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 May 15 - New (to the) Job

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Calico

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Age : 52
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PostSubject: May 15 - New (to the) Job   Fri May 01, 2015 12:19 am

Hello one, hello all.

A little background.
A month ago I handed in my notice - (No! They didn't cheer! Who said that?) and today is my very last day at my old job.

On Tuesday I start a brand new job. hellowave

(On Wednesday they find out the depths of my ignorance - but, hey - too late then, huh? Snirt.)

So, this month I would like you to cogitate and consider the topic of:


New (to the) Job

Yeah, I think that can work.

Begin the mulling.

samovar samovar samovar






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Alias Alice



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PostSubject: Re: May 15 - New (to the) Job   Mon May 04, 2015 12:26 pm


Good luck in the new job tomorrow, Calico!

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Alias Alice



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PostSubject: Re: May 15 - New (to the) Job   Fri May 08, 2015 9:24 am

As night fell, the mournful dying fall of a coyote's howl was heard from a nearby hill. Jed gazed into the glowing heart of the camp-fire and thought that Heyes, his seventeen-year old cousin, seemed very quiet. He'd hardly said a word as they cooked and ate their supper over the fire. He'd been quiet ever since he'd returned from Mayfield, the small town where he'd spent the day. It was very unusual for the talkative Heyes to be so silent. And when he had said anything at all, it was in an abrupt, almost angry way, also very untypical. He seemed to have something on his mind.

“So you think we should be all right for those railroad jobs, then, Heyes? Jed asked, trying to tempt Heyes into a bit of talk. Heyes had already said that the two jobs on the construction of the railroad through Mayfield were more or less theirs for the asking. The railway company was desperate for workers, any workers.

“What? Oh, those jobs? Oh, yeah, they're ours all right. No problem there.”

He hurled the small stick from which he had been obsessively stripping the bark into the fire with unnecessary force. “We can have them. Don't go on about it.”

“ What's the matter? You've seemed very quiet tonight,” said Jed.

“Nothing's the matter.”

“Yes, there is. What's wrong? You've hardly said anything for hours.”

“So what? I don't have to keep talking all the time, do I? He turned his back on Jed to put out his bed-roll.

He sounded sharp and angry. Quick-tempered himself, Jed felt like snapping back. But with an effort he choked back the hasty reply that rose to his lips and said:

“I'm sure there's something wrong. Why don't you tell me what it is? Maybe I could help.”

“You help?” Heyes looked down at the ground. “Thanks, but you can't.”

“Why not? I'll do anything I can think of to help, if you'll only let me know what's wrong.”

“There's nothing you can do,” said Heyes.

Jed continued to gaze at him.

“Nothing at all,” repeated his cousin.

“Tell me,” said Jed.

“Well,” said Heyes, after a moment. “There really is nothing you can do. You are the problem.”

“Me?”

“Yeah, you.”

“How?”

“Doesn't matter. Forget about it. I wish I'd never said. There isn't anything either of us can do about it anyway.”

“Don't keep saying that. How am I the problem? You've got to tell me. You can't just leave it up in the air like that. How am I a problem?”

Heyes did not raise his eyes from the ground. Eventually he said slowly: “While I was in Mayfield, I got talking to this journalist from San Francisco. He'd come to cover the trial of the bank robber they caught in Mayfield. I was reading a Mark Twain book, and we got talking about it, and other things, for practically the whole day, on and off. And he said that San Francisco is booming, and newspapers are starting up all the time and that someone like me could probably get a job on one of them. He said he'd put in a good word for me with his own editor if I liked. He even offered to loan me the fare for a one-way ticket out there. He said I could pay him back when my salary started to come in.”

“Well, that's great, Heyes! Absolutely great! I'm sure that would suit you down to the ground!”

“It would,” said Heyes quietly. “It's exactly what I'd like to try.”

“Well, there you are. Do it! What's to stop you?”

Heyes looked at him. “You.”

“Me? Why? I'd love to have you doing something you really wanted to.”

“He said he'd pay for one railway ticket. One.” He continued to look steadily at Jed. “What about you?”

Jed's stomach seemed to turn right over. For some reason he hadn't thought of that.

“Oh,” he said.

There was a silence. Then Jed said, “Doesn't matter. Just go. You must go. You can't miss this opportunity.”

“And leave you alone? I can't.”

“You can. I'm fifteen!”

Heyes smiled. “Only just. You'd never manage by yourself.”

“Yes, I would! You had to manage when you were fifteen. And you provided for me at the same time.”

“That was different. I had to. ”

Jed's heart was banging painfully at the thought of his cousin leaving him, of being alone. He also wasn't really sure that he could manage on his own. But he couldn't bear the thought of blocking Heyes from what he really wanted to do.

“Go, Heyes. Go and see that newspaper man tomorrow and say you'll go with him. I'll be OK. I'll follow you out there some time when I've made a bit of money.”

Heyes smiled again, bitterly, and shook his head.

“I've got to babysit you. Like always.”

Jed was shaken by the depth of Heyes's disappointment. He hated the idea that he might be holding Heyes back, but he was very scared at the idea of being left alone. And he knew that if Heyes went, he would miss him more than he could possibly say.

Without speaking again, the boys turned in for the night, though both lay awake for some time, looking up at the full moon overhead.

* * *

Heyes opened his eyes next morning to the same thoughts that had closed them the previous night. How much he'd like the San Francisco job, and how he couldn't possibly leave Jed to fend for himself. Stalemate.

Well, this wasn't getting him anywhere. He'd better get up. He pushed back his blanket and stood up. The first thing he noticed was that Jed's bed-roll wasn't there. Nor, as he noticed a moment later was Jed's horse. Nor was Jed. But by the head of Heyes's bed-roll where he couldn't miss it was a folded white sheet of paper, a note, weighted down by a stone. He picked it up and unfolded it.

“Dear Heyes,” he read. “You must try and get a newspaper job in San Francisco. I can't bear for you to miss this chance on my account. You've done enough for me already. I know you'd never leave me alone, so I'm the one that's leaving. Hope I see you around some time.

Can't thank you for all you've done. There aren't the words.

Good Luck.

Jedediah.”


Heyes stared at this missive. He read it and re-read it. He couldn't seem to take it in. Jed was gone. There was absolutely nothing to stop him now from going to San Francisco to look for a newspaper job, nothing at all.

He felt numb. Strangely, what he wanted most was to discuss this new situation with Jed. He almost found himself looking round for Jed to ask him what he thought. But he was alone.

He could go for the dream job. But wait – did he actually want it? Yesterday when it had seemed out of reach he'd thought that he did, very much. Now that it was a real possibility, he seemed to feel quite different. In truth, he did not feel like going for it. He didn't feel the rush of pleasure and delight that he expected. Quite the opposite, in fact. Would he really like to work closeted in an office all day? With a boss telling him what to do? From nine to six every day? In a city?

He was used to an open, independent, free-wheeling life where he made his own choices and decisions, even if things were difficult sometimes. He liked being totally self-reliant. He liked living on his wits. And - he liked having the best company in the world at his side. Jed was always there, ready to listen, to talk, to laugh, to advise, to understand, to tell him to shut up. Things were only ever fun with Jed around. The dream job would be a nightmare without him. Any excitements and challenges, thrills and successes it held would mean precisely nothing without Jed to share them.

Jed! Where was he? The camp was silent and empty. Heyes looked at the cold embers of the camp-fire. He could hear the wind ruffling the grass, the stream running over a bank of pebbles and his horse quietly and methodically cropping the turf.

He didn't want the job – wouldn't have it as a gift.

Heyes quickly caught and mounted his horse and turned it from their makeshift camp. Knowing his cousin so well, he knew exactly where he'd find him.


* * *

Heyes was right. He rode to the picking-up point for the coach that was due to arrive in Mayfield. There stood Jed, saddle-bag slung over his shoulder. Just as Heyes had known he would, he'd sold his horse to pay for a passage eastwards.

“Hey, Jed! Wait! Don't go!”

Jed glared at him as he dismounted. “I know what you're doing, Heyes. But you don't have to. We're headed in different directions. Go and find that newspaper man.”

“Jed, you don't get it. I don't want that job! I don't want any job if you're not going to be around too! He can keep the job – give it to someone else. I don't care!”

“You don't have to do this. I can take care of myself!”

“I know I don't have to do this! I want to do it! I know you can take care of yourself. Listen, some time we'll have enough money for the two of us to get to San Francisco. That's if we want to. But the new job I really want right now is the one on the rail-road, with you. Let's find the foreman and tell him we can start whenever he wants!”






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ty pender

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PostSubject: I spied a young cowboy...   Sat May 16, 2015 9:26 pm



lay the sod o'er me....I know I done wrong...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBoauEdekEg
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Maz

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PostSubject: Re: May 15 - New (to the) Job   Sat May 23, 2015 5:01 pm


New to the Job
By Maz McCoy


Inside the bank in the small town of Chapelville, in the absence of any customers, two female bank tellers, Emily Johnson and Louisa Burlington, both in their late thirties, were busy behind the counter filling in forms and bagging up bank notes. Behind them a gleaming new Pierce and Hamilton safe stood against the wall. As the ladies worked, the door opened and four dusty cowboys entered the bank. They exchanged furtive glances before the dark haired leader of the group approached the counter. The blond man moved to stand near the door, his hand resting casually on the butt of his gun, his eyes surveying the bank as he kept an eye on the street. The smallest and scruffiest man moved to stand near the empty bank manager’s desk and the last, another dark haired man, made sure to shadow the leader.
As the group’s leader reached the counter Emily Johnson looked up.
The man smiled, revealing two dimples.
Hannibal Heyes passed a crumpled piece of paper under the grill to the woman. She picked it up and read it.
“What is this?” she asked.
“It’s a note.” Heyes appeared slightly confused by her question.
“It’s not very well written.”
“Does that matter?” Heyes brow furrowed as he peered at the woman through the grill.
“Of course it matters,” Emily informed him. “Young man the use of correct English is an essential part of good communication.”
“Ma’am…”
She was not to be interrupted. “For a start the spelling is appalling.”
Wheat Carlson snorted in amusement and received a glare from Heyes.
“You don’t spell twenties with a ‘d’ that makes it twendies.”
“I didn’t spell it with a d,” Heyes informed her indignantly.
She scoffed. “That is definitely a d.” Emily placed the note back on the counter and pointed at the letter.
Wheat peered over Heyes’ shoulder. “Looks like a d to me,” he stated.
“It’s not a d.” Heyes took a second look to be sure.
“Well, then what’s that?” Emily inquired, pointing at the note.
“That’s a swirl,” Heyes explained.
“A swirl?” Female eyebrows rose.
“Yes, a swirl, you know a flourish.”
“Then it’s a totally unnecessarily flourish. And a confusing one at that.”
“Ma’am, with all due respect just read the note.” Heyes pointed at the crumpled piece of paper.
“And it’s all in capital letters. Don’t you know that’s considered rude? It’s as if you are shouting. Did you intend to shout?”
A cough from over by the door drew Heyes attention and he turned to look at Kid Curry.
“What’s goin’ on?” the blond man enquired.
“It’s taking some time,” Heyes explained through gritted teeth.
“Well, get on with it.”
“Trust me, I’m trying.” Heyes returned his attention to Emily Johnson. “Ma’am can we just get on with this? Please?”
“All right, young man, but please take some advice. Don’t use capital letters for the entire word. They should only be used at the beginning of the word. And avoid flourishes. You also need to add a comma here…” She picked up a pencil and added one. “Oh and it really shows sloppy penmanship not to add a full stop at the end of your sentence.” Emily helpfully added one to the note. “There, much better.” She held it out and read. “Put all your tens comma twenties and hundreds in the bag. Much better.” She smiled and passed the note back to Heyes.
He promptly passed it back. “It’s for you.”
“Oh, of course.”
Curious as to what was transpiring at the counter Louisa Burlington approached. “Emily, is something wrong?”
“I was just talking to this young man about a note he passed to me.”
“Oh?”
“Look at this.” Emily handed her friend the note.
The other woman put on her reading glasses and read it. She looked up at Heyes who smiled with false patience.
“Did you write this?” Louisa asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” Heyes acknowledged.
“It’s all in capitals.”
“Your colleague has already pointed that out to me and I promise I’ll write it differently next time, but if we could just get on with..?”
“Hmm.” Louisa looked back at the note. “So this is a robbery?”
“It’s trying to be, ma’am, yes.” Heyes was doing his best to keep calm.
“Where’s the bag?” Louisa asked.
“What?” Heyes brow furrowed.
“It says to put all our tens, twenties and hundreds in the bag. I assume you have a bag?”
Wheat looked at Heyes. Heyes looked at the counter. He let out a sigh then faced Louisa once more. “No, ma’am we don’t have a bag. I was hoping you might have one?”
“That makes the note pointless, doesn’t it?” Emily asked.
“Can you just find a bag and put all the money in it?” Heyes asked exasperated.
“And what if we don’t cooperate?” Louisa asked.
“What?” Heyes looked at Kid, then back at Louisa.
“I said what if we refuse to cooperate?”
Wheat Carlson came into view and pressed his face close to the grill. “You refusin’ to hand over the cash, ma’am?”
“I most certainly am.”
Aware that something was not going to plan, Kid Curry walked over to the counter. “What’s goin’ on, Heyes?”
“She won’t hand over the money.”
Kid looked at the women behind the counter. “That true, ma’am?”
“It most certainly is,” Emily assured him.
“You do realise this is a bank robbery?” Kid queried.
“Of course we do. We have the note to prove it.” She waved the piece of paper.
“And did my partner explain what would happen if you didn’t hand over the money?”
“I hadn’t gotten to that part yet,” Heyes informed him.
“Why not?” Kid looked at his partner.
Heyes met his friends gaze. “We’ve been a bit busy.”
“Well tell her. Go on.”
Heyes leaned in close to the grill. “Ma’am we’re bank robbers and…”
“What’s your name?” Louisa asked. Heyes looked confused. “What is the name of your gang?”
“The Devil’s Hole Gang.”
Louisa and Emily exchanged a look. “Never heard of you,” Emily informed him.
Heyes bristled. “You’ve never heard of the Devil’s Hole Gang?”
“No. Are you new at this? Is this your first robbery?”
“No! We’re famous,” Heyes assured her.
“Not around here.” Emily looked at her friend. The other woman shook her head in agreement.
“We robbed the bank in Frankling last month,” Kid informed her.
“I didn’t hear about it,” Emily told him.
“What about the train to Medicine Hat?” Wheat asked.
“What about it?” Louisa queried.
“It was robbed! By us!” Carlson told her.
Kyle Murtry wandered over. “What’s going on, Wheat?”
“These women say they never heard of us.”
“They ain’t?”
Now Kyle’s face appeared in the grill between Heyes’ and Wheat’s. “We’re the Devil’s Hole Gang!” he informed them.
“So your friends told us.” Louisa placed her hands on the counter and looked at Heyes. “We are not going to hand over any cash, so what are you going to do now?”
Heyes looked at the ladies, then turned to speak to Kid but came face to face with Wheat.
“Yeah, Heyes, what you gonna do now?”
Heyes moved around him and spoke to Kid. “What are we gonna do now?”
“I don’t know. If this was a normal robbery we’d…”He looked at his friend.
“Threaten them,” Heyes finished.
“Yeah.”
“You’re the gunfighter. Threaten them.”
“I’m not threatenin’ to shoot ‘em, Heyes.”
“It’s only a threat; you don’t have to carry it out.”
Kid was adamant. “I don’t threaten women.”
“Then what are we gonna do?”
“Guess we’ll hafta come back and open the safe.”
Heyes sighed. “Yeah, I guess we will.” He returned to the counter.
The ladies waited patiently to see what the men would come up with.
“Ladies, if you don’t hand over the money my partner may hafta use violence.”
The women looked in horror at Kid Curry. Kid didn’t miss that.
“What the heck did you just tell ‘em?” the blond man asked.
“I told them you’re the notorious gunfighter, Kid Curry and they should do as we say or you’ll use violence,” Heyes lied.
Furious with his partner, Kid turned to the women. “Ladies I…”
“Who did he say you were?” Emily asked.
“Kid Curry.”
Emily turned to Louisa. “Have you heard of him?”
“No.” Louisa told her.
“Can’t be that notorious then, can he?”
Kid didn’t know what to say.
“Do you know Billy Wilmington?” Emily asked the men. Four heads shook. “Well, he’s a notorious gunfighter.”
“Handsome too,” Louisa added.
“Oh, yes he is handsome but then you always like them blond, Louisa.”
“And you prefer the dark haired ones.”
“And Billy is very fast with that gun of his.”
“He sure is. Why they say he’s the fastest gunman this side of the Mississippi.”
“Is that right?” Kid asked, clearly irked.
“Oh yes.” Both ladies nodded.
“Funny you ain’t heard of him, Kid,” Wheat observed.
“Shut up, Wheat!”
Emily turned to face Heyes.  “You know when we said we wouldn’t hand over the money I thought you were going to say you’d open the safe yourselves.”
“You mean like Hannibal Heyes would?” Heyes asked.
“Who?” the women chorused.
“You don’t know who Hannibal Heyes is?” Kyle asked.
“No, should we?”
Kyle pointed a finger at the gang’s leader. “He’s Hannibal Heyes.”
Wheat smiled. “Bet you never heard of him either did ya?”
“No, sorry,” Emily agreed.
Wheat looked at Heyes who shot back a glare.
“Charlie Foster would have had the safe open by now,” Emily stated. “He’d have spun the tumblers and listened for the sound inside.”
“Heyes can do that!” Kyle told her. “Tell her you can do that, Heyes.”
“Better still; show her you can do it!” Kid snapped.
“I can’t. It’s a Pierce and Hamilton you need to…”
Emily shook her head. “See, he can’t do it. Charlie Foster could. He’s the best safe cracker this side of the Mississippi.” Emily was clearly impressed by the man.
“Oh yeah?” Heyes bristled.
“Yes,” Louisa assured him.
“Well, I’ll have you know…”
“Heyes!”  All heads turned at Wheat’s cry. Carlson stood by the bank window looking out at the street. “The sheriff just rode into town with three deputies.”
Heyes and Kid exchanged a glance. Heyes reached through the grill and grabbed back his note.
“We may be back,” he informed the ladies.
Kid smiled at Louisa and Emily as he touched the brim of his hat.
All four men headed to the door.
A thought came to Kid. “Who does Charlie ride with?” he asked the ladies.
“The Wellsborough boys,” Louisa informed him
“Ha!” Heyes exclaimed. “Never heard of ‘em!”
And with that he strode out of the bank followed by three equally chagrined bank robbers.

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


Last edited by Maz on Sun May 24, 2015 3:43 pm; edited 2 times in total
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InsideOutlaw

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PostSubject: Re: May 15 - New (to the) Job   Sat May 23, 2015 8:16 pm

“Heyes!  What’s taking you so long?” shouted Jim Plummer.  He could see his newest recruit’s back bent over as the kid worked on trimming the hooves of one of the mustangs Jim had brought in for remounts.  The day was getting away from the outlaw leader and he wanted to finish breaking these nags to saddle.  They’d need them for the next job; a job that would require a quick getaway in the middle of nowhere.  Fresh mounts were imperative.


The dark-haired young man dropped the last foot of the cranky mare he’d just trimmed.  It was back-breaking work even for a young man of twenty and she hadn’t made it any easier.  She’d rested most of her weight on him every time he held a hoof off the ground.  “I’m done except for the stallion.”


“Forget that renegade.  He’ll kill you soon as let you near his feet,” said Jim, coming over to get the mare.  He cast a jaundiced eye at the flashy bay left in the holding pen.  The horse tossed his head and snorted his defiance.  He sure was a looker, thought Jim, but he’ll take to hell and back to break.  It was smarter to stick to the mares.  A rogue stallion was nothing but trouble.  


Heyes rubbed his lower back as he wiped his other forearm across his sweaty brow.  The mare flattened her ears and nipped the air next to him.  With what little strength he had left, and aggravated beyond patience, he slapped her neck.  Startled, she pulled back on her lead and sat down on her hind end but the rope held.  Heyes sighed and untied her, handing the lead to his new boss and watching as Plummer led her away.


Heyes had only joined the gang a little over a month ago and he already rued his decision to trust Jim Plummer.  The man was uncommonly greedy and he treated him like dirt.  It had taken Heyes’ silver tongue a lot of wagging to convince Jim to take on an untried nobody, but Heyes had been desperate.  He hadn’t known that he’d be little more than slave labor.  It was hard on Heyes to be at the bottom of the hierarchy; he saw himself as a leader.  At least he used to lead Jed around.


He and his younger cousin had split up six months ago and he hadn’t fared well on his own.  It hadn’t taken him long at all to understand that he needed the safety of a gang to survive.  Finding one that would take him on took a little longer.  He couldn’t help but wonder how Jed was doing.  He missed him.  It had been a mutual decision to split--another decision he now regretted.  It was getting to be a habit with him.


Walking over to a rusty bucket sitting on a tree stump, he picked up a tin cup and dipped it into lukewarm water.  Drinking deeply, he watched the other men gathering around the corral.  Shaky Sam was in the pen with a sorrel mare.  The horse had been snubbed to a post they’d sunk in the ground yesterday for that purpose.  Pete held a blindfold wrapped tightly around her head and Grampy was trying to help Sam mount the skittish beast.  Finally, his leg swung over and his weight settled into the saddle as Pete stood by in case the horse went berserk and he had to release her head.  The frightened mare lifted her head as high as she could while her back hollowed from the unfamiliar weight.  Too terrified to move, she stood and shook uncontrollably.  Sam pressed his leg against her, gradually increasing the pressure until the mare was uncomfortable and swung her hips away from his leg.  He did the same thing with his other leg, repeating the motion over and over until she swayed obediently from side to side.  


“Hey Sam, you got a dud.  Spur that cow and let’s see what’s she’s got,” yelled Pete, releasing the mare’s head, pulling off the blindfold, and shooing her away.  She shied from him and began to buck.  Sam rode her through a couple of hardy bucks then a few half-hearted hops until she settled down and he could put her to work.  Twenty minutes later, she was behaving like a veteran saddle horse.  


Heyes had drifted over to the corral mesmerized by the process.  He’d ridden all his life, but he’d never broken a horse before.  He was sure he could do it and he didn’t see any reason to be brutal about it.  An angry squeal drew his attention and he turned to see the bay pawing at the gate of the pen.  The stallion was furious at being separated from his harem.  


Sam led the now docile mare from the corral as Jim led in the sorrel mare and handed her over to Pete.  That figured.  Plummer never did his own dirty work as far as Heyes could tell.  He watched them begin to work the mare but soon grew bored and wandered back over to the pen that held the stallion.  The horse had seen him coming and watched him warily.  Bending to pick up his tools, Heyes didn’t see the curious animal creeping nearer.  When he stood up, he spooked the horse sending it galloping around the pen tossing its head.  


“That jughead had better enjoy his last meal,” said Sam on his way back to the corral.  He was carrying his saddle.


Heyes’ eyes widened, “What d’you mean?”


Sam paused and dropped the back end of the saddle to rest on his boots.  “Plummer told Grampy to slaughter him.  We’re making jerky outta him.”


“Why?”  Heyes was shocked.  The stallion was by far the best of the herd.  He looked back at the crested neck and thick muscling of the glossy beast.  Brown eyes as dark as his own watched him with a guardedness he mirrored.  “You can’t do that!”


“I do what I’m told,” said Sam, lifting the heavy tack and walking away.


Heyes ran after him, catching him as he neared the corral.  He reached out and spun Sam around causing him to drop the saddle.  “Heyes, what the…”


“You can’t do it.  I won’t let you!” yelled Heyes.  Pete, Grampy, and Plummer turned in their direction, listening intently.


“Sonny, how’re you gonna stop us?” said Sam, derisively.


Heyes swung at him, but Pete caught him from behind, pinning his arms at his side.  “Easy now, Heyes.  You don’t want to git yerself kilt now, do ya?”


“What’s the hell’s going on here?” snarled Plummer.  He had no time for this petty squabbling.  


Sam chuckled.   “Seems Heyes is taking exception to us butchering that stallion.”


“He’s the best horse you have.  He’s better than all those mares combined!” shouted Heyes.


“That might be, but he’s also a renegade.  He’s spent his whole life fighting for his freedom.  He ain’t giving it up easy,” said Plummer.  “We don’t have time for him and we can use the meat.”


“No!”  Heyes shook himself loose from Pete and got up in Plummer’s face.  “I’ll buy him from you.  You can have my cut of the next job.”


Jim Plummer had been scowling at his youngest man, but he mulled the offer and then smiled like a satisfied crocodile.  He knew a sucker when he saw one.  “All right, Heyes.  He’s yours.  Now that you’ve got him, good luck riding him.”


“I ain’t planning on riding him.”  Heyes strode over to the holding pen and swung the heavy gate open.  


“What the heck is he doin’?” said Pete.


Sam smiled.  “Looks to me like he’s setting that stud loose.”  He watched the stallion inch closer to the gate, keeping one eye on Heyes.  As the bay’s shoulders passed through the gate, he took one last look as his band of mares and plunged into a gallop, taking off up the trail leading away from the camp.  The men could hear him crashing through the brush and shrubs that narrowed the path.  


“I’m holding you to our agreement, Heyes,” said Plummer, walking away with Grampy and Sam.


“Why’d you do it, Heyes?” asked Pete, bewildered by the boy’s actions.


Heyes didn’t say answer.  He left Pete standing there and walked over to finish picking up his tools.  He knew why he’d done it; he’d looked in that animal’s eyes and seen a kindred spirit.  That horse was every bit the outlaw he was.

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

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


Last edited by InsideOutlaw on Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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RosieAnnie

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PostSubject: Re: May 15 - New (to the) Job   Thu May 28, 2015 12:14 pm

The night was quiet. There were no sounds but the steady rhythm of footsteps outside on the wooden sidewalk. The boards creaked softly with each step in a reassuring pattern. Sheriff Berger turned his head slightly to listen. A small smile crept across his face. The regular footsteps meant that Deputy Wilson was guarding the jail and its famous prisoner as he'd been told to do.

Berger turned his attention back to the stack of papers on his desk. When he became sheriff two months ago, he'd imagined himself as the hero of a dime novel, keeping his town safe from bad men who threatened civil order. Instead, he did mountains of paperwork and broke up fights between drunken cowboys. Not exactly the stuff of dime novels. He'd actually prayed for some excitement, maybe for some famous outlaw to show up in this dull one-horse town. No one was more surprised than he when his prayers were answered yesterday.

He pushed himself up from his cluttered desk and walked over to the cell block. The prisoner sat on his bunk, playing solitaire.

"Ain't you tired of that game yet?"

The prisoner moved cards without speaking.

"Hey you! I asked you a question and I expect you to answer. Can't you hear me?"

"I hear you," the prisoner said calmly. "It is impossible to not hear you, even though I try. I simply choose not to answer an ignorant question." He looked up at Berger. "If I were tired of the game, I would not be playing it. You have my answer. Are you happy now?"

"Happier than you, I expect. You're the one going on trial for armed robbery. And you're the one who'll be sitting in a jail just like this one for the next 20 years, where all you low-down bank robbers belong."

The prisoner turned his attention back to his cards, shuffling and laying out another game of solitaire.

"You ain't so big now, are you, Big Jim? You think the Devil's Hole Gang's fixin' to rescue you? Well, they ain't a'comin'. Me and my deputy, we been keeping a sharp eye on everyone in this here town, and we ain't seen hide nor hair of them renegades."

"My men are not renegades; they are thieves. There is a difference. And of course you would not see them. I have trained them better than that."

"Too bad nobody trained you better, or you wouldn't be sitting where you are right now."

Dark brown eyes flicked briefly towards Berger.

"Everything in life is temporary, Sheriff. Everything changes." He put the cards down on the bunk and leaned back against the cold brick wall. "For example: the sheriffs in this town change regularly. This is a new job for you, is it not? You are the fifth man to take the job in one year, I believe."

"What of it? It don't make no difference what them others did. I'm here to stay."

"Oh, you are, are you? It is good to have a goal."

"I know what you're thinking. You're wrong."

"You have the ability to read my mind? That is impressive."

"Don't pull that with me, Santana. I'm smarter than you." Santana's composed expression seemed like defiance to Berger.

"I do know what you're thinking. You're thinking sheriffs come and go because of you and your damned Devil's Hole Gang, running roughshod over this whole territory. That's all over now. With you in prison, that gang'll be running around like a chicken with its head cut off."

"You are welcome to think so," Santana said. His calm voice only served to irritate Berger more. "Change happens to all of us, does it not? This situation where we find ourselves now, you outside the bars and me within, even that is subject to change." He picked up his cards again and started shuffling them. "Let me advise you. Never count on anything to remain the same. Never." Suddenly, he smiled. "Especially if you are a sheriff in this town."

"The hell with you, Santana." Berger strode quickly back to his desk. He was surprised to realize that he was breathing hard. He shook his head, trying to clear it, and consciously took some deep, slow breaths. Quiet surrounded him. Something was wrong about that. Straining, he listened hard for suspicious sounds, but he heard nothing, not even his deputy pacing back and forth on the boards outside. Berger stood up suddenly, angry all over again. If that idiot Wilson's sleeping on the job instead of patrolling, I'll throw him into the cell with Santana. He walked rapidly to the front door, unlatched the bolts, and yanked the door open. Deputy Wilson stood motionless on the sidewalk, eyes wide and staring at seemingly nothing.

"What're you doing standing there like a cigar store Indian, Wilson?" A small blond man holding a shotgun stepped out from behind the deputy, startling Berger.

"What the hell - " but before he could finish his sentence, he heard an ominous click and felt cold metal touch his neck. A quiet voice whispered close to his ear.

"He's stayin' alive, Sheriff. If'n you want to do the same, you'll hush up, too."

"Who are you? What do you want?" Berger asked. "If you're looking to rob us, go right ahead, but we ain't got much money. We work for the city."

"Right now, Sheriff," the deep voice went on, "I want you to shut your mouth." Berger complied. The whispering voice moved against his ear again, so close that Berger felt the man's warm breath.

"Now. One of my men is gonna put on your deputy's hat and jacket, and he's going to take over guarding the jail. Then the rest of us, we're going go inside real quiet-like." Another, taller man came around from behind the whisperer and took the coat and hat from an unresisting Wilson.

The cold gun barrel tapped lightly against Berger's neck. "Open the door. Quietly."

Once inside, Berger heard the door shut behind him and the bolts click into place. The gun moved away from his neck, and a flat hand between his shoulders pushed him forward suddenly. He had to grab the corner of his desk to keep from falling.

"You two lawmen stand at either side of the desk. Then you're both going unhook your gun belts, using only two fingers, and my friend here is going to take them from you." As they awkwardly loosened their gun belts, Santana rose silently from his cot to watch.

"Sit down in them two chairs, and put your hands on the arm rests, where we can see them. Keep your eyes on the floor." Berger's mind was racing. They were two against two, at least inside, but the outlaws had the guns and the advantage. He was torn between wishing someone would come by unexpectedly and rescue them, and the fear that someone would come by unexpectedly and rescue the new sheriff and his deputy.

The outlaw brought his gun under Berger's chin, forcing him to raise his head slowly. Berger saw dusty boots, then a slim figure in denims and black shirt, and finally a young man's bronze face under a black hat adorned with silver lightning bolts. The man smiled, and deep dimples appeared in his dark cheeks.

"Now, Sheriff, you're probably wondering why I've invited you to come inside and talk with me tonight."

"The thought did cross my mind right about the time you held a gun to my head. But then, putting a gun to a white man's head is what you Injuns like to do."

The gunman smiled as if he were amused. He pushed his hat high onto his head, revealing large  brown eyes. Berger studied the man's face, trying to commit every detail into memory.

"Speaking of pointing guns, I'm going to ask my friend to take yours over to Mr. Santana while I keep an eye on you and your deputy. That'll improve the odds for me a little bit." The little blond man in the floppy hat took Berger's cherished Colt to Santana, who nodded his thanks and spun the chamber before pointing the gun steadily at the captive lawmen.

"Now, Sheriff. Why we're here. It's not only for the joy I get watching you trying not to wet your pants while I hold this here hogleg on you. The honest truth is, we came here to make a withdrawal, but don't you worry none; we're going to make a deposit, too. We're going to withdraw Big Jim, and once we do that, we're going to deposit you and your deputy."

"You mean, you're not gonna kill us?" Wilson asked. His voice shook.

"Shut up, Wilson! You sound like an idiot."

"I heard what them renegade Comanches do. Please don't kill me. Please. I don't wanna die."

"Stop it, Wilson! You're acting like a little girl!"

"Rest your mind, boys," the Indian said. "The Devil's Hole Gang don't believe in killing folks." He shook his head sadly. "I have to resist temptation all the time, don't I, Jim?"

"It is true that my men do not kill," Santana said from his cell. "I do not allow it."

"Lucky for you. Now. My friend is going to get those handcuffs you kindly left hanging on the wall there by the wanted posters and cuff you and your deputy."  While the blond handcuffed the unhappy lawmen, the Indian pointed his gun at the trembling Wilson.

"Where are the keys to the cell?"

"Bottom right drawer in the desk."

"Good answer." He looked over at the blond outlaw, who retrieved the keys and unlocked the cell. Santana came out, still holding his stolen gun steadily.

"There's the withdrawal. Now, gentlemen, kindly walk into the cell and sit down on the bunk." When they hesitated, the Indian raised his gun in an unmistakable threat.

"Santana said he wouldn't let you kill us," Wilson protested.

"That is true," Santana said. "Kill, no. Maim, yes. So please, gentlemen. It is in your best interest to follow orders." Slowly, the handcuffed lawmen walked into the cell and sat down, side by side, on the uncomfortable cot.

"One last thing. We're going to have to gag you." The Indian held up one hand to forestall any comments. "We can't have you calling for help. We need a little time to get back to the Hole before any alarm is raised." The little blond outlaw holstered his gun and tightened the captives' own bandannas over their mouths while the other outlaws watched.

Santana closed the heavy iron cell door slowly, then turned the big skeleton key to set the lock. The lawmen could only watch in despair. Santana had already walked away a few steps with his rescuers when he stopped as if remembering something. He turned quickly and went back to stare at the unhappy men imprisoned in their own jail.

"Do you remember what I said to you earlier about how things change rapidly, Sheriff?" Unable to speak, Berger could only seethe. Yeah, he remembered. He was almost glad he was unable to say anything. He wanted to curse and scream at Santana and that renegade Indian and that blond man with the tobacco-stained grin. More than that, he wanted to pound his own head against some hard surface. This could have happened to anyone, but it had happened to him, and the citizens of this town, and the men who had chosen him for this job, would never let him forget it. He would need to find a new job. Again. He squinted his eyes shut; he couldn't bear watching his prisoner leave with his rescuers. Their footsteps echoed on the floor until he heard the big front door open and shut. He was left with silence and his bitter thoughts.

Outside, Santana followed his men as they led him around the building to a back alley, where four horses were tied up. As the men unhitched their horses, Santana crossed over to the slender Indian, putting one hand on his shoulder, speaking to him in a low voice.

"Thank you, Hannibal. You have done better than I could have hoped. There is only one thing that I question."

"Only one?"

"For now. Why did you darken your skin to look like an Indian? Those men still got a good look at you."

"They did, Jim, and what they saw was an Indian. A renegade, like that sheriff said. He didn't notice my eyes or my hair color or my build, nothing like that. He saw an Indian, and that's all he'll remember. I could play poker with him all night without this war paint on my face, and he'd never recognize me.

"Besides,"  Heyes added, "it probably don't matter if them two recognize me. I'd lay odds there'll be a new sheriff here, real soon. Maybe even tomorrow."

Santana laughed. "I am glad you are on my side, Hannibal Heyes."
----------------
Part of the inspiration for this story comes from photos recently posted on the Pete Duel page on Facebook. Pete played an Apache physician in a 1969 episode of Marcus Welby, M.D. In that episode, Pete's skin was treated with makeup that darkened his skin tone. It was insensitive, in the least, to cast a white actor as an Indian and darken his skin; it's akin to white actors wearing blackface. The pictures did prompt a bunny to hop for me, though, and that helped to inspire this story.

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PostSubject: Re: May 15 - New (to the) Job   Sat May 30, 2015 9:08 am

I've had this story rolling around in my head for quite a while. I'm hoping that by posting it here for this fitting challenge it'll give me the spark I need to finish it. It's sort of differrent and any suggestions, ideas, comments you might have would be appreciated. (And I hope it makes sense as written so far.)

Denver - 1915

Dr. Hayden Hughes paced the length of the train station's platform from east to west, then back again. He listened as, inside the station, activity buzzed -- Passengers purchasing tickets, businessmen loudly discussing the most recent political events or quietly absorbing the latest copy of the local press, wives nervously fingering handkerchiefs, anxiously awaiting the return of their husbands.

Outside, things were busy too -- Drivers parking trucks close to the ramp in anticipation of deliveries, children playing, dogs barking. Hughes stopped to lean against a post, flipping his pocket watch open to check the time. 12:22. The noon train was running off schedule, again.

"Folks!" The ticket master stood at the station's center, speaking in a voice loud enough to be heard, even from Dr. Hughes' position outdoors. "Train left late out of Topeka. Likely be another couple hours before she arrives."

Sighs of disappointment and grumbles of frustration were heard. Much of the assembly dispersed, either in the direction of a local eatery or the nearest watering hole.

Alone now on the platform, Dr. Hughes seated himself on a bench and breathed deeply, savoring the freshness of the air. His trip to New Orleans would be delayed. He leaned back, basking in the luxury of mid-day sun. Realizing he still held his gold pocket watch loosely in his right hand, he ran his thumb reverently across its inscription, then tucked it safely back into his vest pocket.

New Orleans

Jack Corrigan surveyed the white linen spread in front of him, pieces of metal scattered across the cloth. He flexed his fingers, blue eyes searching. He reached, then hesitated.

"I'm back!" a cheery voice called. Placing her handbag on a pedestal table near the telephone, Marie Bissette closed the door and hung her shawl on a rack in the corner. "There's something I'd like to discuss with you." She paused, watching the man at the dining room table who was deep in thought. "Please, if you'll just let me..."

"Just leave me alone so I can..." The familiar task seemed suddenly, yet undeniably, foreign, and his voice trailed off, having registered stubborn insistence before fading into frustrated acceptance. "I'm goin' for a walk." He pushed back from the table.

"I'll come with you," the young woman declared.

"I'm goin' alone!" he barked. "I was walkin' long before you were born, Marie. Quit coddlin', would you?"

"I'm just concerned about..."

Jack's eyes flashed a warning that caused Marie Bissette to halt, mid-sentence.

Marie tried again. "Dr. Hughes' train will be arriving today. I'd like for the three of us to dine together this evening."

"And I've already told you, Marie, I don't need a doctor. What I need is..." Jack paused, swallowing hard before he grabbed his hat. "I'm goin' for that walk."

"At least tell me where you're headed," she insisted.

He turned away from her, his shoulders slumping in resignation. "Riverfront," he replied. "If I'm not back before dinner, you can send out the posse."

***

"Royce, I need you to send a carriage to the train station. A Dr. Hughes should be arriving today, and he's to be given the red-carpet treatment here at the Lady Luck. He's Mr. Corrigan's closest relative."

"Anything," the manager nodded. "In fact, if you'd like, Miss Bissette, I'll pick him up myself. He'll be staying here at the casino, I presume? Suite next to yours and Mr. Corrigan's?"

"Of course. Dr. Hughes is family."

"Just one thing, miss." The man paused.

"Yes?"

"How will I know Dr. Hughes? What does he look like?"

"Good question," Marie agreed, biting her lip in thought. "I've never met him."

"I thought you said he was a relative?" Royce questioned, then brushed it off as none of his business. "Doesn't matter. I'll find the good doctor and deliver him safely here, to the Lady Luck."

***

A gentle knock brought Marie to the door of her room. She opened it and greeted the bellman. "Mr. Royce asked me to tell you that Dr. Hughes has arrived, Miss Bissette."

"Thank you, Wesley. Please extend my invitation to Dr. Hughes to join me here for refreshment as soon as he is settled. Then, have the kitchen send up a tray."

"Certainly." The bellman turned to follow instructions, only to find Dr. Hughes approaching. "Miss Bissette, Dr. Hughes to see you, ma'am," he announced.

"You must be Miss Bissette," the doctor greeted.

"Yes," she answered, immediately drawn to the doctor's genuine smile and warm brown eyes that sparkled, suggesting an adventurous nature.

"Welcome to the Lady Luck." She smiled warmly and extended her hand to the older gentleman, inviting him in.

"Hayden Hughes, Miss Bissette. You letter said you are Jack's niece?" he began. As he spoke, his eyes darted around the room's interior. Heavy, dark wood furnishings gave the suite a masculine feel, balanced by elegant draperies and ornate patterns on chair cushions which lent a feminine touch.

"Yes, well, not exactly," Marie admitted.

His eyes took in the woman before him. Her manner projected professional competence, without pretense. Her attire suggested prosperity, but not extravagance. She was young, very young to be co-owner of a casino. And pretty. No. Stunning. "Not exactly Jack's niece," Hughes chuckled, presumptuously. "Why doesn't that surprise me?"

Marie lifted an eyebrow. "I assure you, Doctor, my relationship with Jack Corrigan is not nearly as colorful as you appear to be imagining. Coffee?" She gestured toward the bellman, who re-entered and placed a tray of refreshments on the table.

"If you'll join me. Thank you."

Marie poured two cups, then sat directly across from Dr. Hughes. "I was quite surprised when I discovered a short time ago that Uncle Jack had any family at all. He never spoke of you. Never," she added, shaking her head.

"Yet you not only located me but wrote to me, requesting that I visit," Hughes noted, his curiosity piqued.

"Perhaps I should start at the beginning, Dr. Hughes."

"That would be helpful."

"As I said in my letter, I invited you here since you are Mr. Corrigan's only living relative."

"So you've arranged a family reunion?"

"Not exactly." Marie hung her head and sighed. "This is more difficult than I had imagined. You see, there have been a few incidents. And I thought that you, being not only a relative, but a doctor..."

The doctor's head snapped up. "Something's wrong with Jack?"

"Not 'wrong' exactly..."

"Miss Bissette," Hughes began, with an exasperated edge to his voice. "Could we please stop beating around the bush and get straight to the point. So far, all I know is that you're not exactly Jack's niece, you didn't exactly invite me here for a family reunion, and that something isn't exactly 'wrong' with Jack." He fixed the young woman with an intense, almost threatening gaze. "Let's start with who you are."

"I already told you, I am Marie Bissette." Before the doctor could interrupt, she held up her hand. "Let me explain, please. I was quite young when I arrived here in New Orleans, with no money, no job, no friends or family. The Lady Luck changed all that for me. The Lady Luck and her owner, Louise Bissette. She took me in, gave me a job and a home. She was like a mother to me. She became my family."

Marie paused, seeming to organize her thoughts as she sipped her coffee. Hayden Hughes waited patiently.

"Then a few years ago Uncle Jack came into the picture. You see, he arrived here in the midst of a Gulf storm and stayed four days before ever mentioning that he had acquired a fifty-one percent share of the Lady Luck during a marathon gambling event with Aunt Louise's former business partner. They were playing a game called..." She put a finger to her lips, trying to recall the name of the odd-sounding game. "Mississippi Mud Dog?"

"Montana Red Dog," the doctor corrected, chuckling again.

Marie continued. "Aunt Louise was leery at first, thinking Jack Corrigan might be after her share of the Lady Lucky too, but it wasn't long at all before they married."

"Jack is married?" Dr. Hughes' face registered surprise.

"I'm not sure they ever took vows legally, but a happier married couple I've never met. Uncle Jack never wrote you? I assumed you and he kept in touch."

A shadow fell across Dr. Hughes' features and he shook his head. "I haven't heard from Jack for a few years," he admitted with a tone or regret. "So now I know who you are. How did you find me?"

"Aunt Louise passed away a few months ago."

Hughes set his empty coffee cup on the table. So Jack had not only married, but had lost his wife. "I'm sorry," the doctor said quietly. His sympathies were extended not only to the young woman in front of him, but to Jack Corrigan as well, even though Jack was not present.

"Thank you. She left me some letters, notebooks, mostly regarding business here at the casino, but, her journal was included amongst the documents. It was of a much more personal nature. She mentioned you, Dr. Hughes, stating that you were a relative of Uncle Jack's. Someone with whom Uncle Jack had once been very close."

"But Jack never mentioned me?"

"Not to me, no. But he must have told my Aunt Louise about you."

"I'm back, Marie! I guess you didn't have to send out that posse after all."

Jack's arrival brought both Dr. Hughes and Marie to their feet.

"Posse?" Hughes muttered.

"Just a little joke," Marie told her guest quietly, then addressed Jack more loudly. "We have company."

"We do?" Jack threw his coat over the rack and looked around. "Ah, we do."

Hughes studied Jack Corrigan as he moved toward him. The hair was no longer blond, but grey, yet his movements were as lithe and sure as ever.

Corrigan extended a steady right hand, sizing up the stranger and looking him squarely in the eye before stating in a strong voice, "Jack Corrigan."

Miss Bissette watched the doctor, noting the momentary fading of the his smile, along with a shift of his eyes, how he quickly covered his disappointment by forcing a new smile into place, this one not quite as genuine, but he gripped her uncle's hand firmly.

Had Marie been watching her uncle instead she would have seen only the confidence in Jack's greeting, but it was a bluff, Hughes knew, but a good one. And only one as practiced as he at reading the many moods of Jack Corrigan would have caught it.

"Hayden Hughes." The doctor accepted the outstretched hand.

"Uncle Jack, Dr. Hughes has come all the way from Denver to see us."

"You're the doctor Marie's been tellin' me about," Jack stated, almost accusingly.

Dr. Hughes glanced at the young woman, then back toward Jack. "That's right."

"If you gentlemen will excuse me, I have a few things to take care of in the casino."

Both men nodded and remained standing while Marie exited the suite. When they were alone, Jack glanced toward the dining room table where his Colt lay, unassembled, leaving him feeling vulnerable. His right hand suddenly sweaty, he rubbed it against his pant-leg. "I'm forgettin' my manners," he said, and signaled toward the couch. "Have a seat."

Dr. Hughes sat. Jack did the same, eyeing the refreshment tray in front of them. He popped back up immediately and headed for a cabinet on the other side of the room. "I swear, Marie might be good at runnin' a casino, but sure don't have a clue what two men oughtta be drinkin' before dinner. Brandy, Doctor?"

"Please," Dr. Hughes responded.

Jack filled two glasses and extended one toward the doctor, meeting his eyes again, this time studying them intently.

Dr. Hughes raised his glass with a self-conscious, shaky hand, and sipped.

Jack threw his head back, emptying his glass in one gulp and refilled it. "I'm gonna get right to the point, Dr. Hughes. Marie thinks I need a doctor." He fixed the other man with a determined glare. "I don't."

"Well that's good, because I'm afraid I'm not the kind of doctor Marie was expecting."

"You a horse doctor or somethin'?"

Hughes laughed. "No, not that kind of doctor either. "I'm a Doctor of Philosophy. I teach literature at the university in Denver."

Jack pursed his lips together in a soft whistle. "A philosopher. Marie know that yet?"

"We've only just met. I haven't had a chance to tell her."

"She's gonna be mighty disappointed, once she finds out." Jack emptied his glass a second time and signaled toward the decanter with his eyes. "Doctor?"

"Please, call me Hayden." He handed the glass to his host.

Jack stopped, mid-pour, and met Hughes' eyes again, briefly this time. Finally, he nodded. "Hayden," he repeated, more to himself than his houseguest.

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PostSubject: Re: May 15 - New (to the) Job   Sat May 30, 2015 10:41 am

New to the Job Jitters

Hannibal Heyes paced back and forth…and back and forth… in the small leaders’ cabin, sighing each time he turned. A soft light emanated from a turned down lamp.

Kid Curry rolled over from facing the wall onto his back. “Heyes, go to bed!”

Heyes stopped the pacing. “What are you doing up? We have a big day tomorrow.”

“I know! I was sleepin’ but all your thinkin’ woke me up!”

“Sorry. Just running through the job again.”

“Again? We’ve run through every possible situation for the last two weeks.” Curry yawned. “You need your rest so you can be thinkin’ tomorrow – now go to bed so I can get some sleep.” Another yawn. “We both have to be alert and at our best.”

“I know. Sheesh…No need to get so proddy.” Heyes turned the wick down more and blew out the lamp before crawling into bed.

Heyes turned towards the wall on his side for a few minutes. He punched the pillow a few times and lay on his stomach. Not long after, he sighed as he turned over onto his back. He turned to his side and reached for a match, struck it, and lit the lamp. Once the wick was adjusted, Heyes sat up in bed. “Kid, you asleep?”

“Not yet. What’s wrong now?”

“Just feel like we’re missing something. How much dynamite does Kyle have?”

“Enough to blow up to safes.”

Feels like rain…”

Curry sat up in his bed and yawned. “Kyle has ‘em wrapped up so they won’t get wet.”

Heyes started getting out of bed. “I forgot to clean my gun.”

“I cleaned your gun after I did mine last night. It’s good to go.” Curry yawned again.

“Good… thanks,” Heyes mumbled as he got back in bed. “The gang better have their guns cleaned and be ready to go at 8.”

“They cleaned their guns while I cleaned ours. You could say we had a gun-cleanin’ party last night. They ran outta liquor the night before and you made ‘em turn in all their decks of cards. There wasn’t a reason to stay up late and their lights were out before ours.”

“They’ll need to be rested for tomorrow’s job.”

“And they will be, unlike us.” Curry crossed his arms, hugging himself. “Heyes, what has you all concern? You’ve done this before.”

Heyes shook his head. “Not as the leader.”

“But you did a lot of the plannin’ of the jobs for Big Jim and they were all successful.”

Heyes stood and started to pace. “But this one job is so important being I’m the new leader. If it’s successful, I’ll have a gang behind me. If not…” He shivered.

“If not, you have me backin’ you up.”

“I know, but will that be enough? None of those men have any loyalty but to themselves. Heck, Jenkins might kill his own ma if she stood between him and a loot.”

“Jenkins is a loose cannon and knows I have my eye on him. He’ll be gone after this job, if I have my way,” the Kid muttered the last part to himself.

“I have to maintain control over all of them and win them over if we’re gonna be successful.”

“Heyes, you have every detailed planned to the second. The boys know what they’re to do and the backup plan, if it comes to that. It’s gonna be successful… you gotta have a little faith in yourself.”

“Yeah, yeah, you’re right.” Heyes lay back in his bed. “And we need our sleep for tomorrow.”

“We sure do,” Curry agreed as his partner blew out the light.

“Kid?”

“What now?”

“Thanks for being there to listen.”

“That’s part of bein’ a partner. Now get to sleep.”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~


The Devil’s Hole Gang was hurrahing in a small town near their hideout a few days later.

“To our leader, Hannibal Heyes!” shouted Wheat and the others joined him in a toast.

Kid Curry patted Heyes on the back. “You had a successful job as the leader of this here gang.”

“Of course I did!” Heyes shot him a dimpled smile. “You just gotta have a little faith, Kid.


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PostSubject: Challenge: New to the job    Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:44 am

Blood in the Sun
by Wichita Red

Heyes’ dark eyes tracked the dust motes that danced in the sunbeams beyond. Their tranquil dance in stark contrast to the chaos surrounding him. He kept watching them, hoping their steady rhythm would enable him to regain control.  Yet, all he could feel was despair and fear rising up; the carnage of the train heist around him was stripping him of his sensibilities. Reluctantly, he turned his eyes to the train where atrocities that reeked of the ingredients of nightmares were being committed by Frank Rucker's gang. It seemed wherever he looked blood glistened ruby bright, moreover, in the late heat of the day, he felt he could smell the stench of death rising from the bodies.

A strangled cry ripped through his introspection bringing Heyes sharply back to the reality he was trying to avoid. A round-faced, clerkish looking passenger was running toward him, behind the man's spectacles, Heyes could see the signs of age showing at the corners of his eyes. Eyes that were shot so wide with fear  they stood out dramatically in man's pale face. Running wildly toward Heyes, the man pleaded, "please, young man, please help me!”

Hearing his cousin above him on the slope, Heyes pulled his pistol The old Dragoon felt cold in his palm and its barrel wavered in his shaky hand as he looked, beyond the terror-stricken train-passenger, to the crazed face of Frank Rucker.

Grasping hold of the terrified man by his hair, Frank jerked him off the slope, black devil eyes pegged on Heyes. "You ain't pullin’ that hogleg on me..." Frank's tone was relatively civil except for the cold under bite, "..is you, boy?”

In the tight, creaky voice that had been plaguing Jed, these past few weeks, he squawked, “Han, what's happening?”

Sweat tickled Heyes' scalp, running in thin streams down his face and neck and feeling gravel bounce against him, he knew Jed was barreling down the slope. He wanted to holler, 'get back..hide yourself...' anything that might send Jed away, but he had swallowed his voice as Frank's snake mean eyes bored into him.

Franks thick upper lick curled into a canine snarl and he drawled mockingly, "Well is you?"

Jed come to a halt behind him and Heyes' mouth clenched tight, 'I should get Jed out of here.' His eyes darted to the man, whose neck was bent back at an awkward angle with tears dripping from his soft cheeks.

Licking his lips, Heyes swallowed once then lifting his chin, said, “Let him go, Frank...ain't there already enough dead. I mean," he licked his lips again, "...the train is yours and all.”

“Are you tellin' me how to run my show?” Frank grunted, raising his pistol so the muzzle rested behind his captive's ear.  “I thought your only concern was keepin' that cousin of yours out of harms way.”

Heyes could feel Jed's panting breaths on his neck and wondered if his body was fully blocking his cousin.

"Hannibal, you better mind your damn place if'n you know what is healthy for both of you." Frank hollered, shaking the man before him like a dog would a dead plaything. "All y'all need to be worryin' about is those horses, only reason I agreed to feed you ****in' prairie rats was if you cared for them beasts and kept them steady during robberies."

Over Frank's voice Heyes heard the scrape of Jed's Colt leaving its holster. So, did Frank. The outlaw leader and his Remington roared out in unison. Fire belched from the seven inch barrel, blue-gray smoke filling the air and a wet warmth, spattered Heyes' face and he felt Jed drop away from him.

A gagging howl rose from Heyes' throat and despite wanting to run from what he might see, he slowly twisted his head to check on the only person, he cared about in the entire breadth of the world.

Jed was sitting in the dirt, roughly rubbing blood from his eyes and when he looked up, Heyes saw fear and anger in the bright blue eyes.

'He's alive, thank you, Lord...he's alive.' Heyes thought, "Am I shot? Is that my blood?" Looking to his own chest, he perceived the passenger was lying dead at his feet. The hair on the back of the man's head was smoldering from the close range of the shot that killed him.

Frank grinned and it reminded Heyes of a rabid wolf, “Didn’t nick either of you lil' bastards? But, y'all keep in mind, I can snuff you out that easy, any damn time I please." He laughed loudly spittle flying from his mouth, "Now drag your ****in' asses back up that grade and retrieve the horses, gang's near ready to ride out of here."

Ejecting his spent loads on the cooling corpse, Frank slammed fresh cartridges in before returning to the train.

Once he was sure Frank was gone, Heyes released his tensed muscles and turned to help Jed to his feet. But, Jed broke from him, his eyes shiny, "Han, we can’t let them get away with this…that…” Jed yelped, gesturing recklessly with his Colt at what he could not put into words.

Heyes looked over his shoulder, by now, most of the Rucker gang had finished gathering valuables and it appeared Rickie Rucker and his pal, Jake were finished with the women they had drug off into the bushes. Bile and hate rose up in Heyes, both at himself and at these men who were committing such brutal acts all for their own pleasure. "You're right, Kid, we can't." Heyes answered, a shiver running through him as he watched Frank stoop to scalp one of the railway men. "But, we can't take 'em all on, they'll kill us for sure. Let's just do what we're told and get the horses."
Jed regarded his cousin for a moment and then waving the Colt about, hissed, "Han, I can't...I won't...they ain't no better than the men who came to our homes."

Settle down, "We ain't assisting them or even riding with them any longer. Jed, were new at this whole outlaw life, all I knew was they robbed trains..." Heyes shook his head, "...but I had no idea they were savages, this ain't a robbery." He glanced back, "I don't know what to label this as, but we're leaving. Only we're also taking all the horses with us and at the town expecting the train, we'll drop a note for the Sheriff letting him know why the trains late. That way a posse and hangman's noose can put an end to these monsters."

Jed nodded, “that I can do.” Embarrassed and angry, that he had not believed in his cousin, Jed rubbed at his hot face, smearing the blood.

Heyes pulled off his bandana handing it to him, "Now, wipe your face and put that pistol away before you brain me with it."

_________________
Wichita Red, "I'm not really a rebel, but I take chances. I have a good time, and I live life the way I want to live it."  
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