The Saga of Miles Forrest

I had just left the M&M for a walk around town. The weather was delightful as a chinook had blown in and most of the snow was gone. However, that left for muddy streets.  But a person took the good along with the bad.
I was about a block away from the Broken Drum Saloon when I heard the shots. It was my inclination to run toward the shots, but when I saw a guy run from the saloon I decided to just mosey and let Marshal Billy Denton handle this.
No one else exited the Drum and as I was approaching the boardwalk Billy and the man who went for him were running for the batwing doors. Denton went in, and if I had to take a guess he was there maybe a whole two minutes before he came running out. As I came to the doors I heard laughter.
Walking in I took in the situation, and grabbed the man who ran for Denton. “Better go get the head councilman, Billington over here,” then went up to the bar as he ran out.
The tables were full for so early in the day. Reckon, miners were using up the last of last years money before trying to find jobs in the mines in the spring. On the floor, near a table of three rough-looking men lay a body.
“Howdy, Rufus,” I said to the bartender. “Man dead?”
“Forrest. Don’t see you in here much. What can I get you?” returned Rufus.
“I’m hear to check out your coffee. Doin’ a comparison for the Diner.”
“Coffee!” came a voice from the table of toughs. “This ain’t no diner, this is a place for drinking men!” Which brought a laugh from the rest of the room.
I turned my back to the bar and looked at the men. At that time in rushed Billington.
“Where’s the marshal?” he asked blustering.
“Been here, and ran back out,” replied Rufus.
“Do something Forrest!” Billington ordered.
“Okay,” I stooped down to check on the man laying on the floor. “Yep, he’s dead.” Rolling him over I asked, “Rufus, ever seen him before?”
“I don’t really recall the face. He might have been in here before.”
“Forrest, I’m ordering you to do something!”
“Why, Mr. Billington, you’re the closest we have to a law officer for the city in here. I reckon it’s up to you.” I knew I was being ornery, but just couldn’t help myself, but I inched down the bar as I stood to get my coffee.
The man at the table grinned and stood up. “I didn’t like the way he was looking at me,” he paused, spat at the spittoon and missed. “Matter of fact, I don’t like the way you’re looking at me. Why don’t you take me in or draw; one or t’other mister hot-shot.”
I thought Billington was either going to have a stroke or wet his pants. He started shaking and then ran out of the saloon. That brought more laughter.
Turning back I took a sip of coffee. “Not bad, Rufus, but can’t compare to Molly’s.”
“Well, we don’t get much call for coffee in here,” he replied defensively.
“Rufus, I like this town. I live here, I’m a citizen,” then I half-turned toward the table of toughs. “Have you ever seen this bunch before?”
“Naw, they rode in this morning as I was opening up.”
“Well, I reckon I can’t let this ride, it’d ruin your business and affect the safety of citizens,” I said and then to the one who said he shot the man. “You shoot him?”
“I said I did! What’s it to you?”
I swung around bringing the Greener with me, catching the man across the forehead. The other two began to draw, but I brought the Greener around, fired into the ceiling with one shot, then leveled the other on them. I had their attention. “There’s one more shot left. Your choice, boys. Take your hands off your guns and unbuckle them. Nice an’ easy-like.”
They heeded my suggestion. Good thing looks can’t kill. I pointed the shotgun at one. “Pick them up carefully and lay them on the end of the bar.” With that being done, I turned to the man who had run the errands. “Help me get this riff-raff to the jail.”
Speaking to the man’s friends. “Enjoy your drinks, boys.” Then I turned to Rufus. “Sorry, about the ceiling. Let me know and I’ll pay the cost for repair.”
He was looking up when I went out the door. “Come back again, Forrest, but not too soon.”