home | login | register | DMCA | contacts | help | donate |      

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


my bookshelf | genres | recommend | rating of books | rating of authors | reviews | new | | collections | | | add



Fourteen

Josie wasnt like any women he knew, Wyatt thought as he sat with her and Johnny Behan in their front room. She sat in on business. Allie was full of opinions on what Virgil ought to do. Even Mattie sometimes had suggestions and asked questions. But it was in private, at home, and when the business was to be decided the men went to a saloon and decided it. Josie acted like a man. As if business were as much hers as Behans. He admired it in her, though he knew that if Mattie acted that way, he would be angry. He felt a small, sad amusement at his unfairness.

You been thinking any on what we talked about, Wyatt? Behan said.

No.

Well, damn it, Wyatt, I wish you would, Behan said. If you resign as deputy, Charlie will appoint me, and I can show John Fremont that Ive got experience as a lawman when they make the new county. I get to be sheriff. I make you under sheriff. I handle the civil part. You handle the criminal part, and we split the fees.

Fremont s a Republican, Wyatt said. Maybe I should try for sheriff. Put my brothers on as deputies, keep all the fees.

You cant get appointed. The governor may be Republican, but the county is all mostly Democrats, Behan said. Aint a cowboy alive going to sit still for having an Earp appointed sheriff.

When he was talking politics, Wyatt noticed, Behans voice was much firmer.

Johnny makes a good point, Josie said. Its pretty certain you couldnt get the job, nor Virgil, nor Morgan.

But Fremont would appoint for Johnny, Wyatt said.

Yes. Hes close to Fremont. Hes quite close to the cowboys.

Behan was quiet, watching Josie and Wyatt. Johnnys not stupid, Wyatt thought. He knows shes making more progress than he is. Johnny was a vain man, but it was interesting to see that vanity didnt run him.

Close to Curley Bill?

I got no problem with Brocius, Behan said.

Got a problem with him killing Fred White?

He was acquitted of that, Josie said.

Freds dead, Wyatt said.

Even Marshal White said it was an accident.

Wyatt knew he had said that, and maybe it was. But it wasnt an accident that Curley Bill had his gun out, and it wasnt an accident that he pointed it at Fred White. Wyatt was looking directly into Josies eyes and she back at him, and he could feel them dissolve into each other like two streams merging. He held her look and felt almost as if they had coupled. He didnt say anything.

Its no sin in politics, Josie said, after what seemed to Wyatt a long silence, to be close to all sorts of people.

Maybe there is no sin in politics, Wyatt said.

If you feel that way, Josie said, then you wouldnt want to try for sheriff anyway.

Her face was intense. Intelligence flickered in her eyes like heat lightning. Behan watched them closely. Could he feel it? Wyatt wondered. Johnny didnt miss a lot. Maybe Johnny felt it, and saw it and was trying to use it. Was she? No. She wasnt. He found that he was smiling.

Maybe you should try, Josie, he said.

If I thought I could win, I might, Josie said. But I cant win, and neither can you, Wyatt. Johnny can win, and if he wins you win too. And I win. We all win. Besides, if I were sheriff, Id have to smoke a smelly cigar and wear a big, ugly gun.

Thatd be a sight, Behan said.

All of them laughed.

Do it, Wyatt, Josie said, step aside. For Johnny, for yourself, for me. Its the right thing.

She was like a terrier after a rat, he thought. And very beautiful.

Sure, Wyatt said. Ill do it today.

By God, Wyatt, thats the way, Behan said. And youve got my word on the rest of it. Ill keep my part of the bargain.

How about my brothers? Wyatt said.

Behan didnt hesitate.

Certainly, Behan said. Its going to be a big county. There will be enough for everybody.

He put out his hand, and Wyatt, still looking at Josie, shook it briefly. Behan smiled with pleasure and thought about what hed said, and liked it so much that he said it again.

There will be enough for everybody. Everybody.

Behan was probably lying, Wyatt thought, still looking at Josie. Johnny didnt always mean what he said, and sometimes he didnt even know he didnt. But Wyatt didnt care. Wyatt knew why he had agreed to it. Later that day, he wrote a one-line letter of resignation: I have the honor herewith to resign the office of deputy sheriff of Pima County.


Thirteen | Gunman`s Rhapsody | Fifteen