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 The Temperance Army by Nora Winters

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royannahuggins
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Join date : 2013-10-13

20140301
PostThe Temperance Army by Nora Winters



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


Guest Starring

John Billingsley as Elias Funck


Bonita Friedericy as Eldora Funck


Colby Chester as Jonas Parsons


Barbara Stuart as Louella


“Two dollars a night for an attic room!” Heyes roared, giving the desk clerk a look that caused the man to swallow nervously and step back a pace.

The desk clerk squared his shoulders, shooting a quick glance at the angry dark man’s silent companion. “It’s the last room available in town. You won’t find another in a hotel or boarding house. We’re full up. So take it or leave it,” he declared defiantly.

“Guess we don’t have a choice, Joshua. Just sign the register, and let’s drop our things and find a bath,” the Kid grumbled to his angry companion. He turned and tipped his hat to two women coming through the lobby. They nodded back, then giggled and kept walking.

Heyes huffed but pulled the register to himself and signed.

After the Kid had also signed and they had handed over payment for two nights’ lodging, the clerk handed them the key. “One other thing, gentlemen,” he declared, a slight smirk on his face.

“What now?” Heyes asked wearily.

“There’s a new ordinance here in Cayuga Falls, no guns. You’ll have to leave those in your room, or I can lock them in the safe here, if you prefer.”

“No guns!” the Kid shouted.

Heyes looked at him, dimples appearing as he restrained a smile. “Guess we don’t have a choice, Thaddeus; let’s just get settled.”

He turned and started towards the stairs, stopping to allow several women to pass. The Kid glared first at the clerk, then at Heyes’ retreating back, and then grunted and followed Heyes up the stairs.

~~~000~~~

The room they entered was dark, with one small window high on the wall. Its furnishings were sparse -- just two narrow, sagging beds, a dresser, and a few hooks on the wall. The two looked around and sighed.

“Two dollars a night and this is it,” Heyes muttered.

“And to think we used to live the high life,” the Kid groaned as he tossed his saddlebags on one bed and strode to the window to open it.

“C’mon, Kid, let’s just deliver the package. We can leave this town first thing in the morning.” He turned and glared at the Kid, pointed at his gun, and reached down to unbuckle his own gun belt. “And take that thing off! We don’t need to be arrested.”

“No guns?! We can’t be someplace with no guns, Heyes. What if someone recognizes us?”

“Well, look at it this way, we’re less likely to be recognized if we’re not wearing guns. Who ever heard of Kid Curry walking around with no gun?”

The Kid narrowed his eyes as Heyes smiled innocently at him.

The Kid snorted but unbuckled his gun belt and tucked it into the dresser. He shivered. “I feel positively nekkid,” he complained. He strode over to his saddlebags and dug through them, throwing shirts, socks, and shaving equipment on the bed as he looked. He mumbled to himself, then walked over to Heyes’ saddlebags and upended them on the bed, spilling out the contents, which he then dug through as well.

“Hey! It took me forever to fit everything into there. What do you think you’re doing?”

The Kid gave a grunt of satisfaction and looked at the Derringer he had found. He dug some more and found a box of bullets. Without looking at Heyes, he loaded the small gun and tucked it into his pants pocket. “This may be a peashooter, but it’s better than nothin’. I ain’t walkin’ around without any protection. It’s downright indecent.”

Heyes covered his eyes with his hands and breathed deeply. Dropping his hands, he glared at the Kid, staring pointedly at the bulge in the Kid’s pants pocket. “Yeah, well you walk outside like that, and you’ll be arrested for indecency,” he stated flatly.

The Kid looked down. “Sheesh!” He grabbed his jacket and shrugged it on. He pulled the gun from his pants pocket and shoved it deep into the pocket of his jacket. “Let’s just get this over with and get out of this town, Heyes.” He strode out the door, turning to watch Heyes hurrying to catch up with him.

~~~000~~~

Heyes and the Kid entered the nearly empty saloon, talking quietly to each other.

“What if it does take him a whole week to get back? At the prices in this town, that’ll pretty much take all we’re makin’ on this job.”

“I know, Kid, I know. But I don’t see that we have much choice but to wait. We told Colonel Harper we’d deliver the package as soon as we could, and I don’t want to be wandering around with it any longer than necessary.” He sighed. “We’ll check each day; maybe he’ll get home sooner. For now, let’s just get something to drink.”

They sauntered to the bar where the bartender stood reading the paper.

The Kid plunked a coin down on the bar. “Two whiskeys.”

The bartender didn’t bother to raise his eyes from the paper. “Don’t have any.”

Eyebrows raised, the Kid tried again. “Two beers then.”

“Nope.”

The Kid glowered. Heyes hastily intervened. “What alcohol do you have then?”

“Don’t have any.”

“Don’t have any! What type of saloon is this?”

“A dry one and don’t bother looking elsewhere. The whole town’s dry this week,” was the disgruntled reply. He looked at them. “I got coffee, sarsaparilla, and some new-fangled drink from back East – Coca Cola.”

Heyes and the Kid stared at each other then turned simultaneously and looked at the few customers sitting morosely and quietly at the tables before turning back to the bartender.

“How about poker; will there be any games here tonight?” Heyes asked tentatively.

“No, and with no drinking and no gambling in town this week, my girls and all the other sporting girls in town have moved on to try to make a living elsewhere.” The bartender shrugged. “Trust me, this ain’t my idea, I’m losing money every day. The only folks who come in are men trying to get away from all those crazy women in town.”

Disbelief flowing from every pore in his body, the Kid spoke, “Crazy women…” He stopped and looked around, frowning. “What is that blamed noise out there?”

One of the bar’s few patrons spoke over the increasing sounds from outside, “That’s the crazy women. There’s a WCTU convention here this week. Frances E. Willard herself is arriving tomorrow.”

Now the sounds from outside the bar could be distinguished – many women’s voices raised in song:

   Now the temp’rance army’s marching
   Firm and steady in our tread;
   See! The mothers they are leading
   Marching boldly at the head.


Aghast, Heyes and the Kid stared at each other and groaned.

~~~000~~~

Heyes and the Kid sat on the hotel porch smoking cigars. A cluster of women exited the hotel, gave them severe looks then moved past them to join the throng in the street heading towards the train station. Some of the women carried furled banners. The women greeted each other with excited cries and hurried on.

“Well, at least there’s some good-lookin’ women around,” the Kid said, watching several young women in white pass by.

“Yeah, but they ain’t interested in you,” Heyes replied cynically.

“You think you’d do better? Want to bet?”

“No gambling in town, remember? Anyway, that’s a loser bet. Those women won’t give either of us the time of day.”

At that moment, five women walked by singing:

   Let war be your watchword, from shore unto shore
   Till Rum and his legions shall ruin no more,
   And write on your Banners in letters that shine,
   The lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine.


“It’s gonna be a long week, Joshua,” the Kid sighed disgustedly, slumping down in his seat.

“Mmm hmm.” Heyes unfurled his legs and stood up. “There’s a library down the street there. I’m going to see if I can find a book to read.” He strode off.

The Kid sat smoking and muttering to himself.

~~~000~~~

The Kid put away his gun oil and cleaning cloth. He fondled the gun, sighed, and tucked it back in the drawer. He sighed loudly again and began pacing around the dingy room.

Heyes was sprawled on one of the beds next to an oil lamp, reading. He peered over the top of the book as the Kid sighed and went back to his reading.

The Kid grabbed Heyes’ hat, placed in on the floor brim up, and sat on his bed. He pulled out a deck of cards and began tossing them into the hat one-by-one, rarely missing his target.

Heyes glanced over then turned his eyes back to his book. “Use your own hat.”

“Yours is filthy; why should I get mine dirty?”

“Use your own hat.”

“Fine!” The Kid stomped over, picked up the cards and the hat. With exaggerated care he dusted the hat off and placed it brim-side down on the top of the dresser. He resumed pacing, whistling tunelessly. He stopped and sighed loudly, glancing covertly at Heyes, who appeared to ignore him.

The Kid snatched the worn newspaper off the dresser. With much sighing and rustling he opened it. He glanced at Heyes, who ignored him. The Kid shook the paper and muttered to himself. He rattled the paper once more then flung it on the dresser and resumed pacing.

Without looking up from his book, Heyes said, “Kid, would you settle down? I swear you are as jumpy as water on a hot griddle.”

“I’m bored.”

“Well, find something to do.”

“What?”

Heyes peered over the top of his book; a slight grin appeared on his face and he resumed his reading. “Get a book.”

The Kid shot him a look of disbelief. He snatched up his hat and walked to the door. As he opened it, Heyes surfaced again. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“For a walk. I can’t just stay here. How can you just lay there?”

“It’s a good book.”

The Kid snorted and exited the room. Heyes gave a short laugh and returned to his book.

~~~000~~~

The Kid knocked softly and entered the room. Heyes lowered his gun. “Where have you been?”

“Went to see if our friend was back yet. He’s not. Then got into a game of horseshoes with some of the men.”

“I was beginning to think you’d been arrested you were gone so long,” Heyes grumbled.

“I’m not. Get up; we’re meetin’ Elias for supper.”

“Who?”

“One of the men. He brought his wife here and is as bored as we are.”

“You mean there are men who came here on purpose, knowing what it was going to be like?!”

“Yeah, tells you somethin’ about marriage, don’t it, Heyes?”

“One of the many reasons I’ve never considered marriage.”

The Kid rolled his eyes. “Unh huh, that’s the reason, huh? Wouldn’t have nothin’ to do with bein’ an outlaw? Wouldn’t have nothin’ to do with the price on your head? Wouldn’t have nothin’ to do with not findin’ someone you wanted to live with? Wouldn’t have nothin’ to do with you likin’ to wander? No, it’s because you don’t want to be puttin’ your wife’s interests before yours.” He picked up Heyes’ hat and threw it to him. “Well assumin’ that’s the truth, don’t worry; no woman would marry you.” He walked out the door.

Heyes laughed. “I said it was one of the reasons,” he called as he followed the Kid.

~~~000~~~

The hotel dining room was mostly empty. A sign at the entrance to the room announced that Frances E. Willard was speaking at the Lyceum, to be followed by entertainment. As a consequence, there were only a few tables with diners, virtually all men.

Heyes, the Kid, and Elias Funck sat around a dinner table laughing.

Elias looked over at a nearby table where three men sat, one wearing clothing that proclaimed his calling as a minister.

The minister seeing, Elias’ glance, came over to them.

“Gentlemen, I’m pleased to see we are not the only men supporting such a wonderful movement to better society.”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other.

Heyes spoke, “Sorry, Reverend, but we’re in town for business; just happened to be here this week.”

Elias grinned, “And I brought my wife here. Figured that was enough contribution to the cause.”

The minister nodded gently. “I see. Well, not many men appreciate the damage drinking, gambling, and other such immoral actions do to our society. That perception is part of what we want to change. When people understand the evils of demon rum, I’m sure they will turn away in revulsion.” The three looked at him skeptically. “Anyway, gentlemen, perhaps you would be interested in joining us for this evening’s entertainment: a chorale of inspirational songs led by the famous coloratura soprano: Madame Pevinsky.”

Heyes and the Kid stared at each other, horrified.

Finally, the Kid found his voice. “That sure sounds awfully temptin’, Reverend, but I think we’re just too tuckered out tonight, what with all the excitement and all. Sure would hate to interrupt Madame Pevinsky’s performance with our snores.”

Elias snickered. The minister turned reproving eyes on him. “Well, you will be missing a treat.” He returned to his table and he and his two companions left the dining room.

Elias watched them leave then signaled to the waitress for more coffee.

“This coffee would taste better with some whiskey in it,” the Kid said sadly, staring at his cup.

Heyes looked at him, rolled his eyes towards Elias, and frowned at the Kid. The Kid shrugged.

“Sure would,” Elias agreed. He looked slyly at them, grinned, and looked over his shoulder. He then reached into his jacket and pulled out a flask from which he poured a shot into each man’s coffee cup. “That’s better.”

Heyes and the Kid nodded their thanks and smiled as they drank their coffee.

~~~000~~~

As they settled in bed, the Kid turned to his partner. “Heyes, you ever think drinkin’ was evil? I never did, but this place has me thinkin’.”

“Now, Kid, you know our arrangement.”

“I’m serious.”

“Yeah, I know.” Heyes leaned back, his hands behind his head as he stretched out on the bed. “I guess for some folks it is bad. You know, we’ve both seen the folks that can’t seem to stop drinking and what becomes of them. Think of Preacher. People aren’t perfect. I think some folks just use alcohol to hide from whatever personal demons are chasing them. But I don’t think drinking is evil; some drink won’t harm a man. Even in the Bible, good folks drink. You and me, we drink, but I don’t think we’re any worse because of it. Drinking wasn’t why we took up the outlaw life. You can take things too far, both the drinking and the not drinking, I guess.”

The Kid thought for a moment. “Yeah, I guess, and lots of folks make their livin’ off of it – the bar owners, brewers, distillers, the saloon girls, and such. Where would they be if you stopped it all? Besides, I sure do find bars real entertainin’; don’t see why I should give that up. Not that I have a choice right now.”

~~~000~~~

The Kid walked into the room and threw his hat on the bed. “He’s still not back, Heyes.”

“Mmm,” Heyes grunted, his eyes not lifting from the page he was reading.

The Kid glared, then stalked over and grabbed the book.

“Hey!”

“You been readin’ for most of the last two days. Haven’t hardly moved from that spot.”

“So, what else is there to do?”

The Kid paced back and forth.

Heyes stood and walked over to the Kid, reaching for his book. The Kid held it out of his reach.

“Let’s go exercise the horses or somethin’,” the Kid suggested. “I’ll let you have this when we get back.”

Heyes frowned and stretched his back, then acquiesced. “Okay. I guess I am getting a little tired of reading, too.”

A big smile broke out on the Kid’s face.

~~~000~~~

As Heyes and the Kid walked back up the steps to the hotel, Elias hailed them. They grinned and walked over to where he was sitting on the porch with a paper in his lap. Women’s voices could be heard in the distance.

“I’m glad to see you fellas.”

“Elias.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do for a week here,” Elias complained.

“Yeah, it’s pretty borin’ alright,” the Kid commented as he sat.

Elias looked at them curiously. “What have you two found to entertain yourselves?”

Heyes tipped his chair back and put his boot on the railing. “Oh, this and that. I’ve been reading, and Thaddeus has been around.”

“Just went and exercised our horses,” the Kid explained.

“Mmm,” Elias nodded, and then looked at them curiously. “You take saddlebags with you to exercise your horses?”

Heyes laughed. “Well, since we travel so much, we find it useful to know how to handle a gun. Thaddeus here decided we should do some target practice outside of town, while we were exercising the horses.”

“Yeah, anythin’ to pass the time.”

“Oh.”

The three sat for a few moments, contemplating the activity in the street.

Elias stirred and turned to them. “Look, I have a proposition for you.”

“What type of proposition?” Heyes asked warily.

“Well, I know I told Dora I’d wait and make sure she got back home safely, but I really need to get back to Dahlonega to work. Now, I didn’t see that I would have any choice in the matter, but you two may be the answer to my dilemma.”

“How?” The Kid looked closely at him.

“You two said you’d probably be here all week until you could deliver that package and that the delay was costing you money. How about I pay you to escort Dora home for me?”

“What?!” Heyes cranked around to look Elias in the face.

“Well, you’re going to be here anyway and you said you didn’t have any place in particular you were heading to after this. Surely you could use some extra money.”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other in silent communication.

“How much?”

“You’ll consider it?”

“Depends on how much.”

“What about twenty dollars each?”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other again.

“Say, Dahlonega, who’s the sheriff there these days?”

“Jonas Parsons, why? Do you know him?”

“No, I don’t think we do. Do we, Thaddeus?”

“No, don’t think so. What’s the name of his deputy again?”

“He has two. Bob and Bill Armistad.”

“Hmm, thought it was someone else. Don’t know them either,” replied the Kid.

“Tell you what,” Heyes countered. “Pay for our train tickets and a good room for us for at least one night when we get there, as well as the twenty dollars each and we’ll do it.”

“Deal.”

“Deal.”

The three men shook hands.

“Oh, one little thing…”

“What would that be, Elias?” the Kid asked sternly.

“Well, I’m running a little short on cash at the moment. This town’s been more expensive than I expected. Tell you what, I’ll buy the train tickets and pay you ten dollars now and the rest when you get to Dahlonega. How would that be?” He looked beseechingly from one to the other.

They relaxed. “Sure, that would be fine.”

Elias smiled broadly. “Great. Join Dora and me for dinner tonight and I’ll introduce you; then I can leave in the morning.”

He got up and walked jauntily into the hotel. Heyes and the Kid watched him.

The Kid commented, “Guess that means we don’t get our coffee topped up from his flask tonight.”

Heyes snorted. “Guess not.”

~~~000~~~

“But what exactly is it that you do, gentlemen?” Dora asked, a frown gathering on her brow.

“Well, Mrs. Funck, ma’am, we do whatever comes our way, as long as it’s honest.”

Dora stared at them then pulled her husband to the side, whispering loudly, “Elias, these gentlemen seem nice enough, but are you seriously planning to leave me with two drifters?”

“Now, Dora,” Elias began.

“Don’t now Dora me. You promised that you would stay the whole week.”

“But, Dora, I received a message and need to get back to Dahlonega – business.”

“Let me see the message!” Dora spoke sharply.

“I threw it out. Of course, if you prefer, you could return with me. You’d have to miss the rest of the conference, though, and I know how much effort you put into helping to organize it. Leaving early would be a real shame, so I thought this might be the solution.”

“But we know nothing about them. Why they could be outlaws for all we know.”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other.

Heyes spoke up. “Mrs. Funck, perhaps you would be more comfortable if we offered some references? Sheriff Lom Trevors in Porterville, Wyoming, will be happy to speak for us. You could send him a wire if you like.”

“There, you see, Dora? No outlaw would give a sheriff as a reference.”

“Hmm,” she looked closely at them. “Well, let’s have dinner and get acquainted before I decide.”

~~~000~~~

The train chuffed as Elias said good-bye to Dora.

“Don’t worry, Elias, we’ll take good care of your wife,” Heyes reassured him, as he boarded the train.

“I’m sure you will. I’ll see you in just a few days, Dora. Don’t worry.” Elias entered the train car.

The Kid offered Dora his arm as they left the station. “Ma’am, if you need anything here in town, you just let us know. Otherwise we’ll see you back here at the station on Saturday.”

Dora looked doubtfully at them, smiled and shook her head, then left, ignoring the Kid’s profferred arm.

~~~000~~~

Heyes helped Dora onto the train, while the Kid carried her bag. They walked through the first car, filled mainly with women from the convention. Dora smiled and nodded at them as she passed. Heyes pointed to two seats facing each other in the second passenger car. “Those seats should do very well for us.”

The Kid escorted Dora over and settled her, then looked around the mostly empty car. They shared it with a minister and his family and what appeared to be a young woman and her grandparents. “Yeah, this should be nice and quiet for you, ma’am.”

He sat in the seat facing her. Heyes sat next to him and pulled out a newspaper. The Kid pulled his hat down over his eyes and settled into a nap. Dora looked at them, sighed quietly, and pulled some knitting out of her carpetbag. Quiet descended on the three of them as the train rolled out of the station.

~~~000~~~

Heyes put down the paper with much rustling. He glanced at the Kid napping and at Dora knitting. His eyes roamed around the compartment. He moved to adjust his seat. The Kid raised his hat for a moment and peered at him, then lowered it again and returned to his nap.

~~~000~~~

Heyes whistled silently to himself, tapped his fingers on his leg then adjusted his seat. The Kid used one finger to raise his hat and glared at Heyes, who shrugged. The Kid resumed his nap.

~~~000~~~

Heyes eyes wandered around the compartment watching the various occupants. He crossed and uncrossed his legs, kicking Dora in the process. “Sorry, ma’am.”

“That’s quite all right, Mr. Smith.”

The Kid sent a steely look at Heyes, who shrugged. The Kid resumed his nap. Heyes sighed and looked out the window.

~~~000~~~

Dora folded her knitting, put it away, and pulled out a book.

Heyes perked up. “Reading something interesting, Mrs. Funck?”

“What? Oh, this?” She held up the book. “It’s a collection of inspirational essays that Mrs. Willard gave me.” She blushed slightly. “I’m sure I will find it most enjoyable, but what with the convention and all I must be more fatigued than I thought; I haven’t been able to read very far into it yet. I keep falling asleep.”

Heyes looked at her and smiled; she smiled back but returned to her book.

~~~000~~~

Heyes adjusted his seat one more time. This time the Kid did not bother to look at him. “Joshua, will you sit still? You’re as jumpy as water on a hot griddle.”

Heyes pulled out a deck of cards. “Thaddeus, how about…?”

“Gentlemen,” spoke Dora, looking shocked “You are not going to gamble in my presence are you?”

“Uh, no, ma’am,” Heyes said sheepishly. He began to put the cards away then brightened. “Just thought I’d practice some card tricks.” He counted out twenty-one cards. “Ma’am, care to take a card, any card?”

~~~000~~~

The train chugged impatiently at the platform.

“Ma’am, you sure you don’t want to get up, stretch your legs or somethin'?” The Kid asked as he returned to their seats. Heyes stood, nodded his head, and left.

“No, thank you. I’m fine. I have some water with me and some sandwiches for all of us. That should suffice.” She looked out the window and surreptitiously wiped her forehead with her handkerchief. “My, it’s warm today. Mr. Jones, do you know how long we will be here?”

“About five more minutes, ma’am. Joshua will be back before the train leaves, don’t worry. We never miss trains we’re tryin’ to catch.” The Kid smiled at her and she smiled back.

~~~000~~~

The Kid looked out the window and frowned. Through the window he watched three boisterous cowboys arguing with the conductor and waving tickets. Finally, the conductor gave way and the men boarded the other passenger car, repeatedly dropping their bags and pushing each other as they tried to climb the steps. As Heyes returned, the Kid nodded out the window, indicating the men.

Dora watched them. “What is it?” she asked, worriedly.

Heyes smiled at her. “Nothing to worry about, ma’am. Just some cowboys who’ve been enjoying themselves a little too much. They’re in the other car, shouldn’t bother us at all.”

As he spoke, a young couple came in from the other car.

“Here, Julia, I told you we’d be fine here,” the husband said, settling his very pregnant wife in the seats across the aisle from the three of them.

Dora looked over. “You look frightened, child. Is there a problem on the train?”

The young woman started. “Oh, no, not really. Just some men the worse for drink got on at that last stop. Luke here decided we’d be more comfortable in this car. So here we are.”

“Good gracious! Alcohol is such an evil. It should not be allowed. Don’t you agree, Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones?” asked Dora, turning to them.

“Er…”

“Not necessarily, ma’am,” Heyes replied. “Alcohol has many medicinal uses, and for many folks a drink or two can be calming. But I admit there are plenty of fools who don’t know when to stop.”

Dora frowned and sniffed.

~~~000~~~

Heyes looked up from his paper and glanced out the window. Dora was leaning back in her seat, sleeping. The Kid, sitting next to Heyes, had his hat pulled over his eyes and appeared to be sleeping as well.

Sounds arose from the door leading to the next car. The Kid pushed his hat up on his head and straightened up in the seat, frowning at the door as he did so. As the sounds got louder, Dora awoke with a start and turned to watch the door, a frightened expression on her face. The other passengers were also staring at the door.

The door burst open and the three cowboys, now very drunk, entered laughing and cursing. The minister looked shocked and told his children to hush, placing his own bulk between them and the aisle.

“Sure is quiet in here, Zeke!” shouted one of the cowboys.

“Yeah, you’d think it was a wake,” responded another. He looked around and spied the young woman with her grandparents. “Hey, let’s have us a party, folks. You, what’s your name? Why don’t you party with us?”

The young woman shrank away from the drunken strangers.

Dora sat bolt upright, as the Kid and Heyes rose to their feet.

“Now, boys, why don’t you leave these folks alone,” the Kid said quietly, walking down the aisle towards the cowboys.

“No, we want a party, and this little lady is gonna party with us.” One of the cowboys made a grab for the girl.

The Kid grabbed his arm and swung him around. “I don’t think so. That’s enough.”

Heyes, standing right behind the Kid added, “Go back to the other car, boys. No one wants any trouble, but you’re bothering the folks in here.”

Dora watched this for a moment then slipped out the other door of the passenger car.

The three cowboys had reached the belligerent stage. “You can’t make us. You aren’t the railroad, or the law,” one argued. “Right, fellas?”

The Kid fixed him with a steely blue glare. “We may be just private citizens, but we’re tellin’ you to stop botherin’ the folks in this car. You’re botherin’ the ladies and scarin’ the children.”

The other passengers watched quietly, their eyes moving from the cowboys to Heyes and the Kid and back as the two sides sparred.

“You’ll regret interfering!” shouted one of the cowboys reaching for his gun. Suddenly sober, he gulped and stared transfixed at the gun that had materialized in the Kid’s hand. There was a collective gasp from the onlookers.

“Here, here, what’s this all about?” growled the conductor as he hurried down the aisle, followed by Dora.

Heyes smiled grimly, gun in hand. “Nothing, just some of your passengers need some time to sleep it off. I think they might be more comfortable in the baggage car.”

“Why don’t you let the conductor hold your weapons till the train reaches your stop,” suggested the Kid, enforcing the suggestion with a wave of his gun.

One of the cowboys started to protest, but he was cut off by an elbow to the ribs from one of his companions who nodded towards the guns in Heyes’ and the Kid’s hands. Grudgingly, the three handed their guns over to the conductor who took them, looking bewildered.

“Now why don’t we all go to the baggage car, where we can make you three comfortable? Perhaps by the time your stop is reached you’ll be able to behave around other people.” Heyes gestured them to pass him and follow the conductor to the baggage car. He and the Kid brought up the rear of the procession, guns at the ready.

~~~000~~~

Heyes and the Kid entered the passenger car and sat back down by Dora.

She smiled at them. “I can see my husband knew what he was doing after all when he hired you to escort me. Thank you.”

“It was nothing, ma’am. Just some boys letting off a little too much steam,” Heyes responded, smiling back.

“That was quick thinkin’ on your part, ma’am, to fetch the conductor,” the Kid complimented.

She smiled back, reached into her carpet bag, and offered them sandwiches and water.

~~~000~~~

The Kid stepped onto the platform holding his bags and Dora’s carpetbag. He put them down then reached up to help her. Once she had reached the platform, Heyes followed. They watched as the conductor opened the baggage car and the cowboys handed out Dora’s trunk, and then got off the train, taking their guns back from the conductor and skulking off sheepishly. As the train began to pull out of the station, the minister’s children and the young woman and her grandparents could be seen leaning out, waving goodbye.

Heyes smiled at Dora who was looking around, a frown on her face. “Was your husband meeting you, ma’am?”

“I certainly thought so. He knew what time we were due in; I can’t imagine what is detaining him.”

“We’ll wait with you, ma’am,” smiled the Kid, looking at Heyes. “After all, we need to be paid the rest of our fee.”

“Oh, I’m sure my husband will pay you, gentlemen. I can’t thank you enough,” exclaimed Dora.

“Our pleasure, ma’am,” said Heyes as he led her to a seat to await her husband.

~~~000~~~

Heyes pulled out his watch while Dora was not looking, then replaced it, and shook his head at the Kid.

“Oh, what can be keeping him!” exclaimed Dora.

“I’m sure I don’t know, ma’am,” Heyes replied.

The Kid stood upright from where he’d been leaning against the wall of the train station. “Ma’am, why don’t you let us escort you home? Somethin’ must have come up at work.”

Heyes nodded. “Thaddeus, why don’t you find some kind of conveyance to bring Mrs. Funck home?”

“I suppose,” Dora said doubtfully, standing up. “Though I really can’t imagine what’s keeping Elias. He’s an undertaker; it’s not as if his customers can’t wait.” She started to head towards the street before turning back to the boys. “This just isn’t like him. He’s always been most responsible. Oh, I admit, when we were younger there were times when he would overindulge, but he took the pledge and hasn’t touched a drop in years. I just don’t understand it.”

~~~000~~~

Dora sat beside the Kid, frowning into the distance, while he drove the buggy. Heyes lounged in the back seat, with Dora’s trunk and carpet bag.

“You said Elias took the pledge, ma’am?” Heyes prompted from where he sat.

Dora started and looked back at him. “What, oh, yes. You see it’s all because of my sister, Hilda. That girl was the light of our lives; the whole family doted on her. Still, one day she up and ran off with a musician that passed through our town -- this was a year or two after Elias and I had married. At first I’d get letters from her telling me how happy she was, then the letters came less often and she talked more about how difficult it was to make ends meet. Once Hilda came to stay with us, without her husband. Oh, my beautiful little sister looked old and worn; it was heartbreaking. She said work was hard to find and her husband had been drinking; she thought it was better to leave for a while.”

Dora paused then continued raggedly, “I begged her to stay with us, but after a month or so, she went back to him. I got one more letter from her then never heard from her again. Elias went looking for Hilda, in the town where the last letter had come from. He found her, and her husband, in the cemetery. Seems he got drunk and beat her to death. They hanged him.” She wiped a tear from her eyes. “That’s when Elias signed the pledge and I became active in the movement. It’s been ten years now, and while I know this can’t bring my Hilda back, I hope it will save some other poor wife. But I know it’s been hard on Elias, giving up his evenings at the bar with his friends.”

Heyes and the Kid were speechless.

~~~000~~~

The Kid pulled the buggy up in front of her house. “Ma’am, let me help you with your things.”

“Thank you, you can just place them by the door. I won’t take up any more of your time.”

“It’s our pleasure, ma’am. If there’s anything else we can do for you, we’ll be at the hotel. Your husband can find us there to pay us.” Heyes helped her out of the buggy.

Dora summoned a smile. “No, I’m quite fine. Thank you so much for all your assistance.”

They watched her enter her house and then walked back to the buggy.

“You know, Heyes, that story almost makes me want to skip drinkin’ tonight, and I’d been really lookin’ forward to it.”

“Know what you mean, but…” Heyes grinned at him. “Glad you said almost.”

~~~000~~~

Bang, bang, bang…

“Mr. Smith! Mr. Jones!”

Heyes groaned and rolled over. “Coming…” He looked at the Kid who, though bleary eyed, was reaching for his gun. “You know, Kid, we might’ve had one or two drinks too many last night.”

The Kid growled, “Just answer the door, will you; that poundin’s doin’ awful things to my head.”

Heyes smiled, then put a hand to his own head and went to answer the door. He opened it to find the chambermaid standing there.

“Yes?”

“I’m ever so sorry to disturb you,” she said breathlessly, her hands pleating and unpleating her skirt as she looked at him from the corner of her eyes. “But, Mrs. Funck…. Do you know Mrs. Funck, sir?”

“Yes. What’s wrong?” Heyes queried as the Kid moved up quietly beside him.

“Well she’s downstairs and she says she needs to speak with you. She’s in an awful taking, she is. I told her I thought you were still sleeping, but she insisted I wake you up.”

“Can you tell her we’ll be right down and bring us some water for shavin’?” The Kid handed her a coin and smiled at her.

“Oh, yes, sir,” she responded breathlessly.

When she left and the door had been closed, the Kid turned to Heyes. “What do you suppose the problem is?”

“Don’t know, Kid, but it’s not our problem.”

“Yes, it is. We haven’t been paid yet, remember?”

Heyes groaned again.

~~~000~~~

“Mrs. Funck, what seems to be the problem?” asked Heyes, addressing the anxious woman, as he and the Kid entered the hotel lounge.

“You have to come with me!” Dora exclaimed, grabbing Heyes’ arm and tugging him towards the door.

Heyes planted his feet, “Ma’am, now hold up just a minute there. What’s wrong?”

“It’s Elias…” Dora stopped and dabbed her eyes with her handkerchief. “He never came home last night. Our housekeeper says he hasn’t been home for the last two nights. Oh, Mr. Jones, Mr. Smith, you must help me.”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other over Dora’s bowed head. The Kid raised his eyebrows and shrugged; Heyes frowned and shook his head.

Dora looked up and saw the interchange. Her eyes hardened. “If you want the money Elias owes you, you have to help me find him.”

They looked at her.

“And… and I’ll pay you to help me find him. Ten dollars!”

Heyes sighed. “We’ll help you, ma’am, if you pay us what we’re owed now and twenty dollars, each, for finding him.”

Dora glared at them. “Fine!” she spat, reaching into her bag to pull out the money owed the two.

~~~000~~~

“Mrs. Funck. Ma’am!” Heyes reached out and grabbed Dora’s arm, stopping her. They stood in front of the sheriff’s office as they spoke. “Where are you going?”

“Why right here, to the sheriff; he can help us find Elias, of course. Something must have happened to him. It’s so unlike him to disappear like this.”

“You don’t need us to meet with the sheriff, ma’am,” the Kid tried. “Why don’t we start askin’ questions around town?”

Dora frowned. “Why wouldn’t you want to come with me to the sheriff?”

Heyes quickly responded, “It isn’t that we don’t want to talk with the sheriff, ma’am; we’re just anxious to begin looking for Elias. We want to find him as quickly as possible, knowing how worried you are.”

Dora’s expression lightened, but before she could say anything the door opened.

“Dora! Come in, come in. Are these men bothering you?” The sheriff tipped his hat at Dora and frowned at Heyes and the Kid.

“No, no. We were just coming to see you, Jonas,” explained Dora as she entered the sheriff’s office, followed, reluctantly, by Heyes and the Kid.

Once inside, Dora pulled off her gloves and placed them on the sheriff’s desk, which was covered in wanted posters. “Now, Jonas, this is Mr. Joshua Smith and Mr. Thaddeus Jones. Elias hired Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones to escort me safely home from my convention and they did a wonderful job. Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones, this is our old friend, Sheriff Jonas Parsons.”

While she spoke, Heyes and the Kid smiled uncomfortably. The Kid glanced around at the board holding three or four wanted posters, his and Heyes’ prominently displayed. He caught Heyes’ eyes and rolled his own toward the board just as the sheriff reached out and grabbed his hand to shake it.

“Mr. Smith, so nice to meet you. Glad to hear you took good care of Dora here,” Sheriff Parsons exclaimed, repeatedly shaking the Kid’s hand up and down.

“I’m Jones, he’s Smith,” the Kid said, forcing a smile as he and Heyes slowly maneuvered so that the sheriff and Dora were standing with their backs to the board.

Once he was done greeting them, Sheriff Parsons turned back and began gathering up the posters strewn across his desk. “Excuse the mess, Dora,” the sheriff apologized. “I was just updating my wanted posters. You know, putting up the newer ones and retiring some of the ones that haven’t been so active lately.” As he spoke, he turned and pulled their wanted posters from the board and stuffed them into a pile without reading them.

Heyes and the Kid watched this, fascinated.

“Jonas!” Dora reclaimed his attention. “Jonas, Elias is missing! He came home three nights ago and Sally, our housekeeper, says he was there, but he hasn’t come home for the last two nights, and she has no idea where he is! I’m so worried. Now, I’ve hired Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones to find him and I’m hoping you’ll help.” Dora burst into tears as she finished and buried her face in her hands.

Jonas turned to her. “There, there, Dora, I’m sure everything’s all right. Don’t you worry. We’ll find him.” He winked at the Heyes and the Kid over Dora’s shoulder. They looked at him curiously.

“Let me see you home, Dora,” the sheriff continued. “Gentlemen, how about I find you when I return, and we can discuss plans.”

“Sounds good, Sheriff. Ma’am.” Heyes tipped his hat and headed out the door, after exchanging bewildered glances with the Kid.

“Whatever you say, Sheriff. Don’t worry, ma’am, we’ll find him.” The Kid followed Heyes.

~~~000~~~

“Heyes, did that sheriff seem strange to you?”

“All sheriffs seem strange, even Lom at times.”

“No. I mean, he winked at us.”

Heyes smiled, “Maybe he likes you, Kid.”

The Kid rolled his eyes. “I need a drink.”

“I would too if the sheriff liked me,” Heyes chuckled, following the Kid.

~~~000~~~

As Heyes and the Kid stood at the bar, a hand clamped down on each of their shoulders.

“There you two are! I’ve been looking for you. I want to talk to you two,” the sheriff growled.

They turned around. “Sheriff Parsons. Did Mrs. Funck make it home alright?”

“Yeah, she’s just fine. Hank, a bottle of the good stuff and three glasses,” he ordered the bartender.

Once he had received the requested materials, he picked them up and waved towards the back table. “Come with me, men, we need to talk.”

“Yessir.”

He straddled a chair and poured all three a drink. “Now Dora’s a fine woman, don’t get me wrong. But she is strong-minded and don’t hold with drinking.”

“We noticed, Sheriff,” Heyes replied.

“Yeah, well Elias, well Elias,” the sheriff paused to sip his whiskey. “Elias is a poker buddy of mine. He never drank to excess, mind, but he does like a nip now and then. Even now he sneaks around to have an occasional drop with the boys. You understand what I’m getting at?”

“Not really,” the Kid responded. “We know Elias drinks; we shared a flask with him back at the hotel before he left town. What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Well, Elias hasn’t had much opportunity to have fun lately. Busy at work and running errands for that dang convention. So after he got home…” the sheriff trailed off, and watched them.

Heyes and the Kid looked at him, then at each other. The Kid shrugged, but a smile suddenly lit Heyes’ face.

“You saying he went on a bender when he got home, Sheriff?”

“Yeah.”

“Where is he? We’ve been to a couple of the bars and haven’t seen him.”

“Well last night, I saw him at O’Malley’s a couple of blocks that way,” the sheriff said, pointing behind him. “But I just went by there and checked; he’s not there.”

He frowned at them. “Elias is a good friend of mine, as is Dora. I don’t want either of them getting hurt. You get my drift?”

The Kid opened his mouth then shut it at a look from Heyes.

“Yeah, Sheriff, we understand; we need to find Elias and sober him up before Dora finds out what happened, right?”

“Right. Knew I could count on you two the minute I saw you.” The sheriff finished his drink, stood, and walked out of the bar, leaving Heyes and the Kid staring at each other.

~~~000~~~

“You know, Heyes, this is the fourth bar we’ve been to. I’m beginnin’ to see double.”

“Two beers please.” Heyes plunked down the money and accepted the beers.

The Kid took a sip. “You haven’t seen Elias Funck lately, have you?” he asked the bartender.

The bartender looked at him suspiciously “Elias doesn’t come into bars anymore; that wife of his is a real stickler. Why would I have seen him?”

Heyes smiled, “Look, we aren’t trying to get him in trouble with Dora. We just have a message we need to give him. We’re friends of his; it’s about some money we owe him.”

The bartender stared at them, frowning. “Alright, I don’t rightly know where he is, but you might want to talk with Louella over there.” He nodded in the direction of a shopworn saloon gal, who was sitting at a table playing solitaire.

Heyes and the Kid walked over, leaving the beers on the bar.

“Louella?”

“Yeah?” she responded without looking up. “Pull up a chair.” She placed the jack of diamonds on the queen of hearts then put down the cards and looked at them. As she looked them up and down a slow smile lit her tired face. “Well, howdy, boys. This’ll be a pleasure.”

Heyes frowned at the cards on the table and opened his mouth, his hand reaching out towards the game. The Kid kicked him then smiled at her. “Now, Louella, we just want to ask you some questions.”

Her smile disappeared. “Can’t you see I’m busy, boys?”

“Don’t be like that, Louella,” Heyes cajoled. “I’m sure we can find a suitable means of compensating you for your time.”

Louella frowned over the words, looking dubiously at Heyes. She turned back to the Kid. “Your friend there sure do like them big words, don’t he? Why don’t you buy me a drink then tell me what you two want?”

“Sure, Louella,” the Kid raised a hand and signaled for the bartender.

The bartender walked over with a bottle and three glasses; he poured and held out his hand to be paid. Louella ignored him, downed the first glass and signaled for a refill. Heyes and the Kid glanced at each other before Heyes pulled out some coins to pay for the drinks. Louella held out her glass for a third drink before the bartender walked away.

“Thanks, fellas. Who are you again?”

“I’m Joshua and he’s Thaddeus. Now, Louella, we’re told you might be able to direct us to Elias Funck,” Heyes began.

“Who?” Louella said and stared pointedly at her empty glass and their full ones.

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other, downed the whiskey, and signaled for refills. This time the Kid had the money ready and was able to limit Louella to two drinks.

“Elias, Louella,” Heyes coaxed again.

“Who? Oh, him, he’s a nice fella… hic.” Louella giggled and signaled for more whiskey.

When the bartender poured it, Heyes took the glass before Louella could and held it out of her reach. “Where is he, Louella?” he asked pointedly.

Louella looked owlishly at Heyes and the Kid. “Lishen friend, you are my friends, aren’t you?”

“Sure we are Louella, we just need to talk to your other friend Elias,” the Kid said, taking the glass from Heyes and handing it to Louella with a smile, just slightly forced. “Now, about Elias…”

“Oh, him, well he’s, he’s… I’ll have to tell you... I mean tell who… I mean talk to the other girls before I can tell you that. You come back tonight. Let’s have another drink.”

“Louella, we’ve had enough really.”

“I inshish… ishmish… ah, come on, jus’ one li’l ole drink.”

Rolling their eyes, the boys signaled and, once the bartender had poured three more glasses of whiskey, clinked glasses and downed them.

Louella smiled, burped, and put her head down on the table.

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other and stood, taking a moment to steady their balance with hands on the table. Heyes corrected the game of solitaire, and the two walked out of the saloon.

~~~000~~~

Heyes looked at the foolish smile on the Kid’s face as they made their way carefully down the street. His own eyes crossed slightly and he stumbled, grabbing a porch post to hold himself up. The Kid stopped instantly, listing slightly to one side. “What’s the matter?”

“You know, I think we need some coffee and food before we look any further.”

“Mr. Smith! Mr. Jones!” Dora declared in outraged accents. “You two are disgusting!”

“Now, ma’am.” The Kid whirled around to face the virago glaring at them, then rapidly grabbed on to Heyes in order to stay upright.

“I am not paying you to drink. I’m paying you to find Elias!”

Heyes straightened up and let go of the post. “Yes, ma’am, that’s just what we were doing, looking for Elias. That might require us to drink some in order to get information.”

“Elias would not be in any low saloon!”

“No, ma’am, of course he wouldn’t,” soothed Heyes. “But some of his friends might be and we were looking for them to ask them if they’d seen him lately.” Heyes took her arm and led her down the street. “Now, Mrs. Funck, go on home, I’m sure he’ll be back soon.”

Dora narrowed her eyes, glaring at the two of them. They blinked and tried to put intelligent expressions on their faces. Their faces turned red as they held their breaths, trying not to surround Dora in whiskey fumes.

“Very well. Just bring him home!” She turned and stomped away.

Heyes and the Kid let out their breaths and slumped against a nearby wall. “Sheesh…”

~~~000~~~

Heyes and the Kid walked back into the saloon and looked over at Louella, laughing with some of the regulars.

“How do you think she manages, Heyes?” the Kid whispered.

Heyes frowned. “Don’t know. Wish I did; my head feels like it’s about to fall off.”

The Kid nodded in agreement then winced. “Yeah. Let’s just get this over with. I swear if we have to drink, it’s goin’ down my boot. Right now I might join that temperance movement myself.”

Heyes laughed and clapped him on the shoulder as they made their way over to Louella.

~~~000~~~

“Well howdy, fellas!” Louella exclaimed.

“Louella, can we have a word with you in private.”

“Sure. Sorry, boys.” She walked away from her regulars and gestured for the Kid and Heyes to join her at the far end of the bar, away from the crowd. “Now, what was it you wanted?” she asked, signaling to the bartender. He ignored her.

“We’re lookin’ for Elias, remember?”

“Oh, yeah. Well,” she stopped and looked closely at them. “You really are friends of Elias? You’re not trying to get him in trouble?”

“Yes, ma’am. We’re friends of his. Dora’s upset and we want to get him home without causing problems,” Heyes averred.

“Well, some of the girls and me have a place about four blocks from here. You know, somewhere private away from the saloons. Anyway, Elias, he’s a real gentleman now. Well he’d been drinking too much and didn’t want to go home in case Dora found out. Now he’s still drinking, but he’s over at our place. You won’t tell Dora where he is?”

“Louella, what kind of friends to Elias would we be if we did that?” the Kid asked, smiling broadly at her.

Louella blinked slightly and leaned in, then shook herself and straightened up. “Yeah well… come on, let’s get this over with. I’m losing money here.”

~~~000~~~

Louella opened the door, calling out, “It’s me, Elias, and some friends of yours.”

Heyes and the Kid entered the one-room cabin, looking at the two large beds, a table with four rickety chairs around it, and a small wood stove in one corner. Despite the depressed condition of the furnishings, it was clear that the women had made some efforts; there were curtains at the one window, a brightly illustrated calendar hung on the wall, and the blankets on the beds were clean.

Elias sat at the table with a half empty bottle in one hand and a tin cup in the other. He looked up as they entered. “You two!” Suddenly he paled. “You… That means Dora’s home. Oh…”

Heyes looked down at him for a moment, gave the Kid a glance, and walked over to the stove. “Louella, is there any coffee?”

Louella glanced at Elias who was holding his head in his hands and moaning, and then turned to Heyes. “Yeah, and some bread to eat.” She hesitated. “Look, I gotta get back to work. You think you can get him out of here?”

Heyes pondered for a moment. “Don’t worry; we’ll get him out of here. We’ll make sure he leaves you some money, too. Just get back to work and don’t tell anyone where Elias was, okay?”

“Okay.”

~~~000~~~

The Kid waited until the door had closed behind Louella. “Dora’s real worried about you, Elias.”

“She must hate me.”

“No. She hired us to find you.”

“She’s never going to speak to me again.”

“Sure she will. We’re just gonna sober you up here, get you a bath and a shave, then you can go on home.”

“What’ll I tell her?”

The Kid glanced at Heyes, who was busily making coffee and toast.

“Joshua here will think of somethin’. He’s real good at that.”

Heyes looked up quickly at this and frowned at the Kid. The Kid stared back at him and shrugged.

“Look, what if I just pay you to say you couldn’t find me? I’ve got… I’ve got…” Elias fumbled in his pockets and pulled out several coins and a few bills. He peered at them owlishly and slowly, tongue stuck between his teeth, counted. He dropped several coins in the process, and reached over to pick them up, nearly falling out of the chair.

The Kid sighed, steadied him in his chair, then picked up the coins handing them to Elias.

“Look, Elias, I’m tellin’ you, Joshua can come up with somethin’ to say to Dora. He’ll probably come up with somethin’ about you bein’ bit by a snake and fightin’ for your life, unable to contact anyone. Why by the time he’s done, Dora will be beggin’ you for forgiveness. I tell you my partner here has a silver tongue.”

Heyes groaned and poured out the coffee, placing the cups on the table and handing Elias a plate of toast before sitting down.

Elias gulped some of the coffee and ran his hand over the stubble on his face. “Oh, God, what was I thinking? What am I going to say?”

“Go ahead, Joshua, tell him the great story you have for him.”

“You have to tell her the truth.”

“The truth! She’ll never speak to me again.”

Blue eyes glared at Heyes. “That’s it? That’s all you could come up with!? Tell her the truth! Some silver tongue,” he exclaimed bitterly.

Heyes ignored him and put his arm around Elias. “Look, Elias, she’s going to find out the truth one way or another. I suspect a lot of folks in town know where you are and that you’ve been drinking. At some point, some busybody in town will tell Dora. Better she hear it from you than from them.”

“Yeah, Elias, and Dora’s so worried about you right now, she’ll probably be in a real forgivin’ mood when she sees you,” the Kid encouraged him.

“You two don’t understand.”

“Elias,” Heyes spoke patiently. “Dora told us about her sister. We know she has strong views on the subject and why. But she loves you and she’s heartbroken now. Sure she’ll be angry, but she’ll forgive you. Dora’s a good woman. She’ll forgive you.”

Elias raised his eyes from his contemplation of the table top. “Really?”

“Of course. She loves you, doesn’t she? And you love her, don’t you?”

“Well, yes, but…”

“But, nothin’, Elias! The woman is cryin’ her eyes out with worry about you. You need to step up!” The Kid spoke sharply and glared at Elias.

Elias glared back for a moment then dropped his eyes. “You’re right, I need to go home.” He took a deep breath, stood up, swayed for a moment then steadied. He looked around the shack and shuddered. “Well, let’s get me a bath and a shave then head home.”

~~~000~~~

The buggy pulled up outside the Funck home. Heyes set the brake and turned to Elias. Elias’ eyes were bloodshot and there was a greenish tint to his skin, but he was sober and freshly shaved, his hair still damp.

“Here you go, Elias. Just go home.”

Elias climbed out of the buggy and stood there looking at the house and back at the boys. “Come with me.”

Heyes and the Kid shook their heads. “No, Elias. You have to do it yourself.”

He sighed. “Yeah, you’re right as always. Well, it’s been interesting, fellas. I think I’ll be taking that pledge again, but this time I’ll mean it.”

He turned and walked towards his house.

As Heyes and the Kid watched, the door was flung open, and Dora flew out, throwing her arms around Elias. He hugged her, then slowly put her to the side, spoke quietly, and they walked into the house, shutting the door behind them.

“So you think they’ll be all right, Heyes?”

Heyes stared at the house for a moment. “Yeah, you know, Kid, I think they will.” He gave a lift to the reins and urged the horses on. “So, you want to head back to O’Malley’s?”

“No. I think I’ve had enough to drink for the day. Why don’t we head back to the hotel? Maybe I can find somethin’ to read.”

Heyes looked at him eyebrows raised and let out a laugh. “You know, you still surprise me sometimes.”



Author’s Note: WCTU, or the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, was founded as a national movement in November 1874, growing out of the Woman’s Crusade of 1873 – 1874. Its purpose was to create a sober and pure world. WCTU’s actions went beyond the temperance efforts for which it was known and sought to address a number of social reform issues including, labor, prostitution, suffrage and women’s rights, public health and sanitation, and international peace. Mrs. Annie Wittenmyer was the first president. Miss Frances Willard became the President of the Evanston College for Ladies in 1871 and the first Dean of Women at Northwestern University in 1873. In 1874, she resigned that position to become the National Corresponding Secretary of the newly formed WCTU. From 1879 until her death in 1898, she served as the President of WCTU. Susan B. Anthony referred to Miss Willard as a “general with an army of 250,000.” WCTU was a prominent part of the progressive movement of the late 19th - early 20th centuries. Although its membership has dwindled, WCTU continues to this day and more information can be found at its website: www.wctu.org.



(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 Temperance Army 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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