Alias Smith and Jones Writers
A forum devoted to writers of Alias Smith and Jones Fan Fiction
April 2013 -- These Foolish Things
|Subject: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:51 am|| |
Posting per Calico's request.
But, you cry, what is the April Challenge, oh Feline of Fine Feelings? Oh Cat of Creativity! Oh possessor of the paws of power and the whiskers of wit!
I DID hear you cry that - didn't I?
Yup thought so.
For those of you itching to write, your challenge is...
These Foolish Things...
Let the typing commence!!!
Posts : 78
Join date : 2013-01-10
Age : 25
Location : Gettysburg, PA
|Subject: Re: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:41 pm|| |
A Sheriff's TomfooleryLom sat at his desk, looking over some recently delivered wanted posters. Among them were updated posters for the Kid and Heyes. He shook his head wondering when the governor would come to terms that he would eventually have to make good on his promise to the sheriff's misguided friends. Lom's eyes drifted to the calendar hanging on the wall, April first, the international day of pranks and tomfoolery, and Lom's favorite holiday. He got up and made his way to the telegraph office and sent a wire to Cheyenne inquiring about his friend's amnesty. The answer came minutes later, ah the joys of modern communication, and, as expected, the answer was no. upon reading the answer Lom couldn't resist sending one to Heyes and the Kid. The last he heard they were in Red Rock doing some work for Big Mac McCreedy; he sorely wished they'd stay away from that man, but he always seemed to have steady work for them to do.
"Parker, I'd like to send another wire to the McCreedy ranch in Red Rock, Texas." he told the telegrapher.
"Please tell me you're not going to prank Smith and Jones, they don't seem the type to take kindly to that sort of thing."
"No, I don't plan on doing that, hand me that pad of paper,"
Joshua and Thaddeus, stop, have news, stop, come to Porterville at soonest, stop.
"Hey, Kid, Lom sent us a telegram, he wants us to come to Porterville as soon as possible."
"Guess it has something to do with our amnesty bid,"
They met Lom at his home on the outskirts of Porterville. After the niceties of the reunion were over they got down to business, or in Lom's case, some belated tomfoolery to break up the monotony of waiting on the amnesty to come through.
"Boy's I want to congratulate you; you finally got it."
"We got it? Kid did you hear that we finally got it!"
"Heyes, something tells me that ol' Lom is trying to pull a fast one on us."
"Now Kid, I'm hurt that you could think that about me."
"Lom, the governor has said no for the last three years, I'm 'bout ready to got to Laramie and beg the warden for a cell."
"April Fools, boys!" Lom finally dared to let lose a laugh. "I'm sorry, I really couldn't resist doin' it to you; I thought we could all use a laugh."
"We ain't laughing Lom, and this is not funny. You had us really thinking that we were free men." They turn to leave. "April Fools, Lom!"
"The only thing in life you have to earn is love, everything else you can steal." ~Hannibal Heyes
Posts : 441
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 59
Location : London, England
|Subject: Re: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:49 pm|| |
To be sung to the tune of...These Foolish Things - the chorus (well what else would it be?)
These Foolish Things
By Maz McCoy
An egg that stands on end and won’t fall over
The bust of Caesar that Big Mac fought over
A stage for Colorado springs
These foolish things
Remind me of you
A Bounty hunter who will stop at nothing
An outlaw leader who’s so good at bluffing
The song a lonesome cowboy sings
These foolish things
Remind me of you
A wanted poster offering ten thousand dollars
“Hold it right there fellas,” the sheriff hollers
A poker hand with just a pair of kings
These foolish things
Remind me of you
A Colt that’s drawn before the other guy sees it
Blue eyes that focus on his favourite Brit (me!)
The gun he skilfully slings
These foolish things
Remind me of you
A cowboy hat that sits at just the right angle
A job not-hard-on-the-back they hope to wrangle
Lom’s telegram a job it brings
These foolish things
Remind me of you
The hope of amnesty is so appealing
The thought of our two boys sends my heart a reeling
Oh how my heart has wings
These foolish things
Remind me of you
Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something or only thought we did: Edison
Posts : 522
Join date : 2012-12-07
Location : Wichita
|Subject: These Foolish Things - by WichitaRed Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:41 am|| |
Did I not say, "I am not going to read challenges before going to bed?"
I swear I did. Well, once more I woke up at 3 am with this slightly bawdy tale in mind and at 3:28 gave up, got a diet coke out of fridge and fired up the old Dell. Hope ya ladies enjoy this. . . I believe it is for the Kidettes. Sorry, it is short because the moderators told be I had to pick at the PG rating point . . . .
And a Here We Go.... These Foolish Things, April Challenge accepted by Wichita Red
Bending over to tie her boots, Claudette felt a familiar popping sensation along the back of her legs and rolling her big brown eyes, she released an exasperated sigh.
“Everything alright Ma’am?”
“No.” she mewed peeking around her calf at the blue-eyed, blonde sitting on the edge of the bed wearing nothing more than a sheet, thinking, ‘No, everything is not all right or I would not be walking away from a dish like vous
“Uhm Ma’am?” He stammered.
His sincerity made her smile and gathering up the yards of fabric, which made up her can-can, she hitched them into her armpits saying, “See these foolish things have popped loose again. Could vous
and hitch them back up?”
Twisting to look behind her, Claudette began to giggle. “Ah Monsieur
would think after all we done . . . moi
could not make vous
blush so easily.” She said, dropping her skirts and walking over to stroke his face, which was becoming even redder. With a mischievous grin, she bent over, exposing an excellent view down her corset as she placed a lingering kiss on his full red lips. “They is only garters, Monsieur
Curry and I truly I should have checked them before climbing back into this confounded skirt.” She said flipping a hand at the layers and layers of shiny, striped material before running her hand through his tousled golden curls. “Would vous
mind being of assistance?’ She said with a flutter of her long lashes.
“Not at all Ma’am.”
Spinning about, she began gathering up the skirt again and peeking around her exposed hip she grinned at him, “Claudette, Monsieur Curry, how can I be sure vous
can find me again if vous
do not remember my name.” she said backing her ruffled bloomers up till they were very nearly brushing his bare, broad chest.
“Oh trust me, I will find you Claudette.” And, taking up one of the garters he quirked an eyebrow at her.
“They is to hold my stocking up. While I dance, vous
know, while I kick, kick, kick.” She said with a quick sashay of her hips.
“Ya really gotta be leavin’ already.” Kid stammered, shifting around a bit on the edge of the bed.
.” Claudette grinned. “But I could come see vous
after the show.” Her red lips pulled into a larger smile.
Clipping the first garter, Kid said, “I would like that mightily.” And as he clipped, the second garter in place, he heard the doorknob start to turn and just as quickly snatched his gun from its holster.
Bursting in, Heyes’s was not surprised to see Kid’s Colt aimed at him but having it done so from around a gal’s lithe body while her hind view was parked directly in his partner’s chest, flustered Heyes causing his brows to furrow deeply, “Uhm Kid.” Shaking his head, he got back on track, “Kid we got to go!”
“Now!” Heyes said shoving his own shirt tails into his pants. “Wheat just came and alerted me.”
Out on the road, Kid looked back over his shoulder at the city skyline fading away, “Didn’t ya say we wouldn’t have to worry in Denver?”
Heyes flashed a full dimpled smile, glancing round at his gang and then back at his partner, “Well that was before Kyle had too much to drink and decided it would be fun advertising who we all were.”
“Sorry Kid.” Kyle mumbled.
“Sorry. . . any of you have a can-can dancer in your room?”
All the way down the line, the Devil’s Hole Gang shook their heads, including its leader.
“Then none of you will understand, saying sorry isn’t good enough.” Kid snorted kicking his horse into a gallop that left the others trailing behind him.
Wichita Red, "I'm not really a rebel, but I take chances. I have a good time, and I live life the way I want to live it."
|Subject: Re: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:45 pm|| |
The rain pounded down, flowing off the roofs of the buildings in a steady torrent. For the past week it had been raining, turning the normally dusty yard in the middle of compound into a sticky, muddy sea.
The drumming of the rain on the roof created a rhythmic background for the occupants of the cabin, alternately soothing and maddening. Heyes sat in his favorite chair by the fire, a notebook balanced on his lap as he held the specifications for the latest Hawley & Sons safe in one hand, and took notes with the other. The Kid was ensconced at the table carefully cutting strips from a large block of leather, to use to repair the saddle leaning against his leg.
“It’s kinda peaceful here, ain’t it, Heyes?”
“Hmm? Yeah I guess.”
“Don’t know if I want it to last much longer though. We’re gonna havta go huntin’ real soon or we’ll run outta meat.”
The Kid looked up from the table, his eyes narrowing as he took in the sight. “Yup, we sure need some meat, right, Heyes?”
“Yeah, sure, why don’t you pour me a cup while you’re at it?”
The Kid looked down at the knife in his hand and at the scraps and pieces of leather piled around him. “I’m kinda busy here, why don’t you get it?”
The Kid sighed. “As I was sayin’, we’re gonna run out of meat soon, need to do some huntin’”
“Hear there’s some polka dot antelope up over the ridge a ways.”
“Yup, polka dot antelope sure are good huntin’ but not as good as those blue goats they got down south. Maybe I’ll go down there, and see if I can bag us some of them or maybe even a pink elephant.”
“I’m sure you’ll do fine. Didn’t you hear me ask you to get me some coffee while you were at it?”
“Huh, what’s wrong?” Heyes’ head jerked up, he tore his eyes from the specifications, and looked at the Kid, bewildered.
The Kid glowered back. “Get your own dang coffee!”
“What is the matter with you? It was a simple request. Here I am working, trying to make sure I can open the latest safes; all I asked was that you get me one simple cup of coffee. Was that too much to ask?” Heyes glowered back and stood up striding over to the Kid.
“You haven’t heard a dang word I’ve said to you!”
“Yes I have. You want to go hunting. Seems kinda wet to me, but go ahead. I ain’t stopping you! Still don’t see why you can’t get me a cup of coffee before you go, though.”
“OF COURSE, I DON”T WANT TO GO HUNTIN’! It’s pourin’ outside. And I ain’t gettin’ you any coffee – do it yourself!”
The two stood toe-to-toe, nose-to-nose, glaring at each other, fists clenched, breathing hard.
“Uh, Heyes, Kid?”
“WHAT?” they shouted in unison.
Kyle stood in the doorway, twisting his hat in his hand, water running down his face and creating a puddle on the floor.
The Kid took a deep breath. “What is it, Kyle?”
“Spit it out, man.”
“Wheat said I should get you. It’s Dutchy and Zeb; they’re like to kill each other. Maybe… Maybe I should just go.”
Heyes and the Kid glared at Kyle for a moment. “We’ll be right there. GO!” Kyle fled.
Heyes and the Kid checked their guns, grabbed their hats, and dashed across the compound to the bunkhouse.
“You’d think Wheat could handle a simple fight, wouldn’t you?”
“Yeah, how bad a fight could it be?”
Heyes and the Kid joined the other men in the circle staring down at the two men on the floor, cursing, kicking, and punching each other. Dutchy’s eye was nearly closed and blood was flowing steadily from Zeb’s nose. Shouts of “kill” and “run” rose from the combatants.
“That’s enough!” Heyes commanded.
Nothing, the combatants were too focused to hear him.
Suddenly they broke apart. Zeb sprang up and pulled a knife from his boot. Dutchy reached onto the table and grabbed a whiskey bottle, smashing it against the table edge and holding the broken end in front of him, as the two glared at each other – Dutchy still shouting, “KILL,” while Zeb replied “RUN.”
Heyes and the Kid looked at each other and nodded. They pulled their guns and shot into the roof over the two men. As the men looked up startled by the shots, they were doused with cold water from the holes in the roof. The Kid grabbed Dutchy and tore the broken bottle from his unresisting grasp. Heyes grabbed Zeb and wrestled the knife away. They hauled the two to opposite sides of the table and handed them over to their fellow gang members to hold.
Heyes stood before them, arms crossed. Glaring. “NOW. What is this all about?”
Both men looked down.
“Well, I don’t really know what caused it. We were trying to figure out the name of that brook about a mile outside of Johnsonville where we saw all them elk that time. Suddenly, Dutchy starts in on the ‘kill’ nonsense, then at almost the same time Zeb here starts saying ‘run.’ And it just went from there.” Wheat shook his head. “Before we knew it, they were too far gone for any of us to stop it, so I sent Kyle to come get you.”
“Yeah, you know, fellas, that crick we found comin’ back from the Anderson job?” Kyle explained.
“But why would that cause anyone to start sayin’ ‘kill’ or ‘run’?” the Kid asked, frowning at Heyes, who shrugged his shoulders in reply.
Heyes turned to Dutchy. “Why did you threaten to kill them for talking about this stream?”
“I didn’t threaten anyone.”
“Then why were you saying kill? Sounds like a threat to me.”
“Back home we call water like that a ‘kill,’ that’s all. Then that fool, Zeb, took offense and told me to run. Well I ain’t lily-livered, and I ain’t running from anyone, leastwise him.” He glowered at Zeb, who looked back perplexed.
“A kill? It ain’t a kill. Where I come from it’s called a ‘run.’ Why would I threaten you?”
Heyes and the Kid stared at each other, then turned and glared at Wheat. “That’s it?! They were fighting over what to call a stream?”
“Well, how was I supposed to know that?” Wheat sputtered.
Heyes and the Kid rolled their eyes and turned to leave. As they walked out the door they heard Wheat commanding, “Now, go fix the dang roof, you idjits!”
Heyes and the Kid stopped on the porch of their cabin to shake the rain off their hats before they headed inside and shrugged off their coats.
“Sheesh, Kid. Imagine fighting over such a foolish thing. Now where were we when Kyle interrupted us?”
The Kid stared at him for a minute then walked over to the stove, grabbing two cups as he went. “I was just getting you a cup of coffee, Heyes.”
*The basic idea came as I was driving by Bull Run battlefield one day. In the Hudson River valley, the term “kill” is frequently used in the names of mountain streams (or the mountains where the streams are located – such as the Catskills) – supposedly a hold-over from its days as a Dutch colony. Other terms used in this country for streams include: brook, creek, branch, race, rush, course, crick, flow, rill, and rindle. Then, of course, for smaller bodies of flowing water you have: rivulet, freshet, trickle, and probably a dozen other terms. What a strange language.
Posts : 550
Join date : 2012-04-22
Location : Devil's Hole
|Subject: Re: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:48 am|| |
It was the straw that broke the camel's back. Mary Clark looked down at the wrinkled pile of line-dried clothing, and something inside snapped.
She pressed the latch and the door swung open. Outside, birds chirped, happily gathering worms from the recently turned parcel that had served as her vegetable garden for nearly forty years. She grabbed a handful of cookies from a jar on the counter and stuffed them into her apron pocket. Molasses, Sydney's favorite.
She paused for a quick glance around the one-room cabin. It was quiet. The clock ticked on the mantel, marking moments of her life, gone, irretrievable. Sucked into some great abyss of meaningless nothingness.
She went for a walk.
By the time she reached the train tracks, it was beginning to rain. She glanced south. Town was south. Stores, the church, Sydney's workshop. All their friends and neighbors. Mary walked north, following the tracks. The fact that she had no idea where she was headed never crossed her mind. She walked, aimlessly.
Head down, she carefully placed one foot in front of the other, the image of a circus tight-rope walker, traversing the wet, slippery rail. Paying no heed to her surroundings, Mary never noticed the eyes that watched from the cover of distant trees.
A loud crack of thunder released a torrential downpour from the heavens, and sent Mary running toward an abandoned rail car. She hurried to it and slid the door wide to give a look around before she hoisted herself up and in. She slid the door shut. Lightning flashed outside, illuminating the car's interior from between the cracks of the ancient boards. Rain drummed on the roof. Mary edged to a corner and slumped down into the musty hay that covered the floor.
She let her head fall back against the wall of the car and closed her eyes. What was she doing? She was bored, tired, restless. She needed...something. Something different. And Sydney never looked at her anymore. Not really. And even if he did look, did he SEE?
Mary felt like wallpaper. Something her husband knew was there, had always been there, but when pressed to describe her, did he KNOW the intricate details that made Mary the person she was? And more importantly, did Mary know who Mary was? Or had she been lost somewhere along the way, sucked into that meaningless abyss?
The door of the rail car suddenly slid open and Mary pressed further into the corner, pulling her knees up against her chest. She held her breath. A set of saddle bags flew in first, then a figure rolled inside before the door slid shut again.
A young man stood up, probably half her age. He removed his jacket and flung it over a post, presumably to dry, then began brushing debris from his clothing. Noting his gun belt, fear shot through her, causing every nerve to spring to alert. Since hiding was not an option, Mary chose a different course.
"Cookie?" She lifted a trembling hand toward the stranger.
If she had surprised him, his calm demeanor gave no indication. "Thanks," he said, accepting the offering and taking a bite. "Didn't realize this car was occupied."
Not knowing what to say, Mary shrugged. "Just me," she added, with a nervous giggle.
"Smith," he said, shifting the cookie to his left hand and offering his right. "Joshua Smith." He joined her on the floor.
"Victoria Melbourne." Why she felt the need of an alias, she wasn't sure, but certainly this man's name was no more "Smith" than hers was...whatever name she had just conjured out of thin air.
The stranger laughed.
"What's so funny?"
"Oh, nothing," he said, still chuckling. "So, Mrs. Melbourne, you're interested in geography?"
"Why, yes, I am. But how..." she stumbled to a finish. "Sydney says I read too much, but I can't seem to help myself. All those books in the town's new library, pictures of all those far off places I'll never get a chance to see..."
The young man wiped the smile from his face. "Sydney. He would be your husband?"
"Sydney Melbourne." He chuckled again. "Next time you and Mr. Melbourne choose a couple of aliases, you might want to consider something a little less conspicuous."
"Ha," she snorted. "I'll keep that in mind, Mr. Smith."
He smiled. "Lots of folks named Smith," he insisted, tossing his hat aside.
"Lots of folks named Melbourne too," she countered.
"Not folks named Sydney and Victoria, but, whatever you say, ma'am."
Their less-than-truthful exchange triggered a bout of self-consciousness. Mary patted at her hair, fixing a few strands that had pulled loose from the knot at the back of her neck. Unsure what to do with her hands, she reached for one of the cookies in her pocket, but her eyes dropped to her waistline and she changed her mind.
"If you're hungry, you should eat," Mr. Smith stated, seeming to sense her indecision.
"Maybe later," she said, and bit her bottom lip.
"If you're waiting for the storm to let up, it's likely to be a while, so you might as well get comfortable."
Comfortable. When was the last time she had felt truly comfortable? Comfortable in her own skin, with who she was and... These thoughts were foolish. Foolish and unproductive. That's what Sydney would say, if he were here. And where was he now? Did he know she was gone? And why did it matter? Certainly she was free to go for a walk if she chose to do so, and...
Thunder rumbled more softly outside, and the rain softened its pattering.
"Mr. Smith, can I ask you something?"
"Go ahead, but call me Joshua." He pulled up a crate and settled himself in front of it. Pulling out a deck of cards, he began to shuffle.
"What do you see, when you look at me?" As soon as she asked the question, she wished she hadn't.
He stopped shuffling to look her squarely in the eye. "'What do you want me to see?"
She hung her head. "I don't know. I mean... Forget it. I don't know what I mean."
Joshua dealt himself a hand of solitaire.
Mary grew quiet, resuming her self-analysis. She shouldn't have left the house. Sydney would be worried. And what kind of wife would walk out on her husband, just because she was sick to death of doing his ironing? Not that she HAD walked out, mind you. No, she hadn't left HIM. Sydney was a good man. A man worthy of her respect. Hard worker, good provider. Tender and kind. Gentle.
Sydney's wife, on the other hand, was worn out. Her spirit tattered. Mary lifted her hands, chapped and calloused. She shifted position, her knees creaking in protest. "Joshua?"
"Hmmm?" He turned a card.
"How old do think I am?" She swallowed hard and met his eyes.
He laughed yet again. "I might be a gambling man, Victoria, but answering that is a mite too risky, even for me."
"No really, I need to..."
"Come on," he said, tucking his cards back into his vest pocket and gathering his coat from the post where it dripped.
"Where are we going?"
"Your home. I'm taking you home to your husband. It's where you need to be. It's where you want to be. It's the place you haven't stopped thinking about for one second since you got here. And besides..." His eyes softened and he smiled, revealing a charming set of dimples. "Before the sun sets, Sydney Melbourne is going to be out searching for the woman he loves, his beautiful wife, Victoria, and if he finds her in an abandoned rail car five miles outside town with a handsome drifter like me, he'll probably think the worst and shoot me."
Mary smiled, for the first time in what seemed like ages.
"You don't want my death on your conscience, do you?"
"Sure don't," Mary agreed.
They walked south, retracing the path Mary had taken earlier that day. The sun had set, but the rain had stopped by the time the cabin came into view.
"Mary! There you are! I was worried," Sydney cried when he saw her. "I was about to saddle the horse and coming searching." Upon seeing the young stranger with her, Sydney extended his hand.
"Sydney, this is Joshua Smith. Joshua, my husband, Sydney Clark."
"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Clark." Joshua's eyes sparkled as he caught Mary's glance. "Your wife, speaks highly of you, sir."
The man's shoulders visibly lifted with pride. "I think pretty highly of her myself. Won't you come in, Mr. Smith? Join us for supper?"
"Sorry." He shook his head. "My partner's expecting me and, well, I've got to be going."
"Are you sure?" Mary prompted.
"Very. It's been a real pleasure meeting you, Mary."
She hugged the young man. "Thank you, Joshua," she whispered. "For everything!"
"Forget it," he answered. "Oh, and Mary." He winked and gave her a gambler's grin. "You don't look a day over twenty-nine!"
"Where were you?" Sydney asked, when they sat alone at their supper table.
"I just took a walk. Lost my way for a while, foolish of me, I know, but Joshua pointed me home again."
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
Posts : 101
Join date : 2012-04-22
Location : USA
|Subject: Re: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:20 pm|| |
The young lady stumbled out of the General Store and directly into the arms of the strappingly good-looking, unsuspecting cowboy.
“Whoa, ma’am,” the brown-haired man reacted and steadied her.
“I’m so sorry.” She smoothed her dress and then looked up. “I…” she stammered, seeing a dimpled smile spread across the most gorgeous face she had ever seen. “I…I am sorry, sir.”
“My pleasure.” The cavernous – deep enough to jump in and hide in –dimpled smile spread, reaching his eyes. “Are you alright, ma’am?”
“Are you hurt?” the blond man asked pushing his partner slightly aside. “Here, let me help you with those packages.” He held out his hands.
She looked up into the bluest eyes she had ever seen; they put sapphires to shame. She looked at the bags in her hands, hmmm, maybe she had time to visit the jeweler. “Oh, these foolish things….” She blushed thinking what she had purchased. “Here,” she handed over one of her bags so she could fan herself from the sudden heat that had overtaken her. She sighed, getting caught up in the wondrous pools of water he called eyes. “Oh, I’m rather parched,” she stated, never taking her eyes off the mesmerizing orbs. Just to hop in and cool off in those aquamarine pools of life would certainly cool me off, she thought.
Rolling coffee-colored eyes were met with a smirk from the cherubic-faced one.
“Ma’am, can I get you some water?” the man in the tan pants asked.
Turning towards the silky voice, she smiled, “Why thank you, but I am fine.” She sucked in her breath and bit her lip looking at the way the navy blue shirt fit the man. If I fainted, which of these lovely specimens would catch me, which one would I like to catch me? She thought to herself as she was lost in the beautiful music that was his voice. She noticed his long tapered fingers resting oh so innocently on his hips, and she swayed.
“Can we help you get somewhere?” The other fella pushed the brim of his brown hat up so he could see her better, so she could see him better. She was young, but not too young, with long flowing hair which he assumed meant she wasn’t married. He liked what he saw, but she liked what she saw even better. He flashed her one of his you can’t resist me smiles.
“No,” she absently responded and shifted the remaining bag in her hand; it slipped. Bending down to get it, she noticed the low slung gun belt, hanging ever so enticingly on the hips of the man with the grey pants. She gasped and fanned herself once more. Oh what could be better, she thought… chaps! She blushed at the thought and concentrated on just breathing.
“Ma’am,” he ran his hand through his golden curls, “are you alright?”
Baby-blues met deep thinking eyes as the partners shrugged.
“Ma’am?” the cowboy with the black hat inquired.
Caught by the luxurious tone of his voice, she looked up and into delicious pools of chocolate. She licked her lips. “Mmmm…” escaped through them as her eyes never left his. Her heart beat a little faster as the cowboy tipped his hat so far back that it should have fallen off, but somehow it remained in place, on top of the cocoa-colored mane.
Uncomfortable with the scrutiny, and with his silver tongue abandoning him, he shifted. “Ma’am?”
Undaunted, she stared back at the rich, dark chocolate candy pieces that were staring back at her. Her mind wandered again, diving into the lakes of ecstasy; bathed in pure unadulterated liquid chocolate.
Suddenly, she blinked, shook her head and basically snapped out of it. “I’m really hungry. Well, actually I need something sweet, like chocolate!” she announced, took the bag out of the slightly younger partner’s hand, turned on her heels and walked back into the General Store.
The best friends looked at each other and chuckled.
“Whiskey?” the gunslinger asked.
“Poker,” the leader of the most successful outlaw gang replied.
Posts : 178
Join date : 2012-04-21
Age : 56
Location : Devon
|Subject: Re: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:44 am|| |
I went to work yesterday so had time to write a challenge! These Foolish Things
Standing on tiptoes and reaching up, she extended herself to full height and lifted her arms. Using her fingertips she was able to maneuver the hatbox to the edge of the top of the wardrobe and slide it off far enough so that it dropped down, into her waiting grasp.
Carrying it over to the bed she twisted off the tight fitting lid and peered inside. Nestled inside lay moments of her life. Letting out a sigh she allowed a soft smile to crease her lips. Almost tentatively she reached into the box and lifted out the item, which lay on top.
Carefully she unwrapped the soft, silk handkerchief to reveal a brooch, made of gold, with small, inlaid, green stones. As it moved in her hands the stones and metal caught the light and twinkled. She gently ran her over thumb the surface. It was one of the few personal possessions left after her mother had died. Her father had sold or even possibly given away the rest of his wife’s belongings. She had found the brooch tucked inside the pocket of a coat she had found at the back of a cupboard one day, when she had been much younger. She couldn’t be totally sure it was her mother’s but had never dared to ask her father incase he took it from her, so she had hidden it.
Wrapping the brooch back up carefully she placed it on the bed besides the box. She reached in once more, this time pulling out a pocket watch. It had long stopped working but the fact her father had kept it close to his person for so many years gave it all the life she needed. She only wished he was here to walk her down the isle the next day, not that he would have approved of the man with whom she would stand at the altar.
If she was being honest with herself she would agree with her father’s judgment but she was getting to an age where the options were becoming much fewer and farther between. Bradford Wainright may not be an oil painting to look at and he had some decidedly strange ideas about the world but he was generous and kind and she knew she would be well looked after.
It was time to start a new phase in her life and leave the past behind – a past that had held so much promise but somehow had now passed her by, while she yearned for something she could not have.
With that thought in her head she delved further into the box, right down to the bottom, passed letters, pressed flowers and other assorted trinkets. Lying on the base of the box was a yellowed folded envelope, tied with a red ribbon. With pinched fingers she gripped one end of the bowed ribbon and slowly pulled to release the knot. Lifting the satin strip to her cheek she remembered how it had been pulled from her hair when she was a girl several times. She had pretended to be annoyed but really she had reveled in the attention.
As the envelope unfolded something slipped out and landed in her lap.
Gazing at the bullet her mind slipped back to that dreadful day. She knew they lived a dangerous life but being confronted with it on her own doorstep had been a shock. To see his face so pale and wax like, strewn with beads of fever induced perspiration, had given her a real fright. She had done what she could but her knowledge in such situations was limited. Thankfully they had been able to remove the bullet and close the wound but for two whole days she expected the worse. Eventually he had opened his eyes and her heart lurched in gratitude at the sight of those sapphire orbs, which she had feared she would never see sparkle with life again.
When they were leaving he had pressed the bullet into her hand, saying ‘a little thing like that wouldn’t stop him’ and he had been glad of it as it had given him the opportunity to see her again! She had laughed at his words but her heart had skipped with joy at his flirtations and had all but leapt out of her chest when he had placed a tender kiss on her cheek.
Encasing the bullet in her clenched fist and holding it with her other hand, she placed a soft kiss on her closed fingers.
After carefully standing the bullet on end, on the side table, she opened the envelope and slid her hand inside. It met the cool, smoothness of a playing card. Sliding it out she gazed down at the queen of hearts. It had been a memorable night. They had wined and dined in the finest restaurant in San Francisco and then gone to a casino. It had been lucky for all of them. Her companions had won handsomely and she had been able to spend a joyous time with both.
At the end of the evening the card had been produced, as if by magic, out of the air and he had proclaimed her to always be the queen of his heart. Again she had laughed and even given him an affectionate slap on the arm with her gloves but the words had made her almost burst with joy. The fluttering in her chest as he caressed the back of her hand with his lips was undeniable and she was rewarded further with a dimpled smile.
The last precious item to be brought out of the envelope was a picture – a photograph to be exact. Three faces looked back at her, one being her own. Oh how young she looked! A flush of shame caught in her face as she remembered how she had used the photograph to bully them into helping her expose the man who had framed her father. She had always regretted her action and had understood their reluctance but she had been desperate.
Now it was just another reminder of what she had lost. It may be foolish to hold onto these things but, like the men who had given them, they meant the world to her. She loved both partners equally and could never have chosen one over the other. So, she had told herself, she could have neither and would never have considered coming between them.
Tomorrow she would become Mrs Clementine Wainright and she would pretend to be the happiest woman in the world but she would always love Heyes and Kid. At least she had her memories to hold onto, stored away in a dusty, old box to remind her what it truly felt like to be in love – doubly in love in her case.
'If I hadn't seen such riches I could live with being poor.'
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|Subject: Re: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:17 am|| |
“The usual, Mr. Briscoe?”
Harry Briscoe nodded. Ashes fell from his ever-present cigar onto the bar. “As always, Joe. There’s a good man.”
The bartender paused mid-pour. “It’s Jack, Mr. Briscoe. Jack Josephs.”
Harry nodded again. “Of course it is. Just checking.”
Jack put a glass of lager onto the bar. “That’ll be ten cents, Mr. Briscoe.”
Harry reached into his pocket and took out some coins. “Keep the change, Joe.”
Taking an appreciative swallow, Harry leaned back against the bar and surveyed the room. Seemed like a nice, quiet crowd tonight. It was still a little early for the real action, but then, he was only there to meet that reporter from Chicago. He wondered, again, why the man had been so determined to track him down, when there was a whole division of agents in Denver. Oh sure, it’d be nice to believe that his good reputation had reached a thousand miles east to Chicago. Nice, but unlikely. There were an awful lot of smart agents out there, and most of them were better at brown-nosing their way to the top of the heap than he was.
Harry glanced at his pocket watch. Only a few minutes past six. Not terribly late yet, but tardiness was a sign of sloppy thinking, and Harry hated sloppiness.
He took another long drink. The beer tasted good, but it wasn’t sitting right in his stomach. He glanced at his reflection in the long mirror that hung above the bar. A detective’s life seemed to show up in his looks. Twenty years with the Bannerman Agency, and all he had to show for it was deep lines on his forehead, and gray streaking his hair and mustache. That, and an agent’s salary. Well, he’d always said that being a Bannerman man was its own reward. Kind of funny to realize just how right he was, when he was 40 years old.
Someone was saying his name. He’d been so lost in those dark thoughts that he’d stop paying attention to his surroundings. In his line of work, that was a good way to get killed.
“Sorry I’m late, Mr. Briscoe. I hope you haven’t been waiting long.”
“No no,” said Harry. “I only got here myself a few minutes ago.” He shook hands with the man, but absolutely could not remember his name. He’d always been bad with names. His confusion must have shown, because the reporter introduced himself.
“It’s Morehouse, Mr. Briscoe, Michael Morehouse. Of the Chicago American. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you. Shall we find a quiet place to talk?”
Harry let himself be escorted to a corner table. Morehouse ordered beers as they made small talk about the weather, Denver’s growth, and other boring tomfoolery. His stomach gurgled loudly. Morehouse made a gentle joke, but Harry didn't laugh. He relied on his gut instincts, and his gut was telling him to be careful. He glanced over at Morehouse, who only smiled blandly again. Harry thought of something his father had said: “Never trust a man who smiles too much.”
Smiling still, Morehouse said, “You’re probably wondering why I wanted to meet you, Mr. Briscoe.” Since that was a statement, and not a question, Harry didn’t feel inclined to answer.
“The people I work for are very interested in you.”
“The people you work for . . . that would be your editors?” Harry said.
Morehouse laughed. “Yes. My editors. Who else did you think?” Harry just shrugged. He had no answer for that, either.
“Well, there are one or two others. People at Midwestern Railroad and the Union Pacific, for example.”
Harry stubbed out his smoldering cigar in an ashtray. “Those are George Bannerman’s personal clients.”
“Yes. But you’ve worked with them too, on various investigations, such as the Brimstone job.”
“Right,” Harry said. “Brimstone. A good result, but not the precise result Midwestern and the U.P. wanted.”
“Well-said, Mr. Briscoe. Yes, your team prevented a robbery and caught the gang red-handed, but it wasn’t the gang the railroads wanted. Heyes and Curry are still out there, a threat to every decent man and woman in the west.”
Harry sat up straight. “Those two haven’t robbed anybody for a couple of years. They’re hardly a threat to anyone.”
“My employers disagree. And so do yours, by the way. As long as Curry and Heyes are anywhere instead of jail, they encourage other criminals and threaten public safety.”
“Well, as a law-enforcement professional, I can tell you, I’m a lot more concerned with the crooks that are active today. There’s enough of them to keep me and the Bannerman organization pretty busy. As for Heyes and Curry, I don’t much care if they’re out of jail, so long as they’re staying out of trouble. That way, the public doesn’t have to support them with room and board for 20 years. Everybody wins.”
“How much winning have you done lately, Mr. Briscoe?”
“Well, I’m about even with poker. As far as blackjack. . . “
“No no, Mr. Briscoe,” interrupted Morehouse. “That’s not what I mean. I’m talking about you and your career. You’ve been an agent for, what, almost 20 years now?”
“Strictly an agent. Always an agent. Never had a promotion. Never been recognized by the Bannerman organization.”
Harry placed both hands flat on the table. His voice was tense. “You that interested in my career?”
Morehouse leaned in closer to Harry. He spoke quietly. “Frankly, no sir, I’m not. Only as far as my superiors at the American, and some of your agency’s clients, are interested in how your needs and ours fit so neatly together.”
“I’m a Bannerman man. Always have been. That’s the only thing that matters to me.”
“Is it, Mr. Briscoe? Is it really? You’re not interested in the type of things other men are interested in, like financial security? A chance for promotion? Recognition from your peers and your superiors, maybe even the public? These are the important things for most men. Don’t they interest you?”
Yeah, they did interest him. A lot. More so lately than ever before, since he saw younger men, less experienced men, get the investigations and the promotions he wanted. He reached for a fresh cigar and lit it slowly. He needed a moment to think of something clever to say, but nothing came to mind. Not for the first time, he wished he was as good with words as Hannibal Heyes. That man had a smart answer for everything.
Morehouse was waiting for Harry's response. Still thinking of Heyes, Harry recalled an annoying Heyesian habit he used when he was stalling for time. Answer every question with another question.
“Why are you so interested in my career, Mr. Morehouse? I’m just one agent among many. Nothing special.”
Morehouse shook his head. “You underestimate yourself, sir. There’s something special about you.”
Harry raised his eyebrows, but didn’t speak. That was another Heyesian technique he’d observed. Let silence go on long enough, and the other person would feel compelled to fill it. It was working to perfection with Morehouse.
“What’s special about you, Mr. Briscoe, is the rapport you have with criminals. They seem to trust you.”
“My rapport?” Morehouse was nodding vigorously. Harry said a silent “thank you” to Hannibal Heyes.
“Especially in regards to your recent work in Colorado Springs, and with the Hadleyburg Affair. It’s no secret now. You know Hannibal Heyes. You know him well enough to recruit him to help in a successful Bannerman operation. No one else has ever been able to do that.”
“You think not?” Harry said.
“I know not. And so do other people. Powerful people. Mr. Briscoe, you’re in a position to do good for the country, good for your employer, and good for yourself.”
“How do you figure that?”
“Mr. Briscoe, the Chicago American believes you have the power to bring Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry to justice. If you do that, think of the reward! Twenty thousand dollars!”
“You don’t know the Bannerman organization very well, Mr. Morehouse. As an employee, that reward would go to the organization, not to me.”
“Very true. But think of the acclaim! Think of the fame! Your name would go down in history, Mr. Briscoe.”
Harry smiled tightly at the reporter. “You mention my rapport with the criminal underground, Morehouse. My career would be over. None of my informants would ever trust me again. And fame is fleeting. It won’t pay for a comfortable retirement, and believe you me, I’d have to retire.”
“Mr. Briscoe, we can secure you a comfortable retirement. If you let me accompany you through your pursuit and capture of Heyes and Curry, the whole story will appear under our joint byline. You won’t get the reward, true. But you’ll be paid for your first-hand account, enough so that the reward looks like a pittance. You can do whatever you want with the rest of your life. You can do a lecture tour. You can write about your career as a Bannerman man – with my assistance, of course. Or, you can take the money and retire wherever you’d like to go. You’ll have everything that matters. Everything.”
“Everything that matters,” Harry repeated.
“Yes,” Morehouse said. “Everything that matters.”
“Uh huh,” Harry said. He considered. Odd thoughts were coming to mind. The time when Heyes and Curry left him tied to that cactus. They’d come back and released him, but he hadn’t been sure that they would. Heyes helping him out by running that con at the casino. Heyes and Curry had done that because they wanted to protect a family; a family that had captured both men and taken them to jail. How they waited for him while he went with that sheriff to deposit the $30,000 they’d recovered. He could have been telling the sheriff, “I’ve got Heyes and Curry right here, and I want to collect the reward.” He hadn’t done it, and they’d trusted him. They’d concealed his own ill-conceived attempts at larceny, even when he’d betrayed them. He brought his attention back to the present.
“Does the Agency know about this?”
Morehouse laughed. “No sir, they do not. All they’ll know is, you successfully brought in Heyes and Curry. You can complete the job, resign, and then your story will be published. Very simple. And very rewarding.”
Harry sat back in his chair, folding his hands over his stomach and gazing off into space. He didn’t speak for a few minutes.
“My folks were Quakers, Morehouse. Did you know that?”
“No. No, I didn’t.”
“They didn’t want me to join up during the war, but I did anyway.” Harry was silent. Morehouse waited again, less patiently.
“My mother especially. She was a good woman.”
“I’m sure she was.”
“You were too young to fight, weren’t you?” Harry asked.
“Yes, sir, I was.”
“Lucky for you. And for your family.”
“My mother reminded me, when I left, she told me, always remember that the most important things in life were the foolish things. I didn’t understand her then. All I cared about was getting into the fighting. I wanted to be a soldier. You know what I mean?”
Morehouse shook his head.
“Well. I think I understand her now. Finally. I got to thank you, Morehouse. You helped me with that.”
“What do you mean, Mr. Briscoe?”
“Foolish things. Like loyalty to a friend. Faithfulness. Kindness. These foolish things that may never make you rich or famous, that’re more valuable than money.”
Morehouse was frowning.
“Didn’t you ever go to church?” Harry asked.
“Of course I did! Do.”
“Well, then, it’s all obvious, isn’t it?”
Morehouse shook his head. “Mr. Briscoe, you’ve lost me. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
For the first time, Harry smiled with real pleasure. Now that his decision was made, he felt pretty good. “I know you don’t, son.” He stood up. “Thanks for the beer.”
Morehouse stood, too. “But we haven’t concluded our business, Mr. Briscoe.”
“Yes, we have. So long, Morehouse. Don’t take any wooden nickels.” Harry stepped quickly away from the table.
“Mr. Briscoe!” Morehouse’s loud voice sounded through the entire saloon. Harry turned back to look at him.
“Mr. Briscoe,” Morehouse said, more calmly. “You are being very foolish.”
“Sure am,” Harry said. He walked through the batwing doors into the warm sunlight of the Denver evening, still smiling.
"If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly."
"The failure in doing something is stopping too soon."
Posts : 1622
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Location : Northern California
|Subject: Re: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:03 am|| |
April 2013 -- These Foolish Things
Lom Trevors fingered around the brim of his hat as he sat back in the outer room of the governor’s office. The mantle clock ticked as seconds passed. A scratching sound from the secretary’s pen, as the man scribbled notes on some papers, was the only other noise. A faint bell resounded and both men looked up at each other.
“The governor will see you now,” the secretary said as he stood to open the double doors into the governor’s office.
Lom nodded as he stood and followed the man into the impressive room. Dark polished wood mantle, desk, bookcases, and cabinets gave the room a very masculine look, along with the dark two-tone green wallpaper. A large, impressive gentleman with gray around his temples and a bushy mustache sat on the other side of the desk, signing his name to several papers. “I’ll be with you in a moment,” he said, distractedly. “Mr. Walker, here are those contracts. See that they are sent out this afternoon.”
“Very good, sir.” The secretary took the proffered paper and left the room, closing the doors behind him.
The governor stood and walked around his desk. “Sheriff Trevors, it’s good to see you, again.” The men shook hands. “Can I offer you a brandy?”
“Only if you’ll join me, Governor Warren.”
“Sit down and make yourself comfortable, Sheriff.” The governor poured two drinks and handed a crystal brandy snuffer to his guest before sitting back behind the desk. “So how long has it been since our last meeting?”
“One year, sir.” Lom sipped at the liquor. “Excellent brandy!”
The governor smiled. “I do enjoy a brandy and cigar in the afternoon. Care to have a smoke?” he asked as he opened and offered a cigar from an ornate carved box.
Lom took one of the cigars. “Don’t mind if I do.”
Both men sat in relative silence as they enjoyed a few sips of brandy and puffs from their smokes.
“So tell me, how is Porterville?” the governor started the conversation, after a few minutes.
“Peaceful, just the way we like it.”
“I heard Porter’s bank exploded in a robbery about a year ago. What happened?”
Lom sighed. “The bank exploded just as I got back from visiting you last time.”
“How much money was taken?”
“Actually none was taken.” Lom tapped the ashes from his cigar. “They used too much dynamite and the town was raining money. Most of it was collected and returned, though not in the best of shape.”
“Who was responsible?”
“I’m not sure, sir. They high-tailed it out of there before anyone got a good look.”
Governor Warren leaned forward, his face scowled. “It wasn’t Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, was it?”
“You won’t believe this, but Heyes and Curry stopped the bank robbery.”
“They what?! What were they doing in Porterville?”
“If you’ll remember, sir, they were waiting for word about their amnesty,” Lom said in a softer voice, so not to be overheard. “One year ago I asked you about the possibility of them receiving amnesty and you said you would consider it, providing they go straight for a year.”
“Oh, yes,” flustered the governor. “Has it been already a year?”
“It has, sir, and Heyes and Curry have lived up to their part of the deal.”
The governor arched his brow. “They have?”
“Have you heard of any new ‘jobs’ they’ve done?”
The governor sat back and puffed on his cigar, pondering. “What about that bank robbery in Kingsburg. The bank manger was killed and the president identified Curry and Heyes.”
Lom placed the cigar in an ashtray. “Heyes and Curry proved that the president, August Binford, killed his bank manager and robbed the bank. I was sent there to investigate the robbery and heard Binford’s mistress to confess all she knew to them. And they handed all the money over to me to return.”
“Hmm…” The governor chewed on his cigar. “Their years of crime hurt many citizens financially and mentally. Have they contributed to society in any way to make amends?”
Lom took a sip of brandy as he contemplated. “Well, they aided in the capture of a murderer, a woman, suspected of killing her husband, who was living in Mexico.”
“By force? That could have been illegal.”
“No, sir. They used themselves as bait so the suspect willingly crossed the border.”
“And they were not arrested?”
Lom smiled. “They let the sheriff know ahead of time that they were going to be posing as Heyes and Curry. He knew them only as Smith and Jones.”
“Clever. Very clever.”
“And there was a stagecoach robbery. They went after the thieves and returned the money to the bank. Got the mail back, too.”
Governor Warren rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “It does sound like they are trying…”
“They are, sir.” Lom fought to remain calm. “Their lives are not easy, wandering from place to place so not to be recognized and barely having enough money to survive. And yet they have not returned to their previous life of crime. They are committed to this deal.”
A clock chimed five o’clock.
“Great scott! I didn’t realize it was getting so late and I have a black-tie function to attend this evening.” Both men stood. “Let me sleep on it and I’ll give you an answer in the morning, Trevors. Around 9:00.”
Lom shook the governor’s hand. “Thank you, sir.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Lom Trevors walked into the governor’s outer room just as the mantel clock began to chime.
Mr. Walker looked up from his paperwork. “Perfect timing, Sheriff Trevors. The Governor will see you now. He said to just send you in when you got here.”
“Thank you,” Lom said as he walked to the double door, then hesitated a moment being going inside. “Governor Warren, good morning!” He shut the door and walked over to the desk.
“Good morning, Sheriff Trevors.” The governor held up a carafe. “Coffee?”
“No thank you.” Lom sat down. “I have a train to catch within the hour back to Porterville.”
“Ah, can’t stand to be away from the job, huh? Good man!” Warren sipped his coffee. “I suppose you want to hear about the amnesty for Heyes and Curry.”
“Last night, at the political event, I happened to bring up the names of Curry and Heyes to my supporters.” The governor sighed. “While they are pleased they are no longer being robbed, they are still very bitter about the past.”
Lom took a deep breath.
“And, as you know,” the governor continued, “Cleveland was elected President and I’m not even sure about my appointment as governor of the territory. Being a Democrat, he may put his own man here.”
“So you are breaking your word to Heyes and Curry.”
“Breaking my word? Absolutely not!” Warren’s voice rose. “I have considered their request after a year and find I cannot grant them amnesty at this time. It would be political suicide!”
“At this time…” Lom paused.
“Now if they will continue to go on the straight and narrow path, I will again consider amnesty for them.” Governor Warren drank some coffee. “More time for the railroads and the banks to calm down and be willing to forgive them for their past crimes.”
“So the deal is not dead?” inquired Trevors.
“Definitely not. Just… postponed for a more opportune time.”
Trevors glanced at the clock. “I have a train to catch, sir. I’ll give them the news, but I can assure you they won’t be happy about it.”
The governor walked around his desk and shook hands. “Always good to see you, Sheriff Trevors. Tell Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry just a little while longer.”
“Thank you, sir,” Lom forced out and took his leave.
Governor Warren sat back down and shook his head. “Don’t know why I let him talk me into even considering amnesty for those two… was a darn foolish thing to promise!”
"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
Posts : 760
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|Subject: Re: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:44 am|| |
[Remuda is promoting this from overspill to challenge area as real life has interrupted a longer story.
Hope the unfinished one fits another challenge, Remuda!)
With apologies to Joyce Kilmer...
(and for the centennial of "Trees")
I hope that we will soonward see
A wire declaring our amnesty
As we ride on two abreast
It seems a sometimes daunting quest
But imagine what life might be one day
When inward fears we could allay
So we may have no other cares
Than where we go upon our mares
When wanted posters go up in flames
And bounty hunters forget our names...
Wishes are made by fools like we
But only the gov'nor proclaims amnesty.
|Subject: Re: April 2013 -- These Foolish Things || |
April 2013 -- These Foolish Things