Saturday, June 16, 2012
The Bath from Touched by Mercy by Tina Pinson
The sheriff pulled the note from the door when he returned from Hays the next day and looked at his watch. Noon. He frowned. He expected this to happen, he should have talked to the new owner already. Should have warned her the day Pete down at the grain elevator said the new owner was interested in chicken ranching.
"She asked about the best of laying hens and where to buy pens," Pete laughed and slapped his thigh.
Busy tracking down train robbers, the sheriff was just getting back, never finding the time to get over to Lil's old place.
The Chicken Ranch.
Sam's Boarding House, the sign read now. The eyesore had cleaned up nicely.
Ignoring the laughter around town, the sheriff checked his gun and went to see about the ruckus at Sam's. He didn't know what to do with the poor soul who'd come looking for Lil, had no idea at all.
The townsfolk followed him. They'd read the note and were curious to see the goings on.
"Howdy..." A boy opened the boardinghouse door, paused momentarily, and looked to the yard and the people meandering there before he swung his attention to the visitor at the door. When his gaze landed on the sheriff's badge, he grinned. "Sheriff? Sam done fixed the problem. We won't be needing you."
The sheriff couldn't hide his surprise. "If you don't mind, I'd like to talk to Sam just the same?"
The boy shrugged. "Hey, Sam, the sheriffs here."
"Have him take a seat in the parlor, Grimes, and come help me a minute," she yelled from the kitchen. The sheriff heard the back door open and swing shut.
The sheriff stopped at the front door and yelled at the accursed mob in the yard. "Nothing to see here. Go on home," he told them with a wave. A couple left; most stayed. Others were still coming. He shook his head and followed Grimes.
Grimes led him to the parlor and motioned to a chair. "Wait here," he said before he ran out the back of the room. Allan didn't wait. He followed. He stopped at the screen door to watch.
The townsfolk moved around the house to watch. They got a show for their trouble. The sheriff thought to try and run them off again, but knew it would do no good. Resigned, he joined the townsfolk and, leaning against the backdoor frame, observed the goings on.
One barefoot young woman dressed in a wet calico skirt, with her soaked shirt sleeves rolled, faced him. By the pensive look on her face, the disarray of her hair, and the pile of rags over her arm, she'd prepared for battle. Beside her stood an equally sodden little girl, her arms laden with towels.
The other woman, nearly swallowed by a pair of worn, baggy overalls, her flaming red hair in fiery disarray around her head, yelled orders to some poor man they'd captured behind the blankets. Her back to him, he had yet to see her face.
"You will scrub, Quentin, or I promise, I'll come in there myself and see that you do." Several of the ladies in the yard gasped. A loud grunt answered from behind the curtain. "Oh, wouldn't I? Grimes, you go on and see that he does as I said?" The redhead commanded. "There's a bucket of rinse water, Grimes. Go ahead and pour it on him."
The captive responded with a tormented howl, causing the sheriff to question whether their captive was human or not.
"Oh, don't be such a baby. It's your own fault. It was warm when we brought it out, but you fought too much," the blonde replied.
"Egads, this water's blacker then my last bath," Grimes declared. Guffaws and snorts erupted in the yard. "Hey, who's laughing?" Grimes demanded to know. Poking his head out the blankets, he took a look around and disappeared again.
Another grunt resounded; apparently the poor man in the tub wanted to know the answer to the same question.
"Never you mind," the redhead called back. The sheriff watched her take in the yard. From the frowns on the faces, he knew it wasn't a smile she graced the onlookers with. "Heaven's sakes." Shaking her head, she sent her waves of red flying. "Grimes, if we have to do it twice to get him clean, we will." To which the poor man behind the wall of blankets groaned. "Don't worry, Quentin, next time you can use the bath indoors."
"I can't believe Miss Lil would let someone in her house when they're so dirty," the blonde commented naively. The sheriff joined the townsfolk in a hearty laugh, alerting the blonde to the man in the kitchen. "Sam, there's a man in the kitchen," she whispered loudly.
"Oh, Sheriff, is that you?" Sam asked without turning.
"Huuuuh?" The bather groaned nervously.
"Hush, Quentin," Sam assured him. "You finish with your bath. I'll talk to him."
"Ahh," came the moan.
Sam turned to the blonde and dried on one of the towels in her arms. "Sheriff, the matter for which we left the note has been taken care of."
"That's right, Sheriff," Erin agreed solemnly. The little girl nodded her agreement.
"There, see." Sam flashed a quick glance to the door and turned back. "Grimes, check behind his ears." The good people in the yard hooted and hollered.
"That's right, boy, get behind the ears," someone jested.
"Don't slap me," Grimes yelped. "She said to get 'em." Quentin growled. "Okay, you get 'em," Grimes added quickly. "I'll pour more water."
The howl that followed left the sheriff shivering where he stood.
"Erin, hand Grimes those towels. And you people, the show's over. Now, Sheriff." Sam turned and headed for the screened door. The sheriff eyed her with new interest. "As you can see we aren't in need of your services, unless of course, you'd like to round up all these trespassers," she yelled loud enough for the people in the yard to hear. She smiled when they backed outside her fence.
Sam turned for the screen. When she opened the door, she froze. "You?"Download today at http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-127/Touched-By-Mercy/Detail.bok