Sunday, November 29, 2015
An Unedited Snippet from the Chapter, OUTLAWS
That's right...it's the 4th day of my 5-day weekend and I'm here to bring you yet another snippet from The Curse of Billy the Kid. This one is from the top of a chapter currently entitled, Outlaws. This takes place on the night of March 9th, 1878. All the historical information here is true and the Regulators were in San Patricio that night. Whether Dick rode there after learning the news he did when in Lincoln is my assumption and used for story purposes. Either way, enjoy!
The Regulators decided they wanted to go celebrate in San Patricio, but Dick said he needed to deliver the news to McSween about Morton and Baker, so he turned off and headed to Lincoln. Secretly, I wanted to go with him. Not that I wanted to go play law-boy, but it would finally give me a chance to get a look at Dick’s injured shoulder without all the others around.
However, seeing as there was no way to follow along without it looking odd, I "forced" myself to go to San Pat. Besides, we was gonna throw a baile and I love to dace! Plus, the señoritas in that town were beautiful!
So we split up, sending our Constable off one way while we went another, but not for long. For that same night, while we all were in the middle of dancing and enjoying the ladies, Brewer showed up. Ducking his head to enter through the doorway, Dick strolled over, tension evident in every muscle of his body.
“This is not going to be good news,” I said to no one in particular.
The pretty senorita I’d been dancing with heard me and said, “¿Qué dijiste?”
“Nada,” I replied, then politely excused myself from her company to intercept Dick as he headed for the biggest group of us in the room. “Whoa there, cowboy, what’s on fire?”
“We are,” he said. “Axtel has made us outlaws.”
“Say that again,” the pretty boy of our group, Frank McNab, said.
Seeing as McNab, which is what I called him because I already had a friend named Frank, used to be a lawman workin’ for John Chisum as a cattle detective, I wasn’t surprised he was the first of us to look worried at the news.
Dick motioned with his head to follow him and we all made our excuses and stepped outside into the night. Once far enough away from prying eyes and ears, he said, “Seems Governor Axtel was escorted by Colonel Purington to Lincoln today to investigate the trouble going on.”
“The trouble?” I parroted. “That’s what they’re calling John’s murder? You have got to be―”
“Oh, there’s more,” Dick said, and his voice made it clear it was worse. “Seems after an extensive interview process, and when I say extensive I mean three hours spent primarily with Murphy and Dolan, he removed Justice of the Peace Wilson from office and voided all processes issued by him.”
“Wait a sec,” Doc Scurlock said. “He can’t do that. It would bring into question every single action, including arrests, weddings, and warrants, for two years. That’s a lot of retrials, annulled marriages and―.”
“It would also negate Widenmann’s U.S. Marshall status,” McNab added.
“And our warrants for Morton and Baker,” I pointed out, “Which is why we’re outlaws, since they died while under arrest by us.”
Dick nodded. “You are all correct. He also declared that starting today, the only valid legal processes for Lincoln County would be those issued by Judge Bristol in La Mesilla and Sheriff Brady in Lincoln itself. And Brady’s deputies are the only officers empowered to enforce them.”
Fred Waite, a good law abiding man like McNab, stepped forward. “So all legal power in Lincoln County, hell, in all of New Mexico, is in the hands of the Santa Fe Ring. Is that what you’re telling us?”
“Yes, that’s what I’m sayin’.”
“Is he still in town?” Doc asked.
“Nope. Hell, he wasn’t even there when I arrived. He’d already headed back to the capital. McSween said that Axtel briefly spoke to him, Isaac Ellis, and Widenmann, but he declined to listen to their views on John’s death.”
“McSween needs to get out of that town or he’s a dead man,” Charlie Bowdre said, his hand resting on his gun. “We need to get him out of there.”
“I agree and I told him as such. He’s still in the custody of Deputy Sheriff Barrier, so at least that’s something.”
“Not much of something,” Charlie interjected, “But at least he has some protection.”
“Oh, like Barrier is any match for the lot of them if Brady and his boys decide to shove their way into the McSween’s house,” I pointed out. “Damn it all to hell!”
To say I was madder than a march hair would’ve been an understatement and I had to walk away from the group for a moment to collect myself. It wasn’t the idea of being labeled an outlaw that upset me. God knows that wasn’t new. But it seemed that each time we gained a bit of ground, the Santa Fe Ring pulled the rug out from under us.
Hearing someone approach behind me, I spun about, hand on my gun.
“Just me,” Charlie said.
I nodded my apology for almost drawin’ on him. “So what do we do now? My gut instinct is to always go for action, but that might not be the best for everyone.”
“We probably just need a few days to figure it out. Lay low, see how the chips fall.”
I looked over at Dick and the rest of the men and felt a heavy weight on me. I refused to show it though, and said, “You know what? Axtel can try all he wants to hold us back, but we still made headway today. I’m gonna go back inside and dance with that pretty little señorita again and maybe…” I winked at Charlie, “Maybe I’ll steal me a kiss or two.” I didn’t give him a chance to reply. Instead, I headed back to the baile and did exactly as I said I would.
STAY TUNED FOR ONE MORE INSTALLMENT TOMORROW...
ALSO A HISTORICALLY BASED SECTION!