Alias Smith and Jones Writers
A forum devoted to writers of Alias Smith and Jones Fan Fiction
Sept 2017 - "One man's trash is another man's treasure..."
Posts : 760
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 56
Location : Birmingham
|Subject: Sept 2017 - "One man's trash is another man's treasure..." Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:10 am|| |
I am still at work and the sun is going down, so I guess waiting folks will realise that the poll is going to run a little late.
On the bright side - my roof is finished!!
On the dim side - I am a scratching of my head for a topic.
Well... Birmingham is currently in the umpteenth week of a dustman's strike, so...
"One man's trash is another man's treasure..."
On your marks, get set... type!!
Posts : 441
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 59
Location : London, England
|Subject: Re: Sept 2017 - "One man's trash is another man's treasure..." Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:45 pm|| |
I love the Summer Holidays!
My brain gets all relaxed and it's not full of work so there is room for the boys and I can write again!
And thus I give you.....
One Man’s Trash is another Man’s Treasure
By Maz McCoy
“What are you doin’, son?” the grey-haired man asked as he looked up, into the darkness, beyond the open loft door.
“Jus’ gettin’ some of these boxes,” came the muffled reply.
“Pa, we gotta clear this place out if we’re gonna…” The sentence was cut off by grunting indicating a struggle of some sort between man and box.
In the loft hatch the corner of a cardboard box appeared.
“Can you take this?” the voice in the loft asked.
The older man reached up, took the weight of the box and lowered it carefully to the floor as his son descended the ladder.
A broad grin broke through the young man’s dusty face. “Hi, Pa. Glad you came over.”
“Samuel, d’you wanna tell me what this is all about?” his father asked.
“Grandpa!” A small blond-haired boy, about 4 years of age, ran towards them. He stumbled just as he reached them and was swiftly caught up in his grandfather’s arms.
“Easy there, Jed. What’s your hurry?”
“I got a new kitten!” the boy informed him, breathlessly.
“You did? How many you got now?”
“I didn’t even know you could count to four,” his grandfather teased.
“I can count to ten and I don’t even hafta use my fingers.”
“I’m impressed. How ‘about we go see that kitten?”
“What’s in there?” Jed asked, his attention now taken by the box.
“I don’t rightly know. Why don’t we get your Pa to show us?”
“I wanna see!” the boy demanded.
Jed’s father smiled. “Let’s take this downstairs and see what we got.”
“Of course you couldn’t do that somewhere else!” Ellie stated sarcastically as she wiped a dust trail off the recently cleaned kitchen table. Three generations of the same family looked at her sheepishly as she walked over to the sink.
“We won’t be long,” her husband promised, turning his attention momentarily from the box that sat on the table. “The light’s better in here.”
Sam received only a grunt as a reply.
“What’s in it?” Jed asked excitedly as he stood on a chair to see. His father removed the lid and the child peered inside. Jed’s shoulder’s sagged in disappointment. “It’s just paper.”
“It’s rubbish, is what it is,” his mother muttered, her back to them as she peeled potatoes. “You should have just thrown it out.”
“I have to look through it first,” her husband explained. “You can’t just throw it out without checking. There might be something important in here.”
“Like a treasure map!” Jed exclaimed.
“Exactly,” his father agreed. “There might be a treasure map in here.”
Ellie simply scoffed.
“I really don’t think we need all these receipts,” Sam stated, waving his hand at a pile of papers on the corner of the table. He read the one lying on the top. “This one’s for a heffer we bought a few years back. I don’t s’pose we can get a refund now she’s dead.”
His father made no comment and Sam looked up to see him staring at a letter he held in the gnarled fingers of his left hand.
“What you got there, Pa?”
The old man handed the paper to his son without comment.
Recognising a change in atmosphere in the room, Ellie turned from the counter, where an unbaked pie stood ready for the oven. “What is it?”
Having read the letter Sam held it out to his wife. Ellie wiped her hands on her apron before taking it from him. She read. “Oh, my.”
“What is it?” Jed asked, trying to see what his mother was reading. “Is it a treasure map?”
“No, son, it’s something far more valuable than that.” Sam’s own father caught his eye but still said nothing.
“It’s a letter,” Ellie informed the boy.
“A letter? From a pirate?”
Sam, chuckled. “No, Jed, it’s from the Governor of Wyoming.”
“What’s it say?”
Sam looked at his father. “Pa?”
The man nodded. “Tell him. ‘Bout time he knew. Someone’ll tell him soon enough.”
“What is it, Pa?” Jed asked.
Sam looked from his father to his son. “It’s about something called amnesty. Something the Governor of Wyoming gave to your Grandpa.”
“Am-ness-tee,” Jed repeated. “What is it?”
Samuel looked back at his father. “It’s something more valuable than any treasure on a map.”
His father smiled, two blue eyes meeting his son’s with pride.
Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something or only thought we did: Edison
Posts : 252
Join date : 2016-01-06
Age : 62
Location : Wales UK
|Subject: One mans Trash is another mans Treasure Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:24 am|| |
A bit of nonsense I dreamed up on the fly.... whilst watching the Big Shell game
To: The Members of the Ex-outlaws Appreciation Society
I haven’t written to you before, and for that I apologise, see me and words don’t always get along too well. But I felt I should write and put the record straight about a few things, but mostly about my trip to Adalgo, and my meeting up with one Grace Turner. Seems, most of you will have heard the version put about by one Hannibal Heyes, to a fella working the Big Store when Soapy helped us recover the Bounty on my head from Gracie.
Well you didn’t hear the whole story, not by a long ways in my book.
There was a big get together after the money got returned. Soapy paid for all those involved in the bust, to have us a shindig at this fancy mansion of a friend of his. All the boys were there, me, Heyes and Gracie, even old Soapy himself put in an appearance. Heyes ‘n’ me, we decided it was better, for both of us, not to go chasing Gracie no more, but she had her hooks into that crew by then.
She’ll be running the whole shebang by Christmas!
Anyway, I was bellied up to this fancy bar, I guess realising Gracie had already moved on, when this fella, who was also looking wistfully at the lady, said he used to ride with Heyes for Al Plummer. I bought him a drink, and asked him when was the last time he’d seen Plummer. He gave me the tale about Plummer running out on them with $30,000. Didn’t say anything about Heyes running into Plummer again, so I knew Heyes couldn’t trust this fella much. Still, he seemed to want to stay and drink, didn’t seem too want to go party anymore than I did.
Anyways, we got to talking, and he gave me that hogwash story Heyes had spilt to him, about me losing, not just an address, but a whole building down in Adalgo! I put him straight, and I’d like to put you straight… too… just for the record.
Heyes’ story kinda makes me look stupid, and I ain’t stupid.
There was a letter.
Heyes gave it to me.
He said it was from a good friend of Colonel Harper. There was no recipients name on the outside but he said I was only to give the letter to a Mary Shelley. He said she was a red headed beauty, who was a little too innocent for her own good. That she would know to trust me, if I gave her the watch that Heyes said, was a family treasure and I had to keep safe. Seemed Miss Shelley had fled to Mexico to marry her lover, a Dr Frank Stein, and now her mother had died, and her father wanted her back, everything in the past forgiven. That he would meet with Dr Stein. If I gave her the watch, she’d know all was well and she could safely come with me.
It sounded right. And Heyes can be very convincing when he sets his mind to it. He even gave me money, for food and that. If I’d known it was a pack of lies, and I wasn’t going to get paid for delivering the letter, I may have hung on to just a little of it!
I found out later, it was just a pile of hogwash Heyes had cooked up on the fly, to get me out of town in a hurry. He’d heard a rumour that Kenndry, a vicious Bounty Hunter, was in the area and we all know, he has a bullet in his gun with my name on it. He knows me on sight and would put a bullet in my back from ambush without missing a heartbeat. Don’t mean Heyes was right to flim flam me, but it sure meant he was feeling real bad, when things went sour for me down in Adalgo.
I was broke. That didn’t bother me none. I was gonna get paid.
Then there was no address. Then there was no horse. Then there was no Gracie. Yeah, you could say things went sour. But I didn’t LOSE anything. And I sure WASN’T eyeing up the bank as a possibility. And I DID go to the Sheriff… well…sort of. I found the Town Mayor. Now I don’t speak too much Mexican, but he was a red-blooded man. When I described Gracie, he sure knew where to point me.
Oh yes, and about that watch.
I thought long and hard before I thought of selling it. I got it out of the cloth pouch and had a look at it for the first time. That’s when I started suspecting Heyes had sold me a pig in a poke. Didn’t sit right. Didn’t weigh enough…. And it had “Hello Sailor” engraved on the back! The hombre in the stall told me it was a piece of junk… that’s a little more Mexican I know now.
That’s when I came to thinking on them names Heyes had given me. Mary Shelley and Dr Frank Stein. Heyes did nothing before I left, except sit around reading books, waiting on the big game Saturday night. He told me a bit about one. About a man putting a monster together out of body parts. Said the strangest part was, it was written by a woman. Now, I was thinking, that monster was the creation of one Dr Frankie Stein and that woman was Mary something!
I weighed that piece of junk in my hand, knowing for certain Heyes had pulled a fast one on me. Family treasure! He probably won it in a penny ante game over breakfast!
I thought things were looking up when Gracie offered me that job. I thought, won't Heyes be surprised when I tell him I actually got PAID, and I came back to the good ol' US of A sporting a red-headed beauty on my arm.
My, my, but she’s a class act. You saw the way she reeled me in, talking about Bannerman detectives and having me checked out by a Sheriff. What a woman. It was almost a privilege to see a real professional spinning a web like that. Well it would have been, if I hadn’t ended up in jail. ‘Course, I ended up a few nicer places before that, but a gentleman never tells.
Anyways, I just wanted to set the record straight.
I ain’t stupid.
Posts : 522
Join date : 2012-12-07
Location : Wichita
|Subject: Destiny's Cycle 13 Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:42 am|| |
All right, I have to admit, it took me a bit to connect the challenge to where I had left off. But, after hearing several of you saying, you wanted to know how Wheat got off the roof. I knew, I shouldn't skip over that. So, after much consideration, I sat down this morning and put it all together. Hope y'all like it.
Clad in a clean pair of pants, his bare feet hitched on the porch railing, Heyes looked up from the novel he had begun at the sound of Curry’s approach. With a grin, he shoved a hand back through his damp bangs, “heard a yelp, a bit ago. . .” the grin expanded into a larger smile, “. . . was that Wheat taking the fast route down?”
Removing his hat, Curry slapped it against his leg, a puff of dust drifting off. “Yup!” Tossing the Stetson into an empty chair, he bent untying his holster strap from his leg, “moved himself off to that tree on the corner of the bunkhouse.” Straightening, he shook his head, “it was touch and go, if’n he was going to make it.” Stepping onto the porch, he shrugged out of his vest. “Lost two dollars on it.”
A snort erupted from Heyes, “Because, you bet he would make it?”
“Seemed like a safe bet.” Curry shook his head, “and he did make it to the tree.” Tossing his vest in the chair, he began toeing off his left boot. “Anyway, while he was working his way down, he got hung up.” The boot popped off and he started on the other, “and, well, when he twisted ‘bout to get free…” his other boot hit the deck and he put his hands on his hips, “…he slipped…” Curry shook his head again, this time there was a touch of sorrow to the move, “if’n I was you, I’d avoid Wheat for a while.”
The dark brows dipped, Heyes’ right eye squinching up a bit as he peered over at his partner.
“He came down straddle on that limb he was on.”
The brows shot up, Heyes’ mouth forming a perfect O as he released a soft gasp.
“That was the yelp you heard, then he just kind of toppled out of the tree.”
Looking down, Heyes pinched the bridge of his nose, “he all right?”
“Took him a good while to unball and stagger to his feet.” Curry replied, peeling off his socks. “I went ahead and set the ladder up for Lobo and Hank.”
“Probably a good idea.”
“Thought so,” Curry stated, unbuttoning his sweat, stained shirt. A frown shifted across his face and he flung the shirt at the chair. “And, you ought to know the others kind of felt it was your fault.”
“Yup, so, while I clean up. . .” He stopped, looking pointedly at his partner, “You did leave fresh water on the boil for me?!”
“Of course, I did.” Heyes responded with a flat, indulgent smile.
“Good. Then, while, I clean up you might keep your guard up.” Curry looked down the hill toward the bunkhouse, “they all like Wheat, and they were grousing pretty good, when I left.”
“But, I’m their leader.”
Curry’s chin lowered, his blue eyes icing over as he stared down on his partner.
Heyes swallowed pushing out a quick, tight grin, which did little to improve the hard glare aimed at him; for if there was anyone who could read him it was his cousin and they both knew Curry had just caught him flat footed, “I meant we’re both their leaders.”
Releasing a snort, Curry stated, “That being said, use that brain of yours to figure a way to keep us… on all their good sides.” And, unbuckling his holster, he handed it to Heyes, who did not have a firearm in sight. “But, just in case.”
Heyes eyes widened.
“Like I said, just in case, that bunch can be as hard to read as a knot-headed mule sometimes.”
Heyes studied the closed door his partner had gone through, ‘he can’t really think they might. . .’ His gaze shifting to the Colt handle emerging from the leather pile in his lap. Then for a long while, he stared out across the cabin’s yard and anyone watching would have said, they could see the gears turning, as he worked out ideas, twisting them around until they suited him.
Riding along the row of saloons, dance halls, and brothels Curry looked back and forth at the loud, boisterous arena, a deep frown decorating his youthful face. And, he was the only one this way, for Heyes and the rest of the Devil’s Hole were all grinning to beat the drum and having a grand time joking with each other. Nudging his horse closer to his partner, as they entered the corral attached to Lottie’s Chicken Ranch, he asked, “You really think this will work?”
A smile appeared. It was the big, wide one, that often irritated Curry. It irritated him because he knew; it meant his cousin was considering himself smarter than those around him. And, consequently, was not surprised when Heyes responded, “Why wouldn’t it?”
Curry’s frown deepened.
“Come on, Kid, have a little faith. They are being treated to all the drinks they want, dinner, and a calico queen of their choice and I’m--” Heyes’ tongue darted across his lower lip, “we’re footing the bill.”
“That is one part of this plan, I don’t care for. The other is them getting liquored up, while feeling unsure about your leadership.”
Heyes looked over sharp, “my leadership? We’re in this together.”
Curry’s cheeks balled up, a toothy smile appearing, “Oh, but they haven’t been talking out of the sides of their mouths about me. . .” He hitched a thumb over at his cousin, “only you.”
The smile disappeared, the brown eyes softening with a touch of pain creasing their corners.
It was not the reaction Curry expected. He had figured on a quick, snide remark being flung his way. With an inward sigh, he said,
“Don’t listen to me, Heyes; I’m sure you're correct, and it’ll all work out all right.”
But, Heyes only nodded, stepping down from his horse.
Watching him, walk off, Curry sighed heavily, ‘sometimes, I plain out forget, beneath all that swaggering confidence is still a too smart for his own good boy, who just wants others to notice him, and more importantly like him.”
Heyes walked along, the backside of the bartop, filling shot glasses for each member of the gang and raising his own, said, “To the best crew to be found in all the West.”
Smiles exploded and with hurrahs, they threw back their shots, thumping the glasses down for refills.
Smiling so big it was contagious, Heyes refilled all the glasses, except for Curry’s; because he had turned his over and seeing this, he sharply quirked one brow at him.
“Going to stay clear headed.”
With a chuckle, Heyes, refilled his own and raising it, “to jobs that’ll fill pages in the history books.”
The Devil’s Hole cheered again and right back down the line, he went refilling their glasses, “Tonight is all on me and Kid, ‘cause, we felt you men should know you're appreciated.” Holding up his shot glass, he smiled, “to pals worth riding the trail with.”
These drinks, too, disappeared as fast as the others had and he went right on topping off their glasses, even when he needed to open a second and third bottle, to do so.
Seeing how shiny their faces were getting, Curry stepped behind the bar, snagging the bottle from his partner. “Could let y’all keep drinking, it’d be less strain on my wallet, but let’s go see, to some of that fried chicken dinner and the other extras Lottie’s has to offer.”
With a cheer, the men rushed for the dining hall, where the server’s outfits were made of less cloth than was needed to cover a narrow window. However, when Curry looked to his partner, he found him dejected with his lower lip pouted out. Clapping him on the shoulder, he asked, “What?”
“Why’d you go and do that? They were enjoyin’ themselves…”
“Making them storm drunk is only going to loosen their tongues and maybe, some of their tempers. Let Lottie’s gals do the work of warming them over to you.” Curry responded, wrapping his arm about his cousin’s shoulders. “Being a leader, means we don’t have to do all the work ourselves.” He steered Heyes from behind the bar, “I recall someone telling me that.”
The dimpled smile was back, a little looser and sloppier than normal, from all the rapid fire whiskey shots, but back and leaning close, Heyes slurred, “Thanks, you’re the best partner ever.”
“I already know that.”
“Yup, ‘cause, I have Hannibal Heyes as my partner.”
The dimpled grin engulfed his cousin’s face.
“Yup, Hannibal Heyes and I know that makes me the best partner ever, because, I get to deal day and night with good ol’ notorious Hannibal Heyes and all his eccentricities.”
Heyes tilted his head to the side, looking over from the slant of his eye, “What?”
Curry looked right back at him, with a large smile, “What… what?”
“Who taught you eccentricities?”
“Like I said,” Curry responded, nudging against his partner and with a warm laugh, kept them moving toward the dining hall, while watching his cousin’s whiskey soaked mind try to muddle through what he had just been told and laughed even harder.
Stepping into the gaudily, decorated hall with long tables covered with food and drink, they were greeted by Kyle hollering, “Heyes, Kid this is the bestest, most wonderful night of my life.”
Taking in the little brunette perched in Kyle’s lap and the chicken leg gripped in his free hand, the partners looked at each other with smiles as wide as the Grand Canyon. Because, all along the tables, the beaming expressions of the gang members matched Kyle’s and it appeared, Heyes’ plan was on the right track.
Before dinner was completed, a button nosed, big eyed, petite brunette had attached herself to Heyes and as the merriment of the dining hall dispersed to various upstairs rooms, it came to him his own partner was still drinking coffee and chatting with Lottie, who was a good twenty, maybe more, years his senior.
Leaning against the doorframe that led to the wide stairs, reaching for the second floor, Heyes looked to the gal tugging at his left hand, to the whiskey bottle in his other, and back to Curry. Clearing his throat, he said, “Uh, Kid… is you and….” he pointed over his shoulder with the whiskey bottle at the stairs and even though his words faded away, his eyes darting to Lottie revealed his thoughts.
The large chested, tight corseted, redhead laughed heartily, laying a hand on Curry’s arm, “Oh my, but, do I not wish. Alas, it appears we are merely goin’ to remain friends.”
Curry took a drink, his eyes darting to the inside of his cup, with a touch of pink gracing his cheeks.
Patting his arm, while still smiling at Heyes, Lottie said, “It’s all right, Hun, you go on up with Betsy, me and your pal, will enjoy some more coffee.” She grinned across at Curry, “While he keeps watch over y’all like a shepherd over a bedded down flock. And yet, even though beds are involved, I do not deem much sleepin’ is goin’ to be occurrin’.” And, looking to Curry, she asked, “What do you think, Darling?”
The pinkness shifted to red and to avoid answering Curry took another drink.
“Uh, Kid, you sure?”
Without looking away from his cup, Curry responded, “I’m sure… get! Someone needs to stay alert.”
Taking another pull on his whiskey, Heyes followed Betsy upstairs and promptly ran into Wheat, kissing on a round figured, blonde in the hallway.
“Howdy, Wheat, all good ‘tween us?” Heyes asked, pulling his hand from Betsy and offering it to Wheat.
“Well, now, Heyes, it sure appears to be working out that way.” Wheat answered, pointing at the bottle dangling from his leader’s hand and with a smile, Heyes passed it over.
Holding it up, Wheat stated, “to old times.” Then slyly, popping his thumb across the bottle's mouth, he made a show of taking a big drink before returning it.
Wobbling some on his feet, Heyes flung the whiskey up, swallowing down a good dose of it.
Wheat pulled the bottle back, “to old grievances,” and once more faked drinking, shoving the bottle over to Heyes.
This time, Heyes leaned closer, his nose scrunching up, “to old grievances??”
“Yeah, may they be fixed.” Wheat replied, motioning for him to drink on it.
The dark eyes narrowed, but with a shrug, he took another long pull and when he lowered the bottle, only the smallest bit swirled to the bottom.
Taking the whiskey bottle from his slack hand, Betsy said, “Now, you knock that off Wheat Carlson or he ain’t gonna be worth a bucket of spit to me.”
A snorting, giggle slipped from Heyes and he had to put a hand on the wall to steady himself.
With a bullish look, Wheat replied, “you mean he is normally.”
With a shake of her head, Betsy latched hold of Heyes propelling him through her bedroom door. But, before she got in, Wheat snagged her, holding her back.
“I gave you a twenty dollar gold piece; you are planning on upholding your end still, ain’t ya?”
“Of course, I am.” But, hearing the thunk of a boot hitting the floor, her eyes slid toward her room. “You ain’t gonna hurt ‘em. You promised you wouldn’t hurt ‘em none.”
“And, I won’t Betsy. I don’t break promises, never have, and never will.”
She nodded, “well, then go on and wait for my whistle.” Having said this, she dashed in, shutting the door after her.
“What you up to, Wheat?”
“Just a bit of payback to our high faultin’ leader,” Wheat replied; looking over his shoulder at the blonde, passing her a wink.
“Don’t ya men, usually, do that by bustin’ one anothers heads in or pullin’ iron?”
Wheat made a chirking noise, “You got the right of it there, Hildy. Only, I really ain’t wanting to hurt ‘em. Hell, I like Heyes, most days.
But, I sure do want to injure that pride of his.”
About that time, a wolf whistle rippled through Betsy’s door.
A smile so large, Wheat’s teeth were fully visible behind his bushy mustache appeared and latching hold of the door knob, he burst into the room like a bull buffalo on a rampage. “Hellfire, Heyes, there’s lawdogs swarming in downstairs.”
Before him stood an astounded Hannibal Heyes, as bare as the day he was born, and placing his hands on his leader’s shoulders, who was so drunk, he was most likely seeing double, he shoved him toward the window. “Kid ordered me, to get you out of here first.”
Wheat barked, “Right here,” gesturing at the open window.
“But…” Heyes lunged for his pants and about fell down when they resisted his tug, not realizing Betsy was firmly standing on them.
Snatching up the holstered Schofield, hanging on a ladderback chair, Wheat tossed it out the window.
And, Heyes spun watching it go, “that’s my…”
“I know, now get...” Wheat looked desperately back over his shoulder, “I’ll toss your clothes down to you, but how am I supposed to get out of here too, if’n you don’t move.”
His mind spinning and his blood pumping so fast, he could feel it, Heyes placed a leg over the ledge, “but…”
“You want to get caught by the law? Then whose gonna think up a plan to get Kid out?”
Nodding, he lowered himself, until he was hanging from the window sill and taking a breath, let himself drop to the ground. Once on
the damp grass, Heyes struggled to his feet, and cupping his hands about his mouth, he hissed up, “Hey, toss my pants down first.”
Leaning on the window ledge, Wheat called, “What’s that, I can’t hear you?”
“My pants!” Heyes called more urgently, “and, hurry the hell up, so we can go help Kid.”
“Why? He ain’t havin’ a lick of trouble, only you is.”
“There ain’t no law here.”
“Nope, just us outlaws, now you have yourself a pleasant stroll, Heyes.” And, with a braying laugh, Wheat shut the window.
Hiding in the shadow of the house, Heyes studied the busy, brightly lit street before Lottie’s then the darkness behind it. Taking up his holster, he stared at it. Then, looking up at the window, he had been tricked through, a barrage of curses bubbled from him, some aimed at Wheat and the rest at his drink addled mind that had allowed him to be tricked. When he ran out of sufficient curses, he released a long drawn out sigh and buckled on his gun belt, feeling all the more ridiculous, he shifted the holster to a loin cloth position.
Darting along in the darkness, sweating bullets over the possibilities of being seen, relief sprung up in him on spying a sheet flickering in the pale, starlit night. Except, just as he reached to retrieve the sheet, it slid from his grasp; revealing one of Lottie’s gals busily gathering it into her arms.
He stood frozen.
She stood frozen.
He grinned feebly.
She giggled, “Nice pistol.”
Glancing at his Schofield sticking out of his strategically placed holster, he flamed red from his cheekbones to his collarbones. Leaping forward, he yanked the next clothing items from the line, and wrapping them about himself, made his escape to her rolling laughter.
Now, with his bare back up against the rough, weathered wood on the rear side of the outhouse, he thought, ‘I am going to string Wheat up like one of them piñatas.’ Holding out what he had thieved, he rolled his eyes heavenward, ‘not sure, this is better than being naked.’ With a sorrowful sigh, he climbed in, hitching his holster back around his waist to hold the over-sized clothing in place.
Sober as if a cold bucket had been dumped over him, he soft stepped about the house, swearing each time his tender feet found a sharp rock along the way. But, at least, he had made it, without being sighted and taking a breath, he climbed the wide stairs to Lottie’s door. Shoving his long bangs from his face, he rang the bell.
The same gal he had met out back answered, her eyes glistening from having laughed until she cried. With a hand across her grinning mouth, her bright green eyes looked him over where he stood in a ragged, over patched, pair of pantaloons that belonged to their cook, Mrs. Rachel; which, in all reality, the old gal should relinquish to the rag bin. They were too short on him, and much too large, and his gunbelt appeared to be the only thing keeping them from slipping off. Shaking her head, her eyes slid over him once more, from his tousled hair, red cheeks, across the threadbare pantaloons, to his bare feet and with a snort, she said, “Think I liked you better in just the holster.”
“Thanks,” he replied tightly, sliding by her, handing her a short chemise with a built in padded, bust improver.
Through an eruption of laughter, she barely got out, “Oh, you couldn’t make use of it?”
Passing her a tight smile, that did not reach his eyes; he strode on to the dining hall. However, when he stepped in, Lottie spit her coffee across the tablecloth.
Spinning in his seat, coming to his feet with his Colt cocked and ready, Kid Curry froze at the sight of his partner. His brows lifted, his blue eyes widened, but in a perfectly straight voice, he asked, “My goodness, Heyes, was the dress so bad, you had to throw it in the trash?”
Looking down at himself, Heyes imagined how he would look standing here only in his holster and decided the pantaloons were absolutely wonderful. Peering up through his bangs, he shrugged, “well, what is one person’s trash, is another’s treasure.” And, lifting his head, to look his partner straight in the eyes, he snarled, “Now, where is WHEAT?!”
Wichita Red, "I'm not really a rebel, but I take chances. I have a good time, and I live life the way I want to live it."
Posts : 125
Join date : 2016-10-31
Location : The Sonoran Desert
|Subject: Re: Sept 2017 - "One man's trash is another man's treasure..." Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:49 am|| |
For the first year in many, Sarah was able to enjoy the autumn. Her husband, Joseph, had always complained about this time of the year. His allergies were aggravated by the goldenrod, and he shut himself inside while it was blooming.
Sarah on the other hand, loved late summer, early autumn, when the sun was still warm and the wildflowers were in riotous bloom before the true cold set in. The bright gold of the sunflowers, and the dusty yellow of the goldenrod just made her smile with their brightness.
Joseph had disagreed, and said they were just weeds. She had replied that one man’s trash was another man’s treasure. He had just wrinkled his nose, and then sneezed.
She was always very solicitous of him, and had never brought the flowers indoors, as much as she might have wanted. Over the years, she had decided it was for the best. She loved to travel through the fields covered with the blooms, as she conducted the bank business, since Joseph could not, due to his allergies.
She usually made a trip to the orphanage in the autumn, to insure the sisters had all they needed, before the winter arrived. Joseph thought this was a waste of time, as the sisters were very well off these days, running the orphanage for the most part on the interest of a large account, where they would never touch the principle. Joseph had argued with Sister Madeleva time and again, but she was firm. The interest was enough for them.
The account had started over ten years ago, when two anonymous donors had started wiring large amounts of money for the sisters. The telegraph offices from which the money would be wired, always said it was a Mr. Rembacker and a Mr. Hotchkiss who had sent the funds, but there was never any additional information about them. The money never came from the same location, but Sister Madeleva did start to notice that a good portion came from Wyoming. It was then that they had stopped spending the capital and just used the interest.
It was also at that point when Sarah realized who was sending the money.
Sarah let the sun warm her face, as the horse and buggy took her to the orphanage. She let her mind drift back fifteen years. It was a similar time of year when she had first met Jed. He had been coming back from hunting. In those days, a brace of pheasants or a deer would have been very welcome to extend the food supply the sisters could provide. She had been out exercising her horse, had come upon a rattlesnake, and her horse spooked.
He came out of nowhere, putting himself in some danger, to grab ahold of her horse and calm her.
She knew he was from the orphanage. The sisters had done their best, but even though his clothes were clean and well mended, they were not new. She had seen him around before, when he was out hunting. His hair wasn’t as golden as the sunflowers covering the field, but softer, like the blooms of the goldenrod. His eyes were as blue as the clear autumn sky.
They had met several times after that initial encounter. She came to know when he would be likely to be hunting, and he came to know when she would be likely to be riding. It was innocent and sweet, with both of them so young. They both knew nothing could come of it, with him from the orphanage, and she, the daughter of the bank president.
It was her suggestion that had urged her father to fund Han’s attempt to go to Kansas State University, but it was her inability to dance only once with Jed that sealed its failure.
It was the only time they had ever met in town, where others could see, at the end of the school year dance. Sarah and Jed had tried their best to avoid looking like they already knew each other. However, after sharing more dances than seemly, it was the fight with the Harris brothers that had sealed the fate of Hannibal Heyes and Jedediah Kid Curry.
The money did not start trickling into the sisters’ account for some time. Initially it was just cash sent through the mail. When it became large amounts from Hotchkiss and Rembacker, it was wired.
Sarah still had a sunflower that Jed had picked for her, pressed in the pages of the bible her parents had given her for graduation. Joseph had noticed it, but assumed it was a silly memento that any girl would have kept.
He had gone to his grave without knowing that it was the one and only flower she had ever been given from Kid Curry.
By the time Heyes and Curry became famous, most of the town had forgotten the two young men from the orphanage who had disappeared the night the bank safe had been blown. Sarah, or Sally as she was known when she was young, remembered. So did Sister Madeleva.
Her father had bemoaned that the bank would fail and everyone would lose confidence in it after the robbery. However since the boys had taken only what they had thought they would need, it ended up only affecting the profits for that quarter. No one ever attributed that robbery to Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. No one in the town even considered that young Han and Jed from the orphanage could have pulled off such a job. Speculation was that a gang had come in, taking advantage of the distraction of the July 4th celebrations, and hightailed it out of town before being discovered. A trail out of town was not found, other than that of the two horses that had been taken from the livery. As the boys had left payment for them, most in the town thought good riddance to two of the many orphans. No one followed them. Sister Madeleva decided there was nothing she could do for them now, besides pray.
As Sarah came upon the orphanage, one of the young boys hurried out to take her horse and buggy, as she lithely hopped down. She turned to see Sister Madeleva waiting for her on the porch.
“Mrs. Cole, it is so very nice to see you today.” Sister Madeleva was not an overly demonstrative person, but her smile was genuine.
“Sister, you’ve known me since I was a child, please just call me Sarah.” She gave Sister a warm hug, and they proceeded into the parlor of the home.
“Ah, but I knew you as Sally, all those years ago.” Sister Madeleva smiled, and sent Sister Rita off to bring their guest some tea.
As they sat down, Sarah noticed the beautiful bouquet of sunflowers on the table.
“Oh, how lovely, sister!” Sarah exclaimed. “Some of my favorites.”
“The children so love to pick them and bring them to me.” Sister wrinkled her nose. “They brought me some of the goldenrod too, but I told them to put those in a bouquet we’d put outside. I think Sister Rita was supervising that on the back porch.”
“Oh, I love the softness of the goldenrod too.” Sarah’s thoughts again meandered back among the years. “Do you ever hear from Jed and Han?”
Sister Madeleva sighed. “We still receive donations from a Mr. Smith and a Mr. Jones, not very regular or as large as when we received them from Mr. Hotchkiss and Mr. Rembacker, but still very loyally.”
“I’ve not read of any robberies attributed to them recently, other than the couple that later said it wasn’t them.” Sarah looked at the sunflowers, then at Sister Madeleva.
“I’m hoping that my prayers all these years have finally been answered.” Sister Madeleva smiled, and turned as Sister Rita returned with the tea.
Summer had ended and autumn was cooling the days, when the sisters heard a knock on their back door late one night. Sister Rita was concerned about opening the door, but Sister Madeleva concluded that they should. It was a cool and windy night. Anyone out must have a reason to be.
Sister Patricia stood to one side, with one of the boys’ baseball bats loosely in her hands, as Sister Madeleva cracked open the door. As she always reminded them, ask the Lord for what you need, but make certain you help him provide.
The first thing she saw was a shivering young girl, being shielded from the wind by two tall men.
“Come in, come in, please, out of the cold.” She then looked up into the eyes of the men, one pair chocolate brown, with dimples below, and the other pair pure blue, surrounded by curls as blonde as goldenrod. She knew these men, even though she had not seen them for over a dozen years.
“Hurry, hurry in.” She ushered the three in. “Come by the stove.”
Sister Patricia lowered her bat, when she met their eyes. “Oh, my, it’s … our boys come back.”
The Kid went to sit in front of the stove with Mary, and Heyes turned to look at the sisters, as he took off his hat. He gave each woman a hug, and then returned to the stove himself.
“I wasn’t certain you’d remember.”
“With those dimples, and sky blue eyes, how could we forget?” Sister Patricia set the baseball bat to the side, and started gathering the items needed to cook something warming.
“We’ve brought you a friend.” Heyes held his hand out to Mary and she shyly moved away from the Kid. “This is Mary.”
“Well, Mary we are very happy to have you here,” Sister Madeleva said. Perhaps you’d like to help Sister Rita make us something good to eat.
Mary looked back at Heyes, and then the Kid, who nodded. Sister Rita came to take her hand and led her off towards the pantry.
“It has been a long time, boys.” Sister Madeleva’s gaze first met Heyes’ and then the Kid’s, who dropped his eyes.
“Yes, Sister it has,” Heyes replied.
“I’ve not heard much about your … exploits lately,” her eyes questioned Heyes.
“No.” Heyes looked down, and then met her eyes again. “No, we’ve … uh, sort of retired.”
“Oh? Really?” Sister Madeleva had a look of genuine surprise on her face.
“We’re working on a deal, to clear our slate.”
“That probably will take a while.”
“Yes, Sister, it is.” Heyes smiled sadly, but then his dimples reemerged. “But we continue to have faith.”
“Good.” Sister Madeleva nodded. “Now let us work on the feast for the prodigal sons’ return. I don’t think we have a fattened calf, but maybe some beef stew will serve just as well.”
The boys had been at the orphanage a couple of days, making certain Mary was going to settle, and doing some repairs for the sisters, to the best of their ability. The cold weather held, so no visitors were likely to stop by.
Heyes had talked until he was blue in the face, but Sister Madeleva remained adamant.
“We survive just fine on the interest, Hannibal.”
“But you could do so much more if you invested the money in something with a higher rate of return than the bank can provide.”
“My conscience gives me enough problems, leaving the money there, but I doubt if there is any way to get it back to its rightful owners at this point.”
“No, sister, there isn’t.” Heyes scowled. “Not without turning ourselves in.”
“Well, we don’t want that, so I’ll just have to continue to have discussions with God over the decisions I’ve made.”
“The money recently is from honest work, Sister.”
She nodded. “I was assuming so. We’ve actually spent some of that for upkeep.”
“Then I guess we have to agree to disagree.”
A knock came to the front door.
“Whoever would be out in this cold?” Sister Rita wondered, as she went to answer the door.
They heard some muffled voices, as Heyes and the Kid made a move to head out the back door, Sister Madeleva stopped them with a raised hand.
“I don’t think you two have to worry about this guest.” Sister Madeleva smiled.
Sister Rita came back with Sarah. Her eyes became large when she saw who was with the sisters, and she put her hand up to her mouth.
“Jed? Han? Is it really you?”
She held out her hands and Heyes let the Kid approach first. He grasped her hands, but then pulled her into a hug.
“Sally, it’s great to see you again.” The Kid released her, and Heyes also gave her a hug.
“Why after all this time, are you back?” Sarah asked.
“They brought us a dear, sweet child who needs our help, much as they did once,” Sister Madeleva answered.
“Hopefully she will turn out better than we did, Sister,” Heyes replied wryly.
“Oh, I think, even after the life you’ve led, you seem to have turned out pretty well.” Sister Madeleva gave them a wise look, and turned towards Sally. “Our boys are trying to make good in the end.”
“Really?” Sally found she couldn’t stay away from Jed, and reached out towards him with her hand again, and he gently took it, as if she were something out of a dream.
“Sister Rita, I think it’s time for some tea for us, and maybe some coffee for the boys.” Sister Madeleva looked over the people before her, and then met Heyes’ gaze. “We have some catching up to do.”
“You’re running the bank?” Heyes just smiled at Sarah and shook her head.
“Yes, and she’s managed to convince the town to fund several scholarships for our students,” Sister Patricia looked pleased. “We send most to the University of Nebraska just up in Lincoln, but a couple have gone to Kansas and Kansas State.” She smiled sadly at Heyes.
“I’m certain Papa is spinning in his grave,” Sarah huffed, then met Heyes’ eyes, and turned to look at the Kid sitting beside her. “I have always thought of it as one way for me to make amends, to both of you.”
“Sally,” Jed said softly. “We made the decisions we did and led the life we did.”
“If the sisters’ upbringing didn’t purge the anger,” Heyes stated. “I doubt if an education at Kansas State would have.” He laughed ruefully. “ Then I might have been smart enough to figure out how keep at it, rather than give it up as we have.”
She nodded, “Maybe we’re keeping others from following your path.” She reached for Jed again.
“Do you think you’ll ever get the amnesty?” Sarah had her hand on the Kid’s chest, and he had his arms around her. They were standing on the back porch of the orphanage. Heyes had gone to get the horses from the stable and the sisters had busied themselves inside.
The Kid shrugged, but smiled, and with those luminous blue eyes looking at her, she couldn’t be disappointed. “Heyes keeps telling me we just gotta have faith.”
She nodded too, and then waited for what she had never received when she was much younger and still known as Sally. The Kid bent his head and softly kissed her.
Heyes had quietly come up with the horses.
“Don’t stay away so long next time.” She reluctantly let him go, but he bent to give her one more sweet kiss.
“You keep that bank running.” His eyes twinkled, and he laughed.
“I’ve heard that won’t be a problem.” She smiled back. “It seems the two most successful outlaws in the history of the west have chosen a different path.”
The sisters came out to give the boys hugs before they left.
Heyes gave Sister Madeleva a hug and stopped to ask, “Do you mind if we stop back by, sometime, to check on Mary?” He then looked over to Sarah who was still standing by the Kid as he laughed at something Sister Rita said.
“You boys are always welcome,” she answered. “And I’ll keep praying.”
Heyes’ eyes sparkled. “Maybe I’ll start again.”
Sister Patricia laughed. “Well, then you two should have your amnesty in no time, because I doubt if even the Lord can resist the silver tongue of Hannibal Heyes.”
Posts : 155
Join date : 2012-05-04
Location : New Jersey, USA
|Subject: Re: Sept 2017 - "One man's trash is another man's treasure..." Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:49 am|| |
My offering for this month, not for polling and it's over the word limit.
One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure
Heyes flicked his eyes up to momentarily rest on his partner standing on the other side of the leader’s cabin’s large table before returning his attention to the map before him.
“So, that’s got Wheat upset.”
“Wheat’s always got something to crab about.”
“And it’s got Lobo upset, and Preacher upset, and Hank upset, and …”
“Okay, Kid. I got it. The gang’s upset.”
“Everyone likes Kyle. If you can put up with the dirt, Kyle’s a nice guy. He’ll do anything for you. He’s kinda like a pet.”
Heyes, his attention still on the map where he was carefully using a ruler to measure the distance between pencil points, distractedly responded, “Uhm, so deal with it.”
Kid Curry, the co-leader of the Devil’s Hole Gang and the one responsible for the daily operations of Devil’s Hole, especially in the period leading up to a big job, heaved a restrained sigh.
“I am dealing with it. That’s why I’m talking to you.”
“Okay, talk.” Heyes scribbled some numbers on the pad beside the map.
Kid walked over to the stove, lifted the lid on the coffee pot and peered inside. After a moment of hesitation, he poured two cups. Curry placed one at Heyes’ elbow before sitting down at the table across from his partner.
“Well, you know Kyle’s birthday is at the end of next week. The boys normally take Kyle into Harristown to celebrate. Even the girls at Lottie’s take pity on Kyle and show him a good time for his birthday.”
Kid sipped at his coffee tentatively and grimaced. He got up from the table and retrieved the whiskey bottle from the cabinet and poured a healthy measure into his cup. Curry watched Heyes take an appreciative swallow of the unadulterated brew without pausing in his further perusal of the map before replacing the bottle without offering any to the absorbed leader of the gang. Kid sat back down.
“So, as I was sayin’, Kyle’s birthday is next week. But as we’ve been holed up here for the last three months ‘cause of that pesky bounty hunter hangin’ around and the job is planned for the week after next that leaves Kyle with no party.”
“He can celebrate and hurrah after the job.” Heyes started drawing arrows and circles on the map.
Kid idly watched Heyes for a while, sipping his doctored coffee. Heyes paused for a moment in his drawing and stared into space. Kid continued his report on Kyle.
“No party and no presents. Everyone likes presents on their birthday, especially Kyle. We haven’t had a birthday celebration for any of the gang in a while. No one says they care but everyone knows Kyle cares. And I bet others do too but won’t say anything. No one’s been able to get to town to buy anything. That makes people feel bad, Heyes. And when they feel bad they grumble. Yeah, once the job is over, things will be good but it’s best to head into what we have planned with everyone at their best. I think we should plan a little party here. It won’t be the same but at least Kyle’ll feel special for a day.”
“Good, good, you do that,” muttered the busy robbery planner.
“Heyes, I’m talking to you but maybe I should say I need to talk with you.”
“Heyes, I need that genius brain of yours for just a few minutes. Pay attention!”
“What? Kid, I heard everything you said. Kyle’s upset ‘cause he ain’t getting a birthday party. How old is he that he’s upset about a party?”
“You might have heard it but you ain’t listen’. Not just Kyle’s upset. It’s the whole gang. And you know, I’m not sure how old Kyle will be, older than me and probably you too. I know he’s older than me since he thinks it’s funny to call me a younglin’ instead of Kid when he’s had way too much to drink.”
Heyes looked up in disbelief. “And you let him?”
Kid shrugged his shoulders and sheepishly answered, “Well not exactly, I pretend I don’t hear him. He’s only done it a few times and I think it makes him feel better that I’m the youngest gang member. Besides, Kyle’s hard to stay mad at.” He straightened up, leaned across the table towards Heyes and continued, “I can get Hognose, who’s the best cook around here to make a cake and somethin’ special for dinner. Ain’t no women but I can’t do anything ‘bout that. You can make sure Kyle wins at poker…”
“I don’t cheat and I don’t throw games,” Heyes protested.
“Everyone knows you play honest poker but that doesn’t mean you can’t play a little less good on one night.”
“Humph, why should I? He’ll know anyway.”
Kid gave his partner a steady measuring look, not backing down from the brown-eyed stare of affront from his partner. Heyes returned to studying his notes.
“Maybe. I’ll think about it.”
“Good, thanks. That leaves the problem of presents. The look-outs haven’t reported seeing that bounty hunter around in a week or so. From the looks of things and what I can see of his tracks when I was out hunting last, he probably finally left and I’ll keep checking. But, I know you don’t want anyone leaving the Hole so close to the next job so what are we going to do about presents?”
Heyes once again looked up and stared at his partner. Kid was serious. He really was concerned about presents for a hardened gang of outlaws and not just any outlaws but the most successful gang of outlaws in the West. Outlaws that if they could wait two more weeks would have plenty of money to spend on whatever they wanted.
Heyes rubbed his chin, felt the stubble and realized maybe a little party to let off some unwanted excess energy prior to the upcoming train robbery might not be a bad idea.
“Let me think on it, Kid.”
“Thanks, Heyes. You can go back to your final plannin’ now.”
Heyes and Kid entered the bunkhouse the next afternoon as the men were gathering after a day of maintenance work on the various buildings. The gang members were hot, tired, and somewhat surly when they greeted their leaders with grunts and nods.
Heyes walked towards the table as Kid leaned back against the door with his arms crossed, a small cloth sack hanging from his left hand, watching the room.
“Gather ‘round boys, I’ve got something to say,” announced Heyes in a no nonsense tone.
Backs slightly stiffened and expressions ranged from blank to belligerent on the Devil’s Hole Gang men’s faces but they quickly sat and stood around the bunkhouse table. Preacher glanced at Kid by the door, noticed the twinkle in the blue eyes and the slight tug at the mouth, indicating a suppressed grin and he relaxed back into his chair.
“Well men, it seems that Kyle is going to be missing his birthday celebration in Harristown next week. It also seems that we’ve missed a few birthdays this year. So, I’ll tell you what we’re going to do.” Heyes announced in a booming voice.
“We’re gonna have ourselves a gang birthday party next week, with Kyle as the extra special birthday boy. Presents for everyone! We can take a day off from non-essential chores, play poker for as long as you want and Hognose will make a birthday cake and cook something special, won’t you Hognose?”
Hognose nodded, “Yep, I can do that Heyes, we got a nice smoked ham in the smokehouse, Kyle’s favorite, some smoked fish too or venison from that deer Kid got and I can see what we got growin’ out back that’s ready for pickin’.”
Kyle jumped up and slapped his best buddy Wheat on the back, “Whooee! See Wheat, I knew Heyes wouldn’t forget. He was just foolin’ me by pretendin’ my celebration ain’t important. Thanks Heyes, I always say you’re the best ever leader. But what are we gonna do about presents? Kid won’t let us go into town.”
Heyes broke into a full-dimpled grin as his brown eyes shot over to the door and a brown head slightly inclined in gratitude as he met his partner’s twinkling blues and wide smile.
“The Devil’s Hole Gang is known for doing the impossible and being innovative and resourceful.”
Kyle leaned over and whispered to Wheat, “What’s innovative, it’s good, right?”
Before Wheat had a chance to respond, Heyes continued, “So, we’re going to be innovative, that is we’re going to make something up that’s new from something old for presents. The Kid put a box on the leader cabin’s porch that everyone is going to put in a few old items that they don’t want any more. Do that by tomorrow night. The rules are that Kid and I are going to step outside. You’re going come out one at a time to draw a slip of paper with a man’s name on it out of the sack the Kid has and I’ll whisper it to you if you can’t read my handwritin’. The name you draw is the person you have to make a present out of the things that are in the birthday stuff box on the porch. Keep the name to yourself so no one knows who is making whose present. You have to use at least one item from the box, and anything else you can find that no one is using or wants or is lying around the hole. That gives everyone a week to work on the present he’s making. Any questions?”
A few men spoke up and Heyes answered their questions amiably. He could tell that the gang was initially hesitant, not sure of what to make of the idea but the enthusiasm was building. Men were smiling and laughing at a few outrageous or rude suggestions for homemade presents. Kyle was bouncing up and down in his chair.
“Come on Kid, let’s go outside to get the show on the road.” Kid turned around, opened the door and with a last look of satisfaction at the scene around the table, exited the bunkhouse. Heyes followed closely with Kyle’s excited high-pitched insistence of “Me first” ringing in his ears.
Curry dragged the large box of the men’s discarded trash items into the cabin and dumped the contents on the table to make sure nothing unsuitable or dangerous found their way into the material to be used for the presents. Kid was rummaging around the contents, pulling a few items off to the side.
“Well, anything good in there?” Heyes asked from across the room.
Kid looked over his shoulder. “It depends upon what you mean by good. There’s a few tin cans of various sizes, a broken leather bridle, bits of latigo straps, leather pieces, a jar of buttons, a roll of string, an old shaving brush, some fairly nice feathers on a leather headband. I wonder where that came from,” he laughed.
Heyes, his curiosity getting the better of him, sauntered over to join his partner. He picked up a dried-up corn cob in one hand and a ripped plaid shirt in another. “There certainly is a variety of stuff, isn’t there?”
“Yep, these cards yours?” asked Curry, indicating a rubber-banded deck of well-worn pasteboards.
“Yeah, it’s a few cards light. What did you contribute?”
Kid pointed to an old wooden comb, missing half its teeth and a large rounded belt buckle. “It should be fun to see what everyone makes with this old stuff, won’t it?”
Heyes watched his partner look at each item on the table with delight, no matter how trivial it was, as if they were found treasures. Curry was really having fun, planning the party, meeting with Hognose over the menu, like he was some gent talking to the caterer. He had already arranged with Preacher for some home brew to supplement the limited amount of alcohol still in the Hole. Dutch, Hank and Quint were going to provide the music on a washboard, a makeshift drum and a string bass. Curry had even talked Heyes into playing a tune or two on the old guitar. Talk about Kyle, Heyes thought, Kid was really a big kid sometimes too, a real younglin’.
Heyes was chuckling to himself. He casually asked, “So, what name did you pull out of the sack?”
Curry has started to put the items back in the box, ready for the transformation from trash to treasure. He looked up, smirked, and answered, “I can’t tell you, it’s a secret.”
“Come on Kid, you don’t keep secrets from your partner. You can tell me.”
“Nope, them’s the rules. You made the rules, Heyes, not me.” With that statement, Curry lifted the box and left the cabin to do his rounds after leaving the trash trove on the porch.
All the next week found men sneaking up to the porch and surreptitiously smuggling items from the trash present box away into parts unknown. For once, the chores were done quickly and efficiently with nary a complaint. The men used their squirreled away free time to work on their gifts. Heyes watched the gang’s activity with a bemused eye. The satisfied leader of the gang silently congratulated himself on his scheme to keep the men occupied, out of trouble, and not letting unproductive energy and nervousness build before the coming complicated and somewhat riskier than usual train robbery plan. Kid Curry might have had something to say regarding Heyes assigning himself the credit for the birthday party but Kid was too busy to notice.
Finally, the day of the party arrived. The leader’s cabin was hosting the party proper. The Kid, Quint and Lobo festooned the cabin with paper cutouts of presents strung on string. The dinner feast was the finest in the Hole that the men of Devil’s Hole could remember in a long time. Preacher had even produced two cached, purloined bottles of wine to go with the dinner. The music along with the whiskey and shine would be kept for the night’s poker game being held in the bunkhouse. Kyle’s child-like wonder when the birthday cake was carried in, complete with a few candles, brought smiles to all of the hardened outlaws. Heyes plucked out a simple rendition of Happy Birthday on the slightly out of tune guitar while everyone sang an enthusiastic rendition of the song.
Wheat stood up, slid the birthday cake from the center of the table to right in front of Kyle. He fondly found the blue eyes of his best friend and warmly suggested, “Why don’t you make a wish and blow them out, Kyle. Happy Birthday!”
Kyle looked around for a minute in confusion and not finding what he was looking for, spit his tobaccy into the glass before him. He took a great big breath and then blew with all his might, extinguishing the candles on the cake.
Heyes grimaced as he stared at the brown globs in one of the few nice glasses he and Kid owned.
Kid glanced at his partner beside him then leaned in to whisper, “It’s better than all over the cake.”
“Can’t argue with that.”
Everyone clapped and the cake was cut into pieces and passed out to each man. A beaming Kyle looked up hopefully at Heyes.
“You want something, Kyle?” Heyes asked innocently.
“Uhm, yes. I mean not just me but everyone. Everyone is gonna get a present, right Heyes. Can we have them now? Can we?”
“Kid, why don’t you get the box of wrapped presents and we’ll pass them out. It seems a birthday party isn’t complete without the presents. Remember, no telling who made what. Unless, of course, we can’t figure something out.”
All eyes, in spite of themselves, watched the young blond notorious gunmen disappear into his room only to emerge moments later with a big box filled with presents wrapped in assorted materials and with various levels of skill.
Heyes reached in, read the writing on the wrinkled brown paper, tied with string and handed the gift to Lobo.
Lobo carefully unwrapped the present and held up a leather strip fashioned into a hat band, which had a spray of bristles and feathers artfully arranged on one side.
“Wow, this is a pretty nice hat band. It’s as good as I could buy in town. Hey wait a minute. Are those the bristles from my old shaving brush?” Lobo looked pleased and somewhat surprised as he peered around the table, trying to figure out who to thank.
Wheat was already busy unwrapping his small package to uncover a wooden mustache comb, which he promptly used on his large luxuriant mustache. As Wheat preened, Kid thought to himself, whoever had Wheat was skilled in sizing his old head comb into a mustache one for Wheat.
Kid was handed a large, relatively heavy gift, covered by what looked like a stretched faded red long john leg tied at both ends with string. Curry laid one end on the table and untied the string as he pushed the material down. It revealed a long piece of sanded wood with hooks along the bottom and metal rings on the back with rope ties attached to the rings. A jar of buttons was stuffed into the bottom of the long john leg. Kid opened the jar with amusement and pulled out a few buttons. Each button was attached to a string of different lengths with a loop at one end. Kid held the wooden rack up, hung two of the buttons on the hooks and laughed.
“They’re targets. The buttons are targets. That’s pretty clever. Thanks, it will be fun to practice with this,” Curry stated with genuine pleasure.
The next gift was small and was tucked into a sock, tied with a bow made of dried cattail leaves. It went to Hank. Hank looked dubiously at the package in his hand and tentatively brought it close to his nose for a quick sniff. Finding the smell acceptable he tore the bow and shook out the sock. A nicely carved corn cob pipe with a polished wood stem fell onto the table. Hank smiled, and plucked the pipe from table top and popped it into his mouth.
“Anyone got any smoking tobacco?” asked Hank hopefully.
Heyes piped up, “If you wait a minute, I think I have a cigar in my room you can use for the tobacco.”
Heyes pushed the box of presents to Kid to finish handing out as he went to retrieve the needed cigar.
Kid brought out a thin flat item. He read the fine cursive writing on the paper and passed the package to Dutch.
Dutch tore the paper and held up a neat large square of plaid cotton, which separated into three separate squares. Dutch turned to Preacher sitting next to him.
“Thanks for the bandanas, Preacher.”
Preacher held up his glass of wine in acknowledgement. “You’re welcome. But how did you know they were from me?”
Dutch smiled as he tied one bandana around his neck. He held up one of the other bandanas and pointed to the edge's hem before carefully folding the remaining two up and put them in his pocket. “The stitches are small and neat and the hem along the edges is straight. No one else here has that sewing skill, not even Lobo.”
Kid tossed Hognose his present. The cook eagerly caught it and proceeded to pull off what looked like the other leg of the faded discarded red long johns from the awkwardly shaped object. Everyone burst out into uncontrolled laughter.
Wheat pointed at the gift and slightly piqued stated, “It’s a piggy bank. See a sow for a hog, you know Hognose, the former pig farmer.”
Kid was wiping his eyes of tears, he was laughing so hard that Heyes elbowed him in the ribs to quiet it down.
Heyes got himself under control and agreed, “So it is and a pretty ingenious sow bank at that.” And it was. The body was a polished sideways tin can. There were 4 nails and a small double row of short wires protruding from bottom representing legs and teats. A round wooden disc with a short corkscrewed piece of thick wire for the tail formed the access into the interior of the piggy bank from the opened end of the tin can. A smaller can sat attached at the edge of the top of the body can and was decorated with buttons and wire to form the head and face.
Hank solemnly thanked Wheat, “Thank you Wheat. The bank will come in handy. Maybe I’ll start saving a little bit of my share of the take so I’m not always broke between jobs.”
Wheat’s look of annoyance morphed into one of smug satisfaction.
Preacher revealed a bottle encased in a basket of leather bridle straps with a long loop to hang it on something. Preacher shook the bottle. It was empty. “The lord giveth and the lord taketh away. Thank you, Sir, for the bottle holder.”
“Where’s mine, Kid? Where’s my present,” whined Kyle who could barely control his excited anticipation.
“Here, Kyle. Catch.” A large bundle came soaring across the table and thudded Kyle in the chest before he cradled the object with his arms against his body. Pieces of shredded paper rapidly went off in all directions like confetti. Kyle held his present aloft proudly, a spittoon fashioned from a large tin can. The maker having taken his time to bang in and out the tin to make the classic spittoon flared shape and polished to a shine.
Heyes muttered out the side of his mouth to no one in particular as he one again grimaced at the glass sitting in from of Kyle, “Now he gets the spittoon. We should have given him the present first.”
“Here Quint.” Curry handed over a small neatly wrapped box. Quint peered inside the box and pulled out a jews harp made from a rounded metal belt buckle and a dried cut cane reed. The outlaw grinned and placed the homemade instrument in his mouth and started to play a tune. It sounded surprisingly good and the men started clapping in time. Kid gave a knowing look to his partner, so that was what Heyes was doing down by the stream the other day.
One gift remained.
“The last one boys before we can head over to the bunkhouse and party hardy,” Curry called out.
Kid handed a slim gift, wrapped in newspaper to the leader of the Devil’s Hole Gang. He watched carefully as his partner unwrapped the package, trying to gauge Heyes’ initial true reaction. Heyes held up what he immediately ascertained was a finally crafted bookmark. A soft piece of 6-inch leather had been pierced along both sides as were the ace of spades and the ace of diamonds, which were sewn on along the sides with latigo, an ace on the front and back. The ends of the leather latigos were slightly longer, one longer at the top of the bookmark and the other at the bottom. Each longer end was weighted with a bullet in the center of a leather knot. Heyes now knew why his partner wouldn’t divulge whose name he had drawn. Only Kid would choose to craft this as s present for him. Heyes sought his partner and held Kid’s vulnerable blue eyes.
“Thank you to whoever made this for me. It’s perfect. I hate bending the pages of a book and the slips of paper I use now as bookmarks keep falling out. Thanks. One man’s trash is another man treasure. I know I’ll treasure this.”
Heyes and Kid Curry surveyed the room. The men were jovial, relaxed and enjoying oohing and aahing over thoughtful gifts made just for them by good friends.
Heyes thought it was a good omen for the hard work yet to come on the upcoming job. But he doubted the men even with soon to be had money could find presents more precious to a man’s heart than the trash to treasure birthday.
Posts : 78
Join date : 2013-01-10
Age : 25
Location : Gettysburg, PA
|Subject: Re: Sept 2017 - "One man's trash is another man's treasure..." Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:40 pm|| |
Author's note- this prompt did not match my vision for the next segment of the story I have been posting in parts for the challenges. If the prompt allows it will continue next month.
An old man sat in the chair of his nursing home room, listening to the radio news report. He shook his head, he'd been a little kid during what they were now calling the Civil War...it was anything but civil...been nearly fifty when the Spanish American War broke out, and near sixty-five when the Great War (WWI) broke out. Now he was ninety and the States was fighting on both fronts of the second world war. He was thankful to have lived this long, but not to see so many wars break out.
He was pulled from these thoughts by a light knock on the door frame. "C'mon in," he said, noticing his once smooth baritone voice had become rough and harsh.
Two people entered the room. One was a young woman, perhaps in her late twenties and the other was a man, closer to his mid thirties.
"Ya know it ain't polite to keep your elders waiting," he said.
"Sorry, Grandpa, Thaddeus here had trouble finding a parking spot," The woman replied.
He grinned. His grandson wasn't the best driver in the world. "I guess I can foregive that," he grew serious, "were able to smuggle some in?”
The woman nodded as Thaddeus rolled his eyes. "Of course I did, it's not everyday someone lives to see ninety years."
"Yet plenty of people live to see seventy and get stuck in places like this..."
"C'mon Grandpa, it can't be that bad, you're the one with the interesting stories. I mean, you were ten at the time of the Civil War?" Thaddeus asked.
The old man's dark eyes grew a little darker. "There was nothing civil about that war. I lost more to that war than either of you will ever know." He paused for a moment then got up from his chair.
"Grandpa, be careful, you know you shouldn't be walking without your cane or walker."
"I ain't dead yet, Cora," he said sharply, "besides I have something to give you two, or the nurses here are going to get rid of them...too dusty they say, making it hard for me to breathe right."
From the nightstand by his bed he picked up a cigar box and a battered, sun bleached, black hat with a fancy silver studded hat band and takes them over to his grandchildren. "Cora, the bottle, please," he said.
Cora got the flask out of her purse. "Here, I figured something more discreat would be better."
He nodded, opening it and taking a sip of the whiskey within. "I don't know how much Cornelia told you two about my past, but there in that cigar box are some tintypes, printed photographs, hand bills, and other things from my rowdy past." There was a short pause. "That hat is what they're really threatening to throw away. It's still a perfectly good hat, just don't wear it when it's raining. Kid was buried with his hat and his colt, I want mine displayed there in the ranch house. Hard pressed to find a good beaver felt had now, all made from wool felt...that don't breathe quite as well in the summer months."
"We'll do that, Grandpa," Thaddeus assured the old man.
Cora had opened the box and had started looking through the photographs and tintypes. She pulled one out and looked at it. It was a group portrait containing quite a few familiar faces and a couple she didn't recognize. "There's Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Jed, Uncle Lom, Ma and Uncle Joshua, and..." She held the portrait out to her grandfather. "Who are the two women on either side of Uncle Jed, and the two men standing in front of Uncle Lom?" She asked.
The old man looked at the portrait for a moment. "The women are Clementine Hale and Georgette Sinclair," he said after a moment, "the other two men are Soapy Saunders and Silky O'Sullivan...I can't even remember how we convinced ol' Silky to agree to have this done with the rest of us. He died just two years shy of a hundred years, Soapy died a year or so after this was taken...then Lily after coming home from Europe, still blame myself for it...never should have bought tickets for Titanic...Clementine was next to go, then Georgette, then Kid there in '29..." He paused to rub the moisture from his eyes. "...and I'm not long to join them now." He drank again from the flask, to the memories of his long gone friends.
"Don't talk like that Grandpa, doctor says you're fit as a fiddle for a man at your age. Still in your right of mind, little shaky at times, little weak in the legs, but all that is to be expected...except for your mind still being sharp." Cora said.
Thaddeus nodded in agreement. "Sorry Ma couldn't come, she said she'd come by tomorrow."
"I can forgive your Ma for that, I know she's a busy woman."
"Grandpa, I can understand why they would want you to get rid of the hat, but these photographs?"
"Too old and dusty, the cigar box anyway. They said the photographs are of things I have forgotten and may upset me to to see them. First off I can still remember what I ate for breakfast so I still can recall things from my past easily. I would rather these few things end up back at home rather than in a landfill."
Cora and Thaddeus nodded. They continued looking through and asking about certain photographs and the old man would answer the questions with little to no thought before speaking.
A few hours later the grandchildren had left and a nurse entered the room. "Evening, Mister Heyes, how are you feeling?"
"Evening Ellen," there was a short pause, "I feel...old..."
"Aw, well, that tends to happen after a certain age." she noticed the absence of the black hat and cigar box. "I see you finally got rid of that junk on your bedside table. Now you won't wake up so congested."
"No ma'am, I didn't get rid of it, least not in the sense you think I did. I gave those items to my grandkids, people who will treasure and preserve them for future generations of the family."
Nurse Ellen smiled. "Well, trash to us is better left as family treasures to you and yours. Let's get you some supper and then to bed."
Heyes smiled and nodded, knowing his memories were now in a safe place.
"The only thing in life you have to earn is love, everything else you can steal." ~Hannibal Heyes
Posts : 1619
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 60
Location : Northern California
|Subject: Re: Sept 2017 - "One man's trash is another man's treasure..." Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:57 pm|| |
One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure
Kid Curry looked back on the trail, again.
“Would you quit looking back?” Heyes said, agitated as he turned around in the saddle.
“I thought you liked it when I was nervous,” the Kid retorted.
“Not when you’re making me nervous.”
“I can’t help that I have that feelin’.”
“You’ve had that feeling since we left Columbia a couple of hours ago.” Heyes faced the front again. “And nothing has gone wrong…”
Gunfire rang out in front and behind them.
“Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes, throw down your guns and get your hands up where we can see them!”
“You had to say it out loud, didn’t you,” Curry mumbled as he tossed his gun down and raised his hands.
Once both outlaws’ guns were lying on the trail and their hands were in the air, three men came out behind trees and rocks with guns drawn.
“Landers!” Heyes spat.
A tall, husky, unkempt man in front of them laughed. “I was afraid Curry got a look at me in town and that you two would high-tail it outta there. Lenny and Jose, get their guns and toss them further away before helpin’ our guests off their horses. Take yours off, too, so they aren’t near any weapons. I got them covered.”
Lenny and Jose did as they were told. They placed their Colts on a tree stump, kicked the guns on the trail further away, before each grabbing a former outlaw and pulling him off the horse.
Landers threw some strips of leather to his partners. “Make sure you tie their hands tight and behind ‘em.”
“Sure thing.” Lenny yanked the Kid’s right hand behind. “You heard the boss.”
“You, too!” Jose began tying Heyes’ hands.
“Now bring over here, away from the horse. Kid, you sit down right there.”
“On the ground?” Curry scowled.
“Yep, and hurry it up. I’m getting’ a twitchy finger.”
The Kid got down on a knee, and then another, before falling down. Without the use of his hands, it took him a moment to sit.
“Jose and Lenny, search Heyes and search him good. Everywhere. Never know where he’ll hide things.”
“Everywhere?” Lenny looked disgusted, but not as appalled as Heyes’ expression.
Jose and Lenny patted Heyes down and checked his hat and boots.
Jose pulled a small knife out of one boot and a few dollars from the other. Lenny found a pick lock in the lining of the hat. Once they finished searching him, they pushed him down into a sitting position.
“You’re next, Curry.” Landers grinned, showing his yellowing teeth, as Lenny and Jose came over and pulled him up. They searched him finding a knife in his boot, too.
“Okay, get ‘em back on their horses and tie ‘em up there so we can make it half way to Total Wreck.” Landers spit some chew before mounting his gelding.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
That evening Curry and Heyes found themselves sitting on the ground tied to trees near each other. Landers and his men were around the fire eating beans and deciding what to spend the reward money on.
“How do you know Landers?” the Kid whispered.
“He rode in the Plummer gang. You know him, too?”
“Knew he’s a bounty hunter. Saw him bringin’ in One-Eye Owens to the sheriff at Mule Creek.” Curry pulled at his restraints. “So, do you have a plan yet?”
“Not yet. I’ll let you know when I do.”
“Well, you better hurry. Need I remind you, Total Wreck’s deputy sheriff is Gene Miller and he happens to know us.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Early the next morning, Jose sounded the alarm. “They’re gone! Heyes and Curry escaped!”
“What the…” Landers jumped up with a start. “How’d they escape?”
“Not sure. Their horses are still here.”
“What? How did we not hear them?” Lenny asked as he pulled his pants up over his long johns.
“Celebrated their capture too early.” Landers kicked an empty bottle. “Pack up while I see if I can find their trail. They couldn’t have gone too far on foot. They don’t have their guns either.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Heyes and Curry hurried to a rock formation.
“How far back do you think they are?” the Kid asked.
“Not far enough.” Heyes stopped abruptly and the Kid bumped into him.
“Why’d you stop?”
“Because of him.” Heyes pointed to a dead body.
“Oh!” Curry backed up. “Wonder what happened to him?”
“I don’t know and we don’t have time to figure it out.” Heyes began walking away, but stopped when he realized his partner wasn’t following him. “What are you doing?”
Kid Curry was kneeling next to the dead man. “Getting his gun and bullets.”
“His gun?! It’s rusted and… garbage!”
“He has a gun and I don’t. Since he’s obviously not gonna use it again, it can’t hurt if I take it.” Curry removed the gun belt from the skeleton. He stood up and started looking around.
“Now what are you doing? Need I remind you that there’s a bounty hunter after us?”
“Well, if you would’ve let us get our horses…”
“And chanced waking them up?” Heyes paced agitated. “Are you coming?”
Kid Curry smiled. “I was hopin’ there’d be a saddlebag. And there’s a canteen. Now we have provisions.”
“That are probably trash, too.” Heyes began quickly walking away. Without turning around, he asked, “Are you coming?”
“Right behind you,” the Kid replied as he buckled the gun belt around his waist. “It fits.”
Heyes shook his head in unbelief.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
That evening, Heyes and Curry hid in a thicket to rest.
Curiosity finally got to Heyes. “So, what’s in that saddlebag you’ve been carrying all day?”
The Kid put down the gun he was checking out. “Let see.” He pulled the bag towards him. “There’s some coffee, a can of peaches, oh, and a cloth and oil for the gun.”
Heyes pulled the bag towards him when Curry started working on the gun. “Not gonna get all the rust off.”
“No, but it might be better than nothing at all. I felt nekkid without it.” Kid Curry began vigorously cleaning the rusty gun with the cracking wooden grip.
Heyes rummaged through the rest of the bag. “There’s hard tack for dinner.”
“Good thing we filled up the canteen at the stream.”
Over an hour later, Kid Curry smiled. “Well, it’s not the best, but I think it’ll shoot.”
“It’s still rusty. How straight is it gonna shoot?”
“Don’t need to fire straight if you’re close enough.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
The next morning, Heyes and Curry were walking amongst some trees when Heyes pulled the Kid down. “They’re over there,” he whispered.
Curry nodded and pulled out his newly acquired gun and verified the gun’s chamber was full.
“They gotta be around here somewhere.” Landers got off his horse, looking closely for any tracks. Landers started walking towards the bush. “Lenny and Jose, we caught up with them. They’re over there.
“Stop right there,” Curry growled.
“And how are you goin’ to make us when we have your guns?”
Kid Curry aimed and pulled the trigger.
“What the…” Landers stopped. “Where’d you get a gun?”
“Never you mind. Heyes has one, too,” Curry lied.
“There’s three of us and only two of you.”
“Yeah, but do you really wanna test those odds when Kid Curry has a gun and it’s pointed at you?” Heyes joined in the deception.
“I’m not riskin’ my life.” Lenny turned and getting on his horse ran away.
“Me neither!” Jose followed after Lenny.
“You cowards!” Landers shouted after them.
“Now the odds are two to one,” Heyes pointed out. “What are you going to do, Landers?”
The bounty hunter hesitated.
“I’ll give you til the count of three to get outta here before I start shootin’!” Curry carefully clicked the hammer of the gun, hoping he wouldn’t have to chance another firing.
“Landers…” Heyes drawled.
Landers backed up towards his horse.
He quickly mounted.
“Leave our horses and guns!” Heyes demanded.
Landers untied the reins of two horses and threw down the guns he had sticking in his belt before riding off.
“I can’t believe it!” Heyes said joyously. “It worked!”
The Kid played with the hammer. “Good thing, too. It wouldn’t have fired again.”
There really was a Total Wreck, Arizona…
Total Wreck's (Arizona) post office was established August 12, 1881 and discontinued November 1, 1890. Total Wreck was discovered by John L. Dillon in 1879 and named it such because he thought the ledge the mine was on looked like a total wreck. A 70-ton mill was erected in 1881 and the town grew to 200 residents. A man once got into a shooting at Total Wreck and survived because the bullet lodged in a stack of love letters he had in his jacket. He later married the girl who wrote the letters!
A Los Angeles Times reporter wrote in 1882:
The town of Total Wreck has no appearance of a wreck. It is a thrifty, neat-looking village, the streets laid out at right angles. The main street is named Dillon street in honor of the discoverer of the mine, and the first to discover minerals in this district. The town has two stores, two hotels, a restaurant, five saloons, a carpenter, blacksmith, butcher and shoe-shop; also, a dressmaker's store, a brewery and about thirty-five houses. It has a residential magistrate and a deputy sheriff, and I was informed that in case of trouble with the Indians or roughs ninety men could be mustered within sixty minutes.
"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
|Subject: Re: Sept 2017 - "One man's trash is another man's treasure..." || |
Sept 2017 - "One man's trash is another man's treasure..."