9th February 1857, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory
The ebony woman in grey and black looked at the poster in her hand studying it carefully. “Why not dead?”
Judge Horace Clemens rubbed his beard “Because I said so, Black Snake Betty”
Black Snake Betty, named for her skin and her skill with a whip, rolled up the poster and tucked it into her belt. “All’s I was doing was asking. I’ll find your boy Fogg.”
“Good,” replied Clemens. “Then we can hang him.”
Sherriff Abraham Wallace looked down at his boots. He knew Morgan Fogg was a good man but he had technically broken the law taking Frank Waterman out of custody and in doing so had aided in helping him escape; and Judge Clemens wasn’t exactly known for his forgiveness. “After a trial.”
Clemens paused as he watched Black Snake Betty place a cigar between her teeth. “Oh he’ll get a trial Wallace.” Clemens said matter-of-factly. Then we’ll hang him!”
9th February 1857, Jefferson City, Missouri
Morgan Fogg rode past the Dirty Spur and the Dame of Fortune keeping an eye peeled for either Frank Waterman or that big Germanic oaf who he’d had dealings with in each of the adjacent saloons. He rode quietly through Jefferson up to the Hudson’s Bay Company outlet to attempt to offload the wolf pelts before curling up in a bath. And then maybe tomorrow finding the Chinaman and giving him the body of his son who dressed like a woman.
Morgan lashed his mare out the front and took the armful of pelts into the outlet.
Doctor Jensen reined his Appaloosa mule to a stop and peered down at the waking body of Ellison Quimby. “You seem to be in a spot of bother…again.”
Ellison shook his head to clear the stars from his eyes and wobbled up to his feet, only to collapse since the bullet from Morgan Fogg’s gun had shattered his knee. “Goddam sonofabitch!”
Jensen dismounted and helped the boy to his feet. “Easy son, I got you.” He popped Ellison up onto the mule. “Who’d you open your big yap too this time?”
“I swear Doc, I was mindin’ my own bu…”
“Really Ellison?” Jensen interrupted pointing to the fat swollen lips and the boot imprint on his face before tapping the boy’s wounded knee making him howl. “You got a big mouth Ellison Quimby. Like your pa.”
“Goddam red monkey!” seethed Ellison clutching his injury.
Doctor Jensen tugged the reins of the mule “Let’s get you cleaned up. Seems I’m going to need even more morphine.”
“Two dollars!” exclaimed Morgan looking at the scales. “Seven wolf skins are worth two dollars.”
The clerk of the Hudson’s Bay Company outlet shrugged. “Furs a dyin’ trade son.”
“Should’ve let them eat me,” he grumbled before holding out his hand. “Suppose we got a deal.”
The clerk handed over the money as the doorbell rang. Morgan glanced over his shoulder to see the Chinaman enter.
“I was just comin to find you.”
The Chinaman smiled “You have my son?”
“Yes and no,” replied Morgan as he headed for the door. The Chinaman followed him out to see Morgan pointing to the back of his grey mare where the odd shape wrapped in a blanket draped across the hind quarters. “Your son had…an accident in Fort Smith.”
The Chinaman’s face went from the yellow to red “You killed my son?”
“No, no I didn’t,” Morgan said his hand resting on his pistol for good measure. “Your son was dressing up as a woman down Fort Smith. When his gentleman callers found out she wasn’t, well a she, they shot him. Do you think I’d be dumb enough to haul his body all the way back here from Arkansas if I’d just shot him?!”
“You try to cheat me, you dirty Indian!” came the Chinaman’s hissed reply.
Morgan yanked the Chinaman’s hair plait and jammed his gun into his neck. “Call me a cheat again! Coz if you do you yellow sonofabitch, I will blow your head off right here.” Morgan pushed him away and stomped over to his horse, picked up the body and dumped it on the ground. The moulding corpse formerly known as Tiger Lily hit the dirt.
“Look,” snapped Morgan crouching down to the body. “He’s been shot seven times. See!”
“You killed my son!” growled The Chinaman.
Morgan stood up. “Seems we’re going to have a problem then. Now the arrangement was…”
“YOU KILLED MY SON!” yelled The Chinaman. Morgan drew his gun and held it towards the angry man from the East.
“Settle yourself down!” barked Morgan. “Now, you owe me thirty dollars. You can either give it to me or…”
The Chinaman rushed forward. Morgan fired but the little man was quite quick and sidestepped. He smacked Morgan’s hand away.
“YOU KILL MY SON!” he kicked Morgan in the kidney, followed by another fast kick in the back of the knee. Morgan tried to draw a bead on him but the Chinaman was quick like a jackrabbit. Morgan fired again but the Chinaman knocked his hand down causing the shot to go into the earth before disarming him. Morgan swung a punch but was too slow receiving a kick in the guts. The Chinaman uttered a curse in his funny language. The pair circled each other.
“You owe me money, plain and simple,” Morgan spat watching the Chinaman.
“You kill my son, I kill you!”
Again they circled neither moving in. Morgan stopped, put his fingers in his mouth and whistled. Nothing happened.
“You stupid animal!” groaned Morgan at his grey mare. “You’re supposed to kick him!”
The mare looked at her rider, licked her lips then whinnied; almost mockingly. Morgan sighed in a mixture of disappointment, frustration and tiredness. The Chinaman chuckled derisively and in response to the laughter the mare lashed out a hoof and collected him in the side of the head, knocking him out cold.
“Thank you!” said Morgan to his mount as he rummaged through the Chinaman’s robes and pulling out a pouch. He counted out all the coins, took thirty silver dollars and put the rest back. “Pleasure doing business with you.”
Morgan picked up his Colt from the ground and mounted the mare. “Come on you, think we best make tracks.”
The mare neighed. Morgan tipped his hat at the clerk who’d been watching the commotion from his doorway. “He had seventeen left in his pouch. I find out he has any less when he comes to, I’ll hold you responsible.”
“Yessir!” gulped the clerk.
Morgan dug his spurs into the mare’s side and they galloped off and out of Jefferson City.
“Hey!” yelled Ellison as Morgan Fogg rode out of town past him and Doctor Jensen. “That’s that damn red bastard who shot me!”
“Then you best let him ride on,” suggested Jensen. “Because you ain’t had the best of luck with him. Besides you leave that bullet in there and you’ll lose your leg.”
Ellison Quimby watched Morgan ride out of view. “I’ll get you, you red savage! Mark my words.”
The German spat whisky all over the window as he watched Morgan ride out of town. “Zee rotskin!”
“What’re you gibbering about?” mumbled Waterman as he lay slumped in the rocking chair, suffering the effects of mixing morphine and whisky together. The German stumbled across the room and fell onto his knees in front of Frank and grabbed his knees.
“Zee red one!” he blurted out.
It took a few seconds to register when Frank Waterman’s eyes lit up. “FOG!!!”
To be continued...