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 April 2014 - Foolproof

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Calico

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PostSubject: April 2014 - Foolproof   Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:10 am

Hello Hello !!

Anyone else enjoying the occassional glimpse of something shiny and yellow in the sky?? purr 

And, are you all awaiting and anticipating your April challenge?

Of course you are. I can feel the draft from those quivering pencils.

So... A nice April appropriate challenge. This came to me this morning as I read Frankie's last challenge, so - Thank you Thank you.

Your task for this month, should you choose to accept it, is...


FOOLPROOF
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Maz

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PostSubject: Re: April 2014 - Foolproof   Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:34 pm

Apologies to everyone for not reading or commenting but we are in exam season and it's time to earn money or starve through the long summer.

However, young Jed Curry insisted I turn last month's failed attempt at a challenge in which he stars into one I could post this month. So here it is.

Foolproof
A Ranch Days Vignette
By Maz McCoy


Jed Curry twirled his gun three times and then dropped it back into the holster. He repeated the move and gave a satisfied smile.
“Will you stop that!” Marty grumbled as he poured water from a bucket into the trough in the corral.
Jed looked up from where he stood in the shadow of the barn. “I thought you told me to practice?”
“I did, but there’s more to it than pulling your gun fast.”
“Like what?”
“Like knowing what you’re gonna do if you beat the other man to the draw.” The boy looked confused. Marty shook his head and headed back to the water pump. Jed eyed his friend as he worked the handle then he drew his gun again, maybe even a little faster that time. He smiled. Returning to the trough, water sloshing from the bucket Marty looked disappointed. He poured the water in the trough then put down the bucket. “So you beat him, then what? You gonna shoot him?”
“That depends?”
“On what?”
“On what he did. What made me draw.”
“Boy, if you’ve pulled your gun it’s a life and death situation. You don’t pull over the colour of a gal’s eyes or the price of whiskey. You pull ‘cos you got no choice. You draw on another man you’d better be ready to kill him, ‘cos he sure as hell is gonna shoot you.”
“I don’t hafta shoot him.”
Marty studied his young friend’s face, intrigued. “No, you don’t.”
“If I’m faster I could just wing him.”
Marty scoffed. “You could but I doubt he’s gonna be as kind to you. You better make that bullet count, kid.”
“Maybe he won’t shoot if I’m faster.”
“Maybe.”
“Maybe he’ll realise I can beat him and coulda…”
“Killed him?”
Jed didn’t look so pleased with himself now. “I guess.”
“Or he coulda killed you.” Jed had nothing to say. “Scary to think about ain’t it? Do you think you can do it, Jed? Kill a man face to face? Stand there, draw your gun and shoot him? Watch him bleed in front of you, knowing you did that. Well?”
“I don’t…”
“DRAW!” Marty drew his gun Jed fumbled with his own. Marty smiled, gently. “Better make sure your plan’s fool proof. Hesitate like that and he'll shoot you instead.” Marty holstered his gun and picked up the bucket. He met Jed’s gaze. “So whatcha standing around for…thought you were practicin’ your fast draw.” He headed back to the pump.
Pensively, Jed watched him walk away.

_________________
Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something or only thought we did: Edison
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RosieAnnie

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PostSubject: Re: April 2014 - Foolproof   Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:40 pm

A missing conversation from "The Day They Hanged Kid Curry"
------------------------------------------

“Why the long face, Kid?”

“Heyes, I’m not so sure about this plan.”

“What are you talking about, Kid? It’s foolproof.”

“I ain’t so sure it is. Let’s run through it one more time.”

“Again? Sheesh, Kid, ain’t we gone over this twice already?”

“Three times the charm, Heyes. Besides, there’s too much riding on this to get careless now.”

“You think I don’t know that? I’m the one who’s wanted for murder if Fred don’t change his story, you know.”

“I know. That’s why we got to get this right the first time, because we ain’t gonna get a second chance.”

“Alright, Kid. Let’s go through it one more time. You’re right about one thing; we won’t get a second chance. If one person don’t play his part right, the whole thing will collapse like a house of cards.”

“That’s great, Heyes. You said this plan was foolproof. Least ways, that’s what you told Silky.”

“That’s what we told Silky, Kid. You were standing right next to me, remember?”

“Yeah, I do remember that. Do you remember what Silky said? Now don’t give me that look, Heyes. You heard what Silky said.”

“Yeah, I heard.”

“And?”

“And what?”

“And he said, don’t never call anything foolproof. That calling something foolproof is a jinx.”

“That’s superstition, Kid. You know how Silky is. He’s a worrier. He’s always been that way.”

“I’m worried, too, Heyes. You just said this plan could collapse like a house of cards. How is that foolproof?”

“Come on, Kid! We’ve been through this already! We worked it all out, didn’t we?”

“Yeah, yeah, I know we got it all set up, but still, there’s too much that could go wrong.”

“Okay, Kid, let’s sit down and talk about it. What part’s worrying you?”

“Everything. Nothing.”

“Oh that’s helpful. That’s real helpful. How’m I supposed to make you feel better if that’s all you got?”

“I don’t know if you can make me feel better, Heyes. I can’t rightly explain it. What if we’re missing something?”

“Alright, Kid. You got a point, much as I hate to admit it. If you got a bad feeling about this, maybe there is some small detail we’ve overlooked. Let’s talk about it and see if we can spot something we might have missed the first two times we rehearsed this plan. That sound okay to you?”

“I guess.”

“Alright. First, Silky. Are you worried about him?”

“No. Fact is, he’s what makes me think this plan could work. As long as he’s willing to tie that gun to his leg, I reckon he’s fine.”

“Sure he is, Kid. You saw how he covered himself at the train station, when he didn’t know I was supposed to be his grandson. Even with the deputy there, he thought fast and nobody knew he made a mistake. He’s a pro.”

“I wish I was so sure about that Penny girl, Heyes. She’s just a kid. I don’t think she’s ever lied to anyone in her whole life. What makes you think she’ll go through with this?”

“She’s crazy about Fred for some reason, and women in love will do all sorts of things they’ve never done before. Anyway, me and Silky will be there with her. If she stumbles, we’ll pick her up.”

“You think she can hold a gun on those lawmen while you’re opening the safe?”

“I think she can do whatever she has to do, if she thinks it’ll get Fred out of jail, and maybe beholden to her.”

“You got an awful lot of faith in an 18-year-old, Heyes.”

“Not faith in her so much as faith in the power of a woman’s love. I know, I know, as far as her being in love with Fred, there’s no accounting for taste, but still, I think she’ll come through.”

“You got to make sure she’s the one they get to search Silky, not any other woman. If she don’t do her part, Heyes, it’s all over. Fred’ll hang, and you’ll be wanted for murder. ”

“Don’t remind me. That’s a powerful reason for me to make sure we really do make this plan foolproof.”

“What about the mine?”

“What about it?”

“What if somebody finds us there? There ain’t no back door. If we’re blocked at the front door, we could be trapped.”

“Kid, that mine’s been abandoned for years. It’s played out, and everybody around here knows it. Nobody goes there.”

“I’d feel better if we had horses. We wouldn’t have to jump the train.”

“Where we gonna get four horses around here without making folks suspicious? That Sheriff knows we all came on the train, and he’s not a fool. Somebody tells him we’re buying horses, he’s got to wonder why we need four. Grandma Curry can’t ride, and even if she could, who’s going to need the fourth horse? And there ain’t enough room in the mine for four horses. Even if there was, horses are a lot harder to hide than four people. No, Kid, if we tried to keep horses there, somebody’d hear or see something, and we’d be done for.”

“I thought you said nobody goes around that mine anymore?”

“They don’t, Kid. It’s just that horses aren’t practical in this plan. No, we’re better off jumping that train.”

“What about Fred?”

“What about him?”

“How do we know he’ll agree to tell the truth about not being Kid Curry, and that you weren’t involved in the murder? I mean, he was willing to be hung just so he could go out in style. How you gonna convince him that it’s better to live as Fred Philpott than to die as Kid Curry?”

“I’m not. Penny is. Penny and time. That’s what this whole plan turns on. If the two of them spend some time together, she might convince him he’s got something to live for, even if he has to live as Fred Philpott instead of you.”

“If and might, Heyes? That don’t sound foolproof.”

“Kid, if you’ve got a better plan, I’m anxious to hear it. This is the best I could come up with in the time we got.”

“No, Heyes, I don’t. I wish I did. I still feel like all it’s gonna take is one little, unexpected thing to happen, and we’re gonna end up in jail next to Fred.”

“Have a little faith, Kid. For once in our miserable lives, we’re on the side of the angels.”

“We are? How do you figure that?”

“We’re saving Fred’s life, that’s how. Without us, he’d be dead already.”

“We’re saving Fred’s life because, unless we do, you’re wanted for murder, and any chance we have for amnesty is gone. We’re not doing this out of brotherly love; we’re doing this to save our skins.”

“The reasons why don’t matter, Kid. Fred gets to live, Penny gets Fred, and you and me can keep working on our amnesty. Everybody wins.”

“I guess so.”

“So, you feel better about the plan now?”

“No, I feel worse, because now I know for sure this plan ain’t foolproof, but we’re still gonna do it because we’re desperate and out of options.”

“How’s that different than any other day in our lives, Kid? And we’re still here, aren’t we? Every crazy thing that’s happened to us since we decided to go for amnesty, we’ve figured out. Every single thing. We’ll figure this out, too, just like we figured everything else. You’ll see.”

“I guess I’ll have to, since we ain’t got a better plan. We’re stuck with the foolproof plan.”

“Have a little faith, Kid! Everything’s worked out so far. Why should it change now?”

“Because there’s always a first time, Heyes.”

“Kid. I have to ask you – are you with me on this or aren’t you? If you really don’t want to go through with this, we won’t. I trust your instincts that much.”

“And then what happens if we don’t?”

“I don’t know, Kid. Something always happens. We’ll figure it out, like we always do. It’s just that, if we’re gonna do anything, we’ve got to go with this plan. If it works, it buys us some time, and time’s what we really need.”

“Okay, Heyes. I’m not crazy about it, but I’m in. You’re right. We need time, and with Fred scheduled to hang tomorrow, we ain’t got time to figure out anything else.”

“Glad to hear it. We got a few hours before we have to get into position. Let’s you and me take Grandma Curry out for dinner. This’ll be our last chance for a good meal until we get to Silky’s.”

“Fine by me. Maybe dinner will settle the butterflies in my stomach.”

“Try not to worry, Kid. Even if something unexpected happens, we’ll handle it like we always do. Things’ll turn out alright. I really believe that.”

“I hope you’re right, Heyes. I sure hope so.”

_________________
"If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly."

"The failure in doing something is stopping too soon."
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stormr

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PostSubject: Re: April 2014 - Foolproof   Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:14 pm

The sun was high in the sky of this quiet, unassuming western town, but the air was cool.  The early morning autumn frost was still visible in some shady spots as two men, one in a brown hat and one in a black hat, sat feet propped on the banister of the hotel porch, smoking cigars.  Lazily the blond haired man took in a long draw of his cigar as he tilted his face towards the sun.  His partner's brown eyes drifted towards the other end of the town as a group of riders came into view.  

With a thud of his feet, the brown haired man stood up and pulled his hat forward.  "Well, Kid,"  he said, "think we've worn out our welcome.   Time to be moving on."

Confused blue eyes looked at his partner and then seeing the riders, stood up quickly, "Oh."

Heyes gave a half smile, half grimace look towards his friend.

"Yep, I agree, think it's time to be movin' on."

"Thought you'd see it my way,"  he stated as he hurriedly walked towards the hotel door, depositing his cigar in a sand bucket along the way.  

The blond was a half a step behind.

**

Taking the steps by two, they quickly made their way up to their room, grabbed their saddlebags, and dropped the key off at the desk on their way out the back door.  Checking the alley, they skirted through the shadows with little more than an eye glance or a head nod to each other as they made their way to the livery.  Mounting their horses, they inched them up to the stable  doors, peered out and when it looked as though the coast was clear, quietly cleared the doors and headed as quickly but hopefully unnoticed out of town.  

"That was  close."

"I hate to burst your bubble, Kid,"  Heyes glumly stated his head motioned towards the town.  

The blond shook his head and kicked his horse into a gallop as his partner kept pace.  

The dust cloud behind them stayed in step.

**


The warmth of the sun began to disappear as it dipped behind the mountains.  Day was beginning to turn into night and the cold autumn air was smacking the partners in the face as they drove their horses to higher grounds.  As the terrain became rocky, they slowed and the pair pulled the collars up on their coats and pushed their hats down in an attempt to find warmth.  

Entering a small clearing among the trees with a vantage point over the valley, they looked at each other and shrugged.

"Horses are spent,"  Heyes stated.  "This is as good as any for the night."

"Think we lost 'em?"

"Don't know,"  the partner with the black hat stated as he dismounted.  "Not  going to take any chances though.  We thought we lost them last time."

"How'd they find us?"  

"Don't know, Kid.  Maybe they just got lucky and wandered into town."

"You really believe that?"

"Not sure what I believe,"  he looked at his partner and snickered.  "I wouldn’t be on this mountain if I really thought it was just luck.  Everything can't be foolproof and I'm just trying to keep us out of jail."

"It's what you do best."

Heyes gave an appreciative nod to his partner.  "A small fire's gonna have to do tonight."

"Why'd we have to ride into the mountains, and why can't they chase us when its warmer!" Kid moaned.

Heyes chuckled.  "Careful what you wish for, Kid.  We've been chased when its warm too.  And you know as well as I do,  its too easy to track us in the valley; a lot harder up here.  Hopefully, it will only be one night."

Kid walked the area looking for wood.  "Never thought goin' straight was gonna have us freezin' and sleepin' on the ground so much."

"Lom never said it was going to be easy."

"Who said anythin' about easy, how 'bout warm!"

Dimples appeared on his partner's face.  "I'm not too fond of the cold either, but I'd rather be cold than in the Wyoming State Penitentiary for twenty years."

"Well," a smirk spread across the blond's face, "since ya put it that way, it feels mighty balmy up here."

"Let's get the fire going."


**

The sun was just peeking out over the horizon as Heyes stirred.  "You awake, Kid?"

"Frozen, is more like it.  Think we need to visit Lom."

"After we lose this posse," Heyes stated as he sat up and poked the fire.  Picking up the coffee pot that was sitting in the embers, he first poured himself a cup and then one for Kid.  "Here," he held it out towards his partner.  "Have this and then let’s get moving."

"You still think they're out there?"

"Just assuming so we stay safe.  We'll check things out after we've been riding for a while."

"Any idea where?"

"Up and over I guess.  Harder to track us on the rocks.  Got the river below too so we can cover our tracks."

"Great, wet and cold for the day.  Sounds like a plan."  Kid sat up and drank his coffee, relishing the warmth as it slid down his throat.

Heyes stood up and stretched.  Walking over to his horse he teased, "Three squares and a warm bed at the Penitentiary."

Icy blue eyes glared at the back of his partner.  

A dimpled smile spread across his face as he began to saddle his horse.  "Bet it's nice and warm. You'd have a bed..."

"A three by six cell.  Worse coffee than yours," Kid groused as he stood up, piercing stare never leaving his partner.

"You know you're gonna burn a hole in my back you keep staring at me like that."  Heyes finally turned around to  face his partner.  "Awful easy to rile ya this morning, Kid."  

The blond stopped and shook his head.  "Sometimes I wonder if I'd be better off without a partner."

Heyes' hands dropped to his side as his mouth dropped open.

"Now who's easy to rile?"  Kid smirked as he picked up his saddle and placed it on his horse.

Heyes chuckled.  "Let's get moving."

"Right behind ya, partner."  Kid slapped Heyes on the back.
 
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InsideOutlaw

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PostSubject: Re: April 2014 - Foolproof   Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:52 pm

Hannibal Heyes’ hand paused just before it connected with the solid oak door of the leader’s cabin.  He could hear Big Jim Santana inside cussing a blue streak and he wasn’t about to walk into his new boss’ bad mood even if he’d been summoned.  He retreated towards one of the old chairs populating the rickety porch, but a creaking floorboard betrayed his presence to the man inside.  The door flew open with a bang and Jim peered outside at his youngest gang member.  Without a word, he waved Heyes to come in and disappeared.  A second later, an angry Wheat Carlson barreled out through the doorway.  He pulled up short at the sight of Heyes.

“What are you lookin’ at?” snapped the older man.  He had no time for pesky kids who didn’t know their place.

“Nothing,” said Heyes, holding his hands up and wearing a lop-sided grin.

Wheat stomped down the stairs, swearing under his breath and disappeared into the bunkhouse.

“Hannibal, get in here!” ordered Big Jim.

Heyes stepped into the comfortable cabin and shut the door behind him.  Santana was pouring himself a whiskey and held the bottle up.  “Don’t mind if I do,” said the young outlaw to the unspoken question.  “What are we drinking to?”

“We are drinking to your good fortune my young friend,” said Santana.  “It seems that I have an opening for a new lieutenant.”

Heyes said nothing.  He sipped his whiskey and wondered what kind of trouble he would be taking on if he became Big Jim’s new right hand.  Carlson had been furious just now and Heyes had no desire to go up against the man.  Not only did Wheat outweigh him by a good forty pounds or so, Heyes actually liked the annoying man.  Take away the boasts and the bluster and there remained a relatively good man with a loyal streak a mile wide.

Santana frowned as he watched Heyes thinking furiously.  He’d expected the youngster to jump at the chance and he wasn’t sure if he was annoyed or pleased by the consideration.  Finally, he said, “Do you want the job or not?”

Heyes grinned, “Oh, I want it, but first I want to know what’s gonna happened to Wheat.”

“That is none of your business,” snapped Jim, slamming his glass down on the scarred table between them.

“I’m afraid it is, Jim.  If I’m taking Wheat’s job, I need to know how you deal with the men you fire.”

The audacity of the boy amused him.  Jim smiled at the bright, young man before him.  “I doubt I will be firing you, Heyes, but your question is a fair one.  He can stay with the gang, but I don’t want to have to depend on him.  Wheat is a good man in many ways, but his brawn is better than his brain.  He was to case the bank of Clifton for our next job.  Here is what he brought me.”  He held out a torn piece of paper and Heyes took it, looking it over carefully.  “Tell me what do you see?”

“I see the floor plan of the bank of Clifton, the hours of business, and some notes about the guards; their shifts and positions.”

“Is that all?”

Heyes shook his head, “That’s all I see, but there’s a lot I don’t see.  I don’t see any information about its location in relation to the town and the sheriff’s office, the construction of the building, or the population of the town.”

“Population?”

Shrugging, Heyes said, “I’d want to know how many men the sheriff could raise for a posse, wouldn’t you?”

Santana wasn’t about to let on that he hadn’t given it any thought; he simply laughed and spit in his palm, then held out his hand.  “The job is yours.  You get a five percent cut from here on.  Deal?”

“Deal,” said Heyes, clasping Jim’s hand firmly.  

“So, Hannibal, together we will make history.”

“I hope so, Jim, but first I’d like to make peace with Wheat.”

“Do you have a plan to do so?”

“I do, but I’m not sure it’s foolproof.”


OOOOOOOOOO


Wheat didn’t look up as Heyes entered the otherwise empty bunkhouse and crossed to the table he was sitting at.  Drawing out a chair and turning it around, Heyes sat down and leaned his crossed arms over the ladder back.  “Big Jim wants me to be his new lieutenant.  Are we gonna have a problem with that?”

“I don’t give a damn what you do.”

“Wheat,” said Heyes, softly.  “You and me are gonna need to work together or one of us is going to end up leaving, or worse, and I don’t think that’ll be me.  Big Jim’s kinda pissed at you already.”

“Don’t you think I know that?!  Hell, he just ripped me a new one and I did what he asked.  I don’t get why he’s so mad.  I don’t understand what Big Jim wants,” finished Wheat, more hurt and bewildered, than actually angry.  

"Jim’s a planner, like me.  He wants all the details, not just the big ones.  Sometimes it’s the small ones that matter most.””

“Well, how the hell do I know what he’s lookin’ for if he don’t tell me?” grumbled Wheat.

“That’s just it, Wheat.  He can’t tell you.  He doesn’t know what he’s looking for until he sees it,” said Heyes.

“So how am I supposed to know?”

“I can help you with that,” said Heyes.

“Why would you do that?  You just got the job, you don’t need me.”

“Now that’s where you’re wrong.  I do need you.  Listen, I need someone who can keep the men in line.  They ain’t gonna listen to a kid like me, but I see the way they listen to you, Wheat.  I need someone to watch my back.  I’m just a kid and I know it.  Any one of these guys could decide I’m blocking his way to a better life.”

“So you want me to be your bodyguard?”

“I’m asking you to partner up with me.”

“Partner?  Don’t you mean work for you?”

“No, I mean we both work as Jim’s lieutenants.  The boys’ll never need to know that he fired you.  Jim’s giving me five percent.”

“Five percent?  He only gave me four!”  Wheat turned red with anger, “and now I’m only gettin’ three like the rest of the gang.”

Heyes smiled broadly at the older man.  “So with your three and my five, we can each get a four percent cut.  That’s fair, ain’t it?”

It took a moment for Wheat to understand what Heyes was offering.  A way to keep his job and save face with the men and still not take a pay cut.  He sat back and crossed his arms, snorting.  “Huh, you really are a clever hombre, ain’t you?”

“So?”

“So we’ve got a deal,” Wheat held out his hand and nearly engulfed Heyes’ smaller one in his meaty grip.

“All right.  Now all we have to do is go sell it to Big Jim.”

“You do the talkin’, Heyes.  I reckon you can talk the birds outta the trees with that silver tongue of yours.”

_________________
*****************

"You can only be young once. But you can always be immature." —Dave Barry


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Penski
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PostSubject: Re: April 2014 - Foolproof   Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:54 pm

Foolproof – April 2014

Hannibal Heyes leaned back on the table in the bunkhouse at the Devil’s Hole and looked around the room at his gang.  “Any questions?”

“How much did you say was gonna be in that safe?” Lobo asked.

“Didn’t, but it could be one of our biggest jobs - $50,000!” Heyes beamed at the thought.

Several in the gang whistled when they heard the amount.

“Are you openin’ the safe or do I get to blow it open?” Kyle put another piece of chaw in his mouth.

Kid Curry leaned against a wall with his arms folded in front of him, observing the gang and backing up his partner.  “Bring some dynamite, Kyle.  The train is close to Columbine and we don’t have much time before it’s missed and a posse is formed.”

“Any more questions?  Does everyone know what your job is?” Heyes questioned.

The gang members nodded and murmurs of “yeah” were heard around the room.

“Sounds like a pretty foolproof plan to me,” Wheat commented to no one in particular.

“Of course it’s foolproof – it’s one of MY plans!” Heyes bragged.


~ * ~ * ~ *


“If you don’t mind an opinion, I don’t think that you and your friend are cut for this sort of thing,” Miss Birdie Pickett dared to say to Kid Curry after the dynamite failed and while Heyes was trying to open the safe listening to the tumblers.

“Well, now, wait a minute, ma’am,” the Kid argued.  “This hasn’t been one of our best days.”

“I’m sure, but I do think you ought to read this.”  Miss Pickett handed a folded piece of paper to Curry and turned to watch Heyes work on opening the safe.

The Kid took the paper and opened it.  “What is this?  Some religious tract?”

“Well, it may be the answer to all your problems, my dear.”  Miss Pickett smiled warmly at the Kid and patted his hand.  “Now you just take it and read it when you find the time.”

“Yes, ma’am.”  Curry tipped his hat politely.  “Thank you, ma’am.”

“And now you better get back to work because I see your friends are frowning.”  Miss Pickett left the railcar door as Wheat and Kyle came to see what the delay was.

Heyes, frustrated, spun the safe’s dial.  “Ahh… It’s no use – this safe ain’t human!  It’ll take me two hours to get into it.”

“Well, then, let’s make tracks!” Wheat said.  “This train is due in Columbine right now and a posse will be headin’ out here in ten minutes.”

“A lot of truth in that,” Curry agreed.

“Yeah, but there’s $50,000 dollars in this here safe,” Heyes argued.  “We ain’t leaving it behind.”

“What are you suggestin’ we do with it?” Wheat asked.

“Take it with us!”



ASJ   ASJ   ASJ   ASJ   ASJ


Silky went to the mirror and put on a gray wig.  “You both know that in all my life as a con man, I never carried a gun.  I was against it.  That’s why I was a con man.”

“You won’t have to touch the gun, Silky,” Heyes assured him.

“I wouldn’t know how to – probably shoot myself.”  The con man tied a black bonnet on, transforming back into Grandma Curry.

“There won’t be any shooting.  And I’ll handle the gun after you smuggle it in,” Heyes said, convincingly.

Curry added, “No one is goin’ to get hurt.  We’ve got it all worked out.”

“And that’s a promise!”  Heyes said.

Silky looked back at the boys.  “And what happens to me?”

Curry smiled.  “We’ve got a way out for you that’s foolproof.”

“Foolproof?”  Silky became agitated.  “Don’t ever use that expression around me.  It’s a jinx.  A guaranteed jinx.”

“This time it’s the truth!”  Heyes continued with the rest of the plan.


~ * ~ * ~ *


Heyes, Curry, Fred, and Penny were escorted into the jail.  The sheriff and two deputies placed Penny in one cell – Heyes, Curry, and Fred in another.  After they locked the cell doors, the deputies took up sentry posts right outside the cells.

The sheriff rattled the door, verifying it was locked.  “This time you aren’t gonna get away.”

Heyes and Curry exchanged a look, before the Kid happened to glance into the cell on the other side of them.  “Heyes!”  He pointed to the man.

Heyes looked and grabbed the bars with both hands.

Silky O’Sullivan scowled at Heyes and the Kid.

“Silky, what happened?” Heyes asked.  “I know your part of the plan was foolproof.”

Silky glared at his friends.  “Don’t speak to me, Heyes.  Just don’t say a word.”


~ * ~ * ~ *


Later, on the train, Heyes and Curry sat a few rows away from Silky.

The Kid looked around and noticed no one was in hearing distance.  He quietly asked, “Think he’ll ever get over bein’ mad at us?”

“Oh sure… sure,” Heyes said not too convincingly.

“You know, Heyes, I’ve been thinkin’.”

“About what?” Heyes asked forlorn.

“Remember our last train robbery?”

Heyes closed his eyes and shook his head.  “Don’t remind me.”

“Well, Silky says that callin’ it foolproof jinxes the plan.  Remember when we were tellin’ the boys about the plan in the bunkhouse?  We called it a foolproof plan.”

“And?”

“Well, I think we jinxed ourselves.”

“You might be on to something, Kid.”



ASJ   ASJ   ASJ   ASJ   ASJ


Heyes sat in a crowded saloon in Cripple Creek playing poker as he waited for Curry to arrive from a delivery job.  He chose a low-stakes game and was careful not to win too many games since his partner wasn’t around to watch his back.

Heyes fanned his cards and was concentrating on them when he heard a gun click in his neck.

“Hannibal Heyes, you’re under arrest!” a burly sheriff growled.

“You think I’m…”

“Don’t go denying it!  One of my deputies knows what you look like.”

Heyes glanced around the room and noticed several men had guns pointed at him.

“Now put those cards down and your hands on the table.  No sudden moves.”

Heyes obliged and felt his gun being removed from his holster.

“Hands on your head!”

Heyes slowly moved his hands from the table to the top of his head.  A cuff was placed on his right hand.

“Now slowly stand and put your hands behind your back.”

With a sigh, Heyes cautiously stood, pushing the chair away from behind him and brought his hands behind his back.  The cuff clicked onto his left wrist.

“We got him, boys!” the sheriff beamed as he handed his gun to his deputy.  “I don’t wanna take no chances with him getting near a gun.  The rest of you keep your guns on him while we take him to the jail.”

The sheriff grabbed Heyes upper arm and manhandled him out to the street.

Once they got to the jail, the sheriff removed and threw Heyes’ hat on his desk.  He unbuckled the gun belt and put it beside the hat.

“Stand with your feet apart.”

Heyes eyed the men with guns pointed at him and moved his legs part.  

The sheriff searched his pockets, shirt, and pants.  “Now sit.”  A chair was pushed into the middle of the room and Heyes was pushed down.

Cautiously the sheriff removed the prisoner’s boots.  He searched the inside and pulled out a small knife and a lock pick.  “This is how you do a thorough search, men.  Pay attention!”

Heyes sighed.


~ * ~ * ~ *


“Once again, Heyes, where’s Kid Curry?” the sheriff asked, holding a plate of food.

Heyes shook his head.  “Do you really think I would turn on a partner for food?”

“Others have been known to do it.  Depends how hungry you are.  Now where is he?”

The prisoner shrugged his shoulders and lay on the bunk.  “I don’t know where he is.  We split a few months back and he went south.”  

The sheriff pushed the plate of food under the bar and walked to the front office.  “Guess it don’t matter since we’re moving you tomorrow.”

“Hope you’re in town and got a plan to get me outta this, Kid.  This sheriff is no nonsense,” Heyes mumbled to himself.


~ * ~ * ~ *


The next morning, the sheriff and two men came into the cell area.

“Time to go, Heyes.”  The sheriff unlocked the door.

Heyes yawned and sat up, running fingers through his hair.  “Where are we going?”

“Guess it won’t hurt to tell you.  We’re taking you by wagon to Colorado Springs where you’ll get on a train heading north to Wyoming.”  The sheriff pulled out the cuffs.  “You can keep your hands in the front to help with your balance on the trip.  You’re not gonna be able to escape, that’s for sure.”

“Appreciate that, sheriff.”  Heyes put his hand together in front of him and the cuffs were clicked into place.

The sheriff led Heyes outside to the waiting wagon with the two deputies alert and with their guns out.

“What’s that?” Heyes asked, staring at a miniature cell box tied in the wagon bed.”

“That there is a transport cell,” the sheriff explained proudly.  “It a foolproof way to get you to Denver without escaping!”

“Foolproof, huh?”

“Yep!  Now back up against the back of the wagon so we can haul you up into it and in that cell.

Heyes squinted as he looked at the sun rising brightly in the east.  “Think I can have my hat back?  I mighty fond of it and it’ll keep that sun outta my eyes.”

“Don’t see why you can’t wear it today, but you won’t be needing it where you’re going.”  The sheriff jumped into the wagon bed and lifted Heyes up by grabbing under his arms.  “Get in there and make yourself cozy.  Dave, go get his hat from the hook on the wall and a canteen of water.  Ralph, you keep an eye out for that partner of his.”

The sheriff led Heyes into the small metal box, about 6.5’ tall by 5’ wide by 4’ deep, with solid metal walls on all sides but one.  The door was a metal lattice and there was a bench on one side for sitting.

Heyes stepped into the transport cell and sat down on the bench.  “All this metal, gonna be hot in here.”

“That’s why I’m giving you some water.”  The sheriff took the proffered hat and canteen.  He handed them to Heyes.  “Here you go.”

The sheriff locked the cell door and put a chain and padlock through it for insurance.  “No way you’re gonna get outta there and escape.”  He laughed as he jumped down from the wagon and then climbed into the seat in the front.  “Mount up and be alert, Dave and Ralph.”

The transport cell wagon slowly rolled up an incline on its way to Colorado Springs.

“Foolproof, huh? Heyes said as he pulled a lock pick from the inside lining of his hat.


~ * ~ * ~ *


Towards the top of the mountain, six shots rang out, three of them shooting the hats off of the sheriff and deputies.

“Hold it right there!” a voice commanded from a rock formation.  “I got another gun loaded and aimed at you.  Toss your guns and rifles down on the ground.”

“Curry,” the sheriff shouted.  “You can’t be aiming at all three of us at the same time.”

“Do you want to make that bet, Sheriff?”

After a moment, the sheriff pulled out his gun.  “Throw them down, boys.”

Once the firearms were on the ground, Kid Curry emerged from behind a rock.  “Smart thinkin’, Sheriff.”  He collected the guns and put them in a pile.  “Now get down from that wagon and your horses.”

The three men did as they were told.

“Walk to the back of the wagon.”

Once in the back, Curry glanced at the transport cell for a second and then trained his eyes back to his prisoners.  “You okay, Heyes?”

“I am now.  Was wondering when you were gonna show up.”

“Had a little difficulty with a delivery.  Rode into town early this morning, just in time to watch this wagon pulling outta town.  Figured you were in it.”

“Good timing.”

“Just because you have us, you won’t be able to get Heyes out,” the sheriff snorted.  “It’s foolproof!  There’s only two keys and I left mine in Cripple Creek.  The sheriff in Colorado Springs has the other.  And I made sure Heyes didn’t have a lock pick on him.”

“Did he just say foolproof, Heyes?” Curry asked as he smiled.

“He sure did!”  Heyes said.  His hands now free of the cuffs, he began working the lock pick at the door and padlock.  Several minutes later he walked out of the cell and jumped down from the wagon.

“How did you… I KNOW you didn’t have a lock pick on you!”  The sheriff was so angry he stuttered his words.

Heyes tipped his hat and grinned like a Cheshire cat.

“Why you…”  The sheriff’s face was red with rage.

“What do you wanna do with these folks?” Curry asked as he waved his gun towards them.

“We could put them in that transport cell, but it ain’t that big and we’re miles from any key.”  Heyes pondered a moment.  “I guess we’ll just tie ’em up so they can get away in a few hours.”

“Sounds good to me.  There’s some leather thong in my saddle bags.”  The Kid nodded towards the rock formation.  “How about I keep an eye on these men and you get the horses.”

“Horses?  Kid, you think of everything!  I must be rubbing off on you.”

“Don’t push it, Heyes!"

An hour later, Heyes and Kid Curry were riding through the Colorado mountains, away from Cripple Creek, Colorado Springs, and the sheriff.

“Heyes?”

“Yeah?”

“Silky was right when he said sayin’ foolproof jinxed a plan.”

“It appears so.”

“How about we never use that word when talkin’ about amnesty.”

“That’s a deal!”




Mr Penski in front of a transport cell at Cripple Creek.

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Remuda

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PostSubject: Re: April 2014 - Foolproof   Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:02 pm

Bon
Just another day in another town in the life of Hannibal Heyes and Jed "Kid" Curry, the most successful outlaws in the history of the West -- now ex-outlaws attempting to go straight.  Many of their contemporaries in crime rotted in jail, or in at least one unfortunate's case, was assassinated by his own men for the reward money.  These two, now christened with aliases Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones, respectively, sought amnesty from the Governor of Wyoming Territory through a former partner in crime, now respected sheriff.  However, renown in notorious circles only went so far at the get-go.  Although granted provisional amnesty by the head of the territory, the duo still had prices on their heads, and wanted posters reminded them, or anyone who cared to attempt to collect, of that very fact.  Twenty thousand dollars is a lot of money at any time in the national history, far eclipsing the mere fifteen thousand that tempted the Ford brothers.

As our tale began, the partners found themselves in yet another town needing a coat of paint in another dry, dusty corner of the West -- Wild, or not.  Just in from the trail, as broke and dirty as the leaden grey, rotting wooden shingles on the buildings in this burg, the two wondered if they would ever again, or at least anytime soon, have between them more than a few bits with which to bed down, themselves and their mounts, eat more than jerky and biscuits, or afford more than the cheap rot gut found in most establishments calling themselves saloons in these pieces of dry, dusty backwater (of course, mostly minus the water).

Now, luck would have it this day that the boys ran into one Bon Hedley at the saloon.  Taking note of their dry, dusty, down-on-their-luck appearances, suitable to put them right at home in this place much too small to call itself a municipality, the old man approached.  After small talk, he sped right to the point.  These young whippersnappers, as he called them, looked like they could use a job, especially with the depression and all, and he had one.  He would pay them ten dollars apiece to help him dig a little deeper in his well.  Dirty work, yes.  Backbreaking work, definitely.  But work, nonetheless.  The boys adjourned to a corner to talk it over.  Not normally liking dirty, backbreaking work, they did not cotton to it initially, but finally decided to give it a go.  After all, they were filthy from the trail, and could not afford a bath; hungry, and could not afford to eat; broke, and could not afford provisions.  But, dirty and backbreaking though it might be, it was work.  And by George, the twenty dollars between them would make for a nice future poker stake for Heyes to work his magic at the card tables -- in some cleaner, nicer, richer town than they now found themselves, of course.  Thus, they shook to seal the deal and went with Bon to his ranch.

Now, never mind that Bon's place was in appearance no different than the town.  However, they made good, and immediate, use of his wash tub, ate the offered victuals, drank the not-quite-better rot gut distilled on the premises, and bedded down that night in the barn on old hay and blankets, satiated and clean for that day and enjoying the rest before the dawn.

Before they took their rest, however, Bon regaled them with stories; his own, of course.  How he and his brother had come West in the Forties along the Oregon Trail, only to find Oregon Territory too crowded for their liking.  How they headed south to this piece of desert they claimed for their own, raising enough stock and crops to live on and then some, and somehow making a comfortable living on their piece of dry and dusty in the middle of nowhere.  How his brother had married but lost his wife in childbirth, and had a son, who might just be around the same age as his guests.  How his brother left to fight Mr. Lincoln's war, never to return.  How Bon had raised his orphaned Nephew as his own.  How the boy was smart, too smart for a Hedley (not that they were stupid), and left the dry, dusty ranch to read law in a bigger town too far away for an old man with an old mule and bum hip to visit.  How Alban Hedley never thought his Uncle's place in the dry, dusty nowhere would amount to much, and said so, often.  How Uncle Bon bet Alby that was not the case, although until recently he had wondered if he could ever win it.  How he now thought he had that answer.  How his young, whippersnapper guests played into that payout.    

Inasmuch as Boniface Hedley was no saint, he was a fair man, and shrewd.  As his guests raised brows in unison as to how he might win his bet on this dry, dusty piece of ground in the middle of nowhere, Bon said it was foolproof, important now, yes, but more the wave of the future.  Another round of very perceptible, skeptical glances hastened his point -- oil!

Oil?

Yes, oil.  The water from his new well, dug just last year with money Alby sent when Uncle refused to leave the dry, dusty ranch in the middle of nowhere, had a funny taste and odor.  It had been dug deeper than the old one to try to reach a suspected aquifer below the dry and dust, only to tap into an oil bed.  Bon had not particularly wanted this new well; the old one still produced potable water, but he let Alby have his way.  He hoped the young man would return if he did and keep the old Uncle company.  Once he proved his point to Alby, to whom his young, whippersnapper guests would dutifully deliver a sample of the so-called black gold, the proceeds of the bet, fifty dollars, would be paid to Heyes and Curry (known to Bon, lest we forget, as Smith and Jones).

Thus, after the aforementioned good rest on not-quite-new and sweet-smelling hay and blankets in the barn, and a hearty breakfast of just-laid eggs, ham, biscuits, beans, and strong coffee, Heyes and Curry grabbed pick axes, shovels, and lanterns, and lowered themselves carefully into the new well.  Wondering what situation they had gotten themselves entangled in now, they complained but a few moments, deciding it best to get the work done so they could get on their way.  To that end, they worked diligently in the dimness for a few hours before reemerging, unrecognizable -- white henleys, faces, indeed, their whole beings, black with grease and tar, but smiling.  They held aloft the precious sample of oil, contained neatly in an old canning jar.

The old wash tub saw more use that second day; indeed, it spent the rest of the afternoon being filled and dumped, filled and dumped, with hot water, as two ex-outlaws on the hoped-for road to amnesty scrubbed themselves raw for hours with lye soap, attempting to rid every nook and cranny of the black gold, so-called.

Curry noted it didn't look like gold.  It might be valuable but was no match for real gold, in looks at least.

Heyes smiled.  It might be dirty but Bon was right that it was the future -- more plentiful and cheaper than whale oil for lamps, not to mention burgeoning industry.  They might get paid after all.  If not, it was a memorable, though dirty, interruption in their hunt for good-paying work.  One of the best parts, it was a fairly easy job; not too backbreaking.

Feasting on Bon's tasty cooking that night, the partners made ready to leave first thing in the morning, provisioned for the trail from Bon's ample stores, precious jar of oil safely tucked into saddlebags, and the promised twenty dollars in their pockets, along with a letter to Alby explaining everything and directing him to pay the fifty-dollar proceeds of the bet to Heyes and Curry.  Bon was sure Alby would see the Uncle had won.

After a hearty breakfast and farewell to Bon, they hit the trail.  Three days later they arrived in Alby's town, noting the name of the sheriff, which they as ex-outlaws with provisional amnesty but still with prices on their heads are wont to do.  Unfortunately, they knew him, and more importantly, he them.  Figuring to finish their errand as quickly as possible, they tried the second of two law offices and located Alban Hedley, for although the town was larger, cleaner, and greener, it was still of the mostly dry, dusty variety to which they were accustomed, and not really all that big.

At first skeptical of their story, Alby read the letter, and knowing his Uncle Bon's hand, accepted the boys as messengers from his kin.  That he expressed surprise is perhaps an understatement, but he was not shocked, not really.  Indeed, he had heard of oil strikes here and there in dry, dusty, out-of-the-way places, and had even once or twice thought about what might lay under his Uncle's vast nothingness of a ranch, if anything.  The hoped-for conclusion was an aquifer, water to hydrate the dry, tamp down the dust, make the ranch in the middle of nowhere worth something more for his elderly kin.  Oil was a bonus.

Two ex-outlaws listened to Alby's musings there in the law office for a short time, but interrupted to get to a point.  They must make haste to meet another about a job in a distant place and needed to be paid.  

Of course, and rightly so!  But it was late in the afternoon on a Friday and the bank was closed.  Please enjoy the town at Alby's expense until Monday morning, when the law clerk would be happy to withdraw the money and pay up.  He heartily conceded his Uncle had won.

They reiterated their need to make haste.  Could he borrow the money from someone so they might be on their way?  

Unfortunately, not.  No one he knew kept that much on hand.  But he would be more than happy to give them six of the seven dollars in his pocket, given as to how he needed the extra dollar to see himself through the weekend, and he would forward the rest.  They could trust him for it.

Needing to put daylight between them and the lawman who knew them, they had no choice but to agree.  Leaving a forwarding address to their own sheriff friend, they bade Alby goodbye and good luck.  He bade them bonne chance.

They pulled their hats low over their eyes and nonchalantly rode out of town with no notice of the sheriff, and breathed a sigh of relief.  Further employment awaited them here and there, backbreaking and dirty, or not, but was hard to come by.  They kept themselves and their mounts sheltered and fed through Heyes' skill at the poker tables.  As usual, Curry watched his partner's back.

Our two ex-outlaws later learned Alby did indeed return to the dry, dusty ranch in the middle of nowhere, both to oversee the start of the Hedley Oil Company and settle Uncle Bon in a bigger burg where he lived comfortably the rest of his days.  No need to prove anything more to his Nephew.  And Alby did continue his law studies, using his natural smarts and education to steer Hedley Oil to a prosperous future.

And just in case you're wondering, the last we checked, Heyes and Curry were still waiting for amnesty. But they did get paid.


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PostSubject: Better than Farmington   Mon May 05, 2014 1:32 pm

Well, a dollar short and several days late. But, it took me all month to get it done.   reading 
That would be because, Calico, your challenge wound up being over 6,000 words.   sunny 

Below is a clip-it of the tale -- you can read the entirety at either of these links.


Archive of our Own

FanFiction.net   I don't know what it is but no matter how I edit this on FanFiction it keeps slamming the story together without subdividers. I can see them on my end. They are centered and look like this ASJ*~*~*~*~*~*~new scene*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*ASJ   -- I can see them in my area but not once it is published. I give, first time I have had this problem.  But the story is perfectly spaced on archive o f your own or if you contact me I will even email it to you. Very frustrating.


The men looked to each other, than to Kid, and, as if on cue, Kid sat down, “You heard Heyes. Why ya’ll looking at me?”

“’Cause he listens to you,” Lobo said.

Preacher took a drink, mumbling, “Sometimes, he does.”

“Now, boys,” Heyes spoke out in a honey-coated voice.

“Don’t now boys us,” Hank snapped. “Wasn’t it the Farmington robbery, you called fool proof, too?”

There was a chorus of nodding.

Crossing his arms, Heyes leaned into a porch post, “What was wrong with that? We pulled in $18,000.”

Kyle looked up, started to speak, and swallowed it down, but Heyes saw him, “What?”

“Well, Heyes, you got shot on that robbery.”

He grimaced, “It was by the posse. That was outside my plan.”

Hank stood, “My horse broke its leg.”

Heyes’ expression solidified into his poker mask.

“I caught fever from forging that river,” Kane said.

“Yeah, my packs floated away in that same river and I lost my best pipe,” John whined.

Merkle nodded, “Wet all my loads, wasn’t able to fire a shot for rest of the run. Still can’t believe I didn’t get shot.”

Not wishing to be left out on the round of complaining, Kyle chimed in, “And, I didn’t get to blow up nothing, neither. “

Releasing a sigh that sounded old and tired like a piece of paper fluttering down an alley, Heyes said, “Did we get in and out of the bank without a hitch?”

A grumbled agreement went round.

“Made it back to the Hole, all of us, and the loot to boot.”

A bit more affirmative chorus rose up, but as it did, Preacher slowly stood, his deep, dark eyes boring into Heyes’, “Son, I’m not so sure that makes the Farmington Robbery foolproof as you claim. The guys are right; we had a lot of problems pop their heads up on that ride. Kind of gives me an itch to hear you call another plan foolproof.”  

“Kind of find myself agreein’ with ‘em, Heyes.”

Heyes whipped about flashing Kid a loathing glare and, with a snort, turned back to the others. “Well, ain’t nothing like that going to happen this time. I’ve worked on this plan all winter. I know where to hit, where to camp out in between, and have several routes of escape from each stop. This one is foolproof.”

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PostSubject: Re: April 2014 - Foolproof   Mon May 05, 2014 8:47 pm

Funny how these stories get away from us sometimes. I'm reading this tomorrow night, when I can sit back and absorb it all in one sitting. Thanks, Wichita Red!  sm 

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