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Rustic Accommodations

By Jean Verno


Rustic Accommodations View

          I sure hope that feller didn't have a lot of enemies; Lord knows I had more than a few myself. I was wanted in 3 states for stage robbin' and such. I ain't never killed anybody before though I got blamed for it once. I didn't even kill this feller either, he kinda killed hisself through ignorance, I just failed to enlighten him of certain vital knowledge I happen to possess.

           Can't blame me for keepin' it to myself.  He was fixin' to haul me in for the $2000 reward. Hell, if it weren't for the hangin' they planned for me, I'd haul myself in for $2000.

           I hate violence; I'm kind of a peace lovin' thief.  I don't even have bullets in my gun. If they was to give me the reward money, I'd agree to stop thieven'. I ain't suited for hard work, ranchin' or farmin'or such but I could setup a little store or a saloon or somethin' in a peaceful town.  If I had a good stake, I would settle down.

             I run away from the feller all the way across Oklahoma but he jes' kept after me. He was a tenacious polecat. He run me into a box canyon over near the Missouri border. He thought he had me hemmed in but I knew a secret way out through a hidden cave.  Lots of caves in that part of the country, Frank James had showed me this one hisself.

      This here canyon had a real narrow entrance, couldn't even get your horse through it. We left our mounts back aways and they both ran off. There was a brush fire burnin' close by and it spooked 'em,

     I was a good bit ahead of him and had a decent start into the canyon. I was into the hidden cave and half way through and out the top by the time he got there.

       From the rim of the canyon, I could look down and see the horses runnin' away and the smoke buildin' up with the fire shiftin'. The wind was turnin' and the fire was headin' fast toward the canyon. That's when I suppose I should have shouted and warned him, maybe told him how to find the way out. I don't know that he coulda heard Me but I shoulda at least tried but I didn't. 

          Then it was too late, the flames roared right down through the mouth of the canyon burnin' up everything including that bounty hunter.  After while the fire burned itself out in the canyon.

             I looked down at his chard remains, jes' a man shaped pile of ashes and burned bones. There was no way anyone could ever tell who he had been.  There weren't nothin' I could do but still I felt bad. I jes' wanted to catch one of the horses and get away but I resolved to see him buried proper. It was the least I could do. 

          I come upon his horse first and caught it. All his gear was still on his saddle, including the order from the US Marshall to bring me in Dead or Alive for a $2000 reward. That lessened my guilty feelin' some.  I couldn't help thinkin'' that the poor man had died in vain what with the reward money goin' wantin' for lack of being claimed.

           By the time I found my own horse, I was real sorrowful, some about the feller but most about that reward money wastin' and doin' no good.

         When the canyon cooled I went in. I took the feller's pitiful remains and wrapped them in my old blanket and put them over my saddle. Then I mounted his horse and headed out to see him put to rest.

       It was two days ride to find a town with a cemetery, a lawman and a telegraph.  This gave me plenty of time to think things through. It occurred to me that given' up my thieven' ways would be a fittin' tribute to the feller.

            That's why when the local sheriff, mistook me for the bounty hunter and chard body for thievin' ol' me, well, I did not want to embarrass him by contradiction, so I jes' let him wire the US Marshall the confirmation of my capture and demise and to send the money.

              The money come right quick and I left the buryin' to the locals and went on my way.  I had to use the fellers name as my own for a time. Word got around that I was dead and would thieve no more and that this feller was the one who killed me. That's why it was kind of fortunate that I had more enemies than friends. There wouldn't be many wantin' to avenge me by killin' him. And that's why I sure hoped that the feller didn't have a lot of enemies of his own.  

Read more of Jean's work: Attack of the Poetry Virus




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