chapter eleven

chapter six

chapter twelve

chapter one

chapter seven

chapter thirteen

chapter two

chapter eight

chapter fourteen

chapter three

chapter nine

chapter fifteen

chapter four

chapter ten

chapter sixteen

chapter five

chapter eleven

chapter seventeen

chapter eleven
the candy man

It was a good days ride after Pete and Roscoe left, before Norny and the Pinkertons reached Ballard. Pete and Roscoe must have put the fear of God into the Pinkerton boys, because they couldnít have been more courteous to Norny.

Back in Sedona, no one, including Tom, knew what had happened to Norny or Pete and Roscoe. But half the cowboys in town were still hung over from the intoxicating effects of Nornyís smiling face, at the dance the night before. Only they know for sure, but you can bet that most of them slept with the vision of Norny, the bull riding beauty, held firmly in their arms as their personal prize, all that night.

 

They were just riding into the edge of Ballard, where they brought the worst criminals in the state. It was a kind of clearing house for human defectives, men who were waiting trial or were being shipped to the penitentiary. All these men were here for heavy crimes, like robbery or murder or even rape.

When Norny (in cuffs), and the Pinkertons rode into town, she notices a group of kids (about a dozen or so) that were gathered around a man. He was playing with the kids while feeding something to a dog. He appeared to have some sort of candy in his mouth, and all the kids had the same thing.

The man was Jim. He was at home with all the children in town, and love to satisfy his sweet tooth and those of his young friends. All the children seemed to be having a good time with him. There wasnít much doubt they liked this man. The kids could always count on Jim for candy, but they would have liked him either way.

He wasnít like other grown-ups. Jim was mentally challenged, and as big as he was he spoke their language. Unlike other grownups, Jim would never yell at them or talk down to them. Jim wasnít petty or moody, and he could never be mad at you, or turn away from you. He felt if you were his friend, he was lucky to have you. And loyalty was everything to someone like Jim. Especially his loyalty for all his friends.

Norny always liked kids so she couldnít help but smile as she went by. They all looked up at her with a puzzled expression on their face, including Jim.

The contrasting sight of her warm friendly smile, and those cold steel cuffs somehow didnít make sense.

They stopped by the livery stable first to take care of Poco. Then they walked down to the jail to book Norny into a private suite.

Pete and Roscoe were in route to Wells to find Dr. John to testify for Norny. When the Pinkertons walked Norny into the jail with cuffs on, the other prisoners in the cells started whooping and hollering and whistling for her. The sheriff had to clear one of the cells of its occupants to give the woman her own space.

They took Nornyís hat, vest and few personal belongings.

"Can I keep the earring around my neck?" She asked.

"I guess it couldnít hurt." The sheriff says.

The Pinkerton men spoke with Norny saying, "Sorry we had to bring you in Norny, but your friends will be back, and youíll get this cleared up. Then you wonít be arrested somewhere else when you least expect it. Good luck ."

When they put Norny into the cell they removed the cuffs and locked her in. There were at least a dozen men total in the other two cells, and they made a lot of noise.

The detectives talked to the sheriff and signed some papers, then they left.

 

Norny sat in the cell by herself. At least they werenít sewing up her head, or selling off her horse, she thought.

There were only three cells in the whole jail. Norny had the cell in the middle. The men in the next cell were rough housing and joking amongst themselves, but now they would poke fun at Norny. These men had no decency about them and they had no problem being crude or shouting obscenities in front of a woman. Of course most obscenities Norny didnít understand anyway.

"You look like a real desperado." "What have they got you for, makin patty cakes?" All the men in the cells broke into laughter. Norny didnít reply or pay any attention to them.

The sheriff had crowded all the men together into two cells so that they could accommodate Norny... But of course the men would have been much happier if they could have shared their cell with her.

Just then someone was walking in. As the door came open, she could see it was the man with all the kids in the street. He turned back around to wave and say good-bye to all the children, and she could hear them yelling good-bye to him. Then Norny hears someone from the cell next to her say, "Here comes the doofus."

Jim was the janitor. When he came in he noticed Norny in the middle cell. He was shocked to see a woman in jail. He couldnít take his eyes off of her. He was too shy to say anything, and a little embarrassed about it for some reason. Jim picked up his broom and started sweeping the place like he did every day. Except today he had a hard time watching what he was doing. He was totally perplexed by the sight of this woman in such a harsh environment.

When the prisoners saw Jim the janitor, they would turn their attention to him for lack of entertainment. Jim was mentally slow, and to the men in the cell he was known as idiot Jim.

"Hey Jim! You got a piece of candy for me?" One man says.

"OK." Jim says enthusiastically. And he reaches into his pocket and takes out a piece and hands it to the man behind the bars.

"Yeah! Me to." And another man sticks his hand through the bars. And Jim gladly handed him a piece of candy.

He was happy to do it, because he thought he was making friends this way. The most important thing in Jimís life was to make friends. And friends was not an easy thing for a special man like him to find.

 

Jim didnít have any idea of how old he was. But he was about thirty five, and had the mental capacity of a ten year old. He was an almost normal looking man. But a kind and gentle man who withstood a lot of ridicule from others in the town who were not so patient or understanding.

When someone would make fun or tease him, which was about every other day, Jim would take it with a smile and never say anything back. He was grateful that they would let him stay and live in the town with normal people.

Jim somehow knew there were places they sent people like him. Far away places where it was dark and virboding. Places were they treated his kind like animals. And he feared they might send him. He knew he was different and was always just a little apologetic for who he was or was not.

Early on before the people of the town realized what a gentle and honest person he was, they would accuse him of just about every unsolved petty crime that happened. And heaven forbid if anything should happen to one of the children. They would have hung Jim from a tree without giving it a thought. But as time went on they realized he was just a kid only bigger.

Jim was an orphan and was raised by a very elderly man who took pity on him. The old man cared for Jim up until the old man died, and Jim had to find his own way through life. But he never realized how difficult it could be to make a living when you were special like he was. Life itself was difficult for most people, but for special people like Jim, it was almost impossible. It would take the mercy of his fellow man along with a lot of luck to just get by in the world. And if his fellow man wasnít in a generous or humane mood, then everything could work against you.

Jim always needed to work or do something to make himself useful. But finding work was hard, because most people didnít think he was capable enough to do their work. Yes Jim was a little retarded, but if they would have taken the time to see what he was capable of, they would have been surprised at what a dependable hard working man he was. Jim was not a lazy man, he actually enjoyed working. He was always dependable because he couldnít afford to let anyone down. He was lucky they tolerated him at all.

Jim had tried to work at the store, but they employed relatives only. And he tried working at the saloon, but drunks would start picking on him and making fun of him. And even though they were drunks, they were still paying customers, and Jim became a liability, so they let him go.

The only jobs that were left nobody else wanted, and didnít take much brain power, was the stable and the jail. So Jim, thankfully, gratefully took the two jobs. They were jobs that only required cleaning and sweeping. But working at the jail was risky, because they kept some dangerous men there. And Jim had the capacity of a child. This made him an easy target for angry mean men with time on their hands.

He had lived here a while, so they knew him to be harmless, and their children were in no danger. There were no facades or deceptions with Jim. He was as you saw him. And if you had any heart at all, you couldnít help but feel compassion for this man.

Jim earned only a few dollars every week for his labor, but he didnít have many expenses. He lived in a room in the back of the livery stable, and he traded the rent for work cleaning the stalls and caring for the animals. This left him enough money to buy candy, for himself, and to hand out to the not so fortunate kids in town that couldnít buy it for themselves. And it proved to be a valuable tool in the art of making friends.

He loved treating the kids to candy after school. And when school let out for the day, the children would race to find Jim and share in his generosity. It made Jim feel wanted and important. The kids would laugh and talk to him and play childrenís games with him because he was really one of them. The children were the only ones he felt love from, and they were his true friends. The only difference between Jim and the other kids was, eventually all children grow up, but Jim never would. Sooner or later they would out grow their friend and leave him behind. But right now he was their candy man, and their big grownup friend.

But there was one other thing you could always count on like the rising sun. If Jim could buy candy,Ö.. you could share it with him.

 

In Jimís world there was a door which he feared more than anything. Behind which was a dark and scary place. A barren loneliness that loomed on the other side just waiting for him. Loneliness was Jimís boogeyman. The only thing that kept that door tightly closed was having people who liked and cared about him around. This is why Jim worked extra hard to make friends.

Jim had know idea that everyone of us avoids the same door. We just face it with different degrees of fear. His simple mind couldnít imagine the world of a normal person. Most of us realize this about ourselves and we cover each other to mask out the fear of loneliness, for as long as we can. And we tend to choose friends who can offer the best diversion against our mental solitude. But Jimís simplicity didnít offer much to a normal adult, so he was pretty much tolerated and ignored by most. But to the mind of a child, Jim was a special and unique adult friend. And he could supply them with a support and comfort and understanding that normal adults couldnít. And the children provided for Jim, the best defense against the vast loneliness on the other side.

 

Jim was blessed with innocents, and with the lack of ability to render hatred or prejudice in his mind towards his fellow man. To Jim all of mankind was good. Children and animals liked him. And that was a sure sign to Norny that he was a worthwhile human being.

The men in the cells would laugh at him because of the simplicity of his life, and that he was satisfied to push that broom around the jail and clean up. Jim was happy in the small, almost meaningless job of sweeping, and it didnít pay much at all. But to Jim it was an important job. And he felt he served a useful purpose. His reward in life was in the pride he took in doing his job well. He had self respect, because he earned all he got, and didnít rely on hand outs from others to get by.

Jim and Norny had two things in common. They were both orphaned, and they were both contented with the simplicity of life itself. They needed for nothing else to make life feel worth living. But Jim was home. And he was willing to live his life out right here where he lived. While Norny was missing something, that feeling of belonging, and had to seek what ever it was that made her feel there was another place she should be.

The imprisoned men in the cells had bad attitudes about people and life in general. These men got here for a good reason. Their outlook on life and other people was twisted and distorted from what ever their past had dealt them.

It never occurred to the men in the cell that they were the losers. They always thought that they were just one step away from a big score. Just as soon as they get another chance they would make a play for the jackpot. Of course trying to make that score is why they spent all their time in jail. To the prisoners, they thought of themselves as having the world by the tail, and everyone else were the fools. They were so much smarter then honest law abiding people, because they knew an easier, faster way to get what they want. And they got caught only because they hadnít mastered there trade yet.

Norny knew she was going to be here for a while, so she figured she had better relax into the situation. She looks over at the man sweeping the floor, who is and curiously glancing at her. Norny could tell that the man was slow. She stands and holds onto the bars in front of her and says, "Hi, my name is Norny. Whatís yours?"
Someone in the next cell says, "Thatís idiot Jim." And then there was total laughter from the men in the cell.
Jim was laughing at himself right along with them. She ignored them.
"Jim." He says
"Norny? Thatís a funny name." Jim says.
"Thatís what Iíve heard Jim." She replies.
"Well Jim, Its nice to meet you."
Jim smiles at Norny. "You want a piece of candy?" Jim asks as he reaches into his pocket anxiously.
"Thank you, but not right now, maybe I could have one later... Where do you live Jim?"
"I live at the stable. I take care of the horses and clean the stalls." Jim said it like he was proud of what he did.
Norny says. "Jim, I just came into town and I need someone who knows about horses to help me take care of mine. Would that be you, could you do that for me?"
"OK Miss Norny."
"You can just call me Norny, Jim."
"OK." He says.

But Jim always put the Miss in front of her name as a sign of respect. It was one of the things he had to do to humble himself to others.

"Do you know which horse is mine Jim?"
"I do. I saw him when you brought him in with those men. Heís a nice horse Miss Norny."
"Yes he is Jim, Heís my pretty big boy. Heís my best friend, and he needs special attention, because Iím not there to give it to him. I think your just the right man to do that for me Jim. Are you?"
"Yes maíam. Iíll take real good care of your horse, Miss Norny."
"His name is Poco. And he loves to be brushed. Will you remember that Jim?"
"Yes maíam, I will."
"Then Iíd like you to go over to the store, and get a couple of apples and some carrots. Tell them Iíll pay for it when I get out. Then take my vest off the hook over there, up to the stable so that Poco can smell my scent. Then hang it in the stall so he can have my scent when he wants to."

"Hey, we could use your scent over here sweetheart." Someone yells. Norny ignores the intrusion on her conversation.

She continues... "Then hand feed him the carrots and the apples. Will you do it for me Jim?"
"OK Miss Norny."
"And talk to him Jim. He likes to know who you are and that your a friend of mine."
"Can he understand me Miss Norny?"
"Yes Jim, he understands a lot about people by the way they sound and how they act. And I know heís going to like you."
"Am I really your friend Miss Norny?"
"Yes Jim, I think your going to be my good friend."

Jim had a large smile on his face, and renewed enthusiasm to help his new friend Norny.

 

And he did exactly as Norny asked him to do. And when Jim would return to the stable every day, he would care for Poco attentively, and talk to him like Poco understood every word. He was Pocoís friend too.

Jim gave Nornyís horse very special care. He curried and brushed Poco with all the diligence he would give him if Poco were his. And Jim would always give one extra little dividend, he always had a sweet treat from his pocket for Poco.

You could always depend on Jim to show up at the right time to work every day. And true to his form, he carried candy in his pockets for all who wanted some and would be his friend.

 

"Hi Jim." Norny says with a smile. Norny had plenty of smiles for Jim, and she didnít hesitate to share them with him. She knew of no one who was more deserving of a friendly smile than Jim.
"Hi Miss Norny."
"You taken good care of my Poco, Jim?"
"Yes Miss Norny. Poco likes the candy I give him when Iím done brushing him."
Norny says "Your the candy man Jim."
And Jim says "I am?"
"Sure you are. You buy candy to give all your friends. So that makes you the candy man."
Jim gives Norny a big smile.. Someone saw enough worth in him to give him a nickname. It made him feel like a real person. "Iím the candy man." Jim says.

The men in the next cell are chuckling to themselves.

Eager to share his new title with his friends in the other cells, Jim looks at them and says, "Miss Norny says Iím the candy man."
"Thatís right, you are, you knuckle headed idiot." One man says while smiling at Jim. All the other men break into laughter, and Jim laughs right along with them.
"Your a feeble minded idiot Jim." Another man says while he is laughing with the others. Jim smiles and laughs right along.

Jim didnít care that they were laughing at him, because at least they werenít angry at him. And if they werenít angry at him, they wouldnít hurt him. Jim had heard these men yelling at each other before, and it scared him. He didnít ever want then to direct that anger at him. Besides, Jim knew he wasnít as good as them, so it was all right to make fun of him, it was their form of acceptance.

But Norny wasnít laughing. She saw exactly the kind of hateful animals these men really were. And she knew that Jim had better be very careful around them. Norny had been the subject of fun and ridicule when she was coming up in the tribe. And she took it. But it was nothing like this. These men were down right mean. These were the kind of men that would drown puppies or kittens for the sport of it. And they were imprisoned for a reason.

 

As the next couple of days unfolded, the men were developing a real appetite for the woman in the next cell. If they could just get at her they thought. To them she was a tasty little morsel just out of their reach. She was so close, yet so far from their grasp. So one of them came up with a plan.

When the men would go out into the yard for their daily exercise hour, they would empty only the two cells that contained the men. The woman would take her turn after them.

Well what if they could convince someone to open the wrong two cells. That would do it.

Norny knew that these men wanted her. They made it pretty obvious. And she hoped they would never be able to get at her. But she didnít feel completely safe even with the bars between them. Well she was right. Not all the deputies were honest law abiding officers of the star. And a deal had been struck to open the wrong two cells. The deal happened when the men went out into the yard and they propositioned one of the deputies. The deputy could excuse himself for a personal emergency, leaving the men alone with Norny.

 

When the third day came around the men were a little quieter than usual. They had been whispering things to each other, obviously so that the woman wouldnít hear. That was a sign that something was up.

It was just before the noon hour and it was time to go out into the yard. When the door in the back of the menís cell came open that emptied into the yard All the men were looking anxiously at Norny. She saw the men looking at her and the hair stood up on the back of her neck. She knew something was about to happen.

Norny wasnít so naïve that she didnít think they wouldnít try getting her out into the yard with the men. She was the only female with all those men, and she knew what they must have planned.

Norny was definitely afraid of what might happen to her. But there was no place to hide.

 

The yard was quiet; not noisy like it usually was when the men went into the yard. She had to get it together in her mind so that she would be ready for whatever would happen. There were at least six men out there.

Norny flashed back to many years earlier when her teacher ( Crow Feathers ) told her. " When you go into battle with the enemy, seldom do you have only one opponent. You must be prepared to take them on from all directions at once. Strike as many of the first blows as you can to decrease the numbers. Make sure you hit them in places that are difficult to recover quickly. And if need be, do not hesitate to strike the fatal blow when your own life is in danger."

Then he told her, "You have one very important thing in your favor Smiling Eyes. You are a woman, and no one will take your threat seriously at first, so take advantage of that. And remember this also. Should you go into battle alone, and you fear the numbers. Think of me there with you. For I will always be there by your side in spirit when you face the enemy."

 

These were reassuring words from the past, but this was not the enemy Crow Feathers had intended with his teachings. But men are men, and they all bleed just the same.

Norny sat down on the bunk and slowly removed her boots. Then she took the earring from around her neck, Clinching the earring in her fist, with the chain dangling she puts it to her lips. Then she slipped the earring into her pants pocket.

She heard someone at the back door, then just as she suspected would happen, her door came open next. She had to go deep into herself and summon the courage that Crow Feathers had instilled in her as a warrior. Norny could have stayed in the cell until they came in for her, but they surely would, so she might as well walk out to meet the enemy head on like she was taught. So in Nornyís mind as she walked out into to yard, with all eyes upon her, she walked with Crow Feathers on her left. When she stepped through the door into the yard, her muscles tightened, her heart started pounding and the adrenaline started flowing. She looked straight ahead and showed them no fear.

These men had worked themselves up, in anticipation of gratifying their personal lust. But the carnal prize they were about to receive, was to be delivered in a form they never expected.

The men in the other cell next to her were crowding up to the bars trying to see through her open door to the outside. Pushing and shoving each other out of the way to get the better view, but they couldnít. However they did hear what sounded like thumps and slaps and groans.

 

A moment later Jim comes in to do his chores. Jim saw that someone let Norny out into the yard at the same time as the men. He might not have known exactly why it was wrong, but he knew it wasnít right, and that Norny could be in danger.

"Nornyís in the yard with the men!" He shouts.
"Shut up and mind your own business you imbecile!" One of the men in the remaining cell tells him.
"She shouldnít be out there, she shouldnít be out there!"
"I told you to shut up!" He says.

Jim takes off and runs to find someone to help. After a moment he comes back with one of the good deputies.

"You got to get her back in here." Jim yells. The deputy goes out to the back.
"Ok, everyone back in, NOW!" the deputy yells."

A man staggers into the cell, then Norny come into hers. She looks OK.

When Jim saw Norny his eyes widened with relief. Then a couple of other men were coming into the cell next to her. The men were quiet. They werenít causing the ruckus they normally do. They were all looking at Norny. No one was saying anything. The men went out into the yard with a plan, but got a few new dents pounded into them instead. One of the men had a torn shirt, and had his head tilted back and holding his bloody nose.

"Someone get me a rag or something!" He exclaims.
Another was holding his gut like he ate something bad. And three of the men didnít come back in at all.
"Hey! Where is the rest of the men?" the deputy asks. One of the prisoners replies by saying,
"Their out in the yard. Say whatís with that woman anyway? Is she some kind of crazy ass kicking super bitch or something? Its lucky she didnít seriously hurt one of us."

Now the men really wanted to know what this woman was in for.

The deputy runs out into the yard and finds three men doubled over on the ground, with their hands cupping their now lack of enthusiasm.

The men in the cell on the other side of Norny yell across to the injured men, "You mean to say that all you big men out there couldnít handle one little woman?" Then they all laughed.

"Yeah! You think its funny, do ya. You ought to give it a try. She ainít the timid little woman you think she is," the man yells back.

It wasnít that Norny could take on six men at one time, but the element of shock and surprise worked in her favor. After she swiftly broke a nose, and bruised some ribs, reluctance set in on the rest of them. That gave her ample opportunity to deliver a few swift kicks square in the middle of the thinking part of their anatomy.

The men came to realize that getting at Norny wasnít as easy as they might have thought. They didnít figure on a woman that was trained in fighting. And now they thought they might not get the chance again.

 

The men in the cell learned that Jim spoiled their plans to get at Norny. And Jim had probably saved them from a worse beating by getting the deputy. But they would never see it that way. So the next day when Jim comes in, the men greet him the usual way.

"How about a piece of candy, Jim?" "Yeah, me too." Another says, "Me too." "Yeah, toss one over here."

"OK." So Jim reaches into his pocket and with a smile on his face he generously distributes the candy to all the hands extended through the cell bars. After filling all the hands with candy, Jim steps back smiling that he pleased his friends, and starts sweeping.

All of a sudden someone throws their candy back at Jim and hits him in the head shouting. "I donít want your candy, you damn retard!" Then the others did the same while shouting obscenities at him and calling him names like feeble-minded squealer.

Jim flinches as the candy pelts him in the head and upper body. He drops the broom and covers his face with his arms.

He cries out in distress. Jim knows that heís angered these men and heís scared to death of them now, and he looks like he is about to cry.

They were loud and aggressive, and they were terrorizing this fragile man.

Norny sticks her arm out through the bars, waving her fingers at Jim to get his attention and says, "Come here Jim, come here itís OkÖÖ Itís Ok, JimÖ.. Look at me, Jim."
But Jim has his face partially covered so they wouldnít hurt him saying. "Iím sorry." For what he didnít know.
"Its OK Jim,ÖÖ. its not your faultÖ.. Donít cry, you didnít do anything wrong JimÖÖ.I wonít let them hurt you Jim!" Norny pleads.

She could see Jimís head was bent down towards the floor with his eyes tightly closed. His mouth was open as wide as it could be, and he was trying to make a sound but was totally silent. He was slipping into his own world, and closing out everything around him.

Jim is just barely out of reach, so Norny puts her body sideways into the bars and stretches out as far as she can. Sheís straining, but she canít quit reach him, "JIM!Ö. LOOK AT ME!Ö.. JIM!" She shouts as she kept trying to get his attention, but couldnít.

So Norny leans with her back against the bars, and removes one of her boots. Then she turns back around, and once again leans sideways into the bars as far as she can, stretching her arm out and holding the boot. Finally she just gets the toe of the boot through his arm and gently pulls him towards her.

All the while the men are laughing at the child like sensitivity of the big imbecile.

Norny finally coaxes him over to the cell with her. She drops her boot to the floor, and with the cell bars between them, she put her arms out and around Jim to hug and comfort him. She puts his head along side of hers and down towards her shoulder while she pats his back trying to sooth him like the child that he is. Norny can tell now that Jim is crying soundlessly. The reflection in the small mirror on the wall opposite her cell shows her glaring straight at the men in the cell next to her as she pats Jim and saysÖ. "Itís Ok Jim, your a good manÖ.. Itís OK." She could feel Jim trembling with fear of these angry men.

"Your my friend Jim,Ö your my good friend, and you always will beÖ.. You know that donít you?"

Jim knew that, but he was too afraid to look up or answer her.

Norny never set out to be the defender of the meek. But she had already learned this is a cruel world, and sometimes she had to stand up for the ones too weak to stand up for themselves. She couldnít help it. This is what her and Daniel had in common. They were the defenders. Perhaps it was something that happened early in Nornyís childhood that registered in her memory and forced her to fight for the weak ones. What ever it was that possessed her, it was unstoppable.

"Listen to me Jim, I want you to go down to the stable and take care of Poco, do you hear me?" Whimpering he nods his head.

"Go on now, donít look over there at those men and donít worry about sweeping up today, itíll wait until tomorrow. Ok Jim?"

Jim just nods. Then he turns with his head down, and for the first time ever, walked away before completing the job they pay him to do..

 

Norny turns to the men in the next cell. With hard, cold eyes, she looks directly at them for just a moment, then she says, "Ha-senta ga- who-ish tay."
"What the hell does that mean? You sound like a damn Injun or somethin." One of the men asks.
"You are a feast for the cock roaches." She replies.
"Yeah, well listen you snooty bitch, you and that moron friend of yours are perfect for each other. And you can both go straight to hell." The man yells at her.
"If it were within my power to remove these bars between us. I would grant each of you one moment with me." Norny says.

Her anger for these men was growing, and transforming into something she was not familiar with. But something the white man knew too wellÖÖ.hate. It brought uncontrollable feelings out from within her that made her want to physically hurt these men. She did not recognize herself at this moment. And control was difficult.

Right now Norny was capable of bringing forth violence, she was never capable of before. They had brought out a new anger in Norny that she had never known existed within her from the confines of her tribal world. She had always been a mild mannered woman, but this was the white mans world, and they were different.

"Now your talkin sweetheart." He says and all the men laugh and agree.

These men hadnít learned their lesson out in the yard when she whipped up on them as they attempted to assault her. She had the ability to inflict permanent damage on any of them in combat, but it normally wasnít in her nature. But their narrow thinking wouldnít accept the idea of a woman being a formidable fighter or a physical threat.

"You are not men, you are cowards." She says
"Well were more man then youíll ever know." They reply.
"Believe me, I have known real men. And none of you are real men.. To have Jimís friendship is a privilege that creatures like you donít deserve." She said.

These men were the by-product of civilization, and theyíre hatred and prejudice spread like a plague through out.

Who they were and how they thought, could not be contained by mere iron bars. They are a plague on the wind, and their numbers are destined to multiply too fast to stop or control. Norny could see that the white man had brought with him an ignorance and prejudice that was previously unknown to the Indian. The fate and destiny of the red man was inevitable to Norny now, and knowing this, broke her heart and changed something deep within her.

Norny sat down on her bunk, starring at the floor, and thought about Jim. This is not a good place for him to be working. Jim is innocent, and these men prey on that. But then she realized that these particular men would be leaving here soon, and wouldnít be back. Still though, she would like to help Jim find something better. He was worth it and she owed him for the help he had given her in caring for Poco.

 

When Pete and Roscoe stormed into Wells they quickly ascertained the where abouts of Dr. John. They learned they had passed his place almost five miles back. The sun was going down so the two of them decided to stay in wells for the night.

While they were there they spoke with some of the people to get a better idea of what was going on with the charges brought against Norny.

They learned all about Nora and her gold digging reputation. From what they were told, Nora was unfaithful to her husband right up to the end. They could see the whole picture now. Nora was upset about not getting the fortune that she married Henry for in the first place, and she believed he had hidden in the house.

They knew what they were going to have to do. They were going to try and buy Nora off to drop the charges. They figured that between the two of them they had over six thousand dollars from their winning in Sedona. Maybe they could convince the woman that by putting Norny behind bars, she has nothing to gain. She would still never see a dime. But this way she would at least get something.

 

The next morning the two of them saddled up and headed out to the Docís. Pete and Roscoe were in a big hurry. They didnít have time for any polite conversation sense they only had so much time to get to Pacton for Nornyís arraignment.

The Doc was a widower and lived alone.

When they got to the Docís place, he was just sitting down to his breakfast. When the Doc came to the door, they told him in short words that his testimony was needed in Pacton right away. To which the doctor says, "Sorry but I have things to attend to and canít go right now."

"Yeah you can Doc." Roscoe says as him and Pete each grab one of his arms and escort him out. They quickly went out to the carriage they had waiting, and lifted the Doctor onto it.
"But my breakfast!" He exclaims.
"You can eat later." Pete says.
"Wait! I donít have my clothes on! You canít do this. You canít barge into a manís home and just take him away unwillingly." Doc says.

"Tell me Doc, are you willing to let an innocent woman go to prison after you asked her to stay with a patient, and then told her you would back her up if anything went wrong?" Pete asks.
"Oh! This is about the charges Nora is bringing on that woman I left at Henry Willisís place. The one with the strange name.
"Norny." Pete says.
"Thatís right! Well I donít understand what possessed her set fire to the place?" Doc says.
"Look weíll explain it to you on the way, we havenít got any time to lose. Now letís go Doc." Pete says.
"But what about my pants and my boots?" the Doctor exclaims.
"Roscoe you get his boots and pants and catch up with us." Pete says.
From up in the saddle, Pete smacks the horse hitched to Docís buggy, "Hurry up Roscoe." Pete shouts. And he also takes off.

Roscoe catches up after about twenty minutes. He rides up along side of the buggy and tosses his clothes on the seat next to the Doc, "Here ya go Doc." Roscoe says.

The Doc pulls to a stop, "Woah." He says. He looks down at the pants and the boots then yells back at him. "These are my pajama bottoms. And you brought two left boots, not even the same color. What are you blind?"
Pete looks at Roscoe and says. "Yeah, what were you doing back there Roscoe?"
"Well I guess I just wasnít paying attention."
"But his pajama bottoms have flowers on them. How is he going to stand in front of a judge and look like a respectable man? You didnít notice the flowers?"
"Hell, I just grabbed them and ran, I didnít check to see if they were in fashion or not." Roscoe says
"Well, he canít fit into yours, so we just have to hope the judge will understand, sense we donít have the time to buy him any."
"Ah thatís just great! How am I going to look like a credible witness when Iím dressed like a fool." Doc exclaims.
"Weíll make it work somehow." Pete says
Pete rides over along side of Roscoe and quietly says, "You stayed and finished his breakfast didnít you?"
"Yeah." Roscoe says.
"Thatís what I thought. Thinkin of yourself again. Did you ever think that I didnít eat this morning either? But Iím not complaining."
"Yeah, I thought about that." Roscoe says as he reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a sausage link and hands it to Pete.
"No thanks." Pete says. So Roscoe pops it in his mouth.

 

When they got to Pacton they figured they were going to need a lawyer for Norny, so they got one and told him the whole story. They paid for the lawyer up front like he asked, then sent him over to see Norny.

The next day word came in that Nornyís arraignment was happening that afternoon.. Nornyís lawyer came in and pulled up a chair in front of her cell. He explained about what was going to happen. And what she was going to be held accountable for. The attorney told Norny that everything would depend on Dr. Johnís testimony. Then the lawyer needed to know everything that happened from the time she met Dr. John.

So the time came and they escorted Norny in front of the judge where her attorney told her that pleading guilty would probably be the safest way to go, and the best deal for her.

"In what way? I donít want to give away years of my life for something that I shouldnít be guilty of." She told him.

Is this what they do in the civilized world? Give away years of their life to make it easier on the lawyers and the system. What kind of logic does that make? she thought.

 

In the back of the courtroom sat Pete and Roscoe and the Doc. The judge asks. "Who is Doctor John?"
"Thatís me your honor." As he stood up.
"Approach the bench please." The judge says. So the doc walks up to the judgeís bench.
There were a few other people in the court room, and they started subtly laughing as the Doc walks forward.
"Is this some kinda joke. Iíve never seen any Doctor dress like that."
"Please let me explain, your honor!"

But just then Noraís attorney comes in and says they had dropped the charges. Which confused Norny, but at least she wasnít going to jail.

Pete and Roscoe had paid Nora off with five thousand dollars, and paid the attorney another thousand up front (even though he didnít have to work for it ). Except for their winnings and Nornyís five hundred in prize money, they broke even. But they wouldnít have even won the six thousand if it hadnít have been for Norny.

They decided not to tell Norny all the details of buying her freedom, so they wouldnít have to divulge how they got the money.

They paid Norny the prize money and things were square all around.

 

Norny returns from the hearings, and she was very fortunate that she had Pete and Roscoe to help her out with this one. But at last she is out.

"Look Pete, Roscoe, I canít leave here quite yet. I have to help a friend of mine. I owe it to him. So if you guys want to ride onÖÖ.."

"No, thatís all right Norny. You do what ever you have to, take what ever time you need, weíll wait for you. Right now weíre going over to the saloon for a couple beers. Weíll catch you later." Pete says.

She returns to the jail to pick up her personal belongings, but she didnít see Jim there yet. All the cells were empty and only the deputy was there.

When the deputy hands Norny back her belongings, the deputy says, "Nice watch."
"Yes it is, but it quit working a while back." She replies.
"Let me see it." He says.

He takes the watch and looks it over closely, then says. "You just have to wind it like this." And he shows her, "There see its ticking again. Just wind it once a day and it will always tell time."

"Thank you." She says

It seems that Emilly took it for granted that Norny would know how to wind the watch. Suddenly it chimed, and a smile came over her face. A friendly reminder of Emillyís class she thought.

Norny thanked the deputy and headed out to find Jim.

Iíll catch up with him after I settle up with the store. she thought.

Norny comes into the store and says to the man. " Iím here to pay for the things that Jim picked up for me."

"Oh, your the one he called Miss Norny. You donít owe me anything for that. Sorry but I couldnít extend credit to a total stranger and especially a prisoner, and I tried to explain that to Jim. Hell, I donít even know who you are."

"Well how did Jim get my supplies?" She asked.
"He paid for it with his own money." He said.
"Oh!" Norny says. And she turns and walks out. Well that sweet man. That was very thoughtful of Jim to do that for me she thought. Iíll have to thank him and pay him back as soon as I can find him.

She heads over to the stables, where Pete and Roscoe were going to meet her later after a couple of beers.

Iíll see if Jim is in his room and square up with him, she thought.

When she looks into Jimís room she sees itís empty. His bunk and all his few belongings were gone.

Norny goes to find the stable master and see what he knows of Jimís where abouts, "Hi, Iím looking for Jim, but I see that his stuff isnít in the little room in back. Did he move?"

"Do you know Jim?" He asks.
"Yes, he has been caring for my horse."
"Oh you must be Miss Norny."
"Thatís right."

"WellÖÖÖ.." the stable master went on to explain,

ÖÖThe men with nothing but time on their hands ran out of patience for this simple man. And eventually they had become tired of the teasing and ridicule they had for Jim. They couldnít understand his contentment for the simplicity of his life, and they had no idea of the difficulty Jim had in his everyday plight to be excepted. To them he was always just a worthless retard.

The prisoners in the cells had many wishes and expectations of life. Things like wealth, women and wine. But Jim had only one wish in his whole life, and that was to fit in and be like everyone else.

Somehow in their minds Jim was defective and was here for their amusement, like he really didnít belong or had any right to live or want anything out of life like the rest of us.

And for some reason the woman ( Norny ) took a liking to him even though to the men he was such an idiot.

The prisoners in the cell now felt they had good reason to let their hatred out for Jim for tattling on them, when they had Norny out in the yard. But Jim had feelings for Norny and cared about her, because she was friendly to him and acted like she really cared about him ( and she did ). The truth is no one ever treated Jim with the kindness of attention that Norny gave him. And no one ever made him feel like a real person until she came along. Though he thought he was doing the right thing by pointing out that Norny shouldnít be out in the yard with the men, and he thought he was doing something good for all concerned. He didnít see the other side of his actions. That he was making these men his enemies. Although they never really were his friends, they at least pretended, but he didnít know that.

In Jimís limited thinking, he never thought that the menís anger would come back on him for this. That his worst fears of these men were being realized. But it happened.

Jim was naive to the complexities involved in the resulting of his actions.

And all along Norny made sure they knew she was on to them about how they really felt about Jim.

While Norny was away in Pacton on trial for those few days, and though she had warned Jim to stay clear of their cell.

It was no big feat for those men to out-smart someone as trusting and naive as Jim was.

On the first day of Nornyís absence. In the afternoon while the sheriff was away and the deputies were out on patrol as usual, so no one was there to prevent it. It was an easy task to lure Jim over close to the cell.

Begging Jim for a piece of candy, a request they knew he couldnít refuse. When they got him in close enough.

Someone reached through the iron cage, and using the tool in which he earn his living, that made him the money he required to keep all his little friends supplied with candy. They pulled his broom to his throat, and his back against the bars, ruthlessly choked the life out of him.

As Jimís lifeless body slumped slowly downward, his candy spilled to the floor. Their greedy hands pilfer his pockets stealing Jimís candy along with his dreams of acceptance and validation from him for the last time.

As the man finishes telling Norny the story, tears are pooling in the bottom of her eyes. She can hardly believe what she is hearing. And while he is speaking, she canít stop herself from saying softly in a shaky voice, "Oh Jim."

"Iím sorry, was he a friend of yours?" The man asks.

As a tear rolls off her cheek and on to her vest she says, "Yes he was. A very good friend." She says. What a tragic waste of a worthwhile life, she thought. Here is a simple man, that reached out in friendship and touched so many people. His kindness and good intentions were seldom noticed. He never asked anything more of anyone than to be his friend.

When the sheriff returned and discovered what had happened, no one had seen a thing or knew who could have done it. All the men in the cell were hustled off to prison and into confinement until the truth could be learned.

Norny felt a kind of sickness she had never known before. A grief that was different for her than any other. She had never known what the power of hatred from ignorance could do until now. She was hurting for the loss of her friend Jim. She felt this town had let Jim down. And in doing so lost its leading and most worthwhile citizen. This town had taken Jimís smiling generosity for granted, and they had no idea of how their lives would soon dim from his absence. The world could never have enough like him, and there were too few Jimís in it. she thought.

The lives of those men that did this horrible deed have no value to anyone other than themselves, but they will live forever. But the life they took from Jim was one of a kind irreplaceable, and will never be again.

 

Norny goes back into the store, "Why didnít you tell me?" She says with tear trails down her face.

"I thought you knew maíam. It happened a couple of days ago. The whole town knows about what happened."

Norny reaches into her pocket and takes out a wade of bills. She lays out a hundred dollars on the counter, "Listen closely to me." She says, "Whenever some child comes in here, and looks at the candy in the jars with wishful eyes, and doesnít have the money to buy any. You give it to them anyway, and tell them its from their friend, Jim, the candy man. And youíd better do it! Do you understand?"

"Yes maíam I will." He says as he gathers the money from the counter.

A hundred dollars would buy candy for many kids for years to come. And it was the only thing Norny could think of to do to repay Jim for the kindness heíd showed her and the debt she owed him.

Because Jim was a simple minded man, this town should have protected him as if he was one of their own children. They should have treasured the uniqueness of Jim, rather than tolerating his deficiency.

After all, his kindness and generosity was boundless to his friends and neighbors. He depended on this town for their compassion and understanding of his difference. He needed their acceptance for his very existence and survival, and they should have made up for his difference with their intelligence, she thought.

 

Pete and Roscoe are sitting in the saddle and holding Poco when she comes out. They notice the tear tracks on her face.

Sheís free and not going to jail, so what could be wrong. Maybe itís a womanís thing? they thought. And no man could ever understand that.

Pete looks at her and says "Whatís the matter Norny? You look like youíve been crying."

"Iíll be OK."

Norny climbs into the saddle and the three of them head out of Ballard. But then she stops for a minute when she notices all the children gathered just out of town. She realizes theyíre saying good-bye to their friend Jim. She feels an emptiness inside.

Then she looks straight down the road and they head out.

But as they go, Norny and Poco would always carry with them the kindness of their friend Jim etched forever in their memory. For the people of this town, the simplicity and kindness once delivered by their smiling friend the candy man, is now gone from their midst forever. Theyíve yet to notice his absence, but they soon will.


chapter

12

just among friends

(click on Norny's face to see sketch detail)