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 Jan 2015 Great Expectations

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PostSubject: Jan 2015 Great Expectations   Jan 2015 Great Expectations Icon_minitimeThu Jan 01, 2015 3:30 am


Happy New Year to one and all.

Now, I found myself inspired for this months challenge by the story Christina posted for us to enjoy again. (Thank you, C)

So can you all please brace yourself, finish off the last of your chocolate orange, move aside those streamers, and turn your thoughts to:

Great Expectations

Let your fancies soar higher than hawks and let your fingers type swifter than eagles ...

Tap tap tap purr

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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2015 Great Expectations   Jan 2015 Great Expectations Icon_minitimeSun Jan 18, 2015 3:21 pm

Great Expectations
BY Maz McCoy

Hannibal Heyes was not a well man. His face was pale, his brow fevered, his pulse racing, his whole body ached. He was probably dying. NO, there was no probably about it, he was definitely dying. He sat in the doctor’s office in the aptly named Ailing Creek and waited for the end. It was just a matter of time before the doctor -who for some reason had seen fit to abandon Hannibal Heyes in his hour of need to go and tend to a crying baby in the room next door- pronounced him a lost cause.  His stomach rolled and the contents threatened to make another appearance. He reached for the pail placed strategically between his booted feet and waited for the inevitable.
“You feelin’ sick again?” Kid asked from his seat across the room.
“Again?” the impatient queried. “What do you mean again? I ain’t stopped feeling sick.”
Kid shrugged. “You know what I mean.” He returned his attention to the book he was thumbing through, one he’d found on the doctor’s well stocked bookshelf.
“I think I’m dying,” Heyes informed him.
“You said that last night but you’re still here,” his friend reminded him.
“Well, now I really am.” Heyes retched and Kid grimaced. Something hit the bottom of the pail and a rancid smell filled the air. Kid covered his nose with the back of his hand. “I don’t understand how I’m ill and you’re not.”
“Guess God just likes me better.”
Heyes glared at his so-called friend. “I mean we both ate at the same restaurant, we had the same food. Both had a couple of beers, maybe a whiskey or two.”
“Two?” Blue eyes looked up from the page.
“All right, four or five, but I can hold my liquor.” Heyes head dropped, clearly holding it up was too much of an effort. His voice echoed in the metal pail when he spoke. “And we both had breakfast at the cafeteria.”
“Those were good eggs,” Kid remarked and was promptly treated to different kind of review from Heyes. Did he have to keep doing that?
“What’s keeping that doctor? Doesn’t he realise I’m dying?”
“The little girl broke her arm, Heyes. I guess he felt she was…”
“What?” Two pathetic brown eyes fixed on Kid Curry who searched for a tactful response.
“I guess he felt it should be ladies first.”
“Huh. Women! Probably their cooking’s the reason I’m dying.”
Kid smiled and turned a page. “You’re not dyin’.”
“Easy for you to say.”
Kid shook his head. “You know this book’s a wealth of information.” He tapped the binding of the weighty tome he held. “Did you know there’s a worm that can…”
Heyes threw up again.
“Guess you don’t want to hear about that.”
Heyes wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Does it say what I have? Bubonic plague or some rare disease? Something new to medical science?”
“Well, I think I might have the answer.”
Heyes looked hopefully at his partner. “You do? What is it? Can it be cured?”
“I looked up your symptoms. You’ve been throwing up.”
“A lot.”
“You got no energy.”
“A little kid could push me over.”
“You got any strange tastes in your mouth?”
Heyes looked up at him, a pail full of unpleasantness in his hands. “You’re kidding, right?”
“I’ll take that as a yes. And you sure are grouchy.”
“Wouldn’t you be?”
“You been passing a lot of water.”
“Using the bathroom.”
“It’s like I got a river inside me. Speaking of which.” Heyes stood up ready to leave. He paused. Considered his actions. “Nope, guess not.” He sat down.
“You’re not interested in eatin’ or drinkin’.”
“I can’t keep anything down!” Heyes wailed.
“Exactly.” Kid tapped the page open in front of him. “That’s what it says here.”
“So what is it? How long have I got?”
“By my reckoning, nine months.”
“Oh my God!”
Kid chuckled.
“It’s not a laughing matter!”
“It is from where I’m sittin’.”
“How can you say that? I thought we were friends. Tell me what I have. I can take it.” Heyes forced his shoulders back, ready to take it like a..yeah…like a man.
“Heyes, I think you’re pregnant.”
In the office next door, the doctor looked up as he attached a splint to Louisa Knott’s arm. He was sure he could hear someone laughing.

Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something or only thought we did: Edison
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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2015 Great Expectations   Jan 2015 Great Expectations Icon_minitimeWed Jan 21, 2015 9:13 am

“Hold on there, partner.”  Heyes tightened the burlap grain sack around the baby he held in his arms.  He wiped a tired hand across his sweaty face and let his eyes stray from the tiny, wizened face to the smoldering, overturned wagon a few hundred feet from where he sat.   The Kid was finishing piling rocks on a trio of freshly dug graves.  

It seemed a long time had passed since they’d come upon the scene of the vicious tragedy.  They’d been on their way to Fort Stanton, New Mexico, running late for one of the governor’s special jobs and trying to make up time by taking a little-used shortcut off the main trail.  They hadn’t been the only ones.  An unfortunate family had made the fatal decision to stray from a more populated trail to this route which ran through the Sacramento Mountains populated by banditos and disenfranchised Mescalero and Chiricahua Apaches who’d refused to stay on the new reservation.  

It was impossible to tell who had attacked the travelers and it would be up to the military to figure out who perpetrated such a hideous crime.  Heyes and the Kid were more concerned with seeing to it this child survived.  When they’d found the wagon it had appeared no one had survived, but a weak squalling had drawn them to the cluster of rocks casting the shade he now sat in.  They had found the poor woman sprawled on the far side.  She’d escaped the bloodshed that had taken her husband and daughter only to die giving birth to this little tyke.  Against all odds, the infant was alive and they aimed to see he stayed alive.

Heyes watched his exhausted partner plod towards him and he smiled.  The Kid had finally won a coin toss and, much to Heyes’ surprise, he’d chosen hard labor over handling a baby.   A soft gurgle drew his attention back to the child.  He shifted his arms slightly and lifted the baby to his heart.  His mother had told him it was soothing.  He could still see his little brother nestled in her arms as she sat in the rocker by the hearth; the memory both pleasurable and painful at the same time.

“You ready?”  Curry came to a halt.  He pulled his hat from his head and wiped his brow.  “I’d like to get goin’.”

Standing, Heyes held out his arms.  “Here, take him and sit a spell.  I’ll get the horses.”

The Kid shook his head.  “Naw, you keep him.  I’d probably drop him.”  His blue eyes gazed south.  “I reckon we can make the fort before nightfall if we get a move on.”

“We’ll have to take our time, Kid.  I don’t think this little fella is up to hard riding.”  Heyes smiled.  “I was thinking I could make a sling with another one of these sacks; carry him squaw-style.”

“Makes sense.  I’ll go grab one and the horses then we’ll get a move on.  Whoever did this could still be nearby.”  Curry turned and trudged away.


“How’s he doin’?”  A pitiful cry answered the Kid.

“He’s waking up.  We need to stop and get some water in him,” said Heyes.

The trail had begun to climb again and they were in an area of dense Juniper and Pinyon Pine.  The tangled, scrubby trees would hide them well.  Curry pulled up in a clearing and dismounted.  Holding his horse with one rein he reached out and caught Heyes’ mare just below the bit and held her steady as his partner swung his right leg over the front of the saddle and slid to the ground with the child cradled safely in his arms.

“You’re lookin’ pretty comfortable with him, Heyes.  You sure you don’t have a passel of kids tucked away somewhere?”  teased Curry.

“None I know of; guess I come by it naturally.”  Heyes walked over and sat down cross-legged under a particularly shady snarl of branches.  The sun had climbed to its zenith and the day was growing hot.  “Hey, grab me my canteen, will ya?”

The Kid finished tying off the horses and lifted the canteen from around the saddle horn.  He sat down next to Heyes and passed it over.  “Can’t just pour water down his gullet, you know.  Here, take my bandana; it’s clean.”  He fished in his pocket for the square of calico cloth and drenched it with water.  “Put a corner in his mouth and give it a little bitty squeeze.  It’ll trickle water down into his mouth.”

Heyes took the cloth and the baby was soon suckling greedily at the dampened fabric.  “How’d you know to do that, Kid?”

“Saw my Pa do it once with an orphaned calf; worked just fine.”

Grinning, Heyes leaned back against the tree and closed his eyes.  “Funny the things you never even know you learned from your folks until you have reason to need ‘em.  Guess there was no call for you to remember until this little fella came along.”

Noting his partner’s wistful smile, the Kid said, “Don’t get attached to him, Heyes.  He ain’t ours.”

Angry brown eyes turned to him.  “I know!”

“Easy, partner, no need to get proddy.”

Relenting, Heyes relaxed.  “Sorry.”  He fell silent for a few minutes and then said, “Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be a parent?  Or whether we’ll ever get the chance to find out?”


“You’ve never thought about having a family?”  Heyes was amazed.  He’d always pegged the Kid as a potential family man.

“I don’t waste time thinkin’ ‘what-ifs’, Heyes, I’m too busy thinkin’ what now.  Seems like you might’ve given it a thought or two, though.”

“Yeah, and it’s never a pretty picture.”

“Why’d you say that?”

Shifting uncomfortably, Heyes saw the baby had fallen asleep again.  He tucked the crumpled bandana in his shirt pocket to stay clean for the next feeding and adjusted the small weight in his arms.  “What kind of parents do you think we’d be, Kid?”

“Good, I reckon.  After all, ridin’ herd on the Devil’s Hole gang couldn’t be too much different from child-rearin’.”  Curry chuckled at some of the absurd moments he’d had dealing with a bunch of knuckle-headed miscreants.

“I don’t know.”  Heyes wasn’t smiling.  He wore a pensive expression and the Kid waited to hear what was behind it.  It was a long time coming.  “Babies are easy.  You keep ‘em warm, keep ‘em full and love on them.  It’s when they’re older I worry about.”

“Heyes, you managed to keep order with the gang, I can’t imagine kids would be much harder.”

“I’m not talking about laying down the law to them.  What about setting an example?  I looked up to my pa and I know you did yours.  You think a kid would ever look up to us?”

“We ain’t so bad and we’re tryin’ real hard to be better.”

“It don’t matter, Kid.  The first time your kid asked you about what you did as a young man, what’re you gonna tell him?”

Curry didn’t say anything.  He stood up and looked down at the tableau before him.  The infant was obliviously sleeping in the arms of a notorious ex-outlaw.  “I ain’t talkin’ to you when you get like this, Heyes.”  The Kid walked over and used his floppy, brown hat to give the horses a swallow of the precious water.  A few minutes later, Heyes wandered over and handed him the babe while he remounted.  The Kid looked down at the peaceful countenance and understood just how far wrong his life had gone.  Handing the child up to Heyes, he mounted his own horse without a word.




“What do you think’s gonna happen to him?”  

They could see the fort in the distance.  They’d be there before dark.

“I don’t know.  I reckon they’ll try to find the rest of his family.  Shouldn’t be too hard.”  Curry could feel the small, bloodstained family bible he’d rescued from the wreckage resting in his shirt pocket.  The name inscribed inside the front cover had read ‘Jonas K. Tripton’.

“What if he doesn’t have any more family?  What if he ends up in an orphanage?  What if he ends up like us?”

“That’s a lot of ‘what-ifs’,” laughed Curry.    

“I’m serious.  Look at him.”  Heyes peered down at the little pale blue eyes looking up at him, hearing him more than seeing him.  “He already trusts me.  How am I gonna hand him over to a bunch of strangers without knowing what’s gonna happen to him?”

Rolling his eyes, the Kid sighed, “No one knows what’s gonna happen with their kids.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” said Heyes with little conviction.

“Who knows, maybe he’ll grow up and be President of the United States,” offered the Kid.

“Or he could travel the world and become a famous explorer.”  Heyes stroked the baby’s satiny cheek.

“A doctor, he’ll be a doctor and save lots of folks’ lives.”

“Whatever he becomes, I guess we’ll have a small hand in it by saving him,” said Heyes.

Curry turned and smiled at his partner.  “I reckon I know what we’d tell our own kids.”

“What’s that?”

“We’ll tell ‘em we made mistakes, but we tried our best not to hurt anyone and we even saved a life or two when we could.”

Heyes grinned happily.  “I reckon we will, partner.”


"You can only be young once. But you can always be immature." —Dave Barry
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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2015 Great Expectations   Jan 2015 Great Expectations Icon_minitimeSat Jan 31, 2015 9:55 am

Great Expectations

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry walked out of the saloon arguing.

“You lost the bet and owe me a dollar, Thaddeus!” Heyes said smugly.

Curry shook his head.  “You know I don’t have a dollar.  Besides, you probably cheated somehow.”

“You don’t have a dollar, but you do have that Half Eagle in your boot.”  Heyes grinned.  “Bet you didn’t think I knew about that, did you?”

The Kid turned abruptly and muttered.  “Whatever happened to sharin’ and it all bein’ our money.”

“Hey, where are you going?” Heyes asked as he followed after his partner.

“To the bank so I can get change for the half eagle and give you your dollar to shut you up!”  Curry leaned against a hitching rail and toed off his left boot.  He reached inside, pulled out the gold coin and pocketed it before putting his boot back on.  “Are you comin’?”

Heyes and the Kid walked up onto the boardwalk and entered the bank.  A man with a gun shut the door behind them.  “Raise your hands, boys!” he demanded.

Curry and Heyes closed their eyes and sighed as they raised their hands into the air and felt their guns being lifted from their holsters.

“Well, we sure walked in at a bad time!”  Heyes grumbled.  “You just had to go to the bank, didn’t you?”

The Kid hissed back, “You were the one goin’ on about wantin’ his dollar.”

Guns nudged their backs.  “Just get over there with the rest of the folks.”

The two men complied and tried to stand behind the folks cowering in the corner.

“Zeke, there’s just the money in the tellers’ drawers and it ain’t much,” a man with a bandana covering his lower face complained as he emptied the drawer of money into his sack.

“I told you not to use names!” the apparent leader of the gang barked.  “If that darn manager hadn’t shut the safe…”

Heyes and Curry noticed an elderly, port man crumpled on the floor by the Brooker 303.

“Do we know a Zeke?” Heyes whispered so only Curry could hear.

The Kid shook his head.

A shorter, dirty-blond outlaw, who had his gun trained on the customers, began to stare at them.  He walked over to Heyes and then Curry, his face inches away.  “I know you!  Hey, I know him!”  He turned to his leader.  “Do you know who this is?”

Zeke looked irritated.  “Why should I?”

“’cause this here is Kid Curry!  I’d recognize him from anywhere.”

Zeke showed an interested as Heyes and Curry looked at each other confused.

“Kid Curry?” Heyes asked dumbfounded.  “That’s my buddy, Thaddeus… Thaddeus Jones!”  He chuckled.  “Kid Curry!  Why Thaddeus could hit the side of a barn if he had to.”

Zeke came up to Heyes and slapped him across the face.  “Shut up!”

Heyes put a finger to his cheek and glared.

“What makes you think this is Kid Curry?” Zeke looked intently at the Kid.

“My cousin Kyle is part of the Devil’s Hole Gang.”  The scared customers shrunk further into the corner away from Heyes and the Kid.  “I met up with him while they was hurrahing after a robbery.  I saw Curry draw.  Woo wee was he fast!  Never seen anything like it!”

Zeke stood in front of the Kid and looked him in the eye.  “Are you Kid Curry?”

Curry swallowed and shook his head.  “Nope.  I’m just a drifter who must look like him.  The name’s Thaddeus Jones.”

“I swear he’s the Kid!” the shorter outlaw exclaimed.

“If he really is Kid Curry, then you…”  He turned and stared at Heyes.  “… you must be Hannibal Heyes. Is this Hannibal Heyes?”

“Kyle pointed him out, but he was sittin’ at a table playin’ poker.  I can’t be sure.”

“Do any of you folks know these men?” he asked the townsfolk.  When they shook their heads, Zeke grinned.  “This must be my lucky day!”  He turned to his gang and pointed to men giving orders.  “You watch out the front and tell me if anyone else is comin’ this way.  You watch the folks over there.  You watch out the back.”  He faced Heyes and the Kid his gun pointed at the Kid’s chest.  “And you two come with me.”

He pushed them over to the other side of the bank and into the back area where the safe was.  He nudged Curry in the back with his gun.  “You sit down in that corner and don’t move!”  The Kid went over and slid down onto the floor.  “I have great expectations from the great Hannibal Heyes… open that safe!”

Heyes sighed.  “I’m sure the great Hannibal Heyes could open that safe…”

“Just open it or your friend’s a goner!” Zeke threatened.

“Joshua Smith doesn’t know how to,” Heyes muttered as he stepped across the manager.  “Is he still alive?”

“Yeah, I just hit him over the head.  He’ll have a whopper of a headache.”

Heyes stared at the safe and his fingers automatically caressed the tumbler.  He tried pulling down the latch.

“You can’t open it that way.  You gotta put your ear up to the safe and listen for the tumblers!” Zeke practically shouted in frustration.  “Are you sure this is Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes?”

“I’m purty shore that’s Kid Curry.”  The dirty-blond pointed to the Kid in the corner.  “I said I weren’t sure about that’ bein’ Heyes, though it does look like ‘im.”

Zeke stood next to Curry, knocked the Kid’s hat off, and aimed his gun.  “Open the safe or he’s dead.”

Heyes swallowed and took his hat off.  He put an ear to the safe and began playing with the tumblers, occasionally trying to pull down the latch.  

After about ten minutes, Zeke grew impatient.  “Why isn’t it open?”

“I tried to tell you that I’m not Hannibal Heyes – I’m Joshua Smith, a drifter looking for a job,” Heyes said exasperated.  

“We gotta go!” Zeke declared.  “Let’s get outta here while we can.”

The bank robbers gathered by the back door.  “You folks stay put until we leave!”  They filed out of the door, mounted their waiting horses and galloped out of town.

Heyes offered a hand and helped Curry up as the customers and tellers shockingly began to leave and tend to the bank manager.

“So, Joshua,” the Kid whispered.  “What’s the combination to the safe?”

Heyes grinned.  “1 – 31 – 40.”

"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
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PostSubject: Great Expectations - Quotes and Allusions   Jan 2015 Great Expectations Icon_minitimeSat Jan 31, 2015 2:54 pm

Author’s Note.
This story is the next to final chapter in Freedom of the Press, Part 1.
Chapter 1: Freedom of the Press, Virtual Season 2014
Chapter 2: Flashback, September 2014 Challenge Story
Chapter 3: The Best Laid Plans, October 2014 Challenge Story
Chapter 4: Hard on the Back, November 2014 Challenge Story
Chapter 5: Great Expectations, January 2015 Challenge Story
Chapter 6: A Sleight Case of Heist, Virtual Season 2014

This story quotes or alludes to the following excerpts  from Dickens' Great Expectations (1861) Can you find them?

"We were equals afterwards, as we had been before; but, afterwards at quiet times when I sat looking at Joe and thinking about him, I had a new sensation of feeling conscious that I was looking up to Joe in my heart." Chapter 7

" . . . think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day." Chapter 9

"I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born in opposition to the dictates of reason, religion, and morality, and against the arguments of my best friends." Chapter 4

"If you can't get to be oncommon through going straight, you'll never get to do it through going crooked." Chapter 9

"There have been occasions in my later life (I suppose as in most lives) when I have felt for a time as if a thick curtain had fallen on all its interest and romance, to shut me out from anything save dull endurance any more. Never has that curtain dropped so heavy and blank, as when my way in life lay stretched out straight before me through the newly-entered road of apprenticeship to Joe." Chapter 14


Great Expectations - Quotes and Allusions

‘At Lloyd’s Saloon’
“Let us go, for the love of Patrick and all the saints, let us go!” The two Irish gangsters' faces were twisted in pain from the position Heyes and Curry had left them.  

“Hold on, you're not being arrested for murder. The sheriff will be here soon and get you out of those handcuffs.”

“Ith do chuid cac féin.” 1.

The Sunday crowd of men all laughed, enjoying the entertainment. "We know what you said,” one chided. “Watch your language, or we'll give you soap to eat.”

A few men noticed a lady, dressed in black, stepping inside. One of the men gasped. “Look, Anne Mayfield!”
“What is she doing here?” another asked, “on a Sunday?”

“I expect she’s here on a mission,” someone answered. “She’s finally decided to shut the place down!”
Men started towards the back door exit except Lloyd, his bartender, and the four men holding guns at the gangsters.

“Lloyd, where are all those men going?" Anne asked as she started towards the bar.

"Well Anne, they’re leaving because it's Sunday and they figure that you...”

“Now you men stay where you are!” Anne called out.  “I know men gotta eat; without a wife there’s no place to eat in this town on Sunday except Lloyd’s place.”

"Thank you ma'm.  How can I help you on this fine Sunday then?”

Anne stopped in front of the two prisoners.  She slowly looked at them, from head to foot.

"Lloyd, I've been in your place twice now and both times somebody's been cuffed to this bar!"

Jan 2015 Great Expectations Bar-ra10

"Ma'am, these two are under arrest for trying to make this place into a gambling saloon.  Now don't stand too close to them, they'll kick you for sure.  They're nasty, nasty, men.”

“Fink tú! Eat cac,” one of the gangsters retorted.

"Hey! Bí ciúin,” Lloyd shot back.

Anne looked at Lloyd, and then back at the gangsters. "Gamblin' saloon!  Are you talking about that wagon load of gamblin' machines sittin' in front of your place?

“Yes ma'am,” Lloyd said.

“He ordered them,” one of the gangsters hissed.

"D'ordaigh sé dóibh," the other gangster growled.

“I did not - I didn't want any part of them,” Lloyd retorted.

Ní raibh mé - ní raibh mé ag iarraidh aon chuid díobh..."

Anne held out her hand. "You three better speak English or you're all in trouble.”

"Yes ma'am," Lloyd said.

One of the gangsters turned to Anne;   "FXXX tú, soith,” spitting the words into her face.

"Such language!” Anne exclaimed. “Lloyd, gobán orthu - úsáid a bhaint as na tuáillí barra."

"Yes ma'am! I didn't know you spoke Irish!” Lloyd and his bartender went behind the bar and gagged the two with bar towels.

“Lloyd, I need your expert advice.”  All the men in the saloon looked closely as she took a small glass bottle out of her purse and placed it in front of Lloyd.

Anne looked Lloyd square in the eye.  "What is this?"

Lloyd inspected the unmarked bottle, opened the cap and held it near his nose. "It's hooch ma'am."

Anne gave him an incriminating look.

"It's not from here ma'am.  It's homemade whiskey.  We don't sell anything like this."
He took another whiff. "It's bad too."  He took another, longer whiff and his face curled. "It's bad homemade whiskey, real bad."

"How bad Lloyd?  Tell me the truth, how bad?  Would it make someone sick?"

Lloyd looked at Anne.  Fear, bordering on panic, had crossed her face. He paused for a moment, closed the cap, and set the bottle down.  "It's bad homemade whiskey ma'am.  It could made someone sick, maybe real sick."

Lloyd and all the men around him watched Anne's face change from fear and panic to anger and grief. "Frank!" she cried out, "my Frank!" She turned on her heels and ran out.

Lloyd looked at the men around him.  Their eyes were fixed on the bottle on the table; their faces were white as a dead man's sheets.

‘At the Sherriff’s Office’
"Gentlemen, gentlemen," DeVore said as he stood up greeted Lom and Brainard through his cell bars, "how can I assist you two fine sheriffs?"

"Well Mr. Devore," Brainard began, "there are two handcuffed gentlemen over at Lloyd's saloon that I am about to arrest for soliciting, and attempting to extort, the saloon owner to install rigged gambling machines.  They claim that you, Mr. DeVore, made a deal with Lloyd for the two gentlemen to come ‘round monthly to collect the proceeds.  They further claim that you had arranged for them to pay 5% off the top to me, for them to then take 40% of what remained, leaving the rest to Lloyd. I thought you might want to comment on that now before I bring them over.  They will be sharing the cell with you until the Marshall moves you three to more commodious accommodations."

DeVore jolted back. "They’re here so soon! Sherriff, I implore you; move me out of this cell.  Those men are animals.  If you bring them in here they will kill me in an instant."

Brainard glanced over at Lom who gave him a knowing look.  "DeVore,” Brainard continued “you know all I have is that drunk tank over there.  It’s too small to even lie down in."
"You must move me, or you will have a dead prisoner.  I will gather my things."  DeVore rushed over and started to throw his few belongings together in a heap.

Brainard turned to Lom, "get Jones in here.  Have him keep an eye on DeVore while I move him over."

Lom went back to the office. Heyes and Curry looked at Lom, “Well, what happened in there?” Curry asked.

"He knows them alright.  He knew they were coming; he was surprised they arrived so soon. He wants to be moved to the drunk-tank, he says he's a dead man if they move in with him.”

Heyes and Curry glanced at other and then look back at Lom.  “Jones,” Lom said with a playful smirk, “Brainard wants you to watch while he moves DeVore over to the drunk-tank."

Curry entered the jail area and Lom closed and locked the door behind him. "Brainard, you want me to keep an eye on him for a while?

"Yea, he's pretty shook up."

DeVore's and Curry's eyes met as he walked over to the tiny cell.  DeVore clutched his little heap of belongings tightly, like he was afraid Curry or Brainard would snatch them away.  He was a man at the end of his tether; he looked like he was headed for the gallows.  

After Brainard left, DeVore and Curry stared at each other. Curry was struck by DeVore’s eyes; they were completely blank.  He had noticed it before, but never thought about it much, until now. DeVore was a fine talker, but his eyes had no emotion.  Here was a complete charlatan Curry thought to himself, an empty shell of a man.

DeVore kept staring at Curry, clutching his little heap of belongings. After a while Curry felt so disgusted with DeVore he moved his hat down over his eyes so he could watch DeVore under the shadow of his brim.

The pastor, his wife and Marjory burst into the sheriff’s office. Lom, Brainard and Heyes looked up in surprise.

“Have you seen Anne?” Marjory asked.  “She left the house in a frightful temper.”

“Yes,” the pastor offered. “We were finishing dessert and speaking of her late husband Frank.  Suddenly she stood up, went to the kitchen, and never returned!”

“She didn’t say goodbye,” the pastor’s wife added.

Curry’s mind wandered as he watched DeVore. ‘Here was a master criminal, like himself,’ Curry thought. Curry startled himself; he became aware that he was looking at DeVore with respect, like he was his teacher.

Suddenly Curry felt claustrophobic, like he was caged too.  And then it happened.

A rifle when off outside the jail wall. A second shot rang out, like someone was target shooting in the street in front of Lloyd’s saloon. DeVore stood, terrified.

Curry ran over to office door and began knocking. “Hey Lom,” he yelled through the door bars, “Brainard, what’s going on? “

Another rifle shot rang out.  Curry looked back at the cell. DeVore was raising something to his mouth. DeVore had been hiding poison in his little heap, and now he aimed to use it.

Curry turned to stop him.  Then, for a split second, he hesitated.  ‘I should let him die – he’s an enemy for sure and if he lives he’ll kill me, or try to get me behind bars, like Lom said.’ he thought. ‘But what if he doesn’t die? Then he’ll incriminate me – claiming I tried to poison him.  Then Lom will have to arrest me and have a trial.’

Another shot rang out.  Curry reached in the cell and grabbed DeVore’s arm.  DeVore dropped the pellet and reached down to retrieve it. “Let me have it!” he exclaimed, “let me die!”

“It’s Anne,” Heyes yelled from the office door. “She’s shooting up the gambling machines in front of Lloyd’s.”

“Come over and help me” Curry yelled.  “DeVore’s is trying to poison himself.” Curry struggled to hold on to DeVore’s arm as Devore struggled to reach down.

Heyes reached in the cell and grabbed the pill off the floor.  “Thanks DeVore, this might come in handy some day.”

“Gentlemen please,” DeVore pleaded, “let me die in peace.  Those two will kill me like an animal!”
Heyes was about to drop the pill in his breast pocket, but looked up at Curry and hesitated.

“Fellas, get over here pronto,” Lom called out from the office door as another rifle shot ran out.

Heyes and Curry left DeVore in his cell and joined Lom in the office. “All hell’s about to break loose,” Lom said. “Get on to Zeider’s; I’ll watch the prisoner.”

“What about the other two,” Curry asked, “Can you and Brainard handle all three?”

“Don’t worry about them. The Marshall’s office will be here very soon and take them to the Nebraska pen.”
Heyes acted surprised “Oh really? They must be high-dollar crooks to get that treatment.”  Then he reached in his pocket and gave Lom the poison pill. “Deputy Jones grabbed this off of DeVore as he was about to swallow it.  He pleaded with us to let him die.”

“No wonder,” said Lom.  “The governors of Nebraska, Illinois, and New York want to get their hands on DeVore.  And you two increased your chances at amnesty 90% by arresting him and saving his life.”
Curry and Heyes tipped their hats and let go a silent whistle.

“Now high tail it outta’ here before some reporter shows up.”

“Yes sir,” they both answered.

Heyes and Curry stepped out on the street.  Nearly the whole town had assembled in front of Lloyd’s saloon to cheer Anne on.

Jan 2015 Great Expectations Susan_11

“Now Anne,” the pastor implored, “haven’t you shot enough.  I think you’ve made your point.”
“No pastor,” Anne replied as she pulled back on the bolt handle, “I’m doing the Lord’s work and I ain’t finishin’ until all those gamblin machines are consigned to the rubbish heap o’ hell.”

“This brought a loud cheer from the assembled crowd.

The sheriff turned to Marjory. “This is going get Anne into trouble with the law.”

“No sir,” replied Marjory. “This is perfect.  If she is sued, we will require that the true and rightful owner of those gambling machines step forward to bring the suit.  And that will never happen.  No one is going to claim those machines, especially when they will have to answer to those two gangsters in the witness stand.”  

“That so?”

“Yes sir. That’s how it’s handled in New York and Chicago.  They destroy the machines, no one ever steps forward.”

Brainard walked back into his office and looked around for Lom. He was about to call out when a young man walked through the door.  

“Good afternoon; can I help you?” Brainard said.

“Good afternoon, Sheriff Brainard? I am Timothy Lavant, reporter with the Mayfield Sun.  I am here to cover the DeVore story. Why is that lady shooting?”

‘On the Road Again’
Heyes and the Kid started down the road out of town toward the Circle Z ranch.  The Kid turned to Heyes. “OK, looks like we can finally talk.”

“Again,” said Heyes.

“Too bad about that town, it was trouble from the first day. I was lookin’ ta settle in for a spell, play some cards, and make some money.”

“Then some confidence man comes along,” hurts widows, makes the bar close early, makes the sheriff arrest town strangers,” Heyes continued the sad story.

The Kid tried to put a bright side to the tale. “Then the con man turned those strangers into town heroes and they were crowned with laurel leaves of sainthood by the town pastor.”

Jan 2015 Great Expectations Sainth10

“Those strangers were wearing laurel leaves of saintly honor,” Heyes continued, “but they got hoodwinked again by that con man.  They were condemned to wander a long road in Wyoming and Nebraska until they collect their heavenly reward.”

“Looks like that’s their fate; ride that long road or sit in jail until they end up in the other place,” concluded the Kid.  “It’s like DeVore teaching us a lesson.”

"That’s right Kid. If you can't get to be oncommon through going straight, you'll never get to do it through going crooked."

“That’s a pretty good one Heyes.”

“Thanks; but it’s not mine. I read it in book – can’t remember the book though. Anyway, sometimes I feel like our lives don’t make any sense; like we were born only because someone lost an argument.”

The two men rode on silently, lost in their thoughts. Then the Kid stopped his horse.  “Someone is coming up the road, can you make it out Heyes.”

Heyes stopped his horse. “You’ve got better eyes than I do.  Let’s pull off to the side, near that big rock.”  The two men moved their horses off the road and brought them beside a large rock about two-hundred feet from the road.

After a while a small, stocky rider approached, on an equally small, stocky mount.  He stopped in the middle of the road, right where the men had turned off.  “Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones – it’s Josh.  I know you’re out there, probably by that big rock. Am I right?”

Heyes and Curry turned to each other stunned. “It is Josh,” whispered the Kid. “How did he know we were here?”

Heyes called out to Josh. “How did you know we were here?”

“I saw two riders off the road right at this spot. I was ‘spectin you two’d come to the ranch after lunch and talkin’ to the sheriff. Course Anne Mayfield made ya’ and the sheriff go to church, right?”

The Kid led his horse out from around the rock. “Josh, you spooked us.  You’re good, real good.”

“Don’t think nothin’ of it Mr. Smith,” Josh replied. “You don’t want me for an enemy, that’s all.”

Heyes rode up alongside Josh. “So I guess you know why we’re here. The sheriff figures if Feldon gets the money he’ll straighten things out with his boys.”

“That should do it,” Josh said.

“So what are we getting’ into Josh?” the Kid asked. “Is this going to be an easy job?”

“Should be, for deputies like you,” Josh replied.

“No Josh; not that way. I mean, is there going to be any shooting?” Heyes asked.

“Old Man Zeider will take your word for it.  He won’t like it, but he’ll believe you.” Josh answered. “His sons though, no telling what they’ll do.  Best to let Zeider handle them.”

Soon the men came to the top of a rise. They stopped and looked out over the valley below.  “This is an impressive ranch Josh,” Heyes said. “We heard that it’s been here for some time.”

“It’s one of the originals,” Josh added, “it’s been here since the territory opened, maybe a little before. It’s still keeps us busy, but not like it used too.”

Josh’s eyes locked onto something in the distance, away from the road. “We got trouble, those braves are ridin’ in. You fellas hurry on down to the big ranch house and talk to Feldon.  These braves are goin’ to the old mud house where the girls are; I’ll keep an eye out.”

That said, he took off at full gallop down a right fork in the road.  The boys looked at each other. “What the…,” the Kid said.

Heyes and Curry rode up the ranch house, tied their horses near the water trough and stepped over to the porch. The Kid rang a bell that hung near the door. An older man appeared; probably in his mid seventies. He looked at their faces, then at their deputies’ badges, down at their guns, and finally at their boots.

“Good afternoon sir,” Heyes began. “I am Deputy Smith and this is Deputy Jones.  We are deputies of sheriff Brainard from Saddle Creek.  We have an urgent matter to discuss with Mr. Feldon Zeider.”

“I am Feldon Zeider. What’s this urgent matter?” the old man asked in an abrasive tone.

“It concerns the safety of people at this ranch, sir,” Heyes replied.

The old man kept looking at the two suspiciously. “Well, if you’ve come from sheriff Brainard . . . are you planning to arrest anyone?”

“No sir,” Heyes replied. “The sheriff told us if you are informed; you’ll take care of the matter on your own.”

Zeider stiffened and began to close the door, “I take care of everything that goes on here!”

Mr. Zeider sir,” the Kid added quickly, “we met Josh up the road; he told us to talk to you.”

“Well, if you’ve come with Josh’s introduction, I’ll let you in.”2.

Author’s Note.
1. Translations are available at:
2. The final chapter of Freedom of the Press, Part 1, starts in Virtual Season 2014, “A Sleight Case of Heist”, Scene Two, The Crusty Old Man, fifth paragraph.
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