Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

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 September 2009

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Penski

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Posts : 119
Join date : 2013-09-26

20131030
PostSeptember 2009

As the old Proverb says...

Thieves steal from thieves? Heyes learns a valuable lesson.



There ain’t no honor among thieves...

Click. The last tumbler fell into place and Heyes smiled at he heard the music to his ears. He pulled down on the safe’s lever and swung the door wide open.

“Well, it took you long enough,” Plummer said as he walked from the railcar’s door to the safe with a carpet bag and started depositing the money inside.

“That didn’t take no time at all,” Heyes defended himself. “About the same amount of time if you prepared the dynamite and got people cleared outta the way. And this was safer and cleaner, too.”

Plummer glanced nervously out of the door as he placed the money in the bag.

Heyes followed Plummer’s eyes outside. “Whatcha looking at?”

“Just keeping an eye out for a posse.”

“Posse? Ain’t it too early for a posse to come? Train ain’t due into Carson City for another hour or so.”

Plummer glared at Heyes as he stood up with $30,000 of a payroll in his carpet bag. “Can’t be too careful.” Pointing a finger at Heyes, he continued, “Don’t you forget that.”

Heyes shrugged his shoulders as he followed Plummer out of the train. They walked over to the horses and began to mount them.

“Let’s get outta here!” Plummer commanded his gang of twelve. The rest of the gang forgot about the passengers and crew they were guarding, walked to their horses and mounted to leave.

Plummer gazed into the horizon. A hint of a dust cloud could barely be seen. “Posse! I want everyone to partner up and ride in different directions. Meet back at the Hole as soon as it’s safe. Hear me?” Plummer barked out the order.

“Posse? How’d you know…” Heyes questioned his leader with a puzzled look.

Plummer interrupted Heyes. “Jimmy, you go with Heyes, now! And keep an eye on my ‘safe man’, you hear? See you all at Devil’s Hole!” Plummer turned his horse towards the east and galloped away with all the money.

“Should he be by himself with all the money?” Heyes asked Jimmy.

“Don’t you question the leader! Now git!” Jimmy ordered as he slapped Heyes’ horse on the rump and headed in the opposite direction of Plummer. Heyes had no alternative but to follow Jimmy, the primary gunman and acquaintance who got him into the gang.

* * * * *

Heyes walked into Devil’s Hole bunkhouse and went to the stove to pour himself a cup of coffee. The cool spring air had chilled him to the bone.

“Well, see any sign of him?” Jimmy immediately wanted to know.

“Nope.” Heyes swallowed some coffee and grimaced. “Looked over by Jenkins Lake and Pine Grove, but no sign of him or the $30,000. It’s like he up and vanished.”

“Do you think that he might’ve been captured?” Buck inquired.

“Wasn’t captured,” Heyes stated to the group. Jimmy glared to Heyes.

“How in the hell would you know?”

“I can read. Got me a few newspapers and there ain’t no mention of his capture. Saw a few articles about the robbery. It’s been a couple of weeks—if he’d been caught, it would’ve been news.” Heyes paused. “I think he planned it.”

“Planned it?” Cresher asked as he spit a wad of tobacco on the floor.

Heyes took another sip of coffee and focused on the stove. He knew his opinion wasn’t going to be popular. “I think he planned for one last big robbery. Leaked word of the plan so the posse would come sooner and split us all up. Hid ‘til things cooled down and now he’s living high on the hog with our $30,000.”

“Prove it,” Jimmy spat.

“Can’t, but I can tell ya that he kept lookin’ around, real nervous like…almost as if he was expectin’ them to show. Told me himself he was looking out for a posse and you couldn’t be too careful. Now the train wasn’t due into town for another hour. How’d a posse know about the robbery?”

George, the oldest gang member, shook his head and sighed. “There ain’t no honor among thieves, boys. Looks like we’ve been had.”

Longville looked at George. “So now what do we do? You’ve been through a new leader before.”

“Well boys, we wait for a new leader to come into the Hole unless one of you think you’re smart enough and can get the respect of the others.” George looked around the room at the other men. He thought he saw a glimmer in the youngster Heyes’ eyes, but disregarded it. “That or leave and join a new gang or try and go straight fer once.”

The Devil’s Hole gang stared at each other in awkward silence, wondering what the next man would do.

Heyes walked out of the bunkhouse and over to the corral. He leaned against the fence and stared at Plummer’s cabin…the leader’s cabin. If he was a few years older, maybe…but this bunch would never respect him. He searched his pockets and found one $20 gold piece from the last robbery. With the rest of the gang restless and destitute, Heyes hid the gold piece in his boot.

The next morning, several of the men were packing and saddling their horses. Jimmy and Heyes sat on the bunkhouse porch and watched.

Jimmy broke the silence. “Whatcha plannin’ on doin’, Heyes?”

“Dunno…thought I might go into town and play a little poker with the last of my money. Hope to win some and build it up until I decide. What are you gonna do?”

“Think I’ll go to town and pay a visit to my favorite gal Sally. Might as well ride in together.”

“May as well, Jimmy.” Heyes and Jimmy slowly got up and stretched. They gathered their few belongings in their saddlebags, saddled up and were soon heading to Beaverton.

* * * * *

Lady Luck was shining down on Heyes. The Beaverton saloon was filled with wealthy ranchers wanting to play a challenging game of poker. They invited the young, dark-haired kid to play with them and were enjoying his expertise at the game. They didn’t even mind losing to him and bought him a few drinks. Heyes was having a wonderful time while the pile of money in front of him grew and grew.

Jimmy watched Heyes from the bar. He swallowed the last of his whiskey and motioned for the bartender. “Another.”

“Let’s see some money before you get another drink.”

Jimmy slammed the glass on the counter and left the saloon.

* * * * *

Heyes rode down the trail humming a cheerful tune with no specific destination in mind. The weather was perfect with the sun shining down. And his pockets were lined with money from his poker winnings. He felt relief that the ranchers were such good losers since he had no one to back him up. Even Jimmy had disappeared sometime in the evening. Heyes felt a bit of relief; Jimmy was a hot-head and Heyes was feeling more apprehensive about him every day. He should’ve never have left Jed and followed Jimmy to Plummer’s gang.

Bang…bang…bang!

Heyes’ horse reared up as the bullets landed in the dirt in front of it. Heyes held on and quickly gained control of his mount.

“Throw down your gun to the right and dismount on the left.”

Heyes winced as he followed the order. He should’ve known the day was going too smooth. Once he was down, more instructions came.

“Now empty all your pockets.”

“Jimmy? That you?”

Jimmy walked out from behind a tree. “Heyes.”

“What’re you doing?”

“Relieving you of some of that cash you got in those pockets.”

“I don’t have any…” A bullet whizzed by Heyes’ ear. “Sheesh, why’d you do that?”

“Heyes, shut up and empty your pockets.”

Heyes slowly emptied his pockets revealing a couple hundred dollars.

“Now sit down and remove your boots. Throw them over here.”

“My boots? Jimmy…”

“Heyes, are you gonna make me shoot at you again?”

“No,” Heyes grumbled as he sat on the ground and removed his boots. He sighed as he threw them over to Jimmy.

Jimmy looked into the boots and smiled as he pulled out even more money. “Thank you for the donation, Heyes.”

Jimmy pocketed the money and walked over to Heyes to get the rest he emptied from his pockets.

“I can’t believe you’re robbin’ me! I though we was…”

Jimmy holstered his gun and slammed his fist into Heyes’ jaw. Heyes fell backwards hitting his head on the hard ground. Stunned, he lay flat on the ground.

Jimmy walked over and looked down. “You talk too much, Heyes. When you gonna get it through your thick skull--there’s no honor among thieves?”

After picking up the rest of the money, Jimmy pointed his gun at Heyes’ chest. “I should kill ya, but I like ya.” Jimmy pulled out a dollar coin and tossed it onto Heyes. “Here’s a dollar back…don’t let me see you again or I'll shoot ya.”

Jimmy mounted his horse and started down the path. Heyes sat up, rubbed his jaw and yelled, “Damn you, Jimmy.” He could hear Jimmy laughing as he rode away.

Heyes slowly stood up and dusted off his hat before putting it back on the head. Before mounting his horse, he kissed the dollar coin and pocketed it. “Hope you’re still with me, Lady Luck. I need you now more than ever.”

Heyes headed back into town with a sore jaw and a bruised ego.

* * * * *

A few weeks later, Heyes was playing small stakes poker in a small town saloon. He was leery of others and only played for smaller amounts of money so not to attract unwanted attention to himself.

A young boy ran into the saloon and yelled, “They shot a young gunslinger over in Dawson’s Creek!”

Heyes’ heart stopped for a moment. Jed!

“Who was it? Anyone famous?” asked the bartender.

“Jimmy Clark from the Plummer gang. Got in a fight. Sheriff ended up killin’ him.”

Heyes slowly released the breath he was holding. Jimmy was dead. That did not surprise him.

“Are you gonna play or just sit there all day?” asked a drunk ranch hand.

“Hmm…think I’m gonna quit for awhile,” Heyes said as he pocketed the money in front of him and swallowed the rest of his drink.

Heyes was walking out of the saloon when someone yelled, “Hey mister! You can’t leave.”

Tensing on the inside and yet looking calm on the outside, Heyes turned around. “Me?”

“Yeah, you! You forgot your gloves.”

Heyes smiled. “Thank you.” He gathered his gloves and slowly walked over to the livery.

He was too nervous and didn’t like it. He needed someone to watch his back so he could concentrate on other things. He needed a partner…someone he could trust. He needed Jed. And Jed needed him, too. He was sure of that. Alone, they were just two lonely souls wandering aimlessly through life. Together…well, in unity there is strength.

For the first time in a long time, Heyes was excited about seeing Jed again. He thought about where he last heard about him and decided to head that way. He’d find him, one way or another.

As he arrived at the livery, a man came around the corner. “Hannibal Heyes?”

Heyes looked at the man with a tied-down gun. He was Mexican, but spoke with just a slight accent. “Who wants to know?”

“Hannibal, I’ve been looking for you. Let me introduce myself. I am Jim Santana, the new leader of Devil’s Hole, and I want you to join my gang. George told me about you when I arrived. You can open safes without dynamite, yes?” Santana put his arm around Heyes and steered him back to the saloon. “I am very intrigued. Let me buy you a drink so we can talk.”

Heyes allowed himself to be guided back to the saloon. The new Devil’s Hole leader wanted him to join his gang! All thoughts of Jed vanished.
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