Thursday, April 3, 2014

Justice and Justice Jones




By federal marshal Zeke Drummond from SKETCHER IN THE RYE, the fourth book in the Portrait of Crime Mysteries by Sharon Pape

I'm here today to tell you about one of my more interestin' cases as federal marshal for the Arizona Territory.  You see, there was a federal warrant out for a man by the name of Justice Jones,  a particularly ironic name, since he was wanted back in Kansas for a bank robbery, during which he murdered two people.  I'd been up in the high country for close to a month helpin' to track a pair of rustlers. By the time I rode back into Tucson, I was saddle-weary and in dire need of a hot bath, a thick steak and a soft bed. I was enjoyin' that bath when the sheriff came to pay me a visit. He didn't even bother to knock. Just barged right in lookin' as troubled as I'd ever seen him.
            "We've got ourselves a problem," he said without so much as a 'Howdy.'
            "Mighty pleased to see you too, Sheriff," I said. When he didn't react to the sarcasm, I knew this wasn't your run-of-the-mill problem. "What's up?"
            "You recall that wanted poster that 's been circulating for Justice Jones?"
            I sure didn't like where this was headin'. "You tryin' to tell me he's shown up here in Tucson?"
            He nodded. "He's over at the saloon right now, playing poker and drinking hard."            
            "Give me a minute to put on my clothes." The steak was goin' to have to wait.
           The sheriff was waitin' outside for me, and we walked down to the saloon together without a word.
 The place was crowded and loud, everyone shoutin to be heard.  But it was easy to spot Jones. He was arguin' with another card  player at a table in the back. Now I'm not one to over think a situation or waste time second guessin' my decisions. Those are both good ways of endin' up dead. Jones was preoccupied and had his back to me, so the element of surprise was on my side. Good enough odds for me. With the sheriff providin' backup to keep anyone else from interferin', I went for him. As soon as he realized what was happenin', he pulled his gun. We grappled over it and he wound up shootin' himself in the foot. All in all, I had him in cuffs faster than a rattler can swallow a rat. We hauled him over to the jail, and I sent a telegram to Dodge to let them know I had their man. They said I should bring him back there to stand trial. I told them I had no intentions of gettin' back on my horse and ridin' for months. If they wanted Jones, they'd have to come get him. We went back and forth like that for a while, until we hammered out a deal. They offered to send the assistant marshal to meet me and Jones halfway. I agreed, on the condition that I didn't have to set out until the next mornin'. I still had that steak on my mind, along with some much needed shuteye.

When I arrived in Alburquerque with my prisoner, the assistant marshal from Dodge was waitin' for us. Seein' as how it was late, we locked Jones up in the local jail and spent a couple of hours together over dinner, tradin' stories and such. The next mornin' he took custody of Jones, and I headed back to Tucson. It wasn't until some eighty years after I died that I saw the old series about him on television. Didn't know Wyatt Earp would get to be that famous. Hey, could be someday they'll write a show about me too.

    
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