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 Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by

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Alias Alice
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Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 56
Location : Birmingham

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PostSubject: Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by   Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Icon_minitimeWed Nov 01, 2017 4:47 am

And hello again.

Time to start tapping again... this month you have another seasonal topic, well for you folks across the pond, but not so seasonal you cannot adapt it.

Settle back and join the boys in:

"Watching the parade go by"

Pass the popcorn. Thanks

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Posts : 522
Join date : 2012-12-07
Location : Wichita

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PostSubject: Re: Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by   Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Icon_minitimeThu Nov 02, 2017 10:41 am

Great challenge, Calico; my bunny took off the moment I read it. So, glad I had some downtime this morning to put it all into words. Destiny keeps spinning and we are now on Chapter 15.

Never seemed to matter what time he went to sleep or even how much he drank, Heyes as usual found himself awake with the dawn. Slipping down to Lottie’s enormous kitchen, he found a half pot of cold coffee, from the night before. Dumping a handful of grinds in, he topped it off with well water, and filling the black stove, relit the fire.

Back out in the main room, he poked about the shambled mess, the place had been left in when last night's festivities had, eventually, moved to the many bedrooms situated upstairs. From one of the tables, he snagged a piece of carrot cake, taking it to the kitchen, he stood munching and watching the coffee pot. Wiping the crumbs from his fingers on his pant leg, he then removed newspapers from the burn bin, and taking a cup and the pot, headed for the front porch.

The morning was brisk, but not really cold. Taking a seat on the porch swing, he filled his cup; setting the pot on the white, painted floorboards. Holding the cup to his face; he inhaled the strong blend and savored a long drink, before placing the cup on the swings armrest. Flicking an eye to the door, assuring he was alone, he patted his pockets and finding his makings, rolled a quirley. With a wry grin, he popped the smoke in his mouth, happy Kid was not there to scowl at him. Striking a match across the sole of his boot, he exhaled the blue gray smoke into the soft, pastel dawn light and holding his cup close, he swung his legs up into the swing, stretching them out. Content in the silent solitude, he gently swayed, reading page after page of weeks worth of the La Salle Tribune, as he did the sun climbed high into the sky burning off the morning mist and dew.  

When church bells cut through the still air, he looked up, mumbling, “isn’t Sunday, that doesn’t make much sense.” With a shake of his head, he reached to refill his cup, yet again, and finding the pot empty, headed back in.

Dumping two handfuls in this time, he retopped it with water, and while it boiled, ate another piece of cake. Taking his fresh brew back out to the porch, he sipped at a steaming cup while standing on the steps. He cocked his head, ‘is that singing?’ A frown furrowed his brow, ‘words are foreign.’ Curious; he strolled down to Lottie’s front gate facing the main thoroughfare.

Looking up the street toward town, he saw a procession of long robed church men being followed by, what looked to be, a good deal of the town. And, it was from them, all of them, that strange, almost, chanting song arose. His nose twitched and stepping deeper into the shadows of the gate arch, covered thickly in five-leaf ivy; he watched whole families parade by, laden with bouquets of flowers and baskets brimming with gardening, household cleaning supplies, and festivities for picnicking.

They all looked so joyfully serene. He swallowed hard, unable to fathom what was occurring, and with a shake of his head, he returned to the porch, to find Lottie drinking a cup of coffee, watching him from her spot on the swing.

“You need a mademoiselle in your life, Heyes, if’n for no other reason than to make you decent café, I had to add a double heap of cream and sugar to this brew of yours.”

Heyes dimpled smile appeared “Don’t need anyone to teach me how to make coffee, I like mine just fine, thank you.” Taking up the pot, he warmed his cup, but his eyes strayed to the singing crowd cresting the hill on the horizon.

“That ain’t my cup of drink niether…” Lottie stated, waving a hand at the disappearing parade, taking another drink from her cup, “whew, not sure this is either. This rot could make a person’s hair stand on end.”

Still watching the townsfolks, Heyes asked, “Who are they?”

“The sort who looks down their pert noses at the likes of you and moi.”

Crossing his arms, Heyes’ smile flattened.

She took another sip, watching him over the brim of her cup, “It is All Saints Day.”

He sucked at the inside of his lower lip, his nose wrinkling.

And, a tickled laugh rolled from Lottie, “Ah Darlin’, you sure are sweet to look on when your vexed.”

A corner of his mouth softened.

“You ain’t Catholic…”

He shook his head.

“Not even Methodist, I suspect, my Papa always called them half-Catholics.”

One eyebrow arched, a dimple appearing.

“All in all, I reason it is why you are not understandin’ All Saints Day.” She patted the swing seat.

Striding over, he sat down, her verbena perfume entwining itself about him.

“It is the day families go to the cemetery to honor those they loved. They clean the sites, decorate ‘em… just beautifully they do. When the work is all done, they have a right bonne picnic…” She looked off where the families had gone. “… they laugh, tell stories, and remember those who have passed.”

His dark eyes tracked the far crest in the road, “sounds kind of nice.”

Lottie nodded, “if ‘n you got family there, it would be.” Laying a hand on his muscled thigh, she gave it a squeeze. “Come on, Darlin’, let’s go rustle us up some breakfast.”

“I had cake already.”

A robust laugh burst from her and catching her breath, she squeezed his thigh again, “Of course, you did. What garcon can resist cake?”

A furrow appeared in Heyes’ brow, “I don’t know much French, however, I do know garcon means boy and Lottie, I haven’t been a boy for a long time.”

Quick as a bird she kissed him on his high curved cheekbone, “Ah Darlin’, all y’all monsieurs retain a bit of garcon in ya till the day y’all die… and I deem you outlaws, got y’all even a bit more of that wild, never grow up streak. Must be why I’m so charmed and drawn to y’all bad monsieurs.”

When the Devil’s Hole Gang departed Lottie’s Chicken Ranch there was a heavy line of clouds drifting in from the north, trapping a thick, golden light beneath them that set the world on fire; each autumn clad tree seeming more beautifully vibrant than the last. But, this was not noticed by the hungover men slumped in their saddles.

Raising his head, Preacher shielded his eyes, “that bank looks to be carrying snow.”

Working at prying black licorice strips apart, Kyle took a look, “agree with ya, but it still be a ways off.”

“I wouldn’t of missed last night for anything,” Lobo stated, taking off his hat and rubbing a hand through his hair, “but I sure might of changed a few choices, if I knew my head was going to feel this way.”

“I told you, that Frenchie champainee would makes ya head hurt.” Kyle stated, shoving a strip of candy into his mouth, “it done the same to me, when I drank it another time.”

Passing him a lopsided grin, Lobo said, “Mz. Lottie sure does know how to throw a shindig. That is for sure.”

John turned in his saddle, “Hey, Merkle, did ya wind up nestin’ with Lilly, like you wanted?”

“I did.” Merkle replied, with a grin. “Only there wasn’t a whole lot of nesting more rustling, if you got my meaning.”

Each outlaw did and their conversation became louder, more colorful, and unashamed as their horses plodded down the backside of the hill; where the road meandered into a sloping valley.
From the front, Curry called back, “pipe down the lot of you.” Jabbing a gloved hand at a cemetery they were approaching.

Le Salle Cemetary sat in the curve of the valley, pretty as a picture or so the saying goes, nestled between shrub rows with a bubbling brook at its backside, and shady oaks releasing curled brown leaves like lazy birds to the ground. However, it was the families scattered across the cemetary that had Curry shushing the outlaws following him.

Riding along, they took in the folks cleaning and decorating graves, a fire crackling near the creek where several women were cooking, and children playing in an unused portion of the grounds. As they watched, they also steered their horses about Heyes, who had reined his sorrel to a halt in the middle of the road.

Hank asked, no one in particular, “what are they doin’?”

It was Heyes, who answered, his voice sounding soft as the oak leaves floating down, “Honoring their loved ones.”

Hank nodded, several of the others frowned, their own consciences nagging them.

Chirking to his gelding, Heyes aimed him for the grassy ditch by the cemetery corner.

Veering about him, Kyle reined in, “Uhm Heyes, I know ya drank more than a Kilkinney last night, but this here, well it just mights not be the best place to relieve yourself.”

Hearing this, Curry turned in his saddle to see his cousin stepping down from his horse.

Not thinking his leader had heard him, Kyle rolled the wad of licorice more into his cheek, calling out, “Heyes?” in a much clearer voice.

The dark eyes that turned back, held a coldness which only a imbecile could miss, “Kyle, I am not relieving myself. Ride on!”

Shrugging down between his shoulders, Kyle kicked his little paint into a jog, to catch the others whom were nearly past the picket, border fence.

Whoaing next to Curry, Wheat harrumphed,  “What’s he up to?”

“Aim to find out.” Curry answered, turning his big bay, “keep ‘em heading for the Hole.”

Swinging down beside Heyes’ gelding, Curry dropped his reins, ground tying his horse next to the sorrel; who was contentedly grazing.

Approaching his partner, Curry could hear Heyes’ leather gloves creak as he gripped the fence. Taking a breath, he ascertained their gang had rode on as he ordered; before laying a hand on Heyes’ back, when he did, beneath his palm the tight muscles flinched.

“That should be us.”

Curry’s blue eyes scanned the neat rows of limestone grave markers, his mouth twisting to one side. “What are you talking about?”

“Those families tending to the graves of those they love, sharing this day and their memories with their children.” Heyes turned from the cemetery, his eyes glistening in his drawn face. “That should be us.”

Licking at his lower lip, Curry felt a tight lump forming somewhere between his throat and heart, “Come on.” He looked toward the north and back, “there’s snow coming.” And, grasping Heyes’ arm he moved to lead him off.

Jerking sideways, Heyes’ sharply withdrew, snapping, “Don’t be herding me!”

Curry’s full mouth pinched tight and exhaling slowly, he hitched his thumbs in his belt.

“Don’t you ever consider what our lives could have been?”

“You know, I do.” Curry responded, folding his arms across his chest. “And, you are the one who trained me to not think on it and to not speak of it!”

Leaning back into his heels, Heyes nodded, his eyes drifting to the families in the valley below, “they looks so happy with their loved ones near and….departed.”

Stepping so close, his shoulder brushed against his cousins, Curry answered, in a voice sounding years younger and unjaded by time, “They do, at that.”

For a time they stood, lost in thoughts, but together with the warmth of the sun soaking into their shoulders.

“I get lonely.”

“I know you do.” Curry replied, bumping against his cousin, “I do, too. But, we’ll see them again one day.”

A shuddered sigh escaped Heyes.

“We will.”

“I get to feeling, sometimes, the wait is too long.” Heyes said, tugging at his left glove, folding the top back, “and, too far away.”

From the slant of his eye, Curry kept watch. He was well used to Heyes’ moodiness that lead to somber days, sullen nights, which once overwhelmed him would send his cousin running for all day and night poker games, hours upon hours of reading, or detailed plotting his next elaborate heist. While he was in that state his silver tongue could turn mean striking out like a hornet. Except, all of those points wrapped together had assisted in creating the image of the formidable, outlaw leader he was. However, this was different. As Curry watched him, he could see the man standing next to him, at this moment, was not the great and famous, often feared Hannibal Heyes; it was merely his cousin, Han, who carried the load and, right now, his heart was breaking.

Spinning Curry wrapped his arms about him and Heyes did not pull away, but sunk into him, “Kid, back in Wichita…”

“Uh huh.”

“…when I was shot.”

Curry pulled him closer, holding him tighter. For a time, Heyes returned the hug, but then signaled, he wished to be free by leaning back. Reluctantly, Curry did as he wanted; wondering when was the last time he had felt the honest comfort of family, so close, as he just had.

Taking off his hat, Heyes ran the brim through his fingers, looking up with a faltering smile, “When that bullet struck me and I was lying in the street… I felt cold and all that was real drifting from me and it felt like....” he looked away, “… felt like Mama was there holding me.”

Curry swallowed, but didn’t dare move for fear Heyes would cease speaking.

“I’ve tried to retain the feeling of her being there… of her holding me. I know it sounds loco, but Kid, I could feel her, smell her…  She was there. And, I have tried to hold onto it… but it’s slipped away .” As he finished speaking, he looked to the cemetery, the families had been called down to eat and the graves now stood all alone in the heavy, golden sunlight. “Sometimes, I just wish….”

Draping an arm about his shoulders, Curry herded him toward their horses and this time he went along peacefully, “I know, Han, I have wishes, too.”

Gathering their reins, they swung into their saddles and taking a long drink of cold water from his canteen, Heyes passed it to his partner, who did the same. When he took it back, hanging it on his saddle horn, he half under his breath said, “Just wish we had family.”

Walking their horses along the road, Curry motioned toward their gang, in the far distance, “that lousy bunch of owlhoots up there is just as lonesome, each with their own sad story. But, we live and eat together, laugh together, fight against each other, and protect each other’s backsides. In our own way, we are a family.”

Heyes grinned a bit, “Well then, we are one hard knock family.”

“Suppose we are,” A wide, loving smile flooded Curry’s face, “And, I’ve got you. Always had you, best family a soul could ever want.”

“Thanks, Kid.” Heyes replied, his smile growing.

Seeing the second dimple flickering, lightly, in his cousin’s face, Curry nodded, knowing Heyes would soon have the old pain that had so injured him back under lock and key. Urging the lock back in place, he, laughingly, called, “And, of course, you’ve got ME!”

“Yes, I do! And, Kid, I wouldn’t do without you.” Heyes responded, his smile spreading out, full and big, until his dark eyes crinkled, nearly, closed. “Yup, I got you.” He shook his head at Curry, “but you bring up them bloomers again, not so sure, I will have you much longer. ‘Cause I’ll be flattening you like you’ve never seen before.”

Curry’s toothy grin appeared, his eyebrows rising up, “Like to see you try.”

“Go on and bring up them bloomers again.” Heyes chided with a full laugh, slapping his split reins across his horse’s rump.  

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."
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Alias Alice

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Join date : 2013-04-02
Location : Yorkshire, UK

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PostSubject: Re: Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by   Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Icon_minitimeTue Nov 14, 2017 1:10 pm


“There they are.”

The boys had reined in their horses on a bluff overlooking a wide valley, down which a herd of about five thousand cattle were pouring.  They were making for a bend in the river, urged on by whooping cowboys.

“Are we going to ask for a job, now we’ve caught them up?” Heyes saw the expression on his partner’s face.  “Or not?”

The Kid sighed.  “My back’s started to ache just thinking about it.”

In every small town they had passed through recently, the boys had heard that this cattle-drive was very short-handed, and that the trail-boss, desperate for hands, would gladly take on anyone who asked.  The boys had heard this news with mixed feelings.  On one hand, they had had a particularly thin time lately, with jobs few and far between.  They were tired of just scraping by.  On the other hand, they both really hated working on a cattle-drive.  It was Hobson’s choice.

“Who’d have thought we’d be so broke when we gave up outlawing!” said the Kid.  “One bank-raid used to keep us going for months.  Damn this amnesty!  Whose idea was it?”


“Was it?  Well, you should have  talked me out of it!”

Heyes gave him a look.

Not noticing, Kid continued, “Listen, why don’t we do just one last big raid, and then high-tail it for Mexico for good, or something?”

“Can you speak Spanish?”

“Well, no.  Where else is there?”


“Australia?  Where is it?”

“Go to San Francisco, and then keep on for about seven thousand miles.”

“Seven thousand miles!  Are you sure?”


“All that way.  By sea.  And I get sea-sick.”


“And I can’t speak Australian.”

“Nope.  You could learn though.  Easier than Spanish.”

“What do they do in Australia?”

“Raise sheep.”

“Sheep!  That’s got to be even worse than cows!  And mutton stew along the trail instead of beef steak!  I suppose we might as well stay here.”

The boys watched the seemingly endless parade of cows pass below them in the valley.  They were just postponing the inevitable, and they knew it.

As the first cows had approached the river, they had tried to swerve away from it, but the hands had forced them into the shallow water, and the rest of the herd had followed them in – like sheep, as Heyes thought to himself.

“Well – shall we just ride down, and join them?” he asked his partner.

For answer, the Kid touched the sides of his horse with his heels, and turned it towards the rough track that led down from the bluff to the valley.  Heyes followed him.  As they picked their way along, the Kid began to sing one of the songs that cowboys sang along the trail:

“I’m going to leave
Old Texas now,
Ain’t got no use
For the long-horn cow.

I’m going to leave
The Texas range,
The people here
Are awful strange.”

After a while, Heyes said: “Will you do me a big favour, Kid, and shut up!”

The Kid looked at him with pretended offence.

 “And I thought you always say you like music!"

“I do like music!  That's why I’d like you to shut up!"

The Kid pretended to look even more offended.  He glared at Heyes.

“I’d like to see you do any better.  I mean I’d like to hear you do any better.”

“You’d like me to sing something?”

“Well, no.  I feel bad enough as it is.  No point in making things even worse.”

Arguing amicably, the boys continued down the track.

Last edited by Alias Alice on Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:59 am; edited 6 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by   Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Icon_minitimeTue Nov 14, 2017 8:57 pm

It was a warm evening in early May, I remember, and we’d just left the station in Cambridge. I was huddled next to the window with my suit jacket pulled tight around me, feeling small. I’d watched as my peers had noisily paraded by as I looked out the window. They crowded onto the next train car, half-drunk with being free of school exams and the other half drunk with drink. Me, I’d seen my final grades and knew I wouldn’t be coming back to Harvard, not this farm boy. A scholarship can only do so much.

The old man across from me watched them hurrah by too. And eyeballed me a bit, nothing rude. He had a deck of cards with him and had been playing solitaire, but he just lingered his gaze out the window, even long after the train had pulled out of the station and the night had drawn down. I dozed a bit, and he dozed, but between the shake of the train and the noise of the college boys, neither of us could sleep.

The old man finally stretched out his hand: “Heyes.”

I shook it and replied, “Kenny.”

The old man shifted a bit uncomfortably, perhaps with some pain in his legs. He asked, “You got a nip of something in your bag there? Do you mind?”

“Not a bit,” I replied, and handed over my whiskey flask.  There wasn’t much left, but it served nicely to make the silence more companionable. I shook out a cigarette, lit it, and offered him one. The lights were dim in the car since most people were sleeping.

He asked softly, “Where’s home, boy?”

“Kansas,” I said.

He chuckled, and there was a hint of something real and affectionate in his smile. “Oh, Kansas. That’s where we grew up, you know. Me and the Kid, but he’s gone now….”

I thought he’d drifted off into old memories, and he gathered his cards, but his attention came back to me. “Son, I’ve made a life out of reading people’s faces. If you don’t mind an old gambler’s metaphor, I can see that you’re out of aces.”

“Yeah.” I couldn’t say more, not yet. I needed to face my folks and my girl and my town who had sent me off with such fanfare.

He eyed me some more and raked his hand through his silver hair that had grown down a bit long in front. “Worried about going home?”


“Me and the Kid, we knew that the secret to surviving was knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep. Friendship, a deck of cards, your gun. Those are keepers. You throw away what you don’t need, you throw away them who won’t stand by you.” He chuckled again. “I haven’t talked about the Kid in years. Being on this train, I guess that’s what makes me think of him. Now he was a friend. I miss him, but I guess I’ll be seeing him again soon.” He looked out the window at the darkness, hearing the train whistle. “You know, the Kid and me, we loved trains from when we were boys. We’d dream of hopping them and riding them for days. Who knew we’d be robbing them, oh, with Wheat and the boys. Kyle….”

His voice drifted off, and I wasn’t entirely sure I’d heard correctly. I started to reach for the lit cigarette still in his fingers, but he roused a bit, took a deep pull of it, and stubbed it out.

“I loved nights like this, even long after we stopped robbing them. Kid would be sleeping, I’d be awake, thinking, reading. And then of course Canada and Jenny, and we settled down. No kids though, not without an amnesty. Well Kid had a kid, but he’s long gone in Moose Jaw. Anyway. Son, don’t count your money now.” I was startled; who was counting money? He laughed at my expression. “I mean, don’t count your winnings and your losings when you’re at the table. Life ain’t over yet. You might think you’ve lost today, but every hand can be a winner, and every hand can be a loser.”

He yawned. “If you know what’s important, and you still got that, then you’re doin’ better than that parade of yahoos over in the next car. You just gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run….” He smiled, apparently at a memory, and then his voice drifted off, and he fell asleep.

I regarded the old gambler, apparently also an old outlaw, a lover, a friend. A life I thought I’d be proud of. He’d gotten it right, at least enough of it. A little more at peace, I drifted off too. And when I woke up in the morning, I guess I’d have to say that he broke even. Say hi to the Kid for me, old man.

My husband told me the other day that he aimlessly sings phrases from "The Gambler" as he makes my morning coffee, so this is with gratitude to him and Kenny Rogers :)
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PostSubject: Re: Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by   Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Icon_minitimeWed Nov 15, 2017 1:44 pm

Watching the Parade Go By
By Maz McCoy

“All right, let’s go over this one more time.” Hannibal Heyes looked down at the roughly drawn map laid out on the table. Members of the Devil’s Hole Gang gathered around him studying the outline of the Branfield sheriff’s office, general store, livery stables and, most importantly, the bank. “Lobo, you’ll be here,” Heyes tapped the map, “keeping an eye on the street. Wheat and Kyle…”
“We got the dynamite,” Kyle interrupted enthusiastically.
Heyes nodded his approval. “That’s great, Kyle.”
“Don’t see why I hafta help, Kyle,” Wheat muttered.
“Wheat,” was all Kid needed to say.
“Just saying,” Wheat added.
“So, Lobo’s watching the street, Wheat and Kyle have the dynamite, Preacher, you’ll hold the horses, here.” Another tap of the map. “Riggs and Huggins…” Heyes paused. The man named Huggins was seated at the table scribbling on a piece of paper.
“Huggins, you listenin’?” Kid asked.
Huggins looked up. “Sure, just making a note.”
“Of what?” Wheat asked.
“What Heyes is saying, so I know what I gotta do.”
“You gotta keep watch, at the back of the bank,” Heyes informed him and the man scribbled it down on the paper.
Kid and Heyes exchanged a look. Kid shrugged.
“If my information is correct the bank will be holding $20,000 for just one night,” Heyes stated. “They’re keeping the movement of this payroll quiet so I don’t expect there to be more than four guards. We can’t mess this one up. We’ll leave early tomorrow morning. I want to make Branfield before dark.” The men muttered their understanding. “Everybody get some sleep.”


The following afternoon, the Devil’s Hole Gang sat on their horses on a bluff overlooking the town of Branfield.
“There it is boys,” Heyes informed them unnecessarily. No one replied. The tension they felt before any job was palpable. Kid had spent all of the previous evening cleaning his gun and checking and then rechecking it. Heyes had studied the map until he could draw it blindfolded, not that that particular talent would be required. They were as ready as they could be.
The leader looked to Lobo then followed the direction he pointed. A wagon, accompanied by four outriders appeared from behind a distant ridge. “That it?” Lobo asked.
Heyes smiled. “Sure looks like it.” He exchanged a triumphant grin with the other men as the wagon threw up a trail of dust on its way to Branfield.
“Er, Heyes.”
The dark-haired man looked over to his friend. “What?”
Kid pointed back to the wagon.
Heyes looked and his eyes opened wider. Following behind the payroll wagon was a column of cavalry soldiers. A lot of cavalry soldiers. Heyes counted and by the time he reached thirty he’d lost his sense of humour.
“Looks like a parade!” Kyle announced with a smile.
Heyes shot a look at Kid. “$20,000,” he said sadly, shaking his head.
“It was a good plan,” Kid informed him.
“Yeah, before the parade turned up.”

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

Nebraska Wildfire

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Join date : 2016-10-31
Location : The Sonoran Desert

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PostSubject: Watching the Parade Go By   Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Icon_minitimeSun Nov 19, 2017 1:34 pm

This is in the same story arc as what I posted last month, but given the prompt for this month, I had to skip quite a bit to find something that would fit.  I had fun writing it, but let me know if you think it's gone too far, or if the boys are still the boys.

Whiskey Gap

It was a normal Saturday night at the Whiskey Gap saloon.  Boys were in from the neighboring ranches and farms.  Beer and whiskey were being drunk in large amounts.  Men were telling tales to one up each other, strutting and trying to gain the attention of the women in tight skimpy clothing.

“It don’t look like saloons have changed much in a hundred years,” Kid Curry looked around as he took a sip of beer, turning and leaning back on the bar.  His gaze had taken in everyone in the place.  I decided it was not something he would ever stop doing.

The Kid stood on one side of me, and Heyes was on the other.  I wondered how many times the two of them had leaned side by side on a bar.  This night, they insisted that I stand between them, even though I knew everyone in the bar, and they did not.  The boys may be former, rather hardened outlaws, but they were nothing if not chivalrous.

However, they were definitely watching the parade of women saunter by, who were trying their best to get attention, while not looking like they were trying.

“Some things have changed, Kid.”  Heyes looked at Mary Lou Davis wander by in a lacy spandex top, skin tight jeans and high heeled boots, all topped with a cowboy hat covered in more silver than the Kid’s.  

“Half the women I’ve ... ah, known have had more clothes on when, well ...”

Janie Calhoun walked by in a skin tight black dress that barely covered any of her ... assets, and rendered both of the boys speechless.  They had been making progress being around women in pants and shorter skirts, but Whiskey Gap was trying their newfound limits.  For the first time in his life, Kid Curry turned his back to the door and saloon floor.  He took a deep swig of his beer and let his eyes close for a minute.  Heyes, of course, kept watch while the Kid was regaining his composure.

Heyes had looked at me strangely when I came out of my room dressed for our first night on the town.  The boys had seemed a bit restless lately and I had hope that a few beers, a dance or two, and maybe a game of pool would help them settle a bit.  I had dressed rather conservatively, for the boys’ sake.  I had a shirt over the scoop neck tee, that was my usual bar hopping shirt.  Not that I was a girl that did much bar hopping, but in our town if you wanted to get together with friends, it was pretty much the bars, movies, or the Pizza Hut.  

So, it was a bar to which we went that night.  The boys had taken to it like fish take to water.  I did not have to wonder how much of their misspent youth had been spent in saloons.  Obviously, it was a lot.  It was warm in the bar, which is why I normally wore just the scoop neck t-shirt.  It was also very forgiving about having beer spilled on it.

There were a few couples dancing, a group playing pool, and lots of folks drinking.  It was a typical Saturday night.

The Kid finally turned back and exchanged looks with Heyes, who was not quite as relaxed.

“There is one more change.  No poker.”

“No, just the video gaming.”  I nodded towards the bright, noisy machines.

“Where’s the challenge in those?” Heyes groused.

“Why don’t you take Annie for a spin on the floor.”  The Kid smiled at me.  “I’ll bet she’s awaitin’.”

“I’m not that much of a dancer,” I started to protest.

“Don’t look like the rest of the folks in here are either.”  Heyes, of course, was noticing more than I gave him credit for.  He turned towards me with that half smile and nodded towards the dancing couples.  “You know what they’re attempting to dance?  Looks kinda similar to something I’ve danced before.”

I nodded.  “It’s just a two-step.”

He put his hand on my elbow, and took my beer from my hand.  “Why don’t you teach me?”

The Kid just smiled, signaling the bartender to bring him another beer.

Heyes swung me out onto the dance floor, and we laughed a bit, until we got into a rhythm.  He held me close, his hand on my waist, under my shirt on top of the tee that he had found objectionable until he saw how everyone else was dressed.  By the second dance, my head rested against his, and I could feel his warm breath flow down me.

The next song was one to which we usually lined danced.  Heyes floundered good naturedly for the first bit, but then, as usual, adapted quickly and fell right into it.  He was charming half of the women on the dance floor.  I was certain he would have been up for another dance, but I pulled him off the floor, before a couple of the big local boys really started to take offense that he was smiling at their girls.  He, as was his nature, smiled at them all.

“Joshua, I need a drink,” I said into his ear.  

He smiled that wickedly seductive smile at me.  He led me back to where the Kid had two beers waiting for us.

We downed most of them quickly, and took our time with the next round Ernie set before us.

“These are your friends from college, who’re stayin’ with you?”  He said.  The small-town rumor mill was still working well.

“Yes, they are.”

“Joshua Smith,” Heyes held out his hand, and Ernie smiled but gladly shook it.

“This here’s Thaddeus Jones.”  The Kid offered his hand too.

“Nice of you boys to visit Annie.”  Ernie looked at me and then at Heyes.  “She’s been needing a night out.”  

“Well, you have a right nice place here, Ernie, so we’ll do our best to make certain she enjoys herself.”  Heyes gave Ernie his brilliant smile, that could mean so many things.

“Heyes, please don’t get us kicked out,” the Kid said quietly.  “At least not until I get a chance to dance with one of those pretty blondes over yonder.”

I looked over to where he was pointing, and groaned.  Not Sherilynn Carter.  She was pretty enough, in a blousy sort of way, but she was born trouble.  She had been having an on again, off again relationship, with Dirk Taylor, the ex-football jock, who now worked at the feed and seed, until he could inherit it from his uncle.

Sitting with Sherilynn, was Missy Calhoun.  I still don’t know how those two became best friends.  Sherilynn had been the head cheerleader, eventually going to secretarial school and taking over the counter at the local insurance agent’s office.  Missy, on the other hand, had been the quiet, mousy, smart one in school. Missy had gone off to college and then law school, and was now clerking for her father, over to the courthouse.

Sherilynn and Missy were still thick as thieves, and I guess I was just a bit jealous of their friendship.

“Thaddeus.”  He turned to me.  I had gained his attention away from the blondes, by calling him by that name.

“Sherilynn there,” I nodded towards her bleached blonde hair, and low cut hot pink top.  “May act like she’s free to dance with whoever she wants, but Dirk over there,” I nodded towards the man with the wide shoulders, no neck, and blonde crew cut.  “Isn’t quite smart enough to figure that out yet.”

“Oh.”  I could see Curry sizing up the other man.  He did not look intimidated, even though Dirk had to outweigh him by at least fifty pounds.  He glanced at Heyes, who had an answer ready for him lurking in his eyes.

“We’ve not yet been in jail in this century,” Heyes said quietly.  “I’d like to keep it that way, Kid.”

The Kid reluctantly nodded, but then met my gaze and looked over to Missy.  “What about the other one?”

Missy had flowered from the mousey dish water blonde with a stick figure into a rather cultured woman, with a slim, sexy build, and expertly highlighted hair.  Rumor was that she went to a fancy salon in the big city to get that hair.  The local Cut and Curl ladies were a bit offended, but they did agree that she looked great in the style.

I was not aware that she had been dating anyone.  I had heard more rumors, that she was a bit too friendly with the married assistant district attorney, but as no one had provided any juicier proof, that might just be malicious gossip about a quiet girl turned beautiful woman.

I shrugged.  “No, I don’t think Missy is dating anyone.”

The Kid turned that million-watt smile on me and his eyes twinkled, as he started to saunter across the floor towards the two ladies.  I figured neither of them had a chance against the charms of Kid Curry.

Heyes put his arm around my waist, and said into my ear, “You know, this probably is still gonna blow up in our faces.”

I nodded.  “Least if he only dances with Missy, we all shouldn’t land up in jail.”  I looked towards him, while he had his gaze fixed on the Kid.  “How many times did you end up in jail?”

He did not turn his head away from his partner.  “More times than I can count.”


He looked at me for a minute, then his gaze naturally turned back to the Kid, who had both women blushing and chattering like school girls.  We noticed that Dirk and his buddies were very aware of what was happening at the table where Missy and Sherilynn sat, with a blonde stranger with gorgeous blue eyes, and lush blonde curls, making the two women laugh and giggle.


“What?”  I tore my eyes away from Sherilynn, Missy, and Dirk.  “Seriously?”

He started to turn towards me, but we both noticed Dirk start to pace.  

“We were active in the business for over ten years, and going for the amnesty for a few after that ... oh, well, I hope that settles things.”

I turned and saw that the Kid had led Missy out onto the dance floor.  I did not remember her ever dancing in this bar, or at school.  She was a wonderful dancer, following his every move.  The Kid of course was light on his feet, and in many ways, as quick of a learner, as Heyes was, and in some ways more instinctual.

I looked towards Dirk.  His friends around him were talking fast.  I do not think they wanted to end up in jail either tonight.  It was not an uncommon occurrence for some of them.  I wondered what Dad would say if I went to jail for the first time.  I turned to look at Hannibal Heyes, and knew he would not let that happen.

The music segued into something with a livelier beat, and the Kid whirled Missy around the dance floor.  I could see it in her eyes, she was falling hard for the charm that just seemed to radiate from the boys.  They could not help it if they treated every woman as if she was the only woman in the world.

They danced one more slow song.  The Kid was as much of a gentleman as he could be.  Unfortunately for him, Missy, and everyone else watching, the attraction between them was obvious.  Fortunately for all, they both decided that three dances we more than enough.  

He walked her back to her table.  Missy looked hot and flushed, and happier than I had ever seen her.  Sherilynn looked impatient and annoyed.  The Kid had stopped the waitress and bought the two ladies another drink, and I had hoped everything had cooled down.

Heyes took a deep breath and let it out.  Ernie stopped by.

“You two look like you need a shot of something.”

“Straight up whiskey for me,” Heyes said.

“It will have to be tequila, for me, if I’m doing a shot at all,” I replied to Ernie and he went off to get our drinks.

“You’re a tequila drinker?” Heyes smiled that wry half smile.

“Yes.”  My eyes met his.  “Have you had tequila?”

“In Mexico.”

He looked strangely at me when Ernie brought me a salt shaker and lime, along with my tequila.

“They don’t do that in Mexico,” he said.

“No, I don’t imagine so.”  I met his eyes, and licked my hand.  I shook the salt on, licked it off, all the while watching his eyes.  Then I drank the shot, and sucked the lime.

“Interesting.”  He picked up his shot of whiskey, downed it in one gulp, and moved closer to me.

“Oh, no.”  Ernie was watching the bar floor, more than we were at that moment.

Heyes turned and echoed Ernie’s comment a with a little more colorful language.

The Kid was now dancing with Sherilynn.  Neither of us had been paying attention as to how that happened.

Missy did not look happy, but she was just sitting silently at her table, nursing her drink.

Dirk was being physically restrained by his friends.

Heyes’ face told me this was not the first time the Kid had gotten himself into such a situation.  His face also told me he was not happy about it happening again.

“You stay here, if this blows up in our faces.”  He looked at me, and I had never seen that face on him before.  He knew I would obey him, even before I did.

He turned back to the Kid and just watched.  I could see him loosen his shirt a bit in the back.  This was not in preparation to fight.  It told me he was carrying too.  I figured he was, but I had not known for certain.  I knew the Kid was.   Suddenly I was scared.  I was in a bar with Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry was walking into a fight.  I prayed that I would not be down at the sheriff’s office with them, trying to explain why they had no ID and nor license to carry a gun.  I looked at the starkness of Heyes’ face, and was suddenly very afraid.  I started to worry if we would all get out of this alive.  

The fast beat of the dance had slowed with the next song, a wailing, sad love ballad.  The Kid stopped and tried to get Sherilynn to go back to her table, but she was not having any of it.

Heyes met my eyes, and I nodded, staying where I was, as he started towards his partner.

I saw Dirk move towards Curry and Sherilynn.  She saw him over the Kid’s shoulder and smiled.  Heyes started to move faster, but even I saw he would be too late.  Dirk touched the Kid’s shoulder to spin him around.

Things then moved faster than I could grasp at the time. Suddenly, Dirk was on the ground, the Kid was shaking his right fist like it hurt something fierce, and Heyes was staggering from a blow Dirk’s friend Bobby had given him.

Dirk looked like he was out cold, so Curry moved towards Heyes, helping to hold him up.  The Kid said something low and harsh to Bobby and the rest of Dirk’s friends, and they just nodded.  It was as he turned to lead Heyes back to the bar, that I noticed that his shirt tail was out.  If he had known just a second earlier that Dirk was about to attack him, it might have been a much bloodier fight.  I thanked God, that for once that evening, Kid Curry did not have eyes in the back of his head.

“Heyes, you getting old or somethin’, that you can’t duck quicker than that?  The Kid was dabbing at Heyes’ split lip with a wet towel that Ernie had brought along with another round of drinks.

Heyes downed his in one gulp.  I just sipped on mine, figuring it would soon be time for us to leave Whiskey Gap, and a DUI was the last thing I needed tonight.

The Kid was leaning on the bar on the other side of Heyes, but he had a full view of everyone else in the saloon.  He was not going to make the same mistake twice.  He sipped too.

“Next time listen to Annie when she tells you to stay clear of someone, will ya?”

Heyes signaled for another shot, but I put my glass of tequila in front of him.  His crooked little smile came out.  In spite of his busted lip, he sensually licked his hand, salted it, licked the salt off, and drank down the tequila, all while holding my eyes, and without one wince.  He sucked the lime.

Hannibal Heyes took my hand and put his hat firmly back on his head, and carved a wide path through the bar to the door, with Kid Curry at his back, their look and confidence alone making people give way.
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Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Empty
PostSubject: Re: Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by   Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Icon_minitimeWed Nov 22, 2017 1:43 pm

“The Mulligan?  Sounds more like a do-over than the name of a boarding house.”

“There are three hotels in this town and all of them are full.  The waitress at the café slipped me a card for this place.  Looks like it’s the Mulligan or sleeping under the stars for us tonight.”

“The Mulligan it is.”

The pair of travelers ambled along, the heels of their boots striking a nostalgic rhythm against the aging wood of the boardwalk, the wheels of their luggage clacking behind them in a less-than-nostalgic echo.

“This is it.”  Two sets of eyes took in a weathered sign and the Victorian style home it announced—The Mulligan House – Rooms to Let.

“Welcome to the Mulligan,” a woman behind the desk greeted as the two entered.

“We’d like a room, please.”

“Second floor,” the other traveler requested.  “Overlooking Main Street.”

“Really?”  The dark-haired partner raised an eyebrow.

“It’s what they would have done,” her friend insisted in a whisper.  “Have to keep an eye out for the sheriff, you know.”

“You may be in luck.”  The desk clerk, Aileen, according to her name tag, tapped the keys of her computer at a fevered pace.  “Ah yes.  I have a room…” tap, tap, tap, “on the second floor…” tap, tap, tap.  “It doesn’t overlook Main Street, but it does have a view...of the alley.”  She paused, peering over the top of her glasses to study the screen.  “That’s it.  Only room I have.”

“We’ll take it!” both women replied in unison.

“You ladies here for the Western Writers Conference?”

“We are,” the writers confirmed, nodding.

“Alias Smith and Jones fans?” the desk clerk asked.
Melinda and Jessica exchanged a grin.  “How did you know?”

“There’s no mistaking the Baron’s reproductions.”  Aileen briefly raised a finger to gesture in the general direction of their hats, then continued her tapping.  “I’m a Bonanza fan, myself,” she confided.  “That Little Joe Cartwright…”  Aileen sighed and let her sentence hang, unfinished.
“There are conference schedules on the table over there.  And of course, the grand finale will be the Legends of the West Parade down Main Street on Sunday afternoon.”  

She finished entering the women’s information into her computer and grabbed an ancient-looking key from a hook-board on the wall behind her.  “You’re all set.  If each of you would, please sign our register.”  Aileen opened a huge log book and turned it toward the ladies.

“I didn’t know anyone still used these,” the first woman said, signing her name, Melinda Wilson.

“Or these,” her friend commented, inspecting their room key and appreciating its intricate design.

“Here at the Mulligan, we like to preserve the flavor of the past as much as possible,” the clerk informed them.  “With the exception of my computer,” she smiled, “and a few other modern conveniences like electricity, heat, and indoor plumbing.”

Melinda finished signing, then slid the book toward her friend.

“Shall I use my alias?” the other woman giggled.

“Your screen name or your pen name?” Melinda wondered.

“Neither.  I was thinking of Smith or Jones.”

Both women laughed heartily, but Jessica Scott signed her legal name on the line below her friend’s.
“Your room is up the stairs, turn left.  Last room on your right.”

“No elevator, eh?” Jessica asked, eyeing first her luggage, then the stairs.

“Oh, an elevator would be difficult to add without compromising the integrity of the building’s original structure,” Melinda answered, “and I’d bet this used to be someone’s home.”

“That’s right,” the desk clerk interjected.  “This was once the home of Red Rock’s mayor, Fergus Mulligan.  After he died in 1879, his spinster daughter ran it as a boarding house.”

“Interesting,” Melinda remarked.  “Did anyone famous ever stay here?”

“Or infamous?”  Jessica’s eyes sparkled with excitement.

“Sounds like you two might enjoy a tour with our docent.”

“Who’s Dawson?”

“Do-cent,” Melinda corrected, placing the emphasis on the long O sound.  “A docent is a tour guide of historic places.”

“Would you like me to reserve a place for you ladies on tomorrow’s tour?”

“That sounds great,” Melinda answered for both of them.

“Okay.  Meet here in the lobby right after breakfast.”

“Good thing it’s not before breakfast,” Jessica quipped, as their suitcases bumped behind them up the creaking flight of stairs.


“I can’t believe we’re here!” Jessica exclaimed, pulling back the lace curtain to look out behind the Mulligan.  “Just think, Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes could have crept down this very alley after a bank robbery!  They could even have stayed in this very boarding house!  In this very room!”

Melinda finished stashing her jeans in the drawer of a beautiful antique dresser.  “You do realize that Heyes and Curry are fictional characters, don’t you Jess?”

“Of course,” Jessica admitted, red-faced.  “I only meant, just think what amazing fan-fiction we could write for them, taking place right here in Red Rock.  You heard the desk clerk.  Mayor Mulligan’s spinster daughter turned this place into a boarding house.  And the era is correct.  Don’t you think that Kid Curry would have made it a point to stay in a boarding house run by the SINGLE daughter of the mayor?”

“He would have, yes,” Melinda conceded, dropping onto her bed with a copy of the conference schedule in her hand.  “IF he were a real person.  Which, may I remind you again, he was not.”

“Don’t be such a party pooper,” Jessica admonished, undeterred.  “I say let’s meet up with the other gals from the writing forum for dinner, and then get back here for a good night’s rest.”

“Good idee.  We’ll need a good night’s rest if we’re going on the tour tomorrow morning and attending conference events all afternoon.”


Promptly at 7:55am Melinda and Jessica descended the creaking stairs into the lobby of the Mulligan and waited for their docent to arrive.
At exactly 7:59am a grey-haired, weathered-looking fellow, stooped at the shoulders but with a twinkle in his eye, entered from a back door.

“Ladies,” the old man greeted, removing his cowboy hat and wiping his boots.  “I’m Kendrick.  Looks like the other folks must’ve slept in, eh?  Guess it’ll be just the three of us takin’ the tour this lovely mornin’.  Let’s go.  Time waits for no man, or woman, and neither do I,” he added with a wink.

Jessica smiled.  “Sounds like a good deal to me.”

Melinda rolled her eyes.  “C’mon.  Let’s go.”

Kendrick escorted the ladies, taking in the best of Red Rock’s historic locations:  Town Hall, featuring a small roped off area dedicated to the first mayor of Red Rock, the Bank of Red Rock with its very own original Pierce and Hamilton safe, and the library boasting a large collection of Western novels.

“Before we head back to the Mulligan, is there anything else you ladies would like to know about Red Rock?” Kendrick asked.

“What about gunslingers?  Shootouts?  Any gunfighters facing off on Main Street at high noon?”  Jessica’s face shone as she envisioned the setting for an upcoming monthly story challenge.

The blood seemed to drain from Kendrick’s face, leaving him white as a sheet, and his eyes took on a far-off, glassy stare, as if he were looking through the women, rather than at them.  “Follow me,” he said, and waved a hand.
Jessica and Melinda exchanged a hesitant glance before coming to a silent agreement.  They followed Kendrick through an iron gate, deep into the cemetery it surrounded.  The trio passed grave after grave, where marble memorials, fading tombstones, or simple crosses marked decade upon decade of dearly departed inhabitants of the town of Red Rock.
Finally, they arrived in a small section of plots, marked by a single monument at its center.  The women solemnly walked toward it, reading its inscription.  Transients.  A list of names and dates was inscribed below.

Melinda ran her hand reverently over some of the names, as if by touching them, she could impart a measure of the respect and reverence due each and every one of these human beings.  

Suddenly, her fingers stopped.


“I can’t believe Kendrick just left without even saying goodbye,” Jessica remarked while researching historic newspaper articles at the town library.

Melinda, seated next to Jessica, shrugged.  “He probably had another tour booked.  We did take up his entire morning.  Wait!  I think I found something.”

Jessica pulled her chair close to read over her friend’s shoulder.

“Here.  In the death notices.  22 November 1885.  Thaddeus Jones – Gunshot wound.

“That’s it?!  Nothing about who killed him, and why?  Nothing about his family or friends or…”  Jessica stopped, realizing that her voice had risen enough to draw the attention of others.

Melinda shut down the computer.  “I don’t think we’re going to find anything else.  Come on.  Let’s go back to The Mulligan.”


A gentle breeze cooled the afternoon while the two women walked wordlessly back to the boarding house.  As they opened the front door to enter, a sudden gust of wind burst in along with them, scattering papers from the check in desk and conference schedules about the small lobby.
Since the desk clerk, Aileen, was nowhere to be found, Melinda and Jessica quickly put things back in order.  

As Melinda placed a stack of papers back onto the boarding house desk, she noticed the large old ledger, the one she and Jessica had signed the previous night when they checked in.  It was lying open on the counter--open, but not to the page which they had signed.
“Jess!  Look at this!”

Jessica joined her friend at the counter.  “November 1885!”

Two sets of eyes scanned the names scribbled onto the yellowed page.
“Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones!” Jessica cried in amazement.

“Take a look at this.”  Melinda pointed to the name directly below Smith and Jones.  “Kendrick MacCabe.”

“You don’t suppose…”

“Well, there you ladies are!” exclaimed Aileen, emerging from a room somewhere in the back of the boarding house.  “It’s a shame you missed this morning’s tour.”

“Missed it?”

“Yes.  The tour group finally left without you at 8:15.”


Behind the gates of the Red Rock Cemetery, far away from the hustle and bustle on Main Street, Melinda Wilson and Jessica Scott stood beside the Transient monument.

“It’s a shame no one knows the full story of what happened to him,” Melinda said, watching the Legends of the West parade go by in the distance.

“It’s a shame no one even believes that Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones were real people,” Jessica added, her fingers lingering on one engraved name in particular.
“Whoever Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones were, they must have been friends,” Melinda continued, “since the ledger listed them as sharing a room at the Mulligan.  But I wonder who Kendrick MacCabe was?  What did he have to do with Smith and Jones?  And, why did it seem important to him, or his ghost, or whatever it was that took us on a tour of Red Rock, to show us Thaddeus Jones’ grave?”

“I wonder what became of Joshua Smith.  Kendrick too.”
“You don’t supposed Roy Huggins knew, do you?  I mean, he included lots of history into his scripts.  Maybe he knew about these two seemingly insignificant men and decided to bring them back to life through a couple of fictional outlaws.”  Melinda placed her black hat back onto her head as the last of the parade participants disappeared from sight.

Jessica lifted her eyes from the monument, bubbling again with adventure.  “You know what I think?”  She positioned her brown hat confidently over blond curls.  “I’ll bet Roy not only knew about Smith and Jones being real people.  I’ll bet he knew that Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones were real aliases for a couple of REAL reforming outlaws -- Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry!”

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
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Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Empty
PostSubject: Re: Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by   Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Icon_minitimeMon Nov 27, 2017 9:02 pm

"Watching the parade go by"

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry were entering the town of Jackson when they saw a large black buggy pulled by two black geldings and a parade of folks coming their way.

“Funeral,” Heyes stated the obvious as both reined their horses to the side.  They dismounted and removed their hats in respect, but kept somewhat hidden behind their mounts’ bodies.

A large procession of mourners walking followed two caskets out towards the cemetery.  Some were openly crying while others wiped a stray tear away.

When the last person had past, Heyes and the Kid put their hats back on and walked their animals down a deserted Main Street.

“Must’ve been someone important.  Seems like the town is closed up,” the Kid observed.  “Even the saloon.”

“It’ll probably open back up as soon as they’re done with the burial.”  Heyes tied the reins to the hitching post outside the hotel and untied the saddle bags.  “Looks like the hotel is still open.”

They entered the hotel and rang a bell on the desk.  An elderly man with bushy sideburns came out from a back room.  “Welcome to Jackson.  How long will you be staying with us?”

Heyes and Curry glanced at each other before Heyes answered, “Probably just the night.  Would it be a problem if we decided to stay longer?”

“Heavens no.  We’re not booked up so you can stay as long as you want.”  The man turned the registry book towards them.  “One bed or two?”

“How much for two beds?” the Kid asked as he signed the book.

“A dollar for one bed and $1.75 for two beds.”

Heyes pulled out a dollar coin from his pocket.  “One bed will be fine.”  He signed the registry and turned it towards the clerk.

“I have a room facing the front and another facing the back, both on the second floor, Mr…”  The clerk glanced at the book.  “Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith.”

“Front will be fine.”  Curry picked up his bags, bed roll, and rifle.

“Here you go.”  The clerk handed Heyes a key.  “First door on the right.”

“Is the café open for dinner?” the Kid asked.

“It should be shortly after the burial.  Saloon will be open then, too.”

“Must’ve been some important people who died.”

“You can say that.  The banker and Mrs. Johnson, the reverend’s wife.  They died in a bank robbery the other day.  Mrs. Johnson was there turning in Sunday’s collection.”

The Kid shook his head slowly.  “Sad when folks die in a robbery.”

“It sure is.  Such a senseless death, too.  They were following the outlaws’ commands, but were used as human shields in the getaway.  The good news, if there is any, is that we got the outlaws.”

Heyes picked up his belongings.  “Very sad.  You about ready, Thaddeus?”

“Right behind you.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Heyes and the Kid came downstairs after putting their bags in the room.

“Folks should be coming back soon and opening up their businesses.  You can sit outside on the front porch while you wait,” the hotel clerk informed them from behind the desk.  “Actually, I have two cigars that were left behind in a room.  You can have them, if you want.  My wife would kill me if she caught me smoking them.”

Heyes walked over to the desk.  “We’d appreciate it.  Think we’ll take your advice and have a smoke.”

Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes sat down in the rocking chairs on the porch and lit the cigars.  

“Right friendly clerk,” the Kid commented.  

“He sure is,” Heyes agreed.  “Can you make out the sheriff’s name over at the jail?”

“Looks like Sheriff Matt Wilson.”  Curry took a few puffs of the cigar.  “Doesn’t sound familiar to me.”

“Can’t say I know a Sheriff Wilson.”  Heyes looked around the town.  “Kid,” he said in a low voice.  “Do you see what I see in front of the mortuary?”

The Kid glanced down the street and winced.  “Are those dead bodies on display?”

“Yep.  There’s three of them.”

“So, the outlaws they got?”

“That’d be my guess.”

The two former outlaws slowly rocked and smoked the cigars.

“Did the clerk say who the outlaws were that robbed the bank?” the Kid asked.

“I don’t believe he did.”

“But we probably know them.”

“There’s a good chance we do,” Heyes replied.

“Should we go for a stroll?”  The Kid chewed the end of his cigar and spit it out.

“Let’s wait ‘til the townsfolks come back and the saloon is open.”

Curry agreed.  “I’ll really be needin’ a drink.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The mourners eventually made their way back into town and slowly the town opened up its doors again.  A few men spit on the displayed bodies of the outlaws as they passed.

About thirty minutes later, Heyes stood up.  “May as well take the horses to the livery and get this over with.”

“Yeah, I suppose so,” Curry said less than enthusiastically.

They stepped off the porch and untied their animals from the hitching posts.  Walking to the barn at the end of the town, they gave the owner a few coins and the reins to their horses.

“Don’t you worry.  I’ll take good care of them,” the owner called out as he led the geldings into the barn.

Heyes and Kid Curry turned and began walking towards the saloon on the other side of town.  They slowed near the coroner’s office, but kept walking, poker-faced.  Entering the saloon, Heyes went to the bar and paid for a bottle with two glasses while the Kid sat at a corner table in the back where they could view the room, but not really be seen or heard.

Heyes sighed as he sat and poured them each a glass.  “I didn’t realize those boys came up this far north.”

“Last I heard when they left the Devil’s Hole, they headed down to Texas.”  Kid swallowed his whiskey and pour another.

“You’re right.  I remember reading in the newspaper about one of their robberies in Orange, Texas when we visited Mac.”

“Those Carter twins were crazy!” the Kid quietly exclaimed.  “Dan and Dave built the biggest bonfires.”

“And it didn’t seem to matter to them that a posse might see it.”  Heyes chuckled.  “And Steve Welch was a friendly sort.  I bet he rescued more damsels than you.”

Kid Curry gave his partner a look.  “I don’t…”

“You do, too,” Heyes argued as he poured another shot for both of them.  “Why’d they leave the gang?”

“Didn’t like the cold.”

“That’s right.”

Curry downed his drink.  “And now they’re dead and gone, displayed in wooded boxes for all to see.”

Heyes finished his drink and poured more.  “Yep.”

“Heyes, that could’ve been us.”

“No!” Heyes answered emphatically.  “We were more careful and wouldn’t have jeopardized innocent folks’ lives like that.

“Still could happen to us.  We’re wanted death or alive.”

“True, but we’re taking steps to change that.  I have to say that seeing our old mates on display like that makes me want amnesty all the more.”

The former outlaws had another drink.

“Hungry?” Heyes asked.  “The café is probably open now.”

“Not really.”  Kid Curry shook his head.  “How about takin’ that bottle to our room and goin’ to bed.  We can have an early breakfast and get outta town.”

“That sounds like a good plan.”

"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
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Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Empty
PostSubject: Re: Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by   Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Icon_minitimeTue Nov 28, 2017 5:23 pm

Thanksgiving Plan B

A "Terms" Universe story

City Hall Post Office and Courthouse, Lower Broadway, Manhattan, NY. Federal court office of the District Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Friday afternoon.

“Our office has just received word from the presiding judge so I’m sorry to inform you, Mr. Curry that your testimony will be postponed from Monday and Tuesday of next week. Then the trial is recessed from Wednesday through the weekend due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. Your presence in New York will have to be extended another week until the trial recommences the following Monday. I regret we will not be able to get you home to Denver for the holiday.” The prosecuting attorney looked truly sorry as he gave the bad news to one of the pivotal witnesses in his ongoing federal case.

The blond man sitting across from the cluttered desk turned his head to momentarily gaze out the window into the grey November day. He tugged at the collar of his shirt before once again giving the district attorney his attention.

“By now, I have testified in enough courts to know that trial schedules are tentative at best. My family and I knew that I might be stuck in New York.” Jedediah Curry uncrossed his long legs and stood up, extending his right hand.

The district attorney rose from behind his desk to return the handshake with the ex-outlaw turned detective. He offered his apology once more, “I’m sorry the trial dates turned out the way they did. I truly appreciate your agency’s work on this case uncovering the Western connections. We tried the Pinkertons without success and I’m glad we decided to go with Heyes & Curry instead of the B.D.I. I know it’s a poor substitute for being home but my family has plenty of food and room if you care to spend Thanksgiving with us, Kid.”

Curry gathered up his overcoat, which was slung over an office chair, and slipped it on. He smiled at the man, who despite a long and frequent correspondence, he only knew in person rather recently. “Thank you, Adam, for the invitation but I’ll pass and let you celebrate the holiday in peace.”

“Hah, peace, you say, now that would be nice. With my in-laws coming and my little heathens, as my mother-in-law says, running around the house, peace isn’t very likely. You have a growing family yourself, don’t you, so you know how it is.”

“I do, and being around yours, I think, will only make me miss mine that much more. I have my cousin, my wife, 2 stepdaughters, 2 sons, twin girls, and another baby on the way. I’m thankful for each and every one of them. As everyone knows, my life wasn’t heading in a family direction for a while until we managed to turn things around.”

The two men traded stories of their children as they walked out of the office and waited for the elevator. Kid Curry exited the City Hall Post Office and Courthouse Building on lower Broadway. He was used to the large cities of San Francisco, a growing Denver, Saint Louis and a few trips to Chicago, IL, he even remembered bits and pieces of a childhood visit to Philadelphia, PA, but New York City was fascinating and different. People bustled about their business of living despite the extremes of luxury and poverty that were more contrastingly evident than in other cities. Anything was possible in New York and if one had the means everything was obtainable.

He started up the street towards the elevated railway that would take him uptown towards the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on the corner of 34th street and Fifth Avenue where he was staying. The hotel was new, definitely luxurious and not generally the type of accommodations that Julia Briscoe, his and Heyes’ secretary, booked him into. Kid would have to ask her about it when he got back. Not that he was complaining but he felt it was wasted on him without Erin staying beside him.

Kid felt a little tightening in his chest as he thought about how his wife would love the shops along the fashionable Fifth Avenue and that the children would be fascinated with the elaborate holiday window displays going up in the major department stores. The train pulled into the station and Curry jammed himself in the car with the other people. He wondered how many were transients like him and how many would be going home to family and friends this holiday week.


Hannibal Heyes opened the front door to the ever-expanding Curry house on a horse ranch outside of Denver. Before he could hang up his coat he was assaulted by two tow-headed, curly-haired young boys. The Curry family’s spaniels, a female tri-color English Springer and a liver and white male Brittany, bounded around, barking and vying for attention. Finley, the orange tabby house cat, slinked in and around Heyes’ ankles, purring contently.

“Uncle Heyes! Hi, Dad sent a telegram to Mom today and it made her sad,” Sean informed Heyes. Michael, not to be shut out of the news by his older brother, thrust a slingshot up into his uncle’s face.

“Look what Mr. Wheat made me. And Mr. Kyle, he showed me where to find a garter snake. I catched it. It’s in my pocket, wanna see?”

Sarah, the older of Jed Curry’s stepdaughters, who noiselessly joined the group, admonished her pesky younger brother, “Michael Patrick, you better put that snake back outside before I tell mama.”  

Michael and Sean both stuck their tongues out at the older brunette girl. Heyes chuckled as he tried to disengage himself from the boys and the animals to seek out his partner’s wife.

“Sarah, where’s your mother?”

“Mamma’s feeding Bridie and ‘lisbeth in the kitchen. Rachel’s helping. Mrs. Dunne is cooking dinner, she said it should be ready soon.”

Sarah herded her brothers and the dogs towards the front door.

“But Sarah, I found the snake by the woodpile, that’s out back not this way.”

“Doesn’t matter where you found it. You know that Dad says there are inside animals and outside animals. Snakes are outside animals.”

“How do you know? Daddy’s not here to ask. I could keep it until he gets home.”

“You can ask Momma.”

“I don’t wanna. Mommy will say…” The children’s voices became indistinct before Heyes could hear what Michael thought his mother would say about a pet snake. He would take a bet on it being an outside animal.

Heyes thought twice before he wandered into the spacious kitchen with its adjacent eating area. Erin Curry was sitting at the large oak table, facing two highchairs, patiently spooning food into one of the toddlers; he thought it might be Bridget but Heyes wasn’t absolutely sure he could tell them apart when they were this covered in assorted food stuffs. Erin’s auburn hair was springing free from its loose bun and the high cheek-boned, freckle-speckled fine face was streaked with what looked like mashed peas. Rachel was indeed helping feed the other twin girl. In contrast to her mother, Heyes noted with amazement, despite the mess on the floor and the finger artwork on the high chair trays, that Rachel’s white pinafore remained pristine and there was not a hair out of place from the dark brown pigtails.

Heyes inhaled deeply and turned to the cook and housekeeper at the massive range, “Moira, it smells wonderful. I bet Kid is missing your home cooking while he’s in New York.” The middle-aged female half of the Irish couple, who were engaged to help maintain the Curry ranch, shook her head as she replied to the compliment, “At least Mr. Kid shows his appreciation by eating a healthy helping, you live on the smell only, judging by the amount you eat.”

Erin held Bridie’s spoon in mid-air and turned slightly in her seat towards Heyes. “Oh Heyes, I’ve received a telegram from Jed this afternoon.”

Heyes came over to the table a took a seat across from Erin but well away from the danger zone of messy toddler meals. “Yes, Sean told me. Sean also said it made you sad. I’m guessing Kid’s delayed in New York, trials never seem to go on schedule.”

Moira placed a mug of steaming black coffee at Heyes elbow. Heyes nodded his thanks.  Erin managed to get the last spoonful of vegetable into the little girl, who was more interested in pushing bits of bread around the tray and onto the floor. Rachel brought the dish and utensils she was using to feed Elizabeth over to the sink and then stood behind her mother. Erin pushed a stray tendril of hair out of her eyes, using the back of her hand, and sat back into the chair for a moment before pushing forward in attempt to rise, her six-month pregnant abdomen catching the end of the table, she sat back down abruptly.

Moira rushed over, bearing warm wet cloths, and quickly offered, “Never you mind, mum, I’ll take care of the wee ones and the mess they made. You go sit and tell Heyes your woes. Rachel will come get you when things are ready.”

“Thanks Moira. We’ll eat in the kitchen tonight, don’t bother with the dining room. Jed’s not home and I don’t think Heyes will mind.”

“I don’t mind at all. It’s better than the back of a horse or some of the other places Kid and I have eaten.”

Heyes helped Erin up, grabbed his mug of coffee, then after Erin washed up at the sink. They adjourned to the pallor to await dinner.

Erin sighed as she lowered herself down into the settee, “You guessed right. Jed telegraphed that his testimony is postponed at least a week. He’ll be all alone in that city for Thanksgiving. I know traveling is part of his job and your lives and that you don’t mind going places but I hate the thought of him being away for the Holiday."

Heyes reached across from his chair and covered his best friend’s wife’s hand in comfort with his own. “I know you do.”

“He warned me this might happen, so that’s why we planned a small Thanksgiving with just my parents, and Julia and Harry Briscoe plus Wheat and Kyle, of course, coming to dinner but…” Erin sniffed and tears threated to fall as she looked up and struggled to control her emotions. “Please excuse me, It’s being with child, my feelings get out of control sometimes.”

Heyes kept his thought to himself that he didn’t really notice much change in the last few years since the Curry family was growing almost yearly. Erin Curry was probably pregnant half her married life but she and the Kid seemed to genuinely be in love and truly delighted with each new child. The Agency was growing and doing better than either partner ever expected so Kid could afford to make up for lost time.

“No excuse needed. You’re just lucky that your husband has Hannibal Heyes as a partner. And Hannibal Heyes always has a plan B.”

Erin’s hazel green eyes turned hopeful and she leaned towards her extended family member with eagerness. “Plan B?”

Heyes sat back in satisfaction and started to explain, “Of course, there is a plan B. We….”


Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving

Kid was lying in bed, in just his undershirt, trousers, and socks, reading the afternoon paper when he heard an unexpected knock on the door. Instinctually, even after all these years, he made an abortive move with his right hand towards the headboard before putting the paper down. Curry padded over to the door and opened it.


“Hiya, Kid. How’s New York?”

Curry hadn’t moved from the doorway as he stared, astonished at his cousin in front of him.

A young male voice rang out as the elevator door opened, “Uncle Heyes you forgot us! Dad we’re here. We rode the train for TWO DAYS. We slept in bunks. I got the top. We were very good boys, right, Uncle Heyes? Right, Uncle Harry?” Sean prompted the man in front of him and the man following him.

Sean and Michael Curry ran down the hall and straight into their father’s wide spread arms for a big group bear hug.

Heyes hissed under his breath at Harry Briscoe, who came up beside him, “You’re supposed to be keeping everyone upstairs in the suites until I got Kid up there.”

Harry pulled at his mustache as Kid covertly divided his attention between the two small boys and the two men in the doorway. “I tried Heyes. But watching those two sometimes is like tryin’ to herd cats. If you two were anything like those two when you were young, I pity your mothers.”

“Daddy, we missed you. Are snakes outside animals? Mommy missed you. Rachel and Sarah missed you. Bridie and ‘Lisbeth missed you. Uncle Heyes missed you. Finley missed you…” Michael excitedly was going through the Curry household.

Kid laughed as stood up, keeping an arm around his boys. “I missed you too, but what are you doing here?” The last part he directed at Heyes and then Harry Briscoe

Heyes entered the room then turned around and explained. “We brought Thanksgiving to you. The rest of the family and your in-laws are waiting for you upstairs where they have 2 adjoining suites. I’m taking your room and Harry and Julia are on this floor, too. Wheat and Kyle stayed in Denver to have Thanksgiving with the Dunnes and the rest of the ranch hands. We have reservations for Thanksgiving dinner in a private dining room in the Hotel. Julia gets most of the credit for putting my plan into action, no offense Harry, but what a woman as competent as she is sees in you, I’ll never know.”

Harry blushed and blustered but he knew Heyes was right; he was one lucky man. Working for Heyes and Curry had turned his life around in more ways than one.

“Go kiss your wife, Kid. I’ll pack your stuff up and bring it up a little later.” Heyes handed his partner a key and his shoes.

“Thanks, Heyes. I think I will.” Curry nodded to Heyes, bent to put his shoes on, and then squatted down to eye level with Sean and Michael.

“I’m so glad you’re here. I missed you all very much and was just thinking of you. I read in the paper that there is going to be a parade tomorrow morning and now we can all go see it.”

With a small hand in each of his larger hands the Curry patriarch went to reunite with the rest of his clan.


Thursday, a beautiful brisk sunny fall day, Thanksgiving morning on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 34th Street

“It’s coming! I can see the Parade!” Shouted Rachel, who was absolutely fascinated with all things New York. She tugged on her mother’s coat and pointed up Sixth Avenue.

Sean Curry fell off the curb into the street, trying to spy what his sister saw. The quick hand of his father darted out to grab his son’s collar and gently pulled him back to stand in front of him. Michael was bouncing up and down in front of Heyes.

The seasonal music played by the leading marching band grew louder and louder, spreading                                                             enthusiasm and anticipation among the packed holiday crowd of onlookers that lined the parade route. Christmas and Thanksgiving themed clowns cavorted alongside bright holiday floats handing out candy and trinkets to the children in the crowd, including the eager hands of all the Curry offspring.

Suddenly a small hand grabbed tight around blond curls and the chubby arm of Elizabeth Curry, perched on Kid’s shoulders, pointed. Bridget clapped in glee from her grandfather’s hip at the appearance of huge elephants pulling decorated circus-type wagons containing lions, tigers, bears, and monkeys galore.

Erin Curry took hold of her husband’s arm from the leg of his daughter and guided his calloused hand to her forest green, wool-covered abdomen as her breath hitched for a moment. Jedediah Curry felt the movement of a foot, or was it an elbow before he grasped his wife’s gloved hand, giving her a gentle smile full of love and wonderment that he saved only for her.

The crowd oohed and aahed, laughed, clapped, and sang along, as they watched the procession of floats, bands, animals, banners and decorations held by parading employees of Macy’s go by.

Sarah gasped as eight “reindeer” pulled a giant “sleigh” with a jolly Santa Clause hoh, hoh, hohing, surrounded by walking elves with candy canes pass by and disappear down 34th street towards Herald Square. Everyone started to talk at once, reliving their favorite parts when Kid whistled. Ignoring the curious stares of the crowd surrounding them Kid removed his daughter from his broad shoulders and passed her into the waiting arms of his mother-in-law. He winked at Heyes, and the Briscoes, standing directly in front of him before crouching down to the children’s eye level.

“Guess what?”

“What?” the breathless chorus of children’s voices replied.

“Would you like to tell Santa Clause what your Christmas wishes are in person?”

Eyes widened, smiles grew even bigger, and heads nodded vigorously.

“We can do that while we are here. Santa Claus will be sitting on his throne in Macy’s right down this street. Let’s go watch him be crowned and get in line to make sure he got your lists right when he was up at the North Pole.”

The adults rolled their eyes and shuddered slightly at the thought of long lines and hordes of excited children but one look at their own excited dearly-loved small horde had everyone holding hands, swinging arms, and humming holiday tunes as they paraded down 34th Street with everyone else.

Notes: I cheated with the Thanksgiving parade. I grew up in the New York City suburbs of Northern New Jersey, where going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade was a holiday tradition undertaken every few years, for me as a child and with my own children. It started the New York Christmas season. It was the first thing that came to mind when I read the prompt.

In 1924, the annual Thanksgiving parade started by Louis Bamberger in Newark, New Jersey at the Bamberger's store was transferred to New York City by Macy's. In New York, the employees marched to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes. There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. At the end of that first parade, as has been the case with every parade since, Santa Claus was welcomed into Herald Square. At this first parade, however, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the Macy's balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then "crowned" "King of the Kiddies." With an audience of over 250,000 people, the parade was such a success that Macy's declared it would become an annual event.

Anthony "Tony" Frederick Sarg loved to work with marionettes from an early age. After moving to London to start his own marionette business, Sarg moved to New York City to perform with his puppets on the street. Macy's heard about Sarg's talents and asked him to design a window display of a parade for the store Sarg's large animal-shaped balloons, produced by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, replaced the live animals in 1927. A popular belief was that a balloon version Felix the Cat balloon was the first ever character balloon in the parade back in 1927, with Macy's also claiming that too, but Felix actually made his first appearance in 1931.

At the finale of the 1928 parade, the balloons were released into the sky, where they unexpectedly burst. The following year, they were redesigned with safety valves to allow them to float for a few days. Address labels were sewn into them, so that whoever found and mailed back the discarded balloon received a gift from Macy's.

The original Waldorf-Astoria was located at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, and it started as two separate hotels. The Waldorf rose first, in 1893, but when the Astoria was being constructed a few years later, the owners decided to join them so "Peacock Alley" was created as a connection between the two hotels. The hotel redefined the contemporary hotel, making it a place not just for transient visitors but also a social hot spot for New York's high society. It was torn down in 1929 in order to build the Empire State Building, and its present-day successor was built not long after
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Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Empty
PostSubject: Re: Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by   Nov 17 - Watching the parade go by Icon_minitime

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