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Fifty-three

They camped that night a few miles north of Tombstone, sleeping close to the fire in the still, cold night.

Got the coroners report, Wyatt said to no one in particular. Says that most likely the people who killed Morgan are Frank Stilwell

The late Frank Stilwell, Doc said softly.

Peter Spence, Fries, Swilling and Florentine Cruz.

Cruz? McMasters said.

Indian Charlie, Johnson said.

Thats all, Doc said.

Thats all they named as suspects, Wyatt said.

You know Curley Bill was in it, and Ringo, Doc said. And you know that goddamned weasel Behan was behind it.

Dont know that for sure, Wyatt said. But well ride over to Spences lumber camp tomorrow. See if somebody there will tell us.

Should we take turns on guard? Vermilion said.

No need, Wyatt said. Doc sleeps so light he can hear a rattlesnake yawn.

Cant tell Im asleep, Doc said, less I dream.

He took a pull on a whiskey bottle he had taken from his saddlebag.

That help you to stay awake, Doc? Turkey Creek said.

That helps me stay alive, Doc said and handed the bottle to Johnson, who took a pull and passed it to Vermilion.

The bottle went around the campfire for a while, skipping Wyatt each time, until one by one, wrapped in their blankets under the infinite sky, close to the fire, they went to sleep and Doc alone sat awake, alone with the bottle.

In the morning they ate bacon and biscuits, drank coffee-Doc added whiskey to his-and rode east toward the Dragoon Mountains, with their hats tilted forward to keep the sun out of their eyes. The horses picked their way carefully through the low, harsh brush. A hawk cruised soundlessly in the high sky. Doc sipped whiskey from a bottle in his saddlebags. Wyatt knew that Doc hated quiet. Hed start talking soon. Doc talking was something to hear. He talked about guns and dental tools and Catholic theology, and whores, and people hed shot, and meals he had eaten, and cards he had held, and the nature of man, and why it was best to steam Prairie Chicken before you roasted it.

As they started up the long gradual rise toward Spences wood-cutting operation, Doc said, Wheres your ladies, Wyatt?

Josies in San Francisco, Wyatt said. With her father.

How bout Mattie?

Gone to my mothers place in California.

Funny thing, Doc said, you hadnt taken up with Josie Marcus, we wouldnt be out here riding down the people killed Morgan.

The horses were blowing as they shuffled up the long grade. There was only the sound of the horses hooves, the jangle of harness metal, the creak of saddle leather.

Talk about something else, Doc, Wyatt said.


Fifty-two | Gunman`s Rhapsody | Fifty-four