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 Aug 2015 The Speech

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Calico

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PostSubject: Aug 2015 The Speech   Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:46 am

How is everyone this fine weekend?

Full of creative juice? Fingers itching to type? Minds a whirl of ex-outlaw phantasies? writing

Good. That's what I like to hear.

Polish up your rhetorical devices to expound upon this month's challenge, which is



Wait for it...




The Speech


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Alias Alice



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Join date : 2013-04-02
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PostSubject: Re: Aug 2015 The Speech   Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:23 am

Heyes had been acting out of character for days. Not himself at all – absent-minded, vague, even dreamy.  And Kid knew why.  The very first time he met the pretty school-teacher at Westburn, he knew she was just the kind of girl to appeal to Heyes.  He was right. He had never seen his partner so smitten.  Kid smiled to himself at how often Heyes had at first 'accidentally bumped into Nell' around town.  And at how soon he was calling into the school-house every day, after school was dismissed.

Kid, though pleased for his partner, gradually realised how much time he was spending on his own.  Heyes just wasn't around any more.  Kid didn't like it one little bit.  But they had both always known that if ever the other found a girl who really mattered to him, things might change.  So Kid continued to try to feel glad for his friend and tried not to mind too much for himself.

Then, suddenly, it was all over.

“I'm leaving town tomorrow,” Heyes had thrown out one day, without warning.  “Coming?”

“What?” said Kid, dumbfounded.  “What did you say?  Leaving town tomorrow?  How can we – you - leave tomorrow?  What about - ”.  Something in Heyes's expression prevented him going any further.

And they had left.  The very next day.  And that had been that.

* * *

About three months later, the two of them were riding along, discussing, not too seriously, some of the things they might do when, if, the amnesty came through.  Though neither of them came right out and said so, it was clear that they both wouldn't mind finding the right girl and being able to marry her.

“Though I thought you'd found her,” said Kid, daring to approach the subject that usually caused Heyes to close up like a clam.  He glanced at his partner.

“Who?  What?  Oh, you mean Nell, I suppose.”

“Yes,” said Kid.  For a moment he thought that Heyes wouldn't say anything more, and he cursed his own curiosity .  But this time, Heyes did not draw back from talking about Nell.

“I thought so too,” he said.

Kid felt able to ask.  “What happened?”

“Oh, she just found someone else.  That's all.”

Kid felt furious with Nell.

“Who?”

“The father of one of the schoolchildren. You remember a boy of about twelve she used to teach called Ambrose, who had a bit of a stammer?”

Kid didn't remember him, but remained silent and looked encouragingly at his partner.

“Nell helped him to try and get rid of it.   She'd learnt a few helpful things about curing a stammer back east when she was training to be a school-teacher.  The boy did get a bit better, as it happened.

But it turned out that the father of one of the other schoolchildren, Mary King I think, had the same problem.  He was a widower, and he stammered too. He heard about the progress the boy was making.

He'd just been appointed bank manager, and he wanted to do something about his own stammer.  And really, you don't want to stammer if you're a bank manager. You have to be able to address people, or make speeches to shareholders or something.  He had an important speech looming up.   He was desperate to improve.

Kid saw it all.

“So Nell helped him.  I suppose she went round to his place a lot.”

“Yes.  Or he went to the school.  When I wasn't there.  You can guess the rest.”

“Yes.”

“She soon found she preferred the bank manager to the bank robber.”

“You told her?”

“Oh, yes.  I wanted her to know the truth about me.  I thought it was important.”

Kid was silent for a minute.  Then he said:  “She didn't deserve you.”

“I don't know about that.  But it doesn't matter now.  I've got over it.”

Kid hoped that that was true.

“If she could treat you like that, Heyes, she wasn't good enough for you . . . I hope one day, when we've got the amnesty . . .”  He broke off.  Heyes was smiling.

“When we've got the amnesty!  One day!  How often have we said that?  We'll see.  Do you want to make camp yet?”

“All right,”  said Kid.  He reined in his horse.  Trying to take the heat out of the subject they'd been talking about, he said: “Did this bank manager, what was his name, King, manage to improve in time for his big speech?  

“No idea.  And I don't know if he married Miss Nell Logue, either.  But if he did, he's welcome to her!  Come to think of it, she used to talk too much!”

“I know someone like that,” said Kid, getting down from his horse.



(P.S. from Alice:  What makes you think I've seen the film 'The King's Speech'!)
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Maz

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PostSubject: Re: Aug 2015 The Speech   Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:48 pm

The Speech
By Maz McCoy


At the sound of his partner muttering to himself Kid Curry, oily rag in hand, looked up from cleaning his gun. Across the room Hannibal Heyes paced back and forth, his lips moving as he mumbled something Kid couldn’t quite hear. Heyes accompanied his mutterings with hand gestures and a smile as if he’d just told a joke to an unseen acquaintance.
“What the heck are you doin’?” Kid inquired.
Heyes looked up. “Huh?”
“What are you doing?”
“Nothing.”
“Don’t look like nothin’.”
“Well, it is,” Heyes assured him tucking a piece of paper into his shirt pocket as he made his way to the door of their cabin.
Kid smiled the smile of someone who just realised what his friend was up to. “You’re practicin’ ain’t ya?” he grinned.
Heyes stopped by the door. “What?”
“You’re practicin’.”
“Practicing?” He turned to face his friend, the epitome of innocence.
“Yeah, practicin’.”
“For what?”
Kid stood up and placed his Colt carefully on the table. “You’re practicin’ for the robbery.”
Heyes’ eyes opened wider in feigned shock. “The robbery?” he scoffed. “Why would I be practicing for a robbery?”
“Because you’ve never been first bandit before.”
“I’ve been first bandit many times!” Heyes reminded his friend.
“Not when you’ve been leader.” Kid stood hands on hips facing Heyes. His eyes narrowed, knowingly. “You’re nervous ain’tcha?”
“Nervous?” Heyes ridiculed the very suggestion. “Of course I’m not nervous.”
“Then what was all that muttering and pacing and…”  Kid waved his hands in the air… “Hand waving stuff?”
“I was just…”
“Yeah?”
“Just…”
“Uh huh?”
Heyes looked at Kid.
Kid waited.
Heyes met Kid’s gaze.
Kid waited.
Heyes tried to outstare the fastest gun in the west.
Kid waited.
Darn that wasn’t gonna work!
“All right, I was practicing!”
Kid grinned. “I knew it.”
“I don’t want to let the men down. You know how they’ve set their heart on this train. If it’s carrying as much as we think, well some of the boys were talking about giving up this life and heading down to Mexico. I can’t let ‘em down, Kid.”
“So what you praciticin’?”
“You know...stuff.”
“That stuff you hid in your pocket?” Kid indicated Heyes shirt with a wave of a finger.
“Yeah.”
“So let’s hear it.” Kid sat back down and looked at Heyes expectantly.
“I’m not gonna do it here.”
“Why not?”
Heyes smiled shyly. “It’s odd.”
“What is?”
“I can’t give the speech to you.”
“You got a speech?”
“Sort of.”
“So let’s hear it.”
“I can’t.”
“Why not?”
“It’s…” Heyes opened his hands in a gesture of hopelessness. He looked at Kid for help.
“Sheesh, Heyes if you’re embarrassed to tell me what’s on that piece of paper how you gonna do it in front of a whole train full of people?”
“That’s different, they’ll be strangers.”
“You want me to turn my back so I ain’t lookin’ atcha?”
Heyes considered it. After a moment he sighed. “No.” Reaching into his shirt pocket his withdrew the piece of paper. “I guess you’re right. If I can’t do this here…” He opened the paper. Looked at whatever was written there and cleared his throat.
Heyes pointed the first two fingers of his right hand at Kid.
“Whatcha doin’?”
“It’s a gun.”
Kid smiled. “That’s your hand, Heyes.”
“I know it’s my hand but I’m pretending it’s a gun.”
“Why…?”
“Because…”
“No, I mean why don’tcha just point the one you’re wearin’?”
“’Cos this is just practicing!”
Kid was about to say something, then thought better of it. He smiled. “Carry on.”
Heyes coughed. He pointed his ‘gun’ at Kid. “Stand and deeeeeliver!”
“What?” Kid interrupted, clearly confused.
“Stand and deliver.”
“Why’d you say that?”
“It’s what the highwaymen used to say in the old days when they were robbing a stagecoach.”
“They did?”
“Yeah.”
“Oh.” Kid considered this. “But we’re robbin’ a train. It still count?”
“I reckon so.”
“Okay.” Kid waved his fingers at Heyes. “Go on.”
Heyes coughed. Raised the ‘gun’. Pointed it at Kid. “Stand and deeeeliver. This here’s a train robbery.”
“I reckon they’ll know that.”
“Will, you stop interrupting?”
“I’m just tryin’ to help. I mean if you’ve stopped the train and are standing there with your fingers, I mean your gun, pointed at them I’m pretty sure they’ll have figured out it’s a robbery.”
“Well, I’m just confirming it for ‘em.” Heyes looked at Kid daring him to challenge that. Kid gave Heyes his ‘carry on’ gesture.
Heyes coughed. He raised his ‘gun’. He pointed it at Kid. “Stand and deeeeliver. This here’s a train robbery. I’m Hannibal Heyes and this here’s Kid Curry and we’re the…”
“You’re tellin’ ‘em our names?”
“Sure, why not?”
“Because yesterday you had us all practicin’ tying our bandanas around our faces so no one would recognise us. Now you wanna tell ‘em who we are?”
“Oh, yeah. Well, sheesh why shouldn’t they know? I mean we’re gonna be famous, Kid. I reckon they oughta know who’s smart enough to outwit them.”
Kid looked sceptical. “Whatever you say, Heyes, after all you’re the brains of the outfit.”
“Okay. Can I continue?”
Kid gave Heyes his ‘carry on’ gesture.
“Stand and deeeeliver. This here’s a train robbery. I’m Hannibal Heyes and this here’s Kid Curry and we’re the Devil’s Hole Gang. Keep your hands where I can see them and…” Heyes stopped mid-sentence pondering.
“What’s wrong?”
“Where I can see then or where we can see them?”
“See what?”
“Their hands.”
Kid considered this. “We. I mean you might hafta go tend to the safe.”
Heyes nodded. “You’re right. We’s better.” He coughed. “Stand and deeeeliver. This here’s a train robbery. I’m Hannibal Heyes and this here’s Kid Curry and we’re the Devil’s Hole Gang. Keep your hands where we can see them and no one will get hurt.”
“No one’s gettin’ hurt anyway.” Kid’s brow furrowed. “That’s what you told the boys.”
“I know.”
“No gun play, you said, unless they start it, right? Heyes? Right?”
“Yes. Right.” Heyes controlled his impatience knowing how serious Kid was about the use of guns. “No gun play! I just want to make sure that the people on the train know that as long as they do what we say they’ll be unharmed.”
“Okay.”
“Okay?” Heyes checked.
“Yeah. Go on.”
“Thank you.” Heyes coughed. Raised his ‘gun’. Pointed it at Kid.  “Stand and deeeeliver. This here’s a train robbery. I’m Hannibal Heyes and this here’s Kid Curry and we’re the Devil’s Hole Gang. Keep your hands where we can see them and no one will get hurt.”
As darkness fell outside the leader’s cabin Hannibal Heyes could be heard practicing his speech again and again and in the corner of that same cabin, Kid Curry began to wish he’d never asked.

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

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PostSubject: Re: Aug 2015 The Speech   Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:16 pm

When I saw this month's prompt, I knew I would have to write a continuation of last month's challenge.

THE SPEECH

The words washed over him like a soft rain, tickling his consciousness but sliding off with little effect.  Instead, his thoughts were on the men standing in the stifling room.  Packed tightly, the collective odor of male bodies squeezed into the prison meeting hall added to the already dense atmosphere.  Hannibal Heyes let his eyes rove over the crowd looking for familiar faces.  He saw one or two men who jogged his memory.  Outlaws whose paths he’d crossed in his long career, but no one he knew well.  


It was always terrible when he recognized a former friend.  Like a betrayal that he should have his amnesty while they were incarcerated.  Fortunately, he’d never encountered any of his own gang members.  It absurdly pleased him that the Devil’s Hole gang was still a thorn in the governor’s side, although a lesser one than when he ran things.  


“You can do it.  We earned our freedom by mendin’ our ways…”  Kid Curry’s voice droned on listlessly as he read from the notes atop the lectern.  Heyes tuned him out again.  They both knew this speech by heart.  Written for them by the governor’s press secretary, he and the Kid had already given it here and at countless prisons throughout the greater West.  It was full of promises that would never be kept; designed to seduce compliance from the men before him.   He wondered how many of those men would be inspired to try for an amnesty.  How many would fail and end up back where they started, or worse, at the end of a noose?  If they only knew what amnesty really meant, they’d head for the doors.  It was an illusion of freedom reined in by the obligation to perform like a trained bear in the governor’s private circus; fenced off from a fulfilling life by the condemnation of the Wyoming public.   Heyes was heartily tired of being used and shunned, his and his partner’s lives suspended.


He shifted his attention to Warden Burke seated on the only chair in the room at the edge of the stage and flanked by two well-known reporters from the Wyoming Tribune.   Heyes was curious why they were here.  The press had never attended one of their past presentations.  The governor must’ve sent them.  As Heyes was staring, another person entered the room.  The tall, well-groomed man was a stranger to him and from all appearances a stranger to Burke as well, yet the cut of his clothes and his confident bearing signaled he was a man of some importance.  Heyes wondered briefly who he was.  Maybe he’s the reason why the reporters had come.


The warden also studied the new arrival and then turned to one of the reporters.  After a hastily whispered conversation, Burke returned his attention to Curry.  The smug man relished his position and flaunted it; his chair an ersatz throne before which all others must stand while he sat comfortably.  His hands were gripped across his bulging waistline and he nodded his head periodically although his glazed eyes belied his attentiveness.  


He had agreed to this little spectacle as a sop to the governor’s vanity.  Burke knew that Congress would soon be voting on whether to construct a new state prison in Rawlings and it was his intention to apply for the prison superintendent position.  But he would need the governor’s endorsement to get it, so he had responded positively to the request for these two ruffians to, once again, be allowed access to his inmates.  What else could he do?  His job as warden had taken him as far as he could go in the Wyoming Territorial Prison.  He had his eye on the new, lucrative post that would be created in Rawlings.  

Burke’s gloating eyes drifted from the droning speaker to the dark-haired man standing slightly behind Curry.  He mentally willed Heyes to look at him to no avail.  He’d give anything to humiliate the man before his peers and it irked him to no end that Hannibal Heyes had escaped his reach.  He should be wearing prison stripes, not a three-piece suit.  


Heyes felt the weight of the warden’s gaze and ignored it.  He understood all too well the small games small men played to establish their dominance.  Hadn’t he made a career out of manipulation?  


The newspapermen were bored.  Heyes couldn’t blame them, he was bored.  Tomorrow’s paper would have a couple of short, dull paragraphs about the ‘inspirational’ speech given by two lawless men redeemed by the governor’s grace.  More fodder for the politician’s empty campaign for prison reform.   It was the new popular cause.  The futility of it all irritated Heyes and fanned his resentments.  It also allowed an idea to form and begin to percolate through his mind.


“Remember, work hard, do your jobs well, and live a clean life,” the Kid cleared his throat, nearly choking on his next words, “and, you too, might end up free men like we did.”  He hated uttering that lie.  The governor had made it plain to both of them that he had no intention of offering amnesties to jailed men.  The purpose of these talks was to show his constituents that he was a progressive thinker and to hold his tamed ex-outlaws up as shining examples of his efforts.


Curry crumpled up his notes and jammed them into his pocket.  A smattering of applause floated to him, but he didn’t hear it.  He was too busy reading the faces in the room.   Disbelief and flat-out skepticism was what he saw, what he always saw.   He was wasting his time and theirs.  These men weren’t stupid; they’d heard it before.  This was the third time he and Heyes had been invited to speak at the Wyoming Territorial Prison and give the same tired speech.   He heartily hoped he wouldn’t have to face them again.  These men all knew how long it had taken Heyes and Curry to get their amnesties, that they’d still been wanted while trying for them, and it had nearly cost them their lives several times.  Outlaws didn’t have a long life expectancy.  Six years was an eternity to them.


Stepping back from the podium, he looked at his partner who had withdrawn his own notes from his best suit.  Heyes didn’t look at the Kid as he neared the podium.  His gaze was pinned on the imprisoned men in the room and he looked at them with an intensity that both surprised and concerned Curry.  What was going through that damned convoluted brain?  


A wad of paper slipped from the dark-haired man’s hand and dropped to the floor by his feet.  Gripping the dais, Heyes leaned forward and peered down at the men gazing up at him.  His reputation commanded their attention.  Projecting his voice, he boomed, “Do you want the truth?”  A stunned silence greeted his question.  This wasn’t the speech they were expecting.  Puzzled eyes riveted onto the famed outlaw gang leader.  Murmurs erupted throughout the crowd.  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the warden nervously gesture to one of the guards.  Good, he was pleased to rattle the pompous fool.  The reporters were watching him carefully, alert to the departure from the script, their pencils poised above paper.  Sensing a change, the tall, elegant man watched him closely as Heyes waited for the murmuring to die away.  


“The truth is the governor’s amnesty was his way of taking care of a big problem.  Us.  The law couldn’t catch us; no one could.  We were the best of the best.”  Cheering broke out and several fists were thrusted into the air.  “It was the only way he had of bringing us to heel and it worked.  Now he wants it to work on you.”  


Heyes glanced at the Kid.  He could see the confusion on his best friend’s face.  Curry rolled his eyes in return, but offered up a tiny nod of encouragement.   The Kid, too, was sick to death of being the governor’s puppet and he’d back his partner’s play, whatever it might be.  Smiling wolfishly, knowing he had his partner’s trust and tacit support to continue, Heyes drew a deep breath.    


“We aren’t free men any more than you are.  Our leashes are longer and we’re allowed the illusion of freedom, but we are at the law’s beck and call.  Here’s the reality of amnesty.  We are social outcasts.  Adrift from our gang, exposed, with no real means of support, we are justifiably vilified by the average citizen.”  He paused and listened to the low growl racing through the crowd.  Another quick glance told him the warden wasn’t going to interrupt his tirade.  He’d counted on that.  The man was enjoying seeing him hang himself with his own rope; probably already had his cell picked out.  


“We have it better than you; we know that.  We aren’t cooped up four to a cell with no heat, eating bad food, and only a filthy bucket to relieve ourselves.  But we’re not free.  Not by a long shot.  If we were free, we wouldn’t be standing here before you trying to convince you of the error of your ways; we’d be off living somewhere warm, doing work not too hard on our backs.”  A ripple of tense laughter rose to his ears.


“Why am I telling you this?  You already know we’re frauds.  Nothing has changed for any of you since the last time we were here, has it?  Let’s see a show of hands.  How many of you have applied for the governor’s amnesty program?”  Dozens of hands were held up.  “And how many of you heard back from the Governor’s Office?”  All raised arms disappeared.  “Well, you aren’t going to hear from him.  You aren’t getting amnesty because he’s already got what he wants--your best behavior and your silence.  And it didn’t cost him one red cent.  Words are cheap.  Face it, you’re locked up and he’s thrown away the key.”


Anger crept into the large room, and the guards responded by cocking their weapons which only succeeded in touching off another round of murmuring.  The inmates were beginning to look around at each other unsure of how to react to the inflammatory words.  The warden stood and sidled towards the exit as Heyes continued, taking command of the crowd.


“Why am I telling you this?  Because you can make your lives better; not by chasing a pipe dream, but by demanding that you are treated fairly and given adequate living conditions.   It’s time the public knows what goes on in here and I’m going to help you tell them.”  Heyes face broke out in a broad smile and he turned towards the reporters.  “Gentlemen of the press, here’s an opportunity for a real story.  I challenge you to reveal the truth to your readers.”   The two newspapermen nodded enthusiastically at Heyes while the tail end of the warden disappeared out the door followed by a small cadre of guards.  Burke could hear Heyes’ next words following him down the hallway to his secured office.  “I see our friend, the warden, has scurried off to safety.”  Burke’s face reddened as a roomful of laughter reached him.  He’d see Heyes hanged for this.  The man was fomenting rebellion.  He screamed for his secretary and his telegrapher.  


“You there!”  Heyes pointed at a gaunt inmate with a long, graying beard.  “Yes, you.  Come on up here and tell us your story.”  


The Kid walked forward and reached out a hand to pull the older man up onto the stage.  “What’s your name, partner?”


“Elwood.  Elwood Burnbuckle.”


“And what’s your crime, Elwood?” asked Curry gently.


The man turned a ruddy hue and hemmed and hawed for a moment.  “I…er…um…I stole the sheriff’s long johns.”


Wild clapping and laughter ensued and, as it died away, Heyes spoke again.  “Long johns?  You were sent here over underwear?”


“Well, yessir, they  was the sheriff’s!”


“How long have you been here, Elwood?”  asked Heyes.


“Four years, eleven months, and twelve and half days.”


“Must’ve been some mighty fine long johns,” said the Kid with a grin.


“Nossir.  But the sheriff was the judge’s nephew and I guess I roughed him up a bit when he tried to take ‘em back.  Sure wish I still had ‘em.  They was full o’holes but it’s damned cold in here come winter.”  


“Don’t they give you blankets?” questioned Heyes.


“Only the one when I first got here, but it’s holey now, too.”


“One blanket?  How cold does it get in here?


“Don’t rightly know.  Lots of mornings I wake up with frost on me and sometimes it’s so cold my gruel freezes on the spoon before it gits to my piehole.”  Knowing snickers abounded at this comment.


“How’s the food in here?” asked Curry.  He knew the answer; he’d heard stories most of his adult life.


“It’s gruel.  How do you think it is?”  Elwood smiled, enjoying his moment in the spotlight.  “Sundays we get stew if’n we attend services.”


“What if you’re sick or you can’t go?”  prompted Heyes.


“Then it’s more gruel.”


Heyes thanked Elwood and invited another man up to join him.  “Thank you for coming up and speaking with me.  What’s your name?”


“Bull.”


“Bull what?”


“Just Bull.”  


“Bull, the governor says he’s instituted a work system to help rehabilitate prisoners.  Can you tell me what your job is here at the prison?”


The big, heavily-muscled man grinned at Heyes.  Most of his teeth were broken or missing. “I move rocks.”  


“Are you building something?”


“No.  I just move them from one side of the yard to another.  Back and forth; all day, every day.”


“Isn’t that kind of pointless?”


Bull shrugged, “Guess so.  Don’t think much about it, but there ain’t much time to think.  If I slow down, the guards whip on me.  Last time, one of ‘em busted out my teeth with his gunstock.”


Even Heyes was shocked and he allowed it to show.  “They whip and beat you for moving the rocks too slowly?”


“Yep, or sometimes just ‘cause they feel like it.”  Bull pulled his striped shirt over his head and turned his back to the outlaw leader.  “See?”  


Heyes saw dozens of scars and half-healed welts crisscrossing the man’s spine.  Waving to the reporters, he brought them over to witness first-hand the state of Bull’s body.  They scribbled furiously.  As they wrote, the tall distinguished man drifted over and peered at the scars.  


Disgusted, the man turned to the crowd and shouted angrily, “Who else has been mistreated in this fashion?”  Hands shot up, waving furiously.


Not wanting to allow his momentum to be thwarted, Heyes confronted the man.  “Excuse me, sir, who are you and why are you here?”  


“I am Chester A. Thornton, head of the President’s exploratory committee on prison reform, Mr. Heyes, and, quite frankly, I am shocked at what I am hearing today.”


Excited gasps rose from the journalists.  They couldn’t believe their good fortune.  This story was going to be front page!


Delighted as well, Heyes couldn’t prevent a huge, dimpled smile from springing to his face.  “Mr. Thornton, I think I can safely say you might just be the answer to these men’s prayers.”  


Thornton faced his audience.   “I can promise you, you will be heard, each and every one of you.” Wild cheering broke out and the men surged towards the stage trying to shout out their individual stories, anxious to be heard.


OOOOOOOOOO


Kid Curry climbed the pine steps leading up to the small cabin he shared with his best friend.  In his right hand, he held a stack of letters and a folded newspaper.  Heyes was seated in a rocker enjoying the shade offered by the deeply overhanging roof.  It was hot in Arizona, but it was a good kind of hot at this altitude.  His gaze shifted to the fenced pasture next to the home.  A few head of horses grazed peacefully in the lush grass, several of them noticeably pregnant.


“Mail’s here.”


“Let me see the paper,” said Heyes.  Curry handed it to him and sat down in the empty rocker on the far side of his partner.  Heyes unfolded the newspaper.  “Hey Kid, says here the brand-spanking new State of Wyoming’s gonna be taking over the Territorial Prison later this year.”


“I wonder what ever happened to our old friend, Warden Burke.”


Heyes chuckled, “Last I heard he was being brought up on charges of misappropriating funds; seems he was lining his own pockets with the inmates’ lunch money.”


Curry shuffled through the envelopes on his lap before withdrawing one and holding it up to the light of the mid-day sun.  “Check’s here.”  He tossed it onto Heyes lap.  “How long you think we’ll get paid for consultin’, Heyes?”


“We still got two more years before the next election, Kid.  My bet is we can rest easy ‘til then.”


“I hope so.  With a little luck, we might even pay this place off ‘fore then.  That last crop of yearlings fetched a nice price.”


Heyes nodded his agreement.  “The President’s spent a lot of time and money on his committee.  He ain’t giving it up yet.”  


“Who’d of thought we’d end up working for the government?”


“The governor sure didn’t.  You should’ve seen his face when he heard we were being called to Washington.”


“Wasn’t a surprise to me.”  Curry sat back, put both hands behind his head, and his booted feet on the porch railing.


“It wasn’t?”  Heyes smiled at his old friend.   “How come?”


“Everyone knows that’s where the real crooks are, Heyes.”



Notes (from Wikipedia):

The Wyoming Territorial prison was built in 1872 and began accepting prisoners in early 1873. The facility had problems from the outset with a fire in 1873 and recurrent jailbreaks. Of the 44 prisoners accepted in the first two years of operation, 11 escaped. By 1877, the prison was overcrowded. As the prison filled, its reputation worsened and it became less used, being considered more appropriate for those with light sentences. During the 1880’s, the prison was under capacity with as few as three prisoners at one time. However in 1889, a second cellblock was constructed expanding capacity to 150 and providing a central kitchen, dining hall, guards' rooms and steam heat. There were at least five cells for female inmates, and several solitary confinement cells. In 1890, Wyoming became a state and the facility was transferred to the new state which already had planned a new facility in Rawlins. Butch Cassidy was incarcerated here in 1894-1896. Prisoners were transferred to Rawlins in 1901. The prison was closed in 1903 and given to the University of Wyoming.

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PostSubject: Re: Aug 2015 The Speech   Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:19 pm

A bell rang loud and long, its peals reverberating from the steeple of a church through the dusty streets of Taos, New Mexico, and echoing across the vast nothingness of desert.

Inside a small adobe structure, parishioners concluded their singing of “Bringing in the Sheaves.”  The swish of ladies’ skirts and a rustling of hymnals could be heard as the congregation settled onto benches, preparing their hearts and minds for the delivery of their beloved pastor’s final sermon.

A white-haired clergyman struggled to kneel before the altar, his lips barely moving as he whispered a heartfelt prayer.  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer. * Amen.”

With difficulty, the elderly man stood and turned to those gathered, scanning the faces of those he had come to know so well.  Why, right there in the front row was Tom Benton, now a husband and father, whom he had baptized when young Tom was no more than eight years old.  And two rows behind Tom was the Widow Grant, whose husband he had buried just this past winter.
 
He had laughed with these people, cried with these people, toiled and loved and learned with these people.  These were his friends, his family.  His flock.
 
“My friends,” the Reverend Spencer began with a smile.  “More than thirty years ago, you humbled me by accepting me into your midst, yes, even despite my many flaws.  And for each of those years, Sunday by Sunday, it has been my privilege to stand on this very spot, sharing the Light of the Gospel with you.  I have watched you grow in the Lord’s service--feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving shelter to the homeless, caring for the sick, and visiting the imprisoned.

“Today, my last day as Pastor of this congregation, I urge you to continue in the Word.  Stand strong, encouraging one another in the Faith.
 
“And I leave you with a word of wisdom once shared with me.  A word that impacted the course of my life.  A sermon given, not by a man of the cloth, but by a simple man, a man of the world, a people’s philosopher if you will.
 
“You see, this common man reminded me that our world is filled with evil of every kind, murder, lawlessness, and greed, sickness and hunger.  Yet, the Lord has not provided Saints to do His work on earth.  For that, brothers and sisters, He needs each and every one of us.  Amen.”

(*Psalm 19:14 KJV)

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PostSubject: Re: Aug 2015 The Speech   Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:20 pm

The Speech

Two boys walked alone along a winding country path.  Dry branches and crisp leaves crunched underfoot in the cool fall air, the sounds reminiscent of many autumns before, or at least one.

“I did it when I was in your grade.  Now it’s your turn.”  Stopping, Han laid his books on the ground and picked up a rock, flinging it with all his might.

His cousin Jed mirrored the action.  “Don’t see why I have to mem’rize it.  It’s stupid!”

“Jed, ya just have to.”  The older boy watched his opponent’s missile.  “But you’re almost as good as me throwing rocks.”

Jed shrugged.  “Ma says I’m startin’ to fill out.”  He picked up his books.  “What good is me knowin’ a speech from some old book gonna help on the farm?  My pa don’t know anythin’ like that.”  Blond curls flopped as the boy looked up at his cousin.  

Han shrugged.  “I don’t know, but both our pas read at night to pass the time when we’re all in bed – their way of relaxing at the end of the day.  My pa reads that stuff all the time.”

Jed’s nose crinkled.  “Not sure my pa does.  It’s stupid.  Don’t see the point in it.”

“It’s not stupid – it’s culture.”

“Culture?”

Han straightened.  He stood a full three inches over the younger boy.  “Sure.  It’s what the ladies in town say we need more of out these parts.  You know, so we’ll be more like the big cities.”

“But we’re not in a big city.”

“I know.  Doesn’t mean we can’t have some of what, say, Chicago and New York have.”

Jed almost stumbled over a boulder.  Han reached out an arm to break the fall.  The younger boy looked up.  “Thanks, Han.  But we can have somethin’ else they have that we don’t – maybe a circus!”

Han laughed.  “A circus would be fun, but the play’s the thing.”

“Huh?”

Han shrugged.  “Nothing.  Just something my pa was saying the other night.”

“Maybe we can play more?”

“Nah, had nothing to do with playing.”

“Then what did he mean?”

Han thought.  “Like the culture the ladies in town want to bring out here.  It’s a line like ya have to memorize, but from something else.”

The younger boy sighed.  “Ya mean there’s more of that stuff?”

“Yup, lots of it.”  Han reminisced.  “Don’t’cha remember all that memorizing I had to do couple years back?  Those were just passages.  I’m gonna have to start on the whole book now, not just a part like you’re doing.”

The younger boy scowled.  “Don’t wanna read the whole book – ever!”

“Jed, ya might change your mind one day.”

“I don’t think so ...”

~~oo00oo~~

“I don’t think so, Heyes.”

“Huh?”  The dark-haired man squinted in his cousin’s direction.

“I don’t understand anythin’ you’re readin’.  And don’t think I ever want to.  Had enough of that when I was a kid.”

Hannibal Heyes lowered his book.  The rocking of the saddle did not make for easy reading.  “Okay, I’ll read to myself.  You’re right – you’re not cut out for the likes of this.”

Kid Curry turned.  “You sayin’ I’m stupid?”

“Nope.  Just like different things is all.”

Curry did a double-take.  “Heyes, am I hearin’ you right?”

“Yep.”

“No more tryin’ to convince me?”

“Nope.”

“Why the change of heart?

Heyes’ eyes opened wide.  “Because, Kid, it’s about time I listen to what you’ve been saying.  If it’s not for you, it’s not for you.”

Kid’s eyes narrowed.  “There’s gotta be somethin’ in the air.  You feelin’ all right?”

“Feeling fine.”

Curry pulled his mount alongside Heyes.  He reached the back of a hand out to his cousin’s check.  “Hmm, you’re cool enough.”

“Yep.”

Kid stared hard at his partner.  “You’re up to somethin’, Heyes.”

“Nope.  I’m not.”

“Then why ya agreein’ with me after all these years?”

Heyes shrugged.  “Guess I’m admitting you know what you like.  Maybe I can’t do all your thinking for you.”

Kid hastened an answer.  “No, you can think for me.  Well, maybe sometimes.  But, yeah, I like what I like, and …”

Heyes smiled to himself.  “Um hmm.”

Curry pursed his lips.  What was this surrender?  He stared at nothing in particular.  To Heyes, he appeared deep in thought.  The dark-haired man opened his book and began again to read, to himself this time.  The wisp of a warm autumn breeze and the sway of their horses gently lulled both men to nod off in the saddle, only to quickly regain their senses.  The silence, companionable and marked by steady hoofbeats, continued for a time.  

Kid eyed the landscape.  They were used to the terrain here in the southwest now.  It rolled and undulated like that back home, but it was different – brown, not green; more high than flat.  But Kansas was in their blood.

“Heyes?”

“Hmm?”

“Remember when we had to memorize that stuff back in school?”

“Um hmm.”

“And I didn’t think it mattered a hill of beans?”

“Yep.  You still think that.”

Curry’s voice was rueful.  “Well, maybe not as much.”

Heyes lowered his book.  He smirked.  “All right.  Just before we agreed you didn’t like it.  You having a change of heart?”

Curry removed his hat, running a hand through matted curls.  The light autumn breeze felt cool on his perspiration-soaked head.  Falls here in the southwest were not as cool as those in Kansas, but still the occasional leaves at higher altitudes rustled with the wind or crunched underfoot, reminiscent of so many yesterdays, long ago.  “No, not really.  But, maybe … I don’t know.  Just …”

“Brings back …”

“Yeah, sort of.”  Curry paused.  “Heyes, you ever get to thinkin’, what might’ve been different?”

“If …”

“Yeah.”

Heyes removed his hat, settling it in his lap.  The sun filtering through white, puffy clouds felt good on his face.  The bit of a breeze rustled the open page of his book in one hand.  He glanced at the print.  Squinting back at his cousin, he reminisced.  “I remember that speech you were so worried about.  It went off without a hitch.”  His countenance darkened.  “It was the only one you had to do.”  Lightening, he smiled.  “You got off easy.”

“Yeah, easy.”  Curry’s brow furrowed.  “Maybe not so easy.”  Kid focused on the ground, now brown, a bit undefined, as the thoughts meandering back to the rhythm of the saddle, of a time, to yesterdays.  When he looked up, they shared a soulful glance.

Kid started, and Heyes joined in.  “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, …”

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PostSubject: Re: Aug 2015 The Speech   Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:43 pm

The Speech

Lom brushed the dirt from Heyes’ shoulder. “Why didn’t you get new suits for the occasion?”

“Because years on the run have left us barely surviving and not having enough to buy luxury items like new suits,” Heyes grumbled.

“Now have your hats, but don’t wear them in there.” Lom fussed with a loose thread on the brown suit before turning towards the Kid.

“I’m not spittin’ in no hankie this time!” Curry gave the new marshal a look.

“Didn’t you brush your hair? Run your fingers through it. Hopefully it’ll straighten up some.”

“Can’t the governor give us the amnesty in his office and not make such a big to-do about it?” The Kid tried to straighten his wavy hair.

“He’s risking his career and wants publicity for his troubles.” Trevors walked around Kid Curry and brushed off some dust.

“Riskin’ his career…” the Kid snorted.

“As much as I hate being part of this circus, Kid, it’s better this way. The news will get out to everyone faster and we won’t have to look over our shoulder for long.” Heyes wiped the dust off one of his boots and then the other.

“We’ll always have to look over our shoulder, Heyes, and you know it.”

Lom pulled out a pocket watch. “It’s time we get on stage. Now you’re to sit in the first row on the left side and I’ll sit behind you. There will be others on the stage as Governor Warren recognizes them, too.”

Kid Curry sighed as he followed Trevors. “I hate sittin’ up there in front of everyone.”

Heyes slapped him on the back. “Come on, Kid. It’ll be over before we know it.”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Curry fidgeted in his seat and hooked a finger to his collar. “It’s hot and stuffy!” he barely whispered.

Heyes blew air up to help cool his face. “Too hot!”

“He’s talked almost an hour...”

Lom loudly cleared his throat.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“And now may I present Mrs. Mabel Ashley.” The governor did a slight bow and invited the elderly woman sitting next to Heyes up to the podium.

“Thank you, Governor Warren.” Mrs. Ashley walked up and put papers on the lectern. She cleared her throat and began to read. “Fifty years ago…”

Heyes and Curry shifted in their seats and rolled their eyes.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“ZZZ-Zzzz-ZZzzz-zZZzzzZZ . . .”

Lom Trevors tapped both Heyes and Curry on the head waking them up.

“Thank you very much for your attention.” Mrs. Ashley sat down.

Governor Warren stifled a yawn and came up to the podium clapping. “Thank you, Mrs. Ashley for your dedication. Next we will hear from Mr. Snodgrass about the Wyoming budget for last year, the current year, and the upcoming year.”

A small beady-eyed man with thick glasses walked up to the podium. “Th… Thank you. In 1877 we brought in…”

Curry sighed.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“…And that brings us to our upcoming year.”

Heyes glanced at his pocket watch and yawned.

Curry pulled out a clean hanky and wiped the sweat starting to drip down his face. He leaned towards his partner. “Heyes, no amnesty is worth this.”

“Starting to think you’re ri…”

“Shhh…” Trevors inconspicuously shook his head.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Bzzzz

Heyes waved his hand to shoo away the fly.

Bzzzz

Curry waved his hand to shoo away the fly.

Bzzzz

The Kid glared and with lightning reflexes caught the fly.

Heyes softly snorted. “Now whatcha gonna do with it.”

Curry gave his partner a look.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Several hours after the speeches began, the large crowd gathered in the hall was half asleep and damp with perspiration.

“And finally, I have an announcement to make.” Governor Warren received two documents from his clerk with a pen and ink. “Eight years ago, Sheriff Lom Trevors of Porterville came to then Governor Hoyt with a proposal…”

Heyes nudged the Kid and they sat up straighter.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A tinny piano could be heard outside of the raucous Lucky Lady that evening. The saloon was full of folks who wanted a chance to meet the infamous Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry and celebrate with them. Both men had beautiful women around them and they were drinking and singing with the piano tunes.

“Heyes!” Curry shouted to get his partner’s attention.

“What?” Heyes yelled back moving closer to hear.

The Kid leaned forward. “Amnesty IS worth it!”

“It sure was!” Heyes agreed.

The two men clinked their glasses together in a toast and downed their drinks.

A rough-looking unkempt man pushed his way through the crowd towards the men celebrating. He tapped Heyes on the shoulder. When he turned, the man asked him, “Are you really Kid Curry?”

“Nope! That’s Kid Curry!” Heyes pointed to his partner. “I’m Hannibal Heyes!”

The man pulled out a gun. BANG… BANG…

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