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 May 2018 - Setting Targets

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Calico

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Age : 53
Location : Birmingham

PostSubject: May 2018 - Setting Targets   Tue May 01, 2018 9:34 am

Well, I have just walked out of the first all team meeting of our new financial year, so...


Consider yourselves:


Setting Targets



Look on the bright side, at least your stories won't involve showing graphs while folks gently slumber in their seats  egcat  egcat


Ready, steady ... wait for it... TYPE
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nm131

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PostSubject: Re: May 2018 - Setting Targets   Tue May 01, 2018 5:01 pm

Oh Calico, you certainly hit a nerve with this month's prompt. I wish I was Kid Curry and could shoot all the various corporate, local organizational, regulatory, and accreditation, and totally unrealistic targets I have to deal with. Or better yet, I would love to have Heyes' clever rationalizations, and problem solving skills.

I can empathize with all the writers who have to sit through various meetings and appear fascinated with setting targets.
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Maz

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PostSubject: Re: May 2018 - Setting Targets   Fri May 04, 2018 2:22 pm

It's been a tough month for me but a friend suggested I spend a little time with Kid. It helps and here is the result.

Setting Targets
By Maz McCoy

“Mind if I watch?” Lobo asked as Kid Curry placed a tin can on a fallen tree trunk.
“Not as long as you stay over there,” Kid replied, placing another can a few inches further along the trunk from the first.
Lobo settled himself on a boulder and watched the young gunman set out the rest of his targets in the clearing. Sunlight cast dappled shade through the trees. Shadows danced over the cans and both men as the wind rippled through the branches.
Kid returned to stand beside Lobo. He drew his Colt from the holster strapped to his right leg, flipped open the barrel and drew a bullet from the back of his belt.
“Heyes still talking to the men?” Kid asked.
“No, he went for a walk with Kyle.” Kid raised an eyebrow at the news. Lobo shrugged. “Probably talking dynamite.”
Kid smiled and slid the bullet into the empty chamber before drawing another from his belt. “You okay with the plan?” The second bullet was slipped into place.
“Heyes usually knows what he’s doing,” Lobo stated.
“Don’t let him hear you say, usually.”
It was Lobo’s turn to smile.
Kid flipped the barrel closed and dropped the gun into the holster. He adjusted his stance, let his hands fall at his side and calmed his breathing.

***
“You sure we won’t need more dynamite?” Kyle asked as he followed Hannibal Heyes along the wooded path.
“I think we have enough, Kyle,” Heyes assured him.
“Don’t think you can ever have too much dynamite,” the smaller man observed.
“Well, for this one we have enough, although…” Heyes stopped in his tracks and Kyle bumped into his back.
“What?” Kyle asked.
“We need to do something bigger.”
“You want to rob a bigger train?”
“No, Kyle, we should be aiming higher.”
“You want us to shoot over the passengers’ heads?”
“What?” Heyes looked perplexed. “No! I mean we need to rob something bigger than just a small town bank. In fact I have the perfect bank in mind.” Heyes led the way along the trail and, like an eager puppy, Kyle followed.

***

“You ever doubt you’ll hit them all?” Lobo asked Kid a fraction of a second before he drew his gun.
Kid shot Lobo a look. “D’you mind?”
Lobo looked sheepish. “Oh, sorry.”
Kid returned his attention to the cans lined along the tree trunk. And then he drew.
“Ki…” Lobo began but the blond man had already caught sight of a familiar black hat moving just beyond, but in line with, the targets. Somehow he pulled back but not before he had fired one shot.
To his horror, Kid watched as Heyes’ hat flew into the air.
“Kid, you just shot Heyes!” Lobo was on his feet staring but the blond man was already running.

***
“Heyes! Heyes!” Kid cried as he leapt over the tree trunk. He’d seen the hat fly off and Heyes fall to the ground. Surely he hadn’t just shot his best friend? He couldn’t have! Could he? “Heyes!”
Kid found his friend lying in the undergrowth, Kyle crouching beside him.
“Is he alive?” Kid asked desperately. “Kyle? Is he alive?”
Heyes sat up smiling. “I’m alive,” his friend assured him.
“Oh, thank God.” Kid sank to his knees beside Heyes. “I thought I’d shot you.”
“What are you doing out here?” Heyes asked.
Kid looked irked. “What I always do out here, practice. What are you doing out here?”
“Planning.”
“Well, don’t walk behind a set of targets when you’re plannin’.”
Heyes smiled. “Had you worried, huh?”
“No. You had me scared to death.”
“You know, Kid when I heard that gun fire…”
“Your whole life flashed before your eyes?” Kid guessed.
“No, it was actually the floor plan of the Bank of Fort Worth.”
“What?”
“I’ll tell you later.”
Lobo appeared beside them. “Er, Heyes…” He held out the black hat.
“Thanks.” Heyes took it and then noticed something. He put a finger inside the crown and it poked through a hole at the front. “You shot my hat.” Heyes stated.
“Sorry,” Kid replied. “I’ll buy you a new one.”
“No. It’ll remind me to…”
“Duck?” Kyle suggested.

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



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PostSubject: Re: May 2018 - Setting Targets   Sun May 13, 2018 10:28 pm

A note about the mentioned gun: I did a little bit research for I have absolutely no clue about fire weapons and was looking for a gun with low weight. According to the time period I choose a Smith & Wesson No. 1, which was actually a seven-shot gun.
http://sportsmansvintagepress.com/read-free/smith-wesson-hand-guns/smith-wesson-tip-up-revolvers/
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_%26_Wesson_No_1


Setting Targets
By Nightwalker


Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

The last of seven cans flew off the fence and hit the ground with a hollow sound.

Blue eyes narrowed skeptically and looked at the empty fence.

“Hey! That was great!” the only spectator yelled excited. The small boy sat on a log some steps beside the shooter. He jumped off his seat and hurried to pick up the battered cans again. Carefully the blond boy set the targets back on the fence.

“I don’t know,” the shooter countered doubtfully and ran fingers through his curly hair. “It was faster, but I nearly missed the last one for sure. Show me the can.”

“But it’s good to be fast!” his little admirer replied and handed it over to him.

“Yeah, sure. But accuracy is important, too.”

“Accuracy?”

“Yeah. You have to hit the target as good and precise as possible. It’s a kind of balance. You are fast – great! You miss the target – very bad!” the one who was about ten years older explained while he examined the perforated can. “See, the bullet just grazed it there.” Thoughtfully he stroked his thumb along the scratch in the tin.

“But you hit it!” objected the youngster.

“But if I had been a little more nervous I would have totally missed it! No, I still have to do a lot of practice,” the oldest Curry son admitted with a deep sigh and got lost in his thoughts. Could he improve his skill in time? His plans had a tight schedule...

“Will ya show it to me?” the quiet question came from below and interrupted the shooter’s further concerns.

“Show you what?”

“To shoot!”

“Uuuh, c’mon - Pa will skin me alive if he finds out.”

“Ya bothered what Pa thinks what’s right?”

“Umh, well...”

The blonde kid grinned disarmingly.

“C’mon Sam, please!” he begged him. “I’ll get ya some fresh apple pie. I’ll ... I’ll ... bring notes for ya to Maggie Barlow.”

“Hey, stop. What? What you say about Maggie?” he was asked suspiciously.

“Ya like her. And she’s sweet on ya. And her pa will shoot ya when he finds ya in their yard again.” A wide mischievous grin crossed the small face. “I heard him call after ya!”

“How could you? You can’t be at two places at the same time! How can you follow me and your cousin ...” he paused when it occurred to him, “you both were there? Doing what?”

The younger one blushed but refused the answer.

“Oh heaven, please don’t tell me!” his brother replied upset showing a glimpse of Curry temper.

He tried to calm down and gathered his thoughts. Where else had they been? What else had they heard or seen? He couldn’t even ask him about it without taking the risk to make his little brother suspicious – him or their curious and sharp-witted cousin. Damn, it could become dangerous for all of them if they found out what he and his friends did - and what they had decided to do!

“Well, let’s make a deal,” he relented. “I’ll show you how to handle a gun and you will never ever spy me again, will you?”

Jed pursed his lips and lowered his eyes.

“None of you will!” Sam ordered explicitly. “Speaking of him where is he anyway?”

“Han is gonna spend the day in the woodshed. Was locked up cause of Mrs. Miller’s cat.”

“Her cat? Why? I haven’t seen it for days.”

“Ah, yeah ...” the boy stammered contritely. “Well, with all the scars and the black spot on its face it looked like a pirate ... and we built a raft ... and needed a crew ... but then the ropes loosened ... we went all into the water ... and the cat wasn’t good in swimming ...” gradually his voice trailed off.

His older brother bit back a grin and stroked through his dark brown curls again. “I see, Jed. Knowing Han, I guess he will join you about noon and return to his detention before sunset. You both can at least take the time to apologize and bring that old woman one of our kittens. They are too many to keep all of them, anyway. It won’t be missed.”

The blonde head tilted up again and showed a bright smile. “That’s a great thought! Thanks!”

“Alright, but what about our deal?” his brother inquired.

It wasn’t for Jed to make promises for his cousin too, but the temptation was simply too strong.

He nodded eagerly. “I promise! No spying!”

“Then we have a deal.” His brother smiled at him and gently tousled his hair. “C’mon on over here.”

Sam sat down in the grass and motioned the boy to sit down beside him.

“That’s a Smith & Wesson,” he started to explain while he showed his brother the weapon. “It’s a tip up model. That means you have to turn the barrel up for loading like this.”

He flipped the gun open, removed the empty cartridges and handed it to Jed. Fascinated and with sparkling eyes he turned the gun in his hand.

“Go on, close it and try it yourself,” his brother encouraged him. “When Pa’s in town next week I’ll show you how you dissemble and clean it.”

“Why? I mean, I just want to shoot.” Jed asked absently while he flipped the barrel open and closed several times.

“If you want to know how to use it you have to know how to care about it,” Sam explained seriously. “Take care of your gun and it will thank you. It will never let you down.”

“Alright, that looks good. You can reload it now.” He picked up new cartridges and showed his brother how to insert them.

“Keep one thing always on your mind when you handle a weapon: you have to be prudent and responsible. It’s not a game! There are lives at stake – yours as well as others.”

Two pair of similar blue eyes locked, then the younger one nodded seriously. “I promise, I’ll never forget.”

“Well, then give it a try now.” Sam rose and reached out his hand to help his brother to get up on his feet.

“The Smith & Wesson has much less weight than most other sidearms but it still will be pretty heavy for you. You’ll need some practice to aim steadily.”

Sam motioned his brother in front of him facing the set-up targets. “Take a firm stand and be aware of the recoil. Yeah, that’s good.”

Jed raised his right hand and steadied it with the left.

“Nope, don’t let that get a habit,” his brother contradicted and pushed the left arm softly down. “It’s hard to get rid of it again. Don’t take too long aiming either. I know you’ve got sharp eyes and fast reactions.” Sam smiled again. “You’re a real threat when it comes to throwing stones, that’s good. Just fix your thoughts at the target. It will take some time but your body will learn how to do the rest. You will become much faster that way. Alright now, go!”

One after another Jed released seven bullets. They hit the dirt and scattered small stones around the fence but the cans remained pretty unimpressed.

“It doesn’t work,” Jed complained.

“Practice.” Sam gave him a wink. “Reload and try it again.”

Sam decided that they’d swap the positions every second turn so that each of them could practice. It didn’t take much time until Jed’s shots hit the fence at least.

The older one glanced up to the sun and estimated the time. “C’mon, one last turn and we call it quits.”

The blond youngster fired again.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Clang!

With a hollow sound a can left the fence. Jed laughed in enthusiasm.

“Well done, Jed!” his brother stepped beside him and patted his shoulder. “That’s a good end for your first attempt. Just keep practicing. I’m proud of you, little one.”

Jed Curry cocked his head and glanced at his brother. Sky-blue eyes sparkled in pride and admiration. He didn’t mind practicing. One day he would be as fast and good of a shot as his brother. Maybe he would become the fastest gun of the West!
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Cal

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PostSubject: setting Targets   Mon May 21, 2018 10:15 am

This is part of a longer tale "Of All the Towns" ...but it fits the prompt well and I think it stands up on its own (it isn't posted anywhere else either so its new on line)

Setting Targets

Kid twirled the Colt around his trigger finger and let it drop into the soft leather of the holster with a satisfying thud.  He eyed the targets with intent, a row of large pine cones spread across the top of a fallen log.  He slowed his breathing, slightly stretching the fingers of his bare right hand.

“OWWW….UGH!” wailed Heyes, plunging into the pool below the water fall.
 “Its freee….eeezing in here!”

The moment lost, Kid closed his eyes on the targets, and pursed up his lips in a snarl.
 
“Well that’s what you wanted, wasn’t it… COLD!”  He shouted over his shoulder.  “Well that’s what you’re getting … COLD.  Now HUSH UP will yer…  and let me practice.  You’re the one that talked us into this mess… Now I ….gotta shoot us out of it... and I’m worried I might be… just a little rusty…”

He turned on the targets, drawing the Colt in the turn, and fired all six rounds in quick succession leaving nothing on the log but a fine fall of dust.

“You don’t look rusty to me…” smiled a wet Heyes, using his dry shirt to dab at his drenched underclothes.

Kid’s eyebrows raised in question: “That it?”

“What?” said an innocent Heyes. “Henry said my shoulder needed cold water treatment …and a little of this…”

He waved the small dark pot of unction under Curry’s nose.

“He didn’t say… I had to stay in there all day.”

“Well do …whatever it is… you got to do… over there…”

Kid waved distractedly behind him, back towards the waterfall.
 
“But do it quietly.   The good citizens of Lesbastion may not be expecting Kid Curry to show up for their Hairdown… But they sure want a lot more than a fast draw …and a few flying pine cones… so I need to practice.”

Kid turned back to the log.

Heyes smiled a knowing smile.  There had been little argument from Kid, against Heyes’ plans to earn some easy money trick shooting at the Lesbastion Hairdown, since a certain beautiful young lady had decided to join them, for a post dinner coffee, last night.  Kid was so easily smitten.  Head wagging side to side behind his partners back, silently mimicking Kid’s assertive tone, Heyes turned on his heel and disappeared back through the bushes, slowly rubbing at his bruised and battered shoulder.  

Kid re-loaded, and looked for some new targets to set on the log.  Smaller cones this time, but at the same distance.  He had plenty of ammunition, plenty of time and they’d come far enough out of Lesbastion not to fall foul of the Lady Mayor’s No Gun Ordinance.  He figured the noise of the waterfall was enough to mask the sound of the gunfire. He could take his time, build up to the more difficult shots later.  He took his stance, square to the log.  Flexed his bare fingers. Slowed his breathing.

“JEEZ!” howled Heyes. “THAT SMARTS! JEEZ… Henry’s gotta be trying to kill me or something… STINKS and STINGS! You know, Kid… I think Henry might just be trying to finish the job that dead fall started yesterday.”

Kid’s shoulders hunched, as his fingers tightened around the stock of his pistol. Even before the pistol cleared leather, Kid had already decided to abandon the attempt.   With a low growl, he thrust the Colt back into the holster.

“HEYES… will you just… pipe down… or I might just come back there and finish the job myself!”

Kid’s face contorted in incredulity as a wave of the hideous smelling unction wafted into the clearing.

“And… WHAT… is that God awful smell?”

Heyes reappeared through the bushes waving the small dark pot.

“It’s this…. It feels kinda …hot… and it stings…and STINKS!”

Kid took the pot gingerly and eyed it warily.

“And Henry said … Put this… on your shoulder… after cold water…”

His head shook in disbelief.
 
“You do remember …Henry’s a blacksmith… not a doctor, right Heyes?”

Heyes snatched back the pot and wheeled his injured arm around dramatically.  

“Actually… I think… it may have done some good…” he said, defensively.  “You better get some more practice in, Kid … We can’t have you getting rusty... I told the good folks of Lesbastion you were the next best thing to Kid Curry.”

Over on the other side of the waterfall, the horses whickered as their leisurely, early morning grazing was disturbed by the arrival of a third horse.

“Hi fellas… it’s me… Sheriff Lesley P Alderly…  hehe… Don’t shoot now”

Heyes and Kid exchanged a look, one that questioned whether they’d ever get used to hearing the word Sheriff without the fear of God racing through their veins.

“Over here Sheriff” called Heyes, trying to sound at least a little bit happy that the Sheriff had decided to join them after all.  

When they’d dropped by the Sheriff’s office to pick up their hardware for a little target practice this morning, the invitation to join them had been a throw away comment, just to stop the Sheriff talking long enough to let them leave.  They never dreamed he’d take them up on it.  Now here he was.

“I thought you’d be heading out this way…” greeted the sheriff, taking out his own shiny pistol and filling the chamber.  

“When Henry told me, you were setting out early …to exercise your horse… just like he advised you, Mr Smith, I felt sure you’d be heading for the Falls...”

Heyes smiled painfully, and nodded agreement.  He shot Kid a look of; The falls was your idea.

Kid looked suitably apologetic.
 
The sheriff didn’t notice the boys discomfit, he was on a roll.

“…. No one knows horses like Henry… And if Henry says what she needs is cold water treatment…. and liniment rub… then sure as eggs is eggs… that’s what she needs…. Cold water and liniment rub… And ‘course the falls drowns out the sound of the gunfire… keeps the ladies happy…. If you know what I mean…”

Kid smiled agreement for the Sheriff’s assertions, keeping a wary eye on the man’s firearm.  But he couldn’t keep the laugh out of his voice, as he turned to his partner and watched the pennies drop.

“HORSE LINIMENT?  That’s what Henry gave Joshua? For his mare’s foot.”

“Makes it himself!” agreed the Sheriff cheerfully. “Best horse liniment this side of the Mississippi.”

“Best horse liniment this side of the Mississippi…”  smirked Kid.  “What do you think of that, Joshua?”

Heyes stared. With considerable effort, he managed to turn a snarl into a smile and bared his teeth at the Sheriff.

“Yeah…Well…. I’m gonna get right …to it… Right now… cold water and rubbing liniment…“  he said, brandishing the small dark pot in a white knuckled fist.  

“I’ll leave you crack shots …to your practice… Thaddeus here… He needs all the practice he can get …Sheriff… he’s getting a little rusty without me to show him how it’s done…. he’s gonna need all the practice he can get!”

---oooOOOooo---
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Nebraska Wildfire

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PostSubject: Targets   Mon May 21, 2018 11:48 pm

Targets


“Isn’t Fort Worth a bit more than we want to try?” the Kid asked quietly.

It was a cool night up in the Hole.  We were sitting before the fire in the potbelly stove, sharing a cup of coffee, with something a little stronger added.  I could hear a wolf off in the distance.

“Don’t you think we’re up to the challenge?” I asked, a bit miffed, as I had been working out the issues of this heist all day.

The Kid paused for a minute, making me meet his eyes.  “No, Heyes, I really don’t.  Not yet.”

“But I’ve planned it all out, to the last detail.”  If I didn’t know better I’d swear there was a bit of a whine in my voice.  I know the Kid heard it.

“I’m certain you have, but don’t you always?” he replied stoically, and gave me the look.

“Yes, so things go smoothly.”  I was hoping I was convincing him, but I knew I had barely convinced myself.

“Not always, Heyes.”  Even complaining, he could not help but let a bit of a smile cross his face.  My mood soured.

“We gotta start hitting bigger places, Kid.”  I kept at it.

“Why?”  So did he.

“Well, for one thing, we have more men, more supplies to buy ...”. I started, trying to outtalk him.

“We only need all that if we try for bigger places.”  He wouldn’t let it go.  He sat back and stared at me.

I huffed, and met his gaze.  “Well.  It’s a target I set.”

“A target.”  I could see he was thinking.  I had distracted him, but I kept myself from smiling.  “Like a shootin’ target?”

I did smile then.  “Sort of.  It’s a goal I’m aiming for.”  I shifted and took another drink.  Truth be told, there was more whiskey in the cup by now, than coffee.

“What goal, Heyes?”  He was back on track.  “Gettin’ blowed up because Kyle used too much dynamite because it’s a bigger safe, or ending up in prison, because it’s a bigger posse chasing us?”

“You know as well as me that some of the boys are getting restless.”  We hadn’t pulled a really big job yet this spring.  I knew it was time.

He nodded.  “I heard that some of them were talking about going to join up with the Red Sash gang, if we didn’t start bringing in more money.”

“What?” I exclaimed.  I tried not to look excited, but sat forward in my chair.   “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

“‘Cause you’d come up with some hair-brained plan like this one about the bank of Fort Worth.”  He crossed his arms and just glared at me.  He looked away for a moment, as the wolves howled again, but then focused back on me.

I paused for a moment, returning his glare.  Then I let something else enter my eyes.  “Kid, it would be bigger than anything Big Jim attempted.  It would solidify my leadership here.”  I crossed my arms myself.

“Or get us all killed.”  

I let that go.  “You have another option?”

“No, Heyes, you’re the planner.  I keep to my strengths.”  He relaxed and his smile was genuine.  “Like telling you when you’re wrong.”

“But I'm not.”  I could feel his eyes bore into me.  I kept my poker face in place.

He sighed, and looked away.  I knew I had won.  We would see which one of us was right.

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Penski
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PostSubject: Re: May 2018 - Setting Targets   Mon May 28, 2018 9:11 pm

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry sat on the hotel porch watching the town of Laramie, Wyoming, on a typical week day.  Chairs tilted back with their feet on the railing and a cigar in their mouths, they observed the sheriff making his rounds, wagons loading at the mercantile, and women holding their children’s hands as some miners hurried into town, stopping at the closest saloon.  A prison wagon went through town, heading to the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary.

Kid Curry involuntarily shuddered as he watched the caged wagon carrying several prisoners.  He tilted his head towards his partner.  “Heyes,” he said quietly so only one heard him.  “Do you really think it’s a good idea for us to be in Laramie?  Too close to the penitentiary that opened a few years back.”

Heyes grinned as he rocked.  “Best place to hide is in the wide open.  They’ll never expect us to be sitting here casing the town.” he said while chewing on his cigar.

“I hope you’re right.”

Heyes looked around nonchalantly and didn’t notice anyone in hearing range.  “So, what did you find at the Edward Ivinson’s First National Bank.”

“It has a back door for easy entry and bars on the windows.  There are four teller windows.”

“The safe?”

“It’s a Diebold, probably 1871.”

Heyes grinned after blowing a smoke ring.  “Looks like the Wyoming National Bank is the newer one.  It has five teller windows and a Miller safe, around 1875.  Bars on the windows and no back door.”

Kid Curry pulled his hat a tad down.  “Sheriff…”

The local sheriff walked up the steps to the Kuster Hotel.  He tipped his head.  “Gentlemen…”

Heyes and Curry removed their feet from the railing and sat straight up.  In unison, they nodded their head.  “Sheriff…”

“Nice day.”

“It is a nice day to be outside and enjoying a cigar,” Heyes answered.  “Laramie sure has grown.”

“Yep.  The railroad continues to bring business here.”  The sheriff nodded, again.  “Enjoy yourself.”

“Yes, sir.”  Kid Curry gave his most innocent smile.

The two men continued to smoke their cigars and quietly watched the town until the sheriff came out of the hotel and continued down the street.

“Think we have anything to worry about?”

“Nah,” Heyes exclaimed.  “He’d be arresting us or hurrying to his office for reinforcements if he suspected anything.”

Heyes and Curry relaxed and rocked their tilted chairs.

“Which bank are we gonna target?” the Kid asked.

“I’m not sure, but I’m gonna think on it while we head back to the Hole.”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A week later, maps of Laramie and the countryside laid out on the table of the leader’s cabin.  Schedules of the stage and train littered the top, too.  Heyes sat and made notes as he traced escape routes with his fingertip.

He stood up, stretched his back, and poured himself some more coffee.

Kid Curry stopped playing solitaire to watch his partner.  When Heyes sat back down, the Kid resumed his game.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A few days later, Heyes grinned and stood up.  He went to the shelf and poured two glasses of whiskey.

Kid Curry looked up from reading a dime novel.  “Well, you got it figured out?”

Heyes handed a glass to his partner.  “Yep.”

“So what bank are we gonna target?”

“Both!”

Kid Curry spewed the whiskey he was sipping and began to choke.  Heyes quickly patted him on his back.

“Both?” Curry managed to ask while trying to catch his breath.

“That the brilliance of the plan, Kid.  They’ll never suspect us robbing both banks at the same time.”

“At the same time?”  The Kid choked some more.  “Have you gone loco?”

Heyes frowned.  “I planned it all out – it’ll work.”

“Okay, let’s hear this plan before you go tellin’ the gang.”

With a grin, Heyes began, “I figured we’d rob them in the middle of the night.  I’ll go to the Ivinson’s First National Bank and…”

“Who’s gonna watch your back?” Curry interrupted.

“Thought I’d take Hank and Lobo with me.”

The Kid thought a moment and nodded his approval.  “Okay.  Continue.”

“Well, I can open the back door, listen for the tumblers and open that Diebold in a few minutes.”

Kid Curry raised a brow.

“Okay, more like twenty minutes.”

“And Hank and Lobo will be on guard.”

“Yeah, one inside and one outside.”

“Hank outside and Lobo inside.  Lobo will look more suspicious hangin’ around outside.”

“Whatever you say.”

“And I’ll be at the Wyoming National?”

“Yep.”

Kid Curry scowled.  “And how am I gonna open that Miller safe?”

“With dynamite,” Heyes answered enthusiastically.

“Dynamite?  Me?”

“Well, no, you’ll have Kyle with you.”

“I get Kyle?”

“And Wheat, too.”

Kid Curry poured more whiskey and downed it with a gulp.  “I get Kyle and Wheat.”

Heyes nodded.  “And Jamison will be outside watching, unless you think Wheat will be better.”

“No, Jamison is better.”

“So…”

“Heyes, you’re gettin’ a little too bigheaded with this idea.  Two banks at the same time in Laramie, where the penitentiary is located.”  He sat down.  “Well, at least they don’t have far to throw us behind bars.”

“What’s wrong with my plan?” Heyes asked offended.

“What if Kyle don’t put down the right amount of dynamite?  I don’t do that part of the robbin’ and wouldn’t know if he was doin’ it right or not.”

“I’ve seen the Miller, remember?  I’ll tell Kyle how to do it and with how much to use.”

“Okay.  So, what about the escape?  We’ll be on pretty near opposite sides of the town.”

“I’ll go in first since we’ll be quiet.  You go in about twenty minutes later and…”

“How are me and Kyle and Wheat gonna enter the bank – and through the front?!”

“We can have Doc cause a diversion on the other side of town and I’ll pick the lock before going to my bank.”

“They’re gonna cause a diversion by your bank?  How you plannin’ to get it?  Just because it’s in the back…”

“Jackson can cause a diversion by your bank.”

“Great!”  Kid Curry got up and poured more liquor for both of them.  “With the sheriff checkin’ on Jackson, how am I gonna get in the front door?  What if the sheriff checks the door while he’s there?”

“Okay, so Jackson causes trouble over… at the Bucket of Blood saloon.”

“And escapin’?”

“We’ll go our separate ways and meet here,” Heyes pointed on the map, “at the cave.  You remember which one.”

“Yeah.  I’m not too excited about this.  Folks will be runnin’ when they hear the explosion.  What if Kyle, Wheat and I can’t get out?”

“Hmm… What if we synchronize our watches.  I can be done and out at say 2:00.  At 2:10, I’ll throw a stick or two of dynamite on my end of town as I’m leaving.  Sheriff and deputies will be going that way.  At 2:15 you dynamite the safe.  It’ll take ‘em five to ten minutes to get to your end.  That should be enough time for you to take the money and get outta there.”  Heyes had a glee in his eyes.

Kid Curry pondered this idea.  “The timin’ will be everything.”

“But it’s possible.”

“Two banks in the same town on the same night… I’m loco to say it might work.”

Heyes put his arm around the Kid’s shoulders.  “It’ll work!”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Two weeks later with a crescent moon shining above, Heyes and Curry, along with the Devil’s Hole Gang, were on the outskirts of Laramie.

Heyes flicked open his pocket watch.  “I have ten minutes to midnight.”

The Kid pulled his watch out of his pocket and checked it.  He wound it a few times and adjusted the time.  “Ten minutes to midnight.”

“Well, now it’s nine minutes to midnight.”

Curry scowled and changed the time.”

“Timing is everything.  You said so yourself.”

“Let’s get this over with,” Curry grimaced.

Heyes turned back to the rest of the gang.  “Okay, you all know what to do…”

“You’ve made us repeat it enough time,” Wheat grumbled.

“Wheat!”  The Kid gave him a glare.

“Well, we got it after the first five times, Kid.  Don’t you think that was enough?  A dozen times was too much.”

“Positioning and timing is everything,” Heyes explained, again.

“Yeah, so I heard,” Wheat sighed.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

BOOMBOOM

“What the…”  The deputy glanced at the clock on the wall as he shook himself wake.  “It’s 2:10 in the morning.”  He yawned.  “Crap!  The bank must be gettin’ robbed!”  He grabbed his hat and a rifle before running out the door.

The sheriff woke with a start and quickly dressed.

“What is it, dear?” asked his wife.

“Sounds like Ivinson’s First National is getting robbed!”  He grabbed and checked his gun.

“Be careful!”

The sheriff, deputy and several citizens ran to one end of town and were just in front of the Ivinson’s bank when…

BOOMBOOMBOOM

“What the…”

“That was on the other side of town!”

“Deputy, you stay here and check out this bank.  Joe and Matt, stay with him.  The rest of you follow me,” the sheriff ordered and began running to the new explosion.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Curry quickly filled the carpet bag with the money in the safe.

“I’m seein’ somethin’ comin’ down the street,” Wheat said as he moved away from the window.  “We better get outta here!”

“Dang!”  Kid Curry exclaimed.  He threw the bag to Wheat and pulled out his gun.  “Get ready to run, Wheat and Kyle.  Jamison and Jackson should have the horses in the alley.”

The Kid opened the door and scanned the surrounding area.  “Go!”  He shot in the general direction of the road coming from the Ivinson’s First National as he followed his men into the alley.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“I’ll be danged!” the sheriff exclaimed in frustration.  “Both banks robbed at the same time.”

“Must’ve been two gangs and just a coincidence, huh, sheriff?” asked the deputy.

“Certainly couldn’t have been one gang robbing both banks.  Outlaws just aren’t that smart."

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"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
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Remuda

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PostSubject: Re: May 2018 - Setting Targets   Tue May 29, 2018 7:08 pm

No bunny hopped but this spruced-up oldie came to mind. Not for polling.

The March King

Hannibal Heyes sat at a table in his room at the boardinghouse, pen in hand and open journal in front of him. He put the nib to the page but nothing flowed. Frowning, he put the pen down on the desk.

A familiar knock on the door interrupted him. The dark-haired ex-outlaw rose and grabbed his pistol from the holster dangling from the bedpost. He took up sentinel at the threshold, asking in a low voice, “Yeah?”

A soft, “It’s me,” gained his partner entrance to the room.

Heyes uncocked the sidearm, re-holstered it, and settled back at the desk. “How’d it go?”

Jed “Kid” Curry proceeded to take off his sheepskin coat. “’Kay.”

“How much was it?”

“Two bits apiece, in advance, per night.”

Heyes sighed. “So far, so good. We don’t know the sheriff, and after spending two bits each for us and the horses, that’s a dollar. We’re only gonna be able to stay one night.”

Curry removed his holster. “Somehow it don’t seem too good a deal – the horses cost the same as we do.”

“Well, it IS a good deal, and you know it. Where else we gonna get a bed, bath, and three squares for two bits? The hotel’s too expensive.”

“I know, Heyes. So much for enjoyin’ ourselves a little bit. I mean, this is Denver. If only Clem was home.”

“She’s not, so no sense dwelling on it.”

Kid sat on the bed. “Okay, so we cleaned off the trail dust, we’ll have a good night’s sleep in a soft bed and three decent meals, and the horses’re taken care of. Not bad. But how do we enjoy ourselves with only seventy-three cents left between us? We won’t even be here long enough to be able to get our laundry done.” He got up, strode to the desk, and looked down at Heyes’ journal, beholding a blank page. “So you didn’t come up with a plan, either. Dang, Heyes!”

“Calm down, Kid. We’ll think of something. Even if we go for a walk, there’s plenty to see. Like you said, it IS Denver.”

“Sheesh, just throw it up in my face, won’t ya!”

Heyes chuckled. “Sure. Want me to do it again? That’ll keep ME entertained!”

Blue eyes glared.

“Look on the bright side. We were lucky enough to get here just before lunch, and it was pretty good and there was plenty. Dinner’s bound to be the same and breakfast tomorrow. You can have all you want – seconds and thirds even, and it won’t cost us an extra penny.”

Curry looked out the window. Seeing only a dark alley, he tossed the curtain aside in disgust. “So we won’t go hungry while we’re here. What’re we gonna do with the rest of our fortune? Let’s not spend it all in one place.”

“Well, we need supplies…”

“I need a box of bullets. Two would be better.”

Heyes eyed both gun belts. Some of the bullet holders were empty. “How many rounds do we have between us?”

Kid took a minute to count to himself, then checked the chamber of each pistol. “Unless you’re holding out on me, we have thirty even – sixteen for you, fourteen for me.”

Heyes thought out loud. “And a small box costs another two bits.”

“Probably more here because it’s the big city.”

Heyes wrote. “Okay, figure thirty-five cents. That’s thirty-eight cents left. We’ll get a box and split it between us.”

“Okay.”

“Unless…”

“What?”

“Unless I play a couple of hands of penny ante poker. I should be able to at least double or triple what we have and entertain myself at the same time.” Heyes grinned. “That’s a right good plan, don’t ya think?”

Blue eyes rolled. “Maybe for you, Heyes. What about coffee, flour, beans…?”

“Yeah, I know – and don’t forget the hardtack, oats, and anything else.” Heyes sighed. “We just can’t afford everything right now, not without a job or poker winnings.”

“Not much chance of a job, either. The liveryman said with the recession there’s too many men and not enough work.”

Heyes’ brow furrowed. “Great. And we thought it might be different here, big town and all. So we’re back to square one.”

“Looks that way.” Curry paced. “What about seein’ if Lom knows of somethin’?”

“Fine idea, if we had the money to send a wire.”

“Dang! Heyes, that bank is lookin’ awfully good right now. If only…”

“I know what you mean. ‘If only’ is right.”

A bell rang.

Kid perked up. “Dinner.”

Heyes stood and reached for the key. “Here’s a plan to start with. Let’s eat our fill, go buy that box of bullets, price out a few more supplies, and see what else we can figure out.”

***

The partners strolled Larimer Street. All of the bullet holders in their gunbelts were now filled.

“Fate’s shining on us, Kid. I’m feeling lucky.”

“Why? We only have two bits left.”

Heyes smiled. “Look on the bright side. We were able to get a box of bullets, coffee, beans, and flour for less than four bits. That’s a pretty good deal. You said so yourself.”

“Yeah, it is. But only because the bags were so small. That’s barely enough coffee or beans for a few days on the trail!”

“Then you’ll just have to find enough game to keep our bellies full and conserve bullets.”

“Heyes, don’t go tellin’ me how to shoot.”

“I’m not.” Brown eyes twinkled. "Now for my end of it. Let’s find a low stakes game.”

Blue eyes rolled yet again. “You mean a poor man’s game? You ain’t gonna find it in this part of town.”

Men and women in Eastern finery seemed to outnumber those in working garb, while the saloons and gambling halls where they walked looked a tad too grand.

Heyes nodded south. “Let’s try over that way.”

***

The dark-haired partner spied an open chair at a table. “Is there a buy-in?”

The man shuffling cards looked up briefly. “Nope. Penny to open and nickel limit. Call on the second raise.”

Heyes grinned and took a seat. “Sounds good. Deal me in.”

***

Kid Curry watched as his partner quickly won his first five hands to build up a little stake, calling it beginner’s luck, then eased off so as not to arouse suspicion. After a couple of hours, Heyes took a break, signalling Kid to join him at the bar.

“Two beers.”

“Joshua, we can’t afford that.”

“I say we can.” Heyes dropped a dime on the bar. “Besides, I’ll need a break every now and then.” He counted out some coins and handed them to Kid. “Here’s a dollar. Hold it so we can pay another night for us and the livery in advance. These guys are pretty good poker players. It’s gonna take a while to get any kind of stake. There’s gotta be a better way.”

“What about a higher stakes game?”

The dark-haired man took a swig. “I asked. Most low stakes games have a buy-in around these parts, so I’ll have to play here. It’ll keep me occupied most of the time, but I should be able to get us a couple dollars a day, maybe.”

“Not gonna get rich that way.”

Heyes grabbed his mug. “No, but it’ll keep us at the boardinghouse day to day and enough for more supplies. I gotta get back.” He stopped in mid-step. “You know, these guys are good players and kinda friendly, and this place is pretty quiet. I’ll be okay if you want to see what else is around.”

Kid raised an eyebrow. “You sure?”

“Me and my back are sure. Check in every hour or so if you want.”

Blue eyes scanned the saloon. “Okay. I’ll be back in a while.”

“Okay.”

“Joshua.”

Heyes looked behind him. “Huh?”

“Good luck.”

***

The pickings being slim in the area where Heyes was playing, Curry walked back to Larimer Street. Music caught his ear. Approaching the sound, he saw a crowd gathered around a makeshift band stand in the middle of the square, illuminated by gas lamps in the fading daylight. From his vantage point, he could see men in military uniform playing high-spirited, marching music. Several people around him nodded their heads in time to the tunes, and Kid couldn’t help but tap a foot.

The band played two more songs after he arrived. The conductor, whom Curry could barely see, spoke, but the applause drowned him out. Before the blond ex-outlaw left, he perused a flyer someone had handed him.

***

Hannibal Hayes was aghast. “What are you thinking? You can’t do this. You know that!”

“I’m not gonna ask, ‘mother, may I?’ Heyes, just like you know when to go ahead and win and back off in poker, so do I with shootin’. It’ll be easy. And there’s cash prizes for the three top finishers, so I don’t even have to try to win to get somethin’.”

His face bright red, Heyes threw up an arm. “It’ll just draw attention to you…to us!”

“Keep your voice down, Heyes; we’re inside. Now who might be drawin’ attention to us?” Kid raised an eyebrow.

Heyes shook his head. “If Thaddeus Jones wins…”

“Who’s Thaddeus Jones? I’ll be somebody else.”

***

The next morning after breakfast, Kid Curry stood in the middle of their room at the boardinghouse, twirling his Colt. Practicing his fast draw, he stopped in mid-step at the familiar knock on the door. He approached the threshold and after the usual precautions, let his partner in.

Hannibal Heyes entered the room as Kid once again drew. The dark-haired man sighed. “I don’t know how I let you talk me into this. We’re gonna live to regret it.”

Curry smiled. “Have some faith in me, will ya? It’s gonna be okay. It’s on the edge of town, I’ll be under a different name, and I’ll try not to win. And even if I did…”

“Kid…”

“Don’t worry, Heyes. You don’t have to come, you know.”

“I don’t? Somebody’s gotta watch your back, even if it takes me away from the easy money.”

“Ha! Sittin’ on your ass all day for a couple dollars is easy money?”

“It’s more or less guaranteed, and we’re flat broke otherwise.”

“Yeah, I know, Heyes. This is my way to save ya some of that sittin’. Let’s get the horses.”

***

The partners rode to the designated area. Scanning the crowd carefully, they saw no one with whom they might have struck up a recent acquaintance or who otherwise seemed interested in them. Satisfied, Curry approached the registration table.

“I’d like to enter the contest.”

A bearded man looked him over. “Name?”

“Thaddeus Hotchkiss.”

“Experience?”

“Huh?”

“What’s your shooting experience?”

Kid tried to hide a knowing smile. “Uh, I usually hit what I aim at.”

“Very good. Weapon?”

“Yup, right here.” The blond man indicated his Colt.

“Young man, where’s your shotgun?”

“Uh, shotgun?”

“Well, this is a trapshooting competition. I’ve never known anyone to compete with anything but a shotgun.”

“Oh, I…” Kid sighed.

“We have them for rent for the competition.”

“You do? Uh, how much?”

“A dollar.”

Curry gulped. “A, a dollar?”

“That’s right.”

“Umm, can you hold my place? I’ll be right back.”

***

The partners stood apart from the crowd.

“Come on, Heyes. It’s just a dollar.”

“That’s highway robbery! Since when is it ‘just a dollar’ when that’ll keep us in relative luxury another day?”

Curry sighed. “Forget it. We can’t afford it.”

“That’s right.”

The blond man turned to walk back to his horse.

“Wait, Kid. This isn’t such a sure thing anymore, is it?”

Curry regarded his partner. “No. Not with shotguns.”

“But you should do okay.”

“I should…”

“Ya know, I still can’t say I’m thrilled with this, but…” Heyes withdrew a bill from his pocket. “My backside can use a rest.”

***

Several hours later, the five competitors in the lead entered the final round, Thaddeus Hotchkiss amongst them. Quiet beforehand, the spectators cheered after each shot as most of the platter-sized clay pigeons disintegrated to pieces. Even Heyes got into the spirit.

Each man shot from five different stations, the targets flying from the central trap in all directions. At the conclusion of the last round, the judge announced a tie between Mr. Hotchkiss and a man in a military uniform. After a break, there would be a shoot-off for first place.

***

Hannibal Heyes smiled. “That was some pretty good shooting.”

“It’s not over yet.”

Heyes sobered. “Kid, you’re guaranteed the second place prize. Let that be good enough.”

“I can’t. That guy’s a musician!”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

Curry eyed his competitor from a distance. “Look at that fancy uniform. He’s a lucky shot.”

“I’ve been watching the whole thing, and it looks to me like he knows what he’s doing. He’s relaxed out there.”

“I’m not?”

Heyes raised an eyebrow. “To tell the truth, Kid, you looked a little…nervous at first. But just a little.” He regarded his partner. “But, that don’t matter. I’d appreciate it if you just settled for second place. Miss enough targets to let him win.”

Blue eyes pleaded. “Heyes, do you know what you’re askin’?”

“Yeah. I do.” The dark-haired man nodded. “And you know I do, and it’s not easy. But…”

***

The partners walked back to their horses.

Heyes noted, “Ten dollars. Not bad for a few hours of enjoying yourself.”

Curry was silent.

Heyes draped an arm around the blond man’s shoulders. “Thanks, Kid. I appreciate what you did. We still have enough for another night or two, and with this ten, I can buy into a bigger game and make enough so we won’t have to worry about money or finding work for a while.”

Kid sighed. “I could’ve won that, Heyes.”

“You sure? With that musician turning out to be an experienced trap shooter? He didn’t miss.”

“And I missed on purpose.”

Heyes smiled. “Then I guess we’ll never know.”

Curry shook his head in disbelief. “And to think that guy’s job is playin’ marches.”

Heyes clapped him on the shoulder. “And your job is stayin' out of trouble.”



Note: John Philip Sousa, the American “March King,” conducted the Marine Band from 1880-92. The band went on its first nationwide tour in 1891, but for purposes of this story, I’ve pulled that date back a decade.

Sousa was an avid trap shooter and headed and helped found various trap shooting and related organizations. He was inducted into the Trap Shooting Hall of Fame in 1985.


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Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
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PostSubject: Re: May 2018 - Setting Targets   Wed May 30, 2018 5:41 am

This is an extract from the final instalment of my cheesy mystery. It is now posted in it's entirety over on Fan Fiction.


Setting Targets

Sometime later, a group of men crouched in the bushes outside The Bonnet. Heyes had his pocket watch open and by the light of the moon, was watching the seconds tick by. It was agreed they would wait until all the players had arrived and the game underway before they made their move.


The Kid shuffled next to him.


“Have you seen who’s in there?” he asked, in a low voice.


“Yep.”


“We know ‘em. Well two of ‘em anyway.”


“Three. I know the short, businessman too.”


“And we’re still going in?”


Heyes pulled a face. “Have to, K … Alphonse.” He pulled his shoulders back. “We’re here to do a job. Let’s do it.”


The Kid looked uneasy but Heyes had shut the watch with a snap, licked his lips and was nodding to the sheriff. He in turn nodded to the rest of the assembled men and they drew their guns.


A moment later, the sheriff, a nervous looking Elmo and the three men he had been able to muster burst into The Bonnet’s fancy parlour. Heyes and the Kid followed a little behind. They knew who was there. What they didn't know was how much trouble was going to come their way because of those men being there. They weren’t that anxious to find out.


Heyes took in the situation instantly. Chad Walker sat with his back to the door. The man to his left, Heyes didn’t know. Nor did he know the two men to Chad’s right. The three men opposite, facing him however, Heyes did know. All for very different reasons. None of them good.


Number One was a complication but Heyes' gaze passed over him quickly. He was the least of their worries.


Not so the man next to him. Number Two hissed a venomous snarl the moment the posse had burst in and was rising to his feet. “Heyes!” At the same time, he was going for his gun.


The Kid stepped from behind Heyes. “I wouldn’t if I was you, O’Neill,” the Kid cautioned.


He knew this man all too well. Seamus O’Neill, member of the notorious Red Sash Gang, bitter rivals to the Devil’s Hole Gang. The two Gangs had had several run-ins in the past and there was no love lost between them. And their leader hated the Kid and that made members of the Gang dangerous. All were extremely loyal. What the reason behind that was, the Kid couldn’t remember. He just knew he had to take no chances.


The Kid stood, seemingly at ease. Yet he was alert for any movement from O’Neill. “Don’t do it,” he growled, warningly, watching the indecision on O’Neill’s face. “Nor you!” he snapped a warning at the man next to O’Neill.


Number Three was Phil Bryant, known as Poker Phil and wanted for murder in Texas. Heyes and Curry had run into him earlier in the year, after leaving the McCreedy ranch. They weren’t sure but Poker Phil might just know who they were.


Seeing that the Kid had his attention on O’Neill, Bryant was reaching for the top pocket of his jacket.


“Take it out, Bryant. Slowly. Two fingers,” the Kid ordered. His gaze didn’t move from O’Neill but his words were directed at Bryant.


“Take what out?”


“The derringer, Bryant.” The Kid grinned. “In case ya didn’t know, I can see through coat pockets so I KNOW it’s there.”


Seeing his chance, O’Neill made his move. His reward, seeing the legendary Kid Curry fast draw in action. It was enough for him to concede. He withdrew his gun slowly with the requisite two fingers, laid it on the table before raising his hands in surrender.


Knowing he had no chance, Bryant gave a look of disgust, before picking out the derringer and laying it on the table. The sheriff and his men started to secure the men.


Heyes let out the breath he was holding, bent and hooked his hand under Chad’s arm.


“Doc, you’re coming with us.”


“I am?” Chad frowned.  


“Yes you are. On your feet, please.


With a grunt, Heyes hefted the good doctor to his feet. He hated what he did next but it was necessary for appearances. Chad was wide-eyed as Heyes put the gun to his head. The big seemingly pleasant smile on his face was terrifying and not in the least reassuring. Neither were his words.


“That’s it Doc. You and me have something to discuss.” Heyes spoke slow, deep and his words were full of venom. “In private.” The last sent a chill down Chad’s spine.


Number One had been watching Heyes curiously. Seeing him about to leave prompted him to speak up.


“Carlton? Carlton Balfour! What on earth is this all about?” he asked, obviously shocked. He had played poker with Carlton Balfour on at least three separate occasions and found him to be a formidable player and a likeable young man. Yet he had never seen him dressed as he was now, nor brandishing a gun in that dangerous fashion. He looked entirely different from the man he knew but he could also tell that the man was conducting himself with practised ease. This wasn’t an unfamiliar situation for him. Number One gulped. He obviously didn’t know “Carlton Balfour” as well as he thought.


Heyes glanced at him and flashed a weak smile of acknowledgement. Touching his gun to the brim of his hat, Heyes nodded to the room. “Gentlemen, were leaving now.”


Dragging a whimpering Chad with him, Heyes backed out of the room. The Kid lingered a moment longer until the deputies had secured all parties before following.


“Wha’ … what are ya going to do? HEYES! I’ve got a wife and family!” Chad was desperate.

He had no doubt that Heyes had something bad and probably painful in mind for him.


“I know,” Heyes said, reassuringly. At the same time he let Chad go, which might have been a mistake as freed from Heyes firm grip on his arm, he wobbled alarmingly. “Oophs,” Heyes grinned and steadied him with both hands before holstering his gun. “That’s why we’re taking you home, Chad.”


Chad wasn’t convinced. “You are?”


“Yep,” Heyes nodded and pulled his gloves from his belt.


The Kid joined them outside.


“Really?” Chad looked nervously at the Colt in the Kid’s hand. That man twirled it with a flourish before returning it to its holster.


“That’s right Chad. We’re taking you home to your wife and family.”


“I … I don’t understand.” Chad looked from one to the other.


“Good.” Heyes smiled tight-lipped. Then seeing the posse were starting to come out with their prisoners. “Explain it all to you later,” he said, hurriedly, turning Chad away.


“Yes. Time to go,” the Kid agreed, catching Chad’s other arm.

ASJASJASJASJ

Later in the town’s jail, disgruntled poker players were crowding into the cells. As the doors swung shut on them, the sheriff scratched his head. Elmo bounced at his side.


“Sheriff, this sure is a jail full. Don’t reckon we’ve ever had this many prisoners in here all at one time.”


The sheriff approached the bars of the cell containing Bryant and one other, who didn’t look too comfortable being in the same cell. “Don’t you know that there’s a civil ordinance in this town and en-vi-rons about gambling? You fellas have caused me one hellva lot of paperwork. And I don’t take kindly to that!” He turned away.


“Sherriff, ya’ve got bigger things to worry ‘bout than ya paperwork,” yelled O’Neill from the next cell.


The sheriff frowned at him. “What d’you mean?”


“Those two other fellas. Them’s Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry!”


“That’s right, sheriff,” Bryant chipped in. “What are they doing with the Doc?”


The sheriff stiffened. “Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry? Naw, they work for Bannerman.”


“I knows Heyes and Curry and that’s them.”


“Oh yeah?” The sheriff advanced on O’Neill’s cell. “And just how do you KNOW they’re Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry?”


O’Neill gulped. “Um … .” He couldn’t very well say. “Well I jus’ know that’s all,” he spat, turning around in disgust to plop down on the bunk.


“Sheriff.”


“What now?” The sheriff turned and addressed the third cell, across the aisle, where a man was gripping the bars anxiously. He looked like a respectable businessman. That man inclined his head for the sheriff to come over.


“Sheriff, my name’s Harold Bodmer. I admit I knew about the civil ordinance but I’m a gambler. So I’m prepared to take a risk or two for a good game. Y’know what I mean?” He beckoned the sheriff closer and dropped his voice. “The dark haired fella? The one that took Doc Walker away?”


“What about him?” the sheriff growled, thumbs tucked into this belt.


“I’ve played with him several times. His name is Carlton Balfour. He’s one of THE best card players west of the Mississippi.”


“I’ve heard of Carlton Balfour.”


“Yes most people have. He’s THAT good.”


“Sheriff you’ve gotta listen. Those two ARE Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry,” Bryant tried again. “Look at their wanted posters if ya don’t believe me.”


“That’s right, sheriff. Wanted posters that’ll clinch it,” O’Neill said, coming to the bars again. He knew all too well how vague wanted posters could be but if there was any reward going, he wanted in.


“I’m sorry gentlemen. His name is Carlton Balfour. I’ve seen his friend too. He nearly always accompanies him but I don’t know his name.”


A cacophony ensued with names shouted from all cells. Elmo looked on in alarm.


“QUIET!” the sheriff yelled, struggling to make himself heard over the noise. “ENOUGH! Y’all quieten down now. I don’t want to hear a peep outta any of you.”


He went to his desk and hauled out a big pile of wanted posters. “I’m gonna look through these and if I was a gambling man … . Which I ain’t,” he glared at Harold. “I’m gonna find posters on some of you fellas as well as Heyes and Curry.” Given the prisoners a last glance he sat down at his desk.


Elmo came to stand by his side. “Sheriff.”


“What do you want?”


“Surposin’ those two fellas really are Heyes and Curry, what d’you think they’re doing with Doc Walker?”


The sheriff looked up at Elmo. “They said they’d be back here by midnight. Once they’ve got the Doc sorted. It’s only just gone eleven. Until then they are Bannerman agents called Rembacker and Hodgekiss. Got it?”


“Yes sheriff,” Elmo said, contritely.


“I’ve got moren’n ‘nough to worry about with this lot to think about Heyes and Curry,” the sheriff muttered as he started to flick through the posters.

ASJASJASJASJ


After seeing Chad home and discussing plans, the pair were back in the main street. They were late. The Kid caught up to Heyes as he stepped onto the porch outside the sheriff’s office and caught his arm.


“I still say we should just ride outta here while we’ve got the chance,” he hissed, keeping his voice down in case anyone inside could hear.


“If we do that, then the sheriff will really wonder about us. And he’ll be right! He’s had a real good look at us these past three days. Our posters will get so realistic they might as well have photographs on ‘em!” Seeing the Kid was calming, he took a deep breath. “Look I don’t like it any more than you do but we HAVE to go back in there. It all helps, Kid, with the plausibility.”


With a gulp, he turned back and walked to the door of the jail. The Kid followed more slowly.


Heyes stopped just inside the door and stripped off his gloves. He gave a tight-lipped smile and a nod. “Evening,” he sang, cheerfully but he eyed the occupants warily. “Sorry we’re late. Took longer to get the Doc sorted.”


The sheriff had risen to feet. On the desk in front of him was a pile of wanted posters. Heyes frowned slightly as he took in that there were only three prisoners, one in each cell. All now rose to their feet but where had the other three gone? Heyes pushed through the little gate as the Kid came in after him.


“Everything alright Sheriff?” Heyes asked, cautiously. While Heyes tucked his thumbs into his belt, keeping a relaxed and casual posture, beside him he could sense that the Kid’s right hand hovering near his holster. He wasn’t feeling so relaxed and casual.


“Yeah sure.”


Heyes waved a finger at the cells.


“Thought we had SIX prisoners, Sheriff. Where are the other three?”


“We did.” The sheriff scratched his head. “I’ve been looking through wanted posters while we were waiting for you. Found out some interesting things.”


“Is that a fact, Sheriff?” Heyes’ grin was wide.


“Yeah, what exactly is it that ya found, Sheriff?” the Kid said, more warily.


“Well, it seems,” the sheriff began and picked up some of the posters.


Both partner’s eyes flicked to them. From their viewpoint, the top one could be one of theirs. “Seems we’ve caught ourselves a couple of high-profile outlaws.”


“You don’t say.” Heyes was still smiling but looking less confident. The Kid’s right hand was slightly nearer his gun than before.


“I do say.” The sheriff walked round the desk, with the posters. He approached the two adjoining cells. “It seems we have here Seamus O’Neill, wanted for numerous bank robberies in Wyoming. The reward on him is five thousand dollars.”


Heyes whistled.


“Exactly.” The sheriff agreed with the sentiment. “And over here.” He moved to the next cell. “Is one Poker Phil Bryant. Wanted for murder down in Texas, worth another ten thousand dollars.”


“That’s … quite a haul you’ve got there Sheriff.”


“And that might not be all. Seems Bryant AND O’Neill claim that you two are Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.” He grinned, studying their reactions closely and then sobered. “How ridiculous is that?”


Heyes laughed, glancing at the Kid, who had moved back a few feet towards the door.

“Sheriff, that’s just plain ridiculous. In fact, I would say that there isn’t the remotest chance of Hannibal Heyes and whatisname being involved in something like this. Being the despicable outlaws that THEY are.”


“Yeah, I’d say it was extremely unlikely,” said the Kid, giving Heyes the look. “Kid Curry and that other fella aren’t known for their co-operating. Never heard them siding with the law neither. Y’know like we are.” He flicked a hand between himself and Heyes, just so he was getting the message across.


“Sheriff if you arrest Heyes and Curry that’ll make FOUR big arrests all in one night!” Elmo said, excitedly. He was bouncing up and down.


Heyes smiled at Elmo but this time the smile didn’t reach his eyes. Now Elmo decides to get enthusiastic, right when Heyes didn’t need him putting ideas into the sheriff’s head.


“Sheriff, I didn’t know you were setting targets tonight,” Heyes said, slowly. His voice had dropped an octave and he was pulling his gloves back on. “We’re known by lots of names. Now it's just possible that Alphonse and me have had reason to masquerade as those two ornery outlaws a time or two in the past. We're always working in dangerous situations.” Heyes gave a tight-lipped smile. “It’s part of being undercover agents of the George Bannerman Detective Agency.” He made sure he said it slowly so there was no mistake.


The sheriff scratched his head. He knew a little about the practises of Bannerman’s Agency so he wasn’t surprised that their operatives used aliases while working undercover. What he was surprised at was the two men HE’D arrested were insisting that the two Bannerman agents were Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. A glance at the wanted posters of those two notorious outlaws and he could see that they did fit the descriptions. Yet so did many men. Hell, HE could fit the descriptions of both of them if you squinted a little.


“Sheriff.” Heyes cut into his thoughts. “Think about it. What sense would it make? Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry helping you to break up illegal gambling?” He chuckled. “What business would it be of theirs?”


“Well that’s true,” the sheriff, mused, rubbing his chin. “I guess that doesn’t make sense on the face of it.”


Even though he couldn’t see him, Heyes could tell the Kid was still anxious behind him.


“But Sheriff, you haven’t told us, where are the other three?” he frowned, hands now on hips.


“Couldn’t find anything on them so I collected a fine and let ‘em go.”


Heyes pursed his lips. That was not what he wanted to hear. This blew away all the plans he had made earlier. Chad and May had woken their children. Packing the buggy and were on their way to Durango overland, rather than by train.


“Where did the three fella go?” he asked, seriously.


“Elmo escorted them over to the hotel. Woke the night porter up to check ‘em in.”


“They stay there?” Heyes snapped at Elmo.


Elmo nodded. “Yeah I reckon.” Hr shrugged. “All three of ‘em went upstairs anyways.”


Heyes looked back at the Kid, who nodded. “I’ll go check. Ya be alright?” He looked at Heyes hard. “’Till I get back?”


Heyes knew he meant in case the sheriff decided to arrest him. With the Kid outside, at least there would be the possibility of a jailbreak if the worse came to the worse. Heyes nodded. With an answering nod, the Kid turned and left.


Heyes turned back. “But why keep … ?” He waved his hand at the third man in the cell across the aisle.


“Oh I couldn’t find anything on him either but he tells a different story. HE says he knows you as Carlton Balfour. I thought, as Bannerman agents, you might want me to hold him for ya. See what he knows. As you’re acquainted.”
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