Longarm #396 : Longarm and the Castle of the Damned (9781101545249)

Longarm #396 : Longarm and the Castle of the Damned (9781101545249) by Tabor Evans Read Free Book Online

Book: Longarm #396 : Longarm and the Castle of the Damned (9781101545249) by Tabor Evans Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tabor Evans
nearby said. He was tall, with full whiskers but neatly trimmed, and he was not dressed like a saddle bum. Did not look much like a town merchant either. His voice was friendly enough though. Very polite.
    â€œDo you want a refill already, Chuck?” the barman asked.
    â€œNo, I’m still good here. I was talking to that other fellow.”
    â€œMe?” Longarm asked.
    â€œThat’s right. You asked about somebody called Netty, right?”
    â€œI sure did.”
    The man moved closer, dragging his mug with him. He took a peanut out of the bowl and carefully took the meat out of the shell, his fingers busy with that task while he spoke. “I heard such a name,” he said.
    Longarm’s interest quickened.
    â€œI’m trying to remember where that would’ve been.”
    â€œWould it help your memory if I was to set you up to a drink?” Longarm asked.
    The fellow smiled. “I’m not trying to cadge drinks off of you, mister. I can buy my own. No, I’m really trying to recall . . .” He snapped his fingers and grinned. “Now I recollect. It was out at the Birdwell ranch. The missus was saying something to her hired help. Called her Netty. I never heard what her right name might be, but I’m sure about that much.”
    The bartender tipped the bottle of rye over Longarm’s glass to refill it and said, “If Chuck says it, you can take that to the bank. I’ve never known him to be wrong.”
    â€œI wouldn’t go that far,” Chuck said modestly. “It’s just that I get around a lot. Meet plenty of folks. Pretty much everybody around here actually.”
    â€œThat’s the truth,” the barman injected. “Chuck here is a vet’rinarian. Doctors just about every horse or cow in the county.”
    â€œOnly those that need it,” Chuck said. “I keep trying to find a way so I can charge my fees for every animal, but for some reason the cattlemen don’t much cotton to that idea.” He laughed and took a deep pull on his beer.
    â€œI’d be happy to buy you another of those,” Longarm offered.
    â€œThanks, but I have to go. There are some sick sheep over south a way.”
    â€œBefore you go, would you mind pointing me to this Birdwell place you mentioned?”
    â€œI’ll be glad to. Step outside with me and I’ll tell you how to get there.” He looked at the bartender and nodded, “Thanks, Jerry. I’ll see you this evening, right?”
    â€œRight,” the barman said, taking Chuck’s mug down from the bar and dropping it into a basin of soapy water. Longarm noticed that he left the glass of rye where it was, rather than assume Longarm would be leaving after he got directions to the Birdwell ranch. Longarm definitely liked this place.
    â€œNow about this Birdwell place . . . ?” He followed Chuck out onto the boardwalk that fronted the saloon.

Chapter 13
    It looked like he would not be in and back out of Medicine Bow in one day, but duty trumped comfort in Longarm’s view, so he retrieved his carpetbag from the railroad depot and asked the clerk there where he could put up for the night.
    â€œOh, we got a hotel. It isn’t much of a place, but it serves the purpose. Cheap this time of year too. When the buyers are in and the cattlemen are shipping, that’s another story entirely. The price goes up, but the place fills up anyhow. Let me tell you how to get to it,” the clerk offered.
    Five minutes later Longarm was standing at the counter of a small and rather shabby hotel a block off the wide main street.
    â€œWill you be staying long?” a skinny kid with freckles and big teeth asked. Probably the proprietor’s son, Longarm guessed.
    â€œNo idea,” Longarm told him. “When I leave, I’ll give you a voucher for payment.”
    The kid scowled. “I don’t think we can do that.”
    â€œSure you can. It’s a

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