An Unremarkable Town
Copyright© 2013 by Wild Willie
Western Sex Story: Chapter 1 - This story takes place the summer after Jake and Sue first met. They attempt to solve a puzzle and make some new friends, and enemies, along the way. A second tale of love and life in the old west.
It was an unremarkable town. A single main street was flanked by twenty or thirty wooden buildings, raised up from the dust and dirt by the wooden walkways in front of them. A few people, one or two women but mainly men, moved about on those walkways or crossed the street. Several buildings had horses tied to rails in front of them.
The sun was high in the sky and it was a warm day in late spring. The street was dry and dusty, and there was a quiet, unrushed feel to the scene.
One group of four horses was in front of a building about halfway down the street. They weren't tied up but were controlled by a single rider. Two of the horses had packs on their backs, while the buckskin-clad rider sat on a good-looking black horse and held the reigns of a larger bay stallion with a white blaze on its nose. They seemed to be patiently waiting for something.
The building they were outside had a painted sign over the door - Blackshaw Freight Co.
Pete Blackshaw leaned back in his chair in his warm, slightly stuffy, office and regarded the man standing in front of him. He was quite tall and his face was shaded by the brim of the Stetson that he wore. His clothes were clean, but were buckskin rather than the more usually seen homespun cloth. They were well made, with some elegant stitching and beadwork.
Around his waist the man wore a gunbelt with a revolver in a cross-draw holster on his left side. A large knife hung down on his right. All in all, the man gave the impression of being quietly competent and well presented.
However, it was not his appearance that had surprised Pete, but what he had said. He had come into the office, stopped across the desk from Pete as he looked up, and said: "I hear you have an Indian problem."
Now Pete did indeed have an Indian problem. One of his freight contracts was hauling for a quarry up in the hills which was digging for mineral ores. He had to carry the crushed and sorted ore from the quarry to Ennistown where it was smelted before being shipped east. The quantities were not huge, a few wagon loads a week made the three day trip, but the ore was apparently quite valuable. Every month, he also had to carry back the payroll for the 30 or 40 quarrymen who were toiling away in the bleak landscape. Then those men would come into town and spend most of that money in the three saloons and one whore house which were four of the buildings outside on the main street. So while the quarry company prospered, the town prospered - and Pete Blackshaw made a tidy profit from the haulage.
However, for the last two months things hadn't gone so well. Three of his freight wagons had been attacked on their way from the quarry to Ennistown, with his crew shot and the wagons burned. Then last month, the payroll wagon had been attacked and the money stolen. So the workers at the quarry hadn't been paid, and the men hadn't visited town to spend their wages. That put pressure on him from his customer the quarry company, the owners of the saloons and whore house, all the workers in those places of entertainment, and the stores where those workers spent their money. It was a nightmare!
He had done what he could. An extra man now rode on each wagon armed with a shotgun and a pistol to give some extra protection. But there was only room for two on each wagon, so there was a limit to the number of men he could send. The payroll had two extra riders with it - but that had still been attacked anyway.
Two of the men on that payroll wagon had been found with arrows in them - that's how he knew it was Indian trouble. However, as no-one had survived the attacks, he didn't know how many Indians were involved. But it must have been quite a war party to attack white men who were armed with guns.
Pete had also tried to keep everything quiet. He didn't want people knowing he had problems, so that was why he was surprised by the stranger's statement. He glared at the man opposite.
"What've you heard?" he asked.
"That you've lost a few wagons, and a few men, and a payroll," was the unnerving reply.
"Where did you hear that?"
"I make it my business to hear things like that," the stranger stated. "And from your reaction I presume it's true."
"Well, er, yeah," Pete mumbled. "But I haven't told anyone so no-one should know..."
"Except your customer, and the law in Ennistown, and the other drivers, so that's a bunch of people who do know. And one of them told me so I know too."
"So what do you want?" Pete asked.
"I want to help solve your problem," the other man answered. "Provided you pay me to, of course."
"How can you do that?"
"Well, I know Indians," came the confident reply. "And I've done that sort of thing before. My name is Jake Williams."
"Jake Williams..." Pete muttered to himself. Then he looked up at the man who was still standing over him. "Jake Williams. Weren't you involved in that business up in Rochsburg?"
"That's me," Jake admitted. "A gang was stealing from local ranchers and farmers, but I stopped them."
"I heard," Pete admitted. "That was a few months ago, wasn't it?"
"Yup, last summer," Jake agreed.
"But they wasn't Indians," Pete commented. "What do you know about fighting Indians?"
"I know Indians," Jake said again.
Pete looked at him, harder this time. "So what'll it cost me?"
"One hundred dollars a month, in advance, but if the problem isn't solved in two months then you can let me go. But if it is solved, then that'll be an extra five hundred at the end of the job."
"One hundred a month? That's too much - I can't pay that!"
"And how much does it cost to lose men, and wagons, and a payroll? Two hundred for the chance of stopping it all and discovering who is doing it seems cheap to me."
"So what do you suggest?"
"Well, the best thing is if we go out and look for these Indians of yours. But before that we'll need to know everything about what happened so far."
"We? How many of you are there? I can't afford to pay anyone but you..."
"There are two of us, and relax, you only pay once," Jake reassured him. Pete looked out of the window, and saw the four horses, and one pair of legs from the rider who was still with them.
"OK - but let's talk about the hundred..."
"Nope," was the curt reply. "You heard my reputation, it's my life on the line out there, that's the price."
Pete thought for a moment. Two hundred dollars was a lot of money. But if it got rid of those pesky Indians who were causing him so much trouble it would be money well spent. And he could always refuse to pay the five hundred afterwards, even if this man did what he said he could.
"All right then, I agree. One hundred a month for two months. But I'll need to go fetch the money from the bank."
That's no problem," Jake told him. "You go get it and we'll wait here. Then we'll talk."
When Pete Blackshaw got back from the bank, the four horses were still outside his office but were now hitched to the rail. Entering, two people were sitting waiting for him. One was the man he'd talked with earlier - Jake Williams. The second seemed shorter but was also dressed in buckskins. Pete rounded his desk and plonked himself down in his chair, and got his first good look at the other man.
Jake looked at the freight company boss who seemed lost for words. "This is Sue," he introduced. "And I assume you are Mister Blackshaw as on the sign."
"I am, Pete Blackshaw. But he's a ... She's a..."
"Sue is a Comanche," Jake informed him. "I told you I knew Indians."
"She's a squaw. What's a squaw doing here?" Pete blustered. "I don't want no dirty Indian in here. Get her out..."
Jake had heard enough. His right arm moved as he drew his gun from the crossdraw holster at his waist. He aimed at the man opposite and pulled back the hammer. There was a metallic click, and immediately afterwards another, almost like an echo.
Glancing sideways, Jake saw that Sue was also pointing her revolver at the sweating man. Having two guns pointing at him seemed to make the overweight man nervous.
"I no squaw," Sue assured him. "I Comanche. You no like - I shoot you. You want me shoot?"
"No, no, no..." Pete cried. "I didn't mean nothing, I was just surprised that's all."
"You think squaw no good? You think I dirty Indian?" Sue stared hard at the quivering man.
"No ... sorry ... I didn't..." Blackshaw stuttered.
"Don't shoot him Sue," Jake urged her. "The nice Mr Blackshaw is just about to pay us two hundred dollars."
"T-two hundred?" he spluttered. "You said one hundred!"
"I said one hundred a month - for two months," Jake retorted. "That's two hundred in my book. And I don't feel inclined to give you any credit so I want the whole two hundred now."
"Sure ... sure," Pete quickly agreed, seeing some of the tension going out of the two opposite. "I have it here..."
Two hours later, Jake and Sue were leaving town and heading towards the quarry in the hills. Jake had two hundred dollars in coins in his saddlebag, and the pair of them had the job of stopping Indians from attacking the freight wagons and from stealing the payroll.
Pete Blackshaw had told them what he knew. He had shown them on a map where the wagons had been attacked, and they had all been in the same rough area. He had told them he knew it was Indians as there had been some arrows left in the bodies of his men. But some had also been shot.
His men had been robbed too - any money they had was taken, as well as tobacco, and one of them had lost his boots as well. Jake seemingly didn't have a lot to go on, but something about what he had been told didn't make sense.