The Saga of Miles Forrest

It took two days before Offut could post bail for Queens.  He hadn’t officially been charged with anything, Charlie wrote up the charges and I added an addendum.  After that Offut was able to get Queens out of jail.  But, he was still town marshal.  
    I stood on the boardwalk in front of the diner watching Charlie walk up to the jail to release the prisoner.  I was glad it wasn’t me.  Stanley Offut was tagging along behind him, I guess he didn’t figure Charlie would do his duty.  I could see Offut standing in the doorway, and when Queens was released he came busting out of that doorway knocking poor old Stanley flat.  Queens looked around quick then headed up toward Kingston’s saloon.
    Charlie reached down to help Offut up, and I walked inside the diner to get some coffee.  I knew that Charlie would head down this way.  Only I didn’t expect Offut to be with him.
    “Sit yourself down, Stanley,” I said motioning to a chair.  “Want some coffee?”
    He scratched his head, then wiped his hand down in front of his face muttering something I couldn’t hear.  “Sit down!” I said almost ordering him.
    Now sitting in the chair opposite me, he lifted his eyes to meet mine.  Charlie placed a full cup in front of him, but before he took a sip he apologized.  “Miles,” he said then dropped his head seemingly in embarrassment, “I realize now that Queens is a hot-head, but he still is the marshal and it didn’t seem fitting that the marshal should be locked up in his own jail.”
    “Easy, Stanley.  I’m not angry at you.  Just glad you’re starting to come to your senses,” I paused to take a sip of the hot coffee.  “Do you think Parker and Newsome will remove his badge?”
    Offut looked at his coffee, I nodded to Charlie, “Get him some sugar.”  That brought a slight smile from Offut.
    “I don’t know?” he answered.  “Paul might join me, but John, well, you know John.”  He picked up a spoon to add sugar to the coffee then stirred it rattling the spoon on the porcelain cup.  “Tell you the truth, Miles, I’m a bit scared.”
    “When’s his trial date?” I inquired of Charlie.
    “Not sure yet, the docket hasn’t been set, but I’m sure it will be the first of next week.  Since the Judge was out of town there are cases in front of him,” Charlie paused pulling at his chin.  “Seeing that Queens is the town marshal, he might move it to the front of the list.”
    I looked over at Offut.  It was plain to see that he was afraid.  “Will you help me, Miles?  I know I don’t have the right to ask, but…”
    “Stanley, the affair is out of my jurisdiction.  I have nothing to do with it except as a witness,” I replied then finished off the now warm coffee.  Offut’s face became more downcast.  “However, Stanley, as a friend I’ll stand by you.  I’ll do what I can.”
    That seemed to help him some and he reached out his hand across the table.  After we shook hands he stood up to leave.  Taking a couple of steps he stopped, reached in his vest pocket and handed a telegram to Charlie.  “Almost forgot, Sheriff.”  Then he proceeded to leave to go back to his office.
    Charlie opened the telegram and quickly read it.  “It’s from Mateo,” he informed me.  “All is ok…STOP…Marshal Dewey and I don’t often agree. Mateo”
    “Hmpf, that don’t surprise me a bit,” I said, then got up to pour a fresh cup.
    “Think I should go up there?” he asked.
    Shaking my head, I responded, “Let Mateo handle it unless he requests you.  I wouldn’t go right now anyway with Queens on the loose.  No tellin’ what he might do.  And speakin’ of that, walk wary.”
    “Walk wary of what?” came the voice.  The Parson had come in and neither Charlie nor I had noticed him.  
    “Of being surprised, just like you did to us now.  Sit down, Preacher, want some coffee?”  He nodded so Charlie got up to get him a cup.  “Sure appreciate you allowin’ us to use that shack next to the church for a jail.  Those boys givin’ you any trouble?”
    He smiled, “No, they’re tuckered out by the time they come in.  Betty is spoiling them some for she always has some cookies or the like for them.”
    “How’s their attitude?” I asked watching him swallow the hot coffee.