An Ode to the Dearly Departed II

On the quick walk down main street, Doc is stopped outside Bar Romero by the local saloon girl.
“Doc, hey Doc!”
“Oh, Maggie! How’s everyone’s favorite saloon gal?”
“I’m doin just fine, word has it there’s a stranger what came into town just now.”
“Yup, headin to the Sheriff’s office to fix him up, he wasn’t on horseback, so he’s probably in pretty rough shape.”
“Mind if I tag along?”
“I don’t think he’s your type a man, Mag, he bit Gloria somethin fierce.”
“He sounds like exactly my kinda man.”
“Now, Maggie, differences aside, you just mind the saloon till we know more about him, alright?”
“Yeah, okay Doc.”
“I’ll stop by later, no need to worry your pretty head, I’ll patch this guy up as good as new.”
“Thanks, I’ll see you later, and have somethin’ cool and perspirin’ ready for ya”
“You’re a doll, Mag.”

Outside the Sheriff’s Office, Mr. Rumpert sits impatiently beside the open door.
“George, what’re you doin’ outside the Sheriff’s office, ain’t ya supposed ta be gettin a haircut?”
“Oh yeah, well, I helped bring in the stranger, just warnted ta see what was up, I gots a weird feelin’ ‘bout this, Doc.”
“I guess I meant doin sittin outside.”
“Oh, well that new feller stinks somethin fierce, ne’er smelt somethin’ so bad in all my days.”
“Where’s the Sheriff?”
“He just went to Miss Vicky’s to git some o’ that there pot-porry, persn’ly, I think he’s takin a shinin’ to her. Might be a while.”
“Well, with the Sheriff, I have little doubt many women’ve taken a shinin’ to him as well. I guess I better take a look at this guy anyhoo.”
“Sure, go on in, he’s locked up tighter than the barmaid.”
“Yeah, thanks, George, you better go get that hair cut, you’ll find out soon enough how he’s doin, way word travels around here.”
“Yeah, I reckon you’re right.”

The Doctor walks inside, and immediately holds his monogrammed handkerchief up to his face, covering his nose. He sees the man in the cell, propped up against the wall and the bars. His face is leathery, and he appears to be unconscious. The Doc puts down his bag of tools and tinctures and slowly approaches him, bending down. Taking a knee, he carefully reaches in between the bars, to check for a pulse on his neck. He pulls back, holding back a gag from the smell, before repositioning himself in case he actually vomits, so he won’t vomit on himself or the man; though, he thinks, that might actually make him smell better. His hand goes back in between the bars; a bead of sweat drips down his forehead, and between his glasses, down his face. His index finger touches the sunburnt skin on the neck of the man.

“Hey!”
“What?” The Doc, startled, pulls his hand back. “Oh, it’s just you, Sheriff.”
“Well who’d ya think it’d be, the boogerman? I just went to get some smellsgood next door, it’s worse than death in here.”
“You’re tellin’ me.”
“So what’s the verdict?”
“I was just gettin around to checkin his pulse, he don’t seem to be breathin.” The Doctor turns away from the Sheriff, and reaches his hand back in towards the man, and places it upon his neck.
“Hmm,” he looks away, down towards his watch, and counts…

“Well, that’s fifteen seconds. I’m sorry, Sheriff, this man’s dead.”
“Musta been the dehydration, or sun.”
“Probably, I’ll check for wounds after once we’re outside, let’s go down to old Gus, get a coffin for this poor fella, nothin’ I can do for him.”

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