Tom Marcus donned a black Stetson hat, black trench coat, black vest, black jeans, and a holster on his left side accompanied with a pearl handled Colt revolver. From the moment he rode into the town locals saw the dozen interesting stories in his eyes, another half-dozen fascinating adventures in the way he talked, and a few other tales in the way he walked. The thick all-black getup did nothing to ease the burdensome mid-June summer heat. The way he looked many would have thought he would be heading to the local saloon. But this man tied his horse in front of the house of the local man of science; that local man of science happened to go by the name of Professor Clinefield, who had recently assumed a teaching role, due to his specialty in Horticulture, at Las Cruces College.
As Tom tied up his midnight black horse next to the trough out front, and walked toward the Professor’s front door, a man with a Sheriff’s badge called out to Tom saying, “Stranger! What’s a man, like you, looking to talk to the professor for?” Marcus responded with a nervy smile, “I don’t know why that’s any of your business Sheriff.”
The sheriff looked, with a stern look, at the tall black man who walked toward the professor’s door, and lifted the hat from his brow to get a good look at the man. “Marcus, that you?”
Marcus laughed and walked toward the sheriff and gave him a hug. The sheriff, now in a more lighthearted mood, said, “I didn’t recognize you without your old Regiment uniform. You still at Fort Selden?”
Tom looked at the sheriff and responded somberly, “That was about three years ago Sheriff, or at least, that was when I had last escorted that U.S. Mail courier through here.”
A man emerged from the professor’s house and interrupted the sheriff before he was able to respond. This man looked somewhat proper in nature, and he was holding a small package underneath his arm.
The sheriff tucked his thumb underneath his belt loop, “Well now, it seems that the professor has a lot of visitors today. So, young man, who might you be?”
The gentlemen ignored the sheriff and walked toward Tom’s horse and said, “That’s a fine Friesian horse you’ve got here, matches your wardrobe and… skin.”
Marcus eyed the man and remarked, “Yeah, it’ll also match the bruises I’ll give you, if you don’t politely answer the sheriff’s question.”
The gentleman scoffed, “Ugh, I have a disdain for you western folk. However, I will be the better man and answer the sheriff properly. I, sir, am from the Smithsonian, which is something that I am sure you’ve never heard about. Either way, I just needed to give Mr. Clinefield a message before the ’hired help’ arrived.”
The finely dressed gentlemen got into his chauffeured white colored wagon, with a golden emblem. Tom and the sheriff eyed the wagon, with a certain level of disgust, as it rode away from view. The sheriff then turned to Tom and asked, “Hired help?” Marcus responds, “I’m a treasure hunter for hire.” The sheriff’s eyebrow raised, “Marcus, where did you get a job like this?” Marcus did a slight shrug, and got distant, “I must be getting to my business Sheriff.” Tom turned around and started walking towards the professor’s house, and the sheriff walked back towards the town.
Tom grabbed hold of a large handle on the door and used it to pound against the wooden door, there was no response. Marcus knocked again, and there is again, no response. The sheriff heard and looked back with a little curiosity in his eyes. Tom turned the handle, and as he takes a step inside, the sheriff then ran towards the home of the Professor on the sudden recognition of a strange symbol that had adorned that white wagon. The sheriff reached the house, cut free Marcus’ horse, and yelled to Tom as he tried to reach the house, just when there was a sudden explosion.