The Saga of Miles Forrest

I didn’t hurry down to the Wells Fargo office since I no longer worked for them, but I also didn’t want to keep this gentleman waiting.  As I walked into the outer office the clerk caught my eye and simply pointed to the back office.  I noticed immediately that Jensen, the manager of the Durango office was missing.  Behind the desk sat a well-dressed man and standing close to him another well-dressed person.  My mind went back to the Wells Fargo office in Denver, but there was nothing menacing about the man standing and he seemed quite relaxed.
“Mr. Forrest,” the man who was seated stood and reached out his hand.  “I’m Gilford Covney and this is U.S. Marshal Jens Blasco, head of the Rocky Mountain region.”
He seated himself, and motioned to the chairs.  “Sit down, sit down, both of you.  I’m finally glad to meet you Mr. Forrest.  I’m sorry to hear of the epidemic in Durango.  Diphtheria–a terrible disease.  I hope that you were not affected.”
“Some friends,” I replied.
“Oh, I am truly sorry.”
I know that some people say that and they don’t mean anything; they are just spouting words, and then there are others who say it just to be saying it, but I felt that he was genuine when he spoke.
“Thank you.”
“Mr. Forrest, have you ever heard of the Secret Service?”
I nodded that I hadn’t.
“We were formed in 1865 as an investigative agency of the United States government whose primary duty is to protect the government from fraud.  Do you know that right now roughly one-third of the money in circulation is counterfeit?”  He didn’t give me time to respond.
“I don’t mean to bore you, but I want to offer you a position with our agency.  I know that you recently were relieved of your duties as Wells Fargo detective and I know that you are a ‘special’ U.S. Deputy Marshal.  I have been authorized by the head of our department and the Treasurer of the United States to offer you a position as an agent.”
I looked at him.  “What would be my duties?”
“Right now we are losing gold and silver somewhere before it reaches the Mint in Denver.  Not a lot of it is missing at once, but a little here and a little there, but after a while it all adds up.  You can remain here in Durango, but you would have to travel to Denver from time-to-time.  Also you need to check on the major mining operations in the state.  Check their manifests and then follow it on down to the Mint.”
He paused and there was some silence in the room.  I stroked my moustache.  He began again, “We work closely with the U.S. Marshal’s office; that is one of the reasons for Marshal Blasco to be here.  He would be your contact person, and he is also here to witness our conversation.”
I looked at the Marshal and then back at Covney and thought, “Conversation, the only person conversin’ is you.”
“When do you need an answer?” I asked.
“Tomorrow, I leave on the train tomorrow,” he hesitated.  “Don’t you want to know about pay?”
“Not that important if I believe the Lord wants me to take this job.”
He sort of chuckled, not trying to be mean.  “Well, to ease your mind, the pay would be $75 a month plus expenses.”
“My mercy, I know where some of that gold is disappearing to.”
“I hope you’ll join us.  We need good men,” he said standing and putting out his hand to shake.
“You all need a good meal?”
“Sure,” these were the first words from Blasco.
“Come to the M & M Diner and I’ll treat you to supper.  Best in town, plus there could be a ‘die-for’ pie waiting for the three of us.”
“Sounds good,” said Covney.  “We can discuss the position more over supper.”
“My wife would be able to join us.  I want her in on the discussion.”
We all started out the door and onto the boardwalk…