The Saga of Miles Forrest

All fine–STOP–hope all is well with you–STOP–Gibbons says, thanks–STOP” signed, Covney.
    Well, that was a relief, thank the good Lord.  “Molly!” I hollered, “I’m goin’ to the office to see Charlie.”  Before leaving I asked Thompson how long he was going to be in town, telling him to see me before going back to his ranch.
    As I walked across the street Solly came out of his store and grabbed me by the arm.  “Take a look up at Foster’s and Newsome’s, you’ll see a sight,” he said with a broad smile beaming on his face.
    Nodding at him I hurried my walk some.  Turning the corner I glanced up the street to see folks walk around carrying posters, women mostly.  They read:  Vote Out Newsome, Vote Out Foster.  Another read, UnChristian Practices.  John Newsome was standing outside his store, hands on hips watching the display.  I started walking his way.
    Wilson Foster must have been looking through his store window for he rushed out just as I reached Newsome.  “Marshal, you have to stop this, this, riotous act!”  When he said that I glimpsed Darnelle carrying one of the signs.
    “Have they done somethin’ wrong?” I questioned.  “Have they tried to stop anyone from enterin’ your stores?”
    Foster bellowed, “That’s just the point!  No one will enter!”
    I looked at the little parade outside, then asked, “Has anyone been threatened?”
    “They’re threatening us,” piped up Newsome.  “Look at those signs!”
    “I don’t see anythin’ threatenin’ written on them,” I replied, then grinned before addin’ to my thoughts.  “Kinda makes good sense to me.”
    I thought Foster was going to have a conniption fit.  Newsome got red in the face.  “We’ve been on the city council almost since the beginning of Durango.  Now, because of a Mexican getting shot we have this on our hands.”
    Now that statement gave me the urge to thump him along side the head, but I controlled myself.  “No, the problem is your greed.  Why the two of you would steal pennies off a dead man’s eyes then argue about it.”
    If possible, Newsome turned even more red.  Hmmm, I wonder if he’d been guilty of that.  
    “Well!” snapped Foster.  “What are you going to do about it?”
    “Nothin’, they’re within their rights,” I stated then gave my biggest smile, “I wonder who is goin’ to run against you?  Election’s next month.”
    Seeing Darnelle with the group gave me a new thought.  “I guess I could arrest the instigator.  I kinda hate to throw decent citizens in with that bunch of drunkards and no-goods that are currently in jail.”
    As I started forward, Foster moved to block my way.  “Uh, maybe I was speaking a little too hasty.”
    “Let’s see if I can make some sense of this,” I said then motioned for Darnelle to come to me.
    “Marshal Forrest, it’s always pleasant to see you,” she said politely.  “Uncle, Mr. Newsome.  How can I be of help to you Marshal?”
    Tipping my hat along with a quick wink, I asked, “Do you by chance know how much money your Uncle is losin’ each day?”
    She names an amount with a smile, then added, “I don’t know about Mr. Newsome.”
    “I do!” came a yell from the doorway of Newsome’s store.  It was his wife, Jewelene.  She started our way with daggers in her eyes.  I didn’t know if they were for me, Darnelle, or Wilson and John.
    “All this is your fault!” she spluttered.  “You shouldn’t have hired that Mexican for a deputy!”
    “But Mrs. Newsome, hasn’t he kept you safe?  Didn’t he arrest some derelicts attemptin’ to steal some jewelry?  Oh, an’ that time when those cowboys came by makin’ lewd remarks to you, didn’t he stop them makin’ them apologize?”
    She began to stutter.  “Now, if I get this right, the money you are losin’ and will most likely continue to lose will be almost the salary that Mateo would get for a month.”
    I looked at them one at a time.  “That’s about right, Marshal Forrest,” perked in Darnelle along with her wonderful smile.
    “If’n I was you all I would take some time considerin’ the situation,” I uttered.  “Oh, but don’t take too long, election’s comin’ up.”
    Tipping my hat to Mrs. Newsome and Darnelle, I turned to walk away.  I still wanted to see Charlie before Thompson and his men left town.  Hurrying to the sheriff’s office I was fortunate to find him sitting at his desk writing reports from his recent trip.
    “Ah, you’re doin’ the fun stuff,” I teased and received a not too friendly look.
    “Sit down, Miles.  It’s been a while since I’ve chatted with you.”
    Taking the chair that was near Charlie’s desk I set myself.  “Sheriff, I have a couple questions.”
    He took a deep sigh.  “When you refer to me as ‘Sheriff’ I know something is amiss.”
    “Do you recall anything about a Kyle Langston?  He’s workin’ with Cecil Thompson.”
    Charlie scratched just below his ear then answered, “As far as I know that’s all he is.  I did take the time to look through posters when I heard about him.”  Now he rubbed his chin.  “Did he say how Keim is doing?”
    “All he told me was that Keim is recovering at the ranch,” I stated, then continued, “That’s more than I can say about Mateo lying in his adobe.”
    Dropping his head a bit, Charlie gave a little shrug of his shoulders, then asked, “Anything else?”
    “How about a Blackstone?  Have you come across anythin’?”
    He sighed before speaking.  “I don’t think you’re going to like what I found.  There is a Frank Black up in Silverton.  Not the most reputable of men.”
    “Do you think….”