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 The First National Bank of Forth Worth by Nora Winters

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20140301
PostThe First National Bank of Forth Worth by Nora Winters



Starring
Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes and Ben Murphy as Kid Curry



Guest Starring (in order of appearance)

Jack McBrayer as the desk clerk


Caesar Romero as Armendariz


Milburn Stone as Jack Bradley


Margaret Dumont as Mrs. Worthington


Tim Conway as Mr. Kearns


Miranda Cosgrove as Señorita Carlotta Dias


Mike Connors as Mr. Reavis


Michael Jeter as Mr. “Inky” Inkwell



Two dusty cowboys rode up the busy street looking carefully around them.

“I still don’t see why we couldn’t have come a day earlier and spent some time in 'the Hell.' Ya know how much fun we had there last time,” the Kid groused.

“You know why. We’ve been there before; that’s why. We were recognized there before. That’s why.”

“You were recognized; I wasn’t.”

Heyes took a deep breath. “Yeah, well, if that deputy hadn’t been with someone who wasn’t his wife and didn’t want to get caught himself, it could have ruined the whole job. There’s just too big a chance we’ll be recognized in 'the Hell.' Besides, it ain’t like there aren’t other saloons and gambling halls and such in other towns we’ve been in,” Heyes replied, sounding exasperated.

“Yeah, there have been other towns, but I hear 'Hell’s Half Acre' has more saloons, gamblin’ halls, and especially SUCH than anywhere else this side of Dodge City these days. It’s busy and fun.”

“Well, this part of town is safer for us and busy, too,” stated Heyes pointedly. “Just look at all the people bustling around. There’re lots of different shops; we’ve passed several hotels and at least one other bank. The stockyards and railroads must be great business for this place.”

As Heyes spoke, they rode up in front of the Statler Hotel and dismounted. Both looked across at the First National Bank of Fort Worth then quickly turned to tie the horses to the railing.

“Heyes, it’s too close. Someone’s bound to recognize us.”

“Relax, Kid, it’s been years. There’s a different sheriff and that deputy has to be long gone. I bet no one remembers Harris and Crumpets anymore. As long as we stay away from “the Hell” we should be fine.”

“Harris and Carruthers,” Curry corrected. “And what’s the fun in stayin’ away?”

“Sheesh, Kid, we’re here on business. In this part o’ town, we need to clean up before we do anything. Let’s check in, get a bath, and then see what Mac wants.”

Having tied their horses to the rail, they grabbed their things and headed up the porch steps to the hotel, the Kid grumbling as they went, “Last time we were here on business too, but we had more fun then.”

Heyes glanced sideways at the Kid, but kept silent.

As they entered the hotel, the desk clerk looked up and took in their dusty, trail-worn appearance. He spoke dismissively, “If you’re looking for work, go around to the back.”

“No. We’re guests. Mr. Joshua Smith and Mr. Thaddeus Jones,” Heyes replied, smiling grimly and pointing at each of them in turn. “You should have a room for us.”

The desk clerk found himself gazing into a pair of dark, angry eyes. He swallowed convulsively.

“Oh, oh. I didn’t... I mean... Mr. Smith, I’m so sorry, so sorry. I didn’t realize, it’s just…” The desk clerk caught the icy glare of the Kid’s blue eyes and cleared his throat nervously. “Indeed, we have a very nice little suite for you two, in the front overlooking the street. I hope it isn’t too noisy for you; many of our guests prefer back rooms, but the gentleman who booked your room specifically requested a front suite for you. Let me have someone help you with your bags. You do have bags somewhere?” he asked looking around.

“No, we’re traveling light at the moment. We can help ourselves. Just have someone stable our horses.”

With that the two men signed the register, took the key, picked up their saddle bags, rifles, and bedrolls, and headed up the stairs. The desk clerk wiped his brow and took a break, then looked horrified. He began to call after them, but they were up the stairs and out of sight.


#####

The two entered a nice, airy room, with two feather beds, two dressers, a couch, a small table, and a couple of chairs. Heyes strode across the room and looked out the window at the bank across the street. A look of longing crossed his face.

The Kid prowled around the room, examining the gas lights on the walls, opening doors, and looking around. “Look, Heyes! It’s got a bathroom and a bathtub—just for us!”

Heyes moved quickly from the window to look. Eyebrows raised, he turned to the Kid, “Sure is fancy here, Kid! Mac must want something awful badly from us to pay this much.”

“Yeah. You don’t suppose it’s that danged Caesar’s bust, do you?” They looked at each other in consternation.

There was a knock on the door, which they opened, guns drawn, to reveal the desk clerk. When he saw the guns pointed at him, the clerk backed up nervously, “Oh! I didn’t mean to disturb you. I forgot to tell you that when you have freshened up, the gentleman is expecting you as soon as possible in the master suite on the next floor.” Message delivered, he turned and fled down the hallway.

“May not remember us from before, but he’ll sure remember us now, Heyes,” the Kid remarked.

Heyes looked down the hall at the fleeing man and gave a short laugh before closing the door.


######

Considerably cleaned up and in fresh clothes, the two prepared to knock on the door to the master suite, when it suddenly swung open and a well-dressed, older gentleman came out, looking over his shoulder and speaking back into the room.

“Well I hope this works; otherwise, I don’t know what we are going to do. Oh! You must be Misters Smith and Jones. Go on in; he’s expecting you.”

Heyes and the Kid entered, with Heyes speaking as the Kid closed the door. “Mac, if it’s about that danged bust, no deal. You just have to let that go. And why Fort Worth and this hotel of all places? What’s wrong with your ranch?”

“I am glad you will not attempt to obtain the bust again, Mr. Smith.” Señor Armendariz walked into the center of the room. “I must apologize, gentlemen, for deceiving you. I normally will not resort to deception, but I was afraid that if you realized that the invitation came from me, you might not respond, and I have particular need of your special talents, Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry.” The two widened their eyes at the names, but immediately returned to bland expressions. “Please have a seat. I trust your journey was pleasant and that your accommodations are sufficient.” He smiled at them and offered them cigars.

They glanced at each other, then Heyes sat and the Kid leaned against the wall, pushing his jacket behind the butt of his gun. Both accepted the cigars.

“Thank you, but I assume this is not just a social visit. What do you think Thaddeus and I can do for you?” Heyes emphasized the name, “Thaddeus.” “Why would you think we are those despicable outlaws?”

“I do not think it, Mr. Heyes, I know it. After our previous encounters, I investigated you two. When I realized who you were, I was even more impressed than before that you only took what you mistakenly thought was stolen property and left the rest of the contents of my safe alone. So I had my people investigate further. I am aware that you have retired from your previous profession, and I have no desire to hinder that, unless necessary. As to why I asked you to meet me here, let us say I am impressed with your ingenuity and believe that you two can help me out with a little problem here in Fort Worth.”

The Kid shifted, putting down the cigar and folding his arm across his chest. “Señor Armendariz, as you said, we are retired, so I really doubt that we will be able to assist you.”

“Now Kid, let’s hear him out.”

“Thank you, Mr. Heyes. I am not asking you to break the law, merely to assist me in determining whether or not my business partner and I are being swindled. Please sit down, Mr. Curry. I wish to relate a story and hear your suggestions.”

The Kid looked at Heyes, who nodded slightly. He sat, and appeared to relax, but it was notable that his hand remained near his gun and his eyes continued to watch the room, rather than the gentleman before him.

“I am sure you know that much of the land in what is now deemed territory of the United States was previously held by the Spanish crown, who bestowed large land grants on favored individuals. The ownership of much of that land is still in dispute when the land grants can be proven. I am part owner of a mine in Arizona; that was my business partner leaving as you arrived. A young woman has come forward, through her business manager, to claim the land on which our mine sits, through a land grant from 1784. They would like a large sum of money to relinquish her claim to our mine. We have examined the documents closely and they appear genuine, but something continues to ring false to me. The young lady speaks impeccable Spanish though something about the accent sounds foreign, perhaps from a part of Spain with which I am unfamiliar, perhaps not. She is very lovely and very convincing, but I do not believe her manager. Before we agree to pay the requested sum, I am hoping you can confirm that this is a fraud.”

“Why Thaddeus and me, Señor Armendariz, and why Fort Worth?” Heyes took a drag on his cigar and to outward appearances seemed to be relaxed. Nevertheless, there was a certain tension about him, similar to that of a panther stalking its prey, which the Kid noticed. Curry looked at his partner, then at Armendariz.

“The young lady is here in Fort Worth, and I suspect that her documents are stored at the bank across the street from this hotel. I believe you may be familiar with that bank, no? Also, I believe you can determine whether the woman is genuine. Of course, I would compensate you for your assistance.”

“We may have a passing familiarity with the bank; banks are pretty similar to each other, after all. But I don’t think we can help you. There’s too great a chance that we will be recognized in Fort Worth. The Texas Rangers are pretty relentless. Come on, Kid, we need to pack up.” The two stood up and headed for the door.

“I did say that I had no desire to end your retirement unless I had to. Do not make me have to,” Armendariz replied.

The two stopped and turned, with the Kid swiftly pulling his gun out and pointing it at Armendariz.

“Please sit back down, gentlemen, and please holster your weapon, Mr. Curry. My people will not allow you to leave and will turn you in. I really do not think that you will add my murder to your list of misdeeds.”

The two looked at each other, the Kid holstered his gun, and they returned to the couch and sat, but there was no pretense of civility, and neither smiled. A ghost of a smile appeared on Armendariz’s face as he turned and poured three glasses of brandy, handing one to each.

“Now gentlemen, as I am certain you know, several years ago the bank across the street was robbed by a gang who left a note behind signed, ‘HH’ and ‘KC’.”

A slightly sheepish expression flitted across Heyes’ and the Kid’s faces, if one looked closely.

“Naturally, the first thought was that the bank had been honored by a visit from the Devil’s Hole Gang. The prestige went a little way towards ameliorating the damage from the theft. After all, no bank could protect against that gang, could it?”

Now slight smirks appeared, visible only to the very observant.

“But then someone remembered that there had been a Henry Harris and a Kevin Carruthers staying at a hotel across the street from the bank, who disappeared that night, and the bank had no excuse for being robbed by Harris and Carruthers. The president of the bank was removed and the staff fired. New investors came in to restore the bank and hired a new staff. Surprisingly, I do not believe they installed a newer safe. With their savings gone in the robbery, the owners of this hotel sold it and left Fort Worth. The new owners put substantial money into the hotel. They too brought in all new staff. It has been several years and both the former bank and hotel staffs have moved on. So you see, gentlemen, there is no one around who may recognize you.”

Throughout this story, Heyes and the Kid had been exchanging glances. Upon hearing that there was no one to recognize them, they relaxed somewhat, but remained wary.

“No one, that is, except the gentleman who is currently the guest of a friend of mine at his ranch outside of town. At the time of the robbery, he was a deputy sheriff here in Fort Worth. Soon thereafter, his wife left him and he moved east to Virginia. He recently returned for a visit to an old friend of mine, and one evening told us that he saw Hannibal Heyes in town at the time of the robbery, but kept silent for personal reasons that no longer apply.”

Heyes and the Kid slumped in their seats.

“So, gentlemen, will you assist me? I am prepared to pay you six hundred dollars for assisting me, with a one-thousand dollar bonus if you succeed.”

Heyes looked at the Kid then spoke, “Six hundred dollars with a two-thousand dollar bonus—each.”

“Four hundred dollars each and a bonus of one thousand dollars each, and the gentleman returns to Virginia,” Armendariz replied and smiled.

Heyes smiled back and shook his hand. “Deal.”

The Kid also held out his hand. “Deal.”


######

A waltz played in the background as waiters brought around glasses of champagne and punch for the guests. The room was large, yet well populated with men and women in their best society clothes. There were several couples dancing near the orchestra, but many more people stood around the edges of the room chatting.

Heyes and the Kid paused at the doorway, handing over their hats to the doorman and looking around. Heyes gave the Kid a slight nudge and pointed his head towards a corner of the room where a lovely young lady stood next to a dapper older gentleman, holding court. She was petite with raven hair and flashing dark eyes. She was dressed in the latest fashion and wore a mantilla on her elaborately styled hair.

“Ah, Joshua, Thaddeus, how good to see you again.” Armendariz walked up to them, accompanied by the well-dressed, older gentleman they had seen leaving his suite. “Please meet my partner, Jack Bradley. Jack, these are the enterprising young men I mentioned to you, Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones.”

“Oh, pleased to meet you. So glad you agreed to help us out. I understand that you are Big Mac McCreedy’s nephew, Mr. Jones? I’m surprised to see you with Armendariz here.” Jack Bradley smiled broadly, then the corners of his mouth turned down and he took a large swallow of the champagne he was holding.

“Yeah, Uncle Mac’s a great guy,” deadpanned the Kid. “He doesn’t believe in other people carrying his grudges.”

Bradley looked as if he was about to say something, then looked at the hardened faces of the three men before him and closed his mouth.

“Well, Joshua and Thaddeus, let me introduce you to your hostess, Mrs. Worthington. Mrs. Worthington is the mayor’s wife, the head of the woman’s guild at her church, and the leader of the Temperance Union here in town,” he explained.

Mrs. Worthington turned out to be a large woman, whose tightly corseted form thrust forward like the prow of a ship. She frowned at the champagne glasses in the men’s hands and at the waiter carrying a tray, then took a glass of punch.

Both boys gulped and looked sheepish. They both held out their hands, “Pleased to meet you, ma’am,” the Kid intoned. “Pleased to meet you, ma’am. Thank you for inviting us to your soiree,” Heyes recited, running his words together.

Mrs. Worthington condescended graciously, nodding her head much in the manner of royalty greeting the peasants. “Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones, so pleased you could join us. If there is anything I can do to make your visit more pleasant, please let me know. Mr. Worthington is the mayor and we do want our visitors to enjoy their stay, after all,” she sniffed, “even if that involves imbibing sinful libations.”

Heyes paused, his brow furrowed for a moment; then he bowed. “Mrs. Worthington, we have heard so much about your wonderful city, we are delighted to be here.”

“Yes, it is quite lovely; we are very proud of it. It has grown so much in recent years as the railways brought new business to our fair city. And what do you gentlemen do?” Mrs. Worthington queried.

“Ah, I invest some, and Mr. Jones is a security expert. Banking and railroads are our specialties.”

A gentleman standing by Mrs. Worthington started and turned to look at them. “Really, banking and security? Would you be willing to advise me on the bank’s security across the street? I’m Kearns, the president of the bank, and we are always concerned about these dreadful bank robbers. The bank was robbed just a few years ago by two men, Harrisburg and Carrington, Harmon and Castle, something like that. I wasn’t here then, but I would hate to see it happen again. Why, do you know, people tried to pretend it was Heyes and Curry and the Devil’s Hole Gang? Imagine. I do hope that the Devil’s Hole Gang doesn’t hear of that robbery and decide to rob us after all.” The gentlemen speaking resembled Alice’s White Rabbit. He was short and pear-shaped, with stumpy legs. He had an unfortunately patterned waistcoat with straining buttons and a watch chain that emphasized his portliness. His limited hair was white, and he wore glasses perched at the end of his nose, which twitched.

Mrs. Worthington huffed and glared at him. “Really, Mr. Kearns, I do not know why you have to bring up those despicable men, Humphries and Carbuncle. We do not want visitors to think our fair city is rampant with such riff raff.”

“Mrs. Worthington, I’m sure no one could look at this city and think that. Pleased to meet you, Mr. Kearns, but perhaps we can talk some other time. We never discuss business at a social occasion,” Heyes replied smoothly. “I wonder, Mrs. Worthington, if I could presume upon your hospitality? I would love an introduction to that beautiful woman in the corner over there.”

Mrs. Worthington turned to look, her already heavily strained corsets creaking at the motion. “Oh, that one. Yes, the gentlemen seem quite taken with her. Not that I understand the attraction; seems a bit of a tart to me,” she added in an undertone that only the trained ears of Heyes and Kid Curry heard. “Certainly. She is quite the sensation around here. Apparently she’s Spanish nobility or some such foreign thing. Can’t abide foreigners myself; they’re so foreign. Supposedly owns millions of acres of land in Arizona or some other outlandish place. Though, why someone would want land out there, away from civilization, is beyond me.” With that she surged across the dance floor, towing the two men in her wake.

As they followed, Heyes muttered to the Kid, “She remind you of someone?”

“Mrs. Worthington? Yeah, old Miss Sodbuster, our teacher—woman terrified me.”

“Yeah, that’s the one.”

“Oh Señorita Dias, allow me to bring these gentlemen to your attention, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones, visitors to our city like yourself.”

Señorita Dias glanced up and met the blue, then brown, eyes of two very handsome men.

Heyes bowed, took her hand, and kissed it, saying, “Señorita Dias, I have heard much about your beauty, but they failed to express the enchantment of your eyes.”

Señorita Dias blushed and glanced up at Heyes through her lashes, a look that should have been demure, but was anything but.

The Kid rolled his eyes, then stepped forward to exert his extensive charms, subtly elbowing Heyes out of the way.

“Señorita Dias, so pleased to meet you. You must tell me all about your travels. I understand that you have some interest in Arizona. I’ve spent considerable time there and it’s fascinating country,” the Kid stated while giving her his most dazzling smile.

Señorita Dias looked a little stunned.

Mrs. Worthington cleared her throat and continued the introductions to Mr. Reavis, “Miss Dias’ manager, don’t you know,” she added. She looked away and saw a couple enter the room. Her duty done here, Mrs. Worthington sailed off to greet the new arrivals. They looked up and saw her barging toward them. The couple blanched, drew a little closer together, and braced for her arrival.

Heyes and the Kid acknowledged Mr. Reavis, a florid gentleman with pomaded hair and the look of a professional gambler, and turned back to Señorita Dias.

“I do hope that you dance. Perhaps you would honor me?” The Kid bowed slightly and held out his arm, his eyebrows raised in polite query.

“Don’t listen to him, Señorita Dias, I beg you, if you wish to protect your feet. Poor Thaddeus here is the clumsiest man alive; why he couldn’t take two steps without falling on his face if I didn’t guide him,” claimed Heyes, glibly walking around the Kid and taking her hand. “Please allow me the honor of the next dance,” and proceeded to lead her onto the floor as she, giggling, looked over her shoulder at the Kid.

The Kid glared after Heyes, waited a minute, then followed. He came up to Heyes, tapped his shoulder and announced, “My turn, I believe. Señorita Dias, my poor partner here gets very dizzy after just one turn around the room, so please allow me to cut in or he may fall over and pull you down.”

Señorita Dias giggled some more and took the Kid’s hand, saying over her shoulder to Heyes, “But I must accept or perhaps you would come to blows, and I could never allow that. I will be pleased to dance with you later.”

The Kid smirked at Heyes as he twirled her away around the room.


######

Señorita Dias stepped out of the milliner’s that had been enjoying her patronage and looked up and down the wooden sidewalk, as if debating what to do now. She sighed quietly, then headed left. A broken-down man, oozing aromas that indicated he was unfamiliar with the pleasures of bathing and good dental care, his clothing no doubt providing a home to a variety of living creatures, stumbled into her path. Señorita Dias wrinkled her nose in distaste and tried to step around him, just as he wove in the same direction.

“Oh, sorry. Hey, you’re all alone, ain’t ya, and a real looker too.” With that he grabbed for her shoulders.

Señorita Dias began to look alarmed as she seemed to dance with the man while trying to maneuver past him. “Sir, please let me go.”

“No. You ain’t very nice, are you? You could be real nice to me,” he slurred out as he held on to her arm.

Suddenly, his arm was wrenched away from her and he found himself being hustled away by an irate, dark-haired man in a black shirt. “Leave her alone, mister,” the dark one growled and dragged him around the corner, where surprisingly he handed the drunk a dollar, brushed him off, and sent him on his way with a quiet, “Thank you.”

The Kid gathered Señorita Dias’ packages that she had dropped in her struggles to free herself. “Are you alright, miss? Oh, it’s Señorita Dias! I was hoping to continue our acquaintance after the dance last night.” At this point Heyes walked up, dusting his hands; he and the Kid exchanged glances.

“Oh Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones, thank you so much. I don’t know what I would have done,” gushed Señorita Dias.

“Our pleasure, ma’am. Sorry you had to experience that, but these towns out here can be a bit difficult for a young woman like yourself. Could we offer you a lemonade at the shop over there as our way of apologizing for some of the rougher characters you might chance to meet?” Heyes asked, tipping his hat. The Kid smiled his invitation to her as well.

“Oh, oh, well that would be pleasant, but please call me Carlotta,” she cooed, placing her hand into the crook of the elbow offered her.

“Our pleasure, and you must call us Joshua and Thaddeus,” Heyes replied as they strolled toward the small bakery down the street. “So tell us, how did you come to be in Fort Worth, of all places? Isn’t it a bit far from Spain, the fair country that was graced by your presence? I’m sure all of Spain is bewailing your departure.”

Behind their backs, the Kid rolled his eyes, but stayed silent and allowed Heyes to continue his wooing.


#######

Heyes, Curry, and Señorita Dias sat by a stream, enjoying a picnic luncheon. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, a slight breeze ruffled their hair. They ate and made pleasant conversation, as if they were old friends. A companionable silence fell.

Señorita Dias put down her plate, daintily wiped her mouth with a napkin, then looked around. “Oh look at the lovely wildflowers!” she exclaimed. “I must have some for my hotel room.” She stood up and wandered over by the stream to pick the flowers growing there.

Suddenly she stiffened and turned her head, looking down. There, just a foot or so away, was a rattlesnake coiled and poised to spring. “Joshua, Thaddeus,” she called softly, her voice strained as she froze in position.

The boys looked up from where they had been talking quietly to each other and saw her, then followed her look to the snake. “Don’t move! Stay completely still,” Heyes advised urgently, while the Kid rolled swiftly to his side and shot the snake before Heyes had finished speaking.

“Hot dang! That sure was some fancy shooting, Thaddeus!!” exclaimed Señorita Dias, then her eyes widened, she clapped her hands to her mouth, and burst into tears.

Heyes rushed to pull her into his arms. “Carlotta, Carlotta, stop crying. Where did you learn such language?” he asked her quietly and calmly, while looking at the Kid.

The Kid moved over, gently took Carlotta from Heyes’ embrace, and lifted her chin so he could look into her face. “Carlotta, you’re not really from Spain are you? Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you.”

Carlotta slowly raised her eyes and stared into the kind blue eyes gazing down at her, then at the quizzical brown ones beside her. She gave a sigh. “No, my name is Lottie and I’m from Kansas, but I really am the heir to a land grant, at least Mr. Reavis is sure I am. Mr. Reavis said he was hired by the King of Spain, or some such person, to find the owners of land grants where there were no known heirs. Anyway, he came to Wichita where I was working in a kitchen—doing the dishes, sweeping the floors, whatever I could to survive—and said he had traced me.”

She looked earnestly at the men, “You know, I always THOUGHT my father was the town drunk. I heard he cheated the wrong man and was killed when I was little. My mother worked,” she paused for a moment, then gulped, raised her chin, and continued, “worked at a place called Miss Kitty’s. Well, women in that life don’t live very long and they don’t have much to do with their children, either. So I did what I could. Mr. Reavis, though, he found me and he said he had been looking for me and that my father was some fine Spanish gentleman who had spent his life trying to find me after my mother ran away from him, taking me with her. I was shocked. But then my parents, my real father at least, were somebody. If he was somebody, not some drunk, then I must be somebody too, right?” She took a deep breath, smiled, and continued.

“It was like a wonderful dream. Mr. Reavis took me away from there. He taught me to read and write, and to speak like a gentlewoman. We even went to Spain where I learned the culture and how to speak Spanish and to be the lady I was born to be.” She looked defiantly at them.

“Tell me Lottie, when you were in Spain, did you meet your father?” Heyes asked.

“No, he died before Mr. Reavis found me.”

“Did you meet the king who had hired Mr. Reavis or any member of the king’s court or anyone who knew your father? Did you meet anyone who knew about the search for you?” Heyes continued to prod.

“Well no, but Mr. Reavis said I had to learn to be a gentlewoman first or they would all laugh at me. We were going to go back. He’s been real good to me and I owe him so much,” she said.

Heyes looked her straight in the eyes. “Yeah, it sounds too good to be true. In fact, I think it is too good to be true. Your Mr. Reavis sounds like a fraud to me.”

Lottie’s eyes flashed in momentary anger, then she looked away and said quietly, “I have wondered how he knew it was me. He’s never explained, and it’s hard to ask him questions.”

They stayed silent, looking at her skeptically, but sympathetically.

She held her hands out to them. “I have to be a lady, don’t you see? I can’t go back to my old life. Oh please don’t betray me. You can’t know what it was like to grow up as the daughter of someone in my mother’s line of work, how horribly everyone treated me. Now people want to know me. I have fine clothes. I’m a lady. Please.” With that she ended her speech, tears in her eyes as she looked from one to the other, pleading with them to let her continue her new life.

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other and sighed. The Kid spoke, “No Lottie, Carlotta I mean, we don’t want to hurt you. But your Mr. Reavis could hurt a lot of people includin’ some friends of ours and you should think real hard about whether you want to be associated with him or not.”

With that the three silently packed the remains of the picnic onto the horses and returned to town.


#####

Heyes and the Kid met with Armendariz and his partner in Armendariz’s suite.

“So, have you found a solution?” Armendariz asked.

“No, not yet,” Heyes responded. “We’ve made some progress though. Carlotta was certainly not raised in Spain and I’d be real surprised if she was Spanish nobility, but she seems sure she is the missing heiress. At least she sure wants to believe it.”

“We must expose her!” Bradley exclaimed.

“Now hold on there, Mr. Bradley,” the Kid growled, glaring at the man.

Heyes shot his partner a look, then, “Mr. Bradley, exposing Carlotta as other than Spanish nobility does not solve your problem. She could still be the owner of the land grant even if she wasn’t born in Spain. No, we need to get to know her business partner and find out more about the documents.”

Bradley grunted and sighed in frustration, but Armendariz stated, “Joshua is right. Perhaps I can arrange a card game tomorrow evening with Mr. Reavis and the four of us. I believe you two are proficient at poker.”


####

Heyes and the Kid tracked Carlotta down in the hotel’s tea room. Her expression did not indicate she was overjoyed to see them. Nevertheless, the two came to her table.

“Señorita Dias, what a surprise to see you here. May we join you? Nothing we like better than a cup of tea in the afternoon,” Heyes announced loudly enough to be overheard. Then, more quietly, “Carlotta, I believe you are avoiding us today. Just want to chat. We meant what we said about not wanting you to get hurt.” With that, he and the Kid pulled out chairs and joined her.

Despite his proclamations of enjoyment of tea, both he and the Kid ordered coffee when the waitress came by. Once the coffee was served and the waitress had moved on, they got down to business.

“Look, I told you yesterday, I am the heiress even if my name is Lottie. So I don’t have anything to say to you,” Carlotta hissed.

“And we told you we don’t want to hurt you, but your Mr. Reavis is going to hurt some friends of ours if we can’t find some way to stop him,” Heyes responded. “Now if you help us, we can try to protect you.”

“I don’t know. Why should I trust you?”

“We will expose him if this is a fraud. We wouldn’t want you to be accused as an accomplice if you’re not one. You need to decide who to trust, the man who tells you fairy tales or the ones with no reason to lie to you,” replied Heyes. “Lottie, if you had enough money without all this Spanish story, what would you want to do?”

“I don’t know; I never had a chance to do anything. I tried working at a clothing store and liked it, but then they found out about my mother and fired me. The same thing happened at every other store I tried. That’s why I was washing dishes when Mr. Reavis found me—it was the only job I could get that wasn’t at someplace like Miss Kitty’s. Maybe I could open a shop or something. It would nice to have my own place, I guess. But if this falls apart, I go back to being a nobody, and I ain’t doin’ the dishes anymore!” She glared at them, then seeing that others were watching them, adjusted her face to reflect a polite conversation, such as Señorita Dias would be having in public.

“Well then I guess it’s a good thing you have documents,” replied Heyes. “Why I knew a fella, claimed he had documents to prove he owned some land and when you looked at them, it turned out that they had misspelled the name of the territory the land was in. Remember, Thaddeus?”

“Oh yeah, Joe Dancy wasn’t it? Poor fella, last I heard, he died in prison doin’ time for tryin’ to defraud the investors.” The Kid assumed a sad expression, shaking his head.

Carlotta gulped, then looked at them. “Well there ain’t no misspellings in our documents. They look really good, printed up nice, with a seal and everything. They’ve been examined; I know they’re good.” She paused a moment and looked panicked, then quickly resumed a calm demeanor. “At least Mr. Reavis assures me they’re good.”

“Now Carlotta, we want to help you. You sounded a little unsure there. Are you sure there’s no problem with the documents?” Heyes wheedled.

“No, I told you they’ve already been examined. Mr. Reavis’ partner was worried at one point, said maybe someone would notice something odd, but no one has and they’ve been examined like I told you. Now I’ve had enough of this conversation; I got nothing to say to you.” With that she folded her napkin, stood up, and left the room.


####

Five men sat in Armendariz’s suite playing poker. At the sideboard sat a depleted platter of sandwiches and several empty bottles of expensive whiskey.

“So, Reavis, you never told us how you ended up helping Señorita Dias with her land grant. That must be some story,” Bradley tried, as the deck was shuffled.

Reavis looked at him. “I told you earlier, I never mix business with pleasure, gentlemen. Now, while I must admit losing as much money as I have so far couldn’t rightly be called pleasure, I still don’t want to discuss business.” The five continued to play.

Heyes called, “I’ll raise it five,” and pulled five dollars from the considerable pile before him.

The Kid, who had folded, looked at the window and took a drag on his cigar. A respectable pile of money indicated he had held his own that night.

Bradley threw five dollars into the center of the table. “I think you’re bluffing, Mr. Smith, and I’d like to win back some of the money I’ve lost.”

Armendariz looked at Heyes and threw in his hand. “No, I do not believe you are bluffing.” He too had a respectable pile of money before him.

Reavis looked again at his hand, squinted, looked at the remaining cash before him, then mumbled, “I call and raise you my remaining seven. I can’t be this unlucky all night.” He sweated profusely as he called his bet.

Heyes threw in the seven dollars without even a glance.

Bradley looked at the two of them, “I’m out,” and placed his cards face-down on the table.

Reavis smiled and displayed a full house, queens high. “My pot, I believe.”

Heyes put out his hand to stop him. “That sure is a nice hand, Mr. Reavis, but mine’s even nicer.” He then displayed an ace-high full house and smiled. “I believe that pot is mine.”

Reavis glared, then sat back blearily.

“Well gentlemen, it is quite late and we should call it a night,” Armendariz announced. “Please join me in some wonderful Napoleon brandy before we depart. It has been a pleasure.” As he passed around glasses of the brandy and fresh cigars, the gentlemen arose from the table and made themselves comfortable on the couch and arm chairs at the side of the room.

“So Mr. Reavis, Señor Armendariz and Mr. Bradley have been telling us all about this land grant of yours,” Heyes cajoled. “We sure would like to take a look at something like that.”

“I’m sorry gentlemen, it’s very old, you see, so the documents are kept in a safe deposit box at the bank across the street. To protect them from improper handling, you understand. And it’s not my land grant—I am only the agent. Señorita Dias is the owner. I must protect her interests and cannot take them out just to satisfy your curiosity.” He gulped the rest of his brandy, rose unsteadily to his feet, and picked up his hat. “Well, gentlemen, it’s been an experience to play with such excellent players. You will forgive me if I choose not to repeat the experience. Señor Armendariz, Mr. Bradley, I would like to complete our business by the end of this week.” With that, he bowed, tipped his hat, and walked out the door.

The four men remaining looked at each other.

“Nothing, all that and nothing!” roared Bradley angrily. “So what has this gotten us? A waste of time and money! I tell you, Armendariz, we are sunk; we will have to pay.” He turned to Heyes, “So much for your great plan, Mr. Smith!”

“Don’t get so excited, Mr. Bradley, just because that plan didn’t work.”

“You have another plan?”

“My partner always has another plan,” replied the Kid.

“Thank you, Thaddeus,” Heyes paused, then continued, “There is always another way. We need to get a look at those documents and we have a friend who I think should examine them as well. We’ll send him a telegram. Señor Armendariz, do you by any chance have a land grant for your property in Mexico that we could use for comparison?”

“How are you going to get a look? You heard the man—it’s in the bank,” protested Mr. Bradley.

The Kid glanced at Heyes and then looked away quickly.

“We have our methods,” Heyes soothed. “Now Señor Armendariz, do you have a land grant?”

“I do and I have it with me. How long will it take you to get your friend here and have him look at the documents? When do you think you can get a hold of the Dias grant?”

“Two days should be sufficient, and leave it to us to get the documents.”


######

Two shadows crept towards the back of the First National Bank of Fort Worth. Heyes crouched down and, pulling his picks from his boot, proceeded to jimmy the lock on the back door. The Kid did not look down at him, but instead pulled his gun and looked around behind them to ensure that they were not seen. With a quiet click, they were in. Heyes nudged the Kid, who followed his partner into the building.

Once the door was shut, they paused a moment, orienting themselves. The room was dark, but faint shadows could be made out. The Kid quickly looked around and checked the curtains at each window, making it darker as he went.

“Okay, Kid, the safe is over that way,” Heyes proclaimed confidently. He moved forward three steps and nearly fell over a low railing.

The Kid reached out and grabbed him. “Thought you had the floor plan memorized,” the Kid smirked. “The safe is the other direction.”

“Shut up and move.”

The Kid promptly knocked over a chair.

“Sheesh, Kid, can you keep it down? Some of us are trying to be inconspicuous here.”

The Kid glared at him, then bent and picked up the chair. “Well, light the lantern; it’s dark in here. They must’ve made some changes since our last visit.”

There was a quick flare, then light, as Heyes lit a shuttered lantern, then the light dimmed as Heyes lowered it as much as possible so that it could not be seen from outside. The Kid took up a position by the front window where he could keep watch for any passing deputies.

Heyes quickly made his way to the safe, stood back and looked fondly at it, then moved forward. “Hello, old friend,” he spoke softly, patting the safe gently. He looked at his partner. “That sure was a fun job, wasn’t it, Kid?”

“Yeah, it was, and profitable. Sure you don’t want to go back to it?”

“Yes, I’m sure, though it is tempting sometimes. What about you?”

“Nah. Bein’ law-abidin’ is kinda habit-formin’, I guess, Heyes. Get the safe open, would you, or I’ll start thinkin’ you’re losin’ your touch. You aren’t gettin’ any younger, you know.”

“Stop talking, Kid, and time me. I bet I’ll open it in under ten minutes.”


#####

There was a click and Heyes sat back, smiled, and opened the safe.

“Eight minutes, Heyes,” the Kid called, raising his eyes from the watch. “Guess you’re not too old yet.”

Heyes pulled out safety deposit boxes, examining the label on each.

“Donner, Henderson, Armendariz…” he paused and looked at the Kid.

The Kid caught his eye then shook his head decisively. “No.”

Heyes continued to read labels. “Here it is.” He quickly picked the lock, opened the box and extracted the sheaf of papers inside. He rolled them into a pouch and tucked it into his jacket. Then he shut the box, put it back inside, and closed the safe. Heyes blew out the lantern and gathered their things. They hurried out the back of the bank.


#######

Returning inconspicuously to the hotel, they hurried up the stairs, avoiding the desk clerk dozing at the front desk, and knocked on the door to a room across from theirs. A small, weasely-looking man peered out, then opened the door and quickly ushered them inside.

“Boys, boys, it’s good to see you. I haven’t heard from you in ages. How are you doing?”

They smiled and shook his hand warmly while patting him on the back. “We’re fine, Inky, just fine. And how are you? How’s Bess?” Heyes replied.

“She’s wonderful, bless her heart. We never thanked you for...”

“Now Inky, you know there’s no thanks needed,” interrupted the Kid.

“You boys sure you’re okay? I heard there was a falling out at Devil’s Hole, that Wheat’s leading the gang now—what happened?”

“Nothing happened,” Heyes replied. “Just the Kid and I decided to get out of the business. Wheat and the boys were fine last we heard. Now, we asked you here to look at some documents for us, to see if they’re forgeries.”

“Anything for you boys. You’re honest now? Who’d’ve thought it? Well, Bess will sure be pleased. It bothered her no end to think of you boys risking yourselves like that.”

“What can we say? You have to keep up with the times and the times were telling us to leave the business. But we aren’t safe yet—we’re still wanted. So if you must refer to us, I’m Smith and he’s Jones.”

“Smith and Jones? I thought you boys had more imagination than that!”

“Someone else chose the names, and there are lots of folks named Smith and Jones,” Heyes said, drawing out the two sets of documents. “Okay, Inky, this one here is a genuine Spanish land grant. This one here, can you tell if it’s genuine, too?”

“Give me some time, boys, give me some time,” Inky murmured, sitting down and turning up the light from the lamp on the table, while pulling a jeweler’s loupe from his pocket and placing it in his eye. He bent over the two documents, looked at them from a distance, then examined them closely.


#####

Heyes and the Kid played blackjack on the bed, while Inky examined the documents.

Finally, Inky stood back. The boys glanced up from their game. Inky looked at the documents again, went to his bags and pulled out some books to consult them.

“Could you hurry it up, Inky? We have to get the documents back, you know.”

“Don’t rush me. I thought you said you boys had turned honest. Why the secrecy?”

Heyes and Curry looked at each other but said nothing.


#####

Heyes paced the room, picking up knick-knacks and inspecting them absently before setting them back in their places.

The Kid snored on the bed.

Inky continued his examination of the documents, looking back and forth between them and his books.

Heyes continued his pacing.

The Kid continued his snoring.

Finally, just as dawn was beginning to show through the window, Inky straightened up.

Heyes gave Curry's boot a not-so-gentle kick, rousing him. "Well, Inky?"

“They’re good, they’re really good, but you’re right, they are forgeries.”

“Really? How can you tell?” Heyes asked quickly.

“Well it’s like this...”


#####

The bank president, Kearns, entered the bank, pleased to see his employees hard at work. He greeted them and went into his office. Heyes and Curry walked into the bank and asked to see the bank president.

“Hello, gentlemen, pleasure to see you again. How can I help you?” the rabbity-looking bank president greeted them, ushering them back to his office.

“We’re just about to wrap up our visit and we wanted to offer you our assistance—you asked us to review your bank security,” Heyes replied.

“Right now?” Mr. Kearns asked.

“Yes, I’m afraid this is the only opportunity we will have.”

“Oh then please, please do, I’m glad you have the chance,” Kearns gushed. “Let me show you around.”

“What have you changed since the robbery?” Heyes asked authoritatively.

“Well, mostly the staff,” Kearns replied nervously, “since no one had ever heard of Humbug and Cash, Harmon and Conway, whatever. I don’t know why I can’t ever remember their names. Anyway, since no one had ever heard of them and the safe wasn’t blown, we figured one of the employees must have been involved. But we never knew who, so we fired all of them.”

Heyes and Curry grimaced slightly at that news. Kearns did not notice and proceeded to usher them around the bank, explaining the security features in place.


#####

“…And, finally, this is the safe where we keep deposit boxes locked up; the money is in the vault over there, of course. That’s new. We installed it after the robbery and now use the old safe for the deposit boxes,” Kearns concluded.

“Could you open it for me, just so I can examine the locking mechanism from inside? You would be amazed at how few people think to do that,” the Kid explained.

“Oh certainly, certainly,” he replied, going over and swinging the door open.

While the Kid pretended to examine the inside of the door, Heyes looked over his shoulder. The Kid straightened and took Kearns by the shoulder. He turned them around to face the bank interior, effectively turning their backs to the safe and using their bodies to block the view of the opening for anyone else. Heyes shot a quick glance around, then stooped down in front of the open safe.

“Mr. Kearns, you have very good security here. But you might want to strengthen the bars in the windows. A good bar spreader could bend those enough for a man to climb through. Curtains can also be a problem; they can keep the deputy from seeing inside when he does his rounds. You might also want another armed guard over there, right by the railing, next to the teller windows.” The Kid pointed first here, then there, continuing to distract the bank president.

Heyes finished returning the documents, walked over, and nodded. “Yes, I see what Thaddeus means. That type of security should do it.” He glared at the Kid. “It will certainly make it more difficult for bank robbers at night.”

“You might also want to invest in a newer safe,” the Kid stated, warming to his work. “I understand that Brooker is coming out with one that they claim even Hannibal Heyes can’t open.”

“Really, even Hannibal Heyes? Imagine that, imagine that,” breathed Kearns. “Thank you gentlemen, you’ve been most helpful.”

With that, they all shook hands and Heyes and the Kid headed out the door, Heyes muttering as they left, “Even Hannibal Heyes can’t open it, huh. Bet I could.”

The Kid smiled and wisely kept his mouth shut.


#####

Heyes and Curry met with Armendariz and Bradley in Armendariz’s suite.

“We have your answer for you,” Heyes announced.

“You do?” Bradley breathed. “Well?”

“Oh, the documents are phony alright, and our expert can prove it for you.”

“Really?” Bradley exclaimed. “How?”

“Well I think we should keep that as a surprise for the morning,” Heyes smiled.

“Thank you, gentlemen, I knew I could rely on you,” stated Armendariz. “We will arrange a meeting in the morning. Perhaps it would be best to have some representatives of the law present?”

Heyes and Curry looked at each other; the Kid raised an eyebrow and Heyes grimaced, then smiled, before turning to the others.

“Well, I’m sure that makes sense, but as you know, we need to be leaving first thing in the morning. I think you can handle the meeting without us,” Heyes replied. “There’s just one or two little things we’d like to discuss with you privately, Señor Armendariz, before we head out.”

“Of course, gentlemen, come by this evening, say around 9 p.m.,” Armendariz replied, showing them out the door.

“Have to leave? But aren’t they going to be at tomorrow’s meeting?” Bradley worried.

“No, they are very busy young men. I am certain everything will be fine,” smiled Armendariz.


#####

Promptly at 9 p.m., the boys presented themselves at Armendariz’s suite, with Inky in tow.

Armendariz opened the door and looked somewhat surprised to see three men instead of the two he expected. “Welcome, gentlemen, please come in. How may I help you?”

Heyes, as usual, took the lead, “We wanted you to meet Mr. Inkwell, a printer, who can assist you in your review of the documents.”

“How do you do, Mr. Inkwell,” Armendariz offered his hand.


#####

“… and for the reasons I have explained, it is not possible that these documents are real.”

Armendariz shook Inky’s hand then opened the door. “Good evening, Mr. Inkwell. It has, indeed, been a pleasure to meet you. I look forward to seeing you again at the bank in the morning.”

“Good-bye, Señor Armendariz. See you in the morning. See you later, boys.” Inky gave a brief salute to the two as he left.

“Later, Inky.”

“Bye. Say hello to Bess for us.”

Armendariz shut the door and turned to Heyes and Curry, looking very pleased.

“Thank you, gentlemen, this is good news indeed. I knew my belief in your abilities was correct. Now what did you want to say to me?” Armendariz queried.

“Glad we could help you, Señor Armendariz, but since we need to be leaving in the morning, we were hoping to collect our pay,” explained Heyes.

“Also, we want you to guarantee that you’ll not press charges against the girl,” the Kid interjected.

“I do not like deception, Mr. Curry, and know of no reason why the girl should go free,” Armendariz stated flatly.

“Señor Armendariz, we know that you are a just man. Carlotta is merely a victim of Reavis’ deception, as are you,” persuaded Heyes. “Really, isn’t it enough that her claim is eliminated and she’s left penniless?”

Armendariz looked from one man to the other, then smiled slightly. “She is very young and very lovely after all, is she not? Perhaps, I am sentimental about the name, Carlotta; it is my sister’s name, after all. Very well, I will not allow her to be charged in this matter. Does that satisfy you?”

He handed them envelopes.

Heyes opened his and counted out the money owed, including the bonus. The Kid did the same with his. They both smiled and looked at Armendariz.

“That’s completely satisfactory,” Heyes asserted. “A real pleasure doing business with you, Señor Armendariz. Always good to work with honest men.”

“A pleasure,” echoed the Kid. “And thanks for being so understandin’ about Carlotta.”

The two shook his hand and left. Armendariz looked after them, shook his head, then closed the door.


#####

As its doors opened, Armendariz, Bradley, Reavis, Carlotta, Inkwell and a Texas Ranger all converged on the bank. Reavis looked at the Texas Ranger and Inkwell with some concern.

“Who are these people? This is a private transaction, Señor Armendariz, Mr. Bradley, not a public spectacle,” Reavis asserted, looking confidently at the group. Despite his apparent confidence, Reavis surreptitiously ran a finger around his collar, and his forehead became damp with sweat.

“Now, Mr. Reavis, Mr. Inkwell is a business associate of ours who is concerned with the documents,” Armendariz soothed, taking Reavis by the elbow and leading him into the bank, where Kearns was waiting for them. “Also, since we will be tendering a large sum of money, we thought it would be safer to have the ranger present.”

At the mention of being handed large sums of money, Reavis’ shoulders relaxed and he expelled an almost audible breath. “To be sure, to be sure,” he agreed.

“Now if we may examine the documents again, Mr. Reavis?” Bradley asked.

“Of course. Mr. Kearns, may I have access to my safe deposit box?” Reavis requested.

Kearns handed him the box. Together they drew out their keys and opened it. Reavis handled the documents lovingly, removing them and laying them on the table for Armendariz and Bradley to examine. Kearns was not immune to the drama of the occasion and stood on his tiptoes to peer over the assembled shoulders to examine the documents.

“May I?” queried Mr. Inkwell, moving up and pulling out his jeweler’s loupe. He made a show of examining the documents. “Hmm, hmm,” he muttered and pulled out a book to examine it, then he turned back to the documents.

“Well?” Bradley asked.

“These are very lovely, very lovely indeed. Of course, they are fake, but they are works of art nonetheless,” Inky responded.

Reavis turned pale, then red in the face. Carlotta turned pale and sat down sharply on the edge of a desk. “What do you mean fake?” blustered Reavis.

“Oh, certainly. Here, look, the print is in a typeface called Number 10 Romantic. Now Romantic is a very common typeface around here, but is quite new; it was patented only a few years ago. Señor Armendariz was kind enough to show me his land grant. Perhaps, Señor, I could use it for demonstration purposes?” He turned inquiringly to Armendariz, who nodded his consent and pulled out his land grant, smoothing it carefully and laying it on the desk.

Inky breathed in satisfaction, “Yes, thank you. This, you see, is printed in Garamond, a typeface that has been around since 1615, very common in Europe. You can see the difference.” They all looked at the documents except for Carlotta, who withdrew into herself, her shoulders drooping and her eyes focused on her hands, as she sat on the corner of the desk. “Now Mr. Reavis’ documents are printed in Romantic so they cannot be from 1784,” explained Inky.

There was a moment of stunned silence, then, “Nonsense, you are just trying to avoid paying us our settlement,” blustered a red-faced Reavis. “Who is this man? Someone you hired to lie for you, I imagine.”

Armendariz frowned. “I do not lie in business, Mr. Reavis. If Mr. Inkwell says the documents are false, then they are false, and we do not owe you anything.”

Inky spoke softly, “I can show you in my reference book here when the different typefaces were invented. But as to who I am, I am a printer. I print documents for the state legislature here in Texas. You can check me out if you wish, Mr. Reavis, but the documents are false.”

Reavis let out a yell and reached to grab Inky, who shrank back. The ranger grabbed Reavis and forced him into a chair. Bradley looked ecstatic and shook Kearns’ hand warmly, while exclaiming, “I knew it! I knew it!” The ranger kept a restraining hand on Reavis, while his other hand rested on his gun, making it clear that Reavis should not try to leave. Carlotta, meanwhile, stayed seated on the edge of the desk, looking pale and a little frightened. Armendariz noticed her and came over.

“Lo siento, child. I am sorry, you are not such an heiress after all,” he murmured.

“No,” she said forlornly, “I guess I’m not. I guess I really am a nobody.”

“You are a lovely young woman, and I wish you good fortune in your life,” Armendariz replied.

“You aren’t going to have me arrested?” she asked dazedly.

“No, I am a man of my word, and I promised some friends of yours that you would not be in trouble,” Armendariz assured her.

“Joshua, Thaddeus,” she breathed.


#####

"Senorita Dias," the desk clerk said, as Carlotta entered the lobby of the hotel. "I hope everything is alright. You are looking a little pale."

"I'm fine, thank you. But I'll need the key to my room. I will be leaving shortly," she explained.

"Will you be leaving a forwarding address?" he asked.

“No, no forwarding address.” She took her key and headed up the stairs.

The desk clerk looked after her, then slapped his head and called out, “Miss, Miss I almost forgot; I have a message for you.”

He handed her an envelope. She thanked him and carried it to her room. As she sank down into a chair, she opened the envelope and found cash and a note.

Lottie, sorry to destroy your dream. It doesn’t matter who your parents are, just who you are. We hope you use this to open a shop or do whatever it is you want to do. Your friends, Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones.

She read it once, then again. A tear dripped from her eye. Then she counted the money. “Two thousand dollars!” she exclaimed. She smiled, folded the note, and tucked it away carefully.


#####

Heyes and Curry dismounted in the shade of a small grove of trees. Nearby was a signpost indicating “Fort Worth, 5 miles.”

"Do you think she’ll be alright?” asked the Kid, mopping his forehead.

Heyes pushed his hat back on his head and rested against a tree. “Lottie? Yeah I think she’ll be alright. She’s a survivor. Besides she has two thousand dollars. Yeah, she should do just fine. How did you talk me into giving her our bonuses, anyway?” He stopped to ponder the question.

“Aw, you know we still have the eight hundred dollars Armendariz paid us, and the money we won at poker. We took away her life; we owed her something,” the Kid explained.

Heyes drank from his canteen, looking a little wistful. “You know, the First National Bank of Fort Worth has been pretty good to us.” He smiled, “but we should probably leave it alone now.”

“Yeah, three times would be pushin’ even your luck, Heyes,” the Kid laughed. “Where to now?”

“Do we need a destination? Isn’t the pleasure in the journey?”

They swung back up into their saddles.

“Don’t go gettin’ all philosophical on me or I might hafta flatten ya.”

“Whatever you say, Kid.”

And the boys rode on.



Postscript: James Addison Reavis was called the Baron of Arizona. He and his collaborator forged documents that appeared to be related to a land grant in central Arizona. The grant covered 11 million acres. They convinced a young woman that she was a great heiress then coached her, taught her manners, and took her to Spain, where they "discovered" more documents supporting the grant. They returned to Arizona and presented the documents to the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Silver King mine, receiving compensation for the land from each. Reavis lived on the proceeds for several years, maintaining at least four homes in the United States and Mexico. Eventually a printer in a small Arizona town discovered that the typeface on the documents purporting to date from 1784 was not invented until 1875. Reavis died in federal prison. It is not known what became of his collaborator or the young woman.
The No. 10 Romantic typeface used in this story was patented in 1892 but that was as close as I could come to finding a period typeface—poetic license to make it exist in the 1880s. It is true about Garamond.



(Writers love feedback! You can let Nora Winters know how you enjoyed the story with a quick comment. Just Post Reply  to the Comments for The First National Bank of Fort Worth thread below the story.)

_________________
Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, the two most successful outlaws in the history of the west. And in all the trains and banks they robbed, they never shot anyone.
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