Copyright© 2010 by Kingkey
I was totally pissed off!
'To hell with them, ' I thought.
I'd been doing a good job with the Marshal's service but if this is the way that they wanted to treat me, my people, and my work, then they could take that star and stick it where the sun don't shine!
I stomped out. Tying my horse to the back of the medical wagon I told my wives climb on, as I'd had enough of this damn place. Climbing up into the seat, Moon and Dawn started fussing over me, trying to get me to calm down.
Finally, after a minute of this I told them, "Girls, I just need to relax and calm down. All this fussing is just going to make me more mad than I am now."
Both of them sat back in their seats, and got real quiet. I could tell that I'd hurt their feelings by being abrupt with them.
I said, "I didn't mean to snap at you, ladies. I just need to sit back and think things through without any distractions. I know you're just trying to help but I just need to think about how things took place and the effects they're going to have on the Lakota tribes. I can't believe that damn judge locked them up when they were just doing their jobs! Something like this could set them back on the warpath, and everything we've accomplished would go to hell in a hand basket."
Dawn replied, "I'm not sure Red Cloud will go on the warpath. He has been looking ahead, and sees that if things continue to go the way they have been, the long knives will come and wipe out the Lakota Nation. Then our people will be no more!"
"I'm sure he's right. I'm doing everything I can, to try and help the Lakota people. The US Government has a lousy record of breaking their treaties, and too many of the people in the Indian Bureau and the regular Government get greedy. Now that they know that there is gold here in the Black Hills, they're going to want to take it away from the Lakota, any way they can, and move the Lakota Nation to some piece of worthless wasteland where they can be easily controlled. One thing I found is that the government feels as if it needs to have its finger stuck in everything. They are just a bunch of control freaks."
"Clay, isn't there anything you can do? You were helping Red Cloud change things. A lot of the young Braves are still anxious to try and prove themselves. The way you showed them that you trust them by making them law men gave them a sense of pride and purpose."
"Well there's not much I can do now without my badge! It was really beginning to look like a job that could matter. I thought I was doing a lot of good for the people around here, but I guess that's over with, now. I'll keep on doing the doctoring, plus Helen should be here in a week or so. Along with the others, she can teach more than basic first aid. She seems to be pretty knowledgeable and would make a fantastic nurse or midwife. What I would like to see her do, is go to medical school. All those things will be hard because it's very hard for other people to accept that a woman can do the job just as well as a man."
Dawn said, "I like her. The way she nursed you after you had been shot just shows that she would make a great medicine woman."
I'd started to calm down as I was talking with Dawn, so I said, "Let's go home. I'm tired and just wanted cuddle with all you soon-to-be mothers."
As we leisurely rolled for home, I became lost in my thoughts. What would they do now that I'm no longer a Deputy Marshal, and no longer had the power I would need to force people to make changes for the better? What could I do now to help the Lakota? This was just getting me agitated again.
I was trying to plan what I could do to help train more people to do basic first aid for the people in their area. Winter would be upon us in a little over a month and once the snow started it would be very hard to get to the people in case of a medical emergency.
Blizzards were not uncommon in this area. People have been known to freeze to death within fifty yards of their front door. White outs were not uncommon either. The wind would start blowing so bad that you could not even see your hand in front of your face, let alone your house.
I had a plan to use the springs of my power wagon to mount runners on my medical wagon, using it as a sled. I just needed to figure out how I could do this for the winter months and change it back to a wagon the rest of the year. The other wagon that we normally lived in, I would leave parked for the winter. We'd just use the one, with a few minor modifications.
I just knew that when I told my wives about that, I was going to catch all kinds of hell about not taking them with me if I had to go anywhere. I figured the medical wagon's interior shouldn't need too many changes to make it usable. It already had a small Franklin stove I could use for heat and cooking a small meal.
The wagon was pretty much sealed so I could stay out of the weather, at least at night. I'd have to think of something for the driver's box, as it was wide open. I might be able to build some sort of windbreak to make it a little warmer. Hell as far as that goes, the Aladdin lamps I used, because they were so much brighter than the normal kerosene lantern, put out enough heat by themselves at keeping the wagon warm. I'd probably have to crack open a window or something. While doing all this thinking I looked out and found we were pulling into the ranch yard. The seven miles from town had flown by.
After putting the wagons and the horses away, I headed for the house hoping for a hot meal, and a good night's sleep cuddling with all my wives. Uncle Henry met me in the barn to help care for the horses. After brushing down and feeding all the horses, we turned them loose in the pasture next to the barn that we used for the horses and mules we used the most.
"So, Clay, I thought you knew better than to go getting in front of someone shooting at you. Don't you know getting shot hurts?" Uncle Henry said with a smile. "The girls said you aren't the Marshal, anymore, and that you are in a bad mood. What's that all about?"
I said, "Damn Judge Mitchell! We had been to Hill City, and I sent some prisoners ahead with some Indians I had deputized. That damn judge locked up the Lakota that I deputized because I was shot and couldn't bring the prisoners in myself. I would imagine that they are very pissed off about it, and I don't blame them. He was threatening to fire me anyway so I took off my badge, slammed it down on the desk, and told them where he could shove it."
"He can't do that, Clay! Judge Mitchell is a Territorial Judge! He has no power over a US Deputy Marshal. The nearest Federal Judge is in Fort Laramie. He's the only one you really answer to. You need to go back, tomorrow, and take back your badge. I'll go with you. I'll have a few choice words for Judge Mitchell, myself. He's normally a good man to have on your side. I'm not sure what's going on, but I have a good idea he's getting a lot of pressure from Washington about the way things are going around here, especially your idea of having the Indians lease the land to the people using it, in a legal contract. I have a feeling that some of the greedy bastards in Washington were just counting the ways of how to get some of the gold that is coming out of these hills."
"You're probably right about that. If the politicians in Washington have their way, the Indians will be screwed out of everything. That's the way it was in my former time. If I have any choices, it's going to be different, this time!"
"I knew it! I knew there had to be some reason that you were so passionate about finding a way to help the Lakota. So, the government did come in and take the Black Hills from the Lakota and break the treaty again, in your time. Where did they finally put the Sioux Nation in your time? Red Cloud is kind of curious about why you as a white man would want to help the Lakota so much. He realizes you are half Lakota yourself but you live the white man's way. Most white men either want to kill or cheat Indians. But he can see the way you are trying to help them and your actions puzzle him."
"They put them on one of the most worthless pieces of wasteland that they could find around here. A place called Wounded Knee close to the Badlands. If things weren't bad enough they shorted them on rations and took away all their dignity and pride. In my time what few Lakota were left, were living in poverty. The US Government has a lot to answer for! They have never once honored any treaty that they made with the Sioux! All of this land belongs to the Souix, and those greedy bastards just stole it from them!"
"Tomorrow, I want you to go back and get your badge. Clay, you are one of the only ones that can do anything to stop that from happening, again."
"Grandpa, the way things are right now, I'm not sure I can change things. It seems like whatever I do, things just seem to go to straight down the shitter!"
"You told me Jake practically raised you, and I know that since I taught him his values about never giving up that he would've passed them on to you! You don't strike me as some sort of quitter Clay. So if your first plan didn't work, then it's time to make new plans!"
"What if it turns out that I can't change history? It seems as if any small changes I make, fate or whatever just seems to change it back."
"There's got to be some way you can change things. You said the smallpox epidemic that hit Deadwood wiped out three quarters of the population. Just look at the changes in the death rate that we had during the epidemic! You can't tell me that you didn't change history by saving those people! So you see history can be changed! It doesn't form some sort of paradox. It's possible your idea that this may be a different timeline than the one you are from is right."
"Grandpa, that's a lot to think about and right now I'm so tired I just want to go eat and crawl into bed."
"Sally figured that you would be in this evening so she kept supper warm for you. Come over to the house and eat before you go to bed. You're wives are already over there."
"Grandpa that's great! I am so tired I feel as if I'm about ready to drop. After all that bullshit with Judge Mitchell I am so pissed off I can't even think straight. I just want to crawl into bed and cuddle with my wives and just forget about the whole situation for tonight."
"Let's go eat then Clay. After a good night's sleep things may look different in the morning. We should head into Hill City, get back your badge and confront Judge Mitchell about what the hell is going on. At least he didn't turn loose your prisoners. We will talk with Red Cloud tomorrow also and try to calm the braves who were locked up. That's all we need, a bunch of hotheaded braves thinking about the way they were treated, and ready to go back on the warpath."
When we went in I saw that my wives were already eating. Sally gave me a plate of her fantastic beef stew. Sitting at the table it seemed that the whole family wanted to know about my wound, and what had me so pissed off. I explained what happened and that I had calmed down quite little bit after talking with Uncle Henry. After eating we said our goodbyes, and headed home for bed.
After finally climbing in bed all I wanted to do was cuddle and go to sleep, but it seemed my wives had other ideas. I don't know what it is with pregnant women, but for some reason they were all very randy! It was a good two hours later, before I was finally able to get some sleep.
The next morning I was in a much better mood. I was whistling as I walked up to Grandpa. He looked at me surprised.
"Clay, what's got you in such good mood this morning?"
"My wives know how to solve my stress. Let's go talk to Red Cloud, and try to smooth things over before we head into Hill City."
We went to get fresh horses, and headed to where Red Cloud's people were camped.
Upon arrival, the first person we came across was Spotted Owl. Coming up to him, we asked to speak with Red Cloud. After going over to the fire where Red Cloud was sitting, I walked up to him and said. "Chief Red Cloud, I came to apologize for the way your braves were treated after taking the prisoners to Hill City. It was totally unfair and wrong to lock them up! I only hope that they can find it in their hearts to forgive me, especially Spotted Owl and Tall Bear. I also need to speak with the families of the two braves that were killed to see if there is anything I can do to help them."
"There is nothing to apologize for. You did nothing wrong. You friend to Lakota. Braves were mad at first until told white man was changing the way he treats Lakota. In time all will change."
"I still need to speak with Tall Bear and thank him for saving my life. If he hadn't shot that man, I would be dead."
"The brave Tall Bear killed was his brother. Tall Bear wants to ask you if you will become brother to him."
That got me to really thinking. He killed his own brother to save me!
"He wants me to become his brother? I would think he would hate me for causing him to kill his own brother."
I looked at grandpa. "Uncle Henry I'm not sure what to do. Here is a man who killed his own brother to save another man. Then he honors me by asking me to become his brother. What do I do?"
"You honor his request!"
"I need to talk to Tall Bear about doing this. I still need to check with the families of the two braves that were killed to see if there was anything I can do to help them."
Red Cloud spoke up. "Both men were unmarried so families are good. If you hunt, many families can use more meat. Many braves were killed at Greasy Grass."
"We should've thought of that. Red Cloud I can have a few head of cattle sent here."
"Cattle animal not good meat. Rather have a deer, or elk, or even bear."
"Okay, I guess we should hunt. It is going to be a long winter so extra meat should come in handy. Red Cloud, I was told that two braves that were killed because their weapons were in poor shape. I cannot legally provide you with weapons, although some may tend to be misplaced near here. Maybe you should look around the area tomorrow." Grandpa gave me a funny look as I said this.
I then turned to Spotted Owl. "Will you take me to see Tall Bear? I need to thank him for saving my life and find out about him wanting me to become his brother and what it entails."
Spotted Owl led me to the lodge of Tall Bear. As we were walking, I asked, "Spotted Owl, I want to know when it would be a good time for your family to come visit with my family. I know Running Deer and Little Doe would like to see their family more often."
"I thought daughters were living as White Women. Their mother would enjoy seeing more of daughters as would I."
"Spotted Owl, I know Running Deer and Little Doe need to see more of you and their mother. I know since we've been married that we haven't been around much, what with me trying to be the doctor for the area and trying to uphold the law. However, the girls still need their families and their people. This is a unique way they can embrace both their Lakota heritage and learn the white man's ways. I believe if more people would take the time to learn other people's ways we wouldn't have so much trouble with each other."
Tall Bear was sitting outside his lodge when we arrived. We clasped forearms arms in their traditional way of greeting and I said, "I'm sorry about you having to kill your own brother Tall Bear. Red Cloud tells me that since you lost your brother you would like me to become brothers with you. What does that all mean?"
"There is a ceremony, White Calf Woman is in camp now and can perform ceremony."