The Saga of Miles Forrest

When I came back to the telegraph office I couldn’t help giving the marshal one of my best smiles.  “Hotel clerk said they had a vacancy.  Guess someone just canceled,” I paused to see the marshal’s reaction and it was what I sorta figured it would be–anger and frustration.
    I turned to the doctor.  “Doc, do you think you could get a couple of fellows to help move Jens from the counter over to the room?  I’d help,” I paused to grin at the marshal again, “but I’ve got my hands full holdin’ this shotgun.”
    “Fitzer, you and the marshal here, carry him over to the hotel!” ordered the doctor.
    “Ah, I can’t leave the telegraph…” he started to whine when I slammed the barrel of the Greener on the counter.  I guess it was close enough to Jens for him to jump as well.
    Looking at the marshal, I stated, “If it starts to bleed again I’m goin’ to thump you with this shotgun across the side of your ear.”
    For that I received a respectful glare.  “You best be careful.”
    It didn’t take long for them to move him across to the hotel.  It was only about a block down and the room happened to be on the first floor.  The two men laid Jens gently on the bed.  Fitzer hurried out, but the marshal waited long enough to give me another scowl.
    “We’ll talk later,” he muttered as he went out of the room.
    “Here,” the doctor was speaking to me, “help me get his boots and pants off.  Hold that knee as I tug on these; be careful not to pull his stitches out.”
    It wasn’t hard to get the boots and gunbelt off, but the pants were another thing.  The doctor stood there looking at Jens lying on the bed, then went to scratching his head.  That scratching must have ignited something in his brain for he went to his satchel to pull out a pair of scissors.
    “I’ll just cut them off.  Hope he has another pair with him,” he said then began to snip them off.  “I’m not going to bother with the longhandles.”
    After putting the scissors back he turned in my direction.  “I don’t know how long he’ll be out.  It’s not a dangerous wound, unless it gets infected, but he did lose quite a bit of blood.  Don’t let him be moving around, I don’t want those stitches to pull loose.  I’ll come by in the morning to put on fresh bandages.”
    I followed the doctor out of the room.  He stopped at the counter to say something to the clerk.  After their little chat, I spoke to the doctor.  “How much do we owe you?”
    He looked shocked that we were going to pay.  “Scratching at his head again, he said, “Well, I didn’t have to pull any lead out.  I figure two dollars will cover it.”
    Reaching inside my vest to pull out my little pouch I handled him three silver dollars.  “That third one is for your pretty sewin’ efforts,” I said smiling.
    He walked on out while I turned to the clerk.  “You have a name?” I asked.
    “Jefferson, Henry Jefferson,” he replied quickly.
    “Mister Jefferson, I need a favor from you,” I said and noticed that he gulped.  “I need for someone to take our horses to the stable, get them fed and watered.”
    I looked out the door, then turned back to the clerk.  “Jefferson, I’ve changed my mind.  I’d like for you to go across the street where are horses are tied.  Bring them over here and I’ll take care of our gear.”
    “But…” he started to say so I gave him a very exasperated look and he changed his mind and hurried out.
    I watched him scurry across the street to quickly untie our mounts and led them over to the hotel.  There was a light snow just beginning to fall as I took the saddlebags off and carried them inside.  I came back for our bedrolls to see Jefferson standing there on the boardwalk with his hands on his hips.
    “Oh, Mr. Jefferson,” I said as I passed him with my load.  “Thanks for your help.”
    Jens was still out, but the color was beginning to return.  I glanced at the wound, but the doc had it bandaged up tight.  I decided to clean up a bit while I had the chance.  Then I looked out the window at the snow falling.  Pulling on my moustache a couple of times, I looked around the room.  Maybe a second-floor room would have been better, someone could shoot through that window.  I decided to do a little room rearranging.
    It was getting near dusk, and Jens hadn’t come to yet.  I went out of the room to see the clerk.  “Henry,” I called him by his first name and it sort of startled him.  “Henry, we’re gettin’ a mite hungry.  Think you could run over to that cantina and bring some food back for us?”
    “Well, I don’t usually…” he started to mutter.
    “Worth a couple of dollars to me,” I responded to which I received a smile.  “Just knock softly on the door and I’ll come out to get it.”
    It didn’t take long before he was back with two large bowls filled with chili and loaded with peppers along with several tortillas.  I paid him, set the tray on the dresser, took my bowl, and set in the chair that I had moved next to the window.  It was mighty tasty, and it caused me to doze…