Two Old Relics

Chapter 15

For the next few minutes, pandemonium reigned. Smudge Littleton, the victim of the shovel, lay stretched on the ground. The other man sat flat beside the trench they’d dug, holding his head and moaning, while Abigail kept a second rock at the ready.

     “Everything is in hand now, ladies,” Monroe said. “I reckon that first shot was a mis-fire, but if I pull this trigger again, I can just about guarantee one of these ruffians is going to get hurt.”

    “No, Monroe! Put the gun down!” Lathe Caldwell yelled, charging up on a horse and jumping from the saddle.

     “Lathe, where in tarnation have you been?” Monroe asked.

     “Sorry, Monroe. I tried to get here earlier, but the car wouldn’t start. My horse is more reliable but he’s slower. Anyway, I’ll take over from here.” Lathe turned to Miss Georgia and Abigail. “Are you two ladies all right?”

     Monroe chuckled. “They’re fine. It’s because of their courage that these two ya-hoos are down and I’m not. I thank you, ladies.”

     Lathe shook his head.  “Miss Georgia, Miss Abigail, all I can say is I’m sure glad you’re on my side.”

     Miss Georgia shook her finger at first Monroe and then Lathe. “You two had better start explaining. Lathe, did you know Monroe was going to be here?”

     Lathe grabbed some rope off the saddle horn where it was looped and went about tying up the two crooks.

     “Yes’m, that I did,” he said. “I never did think Mr. Monroe here was guilty, but I wanted old Smudge to believe he was in the clear so he’d let his guard down. Monroe and I planned this little hoax, and it would have gone off fine if that motorized vehicle of mine had cooperated.”

     He yanked both men to their feet. “Sorry about this, boys, but looks like you’re going to have to walk back to jail. Don’t get brave now, ‘cause I’ll have my gun on you the whole time.”

     Miss Georgia turned around and looked at Abigail. “How’re you holding up?” she asked.

     Abigail drew a deep breath. “What I could use right now is a cup of hot tea, good and strong.”

     “My thoughts too,” Miss Georgia said. “Monroe, Abby, let’s go to my house. I’ll put the kettle on.”

     “Sounds right good, Miss Georgia,” Monroe said, “but I’ll just walk along to the jail with Lathe and these two scoundrels. I’ve got some questions to ask them and I want to make sure they don’t take a mind to make a run for it. On the other hand, it might be more fun if they do.

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