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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ELLIOT JOHANSON STORY Chapter 15


Expecting Trouble
 
When I arrived home Sid met me and brought my horse Bob with my saddle on him.

I had a new carbine I bought and had put my six guns on just before the train pulled into the station.  When Sid saw me he smiled and said: “You expecting trouble?”

I said, “Always.”

He said, “We have to stop at the general store and as we went inside, a young girl about eight years old jumped on my back and started kissing me on the back of the neck.

Sid said, “Get off of him Lessee.”  I turned around and there stood a young gal that had grown at least four inches since I last saw her.

I picked her up and bearded her cheeks with her saying stop, stop it.  When we went outside there was Babe her horse with a saddle and a hackamore on him.  She said I bought the saddle with the money you sent me.

I could see she had become an accomplished rider and not some little girl who bounced around on the horse hanging onto the horse’s mane.  

Sid said, “Let’s stop at the stables for a minute.”  We went in at the back and Sid said, “I want you to slip out the rear and don’t be seen if you can help it I’ll meet you at the glades for I have some food stored there.  Keep a lookout for strangers and know they will shoot you on sight?”

“Shoot me on sight, what for?” I asked

“I will explain everything tomorrow just keep safe for now.”

I waited till Sid and Lessee had gone and then I slipped out the back and headed for the glades.  I had scarcely got out of the stables when I spotted two riders with their rifles out of the scabbards.  I touched Bob with my heels and he left the men in his dust.  I figured they would come on the run after me which would be a mistake.

As I suspected they followed me up in the glades where there are hundreds of narrow paths through the deep glades and it is easy to get confused like being in a maze.

As they followed me into the glades I saw them draw their guns.

A moment later we were winding around in a circle.  I hopped off Bob and as they passed by me I was up above them and asked why they were following me with their guns drawn.

They responded by trying to turn in the narrow passageway and shoot at me.

That was a mistake for a second later one was dead and I wounded the other so I could talk to him.  After a little persuading he told me all he knew and the story wasn’t a very happy one.

He didn’t know everything but he was one of the trusted guys.  As it turned out they knew I was coming and they had been told I was going to try to upset their plans so to do me in.

They had been sent out to eliminate me as a problem.  It seems Missy had hooked up with a gangster type and they saw an opportunity to make a lot of money very easily. It was a good thing Sid had warned me otherwise I wouldn’t have been expecting the trap they set for me.

When they arrived, with Missy’s help they took Clara, Lucy and Sid’s young boy and threaten to kill them if Mayfield and Sid didn’t do as they said.

They had eight or ten thugs with them who ran all the help off and just kept the cook there to feed them.  The stock was just left to wander with no one to watch over them.  

They had Mayfield and Sid in a position where they had to sign all our holdings over to them but they still needed me to sign off on the transaction.  Of course after it was signed off they were going to kill all of us even the kids.

I couldn’t believe Missy had changed that much but she was involved in it up to her neck.

I knew as soon as they found out I was still alive the whole bunch would be looking for me.  The one I wounded told me that the family was being held at the line shack with two men guarding them.  He said they were goin to kill them soon.

Unfortunately he was gone as soon as he told me all he knew.  I mounted Bob and headed to the line shack, stopping far enough away so they didn’t hear me approaching.

I waited until I knew how many there were and their positions.  As I suspected the man was lying for there were three men guarding them instead of two.

One was in the woods with a nice new rifle.  Silently I crept up behind him and my knife made short work of this thug who had killing on his mind.

The other two had to go down together and quickly otherwise someone might get hurt. I fired the dead man’s rifle and they both came running to see if he got me.  Since he had been so kind as to give me his rifle I put it to good use.  It sure hit with a lot of power for they scarcely heard the sound of the shots.

I took the folks to a cave in the glades where they would be safe.

Later that night I slipped into Sid’s house and told him his family was safe and where they were.  I told him to take the two horses I got from the first guys I eliminated which were hidden in the woods and to go join the family.

I said I would get Mayfield out as soon as I could. With everyone safe but Mayfield I wanted to rescue him without getting him killed.

Mayfield was in the ranch house where four more of the gang had showed up and that made it more complicated for Missy was in there also.  I wasn’t as concerned about her but I didn’t want her killed unnecessarily.

A couple of guards were watching the house with another thug in the barn.  The one in the barn was the first to go and then it took the rest of the night to get to the others.  

The next morning they were looking for the missing guards which I stashed in the barn under the hay. There was still three more left in the house and the best way to handle that was to wait.  

People get nervous and want to resolve this kind of problem.  Finally two of them came out blazing away which I thought was funny.  They were just shooting at nothing.  
 
My new rifle was shooting a little to the left so I compensated for that and got both of them dead center in the head. I was pretty proud of that for it was a difficult shot to make, twice.

After four more hours Missy and her new husband came out using Mayfield as a shield and challenged me to come out and fight.  I thought to myself, “Why should I for the outcome was a forgone conclusion. But why not, let’s have some fun.”

Missy with a gun in her hand saw me as I revealed myself and shouted, “There he is, kill him,” as she got off the first shot.

That did it for me; I shot through her and killed her man also.  Then I added a second shot for good measure.

Mayfield was confused for he had been pretty badly mistreated.  Sid and the family showed up the next day.  Clara couldn’t help being angry about Missy being shot but I did it in a moment of anger and was sorry I did it.

That night I spent waking up periodically and trying to make sense out of my life that was filled with violence.  I considered the difference between living on the ranch and being in Oregon.  By morning I came to a conclusion.

I gathered all of the families together and told them it was time for each of us to go our own way.  It was time to sell all our holdings and move on to somewhere else and put this phase of our life behind us.  

I wanted Buck and Bob my two riding horses and a half dozen or so of brood mares and a few personal items.  The rest should be sold.

Clara and Mayfield were ready to move on to the city.  Clarisse was pregnant and even though she was a ‘want-a-be’ society gal now they wanted to see their grand baby from time to time.

Sid said he knew where there was a small ranch in Tennessee that was big enough for him, Lucy, and the kids and a long way from some bad memories.

 
As for me I thought I would take another look at Oregon.  There all my violent nature was put behind me and it was only when I returned to the ranch the problems resurrected.

I know I will never let people run over me but I will be a lot slower to respond with violence.  Who knows, perhaps I might find the right woman…

 
Finish

 
 

Addendum
Some time has passed now.  Mayfield and Clara moved near where Clarisse, Dale her husband and two kids live.  Clara has never got over my shooting Missy (neither have I) but I had no other choice for she was shooting at me.

Dale’s folks went broke and now live in a small cottage (without servants) behind Clarisse and Dale.  They get by with her writing for a society magazine.  She still has style though without the money they once had.

Dale’s father does a little gardening to keep busy.  
 
As for Dale he has a job at a brokerage house.  A hard knocks classmate who no one would have anything to do with for he had to work his way through college became friendly with Dale after the society bunch dropped Dale and got him the job he now has.

Dale had a good education he just didn’t know what to do with it till now.

Dog now sleeps on the sofa instead of behind the stove.

Sid and Lucy made it to his place in Tennessee and have a couple more kids.

I was glad to be back to the Eugene area with my horses. Buck has sired several fine foals and looking for the opportunity to have some more. Bob my cattle horse is happily staying in eastern Oregon on a ranch where there are a lot of mustangs that need a Sire.

The other day I got the surprise of my life; the delivery man from the depot brought me a pup.  It seems Dog had found a lady friend and she had a large litter so I was the recipient of Dog Jr.
 
It has been two years now since I have put my guns away.  Slowly I am becoming a regular person with feelings.  Perhaps someday I will be able to trust myself enough to respond to one or more of the nice ladies in this part of the country.  

The ghosts of the past are slowly fading away and are haunting me less each day.  I still have hope for a life and hope is enough for now.

 

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