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 April 2020 - Lock Down

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Penski
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Penski

Posts : 1508
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 59
Location : Northern California

April 2020 - Lock Down Empty
PostSubject: April 2020 - Lock Down   April 2020 - Lock Down Icon_minitimeWed Apr 01, 2020 11:19 am

Our challenge mistress, Ms Calico, is in lock down and temporarily locked out of the site, so she asked me to post the new challenge...


LOCK DOWN
jail



We can all relate a tad to Heyes and Curry being locked down, however, we have the comforts of home instead of a jail cell.

Stay safe, everyone.  Y'all should have time on your hands to writing




Ms. Calico will be posting the March poll in a day or two when she's back on the site.

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

Maz

Posts : 441
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 58
Location : London, England

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PostSubject: Re: April 2020 - Lock Down   April 2020 - Lock Down Icon_minitimeWed Apr 01, 2020 2:06 pm

Thanks Penski for doing this. I also tried to get into the site to do this for our cat mistress but forgot my password 🙄

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

Calico

Posts : 705
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 55
Location : Birmingham

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PostSubject: Re: April 2020 - Lock Down   April 2020 - Lock Down Icon_minitimeThu Apr 02, 2020 11:44 pm

Yeeahhhhhhhh thank you!!! I refound the working cat flap!!! I'm back!!!
[I'd been issued a shiny new laptop - and was completely thrown by not just slipping straight onto site as normal!!!]

Will poll later - WFHing for a while first egcat

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Kid4ever

Kid4ever

Posts : 209
Join date : 2012-04-22
Location : BURBANK, CA USA

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PostSubject: Re: April 2020 - Lock Down   April 2020 - Lock Down Icon_minitimeMon Apr 27, 2020 9:55 pm

APRIL CHALLENGE:  LOCK DOWN

Like pretty much the rest of the world, I'm practicing safe distancing. I have a LOT of solitary time on my hands, and with our temperatures in the upper 90's these past few days, I was hot and bothered, and at my wit's end, with not even a glimmer of hope for coming up with a challenge story this month. I thought all was lost.

Inspiration comes in many forms and in unexpected ways. I happened upon the movie The Shakiest Gun In The West, starring Don Knotts. As I watched the movie, a very tiny bunny hopped and this is where it led me.

I would also like to give a shout out to Penski for suggesting a Barney Fife type of deputy for a story in the first place. Thank you - the combination worked ;-)


*~*~*~*~*

“THE SHAKIEST GUN IN THIS MONTH'S CHALLENGE”

Somewhere in the hottest part of Arizona, smack dab in the middle of summer...

In the otherwise darkness of the midnight hour, a beam of moonlight streaked through the barred window of the small jail cell. It illuminated the solitary figure of the incarcerated man who lay prone on a cot. The prisoner was restless, tossing and turning, unable to find a spot that might ease his discomfort. His blond waves were damp, matted to his head; his dirt-caked shirt streaked with sweat. The man flipped over to his side so that he was staring at the stone wall, his back to the lawman seated at a desk near the door.

Heaving an exasperated sigh, the figure flopped over onto his back and wiped the droplets of sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand, then sat up. “Hey, Deputy Pfeiffer - think I could get a cup of water? I'm dyin' of thirst in this heat!”

The lawman put down the sheath of papers he had been using to fan himself and slowly rose to his feet. “I s'pose you're entitled to a drink,” he grumbled. “Just hold your horses; I'm not about to get all hot and bothered over getting an outlaw some water.” He removed the weapon from his holster and laid it on the desk. Next, he took the keyring attached to his belt and set it on the desk beside the gun. Walking over to a pitcher sitting on a table, he grabbed a cup and poured the liquid into it. Setting the pitcher down, he sauntered cockily towards the cell. “You know the drill, Curry; stay seated on the cot until I move away from the door or you're going to stay thirsty 'til morning.”

Kid nodded and remained where he was. He watched as the deputy set the cup down and pushed it inside the cell, then stepped back.

“Okay, you can get up now.”

With an eyeroll, Kid kept his thoughts to himself as he made his way across the cell and picked up the cup. Putting it to his mouth, he drank greedily until it was empty.

Deputy Pfeiffer eyed him thoughtfully. “You sure look downright miserable. Guess an outlaw like you ain't used to hot weather, are you?” He patted his chest. “Look at me. I don't have a drop of sweat on my body anywhere. You wanna know why?” Not waiting for Curry's answer, he prattled on. “Because I train for a job like this. My body is used to high temperatures. All you outlaws do is sit on a horse all day or lollygag around in the saloon drinking beer. Well let me tell you something, young fella – ”

“Deputy, if you don't mind, I might be a prisoner, but that don't mean I havta listen to you, 'specially in this heat!” He bent down and set the cup back where he had found it.

“You've got some nerve, mister – talk about an ingrate! Guess some outlaws ain't got any manners neither!” The lawman looked affronted as he scowled at the Kid. “Go on,” he gestured with his hands, waving Curry away, “get on back to your cot - you know the rules!” The deputy puffed out his chest and drew himself up to his full height of 5'4''.

Curry turned away, muttering under his breath, “Yeah, yeah – I know the rules. Kinda hard not to!”
He stared out the window at the bright light of the full moon overhead and his shoulders sagged in defeat. “Where in the heck are you, Heyes?!” he whispered. With sleep eluding him, and nothing else to do, he dropped down onto his cot, leaned back against the bars and stared at the walls that surrounded him. His blue eyes were filled with concern, his forehead etched in furrowed lines of worry as he pondered the fate of his missing partner.

Their day had started out like any other day: getting recognized before they had even had time for breakfast, chased out of town by a posse hot on their heels and the taste of victory in their mouths.

“Maybe luck'll be on our side this time.”

That's what Heyes had said, right before he decided they'd better split up in an effort to lose the posse that had been relentless, dogging their heels. As usual, Heyes put his silver tongue to work against all the protests Curry had brought up against the idea. Finally, in spite of his better judgment, knowing it was their only alternative, Kid had reluctantly conceded. “An' it was jus' our bad luck they decided to split up an' come after us both!” Kid muttered. The partners had hoped for the exact opposite to happen. “So much for hope,” he grumbled. “That died a quick death!”

The last he saw of Heyes, the man had been leading half of the posse a merry chase. Shorty after that it had been Kid's even worse luck that his mount had stepped in a rabbit hole and gone down hard, throwing Curry against a rock and knocking him out cold. He had awakened a short time later to find himself thrown across the back of a horse, trussed up like a sack of taters, his head throbbing, and a body that felt like it'd been kicked by a bucking bronco.

Once they made it back to Dusty Gulch, he was tossed into a cell, his head wound examined by the doctor, his minor injuries tended to and pronounced sound enough to stand trial. Now he was stuck here waiting for the judge to arrive so his fate could be decided. Things were pretty quiet except for that pesky, pompous Deputy Pfeiffer. That had been two days ago.

“Two long days ago, Heyes,” Kid whispered. “Guess I should be glad you're not in the cell next to me - but I sure hope nothin' bad happened to you.”

*~*~*~*~*

From his hiding place in the small cave, Heyes breathed a sigh of relief when the posse finally turned away in defeat. Leaning against his mount and scratching the horse between his ears, he grinned. “Well, thanks to you, we did it, fella. All we have to do now is wait until dusk, then you and I can get started on finding out what happened to the Kid.” The animal nickered and shook his mane as if in agreement.

*~*~*~*~*

Hours later, Heyes was finding it easier said than done to ferret out his partner's whereabouts. He had already scouted out the next town where they'd agreed to meet up, and discovered that Curry wasn't anywhere in the vicinity. He stood on the boardwalk and glanced around, his brow furrowed in thought. “If he's not here, then either the posse caught up with him and took him back to Dusty Gulch, or something went wrong and he's out there hurt somewhere.” Mounting his horse, he decided the best course of action would be to go back to where they had split up and follow Kid's trail from there.

*~*~*~*~*

“This can't be good – not good at all!” Heyes muttered as he stared down at the body of Kid's horse. The animal had a broken leg and a bullet hole in his head. The saddle, blanket, saddlebags, and tack had all been removed. “Kid wouldn't have taken everything; not in this heat.” Spotting something on a nearby rock, he knelt down and touched it. When he pulled his finger back, he realized it was sticky with blood. “What happened here, Kid?” he wondered aloud. “Is this your blood or someone else's?” He got to his feet, raised his head and stared off into the distance. The tracks led back into town. “Well, boy, guess we're going back to Dusty Gulch. Hope you're ready; we're about to go on a rescue mission.”

*~*~*~*~*

Before entering the town, Heyes stopped by a stream and washed off the trail dust that had accumulated during his attempt to elude the posse. Donning his good suit and hat, he remounted and made his way into Dusty Gulch clothed in his new garb. Nobody paid him the slightest heed, for which he was grateful. He gave the sheriff's office a cursory glance as he rode by, but nothing more, already familiar with both the lawmen and their jail. His first stop was the livery where he traded in his horse and purchased two study mounts, complete with saddles and tack.

“I'd like to come back in about a couple hours and pick them up. I'm meeting a friend and I'm sure he'd like to get out of here tonight.” Heyes pressed a coin into the liveryman's hand and winked at him. “He's newly married and in a hurry to get home to his new wife.”

The liveryman winked back and grinned. “Can't say as I blame the lad, mister. I'll be sure to have 'em ready for you, you can be sure of it!”

Heyes tipped his hat. “Much obliged.” He picked up a newspaper laying on a bale of hay. “Mind if I take this with me?”

“Go right ahead, mister; I'm finished with it. There's a real good story about the sheriff and the posse catching Kid Curry in it, right on the front page. Pretty exciting stuff for a small town like Dusty Gulch.”

Heyes nodded and tucked it under his arm. “I'll be sure to read that first.” Well, that definitely confirmed his suspicion of where the Kid was.

Next he made his way to the saloon and ordered a beer. Ignoring his usual choice of a seat in the rear with his back against the wall, he tossed his hat onto a table that sat smack dab in the middle of the room and unobtrusively watched the people that surrounded him. While he slowly sipped his drink he read the paper, listening with one ear to the conversations and picked up tidbits of information that floated around him. The capture of a big-time outlaw like Kid Curry was big news and everybody seemed to have an something to say about it.  A plan was beginning to formulate in Heyes' mind. A plan that made his eyes gleam with that special look and his dimple to appear in full view within the hour.

He pushed his way through the batwings. Standing on the boardwalk, he stared at the jail across the street, his hands akimbo on his hips. He watched through narrowed eyes as the deputy walked out the door, stretched and strutted down the boardwalk, his chest thrust out as if he owned the town. The sheriff coming down his side of the street caused Heyes to pull his hat down and stuff his hands into his pocket. Leisurely crossing the street as if he didn't have a care in the world, or a destination in mind, he meandered his way around the buildings without attracting any undue attention. Satisfied, he went back inside the saloon where he joined in a poker game until it was time to put his plan into action.

*~*~*~*~*

Two hours later, after glancing at his pocket watch in-between hands, Heyes picked up his chips. Nodding at the other players, he grinned. “I'll return later to give you a chance to win some of your money back, fellas; I have to go help a friend.” After visiting the livery and picking up the two horses, Heyes walked them behind the sheriff's office and tied them up.

Making his way silently to the one window on the side of the jail, Heyes pushed a nearby rock under it and stood on his tiptoes. He couldn't see in the cell below, but the rest of the place looked empty. “Thaddeus?” he hissed. There was no reply. “Hey, Thaddeus!” he said louder. There was a creaking sound, then he heard his partner's voice.

“Joshua?”

“Yeah.”

“You okay?”

“Yeah, how 'bout you?”

“I've been better, but I can ride.”

“Guess that means you're ready to get outta here.”

“Sure am!”

“Hang in there, Kid. I'll be back in a little bit. You'll know when it's time.”

“I'll be ready,” Curry answered. “Sure glad to hear your voice, partner.”

“Same here.” With that, Heyes disappeared into the night.

*~*~*~*~*

The sheriff had gone home and Deputy Pfeiffer was just finishing up his rounds when he spied a shadowy figure lurking near the side door of the jail. The person was hunched over the lock on the side door and looked like he had something in his hands. Eyes wide, the lawman withdrew his gun from his holster. Crouching down low so that he was almost folded in half, he crept silently towards the building. His head jerked in all directions as he searched for other possible dangers that might be lurking in the darkness. He hugged the sides of the buildings tight, staying in the shadows as much as possible, doing his best to keep out of sight. When he was as close as he dared get, he raised his weapon and drew a bead on the man.

“Hold it right there, mister!” Despite the deputy's efforts, his voice quivered.

The man froze.

“Put the lock down!” the lawman warned, his voice rising an octave with each word, both hands gripping the gun tight.

The dark figure didn't move.

“You heard me – put the lock down!” the deputy repeated shrilly. He waved the gun around to emphasize his words.

“Please don't wave your gun,” the man answered quietly. “It makes me very nervous. I'd really like to do as you say, deputy, but I can't.”

“Why not?” Between the excitement and his fear, the lawman's voice and hands were shaking even more.

“Well, I kinda like my head right where it's at –  on my shoulders –  and if I put this lock down, neither of us is gonna have anything left for folks to identify us by. We'll be blown to bits.”

“B-blown to b-bits?!” the lawman stuttered and took two steps backwards.

“Yes. I just poured nitro glycerin into the lock. If I put it down it could explode. And if it explodes – ”

“I kn-know wh-what happens!” Deputy Pfeiffer interrupted. “Wh-what are y-you gonna d-do about it?!”

“Well, if I were you, I'd get as far away as possible. What would the sheriff do in a situation like this?”

“The sh-sheriff? Well, he w-would...” the lawman's voice trailed off.

“Why don't you go get the sheriff? I'll wait here nice and quiet until you get back.”

“You m-must th-think I'm three kinds of st-stupid to fall for s-something like th-that, don'tcha?”

“No, I'm thinking that you don't get paid enough to die tonight,” Heyes answered, turning his head just enough to look the man in the eyes. “What's wrong with getting the sheriff to do the job he's paid to do? And, if I happen to disappear before you get back, it's not your fault is it? You'll still be alive to tell your story. All you have to do is tell him there's trouble at the jail.” He could see the indecision in the other man's expression. “Go on – you'd better get going! I'm not sure how much longer I can hold onto this lock before it might fall or I drop it 'cos my hands have gone numb.”

Those words motivated Deputy Pfeiffer more than anything else had. Without another word, he turned and ran away as if the devil himself was breathing down his neck.

With a grin, Heyes went back to picking the lock and within seconds he had it open. He dropped the lock down on the ground and was inside the jail in a flash. Smiling at his partner, he quickly found the spare keys hanging on a hook near the desk. Spying the saddlebags in the corner, he scooped them up as well and had Kid's cell door open in the blink of an eye.

“Did you really have nitro?” Kid quirked his brow.

“Nah, I just needed him to think I did,” Heyes shrugged. "I had to improvise on the spur of the moment."

“You had me convinced,” Curry chuckled. “I thought maybe you got hit on the head, too.” He winced as he put his hat on his head.

“Too?” Heyes gave his partner a more scrutinizing look. “You okay to ride?”

Curry waved him off. “Yep –  I'll fill you in later –  let's get outta here 'fore those lawmen get back!”

“I couldn't agree with you more, partner. C'mon, the horses are waiting out back.”

The two friends dashed out the side door. By the time the sheriff and his deputy arrived on the scene, there wasn't a thing they could do. Kid Curry and the $10,000 reward had slipped through their fingers, thanks to the well-thought out plan of an unknown stranger.

_________________
writing "My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel -- it is, before all, to make you see..." ~~ Joseph Conrad ~~ study
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Penski
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Penski

Posts : 1508
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 59
Location : Northern California

April 2020 - Lock Down Empty
PostSubject: Re: April 2020 - Lock Down   April 2020 - Lock Down Icon_minitimeTue Apr 28, 2020 9:59 am

April 2020 – Lock Down


Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry mounted their horses in the wooded area.

Heyes leaned on his saddle horn. “Now stay here while me and the Kid do some checking in town. Plan is to hit the bank this evening.”

“And stay outta trouble or you’ll have to deal with me!” Curry added.

Wheat hitched up his pants. “Don’t you worry none. I’ll keep an eye on the boys and make sure we’re ready for when you come back.”

“Appreciate it, Wheat.” Curry tipped his hat.

“Ready, Kid?”

“Whenever you are, Heyes.”

The two outlaws meandered out of the trees and onto the path leading down and into the mining town of Atlantic City.

“Atlantic City. That’s a funny name to give a town up here in the Rockies far from the ocean,” the Kid commented.

“Someone from Atlantic City, New Jersey must’ve come out west to try their hand in gold mining.”

“Probably.”

“Did you know the New Jersey Atlantic City has one of the biggest hotels? It’s four-stories and can have 2,000 guests!”

“2,000?! Well, that hotel’d house everyone in this Atlantic City, accordin’ to the sign we just passed. It sure has grown since the last time we were here.” Curry inconspicuously checked out the town, along with his partner.

“Says the sheriff is Richard Stewart. I’ve never heard of a Sheriff Stewart before.”

“Me neither.” Curry grinned.

At that moment, the sheriff exited his office and leaned on a post, watching the new strangers ride through town.

The Kid smiled and nodded towards the sheriff. “Now I’m nervous,” he hissed.

“Just keep riding. Don’t need him to know you’re nervous.” Heyes motioned with his head up the street. “How about stopping at the Lucky Strike Saloon?”

“Yeah, I sure can use a drink now.”

Heyes and Curry rode up to one of a few saloons, dismounted, and tied their horses to the hitching post.

“He still watchin’?” the Kid asked with his back towards the sheriff.

“Yeah, he is.”

“Think he’ll be a problem?”

Heyes shook his head. “Nah. He’s just checking us out.”

The outlaws went under the hitching rail and up onto the boardwalk.

“Speaking of checking out…” Heyes pulled a gold Eagle from his pocket. “Think I’ll go to the bank and cash this for some change. You go ahead and get a drink. I’ll be there soon.”

Curry walked into the darkened saloon and waited a moment to adjust from the brightness outside, scanned the room, and went over to the bar. “Whiskey and two glasses,” he told the bartender.

Ten minutes later, Heyes walked into the saloon, sidled up next to his partner, and swallowed his drink.

“Well?” the Kid asked.

“It’ll be like taking candy from a baby.” Heyes grinned.

“Now the town?”

“Yeah. Let’s walk the horses towards the livery and see the rest of the town.”

The two men left the Lucky Strike, untied their horses, and slowly walked through town. Miners from the nearby mines were the most prevalent in town with businesses to support them. There were bath houses, a barber shop, a large general story with a dance hall on its second story, a brewery, an opera house, a drug store, an assay office, a Western Union office, a bank, several hotels and boarding houses, and a few saloons.

“Getting civilized here.” Heyes pointed out the church on a side street towards the middle of town with a school nearby.

“Noticed a few genteel womenfolk on the boardwalk. Hopin’ that Minnie and Fannie are still at Bertha’s Bordello.”

Heyes grinned. “Wouldn’t hurt to check in on two of our favorite gals.”

The two men took a side street down to a colorfully painted house and tied their horses to a rail. They went up to the front door, knocked, and removed their hats.

The door was opened by a large bosomed middle-age woman in a green silk gown. “Boys come on in! My, it’s been ages since we’ve seen you around here.”

“Ma’am,” the KId grinned and looked towards his partner, who nodded. “Just wonderin’ if Minnie and Fannie were still here.”

“Oh, I do remember how you fancied them. They were getting ready to take a bath to prepare for this evening, but I’m sure they’d love to see you two.” Bertha rang two different bells and soon two ladies with silk robes came out of their rooms.

“You rang… Oh, look who’s here, Fannie!” Minnie rushed down the stairs and rubbed against the Kid. “I sure hope you have some time to come on up.”

Curry nodded and followed her upstairs.

Fannie stood at the top of the stairs and seductively beckoned Heyes upstairs. He quickly complied.

“I’ll tell Danny to wait on your baths, ladies,” Bertha called out.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

An hour later, two satiated outlaws walked out of Bertha’s.

“Now that was an hour well spent,” Kid sighed.

“Have to agree with you.” Heyes untied his horse’s reins. “How about another drink before finishing our walk about town?”

“Another great idea, Heyes.”

They walked to the saloon closest to the livery and tied their horses to a rail. They went inside the Buckhorn Saloon and ordered a drink. As they clinked their glasses in a silent toast, a figure slipped out of the saloon.

Ten minutes later, the sheriff and two deputies ran into the saloon with their guns drawn. As their eyes adjusted to the darkened interior, two figures ran out the back door of the saloon.

“Where’d they go?” demanded Sheriff Stewart.

“Where’d who go, Sheriff?” The bartender wiped two glasses clean from the counter.

“Two men – Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry! I was just told they were in here.”

“Heyes and Curry were in here?” the bartender asked as he glanced around the room. “There were two fellas right here… maybe they went out the back door.”

The sheriff huffed and ran through the saloon to the back, looking around the street. “They couldn’t have gotten far. Sound the bell!”

Soon a bell tolled in the middle of town and folks came out of the saloons and businesses to see what the emergency was.

“What’s going on?”
“What happened?”
“Why’s the bell ringing?”

“Men, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry are in our town. They’re wanted dead or alive and worth $7,500 each! Want the miners to surround the town so they can’t escape. Merchants need to check your buildings for these varmints. If you see them, shoot once in the air. Remember Curry is especially dangerous! Now go!”

The miners and merchants immediately began to lock down the town by surrounding it and checking buildings.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The two outlaws first entered a stone building that housed the brewery. There were large barrels on their side on several racks. A pile of hops and wheat were nearby a large vat over a fire pit. They ducked down in a corner behind a rack of barrels.

“What’s that bell?” Curry hissed.

“I dunno, but it can’t be good.” Heyes lowered his hat over his eyes. “Let’s go.”

They went to the door and the Kid peeked out. “Dang! Men are runnin’ all over the place!”

“Let’s head to the nearest door then. Can’t stay here – we’re sitting ducks.”

With his gun leading, Curry made his way to the next door, opened it, and motioned for Heyes to join him. They entered a large dark building with bright lights behind a curtain.

A female, dressed as a medieval knight’s page, ran over to them. “Have you seen my sword? I need it for the next scene!”

Heyes and the Kid looked around the area.

“Here it is, ma’am.” Curry handed it to her.

“Thanks!” She grabbed the sword and hurried to the side curtain waiting for her cue.

“Must be in the opera house with a play going on,” Heyes whispered.

“You think? Now where?”

“I don’t know! Let’s go out that door.”

Again, with gun in the lead, the Kid glanced out and motioned with his gun for Heyes to follow. They moved along a wall and Curry peered around the corner and quickly flattened. He shook his head and they headed a different way.

Without paying attention, they ran into the school where a lesson was being taught. The teacher stopped, mouth open, at the two-armed men and all the children turned to look.

Heyes quickly looked at the problem on the board. “288.”

“Excuse me?” asked the teacher.

“12 x 24 = 288,” Heyes said.

Curry removed his hat and pushed his partner out the door. “Sorry, ma’am.” He glanced around and motioned towards the church.

Heyes and the Kid entered the church and sat in the back pew and sighed.

“You answered the question.” Curry shook his head.

“Sorry, I can’t resist a good math problem.”

“You never could.” The Kid removed his hat and ran his fingers through his curls. “It’s gettin’ later. Dusk should help us.”

A minister walked out from behind the altar. “Oh, the Lord has guests.” He walked to the back of the church. “May I help you?”

Curry fingered the brim of his hat. “Just lookin’ for some divine intervention, Reverend.”

“Divine intervention? Do you mean divine inspiration?”

Heyes stood up. “Yeah, that’s what he meant.” He pulled an eagle coin out of his pocket and handed it to the man. “Wouldn’t mind a few prayers on our behalf.”

The pastor pocketed the money. “Of course, son. May the Lord be with you both!”

Heyes and the Kid slipped out of the church and hurried up some outside stairs to a door with music coming from the other side. They shrugged their shoulders, opened the door and found themselves at a dance with a live band at one corner. The sheriff was glancing at the people dancing around the room.

Heyes tipped his head to the right where sitting down at a row of chairs were two gangly older women.

“May we have this dance?” they both politely asked the women.

The ladies blushed at being asked by two handsome men and enthusiastically nodded their heads.

Heyes and the Kid whirled and twirled the ladies past the sheriff and to the door on the other side of the room. They did a half bow and rushed out the door with the women fanning themselves.

“Think Fannie and Minnie will hide us? We’re not too far.”

“Can’t hurt to try.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Kyle Murtry stood behind a tree staring at the town below him.

“What you got there?” Wheat asked.

Kyle jumped.

“Are those Heyes’ binoculars? Does he know you got them?”

“Well, of course Heyes knows. You don’t think I’d have stolen them from his saddle bag now, do you? Kyle put the binoculars back up to his eyes.

“Whatcha lookin’ at?” Wheat looked down at Atlantic City.

“Oh, there’s a whole bunch goin’ on down there! Remember hearin’ the dinner bell?”

Wheat nodded. “Dumb time to ring, if you ask me.”

“Well, all the townsfolk got together in the middle of town and then they started runnin’ around like a chicken with its head cut off. There’s even folks all around the town.”

“What?!?” Wheat grabbed the glasses from Kyle.

“OW! That hurt, Wheat.”

Wheat stared at the town, taking in all the details. “What in tarnation!? It looks like Heyes and the Kid have been had. The town’s searchin’ for them.”

“We gotta do somethin’!”

Wheat handed the glasses back and turned to the gang. “Keep an eye down there, Kyle. Men, I need you to get on your horses and go to South Pass City. Wait for us there.”

“Heyes said…” Hank began.

“Heyes an’ the Kid are in trouble so we need to rescue them. It’ll be better if there’s just a few of us and not everyone.”

“If you say so,” Lobo said as he walked toward his horse.

“Better be good, boys, you hear?”

“Loud and clear!” Preacher said.

“Kyle, get a few sticks of the good stuff!”

“HooWee!” Kyle handed the glasses back and ran to his horse.

Wheat looked through the binoculars. “Looks like their horses are by the livery. What? Is that them sneakin’ into Bertha’s place?”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The outlaws cautiously made their way back to Bertha’s and slid in an upper window. Two baths were ready and, hearing someone coming, they made their way behind the door.

Fannie and Minnie entered the room with their hair up and wearing just the silk robes. They startled when they saw the room already occupied.

“You boys are back for more?” Fannie asked.

“Oh, my but you’re insatiable!” Minnie fanned herself.

“We’re, um, hopin’ you two can help us,” Curry whispered.

“Oh, are you hiding?” Minnie asked.

Heyes nodded. “We sure could use your help. We’ll make it worth your while.”

Fannie and Minnie smiled at each other and nodded.

“Now take those guns and clothes off. Put them in here.” Fannie opened an armoire.

Minnie peaked out the lace curtains. “Better hurry, boys. The deputies are on their way here.”

Quickly Heyes and Curry removed their boots, socks, guns, pants, hats, and shirts, just leaving on their long johns.

“Get into the baths. Hope you can hold your breath.”

They nodded and both got into bathtubs fill of bubbles.

Someone wrapped on the door. “Open up!”

The Kid and Heyes took a deep breath and disappeared under the bubbles.

Minnie opened the door letting her robe reveal a tad more than was appropriate. “Well, Deputy Taylor, what are you doing here already? I usually don’t see you ‘til after your shift.”

Taylor blushed. “Lookin’ for two outlaws, ma’am. Have you seen them?

“Outlaws? Here? Heavens, no! We’re just about to take a bath. Wanna join us?” Fannie asked as she gently stepped into the tub, allowing her robe to fall off her shoulders.

“Ah, no ma’am. We better go.” Taylor quickly shut the door.

“See you later, Joe!” Minnie called out.

The girls tapped the men’s heads and Heyes and the Kid came up for air. They put a finger to their lips, making sure they stayed quiet.

“I do love a bubble bath,” Fannie said, a tad louder than normal.

Once the sound of footsteps rushing downstairs could be heard, Heyes and the Kid sighed.

“So, do you want join us?” Minnie asked.

Curry sighed. “As temptin’ as that sounds...”

“I dunno. I think we’re safer here than anywhere else until dusk.” Heyes smiled at Fannie and motioned her closer.

Two robes fell to the ground.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Wheat and Kyle cautiously made their way to the opposite end of town from the Atlantic City’s livery, while still in the tree line.

“What do I get to blow up, Wheat?” Kyle beamed.

Wheat looked around with his binoculars. He pointed. “That there shack looks vacant and just close enough without doin’ no harm to the town.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A damp, but dressed, Heyes and Curry kissed their gals good-bye and handed them each two eagles.

“You come back now.” Fannie blew in Heyes’ ear.

He grinned.

“You, too, sugar.” Minnie gave Curry a squeeze.

He blushed.

The two bandits snuck out of the window while the sun was setting. They made their way towards the livery to be near their horses. As they neared the back of the stable…

KABOOM! KABOOM! KABOOM!

Loud explosions and a fire ball could be seen on the other end of town! The town shook and glass windows broke. Men left their posts and ran towards the commotion.

“Something happened to the mining supply shack!”
“All the dynamite's exploding!”

Heyes and the Kid dove into a pile of straw just in time to avoid being seen by two miners running past the livery. They waited a few minutes to make sure no one was in the area. Soon all sounds were coming from the other side of town.

“Ugh, Heyes, manure!”

“And to think we just took baths.” Heyes stood up and brushed as much of the offending material off himself and Curry did the same.

‘Don’t know what exactly happened, but let’s get outta town!” Heyes finished slapping his hat a few times on his leg.

Curry, with a disgusted look on his face, wiped brown stuff off his gun onto his pants. “Horses are this way.”

The two outlaws quickly and cautiously made their way back towards the Buckhorn Saloon. They grinned at each other when they made it to their horses, untied them, mounted, and spurred them out of town at a gallop.

The two bandits didn’t stop until they were well into the tree line and miles from Atlantic City.

“Don’t worry about the sheriff. He’s just checking us out,” Curry spat. “Next time I say I’m nervous about the sheriff, Heyes…”

“We’ll just keep riding through town.”

“Do you hear that?” Horses comin’ this way!”

Heyes glanced around. “Behind those rocks!”

“Gosh, Wheat, I thought they headed this way.”

“They did. Must’ve been hell-bent to get outta the area.”

Curry and Heyes smiled at each other and rode around the rocks.

“Howdy, Wheat. Kyle,” Heyes said.

“There’s you two!” Kyle smiled. “Did you see what I done?”

“YOU did all of that?” the Kid asked.

Wheat shrugged. “Didn’t realize it was the mining supply shack full of dynamite when we threw a few sticks of dynamite over by it.”

“A few sticks of the good stuff! Have you ever seen such a beautiful explosion?!” an elated Kyle exclaimed.

Sniff… sniff…

“What’s that smell?” Wheat wrinkled up his nose.

“It’s been a bad day! Let’s get outta here.” Heyes turned and nudged his horse forward.

“Maybe you two should ride in the back this time,” Wheat suggested. “No offense, Kid!”

“No offense taken, Wheat.”





NOTE – The mining camp of Atlantic City, Wyoming boomed to a population of some 2,000 people and boasted a church, a general store with a dance hall on its second story, a brewery, an opera house, a school, a drug store, and several saloons. Atlantic City’s first boom lasted about a decade before the gold ore began to play out.
https://www.legendsofamerica.com/wy-atlanticcity/










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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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