“Will the Senor Jim ride again?” queried Ramon.
“I dunno, boy, I dunno. But if you and me and the doc and the senora—and mebby God—get busy, why, mebby he’ll stand a chance. How many times was he hit?”
“Two times they shot him.”
“Two, eh? Well, speakin’ from experience, they was three mighty fast guns ag’in’ him. Say five shots in each gun, which is fifteen. And he had to reload, most-like, for he can empty a gun quicker than you can think. Fifteen to five for a starter, and comin’ at him from three ways to once. And he got the whole three of ’em! Do you know what that means, boy? But shucks! I’m forgettin’ times has changed. How they been usin’ you down here?”
“I am sleep in the hay by Dex.”
“Uh-uh. Let that rest. Mebby it’s a good thing, anyhow. Got any money?”
“No, senor. I have use all.”
“Where d’ you eat?”
“I have buy the can and the crackers at the store.”
“Can and crackers, eh? Bet you ain’t had a square meal for a week. But we’ll fix that. Here, go ’long and buy some chuck till I get organized.”
“Gracias, senor. But I can pray better when I do not eat so much.”
“Good Lord! But, that’s some idee! Well, if wishin’ and hopin’ and such is prayin’, I reckon Jim’ll pull through. I reckon it’s up to the missus now.”
“Lorry is not come?”
“Nope. Couldn’t get to him. When does the mail go out of this bone-hill?”
“I do not know. To-morrow or perhaps the next day.”
“Uh-uh. Well, you get somethin’ to eat, and then throw a saddle on Dex and I’ll give you a couple of letters to take to The Junction. And, come to think, you might as well keep right on fannin’ it for Stacey and home. They can use you over to the ranch. The missus and me’ll take care of Senor Jim.”
“I take the letter,” said Ramon, “but I am come back. I am with the Senor Jim where he goes.”
“Oh, very well, amigo. Might as well give a duck a bar of soap and ask him to take a bath as to tell you to leave Jim. Such is wastin’ talk.”
The Genial Bud
“And just as soon as he can be moved, his wife aims to take him over to Stacey.”
So Bud told the Marshal of Criswell, who, for want of better accommodations, had his office in the rear of the general store.
The marshal, a gaunt individual with a watery blue eye and a soiled goatee, shook his head. “The law is the law,” he stated sententiously.
“And a gun’s a gun,” said Shoop. “But what evidence you got that Jim Waring killed Bob Brewster and his brother Tony?”
“All I need, pardner. When I thought Andy Brewster was goin’ to pass over, I took his antimortim. But he’s livin’. And he is bound over to appear ag’in’ Waring. What you say about the killin’ over by Stacey ain’t got nothin’ to do with this here case. I got no orders to hold Andy Brewster, but I’m holdin’ him for evidence. And I’m holdin’ Waring for premeditated contempt and shootin’ to death of said Bob Brewster and his brother Tony. And I got said gun what did it.”