The Last Deputy
THE LAST DEPUTY
The Last Deputy is a story based on factual events. Young Arthur Moore King ran away from home, and wound up in Indian Territory -- Oklahoma -- for a short time. There he made his living anyway he could; violating federal laws for hunting on Indian land then selling liquor to the Indians, a capital offense. As quick as he could, for the U.S. Marshals were on his trail, Arthur escaped from the Territory and by chance landed in Los Angeles; the year, 1899.
Unfortunately, Arthur had hopped a rail ride and was arrested upon his arrival for his free ride. Broke, Arthur was forced to work off his debt to society with jail time and building road ways. The police took a liking to him, as he was good-hearted but as “tough as they come”; and could handle himself against any man. Being handy with a gun was a bonus. Released from jail, Arthur was hired by the police department as a patrol officer. His beat encompassed some of the roughest parts of the city. Los Angeles was as wild a western town as any if not more so. The murders, rapes, muggings, gambling and opium dens were nefarious which was no help to Los Angeles’ reputation. The police department was overwhelmed; most laws on the book were not enforced. The city was expanding, the police had to expand and over come its bad reputation as well.
By year 1909, after nine years on the job, he was now a well respected detective. But, Arthur, was fired along with most of City Hall. Anyone connected with political machine, the mayor, the city attorney, the chief of police you name it, was forced out.
Unemployment did not last long. Arthur was brought back by his beloved police department. He was offered a position to work as a private police, bounty hunter, for ten dollars per day and expenses. His task, was to work undercover, with sixty-two year old Wyatt Earp, the famed frontier marshal of Wichita, Dodge City and Tombstone, Arizona. Arthur was twenty-five.
Together, Arthur and Wyatt had a series of adventures that took them to the territories, and Mexico to hunt, capture and return escaped criminals. The job was dangerous, the monetary reward great. The risk was at its highest when they were caught in the middle of the Mexican Revolution.
This book tells the story of these men ending in what was to be Wyatt Earp’s last armed confrontation four years later. Arthur Moor King was at Wyatt’s side throughout these four years, he was indeed Wyatt Earp’s last deputy.
R. King, Los Angeles, California
Chapter 10: Wyatt Earp
Two months after losing his job, Arthur was visited by a pleasant looking policeman named O’Banion, who was delivering a note from Captain Flammer. Having delivered the note, O’Banion left without saying anything except, “See you soon, detective.” Surprised, Arthur opened the letter while Fay looked over his shoulder. “It is hand written by Captain Flammer,” Arthur said to her. “These days nothing is hand written out of his office. Hmmm…This must be important.”
“What does it mean” asked Fay?
“Don’t know, but Wednesday I am to go to his office for a meeting,” replied Arthur.
“Will they reinstall you?” asked Fay hopefully.
“Don’t know,” said Arthur, “but I know the captain and this is a good note. Maybe…”
On Wednesday Arthur arrived early at Central Jail and, after talking a bit with some of his friends, went to Captain Flammer’s office. The secretary asked him to wait while she announced his arrival. Within a few moments she returned and said, “The captain wants you to wait in the office across the hall. There is someone he is waiting on who he needs to see first. It should not be long. Besides, you are a half hour early.”
Then she guided him to the smaller office across the hall and offered him some refreshment. Arthur relaxed by the window, wondering who Captain Flammer was meeting with while he waited. Little did he know how important that person would become in his life.
In the meantime the man Captain Flammer was waiting for arrived. A bit nervous, Flammer told the policeman to greet their visitor at the door and to bring him to Flammer’s office. The visitor was an impressive man, who appeared to be middle aged, slender and fit. He was wearing a brown business suit of a western cut; a black, wide brim Stetson hat; and highly polished brown boots. His posture was perfect and it was obvious that he had charisma and a demeanor that commanded respect.
As he walked down the middle of the hall he looked straight ahead, yet his peripheral vision took in everything, noting the name plaques on each door. Finally he arrived at Captain Flammer’s door, where one of Flammer’s assistants, Sergeant Wright, was standing and waiting.
“Marshal, my pleasure,” said Wright as they entered the secretary’s outer office. The secretary immediately stood up and smiled. “This way, marshal,” she said, as she opened the door to Captain Flammer’s inter office. She announced, “Captain, Marshal Earp is here.”
Captain Flammer, surrounded by a couple of fellow detectives, stood up. “Marshal Earp,” he said, “it is my honor and pleasure.”
Turning to the other detectives, Flammer said, “Gentlemen, be honored! This is Marshal Wyatt Earp.” The detectives all greeted the marshal and left, while Captain Flammer motioned to Sergeant Wright to fetch Arthur. A few minutes later, Arthur and Sergeant Wright entered the room. Flammer made the introductions, “This is, or rather was, detective-sergeant King. He is now a private policeman.”
Flammer continued, “Gentlemen, please be seated. I bet, Arthur, you’re wondering why you’re here, so let’s dive into it.” As the captain was setting the tone of the meeting, his secretary arrived with four mugs of very hot coffee and a full pot for refill. She set the mugs near each man and went back to her office to stand guard and make sure that no one entered or disturbed the group during their meeting.
After passing around cigars, which was one of Earp’s weaknesses, Flammer continued, “Marshal Earp…”
“Wyatt, call me Wyatt,” the marshal interrupted.
“Wyatt,” said Flammer, “you know the basics but King here does not, so let me explain. We are an up and coming city. I predict we will surpass those uppity Franciscans. We are all about changing our image and all about law and order, but we need help. Too many desperadoes escape to the South or else go beyond our reach. We used to go after them but now, with the reformers in power, it’s out of the question.
“This is where you come in. We need a special team to go after them, bring them back to us, but all on the quick. Wyatt, I know your past and your deeds and have faith in you. Arthur, you got a raw deal, but you are one of the best men I have ever known, a hell of a policeman.”
Turning back to Wyatt, Flammer said, “Arthur’s young but he will have your back. Fear not!”
Wyatt Earp took a long look at Arthur and said, “You’re heeled, too small for a Peacemaker.”
Somewhat surprised. Arthur responded, “Good eye!” Then opening his coat, he showed his weapon, “But it’s a Colt .38 Police Positive, double action, our standard issue.”
“Double action, good,” Wyatt replied. “I still prefer my Colt Peacemaker .45 single action myself. Old habits are hard to break. How is your aim?”
“My aim is straight,” Arthur replied. “I hit what I aim for, pretty much.”
Flammer interrupted, “Arthur’s being humble. He is more than good, actually, he’s very accurate. He is…was one of our best. Marshal, he will have your back, you’ll be covered.”
Wyatt addressed his reply to Arthur, “Your one and only job is to protect my neck. Follow my lead and we will do fine. Can you do this, son?”
“Yes, sir,” replied Arthur. Then turning to Flammer, Arthur asked, “What’s the pay and what are our limitations?”
“We are prepared to pay you each ten dollars per day plus all expenses,” Flammer replied. “Limitations, you ask? Interesting,” said Flammer with a grin but becoming serious. “We have lost a number of criminals. The reformers want us to take them down but we can’t. Many go to Mexico, some up north, some to the territory. So you two will get them for us. Bring them back in one piece, if possible. If not, in a box.
“As for your limitations, you get caught in Mexico by the Federals, you are on your own. The city will not admit hiring you. Are we good, gentlemen?”
Arthur spoke first, “Police work for ten dollars a day and expenses paid? No problem, I’m good. I will cover his neck, his back.”
Wyatt nodded in agreement.
“You two are a good match,” said Flammer pleased. So let’s now talk of your first job. King knows, it’s been in the papers. Last week a young woman was shopping in Mott’s Alley. This petty worm of a criminal grabbed her, pushed her in an area behind some stands, raped her, and then beat the life out of her. We know for sure the desperado was Pearson but he escaped us. Last we know he was headed south, most likely to Mexico. Maybe, with luck, he is in the San Diego area. We got to make him an example. He needs to stand trial before we hang him.”
“Who was the woman?” asked Wyatt Earp.
“Her name was Joy, Joy Morris,” Flammer answered. “She was upper middle class, from a good family, only nineteen years old. Arthur knows the area, Wyatt. Have him guide you there and make sure Pearson did not double back. After that, go get him.”
“Consider it done!” Earp responded. “I lived in San Diego many years, got connections there. If he’s there, we will know. If not we will go further south. King, let’s meet at the Alley, say midnight, when these festering varmints are in force. Bring a bed roll in case...”
Arthur nodded in agreement and then added, “I need to talk to Fay. Let’s meet at Natick House on First and Main, in the saloon, at eleven. I will be ready.” Then getting up Arthur shook hands with Earp and thanked Captain Flammer. “I think Fay will be very pleased that I’m working,” he said as he left to tell her the good news.
When Arthur arrived at his apartment, he grabbed Fay by her waist, held her up off the ground, and spun her around excitedly. “Good news!” he said. “I have a new job with the police for ten dollars a day!”
“That’s a lot of money, Arthur,” Fay said as Arthur placed her feet on firm ground. “What is the catch?”
Arthur couldn’t blame Fay for her hesitation. The average income at the time was $750 a year. The fact that Arthur could earn $300 in one month’s time was hard to believe. Husband and wife sat at the kitchen table, with a fresh pot of coffee, while Arthur exuberantly explained the task at hand. “Fay, we leave maybe tonight, but I will be in touch with you, don’t worry. I will write, telephone, wire, whatever it takes. The captain will make sure that you receive my pay while I am away each week. And you have your family, your mother, to take care of you.
Fay stood up and walked behind Arthur, placed her arms around him tight and said, “Thank God you have work!”
“Yes, thank God,” Arthur replied. “I feel good about this, Fay, real good!”
Arthur arrived at Natick House to meet Earp at a quarter to eleven. Natick House was on the corner of Main and First streets — centrally located, a block from City Hall, and across the street from the Grand Opera. When first built in 1883, Natick House was considered Los Angeles’s most exclusive hotel, with rooms renting for up to two dollars per night. It was still one of the best hotels in the city.
The hotel had two stories — eighty-five rooms in total — with murals decorating the walls and Italianate windows that illuminated most of the rooms. The bar was located on the first floor; thirty feet long, it was as fancy as any in Los Angeles. Also located on the first floor was the dining room, which had lady waitresses and sat one hundred and twenty-five guests.
Wyatt was already there, drinking a cup of coffee and smoking a cigar, when Arthur arrived. Arthur joined Wyatt and the two men drank their coffee as they went over the details for that night’s action.
Arthur was the expert when it came to the city’s layout since Wyatt lived in Los Angeles only during the summer months; the rest of the time he was out in the desert prospecting. Arthur began to describe Mott’s Alley, the place where the poor woman had been killed, to Wyatt. Arthur had chosen Natick House for their meeting because the ‘Alley’ was located in the shadows of the hotel.
Mott’s Alley, a block in length, was located between First and Second streets, and Main and Spring Streets. The name derived from Mott Market which was located within the Alley. Mott’s Alley was a flea market. In addition to Mott Market, there were rows of street vendors in makeshift booths selling everything possible from food to clothing to furniture. Once it had been a good place to shop, but by the turn of the twentieth century the Alley had deteriorated.
At night the drug dealers, addicts, and cut throats took over the area to sell, steal, and fence their wares. The Alley was a perfect place for criminals as it did not go all the way through to Second Street, but had many ways in and out by means of the back delivery entrances of the market and other stores fronting Main and Spring Streets. To make is safer, there was a plan in place to open it through and make it a real street, not leaving it as an alley.
Arthur took the lead in finding Pearson, as he was familiar with the Alley and could easily recognize Pearson who, heavy into drugs, was a regular at the Central Jail. Arthur and Wyatt planned to start on the right side of the Alley and slowly, very slowly, go to its end, and then return on the left side.
Cautiously the two men entered the Alley, top coats open for easy assess to their revolvers. They stepped over several drunks fast asleep, and passed by others who were hopped up on drugs. There were a few prostitutes near the mouth of the Alley, but even they would not venture all the way in. Still they found a few that they could question but no one had seen the infamous Pearson.
It was nearing two in the morning and at this point Arthur and Wyatt were sure that Pearson was no where in the city. Since the first train to San Diego left at six in the morning, Arthur and Wyatt decided to go to the Budweiser Saloon and get a bit to eat before they left. While at the saloon, Arthur called his wife to let her know he was leaving.
“You have a wife, Wyatt?” Arthur asked when he hung up with Fay.
“Yes, Josie,” Wyatt replied. “Over forty years and going strong. She’s up in Frisco with family. She’ll come down when we get back, better that way.”
At six in the morning Arthur and Wyatt boarded the South bound express, and were on their way to San Diego. Soon the men dosed off to the rhythm of the rail. With the stops along the way, maybe they would have four hours of sleep. ©2012
Sold as digital eBook, paperback editions upon special order
This novel published in 2012 by RK Enterprises, publisher.
Los Angeles, California.
Copyright © Charles R. King 2012
The rights of C.R. King to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Patents and Designs Act 1988
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or to otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. All photographs, illustrations are of public domain unless otherwise noted.
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