Jason was finally settling down.
Yep, he finally decided he’d had enough traveling and was really
making a good life for himself. Currently, he was hanging up a
The sign read: “McCord and McCord, Survey engineers.”
His grandfather, of course,
watched from below, complaining that Jason wasn’t hanging the
sign up right. Jason informed his grandfather that he was
heading over to the depot for a shipment of supplies. The
General decided he had things to do around there, so he wouldn’t
be helping Jason.
Suddenly, a big explosion came
from the bank. Jason immediately jumped down and ran to see
what the heck was going on. Three outlaws ran from the bank as
Jason ordered his grandfather to stay behind the wagon. The
outlaws jumped on their horses to escape. But there were more
of them for sure. A shootout erupted out on the street. Jason
killed one of the outlaws.
After the rest rode out of town,
Jason hurried to the man’s side. “Pa! Pa!” A little girl
hurried up to her father laying in the street. “Pa, get up!
Please get up!” the little girl begged. “Pa, don’t die! Please
don’t die!” But there was no hope for him. He was struggling
from internal injuries and weakly laid a hand on his daughter’s
teeth. He’d have to leave her now.
Then he died. Jason and Ann
watched as Ann held onto Jason, mourning for the little girl’s
loss. They bent down beside the girl. Jason placed a hand on
Suddenly, the girl drew out a
knife. Jason caught her wrist before she was able to stab him
with it. “You killed my Pa! I’ll pay you back no matter how
long it takes, I’ll pay you back!” The little girl screamed at
Jason. Jason squeezed the girl’s hand so tight that she was
forced to release the knife. Jason said nothing. There was
nothing he could say.
Ann tried to find out who the
girl was and if she had anymore family as The General looked
on. No matter what Ann asked, though, the girl wouldn’t say a
Jason returned with the sheriff.
They had no luck catching the outlaws. The General assured
Jason, though, that the money was locked up all snug and tight
in their safe. “Were they after the payroll for that gang of
construction workers you’re in charge of?” the sheriff asked.
Jason affirmed that. He also informed the Sheriff he wanted to
keep that payroll money locked up in their office.
The sheriff questioned Ann about
the girl. The General stated the girl wouldn’t even give her
name. Ann moved silently into the room. “Her Pa called her
Kellie. Could be her first or last name,” the General stated.
“What do you intend to do with
her?” Ann asked the sheriff.
“Not much to do except take her
to the county seat. They’ve got an orphanage there,” the
Sheriff stated. He told Ann it would be a day or two before he
was able to get things squared away. She’d go then. In the
meantime, Ann wondered, where would she stay? “You can’t expect
anybody to take her into their home. She’s like a wild, little
animal,” the Sheriff declared. “The best place for her is in
“Sh…sh…she can stay with me,” Ann
quickly stated. “I’ll be glad to have her.”
“Don’t do me no favors!” Kellie
suddenly yelled at Ann. “I don’t want no favors…from none of
“Well, glad to see you found your
tongue,” The General declared.
The Sheriff grabbed Kellie by the
hand. “Come on girl, let’s go!” He started leading her for the
She jerked her hand free of him
and backed away to stand by Ann. “I change my mind!”
“Alright. But don’t you give
Miss Williams no trouble, and don’t try to run off!” the sheriff
“I got no place to run to.”
The outlaws were camped out.
They were mad because they didn’t get the money. One of the
outlaws decided the sheriff was sleeping on the money. Another
outlaw figured Kellie had told everybody all about them. But
no, another outlaw stated. She wouldn’t snitch, not after she
saw what they did to her old man.
“Maybe not now…But what about
next week?” Another outlaws questioned. “Yeah…I can see those
wanted posters now.”
But the other outlaw shook his
head. “She won’t talk. I bet my life on it.”
“You bet your life not mine!
Yeah…I think we’ll go back and get that kid…and the money if
it’s still handy.” But the other outlaw didn’t want any part of
‘taking care of the kid.’ The one who wanted to go back threw
coffee in his face. Suddenly, he agreed they’d go back.
Jason came to Ann’s office the
next day to greet his fiancé. She asked him if he’d had coffee,
and he said he had a cup of The General’s. “Have you ever tried
to drink out of an alkaline well?”
Ann laughed. They kissed. Then
she handed Jason a cup of her coffee. “Smells good,” Jason said
as he sniffed it. Then he drank it as she watched. “Oh, lady
editor, you sure do make a beautiful pot of coffee!”
“There are some who think I’m
kinda bright and even kinda pretty,” Ann fished.
“Hm?” Jason looked at her. “Oh,
not me. I just love your coffee.” Then he took her in his arms
and kissed her soundly.
Ann finally pulled away from
him. “Hey, we have to be careful. I have an impressionable
young girl,” she reminded him.
“I don’t think you could make an
impression on her with a sledge hammer,” Jason grumbled as he
picked up his cup of coffee.
“I feel sorry for her, Jason,”
Ann stated firmly.
“Look Ann honey, I know she’s had
a rough life with a father like that.”
Jason took a few steps
away from Ann.
“But?” Ann stepped toward him.
“But…” Jason mumbled as he took
another sip of coffee.
“But what?” Ann folded her arms
and looked at him sternly.
“But she’s hard as a rock right
to the core, and to tell you the truth I’m worried about you
taking her in.” Jason pointed at her. “Look Ann, some night,
she’s likely to turn around and use that knife on you.” Ann
shook her head. “That’s right! Don’t let her fool you!
“Don’t you know why she is the
way she is? She’s grown up around men with attitudes like
yours!” Ann argued. “How do you know what she’s like at the
core? Does a woman understand another woman…”
“Alllll right!” Jason stopped
her, his eyes growing wide. “Your just as bad as she is,” Jason
said with a grin. Jason said he had to get out of there. He
thanked her for the coffee than went through the swinging gate.
“You forgot this,” Ann stated as
she held up a paper bag.
“Oh…it’s a dress…” Ann studied
him suspiciously. “For the girl!”
“Oh…” Ann gave him a pleased
Jason got defensive. “Look, I
figured that if we couldn’t change her on the inside, at least
we can improve the outside a little.” Ann smiled at him. She
approved. Jason scurried out the door.
Ann went and opened the door to
her living quarters. Kellie had heard it all. “I don’t want no
dress from him! I’ve got enough clothes!”
“You seem to be wearing them all
at the moment,” Ann stated. She got angry and stated she’d
never had a fancy dress or fancy shoes. “So who cares? These
suit me just fine. You can tell him to take his old dress and
keep it!” Kellie shoved the bag out of her hand in anger.
“Well, it’s your dress.
do what you like with it,” Ann said softly.
Later, Kellie and a boy were
throwing a knife at a sign on the swinging door of a saloon.
She wasn’t too impressed with the way the boy was throwing.
Suddenly, the boy’s Pa hurried out of the saloon with the knife
he had thrown. He got onto his son and gave him a hard swat on
the backside, telling him to get home. The father grabbed
Kellie’s knife. “I heard what you tried to do with this, but
not with me!” He put the knife down and stomped on it.
“You broke my knife!” Kellie
kicked him angrily. That made the man angry. He grabbed her
and started shaking her.
Jason had seen the whole thing
and hurried up to them.
The man called Kellie dirt. She
called him a fat pig. That made the man even more mad and he
slapped her. “I said let her go,” Jason suddenly said. Kellie
ran away from them. The man pointed a finger at Jason. “And
don’t say anything,” Jason advised sternly. “Don’t DO anything,
just walk away! Now.”
The man started to walk away.
Jason turned to look at Kellie and the man turned back and
punched Jason. Jason threw him to the ground. “That don’t mean
a thing, McCord,” he grumbled. “You still don’t belong in this
town anymore than that kid does.”
In their office, The General had
a hearty lunch ready for Jason: sandwiches and a whole pot of
coffee. “A man can’t stand an all night ritual on short
rations,” The General stated. “Sure you won’t need me?”
Jason told The General he’d be
fine – it was only for one night. They’ll pick up the money in
the morning. The General had to give Jason some orders. Be
sure he knew who was on the other side of the door before he
opened it and stay alert!
Little did they know that the
outlaws were back in town.
A knock sounded on the door.
Jason heard a soft knock on the door. He held his gun out and
approached the door with caution. “Yes?”
“It’s me,” Kellie said softly.
Jason opened the door. “I…I couldn’t sleep,” Kellie stated.
Jason invited him in. He’s made some coffee. She came right to
the reason she came. “Why’d you stick up for me today?”
“Well…I guess because he’s bigger
than you,” Jason answered with a laugh.
“I know. You want something from
me, don’t ya? You want the names of the other men. You want me
to tell you who they are!”
Jason cocked his head to one side
and studied her. “No…Not unless you want to,” he said softly.
“But you remember, they killed a man at the bank yesterday. And
they’ll probably kill more before they’re through.”
“And you killed one yesterday
too…MY PA!” Jason asked her if she’d seen that happen. Kellie
Her father had told her to stay
in camp until he got back but she
grew tired of being alone.
She came to town and saw the shooting. “Well then you know I
had no choice. They were coming at me…shooting. It was them…or
She thought on that for a
moment. “Is the General your Pa?”
She said it so quickly that it
startled Jason. “Oh no! He’s my grandfather,” Jason said after
he figured out what she was asking.
“Oh. It’s almost the same thing,
“So if he did something wrong,
you’d be mad at him. But you wouldn’t give up on him, would
“No…no!” Jason answered. “I
wouldn’t give up on him.”
“My Ma died when I was six. It
hurt Pa something awful. He lost his job and they took our
house away after…He rode out with some men, and he changed. I
know he did a lot of wrong things, but he was my Pa! You know,
don’t you? He was my Pa!” Kellie started crying. Jason took
her onto his lap and cradled her as she cried. He gave her his
bandana, which she accepted gratefully. She wiped her tears as
she sat up on his lap. “I think I’m…leaving now,” she said. “I
guess it ain’t too bad at the orphanage. When I get out
maybe…maybe people won’t remember…I can start fresh like…like
nothing ever happened.”
Jason wiped the tears from her
cheek with his bandana, staying quiet and letting her talk.
“You..think I can do that McCord?”
“Sure I do.” Kellie said
goodnight. But Jason stopped her. He the bag with her dress in
it and held it out to her. “Well I can’t wear it!” She
accepted it then walked out the door.
As Kellie walked down the
sidewalk, someone grabbed her from behind and put his hand over
her mouth. The outlaw told her they’d come to fetch her. The
least they could do was see that no harm came to her. “You tell
them about us?”
“No, and I won’t!” Kellie
answered. “So there’s no cause to trouble about me!”
The outlaw informed Kellie that
the man she was talking to was the one that killed her Pa. “If
it wasn’t for him, we’d be cleared out of here with all that
money. I’ve got to get even with him.”
Kellie stopped him. “You can
still get that money. I know where it is,” she said.
A knock sounded on Jason’s door.
Jaosn cautiously approach the door and asked who it was. “It’s
me again.” Jason relaxed, thinking everything was safe. He
opened the door as he holstered his gun. A punch in the face
greeted him, sending him flying across the desk and onto the
The outlaw kneeled in front of
Jason. “We forgot something,” He explained. “We came back
after it. Open that safe, McCord.” Jason looked at Kellie.
“You killed her Pa. What did you expect?” The outlaw cocked
his gun. “You open that save, McCord, and maybe you’ll live.”
Jason went to the safe and
started turning the dial. He stalled. Another outlaw, Mouse,
ran inside and told the outlaws they had to get out of there.
The outlaw in charge shoved him out the door and told him to
stay out. Jason continued turning the dial on the safe.
Suddenly, Kellie flung the
lantern off the table. The room went dark. The head outlaw was
in darkness. He called out to his partner, Grant, but there was
no answer. “McCord, come on out of there!” Jason didn’t move.
“Alright, I’ll drive you out!” He cocked his pistol and fired.
Kellie grabbed the gun from the
desk and threw it toward Jason. Jason fired. The outlaw fell
to the ground…dead.
The General came in then. The
outlaws outside were taken care of. The outlaws inside were
taken care of. Jason and Kellie were okay. “We did fine,
General,” Jason said as he smiled at Kellie. “Just fine.”
Kellie ran into Jason’s arms and hugged him. Then he kissed her
cheek. They pressed their cheeks up against each other’s and
The next day Kellie hurried into
Jason’s office. A big smile was on her face. She announced
that the sheriff said Kellie could stay with her until he finds
out if she has any relatives. “Well, that could take a long
time,” Jason stated happily. He hurried to the closed door.
“Kellie! Kellie, good news!”
Kellie stepped out wearing a
beautiful dress. “I know, I heard.”
“Well, who are you?” Jason
“Ah, you know who I am!”
Kellie started to walk toward
Ann. Jason grabbed her arm. “Wait a minute, I want to talk to
“I’m sorry, but I can’t talk to
Kellie stated. “The General asked me first. I’m ready if
you are, General.”
The General stood and put his hat
on. “I’m ready, willing, and moth anxious, young lady.” The
General tucked her arm in his and excused them. They had an
Jason felt a little put out, but
Ann managed to take care of that. She tucked her arm through
his and smiled. “Come on in. You can talk to me.” Jason
smiled knowingly at her as he closed the door to her living
quarters. Yep, he’d talk to her alright!