The Rifleman
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The Next Step…
Chapter 13 - Summertime
Written by Deanne Bertram

As the hectic times of Spring gave way to the quieter times of Summer, Mark’s time spent at the Marshal’s Office increased. Since the beginning of June, he was spending three days and four nights each week relieving Micah or Johnny. But for the next month, it would only be Micah and Mark.

North Fork was eagerly planning the summer social to be held on the solstice. The people of the town had decorated the main street of North Fork. Oat Jackford and Dave Merar, each, had slaughtered a cow and had it over the pits. Lucas had donated a hog. A band came all the way from Santa Fe.

But, prior to the festivities being started, the town gathered at the church. They all celebrated the wedding of Johnny Drako and Lou Mallory.

Lucas and Milly were sitting out one of the more livelier tunes the band was playing. Micah joined them for a spell.

“Well LucasBoy, two down, one more to go.” He smiled as he poked at Lucas. “It’s only a matter of time before than boy of yours walks down the aisle too.”

Milly was quick to reply. “Now Marshal, just why are you so eager to see my son get married. Seems I just held him in my arms, for the first time as a mother, and now you’re trying to take my baby away from me?” Her voice gave a hint of laughter.

“Micah, it won’t happen within your timeframe. Mark has promised that he will wait until he’s at least eighteen before they get married?” Lucas replied as he pulled Milly closer to him.

*****

Before anyone realized, Johnny and Lou had quietly left town. He planned to introduce his new bride to his sister’s family over in Lubbock, Texas, before heading out on their honeymoon.

*****

The celebration had ended when two riders entered town, a deputy and his prisoner. They stopped in front of the Marshal’s Office. The marshal had his rifle trained on the other, told him to ‘get down’.

“Now Marshal, it would be a lot easier for me to help you if you just unchain me?” the man snickered.

“I said get down.”

The man jumped from his horse and before the marshal could react, he was pulled from his horse. Mark was just coming around the corner from his nightly walk of the town. In no time, he had his rifle at the man’s throat, and cocked the lever. The man released the deputy and pushed his arms further in front of him, giving up. Mark motioned the prisoner into the jail cell and locked the door. He then returned to help the Deputy outside.

“Drew, Drew Anders?” Mark asked as he saw the deputy struggling to walk. “Come on Drew, just lean on me and I’ll get you to Doctor Burrage’s.”

“Thanks Mark.”

Mark left Drew at the Doctor’s office while he ran to the Doctor’s home to get him. They returned to the office. Mark listened to Drew’s story as Thaddeus examined his leg.

“Yeah, busted it yesterday. Tried splinting it myself, but, I guess I should have paid more attention to some of the doctoring they told us about up in Denver.”

“Deputy, I need to get you so you’re not feeling any pain. You have your choice of Laudanum or whiskey, which do you want?” Thaddeus Burrage asked.

“Mark,” Drew stated. “Which would you take?”

“Deputy, with Mark’s age, he doesn’t get the choice. Sides his Pa would skin me alive if I gave him any whiskey.”

“Age? He’s man enough to have whiskey if he wants. He’s a deputy for pity sake.”

“Deputy or not, I need to set this leg. Mark, why don’t you go to Sweeney’s and get me a bottle.”

Mark left and did as he was told. He returned promptly and stayed while Drew got drunk. Mark laughed as time went by. Doctor Burrage stated it would probably be a week before he’d allow Drew to ride.

Slurring his words, “But I gotta prisoner to deliver.”

“Drew, I’ll take care of getting your prisoner to Amarillo. While I’m gone, you can stay in my room, out at the ranch, with my folks.”

Still slurring his words, “Ya still live at home with yur Ma and Pa? Mark, cum-on, yur a depity, ya gotta get a life! Wha’d ya think you are, a teenager still?”

“Drew, actually, I am. I’m only seventeen.”

“Yeah and I’m old man winter. Hey Mark, you gotta try some, I feel good. I don’t feel anything.” Drew was drunk.

Doctor Burrage said it was time. He instructed Mark to keep Drew down, but first told him to get the piece of wood from the medicine cabinet and put it in Drew’s mouth, and told Drew to bite down on it, hard.

Mark pressed Drew’s shoulders to the table as his leg was set. Drew screamed loud enough to wake the dead, before he passed out.

“Thanks Mark. I think I can handle everything from here. I’ll see to it that he sleeps off the whiskey here.”

“Goodnight Doc,” Mark stated as he walked to the door.

“Mark, you realize that’s the time you‘ve called me Doc since I arrived.”

“I’m sorry sir. It just slipped out.”

Thaddeus had finished wrapping the splint when he came to stand next to Mark.

“Mark, I don’t regret that it slipped out. Besides, Doctor seems a little too stuffy. I wish we could be better friends, in fact, I’d really appreciate it if you would just call me Thadd.”

“Okay Thadd, I’ll see you and Drew in the morning.”

Mark returned to the office. First, he tended to the horses Drew and his prisoner arrived on. It wasn’t going to be quite the quiet night he had expected. The prisoner had fallen asleep by the time Mark returned. He pulled out a blanket, wrapped it over his shoulders and tried to fall asleep on the chaise. He couldn’t sleep; the prisoner snored louder than his Pa did.

The Next Step — The Delivery

This is a story based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!

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