Sally’s Still Here
“If you know something, Sally, tell him,” Esther May said, waving a hand at Major Winslow. She turned back to the three Apaches. “Let the Army worry about its drunks. I just want these men out of here.”
Sally clung to C.J.’s leg, but her face glowed. She was clearly enjoying having grownups listen. “Lieutenant Southern fetched a bottle to some soldiers. I seen him.”
Winslow sighed. “Let’s go to my office. This cell stinks, and jail’s no place for ladies.”
Sally giggled at the word ladies. She and Esther May were the only females.
What About The Apaches
“I’ll stay with these men,” Esther May said. “I’d like to make sure they get food and water.”
The Major’s face darkened, and he snapped at the guard. “Private! See that the prisoners are fed.” He faced Esther May, “The Post Surgeon is already tending them. Do you wish to accuse the commanding officer of inhumanity?”
Esther May felt heat in her cheeks. “No, Major Winslow, I overstepped. I apologize and accept the invitation to your office.”
“Wow,” Sally whispered. “The cowgirl backed down.”
“It’s called admitting when you’re wrong,” Esther May said and extended a hand to Sally.
Calling For The Lieutenant
The Major’s office was roomy enough for a frontier post, but Esther May had to back against the wall next to a credenza to make room for the four adults and Sally.
The lieutenant of interest, Wesley Southern, reported in and stood at attention in front of Winslow’s desk.
At the command, Southern assumed a relaxed Parade Rest stance and glanced around the room. His face hardened when he saw C.J.
Major Winslow tapped his desk—Esther May thought he was enjoying the drama. Perhaps as a break from humdrum military routine—“Did you provide enlisted men with whiskey, Lieutenant?”
“To what purpose?”
Southern took a deep breath and looked straight at the major. “As an incentive to beat up this cowboy, sir.” He tipped his head toward C.J.
“Really? Do you think that was wise?”
“No, sir. I shouldn’t have given them the bottle until after completion of the mission.”
Not The Point
“I mean having someone else fight your fights.”
Southern inhaled deeply and drew himself upright. “I wanted to, sir, but Army Regulations forbid dueling. Rolling in dirt tussling with a cowboy is degrading for a graduate of the Class of ’85. I chose to hire mercenaries.”
Let’s Get It Straight
C.J. walked between the lieutenant and the major’s desk. “Is that why you kicked me in the head when I was fighting someone else? So you wouldn’t have to tussle?”
Beads of sweat sat on Southern’s brow, but it was warm in the office. Esther May didn’t know if heat or fear affected the lieutenant. Sally’s grip pulsed like a metronome in Esther May’s grasp. The girl was having an exciting day.
“Move aside, cowboy,” Winslow said. “I’m not through.”
C.J. blew a kiss at Southern and moved back to the wall.
Sally squealed, and Esther May gave her hand a ‘shush’ squeeze. The girl trembled like a dog waiting for supper.
The Major seemed to be caught up too. “Just why did you want the cowboy beaten, Lieutenant?”
Southern blushed, and Sally couldn’t hold it in. “Because of Sarah!”
Major Winslow’s brows shot upward. “My daughter?”
What games are they playing at Fort McDowell? Don’t forget to leave your comment.
Ah, the eternal triangle. Here are some from history.
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