The Saga of Miles Forrest

Another six inches of snow had fallen overnight. It sure is pretty, except when it starts to melt or the horses and mules have their way in it in the street. Sure can get messy. But this morning when I walked to the Wells Fargo office the streets were bare except for the wagon tracks. It was cold; glad I wasn’t riding the top of one of those stages.
I entered the office and Emerson Watson was behind the counter. As I entered I saw him reach for what I assumed was a gun on the counter, and when he saw me he relaxed.
“Morning Mr. Forrest,” he said. “Coffee’s on the stove.”
Where he got that “Mr. Forrest” from I don’t know. Emerson had been going over the inventory of what was taken in the robbery. Some gold, the deposits from a host of local miners; he’d been working alone since the robbery. We had trimmed the open hours back to fives hours per day, and a six-day week. The telegraph from Denver said that they would send someone up to replace Tom and Jim.
I had been going to the office a couple of times a day just to help ease Emerson’s mind and to make my presence seen.
“Mr. Forrest,” started in Emerson as I was pouring a cup of coffee. “Why wasn’t I working that day? Why wasn’t I killed instead of Jim or Tom? Tom has a family, what will they do now?”
He was quite distraught. “There’s no easy answer. But I learned a long time ago not to question the ways of Providence. When God says it’s time there’s no palaverin’ with Him.”
“Just don’t seem right. Not that I’m complaining that I’m alive, but still.”
“Emerson, this world is evil, and nobody said that things in it would be fair. We could go on and on, why them, not me; why this, not that, and on we can go. Sure there are things at times we can do to help ourselves and others, but there are those times when there ain’t an answer.”
I took a couple of sips of coffee, topped off the cup and went back to the inner office. I knew what Emerson was going through. Throughout my lifetime I had thoughts like that. Perhaps the greatest gift or grace the Lord had given me through the years was that no matter what I could trust Him. The heat hadn’t reached back here much so I draped my sheepskin coat around my shoulders.
There were voices in the main office. I went to the door to sort of eavesdrop.
“When we gettin’ our money back?” came a rough voice.
“And you are?” asked Emerson.
“I’m Vickers and this fellow is Hardy. We had gold in this bank. We want it.”
I looked through the door. Emerson was calm. “Mr. Vickers, Mr. Hardy, Wells Fargo is investigating the robbery. Until then all assets are frozen. We cannot refund anything until we recover the stolen goods or Wells Fargo deems it proper to pay. But give me a minute, I’ll check your account.”
“You’ll pay now or you’ll be sittin’ in that chair cut like that other fellow.”
Emerson grabbed the gun on the counter, cocked it and pointed it at Vickers. The other man, Hardy, started to pull his pistol when I came out the door with mine drawn.
“It clears your holster, and you’re dead!” I said.
“Have a seat over there,” and I pointed with my gun. “Hold them, Emerson while I fetch the marshal.”
I started out the door and I saw a flash from the corner. I dodged a bullet that hit the doorframe and I fell to the floor just inside. Action was taking place, Vickers and Hardy decided to take a chance. There was a shot from Emerson. I turned and saw Vickers fire into the floor as he fell head forward. Hardy wanted to get in the action, I could see it, but there was now two pistols trained on him.
“Drop it now!” I ordered. His gun thudded to the wooden floor.
I looked at Emerson. “Why Vickers and not Hardy?”