The Holts… Chapter 13
Chapter 13, Free Men
Later that afternoon Kelvin awakened as he heard the sound of keys turning in the cell door. Setting up on the edge of the bunk he looked bleary eyed at Sheriff Morgan. Who gave him a dirty look as he swung the door wide. “Don’t just sit in there gawking… you’re free. So Git outta there and get out of my jail. I would love for you and your no-go family to get the hell out of my town completely.”
Not knowing what to say or even think, Kelvin scrambled to his feet and shook Donni from his slumber, “Come on Donni. We’re gett’in out! The sheriff is letting us go.”
Donni looked at him confused and asked, “Why’s he do’n that?” The sheriff just looked on with disgust at the Holt brothers as they rousted themselves up.
“Hell if I know, Just shut up and let’s get the hell out.” Kelvin replied as Donni staggered to his feet and pulled on his hat. Kelvin thought, Donni just keep quiet until we are out of here.
The brothers followed the sheriff out of the cell block and into his office. Morgan sat down and scribbled rapidly on a stack of papers. “I got some affidavits from townspeople, looks like your story will hold water, Holt. But I’ll give you a warning here and now. Cause anymore trouble and I’ll lock you up for good. Understand? Now sign these release forms, get your stuff, and get out.”
Kelvin and Donni hastily put their marks on the forms and gathered their possessions off of the sheriff’s desk. Donni nodded to the sheriff and mumbled “Understood.” as he buckled on his gunbelt. After tying down each holster he drew each of the guns and inspected them as anyone would review the tools of their trade. The actions were not lost on the sheriff. The weight of the pistols were off ever so slightly, the pistols were empty. Donni noticed a small pile of bullets on the desk. He thought for a moment about loading them but then caught the eye of the sheriff watching him. Maybe wait until he was out of his office first. He swept the bullets into his hand and pocketed them.
Kelvin reached for his derringer first, slipping it up his sleeve, and then strapped on his gun belt. He smiled broadly at the sheriff. “I told you we wasn’t caus’in any trouble sheriff. You can count on us to mind our business.” Damn it, just shut-up and get out, went through Kelvin’s mind.
Morgan’s lip curled slightly and he pointedly ignored the two, pouring himself a generous cup of coffee. He thought, “Not causing any trouble, minding their own business, ha, they have done nothing but cause trouble and be his business since getting to town.” Then said aloud, “You are not off that easy little brother. You were trying to break out a prisoner in my jail. MY Jail! If you weren’t honest with the derringer and drunk at the time I would be keeping you locked up. I would probably put you on a work detail to help in some town projects to earn your keep over the next 6 months or send you to the territory prison. Instead I am going to let you out, but still hit you where I think it will hurt you the most. I want you gone from my town, but that does not look like it is going to happen for a couple days at least. So I am going to fine you. I expect you to bring by $150.00 for your “fines” by noon tomorrow. If you don’t then I will be locking you back up. Understand?” Kelvin nodded slightly as the blood drained from his face.
“As for you big brother,” he continued, “Your case will be reviewed by the circuit judge. He will decide if my ruling is right or not and if he decides that you should go to trial I will be issuing an arrest warrant for you. Got it?” Donni nodded.
Sliding his left pistol back into his holster and closing his mouth Donni said, “Good day, sheriff,” as he quickly exited the office. Kelvin quickly followed on his heels.
Kelvin grinned at Donni as he shut the door behind himself, “Hey, that was kinda fun! I can say I been in jail now.”
Donni took a few steps down the boardwalk before stopping and turning to look at Kelvin and grinned, “Don’t let Carlton hear you saying that. He’ll skin you alive.”
Kelvin looked thoughtful, “You think so?”
Donni laughed,”I know so. He hates that kind of talk. Says it’s bad luck. Just act like you’re real sorry all this happened, he falls for it every time.”
Kelvin considered this, “If he falls for it every time why does he ask me to keep an eye on you?”
Donni shrugged, “You gotta a point there… maybe if we act like we was glad it happened, he won’t know what to do.”
Kelvin pulled off his hat and scratched his head,”I don’t think so. He was pretty mad at us… let’s just not say anything about it. If he does then we do the sorry thing.”
Donni agreed and then started loading his pistols. He handed Kelvin 4 bullets for his revolver and the two derringer’s caliber bullets. He kept 2 of Kelvin’s to replace the ones he had shot into Zeb. Kelvin looked at the bullets a bit perplexed for a moment and then realized his guns were empty. “Wow, that could have been embarrassing, thanks for letting me know,” and started loading his guns.
“Anytime your guns are out of your hands or each morning you need to check them Kelvin. You have to take care of your tools if you want to stay alive out here. Don’t go anywhere without accounting for them.” Donni replied. Kelvin stored the information away. When it came to guns Donni was the expert.
“Donni, do you think the sheriff is really going to arrest me if I don’t pay him the $150? He seemed pretty mad.”
“Yeah, I think he will little brother. You had the money on you didn’t ya? Why didn’t ya pay him?”
“That is my table stakes, not real money for spending. I must have that to play poker with. I will talk to Carlton to see about paying it.”
Donni was now looking at Kelvin perplexed. “Ok little brother, what ever you say. Carlton will make you pay it, you know. Just be sure to get him the money before tomorrow noon. I would hate to see you shoveling shit out the streets for 6 months in this little town.” The thought caused Kelvin to shiver and turn pale.
Kelvin changed the subject, “What do you think the sheriff meant when he said we wouldn’t be leaving town anytime soon?”
“I don’t know. I suspect it has to do with Carlton and the rangers. We had probably better go find Carlton and Luke. I could also use a beer.” Donni turned and headed toward the saloon as he asked. “Got your guns loaded?”
“All but two bullets. I am missing two, did the sheriff keep them?”
“Nope, I took two of yours.” Kelvin looked at him quizzically as they walked toward the saloon? Donni always had extra bullets loaded in his gun belt and a couple pouches of bullets too. Why did he keep two of his? Why weren’t there enough bullets… oh yeah.