The Starshine Kid: Arroyo Grande
Chapter – Part 20 of 20
A New Beginning
The Starshine Kid, Antonio from Antonio, and Clifford Connors rode into Iron Creek without fanfare. Connors was secured in the jail, temporarily manned by a Deputy Sheriff on loan until the town of Iron Creek could secure a new, more permanent, lawman to take the reins of justice firm in hand and maintain the peace.
As Adam King and Anton exited the jail, Della ran to greet them. She could not stop hugging either one long enough to speak, tears flowed down her rosy cheeks.
Eventually she spoke, “I was so worried about you two, just worried sick, I might say.”
The two men looked at each other and smiled.
“Oh, I know… it’s so silly of me, you bein’ lawmen and all, but—”
“No need to get all frazzled, Della,” Anton attempted to comfort his sister, “after all, we’re here now and as safe and sound as a bank vault guarded by a military battalion.”
“And to comfort you more my sweet Della,” the Starshine Kid spoke affirmatively, “I’ve been doin’ a lot of thinkin’ whilst I was out on the trail this time and—”
A shot rang out in the near distance as two men stumbled their way out of the Imperial Saloon, guns in hand.
“You callin’ me a cheat and a liar, you double-tongued spittoon lizard?” one large man with a full beard and black hair inquired of the other man.
The second man was thin and frail looking and sported quite a cough. The two had managed to get into an argument over the finer details of the poker game both participated in.
Marshal King hailed the two, “Gentlemen, I’m a US Marshal and we don’t want any trouble stirrin’ up in this fine town. Do you think it might be possible to settle your disputes in another way than spittin’ lead at each other?”
The thin man replied in bewilderment, “I thought me there weren’t no lawman in this town, not none permanent, anyways.”
“I guess we figured wrong,” the large, bearded man stated rather humbly for someone holding a pistol. “We ain’t lookin’ for no lawman troubles, Marshal.” He looked at his opponent and continued, “Are we now?”
“No, no… no trouble,” the thin man confirmed. The two holstered their guns and returned to continue their somewhat friendly game of poker inside the saloon.
“Never a dull moment in Iron Creek,” Anton commented.
The three laughed before making the quick decision to join the festivities, whatever those festivities might be, inside the Imperial Saloon.
The sawdust covered floor, large mirrored wall, and the billowy smoke filled air gave the establishment the ambiance it deserved. Though the town was relatively peaceful most days, at least on those rare occasions experienced most everywhere time and chance meet up, action of one sort or another could spark up faster than a mountain brush fire from a lightning strike. That ensured the town a status that guaranteed it to be free from boredom, at least on occasion.
Anton decided to leave his sister and Marshal King alone and joined the poker game.
Adam and Della spent the next few hours catching up on their lives. They watched as patrons came and patrons left, and watched the poker players get into a routine fight now and then, but they watched each other most of all.
“What are your plans, Adam?” Della inquired as she took a sip of tea, “Future plans, that is? I’m a might bit curious, as you might have guessed.”
The Starshine Kid removed his hat, gazed into the large mirrored wall to check how he looked, then got down on one knee right there in front of God and a bar full of thirsty patrons.
“Well, Della,” Adam swallowed long and hard, “I been meanin’ to ask you somethin’.”
“Oh, Adam, yes… yes… yes!”
“You ain’t heard the question yet,” the surprised lawman groaned. “Maybe it be that I just dropped somethin’ here on the floor and was fixin’ to fetch it.”
“You better quit funnin’ with me, Adam Henry King. Life is just speedin’ by right now.”
The saloon became as silent as a man hung at the end of a noose, but quickly erupted into cheers as the Marshal spurted out his fateful question regarding the blessedness of matrimony and sharing a future with the woman he loved. With the sound of another ‘Yes!’ from Della and ‘Drinks are on me!’ from the Starshine Kid, the festivities continued.
“Congratulations,” a well-dressed man approached the table where Adam and Della sat.
“Thank you, sir,” Della replied, quickly followed by a similar comment from Marshal King.
“The name’s Shane, Shane Kirk. I’m the Mayor here in Iron Creek among other things.”
“Well, Mayor, is there anything we can do for you or help you with?” Adam inquired.
The Mayor took a chair from a nearby table and sat down facing the two, “There’s no pressure and I have no expectations, but…” the Mayor looked almost apologetic as he continued his conversation, “we are in need of a local lawman for the town here. I am well aware that you are a US Marshal, Mr. King, but my curiosity just got the best of me tonight.”
“How’s that, Mayor?” asked Adam.
“With you two getting married and all, well… I thought you may want to transition into a more local type of law keeping, the kind that gets a man home at night for a fresh cooked meal and into a warm bed; a life that has few days and nights away from home, if you understand the point at which I am trying to arrive.”
Della’s eyes perked up and shone like stars. She attempted to conceal her excitement from Adam, but the experienced lawman could read her emotions easier than following sign across a freshly snow-graced mountain clearing.
Wanting to create a little fun, Adam replied, “I’m not too sure if the future Mrs. King would approve of—”
Interrupting faster than her brother Anton could draw his pistols, Della said, “I wouldn’t mind one bit, Adam. Not one bit!”
Adam laughed and told the Mayor he would be mighty proud to accept the job. “County Sheriff, Town Marshal, Provincial Constable… whatever title you wish for the job, Mayor, suits me just fine.”
“Thank you, Mr. King, thank you very much. The town housing board has a mighty fine home available for the person taking the job. It was actually the former mansion of a man who made his fortune in gold. He donated it to Iron Creek wishing for the residence to be used to house the town’s lawman. I’ll get it spruced up forthright.”
“I’m—” Adam almost spoke out of habit as a single man, “a… that is, we, we are mighty obliged to you, sir, Mayor Kirk, that is.”
“Call me Shane, please, except at formal functions, of course.”
“Of course,” Della confirmed, “of course.”
“I’ll have another sarsaparilla,” the Starshine Kid hailed the bartender, “and more tea for the pretty lady.”
“Did I hear correctly?” the familiar voice of Anton questioned from behind the newly engaged pair. “Settlin’ down here in Iron Creek?”
“Yep, you heard right.”
“Well, let me know if you be needin’ a deputy or somethin’” Anton hinted, “I kinda like this place.
The three enjoyed the rest of their evening, planning and dreaming of their futures together this side of the Arroyo Grande.
I hope you have enjoyed this series.
The Starshine Kid: Arroyo Grande
By Royce A Ratterman
© 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