Prodigal Son
Chapter 12

Copyright© 2020 by UtIdArWa

At 8:00 am, Eugene’s typical morning started. As he walked by the hotel dining room. A familiar voice called out. “Mr. Herrington. Please join me.” Seated at a table near the door was Joshua Anderson. From all reports, he had received, this man commanded a paramilitary group larger and more powerful than the armies of some small countries. His research of Joshua Anderson proved that the rank of Colonel was deserved. He had served with distinction and courage in the Maryland cavalry during the war. Captured by the confederates, he had been imprisoned for over a year in a southern pow camp. While there, he had assumed command and, by all accounts, saved the lives of many of his fellow POW’s”

When he was released, he disappeared from public view. Reemerging here in Wilkins as one of the largest landowners in the region. He had also established an organization of ex-soldiers and victims of the war. In some quarters of Washington DC, he was hated. In others, he was held to a level of admiration that was almost godlike. But at the same time, when mention of a possible political position came up. Those very same admirers would deny any such ambition.

As Herrington sat at the table, the remains of a meal were being cleared. “Would you like coffee or tea, Mr. Herrington?” Anderson asked.

“Coffee, please sugar and cream.” Anderson looked to the young man bussing the table. “I’ll have another coffee too.”

“Yes, sir. Will you be having breakfast as well, sir?” Eugene was asked. “The cook is prepared to provide anything you care for. But I do suggest you order now. The hotel cook comes on duty in 45 minutes. And quite frankly, he couldn’t fry an egg if his life depended on it.”

“No, nothing. Coffee is fine.” Eugene looked to Anderson. “You have your own kitchen staff here?”

“No Sergeant Syddahl heard that I was going to be in town this morning and insisted that he provide a decent meal. He is quite accomplished. I have had the most amazing rat stews that he created.”

Aghast Eugene exclaimed, “Rat? A rat stew? My god man, why?”

“Well, we were kind of short on rations. Andersonville was not at the head of the supply chain at that time.”

As the coffee was brought out and served, the Colonel continued. “Mr. Herrington, the young man to my right, is the Regimental scribe. Our stenographer. He is going to record our negotiations concerning this contract you wish to engage the Regiment in.”

A confused look came over Herrington’s face? “Negotiations? I thought we agreed to $5000.00 for your services.”

Colonel Anderson chuckled. “Oh no, Mr. Herrington. All I agreed to was to bring your proposal to my council. We voted on it yesterday, and they agreed to accept it. But the negotiation of terms hasn’t happened yet. I suppose that a statement of expectations is a proper starting point.”

To the side, the young Trooper started writing in his notebook.

“It is my understanding that you as a representative of the Overland Stage and Freight Company wish to engage my organization known as the Regiment. In investigating outlaw activities in the Carson City to Reno area of western Nevada. That this activity has resulted in the loss of life, the theft of property. Both monetary and real. And the destruction of real estate owned by the Overland company. Is this an accurate statement?”

“Yes it is. What do you plan to do about it?”

“Slowly, Mr. Herrington. These things need to be clear in everybody’s understanding. Now from what you told me the other day, you want the Regiment to investigate these crimes correct?”

“Yes, that is correct.”

“So just to be clear. You do not expect us to take these outlaws into custody? that all you require is information concerning who is behind this?”

“No-no-no. We want this stopped. We want these people arrested and sent to jail.”

“You are aware, Mr. Herrington, we are not a law enforcement agency. We have no official position or commission that allows us to make arrests.”

“Yes, I am aware. I guess what we were hoping for was that you would eliminate the problem permanently.”

“Sir, we are also not assassins or vigilantes. We are not killers for hire. If you intended to hire a gang of outlaws to solve your outlaw problem, you have come to the wrong place.”

“Colonel, it wasn’t my intention to give you that impression. We thought that your group was similar to the Pinkertons’. A Private police force, so to speak.”

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