Chapter 39 Continued

The story so far: The notorious Moose begins to issue threats.

 

Milo took a step forward. “Vidmar!” he hollered to the conductor of the band. “Start playing!” The band began to play and the men sang Pie in the Sky. As they sang, they slowly inched forward, around the riderless horses. The deputies on the ground were befuddled.

“What do we do now, Moose?” one of the deputies asked.

“This.” Moose Jackson, who was still perched on his horse, grabbed his rifle, which had been slung casually over his shoulder.

He fired one shot into the air and all the strikers stopped. It was silent. Then Milo, in the strong voice he inherited from his father the musician, broke the tension with his song. “Solidarity forever … solidarity forever … solidarity forever, the union makes us strong!”

Moose Jackson aimed his gun directly at Milo’s head. He fired, slightly off his target, and a bullet grazed Milo’s jaw. Milo fell to the ground, hand on face.

“Disperse! Disperse!” Carlo Tresco yelled.

“Get out of here!” Andre screamed to the strikers. “Do not fight back! Do not retaliate!”

The deputies were excited now. They fired over thirty shots, mostly into the air, some into the crowd. The miners ran, and all but three, including Milo, escaped on foot.

Paul and Katka rushed over to Milo, who was being held up by Johan Koski. “You okay, Milo?” Carlo Tresca asked.

“Looks like a surface wound,” Koski said. “Check the others.” Tresca and Andre moved over to help the other men.

Katka stooped down to the street. “Oh, Milo. Are you all right, really?” She looked at his jaw, where he had been shot. It was not bad. But Milo had a gruesome expression on his face. She turned to Paul. “Go find Dr. Andrea Hall. Tell her three miners have been shot.”

“I need …” Milo coughed. Blood came out of his mouth, mixing with the blood on his jaw. Katka took her scarf off her head and dabbed at his mouth.

“A doctor? Paul just went to get one. You’ll be fine.”

“No …” Milo said. “No doctor. I need a … priest.” He gestured toward his abdomen.

Katka and Johan Koski exchanged glances. Katka opened Milo’s jacket. Blood spilled out like wine. He had been shot not once, but twice.

“Get a priest, Johan,” Katka said. Johan took off running. She removed her apron, squeezed it into a ball and pressed it into Milo’s abdomen. “Shall I pray for you Milo?”

He nodded.

“In English or Slovenian?”

“Both,” Milo said.

“Our father who art in heaven,” she began, “hallowed be thy name, pridi k nam tvoje kraljestvo, zgodi se tvoja volja kakor v nebesih tako na zemlji.”

“Katka,” Milo interrupted. “Under the mattress in my room …” His voice was faltering. “I have money. Give it to …” He whispered a woman’s name in her ear.

 

Tomorrow: Chapter 39 continues.