediately.”
    “Sure, no problem,” he said, then paused.  “Think he might have had something to do with that explosion?”
    “Well, let’s just say I’d like to talk to him about it.”
    I went back over to the diner for lunch.  Molly said she was making a mince-meat pie out of elk.  That was one I sure didn’t mean to pass up.  The diner was full.  This time of year the mines laid off all but a skeleton crew.  We had developed a custom to feed them on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The snow had been light so far this year.  There was snow in the high country, but so far the passes had remained open.  Some of the miners who worked alone still preferred to bring their diggings down the road and not pay the railroad to haul it for them.  It wasn’t much, maybe $100-500 depending on the miner and the year.
    My table was vacant which made me smile.  It was not like there was a sign on it or anything, but most who eat at the diner recognized it as my table.  Plus the fact that Sheriff Gold was sitting there.
    I sat the Greener against the counter to my right, grabbed a cup and filled it with coffee.  He was eating a piece of that pie I was craving.
    Charlie looked up and smiled.  “Sorry Miles, Molly said it was yours but I was able to coax Marta into getting it for me.”
    “Charlie!  That’s nothin’ to be makin’ fun of!” I snapped.
    Molly walked by at that moment.  “Sit down Miles.  I hid you a piece.”
    With that Charlie let out a loud guffaw.  “Almost had you going for a minute.”
    “Charlie, one day,” I said after sitting and taking a sip.  “I’ve a mind to take away your coffee privileges.”
    He stared at me for a few seconds.  “That might be a good thing.  Maybe that burning in my gut will stop,” he stopped to take another piece of pie.  “When do you leave for Denver?”
    “I’ll leave on Sunday’s train, after church.  Sure don’t like to be leavin’ with Merker and his scum still on the loose.”
    “Don’t be fretting.  I’ll watch over the place.  I think Grizz will be back in town; he’s supposed to be bringing meat in tomorrow for the meals on Thursday.  He’ll stay over and help.”
    Molly brought me a good size piece of elk mince-meat pie.  My it was tasty.  I took one large bite, savored it, then decided to take my time and relish the rest.  The lunch bunch was starting to think out and Marta came by to sit a minute with Charlie.
    “I want to know now!” I demanded.  “When are you two gettin’ hitched?”
    Marta giggled some and Charlie’s cheeks started to turn pinkish.  “Why didn’t we tell you Senor Miles?” teased Marta then she stopped not going any further.
    I just looked at her and she started giggling again.  “We’re getting married on Christmas,” she said joyfully.  “Won’t that be a grand day?”
    I just nodded and smiled.
    “Senor Miles, I want to ask you.  Have you seen Lucas lately?” she wondered.
    “No, is he not fillin’ the wood box?  I thought he was takin’ care of the horses as well,” I answered.
    “The box was filled this morning, but I have not seen him since.”
    “Soon as I finish this, I’ll take a walk up to the cabin and stable.  Check to see if he’s done his chores yet.”