A NOVEL OF TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
I had spent a lot of time in the newspaper office, and it was twilight when I began walking to the hotel. As I ambled down the wooden sidewalk, I came to an alley between buildings.
I could feel another man slink in behind me. I began to turn around to see who had cut off my rear escape route. Just then, the man behind me grabbed me in a bear hug.
I don’t know why I reacted the way I did, but I turned 90 degrees to the man who held me (as best I could) and sat down with all the force I could muster.
My counter move sent the man who had applied the bear hug sailing over my head. He had to let go of me to use his hands to find where he was in relationship to the ground. He ended up tumbling into the assailant in front.
I wasted no time in getting to my feet, grabbing my hat and running toward the hotel. It was less than two doors down, and I entered the small lobby at a run.
The clerk behind the desk was startled. So, I explained, between gasps of breath, that I had just been mugged. This produced a quizzical expression. I further explained I had been attacked by two men just two doors down.
A man sitting in the lobby who had been reading a newspaper stood up and approached me. He asked if I could describe the men.
I said that the only one I really got a look at was the man who was in front of me. He was about 5 feet 10 inches tall with a black beard. I could smell whiskey on his breath when he had talked to me.
One feature that stood out to me was a white streak in the middle of his beard. That caused the clerk and the newspaper reader to perk up and really take notice. The clerk pulled out a pistol from under his desk and laid it on top of his ledger. The newspaper reader said he would go out the back door and get the town marshal.
The responses to my last bit of information sort of spooked me. I asked the clerk who this man was to create such trepidation.
“Haven’t you ever heard of Jones Gill?” the clerk asked.
I said I was new to the region and had no knowledge of him.
The clerk then proceeded to tell me the particulars about the notorious Jones Gill.