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 April 18 The Bonnet

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Calico

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

PostSubject: April 18 The Bonnet   Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:23 am

Sorry sorry sorry

I thought the first was on Monday not on Sunday...
Of course I found out yesterday I was out a day, but I was hostessing all day... (Breakfast out, board games, very nice lamb casserole and hot cross bun bread and butter pudding... BBC Agatha Christie in evening. Basically Boxing Day three months on :)


AnyHOOO...
With a tangential Easter connection ... and in hono(u)r of various parades both sides of the herring pond.

Please spruce up your favourite Mary Sue and put her into:


The Bonnet.




(Whaddya mean - difficult? Get typing!)







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sistergrace

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PostSubject: Re: April 18 The Bonnet   Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:10 am

“What are you doing?”  Hannibal Heyes stepped into the cabin at Devil’s Hole and hung his hat on a rack near the door.  

At the kitchen table sat Kyle Murtry, deep in concentration.  “I’m busy.”

“I can see that.”  Heyes pulled up a chair next to his best dynamite man.  “Busy with what?”

“Fixin’ this thing we picked up on our last train job.”  Kyle kept his eyes on his work as he spoke.  He sifted through a bowl of round metal pegs, each labeled with a letter, and from time to time he paused to affix one of them to an empty place on the contraption in front of him.

“How come you took the keys off?”

Kyle met his boss’s eyes.  “I took ‘em off to fix this here…what-cha-call-it.”

“Typewriter.”

“Yup.  That.”

“What was wrong with it?”

“The letters was all mixed up.  Somebody put the Q way up top, ‘stead of the A.  And the Z is on the bottom, but way to the wrong side.  And every letter in between A and Z is a jumble.  Sheesh!  Whoever did this must’ve been a real ignoramus!”

Heyes looked at the typewriter’s newly configured keyboard.  “Uh-huh.”  He rolled his eyes.  “What are you planning to do with the typewriter once you get it ‘fixed’?”

“Gonna print up your bank-robbin’ plans just like they do for Army schedules.”

Heyes rubbed his chin, surprised that Murtry’s idea had merit, even though the current state of its execution left something to be desired.  “You know, Kyle, crazy as it may sound, the letters on a typewriter don’t belong in alphabetical order.  They go like this—Q W E R T Y…”  Heyes continued work side-by-side with Kyle, un-rearranging the keys, until the job was complete.  

“Now..." Heyes loaded of a piece of paper into the typewriter’s roller.  “I’ll tell you the teams for next week’s job and you type out what I say.”

“Sure thing, Heyes!”  Kyle beamed from ear to ear and situated himself in front of the machine.

“Team One – Lookout,” Heyes said.

“Team one lookouy…Oops,” Kyle muttered.  “Hit the Y ‘stead of the T.  You got another piece of paper?”

***

Some time later, Kid Curry entered the room and stood behind Kyle, reading as Kyle pecked away.  “Heyes,” he said quietly, interrupting Heyes’ dictation.  “Before you get much further, you might wanna take a look at this.”

Heyes stopped short, quit his pacing, and crossed the room to stand beside Curry.  “What is this?  teamonelookouy… Kyle, why didn’t you space between the words?”  He read further.  “And capitalize the first letters of folks’ names?”  

Kyle spoke up in his own defense.  “I know to capitalize the first letter of folks’ names when I’m writin’, but I got no clue how to capitalize ‘em on this here rig.”

“Typewriter,” corrected the Kid.

“That’s what Heyes said,” Kyle admitted.  “The letters on the pegs all look like capitals, but they ain’t comin’ out that way when I push on ‘em.  And far as spacin’ betwixt words, I got no idee how to do that neither.”

“What is this?” Heyes huffed, pointing to a line in the center of the page.

“You said you wanted the new kid right next to you and the Kid this job, so’s you two could keep a close eye on him.  I printed it just like you said, Heyes, see?”  Kyle pointed to the line in question – “heyesthenewkidbillythekid.”

“Billy the Kid?” Curry asked, dubiously.  

“Not Billy the Kid,” Kyle said, shaking his head.  “Billy, the new kid.  The Kid is you.”

“I know I’m the Kid,” said the Kid, his frustration beginning to show.  “Kyle, if you didn’t know how to type, how come you didn’t say somethin’ to Heyes?”

Kyle swallowed.  “’Cause Heyes never asked if I knew HOW to type, just told me to do it.”  He raised his eyes to meet Curry’s.  “An’ you’re the one always sayin’ we need to do whatever Heyes tells us.”

Heyes sighed and ran his hand through his hair.  “How about if we start over?”

Kyle settled down at the typewriter again, with Heyes at his side this time.  

“This here is the space bar.”  Heyes demonstrated.  “And you hold down this key, or this one, in order to capitalize a letter,” Heyes continued.  “And when you’re making a list, you separate each name with a comma.  Oh, one more thing, Kyle.”

“What’s that?” Kyle asked.

“How about if we just call the new kid by his rightful name?”

“You got it, Heyes.”  Kyle typed on – Heyes, the Kid, William H. Bonnet.  “Dang!  Ya know, they put the T and the Y are way too close together on this thing, Heyes.”

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Nebraska Wildfire

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PostSubject: The Bonnet   Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:41 pm



The Well Revisited

The early rays of the sun had just crested the distant mountains.  The woman standing on the porch sighed softly.  She enjoyed this time of the day.  It was quiet and cool.  She knew there would be much activity and heat before her day would again end this way.

She had shooed the last of the cowboys out of the cantina not long before dawn.  It had been a Saturday night, as well as payday.  She knew she should not complain, as she was certain the saloon had ended up with a good portion of most of the cowboys’ monthly pay.  If not, her hotel, café, or livery had.

The only business she had sold off, when she had bought them all from Ed, was the brothel.  She had spent too many years as a working girl to want to be a madam.  Maisy, who now ran the local place down the street, told her she we missing a good source of income, but Rosie just smiled, and let her corner the market on those services.  Rosie had thought to buy the mercantile, with her profits from her other businesses, but too many of the locals remembered the days she worked for Ed, so she let that one go to a man named Bohl who had moved in from Indiana.

With the stage coach coming through regularly, and rumors of the train coming this way, she made more than enough money, with the hotel and café, than she and Alice would ever need.  She stretched and smiled.  Alice was the light of her life.  She would be up soon to share breakfast with Rosie, before they both went off to church.  She laughed silently as she walked down the steps and over to the old well.  The old biddies in town, and the young prissies who’ve since moved here, might turn up their noses at her, with her background, but they were ever kind to Alice.  Rosie hoped by the time Alice was grown, few would remember that she had once worked in the cantina, rather than owning it.

She had convinced the town to lay a sewer system, so she now had running water in her businesses, and no longer needed to come to the well each day, as she did years ago.  Still, she made the walk nearly every day at dawn and dusk, to clear her mind, and stir fond memories with a smile.


The Devil’s Hole gang had not been frequent visitors to her town, but they had stopped by, when they were down this way.  Back in those days, when the town was not so settled, everyone was happy for the money that flowed during those visits.  In a perverse way, they also accomplished a goal of the few back then who had wanted the town more settled.  When it became known that the Devil’s Hole gang occasionally stopped by, a few of the rougher gangs were encouraged to find somewhere else to hurrah.  Heyes and Curry and their boys enjoyed a good time but did not put up with stupidity.  Ed complained about losing money, until Rosie reminded him how much the Devil’s Hole gang would spend, compared to some of the less successful gangs.  Ed decided to be happy with the money that did come to him.


It was a cool day the next time the boys from the Hole rode in.  It was getting on towards winter, and the blistering heat was gone.  Rosie shivered in the morning cold.  She had come out in a woolen shawl rather than one her usual silk creations.  Her ears were cold as the desert wind swirled around the town square.  She sometimes wished for a bonnet, as some of the more respectable women in town wore, but just shook her head.  She would not use it much, so she just pulled the shawl over her head as she arrived at the well.

She had just pulled up a bucketful of water, when she heard the thunder of approaching hooves.  She glanced up as she poured the water in her jar.  It sounded like a large number of horses.  Rosie was still deciding whether it would be wiser to run back to the cantina, or just hold her ground.  Lily had been attacked by the Dorset gang, as they had stopped by the well on their way into town.  Rosie had never seen Ed so mad.  He said, it was one thing if one of the girls was roughed up while doing her job at the cantina and getting paid.  It was another thing if she was attacked by an entire gang.

As the riders came out of the rising sun, Rosie let out her breath and relaxed.  This group of men was led by Hannibal Heyes, with the Kid bringing up the rear.  Heyes paused to stop by the well, when he saw Rosie, but waved the rest of the group onto the cantina, exchanging glances with Curry.  The Kid touched the brim of his hat, smiling at Rosie, as he rode by.

“Whatcha doin’ out here in the cold?” Heyes asked as he came down off his horse.  He rubbed his hands up and down his arms, looking cold himself.

Rosie started to hoist the jug up, but Heyes handed her his horse’s reins, and carried the jug instead.

“Needing a lot of water today?” he grunted as they started back towards the cantina.

“One of the girls is, uh, not feelin’ well, so I’m bringin’ it for her.”  Rosie chanced a glance at Heyes, and his dimpled smile answered.

“Well, that’s right nice.”  He huffed as they climbed the stairs to the saloon.  “Should be enough here for both of you.”  He looked sideways at Rosie.  “You can carry this?”

Her smile broke out then.  “Yes.  I do have to rest a couple times.”

Heyes nodded to the Kid as he started up the stairs, and also to a curious Ed.  Rosie waved off Ed, who was just as happy to ignore whatever would be happening upstairs.  He was busy pouring the good whiskey for very thirsty Devil’s Hole gang members.

Rosie stopped before a door two down from her room.  “You can leave it here,” she said quietly.  “Lily is probably asleep.”

Heyes answered just as softly, “I know how to be quiet, Rosie.”  He held onto the jug.  “Kind of needed at times in my line of work.”

There was something dark and sad in Rosie’s eyes, as she looked at Heyes, before she turned to open the door.  Heyes paused before he followed her into the darkened room.  Rosie indicated for him to set it down, by a dresser with a pretty, flowered bowl and pitcher.  As he did so, the thin, blonde woman in the bed woke and turned towards them.

“Rosie, that you?” she asked in a querulous voice.

“Yes, sweetheart,” Rosie answered softly, approaching the bed, putting herself between Heyes and Lily.  She sat on the bed and brushed the fair hair out of Lily’s face.  Dark bruises were visible on her cheeks and her arms as she grasped Rosie’s hand.

A hard look came over Heyes’ face.  He started to quietly back out of the room, but Lily noticed the motion and her eyes grew large.

“Who is that?” Her voice raised in pitch and she tried to hide behind Rosie, who just enveloped her with her arms.

“Just a friend, Lily.”  Rosie met Heyes’ still gaze, and he stopped.  “He helped me bring you some water for washing.”

Rosie met Lily’s eyes, and smiled.  “He’s a good one.”

Lily glanced over towards Heyes, but did not meet his eyes.  “You certain, Rosie?”

“Yes, sweetie.”

“I’ll let you ladies be,” Heyes touched the brim of his hat.  He slowly backed out of the room then, his every moved tracked by Lily’s eyes.  “Just let me know if you need anything else.”


Later that day, as the Devil’s Hole gang was settling into the cantina, Rosie walked back to the bar after serving a full tray of drinks, to those playing poker and those just relaxing.  Heyes and Curry looked comfortable, leaning against the carved wooden length, but as Rosie met his dark eyes, she could tell Heyes had questions for her.  

She smiled at the boys.  “Enjoying yourselves?”

“Always,” Heyes answered, but his eyes remained dark.  “Heard about the Dorset gang, from Bob here.”  He nodded towards the bartender.  “And Lily.”

Rosie met his eyes, but did not offer a reply.

“Sorry we weren’t here to help,” the Kid offered.

Rosie shrugged.  “It happens.”

Heyes’ eyes were still dark.  “The girls ever tell you our boys do anything, you let us know.”

Rosie smiled, a bit sadly.  “Nah, your boys are good.  The girls like having you all around.”

“Let us know if that ever changes,” the Kid said.  “Sometimes we have new men.”

Rosie nodded, and continued.  “Never known you to bring in anyone like the Dorsets.  Your men are always generous.”

Heyes nodded.  “Hopin’ to keep it that way.”  He put his arm around Rosie’s waist.  “Looks like you are doin’ okay.”  He smiled.  “Gettin’ rounder.  Softer?”  A wolfish grin covered his face.

“Never softer, Mr. Heyes,” Rosie smiled back with just a fierce of a grin.  “Wouldn’t do me any good.”

“How about those fancy shawls you make?”

“Now those are still soft.”

Heyes put down her tray, and started to lead her toward the stairs, but then turned towards Curry, meeting his eyes.  “Kid, you watch out for the boys for a while?”

The Kid smiled back, but nodded.  “Always, Heyes.”


It was about two months later that the tale made its way back to Ed’s cantina.  The Hurley gang brought it with them when they stopped by.   They had been passing through Tucson and had run into a couple former members of the Dorset gang.  They were looking for some new fellahs to join up with, and had approached Tom Hurley.

“’Twas kinda sad really,” Tom recounted as he swilled his beer, and hung onto Maisy.  “They said Horace and Silas Dorset had hightailed it to old Mexico, but these other boys hadn’t wanted to go south.  Seems the Dorsets had run into the Devil’s Hole gang outside of Red Rock.”  He downed the rest of his beer, and shook his head.  “For all that them boys ain’t never shot or killed anyone on all the jobs they pulled, it ain’t a good idea to get on their bad side.  Seems that they made it very clear to Horace and Silas that they weren’t welcome to come back here to Ed’s any more.  Marty, one of them that wanted to join up with us, said that Horace and Silas were beat up pretty bad.  Heyes and Curry had told them they needed to know what it was like.  The other boys from the Hole, it seems, kept the rest of the Dorsets from interfering, but the message was clear to them all.”

“That Marty here with you?” Bob the bartender asked Tom Hurley.  Bob was big, dark, and generally smiling, except when needed to keep the peace in the saloon.  He had personally hauled at least a couple of the Dorsets out of town after Lily.

“Nah, figured we didn't want any problems with the boys from the Hole.”  Tom shoved his glass forward for a refill, while holding onto Maisy.

Rosie had listened to the entire tale.  It did not really sound like Curry and Heyes, but then she shrugged and continued to wash glasses.  Never knew with these outlaws.

“What you doing back there helping Bob?” Clancy Hurley asked her.  He was half drunk already, and probably would fall asleep before he ever made it upstairs with any of the girls.  “You’re one of my favorites, don’t’cha know?”

“Oh, Clancy,” Rosie just smiled, as she wiped out another glass.  “You ain’t in any shape to make it up the stairs, let alone do anything further.”  She turned to set the glasses under the bar and her rounded silhouette showed under the serviceable blue dress she wore.  She was not corseted and primped as usual.

“Looks like you been upstairs once too many times, Rosie, sweetie,” Tom Hurley stated.

“Now you boys leave Rosie to work,” Bob glowered.  “Ed won’t be happy if it ain’t clean in here when he comes in.”  He glanced at Rosie, as Tom and Clancy squirmed.  They did not want to be thrown out of town by Bob.

She just laughed.  “It’s alright, Bob.”  She smiled at the boys.  “Give them a beer on me.”  She shook her head.  “Just a hazard of the trade, boys.”

“Best keep your money for, well, other things, Rosie,” Tom commented.

“Nah, I’m good.  No problems there.”  She smiled again, and went to pour a beer for some cowboys down at the other end of the bar.

Tom eyed Bob for a minute before saying, “Nice to know someone’s doin’ right by her.  She’s a sweetheart.”

Bob just nodded, and poured them another beer.

“She say who it is?”  Tom glanced around, and lowered his voice.  “It wouldn’t be …”

“Best keep those thoughts to yourself,” Bob glowered.  “Thought you didn’t want any trouble.”

Tom looked thoughtful.  “No, definitely not with them.”


It was a year later, and Rosie was again at the well at sunset.  She did not get much sleep these days, what with keeping up with Alice, and bartending for Ed.  Bob had moved on to a new silver strike, and Ed complained these days so of the gout.  Little Russell now hauled water for all the girls, since she had hired him to do so for a few coins a day.  The saloon was doing well, so Rosie had convinced Ed that it was worth the expense.

This was one of the few times a day where she could get a breath of air, and a moment of peace.  Oh, she loved Alice more than her life itself, but she still relished the peace of the desert at sunset.

Then she heard the not uncommon sound of a group of horses approaching.  She shaded her eyes.  It was them.  They had not been back down this way for a while.  The law had stopped in the cantina a time or two, hunting, but they had not had any luck.

The boys all tipped their hats at her, but continued to ride on by.  They looked hot and thirsty.  Heyes and Curry brought up the rear this time.  The Kid pulled up his horse as he approached the well.  

“Lookin’ good, Rosie,” he smiled down at her, removing his hat to wipe his brow.

“Wish I could say the same, Kid, but you’re looking hot and dusty.”

“And thirsty.”  He gave a look to Heyes, who nodded back, as he dismounted.  The Kid touched his hat to Rosie, and continued onto the cantina.

Heyes looked just as dusty and dirty, as he leaned against the well.

“Thirsty?” she asked.  

He nodded.  “But also hungry,” his bright smile shimmered through the dirt, as he took off his gloves and reached out for her.


It had been a few years now since they had seen the boys.  Rosie often wondered if they had finally gotten together enough money to head to Mexico, or South America.  The last time they had been through, they had not stayed long.  They had looked a bit harried, as it had taken them more effort to lose the posse than they wanted.  Heyes figured they would eventually track them there, since it had come to be known they frequented the town.  The gang stopped only long enough to have a drink, eat, and rest their horses.  They were gone in the morning.


She shook her head as she looked away from the risen sun in the east.  It was probably for the best.  With the way the town was settling, a lot of folks would not be so pleased to have an outlaw gang in town.  These days Rosie made most of her money off of ranchers, travelers, and the railroad scouts.

She was just turning back towards the cantina, to wake Alice for breakfast, when she spotted two riders coming into town from the west.  He eyes were not the best after watching the sun rise.  She squinted and put her hand to her forehead.  Her breath caught.  It must be because she was thinking of old memories, but she could swear she knew the way one of the men sat his horse, and the set of the other’s shoulders.  It could not be anyone else with that floppy brown hat, riding with someone with such a disreputable, beat up, black hat, could it?

She stood by the well, waiting.  They finally noticed her.  Heyes paused, but the Kid broke out in a smile and continued on to her.

“Rosie?” he questioned her and dismounted as Heyes approached.

“Rosie, what a sight for sore eyes!”  He hugged her tightly, and she returned the gesture.  They then both turned to Heyes, as he approached.

“Rosie.”  He smiled that dimpled smile and she melted in to his arms.




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RosieAnnie

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PostSubject: Re: April 18 The Bonnet   Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:55 pm

A little piece of fluff for April. Heyes gets a bee in his bonnet.

-----------------
“Come here, handsome.” Sally took out the pins holding her upswept hair, letting rich chestnut waves tumble down around her bare shoulders. Some tendrils swept tantalizingly across her ample chest. Her breath was getting deeper; he saw her breasts straining against the low cut of her bodice. She hooked her fingers into his belt and pulled him close. He bent lower to kiss her, but he pulled back when he saw her frown.

“What is that noise?” she said.

“What noise?” He was so close, he could smell the rose water she wore.

“That tapping noise. What is it?”

Now he frowned, too. What was that sound? It sure was annoying.

Jed Curry sat up suddenly. What the hell was that crash? Where did Sally go? Where was he? He pushed himself into a sitting position, and the quilts covering him fell to his waist. The room was cold, and he was alone. He was in his bedroom in the leader’s cabin at Devil’s Hole. Light filtered under the bedroom door, along with that tapping sound. Curry jumped out of bed and opened the door.

In the main room, Hannibal Heyes was pacing, back and forth, back and forth. He was fully dressed, down to his boots. He held a book, and he was thwacking it against his thigh as he walked. The table held pen, inkwell, and paper strewn across it. Scraps of torn paper littered the floor.

“Hi, Kid. What’re you doing up at this hour?”

“What’m I doing up? What’re you doing up? It’s got to be past midnight.”

Heyes glanced at the clock on the mantel. “More like two a.m.”

“Oh. Good. That makes me feel better.”

“Why aren’t you asleep? That’s your favorite activity, isn’t it?”

Curry’s face settled into hard lines. “This ain’t the time to push me. I heard something crash.”

Heyes looked apologetic. “Sorry, Kid. I stood up too fast, and the chair fell down on the floor.” He paused, turning to focus on his sleep-deprived partner. “Did I wake you?”

“Yeah, you woke me! I was dreaming about Sally.”

“Sally from Rawlins?” He smiled fondly. “She does inspire dreams, doesn’t she?”

Curry ran a hand through his tangled hair. “Why aren’t you in bed, having some nice dreams of your own?”

“Too much on my mind. You know I do all my best thinking at night.”

Curry pulled a chair out from the table and sat down. “You know I do all my best sleeping at night. Unless you’re doing your damnedest to keep me awake.”

“I said I was sorry.”

“Yeah, you did. You want to tell me what’s on your mind? That way, maybe we both can get some sleep.”

“Have you seen this?”  He handed the book to Curry, who read the title out loud.

‘“Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry and the Posse That Wouldn’t Quit.’ No, I ain’t seen this one before, but I seen some other ones like it. What about it?”

“You know what that is?”

“Well, it’s kind of hard for me to focus my eyes when I’m this tired, but I think it’s a dime novel.”

“Of course, it is, but that’s not all it is.”

Heyes stood with his hands on his hips, looking like he was ready for a fight. The signs were clear; Heyes had a bee in his bonnet about something, and Curry would never get any sleep until he figured out what that bee was.

“Alright, I’ll bite, even though I know I’ll be sorry I asked. What is it besides what it is?”

“It’s exploitation, that’s what it is. And fraud. It’s fraud, too. We’re being used, Kid. All of us here, not just you and me. You and me get the worst of it because we’re famous.”

“And how are we being exploited so bad that we both are awake at 2:00am?”

“Because the people who wrote and published this book are using our names to make money for themselves! And we ain’t getting one red cent of it!”

“Is that it? That’s why I’m not dreaming of Sally anymore?”

“Yeah! We’re being used by the rich all over again, to make money for them and not for us. It’s not right.”

“I don’t see what we can do about it, Heyes. We can’t exactly go to a court of law and sue them. We’re wanted criminals, remember? Besides, we make our living doing things that aren’t right.”

Heyes slammed his fist onto the table. Curry grabbed the ink bottle to keep it from spilling. Several sheets of paper floated gently onto the wooden floor.

“Damnation! Settle down, will you? It ain’t that important!”

“You’re wrong, Kid. It’s important to me, and it ought to be to you. Anyway, I got a plan, and all this is part of it.” Heyes waved his arms at the table. Curry looked blearily at the mess.

“First things first. I need something to help me concentrate. Any of that Kentucky bourbon left?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“How about you pour us a couple drinks? Then you can sit down and tell me what you got in mind. I can see I ain’t going to get any rest until you do.”

Moments later, Curry and a calmer Heyes sat together at the table, each man holding a shot glass filled with bourbon.

“Here’s my plan. Instead of some idiot easterner making up lies about us, and him making money off us, I’m going to write my own books, and I’ll tell the truth. I’ll beat them at their own game, and all the money will go to us, like it should do by rights.”

Impressed, Curry raised a glass to his partner. “I like it, Heyes. After all, you know what really happened. That’d make better stories because you don’t have to make stuff up.” The men touched their glasses together in a toast and drank.

“Except . . .” Heyes paused. “Except it’s turning out to be harder than I thought. I don’t seem to be getting very far. I write a few lines, then I look at them, and I think, this ain’t going nowhere, or, no, I don’t like the way this sounds. Then I get frustrated and tear everything up and start over.”

“That’s what all these torn papers on the floor are?”

Heyes nodded vigorously. “Exactly. I’ve had to scrap one story idea after another.” He took a drink of the bourbon before continuing. “This writing thing’s harder’n it looks.”

“Uh huh.” Curry looked thoughtful. “Maybe you’re going about this the wrong way.”

“Wrong how?”

“Well,” Curry said, folding his hands on the tabletop. “You been trying to write one story after another, right? You get started, you don’t like what you wrote, you get frustrated, and you start again, doing the same thing all over again, the same thing that didn’t work the first time or the second or the third. Maybe you should plan your book like you plan a bank job. You work backwards.”

“Backwards?” Heyes sounded doubtful. “That don’t make sense.”

“Sure, it does,” Curry insisted. “See, you start with knowing how it ends. For instance, think about the First National Bank of Denver. There’s a payroll due on, say, the 15th, so we want to break in that night. We work backwards from that point. We need to be in Denver on the 15th. How long will it take to get there, five days? So on the 10th, we got to go. What and who do we need to take with us? It’s all got to be ready on the 10th, so we have to start organizing on the 5th. You see?”

Heyes leaned back in his chair, looking at the ceiling. Curry recognized the signs of serious thought. He reached for his glass for another drink, but it was empty. He took Heyes’ glass and drained it.

“I get it.” He looked at his partner with appreciation. “Kid, you’re a genius.”

“Damn straight. A thirsty genius. Fill these glasses, barkeep.”

“Alright. I know how the story ends. Instead of starting at the beginning, I start at the end, and backtrack.”

“And you don’t have to do it all at once, or even do it in order,” Curry suggested. “Write bits and pieces, and then put them in order and all together later. It’ll be like a plan you make for a job, where you come up with an idea, then you review it and refine it and make changes. Maybe even a lot of changes before it’s finished. Take the time you need to do it right. After all, you ain’t on a schedule when you’re writing a book. It’s done when you say it’s done.”

Heyes tapped the dime novel on the desk with one finger. “This fool thing reads like somebody wrote it all in one night and never looked at it again. And somehow, it sells.”

“Yours will sell better because you won’t write it all in one night. You’ll take the time to make it perfect, same as you do with every job we go on.”

“I like the way you think.” He glanced at the torn-up scraps of paper on the floor. “I’m going to need more paper. A lot more. And ink.”

“I’m making a list of supplies for our next trip to town. I’ll put ink and paper at the top.”

“Wonder what old Wheat’s going to say when he sees that on the list?”

“If you feel you need to explain yourself, tell him you’re drawing out floor plans for our next job. Remember, he don’t need to know the reason for everything we do. He just needs to do what he’s told.”

“Another good point.” Heyes stood up, putting both hands on the table. “I don’t know about you, Kid, but I’m a little tired. I’m going to hit the hay.”

“That’s the best idea you’ve had yet. Think I’ll do the same. Oh, and partner? Promise me one thing. When you get an idea for your book, tell me about it after I’ve slept and had my coffee and breakfast. Not at 2:00a.m. Deal?”

“Deal.”

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PostSubject: Re: April 18 The Bonnet   Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:16 pm

Took the day off from work and Heyes and the Kid asked what the challenge was this month.  I told them "bonnet" and they started laughing.  "Remember when..."  (and I furiously typed)



Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry whipped their mounts to go faster on the open desert where there was little to no covering.  They raced around cactus, away from Bisbee, towards a range.  Once they reached the mountains, there would be more cover.

A lone rider kept a steady pace behind the men he knew to be wanted outlaws.  Their $20,000 bounty would allow him to retire earlier than he hoped.

Rounding a crop of rocks, the horses pranced and steered to the right.

“What the…”  Heyes pulled back harder on the reins than usual.

“They must smell water.  We gotta stop for just a few minutes and let them get a drink or they’ll die underneath us.”  Kid Curry panted, trying to catch his breath as he talked.  “Wouldn’t hurt us none to get a drink.”

“Might hurt if Edgar Whiting catches up to us,” Heyes snapped, but then softened.  “But the horses do need a drink if we’re gonna continue to run them.”

They gave free rein to their geldings, who hurried to a copse of trees.  In the middle was a small creek that was drying up from the summer heat.

Curry jumped down and unholstered his gun, looking behind them for any sign of the bounty hunter, while Heyes filled their canteens.  He brought a filled one to his partner.  “See anything?”

“Nope, but he’s out there.  Maybe he took a few minutes to rest his horse, too.”  The Kid took the proffered canteen and took a long drink before pouring some on the top of his head.  He shook off the excess water running down his face.  “Ahhh… that feels better.”

Heyes quickly backed up from the water.  “Watch out!”

“Try it.  Feels good.”

Heyes watched intently beyond the few trees.  “Just our luck to have Whiting recognize us back in Bisbee.”

“The one bounty hunter known to be vicious and for bringing in outlaws dead.”

“How far back is he?” Heyes squinted in the noon sun.

“I’d say a couple of hours.  It took him a while to follow when we got to those rocks.”

Heyes looked toward the creek.  “The horses are about finished and looking for something to eat now.  “Hey, what’s that?  Is that a building?”

Curry turned to looked in the same direction as his partner.  “Looks like it could be an adobe building.”

“Can’t hurt to check it out.”  Heyes headed back to the horses.  “Come on.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The weary men and animals came to a large adobe mission.  Mexican adults were working around the compound and children played nearby.  A few Catholic sisters were supervising the work.

“Joshua and Thaddeus?  Is that you?”  A sister shielded her eyes from the sun.

Heyes and Curry glanced at each other. “Sister Julia?”

“Why yes!”  The sister walked up to them.  “You look like you’re running from something.”  She frowned.

Curry nodded.  “You could say that.”

Heyes gave him a quick look.  “Actually, there’s been a man chasing us.  The way he’s been shooting at us makes us think he’s a bounty hunter.”

“We’ve been known to resemble two known outlaws,” the Kid added.

“Well, this fellow won’t let us get close enough to talk and he won’t give up.”

“Oh, dear!”

“We could really use a place to hide from him and get some rest.”

“Yes… yes…”  Sister Julia pondered the problem.  “How soon will this bad man be here?”

“Probably a few hours.  We lost him for a short time.”

“Well, we don’t have much time then, do we.”  She turned to her staff.  "Miguel, cuidar de sus caballos, por favor.  Que descanse en la parte posterior de la cuadra."

"Sí, hermana."

“I told him to care for your horses and hide them in the back of the stable where it’s dark.”  She quickly walked towards a door.  “Grab your bags and follow me.”

Heyes and Curry quickly removed their saddle bags and gave the reins to Miguel before hurrying after Sister Julia.

“Now this plan may seem extreme to you, but I think it’s best if we hide you in plain sight.”  She pointed to a room.  “Clean up and shave.”

“Sister?” Heyes questioned.  “We really don’t have time for this.”

“Shave close and I’ll be back.”

Curry and Heyes shrugged and began unbuttoning their filthy shirts.

As they were wiping the last of the soap from their face, Sister Julia knocked on the door.  “May I come in.”

Curry opened the door as Heyes rinsed his face one more time.

“Oh, you look much better.”  She handed the Kid two black robes.  “Now put these on.  They should be big enough although I had to remove the hems to make them longer.  Sister Hannah, God rest her soul, was a large and tall woman.”

“You want us to dress as nuns?” Heyes asked as he took a robe from the Kid.

“Exactly!”

“Pardon me, ma’am, but we don’t like feminine at all.  This bounty hunter will see right through this disguise.”

“Trust me and Him to get you through this.”  Sister Julia looked up.  “Remove those gun belts and probably lose the pants and shirts.  It’ll look too bulky.  I’ll be back.”

“Heyes?”  The Kid looked at his partner.  

Heyes shrugged.  “Do we have a choice?”

They shut the door.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A few minutes later, Sister Julia was knocking again and the door opened.

“Sister Julia, I’m not sure…” Heyes began.

“Oh, have faith, Joshua.  Now put these on.”

“These bonnets?” Curry asked as he looked it over.

“Not a bonnet, but a wimple to cover your hair and neck.  Most sisters do not have an Adam’s apple so we’ll have to make sure yours is hidden.”  She watched them struggle to put it on.  “Here, let me do it for you.”

Soon both men had a white hat covering most of their head so that none of their hair was showing.

“Next comes the cross and veil.”

They put cross necklaces over their heads and allowed Sister Julia to put black veils over the wimple.

“Now turn around…”

The two former outlaws turned in their black robes.

“Oh no, that will never do!  Take off your boots… and your socks, too.  Many sisters do walk barefoot.”

“Are you sure about this, Sister Julia?”  Heyes sat to remove his boots and socks.

“Look in the mirror.”

“Do you kinda look like a nun, Joshua.”  Curry smiled.

They looked in the mirror.

“This just might work.”  Heyes grinned.

“Follow me!”  Sister Julia left the room and went down a corridor into the church.  “Kneel here, fold your hands, and do not talk.  If he comes in here looking for you, stay calm and quiet.  I’ll do the talking, understood?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Oh dear, your hands.  Just keep them inside the robe, like this.”  Sister Julia demonstrated.

Several loud knocks were heard at the door.  “Let me in!”

Heyes and the Kid gulped.  “Are you sure about this, Sister Julia?  If he discovers us, it won’t be good for you or your people.”

“Have faith, gentlemen!  Now kneel and start praying.  Follow my lead.”

Sister Julia went to answer the door.  “Yes, may I help you?”

A large filthy man barged his way inside.  “I’m lookin’ for two outlaws!  I know they’re here.”

“Oh, my, two outlaws here at St. Cristopher’s?”

“I’m gonna search this whole building ‘til I find them.”

“Sir, I can assure you that there are not two outlaws here!  You may check, but there are certain places you cannot go.”

The man pushed her out of the way.  “I can go where I please!”  He headed down a corridor.  “What’s down here?”

“The cells.”

“Cells?  You have prisoners?”

“No, sir.  Cells are the names of certain… bedrooms where sisters of the faith meditate.  You cannot go in.  You may quietly glance in through the small window on the door.”

The bounty hunter nodded and looked through the windows.  Inside each cell was a sister dressed in black, kneeing and praying using a rosary.

The man made his way back checking various doors.

“Sir, I do not even know your name.”

“Whiting.  Edgar Whiting.  I’m a bounty hunter and was following Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.”  He opened a door and walked in, checking out the kitchen and grabbed a large bun as he left.

“Over here is the chapel, Mr. Whiting.  Perhaps you wish to pray for success in capturing these outlaws.”

“Pfftttt… pray!”

In the chapel were two sisters kneeling at the altar.

Whiting made his way into the church and searched the corners.  He eyed the two sisters and scowled.  “Those are two tall nuns.”

“Sisters,” Julia corrected him.  “Sister Mary Elizabeth and Sister Mary Anna are actually sisters and come from a large family.  Don’t you, sisters?  Please forgive us as we disturb your prayer.  Stand, please, so Mr. Whiting can see you’re not an outlaw.”

Heyes and the Kid crossed themselves, as they had observed Sister Julia doing in the past, and slowly stood and turn, making sure their faces were downcast and their hands hidden in the habit.  

“Sister Mary Anna and Sister Mary Elizabeth have taken a silence vow for a month.”

“So, they don’t talk for a whole month?”

“Only in silent prayer to the Lord.”

Edgar Whiting scrutinized the sisters in front of him.  “How come they both have the same name – Mary?”

“Many of our sisters of faith take on the revered name of our Lord’s mother, the Virgin Mary.  They add another Biblical name to Mary.”

“Whatever!”  Whiting turned and walked down the aisle to the door with Sister Julia following.

“Continue your prayers, sisters, and I will return!” she called out as she left the chapel.

“That was close!” whispered Curry.  “Now what?”

“You heard Sister Julia – kneel and pray until she comes back.”

Edgar Whiting, along with Sister Julia, searched the entire compound, including the dark stables.

“Why’s it so dark in here?” he complained.

“To keep our livestock cool.  More windows or light would bring in more of the heat from the outside,” explained Sister Julia.

Edgar Whiting looked in each stall, squinting into the darkness of the last two ones.

“Do you see something?” asked Sister Julia.

“Nah, just makin’ sure ‘em varmints weren’t hidin’ in a stall.”

As they exited the stable, the bounty hunter looked around.

“I can assure you that you’ve completed a thorough search for the outlaws, Mr. Whiting.  There is no one here that does not belong.”

Whiting hmphed and retraced his steps.  He stopped and looked into the chapel, observing the two sisters still kneeling and praying.

Sister Julia caught up with him.  “Would you like to join them in prayer?  Our hour of prayer is about to begin.”

“Is that all you nuns do is pray?” Whiting asked, in unbelief.

“Oh, we do so much more, although prayer is a large portion of our day.”

“What do you pray for?”

“We pray for those who are ill or hurting, for lost souls, and that the Lord’s will be done.”

Whiting shook his head.  “Can’t believe they’re not here.  I’ve wasted about an hour lookin’.”

Sister Julia showed him to the door.  “I told you there were no outlaws here, but you did not believe me.”

Edgar Whiting mounted his horse and left without a word or a thank you.

“Bless you, Mr. Whiting!” Sister Julia called out as he rode out of the mission compound.  She watched for a long while as he made his way toward the mountains.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Sister Mary Anna and Sister Mary Elizabeth, he is gone.”  Sister Julia walked quietly into the chapel.

Heyes and Curry both let out a large sigh and stood up.

“I don’t know how to thank you, Sister Julia.”  Heyes smiled with relief.

“Me, either.”  Curry grinned.  “I can’t believe he didn’t figure out it was us.”

“The Lord works in mysterious ways, gentlemen.  His house is a sanctuary for those in need and He offers a second chance to us all.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Heyes and the Kid, donned in their own clothes, rode away from the mission and the mountains.

“Heyes?”

“Hmm…”

“You don’t think Sister Julia know, do you?”

“I’m not sure, Kid.  I’m not sure.”

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PostSubject: Re: April 18 The Bonnet   Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:06 am

This one seems to have taken on a life of it's own. Continuation from last month. I've written the ending and if next month's prompt is apt then I'll post it then. If not, I'll post the whole adventure over on Fanfiction.


The Bonnet




Chad was back at sundown as he promised.


“How has my patient been?” he asked, as he came in.


The sheriff looked up from reading the newspaper. “Quiet mostly. Didn’t want no lunch and he hasn’t thrown up no more.”


Chad smiled. “Well that’s a good sign. Can you let me in?”


Heyes had slept most of the day, making up for his disturbed night’s sleep. He was still lying on his bunk. He appeared to be asleep but in reality, he was thinking.


The Kid had slept, paced and finally in desperation read more of the book, which he was doing now.


“Hey Doc, I think my partner is feeling a little better.”


“I can speak for myself, Mr Jones,” Heyes growled, blinking his eyes open as if he had just woken. “Hey Doc, glad to see you.”


The Sheriff got up and unlocked the cell.


“Alright, Jones, let’s go.”


The Kid looked up, with a frown.


“Where?”


“Over there.” The sheriff nodded to the cell across the aisle. “Give the doc more room to examine your friend.”

The Kid growled, as he rolled off his bunk. “I was all comfortable and cosy,” he grumbled. “An’ I’ve jus’ got to one of the only good parts in this darn book as well.” He stabbed his finger on the open book.


“Ya can take it with you,” the sheriff sighed.


“’Tain’t the same,” continued the grumbling one. He was going anyway, whether he like it or not.


With the Kid safely locked in other cell, the Sheriff let the doc in with Heyes.


“Sure you’ll be alright Doc?” he asked, doubtfully.


“Yes of course, sheriff. I’ll call if I need you.”


Once the sheriff had gone, Chad sat down on the bunk vacated by the Kid. Heyes hadn’t moved but he was looking at him expectantly.


“Well?”


“I can’t do it Heyes. I’ve thought it over and I can’t risk it. I’m sorry.” He looked at Heyes anxiously, willing him to understand.


Heyes harrumphed. He’d been hoping but he wasn’t surprised.


“Okay Chad I understand,” he sighed. “But can you tell me anything that might help?”


“Yeah.” Chad swallowed and nodded. “The game is set for nine tonight … .”


Heyes glanced at the jailhouse clock. “That’s TWO hours from now!”


“I didn’t make the time,” Chad protested.


Heyes rolled his eyes. “No of course not. And? Where is it?”


“Out at The Bonnet.”


“Huh?”


“That’s the name of the place ‘bout three miles west of town. It’s called that ‘cos the rocks above are kinda shaped like a woman’s bonnet. It’s a … .” Chad looked uncomfortable saying that he knew such places existed. “Well it’s a … house of ill-repute. Miles from anywhere but it’s er done up right fancy. There’s a big parlour with a separate entrance. You wouldn’t know you were where you are ‘cept …. .!


“Except for what?” Heyes was suspicious.


Chad reddened. “Well er ‘cept for the half naked women that er float in and out occasionally.”


Heyes growled. “Hardly the venue for a serious poker game is it?” he hissed.


“The buy in is five thousand dollars. Attracts a better element but no one too high faluting who'll mind that sorta thing.”


“Sheesh! Five thousand dollars!” Heyes rubbed his cheek, in frustration. All his plans, of which there were many and varied, had now dissolved. “You didn’t tell me that!”


Chad looked suitably guilty.  


“And you’ve got five thousand dollars?” Heyes demanded. “As a doc in a small town like this?”


Chad looked disgruntled. “Weren’t always a doc in a small town,” he forced out, reluctantly.


At that point, Heyes sat up and threw his legs over the side of the bunk. Chad sat back suddenly wary. He hadn’t known Heyes long when they were together in Devil’s Hole. Yet he did remember the way that young man’s demeanour changed from smiling and affable to serious and menacing in an instance. Here it was again. Heyes was giving him a look that demanded an explanation and it had better be good.


“Played a lot of poker when I was at medical school. Helped with the fees and living expenses y’know? Managed to build up a sizeable stake. Only I er didn’t EXACTLY do it … um … STRICTLY according to Hoyle. If you know what I mean?”


“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Heyes growled, wringing his hands together. “So what are you saying, Doc?”


Chad ran a hand over his face. “Well when I had my qualifications, I decided that … discretion was the better part of valour … and I oughta find a nice small, quiet out of the way town to set up shop. Ludlow fitted the bill.”


Heyes pursed his lips. “How long before they found you?”


Chad looked at him in surprise and then grunted out two years. Why was he surprised? This was Hannibal Heyes, criminal mastermind and all round super schemer. That man now sat with a rueful smile on his face.


“So you’re between a rock and a hard place aren’t you? Was it you who stole the cheese wheel?”


Chad smacked his lips and nodded.


“Where is it?”


“In my cold store. I planned to cut it up. Probably have to live on cheese for the rest of the year,” he said, bitterly, shaking his head. “Just as well I gave my wife that fondue set for Christmas.”


Heyes gave a short husky laugh, and then looked round for any sign of the sheriff. Would look suspicious if he and the doctor were caught laughing.


He paused. “It’s the only way to smuggle cards into this town, Heyes!”


Heyes looked amused. “Really?”


“It ain’t just the sheriff, Heyes. The womenfolk in this town can sniff out a poker chip at a hundred yards. They have this sixth sense or somethin’.” He tossed his hands in the air. “Dunno how they do it,” he added, shaking his head. “So I have to be real inventive to get all the paraphernalia here.”


Heyes gave him a sympathetic look. “So how much do you still owe?”


Chad looked embarrassed. “Thirty.”


“Thousand!” Heyes’ eyes were out on stalks.


“Yeah.” Then spying the sheriff coming in. “Well Mr Smith I think you’ve made a remarkable recovery. Get some more rest and tomorrow you’ll be right as rain.”


“Thanks doc.” Heyes returned to a prone position on his bunk, although this time he put his hand behind his head. He now had a lot more to think on and not a lot of time to do it in.


“He alright doc?” the sheriff asked, unlocking the cell.


“Yes he’s fine. Nothing too heavy for supper tonight. Perhaps some soup and bread.”


On his bunk, Heyes wrinkled his nose. He didn’t like soup! And he WAS hungry now. Perhaps the Kid would share his dinner. Ha! Fat chance of that!


Once Chad had gone, the sheriff unlocked the cell containing the Kid.


“Back you go, Jones.”


“What?” The Kid looked up in horror. “First I’m here, and then I’m there. It’s not as if I WANT to take root but … what kinda jail do you call this? When a body can’t settle for five minutes.” He growled as he got up.


Still muttering under his breath, he trooped back to the other cell. “When’s supper?” he demanded, irritably as he resettled on his bunk. “I’ve worked up an appetite with all this movin’ about.”


“Half an hour. Maybe a bit more. Have to tell ‘em ‘bout Smith’s special diet but I can’t leave ‘til Elmo gets here.”


“Why not sheriff?” Heyes said, innocently. “You oughta know my partner here gets real cranky if he doesn’t eat regular.
You can lock the outside doors. We aren’t going anywhere.”


The sheriff growled and glanced at the clock. “Elmo’s late. Suppose I could. Alright.” He reached for his hat and keys.

“But I won’t be long and Elmo could turn up at any moment.”


“See ya sheriff,” chorused two innocent choirboys.


As the key turned in the lock, the pair sat up and looked at each other.


“So are we getting outta here now?” the Kid asked, hopefully.


“No, not yet.”


“Why not?”


“Things have got a little more complicated.”


“Complicated? It can’t GET any more complicated. I don’t even know why we’re still here!”


“Kid, Chad’s in trouble and needs our help.”


“What? We can’t even help ourselves at the moment.” He paused. “We had a plan Heyes!” The Kid looked doubtfully.
“Didn’t we?”


“Yeah we did but I’ve had to scrap the Carlton Balfour part of that. Chad wouldn’t help me … us to get outta here so I’ve gotta come up with something else.”


“Like what?”


Heyes tapped his fingers on his lips thoughtfully. “Fine wine, Kid. Remember?” He swung his legs back on his bunk.
“I’m letting it breath.”


The Kid rolled his eyes and shuddered.




ASJASJASJASJ


A little while later.


“Heyes I’ve been thinking.”


There was a grunt, a little between an uh-huh and a snort. When he received the look, Heyes sat up and swung his legs over the side of his bunk.


“Now Kid, you know … .”


“I know. I know. The arrangement. But this here book explains a few things ‘bout puzzling out mysteries. It’s got me thinkin’. The sheriff don’t seem too keen on investigating that missing cheese wheel does he? I mean he’s been here most of the time. Shouldn’t he be out asking questions, looking for clues, gathering evidence? That sorta thing?”


Heyes nodded. “Yes,” he agreed, thoughtfully. “He WAS keen to lock us up and finger us for the theft. Hmmm.”


“Didn’t ya think of that?” The Kid looked hopeful that he’d thought of something Heyes hadn’t.


“Yes,” Heyes nodded, firmly. “But I was kinda working on how to get us outta here instead. And I think I have.”


Before he could say any more they heard the key in the lock of the street door. In came the sheriff with a towel-draped tray. Supper had arrived. Shortly followed by a red-faced Elmo.


“Sorry Sheriff, I got caught up,” he apologised.


A few minutes, Ludlow jail would pass for a supper club, as the only sounds were those of mastication. Heyes drank his soup with a disgusted look on his face. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with it. He just couldn’t abide soup! To make things worse, the Kid was tucking into a big roast dinner. Heyes spied an opportunity and deftly scooped up a roast potato before the Kid could stop him.


“Hey!”


Heyes grinned broadly, as he chewed the purloined potato.


“You can have a slurp of my soup if you like?” he offered in return.


“No thank you,” the Kid grumbled, and moved away so nothing else on his plate would be diverted away.


Heyes gave a deep sigh. He took one more spoonful of the soup and set the bowl aside. Looking across to the desk, Elmo looked to have the same as the Kid but the sheriff wasn't eating. In fact, he looked as though he was preparing to leave. Mind made up, Heyes wiped his hands on his thighs and got up.


“Er sheriff, can I ask a question before you go?” He stood expectantly, both hands on the bars.


“Yeah, what do you want?” the sheriff asked. He was hungry too and the smell of cooking was making his stomach gurgle. He knew his wife had dinner waiting for him at home.


“Well it's not so much what I want but more what I can do for you.” Heyes flashed his double dimple smile. “How’d you like to be a hero?”


“Huh?”


The sheriff approached warily. Heyes waited until he was standing on the opposite side of the bars.


“Why haven’t you investigated the theft of the cheese wheel?”


“Waal I figured that's long gone by now. Won't find any evidence and if I did I couldn’t prove it came from that wheel.”

The sheriff shook his head. “It'll have to remain one of life's unsolved mysteries.”


“Then why are you still holding us?”


The sheriff looked a little uncomfortable. “Insurance,” he mouthed.


“Insurance?” Heyes frowned.


“I had to keep you locked up until Jacob's claim was accepted. And it was this afternoon.”


“So how much longer were you figuring on keeping us?”


“Planning on letting you go in the morning.”

 
“I see.” Heyes put his hands on his hips and looked stern. “You do realise Sheriff that we can sue for unlawful arrest.”


The sheriff rubbed his chin, a rueful grin on his face. “Well yeah ya could but I don’t figure ya will.”


“And why not?” Heyes demanded. His voice became noticeably harder.


“You’re drifters aren’t ya? You didn’t give me much money to look after when I arrested ya. Bed and full board for three nights for free oughta be compensation enough.”


Heyes twitched his nose. He didn’t have an answer to that because it was true. “That’s as maybe, Sheriff but letting us out in the morning will be too late.”


“Too late for what?”


“To make you a hero! My partner and I, haven’t exactly been entirely truthful with you either sheriff.”


“How’s that?”


The Kid looked up in interest. He was witnessing an embryonic Hannibal Heyes plan.


Heyes took a deep sigh. “I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do this? But it seems I do.” He paused. “Our names aren’t Thaddeus Jones and Joshua Smith.”


“They aren’t?”


“No,” Heyes said, shaking his head.


The Kid stopped chewing. He had an awful feeling he knew what was coming. Especially when Heyes pointed his hand in his direction.


“This here is Alphonse Hodgekiss and I’m Stan Rembacker.” (The Kid rolled his eyes and shook his head. Yep, Heyes had saddled him with an outrageous name again!) “And we work for the Bannerman Detective Agency. We’ve been sent here by Special Agent Harry Briscoe, himself. ‘Course you’ll have heard of him. Being one of their top agents and all.”


The sheriff frowned and slowly shook his head. “No,” he said, doubtfully.


Heyes laughed and turned back to the Kid. “Hey Alphonse, looks like we’ve found one of the few people who haven’t heard of ole Harry. What are the chances of that? Huh?”


The Kid grunted ambiguously.


Heyes turned back. “We’re working undercover sheriff. Investigating illegal gambling.”


“Illegal gambling? In this town? There’s nothing like that here. I’d know about it if there was.” The sheriff looked affronted.


“We had a tip off from Dr Walker. You know him. Nice fella. Was here earlier.”


“I know who Dr Walker is.”


Heyes sighed and stepped closer to the bars. He lowered his voice so that the sheriff had to come closer as well.


“This can’t go any further, Sheriff. I’m telling you this in confidence. You being an Officer of the Law and all. Same as us.” He gestured to himself and the Kid. “Dr Walker fell into a little trouble a few years ago and … well he’s being … blackmailed.” Inwardly, Heyes smiled. He could tell he’d hooked the sheriff. “Poor Doc Walker’s been arranging big time poker games.”


“You don’t say?” the sheriff found himself whispering as well.


“I do say and it so happens there’s a game tonight.”


“Where?”


“Uh.” Heyes held up a finger. “Now I can’t tell you that until you let Alphonse and me outta here. Y’see Alphonse (The
Kid rolled his eyes again) and me, we’ve gotta be there when you break up the game.”


The sheriff looked doubtful but the possibility of some big arrests beckoned. He couldn’t pass that over.


“Why?”


Heyes had warmed to his story and was looking eager. “Word has it there’s gonna be some big time gamblers at the game tonight. There’ll never be a better chance for the law to get ‘em. It was Dr Walker who tipped Bannerman off in the hope we would do something about it. So here we are. But if it gets out that Doc Walker told on these guys then there could be … well let’s just say there could be reprisals. We need to spirit him away and keep him safe, while you and your … .” Heyes glanced over at Elmo, who was picking at bits of dinner he’d spilt down his shirt. He wrinkled his nose up in distaste as Elmo popped the bits into his mouth. “Er … men make the arrests.”


“Well I can … .”


“No sheriff that’s OUR job. That’s what Bannerman expects us to do. You can have the … prestige of making the arrests. Don’t matter any to us. We’ll look after Doc Walker. What d’you say?” Heyes leant his elbow on the bars, his other hand on his hip, as he watched the cogs of the sheriff’s mind turn in thought. “We don’t have much time, sheriff,” he urged. “The game’s at nine and it’s outta town.”


The sheriff rubbed his chin as he considered. He glanced at Elmo who was now stretching and yawning.


“Need to round up a few men … .”


“Send Elmo to do that.” Heyes paused. “It’ll keep him awake if nothing else,” he smiled.
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PostSubject: Re: April 18 The Bonnet   Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:27 pm

Curry in Red and Blue

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry studied the horses milling around the livery coral with discerning eyes. Kid elbowed his partner and pointed to a compact well-muscled sorrel gelding, featuring a broad chest and powerful, rounded hindquarters, about 14 hands high. Heyes nodded his agreement and turned to the middle-aged woman standing beside him.

“How about that red one with the one white sock and wide blaze on the forehead, ma’am?”

The woman pulled her hat brim down to better shade her eyes and stepped closer to the sturdy fence only to shrink back when a large bay came barreling up to investigate and thrust his head at the onlookers.

“I don’t know, they all look so big to me. I haven’t ridden a horse in years.” She sidled closer and slightly behind the dark-haired man.
Curry dropped his foot from the bottom rail and turned to face the woman. He smiled his best reassuring smile. “I think he’ll do just fine for you ma’am. He’s compact, calm, agile and looks to have a lot of quarter horse in him, easy riding, should have good speed if we need it, and the endurance to make the trip.”

“My partner’s a good judge of horses Mrs. Clewell, I’d take his recommendation, besides I know they all look big if you’re not a regular rider but compare him to Thaddeus’ big black gelding, Blackjack, over there or even Clay, my chestnut, and the sorrel isn’t really big at all.” Heyes patiently pointed where the partners’ horses were saddled, loaded, and waiting.

Judith Clewell pushed a short dark blonde curl out of her eyes as she turned to follow Mr. Smith’s finger. She bit her lower lip nervously and her gaze travelled back and forth between the horses in indecisiveness.

“Ma’am, we were hired to protect and escort you to the Nolan Ranch, where Sheriff Trevors will meet us. Part of the instructions were to avoid public transportation like stagecoaches and trains so unless you want to walk from Utah to Wyoming you’re gonna have to get on the back of a horse or a mule. Take my word for it, you’ll be able to handle the horse easier than a mule.” Heyes pushed his black hat further back on his head before putting his hands on his slim hips as he bluntly laid out the situation for the partners’ charge.

Julia glanced around the dark-haired man to the blond who smiled encouragingly and tilted his head towards the sorrel.

“Joshua’s right ma’am. Now, we’re gonna have to pass through some mighty rough country and that sorrel looks almost as surefooted as a mule but probably a whole lot less stubborn and ornery.”

“And Thaddeus knows stubborn and ornery real well,” muttered Heyes under his breath so Judith had to strain to hear.

Kid shot Heyes a look of good-natured indignation.

Judith tentatively stepped back up to the corral fence, took another long look before turning back to her waiting escorts and acquiesced to their judgement. “Alright, gentlemen, the sorrel it is.”

Heyes nodded in satisfaction and strode off to complete the transaction with the livery owner while Curry prepared to tack up and load the gelding.

~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~

“Morning ma’am.” The Kid held out a steaming mug of Heyes’ fresh-brewed coffee as he squatted in front of a bleary-eyed, barely moving woman, who was clutching her blanket to her chin. “This is strong enough to wake the dead and it’ll get you up and moving no matter how sore you still are. My partner, over there, is getting the biscuits and bacon ready. He’ll bring one over in a minute. See breakfast in bed. Trail riding’s not so bad after all.”

Judith smiled when she held out a hand and accepted the cup, letting the blanket pool in her lap as she sat up. She tilted her head to look at the pink dawn. “The air is chilly, thanks for the warm cup, Thaddeus.”

“It’s warm but as you found out already, there’s no guarantee of it tasting any good.”

“Never mind him, Judy. He’s been complaining for years about my coffee but it can’t be too bad, he doesn’t get up early to make it and he still drinks it.” Heyes remarked as he passed biscuits around. “After we finish eating, Thaddeus and I are going to wash up. I suggest you do the same on the other side of that big boulder. You should have some privacy. We’ll be leaving the river in a few hours and climbing to the rim of the canyon.”

Heyes turned his brown eyes skyward, noticing a clear sky without a cloud in sight. “Enjoy the coolness while you can. We’ll most likely be in for days of hot, dry weather for the rest of the trip.”

~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~

Heyes led the small group up the steep, narrow trail, winding back and forth across the canyon wall. Judith Clewell rode in the middle position and Curry brought up the rear. The animals hugged the inside wall, occasionally scraping a rider’s leg against rocky protuberances. Clay placed an outside hoof against a loose small boulder, which sent stones and soil skittering off the side. Judith pulled hard on the reins and froze in the sorrel’s saddle. She sat motionless, staring down.

“Ma’am, don’t look down. Keep your eye and your attention on following Joshua,” the Kid advised in order to get her moving again.

The white-knuckled grip on the leather did not loosen and the woman’s gaze remained fixed in fright.

Heyes twisted to look behind him. “He’s right. The sorrel’s sure-footed and even though the trail’s narrow, it is solid. Believe me, Judy, the horse wants to get to the top as much as you do. There is not enough room to turn around so unless you want to stay here for the rest of your life you’re gonna have to trust in him. We have a lot of money riding on getting you to Lom safe and sound, so rest assured we aren’t about to let you fall off the side of a cliff.”

Curry shot a glare of annoyance up at his partner, which Heyes shrugged off before kicking his horse once more into a slow walk up the steep incline.

The Kid talked soothingly as if he had all the time in the world, while bringing Blackjack up close to the sorrel. “Relax your grip on the reins, leave them loose in your hand and let the horse have his head.” He stood up in the stirrups, balancing on one foot and leaned off to the side in order to see around to the frightened woman in front of him. “That’s it, you’ve done well so far and we’re more than half way up. It was only a few rocks tumblin’ down, nothin’ to worry about.” Curry with a sure hand, guided his gelding to gently nudge the stationary animal into motion.

Several hours later of harrowing riding in the hot sun under a cloudless brilliant, blue sky the horses reached the flat ground of the canyon rim. Heyes called a halt several yards from the edge, taking advantage of a forlorn clump of windblown pines that offered the only substantial shade as far as the eye could see.

The men dismounted and grabbed their canteens. Heyes swept his black hat from his sweaty head and raked one hand through matted brown hair. He squinted into the distance, orienting himself in the monotonous landscape as a brisk dry wind swirled dust around them.

The Kid stepped up to the sorrel and handed a canteen to Judith. When he offered a helping hand to dismount, the grateful woman fell into his arms, her sun bonnet brim catching and then knocking Curry’s hat from his head.

“Oh my,” Judith exclaimed into the Kid’s chest as she steadied herself within his embrace.

The brown Stetson went somersaulting along the ground back towards the canyon edge as blue eyes watched with growing alarm over a calico clad shoulder. Curry let his charge go and scrambled after his hat. He hurriedly bent to reach for the brim when a sudden strong gust spiraled the headgear just beyond his grasp. A last-ditch dive was wasted effort as three pairs of eyes tracked the hat, it’s narrow pearl white band glinting in the sun, as it disappeared on its downward journey.

The Kid scooted back a few feet from his precarious position and rolled over onto his back, starring up at the cloudless sky for a few moments.

“I’m so sorry Thaddeus. I didn’t mean to knock your hat off.”

“It’s all right ma’am. I know you didn’t.”

Heyes ambled over, tightening the stampede strings of his own hat, and peered over the edge to the gorge below. He announced, “it’s gone.”

“Can you see it? Maybe I can go back down a way and get it?” Curry stood up and walked over to stand next to his partner.

“Nope, it’s gone for good. We don’t have the time to go back and besides we can’t even see it from here. You’ll have to get a new one.”

“You wouldn’t be saying that if it was your hat. I’m pretty darn sure you would come up with all sorts plans to get your ratty old hat back no matter how long it took,” Curry snapped back.

“But it’s not my hat, it’s yours and it was a boring hat with no panache, anyways. You can easily replace it.”

“Panache, or no panache, whatever that is, it protected my head and face without saying look at this hat and while you’re lookin’ notice the fella under it.” Blue eyes met brown with unspoken truth but Heyes remained unrepentant.

“Thaddeus?”

Both men pivoted towards the forgotten female in their midst.

“Yes?”

“Well, it’s just us out here. And Joshua did say we have two or three more days until we reach the Nolan Ranch. I was thinking that I have a spare bonnet in my bag that you could use.”

Heyes started to smirk and struggled to hold in a chuckle from a vision of Kid Curry in a woman’s sun bonnet.

Kid’s eyes widened and his mouth moved. “Ummm….”

A loud snort had both Judith and Curry glaring at the older man. Heyes covered his mouth and retreated to the horses, his shoulders shaking in silent laughter.

“Thank you, ma’am for the offer. Let me think on it but for now I’ll just tie my bandana around my head.”

~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~

Judith encouraged the sorrel to catch up to the lead horse and rider. She called out, words were exchanged and both riders turned in the saddle to study the trailing Curry.

“We’re making good time. We’ve crossed into Wyoming sooner than I expected. I have to compliment you, Judy, for keeping up with the pace I set. For an inexperienced rider, you’ve done well. Why don’t we stop earlier than usual tonight and get out of the hot sun why we can? We’ll make the Nolan Ranch with time to spare tomorrow,” Heyes suggested as his partner caught up with them.

Judy replied quickly, “I think that’s a very good idea and thank you for the compliment, Joshua.”

The nightly ritual of making camp was in full swing where Heyes and Curry had chosen a sheltered shaded spot alongside the Blacks Fork River. The Kid had groomed and settled the animals. He was now kneeling at the side of the small tributary of the Green River splashing cool water on the back of his neck and cooling his face with a wet bandana, a freshly cut fishing pole, string, and hook lay at his side.

“Do you think Thaddeus will be able to catch anything or should we use the last of the bacon with the beans?”

“If there’s fish in that pool, Thaddeus will catch them. He likes to eat and is very good at making sure we have fresh meat or in this case fish. We don’t starve on the trail. Let’s save the bacon.”

Judith replaced the bacon back into the grub sack. “You know he’s turning redder by the hour. It’s got to hurt. Thanks for stopping when we found shade.”

“I meant what I said, we did make good time and this is the best place to stop.”

At Judith’s knowing expression, Heyes relented. “All right, I’ve noticed the sunburn and I bet if we look close his nose might be starting to blister but he’ll never admit it.”

“Well, tomorrow he’ll just have to wear my spare bonnet, whether he likes it or not. And you, Mr. Smith will not snicker, snort, laugh, or say one word making fun of him doing it, declared the determined woman, shooting a stern look at her companion’s expression of false innocence.

The next morning the Kid saddled the horses and was leading them up from the river to where the two other travelers were waiting to load their gear. He glanced up the small incline, eyes narrowed, lips thinned, and he stopped in his tracks.

Heyes was bent over, fiddling with his saddle bags, surreptitious watching the coming confrontation.

“Here this is for you.” Judith Clewell lifted her arm straight out towards the badly sunburned younger man, a sunbonnet of a muslin print of bluebonnets and green leaves on a pale blue background dangled from her fingertips, the ties trailing down.

The ends of blonde curls under a loosely tied yellow bandana swayed as Curry stiffly shook his head slightly side to side.

Judith slowly stepped up to the Kid, her hand drifted to gingerly touch his neck and cheek and winced sympathetically as Curry’s skin around his eyes tightened and his jaw set stubbornly.

“Please, Thaddeus, you’ve had way too much sun for your fair complexion and I need to make amends for losing your hat.”

Heyes came over. He scrutinized his partner’s face, and with all traces of lingering amusement wiped from his demeanor added his two cents, “I don't see where you got a choice anymore, You have a bad case of sunburn, my friend, and unless you want those small blisters to become big blisters and completely obscure your boyish looks that the ladies seem to like, I advise you take her up on the offer. I solemnly promise not to laugh.”

The Kid stood there with boots planted firmly shoulder width apart and hands tucked into his belt, scrutinizing both his traveling companions' faces.

Heyes shook his head at Curry’s semi-threatening pose.

Judith reached up to gently removed the bandana from the blonde curls and placed the sun bonnet on the Kid’s head. Curry’s hand shot up and lightly grabbed her wrist when the woman started to tie a bow under his chin.

“Thank you. I can do it,” Curry muttered as he loosely tied a knot in the bonnet’s fabric ties. He stood self-consciously, glaring at Heyes, daring him to make a comment. The older man received the unspoken message loud and clear and for once decided not give in to the teasing remarks at the tip of his tongue and remained silent and poker faced.

Judith stood back and eyed him critically. “You know, that’s my favorite sun bonnet even though I sewed it from left over dress scraps. The bluebonnet print always reminds me of Texas, where I’m originally from, they seemed to be in every meadow.” With a smile of appreciation, Judith turned back to retrieve her bags and added over her shoulder, “It also brings out the lovely blue of your eyes.”

~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~

Sheriff Lom Trevors rode up to the Nolan Ranch as stealthily as he could, despite running late, to assess the surroundings. He spotted Heyes leaving the ramshackle barn and waved a greeting. No one else was in sight. The two men met up on the porch.

Lom quickly peered in through a window. His eyes widened in surprise and he looked back at Heyes in confusion.

“Who’s the other woman? And where’s the Kid?”

Heyes bit the insides of his cheeks to keep from making a noise and peered over Lom’s shoulder. He could plainly see Judith Clewell sitting on the chair that faced the window. However, the second person was mostly obscured by a high-backed shabby sofa. All that could be seen was the back of blue sunbonnet, wisps of blonde curls sticking out from the sides.

“Oh, the Kid’s inside with Judy. Come on in Lom and see.”

The two men entered. The bonnet clad head rose up, the person wearing it turned around to greet the newcomer.

“Ki….er…Thaddeus?” Lom stopped short and gaped.

Heyes guffawed.

Lom joined in the laughter.

Judith looked at Heyes with amused disappointment.

The Kid glared.

Lom shut up, Heyes didn’t.


~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~

The partners rode into the first safe town on the way from the Nolan Ranch to Porterville, where they would meet back up with Lom Trevors after he delivered Judith Clewell safely to her final destination.

“Livery, hotel, or drink first?” Heyes rattled off the usual options.

“Neither, I have to buy a hat first. I mean it was nice of Lom to loan me his hat but I do have to give it back to him.”

Heyes leaned back in his saddle as the horses slowly walked down the busy main street. He studied his partner’s face and winced. Curry’s forehead and neck were still very red but now they were peeling and the tip of his nose was one big blister, yep a new hat was definitely in order.

“Don’t laugh but one thing that darn bonnet had going for it was the wide floppy brim, which did keep the sun off my face, although, I could do without that flap at the back and the cloth ties. I wonder if they have a hat with a brim kinda like the bonnet?” Kid fixed his reins on the hitching post and stepped up onto the boardwalk in front of the general mercantile.




Bluebonnet, Texas
Bluebonnet is a name given to any number of blue-flowered species of the genus Lupinus predominantly found in southwestern United States and is collectively the state flower of Texas. The shape of the petals on the flower resembles the bonnet worn by pioneer women to shield them from the sun. Species often called bluebonnets include:
• Lupinus texensis, Texas bluebonnet or Texas lupine
• Lupinus havardii, Big Bend bluebonnet or Chisos bluebonnet
• Lupinus argenteus, silvery lupine
• Lupinus concinnus, Bajada lupine
• Lupinus plattensis, Nebraska lupine
• Lupinus subcarnosus, sandyland bluebonnet or buffalo clover
On March 7, 1901, Lupinus subcarnosus became the only species of bluebonnet recognized as the state flower of Texas; however, Lupinus texensis emerged as the favorite of most Texans. So, in 1971, the Texas Legislature made any similar species of Lupinus that could be found in Texas the state flower.

As an extension of Lady Bird Johnson's efforts at highway beautification in the United States (see Highway Beautification Act), she encouraged the planting of native plants along Texas highways after she left the White House. Bluebonnet blooms are now a common sight along these highways in the springtime. They serve as a popular backdrop for family photographs, and the Department of Public Safety issues safety recommendations with regard to drivers pulling off highways to take such pictures.


Last edited by nm131 on Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Cal

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PostSubject: The Bonnet   Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:35 am

Its been so long I nearly forgot how to post.  Sorry this on the long side... just happy to be contributing again. AND...now I've written something I can get on and read the other stories here, YEH!

The Bonnet – challenge April

Kid slapped the heavy saddle down on the big black’s back, and instantly regretted it.  The horse swirled around with a reproving look; Don’t take it out on me!

“Sorry Boy…”

Kid, soothed the horse’s ruffled feathers, and placed the saddle, gently this time, a little higher.  He sighed into the cold early morning air, his breath escaping like a boiling kettle. The Hole was real quiet, just the faintest, tuneless whistle from Doc in the cook shack.   The Bunk House, still, most of the gang in their beds.  

He’d kicked Junk out of bed before sunrise, and sent him off to hunt.  Then rousted up a reluctant early watch.  Hadn’t taken many words.

“UP!”

“GIT!”

Just as well, he and Heyes had tied one on last night, celebrating their latest lucrative raid. Kid smiled wolfishly, seeing a cascade of green falling onto the table between them.  He’d considered going back to their cabin, sleeping it off some more, but something was keeping him from his bed.

A feeling of unease.

He’d sent Junk up to the far North of the Hole without back up.

You could bag a large stag at water there, just as dawn broke, if you were quiet and could take an animal down in one shot.  But it was cat country, not to mention the local tribes.

Junk could shoot.  Kid had seen Junk shoot.  Seen him take a running man’s hat clean off his head.

But it was a passenger’s hat.  Kid had flattened Junk for that.  Inch lower, and that little show of skill, could have ruined everything for the Devils Hole Gang.  The reputation, he and Heyes had worked so hard to broadcast.  The certain knowledge, in every chasing lawman’s head that, whatever else they were, the Devils Hole Gang weren’t killers.

All gone, in one cocky second.

Kid rubbed at his bruised knuckles, and nudged his mollified mount to a walk.  Junk had sailed backwards through the air and landed real hard on the tracks.  Kid winced, remembering the sound the boy had made as all the air came out of him in one big rush.  

He’d taken it well enough, considering.  Got up, and went about the business of corralling up the passengers.  Kid admired him for that.   And the boy had taken the Gang’s jibbing on the way back to the Hole.  Suggestions that the gang may have a new Kid…

“The …Squealing like a stuck pig…. Kid!”

Kyle should know better.  Junk was only an inch or so shorter than Kyle, and a deal younger.  

Kid scowled.  Being a leader, enforcing the rules, was tricky.  Wasn’t as easy as Heyes made it look. Heyes had just raised one eyebrow to Kid, and chewed up his lips. No words necessary.  And now, Kid had got up, with a sore head and sent Junk out to the Badlands, with no backup.

Looked bad.
 
Looked like he was siding.  Looked like he was holding a grudge or something against the new gun.  
Well, maybe he was.  Junk could have ruined everything. Got him and Heyes hung.  Let him take his fancy shooting to where it could do some good! Get the Gang fed.

Kid gave another huge sigh and shook the unwelcome thoughts from his head.

Junk was, basically, a good kid, that’s why Kid had brought him in.  He’d mostly shown good sense.  He was good with his gun.  Good at listening.  Good at taking orders.  Good at taking a punch…

Kid’s head dropped.  

Of course, it didn’t hurt to offer an olive branch now and again.  That was the sign of a good leader, apparently. Heyes had said so.  

Kid pushed his horse towards the Badlands.  

---oooOOOooo---

Junk’s trail was simple to follow.  Straight to the lake at High Water.  Kid soon found signs of a small fire, a warm coffee pot, then saw a big pile of rocks covering a good-sized kill.  A stag, one bullet, guts removed and buried.  Clean, quick, efficient; Kid nodded approval.

So where was Junk?

Down below, out in the deep water of the lake, something moved.  A head broke the surface and disappeared again.  Kid watched for several minutes.  This time an arm surfaced first, holding a speared fish.

Kid grinned. He liked fishing. He was a good swimmer, and he’d never tried catching fish like that. It looked fun.  
Below, Junk surfaced near the shore and tossed the fish to the bank.  Kid waved, but the boy’s head turned quickly and disappeared below the surface again.

Kid wasted no time, bounding down to the shore, stripping off, and diving in.  He swam out to where he’d first seen the boy’s head appear, and waited.

And waited...

The lake surface stayed resolutely glass like.  Kid turned, scanning the water, beginning to feel uneasy.

Had the boy drowned?

Then, in a flash of pale skin, Junk suddenly broke the surface in the shallows.  He scrambled up the rocky shore, where his clothes lay warming in the sun, next to the flapping fish.

Kid laughed, calling out that he was looking forward to catching a little something himself.  The boy flinched grabbing up his long johns.  He didn’t answer, or turn.  Kid hollered again, he was hoping for a lesson. He’d been watching for some time, and it looked like Junk was having fun.

He’d like some fun, too.

Junk eventually looked up from the struggle of putting dry clothes onto wet limbs, his face a mixture of terror and disgust. Kid disappeared under the water and swam to the shore.  As he surfaced, he caught that look on Junk’s face.

The boy looked scared, real scared.  The only thing in the water, besides fish, was Kid himself.

Surely, he can’t be THAT scared of me?

Kid had been a bit of a bear this morning, rousting Junk from his bunk, but nothing to warrant this reaction from the boy.  He put his most ingratiating smile on his face, stood out of the shallows and threw his arms wide.

“Hey… I like a little fun…same as the next man!”

Alarmed, Junk grabbed up the rest of his clothes and ran.  

“HEY … WAIT UP!” shouted an annoyed Kid, scrabbling ashore.

He grabbed a fish in each hand as he passed them, waving them aloft

“JUNK! … WAIT UP! ... YOU FORGOT BREAKFAST!”

The boy didn’t even look back.  Kid shook his head in exasperation.  He even thought he could hear Heyes laughing.  

This was ridiculous, and needed settling, RIGHT NOW.  

He took off after the boy at full run. Soon, he caught up and tackled Junk to the ground, fish flying. The boy squealed and fought back, viciously, with elbows,  knees and teeth.

“WILL YOU LET UP! What’s got into you? You’re acting like you got the Devil himself after you! HOLD STILL!”

Beneath him, Junk went limp, suddenly defeated.

“Get off me Curry…” he snarled.

Satisfied he got his way, Kid rolled off and headed towards his own pile of abandoned clothes.

“Well now… that’s a little more like it…”

He started pulling on the red long johns.

“What’d you think I was planning to do to you…?”

The wet curls poked through the rolled-up Henley.

“You ran like … like you thought I was planning on …. DROWNING YOU …or something!”

Kid found his socks.

“Just wanted to fish with you… is all… Have breakfast… Sheesh! … If I wanted to harm you … I could ‘ve just shot you!”

Junk sat up and watched Kid with disbelief.  He looked dumbstruck.

Kid pulled on his pants, getting the heavy gun belt fastened around his hips. He glanced over to the boy, as he tied the leather round his thigh. The boy still stared open mouthed.

“What?” asked Kid, confused.  Maybe this kid was touched a little, in the head.

“Swimming gives me an appetite… I want breakfast… You coming?”

Junk blinked slowly, shook his head incredulously, then started to cry and laugh at the same time, silently.
Kid stared, unsure what to say or do.  Eventually, Junk’s face screwed up in anger and he broke the awkward silence between them.

“UNBELIEVABLE … UNBELIEVABLE … THAT’S JUST… UNBELIEVABLE … “

He shook an incredulous head at the confused gunslinger.

“YOU! … You stand there … you say … you watched me swimming …NAKED! … you follow me outta the water … you chase me up here…  near roll’n’rope me… and … ALL YOU SEE … all you see is … JUNK! UNBELIEVABLE!”

The boy laughed.

“AND …. YOU WANT BREAKFAST!”

Kid tried to follow this rant, his face contorted in concentration, but he wasn’t getting any of it. Another awkward silence needed filling. He felt he should try.

“Yeah… well… I’m hungry…  we got fish … coffee… thought …we could have breakfast together… ’s all…”

Nothing.

“I don’t think of you… as junk…  NOT LIKE THAT!”

More silent tears escaped down Junk’s cheeks. Kid felt out of his depth; considered hitting him again. Riled, he gave it one more shot.

“JUNK’S YOUR NAME …. AIN’T IT?!”

Junk rolled his eyes, threw up his hands, and scoffed loudly.

Kid didn’t appreciate people scoffing at him. Not even Heyes.  The gunslinger returned.  The blue eyes narrowed.  He stood to his full height, looming over the half-dressed boy, his voice coming out low and cold.

“You know… JUNK… I been thinking… Maybe… you’re not best suited to outlawing…”

“WHY?” demanded Junk, not the least intimidated.

“WHY… BECAUSE I’M A WOMAN???”

The gunslinger fled Kid’s eyes.  He lost all poise.  His voice soared to a whiny soprano.

“You’re a WHAT!?…. A WO’…  A WHA’ … A WO’…. YOU’RE A … A WHAT?!?”

Kid clutched the neck of his shirt together defensively, staring down at what he’d thought was a skinny youth, in disbelief.  As he stared, the boys wiry frame seemed to resolve itself into different, softer contours.  The belligerent, battered youthful face, got rounder, older-looking, the eyes bigger somehow.  The neck seemed to both narrow, and elongate, before his eyes. Kid shook his head, trying to dislodge the image.

Had he been hexed?

Now he looked, properly, he could see the jaw line was too round, the hands too small, The calloused fingers too fine…

Had he been blind?

Junk said nothing, just looked back into Kid’s baffled face. Kid’s head hurt, and he felt duped, angry, protective, hungry.  He desperately needed time to think, and, make himself decent.  He picked up a boot, and started to pull it on, as million questions flooded his brain.

“HOW… ?”
   “WHY… ?”
      “WHEN… ?”
         “WHY WOULD YOU EVEN… ?”
            “WHAT MADE YOU THINK …YOU COULD…. ?”

Eventually, he settled on the one question he wanted answered most.

“ARE YOU CRAZY?!?”

Nothing. Kid’s shoulders dropped.

“You were with us … we stopped trains…”
  “You could have been killed…”
     “Devils Hole is no place for a woman… “

Kid dropped his head into his hands.

“You done?” asked Junk, quietly.

Sudden realisation hit Kid like a low blow.

“I HIT YOU!... JEEZ! …I hit you… “

He kneeled before Junk as repentant as any sinner.

“I… I… I’m sorry…”

Kid was lost.
     Out of his depth.  
           Where was Heyes when he needed him?

“Hi” came a smiling drawl from higher up the ridge.

Heyes sat on his horse looking down at them.

“You done?” he beamed.

“Nice day for a ride.  See you got fish … enough for one more?”

Junk turned, and returned Heyes’ smile.

“Sure.”

Kid had never seen Junk smile.  When he/she smiled, she couldn’t be anything else but a woman. He put his head back in his hands. He must have been blind.

“You alright?” asked Heyes,
     “What you need… Kid… is breakfast.”

---oooOOOooo---

Heyes made fresh coffee and delighted in sharing it round. He patted Kid on the shoulder.

“When Kyle said… he’d seen you taking off after Junk… I thought I may have to come up here …And I don’t know… Stop a gunfight or something … And here you are… been swimming together… getting breakfast. All nice and peaceable… Can’t think what I was worrying about.”

He sat down next to Kid, patted his knee, and raised his mug to Junk across the fire.

“Now … Who wants to tell me …what’s really going on here?”

Kid suddenly found Heyes’ coffee delicious, burying his face in his mug.  Heyes’ eyebrows rose to Junk.

“You didn’t know… Curry.” She said simply.

Kid shot Heyes worried look but the leader of the Devils Hole Gang remained enigmatic as he sipped his coffee and nodded.

“I didn’t mean for no one to find out, neither” she continued, looking pointedly at Heyes.

“I’m sorry” she said turning to Kid.
“You saying… you been watching me  … and then … you wanted … to have a little fun… Well … …I thought… …You know…“

Kid’s blue eyes went wide as realisation hit. Heyes hid a smile in his coffee.

“…And then … when it was plain… …you DIDN’T want… …you know… and … you REALLY wanted BREAKFAST …”

Heyes choked, and wiped his face on a sleeve.  Kid’s face was a picture.

“Then… well … I guess …I realised… even NAKED… you didn’t see me … LIKE THAT.  Made me sort of sad …’s all … or relieved… I don’t know … Guess I finally got my way… I upped and disappeared.”

Kid looked across to the grubby, skinny, probably not-so young woman on the other side of the fire, wrapped in over-sized rough clothes, with calloused, red knuckled hands and short, straw-textured hair, and inwardly shuddered. She wasn’t any kind of woman he’d want to go a wooing. He tried hard to summon up some consolation, and smiled weakly.

She saw his discomfit.

“It’s OK Curry… I’ve had it coming a long time.  I move around …a lot. You only get to be a boy… for so long in one place... Then …you see it in faces… the wondering… And time comes to move on. I got me plenty of years on you Curry. Pity is… I’d ‘ve liked to spend a little more time at the Hole… With Heyes here… in charge …I might have finally made me some money!”

Junk smiled across at Heyes and he lifted his mug to the compliment, agreeing.

“All that hiding …stuff… Pretending to shave, for God’s sake! … It gets old… real quick… Seems…’round here…  I needn’t have worried… “

Heyes grinned.

“I could have danced around naked …and no one would have noticed…”

They clicked mugs.
Kid’s eyes narrowed seeing how relaxed, and unfazed, Heyes was with Junk’s revelation.

“Think …maybe… I been around men too long… I turned into one of them… “

Heyes nodded agreement and smiled broadly.
Kid looked uncomfortable.  He didn’t like lying to a woman, but he felt someone was beholden to say something nice.

“No…no…. you could …never do that.   Why... Let your hair grow …some … paint you up a bit… Get you some skirts…. fancy ribbons… a new bonnet maybe… and you’d be …er…  you’d be…  pretty as a picture….”

His smile looked frozen, as he attempted sincerity. The other two erupted into giggles.

“Junk ….in…skirts!” sniggered Heyes, failing to stifle a laugh.

Kid was catching on.  He looked like he might like to flatten Heyes.

“That’s a nice picture you painted …Curry…” soothed Junk.

She’d got Kid’s attention away from the dimpled sniggerer.

“Kinda reminds me of a time when I saw Bryartown’s prize ram… all dolled up in a Bonnet and ribbons … parading down Main Street leading a brass band … pretty as a picture!”

They all exploded with laughter, even Kid.  Heyes relented.

“I met Junk over ten years ago… she was a boy then! … Junk’s been outlawing longer than both of us…Kid… There’s nothing she ain’t seen… The stories she can tell…”

Junk nodded.  

“Have to say Kid … I was real happy …when I seen you’d found us a new boy…  But the Hole’s got rules… Big Jim’s rules… And well …you know how you are….”

“You could have told me!” groaned Kid.

“Yeah… You could have told him… Heyes…” laughed Junk,
“Then he might not ‘ve hit me like a mule.”

“Nah…” barked Heyes. “Nah...  he’d ‘ve probably held your horse... so you could mount!”

Kid looked hurt.

“Kid’s not real good at mixing …robberies… and ladies… and I knew you could take it… Remember that time… when Jem Wilson thought you stole his horse…”

---oooOOOooo---

Kid could see that Heyes and Junk had plenty to talk about, and way out here, they felt safe enough to kick back and reminisce on old times. He’d be having words with Heyes, later.

Junk? That was a different problem. Laughing lit up Junk’s battered, angular face. The more Kid looked, the more female, and seemingly vulnerable, she became.  

“I don’t understand ….” he said more to himself than anyone else.  
    “Why would any woman choose a life like this?”

---oooOOOooo---
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Remuda

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Join date : 2013-10-27
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: April 18 The Bonnet   Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:08 pm

Coincidences

Jed “Kid” Curry lounged in the warm water. He reflected on the day and how they wound up here.

Arriving in town, they stopped at the local hotel and requested a room with a view and a bathtub, standard issue for them. However, not finding one available when they arrived, they decided to move on to the boardinghouse down the street. Coincidently, the clerk informed them, a room opened up just as they were leaving due to a last-minute cancellation; or so they were told.

“Let’s face it, Kid, they just don’t like the way we look. Don’t they understand we know we’re filthy and that’s what the tub’s for?”

“Well, they did let us know where the bath house was.” Curry’s tone turned sarcastic. “That was nice and neighborly of them.”

Hannibal Heyes rolled his eyes. “Yeah, real neighborly. Our money’s not good unless we take a dark garret in the attic, or until we’re ready to walk out the door. And then a ‘last-minute’ cancellation – ha! But at least we can keep an eye on the sheriff’s office.”

Curry smiled. “Or just a coincidence?” He considered something his partner said. “Heyes, what’s a garret?”

“Where poets write. And us geniuses think.”

“Doesn’t sound like a good deal. How can ya write, read, or even think in a place that’s so dark?”

A suddenly wistful Heyes responded, “Something about the mood, Kid. Something about the mood.”

It was Curry’s turn to roll his eyes.

And so, garrets or sheriff’s offices aside, they had their room with a view, and a bathtub.

A flip of a coin – Curry’s this time – had him going first. They ordered a bath drawn while they ate dinner – heartily, we might add, as the trail had our two goodhearted bad men longing for the comforts of civilization – and Kid wasted no time in shucking his trail clothes for the soothing effects of bath water.

Heyes rummaged in his saddle bags for the good whiskey he had picked up at their last stop a week before and poured two good-sized shots. Handing one to Curry, he sat and sipped, enjoying the pleasant burn snake down his throat. “This is the life, Kid. A soft bed, warm bath, and good whiskey. Wherever we’ve been and whatever we’ve done, it’s always the same things that bring the most pleasure, don’t’cha think?”

“Ya mean creature comforts, Heyes?”

“Yup. We’ve had women, money, and other stuff, but it doesn’t get much better than this.” He finished his whiskey and set his glass on the floor beside the chair. Putting his head back, he closed his eyes.

The silence caused Curry to glance at his partner. The whiskey passed its effects on him, too, and his lids soon drooped.

~~00oo00~~

Hoorahing gunshots outside the hotel soon had the main street erupting in a cacophony of gunfire and smoke. A few small fireworks exploded, crescendoing in a finale sending sparks through the open window of the ex-outlaws’ room, lighting the darkness and waking both and sending Heyes to the floor to take cover. The sleepily confused dark-haired ex-outlaw fumbled about for his sidearm, grasping only a handful of cloth from the floor.

He heard a voice – Kid’s – telling him to try to light the lamp. His eyes adjusting to the dark, he followed a sliver of light from the crack at the bottom of the threshold from the oil sconces in the hallway, tracking it with his eyes to the carved feet of the dresser. Rising, he felt around and found the lamp, removed the globe, put something in his hand in his pocket, located the matchbox, and lit the lamp. Replacing the globe, he adjusted the flame to its lowest possible setting so only a soft glow illuminated the room. Keeping to one side of the window, he peered out through the sheer curtain panels, and saw throngs of cowhands celebrating. They were quieter than he would have expected a bunch of men to be, but it was the calm after the storm, instead of before.

Kid Curry kept his voice low. “All clear?”

“All clear,” Heyes said in relief. He did not actually let out a breath until he pulled the shade all the way down.

The partners regarded each other in the dim shadows. This town where they had stopped to rest from a never-ending trail was in fact a small railhead from which stock from local ranches started their journeys to slaughter. The sudden din splitting the stillness had rattled them, evoking a feeling of a day and time so long ago …

“What’s the name of this town again, Heyes?”

“Lawrence.” A chill went up Heyes’ spine as he said it.

They looked at each other. This mutual feeling did not happen often, but it did from time to time. Heyes turned up the lamp, eager to banish the memories.

“Heyes, throw me a towel. It’s your turn.”

The ex-outlaw leader did as requested, and started unbuttoning his shirt. As he tossed it on the bed, a slip of cloth dropped from his pocket.

Curry saw it. “What’s that?”

Heyes shrugged as he continued to undress. “Something I picked up from the floor, I guess.”

Dry now, Curry shucked the towel, grabbing and putting on his long johns, all the while mesmerized by the strip of fabric.

Heyes stepped in the bath. The water had cooled. “Kid, can you bring over those two pitchers of hot water they left?”

“Sure.” With one eye not leaving the fabric scrap, Curry poured the pitchers’ contents into the tub. He set the vessels aside and examined the scrap. It was a dirty bit of blue and yellow calico, no more than a couple inches wide and thrice as long. He studied it for a long while, until interrupted by Heyes’ asking for his book. He found it in his partner’s saddlebags – David Copperfield – the very story his own father was reading at the time … He dimmed the lamp before handing the book to Heyes.

“What’d you do that for, Kid. I wanted to read.”

“You can’t say ya didn’t feel it, Heyes.”

“Feel what?”

“Before. You felt it, too. I know you did.” Curry’s voice grew almost ethereal in the shadows. “I wanna remember for a minute.”

“Kid, stop it. I’m getting a chill.”

“It’s not the water, Heyes. I just put warm water in. It’s the feelin’.”

“You and your feelings. Turn up the light. You’re giving me the creeps.”

“Don’t ya see, Heyes. Lawrence, the noise, and my pa was reading this same book as you are … Somethin’s going on.”

“Just coincidences, Kid.”

“No, Heyes, hear me out.” Kid turned up the lamp a little, but not enough to read by. He fingered the scrap of fabric. “This cloth is the same as my ma’s favorite bonnet. It’s like this place is …”

“Don’t say it, Kid. I’m gonna tell myself the chill up my spine is the water being cold, and you didn’t say anything before about me reading this book. Some lady must’ve ripped her dress here in this room and forgot about the torn piece, so it got left behind. And as for this place being Lawrence … well, it’s just another coincidence.”

“You’re just as spooked as I am, Heyes, but tryin’ to explain it away.”

“It’s the whiskey. We had too much of the good stuff.”

“That doesn’t explain everything.” Curry imparted a sad smile. “Let’s just figure that they’re watchin’ out for us and lettin’ us know we’re not alone.” He held up the scrap before depositing it in his boot for safekeeping. “We don’t remember as much as we should, so I’m gonna carry this with me so I don’t forget so much.”

The silver tongue quieted for several moments, and Kid could tell Heyes was deep in thought. “Kid, turn up the lamp, will ya?”

The mood broken, Curry turned up the flame and watched Heyes leaf through the book. “Here it is. I read this part when I was waiting for you to come back from the livery.” Heyes read, “It was a long and gloomy night that gathered on me, haunted by the ghosts of many hopes, of many dear remembrances, many errors, many unavailing sorrows and regrets.”

They looked at each other and took it in. Heyes shivered, then dipped his hand into the bathwater. “It’s warm.”

_________________
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
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