I was standing outside of Solly Vendor’s tobacco shop telling him about my doings down in Socorro. Solly liked to hear about places I’d been to and things I’ve seen. He stood leaning against the post holding up the small awning over the boardwalk, puffing on one of his cigars. Funny man, he sold the stuff, but didn’t like it to be smoked in his shop. Of course, it was a little shop and a couple of men puffing on those big cigars could smoke it up real quick like. Myself, I could care less, the stench of them is enough to make my face go sour.
Solly was shaking his head as I was telling him about Elfego, when Stan Offut came out of the telegraph office which is right next to Solly’s place of business. “Saw you standing out here Marshal and thought I’d save you a nickel and bring it out myself instead of sending one of the boys.” A young kid, Jimmy Hopkins, is usually around to run the messages to folks. I didn’t tell Stan, but I usually give Jimmy a dime.
“What’s it say?” inquired Solly, trying to look over my shoulder.
“Let me open it and read it first,” I replied.
“It’s from Marshal Blasco down in Denver,” blurted Offut. I stared at him, and he violently began shaking his head. “No, I didn’t read it, honest,” he said, but then he laughed. “I don’t have to, I’m the one who writes it down. I already know what it says.”
I gave a little grunt, but Solly guffawed right along with Stan. “Well, stand back some, and give me a chance to read what it says.”
Reading it out loud so Solly could hear, “Needed in Central City–STOP–President coming–STOP–Be there by the middle of the month–J. Blasco”
Since Stan had left the door open, we all could hear his keys begin to clack. He hurried off to check on the message.
“What do you think that means?” questioned Solly, now holding the telegram and reading it to himself.
“That’s not hard to understand; it means I’m to go to Central City because President Arthur is coming to town.”
We were now talking about the President. Solly saying that he thought the President was doing a good job, but that he was so removed from the people out here that it didn’t make much difference what he did. Stan came back out to hand me another telegram.
“Stop by office in Denver first –J. Blasco”
“Well, gentlemen, allow me to tell Molly before the two of you blab it all over town,” I uttered, then stepped off the boardwalk to head across the street to the diner. Thoughts were fluttering through my mind as I crossed the dusty road and when I entered the diner they had sorta settled down.
“Molly,” I hollered, figuring that she was in the kitchen. Edith, Doc Jones’ wife, who was helping Molly since Marta had her baby to tend to, was wiping off tables. There was no one else in the eatery.
I hollered again. She appeared at the entry to the kitchen. “Miles, what is it?”
“Come sit down,” I ordered. I grabbed a cup and filled it with coffee as she approached. I sat down, took a sip, then smiled up at her standing there. “Want to take a trip to Denver and up to Central City?”
A smile appeared on her face, lighting it up, but disappeared just as quickly. “Miles, I can’t. What brought this on?”
“I’m ordered by Marshal Blasco to be there by the middle of the month. I thought it would be a good trip for you since you haven’t traveled anywhere in ages.”
“It’s a nice thought, Miles, but I can’t leave, not with Marta out,” she informed me.
“Sure you can,” blurted in Edith. “We can find someone to take care of the baby and I don’t mind working a few more hours for a couple of weeks.”
“Well, I don’t know…”
“Go see Marta, now!” commanded Edith. “I can handle things, just be back before the rush.
I gulped down the rest of my coffee and nigh leaped from my chair to go with Molly. We went out the entrance onto the boardwalk…
P.S. Last of Miles for a time period. He’s on his way to Denver, and the missus and I are on our way to Maryland.