Iragene Jones, New Mexico Sheriff Series
By Jesse J Elliot
The gaudily dressed and overly made-up woman banged the small room’s door
open and hollered to the younger woman. “Marnie, run and get the Sheriff, she’s in town
tonight and we need her now!”
The younger woman, free of make-up and in the middle of delicately
embroidering a blouse, quickly placed the needle in a safe position, threw on her shawl,
and asked, “What shall I tell her?”
The older woman shot back, “The usual, a drunken S.O.B. hurting one of the
girls, this time Matty. Jenny heard her safety bell. Now, hurry!”
The girl ran to the center of the town, a good 10 minute run since Mrs. Brown had
been asked to build her establishment back in the trees away from town. The girl was out
of breath, and her sides were aching, but she sprang open the Sheriff’s door and loudly
told the Sheriff that one of Mrs. Brown’s girls was in trouble.
Iragene Jones, Sheriff of El Brazo County, New Mexico Territory, snarled and
swore under her breath, hoping Marnie wouldn’t hear her. She wasn’t angry that the girl
was from Mrs. Brown’s but angry that so many men were so willing to hurt the working
girls so frequently. Iragene had encouraged Mrs. Brown to hire a strongman for
incidences such as this, but good, strong men were not always so willing to work at a
whorehouse or follow Mrs. Brown’s rules—no dallying with the girls.
Noting that Marnie was breathing so hard, Iragene encouraged her to stay until
she caught her breath. Gratefully, the girl sat down in the office and relaxed. She sat
there expressionless and thought pensively about how she arrived in this out of the way
world and how she had ended up in a whorehouse, sewing and designing clothes for the
girls and the few townspeople daring enough to ask the resident of a whorehouse to sew
for them. This sure wasn’t what she had imagined her life to be.
New Mexico was a long way from St. Louis, and she often found herself
wondering about how she ever arrived here. She looked at the ring on her right hand, her
mother’s wedding ring, the last thing of value she owned and the last object from her past
life. Was it only six months ago that her mother had died and left her alone? She sighed
and walked out the door, trying to think about nothing and meandered back to Mrs.
Iragene ran to the whorehouse. She was in better shape than Marnie, and getting
her horse and saddling it would have taken too long. She arrived at the building and
bolted up the stairs in time to hear Mrs. Brown demanding that a large, naked patron
dress and get out of her house immediately.
He turned away from the badly beaten girl and started towards Mrs. Brown.
Iragene walked in and pulled her gun, ordering that he stop where he was and put his
hands up. He saw her for the first time and then laughed. He wasn’t a pretty picture. He
was unshaved, dirty and hairy, and he was huge, everywhere.
“Hell, I don’t need to put no hands up. I’m done with the whore. Yur a purty
little thing. Yur next, Honey.” Iragene looked him over quickly. His fist and his other
appendage let her know he was very serious. She knew she had to do something since
the distance between them was short, and he could leap and subdue her quickly.
“Mister, you have one chance to get dressed and come with me or I’ll shoot you
He was big and drunk, but he chose to take his chances with the woman who
challenged him. Knowing she had no choice, she lowered her gun and shot him in his