Ed and Doc: a short-short Western story
Ed and Doc
Ed Stock and Doc Jones both, I reckon, drifted into town shortly after the Civil War. Ed was still pretty much wearing his blue Union uniform clothes and did until they wore out and he got western boots and work clothes. He must have saved up some money, because he bought a half interest in the local saloon where he still runs the place. Ed gives the impression of a big man but actually he isn’t even six foot tall and maybe weighs 160 lbs. But when he looks at you he seems like to penetrate your soul.
“ It seems that Ed was in the war,” the Easterner asked. “”Did he get that gash on his neck in the war?”
So, You want to know about that scar on his neck? He’s never said but folks figure it was something in the war. Yeah, you’d think trouble was routine for him, but actually he tries to avoid it. I don’t guess he knows that the way he looks and acts stops trouble in before it starts
“And Doc Jones? Was he in the war too? Is he really a doctor? ”
Now Doc Jones is another story. No, I don’t think he went to medical school but I think he probably helped the wounded during the war. He reads a lot that man does. Anything he can get his hands on, especially about science and medicine. Some say he lived with the Indians and had an Indian wife that died, so his son is part Indian. Don’t really know and nobody asks. I suspect he learned some Indian medicine too.
“How about the war?”
I don’t know if Ed and doc knew each other in the war, but it could be. Doc always rode in a buggy, usually with his young son. About a year ago Doc and Jamie, that’s his boy, drove the buggy into town to get supplies.
Folks out East think that everyone packs a gun out here but that ain’t so Doc never carried one and didn’t seem to like of them much.
When the got to the edge of town a bunch of cowboys rode up firing pistols scarin’ his horses. Doc figured that they was boozed up, or maybe got hold of some opium. Maybe they thought they could get more of it from him.
A stray bullet hit the buggy just below the seat and the horses bolted and lunged forward in a scared gallop Doc was thrown backwards. Luckily Jamie knew enough to grab the reins but could barely hold on. The cowboys headed off the horses but started to circle around. They got to the edge of town and the cowboys were crowding the buggy and getting louder. Doc knew they were dangerous. Although he was a quite, peaceful man he knew a thing or two. Protecting Jamie came first.
“Jamie, listen now and do as I say. When I say’ go’ you make a run for Ed’s bar as fast as you can and stay there until I come to get you.”
I’ll tell you, Jamie didn’t like it, but he knew he better do as his Pa says. Ok. Pa, I sure will.’
The Cowboys got up close and Doc eyed the leader. He reached for that buggy whip and said,” go.”
Jamie took off running and the cowboys slowed down by the liguer or drugs didn’t seem to notice until Doc took the whip and lashed out at the wrist of the leaders gun hand. The pistol shot into the ground upsetting the horses again. They reared up and took off—again.
The cowboys gave chase but a shotgun blast hitting the ground in front of them startled them to a stop.
Ed came striding across the square and the sight of him and his scattergun sobered them up a little.
“You Ok, Doc?”
“Sure, I don’t know about my horses though.”
“What happened to the Cowboys?”
The cowboys were real apologetic. Doc told them to go sleep it off and lay off the booze and drugs. Doc didn’t hold grudges but they knew it might not be good to cross him again.
Jamie didn’t stay in the bar as he was to told but had seen what was going on. Doc and Ed became friends after that.
The writer left and I sort of forgot about him, but think both Doc and Ed were surprised to run across a dime novel portraying them as the an outlaw fighting team “Ed the Shotgun avenger and Doc the bull whip wielding partner.”
- Ned Buntline Dime Novels, Buntline Special Revolver,...
Edward Zane Carroll Judson, (1823-1886), who used the penname Ned Buntline, was an adventurer, publisher, journalist, writer and publicist. I have thought of him as the inventor of the dime novel,...
© 2010 Don A. Hoglund