Once upon a Time...
Lily drives the wagon slowly through the town, not wanting to look like she was in a hurry. Soon she arrived at the Becker’s house and maneuvered the wagon to the back. After informing the Sheriff that they had arrived, the Sheriff jumped out of the wagon and quickly walked up to the back door and knocked.
Sally-May Becker answered the door. Inside they can hear the sound of children playing. Mrs. Becker greets the Sheriff and surprised to see Lily she greeted her as well. Mrs. Becker invites them in and asked them to clean themselves off in the mud room. It takes some time, especially for Lily, but they are able to get most of the mud off. While they are cleaning Mrs. Becker offered them food and drinks. The Sheriff politely turns it down, but Lily accepts a glass of water. Mrs. Becker then escorts them to Mr. Becker in the den.
In the den, they found Mr. Becker sitting at his desk working on some papers. It appeared as if he was working on a ledger for his Hardware store.
“Mr. Becker?” The Sheriff said, getting Mr. Becker’s attention.
“Ah sheriff. Good to see you. Lily right? You’re the one who speaks English?” Mr. becker said, greeting his guests.
“Yes sir.” Lily said shyly.
“Has my wife offered you anything?” Mr. Becker inquired.
“Of course she has.“ The Sheriff answered.
“Water. That’s what she said I could have.” Lily said.
Mr. Becker Headed over to a large bookshelf. He began to remove some book and pulled out a bottle of whiskey and a few glasses. He pours himself and the Sheriff a drink.
“Mr. Becker. Have you heard what happened?” The Sheriff asked once he had his drink in hand.
“Well quite a bit has been going on, but I assume you are referring to the Double Down Murder?”
“A lot of people are nervous about it.” Mr. Becker said as he returned to his seat.
“Of course. Well, Navi, she killed a man in self defense. But I’m getting a little heat. I had a conversation with Walker and Murphy today.”
“Sounds about right” Mr. Becker said nodding his head knowingly.
“They really want her to go to trial and I sure they want a guilty verdict. Is there anything else I’m missing here or do they just not like whores? Excuse my French.”
“They are men like any other. Like most men they don’t have any particular problem with whores.”
“I just don’t understand why they are so hell bent on her. I know we are all trying to change the image of the town for a while now, but they have never come to me before when miners where attacking each other. They just let me do my job.”
Mr. Becker looked into his glass for a moment, deep in thought. After a few second he looked back at the Sheriff. “In the last few months, a couple major mines have been opened. A large load of ghost rock has been discovered and Richmond is looking this way. And the President is very interesting in the possibilities of this load. There is a chance for people to make a lot of money over this.”
“As long as the town is seen a good light?” The Sheriff said with a little disgust in his voice.
”That’s politics.” Mr. Becker Answered, shrugging.
“Well now I know where its coming from.”
“I know that Murphy and Taylor has been hitting this from two angles. If it goes to trial, then they are hoping for a trial. At this time they don’t necessarily want it to be that a miner was in the wrong.”
“Because we have all the mining companies looking at us.”
“Yes, and as repugnant as Gus was, they are afraid that he may still have a number of friends left in the mining community.”
“But Gus didn’t have no friends.” The Sheriff said frankly.
“Well, in politics it sometimes doesn’t matter if they were friend before the man died, it’s that they are friends after the man dies.”
“I do know that Taylor was talking with Mr. Greaves about getting Navi out of town before charges are filed.”
“And what happens if she goes to trial and she is found innocent?”
“Not sure, but they are not happy with Mr. Bartlett and even less happy with Judge Timmons. And I don’t know what kind of repercussions will happen with Mr. Greaves. He has a successful business, but I’m not sure.”
“Well I’m not really worried about repercussions right now.”
“As far riots in the mining community. Maybe. I’m not sure what would happen if she got off.”
“You are right about the friend after death thing, but I don’t think they will care.”
“Honestly I don’t think they care either and I really don’t think the mining companies will care. The man shouldn’t have been visiting a whore is what they will say.”
“I just want to know, if it does go to trial, how far will Murphy go to get a guilty verdict?” The Sheriff asked, getting to the heart of the matter.
“He could bribe a jury. But that’s a far as I think it will go. It all depends on the future. If this is the only thing that happens at the Double Down, then I can be easily forgotten.”
“Well, there’s not much any of us can do to control that, and as far as the bribery thing goes, that not my area. So anyways, thanks for the drink and you have a good day.”
“Thank you for dropping in and you have a good day as well.”
The Sheriff left Mr. Becker’s house with more questions than answers. Deep in thought, he climbed back into the wagon to ensure that no one saw he leave Mr. Becker’s house. The Sheriff asked Lily to take him to the Chinese block. Once they arrived, the Sheriff asks Lily to tell Mr. Fu to watch out for the Ames gang that may be coming to town. The Sheriff explained that Mr. Fu will need to watch over his people. With that he says goodbye to Lily. Little did he know that after Lily secured Xiaofan and the Wagon, she headed off after him.
The sun began to set. At the Jail House, Tom Klein returned after taking care of his mother. Jim is glad to escape the boring Jail house and heads off to the Remington Hotel for his dinner. Shortly after he sat down, the Sheriff entered the Hotel. Rex Guinn greeted the Sheriff. The Sheriff asked Rex if he had seen the Lawyer recently and Rex explained that he had not seen him for a while. Seeing Jim eating dinner, the Sheriff thanked him for watching over the prisoner and reminded Jim that he was no longer deputized. Jim just shrugged and took off the badge and put it into his pocket. With that the Sheriff headed out to the Double Down.
Bryce sits on his horse overlooking the cattle in the field. The sun was slowly descending in the sky and Bryce knew it was going to be a long night. After a short time, Bryce noticed Mr. Cooper riding up the ridge toward him. Bryce greeted him once he arrived.
“What’s got you out here on this cold night?” Bryce asked.
“Came looking for you.”
“Got a letter from town. From Mr. Taylor. Apparently a girl killed miner?”
“Ya I heard about it.”
“The letter insinuated that it might be in my best interest to front some capitol for a Mr. Greaves’ business. I got things to deal with, so I need you to go to town and talk with the sheriff. I need you to find out what’s going on and to see to my interests in this matter. And if you see Mr. Taylor, tell him that I an’t giving him a fuckin’ dime.”
“I need you to look after my interests and if there’s something I should be taking care of, then let me know.”
“Alright. I’ll head out then.”
Judge Timmons and Jed Bartlett arrived at the Double Down. As they entered Francis noticed them and waved them over to the bar. Francis greeted them and informed the judge that Mr. Greaves was waiting for him upstairs, but he didn’t know that Mr. Bartlett was also coming. Francis excuses himself to let Mr. Greaves know that they had arrived.
Upstairs Francis knocked on the door and Mr. Greaves told him to enter. He told Mr. Greaves that Judge Timmons and Jed Bartlett were here to see him. Mr. Greaves asked Francis to show them both up. A short time later Timmons and Jed enter Mr. Greaves’ office.
“Mr. Greaves.” Judge Timmons said greeting MR. Greaves.
“Mr. Timmons how are you doing?” Mr. Greaves responded.
“Fine fine, getting on in years, you know how it is. A little saddle sore at times, but its ok.”
“Well as a friend, I wanted to get your legal advice on a matter.” Mr. Greaves asked.
“Well, I’m not much of a lawyer, but I’ll see what I can do.”
“I was visited by…” Mr. greaves started.
“Can I put my hat away?” Judge Timmons asked taking off his hat.
“Oh of course.” Mr. Greaves said, waving for them to take a seat. He then poured them all some whiskey.
“Now we are in the south son. Hospitality and all. Now we can talk. You were saying.” Timmons said as he sat and picked up his glass.
”I’m sorry, I was acting like a dirty northerner. “ Mr. Greaves said.
Bartlett clears his throat at the comment.
“You’re a good northerner Jed.” Mr. Greaves said with a laugh.
Timmons raised his glass. “To the confederate! May the stars and bars shine forever.”
They raised their glasses and drank to the toast. Mr. Greaves began to violently cough, blood coming out of his mouth. His illness seemed to be getting worse. After a short time, Mr. Greaves’ cough began to subside. “I apologize for my illness sir.”
“Not at all sir. What can I do for you.” The Judge asked, his face showed his concern.
“Mr. Taylor came in here.” Mr. Greaves started.
“Wretched man.” Judge Timmons stated as he took another sip of his drink.
“Yes. He tried to bribe me and I’m afraid it might cause trouble for my business and my family. And I consider my whore a part of my family.”
“Knowing Mr. Taylor, not taking the bribe can cause problems with your business.” The Judge responded.
“He offered me $500 and Navi $500 for her to leave town. And I could get rid of my whores and he would pay me. He also suggested that if I don’t she was going to hang, even though it was self defense. I’m not sure what to do. I am an honest man”
“Well it’s not right for me to chime in on this subject. In order for me to remain impartial in these matters I should not discuss it.” The Judge explained.
“Well… as a friend?”
“Well, you gentlemen know Taylor more than I do.”
“He makes the worst northerner look like a gentleman.” Mr. Greaves said with a lot of venom in his voice.
“Well you need to size him up. What would he do? How far do you reckon he will go?”
“I am sure he would definitely tamper with a jury.” Mr. Greaves explained.
“I’m in a difficult situation Mr. Greaves. I do not mean to be rude. I think in this case, I’m going to go down stairs and have a go at your fine faro table. I believe that Mr. Bartlett would be a better person to talk to about these matters.”
Timmons got up and headed down stairs. They said their goodbyes. Left alone together Jed talked to Mr. Greaves and suggested that if he took the deal then the matter would be settled and Navi would leave. Jed tried to explain that this situation was not something he could really help him with. Either Mr. Greaves takes the bribe or they go ahead with the trial. Mr. Greaves decided to go ahead with the trial. Jed finished his drink and headed down stairs.
The Sheriff arrived at the Double Down and greeted the judge coming down stairs. Judge Timmons and The Sheriff share a quick drink. A few minutes later the Sheriff noticed Jed Bartlett coming out of Mr. Greaves’ office. The Sheriff excused himself from the Judge and approached Jed. He explained to Jed that he wanted to talk to both Jed and Uriel. They headed up stairs and go into the office with Lily in tow.
The Sheriff told Mr. Greaves that the founders want this to go to trial or to have Navi leave town. He told them about the ghost rock and that Richmond is looking at the town, so there is a lot of pressure right now. The Sheriff informs Mr. Greaves that he was planning on filing charges. If they hadn’t approached him he would have pressed charges as normal, but now that they are pressuring him he’s not sure if he should. Jed Bartlett asked the Sheriff to hold of on filing charges for at least 30 minutes and the Sheriff agreed. With the discussion completed, Jed heads over to the Alabaster Moon Bordello to learn more about Gus’ whoring habits.
As the Sheriff and Mr. Greaves head down stairs they find Jim and Bryce at the bar sharing a drink. Mr. Greaves stepped behind the bar and began pour them drink while the Sheriff sat next to Bryce. Bryce explained that he came into town looking for the Sheriff, but did not want to discuss his business in a crowded bar. They finish their drinks and headed over to the Jail house to talk.
As Bryce Colton, The Sheriff, Uriel Greaves and Jim Mathias approached the jail they heard Tom Klein yelling.
“Better keep your damn voice around.. I mean down!” Tom yelled.
“Sometimes he like to practice.” The Sheriff explained to the others. The Sheriff could not help but laugh.
”You better keep your voice down or I’ll get a gun.” Tom continued to Yell, then paused. “Of course the sheriff lets me keep guns. I’m a deputy. Just… just shut your damn mouth. Just wait for the sheriff to get back.”
The sheriff coughed loudly as he entered the Jail House. To his surprise Tom was not practicing his tough talk. The Sheriff found a drunk in the jail cell next to Navi. Tom explained to the sheriff that he locked him up for being drunk in public.
The miner yelled at the sheriff and the sheriff tried to calm him down but failed. After a few minutes the miner began hitting on Navi, but she simply ignored him. Jim, not liking how the miner was treating Navi, walked over and attempted to intimidate him. The miner was not fazed by Jim’s stare and began making kissy faces to him, which unnerves Jim. Bryce, not paying much attention to the scene poured himself a cup of coffee. The group headed out side to the porch to talk privately. Tom headed out to the back porch where he was involved in a chess game with Isaiah.
“Sheriff, what happened today. I’m asking as a concerned citizen for Mr. Cooper.” Bryce began.
“Well, we are getting a lot of pressure from them to take Navi to trial.” The Sheriff explained to him.
“Who’s they” Bryce asked a little confused.
“Damn Taylor and them. They are up to some buzzworm again.” The Sheriff said. It was obvious that the Sheriff was very upset at the situation.
“They are trying to pressure me into doing things I’m not willing to do.” Mr. Greaves told Bryce.
“Taylor is?” Bryce asked.
“Look since its just us here.” The Sheriff began.
“Just us, Navi and the drunk miner.” Bryce said looking back into the jail.
The Sheriff looked back into the Jail. He knew from experience that the prisoners could not hear them. “Well Navi wont saying anything and the miner is too damn drunk. Apparently since there are a lot of mines striking it rich the big city is scrutinizing us.“
“Alright. Being scrutinized, I see.” Bryce said thinking about it.
“Ya. It looks like there’s potential for a lot of money to be made.” The Sheriff continued to explain.
“I would say so. I have a few stacks in the mines around here.” Jim said simply.
“People who know this, are willing to throw people, like whores, under the stage coach. They don’t want things like this. Especially since she shot a miner, they don’t want the miners upset. They are also worried how this makes the town look.” The Sheriff explained.
“I ain’t trying to tell you what to do, but I’m curious as to what your plans are Sheriff?” Bryce asked.
“To uphold the law. She ain’t done nothing wrong.” The Sheriff responded. His anger barely under control.
“She shot a man. You get hung for that.” Bryce said simply.
“He was beating her.” The Sheriff responded quickly.
“She’s a whore.”
“That’s true, but..” The Sheriff began.
“She still has rights.” Uriel said, interrupting the Sheriff. Bryce could tell that Uriel was as upset as the Sheriff was.
”She does? A whore?” Bryce asked.
“Yes.” Uriel responded, the anger visible on his face.
“Well I guess if you’re willing to stack her life on that then it should go to trial.” Bryce answered.
“Either way, what did you come to see me for.” The Sheriff asked, trying to prevent a fight.
“Mr. Cooper asked me to come.” Bryce explained simply.
“What’s Mr. Cooper’s interest in all of this?” The Sheriff asked.
“Well, Mr. Taylor is asking him for money so he can buy a saloon.”
“I know what’s that’s about. He wants me and certain businesses to get rid of our whores. To clean up my act as a responsible citizen. I won’t take the money even if it came.” Uriel said, still upset.
“Well at least we know how far Taylor’s willing to go. So you’re here to make sure that Mr. Cooper’s interests are looked after?” The sheriff asked.
“I think that’s his only part in it, is for the money."
“Man has a lot of power.” Bryce pointed out.
“Who Taylor?” The Sheriff asked.
“Yup. Big man in town”
“Ya, but not as big as Cooper. If Cooper ever used it. Just letting you know that Cooper’s not really involved in this other than as a bank.” The Sheriff explained to Bryce.
“I have no problem with your boss. Your people are good when they come into my establishment.” Uriel told Bryce.
“I just gotta wait for Jed to come back and see when he wants me to file those charges.” The Sheriff said.
“They are trying to railroad a bunch of us into doing thing we won’t normally do. So my question is, are miner allowed to do whatever the hell they want now?” Uriel asked to the Sheriff.
“Not at all.” The Sheriff said.
Jed Bartlett arrived at the jail and noticed them on the porch. He walked until and ingnored the other and spoke directly to the Sheriff. “Alright sheriff. If you will accompany me across the street to the Double Down, we can files those charges. Judge Timmons is still there I believe. I also need that information we discussed.”
“What information?” The Sheriff asked confused.
“Previous arrests and such.” Jed told him.
“Oh ok.” The Sheriff turned to Tom “TOM!”
”Yes sheriff” Tom said as he rushed into the jail house.
“Tom head to the courthouse and get everything we have on Gus.” The Sheriff told him.
”Well I have a few things here in the office already. I think I filed that under D.”
“Why would you put Gus under D?”
”Well he’s one of the town drunks. Unfortunately D’s a very big file. It might take some time.”
”We are going need to talk about your filing system one of these days.”
”Have I never not filed something?”
“Of course you do good.”
Tom looked through his files. After a few minutes Tom realized that Gus was not filed under D.
”Ah. It’s not under D. Sorry it was under T.”
“For tent city?’ The Sheriff asked.
Surprised the Sheriff asked, “Why is Gus under Taylor?”
“Well he’s Mr. Taylor’s half-brother. Sorry it totally slipped my mind.”
“That makes sense now.” Jim said.
“Why has Gus not been around his brother then?” The Sheriff asked Tom.
“Well I believe they had a falling out. Yes, it was over a mine or something. Up near the town of Christian’s folly.” Tom explained.
“Really?” The Sheriff said, trying to figure out how this fit in with what was happening.
“Ya, a couple years back Gus went up to Christian’s folly about 25 miles north of here. An old town got started up there, but a man from back east, before the war, found a huge gold claim and couldn’t afford working it so he sold it to Gus and a couple of guys. So the town was called Christian’s folly because the man named Christian gave away a fortune. I heard that later some Indians or bandito or cowboys burnt the town down many years back, so Gus came back to town and was bitter every since.” Tom explained.
Tom thought for a second before continuing. ”It is interesting, if I recall correctly his claims outside town aren’t very big, but he’s been throwing around a lot of gold lately.”
“Ok well, this doesn’t change the Navi case. We will file charges and then I will investigate this angle.” The Sheriff told the group.
They headed to the Double Down to speak with the Judge and file charges against young miss Navi Lopez.