The Starshine Kid: Arroyo Grande - Part 4 of 20
The Stars Above
“Why, you’re uglier than a skinless, legless lizard,” the man sitting on the north side of the campfire said to the rough looking gent opposite him.
“Them be fightin’ words, you lily faced coward,” the man replied.
“Coward! Well, I’ll be….” The man leaped across the blazing embers and engaged the other man in a trail dust wrestling match.
The Starshine Kid laughed softly as he threw another piece of madrone on the fire while he and the others enjoyed the evening’s entertainment rolling around before them. He had witnessed many a campfire clamor, but not one as amusing as this one.
“In all my years as a lawman and all the places I’ve been,” Marshal King blurted out loudly, “I can rightly say I ain’t never seen a skinless lizard with no legs.”
The group of cowhands, warming themselves in the cold night air, broke out into laughter. The wrestling men, feeling a bit foolish at the moment and like they had consumed a bit too much of bottled joy, joined in the laughter as they both rose to their cowboy booted feet and returned to the blazing fire.
U.S. Marshal Adam King, The Starshine Kid liked the sound of his new title and how it rolled of the tongue like an egg rolls off of a kitchen counter, smooth and with an ending you cannot miss, and he liked being a part of the oldest federal law enforcement office in the new land.
The cowhands gladly welcomed the marshal to spend the night with them after hearing about the stagecoach incident he was involved with earlier that day. The marshal had happened upon a stagecoach robbery in progress, foiling the endeavors of its perpetrators without firing a single shot. What the cowhands did not know was that none other than an Oregon Supreme Court Judge, on a short side trip of a personal nature, was aboard with two of his constituents.
Following that encounter, the Starshine Kid had taken the nervous Justice up on his emotional promise, ‘Anything you need you have got it, Marshal!’
Once Adam had explained the situation revolving around one of the suspects he currently pursued, the Supreme Court Judge immediately wrote out a full pardon letter in triplicate for an Anton Madarász, a.k.a. Antonio from Antonio. All three copies were readily signed by the Justice and witnessed by his two companions.
Not too many legal folks would dare to place their careers above the official signatures that grace these documents, Adam affirmed in his mind when he pocketed the paperwork earlier that day.
‘I admire a man who is not afraid to mix his personal endeavors in with his politics,’ the judge had said to Adam, ‘That is what this country is built on, Marshal. You come see me if you ever get a mind to relocate to Oregon and enter politics.’
Marshal King had heard many a tale concerning the notorious outlaw he now hunted once again. He related one of those stories to the cowhands that evening, “The outlaw I am pursuing is known only as the Scorpion and bears the critter’s image tattooed on his arm. The Scorpion visited a preacher one time and the minister of the cloth asked him, ‘Have you ever took a notion to readin’ the Holy Bible, son?’
The Scorpion told the man of God something he would never forget, ‘I have read a might bit of the Good Book and can rightly say it is true, Padre. It is as clear as a mountain stream after a night of hard rain. I just do not want none of it, that’s all.’
Astounded, the preacher stated, ‘You know it’s true and you still--’
Interrupting the preacher harshly, he said, ‘Just like Satan himself and a third of the Angels who saw God face to face, Padre, I choose to rebel and go my own way.’
‘Son,’ inquired the preacher, ‘you got a favorite verse anywhere in the Holy Bible? You know… one verse you just can’t stop thinkin’ about?’
‘Yep,’ he replied as he removed his trail dusty cowboy hat, ‘Ecclesiastes 2:17, Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. And I even got a second, Padre.’
‘What is that, my son?’
‘Ecclesiastes 7:1, The day of death is better than the day of birth.’
Wondering how this life-hardened man could see everything so darkly, the preacher simply told him he would keep him in his prayers.
The Scorpion replaced his cowboy hat and adjusted it carefully, he then thanked the Padre and walked away.”
After Adam concluded the tale he took out his harmonica, a special gift from a Trossingen clockmaker overseas, and began to softly play the instrument. One by one the trail-weary men retired to their bedrolls for a welcomed night’s sleep under the all too familiar starry sky.
* Stay Tuned *
Part 5: Iron Creek
The Starshine Kid: Arroyo Grande
By Royce A Ratterman © 2012
All Rights Reserved
Cover Art & Illustrations by Erlend Evensen
The characters, locales, enterprises, entities, and events herein are entirely fictional and intended for educational and entertainment purposes. Content portrayals do not reflect any actual events, locales, entities, or any individuals living or deceased.
Dedicated to all of those who lost their lives establishing peace, safety, and harmony in the days of the Old West