Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

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 Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender

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Posts : 413
Join date : 2013-10-13

PostFreedom of the Press by Ty Pender

Someone is bribing the good folks of Saddle Creek and all strangers are suspected.  Can Heyes and Curry figure out who is the real culprit?


Pete Duel and Ben Murphy as
Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry


Gabby Hayes as Capps

Lon Chaney Jr. as Lloyd Grady

Harry Carey Jr. as Sheriff John Brainard

Susan Hayward as Anne Mayfield

Rutta Lee as Marjory Speilman

Clint Eastwood as Jeremy

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Bartholomew A. DeVore

James Drury as Sheriff Lom Trevors

Freedom of the Press
by Ty Pender


The Kid sat up in his saddle and looked expectantly at the next ridge.  He pulled the bandana off his neck, shook the dust off, and turned to Heyes.  “Over that next hill should lay Saddle Creek.  I’m lookin’ forward to settlin’ for a spell, playin’ some cards, makin’ some money...”

“That’s the plan, Kid,” Heyes said.  “These little out-of-the way towns are good for that.  There’s nothing going on but the saloon and the church.  All the men are gambling their wife’s money at the saloon; all the women are praying for their husbands at the church.  There are no newspapers to write tales that make people suspicious of a couple of strangers.”

The boys took their horses over to the livery.  The livery man took their fee and asked, “What’s your names?”

“Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones.”

The man wrote their names in his journal with the amount he collected from them.  “Well, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones, what are you planning tonight for entertainment?”

The Kid looked him over.  “Well if you have to know, we’re plannin’ on settlin’ in at the saloon, havin’ a meal, and playin’ some cards.  Why?”

The livery man shook his head.  “The saloon won’t get you far tonight.  It’s been closin’ early.  The owner is scared to death of somethin’ and the sheriff has to sit there and hold his hand like some kind of baby.  I’m not sure what’s goin’ on, but the saloon’s always shut by dusk.  Tell you what, if the saloon doesn’t hold you, go down the road to Circle Z Ranch.  A dollar will get you an all night spree, if you catch my drift.  Just tell them Capps the livery man sent you.  But don’t tell anyone else ‘round here about it, especially the sheriff; doves are illegal in Banner County.”

Heyes propped his hat up off his forehead.  “Thanks, Capps.  We’ll keep that in mind.”

The two headed out into the street.  “We certainly need to avoid getting into anything illegal ‘round here,” Heyes said.

“We better play it safe and get that card game started, so we won’t be tempted to do anythin’ bad,” joked the Kid.

The boys picked up drinks from the bar, ordered a meal, and settled at a table suitable for cards.  The Kid turned to Heyes.  “Maybe Capps was right; it’s a thin crowd tonight.  I’m not eyein’ any gamblin’ prospects.”

The bartender eyed the men suspiciously as they looked around the saloon.  He nodded in their direction when the cook brought out the food.  “You take their plates over,” he said.  “I’m going to keep an eye on them from here.”

The Kid took his plate from the cook.  “Those steaks look mighty fine,” the Kid said, “and baked spuds, too!  How about bringin’ another round of drinks?”

Heyes and the Kid dug into the steaks.  After a few bites, they noticed a man with two pistols take a table at the edge of the bar.  He moved his chair into the shadow against the wall, but not far enough away from the table that he couldn’t grab his coffee.  There was enough light to see him staring at them.

Heyes mumbled between bites, “He’s eyeing us.”

Just then the bartender brought over a second round of drinks, and the Kid mumbled back, “Yeah, I smell a rat... thanks for the dri...”

The bartender didn’t wait for a thank you.  He walked over to the man in the shadow and whispered in his ear.  Then, he moved over to the side of the bar piano, eyeing Heyes and Curry.

The man in the shadow brandished his pistols above the table.  “Alright boys, hold it right there.  We know what you’re up to, and you’re under arrest.  Drop your guns and stand up with your arms to the sky.”

The man stood up with his two pistols cocked and aimed.  As he stood, his badge gleamed in the low light of the lamp above the table.  Then, the bartender pulled out a rifle from behind the piano.

There was no point resisting.  Heyes and Curry stood up with their hands over their heads.

“Now sheriff, with due respect, just tell us what we’ve done here.  We...” the Kid protested.

The sheriff cut him off.  “I’ll listen to your story in the jailhouse.  If it rings true, you won’t have a care in the world.  Now, hold out your arms.  You, with the blond hair, gets handcuffed first.”

After the sheriff had also handcuffed Heyes, the bartender put the rifle back behind the piano and walked over with a small piece of paper.

“What do you think you are doing printing this and walking in here trying to collect a bribe?  It’s about time you freeloaders learn to make an honest living instead of trying to cheat people out of theirs.”

“Alright, Lloyd,” the sheriff broke in, “that’s enough.  OK, boys, off to jail.  You’ll have all night to come up with a credible story.”

The boys looked at each other in disbelief.  “I’m sorry sir, but with all due respect to yourself and Lloyd here,” Heyes said calmly, “could we see that piece of paper he’s holding?”

The sheriff and the bartender looked at each other.  “Well, I guess that is a fair request, given your circumstances,” the sheriff answered.

Lloyd came closer to Heyes.  “I want to see their faces when they see this – that should tell us something.”  Then, a look came across his face like he wished he could take those words back.  The sheriff glanced at him with a deflated look, “Okay, Lloyd, show him the paper.”

Lloyd held the paper near Heyes’ face.  It had been torn out of larger piece of paper and was frayed on three sides.  Heyes read it out loud.

Folks traveling to Saddle
Creek are advised to avoid
the bar there.  We have re-
ceived reports of rats. Di-
ners have had to fight them
off their tables.”

Heyes finished and turned to the sheriff.  “That’s odd.  There isn’t a newspaper within seventy-five miles of Saddle Creek, at least that I know of.  And, this don’t look like any kind of newspaper I’ve ever seen.  The writing is splotchy; a pretty lousy print job if you ask me.  Have you shown this to any paper, maybe like the one... let’s there one in Mayesville?”  He paused and waited for a reaction.

When the sheriff and Lloyd looked at each other, he continued, “Yeah, there’s something fishy about this.”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other.  Lloyd and the sheriff glanced at each other and then at Heyes and the Kid.  Finally the sheriff spoke up, “You might have a point there.  But, for now you are both under arrest.  We can talk about it in the morning after breakfast.  Hmm... I think its biscuits and gravy tomorrow.  Okay, let’s go.”  The handcuffed men started for the door reluctantly.

“Well, we sure were enjoyin’ that fine meal Lloyd.  Sure wish we could have finished it,” the Kid said.

The sheriff quickly took a last sip of coffee.  “Don’t worry son, I’m makin’ it up to you with that free breakfast.”  Lloyd meanwhile was busy dousing the lights and closing the bar.  The sheriff gestured to Lloyd to hurry up.

They all walked out and watched Lloyd lock up the place.  “I’m still not going to stick around here without a security guard,” Lloyd told the sheriff.

The sheriff whispered something in Lloyd’s ear and turned to the men.  “You won’t have far to go boys.  The jail is right across the street.  No funny stuff now.  You know I’ve got you covered.”

The bartender started a fast walk away from the saloon. As Heyes and the Kid stepped toward the sheriff’s office the bartender’s footsteps echoed against the wood buildings lining the dark street.

As soon as they entered the office, the sheriff walked them to the cell.  “Too bad the bar had to close early,” the Kid said, as the sheriff locked them in.

“Yeah, the town isn’t too happy about it either,” the sheriff responded.  “We’ve had to close early for a few days now; the boys ‘round here are getting restless.”


The next morning, the sheriff walked in with a platter of food and a pot of coffee.  He placed the platter on a slide-through shelf in their cell.  Then he poured himself a cup and watched the boys wake up to the smell of the food.

“Alright boys, breakfast is here.  What do you have to say for yourselves?”

Heyes walked over to the platter of fresh biscuits and bacon gravy and looked up at the sheriff.  “Honest, Sheriff, we just came into the saloon for some drinks and a meal.  We haven’t threatened anyone that we know of.”  Heyes gave the sheriff a smile.  “Maybe you can tell us what’s going on here.”

“You boys said you smelled a rat.  Why did you say that?  Let’s start there.”

Heyes looked over at the Kid, who had grabbed the platter and was devouring the biscuits.  Heyes frowned and started talking quicker.  “We didn’t know saying that would get us in trouble.  Is there something wrong with saying that in this town?”  Heyes looked back at the disappearing biscuits.

“Well, sort of; there have been threats.  Come on boys, admit it.  You were behind that story and you’ve come to collect your bribe.  Why else would you say you smell a rat?”  Heyes looked over at the Kid, half the biscuits had vanished.  “You go over and grab some of those biscuits before your buddy finishes them all.  Think about it; I’ll be back in a minute.”

The sheriff came back with a middle-aged lady dressed in black.  She looked at the two young men finishing off the biscuits and gravy.  “That ain’t them, neither one.  I didn’t think they’d be.”

“Anne, take a good long look.  What is different between them and that fella that took your money?”

The men looked up from the empty platter.  Their fingers were covered with gravy, and gravy dripped off their morning stubble.  Their crumpled clothes were covered with dust from yesterday’s ride.

“Why that fella was dressed in a fine tailored wool suit with a silk tie done up in a half-Windsor knot.  And he wore fancy buckle riding boots Easterners wear. You never see them out here.  He had a neat mustache and smelled of rose water cologne.  And, he talked through his nose, with big fancy words.  Why, I suppose his granddad fought with the British!  Now John, take these two mugs and pour them kids some coffee, they must be mighty hungry.  And give them something to wipe their faces; they’ve already licked all my gravy off their fingers.”

The sheriff tipped his hat to the lady as she left.  “Okay, Anne, thanks for your help.”

The sheriff put the mugs on the shelf and poured the coffee.  “Boys, here’s some coffee for you; I guess you deserve some.”

Heyes took a sip.  “Hey, that’s good coffee; thanks, Sheriff.”

The Kid looked up from his cup at the sheriff. “Yeah, thanks, Sheriff.  That was a fine breakfast, too, sir,” the Kid added as he took a second sip, and gave the sheriff a wink.

“Well, I can’t take credit for that.”

“So, Sheriff, neither one of us is your man?” Heyes asked.

“It looks that way.  I guess you didn’t threaten anyone last night.  In any case, I don’t have enough evidence to keep you here.  But, if you find out anything, you better let me know right away.  Otherwise, I’ll get the idea you are trying to hide something.  Then you’ll end up right back in this jail.”

“Yessir,” both men replied.

“If we see anything that looks suspicious, we’ll let you know right away,” the Kid added.

“You two look steady enough.  I’ll write a statement you need to sign and then you can go.  Now, give me your names.”

The boys looked at each other.  The Kid took his hat off the bed.  “Sheriff, you forgot to book us last night; but we thought we should keep our mouths shut about that while we were still behind bars.”

“Let’s just say I’m going to book you now.  I’m the only sheriff in this county and I can’t do everything.  The Governor should be paying for a deputy.  Instead he gives me a clerk.  Now, give me your names.”

Heyes picked up his hat.  “Sheriff, this ain’t regular.  If we’re going to get booked now, we don’t want anything on the record.  We want to walk out of here clean.”

“That’s a fair request.  You won’t be on the record.  Now give me your names.”

“Mr. Joshua Smith,” Heyes said.

“Mr. Thaddeus Jones,” the Kid added.

“I’ll be back in a minute; now you boys just relax.”

As he left, the sheriff forgot to close the door to the front part of the office, so the boys could hear him talking to himself as he sat at his desk.

“Why does the Governor give me that dang machine?  I need that thing like I need a hole in my head.  I’m the only law in this dang county, and he gives me a clerk and a machine!  What I need is a deputy, not a clerk and some dang machine.”

The sheriff returned.  “Now one of you read this out loud so I know you know what it says.  My handwritin’s not good.  In fact, the Nebraska governor is sendin’ all of us legal types some kind of new machine for official business.  I’m lucky Anne Mayfield has offered to learn how to use it for me.”

Heyes took the note through the bars and began to read it out loud.  “John Brainard, Sheriff of Saddle Creek, Nebraska, hereby deputizes Mr. Joshua Smith and Mr. Thadeus Jones for the purpose of investigation leading to the possible apprehension of those parties responsible for the false reports and attempted extortion of Lloyd Grady, the owner of the Saddle Creek Saloon.  This position is uncompensated and is entered into voluntarily by the signatories below.  This deputization will end when the extortionists are apprehended.  Signed on this day June 12, 1878.”

“Sheriff, you mean we gotta be deputies to get out of here and go free?”

“Yep.  That’s the deal.”

“No way are we going to sign this.  There has to be something in it for us.  We at least got to get paid,” Heyes protested.

“I guess you’re right.  I tell you what I’ll do.  Last night I saw you take that big table at the saloon.  I bet you two are pretty good with cards.  Seeing this is Friday, Lloyd’s goin’ to open up the bar around noon, with one free round for all the boys in town.  It will be a good crowd.  If you play it right, you should walk away with some pretty good money.  Besides, I’ll kick in the money Lloyd’s been payin’ me to sit over there all day, and you’ll get free meals and drinks.  You just take my place today.  I’ll be happy, and you’ll be happy.”

“Now, that sounds better,” said Heyes.  “How much has he been paying you?”

The sheriff propped his hat back off his forehead.  “He’s been giving me one dollar from noon till dusk, two square meals, and my coffee.  That’s pretty good extra change for a sheriff’s salary, I guess.  I just need a break – plus I got a backlog of paperwork.  I’d appreciate your help.”

“Sheriff; you tell Lloyd five dollars for both of us till he closes, even if he goes to midnight, plus the meals and coffee.  But we have to take everything we win, no house share.  You reserve the big round table; we’ll meet you there before noon and close the deal.”

“That sounds reasonable.  Sign this paper and you’re free to go.  But remember, don’t hide anything from me or you are goin’ right back into Saddle Creek’s friendly jail.”

“Yessir,” they replied and signed the paper.

The sheriff scrutinized it.  “Thaddeus Jones, is that one ‘d’ or two ‘d’s’?”

“Two ‘dd’s” sir,” the Kid replied.

“Well, you’re deputized now, whether it’s one ‘d’ or two.  Remember, deputization doesn’t give you any immunity from the law.”  The sheriff slowly opened the cell door, eyeing the two as he did.  “You boys want more coffee?  Sit down in front of the desk and I’ll get you some.”

Heyes and the Kid seated themselves and exchanged glances.  Heyes was the first to speak.  “Sheriff, if we are going to help you, at least keep our eyes out, maybe you can tell us what you know already about this blackmailer.  I expect you’ve already contacted the nearest papers.”

The sheriff took a sip of coffee.  “Yes, I talked to the editor of the Mayesville Sun.  It’s the only paper around here.  It took me two hours to ride up there.  I showed him the stories; he looked at them real careful.  Then he swore they had nothing to do with it.  He said they don’t want to be bothered anymore about it.  Funny though, he wouldn’t take me out where the reporters were.  It was like he was tryin’ to hide something, I don’t know, just a hunch.  But don’t go askin’.  I think they would be insulted and then would be no help at all in the future.”

“Well, who do ya think is behind this then?” Heyes went on.  “That paper Lloyd was holding sure didn’t look exactly like a newspaper to me.  There was something funny about it.”

“Yeah, I know.  Nobody around here has a printing press stashed away somewhere.  And, it doesn’t make sense for someone to go to all the trouble of haulin’ one around these parts just to extort a few dollars from a faint-hearted bartender like Lloyd.  He could have written a note, or had someone write it for him.”

The Kid looked up at the sheriff from his coffee.  “Has anything else gone on before like this?  Does this fella have a trail?”

“The widow Anne Mayfield gave a fella fifty dollars two days ago.  He showed up at her house to investigate the source of a story that she was behind the death of her late husband Frank.  You fellas got a pretty good description from her of what he looks like while you were busy lickin’ gravy off your fingers.  This newspaper clipping showed up at this Wednesday night’s prayer meetin’.  One of the parishioners said a lad had been paid a penny to hand it to anyone entering the church for the prayer meeting.  Here, I got it in the file.”  He opened a drawer and pulled out a small slip of paper, frayed on all sides, and handed it to the Kid.

The Kid read it out loud:

We have received re-
ports, yet unconfirmed,
that the recent widow
Anne Mayfield may have
inadvertently caused
the death of her late
husband Frank Mayfield.
If this is the case,
we are asking that Prayers
be given in her behalf.
We understand several
towns people have rallied
to comfort that poor widow
who has already suffered
so much.”

The sheriff took back the paper from the Kid.  “It’s true that Frank died in a mysterious way.  But nobody in this town believes that Anne was behind any of it.  Whoever wrote that must have some inside knowledge about the goings on in Saddle Creek.  Anyway, Anne says this fella showed up on her doorstep, and very courteous-like offered to find out who was behind the story.  She was so upset by it, especially after all those ladies at the church spent most of the prayer meetin’ prayin’ over her, that she gave this feller fifty dollars for his services.  He said he would write her every week until the mystery was solved.  We think he is the same guy who wrote this story about Lloyd’s saloon, ‘cause there was a handwritten note clipped to the newspaper story.  It said ‘I will find who did this, but first you must pay me fifty dollars.  I’ll be by soon to collect.’”

“Well, that’s just the most low down, cheapest shot I’ve ever seen!” said Heyes.

“Yep, what kind of fella would steal money from a widow?” the Kid said.

“Not law-abiding men like us,” said Heyes.

The sheriff nodded.  “He’s got the whole town pretty upset.”

“What else do you know about this conman?” asked Heyes.

“That’s about it.  We all just wish this character would move on to another town.  Anyway, I don’t plan to spend the rest of my life planted in Lloyd’s saloon.”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other. “That sounds like a pretty good life to us,” the Kid said.

The sheriff handed the boys their guns.  “Now, you boys don’t cause any trouble.  I’ve told you the state of mind of the people in Saddle Creek.  They aren’t goin’ to stand for any monkey business.”

“Yes sir, we understand,” said Heyes.  “You got an extra pair of handcuffs in case this guy walks in?”

“You bet I do.”  The sheriff walked over to his gun safe.  “This is my second set.  See, it fits neatly inside this chest holster.  The key is in the small outside pocket.  This one has a third cuff that you can lock around a post or pole.  That’s in case he gets a little wild and you have to cuff both hands.”

Heyes put on the chest holster and tried the cuffs out.

The sheriff watched him work the cuffs.  “Hey, you’re fast.  He won’t stand a chance against you two,” the sheriff said with a wide grin.  The boys put on their guns and stepped out on the street with the sheriff.

“Now that you’ve been deputized, I’m sure Lloyd will make up for last night.  He’ll go for the open-til-midnight bit.  The crowd gets rowdy after dusk.  But, they’ll love you if the saloon stays open.  After tonight you’ll be the town heroes.  I’m goin’ to go over there now and get it all squared away.”

“Thanks, Sheriff.  We’ll be over before noon for one of those free meals.  Tell Lloyd we’ll have him covered for today, as long as he stays open,” said Heyes.


Capps was brushing Heyes’ horse when the two men walked in.  “Your horses are nearly done with their feed,” Capps said.  “I’ll get them some water.”  The two men went over to inspect their horses and Capps brought over two buckets.  “I heard you two spent the night in jail; how’s the accommodations?” Capps asked as he put down the buckets.  “I’ve spent a few nights there myself, after a drunk.”

The Kid looked his horse over and then threw on the saddle blanket.  “Well, the sheriff fixes a good cup of coffee, and the breakfast isn’t bad.”

“Yeah, that was a pretty good breakfast,” added Heyes as he finished brushing his horse.

“It didn’t used to be, not when I visited.  Now the widow Mayfield’s been cooking for the sheriff since her husband died.  The whole town has been helping her til’ she gets things sorted out.  Anyway, she says neither one of you are the fellas they’re looking fer.  She says he was a city slicker; ‘dapper’ is the word she used.  So, I guess you two are off the hook.”

The boys looked at each other.  “Ahh... thanks for the vote of confidence,” said Heyes.

“Yeah, the town was disappointed, ‘specially the men.  They want to get back to the saloon and do some gambling.  Lloyd’s business has been hurting, so he’s throwin’ a one free drink deal.  There should be a good crowd.”

“Any high-rollers in that crowd, Capps?” asked Heyes.

“Oh yeah; ‘specially the bunch that hangs around with Lloyd.  They like to start the first game.”

“We told your sheriff we’ll keep our eyes open for that conman; then maybe this town can have its saloon back for good.”

Capps lifted his right arm up in the air.  “Amen, Brother, to that.  I’ve been itching for my nightcap ever since this started; bourbon straight up.  I guess you figured it out that Lloyd don’t have much backbone.  And, the sheriff don’t spend enough time guarding him so’s we can get our drinks.”

Heyes threw on his saddle.  “When did all this start, anyway?”

“Not long ago.  They say that city slicker got fifty bucks off Anne Mayfield just a few days ago, and then Lloyd Grady’s bad luck started.  I may have seen the guy.  There was a city slicker type came by.  Wanted his horse fed and watered.  He was a real talker and he had a funny accent, like he was talking out of his nose, kind of arrogant-like.  He kept asking me a lot of questions; said he was a reporter, or a lawyer, somethin’ like that.”

“So why was he in town?” the Kid asked.

“He wanted to know what was goin’ on in town.  He seemed like a snoopy busybody, if you ask me.”

Heyes cinched up his saddle.  “So, Capps, what did you tell him?”

Capps looked down at the ground and started shuffling.  “Hey, I don’t remember.  He talked a mile a minute, I remember that.”  He paused, looked at both men, and then gave them each a wink.  “I remember one thing, though. I thought it was kind of strange comin’ from a ‘pro-fessional’ gentleman; he asked me where he could find a girl for the night.”

Capps leaned forward and whispered, “I told him, just like I told you gents, for a good time, go out of town just over a mile to the Circle Z Ranch.  Tell them Capps the livery man sent you.  But, I warned him it was illegal in Banner County.”

Heyes gave Capps a big smile.  “So did he go?”

Capps smiled back at Heyes and the Kid.  “Well, I ain’t sayin’.”


Curry and Heyes started riding down the road out of town.  “Okay – looks like we can finally talk, again!” the Kid said.

“What do you mean ‘we’ – I don’t know who you are, Deputy Jones.  How did you get started in this law enforcement business anyway?” Heyes retorted.

The Kid ribbed Heyes.  “It wasn’t my fault.  I was lookin’ forward to settlin’ in for a spell, playin’ some cards, makin’ some money.  Then, I fell in with some confidence man that had a plan.  He said these little out-of-the way towns are good for gamblin’ since there is nothing goin’ on but the saloon and the church.  He said there were no newspapers to make people suspicious of a couple of strangers...”

“Kid, you’re talking about the wrong guy.  That fella had a good plan.  Then some other confidence man came in and ruined everything.  Extorted a widow who was a friend of the sheriff, tried to extort the saloon owner, made the bar close early, and upset the whole town.  Bet the church women were glad about the saloon closing, until they found out they’d been had!”

The Kid didn’t respond.  Instead, his eyes were set on the horizon.  “Heyes, do you see a cloud of dust up ahead?”

“Yeah, like dust from a wagon and not a rider; big and slow.  Let’s check it out.  You may never know; it may have a printing press on it,” Heyes said with a smile.

“Yep, you may never know.”  Curry smiled in return.

They rode on for a while.  Curry stopped and pointed to a rock outcropping at the side of the road.  “Let’s wait out there.  They’ll never see us when they pull by.”

As the wagon pulled closer, they could make out just one driver, and it wasn’t male.  They whispered back and forth.

“Look’s like a delivery wagon.”

“Hey, it says Remington on it!”

“Something’s wrong – a delivery wagon full of guns, out here in the middle of nowhere, with only a woman driver?”

Heyes turned to Curry.  “Now I smell a rat.”

“Partner, if she’s good with one of those Remington single-shots, she could pick us off like rats.  We better keep our distance.”

The fancy delivery wagon approached.  It was an impressive sight, yellow with bright green wheels.  ‘Remington’ was painted in bold red lettering on the sides.  Curry conjectured, “So I figure a wagon-load of Remington single-shots is probably worth...”

“A lot,” Heyes broke in.  “Course it could be carrying pistols, or be half-loaded with cartridges; either way it’s a lot.”

They rode out from behind their outlook, but kept out of range.

“LADY, STOP THE WAGON, GET OFF, AND RAISE YOUR HANDS,” Heyes shouted as they neared.


The Kid started to spur his horse forward to the wagon; Heyes grabbed him to prevent him.  “She says she’s unarmed,” the Kid protested.

“Are you sure?” Heyes asked.  “That’s not what I heard.  She said, ‘Gentlemen, please help me.  No one has a gun on you.  The wagon doesn’t have any rifles.  When you come over here, my husband will get you with his six-shooter.’”

“Come on Heyes, you know she didn’t say that.”

“Yeah?  Well so far today our luck has been holding and I don’t want to push it.”


The lady started walking, carrying a large white flag.

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other and shrugged.  “A white flag?” the Kid asked, incredulously.

The lady drew closer.  They noticed that she was very well dressed in city clothing, and walking very awkwardly.  As she got closer, they noticed she wore a silk dress with a corset and bustle, and high-heeled dress shoes.

“Thank you, gentlemen, for offering your help.  I am Marjory Speilman, and your names?”

The Kid tipped his hat.  “Pleased to meet you, ma’am.  I am Thaddeus Jones, and my friend here is Joshua Smith.”

“You gentlemen are under the impression that the wagon is loaded with guns.”

“Yes, ma’am, we were talkin’ about that.  With all due respect, Miss Speilman, that is a very showy wagon, unusual for these parts, especially when it is driven by a real fine lady such as yourself.  It’s kind of rough country around here.  Not the roughest, but rough enough.”

Heyes nodded, as if to second the notion.  “We expected a lady out here to be as handy with a gun as with that wagon’s team, Miss Speilman.”

“Thank you both, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones, for your concern.  To be frank with you, I am much better with this flag than with a gun.  When we set out on this delivery, my partner, Mr. DeVore, suggested that a white flag would be our best defense.  And, everyone on the road has been courteous.  So, thus far he has been right, at least about that.”

“With all due respect, ma’am, you’ve been mighty lucky guardin’ a load of Remingtons with only a white flag!” the Kid ventured.

“Mr. DeVore said you don’t need a guard out here in the West; all you need is a white flag.  But I agree with you and everyone we meet has the same opinion.  In any case, the wagon has no guns.  Come over and I’ll show you what we’re delivering.  You can walk right behind me if you are worried.  If anyone is in the wagon with a gun, they’ll shoot me first.”

“Thaddeus, you go ahead and accompany Miss Speilman.  I’ll stay here.  If everything’s peaceful, give me a signal and I’ll join you.  Is that acceptable to you, Miss Speilman?”

“Yes, of course.”

The Kid frowned at Heyes and fell in behind the lady.  But by the time he got to the wagon he had a smile on his face.  Marjory’s fine dressing brought out her figure in sharp relief.

“Mr. Jones, the Remington Company is selling a new machine to government offices, lawyers, and a few newspapermen of the larger papers.  My partner and I are responsible for the deliveries to Nebraska and Wyoming.  We actually have only two deliveries left in Nebraska.  One is going to the sheriff in Saddle Creek, Mr. John Brainard.  The other machine is going just across the state border to the sheriff in Porterville where the wagon will be stored.  Unfortunately, that machine has been missing since we left Mayesville; we will have to report that loss to the sheriff there.  From Porterville, we will take the train back to Bridgeport, Connecticut.  While we’re there, we will pick up our delivery to Wyoming.  The Wyoming Governor is very keen on getting official business handled by these machines.”

The Kid drew back.  “Lady, if it’s a new fangled kind of execution machine, I’d rather not see it, if you don’t mind.”

The young lady laughed.  “Oh, it is nothing of the sort, Mr. Jones!  Some men though, that have to use it, break into cold sweats when they see it.  That’s why I’m here, to teach them.”  She smiled at the Kid.

“So what does your partner do?”

“He is a high-powered salesman Remington commissioned to sell these machines.  However, most of our orders have been in advance.  Mr. DeVore thought he would make a fortune with these machines.  But he’s actually personally sold very few.  He certainly needs the money to support his lifestyle and, I think, his bad habits.  Lately, he’s been spending more time with those bad habits than with Remington’s business, if you know what I mean, Mr. Jones.  In fact, I seem to have lost him.”

“I get your drift, Miss Speilman.  I haven’t met many salesman types, but I expect they are a lot like confidence men.”

“They are essentially equivalent, yes, Mr. Jones.  The only difference is that the former has a product to sell, and the later has only a lie.  If you are a good liar, Mr. Jones, you don’t have to give anything back in exchange.”

“It sounds like you know Mr. DeVore well.  Miss Speilman, you’ll need more than a white flag in Wyoming; it’s rougher than Nebraska.”

“Are you familiar with Wyoming, Mr. Jones?  I hear it is very beautiful.”

“I know Wyoming like the back of my hand.  Wyoming is definitely a lot prettier than Nebraska.  It’s rougher, that’s for sure.  And, I would like to meet the Governor someday.”

They stopped at the back of the wagon.  “Well, maybe you will meet the Governor someday.  Three steps up, Mr. Jones, and I will show you the new Remington machine; we are very proud of it.”

The Kid watched as she lifted a metal box up on a desk in the wagon.  She pulled off the lid and sat down in front of what looked like a very small printing press.  “That’s the smallest printin’ press I’ve every seen,” he said, “but I’ve not seen very many.  I didn’t know they made them that small!”

She slid a piece of paper into a roller on the top of the machine and her fingers started flying over the keys in the front.  Words appeared on the paper rapidly.

“Ma’am, your fingers are flyin’ so fast, you could write a book in no time.  That machine sure jams the words together into a tiny space.”

“Yes, it saves a lot of paper that way, which, I have been told, is scarce in the West.  It also writes faster and more legibly than handwriting, and you know most folks’ handwriting becomes a scrawl after grammar school.”

“Well, I haven’t done much writin’ since grammar school, except my name.”

The lady looked over her shoulder and gave the Kid a wide smile.  “Well, why don’t you sit down here and try it?”  She got up and gestured to the chair.  “Give it a try; I bet you could get pretty fast.”

“Yeah, give it a try; I bet you’ll be faster than the lady,” came a male voice from behind Miss Speilman.

The Kid reached for his holster and drew his gun.  Heyes gave him a wink and turned to Miss Speilman with a smile.  “Deputy Jones is fast, Miss Speilman, but his memory isn’t too good.  He forgot to signal me.”

The Kid ignored Heyes’ remark and sat down at the machine.  “Ma’am, it seems like every letter and number known to man is here, and a lot of things I ain’t never seen.  Whew, this is really something!  Where do I start?”

“Just write your name starting with the first letter of your last name, Mr. Jones.”

The Kid looked down at the letters – his eye came across ‘J’ and he hit that.  A little arm swung up.

A sweet voice came across his shoulder.  “That’s pretty good.  You can use the machine well already.  You would be pretty fast with a little practice.”

The Kid looked back at his admirer.  She smiled in return and smiled coyly with her bright eyes.  He looked back at the machine.  His eye caught the ‘E’ and he hit that key.  Heyes cleared his throat.

“Oh Mr. Jones, you’ve misspelled your name.  You needed to write an ‘O’.”

The Kid’s fingers left the keyboard.  The Kid stood up and saw Heyes’ dark look.  “Guess I made a mistake.”

“Yep, you sure did.”  Heyes turned to the lady.  “Miss Speilman, may I ask a few questions?  We may have some information about your partner.  We have been told about an Easterner, like yourself, who’s quite a talker – kind of conceited.  He is also a good dresser.  Would that briefly describe your partner?”

The lady looked surprised, but also relieved.  “Yes – but only briefly.  He is also quite unreliable, always looking to make an extra dollar, on the side.  His job is to close the contracts, ensure delivery, and protect inventory.  I am supposed to teach buyers how to use the machines.  For the last month now I’ve been doing his job as well.  I think he’s been indulging in some of his bad habits, as I told Mr. Jones.”  She said this last sentence with genuine disgust.

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other and then back at her.  “Well, Miss Speilman,” Heyes continued, “he must be quite a character to make a fine lady like yourself state her opinion so frankly.”

“Mr. Smith, your friend Mr. Jones gave me a warning that I have taken to heart.  We have one more delivery in Nebraska and then heading to Wyoming.  If Wyoming is more dangerous than Nebraska, I must reconsider this position with Remington, now that my partner is missing.  That’s too bad, because it pays very well.  The machines have been purchased by none other than the Governor of Nebraska for his Executive office and for the key law enforcement officers in each county.  When I return to Bridgeport I will get a check that is four times larger than the annual salary with my former employer, the Remington legal department.  These trips through the west are wonderful too, but, not when they have to be made with, I am sorry to say, an imposter like Mr. Bartholomew A. DeVore.”

Heyes took off his hat and gestured.  “Please be seated, Miss Speilman.  If that is how you feel about Mr. DeVore, I must let you know what has come to pass with a man in Saddle Creek who may be the same man.”

A look of resignation crossed the lady’s face.  “Oh dear, what has he done now?  Gentlemen, if you don’t mind, would you tell me what has been going on as we travel to Saddle Creek?  I have a delivery to make there and am already late.  Mr. DeVore has been slowing the delivery since we left Mayesville.  He has been busy coming back and forth to the wagon generating some last minute sales before we head back to Connecticut, or so he says.

“Miss Speilman, we have been deputized by the sheriff of Saddle Creek, Mr. John Brainard, to obtain any information regarding a gentleman who has threatened to extort money from Lloyd Grady, owner of the Saddle Creek Saloon.  The sheriff also believes that this gentleman is the same man who extorted fifty dollars from the widow of the late Frank Mayfield.  We are to apprehend this man, if found, and bring him to Saddle Creek.  I can show you the letter from the sheriff deputizing us if you wish.”

“Thank heavens you warned me!” the lady responded.  “This wagon doesn’t have much cargo left, but it does have a safe with cash and promissory notes we have received, including cash from any sales Mr. DeVore has made on the side.  I wouldn’t put it past him to return and abscond with it.  By all means, accompany me.  And, tell me what has been going on in Saddle Creek.  I will help in whatever way I can.”

Heyes tied his and Kid’s horses to the back of the wagon, while the Kid took the reins.  When Heyes got back in the wagon, Miss Speilman sat down between the men as the Kid got the team up to speed.  “Thanks for the invitation,” said the Kid.  “This fine wagon may be slower than our trail steeds, but it’s sure a lot smoother, even on this country road.  It’s nice to get out from under the sun.”

“We aren’t completely sure it is your partner, Miss Speilman,” Heyes said, stopping the Kid’s flirting.  “We were shown a piece of paper someone had given out to be from a newspaper, but its letters looked just like the letters from that machine.  It said the Saddle Creek Saloon was overrun with rats.  Someone then tried to extort fifty dollars from the saloon owner to stop the stories.”

The lady’s resigned look turned to anger.  “Oh dear, now Mr. DeVore has gone too far.  What a liar he is – I was afraid this might happen!  He wrote some sample newspaper stories and then typed them on the machine.  He said he could use them as a sales tool for selling the machines to newspapermen.  He said the newspapers would like their reporters to use these machines because the type they use matches the moveable type used in most newspapers.  That way the printer could lay out each page faster than from handwritten stories because they could tell instantly how much space the story would take in the layout.  Also, they would be easier to read which would cut down in proof time.  That is what all the federal offices are doing now in Washington for printed material.”

“Miss Speilman,” Heyes asked, “when we get to Saddle Creek, will you tell Sheriff Brainard the same things you told us now?”

“Mr. Jones, Mr. Smith, I will tell the sheriff everything I know about Mr. DeVore, and I will personally apologize to both of those people on behalf of the Remington Company.  If I meet Mr. DeVore again, I will make sure he is arrested.  Now I must ask you a favor.  Will you accompany me to Porterville, Wyoming, for my own safety?”

The boys looked at each other.  “Ma’am, we’ve been staying in Saddle Creek and so far we like it,” Heyes said.

“We’ll definitely give your invitation some thought, though,” said the Kid, as he gave a sideways glance at Heyes.

The Kid leaned over to Miss Speilman.  “Ma’am, you’ve had a long day.  You are welcome to go back in the wagon and rest a spell.  It’ll be another hour before we get to Saddle Creek at this speed.”

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.

Last edited by royannahuggins on Sat 08 Mar 2014, 4:59 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Sat 08 Mar 2014, 4:34 pm by royannahuggins

Late in the morning, the brightly-painted delivery wagon rolled into Saddle Creek and stopped in front of the jailhouse.

The sheriff saw the wagon coming down the street.  He was startled when it stopped in front.  “Mr. Jones.  Mr. Smith.  Where did you find that fancy wagon?”

“Just up the road, Sheriff,” the Kid replied.  “We couldn’t miss somethin’ like this.  It has a fancy lady driver, too.”

Miss Speilman leaned out of the front of the wagon between Smith and Jones.  “Are you Sheriff John Brainard?”

“Yes, I am, and pleased to meet you ma’am.  Are you Marjory Speilman?  I was expecting a Remington wagon and I was concerned since it should have arrived sooner.”

“Yes, I am Miss Speilman.  I am so thankful to these two gentlemen, who brought me here safely.”

“The Remington letter said you would have a partner.  Where is your partner, Miss Speilman?”

Heyes answered, “We think he may be the man you are looking for.”

The Kid handed the reins to Heyes and jumped off the wagon.  He turned around and held out his hand for Miss Speilman.  “Sheriff, the lady has a lot to tell you about her partner.  But she needs to freshen up a bit.  I suggest we accompany her to Lloyd’s and order a meal; one of those free meals Lloyd promised us.”

The sheriff nodded.  “Great idea.”  The sheriff turned to the young lady. “Miss Speilman, the only public house we have in Saddle Creek is Lloyd’s saloon.  I apologize for that, but his cook does put out a square steak dinner.  I hope that is acceptable to you for now.  You will be staying with Anne Mayfield, my clerk, tonight.”

“Oh that is fine, Sheriff.  My partner has made me accustomed to such frontier accommodations; they really are no different than the Irish pubs in the East.  Frankly, I’ve come to admire frontier hospitality.  And the steak dinner sound irresistible.”

The lady took the Kid’s arm and they started across the street.  Curry looked across his shoulder and said, “Joshua, get everything offloaded into the jailhouse before you take the wagon to the livery; we don’t want the Remington Company blamin’ us for any lost cargo.  Sheriff, you’re goin’ to have to help Joshua with that safe, it’s pretty heavy.”

Heyes called out after the Kid, “Hey, wait a minute...”

The Kid looked over his shoulder again and smiled.


Heyes and the sheriff started to offload the wagon.  “You two are doing some fine work, really fine work,” the sheriff told Heyes.  “Have you ever considered law enforcement?  You’d get my recommendation.”

Heyes drew back, somewhat surprised.  “Well, thanks, Sheriff.  We’re always looking for work, but that may be a little out of our league, I’m, afraid.  We kind of stumbled into this, you know.”

The sheriff continued, apparently not catching Heyes’ meaning.  “I don’t have any money for a deputy.  I guess the governor thinks Banner County is too sparse for a deputy.  But I am going to mention you to the sheriff at Porterville.  Maybe he has something.  He’s due out tonight or tomorrow to escort the Remington wagon back there.”

“I guess the lady must not have known about the escort,” Heyes responded, “because she asked us to accompany her to Porterville.”

“Yeah, that’s not surprising.  Remington should have provided an escort for the delivery.  I really wonder why they didn’t.  Anyway, Sheriff Lom Trevors will need some extra hands now that he’s got a prisoner too.  I’ll introduce you to him when he gets here.”

“Thanks for the offer,” Heyes said, as he stepped up on the wagon’s footboard, “but my buddy is pretty footloose.  He wants to get out and see the country.  Besides, right now, we’re enjoying our stay at Lloyd’s.  I don’t think he would be interested in settling down in Porterville.”  Heyes pulled back on the brake arm and tipped his hat to the sheriff.  “But I’ll ask him.”

Heyes drove the team to the front of the livery and called out, “Capps, open up!”  Both of the livery doors swung open at the same time.  Capps and a young cowpoke appeared in the doorway.

Capps came out and circled the team.  “Now that’s what I call a fine wagon team, Mr. Smith.  And lookee at that wagon’s paint job!  Whew, a Remington wagon too!  Mr. Smith, if the wagon has guns I can’t take it here.  I don’t allow any explosives in my barn.  You understand.”

“Wagon’s empty, Capps; the sheriff and I offloaded everything in his office.  And the cargo wasn’t guns, either, so don’t go telling anybody it was.”

A young cowpoke came out and pulled the team into the barn.  He brought out two buckets of oats and set one down in front of each horse.  When the horses started eating, he started rubbing their necks and withers.  “This is a very fine team, nice and calm.  I bet they don’t spook; drive smooth as silk,” the young man said.

Capps turned to his helper.  “Mr. Smith, this is Jeremy, my friend from Circle Z.  He comes up to visit every now and then.  You lucked out; Jeremy knows an awful lot about horses and wagons.

Jeremy went up to Heyes, who was still on the seat, and shook his hand.  “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Smith; this is a fine rig.  Those harnesses have the best leather I’ve ever seen on wagon tack.  I’d love to work on more wagons like these.  Go ahead and set the brake.  I’ll de-harness them here.”  Jeremy went over and started working the tug buckle.

Heyes stepped off the wagon.  “Well, I got two more horses on the back.  I’ll bring them around.”

Capps went to the back of wagon and looked at the two horses.  “Yeah, I know them.  Yours and Mr. Jones’ horses, just like their riders, rough and ready.”  He looked inside the back of the wagon.  “Jeremy, there is plenty of room back here for the tack.”

“So, Mr. Smith, what brings you back here to Saddle Creek with this fancy wagon?  Did you steal the guns?  The sheriff won’t like jailin’ his new deputies,” Capps said with a wink.

“Capps, I told you there weren’t any guns, so just put that out of you head.  Actually, we kind of rescued the fancy lady who was driving the rig from Mayesville. Her partner left her high and dry.  Have you or your buddy seen that guy you told us about; you know, the conceited dude that talks through his nose?”

“Mr. Smith, Jeremy just told me something he saw last night.  It’s been troubling us both.”  Capps turned around to Jeremy who had finished removing the team’s tack and was starting to tend to Heyes’ two horses.  “Jeremy, come on over here.  Mr. Smith has a question.  He wants to know if we’ve seen that fancy dude that funny Easterner way of talkin’.  Tell him what you saw last night.”

Jeremy came over.  “Yeah, I seen him.  I think he’s no good.  You fellas close the barn doors and I’ll tell you what happened last night.”


A good crowd was already shaping up at the saloon, and the sheriff wasn’t seated at his usual spot.  Instead, he was sitting at the large round table with Lloyd, the Kid, and Miss Speilman, who were all enjoying their meals.  Men were milling around the table, joking with the sheriff and thanking Lloyd for their drinks.

“Hey, it’s my other deputy!  Come on over and have a drink, I’ve got a bottle for you and Jones.  Lloyd, get Mr. Smith his meal.”

Heyes hung his hat on the wall hook behind the sheriff.  “Yeah, I’ll take that meal, and get one for Capps here, too.  He has something to tell you both.  Lloyd, you won’t regret it when you hear what he says.”

Lloyd went to the bar and talked to the cook and came back with two shot glasses.  “Should I get my gun, Sheriff,” he asked.  “What if that fella comes in?”

“Now, just relax, Lloyd; try to calm down,” the sheriff said.  “You’ve got me and these two fine deputies, he doesn’t stand a chance.  Just relax and we’ll handle everything.”

The Kid poured some bourbon into Heyes’ and Capp’s shot glasses.

Capps took a sip.  “Umm... double-barreled.  Thanks, Lloyd.  Good hooch.”

The Kid turned to Heyes.  “We are square with Lloyd on the deal tonight and Miss Speilman has spilled the beans on Bartholomew A. DeVore, Esquire.  He won’t stand a chance in court.”

The sheriff put down his coffee cup.  “Capps, I never see you except when you come here for a nightcap.  I didn’t think you’d talk to me anymore after I had to throw you in the jail after those two drunks you went on.  So, what do you have to say?”

The cook came over with Heyes’ and Capp’s plates.  “Thanks Lloyd, obliged to you,” Heyes said.  “Capps has offered to come clean about that conman.  He’s got some information that will help us catch him and put him in jail for a spell.  Sheriff, I told Capps if he comes clean, you may overlook some things, seeing how this whole town wants to catch this guy and put an end to this whole affair.”

The sheriff put down his coffee and looked Capps straight in the eye.  “Okay, Capps, tell us what you’ve got.”

“Well, Sheriff, a few days ago a fancy dresser came by the livery.  He was a real talker – and conceited-like.  He said he wanted a girl for the night.”  Capps turned to Miss Speilman.  “Sorry, ma’am; I don’t intend to embarrass you.”

“That is quite alright, Mr. Capps,” the lady reassured him.  “I have to hear this, too.”  She stopped, looked around the table, and continued.  “On behalf of the Remington Company, please go on.”

“Well, Sheriff, I told him he could go the Circle Z Ranch for a good time, and even get an all-night spree with booze for two dollars.  I’m comin’ clean here, Sheriff.  I say the same thing to all the men that look so inclined or ask.  I have an arrangement with Circle Z, if you know what I mean.”

The sheriff poured some coffee for himself.  “Capps, I don’t believe most of what you say.  But, it looks like you are being straight this time.  Anyway, what’s your point?  Did you just want to tell me you are on the take?”

Capps looked down at his food.  “Sheriff, I’m sorry for what I did.  I know it’s wrong.  The ranch hand from Circle Z that brings me my share told me that fancy fella was spendin’ money like it was goin’ out of style.  He said he was plannin’ on spendin’ the night.  Then he handed me five dollars!  I figured that meant that dude had already spent fifty.  So I asked the hand if he had.”

Everyone at the table went dead silent.  Capps looked back down at his plate again, like he wasn’t hungry anymore. The sheriff broke the silence.  “It’s okay, Capps, go on.  Tell us what he said.”

“Well, Sheriff, at first I couldn’t believe what he said.  He said that that fancy dude got real drunk and was braggin’ that fifty dollars was nothing’ to him since he’d stoled that money from a widow up in Saddle Creek.”

The sheriff and Lloyd gasped, and then Miss Speilman started crying.  Capps went on.  “He asked me if I knew anything about it.  It crossed my mind that it could be the widow Mayfield’s money.  But then my whole mind just went blank – it was horrible.  I sweared right then and there I was never goin’ to mess around with this Circle Z business again.  When Mr. Smith came over to the livery with the wagon and all, I put two and two together.  I just had to tell Mr. Smith the whole story.  I just couldn’t keep quiet about it.  And Mr. Smith convinced me to come clean about it with you, Sheriff, and the whole town.”

Everyone sat quietly at the table; Miss Speilman was weeping softly.  Finally, Heyes leaned forward.  “We stand a good chance of nabbing this fella if we head out toward Circle Z.  He is either there, on his way here, or has left a trail.  My theory is; he sticks out like a sore thumb.  So he’s gotta be laying low and hiding somewhere.”

The sheriff leaned back in his chair.  “Thanks, Capps.  Go ahead and eat your meal.  Just keep your mouth shut about Circle Z from now on, understand?”

Capps looked up at the sheriff.  He nodded his head.

“Okay, Capps, here is the deal.  You can stay here at Lloyd’s place, but you have to keep your mouth shut and don’t go on a drunk.  I know it will be hard – but if you start up again, one of my deputies will bring you across the street, understand.”

Capps nodded, again.

“Boys, I want you to stay and keep an eye on the place, just like we agreed.  I’m pretty certain at some point this afternoon Mr. DeVore is going to walk in here.  He knows the wagon is already late to Saddle Creek and is supposed to be leaving early tomorrow for Porterville.  He doesn’t want to get left behind, and he wants to collect his money.  I agree with you, Smith, he’s gotta stick out like a sore thumb.  But he’s so conceited he thinks he can fool anybody.  I’ve seen these fool types before.  Handcuff him to the bar rail and send Capps over.”

The sheriff stood up and helped the lady out of her chair.  “I’m going to go across the street with Miss Speilman.  She is going to meet Anne at the office and get her started with that machine.  She also has to go over her records before she heads over to Porterville with Lom Trevors, the sheriff over there.”

Miss Speilman stood up, dabbed her eyes, and tried to compose herself.  “Thank you, Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith.  I’m sure the Remington Company will be contacting you with a letter of commendation.  I am certain Mr. Remington will want to reward you in some way.  And, I want to apologize again to Mr. Grady, on behalf of the Remington Company and myself, for the disgraceful and criminal behavior of Mr. DeVore.  I am certain that the Remington Company will participate fully in his prosecution.”

Lloyd, Capps, Heyes and the Kid watched the sheriff leave with Miss Speilman.  Then the Kid turned to Heyes with a smile.  “The sheriff’s right, huh, Mr. Smith?  The conceited ones always get caught.”

All four men leaned back in their chairs.  The cook had brought over a pie for the table and the men dug in.

Heyes broke the silence.  “Lloyd, you heard the sheriff.  He’s pretty certain this guy is going to show up before dusk, so here’s the plan.  Based on what Jones and I know about him, we shouldn’t have any trouble picking him out from the crowd tonight.  When this guy comes in, Capps is going to tip me off and then get the sheriff.  And you are square on the deal; five dollars for us to cover till you close.  And, no house cut on our winnings.  My partner and I are going to get some air out front.  We’ll be back in few minutes.”

Lloyd nodded.  “That’s fine with me.  You fellas seem real capable.”  Lloyd handed Heyes the money.  I’m going to get some of the best players over here.  What is the starting stake?”

Heyes and the Kid got up and grabbed their hats off the hooks behind the table.  “Five dollars per to ante,” said the Kid.  Lloyd’s mouth went slack-jawed as the two walked toward the bat wings.

Heyes turned to the Kid as they stood in front of the saloon watching the men walk in.  “Kid, the sheriff thinks we make good deputies:  ‘you two are doing a fine job, a really fine job’ he told me.  He wants to introduce us to Lom Trevors.”

The Kid smiled. “Yeah, well the way I figure it, if we couldn’t gamble, we wouldn’t have this job, and I don’t suppose Lom wants us for deputies,” the Kid said.

“You don’t suppose right,” Heyes responded.  “But if Remington wants to pay for two guards, I’d jump for it.  Based on what that fancy lady said, they pay pretty well.”

“Yeah, I’d go for that,” said the Kid.  “And I’d love to get my hands on some better guns.”

“I bet you would.  In any case, we’ll have to do whatever Lom tells us.  As far as I can see, he’s got us in a corner,” said Heyes as he headed back to the saloon door.


Back in the saloon, Lloyd was accompanied by a table full of players who greeted the two with pleasure.  One of the men spoke up, “We hear you two may be sharp with cards.  That’s what we like – fast, tough games.”

Another man spoke up, “And, we hear you two are filling in for the sheriff tonight.  If that Eastern dandy turns up, we’re looking forward to being the first to see the action.”

Soon Heyes and Curry had piles of chips between them when the game was called.  “Well, gentlemen,” the Kid said as he and Heyes started pocketing their chips, “I suggest we take a break.  Is everyone up for another game?”

Before anyone could answer, Capps called out, “That’s your man, deputies!”

The bat wings had swung open and a tall, well-dressed man walked in.  He made a beeline for the bar and ordered a drink.

“That’s our man, Mr. Smith; I’m certain,” Capps said.

Heyes looked over at the bar.  The man got his drink and started quickly looking over the crowd.  “Okay, Capps, go get the sheriff,” Heyes said.

The Kid and Heyes finished pocketing their chips.  Before the gamers could ask what was going on, they were treated to a spectacle.  Standing in front of them was a tall dandy, decked out in a tailored wool suit and fancy buckled boots.  His red silk necktie stood out against his black jacket and bleached collar.  He carried a thin glove-leather briefcase and sported a mid-size mustache.  A powerful, commanding voice rolled through the cloud of tobacco smoke that was rising up from the table.  “Gentlemen, I have some business with the Saddle Creek Saloon proprietor.  The barman has informed me that he is at this table.”

Heyes stood up and shook his hand.  “Why yes, sir, I’m Lloyd, the owner.  And you are?”

“I am Bartholomew A. DeVore, Esquire; JD, Attorney at Law.  I specialize in constitutional law related to the First Amendment, Libel and Freedom of the Press.  I have something to discuss with you… in private.”

“Gentlemen,” Heyes said, “I have some private business to attend to.  Please excuse me while I go to my office with my guest.”

The men at the table kept staring at the spectacle before them, except the Kid.  “Are you the fella that’s goin to catch that conman behind the story about the rats?”

Mr. DeVore looked firmly into the Kid’s eyes.  “That’s right, son.  We have a saying where I come from:  ‘The only good rat is a dead rat.’”

Heyes placed his hand behind Mr. DeVore’s back.  “Come this way, Mr. DeVore, sir.  I have the money in the safe in my office.”

Heyes led the man towards the bar.  The Kid came up behind him and they pulled his arms back.  Before he could turn, the Kid had him handcuffed with the third cuff secured on the bar railing.

Mr. DeVore was now facing everyone, with both arms behind his back.  Before he could say a word, someone in the crowd yelled out.  “Hey look!  They caught that dirty rotten guy who stole fifty dollars from the widow Mayfield.”  The whole saloon crowd looked over at the fancy-dressed man struggling to free himself.  Everyone started whooping and hollering.

“Yeah, we’re pretty sure he’s the one,” the Kid said.

Mr. DeVore rushed to his own defense.  “Son,” he said in the most courteous and authoritative manner he could muster under the circumstances, “you are making a grave error.  I am the lawyer who is defending these good people.  In addition, in the course of my legal work, I am writing a book concerning the development of the judiciary in the American West.”

“Is that a fact?  We’ll let you tell that to the sheriff.”  Heyes looked briefly towards the bat wings, and then called out to the crowd.  “Lloyd, bring that paper over here.”

Lloyd walked out of the crowd, gave Heyes the paper, and slid back in among the men.

“Lloyd received this paper two days ago.  For you men who haven’t heard about it, I’m going to read it out loud:

Folks traveling to Saddle
Creek are advised to avoid
the bar there.  We have re-
ceived reports of rats. Di-
ners have had to fight them
off their tables.’

“Now, let me ask you, has anyone here ever seen or smelled a rat in Lloyd’s place?”

Someone in the crowd yelled out.  “No sir, not until today, and that rat is standing right behind you tied up to that railing!”  The whole crowd broke down laughing.  Another voice came out of the crowd, “And he sure stinks; what is that smell?”  Another round of laughter came out of the crowd.

Mr. DeVore protested.  His face grew redder as he stammered out the words.  “Now I never… I had nothing to do with that story.  This is a lynching – this is not justice. This is a lynching!”

“Oh, is that so?” Heyes went on.  “Now men, clipped to that story was this handwritten note:  ‘I will find who did this, but first you must pay me fifty dollars.  I’ll be by soon to collect.’  Mr. DeVore, here, walked in just a few minutes ago.  For those who didn’t see it, he asked for the owner of this saloon.  He identified himself as the lawyer who was going to find the perpetrator of this story.  All the men at the big card table witnessed it.”  Heyes turned to Mr. DeVore.  “Now, if you had nothing to do with this paper I’m holding, where did it come from?”

“Why, why it’s from the Mayesville paper,” Mr. DeVore blurted out.

At this point Sheriff Brainard came into the saloon accompanied by a short, balding, bespectacled man.  “Deputy Smith, you and Deputy Jones are doing a fine job here.  Excuse me while I introduce Mr. Cleary, the editor of the Mayesville Sun.  Mr. Cleary just came to my office and he can answer the accusation that Mr. DeVore just made.”

Mr. Cleary walked over to the table in front of Mr. DeVore and put down what looked like a small printing press.  “Mr. Brainard, our paper bought this beautiful new Remington Model 2 from this handcuffed gentleman.  Paid a pretty penny for it, too.  Yesterday, one of the reporters noticed that it had a stamp next to the serial number:  ‘Property of the State of Wyoming.’  So we put two-and-two together and thought this may be related to your visit two days ago regarding some supposed stories about the Saddle Creek Saloon and about Anne Mayfield. The Mayesville Sun categorically denies any involvement with those so-called stories that have been used to extort your unfortunate townspeople.  I want to leave this machine, and some sample clippings from our paper, here on this table; I think that will clear up this whole matter.”

“Well thank you, Mr. Cleary.  That certainly clears up the mystery of the missing machine that was going to the sheriff over in Porterville.”  The sheriff turned to Mr. DeVore.  “In addition to extortion and libel, it looks like you are also under arrest for theft and sale of government property.”

Mr. DeVore stood up as straight as he could and addressed the crowd in his most commanding voice.  “Sheriff Brainard, this entire proceeding is quite irregular and the governor of Nebraska will bring your career to an ignominious end.  I am innocent of all these charges.  I am Bartholomew A. DeVore, Esquire; JD, Attorney at Law.  I specialize in constitutional law related to the First Amendment, Libel and Freedom of the Press.  I have made a special effort, at great personal sacrifice, to come to the aid of these two unfortunate townspeople.”

“Mr. DeVore, now mind you, you don’t have to say anything at all in your defense.  In fact, you may want to just stop talking right now.”

Mr. DeVore remained stiff, and looked firmly into the crowd with all the dignity he could muster.  He began to address them in a measured, authoritative tone.  “Sheriff Brainard, if you arrest me, on any charge, you will be making a grave error.  I have the ear of the governor of this state, and the full legal backing of the Remington Company.  I have said that I have nothing to do with these stories.  I took them out of the newspaper at Mayesville when I was there on legal business.”

“Mr. DeVore, I told you that you could remain silent, but you haven’t.  Now I have to go across the street for a few minutes and I’m leaving Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith in charge while I take depositions from folks that have grievances against you.  Mr. Smith, Mr. Cleary brought the machine over here for a few minutes.  Would you explain what is going on?  I don’t want any rumors getting started about this machine.”

Heyes pulled the sheriff aside.  “Sheriff, could you just take Mr. DeVore over now?  I think we’ve pulled off our half of the bargain.  And, I think these men would like to get back to the business of their evening.”  The Kid nodded his approval.

“Boys, unfortunately, right now something real important is breaking over at the office and I have to get right back.  You are doing fine, really fine.  It seems to me like there mat be quite a few folk here that may have had an encounter with Mr. DeVore.  You stay here and hear them out; the town needs to come clean on this fella.  Keep him here for about ten more minutes, and then you can bring him over.”  With that, the sheriff turned and left.

Heyes went slack-jawed as he watched the sheriff leave.  He regained his composure and turned to the crowd.  “Gentlemen, you have before you a new kind of office machine made by the Remington Company.  Nebraska is providing these machines for the Governor’s Executive office and key law men in each county.  Mr. DeVore is, well he was, in the employ of the Remington Company to deliver these machines.  Mr. Jones has placed on the table a sample of lettering from this machine beside the story that Lloyd Grady received, and an actual newspaper clipping from the Mayesville Sun Mr. Cleary brought.

A female voice interrupted him.  “Mr. Smith, I have something to say.”  Anne Mayfield walked into the saloon, still dressed in black.  She walked right up to Mr. DeVore and stared him square in the face.  “He’s the man; he’s the man that took my fifty dollars.  Same half-Windsor knot tie, same buckled boots, and same smelly rosewater cologne.  And here’s something I’ve never shown anybody.  Here’s his handwritten note where he promised to write back to me every week until the source of the story was found.  I want to compare this note to Lloyd’s.  Lloyd, you have that note?”

Lloyd reappeared out of the crowd and put the note down.  Anne walked over to the table and put her note down next to Lloyd’s.

Heyes examined the two notes.  “It’s the same ink, the same handwriting, and the same paper.”

Mr. DeVore had been looking down at the floor, speechless, until this moment.  “Deputy Smith, am I on trial here?  You can’t prove that.”

Heyes answered.  “I happen to be expert at identifying forgeries, DeVore.”  The Kid rolled his eyes.

“Deputy Jones, take all this evidence over to the sheriff’s office,” Heyes ordered.

The Kid gathered everything and started toward the door.  “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Mr. DeVore turned to the crowd.  “All of these charges are false.  I will be exonerated in court.”

“Hey, Smith!” a voice came out of the crowd.  “Mr. DeVore may never get to the jailhouse at this rate.”  This brought the whole crowd down in a storm of laughter.

Heyes turned to Mr. DeVore.  “Now before I take you over to the jail house for booking I must...”

Another voice came out of the crowd.  “Deputy Smith, I’m Jack Andrews, owner of the general store.  Have you found a pocket watch among Mr. DeVore’s personal effects?  It would be a brand new Waltham William Ellery key-wind with an Eagle sterling silver case.  This gentleman tried it on at the store yesterday and it has been missing since.”

“Mr. Andrews, I know they are taking an inventory of what was in the wagon and the wagon’s safe.  Stick around and we’ll see if anything turns up,” Heyes responded.

Another voice came out of the crowd.  “Book him, deputy, we’re tired of looking at this pompous blowhard!”  That brought another round of laughter from the crowd.

The Kid came back from the sheriff’s office.  “The sheriff says we can bring him over now, but we have to search for weapons first.”

Heyes turned to Mr. DeVore.  “Don’t worry, whatever we find will be kept in the jail safe, and will be returned to you per the judge’s instructions.  Mr. Jones, check him for weapons.”

Curry rolled his eyes again and started patting down Mr. DeVore and going through his suit.  Every man took full advantage of the unexpected entertainment and craned his neck to get a full view of the proceedings.

Curry pulled a pocket revolver out of Mr. DeVore’s shoulder holster.  “Nice gun, Bartholomew, a Marlin XXX Standard 1872.  Hmm... looks like the barrel’s stuck, though; guess it’s just for show.”  That was met with general sniggers from the crowd.  The Kid gave it to Heyes.

The Kid started checking Mr. DeVore’s pockets.  “Well look here, a nice new pocket watch.”  The Kid handed it to Heyes.

“Jack,” Heyes said, “come on over here and see if it is yours.”

Jack came over.  “Yep, that’s it; it’s just missing the chain.”

“Okay, Jack, we’re going to keep it for evidence.  Bring your inventory page on it to the sheriff tomorrow.  Well, Mr. DeVore, looks like the sheriff will be arresting you for theft of private property, too.”  There was more laughter from the crowd.

The Kid reached inside Mr. DeVore’s jacket.  He pulled a slim leather pouch out of the inside pocket.  “Well look here.  the rest of the stories, all neatly arranged on this one sheet of paper.  Looks like two of the stories have been ripped out though.  Is this what you call ‘Freedom of the Press’, Mr. DeVore?  Mr. Smith, let’s get him into the jail,” Curry said with a wink.  “He has all night to come up with a credible story, and I believe tomorrow’s breakfast is biscuits and bacon gravy.”

A voice came out of the crowd as the three men headed toward the door, “Hey, DeVore, you’ll have plenty of ‘Freedom of the Press’ in jail; you can say anything you want there!”


The three men walked into the sheriff’s office.  “Hey, there are my two deputies!  Let’s welcome Mr. DeVore to his new quarters.”

As Heyes and the Kid led Mr. DeVore back to the cell, they noticed Lom Trevors.  He stared at the ‘deputies’.

When they came back, Sheriff Brainard gestured for them sit at the front of his desk.  “I’ve told Sheriff Trevors about you two.  I’ve told him about the fine work you’ve done, the really fine work.”

“Uh-huh, I bet it was,” Trevors responded, blandly.

“Lom, we just helped out like any two law-abiding citizens would.”

“That’s right, Lom.”

“Good,” Lom continued, “then you two won’t mind helping me escort the prisoner to Porterville for the trial.  Sheriff Brainard told me his deputies would be happy to.”

“Hey, we’re enjoyin’ our stay over at Lloyd’s,” the Kid said, “but if Remington wants to pay for two guards…”

Heyes spoke up, “The trial’s in Porterville?”

“Yep, both governors wired us,” Lom added.  “The government property charge is the gravest offence so Wyoming has jurisdiction.”

The Kid and Heyes looked at each other.  “Aw, now fellas, we’re all settled in for a nice stay at Lloyd’s.  But if this means a job with Remington…” the Kid started to say.

“Plus,” Lom interrupted, “we can catch up on old times.  You’d like that, wouldn’t you, boys?”

Each sheriff gave the boys a dry smile.

(Writers love feedback! You can comment on Ty Pender’s story by clicking the "post reply" button, found at the bottom left side of your screen. You don't have to sign in and you can be anonymous.)
Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Sat 08 Mar 2014, 7:47 pm by Penski
Congratulations on your first Virtual Season story, Ty Pender! A unique plot... don't recall townfolks being bribed and the boys having defend themselves. I liked how the Kid was chatting with Miss Speilman and forgot his partner, even telling Heyes to unload the wagon. Thanks for writing!
Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Sun 09 Mar 2014, 9:59 pm by CD Roberts
Fun story, Ty! I enjoyed the Remington wagon and its contents. My favorite scene is in the saloon with the various people showing up to add accusation to accusation against DeVore; it did seem s if he would never get carted off to jail. Congrats on your first story.
Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Wed 12 Mar 2014, 3:35 am by Kid4ever
clap Great job on your first submission to VS, Ty. genius   Your story captured my attention from the get-go and held it clear up until the final words. I especially enjoyed two of your photos, the three cuff handcuffs - along with their very interesting background info, and the photo of the old typewriter. There was mention of a new "hobby" for you so I'm going to take a stab at it and say that it is your new typewriter that may be the impetus behind your story and that it helped you create such an intriguing tale for all of us?
If I had not known beforehand that this was written by a guy, I'm not sure I would have guessed it. The only thing that may have triggered any questions was that Kid was never referred to as "Curry" and some of their speech was a tad "stilted/proper/formal" than most of us write them.  It certainly lacked the descriptive adjectives that a lot of female writers (me included) use to take the place of "Heyes" or "Kid." You told the story in your own style - and I have to admit - it reminded me a bit of an old dime novel in places. That is not a bad thing, just a personal observation goodjob
Several passages coaxed a smile or a laugh as I imagined them while reading. My most favorite scene was Heyes talking to the sheriff while he watched Kid chow down on those biscuits and when Kid walked away with Miss Speilman and left Heyes to do the manual labor!
I look forward to reading more of your work in the future; don't keep us waiting too long study
Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Wed 12 Mar 2014, 9:30 am by InsideOutlaw
Congratulations on your first VS episode, Ty Pender! I enjoyed the mystery and also the interesting introduction of the Remington typewriter. The tidbit about why the typesetters preferred them was also fun to learn.

My favorite line had to be: Then the Kid turned to Heyes with a smile. “The sheriff’s right, huh, Mr. Smith? The conceited ones always get caught.”

Nicely done!
Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Wed 12 Mar 2014, 1:21 pm by Grace R. Williams
Welcome to the world of VS, Ty Pender! I enjoyed the mystery and your easy-flowing humor like this line:

Anyway, she says neither one of you are the fellas they’re looking fer. She says he was a city slicker; ‘dapper’ is the word she used. So, I guess you two are off the hook.”

And this one:

"...The Wyoming Governor is very keen on getting official business handled by these machines.”

The Kid drew back. “Lady, if it’s a new fangled kind of execution machine, I’d rather not see it, if you don’t mind.”

Fun names too: Capps, and Speilman...or was that "Spell"man? Also the initials of Bartholomew A. DeVore - B.A.D. Very cute!

Great story!
Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Thu 13 Mar 2014, 9:07 pm by Maz
Congratulations on your first VS Story. I hope you had fun writing it and feel like writing again.
Lots of good description of the townsfolk and nice to see the research on the typewriter. A very original story. :)
Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 11:28 pm by Ghislaine Emrys
Loved all the historical details about the Remington typewriter. The photo of that and of the three-cuff handcuffs really enhanced the story. I enjoyed Sheriff Brainard; he was a fun character; I especially liked his complaint about getting a machine instead of a deputy--clearly he's not an early adopter of technology! The mystery of who/what was printing the extortion letters was fun. Lots of good scenes and fun banter; perhaps my favorite part was when Heyes was looking askance at Kid scarfing down the biscuits they were served for breakfast at the jail. For a first-time VS writer, this was great--congratulations!
Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Sat 22 Mar 2014, 6:55 pm by NoraWinters
Congratulations on your first VS.  It is addictive.  Great job, with an interesting take.  I always like the mingling of history with the boys. goodjob
Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Sun 30 Mar 2014, 9:39 am by Calico
Still Calico here. Second mug of tea, second VS story. Let my ribs be gently tickled.
Typender?? A newbie?? Or a clever pun?? Or both??
Now, that message is obviously (?) a coded something?? I’ve read down both edges – but, nah. Is part of it missing?
Oh I always love stories where our boys get to be deputies.
Hmm. Another half message. Is someone typing up perfectly innocent stories and then ripping them in half in pure lack of spell check frustration?
I’m admitting to being a bit lost in the middle here. Is this B.A.D. guy real or just a figment. I’m kinda thinking figment, but the plots a-convoluting me.
NOT a figment… Gosh, I got to feel a bit sorry for the poor fella as the accusations piled up.
Hurrah! It’s Lom. (Pom, pom, pom, pom, pom.)
Loved the punning names, and loved our Kid doing a bit of flirting – and the irony of our boys having the cheek to say ‘the conceited ones always get caught’.
Have to admit I don’t think I ever completely got unconvoluted there, but a thoroughly enjoyable ride, so hearty applause on joining our VS world.
Re: Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender
Post on Sat 26 Apr 2014, 4:30 pm by HannaHeyes
Congrats on your first VS story! It was wonderful. What an original plot for ASJ. I thought for sure the boys had been recognized when they got arrested. Glad they helped to bring in the right conman. And I can imagine Lom's look when he was introduced to the 'deputies'. Great job!

Freedom of the Press by Ty Pender

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