Once upon a Time...
“What the Hell happened?” Jedasked in total exasperation.
Uriel Greaves sighed. “A customer came at her. He beat her bad, so she shot him. He had a knife and was going to kill her.”
“Well… I guess she will probably be arraigned today, with the Judgebeing in town and all. So as far as legal fees go, I tend to charge $10 an hour.” Jedpaused a second, his mind wandering a bit. “She should be fine. As soon as I talk to the sheriff, we can get a trial as early as this evening or maybe tomorrow depending on the Judge.”
“Ok.” Urielnodded as the lawyerexplained the situation. Jedasked to see the room and Urieltakes him upstairs. Jedstepped into the room, while Urielretreated to his office. Looking around the room he noticed the body, the broken bed and of course the blood. Jedclosed the door to ensure that no one was watching him. As he looked around the room, he placed his hand into his pocket. He hand finds the Chess Piece, the Bishop specifically. With the Bishop in his hand, Jedbegan to quietly chant. A spectral Bishop appeared in the room and looked around, then leaned in and whispered into Jed’s ear. With a puff of ghostly smoke the Bishops disappeared and Jedknew that the knife did not belong somehow.
Having seen everything he could, Jedwalked down stairs and headed for the jail. As he left, Lily entered the Saloon from the back and quickly went upstairs to talk with the whores. The Whores always willing to gossip, tell her everything that had happened that day. Lily, feeling sorry for Navi offered to take any care package the other whores wished to send her. The girls loved the idea and put together a package of Navi’s things.
Jed Barlett arrived at the Jail house to find the Sheriff’s friend Isaiah and Jim Mathias sitting outside talking. They nodded to Jedas he entered the jail house. Jedstopped short as Young Tom, hearing someone enter quickly swung his shotgun at the door.
“Whooo… Whoo there son! Ames brothers come already?” Jed said in surprise.
“Who?” Tomvisibly relaxed once he saw it was the lawyer.
“The Ames Brothers.”
“Am I suppose to be expecting them?” Tomasked looking around nervously.
“No. No.” Jedjust shook his head.
“No, I think he was going to see Brian Cooper… Brian? .. Bryce! Yes Bryce Cooper.”
“Bryce Colton? No I think he wanted to spend time with Mrs. Cooper.”
“Top Rail, Sir. He’s the Top Rail at the Cooper Ranch.” Tommoved to the stove and began to cook lunch.
Still in a state of confusion, Jedsimply shook his head again. “I don’t know nothing about cows.”
“Well, they don’t look to good to me, but they taste mighty fine. Anyways I’m here to talk to Navi.”
“Alright. I just locked her up in back and got her some coffee. I’m starting some grits if your hungry.”
Navi sat on the bunk in the jail, gently crying. Jedlooked at her for a second. She was such a small little thing. Jedcould not fathom how she was able to get that large man off her. Her face was an almost unrecognizable lump of bruises. Gus had definitely done a job on her, in fact Jedcould not remember the last time he saw someone as damaged as Navi.
“Excuse me Navi.” Jedsaid slowly. He didn’t want to frighten her more than she already was.
Yes, Mr. Bartlett?” Navi asked without looking up.
Navi turned to look at Jed. “Mr. Greaves, sir?”
“Yes, Mr. Greaves. Well he hired me to defend you.”
“Ya he told me to talk to you.” Navi tried her best to smooth out her ruined dress in an attempt to look more presentable.
“Tell me what happened.” Jedasked as he pulled out a small journal and began scribbling notes.
“Well, we were doing our thing and he just got crazy. Crazy in the middle. He was talking about some claim. Talking about the no good sheriff. Then he started beating on me.”
“Beating on you? Mmm.. ok go on.”
“Ya he was beating on me. Then he was going to cut me!” She said as if suddenly remembering something.
“Ya he was going to cut me!”
“Did he have the knife while he was beating you?”
Navi thought about the question for a second. “Well… he beat on me for a while, then pulled the knife.”
“And you shot him while he was beating on you?” Jedasked without looking up from his journal.
“Well, he was just beating on me and I couldn’t get my gun.”
“So he beat you and then got off and pulled the knife?” Jedasked, finally looking up at Navi.
“Well…” Navi paused to think about it. “Well, I pushed him off me and grabbed my gun from my night stand.”
“You pushed him off you?” Jedlooked at her surprised. She couldn’t have been more than a hundred pounds, he thought.
“Well, I got my legs under him and I pushed him off.”
“And then you shot him in the head?”
“Well, I didn’t meaning too. I’m not much of a shooter. I kinda got lucky.” Navi said quietly.
“Alright. That’s what we’ll go with. We’ll explain that to the Judge later today. I’m not sure who the prosecutor will be, but it should be fine.” Jedsaid lost in his notes.
“I’ll tell him anything you tell me too.”
“I’m sure you will, but let’s just stick with the truth. Just tell the Judge what you told me and everything will be fine.” Jedsaid still going over his notes.
“Alright.” Navi sat back down on her bunk.
“Well, it seems to be a open and shut case of self defense.”
“Well the door was closed the entire time, sir.”
Jedlooked up confused for a second. “No I understand. So… when you transaction for fucking, do you receive the money before or after the deed?”
“Before Sir. And they don’t pay me, he pays Francis.”
“How much did it cost?”
“Three dollars, Sir.”
“Well, ok and he did this to your face?”
“Ya, he just went crazy.”
“Well, ok everything will be fine.”
The Sheriffand Bryce Colton rode into town with the wagon following behind. They were deep in conversation when Victoria Walker runs up to them. They stopped and she explained to them that a whore from the Double Down Saloon had shot a miner. The Sheriffquickly excuses himself and rides off toward the jail. Brycecontinues on to the general store so that Rosa can do her shopping.
The Sheriffarrives at the jail to find Jimand Isaiah talking about catfish and fishing. The Sheriffjust smiles as he walks past them. He is happy that Isaiah had found someone to talk to, the Sheriffhad been worried about him. As he entered the jail, once again Tomgrabs his shotgun and points it at the door nervously.
“Tom! Tom! What are you doing?” The Sheriffsaid in surprise at a gun pointed at his head.
“I heard. What’s with the shotgun?”
“I don’t know if people will come to lynch her.” Tomsaid, suddenly questioning his action.
“Damn Tom! It only happened like 30 minutes ago. It takes longer than that for them to arrive. They have to find the right tree after all. Just put it away.” The Sheriffsaid in frustration.
“Who got shot? Who’s dead?”
“Gus. The miner we released this morning. She says he was beating on her. He had a knife too.”
“So it was a clean fight?”
Tomlooked toward the back where Jedand Navi were and lowered his voice. “I don’t think so Sheriff. When he was in this morning, I dun give him coffee and he used his left hand. The knife was in his right hand. Might bit suspicious sheriff.”
The Sheriffsmiled at his young deputy. “Ok. Good work, Tom.”
“I gave her some coffee and I got some grits on, if you’re hungry.”
“Ok, sure. Give me a plate.” The Sheriffsaid as he walked back to the jail cells.
After dropping Rosa off at the General Store, Bryce Colton headed to the Jail house. He greeted Jimand Isaiah and listen to their fishing stories for a while. When he found an opening in the conversation he said, “Did you hear about the Ames Gang?”
“Apparently, they might be riding in soon to cause a bit of trouble. The Sheriffis thinking of putting together a posse.”
“Ya, come to think about it, I have heard of them. Tough gang. Rides strange moto cycles.”
“You thinking of joining?”
“I’m sure I will.” Jimsaid trying to remember what he had heard about this gang.
“Navi. What happened to you darling?” The Sheriffasked, horrified at the bruises on Navis face.
“He was beating on me Sheriff. He was going to cut me. He was just going crazy.” Navi said, tears slowly trickling down her cheek.
“Well..’ The Sheriffstarted, but was interrupted by Navi.
“Wait! I think you should talk to my lawyer.” She said, proud of herself for remembering Jed.
“Well, apparently he was beating on my client and got violent and apparently pulled a knife on her. She feared for her life and she shot him.” Jedsaid as matter of fact.
“Ya, he’s been in here before.”
“Well, ok. Ok. Go ahead and ask your questions.” Jedstepped back, but stayed in the room.
The Sheriffturned back to Navi. “Navi. When did he start beating on you?”
“About halfway through.”
“Halfway through? Ok. When did you pull the gun?”
“After I kicked him off me.”
Shocked the Sherifflooked at Navi closely trying to determine if she was lying. “Darling? How in the world did you kick him off you?”
“Well, he was on top of me and I was lying on the bed.” Navi looked at the bunk in the jail, but realized that it would be difficult to show what happened. “I can’t really show, but I got my legs under him and pushed as hard as I could. He was drunk too.”
The Sheriffthought about and the explanation seemed reasonable to him, so he moved on. “He was drunk? What time did he come and see you?”
The Sheriffshifted a bit in the room thinking a bit. Then he turned back to Navi. “So let’s get this straight. You were doing your business, he starts getting violent. He starts beating on you. You fear for your life and kick him off you and then you put two in his head. Is this right?”
“Yes Sir. Well, One.”
“One to the head. Ok. Sounds a lot like self defense to me.”
“Is that good?” Navi asked, looking very worried.
“Ya, he was beating on you.” The Sheriffsaid.
“Ya Mr. Greaves don’t like them beating on us. He would have shot him personally had he known what was happening.” Navi said.
“I’m Sure he would have.” The Sheriffsaid. “So just to get thing clear, we need to get everything straight. Was he drinking at the Double Down?”
“Then he wanted your services, right?”
“Yup! Asked for me personally.”
“I’m sure he did darling. Why wouldn’t he?”
“I’m the best one there. Hey, why don’t you come ‘round Sheriff?”
“Well, I’m very busy. I have a lot of work.” The Sheriffsaid quickly.
“I’ll give you a good deal.” Navi said, her sexy looking not quite working with all her bruises.
“I’m sure.” Trying to deflect the conversation and get back on course, the Sheriffasked, “So you went upstairs and you were servicing him and halfway through he started beating on you?”
“He went crazy.”
“He was a big man and you were scared?”
“He was. I was. He was screaming that he had Deeds.”
“Then you kicked him off and shot him.”
“Ya, the gun was on the nightstand. Mr. Greaves gave all us girls guns.”
“Ya. To defend ourselves.” Navi said.
“Against being beat on?” The Sheriffasked.
“No law against that, Sheriff.”
“Of course. Of course.”
“A girl’s got to defend herself, especially in my line of work.”
“Of course. I only have one little problem. When did he pull the knife?” The Sheriffasked, watching her closely.
“Well, I kicked him off and..” Navi started, but the Sheriffinterrupted her.
“I asked you three times and you never once mentioned the knife, Darling.”
“Well, you didn’t ask about the knife.” Navi answered looking very nervous.
“I asked you what happened.” The Sheriffpointed out.
“But you didn’t ask about the knife.” Navi started crying again.
“I asked you three times what happened and not once did you mention the knife to me darling.”
“Well, I kicked him off and that’s when he pulled the knife.” Navi said quickly.
“So you’re changing your story? You can’t change your story, girl.”
Navi sat back down on the bunk and put her head in her hands. “I don’t understand.”
“I just don’t know what you want Sheriff.” Navi said through her tears.
“So what you told me truth?” The Sheriffasked Navi.
“Yes.” She answered meekly.
“And Greavesgave you the gun?”
“And the knife? Greavesput you up to that?”
Jedmoved quickly in front of the Sheriff. “Don’t answer that Navi.” Jedturned to the Sheriff. “I think we are done here Sheriff. Navi, don’t talk to anyone until I get back.” Jedwalked out of the jail leaving the Navi sitting on her bunk crying.
“You going to charge him with anything?”
“No! I just want to talk to Greavesabout the knife.”
Jedthought about it a moment then looked the sheriff directly in the eyes. “Tell you what. Why don’t I get Mr. Greaves and you don’t do a god damn thing! If you go grab him, he going to think he’s in trouble.”
“He’s a businessman and it’s his word against hers. Who do you think the courts’ going to believe Sheriff?”
“I’m not charging him with anything. I’m just trying to get the story straight.”
Jedentered the Double Down and was greeted by the bartender Francis. After asking for Mr. Greaves, Jedwas told that Urielwas upstairs cleaning up some vomit the deputy left behind. Jedwalked up stairs slowly, but with purpose.
“OK. In my Office.” Urielgot up and tossed his cloth down in frustration.
“Yes.” Urielsaid as a matter of fact.
“Yes I gave her the gun. And the scene was already messed up, what with that stupid deputy puking all over the place!”
Jedshook his head. “It don’t matter a damn if he puked. She kicked him off her and shot him. You didn’t need to add the knife. Now it’s going to come down to your word against her word.”
“You want me to talk to Navi?”
“No. No. I’m going to take you to the sheriffand I don’t want you to say a god damned thing to him. He’ll ask you a question and I want you to just stare at him and keep your flap shut!”
“Ok, Jed. No problem.”
“No, but you can come by later and clean up that puke.” Urielsneered at him.
“I’m the law, we don’t do that.” Tomsaid a bit shaky and quickly stepped out back.
“Is there a crime you want to charge the whore with?” Jedcontinued.
“Well, if your not going to charge Mr. Greaves with a crime, then I assume he’s free to go?”
“Whatever.” Urielsaid as he turned and started to walk away.
“Trust me Uriel! It will happen Uriel!.” The sheriff shouted after him as he watched Jed and Uriel walk back to the Double Down Saloon.