Sandy Joins Newspaper: a short western story about a kid
Sarah the publisher of The Carbons Creek Sentinel, our local newspaper, was so impressed by theboy, Sandy, and his deaf dog, Spot that she wanted to give him a job. She didn’t ‘xactly want to hire him away from me but she figured he could help her get news in places she couldn’t or not as easily. I don’t put it past that woman to get news wherever she decides it’s happening. Never hurts to look for better ways to get things done, I says.
Sarah was kind of unusual her ownself. Her uncle Jake was the publisher of the paper. When she got word that he died she came out here right off. I guess they was pretty close. She inherited the business She did’t believe the story that her uncle died by accident. Although they was those who wanted to buy her out she stayed and showed her uncle had been murdered. She picked up where her uncle left off and has been helping improve the town and trying to keep the crooks out.
Anyway, she has a good man to help set type and that printing stuff. Man name of John kept things going after her uncle was killed.
I didn’t want to lose Sandy as a horse tender because nobody can do a better job of caring for horses than him and that spotted dog. Both him and the dog are deaf but they know more about what goes on around them then most folks do. The boy and the dog have an almost unworldly feel for horses. The Indians know that too and think it is special medicine.
Him and those Indians can talk to each other in sign like their hands talk. Funny, if you watch them you feel you can just about know what they is talking about
Sarah told me that Sandy can still work for me and help her out. She figures he can use the money to maybe go to a special school for the deaf later on.”And you need Sandy ‘cause he can speak to the Indians in sign language?” I says to her.
“Not at all,’ she said in sign. That surprised me but the young editor was full of surprises.
After a recent incident in which Sandy and his dog turned the tables on some horse rustlers with the help of some local Indians they kind of adopted him into the tribe and even made him an honorary chieftain. He seemed to understand the Indians and they thought he was big medicine. Lots of Indians think people that’s different are somehow special and got special powers. I think they believe that they need to give a place to such folks or it will bring bad medicine.
Sarah was big medicine too for these Indians. The way she survived setbacks like her newspaper being burned down and her stand against the political crooks, as pretty much a sign of much big power or medicine. One thing sure the Indians would trust her more than any of the Indian agents. Not all Indian agents is crooked but if they want the Indians trust they need to earn it.
Having two jobs seems like a lot of work for a young boy but out here everybody had to pull their weight. Specially one who don’t have any family around. His dog spot was his family. In a way the same was true of Sarah, since her Uncle’s death his dog Buddy was all the family she had left. Spot and Buddy were instant friends. Buddy rode in Sarah’s buggy with her and spot ran alongside the horses.
The deal was made and Sandy became her Indian reporter and he got to learn about the newspaper and printing business.
To Sandy he just got to do stuff he did anyway and got some pay for it. Although he couldn’t hear he could read pretty good and typesetting was fun. Deaf people sometimes have a hard time talking ‘cause they can’t hear the sounds. I think Sarah helped him to use the type letters so as he could learn to talk better. He was also a hit when he sold advertising for the paper. Some of the business folks came from places where they talked with their hands as much as with regular talk, so they enjoyed the sessions of sign talk.
Indians and the Government
Does anybody understand the White man’s government? Don’t think even us white folks do. The whites want Indians to be like us, learn our ways. So how do we do this? We give them some land as far from the rest of us as can be done. Than the government wonders why the Indians are not like us. I’m guessing most of it is well meant.
Sometimes it seems the government agents who are supposed to be looking out for the Indians might steal from them. Course the stealing happens before they ever see the food and such, But who knows. Well Sarah aims to find out, even if only one instance in one little backwater place.
Sandy was having a great old time. He was taking care of my horses with the help of his dog and sometimes Sarah’s dog Buddy would tag along. The Indians felt good just having them around like good luck charms. When he wasn’t tending the horses he just hung around the reservation. Since he was an honorary chieftain he could take part in a lot of ceremonies and entertainment.
I didn’t rightly know what Sandy was getting done but I didn’t have no complaints. His keeping in touch with the Indians helped me knowing that my place was somewhat protected from both sides.
One day Sarah comes riding out to my place in that buggy of hers with buddy in the shotgun seat. She held up a paper for me to see.
County Commissioner Loots Indian Supplies!
“If thet don’t beat all,” I said. ‘How did you ever uncover that?”
“That’s the problem. I didn’t”
“Well why’d ye set up that headline?”
“Didn’t do that either. I got to the paper and I found it on my desk. Both John and Sandy were gone. Buddy here was all excited. I got out here hoping you knew something.”
Obviously I didn’t, but I got my horse saddled and we rode out to the reservation. “How ‘bout the sheriff? Did you talk to him?”
“He wasn’t around. That’s why I came here.”
I should know Sarah had it covered. When we got there a tribal chief who listened to our story greeted us. Buddy was all excited and jumped from her buggy and ran to meet Spot. He told us something felt wrong when Spot showed up without Sandy. We left with the dogs and a small band of Indians to try to pick up a trail. After a ways Buddy ran to a small gully. At the bottom we found John, the typesetter. He was a bit shaky but not too badly hurt.
He said the deaf boy, Sandy, had come into the office all excited about finding a commissioner had sidetracked funds meant for the reservation into a personal account. He rushed to the type table and set up the headline. Then four rough men came in and grabbed both of us. Sandy had tossed the paper on Sarah’s desk so they didn’t see it.
“Was the sherif f with them?” asked Sarah.
“No. I think the sheriff is straight arrow.”
While we questioned John the Indians and Spot took out to track the kidnappers. Buddy stayed with us.
Obviously Sandy had stumbled on something. He does need a lesson in journalism. Don’t rush to judgment. It should be the job of the law to determine who is guilty. I was about to say something along these lines when we caught up with the Indians and the outlaws. Sandy was trussed up a bit but looked alive. Sarah stopped her buggy and pulled her shotgun out from under the seat. Pointing it in the general direction of the kidnappers she said: ” Who’s behind all this? You fellows don’t look smart enough to plan this. Who is the boss? I get pretty tired and my finger may just slip if you keep me waiting too long.
Four men shouted at once. “Don’t shoot”. The county commissioner has been paying us to pilfer shipments for the Indians. We’d sell the stuff and he gave us a cut of the money.
“Well Sarah said. Lets haul these no goods to the sheriff.” She let the gun slip and we all braced for the explosion.
“Drat,” she said” I forgot to load this one.”
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