The Saga of Miles Forrest

Lucas was waiting for us when we arrived back at the house.  Molly and I had taken time off to ride up the river a short ways.  Two-Bits needed a ride as did Star.  I really don’t work the horses since the train is around.  It’s faster, but I do miss my time in the saddle riding through God’s great cathedral.
     Molly, she never gets away from that diner.  So, today after the morning rush, we took off.  She told Marta that she would be gone through lunch, but would be back in time for supper.  Edith Jones said that she would help out.
     The ride had been nice.  The river was running fast and finishing with the spring run-off.  We rode for a couple of hours to a place where there are several boulders that reach out into the water forming a deep pool.  It made me wish I had brought along a fishing pole.  The sun was shining bright and we laid out on a flat rock, just watching the river roll by. 
     “Are you sorry?” asked Molly out of nowhere.
     I turned to look at her.  “Sorry for what?”
     “Oh, I don’t know.  Being stuck in one place.  Not taking that job in New Orleans.  Not starting your horse ranch,” she responded.
     I moved up to put my head on her lap.  “Nah, no regrets.  I learned many years ago to try my best to follow God’s plan.  He said my steps would be ordered by Him.  So, no, I’m not sorry about where I am and what I’m doin’,” I paused to look at the clouds moving slowly in the sky.  “I do get some weary with this new job.  Mateo is a real help, but he is inexperienced.  It will only last until January.”
     I must have dozed on her lap as I felt her shaking me.  “Miles, Miles, wake up.  We have to be getting back.  I promised Marta I’d be there for supper.”
     Pulling her down to me, I gave her a kiss.  “Thanks for takin’ the time off to ride up here.  We don’t get alone very often,” I said pulling myself up and donning my hat.
     Coming to the corral I knew we had plenty of time.  Lucas, my that boy has grown.  He came up taking the reins for Two-Bit as Molly dismounted.  “Senor Marshal, I theenk you had better hurry to town.  There may be trouble.”
     “Lucas!  What is it?” questioned Molly.
     He pulled off his straw hat to scratch at his head.  “Trouble, I theenk.”
     Molly came to me to hug my leg.  “Miles, you better go see.  I’ll be alright.”
     Swinging Star away from him, I nudged him into a trot heading for town.  I could see quickly that there was some commotion down by the stockyards.  They were built not long ago so ranchers in the area could ship cattle to market.  Bert Winfield used them some; Silas Postman came in once a year.  As I rode up I could see an argument going on between Mr. Simmons, the person who took care of the shipping.  His job was to make sure there was feed for the animals while they were in the pens.  I didn’t recognize the person he was arguing with.  Mateo was standing close by listening.
     I was on the far side of the pens when I saw Mateo motion to the man to leave.  The man turned, started to take a step away, then abruptly turned pushing Mateo off the platform.  Even though I was on the far sides of the pens, I could make out what the man said, “No bean-pusher is ordering me around!”
     There was scuffling going on, but I couldn’t make out what was happening.  The man who pushed Mateo was moving down the platform.  I gave Star a kick to head him off.  I reached the end of the platform before he did jumping from the saddle.  Grabbing him by the collar I slapped him a couple of times.  He tried to fight but I had momentum behind me and I knocked him down, dragging him back down the platform. 
     Mateo was grappling with two men on the ground.  I continued to hold the man’s collar, twisting it tighter each time a punch was thrown by the men below. 
     Pete Simmons came up beside me.  “Aren’t you going to help him, Miles?”
     I glanced at Pete, “If he needs it.  I haven’t seen him in action yet.”
     Mateo must have heard me for he looked up.  I pulled at my moustache, not loosening the grip on the man’s collar.  He was red in the face when Pete tapped me on the shoulder.  “Marshal, you might want to release your hold.”
     As I did I pulled him up to let him watch Mateo finish the fight.  “If you don’t want thumped alongside the head, you’ll be still, calm, and collected,” I warned.
     One man was down, and Mateo had the other in a headlock.  He looked up at me and I nodded.  As he released his combatant the man fell forward and Mateo brought up his knee to meet his chin.  He fell like a piece of wood.
     “Grab your hat and get up here,” I barked.
     Mateo was soon up on the platform with me, dusting himself off.  He jammed his hat on his head and muttered, “Enjoy the show?  I might sell tickets next time.”
     The man I had been holding, the one who pushed Mateo off the platform, jerked loose from me.  “I don’t know who you think you are!” he near screamed.  “But I’ll have the law down on you.”
     I nodded at Mateo, who opened his vest where the man could see his star.  He spit.  I cuffed him alongside the ear.  “I was goin’ to say this was just a misunderstandin’, but mister, you’re goin’ to jail!”
     “Pete, who is this guy?”
     “Cecil Thompson, he just moved into a ranch to the west of town, out toward Hesperus.”