The Holts… Chapter 9
Chapter 9 – Visiting Donni
Luke hitched up his gunbelt, “We gonna break Cousin Donni out of jail?”
Carlton turned on him, “You get stupid ideas like that out’ta your head! Nothing’s going to happen to Donni. It was a fair fight and I’m sure that the judge will see it that way. Until then Donni can sit in his cell. Unless I can think of something else or the Sheriff has a change of mind. It’ll be good for him. He might think a bit next time before he goes to pullin’ his gun.”
“If he’d of taken the time to think about it Carlton that cowpoke probably would’ve shot him,” Kelvin said innocently.
Carlton chuckled darkly, “I suspect that Donni said something that caused him to pull his gun.”
Kelvin looked puzzled, “Sure he did. So?”
Carlton rolled his eyes skyward and shook his head. “Cause and effect Kelvin, cause and effect.” Luke and Kelvin looked at each other and smiled.
They entered the saloon and sat down at a table towards the middle of the room. The saloon was mostly empty except for the perpetual card game and those that were working.
The bartender approached shaking his head,”I tried to warn ya,” he admonished Kelvin.
“It’s okay. It was a fair fight, ” Kelvin said confidently.
The bartender just looked sad and went back to the bar to draw their beers. Carlton, after a few beers, decided to retired early. “You two stay out of trouble. I mean it. Finish here and come back to the boarding house. We have enough trouble happening now and don’t need anymore.”
Kelvin got into the easy-going poker game with the cowhands and a few others that had wandered in. The local famed card shark, Doc, still hadn’t showed up. He just wasn’t into the game though, it wasn’t the same as usual. Usually Donni was watching his back and it threw his game off. He quit in disgust after a few hands and bought a bottle of whiskey.
“I’m going over to see Donni,” he told Luke and wandered out. Luke watched him leave and realized he probably should go with him but he was talking to the younger barmaid at the moment so wasn’t too interested in leaving.
Kelvin trudged down the dark street feeling sad and bit lonely. Why did everyone hate the Holts? He shook his head. It was beyond him. As he approached the jail he brightened up. Donni might be a little slow thinking and fast to action, but he always cheered Kelvin up. He opened the door to the sheriff’s office and stepped in. The young deputy dropped the cup of coffee he was pouring and grabbed at his gun. He pointed it at Kelvin and thumbed back the hammer, “You just hold it right there mister!”
Kelvin looked at him in surprise. That just proved it. Damn it, everyone hated them. People were always pullin’ guns on him and his family. Kelvin held up the whiskey bottle, “I just brought somethin’ for Donni to drink. Is that okay? I just want to visit with my brother.”
The young deputy looked doubtful, “I don’t know. The sheriff isn’t here and is gone for the night.”
Kelvin smiled disarmingly and slowly unhooked his gunbelt. He laid it on the desk. The deputy visibly relaxed, “There. Let me talk to him. He’s probably lonely in that jail cell… all by himself, with nobody to talk to.”
The deputy looked disgusted, “Are you joking me? He’s been talkin’ my damn ear off all night! Yeah, go ahead… I guess it couldn’t hurt. Leave the door open so I can hear and see ya.”
Kelvin walked into the cell area and sat down on a stool by the cell. Donni was laying on the small bunk making shooting motions at the ceiling. He broke into a grin when he saw Kelvin. He rolled off the bed and ran to the cell door.
“Hey, little brother! Am I glad to see you. This place is boring as hell!”
Kelvin handed the whiskey bottle through the bars and Donni uncorked it and downed several large gulps. Kelvin looked around with interest at the sparsely furnished jail. Donni heaved a happy sigh and corked the bottle.
He squatted by the door and grinned at Kelvin, “So… when you guys gonna break me out?”
Kelvin frowned and looked at him suspiciously, “Carlton says we ain’t supposed to think like that, Donni. He says that the judge ain’t gonna do anything to you. It was a fair fight!” he finished with conviction. He looked at the deputy and lowered his voice, “Wasn’t it?”
Donni looked properly insulted, “Sure as hell was! I thought I showed great… uh, great ree-straint not killing’um both.”
Kelvin nodded, “Oh. I see. Donni, what does ree-straint mean?”
Donni grinned, “It’s one of them big words that Carlton uses a lot. It means like when you don’t kill everyone you could have.”
Kelvin pulled out his deck of cards, “Let’s play a few hands.”
Donni sat down and crossed his legs. “Okay.”
Kelvin shuffled and dealt, “Donni why does everyone hate us?”
Donni looked up from his cards at Kelvin’s quizzical face, “What ya mean?”
Kelvin kind of grimaced and continued, “Well think about today. That cowboy started problems and then went gunning for you. That wasn’t fair, and I know it got him killed, but still. Then the time before that, down in Tombstone, when we were leaving and looking for work. That Trent guy we had to teach a lesson after he was being such as ass to that poor kid. Everyone got so upset with us because we didn’t back down from that piece of garbage. Hell he was the one threatening us.”
“Well Kelvin we just stand up for what is right and it makes the bullies mad. That cowboy today was really hating on Phoebe. Probably because she is so beautiful. I just stood up to him and that landed me in here. As for the other guy? He asked for it when he pistol whipped that kid for no good reason. I am glad we didn’t sign on to them like Carlton was talking about doing. He was a piece of garbage, true enough. That type of guy will run into someone tougher someday and get what he really has coming to him. More than just the whipping and embarrassment we put on him. Of course it didn’t help our situation having all eight of us staring him and his two men down after I ended up kicking his ass. Speaking of that sure hope Dan, Bear, and the others get here soon. Breaking me out will be a lot easer with everyone.” Donni explained.
Kelvin realized that there were times that Donni showed he really was paying attention, still he didn’t think before he acted. You just had to give him time to think. Just glad that he typically did the right thing. Still it got everyone into hating them and sometimes trying to kill them.
The deputy leaned out from his chair and looked at them suspiciously, “You boys ain’t doing anything illegal in there are ya?”
Donni shook his head, “Ya want a drink, deputy?”
There was the sound of a chair scraping the floor and the deputy came around the corner, “Don’t mind if I do!” He pulled up another stool and sat down.
Donni handed him the bottle which he promptly uncorked and gulped.
Kelvin smiled, “Cards?” The deputy nodded eagerly. Kelvin deftly dealt three hands and looked his cards over. Donni glanced at his cards looking bored. The deputy looked his over carefully then eyed the brothers over his hand. All three players checked around.
“Donni?” Kelvin asked.
“Two.” Kelvin dealt him two cards then looked at the deputy.
“One.” Kelvin dealt him the card then took three. Donni looked over his hand then pulled out a wad of bills.
He dropped the bill on the floor. The deputy looked doubtful. He glanced at Kelvin who was looking innocent. “Uh, I don’t have ten bucks, only seven,” he said and looked back at his hand.
Donni shrugged, “You got a watch or something?”
The deputy nodded and pulled a gold watch out of his pocket.
Kelvin took it and looked it over, “I’d say that’s worth about twenty bucks. I will spot you twenty for it if you want to put it up,” he pronounced. The deputy nodded, smiled and waited for the hand to continue. Kelvin dropped a ten on the floor in the pot and handed one to the deputy, placing the watch on the floor between them.
“Call,” Kelvin said and put another 10 in the pot. Donni laid out three tens, an ace and a four of diamonds. The deputy smiled and looked at Kelvin as he laid down three jacks and two queens.
Kelvin sighed and dropped two pair, aces and eights, “Guess you win that hand, deputy.”
“Damn, you’re lucky!” Donni said.
Kelvin passed the thirty dollars from the pot to the deputy and gathered up the cards and shuffled them quickly.
An hour later Kelvin possessed every cent that the deputy had plus his gold watch. He sighed and shook his head, “Do you believe the luck?”
Donni was stretching and walking around his cell.
The deputy shook his head, “I was doing real good there at first… I don’t know what happened!”
He picked up the whiskey bottle and tipped it to his mouth. A dribble spilled out.
“Damn! It’s empty,” he said sadly and dropped it on the floor.
Donni leaned against the bars, “Why don’t you go buy us another bottle?”
The deputy stood and swayed a little. He turned and pointed a weaving hand at the brothers, “Now you boys are gonna stay here, aren’t ya?”
Donni nodded solemnly.
Kelvin handed him a buck, “Here ya go. That oughta cover it.” The deputy staggered out slamming the door behind him.