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 Mountain of Agony or The Finger

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CD Roberts
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Posts : 114
Join date : 2013-09-23

20130926
PostMountain of Agony or The Finger




This picture has absolutely nothing to do with the story.







The following is a parody and not really a story. This means it’s even sillier than the usual stuff I write. I’d like to point out that I like the serious ASJ fanfic. I like hurt/comfort stories. I couldn’t write a parody of something I didn’t like for two important reasons. One, I would lose interest. Two, I would lose my sense of humor.
Even if you don’t care for parody this story has some merit. It’s short. By my calculations it can be printed, read, and used to line Kitty’s litter box in well under ½ hour.
 


 
The mountain air that morning was fresh and had a sharp chill even though it was summer. It was the type of air that people call invigorating. The view from near the top of the peak was spectacular. If one looked down one could see the surrounding valley with astonishing clarity; the fields, some wild, some plowed, a small town, roads of varying width stretching out in all directions, rivers, and rivulets, all combined to paint a landscape that would be the envy of any artist. That is, if one bothered to look.

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry were not looking. They had ridden out of that small town the previous day after spying the face of a familiar sheriff. They decided to head into the mountain range to avoid discovery and capture, and had set up camp high in one of the lower mountains in a flat clearing sheltered by pine trees. The physical effort of two days' riding combined with the work of making camp, starting a fire, and cooking had tired them out. After a heavy meal of canned beans, biscuits and pork they had purchased in town, they slumbered peacefully. As the sun rose their soft snores played along musically with the sounds of the birds chirping among the branches.

Waking, the two men thought not of the panorama surrounding them, but of making breakfast. Stomachs growling, they divided the chores. Heyes was busy stoking the fire, a pan of pork beside him on the ground, while the Kid was opening a can of tomatoes.

"Ow," The Kid shook his right hand vigorously, obviously in pain.

Heyes looked anxiously at him. "What's the matter with you?" he asked trying to mask his concern, although his voice betrayed him by going up an octave.

"That damn can. I've cut my finger."

Heyes hurried over to look at the injury. He knew from experience that the Kid was stoic about any aches and pains he suffered, hiding the pain whenever possible. He took the Kid's hand and examined the cut. It didn't look deep, but finger injuries hurt. He knew that. He cursed inwardly; it was the Kid’s trigger finger. That could be trouble, serious trouble. What if it scarred? What if it became swollen and red? Or gangrenous? Even if that didn't happen it would hurt if the Kid had to draw while it was healing, and Heyes didn't want it to hurt. Don't let your mind wander, he thought, focus on the immediate problem; tending to the wound, making the Kid comfortable.

"Kid, I'm gonna get some whisky and clean it with that. You'll be OK while I'm gone?"

"Sure Heyes," answered the Kid. He wasn't, but he couldn't let his partner know that. His finger hurt like hell. He was determined that his face would not reveal the extent of his suffering. He wouldn't, couldn't do that to Heyes. He thought back to the moment they decided who would do what. Heyes was going to open the can, but Heyes always made a mess of it using a hatchet instead of a can opener, so he'd grabbed the can from him, and told him to start the fire. Heyes was probably feeling as guilty as hell, not only because of the injury, but also because of THAT incident in Red Rock a few days ago. He sighed.

Heyes had gone to his saddlebags to retrieve the bottle of whisky. He returned to the Kid's side as quickly as possible. He unscrewed the cap. Taking his handkerchief he poured some whisky on it, then dabbed it as gently as he could on the injured finger. He looked at the Kid's face. It was unreadable with no indication of the physical distress he was certainly feeling.

"Well, it's not bleeding any longer, Kid. Maybe I should wrap it anyway, just in case."

They both studied the finger but the wound was closing already, and was barely visible.

"I dunno Heyes. I'll leave it up to you. You ever read in a book how to take care of something like this?"

Heyes pondered momentarily. "Can't say that I have. So I guess I'll wrap it anyway. Hmm, the handkerchief's too large so I'll cut it a bit smaller. "

The Kid almost stopped him. He didn't want Heyes to sacrifice his handkerchief for him, but he figured he'd better let Heyes do it. It would make him feel better, less guilty.

After the cut was dressed, Heyes propped the Kid on some blankets against a tree. He wasn't going to take any chances with the Kid's health so he finished preparing their breakfast on his own. He kept one eye on the Kid throughout. He seemed to be doing pretty well. His breathing looked even, not ragged, and he didn't look fevered. When he was done he brought a tin plate and mug over to the Kid.

The Kid gave the mug a rueful glance.

"Heyes you shoulda let me make the coffee at least."

"No way partner. You need to rest. And anyway there's nothing wrong with my coffee."

"Since when?"

"Shut up and eat." He looked at his partner fondly. You had to admire him he figured. Not many men could stand up to that kind of agony and not show it.

After breakfast Heyes had the Kid lie down to rest. Although he didn't want to admit it, the Kid was grateful. He was pretty worn out after the events of the morning. He rolled onto his left side gingerly so he wouldn't accidentally damage his finger in his sleep. Soon he was breathing peacefully.

Heyes watched him feeling anything but peaceful. It was his fault. He should have been the one to open that can. If he had this never would have happened. He refilled his mug. Sitting back against a tree he stared into it. It really was pretty awful stuff he thought. A little like tar.

He thought some more. First there was that argument in Red Rock and now this. He sighed. Both incidents were his fault. What was wrong with him? Why was he always hurting the Kid? The Kid was his best friend and deserved better. Deserved a better friend-that's what he deserved. Maybe he should leave him while he was asleep. Christ. What kind of a friend would even consider leaving his best buddy while he was hurt? But then what kind of a friend would have done what he had done three days earlier in Red Rock?
 

Heyes' Flashback
Three Days Earlier
Red Rock

 
The day had started on the right note. Heyes and the Kid had had a great breakfast. The Kid had flirted with the waitress and was in good spirits. Heyes was happy because the Kid was so happy. They'd been chased out of so many towns recently and the stress was starting to take its toll on the Kid. He could stand a lot but he liked his comfort. What was worse, they'd had to leave the last town over such a small matter. They'd only been slightly 'drunk and disorderly' too. Well, there was the matter of a couple of broken windows. But they'd paid the fine. Even so the sheriff had ordered them to leave. Luckily he hadn't recognized them.

After breakfast they walked to the saloon. That's when the Kid saw it. There was the item that was to become the cause of so much trouble. It was on display in the window of the mercantile store. It and two others just like it. The sign said it was candy left over from Easter and it was on sale. The three were nestled in a pink Easter basket. Three chocolate bunnies. What could be more innocent? The sign said "Solid Chocolate from New York." The Kid couldn't resist and went into the store to purchase one. He returned smiling.

"You know, Kid, that chocolate's from Easter. It's probably all old by now. Probably starting to turn white."
"Heyes it's chocolate and it's from back east." He smiled. "I'm gonna eat it later today and I'm gonna enjoy it." He put the wrapped chocolate carefully in his jacket pocket.

"If you don't break a tooth on it first."

Why had he said that? Why did he always tease the Kid?

In the saloon he'd found a poker game where the players couldn't remotely calculate the odds. He and the Kid joined them, and soon the pile of money in front of him increased substantially. The day grew warmer. He and the Kid shed the light jackets they'd been wearing. After a short while it was obvious that luck was against the Kid. Tired of playing with the poor hands he's been dealt, he rose from his chair announcing that he was going for a walk to stretch his legs and change his luck.

"Now partner don't you go and eat that chocolate of mine while I'm gone."

Heyes looked up amused. "Kid that's Easter chocolate and it's June. Don't worry I won't go near it much less eat it."

The Kid left. Heyes immersed himself in the game. Time passed by. He didn't stop for lunch, couldn't stop for lunch; the game was in his favor. If he stopped now it would break up his run of luck. As a gambler he knew better than to do that. More time passed. The Kid hadn't returned. He was probably flirting with some girl. Heyes sipped his beer, and he began to feel a little light-headed. He pulled out his watch. Three o'clock already. He really needed something to eat, but he really didn't want to stop playing.

He glanced at the Kid's jacket. That chocolate bunny was in the pocket. No, that was the Kid's. He couldn't eat that. But he needed something to eat. He needed some food so he wouldn't loose his concentration. Well, maybe one bite. The Kid wouldn't mind that. He took the carefully wrapped bunny from the jacket pocket. He removed the paper around it. It didn't look too bad he thought. The chocolate was only turning a little white. He bit the head off. He remembered there were two more bunnies at the store. He'd buy another for the Kid. Unable to restrain himself he quickly devoured the rest. He made sure to replace the wrapper in the jacket pocket.

The Kid returned a few minutes later. Another player had his seat so he picked up his jacket and turned towards the bar. He put his hand in the pocket and removed it and the wrapper in disbelief. He put his hand in the pocket again. Then he searched the other pockets in turn. He searched the first pocket again. Then he looked at Heyes. His partner's face was a picture of innocence.

"Joshua"

"What?"

"We need to talk."

"I'm in the middle of a hand. Can't it wait?"

"No it cannot wait. We need to talk now."

"Five more minutes, Thaddeus."

He continued playing. The Kid stood to the side steaming with suppressed anger. Maybe finishing this hand wasn't such a good idea. He looked down at the cards he held. Then again maybe it was. He was sure he could placate the Kid after winning this. He'd have a lot of money then. He'd buy him both remaining bunnies. Heck he'd buy him a couple of chocolate chunks as well.

Finally the hand ended. Heyes excused himself from the game. The other players couldn't decide if they were relieved at his leaving or disappointed that they no longer had a chance to win some of their money back.

Out on the street the Kid turned to Heyes.

"You ate my chocolate bunny."

"I ate what?" Heyes smiled at the Kid trying to look guiltless.

"My chocolate bunny. You ate it. It's gone."

They walked to the hotel.

"Maybe it fell out."

"It did not fall out. The wrapper was still in the pocket."

"Thaddeus, maybe it came unwrapped, and then fell out."

"No. It was wrapped too well. And it didn't fall out of the pocket. It was there when I went for that walk. I checked before I left. You ate it."

"You know, there were a lot of people in that saloon. Maybe someone took it."

They reached the hotel.

Going through the double doors they got their key from the clerk and went upstairs to their room. On the way to the room the Kid thought over what Heyes had said. He came to his conclusion by the time they were in the room and Heyes had closed the door.

"So what you're saying Heyes is that someone walked up to my jacket that was right next to you, went into the pocket, took out the chocolate bunny, and put the wrapper back? And you didn't notice?"

"Well put that way it does seem a bit unlikely."

"A bit unlikely!"

Heyes made a grunting sound. He looked into the Kid's eyes.

"Kid I ate the chocolate bunny."

The Kid opened his mouth to speak. Heyes held up his hand to stop the Kid.

"But I was hungry. I didn't eat lunch. I couldn't leave a game like that. You know that. So I ate it. But I'll make it up to you. I'll buy you both those other bunnies." He smiled at his friend.

"Heyes I bought that special. After everything I said I can't believe you ate it."

"Well I'm sorry!"

"Sorry. You're sorry. You ate it and not only did you eat it but you lied to me about eating it."

"I did that for you Kid. I was gonna tell you as soon as we got back here. I figured you might get a bit angry and I didn't want you to attract attention to yourself outside. Might have brought out the sheriff."
"You thought I might get angry? You were gonna tell me you ate it when we got back? And you were trying to protect me by not telling me? You are really something else, Heyes."

"Kid I said I was sorry. For crying out loud it was only a chocolate bunny. If you're so damned upset I'll go buy you another."

"That's not the point. You ate something that was mine and you lied about it."

"OK OK. I ate that goddamned bunny and I lied about it. So crucify me."

"Crucify you? Isn't that a little strong? And you are hardly the injured party here. You're acting like a child."
"I'm acting like a child? What about you?"

"I have a right to be mad, you don't. It was my bunny. And you are acting like a child."

"Am not."

"Are too."

"Am not."

"Are too."

"Am not Am not Am not." On each of these last "am nots" Heyes stamped his left foot for emphasis. He turned on his heel and left the room slamming the door.

He strode rapidly down the street to the mercantile, his face a picture of fury. People passing by swerved to avoid him. Here was a dangerous man they thought. He muttered to himself under his breath.

"I'm acting like a child, am I? I'll show him. I'll buy those damn bunnies and every other piece of chocolate they have. I'll show him who's acting like a child."

But what came next was even worse if possible. On arriving at the store he looked in the window. The bunnies were no longer there! He went inside and accosted the clerk behind the counter demanding to know where they were. The clerk cheerfully told him that they'd been purchased "not more'n five minutes ago. But I've got some wonderful black licorice just in. Real fresh, just smell it."

Heyes bought the licorice and rushed back to the room. He handed it to the Kid explaining about the chocolate bunnies. The Kid stared blankly at the bag in his hand.

"Heyes I hate licorice. You know that. You like licorice."

"I, the clerk, I -oh hell I forgot-that's what the clerk had-just shipped in. I was in such a hurry I forgot." He gulped. "Kid I'm sorry."

The Kid handed back the package of licorice. He shook his head sadly and sat down on the bed.
 

 
By the next morning the Kid had forgiven him as he always did. If anything that only served to make Heyes feel worse. He was no good. He did these terrible things to his friend and then his friend forgave him. He was always letting the Kid down. If only the Kid would hit him. A good punch-that was what he deserved. He had to make it up to the Kid. He had just decided to purchase a different type of candy for him. Ah-he had it-salt water taffy. The Kid loved that. Then they came upon the familiar sheriff, and fortunately they saw him before he saw them, quickly got some supplies, and headed out to the mountains.

During the long ride to and up the mountains Heyes had been swamped with guilt. What kind of a friend was he? That and other dark thoughts filled his soul. He thought a lot about the vagaries of candy, how some people were sensible enough to like licorice and others were not. He thought about how many times he had hurt his friend in the past. How many clever remarks he had made at his expense. How there was no candy for the Kid. Fortunately he had the licorice to chew on to console himself.

End of Flashback
 

Heyes was roused from his reverie by an exceptionally loud snore from the Kid. The Kid twitched and woke up.

"How ya feel, Kid?"

"Better. My finger don't hurt no more. Boy, am I hungry."

There was a moment of silence. Heyes looked at his feet unable to meet his partner's eyes.

"Kid I'm sorry about everything. I shouldn't have eaten that chocolate bunny. I don't know what came over me. And the tin can, your finger, that was all my fault too."

"Heyes- that was not your fault. I chose to open that can. There's nothing you could have done about that, so stop blaming yourself. You're not responsible for me."

"Kid I can't help it. I'm the eldest. I've felt responsible for you since we were kids."

The Kid frowned. Here we go again, he thought. Heyes was only two years older but from the way he talked you'd think he was ten years older. How was he to handle this? They'd met at that orphanage, Valpoyoso, no wait, Valiporooso, Valy…oh forget it. Anyway Heyes had felt responsible for him ever since he'd been dunked in the well in front of the other boys. Course it was Heyes who had done the dunking. After that they'd become close friends. It was safer that way.

"Well you're still not responsible for my finger, and I wish you'd quit feeling guilty, it's embarrassing." That oughta do it. Heyes wouldn't wanna feel guilty about embarrassing him. "And anyway, if it makes you feel any better, you shouldn't have eaten the chocolate bunny. Course you tried to make it up to me, and I shoulda accepted that. So we're even." He smiled. "Suppose I shoulda told you. When you left to get the horses I bought some chocolate eggs-five of 'em-on sale too."

"Kid that's good. I sure don't feel so guilty, no more. Whaddya say we start lunch?"

"Sounds fine to me."

"And after lunch we can play some 21 to pass the time. Let's see- when you lose five hands-that'll be one chocolate egg."

"Heyes!"
 

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Mountain of Agony or The Finger :: Comments

Re: Mountain of Agony or The Finger
Post on Sun 06 Oct 2013, 2:48 am by Calico
Oh Beejay, my face began to curl into a smile as soon as Heyes started trying to hide his concern. Ah, concern. The word we all reach for so very often.
Now I am laughing out loud at Kid not wanting Heyes to sacrifice his handkerchief.
Beejay, you are naughty. This pair – so terribly concerned (again) for each others’ emotional and physical welfare at all times. They do ring some bells, huh?
He ate the bunny!
Oh the wangst, I mean angst! Work that guilt Heyes! After all, it’s not as if the pair of you tried to tried to palm off the hauling explosive oil job on each other without a qualm. But this, this is serious. THIS is chocolate.
I am adoring that Kid became friends with HH simply because it was safer after the Valpally dunking.
You are a bad girl with a frighteningly sharp pen.
 

Mountain of Agony or The Finger

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