Chapter 34

It’s that time again.  I wonder what Brig is up to this week…?

(And don’t forget all previous chapters can be found here.)

…..

Since I know you are worried about it, yes Brig and Cole got breakfast.  Cole had previously arranged to start having their meals delivered to them for safety purposes.  He wasn’t going to shirk all of his responsibilities about the town but if he didn’t have to worry about fetching food for himself and for his prisoner three times a day that was one less worry on his mind.

Miss Marsch and Mrs. Sorensen had volunteered to deliver meals to the jail for the next few days, though in reality Mrs. Sorensen wouldn’t actually be doing the delivering.  She’d enlist the help of a neighborhood boy to carry the food down to the jail when it was ready or ask one of her tenants to run the errand for her on the days when Miss Marsch wasn’t handling the duty.

It was a simple, classic and hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and coffee and it was delicious.  Mouth wateringly good, actually.  The biscuits were golden brown, flakey, and warm still having only been pulled from the oven moments before they’d been packed up to be delivered to the jail.  The bacon was thick cut and crunchy without being burned.  The eggs were fluffy and topped with a handful of cheeses.

It was a much better breakfast than a normal prisoner would have gotten at the jail but Brig wasn’t a normal prisoner.  It was also much better than Cole had requested when he’d broached the idea with Emmalou and Mrs. Sorensen.  He put down the extra effort Emmalou put forth to whatever was budding between her and Brig.  He certainly wouldn’t expect the same kind of meals from Mrs. Sorensen.

We’ll be lucky if her contributions show up lukewarm.

After polishing off their meals, Cole left the jail to walk about town and get a feel for the comings and goings.  He left Brig the pack of cards before he left so his prisoner could entertain himself with some solitaire if he wanted.  Sheriff Brown didn’t think he’d be gone for very long but didn’t want to unduly punish his friend anymore than he already was.

I’ve already got him locked up for crimes he didn’t commit and have slandered him by saying he started drinking again.  I don’t need to bore him to death on top of all of that if I can help it.  I’ll need to remember to ask around for a chess board.  Hopefully, though, he won’t have to “rot” in their much longer.

Cole was just about finished with the first leg of the circuit he was going to walk through the busiest sections of town when he spotted Edward Sans walking towards him.  The Sheriff stopped in a bit of shade and made Ed come all the way to him.  He saw no need to have whatever conversation was about to ensue out in the exposed heat of the day.

Ed only has two of his cronies shadowing him at the moment, that’s good, though it does make me wonder where the rest of them are.  I don’t really want to worry about his hangers-on as well as the two gun men.  With any luck they’ve left town but I …

“Sheriff, I’ve got some troubling news I think you ought to hear,” Ed interrupted Cole’s thoughts.

“What’s that?”

“Brig Coyle is in town.”

“And?”

“And I thought you ought to hear that.”

“I know he’s in town, Ed, I’ve got him locked up in my jail.”

The cow puncher was a bit taken aback at that and didn’t quite know how to respond.  One of Ed’s cronies found his voice first, “What was he arrested for?”  All three men seemed somewhat surprised that Sheriff Brown would have been able to get Brig Coyle into a cell.

“Disturbing the peace, and some other minor charges; he’ll be locked up for a few days.”

The sheriff shifted his weight forward preparing to step away from the group but was halted by Ed’s hand placed firmly on his shoulder.  He looked down at the hand impeding his progress and then looked into Ed’s face.  The sheriff’s expression was not pleasant.  He didn’t like being touched in general and being touched by someone of Ed’s caliber was near intolerable.  “You’ll be wanting to remove your hand from my shoulder,” Cole practically growled.

Ed’s hand withdrew immediately and hovered an inch away before his whole arm fell back to his side.  His body weight shifted slightly away from Cole as he prepared to take a step away before his machismo kicked in and forced his body to stand firm.  He would not be frightened by the sheriff.  Well, he wouldn’t be frightened anymore than he already had been.  His two cronies, however, didn’t have the same level of machismo and they both took a step backwards.

Ed’s mind worked feverishly.  He saw the gunslinger being in town as a chance to have some real fun.  He didn’t want to challenge the famed shootist or anything as foolish as that but imagined all sorts of entertainment on display having the man unleashed about town.  He noticed Cole still glaring at him and realized he needed to say something.  “Do you mind if I stop by the jail later on and have a chat with your famous patron?”

The result was instantaneous.  Cole couldn’t help the smile as it spread and he wouldn’t have stopped it if he could help it.  Ed Sans, you are a fool.   “No, I don’t have a problem with that.”

Sheriff Brown took a step forward and the three men parted to let him pass.  As he finished making his rounds about the town he decided that letting Ed come by for a visit may not have been the wisest decision.  Once he sees who Brig Coyle is he’ll know I played him for a fool and then he’ll be out for vengeance against me every bit as much as he is against the man he knows as Jack Smith.  I doubt those other gun men left town and having them to deal with along with a stupid Ed Sans would have been bad enough.  The gun men and a stupid and angry Ed could end up being a disaster.  Then again, the whole situation is pretty much already a disaster.

 Besides, the look on Ed’s face is going to be priceless. 

The sheriff chuckled just thinking about it.

As he entered his jailhouse again and engaged the locks another thought occurred to him.  I wonder if he was going to try to hire Brig to cause trouble for “Jack?”  The thought was too much.  He doubled over, his hands on his knees, and laughed.  When he looked up to see the look of confusion on Brig’s face the laugh became so boisterous it forced tears to streak from the corners of his eyes.

When he finally calmed down enough to tell Brig the story of his encounter with Ed Sans and the ranch hand’s request the look of sheer mirth on Brig’s face sent Cole teetering towards the edge of laughter oblivion again.  The sheriff managed to control himself until Brig’s broad grin broke so the caged man could say, “I sure hope I don’t have to duel it out with myself in the street.  That could be awkward… and confusing.  I don’t see how that could possibly work out well for me whatever the outcome.”

Their eyes met, Brig tried to stay straight faced, failed, and the two men burst out laughing.

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