The Saga of Miles Forrest

Sooner or later I knew it was going to happen. I had just finished pouring a cup of coffee and sat down at my table in the diner. Molly was going to bring me a piece of apple pie as soon as it cooled when Charlie Gold walked in. He was still a little weak and did not walk with his former brisk step, but he was glaring at me as he approached.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he snapped.
“Tell you what?”
“You know good and well what I’m talking about–Billy Denton!”
“Sit down Charlie, and simmer down or you’re liable to bust that gut open. I’ll pour you a cup of coffee.” I was afraid that he was going to keep ranting, but he took a seat.
Setting his cup down next to him, I saw a different person than just walked through that door. He had just released a little bit of rage that he’d been keeping and figured I was the guy that could take it. Right now, looking at him, with him slumped over, I felt really sorry. He had the look of a man who had lost everything.
“I didn’t tell you Charlie, because first you had to get your strength back.”
“You didn’t think I could take it; is that it?” he came back rebuffing me.
“I wasn’t sure. You were in bad shape. I reckoned that one thing was to be taken at a time,” I paused and took a sip. “I’ve been talkin’ to Foster and he is tryin’ to get your job back to you. Denton is Billington’s man, and right now he has an edge on the council.”
“You know what Denton’s like,” said Charlie.
Nodding, “I tried to tell the city council that, and now Foster knows and Wilson is coming around, but until he does something wrong I reckon Durango is stuck with him.”
“What do I do about my bills? I went to get my things from my room at the hotel after I found out about Denton and they had given him my room and kept my goods for payment.”
Part of the marshal’s pay was free room and board at the hotel. Charlie had found out that as soon as Denton became marshal they started charging him for the room. Doc Jones was no problem and neither was Charlie, for I knew he was good for his debts.
“Let’s go get your things,” I said and downed the rest of my coffee.
We strolled over to the hotel and Limmler was at the desk. He was beady-eyed, but from all accounts an honest man. “Charlie’s come to pick up his things,” I said.
“Marshal Gold, glad to see you’re up and around. The townfolk have been praying for you,” he stopped and looked at me. “Sorry, but I can’t release his things as they are being held for payment of the room. I heard Mr. Billington tell Mr. Newsome to hold them.”
“Newsome in?” I asked and started walking toward his office.
“Yes, but…”
I walked in and found Newsome at his desk. Newsome was one of Billington’s “yes men” on the council. “Marshal Gold is here for his things.”
“Now just a minute, you can’t barge in here like this!” exclaimed Newsome.
“I just did.”
“Miles, let me handle this. It’s my stuff and my fight.”
I stepped aside. “Have at him Charlie. Want me to go get Doc or a court order?”
“Newsome don’t seem to remember the nights I’ve had to come in here and throw out some drunk.”
“By the way, how much does Charlie seem to owe you?” I asked.
Newsome was sweating some now. “Five dollars.”
“I’ll go get the Judge. Seems to me that you are being swindled Charlie. That nice holster alone is worth at least $7.” I turned to leave. “Sure hope you don’t trip and fall before I get back.”
Starting out the door, I heard Newsome call. “Okay, okay. I was only holding them because I was told by Billington. I’m beginning to wish Charlie was marshal again. I’ve had trouble the last few nights with some miners and the new marshal hasn’t done a thing.”
When Charlie had his clothes, gun and holster back we turned and left and started back to the diner. “I’ve got to make a trip to Silverton, Charlie. I’d like for you to stay close to the diner and keep and eye on things for me, ifn you don’t mind.”
I didn’t figure he’d mind with Marta being there, plus I received a telegram to check the mines and mills at Silverton since I wasn’t able to come to Denver.