“Robert’s Rules of Order”

by Jesse J Elliot

Mierta! It’s hotter than a jalapeña today! If they can invent a train that moves without horses, you think they could come up with something to cool a room,” Cruz exclaimed as he wiped his forehead with a wet bandana. Iragene Jones, the sheriff, looked at her mild mannered deputy and smiled. His rare outburst of slang or swearwords was more humorous than offensive.

Both the sheriff and her deputy were sitting on a bench under a large oak, trying to catch a mild breeze rather than sit in their stifling office. The usual summer build-up of clouds wasn’t visible in the cobalt sky, and it looked like another hot, dry day minus the relief of the New Mexico summer rains. They were eating their midday meal and going through their mail.

“Shit!” Iragene said under her breath and looked around guiltily to see that no one but her deputy had heard. “Nick Roberts, that nice stranger who killed that wife-beating coward, Jeb Pulski, is wanted in two other counties for vigilante murders. Apparently he goes around the territory killing bad guys or at least people he thinks are bad guys. The real problem is he shot the wrong man in Silver City. He shot the brother of a rustler and not the rustler. Though the victim was no saint, Sheriff Spike claims, he didn’t deserve to die. Roberts is wanted for murder.”

Cruz looked disappointed. “I saw Roberts leaving the hotel this morning. Nice guy. I wanted to give him an award for calling out Pulski and shooting him. When I told Pulski’s wife and daughter that he was dead, Mrs. Pulski started crying—would you believe tears of relief? The whole family was in rags while that cabron drank away her inheritance. I say good riddance.”

“I wish it were that easy,” Iragene said dejectedly, “but Roberts is as guilty as some of the men he killed. Who knows how many innocent lives he took by mistake? That’s one of the problems of vigilantes acting on their own. That’s why we have courts.”