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 May 2016 - It Never Rains But It Pours...

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Calico

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PostSubject: May 2016 - It Never Rains But It Pours...   Mon May 02, 2016 3:29 am

Hello, hello,

Very slightly tardy cat here.   strcat   What a gorgeous sunny bank holiday weekend we gals across the pond have had.

Ah, stretch.  Sunshine, friends to share it with and a little wine.  Who could ask for more.

It therefore seems a little counter-intuitive that this month's challenge should be:



It Never Rains But It Pours...   morerain  morerain  morerain  morerain


(Thank you to the Challenge Regular who contributed this to --- drum roll please --- THE LIST.)
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Cal

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PostSubject: it never rains but it pours   Sat May 07, 2016 8:14 am

OK, I've done it again...looked at the challenge and thought that would fit something of mine....Here its a dirth of the spending stuff and a flood of ...well you'll see. I do know this isn't how the challenge is meant to work ....but I've been busy writing over on the stories site.....Promise for next month ...whatever it is....Calico play nice purr ....I will write something especially for the prompt like we're supposed to....I can go straight....honest jail ....Calx



Challenge: It Never Rains but it Pours....(Taken from Beans)



Somewhere in Mexico

"More beans!" Curry. sniffed at his plate.  "Sick of beans" he snarled.  

"Not just beans Kid, I added chilli" beamed Heyes.  

"Oh great, so my tongue's going to be numb for a week!" scowled the blond ex outlaw.  

"Well this is Mexico Kid, it’s practically the law" Heyes laughed. “Now shut up and eat your darn beans fore they get cold".

Kid gave the beans another sniff. "You know Heyes, I'm beginning to look at rattlers and thinking, mmmmm, yum!  Now that’s worrin’!"

Kid got to the beans, then fanned his mouth dramatically, giving Heyes the full gun-slinger glare.  Heyes just threw back his head and howled laughing in full dimpled delight.

They'd dipped south of the border for their health, but had failed to plan for the trip; no provisions, no money and no idea what to do next.  They'd already dodged a border patrol of Mexican soldiers, by pushing a little further south, and were now resting in the only shade they could find near some water.

"We should get back to the right side of the border, soon as we can Heyes.  Every time I come South, someone either locks me up, or threatens to shoot me or beats on my body with their fists.  Being here makes me nervous." Curry looks North as though he can see the stars and stripes calling him home.  

Heyes is glad to be out of the saddle, and is in no hurry to start another long ride anytime soon.  " It isn't always that bad Kid."

Curry's eyebrows raise in question.  

Heyes frowns, thinking. His head cocks to one side as he cups his chin with a gloved hand, his lips move, he shakes his head, eyes narrow, another shake.  "OK… it is always bad, but there’s gotta be a first time for it to go our way!"  

The eyebrows disappear under the floppy brown hat.  "We can't even speak the language Heyes, and I don't really want to find out if I like the taste of snake."

Curry eyed his beans with a little more enthusiasm.  

Heyes looked his younger cousin and relented. “You know; I think that’s a good idea of yours.  Tomorrow, we should head back North."  

Curry smiled. "We're going to do what I think?"

Heyes made a ‘can’t think of anything better’ face.  

Curry nodded to himself and sat a little straighter.  

"Yeah we are! " He stated smugly, more to himself than Heyes.

---ooooooOoooooo---

The next morning, having got very little sleep, two grumpy ex-outlaws haven't had coffee, and are eyeing cold beans as though they have been brewed in a witch’s cauldron.  

They both decide to pass.

"Our money will go farther this side of the border, right?  If we find a pueblo, we could get some coffee, maybe some breakfast?" opined the blond one, shaking sand from ...everywhere.  

"I thought we were going to do what you said for once, and head North?" Heyes looks incredulous, "Give you the lead for once, and you go and change your mind!"

"No, this is just finessing my plan, Heyes. We eat and drink coffee first ...then, we head North." Kid explains it like he's talking to a particularly slow child.  

"Well genius ...What we gonna use for money?" Heyes snorts back.  

A huge Curry smile splits the handsome face. "Glad you asked me that because…"

Pause for dramatic effect; the floppy hat is removed and brandished, blue eyes twinkle towards his partner.  

His hand is searching round the brim…

                                                      …searching,

                                                                        ….more searching.

Kid gives the hat his full attention with a scowl.  

The larcenous one is looking skywards, trying to find his innocent face. He flicks his eyes towards Kid’s questing hands.

"I know it’s in here somewhere ...I put it aside for just this sort of occasion ...a whole dollar bill..."  Kid is grumbling to himself.  

"Ermmmm ...Kid ...Kid?" Heyes can’t let this go on any longer, he’s feeling the need to unburden himself.  

The blue eyes look up confused, meet dark pools of apology...

                                                                                                  wait for it...

"What!  How? ...When? …Why?" sputters Kid. "Heyes that was for.... How could you!?!" There are no more words, just another look.  

"Well we always said ...What’s yours is mine ...We always share..." Heyes isn't looking at the affronted one, his head is wagging from side to side, his shoulders raise, arms wide, palms up. "Didn't think you..."

Curry grabs a handful of shirt front, and pulls Heyes' face round to meet his glare,

                                                      “...'d mind." he finishes an octave higher.  

"Turn out you pockets! " Spits out Kid, really feeling the lack of caffeine now. "I feel like doing me some sharing..."  

Heyes pats down, removing a small coin from here, then from there.  

Kid glares some more and raises his eyes to Heyes' battered black hat.

Heyes fishes in the rim, another small coin is produced with a ‘Well, will you look at that?’ smile.

Curry studies his cousin from top to toe.  

“Boots!”  OH, we’re at the monosyllabic stage.  

"No!" Heyes shakes his head as if this is a really stupid idea.  

Curry's eyebrows are not convinced.  

"Well...?"

One more coin is produced by a frankly disbelieving, ‘Where did that come from?’ Heyes.  

"But that's it! ...That's all I ...I mean we ... got."  Heyes' arms are wide again and he can look Kid in the face now, because this time, he's really telling the truth.

Kid still looks like he's considering turning Heyes upside down and shaking him.  

"Is it enough? " Kid doesn't feel the need to qualify that statement.  

"Here, in Mexico? yes ...I think it just maybe, as long as we're real careful with what we order."  Heyes shakes the few coins around in his hand, then, as if by an act of pure generosity on his part, he passes them to Curry.  

Kid pockets their meagre riches and stalks off to the horses,

"Well there ain't any breakfast round here, come on I need coffee"

---ooooooOoooooo---

A pueblo

The brightly coloured Adobe buildings sang in the sunshine.  Even Curry couldn't nurse his bad temper in the face of such gaiety. He was as watchful as ever, but smiled in spite of himself.  They left the horses in a shady lean to, which had some water and took a look around.  

A small man greeted the two Americanos and, although they didn't understand the words, they soon followed him into a cool shady room filled with small tables, clean linen and green leafy plants.

They flashed their meagre stash of small coins at the waitress, who came to greet them.  She took three of the coins with a smile, and ushered them to sit, sit ...A long stream of Spanish was sent to the back kitchen ...Smiles again for the boys and she filled their glasses with warm, not too clear water.

"Coffee?" asked Kid "Dos?"

"Si, si Cafe" the fourth coin was taken.

And that was it ...They were going to get breakfast…

 ...of course Kid didn't know yet

    …that breakfast was going to consist mainly of
             
       …beans! cactus
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Maz

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PostSubject: Re: May 2016 - It Never Rains But It Pours...   Sun May 08, 2016 4:52 pm

I have been a bad author..not writing, not here, not commenting. I apologise. I have been busy with ...real life Sad
But then...as I was real lifing...a bunny hopped and I had to write!
Yay, it was good to be back with the boys.


It never rains
By Maz McCoy

Hannibal Heyes struck a match and watched as its tiny flame flickered and died before he managed to set fire to the kindling piled in front of him. Muttering under his breath he struck another match. It burst into life…and died a similar death. A relentless drizzle fell from the sky dampening the wood he had fashioned optimistically into a fire.

As water dripped off his hat, Heyes looked up to stare at his partner’s back. Kid Curry crouched beside the river bank filing their canteens in the flowing water. Heyes hated to admit it but Kid had been right. They should have found somewhere under cover. The clouds had not blown over as he predicted and they were probably going to be soaked to the skin before the night was out. Kid hadn’t said more than two words since the rain began. His friend’s silence made Heyes’ annoyance at himself harder to bear. If only Kid would yell at him; tell him he’d been wrong. Then they could have an argument and he could vent some of his anger on Kid, but his partner had been stubbornly quiet which annoyed Heyes even more.

“Heyes.”

The sound of Kid’s voice startled him. “What?”  he asked a little more brusquely than he should have.

Slowly Kid Curry turned to face his friend. A small torrent of water cascaded off his hat as he did so. He did not look angry he looked perplexed or perhaps stunned… Heyes waited to see what his friend would say. Maybe they were going to have an argument after all. Instead Kid held out something between the thumb and first finger of his right hand. It was a little smaller in diameter than a poker chip. “Is this what I think it is?”

Heyes squinted to focus on the object. As Kid turned it in his grasp it caught the last rays of sunlight, revealing a golden hew. Heyes’ eyes widened.

Kid smiled as he asked. “Is it?”

Heyes got swiftly to his feet and crossed the gap between them. He took the stone from Kid to examine it.

“Well?” Kid prompted, hopefully, as the rain continued to fall.

“Oh, Kid.”

“It is isn’t it?”

Hannibal Heyes nodded; a broad grin on his face. “Yes, Kid it is.” He looked directly at his friend. “It’s gold!”

***

“You’re sure?” Kid asked for the third time.

“Yes,” Heyes assured him.

“We’re rich.” Kid sat back on his heels and beamed, seemingly unaware that they were both now soaking wet from the continual rain.

Heyes smiled, the fire forgotten too, as he turned the lump of gold over and over in his hand. “Yeah, we are.” He chuckled.

“How much d’you think it’s worth?”

“Thousands.”

Kid turned to face the river, now peppered by the rain. “What if there’s more? I mean there has to be right?”

Heyes joined him at the water’s edge and looked at the gravel bed. “Maybe.” He handed the nugget back to Kid.

“Heyes, this could be our ticket to South America. I think our luck’s finally changed.”

Which is when the shot rang out.

Kid jerked backwards.

The nugget fell from his hand into the dirt.

Heyes’ hand dropped to his Schofield.

And a voice called out, “You draw that and I’ll kill me another claim jumper!”

Heyes froze. His eyes scanned the tree line but nothing moved. He shot a quick glance at his partner. Kid lay on his back, unmoving, his left hand in the water.

“Kid?” Heyes called quietly out of the corner of his mouth but there was no response. He could not tell where his friend had been hit but the fact that he was not moving didn’t bode well.

The sound of snapping twigs caught Heyes’ attention and he looked up to see a tall bearded man, dressed in well-worn and very damp deer-hide, approaching. Heyes studied the rifle the man carried as his mind raced for a way out of this one.

“Unbuckle your gun belt, slowly, then throw it to me,” the man ordered.

“Let me see to my friend.”

“Gun belt, now.” The rifle rose, the barrel level with Heyes’ face.

Heyes decided it was best to comply and undid the buckle at his waist. “We’re not claim jumpers. We didn’t even know this was a claim.”

The man remained silent as Heyes untied the string around his right thigh.

“If you have any signs up, we certainly didn’t see them.”

“Folk ‘round here know.”

“And yet here we are…not knowing.”

“Gun-belt.”

Heyes threw it towards the man who bent down, picked it up and threw it casually over his shoulder.

Heyes met the man’s gaze hoping to find…something. “We have no intention of jumping anyone’s claim. Just let me see to my partner and as soon as he’s able we’ll be on our way.”

“Can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

The man moved closer and, keeping his eyes on Heyes, bent down to pick up the fallen nugget. “I caught you with my gold.” The man looked at the nugget and smiled. “Biggest piece I’ve found. Only one penalty ‘round here for claim jumpers.”

Heyes found himself looking down the barrel of the rifle once more.

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

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PostSubject: Re: May 2016 - It Never Rains But It Pours...   Sun May 22, 2016 11:49 am

I've actually managed to write a challenge!  Shocked
Thanks to Calico for the title which was the prompt I needed.  Very Happy
This story was originally considered for a VS but wasn't sure I would be able to write enough.
Just about managed to come under the 3000 challenge word count but there are parts I would like to expand. Perhaps in another challenge.  scratch


It Never Rains But it Pours

The weather had been threatening all day – although it wasn’t clear exactly what it was threatening. The sky had thrown out various shades of blues, greys and purples.  A yellow tinged light forced it way from behind the darkening, billowing clouds casting an eerie light through the trees.

When it happened it shook the ground, startling anyone or anything in the vicinity. This included two weary riders who were keen to get to the next town, to enjoy a modicum of civilisation.

The blinding flash and sheer volume of the crash more than suggested the impending storm was directly above.  So loud was the crack of thunder and the bright intensity of the flash of lightening that both riders were instantaneously startled and blinded.  It was evident from the way their horses skittishly jumped that they were equally unnerved.

The shock caused a short stream of obscenities to escape from Heyes’ mouth, as he brought his mount under control, while the Kid cursed more silently as he scoured their surroundings.

“We need to find somewhere to shelter before this storm really sets in,” he told his partner, who was now stroking his mare’s neck and talking to her in soothing tones.

“That’s the only place I can see,” he replied, with an inclination of his head in the direction of a stand of trees.

“Won’t give too much shelter from the rain and might not be the best place to be if the lightenin’ keeps up but don’t see much choice,” came the Kid’s resigned response.

Drops of rain began to fall, intermittently at first but then a steady, rhythmic tapping started, as the droplets landed on the surface of the saddles and brims of their hats.  Urging the horses to a faster pace they soon covered the ground and approached the perspective shelter.

As they drew closer a wailing sound drifted across the pattering of raindrops.  At first they thought it was the wind channelling through the trees but as it came again it sounded decidedly human. A brief glance passed between them before an unspoken understanding found them heading in the direction of the noise.

A dark shape loomed between the tree trunks and they realised it was a wagon.  On the ground next to it a body lay prone whilst a woman knelt next to him, cradling his head in her lap.

At the sound of approaching hoof beats the startled woman spun around.  

Heyes and the Kid pulled their horses to a stop and stayed seated so as not to cause any more alarm.
“Ma’am.  Would you like some help?” the Kid asked, his brow furrowed in concern.

“Oh please. The thunder - it was so loud. The horses were startled. Alfred was thrown to the ground. He won’t wake up.” The words tumbled from her mouth as she looked back and forwards from Alfred to Heyes and the Kid as they swung down off their horses.

The Kid went to check the horses while Heyes knelt besides the woman and checked the man.  
“He’s not dead. I can feel him breathing,” the woman informed him.

“Yes ma’am. Looks like he took a nasty knock to the head,” Heyes told her as he rolled Alfred’s head gently to one side to reveal a lump and gash in his scalp.

“We came to collect wood.  We had no idea the weather was going to turn so quickly. What am I to do?” she asked, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. Which spilled to merge with the rain drops running down her face..

“The wagon and team seem okay. Do you live far from here, Ma’am?” the Kid asked as her checked over the harness.

“No.  About a mile or so.  Would you help me get Alfred in the wagon so I can take him home?” she asked hopefully.

“We’ll make sure you both get home safely,” the Kid reassured her, ignoring the scowl he knew Heyes was sending his way.

“I’m pretty sure the only injury is to his head,” Heyes assured her, “so moving him won’t be a problem, ma’am.”

“I’m so grateful you came along. It would have been a struggle to move him on my own,” she said, placing her hand on Heyes arm.  “I don’t even know your names.”

After introducing themselves as Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones, Mary Lovett offered her own name, as they carefully lifted Alfred into the back of the wagon. Heyes helped Mary into the back, where she sat cradling her husband’s head in her lap.  The Kid pulled himself into the driving seat and waited until Heyes was mounted before slapping the reins, sending the team forward.

It wasn’t far to the house but the terrain was far from smooth.  Picking the way carefully around the more uneven track, the Kid kept the pace steady, so as not to jolt the injured man too much.  

Following Mary’s directions, the wagon finally rolled down an incline and there at the bottom was a small and slightly dilapidated cabin.  It didn’t take too long to lift Alfred inside and place him on the bed.

“Please, you’ve both been so kind won’t you stay and dry off and have something to eat? If you could see to the wagon while I tend to Alfred I’d be most grateful. There’s hay for your horses,” she fussed.
Heyes and the Kid exchanged a surreptitious look and with a small nod agreed to accept her invitation.

“That’s most generous, ma’am.”

O-O-O-O-O

It didn’t take long to settle and feed the horses.  The barn was dry and warm but it was obvious Mary and Alfred were not the wealthiest of couples.  In one stall was an old and bony cow and just a few chickens strutted about.

“They seem real nice people,” the Kid commented softly as he noted the repairs on the harness he had taken off the Lovett’s horses.

“Don’t like they’re doing too good though,” Heyes replied, taking a sniff of the dusty grain he had scooped out to feed his and Kid’s horses.

“Perhaps we can help out some until her husband’s back on his feet,” the Kid said, as he made his way to the barn door.

“There you go, helpin’ the needy folk again,” mumbled Heyes, following him back to the cabin.

There was a homely aroma of cooking as they entered and a pleasing feeling of warmth.

“Take those wet coats off and put them to dry by the stove,” Mary called out to them from behind a curtain, which acted as a partition between the living space and bedroom.

They did as they were bid, whilst taking in their surroundings.

The cabin was clean and tidy, The chairs and table, although well worn were made of good quality wood. Fine, bone china plates rested on the mantel with a few placed ornaments, which seemed out of keeping with the modest surroundings.

Heyes cocked a querying eyebrow at the Kid, who shrugged his response.  

Mary appeared from behind the curtain, wiping her hands on a cloth.

“He’s resting easy now but still hasn’t opened his eyes.”  Her worried expression told them of her real concern.

“I could go fetch a doctor,” the Kid offered.

“No!” she replied quickly.  “I’m afraid we can’t really afford to have the doctor out.  I’ll wait and see how he is in the morning.  If there’s no change I might have to consider it.”

Heyes could see the Kid considering whether to offer to help out so he quickly jumped in, “I think that’s a good idea.  No point getting the doc out here if there’s nothin’ to be done.”

The Kid gave his partner a mordacious look.

O-O-O-O-O

The Kid and Heyes both sat back in their chairs with a look of total satisfaction. Mary Lovell proved to be a more than adequate cook and they had both enjoyed a simple but tasty and satisfying chicken supper.

“That was mighty fine,” the Kid commented appreciatively as Mary poured steaming coffee into his mug.

“Thank you, Mr Jones. Been a while since I’ve cooked for anyone other than me and Alfred.”  Mary gave them a sad smile as she cleared the last of the plates.

“You lived here long, Ma’am?” Heyes enquired, his natural curiosity getting the better of him.

“About three years. We were in Wyoming before that.”  At these words she looked a little wistful and her eyes became glassy.

“Wyoming?” the Kid queried, a hint of nervousness in his voice but Mary was too contemplative to notice and it was left to his partner to send a warning look his way.

“I’ll just go and check on Alfred,” she told the partners.  “There’s a bottle of whiskey on the side. Pour yourselves a glass. I think you’ve earned it,” she said, giving them an affirmative nod before she disappeared behind the curtain.

Heyes got up from the table and picked up the bottle of whiskey.  Taking off the stopper he inhaled the fumes.

With an appreciative smile he looked at the Kid.  “That’s a mighty fine liquor.  Alfred certainly knows his whiskey.”  He couldn’t help but notice the anxious expression his partner was wearing.

“What’s eating you?” he remarked, taking two tumblers from the dresser and noting the quality of the glass, before placing them on the table and pouring a generous amount of whiskey in both.

“Wyoming, that’s what,” hissed the Kid. “You don’t suppose ….”

“I don’t suppose anything.  There are an awful lot of people in Wyoming. Now, have a drink and just relax.”

With a small huff, the Kid did as he was bid and sipped the amber liquid in the glass before him. He raised his eyebrows in surprise and took took a larger mouthful and swilled it appreciatively around his mouth.

“That is a mighty fine whiskey,” he commented, holding the glass to the light to see the clarity of the colouring.

“It’s one little luxury I couldn’t deny Alfred from our past life,” Mary remarked as she re-entered the room.

“How’s Alfred doing?” the Kid replied, with genuine concern.

“He seems to be resting a little easier and his breathing is steady. Hopefully it’s just a nasty bump to the head and he’ll be back with us in the morning.”  Her words were pragmatic but the anxiety showed in her eyes.

“Why don’t you have a little drop of whiskey, to calm yourself, Mary?” Heyes invited, reaching for another glass.  “You’ve had a stressful day and it might help you relax a little.”

Mary gave him an appreciative smile. “Do you know, I think I will,” she said, reaching behind to untie her apron strings, before coming to sit and join them around the table. It had been sometime since she’d had company in her own home and although she and Alfred got on well enough the strain of the last few years had made them more dissatisfied with life and they tended to be more terse with each other. Some polite conversation would be most welcome - as would a drop of whiskey.

She hadn’t meant to be so open but there was something about these two young men that made her feel comfortable and assured.  Perhaps it was the kindness they had shown she and her husband, or perhaps it was their relaxed but confident manner.

She noted the dark haired man admiring the glass he held.

“I use to have a set of eight of those glasses. They were a wedding present.  There are only four left now. A couple got broken on the move from Wyoming.  We had to leave a lot of our possessions behind. Our home was much larger there but I was determined to bring a few reminders of our previous life.”  Her melancholy tone was undeniable.

“Why did you move here?”  The words had left the Kid’s mouth before Heyes could send him one of his warning looks. His partner’s compassionate nature was one of the things he admired but at times it could be down right annoying.  Conversations like these often led to questions of their past being asked, and with the Wyoming connection he didn’t feel that was a real good idea!

The rhythmic drumming on the roof reminded him that it was preferable to be inside this warm, comfortable home, with a full belly, sipping whiskey than outside, soaked to the skin, trying to sleep on the hard, damp ground. Besides, with his silver tongue he was confident he could steer the conversation in the desired direction without too much trouble.  He decided to sit back and let Mary tell her story. What harm was there in that?

“Alfred and I had a good life in Wyoming.  We had a small ranch, which we spent nearly ten years building.  We had a few hundred head of cattle and a good reputation for the quality of our stock. Then things took a downward turn.  There was a drought and some of the cattle got sick from bad water.  But we had just enough put by to weather the storm.  I was expecting our first child too.  It was our little miracle we’d been trying for some years.”  

She paused to take a sip of whiskey and steady her quavering voice.

The Kid mired her whilst looking over at his stoic faced partner, as both wondered where this story was going.

“The drought continued and we lost more cattle. We had used most of our savings and then the rain came.  It washed away much of the small amount of crops that we had managed to grow but we didn’t give in. We didn’t have much money in the bank but knew we could borrow against the ranch.  It would take hard work but reckoned in another couple of years we could build it back up to what it was.  We’d got through the War so something like a drought and a little rain wasn’t going to defeat us!” she almost quipped.

Heyes and the Kid both smiled weakly at her comment.. They understood the destruction the War had wreaked.

“Alfred decided to invest in some cattle.  He’d heard that the drought had made another rancher decide to sell off his small herd and decided this is where the best investment would be.”

Another sip of whiskey was taken.

“He rode into town to secure a loan with the bank and that’s when it happened.”

Mary’s face paled at the memory.

“What happened, Ma’am?” the Kid enquired, his curiosity piqued by her story.

Mary took a deep breath.

“While Alfred was in the bank there was a hold up.  They walked in as brazen as you like, demanding all the money in the safe.”

It was Heyes and the Kid’s turn to turn a little pale now.

Mary’s eyes flashed with anger.  “The bank was our last hope.  We weren’t the only ones who lost everything that day.  Alfred would try and make light of it, saying at least we lost out to the most notorious outlaws in the West.”

“Umm, which notorious outlaws would that be, Ma’am?” the Kid asked, his voice quavering slightly.

“Why the Devil’s Hole Gang, that’s who!” Mary exclaimed, almost proudly.  “We didn’t lose everything to some no bit outlaws.”  The anger showed again in her tone and there was a glint of moisture in her eyes.

It was Heyes’ turn to interject.  “How can you be sure it was them? Plenty of other gangs about robbing banks,” he added defensively.

“Oh, it was them alright.  “Hannibal Heyes had the nerve to announce himself and then pointed out Kid Curry who stood there, brandishing a gun.  Made sure everyone one knew exactly who they were, like robbing a bank was something to be proud of.”

Mary tightened her grip on the whiskey tumbler, muttered something and then drained the glass.

Another surreptitious look was exchanged and Heyes saw the Kid visibly swallow.

“Who told you it was them?” Heyes persisted, knowing the answer.

“Alfred of course. He was there when they walked in.  Hannibal Heyes even tipped his hat at him.  He got a real good look at them. It was lucky nobody got killed!” she added for effect.

“Well, Mary, it’s a known fact that those particular outlaws never shot anyone.”

Heyes’ comment earned him another glacial glare from his partner.

“Oh, they may not have ever shot anyone, but they finished Alfred and my life off.  We had to sell the ranch and with the losses we had there was very little left over.  Couldn’t bear to stay in Wyoming with all its memories, especially when I lost the baby. So we moved out here.”

“I’m real sorry to hear that, Ma’am,” the Kid rasped, as he stood up from the table. “I think I’l just go check on the horses.”

Without a glance back at Heyes, the Kid scooped up his hat and disappeared into the cold, wet night.
“I’d better check on Alfred too,” Mary said as she also left the table.

Heyes sat on his own, clenching and unclenching his fists. Snatching up the whiskey bottle he started to pour himself another drink but suddenly stopped.  He’d taken enough from these people.

Out in the barn the Kid gripped the side of one of the stalls and gave it a good hard kick with his boot, his teeth gritted and his eyes misted.  A stream of expletives escaped through his lips.

O-O-O-O-O-O

The next morning Mary came to tell the boys the good news that Alfred had opened his eyes during the night and was now asking for some breakfast, only to find that there was no one there. As she looked out at the pouring rain she could only wonder why the two charming, young men had chosen to leave.

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PostSubject: It Never Rains But It Pours, or Kid Curry and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day   Sun May 22, 2016 8:47 pm

“C’mon sleepyhead wake up!”

The baritone voice was cheerful, annoyingly cheerful, in Kid Curry’s opinion, especially considering it was barely the crack of dawn.

“Rise and shine, Kid! It’s gonna be a beautiful day! The birds are singing, the sun’s just peeking up over the horizon.”

Curry muttered something indecipherable, possibly obscene, under his breath and rolled over in his bedroll, pulling his saddle blanket more tightly around his shoulders.

But Heyes wasn’t giving up. Kid could feel the toe of his partner’s boot nudging uncomfortably into his ribs. Now the unbearably chipper voice was right next to his ear, so close he could feel the accompanying warm breath. The unmistakable aroma of Heyes’ extra-strong coffee wafted under his nose. “There’s hot coffee, crisp bacon, and my biscuits came out extra flaky today, Kid. C’mon! Where’s that famous appetite of yours?”

“Heyes,” Curry groaned, without opening his eyes, “I was up half the night pukin’ my guts out! I’m surprised you didn’t hear me.”

“Aww, I’m sorry, Kid. I didn’t know. I slept like a baby last night. Best sleep I’ve had in weeks... Feelin’ any better this morning?”

At least he had the decency to sound concerned, thought the Kid grouchily. Eyes still closed, he took inventory: He was exhausted from lack of sleep. His head was pounding. His belly was wretchedly empty, yet the normally tantalizing smell of freshly cooked bacon only served to make him feel nauseated. To top it off, something hard and pointed seemed to be digging into his back. Kid groped beneath himself and discovered a large pinecone had somehow lodged itself beneath his lumbar region. Dragging himself to a sitting position with his other hand, he pitched the offending object into the sparse woods next to their campsite and cracked one eye open. He was mildly surprised to find the other eye seemed to be inoperable.

“Geez, Kid.” His partner’s voice was filled with sympathy, but still had the unbearably cheerful undertone. “Looks like something bit you in the night. Mosquito or some such. Your eye’s swollen shut.”

“Thanks, for tellin’ me Heyes. I never would have noticed,” Curry muttered sarcastically.

“You’re welcome, Partner! Sure you don’t want any bacon?” Heyes held a fatty strip of pork sickeningly close to Kid’s nose.

“No,” Curry replied, swallowing the bile rising up in the back of his throat. “I just wanna sleep for about a week, Heyes.” He plopped back down onto his bedroll, only to rise instantly, yelping, “OW!”

“Kid, be careful. You went and hit your head on a rock.”

This time Kid did not thank his partner for pointing out the obvious. Instead he gingerly rubbed the back of his head where an egg-shaped lump was beginning to form.

Heyes tidied up the campsite and stowed their gear as he chattered merrily, “But you can’t go back to sleep, Kid! Don’t you remember, we’ve got that job for the Governor in Granite Falls! We’ve got a day’s ride ahead of us and if we don’t get on the trail in the next 10 minutes, we’re gonna be late. And this is our chance to really impress the Governor once and for all! Maybe we’ll finally get our amnesty, Kid.”

“You go, Heyes. You get the amnesty. I’ll just wait here.” Curry slumped down again, this time more carefully, avoiding the large rock whose acquaintance he’d previously made.

“Kid, this is what we’ve been working towards for the last two and a half years! You can’t give up now.”

“Yes I can.”

Ten minutes later, both former outlaws were mounted on their respective horses, Heyes having half-dragged, half-persuaded his cranky, miserable partner into the saddle. Within that span of time, Curry had discovered a scorpion had crawled into one of his boots during the night, then managed to knock his beloved sheepskin jacket too close to the embers of the dying campfire as he hopped around on one foot howling and cursing. Said jacket now featured a prominent singe mark on the right sleeve. Then, as he was tightening the cinch on his gelding, the large bay took umbrage and executed a couple of fussy dance steps, one hoof landing squarely on the toe of Kid’s other foot. To make matters worse, as Curry yelped and yanked his foot away, he lost his balance and slid sideways into a conveniently situated muddy patch of earth.

Heyes didn’t dare crack a smile, but when he glanced back at his partner, he was such a sorry sight it was darn tempting: shoulders hunched in misery, one eye swollen shut, burnt jacket sleeve, mud-caked pant leg, both feet hanging free of the stirrups in an effort to ease his sore toes. As Heyes watched him, Curry started to contort in his saddle and reach behind his back. Now what? Heyes thought, trying to figure out what his partner was up to. Soon it became apparent he was scratching – scratching his upper back with both hands as if his life depended on it.

Heyes reined his mare around and trotted back the few yards to fall into step next to Curry, who had dropped his reins and was now scratching his back with one hand and his chest with the other, clawing at his skin in seeming desperation.

“Kid,” Heyes commanded. “Let me see.” He reached over and pulled up the edge of his cousin’s shirt to reveal angry red welts covering his torso, both front and back. “What is it?” he asked in alarm.

“I don’t know, but it itches like hell!”

“Try not to scratch it,” Heyes said helpfully.

The look his partner gave him in response to that suggestion had nothing short of murder in it.

Curry continued scratching, no longer paying any attention to the trail. That’s when his horse took a slight hop over a stone. The Kid, without his feet in the stirrups nor his hands on the reins, slid right off the horse and landed hard on his tailbone. After a stream of colorful four-letter words, Kid’s semi-incoherent rant ended in the plaintive, “What next?! What else can possibly go wrong?!” All this while rubbing his hind end with one hand and continuing to scratch at his ribs with the other.

Hannibal Heyes hopped from his own horse and hastened to his partner’s side. As he reached down to haul the Kid to his feet, he tried valiantly to cheer his spirits. “Well, Kid,” he began jovially, “ya know what Grampa Curry used to say -- ”

“Shut up, Heyes.”

“It never rains but it --”

“Don’t say it, Heyes --”

“Pours.”


Plop.


Plop.


Plop.


The raindrops started to fall one by one, first slowly, then faster and faster and closer together.

Kid Curry’s only consolation was that the rain fell equally on both him and his partner.
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PostSubject: Re: May 2016 - It Never Rains But It Pours...   Mon May 23, 2016 12:49 am

Haven't posted anything in a challenge in quite a while, so I was thinking and thought the first part of one of my stories kind of fits the challenge title. Sorry if you've already read it. It's been edited to fit under 3,000 words. The story was inspired by a 1993 movie.

Thrown For A Loop

The cool early Autumn rain had dissipated leaving a translucent fog hanging over the valley. Nocturnal insects had started to perform their droning song as the evening twilight faded slowly into obscurity. The only other sound to be heard was the squish of horses' hooves on the muddy trail. Two damp and weary riders stared ahead, looking for any sign of civilization.

"I thought there was supposed to be a town around here somewhere."

Hannibal Heyes looked over at his partner Kid Curry to see him scowling under the floppy brown hat. "There is...somewhere..."

"Well there better be. I ain't plannin' to spend another night sleepin' on this soggy ground."

"Don't worry Kid. You won't have to. I'll find you a rock to sleep on."

"I'm fixin' to find a rock to brain you with."

Heyes tried to hold back a smile as he turned to face forward again. As they turned a bend, he pointed up ahead. "Look there. I think I see the outlines of some buildings."

Another five minutes found them riding past a sign declaring the start of a town. Heyes pulled his mount to a stop as he quizzically looked at it. "Destiny Loop?" What kinda name is that for a town?"

"As long as there's a sheriff that don't know us, a place to get a hot meal, and a hotel with an empty bed, they could name it Outhouse for all I care."

Heyes clicked his horse back into motion and followed Kid toward the main street. Momentarily, they passed the sheriff's office. "Don't seem to be anyone we know in the law business here."

Kid was quietly checking out the surroundings. "Maybe we ought to keep going Heyes. This place has a weird feeling about it."

"What? Just two minutes ago you were ready to kill if you had to spend another night outside."

"Yeah, well, I'm havin' second thoughts."

"Don't be ridiculous. This is just another town on the trail, like all the rest. You'll feel better after some food and sleep."

"Maybe..."

They stopped and checked into the hotel, then after taking their horses to the livery, hurried to the cafe to get some dinner before it closed.

Later, back in their room, Heyes had settled himself down to read a little. "Well, Kid. Feeling a little better now?"

Curry threw the quilt back on his bed and climbed in. "Yeah, I guess so. That pot roast and this semi-comfy bed is helpin'." It wasn't two minutes after he laid down before he was snoring softly.

A little while later, Heyes put his book down on the nightstand and finally fell asleep.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

"COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOO...COCK-A-DOO..."

BANG

"SQUAAAWWKK..."

"What the..." Heyes jerked up in bed and grabbed his gun. After seeing nobody in the room with him, he got up and looked out the window. In the street below, the sheriff was pushing a staggering drunk who had apparently just shot a rooster toward the jail. A hand was run through the dark hair as Heyes put his gun back in his holster. He was getting ready to wash his face when the Kid unlocked the door and walked in.

"Mornin' Heyes."

Heyes grunted in reply. "Where have you been this early?"

"Went out to get some breakfast and a paper. Didn't want to wake ya, so I just brought you something back."

"I hope it includes coffee."

"Got it right here." Kid set the steaming cup on a table. "Were you awake in time to see the excitement?"

"The excitement is what woke me up. What happened out there?"

"Some guy spent all night with a whiskey bottle and didn't appreciate that rooster's wake-up call."

Heyes snorted a quiet laugh and turned back to the wash basin.

"Since we're runnin' low on money, I was glancin' at this paper while I ate and saw a couple ads for jobs. One's out at a small ranch patchin' up a barn. The other's deliverin' some documents out to a mine."

Heyes paused to peer at his cousin through the wash basin mirror. "Let me guess. You chose the delivery job."

Kid shot Heyes his most charming, innocent smile. "Well, I figured this time, I'd do the decidin' instead of that coin of yours."

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

Heyes stood in the livery stable tacking up his horse. Out of the corner of his eye, he could tell the stable boy mucking out the next stall kept staring at him. Heyes turned his head and touched his hat in greeting. The boy nodded his head back and turned his attention back to his work. The only other time he looked up was to watch Heyes lead his mare out into the street. A smile creased his young face as the ex-outlaw mounted up and started his mare around the right corner of the livery.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

Kid had already picked up the mining documents and was on his way out of town. The morning air was pleasant as the sun drifted in and out of cloud cover. He smiled smugly as he thought of the fact that he had gotten the cushy job this time. Heyes usually ended up with it either through manipulation or that dratted coin of his. He could just see Heyes cursing to himself up on the roof of a barn trying to patch it. Heyes wasn't the best when it came to carpentry. He'd say it was a safe bet his partner would return to the hotel with more than one cut or bruise on his hands. Kid let his horse plod lazily down the trail.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

Heyes was headed in the opposite direction. The ranch lay just about twenty minutes ride from the town. He kept a close watch behind him as he rode. He didn't know why the stable boy had been staring at him, but he figured if he'd been recognized, he'd be running from a posse by now.

As he rode, he thought about how unfair it was that he had ended up with the job that required the most work. At least the Kid had a much longer ride than he did.

The ranch came into view. As he got closer, he groaned when he saw the repairs that needed to be done were on the barn's roof. Next time, Kid was definitely getting the hard job. He rode up to the ranch house where a middle-aged lady appeared on the porch wiping her hands on a dish towel.

"Can I help you with something?" she asked as she looked Heyes over. Heyes dismounted.

"Howdy ma'am. My name's Joshua Smith. I'm here about the job you had in the paper, patching up the barn?"

"Oh yes, yes. It's not a very big job, just finishing up patching the hole in the barn's roof. Shouldn't take no more than a day or two. My husband had started the work, but he got a telegraph saying his ma was real sick and he left to see her. He put the ad in the paper before he left so hopefully we could get the repairs done before any more rain. We have such a small ranch we never hired any ranch hands. Will you listen to me just goin' on and on. Come on in Mr. Smith and have a cup of coffee while I tell you about the job. By the way, I'm Mrs. Baker."

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

Kid was allowing himself to enjoy the ride even though his senses were still on guard.Up ahead, on the side of the road in a grove of trees, his eyes caught the slightest glint of sunlight hitting metal. He slowed his black gelding to a stop and pulled his Colt out of his holster.

"Hey up there," he called out in a commanding voice. "You might as well unload your gun, throw it out on the road, and come out of those trees. If I don't see it tossed out, I'm gonna have to start shootin' and don't think I can't hit you at this distance."

To prove his point to the would-be bandit, he shot the tree limb above where the man's head would be. It wasn't a few seconds later that he saw a gun slung into the road followed by a decidedly disgruntled highwayman with his hands raised. Kid kept his .45 trained on the man as he rode up to him.

"You know, hiding in full shadow is alot more effective than in partial sunlight," Curry said as he dismounted.

The man scowled at him. "Just who are you mister?"

"Somebody that's teachin' you a lesson. Now lay down there with your hands behind your back."

The man did as he was told as Kid dug some rawhide thongs from his saddlebag. "And just what lesson is that?" the man growled.

"Be careful who you try to rob."

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

Heyes had been told all the supplies he needed to fix the roof was in the barn. He went in and spotted a crate full of various tools next to a couple of barrels. As he reached down to grab a hammer, he heard a hiss from behind one of the barrels. He froze, his eyes searching desperately for the snake he knew was there. He couldn't find it. It was well hidden in the shadows and he had no idea how close it might be to him. He quickly debated the best course of action to take. Should he try to back up slowly so he wouldn't startle the creature or pull back fast in case it struck out at him? He decided and mentally prepared himself to jerk back as fast as he could possibly move.

He took a deep breath and jumped back as far as he could get from the crate and barrels. As soon as he had started to move, he heard an ungodly screech and a very scared and mad cat ran out from behind the barrel.

Heyes released the breath he was still holding and frowned at the retreating animal. He frowned yet again when he saw what he had managed to jump on top off. He rolled his eyes and tried to wipe the brown mess off his boots. Then he gathered the tools and nails needed and went around the side of the barn where a ladder stood leaning against the wall.

To get the stuff he needed to work with up on the roof, he got a bucket, put his things in it, and tied a rope to the handle. He then climbed the ladder and stood on the edge of the roof to pull the bucket up. Once in the air, the stuff shifted in the bucket causing it to lean to one side as he pulled it up. Heyes didn't pay it any attention and halfway up, the bucket caught on a protruding nail in the ladder. Before he could stop pulling the rope so it could right itself, all the weight being on one side caused the bucket to tilt enough to drop its contents back to the ground.

'I should of just stayed in bed today,' Heyes thought as he descended the ladder to gather up the tools and nails laying about. This time, he made sure to distribute the weight evenly in the bucket and once back on the roof, stood away from the ladder to pull it up. From his vantage point, he noticed the two cows and horse in the pasture had stopped eating to watch him.

"Enjoying the show?" he called out sarcastically. As if in reply, the horse snorted and lowered its head to continue grazing.

Finally, after a few minutes, Heyes had settled himself next to the hole in the roof and started to work.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

Kid had deposited the unruly bandit next to the road tied to a tree. He lead the man's horse off just around the bend and left it to graze to its heart's content. He figured it would take the man at least an hour to get himself out of the trussed up state he'd left him in. Even then, he'd have to locate his horse, so Kid wasn't worrying too much about him.

The rest of the ride to the mine was pretty uneventful. As he rode up, two men started walking towards him. One of the men, apparently the mine foreman, didn't look happy at all.

"Who are you and what are you doing here?" he demanded.

"My name is Jones and I was hired to bring these documents up here," Kid explained as he dismounted.

"I told that banker not to be sending anymore men up here to try to serve me that nonsense. Now, you just git right back up on your horse and go tell Reynolds my brother owns this land fair and square and he ain't got no legal reason to foreclose on it."

"Look mister, I have no idea what you're talkin' about. I'm just supposed to give you this envelope and then go get paid and that's what I aim to do. Whatever business you got with this Reynolds guy don't involve me none. I'm just tryin' to do a job."

"Well, as soon as you rode onto this property you got involved."

The man's companion stepped forward to put in his two cents. "Looks like old Reynolds went and hired himself a gunslinger to do his dirty work."

Kid turned an icy blue stare at the foreman's minion. "I ain't a gunslinger and even if I was, I wouldn't hire out my gun. Now, you gonna take this envelope?"

"No, we're not. You better just take it and git. We ain't gonna tell you no more." The man backed up as he spoke and squared up to Curry.

"And I ain't gonna tell YOU no more that I ain't leavin' until this document's delivered." Kid could tell by the man's cockiness that he wasn't going to back down. He sighed inwardly and readied himself for the inevitable.

His opponent sneered at him. A tense few seconds passed and the man went for his gun only to find it shot off his hip before he could grab it. Kid reholstered his revolver and turned back to the foreman who had his mouth gaped open. "Now, I suggest you take this and let me be on my way." The man only nodded in reply.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

"SON OF A ...," Heyes did his best to surpress a yell as he hit his hand for what seemed like the hundredth time. He looked down at the newest bruise forming and added carpentry to his list of jobs too hard on the back.

After the pain had subsided a bit, he reached for another shingle. There was none to be found. He rolled his eyes as he got up to go down the ladder yet again to get some more.

There were a couple of rungs left to step down onto when his foot slipped and he fell flat on his butt. He lay there a moment gritting his teeth. When he got up, pain temporarily shot up his back. He shook it off though as he was pretty sure one couldn't break one's rear.

He gathered together some shingles and went back to the roof.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~

The sun was low on the horizon when Heyes decided to quit for the day. He stretched as he stood up. At least he was almost finished. He COULD'VE been finished had he not had his mishaps and trudged up and down that ladder a thousand times. Plus, he could've worked a little harder. Tomorrow, Kid could come help him so it wouldn't take long to complete.

He made it back to the saloon about five minutes before Kid showed up. He was leaning on the bar looking kinda rough when Curry walked over to him and ordered a drink.

"You look like you had a good day," Kid quipped sipping his beer.

Heyes just glared at him. He decided to change the subject. "Did you enjoy your leisurely ride to deliver that document?"

It was Kid's turn to glare. "I've had better days."

"Well, I'll bet you didn't have as much aggravation as I had."

Curry gulped down the rest of the beer. "I'm going after some dinner. You comin'?"

Heyes nodded and finished off his own drink.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

After they had finished eating and filling each other in on the day's events, they retired to their hotel room.

"With both of us working on that roof tomorrow, we should be done by noon and can relax the rest of the day," Heyes said removing his boots.

"Think that lady will pay extra since both of us will be workin'?"

"I'm sure I could convince her to." Heyes reclined against the bed's headboard and opened his book.

"Well, I sure hope you're more successful at that than you were hittin' nails," Kid smirked looking at Heyes' hands.

Heyes snorted at him and started to read. Kid lay down and was asleep within minutes.

Heyes read for about ten minutes then suddenly felt extremely sleepy himself. He turned to place his book on the nightstand. Before he could lay it down, it slipped out of his hand. He tried to grab it, but only succeeded in tearing the paperback cover. Rolling his eyes, he picked it up off the floor and put it on the table.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOO...COCK-A-DOO..."

BANG

"SQUAAAWWKK..."

"What the..." Heyes jerked up in bed and grabbed his gun. After seeing nobody in the room with him, he got up and looked out the window. In the street below, the sheriff was pushing a staggering drunk who had apparently just shot a rooster toward the jail. A hand was run through the dark hair as Heyes put his gun back in his holster. He froze where he stood and a confused look appeared on his face. "Now wait a minute..."

More of this is posted on fanfiction.net if you're interested.

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PostSubject: Re: May 2016 - It Never Rains But It Pours...   Fri May 27, 2016 5:10 am

“It Never Rains That It Pours”* **
(aka) “Fifty Ways to Weather the Weather”


Treating myself recently to one of my favorite movies, “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid,” a scene that I enjoy very much came on: the one where Butch is riding the bicycle, with Etta on the handlebars. In the background, you hear a song playing, “Raindrops Keep Falling On my Head.” I started to think about it and realized that there's not a drop of rain in that scene at all. Yet the song worked. Further thinking on my part sent me in the direction of this month's challenge title and I decided to have a bit of fun with it.

My favorite part of writing is the research; the “behind-the-scenes” stuff; the whys and what-fors. The challenge for me here was to incorporate song titles and rain-related words and weave them into a story. See how many are familiar to you. Don't know one? Songs and terms are numbered, but I didn't want to take up room here with them, so you won't find the footnotes below. (You can find them on our other site's home page under moonshadow's monthly challenges.)
http://asjbuckshot.forumotion.com/t376-may-challenge-it-never-rains-that-it-pours#945

~*~*~*~*
* The expression may have come from either a book by Queen Anne's physician, John Arbuthnot, or an article by Jonathan Swift, both entitled "It Cannot Rain But It Pours," both published in 1726.
** Proverb: “Good (or bad) things do not just happen a few at a time, but in large numbers all at once.”

~*~*~*~*

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry were in front of their hotel, seated next to each other on a bench that faced the street. Sprawled out and slouched down in boredom, they stared with vacant eyes through an incessant curtain of pouring water at the building that sat straight across the street from them: the saloon. The building stared back, as if mocking them. On any other normal day, the pair would be inside that building. But not today. Not yesterday. And not the day before.

“You'd think a town with a name like Dry Gulch would at least have something dry in it somewhere!” Curry groused. “There hasn't been a day without rain(1) since we got here!”

“Uh, huh,” Heyes nodded in agreement and fell silent.

In unison, they heaved deep sighs of resignation and resumed staring.

All around them, the neverending storm raged. From a sky the color of cigar ash, dark thunderclouds rumbled, treating spectators to one light show after another as flashes of lighting streaked across the horizon. The torrential rain fell, hammering everything in its path with a relentless vengeance.

“It's really not that far,” Curry speculated. “Wanna flip a coin?”

“Nope,” Heyes answered. “This is one toss I don't want to win.”

Curry turned to eye his partner.

Occasionally, if they were lucky, someone brave enough to weather the deluge would pass by, sometimes even stopping to exchange a word or two with the strangers. Heyes and Kid listened for the squishing sounds the soggy boots and shoes made as they traversed the boardwalk. In an effort to alleviate some of the boredom that had set in, the two men made bets on the walker's identity.

Not one foot was squishing so far today.

“We could go eat,” Curry suggested.

“It's only been an hour since breakfast, Kid.”

“Oh,” Curry muttered dejectedly. Crestfallen, he slouched back down on the bench.

“You hungry?” Heyes asked, then held up a hand and chuckled. “Nevermind, I know the answer.”

Kid ignored him.

A companionable silence fell upon them as they watched the rainstorm continue to wreck havoc on the town. The incessant stream of muddy water that flowed past them had a mesmerizing effect and added to the monotony. Their eyes followed a woven basket as it floated by. Buffeted about by the storm, it bobbed and spun around. It also broke the silent spell.

“You wanna play another game of checkers?” Kid ventured.

“No.”

“A couple hands of blackjack?”

“No.”

Curry sighed and lapsed into another silence. All of a sudden, the corners of his mouth curved up and a mischievous glint appeared in his curry-blue eyes. “Wanna go fishin'?”

The look was in full force when Heyes turned his head slowly to face his partner.

“There's plenty of water,” Curry shrugged. “Might be fish out there.”

A derisive snort was Heyes' only reply.

A tad on the defensive, Curry countered, “Aren't you the one always tellin' me to look on the bright side of things?”

“When there IS a bright side!” Heyes retorted with a roll of his eyes skyward.

A child's lilting voice coming from a window next door to the hotel forestalled any further comment. “Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day, little Sally wants to play, so rain, rain go away...”(2)

“MY song's better'n yours, Sally!” boasted a young boy's voice and then he began to sing. “It's rainin', it's pourin', the old man is snorin'. He went to bed an' bumped his head an' didn't wake up 'til mornin'.”(3)

“MY song's better – it has MY name in it! Rain, rain, go away -”

“No it's not – It's rainin', it's pourin' -”

“... come again some other day -”

“BOTH songs are wonderful,” a diplomatic female voice intervened. “Who wants to help me make cookies?” After cheers of affirmation, a peaceful silence prevailed once again.

“Cookies?” Curry repeated, an optimistic look in his eyes as he glanced quickly at the cafe. “Maybe it's time for dinner?” he suggested hopefully.

“It's only been fifteen minutes since you last asked,” Heyes shook his head.

Curry fell back against the bench with a resigned sigh.

A series of squishes broke into their boredom and heralded the arrival of a new distraction.

Curry cocked his head. “Bet it's that drummer, Mike. Wonder what he'll try to sell us this time?”

“More cure-all?” Heyes hazarded with a quirk of his brow.

“Hope it's not that snake-oil, although it'd be worth buyin' a bottle or two, if it'd stop him from tellin' us those awful jokes!” Curry avowed.

“Sure would,” Heyes nodded. “Well, my guess is Hal - the blacksmith.”

As the squishing sounds drew near, they turned their heads to the left.

“Glad to see it's you, Mike,” Kid greeted the man in the rain slicker. “You just won me a nickel!”

“I'm glad somebody's winning something – sure ain't any money bein' made by me sellin' my merchandise!” the drummer snapped. “All I know is that raindrops keep fallin' on my head!”(4) A smile broke out on his face. “Say, that's a pretty catchy phrase – maybe I can play around with it, turn it into some kinda song?” He removed his hat and thumped it against the building to get the water off. “Hey, fellas, that reminds me; I've got a new one for you. Listen to this: It's rainin' cats an' dogs out there. You know how I know? I just stepped in a poodle!” (5) Mike howled with laughter, slapped his thigh and plopped his soggy hat back on his head.

Heyes and Curry rolled their eyes and forced smiles to their faces.

“I'll have to remember that one, Mike,” Heyes said aloud. Under his breath, he added, “Remember not to tell it to anyone!”

“A poodle?” Curry queried behind cover of his hand.

“Some kind of fancy little dog for rich people,” Heyes responded quietly. “Not much good on a ranch or farm.”

“Oh.” Although Curry's brow puckered, he offered no further comment when a new set of squishes were heard.

Heyes spoke up first with his guess. “That's gotta be Bob Colton - from the mercantile.”

“No,” Curry shook his head and cocked his side to better listen to the squishing footwear. “Sounds more like Reverend Armstrong.”

“Hey - you two are getting real good at this – bet you're great trackers!” the drummer exclaimed in awe. “Looks like you're both winners,” he nodded towards the newcomers.

Sure enough, when Heyes and Kid turned to look, they saw two men walking towards them.

“Good morning, gentlemen,” Reverend Anderson greeted the small group. “This stormy weather(6) sure makes an ordinary morning stroll feel as if the devil himself was at my back! I felt as though we were being buffeted about like sparrows in a hurricane,(7) didn't you, Bob?”

“I don't have time to feel like a bird - I just came down here so I have witnesses around to see - and hear - what I'm about to do!” Bob stepped to the edge of the boardwalk and shook his fist at the downpour. “Dagnabbit all - don't let the rain come down – my roof's got a hole in it and I might drown!(8)

His words elicited chuckles, as well as amused looks, from the men behind him.

Bob turned around. “It's the gospel truth!” he sputtered and then glanced at the clergyman. “Oh, sorry, Reverend; no offense.”

Into each life a little rain must fall,”(9) Armstrong replied, his tone complacent. “Just remember that eventually every storm runs out of rain,”(10) he added and tipped his head at the group. “Have a good day, gentlemen.”

Curry leaned over to Heyes. “A little rain?” he whispered. “This storm don't look like it's runnin' outta anything!”

“He's just looking on the bright side, Thaddeus.”

It was Kid's turn to give his partner the look.

Bob had turned back to stare balefully at the drencher responsible for making his life miserable. “You know, if anyone had asked me three days ago what I thought about the rainstorm, I'd have said it was a cloudburst, or at the worst, a real gullywasher(11), but now...” his voice faded off. “You know,” he mused, “this kinda rain reminds me of the time when I was over in England. They had a real peculiar saying about a storm, you know, for when the rain comes down in long, straight streaks, just like the way it's doing now. Let me think on it a minute to see if I can remember how it goes...” The group waited while he closed his eyes and mumbled to himself a few times. All of a sudden, his eyes popped open and he snapped his fingers. “Got it! They said it was raining stair-rods.”(12)

Varying reactions followed his statement, including expressions that ranged from dubious surprise to outright curiosity. One blank look and one scrunched up brow completed the collection

“I'm sure I've never heard that term used here before,” Heyes commented. “Do you have any idea what stair-rods are?”

“Sure do,” Bob nodded. “I had exactly the same question when I first heard the odd phrase, so I asked. They told me that the rods hold the stair-carpet in the angle between the two steps. For today, stair-rods is a good description because both the rods and the rain are long and straight.” He glanced around at the group and added, “Well, now that you've all learned something new, guess I'd better get going – might have to borrow a boat and row home,” Bob half-joked wryly.

Along with nodding heads, there was a general burst of laughter from the male population huddled together on the boardwalk.

“Hey, look who's come out to join us,” Heyes called out. “It's about time we had some females around here to balance things out.”

“Myrtle and Gertrude!” everybody chorused together as the middle-aged twins who ran the cafe next door to the hotel stepped around the corner.

“No need to be so formal - Myrt and Gert will do just fine,” Gert smiled at the group. “Oh, my goodness, Myrt,” she twittered. “See, I told you it was doing more than pelting down rain out here - it's raining men!”(13)

Her remark caused another round of geniality as the men chuckled at her words.

“Oh, I do like to hear laughter in the rain,”(14) Myrt smiled. “Considering how much of the wet stuff we've been having, it's real nice to hear someone who's happy.”

“I'd settle for a real nice heat wave!”(15) Mike grumbled. “And the sooner the better! Three days of this downpour is enough to drive a person loco! I'm tired of feeling like a drowned rat all the time – I haven't felt the sun in three long days!”

As Mike's rant died out, Myrt and Gert whispered together before Gert broke away to stand in front of him. “Myrt and I have some advice that might help you, Mr. Mike. Open up your heart and let the sunshine in(16) – you'll forget all about the rain and you'll feel warmer inside, too.” Her message delivered she hurried back to her sister's side.

Finding himself at a loss for words, Mike silently beseeched the other men for help.

Bob came to his aid. “That's a real nice sentiment ladies; real nice. Uh, Mike, didn't you say you'd walk with me as far as the livery?” At the man's blank look, Bob widened his eyes “My wagon - remember? In the barn? I need to check on it as well as my horses.”

“Your wagon...?” Bob repeated, his mind still in a muddle. And then it hit him. “Oh yes... we were about to leave when the ladies joined us.” He stepped closer to Mike and licked his lips. “Got anything to drink in that wagon of yours?” he inquired in a low tone. He looked at the saloon across the street and the swollen body of water that separated them. “I'm not in any kinda mood to swim through all that just to get a drink.”

Mike nodded; his eyes lit up at the possibility of making a sale on such a dismal and dreary day. “All kinds of stuff; I'll be glad to show you - I'm sure you'll find something you need or want...” his voice faded off as the duo walked down the boardwalk.

“Well, Gert, it's time for us to head back to the cafe,” Myrt tugged on her sister's arm.

“Yes,” Gert nodded, “we've done enough gallivanting around for a while; back to work. We'll be seeing you later, right, boys?”

Heyes and Curry nodded. Curry watched them leave with a wistful expression. If he'd had his way, they be following right behind the twins! Left alone once more in the silence that followed everyone's departure, he gave the saloon a speculative look. “You know, if we threw a hook across the water -”

“The roof's sloped.”

“We could rig a pulley,” Curry persisted stubbornly. “Like we did in Porterville, to get that dynamite across to the roof of the bank.”

“Won't work. Nothing to grab on to.”

Defeated temporarily, Kid sat back and folded his arms across his chest, his expression thoughtful. “We could always go back to the room and read?” he offered in a half-hearted tone a few moments later.  

“We?” Heyes gave Curry an amused look. “I'd tell you that you came up with a good idea, but I've already read them all.” A beat later he added, “But if you want to read them...”

“No - uh, I mean I didn't see any I liked,” Curry hedged quickly. “That's okay, on second thought, maybe it'd be better if we just stay right here. If we leave, we might lose our bench.”

“Uh, huh,” Heyes couldn't prevent the chuckle Curry's response evoked. “You know, Kid, sometimes you're the silver lining in my storm clouds.”

“I don't know 'bout that, Heyes.” Curry wrinkled his nose and shook his head. "Somehow, I don't think we're what you'd call rainy day people.”(17)

Heyes began to tug on his boot. “Button up your coat and get your boots off.” He paused a beat then, as an afterthought added, “Oh, and your socks, too.”

“Huh?” Curry's brow furrowed. “Why?”

“'Cos that saloon is calling our name and I'm tired of sitting here listening to it.” A few moments later, boots in hand, Heyes looked at his partner. “Ready?”

Curry nodded. “First time I've ever swam to a saloon.”

Heyes grinned, cocked his head to the side and eyed his partner critically. “One more thing.” He stepped forward to tug Curry's hat down firmly on his head.

“What'd you do that for?”

“To protect your face,” Heyes grinned and gave his partner a wink. “I can't bear the thought of your blue eyes cryin' in the rain.”(18)

The two men jumped off the boardwalk and into the swirling water and mud, then trudged their way to the other side of the street, holding their boots above their heads.  A trip that should have taken less than a minute, turned into fifteen. Exhausted and out of breath, but with their goal in sight, Heyes and Curry finally found the first step and grabbed hold of the railing to help pull themselves up and out of the water. Just as their feet touched the boardwalk, the rain began to taper off. A few moments later, a single ray of sunshine poked through an opening that had appeared in the clouds. The raindrops were trickling down to a drizzle.

Heyes collapsed in a chair. Using his bandana, he began to dry off his feet before putting a sock on each one. He had one foot inside a boot and was in the process of shoving his foot into the other boot one when his partner tapped him on the shoulder.

“Look,” Curry pointed to the sky.

Heyes finished sliding his foot inside the boot and glanced up to see a rainbow that arched across the sky. “Well, I'll be... That's gotta be a good omen, Kid.” Seeing that Curry already had both boots on, Heyes grinned and clapped his partner on the back. “Let's go see if we can find our own pots of gold inside that saloon.”

Sporting ear-to-ear grins, the two men pushed their way through the batwings.

As the doors swung back and forth behind them, Curry stepped back long enough to stare at the swollen body of water that was still swirling through the town. His wistful eyes lifted to where the “Myrt and Gert's Cafe” sign hung in the window. The cafe, which was now on the opposite side of the street, looked very far away.

“Wonder if Heyes gave any thought to us gettin' back to the hotel... an' the cafe?” With a shrug of resignation, he put his hand on his stomach and whispered, “Guess you'll jus' havta settle for a beer for now; maybe an egg or two if we're real lucky.” He turned away to join his partner who was already seated at a table putting his money down.
~*~*~*~*

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PostSubject: Re: May 2016 - It Never Rains But It Pours...   Sat May 28, 2016 8:59 am

It Never Rains when it Pours


 



Two miserable looking outlaws sat sheltering from the rain at the base of a wide spreading tree, knees drawn up. They held the reins of two equally looking miserable horses. Correction – deluge! They had been sitting there for hours and there was no sign the – deluge was letting up.




Neither of them had spoken for a while. The Kid broke the silence.




“Heyes.”




“Hmm?” the other grunted.




“Next time we go on a job, do me a favour, check the weather forecast first huh? This is the third job we’ve been stuck out in bad weather.”




Heyes rolled his eyes and looked away.




“Aw, what ya complaining about Kid? It’s jus’ a little rain,” Heyes said, hugging his knees.




The Kid turned his head and gave Heyes a look.




“A little rain?” he said, incredulously. “Heyes, if we sit here much longer, Mr and Mrs Noah are gonna be sailing by in an ark!”




Heyes gave him a broad smile. “Well that’ll be good. Mebbe they’ll be going our way an’ can give us a lift!”




Heyes was conscious that he got the look again, stuck his hand out to feel the force of the rain, grimaced and shook the cuff of his jacket where water had run down inside it.




“What is it with you an’ weather Kid? We go south, it’s too hot. We go north, it’s too cold. We go west, it’s too windy. We go east, it’s too dusty! Is anywhere jus’ right?”




They looked at each other. Heyes didn’t expect an answer, the Kid wasn’t inclined to give one and they both turned away.




Uncomfortable silence ensued. Heyes hugged his knees and hummed, tunelessly. The Kid took out a knife and started to whittle a stick.




“Getting dark soon,” Heyes said, looking up at the already dark sky. He scratched idly under his chin.




The Kid grunted ambiguously.




Heyes sighed deeply.




“Wonder if the boys are back in the Hole yet?”




Another grunt. “If they are I bet they’re warm and dry.”




“Aw come on Kid! We lost the darn posse. There’s no way they can track us in this, even if they have an Apache wiv ‘em.” Heyes looked at the Kid with a grin but just got another look.




Heyes gave another deep sigh and turned away.




“Can’t even light a fire,” the Kid grumbled, whittling his stick to a lethal point. “Wood’s too darn wet. Not to mention the matches got soaked when ya made us ford that river! It’ll only be up to the horses’ knees Kid.
Sure if’n a horse is twelve feet tall.”




“Ya couldn’t get on a horse twelve feet tall. Not wivout steps. Ya’d have to carry ‘em around wiv ya all the time.
How practical is that?” Heyes was getting snippy now. He sighed. “It ain’t my fault it’s raining.” He looked away, resting his chin on his knees.




“No it ain’t. I can’t hold ya responsible for that.” Heyes looked back, amazed at the Kid for not holding that against him. “But I did say that Saturday would be the better day. No ya decided Friday was the better day so that’s the day we gotta do the job. The day when it’s raining. I bet Saturday will be blue sky and sun. THAT’S the day we shoulda done the job.”




“We couldn’t do the job on Saturday ‘cos I got plans on Saturday. I told ya.”




“Yeah ya mentioned summat. What plans ya got?”




It was obvious by his demeanour that Heyes didn’t want to say. He looked away.




“Come on Heyes what plans ya got?”




“I’m gonna visit Charley,” Heyes mumbled.




“Come again?” The Kid thought he’d heard right but he wanted it repeated just to be sure.




“I’m going to visit Charley.”




Yeah that was what the Kid had heard. “Oh that’s jus’ great Heyes! So now your love life decides when we do jobs does it?”




“NO!” Heyes was indignant. “Jus’ I booked her for the whole weekend. She’s mine for two whole days.” He gave the Kid a foolish lop-sided grin. “An’ nights,” he added with a chuckle.




The Kid rolled his eyes but decided not to continue with that topic. Heyes didn’t frequent working girls that often but when he did, he preferred the services of one in particular, Charley.




“Well,” he sighed instead. “Reckon ya might be standing her up anyways if’n we can’t get outta here and back wivout catching pneumonia.”




Heyes could only sigh and grunt in agreement.






___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 





“Charley? Why she’s gone outta town.”




Heyes took a deep breath. That wasn’t what he wanted to hear. Although the job had gone fine, afterward things went from bad to worse and were continuing to get worse the longer time wore on. Now his favourite working girl, the one he had booked for the weekend, had suddenly decided to go out of town.




“When did she decide this then?” he snapped at the madam, a hand on his hip and water dripping from the brim of his hat. He flicked it away irritably. “I had her booked.”




“I knows ya did, honey but it was unavoidable. Her pa upped an’ took sick an’ she had to dash over to Laramie to take care of him. Now I can offer ya an alternative.” The madam consulted the booking ledger. “There’s Sal, she’s available for the whole weekend. Or Big Edna?”




“I don’t want Sal and I certainly don’t want Big Edna! I want Charley!” Heyes fumed.




“Well sorry honey she just ain’t here.”




“Ya do know who I am don’t ya?” Heyes leaned over the desk menacingly. 




The madam was a pro and just smiled pleasantly. She patted his cheek.




“Yes honey I know who ya are. But it don’t make no difference. Charley still ain’t here.”




She closed the booking ledger with a snap. End of discussion.




Heyes growled, about turned and stomped out fuming. He paused on the boardwalk outside to pull on his gloves. Then tipping his hat down against the driving rain, he marched – no squelched – his way along to the saloon.




He pushed through the batwing doors dramatically, causing the occupants of the saloon to take notice of who had come in. A low murmur of voices went round. Oh Jeez, Hannibal Heyes just walked in and he’s looking fit to bust. Stay outta his way and whatever you do, DON’T meet his eye, went the collective thoughts of the saloon’s occupants.




Heyes stood arms akimbo and looked round. None of the gang were there. He growled and walked to the bar. He didn’t have to ask. A shot glass and a bottle of whiskey appeared in front of him. He poured himself a drink, downed it, poured another and downed that too. The rough liquid inside warmed him, making him feel a little better about his difficulties.




“Bad day?”




The still irritated outlaw looked round in surprise to see who had the temerity to address him. It was a young girl of about six, holding a cloth doll by the arm. She was looking up at him, expecting an answer.




Heyes widened his eyes, surprised to see somebody that young in here.




“Um yeah I’ve had better,” he told her and reached for the whiskey bottle. He expertly poured another glass back handed.




“Wanna tell me about it?”




The doll appeared on the counter next to his bottle. Heyes blinked in surprise as the girl climbed onto the bar stool in front of him. He found himself steadying the doll so it didn’t fall off.




“No,” he frowned at her when she was settled. “I don’t think I do.”




“Mama says you mustn’t bottle things up. You can get sick. You don’t want to get sick do you?”




“No I surely don’t.”  Heyes licked his lips and raised the glass to them.




“My name’s Alice.” She stuck out a hand, expecting to shake. “What’s yours?”




Heyes looked at the hand in amazement. “Er how do, Alice.” He took the small hand slowly and shook it
gently. “My name is Heyes.”




He smiled now, at the absurdness of the situation. Here he was, a notorious outlaw, who grown men thought twice about approaching, chatting innocently with an unafraid little girl. He didn’t usually have much time for children but there was something about this one. She was beginning to lighten his mood.




If he cared to notice, he might have heard a pin drop. The conversation at the bar between the fearsome outlaw boss and the little girl had all the other occupants glued.




“Not Hannibal Heyes?”




Heyes grinned. “Yeah Hannibal Heyes. You heard of me?” Was that a touch of pride?




“Yes.” She sighed, obviously unimpressed and Heyes sobered, feeling a little hurt. “You’re supposed to be mean and ornery.” She shook her head. “You don’t look it.”




“Oh I can be mean and ornery,” he assured her. “Jus’ not all the time.” He smiled, a faint glimmer of a dimple appearing. She wasn’t giving him any reason not to smile. “Say you’re a bit young to be in the saloon ain’t ya? Does ya Mama know ya here?” He leaned casually on the bar, finding he was considerably more relaxed now than when he had walked in.




“Yes. Uncle Mike is looking after me. Aren’t you Uncle Mike?” She gave the bartender a big smile.




That man scratched his cheek. “Yeah, Alice, an’ ya ain’t supposed to be that side of the bar neither. I’m right sorry she’s bothering ya Mr Heyes.” He looked anxious.




“Oh she’s no bother, Mike. Nice to have some pleasant company now an’ then. Say would ya like a drink, Alice?” Heyes’ smile deepened.




“Yes please.”




“What would ya like?” His voice softened some more.




Alice eyed the bottle.




“What you’re having.”




Despite himself, a husky, deep-throated chortle burst out, something rarely heard in town.




“Oh no Alice. I mebbe a lot of things but I don’t hold wiv buying young ladies strong whiskey.” He rolled his eyes at the thought. Both dimples appeared now.




“Isn’t that just cold tea? It looks like cold tea.”




Heyes looked at the bottle, struggling to know how to respond to that. Mike came to his rescue.




“Sure it’s cold tea, Alice. And I can get ya one. Coming right up.”




Heyes widened his eyes as Mike disappeared out back. Some instinct made Heyes turn the bottle round so that Alice couldn’t read the label. Mike came back with a shot glass filled with something that looked suspiciously like whiskey.




“There ya go Alice, one cold tea. Jus’ like Mr Heyes is drinking.”




As Mike set it on the bar, he gave Heyes a wink. Heyes rolled his eyes, in amusement. He had never thought about but yes, cold tea really did look like whiskey.




Alice picked it up eagerly.




“Cheers,” Alice said, holding out the glass.




“Oh.” Heyes picked his up and tapped it against hers. “Cheers Alice.”




They both sipped their drinks.




“So are you going to tell me now? About your bad day?” Alice asked.




“Well um …” Heyes frowned in concentration and then decided. “Yeah okay,” he nodded, smacking his lips as he thought how to begin. “Well somebody shot at me … but missed.” He hurriedly added so as not to alarm her. “I had to camp out all night in the rain. My partner grumbled and groused all night. As if, it was my fault. Then my horse goes lame ‘bout two miles outside a town an’ I has to walk. In these boots.” He raised a foot in emphasis. “I realise now they leak.” He pulled a face and she laughed. He sighed. “It’s still raining an’ I’m kinda wet. Then when I gets into town to see … a friend, she’s gone outta town unexpected.”




“Is she a kissing friend?”




Heyes was taken aback. “Um.” He looked at a grinning Mike. “Yeah, she’s a kissing friend.” Heyes took a big gulp of his whiskey.




“So you’re upset not to see her?”




“Yeah, I’m upset.”




Alice folded her arms and looked at him in sympathy. “That sure is a bad day. Mama says it never rains when it pours.” She frowned. “I don’t understand that. What does it mean exactly?”




“Well it means … if one bad thing happens, then ya can bet ya bottom dollar that other bad things are gonna happen as well.”




“Just like what happened to you?” Alice said, eagerly.




“Yeah. Jus’ like what happened to me.”




“Have you ever thought it’s because you’re an outlaw that all these bad things keep happening to you?”




Before Heyes could answer, a young woman rushed in.




“Alice! What on earth do you think you are doing?”




It was obvious by her likeness she was Alice’s mother.




“Mike, what were you thinking?” She sounded shocked to find her daughter sitting in the saloon, chatting to a stranger.




Mike opened his mouth to speak.




“Mama, I’m talking to Mr Heyes. He’s had a bad day. I’m cheering him up.”




“Mr? … Mr Heyes?” Alice’s mother looked up, realised who Mr Heyes was and went white. “Yes I … know who Mr Heyes is. Come along Alice. Time to go home.” She gave Mike a look that said, we’ll have the conversation later and hurried her daughter out.




“Goodbye, Mr Heyes.”




“Goodbye Alice,” Heyes smiled.




Heyes turned back and noticed the doll on the bar and he grabbed it.




“Oh Alice, ya forget this.”




The little girl looked round and before her mother could stop her, ran back and grabbed her doll. She clutched it to her chest.




“Thank you Mr Heyes,” she grinned.




“Ya welcome darling,” Heyes smiled back, both dimples in full evidence and watched her go.




With a contended sigh, he turned back to the bar. He drained his glass.




“How much I owe ya Mike?” he asked sorting out some coins.




The town was tolerant of the Devil’s Hole Gang. The Gang members openly walked the streets and were free spenders. Many businesses depended on their custom. Heyes insisted that the Gang didn’t take advantage of this tolerance by freeloading. They would pay for everything just like everybody else. So the townsfolk generally left them alone and overlooked any minor transgressions. Heyes was even on nodding terms with the sheriff.




Mike told him.




“An’ for the little lady’s drink?”




Mike shrugged and Heyes continued to look at him until he came up with a price. Heyes handed it over and with a nod, positioned his hat carefully before heading to the door. To his surprise, it had stop raining and the sun was beginning to break through.




“Well what d’ya know,” he smiled to himself and went off in search of a horse to rent for his ride back to the Hole.



 



____________________________________________________________________________




Heyes pushed into the bunkhouse to find a poker game going on. The Gang looked up.




“Heyes, we weren’t expecting you ‘till Monday mornin’” the Kid said, frowning.




“Yeah Heyes, we thought ya be …Owh!” Kyle frowned at Wheat, who had thumped him. “What d’ya do that for?”




“Stood ya up did she?” Wheat grinned, trying not to laugh too hard.




Heyes took a deep breath. He had expected some ribbing for being back so early.




“Her Pa’s sick. She had to go take care of him,” Heyes said, quietly.




“What? An’ ya weren’t offered an alternative?” Kyle was incredulous.




“Yeah I was offered an alternative but I chose … not to.”




“Who were ya offered, Heyes?” grinned Lobo.




Heyes didn’t want to say but they were expecting an answer. He licked his lips.




“Sal. Or Big Edna,” he ground out.




“Big Edna! Whoo He Heyes she’s a gal.” whooped Hank.




“Sure is. The things she can do’ll make ya eyes water,” Wheat hooted.




“Big Edna, she’s my favourite,” grinned Kyle.




Heyes had seen Big Edna and she was … BIG, tall and wide. Heyes licked his lips. Some images you just didn’t want in your head. And certainly not the one of Big Edna and diminutive Kyle. Heyes shuddered at the thought, before touching the Kid on the arm. He nodded his head outside.




The Kid followed Heyes out, slapping him on the shoulder.




“See it’s stopped raining,” he said, casually.




“Yep,” Heyes agreed. “Still raining in ma boots though. Gotta get these off soon else I’ll get foot rot!”




A while later, Heyes was relaxing in an easy chair on front of the fire, feet up on a stool. The Kid handed him a whiskey. Both stared into the fire for a few moments.




“Say considering ya had a bad couple of days ya look kinda mellow,” the Kid commented, breaking the silence.




“Yep. I feel kinda mellow.”




“Even after the disappointment of not seeing Charley?” The Kid raised his eyebrows.




“Yep. I met another girl.”




“I ain’t heard there was anybody new.”




“Nope she’s not from there. She was in the saloon. Cheered me up.”




“Oh yeah?” the Kid grinned.




“Nothing like that. We jus’ talked that’s all.” Heyes was still staring in the fire as his feet warmed up. He smiled.

“She was very wise for her age. Made me think a bit.”




The Kid rested his head back and observed his partner. “What ‘bout Heyes?” he asked gently.




“Oh ‘bout the way stuff happens. It never rains when it pours,” he sighed. “That’s what it seemed like when I went into the saloon. By the time I came out I could see a little sunshine.”




“I told ya the weather would clear up.”




“No it wasn’t that.” Heyes smiled, pensively. “I felt different. Can’t really explain it. I feel happier than I have for a long while.” He leant forward to feel his feet. “Tell ya what. Next job we do I’m checking the weather forecast first. Sure don’t wanna get caught out like that again.”




The Kid smiled and raised his glass. “I’ll drink to that.”
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PostSubject: Re: May 2016 - It Never Rains But It Pours...   Tue May 31, 2016 7:01 pm

May 2016 - It Never Rains But It Pours...


Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry spurred their tired horses up the embankment from the posse, twelve men strong.

“Won’t they ever give up?” Heyes asked exasperated.

“Would you for $20,000?”

“Nope.” Heyes quickly glanced around at the top of the hill. “This way!”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“How many?” The Kid breathed heavily as he unscrewed the canteen and took a drink.

Heyes looked through the spy glass. “Still twelve.”

Curry handed the canteen to his partner. “How come no one followed Wheat and the boys?”

“Just our luck.” Heyes screwed the lid back and put the canteen’s strap around the saddle horn. “Let’s go.”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“And now?” Heyes asked, his horse foaming.

“Still there!” The Kid reined his gelding towards the animal path.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Heyes shivered as he pushed his hat down firmly on his head. Sheets of rain obscured the view of the other end of the meadow as the two outlaws and their animals sought shelter in a grove of trees from the brunt of the storm.

“Looks like the rain finally made them turn back.” The Kid sighed with relief as he leaned against a tree, crossing his arms in front of him.

“Just our luck – only way we got rid of that posse was for it to storm.” Heyes opened a saddle bag and rummaged around.

“Got anything in there to eat?”

“Yep; some jerky and hard tack.” Heyes handed some to Curry. “Just have to wait a few minutes for the hard tack to soften in this rain.”

“Well, the problems started pourin’ in long before it actually started rainin’.”

Heyes scowled. “What do you mean by that?”

“Heyes, even you have to admit it wasn’t your best planned job.” Curry took a bite of jerky and chewed.

“Well, how was I to know there’d be a problem with the dynamite. If I told Kyle once, I’ve told him a hundred times…”

“Wasn’t just the dynamite. You couldn’t open the safe…”

“Well, if you and that little ol’ lady from Boston hadn’t been talking so I could have heard the tumblers!”

Now Curry scowled. “You wouldn’t have been able to open it if we was quiet as a mouse. Who knew there’d be a new Brooker on that train?”

Heyes grunted. “I should’ve known. Didn’t do my homework like I should’ve.”

“Well, we didn’t have much time between hearin’ about it and the date of the shipment.”

“I can’t believe $50,000 is sitting in a safe at the bottom of a lake!” Heyes shook his head in disbelief, causing the rain on his hat to get him wetter. “Argh!”

“I can’t believe we dragged the dang safe, not once but twice, up to that edge and dropped it.”

“Barely nicked the paint doing so.”

“Imagine what the posse said when they saw that trail.”

“I don’t even want to think about it. Definitely not one of my better ideas.”

“No, it wasn’t.”

“But I just couldn’t leave the money there. If we had more time, I know we could have gotten it open.”

“And the gang decidin’ on Wheat for their leader.”

Heyes frowned. “That hurts the most. Wheat, of all people!”

“It’s like I said, Heyes. The problems with this job were pourin’ in long before it ever started rainin’.” The Kid tightened the stampede strings to his hat as the wind became stronger. “Just face it, Heyes, things are changin’ and not for the better.”

“Safes are getting harder to open.”

“Posses are gettin’ bigger and harder to lose.”

There’s telegraph offices and lines everywhere. The sheriff can let the neighboring towns know to watch for us.” Heyes sat on his haunches with his back against the tree as the brunt of the storm hit.

The Kid nodded and slid down the tree, joining his partner. “So what do you wanna do?”

“I don’t know, Kid. I just don’t know.”

“Well, I do! Heyes, I think we should try for this amnesty. Can’t hurt to ask the governor.”

“Are you back on to that stupid flyer that little ol’ lady from Boston gave you?”

“Yeah, I am. We need to stop while we’re still on top. While we’re still alive and not spendin’ the next twenty years in the Wyoming Territorial Prison.”

“But Kid, I told you the governor was offerin’ that to those that broke laws like chicken-stealing. He’s not gonna offer us amnesty.”

“We don’t know until we ask. Maybe it’d be worth it if we stopped robbin’ his political contributors.”

“I guess. But we can’t just waltz into his office without being arrested.”

“I know. Figure you’ll think of a way.”

“We need a middle man. Someone who knows someone can change, if they want, and explain that to the governor.”

“Like an outlaw turned sheriff.”

Heyes’ brow arched. “You might be on to something there, Kid. Who do we know who’s done that?”

“Well, there’s…” Curry thought a moment. “JJ Webb from New Mexico, Ben Wheeler from Texas, and Henry Brown from…”

“Need someone closer by who’s worked with the governor.” Heyes snapped his fingers. “Lom Trevors from Porterville!”

“We’re not that far from Porterville, just a few days’ ride.”

“Let’s go give him a visit, Kid.”



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PostSubject: It Never Rains But It Pours   Tue May 31, 2016 9:43 pm

I haven't been able to check in much this month and didn't think I would be writing anything. However, I had a slow boring day, having been called for Jury Duty. This is what I came up with to amuse myself, not great but what do you expect from a not so smart owner typing on a smart phone. I haven't read anyone's stories yet, which I will remedy pronto so I will apologize in advance if the story resembles anyone's. I doubt it though, as I don't think anyone would be so unpc as I have been. So...another apology is in order, please take the story in the manner of which it is intended - harmless fun. No disparagement is intended to Native Americans. I have done absolutely no research into customs, habits or beliefs of Native Americans. The story is based on a mish-mash of childhood un politically correct vague ideas.


Under a brilliant blue sky, unbroken by even a wisp of white, two men rode their listless horses at a slow walk. In no particular hurry, they engaged in companionable conversation as they threaded their way through the saguaro cacti and rolling tumbleweeds. The heat waves shimmered in the distance and the time of day was rapidly approaching when all sensible creatures sought shelter from the relentless rays of the sun. The dark-haired one of the two lifted his arm and pointed to the red, brown, and yellow striated cliffs in the middle distance. A floppy brown hat was adjusted to better shield blue eyes and the blond nodded his agreement. The two swerved to their right and headed towards the mesa.

Kid Curry was hot. He was sweating. He was uncomfortable and thirsty. He didn’t like the desert heat; he didn’t much like the cold either. And he didn’t care that Heyes seemed to tolerate extreme climates with aplomb, especially when Heyes kept reassuring him that at least it was dry heat. Kid thought, of course, it’s dry, it’s the desert where it hadn’t rained in God knew when. Even the hardy desert plants looked thirsty to him. Kid hoped the small spring at the back of a cave was still running. They had enough water to last them to their destination, if they were careful, but a chance to replenish the water supply was welcomed since the partner’s lives was rarely without incident.

A slowly moving shadow crossed the horse’s path and both partners looked up. Soaring in lazy circles ever higher on the wind currents was a magnificent large eagle. The eagle swerved and swooped sharply down, straight at the Kid before pulling up yards from the partners. A large white-tipped brown feather drifted down to and fro in the resulting breeze from the bird’s sudden dive. Heyes scanned the ground, trying to spot possible prey and finding no signs of life looked up in time to see his stunned partner pluck the drifting feather from mid-air. Kid pulled his hat from his damp curls and placed the impressive eagle feather in the hat band. Satisfied with his new adornment, Curry remarked, “Maybe it’s a good omen” as he reseated the hat upon his head. Heyes smirked indulgently and the partners continued onward.

“What do you think?” Heyes peered into the dark mouth of the cave they had planned to rest the afternoon away in. The larger cave at the end of a rocky outcrop, if they remembered correctly, was the one, among the several, that contained the small spring.

“Only one man in moccasins and the tracks look fresh to me,” Kid replied thoughtfully, while examining the soft ground.

“I’m pretty sure we avoided all the Indian settlements; don’t know why a lone brave would be here. There hasn’t been any rain in ages and the air is still as can be, they could have been here for a while.”

“We ain’t in Southern Utah, Heyes, so your tracking skills aren’t champion-like. You aren’t looking very closely are you. The edges are still pretty sharp and there aren’t any insect tracks crossing at least the one set of tracks. I don’t know about you but I sure don’t want to surprise any Indian.”

“It’s pretty quiet, let’s just scout the cave out. Do you really want to continue riding in this heat?” Heyes looked knowingly at his sweaty, sunburned partner.

Curry sighed, unhooked the hold on his holster and dropped quietly from his roan. He nodded at Heyes to stay where he was, atop the chestnut, and as silently as he could he crept into the cool dimness.

Several minutes later, finished with his scouting and ready to report his findings, Kid slowly backed out along the side of the cave. The gunman drew his Colt at the sudden sight that greeted him.

Heyes, still atop his horse, was not alone. A male Indian, somewhat older than the partners, was engaged in a surprised starring standoff with the ex-outlaw. The brave was dressed in native moccasins and shirt but with western style jeans and hat and his only weapon appeared to be a sheathed knife hanging from the intricately tooled belt. The three men stood stock still until Kid raised his left hand, palm outward, his right hand still pointing the revolver straight at the stranger.

“How”

Heyes rolled his eyes at Kid, contemplated their situation and decided that Kid was the only one seemingly hostile at the moment.

“What are you doing here? Who are you?” asked the Indian.

“Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones” Heyes explained while helpfully pointing to himself and his partner. “Thaddeus, I think you can put your gun away. Excuse him, we aren’t used to encountering English speaking Indians, actually we try to avoid Indians altogether. We were planning on resting ourselves and our horses during the heat of the day, replenishing our water supply, too. Didn’t think anyone would be here.”

“I’m Soaring Eagle, I prefer Ed. It’s a long story. Come on in out of the heat.” Ed slipped into the cave, keeping a wary eye on Kid as he did so. Heyes and Curry glanced at each other then at the retreating back of the nonconventional Indian, shrugged and settled their horses just inside the cave.

Two ex-outlaws and one Indian lounged around a small fire a few feet from the cool spring. Conversation passed easily between the men as they shared a common meal.

“So let me get this straight, Ed, you’ve spent most of your life in Washington with your father, a tribal representative, no wonder you speak English so well, and now that your Grandfather is getting older your tribe has decided you have to start training to take his place as the medicine man? Sheesh, you don’t seem the medicine man type, no offense intended,” Heyes stated.

“No offense taken, Joshua. I’m not. I’ve been trying. I’ve got most things straight, the plant remedies, and the basics down but I’ve been faking the entire mystical thing. This is my test. I’m supposed to meditate, use visons to commune with my spirit animal to bring much needed rain. Only the eagle has been silent, my visions are anything but mystical and there isn’t a drop of rain anywhere. I told Grandfather to choose my brother but the old man is stubborn. But I can’t stay out here much longer and I can’t go back without at least some rain drops.”
Kid wondered, genuinely curious “Have you have any visions? What are they about?”

Heyes smacked Kid on the arm, “Thaddeus, that’s personal, you don’t ask a medicine man something like that”

“It’s okay, I don’t mind. Yes, I’ve had visions out here, after all the mushrooms help.” Ed rummaged around in a small leather pouch hanging at his side and drew forth several small dried mushroom buttons. “I want to be an elder of the tribe, just not as a medicine man. The visions I have, plus what I’ve learned living with the white men, will do the tribe more good than I can ever accomplish as a medicine man.”

Ed suddenly sat up straighter and focused on the large perfect eagle feather that was tucked in the silver hat band on Thaddeus’s hat. “Nice feather, you have. Maybe the eagle will speak through you. You want to help a poor Indian out?”

Kid threw a bewildered gaze at Heyes, which quickly turned into a scowl at his partner’s barely contained sniggering.

“Thaddues loves to help needy folk out, don’t you Thaddeus. Why he can’t help himself, everywhere we go he’s gets involved in someone’s problems. He’s a regular do gooder, he is.”

“Cut it out Joshua,” snapped Curry. “I don’t think I can help you Ed, I’m not Indian and don’t know nothing about visions or making it rain.”

Ed caught Heyes’ twinkling eyes and became a little more enthusiastic about the idea; if nothing else it would relieve the boredom.

“I can work with you Thaddeus, why don’t you give a try, It can’t hurt. Who will know but us. Joshua won’t tell a soul, will you Joshua?”

Heyes crossed his fingers surreptitiously while he prodded Ed Soaring Eagle further, “What’s he gotta do”
Two men stood appraising the third critically and nodded satisfactorily at the blond dressed in ceremonial Indian dress complete with appropriate amulets and face paint. The impressive eagle feather was incorporated into the headdress that sat incongruently on blond curls. Kid, finished chewing on one of the mushroom buttons offered by Ed, and hoped he wasn’t being poisoned. He knew he should feel utterly ridiculous but strangely he wasn’t bothered at all.

Ed took Thaddeus by the hand and walked him through the basic steps of a rain dance. Thaddeus caught on quickly and started to move according to an internal rhythm as he thought of music in the sounds of a rain storm.

“This is never gonna work,” laughed Heyes enjoying the sight of his partner making a fool of himself, especially since Kid didn’t seem to care.

“Nope, probably not, but nothing I’ve done has worked either.”

“Come sit down and tell me about what you really rather do, while we keep an eye on Thaddeus.” The two men settled themselves back down just inside the cooler cave and resumed conversation.

“Well, the way I see it, white men like to gamble and they like to drink but not in front of their women folk, so much. And they’re willin’ to spend a lot of money doing it. Us Indians have got land that’s not worth much and it’s getting harder to survive. I think that the tribe should build a big saloon right along the railroad tracks at the end of the reservation, a big one, a great big one with lots of gaming tables. It needs a long bars with whiskey of all kinds and girls, don’t forget the girls - white girls, china girls, black girls, all kinds. Everyone’s money is good money. The tribe owns the house, employs many of our people. We build a hotel next to the big saloon, stores to sell our genuine handmade Indian wares. Actually the stuff we make is pretty good, the tribe has some talented jewelry makers, squaws who make real pretty bead work, blankets and such; we’d sell them to the men to take back to their wives and girlfriends. The railroad builds a station so they can make money running trains out for the gamblers to have a good time without being bothered and then they go home. We get rich.”

Heyes nodded as Ed talked, it sounded good to him. He felt compelled to ask skeptically, “You saw this in a vison, must be mighty fine mushrooms? How are you gonna convince the elders of your tribe?”

Ed Soaring Eagle grinned, “In a vison no, I’ve been developing this plan ever since I came back west but it’s not tradition and I’ve only explained small parts of it. The elders are not impressed. They only think in terms of mystical visions not true business vision. I know it can work, but I’m a man ahead of my time”

Kid Curry was in his own little world swaying and stepping in tune to the colors of the desert swirling around him. He smelled rain, heard it in his head, and felt his skin tingle with anticipation. Curry danced on.

Heyes and Ed bandied suggestions back and forth to improve upon Ed’s plan for some time. Ed muttered, “It won’t come to anything though unless I can convince my grandfather that the spirit showed me the way. And that won’t happen unless it rains, which it isn’t going to do. Just a few drops over the village, that’s all I need.”

Heyes had to agree, it was a good plan, might even happen someday but Ed’s chances of convincing a tribe of peaceful traditional Indians to jump into the saloon, gambling and whorehouse business in a big way was as likely as Kid making it rain.

A low rolling rumble came roaring across the dry desert. Loud booms reverberated off the mesa and the ground shook. Huge towering steel gray clouds scudded across the sky. Lightening crackled in the distance. Low blankets of dark gray trailed behind the thunder clouds to cloak the rainbow colors of the setting sun.

Heyes and Ed Soaring Eagle jumped to their feet, mouths hanging open in disbelief.

Sheets of soaking rain advanced, drenching the desert with life-giving water as far as the eye could see.

Kid Curry stood still, the majestic eagle feather askew, but his eyes shining with pride. He lifted his arms to the sky and threw back his head to let thousands of cooling, tiny prism raindrops hit him full in the face. Turning to face his companions Kid calmly announced, “It never rains but it pours.”

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PostSubject: Re: May 2016 - It Never Rains But It Pours...   Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:00 am

Just a short continuation of a story I hope to finish one day.  


Hopping Trains:  Hope

The old box car swayed, creaked in the darkness, its cracks somehow holding fast against the drizzle outside.  Jed wrapped his arms around himself inside the threadbare shirt.  The bit of warmth eliciting thus staved the chill, but did not stem the shakes.  Eyes peered his way.

“Boy, ya can’t be shiverin' like the dickens all night.  For the last time, stop bein’ a martyr and get yerself under the tarp with me.”

Cager’s voice finally hit home.  A defeated sigh preceded the boy’s moving toward the sound, crawling with the swing and sway, pausing as a loud groan threatened to topple the car.  The few yards gained, Jed groped for tarp’s edge.

“I’m holdin’ it up, Jed.  Keep comin’.”

The boy’s hand found the elder’s knee.  Straightening, he settled alongside Cager, leaving space between them.  The young man dropped the tarp, reached around to tuck them in.  The oiled canvas wreaked a dull dank, but warmed nonetheless.  

Cager reached behind his head, tugging at his rucksack.  “Rest yer head on this.  It’s big enough for two wayfarers.”  

A small voice, “Thanks.”

“There ya go.”  The elder waited a moment.  “See, that shiverin's done gone.  Ya gotta be more comfortable.”

Jed nodded in the dark.  

Cager waited.  “Ya asleep already, Jed?”

The boy shook his head.

Cager’s brow knit; a smile followed.  “Well, no sound but I think yer movin' yer head.  Can’t see a blasted thing in here.”  He reached into his pocket.  “Maybe if’n I light a match, jest a second or two so we don’t fire up this tinderbox.  It’ll be like the light of a thousand stars, carryin’ our ship toward the horizon, and onward toward mornin’.  If only for a second …”

The glow lit two countenances:  one wide in blue-eyed wonderment; the other a hazel-hued dance.  For a brief brace of seconds, clarity reigned, until thunder clapped.  Wet sluiced through a knot in a board, damning the flame, its light extinguished.  The odor of burnt wood hung long in the heavy air.  The match, now damp, was tossed aside like too many before it.  Yea, that it might have glowed as a star, night after night, or hurled itself earthward with the Leonids.  Its brightness lost in time, the boy sighed, his expression more relaxed.  He blinked at Cager, relaxed his head on the makeshift pillow, slumbered.  Yet one more night he would dream of Home and all he left behind.

***

Han tossed, waking yet again.  The patter on the metal roof now a steady rhythm, the fat drops found the fire, tossing sparks onto the hearth.  Weary, Han rose; moved his hard pallet further away.  Lying again, he fixed a stare on the flames, finally closed his eyes against the brightening illumination.  The afterglow behind his lids marched, its steady movement right to left, as a column of uniformed men some time before and just today rode straight on and then oblique, out of sight.

As Polly predicted, her father had welcomed him.  It was a cursory warmth perhaps, polite but distant:  a boy under his roof again, but not the son he missed.  Just as well, maybe.  In any case, he sent his prayers loft-ward.  Please, God, keep his Will safe, on the run though he be.  And this lad, Hannibal, seeking his own kin.  Yea, as a steady rain nourish the earth, so let the promise of Heaven pour safe watch on them all.


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