Jason drove a
wagon into town one day. His face was broken out in sweat and
he looked pretty sickly. Jason stopped in front of the
newspaper office and asked,
you know where I can find a Dr. Miller?”
the man muttered. “Mister, if you’re sick, you better get to
Doc Shackley. His office is right there.”
“I want Dr.
Miller, where?” Jason asked weakly.
Jason questioned again. The man told him where to go. Jason
wasted no time.
walked into the barber/doctor’s office and asked the Sheriff,
Bernie, to come with him. “You can finish his save later, Doc.”
“I’m not a
customer, Beckett, I’m a patient,” the sheriff grumbled. The
doctor said he had some pretty bad bumps on the back of his
neck. The sheriff wanted to know the trouble.
“Well, a big
fellow came riding into town on a buckboard. He acted peculiar…kinda
panicky. He just didn’t look right on that wagon. He’s sure no
farmer. Well, I’ve got an idea he’s up to something that’s
going to make a story for my paper.” The doctor declared Bernie
wasn’t going anywhere until he was done treating him. Beckett
told the doctor to hurry up.
Jason made it
to the doctor’s office. Dr. Miller was a woman. She noticed
how sickly he looked and told him he didn’t have to knock. “No
no, it’s not me…it’s a friend of mine in the wagon. He was
helping me do some surveying work. He was too sick to walk.”
got finished with the sheriff and turned back to Beckett and
asked him if he figured the stranger was wanted. Beckett
thought that could be the case.
Dr. Miller out to the wagon and pulled back the blanket. He
told her that he was told she was the only one that could help
him. Dr. Miller was amazed they had traveled fifty miles to see
her. She told Jason they needed to get him inside.
Back at the
Doc Shackley’s office, Beckett was telling the men that Jason
had something under a blanket and insisted on seeing Karen
Miller. “Miller? Well, why would he go to her instead of me if
he wants a doctor? Unless maybe he’s an outlaw and he’s got one
of his wounded pals underneath that canvas.”
in going to see about the stranger at Dr. Miller’s. They burst
into her office and hurried to the back. “What’s going on in
here?” the sheriff asked. “This man been shot?”
Jason answered. The sheriff asked him who he is. “A friend of
Dr. Miller said softly to Jason. “But I’m afraid your friend is
grieved at her news. “What’s your name, mister?” Beckett rudely
McCord? From Bitter Creek?”
die?” one of the men asked. Jason was so grieved he couldn’t
answer. “You sure he wasn’t shot?” Jason still said nothing.
“Hey you!” At his touch, Jason turned to him.
told…Dr. Miller could cure diphtheria.”
Doc Shackley repeated. “Well that’s contagious! Stay away from
him, that’s dangerous! Look at him…soak and wet. Sure looks
like diphtheria. Well, I ain’t getting any closer to check.”
something like that into this town?” Beckett accused Jason.
“Maybe you’ve got the disease yourself.”
Miller spoke, but directly to Jason as she grasped his hand and
stared at him. “You do have the symptoms, Mr. McCord. But I
think I can help you.”
put up with a lot of meddling nonsense with you, Karen. But
this is one time you’ve gone too far,” Doc Shackley declared.
“You’re not keeping that fellow here to try out your crazy
ideas.” He called Jason a menace and wanted him out right away.
That made Dr.
Miller mad. “If you send him away, he’ll die!” She was
clinging to Jason now, trying to protect him.
you think you…can help me?”
think I can.” Beckett called her a fool. Keeping him there
could cause an epidemic.
the epidemic’s already started just by my coming here. Wouldn’t
it be better for you and the whole town to know that the doctor
can help you if you were struck down?” The doc told Ab not to
listen to him.
“He wants to
risk the whole town just to save his own life!”
Doc, that’s enough!” Beckett declared. He told Karen to
on him like a genie pig, but she was to keep him locked up in
her office tight until she cured him or he died. “And Doc, you
put a big quarantine sign on the door of this office. Tell
folks to give it a wide berth.” Doc declared that he certainly
Sheriff left, he promised Jason that if he stepped foot out of
the office, he’d shoot him down like a dog with rabies!
him, telling him she was positive he had the disease. She tied
a yellow armband around his arm to warn others to stay away from
shooting erupted outside. Jason hurried out onto the porch to
find bank robbers trying to escape. He did some shooting, but
only one man managed to go down. The rest rushed out of town.
hurried into the street and ran up to Jason and Dr. Miller. “I
sure do want to thank you, mister!” He held the money bag.
Jason’s fast actions had saved his bank a lot of money. But Doc
Shackleycame in and ordered the men to back up, telling them all
that Jason had diphtheria.
he’s going to be cured!”
“By you?” The
doc asked sarcastically. Jason agreed with her. “Oh, don’t
believe that, folks! You know who your doctor is! I’ve been
treating all of you for years!”
magic elixir that’s mostly alcohol? It may ease the pain, but
it doesn’t cure anything!”
yourself a hero a little too late, McCord!” Beckett declared
then. “You made yourself a hero a little too late! Now get
back in there.”
to explain what Dr. Miller was doing. “I know what Dr. Miller
is trying to do. She’s trying to start an epidemic so there
will be too many sick one’s for me to handle, giving her a good
chance to move in where she ain’t wanted! Sides, she’s a fool
woman and a foreigner to boot, and we just don’t need her kind
studied a sample of Jason’s blood through the microscope while
Jason slept. She was worried and went in to check on Jason. He
woke at the feel of the cloth on his forehead. He asked her if
the medicine was working. She said it would take time.
“Suppose it doesn’t work?” Jason asked.
you believed in me.”
“I do, but
maybe the bacteria don’t.”
reminded Jason that faith was a part of any cure. “You may get
worse for awhile. If you do,…”
“If I do?”
experience trouble with your ears. They’ll be inflammation of
the lungs. Paralysis of the nerves and finally spreading of
membranes to the larynx which could cause heart failure or
suffocation.” Jason laughed. “I once knew this scout who got
trampled to death by a heard of stampeding buffalo. Wait until
I tell them my story.”
you really don’t trust me.”
for her hand. “I do…I do…You know why? Your eyes…they tell me
“It’s not a
very scientific reason,” Dr. Miller said softly. “But I like
it. You need rest and absolute quiet for the
serum to work.” She told Jason his next injection would be at
left the room, only to be grabbed from behind. A hand went over
her mouth to keep her from screaming. The man asked her who she
was talking to and she told him it was a patient. She also told
him she was the doctor. He wasn’t really happy with it, but
told her he didn’t have time to be picky. His partner was bad
off with a bullet hole. She had to go with him. “I can’t go
with you. I have a patient and he’ll die.”
My brother needs you or he’ll die!” the outlaw stated.
to take the medicine back into Jason’s room, but Collins grabbed
her and took the medicine from her. “That won’t do your partner
any good. My patient needs it desperately!”
it anyhow,” Collins declared angrily.
me leave him a not so he can get some more medication, maybe
another doctor. Then I’ll do all I can for your brother.” She
quickly wrote the note out and gave to him to see. “What’s
that?” he asked after looking at the note.
will that do him?”
“It may save
his life.” She stuck it someplace he could find it as Collins
grabbed her and pulled her from the office.
It was 10:10
pm when she left her office. The clock quickly turned to 3:30
AM. Jason woke up, realizing it was time for another dose of
medicine. “Doctor…Doctor, it’s 3:30,” Jason croaked. It was
past time for him to take his medicine. When Karen didn’t
answer him, Jason stumbled out of bed and weakly opened the
door. He leaned heavily on the door jam, announcing again that
it was 3:30.
she wasn’t there. Stumbling further into the room, Jason found
the note and took it in his hand. “Periculum Domus Lupina
Monta,” it read. He was able to translate the Latin. It told
him there was trouble at a house on Wolf Hill. Jason went back
into the room and grabbed his coat and hat.
Unfortunately, Karen was unable to save the outlaw. This was
not a good thing for her. Jason weakly rode toward the house.
He found it.
It’s a good
thing too, because the outlaw was really getting mad. “He was
alive when you got here. Now you killed him. Stupid woman
doctor!” he muttered. She assured him the bullet killed him,
but the outlaw didn’t feel like she had tried hard enough.
heart isn’t like a water pump. You can’t prime it when it stops
working.” She went to prepare to leave.
about sending no bill, doctor. I’m gonna pay you just what
“I told you I
did what I could.”
the door opened and Jason stumbled in. He grabbed Jason who was
gasping for breath. He recognized Jason as the one who had shot
Charlie. He dragged Jason over to the bed and lifted the
blanket. “Do you remember him?” Karen begged the outlaw to
take it easy – Jason was a very sick man. “I’m gonna gun you
the same way you gunned down Charlie!”
Jason across the room. Jason was so weak he just laid across
the table, trying to lift his weak body up. “How bad off is
medication he’ll die,” Karen answered.
watch him do it.” Collins lifted Jason up by the front of his
shirt. “Let’s give him some medication!” Collins and his
friend started shoving Jason back and forth until he collapsed
Jason mumbled breathlessly. “Tell them why I need the
“This man has
“Diphtheria?” Charlie questioned then.
touches him can catch the disease. The germs are deadly. All
you need is contact, and YOU’VE had contact.”
right,” Jason said. “Now…We’re all in the same fix.” Collins
wanted to know what she could do to help them. She held up the
bottle and he wondered if there was enough for all of them.
Karen tried to keep Collins distracted as she told him that
Jason needed the medicine the most.
Jason cocked his gun. “…is making you an even trade. Your
life…for your gun.”
his hand on his gun.
to draw. Jason shot him down fast. He turned his gun on
Collins’ partner. “The same…goes for you, mister. Drop your
Jason to take his coat off. She filled the syringe with
medicine and went to give him the shot.
people were singing a different tune. They all agreed that Dr.
Miller’s medicine had indeed cured Jason. She was going to get
quite the write-up in the paper. Doc Shackley was quite upset.
Miller, we owe you more than just an apology,” Mr. Beckett told
her as he shook her hand. She thanked him.
She took the
yellow band off Jason’s arm. “Ironic, isn’t it?”
also be the color of courage.” With that, Jason said goodbye,
left her office, and rode out of town.
So, even on
his death bed, Jason McCord was able to save the day!