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 3.20 Forget Me Not by Leah Anders

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Join date : 2013-10-13

3.20  Forget Me Not by Leah Anders Empty
Post3.20 Forget Me Not by Leah Anders

Heyes looked down at his horse. Kid was right. There weren't many miles left in either animal. He reached down and tenderly caressed his animal's neck from where he sat in the saddle, genuinely sorry that he had to put her through such a test of endurance. Her coat was slick with sweat and she was still breathing rapidly from the exertion.

Heyes thought for a moment. "Kid, I think our only chance might be if we split up." Kid's eyes went wide with dismay. He didn't like the notion of splitting up at all. Before he could object, Heyes continued, "Now hear me out for a second. If we split up, we just might confuse them long enough to put some miles between us and them. Enough for us both to get away. Then we'll meet up in a few days when the coast is clear again."


Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes
Ben Murphy as Kid Curry

Guest Stars

Alan Alda as Doc Edwards

Adam Arkin as Sheriff Watkins

Mandy Patinkin as Bounty Hunter

Maureen McCormick as Theresa

Brad Renfro as Jason

James Drury as Lom Trevors

Forget Me Not
by Leah Anders

The muffled thrumpp of hoof beats broke the afternoon calm. Even before the two riders came into view, the sounds of horses being ridden hard would have alerted anyone nearby that someone was in peril and running fast. As it was, only birds and other small desert creatures watched curiously as Heyes and Curry appeared over the top of the ridge; their horses exhausted by a desperate run from the posse that pursued them.

Out of sight, for the moment, of the band of men that had been chasing them for the last three days, Heyes and Curry pulled their horses to a stop, allowing them a much needed rest, however short it turned out to be. Both men were tired and dusty, not to mention hungry. They had been able to take only short breaks from the saddle since the posse started chasing them and the ordeal was beginning to take its toll. Tension radiated from their handsomely rugged faces and their nerves were frazzled almost to the breaking point, causing them to be less than cordial to each other.

"Heyes, what are we gonna do? We can't stay ahead of these guys much longer. Our horses are about done for," Kid snapped.

"Well, what do you expect me to do about it, Kid? We've tried everything I can think of to lose them but they seem to pick up our trail no matter what we do."

"All I know is, if we don't do something soon, we won't be able to run anywhere except maybe on foot."

Heyes looked down at his horse. Kid was right. There weren't many miles left in either animal. He reached down and tenderly caressed his animal's neck from where he sat in the saddle, genuinely sorry that he had to put her through such a test of endurance. Her coat was slick with sweat and she was still breathing rapidly from the exertion.

Heyes thought for a moment. "Kid, I think our only chance might be if we split up." Kid's eyes went wide with dismay. He didn't like the notion of splitting up at all. Before he could object, Heyes continued, "Now hear me out for a second. If we split up, we just might confuse them long enough so we can put some miles between us and them. Enough for us both to get away. Then we'll meet up in a few days when the coast is clear again."

Kid was still frowning. He never liked the idea of letting Heyes go off on his own, even when there wasn't a posse breathing down their necks. Even though he wouldn't admit it to anyone, not even himself most of the time, and most certainly never to Heyes; his partner was too important to him. He didn't want to run the risk of something happening to him when he wasn't there to see that nothing did.

Kid opened his mouth, ready to protest Heyes' latest hare-brained idea, but before he got a word out, Heyes cut him off. "It's the only way, Kid. You see that, don't you? Let's see, Gordonville is about sixty miles from here, I think. Let's plan to meet there day after tomorrow. That'll give us plenty of time to shake these guys and double back to town." Heyes smiled reassuringly at his partner, "It'll be ok, Kid. You'll see. In a couple of days, we'll be relaxing in a nice hotel room and you'll be wondering what you were ever worrying about."

Kid was still worried but knew there was no talking to Heyes once he had his mind made up on a plan and besides, there was no time for talking anyway. The posse would be catching up with them soon enough. For these reasons alone, he agreed to go along with Heyes' idea, even though his instincts told him it was a bad one. "OK, I guess we don't have any other choice."

"That's the spirit, Kid. Now you be careful and I'll see you in two days." With those words and a quick reassuring smile, Heyes spurred his horse into a run, heading south. With a final look at his friend's retreating back, Kid turned and rode in the opposite direction, moving fast.

A few hours later Kid stopped to rest his horse near a stream where they could both take a drink. He hadn't seen any sign of the men who had been chasing them since he and Heyes had split up. He figured this meant one of two things. Either Heyes' plan had worked and going separate ways had made the posse lose their trail, or the whole posse had ended up pursuing just one of them. If this was true, then Heyes could be in a whole world of trouble and he wouldn't even know about it until he got to Gordonville and looked for Heyes.

Short of heading back where he had come from, there wasn't much Kid could do except follow through with Heyes' plan, no matter how bad it was, and go wait for him in Gordonville. Still, he wished he had insisted that they stay together. He had a bad feeling that his friend was going to end up captured, or even worse, killed; all because Kid wasn't there to watch out for him.

With his horse rested, Kid set off again, making a straight course for Gordonville now that he was confident that he wasn't being followed any longer. His mood was dark because he couldn't shake the feeling that Heyes wasn't being as lucky.

* * * * *

Heyes knew how reluctant the Kid was to split up. Heck, he felt the same way himself but there didn't seem to be any other way to get that posse off their tails. He wasn't worried for himself though. He was mostly afraid that if they caught up with Kid, one of the men might be inclined to 'shoot first and ask questions later,' given Kid's reputation as a gunfighter. Kid was better with a gun than anyone but that skill wouldn't save him if some hothead decided to shoot him in the back as he tried to get away. If that happened, Heyes knew he would never be able to forgive himself for insisting that they go off on their own.

He didn't have long to dwell on these thoughts. A few hours after saying good-bye to his partner, Heyes knew that his plan was not working as well as he might have hoped…at least not for him.

He had stopped to rest his horse beneath the shade of a massive oak tree when he spotted the cloud of dust gathering near the horizon in the north. Squinting into the distance, he could just make out the source of the dust. Several horses were racing towards him, powerful hooves chewing up the distance between themselves and their riders' intended captive.

Heyes silently counted the men approaching…seven…eight...nine. He found himself feeling strangely relieved to realize that the whole posse was accounted for. This, at least, meant that Kid was going to be safe. Grabbing his horse's reins from where they lay, dragging in the dirt, he gently rubbed the mare's neck. "Sorry, Girl. Looks like the chase isn't done yet. Do you think we have enough left in us for another run?" Swinging himself gracefully back into the saddle, he urged the horse forward; away from the men chasing them.

For several hours more, Heyes tried everything he could think of to elude the pack pursuing him relentlessly. Desperate, exhausted, and running out of options, he didn't hear the hsssttt of the rattlesnake until his horse was nearly upon it.

Startled, the mare reared up on her hind legs. If her rider had not been quite so fatigued, he probably could have held his seat. As it was, Heyes lost his hold and fell off the horse, striking his head soundly on a rock as he landed.

The rattler was crushed beneath the hooves of the mare as they returned to the earth, so at least it was no longer a danger to the man lying motionless on the cold, hard desert floor. If he had been conscious, he might have been thankful for this. As it was, he had little else to be thankful for.

He didn't see the men as they got close to where he lay on the ground. He didn't see the horse's hooves as the riders gathered around him looking at him warily, half expecting him to jump up without warning and shoot his gun wildly in hopes of taking out at least some of his tormentors. He didn't hear them talk excitedly, congratulating themselves on chasing down one half of the team of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. He didn't even feel their hands on him as they roughly tied his hands, lifted him up, and placed him across his saddle for the ride back to town. No, Hannibal Heyes wasn't aware of any of this. But maybe that was just as well.

* * * * *

Kid arrived in Gordonville late the next afternoon, about twenty-four hours after leaving Heyes. He had spent an uncomfortable, cold, lonely night alone in the desert with only a tiny flame to keep him warm. He hadn't dared to build a more robust fire, in case by some remote chance the posse might still be nearby where they would spot the smoke. His worry for Heyes had kept him awake most of the night, tossing and turning on the hard, sun-baked earth. Fatigue finally won out and he fell asleep sometime close to dawn.

When the sun forced him to open his eyes in the morning, he felt groggy, disoriented, and sore in every part of his body. It hadn't helped that he had been forced to go without supper again the night before and that there would be no coffee to help him start the day.

The ride into Gordonville had been uneventful…too uneventful…and in Curry's mind, that could only mean one thing. Heyes was in trouble and Kid wasn't sure what he could do about it. There was still a full day remaining until their scheduled rendezvous. Kid would have liked to have gone after him except for one thing. He had no idea where to start looking. The posse could have taken Heyes to any number of little towns in the area. It seemed like the only option he had was to wait. And Kid was very bad at waiting.

Kid rode alone down Gordonville's only street. There was nothing remarkable about the town; Kid had ridden through what seemed like hundreds of towns just like this one before, most of those times with Heyes at his side. He carefully studied the buildings and the people as he made his way to the only hotel in sight, more than likely the only hotel in town.

The two saloons, livery stable, mercantile, blacksmith's shop…everything he'd come to expect in towns like Gordonville…were all laid out just about where he'd expect to find them. Down the road a little further, he passed the telegraph office and what he thought was a newspaper publisher.

Kid had hoped that he might have been wrong; that Heyes would already be somewhere in Gordonville, waiting for Kid to show up, ready to make some lame joke, wondering why it had taken Kid so long to arrive. But the only people he met on the street were locals; there was not a sign of his partner anywhere. At that moment, he would have given anything to hear one of Heyes' lame jokes.

At the hotel, Kid asked the desk clerk if anyone by the name of Joshua Smith had checked in. "Dark haired fellow, wearing a black hat?"

"No, sir. You're our first customer of the day."

Kid was disappointed by not surprised. By now, he was convinced that Heyes had been caught by that posse. Keeping the emotion out of his face or voice, he thanked the desk clerk and went up the stairs to find his room. He needed a little time to think about what he should do next.

Once inside his room, door locked against intruders, Kid sat down heavily on the side of the bed. He was bone-tired from the unrelenting chase he and Heyes had endured for the last few days. Neither one of them had been able to get a decent night's sleep since this whole thing started, grabbing an hour or two whenever they felt safe enough to do so, but even so, Kid didn't think he could sleep now, what with his worry for Heyes' well-being weighing so heavily on his mind. Besides, he needed to take a walk around the town; Heyes might be in one of the saloons, trying to fill an inside straight or making time with some pretty little saloon gal.

* * * * *

Kid awoke with a jolt. The room was dark, the afternoon sunlight that had been streaming through the windows, seemingly just moments before, had given way to a faint glow from the full moon hanging in the sky. He was instantly alert and angry with himself. He hadn't planned on falling asleep and had no recollection of having done so, but there was no question that he had slept and slept for several hours. Kid figured it had to be getting on towards daybreak. That meant he had slept for nearly ten hours. Ten hours he slept while Heyes was who-knows-where, probably needing his help.

Kid sat up in the darkness. He was still fully dressed from the day before. He hadn't even removed his gun belt before falling asleep. He made his way to the bureau next to the door, feeling his way along its surface until he found the matches he knew would be there next to the kerosene lamp. Striking the tip against the box, he lit the match, watching the flame flare up for a second before catching the oil lamp's wick on fire. A dim light filled the small room.

It was quiet in the hotel. It seemed like he was the only one awake at this hour. The solitude bothered him in a way that he was not accustomed to. He normally enjoyed the quiet, sometimes wishing Heyes would just shut up for a while. A sad half-smile crossed his boyishly handsome face as he realized how much, at this moment, he would give just to hear his partner's voice.

Kid hoped the café would open soon. He hadn't eaten for two days, he realized, and if he was going to have any hope of coming up with a plan to find Heyes, he was going to have to have something to eat. He looked out the window, down into the street. He could see the café from where he stood. A soft glow shone through its front window so he knew someone was there, probably preparing for the busy day to come.

Restless, Kid decided to leave his room and take a walk around the town until the café opened. He blew out the lamp and left, locking the door behind himself.

Despite his intentions to walk through the hushed, pre-dawn streets to while away the time, Kid's stomach had other ideas. He was drawn, lost in his thoughts and concern for Heyes, across the street to where the café stood. Next to the door, on which a "Closed" sign hung crookedly, was a bench. Wearily, Kid sat down on this bench. He allowed his head to rest on his hands, elbows on knees. It was from this perspective that he first noticed the pile of newspapers, neatly stacked and tied, ready to be taken into the café for prospective buyers to read while they ate their morning eggs and bacon.

He stared at the bold headline spread across the paper on the top of the stack for a long moment before the words sunk into his conscious brain. His eyes widened, feelings of dread and relief converging inside him. He broke the twine holding the newspapers and read the headline again. "NOTORIOUS OUTLAW CAPTURED". Kid didn't have to read much further to guess who the notorious outlaw was. He scanned the article, the words Hannibal Heyes and San Pasqual catching his attention. San Pasqual was a town not too far to the north of Gordonville. This is where the posse had headed after catching Heyes.

Suddenly the word 'injuries' jumped from the page. Kid's heart skipped a beat as he read…Heyes had been injured during the chase and was out cold when he was brought back to town. The newspaper didn't reveal any more details; except that the law intended to extradite his partner to Wyoming as soon as he was well enough to survive the trip.

Kid forgot his hunger. He hurried over to the livery stable, still locked up tight at the early hour, and got his horse and gear. With single-minded determination, he rode off in the direction of San Pasqual, worry about Heyes' condition the only thing on his mind.

* * * * *

The main street of San Pasqual was buzzing. Word of the arrest of Hannibal Heyes had spread like wildfire through the locals and most of them had turned out to watch as the posse arrived back in town. They were gathered near the sheriff's office to catch a glimpse of the famous outlaw and to hear all the details of the chase and subsequent capture. The men who had been part of the posse were more than happy to share their stories, which were partly based in fact, sprinkled liberally with a good serving of exaggeration.

By the time Heyes had been taken down from his horse, still unconscious, and hauled unceremoniously into a jail cell, nearly everyone in town had listened open-mouthed to at least one version of the event.

The sheriff supervised as two men laid Heyes on the small metal cot in the corner of the hot cell. "He don't look none too good, sheriff," one of the men commented as the three stood back and stared down at Heyes' ashen face.

Sheriff Watkins had to agree. The man lying on the cot didn't look good, not good at all. It appeared that the gash on the back of his head had stopped bleeding somewhere along the line, but Heyes' face shone with a deathly pallor and his breathing was shallow-too shallow. The sheriff was no doctor, but it didn't take medical training to see that this man was hurt bad.

The sheriff was a decent man and although he knew that Heyes was wanted "Dead or Alive", he didn't really want him dying on his watch. "Clyde, go down the street and see if Doc Edwards is in his office. Ask him to come down here and take a look at this boy."

Clyde nodded and left. Watkins and the other man watched Heyes for another minute before leaving the cell, locking the door behind them, although the chance that the prisoner was in any shape to get up and walk away seemed mighty slim.

In fact, Heyes didn't stir at all the rest of that day. Even as the doctor examined him, poking and prodding at the wound on his head; listening to his heart with the cold metal of the stethoscope pressed against the smooth, warm skin of his chest; gently pulling back his upper eyelids and peering into his unresponsive eyes; Heyes lay quiet. Even as the doctor cleaned and dressed the wound; even as he discussed his condition with the sheriff; even as the two men engaged in a heated disagreement on the necessary care of the injured man; Heyes didn't move.

"Head wounds like this one can be very serious…life threatening even. This man needs around-the-clock care."

"I appreciate that, James, but I can't just turn him over to you. What if something happens and he manages to escape?"

In the end, Doc Edwards convinced Sheriff Watkins that the prisoner would be safe and secure in the back room of his office, door locked from the outside and one of the sheriff's best men posted outside the door twenty-four hours a day. So Heyes was moved down the street under the watchful eyes of curious town folk to a bed in the doctor's office; one with a goose feather mattress and soft, well-used cotton sheets.

James Edwards was the town's only doctor. He'd practiced medicine here for the last twenty years. He was respected and well-loved by the community. He and his family lived upstairs from the rooms where he provided health care to the town. Edwards was a widower. His wife had died suddenly several years past, leaving him alone to raise his two children, Jason, now twelve years old, and Theresa, seventeen.

Both children had grown up helping their father in his practice whatever way they could. Since he didn't employ a nurse, Theresa and Jason spent much of their free time helping him care for patients.

The three of them, in turn, spent the rest of that day and the following night by Heyes' bedside, watching for any change. Heyes spent that time oblivious to their diligent care.

* * * * *

Joshua's eyelids fluttered gently, almost imperceptively, as he floated back towards consciousness. Eyes still closed, his brow wrinkled in a frown as he became aware of the throbbing ache in his head. He felt as if he had been trampled on by a horse. His body hurt all over, but the worst of it was centered in his head. With effort, he was able to move his hand to the spot from where the pain seemed to radiate hotly and was surprised to find a thick bandage wrapped around his head. Carefully, his fingers explored the area until he found the raised lump that the wrappings covered. Breath hissed through his teeth and he quickly withdrew his hand. Sparks seemed to shoot through his brain at the slightest movement of his head.

He had no idea where he was or even how he had ended up here. Venturing a glance around what he could see of the room did not provide many clues. The room was small and utilitarian. A small table crowded with bottles and some foreign-looking metal tools was in the corner near his head. The one chair in sight was occupied by a young boy who appeared to be sound asleep.

Joshua studied the boy, wondering who he was. Nothing about him was familiar, but it was strangely comforting just to see him there.

Joshua continued to watch the boy sleep. Slowly, he became aware of muffled voices coming from outside his room. He tried to concentrate on the words, but the pain throbbing through his head hindered his efforts. Little by little, he was able to focus on the voices.

"Doc, I've done it your way long enough. Now I gotta take him back over to the jail."

"Listen, sheriff. He hasn't even woke up yet. I want him to stay here. He still needs a lot of care." Joshua realized that the voices were more than likely talking about him. He listened harder, struggling to make out all the words.

"What are you gonna do if Curry shows up here then? Have you thought of that? Cuz it's only a matter of time before he finds out Heyes is here." Joshua listened, confused, no longer sure who the men outside his room were talking about.

"OK. Just one more day then. How'd that be? Besides, your deputy is still here."

Joshua heard the boy stirring in his chair. Quickly, he closed his eyes, pretending to sleep. He didn't know why he felt it important to conceal the fact that he was awake, he just knew it was.

* * * * *

Kid left Gordonville behind him in the hour before dawn, stopping only long enough to help himself to some food from a house near the outskirts of town. A few hours later, he saw San Pasqual come into view. His stomach tightened. He knew he had to proceed cautiously now. The law would be expecting him to show up to rescue his partner. Kid couldn't help Heyes if he ended up behind bars with him.

He rode into town, avoiding the larger streets, keeping instead to narrow alleyways and side streets. Near the center of town he tied his horse to a post in one of those alleys and proceeded on foot, hat brim shielding his face as much as possible from the glances of other pedestrians.

In this manner, he approached the jailhouse from the rear. The bars on the two windows facing the alley confirmed that he had located the correct building. He figured that one of those two barred windows secured the cell where he would find Heyes.

After watching the area for a few minutes, Kid decided it would be safe to move closer. Furtively, expecting to be spotted at any minute, he sprinted across the alley, coming to a stop at the wall of the jailhouse.

Heart pounding painfully against his ribs, Kid ducked low and peered through the bars on one of the windows. The small cell was empty. He moved to the other window, convinced that he would find Heyes imprisoned behind those bars.

Kid almost stopped breathing when he saw that the second cell stood as empty as the first. Panicky, he feared that Heyes had already been shipped off to Wyoming. He leaned his back against the bricks of the wall, warmed by the summer sun, and closed his eyes, trying to think.

Kid's heart was still drumming in his chest. His thoughts were scrambled in confusion. Where was Heyes? This question kept running through his mind. He stood still for several minutes, eyes closed, concentrating on bringing his emotions back under control.

Once composed, Kid walked quietly towards the street. Keeping close to the building and trying to attract as little attention as possible, he gauged the people he saw, searching for just the right person.

As luck would have it, he didn't have to wait long. A grizzled old gent was weaving his way down the boardwalk, making as straight a course towards Curry as possible given his apparently inebriated state. Kid could smell him almost before he could see him; the sour smell of old tobacco and sweat-stained clothes fairly leapt from his person. Reluctantly, Kid put a hand out and stopped the fellow.

"Hey, I thought I read that your sheriff brought in that outlaw, Hannibal Heyes."

The man looked at him quizzically, trying to pull Kid into focus. Slurring, he replied defiantly, "Yep, that's right. Who wants to know?"

"Ain't nobody. I was just hopin' to get the bounty on that low life for myself. So is he in jail here?"

"You a bounty hunter? Naw, he's not here."

Feigning boredom, with his heart in his throat Kid asked, "So where is he? On his way to Wyoming so soon?"

"Wyoming?" the geezer asked in confusion. "Why would he be in Wyoming? He's over at the doc's. Over there," he gestured vaguely down the street before meandering his way down the sidewalk again, mumbling something about Wyoming under his breath.

* * * * *

Joshua's thoughts were sluggish and this annoyed him. The more he tried to remember how he had ended up here, in this strange bed in a strange room, the fuzzier the memories seemed.

The last thing he remembered was that poker game back in town; how many nights ago was that, he asked himself. Two…Three?

He vaguely remembered that there was some sort of commotion that broke out in the saloon that night and he remembered making a beeline for the door. Joshua's brow wrinkled in concentration. 'What was I running from?' he wondered. It was just a friendly poker game, like dozens of others he had sat in on in the past. What was it that had got him running scared like that?

Joshua was deep into his own thoughts, so deep that he didn't notice that the boy had finally come full awake and now sat watching him silently. When he finally looked up, their eyes met. Joshua smiled at the boy and said, "Hello."

The boy looked a little startled but he nodded cautiously in reply. Hastily, he got up and walked to the door and rapped on it loudly. "Father?" he called. Joshua was perplexed as he heard a key turn in the lock just before it opened. A man stepped into the room.

"Looks like our patient is finally awake, eh Jason?" He smiled at Joshua and said, "I'm Doc Edwards. How are you feeling?"

Joshua frowned. "Terrible."

"Oh? Well, you should be feeling better soon. I'm just glad to see you're finally awake. You've been out for a very long time." The doctor came closer to the bed and began examining his patient, using some of the foreign-looking tools Joshua had noticed lying on the table next to his bed.

"Have I?" Joshua was feeling more confused than ever. "I'm having a little trouble here, Doc. Maybe you can help me…how the heck did I get here. What happened? I don't seem to remember much about what happened to me."

The doctor stopped what he was doing and stared at Heyes. "You don't remember hitting your head?"

"Uh, no. Last thing I remember was sitting at a poker table with a few other fellas. After that…nothing."

"Hm. I don't suppose it's unusual to have some memory loss after suffering such a trauma, Mr. Heyes. I'm sure that---"

"Mr. Smith."


"My name is Mr. Smith. Joshua Smith."

* * * * *

Kid made his way to the café on the other side of the street, knowing that he needed to get more information about Heyes and figuring that the café would be full of local gossips ready to chin-wag their way through the lunch hour. He kept his hat pulled low over his forehead and avoided making eye contact with the people he met, wanting to attract as little attention as possible.

Kid pushed open the door. When he did so, a little bell attached to it jangled. To Kid's ears, the silvery chime was deafening as he expected all eyes to turn his way. He held his breath, waiting for someone to shout out his name in recognition, but soon realized that everyone in the place was too engrossed in talking about the capture of Hannibal Heyes to pay him any mind.

Exhaling, he casually made his way to one of the only empty tables in the place and sat down alone. He aimed to spend the next hour or however long it took just sitting there listening to the chatter going on around him until he learned what he needed to know to get Heyes out of this town.

The waitress came by his table, carrying an empty cup and a pot of steaming brew, "Coffee?" she asked wearily.

Kid nodded, "Please," and she filled the cup with the hot coffee, setting it in front of him.

"What'll you have?"

Kid ordered his lunch. Then he settled into the business at hand---finding out what he needed to know to be able to help Heyes. The people of the town were more than willing to provide all sorts of information about the man who lay injured in the doctor's office down the street. He didn't even have to ask, all he had to do was listen to the buzz of voices around him.

For instance, he learned that Heyes had been carried into town on the back of his horse, out cold, the result of knocking his head against a rock when he was thrown from the horse. He found out that shortly after getting into town, he had been moved and was now under medical supervision, where he would probably stay until he was well enough to travel and then he would be extradited to Wyoming. He even heard that Heyes was being guarded by one of the sheriff's men…but only one. But he never heard what Heyes' condition was now. No one in the place seemed to know how the injured man was doing. He would have to find this out for himself another way.

* * * * *

Trying his best to be inconspicuous, Kid took up his position---in the alleyway that ran next to the doctor's office. He aimed to stay there for as long as it took. Eventually, someone would come out of the doc's place and then he would get the information he needed; one way or another.

He didn't have to wait long. Soon the door to the office opened and a young girl stepped out on the porch. Kid watched her as she stood there, apparently enjoying the feel of the sun on her face. She was smiling at no one in particular. She had the carefree look of someone who had nothing important to do for the rest of the afternoon. Kid envied her freedom.

He waited anxiously to see which direction she would head, hoping fervently that she would come his way. Still smiling, she fairly skipped down the steps leading from the porch to the street and turned towards him. He stepped casually out of the shadows and waited until she was right in front of him before he tipped his hat and spoke to her, his most charming smile spread across his boyish face.

"Howdy, Miss. My name is Thaddeus Jones. I wonder if I could have a word with you."

The girl stopped walking and looked at the handsome stranger. There was no fear in her eyes when she looked into his eyes, just the open trusting gaze of someone who hadn't yet learned not to trust the word of strangers, no matter how trustworthy they might appear.

"Yes?" she asked.

"I saw you come out of the doctor's office over there. I was wondering if you could tell me anything about how his patient is doing."

"Well," she hesitated. "I'm not really supposed to talk about my father's patients. He doesn't like us to-"
"It's alright, Miss. The sheriff sent me down to inquire on his progress. I'm sure your father won't mind."

She looked at him doubtfully for a moment longer. Kid smiled at her again, staring back into her eyes with what he hoped was a very sincere expression. She smiled self-consciously, dropping her gaze away from his face momentarily. When she met his eyes again, she said, "I guess it would be alright to tell you---seeing as how the sheriff asked you to find out. Mr. Heyes is awake now. Father said he would be well enough to travel soon---at least physically."

Kid's heart skipped a beat. If Heyes was well enough to travel, that meant they'd be shipping him off to Wyoming soon. Kid didn't have much time to waste. Suddenly, his mind registered the rest of what the young woman had told him. "Physically? What do you mean, physically?"

"Well, I don't really know, but Father said there was something else….a brain injury or something. I'm sorry but you'd have to ask him if you need to know any more." She smiled shyly at him once again before hurrying off down the boardwalk, leaving him standing frozen in place, wondering what she meant by a brain injury.

'Well, whatever it is, it's just gonna have to heal up on its own after we get out of this town. He'll be fine. Yeah, he'll be ok. Ain't nothing ever been wrong with Heyes' brain and that's the way it's gonna stay.' Those were the thoughts on Kid's mind as he retreated back into the shadows behind the building. But he wasn't as confident as he pretended to be and pangs of worry nagged him as he set about doing what he needed to get done.

* * * * *

Joshua sat up in his bed, alone with his thoughts. Except he wasn't really alone; the occasional sound of activity just outside his bedroom door attesting to that.

He had listened, not saying a word, as the doctor tried to explain to him that it appeared that the blow he had taken to the back of his head had caused some memory loss. It was true, after all, that he couldn't remember anything after that poker game, but what the doctor had tried to tell him was plain loco! Joshua Smith, an outlaw? Why, that was just plumb ridiculous!

Even crazier was Edward's assertion that he wasn't Joshua Smith at all but an outlaw named Hannibal Heyes. A bank robber, for heaven's sake! He had tried to tell the doctor that he never robbed a bank in his life; that he'd worked in a bank for the last two years, as a matter of fact, over in Porterville. And that he was a friend of the sheriff over there. "Now why would the sheriff of Porterville be friends with an outlaw," he had said, trying to convince the doctor that he was mistaken about his identity.

But Edwards had just looked at him like he was some strange creature that had just crawled out from under a rock. He could tell he hadn't believed anything Joshua had tried to tell him. Finally, he just left the room, shaking his head. Joshua heard the sound of the key turning in the lock again as the door closed. This alarmed him more than anything else; realizing that he was being held prisoner against his will.

Other than the pain in his head, which was slowly subsiding thanks to the draught of medicine the doctor had administered a few minutes before, Joshua felt pretty good. He gingerly flexed his arms and legs and though a little weak and unsteady from spending the last couple days out cold, he didn't see any lasting damage. Slowly, he lowered his feet to the ground and stood. 'At least that's still working,' he thought, grateful to be up and about. Once he knew that his legs would hold his weight, he moved to the door and silently tested the door knob. 'Yep. Locked. They really do think I'm Hannibal Heyes.'

Fighting the urge to panic, Joshua took a moment to look around the room. Forcing himself to remain calm, he thought, 'I've got to get out of here so I can prove I'm not who they think I am. What I need is a plan.'

Other than a small window set high into the wall, there was no other way out of the room except by the door; and that was apparently being guarded, judging from the sounds coming from right outside the door. Joshua had occasionally heard the gentle scraping sounds of a chair being moved across the floor and the not so gentle sounds of a man clearing his throat and coughing periodically.

His eyes lit upon the tray of medical tools on the table next to his bed. Some of the tools looked vaguely familiar. He knew he had seen the thing that doctors used to listen to a person's heart before---what was it called again-oh right, a stethoscope. Then there was a little hammer; Joshua wasn't sure what that was used for but thought it might come in handy later.

* * * * *

Kid had learned long ago how to be patient. As he stood in the deepening shadows in the alleyway, he watched the street, waiting. Finally, his patience was rewarded. The door to the doctor's office opened, and Doc Edwards hurried down the steps and into a buggy parked on the street. He was carrying his medical bag and moving fast, on his way to provide care to some sick farmer or farmer's wife.

This was the opportunity Kid had been waiting for. He knew that Heyes was being guarded by a deputy but at least now Kid wouldn't have to worry about the doctor getting in the way, maybe getting hurt.

* * * * *

The deputy, relaxing in his chair outside Heyes' door, was taken by surprise when the door burst open. The sight of Kid Curry standing there pointing his gun right at his face made him question his choice of occupation. He started to rise, but thought better of it when Curry indicated he should just stay where he was, using the end of his pistol for emphasis.

"Now don't get all excited, Deputy. I don't mean to hurt anybody-although I'm not against it either if it becomes necessary. As long as you co-operate, you're gonna be just fine. Now just pull your weapon out of your holster…with your left hand, please…and throw it off somewhere out of the way."

The deputy swallowed hard and, never taking his eyes off Kid Curry's face, did as he was instructed. "Good man." Kid bent down and picked up the deputy's gun, shoving it into the waistband of his jeans. Then he pulled a length of rope out of his back pocket and proceeded to tie the lawman up.

"Now, I'm gonna have to gag you so you don't start yelling as soon as I get my friend and we leave, but before I do, I need you to tell me where the key to that door is."

"I-I-I don't have it," the man stammered.

"I don't have time to play games, my friend," Kid said, resting the tip of his pistol meaningfully against the deputy's chest, as he felt the anger start to flare within himself. "Where is it?"

The deputy's eyes widened in fear. Kid Curry's reputation as a ruthless gunslinger was enough to make him tell him anything he wanted to know, but it was the rage he saw growing behind those steely blue eyes that made the bile rise up in his throat. He was afraid he might become ill before he could convince Curry that he didn't have the key.

"Th-there are only two keys to that room. The sheriff has one and Doc Edwards has the other one. He took it with him." The man had turned an unhealthy shade of pale as all the blood ran out of his face. Kid stood staring down at him for a long moment before deciding he was probably telling the truth.

He sighed deeply. "Why do these things always have to be so difficult, I ask ya? Is it too much to expect to find a key to a locked room when you need one?" Kid reached into his coat pocket and withdrew a dirty bandana. "Well, I'm gonna believe you, friend. Mostly 'cuz I ain't got no choice and I got even less time." He forced the bandana into the deputy's mouth and tied it tightly behind his head. Then he turned his attention to the door and the man behind it.

"Heyes, can you hear me? It's Kid. Can you unlock the door?"

* * * * *

Joshua heard the commotion outside his door long before he figured out what was going on out there. He could make out two male voices, one hard and low, the other more high-pitched and tinny. Neither one sounded like Doc Edwards. He assumed one was the person making sure he stayed put in this room, but he had no clue who the other voice belonged to. There was something strangely familiar about it though---he just couldn't quite put his finger on what it was.

He nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard the voice again, much louder this time; like the person it belonged to was standing right outside the door and speaking right at him. And if he was speaking to him, then that person thought he was Heyes too!

Given his circumstances, he wasn't in the mood to quibble. He was tired of being locked up in this room, waiting for the people outside this door to come to their senses and realize that they had the wrong man. He called out, nervously, "Uh, no sir. I can't unlock the door. It's locked from out there."

Kid frowned. There was something wrong with Heyes' brain all right. That was the only explanation he could come up with for him calling him 'sir' and for him sounding so jittery. He also knew Heyes could open this door on his worst day without even breaking a sweat. There was definitely something wrong. "Ok, Heyes. Don't think too much. Just look around you and see if you can find anything to open the door with."

"What? I'm sorry but I don't-"

"I told you not to think. Just do it."

Joshua felt the panic rise up from his stomach. He wondered whether he should really be co-operating with the man outside. He sounded a little loco to him. Taking a deep breath, Joshua tried to do as he was told-not think, just do it. He looked around the room until he spotted the medical tools again. One looked like a probe of some type. Joshua grabbed it and set about working on the lock. After a couple of minutes, he gave up in frustration. "It's no use," he called. "I can't do it."

"Yes you can, Heyes. You can do it in your sleep. You're thinking too much. Clear your mind and just DO it."

Joshua took another deep, cleansing breath and cleared his mind…just like the voice told him to do. He closed his eyes and started working the lock again. This time he was pleasantly surprised when he heard the internal mechanism click, freeing him from his white-washed prison.

"Hey, would you look at that?" he said to himself. "I did it."

With the door open, Joshua was finally able to set eyes on his rescuer. He wasn't surprised that the man standing before him in the open doorway was unfamiliar to him; but he was surprised that the man looked so genuinely happy and relieved to see him. His face lit up in a brilliant smile just before a jubilant laugh sprang forth from his throat. "Heyes!" he whooped. "Are you ok?"

Some of the shock and uncertainty Joshua was feeling must have registered on his face, because almost as soon as it appeared the smile vanished from the other man's face. Concern clouded his eyes and he said again, more quietly this time, "Are you ok, Heyes?"

In a gesture so slight it might have been missed if the watcher had not been watching so intently, Joshua shook his head. In a voice unfamiliar to Kid; one filled with sadness and fear, Joshua said, "I'm not Hannibal Heyes. My name is Joshua Smith."

Now Kid understood what the girl had meant when she said Heyes had suffered a brain injury. His best friend and partner for all these years didn't remember he was Hannibal Heyes. Worse than that, he had a feeling that Heyes didn't know who Kid was either. But there was no time to think about that right now. There was no telling when the doctor or even the sheriff might come around. He needed to get Heyes out of here, and fast. There'd be time to fix Heyes later.

Heyes stared at him, his expression a mixture of confusion and something that Kid thought might be fear, fear of him, his friend and partner. "Can you ride?" he asked, forcing back the rush of painful emotions he thought might overcome him. Heyes didn't move. He stood in the middle of the room, barefooted, wearing only a long white cotton nightshirt. Kid started searching for his clothes. He found them in the top drawer of the dresser. "Can you ride?" he said again, more gruffly, covering the hurt he felt at realizing Heyes didn't recognize him.

"I'm not sure---I mean--- yes, I can ride, but I'm not sure I should go with---"

"Do you want to spend the next twenty years in the Wyoming prison?" the blond man snapped.

"No. But I-"

"Then you just better listen to me. I know you don't remember me right now, but if you don't trust me and do what I say, that's exactly where you're gonna end up. We don't have time to talk about it right now." Kid's voice took on a pleading tone, "Just do as I say, please Heyes."

"Here, get dressed," he said as he tossed Heyes' pants and shirt at him. Heyes still didn't move.

"Now!" Kid finally yelled, startling Heyes into action. He pulled the nightshirt over his head and started dressing. By the time Kid found his boots, gun belt, and hat in another drawer, Heyes was dressed. He looked more like himself now, at least outwardly.

As for Joshua, he was lost in his own muddled thoughts. He didn't know who this man was but he had to assume that if he thought he was Hannibal Heyes then he was undoubtedly an outlaw. The way he wore his holster tied to his thigh implied that he was good with his gun, maybe real good. What would he do to him when he discovered he had helped the wrong man escape? Would he kill him just to get rid of him?

On the other hand, if he stayed here he wasn't sure he would be able to convince the sheriff that he had arrested an innocent man. So he didn't really have much choice. He was going to have to trust this man, maybe with his life.

Instinctively, Joshua strapped on his gun belt and tied his holster around his thigh.

It felt unnatural to Kid that he should be barking orders at Heyes. After all, Heyes was usually the one in charge and that was alright with Kid because he knew that their partnership was based on mutual respect and trust. They both had their strengths and they relied on each other for those strengths. But right now, Heyes' strength was somewhere else, so Kid needed to take control.

"OK. Let's go. I have some horses tied up in the alley." Still, Heyes hesitated. "Move," Kid snarled, with a little more venom than he intended, born out of fear for his life-long friend. Finally, with very few options left before him, Joshua decided to trust this stranger.

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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3.20 Forget Me Not by Leah Anders :: Comments

Re: 3.20 Forget Me Not by Leah Anders
Post on Fri 10 Apr 2015, 12:11 am by royannahuggins

* * * * *

Light was beginning to filter through the trees sheltering the clearing where the two men had slept the night before. Joshua sat upright leaning against the thick trunk of one of those trees. He had been sitting there for several hours after trying unsuccessfully to sleep. Now he sat, sipping coffee, quietly staring at the man who slept peacefully curled up under a blanket a few feet away from him.

Kid Curry lay on his side, snoring softly, accustomed to sleeping wherever circumstances forced him to make his bed. Joshua watched him as he breathed evenly and deeply. He had spent the last several hours with him and although he had no recollection of him from before, he had to admit he felt very comfortable in his company.

They had made their exit from San Pasqual earlier that day near dusk and had ridden as fast and as far away from that small town as they could, keeping off the main road; preferring to ride cross country to keep from being followed as easily. The plan had apparently worked because they hadn't seen hide nor hair of another living person the rest of the day.

The two of them had ridden side by side until late into the night. Neither one had had much to say, but Joshua had noticed Curry watching him carefully most of the day. It seemed like every time Joshua glanced his way, Curry was staring at him. This scrutiny both reassured and terrified Joshua. It was reassuring to know that someone was watching out for him but absolutely terrifying because he had no idea what interest Kid Curry might have in him.

When they'd made camp the night before, Curry seemed determined to convince Joshua that he was Hannibal Heyes. "Come on Heyes. Snap out of it. How could you just up and forget everything about your past? Don't you remember all those banks we robbed? The amnesty?" In other circumstances, it might have struck Joshua funny-Kid Curry thinking he was Hannibal Heyes-but given the fact that everyone else seemed to share the same opinion, he was hard pressed to find any humor in it.

Finally, when all his encouragement was met by nothing more than a confused frown from Joshua, Curry had thrown his hands up in frustration and lay down to sleep. "We'll talk some more in the morning, Heyes. Right now, we both need to get some rest. Tomorrow is going to be another long day."

Now Curry was stirring; stretching his legs to their full length under the thin blanket that covered him. He opened his eyes, squinting against the early morning light. "Morning, Heyes," he greeted with familiarity.

Joshua smiled politely. "Morning, Mr. Curry. Coffee's still hot if you want some."

Kid sat up, rubbing his hand through his tousled curls, and yawned, "Do me a favor, would ya, Heyes? Stop calling me Mr. Curry. It gives me the creeps. Just call me Kid."

"I can do that, I guess." Joshua thought for a moment and then continued, "Kid…you seem like a reasonable man or I wouldn't even consider saying this to you but you must realize that I'm not the person you think I am. Now I don't know how well you know this Mr. Heyes but I'm just not him. I'm Joshua Smith…I work for a bank and would never even consider robbing one. So surely you see that somehow you've made a mistake."

"Heyes, what happened to you? How did you end up hurt?"

"Now that's a funny thing. I don't remember much about that. I just remember being in a saloon, playing cards. Next thing I knew I woke up with a powerful headache and a lump the size of an egg on the back of my head."

"And you don't remember anything after the poker game? You don't remember how we was sitting there having a friendly game with some of the locals when the sheriff came in and got the drop on us?"

Joshua almost laughed at the very notion of what Kid was saying, but decided better of it and just shook his head 'no'.

Kid leaned forward, his exasperation showing on his face, "And you don't remember how he would have had us dead to rights if you hadn't flipped the card table over, throwing him off just long enough for me to draw my gun and shoot his out of his hand? And how we took off running through the back door…"

Joshua shrugged his shoulders apologetically. "No, sorry."

Kid's voice got louder as his frustration grew. "The posse? You don't remember running from the posse and your brilliant idea to split up? Which I should have known better than to go along with, by the way. Worst idea you ever had-"

"I'm sorry but that wasn't my idea. That wasn't me."

Kid had reached his limit. He yelled, "Heyes, I'm gonna blow your head off if you say that one more time, so help me."

Joshua's eyes widened, stunned into silence. Kid immediately regretted losing his temper. He knew Heyes wasn't being contrary and annoying on purpose. He just wasn't himself-literally. His voice softened and he said, "I'm sorry, Heyes. I didn't mean that. Don't you worry. We'll work it out…together, just like always. You'll see."

After a quick breakfast, the two men set out again, aiming to put more space between them and the town of San Pasqual. While they rode, Kid tried to jog Heyes' memory. "What about Big Mac McCreedy? You must remember him, don't you? And the bust of Caesar?"

"You can't possibly have forgotten Wheat and Kyle and the rest of the boys, can you have? After all the jobs we pulled with them?"

"The amnesty? Come on, Heyes…the amnesty! Remember how Lom went to go talk to the-"

Joshua's head snapped around to look at Kid. "Lom? Do you mean Lom Trevors?"

Kid's heart beat faster with excitement at this breakthrough. "Yes! Lom Trevors. Do you remember him?"

"Sure I remember Lom. He's the man who got me the job working at the bank-with Miss Porter…Gosh, she's great." Heyes smiled sweetly, remembering his fond feelings for the young bank manager. When he brought his thoughts back to the conversation, he asked Kid, "You know him?"

"Oh, Heyes. This is gonna be harder than I thought." Kid sighed and dropped into silence.

Later that day Joshua and Curry arrived at their destination, a raucous mining town set into the side of a mountain. Kid chose this town for two reasons. First, the two men had holed up there before while on the run from a posse very much like the one that had been chasing them until recently. He hoped that being in a familiar place might help jog Heyes' memory.

Second, the town was large enough and rowdy enough that they would be able to effectively hide in plain sight without drawing any undue attention to themselves. The law in the town had long since given up trying to maintain much order and it was a perfect place to stop for a while, at least long enough for Heyes to recover some more from his injuries.

Joshua glanced over at Kid Curry. By the contemplative expression on his face, one he recognized as Heyes' 'thinking' face, Kid knew he had something he wanted to say. "What is it, Heyes?"

Joshua cleared his throat, reluctant to speak what was on his mind for fear of what Kid Curry's reaction might be. He didn't know the man well, except for his reputation as a notorious gunfighter and the last thing Joshua wanted to do was make him angry. Finally, he said, "Mr. Curry-um, Kid--I've been thinking."

"I'd say it's about time you tried that."


"Nothing. What were you thinking?"

"Well, I was thinking-Don't get me wrong…I'm grateful for what you did back there, helping me break out of that room…but I think we maybe ought to go our separate ways now. You obviously have me mistaken for your friend, Heyes, but I'm telling you I'm not him. And as a law-abiding citizen-well, surely you can see that I can't associate with an outlaw like yourself. Besides, I gotta get back to Porterville. I'm sure they're all wondering where I ran off to."

Kid couldn't believe his ears. He had the urge to drag Heyes off his horse right there in the middle of the street and pound some sense into him. It took all the restraint he could muster to maintain his composure. Keeping his voice even, he said, "I see your point, Heyes. Only thing is, I can't let you go. Ya see, whether you remember me or now, you ARE Hannibal Heyes and there ain't no job to send you back to."

Joshua fixed his gaze on Kid Curry. "So you're going to force me to accompany you? Against my will?"

Kid nodded thoughtfully, "Yep, I guess if you want to put it that way, that's what I'm gonna do."

Joshua lapsed into silence, considering what he had just heard. Kid Curry was apparently suffering some delusion to believe so strongly that he was Hannibal Heyes, for Pete's sake, but if Curry had his mind set on holding him prisoner there wasn't much he could do about it, at least not until he felt more like himself. His head still ached something awful most of the time and his thoughts just weren't clear. He had no choice but to go along with Curry…for now. Besides, except for the fact that he was plumb loco, Joshua had to admit that he liked the outlaw Curry. He knew he shouldn't but he just felt comfortable in his company.

As for the Kid, he hoped that with time he would be able to help Heyes connect with his old self. If that didn't happen-well, he'd have to deal with that when it happened. Except now, he had to worry about whether or not Heyes was going to co-operate. It would be just like him to try to find some way to give him the slip.

Well, he just wasn't going to give him that chance. From now on, Kid was going to stick to him like glue. He'd get them a room, get Heyes settled, and after that-he was gonna try to knock some sense back into his head.

By the time they were checked into the hotel, Kid could tell that Heyes was exhausted. His face was pale and drawn from fatigue. His deep brown eyes stood out in stark contrast against his skin. Kid wanted to talk but knew that his friend needed time to rest first. "Heyes, you look terrible. Get some rest."

Joshua didn't argue. Wearily, he dropped heavily onto the bed. After removing his boots, he lay down on his side and curled up, falling asleep within a few minutes. Kid unfolded the quilt he found at the foot of the bed. Gently and carefully, he placed it over his sleeping friend. Then he sat down and watched him sleep, wondering how, after all they had been through together, they had ended up this way.

* * * * *

When Joshua awoke, he felt quite a bit better. The lump on his head was receding and along with it, the pain was getting more tolerable. The first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was Kid Curry watching him from the chair across the room. He met his eyes and smiled. "Have you been sitting there staring at me the whole time I've been asleep?"

Kid looked a little embarrassed and turned away. "Course not," he said gruffly. "I've just been sitting here thinking." He stood up and motioned for Heyes to join him at the writing table near the window. He was holding a deck of cards. "Here," he said, handing the cards to Heyes. "One of Heyes' favorite tricks was getting someone to wager him that he wouldn't be able to make five pat hands out of any twenty five cards dealt to him. Works nine times out of ten." He looked at Heyes expectantly.

Joshua shook his head slightly, frowning, not comprehending what Kid wanted him to do.

"Well? What are you waiting for? Deal out twenty five and make five pat hands."

Joshua's expression lightened. "Ah. You want me to do something your friend Heyes would do. You still think I'm suddenly going to remember I'm really not Joshua Smith at all, but that I'm actually Hannibal Heyes." Joshua chuckled at the absurdity of the idea.

"No, Heyes. You ARE Joshua Smith. I never said you weren't. But you are also Hannibal Heyes."

"Uh, huh. Kid-and I don't mean any disrespect at all here you understand. But you are sounding crazier and crazier."

"Heyes, listen to me. Remember how you were surprised I knew Lom Trevors? Well, Lom is the person who gave us the names Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones. They're our aliases. Don't you remember?"

Joshua shook his head, smiling benignly. "My pa gave me the name Joshua Smith."

Kid shook his head violently, a fearsome scowl darkening his naturally boyish features, "No! Lom did. He's our friend. Not your friend who got you a job at the bank but OUR friend who is trying to help us get amnesty."

"Again with all due respect, but why would the governor even consider giving two notorious outlaws like Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry amnesty? I don't think you're thinking too clearly."

"I'm not thinking too clearly? I'M not thinking clearly! Are you trying to drive me crazy Heyes? What is it? You want me-" Kid was angry. His blue eyes flashed with fire born of frustration. Drawing a long, shuddering breath, he counted to ten and started again.

"Deal the cards, Heyes."

"I'll deal them…but only to humor you. You need to learn to control that temper. It's gonna get you in trouble one of these days. Has anyone ever told you that before?"

"Yeah, Heyes. You have. Lots of times."

Joshua chuckled and dealt the cards. When he had a stack of twenty five, he laid them out on the desk in rows and studied them for a few seconds. Then he quickly started rearranging the cards. Before long, he had made five pat hands, just like Kid expected him to do. "How do you like that? It works," he said with just a touch of wonder.


"…and I have to admit it felt mighty familiar…like I've done the same trick a dozen times before…but I don't have any specific recollection of it, if that's what you're hoping for."

Kid sighed deeply. "Well, that's a start maybe. Get your boots on, Heyes. We're gonna go get something to eat." He turned his back and started to walk away.

"Don't you ever think of anything else besides eating?" Joshua asked.

Kid stopped in his tracks and whirled around to face Heyes. "What did you say?"

"What? What did I say?" Joshua returned, eyes wide, startled.

"About eating? What did you say?"

"I just asked if you ever thought of anything else."

"Exactly! That's something Heyes would say. How would you know that I like to eat? Unless you really are Hannibal Heyes!"

"Well-I don't know. I guess I just figured…" Joshua's words trailed off. He wasn't sure what to say. "Surely you don't think that has any special significance, do you?" His eyes were clouded with doubt, suddenly unsure.

"Do you?" Kid countered.

"No. No I don't," he answered firmly and changed the subject. "Let's go get something to eat."

* * * * *

Joshua awoke with a jolt just after dawn, bathed in sweat. His hair lay damp against his neck and his breathing upon waking was slightly labored. He sat up and untangled his legs from the sheets that had ended up wound around him, the result of the confused conglomeration of dreams that even now were receding into his subconscious. He leaned forward with his head cradled in his hands and concentrated on bringing his breathing back under control.

Standing, he skinned off the henley that he had worn to bed and discarded it in the corner of the room after using it to wipe the perspiration from his neck and chest. Still uncomfortably warm, he slid the window open, trying not to wake Kid. The early morning breeze whispered across his bare chest. He shivered with a sudden chill but did not move away. Instead he closed his eyes, trying to clear the cobwebs from his brain. He just couldn't seem to shake the confusion of disjointed images that insisted on muddying his thoughts.

* * * * *

"I give up." Kid threw his hands in the air as though to punctuate his resignation. He'd spent a good part of the day trying to jog Heyes' memory and although he could see an occasional glimmer of recognition in his friend's eyes, Heyes just didn't seem to be making much progress. And he was starting to get the feeling that Heyes might decide to pick up and leave at the first opportunity, as if he had somewhere to leave to. That scared Kid more than anything else because if Heyes left, there was just no telling what trouble he would land in, considering his mental state. At least if they were together, Kid could make sure he was safe until his memory came back. "Let's get out of here. I need some air."

The two men made their way down the crowded avenues until they came to one of several saloons scattered about the town. "Poker?" Joshua suggested, his eyes sparking with newfound interest.

Kid studied Heyes before replying. Hearing him utter that one word "poker" sent a shock wave through his body. He sounded and looked more like the Heyes he knew than he had since Kid had rescued him from his sickroom prison. Kid started to hope that this might be just the thing Heyes needed to start getting his memory back. "Might as well," Kid agreed, nonchalantly, as they walked through the swinging doors.

The saloon was crowded and most of the seats around the scattered poker tables were already filled. As much as Kid would have preferred to keep Heyes close to him, they had to settle for spots at adjacent tables.

Kid's mind wasn't really on the game. He was too busy watching Heyes to concentrate on what was happening at his table. He was heartened to see how Heyes-like his friend had become since sitting down at the poker table. All the little mannerisms and nuances of Heyes' personality had re-emerged like magic. Kid was sure that this was a good step in the right direction towards getting Heyes back to normal.

Joshua felt, rather than saw, Kid Curry studying him from the next table. It was both comforting and disconcerting to know that someone like Kid had such an interest in him. He felt a certain kinship with the outlaw even though he wasn't at all sure why. Maybe it was just because of the time they had spent together these last two days. He was almost starting to believe that there was some deeper connection between the two of them, ridiculous as it had first seemed.

But Joshua didn't want to think about that right now. Right now, all he wanted to do was play poker. There was something so natural about the game; he knew he must have played it a lot and played it well, even though his memories of it were hazy now. He felt comfortable here, with a deck of cards in his hands and a pile of cash in front of him. And he seemed to know instinctively what the other players were thinking. The feeling was exhilarating.

They hadn't been playing very long when the trouble started. Joshua watched as two men watched Kid. He wasn't sure what they intended but from the shifty, whispery glances they kept casting at the blond man, he was pretty sure it wasn't good. Joshua knew that Kid Curry wasn't aware of the interest he was generating between the pair of tough-looking men at the bar.

Before he could warn Kid, one of the men made his move. Curry heard the ominous click of a handgun being cocked behind him. He felt the hot, sour breath of the man on the back of his neck as he whispered something in his ear. His eyes widened in surprise as he listened. Then he looked past the man standing at his shoulder until he located Heyes sitting at the next table. Their eyes locked for a long moment. Joshua broke the connection and slowly stood up. He glanced once more at Kid before turning his back and walking out of the saloon alone.

Kid's heart sank as he watched him leave, this man who had been his friend and partner for most of his life; who had somehow become a stranger to him even though he was still so familiar. He wanted to stand up and shout his name, make him come to his senses somehow. He didn't want to believe that after all the things they had been through together, after all the times they had watched each other's back that it had come to this. Heyes was walking away from him when he needed him.

Kid felt the barrel of the gun pressed against his shoulder blade. "Let's go," the man holding the weapon hissed. Kid looked around the saloon. Not surprisingly, the exchange between him and the bounty hunter drew little more than cursory attention in the barroom filled with miners and gamblers and he didn't expect any of the men around him to offer him assistance. With grim determination, he quickly weighed his options. He could refuse to go peacefully and the bounty hunter would probably shoot him right here; or he could cooperate and hope he got a chance to escape later. He chose the latter.

He led the way out of the saloon with the other man following close behind. He half-expected Heyes to be waiting outside for them somewhere in the shadows; but he was no where to be found. Kid's heart was heavy when he finally realized that this might be the end of 'Heyes and Curry' or even 'Smith and Jones.'

* * * * *

"You mind if I ask where you're taking me?" Kid asked the bounty hunter after they left town and had ridden a few hours.

"That should be obvious, even to a dumb outlaw like yourself. I'm gonna turn you in for the re-ward," he answered, shoving a large wad of chewing tobacco to one side of his jaw.

"I figured that much. Why not just turn me in back there?"

"Back in Pike? Why, the sheriff back there is no better than the pack of ruffians that roam that town. He'd just as soon kill me and take the reward for himself, I figure. Nope, it's safer for us to take you on down the mountain and turn you in somewhere civilized."

Kid smiled darkly. He had no intention of letting anyone turn him in. Losing Heyes made at least one thing clear. The two of them were never going to get the amnesty that they had worked so hard to earn so if he found the chance-any chance-to get away from this bounty hunter, he would take it; no matter what the cost.

* * * * *

The room was hot and stuffy, even with the window open. The breeze, if you could call it that, did little more than rustle the chintz curtains. Joshua was lying on the bed, fully dressed, with his eyes clinched shut. He had come here directly after leaving Kid in the saloon to deal for himself.

His first thought, watching the action unfold in front of him, was that this was the perfect opportunity for him to get free from the outlaw and return to his life in Porterville. He had, in fact, come back to the room intending to get his things to do just that. It was only then that he suddenly realized he couldn't remember much about his life in Porterville either. He remembered he worked at the bank and that Lom Trevors had gotten him the job. But hard as he tried, he couldn't remember how long he had worked there or where he lived; whether he had a family or who his other friends might be.

When he tried to remember and realized his past was mostly a blank, he panicked and lay down on the bed. He closed his eyes and tried to remember, but it wasn't images of his life that he saw reflected in his mind's eye; it was Kid Curry's face that floated there in the blackness behind his eyelids.

Joshua ground the heels of his palms into his eyes, trying to push the images out of his mind. "No!" he shouted to no one at all except the visions that insisted on tormenting him. "I am Joshua Smith," he said decisively and with finality.

The room seemed to grow hotter; the walls felt like they were starting to close in on him. Joshua forced himself to breathe slower, regain control. He tried again to reconnect to his life as Joshua Smith; his ordinary, commonplace, safe life. He knew that in Porterville he had a home, somewhere he belonged, maybe a wife and kids--a real life.

He longed for that life and decided the only way he would be able to reclaim it was to return to Porterville.

Joshua felt pangs of regret that he couldn't do more for Kid Curry but in reality, he believed there was little he was capable of doing to help him. Besides, Curry was a wanted man. If he got careless and allowed himself to be caught, what was Joshua supposed to do about it? He didn't even know how to use a gun.

Just as the thought crossed his mind, his fingertips grazed the cold steel of the weapon lodged in the holster tied securely around his right thigh. The metal felt like ice against his fevered skin. It sent a shiver up the length of his arm. He was mystified and afraid. If he didn't know how to use a gun then why had it felt so natural for him to be wearing one? He had been so comfortable carrying this gun that he had barely been aware of it there, resting firmly against his leg for all this time.

Joshua pushed the worry out of his mind and set about getting ready to leave to go home. Checking out, he asked the desk clerk, "Which way to Porterville?"

"Porterville? Wyoming? Well-head straight down the mountain the same way you came up and then head north. You're a long way from Wyoming though. Gonna take you a while to get there."

"That's ok. I got nothin' but time. At least for now. Hopefully, that'll change once I get back home."

"Well, good luck to you then. Thanks for staying. Come back again," the clerk called after him as Joshua left the lobby.

Joshua followed the road down the mountain for the rest of the day, following his instincts more than anything. He wondered where Kid Curry was now. Had the bounty hunters turned him into the law back in Pike?

As he rode, his thoughts wandered where they would and he didn't try to rein them in. To his surprise and fear, he realized he was thinking mainly of Kid Curry. He 'saw' himself standing with Kid at a bar, Kid shooting the holster clean off some cowboy's gun belt. He 'saw' them riding through the dusty streets of some one-horse town and digging up caches of gold dust under the watchful eyes of hostile Indians. He 'saw' them walking through the desert, sunbaked and parched after being stranded there by a smiling jackal. 'But these images aren't real,' he thought. 'I never lived these things. I'm only imagining how it might have been.' Satisfied with his own explanation, Joshua rode on.

Finally exhausted, both mentally and physically, he stopped for the night. After making camp, he fell asleep under the open sky and dreamt.

* * * * *

It was almost noon the next day when Joshua came upon the men in a clearing not far off the road. The bounty hunter was enjoying a lunch of beans and bread while Kid sat tied up, leaning against a rock. Joshua's heart skipped a beat but he kept his face neutral as he approached. Kid saw him first. He too kept his face expressionless. Only his eyes revealed any hint of recognition, but he had never been happier to see anyone in his life.

Joshua smiled broadly at the bounty hunter, ignoring Kid's presence for the time being. "Morning."

The bounty hunter glanced up at Joshua, squint-eyed, and grunted in an unwelcoming manner. Joshua's smile never faltered. He continued, "Name's Joshua Smith. I sure am glad to see you. Do you know I've been riding all morning and you two are the first people I've met up with all day. Sure is a lonely way to travel."

The bounty hunter shoveled more beans into his mouth, not at all interested in having a conversation with some anonymous traveler.

"Would you mind if I joined you?" Joshua asked, starting to dismount his horse.



"Yes. I would mind if you joined us. Now you just get back on that horse of yourn and get moving."

Joshua's smile slipped from his face, "No need to get proddy. I was just thinking we both might enjoy a little company. I didn't-"

The bounty hunter set his plate of food down on the ground and stood up to face Joshua. "As you can see, I already got company." He gestured towards Kid Curry. "I don't need any more so, like I said, you can just get back up on that horse and get out of here."

Joshua hesitated, all traces of a smile gone from his face. "All right. If that's what you want. I never meant to push in where I'm not welcome. I'll just be on my way."

Dismissively, the bounty hunter turned his back on Joshua. As he knelt down to pick his plate of beans from the ground, Joshua deftly slid his gun from its holster and leveled it on the other man's back. The gun felt comfortably solid in his hand, like it had been made just for him. He had to admit that holding it felt exciting. "Stand up," he ordered. The bounty hunter hesitated, plate in hand, crouched on the ground. "Stand up, I said."

The bounty hunter stood. As he turned to face Joshua, he flung the plate of beans in his direction, trying to throw the other man off. Smoothly, Joshua stepped out of the way. "Uh, uh, uh. Now you want to share and it's just too late. You ought to try to be nicer to people you meet out on the trail. Maybe these things wouldn't happen to you if you were more polite."

"What do you want? I ain't got but a few dollars on me."

Joshua smiled. "What? Do I look like a thief to you? No, I'm not interested in robbing you. I just don't like bounty hunters, is all. Something about 'em just sets my teeth on edge. Now take your gun out of its holster there and toss it away, nice and easy like. Don't try anything funny."

"Now listen here, mister. I don't know who you are-"

Joshua smiled. "That's right, you don't. Frankly, neither do I. But seeing as how you don't know who I am or what I'm capable of doing, don't you think maybe it might be best if you just do what I say?" His face hardened in a no-nonsense expression. "Get rid of the gun," he ordered in a voice that matched his expression.

The bounty hunter sighed and tossed his gun away. Joshua's good-natured smile returned. "Now I'm gonna have to tie you up. And I'm gonna tie you up good and tight because I don't want you getting loose any time soon. But don't worry, I'm sure someone will come along in a day or two and untie you."

Kid Curry watched as Joshua tied up the bounty hunter. He felt elated. He was sure that Heyes had finally remembered who he really was and that everything would be just that way it used to be again now.

"Heyes. Am I ever glad to see you," Kid said excitedly as Joshua came over to where he sat.

Joshua chuckled softly. "I have to admit I was a little surprised to see you myself."

"Well, what are you waiting for? Untie me."


Kid's blood ran cold. "What? What do you mean, no?"

"I mean, I'm not going to untie you." Joshua reached behind Kid and worked the knots on rope that bound his hands.

"What!" Kid shouted, not believing what he was hearing. "Untie me, Heyes, now! Quit fooling around."

"I'm sorry, Kid, I can't. I'm glad I could help you by taking care of the bounty hunter but I still aim to go back to Porterville to try to reclaim my life. I can't have you interfering with that. So I'll loosen the knots a little bit. You'll be able to work yourself loose in an hour or so. By that time, I'll be gone."

"But Heyes, be reasonable," Kid pleaded.

"I am being reasonable. I just need to find myself again. You can understand that, can't you?"

"But you're looking in the wrong place, Heyes. I can help you if you'll only let me. Please." Kid was feeling desperate. He could tell by the look on Heyes' face that he wasn't making any progress convincing him. A feeling of panic threatened to overwhelm him. "Please Heyes, don't leave me here."

"I'm sorry, Mr. Curry. I really am. But my life is waiting for me elsewhere."

Joshua swung himself back in the saddle and with one last glance back at Kid Curry pointed his horse north towards Wyoming.

Kid made a final desperate attempt to stop his friend from leaving, "Heyes! I swear to you, Heyes, if you leave me now, we'll both regret it. I'll do something that will make sure we never get that amnesty."

* * * * *

Kid could not believe what had just happened. He didn't even move for a long time after Heyes left; he just sat staring at nothing, his boyish face set in a fearsome scowl. The bounty hunter watched him for a while before setting to work on his own bonds. Heyes had done a good job on the knots though and he made very little progress on loosening them. All he really accomplished was tearing up the skin of his wrists. Finally, frustrated and exhausted from his efforts, he worked up the courage to verbally poke at Kid Curry.

Smirking, he said, "Friends like that, I guess you don't really need enemies, eh?"

"Shut-up," Kid answered.

"Dangdest thing I ever saw. That was Hannibal Heyes, right? Thought you two were tight.

Whatsamatter? You finally going your separate ways after all these years?"

"I told you to shut up and I meant it."

"If it was me-and my partner left me out here like this, well I'd-"

"I'm not telling you again. Shut your mouth-or when I get loose from these ropes, I'm gonna shut it for you."

The bounty hunter smirked again and lapsed into silence, having decided he had pushed Kid Curry just about as far as he dared. Kid, in his anger and frustration, started pulling at the ropes that held him. Before long his wrists were raw and bloodied, but he was free.

"I don't suppose there's any chance I could get you to untie me?" the bounty hunter asked.

Kid smiled darkly. "I'd sooner let the coyotes eat you for lunch."

"That's what I figured."

Kid untied his horse from the tree where she stood tethered and gracefully mounted her. Tipping his hat at the other man, he said, "Take care now. Oh, and thanks for all the hospitality you showed me. Wish I had more time to return it, but I got things I need to take care of." Then he rode away.

Alone once again, Kid was free to plan what his next step should be. For the first time, he started to think that maybe he should just let Heyes go. Maybe he would be able to start a new life in Porterville. Lom would be there when he arrived. He'd help Heyes.

* * * * *

"Yeah, who's there?" The man wearing the tin star cautiously approached the door to his cabin. In his line of work, a man couldn't be too careful. You just never knew who might come knocking, especially at this time of night.

"It's me, Lom. Joshua Smith. Lem'me in."

Sheriff Lom Trevors swung the door open widely. His smile was just as wide, seeing his old ally standing on his doorstep. "Joshua. Come in. I've been worrying about you ever since-- Well, never mind that. I'm just glad to see you."

"Me too, Lom. I need your help."

"Oh? How's that," Lom asked, casually.

"I've had a mite of trouble lately." Joshua looked Lom over, noticing that he was fully dressed, right down to his gun and badge. "Going somewhere, Lom?"

"Matter of fact, I was. I just got word that the bank over in Emmit was robbed tonight. That's one reason I was worrying about you."


"Yeah. It seems that the man who robbed the bank looked something like Kid Curry."

Lom searched Joshua's face for any reaction but the enigmatic ex-outlaw's expression remained passive. He wanted to ask Joshua about the Kid but before he got the chance to get the words out, he felt someone enter the room from behind him. He whirled around, hand reaching for his gun as he turned, only to find Kid Curry standing there, his gun already in hand.

"You oughta get a lock on that side door, Lom."

"Kid?" Joshua said, in wonder.

"Yep, it's me." Kid flung a laden saddlebag on Lom's kitchen table. "And there's the take from the bank robbery. I'm here to turn myself in, Lom."

Joshua's face was no longer passive. Anger sparked from his eyes and his face was contorted with barely contained rage. "What the hell were you thinking, Kid? Why did you do that? Now what chance do we have of getting that amnesty?"

A triumphant smile spread across Kid's face. "Aha! You said 'We'!"


"You said 'We', Heyes. 'What chance do WE have of getting the amnesty?'" Kid's heart felt lighter than it had in days; it was all he could do to refrain from whopping in relieved laughter.

"No, I didn't," Joshua replied. There was an uncertainty in his voice that hadn't been there seconds before. His eyes seemed to go out of focus for several heartbeats in time. When he looked at Kid again, Kid sensed a subtle change had taken place. Even then, Heyes chose to ignore it.

"But the answer is none. The amnesty is gone. You've really done it this time." Joshua started pacing the room, fingertips strumming against his lower lip. He was deep in thought. But he couldn't concentrate like he wanted. He tried to force his mind to deal with the problem at hand, protecting the amnesty. But his thoughts wandered to other things; things like-why was it so important to him to protect the amnesty, why was he having memories of his times with Kid when he had only known the man for a few days, why did he suddenly feel more like Hannibal Heyes, outlaw leader than Joshua Smith, bank employee.

A thin line of sweat broke out across his upper lip and he realized that maybe he'd been wrong these last few days. He had to give serious consideration to what Kid Curry had been telling him all along-that he was more than what he remembered right now.

With deliberate effort, he forced these thoughts out of his mind and refocused on the only thing that was important right now, at this very moment-the amnesty and protecting Kid.

Lom and Kid watched; Heyes' ritual was familiar to both of them. They could not see the inner turmoil that was boiling within him but they both knew that Heyes was busy coming up with a plan. It was a wonderful thing to watch really. Nobody could think things through quite as single-mindedly as the ex-leader of the Devil's Hole Gang. But more than that, they took it as a sign that Heyes was finally on the road to recovering his memory. Kid was so happy he could barely contain himself. He knew he still had to give his partner time to heal completely but each passing minute seemed to be bringing Heyes closer to him.

Finally, hoping to force Heyes into action, Lom broke into Heyes' contemplation. "Kid, I got no choice but to arrest you."

Heyes' head snapped around. It was his turn to watch Lom and Kid. "Yep, I guess that's so, Lom," Kid said, contritely.

"What-are you forgetting how hard we've worked, Kid? You can't just-"

"There! You said it again," Kid said triumphantly.

"What? What did I say?" Joshua asked in exasperation.

"You said 'We'."

Heyes grimaced and shook his head impatiently. "I don't know what you're talking about. Besides, we have more important things to deal with right now." Dismissing the Kid, he turned to Lom. "Lom, give me a chance to make this right. I think I have an idea that might get Kid out of this mess that he's gotten himself into."

"Heyes, listen to me. I don't want you to get me out of this. I knew exactly what I was doing when I robbed the bank. Heck, the only thing that kept me trying for that amnesty was our partnership. Now that you don't remember what we had, well, let's just say I'm not interested anymore. I might as well serve my time and get it over with. At least then I can stop running."

"No Kid, I can't let you do it. I haven't been wanting to admit it…not even to myself…but I've been having flashes of memories ever since I left you in that saloon. Memories of things we've done together. And until I know for certain, I just can't let you do it."

Kid laughed jubilantly and grabbed Heyes by the shoulders, gripping him tightly, "I knew it! I knew you'd come to your senses eventually."

"Well, things are still a little confused in my head but I am starting to realize you were probably telling the truth. What we have to worry about now is clearing you in the robbery. Lom, you said that the robber just looked like Kid Curry, right? No positive identification?"

"Yes, that's right, but it's only a matter of time-especially now that he's turned himself in-"

"No, it's not too late, Lom. All we have to do is return the money to the bank. Once they have it back, you can convince them to just forget about the whole thing and then our amnesty will be safe again."

"Heyes, forget about it." Kid grinned mischievously.

"No, Kid. I'm not going to-"

"I said forget it, Heyes. Look in the saddlebags."

Heyes stared at Kid, wondering what he was talking about. Finally, he undid the straps on the saddlebags and looked inside. In disbelief, he reached in and took out their contents. "What's this?" he asked, looking at the stacks of newsprint in his hand. "Where's the money, Kid?"

"Well, that's the funny part. You'll appreciate this, Heyes." Kid wrapped his arm around Heyes' shoulder and said conspiratorially, "There is no money."

"No money."

"Nope, no money…cuz there was no bank robbery."

"What?" Heyes couldn't believe his ears. He had been outsmarted by his own partner.

"Yep. Me and Lom, we cooked this whole thing up to help you." Kid laughed again, pleased with himself and how his plan had turned out.

"To help me."

Kid smiled widely. "Yep. And it worked too. You admitted that you're starting to get your memory back."

Heyes shook his head and chuckled softly. "Kid, if I wasn't so relieved that you didn't do something as stupid as robbing a bank, I think I'd be tempted to flatten you."

"You know something Heyes? It would be worth it. I've missed having you around. That Joshua Smith is an ok guy but he does tend to wear on a man's nerves after a while."

* * * * *

Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes turned to say goodbye to their friend. "Thanks for letting us stay here, Lom," Heyes said, shaking his hand. The ten days he and Kid had spent at Lom's home had been emotional ones for everyone involved but they had been just what Heyes needed to make a full recovery. He'd also used that time to try to figure out for himself why his mind had tricked him into forgetting who he was, if only for a little while.

"It was my pleasure. I'm just glad you got yourself back to normal."

"Before we go, I have to ask…have you heard anything more from the governor?"

"No, nothing. Sorry, boys."

Heyes hid his disappointment well. "Well, keep trying, will ya, Lom? It sure would be nice if we really could just be average, law-abiding citizens some day."

Heyes and Curry swung themselves into their saddles and, with one last nod at Lom, rode off. They rode in companionable silence for a while until Heyes said, his voice strained and emotional, "Kid, I'm sorry for putting you through all that."

Kid looked at Heyes. For a split second, he thought about telling his friend how worried he had been that he had lost him for good. "You couldn't help it, Heyes. You got hurt. It's ok."

"I been trying to figure out why I was so desperate to be 'just Joshua Smith' and I think I might have found the answer."


"Yeah. I think I'm just tired of this life of running all the time. I want to be able to settle down somewhere. Put down some roots and maybe have a family. It's been a really long time since either one of us has had that."

"That's understandable."

"I know…I know it is, but the thing is…maybe I shouldn't be so anxious about it. It'll happen someday, I know it will. And until it does, we'll just keep doing what we've been doing. Keeping one step ahead of the law."

"Look at it this way Heyes. At least you don't have to work in a bank, surrounded by all that money and temptation."

"Not to mention Miss Porter."

Kid grinned. "That was the temptation I was talking about."


3.20 Forget Me Not by Leah Anders

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Stories: Alias Smith and Jones  :: Virtual Season :: Virtual Season Stories prior to 2008-
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