Jeff Walker was not looking forward to Dodge City. He’d heard stories of the violence, of the miscreants, and he’d heard stories about the law not being able to do a damn thing about it. The year was 1872, and no, he was not looking forward to Dodge City.
He’d made a bargain, though, and a bargain had to be followed through. He’d told his partner, that he would deliver both documentation, and a substantial amount of cash, to a banker in Dodge, so that’s what he was doing. He sure was worried about those two-legged varmints, though.
He should have worried. Dodge City, Kansas. It was a catch-all for every villain seeking to avoid the law back East, and find a spot where no one seemed to care. They all migrated to Dodge City. Jeff saw them, lounging on the sidewalks and benches, as he meandered his way through the streets. The thick Kansas dust, ebbed and flowed amidst the hoofs of his Appaloosa pony, a beauty that he had recently acquired, and a primary reason why he had agreed to deliver the satchel to Mr. Dearborn, of the First National Bank of Kansas. He was heading West anyway.
Now, he had stopped at a livery, contracted with the proprietor to feed and bed his animal, and obtained a room at one of the less seedy room/board options. He selected a room in a house that had a sign out front, warning passers-by, that there were rooms for “rant,” and that one should “hen-quire wit-hen.” But the house was actually painted, and there was a white picket fence around the perimeter of a neatly kept front yard. By neatly kept, I mean that there were no abandoned wagons, wheels, gates, farm equipment, or other diversions of the eyes, to influence his decision, as to which house of accommodations he should choose.
He had gone back to the livery to let the old geezer who ran the place, know where he was staying, in case an issue arose with the animal. He didn’t expect it would, but he wanted to be kept abreast of all pertinent details, concerning that beautiful animal. He had tossed two bits onto the counter separating him, from the old-timer. “Anybody take a special interest in him, you let me know, and I’ll match that.” The old man nodded comprehendingly, and mumbled something unintelligently, and the two parted ways.
First impressions occasionally turn out to not only be accurate impressions, but final impressions. Whether it was the old man, or the man in the dining room of the boarding house, who had evinced so much interest in Jeff, who did the deed, will never be known. They found Jeff out back of his accommodations, halfway between the back screen door and the outhouse. His throat had been savagely slit, and his livery receipt removed from his inside coat pocket.
The Appaloosa pony was claimed in the wee hours of the following morning, and the rider headed back in an easterly direction, which was unfortunate for him, because he could not help encountering, an enraged William H. Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid, who took one look at his stolen Appaloosa pony, and drilled the rider through the heart, twice, without asking a question.
There was no need to ask any questions, when the answer was so apparent, right in front of his eyes.