The Saga of Miles Forrest

The weather had warmed as we rode back into Durango to get back into a normal routine.  Molly says that there is no normal routine carrying the name Mrs. Miles Forrest.  The bullet crease on the back of my neck wasn’t serious and was scabbed over.  There was a telegram from Charlie saying that they should be arriving sometime during the week, that Marta was feeling much better but still would get headaches.  He said that Lucas was excited about the trip.
    Molly was anxious to be back at the diner.  Anihu had managed the diner with some help from her sister, and Doc Jones’ wife, Edith.  Anihu did the cooking; she was glad for the help for she was weak with her English-speaking.  Edith did the waiting on the customers and Alana did the clean up.
    I was sitting by the stove, it was still cold enough to keep it going, nursing a cup of coffee.  The morning breakfast rush was over and Molly had just sat down at the table with me.
    “Let me get you a cup of coffee,” I offered and started to get up.  As I did the door opened and in walked a tall, wiry, tough-looking hombre.  He stomped his feet at the front of the room and moved on over to a table.
    My eyes followed him until he sat down and I heard, “Miles, the coffee.”
    Grabbing a cup, I poured it full of coffee and handed it to her.  “What’s wrong?” she asked and followed my gaze.
    “Reckon nothin’,” I replied.
    She took a sip then got up to wait on the man who had just come in.  He smiled and gave his order to her.  As Molly went off to the kitchen his eyes caught mine and he nodded a welcome.  Molly returned and took a cup of coffee over to him. 
    Edith was coming out of the kitchen, carrying her coat.  “Where is that, man?” she said with fake exasperation.  “He was supposed to come get me.
    “Well, he’ll be here.  He wouldn’t want to upset one of his best customers,” laughed Molly putting her hand on my arm.  
    We were all laughing when in walked Doc Jones who remarked.  “See you’re all having a good time.”
    “Sure, Doc,” I said.  “We were talkin’ about you, that’s what made us laugh.”
    “Ha, aren’t you the funny one,” he snapped as Molly got up to get him a cup.
    “Owrder!” came a holler from the kitchen.  Molly sat that cup down in front of Doc and scurried off to get the man’s order.  
    Doc took a couple of swallows then asked, “How’s the neck?”
    “It’s okay.  My jacket collar rubs up against it, and by the end of the day its raw and burnin’.”
    He grunted, took another sip then spoke.  “You do know if that bullet had been an inch more you could be paralyzed or dead.”
    “Doc, I can’t be worryin’ ’bout every ‘if’ that happens.  I reckon I won’t die until the good Lord figures my work down here is over.”
    “Hmpf,” he muttered.
    “Honey,” interrupted Edith, “you promised you’d take me shoppin’ today,” she paused, giggled and looked at me.  “That is unless Miles brings you some clientel.”
    “Everybody’s funny,” I pretended to fume just as Molly was sitting back down.
    Doc was shaking his head, “Let’s go Edith.  Seems like a woman makes a little extra money she’s got to go an’ spend it on something.”  He helped her out of her chair and into her coat.  
    “There go some good friends,” said Molly.
    “What about him?” I asked nodding my head toward the man eating.  “He’s sure not a miner.”
    She put her hand on my arm again.  “You don’t think Merker sent him?”
    Subconsciously I had started using my left hand for my coffee.  “Molly, right now, I’m suspicious of any stranger.”
    I filled up our cups again and we just sat chatting about springtime coming and that the days were getting nice.  She wished Lucas was back to help out and I did too as I was cutting the wood for the diner and taking care of the horses.  He kind of spoiled me doing the chores I used to do.
    The man finished eating, nodded our way and left putting a silver dollar on the table.  “Nice tip,” I muttered.
    “Well, the kitchen is calling me and I need to make several pies,” Molly said getting up.  Alana came out to clean up the table and Molly spoke to her, “Keep that dollar–bonus.”
    I got up as well.  I was doing rounds for Charlie until he was back and on the job again.  It had been a nice morning…