Kid Lay, page 1
A Sheriff Jim Price Adventure
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A Sheriff Jim Price Adventure
Copyright © 2011 by Boyd Neisler
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A Sheriff Jim Price Adventure
Since noon, several citizens had stopped by the Sheriff’s office to tell him about the young man in the Red Bull Saloon and his stated intentions. As a precaution to their concerns and his well-being, Sheriff James “Jim” Price searched through his wanted posters for any person known as Kid Lay. Kid Lay was not wanted in this part of the country, so he surmised the kid either was new to the gun-fighting crowd or had taken an alias. Another head popped in. “Sheriff, the Kid is waiting for you at the Red Bull.”
With a tired sigh, Jim looked at his watch; it was two pm. “Thanks Amos, tell him I’ll be along directly.”
Jim had seen the kid ride in the day before. He was riding a slightly swaybacked crow bait horse that showed harness marks from pulling a wagon and plow. It was a horse no self respecting outlaw would have ridden. He had a horse that could go all day behind a plow or wagon, but mile of hard riding and he would be winded. So, the kid must be new, or perhaps his own cayuse had stepped into a prairie dog hole and broke its leg, or some other misfortune and the kid had to buy or steal whatever was available. As the kid passed he looked over at the Sheriff, eyes hidden under the brim of his hat widen at the sight of the badge on Jim’s chest. The kid’s clothes wasn’t typical of the sort of bad people he was use to dealing with, More like a kid fresh off the farm in his Sunday go to meeting duds. His holster rig confirmed that thought. It was store bought new. The holster that he could see showed no wear from the gun, with the belt itself very new looking and stiff.
As the kid continued passed the Sheriff’s office he could tell the kid wasn’t over eighteen, probably closer to sixteen years old. Rather than stop the kid and question him, he would watch him for a day or so. Perhaps he was just passing through.
“No, I couldn’t be that lucky” he thought to himself, “he’s here looking to make a name for himself.”
He remembered the day he found himself riding into town. One street wide, three blocks long. Two saloons complete with gambling and sporting girls. Two general stores, one hotel, sheriff’s office and one combination livery stable/blacksmith, in addition to the bank, barbershop which was also the part-time dentist and full-time undertaker, and the doctor, sometimes veterinarian. At the end of the street, they were building a combination school and church. Riding down the street, he had watched the Sheriff approach a man standing in front of the saloon. Stopping his horse in front of the general store, he dismounted. He then saw another man approach the old lawman from the rear. As the first man was talking to the sheriff, the man in the rear suddenly pulled his gun and shot the sheriff in the back, killing him in cold blood. He heard the one that had been standing in front of the now dead lawman tell the other, “Now we take the bank.”
Stepping from his place at the hitch rail, Jim spoke in a cold low tone, “I don’t think I’m gonna’ let you boys get away with murder and rob a bank all the in the same day.”
Spinning around the one who had just killed the sheriff, his gun now in its holster snarled. “What business is this of yours?” The stranger in front of him, stood two inches shy of six feet weighing one hundred sixty pounds with no trace of fat. What was most impressive of this stranger, was the cold look in his icy blue eyes and the well worn gun and holster on his hip.
“I’m thinking of making this my home, and don’t believe you two will make very good neighbors.”
The two Quimby brothers slowly moved until they stood about six feet apart. Sham Quimby, the older of the two was saying “Hadn’t figured on having to kill two men today, but so be it.” As he spoke, his hand was reaching for the shooting iron on his hip. As it cleared the holster, he felt a sudden blow from the bullet that hit him in the forehead dead center between his evil eyes. His gun dropped to the ground in mid-draw, he never heard the second shot that ended his brothers’ life with its flight putting a hole in the Bull Durham tobacco sack tag hanging from his shirts’ left breast pocket.
That was three years ago. The Mayor and city council asked him to be the new sheriff, and as they say, the rest is history. Since then the town had been very peaceable with the exception of a couple of instances and the normal Saturday night cowboy reveling.
Turning his thoughts from the past to the present he pushed back from his desk got up from his chair and walked to his hat and gun belt hanging on a peg imbedded in the wall. “Well,” he said to no one, “might as well get this over with.”
Jim thought to himself, this kid seems to be in an awful hurry to make a name for him by killing a town sheriff. With a deep sigh he seated his hat in place covering a head of unruly hair. Slipping the gun belt around his narrow waist, he settled it into place. Rising up after tying the leather throng about his leg, removing the leather thong holding the gun in place, he pulled it from its worn but oiled holster, flipped open the loading gate, and spun the cylinders insuring all except one contained unfired cartridges. A methodical check all the moving parts showed all was in a smooth and free condition. Satisfied the pistol was in perfect working order, turned the cylinder, and inserted a sixth bullet in the chamber; he closed the gate and slipped the gun into its holster. Normally, Jim would have only five shells in the gun, with the hammer resting on the empty chamber, but in a shoot out, you never knew when the extra bullet might save your life. Going to the door, he opened it, stepped into the brilliant afternoon sun, and began his slow trek of two blocks to the saloon and impending confrontation.
As Jim walked along the dirt street, he noticed people looking from inside their shops and stores. Nodding to a few brave ones that stood on the boardwalk, he told them, “You might want to get off the street until this is over.”
“Do you need any help, Sheriff?” One asked.
“I appreciate it, but this is what you pay me the big bucks for.” He replied, chuckling to himself thinking about the fifty dollars a month. Forty of that was going to the bank paying for a small ranch a few miles from town.
Sheriff Price’s wide hat brim hid his eyes in its shadow of the early afternoon sun. Twenty foot away stood a young gun slick wearing a two gun, tied down, holster rig was gassing to a couple of saloon bums about how many men he had dispatched and how the Sheriff would be his next victim.
Little did the Kid know, but this was not Sheriff Price’s first rodeo, at the ripe old age of twenty-three, he had been here before. In fact, he had been here several times before. Had he used the greenhorn trick of notching his pistol handle, there would be eight notches in it.
Facing the youngster, Jim said. “Kid, I’m not goin’ to stand here and listen to you gas about how bad you are. Hand over your guns, go with me to the jail, let the judge give you day or two. You eat and sleep the city’s dime. Afterwards you can go to the saloon and tell all your buddies how bad you are. You can even tell them what a dirty low-down rotten scoundrel I am for tricking you. Then after a drink or two, you can pick your guns up and leave town. Right now the only law you have broke is carrying a gun in the city limits. The bartender told you to check your guns when you first came in.” Even as he said it; he knew his talk was falling on deaf ears. The Kid would be feeling that he was being backed into a corner that he couldn’t walk away from without looking yellow. “Leon!” The Sheriff called out. “Did you show this young man the sign with the rules?”
“Sure did Sheriff, just like you told me,” said an overweight, middle aged, balding bartender from the saloon. “Showed him the sign
“You understand all that kid?”
“Yeah, I do Sheriff, but I don’t intend to do anything but kill you!”
“Ok kid, but a couple of last things you should know. You called me out, that makes’ my death a hanging offense. So if you should shoot me and I