Western Fiction posted May 4, 2021 Chapters:  ...17 18 -19- 20 

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Smythe Averts Disaster

A chapter in the book Wilderness Redemption Road

Take Me to the River Part 2

by Earl Corp

Hijinks and sheningans on the frontier
West bank of the Ohio River
“You must be out of your ever-lovin’ mind Doolittle Carter if you think I’m going back to Pittsburgh,” Roseanna seethed.

“Thunderation, Roseanna, the Shawnees have a load of rifles and that ain’t good,” Doo protested.

Roseanna stamped her foot.

“I will not go home, besides I’ll be working at the trading post which will have a stockade around it, so I’ll be just as safe there as I would be in Pittsburgh.”

Doo glanced over at Clancy and Janie sitting on a log and taking in the whole scene. Clancy was enjoying the back and forth between the two immensely.

“What are you grinning like a coon about,” Doo demanded.

“Just enjoyin’ the show, Hoss.”

Doo was starting to lose his temper, but held his tongue because if the situation was reversed he’d be laughing too.

Durn fool woman don’t know what’s good for her,’ Doo thought.

Then he had an idea.

“Why don’t we ask Smythe? I’m sure he ain’t going to want to be responsible fer yore safety if the Shawnees are paintin’ their faces black.”

Roseanna scrunched up her face at that. She wasn’t sure if Doo was right about that point, so she made a counter offer.

“I’ll go back to Pittsburgh right now, this very minute, if you escort me back.”

That was a non-starter and she knew it, Doo knew it, and Clancy knew it. The only one who thought it was a good idea was Richard. Even though he’d shown signs of growing a backbone on the trip to the ferry he still wasn’t keen about heading into the wilderness.

Doo couldn’t believe what he heard, he looked to Clancy for support. But his friend’s grin just grew wider.

“She’s gotcha there, Hoss.”

“Thunderation woman, I ain’t giving up my trapping season for you,” Doo blustered.

“Then let’s go ask Godfrey what he thinks.”

Roseanna coolly stepped around Doo to head to where the ferry was docking. She wasn’t sure what Smythe would do, keep her or send her back, but she was determined to put Doo in his place.

They found Smythe supervising a team of men pitching his tent for him.

“No, you idiots, the center pole goes up before you stake it down,” Smythe barked at the crew.

Noticing Roseanna and Doo approaching Smythe turned and said, “You can’t find good help these days.”

Doo looked at the crew working on the tent and threw back his head and let loose a belly laugh.

“You get what you pay for, Smith.”

Between watching the folly of the scum putting up his tent and Doo mispronouncing his name yet again, Godfrey became agitated.

“It’s Smythe, you lout, and it would serve you well to say my name correctly or there will be consequences.”

Doo’s eyes narrowed and stepped within inches of being face to face with Smythe.

“Yore getting’ kind of big in the britches to be threatening me, Smith!”

Usually Godfrey would have backed down from a physical threat, but he was frustrated how this venture had started out. He stood his ground and locked eyes with Doo.

He held the gaze for a few seconds before he looked away. To Doo this was the same as a hound showing him his belly in subservience.

“What do you want Carter?”

But it was Roseanna who spoke.

“Mr. Finnerty told Doo that a load of rifles, powder, and shot passed through headed for Shawnee territory,” she said.

‘Damn, I should kill that big mouthed ferryman,’ Smythe thought.

“And what does that have to do with me?”

Smythe hoped his face didn’t betray the anxiety he was feeling, his heart was beating so hard in his chest it reminded him of a blacksmith’s anvil being struck by a hammer.

“Doo is worried for my safety and thinks I should return to Pittsburgh,” Roseanna said.

‘Oh goody, they haven’t connected me to the rifles, this will be easier than I thought.’

Smythe faced Doo and asked, “What exactly are your concerns? I have 35 men at my disposal to offer the young lady protection while I build a stockade, which after it’s built will keep her as safe as a bug in a rug.”

“Thunderation! Are you daft? Nobody could be this stupid to think the Shawnees will allow them to waltz in here and build a fort on their lands.”

“I have worked a deal with Chief Running Deer to build a trading post along Raccoon Creek, there is absolutely nothing to worry about.”

“You don’t think 50 rifles in Shawnee hands is something to worry about, yore a bigger idjit than I figgered.”

“How do you know those rifles are going into Shawnee hands? They could be headed to Fort Detroit for all you know.”

“Ezra said Tyler McGraw was bringing them through and his Ma is Shawnee.”

Roseanna had been listening to the exchange and didn’t see where Doo was making anymore headway with Smythe than he had with her.

He’s so stubborn, I don’t know what he thinks he’s going to accomplish,’ she thought.

Smythe then asked Doo the question he knew would ensure he stayed with the expedition.

“Are you afraid of the Shawnees, Carter?”

Doo took the bait as Smythe had hoped. Doo’s chest puffed up and he drew himself to his full height.

“I fear no man, except my Pa, but I have a healthy respect for armed Shawnees. It pays to be a cautious citizen, ‘specially where womenfolk are concerned.”

Anger flashed in Roseanna’s eyes at that last remark.

“I can take care of myself Doo Carter and I don’t need a man to make me feel safe.”

A smile tugged at Smythe’s lips as he watched the scene. It gave him a warm and fuzzy feeling to see Carter backed down by a woman.

Things are falling nicely into place,’ he thought.

“Carter, I would suggest you and Sinclair get ready to move. I want you two scouting ahead  because I want to get on the trail as soon as the last ferry gets across .”

“It’ll be dang near dark by the time the last ferry gets here. I’d say we bed down here and head out tomorrow morning,” Doo replied.

“How far are we from Raccoon Creek?”

“I reckon about three days.”

“Very well, but I will hold you to the three days.”

As Doo left, Roseanna turned to Smythe.

“Thank you for supporting me, it means a lot,” she said.

“But not enough to win back your affections, does it?”

Roseanna laughed gaily at that remark.

“Oh Godfrey, you never quit.”

Smythe was able to force a weak grin on his face.

“I never quit when I want something.”

And then he had a thought.

‘And I really, really want to see Carter get his just desserts.’



* Before anybody digs into the spelling and grammar this is written in frontier vernacular. Enjoy!
Cast of Characters
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman
Roseanna Carter-- Narrator
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor
Ezra Finnerty- Ferryman across the Ohio River
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad
Swooping Eagle- Hot-headed Shawnee warrior
Running Deer- Swooping Eagles's father
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