The Deputy - A short story

The Deputy


(Note: This is an older story that few have read, so I’m republishing. I hope you like it!)

1

Chen Barlow was an outlaw by choice. It appealed to him because he enjoyed the planning, execution and get-away of each robbery and he especially enjoyed outwitting any law that sought to give chase. Even now, well hidden high above the trail and behind some mesquite trees, he chuckled as he watched the posse disappear beyond a bend far below. They were following a trail that he had carefully laid out the day before and in ten miles it would merge with a well-traveled road and be lost to his pursuers.

After robbing the Bagtown bank that morning, he had turned off the trail on the same, flat, rocky ledge where he had entered the trail yesterday. He hoped the posse would be riding fast and hard after him and would miss the subtle difference in the day old trail. They did indeed miss it and now he was probably beyond capture.

He rode to an old mining shack where he had left two other riding horses and quickly re-shoed his present horse with worn but usable shoes. Tossing the old shoes and their distinctive characteristics down the abandoned mineshaft, he gathered his other two horses from the corral and set out for New Mexico knowing that the posse would immediately disregard his new tracks should they happen upon them.

As a boy, Barlow had a part time job sweeping up the local sheriff’s office and oddly enough, that was the inspiration for his criminal career. Sheriff Jay Knight had been a Texas Ranger, a Pinkerton agent and marshal of several rowdy cow towns and was a fine lawman. He also liked to talk, so young Chen became well educated in the ways of outlaws and the mistakes they made that allowed the law to catch up to them. He learned that an outlaw who kept his mouth shut, had no partner, stayed out of saloons, stayed sober and didn’t suddenly spend lots of cash was usually beyond suspicion.

“If I was to take up outlawing’,” said the sheriff, “I would keep my job, stay put where I was known and trusted, and stash my loot until I had all I could use. Then I would say my goodbye’s and head far enough away that nobody knew me, buy a good set of clothes and pass myself off as a wealthy man looking for a cattle ranch to buy. After that, I would open up a bank account and nobody would think much about it. Trouble is, most outlaws are just too blame dumb to plan beyond tomorrow.”

Barlow’s first job set a pattern although only Barlow knew what that pattern was. One of the big ranchers up near Santa Fe had set up his own bank and made loans to other, smaller ranchers and land owners. After that, many of the borrowers had cattle run off, barns mysteriously burn and other calamities that prevented them from repaying the loans. There were suspicions but no direct link to the big rancher, who then foreclosed and took over the land. Barlow decided to rob the rancher and avenge his victims while simultaneously lining his own pockets.

When the rancher entered the bank early one morning, a masked Barlow with a double barrel shotgun was calmly waiting for him. Barlow handed the rancher a note with instructions and a promise that he would not see another day if he failed to carry them out to the letter. It wasn’t until nearly noon that someone finally noticed a note in the bank window with what appeared to be the combination to the vault written on it. After two tries, the door swung open to reveal a thoroughly chagrined rancher, gagged and tied to his desk chair, stark naked.

The pursuit was half-hearted at best and the thoroughly amused posse could only guess at the trail after such a long delay. The banker could give no good description of a masked man that had spoken not a word and, after all, almost all the money belonged to the rancher anyway. Many thought he ought to go chase his own cash and let other folks get on with their business. After a short time, the posse gave it up and returned, the monotony occasionally broken by loud peals of uncontrolled laughter. The unknown robber became a local folk hero and the humiliated rancher sold out and moved on after those who had once feared him openly laughed at him.

After that, Barlow listened to gossip and since nothing was more talked about than perceived wrongdoings, Barlow had plenty of victims to choose from. He chose those who were many miles away, would be least likely to enjoy anything other than mediocre support from a posse, and whose mistreatment of others was well known.

And his job gave him all the cover he needed. Sheriff Jay Knight had long ago hired him on as a deputy.

2

Barlow had made up his mind. This last job had netted him enough to buy a ranch he knew of in Wyoming. He was not known there and there was small chance of running in to anyone from his past. He was calling it quits.

He broke off the trail and headed west toward SilverCity. Long ago, he had found a cave east of there that was well hidden and seemed to be previously undiscovered except by various animals. He himself had almost missed it and would have had he not stopped to give his horse a breather. He had seated himself on one flat rock and leaned back on another when he had felt a slight cool breeze on his cheek, a coolness that was almost a shock in the heat of a desert summer. Investigating, he found that the vertical rock had all but concealed the entrance to a narrow passage. Thrusting a lit torch of weeds into the hole, he could see that the cave widened abruptly into a fair sized room. Squirming through, he found that he could stand with room to spare and that the cavern was about twenty-five feet long and some twelve feet wide. In one corner, he could make out the long abandoned bed of some small wild creature. There was a near vertical shaft that he could barely get a fist into that disappeared far below and was the source of the deliciously cool air. Overhead, there was another, wider shaft that was dimly lit. Later, he discovered that it emerged in a jumble of rocks far up the slope and also well hidden.

The cave became his cache of stolen riches, all in gold. He had cashed in all the banknotes, a few at a time, for gold coins and some gold bullion. If he cashed in a large amount, some sharp-eyed banker or lawman might remember the banks the notes were drawn on and also remember robbery stories, putting two and two together. US minted gold coins, on the other hand, were anonymous.

The only drawback to the cave was that the shaft that supplied air had a low, constant moaning sound and sometimes it sounded like the murmur of anguished voices, trapped and lost forever, far below. He knew it was only his imagination, but it sometimes sent a cold chill up his back, just the same.

After long miles of the stark desolation of southern New Mexico, Chen Barlow was grateful for the slow ascent toward the SilverCity area. The arid desert slowly gave way to scrub cedar and then the fragrant pines of the higher elevations. Barlow had made a policy of always approaching his cache from a different direction and then pausing on a convenient promontory to study his back trail and glass the area. That’s what he was doing when he spotted the wagon.

Far below, a bit of white flapping in the afternoon breezes caught the corner of his eye and he put the glass on the area. After a moment he could make out the remains of a wagon far down an embankment with the top torn and slowly fluttering in the slight winds. He had almost dismissed it as abandoned when he spotted a lone figure lying motionless and partially under the wagon bed. After a long moment, he concluded that whoever was down there was beyond anyone’s help.

He studied the situation for another half-hour, slowly scanning the side of the far mountain but saw nothing but a lone coyote digging at something under a mesquite. He was about to move on when he saw the coyote’s head suddenly jerk up and intently watch something on the far slope, just below his own position. Barlow crept back under the cover of brush and waited, pistol in hand.

For a long time nothing moved. Then a dove that was landing on a nearby bush suddenly darted away. A bonnet appeared, followed by long black hair and a determined looking young woman. Then two young girls crawled over the top and joined her. They crouched not five feet from him and peered back over the rim. Then the youngest girl turned and her eyes widened as she saw Barlow. Barlow held his finger to his lips and the girl tapped the woman on the back. The woman turned and suddenly Barlow was looking into the twin black holes of a sawed-off shotgun.

3

Barlow studied the canyon below. Nothing moved except an occasional bird or jackrabbit. While he watched, he also altered his plans.

The young woman’s name was Hattie Johnson. The dead man under the wagon was her father and the two younger girls were her kid sisters. They had been on the way to SilverCity when they had been attacked by three Apaches. Their father had lost control on a bend in the trail and had been crushed under the wagon. Hattie and the girls were thrown clear but had been quickly captured and tied to the wagon wheels while the Apaches looted the wagon and discovered a jug of whisky. Within an hour, all three were dead drunk, so Hattie had quietly worked her way out of her bonds and had taken the opportunity to escape with her sisters. Hattie was seventeen.

The Apaches were nowhere in sight but Barlow was under no illusion that they were gone. If they were not yet out of their stupor, they soon would be and would quickly trail Hattie and the girls. They would not know of Barlow’s presence. They might lose some of their natural caution and charge into a trap. At least that’s what Barlow hoped.

Barlow eased back from the canyon rim and signaled to Hattie. “They’ll trail you and the girls soon enough,” he said, “and they’ll likely appear right where you came over the top so we’ll set up an ambush right here.”

“Can’t we just ride on out?” Hattie asked.

“No. As soon as they spot my tracks they’ll know I’m with you and act accordingly An Apache on foot can run down a horse, but right now, we have a little advantage because we have the high ground and they don’t know I’m with you. Do they know you have that scattergun?”

“No. I kept it hidden in my skirts like pa taught me. They missed it.”

“Good. They’ll think they’re chasing three unarmed girls and they might get foolish. I want you and the girls to get behind that outcropping. Wait until all three are well within shotgun range and then take your two shots. Shoot them in the chest or in the back, one at a time and make it count.

“In the back?”

“Whatever shot you get, you take it. This is no time to be squeamish. They’ll mean to kill us so we must kill them first.”

“Where will you be?”

“I’ll be off to your left. When they come over the top, I’ll stand up and attract their attention. That’s when you must fire. Are we clear?”

“But you may get shot exposing yourself like that!”

“It’s a chance but we have no choice. We must either win or die.”

For almost two hours nothing happened. Occasionally, Barlow could see Hattie peering at him questioningly over the rocks and he simply put his finger to his lips and pointed at the canyon rim. Nothing moved.

Then Barlow heard a muffled laugh coming from below. The Apaches were amused that the girls were attempting to escape and were undoubtedly chiding each other for allowing them to get away. They had no doubt that they would soon catch them and were making light of it.

Rifle in hand, Barlow tensed. The first brave climbed over the top and after a quick glance around, looked back down the slope at his companions. He grinned as the other two struggled to their feet and said something to them. All three laughed and Barlow stood up.

Startled, the first Apache swung his rifle, firing instantly and Barlow felt the bullet slam into his side. At the same instant, Hattie’s shotgun roared once and then again and the other two Apaches were dead and dying. The first Apache spun back toward Hattie and Barlow shot him, took two steps forward and shot him twice more. Then all was silent.

Motioning for Hattie to stay undercover and reload, Barlow stepped to the rim and peered over. He saw no one. He returned to the Apaches and confirmed that they were all dead. They had been lucky. The Apaches had been foolish and had paid with their lives.

“You’re bleeding,” said Hattie. “Let me look at it.”

The bullet had hit just above the hipbone and had not exited. It may have lodged in his kidney. He felt sick and weak. Hattie bandaged it with some strips of cloth and the bleeding seemed to ease up a little. Barlow sat down and revised his plans once again.

“ I want you and the girls to take my horses and ride to SilverCity for help.” He silenced her protests with a wave of his hand. “I’m shot up badly and cannot ride that far so I’ll wait here. Can you find your way and then back again?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Just follow this trail to the road down yonder and then look back and get your bearings before riding on. Remember your landmarks well enough and you can lead them right to me.”

Barlow removed the packs from the horses and placed the smaller girls on their backs.

“They’ll have to ride bareback”

“They’re used to it,” said Hattie. “We’re western girls”

She smiled at Barlow for the first time and he realized that she was quite beautiful.

“I don’t even know your name!”

“It’s Barlow, Chen Barlow. I’m a deputy sheriff,” he blurted, instantly wondering why he had mentioned that.

“I’ll see you soon Mister Deputy Sheriff Chen Barlow. It‘ll be my turn to rescue you!” Her face suddenly hot, she mounted and rode away.

Barlow watched them ride off and reappear sometime later on the road far below. He saw Hattie turn around and study the terrain as he had told her. He took off his hat and waved it but he couldn’t tell whether she had seen him. Then they rode on.

He picked up the packs and slowly made his way up to his cave, pausing frequently to catch his breath and to watch for movement. He took care to step only on rocks and outcroppings as he always did when approaching his cache. Finally he reached the flat stone and with great effort slid it back. The wound had weakened him more than he had originally thought.

Stashing the gold and covering it all with pieces of slate rock took the better part of an hour. He had just finished when he was startled to hear voices. Crawling to the cave entrance he could just make out two of the bodies lying far below. The third was hidden from his view. But now there were at least a dozen other Apaches. The first three must have been an advance party and the main group had found them.

Quietly, Barlow pulled the flat stone back in place from inside the cave until only a tiny sliver of light remained. He could still see the Apaches with one eye glued to the crack. Satisfied that he had done all he could, he crawled back and seated himself on the mound made up of his cache and the rocks that covered it.

Let the Apaches look for him. Unless they were very lucky, they would never find him in here. The girls were halfway to SilverCity by now and probably safe. Getting out his badge he pinned it on, just for luck. Satisfied, he smiled to himself and closed his eyes. He would get a little sleep now. He was tired. He was very tired.

4

For a long time Barlow sat and gazed at the figure seated across from him. The cave was cool and dark, lit only by the sunlight reflected in from the entrance. Over his left shoulder, he could see his red Jeep parked on the shoulder of the forest service road some five hundred feet below. The service road followed the canyon rim and the flat area was known as the site of the long-ago battle with the three Apaches. In the bottom of the canyon but out of sight was the old wagon trail to SilverCity, still used by off road enthusiasts and an occasional hardy hiker. Hattie Johnson had her father’s body brought back for burial and had the wagon repaired and returned to the ranch, but Ben had found part of a rusty wheel hub and a bit of broken trace chain where it had overturned.

In his hand was a photocopy of the letter and map written by Hattie Johnson and sent to the Barlow family in Arizona after their son Chen disappeared. Hattie had led a posse back to Chen Barlow but he had disappeared without a trace and so had the Apaches‘ bodies. If the posse’s tracker had not discovered hard evidence that men had died where Hattie said the battle had taken place, they might not have believed her at all. Later, Sheriff Jay Knight had ridden in and taken up the search but he too finally gave up after weeks of finding nothing at all.

Benjamin Barlow had made finding his long lost great-great-Uncle Chen his life’s quest. He had spent every spare weekend for the last four years scouring this area looking for some sign; some small clue. Until today, he had found nothing.

He had stopped to rest on a flat rock and had leaned back when he felt a strange cool breeze on his cheek. Now he was looking at the long dead body of his missing uncle. He was sure of that because on the remains of a tattered shirt he could make out the glint and outline of a badge. That it was the badge of a deputy sheriff, he had no doubt.

At last he rose and facing the figure, he gave him a final, small salute. “Goodbye Uncle Chen. I’ll let the family know what became of you and I’ll contact Hattie’s family too. She never gave up you know. You were her hero and she never got over not being able to find you. Maybe now she’ll rest in peace. You can continue to rest in peace too, because I’ll never tell anyone just where this place is. This has been your undisturbed grave all these years and now it will stay that way.”

As he turned to go, the constant low moaning of the airshaft changed pitch slightly and just for a moment he thought he could hear the murmuring cry of faraway voices from deep in the Earth. A cold chill ran down his spine. He stepped back out into the sun and slid the flat stone over the entrance to his uncle’s tomb.

A long time later, a lone packrat scurried into the cave and stopped to stare at the still, silent figure. His natural fear of humans, even one long dead, was still intact. After a long moment, he crawled under the slate rocks the figure was seated on and retrieved another shiny gold coin to adorn his nest.


More by this Author


Comments 90 comments

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Good read second time around too.


Lynn S. Murphy 4 years ago

Just love your cowboys Will.


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Always our cowboy...Loved this Mr. Will! Thank you so much!


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

Will! This was a great read the second time as well as the first. I look forward to reading your stories! They are always full of intrigue and suspense. Thanks for sharing another!


lilyfly profile image

lilyfly 4 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

Always a treat Will, you working on your book? I just love the play of light in your stories; I have to squint,,, lily


Nan Mynatt 4 years ago

Will I am sorry that our hero died without havaing spent the money? Good suspense as usual, keep writing. I maked you yet.


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 4 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Will Starr, I think you would have made a really good outlaw.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

I loved this tale from beginning to end. Maybe if we find that cave we can solve our deficit problems! Up and awesome.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you for reading it again, Becky. I first published it soon after I joined HubPages and very few saw it. Then I republished, but it was deleted because HubPages thought it was a duplicate! Maybe the third time will be the charm I need!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you for reading, Lynn!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Sunnie, and thank you as always!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks Dex! Your latest was hilarious!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

I love your poetic comment, Lily!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Nan. I doubt that ill gotten gains ever lead to good things.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

You'd better smile when you say that, James!

^_^


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you Pop! Hope your hand is feeling better!


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Truely awesome and up. Great story that I enjoyed, Joyce.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Writer!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is another great story Will. Too bad about the Gold, he could have lived it up. I don't think he was a real bad Dude. The bankers were the bad ones..Hee..I enjoyed...


Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

I'm kinda w/ always exploring. I'm just glad you re-pub'd. Truly original and really captivating! Thanks for the story!


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 4 years ago from eastern North Dakota

I did! Thanks, Will.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 4 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Glad you reposted it, another classic!


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 4 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

GRRREAT...AS THEY ALL ARE...this one was, or seemed a bit different...Loved it ..up up and away...God Bless :O) Hugs G-Ma


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I love a good western and this one keeps your interest from beginning to end. Those girls were quite savvy western women. Enjoyed the read.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

Will - I have a soft soft for stories like this. Old westerns fascinate me too.

Great writing.

TFP


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, always exploring!

Maybe the gold is right where it should be. Who knows?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Teylina!

I'm glad you liked it.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

LOL @ James!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, John and thanks for always reading me!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, G-Ma Johnson, and hugs right back atcha!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Teaches and thank you!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks, Jim!


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Loved this western tale, Will, very realistic. Now you say this cave was up above a little-used trail to Silver City. How far from the town was it? And in which direction? Just wonderin'.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, drbj!

You'll have to ask Ben Barlow (and he's not saying!)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

(So sorry I’m late in commenting, but work demands have been nuts recently.)

Old or new, as always, I love your stories and this one is no exception. The clever and matter-of-fact manner in which you weave together the details of the story with your colorful characters is the Will Starr signature. You heroes and anti-heroes all have one thing in common: We wish we had known them all…and Barlow is no exception. There is always a poignant message in your westerns that culminates with an honest, no-punches-pulled resolution that is nature and human nature at its best and its worse. This is one of your best stories, Will. :-)


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Genna!

The Deputy is finally getting some exposure, and I'm pleased that you like it!


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina

That was a hoot, Will. Loved it and voted it up!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks, Ronnie! I wanted a cop's opinion!


htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

Nice story ..Thanks


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, htodd!


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Will

A great story but I was hoping that Chen and Hattie would end up living happy after ever. :)

Voted up and away!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Sueswan!

Sometimes things just don't work out!


Ghost32 4 years ago

In a word: Somber.

One of your best, and no, I dont' remember catching it the first time around.

Voted Up and beautiful.

It's also the way I would much prefer to die when it's my time: Alone, with no trace ever found.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Fred,

Things usually work out the way they're supposed to, don't they?


wingedcentaur profile image

wingedcentaur 4 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

Hi, Will Starr!

I must say this story is an absolutely masterful combination Western adventure/psychological suspense/somewhat 'ghost' story/'Indiana Jones'-type archeological discovery tale!

You know, by the time I figured out what was going on, I think I half-expected Benjamin Barlow to have some kind of accident, and wind up dying in the cave with his great-great grandfather, you know, adding his 'voice' to all the others coming out of that cave.

But that would have probably been OVER THE TOP!! Anyway, you handled things just right -- the right amount of coincidence while maintaining believability.

Very well done! Voted up for 'awesome' and 'interesting.'

Take it easy.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi wingedcentaur!

Our brains have a reading selector. If we know it's a fantasy or sci-fi, we use the setting where we will believe anything we read, but a western requires that the story be plausible. Great comment!


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Will,

This was my first time to read it.

And, well, I really liked that guy, Chen.

I kept thinking you'd "write him alright". And, at the end, I thought you'd written him into a ghost.

I was suprised. :)

femme


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, femme!

In the end, his stolen riches came to nothing, as it should be.


mizjo profile image

mizjo 3 years ago from New York City, NY

A story without a hero? I was hoping Hattie and Chen would end up happy ever after, even with the stolen riches, which, after all were stolen from the master thief himself! Well, I guess you had the better ending, with the riches benefiting nobody. Surprising ending.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, mizjo!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I always love the endings to your stories. Totally unpredictable. I always find myself taking on the role of each of your characters - and I'm thinkin' I just might head for that cave! Up, awesome, interesting and sharing. Thanks my friend.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Audrey!

I used to visit Nashville when I lived in Kentucky. What a great city!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 3 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Know how carefully I read this, Will? I found the mystery type-o in section 2! Trust instead of Thrust!

Awesome and sad tale, my friend. I do like happy endings but this one satisfies none the less. I suppose it is more realistic than having Hattie and the deputy fall in love and spend the money...

What do treasure seekers pay in taxes, when they discover such a stash? LOL. Sorry Will- it's the time we live in that makes me think like this!!!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Barb!

Fixed it, and thank you!

I could not have my anti-hero profit from his ill gotten gains, but it would not be realistic that he would return or abandon the money, so...


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 3 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Ah... so he wasn't based on Robin Hood, lol.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

That's how he saw himself, but it was his flaw.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This one grabbed me right from the first paragraph and kept my attention right to the last line. Another great one from the Western story teller extraordinaire! Loved it, Will.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

I love a good western and this did not disappoint Willstar.. I like the good west feel and it paces well yet it explodes.. awesome


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

I always enjoy reading your writing! I enjoy your attention to every detail.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you for reading and commenting, Crafty!


mizjo profile image

mizjo 2 years ago from New York City, NY

Came upon this by accident, while browsing the site. Thoroughly enjoyed my second reading of it. Thanks, Will.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Well thank you, mizjo for coming back, and how is it that I was not following you?

I am now!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

For some reason I was hanker'in to read a good western story...then I remembered your hub "The Deputy." So I read it again. I even loved it more this time around. Your characters just come alive and jump right off the page! ~ Audrey


DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

Great story!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you Audrey June!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, DreamerMeg!


Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 2 years ago from Cape Cod

I heard those noises in Bisbee. It was the scariest place I have ever been. It was about two hours after sunset when I pulled into Bisbee. Christmas lights blazed everywhere. From houses, across the streets, and festooned on the trees; the gaily colored lights would have been comforting in December. But this was March! There was nobody on the street. I went in the old 1800s hotel downtown (The Copper Queen, I think it's called) and a wizened old desk clerk squinted at me and said "There's no place here for you." At least that's what I think he said. I hightailed it to Douglas and then crossed the border to Agua Prieta.

There was nothing in Mexico that frightened me like Bisbee. I wasn't even scared when I walked by what I thought was a church and a half dozen members of a street gang emerged, eyeing a 20 peso coin that I was flipping. "Put that away quickly Amigo", I was advised by a Mexican friend that I had met. "Some people here would do very bad things for 20 pesos," he said. "It's two bucks American," I replied. "You are in a city where some people don't see 20 pesos in a whole week," he cautioned. Still, I felt safer on those Sonora streets than I did in Bisbee.

Will, this was a good yarn. The ending illustrates how quickly the period that we call the Wild West, came and went. It seems like the time between Western expansion and end the Wild West wasn't even long enough enough to last a generation. It was so short that Buffalo Bill Cody saw the ubiquitous mammal he was named for, almost become extinct; and the birth of the Model T Car, all in one lifetime. A cowpoke could be driving a herd to Dodge City in 1873 and then driving a car to Los Angeles, about a quarter century later. I 'shore' do wish the West lasted longer. But at least we have stories like yours to keep it alive and well.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks again, Bill!

"The Inheritance' illustrates your point about the advances made in such a short time:

http://hubpages.com/literature/The-Inheritance-A-s...


handymanbill profile image

handymanbill 2 years ago from western pennsylvania

Great story. I really enjoy your writing.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Bill!


Leilani Allmon 2 years ago

This was a really good story. I was not expecting it to end like that. I liked how the sheriff mentioned that criminals often have poor planning abilities, and that's why they get caught or killed. But I guess even the best laid plans can go awry.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Leilani!


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Hey Will, great story telling. This makes for a good western movie. I watch westerns quite often. Thanks!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Word!


amazmerizing profile image

amazmerizing 23 months ago from PACIFIC NORTHWEST, USA

WOWee... I know its a great story when it ties together all my interests... reading writing treasure hunting geocaching history genealogy family precious metals etc KUDOS!!!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 23 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, amazmerizing!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 23 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Will....As a boomer who loved all the Western Series, Gunsmoke, Wyatt Earp, Have Gun Will Travel, etc.....you can bet yer spurs I enjoyed this. You are an excellent story-teller/fiction writer.....

I also want to ask you about your comment on bill's recent article re: HP poor treatment of us.....I was speechless when I read your 1st comment about your adsense account being shut down for the reason you said. WTH?? 1st of all, aren't the ads on our hubs for readers to click on?? Yet they claim you had too many clicks from someone in Russia?? How the Hell are YOU responsible for what some dude in Russia does?? I don't get it Will. Did you scream bloody murder? I surely would have!!....

UP tweeted & pinned....++++ Peace, Paula


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 23 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Paula,

I received a short notice from Adsense that my account had been terminated for abuse, and when I tried to find out what happened, I received a very terse reply about someone in Russia clicking on ads too much. I lost all my earnings and I'm permanently banned. That's all I know.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 23 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

absolutely bizarre, Will. There's something really WRONG with that!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 23 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

The advertisers pay Google (the owner of Adsense) for every legitimate click on one of their ads and Google then pays us a portion of that. However, and understandably, an advertiser does not want to pay for clicks from someone who has no interest and is just playing with the system. Apparently, that's what happened to me, and several others who reported the same thing after I created a hub about it.


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 22 months ago from LOS ANGELES

Great story. I love old western and outlaw movies.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Dana!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 22 months ago from sunny Florida

Quite a tale...and like you say...sometimes things just don't work out.

My Daddy always read every Western he could get his hands on and it got me interested in them too,

He would have handed this one off to me for sure.

Angels are on the way to you this afternoon. ps


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you Patricia!


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 21 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

I love reading your western stories. You have created another good story.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 21 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Stella!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 21 months ago from Stillwater, OK

This was the first thing that I picked up to read when I viewed your site after you decided to follow me. I like this, a clear masterpiece. Very well done, and I am still nodding my head and smiling.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 21 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Deb!


Lee Cloak 20 months ago

A great read, very interesting tale indeed, well done , voted up, Thanks, Lee


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 20 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Lee!

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