“Come in.” Sheriff Hanscom Gates sat at his pine log-crafted desk. The assertive three knocks pulled his attention away from a just delivered telegram. The office was only 8-by-12 feet and consisted of two sections partitioned by three-foot-high pine railings. Gates sat to the right. The deputy, who was absent, sat in an identical space to the left.
Cotter entered removing his tan gloves. He reached into his bib top and handed the poster to Gates.
“Morely? You gonna take in Morely? He’ll kill you first. He’s an outright killer.” Gates had a smile on his face.
“Why haven’t you collected on this?” Cotter’s baritone was friendly but critical.
“He hasn’t done anything wrong in Cormel.”
“The wanted poster applies to anywhere in Arizona.” Cotter would take this track no further. “But I have him draped over his horse outside. You can identify him and telegraph the statute office. They’ll wire the five-thousand dollars to my bank in Connecticut. When it’s confirmed, I’ll leave.”
Gates got up and went outside. He came back within a minute. “That’s Morely for sure–I can live easier now. Thanks. I’ll need identification of who you are.”
“Here are my identification papers.” Cotter handed Gates a military card and a banker’s affidavit attesting to its bearer.
“Have a seat.” Gates reviewed the credentials.
“Jake Cotter. I heard a you. Thought you was in Texas.” Gates wrote something on the back of the Morely wanted poster and began writing on a telegraph request card. “In my younger days, I woulda got Morely. Criminal like him, I woulda just gone up to him and shot him.”
“I was in Texas. Now I’m here and when I get the money I’m going back to Connecticut.” Cotter ignored the Sheriff’s excuse.
“What’s in Connecticut?” Gates rubbed his arthritic right shoulder.
“My family–what’s left of them–and school.” Cotter stood up and motioned with the signed documents to send the telegraph.
“School? Ain’t you kinda old for school?” He walked beside Cotter onto the dusty street.
“I was in school before the war got me and my father. He was killed at Nashville.” Cotter didn’t want to talk about war or the aging process. He felt ten-years older than twenty-five.
“The war’s been over for three years. Why you goin’ back now?”
“When my dad died my brother and sister grabbed the family estate and left me out. I needed my own money. With Morely’s bounty and what I’ve accumulated, I can go back to school now.”
“Yeah? What school did you say?”
“Medical School–Yale Medical School.”
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