Arizona Blue--Gunfighter: The Wolves Nest [Chapter One of Seven: The North]
The Wolves Nest-in the North
Northern Minnesota Area?
Winter of 1877
Chapter One of Seven: The North
The area was known as Pigs Eye [St. Paul, Minnesota]; Northfield was a little more notorious since Jessie James robbed the 1st National Bank, in September of last year, and more to the West. But that was neither here nor there for Arizona-Blue. He didn't like this part of the country for no other reason than it was cold, unpredictable weather, and he didn't seem to offer enough freedom, it wasn't bad thirty years ago, but it had become too tame, Even Mark Twain thought so. His conclusion of why he was here was: 'Sometimes you just keep on riding and riding and end up where you don't care to be.'
As his rode through the thick of the snow, he had come to a cabin, up in an area where the deer was running as wild-to and fro-as the mavericks were down in Arizona, Texas and Wyoming. He smelt the smoke from a nearby chimney. He was a hundred and fifty plus miles North of St. Paul, but it seemed like he was in the Artic.
As Arizona came to a cabin, a man came out of the front door onto his porch. Two wolves stood by his side, a rifle in his hands. He noticed in the back of his house about thirty-more wolves tied to the fence; '?strange?' thought Blue.
"Can I help yaw stranger?" asked the man on the porch.
Blue knew most everyone in this area did not know his name, and that was one unconscious reason he chose the Midwest I suppose, a time for a rest of wondering whom was going to shoot you in the back, or who you had to tangle with next. His reputation out West was preceding him wherever he'd go, but here, up here in the Midwest who could know his name? No one he speculated. Northfield was to hot for anyone like him, after the James Gang shoot out, and St. Paul looked like St. Louis, a conservative little city on the banks of the Mississippi, not enough get up and go for him, plus they sold little books on him: "The Fast Gun of the West: Arizona-Blue." They did on all the gunfighters such as: Billy the Kid, Jessie James, Wild Bill, and so forth.
"I need a place to lodge for a day or two. I'm half frozen."
The man laughed and motioned for Blue to tie his horse up out side and come in.
As Blue descended his horse, a young boy came out and took his horse saying,
"I'll bed him down a spell, feed him for you sir."
Blue heard the Midwest was quite hospital to strangers, they had to be, because sooner or later you 'all ended-up needing the others help. 'This kind of gives yaw a nice feeling,' he told himself.
As Blue entered the house, he noticed a slim middle aged woman, boiling some stew (about thirty-six years old he'd guess).
"Some hot cider Mister?" she asked.
Blue was not sure what that was, but he knew it wasn't whiskey.
"Sounds warming, I guess that'll be just fine Miss?," unsure how to address her.
She smiled, and commented:
"You're not from around here I gather, you got a Southwestern accent?"
"I'm called Arizona; I guess because that is where I am from."
"Arizona what? She asked.
"That's it Miss, just Arizona, that's what my pop called me, no more no less."
She smiled again, the man came back in from the backdoor of the house, stomping the snow off his feet.
"Hi yaw, my names Harry," he extended his hand to shake Arizona's, "and this is my wife Feba, she's Spanish, and a little cute wife at that."
"Harry! stop making me blush."
"Well," said Arizona, "it looks like you got enough wolves around here."
"I raise them. They can come in handy." That was all that was said about the nest of wolves. Arizona got the drift of things, it was private, and he wasn't about to step in on a man's privacy.
"Mr. Arizona, please give your jacket to my boy, Tony." He was standing in the back of Arizona. He hadn't heard him come in. As Arizona took off his jacket, Harry, Tony and Feba noticed the guns. Arizona had one tight against his thigh, and one tucked into his belt.
"You won't need them here sir," said Harry with a little concern.
Arizona smiled. He was not a wanted man in Minnesota, or for that matter anyplace, just a notorious man, and seldom heard of way up in the North Country; and this was new country for him; if this was Wyoming, or Texas, or for that matter Tombstone, or Deadwood, the guns would stay. But he started to unbuckle them; then handed them to Harry to put away for safe keeping.
"How are the Indian problems up here?" Blue asked.
"Sometimes it ok, other times you just don't know. We had several cabins up here a year ago, and the Chippewa's burned three of them down. Rapped the women, after getting drunk, and took off. The Indians are all over the place. You just never know. I hunt bear and fox and sell the furs down at Fort Smelling. And yaw, some of the Wolves you see, end up being furs. Yaw got to eat. I hate killing them though."
Harry noticed Arizona watch where he hung the guns up; right on the coat rack that lead to the front door.
"If you need them mister, they're right there for the grabbing."
"I got the picture, Harry."
"Now for the dinner, it's about 11-below zero out there, not too bad for the dead of winter. You'd think it was 10:00 PM, but it gets dark quick up here, its only 6:00 PM. Not much daylight in the heart of winter. Tonight it will get down to 20 + below. It's like the cold knocks the sun out early I swear. It's going to be a cold, cold winter, stranger, I mean Arizona."
As they all four sat down to eat, Harry said grace, thanking God for his wife, son, and that the stranger did not get frozen like an ice cycle before he found his cabin.
"Let's eat," says Harry, and plunged into the hot stew.
The stew was great, though Arizona, as he took his third helping.
"My name is Alex, Mr. Arizona. Are you a gunfighter? You know, like Jessie James, and Billy the Kid?"
"Hush," said Feba, "Mr. Arizona is a gentleman, not a killer."
Said Harry, a bit uncomfortable with the guns hanging where the coats and hats hung:
"Mater-of-fact, if you don't mind, what is your line of work?"
"Well, that's a good question. I've been a soldier, fought at the Battle of Chickamauga, and I was sheriff for a while, and a deputy. And I guess you could say a cowboy of sorts. Not sure what a gunslinger is, but maybe that to."
"Jack of many trades I see," commented Harry.
Feba looked at Blues eyes; she was almost frozen by them. But her husband was the jealous type, and said nothing, just smiled and continued to eat her stew.
Dennis Siluk is finishing up his most recent book, "Peruvian Poems" it shold been done shortly, and published in the following months [29-poems in English and Spanish] look for it. You can see his other works at http://www.bn.com or http://www.amazon.com
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