The Saga of Miles Forrest

So you’ve got yourself a big mess on your hands,” stated Doc before sipping his coffee.
    I replied with a grim smile.  “Not yet, and it don’t have to be.”  I looked at Marta then over to Charlie who had returned yesterday from Silverton.
    Doc grunted, then took another sip.  “You know Ben Lowell ain’t going to let a horse thief get away.”
    “Well, I don’t blame him none for that.  I just don’t want to find they went out and hung a kid,” I remarked.
    The whole group was there this morning.  Business was slow in the diner so Molly and Marta were sitting with Doc Jones, Charlie and me. Lucas was there with us and he was part of my idea.
    Molly interrupted that last thought by asking Charlie if he had talked to Luciana.  “I went by there yesterday, as soon as I saw Marta to let her know that Mateo would be in Silverton at least two more weeks.  He’s doing a good job up there, and Mike Dewey up and left for parts unknown.  Big Bob Phillips is the new marshal.”
    That name perked up my ears.  “Bob Phillips!  I didn’t know he had any experience as a law officer.”
    A large grin appeared on Charlie’s face.  “Well, Marshal Forrest, we all have to learn sometime.”  That brought a laugh from all those sitting here.  I had hired Charlie and he had done quite well.  He had the knack for the job.  That’s part of it knowing what to do at the right time.  A person can’t go arresting everyone, but he can make his presence known.
    Bob had come to the region to make his fortune in gold or silver like so many of the other residents.  He didn’t like standing in the freezing water or digging through the frozen ground so he hired on as a freighter from Durango to Silverton, but the railroad had put most of that to a halt.  He did continue to haul freight to Telluride, but again the cold got to him.  I often wondered, since he wasn’t married why he just didn’t head off to Arizona Territory or California; It wasn’t cold there.
    “That’s one reason Mateo stayed.  Shy Williams is his deputy.  I don’t know much about him, but he seems to be working hard.  They really need a third man, but I don’t know if the town will pay for one.  The good Lord knows they have the money to do so,” said Charlie.  “Anyway, Luciana wasn’t real happy over the situation.”
    “She likes the money,” piped up Marta.  “But, he’s gone so much, she misses him as do the boys.  They are growing up so fast,” her eyes directed at Charlie.
    Doc grunted again, “Say Charlie, why don’t you put your name in for marshal here in Durango.  You know the town, and the people.”
    “One main reason–John Newsome.  He’s still on the city council.  Remember, he’s one of the two that wanted me out of the position before,” Charlie reminded him.
    Marta didn’t say anything, but got up taking her empty cup with her.  Molly must have sensed something so she got up as well.  “Doc, Charlie, would you like some pie?  How about you Lucas?” she said before following Marta.  
    The two men declined but Lucas’ eyes lit up, “Chocolate, please Senora.”
    “Chocolate it is.  You two sure you don’t want a piece?” she inquired again.
    I looked at her, “Say what about me?”
    Waving her hand at me she gave some kind of disgusted sound which I couldn’t quite make out.  “I know you want one!  No need to ask.”
    All I could do in response was to give a big smile.
    My attention went to Lucas.  “Do you know how old Fernando is?”
    He didn’t seem to hear me as his focus was on the large piece of pie in Molly’s hand.  She did bring me a piece, not quite so large.  Lucas and I looked at each other, both of us smiling.  He had chocolate, and I had a piece of apricot.  It was then I noticed my cup was empty so I pushed the chair back to get the pot.
    I filled my cup and then Charlie’s and Doc’s, then after putting the pot back on the stove.  “Lucas, you didn’t answer my question.”
    He kept eating, then looked up saying, “I would guess at least eighteen.”
    Forking a piece of pie in my mouth I began to chew.  When I swallowed, I asked Lucas, “Well, how old are you now, fifteen?”
    Turning his head suddenly in my direction, he blurted, “Sixteen almost seventeen!”
    “My, my, and you’ve had the experiences.  I’d like for you to go with me on a little trip.  I need some help in trackin’ down Fernando.”
    Charlie almost spluttered out his coffee.  “Miles, I don’t think Marta…”
    He didn’t finish for a big, solid man walked in the front of the diner.  He was wearing a worn brown vest, with brown pants that had little thin lines of white in them.  I noticed his gun, the holster was worn but well kept.  His face showed little emotion but it did have a determined look on it.  The big moustache on his face would rival mine.  
    Coming here meant trouble, it was U.S. Marshal Jeb Blasco.