The Outlaw Honey Moses and THE DOG NAMED PUSSY…::

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Chapter 7 – The Outlaw Honey Moses and





          The Vinegaroon Saloon was a hornets’ nest right in the middle of that town of Passover.  A big swarm of troubles was buzzing around the whole territory ever since the banks’ land speculation failures.  The saloon was located right across the street from the Passover Territory Bank.

          Honey Moses, disguised in her ruffled skirt and lace bonnet, stood at the far end of the bar near the entrance with her head bowed to shade her glancing golden eyes.  She sipped a haymaker’s punch.  She studied Rex Ramsey as he stood near the card game where sat the bank’s hired security, Jubilee Dunbar, Clifford Austin, and Deuce Taylor.  Honey then looked over at a far table where sat Kate Grody raising a big glass of what looked to be cactus wine.  Kate was leaning ‘way back in her chair to drain that mixture of tequila and peyote tea.   Kate’s raised elbow was stretching her man’s-shirt across her cupid’s kettle drums.  Honey watched the drum roll of glances from men, and some women.  Even the cool sly Jubilee Dunbar got snared and hesitated almost imperceptibly as he played a card.

          Honey’s plan was working so far.

          Just then, Honey felt a damp prod at her ankle.  She looked down, and there was a dusty little red miniature pinscher with uncut ears.  The dog danced backwards and sat and trembled and looked up at Honey with moist pleading eyes.  Honey figured the little guy was thirsty so she knelt down and let him lap her haymaker’s punch; besides the water, the punch’s molasses, cider vinegar, and fresh ginger would give the little guy strength.

          A bearded old fellow was walking in and laughed to Honey, “Lady, better feed your kitty outside.  He’s liable to get stepped on.”  The little dog growled.

          The bartender spoke up, “Don’t feed him, Miss Lady.  He ain’t supposed to come in here.  He keeps coming inside.  I seen him in the alleyways.  He got separated from Dr. H. Moe’s Traveling Medicine Show.  I’m surprised some crow ain’t eaten him already.”  The little dog growled.

          Honey put a coin on the bar, still averting her golden eyes, “Here, Mister.  Now he’s a paying customer.  Another haymaker’s punch, please.”

          Honey thought to herself, What am I doing?  I guess it can’t hurt to get the little guy back on his feet.  She was recollecting herself long ago as the child wandering, orphaned, blind and lost, in from out of that wicked dust storm right into Rex Ramsey’s arms.

          Across the room, Kate Grody stood up and went over to the upright piano in the corner.   She sat down at the piano bench trailing the great curiosity of her furtive admirers, including Jubilee Dunbar.  Kate took a deep rounding breath as she flexed her long strong fingers.  Suddenly, she struck downward to playing from Schubert’s Impromptu in A-flat Major.  I’ll bet you didn’t think we girls at the Whisper Glory knew of such things.  Well, Kate came to us just full of surprises.  Anyway, the whole Vinegaroon Saloon hushed in astonishment.  Soon the doorway darkened with curiosity seekers.

          Jubilee Dunbar arose from the card game.   The dealer was sitting like a statue, mid-deal, and just staring over at Kate Grody.  Right through the middle of that still-life crowd Jubilee glided like a snake over to Kate’s side and coiled there, listening.

          When Kate abruptly ceased playing, musica interruptus, the whole saloon was suspended in silence like a fly in amber.  Then it shattered into whoops and whistles and hurrahs.

          Jubilee Dunbar breathed into Kate’s ear, “My God, that was breathtaking as are you, my dear.  Who are you?  Where did you ever learn?”

          Kate bowed her head without looking at Jubilee, “Thank you.  You are too kind.  I haven’t practiced in a long while, as you can tell.”

          “Not at all.”

          “My mother used to say, ‘One day without practice and you yourself can tell the difference, two days without practice and then the critics can tell, three days without practice and then the audience can tell’.  I was…, I am Katyana.  Katyana Grodonovsky.  My mother taught piano.”

          “Not in this territory!” said Jubilee incredulously.

          “No.  In Chicago.  Long ago.”

          “I knew you were a most extraordinary woman when I saw you walk in here,” Jubilee looked around and then whispered, “I would surely like to continue our conversation.  I have a suite at the The Pharaoh.  It would be my honor to offer you an invitation for dinner this evening, if you please.  You are travelling… alone?”

          Kate hesitated just long enough, “Well, that would be interesting, I am sure, thank you.  My niece and I are staying at The Pharaoh as well.”

          Jubilee furrowed his brow at the mention of a niece, but Kate said, “My niece will be spending the evening reading her Bible.”

          Jubilee bowed briefly from the waist under the weight of that satisfied smile.  He turned back to his men at the card table and raised his chin toward the door.  The men arose, Clifford Austin, Deuce Taylor, along with the bearded old fellow who had teased Honey about the little dog, and two other wiry dust devils.  They departed into the slow vortex of people coming and going into the Vinegaroon Saloon.  Jubilee Dunbar then wove over toward Rex Ramsey whom Jubilee had recognized back when Rex first walked in.

          “What are you doing here?” Jubilee asked without ceremony.

          Rex played the simple straight-shooter, “I need a job.”

          “From me?  I thought you were too good for us, Mister Rex Ramsey, former U.S. Marshal.”

          “Had a change in philosophy you might say.”

          “Having no job will do just that for you, won’t it?” scoffed Jubilee, “Can’t afford to be so high-and-mighty when that happens.”

          “I’ve looked around.  You could use me right now.  You know what I can do.”

          “Yes, yes.”  Jubilee stroked his lips as he spied Kate leave.  She took the arm of her “niece” who was at the end of the bar dressed in a bonnet and ruffled dress.  He watched the niece bend over, pick up, and hold out to Kate what looked to be a puppy.  Kate let the animal lick her face.  Jubilee licked his lips.

          “Okay, Ramsey.  We can talk, but not here.  Follow me.”

          Meanwhile, Kate and Honey had to check into their hotel.  The Pharaoh always held one room for us girls from the Whisper Glory.  The hotel clerk, Marten Bêcheur, was a regular of ours.  He was a bespectacled little badger of a man, never married, and “will never have to be” he would always joke to us in the parlor.  He nodded discretely to Kate, whom he knew as well as any man can know a woman.

          Marten asked professionally, “Two of you this evening, ma’am?”

          “Yes, my very good fellow,” smiled Kate.

          “Business or pleasure?” asked Marten with a gleam in his glasses.

          Kate pouted for Marten’s sake, “Business, I am afraid.  A couple of days at least.”

          As Kate wrote their names into the hotel ledger, Katyana G. and niece Honey M., Marten leaned forward and whispered at breast-level, “Then you will owe me a Rainy Day.”

          “The weather should change in a day or so,” replied Kate as if making polite conversation.

          Marten smiled and nodded to Honey.  Then he noticed the miniature red pinscher for the first time, “Will ‘Miss Kitty’ be staying with you as well, my dear?” he laughed.  The dog growled.

          Up in the hotel room they had a view of the main street.  The street was a river of rippling commotion.  They could see the roof of the Passover Territory Bank.  There were men and activities on that roof besides the hired guns looking down.

          Honey set the little dog on the big bed, “Maybe we should name you ‘Kitty’, you poor little orphan,” she teased in baby-talk.  The dog growled and bared his tiny fangs.  “Yeah, that’s a sure way to make you tough out there in that mean ol’ world, isn’t it?” Honey giggled.

          Honey then turned back to the window and stood seriously awhile, trying to figure out what was transpiring on the roof of that bank.

          Kate Grody finally set herself down on the plush chair beside the bed to pull off her boots.  As she raised a knee to her chin, the miniature pinscher jumped off of the bed and dove right between her legs and buried his cold nose.  Kate whooped and picked up the little dog, raising him above her head, “Forget about naming you ‘Kitty’!”  The squirming dog yipped twice and licked downward trying to reach her face.  “I know now what your name is going to be!”  The little dog went limp and cocked his head.











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The Outlaw Honey Moses and THE PASSOVER BANK……

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Chapter 6 – The Outlaw Honey Moses and




          When Honey Moses and Kate Grody and Rex Ramsey arrived in the town of Passover there was already big trouble.  They could see the dust of turmoil from a mile out.  The wagons that were still arriving from all of the territory banks were being pelted by the gauntlet of angry townspeople.  Some wagons arrived with bullet holes.  One arrived with the top burned black.  One arrived with a wounded man slumped riding shotgun.

          With their cargoes of people’s money that “didn’t exist anymore” due to the banks’ land speculation failures, the wagons gathered at the Passover Territory Bank.  It was beginning to look like the bankers’ Alamo.

          The poorest townspeople who had “lost” everything just stayed in the streets, men raging, women cursing, children crying.  Children threw rocks with their parent’s blessing.  Women shook fists and men shook rifles.  Most citizens were still too civilized to do much more.  Yet.

          The wagoners were just citizens of the territory who had been contracted to haul the “assets”.  It was a job “to be thankful for” they couldn’t help thinking.  Those wagoners stood nervously by their wagons, watching their fellow citizens as the cargo of mostly paper cash and some gold and some silver was unloaded into the Passover Territory Bank.  It was the biggest and the sturdiest building in Passover, supposedly representing the security and stability of the banking system.

          But now, along with that damned notion of speculation credit, the banking system had turned into straw and was blowing away eastward with the dust.  The Big Bad Wolf was at the vault and the Little Piggy banker men were going wee-wee-wee in their pants from inside the Passover Territory Bank.  The Dunbar, Austin, & Taylor Security Company kept a semblance of order around the bank with the intimidation supplied by armed men, hired citizens, on the rooftop.  The pot was being stirred with a gun to keep it from boiling over.  So far.

          The “assets that didn’t exist anymore” were going to be hauled east to the Main Branch of the  Eastern Sovereign Bank.  The U.S. Government had refused to provide the U.S. Army to transport those “assets”.  The President’s advisors knew that there would be big trouble for sure and they did not want the national newspapers full of civilians being shot by soldiers.  Instead, the Dunbar, Austin, & Taylor Security Company had been contracted to deliver.  Any civilian deaths would come out of their commission.

          Honey Moses observed, “Dunbar, Austin, & Taylor must have one hell of a plan to make it out of here.”

          Rex Ramsey said, “Honey, you know, you may be right, they just might be convinced that they need to hire me after all.”

          For the first time Honey Moses replied a little unsure, looking at all the angry citizens, “This is going to be riskier than I thought, Rex.”  Her golden eyes waxed and waned.

          Kate Grody growled, “C’mon, let’s get us some spiritous drinks and calm down.  We can figure out how to approach Dunbar once the dust is out of our mouths.  That saloon there is packed.  Someone will know something.”

          Honey, Rex, and Kate left their horses boarded at Jacob’s Livery Stable and then stepped apart at different paces through the currents of people, on toward The Vinegarroon Saloon.  Honey Moses’ plan had begun.

          The The Vinegarroon Saloon was big, dark, and crowded, but as soon as his eyes adjusted Rex Ramsey recognized Jubilee Dunbar, Clifford Austin, and Deuce Taylor sitting playing cards with three strangers.  Dunbar, Austin, and Taylor were dressed incognito for their own safety, and for overhearing just exactly what the people of Passover were saying and maybe planning.  They were incognito to everyone except Rex Ramsey.

          Rex Ramsey stood quietly adjacent to the poker table, waiting for his chance to speak surreptitiously to Jubilee Dunbar, the brains of Dunbar, Austin, & Taylor.  If Jubilee had recognized Rex he never let on.  Jubilee Dunbar was sly.   

          Rex could see that they were playing that new kind of poker they called Texas Hold ’Em.  Jubilee had taught the game to Rex a time ago, in fact on their pursuit of the renegade shaman woman Chonkusha.  Rex knew that in Texas Hold ’Em the two cards you held face-down were the only cards that set you apart from the other players.  Face-up cards were community cards.  You needed to know what those cards could mean to your rivals as well as what they mean to you.  You especially needed to keep your eyes open for your rivals’ straight and flush chances.

          Rex looked up to see Kate Grody walking in.  Now, Kate Grody was a big boned gal and when she went riding she wore men’s clothes that got stretched in all the right places.  And so now she kind of stretched out the men’s eyes, and some women’s eyes too, as she walked right on through to a table in the far corner.

          Honey Moses, ruffle-skirted and with a fine lace bonnet, glided in the vacuum of attention that Kate Grody had caused.  Barely noticed, she hid her flashing gold eyes under a demurely averted gaze.









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The Outlaw Honey Moses and JUBILEE DUNBAR…..

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Chapter 5 – The Outlaw Honey Moses and




          Jubilee Dunbar was a bastard and a mulatto.

          His momma had told him that his father was Earl Dunbar the rich and famous “Earl of Industry”.  And it’s true that Jubilee’s momma had actually worked for a time in Earl Dunbar’s mansion.  But she was supposedly let-go for stealing.  She always claimed that she was let go because she was pregnant.  That was her story and no one could prove it or disprove it.  But Jubilee Dunbar grew up in a family where the main income was from the wash his momma took in, so he clung to the notion he was the illegitimate son of a rich white man.  In his mind he had been cheated.

          When he was a boy his momma would read to him at night.  She told Jubilee that he could be a lawyer like Frederick Douglas some day.  But he soon figured out that the pennies his momma tried to set aside would never pay for law school.  So, to get where he wanted to go, he “used his industry” to assemble a gang of young “entrepreneurs” that called themselves the Street Hounds Income Trust.  They laughed about that, but they swore loyalty to each other with blood.  What they couldn’t steal they sold “security” for.

          Since he was a mulatto who could pass for a white man, he was quick to assume a manner and to favor a debonair appearance in fine clothes in fine restaurants in fine hotels.  He had no guilt about assuming “that which was his due”, including the good name of Dunbar.

          For a while he even charmed an eccentric society widow into taking care of him while he took care of her, to put it politely.  That’s a whole other story in itself.  She eventually used her influence to get him appointed as a Deputy U. S. Marshal.

          I already told you about the time Jubilee Dunbar worked with Rex Ramsey. In those days, Jubilee Dunbar had been a ruthless Deputy U. S. Marshal and now, with that pretense crumpled in the dirt behind him, he was a ruthless Range Detective with a share in his own security company, securing for Jubilee Dunbar, you can bet on that.

          What was that you said?  Well, I heard all this right here at the Whisper Glory from Kate Grody herself after she carried out Honey Moses’ plan.  You can ask Kate yourself when you’re up there, if you feel like paying for talk.









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