The Saga of Miles Forrest

Parson, come on in,” I said, then began to introduce him to Upton Shaw.
    “Shaw, you might want to ask the preacher about the man you’re seekin’.  He knows most everyone in the community,” I suggested to the bounty hunter.
    Reverend Robinson accepted the poster and began to scrutinize the weak drawing of Conrad Keim.  He shook his head several times as he was saying, “hmmm, hmmm.”  “There’s no one in town by that name that I know of, and I sure don’t recollect seeing that face.”
    The was a grunt that sounded almost like a snarl from Shaw.  “I reckon a preacher wouldn’t lie,” he snapped glaring hard at the preacher who returned his stare.
    “Preacher, why don’t you stop by the diner and I’ll treat you to a piece of pie.  Molly baked some butterscotch pies this mornin’.”
    A large smile appeared on his face.  “I’ll sure do that.  Listen, the new pastor just arrived.  Mind if I bring him by as well? I’m taking him around town to meet the folk.  I want him to get started off right.”
    “Yeah, I heard you and Lucy were leavin’.  I don’t mind tellin’ you that I’m sorry you are.  You sure have been the Lord’s blessin’ to the folks here,” I said.
    “That’s mighty nice of you to say, Miles.  We tried our best, but the Lord has called us on to a new church in Cortez.  We hope to build a fine congregation there, plus we are going to minister to the Navaho and Pueblo in the area,” the Reverend informed us.
    Shaw cleared his throat.  “If you two bleeding hearts don’t mind I’ll be leaving,” he paused then looked at me.  “Perhaps someone in town has seen him.  I’ll see you again Marshal.”
    I told Rev. Robinson to go on back to see Parsons.  “When you’re done come on down.”  Then I turned my attention to Shaw as he was walking toward to doorway.  “Shaw, come down to the diner; I’ll treat you as well.”  He gave a little grunt then walked on out heading for the saloon just up the street.  Oswald Dierker was still bartender and running the place until a descendant of Olson could be found.
    “Make sure the door’s shut when you leave,” I hollered then walked out.  I walked up the street, not really following Shaw, but I want people to see that I’m up and around and that I notice when a stranger comes to town.  Awareness is really a major part of the job.  People just naturally act some better when they know the marshal is around.
    It was close to noon when I arrived back at the diner.  The town seemed busy with people going about their daily lives and business.  I checked with Doc Jones to see how the wounded man was doing.  It looks as if he was going to pull through barring infection.  
    The diner was busier than usual.  As Molly brought me a large bowl of chili and some of Emelda’s fresh made tortillas I asked her about it.  She shrugged, “Guess the town is growing.  There’s a few faces that I haven’t seen before.”
    I looked at those she mentioned and didn’t see anything threatening or unusual about them.  They weren’t miners for sure.  I grabbed her arm when she started to leave.  “Miles, I’ve work to do!”
    “Just want to let you know that the Rev. Robinson is bringin’ the new preacher around to visit.”
    A concerned look appeared on her face.  “I wish he wasn’t leaving.  It’s hard to break in a new preacher.”
    “Molly, just remember Who is in charge.  All will work out all right,” I stated.
    She gave me a little wave.  “Oh, I know that.  I just was fond of Lucy and I enjoyed the preacher’s sermons.  Just have to get used to a new preacher.”
    “Be sure to save some of that butterscotch pie,” I warned her.  “They’ll be expectin’ a piece.”
    “Is that right?  I’ll save at least two pieces then,” she informed me getting my attention.  So I gave her what she wanted, a pouty face.  “Maybe, there’ll be enough for three,” she laughed then went back to work.
    I was just finishing up my chili when Rev. Robinson and two other men walked through the doorway.  One was a tall, husky man, broad in the shoulders, wearing the typical black attire of a preacher.  The other man was smaller, definitely not a minister.
    Reverend Robinson spotted me for he knew I had my table reserved back near the stove and gave a wave walking in my direction.  There was a private coffeepot I keep on the stove so I didn’t have to be bothering Molly or Marta for refills.
    I stood as they approached.  “Miles, this is Rev. Chapman.  He will be taking over the congregation for me,” he paused while Chapman reached out his hand to shake mine.  “The other man is Clyde Hoffner, the Reverend’s cousin.  He helped with the Reverend’s move.”
    They had just seated themselves when Upton Shaw walked in the diner…