Chapter 46 continues
The story so far: Moose gets what’s coming to him; deputies arrive.
Lily, limping and her face still bleeding, yelled “Fight! Don’t let them take you to jail!” Before the police wagon unloaded, Anton and the unarmed miners fought the company police force with their fists and anything else they could lay hands on. Andy the soda-pop deliverer armed himself with two bottles of malt liquor. Katka grabbed Lily and tried to persuade her to get back inside the house.
Then it happened. A shot was fired at Anton. Anton ducked and the shot hit Andy, who was still behind the bar defending himself with two small bottles of whiskey. He collapsed immediately. The fighting stopped. Samo vaulted the bar and knelt by his side. “Shot in the heart,” Samo said.
Anton walked over to Moose Jackson, who lay dead on the floor. “So that how it is? I come to this country to see my friend killed in my house? To see cowards watch as this bastard tries to have his way with my wife? This ain’t no land of the free. This is hell.” He grabbed Moose’s pistol, which had fallen to the floor and pointed it at Moose’s body.
“No.” Lily stopped him. “There’s nothing to be done, Anton. He’s dead anyway.”
Anton didn’t care. He fired the pistol into Moose Jackson’s bloody corpse. Then he fired again and again and again. He started hollering. He cursed at Moose. “I may not have killed you,” he said, “but I wish I had!” He cursed the Wobblies. He cursed the United States of America. Lily tried to calm him. Finally he crumpled to the ground himself and Lily wrapped him in her arms like a little boy. “I couldn’t protect you, Lily,” he whispered. “I couldn’t protect you.”
No one was arrested for the murder of Andy, the soda pop deliveryman. Samo, Dusca and Anton were put in chains. When Lily protested, explaining painstakingly what had really happened, they arrested her too.
“No!” Anton cried out at Mr. Augustine Stone and Sheriff Turner. “She has done nothing! Nothing but be abused by your men! They are the ones who should be imprisoned. Your deputies are the criminals.” But it was useless. The only two witnesses who were not arrested were Katka, whom Eli Sandinski insisted had “only walked in a second before and had no part whatsoever in the affair,” and Old Joe, who had taken the baby to the barn and passed out from the pain of the bullet in his calf. The deputies had forgotten about him.
“Get my baby,” Lily said quietly to Katka. “If I’m going to jail, so is my baby. I am no more guilty than he is.”
Sheriff Turner wanted Lily and the baby to be taken immediately to the women’s jail in Biwabik, but Dr. Payne insisted that Lily go to the hospital first. Her eye was nearly swollen shut from where Moose Jackson had punched her and her nose was obviously broken. The baby was also in need of medical attention. “All of these men should be taken to the hospital first,” the doctor said. “Look at this man,” he said, pointing to Anton. “I need to set his shoulder.”
The sheriff told the doctor to set his shoulder here and now, and the doctor did. Next, Dr. Payne briefly examined Samo and Dusca. “Both of these men require stitches,” he said.
“Stitches ain’t life threatening,” Mr. Stone said. “Fix ’em best you can. That’s all they’re getting.” The doctor gently dressed their surface wounds. He took his time, as if he were trying to delay the trip to the jail as much as possible. Four deputies carried the body of Moose Jackson to the wagon. Andy’s body remained untouched.
Tomorrow: Chapter 47 continues.