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 June 15 - The Longest Day

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Calico

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PostSubject: June 15 - The Longest Day   Sun May 31, 2015 11:04 pm

Hello everyone!!
Getting into summer mood are we? sunny Warm as toast? Cotton sun-frocks shook out and ironed?
Good, good.

I am not entirely sure that we have not had this prompt before – and my new laptop is having a few hiccups at showing me my old lists.

BUT, in any case your challenge for the month, should you choose to accept it (…Mission Impossible music fades up in background…) is:

The Longest Day

Let the angst fest – or hilarity - ensue reading reading reading
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RosieAnnie

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PostSubject: Re: June 15 - The Longest Day   Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:28 pm

Is this a little bit of an homage to D-Day, a significant June event?

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Remuda

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PostSubject: Re: June 15 - The Longest Day   Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:16 pm

It reminded me of the first day of summer -- the longest day of the year.

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Alias Alice



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PostSubject: Re: June 15 - The Longest Day   Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:43 am

THE LONGEST DAY

It was the 21st December, the shortest day of the year.  There were still several hours of daylight left, but it had seemed dark all day long. Heavy black rain-clouds overhead had blotted out the sun. It had started to rain early on, rained all day, and was still raining, but the clouds and dark gloominess of the day had grown no less.

The boys had decided to take shelter in a cave, and were watching the rain sweeping steadily past the narrow mouth of the cave.  The sodden sky was pewter-coloured.

"Still a bit damp out there."

"You could say that."

An hour later the rain still hadn't slackened, and the Kid's spirits were falling.

“Doesn't look as if it's going to stop any time soon.”

“No, it doesn't.”

“We could eat something while we're waiting.”

The sat on rocks in the cave and made an unsatisfactory cold meal of jerky and water.  If anything, the rain increased.

“We're not in any rush," said Heyes, after another wait.  "Might as well make up our minds to stay in here and keep dry for what's left of the day.  We could camp here overnight if it keeps on.”

It kept on.  Slowly, the little light that there was leached out of the sky, and the heavy rain continued without a break.

Kid turned his summer-blue eyes from the dark, dreary scene outside.

“God, Heyes!”  he burst out.  “I'm sick and tired of never having a place we can call our own, and hanging out in all weathers.  Do you think we'll ever get the amnesty?”

Heyes looked at him.

“This time of year is enough to depress anyone,” he said.  “Don't let it get you down.”

“But be honest.  Do you really think we'll ever get it?”

“Of course I do,” said Heyes, his voice and smile expressing a confidence he didn't feel.

                                           ***

Warm sunshine was pouring in through the window.

“Congratulations!  Well done!  You deserve it!”  said Sheriff Lom Trevors, smiling broadly.  He was looking into the startled, flushed, disbelieving faces of Heyes and the Kid.  “You've worked long and hard for this amnesty.  It was high time that the Governor came through with it!”

Still the boys did not speak.  Even the normally talkative Heyes was silent, too stunned by the news that they'd just heard from Lom.  He'd actually said that the Governor had given them their amnesty!  At last!

After a few stunned seconds, at the same moment, the boys turned and looked at each other.  They exchanged an identical  look of delight and astonishment, and, the next moment, had clasped each other into a bear-hug of joy and excitement.

“We've got it!”

“It can't be true!”

“I can't believe it!”

“After all this time!”

“It can't be true!”

The boys turned towards Lom, their mood slightly checked by the fear they shared that the news really was too good to be true.  Dare they believe it?

“Is it certain, Lom?”

“Course it's certain!”  said Lom, still smiling.  “What kind of an idiot do you take me for?    It's true all right.  You can believe it!  The Governor telegraphed me on Thursday, just before I telegraphed you to get here as fast as you could.  He's going to make it public tomorrow.”

The boys both gasped.  Tomorrow the world would know.  It did seem that Lom's bombshell might well be true.

“So, there's no price on our heads now?”

“None!”

“We're not outlaws any more?”

“No!”

“We're both free?”

“As birds.”

“We're completely legal?”

“As Bank Managers!”

The boys fell silent again.  A rare mood of happiness and satisfaction was beginning to surround them.

“We owe this to you, Lom,” said the Kid, eventually.

“No, you don't!” said Lom.  “You did it yourselves!  All the trouble you took to stay out of trouble.  Nobody did it for you.”

“Well, you persuaded the Governor for us.  You kept at him til he gave way.  We'd never have managed without you.”

“Well in that case,” said Lom,   “it had better be me who buys the steak dinners to celebrate! And we'll need some champagne to wash them down!”

Heyes found his voice at last.  “ We're treating you, Lom!”

“I'm  buying,” said Lom firmly.  He led the dazed boys out into the brilliant sunshine of the street.

“Feel as if I'll be celebrating for the rest of my life,” said Kid to Heyes.  “What a long day it's seemed already.  I can't believe it was only a few hours ago we were setting off to get the  Porterville train.  So much seems to have happened since then.”

“Well, only one thing's happened,” said Heyes.  “But it's changed everything.  And it is a long day, by the way, Kid.  Do you know what day it is?”

“Wednesday.”

“No!  Well, yes, actually.  But I meant do you know what the date is?”

“Nineteenth?” guessed Kid

“Twenty-first!”  said Heyes.  “The twenty-first of June!  The longest day of the year.  It's been a red letter day for us.  What's that saying? - It's the first day of the rest of our lives."

“Certainly is,” said Kid quietly.

The boys followed Lom across the street toward a bottle of champagne, and the future.
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Maz

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PostSubject: Re: June 15 - The Longest Day   Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:37 pm

Not my usual so apologies to anyone looking for a laugh but it is coming up to a certain time of year for me.

The Longest Day
By Maz McCoy


Standing by the upstairs window he watched as the carriages approached the house along the road from town. There were three of them, each carrying three passengers and a driver, probably hired for the day. They swung into the yard in front of the house is a wide semi-circle before pulling to a halt in a cloud of dust. There has been little rain in the past three months leaving the ground compact and cracking. They had already used some of the winter feed for the horses and if there was no rain soon he would need to buy more feed to supplement their already meagre stock.

He looked at the familiar faces of the people below; listened to the murmur of voices but could not catch the topic of their conversation, although he’d bet money that he  knew what it would be. As the passengers began to alight from the carriages he turned his back on the window and caught sight of himself in the full-length mirror that stood in the corner of the room. It always startled him to see an older face looking back. There were more wrinkles now about his eyes, flecks of grey in the hair at his temples and he had needed to punch another hole in his belt to get the darn thing to fasten properly. He studied his reflection. The black pants and crisp white shirt with string tie were not his normal attire. He wished he could have worn more comfortable clothes but that would not have been respectful.

He picked up the hat resting on its crown at the foot of the bed and settled it on his head. Satisfied with the view in the mirror he took a deep breath and then let it out slowly as if strengthening his resolve. Turning from the mirror he walked towards the door, hesitating when he gripped the handle. He closed his eyes and images flashed through his mind. Memories of times shared.  A safe, a train halted in the middle of nowhere, the sound of men’s laughter, the pounding of hooves and long, long hours in the saddle, a crumpled Wanted poster, a telegram and downstairs, in the front parlour, a long wooden box.

There was another challenge to face but this time he was on his own. This was going to be the longest day
.

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missyblu



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PostSubject: Re: June 15 - The Longest Day   Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:48 pm

As the first sight of the town, the Kid turned to his partner.  “You know what Heyes?”

“Uh?” Heyes had been thinking about how good that beer would taste when they finally got to the saloon.  “What?”

“You ever wonder why things don’t change?”

Completely baffled at the Kid’s question, Heyes decided to go alone.  “What kind of things?”

“Here we are, riding into a different town like so many other times but things are still the same.”

“What do you mean?”  

“Different town but nothin’ different for us.  We’re always broke and always havin’ to look for work.”

Normally the Kid wasn’t a reflective person; he left the deep thinking up to his partner.  But Heyes couldn’t argue with his assessment of their situation and they both knew that as long as the Governor held out on his promise to them things weren’t going to change.

Heyes gave a deep sigh and nodded.  “You’re right, Kid.  But I guess we’ll just have to go on taking one day at a time.”

Riding side by side into town, Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes both looked carefully at their respective sides of the street until the Kid spotted the sheriff’s office.  He nodded to Heyes and inclined his head towards the sign outside the door and they both grinned.

“Never heard of him,” Heyes said quietly.

“Me neither,” responded Curry.

They continued on down to the saloon, dismounted and tied up the horses.

Seated at a table, Bart Tompkins watched as the two trail-dusty men walked into the room; one took a seat at another table and the dark-haired one walked up to the bar.  “One beer and…” Heyes paused and then continued, “two glasses.”

The bartender gave a snort of laughter and handed Heyes the beer the glasses.  Sitting down the Curry, Heyes poured half of the liquid into his partner’s glass and took a sip himself.

“Make it last,” he cautioned and the Kid rolled his eyes.

“Thanks, I’ll do that,” he said sarcastically.

Bart couldn’t help smiling as he got up and walked over to their table.  “Mind if I join you?”

Heyes shared a quick look with the Kid who shrugged and then waved his hand.  “Sure, have a seat.  I’m Joshua Smith and this is Thaddeus Jones.”

“Name’s Bart Tomkins – I own the Bar-T west of town.  You boys looking for work?”

Heyes took another sip of this beer before he said, “Well, no, we’re not looking for work but we would like to eat tomorrow so I guess if you’re offering we’ll hear you out.”

Letting out a loud guffaw of amusement, Bart gave them both a nod.  “Well, I don’t run a big spread but I’m a little shorthanded right now.  I need to bring my cattle down from the high country and I could sure use you two boys.”

“What makes you think we know anything about cattle?” Heyes questioned.

“Well, I don’t but I need two more men and here you both are.  Kinda lucky for me, I’d say.”

Curry hid his amused smile by taking another sip of his beer and Heyes grinned.  “Well, you’d be right about that Mr. Tomkins.”

“Call me Bart, son.  Everybody does.  As I was sayin’, I can offer you a dollar a day and your keep.  My wife’s a damn fine cook, I might add.”

He didn’t miss the way the Kid’s eyes lit up and Heyes asked, “How many men do you have?”

“I usually have 5-6 that have been with me for years and two that signed on a few months ago.  They’re the ones who left me high an’ dry on account of some jackass came ridin’ in here from the mountains with a pinch of gold dust claiming he was gonna find himself the mother lode an’ he needed a few men to throw in with him.”

The partners exchanged knowing looks and Heyes nodded.  “We’ve done our fair share of prospecting and it takes work.  Hard work and long days.  Those two will come back once they figure that out.”

“Yup, I figured that too,” Bart agreed.  “But for right now I need two more hands – you interested?”

They both swallowed the last of their beer and Heyes offered Bart his hand.  “I think we’ll take the jobs.”

“Good!  Now, how about you each enjoy another beer – on me, okay?”  While the Kid went to the bar, Bart asked if they wanted to stay in town or ride back to the Bar-T with him.

“We paid to have our horses fed but that’s it,” Heyes told him.  “We’ll just collect them and go back with you.”

Bart pushed back his chair and stood up.  “That’ll be fine.  Millie oughta have dinner just about ready when we git there.  I need to pick up a few things at the mercantile so I’ll meet you at the livery stable in about half an hour.”

They took their time enjoying their beers and then left to head for the livery stable.  While they saddled their horses, the livery man asked, “Thought you fellas was stayin’ the night.”

“We just took a job at the Bar-T,” Curry answered.

“Oh, Bart’s a good man.  You’ll like workin’ for him.  He’s real fair an’ his wife Millie is a great cook.”

Swinging up on their mounts, Heyes couldn’t resist kidding his partner, “Yeah, my friend here sure is looking forward to sitting down to a good meal.”

“Well, you won’t be disappointed.”

Heyes and Curry mounted their horses just as Bart came riding up.  “You boys ready?”

The partners nodded and they reined their horses past the livery and within a few minutes they were on the road to the ranch.  Bart didn’t bother them with questions about where they were headed or where they had been which was a welcome change from some of the ranch owners they had worked for.  He talked about general topics, like the weather and what his wife Millie was making for dinner.  “I think she said somethin’ ‘bout fried chicken, “He glanced sideways at the Kid.  “And biscuits.”

“How far is it?” Curry asked, eliciting grins from both Bart and Heyes.

“Oh, ‘bout half an hour, think you can make it?”

The Kid gave a heavy sigh.  “Guess I don’t have much choice, do I?” he muttered.

“Looks like you’ve got a real nice place,” Heyes said as they rounded a bend in the road and he could see the house and outbuildings.

“Lot of sweat and back-breaking work went into what you see now,” Bart nodded.  “And Millie did her fair share and more.  That woman could put some ranch hands to shame.”  He looked over at them and they could see the sadness in his eyes.  “Millie couldn’t have children so it was just the two of us.  I guess that’s why I try an’ do right by my cowboys, so they’ll think of it as a home and not just a job.”

When they were closer, they could see a woman coming out on the porch and pull the rope on a large bell hanging from the limb of a tree growing next to the house.  Bart waved and she waved back before going back into the house.  They watched as several men came out from the barn and when they reached the hitching rail in front of the house, Bart called them over.

“These here are my two new hands, boys. Joshua and Thaddeus.  Two of you put up their horses while they wash up for dinner.”

“Sure thing, Bart,” said a tall rangy man with red hair.  He nodded to Heyes and Curry as they dismounted and another man reached for the reins of the Kid’s chestnut.

“Well it’s about time!” his wife exclaimed as they went up the porch steps and she came out to greet her husband who gave her a warm hug.  “Oh, lordy, are these two young fellows going to help us out?”

“Yes, they are, Millie.”  As Bart introduced them, Heyes and Curry tipped their hats to her.  “I’ll show them where they can wash up and then we’ll be ready to eat.”

He took them into a small room off the kitchen which held a washstand with a pitcher of water and a basin with soap and towels neatly laid out.  

“Thanks,” Heyes stepped up to wash his hands and face and Bart told them to take their time and then come back out to the kitchen.

“Sure feels good to wash off some of this dust,” Curry said as he took his turn with the soap and water.  “You smell that fried chicken?  I can’t remember smellin’ anything that good in a real long time.”

“I can’t argue with you there,” Heyes grinned.

When they emerged from the washroom, Bart ushered them through the kitchen to a large room that held a table that could comfortably seat a dozen people.  All of his men were sitting down and Bart finished introducing them to everyone.  Taking their seats, Heyes glanced around and commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dining room for ranch hands before.”

Millie bustled in with a large tray of fried chicken and smiled brightly at him.  “Well, me an’ Bart don’t think of them as workers,   We want them to think of this ranch as their home and not just a place to stop off for a few weeks or months.”  

She went back out into the kitchen and the Kid asked, “Shouldn’t we help her?”

A chorus of “no” and grins echoed around the table and Bart laughed.  “Millie rules that kitchen with an iron fist and we’ve all learned the hard way that she likes to do everything herself and that includes serving up the meals.”

Conversation halted as everyone began eating and even the Kid couldn’t force down another mouthful.  Once they had finished Millie’s excellent apple pie and coffee, everyone helped carry in the dishes and left Millie alone in her kitchen.  Bart had gone into the parlor and when he came back he had a large rolled up tube of paper.  The men gathered around as he spread it out and the partners could see it was a map of the Bar-T.

“We’ll pair up – John, you ride with Thaddeus and Scott, you go with Joshua.  We’ll work the East end of the range first and then the South.  Let’s see how far we get tomorrow.  See you all in the morning.”

They nodded and each one of them called out good night to Millie with some of them adding their thanks for a good dinner.

Heyes and Curry followed the others to the bunkhouse and saw their saddlebags had each been neatly placed on a bunk.  Looking around, they saw a wood stove in the corner and each wall had two windows.  There were two tables with five chairs each and the Kid nodded approvingly.

“Sure beats some of the ranches we’ve worked at.”

The red-haired man who had been introduced as Randy gave them a friendly smile.  “Bart and Millie are good people.  Up until a few years ago I kept movin’ around, never staying at one ranch too long.  Until I started workin’ for Bart.”

“Yeah,” John began, “Bart expects a good day’s work but he makes sure we’re treated right.”

It wasn’t long before everyone was settled in their bunks for the night and Randy blew out the lamp.

The sun was barely peeking over the horizon when the Kid was awakened by the ringing of the bell by the house.  Yawning, he looked over to see Heyes struggling to get his eyes open and he grinned. “Seems like we just went to bed.”

“You sure it’s morning?” Heyes asked as he sat up.

John laughed and Scott joined in with Randy saying, “Like we told you – Bart expects a full day’s work!”

After a breakfast that was just as good as dinner had been, they went into the barn to saddle their horses.  Once they were all mounted, Bart swung up on his sorrel and led the way out of the yard.  After an hour or so, he drew rein and the others halted their horses.  

“Okay, I think you all know what to do.  Herd ‘em down range alongside the creek.  They’ll have plenty of water and won’t be too interested in wandering off.”

The day passed slowly but uneventful.  When the sun started to dip below the mountain peaks, Bart was pleased to see how many cattle they had rounded up.   The last streaks of the sunset were fading as they rode into the yard and Millie ran out to greet them.  “I was getting a little worried!  Everybody okay?”

“We’re all fine – boys did a great job.  Supper ready?”

“It will be by the time you’ve seen to your horses and washed up.”

After dinner, they headed for the bunkhouse and once they were in their bunks, Heyes said quietly, “I think this had to be the longest day ever.  I was getting to think that sun would never start to go down.”

Curry grinned.  “I was thinking the same thing.  Bet tomorrow’s just as long.”

“No bet,” Heyes told him.

It was late afternoon the next day when the Kid and John were riding up a steep ridge when John’s bay stumbled, almost throwing his rider.  “You okay?” Curry called out as John dismounted.

“Easy, there, take it easy,” he said soothingly to the horse.  The bay was holding up his left foreleg and John saw the shoe was loose.  “Damn, I’ll have to walk him back down and have someone ride back to get me another horse.”

“Go ahead, I’ll be okay,” Curry told him.

“You’re sure?  Bart said to stick together.”

Just then they heard the sounds of several cattle calling to each other.  “I’ll go check out what’s over the ridge.  If there aren’t too many I can drive them out myself.  Go on; quicker you leave the quicker you can send someone back.”

Reluctantly John slowly turned the bay around and they began walking down the trail.  Watching him, go, the Kid then turned his horse around and continued up the steep path.  When he reached the top, he could see a dozen or more steers quietly grazing in a natural corral full of lush green  grass.  Wanting to get a closer look to see if there was a better way out than trying to move them on the trail he was, Curry dismounted and left the chestnut ground tied so he could graze.  Carefully stepping down over the edge of the ridge, he slowly maneuvered himself sideways so as not to pitch forward and fall to the bottom.  He was doing fine until he suddenly felt the ground give way beneath him and he was falling.

He frantically grabbed at branches and dirt but nothing was going stop his descent until he landed heavily at the bottom and then…nothing.

When Heyes saw John leading his horse and no sign of the Kid, he pushed down the feeling of dread and pushed his horse into a lope until he reached them.  “What happened?  Where’s Thaddeus?”

“My horse stumbled and pulled a shoe loose,” John explained.  “There were some cattle on the other side of the ride and Thaddeus was going to try and drive them out if there weren’t too many.”

Just then Bart came riding up and John repeated his story.  Bart looked at Heyes and called Scott over.  “Scott, you let John have your horse so he can show us where Thaddeus is, okay?”

Curry woke up and groaned.  His head felt as if were split into two and everything ached.  Looking up, he saw brush and debris blocking his view and he had no way to tell how long he’d been there as he couldn’t see much of the sky or the sun.  Gingerly he tried to sit up, gasping as he felt the muscles in his back clench in pain.  He knew it would have taken John awhile to walk his horse back unless someone spotted him sooner.  He realized that he must have fallen into an old mine tunnel but he couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of him.

Once they reached the ridge where John had left Curry, they let their horses pick their way carefully up the steep slope.  When they spotted the chestnut, Heyes urged his mount faster and Bart called out for him to be careful as the terrain was treacherous with loose shale in places.  The chestnut greeted Heyes’ horse with a loud whinny and the riders dismounted quickly.

“Thaddeus!” Heyes yelled and the others followed suit.

After a few minutes, Heyes realized that something must have happened to him because he wasn’t responding.  His calls become more frantic and Bart put a hand on his arm.  “Take it easy, he can’t have gone far.  Let’s just take a look around, down over the edge.  But be careful because the grounds not too stable around here.”

A few minutes after they began picking their way down the hill, Heyes noticed what appeared to be a spot where the bushes had been disturbed.  Very carefully he crawled over and peered down into the space.  “Thaddeus?”

“Joshua?” the voice was faint but strong.  

“Are you okay?”  That seemed like a stupid question, Heyes thought but the Kid gave a short laugh.

“I think so – can you get a rope and pull me up?”

They got Bart’s horse and a few minutes later Heyes was worriedly checking over his bruised and battered partner.

“Glad you’re okay, son,” Bart told him and they could all hear the relief in his voice.

“You know what you said about yesterday being the longest day?” Curry asked his partner.

“Yeah, what about it?”

“I think today beats your yesterday.”
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Penski
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PostSubject: Re: June 15 - The Longest Day   Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:09 pm

(Less than two hours to spare...)

Longest Day

Two weary horses plodded into the hot dry town of Caliente, Texas, near the Mexican border. The riders were caked with dust from sweating on the trail. They barely lifted their heads as they glanced around the town.

“Don’t caliente mean hot?” grumbled the one on the black gelding.

The rider on the chestnut scarcely nodded. “Yep.”

“Well, they sure named this town perfect. It’s barely ten in the mornin’ and it has to be at least a hundred degrees out here in the sun. I can’t wait to get outta the sun.”

“Me neither. Let’s take care of the horse and then get a cold beer.”

“Sounds like a plan to me.”

The two men turned their horses towards the livery and dismounted. An elderly man took the reins as they removed their saddle bags and rifles.

Heyes handed the man a few coins. “Make sure they get plenty of water and get rubbed down.”

“Sí, sí. How long?”

“We’re be here for probably a few days?” He looked over at his partner who nodded in agreement.

“Okay, señores.”

“Check into the hotel and get rid of our stuff or a cold beer?” Heyes put the saddlebags over his shoulder as he walked out of the livery into the sunlight.

“Do you have to ask?” Curry asked, following.

“Cold beer it is!”

The saloon was dark after the glaring sun, but stifling hot. Heyes and Curry walked up to the bar.

“Two…” The Kid held up two fingers. “Dos cervezas. Cold.”

The bartender poured two beers and brought them over.

“These aren’t cold,” Curry complained as he touched the glass.

“No cerveza fría… es muy caliente.”

“Well, at least it’s wet, Thaddeus.” Heyes took a long drink. “Better than nothing.”

“I guess.” The Kid swallowed half of his drink. “At least it’s washin’ down the dust.”

A train whistled and Heyes looked at his watch. “Right on time!”

The men quickly finished their beer and headed out.

“Exactly what are we supposed to do?”

“Make sure Mac’s package makes it from the train into the bank vault and stays there until he comes for it.”

“Train’s comin’ from Mexico. It better not be a bust of that Roman guy.”

Heyes went up to the porter. “Do you have a package for Mac McCreedy?

The man looked at the manifesto on a clipboard. “I sure do. Say a Thaddeus Jones will sign for it. Is that you?”

Curry stepped up. “I’m Thaddeus Jones.”

“Sign here.” The porter handed him the clipboard and a pen.

The Kid signed his name and handed the manifesto back to the man, who turned and went into the railcar. He came back with a box about a foot long and several inches wide. “Here you go.”

“At least it’s not a bust,” mumbled Curry as he took the box.

Heyes and Curry walked on the shady side of the road to the adobe bank. They entered the cooler building and stepped up to the manager’s desk.

“May I help you?”

“Yes,” Heyes said as he removed his hat. “We have a package for Mac McCreedy.”

The bank manager smiled. “Mr. McCreedy requested we place his package in our vault. He seemed very concerned about the security.” He stood and walked over to the safe. “I assured him no one would be able to open this Brooker 303.”

Heyes followed behind and smiled. “I’m sure no one can.”

“Can you turn away for a moment while I open the combination?”

“Sure.” Heyes and the Kid turned to face the door until they heard the door open.

“May I?”

The Kid handed over the box and they watched as the manager placed it in the safe and shut the door, giving the tumbler a spin.

“Nice and secure until Mr. McCreedy comes for it.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Heyes and Curry went up to the hotel desk. A portly gentleman with mutton chops sat behind the counter fanning himself.

“We’d like a room in the front facing the street, please,” Heyes requested.

The man stood with an effort and removed a key from a hook. “You’re in luck. Room 3 just became available.”

“Any chance of a bath in this town?” Curry asked as he signed the register.

“Nope. Not in this drought. Sparing all the water we have. There’s a pitcher with water for wiping down.”

“Thanks.” The Kid removed his bandana and wiped the sweat from his forehead.

They walked up the stairs and opened the door to room 3.

“It’s hotter than blazes up here!” exclaimed Heyes as he put his bags and rifle on the bed. He went to the window and opened it. “Well, that’s not gonna help.”

Curry put down his belongings on the floor, sat on the bed and removed his boots. “So we have to stay up here…”

“And watch the bank. That’s what Big Mac is paying us to do.”

“In this hot room. It’s gonna be a long day.”

Heyes moved a chair over to the window. “It sure is.”

The Kid poured water into the basin on the dresser and removed his shirt, Henley, pants and socks. “May as well clean up some. Hopefully it’ll cool me down.” He put his bandana in the water, wrung it out and began wiping down his face, neck, and chest. “Sure wish there was a cute gal to wash my back.”

Heyes shook his head and continued to survey the town.

Curry cleaned his feet with the wet bandana. Next pants came off as he continued to wipe himself clean. He put on clean pants and a shirt, rolling the sleeves up.

“Feel cooler?” asked Heyes.

“Nope, but I feel cleaner. He padded barefoot over to the window. Anything happenin’ down there?”

“Nope.”

“Can’t imagine why anyone’d be foolhardy enough to come and rob the bank in this heat.” Curry waved over to the water basin. “Go wash up – you’ll feel a tad better.”

Heyes stood up and the Kid took the vacated seat, watching the town while Heyes washed up.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Long, hot hours later, the sun finally set as a fire ball in the western sky.

“Finally! Maybe it’ll cool down some now.” Curry wiped the sweat from his brow.

“Don’t count on it. I’ll take first watch if you wanna sleep.”

“Heyes, it’s too hot to sleep or do anything.”

Heyes sighed. “That’s it. I’ll be back.”

“Where you goin’?”

“You see.” Heyes stomped on his boots and left the room.

A minute later, in the waning light, Curry watched his partner walk to the town plaza and dunk his head in the horse trough. He brought up his head, shook off the excess water and smiled. Dripping wet, he came back up to the room with another pitcher of water. “Told the clerk there was two of us and we needed two pitchers of water each day in this hot room.”

“Any cooler outside?” The Kid sounded hopeful.

“I wish I could say it was, Kid, but it’s just as hot out there. Not a breeze is blowing. Besides, we can’t have the sheriff watching us watch the bank. He’ll think we’re casing it.”

Curry put on his socks and boots. “Well, I think I wet myself down like you did. It’ll be better than nothin’.”

“The waters downright hot, but it felt good to get wet.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Curry and Heyes took turns resting and watching the bank throughout the hot night. Early in the morning, the sun rose quickly and began to bake the parched earth again.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Mid-afternoon, Heyes laid on the bed reading a book while Curry shooed away a pesky fly. He sat alert in his chair and watched below. “Heyes?”

“Hmm…”

“Think we have trouble.”

“What?” Heyes quickly put down the book and came over to the window.

“Those men that just rode into town.” The Kid pointed to the side of the bank. “There were a few more a minute ago.”

“Where’d they go?”

“To the back of the bank?” Curry ventured as he put on his boots and buckled his gun belt around his waist.

“Why did they have to choose the hottest part of the day?” Heyes finished putting his belt on and grabbed his hat.

The Kid turned from the window. “They pulled out their guns as they entered the bank.”

The two men hurried downstairs and outside.

“You stay here and watch the door while I’ll go tell the sheriff.”

“There’s no shade. I’ll go get the sheriff. I saw them first.”

“Kid Curry going into a sheriff’s office to tell him about a robbery?” gaffed Heyes.

“What’s the difference if it’s me or Hannibal Heyes?” questioned the Kid.

“Because I more charming and look more innocent.”

“Pffttt. Sure, Heyes.” Curry settled behind a buckboard with his gun drawn.

Hannibal Heyes rushed into the sheriff’s office. “Sheriff, they’re robbing the bank!”

“What? Who?” The sheriff rose from a siesta at his desk.

“A gang of men rode into town and they’re robbing the bank!” Heyes repeated.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Heyes joined his partner while the sheriff went into the saloon to get some help. “They still in there?”

“Yep.”

The sheriff came over by them. “Got a few men coming over to help. How many do you figure are in there?”

“There’s three men inside and two holdin’ the horses in the back.”

“Thaddeus, we can get the two in the back and that’ll cut off their escape.”

Kid Curry nodded and the two went in different directions. They made their way between buildings to the back near the bank where two men held the reins to five horses.

Heyes glanced out to see his partner in place. He yelled, “Drop the reins and guns! You’re surrounded!”

The two outlaws turned their guns towards the voice and fired.

“You don’t listen well, do you?” Kid Curry shot the guns out of their hands. “Now lay down!”

The hurt outlaws lay in the street while some citizens came over and tied them up.

“Now the ones inside know we’re out here!” Heyes complained.

“Well, I didn’t shoot first to warn ‘em,” Curry defended himself and wiped the sweat dripping down his face with a sleeve.

“We got hostages and we’ll kill ‘em if you don’t let us leave!” came a shout from the door of the bank.

“You’re surrounded. Just give yourself up!” the sheriff yelled.

Shots fired wildly out of the bank. The Kid made it to the buckboard with the sheriff, but one bullet caught Heyes in the side. He fell in the street, his white shirt turning crimson.

“Joshua!” Curry turned to go back but the sheriff held him.

“You can’t go running out there! You’ll get shot!” The sheriff glared at him. “It’s my town and I’m in charge.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

The standoff lasted for an hour.

“Sheriff, I gotta get my friend! If he don’t bleed out, the sun’ll kill him!”

“We just have to wait them out, son.”

Kid Curry stood up and turned.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“I’m gettin’ outta this sun and into some shade while I wait.” Curry stomped away, holstering his gun.

Out of sight of the sheriff, the Kid went up to a man helping watch guard. “Give me your gun!”

“Huh?” The merchant looked up to see the glacial blue eyes of the stranger and handed over his weapon.

A few minutes later, Kid Curry drew his Colt and filled the chambers. He spun the cylinder and put it in his holster. He checked the other gun, cocked it, and made his way to the side of the bank.

“What the…” the sheriff said as he watched.

Kid Curry stormed the bank with his gun blazing. When it ran out of bullets, he threw it down and drew his Colt, making his way into the bank’s door and surprised the three outlaws. “Throw down your guns! Don’t make me any madder!”

The armed men slowed dropped their guns, one at a time.

“Well, I’ll be,” said the sheriff as he and his men came into bank.

The Kid rushed out of the bank and over to his downed partner. “Joshua?” He rolled him over.

“Water…” came a faint dry voice.

“Get the doctor! Get some water!” Curry shouted to the bystanders.

An elderly man pushed his way over to the fallen man. “I’m Doctor Stevens. Pedro and Joe, help us get him over to my place.

Two men came over and helped Curry carry Heyes a block away to the doctor’s house and laid him on a table in the exam room.

“Get some water and get more boiling,” demanded Dr. Stevens.

While the men went to get water, the doctor ripped the bloody shirt open and examined the wound.

“Doc?” Curry asked.

“Looks like a bad graze. I’ll have to stitch it up. He’s lost a lot of blood and he’s dehydrated lying out there in the heat. We have to cool his body down.”

“What can I do?”

“Remove his clothes and start wiping him down with the water. Perfect timing, Pedro! Set the bucket over on this table.”

The Kid took off his partner’s boots and socks and then his pants. He wet a cloth and began wiping down Heyes’ body with the cool water while the doctor cleaned and began stitching up the wound.

Heyes groaned and tried to move from the piercing needle.

“Hold him still!”

Kid held Heyes down. “Calm down, Joshua. Let the doctor finish stitchin’ you up.”

“K… Thaddeus?”

“I’m right here, partner.”

Heyes nodded and screwed up his eyes in pain as he twitched.

“Be still, Joshua. A few more and he should be done.”

“There! That should do it,” the doctor claimed. “Continue to cool him down.” The doctor got a glass of water and stirred some white powder in it. “Young man, do you think you could drink some water?”

“Got whiskey?”

Dr. Stevens smiled. “Just some water for now.”

Heyes drank the glass with the doctor’s help and slowly fell asleep.

“He should be out for a few hours getting some much needed rest. Is his skin feeling any cooler?”

“Some.”

Stevens left and returned with more towels. “Get these wet and we’ll lay them on him.”

The Kid put the towels in the water, lightly rang them out and placed them on Heyes’ legs, arms, head, and torso, while staying away from the wound.

“He’ll be fine now. Why don’t you get a drink while he sleeps.”

Curry reluctantly nodded and left the office, heading to the saloon.

The bartender hastily poured a beer when he saw the Kid enter his establishment. “Here… para usted. Gratis.”

Curry drank the beer and sighed.

“Su amigo?”

“My friend will be okay.”

“Muy bien.” He poured another beer. “Here.”

“Thanks.” The Kid slowly sipped this beer.

The sheriff entered the saloon and stood next to Curry. “Son, you don’t listen very well.”

“I have a tendency not to when my friend is dying in the street.”

“That was some mighty fine shooting.”

Curry shrugged. “Guess one can do anything when there’s a good enough reason.”

“What are you and your friend doing in Caliente? Questioned the sheriff.

“We were hired to watch a package for Mac McCreedy from Red Rock. The package is in the bank’s safe until he gets here.”

“I know McCreedy. When is he coming?”

“He said on Friday.” Curry took another sip of beer.

“Two more days. That’ll give your friend some time to recover and then I want you outta my town. You hear, Jones?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And Jones?”

The Kid looked over at the sheriff.

“Thank you for saving the town from those bank robbers. Your room and food is on the house.”

“Thanks.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

On Friday, Big Mac McCreedy stepped down from his private railcar to Smith and Jones waiting for him. “Boys! Any problems?”

“No… no problems,” Heyes said as he walked gingerly to the bank with McCreedy.

McCreedy paused. “What happened to you?”

“Joshua was just shot and left dyin’ in the street durin’ a bank robbery,” Curry said bitterly.

“What?! Is my package safe?”

“Yes, your package is safe. What is it anyways?”

“A bottle of some of the best brandy you boys have ever drank!” McCreedy said, proudly.

“What?!” the Kid barked. “We practically died of heat and bank robbers for a bottle of brandy?”

“Now Thaddeus, I’m sure Big Mac is gonna pay us well for guard his bottle of brandy, aren’t you, Mac?” Heyes growled.

“Sure… sure! We agreed to two hundred dollars.” Mac opened his wallet and counted out the payment. “Here you go.”

“That really must be some bottle of brandy.”

“It is! It is!”

Curry caught the lawman watching them. “Joshua, we have a train to catch. Sheriff wants us outta town now.”

“Well, if you hadn’t showed off with your gun…”

“You were dyin’ in the street. Besides, it’s too hot here. Let’s go north where’s it’s a little cooler.”

“Good bye, Big Mac.”

“Bye, boys! Contact me, again, when you need a job.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Heyes and Curry boarded the train and settled into their seats in an empty car.

“I can’t wait to leave Caliente and its heat behind! Those were long days and nights watching the bank.”

“Yeah, but the longest time was that hour you laid there in the street.”

Heyes smiled. “I knew I could count on you, Kid.”

“And all for a dang bottle of brandy!”



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PostSubject: TTTThhhhe LLLooooonnnggggeeeestttt DDDDAaaaayyyyy.....   Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:35 pm

The Kid rolled over in bed and looked out the hotel window at the sunlight. He poked Heyes in the ribs, “Hey, it’s a new day Heyes! I thought we’d never get outta of that one; but look, we’re back in our room and it’s morning! What time is it?”

Heyes slowly opened his eyes and pulled his pocket watch off the nightstand. “Six-o’clock,” he mumbled.

Curry reached for his gun.  As he got out of bed he saw an envelope out of the corner of his eye, which had been slipped under the door.  He walked over and picked it up.

“It’s addressed to Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones.” He laughed, “I wonder who they are?”

Heyes moaned “Funny Kid, very funny.”
 
Curry ripped open the envelope and started reading.

Meet me at 4 pm today at 190 Thorn Apple Street to finalize amnesty.
Introduce yourselves at the door as Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones.
Regards, Governor.


Curry’s eyes widened and he handed the note to Heyes.  “You won’t believe this.”

The boys walked out of their room in eager anticipation.  “Let’s get some breakfast and take it easy this morning,” the Kid said, “we’ve got a whole day to kill until we see the Governor.”

“Sounds good,” said Heyes.  “But let’s check out this address first. I want to be sure we know where we’re going and there’s nothing suspicious.”

They went to 190 Thorn Apple Street and looked around.  There were two black carriages parked in the front, and they noticed Lom’s horse in front as well.  

“This looks good,” Kid said.  

“Yea,” Heyes agreed.  “It looks like Lom is in on this too. Let’s get some breakfast.”

They went back to the hotel.  At the front desk Heyes picked up a city newspaper and joined Kid in the hotel café. After the waiter left with their orders, Heyes opened the paper.  His mouth dropped. Across the front page was spread Clementine’s picture of himself and the Kid: “The identity of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry is Revealed!!” the headline screamed.

“We’re in big trouble Thaddeus,” Heyes told the Kid.

“What?”

“Clementine’s sold the picture to Wyoming for five-thousand! She sold us out. You think they’d at least paid her ten-thousand.”

Heyes handed the paper to the Kid. “You’re right,” the Kid murmured. “We’re in big trouble. We should have got outta this state years ago.  How could Clem do this to us?”
Heyes and Curry immediately looked around to see if anyone recognized them.

“Let’s get out of here” Heyes said.

“What about our breakfast?” Curry asked.

“Kid, you want to eat your breakfast in jail?”

The boys slipped out of the hotel. They avoided looking at people and stayed in the shadows as they walked toward the livery.

“Oh boys, oh boys!” a voice called out to them.  They turned around slightly and spied an elderly lady in the corner of their eyes.  She looked vaguely familiar.

The lady gave them a sweet smile and reached in her purse.  She pulled out a piece of paper and showed it to them. “Have you two young men done anything this yet?” she asked.

The boys looked down at the paper. “The Governor has announced amnesty for all ner-do-wells in this here territory…” it announced.

“Now, I’m Miss Birdie Pickett and you met me on that train robbery and I gave you a copy of that flyer, and I told you two to read it, that there was something in it for you. I said you weren’t cut out for that line of work. So how come you haven’t got that amnesty yet?”

“Ah, well … ma’m” Heyes began.  

“We are doing somethin’ about that; we’re going to see the Governor at four-o’clock today,” Curry stammered.

The boys looked at each other sheepishly and turned to go; but a click of two guns met them as they turned around.

Sherrif Clitterhouse stood before them with his deputy. “No ya’ ain’t.  You two got twenty-thousand on your heads. Me and my deputy here can’t collect it, but we can make sure you start your time.  So start walking.”

Clitterhouse and his deputy handcuffed the boys and led them to jail.

The Kid rolled over in bed and looked out the hotel window at the sunlight. His eyes went wide in disbelief and he poked Heyes in the ribs, “Hey, it’s a new day Heyes! I thought we’d never get outta that one; but look, we’re back in our room and it’s morning!”

Heyes slowly opened his eyes. “Waa…”

“Uh, Heyes, uh – what time is it?”

“Huh? Yea, right.” Heyes slowly pulled his pocket watch off the nightstand and stared at it before answering. “Six-o’clock,” he mumbled dryly.

Curry reached for his gun. “Yep, my gun’s still there; doesn’t that beat all!”  As he got out of bed he saw an envelope out of the corner of his eye, which had been slipped under the door.  He walked over and picked it up.

“It’s addressed to Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones. Maybe the Governor heard about what happened to us but still wants to meet us, what do you think?”

Heyes sat up in bed “Funny Kid, very funny, I sure hope so.”

Curry ripped open the envelope and started reading.

Meet me at 4 pm today at 190 Thorn Apple Street to finalize amnesty.
Introduce yourselves at the door as Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones.
Regards, Governor.


Curry’s eyes widened.  “You won’t believe this, it’s the same note.”

Heyes looked at the note. “There’s something wrong here; this already happened to us.”

“You’re right,” Kid said. “Let’s take this note and get over 190 Thorn Apple Street, find Lom, and talk to him.  He’ll let us know if this is fake or real.  If it aint real, let’s get outta  this town quick.”

Sure enough, when they got there, there were two black carriages parked in the front, and, Lom’s horse in front as well.  

“This looks good,” Kid said, “so far…”

“Yep,” Heyes agreed.  They walked to the front door and rang the bell. The door opened and Lom stood before them.  

Curry shook Lom’s hand and gave him the note.  “What do you make of this Lom; is the Gov. going to give us amnesty today?”

“Uh-huh,” Lom answered.  It’s good. I put this note under your door this morning early.  Be here at four-o’clock and we’ll meet the governor.”

‘That’s great Lom,” Kid said, “we’ll be here.”

“We’ll be here for sure,” Heyes added.  They both tipped their hats and returned to the hotel.

At the front desk Heyes picked up a city newspaper and joined Kid in the hotel café. After the waiter left with their orders, Heyes opened the paper.  Heyes mouth dropped. Across the front page was spread Clementine’s picture of himself and the Kid: “The identity of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry is Revealed!!” the headline screamed.

“Ah…” Heyes mumbled as he turned to the Kid.  “It says Clementine sold the picture to Wyoming and been rewarded $5000!”

“What?”

Heyes handed the paper to the Kid. “You’re right,” the Kid murmured.

Heyes and Curry immediately looked around to see if anyone recognized them.  

“Let’s get out of here” Heyes said.

“What about our breakfast?” Curry asked.

“Didn’t you hear what I said yesterday?” asked Heyes.  

“If that was yesterday,” Kid responded.  “I’m not sure how we got back here anyhow.  Maybe it was that darned note.”

The boys slipped out of the hotel. They avoided looking at people and stayed in the shadows as they walked toward the livery.

“Oh boys, oh boys!” a voice called out to them.  They turned around slightly and spied an elderly lady in the corner of their eyes.  

Curry poked Heyes in the ribs. “It’s Pickett,” he whispered.

The lady gave them a sweet smile and reached in her purse.  She pulled out a piece of paper from her purse and showed it to them. “Have you two young men done anything about his yet?” she asked.

The boys looked down at the paper. “The Governor has announced amnesty for all ner-do-wells in this here territory…” it announced.

Now I’m Miss Birdie Pickett and you met me on that train robbery and ….”

Heyes cut here off. “Ah yes…thank you ma’m.”  

“We are doing somethin’ about that; we’re going to see the Governor at four-o’clock today,” Curry stammered.

The boys looked at each other sheepishly and turned to go; but a click of two guns met them as they turned around.

Sherrif Clitterhouse stood before them with his deputy. “No ya’ ain’t.  You two got twenty-thousand on your heads. Me and my deputy here can’t collect it, but we can make sure you start your time.  So start walking.”

Clitterhouse and his deputy handcuffed the boys and led them to jail.

“Now wait a minute Clitterhouse,” Curry began, “you’re supposed to be in jail….”

Clitterhouse cut him off.  “I wasn’t spending as much time as you two will be.”

The Kid rolled over in bed and looked out the hotel window at the sunlight. He poked Heyes in the ribs.

Heyes slowly opened his eyes and moaned.

Curry looked at the floor and reached for his gun. “Yep, it’s still there.”  Heyes, we gotta get outta this place.

“No kidding.”

“Got any ideas?”

“I hope this is all a string of bad luck.  If it is, I think it starts when we read that note. I say let’s walk out of here.”

“Uh-huh, but we can’t leave the note; someone will pick it up and read it.”

“You’re right, then our cover will be blown.”

“You read it this time; I’m staying in bed.”

Kid walked over and picked up the note. “It’s addressed to Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones.” He laughed, “I wonder who they are?”

Heyes sat up in bed. “Funny kid, very funny, you’ve got to be kidding.”

Curry ripped open the envelope and started reading.

Meet me at 4 pm today at 190 Thorn Apple Street to finalize amnesty.
Introduce yourselves at the door as Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones.
Regards, Governor.


Curry’s eyes widened and he handed to note to Heyes.  “You won’t believe this.”

“That’s it; forget this note.  Our bad luck starts here.” Heyes wadded the note and stuck it in his pocket.  “I’m leaving and no one’s going to stop me this time!”

“Then there will be no chance for amnesty.”

“Heck with that; it’s been nothing but trouble from the beginning.”

“That sounds good,” Curry said.  “Let’s catch the early train for Kansas and forget this whole amnesty thing.”

The two men got dressed, packed all their things in their saddlebags, and never looked back.

The Governor turned to Lom. “Sherriff Trevors,” the Governor began, “it’s four-fifteen and they’re not here.  Are you sure they’re coming?”

“Yes sir,” Lom answered. “I talked to them this morning; they said they would be here for sure.”

“Well I hope so.  We’ll give them fifteen more minutes.”



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