"Well, Howdy… come on in," Barnett fiddled with the key in the door and held it open for his guest, "'cuse the mess, folks… I weren't expectin' no one this early. I sure hope you ain't got no problems that need the marshal. He and the Express Riders are out and about 'savin' the world' while I'm to keep the office clean and the cells clear for when they bring in the criminals."

He brightened up a bit. "You certainly didn't come here to hear my sob stories, did ya?" He shrugged. "Nope, didn't think so."

Barnett swept off his hat and ran his fingers through the unruly mop. "You are in luck, though. Today, if you've a mind to you can have a cup of heaven freshly brewed!" He pulled a couple of chairs out from behind a desk. "You're in for a special treat. I found myself a patch of chicory growin' down by the road out of town. I got there just as the sun was comin' up and there they were, little purply-blue flowers openin' up under the sun. You shoulda seen it."

He tossed his hat on one of the prongs of the rack and shrugged out of his jacket. "It was almost too easy," he continued, "the roots are long and purty darn thick, so all I had to do was grab myself handful after handful. Stuffed 'em in my hat and my pockets and got it home and took my time dryin' em and roastin' 'em."

Taking the coffee pot in hand, Barnett went over to the pump and filled it up with a couple of powerful strokes before setting it on the cast iron top of the stove. "Made my room smell right purty while it was roastin'."

A few logs added inside its round belly, the stove took on a warm glow as soon as Barnett struck a match and tossed it in. "Don't worry, once it gets goin' won't be more than a few minutes for a boil." He pointed to a stack of wanted posters on the desk. "Why don't you feel free to take a look through? Never know when you'll find a familiar face starin' right back atcha and I'll get to make an honest to goodness arrest for once."

When the water was rolling around in the coffeepot, boiling with a dancing bubble of sound he grabbed a rag to pull it off the stove. At his desk, Barnett pulled out a little tin he'd left there. "This right here is the secret." Removing the metal cap he shook some of the ground mixture in the pot. "It's half coffee grounds and half chicory."

The pot went right back on the stove. "Don't let that heavenly aroma fool you… this ain't no ladies drink, ah beggin' your pardon, Miss. This here's a man's drink, my grandpappy said that a man could drink whisky and sour all his life, but as long as he had some good ol' chicory coffee, his innards would be just fine."

A man passing outside the marshal's office called out a greeting and Barnett raised his hand in return. "Have a good day, Karl!"

The pot cover danced against the rim of the pot bellow and Barnett nearly shot up into the air with all the excitement rocketing through his veins. "There it is," he whispered in exaggerated tones, "can you hear it boilin'?" Barnett was sure excited but anyone else in the room wouldn't have heard the gentle sloshing of water inside the opaque coffee pot.

Removing it from the direct heat, Barnett set the pot on a nearby desk as he rooted around for a couple of clean mugs. "Ohhhh," he moaned under his breath, "Teaspoon's gonna love this." Compromising, Barnett took out the handkerchief from his back pocket and wiped out the inside of the two cups he'd managed to find and set them down in front of his guest.

Testing the heat of the pot with the flats of his fingers he poured out a couple of cups using the kerchief he'd just used as a pot holder. "Folks say you should let the grounds settle down to the bottom, but me… I like the grit between my teeth… real earthy… real… uh… real."

Barnett tipped his cup to his lips and brought it back down a moment later. "Hmm… it's a bit… hot right now, but don't let me tell you that… try it for yourself." He set his own cup down and went for the broom against the wall. "While you're tryin' that I'll just get to my chores, can't have things gettin' covered with dust while the marshal's away."

Disclaimer: While this is about food, I am in no way advocating someone making this coffee for any reason. I cannot verify the recipe or the health benefits or taste of it.

A/N: Chickory or Chicory I found sites where the plant/herb was mentioned under both spellings of the word, so I chose the spelling that didn't make my spell check go nuts : And the title is from a silly song they taught us in school. One of the lines was "Chicory Chick Tra la Tra la, Checka la roma in a bananica…" and seemed to fit Barnett

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