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 The Posse That Wouldn't Quit ( From Memory )

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CD Roberts

Posts : 114
Join date : 2013-09-23

PostThe Posse That Wouldn't Quit ( From Memory )

A popular game played on the ASJ Collection website message board called Quipable Kid, Noteworthy Heyes, or something close to that, inspired this story. The idea is to post a quote from one of the boys. The next person posts which character said the quote, what episode it is from and posts the next quote. As you can see this is a real test of one’s memory. Incredible as it may seem, I’never played this game. That doesn’t mean my memory is lousy, it just means that, well, it means I never played that game. But, it occurred to me that people may get the wrong idea and think I have a rotten memory (if they think about it at all and why should they?). The truth is I can quote the show as well as anyone, and to prove it I’m not going to quote one meager line; I’m going to write a whole episode from memory. One that I haven’t watched for a couple of months. So here it is:  

Author’s note: On occasion a character’s thoughts will be described. I am sure the reader will notice that this enriches the original teleplay by adding depth to the psychological aspects of the story. This may lead to some subtle differences between the episode aired and my version.

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry were on the run from a large posse. They rode their horses hard attempting to not only maintain a lead on the men following, but in the hopes of losing them as well. So far they were unsuccessful. They halted on a ridge overlooking the riders to allow their horses to breathe.

"Heyes, you seen how many are following us?"

"Haven't stopped to count."

The Kid looked at the men below. Quietly he began, "one, two, three…"

"Kid, we really don't have time for this."

"Why'd you stop me? Now I have to start all over. One, two, three, four…"

Heyes sighed. He waited impatiently for his friend to finish.

"Thirteen, there's thirteen of 'em. You know what that means?"

"Yeah, it's a baker's dozen. C'mon, let's get going."

They rode on. The posse continued its relentless pursuit. Again the two former outlaws stopped to rest.

"I can't believe it, Kid. They're still there. There's something different about that posse. It's been five days and we haven't lost them yet."

Heyes paused to tie his hair back with his bandanna. Depending on how you view it, this made him either incredibly sexy looking or gave him a somewhat ridiculous aspect. The point is you've probably never seen two men look so good after riding three days from a posse.

"I think I've got it. They've got an Indian tracking us. Probably an Apache."

"How do you know he's an Apache?"

"We can't loose him, right?" The Kid nodded. "So he must be an Apache," Heyes reasoned triumphantly.

The Kid looked puzzled. "Well if you say so." He paused. "You think he's one of them Cheery cow ahs?"

"Cheery cow ah?"

"Yeah, you know. Heyes, what do you know about Indians anyway?"

"Only what I heard as a child. And that won't reassure you. Not that it matters anyway. There's only one in the posse."

Bullets whizzed past. The two men took off again.

They came to a spring and forded it. The Kid, not wanting to spoil his new leather boots kept his legs elevated, causing him to list to one side. Once across, Heyes grabbed a branch to brush away their tracks.

"Heyes what the hell are you doing that for?"

"Whaddya mean what am I doing that for? You wanna loose them don't you?"

"Yeah, but if they got an Apache with them that won't work. You're slowing us down. I thought you were supposed to be the smart one. That's a pretty stupid thing to do."

Heyes threw down the branch in disgust. He mounted his horse and the two rode on, Heyes mumbling under his breath.

"I thought you were supposed to be the smart one," said the Kid.

"Well I am the smart one. Did I grow a stupid looking mustache? Do I call attention to myself calling people walk-offs? Do I constantly shout out 'Heyes' when my life is saved from a firing squad? Do I provoke gunfighters wearing my gun to breakfast? Do I…"

"What?!" The Kid turned to Heyes.

"Nothing, I was just thinking of all of your best traits. Making a list, so to speak. I'm methodical. I make lists."

A few moments later they saw a wagon approaching on the road beside the hill they were on. Since their horses were all lathered up with yucky white foam and were about to drop dead, they figured it would be a good idea to hitch a ride from the lady on the wagon instead. They slapped the rumps of the horses to send them galloping off. That way the posse would follow the horses. The men slid down the hill. The two tired horses stopped after a couple of feet.

"Howdy Ma'am." The Kid gave the lady in the wagon his most pleasant smile.

"Good afternoon. What are you two doing way out here with no horses?" She aimed her rifle at the men.

Heyes smiled as well and replied, "Uh Ma'am, we were crossing the desert and let our horses drink from water we found, only it was alkaline and the horses upped and died. And our saddles were heavy and we dropped 'em way back," "way back" repeated the Kid. "And we sure could use a ride, not to mention some food and a place to stay and…"

"Your horses died in the desert?"

"That's right ma'am."

"This is Colorado; the nearest desert is in Arizona."

"Your right again ma'am. We've walked a long way." Heyes opened his eyes wide looking at the lady pathetically.

"A real long way ma'am,” added the Kid. “My legs are real tired."

"I see." She studied the two men. They were either in trouble or were simple-minded or both. They didn't look too smart so she figured they couldn't be in serious trouble. Didn't have the brains for that. Well she wouldn't feel right about leaving these two to fend on their own out here.

"All right, you can come with me. Hand me your guns first, boys."

"Hand you my gun?! I'd feel naked without my gun ma'am. You won't believe this but I've worn this gun for so many years that without it I limp."

"So limp," shouted Heyes. "Give her the gun and hop up."

They handed their guns over and jumped in the wagon. The Kid sat in the front next to the lady.

"Ma'am if you'd like I can drive awhile for you."

She looked him up and down.

"No thanks. I'd really like to get home sometime today. My husband's expecting me."

Heyes smiled to himself. I really am the smart one, he thought.

A few hours later they arrived at the Jordan homestead. On the ride over they had introduced themselves as Thaddeus Jones and Joshua Smith, and the lady told them her name was Belle Jordan. After some verbal prodding from Belle they agreed to help unload the wagon. As they walked towards the house carrying the sacks Belle called for her two daughters.

"Girls! Come out here. I got some people I want you to meet. Girls! You get yourselves out here on the count of three or I'll tan your hides. One, two…"

Two preteen girls crawled out from under the wooden porch. They stood and gaped at the two men. Wow, they thought. This is the best present Ma's ever brought back from town for us.

"Joshua, Thaddeus these are my two girls, Bridget and uh Bernie. Girls, stand up straight. Bernie, take your finger out of your nose. Girls, be polite and shake hands."

The two men dropped the sacks they were carrying to free their hands. The sack the Kid had been holding dropped on his foot, and the tinkling of broken glass was heard. He grabbed his foot, wincing in pain. The two girls laughed.

"Real nice to meet you Joshua, Thaddeus," they said politely in-between giggles.

Everyone went in and Mrs. Jordan introduced them to her husband Mr. Jordan, who was sitting with his leg propped up on account of his having broken it.

After some discussion it was agreed the two would stay for a couple of weeks mending fences until Belle went into town again. Some more things happened but they aren't important. So I'll just skip ahead a couple of days.

This next bit is really deep. Belle Jordan has a lot on her mind and this really fleshes out the story:
Belle Jordan stood near the hot stove kneading bread dough on a wooden board. It was unseasonably warm and the sweat trickled down her face. Her husband, what's his name, was sitting back in a comfortable chair with his leg elevated reading a book.

She glanced back at him. Some folks would do anything to get out of working she thought. Not that he did much anyway. They owned a small piece of land he euphemistically termed a 'ranch' that barely kept them in food and clothing. And who did all the work? Now that was a stupid question she thought. Since when did men work? She did all the cooking. She did the all the farming in their garden plot. Who milked the cows? Who fed the poultry? Who made sure the cattle were taken care of? She took care of the girls. The girls! She thought about her daughters, Bridget and Bernie. No doubt they were running wild as usual.

She beat her fist into the bread dough. She thought about her daughters again. They had their chores to do, but did they do them? Hah! Only if she took out the switch, then they hopped to it. They were probably off following those two strangers.

She divided the bread into two loaves, covered them with a towel, and set them aside to rise. Starting to clean up she thought about the two men she had brought back with her the other day.

Smith and Jones. Smith and Jones?! How could she be so stupid? That had been a mistake. Oh, they seemed pleasant enough. Too pleasant in fact. That brown-haired one, Smith, turned out to be a real smooth talker. And Jones, he was a gunman. Did they think she didn't have eyes? She saw that 'contest' yesterday morning. And worse than that, he ate everything in sight. At the rate he was going they'd be out of food in a couple of days.

Her husband was too soft. He'd let them stay in exchange for mending fences. How many fences did the old fool think they had? So now she had two loafers on her hands who were no doubt a bad influence on her daughters, who were going to eat them out of house and home. Maybe she could find an excuse to go into town sooner. Then she could get rid of them.

She threw the dishrag down. Looking at her husband again, she shook her head, turned and stalked out the door. She needed to stop and breathe.

By suppertime Belle had relaxed and was feeling a bit friendlier towards the two strangers. Oh, they were still more of a burden than a help, but it was good to have company. The Jordans and the two men ate and talked pleasantly. Well the men talked pleasantly. Belle was too busy serving food, picking up empty dishes, and cleaning up after everyone. But once supper was over she could really take a rest.

Her husband offered Smith and Jones cigars which they readily accepted. Expensive cigars too, Belle thought. And, did he offer her one? No, of course not. She filled her corn cob pipe with tobacco and sat back in her rocking chair waiting for the matches. Men first. Always men first. Finally they passed the matchbox to her. She lit the pipe and sat back with a satisfied sigh. She took a puff. This was leisure.
"You have a nice place here," said Smith.

"Yep," her husband replied. "But it's too dry. We bought the land during an unusually wet year. Looked beautiful. Turns out, drought is the usual condition. We were suckered."

"That's the truth," said Belle. "I miss Denver. We had it good there." She glared at her spouse. "But he wanted to be a rancher and now we're stuck with this worthless scratch. As if he knows anything about ranching. He's a teacher. You know the old saying 'do as I say not as I do.’ Well that's him. He can talk but there's not much else he can do."

"What do you think of the cigars?" Jordan asked quickly.

"They're good." Heyes puffed on his.

"I like 'em real fine," said the Kid.

"And the girls are growing up too wild. This is no place to raise them." Belle was not going to let this opportunity to release her pent up feelings pass. "Look at the way they were shooting with you yesterday morning. Of course any fool knows better than to encourage girls to shoot." She looked at the Kid.

The Kid frowned slightly. He wasn't sure, but he thought he may have been insulted. But as far as he could tell those two girls had been shooting for years before yesterday, so he hadn't been encouraging them to shoot. Naw, Mrs. Jordan was just making conversation.

"Mrs. Jordan, this is still a pretty unlawful part of the country. I'd say it's a good thing those girls know how to take care of themselves. There's a lot of bad elements out here."

"I suppose I'll have to agree with you about that Mr. Smith. Out here you never know who you may meet." She looked pointedly from the Heyes to the Kid.

"Joshua's right, Ma. We gotta protect ourselves."

"Yeah not to mention that we usually can skin some money off folks the way we shoot."

"Yeah it wasn't our fault Thaddeus is such a good shot."

"Yeah, looking at him who would of figured it?"
The Kid removed his cigar from his mouth and stared at it. You know, he really had the feeling he was being insulted. Heyes snickered. OK, now he knew he was being insulted.
"Whaddya mean by that?" He was feeling pretty indignant now.

"Oh-Oh nothing, nothing really," said Bridget. "Oh we just meant that you look too, uh, too, uh, too bookish, you know to be a gunman." "Sort of the intellectual type," added Bernie.

Heyes laughed out loud. The Kid started to get up. He was really gonna pound some sense and manners into his 'friend' one of these days.

"Oh relax, Ki-Thaddeus. You shouldn't get riled up over small things that don't matter." Heyes smiled at everyone. He changed the subject. "Well look at that, you've got a guitar. I can play a guitar. I even know a song."

"Yeah, one song. The way you sing it, it sort of sounds like a cat in an alley," the Kid groused, still feeling a little sore.

"A song," cried the girls. "We haven't heard a new song in ages."

"It's not a hymn, is it?" Bridget asked warily.

"No, not a hymn," Heyes answered. Belle Jordan looked sharply at him. "But it's a good song. Real clean. We used to sing it on the drives to settle the beeves."

"Yeah, the cattle liked it," added the Kid in a warning tone.
Heyes picked up the guitar.

"Looks like a couple of the strings are broken. Guess I'll have to make do."

"Won't matter much with your voice," said the Kid pleasantly.

Heyes began:

Tis the gift to be running
Tis the gift to be free 
Tis the gift to get away from that posse 
'Cause if they catch up with you, they'll lock you up real tight 
It'll be twenty years 'fore you see daylight

Bernie looked at Heyes adoringly.

"Oh, Joshua you sing so well."

"The song is so pretty too," Bridget added. She walked towards the Kid and placed her hand on his shoulder. "Do you sing too, Thaddeus?" She squeezed his shoulder slightly, just enough so he would feel it, but her mother wouldn't notice.

"There's a middle part." Heyes strummed the guitar. He continued, his voice not quite matching the tune he was playing.

Judges won't tolerate a crook
For minor felonies, they'll throw at you the book 
Hard labor you will do, behind those thick stone walls

He stopped, and pursed his lips, thinking.

"Oh that's right, now I remember the rest:

It's a small world after all."

The next evening the family and the boys spent more pleasant hours in pleasant conversation.

They relaxed in their chairs, the men with the cigars and Belle with the corncob pipe. Bridget and Bernie were leaning on the backs of the Kid and Heyes' chairs respectively.

"Ma, Pa, Joshua taught us that new song today. Do you wanna hear us sing it?" asked Bernie.

"Not right now dear. I have some important matters I wish to discuss with Joshua and
Thaddeus." Heyes raised his eyes on hearing this.

"Important matters?"

"Yes, I've been doing some thinking."

"You've been doing some thinking, ma'am?"

"Yes, contrary to what men believe, women do have brains and we often use them. Thaddeus is obviously a gunman. Yesterday evening you almost called him Kid."

"Ma'am I think you have made a mistake. Joshua wouldn't call me Kid because that's not my name."

"Thaddeus, I am not a fool. He said Ki, and quickly changed it to Thaddeus. Gunmen are often called Kid. There's Billy the Kid, Kid Antrim, well you get my point."

"Belle, what is your point?" Mr. Jordan was puzzled.

"Only this: most gunmen called Kid are loners. So I thought to myself, what blonde gunslinger, named Kid, keeps company with a smooth-talking brown-haired man? Well, there can only be one conclusion to that question."

"There can only be one conclusion?" Heyes interrupted, "Ma'am?"

Belle gave him an exasperated look. "Of course, Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes."

"Uh ma'am. I think you're jumping to conclusions," the Kid pointed out.

"Alright, I'm jumping to conclusions. But I'm not the one who sang a song about being chased by a posse and being sent to prison."

The Kid gave Heyes a disgusted look. "You over-confident gosh darned son of a…" he mouthed.

Belle continued. "I think I'll take a trip into town tomorrow and visit the sheriff. I'd like to look at his wanted posters, and discuss the remuneration for bringing in wanted men. I believe the reward is rather high, and we could use the money. I'd like to move to Denver."

"Mrs. Jordan, why are you telling us this? Why didn't you go into town and bring back the sheriff?"

"To be honest I've grown a little fond of you both." They smiled at her. "But only a little fond, mind you. I'm not a complete idiot. I could see not turning you in, but I need a favor from you in return."

"And that would be?" asked Heyes.

Belle and Mr. Jordan exchanged glances. Mr. Jordan nodded at Belle to continue.

"We really do need the money. I want my girls to grow up properly in Denver, not out in the middle of nowhere shooting rifles, and chewing tobacco."

Bridget and Bernie put their hands to their mouths and removed the wads they had been 'secretly' chewing on. Belle glared. The girls turned red, and threw the tobacco out the window.

"I want you to help us rob the local stage."

"Now wait a minute, Belle," the Kid almost yelped.

"Belle I don't think you understand. We quit that line of work. We're trying to go clean and get an amnesty. And even when we were robbing we never held up a stage," said Heyes.

"That's right," added the Kid. "Heyes don't know how to rob a stage. He couldn't rob one to save his life."

"I would think robbing a bank or a train would be much more difficult. You could look at this as a vacation. And I'm not asking you to rob it for us, I merely want a plan. We'll do the job ourselves." She looked at the two of them. "I'd like someone capable doing the actual robbery."

"Well, who do you think robbed all those trains and banks?" asked Heyes indignantly.

"The members of the Devil's Hole Gang, I would think. I imagine the reputations of you two are somewhat exaggerated," answered Belle. "From what I've seen of your work, and I have checked those fences, you're not exactly the sharpest axes in the shed."

"What's that mean?" asked the Kid.

"But I would think even you two could remember some of those plans and provide me with a successful idea."

Heyes groaned. "Alright Belle, I'll give you two plans. You can take your pick, but we are not helping, and if you get caught don't look to us to bail you out."

"And don't mention us either when they catch you," said the Kid.

"Then we have a deal," said Belle. "You give me a plan, we carry it out, and your names are never mentioned, right?" She went to the kitchen. Opening a cabinet she took out a bottle of Sherry, poured six shots and returned handing one to every person present. Mr. Jordan brought over the box of cigars and took out three more. He gave a cigar to Belle and each of the girls.

"From now on it's only the best for us, so girls don't go and chew that cheap tobacco any more."

"Yes, papa," they answered respectfully.

Three days later the local stage was held up. Local law enforcement agreed it was "the perfect crime." The perpetrators escaped without a trace, the officials never finding the midgets the witnesses described.

A few months later the Jordans sold their property at only a slight loss to an Easterner unfamiliar with the local weather conditions.

Oops, almost forgot the posse.

During the events of this story the posse was still on the trail of Heyes and Curry.

They reached the hill the two had been on before they slid down to the wagon, and found the horses grazing on dry grass.

The Indian stooped to the ground. He quickly found the trail down the hillside and followed it to where it reached the wagon tracks.

"You can see here where the wagon stopped and picked up the two men. Here are their footprints. You see one pair of boots is new as we saw on the Kid, and one is old."

"How can you tell that?" asked the sheriff.

"New boots leave a sharp imprint. The old boots leave a rounded heel print. Here you can see where they stood and talked. That is evidenced by the heavy heel indentations. By deduction one can assume they talked to the driver of the wagon for some time, eventually convincing the driver to give them a ride. We know that because here the footprints end."

"So all we gotta do is follow the wagon trail?"


"Boy," said the deputy, "You sure are one smart Indian."

"I thank you. I did however receive an excellent education at Oxford University in England. I also met an interesting chap there named Arthur Conan Doyle…"

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I thought you were an Indian, an Apache." The sheriff leaned forward to look at his tracker closely.

"Ah, but I am an Indian. I am not an Apache. I do not know how you came to that misconception. I am from Calcutta."

"Well, heck. Everyone figured you was an Apache 'cause you could read tracks so well. I ain't never heard of no Indians from Calcutta. I ain't never heard of Calcutta." The deputy frowned.

"Calcutta is in India. You see when Christopher Colom…"

"I thought we was with a genuine Apache," said one of the posse members in a disappointed tone. "I ain't gonna follow no fellow who ain't no genuine Apache. I mean he ain't even no real Indian."

"Oh but I am a real Indian."

"Were you born here in America?"

"Of course not. As I was saying…"

"Well that's it for me boys. If we ain't with a real honest to goodness genuine Apache I'm going home."

"Me too. I didn't ride all the way out here to be with no real Apache. This is what they call false pretenses."

"That's right."

One by one the posse members abandoned the posse. Eventually all that remained were the sheriff, the deputy and the tracker.

The three men faced each other.

"What say you we ride into town and get us some drinks? You can tell us some stories about that there Calcutta, and Oxford and such." The sheriff mounted his horse and turned towards town. The two others followed.

One thing I noticed about this story is that the episode as aired was missing an epilogue.

Here goes:

The Jordans moved to Denver. They lived respectable lives, and were never tempted to commit another robbery. Mr. Jordan returned to teaching. Belle became a member of the Elks.

Bridget grew into a lovely young lady. She met a man named Barrow, and they were married. Her children included a son named Clyde. He eventually met a lady named Bonnie, and they went into banking together.

Bernie, dubious of the bonds of marriage, stayed single. She became a successful businesswoman. She owned many, uh, establishments that employed other single young ladies such as herself. She did especially well during the years of prohibition.

The Ending

The Scene on the Train

The Kid sat in the baggage car of the train heading for Denver. Heyes was kneeling beside the wooden box labeled "The Denver Mint" using his lock pick to pry the lock open.

"Ya know Kid, I think things worked out pretty well for the Jordans. They've got a substantial sum of money, and now they can move to Denver. Raise those girls properly. If I do say so myself, the plan was one of my best. I might just be the genius I think I am."

"Heyes if you're such a genius how come you can't remember I'm Grant and you're Gaines?"
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