A few hours laters, Slade found himself staring down at a stone marker. A name and dates had been carved eloquently into it. “Mavis Beauregard 1814-1877.”
Less eloquently, but with just as much love, a name and dates had been etched across a wooden cross. “Gunther Beauregard 1813-1880.”
“Did you know Mavis?” Slade asked.
“A little,” Miss Bonnie answered.
“Those two get along as famously as he made out?” Slade asked.
“And then some,” Bonnie replied.
“Damn,” Slade said. “I hope I find a wife some day who will cook all my meals and sew me a fancy vest.”
“Good luck with that,” Miss Bonnie said.
The couple laid some flowers down on each grave.
Miss Bonnie looked around. Fresh graves going on forever.
“The cemetery sure got bigger,” Miss Bonnie said.
Slade struck a match and lit his cigar. “That it has.”
“Boots on or off?” Slade asked.
“Huh?” Miss Bonnie asked.
“Nothing,” Slade said. “Just something Gunther said to me is all.”
“Is it me or are you chattier lately?” Miss Bonnie asked.
“I don’t think so,” Slade said.
“I do,” Miss Bonnie said. “You and the Chief were looking as thick as thieves.”
Slade coughed into his hand. “I might be trying harder.”
Miss Bonnie pointed to an old oak tree. Miles was standing next to it. He’d found a nice plaid shirt and a pair of pants that actually fit. He was even wearing Gunther’s hat, red feather and all.
And he was staring down at another grave.
“I think I see someone who needs you to try,” Miss Bonnie said.
Slade noticed Miles was wearing a particularly forlorn look.
“Aw shit,” Slade said.
The lawman joined Miles under the tree. The cross simply read “Joseph Freeman.” Miles had never thought to ask his father what year he was born, nor had Joe ever gotten around to sharing that information.
“Miles,” Slade said.
“Slade,” the boy replied.
“Miss Bonnie said I ought to talk to you,” Slade said.
“OK,” Miles said.
Slade exhaled a burst of smoke then lost himself in thought for a moment. Finally, he drew his pistol.
“You want to forget all that and do some trick shooting instead?” Slade asked.
“Do I ever,” Miles replied.
Slade and Miles walked away together.
“Is your voice different?” Miles asked.
“I had a lozenge,” Slade answered.