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 Feb 18 - The Backup Plan

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Calico

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Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 53
Location : Birmingham

PostSubject: Feb 18 - The Backup Plan   Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:00 am

Hello one and all

This month I am using a suggestion from the floor...

Please place your thinking caps on your silken heads, steeple your fingers and begin to machinate over...



The Backup Plan


scratch reading confused

And, write
















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sistergrace

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Join date : 2012-04-22
Location : Devil's Hole

PostSubject: Re: Feb 18 - The Backup Plan   Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:23 am

"Heyes, do you know what today is?"

"Sure do, Kid.  It's my birthday."

"No it ain't.  Your birthday ain't for another twenty-four hours."

"It's a lot closer than that depending on what part of Earth a fella happens to be standing on.  'Cause across the pond, it's technically my birthday-eve."

Two blue eyes raised from whatever it was that was holding his attention, only to narrow at the almost birthday boy.

"What are you doing anyway?"  Heyes crossed the small hotel room to bend over his partner's shoulder.  A soft glow lit the gadget on the table in front of Curry.

"I found this slate in Grace's saddlebags."

"Again, technically speaking, Grace don't carry saddlebags.  She called that satchel a..."  A slender digit rubbed his jaw as he tried to recollect the exact term Grace had used.  "It's a laptop case.  And that slate you're looking at, that there's her laptop."

"Right," the Kid mumbled absently.  "But goin' back to my original question, do you know what today is?"

"Already answered you, Kid."

"Humor me."

"Alrighty.  Today is Friday."

"Uh-huh.  Friday, February 23rd."

Heyes shrugged.  "And your point is?"

"My point is that this is FEBRUARY!  And since February is a really short month, there's only 28 days in it."

"Yet again, technically speaking, if it were a Leap Year..."

Curry's silent glare caused Heyes to fall silent.

"I been lookin' at this forum Grace looks at.  You know, the place where those writin' folks come up with tales of Kid Curry and that other fella."

Heyes' lips pursed in irritation.

"And ya know what?"

"I'm sure you're about to tell me."

"In less than a week, February is gonna be over, and not ONE of them writers got anything to say bout this month's challenge prompt yet."

"Give them time, Kid.  I'm sure pretty soon..."

"Pretty soon the month is gonna be over!"

"Maybe you should be thankful.  I mean, the way some of those writers write... Well, things can get downright dangerous."

Kid Curry continued scrolling down the page, hoping a posting might pop up at any moment.

"Still nothing?"

"Nope."

"What's the challenge prompt this month?"

"The Backup Plan."

"Well that's it then!"  Heyes smiled triumphantly.


"What's it?"

"A Hannibal Heyes plan don't ever NEED a backup plan!"  

Curry leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms.  "Not even in the Pilot episode?"

Stubbornly, Heyes crossed his arms too, but did not reply.

"No comment, huh Heyes?"

"I have only one comment."

"What's that?"

"In the event that none of these writers comes up with something to write about this month... I sure hope Calico's got a Backup Plan for the February challenge!"

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Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
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nm131

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PostSubject: Re: Feb 18 - The Backup Plan   Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:38 pm

This story kinda, sorta applies to the prompt. But it don't matter, it's not for polling anyway.

Shorty


Another Saturday night in another nondescript saloon located in a no account western town on the dusty plains spent playing poker. Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry were playing at the same table along with an amiable bunch of men from town and the surrounding farms. Heyes was, as usual, up the most but the Kid and a genial, plump, red faced farmer with a German accent by the name of Karl Maier, who was turning out to be a heck of a poker player, were giving Heyes a run for his money. Hannibal Heyes was relaxed and enjoying the friendly rivalry to reap the rewards from the skillful playing of cards.

The saloon was packed with patrons but not raucous and while his partner concentrated on the cards, Curry kept one eye on the crowd, out of necessity and habit. They, of course, had run through their ritual of checking the town out, the sheriff was fat and lazy, and finding no reason to move on they decided to stay for a few nights on their way down to Red Rock.

The Kid suddenly sensed frisson in the air and flicked his eyes up from the cards in his hand, settling them on his partner seated across from him. Heyes had sat straight up, his hand of pasteboards placed down firmly on the table as his right hand drifted down to the holster tied tightly along his hip. Curry was taken aback at the atypical behavior and to recognize unbridled hatred in those dark eyes, which were staring intensely towards the saloon entrance.

“Call, I’ll take two.” Heyes continued to play mechanically, his attention diverted to front of the saloon.

“Fold,” Kid announced as he threw his cards down. The two pairs he held weren’t as important as the level of unease and threat his partner was telegraphing, at least to Curry. The rest of the poker players were ignorant of any imminent problem. The blond sighed to himself as he fleetingly wondered if he would ever be able to sit blissfully at ease in a crowd. But such wistful wonderings didn’t prevent a thorough scrutiny of the surroundings. What changed? There was a small group that had entered and were now melting into the lines of men bellying up to the long, battered bar.

The recent arrivals consisted of four men, or was that three men and one boy? It was hard to tell from the back as one was considerably shorter than the rest, only about five foot two, Kid estimated. Nope, it was four men as Curry got a brief glimpse of the shortest of the group when he latched on to a tall buxom blonde. The Kid smiled, the short guy’s face was strategically level with the girl’s considerable assets, but the smile faded when he got a better look at the hard-bitten face of the stranger. This was a man, as old or older than Heyes, he would guess, who had a chip on his shoulder and didn’t care who knew it. Kid pitied the girl if she wasn’t able to shake the new arrival and wound up spending time with Shorty.

“I’ve had enough for now, fellas. Thanks for the game.” Heyes stood up, gathered his winnings quickly, and without a backwards glance at his partner, strode though the densest part of the crowd, leaving the saloon.

Curry made his excuses and followed his silent friend out of the saloon, down the street, and all the way up to their hotel room.

“You mind telling me what just happened. What or who wound you up tighter than that pocket watch you carry?’ Kid closed, locked, then leaned against the door.

“Nothing happened. I got tired of playing poker.” Heyes stated with a straight face, going over to his saddle bags that were laid neatly on top of the dresser. He rummaged around in his bags, and not immediately finding what he was looking for, started methodically emptying the contents onto the closest bed.

A sandy eyebrow raised. “Looking for something in particular?”

Heyes ignored the question while he retrieved his partner’s saddlebags, which were thrown in the far corner of the room. He proceeded to dump the contents on the second bed. Brown eyes searched the items on the faded quilt before long slender fingers plucked the required items from the jumbled mass of the Kid’s possessions. Heyes, a picture of controlled, purposeful fury, calmly withdrew his revolver from its holster and deliberately laid it on the table under the window, right next the gun cleaning supplies he placed there moments ago.

Kids brows drew into a worried V, as his resolve for patience dissolved into growing unease tinged with a vague sense of fear.

Heyes sat the table and started to disassemble his sidearm.

“What are you doing?”

“What’s it look like?”

“You’re gonna clean your gun?”

“Yep.”

“Now?”

“No, next week. What are you blind or stupid? Of course, I’m doing it now if I’m taking it apart. It wouldn’t do me much good to take it apart and then put it back together without cleaning it, now would it?”

Kid took a deep breath and worked hard at keeping his cool in the face of one of Heyes’ mean moods out of nowhere. He pushed off from the hotel room door and crossed to stand over his partner at the small table.

“Why are you cleaning your gun now?”

“You always tell me that a clean gun is necessary for reliability, speed and accuracy.”

“That’s true.” Curry nodded then probed further, “You plan on using it anytime soon? Did you recognize some one in the saloon? Is that it? Is one of those last four fellas someone you know? A lawman or a bounty hunter? Should we get packin’ and leave quiet like? Do you think they noticed you?” He drew back the curtain and peered out at the street, seeing only normal activity for the time of night.

Heyes continued to methodically arrange the materials needed to accomplish his task in the precise order he would need them. He didn’t once glance up at the Kid nor did he give any indication of willingness to satisfy his partner’s anxious curiosity.

“Heyes!”

“What?”

“Jeez, will you answer me? Don’t make me pull information out of you a bit at a time. I’d like to be prepared for whatever you think is gonna happen.” Kid didn’t manage to keep the exasperation out of his voice but he was proud that he remained calm and reasonable.

The older man heaved an exaggerated sigh of annoyance while he cast a dark look up at the hovering gunman.

“Alright, you’re sure you want me to spell it out for you?”

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“I recognized someone in the last group of men that came into the saloon.”

“I figured as much. But who and how do you know them?”

“The short fella, and no, he’s not a lawman or a bounty hunter. In fact, he’s wanted himself, although he’s strictly small time, nothing like the rewards on us.”

Heyes turned in his chair and stared out the window, hiding his face from his best friend.

“Go on,” Curry prompted.

“I once pulled a con with him right after we split up all those years ago, him, Long Bill Janson, and Erle Dudley.”

“So, did something happen?”

“Yeah, you could say that?”

“I’m askin’ if you’re saying that. What did Shorty do that has you like this after all this time?”

Heyes continued to stare out the window in the direction of the saloon. His voice hardened and dropped into his deepest register. He started to recite with repressed emotion vibrating though the unnaturally flat delivery.

“After you left I hooked up with Long Bill and Erle, and our little three-man gang pulled a few routine robberies, didn’t net us much but enough to keep going. Then a perfect situation came up for one of Soapy’s cons but we needed someone young looking to make it work. You weren’t around and we recruited Shorty. If you didn’t look too hard and with the right clothes and expectations he would do. The con worked and we wound up with $12, 673 to divide among the four of us. I’ll bet it was the most Shorty ever got on a job. We were up in high mountain country when Shorty pulled a fast one on us, let loose or stole our horses, took the take, and took our supplies. An early snowstorm blew in when we were walking down the mountain towards civilization. Erle didn’t make it, he froze to death of exposure.”

Heyes involuntary glanced up at Curry and found worried sympathetic eyes watching him carefully. He quickly turned his attention to the table before him and a solution.

“Long Bill and I never did catch up with Shorty. We figured we needed a bigger, stronger gang and joined Jim Plummer’s outfit. You know what happened with that move.”

Curry nodded and kept his voice neutral, “Yep, I do. I’m sure there’s a lot more to this story. Are you gonna fill in some blanks?”

“I’ve told you all you need to know.”

“Not by half, partner, not by half. So, what are you plannin’ on doing, if anything?”

“I’m cleaning my gun. I’m going back down to that saloon and I’m going shoot Shorty dead in a gun fight.”

“WHAT!”

“Shorty’s gonna pay for Erle’s death. I can beat him, he’s not that fast, I just gotta aim a little lower than I normally would, that’s all.”

Kid’s eye’s widened in frank disbelief and it took a moment for him to find his tongue. “Besides the fact that will shoot our amnesty all to s**t, there’s a good chance you’ll swing for murder. No, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

“I’m Hannibal Heyes, haven’t you heard, I’m a master manipulator. I can manipulate Shorty into challenging me. It’ll be self-defense.”

“I’ve also heard that Hannibal Heyes is a genius planner. If that’s a plan at all, it’s about as far from genius as you could get. It is a dumb, stupid plan for a fool, and you ain’t a fool.”

Heyes stood up right in Kid’s face. “Are you a fool, Kid? ‘Cause I seem to recall that plan crossed your mind in Matherville.”

Blue eyes narrowed in growing anger and if Curry were honest, genuine panic that he wouldn’t have the words to talk Heyes out of this self-destructive idiocy in time. His fists started to clench unconsciously. “I never claimed to be the smart partner that does the thinkin’. That’s you, as you remind me often enough. You ain’t thinking right. You can’t do this.”

“I can. You stay up here. There is no reason for you to get involved. Better yet, go spend some time with a girl for an alibi, just in case.”

“Are you crazy! You can’t. I won’t let you do this. And you’re definitely crazy if you think I can spend time with a dove while my best friend and partner is doing his fool best to get himself killed one way or another. Heyes, even if it works out the way you want, shootin’ Shorty this way will surely kill you, only slow and you won’t even realize it until it’s too late.” Kid unclenched his fists and backed up few steps in a conscious effort to keep from flattening his cousin. He backed up some more steps to block the hotel room door.

Heyes followed the Kid but some part of his rational mind kept him just beyond arm’s length of the agitated blond.

“I’m cunning enough to get Shorty right where I need him and I can talk rings around that lazy sheriff. The only one going down is that s.o.b that left the three of us to die up that miserable mountain. I can handle this just fine. You can’t stop me, why’re you trying. You should understand.”

“Because you can’t handle it! You do this… this thing… kill a man in anger, you’ll unleash something dark and dangerous. You’ll never be able to corral it again and it’ll destroy you in the end. I’m not telling you anything new. You’ve always known this about yourself. I know what it takes, partner, to be able to live with a marked soul and you don’t have it in you to make peace with yourself. Heyes, I’m asking you…I’ll beg if you make me, please, take the time to think this through. It’s not like you to go off half-cocked without a solid plan. This isn’t your kind of justice or revenge. Revenge is a dish best served cold, isn’t that what you always say?”

“It’s cold, alright, about a decade cold.”

“Nope, right now, for you, this revenge is hot, real hot, and you ain’t thinkin’ like Hannibal Heyes. In fact, I don’t think you’re thinkin’ at all.”

“You should know how it feels. After all, you killed Danny, for the same kinda thing,” Heyes spit out viciously, looking Kid right in the eyes.

Curry’s eyes narrowed, his right hand unconsciously dropped to his gun butt, and he stepped in close to Heyes. “That’s right partner, I did. And that’s why if you truly want to do this. If you really want the guy dead, and I can’t talk you out of it, I’ll do the shooting.”

“You have a mistaken idea that I need you to fight my battles. You’re wrong, dead wrong. I can get my own justice.” Heyes roughly pushed Kid out of his way and stalked over to the table where his Schofield was in pieces.  Heyes shook his head in disgust. His voice shook with self-loathing, “I wanted Danny dead and I put him in that street. I wasn’t fast enough to face Danny. But no more. Shorty’s gonna find that out. I know he’s a coward and the worst kind of thief that stole our horses and our hard-earned take and left us up on top of that mountain to freeze to death in a snowstorm. He’s gonna face me man to man for Erle’s death.

Kid, staggered back, regained his balance, and erupted, “Oh, for the love of…Heyes, you didn’t push smilin’ Danny into the street. Bilson was gonna end up in that street no matter what, let it go. And I know you can fight your own battles. I know very well what you’re capable of. But did you ever think that maybe I stand up against another man not because you can’t but because I need you not to. Damn it! One killer in the family is enough, Heyes and that’s me!” The trigger finger of the Fastest Gun in the West pointed squarely in the middle of his heaving chest.

“Yell a little louder, why don’t ya. Let the whole hotel hear. You feel like welcoming the sheriff that’s gonna be pounding on the door any minute now,” Heyes shot back with a quiet venomous intensity.  The words of his partner’s last statement finally sunk in through the red rage and brought Heyes up short. “What? What are you talking about? You’re not a killer, Kid.”

Curry’s shoulders dropped from a confrontational stance and he turned around to face the mirror over the dresser, staring calmly at his reflection.

“We’ve been over this territory before and whether it’s called self-defense, revenge, or justice, I have killed and not just Danny. You and I know this. And maybe more importantly if there is a God, he knows it too.”

Heyes’ ire rapidly slid from a full-on boil to simmering as he grabbed Curry by the upper arm and yanked him around so they were face to face. He looked at his friend, really looked at him, trying to bore into that mind through unreadable blue eyes. Kid shook himself free and leaned back against the dresser, arms crossed tightly in front of him.

“You see, Heyes, the way I figure it, if there is a hereafter, I know which way I’m headed. The thing is, I don’t want you going down there with me. You’re gonna have to use that silver tongue with Saint Peter at those pearly gates and to get into heaven. I need you to face our folks. You’re gonna have to explain, and I don’t mean excuses. I don’t think there are any excuses God or our folks would believe that are good enough for some of the things I’ve done but you can get them to at least understand maybe the why. Tell them I know they’re ashamed of me and I’m sorry…”

“Kid?” Heyes didn’t know what to say. He did know that Curry had hit on the one argument he didn’t have a ready response to. And worse yet, Heyes knew, without a doubt, that the Kid had spoken straight from his heart, without conscious thought on to how to manipulate him.  

The shaggy brown head of the reforming outlaw shook slowly as he ruminated on how the hell did an argument on what Heyes had planned turn into a philosophical discussion on divine final judgment? Where was Kid getting these ideas, and did he really believe he was going to spend an eternity in hell? Without Heyes?  My God, what did I ever do for him to have that kind of faith in me to be able to square our pasts, as it stood now, with our folks? Heyes wasn’t sure he believed in heaven or hell. Hell on earth, yes, he believed in that but an afterlife, he wouldn’t take that bet.

The simmering anger drained away, leaving a heavy weariness in its place as Heyes sank to sit on the bed. “Alright, you won’t have to beg. Neither one of us is a killer at heart. But get this through your thick skull, we are in this together, this life and the afterlife, if there is one, so no more talk of separating, ever, nothing good seems to come of that.”

Kid uncrossed his arms. He stared uncertainly at his partner, nodded once before sitting down alongside Heyes. “Well then, you’re gonna have come up with a back up plan if you want to get back at Shorty a better way.”

“I guess I am. And by the way, Shorty’s name is Everest Grant Langer Talman, III.” Heyes’ tense facial muscles relaxed into a reluctant half grin has he watched his best friend and partner break into laughter, repeating the name.
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Nebraska Wildfire

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PostSubject: The Backup Plan   Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:22 pm

   

“This is your backup plan?” Kid Curry stared, looking, amazed, from his partner and cousin, Hannibal Heyes, to the sand storm approaching them rapidly across the valley floor.

They had pulled up their heaving horses, as they had thundered out of one of the sandstone canyons leading down into the salt flat.  It stretched before them like an inland sea, the white of the salt spreading into a mirage of glistening water.

The posse had been chasing them for the better part of two days, and they had not been able to shake them.

“Yes, it is.”  Heyes straightened his shoulders, as he pulled up his horse, before he turned to lock eyes with Curry.

“They won’t be able to track us through that.”

“Heck, Heyes, I don’t think the devil himself could track us through that.”

Curry looked into the valley, to see the swirling russet dust, rapidly twisting its way towards the canyon entrance where they stood.

Heyes’ half smile graced his face, a dimple appearing and then disappearing as he studied the  approaching storm.  “We’ve ridden through worse.”

“Yeah,” the Kid agreed, and then eyed his friend again.  “But not on purpose.”

“We’ll be fine.  If we just stay straight, we can make it into that canyon,” Heyes pointed across the valley floor.

The Kid just stared at Heyes until he stared back.

“What?”

“You think we can really do that?”

“Yes.”  Heyes looked back into the valley, as the approaching winds started to catch his hat and whip his hair around.  He looked down for a minute, then back at Curry, with a determined line to his mouth.  “Heck, Kid, I don’t have a Plan C, so we better get a move on if we’re doing this.”

The Kid glanced behind him, as if he expected to see the posse upon them.  He did not, but unfortunately for the boys, soon enough they would indeed be there.  Heyes had sworn they must have an Apache with them, but the Kid had decided they were just having bad luck, as usual.

He turned back to Heyes, and simply nodded, as there was no need nor time for more words. Heyes had said enough.

Hannibal Heyes nodded back and  they both pulled their bandanas over their faces.  He urged his horse down the slope of the land into the valley of salt.  Curry, of course, was at his back.

As soon as they had reached the flat, Heyes let his horse have its lead and they opened into a full gallop into the swirling winds.  Curry closed the distance as much as possible, so he could keep sight of his partner.

The russet sands enveloped them.  The winds buffeted, whipped, and slammed into them.  They barreled ahead.  Heyes had been correct.  They had been through worse storms.  Still in the howling winds, it was easy to lose a sense of direction.  The Kid noticed that Heyes had started to shift a bit off true.  At the speed they were going, and the way the storm was expanding, they might end up shattered against the canyon wall at the other side of the valley, if they were not careful.  

Curry chanced getting even closer to Heyes, and grabbed at his shirt, to get his attention.  Then the Kid started to pull ahead and shift back in the needed direction.  He thought he saw Heyes nod as he took the lead, but then turned his focus back to the inner voice telling him which way to head.

Before they knew where they were, the sharp canyon wall rose before them.  The red dust still swirled around them, as the Kid let them up into a narrow passageway.  As they rose above the floor the path started to wind into the mountains above.  Heyes signaled a halt past a fall of boulders, where they were hidden from the valley floor.  It gave an excellent vantage point.  Heyes pulled out his binoculars, and peered back.  He coughed as he pulled down his blue bandana.  

“Kid, it looks like they are still on the other side of the storm.  He handed the glasses over to his partner.

As the Kid peered through, he saw the posse itself swirling before the dust storm, which had almost reached them.  Curry swore he could see pointing, and shaking of heads.  It looked like some wanted to continue on, but others refused.  As he watched they slowly retreated back up the canyon down which they had all originally rode, some more slowly than others.

“I can’t believe it, Heyes.”  The Kid shook his head.  “Your backup plan worked.”
   
   

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cac



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PostSubject: Re: Feb 18 - The Backup Plan   Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:04 pm

“That’s a good deal?”

Hannibal Heyes tried not to wince as he looked sideways at his partner. Kid Curry looked so pleased with himself that it was hard for even Heyes to not want to ride along with the enthusiasm, but looking at the hundreds of various sizes of jugs piled in the far end of the barn, he just couldn’t muster even a hint of the same broad grin.

“And you paid how much?”

“Just 15 dollars!” Kid replied, folding his arms across his chest and starting to get defensive. “Look at where we are, Heyes, right at the edge of the desert. Remember how desperate we were for water in the middle of the dessert that time? All we have to do is load up the water and drive out. Those jugs are already filled, and we just drive out into the desert and sell it to people in the areas where there ain’t any water. You know the creeks are all dried up this time of year. It’ll be easy money, actual easy money!”

Heyes walked over to the jugs. He ran a finger over the dusty cork shoved in the top of the nearest one. “Kid, did you open any of these?”

Kid snorted. “Of course I did. Sure it tasted a little…I don’t know, old, but water is water. I shook a few more, and they all slosh. We just need to get a wagon and load ‘er up. Actually, we should do that now.”

Heyes looked sideways at his partner again, hearing that certain tone. “Now, why now? I was heading over for more poker tonight after we go get some dinner.”

Kid hesitated for the first time. “Well, I got the deal because they need the barn cleared out by tomorrow, getting some new horses in, so they want them all out before 6am.”

Heyes’ eyes popped wide open. “6am? 6am! Well, partner, I sure hope you’re feeling mighty strong, because this is two wagon-loads of water jugs, and we don’t even have a wagon. And I for one was NOT planning on moving 2000 pounds of water and pottery tonight before 6am. What the hell were you thinking?”

Kid bristled. “I was thinking, Heyes, that we needed a backup plan since even poker isn’t paying much around here! I thought we could work out a deal with that farmer just outside of town who broke his leg and isn’t using his wagon anyway. We can stash the extra jugs in his barn until we sell them all. Just think, Heyes, what we would have paid for just one jug of water. I’m thinking we could charge a dollar a jug.”

Heyes looked at the pile. Multiplied 200 jugs times one dollar. Thought about moving all the jugs. Wondered just how long all that water had been sitting there. Thought about the whole $7.35 he had won from poker the night before. He sighed, ran his fingers through his hair, and breathed out in a snort. “Fine. OK. Let’s go talk to the farmer.”

8 days later…

Kid yelled at Heyes, “Would you shut up? I don’t know where we are either!”

Heyes yelled back, “I can yell all I want because I’m not thirsty! I have pleeeeennnnty of water! But I am broke! And hungry! You forgot to include food in that deal! And 182 people who want to buy water!”

Kid yelled, “I know, I know! Shut up!”

5 days later…

Heyes said, “Mr. Smith, I know we’re a week late getting back with the wagon. We got lost wandering around looking for people. Thirsty people. And we, uh, we also can’t pay you completely yet for using the wagon. We only sold 18 jugs of water, and we need to buy some more supplies for when we head back out.”

Mr. Smith, the farmer, looked wearily at Mr. Smith, the former railroad worker. “Son, don’t you know that almost no one travels through the desert at this time? The creeks are dried up, there’s no water, sandstorms are everywhere, so unless you’re a wagon train that’s really well-prepared, you’re just gonna die. No one travels out there right now unless they’re crazy.  Or ignorant.” He rolled his eyes at the boys. “I would’a told you if I’d known to before you bought all that water. Why do you think Sam had all that in his barn? He had the same idea a few years ago and the same success as you boys just had. He finally decided it wasn’t worth it to him to head out once the traveling picked up because then so did the creeks. Naw, he just wanted it gone. I’m sorry boys, but I don’t think heading back out will do you much good. Don’t worry about what else you owe me for using the wagon. We can just call it even if you want to leave the jugs you didn’t sell here. I can sell them when people head out next season for enough to make it worth my while, especially since you’ve moved them all to my barn.”

Heyes looked at Kid and said nothing. Just looked at him and said a thousand unspoken words. Kid ignored him, saying a thousand unspoken words right back, and firmly stepped forward and shook the farmer’s hand.

“Deal.”

~~~~~
I was inspired by the story on Reddit about the guy who bought 10,000 bottles of Moroccan water for $1000 but had to move them by the next day. No expiration date, no forklift, no truck, no lined-up buyers. But a good deal :)
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MoulinP

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PostSubject: Re: Feb 18 - The Backup Plan   Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:41 am

This is the start of something but I'm afraid I didn't have a chance to finish it - will do.


Back up Plan

“Heyes, have ya got it yet?”

The Kid had waited until the deputy had left the office and they were alone. He knew he and Heyes only had a few minutes to talk in private.

Heyes was pacing up and down in their jail cell and had been for over an hour. The Kid had read yesterday's newspaper, he’d read today’s newspaper, with the account of why they were where they were and he’d even read the first chapter of the book Heyes SAID he was enjoying. The Kid wasn’t so sure it was a book that COULD be enjoyed.

Heyes grunted. “Got what?”

“A plan to get us outta this mess we’ve found ourselves in.” He frowned at his perambulating partner. “Again,” he added, more forcefully.

Heyes grunted again and rubbed his chin. He was still pacing. “A plan is like a fine wine, Kid. You have to let it breathe for a while afore you can appreciate it.”

“So? Is there one breathing?” the Kid asked hopefully.

“No.”


“Have ya even got a plan?”


“No.” Heyes winced and came to a stop, thumbs in his belt. “Well maybe …” He tailed off.


“So ya DO have a plan?”


Heyes sighed and threw himself into a prone position on his bunk. He laced his fingers over his stomach. “I’ve gotta bit of a plan but I haven’t figured out yet how it helps us.”


The Kid rolled his eyes and put down the dreadful book. “Tell me what ya got. Maybe I can help?” He folded his arms and waited. Heyes gave him a look. “Well now Heyes ya always telling me the plan when ya’ve got it all figured out. I’ve know how ya think now.” Heyes raised his eyebrows. “I bet I can figure this one out for ya.”


Heyes chuckled huskily, one hand behind his head. “You figure out one of my plans?” He looked sceptical.


“No,” the Kid was firm and raised a finger. “No ‘cos if I figure it out, I’ll be one of MY plans,” he said, triumphantly, pointing a
thumb at his chest. “C’mon tell me what ya got.”


Heyes pursed his lips and nodded. “Alright.” He looked at the ceiling for inspiration. “The bit I figured out so far is that one of us has gotta break out of here.”


The Kid frowned. He wasn’t sure he’d heard right. “Not a brilliant plan Heyes. Of course we’ve gotta a break outta here.”


Heyes scowled. “I told you I only had a bit of a plan. I didn’t say it was a good one,” he said, petulantly. He took a deep breath and chewed his thumbnail.

The Kid frowned again. “ Wait a minute. What d’you mean? Jus’ the one of us?” The Kid gestured to himself and then Heyes. “Who?”

“Well … .” Heyes began rocking his head from side to side. “That’s something to be decided upon.”

The Kid was wide-eyed. “No Heyes, no.” He sat up and leaned forward. He knew what was coming. “No!” He was firm.
Heyes shrugged and looked far too innocent. “Kid, I haven’t got it. The sheriff took all our money when he arrested us. Remember?” He sighed. “I was a little short in the saloon last night and I spent it,” he added, throwing the Kid a disgusted look. “So you’re safe.”

“Ye-ah,” the Kid nodded, slowly. “So how we’re gonna decide then? Who stays and who goes? And … .” He prodded his trigger finger forcefully into Heyes’ arm. “Why only one of us?”

“Owh!” Heyes frowned and moved his arm away. Rubbing the indented limb, he nodded. “Who stays and who goes is incidental, Kid. We can arg … .” He paused and grinned widely. “Discuss it later. For now just hear me out.”

The Kid rolled his eyes but nodded.

Heyes swallowed and licked his lips. “One of us needs to find out what the weight of that thing is … .”

“Why? How does that help us?”

Heyes frowned. “I don’t exactly know but I’ve a feeling it’s significant.”

The Kid rolled his eyes. “I’ll say. It’s more’n significant! It’s huge!”

“I meant the weight!” Heyes looked irritated and settled his head back on his hand. “There’s something funny ‘bout the weight,” he murmured. He raised his head and looked in the direction the deputy had gone. “Kid we don’t have much time,” he said, urgently. “It’s GOTTA be me who breaks out. I only need a few hours, and then I’ll break back in.” He nodded. “I need to get a look at that weight. If I’m right then my theory falls into place and we can get outta here legitimately.”

“I thought ya said ya didn’t have a theory?” the Kid said, suspiciously.

“I didn’t when you asked me.” Heyes threw his legs over the bunk and sat up. Casting an eye round for the deputy he saw coming back, he lowered his voice. “Something’s occurred to me while we’ve been discussing.” He leant his arms on his legs and leaned towards his partner.

“What?” the Kid whispered back.

“Hey what you two whispering about?” the deputy demanded.

The pair jumped apart. Heyes returned to his previous prone position.

The Kid grinned at the deputy who came to the bars. “Oh jus’ ruminating on life, Deputy. We were jus’ saying it’s funny how life takes a turn.”

“Yeah, Deputy. We were just ruminating that’s all,” Heyes grinned, innocently. The deputy gave them a lingering suspicious look as he walked away. Ruminating?, Heyes mouthed in the Kid’s direction.

The Kid shrugged and mirrored Heyes’ position on his bunk. He picked up the dreadful book. “S’good book, Mr Smith. I’m learning lots.”

Heyes shuddered.

ASJASJASJASJ

A few days earlier at a County Fair, Heyes and Curry were looking at the Guess the Weight Stall. Heyes had pushed back his hat and now stood hands on hips contemplating the item that wanted its weight guessed.

“Boy that’s big,” the Kid sighed.

“Yep,” Heyes agreed. His eyes flicked to the sign. It read: fifty cents a guess. All proceeds to Ludlow City orphanage. Nearest guess to the correct weight wins prize of twenty dollars.

“Why’s it round?” the Kid queried.

“It’s called a wheel,” Heyes informed him.

The Kid looked sceptically at him. “A wheel?”

“Yep.” Heyes nodded, giving him a tight-lipped smiled.

“You gents interested in having a guess?” the stallholder asked, hopefully.

The Kid grinned. “Naw! Not too good at guessing. What ‘bout you, Joshua?”

Heyes pursed his lips thoughtfully and then leant over to look more closely. Straightening up he shook his head. “Too many unknowns.” He declared and folded his arms. He looked at the stallholder. “Take it you already KNOW the weight?”

“Sure do,” the stallholder grinned and patted his top pocket. “Got it right here. Guarding it with my life.”

Heyes gave the Kid a nudge. “Come’n.” Then he chuckled. “Imagine the size of the sandwich Kid.” He paused. “I reckon that’ll defeat even YOUR appetite!” He walked away, resisting the temptation to roll his shoulder blades together in a bid to remove the daggers now embedded in them.

ASJASJASJASJ

At the next opportunity when alone to talk.

“What I don’t understand is why the sheriff thinks its was US who stole it?” The Kid puffed. “I mean it’s not exactly our modus operandi is it?” He kept his head down so his partner couldn’t see the twitch of a pleased smile beginning to appear on his face. “An’ what does he think we’ve done with it?”

Heyes turned his head slowly. “Modus operandi?” he queried, eyebrows raised.

“Yep. It means our method of operating,” the Kid said, smugly.

Heyes’ eyebrows retreated further under his bangs and his eyes widened. “Where did you get that from?” he spluttered.

“From this dang book of yours.” He held it up. “For your information this book happens to be a gold mine”

Heyes frowned. Hadn’t HE said that about another book? He grunted.

“I’m telling ya Heyes they keep me locked up in here much longer, forcing me to read this dang book, I’m gonna be thinking jus’ like you!” He paused. “Which ain’t good!”

Heyes smacked his lips and took a deep breath. Choosing to ignore that comment, he sat up. “Now I’ve done some more thinking. D’you wanna hear what I’ve got figured out so far?”

The Kid nodded with resignation. Best let Heyes get it out of his system.

“Like I said before, I gotta bust out of here, get a look at that weight and sneak back in.” He held up a hand to stop further questions from the Kid. “I don’t think it’s as heavy as it looks. I think … .” He glanced round for the deputy. “I think it’s hollow.”

The Kid frowned. “Huh?”

“I reckon there’s a space inside.”

“What? Why?”

“Contraband,” Heyes said, smugly.

The Kid looked at him with incredulity. “Heyes, have I ever told ya you can be a little weird at times?”

“Frequently.” Heyes admitted. “But it’s being weird that has kept us outta the clutches of the law all this time.” The Kid looked round at the cell they were sitting in. “Except for now!” Heyes took a deep breath. “Kid, I’m telling you, if we don’t find a way outta this mess soon the amnesty’s dead.”

“Really?” the Kid frowned. “For this?”

Heyes shrugged. “The Governor said stay outta trouble. And this is trouble.”

“But they … .” He pointed a finger at the sheriff’s desk. “… don’t know jus’ who they got sitting in their jail.”

“No and the sheriff’s not gonna know who we are. How’s he gonna know? You gonna tell him?”

“I know you Heyes. When the sheriff sees me sitting all alone in this cell, he’s gonna wanna know why and where YOU are. He’s gonna get suspicious. Then he’s gonna get to thinkin’. You ain’t the only one who can do that y’know. Then he’s gonna start lookin’ at wanted posters. If he hasn’t already. THEN if you suddenly reappear, like nothin’ has happened, he’s gonna know for sure we’re not two saddlebums called Smith and Jones.”

“I’ll spin him a tale,” Heyes shrugged.

“Yes and THAT’S how he’ll know ya you!”

Heyes had the good grace to look disgruntled.

“Heyes, I’ve been doin’ some thinkin’ too. We’ve BOTH gotta break outta here.”

Heyes shook his head furiously. “No Kid, you haven’t been doing any thinking at all. If we BOTH break out, then the sheriff really will think we did it. Like you say its only a matter of time afore he puts two and two together. We’ve GOTTA solve this mystery first. It’s the only way he’ll let us go.” Heyes paused. “Tell you what though we’ll keep THAT as a back up plan.”

The Kid appeared to be mollified. “Can ya pick that lock?”

Heyes looked affronted for a moment and then smiled. Reaching into his left boot, he extracted a slim knife.

“I reckon so Kid,” he nodded.

When the Kid grinned, Heyes tucked the knife back into his boot. The Kid nodded.

“Okay Heyes we’ll do it your way. BUT if it don’t work out then we’ve got a back up plan. Right? MY back up plan?”

Heyes licked his lips, waggled his head as he considered and finally nodded.
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PostSubject: Re: Feb 18 - The Backup Plan   Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:42 pm

“Heyes, what’s the plan?” Kid Curry put the last bullet in the chamber and spun the cylinder. Using his gun, he pulled back the curtain to glance outside.

“This WAS the plan.” Hannibal Heyes turned away from the window as a few bullets broke the glass.

“THIS was the plan?” the Kid asked, incredulous, before shooting out the window.

“Not exactly!” Heyes continued firing when Curry finished.

“So, what exactly was the plan?”

“To get in and out before anyone knew we were here. If Lobo hadn’t lost control of the horses…”

“We’re gonna run outta bullets at this rate. Where’s the rest of the gang?”

“They high-tailed it outta town when the alarm went off.”

“That’s great. That’s just great.” Curry loaded more bullets and shot out of the bank window to discourage the townsfolks from shooting them.

Heyes shot out of the window after the Kid had fired all of his rounds.

“So, what’s the back-up plan?” Curry asked.

Heyes removed his hat and ran his fingers through his hair. “There ain’t no back-up plan.”

“No back-up plan?!?” Curry looked exasperated. “You kept me up all week with your plannin’ and pacin’ and there’s no back-up plan?” He ducked down when bullets came in the window. “If we ever get outta here, you’re gonna always have a back-up plan, you hear?”

“Usually my plans don’t need a back-up. They’re flawless.”

Curry gave him a look. “Go to the back window and see if there is anyone behind the building.”

Heyes made his way to the back and looked out. “I don’t see anyone.”

“Do you see our horses?” The Kid loaded his gun again.

“Yeah. They moved and are behind the mercantile – a few doors down.”

“Great. It gets better all the time.” Curry returned fire and moved away from the window. “Have any more dynamite?”

Heyes rifled through his bag. “One stick.” He looked up. “You aren’t thinking…”

“Don’t see that we have a choice, do you?” Curry loaded his gun again. “We’ll light the dynamite and throw it out the window in the middle of the street. We’ll go out the back with me firin’ and you gettin’ the horses.”

“You firing? Why can’t I do my own firing?”

“Someone’s gotta get the horses and I’m better than you. You’re liable to shoot someone and we don’t need a murder on our wanted poster.” Curry tucked his gun under his belt in the back. “Now give me your gun.”

Heyes scowled, but turned over his gun.

The Kid checked the chambers to make sure they were full. “Next time we’ll do your back up plan, if you have one. Now we’re doin’ my plan. Grab your bag and get ready to light the fuse.”

Heyes threw the saddle bags over his shoulder and took a match out of his pocket. “Ready.”

“Okay, when I say, light and throw it, but not too far. Then dive out the back window and run.”

Heyes nodded.

“One – two – three… go!”

The Kid dove out the back window and positioned himself as Heyes lit and tossed the dynamite stick out the front window, then ran to the back of the building. He dove out the window, got up and raced toward the horses, curry behind him providing cover.

After the initial shock of the explosion, the sheriff and townsfolks began shooting again.

“Get the horses!” Curry yelled to his partner as he stopped to shoot. He fired Heyes’ gun, holstered it, and pulled out his own.

Heyes reached the horses and grabbed the reins. “Whoa! Come one.” He quickly mounted his mare and waited.

The Kid emptied his own gun as he moved toward Heyes, then ducked between two buildings for cover. After reloading, he made a made a dash for Heyes and the horses.

The townsfolks persistently shot back.

Curry stumbled.

“Kid!”

“I’m okay.” He rose to his feet and limped the last few yards.

“You’re not okay, you’re hit.” Heyes began to dismount, seeing blood on his partner’s thigh.

“Stay up there!” The Kid reached his horse and, holding on to the saddle horn, forced himself up into the saddle. “Let’s go!”

The outlaws spurred their horses forward while Curry turned and shot back one last time.

They rode like their lives depended on it with Heyes in the lead for an hour. He slowed down near a creek. The animals roared as they caught their breath from the run.

“Have to give them a rest,” Heyes explained.

Curry just nodded.

“We probably have a few minutes. Are you still bleeding?”

“Don’t know.”

“Let me get you down so I can look.” Heyes started to swing his leg behind him.

“No!” Curry growled. “Just leave it until we can stop.”

“But, Kid…”

“If I get down, I won’t make it back up again,” he explained.

“Well, then we’re gonna have to find a place to hide out soon.” Heyes patted his horse’s neck. “We’ll take it easier.”

Heyes guided his horse into the stream and followed the creek for awhile with Curry’s gelding following. At a rocky spot, they left the water and continued slowly until they were back on grass.

“How are you doing?” Heyes called back.

“Okay,” came a faint answer.

Heyes turned and saw his partner hanging on tight to the saddle horn with his chin down to his chest. The right pant leg was red from blood.

“Kid, we’re gonna have to stop that bleeding!” Heyes swung off his horse and loosened his bandana, tying it just above the wound.

“Ouch!” Curry tried to slap him away.

“Is the bullet still in there or come out the other side?” Heyes looked carefully. “You’re lucky – it went through.”

“I don’t feel lucky.”

Heyes unhooked a canteen from his saddle horn and took a swallow before holding it up. “Take a drink.”

The Kid looked down at the canteen and slowly took it, taking a sip.

“We have to stop. You’re not gonna make it much longer.” Heyes glanced around the area. “There’s a wooded area coming up. We’ll be out of sight in case that posse is still following us.”

Heyes took the canteen from the Kid’s shaky hand. “Give me the reins. You just hold on.” He hooked the canteen strap back on his horn, mounted, and led Curry’s horse slowly to the trees.

They rode a few hundred feet into the tree line.

“Kid, there’s a cabin. Don’t look like no one lives there.”

Curry looked up and scrutinized the dilapidated shelter before nodding. “Careful.”

Heyes encouraged his horse forward as his right hand hovered over the butt of his gun as he cautiously approached the cabin. “Hello in the house!”

No one answered and there was no movement.

After reaching the house, Heyes dismounted and made his way to the door. He knocked with the barrel of his gun causing the door to open, just a crack. “Hello?” Cautiously, he peeked around the door before pushing it wide open. “No one’s been here for a while if the dust and cobwebs are any indication. Let’s get you inside.”

Heyes went over to the side of Curry’s gelding and raised his arms. “Lean this way and I’ll help you down.”

“I can do it,” came a mumbled, but stubborn response.

Heyes put his hands on his hips. “Okay, then get down.”

The Kid started to dismount when he slid. He would have fallen if not for his partner’s quick action.

“Stubborn mule,” Heyes muttered as he placed the Kid’s arm around his shoulders and put his arm about his waist holding him up. “Can you walk or do I have to carry you?”

Curry’s face grimaced in pain. “I can walk.”

The Kid leaned heavily on Heyes as they made their way inside.

“A few more steps to the bunk. There you go.” Heyes lowered Curry into the bed and helped put his legs up on it.

Shivering, the Kid laid down. “Smells musty.”

“You cold? Let me get the bedrolls in to cover you.” Heyes went out and retrieved the bags and bedrolls. He covered his partner with both blankets. “I’d make a fire, but not sure if the posse it out there. Are you okay while I take care of the horses?”

“Go.”

When Heyes came back into the cabin thirty minutes later with a bucket of water, Curry was barely conscious. He felt his cheek and sighed. “You got a fever starting.” He wet a bandana and wiped the Kid’s face before putting it on his forehead.

“Better clean that wound.” Heyes unbuckled the two belts and removed them. He took off his boots and ripped the pants leg just above the wound. With a spare bandana in a saddle bag, Heyes cleaned the blood from the gash and leg. He poured some whiskey on it and then ripped a shirt for a bandage. “That’s better.” He took the canteen and placed it near his mouth. “Kid, you need to drink something. Come on. Open up. Good. Now swallow. There you go.”

“Kid, if you get better, I’ll always have a back-up plan,” Heyes vowed as the fever peaked. He wiped the perspiration away with a wet cloth.

“Promise?” came a whispered response.

Heyes smiled. “Promise.”

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PostSubject: Re: Feb 18 - The Backup Plan   Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:23 pm

Backup Plans

With the sun barely up, Wheat Carlson knocked on the door of the leader’s cabin. He waited. When there was no response, he rapped again, harder this time. Still, no response.

Hmm, what to do? Heyes always said to have a backup plan. Wheat thought a minute, then drew the pistol from his holster, pointed it skyward, and pulled the trigger. Three loud shots in succession split the stillness. Stepping back from the door, he counted under his breath, “One, two, three, four …”

Of a sudden the door opened and Kid Curry rushed onto the porch, Colt at the ready. Barefoot and dressed in henley and long johns, he dove behind a barrel on the porch, and noticing Carlson, yelled, “Wheat, take cover!” He craned his neck at the open spaces in all directions of the cabin without breaking cover.

After a moment, Hannibal Heyes appeared at a window, Schofield drawn. “Nothing out back, Kid. See anything out front?”

“Nope, but the shootin’s stopped.” Curry glanced again at Carlson, who had not moved. “Wheat, I told ya to take cover. In case you didn’t notice, some blasted fool is shootin’ at us.”

Wheat snickered. “Pfft. Ya can put them guns away, fellas. I was doin’ the shootin’.”

Heyes appeared on the porch, also in his underwear. “What? Why? Doggone it, Wheat, it’s barely sun-up! That poker game just ended a few hours ago!”

Wheat puffed his chest. “It was my backup plan when you didn’t answer the door. Ya always say to have one.”

Curry rolled his eyes and walked back inside.

Wheat looked confused. “Where ya goin’?”

Kid stopped just long enough to say, “My backup plan is to go back to bed. I’m a little short on sleep.” He disappeared into the cabin.

Heyes watched his partner go before looking at Wheat. “Really, Wheat? A backup plan? Because somebody didn’t answer the door right away at six in the morning?” Heyes shook his head in confusion, then continued, getting louder as he went. “You need a backup plan if something goes wrong with the main plan, like where to meet up if we have to separate, like who carries the haul. NOT for waking people up in the middle of the night if it’s not an emergency!” Heyes was shouting now. “What the hell is so damn important it couldn’t wait til later?!”

Kid yelled from inside, “Heyes, I’m tryin’ to sleep!”

Heyes shook his head in disgust. “This isn’t the best way to start the day now, is it?”

Wheat smirked. “Nope.”

The outlaw leader took a breath and sighed to calm himself. He rubbed his brow. “Okay, then, what’s the emergency? Like Kid said, we’re short on sleep.”

“No emergency.”

Heyes grew apoplectic. “Then why?”

“Just wanted to let ya know Kyle’s gonna test the new dynamite in a few minutes and wanted to warn ya so ya weren’t woke up all sudden-like.” He noticed the growing deep red color on the face of Hannibal Heyes. “Heyes, if’n ya don’t calm down, you’re gonna have a stroke.”

Heyes breathed and calmed himself once more, though the red face remained. He spoke slowly, emphasizing words to make a point. “So, you wanted to let us know so we weren’t woke up too suddenly …”

Wheat smiled. “Uh huh. Time’s runnin’ short.”

Heyes repeated, “Time’s running short.”

“Uh huh, that’s what I said.”

The outlaw leader paused a moment to take in the surrealness before continuing. “Are you sure your name is Wheat and not Kyle?”

“Yup.” Finally, Wheat frowned. “Why ya askin’? Somethin’ wrong, Heyes?”

Heyes raised an eyebrow before yawning. “Nope. Everything’s just dandy.” He turned and started back inside.

KA-BOOM!!!

Heyes stopped. He looked in the direction of the blast and yawned again. “Guess it works.”

Again Wheat stood with chest puffed. “Yup. See, now ya weren’t woken up all sudden-like.”

“Thanks, Kyle.”

Carlson stood dumbfounded. “Nope, I’m Wheat, remember?” He scratched his head. “Ya really should get some sleep, Heyes.”

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