The Jimmyjohn Boss and Other Stories HTML version

A Kinsman of Red Cloud
It was thirty minutes before a June sundown at the post, and the first call had
sounded for parade. Over in the barracks the two companies and the single troop
lounged a moment longer, then laid their police litera- ture down, and lifted their
stocking feet from the beds to get ready. In the officers' quarters the captain rose
regretfully from after-dinner digestion, and the three lieutenants sought their
helmets with a sigh. Lieutenant Balwin had been dining an unconventional and
impressive guest at the mess, and he now interrupted the anecdote which the
guest was achieving with frontier deliberation.
"Make yourself comfortable," he said. "I'll have to hear the rest about the half-
breed when I get back."
"There ain't no more--yet. He got my cash with his private poker deck that onced,
and I'm fixing for to get his'n."
Second call sounded; the lines filed out and formed, the sergeant of the guard
and two privates took their station by the flag, and when battalion was formed the
commanding officer, towering steeple-stiff beneath his plumes, received the
adjutant's salute, ordered him to his post, and began drill. At all this the
unconventional guest looked on comfortably from Lieutenant Balwin's porch.
"I doubt if I could put up with that there discipline all the week," he mused. "Carry-
-arms! Present--Arms! I guess that's all I know of it." The winking white line of
gloves stirred his approval. "Pretty good that. Gosh, see the sun on them
The last note of retreat merged in the sonorous gun, and the flag shining in the
light of evening slid down and rested upon the earth. The blue ranks marched to
a single bugle--the post was short of men and officers--and the captain, with the
released lieutenants, again sought digestion and cigars. Balwin returned to his
guest, and together they watched the day forsake the plain. Presently the guest
rose to take his leave. He looked old enough to be the father of the young officer,
but he was a civilian, and the military man proceeded to give him excellent
"Now don't get into trouble, Cutler."
The slouch-shouldered scout rolled his quid gently, and smiled at his superior
with indulgent regard.
"See here, Cutler, you have a highly unoccupied look about you this evening. I've
been studying the customs of this population, and I've noted a fact or two."
"Let 'em loose on me, sir."