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 August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...

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Calico

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PostSubject: August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...   Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:16 am

I know you are all on tenterhooks - but here's the thing...

Every Wednesday finds me at my local Italien inhaling pasta and glugging Chianti...
On the LAST Wednesday of the month I and my Ginger have an erudite and involved discussion to determing likely starters for the next Challenge topic...
He's fascinated.
Honest.
YES, he IS. Sleep

But now the first of the month is on a Wednesday.
SO... the Chianti inspired topic bottle will be announced... this evening.

Please commence writhing in impatience. Mad

Gals and guys who cannot wait may commence writing in impatience and insert the magic word randomly later!!!

I'm back - and the challenge, still Olympic inspired, is... Pom, pom, hic...


A SPORTING CHANCE...

On your marks, get set, GO !!!!!!





Last edited by Calico on Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Shenango



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PostSubject: Re: August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...   Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:02 pm

Ah, so this month's challenge is "bottle inspired"? Could be interesting to see what you come up with.

gonefishing bottle padded
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PostSubject: Re: August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...   Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:46 am

Just a little fluff to get the month started.

No Chance at All



“This is the life, ain’t it, Kid?”


“Yeah, I like this caretakin’ business.”


“Two whole weeks, just us and nature.”


“Not too much nature though; we’ve got beds to sleep in and a cabin to keep out the rain. Sure beats bein’ in the saddle all day.”


“I think we’re far enough out; you can stop rowing Kid.”


“How is it that I’m doin’ all the rowin’ while you sit there and relax?”


“I won the coin toss, Kid. You know that. Besides I’m not relaxing, I’m finding us the best place to fish from.”


“Uh huh.”


“Pull a little harder to the right. That’s good.”


“What you bring for bait?”


“I brought a couple o’ choices. There’s worms, bits of bacon, and a couple of pieces of cheese.”


“Cheese! We’re trying to catch fish, not mice.”


“Gee, why didn’t I think of that, Kid? Fish need choices too, you know.”


“ Just get your hook in the water and stop talkin’ will you.”


“That’s another thing, these are great fishing rods. I ain’t never seen anything like this. Remember how we used to just tie a string to a pole, whittle a hook, and stick a worm on it when we were kids?”


“I remember, Heyes. Sure had fun. Now will you stop yakkin’ and start fishin’?”


“Hmmph.”


*****


“Guess they ain’t hungry, Heyes.”


“No I guess they’re not. Still it’s been nice being out here in this boat. Guess we should head back to shore soon. Maybe you can find some game for us. Otherwise it’s bacon and beans again.”


“Kid, did you hear me? What’s with you?”


“Heyes! I got somethin’ and it feels real big.”


“Really!? Hey, you do!”


“It’s puttin’ up a fight here.”


“What you gotta do Kid is let out some more of the string and let that fish take it for a bit, or it’s gonna break free.”


“I know how Heyes, sheesh. I am lettin’ out string but I have to keep the tension on it, don’t I.”


“Just not too much.”


“Got it. Heyes, you just man the oars and make sure you don’t overturn us!”


“Like I’d do that.”


“Seems like I been at this for hours, my arm’s gettin’ tired.”


“Nah, it hasn’t been that long. Just keep it up. It’s a big one, for sure.”


“Okay, I’m gonna reel it in. It’s still fightin’ but it ain’t swimmin’ away anymore.”


“No, you’re doin’ it wrong.”


“Heyes, you ain’t helpin’”


“Here give me the pole.”


“Fine, take the dang thing. I could use a rest.”


“Okay, I got it, I got it. No I’ve got to let some out again. Boy this one sure is putting up a fight.”


“Just reel it in. Yeah like that. Can you see it yet?”


“No. Wait, Kid, there I can see it. It’s huge!”


“Just a little closer, Heyes.”


“Sure is a beaut. Biggest dang trout I’ve ever….” BANG! “What the…?”


“I got the pole Heyes, don’t worry. Yup, that sure is a beauty.”


*****


“Mmm, this sure is good, Kid. Nothing like pan fried, corn meal-crusted trout.”


“Mmm hmm.”


“Gotta say though, seems wrong to shoot it. You didn’t really give it a sporting chance.”


“It’s dinner. I don’t believe in givin’ dinner sportin’ chances. I believe in eatin’ it.”


“Guess you’re right Kid. Guess you’re right. Anymore trout left? I could eat another piece.”
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Penski
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PostSubject: Re: August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...   Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:20 pm

A Sporting Chance

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry cautiously rode into Jonestown, as they did every town, and immediately noticed the festive atmosphere. Banners and streamers were hung on buildings and the streets were crowded with folks who were laughing and chatting. Barkers called out to entice people to play their games of chance and they could hear a band playing on the hotel’s porch.

“Joshua,” the Kid leaned toward his partner to be heard. “Isn’t it too late to be the 4th of July?”

“Yep, been over a month. Wonder what they’re celebrating?” Heyes replied and then nodded to the saloon. “Let’s get that drink first and find out.”

The men cautiously maneuvered their horses through the crowd to the saloon, dismounted, and tied the reins securely to the hitching post. After slapping themselves with their hats to get a layer of trail dust off of their clothes, they pushed their way through the batwing doors and up to the bar.

“Howdy! What can I get you?” asked a rotund man with a laurel of grey hair and a shiny bald top.

“Two beers.” The Kid held up two fingers.

“And some information,” Heyes continued.

The bartender looked inquisitive as he poured the drinks. “What kind of information?”

“Little late for 4th of July… What’s the celebrating for?” Heyes took the proffered glass and had a long drink.

“Oh that. It’s Founder’s Day. Ralph Jones started up this here town almost ten years ago and it gives the folks reason to have a party.” The man grabbed a towel and wiped some glasses. “There’s a traveling show…a carnival with games and, I guess you can call them, attractions. And the womenfolk have put out a nice spread of food, too. I’m sure they’ll have plenty for two guests.”

“Seems we picked a mighty fine day to visit your town,” Curry said as he finished his drink. “Maybe we should go and be friendly – check out the festivities.”

“And the food,” Heyes joked as he nudged his partner. “Thanks for the news. We’ll be back later.”

Curry and Heyes slowly walked down Main Street, enjoying the music and watching the games of chance while munching on a bag of popcorn. The Kid stopped and leaned against a building when he came to the “Falling Plates” shooting challenge.

“How much money do we have, Joshua?” he quietly asked.

“Enough so you don’t need to be showing off how good you are at that game,” came a curt response.

“Just askin’…”

“I’m going to see if there’s room at the hotel and then take the horses to the livery. Are you coming with me?” Heyes started back towards the saloon.

“Nah, I think I’ll watch for a little while, if you don’t mind. Want to see if anyone’s any good.”

Heyes put a hand on his partner’s arm. “You’re just going to watch? You aren’t going to get into trouble if I leave you, are you?”

“Me?” the Kid asked, innocently. “Don’t you trust me?”

“To watch my back – yes. To stay outta trouble…”

“How about if I promise you I’ll stay right here? Just want to see how they’re makin’ the game harder than it is.”

“Okay,” Heyes hesitated. “I’ll be back within the hour.”

Kid Curry watched as one contestant after another failed to shoot all six plates that fell from the rack. A blond teenage boy caught his eye. The Kid smiled faintly. The boy reminded him so much of himself at that age. He watched as the teen gave the man a few coins, took the barker’s gun, and quickly shot the gun six times fluently, hitting two of the plates.

“Not bad, kid, but you missed four.” The man running the game took the gun back. “Who’ll be next? Why, there must be someone who can shoot better than that!”

The teen sulked away from the crowd, past Curry.

“You can’t be trustin’ the gun’s sights,” the Kid said loud enough for the boy to hear.

“Huh? You talkin’ to me, mister?”

“I am, if you wanna hear how to win that game.”

“Do I ever!” The teen came closer to the man with the tied-down gun. “I could really use that $50.”

“Where’s your folks?” Curry noticed the worn boots and clothes with the long curly blond hair.

“In Pennsylvania. Came west with my cousin George.”

“And where’s your cousin George now?”

The boy looked down and toed his boot. “We had us a fight and went our separate ways.”

“Bein’ alone in the west ain’t a good idea,” the Kid advised. “Me and my cousin had a fight, too, when we were about your age, and went our separate ways. One of the smartest things I did was to go lookin’ for him again. Best to have someone always watchin’ your back.”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinkin’ about that or maybe even headin’ back home.”

“Well then, let’s see if you can’t win that $50.” Curry smiled. “First off, the gun’s sights are off. When you got those two plates, you weren’t usin’ them, but usin’ your gut instincts. Just aim and shoot next time.”

The boy nodded.

“And keep an eye on the man releasin’ the plates. Watch him. He’s lettin’ go of the plate…one…two…three…four… Shoot!”

“Huh?” the teen scrunched up his face.

“He’s about to let go of another plate. There… now count.”

“Two… three… four…”

“The plate is in the air at the right place just after you say four.”

The boy watched again. “Oh, I see what you mean now.” He waited for the next plate to be released. “One…two…three…four…” He shot the plate with his thumb and index finger as a gun.

“That’s right,” the Kid encouraged. “You got the speed. You just gotta practice more. Observe a few more shooters ‘til you get the rhythm.”

The teen pretended to shoot the plates until he didn’t have to count aloud.

“Okay, let’s go check out your aim. If we go over by the livery, we should be outta the way and can target practice a few times.”

The boy found a few targets and put them on a fence, aiming out of town into an empty field. As he practiced, Kid Curry gave pointers to shave off some time from his draw and some shooting techniques.

“Think you’re ready now… I don’t even know your name.” Curry held out his hand. “Thaddeus Jones.”

“Harry Longabaugh.” The boy shook his teacher’s hand. “I sure do appreciate this, Mr. Jones.”

“Just go out there and win that $50.” The Kid put his arm around the boy’s shoulders and steered him back to the “Falling Plates” game. “Here’s some money,” he said as he fished a few coins out of his pocket.

“Thanks!” Harry went back over and got in line again as Curry leaned back against the building to watch.

“You’re still here,” Heyes came around the corner and looked around. “And it seems you stayed outta trouble.”

“Of course I did!” The Kid rolled his eyes and then pointed to Harry. “Watch that kid, Joshua.”

Heyes turned to follow where his partner was pointing. “Hey, he reminds me of…”

“Me, huh? That’s what I thought.”

Heyes adapted his cousin’s stance and watched. “He’s good!” he commented as the third plate was hit.

“Yep!”

“And the boy wins!” barked the game’s keeper.

Moments later, Harry rushed up to Curry. “Mr. Jones, I did it! I did just what you said and I won!”

Heyes gave the Kid a puzzled look as Curry beamed.

“You did a mighty fine job, Harry!”

“Is this that cousin you was talkin’ about?” Harry asked.

“Sure is! Harry Longabaugh, this is my cousin, Joshua Smith.”

“Howdy, Mr. Smith,” Harry said as he shook Heyes’ hand. “Mr. Jones told me how to win that game and gave me some pointers on shootin’.”

“Oh he did, did he?”

Harry nodded. “He’s a really good teacher. I lost the first time I tried.”

“And now what are you goin’ to do, Harry?” Curry asked.

“I’m goin’ to go find my cousin George ‘cause it ain’t good to be out west on your own. Need someone to watch your back.”

“That’s right. Good luck!”

“Thank you, again, Mr. Jones! Nice meetin’ you, Mr. Smith.” Harry waved as he blended into the crowd.

"What? Not like I taught him to be a gunslinger - just a few pointers so he could win the game," the Kid said before Heyes could say a word. “You could see he needed the money.”

“True.” Heyes put his arm around his partner and steered him over to where he had spotted a table laden with food. “And since you did such a good job teaching him,” he grinned, “let’s go get your reward.”

Curry snorted, but couldn’t hold back his smile as they made their way over to the line of people waiting to sample the tempting dishes.




Harry A. Longabaugh made a huge mistake: he got caught stealing a horse in Sundance, Wyoming and was thrown in jail. He might have lost his innocence, but he gained a name and a place in history. He became known as 'The Sundance Kid'.

Born in 1867 in Pennsylvania, Longabaugh was not long in making his way West (in 1882). In fact, he was only 15 when he began his journey on a covered wagon with his cousin George. By 1887, however, things were not going so well for him. He stole a horse, gun, and saddle from a ranch in Sundance, Wyoming and fled. However, he was captured and sentenced to 18 months in jail. (http://americanhistory.about.com/od/americanwest/a/sundance_kid.htm)



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"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
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Maz

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PostSubject: Re: August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...   Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:06 pm

This should make sense to those of you familiar with my Ranch Days stories. If you're not..where the heck have you been?? Shocked
I mean..oh well never mind. Very Happy .but you need to know Kid and Heyes are in their teens and working on a ranch.

Cue music...fade to the Bar T.....

A Sporting Chance (AKA What the Puck??)
By Maz McCoy


“We’re gonna lose,” Nathan said, clearly resigned to their fate.

“Not necessarily,” Jeff Collins added optimistically, his breath clouding the air in front of him.

Sitting on the porch bench, outside the bunkhouse door, wrapped in his warm winter coat, Nathan cast a sideways glance at the Bar T’s foreman. “We always lose.”

“Yeah, but…”

“Jeff, face it, we’re gonna lose. Again.”

Collins turned to his friend. “Maybe not this time.” He smiled at Nathan’s sceptical expression. “I think we have a chance.”

“Gonna share where this miracle is coming from?”

Collins turned towards the corral and pointed. “There.”

Nathan’s eyes narrowed on the hands attending to the horses. Steam rose from the animal’s backs and the mouths of the men. He followed the direction of Jeff’s finger. “Marty? You’re kiddin’ right?”

“Not Marty.”

More eye-narrowing. “Heyes? He’s never gonna…”

“Not Heyes.”

Nathan shielded his eyes with his hand. “The Kid?”

Jeff smiled. “The Kid.”

“Jeff, I don’t think that boy’s ever been on a pair of skates, let alone…”

“We’ll ask him and if you’re right, we’ll teach him.”

“In two days?” Nathan stood up and placed a hand on the foreman’s shoulder. “Old man, I think you’ve been in the sun too long.”

It was Jeff’s turn to narrow his eyes.

Nathan smiled. “Okay, you’re not that old, but still, the Kid? He’s from Kansas right?”

“Yeah.”

“Do they have snow in Kansas?”

“I don’t know but wouldn’t it be better to ask if they have ice?” Jeff put two fingers in his mouth and let out a shrill whistle. All heads turned in his direction. “JED! GET UP HERE!”

Jed Curry put down the rope he held, climbed through the bars on the corral fence and headed at a jog towards the bunkhouse. “What is it, Boss?”

“You ever been on a pair of ice skates, Kid?”

Jed looked confused. “Ice skates?” He seemed reluctant to acknowledge the fact one way or another.

“Yeah, ice skates.”

“No.”

“Well, then it’s about time you did.” Collins descended the steps onto the compacted snow and placed a reassuring hand on Jed’s shoulder. “There’s really nothing to it once you learn how.”

“But why do I need to learn how to skate?” Jed looked from Collins to Nathan. He wasn’t sure he liked the way they were smiling at him.

“Because you, Jed Curry, are about to become the Bar T’s secret weapon in the game against Fort Elliot on Saturday,” Jeff informed him.

“I am?”

“Yep.”

“What game?” Neither man spoke, instead they were steering him towards the frozen pond. “What game?”

Jeff stopped and looked down at the youngster. Suspicion was written all over Jed’s face. “Ice hockey. We have been challenged to an ice hockey match by the soldiers of Fort Elliot.”

“But I don’t know how to play ice…”

“Bright young fella like you, you’ll pick it up in no time,” Nathan assured him.

“And with that quick draw of yours,” Jeff added, his eyes practically sparkling with the thought of winning. “I reckon you’ll be sending that puck into the goal so fast the goalie won’t even see it coming.”

“But I don’t know how to play ice…”

“Yep,” Jeff continued, seemingly oblivious to Jed’s protestations, “I think this year we may actually have a sporting chance.”

Jed stepped away facing both men and shouted, “BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PLAY ICE HOCKEY!” He blushed, somewhat embarrassed by the volume he’d used. The Boss would surely reprimand him for that. “Sorry.”

Jeff Collins took a deep breath. “We are gonna teach you, Nathan and me.” He held up one hand to silence any more of Jed’s objections.

Nathan stepped closer. “Emily will be at the game; the whole Culver family will be there.” He watched as this sank in.

“Emily?”

“Yep. And William Brody will be Captain of Fort Elliot’s team.”

“Emily’s soldier?”

“Yep.”

Jeff stood beside Nathan. They waited. Cogs whirled and wheels turned inside Jed Curry’s blond head.

“So I could help us win the game? Against the soldiers?”

“With Miss Emily watching,” Nathan reminded him.

Jed bit his lip. “When’s my first lesson?”

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PostSubject: Re: August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...   Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:43 pm

Sporting Chance

“This is it.” The woman’s brittle, steel-like hair and sharp nose emphasised a character as crisp as her clipped English accent. “I don’t let just anybody stay here, you know.” She eyed Kid cautiously before she gave Heyes an accusing glare. “You did not tell me that your companion was a hobbledehoy.”

“Mrs. Plant, I am writing a perspective on the west and I need a guide. Mr. Jones is both courteous and honest.” He gave the reassuring smile of a man desperate not to spend another damp night camping out in the cold, April rain. “Besides, I’m here to cover the race and he knows one of the jockeys.”

Mrs. Plant gave a little sniff. “Well, I hold you responsible for him.” She bustled towards the door. “Breakfast is at seven thirty sharp. DO NOT damage the new counterpane. I spent hours making that and I think it really sets off the room.” The door clicked shut behind her.

“What’s a counterpane?” hissed Kid, scanning the room in confusion. “Does she mend windows?”

“Dunno, just don’t damage it. The town’s booked up because of the big race and it’s been pouring for nearly two weeks. We can’t get thrown out.”

“I don’t damage things,” muttered Kid, indignantly. “This is just typical. You’ve got us the stupidest job on earth and now we’re staying with a stiff, crusty old...,” he dropped his bag on the bed. “What’s a hobbledythingy?”

“Just use your charm. It got us this job.”

The dimpled grin only served to irritate Kid more. “Matchmakers!? What were you thinkin’?”

“It’s more of an introduction service. Conrad knows who he wants. We just have to get her to appreciate him, and you’ve got her ear since you helped her when her horse threw that shoe. Tell her how great he is and we get paid. It’s easy.”

“Heyes, he’s a five foot two jockey, in love with a five foot eleven Amazon. They’ve been introduced and she ain’t interested because they’d look ridiculous together. Men should give up when they can’t reach the cookies on the top shelf.”

“He adores her.” Heyes tilted his head. “She could do a lot worse – she’s from dirt poor farming stock and he’s got money from an uncle who was a beef baron.”

“I’ve never tried to convince a woman to like another man. I ain’t sure I can do it.”

“Sure you can, Kid. You do it for me all the time, without even realising it. Conrad’s going to be the hero of the race, he’s well off, and he worships her. He’s got a sporting chance. Just try not to damage the counterpane.” He scratched his head and glanced around the room, “although it would help if we knew what the hell it was.”

“Does this mean I’m supposed to take this woman out and tell her how wonderful Conrad is?”

Heyes bounced on the bed testing it for comfort. “Why not? She’s got a lovely personality.”

Uncompromising blue eyes bored into his back. “So does Kyle, but I don’t want to take him on a picnic.”

**********

Conrad Painting was a handsome man, with sparkling, chocolate eyes set in clear olive skin, topped with dark, wavy hair. His diminutive stature was a boon in his career, but had caused him years of heartbreak. Even he wasn’t sure if he had thrown himself into his passion for horses to compensate for his lack of success in other areas. All he knew was that he had found it difficult to focus on anything since he had met Sabrina. He felt a pang of shame at paying someone to help him get her attention, but he was desperate. She was special; and he was prepared to do just about anything to win her. He stood, tilting his head back, greeting the men, to whom charm came so easily, with a glittering smile as they walked into the saloon.

“We got in,” grinned Heyes. “The last room in town. Tough landlady.”

Conrad nodded, pouring whiskey into the shot glasses and sliding them across the table to them. “So? How do we start this?”

“Well, we’ve never done anything like this, so I guess we need to look at what attracts a woman.”

Conrad shrugged. “How would I know? How do you attract a woman?”

The partners exchanged a quizzical glance and shrugged. “Dunno? We just talk to them and they give you the signal if they’re interested,” replied Kid.

“What kind of signal?”

“They hold your gaze...”

Conrad frowned. “Muriel holds my gaze all the time...”

Heyes leaned forward. “That sounds promising. Why not concentrate on Muriel?”

“Because she’s seventy four. There must be more to it than that.”

“Well, it’s a kind of ‘come hither,’ sort of like the look saloon girls give you when they see the money.”

Conrad’s shoulders slumped. “So how do you get them to give you the signal?”

Heyes arched his eyebrows. “Just be charming and gentlemanly.”

“I am. They pat me on the head and say I’m cute. I want to be desired; the man their mothers don’t want to leave them alone with... Like you two.”

Kid’s stiffened. “I’m a perfect gentleman. I can be trusted with any woman.”

“Good, because I need you to tell Sabrina things about me that’ll get her interested.”

“Like what?”

“How about - I love her and would do anything for her.”

Kid shrugged. “You’ve already done that and she ain’t interested. How about ‘treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen?’”

Heyes sipped thoughtfully at his drink. “Nah, if that really worked; Custer would have been invited to dinner instead of Little Big Horn. I think we’ve got to find out what she’s interested in. Thaddeus, that’s your job. You go and see her first thing in the morning.”

**********

“Let me help.”

Sabrina looked into the blue eyes before straightening up and swinging the sack over her broad shoulders. “I can manage. Customers are supposed to come through the front door of the store.”

“I came to see you,” Kid gave her an engaging smile. “I guess the big race brings in lots of customers.”

“It sure does.” She dumped the sack of flour on top of the others and straightened up, fixing Kid with serious grey eyes. “So? What do you want?”

“I wondered if you were going to the race. Conrad’s the favourite and he’s bound to win.”

She tucked a tendril of light brown hair behind her ear. “What are you up to Mr. Jones? I’m not your type. A woman can tell.”

He shifted uncomfortably in embarrassment. Her square jaw and wide mouth made her more striking than conventionally pretty, but she was right. Sabrina was not a woman he would have called on by choice. “Conrad would be real keen to see you at the winning post.”

She rolled her eyes. “Can’t that man take a telling? We’d be a laughing stock. Don’t you think it’s hard enough being taller than most men, without pairing me up with him? We’d look like freaks.”

“He’s fairly well off. His wife wouldn’t have to carry sacks.”

She put her hands on her hips. “Look, maybe if he was taller... Or I was shorter? Who knows – but we are who we are.”

“There’ll be food, and a band – all kinds of entertainment. My partner and I will keep you company until the race is over.”

“The music sounds tempting, I love music...”

“Apart from his height, what have you got against him?”

Sabrina shrugged. “It’s not him. I’m just not strong enough to even try this.”

Kid shrugged. “You’re a real lucky woman, Miss Fontana.

“I am?”

“A truly kind and genuine man thinks you are the whole world to him, and you just dismiss it because of what a few folks might think. Lots of women would be overjoyed to find a man who worships the ground they walk on, and he’s so sure you’re the one for him he won’t give up. Yup, you’re real lucky.”

Sparks of curiosity flared in her eyes. “Why does that make me lucky?”

“You turn your back on it so lightly. You must have somebody real special.”

He watched his words land, her fingers subconsciously twisting the fabric of her apron as she bit into her lip. “What time is the race, Mr. Jones? I don’t suppose it would hurt to cheer him on.”

**********

“She’s coming?” Conrad’s delighted eyes danced at the prospect of being cheered over the finishing line by the woman he loved. “She must see me lift that cup. Did she say anything else?”

Kid looked quizzically at a breadstick. “Music. She loves music.”

Conrad’s eyes lit up. “She does? I’ve played piano since I was a little boy.”

Heyes gave him a pat on the back. “This time tomorrow night she’ll be eating out of your hand.”

Conrad sighed. “No, but it’s a start. She needs to overcome this height thing. It really bothers her.” He waved over to the waitress. “Gentlemen, my mother is Italian and this restaurant is run by my aunt and uncle. Tonight you will dine like kings. I know you can’t guarantee she’ll come around, but getting her to spend time with me, getting to know me – that’s what’ll make the difference.”

A doe-eyed waitress put three shot glasses and a bottle on the table before dropping her dark head and kissing Conrad on the top of then head. “Good luck tomorrow, Tresoro.”

“Gentlemen, this is my cousin, Tizianna. This is Thaddeus Jones and Joshua Smith.”

The girl nodded warmly at them before sashaying seductively back to the bar. “What a friendly family,” purred Heyes.

“Have you ever tried grappa?” asked Conrad.

Kid examined the bottle, but there was no label. “Never even heard of it. What is it?”

“It’s from grapes. We make it ourselves.”

“Grapes?” Heyes took a sip. It was definitely liquor, but had a faint fruity aftertaste. “Yeah, it’s good. I can drink this quite happily.” He downed his glass and lifted the bottle to top up Conrad’s empty glass.

“No thanks,” he covered his glass. “I’m racing tomorrow.”

“Ah, come on,” urged Kid. “It’s a fruit drink. How bad can it be?”

Conrad sat back, a knowing smile playing over his lips. “Enjoy yourselves, but it’s stronger than you think. I’ll just lay off for tonight.”

**********

The grappa flowed like water, the mouth-watering food was plentiful, and the company of Conrad’s stunning cousins tempting; but it was all topped off by a musical diversion around the piano to round off the evening. Conrad had undersold his musical skills – he had the touch of a concert pianist and the soaring, ringing tones of an operatic tenor.

Eventually, two merry ex-outlaws staggered and weaved their way back to Mrs. Plant’s lodging house; stumbling, humming and snickering through the darkness to their room.

**********

Heyes buried his head under the covers, but the movement seemed to stimulate an unfortunate series of events. His stomach started to heave, his gullet spasmed, and his mouth started to water. He opened his eyes; his brain screaming silently at the vicious assault of the daylight on his aching eyeballs. He ran for the chamber pot, retching and trying desperately to swallow down the swirling contents about to be ejected from his protesting belly.

Too late. It was all over the floor.

What was he going to tell Mrs. Plant? He grabbed the bedspread and mopped up the worst, before using water and soap from the washstand to clean down the floor boards. He looked guiltily around, content that he had successfully covered his tracks. He could sneak the quilt out later to get it laundered and she’d never know the difference.

Kid stirred. “Feelin’ bad, eh?”

“No worse than you I guess.”

Kid chuckled. “Hey, I ate more than you, so I lined my stomach. How strong was that grappa?”

“Don’t! I need to go to the pharmacy to get something for my head before we go to the race. Let’s hope there’s not too much shouting.”

**********

Heyes’ worst fears were realised. He cringed in pain at the screaming, yelling and hollering which accompanied Conrad and his mount across the finishing line, well ahead of the field. He leapt from his mount, punching the air in delight and cut his way through the crowd towards Sabrina. He bowed his head gallantly and took her hand, kissing it gently.

“Thank you for coming. This has made this the most special day for me. I can’t tell you how much it means.”

“Look! He’s kissing the only part he can reach,” snickered a passing blonde.

Kid fixed her with his most chilling glare, hearing Sabrina choke back a sob. “If she was a man I’d crack her on the jaw!” he snapped.

“That’s Angela Capaldi,” muttered Sabrina. “She’s made my life a misery since school.”

“Capaldi?” murmured Conrad quietly. “She’s singing later, isn’t she?”

“I’m leaving.”

Conrad clasped her hand. “Please, don’t. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that there’s all the difference in the world between short and small. There’s more than one way to cut these folks down to size. Please. Don’t let her win. At least stay for a while.”

Kid nodded. “He’s right, Miss Fontana. Folks like that are bullies. You’ve got to hold your head high and ignore them.”

“Hold my head high? Is that some sort of crack?”

“No! I would never...”

Sabrina eyed him uneasily. “I’ll stay for a while, just so she doesn’t think she’s won.”

**********

“Ladies and gentlemen, we would now like to present Angela Capaldi to sing an aria from ‘Rigoletto.’ For our listening pleasure and to make today doubly special, our very own champion, Conrad Painting, will accompany her on the piano forte.”

Conrad placed a hand over Sabrina’s. “Please stay and listen. Promise me you won’t go until I’ve finished.”

Sabrina chewed on her bottom lip. “I don’t want to listen to her showing off. I’ve had this since I was a child.”

He grinned engagingly. “Trust me? Please?”

She gave a reluctant nod. “Fine. I’m going right afterwards. Little Miss Perfect has had a lifetime of applause. I don’t need to hear any more.”

Conrad’s face split into a wide smile before darting to the stage where Angela was primping and preening before her performance. He allowed his expert hands to explore the keys in an impressive display which made Sabrina stop short and arch an eyebrow in surprise, before Angela attempted the first few haltering words.

She stopped holding up a hand. “You’re in the wrong key.”

Conrad shook his head. “Nope. ‘Caro Nome’ in ‘E.’ Do I sound like I don’t know what I’m doing?”

She pouted, starting again. “Caro nome che il mio cor...” She stopped, stamping her foot in anger. I told you! It’s in the wrong key.”

“No. You are.”

The audience was staring to get restless. “You know NOTHING about classical music, you... you... goblin!”

“Conrad’s our champion!” Yelled someone from the crowd. People started booing and hooting at her to get off, before somebody threw popcorn.

“I saw that, Thaddeus,” hissed Heyes.

“Good. I hope she did too,” grinned Kid.

The deluge started. Bread rolls, cakes, paper hats and anything people could lay their hands on cascaded onto the stage until Conrad stood, holding his hands out in appeasement. “Folks! Please, let’s show our little prima donna how it’s done. There are a lot of Italians in this town, so I’m sure you all know the words to, ‘La Donna è Mobile.’”

There was a loud cheer as he sat down and began a rousing, joyful performance. Kid looked over at Sabrina; a smile was playing over her lips. “Bet you’re glad you stayed now, eh?”

“I sure am. I’ve listened to Rigoletto all my life. He did start in too high a key so that she’d start screeching. Now I know what he meant when he said there was more than one way to cut her down to size. There’s a lot more to Mr. Painting than meets the eye, isn’t there? I think I might stay for the rest of the evening.”

**********

“MR. SMITH!” Mrs. Plant was waiting for them. “Where is he? Where is that... that creature!?”

“Who?”

She glared at Kid. “Jones. What have you done to my counterpane?”

He shook his head in mystification. “Nothin’, honest.”

“Don’t lie to me. I found it under the bed. I always regret it when I don’t follow my instincts. I knew you weren’t to be trusted.”

“Ma’am, I swear...”

“I’m sure you do. Like a common docker! You’re going to pay for it.”

Heyes bit into his lip. “Under the bed?”

“Yes, hidden there. You foul, disgusting...”

“Ma’am, we’re sorry. Of course we’ll pay to get it cleaned.”

“Cleaned! You’ll pay to replace it. I burned it. I want forty dollars.”

Heyes frowned. “Ma’am, you’re talking about the quilt? I thought you said you made the counterpane. We are talking about the quilt, aren’t we?”

“Of course we are. My counterpane. I want forty dollars for the material and labour, and don’t you even think of trying to cheat a poor old widow woman, or I’ll have the law on you.”

“Joshua, we only made fifty dollars for our job here,” hissed Kid.

“And then there’s your bill...”

**********

“Well, Genius? How much have we got left?”

Heyes darted a look at Kid. “Three dollars and sixty cents.”

“That’s less than we had when we arrived here.” Kid shook his head. “I dunno, we finally get paid for a job and you had to damage the counterpane. You were even warned. What are we supposed to do now? It’s pourin’.”

“Do you think any of Conrad’s folks would help?”

A pair of blue eyes slid sideways. “We could ask. As long as you promise to stay off the grappa.”

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PostSubject: Re: August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...   Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:03 pm

Saddle Talk: Sportin’ Chances

“Heyes, you never even gave him a sportin’ chance.”

“Why should I, Kid? He sat down to play. Shouldn’t’ve done it if he didn’t know the game.”

“Maybe he was just tryin’. Ya have to start somewhere. You did.”

“Yeah, but I learned in bunk houses and back alleys. By the time I sat down at a table to play, I knew what I was doing.”

“So, not everybody’s lucky as you to know the game so good. Or just plain lucky as you.”

“Kid, it’s not just luck – it’s skill! Playing a lot means I practice a lot. You can appreciate that.”

“Yeah, I can. Dented enough tin cans in my time.”

“See what I mean? It’s skill, pure and simple.”

“Fine, Heyes, it’s skill. But givin’ others a chance to beat ya might be part of the game, too. Keeps the edge up.”

“Kid, you don’t really think that, do ya? Plenty of stupid kids wanting to make a name for themselves would give their right arms to have a go at Kid Curry. Might not stand much of a chance, but they’d try. Skill and practice saves ya, just like it lets me win.”

“Heyes, if that happened, I wouldn’t give ‘em the chance. Graze ‘em if need be and send them packin’ back to their ma.”

“So what are ya saying, Kid?”

“It’s a different game you play. Poker’s different than gunplay.”

“How so? I mean, some green kid sits down to take me on, I smile and take his money in a friendly game. Same kid wants to take you on, he might end up on boot hill, if he’s really stupid.”

“Not fair, Heyes. You know it wouldn’t get that far. I won’t let it.”

“I know, Kid. But that kid doesn’t.”

“Maybe.”

“It’s your skill keeps it from happening, in a more dangerous game than I play.”

“Okay, Heyes, point taken. But it takes skill if you’re gonna be that consistent at poker, even against two-bit players. Luck only goes so far.”

“There ya go, Kid – my point exactly! Nice how ya come around eventually to my way of thinking.”

“Ha! Your way of thinkin’, Heyes? I do pretty well on my own.”

“Yeah, you do all right, Kid. As long as you let me do most of it for ya.”

“You’re insultin' again, Heyes. Is that the way it is today? Can’t we ever have a conversation where you’re not makin’ fun of me?”

“Sure we can. We do it all the time.”

“Do what all the time? Talkin’ where you’re not makin’ fun of me, or makin’ fun of me?”

“Both, I suppose. Hell, Kid, maybe it’s even. Hmm… We can call it even if ya want. That’d be fair.”

“Can’t be even if it’s not in the first place, Heyes. Not real sportin’ of ya.”

“Ah, Kid, there we are back at sportin’ again.”

“Yup.”

“What goes around…”

“Yeah, I know, Heyes. Comes around again.”

“Kid, you took the words right out of my mouth.”

“Heyes, that’s disgustin’! But, ya know, if ya don’t wipe that smile off your face, I might have to flatten ya, or worse. Danny smiled a little too much…”

“And if you don’t stop rolling your eyes… Ha! Maybe we’re even again. Think about it.”

“Okay, Heyes. Maybe…”

“Kid, just…‘maybe?’”

“Um hmm…”

“This isn’t making any sense.”

“Heyes, it makes all the sense in the world.”

“Okay, Kid – then give me a sporting chance at least at understanding it.”

“Why should I, Heyes?”

“Why not?”

“It’d be too easy then.”

“Okay, Kid, I’ll play along. Too easy, how?”

“Heyes, you’re the genius. You’re always tellin’ me that. You figure it out. There’s your sportin’ chance.”

“Kid, you’re downright confusing!”

“Me? Confusin’? Nah! Heyes, you must have me mixed up with somebody else. I’m ‘bout as plain-spoken as you can get.”

“Oh, so now who’s grinning like a Cheshire cat?”

“You mean like the one who got the canary?”

“Kid, was that the Cheshire cat?”

“Hmm… Not sure…”

“Okay, it doesn’t matter.”

“Ya sure, Heyes?”

“I’m sure. So, where were we, Kid?”

“Heyes… More like, where ARE we?”

“That’s an easy one – on the trail, broke, trying to find a town with a two-bit poker game so I can put our two-bit stake in a penny ante pot against two-bit players down to their own last dime.”

“Ha! Heyes, that sounds pathetic!”

“Well, Kid, that’s where we are. You asked. Good thing we can both laugh about it.”

“I suppose. That’s somethin’, I guess.”

“Yup, it is. And we won’t starve because of that Colt of yours.”

“I guess it comes in handy sometimes, huh, Heyes?”

“Sure does, Kid, even if it’s hard ground we’re sleeping on.”

“Yup. But you have a plan to get us enough of a stake for some soft beds and a bath.”

“That’s the idea, Kid. And maybe even enough for a nice, big steak…”

“Or beef stew, or fried chicken…”

“Kid, don’t forget about the apple pie to finish it off…”

“And a beer, maybe even cold. Heyes, is that what they call dreamin’ in the saddle?”

“Ha, ha! Maybe so, Kid. Or, maybe a sporting chance that it’ll all work out.”

“…You think it will, Heyes? With the amnesty, I mean?”

“I don’t know, Kid. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. We took a chance on the Governor, sporting or not…”

“But as a bettin’ man?”

“That’s a good question, Kid. We’re betting on it, even though the odds seem stacked against us sometimes.”

“Gosh, Heyes, this is kinda depressin’. Let’s get back to the good sportin’ chances, the things we know for real…”

“Kid, you mean like your gun and my poker?”

“Yeah. Somethin’ we can smile about.”

“You’re on, Kid. Those trees over there look like a good place to set up camp: Stream right there, good grass for a little cushion on the ground. How ‘bout I start a fire and tend to the horses, and you find us some dinner?”

“Now you’re talkin’, Heyes. Sounds like a plan.”
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PostSubject: Re: August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...   Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:27 pm

“I ain’t doin’ this.”

“Jeez, it’s not like it’s the first store we’ve hit, Jed. We’ll come tonight; that lockbox looks like one I can pick – if we have to we’ll take the whole thing and you can shoot the lock off once we’re clear.”

“Look, they got little kids; I ain’t doin’ it!”

“Fine! So just how do you suggest we eat?” Heyes whispered back sarcastically. “Or were you thinking we should starve instead?”

“We just need a stake for a poker game.”

“Well we don’t have a stake.”

“I know,” sighed Jed. He looked around the small, dusty store, where the two were huddled in the back corner arguing quietly. “I just, I just… look they don’t seem that much different than us.”

“Sure they do; they ain’t hungry and homeless.”

“But if we take all the money from the store, then they’ll be hungry too; and they have kids.”

Heyes glanced at the storekeeper in his much-patched shirt. His eyes followed the storekeeper’s wife as she headed out the door with two barefoot urchins clinging to her faded skirts and a baby in her arms. His shoulders drooped. “I know. Let me think a bit.”

~~~OOO~~~

The cowboy looked at the two teenagers standing in front of him. They were a sorry-looking pair. “So let me get this straight, you’re betting me five dollars that this kid can outshoot me?”

“That’s right, Mister. We heard you talking. You’re so sure you can outdraw anyone, why don’t we give it a try – just give us a sporting chance.” Heyes spoke as persuasively as he could, while Jed tried to look as young and innocent as he knew how.

The crowd around the three murmured to each other and parted to let the sheriff through.

“What’s going on here?”

The cowboy looked at him. “Hank, these two want to bet me five dollars that that young’un there can out draw and out shoot me.”

The sheriff looked back and forth. “Boys, do you know who you’re betting against? That’s Red Hollister – he’s the best shooter in the area, wins all the ranch competitions around. You sure you want to do this?”

“Yes sir.”

“Alright, but I’ll hold the money for both of you so there’s no dispute at the end. I don’t want trouble in my town.”

Heyes and Jed gulped and looked at each other.

The sheriff’s eyes narrowed. “You two weren’t betting without the money to back it up, were you?”

“Uh”

“Well…”

“It’s alright sheriff, I’ll cover their side of the wager for them.”

The sheriff looked up at the well-dressed man who had spoken. “Mr. Goodnight, are you sure you want to do that for these tramps?”

Mr. Goodnight looked them up and down. “You really think you can take Red here?” he asked Jed, smiling.

“I think so.”

“Alright, I’m sure.” Mr. Goodnight smiled at Red. “I know you’ll take good care of my money, Red, and not drink it all up.”

“Yes sir, Mr. Goodnight, sir.” Red nodded back.

Heyes spoke up, “Mr. Goodnight, sir, that’s real nice of you, but I want to make sure I understand the terms here. What happens to the money if we win, do you get it or do we?”

The crowd gasped at his temerity.

Mr. Goodnight laughed. “If your friend there wins, then Red will pay him the five dollars. I’m just interested in the entertainment value of this competition.”

Red broke in. “Let’s get this contest over with then, I ain’t got all day.”

The crowd followed them to an empty lot. Red and Mr. Goodnight each handed five dollars to the sheriff to hold. The sheriff set up twelve cans in two groups on the fence on the far side of the lot. He turned and looked at the contestants.

“You two ready?”

Red nodded impatiently.

Jed settled himself, a look of concentration on his face, but showing no nervousness, then nodded.

“Okay. On my mark. GO!”

Jed had drilled holes through the center of all six of his cans and returned his gun to his holster before Red had managed more than four shots, one of which missed. The crowd gasped. Heyes’s smile lit his face. He ran over and clapped Jed on the shoulder.

Red looked at him. “I don’t believe it. You’re just a kid.”

Jed smiled broadly as he took the five dollars the sheriff handed him.

He turned to Mr. Goodnight. “Gee thanks, Mr. Goodnight. You sure you don’t want any of the winnin’s?”

“No, son, I’m fine. I would like to know your names, though, since you know mine.”

“I’m Jed, Jed Curry and my friend here is Heyes.”

There was a murmur from the crowd. The sheriff’s eyes narrowed again.

“Curry, huh,” he stated, folding his arms and looking closely at Jed. “You the one they’re calling Kid Curry; the one that drew on Bart McCracken over in Crockettville a month or two ago?”

Bart McCracken had been despised throughout Palo Pinto County. He was big, and tough, and mean – mean as an angry rattlesnake, but, unlike a rattlesnake, McCracken didn’t give a warning before he struck. His death at the hands of a baby-faced, blue-eyed, blonde gunslinger the papers named Kid Curry had been a seven-day wonder. The crowd waited anxiously to hear if this youth was that desperado.

“No, Sir.” The crowd relaxed. “He drew on me; I’m just faster’n he was. The sheriff there agreed I was within my rights.” The crowd gasped.

Heyes spoke up. “McCracken went after me for beating him at poker. Jed was just coming to help me when McCracken drew.”

The sheriff frowned at them. Heyes and Jed looked at each other resignedly; this wouldn’t be the first town they’d been asked to leave.

Red spoke up. “Sounds about right to me, Sheriff. Everyone knows McCracken was a terrible poker player.” He looked at the two boys. “Just no one else was dumb enough to beat him before. He’s got a mean temper. Or, I guess, I should say he had one.”

The Kid flushed and looked down.

“Leave them alone, Hank,” Mr. Goodnight instructed. “They’ve done nothing wrong or the sheriff in Crockettville wouldn’t have let them go.” The sheriff shrugged, nodded, and walked away.

Mr. Goodnight turned to Heyes and Curry. “Well I’m mighty impressed with what I saw here. Let me buy you a meal over in that café over there, and we can talk.”

Heyes and Curry communed silently, except for the rumbling of their stomachs, and then nodded their acceptance.

“Glad that’s settled.” Mr. Goodnight turned to Red. “Red, I appreciate you being such a sport about this. Let me buy you a drink.” He held out a bill to Red, who looked at it, then grinned.

“Sure thing, Mr. Goodnight.” He took the money, turned, and walked away.

~~~OOO~~~

Mr. Goodnight sipped his coffee while he watched the two boys devour the daily special. After they had mopped up the last of the gravy with the corn bread and the waitress had cleared the dishes, he spoke. “Want some pie, boys, and more coffee?”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other then Heyes spoke. “Mr. Goodnight, you’ve been real nice to us and we appreciate it, but what is this going to cost us?”

“Does it have to cost anything? Maybe, I just don’t like seeing two boys go hungry.”

“In our experience it always costs. Now what do you want?”

Mr. Goodnight smiled. He motioned to the waitress and ordered pie and more coffee.

“Well Mr. Heyes, are you as good a shot as your friend here?”

“I’m not as fast as the Kid, but I can usually hit what I aim at. Why?”

“I have a proposition for you.”

The Kid frowned. “Look Mr. Goodnight, I don’t know what you’ve heard or what you’re thinkin’ but we ain’t hired guns. I killed Bart McCracken, didn’t have much choice, but I ain’t a gun for hire, neither is Heyes.”

“Well that’s good. Now boys, do you have any experience with cattle?”

“We worked at a ranch a couple of winters ago and went up the Chisholm last year,” Heyes answered warily. “Look, Mr. Goodnight, we know who you are. Everyone in this part of Texas knows who you are, but I’m not sure we’re ready to be trail hands again.”

“Well if you have a better offer, I suggest you take it boys.”

The waitress brought over the pieces of pie and refilled their coffee cups. Heyes and the Kid looked at each other, at the pie, then sighed and picked up their forks.

“What do you have in mind, Mr. Goodnight?” the Kid asked.

Mr. Goodnight smiled. “It’s not trailing, not yet at least. You know about the fever cattle down south, don’t you?” They nodded. “Well we hear there’re men driving some of them up this way. I and my fellow ranchers don’t plan to let them come across our land. So we need ranch hands who can manage rifles to help persuade them to find a different route. Are you two up to that? It pays five dollars a week and I’ll supply rifles and everything you need.”

Heyes and the Kid communed some more. The Kid put down his fork. “Look, I told you; we’re not hired guns. I see no reason to kill anyone over cattle.”

“Good. I’d rather avoid any bloodshed if possible, but those cattle cannot come across our lands and infect our herds. Now are you in or out?”

After some moments of silence, Heyes held out his hand. “You have yourself a deal Mr. Goodnight, but I should tell you we don’t have as much experience with rifles as we do with our shooting irons.”

“Glad to hear that. Frankly, you two are claiming a lot of experience for two men as young as you two appear to be, so admitting to not having much experience with rifles inclines me more towards believing your prior claims.”

Heyes and the Kid absorbed this. Finally, Heyes replied. “We been on our own for a while now Mr. Goodnight. If you don’t believe us, don’t hire us.”

“I’m sure you’ll do fine. I’ll have Luke, one of my hands, meet you tomorrow afternoon at the Schubert’s livery stable, with some horses. He’ll show you to the ranch.”

“Alright. By the way, I’m called Heyes, just Heyes, and he’s either Jed or the Kid.” They shook hands. Mr. Goodnight stood up, paid the tab, and walked out.

Heyes and the Kid smiled broadly before getting up and heading to the saloon to find a game and celebrate the change in their fortunes.
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PostSubject: Re: August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...   Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:58 am

This started out as a response to the Word Challenge and it ended up being a two for one:

Kid woke slowly to the quiet sounds of someone moving about the room. It took him a moment to remember where he was. It had been a strenuous night. They'd come into town seeking a doctor for Heyes after he’d been thrown from his horse when it had stumbled. His wrist had been busted and they had had to wait hours to see the town doctor. The over-worked man had patched Heyes up quickly but temporarily and told him to return today for a cast after the swelling had gone down some.

His partner was now sitting in, one-handed, on an all-night poker game downstairs. He had insisted on playing cards, saying that it would distract him from the pain. Knowing what a bad patient Heyes could be, Kid had been relieved. Kid had played a few hands, but he soon grew tired of sitting still for hours. He had eventually wandered over to the bar and that's where he met Molly. She was a short, curvy little gal with a wild mop of red hair. It had been pinned up tight to her head except for a few strands that had escaped their keepers. These stuck out at crazy angles giving her a slightly mad look, but she hadn't been; mad that is. She had stood and chatted with Kid for quite a while and he had been surprised by the many subjects they covered. Her intellect was as unruly as her hair. One thought springing free of another in a willy-nilly fashion. He had been both amused and attracted by her and they'd gone upstairs after some brief negotiations.

There wasn't a muscle in his body that didn't ache at the memory. He sat up slowly and stretched. Molly was across the room bent over an ironing board. She had an iron heating on the woodstove in the corner, and Kid watched as she spread her mass of curls across the board and, grabbing the iron carefully, began to iron her tresses.

"Molly, what are you doing?" said Kid, amazed at what he was observing.
,
"Good morning, Thaddeus," she said, "I'm ironing my hair, silly."

"Why would you do that?" asked Kid. He'd never seen such a thing before.

"Because if I didn't, it would stick straight out from my head; mine are an ulotrichous people," she said.

Sheesh, he was sick of people using ten dollar words, but he had to ask, "Ulo..what?"

She giggled softly. "It means being from curly-haired people--fits doesn't it?" said Molly.

Kid laughed, too, and said, "I guess it does. Where the heck did you learn a word like that?"

Instantly, the smile crumbled and she began to cry. Kid stood up and went to her, putting his arms around her and speaking soothingly, he said, "Molly, what did I say? Whatever it was, I didn't mean to make you cry."

Sniffing and wiping her eyes, she sat down in a rickety chair and looked up at Kid. She said, "No, you didn't do anything wrong; I did. My father was a college professor. That is, he was until he lost his post because of his daughter's wanton ways. I fell in love with an older man, another professor who made conquering young girls his favorite past time. We were caught in a delicate position by the University President. He fired my father on the spot for raising a morally bankrupt child." She hung her head in remembered shame.

"Aw, Molly. That's a terrible story. Did your folks throw you out?" asked Kid gently.

"Oh no! They were disappointed in me, but they loved me. We moved to Colorado and my father got a job with one of the mines. He was killed in a cave-in two months later and my mother died shortly thereafter from a broken heart," said Molly. "I killed them, just as sure as if I had shot them," cried Molly, sobbing again.

Kid knelt down in front of her and took both her hands. "Molly, you told me your parents stood by you. Do you know why that is?"

"Of course, they loved me." said Molly.

"Yes, they did, but they also understood what had happened to you. You were a victim of an awful man. You were just too innocent to recognize him for what he was. Molly, what happened to your parents was an accident, pure and simple. They moved here because they wanted a good life for you. They wouldn't want you punishing yourself this way. They wanted you to have a fresh start, right?"

"Right," she said sniffling.

"Well, it's not too late to start over. You're an educated woman, Molly. There are many things you could do," said Kid, an idea forming in his head. "C'mon, I want you to meet my partner, Joshua. You two speak the same language and I've got to get him back to the doc's for a check-up this morning. Maybe you can talk him into cooperating.”

OOOOOOOOOO

"Thank you, Miss, you’ve been very helpful,” said the doctor as he finished putting a wet cast onto Heyes’s wrist. When the doctor had started instructing Heyes on his continued care, Heyes had begged the doctor to write it all down as he had a terrible memory. Molly had quickly volunteered to take notes much to the doctor’s surprise. While not a judgmental man by nature, he had assumed that being a saloon girl she would be uneducated; instead she had competently written out detailed instructions and had even gone as far as asking the doctor to elaborate on some of those details.

“It was a pleasure, Doctor. I enjoy paperwork. I used to help my father review term papers and even worked for some of his students preparing their theses,” said Molly. Joshua had instructed her to work that into the conversation somehow. She was proud to have managed it so smoothly and she snuck a peek at Joshua. He winked back at her, delighted with her performance.

The doctor looked at her speculatively and said, “You know, I could sure use some help around here since my wife passed. I couldn’t afford to pay much in wages, but I own a small house, a cabin really, on the edge of town. I could offer you that and a small wage if you would be interested in coming to work for me. Mind you, I would expect completely responsible behavior from you. Do you understand my meaning?”

Heyes piped up and said, “She does, Doc. Molly slipped off the rails for a while, but she's ready to get back on track. All she needs is a sporting chance. Right, Molly?”

Molly leapt up in excitement, “Oh yes, please, doctor. I assure you that I will not fail you. Thank you so much, thank you.”

OOOOOOOOOO

“It felt good, didn’t it, Heyes, to help that gal?” said Kid looking over at his partner who was riding along next to him. Heyes had his arm in a sling and was neck-reining his horse.

“Yep, and, better yet, it didn’t cost us a cent. Matter of fact, the doctor didn’t even charge me for fixing my wrist,” said Heyes.

“See, sometimes we do get lucky,” said Kid, steadying his gelding who was shying at a rustling bush next to the road.

“Hold it right, there, you two. Hands up, this is a robbery……..”
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HannaHeyes

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Posts : 521
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 41
Location : The Hideout

PostSubject: Re: August 2012 - A Sporting Chance...   Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:01 pm

Here's a little nonsense...

BEE CAREFUL

Well, here they come again. What does this make...about five times? You'd think they'd learn. But that dark one...he keeps coming up with ideas. Why don't he just give up? Hasn't he figured out they're NOT gonna get our honey. How many times do we have to sting him and that other one? Its actually gotten kind of amusing, watching what they come up with.

First, they just tried to sneak up on us...didn't work. Next, they tried using a stick...didn't work. Then, they took a break. That dark one spent the whole time staring at us while he walked around. He keeps busier than a...well...a bee. Then the light-headed one decided to knock our hive down with a big boom from his weapon. That just succeeded in making us mad. We chased him, oh, I guess half a mile. Too bad he jumped in that waterhole. We almost had him. At least we caught the other one.

Uh-oh. Looks like that dark one has ANOTHER idea. He's smiling awful big. What's he doing? Maybe we ought to let him think he has a sporting chance, let him get right next to the hive before we attack. Bears aren't this persistent. We'll wait to see what he's come up with.

What's he waiting on? Its past dark. Wait...here they come. Do they think we can't see at night? They must think we're asleep. Wait for it...wait for iiiitt...GET 'EM!

Well, that was fun! One of them tripped...heh, heh, heh...we got him good! He's in the process of yelling at us. Too bad he can't see us smiling.

Well, well. Looks like the light-headed one has an idea. What's he doing with that rope? He can't be serious. He's trying to lasso our hive! He'll never do that...well, I'll be...he did it! He's dragging it away. Go get him!

This time, he didn't make it to the waterhole and we got him good. The dark-headed one is laughing. Now he's looking at us again. Must be yet ANOTHER idea forming. They sure are persistent creatures. What's he going to do with that stick? Is he...yes he is. He lit it on fire! That's not fair! GET AWAY, HE'S THROWING IT OVER HERE! We're choking! Gotta leave!...

--------------------------------------------------

Well I hope they're happy. They're eating what took months to make. At least they left us a little. Oh well, at least we'll have the last laugh...they have to go to sleep sometime...

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Come to the dark side.....we have cookies... Very Happy
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