Alias Smith and Jones Writers

A forum devoted to writers of Alias Smith and Jones Fan Fiction
 
HomePortalGalleryFAQSearchRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Calico

avatar

Posts : 526
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 52
Location : Birmingham

PostSubject: Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises   Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:25 am

Welcome one, welcome all to the eightieth - yes, you read that right - the eightieth Yellow Bandanny Challenge.

This month's topic was inspired by a museum listing of incidents and phenomena which could dishearten the health and spirits of Gold Miners in good old California

(The whole list would be great challenge topics - if only I could remember 'em!)

However, the one that stuck in my mind to test you gals and guys with is:


Disastrous Enterprises



So, let the angst fest begin.
Let those guns misfire, those mine shafts collapse, those rivers burst their banks and those coyotes howl hungry for a hunk of hunk.

 wolf  desert  stage    jail  cactus  wolf 

One, two, three... Type!
Back to top Go down
ty pender

avatar

Posts : 91
Join date : 2014-07-16

PostSubject: Identifiable Stressors - the list- for everyone's amusement....   Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:33 pm

Great topic Calico!

Is it really the eightieth challenge?  At a challenge a month, that would be (80/12=6.6) over six years of challenges!

For the board's amusement, here is the list from which this month's challenge was taken:

'This month's topic was inspired by a museum listing of incidents and phenomena which could dishearten the health and spirits of Gold Miners in good old California.'



And here is the list of common cures for those stressors:



Here is the paraphernalia for cupping:



Try working that into a story!

And here is a cure for STDs.



It was sold by a leading brewery -odd isn't it?
Back to top Go down
Calico

avatar

Posts : 526
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 52
Location : Birmingham

PostSubject: Re: Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises   Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:40 am

Bless you for posting that list, Ty!!

All you gals of the Appreciation Society can see what I mean about it reading like a list of possible challenges, huh?

The boys are sulking because the topic is NOT, Intemperence, Fast Living and Lawlessness... They think you all type them into enough Disaster without encouragement.

Back to top Go down
ty pender

avatar

Posts : 91
Join date : 2014-07-16

PostSubject: Wine, Women, and Crime...   Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:23 pm

LOL!  Wine, Women, and Crime will have to wait...  bottle  bottle  Sorry boys.
Back to top Go down
sistergrace

avatar

Posts : 487
Join date : 2012-04-22
Location : Devil's Hole

PostSubject: Re: Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises   Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:42 pm

"Legal and Law-Abidin' Enterprises Incorporated."

Kid Curry winced.  Hannibal Heyes shook his head.

"You two said me an' Wheat ought'a think about findin' us a legal and law-abidin' career, somethin' fittin' with our..."  Kyle Murtry paused, then beamed proudly, impressed with himself at remembering Heyes' word, "unique talents, so we figured we'd try our hands at runnin' our own business."

"And you plan to call it Legal and Law-Abiding Enterprises Incorporated?" Heyes asked.

"Me an' Wheat thought it was a right smart name, Heyes."  Kyle's eyes registered a twinge of offense.  "Seein' how we wouldn't be outlawin' no more."

"It's an interestin' name alright," Curry interjected, hoping to avoid trouble by smoothing ruffled feathers.  "Just what kinda Legal and Law-Abidin' Enterprise you two plannin' on startin'?"

"Horseshoein'," answered Murtry.

"Saloonin'," answered Wheat, at precisely the same moment.

Heyes casually raised a hand to his lips, covering a grin.  "Beg pardon?"

"Saloonin' AND horseshoein'," Wheat amended.  "See, we was thinkin'," he began, "What does a fella do whilst waitin' for the smithy to shoe his horse?"  He waited.  With no response, Wheat supplied the answer himself.  "He saunters on over to the saloon for a relaxin' drink!"

Kyle smiled triumphantly at his new business partner's brilliance.  

"You're startin' two businesses?" The Kid asked, confused.

"Pffft...No!"  Wheat impatiently laid out his plan (okay, his and Kyle's plan) step by step.  "It'll be two buildin's side by side, one for horseshoein' and one for saloonin, but only ONE business."  Wheat held up one finger, then pointed it toward Murtry.  "Kyle's gonna be runnin' the shoein' end o' things, while I," he turned the finger toward himself, "am gonna be runnin' the saloon."  He puffed his chest proudly.

Heyes and Curry exchanged a glance, then Heyes spoke.  "Legal and Law-Abiding Enterprises Incorporated?" he asked a second time.

"Well, Heyes, you said that..." Kyle began.

"What would you call it then, Mr. High and Mighty?" Wheat growled.

"I'd call it dang stu..."  

Thankfully, Heyes was interrupted by Kyle.  "Oh, I got a real good idee!"  He shuffled his feet excitedly.  "What'd'ya think of..."  He paused for effect.  "Shoes and Brews!"

Three outlaw faces stared, dumbfounded.

"Shots and Shods?" Kyle tried again.

Wheat, looking sheepish, cleared his throat .  "It ain't like that's the only business idea we come up with."

Heyes sighed.  "We can't wait to hear, can we, Kid?"

Curry fixed his partner with a glare.  "Do tell."

"We was thinkin', if the horseshoein' and saloonin' don't pan out, maybe we'd start us a shippin' business," Wheat ventured.

"Now that does sound promising," Heyes agreed, nodding.  

"Not with one of our horses," Curry warned.

"The horses we got here at the Hole ain't good for pullin' freight anyway," Wheat assured him.  "We'd have to get us a mule."

Kyle thought quickly.  "We'd call us Two Men and a Mule!"

Curry and Heyes eyed each other.

Wheat caught their look and herded Kyle toward the bunkhouse.  "C'mon.  We got us more details to work out."

"How about, Haulin' A..." Kyle's voice faded into the distance.

"Heyes," Curry muttered, "one thing's for sure and certain."

Heyes raised a brow.  "What's that?"

"No matter what enterprise the two of them take on, the results are gonna be..."

Heyes and Curry finished in unison.  "Disastrous!"

_________________
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
Back to top Go down
InsideOutlaw

avatar

Posts : 799
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 61
Location : Colorado

PostSubject: Re: Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises   Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:47 am

Grasshoppers leapt from the trail, rustling noisily as they landed in the dried grasses, but the horses plodded on.  Tired, they kept their attention on the rocky path leading up a steep south-facing slope.  Flies buzzed around their heads and one of the two laden mules swished its tail and kicked out angrily.  Saddles and packs alike creaked softly, lulling the two men astride the horses.  The day had grown steadily hotter despite its chilly beginnings and the men wore patches of sweat staining their shirts.  A magpie flew across the trail twenty or thirty yards ahead of them, chattering loudly, alarming his flock in a nearby aspen grove.  


The smaller rider dallied the lead to his pack mule around his saddle horn and freed up his hands to lift his hat and wipe his brow with a dirty bandana he fished from his pocket.  His lank, blond hair was pasted to his skull and his jaws bulged with a large plug of tobacco.  When he spoke, his words were muffled.


“Sure is hot for September, ain’t it, Heyes?”  A stream of tobacco spewed from Kyle’s face and landed in the grass further terrifying the hoppers.  He kept one eye on the broad back ahead of him; the other followed the path of his spit.


“Unh.”  


Hannibal Heyes was distracted thinking about last night’s poker game.   He’d had fun disguising himself as a greenhorn; wearing an old, frayed suit and horn-rimmed glasses.  No one took him for a notorious outlaw leader and he’d been courted by every table in the gambling den once he’d pulled that wad of bills from his pocket.  


Now that wad rested in his left saddlebag, having grown too large for a pocket.  He’d been surprised that the evening had ended without any untidy incidents.  Three of the men at his table had looked as though they were going to stir up trouble.  Not that he’d been worried.  He’d been packing his derringer and Kyle had lingered at the bar, keeping an eye on his boss like he’d promised the Kid he would do.  No, the evening had passed without trouble.  


“Heyes?  You ain’t fallin’ asleep, are ya?”


“No, I’m not.  I’m thinking.”


“Oh.  Good, I guess.”  Kyle was used to Heyes’ thinking and knew not to ask any more questions.  He un-dallied his mule, and rode on in silence.   They weren’t too far from the Devil’s Hole gang’s camp and would reach it well before nightfall.  To amuse himself, he kept his eyes peeled for mushrooms along the side of the trail.  He loved mushrooms.


The animals humped their backs and grunted as they shouldered their burdens up a particularly steep section of trail passing through a thick grove of trees.  The aspens swayed gently as a sudden breeze arose and their brittle, golden leaves sighed softly, but the sturdy spruce and firs withstood the gust.  Daylight was filtered here and a cool shadow crept over the small pack train, providing relief from the sun.


Heyes started to nod off; his late night beginning to be felt again.  Kyle’s eyes combed the ground for the curly, orange caps of the mushrooms he was seeking.  They grew in the shady, high altitude forests.  He couldn’t remember what they were called.  Gully’d told him once; shanty-somethings.  He didn’t notice the three men who emerged on foot from the small copse of spruce to their left.


“Hold it right there!  Hands up nice and easy,” warned a grizzled man with blackened teeth.   The other two men stood slightly behind him, their guns drawn and aimed at their hearts.


Heyes jerked to attention at the sound of the man’s voice.  Fortunately, his hands were occupied with his horse’s reins and the mule’s lead, otherwise he might’ve made a reflexive reach for his gun.  Instead he sat still, lifted his hands, and glared at the men before him.  


Kyle nearly fell off his horse, both of them startled by the intrusion.  He righted himself, steadied his beast, raised his hands, and waited calmly.  He appeared slightly bored and unafraid, but he was simply waiting to see how Heyes wanted to handle this.


“My, my, lookie who it is boys!” sneered the first outlaw, gesturing to Heyes.  The other two men looked baffled.  “It’s the rube with the run of luck from last night’s game.”


“Sure is, Will.  Looks diff’rent, don’t he?” said a shorter, long greasy-haired man, finally recognizing Heyes.  The third man, no, boy; smiled and laughed.


“I guess your name ain’t George neither.  You know, mister, last night I was willin’ to let my money go, figurin’ you was a tenderfoot havin’ a run of luck and some other fella could hang for killin’ ya.  I can see now that that weren’t no run of luck, you look just like the cardsharp you is,” said Will.  His eyes took in the silver-trimmed hat band, the expensive cut of Heye’s shirt, and came to rest on the strapped down, black leather, concha-embellished gun belt.  “Lucky for you, I ain’t no killer.  Why, I’m just an honest man lookin’ to right a wrong.  Ain’t that right, fellas?”


Laughter floated in the air, loud against the sounds of the forest.  Heyes knew it was useless to try to sweet talk these three and he waited silently like a coiled rattler.  


“Carl, get that little fella’s gun.  Hal, keep me covered,” said Will, walking up to Heyes and reaching up.  Dark, furious eyes drilled into him as he unbuckled the fancy gun belt.  He laughed.  “Don’t feel as good gettin’ robbed as it does robbin’, does it?  I’ll take that hat, too, and empty your pockets.”


Heyes glared at him, but eventually lifted the hat from his head and dropped it onto the dusty trail.  He fished out the few dollars he had in his chest pocket along with his silver pocket watch.  With a chuckle, Will took the cash and watch before he bent down and picked up the hat, knocking the dust off against his grimy pant leg.  He took off his sweat-stained, misshapen felt bowler and tossed it to Carl, who caught it easily despite holding Kyle’s gun belt in his left hand.  Glancing up at the smaller man sitting above him, Carl decided his had no use for the soiled hat he wore.  Instead, he walked over to Will.  


Will’s filthy grin belied his angry command, “Dismount!”


Without a word, Heyes and Kyle dismounted.  Carl grabbed the reins to Heyes’ sorrel mare and tied off the pack mule to the horse’s saddle.  He led the two animals away to where Kyle stood, his small mare standing obediently next to him, ground-tied.  His mule had wandered a few steps away and was contentedly eating the dried grasses at its feet.  Roughly, Carl snatched up the mule’s lead causing it to balk and Carl to cuss.  He tied the second mule to the pack of the first mule and then retrieved Kyle’s mare.


“Well, I’d say we’re even now,” said Will.  “Have a nice walk.”  He started to turn away, but froze at the chilling, baritone voice so unlike the twangy, nasal sounds he’d heard last night from the dark-haired man he'd just robbed.


“See you around, Will,” said Heyes.  The threat was unmistakable.


Will spun around.  “You know, I plumb forgot that the boys could use some new boots.  Why don’t you two have a seat right there and pull yours off?”  He gestured to a downed tree.


“You can’t leave us out here on foot without water,” protested Kyle as he sat down on the log next to Heyes.


“Sure I can,” Will laughed.  “’Sides, there’s plenty of streams to drink from.  If you get real lucky maybe you can find one the beavers ain’t crapped in.”  He scooped up the discarded boots and tucked them all under his arm.  Leaning close to Heyes, he dropped his friendly act and hissed out fetid breath.  “I see you again, boy, I’ll kill ya.”


Heyes showed no fear.  “Likewise.”


Straightening, Will wondered if maybe he should kill them and be done with it, but he was only wanted for robbing, not a hanging offense, and he didn’t want to do anything to change that.  Who knew who might be waiting on these two and come looking for them?  No, better to let them get to where they were going.  


He and Carl took their prizes, loaded them onto the two mules, and mounted.  Will and Carl drew and kept their guns trained on their victims while Hal fetched their own horses.  Soon all that was left of them was the faint sound of their laughter wafting up from down the trail.


OOOOOOOOOO


“You were robbed?”  exclaimed Kid Curry, standing over his partner.  His agitation had grown as dusk had turned to darkness and there’d been no sign of Heyes or Kyle.  He’d been ready to go out looking for them when he’d heard the sounds of someone approaching on foot.


Heyes sat by the fire examining his blistered feet.  He and Kyle had straggled into camp a few minutes ago and, without a word, Heyes had gone to the Kid’s saddlebags and pulled out the bottle of whiskey he’d known his partner had stashed there.  He’d uncorked it with his teeth, taken a long slug of it, and he and the whiskey had settled by the warmth of the fire.  It was going to be a cold night.  He and Kyle had no bedrolls.  


The Kid had taken one look at the two men emerging from the shadows and figured he’d get more out of Kyle than Heyes.  He’d been right.  Kyle had spilled the whole story in front of the entire gang who still clustered around him.  Their laughter had yet to die down.  


Curry waited, but his partner said nothing.  He dropped down next to Heyes and reached for the bottle.  “What happened?” he asked softly.  


Furious brown eyes shot up to his.  “You know what happened.  It was just like Kyle said.  Go ahead.  Laugh.”


“Heyes,” the Kid said carefully, “I ain’t laughin’.  How’d those yahoots get the drop on you?”


Seeing no derision in Curry’s eyes, Heyes’ anger dissipated.   “I don’t know.  I was tired.”  


“You can’t be tired, Heyes, not if you want to keep breathin’.  Dammit!” exploded the Kid, “I should’ve gone with you; this wouldn’t have happened.  I could’ve disguised myself.  The sheriff wouldn’t have recognized me.”


“We couldn’t risk it.”


“We should’ve risked it.  You know things always go wrong when we separate.”


“I don’t need a damned nursemaid!” shouted Heyes, drawing his gang’s attention to him.  He grabbed the bottle from the Kid’s hand.  “Leave me alone.”


Curry stood up and walked over to the men who stood looking at their angry dark-haired leader.  “All right, boys, show’s over.  Hank, Lobo, build us another fire over there.  Preacher, if you still have that old deck of cards, now’d be a good time to pull it out.  I got another bottle of whiskey I’ll fetch.  Wheat, Kyle’s gonna need a saddle blanket or two for the night.”  The outlaws scurried off to do his bidding.  They were soon settled down in front of a new fire and passed the evening quietly, each of them occasionally casting a glance in Heyes’ direction.  


The boys had taken the cancellation of the job pretty well considering the time and effort they’d all made with the preparations.  Curry was grateful and generous with his whiskey.  They kept their voices low, but Wheat couldn’t resist having Kyle repeat his story several times.  The soft sound of muted laughter filled the night.


Finally, the Kid looked over and saw that Heyes had passed out on his side, the empty bottle still clasped to his chest.  He turned back to his gang.  “Time to hit the sack, boys.”  


“How come?  It ain’t like we can pull the job tomorrow.  We ain’t got the gear,” observed Lobo.


“It’s time, ‘cause I say it’s time.  Any arguments to that?”  The Kid’s face warned them.  The outlaws reluctantly settled up their bets and shuffled off to retrieve their bedrolls.  


Wheat laid a saddle blanket on the ground near the new fire and settled his open bedroll over him and Kyle.


The sleepy, little outlaw grumbled a thank you and rolled over.


Curry picked up his own bedroll and tossed it over Heyes, keeping the canvas fabric well away from the fire.  He threw some more logs on the fire and settled down across the flames from his partner, his own saddle blanket clutched tightly around him.  He felt chilled; but more by Kyle’s story than by the night’s coldness.


OOOOOOOOOO


When he woke, his partner was still crumpled in the position he’d last seen him.  Curry stood up stiffly and threw another log on the fire, poking at it with a stick until the flames appeared.  He walked over to each of his sleeping men and thumped their feet with his boot.  “Rise and shine,” he said to each man softly, adding, “and you’ll be quiet about it if you know what’s good for you.”  


By the time the morning’s ablutions had been completed, and breakfast had been consumed, the Kid turned his attention to Heyes.  Walking quietly over to the snoring lump, he gently shoved his partner’s feet.  Nothing.  He reached down to push a shoulder, but was stopped short by the sound of Heyes’ rasping, whiskey-soaked voice.  “Touch me again and I’ll kill you.”


Grinning, Curry stood up.  “C’mon, Heyes, time to get up.  We gotta hit the trail.”


“Go…away,” growled the bedroll.


“Get a move on; it ain’t safe for us to linger here.”


No response.


The Kid glanced over his shoulder at his men.  They were still tacking up their mounts, nearly ready to go.  It was going to be a long, slow trip back to the Hole.  Heyes and Kyle were going to have to double up with him and Wheat.  He shook his head, discouraged.  They’d all started out from home with big expectations.  The job was going to be piece of cake according to Heyes.   He, on the other hand, had been pensive ever since he’d heard those words slip from his partner’s lips, ‘What could go wrong?’  Well, it had gone wrong, and there were lots of ways it could’ve gone a whole lot more wrong.  


Making a decision, he walked back to the other fire ring and poured a mugful of the coffee from a pot that had been left to stay warm by the fire.  He flinched slightly at the acrid odor that wafted from the mug.  It smelled like it could peel paint from a wall; just the way Heyes liked it.  He stood and carried the mug back over to his partner setting it down on the ground far enough away that Heyes couldn’t reach it without crawling out from under the bedroll, but near enough for him to smell it.


Curry waited.  He knew Heyes.  First the bedroll shifted slightly.  Then a hand appeared and clawed its way towards the coffee only to fall a couple of feet short of the enticing brew.  A groan rose to his ears.  He stood still.  The covers moved again and a tousled head poked out.  The effort was too much and the head flopped sideways into the dirt.  One bloodshot eye, rolled open, and stared up at him, trying its damnedest to focus.


“Ugh.  Hand me the mug,” mewled Heyes pitifully.


“Get it yourself,” said the Kid.  Somehow, Heyes managed to glare at him from his flattened point-of-view.  He chuckled softly and waited.


With another groan, Heyes stretched out from under the bedroll and dragged himself to within reach of the coffee.  Curry seized the bedroll and snatched it away just as his partner’s fist closed around the mug.  


“Hey!” yelled Heyes before moaning at the sound of his own, raised voice.  Curry swept the bedroll away and rolled it up, securing it to the back of his saddled gelding.  He kept his eye on Heyes who had dragged the coffee to his lips and was sipping it gingerly, still prone on the ground, his head only raised far enough to ingest the needed elixir.  The Kid walked past him to the other fire ring and returned with the pot, re-filling Heyes’ mug, and setting the pot down next to him.  


The gang finished packing up, the two fires were extinguished, and the boys were mounted before Curry returned to stand over his partner.  Heyes looked terrible.  Bits of leaves were stuck in his hair and his face was worn and puffy, but he already looked better than he had and it was plain to see that his disposition was improving.


“You ready?” asked the Kid.


“For what?”


“To go home.  What did you think?”


“I was thinking maybe you and I could hang around for a day or so.  Maybe let Wheat take the boys home.”  Heyes didn’t look at him as he spoke and Curry understood exactly what he was getting at.


“You want to go after those three?”


A small, nearly imperceptible nod from Heyes confirmed his intentions.  


“Why?” asked the Kid.


Heyes looked up at him.  The Kid found it almost painful looking into those mournful, red-streaked eyes.  “They took my gun, my horse, my pride, and my hat.  I’ve gotta go after them.”


“No, you don’t.  You can buy another horse, hat, and gun.  And you’ve got more pride than a man has need for.”


“They took my watch, too.  If I don’t go after them, the boys will lose respect for me.  I can’t let that happen.”  


Curry hated it when Heyes was right. He sighed, and capitulated.  “Let me go tell Wheat.  Finish up that coffee.  You’re gonna need it.”  


“Thanks.”


Taking pity on his battered friend, the Kid smiled, “Hey, what are partners for?”

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

"You can only be young once. But you can always be immature." —Dave Barry
Back to top Go down
Penski
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 1187
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 56
Location : Northern California

PostSubject: Re: Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises   Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:33 pm

Dangerous Enterprise – Gettin' Blowed Up


The wind came down the mountain side and played a mournful song as it passed through the pines before swirling the dirt in the small cemetery.  Men were gathered around an open grave with their hats in their hands and heads bowed.

“…Ashes to ashes – dust to dust.  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”  The Preacher took a flask from his pocket and took a swig before pouring a few drops into the grave.  “God bless you, my friend,” he said, glancing around him at the Devil’s Hole Gang.  He took the shovel and threw dirt in the hole.  “Heyes?”

Heyes took the shovel and threw a spade of earth in the hole.  The silver-tongue was lost for words.  This was the first man he had lost as the new leader of the gang.  “You’ll be missed,” he mumbled as he passed the shovel to the Kid.

Curry nodded and tossed more dirt into the grave.

The shovel was passed between the gang members, with each saying a few words as they buried their lost comrade.

“Still don’t see why they buried a good set of boots,” Billy, one of the newest members of the gang, grumbled under his breath.

“’Cause that’s all that was left of him,” explained Lobo.  “That dynamite blast had him come clear outta his boots.  Was nothin’ left of him but his hat and boots.”

Preacher walked over to his horse, his gear packed and ready to go.  Heyes followed him and put his hand on the man’s back.  “Thank you, Preacher.  Glad you were here when that happened.”

“Gonna miss him.  Was one of the better dynamite men I’d seen.”  Preacher swung up into the saddle.

“Don’t know where I’ll find another one like him.”

“The Lord will provide.”  The man in black took another sip from the flask in his pocket.

“Don’t be a stranger.”  Heyes shook the man’s hand.  “You know you’re always welcome at Devil’s Hole.”

“I know, Heyes.  You take care,” Preacher said as he reined his bay onto the trail leading out of the Hole.

The men began to slow walk away from the little cemetery at the hideout where just a few crosses marked fallen outlaws.

Heyes stared at the fresh mound of dirt with the new cross.

“You didn’t do it, Heyes.”  Kid Curry put an arm around his partner’s shoulders.  “Quit blamin’ yourself.”

“But…”

“No buts.  He died doin’ what he loved.  It was an accident.”

Heyes sighed and let Curry lead him away from the grave.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A knock on the door made Heyes look up from a book he was trying to read and Curry stop cleaning his gun.  “Come in.”

The door barely opened and a short blond slipped inside.  “Am I botherin’ ya?”  He took his hat off and nervously twisted it.

“No, no, come on in,” Heyes encouraged as he put down the book.  “What’s it you want, Kyle?”

“I come to talk to you.”

Curry dropped the oiling cloth on the table and leaned back in his chair.  “About what?”

Kyle gulped and almost choked on his chaw.  “I was wonderin’, well, with Homer gone and all, if I could have his job.”

Heyes sat up straight.  “You want the dynamite job?”

Kyle nodded.  “Well, yeah.”

"Maybe you should sit down and we'll talk about this."  Using his boot, the Kid pushed a chair toward Kyle and nodded for Heyes to join them at the table.  “Dynamite is a dangerous job, Kyle.”

“I know that.  More now since Homer done blowed himself up.”

“What do you know about dynamite?” Heyes inquired.

“Homer taught me all he knew.  Taught me to care for and respect it.  How to figure out how much to use.  All about the fuses, too.”  Kyle’s eyes lit up with enthusiasm.

“Hope you use as much as he said and not as much as he used,” Heyes mumbled.

Curry gave a look at Heyes before turning back to Kyle.  “Why do you want the job?”

“”Cause I love blowin’ things up!”  

“You love blowin’ things up?” the Kid repeated.

“Yeah.  You like shootin’ things, don’t you?”

Heyes snickered into his hand.

“That I do,” the Kid agreed.  “Guess you have a point, Kyle.”  He glanced over at his partner.  “What do you think?”

“Well, how about testing his knowledge…”

Kyle scratched his head.  “Testin’ my what?”  

“Heyes wants to see how much you know about dynamite,” the Kid explained.

“Well, why didn’t he say so!  Ask away.”

“First off, do you know what dynamite is?” Heyes asked.

“Yep, it’s sawdust soaked with nitroglycerine, formed into sticks and wrapped up in wax paper.”

“What parts do you have to make sure you bring with you on a job?”

“Well, there’s the dynamite, a fuse, blastin’ cap, and dry matches.”

“Can dynamite go bad?” Curry added.

“Sure can!”

“How can you tell?”

“It – what was the word Homer used – sweats.  The nitro starts leakin’ out.  Dangerous stuff then.”

“How do you store the stuff?” Heyes quizzed.

“Can’t freeze and have to turn them to avoid sweatin’.”  Kyle paused to think a moment.  “Oh, and watch out for crystals.  Means the dynamite has gone bad and is unstable.”

“He seems to know his dynamite,” the Kid commented.

Heyes stood up and poured some coffee in a mug.  He held the pot up, silently offering the others a cup.  Both nodded and he filled two more cups.  “How much should you use, Kyle.”

“Depends on what needs blowin’ up, Heyes.  One stick’ll move a boulder so I says one stick’ll open a safe – two if the safe is a big one.”

“One more question.  What did Homer do wrong?”

Kyle sighed and sipped his coffee.  “I ain’t exactly sure since you had me with the horses, but my guess is that one or two of ‘em had crystals.  Homer mentioned needin’ to check ‘em over but he ran outta time.”

“Or didn’t take the time,” mumbled the Kid behind his cup of coffee.

“You can’t mess with dynamite – it’s dangerous stuff!”

Heyes smiled.  “Kid, I think we have us a new dynamite guy.”

“Really?  You mean I get to blow up things instead of stayin’ with the horses?”

“Yep,” Curry answered.  “You’ve been promoted from horses to dynamite, Kyle.  Congratulations!”

“Thanks, Heyes and Kid.  I won’t let you down.”

“I’m sure you won’t.”  Heyes stood up.  “After what you said about Homer, I think you better go in the shed and inspect and turn the dynamite, Kyle.”

Kyle finished his coffee and rose.  “Yep, I reckon I better.”

The short blond was about to open the door to leave when Heyes asked, “Kyle, what about nitroglycerine?”

Kyle paused.  “What about it?”

“What if I needed some for a job?”

“You’ll have to work with it, Heyes.  I can’t crazy enough to touch that stuff.”  Kyle quickly shuffled out and closed the door.


_________________
h
"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
Back to top Go down
ty pender

avatar

Posts : 91
Join date : 2014-07-16

PostSubject: Disastrous Enterprises - The Denouement   Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:50 pm

The Denouement

Scene One
The Kid sat under a gas lamp cleaning his gun. He mumbled under his breath at a knock on the door.  “Who’s there?”

“It’s me, Smith.”

Heyes entered and relocked the door. Then he sat on the bed and pulled a newspaper rolled in brown paper out of his jacket.

“What’ya readin’?” Curry asked without looking up.

“The Laramie Weekly Sentinel, Laramie City, Wyoming, Saturday, June 1, 1878,” Heyes answered with a sweeping gesture.

“You know what I mean; what’ya readin’ in the paper?”

Heyes pulled off the brown wrapper. “Usually I check the local news on the left column first.”

“You better find somethin’ good cuz’ we’re runnin’ low on cash.”

“I know,” Heyes said dryly. Heyes’ eyes glanced at the column; his eyes lit up at the first entry:

Will Visit Us.—His Excellency,
Governor Hoyt, will pay Laramie and
her people a visit on Tuesday next.


“Hey, the Governor’s in town next Tuesday; probably to do some politicking.”

“That’s one person I want to meet,” the Kid said. “I hope he’s sensible; not a glad-handin’ politician whose job’s gone to his head.”

“Maybe he’s a handsome charmer, blond hair, blue eyes; but just another slick crook underneath.”

Curry stopped and looked at Heyes. “Hey wait a minute.” Then he looked back at his gun.  “Maybe we can be town heroes by Tuesday.  Then we can walk up to him, introduce ourselves, and get amnesty on the spot.”

“In public? Not on your life Kid.” Heyes paused for a moment, “maybe in private though…that’s a thought Kid.”  

“Forget it – I was just joshin’ – we’ll never be town heroes.”

“Oh.”  Heyes turned back to the paper.

‘Banking Ties.—The tie choppers in
the mountains are now rapidly banking
their ties, in order to have them
ready for the drive, which will begin
about the 1st of July next.  About
50,000 will be sent down the Big Laramie
within the next two months.’


“The lumberjacks will bring those ties down the river next month.

“Good gambling prospects. But what’ll we do till then?  We’ll be pretty dry by the end of June.”

You’re right.  We gotta get something lined up soon.” Heyes eyes dropped back down to the paper.

Surrounded. A special from Fort
Graham. Texas, says Sam. Bass, the
train robber, with five of his men, is
surrounded on Big Caddo creek by
Berry Meadow, the Sheriff of Stephens
County. The Sheriff was expected to
make an attack at daylight this morning.


“They got Sam Bass and his men surrounded in Texas; looks like he’s decided to fight it out,” said Heyes.

“He’s a goner, he should have turned himself in,” Curry said.  

“He’s crazy; we got out of the business just in time.”

“Yea, but I wish we had the money from the safe we lost in the creek hole’d up somewhere.  I kick myself every time I think about it.”


“That was a big disappointment.”

“Disappointment? We were plain stupid – real stupid.  And now look at us. We’re nearly broke, waiting for some lumberjacks to come down the river so we can get a few winnings for while.  ‘Course one of’m may decide to shoot us.”

Heyes looked at the Kid.  “I know what you mean, this is getting old; we can’t live like this forever.” Heyes eyes dropped back down to the paper.

‘Nothing New.— None of our inquiries
today in relation to the express
robbery of Wednesday night elicited the
fact of any new developments. Nothing,
we are informed by the railroad
officials, has been heard from the parties
in search of the robbers. As the
ground is damp, it is thought there will
be little trouble in tracking the
highwaymen, and their capture is confidently
hoped for.’


“A posse’s looking for the guys that robbed UP last week.  They think it’ll be easy to catch them since the ground’s damp.”

“That’s stupid. It’s been a week. Don’t they know they’ve split up?  Any tracks they find could go anywhere.”

“If the posse get’s into high country, or the brush, they’ll have to know the hideouts.”

“That’s when they’ll need a good bounty hunter.”

Heyes smiled, “someone like us.”  His eyes dropped back down to the paper.

Latch, the celebrated robber hunter of Ogalalla,
passed up the road last evening, but returned this
morning with Superintendent Dickenson. We
understand he proposes to aid in the search for
the train robbers.


“Hmm…looks like Latch has decided to join the posse.”

“That means they’re not findin’ good tracks, or they’ve gotten away.”

“Now there’s a huge posse out chasing around.  They’ll never find them that way.  Anyway, Latch isn’t a great tracker.”

“Right.”  The Kid looked up from his gun.  “Say, why don’t we go lookin’ for them?  We know where all the hideouts are.  If we find them, we’ll be town heroes for sure. We could get our amnesty by next Tuesday.”

“Good idea Kid! We’re going to go out there and get shot or handcuffed.”

“How’s that?”

“Latch probably knows us.  Then there’s that posse.  They’ll probably break up soon, and you know how trigger happy some of those lone rangers can be.”

“Aw c’mon; it beats payin’ for this hotel room with no money comin’ in. Let’s pack and go!”

Scene Two  
Two miles out of town Heyes and the Kid spied a lone rider heading their way.

“Let’s hide beside that rock,” suggested the Kid.

After a while the rider came within view.  He was slumped in his saddle, not hurt, just slumped.

“Alva!” said the Kid.  “It’s me and Heyes.”

The rider stopped his horse and took a long look at the boys.  “Heyes and Curry! Just who I’d like to talk to!”

Heyes and the Kid rode up on the road. “What’s goin’ on?” asked the Kid.

“I’m giving myself up fellas. That’s what. I’ve had enough of this train and bank robbin’.  I heard you two quit; maybe you can help me.”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other. “What happened?” asked the Kid.

“Did the German gang rob that train last week?” asked Heyes.

“Yep, tried to,” Alva mumbled dejectedly.  “We got some money, but everybody was shot dead except me, Theron, and Millard. My German Gang is finished.  After we counted our dead, Theron and Millard said they were going to try something else. ”  

“That’s bad; sorry to hear that,” said Heyes.

“You’re makin’ a good choice though,” said the Kid.  “We read this morning that there’s a posse out, and Latch is with them.”

“The same paper reported that Sam Bass is cornered in Texas at Meadow Springs.”

“Really?” said Alva.

“Yea, he’s a goner for sure, and he’s not even thirty yet.”

“You’re right fellas.  This is not a good business.  I’ve decided to follow your lead and get out when I can.”

“That’s a smart choice,” said Heyes.  “What’s your plan?”

“I’m turning myself into Sheriff Stephenson in town.”

Heyes and Curry looked at each other again. “OK, but it would be better for you if you returned the money.”

“Yea, you’re right,” Alva paused for a moment and then looked at the boys, “but I don’t have it with me. We decided to bury the money and then split up and cool off at Tuckaway at Lake Hattie. I buried the money pretty good while the boys kept a lookout for that damn posse.  I haven’t been able get over to Tuckaway since though, that posse seems to have every path covered.”

“I see what you mean,” said Heyes.  

Alva twisted his head a bit, and paused, like he was considering his options.

“Fellas, maybe you can return the money. That’ll make you look good and I’ll tell Stephenson what’s going on. I really want to make a clean break of it.”

“If we recover the money for you,” Heyes said, “we’ll take it over to Lom Trevors as soon as we hear you’re in custody with Stephenson.”

“We’ll ask him to put in a good word for you with the Governor,” said Heyes. “I don’t know if you’ll get amnesty but at least you’ll get a reduced sentence.”

“That sounds good; you’d do that for me?”  

Heyes and the Kid reached over and shook hands with Alva. “On our honor.”

“Thanks fellas.”  He reached in his pocket and handed them a paper. “You’ll need this to find it.  I hid it pretty good and I made this map in case I forgot where I put it.”

“OK Alva,” said Heyes, “we’ll try our best to get a good deal for you.”

Scene Three
Heyes and the Kid surveyed the mine area.

“Looks quiet; spooky quiet,” said the Kid.

Heyes reached into his pocket and opened the map. “This arrow points at the mineshaft, and there’s some writin’ next to it.”  Curry pointed to block of letters carefully printed in all caps.  

‘WALK IN SIX CROSSBEEM.
DIG AT BASE OF RIT POST’

“What are we supposed to dig with Heyes?”  

“Here’s another arrow, pointing to that little shack,” said Heyes.  “It’s got printin’ too.

‘TOOLS HERE. FISH AROND
FOR SHUVL AND PIK

“Sounds reas’nable,” said the Kid, ‘let’s get started.”

The two men walked over to the shack.  It was a narrow tool bin no more than six or seven feet deep. It had a wide door, but it faced north so very little light came in.  The two men stepped just inside the door and waited for their eyes to adjust. The smell of dust and rat turds permeated their nostrils. Slowly they made out a jumbled pile of tools.  

The Kid reached into the pile and pulled on what he thought was a shovel handle.  The two men heard what sounded like rats scurrying away, and then a heavy digging bar fell on Heyes shoulder and just missed his jaw.

“Hey, be careful; pull stuff from the side that you can see.”

Finally they managed to find a loose shovel and pick.  They grabbed the tools and stepped back.

The Kid felt a heavy blow to his head.  As he fell backwards Heyes got the same treatment.  Heyes saw a grinning face as he fell unconscious.  The Kid saw the same thing after a second blow.

Heyes looked up and squinted at the daylight. His head was throbbing. His legs were tied together at the ankles and the knees, and staked securely to the ground. His arms were tied behind him around the base of what appeared to be a watchtower. A gag pulled his lips over his teeth; he coughed at the blood that had trickled down his throat.  As he came to, he could see the Kid looking back at him, tied up the same way.

Two voices came from behind.

“Thanks for the shovel and pick.”

“Thanks for the map.”

Theron and Millard stepped in front of them and grinned.  Theron was wearing the Kid’s hat; Millard was wearing Heyes’ hat.
“We’re the new Smith and Jones,” Theron said.   The men laughed.

“Why are you two stealing our money?”

“How did you get the map?” Millard loosened Heyes’ gag.

Heyes coughed up more spit and blood. “To answer your question fellas; Alva gave us the map.   He said he was giving himself up to the sheriff.  He was tired of robbing and was going to go straight.  He said everyone was shot except you two, and that he told you to wait at Tuckaway until he joined you, and things cooled off.  Then you’d all go back to…”

“That dirty double…don’t stop – keep talking.”

Heyes realized that he had said too much and the rest would get him in trouble.

“ah … back to UAX and split the money.”

“OK, so how did you two get the map?”

“He said it would look better for him if we recovered the money.”

“Yeah?” said Millard. “What about our share!”

Millard looked over at Theron, who had his arms crossed. “I was thinkin’ Alva was the only one that double-crossed us until you told us that.  You gang leaders are all the same. You never consider the little guy that does the heist. Gag him back up Millard.”

“What are you going to do with us?”

“You two are worth twenty-thousand; we’ll figure something out after we get the money out of that mine.”  

The boys watched as Theron and Millard walked down to the mine. After a few minutes the faint sound of a pick and shovel echoed down below. Heyes and the Kid worked furiously at their hand knots.  

Suddenly, an enormous roar came out of the mineshaft, followed by a huge cloud of dust.

They watched the mine as they worked their knots, half-expecting to see Theron and Millard crawl out.

Slowly, as they worked the knots, the sun moved and the watchtower cast a shadow over them. They were sure no one could see them tied up to the watchtower now.

The Kid started grunting and Heyes looked over at him.  The Kid signaled with his head toward the road.  In the distance Heyes could see a cloud of dust.

After a few minutes, Latch and the sheriff rode up and hitched their horses near the mine.  They called in – no one answered.  They lit a lamp, drew their guns, and walked in.  After a few minutes they emerged, carrying a saddlebag, and Heyes’ and Curry’s hats and guns.  They stood and talked for a while, looking into the mineshaft.  Finally, they shook their heads, mounted their horses, and rode off.

After what seemed like hours the boys managed to untie their hands and remove their gags. They coughed up mouthfuls of blood and spit.  Their shoulder joints were so sore from working the knots with their arms behind them they could barely move to untie their legs. When they stood up, their muscles were so sore they could hardly walk.

“They must be dead,” Curry said.

Heyes gave the Kid an ironic look. “Well, they sure didn’t walk out, did they?”

“Alva must have double-crossed us; and set the sheriff after us.  If he blamed the train robbery on us, we’re in big trouble.”

“Yep.  If anyone was shot on the train that’s a murder charge.”

They entered the mineshaft.  As their eyes adjusted they moved forward.  They took a few steps and stopped.  The collapse had closed the shaft from top to bottom.  

“We better get out of here before the whole place caves in!”

“Wait, look!”

Heyes looked at where the Kid was pointing. Within the outline of rocks and debris, he made out the tips of four hands, reaching out to them.

“It must be Millard and Theron!”

There was a snapping sound directly above them.  They turned around and ran out into the light of day. The blaze of sunlight blinded them and a roar from behind shot a cloud of dust out of the mineshaft and engulfed them.  When their eyes adjusted they turned around and looked. The mine was completely closed.

“Theron and Millard must have left our guns and hats near the opening before they went back to dig.”

“When they found the saddle bag, they must have brought that out too before the mine collapsed.”

“Wonder why they went back?”

“Maybe there’s more in there.”

Heyes and Curry looked at each other and then down at the ground. They stood there for a while, looking at the ground, coughing the dust that floated in the air.

“What are you thinking, Kid?”

“I’m thinkin’ I’m sore, hungry, and tired, and hopin’ we ain’t wanted on a murder charge or for robbin’ that train.”

“Yep, me too;” Heyes paused, “we better stay low until we find out what happened.”

Scene Four
Jim Will and Jeff Walt checked into the little hotel just outside Laramie City.

After they walked into their room, the Kid closed the door and locked it. “Are those the best names you can come up with?”

“I had to think of something in a hurry.  At any rate, they’re more believable than Smith and Jones.”

“Any names are better than Smith and Jones; that doesn’t mean they’re good names.”

Heyes leaned against the wall and pulled something out of his jacket. “OK, next time you pick the names.”

“What’s that?”

“The Laramie Weekly Sentinel, Laramie City, Wyoming, Saturday, June 8, 1878,” Heyes answered with a resigned gesture. “Maybe it will have something on the Governor’s visit.” Hayes voice trailed off in a disappointed sigh.

Heyes pulled the brown wrapper off the paper. Four banner headlines stretched across the top.

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry are Dead!
The Notorious Master Robbers are Killed in a Mineshaft!
Sherriff Lom Trevors Identifies the Remains!
The Leader of the German Gang Turns Himself In!


Heyes’ eyes glazed over.  He turned the paper toward Curry so he could read the headlines.

“We’re dead?”

Heyes had a faraway look; “Appears that way.”

“We gotta tell Lom and then he can tell the Governor and straighten this mess out.”

Heyes kept staring across the room. “Heyes, you listening to me?  We gotta do something; Lom thinks were dead!


Heyes finally answered; “Yep, and so does everyone else.”

“What?”

“Yep, it may be a real disaster for Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.”

“May be?”

“‘Course, would be for them; they’re dead.”  Heyes looked up at Curry and grinned.

Slowly, a smile formed across the Kid’s face. “But Jim Walt and Jeff Will are alive   ¬— and they’re not wanted.”

“That’s right Kid. It’s over; we don’t have to worry anymore. We’re dead – get it? By the way, that’s Jim Will and Jeff Walt.”

The Kid had a big grin now. He paused for a moment, “Heyes, we gotta change those names.”
Back to top Go down
Bison1

avatar

Posts : 6
Join date : 2012-05-23

PostSubject: Re: Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises   Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:35 pm

Hi All: It seems that I only get something entered during the summer and summer is almost over. So, here we go, my annual entry - a follow up to a disastrous enterprise from the series.


The August heat was oppressive. It came one afternoon and stayed and stayed. It didn't start to ease its hold until the sun went down and then the more moderate temperatures came painfully slowly. After a few days you could see the effects on the vegetation. Pastures that used to be green were browning almost as you watched. Gardens would be watered in the morning only to start wilting in the afternoon. The simple act of breathing was enough to make you break a sweat.

It was on one such day that Hannibal Heyes sat on the porch and marveled at the fact that children seemed to be immune from the effects of the heat. After a full day in the fields the small boy by his side still was squirming, although he was trying his best not to do so.

“Pa?”

The formerly notorious outlaw struggled with the appropriate response. He decided to try to open his eyes, but failed.

“Hey, Pa?”

This time it was accompanied by small hands shaking his arm.

“What?” Heyes tried to growl, but it just came out tired.

“It's Uncle Kid. What's wrong with him?”

Heyes' eyes opened before the boy finished speaking, he sat up straight and almost immediately located Kid Curry at the barn door.

“There ain't nothin' wrong with your uncle.” He watched as Curry absentmindedly started to brush an old horse.

“But why is he brushing Bonnie? We already took care of the horses when we came in from the field. Why don't he come sit on the porch like always?”

“He's just waiting.”

“What's he waitin' for?”

Heyes looked at his seven year son. He reached over and tousled the dark brown locks of the boy beside him, then adjusted his chair slightly, stretched his legs out and propped them up on the low rail in front of him, the leaned the chair back on two legs with his hands behind his head.

“Did'ya ever hear the story of the man you're named after?” Heyes asked.

The boy's head cocked to one side as he watched his father get comfortable.

“Yes sir, but,” he said as he ran towards the end of the porch, “I'd sure like to hear ya tell it again.” He had returned with an old bushel basket which he set in front of his own small chair. He carefully put up his feet on the upturned basket and leaned back, not noticing the hand of his father that caught the chair before it went too far back and held it until the child had achieved a stable position.

“He was a good man, an honest man. He was hard working and it was near impossible to get him out of a good mood. His only problem was that he trusted too easily. Ya know after a few hands of poker he trusted me and Kid? Trusting us after a few hands of poker? With a gold mine no less!”

The boy smiled and nodded. He knew his father and favorite uncle used to be on the wrong side of the law, but had spent a lifetime trying to make up for all the wrongs they had done. Well, at least what seemed like a lifetime to him.

“He also trusted another man,” Heyes continued, “and this other fellow wasn't someone to be trusted.” He stopped talking and watched as Curry finished with the horse and switched to sweeping out a stall that had been swept less than half an hour before.

“Well, what with one thing and another, we three had to walk across the desert from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Just me, your uncle, and Seth.”

The boy held his tongue and hoped. He'd hear this part of the story before, but his uncle or pa had always stopped because someone, usually his ma, said he wasn't old enough to hear any more.

Heyes watched as his son sat up a little straighter. Today was the first time the boy had been out in the fields for a full day. It had been a long, hot day setting posts and repairing fence line, but the boy had worked hard. His son was growing up and Heyes decided it was time he heard the rest of the story.

“Old Seth had a lot of life left in him,” Heyes said sadly, “but the desert don't care about what God got planned for folks.” His eyes tracked the swing of the broom held in the hands of his life long friend. “After three days we were out of water. We'd been walking at night when the heat was a little less, but we still had a long, long way to go. Seth had downed the last of the water just an hour before, but the heat made him forget and he thought your uncle and I had emptied the jug without sharing with him. The heat of the desert can make a man do strange things.”

He fell silent as another breeze teased past the house. Eventually he continued, “Seth, he apologized for what he had said and the three of us settled down for some sleep in the shade of some rocks as the sun rose higher and hotter. A few hours later when Kid and I woke up Seth he, well, he was gone. He knew we'd be able to move faster without him. He knew he was too old to survive another few hours walking in the heat. He knew that we weren't going to leave him like Bilson had. Old Seth, he tried to get far enough away so that we wouldn't find him and waste our energy burying him.”

The boy watched his pa as Heyes watched Curry pause by the barn door to look at the sky.

“It didn't work. We found him and took a couple of hours to bury him under a pile of rocks. It wasn't more than a half day later that we found water and another day before we were back among the homesteaders and safe.”

The breeze had picked up some more and the scent of rain was enough to make it seem five or ten degrees cooler.

Heyes watched Curry and remembered the weeks they had spent tracking Bilson, the panic he felt in the street when he saw Kid start to turn his back on Bilson and, to be honest with himself, relief when he saw Bilson fall. Then he remembered the silence that cloaked Kid for weeks afterward and the guilt that still clung to Kid all these years later. Something that still burdened a grown man was certainly too much for a seven year old boy.

“Ever since then when there is a long, hot spell your uncle waits for the first rain then stands there for a while. A nun we knew once might say that he lets the rain to wash away his sins. I think he goes out there and offers up an apology to old Seth for not getting him out of the dessert faster and Seth sends his forgiveness in the rain.”

Heyes stopped talking. Curry was now halfway between the barn and the house, his face turned up to the sky. Had the Heyes men been closer they would have seen a single tear tracking its way through the dirt and sweat on the cheek of Kid Curry. The rain had just shown up.

“Well, Seth, what do you think?”

Young Seth Heyes brought the front feet of his chair down to the porch and looked out at his uncle.

“Well, I,” but he couldn't come up with anything and, being all of seven years old, ran out into the rain to stand beside his uncle and, taking his hand, turned his face into the rain.

“What the hell,” Heyes muttered to himself as walked out and, taking the boy's other hand, joined his friend and son standing in the rain, remembering an old man who trusted too easily.

The partners turned and looked at his each other and smiled. Young Seth had started dodging to try and catch rain drops in his mouth without disturbing his father or uncle...too much.
Back to top Go down
Remuda

avatar

Posts : 110
Join date : 2013-10-27
Age : 41

PostSubject: Re: Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises   Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:28 pm

Musings on a Midnight

I sit here with coffee -- black, strong. Perhaps much too strong. It is needed to keep me awake whilst I ponder my next piece.

I hold pen to paper. A much too old-fashioned quill reminds me of my humble beginnings, but a trip to the local general store brought my writing instrument into the modern age -- a Waterman, complete with the new ink feed. I stare at my desk tableau: still life with fountain pen.

The tablet before me is also fresh from the mercantile. Its blank surface beckons pen to page, with a necessary dip in the well. Black, inky cursive to a willing, virginal leaf. The lines will keep my too flowing hand even and legible.

What to scribe? The confessions of a once notorious outlaw pair? If so, where to begin? At the beginning? A once happy childhood blasted to pieces by war? Surely the papers were rife with them post-conflict. A memoir of a childhood lost? Well, as one of them might say, it wasn't lost, just shot to pieces. (Hmm, I must not repeat myself, but their phrasings are difficult to resist.) Skip forward then ... institutionalized adolescence. That of itself might find an audience, but I fear Miss Addams is exhausting the collective consciousness on it far more than I could add my own uninformed jots. Ah, anew -- good youth led down the wrong road by vicious grifters ready to pounce, their soon-to-be young accomplices taken under their wing with promises of easy riches, charmingly disarming doughy dowagers and other dubious and disastrous enterprises performed under duress, or perhaps they were all too willing. (Note: Check that last statement; will change the whole narrative.)

Now we arrive mostly at the age of consent, contractual and otherwise. They were lost by then, surely -- wanted by the law for nigh on the next decade, almost. Astonishingly clever, good-hearted but bad, until they found their way back. Perhaps tellings of the time away, prodigals finding their way home, or to the right side of the law. Not being able to convince their robbing brethren to join them on the greener side of the fence. Wait, this is not a sermon, but sounds as if any preacher worth his stripes could gather the flock with such a message on any sundry Sunday morning. No, this must be along the lines of something exciting: outlawry, thievery, hold-ups, the glory and glamour of a genius and a fast draw. Sadly, the real story is anti-climactic compared to the dime novels, and that is not my calling.

Numerous ideas have come and gone, discarded or filed away for another time. A fresh slant on overexposed characters is difficult, hyped as they have been of late in the rags.

Amnesty. That in itself should provide new angles but only conjures up rehashment of legend, derring-do of alleged gentlemen bandits, but no Robin Hoods they. That they shot no one in their thieving heyday says loads, but boils down to supreme contradiction: kind-hearted bad men? Were we to believe such a thing, we would have victims of circumstance on our hands. I presume even they would knock that on its head as mere speculation (if they knew what it meant).

Deadlines loom at midnight, and it is far too close on to the witching hour to start anything expansive. Something short will have to suffice. Perhaps another set of characters. I wonder what Mr. Twain is up to these days.

_________________
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
Back to top Go down
Ghislaine Emrys
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 666
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 33
Location : Arizona

PostSubject: Re: Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises   Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:30 pm

Many thanks to Penski for inspiring this story.

This could be read as a sequel to "After Valparaiso" but it is not necessary to read that story first.  However, should anyone wish to do so, it can be found at: http://asjfanfiction.wikifoundry.com/page/After+Valparaiso




Disastrous Enterprises



“Hey, Kid, look at this!”

Jed joined his cousin at the top of the hillock and gazed down at the desert scrub below.  A log cabin was situated under a rock outcrop that provided a measly amount of shade, and small prickly pear cactus and other plants grew nearby.

“We could rest up for a while here,” Heyes suggested.

Jed eyed the place doubtfully.  “People might still be livin’ there, Heyes.”

“Ain’t likely.  Look at it.”  Heyes pointed to the door.  “See how it don’t shut properly?  And how the steps are caved in?  If people still lived here, they’d have fixed all that.”

“I’m also lookin’ at the window that’s broke.  I don’t see no well, neither,” Jed added.  “I don’t see as how this is a good idea.”

“Sure it is!  You gotta look on the bright side, Kid.”  Heyes turned aside and started walking around the back.  “Maybe there’s a well there.  And if not, that creek we passed wasn’t too far away.”  

Sure enough, the boys discovered a well when they reached the other side of the building.  The wooden cover was missing but a rope was still attached to the bucket that lay on the ground nearby.

Jed tried to think of another reason for not staying.  “What if the people who were here before come back?” he asked.

“Then they’ll be happy with all the improvements we’ve made.”

“Improvements, Heyes?  What’re we gonna use for tools?  Where are we gonna get materials?”  Jed shook his head, not liking the enthusiasm he heard in his partner’s voice.

“I’ll figure something out; don’t worry about that.”

Jed shook his head again, not disbelieving his cousin but knowing it wasn’t going to be as easy as Heyes thought.

~~<>~~<>~~<>~~

The next week saw a flurry of activity from the two boys.  The first thing they had to do, according to Heyes, was see about the well.  If there was still water in it, everything would be much easier than if they had to fetch water from the creek three times a day.  Fortunately, the bucket had no holes in it and the rope wasn’t frayed.  Jed wrapped the rope around his wrist and Heyes tossed it into the dark.  A moment later they heard a splash.  Both boys grinned.

“You got any water in the bucket?” Heyes asked.

Jed nodded.  “A little.”  He shook the rope a few times.  “That’s better.”  

He started to pull the bucket up but Heyes grabbed the rope.  “Hey!”

“Just want to see how heavy it is,” the older boy said.

“Fine.  You can pull it up then.”  Jed unwound the rope from his wrist and handed it to Heyes, who took it reluctantly.

“Pull harder, Heyes!” Jed supervised.  “Don’t let it hit the side of the well.  You might spill some water if you do that.”

Heyes grunted.  “I do know how to do this, Kid.”

“Don’t look it to me.”  Jed stood back, enjoying the picture of his cousin struggling to bring the bucket up without losing all the water in it.

“I dang well remember…”  Heyes stopped suddenly.  In the awkward silence that followed, he said, “Well, I do know.”  He continued hauling on the rope and finally retrieved the bucket.  It was half full of water.

Jed didn’t say anything.  He peered into the bucket and saw the water and the detritus floating on top.  Silently, he scooped out the twigs and dead insects with his hand.  Then he turned and walked around the rocky overhang and into the desert.

A few minutes later, the sound of gunshots could be heard.

Heyes sighed.

~~<>~~<>~~<>~~

Once the question of the source of their water supply had been answered, the next job was to fix the cabin.  Heyes determined that the door just needed to be rehung.  Fixing that took most of an entire day because it was heavy and the top hinge had come out of the frame.  Heyes found a rock to serve as a hammer and stood on Jed’s shoulders to bang it back into place.  Then Jed held up the door as Heyes tried to position it in line with both hinges.  Unfortunately, that was harder done than said and Heyes had to repeatedly reposition the top hinge.  It was late afternoon when the door was finally set into place and could swing open and shut with relative ease.

Both boys flopped onto the floor of the cabin.  “I’m all tuckered out; how about you?”  Heyes looked at Jed.

“Yup.”  Jed’s shoulders ached and his stomach rumbled.  “Let’s have supper now.”

“Okay.  Would you like beans or would you like beans?” Heyes asked.

Jed pondered.  “Ya know, Heyes, I think I’d like to have beans tonight.  It’s been a while…”

“…since breakfast!” Heyes laughed and Jed joined in.  Supplies were getting low but the boys had enough beans and flour to last a good while longer.

Over a fire made from fallen mesquite branches scavenged from the desert, Heyes and Jed discussed the next day’s plan of work while they waited for the beans to cook.  Every so often, Heyes stirred the pot with his spoon.  When the beans began to bubble, he removed the pot from the fire and ladled half the food onto Jed’s plate and the remainder onto his own.

They bowed their heads and thanked God for their meal.  After saying amen, they began to eat.  Jed had to remember to eat slowly so he would feel more full than he really was.

Their coffee had run out a long time ago and, besides, they were being careful about how much water they used.  Although the well provided enough for now, they had learned in childhood not to be wasteful.  They hadn’t taken a bath since moving into the cabin.

“We should grow some food of our own,” Heyes announced.

“What?  How?  We’re in the Arizona desert, Heyes, in case you hadn’t noticed.”  Jed looked witheringly at his cousin.

“Course I noticed!  Kinda hard not to.”  The older boy paused, organizing his thoughts.  “I saw some seeds in that cupboard,” he said, pointing to the back of the cabin.  “I looked at them this morning and I think they might still be good.”

“You think they might?  I don’t wanna go through all the trouble of diggin’ a garden, just to find out them seeds won’t sprout.”  Jed was getting tired of working so hard.  “You said we’d rest here a spell.  I ain’t rested once since we got here,” Jed complained.

“Aww, c’mon, Kid.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, you know.  Tell ya what.  I’ll plant the seeds and take care of them.  You can just look after the corn that’s growing round the other side of the rocks.  How’s that sound?”

“What corn?”

“You mean you ain’t noticed the corn stalks?”  Heyes was surprised.  “I thought you were a better observer than that, Kid.”

“Sure I noticed,” his cousin lied.  “I just didn’t think they were gonna grow enough to produce any corn cobs.”

“Well, I think they will, iffn we take good care of them and they get enough water.”

“That’d be real good.  Okay, then; you got a deal.”  Jed smiled and they shook hands on it.

Both boys finished eating and they used sand from the desert to clean their plates and spoons and the pot.

“We’ll fix the window tomorrow, Kid.  That okay with you?”

“Sure.”  Jed put the food things away and stretched.  “Think I’ll take a quick walk outside before goin’ to sleep.”

The door scraped shut and Heyes knew his cousin had gone to check on the seven-inch high corn stalks.

~~<>~~<>~~<>~~

The days passed and the repairs dwindled until everything was done.  The window had been fixed by closing the shutter on the inside and nailing it shut.

To Jed’s surprise, the corn was now almost five feet high, having grown several inches each day.  Heyes’ seeds had sprouted and they were pleased to discover they would soon have a harvest of peppers.

“I think I could get used to this,” Jed said one day.  “It’s kinda nice here, away from everything.”

“Yeah.”  Heyes was glad to hear the happiness in his cousin’s voice.  It had been a long time since Jed had been truly happy.

“We could celebrate,” Jed said tentatively, looking over to where Heyes sat on the porch, feet dangling over the edge as he relaxed after the midday meal.

Cautiously, so as not to spoil the mood, Heyes asked, “What would we be celebrating?”

“I dunno.  Just…bein’ here, I guess.”  Jed shrugged.  “Maybe it ain’t such a good idea after all.”

“No; it’s a great idea, Kid!  I reckon we been here a month or so now.  If that ain’t something to celebrate, I don’t know what is!”  Heyes started making plans.  “Maybe you can shoot a rabbit or a snake or something and we can make a stew for dinner.  And..” Heyes got real excited, “We can treat ourselves to a bath!  We sure could use one.  How does that sound?”

“It sounds mighty fine, Heyes.”  Jed grinned, like the fifteen-year old he really was.  “I’d like that; I’d like that a lot.”

~~<>~~<>~~<>~~

The next morning, Jed and Heyes walked over together to the corn field.  Most of the corn was growing well but Heyes noticed a few stalks on the ground.  “Must have been knocked down in that rainstorm we had last night,” he said.

“Sheesh, that was a really big storm!  All that thunder and lightning, and it went on for so long.”  Jed had never seen a rainstorm like that before.

“Yeah,” Heyes agreed.  “I hope we don’t have too many more like last night’s.”

The ground had a few damp patches but had mostly dried out under the morning sun.  They finished their appraisal of the damage and were relieved that most of the corn had survived intact.  “We’ll still get a good harvest,” Heyes assured Jed.

They next examined the peppers and found that most of those plants were also undamaged.  “We’ll be fine,” Heyes said, but Jed wondered who he was trying to reassure.

Jed hauled up a bucket of water from the well on their way back to the cabin.  He didn’t say anything to his cousin but it seemed like he had to drop the bucket farther down before it filled up.  At least the water was clean, now that they had rigged a cover for the well.

As they approached the cabin, Heyes and Jed both scrunched up their noses at the same time.  “Heyes, what is that smell?”

“I dunno.  It wasn’t there before, was it?”

“’Course not.  We woulda smelled it.”

“I wonder where it’s coming from.”

“I’m not sure I wanna know,” Heyes said, moving away from the cabin.  “But I guess we havta find out.  It’s unbearable.”

“I don’t think it’s a bear,” Jed said, joining the other boy upwind of the cabin.

Heyes glanced at his cousin to see if he was making a joke.  Jed grinned.  “It ain’t funny, Kid.  You wanna sleep inside tonight, with that stink?”

Jed lost his grin.  “No.  What do you think it is?  And how are we gonna get rid of it?”

“I have no idea.  But I’ll think of something.”

“You better,” Jed warned him, this time only half joking.

~~<>~~<>~~<>~~

Several hours later, they still had not located the source of the odor.  They had searched thoroughly inside the cabin and found nothing.  No carcass of a dead animal was visible in any direction.  It wasn’t a sulfur smell and besides, the well water was fine.  None of the corn or peppers had ripened, let alone rotted.  All the desert plants nearby smelled fresh from the previous night’s rain.

“What’re we gonna do, Heyes?”  Jed sat on a rock near the cornfield.  

Heyes stood next to him, looking at the cabin and thinking.  “Where does it smell the worst?” he asked.

“I dunno.  It stinks everywhere.”

“That don’t help.  We gotta find the source.  Then we can get rid of it.”

Reluctantly, Jed said, “Inside the cabin’s the worst.”

Heyes agreed.  “Yeah, that’s what I thought.  C’mon,” he said, walking purposefully back towards the smell.

“What’re you goin’ to do?”

Heyes shrugged.  “Gonna search inside again.  Kid,” he said, turning to look him in the eye, “We can’t sleep outside; it’s not safe.  If we don’t figure this out, we’re just gonna have to manage the best we can tonight.”

They combed through the cabin again, in between rushing outdoors for breaths of fresh air.  When they finished, the cabin was a shambles; walls had been torn open, the floor was ripped up, and their possessions, meager though they were, were strewn all over the porch.

They found nothing.

“Now what?”

Tired and not in the best of moods, Heyes snapped, “How should I know?”  He immediately softened his tone when he saw Jed’s face.  “Kid, we’ve looked everywhere.  Maybe it’s just some dead animal out in the desert and the wind is blowing its scent this way.”

“You think so?” Jed asked doubtfully.  

Shrugging, Heyes replied, “I sure hope so.  We haven’t found anything here, that’s a fact.”

“Maybe it’ll be gone tomorrow,” Jed said hopefully.

“Maybe.  In the meantime,” Heyes had an idea, “we’ll open the window.  At least we’ll get some fresh air in here that way.”

~~<>~~<>~~<>~~

The smell was, if anything, even worse the next day.  As fast as the boys could get dressed, they escaped from the cabin.

Without a word to each other, they went over to see how the corn was doing.  Although it hadn’t rained during the night, they could see that more stalks were damaged.  They lay on the ground and the cobs looked like they’d been half eaten.

“This ain’t good, Heyes.”

“I know.”  But Heyes didn’t want to let his cousin see how worried he was.

Jed and Heyes remained outdoors the better part of the day, working in the cornfield and pepper garden.  They also took turns hunting, though they returned empty-handed.  When the sky began to glow in the early evening, they trudged back to the cabin.  They made a fire outside and sat on the porch steps while they prepared and ate their meal.

Jed voiced a thought he’d had for a couple of days.  “You think this smell is why the people who used to live here up and left?”

“Could be.”  Heyes tried to cheer up the younger boy.  “But I think the smell is getting better, don’t you?”

Jed was good at reading his cousin, if not actual books.  “No, it ain’t.  And don’t try to make things seem better than they are.  I know you’re tryin’ to hide things but I can see just as well as you, Heyes.”

“Well, let’s see how things are tomorrow.”  The seventeen-year old spoke firmly and confidently.  “We can make this work, Kid.”

Jed responded with a silent look that spoke volumes.

~~<>~~<>~~<>~~

“What’s that?”  Something out in the desert caught Jed’s eye.

“Wait!”  Heyes called out as he strode after his cousin.  He caught up with him a minute later.  Jed was standing near a prickly pear cactus.

“Sheesh, what is that?”  Jed stared at the large mound of brush heaped around the bottom of the plant.  He walked closer to it and started to lean down when Heyes grabbed him and pulled him back.

“Kid, no!  There could be rattlers in there!”

“Let’s find out.”  Jed drew his gun and fired.  A small rat-like creature emerged and scampered away.

Jed and Heyes looked at each other, then started laughing.  “It’s just a rat, Heyes.  Sheesh, and you were so scared!”

“Was not!” Heyes denied.

Jed let it go.  Even discovering the loss of more corn stalks didn’t dampen his mood.

But his enjoyment disappeared that evening.  He knew something was wrong the instant he saw his cousin.  Heyes wasn’t concentrating on their meal the way he normally did.  Jed took the pot off the fire before the beans burned even more.

“What’s the matter, Heyes?”

“It ain’t gonna work, Kid.”

“What won’t?”

“We can’t stay here.”  There was a forlorn note in Heyes’ voice.

Jed was taken by surprise.  “Why not?  I thought you liked it here.”

“I do.  But…”

“But what?”

“Look.”  Heyes handed his cousin the bucket from the well.  

Jed looked but there was no water in it.  “So?”

“Don’t you see?  It’s empty!  The well’s gone dry!”

“What?  No; you just havta let it go down more.  I’ll go do it.”  Jed reached for the bucket.

“No, Kid.  You’ve been the one fetching the water and it’s been taking longer and longer.  I wondered why so today I decided to go myself.”  Heyes sighed.  “You should’ve told me.”

Jed knew he had to say something.  “I didn’t want to spoil it for you, Heyes.  I know how much you like it here.  Even though it does stink a lot,” Jed smiled bleakly.

“Stop it,” Heyes warned.  “We’re partners, Kid, we gotta trust each other.  That means always telling the truth, whether we wanna hear it or not.  I gotta be able to rely on you and you gotta have faith in me.  Don’t you see that?”

Jed searched Heyes’ face and was struck by how much older his cousin looked than his seventeen years.  It wasn’t just the fact that they’d been laboring in the hot Arizona sun for more than a month.  It was the responsibility of taking care of two people, boys who were no longer boys but not yet really men, who had nothing and no one but each other.  

Slowly, he nodded.  “Yeah. I’m sorry, Heyes.  I just…” he shrugged.

There was a glimmer of a smile as Heyes answered, “I know.”

“So,” Jed asked, “where do you wanna go?”

“I’ve had enough of this heat to last me a long, long time,” Heyes said.  “How about Wyoming?”



Author’s Notes:

* This is very loosely based on a true story: Mine!  Pack rats are widespread in Arizona.  Here’s a very informative article about the creature but—warning!—do not read this before or just after eating: http://birdingthebrookeandbeyond.com/2012/07/09/how-to-get-rid-of-pack-rats-in-arizona/

* Javelinas are also widespread in southern Arizona and although when I wrote about the destruction of the corn and pepper plants, I was thinking of them, javelinas do not actually eat those crops.

* Arizona Territory did experience droughts in the 19th century and it could be that during Jed and Heyes’ time there, there were drought conditions that caused their well to go dry.  Arizona has been in a drought for at least a decade now and, according to people who have lived here a while, the summer monsoon rains are not as wet as they once were.  The declining amount of available water in the state is of serious concern.

_________________
This is one of my schemes... ~ Hannibal Heyes

http://commentaryasaj.blogspot.com/
http://asjmoviewesternsetc.blogspot.com/
Back to top Go down
http://asjmoviewesternsetc.blogspot.com/
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises   

Back to top Go down
 
Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Aug 2014 - Disastrous Enterprises
» 2014 wishes for all brands
» CollectA 2014: FARMLIFE - Ankole-Watusi Family (88648 + 88649 + 88650)
» CollectA 2014: SEALIFE - Bowhead Whale (88652)
» Bullyland news for 2014

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Alias Smith and Jones Writers  :: The Writing Spot :: The Story Challenge-
Jump to: