How Not To Win The West Part 2 (Short Story for citique)

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    Hope97842037
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    “All I’m asking is for you not to ask questions.” the fat man repeated himself for the third time.

    “What question am I not suppose to ask?” It was such a strange thing for the Mayor, of all people, to ask the local law enforcement to not ask questions. Obviously I don’t want the Mayor of this small town to cause problems for me. The people here were beginning to respect me after I shot that ignorant criminal outside my office.

    “Why are you still asking questions here Sheriff, all you have to do is not investigate a problem that is about to arise. If you just let me deal with it quietly and don’t ask any questions, then you can keep the contents of this case and everyone is happier in the end.” He grins at me and his fat cheeks dimple.

    “Look, I kinda like this job. People here are beginning to look up to me, and I am starting to like it. I don’t want to do something to harm that.” I reply, still not sure what is in this case he is offering me. Clearly he wants to be discreet but I have a funny feeling this is going to land me in trouble.

    “So that’s what you want? Look, I will guarantee your job, and a pay raise too. All you have to do is just let this next thing go away quietly in the night.” The man stands and his impressive girth strains his clothing again. This time he is being arrogant, he must believe he has me where he wants me. What I want to know is if I can survive this thing as clean as he seems to think I will.

    “Okay, well, when you put it that way I can see you only have the town’s best interest at heart. Therefore the next case that even remotely smells of you will be quietly forgotten.”

    The disgusting man grabs my hand heartily and shakes it repeatedly. With the biggest grin on his face yet today he walks tall out of the office leaving me to want a bath. Somehow, I felt so much dirtier.

    * * * * * *

    I had nearly forgotten about the disturbing pig of a man and his request while seated in the bath. My wife has decided that, since the eventful shooting all those months ago, she wants to help me keep a good image as a Sheriff. Now she helps me bathe every night and I pretend to listen to her gossip about the town. At least I usually do, but the topic of a secret relationship in town catches my ear and makes me wonder.

    “…and now, this poor girl is pregnant and is going to have to confess who her secret lover is.”

    “Do you have any idea who it might be?”

    “Well, I just so happen to have heard from Mary down the street from your office that she heard that the mayor has been having private meetings with someone in the evenings and she thinks that it’s him who has been getting with that poor girl. Can you imagine? That man is almost 40 years old and robbing the cradle with some naive 15 year old girl. Why if I had proof I would be the first person lined up to have him hanged. Imagine the indecency of it all, and of course he is already married too as yo know.”

    I let her go on her rant while I take the whole thing in. Of course the whole thing made sense now. That man never spent a dollar he didn’t have to. now he is promising a raise and a bag full of money. He was not planning on doing some dirty political deed or running someone off a farmstead, he was planning murder. The question now was, can I still look the other way when lives are at stake? Obviously, this also meant mine might be on the line now too, and well that is not how you win the West.

    * * * * * *

    “Sheriff? Mighty odd of you to come out here on account of I was just saddlin’ up to see you.” James says as I approach on saddle. This was not looking good already.

    “Uh, well, it’s kind of a sensitive matter I was hoping to discuss with your daughter.” I try to politely avoid the discussion with him.

    “That’s why I was goin’ see you. She wasn’t in her bed this morning. Best I figure is she dun run off with whoever knocked up her dumb ass. Quite frankly, I hope he is makin’ an honest woman of her, but the whole thing smells fishier than Boston harbour.”

    “Hmm okay then, I will head out in search of her. There may be a few places her and her mystery man may go. Might be best if you stay here in case she returns.”

    “’Haps yer’ right Sheriff.” he says a little dejected. “Just bring her home if you can.”

    I nod at the man, I was not promising anything. It had taken far too long for me to decide to act, now it was likely too late. My horse reacted to his cue and we were off.

    * * * * * *

    I found the mayor’s horse tied to a tree with another that I could only assume she had rode. It was the only place the mayor would take her of course. Near the edge of his own property, the benefit of tree cover, it all made sense if you were planning murder.

    The distant edge of a property could easily be attacked by bandits and the victim end up dead. If anyone ever figured out that he was here, well, it is his property after all. Pretty good cover. Might have got away with it had he not try to bribe me.

    I sneak into the foliage with my rifle in hand. I can only hope the girl is still alive. My pulse rises as I crest a small hill and finally hear the sound of someone breathing heavily nearby.

    Maybe they were just having sex after all and I was worried about nothing. This I could look the other way from; But, I have to be sure. I crouch down low and sneak towards the source of the sound. As I finally get a glimpse of him my heart sinks.

    The man was not on top of her, nor she on him. She lays sprawled out in a pool of blood and he is grudgingly digging her a grave nearby. Damn.

    There can only be one just solution to this. I pull my rifle from over my shoulder and place my aim square on his torso. “Mr. Leary, for the crime of murder in the first degree, I deem you guilty, and sentence you to death.” I whisper to myself while I pull the trigger.

    I walk down to check on him and find him spitting up blood. A clear shot through the lungs apparently. He looks up at me in astonishment. “I know, we had a deal right?” he nods. “Well if this was related to something small like sleeping with the girl I could have, but this is the murder of a girl who just started her life and was about to bring another into it. I can not let you get away with this. Don’t worry, I will have to live with taking your life and failing to save hers, you get to die and find your peace.”

    With that I picked up the girl and began the walk to my horse. “Of course, I can get away with this.” I say as I leave him to the vultures. “Funny thing about Survivors, they are the ones who write the story.”

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