The morning rush was over at the diner and I was left with Doc Jones for company at my table. He was putting the last piece of chocolate pie in his mouth while I got the coffeepot and warmed up our cups. Marta and Molly were finishing cleaning off the tables from breakfast. I saw them talking then Molly pointed toward us. Soon afterward Marta came to join us. Doc, his mouth full of pie, tried to get up to help her sit, but I managed to beat him to it.
“Whew, thank you, Senor Miles,” voiced Marta as she sat. Marta was only working a few shifts as the baby was due in a couple of weeks. Edith, Doc’s wife, helped out some, and Molly hired a friend of Marta’s from the barrio, Adela Perez. She was a good worker, and Molly is considering keeping her on after Marta had the baby, at least for a little while.
That would give Marta a nice break, and maybe Molly could take off once in a while. Two-Bits hasn’t been ridden in quite a spell, and I’d sure be willing to take Molly for a ride.
Rubbing her belly, Marta looked over at Doc. “Two more weeks, right?” she asked, wanting relief. “Whew,” she moaned again.
“Two more weeks if not sooner from the looks of things,” Doc replied. “Let me see your feet.”
“Doctor! Not here,” retorted Marta in embarrassment.
He got up, went around where he could see better. Marta grudgingly moved to sit sideways in the chair as Doc stooped to examine her feet. He grunted some, touching her ankles, nodding his head, then got up and went back to where he was sitting. Both Marta and I stared at him.
“Well?” inquired Marta.
“Well, what?” snapped Doc. “You need to be off those feet. They’re swollen. In fact, Miles, pull that chair next to her so she can prop them up.”
I did as ordered and Marta let out another sigh after she settled herself. The diner was empty. Molly had taken the last of the dishes to the kitchen and I could hear Emelda and Adela talking. Molly had convinced them to come out and join us for a few minutes. Emelda seldom ventured from her domain–the kitchen, and Adela was very shy, that’s why Molly was trying to get her out to visit with us.
We were having a good time, talking about this and that, and of course, Emelda’s cooking which made her blush. Adela was looking at Marta’s feet propped up, slightly shaking her head.
“So, you talked with Mateo?” asked Doc out of nowhere.
I nodded, “Yes. He is quite confused with his thinking right now. He has become a good lawman, and for sure his family needs the income. If he quits I’m not sure what he’ll find to do. He has agreed to stay on until a suitable deputy can be found by Charlie.”
“I understand Mateo,” piped in Marta. “He is the same, but different. I was worried about Charlie, being shot, not coming home. Mateo, he, he is worried about some within him,” she paused to look at me. “Taking of a life is serious, no?”
Molly and I had been through this same conversation, and I had it many times with myself. The Lord finally helped me come to a conclusion with myself, I just prayed that Mateo could come to the same conclusion. But each has to answer to his own conscience and to God. It was silent for a few seconds, which was unusual at our table. It was good to have everyone sit down for a change together. Even in our off times, we were busy serving others that we seldom got to speak with one another.
The silence was soon broken when in through the door charged Jimmy Hopkins with a telegram in his hand. He came straight toward me, handing out the piece of paper. I was already digging in my little coin pouch. I was in a good mood so I gave him a dime instead of a nickel. His eyes widened and a big grin launched out on his face. He turned and ran out faster than he came in. Probably heading over to Foster’s.
Molly gave me a little punch. “What does it say?”
“Wilcox in Santa Fe needs you STOP He will fill you in” signed Jens Blasco.
I knew Felix Wilcox. He was a good man; had good men working for him. “What does this mean?” questioned Molly.
I could only shrug…