Censored © 2018 Steven D. Shepard
It was actually a beautiful morning. Betty Ivey woke up at her usual six AM whether she wanted to or not. She got the coffee going and put a few biscuit lumps in the stove. She made a mistake and made enough coffee for two people to have two or three cups. It was only after the pot started bubbling, that she remembered she was wasting coffee. Doug was not home and she had no idea when he would be home again. It was not unusual for him to be gone some mornings. His Army duties could take him away. But when it come to her this morning it was different. It felt different. If she thought about it too much, it would make her panic inside. So she pushed his absence from her mind and got on with her chores. Gone or not, she still had work to do. She had to keep the house going. Wasting coffee didn't help much. Everything was so expensive now and in short supply due to the war. They were doing better than most folks, but that didn't mean it would last. She would save the extra coffee she made and try to drink it before it spoiled. She couldn't afford to waste it.
The candle in the window had burned out. That was to be expected. While her biscuits browned, she fetched another candle from a kitchen drawer. She took the new candle to where wax had spilled out of the candle holder piling up on the living room window sill. She wasn't too concerned about the excess wax. It would scrape up easily. Lighting the new candle with a match she let it burn a second and drop wet wax into the holder. Then she planted the new candle. The candle and its light made her feel like she was keeping the faith with her husband and soldier boy gone to war, even though he may never know the ritual. It was a luxury she allowed herself. She was still running around the house in her robe and a gown. She didn't have a lot to do at the house today. She thought to herself that maybe later she might get dressed and walk into town. It was a long walk, but on a cool and clear morning like today, it would probably be a very pleasant walk.
She took the pleasure of sitting at the kitchen table to drink her coffee. It was one of the few pleasures left to her in life these days. Her garden was ready to be planted. One of her chores in town would be to see if she could find and trade for seeds. She had some from last year, but if she could find some squash, she really would enjoy that later in the year. Doug didn't care for squash much. The man would eat meat and potatoes every day if you let him. But if she had her way, there would be squash on the table come August. She made herself wince with the word August. August was horrible hot in Shreveport. The heat and humidity was so oppressive it drove weak minded people crazy. White men couldn't even work outside in the middle of the day. Smart men took a nap. Blacks seemed to be able to take it. But the heat did kill some of them. Anybody with half a brain worked their crops and stock early in the day and late in evening. It was still hot, but you could get your work done without dying of sunstroke. There was no staying in the house. If you had the chance to sit and rest at all, you had to do it on the front porch where you might catch a breeze. It was not uncommon for some people to try and sleep outside cause the house was so hot. But the mosquitoes usually cured that idea pretty quick.
Cooking in August was a woman's burden. With the stove going, the kitchen could easily get up to 120 degrees. You could only stay in there for brief periods. Any food preparation had to be done in another room or outside on the porch. Betty and Doug were fortunate. Their back porch was wrapped in that new steel mesh screen material. The screen mesh kept the insects out. The flying insects anyway. Nothing could or would keep the roaches out. The only solution for them was to keep everything spotless and not provide a place a roach would want to set up house. August actually helped in that regard. It would make the house so hot, even bugs didn't want to be there.
After her coffee Betty put her work clothes on and ate a couple of buttered biscuits. After breakfast she did what little house keeping she was going to do for the day. She went outside and double checked her garden was ready like she thought. It was. She harvested what few eggs the hens produced. It occurred to Betty they were either going to have to get more hens or eat some of them they had now. The girls just weren't producing like they had in the past. Satisfied with that, she couldn't think of a reason not to get cleaned up, dressed and walk into town. She could have harnessed a horse to their buggy. But to her that was troublesome and a lot of damned work. The horses had probably left their stalls and were in the pen. If she could catch one, she would then have to remember how to fight and rig the harness. Doug usually took care of that stuff when they were going somewhere together. It was just not worth the trouble.
She went upstairs, poured herself a basin of water and started washing. After her bath, she tended to her fine straw like hair, pulling it back away from her high Elizabethan forehead. Betty made half an attempt to tie it up but her hair never did cooperate with such things. So she ended up leaving it down around her shoulders. That look wasn't as modest as it could be, so she hid it as best as she could with her best bonnet. The hair would flow out from under the bonnet, but she would pass any social muster. She dropped her favorite Navy blue dress down on top of her and slid into it easily. When she got the dress fastened behind her, she turned to a full length mirror to judge her appearance. She frowned. She wasn't a beautiful woman and she knew it. In fact, she was on the plain side. She still had a fine figure with sloping firm breasts and shapely hips. But she had her daddy's nose. It was a feminine version of it. But still too big for a girl. Once upon a time she was ashamed of it. When she was a girl in school, the boys would call her Big Nose Bette. It hurt her feelings then, but she outgrew any sensitivity to that. Her teeth were short and squat and if she smiled too big, she showed way too much gums. The solution to that was to not smile too big and not talk in any way that required her to open her mouth too wide. The teeth and gums were dad's too. Nearly everyone on her father's side of the family had the look. This look was a pure Anglo-Saxon disguise that hid clever and intelligent minds. In fact, the family tended to be so smart they had long ago learned to use their dull appearance to fool strangers about their capabilities. It had come in handy more than once. Betty grew up with this disguise and she learned to use it. So, most of the time it came natural to her. Her hips should have carried babies, but they never did. That bothered her when she thought about it. But it was another thing she had to accept and keep to herself.
Years later when Doug Ivey took a shine to her, it almost came as a surprise. She was already twenty-five and she was beginning to accept she may never marry. At first, the fact that he took a interest in her at all was suspicious. She wondered what he wanted. By age twenty-five she knew what most men wanted. Several had assumed that because she was unattractive she might be willing to have sex with them just to get some attention. What they found out pretty quick was she was an educated woman with a razor sharp tongue. She had no desire to sleep with a man just cause she could. Any man who had such intentions got cruelly disposed pretty quick. But Doug Ivey was different. Strange as it seemed, the man wanted to spend time with her. He wanted to be around her and he seem to genuinely enjoy her company. He even asked her what she thought about things. No man had ever done that before. Then the dummy would actually sit there and listen. He told her he loved the sound of her voice. It was the first time anyone had ever used the 'L' word with her. She didn't trust him and she just tolerated his attention for while. But the man was so friendly, persistent and sincere, she found it impossible to ignore him. By the time he had been courting her for three months she was ready to throw the man on the floor and have him herself. She didn't show any such behavior of course, but she sure felt it. They had sex the next week. She did things with him the very first time she didn't know she could or ever would. It was the best damned experience of her life. Afterwards she told him, “You're going to have to marry me now.” He replied, “Be my pleasure.“
They got married in a fever, rushing it by using a Justice of the Peace over in Bossier Parish. It was just simpler and less expensive than trying to arrange a church wedding and inviting too many people. They were from totally different churches and really couldn't agree which church they should have used. It was just easier to leave the church out of it. Betty's family didn't like it and they did not attend. Doug's immediate family was all for it and they happily joined the ceremony. The reception was held at Clara Ivey's house, even though the house wasn't big enough to hold ten people. Most of the eating and drinking was done out in the yard. Doug and Betty spent their wedding night in the Captain Henry Miller Shreve Hotel. They got the best room in the hotel. The owner gave it to them at a bargain rate because he knew Doug Ivey. After all, it was just one night. Betty and Doug lived with Clara until they bought the Wilson House just the other side of the Oakland Cemetery off the Greenwood Road. Clara was her usual negative pain in the ass, but she seemed to accept their staying there at her house as long as they needed. Life just seemed to fall into place for them - until the war started.
As the years of their marriage went by, their sex and loving got better but less frequent. They didn't want or have to have sex as often as they did when they were young. But when they did it was almost savage. Both of them seemed to like it that way. Doug probably knew by now, he could have her any way he wanted. But he tended to keep his love making commanding, kind and respectful. However when Betty was in the heat of passion, she felt like she could just eat him alive. Sometimes she tried. It was not uncommon for him to slow her down using his bulk and larger size on top of her. It was his sign she was getting carried away. Then his loving passion warmed away any objection and she shivered to the orgasms he brought her. As she got older, she began to understand why her sexual responses to him were so aggressive. It wasn't a pleasant realization.
Doug Ivey was not her first sexual experience. She had actually started having sex when she was about twelve years old. It started in the barn at her father's farm in Ruston. She had followed her father, older brother and the workers out into the field where they went to cut hay. When the men got going and hot, almost all of them shucked their shirts and labored half naked and sweating into the noon day sun. As the day raged on, the work progressed furiously. She wasn't much help. That kind of work was much too difficult for a young girl. But she watched the men intensely as they worked. There was something fascinating about it. She served them water from canteens and a pail, but eventually her father got hot and annoyed and felt like she was in the way. He told her brother to take her back to the house. It was actually an odd order. She knew the way to the house. She didn't need her brother. She could see the house from the hay field. But she went along like her dad told her and followed Eddie to the house. When they got to the house, Eddie told her to come with him to the barn. He had something to show her. Her brother was fourteen at the time and she worshiped him nearly as much as she did her father, if that was possible. So she did not hesitate to go into the barn they both had been in so many times before. Once they got into the barn, Eddie told her to drop to her knees. She didn't see any reason not to, so she got down on her knees in the clean loose straw like he told her. Then Eddie stood close directly in front of her so his waist was right in front of her face. Then he reached down, unbuttoned his pants and pulled out his penis. She had never seen a human penis before, so her first reaction was curiosity. As she gazed at it in curiosity, she realized then they weren't supposed to be doing that kind of stuff and she gave thought to getting up and running away. Before she could, Eddie told her, “Open your mouth.” For some reason she did as she was told.
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Eddie buttoned up his pants and came over to her to Pat her on the back. He asked her if she wanted some water and he brought her some in a dipper. She gratefully accepted the dipper and she washed the semen taste out of her mouth. She looked up at her brother again and said, “I just ate sperm.” Eddie sat down beside her in the hay, put his arm around and said, “Do me a favor and don't tell mom and dad, OK?” Betty shook her head OK and she meant it. She knew that if their father ever found out what they were doing he would probably kill the both of them. Certainly he would send her away. She would do just about anything for her big brother.
That was the first time. It went on like that intermittently for four years until Eddie left for college when he was eighteen. He would have her once or twice a week if he could. But chores, family, school and the lack of privacy kept that from happening. But when he got the chance and they were alone, he would nod his head at her to follow him not saying a word. She knew what he wanted and she usually went with him. They didn't always go to the barn. Sometimes they just went around to the back of the woodshed where they were out of sight. Sometimes they would go into the woods. A few times, they were able to do it in the house in his or her bedroom. But that was risky and they didn't do that often.
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Sometimes he was demanding and annoying about it and it became a unpleasant chore. But she did it anyway. After they finished, he was always nicer to her and gave her presents and sweets when their parents weren't looking. After he left for school, she actually missed sucking him several times. As she got older she realized why. It was the only physical affection she ever got from anyone her family. Even her own mother never touched her. After she was grown, she sometimes wondered why Eddie never tried to poke her anywhere else. There was only one time he even come close to trying.
Eddie couldn't get a date for his senior dance. He was not well liked or popular. So he invited his little sister. Her mom helped her dress up as fine as they could afford and she was the best dressed she had ever been in her life when they got ready to leave for the school in the family buggy. At the dance, Eddie escorted her around on his arm like a real lady and he introduced her around to adults and his peers who they both knew already. He seemed to be having a good time pretending to be formal with her. He even took her out on the floor to dance several times. It turned out to be a fun and pleasant experience that Betty truly enjoyed. After the dance was over, they climbed back into the short, black hack covered buggy and headed for home in the night air. On the way home he pulled the buggy over to the side of the road, tied the reins to his arm rail, reached over and pulled one of her tits out of her bodice. Then he pulled the other tit out and lowered his head to her bosom and started sucking on her left breast. As he nursed, he reached his hand down, spread her legs apart and pulled her long dress up, reaching for her crotch. But she had so much underwear on he couldn't get to it and he gave up. But he kept sucking on the left tit while he felt and massaged the right one. It actually felt good to Betty and he was driving her crazy with it. When he got tired of sucking, he sat up and stretched back in the buggy seat.
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Back then, Eddie could have had her any way he wanted. She would have let him and would have never got pregnant. But there was no way they could have known that then. Maybe he was being cautious? There was no answer to that question.
The last she heard of her brother, he had been killed serving under General Robert E. Lee over in Sharpsburg, Maryland. The family had no idea where he might be buried. They prayed for him at church in Ruston but they never did have a proper funeral service for his passing. The only public notice of Eddie's death was a listing in the Shreveport News. His name appeared in a list of names of Louisiana soldiers killed in Lee's attempt to invade the North. The invasion was a failure and there was some sad irony that Eddie got killed in it. All of these memories passed through her mind quickly as she stood in front of the mirror evaluating her own plain image. The erotic memories and thoughts aroused her and she gave some consideration to going back to bed to masturbate. But she didn't. Instead she slipped her feet into a pair of Army broken boots that were made at a shoe factory right there in Shreveport. The boots were better for walking than anything she had. They would not show much underneath her full length dress. She tied on her bonnet and went back downstairs. She did a quick walk around the house to make sure everything was in order. Some of the windows were cracked open about six inches but that was not going to be a problem today. There was no rain in the forecast. She walked out the front door and did something she very rarely ever did. She pulled out a key from her string purse pouch and locked the front door. The lock latched with a confident click like it was brand new. Because it had rarely ever been used.
Her walk to town was one of the best walks to Shreveport she had ever had. The sun was shining, the air was cool and damp and there was no wind. The weather was perfect and absolutely made her want to be outdoors. The only thing that could have made it better would be if Doug had been with her. But he would never agree to walk when he could saddle a horse. On her way into town, she met and passed people on the road heading out of town towards Greenwood and Texas. Most of them were strangers, friendly and wished her a good morning. The men tipped their hats and the ladies smiled. One lady passed her heading east into town in a wagon. The woman stopped asked Betty if she was OK and if she needed a ride. Betty told the woman she was heading into town to see if she could trade for seed. She was grateful, but she was enjoying her walk. Rural women know that joy. The wagon lady shook her head in understanding as she slapped reins moving her horse on. Most of the strangers were refugees who decided they had enough of Shreveport, or thought they might try their luck in Texas. They had no idea what kind a danger they were heading into. It was considerable.
It took Betty a couple of hours to walk into town. Although her step was lively, she kept seeing things that distracted her. The Spider Lilies were in bloom again and they came up tall in the low grass on the side of the road. They were always her favorite flower and she couldn't resist stopping to admire and touch them. They wouldn't last long. As soon as the weather started getting warm again, the exotic red blooms of the Lilies would die away and their bulbs underground would go dormant again for many months. The fine red flowers fascinated her so much that she plucked one of the blooms and put the petals in her mouth to see if they tasted as good as they looked. They pretty much had no smell or taste at all. Other flowers were starting to show also, growing up on the side of the road where they seemed to not grow anywhere else. Betty had tried transplanting some of these blooms to her home before. Nearly everyone of them died. And she had a green thumb.
When she got to Shreveport, it was bustling. It was a work day and the merchants and shopkeepers on Texas Avenue and the docks were doing a brisk business. There were still refugees lining the street, either looking for work or loafing. It was unlikely they were going to find a job. If all else failed the Army would take the men. But the women, children and their stock would have to fend for themselves.
Betty took the first plank walk she came to and disregarded the shops and the strangers. Pretty soon she was a face in the crowd. She figured while she was in town, she would go on down towards the river and check on Mother Clara's house. It took her nearly another half hour to wade through strangers and obstructions in the walk to take the road to Lake Street. At the east end of Texas Avenue she ran into another crowd. But this crowd was different. She could see from the slope of the road that this crowd had gathered around a colorful carnival wagon like Betty had never seen before in her life. She couldn't hear him yet, but a tall handsome man in a beige Stetson hat and long coat stood on a small, low stage that was erected at the back of this wagon. The man was holding something up in his right hand and was addressing the crowd. That much she could make out, but she had to keep walking to get close enough to see what was going on and to hear. When she got to the crowd, she stopped and gave a listen to what the man had to say.
The big man was a peddler and he was selling snake oil. But he was different. The man was a bold, good speaker and directed his message out over the crowd with a beautiful baritone voice that begged, cajoled, challenged and invited the crowd to invest in his wares. He made his presentation deftly with assurances, flourish and promises that he was a doctor and the bottle of elixir in his hand would cure most common ailments. He proceeded to recite a long list of diseases he had found that his secret formula would absolutely relieve if not cure. If it didn't cure, it would certainly remove stains.
Doc Lanning was in fine form today and working the crowd hard. He needed too. He wasn't broke, but he was running low on funds and he sure wanted a steak dinner tonight. If all else failed, he could go over to Bossier City and try to win some money on the poker tables. Doc was a pretty good poker player and he really enjoyed the game when he sat at a table with a bunch of cowboys and farmers who could barely count or read. Doc didn't cheat at poker when he sat with the hayseeds. He usually didn't have to. Most of the time, he was smarter than the locals he played. They became easy marks for his years of experience in cards. But today Doc was pumping a dry well. Most of the folks who had stopped to listen and give him the time of day did so because they had no where else to go and nothing else to do. Very few of them had any cash money at all. Doc would prefer Yankee dollars over bad Confederate script. When it started becoming obvious that they were not going to buy, Doc started wrapping up his presentation. This bored most of the crowd and they started to disperse to other locations in town. Doc routinely started loading his inventory back into his wagon.
Betty Ivey remained and stood there looking up at Doc Lanning. She had money and she was seriously considering his offer, although it was not obvious to anyone that was what she was doing. She figured if Doug ever got home, he probably could use some kind of cure all inside or outside him. As she looked up at the Doc and his bottle, she cocked her head to one side almost absent minded and asked out loud, “Does that stuff really work?” Doc looked over at her and blinked, noticing her for the very first time. Then he made a very poor and incorrect assumption about this country girl in her Navy blue dress. One he would come to regret later. But he put his sales hat back on and responded just as friendly as he could to this flower of the morning. “Why madam, I can assure you that as a Doctor I invented this elixir myself to bring true cure and relief to the suffering masses. If you care to share with me what the nature of your illness may be, I can tell you after a very brief examination whether it will help you or not.” “I don't think I will be requiring any kind of examination Doctor. I am trying to decide if this would bring any relief from being in a saddle all day.” Doc's response to that was an attempt to distract the lady from her skepticism, so he asked, “Madam, may I have the honor of knowing your name?” As he asked the question, he removed his broad felt hat revealing a handsome shock of curly black hair that did nothing but flatter the man. Doc bowed low and swung his hat behind him in an elegant sweep. Betty acknowledged his courtesy and replied, “I'm Mrs. Betty Ivey.” As she said this, she made of point of allowing her modest wedding band to show. Doc Lanning stepped forward and took the hand with the ring and raised it to his lips to kiss it politely. He took note at the roughness of the woman's hands that indicated she must have to work hard for a living. Still, she was dressed nicely and it was possible she had some sort of finance.
Doc released her hand and stepped back to return his hat to his head. “Mrs. Ivey I think my best suggestion to you would be to try my medicine for yourself. If you do not feel it has any merit, then there would be no charge and I will bid you a good day.” As the two had this polite exchange of potential business, the crowd had dissipated and was completely gone now and it was just the two of them standing there in a morning discussion. Betty looked up, considered the Doc's offer and the logic of trying it first made sense then. After all, there was no charge. Doc had already loaded his inventory into a black bag and placed it back inside the door of the wagon. If she was going to accept his offer, he was going to have fetch the medicine out or her in. He decided her in was better than out. Doc turned away from her and headed towards the steps of his wagon. When he got to the steps he turned back to Betty, smiled and extended his arm in a welcome. Betty hesitated briefly, but accepted the invitation and started up the five steps to the inside. Doc held her elbow as she climbed and followed her inside. Once they were both inside the large wooden, barrel enclosure, Doc closed the door and Betty realized her mistake with a click. At first Doc ignored her as he fumbled around his bottles of elixir looking for the sample he wanted to share. Betty thought serious about making her exit out of the dim enclosure then, but Doc was a big man blocking the door. Doc found what he was looking for and turned to Betty with another smile, a bottle and a shot glass. Betty's eyes started adjusting to the dim light that filtered in through two small portholes on either side of the wagon walls. As her eyes adjusted, she could make out the shelves lined with bottles and unknown materials. Doc's clothes hung in a rounded corner behind her left and on the right was a cot that served as Doc's sleeping quarters. As Doc pulled the cork on the bottle, he tried to pour some of the amber fluid out into the shot glass but he spilled some on the floor. “My apologies.” Doc offered with the glass. Betty accepted the glass and held it up briefly, checking for debris in the fluid. Seeing nothing out of order, she smelled it and then drank the entire contents. After she finished, she held the glass at arms length looking at it as she rotated it in her hand. Then she looked at Doc and said, “Hmm, alcohol, opium, cannabis and honey. Why Doctor, I think you're trying to drug me. “
Doc casually turned away from her to set the bottle aside. He did so to hide his realization and surprise that this was no country girl raised in the woods. This woman knew something was up and he decided he better make his move now. After he returned the bottle to its place, he whirled around quickly turning on Betty and grabbed her by both her upper arms forcing her back towards his cot. Betty resisted as much as she could, but the man moved like a cat, was nearly twice her size and there was no way she was going to break his strong grip. She raised her knee for his groin but Doc skillfully blocked that with his knee and gave her a violent shake in return that nearly rattled her teeth. In a panic she told him, “I'll scream!” Doc's reply was terribly on target. “You listen to me gal. You came in here on your own accord and nobody made you. You know as well as I do, if we get caught in here, you will not be able to bear the shame. All they will do is run me out of town. But you got to live here. Now you know what I want. Just behave yourself and it'll be over quick.” With that Doc started pulling up her skirt as his hungry lips dived into her neck. Betty pulled away from him again, but the cot caught the back of her legs and she almost fell over backwards on the bed. She caught herself by grabbing Doc's lower arms stiffly. She pushed them down and ordered him as forcefully and as loud as she could without screaming, “Stop! Just stop! I know what to do.” Her order caught Doc slightly off guard. It was novel enough to make him pause and it got his attention. With that brief break in the impending violence, Betty dropped to her knees and started unbuttoning Doc's fly.
With a big toothy leer, Doc looked down and understood where this was going, so he stopped his charge and let her go at his crotch.
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He thought to himself, that the gal was starting to enjoy it there towards the end. He wished he could have held out longer. He would have enjoyed more action on his erection. By the time he got all of himself packed up and in order, Betty was back on her feet and washing her mouth out with a bottle of elixir. She spit the fluid out at Doc, just missing him as he turn to one side. He seriously considered knocking the hell out of her for that, but he was still recovering from his orgasm. He was not used to ejaculating on his feet and when he did it strained the muscles in his thighs and his backside. Now he felt weak in the knees. What he really wanted to do was sit down. Laying down would be even better. Doc grabbed a short stool and pulled it up to a secretary desk that was built into the wall of the wagon. He leaned one elbow on the desk as he fumbled briefly with the other hand and pulled out a cigar. As he did this, Betty stepped forward, reached up on the shelf, grabbed a full bottle of elixir and she marched out the door slamming it behind her. She ignored Doc's evil smile following her as she left. At the top of the steps she paused slowly and looked around, hoping nobody heard or saw what had just happened. She felt the warm, slick dampness of drool and semen that still clung to the front of her dress. She looked down at the white wet stain and when she looked back up she looked directly into the eyes of Sergeant Jimmy Russell. Russell was standing not far up the slope of Texas Avenue right between Betty and her walk home. If he stayed there she would have to walk right by him and speak. There could be no avoiding it. To eliminate that possibility, Betty lowered her head and pretended not to see Russell. She walked down the five steps to the ground as composed as she could considering the fact she had just been raped. Then she turned and walked the other direction from Russell behind the wagon towards the old Ivey house on Lake Street. When she got behind the wagon and out of Russell 's sight, she picked up her pace until she was almost running. Her Confederate field boots came in handy and she was soon too far away for Russell to even approach. She didn't stop until she got to Mother Ivey's house. Then she ran around back.
At first, Sergeant Jimmy Russell couldn't believe his eyes. He thought he just saw Captain Doug Ivey's wife come out of that peddler's wagon with white stains down the front of her dress. Those white stains weren't from having lunch. Not the kind of lunch she should be having anyways. The more he thought about it, an evil smile came to Russell 's face. He knew what she was doing in there. And he knew she didn't have any business doing it. Won't that be something to tell the Captain when he comes back in from his mission? What a shame. A man's wife carrying on like that while he's gone. What will that do to their marriage? Ain't it a shame? Russell walked back up Texas Avenue towards the courthouse and General Smith's office just a chuckling to himself.