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Thursday, March 20, 2014


Box Cars on a Siding

Mayfield was excited about selling the cattle in Chicago instead of locally. The promise of more money and an exciting time in the big city captivated Mayfield.

Sid didn’t like the idea because his theory was still “a bird in hand is better than two in the bush.”  El was kinda neutral about the whole thing.

Finally they decided to try it once to see how much more they would make.

Mayfield voluntarily agreed to accompany the cattle to the stock yard in Chicago. The usual process of branding and selecting the cattle for sale went well and soon Mayfield was on his way.

Three hours out side of Chicago the train pulled over on a siding and uncoupled two of the cattle cars and then proceeded without them.  It only took ten minutes so it wasn’t a long stop.  As they passed the cars Mayfield realized the cars left there were full of his cattle.

A huge man came and sat next to him and told him to relax and say nothing. He stayed with Mayfield until the tally was made and he was paid.

The man left Mayfield standing there not knowing what to do.  He tried to alert the police but they accused him of being drunk.

It was late at night before he finally gave up and went to the hotel but couldn’t sleep. He felt he had to get home and explain to Sid and El what happened and see if they some ideas about how to get their money.

On the train ride home he tried to figure out how to explain how he lost the two cars.  Finally he decided he would bear the loss since it was his idea in the first place but this was the low place of his life.

Sid listened intently and said, ‘You were set up and it was planned from the beginning before you left here.  

Now it’s up to us to figure out how to get the money for the cattle for we need it.  We have all spent more than we should buying land and repairing the present place.

Someone will have to go in person and try to convince the crooks to return our money.  I can’t go because Lucy is ready to drop our first child and I want to be here for she is a little scared.”

“It would be useless for me to go;” said Mayfield, “Besides I’m scared to go.”

El said, “I guess it’s up to me then.  I don’t mind going for Erin has a boxing gym there now and I would like to see him since he got out of the army.”

When El got to Chicago he went straight to the crooks office.  As he entered a big man said, “What do you want?”

El said, “I believe you owe me for two car loads of cattle.”

Three more men as big as the first man or bigger entered the room.

“Which outfit are you from? The man asked.  El answered, “The bar 11.”

The man behind the desk said, “You were paid in full now get out of here.”

El moved forward and he was viscously hit on the head which knocked him down.  All four men started beating on him until he was unconscious.

When he woke up he was in an alley two cops were looking down on him. He tried to speak but no words came out.  The cops kept asking him questions when finally he managed to say Erin?

The cops said, “You mean Erin the boxer?”

El tried to nod his head and did so with great pain.  They took him to the hospital and contacted Erin.  At first when Erin saw him he told the cops he didn’t know the man but with a second look he said, “El?”

El gave a little nod and Erin said, “Yea, I know the kid.”

He started to ask a lot of questions until he realized El couldn’t speak without pain.  He said I’m going to leave a guy here and I will be back in the morning.  The nurse used a lot of ice on the patient during the night and he looked considerably better by the time Erin saw him mid-morning.

He asked El, “Can you talk?”

“Not without pain,” El said.

Erin said the doctor said I could take you out of here tomorrow unless you have a relapse.  He said I have friends up at my camp that can get guys on their feet quicker than they can here at the hospital.”

True to his word Erin came and moved El to the boxing camp.  He said, “Now tell me what happened.”

After he finished Erin said I know those guys and they are professionals and they did a professional job on you.  If you hadn’t been as tough as you are they would have killed you.  You couldn’t whip one of those guys much less than four of them.

El said, “After someone hit me on the head with something hard all my strength was gone and a mob of men were beating me.  I have never been that beat up before, not even after being thrown and rolled over on by a mount.  You know ones who I’m talking about?”

Erin said, “Yes and they will be taken care of.”

El said, “I can handle then as soon as I can put my guns on for they won’t get a second chance to sneak up on me.”

Erin said, “I know you could handle them but you would end up in jail.  Let me handle this and there will be no trouble for this is my range.”

Two days later Erin brought El a news paper and it read four men were found crushed by a garbage truck.  They must have been sleeping in an alley.

Erin said, “That is a shame that those big strong men’s lives should be cut short like that.”  He continued, “There will be a story today that won’t be printed but it will be just as important as this one.  

That evening Erin came up to the camp with a suitcase and he said to El, “This is yours guard it well.  You might remember the stranger that talked Mayfield into coming to the Chicago to sell your beefs and then robbed him. Well he is the guy that almost had you killed.”

El said, “Yes, I have a picture of him in my mind right now.”

Erin said, “Keep that image in your mind right now.  It seems he went to all the banks where he had money and withdrew most all of his money out.  There were two men who were guards along side of him for protection. There was a ticket bought in his name for a steamer going to South America but seems he never arrived.  I think you will find you have been compensated for all your trouble.”

El said, “I can’t thank you enough but let me pay for the expenses you must have incurred.”

Erin said, “I and my friends have become quite well off ourselves from this adventure.  He said, “Tomorrow your train leaves for home at nine, and two of my men will escort you there and then disappear.  It will up to you to guard the money once you near home.”

El said, “As soon as I put my guns on, the money will be safe.”

El had sent a message for Sid to meet him with the buggy and bring a couple of pillows with him. It would be several more days before he could ride a horse.

The suitcase never left El’s side from the time Erin gave it to him and so far he resisted the urge to open it.  

Lucy came with Sid and did a little shopping.  She said their house was looking good and as soon as they get some more money it will be finished.

Sid said, “I hope you don’t mind me going slow for Lucy is almost ready to have the baby and I don’t want her to be jostled.”

El said, “That’s suits me fine for I’m a little sore from having too much fun in the city.”

Sid said, “Here I have been working long hours and you have been playing the big shot like a city dude.”

El smiled for it was a good feeling to be home and feel the security of being there.  El couldn’t wait until he was healed and could take Buck for a ride and heat up his guns with some target practice.

When he was alone he finally opened the suitcase.  All the way home he was hoping there would be at least part of their money reclaimed.  When he threw open the top of the case money fell out over the floor.  It was full and running over.

El couldn’t believe the thief that stole their cattle could have amassed so much money.  He had a hiding place to put the money but first he counted out the money Mayfield and Sid should have had plus a little extra for the girls.  

He gave Mayfield his share and he was most grateful.  He wanted to talk about the whole event but El said, “It’s over, let’s never mention it again.”

He called Sid in and when he gave him his share he said, “You’ll never know what a good friend Erin was and is.

El took some money for himself and hid the rest away.  Over the next two years he converted the paper into gold pieces a little at a time for he didn’t trust paper money.  It had a way of disappearing by flood and fire.

To be Continued

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