Reelect Sheriff Jason Taylor: Carbons Creek on line Western Story
I was looking through some of the newspaper exchanges and watching the snow gather up outside the office window when Ed Stock came in. One of the papers came from a state bordering ours, which does not usually interest us for news. But there was a story on the inside page that caught my attention. It seemed the town had a minor official on it’s town council that was a gunfighter. They didn’t know it at the time he was elected though. They thought they had to fire him or have a scandal but everyone was afraid to fire him. I showed it to Ed and he thought it was hilarious. “What are these people doing running a town if they ain’t got the guts to fire a man?” he said.
When Sarah came in I told her that Ed Stock, the owner of the Little Buckhorn Saloon, had dropped by the Carbons Creek Sentinel office. “ He said he had a visit by some men who wanted him to run for sheriff against Jason Taylor,” I told her. Jason is serving as a temporary sheriff now. He was appointed to replace a man who was part of a political crowd that the town rejected.
“Does Ed know who these civic minded people are?” Her voice was somewhere between contempt and sarcasm.
“Ed is smart enough to know that they want him to really work for them. More than likely they figure the unwanted reputation he got as a gunfighter from the dime novel published about him would make him an intimidating figure with a badge.”
Sarah looked thoughtful. “ Ed can be intimidating when he wants to be. Thing is he never wanted that reputation. I know he would not like to be controlled by some politicians. He’ll handle trouble if it comes but he wont go out of his way to find it.” I could almost tell what was going on in her mind. Then she almost exploded. “I thought we got rid of those no good crooks in the courthouse.”
“Calm down, Sarah. I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said liberty requires constant vigilance. That’s our job, you know. To help provide the vigilance.”
“I know, I know, but it is so danged disgusting to have to clean out the same varmints time after time. Darned if it isn’t dad blamed discouraging.”
“Well,” I said. “It gives us a job and a purpose in life.”
“I know John. You do help me keep my emotions in check. What would you say if I suggested we endorse Jason?”
Jason Taylor, our current sheriff, has been serving on a temporary basis. The county officials decided for him to continue serving, as sheriff. A special election has to be held to make his appointment permanent. When Jason first came here he clashed with Sarah, although recently it has become more personal. The first time Sarah went to interview the sheriff he asked her how come a woman was running the paper. That made her mad, but she only showed it indirectly by telling him she was the owner and he better like it because he had to deal with her. She said it politely, of course. Sarah claims they get along fine but I think their relationship has been only a bit short of a powder keg since then. So imagine my surprise when she suggested we endorse Jason for re-election.
“John, I think that political crowd that caused Uncle Jake to get burned out is going to try using this election to get a foothold back into this county.”
“Alright, Sarah, what does that have to do with us endorsing Jason for sheriff? I mean about once a month, at least, you come back to the office ranting about how insufferable Jason is. And now you want to support him.”
“I do find him irritating but what makes him irritating is also what makes him the best man for the job. Naturally cops and news people sometimes clash. The more we push to do our jobs the more we will be at odds. Jason is honest and tough. He won’t be intimidated by that crowd.”
Sarah and I are courting but on the job she is still boss. That’s all right though. Her news sense is solid and the paper has grown since she has been here. We both think part of what we do is to keep politics honest even though we don’t reach beyond the county. We Are the county seat paper. That’s where the influence starts, the county. If we can keep our county honest we are doing our jobs. Sarah, and her uncle before, exposed graft in the county and that had an effect of alerting other counties.
Sarah interviewed Jason about the election and we printed that as soon as we could before the election. The other county papers either interviewed him or reprinted Sarah’s interview. Then Sarah wrote editorials endorsing Jason and I printed them. I interviewed the hand picked opponent. His name was Burnet Gilkey. He looked like a gunfighter with a Colt revolver holstered under his coat. He came into our office for the interview and after he hung his fleece coat on a wall hook, sat with his back to the wall where he could watch anyone coming in the door. Kind of odd, “ I though “having a sheepskin coat in cattle country.” Well it was cold out. He was tall and lean and seemed tense. The gist of our interview was that he’d keep the peace with a heavy hand and a ready gun.
It was after about two weeks that Sarah was driving her buggy that she had altered for winter use, out by the creek. When she was just outside of town she heard a shot. A bullet ricochets off a rock and hit her buggy. She grabbed the shotgun she kept by the seat and sent a blast in the direction the shot came from. Most likely the shot wasn’t meant to kill her. More likely it was a warning to keep out of the election. People shooting at Sarah tended to make her mad. There was no way she would stay out of things now. Warning or not, Sarah didn’t like being shot at.
When she got back to town she headed right to Jason’s office. “I want to file a complaint, Jason. Somebody took a shot at me just outside of town and I suspect it’s from your opposition in the election. I shot back with a scattergun but I don’t know if I hit anything. With so much snow on the ground it shouldn’t be too hard to track the shooter.”
Sheriff Jason, who in fact was a good cop, tracked the gunman who happened to have some shotgun pellets embedded in his sheepskin coat. “Shame to ruin such a nice coat,” Sarah said.
Copyright 2012 Don Hoglund
© 2012 Don A. Hoglund