“Just watch out, is all I’m saying.” LaRoque rubbed his sore leg with his right hand while pointing at Cotter with his left.
“It’s just an evening with a young woman. I can afford one night out. I’m doing well in my studies and besides, what should I watch out for? If she’s got seduction on her mind, well I’m as horny as she is.” Cotter laughed.
“Didn’t you tell us she pumped you for stuff about our wine business?”
“Yes and I gave her what is public knowledge and no more.”
“Just watch it. A few glasses of wine and a romp on a bed and you’ll give them the whole plan along with dates. Your brother and sister could waylay hiring of the laborers or kidnap the Frenchman when he comes.”
“Don’t be so suspicious. I’ll be careful.”
Mashpit had been watching the faces of both conversants. He began laughing.
“What is so amusing?” Cotter asked.
“You overlooked the obvious.” Mashpit laughed again as he strapped on his .45 revolver. “What if Danzer is hiding behind the drapes waiting to chop your cock off with his axe?”
“I’ll be vigilant. You two worry too much.” Cotter smiled and looked at LaRoque rubbing his leg again. “Is that wound still draining?”
“No, dammit. Once it does, the pain will go away.”
“Drop your pants and let me look at it.” Cotter grabbed his treatment satchel.
“Uh-oh. I’m leaving you two at this point. I have some surveying to do while we still have some daylight left. December has short days and Christmas is only two-weeks away.” Mashpit donned his winter coat, hat and gloves. A brisk cold breeze infiltrated the fireplace’s steady heat as he opened the door.
Cotter examined a purple spot on the outer aspect of LaRoque’s upper thigh. It was the size of his little fingernail. He pressed on it.
“The sinus tract from your bullet wound keeps scarring over.” Cotter dabbed a cotton pad soaked with carbolic acid on the purple spot and opened a folded leather pouch revealing his field surgical kit. He removed the shiny scalpel and wiped the carbolic pad on it.
“What the Christ are you going to do with that?”
Almost before he could finish the question, Cotter plunged the blade into the spot and immediately backed away as a stream of brown, foul-smelling pus shot out and hit the wall three-feet away.
“Dammit.” LaRoque screamed and then fell into the chair behind him. His forehead was covered with sweat and then he smiled. “The pain is gone. Thanks Jake.”
“I’ve got to take the bullet out and scrape out the sinus tract. If the infection spreads into the blood stream you’ll die.”
“Now? You’re not going to do it now?” He looked up at Cotter with widened eyes.
“No. I’ll make arrangements with the clinic. We’ll do it just before Christmas. You’ll be completely healed by the time the Frenchman comes in January.”
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