Chester

Lottie wasn’t sure what it was about Chester that she liked, but she did like him. He has a way about him. He dressed very dapperly and always had that 14k gold Elgin pocket watch with him; either in his pants pocket or in one of those many vests that he wore. He brought some class to her little hole in the wall saloon and she always welcomed his presence at one of her card tables. She was wiping down the bar and out of the corner of her eyes she caught Chester tapping the table top, and then taking the watch out and looking at the time.

“Chester you seem a bit antsy today “

“Just waiting for the stage, that’s all”

“You waiting for the stage”

“That’s what I said Lottie”

“Waiting on the mail then are you?”

“No.”

“You sure are being mysterious.”

“Not meaning to be.”

“There be only one stage due today and that is a special stage”

“I know that Lottie”

“So you waiting for one of those Catalogue Woman are you?”

“Yes Lottie, I am.”

Lottie was just about in fits inside. Chester was smiling to himself because he could see how worked up she was getting. He had always liked Lottie too, but for some reason they never got around to being a couple. Now she was working furiously trying to keep busy, but also making sure that Chester was very aware of just how riled up she was at the news.

“You know Chester if you would have told me you was interested in meeting a wife I might have been able to help you. You didn’t have to go and get one of those fancy woman from Boston you know.”

“Lottie, what are you saying?”

“I’m saying Chester that you should have asked around. There are many eligible ladies right here in Carson City.”

“You mean, like you Lottie”

“Yes, like me! What’s it to you?” Lottie was blushing all over.

“Nothing.” He said with a sly grin

Lottie walked away in a huff. Chester took out his watch one more time; looked at it and put it away. He glanced over at Lottie who was rearranging the bottles behind the bar, and shook his head and smiled to himself. For the first time he knew for certain she cared. He always wanted to think she did, but now there was no denying it. The thought of him with another woman was too much for Lottie to take. Oh, he was enjoying this. He soaked it all up just like the sponge Lottie was now washing the bar down with.

Lottie couldn’t stand it. How dare he do this to her. Who was there for him when he was thrown from his horse and laid up in bed for a week? She was. She took good care of him. Changed his dressings and made him warm meals. Sure she was a little rough around the edges but she had her own beauty. She wasn’t as refined as the woman back east but she was smart and she had money. They belonged together, and she always thought he’d wake up and realize it. Now she had been taken out of the running and was she ever jealous.

Some other folks started gathering in her saloon which meant that the stage was due to arrive very shortly. Chester watched as Lottie handled the few customers who stepped up to the bar. There were two other men dressed in their Sunday best obviously also waiting for the coach and the arrival of their mail order brides.

“Jasper here it comes” said one of the dressed up men.

Just then you could hear the cacophony made by the eight horse team that drove the coach. Dust was flying everywhere as the coach drew to a halt outside the saloon. The two well-dressed men exited the swinging doors and stood on the boardwalk flanking the front of the saloon. They stood there with bandanas protecting their nostrils from the dust that was still settling.

Chester called out to Lottie. “How about a libation before I go out and meet the stage.”

Lottie grabbed a glass and very briskly poured some bourbon into a glass and brought it begrudgingly over to the table.

“Here this ones on me. You’re going to need it not knowing what you will get.”

“Why Lottie I didn’t know you cared.”

“Drink up and beat it out of here before I box your ears Chester. Going and buying yourself a woman when you have plenty of woman to choose from right here. I never — “

She walked away mumbling, and Chester was just chuckling away at himself. Oh, won’t Lottie be tickled pink when she finds out the truth. Heck she is liable to chase him around the saloon with a broom when she finds out the truth. He couldn’t wait. He picked up the glass and drank it in one swallow. He got up from the table and walked outside through the swinging doors.

The driver was still shuttling the thirty mail bags around and three woman were now standing outside on the wooden boardwalk. Two of the young ladies were engaged in conversation with the two well-dressed men that had just been inside the saloon. Chester walked up to the beautiful lass standing all alone.

Oh, she was beautiful. Any man would be blessed to have this woman for his own. Chester was just about to introduce himself when Lottie came busting out the swinging doors whipping her broom about clearing all the dust that the stage had kicked up off the walkway.

“Well, well Chester who do we have here?”

Chester couldn’t take it anymore. He just smiled from ear to ear.

“Lottie this here is Maggie Coughlin all the way from Dublin Ireland, and she is here to be married to Sheriff Miller. I am just here to greet here since the Sheriff is out with the posse.”

Lottie gave Chester a playful punch on the arm.

“Why didn’t you just tell me that inside Chester?”

“It was more fun watching you stew”

“How about you invite Miss Coughlin in for a refreshment before taking her to the rooming house. You’d like that now, wouldn’t you dear, after riding all that way?”

The change in Lottie’s demeanor was truly endearing to Chester. He realized at the moment that he too would soon be getting married. Lottie put herself between the two of them. She linked her arms with each, and then the three walked merrily back inside. Drinks were on the house.