The bartender walked to the door, looked carefully around for a moment, his eyes fastening upon a trail in the sandy street. Then he laughed. “There ain’t no saddle out here,” he reported, well knowing where it could be found.
“What! Has that ornery piebald—well, what do you think of that!” exclaimed Fisher, looking up and down the street. “This is the first time that ever happened to me. Why, some coyote stole it! Look at the tracks!”
“No; it ain’t stolen,” the bartender responded. He considered a moment and then made a suggestion. “Mebby the marshal can tell you where it is—he knows everything like that. Nobody can take a cayuse out of this town while the marshal is up an’ well.”
“Lucky town, all right,” chirped Fisher. “An’ where is the marshal?”
“You’ll find him down the back way a couple of hundred yards; can’t miss him. He allus hangs out there when there are cayuses in town.”
“Good for him! I’ll chase right down an’ see him; an’ when I get that piebald——!”
The bartender watched him go around the corner and shook his head sadly. “Yes; hell of a lucky town,” he snorted bitterly, listening for the riot to begin.
The marshal still sat against the corral gate and stroked the Winchester in beatific contemplation. He had a fine job and he was happy. Suddenly leaning forward to look up the road, he smiled derisively and shifted the gun. A cow-puncher was coming his way rapidly, and on foot.
“Are you the marshal of this flea of a town?” politely inquired the newcomer.
“I am the same,” replied the man with the rifle. “Anything I kin do for you?”
“Yes; have you seen a piebald cayuse straying around loose-like, or anybody leading one—CG being the brand?”
“I did; it was straying.”
“An’ which way did it go?”
“Into the town pound.”
“What! Pond! What’n blazes is it doing with a pond? Couldn’t it drink without getting in? Where’s the pond?”
“Right here. It’s eating its fool head off. I said pound, not pond. P-o-u-n-d; which means that it’s pawned, in hock, for destroying the vegetation of Rawhide, an’ disturbing the public peace.”
“Good joke on the piebald, all right; it was never locked up before,” laughed Fisher, trying to read a sign that faced away from him at a slight angle. “Get it out for me an’ I’ll disturb its peace. Sorry it put you to all that trouble,” he sympathized.
“Two dollars an’ four bits, an’ a dollar initiation fee—it wasn’t never in the pound before. That makes three an’ a half. Got the money with you?”
“What!” yelled Fisher, emerging from his trance. “What!” he yelled again.
“I ain’t none deaf,” placidly replied the marshal. “Got the money, the three an’ a half?”
“If you think yo’re going to skin me outen three-fifty, one-fifty, or one measly cent, you need some medicine, an’ I’ll give it to you in pill form! You’d make a bum-looking angel, so get up an’ hand over that cayuse, an’ do it damned quick!”