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 3.1 Double Jeopardy by JoAnn Baker

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Post3.1 Double Jeopardy by JoAnn Baker

Double Jeopardy
by JoAnn Baker




The two lone riders picked their way over the rocky terrain, letting their mounts choose the most convenient path through the open countryside dotted with occasional stands of tall pine trees.  Their destination – the town of Santa Clara, located in northern California.

The gunshots seemed to come from above them in the rocks. Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry spurred their horses into an all out run and leaned low across the animals' necks. Curry winced as a bullet narrowly missed his left ear. They rode hard as they tried to reach the cover of the rocks before the bullets found their mark.

"No good bushwhackers!" Curry exclaimed, when they'd finally slowed down, sure they had left the gunshots far enough behind them. "I'd like to shoot at one of them sometime when they're not looking."

"Don't worry Kid, as soon as we get to town we'll have a nice cold beer and get a place to sleep for the night." Heyes rode on ahead at a trot, as if nothing had happened.

Curry followed, always amazed at how optimistic his partner could sound. Two days ago they had been on a comfortable train with money in their pockets, on their way to San Francisco to visit their old friend, Silky O'Sullivan. Curry had seen them first, two Bannerman detectives circulating flyers among the passengers. He hadn't even been sure if they were the targets of the search, but Heyes had decided they would be better off not waiting around to find out. They had jumped off the train during the night and bought horses and gear in the first small town that they had come to. Now, after riding for two days in the hot sun, Curry was tired and more than a little thirsty.

"Heyes, do you think those bushwhackers knew who we were?"

"Naw, nobody's been following us, and I don't think those guys on the train ever spotted us. They were probably just looking to rob a couple of cowboys riding into town with their month's pay."

They rode quietly the rest of the way into town, instinctively scanning the streets and noting the sheriff's office. Santa Clara was a nice town. Fancier and more civilized than most of the small towns they were used to. There were still plenty of places a man could find a drink and a card game though.


00000


"What kind of saloon don't have hard boiled eggs on the counter Heyes?" Curry asked his partner, rather indignantly. Still dusty from the trail, the pair walked out of the saloon just as thirsty and tired as they had entered it a few minutes before.

"I don't know Kid, I just don't know."

"Thirty seven cents?" Kid Curry asked looking back at his partner. "You told me we could get us a couple of beers. Why didn't you tell me you'd used all our money buying these horses and gear?"

"I thought they'd have hardboiled eggs," Heyes replied innocently.

"Well this is just great!  No money, no bed to sleep in –"

"Kid," Heyes interrupted.

"No job, no –"

"Kid," Heyes hissed more urgently.

"What?" Curry asked, suddenly quiet, his right hand automatically ready at his side.

"Those two guys across the street over there.   See 'em?" Heyes asked cautiously.

Curry turned slowly to catch a glimpse of the two men Heyes was referring to.  "Yeah, why?"

"They keep looking at us and whispering," Heyes replied.

"I say we get right back on our horses and head straight out of town," Curry stated flatly and turned to head toward their horses.

Heyes followed, trying not to look suspicious.

Just as they were untying the reigns from the hitching post, a young man a couple of years younger than Heyes and Kid bolted across the street and ran up to them.

"It's you! I almost didn't recognize you! I can't believe you're really here!" The young man shouted excitedly, looking at Heyes.

"Uh, excuse me?" Heyes asked nervously.

Curry, instantly alert, had already unfastened his gun and was eyeing the street for any trouble.

"Alex, don't you remember me? I'm Jake, Jake Parker." He paused, seeing no recognition in the other man's face.  "Jim Parker's son?" he tried again. The man had light brown hair and a friendly face. He was dressed like a ranch hand, in a well worn work shirt and dusty boots.

"Oh, yeah.  Sure Jake, it just took me a minute." Heyes smiled convincingly at the young man.

"How about I buy you and your friend here a couple of beers? I still owe you for the time you didn't tell my pa what really happened to that bottle of whiskey."

"Oh, no, me and my friend were just on our way out of town." Heyes started to take hold of his horse's reigns.

"Now hold it right there, Alex," Curry interjected. "I think Jake here deserves a chance to buy you that beer. Thaddeus Jones." He offered his hand to the young man and grinned broadly. "Pleased to meet you."

Heyes gave Curry a look that said, 'just get on your horse,' but his partner ignored him and headed back across the street to have a beer with their 'new' friend.


00000


"What'd you do that for?" Heyes demanded when they were alone, seated at the table in the saloon.  The barroom was crowded and noisy.  Most of the men looked like they’d there for several hours.  They were drinking freely, laughing loudly, and smoking cheap, foul-smelling cigars.  Just a bunch of good-natured, hard-working folk with money in their pockets after a long, hard week of working with their hands.  

"I was thirsty Heyes. C'mon, what can it hurt? Shh, he's coming back."

"Well here we are," Jake announced, arriving with the pitcher of beer.

"Thanks, Jake.”  Heyes took a long draught from his mug, using the time to size up the other man.  “So how long has it been?" He asked slowly.

"Ten years this spring, since you left town. I always knew you'd come back though, especially now and all.

Curry gave Heyes a warning glance. Maybe he had been too quick to insist on the beer. They had better just drink up and get out of town.  He didn't want to stick around and get caught up in something that didn't concern them.

"Well of course I'd come back now, why wouldn't I?" Heyes asked carefully.

"On account of most of the town say you're a no-good, gambling drunkard that don't give two licks about-"

"Jake!" A stern gruff voice sounded from behind them. A strong burly man of around 50 walked around and stood beside Jake. He had the commanding presence of a foreman or trail boss. "Get on home, boy." He said, roughly pulling Jake to his feet and giving him a shove toward the door.

"But Pa, look who's here."

"I got eyes, don't I? Now get on back to the ranch."

The older man glared at Heyes as Jake reluctantly exited the saloon.

"Uh, Mr. Parker?" Heyes began, "I know you may not think much of me, but I'm trying to mend my ways.  Jake was just being friendly."

What was Heyes doing? Curry watched the scene unfold as he finished his beer. At least he wouldn't be thirsty if they were going to have to make a quick exit.

"I never did like him hanging around you when he was a kid.  You were nothing but a bad influence."

"Mr…uh, Parker, we'll be leaving town just as soon as we're finished here. You don't need to worry about us," Curry offered politely.

"This don't concern you." The older man gave Kid a menacing look, his hand near his revolver.

"Well, if it concerns my friend here, then it concerns me." Curry's tone changed to match the implied threat.

"Aah fellas, no need to get worked up. He's right Mr. Parker.  We'll be leaving town alright." Heyes gave Curry a "cool it" look.

"One rotten apple spoils the barrel, Harrington. I always said you were a bad one."

Heyes bristled under the man's glare.  Even as an outlaw, he'd rarely felt so berated.

"A man can change, Mr. Parker," Heyes said quietly.

With a last hard stare at Heyes, and a quick glance at the gun tied to Curry's leg, Parker walked away.

"I always knew you were a bad influence on me, Heyes," Curry teased and then broke into a smile.

The other patrons seemed to be minding their own business, except for three men sitting around a poker table near the back, who were watching the scene intently. One of them got up and walked over to their table.

"Alex Harrington.  Well, I'll be.  We wondered if you were really going to show up. We're just getting our Friday night game started.  You're gonna join us, aren't you?"

"Poker?" Heyes asked innocently.

Curry recognized the look in Heyes' eyes. The same one he used to get when he saw a beautiful safe just ripe for opening. He shot his partner a warning glance.

"Hey, what do you say, for old time’s sake?" One of the men was grinning and the other two winked at each other.

"I'd like to play, I really would, but I'm afraid I don't have any cash on me." Heyes smiled innocently.

"Oh, that's not a problem, is it Charlie? Alex's credit is good with us." The two other men both nodded in agreement.

"Well, if you say so," Heyes said brightly and stood, pulling Curry aside.

"Kid, for the first time, I think a case of mistaken identity is going to work in our favor. We're broke remember? I think I can win a couple hundred dollars from these amateurs and then we can buy a couple of train tickets and head to San Francisco with cash in our pockets for a change."

"Why don't you go take a walk around town? Just try and stay out of trouble."

"Me stay out of trouble?" Curry asked incredulously "Fine, I'll be outside."


00000


The town seemed to be a busy place, as Curry walked along in front of the store fronts, watching the people go about their day. A small group of boys played marbles on a side street, a pretty woman carried a bolt of new, gaily colored fabric to her buggy, and two men discussed a horse over by the livery stable. He wondered what it would be like to not be looking over his shoulder for a sheriff all the time or wondering who would be the next person to recognize him.

Kid Curry hadn't allowed himself to think too much about what he would do if their amnesty ever did come through. He had been too busy just trying to stay alive and in one piece. He sat down on a bench in front of the barbershop and closed his eyes. He wanted to get a hotel room and take a long hot bath. Heyes had better hurry up and win some money in that poker game he was playing.

Curry was jolted back to reality when he heard the name Harrington loudly exclaimed from inside the barbershop.

He leaned back and strained to listen.


00000


Heyes smiled as he raked in the pot with a sweep of his arms. The three ranch hands hadn't been making many big bets, but Heyes was looking at three hundred dollars in front of him.

"Well gentlemen, I think it's time for me to call it a night."

The smiles and good humor had all but left his three companions over the last hour. Alex Harrington had always been a decent poker player when he was sober, but he always drank heavily when he played and he always started losing once he had finished off a few whiskeys. From the gossip that had circulated around the town over the last ten years, the pattern hadn't changed; the stakes had just gotten higher. It was rumored that Harrington lost thousands of dollars in games in Atlantic City and other fancy towns in the east. But today Harrington wasn't drinking, except for the beer he'd had earlier with his friend. Maybe the rumors were wrong or Harrington had straightened up. Whatever the reason, they would take Alex Harrington a lot more seriously the next time they played poker with him.


00000


Heyes left the saloon and looked up and down the street for the Kid. He would get them a room for the night and they could leave town after a good night's sleep in a real bed and a nice hot bath. Although he was tempted to stick around and play some more poker, he knew he was pushing his luck. Eventually he was bound to meet someone who would know for sure that he wasn't really Alex Harrington, son of the wealthy and recently deceased William Harrington.

Heyes hadn't gotten far before his concerns became a reality. A pretty brunette with dark eyes and hair pinned up neatly on her head was walking straight toward him. She looked him square in the eyes. He thought he saw a flicker of surprise, and maybe even fear, but it was quickly gone and replaced with an even gaze.

"Well Alex, how long were you going to be in town before you came to see your only sister?"

"Uh, well I er…" Heyes wasn't sure how to respond. Certainly she knew he wasn't her brother, but why was she pretending?

"Let's go somewhere that we can talk alone." She took his arm and steered him away from the main street.

"My name is Lucy Harrington.  What's yours?" she asked as soon as she was sure they couldn't be overheard.

"My name's Joshua Smith, ma'am, and I'm sorry, I didn't mean to impersonate your brother, it just sort of happened," he stammered, his silver tongue eluding him for the moment.

"Well, I can certainly see why some would make that mistake," she said, studying his face.  "Mr. Smith, I think you might be the answer to all of my problems.  I have a business proposition for you. How would you like to make five thousand dollars?"

Heyes eyed her cautiously. People rarely offered that much money unless the job was either illegal or extremely dangerous. "Well, Miss Harrington, ma'am, what would I have to do for that kind of money?"

"Just keep on being my brother, Mr. Smith, until my father's will is read one week from today. And call me Lucy." She had a look of self-confidence that came with money and position.

Heyes smiled. This young woman definitely had spunk. She was pretty too.

"Why don't you come out to the house tomorrow and I can explain everything to you. Oh, and bring your friend. He looks like he could be handy to have around."

"Ma'am?" Heyes asked, more wary now. This was beginning to sound a little too easy.

"Well, by the way he wears his gun, it looks like he can use it. Someone like that is always good to have on your side," she replied confidently, then allowed a slight smile "If you're wondering how I know who he is, Jake Parker pointed him out to me.  He's over by the barber shop."

"OK, we'll come by and hear what you have to say." Heyes knew he should probably just stick to his original plan and leave town with the Kid, but something about this young woman intrigued him and he wouldn't mind an excuse to spend a little more time with her – especially a five thousand dollar excuse.


00000


The tired pair entered their small hotel room. It was simple but clean and the twin beds were a far cry better than the hard ground they had bedded down on the night before.
"Heyes, do you know which Harrington we're talking about here?" Curry had blurted out as soon as the two were inside.

"Yeah, the Harrington that made a fortune with the Southern Pacific Railroad."

Curry looked slightly deflated, since his information didn't seem to surprise his partner.

"What else do you know?" Curry asked.

"Not much, just that he died last week and the whole town is wondering who he left his fortune to." Heyes hung his gun belt on the bedpost and stretched out on the bed.

"I'm beat, I'm going to get some rest. We have to ride out early in the morning."

"Well now you've finally come to your senses.  I can't wait to get to Silky's." Curry nodded and sat down with a satisfied smile on his face.

"We have to meet Miss Harrington at her ranch," Heyes said without opening his eyes.

Kid’s smile dissolved into a glare that he turned on Heyes, who, eyes shut, was blissfully unaware of his friend’s annoyance.  Kid groaned silently, unhappy with Heyes’ plan but knowing he could do little to change his mind once it was set on something.  There was little to do now except do as Heyes said…get some rest.  Tomorrow promised to be an interesting day…one way or another.  


00000


"Heyes, you sure we'll be able to find the place?" Kid asked, breaking the silence. They had been riding along at a nice trot in the open country outside of town. His partner had been uncharacteristically quiet on the ride, and that made Kid Curry slightly nervous.

"She said it was just north out of town about an hour's ride."

"Heyes, tell me why we're going out here again?"

"Five thousand dollars, Kid. Where are we going to earn that kinda money for one week's work?"

"I don't know Heyes, it sounds too easy."

"Come on Kid, what could go--"

A bullet cut off his words in mid-sentence and sent the two men racing for cover.

"I'm starting to not like this part of the country very much!" Curry exclaimed as he caught up with his partner.

The two rode on cautiously, keeping an eye on the landscape for any possible locations that a gunman could hide.

"Are you going to say this is a coincidence? Us getting shot at twice in two days?" Curry asked the question that was on both of their minds.

"No, prob'ly not," Heyes conceded.

"That all you got to say?" Curry continued. He had been in a foul mood ever since Heyes had insisted they start out before their hotel restaurant opened for breakfast.

"Kid, I think someone doesn't want Alex Harrington coming back to this town. Or maybe they just don't want him inheriting his father's money."

"Yeah?  Well then, wouldn't that put his sister at the top of the list?" Curry asked with raised eyebrows.

"Maybe, but I don't think it's that simple."

Heyes had always thrived on the excitement and danger involved in the jobs they pulled when they were outlawing. Sure, the money was good, but Curry always felt it was the challenge of figuring out the impossible that really drove Hannibal Heyes.

They rode silently for the next mile with Heyes pulling ahead as they neared the top of a ridge. He slowly let out a long whistle as he saw the sprawling ranch that lay beyond.

"Nice place she has there," Curry agreed, joining Heyes. It certainly was larger than he'd expected. He was always the one to offer help to a lady in distress, but he'd tried to keep his guard up ever since those two crazy women, Janet and Lorraine, had so easily gotten the drop on them. After all, he was the one who had spent the week tied up in that broken down shack. Heyes had better know what he was doing. Curry's face was grim as he followed his partner down toward the ranch house.

They trotted their horses through the gate and down the main road leading to the house, slowing as two riders approached the gate and followed them in.

"Miss Harrington sent us out to wait for you. We thought we heard a couple of gunshots. Did you have any trouble?" the first rider called out. As the two men came closer, Heyes recognized them as Jim Parker and his son Jake.

"No, no trouble, someone just tried to kill us," Heyes said lightly.

Curry sat silently beside Heyes, looking menacingly at the two men.

"What?" cried Jake.  "Why would anyone want to kill you?"

The older Parker swung a look from Jake to Heyes and Curry.

"Yeah, what kind of trouble have you brought with you? Gambling debts, maybe?"

Heyes was tiring of the man's ridicule. "Look, I'm not bringing any trouble, or looking for any either. I'm just here to see my sister," he added haughtily, and rode on to the house.

Curry glared hard at Parker. "You heard him, we're not looking for no trouble. You better not be either," he growled.  Then he slowly turned his horse and followed his partner toward the house. He couldn't figure out why Heyes seemed to let this man get to him. Nobody ruffled Hannibal Heyes.


00000


Lucy Harrington met them at the door of the beautiful Spanish-style ranch house. Her hair was down over her shoulders and she was wearing a pretty, floral print dress with long sleeves and a high neck. She looked confident and relaxed.

"Miss Harrington, this is my partner, Thaddeus Jones," Heyes said politely, giving Curry a 'be on your best behavior' look.

"Pleasure, ma'am," Kid Curry said, removing his hat as they followed Lucy into the large entryway.

"Why don't we talk in here?" she suggested, leading them into a room walled with bookcases and oil paintings. She handed them each a glass of lemonade from a tray that was sitting on a dark, ornately carved table.

"Your father must have been quite a collector," Heyes said admiringly, looking around the room.

"My mother, Mr. Smith," Lucy corrected. "She collected most of these paintings herself in Paris and Italy."

"Oh, and will she be joining us this morning?" Heyes asked, taking a sip of the lemonade.

"My mother died eight years ago."

"I'm sorry ma'am."  He paused for a moment and then looked directly at Lucy.

"Now, why don't you tell me why you need me to masquerade as your brother, and why someone would be shooting at him?"

"Shooting at him?" Lucy looked genuinely surprised. "What are you talking about?"

"We've been shot at twice since arriving in this town, and I get the distinct impression that Alex Harrington isn't entirely welcome here, at least by some of the residents," Heyes said glancing back toward the front porch where Parker and his son had remained.

Following his gaze, Lucy shook her head. "Jim Parker has been the ranch foreman here for nearly twenty years, and Jake is a good employee and loyal friend. They would never do anything to hurt a member of this family," she stated flatly.

"Well then who would?" Curry asked, a little harsher than he meant to.

Lucy blinked and seemed to collect her thoughts for a moment. "I was afraid there might be some trouble, but I don't know who is behind it. That's why I'm willing to pay you both five thousand dollars to spend the week in town.

"Why don't you start by telling us who’s going to inherit your father's fortune?" Heyes prodded.

"I can't even tell you that for sure.  My father always hoped that Alex would come to his senses and decide to follow in his footsteps. He just never saw the reality that Alex wasn't cut out for that.  But I'm betting that Alex is still his primary heir."

"What about you, Miss Harrington?" he asked, looking her straight in the eye.

"My father didn't believe that women were capable of running a business or making investment decisions," Lucy replied, her eyes challenging Heyes to comment.

He raised his eyebrows and turned his head slightly, indicating that he expected more information.

"Here’s what I need you to do…impersonate my brother long enough to find out what’s in the will.  If my father left his interest in the Southern Pacific Railroad to Alex, then you take ownership and sign them over to me. After that, you leave town.  No one will be the wiser."

"That doesn't sound legal to me, and what if your brother shows up in the meantime?" Heyes wasn't sure how thoroughly she had thought this through.

Ignoring his question, she went on. "You can play poker or whatever else you do to pass the time. Just stay sober – and no women. Attend the funeral on Sunday, and then the reading of the will next Friday. Do you want the job or don't you?"

Heyes was intrigued by this young woman and her bravado.

Curry, who had been leaning against a tall, overstuffed chair surveying the room, straightened and turned to Lucy.

"Does that apply to me too ma'am?" he asked.

"What?" Lucy turned to look at him as though she had forgotten he was there.

"The whiskey and women, ma'am," Curry said, looking concerned.

Heyes looked up at the ceiling and let out a sigh.

"No, Mr. Jones, I don't care what you do. Just see that Mr. Smith makes it to our meeting with my father's attorney next Friday."

"Well, that's what I do best, Miss Harrington." Curry gave her one of his most charming smiles.

"Which one, Mr. Jones?  Whiskey or women?"

Heyes choked slightly on his lemonade and let out a short laugh. His partner's usual way with ladies didn't seem to be working with this one.

"We'll stay in town for now, and I'll let everyone assume I'm Alex. I'll let you know tomorrow after the funeral whether or not we'll be staying longer. By the way, where is your father's will?"

"In his attorney's safe, in town. Charles Hawthorne.  His office is on Main Street."

"Come on, Thaddeus." Heyes was annoyed to see that Curry had wandered off and was looking around the library.

"After you, Joshua." Curry smiled and followed Heyes out of the room.



00000


"We're not going to actually stay in Santa Clara all week, are we? Silky is expecting us, someone keeps shooting at us and those Bannerman detectives might just figure out where we got off the train." Curry rode beside Heyes, shaking his head.  "No job's worth getting shot at or arrested, Heyes."

"You didn't used to think that way when we were robbing banks and trains, Kid. What did you think those posses wanted to do to us?" Heyes asked in mock surprise.

"That was different Heyes. Besides, I thought that was why we got outta that business."

They kicked their horses into a gallop and headed back toward town.


00000


Kid stared down at Heyes’ feet, bare except for his somewhat worse-for-wear socks, concerned that he might wear a rut in the braided-rag rug covering their hotel room floor as he paced back and forth in characteristic fashion.  "You know what I can't figure out?” Heyes asked, not really expecting an answer from Kid.  “why she's not worried about her brother turning up sometime next week and ruining the whole plan. I think she knows more than she's letting on." Heyes continued to pace as he thought out loud.

Kid sat, casually reclined, his feet on the small, round wooden table before him, cleaning his gun with care.  "Heyes, you think too much." Curry chided him, dragging his eyes away from Heyes’ feet and giving his full attention to the task in front of him.  Nothing like a clean gun to give a man a sense of pride, he thought with satisfaction.

"I think I need to pay a visit to the telegraph station." With that he walked out of the room.

A few minutes later, Heyes returned with a triumphant smile on his face.

"Kid, I was right."

Curry raised his eyebrows and waited for the explanation that he knew Heyes was dying to share.

"Lucy Harrington received a telegram this morning.  Listen to this. Lucy – stop - will wait in Gilroy – stop - A." Heyes smiled.

"Gilroy is that little town just up the line, and “A” must be Alex, do you want me to go?" Curry asked.

"Yeah, I have to be at the funeral tomorrow. Be careful, just see what you can find out." Heyes was pacing again and Curry knew he was figuring out another plan.

"We have something else to do tonight, come on." Heyes pulled his jacket back on and headed out the door.

Curry let out a sigh and followed.


00000


Standing outside the office of Charles Hawthorne, Attorney at Law, Curry watched the street as Heyes used his knife to unlock the window. Quietly Heyes slid open the window and stepped inside. After a cautious glance in both directions to make sure that no one had seen them, Curry followed.

"Look at that, made in Philadelphia, the same model that Armendariz owns. I should be able to open this one much faster." Heyes sat down and placed his ear against the dial.

"Good, 'cause that one took you all night and I want to get a little sleep before I ride out to Gilroy in the morning." Curry was positioned at the window, watching for any sign of trouble.

Eyes closed and breathing softly, Heyes seemed lost to everything but the faint clicks of the dial he was gently turning. His partner knew enough not to interrupt him when he was working on a safe. He also knew that it was his job to give Heyes enough warning to get them both out in time if there was any trouble.

After only thirty minutes, Heyes let out a long breath and with a look of sheer pleasure, swung open the door.

Curry shook his head and grinned admiringly at his partner.

Rubbing his hands together briskly, in anticipation, Heyes said, "Now, let's see what old Mr. Harrington's will says." Heyes sifted through the many files and folders until he found what he was looking for. He studied the document for a few minutes while Curry watched him impatiently.

Unable to contain his curiosity any longer, Curry finally blurted out, "Well?"  What does it say?"

"Hm, well Lucy was right.  Her father left his interest in the railroad to Alex, on the condition that he attend the reading of the will in person and sober. Otherwise, his percentage of the business goes in equal parts to his remaining partners."

"Lucy gets a nice trust fund to keep her and the ranch going either way. She wants Alex to receive those shares so he can transfer them to her, so she wouldn't have any reason to try and get rid of her brother. The Parkers don't receive anything, so they wouldn't have a motive. I can't work it out Kid, there must be something I'm missing." He shook his head.

"What about one of those business partners?" Curry asked hopefully.

"I'll try and talk to both of them if they're at the funeral tomorrow." Heyes carefully replaced all of the papers that he had been reading and quietly closed the door to the safe.  "And maybe you can learn something if you find Alex tomorrow."


00000


Kid Curry rode as discreetly as possible into the small town of Gilroy. He had built up an appetite on the ride in to town and decided to stop first at a café for a good lunch. He kept an eye out for anyone who looked even remotely like his partner, but by nightfall he still hadn't had any luck. By that time, he was thinking that maybe a poker game at one of the local saloons would prove more favorable…and more profitable.

A pretty red-head in the first saloon had tried to hold his attention, but seeing no one who resembled Heyes, he decided to try another place. As he approached the second saloon, he recognized the signs of trouble. Several patrons had just made a fast exit, while others were crowding in as though they wanted a piece of the action. Cautiously he peered through the window.

The sight took him by surprise. After all the years of backing Heyes up in the face of outlaws and unscrupulous gamblers, his adrenaline was automatically pumping. He had to remind himself that the man he saw inside was not his partner. Two rough looking men with guns worn tied down were standing facing a lone man seated against the wall.

"I said nobody calls me a cheater," one of the men was saying. Before the seated man could respond the second man had reached down and pulled him up by his shirtfront and landed a punch that threw him across the floor.

"Now get up and defend yourself," the first man growled menacingly.

"Two to one don't hardly seem fair," Curry said, stepping up behind the man still sprawled on the floor.

"You want to even the odds?" The angry man asked, challenging Curry to take a stand or stay out of the fight.

"I just don't like to see anyone ganged up on like this," Curry said coolly.

"I can fight my own battles, and that man had a card up his sleeve." The man on the floor had stood and took a step toward the other two.

Curry knew the signs all too well. The accused cheater had his arm hanging loosely at his side, and just as his hand twitched, Curry's gun fired. The surprised man looked down to see his gun blown clean off of his holster.

"What the..." the man began, but his friend had grabbed his arm and was pulling him toward the door.

"We don't need any part of an argument with him," the other man was saying as they exited the saloon.

Some of the other patrons were staring openly with their jaws hanging, others were pretending to mind their own business by staring down into their drinks. Several of the saloon girls stood whispering in the corner, giving Curry approving looks.

"Why'd ya do that?" The dark haired man was staring in disbelief. "I coulda handled it," he slurred and started to get up but slipped back down to the floor.

"Sure, got yourself beat up, or more likely shot." Curry helped the other man up and into his chair.

"My name's Thaddeus Jones, and you must be Alex Harrington," Curry said as he watched the other man's face.

"How'd ya know that?" He was still eyeing Curry suspiciously.

"Your sister hired my partner to pretend to be you for the next few days."

Alex's eyes widened at that information and he glanced down at Curry's gun and back to his face.

"Let's take a walk." Curry said pulling the man to his feet and supporting him as they walked out of the saloon.


00000


A tiny bell announced their arrival at the café.  Curry led the way into the deserted eating establishment.  Alex followed, already seeming a bit more sober than he had in the saloon, the fresh air having revived him somewhat.  A cup of hot, strong coffee later, Curry figured the other man was in good enough shape.  It was time to find out what Alex knew.

"Does everyone in town really believe he's me?" Alex asked, a bit uneasily.

Curry nodded. "So far." He set his coffee cup down and looked Alex Harrington in the eye.  "Why don't you tell me why you're here playing poker instead of with your sister in Santa Clara?"

Alex avoided the other man's gaze and looked down at his coffee.  "Lucy sent word that it was dangerous for me to go to Santa Clara. She said to wait here until she contacted me. I assumed she just didn't want me getting into any trouble before the reading of the will." He let out a short cynical laugh. "I guess she doesn't trust me any more than our father did."

"Maybe she was trying to protect you.  Someone's been taking shots at my partner. I'm assuming they were meant for you," Curry stated, staring hard at the man sitting across from him.

"A lot of people in that town never liked me much," Alex replied without looking up. He kept his eyes on his coffee cup as he took a slow sip.

"Enough to try and kill you?"

Alex frowned and considered this.  "Well, better him than me," he said cynically, taking another sip of coffee.

Curry glared at him, his blue eyes glinting with controlled anger. "I saved your neck back there, or have you forgotten? Don't make me sorry I did that." His voice had taken on a darker threatening tone.

"Aw, I'da been fine.  They weren't going to do anything." Alex tried to sound casual but his face belied his words.

The man might look like Heyes, Curry mused, but he sure didn't have his poker face.

"Why did you leave Santa Clara in the first place?"

"Oh, I suppose I just didn't want anyone telling me what I had to do. My father wanted me to sip brandy and discuss business with his 'respectable' friends. I drank whiskey and played poker with the ranch hands and farmers. My father always expected me to be something that I wasn't. I guess it was just easier to leave."

Curry nodded, he could understand that, but one thing still confused him.  "So if you didn't want to be in the railroad business, why did your father make you his heir?"

"Well, I guess you'd have had to know my father. He could never admit defeat. If I didn't take over the business, then it meant he had failed. And I don't think he really understood that I wasn't like him. He always threatened me with cutting me out of the business. He'd say, 'If you want to take over this empire someday you have to come home and straighten up.'" Alex let out a short laugh. "I guess he's still trying to say that from the other side of the grave."

"Tell me what you know about your father's business associates." Curry continued, a little less threatening now.

"Mason and Landry? They both own twenty percent of the railroad. My father owned sixty. They were all pretty ruthless in their business practices. My father was the worst. They cheated and intimidated landowners to sell to them, practically used slave labor to build the thing, and then they started bleeding the farmers dry with their high rates to transport their products." He shook his head. "It's always been about power and control. I wouldn't put anything past them."

"Have you had any contact with either of them?" Curry asked.

"John Mason contacted me last week with a business proposition. I told him he'd have to deal with my sister. If my father left the business to me, then I was going to let Lucy run it." He grinned." That ought to have ruffled him."  Suddenly the smile left his face and he looked up at Curry with new concern in his face.  "You don't think he would try and hurt Lucy?"

"I can't imagine a man shooting at a lady, but if they wanted control of the railroad bad enough…" Curry paused, not liking what he was thinking.

"I'm riding back with you tonight," Alex stated bluntly, with a new determination in his voice.

Curry considered this and nodded. "O.K., but we'd better keep you out of sight at the ranch until we get all this figured out."

Both men stood up and walked out of the cafe. At the door, Curry automatically checked the street for any signs of danger. He wasn't sure whether he was more worried about someone looking for Hannibal Heyes or Alex Harrington--either could mean trouble.

"Just give me a minute, I have to settle up at the hotel and get my things," Alex said, once they were on the street.

Curry thought he detected a slight nervousness in the man's voice. He waited downstairs in the lobby while Alex went up to his room and returned with a small bag. After giving the manager at the front desk a few dollars, they headed for the livery stable for Alex’s horse.   Curry watched as Alex swung gracefully into the saddle and took off at a trot. Well, at least the man knew how to ride, Curry thought, as he climbed on to his own mount and followed.

Kid Curry was tired.  He'd spent most of the night before watching the dark street outside Hawthorne’s office. Several times he almost nodded off in the saddle. Riding slightly behind the dark haired man, he had to keep reminding himself that it wasn't Heyes he was following. His build and the way he sat in the saddle could have fooled most people. He could see how someone looking for Alex could have taken those shots at them when they first rode into Santa Clara.


00000


The cemetery was packed.  It would have been a hard chore to fit any more bodies in; at least of the ‘living’ variety.  It seemed like the whole township turned out to pay their last respects to Mr. Harrington.  Heyes wondered how many of the people there were actually friends of the powerful man and how many were just curiosity-seekers.  He suspected that the latter far outweighed the former.  

After the minister had finished his prayer, the others in attendance began paying their respects to Lucy and 'Alex'. Heyes saw the man whom Lucy had pointed out to him earlier. He glanced at her and she confirmed with a nod.

"Hello Mr. Mason," Heyes smiled and shook the man's hand. "Thank you for coming.  I know my father would appreciate it."

"Hmm, Harrington, you had any more thoughts about my offer?" Mason said in a deep gravely voice. The man had a rough and weathered appearance. He didn't look like someone you could push around, or someone you wanted as an enemy.

"Mr. Mason, this is hardly the time to conduct business." Heyes smiled politely, as Mason eyed him coolly.

"Come by my place tomorrow morning then." He tipped his hat to Lucy and walked on.

Heyes gave Lucy a questioning look. "He's been in touch with Alex?"

She shook her head and shrugged. "I didn't know."

He leaned close and whispered, "Where's the other one, Landry?"

Lucy nodded her head to indicate a man approaching. He was a shorter, slighter man, with the more refined look of an Easterner.

"Mr. Harrington, it's been quite some time. You're looking well," he said as he shook Heyes' hand.

"Miss Harrington," he turned to Lucy. "It certainly must be a comfort to you to have your brother with you at a time like this."

"Thank you, Mr. Landry." The man was all smiles and pleasantries, but Heyes didn't trust the man's eyes. They seemed to tell a different story.

After the last respects were paid, Heyes noticed that Jim Parker was still standing nearby. The man always seemed to be keeping an eye on him. Jake joined his father and the two of them walked over.

"Miss Lucy, can I drive you back to the ranch?" Jim offered.

"No, thank you. I brought the single horse carriage. I'd like to go back home by myself."

"Alex, aren't you coming back?" Jake asked, surprised.

"I'll be along later. I have some things to see to in town this afternoon." He smiled at Jake.

Jim gave Heyes a disapproving look. "Where's your friend?"

"Oh, Thaddeus, he went fishing." Heyes smiled innocently.

"You just stay outta trouble." Jim gave him one last warning look and turned to head back to the ranch.

"See ya later, Alex." Jake whispered before leaving to join his father.

"Are you sure you want to ride back to the ranch alone?" Heyes asked Lucy when the others had finally gone.

"Yes, I'll be fine. Come by the ranch later if you need anything," she added, and Heyes almost thought he saw her blush as she climbed into her carriage and headed toward her ranch.


00000


Heyes wasn't quite sure what made him change his mind, but he decided to ride out toward the Harrington ranch, just to see what Lucy was up to. He still thought she knew more than she was letting on.

When he neared Lucy's carriage, he rode up the hillside above the main road. He could follow her this way without being seen. As he rode along, he played back his meetings with the two railroad men at the funeral trying to determine which of the two men might be trying to get rid of Alex Harrington, and how to force the would-be killer into the open.

Heyes was suddenly brought back to attention by three rapid gunshots. He heard Lucy's horse give a loud whinny and saw him rear up, pulling the reigns from Lucy's hands. The horse reared several times and then bolted off wildly.

Sensing the imminent danger, Heyes raced down the hillside in an attempt to apprehend the runaway carriage. He took a risk that his own horse would stumble or put its foot in a rabbit hole at the speed he was going, but he had taken such risks before outrunning posses. Spurring the horse on harder, he began closing the gap. As he neared the carriage, he could see the wheel wobbling dangerously and he feared they had only seconds before the axle broke or the wheel came off. At the speed the carriage was traveling and the rocky terrain, Lucy would be seriously hurt or maybe even killed. With one last surge he came alongside the panicked horse and managed to grab the reigns and gain control of the animal.

Lucy's head was still spinning, when, moments later, Heyes helped her down from the carriage. "You saved my life," she gasped as Heyes held her in a comforting embrace. Trembling with fear and relief, she clung to him for a moment, and then, as though suddenly realizing what she was doing, shyly pulled away.

They heard horses racing towards them and looked up to see Jim and Jake Parker riding back down the road at a fast gallop. "What the devil happened?" Jim yelled as they approached.

Jake immediately dismounted and went to see if Lucy was all right. "I can't believe it," he was saying. "That horse has never spooked like that before."

"Well, maybe he never had his hooves shot at before," Heyes commented dryly.

Jim was examining the wheel. "This wheel was tampered with," he announced. "Someone wanted to make sure it would come off. Alex, if you hadn't reacted so quickly, I hate to think what could have happened. That was some riding you did.  We saw you come down that hillside."

"Sure was," Jake added. "You're a real hero, Alex." The young man looked over at Heyes with admiration.

"He's right," Jim said seriously, turning to face Heyes. "I have to admit, I always took you for a coward, but that was a real brave thing you did." He reached out his hand with genuine sincerity. Heyes shook his hand solemnly. The look in Parker's eyes told Heyes that this man hadn't tried to harm them. He also thought he saw a new respect beginning to grow.

"Lucy, you ride my horse back to the ranch," Jake offered. "I'll take yours and calm him down a bit and then ride him on back."

"I'll come back with my tools later and fix that wheel so we can get the carriage back in one piece," Jim added. "First I'll see that you both get safely back to the ranch."

The small group rode on to the ranch in silence, each of them deep in thought.

_________________
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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3.1 Double Jeopardy by JoAnn Baker :: Comments

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Re: 3.1 Double Jeopardy by JoAnn Baker
Post on Sat 21 Mar 2015, 2:00 pm by royannahuggins


00000


Heyes and Lucy ate a quiet meal together without discussing what had happened on the road. Lucy seemed genuinely shaken and Heyes didn't want to press her too hard.

Finally after dinner, Heyes poured them both a brandy and they sat down in the library.

"I didn't think they'd try to kill me," she said, finally bringing up the subject.

"No, I don’t suppose you did. But you expected them to try for me, and you hired me to be a target." It came out harsher than he'd intended, but he had been waiting all through dinner and now he was going to get some straight answers.

"Of course there is a risk. Anything with a substantial return carries risk, Mr. Smith. No more than working with dynamite or nitro, or…jumping on a moving train."

Heyes’ heart skipped a beat. Her words hit dangerously close to home. He spoke evenly, not wanting to betray his uneasiness. "It's not worth my life." He eyed her suspiciously, wondering if he was just being paranoid or if she was hinting that she knew his real identity.

"What is your life worth, Mr. Smith? Is ten thousand dollars an accurate amount?" She looked into his eyes, her boldness returning.

"O.K., just come right out and say it. I don't want to play games." His eyes were dark and his voice serious. Gone was the polite manner and playful banter of their earlier conversations.

Lucy was surprised by this side of him, but she did her best not to show it. She had stood up to men who tried to intimidate her before.

"We don't have to be adversaries, Mr. Heyes. I've known who you were from the first moment I saw you on the street. I have no intention of betraying your true identity. Unless, of course, you force me into it. Jim Parker is just outside and he'd be in here in a second if I screamed."

Heyes' mind jumped to Alex and the Kid in Gilroy, and wondered if his partner was in any danger. If Lucy knew his true identity, then Alex might know the Kid's.

"How do you know who I am?" he asked her, working hard to control his temper.

Lucy looked away and smiled. She walked a few paces before answering. "Alex wrote me several years ago and told me that he had been mistaken on several occasions for a notorious outlaw. It was something that we had a good laugh about actually. We thought it was quite ironic, considering our father's railroad ventures. When I saw you in town I came up with a plan."

"Oh, I think I'm beginning to see your plan. Mason and Landry kill me, thinking I'm Alex of course. You prove it and they go to jail." His voiced trailed on, "Alex returns to inherit the Railroad, and it will be all yours. All you'll be out is one outlaw, and you can collect the reward for that." He looked at her, more hurt than angry now.

"No, Mr. Heyes," Lucy exclaimed vehemently. "That is not my plan. It's true that I knew you might be in some danger, but you've managed to stay alive all these years with the best detectives and bounty hunters in the west gunning for you. I figured you could find out who was trying to kill you and turn the tables on them. One or two more powerful railroad barons to take down a notch. Only this time, you wouldn’t just be robbing their trains; this time, you could have the satisfaction of staring them in the eye when you give them what they deserve, "

She paused, and turned to look at him. "I always cheered you on, you know. The railroad owners are the biggest highwaymen of all. They've robbed far more people than Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry ever did."

"Before you turn us into some kind of Robin Hoods, remember we weren't all that noble. We didn't give the money to the poor, we spent it on ourselves."

"Supporting small town businesses by buying goods and services? That does support the community, Mr. Heyes."

Heyes smiled thinking of just the kind of 'services' that they usually supported.

As though reading his mind, Lucy blushed and turned away. "You may think I'm a silly idealist, Mr. Heyes, but I have plans for the Southern Pacific Railroad. A railroad that charges fair rates can allow the farmers in this area to distribute their produce to a much greater area. Decent wages to employees will improve their quality of life. And of course, fairly compensating any landowners who are in the path of the railroad will allow them to resettle. A well run railroad can serve the community rather than rob it."

Heyes stared at her in amazement. If it was possible for anyone to accomplish the things she spoke of, he believed it would be her. "You won't make as much money that way," he challenged, trying to get a better handle on her motivations.

"Possibly not, but what I do make will be fairly earned. I have other plans too. I want to use some of my father's fortune to establish schools, and libraries, where all children can have access to a good education and be exposed to art and literature."

Heyes couldn't help but smile. Lucy really believed she could make a difference in her community. And he was starting to believe she could too. “Well, first we have to keep your father's business associates from getting their hands on it." His grin had a bit of mischief in it.

Lucy grinned back and looked up into his eyes. "I think what we need now, is a real Hannibal Heyes plan." She smiled demurely as he slid his arms around her shoulders and leaned his face toward hers.

At that moment Alex and Curry walked into the library. The two had arrived unnoticed by the ranch hands, and slipped quietly into the house without drawing any attention to themselves.

"Lucy!" Alex exclaimed.

"You!" He shouted at Heyes. "Don't you touch her!"

Heyes had stepped away from Lucy, but Alex's right hook caught him across the jaw and sent him staggering backward.

Lucy quickly stepped between them before either man had a chance to respond. "Stop it! Alex, this man saved my life tonight." She glanced cautiously at Heyes, not sure how he would respond to her brother.

Alex’s surprise showed on his face, but he let out a long sigh and took his sister in his arms. "I'm sorry Lucy,” he said, giving her a long hug, “it's just that on the whole ride here I've been worrying that someone might try and hurt you. Then when I walked in and saw that- that outlaw with his hands on you." He closed his eyes as if to block out the memory.

At the word 'outlaw' Curry, who had been leaning against the wall with his arms folded across his chest, suddenly straigtened and gave Heyes a questioning look.

Rubbing his swelling jaw, Heyes warned his partner off with a quick shake of his head. "She knew who we were the whole time Kid.” He admitted contritely. “So how'd you manage to find him? There must be an awful lot of men hanging around in that town. How did you know which one was him?"

Curry looked back at Heyes incredulously. "What do you mean, how did I recognize him?" He just stared at his partner not quite sure how to respond. "Heyes, you could be twins."

Heyes stopped for a moment to give Alex a good once-over, eyeing him from head to toe. With a slight shake of his head, he turned to Kid and with a genuinely puzzled look, said, "It's amazing you shoot as well as you do with eyesight that poor."

Kid Curry shook his head again and let out a disgusted sigh.

"Alex, you're hurt!" Lucy said noticing his bruised jaw.

"Just a little disagreement over a poker game. I'm fine," he assured her.

"I hate to break up this touching family reunion, but I think we need to talk," Heyes announced.

Alex eyed the outlaw suspiciously. "You can't come into my home and order me around like-"

"Just siddown," Heyes said forcefully. Alex obeyed without hesitation, and looked up at Heyes a bit fearfully.

"Now, John Mason tells me that he made you an offer recently. What kind of offer is he talking about?" Heyes sat in the chair facing Alex.

Lucy sat down next to Alex, looking from one man to the other. The hair, the features, the general body build was so similar it was astonishing. Yet there was a difference, it was in their confidence, their sense of self. Hannibal Heyes knew exactly who he was, even if he tried to make sure very few others ever did. She smiled slightly to herself.

Curry stayed by the door, keeping watch so that they would not be interrupted. He was always impressed by how Heyes could take command of a situation or group of people.

"Well," Alex began. "John sent me a telegram last week, after I received the news from Lucy about our father. "He wanted to meet and discuss selling the railroad. I told him I wasn't interested in talking to him because," he paused and looked apologetically at Lucy, "because my sister would be running the company."

Heyes glanced at Lucy. This was the reason that someone had gone after her as well.

"Lucy, I never thought they'd try and hurt you. I never would have said anything if I had known," Alex stammered.

"Alright, so we know that Mason knows Lucy wants to run the railroad.” Heyes said, moving the conversation forward. “He also knows that your father made you his business heir. Lucy didn't even know that for sure. I'd say that makes him a prime suspect."

"What about Landry?" Heyes continued, not wanting to leave any stone unturned.

"He sent a telegram extending his condolences. That was all." Alex shrugged and looked from Heyes to Lucy.

"Okay. For now, we'll focus on Mason. He wanted to talk to me tomorrow, so I'll ride into town and see what he has to say. Meanwhile, I think we should all stay here tonight. The Kid and I will take turns keeping watch."

"Be careful," Lucy cautioned, concern evident in her voice.

Heyes smiled; yesterday she had been willing to send him out without so much as an explanation. Things certainly were getting interesting.

"Mr. Heyes?" Alex looked at him uncomfortably, "It's just that, well, knowing you're an outlaw and all, how can you expect us to trust you?"

"I trust him, Alex," Lucy assured her brother.

Heyes gave her a small smile, and then turned to Alex with a more serious expression. "Trust is something you have to earn, and a couple of years ago you'd have probably been right about me. The Kid and me have been going straight for a little over two years now, and I hope someday people won't hold our past against us."

Alex looked ruefully at Heyes. "I wonder if the people in this town would ever think differently about me."

They already do, Heyes thought to himself, but said nothing.


00000


Curry could smell bacon frying when he came around the corner into the kitchen. Lucy stood at the stove wearing a small white apron over her light blue dress, her hair pulled back with a blue ribbon that matched the color of her dress perfectly.

"Oh, I'm just not very good at this," She fretted, holding her slightly burned hand and stepping back as grease sputtered from the pan.

"Here, let me," Curry offered, stepping in to take the pan off the stove.

"Do you know how to cook?" Lucy asked looking at him hopefully.

"Well, a man's gotta eat, so I manage." He was looking at her with a curious smile. "Don't you cook?"

"Well, my housekeeper usually does the cooking, but I gave her the day off. I didn't want to have to explain you and Mr. Smith- er Heyes and- well I didn't want anyone to know you were here.

"Well, this looks like mighty fine bacon, ma'am." He smiled politely and sat down at the small kitchen table. He looked doubtfully at the plate in the middle of the table. Something resembling scrambled eggs seemed to be getting cold there.

"I'm glad you were able to sleep late, Mr. Heyes said you were up most of the night keeping a lookout."

"Where is Heyes? He in the library?" Curry asked between mouthfuls. The food tasted better than it looked…either that or he was just plain hungrier than he realized.

"Oh no. He left for town already. He said he had a meeting with Mr. Mason."

"What!" Curry stood up so fast that he knocked the table, sending dishes rattling against each other. "Without me?"

Angry, and a little hurt, Curry headed for the front door. He relaxed a bit when he saw his partner staring out of the front window.

"Oh, Heyes. Good! You haven't left yet. Lucy said-" he stopped short when the man turned and he saw Alex Harrington looking back at him.

"Alex!" Curry said almost accusingly.

"Yeah? Who'd ya think?" Alex stared back at him.

Curry's eyes narrowed. "Why'd you let him ride outta here alone?"

"He told me to stay here and keep an eye on Lucy," Alex said simply.

"Yeah, well you shoulda woke me up. Someone out there is trying to kill him, in case you hadn't noticed." Curry reached for his hat, hung by the door. "He left you to watch the place?"

"Yeah, you got a problem with that?"

"Yeah, I do, 'cause-" He stopped suddenly. He realized that he was arguing with this man with the same familiarity he was accustomed to with Heyes, and it was a bit unsettling. "Look, I just need to go after my partner and watch his back. Where is he meeting Mason?"

"At his office in town. I can tell you how to get there, you-"

Curry had just opened the front door when he was confronted by Jim Parker standing on the porch. He shot Alex a look that said 'I thought you were watching' and then returned his gaze to Parker.

"Morning, Mr. Parker," Curry said, giving the man a nod.

"I just saw you leave for town. How'd you get back here?" Parker addressed Alex, with a startled look.

"Well, I decided to come back and have my friend ride in with me."

"Hm, not a bad idea." Parker nodded approvingly.

"You really took a nasty punch there. That bruise looks even more purple than it was a half hour ago." Parker shook his head as he looked at Alex's face. Something about him seemed 'wrong' but Parker couldn't quite place it.

"Well, must be the light." Alex smiled and laughed, trying to sound casual.

"We've got to be going now," Curry interjected, as he leaned closer to Alex and whispered. "We'll let him see us ride out together and then you double back and this time, stay out of sight."

The two men headed for their horses as Parker watched. They planned to ride together until they reached a bend in the road with a grove of trees, where Alex could double back to the ranch.

"So, Curry…" Alex began.

"Jones, call me Jones," Curry corrected.

"OK, Jones, I don't understand why you're sticking around here. It seems like a man with a price on his head would take off as soon as he found out that someone knew his real identity."

"Yeah, well a smart man probably would," Curry said ruefully. "But your sister hired my partner to stay in town for the week, and I'm sticking around to make sure he makes it."

"I can't imagine risking my own neck to protect someone else's," Alex muttered, more to himself than to Curry. They rode on for a while in silence. Alex Harrington didn't seem to know much about loyalty, Curry thought warily.

"Stay over here," Curry urged and motioned Alex away from some low cliffs. "That's where one of those bushwhackers took some shots at us yesterday," he warned; his instinct to protect the man overriding his infuriation with him.

They slowed when they entered the trees. "You sure you can get back without being noticed?" Curry asked apprehensively.

Alex looked back indignantly. "If there's one thing I do know how to do, it's sneak into my own house." At Curry's doubtful look, he continued. "I used to sneak in all the time after staying out all night playing poker or being off somewhere my father didn't approve of. I got us in without anyone noticing last night, didn't I?"

"Wait a minute, I got us in last night, Curry shot back.

"You did not, I-"

"Hey-arrington, just don't let Parker see you again." Curry reined his horse around and galloped off toward town. He chided himself for the slip. This man was definitely not Heyes, but his looks and some of his movements were so much like Heyes' that he had to keep reminding himself.


00000


Heyes looked relaxed and comfortable as he surveyed John Mason’s well-appointed office from the depths of his high-backed chair, made of supple leather. He was seated directly in front of Mason’s desk. The railroad man cleared his throat pointedly, in an obvious attempt to regain ‘Alex’s’ attention. "Well, Harrington." Mason said loudly. "Have you thought about my offer?"

"Yes Mr. Mason, and the railroad isn't for sale." Heyes stated confidently and waited for a reaction.

Mason narrowed his eyes and looked at Heyes curiously for a moment before speaking. "The railroad most certainly is for sale. It’s just a matter of whether I sell to you or to Landry."

Heyes eyes widened for just a second, but he quickly covered with a neutral expression. "Well, if you're sure, then I guess it is." He blinked, waiting for Mason to provide him with more information. He silently cursed himself for not getting more details out of Alex before leaving for the meeting.

"Landry made an offer to buy me out the day your father died, but I thought I'd give you an opportunity to outbid him. To be honest, his offer wasn't very good and I was hoping you'd want to acquire more stock." He raised his eyebrows and looked at Heyes expectantly.

"Mr. Mason, why is it again that you want to sell out your twenty percent?"

Mason gave him an impatient glare. "Look Harrington, I told you, I'm not making the kind of profit that your father promised me when he talked me into investing in that railroad. I want to put my money somewhere that I can make a better return. So if you're not interested, I'll tell Landry I'm taking his offer."

"No, no, don't do that, Mr. Mason. I think I might just want to make you that offer. Let me think it over and I'll give you my answer in a couple of days. We can't finalize the deal until after the reading of my father's will on Friday anyway."

"Should we have Mr. Hawthorne draw up some preliminary documents for the sale?" Heyes inquired, watching Mason closely.

"No. Hawthorne may have been your father's attorney, but he's Landry's too. I don't want this getting back to Landry before it's final. We'll have my attorney draw up the papers."

"How can Hawthorne divulge private client information?" Heyes pressed.

"Have you really been that out of touch with the business dealings of this railroad?" Mason eyed him skeptically.

"Yes sir," Heyes replied with as much innocent naiveté as he could muster.

"Look, I don't trust Landry and I don't trust Hawthorne either. If you'll give me a fair price for my part of the company, then you'll have your railroad. If not, I'll sell to Landry. Either way, I'm out,." He said it as though the meeting was over as well.

The gambler in Heyes prompted him to take a chance on a long shot. "Mr. Mason, I think Landry is trying to make sure I don't make it to the reading of my father's will on Friday. Someone has been taking shots at me and Lucy's carriage accident yesterday was no accident. Someone tampered with the wheel and then spooked the horse. The only thing I'm not sure of is whether you're in it with him." He eyed Mason carefully and waited.

Mason was on his feet and livid. "Nobody accuses me of a thing like that. I play hard and I play to win, but I play fair. I would never shoot a man in the back and I would never hurt a lady." He let out a slow breath, his eyes black with rage.

Heyes smiled. "Thank you Mr. Mason, I don't believe you would. You've answered my question." The rage in the other man's eyes convinced him of how offended he was at the implication.

"You see Mr. Mason, I just don't want to take any more chances with my life, or with Lucy's." he added

Mason's initial anger subsided and he looked at Heyes with a new interest. "You just might be more than Landry bargained for."

"That's what I'm counting on, Mr. Mason." Heyes smiled and shook the other man's hand before leaving.


00000


Heyes walked out of Hawthorne's office and right into Kid Curry, who was leaning against a post on the boardwalk. "I thought I left you at the ranch," Heyes whispered out of the side of his mouth.

"You did," Curry exclaimed indignantly. He stared at Heyes, as the other man's face broke into a grin.

"Kid, I think I have it figured out. Well, almost. What is the one thing that motivates a man even more than greed for money and power?" He looked back at the Kid with an eager look on his face, barely able to contain his excitement long enough to give Kid a chance to answer.

"I don't know Heyes, what?" Curry replied cautiously, not sure where his partner was going with this.

"Fear, Kid. Fear of getting caught. A man will go pretty far to save his own skin." Heyes was smiling triumphantly.

"Who are we talkin' about here, Heyes?" Curry still didn't understand what his partner was suggesting.

"Well Kid, it's like this. Mason didn't want to buy Alex's share of the company--he wanted to sell his. Apparently the railroad isn't making as much money as people think. But Landry, he wanted to buy Mason's share. He probably got inside information about Harrington's will, so he knew that if Alex didn't show up, Harrington's share of the railroad would go equally to the remaining partners. But see, if he'd already bought Mason out, it would all go to him. He'd have the whole thing for just buying out Mason's twenty percent and making sure that Alex didn't show up.

Curry stared at Heyes in disbelief. "You got all that outta Mason in a half an hour?"

"Well, yeah," Heyes replied innocently. "Kid, when I was looking through those papers in Hawthorne's safe, Landry's name was all over 'em. Big payments and receipts and things like that. I think Landry was embezzling money from the railroad and Hawthorne was either covering up for him or Landry was using him in some way. I think that's why Landry needs the railroad, so no-one, like Alex or Lucy, can get a look at the records and figure out what's been going on."

"You sure about this, Heyes?" Curry asked skeptically.

"No." He shrugged. "But I've got a pretty strong feeling." He broke into a broad grin.

Curry chuckled. "OK, so how do we prove it?"

"Well, that's what I've been working on." Heyes furrowed his brow and gave his partner a serious look. “First, we're going to ride out to the ranch and get Alex and Lucy."

"Heyes, are you crazy? Alex can't help." Curry seemed incensed at the very suggestion.

"Kid, you're just a natural born pessimist. Haven't I told you before that I have instincts about people?"

"Yeah, Heyes, you've told me."

‘You just aren't always right,’ Curry thought wryly.

"Sometimes you just have to have a little faith in people. I'll tell him just what to say and he'll be fine. Now, here's what we're gonna do." He put his arm on his partner's shoulder and began walking back toward their horses.


00000


"Alright, you two know what to do." Heyes nodded to Alex and Lucy, and then motioned for Kid to follow him into the alleyway, out of sight. The siblings exchanged a nervous glance and then walked together across the street and into the office of Charles Hawthorne, Attorney at Law. Heyes and Curry waited in the shadows until they saw Alex and Lucy leaving the building with Hawthorne several minutes later.

The two men lingering in the alleyway could hear Hawthorne muttering impatiently as the others passed their hiding place. "I don't see why you wanted to go over these papers at the restaurant instead of my office.




"OK Kid, this won't take long, I've opened this one before." Heyes sat down by the safe and had it open in a matter of minutes.

Curry sat watching out the window, while Heyes read through the documents from the safe. He wondered again why Heyes had brought Alex into the plan. He still had serious doubts about the man.

"Whoa Kid, it looks like Landry was involved in some pretty shady deals, and it looks like he was making an awful lot of payments to Hawthorne-out of the railroad's account. Some of this looks like he might have even been involved in murder. This sure is reason enough to want to keep anyone from examining the records too closely. We'll keep these papers for insurance," Heyes said, tucking them under his arm as he closed the safe.

"But Heyes, why wasn't he worried about this before?" Curry asked.

"Kid, you haven't gotten to know Lucy Harrington. She's quite a crusader, and she plans on cleaning up the dealings of the railroad. Do everything real honest and above board. He must have known she wanted to get involved in the company. He couldn't let that happen. Let's go tell Alex it's time to give Hawthorne the message."

Quietly, the two former outlaws left the office.


00000


A few minutes later, Curry stuck his head into the café where Alex and Lucy were having lunch with Hawthorne. He nodded slightly, as Alex looked up. Giving Curry a slight acknowledgement, he excused himself for a moment and stepped outside.

"OK, it's like we thought." Curry quickly told Alex what he needed to tell Hawthorne.

Alex glanced nervously up and down the street.

"It's OK, Heyes is out of sight," Curry assured him, but Alex didn't look reassured.

Watching Alex return to his table and sit down, Curry wondered again if Heyes' decision to have Alex meet with Hawthorne had been a wise one. Despite the fact that he found himself falling into familiar habits with this man, there was something about him that made Curry uneasy.

"Mr. Hawthorne, Mr. Landry is about to be shown information that will implicate him in several illegal dealings, among which is stealing from the Southern Pacific Railroad and his partners. He will, of course know that the only way I can prove it, is if you gave me the evidence. You might want to leave town in a hurry Mr. Hawthorne." Alex smiled as he looked across the table at the shocked attorney.

"I did no such thing, I gave you nothing, the only-"

"Evidence you have is locked away in your safe?" Alex cut in.

The attorney's eyes were wide with dread as he rose from the table. "Did you do something?" he asked in disbelief.

"Well now, what could I have done, Mr. Hawthorne? I've been with you the whole time that you've been out of your office." Alex smiled again, and something about the look on his face reminded Lucy of the man she'd come to know as 'Smith'.

Hawthorne got up from the table and all but ran to his office.

Curry slipped into the restaurant and sat down with Alex and Lucy. "Well Alex, I must admit I had my doubts, but it looks like you pulled it off. If he's a smart man he'll be on the next train out of town. I think Landry might just kill him when he finds out he's been double-crossed."

"What about Mason?" Lucy asked.

"Well, it looks like he may be mean and ruthless in business, but Heyes doesn't think he's behind the shootings or carriage accident," Curry answered.

"What about the will?" Alex asked, a look of concern on his face.

"Oh don't worry. Heyes has it. It's all notarized and legal, so any proper attorney can see that everything is taken care of," Curry assured them. "Now, you two just stay in town where everyone can see you while Heyes and me go see Landry."

Lucy looked up sharply, concern in her eyes. "You're not going to…"

"No, of course not, we're just going to talk to him." Curry smiled reassuringly, but judging by the cold look in his eyes, neither Alex nor Lucy would have wanted to be on the receiving end of that talk.

Curry stood and left the café. Maybe Heyes was right about Alex. Maybe....


00000


Heyes strolled into William Landry's office with Curry at his side. "Morning Mr. Landry." Heyes said coolly.

Landry stood and started to ask how they were able to walk in unannounced, but stopped short when he saw the threatening looks on their faces. "What is this all about Harrington?" Landry asked, sounding more annoyed that frightened.

"Well, Mr. Landry, I thought you might like the opportunity to sign over your shares of the railroad to my sister," Heyes said, as though he were offering Landry a deal he couldn't refuse.

"Why in the world would I want to do that?" Landry asked, controlling his rising temper and trying to look unruffled.

"Because then I won't have to give these papers to the Federal Marshall." Heyes held up a few pages from one of Hawthorne's journals.

"Where did you get those?" Landry demanded, suddenly dropping the polite pretense.

"Mr. Hawthorne had a sudden attack of conscience, or maybe I just paid better than you did. What difference does it make? I don't think you want to debate the issue with the Federal Marshall."

"I can fight this in court. Those pages won't mean a thing," Landry scoffed, but Heyes could tell he had the man's attention.

"Oh, we have a lot more that these three pages, this is just a sample. We have four journals and his ledgers, and they have your name written all over them."

"And we have attempted murder," Curry threw in, with a menacing look.

"You can't prove that!" exclaimed Landry, beginning to lose his composure.

"Well, we probably don't have to. The accusation alone with the journals we have will most likely end your career, if not send you to prison." Heyes continued to stare steadily at the man.

"What are you really after?" Landry asked guardedly.

"We told you, just your shares of the railroad."

"You're crazy they're worth-"

"Just about what you've already stolen from the business, by my rough calculations. So you're getting a real good deal," Heyes cut him off.

"Why would you let me off the hook, if you really think you can prove all of this?"

"Well, you see, Lucy and I just want to run a railroad, and we figure a long court battle wouldn't do the railroad's reputation or ours any good. Of course, we're willing to take that risk if you don't sign over the stock." Heyes gave Landry a very serious and menacing look.

"I'll say you threatened me…that he," he nodded toward Curry "held a gun on me and forced me."

"Well, that just puts us right back to that long court battle, now doesn't it? Which way do you want to do it, Mr. Landry?" Heyes began to sense victory as Landry took on a resigned look.

"Alright, I'll give you the stock, but I'll need all of Hawthorne's records," Landry said slowly.

Heyes began to laugh. "Oh no Mr. Landry. Those will be in a very safe location-out of town-with instructions to be opened if either Lucy or I have an unfortunate 'accident'."

"You can't do that! That's extortion!" Landry exclaimed.

"Yes, Mr. Landry, it appears from these records that you know all about that too. Why don't you look at this as your second chance to be an honest businessman?" Heyes held his ground.

"So, call it a draw, eh?" Landry asked warily.

"That's right," Heyes nodded.

"OK, it's a deal. Tomorrow morning I'll-"

"Now." Heyes insisted.

Reluctantly, Landry opened his safe and removed the stock certificates that he kept there and signed them over to Lucy Harrington.

"You know, your father underestimated you, Harrington," Landry called after them as they were leaving.


00000


Feeling very pleased with themselves, the two former outlaws walked back toward the café to meet Alex and Lucy. "Heyes, I can't believe it, everything's going right according to plan." Curry grinned broadly. "All we have to is give these to Lucy, collect our money and head on to San Fran-" He suddenly froze, his face going white.

"What?" Heyes turned to look in the direction that Curry was staring.

The Bannerman detectives who had been on the train four days ago were walking into the Sheriff's office with a Federal Marshall.

"What do we do?" Curry looked back at Heyes, his eyes wide.

"Slow down Kid, maybe they aren't even looking for us." But even as he said it, he didn't believe it.

Quickly, they found Alex and Lucy. "Oh no, what happened?" Lucy exclaimed as soon as she saw their faces.

"Well, it went great for you," Heyes said to Lucy, handing her the stock certificates. "Mason will be expecting to hear from you tomorrow about buying his shares, and then the railroad will be all yours."

Heyes gave his partner a glance. "We need to ride out now," Curry said curtly.

"Why?" Lucy asked worriedly.

"We saw some detectives going into the Sheriff's office, we're pretty sure they're looking for us," Heyes confided.

"What did you do?" Curry demanded, looked pointedly at Alex, He had been watching the man's face while Heyes had been talking, and he had been looking more and more uncomfortable.

"I'm sorry. I didn't want to take any chances with you once the inheritance was settled. They weren't supposed to be here for a couple more days. Now that I know you, well, I was hoping you'd be gone before they got here." He looked remorsefully at Heyes.

"Alex, what are you talking about?" Lucy stared at her brother in disbelief.

"Lucy, all I knew was that he was an outlaw, and he was in town masquerading as me. I was trying to protect you." He glanced at his sister apologetically. "Before I left Gilroy, I asked the desk clerk to send a telegram to the Federal Marshall's office."

"Alex, I gave him my word that if he helped us we wouldn't turn him in." Lucy looked panic stricken.

"Heyes, we gotta get outta here. They're going to be right behind us," Curry urged nervously.

Heyes and Alex were facing each other, eye to eye, neither man wavering.

"No, they won't be," Alex said without looking away. "Not if Hannibal Heyes is in the Santa Clara jail."

"What?" Curry gasped. "Heyes, come on."

"That could cause a few problems for your railroad deals," Heyes was saying, his voice steady.

‘What was he talking about, why wasn't he getting on his horse?’ Curry was losing his patience.

"Not if it's just for a couple of days. That ought to give you time to be in the next town and on a train in any direction," Alex said decisively.

Lucy's eyes widened, as she understood what the two men were talking about.

Heyes smiled at Lucy. "You take care of that railroad. I expect to hear great things about the Southern Pacific."

"I will. Wait, what about your money?" Lucy asked.

Curry groaned, he was getting real tired of leaving towns without getting paid.

"I'll send you a telegram when things settle down and let you know where you can send it," he assured her as he swung up onto his horse.

Alex had a look on his face that said he felt better about himself than he had in a long time.

"Hey, did you ever read A Tale of Two Cities?" he asked, giving Heyes a curious look.

"I did, just don't let them chop your head off," Heyes said with a wink and laugh.

Alex grinned back.

Curry gave them both blank looks before riding out. "Heyes, do you think he'll be OK?" he asked when they were clear of the town.

"Sure Kid, better him than me," Heyes replied and spurred his horse into a gallop.

Curry stared after him, "Heyes…?" He shook his head, then laughed and let out a loud "Yah!" as he gave his horse a kick and took off after his partner.
 

3.1 Double Jeopardy by JoAnn Baker

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