“I don’t think he would,” Wyatt said. “But Johnny’s got something rolling downhill that he can’t stop. I want you safe.”

“And where do you think it will end?” Josie said.

“People got to go to jail,” Wyatt said. “And some got to be shot, I expect.”

“And it’s harder for you if I’m here?”

“I love you,” Wyatt said. “I will always love you. But, yes, it will be easier if I know you’re safe.”

“Then I’ll go. I’ll pack tonight and go tomorrow.”

They were silent, most of the pigeon pie uneaten on their plates.

“How’s Virgil?” Josie said finally.

“He’ll be all right,” Wyatt said. “He’s full of morphine now. Virgil’s tough. And Allie’s with him.”

“Allie doesn’t like me,” Josie said.

“No,” Wyatt said. “She doesn’t like me much either. But she likes Virgil.”

Josie drank a little more claret.

“And how are you?” Josie said.

“Nobody shot me,” Wyatt said.

“I know that Virgil was as much like a father as he was a brother.”

“He’s not that much older than me,” Wyatt said.

“I know.”

“But you’re right,” Wyatt said. “He’s always been the one. Maybe I’m closer to Morgan, for just playing cards and talking. But it’s always been Virgil. He’s the one counted. We always cared what Virgil thought. Always wanted to do things the way Virgil did them. It’s probably why me and Morg are gunhands, ’cause Virgil was a gunhand. Hell, now Warren’s a gunhand.”

“And Virgil?”

“Now he’s not a gunhand anymore. I mean he can still shoot. He’s got his right hand. But a man can only use one arm isn’t the same in a fight. Hell, he’d have trouble reloading, according to Goodfellow.”

“So he can’t take care of things anymore.”


“And now you are the one,” Josie said.

“I guess.”

Wyatt drank the rest of his coffee. Josie finished her wine.

“You want to come to my place?” Josie said. “And help me pack?”

“Yes,” Wyatt said. “But you can pack later.”

Josie smiled at him.

“Of course I can,” she said.

It was mid-March and the desert spring was already beginning to ornament the scrub around Tombstone. The window was open and the hopeful smell of it drifted into Virgil’s room at the Cosmopolitan, where Wyatt and Virgil sat together. Virgil was shaved and dressed. His white shirt was freshly laundered, though he wore no collar. His face was indoor pale. The white cloth sling on his left arm was freshly laundered too. On the table near his right hand was a big single action Colt with walnut grips. They were drinking coffee.

“You miss Josie?” Virgil said.

“I do.”

“Mattie’s been talking to Allie. She thinks maybe she’s won you back,” Virgil said.

“She’s got no reason to think that,” Wyatt said. “I haven’t been near her.”

“Women think things,” Virgil said.

They both drank coffee.

“Crawley Dake refused to accept that resignation letter,” Wyatt said.

“I told you he would,” Virgil said. “Why’d you write it, anyway?”

“Tired,” Wyatt said. “Tired of listening to all that horseshit in The Nugget. A little tired of guns, of my brother getting shot. A little tired of all the politics and bad-mouthing, and court appearances. Tired of Tombstone, maybe. Thinking maybe I should move along.”

“I’m a little tired of your brother getting shot too,” Virgil said.

“Well, I’m not going nowhere until we clean that up, deputy marshal or not.”

“Making any progress?”

“Not a lot to show for three months’ posse work,” Wyatt said.

“You got Ike in jail.”

“I do. But he won’t cooperate. He denies having anything to do with shooting you, and he goddamned insists that he don’t know who did. I even tried telling him we could make a deal.”

“Bygones be bygones?”

“Something like that.”

“He say anything about giving me back my left arm?” Virgil said.

Wyatt smiled slightly.

“Didn’t say I meant it ’bout bygones.”

Virgil smiled too.

“But he didn’t bite.”

“No,” Wyatt said. “Fact is, he’s swearing out a warrant on us for killing Billy and the McLaurys.”

“He’s wasting his time,” Virgil said.

“And ours.”

“Which may be the point. You keep showing up in court, you ain’t out chasing down the cowboys.”

“Tom Fitch’ll do most of the appearing in court for us.”

Virgil drank some coffee.

“Still, Ike’s an irritating little bastard,” Virgil said.

“Probably Behan’s idea on the warrant,” Wyatt said. “Keeps the cowboys stirred up. Ringo’s in town, and Curley Bill and Frank Stilwell.”

“I thought you had John Ringo for holding up the stage.”

“Driver wouldn’t identify him.”

“Scared of Ringo?”


“Can’t blame him that much, I guess.”

Virgil leaned back a little in his chair. Wyatt noticed that he seemed to move without pain.

“Allie,” Virgil shouted. “We need some more coffee.”

Virgil’s wife came in from the parlor with a big enamel coffeepot and poured some for both of them. She bent over and kissed Virgil on the top of the head and went out.

“Seems to like you better than she likes me,” Wyatt said.

“That’s a fact,” Virgil said.

“Fact she don’t like me much at all.”

“No,” Virgil said, “she don’t.”

“Ever since Josie.”

“Yep. Feels bad for Mattie.”

“Hell, Virg, she don’t even like Mattie.”

“She likes her better now that she’s a woman scorned.”

“She blame me for you getting shot?” Wyatt said.


“I guess she’s got the right. It goes back to me taking Josie from Behan.”

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