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 Oh My Darling by Penski

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royannahuggins
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Posts : 419
Join date : 2013-10-13

20140301
PostOh My Darling by Penski


Starring

Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes and
Ben Murphy as Kid Curry


Guest Starring

Sally Fields as Clementine Hale


Tom Selleck as Dick Jameson


Robert Morse as Fred Philpott


Belinda Montgomery as Penny



In the shadows, Kid Curry waited, gun drawn, looking and listening for anyone that might be around. He glanced up and saw the half-moon, high in the sky, disappear behind a cloud.

A leaf rustled and instantly Curry turned with his gun aimed in the general area.

“Just me,” Heyes hissed, as he came toward his partner with his gun also out.

“Did you see anyone?” the Kid whispered as he continued to look around.

Heyes holstered his gun. “Nope. Checked the back and the barn.”

“Guess that covers it. Can’t be too careful after last time.”

“Don’t remind me,” Heyes sighed. “Maybe they finally gave up. Let’s go.”

Cautiously, Heyes and the Kid made their way down to a house and onto the front porch. With their backs against the wall, Heyes leaned forward and peeked in the window.

“Looks like she’s alone,” he smiled as he walked to the door and lightly tapped.

Curry, alert and watching Heyes’ back, followed him.

“Who is it?” a female voice inquired from inside.

“It’s us,” Heyes announced.

The door swung open. “You came! I was thinking you weren’t going to come.”

Heyes and the Kid quickly entered the house, closed the door and locked it.

“Of course we came!” Heyes deeply smiled as he hugged Clementine.

The Kid holstered his gun and waited his turn. Once Heyes released Clementine, the Kid whirled her in a big hug. “Came as soon as we got word.”

Clementine smiled. “I have so much to tell you! I bet you’re hungry. Why don’t you take care of your horses while I start dinner?”

“Dinner in the middle of the night…?” Heyes began to question.

“Sounds great!” the Kid finished. “We haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast.”

Before going back out the door, Heyes turned. “Have you seen anyone watching the place, Clementine?”

“No one for, gosh, a month or two. Hopefully they gave up. Maybe they think you wouldn’t come back after last time.”

“Well, we thought about not comin’ ‘cos of last time. Let’s take care of the horses and then we can talk.” The Kid opened the door and they left.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

The three friends sat at the table with Heyes and Curry finishing their dinner.

“These eggs and bacon sure were good, Clem.” The Kid finished his last bite.

Heyes pushed an empty plate away from him and sipped his coffee. “Guess I was hungrier than I thought.”

“So what’s goin’ on, Clem?”

“Yeah, Lom said you wanted to see us as soon as possible.”

Clementine beamed. “I’m getting married!” she announced, as she waved her hand with a large ring on it.

“Married!?” Heyes and the Kid exclaimed in unison.

“Yes, to a wonderful man.”

“And who finally stole your heart away from us?” Heyes grinned.

“Mr. Richard James Ellingsworth the Third!”

“The third, huh?” the Kid chuckled. “So that means you’re the third wife?”

Clementine reached over and swatted Curry. “No it does not!”

Curry held up his hands. “Just kiddin’!”

“We’re really happy for you, Clementine. When is the wedding?”

“Hoping in three months. It’ll be the talk of Denver.” She leaned in. “He’s quite wealthy, you know.”

“Of course he is,” Heyes said and immediately regretted it when he saw Clementine scowl. “I mean, only someone with money is good enough for you, sweetheart.”

Clementine’s scowled a moment longer and then frowned. “I suppose you won’t be able to attend the wedding.”

Curry shook his head. “Not that we don’t wanna come, but it wouldn’t be smart.”

“Someone might recognize us there,” Heyes continued. “And folks know we’re acquaintances of you so they might be looking for us.”

“I figured as much,” Clementine sighed.

“Sure would like to meet the man that stole you from us,” the Kid said as he sipped his coffee.

“Oh, but you can! He’s been anxious to meet my friends. We could go out for dinner and I can introduce you to him!”

“Dinner?” Heyes asked as he filled everyone’s coffee.

Clementine nodded. “Yes, I know of a wonderful intimate restaurant. No one would think of seeing Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry at the Velvet Venetian Room.”

“Velvet Venetian Room? Sounds like one of them fancy expensive places.” Curry scrunched up his face.

“Oh, it is! You do have suits, don’t you?”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Heyes and the Kid lay in a double bed, both with their hands behind their heads.

Heyes yawned. “Imagine, our Clementine as Mrs. Richard James Ellingsworth.”

“You forgot the Third,” the Kid chuckled. “Wonder what kind of man finally won Clem’s heart.”

“One with money!” Heyes exclaimed. “And, thanks to your comment about wanting to meet him, now we have to meet him.”

“At the Velvet Venetian Room.” Curry shook his head.

“Don’t it seem strange that this guy is anxious to meet her friends?” Heyes picked up a book, looked at the title and put it down on the nightstand.

“Maybe he just wants to know all there is about our Clem.”

Heyes chuckled. “Sure he wants to know ALL about Clementine?”

Curry slid down under the blankets. “Night, Heyes.”

“Night.” Heyes reached over the turned down the lamp.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“THOSE suits? You only have THOSE suits?” Clementine looked horrified at the wrinkled old brown and grey suits laid out of the bed.

“What’s wrong with our suits?” Heyes demanded.

“Well, for one thing, they’re outdated!”

“Outdated?” the Kid asked. “They look fine to me. Maybe just a little wrinkled.”

Clementine shook her head. “For another, your pants are way too short, Heyes.”

“That way they don’t get so dirty.”

“And those hats!”

“The hats, too?” The Kid reached for his gray bowler and brushed it. “I like how I look in my hat.”

“Kid, none of your clothes fit properly! Who sized them on you when you bought them?”

Heyes scowled. “We did and they do too fit!”

Clementine stamped her foot. “You simply cannot go to the Velvet Venetian Room wearing those suits and hats!”

“Then fine, we won’t go!” Heyes crossed his arms.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Curry came out of a dressing room. “How do I look, Joshua?” he asked as he turned around in a charcoal gray suit.

“Your other gray suit looks fine,” Heyes grumbled. “Still don’t know why we had to get new suits.”

The Kid walked around Heyes. “To be honest, that black suit looks better than your brown one.”

“I like my brown one!”

“The pants are longer, too.”

“They’ll get dirty now.”

The Kid looked at the variety of hats. “How about a top hat?”

Heyes rolled his eyes. “You can barely fit the bowler in your saddlebags. How you gonna fit a top hat in them?”

The Kid shrugged. “Okay, a new bowler hat to go with my new suit.” He picked up several and tried them on.

“I can’t believe we’re buying suits and hats to meet Clementine’s fiancé.” Heyes put on a black bowler and looked in the mirror.

Curry put a hand on his partner’s shoulder and smiled as he looked in the mirror at Heyes’ image. “It’s for Clem, Joshua. And besides, she’s payin’.”

Heyes grinned as he adjusted the hat.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“My, don’t you two clean up nice! And those suits and hats are such an improvement over those old ones.” Clementine admired her friends at her house. “Why are you ready so early? Richard won’t be here to pick us up for another two hours.”

“We thought we’d ride in a little earlier.” The Kid put on his gun belt.

Clementine began to frown.

Heyes smiled. “That way you and Richard can have some alone time.”

“That way you two can go to the poker clubs and cathouses before and after dinner! And why are you wearing your gun? You don’t need it at the Velvet Venetian Room!”

“I always wear my gun, Clem; you know that! And I’m not gonna not wear it for Richard.”

Clementine crossed her arms and tapped a foot, a scowl on her face.

“Just give up, Clementine; the Kid don’t go anywhere without his gun. Believe me, I’ve tried to talk him into leaving it behind many times.”

“I feel nekkid without it, Clem. You don’t want me feelin’ like that, do you?” the Kid argued. “Besides, you can’t see it with my jacket on.”

Heavily sighing, Clementine gave in. “Well, okay, but do you have to tie it down?”

“Tonight, for you, I won’t tie it down.” Curry removed the leather thong to tie around his thigh. “Better?”

“Yes,” conceded Clem.

Heyes kissed Clementine on the cheek. “See you later!”

The Kid kissed her on the other cheek as he walked out the door and said, “Bye, Clem!”

“Don’t you boys be late, you hear?” Clementine yelled from the door. “The Velvet Venetian Room at six o’clock. It’s by Union Station. You can’t miss it. Don’t you dare be late! Richard is looking forward to meeting my dear friends Joshua and Thaddeus.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Heyes pulled out his pocket watch as they walked up to the Velvet Venetian Room. “Six o’clock sharp. Right on time.”

“Can’t wait to get back to Lilly’s after dinner,” the Kid commented as he opened the door and walked in.

“Look at this place!” Heyes looked around the vestibule with the gold and green velvet fixtures and furniture.

The Kid started walking to the dining room. “Bet dinner is gonna be expens… Hey, where are we going?”

Heyes grabbed Curry’s arm and pushed him into a corner behind a large plant. “Do you know who’s in there?” he hissed as he pointed back toward the dining room.

“Clementine?”

“Dick Jameson.”

“Dick Jameson? The bounty hunter?”

“Yep!” Heyes ventured a glance into the dining room. “That’s him all right and he’s sitting with Clementine! Let’s get outta here.”

Heyes and Curry slipped out of the restaurant and into a nearby alley.

“Richard James Ellingsworth… Dick Jameson. We should’ve figured that out,” Heyes said as he ran his fingers through his hair.

The Kid checked his gun.

“Think he realizes who Joshua and Thaddeus are?”

“I wouldn’t put it past Jameson to use Clementine to get to us. Just enough folks believe she knows us.”

“So, which one of us is gonna tell her? You know this is gonna break her heart.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Clementine impatiently checked her antique watch pin. “Six-twenty. I can’t imagine why Joshua and Thaddeus aren’t here. They promised me.” She looked back to the door.

“Maybe lady luck has them tied to a poker game, my dear.” Richard put his hand on top of Clementine’s drumming fingers.

“They better not be if they know what’s good for them,” she muttered.

“Hopefully you can arrange another time while they are in town. I would so love to meet any friend of yours.” He took her hand and, meeting his lips, kissed the top. “Let’s order dinner so as not to ruin this lovely evening. And,” he raised his glass of champagne, “a toast to the most beautiful lady in Denver.”

“Oh, Richard…” Clementine blushed.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“Where were you two?!” Clementine yelled as Heyes and the Kid came back to the house. “Do you know what time it is?”

“After midnight?” the Kid ventured a guess.

“I can’t believe you stood me and Richard up like that! And you’ve been drinking!”

“Now, Clementine, we didn’t actually stand you up. We were there at six o’clock sharp, weren’t we?” Heyes prodded the Kid.

“Yep, we were there exactly on time.”

Clementine’s arms were folding as she glared at her friends. “You were at the Velvet Venetian Room this evening at six o’clock?”

“Yep!” came a united response.

“So why didn’t you come in and have dinner then?”

“Because of Dick…” Kid began.

“Dick?”

“Dick Jameson. He’s a bounty hunter.”

“So what does this Dick Jameson have to do with you having dinner with Richard and me?”

“Maybe you better sit down, Clem.” The Kid took her hand and led her to the table.

“Is that hot coffee?” Heyes went over to the stove and held up the pot looking at the Kid. When he nodded, Heyes poured two cups. “Do you want some too, Clementine?”

“What I want is an explanation for your poor behavior!”

Heyes handed the Kid a cup of coffee and both sat down.

“Clementine, your fiancé is a bounty hunter. His name is Dick Jameson,” Heyes began.

“And he’s ruthless,” the Kid added.

“What?” Clementine looked puzzled. “You’re saying Richard is a bounty hunter?”

Both boys nodded.

“Sorry to tell you, he’s using you to get us,” Heyes finished.

“Richard? A bounty hunter?” Clementine laughed.

Heyes and the Kid glanced at each other.

“That’s right, Clem.” The Kid went to take her hand, but she pulled it away.

“Richard is involved in the financial world. He invests and makes lots of money. I doubt he could shoot the side of a barn.” Clementine chortled, “Bounty hunter…Richard.”

Heyes took hold of her hands. “Trust us, Dick Jameson and Richard James Ellingsworth the Third are the same person. He’s using you to get to us.”

Clementine pulled away, stood up and paced the room. “You just don’t want me to get married! You don’t want me to be happy! You’re… You’re both jealous of Richard!”

“Clem…” The Kid got up from the table to hug her. “We want you to be happy. Richard isn’t who he says he is.”

“Then prove it!” Clementine pushed Curry away, stormed into her bedroom and slammed the door shut.

“Well, she didn’t take that very well.” Heyes finished his coffee, stood up and stretched.

“Did you really think she would?” Curry asked as he yawned.

“Nope. Let’s go to bed.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Heyes tightened the cinch as he saddled his horse. “Clementine sure is mad this morning!”

“Was it the bangin’ of the pans or the burned breakfast that told you that?” the Kid remarked as he mounted his horse. “Where we goin’?”

“Away from Clementine so I can think.”

The two former outlaws rode out of the yard with Clementine watching with a scowl at the window.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Heyes and the Kid rode into town cautiously and dismounted in front of a large saloon.

“Need to be careful of Jameson,” Curry said as he tied his horse’s reins to a hitching post.

“Yeah,” Heyes agreed as they stepped onto the boardwalk. “When we enter, I’ll go to the right and you go left to make sure he’s not already in here. We’ll meet at the bar.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Entering the crowded saloon, Heyes went right and walked casually around the casino area, taking in who was playing at the different game tables. He made his way to the bar and noticed his partner already there with a beer and finishing a sandwich.

Without looking at him, Heyes stood next to Curry and hissed, “See anyone, Kid?”

“Kid?” came a voice that did not belong to Kid Curry.

Heyes’ eyes widened and he gulped before glancing over at the man next to him. “Hey, you’re…”

“And you’re Hanni…”

“SHHH… it’s Joshua Smith!” Heyes smiled. “And you’re Fred – Fred Philpot, right?”

Fred grinned. “You remembered.”

“Hard not to remember you pretending to be Kid Curry and almost getting hanged. Walking up from behind I thought you were him."

Kid Curry approached his partner warily. “Joshua, I didn’t see… Well, if it ain’t the guy who pretended to be me in Montana.”

“Howdy, Ki…”

“It’s Jones. Thaddeus Jones.” The Kid grinned and shook his hand. “Thought you were headin’ back to Minnesota.”

“Me and Penny were, but we kinda fell in love with Denver and stayed.”

“How is Penny?” Heyes held up two fingers as a bartender came nearby.

“She’s great! Got married soon after we left Red Rock.” Fred blushed. “Penny’s expectin’ our first young ’un.”

“That’s great!” Heyes patted Fred on the back.

Curry accepted a beer from the bartender. “Couldn’t be happier for the two of you.”

“So what brings you to Denver?” Fred asked.

Heyes and Curry glanced at each other.

“Visiting a friend,” Heyes answered him after taking a sip of his beer. “And what kind of work did you find here?”

“I’m workin’ as an accountant.” Fred glanced at his pocket watch. “And it’s time to get back there from lunch. If you’ll be in town for a few days, I’m sure Penny would wanna see you.” He scribbled on a piece of paper from his pocket. “Here’s our address.”

“We’ll see what’s happening with our friend.” Heyes took the paper and pocketed it. “Maybe we can make it over there.”

“Well, enjoy your stay here, Smith and Jones.” Fred shook their hands and hurried out of the saloon.

“Imagine runnin’ into Fred here in Denver,” the Kid commented as he took a sip.

“Yeah, imagine…” Heyes stared straight ahead.

“Joshua, you’re comin’ up with a plan, aren’t you,” the Kid said knowingly.

“Yep, I just may be. Now we just gotta prove to Clementine that Richard James Ellingsworth the Third isn’t who he says he is.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Curry, Heyes and Clementine tied their horses to a fence near a boarding house.

“Richard lives in a boardin’ house?” the Kid asked.

“Yes. He’s relocating to Denver from Chicago.” Clementine put her hands on her hips. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this. It seems so… Well, it seems like I don’t trust him.”

“Where’s the owner?” Heyes asked.

“Mrs. Wells has choir practice this evening.”

“And Richard?”

“He had to go out of town on business for the night, but said he’d be back tomorrow for sure. He’s most anxious to meet you since you’re almost like family to me.”

“I’m sure he is,” muttered Curry.

Heyes glanced around at the house. “Which room is his?”

“This corner one downstairs.”

“That’s convenient.” Heyes took Clementine by the arm and coaxed her forward. “Let’s get going.”

The three slipped over to the window and Heyes pulled a small knife from his boot. Moments later, he had the window open. Heyes went in the room first. Curry assisted Clem inside, and then checking around one last time, entered the room.

“What are you looking for?” hissed Clementine.

“Anything that’ll prove to you that Richard ain’t who he says he is.” Heyes began opening drawers and checking the contents.

The Kid looked inside the armoire and pulled out a carpet bag. Putting it on the bed, he opened it.

“Find anything?” Heyes asked as he closed the last drawer.

“Not yet.” Curry put the bag back.

“Of course you didn’t. There’s nothing to find. Richard is a wealthy man from Chicago,” Clementine said smugly.

The Kid looked through the clothes hanging. “More trail clothes in here than business suits.”

Heyes rifled through some papers on a table while the Kid looked under the bed and pulled out saddle bags.

Curry whistled low. “Found something.”

Heyes and Clementine came over to the bed as the Kid pulled out a pile of wanted posters with theirs on the top.

“Well, that doesn’t prove anything… Does it?” Clem asked disappointed. “I mean, Richard could have those for souvenirs. Or because he thinks they’ll be worth money someday.”

“Clem…” Curry opened the other pouch, while Heyes looked through the posters.

“A few of these posters have a line through them and the word ‘Captured’ on them,” Heyes pointed out.

“And there are a few handcuffs and leather ties in here.” The Kid closed the strap.

Heyes handed the posters back to Curry to put away in the bag. “All points to a bounty hunter, Clementine.”

“Well, maybe… And maybe not. I’m sure Richard has a good explanation of why he has all of this.”

“You say he goes on business trips?” the Kid asked.

“Yes, sometimes for several days.”

“Think maybe he’s out of the trail of some outlaw?” Heyes gently probed.

“No! I just can’t picture Richard doing that,” Clem defended her beau.

Heyes sighed. “We better get out before we’re spotted.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Richard and Clementine sat on a porch swing in the cool of the evening sipping tea.

“When are we going to put our engagement in the newspaper, Richard?” Clementine asked sweetly. “I’ve already started making wedding plans.”

“Soon, dear, very soon.”

“What are we waiting for?”

Richard hesitated a moment. “I still want to tell my mother before we announce to the world.”

Clem stopped rocking and looked at him. “You haven’t told your mother yet?”

“Well, no. She hasn’t been well and I didn’t want to give her such news until she felt better.”

“Maybe she would feel better if she knew you were going to get married and carry on the family name.”

Richard gulped. “Be patient and I’ll tell her soon.”

“And here I’ve told my father and best friends about you.”

“Sweetheart, when do I get to meet these close friends of yours?” Richard asked as he gently rubbed her hand. “Are they still in town?”

“Well no, they had to leave.”

“They left?!” Richard said louder than he intended. “Your friends left town already? When?”

“Joshua and Thaddeus left this noon.”

“Gone,” Richard muttered under his breath.

“I don't see why it matters so much to you, Richard, unless...”

“Unless what?”

“Oh nothing. Nothing at all, really.” Clementine frowned.

“I better leave. Have an early day tomorrow.”

The two stood up and Richard leaned over to give Clementine a chaste kiss. He walked off the porch toward his horse.

“When will you be back?” she asked.

“Not sure, dear.” He mounted his horse and mumbled to himself as he turned, “Depends if I can find their trail.”

“Let me know!” Clementine called out. She then pouted and mumbled to herself, “Why indeed, Richard?! Unless Heyes and the Kid are right, and you ARE really, Dick Jameson!”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“I can’t believe Richard… Dick Jameson was using me to get to you two. Of all the dirty, rotten, low-down things!” Clementine paced with her arms folded.

“Sorry, Clementine.” Heyes reached out to her, but she continued to pace.

“I feel so…so used!”

The Kid lifted the coffee pot and raised an eyebrow as he looked towards Heyes. After seeing a nod, he poured two cups, handing one to his partner. “He’s ruthless, no doubt about it.”

“Just how ruthless?” Clem asked.

“Well, me and the Kid had two job offers about… Has it been over a year ago?”

“It’s been about that long,” the Kid agreed.

“It was night and I was on the trail. I didn’t want to light a fire and draw attention to myself since I was alone when…”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Heyes sat against a tree eating jerky. “Tonight’s jerky and water… Tomorrow there will be steak and whiskey with the Kid,” he muttered to himself as he took another bite.

A twig snapped and Heyes quickly drew his gun, looking toward the noise. His brows furrowed as he cocked his head, listening for any other sounds.

A click of a gun resonated, disturbing the peaceful night.

“Have a Colt aimed at your heart. Put your gun down and your hands up… NOW!” came a command from near Heyes’ horse.

Heyes set his gun on the ground and raised his hands. “If this is a robbery, I don’t have much.”

A shadow of a man, followed by the man himself, emerged from the trees. “Not a robbery. I got me a prisoner – Hannibal Heyes.”

Heyes closed his eyes and sighed. “I’m not Hannibal Heyes. The name’s Jack Hotchkiss.”

“Sure it is…and I’m President Arthur,” the man chuckled as he kicked Heyes’ gun away. “Take your boots off and toss them over there.”

“My boots?”

“You heard me!”

“What makes you think I’m Hannibal Heyes?” he grumbled as he removed his boots.

“Stand up and hug the tree.”

“What?!”

“You’re wanted dead or alive; how do you want to be delivered to the sheriff in Jackson?”

Heyes begrudgingly stood up and put his arms around the tree. A pair of handcuffs was placed on his wrists, securing him.

“There, that’s better. I’m gonna search you now and you better not kick at me, if you know what’s good for you.” The man holstered his gun and patted down his prisoner.

“I’m asking again, why do you think I’m Hannibal Heyes?”

“Don’t think you’re in any position to be demanding anything, Heyes, but guess it don’t hurt to tell you. Someone you rode with a while back pointed you out to me for a cash reward.”

“Who?”

“Not gonna say. He isn’t wanted dead or alive and your partner might think of sending him to an early grave if he found out.” The man searched Heyes’ boots. “And here’s the knife and lock pick he warned me that you carry in your boot. What do we have here? You lied. You got plenty of money on you.” The bills were folded and placed in a pocket. “So where’s your partner? I am hoping he’ll join our little party. $20,000 sounds twice as good as $10,000.” Another chuckle from the man and a spit of tobacco.

“Hate to ruin your day, but I don’t have a partner. I’m not Hannibal Heyes. I’m Jack Hotchkiss.”

“We’ll just let Sheriff Ford decide. Heard he knows you – seen you when the Devil’s Hole Gang robbed a bank. Did you rob the bank at Jackson?”

Heyes set his jaw firmly and his eyes narrowed with a hint of irritation. “Rob a bank? Told you, I’m not that outlaw. I’m Jack Hotchkiss and have a family and homestead in Deer Creek.”

“And you can go back home, Jack Hotchkiss, after a detour to see Sheriff Ford.”

“At least you can tell me your name. I’d like to know who’s holding me prisoner.”

“Guess it don’t hurt to tell you since it’ll be in all the papers soon.” The man pulled his bedroll off his horse and set it out. “Dick Jameson – the man who finally captured Hannibal Heyes.”

“Well, Mr. Jameson, can I have my boots back?”

“Nope. Harder for you to get very far without your boots.” Jameson settled into his bedroll.

“You’re leaving me standing here all night?!” Heyes asked, incredulously.

“Yep. Figure that’s a safe way to keep you from escaping.”

“You can’t…”

“I can and if you don’t quit talking, I’ll gag you so I can get some shuteye. You understand me?”

Heyes nodded.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“That bounty hunter made you stand all night hugging a tree?!” Clem asked.

“Sure did. There’s more. Next morning…”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Jameson yawned as he got up and stretched. “How’d you sleep, Heyes?”

“It’s Hotchkiss,” grumbled Heyes. “Could have let me sit instead of standing all night.”

“Yeah, I guess I could have, but this way you’re more tired.” The bounty hunter packed up his bedroll and saddled the horses. He put Heyes’ boots in his saddle bags.

“Hey, my boots! You’re still not giving them to me?”

“Nope, and if you don’t behave, you’ll be walking instead of riding. I’d prefer my prisoners to walk, but I want to get to Jackson by tomorrow night.” Jameson unlocked one of the cuffs and put the hand behind Heyes’ back. “Put your other hand behind your back.”

Heyes took a moment to move his arm and shoulder around before putting the hand back to be cuffed again.

“Next time don’t take so long or you will be walking! And that’s a promise, not a threat!” Jameson cuffed the hand and roughly pushed Heyes toward his horse. “Get your foot up there.”

Heyes put his foot in the stirrup and Jameson helped lift him up on the horse. Taking Heyes’ gelding’s reins, the bounty hunter mounted his own horse and led.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“At least you got to ride,” Clem poured more coffee for everyone.

“Not for long. Just after noon on a hot day…”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“You know, we’re making pretty good time. Think we’ll stop and water the horses.” Jameson dismounted and helped Heyes slide off his horse. “Sit down and cross your legs. Sit there while I lead the horses to the creek.”

Heyes sat down as told. “I could use some water, too.”

“Bet you could.” Jameson took a long drink from his canteen. “Can join the horses, if you want.”

“So if I want a drink, I have to get it like an animal?”

“Yep – in my world, an outlaw is an animal so gets treated like one. Go ahead. Got my gun trailing you so don’t go doing anything stupid.”

With his hands still behind his back, Heyes maneuvered himself at the creek so he was lying on his belly drinking water.

“That’s enough – time to go.” Jameson grabbed one of Heyes’ arms and jerked him up. “Think we have enough time so you can walk a few miles.”

“Walk? What’d I do to have to walk? I’ve done all you wanted.”

“Want you good and tired tonight so I can sleep. Besides, you just being an outlaw is enough of a reason.”

“I already told you I’m Jack…”

“Save it for Sheriff Ford. Now, I’m willing to move those handcuffs in front of you so you have an easier time, but you’ll have to behave for me to move them. Your choice.”

Heyes grumbled, “I won’t try nothing.”

“Knew you’d make the right choice.” Jameson opened one side of the cuffs and repositioned Heyes’ arms to be in the front before locking it again. “You did good.” Next the bounty hunter tied one end of a rope around Heyes’ torso and the other end around the saddle pummel. “Ready?”

“No! What about my boots?”

“You got your hands in front of you. I’m not giving you an advantage to escape by letting you wear your boots.” The bounty hunter mounted his horse, grabbed the reins to Heyes’ gelding and began walking.

Heyes cursed under his breath before being jerked forward by the rope.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“Gosh, Heyes, that’s awful!”

Heyes nodded in agreement. “After another night of standing and hugging a tree, that jail cell looked awful good.”

“And Sheriff Ford recognized you?”

“He sure did.”

“How did you escape?”

“That’s where I come in,” the Kid spoke up. “News spread quick that Heyes was captured and in Jackson so I got there as fast as I could. When I got there at night, I went around the back of the jail to see if I could talk to Heyes…”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Kid Curry cautiously peeked through the barred window of the jail. A deputy was sleeping at the desk and a prisoner was pacing. “Heyes?” he whispered.

The prisoner looked towards the sleeping deputy and then went to the window. “About time,” Heyes hissed. “Sheriff’s George Ford and he knows both of us. Leaving for Wyoming in morning.”

The Kid sighed. “Okay; be ready for anything.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

The landscape was void of trees with an occasional rock cropping dotting the high plains with rolling hills. The sun was high in the sky and bore down on a wagon with a prisoner shackled inside the bed; a deputy was driving the horses and another deputy was on a horse, watching for trouble.

“Sure is hot today!” The deputy riding stopped for a drink from his canteen.

“Sure is,” grumbled the other deputy. “I’d rather be back in town havin’ a cold one in the saloon than takin’ him all the way to Laramie.”

“Think we could stop for a bit?” a voice came from under a black hat. “I could use a drink of water myself and maybe a stretch.”

“Sure, so your gang can catch up with us, Heyes? We’re trained deputies so we ain’t stupid, ya know!” said the rider on the horse.

“Looks like a creek over yonder,” the wagon driver nodded to an area with trees. “Horses could use a break. And I wouldn’t mind a stretch myself.”

“Guess it wouldn’t hurt none,” agreed the rider. “Just don’t get too close to that mound of rocks. Good place to get bushwhacked.”

Eyes under the black hat closed. “Don’t get too close…” Heyes mumbled. “Come on, Kid; where are you?”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Curry cursed under his breath as he lowered the gun when he saw the wagon circle away from him.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

The wagon pulled up under a shade tree and the guards led the horses to the creek for a drink.

Heyes pushed his hat back from his eyes and glanced around. “I need some water, too, if you don’t mind.”

“Wait your turn, Heyes. We taking care of the horses right now,” replied the driver of the wagon.

“Anytime now, Kid,” Heyes muttered under his breath.

Kid Curry led two horses along the creek until he saw the group far ahead of him. He tied the horses to a tree nearby and stealthily made his way to the guards with his gun out. “Drop the rifles and guns nice and slowly,” he demanded from behind a tree. “Now!”

“What the…”

“Where are you?”

Heyes grinned as his partner walked away from the tree and towards the wagon.

“Drop your guns!” Curry ordered, with his gun aimed at the men.

The guards obliged by dropping their weapons.

“Lay down on your bellies!”

Both guards warily lay down.

Curry stole a glance at his partner. “How you doin’, Heyes?”

“Better now. What took you so long?”

The Kid raised an eyebrow and then shook his head. “Who has the keys to the shackles?”

“Neither of us do. Sheriff has the key,” replied one of the guards.

“That true?” Curry glanced at his partner.

“Could be. Didn’t see a key when they put these on.” Heyes held up his hands for emphasis.

“Where’s your lock pick?”

“Dang bounty hunter took it when he captured me.”

“Think you can hold the gun while I get the horses?”

“Sure.” Heyes held the proffered gun on the two deputy guards.

Curry hurried back to the horses and brought them to the wagon. He rummaged in his saddle bags and grinned as he pulled out a lock pick.

“So you’re carrying one around now?” Heyes asked as he exchanged the gun for the pick with his partner.

“Yep – never know when you might need one.” The Kid smiled as he heard the first shackle click open.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“That’s some story,” Clementine sat back in her chair. “I know you have to be careful with folks recognizing you, but I don’t think about you getting captured like that.”

“Gets tiring watching your back all the time.” Heyes stood up and stretched.

“Speaking of being tired, I’m tired of my house being watched. Everyone is trying to get to you through me!”

“Sure seems like it,” Curry agreed.

Heyes sat down at the table. “So, how would you like to get a little revenge on Jameson and, at the same time, have folks around here know that Smith and Jones aren’t Heyes and Curry?”

Clementine stopped pacing. “You can do that?”

Heyes grinned.

Clementine sat at the table with her friends. “How? When?”

“Here’s what we’re gonna do…”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“You want me to do what?” Fred asked, his eyes wide and his mouth dropped open.

“Pose as Kid Curry,” Heyes said.

The Kid, who had been leaning against a wall in the Philpot’s home, pushed off. “You’ve done it before.”

“Won’t it be dangerous?” Penny served pie to the guests.

“No,” Heyes shook his head. “I’ll be there the whole time doing the talking. And the Kid will be watching our backs if something does go wrong. Which it won’t,” he quickly added. He ate a piece of pie. “This is real good, Penny.”

She smiled.

“Best apple pie I’ve had in a long time,” Curry added.

“So I just go and act like Kid Curry?” Fred took a plate from his wife.

“Well, no. You act as a peaceable drifter named Thaddeus Jones, NOT as a gunslinger.”

“I guess I can do that.”

Penny sat down after serving. “As long as it’s not dangerous. We do owe them,” she reminded her husband. “If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be married.”

“And I’d have been hung.”

“I hate to think how close you came.” Penny shuddered.

“So you’ll do it?” Heyes asked.

Fred and Penny looked at each other and nodded.

“Sure, least I can do for you two.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Back at Clementine’s house, Heyes paced.

“Must he do that?” Clem asked. “He’s making me nervous.”

“He’s figurin’ out every detail.”

“He always does this?”

“Yep!”

“How do you put up with it?”

Heyes stopped pacing for a minute. “I need to look different…like a not-so-smart drifter.”

“Well, you could wear glasses,” Curry suggested. “And a droopy moustache, like you had when we were helpin’ the Jordan family.”

“And maybe oil your hair back? Oh, and part it down the middle,” Clem added.

“Good… good… And what to wear?”

Clementine smiled. “I have just the thing. An old brown suit with the pants that are way too short.”

“Hey, I like that suit!”

“Don’t forget the hat that don’t fit proper.” The Kid grinned.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Clementine answered a knock at her door. “Richard, you’re back!”

“I got your message when I returned. Your friends, Smith and Jones, are still in town?”

Clem smiled. “Yes, Joshua and Thaddeus came back the other day. Whatever job they thought they had did not work so they returned.”

“So I can meet them, sweetheart?” Richard smiled. “I’ve been so looking forward to meeting your friends.”

“I’m sure I can make arrangements…”

“How about here tomorrow for lunch? Maybe they’ll feel more comfortable meeting at the house than at a fancy restaurant.”

Well, maybe…”

“Then it’s set. I finally get to meet the elusive Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones.”

Clementine frowned. “I wouldn’t necessarily call them elusive, Richard. And I’ll see if they are available for lunch tomorrow.”

“Wonderful! See you tomorrow, my dear.” Richard gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and mumbled to himself as he quickly mounted his horse, “I have to go get things ready.”

“Get things ready… What things? Richard?” Clem called out, but Richard was already gone.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Heyes and Curry listened from inside the bedroom.

“He’s taken the bait. Let’s go tell Fred,” Heyes grinned.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“I dunno if I can do this, fellas.” Fred sat on the bed in the room Heyes and the Kid slept.

“Sure you can,” the Kid said as he looked him over. “Just be Thaddeus Jones, a drifter and friend of Clem’s.”

Heyes’ back was to them as he fixed his hair in front of a mirror. “I’ll be there to do most of the talking. You just have to agree with me.”

“And I’ll be right here if somethin’ goes terribly wrong.”

“Which it won’t.” Heyes turned around wearing his brown suit, his hair parted in the middle and greased back, a large droopy mustache that covered his dimples, and glasses. “How do I look?”

“Not like my partner!” The Kid shook his head. “You sure don’t look like the leader of the Devil’s Hole Gang, either.”

“Good.” Heyes pulled a straight-back chair towards the bed where Fred was sitting. “Relax, Fred. Can’t appear nervous. Just having lunch with your dear friend Clementine and meeting her fiancé. He’s the one who should be nervous meeting her friends.”

A knock was heard at the front door.

“And remember – it’s better to say nothing and let me do all the talking.”

The Kid chuckled. “He’s good at that.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Clementine removed her apron and primped her hair as she walked to the door. She looked back at the bedroom and then opened the door. “Richard, come on in.”

Richard cautiously made his way inside, his hand near a gun. “Hi sweetheart,” he said as he looked around the cabin. “Your friends weren’t able to have lunch with us?”

Clementine smiled. “They’re in the other room tidying up a bit. They wanted to make a nice impression for you, dear.” Clem hugged his arm. “I’m sure the three of you will get along splendidly.” She knocked on the bedroom door. “Boys, Richard is here. Are you about ready?”

The bedroom door opened with Heyes and Fred coming out. “We shore are ready, Clem!” Heyes gave her several pats on the back when she stared at them.

“Dear, these are my best friends in the whole world, Joshua and Thaddeus.”

Richard’s mouth opened and his eyes widened. “These men are your friends?” he mumbled under his breath.

Clementine came between her friends and held their arms. “Boys, I want to introduce you to my fiancé, Richard James Ellingsworth the Third.”

Heyes, with a silly grin, grabbed Richard’s hand, which he shook in an exuberant manner all the while he talked. “Joshua Smith. This here is my partner, Thaddeus Jones. Clementine has told us so much about you.”

Fred’s head stayed down. He hardly made eye contact as he barely waved and muttered, “Hi.”

After a moment of awkward silence, Clementine spoke up. “Lunch is ready so why don’t we sit down and the three of you can get to know each other while we eat.”

The four sat down – Clementine and Richard on one side of the table with Heyes and Fred on the other side facing the bedroom door that opened a crack.

“So what do you boys do?” Richard asked while Clem put the food on the table.

“Oh, we go wherever there’s work to be found. Travel around quite a bit, don’t we, Thaddeus?”

Fred nodded. “Uh huh.”

“And what kind of work do you two do?”

“Well, we’ve had to work on ranches and made deliveries and been on some cattle drives, though we do that as a last resort. Heck, we’ve even done some pannin’, haven’t we, Thaddeus?”

Fred nodded. “Uh huh.”

“You don’t say much, Thaddeus,” Richard commented.

“Well, Thaddeus is a little on the shy side. Never been one for much talkin’.”

“Besides,” Clementine passed around the biscuits, “Thaddeus doesn’t have much of a chance with Joshua doing all the talking.”

“That’s okay, I don’t mind none.” Fred put a few pieces of fried chicken on his plate.

“What about you, Richard? How are you gonna support our friend Clementine?”

“Well, I’m in finance out of Chicago.”

“Finance – is that like bankin’?” asked Heyes.

“Well, sort of,” Richard answered obscurely.

“Me ‘n Thaddeus don’t like banks.”

Richard perked up. “Don’t like banks?”

“Nah, lost our money in one.”

“Was it robbed? By Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry?”

“Them those famous robbers?” Heyes took a bite of chicken. “Nope. Bank robbed by the banker hisself. ‘Magine that!”

“What about railroads?”

“What about ‘em?” Heyes licked his fingers.

Richard eyed the men across the table. “How do you feel about the railroads?”

“Well, me ‘n Thaddeus don’t ride ‘em much. To be honest, I get a little queasy with all that rockin’.” Heyes slurped his water. “What about you two? When’s the weddin’ and how many young’uns you plannin’ on havin’?”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

“Another good dinner, Clem!” Heyes said as they stood up from the table.

Clementine began clearing the dishes. “Why don’t you men go outside and have a cigar while I clean up?”

Richard, Heyes and Fred went out on the porch. Heyes pulled out three cigars and passed them around. Once lit, Richard sat on the porch swing while Fred sat in a chair and Heyes leaned on a post.

The Kid, with his gun out, motioned Clem not to say anything and went to the window where he could hear and observe the men. Clementine frowned and went back to cleaning off the table.

“Heard a rumor that you shoot real fine, Thaddeus,” Richard glanced sideways at the quiet man.

“M-me?” Fred stammered. “Shoot?”

“That’s what I heard.”

Heyes snorted. “Thaddeus shoot a gun? Don’t know where you heard that, but Thaddeus here, he couldn’t shoot the side of the barn if he had to.”

Richard pulled out his gun.

The Kid cocked his Colt and waited.

“What do you think of this gun, Thaddeus?” Richard handed it to Fred, whose hand shook as he took it.

“It’s…it’s a nice lookin’ gun.” Fred looked up at Heyes.

Heyes took the gun. “It’s shiny. Is it new, Richard? That why you wanted to show Thaddeus it?” He handed it back to the owner. “We don’t know much about guns. Have ‘em, but just ‘bout have to out here in the West, huh?”

“That’s true, need to have a gun with all the outlaws around.”

Heyes glanced nervously around. “You think there are outlaws around here?”

Fred gulped. “I…I hope not!”

Richard shook his head as he rolled his eyes. “And to think I thought Clementine’s friends Smith and Jones were really Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. Boy, was I wrong.”

“Us? Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry?” Heyes snorted. “Have you heard anything more crazy than that, Thaddeus?”

Fred vehemently shook his head.

Richard stood up and walked off the porch toward his horse when Clementine came out of the house.

“Where are you going, Richard?” she asked.

He hesitated a moment. “I have business in town, dear. I’ll see you tomorrow evening. You have fun with your friends here.” Richard mounted his horse. “Nice to meet you, Smith and Jones.” He left without giving time for a response.

“Nice to meet you too, Dick Jameson,” Heyes muttered under his breath.

Kid Curry ventured out of the house. “He’s gone?”

“Yep, and sounded mighty disappointed that Smith and Jones were not Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.”

“Hopefully he’ll let others know.”

Fred let out a deep sigh. “I’m sure glad that’s over with. I was so nervous!”

“You did good, Fred.” The Kid patted him on the back. “Appreciate it.”

“Nervous?” Heyes questioned. “Why, you weren’t nervous when you pretended to be Kid Curry and were about to be hanged. You would’ve, too, if I hadn’t rode in stopping the hanging so your grandmother could say good-bye.”

“Well, yeah, but that was before Penny and the baby coming.” Fred stood up. “And speaking of Penny, if you’re done with me, I should get back to her so she don’t worry.”

“Thanks, again, Fred.” The Kid shook hands with his impersonator. “When’s that baby comin’?”

“Penny says about two more months.” Fred mounted his horse and shook Heyes’ hand that was stretched out.

“You and Penny will be wonderful parents. Thank you for helping us out.”

Clementine shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand as she looked up. “Nice to meet you, Fred.”

“Same here, ma’am. Bye.” Fred waved as he rode down the lane.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

"Clementine?" Heyes knocked at the door of her bedroom.

Sniffling could be heard from inside, and the not-so-delicate blowing of a nose, before the door opened just a crack. One red-rimmed, sad brown eye peeped out. Clementine left the door standing open, walked back to the bed, and flopped down, while Heyes let himself into the room.

"I suppose you've come to gloat," she sniffed.

"Awww, Clementine. You know I don't like seeing you like this. The Kid either. We only wanted what was best."

"Well, Richard is gone now, and I suppose that is what's best...for the two of YOU!"

“But you know Richard was really Dick Jameson and trying to get to us through you.”

“I know!” Clementine dabbed her eyes. “But I miss who he said he was – Richard James Ellingsworth the Third. That’s who I was in love with.”

Heyes sat next to her, placing an arm around her shoulder. "I'm sorry. It must feel awful being used and jilted like some..."

"Jilted! Who said I was jilted?!"

"Well, I..." Heyes started, only to be cut off.

"Richard is a gentleman…”

"Dick Jameson? A gentleman?” Heyes said incredulously.

Clem continued, ignoring the interruption as she waved a crumpled paper beneath Heyes' nose. "...Said that his leaving had nothing at ALL to do with me, but that he suddenly realized how unfair it would be for him to ask my hand in marriage before he had proven himself worthy."

Another knock caused both heads to turn. The Kid entered through the door, which had been left standing open. "Sorry about Dick usin’ and then dumpin' you, Clem."

Clementine rose, her reply coming in the form of a small fist to Curry's left shoulder. "Richard did NOT dump me!" she insisted. "He has simply gone back to Chicago to prove himself worthy of my hand in marriage."

"Chicago?” The Kid rubbed his shoulder. “But he’s not really Richard, he’s Dick…”

"I know! He's Dick Jameson, bounty hunter!" Clem crossed her arms over herself in a pout. "Forget it. You boys wouldn't understand."

"Long as he didn't give you the line about how this has nothin' at all to do with y..."

A shake of Heyes' head stopped Curry short.

"Go on," Clem urged. "What about this having nothing at all to do with me?"

"Clem, everybody knows when a fella gives a woman that line, what he REALLY means is... OW!" He turned to glare at Heyes. "You kicked me!" he hissed.

"I'm sure Dick…Richard loved you very much." Heyes pulled her into a brotherly hug. "After all, what fella in his right mind wouldn't fall in love with our Clementine?"

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Dick Jameson walked up to an occupied table in the corner of a saloon with a whiskey in his hand. “Sam!” he growled.

“Dick!” The other man looked up from the newspaper surprised. “What are you doing here? Did you get Heyes and Curry?”

Jameson sat down. “Seems that information you gave me was wrong.”

“Wrong? The information about Clementine Hale’s friends Smith and Jones being really Heyes and Curry? Why, I heard that from my brother who stakes out her place.”

“Not them. I met Smith and Jones and, though there’s a resemblance in their looks, they are not Heyes and Curry. I captured Heyes and know what he looks like. That Smith had the same look but was definitely not him. And Jones was downright scared with a gun in his hand, and not because he was any good with it. Tell your brother he’s wasting his time watching the Hale house.”

“Are you sure Miss Hale don’t know Heyes and Curry?” Sam took a swallow of his beer. “Last time…”

“I’m sure! I got close to her to see if she would accidentally say anything. Kinda a purty gal, but she talks too much for my liking. And she only mentioned her friends Smith and Jones. Could see where folks might think Smith and Jones look like the outlaws, but they aren’t.”

“Darn… That’s disappointing. I was looking forward to a little of that reward money for that bit of information.”

“Well, I gotta get back on their trail.” Dick Jameson swallowed the rest of his whiskey and put the glass on the table. “I heard they may be back in Wyoming. Don’t forget to tell your brother!”

“I won’t and good luck capturing those two.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Curry nudged his horse alongside Heyes’ gelding. “Clem sure was upset about her Richard bein’ Dick Jameson.”

“Can’t blame her, Kid.” Heyes look sideways at his partner. “Here she thought she was marrying a rich man only to find out he wasn’t who he said he was.”

“Yeah, and poor Clem ain’t gettin’ any younger. Folks will be callin’ her a spinster if she don’t marry soon.”

“Maybe, but I sure wouldn’t call her that… Well, not to her face.” Heyes grinned. “Guess we better put some more miles between us and Jameson. Let’s get going.”

The Kid smiled back. “I’m right behind you, partner.”

The two former outlaws kicked their horses into a lope and hurried down the road.



(Writers love feedback! You can let Penski know how you enjoyed the story with a quick comment. Just Post Reply to the Comments for Oh My Darling 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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