The Edge of Town, pt 2

"Hello Friend! Come and have a cool drink and tell me of the news," Doc calls to the old man. The mention of a drink seems to accelerate the farmer's lumbering pace.

Doc turns to Thunderhorse. "Relax, and don't get violent unless I yell 'Gott in Himmel,' got it?"

"What god, where?"

"It's just a signal. Now hush and get the whiskey." Thunderhorse nods and obeys. Doc secretly turns off the translator.

The old man arrives at the crossroads. "Well, how-do, stranger. Ain't seen yer likes 'bout here b'fore. Name-a Abraham, Abraham Hicks. But everyone jes' calls me Abe."

"Nice to meet you, Abe. I'm Doc Shaw, and this is my, uh, half-brother, Don." Doc leans in close and whispers. "He doesn't say much, he's a bit touched in the head."

Abe nods and smiles at Thunderhorse. Thunderhorse furrows his brows and snorts as he pours a drink from the small keg into the old man's tin mug. Thunderhorse proceeds to chug straight from the barrel.

"Yew fellers jus' in from Indiana?"

"Yes. We're on our way in from Chicago to find a lost relative, and to help people. See, I'm a medicine man. That's why they call me Doc. I've got the secret formula to cure a hundred ailments and put all good people at ease. Well, most of it. My long lost Uncle's got the final secret ingredient for my family's elixer. I need to talk to him to finish the recipe." Doc plays the part of snake-oil salesman convincingly. "Meanwhile, I've got some things for trade, if your interested."

"Yeh got anything fer my corns?"

Doc ponders for a moment. "Unfortunately, we're under-supplied at the moment. I've got some other wares, though."

Abe is not interested, and has nothing to trade. "I just stopped by the market to get some 'baccy seed, the missus will be mighty upset if I turn up with a barrel of whiskey instead." He motions towards the canvas sack in his lightly loaded cart. The wagon is old and about ready to fall apart, much like the horse that pulls it. "So, who's yer Uncle? Maybe I know 'im."

"He's a doctor, too. Don't know his name, exactly," Doc replies, lying on the spot. "I got a letter from him here in Toledo, but the bottom half of the letter was washed out by rain. But my poor, dying mother told me what he looks like. Said his name was Steven. Shorter man, about fifty, white hair and a beard, dresses well. She said he'd probably be in trouble with the law if I found him."

"Oh, you mean that Ohio doctor? Sho'nuff, your momma was right. He's locked up in the courthouse basement right now. Whole damn town is up in arms about him. First person to be arrested fer Pains and Penalties. Now he might be facin' trial for murder."

"What happened?"

"Well, sir, Ol' Joe was a farmer, owned some wheat fields a couple miles south a' here. Wound up dead in the river with a bullet in his head. When they pulled him out, here shows up this new doc no one ever seen before. He said he'd just been sent by Governor Lucas hisself, appointed county coroner. Well, Sheriff Jones goes an' arrests him on th' spot. He's been in jail fer three days now. Word is Governor Lucas denies he ever met the man. They say he's gonna be charged with Ol' Joe's murder, now."

"Why would they charge him with murder?"

Abe sips on the whiskey. "Way I see it, it's awfully suspicious him jus' showin' up in town and Joe a'gettin killed like that. He was a quiet old man, didn't have no enemies. Didn't have much friends, neither, but nobody 'round here 'ed kill him fer that. This ol' Doc's story don't check out, neither. No one from Columbus ever heard of 'im, least that's what I hear. Yessir, seems mighty suspicious. Trial's tomorrah right after church."

"Well, I best get that recipe from him before he's strung up. Which way is it to the courthouse?"

"Jes' head on down Monroe here and turn left at Ontario. It's at the end of the road."

"Is there a hotel nearby?"

"Matter'a'fact, there's rooms fer rent right across the street from the courthouse. Just tell Miss Jenkins ol' farmer Abe sent yeh, she'll fix you up nice. Well, it's nice meetin' y'all. Good luck with the medicine business. Maybe I'll look yeh up tomorrah 'bout my corns. 'Bye, now."

With that, the old man heads on down the road back towards the swamp.


ERR said...

Doc: Perform,acting: 20 (15+1+4) vs. DC 5, XP+5

Doc: Bluff : 20 (16+4) vs. DC 10, XP+10

ERR said...

PS, that medical kit wasn't much more than a basic first aid kit. Couple band aids, sterile cloth, alcohol pads, asprins, etc. There's stuff left over, but just enough to improvise.

Doc said...

Head for the courthouse and see if we can get in to see Dr. Ritenrong.