The Holts… Chapter 3.
Chapter 3, Sheriff
Leaving his brothers behind at the saloon Carlton walked down the street towards the sheriff’s office. After the short walk he paused at the door to compose himself. It would do no good to have the banter with his brothers distracting his mind when talking to the sheriff. It definitely wouldn’t do to have them along when he was about to have a sensitive discussion with the lawman of this town. He hated leaving them at the bar, but doubted they could get into any trouble this early in the day. Not that they ever meant to get into trouble. Taking a deep breath, clearing his mind, he entered the sheriff’s office. An older graying man, with a star on his chest, was sitting at his desk drinking coffee.
Carlton tipped his hat to him, “Good day, Sheriff. My name is Carlton Holt.”
The man stared at him for a second, taking in the hat, clothes, and paying particular attention to the strapped down holster on his leg. His grimace darkened slightly before he stood and held out his hand, “Spence Morgan. What can I do for you, Mr. Holt was it?”
Carlton shook his hand, glanced and motioned towards the wanted posters tacked to the wall. “My brothers and I are in the `bounty’ business. I was wondering if you had any word on who was in the territory?”
Sheriff Morgan’s face darkened and he withdrew his hand rather stiffly. “I suggest that you and your brothers mind your own business, Mr. Holt. I’m the sheriff here and it’s my job to take care of outlaws. I don’t particularly like bounty-hunters. We have enough trouble of our own without extra guns just looking to make bounty money riding into town.”
Carlton smiled easily and shrugged, “We’re professionals, sheriff. We’re not here to cause problems. My brothers and I have collected outlaws from several different territories and states… and we’ve had no complaints from…”
“Mr. Holt,” cutting off Carlton, “I don’t particularly care what you have done elsewhere. This is my town and my jurisdiction. And if you wish to stay on good terms with me…”, pausing slightly to let that sink in, “you’ll do things my way while you’re here.” Morgan sat back down and picked up his coffee. Hoping that Carlton would get the hint and leave not only his office but his town too.
Carlton nodded, he’d run into men like Morgan before. They would have to be very careful while they were here. There was no need to cause any issues with the man. “Yes, sheriff.” he replied. He was debating on the best way of asking just what “his ways’ where that they needed to follow. Thinking perhaps he should just let it lie, finish looking over the posters, and then go collect his brothers, but there was more info he needed before leaving. He headed towards the posters when the sheriff decided to follow up.
“Since you are here, maybe I ought to tell you about the rules of our town, Mr. Holt. Discharging firearms within the city limits will get you a three-day stay in our homey little jail, no exceptions. You pay for any damage that you do or cause… no excuses. And under no circumstances are you to be involved in a gunfight… with anyone. I will lock you up until trial and then you will probably be hanged. We’ve had a lot a trouble lately, there’s a range-war shaping up between some of the ranchers and there’s been a few of your type `drifting’ in. If I hear that you’ve been hired by someone, as stock detectives, or anything else… we’re going to tangle. The governor has sent three rangers down here to make sure that we keep a lid on this situation… have I made myself clear, Mr. Holt?”
“Crystal clear,” Carlton said pleasantly as he moved towards the door, keeping a calm expression on his face, “Have a good day, sheriff.” He paused at the door and tipped his hat again, “I’ll extend your warm welcome to my brothers, Sheriff Morgan.” He shut the door behind and strolled off with a frown on his face. Probably shouldn’t have thrown in that last snipe to the sheriff about the warm welcome, but too late now. This man had no wiggle room for tolerance and they would need to be careful around him.
Morgan scowled at the closed door for a moment then reached for his gun-belt. He didn’t like these fancy dressed gunmen that rode into his town and tried to ride rough-shod over the law. He’d go talk to Thurston and they’d set these guns-for-hire straight in a hurry.
Carlton could feel that there was work in this town. Just not sure what it was yet. The sheriff had given him a lot to think about and a lot more information than he probably thought he had. It was looking like this town was set to get lively pretty soon. He would need to figure this out quick so that he and his brothers did not get caught on the wrong side of things. He certainly didn’t want to have any posters up in an office of him or his brothers or even any of the other friends they road with. That got him to wondering about where they had gotten themselves off too. It wouldn’t do to have them out riding around getting into trouble before knowing what was going on.
It wouldn’t do for him or his brothers to be out getting into trouble before knowing what was going on at all. He sped up his pace towards the saloon. He wanted to collect his brothers and get back to the boarding house so that he could think and gather more information. This place could be calm for a while or it could be a powder keg ready to go off for all the information he had now. He needed to collect his brothers and lay down the law to them. Make sure they stayed in line until he had this figured out. Make sure they didn’t tell anyone about themselves, or what had gone on in the past. Mainly just keep them all in line, quiet, and out of trouble.