Reinforcements (Short Story #18)
These short stories will be part of the sequel to my novel The Lady Who Loved Bones. Any suggestions for improvement or for future stories are welcome.
Little gun, big fun
Pinkerton agent Helen James and Doc Eberlin returned to the Last Chance Saloon to check on the patients. Both had recovered some and were chatting with Reverend Nelson.
“I can’t believe that big lug Angus is doing so well,” Doc Eberlin said. “Let me see that gun you shot him with please.”
“Get it yourself,” Helen snapped. “Reach up my leg under my dress and get it from my garter.”
The doctor did, and he went a little further up the inside of her thigh and gave her testicles a little squeeze. “Oh, a Philadelphia derringer,” the doctor noted as he pulled it out. “Only one shot. Good thing you didn’t have one of those Remington derringers with the double barrel or you could have shot Angus twice, and he would be dead.”
Helen responded, “John Wilkes Boothe got the job done with the Philly derringer. But I hate that thing. It’s a pain in the ass to load. You have to pour black powder down the barrel, followed by cramming a patched lead ball down onto the powder, being very careful to leave no air gap between the patched ball and the powder, so as to prevent the gun from exploding. Then you have to place a new percussion cap on the tube.”
“So get a new gun,” the doctor suggested. “Wear a gun belt or shoulder holster over your dress.”
“That eliminates the element of surprise,” Helen said.
The doctor responded, “You still got the element of surprise when they discover what’s between your legs.”
Just then the telegraph operator, an attractive redheaded young lady walked into the saloon to a slew of whistles and catcalls. She came right up to Helen and announced, “Telegraph for you, from Chicago.”
“Read it out loud,” Doctor Eberlin requested.
Helen did: “AGENT ROBERT WELLS ENROUTE TO ASSIST YOU IN APPREHENSION OF RIVER BANDITS AND BANK AND STAGE ROBBERS. YOURS ALLAN PINKERTON.”
“Robert Wells!” Shorty exclaimed. “That hombre can clear iron quicker’n you can spit and holler howdy.”
“How would you know that?” Helen inquired.
Shorty replied, “He was on the expedition.”
“Another one?” Helen questioned. “What do you know about him.”
“Yup,” Shorty muttered with a grin. “He does some dadgum good gun tricks and sharpshooting. He had once been a Texas Ranger but due to the meager pay he decided to give the gold fields a try, first in California and then in the Montana Territory. That’s how he ended up in Virginia City where Hex Hawkins recruited him for the expedition. Him and Hex chased, caught, and hung five Cheyenne raiders who butchered a farm family and raped the girls. Wells takes pleasure in takin’ Injun scalps. Hex put Wells in charge of the expedition in his absence. It was Wells who gave the Arapaho princess Sweet Water a pistol and taught her how to shoot and draw fast.”
Doc Eberlin interjected, “Maybe this Wells will give you a pistol and teach you to shoot and draw fast.”
“I know how to shoot!” Helen insisted.
“You plugged Angus in the chest and he lives to tell about it,” the doctor noted somewhat smugly. “You missed his heart.”
Helen looked at the telegraph girl and ordered, “Send a reply to Mr. Pinkerton. It should say: “I ASSUME I AM STILL IN CHARGE. PLEASE CONFIRM ASAP.”
# # #
Slim Porter gang
Captain Taz got word from T. H. Kleinschmidt’s wife regarding the wounding of her husband and the shooting of the circus giant Angus. Mrs. Kleinschmidt and Taz had become lovers during his visit to Helena when he was scouting in anticipation of the bank robbery.
“Buster, get your ass into Helena,” Taz ordered his right hand man, “and finish off Kleinschmidt and Angus too if you get the opportunity. Some Thumper he is. He quickly became a liability.”
“But Boss, you just hired Angus,” Buster protested.
“I gave him a chance to prove himself,” Taz responded, “but according to Lydia Kleinschmidt’s note, what he is doing mostly is spilling the beans. All he had to do was bash out Kleinschmidt’s brains with that club I gave him.”
“Isn’t the wife pissed you tried to have him killed?” Buster inquired.
“Not too much,” Taz said. “I paid her quite well, and gave her that mighty fine jewelry we took in the stagecoach robbery.”
“You are gonna have to hire more gang members if we are gonna rob more banks,” Buster suggested.
“You got that right,” Taz agreed. “I want you to send this telegram to Deadwood attention Slim Porter as soon as you get to Helena. Taz handed Buster a slip of paper that said: SLIM YOU AND YOUR MEN NEEDED IN HELENA ASAP. THE JOB PAYS WELL. YOURS CAPTAIN TAZ.
“Hey, that there Porter gang are some bad hombres,” Buster observed.
“Cold stone killers,” Taz added.
# # #
The stagecoach arrived at 5:00 pm on schedule and Bob Wells got off along with the other passengers. Wells wore a fancy white buckskin suit and white Stetson. Two pearl-handled pistols hung in his holster.
Pinkerton agent Helen James greeted him politely and led him to the Red Horse restaurant. She had just received another telegram from Allan Pinkerton confirming that yes she was in charge of the investigation. They found seats in the restaurant and ordered dinner. “That’s some fine-looking outfit you’re wearing,” Helen complimented.
“That’s my cover,” Wells responded. “I’m supposed to be a circus cowboy for the Great Western Circus. Allan Pinkerton cleared it with George Bartholomew, owner of the circus. I’ll do some horse riding and sharpshooting exhibitions to keep it believable.”
Shorty walked into the restaurant and joined them. He and Wells shook hands and embraced briefly. “Wells here saved my bacon a couple times,” Shorty reported.
“So you two were together on that expedition to find dinosaur bones? Both of you were recruited in Virginia City by Hex Hawkins? But that paleontologist Hannah Monroe was in charge of the expedition?
“That’s right,” Wells said.
“So you know how to take orders from a woman?” Helen asked sarcastically.
“As long as she is on her knees,” Wells snapped. “But I may not be able to understand the orders. You know, because her mouth is so full.”
“She ain’t really a woman,” Shorty interjected.
“I am so a woman!” Helen insisted.
Bob Wells nodded knowingly. “Shorty, you mean like Delilah?” Delilah was the whore from Virginia City along on the expedition who turned out to be a man posing as a female.
Reverend Nelson had slipped into the restaurant unnoticed. He stood at Helen’s table, listening and soon started talking and reading Deuteronomy 22:5 from his King James Bible. “A woman is not to wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
“I guess it takes balls to be a Pinkerton agent,” Shorty observed with a lopsided grin.
“So how did you become a Pinkerton agent?” Helen asked Wells.
The wild west just gets wilder
Click on link for source to go to The Lady Who Loved Bones at Amazon.com.