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 Sept 15 - Running Late

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Age : 56
Location : Birmingham

Sept 15 - Running Late Empty
PostSubject: Sept 15 - Running Late   Sept 15 - Running Late Icon_minitimeTue Sep 01, 2015 11:56 am

As anyone who has read the August poll knows, I am stuck in the office...

So, from a yawning cat, a little thought out challenge this month:

RUNNING LATE wheel wheel wheel

For any ladies whose home address I have (you know who you are)
You should have had a lovely postcard from the Lofoten Islands with a lovely Norweigan stamp with Viking ships on - but, wherever they've gone, they didn't cross the sea. Sigh.
I did post 'em - honest!
Never mind.
(My mum never got hers either.)
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Sept 15 - Running Late Empty
PostSubject: Re: Sept 15 - Running Late   Sept 15 - Running Late Icon_minitimeTue Sep 01, 2015 12:56 pm

Well if they are Viking postcards they will be coming by longship. Let's hope the postman just rows harder.

Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something or only thought we did: Edison
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Location : London, England

Sept 15 - Running Late Empty
PostSubject: Re: Sept 15 - Running Late   Sept 15 - Running Late Icon_minitimeFri Sep 04, 2015 4:53 pm

Running Late
By Maz McCoy

“Heyes, you sure about this?” Kid asked as he sat on his horse looking down at the long expanse of railroad track in the valley below. His eyes followed the parallel rails as they disappeared off into the distance.
“Of course I’m sure,” Heyes stated, indignantly. Sitting on his own horse next to Kid, he shifted in the saddle and gave his friend a look. “Maybe you’re the one that’s not up to it?”
“I know what I have to do. When the 4.20 comes through here tomorrow, we’ll stop it. You just worry about opening the safe.”
“Piece of cake,” Heyes informed him confidently.
Kid scoffed. “That’s what you said about the last one and it turned out to be a Pierce and Hamilton’78.”
“I’d have opened it. We just didn’t have enough time. And who puts a Pierce and Hamilton on a train?”
“The Union Pacific Railroad.”
Deciding to change the subject, Heyes pointed at the trees into which the train tracks disappeared. “Kyle should be in there with the boys.”
“Hope he took more than dynamite with him.”
“Preacher will have an axe if no one else does. Just as long as they get the logs ready to put on the track, I don’t care how they get them.” Heyes fished in his jacket pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper. He opened it and studied it.
“What?” Kid asked when he saw his partner frown.
“I think we should head down there.”
“This map’s pretty old and…” Heyes folded the paper and returned it to his pocket.
Kid’s suspicions were aroused, “What, Heyes?”
“Nothing. I’m sure everything is fine, there’s just something I want to check.”
Without another word he urged his horse down into the valley.

Following the railway tracks, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry rode out of the trees into the sunshine and immediately knew something was wrong. The sound of metal-on-metal reached their ears. Over the nearest rise a plume of grey smoke rose slowly into the air, swirling its way higher and higher. If Kid wasn’t going completely crazy he was sure he could hear men singing. He exchanged a look with his partner.
Heyes shrugged and they rode on.
When they reached the top of the rise all became clear. Before them was a railroad camp. The soil was churned up and muddy. Tents that had once been white but were now grey and mud-caked stood in a row some distance away.  Laundry hung between them flapped in the breeze. A wagon rolled by piled high with boxes and barrels.  A few men lounged around smoking or drinking something that only resembled the colour of whiskey. They eyed the newcomers suspiciously as they rode by. Scantily clad women beckoned to them with lewd offers. A swaggering Irishman extolled the virtues of his makeshift gambling house. The partners ignored them and rode on.
On the other side of the camp they reached the source of the metal-on-metal sound. Several black men were singing as they laid railway tracks. Further along the line more men were digging out the ground with pickaxes in preparation for the rails to come. In short, the line wasn’t finished.
Kid Curry pulled his horse to a halt and looked at his friend.
Heyes looked back.
“The track isn’t finished.”
“I can see that, Kid.”
“How the heck is the 4.20 gonna run through here if the damn line isn’t even finished?”
“That could be a problem,” Heyes admitted.
“A problem? It’s more than a prob…”
“Hey, you there!” The partners’ turned their heads at the man’s cry. “You fellas!” Their gaze focussed on a tall dark-haired man striding deliberately toward them. He wore a black mud-splattered vest over a grey mud-splattered shirt, black mud-splattered pants tucked into black mud-splattered boots. His hair was long and poked out from beneath his black mud-splattered hat. He rubbed a hand across his grey-flecked beard and spat a gloop of tobacco juice into the mud as he reached them. “You fellas looking for work?”
“Not at the moment,” Heyes informed him.
The man looked resigned to the fact. “Pity. I could use a few more hands.”
Kid pointed a finger at the tracks. “I thought this line was finished.”
The man nodded sadly. “Yeah, it shoulda been. We’re running behind. Had a spot o’ trouble with Indians, the Government, Mormons, a Norwegian Swede and a bear. That’s why I could do with your help. I need men digging out the track ahead. I need men laying track behind us.” He reached out a hand to them. “Name’s Bohannon, Cullen Bohannon.”
Heyes shook his hand. “Joshua Smith.”
Bohannon turned to Kid and offered his hand again.
Kid froze. Blue eyes met green ones. “I’ve heard of you,” he stated.
Bohannon’s hand dropped to his side and he took a step back. “What’s your name?”
“Thaddeus Jones.”
The railroad man’s gaze did not waver. “I reckon I heard of you too.”
“We’re not looking for trouble, here,” Heyes interjected.
“Neither am I,” Bohannon informed him, his gaze still on Kid, assessing him.
Heyes looked from Kid to Bohannon. “We’re just passing through. Thaddeus maybe we should…”
“You know a gal from Michigan?” Bohannon asked, his eyes narrowing in recognition as he looked at the man calling himself Thaddeus Jones.
“I do.”
“I heard her speak about you.”
“I heard her speak of you too, but then I reckon I knew her first.”
Cullen took another step back. “I guess you fellas should be on your way.”
Kid agreed. “Good idea.” He turned his horse away from the railroad man. Relieved, Heyes did the same. Kid swivelled in the saddle to look at Bohannon once more. “If you see her before I do, give her my regards.”
Cullen smiled. “I’ll do that.” He touched a finger to the brim of his hat.
Kid Curry did the same.

Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something or only thought we did: Edison
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Sept 15 - Running Late Empty
PostSubject: Running Late   Sept 15 - Running Late Icon_minitimeSun Sep 13, 2015 1:19 pm


Heyes checked the time on his fob-watch, snapped it shut and put it back into his top-pocket.  His scowl had deepened.  Six o'clock.

“I'm going to flatten him when he gets here,” he muttered to himself.

His partner was late. Very late.  Twenty-four hours late to be exact.  The boys had split up to do a couple of days work separately, arranging to meet at the small town of Lawton when it was done.  The rendez-vous had been for the previous day at six in the evening.  So where was Kid?

Heyes had actually been late himself yesterday.  But only by a couple of hours. He'd arrived at nine,  travel-stained and weary, expecting to find the Kid there, waiting for him with a hotel-room booked.  But he hadn't been there.   No telegram.  No explanation.

Heyes preferred feeling mad to feeling worried.  So as the hours passed he'd let himself feel mad.  Now he was having trouble staying mad.  Time came and went without the Kid's showing up, and he was finding it harder and harder to suppress the worry.  Heyes had finally gone to bed at one o'clock the night before, but the Kid wasn't there next morning, not even for breakfast.  Nor lunch.


Three o'clock.

Five o'clock.

Where was he?

Just as Heyes was about to let go of his final shred of anger and give way totally to worry, he saw a familiar, if weary, figure appear at the far end of the main street.  Could it be?  He shaded his eyes and watched the blond-haired figure ride towards him.  As his worry receded, his temper rose.  He was so relieved.

“Where the hell have you been?” he demanded as Kid reined his horse to a stop at the board-walk outside the hotel.

“And Hi to you too!” retorted the Kid.  

He paused, wearily drew himself together and dismounted.  He tied the horse's leathers to the rail and mounted the steps of the hotel without once looking at his partner.

* * * * *

The storm was over.  It was an hour later and the boys had finished yelling at each other. Now, bathed, shaved and fed, they were buying a couple of drinks in the town's saloon.

“So you couldn't deliver the documents?” said Heyes.  This delivery had been the reason for the Kid's trip.

“I had to give them to McTavish's lawyer. When I asked for Richard McTavish, they said 'You mean the late Richard McTavish.' ”

“The late?”  

“ The late. He was buried last week. So I just handed the papers over to his lawyer.  You managed to drop off your stuff, didn't you?  How come you were late arriving here?  Three hours, did you say?”
“ My horse lost a shoe.  Took me about twice as long to get back as it should have done.  I was running late.”

“Me too.” said Kid. “There was no way I could have got here last night. Not after my train was cancelled.  Then they spent the whole of this morning saying one was coming soon.  But it just got later and later.  They still hadn't got the track fixed by the time I gave up on it and decided to hire a horse.”

“What'd happened to the track?”

“Some gang had ripped it up so's they could rob the train.”


“Makes people late.”

The boys sipped reflectively at their drinks for a moment, then Heyes said:

“Why didn't you send me a telegram?”

“I did.”

“It didn't get here.”

“No wonder you bawled me out.”

“Sorry about that, Kid.”

“Doesn't matter.”

It was at this moment that a young man with rolled-up shirt-sleeves pushed through the swing-doors of the saloon.

“Mr Smith?  Mr Smith?  Telegram for Mr Smith!”

“Over here!”  Heyes raised his hand.

The telegraph-clerk pushed his way over to them and gave Heyes the slip of paper.

“Sorry, Mr Smith,” he said.  The line's down.  The messages aren't getting through on time.  They're all late.”

Kid and Heyes exchanged a long, eloquent look.

“You don't say,” said Heyes at last.  “Thanks anyway.”  He unfolded the telegram.

“Who's it from?”  asked Kid.


“What do I say?”

“You're going to be late.”

They sat in a meaningful silence for a minute.  Then Kid stretched and said:  “I think I'll turn in soon.  It's been a long day.”

“Isn't it a bit early?”

“Early?  Yes!  Makes a nice change!”

Heyes grinned and gave Kid a friendly slap on the shoulder.  Then the boys pushed back their chairs and made their way out of the saloon.  As they went, Heyes re-wound his watch.
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Sept 15 - Running Late Empty
PostSubject: Re: Sept 15 - Running Late   Sept 15 - Running Late Icon_minitimeTue Sep 29, 2015 9:00 pm

Unlike the prompt, running a little early this month because, like Calico, am busy tomorrow. It's way over word limit, but since it's not polling, presume that's okay.

Vengeance Be Mine

“Let’s see.  Two pounds flour.  Two pounds bacon.  Two pounds oats.  Pound of coffee.  Half dozen apples.  Six boxes of bullets.  Tin of gun oil.  One box rifle cartridges.  That’s everything on your list.”  The storekeeper looked up.  “Guess you boys’ll be on the trail a while.”

Heyes nodded.  “Yep.  Have to see about a job in Grand Tier.”

“That’s a good long ride from here.  This should hold you with some left over.” The merchant figured on a sheet of paper.  “That’ll be eight dollars even.”

Heyes pulled a wad of bills from his pocket.  “That’s highway robbery.”  He peeled eight dollars from the roll.

“Shipping costs are dear to get the supply wagons up the mountain.  Not like we’re near a railhead.”  

Kid Curry perused a book.  He held it up.  “Add this.”

The storekeeper said, “We just got those in.  It’ll be another twenty-five cents.”

“But it’s a dime novel.”

“It’s a dime in the flatlands.  Two bits up these parts.”

Curry frowned.

“Still want it?”

“Yep.  But at those prices, I won’t be buyin’ another one.”  Kid stuffed it into his jacket pocket.

Heyes smirked.  He laid a coin on the counter.  “A book, Thaddeus?”

“You’re not the only one who can read, Joshua.”

Heyes smiled.  “Never said you couldn’t.  Not like you to do it, though.”

Curry rolled his eyes.

As the merchant packed the supplies into two gunny sacks, Kid set aside the seven boxes of ammunition on the counter.  “These should go in a separate bag.”

“Sure.  Here you go.”  The storekeeper handed Curry another sack.  The Fastest Gun in the West placed the ammo in the bag, knotting it shut.  

Heyes grabbed the two sacks off the counter.  Nodding a goodbye to the merchant, he strode toward the door.  Kid fell in step behind him.


The partners rode along, Heyes taking in the high country scenery and Curry with his nose in his book.  

“You know, Kid, ain’t every day we’re up this high.  Nice to see some green and bristlecone instead of brown everywhere.”


“I mean, the desert’s nice but up here …”


“I think I prefer it up here this time of year – it’s a lot cooler.”


Heyes frowned.  “Kid, there’s some dust in the valley.  Must be a posse.”


Heyes trailed his horse alongside Curry and snatched the book from the blond ex-outlaw.


“Ah, finally got your attention.  Scary, but you’re reminding me of me.”  Heyes smirked.  Turning his attention to the book, he read from the cover, “The latest adventures of those two notorious outlaws, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry – all new, true, and right off the press!”  He laughed.  “Okay, what have we done this time?”

Curry grabbed the book back from Heyes.  “So far, robbed a train and a bank and shot up a stagecoach.”

Heyes grinned.  “We’ve been busy.”  He sobered.  “But, when will they get it straight.  We didn’t rob stagecoaches and didn’t shoot anybody.”

Kid flipped through the volume.  “Okay, here’s where I was.  It’s gettin’ strange.”

“How so?”

Curry looked at Heyes.  “A girl’s vowin’ to get revenge on us for killin’ her father.”  He focused again on the book.

Heyes sighed.  “See, there it is again.  We didn’t shoot anybody.”

“Oh, wait, she’s sayin’ he committed suicide.”  Kid looked up.  “He owned the bank we robbed.”

“Oh.  Which one?”

“Doesn’t say, and doesn’t matter.  It’s not real, remember?”

“Oh yeah.  Forgot, but the cover says it’s true.”  Heyes scanned the valley.  “Was just kidding about the posse.”

“Posse?!”  Kid Curry reached for his Colt.

“Nah, was just funning ya when I couldn’t get your attention.”

“Oh.”  Kid re-holstered the sidearm, then found his place in the book.

“How ‘bout reading to me?”

“It’s a dime novel, Heyes.  You’re always makin’ fun of me readin’ ‘em.”

“But it’s about us, even if they got it wrong.”

Curry looked at his partner.  Heyes was smiling.  “Yeah, it’s about us, but don’t expect too nice a picture.”

The dark-haired man said, “I want to hear about the girl getting revenge.”

“Okay.”  Curry started to read out loud.  “She swept the floor in the saloon …”


“Sweeping again?  You can eat off this floor.  Why don’t’cha let me buy you a drink?”

The young woman continued her task, deftly and expertly moving the broom.  Without breaking a stride, she replied, “Not again, Ham.  You know better than that.  I know the rules, and I won’t be breaking them.”

Ham strode from behind the bar to face the girl.  “Delia, you’re too good for this.”  He put his hand on the broom.

Delia pulled it back.  “I’m paid to do a job, and I aim to do it right.  You of all people, Hamilton Higgs, should know I need the money.”

Higgs stared at her.  “Money needn’t be a worry.  You know that, too.”

The young woman stopped and faced him.  “And you know I appreciate it, but I can’t …”

“Yes, you can.”  His voice raised slightly.  “Isn’t it time you put that dang fool notion to bed and moved on?”

“To what?”

Ham sighed.  “Delia, do I really need to say it again?”

“No.  I suppose not.”  She recommenced her sweeping.

He circled to her front and forcefully grabbed the broom.  Delia regarded him for a moment before turning.  Walking behind the bar at the far end, she positioned herself in front of a small tub of water and started washing glasses.  

Ham set the broom in a corner on his way to her.  He grabbed her wrist.  “These hands don’t belong in dirty water, either.”

Delia shook her wrist from his grasp, turned, and placed her hands on the bar.  “Then what task am I allowed to do now?”

He sighed.  “None.”

Her voice dripped controlled anger.  “So, I’m fired?”

“Yes.  I mean, no.”  Ham looked at the floor for a moment before turning her to face him.  “Delia, how many times do I have to ask?  Marry me.”

She wriggled free.  “You know I can’t.”

“You’ve told me you love me.”

She gulped.  “Yes.  I think so.  Maybe … I don’t know.”

He regarded her.  “Now you don’t know?  You seemed sure not so long ago.”

She swallowed hard.  Why was this so difficult?  Ham loved her, wanted to marry her, employed her because it was the only way she would stay.  But, it was keeping her from her real – only – ambition.  After all, here she was:  The daughter of a prominent banker.  Or, a once prominent banker.  No, a disgraced, once prominent banker.  Wait, a deceased, disgraced, once prominent banker.  Moreover, a deceased by his own hand, disgraced, once prominent banker.  They ruined him.  And her.  And they would pay.  By her solemn vow, they would pay …


She blinked.  “Huh?”

A gruff saloon owner and gambler by trade, Hamilton Higgs had a softer side no one but Delia ever saw, save perhaps for the occasional child when he was in the mood.  He had that tone now.  “There’s that melancholy again.”  He pulled her to him.  “Let me take you away from this.  I’ll sell this place and take you to San Francisco … New Orleans … Chicago … wherever you want.  We’ll start over, just you and me.  Leave the past behind, both of us.”  

He beheld her.  No doubt, she was pretty, the curls cascading to below her shoulders the same brown color as his hair, albeit his was straight.  Even in the plain day dress she wore for work, she was magnificent, and deserved so much better than this.  And he knew she found him attractive; she teased him when that one dimple took over his whole countenance.  Some said they made an attractive couple – when she would allow them to be seen together; or, better yet, in those moments few and far between when she could drop that fool notion of hers, as he called it.

Delia sighed.  “Ham, sometimes I’d like to, but …”

“But, nothing!”  He withdrew the embrace and stepped back.  “Get over this, this … thing!  It takes a cold heart for revenge like that, Delia, no matter who or why.  And I know you better than that.”

She stared at him as he continued.

“We could have so much more.  Don’t let the past get in the way of happiness.  It’s not becoming!”

“Becoming?  Do you think I like this?  I saw them that night.  I’m sorry, Ham.  Maybe one day, but not right now.”  She walked past him, and grabbing a rag, immersed her hands back in the tub.


“Johnny, I’ll buy you another drink.  Just stay and hear me out.”  Delia put one hand on his forearm and signalled a bargirl with the other.

“Delia, I told ya once I wasn’t interested.  You’ll have to find somebody else to do your dirty work.”

“Keep your voice down,” Delia hissed.  Though the table in the corner where they sat was semi-private, voices carried in the quiet of a mid-afternoon.  She lightened up.  “Really, now, Johnny darling, I’ll make it worth your while.”

A barmaid dropped off two shots.  Delia ignored hers while Johnny pushed his away.  

“No one in his right mind would go up against Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.  And even if some poor fella tried, he’d be plum out of his gourd.  Besides, how would anybody even begin to find ‘em?”

Delia brightened.  “I’ve got it all figured out.  We’ll ride up to Devil’s Hole and find them.  With enough money, their gang’ll hand them over.”

“That’s your plan?”  

Delia nodded.

“Right thin, isn’t it?”  Johnny laughed heartily.  

The few patrons in the bar looked his way and smiled.  They might like to know the joke passing between the couple in the corner but soon returned to their own pursuits.

The young woman in the plain day dress spoke in an even lower tone than before.  “Stop it, Johnny.  I’m saving my money.  I’ll have enough soon to hire someone.”

Johnny Cray shook his head.  His light brown curly hair framed a furrowed brow.  He replied in an equally lowered voice.  “You might find some down-and-out cowboy fool enough to take them on, but the Devil’s Hole Gang ain’t gonna give up those two.  You’re just askin’ for trouble.”

Delia looked him in the eye.  “You keep your opinion to yourself, Johnny Cray.  One would think you’d be begging for a chance to earn some easy money what with that placer operation of yours keeping you broker than a rundown mule.  I wonder sometimes how you even eat.”

“Eat?  Ha!  Who needs food when rot-gut’s around?”  He grabbed the shot and threw it back.  “Ahhh, now that’s better’n honey.”  He sat back, a satisfied grin overtaking him.  “And that placer operation of mine, as you put it, is gonna be worth somethin’ real soon.  I can feel it.”

Delia studied him.  Still in a low tone, she said, “Whether you feel it or not, no vein in a tapped-out mine’s gonna produce twenty thousand, plus!”

“Twenty thousand, plus?”  Johnny narrowed one eye.

“Yes.  Those two are worth ten thousand apiece, plus what I’ll pay you.”

“Enough of this.”  Johnny started to rise.



Delia nodded to his chair.  He reseated himself.  “I know what they look like; probably one of the few people who do.  They could ride right down the street in front of the sheriff’s office, and he wouldn’t know wanted men were in his path.  But I would.”


She gasped.  “So?  That’s all you can say?  What if I told you, you could probably pass for Kid Curry?”

Johnny shrugged.  “Where’re you goin’ with this, Delia?”

She winked.  “Just saying.  You get you and Ham together, and you’d be passable as Heyes and Curry.”

“And you know that, how?”

“I told you.  I was there the night they robbed my pa’s bank.  I fell asleep doing the books after hours when I heard a noise and they came in.  The door was cracked just a bit and I saw them.  It was dark, but they had a lantern.  I’ll never forget those faces.”

“So, from a distance, in the dark, we might pass for outlaws?  So what?”  He sighed.  “Do yourself a favor, Delia, and get over that fool notion.  Wasn’t it embarrassin’ enough for ya when ya told the sheriff those two drifters were Heyes and Curry, and you were wrong?  Never mind that other one you swore was Heyes.  That poor drummer spent, what, two nights in the jail while the sheriff got proof of who he was?  Why keep at it?  It’s been five years since your daddy’s gone.”  He rose.  “I’m right sorry for your troubles, Delia, but you’re scatter-shootin’ the moon at best.  And stop blabbin’ about this to just anyone ya come across.  Put it behind ya.  It’s time to move on.”


Curry paused his reading.  “Told ya this was gettin’ strange.”

Heyes mused, “Lots of flaws in her planning.”

Kid stretched.  “Who cares, Heyes.  It’s just a story, remember?”

Heyes grinned.  “Yeah, but even though we haven’t gotten to that part, I bet they’re saving the best planning for me.”

Curry rolled his eyes.  Yawning, he stretched more mightily and looked around.  “This looks like good campin’ ground.”  He dismounted.  “Gotta take care of business.”  He disappeared behind a bush.

Heyes kept his saddle.  “You know we’re running late.”

A voice came from beyond some foliage.  “I know.”

Heyes stretched.  “Well?”  He yawned.

Kid reappeared.  “Like I said, this is good campin’ ground, and you know it.  You’re just as tired as me.  The Colonel will wait on us.  He doesn’t trust anybody else.”

The dark-haired partner smirked.  “We can at least ride through daylight so we can get through more of the story.”

“We’ll camp here.  Once we get a fire started and eat, we can get back to the story.”


Hamilton Higgs locked the batwing doors.  Around him, bartenders and bespangled barmaids attended to various closing chores.  Making his nightly circuit, Ham went behind the bar and scooped up money from the till, dumping it into a bag.  Hitting the poker tables, he bagged coins and paper bills from the dealers.  Finally, he settled down at the corner table where Delia sat, her dress now matching the bargirls.  Together, they counted the day’s take and filled out a tally sheet.

“There.  Done.”  Delia yawned.  “I’m going to bed.  It’s late, and the day starts mighty early tomorrow.”

Ham stretched and yawned.  “It’s catching.”  He recovered and smiled.  “Help me put this in the safe?”

“What’s up your sleeve, Ham?”

“Nothing.  Just want some help is all.”

She nodded, too tired to beg off.

Carrying the tally sheet, Delia followed Ham into the office.  He arranged the piles of money on the desk and stooped in front of the safe.  She watched him deftly turn dials and open it, as she had so many times before.  Yes, he cut quite a figure in his well-cut suit and string tie.  And the way he wore that black hat made him look devilishly rakish, even dangerous.  Like Heyes?  Maybe.  

That night in the bank so long ago, she recalled being struck paralyzed watching from the crack in the door, quiet as a church mouse, daring not to breathe.  They worked quickly, obviously expert in their tasks – Heyes, oddly, with his ear to the safe’s door.  In all the times she had watched her father open a safe, or even Ham, she had never seen that done.  Heyes took his time, methodical and focused, while Kid Curry alternately kept attuned to the windows and doors and stood over Heyes, seeming to watch his back even though no one was around, or so they thought.  It was really all over in a few minutes.  No fuss, no muss, no time wasted.  In and out.  No whooping, no skinning out of town like a pack of banshees.  Barely any noise at all.  Cool, calm, collected, coordinated.

And the bank was broke.  After a posse returned empty-handed, the town blamed her father, the owner.  In the ensuing run on the bank, he was able to pay only seven cents on the dollar.  Left penniless, he rode out of town one day.  Alarmed when he did not return, Delia sent the sheriff out after him.  He returned over a horse, under a blanket.  The lawman reported it was by own hand, and offered his condolences.



Ham faced her.  He reached for her.  

“I’m sorry, Ham.  It’s late.”  Tears welling, she ran out the back door.


The sounds of the woods competed with Kid Curry’s voice for dominance.  As the light from the campfire ebbed, he paused reading.  Heyes looked up.  Together, they listened.  Cicadas and other creatures of the night reminded them they were not alone.

Finally, Heyes spoke.  “There’s no way we’d’ve missed her if she was there.  Wish I knew what bank they’re talking about.”

“Heyes …”

“I know, it’s just a story.”

“Yep.”  Curry yawned.  “Heyes?”

“I know, it’s late.”

“Yep.  And the fire’s just about out.”

The campfire sputtered as Heyes threw twigs into it, then larger sticks.  Finally, the flames flickered bright.  “See, we can keep going.”  Heyes stifled a yawn.    

Curry regarded his cousin through bleary eyes.  “You’re tired, too, and I can barely keep my eyes open.  Let’s call it a night.”

“Nope.  Give me the book.  I’ll read.”

“It’s a dime novel, Heyes, even if it cost two bits.  And you don’t like dime novels, remember?”

Heyes thought aloud.  “Well, most of the time, maybe.  But this one’s about us.”

Kid chuckled.  “There are a lot about us.”  He handed Heyes the book, indicating where he left off.  “You can read me to sleep.”

“You won’t be able to sleep once I start.”


One Saturday morning, Johnny Cray came rushing into the saloon.  Satisfied the place was empty enough, he spied Ham and nodded to the back table.  They sat.

“Ham, I need a favor.”  He pulled a pouch out of his pocket and emptied some of the contents onto the tabletop.  A few small nuggets and sparkly dust spilled out.

Higgs’ eyes grew wide.  He locked eyes with Johnny and spoke sotto voce.  “Gold?”

Cray replied in whisper, his eyes dancing.  “I think so.  Just knew there was life in that old mine yet.”

Ham asked, “What do you need?”

Johnny bagged the nuggets and carefully hand-swept the sparkly dust into the pouch.  Moving in closer to Higgs, he chose his words carefully, “Well, it bein’ Saturday and all, the bank and assay office are closed, and … well, it’s not like we’re real good friends or anythin’ …”

Ham smiled.  “Good enough friends.  You want to store that in my safe until Monday?”

Cray grinned.  “Yeah.  Thanks for offerin’.”

The men rose.  Johnny followed Higgs into the office.  As he had so many times, Ham fell to his knees and played with the dials.  Johnny stood behind and over him, watching in anticipation.  He had never been that close to a safe before.

Just then, broom in hand, Delia entered the office.  Standing in the threshold, she stared, mesmerized.  Blinking, she turned, then looked back.  Time stood still.  Paralyzed, she watched as the man with light brown curly hair stood over the dark-haired man opening the safe.  Memories flashed in front of her.  She blinked, and blinked, and blinked some more.  Still the flashing continued.  Her hands went to her head, then dropped to her mouth.  Was she really seeing what she was seeing?

Finally able to move, in a split second she reached for a rifle in a near corner.  Hearing something, the men turned around.  She fired.


Heyes and Curry rode in silence the next morning.  Having read all night and finished the story, they had slept late and were still tired.  Words did not come easy.

“Cat got your tongue, Heyes?”


“Then why so quiet?”

“No reason.”

Curry inquired, “So you liked the story?”

“Not really.”

Kid reined his horse to a stop.

Heyes grumpily halted his mount as well.  “What’re you stopping for?  We’re already late for Grand Tier.”

“I know,” replied the blond man.  

“So …?”

“So what’s really buggin’ you, Heyes?  You couldn’t wait to finish the story and seemed to like it.  Was it that it was a dime novel and not some high-falutin story by Mark Twain?”

Heyes shook his head.

“Then what?  Somethin’s botherin’ ya.”

Heyes sighed.  “The girl had a really bad plan, but they didn’t let me have a better one.”


Days later, the partners rode into Grand Tier.  Exhausted, saddle sore, almost out of supplies – or rather, spooked by and questioning a dime novel, silly no more – they stopped for a drink at the first watering hole they came to.

Entering, they noticed the room seemed somber for a saloon in a decent-sized town.  A wreath bedecked a door to the rear of the room.  No games of chance beckoned.  The partners’ eyes locked, and two pairs of shoulders shrugged.  They approached the bar.

Toweling off glasses, the bartender asked, “Can I get you gents anything?”

Heyes responded, “Two beers.”

The barman served up two mugs.  “There ya go.  Four bits.”

Heyes’ eyes grew wide.  “That’s highway robbery.”

“Freight’s dear up these hills.  There’s no railroad nearby, so everything costs extra.”

The partners locked eyes again, unsettled.  What goes around, comes around:  They had heard that at the start of this journey.


In the saddle again, the partners walked their horses in front of the sheriff’s office.  The name on the sign was not familiar to them.  They breathed a sigh of relief.

As they turned the corner to approach the hotel, another side of the sheriff’s office came into view.  From a barred window, eyes followed them, staring ever wider.  A female voice yelled, “It’s Heyes and Curry!  Sheriff, it’s Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry!”

Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
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Sept 15 - Running Late Empty
PostSubject: Re: Sept 15 - Running Late   Sept 15 - Running Late Icon_minitimeWed Sep 30, 2015 2:39 pm

Running Late

The horses foamed as they were encouraged up the last incline.  Loose rocks tumbled down the steep embankment.  On the top, the exhausted men and horses breathed heavily.

“Did we… lose… ‘em?” Curry reached for a canteen, took a drink, and passed it to his partner.

Heyes squinted down the rugged hill as he tried to control his breathing.  He nodded and took a swallow of the water.  “Yeah, looks like… they’re turning back.”

The Kid closed his eyes and took a deep breath.  “That was close – too close!”

“I’m done,” Heyes declared as he slid off his mare and stretched cramped muscles.

“Exactly what are you done with?”  Curry dismounted and moved around to loosen his stiff muscles.

“Everything!  The running and not knowing where we’re going to sleep or when we’re going to eat next.”  Heyes’ eyes became dark.  “It’s time to visit dear ol’ Lom.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“It’s been five years, Lom. FIVE years!” Heyes slammed his fist down on the sheriff’s desk.  “We’ve held up our part of the deal!”

“Sorry, boys, but it’s still not politically…”

“He never intended to give us amnesty.”  Curry leaned against the wall and folded his arms in front of him.  “He got what he wanted – Heyes and Curry stopped robbin’ and his friends in the railroads and banks are happier.”

“You got a point, Kid,” Lom agreed.  

“Maybe we need to try a different approach…” Heyes turned towards the door.  “Come on, Kid, let’s go.”

“Hey, where are you going?” Lom asked concerned.

“To Junction City.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“You want to hire me to do what?” Brubaker leaned forward in his chair.

Heyes smiled patiently.  “To talk to the railroads, especially Union Pacific, about not prosecuting us for past robberies and removing the reward on us.”

“And why should they?”

“We haven’t robbed them or any banks for five years.”  The Kid joined into the conversation.

“They could put their money and resources to better use getting other outlaws who are currently robbing them,” Heyes explained.

“We’re no threat to them now,” Curry added.  “We’ve gone straight.”

Brubaker sat back in his chair.  “Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to ask.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Well?” Heyes asked as they entered Brubaker’s office.

“I can’t believe, but they said yes.”  The lawyer pulled some papers out of a folder.  “Of course, there are conditions you have to agree to.”

“Of course there is,” Curry sat back in a chair and glared at Brubaker.  “What is it?  A year of good behavior and they’ll consider givin’ us amnesty?”

“No.  They want to meet you and have you sign a sworn oath to never rob another Union Pacific train.”

Heyes looked up.  “That’s it?  Just have to sign an oath?”

Curry sat straighter.  “Can’t you just give us the oath and we’ll sign it?”

“The condition here is that they meet you.”

“Who wants to meet us?”

Brubaker scanned a document.  “They don’t specify who – just that they want to meet you first.”

The Kid furrowed his brow.  “What if it’s a trap, Heyes?”

Heyes pondered a moment.  “Where do they want to meet us?”

“Their headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.”

“Omaha?  That’s pretty far away.”

“We don’t know that area, if we have to run,” Curry reminded Heyes.

“Would they be willing to meet us at another location?” Heyes asked.

“Possibly,” Brubaker responded.  “Where do you want to meet them?”

Heyes looked at the Kid.  “Lost Soldier Pass?  We know that territory.”

Curry nodded.

Brubaker began writing.  “Lost Soldier Pass?  Where is that?”

“About a day in the saddle north of Rock Springs,” the Kid answered.

“They can meet us there in ten days.”

“Well, it doesn’t hurt to ask for this either.”  Brubaker scanned his documents.  “And another thing.  They are offering you jobs as express guards on their trains.”

Heyes and Curry made eye contact.  They’d have to talk about that offer.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Heyes and the Kid slowly made their way up Lost Soldier Pass.  Curry turned and looked behind them.

“Would you quit doing that!”

“Doin’ what?”

“Turning around.  You’re making me nervous.”

“Just watchin’ your back, Heyes.  That’s all.”

“They agreed to removing the railroad’s portion of the reward and not prosecuting us for previous crimes.  With them taking away half the reward money, it’ll be easier to get the other railroads and banks to remove their part of the reward.  And they were willing to meet us at Lost Soldier Pass.  Do you really think we have something to worry about?”

“Well, as dear ol’ Grandpa Curry used to say, “’If sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The day faded into evening and there was no sight of Brubaker or the men from the Union Pacific.

Heyes snapped his pocket watch and put it in his breast pocket.  “They were supposed to be here today.”

“Yep,” Curry agreed as he threw a branch into the fire.

“Why didn’t they arrive?”  Heyes began to pace in the small campsite.  

The Kid answered by tossing more wood, making the flames grow.

“Can you see a reason why they would be delayed?”


“Maybe you were right and they are planning a trap.  Gather a huge posse as we’re waiting.”

No answer.

“But then why would they have agreed to meet us up here?”  More pacing.

No answer.

“At least we’re in territory we know well.  We can disappear quick, if needed.”

No answer.

“How long do you think we should wait?”

“Up to you, Heyes.”  Another piece of wood was added to the fire.

“Tomorrow at this time.  If they’re coming, they should be here by then.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Brubaker stared out at the driving rain from the railroad car when a wet conductor came in from outside.

“It’ll be several hours before we can get going again,” the conductor told the Union Pacific officials.  “There’s a small mudslide on the tracks from all this rain.”

“I sure hope you’re patient men, Hannibal Heyes and Jed Curry,” mumbled Brubaker.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“That’s it!”  Heyes tacked a piece of paper to a prominent tree and then tightened the cinch on his mare.  “They aren’t coming.  Probably never intended to come.”

Kid Curry sat on his gelding waiting for his partner.  “So what do you wanna do now?”

Heyes mounted.  “Wanna rob a train?”

The Kid raised a brow.

“Let’s go!”

In the early spring of 1900, he (Butch Cassidy) called on Judge Orlando W. Powers, a prominent Utah attorney who had helped to defend Matt Warner (recently released after a forty-month stretch in the Utah State Penitentiary).  Butch asked Powers to look into the possibility of amnesty for past crimes in exchange for a promise not to commit any new ones.  The governor rebuffed Powers, who then approached Union Pacific officials.  They agreed not to prosecute Butch for prior offences if he would swear never to rob another U.P. train.  Moreover, the officials declared, they would gladly hire Butch as an express guard.

Powers sent the tidings to Butch via the bandit’s personal attorney, Douglas Preston of Rock Springs, Wyoming.  Pleased, but wary of a trap, Butch asked that Preston bring the officials to meet him ten days later at Lost Soldier Pass in a rugged area forty-five miles north of Rock Springs.  A storm waylaid Preston and the railroad men, and they arrived a day late.  Meanwhile, Butch had become suspicious of their intentions and departed, leaving a note for his attorney:  “Damn you Preston you have double crossed me.  I waited all day but you did not show up.  Tell the U.P. to go to hell and you can go with them.”

Butch’s next caper was the robbery of a Union Pacific train.

From - Digging Up Butch and Sundance by Anne Meadows

"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
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Sept 15 - Running Late Empty
PostSubject: Re: Sept 15 - Running Late   Sept 15 - Running Late Icon_minitimeWed Sep 30, 2015 9:13 pm

Appreciating Trouble

She was relaxed and wore a smile that didn't quite grace her sparkling blue eyes. Her circle of admirers all leaned forward as if each were afraid he might miss an opportunity to catch her eyes and utter her name. Her lambent wit slid deftly from topic to topic, never resting long on a single subject. She laughed and spoke often, and no one seemed to realize how little her words revealed.

Coffee-brown eyes observed her from a distant table.  A knowing smirk spread slowly between his dimples.

"Heyes." The low-voiced warning interrupted his scrutiny of the beauty in turquoise silk. "She's trouble, Heyes. The kinda trouble you and me can't afford."

Annoyed brown eyes flicked to his partner.  "Just appreciating a fellow professional at work, Kid. Nothing more."

“Just make sure that appreciatin' doesn't turn into . . .well . . . appreciatin'.”


“You know what I mean.”

Heyes took a long pull through the foam on his beer.  His eyes slid back to the woman.  She adjusted her mahogany curls and then floated to her feet.  The silk of her bodice caressed her assets so securely that they nearly overflowed at the low cut neck.  

A sigh from Heyes drew a snort from his partner.  

“Trouble.  Nothin' but trouble,”opined the blond, while dark eyes followed turquoise silk swaying across the room and outside into the evening breeze.

“Oh, I don't know, Kid.  Seems like she's a lot more than just trouble.  But you're right.  You're right. Let's find a poker game.”


Both ex-outlaws were wearing their best suits as they played poker at one of Denver's finer gambling halls.

Heyes was winning.  

The stakes at the table increased as the pile of chips in front of him grew.  Though the Kid was still playing, his attention was as much on his partner, his chips, and those watching the game as on his own hand.  He asked the dealer for two.

“Fold,” he said placing the cards face-down on the table.  

The betting continued until Heyes raked in another pot.  Curry's smile for his partner wilted at the sight of emerald green satin and mahogany curls.  The stunning woman from the previous evening was back.  Curry watched her piercing blue eyes assess the room in a manner Curry found all too familiar.  He observed her catching sight of both him and his partner.  She snagged his eyes and offered him a seductive smile.  He pushed his chair back from the table.

“Deal me out, fellas.”

Heyes asked a question with his eyebrows.  

Blue eyes flicked to Heyes' mound of chips.  “Takin' a break and gettin' a whiskey,” was Curry's terse reply.

The dark-haired man shrugged and then sat up straighter as last night's vision approached the Kid's now empty chair.  

“Would you gentleman mind having a lady join your table?”  Her voice dripped southern honey.  

“Yould be right welcome, ma'am,” offered an older man with bushy sideburns, “but I need to warn you that the buy-in at this table is five hundred dollars.  You might be more comfortable where the stakes are recreational.”

Heyes caught her eye and didn't try to hide the smirk.  Her return smile was knowing.  

She reached into her small bag and removed five crisp one hundred dollar bills.  At the sight of the money, a casino employee hurried over and exchanged the lady's bills for chips.  She arranged her satin dress as she sat.  Removing white gloves, a finger at a time, she smiled sweetly at the dealer.  

“What are we playing, gentleman?”


“Call,” demanded Heyes.  

Watching from the bar, Curry could see the faces of both the woman and his partner.  Heyes expression was bland.  He had last money since the woman had joined the table, but he was still up by over a thousand dollars for the night.  The woman, she gave her name as Vivian, was ahead by a few hundred.  

“Certainly, Mr. Smith.”  She laid down a full house, blue eyes sparkling beneath her shiny curls.

Heyes raised an eyebrow and inclined his head to his petite adversary.  “Well played, ma'am.  I would have sworn you were bluffing.”  

She smiled back and began collecting her chips.  “Thank y'all for the diversion, but it's getting late.  I'll be saying good night.”

Heyes quickly collected his chips and stood.  “I think I will call it a night as well. May I escort you to cash in your chips, Miss . . . ?”

“Vivian will do fine, Mr. Smith.”

“Then you must call me Joshua,” he replied with a dimpled grin, ignoring his partner's frown.  He offered his arm, and the touch of her white hand sent a shiver up his spine.  Curry followed at a discrete distance.

They cashed in the chips, and Vivian stowed her money in her bag.

“May I buy you some dessert or a glass of wine before you leave?” Heyes asked with a hopeful smile.

“I would love to, Mr. Smith, I mean Joshua, but unfortunately I have an appointment.  In fact I stayed at the table longer than I should have.  I'm afraid that I'm already late.  But thank you kindly for the offer.”

She started to pull away, but he held her hand as it slid from his arm.  

“You are carrying a fair amount of money, Vivian.  Let me escort you and make sure you--and it--arrive safely.”

Her laugh was light and musical.  “I'm in no danger, sir,” she drawled, squeezing his arm.  Before he could object further, she whirled away, moving quickly down the hallway and out a side door.  

While Heyes watched her retreating back, Curry joined him.

“Trouble, Heyes. I'm tellin' ya, she's trouble.”


Heyes double checked the lock on their door.  Curry flopped on the bed lacing his fingers behind his neck.

“It was a lovely thing to watch, Kid.  She's a real pro,” he continued their earlier conversation.  “Smooth as silk.  No cheating either.  She's a real first class poker player.  

“Trouble, Heyes.  She's trouble.”

“And she sure knows how to distract a table full of men.  She bats the lashes of those baby-blues and smiles just the right amount.  The men are so busy falling over each other for her attention that they don't even realize that she could fleece 'em all.  It's a fine thing to watch.”

“What about you, Heyes?”

“What about me?

“What does her smile and eyelash battin' do to you?  Seems that you start losin' every time she joins your table.   And in case you haven't noticed, it's always your table she's joinin'.  I think she's got some kinda special interest in you.”

Heyes' grin was wide and wicked.  “Course she does.  But a gentleman doesn't talk about a lady that way.”

Curry snorted.  “Ladies don't spend all their evenin's in a gamblin' parlor, and they sure don't play poker like that woman does.”

“Vivian's just the right amount of lady for me.”

“She don't even let you buy her a drink.  Every night when she's done playing, she runs off.”  Blue eyes met brown. “Where's she goin'?”

Heyes frowned.  “She won't say.  Just claims to be late to an appointment.”  He plopped in an armchair and thumped his hat on a table.  “But I'm wearing her down, Kid.  You just wait.  I'll have her on my arm for dinner any night now.”

“Has she told you anything about herself?”

“No, she's real quiet about her past.  But we don't confide in folks either.”

“That's right, Heyes, and we got good reasons for keepin' still.  Could be trouble if she got reasons to keep quiet, too.”  

“How much trouble could someone that small and pretty possibly be?”

“I don't know, Heyes.  How much trouble can Clem cause?”

Curry chuckled at the frown furrowing his partner's brow.  

“I'll be careful, Kid.  I've handled dangerous women before.  Remember Blanche?”

“Sure. But you never really liked Blanche.”

“I can handle myself with Vivian Jackson as well.”

Curry snorted.

Heyes glared, but didn't argue.

“This Vivian is gettin' under your skin.  I can tell. So be careful.”


The next night her gown was the same brilliant blue as her eyes.   The sleeves began below her shoulders revealing more of her creamy white skin than Heyes had yet seen.  She choose an empty seat next to him at the poker table.  He schooled his face to blandness, but a visible swallow betrayed his reaction.  A bare upturn of her mouth and a single cocked eyebrow let Heyes know that she had seen her effect on him.  Curry caught his partner's eyes, and shook his head, but his warning was ignored.

Heyes was playing well.  After several hours he had nearly twelve thousand dollars in chips.  Vivian was playing conservatively.  Heyes had kept her in sherry, and she seemed content with her modest pile of chips.  

Though stingy with her bets, she was generous with her smiles.  While most of the men at the table sought her attention, she only had eyes for the dark-haired man next to her. Curry watched the game from a nearby bar stool.  He observed Vivian with an expression he usually reserved for a venomous snake.  

Heyes folded his cards when he felt the feather light touch of a woman's hand resting on the top of his thigh.  He glanced at the beauty next to him and squeezed her hand before he shoved his chair away from the table.  Collecting his chips, he announced  “I am done for the evening, gentlemen.”  He glanced down at the blue-eyed woman. “Vivian, could I persuade you to join me for a late supper?”

“I would be honored, Joshua.”

After cashing in their chips, the couple sauntered toward the dining room.  Kid Curry waited in a hallway near the restaurant.  

Heyes held up two fingers and mouthed the word “two” to the maitre 'd.  “Please seat the lady, and I will be right back.  I'll join you in a minute, Vivian.”  He enjoyed watching the sway of her blue skirts before joining the Kid.

“What is it?”

“Just wondering how much cash you're plannin' to keep on ya if you end up appreciatin' Miss Vivian into the evenin'.”

Heyes' look was rueful.  “You have a point there, Kid.”  He reached into his suit pocket and removed his wallet.  After staring at the bills for a few seconds, he discreetly handed a stack of them to his blond partner.  Curry stowed the money inside his own jacket pocket.

“Heyes,” he whispered.  “I don't trust that woman.  She's too smart.  She too good at poker, and way too good at manipulatin' men.  Be careful.”

“Don't worry, I can handle myself.  Besides she's such a little thing, what's the worst she could do?”

“Call in the law and hand you over for ten thousand dollars.”  

Heyes scowled.  

“She wouldn't be the first woman to manage it.”

“She'd need to know who I am to do that, Kid.  And besides Grace caught you.  Not me.”  Without looking back, Heyes turned on his heel and headed for his table.


The strike of a match tickled the consciousness of a sleeping Hannibal Heyes.  The light from the Denver street lamps filtering through the curtains was augmented by the flickering of a freshly lit oil lamp.  The distinctive sound of a revolver being cocked startled him fully awake.  Heyes froze, assessing the situation with only his ears and eyes.  Sliding his eyes up and to the side, he saw that his holster was still hanging from the bed frame, but it was empty.  

“I'm very accurate with a revolver, Mr. Heyes.  And mine is pointed straight at your heart.”  Vivian's low voice was steady and calm, but stripped of all traces of her southern accent.

“You've made a mistake, Vivian.  My name is Joshua Smith.  If you're after the money I won, you are welcome to it.  My wallet is still in my coat jacket.”  

“You have a little over a thousand dollars in your wallet, Mr. Heyes.  You're welcome to keep that. I am after much bigger denominations.  And I have made no mistake.  You are Hannibal Heyes and your sandy haired friend is the infamous gunman, Kid Curry.”

“Vivian, you're wrong.  I'm Joshua Smith and my friend is Thaddeus Jones.  And I never would have pegged you for a common thief.”

“I'm not a thief, Mr. Heyes,” she retorted with some heat.  “At least not usually.  But you and your partner owe me, and I plan to get my own back.”

“Even if we were those two notorious outlaws, how would we owe you?  Vivian, I never met you until last week.”

“True.  But do you remember Chester Powers?”

“The dirty banker in Red Gap?”

“Dirty?  That's rich coming from you.  But, yes, Chester was the banker in Red Gap before you ruined him.  We were engaged.  That man was my ticket to respectability, and you put him behind bars.  I think twenty thousand dollars should compensate me for the loss of a rich fiance.”

“Why are you so sure that I'm Hannibal Heyes?”

“Because Chester pointed the two of you out to me.  You can drop the facade.  I know who you are.”

“Why would a woman as smart and beautiful as you agree to marry Chester Powers?” Heyes asked with a grimace.

Heyes scooted into a sitting position. The sheet fell away, revealing his bare chest.  

Vivian laughed.  “There are many reasons to spend time with a man, Mr. Heyes.  You are attractive, smart, dangerous, and charming.  I have enjoyed my time with you very much indeed.  Chester was powerful, cunning, and rich.  He offered me respectability.  I make a decent living in the gambling halls, but one day my looks will go, and things will get harder.  Chester promised me travel and leisure.  I wanted that.”  She studied the man in her bed.  “Don't try anything.  I really am very good with this weapon.”

“I don't doubt it, Vivian.  I suspect you are good at anything you put your mind to.”

“Where's the rest of your money, Mr. Heyes?”

“Why should I tell you?”

“Because if you pay me more than you're worth if I turn you in, I might not tell the law about you.”

“Why would you do that?  If you turn us in, you can get our cash and the reward.”

“Are you really that anxious to spend the rest of your life in prison?”  She stood up and reached behind her.  The gun never wavered.  “Far too many people saw you win nearly thirty thousand dollars.  The law will want to know where the money went.  If you pay me twenty-five thousand, I won't bother with the reward.”

“So all I have to do is give you twenty-five thousand dollars, and you'll let us go without contacting the law.  Why will you leave us with over three thousand dollars?”

Her grin was naughty and knowing.  “Let's just say that I enjoyed your company, Mr. Heyes.”  She threw a bundle of brown clothing at his head.  “Now get dressed and out of my bed.  Play time is over.”


Kid Curry was awakened by a familiar pattern tapped on the door.  He grabbed his colt, just in case, and eased open the door.  A disheveled Hannibal Heyes pushed into the room, closely followed by a familiar figure with reddish-brown curls.  

“Put the gun down, Kid.  She's got a revolver buried in my side, and she knows who we are.”

“Ah Heyes, I warned ya she was trouble.”

“Drop the gun, Mr. Curry.” Vivian's eyes matched the blue ice of the Kid's.  He complied.  “Now kick it out of  reach.  Under the bed, if you please.”  

Curry frowned, but did as she instructed.  

“Now, Mr. Heyes.  My money?”

“Give her twenty-five thousand dollars, Kid.”

“What?  That's our South America money, Heyes.”

“Well, now it's our stay outta jail money.  Get it.”

The blond strode angrily to the dresser and picked up his grey suit jacket.

“Wait, Mr. Curry.  Toss the jacket at my feet.”  He did as she instructed.  She fished out the wallet and handed it to Heyes.  “Count out my twenty-five thousand, Mr. Heyes.”

He did as she asked.

“Now, Mr. Heyes please take these thongs and tie Mr. Curry to that chair.”


Once both ex-outlaws were securely tied the woman they knew as Vivian Johnson gagged them securely with bandannas.  

“Now gentleman, just in case you're thinking about trying to find me, there is something you should know.  I left a letter with a police captain who likes to gamble and finds me attractive.  It tells him that if he comes to this room in this hotel, he will find Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.  He shouldn't receive the letter,” she consulted a pocket watch, “for about an hour.”

She smiled sweetly as she checked their bonds one more time.  “So, once you have wriggled free, you have a choice.  You can try to find me, or you can leave before the Denver law finds you.  I would advise you to hurry. This is one time when running late could cost you dearly.”

She looked at down at Heyes with a fire smoldering in her eyes.  “I  really do hope you get away.  Seeing you like this gives a girl all kinds of ideas.”
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