Rude Interruption by c_lucas
Story of the Month contest entry
Artwork by Snapdragon at FanArtReview.com
End of the last part; After he bathed, Tumbleweed put on clean clothing and hung a red tag on the door to tell the hotel workers he was finished with the bath water. The young man started to clean his boots and decided to wear his moccasins instead. He lay down and waited for Mr. Peterson.
He started to doze off when he heard footsteps in the hall. They stopped at his door. The young man quietly turned on his stomach and slid toward the foot of the bed. With his back to the wall, he inched toward the door. Someone turned the doorknob and kicked the door open. Two barrels of a ten-gauge shotgun boomed. The shooter fled toward the back stairs.
The nervous shooter fired at an empty bed. His target had moved off the bed and clung to the nearby wall.
The pellets ricocheted off the brass headboard and peppered Tumbleweed’s upper and lower torso. Some penetrated his skin, drawing specks of blood. None of the redirected pellets caused any serious damage.
Tumbleweed darted toward his holstered thirty-eight. He heard someone running from the other direction. He pulled the gun and turned toward the door.
“Halt!” Tumbleweed recognized Mr. Pearson’s voice as a gun fired. The running footsteps continued down the stairs
“Coming out!” Jerry yelled and nearly collided with his boss.
“Are you all right?” Mr. Pearson asked and darted around Jerry to chase the shooter.
“Yes.” The young man followed his boss, catching up with him just as he heard a ruckus on the stairs; someone had lost their balance and fallen down the stairs.
Jerry continued to run after the shooter while his boss stopped to retrieved the abandoned shotgun.
The back door flew open and the shooter fled down the alley.
Jerry followed but lost him. He turned back toward his boss who was examining the ten-gauge.
Mr. Pearson offered the weapon to Jerry. “Look at the handle. I think we know who our shooter is.”
“Property of Sheriff Duncan.” Jerry turned the shot-gun around and handed the weapon back to his boss, butt first. “There is only one person who would have been stupid enough to take this; Sonny Duncan.”
They heard someone hurrying down the stairs, soon Sheriff Duncan came out of the rear entrance, his forty-five in hand. “What’s going on?” He demanded.
“Someone emptied two shots into Jerry’s room. Jerry was against the front wall and the shooter shot the bed and took off running. I came up the front stairs just as the shooter started running toward the back stairs, holding a shotgun. I yelled at him to stop and fired a shot over his head. He fled down the stairs, lost his balance and tumble down. The shooter dropped the shotgun on the way. He was out the back door before Jerry reached the bottom. I stopped to pick up the weapon.” Mr. Pearson held onto the shotgun and refused to relinquish it to the Sheriff.
The angry sheriff scowled at the rancher. “I’m the law here. Give me the shotgun. I have questions for you about this troublemaker; he pointed at Tumbleweed. How do you know he didn’t fire the shotgun himself?”
“Like you told me earlier, save your questions until we get to your office. First, I’m taking Jerry to Doc. Welkins.” Mr. Pearson stared the sheriff down. He spotted Tex and Dooley in the growing crowd of spectators. “You two come with us.” The group headed toward the main street.
It took the men a few minutes to run into Doctor Welkins, who was hurrying to the hotel; black bag in hand. “What’s going on, Sheriff?”
The rancher answered before the sheriff could speak, “Someone tried to ventilate Jerry with a ten-gauge.”
The doctor glanced at the young man. “You look to be in fine shape after being shot by a shotgun.”
“I didn’t say he was shot. I said someone tried to shoot him. Look at the blood stains on his shirt.” Pearson replied.
“It looks like some ricochets have struck him. Let’s go to my office, so I can examine him more closely.”
Mr. Pearson and his two riders watched quietly as Dr. Welkins removed spent pellets from Jerry’s torso.
Sheriff Duncan stood off to one side and didn’t try to hide his impatience over the doctor’s slow methodical work.
Forty-five minutes later, the doctor wrapped a two-inch roll of bandage around Jerry. “Some deeper spots will bleed, but not too bad. You can take this off tomorrow morning. Wash your chest with warm water and pat it dry with a clean towel. The spots should heal in a day or two.”
“Thank you, doctor. How much do I owe you?” Jerry pulled his blood-spotted shirt on and began buttoning it up.
“Fifty cents should cover it.”
Jerry paid the doctor and turned toward his boss who commented, “You need a new shirt if you plan to take my daughter to the dance.”
“I do, sir. That is if she still wants me to.”
Mr. Pearson laughed. “That's all she talks about.” He pulled a silver dollar from his front pocket and handed it to Dooley. “Get Jerry a shirt and wait for us in his room.” He opened the door and motioned for the sheriff to lead the way to his office. “We have some unfinished business to settle.”
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