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 Oct 2014 - The Best Laid Plans

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Calico

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PostSubject: Oct 2014 - The Best Laid Plans   Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:21 am

It is late - but it is here...

Despite my best intentions I am overcome with
a) Guilt at my tardiness
b) Gremlins mucking up my work computer
c) Work piling up

So, the challenge is apt - but is also simply plucked from my reserve list.

It is also likely to be a piece of cake for all you clever lot!!!

Lick your lips as you cogitate on:



The best laid plans
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ty pender

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PostSubject: Freedom of the Press - Part Three 'The Best Laid Plans...'   Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:41 pm

Author's Note.  We continue with Freedom of the Press, which was continued in last month's 'Flash Bang' challenge.

Heyes' and Curry's situation so far:
A stranger is threatening Saddle Creek townsfolk. On their first night in town, Heyes and Curry are jailed by Sheriff Brainard on suspicion of extortion. The next morning he dismisses the charges in exchange for them guarding the saloon as his deputies. In the afternoon they ‘save’ a Remington wagon, it’s young lady driver, and it’s curious cargo.  She promises them a job with Remington after they deduce that her boss, DeVore, is the villain. During a card game that night, they capture DeVore and become town heroes. The next morning our town heroes are praised to the skies in a church service they feel obliged to attend.  Meanwhile, Lom Trevors, who arrived in town the previous night to take possession of the Remington shipment on behalf of the Wyoming governor, is working with Brainard to discover the identity of DeVore.



The Best Laid Plans

The boys stepped off the church steps and started down the street.  The Kid turned to Heyes, “Mighty nice of the sheriff to get us out of that lunch with the pastor. Wonder why he did that.”

Heyes shook his head. “I don’t know, but I’ve had enough of these Sunday clothes.” He pulled at his stiff collar. “When we get to Lloyd’s you want to get a drink first or change out of these clothes?”

“Drink first.”

Curry looked at the crowd of men heading in the direction of the saloon. “I wonder what Anne will do when she finds out half the men in this town eat Sunday dinner at Lloyd’s.”

Heyes and the Kid walked on in silence, loosening their ties and enjoying the fresh air.

“Between the church and the saloon, they sure like us here,” said the Kid.  “This may be the town we’re lookin’ for.  It’s just like you said yesterday.”

“How’s that?”

“You remember, after I said I was lookin’ forward to settlin’ for a spell, playin’ some cards, makin’ some money…”

“Right,” said Heyes.

“You said ‘That’s the plan; these little out-of-the way towns are good for that.’”

Heyes laughed.  “You remember that?”

“Sure do. Then you said somethin’ like: ‘There’s nothin’ goin’ on but the saloon and the church.’”  

Heyes grinned and turned to Curry. “All the men are gambling their wife’s money at the saloon; all the women are praying for their husbands at the church; and there’re no newspapers to write tales that make people suspicious of a couple of strangers.”

“See, just like you said.”

“Yep. And now, thanks to finding Marjory Speilman, we’ll get that Remington job delivering those typing machines. We can make some real money.”

“Yep.  Until then Lloyd and the sheriff will want us to stay at the saloon, in order to protect it, of course.”

“It’s a perfect plan, Kid, foolproof.”  

Curry gave Heyes a sharp look.

Heyes ignored the look as they stepped up on the board walk in front of the town’s general store. The store owner, Jack Andrews, was locking the door with one arm, and holding a pile of catalogues with the other.

“Morning Andrews; need some help holding those catalogues?” Heyes asked.

Andrews turned around. “Smith and Jones!” he said with a big smile.  He surveyed the two men from head to toe. “I can tell by your Sunday duds that Anne hoodwinked you into attending church service.”

The three men laughed.

“I could use some help with these since you offered. If one of you could hold the catalogues for me while I lock up…”

Heyes took the catalogues. “Montgomery Ward catalogues; we get our clothes from Montgomery Ward.”

         

Andrews locked the door. “That so?”  

"Yep, 'cause they got a money-back guarantee," Kid added proudly.

Heyes handed the catalogues back and the three men started walking to Lloyd’s.

Andrews handed Heyes a catalogue. “I’m getting ready to make an order.  If you want to add anything let me know. If there’s a shirt in there you like, I’ll order it – on me. It’s my way of saying thanks for finding my watch on DeVore last night.”

“Thanks, that’s mighty decent of you.,” said Heyes. He started to leaf through the catalogue as they walked.

The smell of braised beef wafted into the street as the three men approached Lloyds. Heyes put the open catalogue in front of Curry and pointed at a shirt. “Jones, you like this one?”

The Kid didn’t look at the catalogue; his eyes were fixed on the saloon doors. “I don’t care, s’long as it’s light,” he said. He gave a dismissive wave at the catalogue and walked in.

Heyes turned to Andrews.  “May I have another catalogue sir?”

“Where’d the other one go?” A puzzled Andrews looked at Heyes and warily handed him a catalogue.  

Heyes gave Andrews an innocent smile. “Ah, well my friend…”

“Funny. I didn’t see him take it from you, but I guess he did.” He shook his head. “Let’s get some lunch.”

The two men walked in. There, near the door, was a brand new, gloriously painted, barrel organ, grandly playing – a church tune. Andrews walked on to the bar, but Heyes stood in front of the machine transfixed, watching the machine and listening to the music.

Andrews noticed Curry ordering a drink at the bar, and came up next to him.  “I thought you got a catalogue too, Mr. Jones.”

“Huh?” Curry responded.

Just then the barkeep brought Curry’s drink, and then set a shot glass down in front of Andrews. “Here’s your whiskey starter, Mr. Andrews. What’s your special for today?”

A puzzled Andrews shook his head to clear it. He opened a brown book, flipped through the pages, and running his finger down one page, stopped. “I’ll try the Flip Flap.”

“Ay, still working your way through Engel’s book are ye Mr. Andrews?” the barkeep said with a smile, and left.

Andrews held up his shot glass, downed the whiskey starter in one gulp, and turned to Curry.  ““Joy, joy forever, my task is done; the gate is passed, the haven is won.”

Curry smiled and tipped his glass in Andrew’s direction. What’s this Engel book?”

Andrews held the book out so Curry could read the title. “American and Other Drinks; it’s a best seller, just came out.”

The Kid gave the book a dismissive glance and changed the subject. “Does Anne know how many men eat Sunday dinner at Lloyd’s?”

Andrews smiled. “Of course; but for some reason she ignores a lot of what the men do. Like Sunday at Lloyd’s. That’s where I eat,” Andrews looked at Curry with a twinkle in his eye “and play cards, and drink.” Curry raised his glass in appreciation of the sentiment.

The bartender set a chilled burgundy glass in front of Andrews, "Your Flip Flap sir."

         

Curry looked at the drink, "I'll have to try that; 'FlipFlap huh?" While Andrews tried his drink, Curry looked around the saloon. “Andrews, have you seen my partner, Smith?”

Andrews shrugged, turned around, and pointed at the door. “I left him over at that new music machine.”

“Thanks.” Curry picked up his drink and walked toward the saloon door.  Heyes was standing in front of the music machine, humming to the music.

“What are you doin’ here?” Curry asked.

“Recognize it? It’s the same kind of machine that was in Porterville; it’s even playing the same tune!”

“Huh?”

“Now I know what it was playing in Porterville; they sang this song in church this morning.”

“I don’t remember that.”

“You slept through that too?” Here, listen. Heyes growled along with the music: “Do Lord, do Lord, do remember me…”

“Aw com’n, let’s get upstairs and change out of these Sunday clothes, I’m hungry.  Beside, I need my gun.”  He waved at the machine dismissively and turned toward the staircase.

The machine suddenly went silent, mid-tune. Heyes looked at the Kid, looked back at the machine, and frowned.

“That deputy in Porterville had to kick it to make it stop,” he grumbled under his breath as he followed Curry upstairs.

“Jones! Smith!” Lloyd walked over and joined them as they went up to their room.  

“So, you like my new music machine?”

“Sure do,” said Heyes.

“Just got it this morning; folks from Omaha brought it out to try. It has music for everyday, including Sundays.”

“Yes, I recognized that tune from the service.”

Lloyd’s voice and demeanor darkened.  “They want me to get the gambling machines too – and they want a cut.  But I want to keep this saloon respectable. I’m worried because the men who delivered it don’t seem to be in any hurry to leave town.  They keep finding reasons to return here and bother me about it.”

“I think you’re right, Lloyd,” Curry said. “Better to keep to card games with no cheatin’.”

“Yep,” added Heyes. Those machines are usually fixed, in favor of the house, so the company renting them makes a huge ‘take.’”

“Yea, I know,” said Lloyd anxiously. “They might leave the machines here and then claim I agreed to the deal. Would you stick around to keep an eye on the saloon and see they don’t do that?”

“We’ll have to ask Sheriff Brainard, but I don’t see why not. How will we recognize these fellows?”

“Thanks. They’ve got an Irish brogue as thick as daege butter. You can’t miss ‘em,” Lloyd said as he left them at their room.

The two quickly changed.  As the Kid inspected his gun, Heyes neatly piled his and Curry’s Sunday clothes on top of their saddlebags. “I wonder how long it’s been since we washed these,” Heyes wondered out loud.

“You always say that,” Curry said. He made a dismissive wave as he left the room, “but they’re never dirty, right?”

As Heyes closed the door, he looked back at the saddle bags which were now uncovered, and then at his partner. “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he said. Then he whispered to himself, “well, it sure ain’t the saddle bags.”

“So, what’s on the menu today?” the Kid asked the bartender after ordering another drink.  

“It’s chuck wagon buffet gents, the cook does it every Sunday, it’s kind of a tradition here.”

The boys looked around the saloon. Most of the men were making a beeline for the buffet table.  Some of them recognized the boys from the church service or from the previous night and waved hello before they grabbed their plates.  

“I’ll grab a couple plates of food while you save our place,” Heyes said before he walked over to the buffet table.

An older, stocky man stood behind the buffet and greeted Heyes with a big smile. “Afternoon Deputy Smith, I’m Lexie Gertner, the cook. Grab a plate; Lloyd told me to make sure our deputies get fed.  Where’s your partner?”

“He’s holding our place at the bar. I’ll grab a plate for him too. Much obliged.” The cook started ladling out the food: braised beef stew, pinto beans, fresh sourdough bread, German potato salad, and peach cobbler.

“I was the cookie for Circle Z. They used to have barn dances down there and a chuck wagon for the folks that came. I liked doing them so much, when Lloyd opened this place I asked for the cook’s job.  It sure beats trailing cowpokes.”

“That right?” said Heyes. “So what happened to the barn dances, do they still have them?”

“No. Different approach to things: Lloyd’s Irish and the saloon’s for men.  You know, whiskey at the bar and that sort of thing.  Feldon Zeider is a German from Texas. They like their dancing and beer; it’s more of a family thing. He tried to start a beer garden place, but he thought his beer wasn’t very good. I guess the ranch water’s no good for the beer he likes.”

“Well, that’s too bad,” Heyes said, regretting the beer.

“It was a nice family thing.” said Lexie. “Couples would bring their kids, and young people got to mingle. When the town got going and Lloyd’s opened, Zeider got bitter and closed the whole thing down.  He tried to make his own whiskey too for a while.”

Heyes took the two plates back to the bar and sat down next to Curry.  

“What were you talkin’ about?”

“He was telling me that that the ranch Capps told us about, Circle Z, used to have barn dances.”

“Used to?” Curry asked, visibly disappointed.

“Yep, used to,” Heyes replied with a grin before he dug into his plate of food, “You’ll have to meet the pretty ladies somewhere else.”

* * * * * * * *

Lom looked up as the two opened the door to Sherriff Brainard’s office. “Well, if it isn’t the two selfless deputies. How was the preaching this morning?”

“Not bad, Lom,” the Kid answered. “We’re saints now. We’re wearin’ laurel wreaths and have a reward in heaven.”

“As long as we keep our noses clean,” Heyes added. “As the preacher said, ‘Don’t harbor evil plans under false pretense.’”

“He said that?” the Kid answered. “Guess I missed that part.”

“Guess you missed most of it,” Heyes replied, “until he got to the end and started praising us to high heaven. You sure didn’t miss that.”

The Kid smiled.  “The pastor even invited us to be deacons, or somethin’,” he announced, proudly.

“Deacons!” Lom was shocked.  “You two are just lucky to be out of prison.  And, if Brainard puts you in a witness stand against DeVore that’s where you’ll end up.”

“Why?” the Kid asked, surprised.

Lom replied, “The defense lawyers will do background checks. Folks here know I know you.”

“So?”

“They’ll ask me about you; I’ll answer honestly. I’m a law-abiding sheriff. And felons are not allowed to testify. In fact, they’re usually indicted and jailed.”

Lom continued, “Even worse, DeVore would be freed on a mistrial, and you two will probably be convicted for his shenanigans.”

“Aw, com’n, that’s goin’ too far,” the Kid objected.

“No, not too far,” Lom replied.  “The lawyers would have convinced the jury that all the evidence was traceable back to you, and that you two set the whole thing up.”

“Come on Lom,” Heyes objected.  “What’s the chance of that happening?”

“Pretty good actually,” Lom replied.  “Once they find out that the states of Nebraska and Wyoming made two notorious train robbers deputies, and then put them up as witnesses for the prosecution, they’ll have the jury wrapped ‘round their fingers.  The governor will drop you two like hot potatoes, and leave you to your fate.”  Lom leaned forward from the desk and looked each of the boys in the eye.

Heyes and Curry exchanged a glance.

“Guess we’ll lay low until all this blows over,” the Kid said.

Lom looked up from his desk at the boys. “If you can; the editor of The Mayfield Sun thinks he has a great story by the tail.  He’s going to carry stories on this DeVore thing and you town heroes are going to be the star characters.”

A wave of disappointment washed over the Kid’s face. “This laurel wreath thing ain’t lookin’ so good. I was just beginnin’ to like that part.”

“So, since we can’t have you two showing up at the trial,” Lom continued, “we’ll have to hide you away where no one can get to you til’ this all blows over.”

“Oh no, we’re not goin’ to hide out in some jail or somethin’,” the Kid objected.  

Heyes added.  “Look Lom, we just ran into a situation here in Saddle Creek, and I think we’ve made the best of it. We’ll ride out of town and keep quiet.”

“You can’t just ride out of town and avoid the trial, not without a good excuse, that is,” Lom said. He cleared his throat, leaned back in the desk chair, and resumed. “Actually, the governor is impressed with you two, and has been since Junction City. It turns out Judge Handley wrote a letter to the governor of Wyoming explaining his actions and commending you. I guess he saw some potential in you two.”

“Really,” Heyes replied. “Bless his heart – I guess...”

“So, when the governor heard what happened here in Saddle Creek, he wired the Remington Company.  He arranged for them to pay the state of Wyoming costs for you two ‘deputies’ to accompany the delivery through Wyoming when it comes in from Bridgeport.”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other, frowning. Heyes smiled at Lom. “We’re grateful Lom, but we think that it would be better for us if we worked directly for Remington. We know they pay well…”

Lom cut Heyes off. “You should be grateful. After the DeVore fiasco, Remington will run a background check on you two.  Look, the governor’s office is going to give you cover, and it’s going to pick up the cost of this ‘secret’ mission ahead of delivery. You’re going to avoid the trial and the exposure.”

“And if we don’t accept?” the Kid asked.

“I’ll arrest you,” Lom replied flatly. “Save us all a lot of time and trouble.”

“Darn, I guess that’s a good deal,” the Kid said.  “It wasn’t our original plan…”

“But hey, it’s a darn good one, anyway.” Heyes’ face wore a forced grin.

“Look boys, the governor is real keen on getting those writing machines delivered without any trouble.  If you accept this job, you’ll be working for him.  And I can be here for some backup, if you need it.”

Heyes and the Kid still looked dubious.

“Look at it this way.” Lom said.  “That editor says he is going to assign a special reporter to follow this story. We can’t tell them to not cover this; they have freedom of the press.  Since we can’t have you in the papers, we’re going to give you freedom, freedom from the press.

“That’s good Lom,” the Kid said. “Freedom from the press, I like that.”

“Let’s keep it that way, boys. You keep out of trouble, just like you’ve been doing for the last few months. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Only difference is now you’re working for the Territory of Wyoming.”

“Sounds like all kinds of fun, Lom,” Heyes said.

A dry smile crossed Lom’s face.  “Welcome to law enforcement.  If you live long enough, you’ll have more enemies than friends.”

Finis...for now.

References.
You may need to copy the URL into your browser.

1. American and Other Drinks, Leo Engel
https://archive.org/details/americanandothe00engegoog


2. Do Lord
The original tunes and lyrics:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez5bvGvggiA

The original verses:
http://www.negrospirituals.com/news-song/do_lord_remember_me.htm

For skeptics that can’t believe Do Lord could be played in a nineteenth century saloon – here is the ragtime/gospel version.  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NVhEpD4R6w

Julia Ward Howe added one verse in 1861 when the song was first included in the Methodist Hymnal; she did not originate the song.


Last edited by ty pender on Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:04 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Maz

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PostSubject: Re: Oct 2014 - The Best Laid Plans   Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:22 pm

The Best Laid Plans…
By Maz McCoy


“He is mine”, Maz typed. “Mine I tell you!”
***
“Mister Jones, would you have dinner with me this evening?” Miss Porter smiled demurely. Kid Curry shot a swift glance at his partner. Heyes smiled knowingly from behind the bank teller’s grill.  “I thought we could discuss the security arrangements for the bank, in more detail.”
Kid smiled. “I’d like that ma’am.”
“Shall we say 6.30?”
“I’ll pick you up then.” He touched the brim of his hat and she smiled again.
Miss Porter stepped out of the bank, her mind on her dinner with the handsome Mr Jones. She would wear her favourite white dress and tie her hair back with a matching ribbon. He was sure to notice. Yes, she would like it if he noticed. She stepped down from the boardwalk and a pounding of horses’ hooves startled her. Miss Porter was mown down by a runaway wagon.
***
Maz McCoy skulked in the shadows as Mary Cunningham stood in her office and cried. Kid Curry, a battered and beaten Kid Curry, leaned against the wall arms folded across his chest, trying his best to look unaffected by the woman’s tears. Maz liked him bruised and brooding. Her hand went towards the lever of the trap door she had persuaded the unsuspecting stage hand to install. Heyes took a step forward and grabbed Mary by the arms. Maz breathed a sigh of relief. Heyes was the one interrogating her; he was the one consoling her. It was Heyes’ hands on her arms. Not Kid’s. The woman was safe. Maz took her hand away from the lever.
***
The train rumbled on towards Brimstone. In the carriage filled with Bannerman detectives Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes looked nervously around them. Harry Briscoe stood up and addressed the men before him. “Gentlemen, we are indebted to this brave young woman.” He pointed to the blond Sara Blaine and went on to explain how she claimed to know Kid Curry.
So she knew Kid Curry did she?
The detectives raised their six-guns in celebratory salute. One detective still clad in a woman’s garb raised her gun too. When the train gave a sudden jolt and a shot was fired, the detectives put Ms. Blaine’s demise down to sheer bad luck.
***
As the train rattled on Annabelle leaned back against the boxcar wall and smiled at Thaddeus. He was a handsome man; a man of the world.  He smiled as she informed him of her desire to have authentic experiences.
“CUT!” The director turned to the assembled crew. “Okay who spoke?” No one answered. “I know someone muttered something. Sounded like I bet you do. Can we keep it quiet people?” He turned his attention back to the scene. “Okay, let’s take it from Annabelle’s line.”
Anabelle lifted her eyes to the handsome young man seated with her in the boxcar. She pushed to her feet and moved to the open boxcar doorway. “It’s so beautiful out here.”
“It is,” Kid agreed.
Annabelle reached out her hand to feel the breeze on her palm. “I feel as if I could reach out and…”
Kid’s mouth dropped open in startled surprise as she was whisked away by a mail bag hook. He was swiftly on his feet and peering out of the door. Ooh not pleasant. He looked away. At least if he found some food, he wouldn’t have to share it.
***
Grace dipped her feet in the cool water. It was so refreshing after the long hours in the cramped stagecoach. Although spending those hours with Thaddeus was a bonus. She smiled. She had plans for Thaddeus.
“You all right, Grace?” he asked from his sentry post beyond the bushes and she informed him that she was. After a while Grace stepped from the pool and reached for her clothes. The rattle stopped her. The snake flicked its tongue at her sensing her presence.
“Thaddeus,” she whispered.
Kid thought he heard her cry and was quickly on his feet. Unfortunately the snake struck and bit Grace before he got there.
“I thought we were using stock footage of a snake, not the real thing,” the director queried. He looked down at the dead woman. This could save everyone a lot of time and effort, especially the money for those extras employed to set up that darn shell game.
***
Betsy spurned Kid’s offer to carry her packages. She was in love with Auggy. Maz liked this woman and made a mental note to buy some matches so to be ready when a man needed his cigar lit like that.
***
Their horses gone, as they clamoured to find the root of all evil, money, they had to walk long miles back to town. Stopping to cool their feet in a stream Kid gently splashed water over Margaret’s pretty young legs. Margaret, the floozy, was clearly enjoying the attention from the handsome blond cowboy. So besotted with Thaddeus was she that she failed to notice the alligator until it was too late.
“Sheesh,” said Kid as Margaret disappeared from sight. “Who knew they were even in these parts?”
***
“Heyes have you noticed how every time I get to likin’ a woman something terrible happens to her?”
“Yep.” Heyes rode a little in front of Kid and ducked his head as they made their way through the trees. As Kid pondered the women he had literally loved and lost, Heyes considered the mystery of the poker game. And at that moment a shot rang out!


In his search for information about the victims of the poker game Kid found himself in the saloon.
“I’m Helen,” said the beautiful young woman.
“I’m Jones.”
“Hello, Jones.”
The scene cut to Helen’s boudoir.  Kid sat back on the couch and watched as Helen approached, except this was a different Helen. For some reason they seemed to have changed actresses.  He was unaware that the real actress employed to play Helen was locked in her dressing room, her costume stolen by the imposter. The new Helen leaned closer to the prone cowboy. The scene began….
“And cut!” the director shouted. “Great scene, although next time remember this is going out in the afternoon, so let’s not make it THAT realistic a kiss!”
Helen chuckled, a satisfied smile on her face.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Rachel, had been injured by her latest attempt to own a modern appliance. Her demise was the result of the  5th vacuum.
***

The crowd in the saloon waited to hear what song the pretty new singer would perform next. They had been unimpressed by her first slow rendition of what sounded like a French love song. Michele Monet picked up her guitar. She caught Kid Curry’s eye as she plucked at the strings. Maybe a rousing version of ‘Do like I do’ would be more appropriate for this venue. She braced herself. Perhaps she could enlist the help of Joshua and Thaddeus? Unfortunately a freak guitar string accident ended both the song and her time in San Juan.
***
Maz ticked off Michelle’s name on her list. They were coming to the end of the first season and there was only one potential competitor left. A woman named Alice. Maz sat at the side of the set watching as the boys sauntered into the saloon. They were trail-dusty and unshaven. Gotta love a cowboy. Music began to play and…Sheesh a floozy was being lowered from the ceiling. Maz’s scientific brain went speedily into action. She calculated the height of the seat, angle of the rope, mass to height ratio to angle of the thingy to the what’s-it and…Alice’s career was cut short when the bird cage she was swinging in fell on her.

Muhaha!

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

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PostSubject: Re: Oct 2014 - The Best Laid Plans   Wed Oct 15, 2014 4:41 pm

This is a continuance of the previous two challenges. A longer version is posted on Fanfiction.net:

Swirls of coffee grounds floating in the mug he grasped in his hands held the Kid’s interest as his partner droned on, reviewing and rejecting numerous ways to chase down Will and his friends.  The verbal barrage had begun just after sunrise and Curry had just about had his fill of it. “I’ve been thinkin’, Heyes.”

“I thought we had an agreement about that.”

“We do, but you ain’t doin’ so good with it so I felt like I had to step in,” said the Kid.  “Will knows we’re followin’ him and, by now, he’s beginnin’ to realize we ain’t gonna give up.  He might get a bit more aggressive.”

“Don’t you think I know that?!!  Why do you think I’ve been wearing a groove in the ground?  If we run him down, he’s going to fight and we can’t go round these mountains and head him off, not without losing a day or more. He’d be in town by then.”

“Yep, he would.”

“I don’t want him to get to Fort Steele.  He’ll lose my money at the poker tables,” said Heyes.

“Nope, don’t want that.”  

“Are you planning on saying anything remotely helpful?”

“I am.  We haven’t gotten close enough to see them clearly in the field glasses so that means they also can’t be sure who’s on their tail.  Most they could know is that there’re two riders followin’ them.”

Heyes looked blank for second, and then a slow, pleased smile crossed his features.  “They won’t recognize you.”

“Now you’re thinkin’, partner.”

“But they might recognize your horse.  You’ll have to go in on foot.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“You can follow them into Fort Steele and I’ll trail along a mile or so behind you.”

“Hold on a minute!  I wasn’t volunteerin’ to wander into a passel of bluebellies.  I was thinkin’ more along the lines of catchin’ up to Will and strikin’ up a conversation while you get the drop on him.”

“Too risky.  Will’s too smart to accept a man on foot showing up in the middle of nowhere.”

“So Will’s smart now, huh?” smirked Curry. 

“Of course he’s smart, I never said he wasn’t.”

“Just not as smart as you, right?”

Heyes smiled. “Right.  Look, follow them into town, buy them some beers, lose a few hands of poker, and find out where they’re staying.  Tail them if you have to.  Then we’ll pay them a visit and straighten things out.”

“You want me to lose my money?  Don’t you think you givin’ them all of yours was enough?”

“Are you gonna help me or are you planning to stand there all day pretending to be funny?”

“All right, we’ll play it your way, but you better be watchin’ my back the whole time.”  

“I will be, and I’ll make sure no one sees me.”  Heyes smiled.  “Oh, and I’ll need some cash.”

“What for?”  

“Just in case you lose your last nickel tonight.”

OOOOOOOOOO

Pushing open the glass-paned door, Curry stepped into the busy saloon filled with soldiers.  Geez, he hated Heyes’ plans.

The door swung open again and three more men walked in.  The last man through the door sported a black, silver-trimmed Stetson that the Kid immediately recognized.  Seeing Will sporting Heyes’ hat, boots, and holster reminded Curry of how easily this could’ve turned out different.  He spotted an empty table, sat down, and withdrew a deck of cards from his jacket.  A soldier approached and asked to join him.  He turned the man away feigning a southern accent.  No further explanation was needed; anyone with a blue uniform was used to being shunned by sullen ex-Johnny Rebs.  One of the cavalry soldiers spit in his direction, but Curry ignored him.  

Will picked up a bottle of whiskey off the bar and spotted the nearly empty table.  With a slight nod to the seats across from him, Curry sat back and watched as the three men sauntered over and sat down.  Will tipped the infamous black hat.  “Much obliged, Mister.  Whiskey?”

“Thanks.” The Kid bridged the deck.  

“Looks like you might be a player.  How ‘bout a friendly game?”

Curry smiled.  “You boys think you can afford to lose to me?”

Will smiled back.  “You sound pretty sure of yourself.  What’s your name?”

“It’s Mark Clemens.  Who am I talkin’ to?”  

“I’m Will, that there’s Carl and Hal.” He pulled off the black hat and set it on the table next to his whiskey glass.  

“Nice hat.”

“Thanks, kinda like it myself.”  Will caught a passing barmaid and snatched a fourth glass from her tray.

As Curry dealt out four hands, he glanced out the front window.  A dark-haired man in a raggedy brown coat was sitting next to the steps.  Heyes smiled as a passing cowboy dropped a coin into the upended hat he held out.  

The four men settled down to play.  Carl and Hal were terrible players and the Kid had no problem reading them as easily as opened books, but Will was a different story.  He had a constant feral gleam in his eyes and it never changed whether the cards were good or bad.  It was as though he had a deep-seated belief he’d win in the end and whatever happened between now and then was of no mind.  

The whiskey bottle emptied and Hal and Carl were well on their way to being drunk.  Will was still hard to read, but his eyes had taken on a softer, more watery look to them so Curry settled down to try to pry information from his opponents.

Outside the saloon, Heyes stood up and stretched.  His back was aching from sitting on the wooden sidewalk and he was getting antsy.  He looked in the window, but failed to catch the Kid’s eye.  Scratching his side, he looked up and down the street.  Stores had closed as the sun had set and now the sidewalks had emptied.  He scratched again, and found himself wondering if the clothes he’d stolen had lice in them.  He’d had some luck today:  he’d found a pair of broken-down, muddy shoes outside the back door of the house he’d stolen the coat from and they’d fit well enough.  He hoped the owner would find the five dollars he’d left for him.  Yawning, he settled back down and pretended to doze off.  

The soldier the Kid had turned away earlier spent the evening drinking heavily and regaling his friends with war stories.  The more stories he told and the more whiskey he drank, the more the line between then and now blurred.  All the fear and resentment he’d felt during the war came flooding back to him and he worked himself into a righteous anger at being rudely dismissed by a filthy cotton farmer.  He declared his intention to teach the Southie a lesson and shrugged off his friends’ attempts at restraining him.  Staggering across the room, he lurched to a stop in front of the Kid and mumbled a confusing challenge.  Curry looked up at him and smiled.  “You’re drunk.  Go back to your barracks and sleep it off.  You’ll be glad you did.”

“Why you sack o’….” Furious, the man reached for his sidearm as the table tipped over and he heard the loud report of a shot echoing in his ears.  Reflexively his hand grappled at his side, searching for the gun that was no longer hanging there.  He looked down at the cleanly-severed holstered and looked up again, staring stupidly at the blue-eyed man before him.

“Go on now.  Ain’t no reason to die tonight,” said Curry.

The man gulped and nodded.

The bartender, shotgun in hand, came over and told them all to leave.

Heyes had jumped up at the sound of a gunshot and was staring through the window when the soldier burst out the door.  He sank back down on his heels and dropped his head as his partner’s scuffed brown boots went by.  

“Dang it all to hell, Mark, that was some fancy shootin’!  How’d you learn to shoot like that?” asked Hal.  “I ain’t seen no one who could shoot like that.”

“Me neither,” said Carl quietly.  His newfound friend had just become a frightening stranger.  

Will was thinking.  Clemens was obviously a gunnie and he could use a man like that.   “Say, Mark, why don’t you come with us and finish the game?  We’re usin’ an abandoned shack just a short walk north of town.  I’ll give you a sportin’ chance to win some of your money back.”  

“I guess I’ll take you up on that offer,” Curry said affably, “since I can’t afford a hotel room anymore.”

OOOOOOOOOO

Heyes followed them.  The moon was nearing full and it cast a soft light on the dirt road as he walked along the edge.  Branches swung with the wind that had kicked up after dark and cast shadows that swayed and danced around him.  A movement to his left startled him and he turned his head towards it failing to see the low-hanging limb that caught him in the forehead and staggered him.  Grabbing his head, he cursed under his breath before hearing a soft buzzing in his ears.  He looked up at the branch bobbing up and down and saw a large hornet’s nest hanging from it.  Giving silent thanks that it was nighttime and the insects were mostly dormant, he side-stepped around the tree carefully.  

Finally, he saw a faint glow of light through the forest and cut away from the road towards it.  Moving forward slowly and cautiously, he stopped within twenty yards of an old, derelict cabin.  Heyes saw his horses and mules standing quietly alongside three other horses in a makeshift corral.  He crept around the edge of the clearing until he could see the Kid seated across from a window, cards in his hand.  Will had his back to Heyes.  Carl and Hal had gone to sleep and Carl was snoring loudly.  

The Kid looked up and stared straight at Heyes then stood and stretched, lifting his arms over his head and revealing his lack of a firearm.  

Damn!  Will had taken Curry’s gun off him.  Heyes rubbed his chin and considered his options.  He couldn’t risk barging into the cabin.  He might get the drop on Will, but he had no idea if Carl and Hal had gone to bed with their guns nearby.  

“So, Mark, you give joinin’ us any more thought?” said Will.  

Curry knew it might be a fatal mistake to decline the invitation. “I’ll ride along with you.”  

“Good.  I call, pair of jacks and a pair of threes.”

The Kid folded his cards face down on the deck.

“I’m also callin’ it a night.  See you in the mornin’.”  Will stood up.

“Think I’ll take a leak before I turn in,” said the Kid, rising.  

He stopped in front of a bush and relieved himself.  Buttoning up, he saw Heyes lean out from behind a tree and wave to him to join him.  He shook his head no, pointing to where his gun should be hanging from his hip.  He wasn’t about to leave his customized Colt behind.  Let Heyes figure out the next move, he was the one who started this whole mess.  The Kid walked back to the cabin with a smile on his face.

A smothered, frustrated growl nearly escaped from Heyes’ throat as he watched his partner walking away.  What was he going to do now?  And just like that, he knew.

OOOOOOOO

As the sun was starting to come up, Hannibal Heyes sidled up to the broken-out window.  Bundled under his arm was the raggedy coat he’d been wearing.  He’d located the nest while the hornets were still sleeping and had wrapped it tightly in the old fabric.  Cutting it off and removing it from the branch had been easy.   Returning to the cabin without awakening the insects had been harder.  He could hear an angry, muffled buzz.

With a dimpled, delinquent’s grin, he popped up and shook open the coat through the window.   The nest dropped out, hitting the floor with a light bounce.  Heyes ducked back down and ran for the cover of the trees.

A hornet landed on Will’s neck and stung him repeatedly.  He sat up howling.  Grabbing his hat, he swatted at his clothes, further antagonizing the emerging hornets.  The Kid’s woke, saw the gray shape on the floor, cursed out loud, and followed Will out the door.  Carl screamed and Hal started yelling before racing out of the cabin.  All four men stared back into the shack in stunned disbelief, their jaws hanging open, and their hearts pounding.

“Mornin’, Will,” said a baritone voice behind them.  

Will and his two men spun on their heels and Curry swiftly lifted Carl’s gun from his holster, jammed it into the man’s back, and angrily growled at his partner.  “Really, a hornet’s nest?  That’s the best you could come up with?”

Heyes caught the gun tossed to him and shrugged.   He was smiling from ear to ear
as he reached up and snatched his hat off Will and dropped it onto his own head.  “Take off the holster and the boots.”

Will unbuckled the gun belt and held it out to Heyes who took it and slung it over one shoulder.  He then sat down in the dirt and pulled off the boots shoving them towards the gloating man.

“You gonna kill us?” Carl asked uncertainly.

“What do you think I should do with you?” questioned Heyes, digging into Will’s pockets.  Heyes found his silver watch and cash.  

“We let you go, Mister,” said Hal.  

“Yes, but that was your mistake, wasn’t it?” Heyes was watching Will.  “What would you do, Will?”

“Well, I reckon you already know what I’d do.  I ain’t no killer.  If’n I was, you’d be dead right now and I’d still be wearin’ that fancy hat of yours.  I’d plenty of chances to kill you.”

Heyes laughed and holstered his gun.  “You’re right.  Tell you what, why don’t we go back inside the cabin and light us a nice, smoky fire?  Get rid of the rest of them hornets.  I’m guessing you’ve got some coffee in there.  I’d surely love a cup of coffee.”  

A short time later, the five men sat at the rickety table, coffee in front of each of them, the Kid’s Colt .45 lying conspicuously by his right hand.

Heyes spoke first.  “The way I see it, you’ve got a couple of choices.  We can tie you up and leave you here to work your way loose sooner or later.”

Carl and Hal both enthusiastically nodded their agreement with this plan, but Will sat back and studied Heyes.  “So what’s the other choice?”

“You join up with me and my gang.”

“And why’d I want to do that?” replied Will.

“’Cause I’ll make you rich and famous.”  

“Being rich don’t matter none to me and famous is for damn fools lookin’ to git their necks stretched.  Me and the boys are doin’ just fine on our own.”

“Will, I…” began Carl, but Will continued.  “Why would I sign up to ride with someone who’d risk his neck over an old hat and some boots?  Seems to me you ain’t as smart as you think you are, boy.  I could’ve killed you easy twice over for followin’ me.  But I didn’t.  I took the money you cheated me out of and I took a few other things to teach you a lesson, but I didn’t kill you.”

“I don’t cheat.”

“Mister, no one’s that good at poker.”

“He is,” said the Kid.

“So maybe you didn’t cheat us outright, but how come you pretended to be a greenhorn?”  Will sat back and looked Heyes up and down.  “Hmm, could be you was worried ‘bout someone recognizin’ you.  Maybe you’re already famous so you don’t need me.”

“I can always use someone with your brains,” said Heyes.

“No sir, you can’t use me; I ain’t robbin’ and killin’ for you and that’s final.”

“Will, I…”

“Shut up, Carl!”

“I don’t allow killing in my gang, that’s why you interest me.”

“Well, that’s surprisin’; an outlaw leader who don’t believe in killing.  Yep, you sure are one of a kind.  Course, one of your own men will probably kill you for fun before you can make me rich.  Maybe even this fella.” Will nodded at the Kid.

“Could happen,” shrugged Curry.  

“I’m offering you a job, Will.  Do you want it or not?” said an exasperated Heyes.

“Not.”  

“Fine.  We’ll leave you here.”  

An hour later, Will slipped free from the bindings holding him tight to a skinny pine.  He untied Hal and pulled Carl’s gag before untying him.

“Do you know who that was??!!!” sputtered Carl .  

“Yep.”

“You do?”  

“Yep, ain’t too many rich and famous, poker-playin’ outlaws in this neck of the woods; leastways, not with a partner who can shoot like that.”  

“Why’d you talk to him like that?  Curry could’ve killed you,” said Hal.

Will smiled.  “Nope, that’s where you’re wrong.  Curry ain’t no killer and neither is Heyes.  Everyone knows that.”

“I think maybe we should have ridden with them.”

“Now, Carl, we had an agreement about that.  I do the thinkin’ in this gang.”

“Yeah, but they really could’ve made us rich and famous,” said Hal wistfully.

“And wanted for eight thousand dollars each,” said Will.  “Heyes can’t even play a hand of poker without worryin’ about bein’ recognized.  You want to live like that?  Then go ahead and ride after them.  Me, I’m happy bein’ me.  I got money in my pocket and food in my belly; why’d I want to go off and get famous?  It don’t look to me like it’s worth it.”

Once they’d given it some thought, Hal and Carl decided Will was right.  A simple life was a gift.

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

"You can only be young once. But you can always be immature." —Dave Barry
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PostSubject: Re: Oct 2014 - The Best Laid Plans   Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:55 pm

The Best Laid Plans – October 2014


Lom Trevors sat in a red leather chair in the dark paneled office in front of Governor Moonlight.

“I’m real pleased to hear how things are going in Porterville, Lom. Sounds like it’s prospering.” The governor leaned forward with his elbows on the top of the desk and his fingers laced together. “There are two churches now?”

Trevors nodded. “That’s right. A quiet town with an occasion drunk.”

“Sure is better than a few years back when that gang blew up the bank.”

“Definitely.” Lom agreed.

“Well, if there isn’t anything else…”

“Sir, about our mutual friends?”

The governor sat back. “Ah yes. What have they been up to lately?”

“Nothing, sir. Just trying to survive and go straight.”

“How many years has it been?”

“Three years, sir.”

The governor rested his head on the back of the chair. “How do you know where they are and what they’re doing?”

“They send me a telegram once in awhile asking about you and the status of their amnesty.” Lom shifted in his seat. “You have seen the reports of how they brought in murderers in Junction City, helped expose a crooked banker in Red Gap, and the other numerous stories of helping out folks.”

“Yes, I have. They really do seem to be sincere in their efforts to go straight.” The governor stood up and went to a buffet, pouring two shots of brandy. He handed one to Sheriff Trevors and sat back down. “Do you know where they are now?”

“My last telegram was from the Cripple Creek area.” Lom sipped the brandy. “Just a week ago.”

“The election is coming up soon. I can’t be making enemies with the railroads and banks now.” The governor finished the liquor in his glass. “After the elections I’ll consider amnesty for them.” Moonlight stood up. “Anything else, Lom?”

Lom stood and shook the governor’s hand. “No sir. Thank you for your time.”

Outside the door in the shadows stood a figure. “Amnesty for those two will ruin his career and mine,” he muttered under his breath. “I have to get rid of those two!”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Kid Curry tightened the cinch on his horse while Heyes tied his saddle bags and bedroll to the saddle.

“I’m gonna miss Cripple Creek.” The Kid patted his gelding’s rear. “Been nice restin’ up and sleepin’ in real beds. Not havin’ to eat over the fire.”

“And the poker wasn’t bad either,” Heyes added.

Curry secured his bags and bedroll. “Before we leave, I wanna get one more box of bullets.”

Heyes nodded. “You do that and I’ll check the telegraph office – see if there’s a message from Lom.”

Later, Curry came out of the mercantile whistling and carrying a small box. He headed towards the horses while looking around for his partner. He found him sitting on a bench outside the telegraph office staring at a paper and looking pale. The Kid hurried over and sat beside him. “Heyes,” he whispered. “What’s wrong?”

Heyes handed him the telegram.

The Kid read under his breath, “From Sheriff Lom Trevors, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Have papers. Meet me in Porterville.”

“We got it, Kid. We got amnesty!” Heyes came out of his shock.

“Wait a minute, Heyes,” Curry hissed. “It don’t say anything about amnesty in this telegram. It says papers. Lom probably wants us to deliver some papers.”

“No, Kid. Lom’s in Cheyenne. He’s seeing the governor.”

“So they’re papers the governor wants us to deliver.” Curry sighed. “That usually means trouble. We’ll probably get shot.”

Heyes scowled at his partner. “When did you become such a cynic?”

“Since we started goin’ for amnesty.” The Kid stood and offered a hand up to Heyes. “May as well go to Porterville and see about these papers.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Heyes and the Kid rode north near the Colorado and Wyoming border through a narrow valley.

“Saloon keepers, horse rancher, cow rancher, professional gambler…”

“Heyes, we don’t have amnesty yet.”

“I want to be prepared for when we do.” Heyes pondered a moment. “Or maybe we can get hired by banks to improve their security.”

“Heyes…”

A shot rang out and Heyes’ horse screamed as it went down.

“What the…” Kid Curry drew his gun and looked around as he settled his nervous mount.

“Where? Who?” Heyes asked as he scrambled up.

The Kid saw a glint of metal coming from a ridge. “Over there,” he pointed. “Come on!” He kicked his boots from the stirrups.

Heyes swiftly made his way to the Kid, put a boot in a stirrup and swung up as Curry encouraged his horse forward.

Another shot was heard whistling past them as they galloped out of the area.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“That was close!” Kid Curry stated as they left the Harriman’s livery. “We don’t even have those papers yet and we’re bein’ shot at.”

Heyes counted the money and pocketed it. “Just enough from the sale of your horse and saddle to get train tickets and a few nights in a hotel and some meals.”

“I liked that horse – hated to sell it.”

“Well, at least you have your belongings. I lost mine and my horse!”

The two men entered the train station and stopped in front a clerk behind a counter writing in a ledger. The man looked up. “May I help you?”

“When does the train going to Porterville leave?” Heyes asked.

The clerk looked at a train schedule. “Next one leaves tomorrow morning at 8:00.”

“We’ll buy two tickets.”

“That’ll be $10, sir.”

Heyes pulled out his money and peeled off two $5 bills. “Here you go.”

The man gave them two tickets. “Train leaves promptly at 8:00 so be here early.” He turned back to his ledger entering numbers.

“Guess we’re stayin’ here overnight. May as well check into the hotel now.” Curry grabbed his gear and followed Heyes out the door.

“Yeah, and then we can check out the saloon for a game and…”

The Kid grabbed his partner’s arm and quickly led him into an alley.

Heyes turned towards Curry. “Who?”

“Ain’t that Sheriff Brown over there?”

“Where?” Heyes asked as his cautiously glanced out into the street.

“Sitting by the saloon.”

“Yep. I wonder what he’s doing here. Last we saw him he was near Cheyenne.”

“And he knows what we look like.” Kid Curry leaned against the building. “I don’t like this Heyes. I don’t like it one bit.”

“We’ll just go to the hotel and stay in our room. We’ll be gone before he gets up.” Heyes led the way down the alley to the back of the buildings.

“Great – no drinks or food.”

“But we do get a soft bed.”

“I have a feelin’ we should sign in with different names than Smith and Jones.” The Kid peeked between buildings and motioned Heyes to follow.

“Not a bad idea, Kid.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The next morning the two former outlaws warily left the hotel, making sure Sheriff Brown wasn’t in sight and opting for the alleys over the main streets. They made their way to the station with just enough time to board the leaving train. They made their way to two seats and gave the conductor their tickets. The Kid put his hat down over his face while Heyes opened a newspaper when the train jerked to a start.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

At the next town, the paper rustled. “I can’t believe it,” Heyes hissed.

“What?” Curry mumbled.

“Marshal Duncan is boarding the train.”

Kid Curry quickly sat up. “He knows us,” he stated quietly.

“Yep.”

“Where is he?”

Heyes pointed behind them. “Just entered the back car.” Heyes grabbed his gear. “This became our stop, Thaddeus.”

The Kid followed his partner forward and out of the train. Glancing around and seeing no one, they jumped off away from the station and hurried behind a building.

“Heyes, Lom wouldn’t have us come to Porterville so they could arrest us, would he?”

“Why wouldn’t he just have the sheriff in Cripple Creek arrest us?” Heyes shook his head. “No, I can’t believe Lom would do that.”

“Sure seems like it, though.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Two tickets to Porterville, please.” Heyes smiled at the stagecoach clerk.

“Shoot, you just missed the train. Would have gotten there fast,” the man behind the counter stated as he prepared the tickets. “That’ll be $3 each.”

Heyes paid the clerk and pocketed the tickets as he walked out the door, heading towards his partner sitting on a bench inconspicuously watching the town. He joined him and asked, “Anyone we know?”

“Nope.”

Heyes sighed with relief. “Good. How about a meal and a drink.”

“Sounds like a good Heyes plan to me.”

They appeared to walk casually to the café, but both men were scanning the townsfolk for any recognition. They walked in and sat in a back corner near the kitchen with their backs to the wall. They ordered the special and quickly ate the meal.

“We should be in Porterville tomorrow night,” Heyes stated as he sipped his coffee.

“Good. Then we can find out what’s goin’ on.” The Kid took a bite of pie. “It’s more than a coincidence that we’ve been shot at and seen two lawmen who know us.”

“I’m starting to agree with you, Thaddeus.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The stagecoach bounced along the rough trail with only two passengers. A large rut caused the Kid to fall forward on his partner. “Sorry,” he said as he sat back down on his seat. “I can’t believe how bumpy this ride is.”

“WHOA…”

The stage quickly came to a stop making Curry fall forward again. “What the…”

Heyes glanced out the window. “Appears someone is holding us up.”

“You gotta be jokin’.”

“Nope.”

“What do you want?” the driver yelled out to the man with a gun blocking the road.

“Just a look at your passengers,” a voice answered back. “Lookin’ for two men.”

Heyes and Kid Curry both raised their brows. Curry checked his gun. “How do you wanna handle this, Heyes?”

“You, in the stagecoach, come out with your hands up!” the voice demanded.

“Well, he didn’t say throw your guns out so maybe we have a chance IF we’re the ones he’s looking for.” Heyes reached for the door latch.

“IF we’re the ones. You know darn well we are!” The Kid holstered his gun, but left the catch undone in case he needed it again soon.

Heyes crawled out of the stage followed by Curry, their hands up as they squinted in the bright sunlight at a man on a horse holding a gun on them.

“What the meaning of this?” Heyes innocently asked.

“Well I’ll be, it IS Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry!”

“Who?” the Kid asked. “I’m Thaddeus Jones and he’s Joshua Smith.”

Heyes ribbed Curry. “Hey, someone else is mistaking us for them two outlaws again.” He faced the driver and then the gunman. “We really must look like them because this mistake has happened before.”

“No, you are Heyes and Curry or my name ain’t Joe Jackson.” The man waved his gun between the two passengers. “I’m sure you’ve heard of me. Known to bring in a few outlaws. Now toss your guns over hear and lay down in the dirt. Driver, help me tie ‘em up.”

The Kid and Heyes glanced at one another and made to drop their weapons when Curry cried out, “Right.”

Both men ducked to the right and rolled under the stagecoach as Joe Jackson aimed to his right and missed them.

“Dang!” the bounty hunter exclaimed as he looked for his prey.

Heyes and Curry quickly stood and the Kid took a stance behind a wheel while Heyes ran to a rock cropping. Jackson started shooting, but the Kid fired back forcing the bounty hunter to search for cover. Once Heyes reached safety, he began shooting too so his partner could join him.

The stagecoach driver quickly slapped the reins of his team, encouraging them to hurry out of the line of fire.

Jackson lost his cover when the coach left. He dropped his gun and held up his hands. “I give up! I give up!”

The former outlaws cautiously stepped away from the rock, their guns aimed for Jackson.

“Are you gonna kill me?”

“Nah,” Heyes replied. “Who sent you? Who told you that Heyes and Curry might be on the stage?”

“A man in Cheyenne hired me. Gave me a tip and said I could have the whole reward for capturin’ them.”

“What man?” Curry asked as he checked him for other weapons.

“I don’t know. He never said his name.” Jackson looked between his two captors. “What are you gonna do with me?”

“Well, I guess we’ll just detain you for awhile so we can borrow your horse. Don’t worry, we aren’t no horse thieves. You’ll find him up the road some.” Heyes looked through the man’s saddle bags and pulled out some leather bindings.

Heyes and Curry tied the bounty hunter to a tree and rode double on his horse for six miles when they hobbled it and walked on foot through a woods.

“Now do you believe that those papers aren’t our amnesty?” the Kid asked.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Heyes and Kid Curry limped into Porterville close to midnight. Heyes glanced in the sheriff’s office window and nodded. They drew their guns, went to the back door, and forced their way inside.

“What the…” Lom Trevors shouted. When he realized who it was, he relaxed. “Why didn’t you come in the front door like you normally do?”

“Where’s the papers, Lom?” Heyes ordered.

“Papers? What papers? Why are you aiming your guns at me?”

“The papers… You told us to come to Porterville.”

“I did not!” Trevors informed them. “And I don’t know anything about papers.”

Heyes pulled out the telegram and slapped it on the desk.

The sheriff took the paper and read it. “I was in Cheyenne on that date, but I didn’t send you a telegram.”

“What were you doing in Cheyenne?” Heyes put his gun away, knowing Curry would not.

“Seeing the governor, of course,” snorted Trevors. “Even asked about your amnesty. What’s this all about?”

“We were leaving Cripple Creek and checked the telegraph office once more. Got this telegram and headed this way. We’ve been ambushed, had to escape from a marshal and a sheriff that knew us, and get away from Joe Jackson.”

“Joe Jackson? The bounty hunter?”

“Yep, and all while we were coming to Porterville as you asked.”

“But I didn’t tell you to come here,” Lom insisted.

“Who else knew where we were and about the amnesty, knowing we’d come?” Heyes questioned.

“I don’t know… the governor.”

“Well, maybe we oughta go have some words with the governor.” Curry holstered his gun.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Lom Trevors and unarmed Heyes and Curry knocked on the mansion door. It was opened by a manservant.

“Sheriff Lom Trevors to see Governor Moonlight.”

“He’s been expecting you. Please follow me.”

They followed him into a den. “The Governor will be with you shortly.”

A few minutes later, the door opened. “So this is Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.” The governor looked them up and down.

“He’s Heyes; I’m Curry,” the Kid corrected him.

Trevors glared. “Yes, sir, as you requested.”

The governor sat down behind a dark walnut desk. “So someone heard us talking about them during our meeting and tried to get them captured or killed?”

“Yes, sir,” Heyes answered. “We received a telegram from Sheriff Trevors in Cheyenne and told to come to Porterville and get papers. We assumed wrongly that it was our amnesty papers.”

“Heyes thought they were amnesty papers. I thought we had another delivery job to do,” the Kid corrected the story.

Heyes continued. “It seemed like all paths to Porterville were being watched. We were shot at in a valley, had to hide from a sheriff and marshal that know us, and escape from a bounty hunter. He told us a man from Cheyenne tipped him about us coming to Porterville and told him to watch the stage route into the city.”

“Well, I can assure you that I had nothing to do with this, gentlemen!” the governor exclaimed.

“Well, someone knew where we were and about Lom.”

“Obviously. But who?” The governor stood and paced around the room. A few moments later he snapped his fingers. “I bet it was my secretary!”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The next morning Trevors and the governor were meeting in his office when a knock was heard.

“Come in, Stanley.”

A mousy man entered the room. “You wanted to see… Why Sheriff Trevors, what are you doing back so soon?”

“Stanley, did you send out a telegram to Cripple Creek in the sheriff’s name?”

The secretary’s face paled. “No,” he stuttered.

“Not only did you impersonated the sheriff, but you let it be known that two certain men would be on their way to Porterville.”

“But… It was for your own good, Governor Moonlight! Those two outlaws are going to be the downfall of your political aspirations.”

“That’s my concern and not yours!”

“But it is mine, too, sir, as you move up, so do I in status.”

“No longer – you’re fired!” the governor barked.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Heyes and Kid Curry rode down a trail back towards Colorado.

“All of his best laid plans failed.” Heyes shook his head in disbelieve. “I can’t believe we didn’t get killed or captured.”

“Obviously they weren’t Hannibal Heyes plans and he didn’t realize how we watch each other’s back,” the Kid replied.

“True, Kid. Very true.”

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PostSubject: Re: Oct 2014 - The Best Laid Plans   Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:08 pm

Best Laid Plans

"What are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doin'?" Kid Curry answered with a snarl.  He sat at the kitchen table in the leaders' cabin at Devil's Hole with his gun laid out before him, a box of bullets within easy reach.

"We-eeell..."  Hannibal Heyes drew the word out slowly while he closed the door behind him. He tossed his hat haphazardly toward a peg on the wall and missed.  "It LOOKS like you're loading your gun.  You're not planning on using it, are you?"

"You better believe I plan on usin' it!" the Kid replied, his anger causing the words to come out as more of a growl than a statement.  He stood and twirled his Colt expertly into its holster.  "I'm gonna kill 'im," he said, flatly.

Heyes stepped in front of his partner, blocking his path.  "Whatever the problem is, Kid, I'm sure we can take care of it."

"Oh, I'm gonna take care of it, alright.  I'm gonna kill the little son of a..."

"Whoa there!"  Heyes placed both hands on Curry's shoulders.  "There'll be no killing here at the Hole.  That's a rule we've lived by since the day you and I teamed up and we're NOT," he emphasized his point with a poke to the chest of his irate partner, "going to start now!"

"Get out of my way, Heyes," the Kid insisted, stone-faced.

"No."  Heyes stood his ground.  "You need to calm down and tell me what's got you so riled."

Curry shoved Heyes' poking finger away from his chest.  "I'll tell you what's got me so riled!" he yelled.  "All that money, wasted!"

Heyes pulled out a chair and gestured for Curry to sit.  "You're going to need to do better than that, Kid.  I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Just take a look for yourself."  The Kid ignored the chair and instead led his partner up a ladder, into the loft.  Dejectedly, he waved his hand.  "All that money, layin' in supplies for the winter, all that time we spent, plannin', and savin', and haulin'.  And for what?"

Heyes looked around the loft.  Sacks of flour lay torn, with their contents spilling onto the wooden floor, grain seemed to be scattered everywhere.  "It's a mess," he declared.

Curry grabbed Heyes' arm.  "Shhh!"  Lifting his Colt, he took aim at a dark corner of the loft.  "C'mon out of there!" he demanded.  

Although Heyes strained his eyes, following the barrel of Curry's weapon, he didn't see anyone.  

"I got you now you little...." Curry prepared to squeeze the trigger.

"Wait!" yelled Heyes.

A skittering noise was heard coming from the corner and then silence.

"You spoiled my shot."  Curry glared.

"You were going to shoot a mouse?"  Heyes rolled his eyes.

"What, you think I'm not fast enough?"  Curry moved toward the ladder and descended.  

"Oh, I have no doubt your fast enough."  Heyes followed his friend down the ladder.  "Accurate enough too.  But it's just a mouse, Kid, doing exactly what we're doing--laying in supplies for the winter."

"You're takin' this awful easy, Heyes.  You do know we're gonna have to replace everything that critter's eaten, not to mention makin' sure he's got no friends and relatives takin' up residence."

"All part of the planning that goes along with being a leader here at The Hole."

Curry sighed and crossed the room to where Heyes' hat lay.  

When Curry laughed, Heyes turned toward him with a questioning look.

"Did you say hole?" the Kid asked, picking up his partner's hat from the floor.  "We-eeell," he drew the word out, mimicking his partner, and poked his finger through a hole on the hat's crown.

Heyes' eyes grew wide, and then his laughter joined Curry's.

egcat  

Acknowledgements to Robert Burns and John Steinbeck.

With very special thanks to Lana Coombe and Ghislaine Emrys. ;)

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Kid4ever

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PostSubject: Re: Oct 2014 - The Best Laid Plans   Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:59 pm

THE BEST LAID PLANS

“Revenge is a Dish Best Served With A Little Bit of Curry”  hatgun



carving
In honor of  redbat  Halloween,  blackcat  I've included this little “treat” as a last-minute submission. After reading through October's contributions on Wednesday, this  bunnysuit  bunny hopped into my thoughts and refused to leave until I acquiesced to do his bidding.

Of course, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, my bunny wasn't a normal, cute, fluffy, nose-wrigglin', carrot-eatin' cotton-tailed rabbit. Nope, MY bunny was more like the ones in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” *

There is a link at the end of this story about these unusual rabbits. Well, the “Rabbit of Caerbannog” shoved my muse out of the way and proceeded to dictate the following story to me since his paws were a tad too large for the keyboard.

As far as story content, it follows right after Maz's contribution. Keeping in mind that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Maz...read and enjoy!

Disclaimer: Because it IS Halloween, this was done tongue-in-cheek, purely for fun, no recriminations intended or implied, nor were any characters, actors, or persons - actual or fictional - harmed in any way.   tombstone  Yet.  scaredtodeath  


*****

Maz's story concludes with:

Muhaha!

And so, that is where this story begins
.



*****

“Muhaha!” The words rang over and over in Maz's head until she was nearly mad with the desperate need to rid herself of their repetitive cadence. Clutched tight in her fist was a crumpled sheet of paper damp with sweat. In the sorry condition it was in, one could only guess at what was written on it, if anything. Poor Maz, she was not slumbering peacefully, but moaned and whimpered, tossing and turning fitfully in her bed as if she could escape from some unspeakable terror. Her blankets and pillows had long ago made their escape to the floor one way or another. “I had to do it,” she mumbled, “it was the only way...”

*****
hauntedhouse

It was nearing the bewitching hour, midnight on October 31st, also known as “All Hollow's Evening.” It was a time for things that go bump in the night to be out and about as well as the night for other strange goings-on to happen.

The autumn wind, which had been quite brisk and bone-chilling at dusk, had kicked up even more and was now howling fiercely as it wended its way through the trees, weaving a path as it pressed onward to destinations unknown. In its wake it left behind desolation and scattered debris as a grim reminder; a final testament to its presence.

Branches that resembled giant finger-like projections were whipping madly back and forth through the air as their leaves, which were clinging on for dear life, were stripped from them and scattered every which way. There was an occasional whirlwind of flurry, as if the leaves had a mind of their own and banded together in a united effort to escape their captor.

Off in the distance, a pack of timber wolves  wolf  wolf  wolf  wolf  howled, and a hoot owl in a nearby tree called out at intervals, lending even more eeriness to the ambiance of the night.

A voice called out into the night, “Oh, Maaaaaazzzzz...”

The solitary silhouette of a woman was barely discernible. Her figure hidden among the shadows, she leaned against a large tree for protection from the unruly elements and turned her face to look up into the sky at the full Harvest moon that shone overhead. She smiled before she pulled her hooded cloak a bit closer as she stepped out from her hiding place.

She hummed softly to herself for a few moments as she walked along the well-worn path until she reached the end of the clearing. After a cursory glance at the stone wall which surrounded the house, she called out in a sing-song voice,

  

“An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you
Don't    spider
Watch
Out!” **  ghoulish

The woman stayed there watching and waiting as once more the moon went behind a thick covering of clouds. Soon, she consoled herself, it won't be long now...

*****

Once upon a midnight dreary, while Maz pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten ASJ lore -  study
While she nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at her chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," Maz muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more." ***

Mere seconds after uttering the last word, a thoroughly exhausted Maz succumbed to the persistent prodding of Morpheus and lay in his arms at last for some much needed slumber.  Sleep

*****
You just go right on thinking it's 'nothing more' honey. Once you relax and let down your guard, why, I'll be right there waitin' for you. I have all the time in the world and the patience to wait you out. I've waited this long, what's a little bit longer? The woman turned away and began to walk back towards the trees. As the light from the moon shone into her face it illuminated the fanatical gleam that set the woman's eyes aglow. As she walked along, she absently rubbed at the rope-burns around her chaffed wrists and winced.

An identical pair of marks were around each of her ankles as well. It had taken her a real long time to get loose from the knots Maz had tied in those ropes. Another little parting gift from Maz, she sniffed and her thoughts went back to that horrible day. The scars were reminders of a promise she had made to herself to fulfill once she was free. A promise of revenge.

No one else knew anything was wrong. Nobody – not one single member of the whole entire cast or crew of the show. It was like nothing had happened. In fact, she pouted, no one had even missed me at all! It stung her pride a bit to think that Jones hadn't questioned where she was and so she had decided that she wanted to take matters into her own hands and take care of Maz herself. It's only fair, she reasoned, Maz needs to develop a sense of false security, to believe she got away with it all and that she's safe. That was the real reason why she had never reported the incident to the authorities.

Her thoughts continued to keep her company as she meandered along the pathway. Maz thinks she did a pretty fine job of eliminating the competition, huh? The unmitigated gall - she was bold and brazen enough to boast about it! Why, she even put everything down in writing, thinking all her i's were dotted and her t's were crossed. Just wait'll she finds out how wrong she is and then, Jones...you're all mine! A thoughtful expression appeared on Helen's face and she paused in her thinking to sort things out before she reached her destination.

Well, I'll have to admit she may have put a lot of time and effort into it, but Maz forgot one itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny thing and that could cost her dearly. She may have checked her list once, maybe even twice, and she probably crossed the names off once she had finished with them, but to my way of thinking, once she crossed my name off the list she was done with me, so she doesn't have any idea what kind of threat I am. Good.

Miss Porter, Sara Blaine and Annabelle may have all been made to look like the victims of unfortunate 'accidents', but I know better. And as for poor, poor Rachel, well,some women are never satisfied...she should have been content and stuck with the 4th vacuum.

And how convenient for a rattlesnake to sink its sharp, poisonous, little fangs into Grace; that was the end of her. Then, there was the alligator. That may have been pushing the envelope just a tad too much. Imagine my surprise when the alligator make an appetizer out of Margaret for lunch! I had to shake my head at that one! Maz has proven that she can be cunning, devious and extremely creative when it comes to that Jones fella and matters of the heart.

Not quite finished with her reign of terror, Maz had then engaged in more plotting and scheming until she found equally diabolical ways to dispose of Michelle and Alice, poor unfortunate souls. That brought the body count up to lucky number 8 and that makes her a serial killer. She completely ignored little ol' me once she tied me up and left me in that dressing room, didn't she? Guess Maz didn't think I posed much of a threat. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose.

I imagine she thought I wouldn't be too concerned with her plans to ensure that Jones would belong to her and her alone. Well, two can play at that game, missy. I've had plenty of time to think things over since I escaped from those ropes and I don't see why Maz should have all the fun.
Helen ran a delicate, pink tongue around her lips. I've already sampled the wares and Mister blue eyes is a mighty tempting morsel; yep, a mighty tempting morsel indeed!

The woman's walk took her past the graveyard just as the clouds parted to unveil the luminosity of the full moon. She began to hum softly and continued until she reached the entrance gates. The swirling fog was beginning to creep in and gave the headstones an ethereal appearance. A faraway expression on her face, Helen grasped the wrought-iron bars of the gate in her hands and swayed from side to side as she sang softly,

minz

"Do you ever think when a hearse goes by
that you may be the next to die?
They wrap you up in a big white sheet
from your head down to your feet.

They put you in a big black box  minz
and cover you up with dirt and rocks
All goes well for about a week
Then your coffin begins to leak!

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out
The worms play pinochle on your snout  blackjack
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose
They eat the jelly between your toes  desert

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out...
Be merry...Maz...be merry!” ****


As the final words of the poem died out, Helen turned away. Pushing open the gate, she entered the graveyard and walked into the swirling mist. She fired a final parting shot as the dense white fog enveloped her form and swallowed her up until she disappeared from sight, “Don't worry, Maz, you won't know when and you won't know where, but we'll meet again real soon; don't lose any sleep on it.” There was a brief silence. “Muhahahaha...”



*****

* The Rabbit of Caerbannog, from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” guards the Cave of Caerbannog, home to “The Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrggghhh.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_of_Caerbannog  
For those unfamiliar with these killer rabbits, a short video clip can be viewed at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcxKIJTb3Hg

** Borrowed from the poem, “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Orphant_Annie
(An interesting fact on the Wiki page is that there is a 1912 reading recorded by J.W. Riley as well as a current one done in 2010. The 1912 version is a bit hard to understand, but you get to hear the author recite his poem).

*** Paraphrased & Borrowed from the poem, “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe  http://www.houseofusher.net/raven.html

**** Paraphrased & Borrowed from “The Hearse” A Halloween Poem/Song:
http://brillig.bandcamp.com/track/the-hearse-song
Video: http://www.youtube.com/brilligaustralia

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writing "My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel -- it is, before all, to make you see..." ~~ Joseph Conrad ~~ study


Last edited by Kid4ever on Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Oct 2014 - The Best Laid Plans   Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:10 am

Layover

The best laid plans of mice and men
Often go awry
And leave us nothing but grief and pain
Instead of promised joy!

--Robert Burns, from "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough," 1785 (modern English translation)

Jed "Kid" Curry pulled his thick sheepskin coat close around him as he leaned in to the just-started campfire.  He looked up as his partner, Hannibal Heyes, approached with a large tree branch.  Breaking it in several pieces over his knee, he bent to place the smaller sections on the fire.  Embers sputtered upward, but only a few inches.

Curry coughed.

"How you feeling?"

"I'll live."

Heyes raised a brow.  "No different then.  You've been saying that all day."

"Have I?"

"Yep."  

Kid shrugged.  He breathed hard, wrapped his arms around himself.  "At least it was warm then."

"Sorry, Kid.  This wasn't part of the plan, not like I laid it out, anyway."

"I'm not blamin' you, Heyes."  Curry cleared his throat, yawned.

"You oughta get some sleep."

"Too cold to sleep on the ground.  It'll go right up through the bedrolls."  He coughed.

Heyes of a sudden also wrapped his arms around himself against a chill.  "Wind's picking up.  That's not good."

Kid coughed again.  "Nope."

"We have to get to shelter."

Curry scanned the distant late afternoon horizon through the trees.  He squinted as the rays of a molten red sun an hour from setting caught his eyes.  "Clear as a bell.  It'll be freezin' by mornin'."  He coughed again, shivered.

"Yep, too early in the season to be this cold."  Heyes regarded his partner.  "That cough seems worse when you talk, Kid.  Best to stay quiet."

Curry frowned.  "Don't tell me what to do, Heyes!"  He seemed surprised at the rasp in his voice, and coughed.

"You don't need to get proddy.  But I'll excuse it this time because you're sick."

"You'll excuse it just like I do yours, for any reason!"  Another coughing fit followed.  Kid sighed.

Heyes reached a hand to his partner's forehead.  Curry did not shy away.  "You're warm."  The dark-haired man wore his concern on his sleeve.

"Warm?  I'm cold."  Kid lowered his voice, attempting to speak under the raspiness, but failed.  The cough, now a hack, continued unabated for several seconds.  

Heyes reached for a small branch and laid it on the fire.  "We'll have to keep going 'til we find shelter.  You can't stay out in the open.  Should be warmer just riding."

"Okay."  Curry started to rise, only to be pushed down by Heyes.  Again, he did not resist.

"Try to get warm.  So much for stopping for the night, but we can rest a few minutes at least."

"'Kay."

Heyes reached for another branch, disturbing a field mouse, who skittered across the open space.  Stopping, it eyed the men.  They stared back.  For a moment, mouse and men were simpatico.  Finally, the rodent disappeared.

The partners' eyes met momentarily.  A mellifluous stream played upon their senses.  

"Better fill those canteens before the creek ices over."  Heyes grabbed the four vessels and turned.

"Heyes."

"Huh?"

Curry nodded toward the opposite direction.  The mouse stood on its hind legs, its head at an angle.  

The dark-haired man smiled.  "Probably wants something to eat."

"We must've disturbed his stores."  Kid hacked; looked at Heyes and sighed.  "Guess I don't feel so good."

"You don't have to convince me.  That fire's building up a little.  Try to get warm and we'll get going soon as I fill these."

Curry leaned in closer to the flames.  They reminded him of the scarlet sun inching ever downward.  It would be a pretty sunset.  He appreciated and respected all that nature offered in its infinite variety, both beautiful and fearsome, but how he wished for the warmer weather of the early afternoon.  They had not climbed too high.  If this was the beginning of a front they could not yet see, shelter was imperative, and they needed to vamoose.

His reverie faded as the mouse vied for his attention.  Now at his feet, it sniffed at his boot.  Both braced at a stronger gust, and the mouse shivered.  For the first time since stopping, Curry smiled.  "Too early even for you to grow your coat, huh?"  He reached out carefully to the rodent, which diverted its attention to his open hand.  Alas, it was empty.  

The creature squeaked at the man, twitching its nose.  "You're a cute fella."  Kid coughed.  The mouse inched closer, rubbing its head on his leg.  Curry slowly reached for it.  The rodent paused, watching his hand, which stopped mid-hover.  Finally, the animal jumped onto Kid's thigh, then into his lowered hand.  Moving carefully, Curry deposited the mouse into his jacket pocket.  Appearing content, the animal yawned and nestled in.

"You got a friend?"

"Suppose so."  Curry loudly cleared his throat.

"Any warmer?"

"A little."  He started to rise.  "Better get goin', though."

Heyes fastened the canteens to their saddles.  "The good news is we won't have to go far."

"Huh?"

"Hitch in the plan but it works out anyway.  There's a cave right by the creek.  It's small but good shelter."  He smiled.  "Maybe not as snug as your pocket, but it'll do until you're over that cold and it warms up."

"Sounds good, Heyes."  A squeak came from Curry's coat.

Heyes chuckled as he grabbed his partner's shoulder and the horses' reins and led the way down the trail.

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