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 3.2 This Cell Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us! by Leah Anders

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20150410
Post3.2 This Cell Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us! by Leah Anders


"What do we do?"

"I don't know, Kid. Maybe it's just a coincidence that he's here. Maybe he's not looking for us at all." He starts to look hopeful.

As he is speaking, Kyle's face lights up with a look of sudden recognition. He has spotted Heyes and Curry and approaches. Just as Heyes finishes speaking, Kyle slaps both boys on the shoulders, gives a loud whoop, and yells, "Ain't you guys a sight for sore eyes. I been lookin' all over town fur ya. Shoulda knew you'd be holed up here."



Starring

Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes
Ben Murphy as Kid Curry

Guest Stars


Earl Holliman as Wheat Carlson

Dennis Fimple as Kyle Murtry

Bill McKinney as Lobo Riggs

Gary Valentine as Skeeter

Christopher Kennedy Masterson as Cobb

Harrison Ford as Sheriff Oakes

Barry Watson as Joe Hanks

Courtney Cox Arquette as Rosie

Steve Buscemi as Cliff Davis

Wilford Brimley as Sheriff Fuller


This Cell Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us!
by Leah Anders



It's Friday night. Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry walk into the saloon, looking to relax after putting in a long week at a local ranch.

"Heyes, you know I'm grateful to Lom for getting us these jobs, but right now, I feel like I've been run over by a steam engine. All I wanna do is find me someplace to sit down and have a few beers."

"Well, Kid, I think we've come to the right place, then," Heyes smiles. "While we're at it, why don't we help ourselves to some of these fella's money, too. Let's get a beer and then let's play some poker."

Instinctively glancing around the room as they go, they make their way to the bar.

"Sam, set us up with a couple beers." As the barman does this, Heyes nods his thanks and drops his money on the bar.

"You know, Kid. I'm starting to feel real comfortable in this town. We've been working here for a couple of weeks now and haven't run into a bit of trouble. We might just want to start thinking about settling down here for a while if things keep going like they are."

As Heyes is speaking, Curry is leaning against the bar, casually surveying the room, checking out the action. He is obviously enjoying watching everything going on as he has a slight smile on his face. Slowly, the smile disappears and his body shows signs of tension. Without looking at Heyes, he reaches over to grasp his partner's shoulder.

"Heyes, I think things are about to take a turn for the worse." Heyes turns to look at Curry, not yet understanding. Curry gestures towards the door with a slight movement of his head. "Look what just dragged itself in here."

With a feeling of dread, Heyes slowly turns from the bar to look in the direction Curry indicates. To his amazement, he sees Kyle Murtry standing in the open doorway, looking confused and bewildered. The boys know that he must be there looking for them but he hasn't spotted them yet in the crowded room. In unison, Heyes and Curry quickly turn back to the bar.

"What in tarnation is he doing here, Heyes?" Curry asks.

"I don't know. I shoulda been expecting something like this. Things have been going too good." Heyes shakes his head slowly. His face reflects the knowledge that he's about to lose that comfortable feeling he's been enjoying.

"What do we do?"

"I don't know, Kid. Maybe it's just a coincidence that he's here. Maybe he's not looking for us at all." He starts to look hopeful.

As he is speaking, Kyle's face lights up with a look of sudden recognition. He has spotted Heyes and Curry and approaches. Just as Heyes finishes speaking, Kyle slaps both boys on the shoulders, gives a loud whoop, and yells, "Ain't you guys a sight for sore eyes. I been lookin' all over town fur ya. Shoulda knew you'd be holed up here."

Heyes and Curry are obviously displeased that Kyle is making such a scene. They take a furtive look around the room to see how much attention they are getting, then each grab Kyle by the back of the collar and herd him toward a secluded table. They shove him, not gently, down into a chair and sit down on either side of him.

"Kyle, what are you doing here?" Curry scowls. "Are the rest of the boys with you?" Both Heyes and Curry glare at their hapless friend, whose smile has disappeared and been replaced by a hurt expression.

"Lom told me where I could find you," Kyle says defensively. "But I have to say, this ain't a very nice welcome yur givin' me, after I went to all this trouble and came all this way to see ya. You almost made me swallow my tabaccey."

"Well, we're sorry about that Kyle. We really are. It's just that you gave us quite a turn, showing up like this…" Heyes tries to placate him. "Are the rest of the boys here?" he repeats, while watching the door to the saloon, ready to head off another scene should Wheat and the boys stumble in off the street, hooting and hollering.

Kyle's frown deepens as he says, "Boys, I got somethin' terrible to show ya. Brace yurselfs." He reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a very wrinkled newspaper. He opens up the paper and spreads it out on the table, running his hands across it two or three times to straighten out the worst of the wrinkles. Emblazoned on the front page, it reads:

BANK ROBBERS CAUGHT
DEVIL'S HOLE GANG JAILED

Kyle looks expectantly at Heyes and Curry. They study the headline for several seconds, then look back at Kyle. After several seconds, he blurts, "Well, ain't ya gonna say anything? I came here to get you guys to help me bust Wheat and the others out of jail. If we get started right now, we can get to Rock Springs sometime tomorrow." He starts to rise from his chair but Curry stops him with a firm hand on his shoulder.

Heyes fixes his eyes on Kyle and smiles serenely. "Kyle, as much as we'd love to help, we can't just go riding into that town and break them out of jail. What do you think that would do to our chance for amnesty? Besides, we told you fellas back in Porterville it was time to go straight. Bank robbing is getting too tough these days. No, I'm afraid you're just going to have to figure this one out without us."

Curry nods. "How 'bout this? Why don't you try returning the money? Maybe if you was to give it back, the law would go easy on the boys. That's probably the best thing you can do anyway. "

"That's a good idea, Kid," Kyle exclaims, then pauses. "Except I cain't…"

"Why not?"

"Cuz I don't rightly know where the money is."

"Come on, Kyle," Heyes says. "Even you wouldn't forget where the money got stashed, would ya? And by the way, how come you got away when the rest of the boys were caught. Maybe you better tell us the whole story from the beginning."

"OK, Heyes. Well, it all started a couple of weeks ago. We had been hangin' around Rock Springs for a day or two, just trying to figure out what to do next. It was Wheat and me and Lobo and a couple of other fellas. We weren't doin' much of anything, mostly just playin' a little poker and havin' a little fun. But Wheat was workin' on a real good plan for a job." Kyle pauses in his story, looking confused like maybe he doesn't know what to say from here. After a pause to gather his thoughts, he continues, "Anyway, after the robbery, we lit out of town like the devil was chasin' us."

"More like a posse, I'd imagine," said Heyes.

"Rightly so. Well, the next day, we figured we had pretty much given them the slip so by nightfall, we had made camp and settled down for some shut-eye. It was just about that time when the posse rode in and got the drop on us."

"Oh, Kyle. Don't tell me you guys didn't even have a man stand watch!" Curry moans.

"Uh, well, yeah, o'course someone was supposed to be standin' watch. What do you take us for, complete fools?" Heyes and Curry exchange smirks. "Only thing was, the man who was supposed to be watchin' had to take a little break…ya know what I mean?" Kyle asks sheepishly.

"Kyle…you don't mean…you stepped away from your watch, didn't ya?"

"It was only for a minute, Kid. I weren't gone more than a little bit and by that time, it was too late. I hid in the bushes and watched them truss up the boys and take 'em back to town." Kyle looks contrite. Then his face brightens, "But I followed 'em back into town and managed to sneak over and talk to Wheat through the window a couple of nights ago. That's when he told me to come find you guys. He figured you'd be more than happy to come help get them out, 'specially since him and me was willing to do the same for you, Kid."

"But, Kyle," Heyes begins, "that was different. You boys weren't looking for amnesty then and, besides, turned out that the Kid didn't need your help after all."

"Wheat also figured you might say somethin' like that, Heyes." Kyle does his best to look defiant. "So he told me to remind you that it wouldn't be hard for him to give the law a decent description of you two. One good enough to draw up one of those pictures they use on wanted posters." As he says this last bit, he seems to shrink in his chair, all defiance gone, waiting for the angry reaction he is sure is coming.

"Kyle." Curry leans toward him and gives him a warning look, his eyes narrow. Kyle shrinks even further. To Heyes, Curry says, "You don't think Wheat would sell us out, do you, Heyes?"

"Nooo! Wheat wouldn't do that. I mean, we've had our problems in the past but Wheat is basically a loyal guy." Heyes looks a little doubtful, "He wouldn't, would he, Kid?"

Heyes and Curry look at each other, then at Kyle, both of them look ready to pounce on their poor friend. Kyle shrugs his shoulders in reply, not wanting to antagonize the two outlaws any further. "All I know is what Wheat told me to say," he says meekly.

"Well, I think he's bluffing," Curry declares.

"Me too," Heyes agrees.

The two look at each other for another long moment. Coming to the realization that they can't take the chance, Heyes sighs. "Kid, you go get the horses. I'll settle up at the hotel."

"Right."

Heyes and Curry get up in resignation to leave the bar. Kyle, finally realizing he has convinced them to go with him, gets up a few seconds later, hitches up his pants, and follows.


* * * * *

"Sorry, Kyle. If you go back into town now, there's a good chance that someone is going to remember you. You said yourself that you and the boys had been hanging around town for a couple of days before the bank robbery. You're going to have to stay here holed up until we figure out what we're gonna do."

"But, Heyes, I don't see why I have to stay here all by myself. Why don't you and the Kid stay too?"

They are standing in front of an obviously abandoned farmhouse about a mile out of Rock Springs. The front door is hanging off one of its hinges and the two windows facing the road are broken out.

"Now, Kyle, you know that we would if we could," Heyes lays his arm around Kyle's shoulder, "really we would…but we need to be in town so we can size up the situation. If we're going to help Wheat, we're going to need to come up with a plan and we can't do that from out here. You understand, don't you?"

"No, sir, Heyes, I don't rightly understand. I thought we was just gonna get ourselves some nice dynamite and blow them out of jail. Simple as pie."

"Kyle, I've told you before, this kind of thing takes finesse. I thought I taught you better than that. Didn't you learn anything in all the time you were riding with me? No, this is going to take a lot of thinking and I think a lot clearer if I'm sleeping in a nice clean hotel room." As Heyes is talking, the three of them are headed back to where the horses are tethered. "And don't you worry, we'll be back out here as quick as we can and bring you some more food, if we remember." With a final pat on Kyle's back, Heyes turns to get on his horse.

"What am I supposed to do until you get back? I ain't even got a deck of cards."

"You might try remembering where you boys stashed the loot from the robbery," Curry smirks.

"And you still have that newspaper, don't you? You can read that," Heyes adds, with a wickedly mischievous smile, knowing full well that Kyle can't read. "But, Kyle, under no circumstances are you to come into town, understand?"

Kyle nods forlornly as Heyes and Curry urge their horses towards the road. He raises his hand in a half-hearted farewell and watches them ride away. "I still think all's we need is a little good dynamite," he shouts after them.


* * * * *

"So, Heyes, do you have a plan yet? How are we gonna get those numbskulls out of jail without risking our amnesty?"

"I'm not sure we can, Kid. Anyway, they got themselves in this mess, maybe we should just let them get themselves out of it."

"Heyes, as much as I'd like to do that, we can't just sit back and let them go to prison. Besides, how can we be sure Wheat is bluffing?"

"I'm just gonna have to go talk to him, that's all."

They are just passing the city limit sign on the way into Rock Springs. "Just how do you plan on doing that, Heyes? We can't just waltz into the sheriff's office and ask to speak to the bank robbers. What if someone recognizes us?"

"I got an idea about that, Kid. One thing I do know is that we shouldn't be seen together until after this is all over. I have a feeling that the success or failure of our plan will depend on our seeming like we don't know each other. Why don't you ride on ahead a bit and get situated at the hotel. I'll go see if I can talk to Wheat while you nose around and see what you can learn about the robbery. But don't draw too much attention to yourself. We'll meet tonight with Kyle to talk over what to do next."

"Suits me fine, Heyes. I just hope you know what you're doing. You could be getting yourself in a mess of trouble and I won't be there to pull your fat out of the fire."

"Kid, haven't I told you before…you gotta have faith," Heyes smiles disarmingly.

"You just be careful, Heyes. Don't do nothing stupid," Curry says as he urges his horse forward, leaving his partner behind.

"Faith, Kid, faith!"


* * * * *

The sheriff and his deputy are sitting guard over the prisoners at their desks. Wheat and Lobo are in one cell and the other two members of the gang are in the second cell. They are playing cards through the bars of their cells.

The door to the office opens and Heyes enters, dressed in his brown suit and hat, disguised with a false mustache and a pair of wire-rimmed glasses. The sheriff stands up to greet the newcomer, looking him over from head to toe, suspiciously, as lawmen are prone to do. Wheat glances up from his hand momentarily to see who has entered, looks away, and then does a wide-eyed double-take as he realizes who just walked in the office. The card game grinds to a halt as the other prisoners take in Wheat's reaction.

Heyes, after a quick glance toward the cells, walks over to the sheriff, extending his hand, "Afternoon, sheriff."

The sheriff nods but says nothing and doesn't offer his hand.

"My name is Chester P. Thornton, attorney at law." Heyes is still extending his hand, expectantly.

Finally, the sheriff returns the handshake, coolly, without a smile. "I've been retained to represent your prisoners here."

At last, the sheriff speaks. "Sheriff Oakes. This here is my deputy, Joe Hanks. I don't believe I've ever heard of you. Are you new in town?" The sheriff appears to be about fifty years old with hair streaked with gray, but still physically trim and athletic looking. He is not a man to be taken lightly. The deputy is hardly more than a boy, with baby-faced features and an innocent expression.

"No, Sir. My offices are in Rawlins. I was hired by a friend of one of the accused, who, I might add, are wrongly imprisoned on these charges."

The sheriff smirks. "We got these boys dead to rights. I don't think even a fancy, big-city lawyer like yerself is going to be any help to them now."

"So there are witnesses who saw them rob the bank?"

"No. No witnesses. But we have several people who are willing to testify that these low-down outlaws were in town before the robbery and made no secret of who they were."

"Circumstantial evidence, Sheriff. Won't stand up in court. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like a chance to speak to my clients," Heyes says authoritatively.

"Suit yourself. But I'm going to have to search you first."

After the search is over, the deputy escorts Heyes into Wheat's cell and locks the door behind him. Heyes winces ever so slightly as the door slams closed behind him. Once the lawman returns to the front office and is out of earshot, Wheat jumps up and starts toward Heyes, looking like he might be going to hug him but drawing back at the last second. Instead he slaps Heyes on the shoulder, nearly knocking the smaller man off his feet. "Heyes, ain't you a sight! Where in tarnation did you get that piece of horsehair laying across your lip? You better hope that sheriff's eyes ain't too good. I could see through that disguise a mile away," Wheat snickers.

"Wheat, I'll have you know…never mind the disguise. It was good enough to get me in here."

"Anyways, me and the boys are just happy to see you, ain't we fellas?" Nods all around. "We knew you and the Kid would show up as soon as you found out we were in trouble. What's your plan?"

Ignoring Wheat's last question, Heyes replies, angrily, "You didn't give us much choice, did you Wheat? When were you planning to give the sheriff that description of us? Or have you already done it? I oughta wring your neck myself for even thinking something like that!"

"Now, don't get proddy, Heyes. You know I wouldn't turn on you like that. I just needed some way to get you here…Worked like a charm, didn't it? What's your plan?" Wheat looks very satisfied with himself and not a bit worried about Heyes' anger.

"I should just get up and leave you here, that's what I should do. What were you boys thinking? If you're going to rob the local bank, you don't just hang around town for days letting the townsfolk get a good look at you beforehand."

"Uh…it didn't happen quite that way, Heyes…" Lobo says.

"I don't care how it happened. If the Kid and I help you break out of here, there's a good chance someone like that sheriff out there will figure out who we are and once that happens we can kiss our amnesties goodbye. Maybe you should just consider giving the loot back. Maybe then the judge will go easy on you and you won't have to do too much time."

"Heyes, we can't do that."

"For gosh sakes, why not? It ain't gonna do you much good if you're locked up, is it?"

"Let's just say we don't exactly have the money." Wheat looks sheepish. "I 'spect I'm gonna have to tell ya eventually…we didn't exactly rob the bank."

"Oh, come on now, Wheat! Are you trying to tell me it was a coincidence that the bank was robbed while you boys just happened to be in town? You don't really expect me to believe that, do you?"

"That's exactly what it was, Heyes, an unfortunate coincidence…not that the thought hadn't crossed our minds, mind ya, but before we could formulate a plan, some other rascal beat us to it."

Heyes looks at Wheat skeptically, "So why did you run if you were innocent?"

"We didn't have a choice, Heyes! A couple of these boys…" Wheat looks pointedly at the two outlaws peering through the bars from the other cell, "don't know enough to keep their mouths shut once they get a little liquor in them. They let it slip that we're part of the notorious Devil's Hole Gang to some of the gals over there at the saloon. After the bank was hit, it was only a matter of time before the law would be looking our way so we set out quick as lightning."

"Wheat, that's about the lamest story I've heard yet. You couldn't even get your own gramma to believe that."

"It's true, Heyes, honest!" Lobo pipes up.

"OK. Let's just say I was to believe you…who do you think robbed the bank then?"

With furrowed brow, Wheat responds, "I ain't rightly got that figured, just yet. But I'm working on it and you can bet I'll have it worked out soon."

"Glad to know that, Wheat! Then you won't be needing me and the Kid's help, after all. Once you get it figured, you can just tell the law and they'll be more than happy to let you outta here!" Heyes says, with more than a touch of sarcasm.

The sarcasm is lost on Lobo who replies, "You know that law ain't gonna turn us loose even when Wheat figures out who the real robbers are. We all got sizable rewards on our heads. No sir, we'll be in jail for a long time unless you and the Kid help us escape."

Heyes looks around at the four men staring at him expectantly and sighs. "Before I agree to help you, I'm gonna have to talk it over with the Kid. You boys sit tight here and I'll be back tomorrow."

Wheat snorts derisively, "Well, we was planning on dinner at the mayor's place tonight, but if you want us to sit tight, then we'll sit tight."

With a tight-lipped smile, Heyes rises from his seat on the cot, stares Wheat down and calls for the deputy to let him out. "Now remember, keep your mouths shut and don't say anything to anyone until I say so."

The deputy opens the cell door for Heyes, all the while studying his face intently. Heyes is mildly uncomfortable with the scrutiny and self-consciously reaches up to finger his mustache to make sure it is still in its proper place. "You tell the sheriff I'll be back tomorrow to speak to my clients." Then he leaves the office, doffing his hat to the sheriff on the way out.

The deputy returns to his desk. "You know, Sheriff, there's something mighty familiar about that lawyer. I could swear I've seen him some place before but I can't quite put my finger on it."

"Ummm…" the sheriff replies distractedly.

"Yessir…something mighty familiar."


* * * * *

At nightfall, as planned, Heyes and Curry return to the old farmhouse where they left Kyle earlier in the day. Curry is just tying up his horse as Heyes rides up. They greet each other casually before entering the house, which is illuminated by a couple of kerosene lamps. Kyle is dozing in a rickety chair with his feet up on the equally rickety table.

Heyes and Curry look at each other, grinning wickedly. Stealthily they approach Kyle, and Curry shouts, "Get yur hands up, ya lousy outlaw."

Kyle jolts awake, jumps to his feet while throwing his hands up in the air, and whirls around, just in time to see Heyes and Curry in the throes of delighted laughter.

Once Kyle is able to speak, he says sulkily, "You guys are just lucky I didn't go for my gun. I coulda shot you for pulling a stunt like that. I been working on my fast-draw, ya know. Getting' purty good, too!" Trying to regain his dignity, Kyle draws a deep breath and puffs his chest out.

Heyes and Curry try to stifle their laughter. Heyes manages to nod solemnly at Kyle and Curry says, "You're right, Kyle. That was a fool thing to do. I wouldn't want you drawing on me."

This brings more ill-concealed snickers from Heyes, which Kyle gamely tries to ignore.

"Here, to make it up to ya, I brought you these." Curry holds out some sacks. "It's some dried beans and the like, to hold you over out here."

Kyle shoots Heyes a haughty look and says to Curry, "Thanks, Kid. You're a real friend."

Finally suppressing his giggles, Heyes looks contritely at Kyle, "Oh, now…don't get your dander up, Kyle. We was only having a little fun with you. No harm done, right? And we came back out here to see you just like I promised this morning. You should be happy to see us. And we should be more'n a little mad at you for not telling us that you boys didn't really rob that bank after all."

"What? Whaddya mean they didn't rob the bank? They let themselves get locked up for a bank robbery they didn't even do? Well, if that don't beat all!"

"That's right. These geniuses didn't rob that bank, someone else did. And whoever it was is smart enough to know the Devil's Hole Gang would be blamed. Probably figure to get off scot-free while Wheat and the others take the fall."

"Yeah, it's true we didn't do the bank job, Kid, and I woulda told ya, 'cept Wheat said I shouldn't."

"Now we got no choice but to help them escape, Heyes! I mean, we can't sit back and let them be sent to prison for something they didn't do. Can we?"

"No, I reckon we can't. But it would be a lot easier if they had done it. At least then we could make 'em return the money in case the law somehow connects Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes to their escape. If that happens, we can kiss our amnesties goodbye. We're going to have to think this through before we go in there and git 'em."

Kyle looks disappointed, "No dynamite?"

"No dynamite…at least not yet."

"So do you have a plan yet, Heyes?" Curry asks.

"Not yet, Kid…but it would sure be nice if we could find out who actually got the money. If we don't, we're going to have to come up with it ourselves to protect our amnesty. Just exactly how much did the robbers get away with, Kyle?"

"Right around $22,000."

Curry whistled softly between his teeth. "$22,000. Where we gonna find that kind of money quick enough to do any good? Do you think you can win that much at the poker tables in town, Heyes?"

"It's possible, Kid. But it'll be tricky. If the sheriff or his deputy see me in the saloon playing poker, they might connect me to good old Chester P. Thornton, attorney at law."

"Huh?"

"I'll explain later on our way back into town, Kid. Let's get going. I have a lot of thinking to do before tomorrow and we need to get some rest."

On their way back to town, Heyes and Curry are discussing the day's events. "So, you see Kid, as long as I'm disguised as their lawyer, I can walk into the sheriff's office anytime I feel like without worrying about a thing. Those two lawmen didn't suspect a thing," Heyes says with a smug chuckle. "It's perfect."

"And you're sure they won't recognize you?"

"I'm sure of it. Oh, the sheriff looks like a pretty smart fellow but there wasn't even a flicker of suspicion in his face when I was talking to him. You know how good I am at reading people…And that deputy can't be more than seventeen or eighteen years old. Still wet behind the ears. Probably hasn't even heard of Hannibal Heyes. No, this plan is foolpr--. Uh…what I meant to say is, they don't suspect a thing."

"Still, it makes me nervous when things seem to be going too smoothly, especially when lawmen are involved. You watch yourself, Heyes, and if there's any sign of trouble, you get yourself out of there. I would feel a lot better if I was there watching your back. What's our next step?"

"Well, I figure we have about 5 days until the trial is set to start so we have to work fairly quickly. I'll go back and talk to Wheat again tomorrow and then we need to see about getting the $22,000 back, one way or the other. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to see how much we can win back at the tables. Once we've got the money, we'll work on getting them out of jail. By the way, you haven't told me what you did all day while I was working my magic over at the sheriff's."

"Oh, yeah. Well, I was checking out the town a little bit. Had a bite to eat at the café and then spent most of the afternoon at the casino. They have a right nice gambling hall in Rock Springs. Lots of games of chance and some pretty nice saloon girls too," Curry says with a smile. "Picked up a few dollars at the blackjack tables while I was there."

"Glad to see you were using your time wisely, Kid," Heyes says with just a hint of sarcasm.

"Hold on, now. I was doing some research too. Talked to a few people who verified that the Devil's Hole Gang were in town before the bank robbery, shootin' off their mouths about who they were. I'm surprised the sheriff didn't get wind of it and run 'em in before the job was even pulled."

"These…people, they didn't happen to be those saloon girls you were mentioning, were they? Mixing business with pleasure again, Kid?"

"As long as I get the job done, what's the harm?"

"No harm. Just remember what we're in town to do. Don't let yourself get too distracted by a pretty face."

"Heyes, I'm hurt. You know me better than that!"

"Uh, huh. Did you learn anything else?"

"Not much yet…but don't worry. I plan to do some more research tomorrow," Curry smiles wickedly.

"Uh, huh."


* * * * *

Next morning, at the sheriff's office, the deputy is waiting anxiously for Oakes to arrive. As soon as the door opens, Hanks jumps up from his chair, in a state of high agitation. "Sheriff, I'm sure glad you're here. I got something real important to show ya!"

"Simmer down, Joe. It's too early in the morning to get all het up about anything unless it's mighty important. Is the coffee hot?"

"Yessir, Sheriff, it is. But I think you really ought to take a look at this!" Hanks has a sheet of paper clutched tightly in his hand.

"Gimme a minute, would ya?" The sheriff gets his coffee while Joe waits impatiently. Finally, he settles himself behind his desk. "OK, Joe. What's got you so riled this morning?"

Joe hands Sheriff Oakes the piece of paper he is holding. The sheriff takes several seconds to look it over, perplexed. "This is a wanted poster for Hannibal Heyes. What about it?"

"Do you remember that I said that lawyer looked awful familiar to me? Well, it was eating at me all night so I came in early this morning and found this."

"I don't follow you, Joe. What does Hannibal Heyes have to do with Thornton?"

"Thornton is Hannibal Heyes!"

"That's just plumb ridiculous, Joe! Even Hannibal Heyes wouldn't be nervey enough to walk in here acting like a law-abiding citizen, let alone a lawyer! No, you must be mistaken."

"Nossir! I'm positive it's him! I've seen Hannibal Heyes in person myself and, let me tell you, I will never forget his face. He fooled me for a while with that disguise, but it's him alright. I'd stake my life on it."

"You've met Hannibal Heyes?"

"My ma and me were passengers on a train he and his boys robbed a few years ago. Heyes himself escorted me and a bunch of the other passengers off the train. That outlaw looked me right in the eye and smiled nice as you please. Even helped my ma down the steps. Right polite fellow, if you want to know the truth."

"If that's so, how come he didn't recognize you yesterday?"

"Like I said, this was a few years ago. I was probably only about fourteen years old. I've grown a considerable amount since then. Anyway, as many trains as he robbed, it's not likely he would remember one young kid."

Sheriff Oakes' eyes widen in the realization that, if what his deputy says is true, he let a notorious outlaw walk right into and then out of one of his cells. "I don't know if you're right or not, Joe, but I'll tell you one thing…I'm not gonna take any chances. When that fellow shows up here, once that cell door swings shut, I'll know the truth before it swings back open. Until then, we need to act natural so those outlaws back there don't get the idea that we might be onto them."

"Yessir, Sheriff."

The clock on the wall ticks off a couple of hours as the two lawmen wait anxiously, all the while trying to appear nonchalant. Their efforts are mostly wasted because Wheat and the boys are oblivious to any change in the atmosphere of the office. At ten o'clock, the front door opens and Heyes, dressed in his Chester P. Thornton, attorney at law, disguise enters the office, smiling broadly as though he doesn't have a care in the world.

"Morning, Sheriff…Deputy. I'm here to visit your prisoners again."

The sheriff breathes a sigh of relief, his worry that he had let Hannibal Heyes slip through his fingers gone. With a steady voice, he reminds the "lawyer" that they need to search him again. When the search is complete, the sheriff himself leads Heyes down the corridor to the cellblock. "Here's your lawyer, men," he calls to the prisoners, who have all risen to greet their visitor. They are all smiling broadly. The sheriff unlocks Wheat's cell door. No one notices the slight tremor in his hands that is betrayed by the louder-than-normal clinking of the keys on the key ring.

"Hello, boys. Good to see you again. The sheriff been treating you OK?" Heyes says as he enters the cell.

"Oh, yeah," Wheat snorts. "It's just like the Grand Hotel in here. Best jail-cell in Wyoming, I hear tell."

As the door slams shut, Heyes winces again and his intuition tells him that he may have made an error in judgment. This feeling is bolstered by what the sheriff says next. "Joe, come back here. I want you to take a good look at our friend." Heyes turns back toward the front of the cell just as Joe comes down the hallway. "Is this the man you remember? Look careful now, Joe. We don't want to be making any mistake about this."

Joe looks at Heyes for an uncomfortably long time. "Take off them glasses, would you Mr. Thornton, or should I say, Mr. Heyes? And while you're at it, that mustache looks mighty suspicious. I think you could lose that too."

"Oh, now, wait a min-," Heyes starts to protest.

"Do it! Now!" The sheriff insists. "We know who you are, so there's no use denying it. You ain't goin' anywhere for a long while, except to the Wyoming Territorial Prison, that is."

Heyes looks at Wheat accusingly, "What did you do, Wheat!"

To the man, Wheat and the rest have been watching the exchange between Heyes and the lawman with mouths hanging open in disbelief. Heyes' accusatory tone snaps Wheat out of his stupor. His eyes focus on the ex-leader of the Devil's Hole Gang and he retorts, "You don't really think I told them you were Hannibal Heyes, do ya? I got more sense than that, ya know."

Heyes rolls his eyes in exasperation, "Ya just did tell 'em, Wheat!" Turning back to the sheriff, he tries again. In his most persuasive voice, he says, "Sheriff, you're making a terrible mistake. My name is Thornton…If I was that notorious outlaw, Whatsisname, would I have waltzed in here like I own the place, not once but twice? No, that badman wouldn't let himself get caught this easy." Encouraged by the doubtful look on the sheriff's face, Heyes continues, "I can prove I'm not Hannibal Heyes. I have a good friend back in Porterville by the name of Lom Trevors. He's the sheriff there. He can verify who I am. All you have to do is send a telegraph and I'm sure he'll be more'n happy to ride on over here and clear this whole matter right up."

After a thoughtful pause, Oakes says, "I have an even better idea, Mr…Thornton. I have a friend, a Sheriff Fuller, up in Rawlins…you should know him if that's where your law offices are. I think I'll just send him a telegraph and inquire about you. Should get the information I need a lot quicker than havin' your friend, Trevors come all the way down here."

Heyes' smile fades as he realizes that his silver tongue hasn't managed to convince the sheriff. Slowly he turns away from Oakes and makes his way to one of the cots. Heavily, he sits down and stares at the floor. Lobo considers for a moment, then approaches Heyes, "Heyes, if yur gonna be staying for a while, I just want to say…that's my bed."

Slowly, Heyes' eyes rise to meet Lobo's. His gaze is menacing. He is in no mood to be trifled with. A look close to fear crosses Lobo's face. Slowly, he backs away from the ex-outlaw and finds a place on the last open cot in the cell.


* * * * *

Curry is in the gambling hall, enjoying the blackjack tables and the attentions of a beautiful saloon girl by the name of Rosie. She has jet-black hair and deep brown eyes. She is hanging on his arm as he plays cards. In front of him is a sizable pile of chips. His luck is good today. But that is about to change.

Suddenly, a cowboy bursts through the doors. He is shouting, "The sheriff just arrested Hannibal Heyes! He's got him locked up in his jail right now! Wahoo! Drinks all around!"

Excited conversations erupt throughout the casino. More men are coming in off the streets with the same story. Word has apparently spread like wildfire through the town. Curry grabs one unlucky soul by the arm to get more information. "What's going on?"

"What are ya, deaf? Hannibal Heyes has been captured. The deputy recognized him from a train robbery done when he was a boy. That's one lucky kid. He's gonna get the ten thousand dollar reward!" The man pulls his arm free and moves away from Curry as quickly as he can. There is something in the gambler's face that is vaguely menacing and he wants nothing more to do with the man.

In a panic, Curry looks around, unsure what his next move should be. His instincts tell him to rush to Heyes' aid, but good sense tells him to wait until he has a chance to think things through. Someone is likely to get killed if he acts hastily and it could be Heyes or one of the other fellows. He can't take that chance.

Rosie is studying him with concern, "Thaddeus, what's the matter, lover? You look like you just lost your best friend. Can I do anything to help, sugar?" She moves a step closer to Curry, trying to bring his attention back to her. He shrugs her off and drops back down into his chair. Almost imperceptively, his face hardens.

"If yur gonna sit there, fella, ya have to play." Curry's thoughts are interrupted by the dealer's gruff voice.

"Huh? Oh. Yeah, sorry." Curry picks up the chips on the table in front of him and walks away from the table. He goes to the bar and orders a whiskey. The barkeep sets him up with a glass and is about to walk away with the bottle. Curry quickly downs the shot and snaps, "Leave it!" slaps his money on the bar, and pours himself another.

Hesitantly, Rosie approaches Curry and gently touches his shoulder. "Whatsamatter, honey? Can I help? Maybe you want to go upstairs? We could…talk, or whatever?"

The Kid looks at Rosie, his blue eyes reflecting the anger and confusion boiling within him. "You're right, Rosie. We should talk. I need some information and you might be the perfect person to give it to me."

"Sure, lover. Whatever you want."

"Tell me what you know about the bank robbery and the men who are in jail."

"Well, what do you wanna know…the bank was robbed and those are the ones who robbed it."

"I heard there were no witnesses to the robbery. How did the posse know to look for those men?"

"Oh, that. Well, if the Devil's Hole Gang is in town and the bank is robbed, who do you think they'd go lookin' for?"

"You mean someone here in town recognized them as part of the gang and told the sheriff?"

"Not exactly. A couple of those fellows were shooting off their mouths a few days before the bank was blown. They bragged to some people that they rode with the Devil's Hole Gang. Pretty soon it was common knowledge, at least here in the casino."

"What about the sheriff?"

"Oh, I'm sure he knew. He keeps pretty close tabs on what happens over here."

"I imagine so. So then why do you think he didn't run 'em in before? Those men are wanted outlaws with rewards on their heads."

"Hard to say, sugar. Maybe he didn't see the need as long as they were behaving themselves and not getting into too much trouble." Rosie leans in close, conspiratorially, "Rumor has it, he's done that before."

"Before?"

She leans in even closer. "Not many people around here know but this whole operation is owned by a man who rode with the Jake Lawson gang for a while. Name's Cliff Davis."

"And the sheriff knows this? And he doesn't do anything about it?"

"Sure does. Course he didn't know from the start-but he's known for a while now."

"Maybe I need to have a talk with your boss."


* * * * *


_________________
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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3.2 This Cell Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us! by Leah Anders :: Comments

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Re: 3.2 This Cell Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us! by Leah Anders
Post on Fri 10 Apr 2015, 11:04 pm by royannahuggins

"Psstt! Mr. Heyes…Mr. Heyes!"

Heyes is sitting on his cot. He has been brooding silently for some time while the other prisoners have been keeping their distance. He is deep in his own thoughts until he is dragged back to the present by the insistent voice from the adjacent cell. Aware that he is being addressed, his eyes focus on the two men standing close to the bars. The older of the two gesture for him to approach.

"Mr. Heyes. I can't tell you what an honor it is to meet you," he gushes and extends his hand. "I can't believe I'm actually here in the same jail as you. I've admired your work for years."

"Me too, sir. Yur a legend."

"Oh…my name is Skeeter and this here's my partner, Cobb. Yep, me and Cobb, well, we see ourselves as a younger Heyes and Curry. I'm the brains, like you, and Cobb here, well, he's got a pretty fast draw, just like Kid Curry."

Heyes nods slightly, his mouth set in a hard line. "Uh, huh. That's real flattering, but let me ask you this…Are you looking to get yourself hanged or just put away for the rest of your miserable lives?"

"Huh?"

"If you know so much about me then you should know that the Kid and I more or less retired because the business is getting too hard. Take my advice, when we get out of here, you boys should do the same for your own good."

Wheat has been listening to their conversation and chimes in, "Now, boys. With all due respect to Mr. Heyes, there ain't no reason to get outta the outlaw business. Look at me and Lobo. We do alright."

"Yeah, Wheat. You're doing great. That's why we're enjoying these luxury accommodations right now."
"Wait a cotton-pickin' minute. You know this ain't our fault. We didn't do nuthin'."

Heyes' eyes flash with a sudden spark of anger. "Whose fault is it then? If you fellas had stayed out of trouble, I would never have had to come here to help and I wouldn't have landed in this cell with the likes of you." With some difficulty, he gets his emotions back under control. The only outward sign of his agitation that remains are his tightly clenched fists. "Ok, ok. There ain't no sense in arguing about it. Let's just try to figure some way out of this mess."

"Unless you got a gun hid someplace in your fancy lawyer duds, I don't see much we can do."

"Maybe not, but by now word should have reached the Kid that my cover was blown and he and Kyle will be working on getting us out."

"No offense to the Kid, Heyes, but those two boys working together don't inspire a lot of confidence. I don't know anybody better with a gun than the Kid, o'course, but it's gonna take more than a fast draw to outsmart this sheriff. And Kyle…well, let's just say he's stood a little too close to his dynamite blasts a few times too many."

Heyes bristles. "Say what you want about Kyle but don't sell the Kid short, Wheat. He's always come through for me when I need him and he will this time too."

"Ok, Heyes. Don't get yourself all worked up. I didn't mean anything."

At the sound of approaching footsteps, the outlaws fall silent. Sheriff Oakes appears in the cellblock. He is with another man, also wearing a tin star. "Well, Mr. Heyes. I hope you're enjoying your stay here with us." Heyes smiles sarcastically in return. "No? Well, don't worry. You ain't likely to be here too long. You're gonna be takin' a nice trip to the Territorial Prison soon. Maybe you'll like their hospitality a little better. In the meantime, I got someone here I think you'll be interested in meeting. This here is Sheriff Fuller from up in Rawlins. I sent him that telegram like I told you I would. Turns out there ain't a lawyer by the name of Thornton in the whole town. So I guess my deputy was right about you. Anyway, Sheriff Fuller here was so curious he decided to come up here and see the famous Hannibal Heyes for himself. Not every day a person gets to meet such a celebrated outlaw. He's gonna stick around long enough to help me get you and the rest of these boys up to the prison."

Heyes says nothing. The sheriffs slap each other on the back, gloating over their success and, laughing and talking loudly, retreat back to the front office. Once they are out of sight, Heyes lets loose a guttural cry of frustration and slams the palms of both hands against the bars of his cell. "Kid, you gotta get me out of here and fast," he mumbles quietly, almost prayerfully, so no one else can hear.


* * * * *

Kid Curry and Kyle are riding into town, deep in conversation. "Yeah, I 'member Cliff. He was with Jake and the rest when we run into them over in Granite Gulch. Not one of the regulars though. I think he only rode with 'em for a few months. Course if recollection serves me, they was a profitable few months. Those boys got away with a couple of real good heists, the way I heard it. Yep, those are the kind of jobs an outlaw just dreams about. If me and Wheat could pull off somethin' like what those boys-"

"Get back to the facts of the story, would you Kyle? We ain't got all day, ya know."

"Sorry, Kid. Anyways, the next time I saw Jake, Cliff weren't riding with 'em anymore." Kyle grins toothily and says, "Took his share of the money and retired, I 'spect."

"That explains how he bought the operation in Rock Springs, I guess," Curry muses out loud. "Maybe business hasn't been so good as he'd like, so when he spotted you boys in the saloon he decided to take advantage of the situation."

"You mean you think he robbed the bank and set us up to take the blame?"

"Course that's what I think, Kyle! Didn't I already explain that to you?"

"Sorry, Kid. Guess I wasn't listening…so what are we gonna do now? Have you got a plan?" Kyle looks at Curry expectantly. Momentarily, his expression changes to one of uncertainty. "I sure wish Wheat or Heyes were here. We could sure use one of their plans."

Curry snaps, "They aren't here, Kyle and it's up to us to help them, so we'll follow MY plan. I can come up with some pretty good ideas if I have to, ya know!"

"Sure, I know that, Kid. I didn't mean nothin'. So what's your plan?"

After a slight hesitation, Curry says, "Well, I got a little more thinkin' to do on that. But the first thing we're gonna do is pay your old friend, Cliff, a little visit."

Curry and Kyle arrive in town and, stopping in front of the casino, tie their horses to the hitching post. "What good's that gonna do, Kid? If he stole the money, he ain't likely to hand it over just cuz we ask nice. I think mebbe we should just get some dynamite and blow his safe. You know, sorta just help ourselves to it."

"Kyle, I don't want to hear you say the word dynamite one more time. There's other ways to handle this…ways that require a little more…finesse. Yeah, that's the word I'm looking for. Finesse. And if finesse don't work…" Curry’s fingers lightly brush against his gun holster. “I plan to do whatever it takes to get Heyes out. I don’t think it will take much to convince Cliff of that.”

Curry strides into the saloon. With a little hitch of his trousers, Kyle follows. The saloon and casino are mostly empty, just a few men scattered at the various tables and the bar. Rosie is there, chatting up a couple of the customers. She sees Curry enter and, smiling, she walks over to greet him.

"Hi, sugar. Glad you stopped in again."

"This ain't a social call, Rosie. We've got business with your boss. He in?"

"Cliff? Yeah, he's in his office. You want me to tell him you want to talk to him?"

"No thanks. I think we'll just announce ourselves."

Curry leads the way, slamming open the door to Cliff's office without bothering to knock. He is sitting behind a large mahogany desk. The office is decorated elegantly and expensively. The man himself, though richly dressed, is in sharp contrast to his sumptuous surroundings with his smarmy appearance and shifty, nervous movements.

Nevertheless, he smiles at his visitors exposing a set of snaggly, ill-shaped teeth. "Hey, if it isn't the one who got away, Kyle Murtry. I was wondering what happened to you when the posse brought the rest of your friends back to town. Figured you'd be long gone by now," he chuckles softly. "Who's this you brought with you? Your new "gang"?"

Kyle stares incredulously at Cliff, amazed that he doesn't recognize the infamous Kid Curry. "Why, this here is-"

The Kid cuts Kyle off, "Name's Jones. Kyle and I are here to find out what you know about the bank robbery," he says getting right to the point.

Cliff's eyes narrow, taking in the Kid's menacing stance and brusque attitude. "Same as everybody else, Devil Hole boys blew the safe and then let themselves get caught like a bunch of amateurs."

Curry leans over, placing both hands flat on Cliff's desk, bringing his face close. "I think you know more than that, Cliff. For instance, I think you know who really robbed the bank. I also think you know what happened to the stolen money. So why don't you start telling me the truth before I lose my temper."

Kyle moves in close behind the Kid. From the safety of this location, he attempts a stern expression, and says, "Yeah Cliff. Me and, uh…Mr. Jones here know that yur the one who stole the money, figuring the sheriff would suspect us."

Cliff looks surprised and bursts out laughing. "You think I robbed the bank? You must be joking! Why would I do anything to risk the setup I have here? This is the easiest way I know to make big money…and it's legal…mostly."

A shadow of doubt crosses Curry's face but he presses further. "Maybe business hasn't been as good as you claim. Could be that you needed that money to keep this place afloat."

"Lemme tell you somethin'. This place has been better'n a gold mine. The gamblers in this town have to be some of the worst in the state. It's been like takin' candy from a bunch of babies. Some of 'em even leave here crying." Cliff snorts laughter at his own joke. Curry doesn't even crack a smile in return. After a pause, Cliff continues in a conspiratorial tone, "Even better'n that, a few of the local bigwigs have been playin' on credit for a while, some of 'em losing big." Smiling smugly, he says, "I got some pretty important people right where I want them if I ever need a favor."

"Who are you talking about?"

"Well, this is confidential information, you understand…" Curry stands to his full height and slowly starts to remove his glove, one finger at a time, from his gun hand. Cliff watches for a moment, taking in the significance of this action, "but since we're all friends here…the mayor himself is into me for about two grand. But the big loser in town is the sheriff himself. He owes about ten thousand dollars."

"The sheriff?"

"Yep. Smart fellow, that sheriff, but the worst dang blackjack player I ever met," Cliff laughs.

"So the sheriff is up to his neck in gambling debts…very interesting." Curry mulls this over.

"Yep, very innerestin'," Kyle echoes. Brow furrowed, he asks, "Why is that so innerestin'?"

"Hmmm? Never mind, Kyle. I'll explain later." Curry's attention is focused on Cliff, who is squirming uncomfortably under the scrutiny of the Kid's cold-steel eyes. Oblivious to Curry's true identity, Cliff still recognizes that the man standing in front of him is not someone he should cross. As Cliff watches, the man he knows as Mr. Jones circles around his desk until he is standing right next to him.

Sweat breaks out on Cliff's forehead as he waits silently, wondering what the Kid will do next. After a tense moment, he raises his eyes to meet the other man's unblinking gaze. Suddenly, Curry's face breaks into a smile. "Cliff, my friend, I think I'm gonna let you help me get my buddies outta that jail."

"W-w-why would I want to do that?"

"Don't worry, all I need is a simple favor. Won't be much trouble to you at all. And besides, if you don't…I might have to shoot ya."


* * * * *

Back on the street, Kyle asks, "Kid, what just happened? Ain't we gonna make him give back the money so we can clear the gang?"

"No, Kyle. I don't believe Cliff had anything to do with the bank robbery. Like he said, why would he wanna risk what he's got going here? I got a new theory. I think the honorable Sheriff Oakes got himself in a mess of trouble with his gambling debts and when you fellows showed up in town running your mouths about who you are, he figured he found himself a way out. So he robs the bank himself. He arrests the Devil's Hole bunch and keeps the money hidden away. When things settle down and the boys are safely tucked away in jail, he pays off his losses and no one is the wiser."

"Kid, I gotta hand it to ya, I don't think Wheat or even Heyes coulda figured it out better'n that. Only problem is, how we gonna prove it? And how we gonna help Heyes and Wheat?"

"Well…hmmm…We gotta find the money, that's all. If we do that, we can maybe connect the sheriff to the robbery. And our new friend, Cliff is going to help us do that real soon."


* * * * *

The door to the sheriff's office opens and Rosie sashays in, carrying with her a sweet perfume that fills the room. Only the baby-faced deputy is present. He looks up, pleasantly surprised to see her. "Hi there, Joe. My, you look handsome today," she gushes.

Blushing sweetly, he replies, "Miss Rosie, it's nice to see you too. What can I do for you?"

"Cliff asked me to bring this note over for the sheriff. Can you see that he gets it?"

"I surely will. Anything for you, you know that."

"Aw, that's awful sweet." She lays her hand on his shoulder and flirtatiously traces her fingertip down his chest. "How come you never come over to see me and the other girls at the saloon, Joe? You know we'd love to see more of you."

Embarrassed, the young deputy stammers, "Well, you know. My ma doesn't like me to spend too much time in town after I get done at work."

"Ain't you just the cutest thing, worrying about your mama that way. You're gonna make some lucky girl a real nice husband some day."

Rosie looks appealingly up at Joe, "Sugar? I was wondering if I could ask you a big favor."

"What is it?"

"Well…I was hoping I could go back and see your prisoners…just for a quick peek?"

"Oh, I don't know about that. I don't think the sheriff-"

"Please, sugar…I ain't never met any famous outlaws before. Not one of the caliber of Hannibal Heyes anyways! Is it true that you identified him all by yourself? My, that is so clever of you. 'Specially since he was disguised and all."

"Aw, shucks. It weren't nuthin' really. I just have a good memory for faces, that's all." Thoroughly embarrassed by her flattery, Joe gives in. "I reckon it wouldn't hurt for you to have a look at 'im. Just don't get too close. He is a desperate outlaw, after all. No tellin' what he's capable of."

Joe starts down the hallway leading back to the cells, with Rosie close behind. As an afterthought, he turns and asks, "You ain't carrying any weapons, are you? Maybe I oughta search ya." He stares her up and down for a moment, unsure what he should do.

"Don't be silly, sugar. Where would I carry a weapon in this dress?"

Blushing, Joe quickly averts his eyes. "Yeah, I see what you mean," he mumbles before continuing on to the cellblock.

The five prisoners are still there as expected. Naturally, all five immediately turn their attention to their lovely lady visitor.

Hannibal Heyes is standing near the front of his cell, hands dangling through the bars when she enters. She needs to walk right past him to greet the other prisoners. As she passes, their eyes meet and hold a second longer than necessary. When she finally tears her eyes away from his, she acknowledges the others. "Hello, boys. Nice to see you all again. Too bad it's under such unhappy circumstances." The Devil's Hole members, including Wheat, grin somewhat goofily in return.

Wheat is the first to speak, "Ain't you a sight for these poor eyes, Rosie. Almost makes me forget my troubles. Almost, but not quite."

Indicating Heyes, Rosie asks Wheat, "Don't you want to introduce me to your friend here, sugar?"

"Huh, what? Oh, yeah." Reluctantly, Wheat gestures toward Heyes, "Rosie, this here is H-"

"Chester Thornton, attorney at law, at your service, ma'am. Through an unfortunate case of mistaken identity, I find myself imprisoned here with these common scofflaws. Your young deputy friend has confused me with that brilliant outlaw, Hannibal Heyes. I'm sure it will all be cleared up in no time, but until then, I am forced to bide my time here."

She studies his face for a minute. "Sure, honey. Whatever you say. But if you ask me, you don't look like a lawyer, not even dressed up in those fancy duds. No…there's more to you than meets the eye, I dare say." Suddenly, Rosie sways on her feet.

"What's the matter, Rosie?" Joe grabs the chair that is sitting against the far wall and brings it to her. She swoons gracefully and sits.

"I don't know. All of a sudden, I just feel so faint. Must be all the excitement. Can you be a dear and go get me a glass of water?"

"Uh…sure, I guess. Sit right here and don't go near the prisoners, hear?" As soon as Joe is out of sight, Rosie reaches into the bodice of her dress and pulls out a folded note. As the five men watch, wide-eyed, she pulls up the hem of her saloon-girl dress and retrieves a small handgun that has been tucked into her garter belt. Standing, she walks over to Heyes, glancing nervously in the direction Joe disappeared.

"Here. Take these. They're from Thaddeus. He told me to tell you that the gun is only for dire emergency. Hide it somewhere the sheriff won't find it. He's working on a plan to get you out of here."

Without a word, Heyes grabs the gun and the note from the girl. He stuffs the gun in the back of his waistband, concealing it under his suit coat. The note he puts in his pocket to read later. Quickly, Rosie returns to her chair, pretending to recover from her fainting spell as Joe returns with the glass of water.

"Thank you, sugar. I'm feeling so much better now. Would you mind showing me out?" Joe takes Rosie by the arm and gently leads her out. She is just going out the front door of the sheriff's office as Oakes enters. He tips his hat to her. "Ma'am."

"Sheriff."

Once the door closes behind her, Sheriff Oakes asks, "What was Rosie doing here, Joe?"

"She brought you a note from Cliff. It's there on the desk."

The sheriff looks at the white piece of paper suspiciously. "Uh…why don't you take a break for a while. Go out and get some coffee or something."

As soon as the door closes behind the deputy, Sheriff Oakes rips open the envelope containing the note from Cliff. His apprehension is betrayed by the slight tremor in his hands as he removes the single sheet of paper from within. He reads:

Dear Sheriff Oakes,

Due to some unforeseen financial complexities, I regret to inform you that I find it necessary to call in part of the debt you owe this establishment. Please deliver $5000 to me, personally, by 10am tomorrow morning.

Sincerely,
Cliff Davis


Angrily, the sheriff crumples the paper and throws it across the room.

Back in the cell, Lobo stands guard near the bars while Hannibal Heyes reads his own note:

We think we know who's behind the bank robbery, but you ain't gonna like it. If I'm right, it's the sheriff himself. All we have to do is prove it. And then get the money back so we can clear the boys. But don't worry about a thing. Kyle and me got it all figured out. We'll have you out of there in no time.

TJ

ps. Don't go and do anything stupid before we have a chance to get you out. That little present I sent you is only for emergency.


Wheat is reading over Heyes' shoulder. "Don't worry, he says? Heck with that. I say we use that gun right now. Let's blast our way out of here." In the other cell, Skeeter and Cobb are nodding in agreement.

"Wheat's right. Let's get outta here."

Heyes rolls his eyes in exasperation. "Wheat is not right. Everybody in town will be coming down our necks if we so much as wave that gun in the air. Besides, if we make a break for it now, you'll all still be wanted for this bank robbery and Kid and I will be wanted for helping you escape. No, we need to give them two a chance to carry out their plan, whatever it is."

"Since when do you call the shots here, Heyes? I been the leader of this here gang ever since you and Kid decided to go for amnesty. You think you can just waltz back in here and take over?" Wheat draws himself up to his full height as if to intimidate the ex-leader of the outlaw gang.

Heyes does not back away from the challenge Wheat is making. He is shorter and slimmer than the current leader of the gang but there is no sign of fear or nervousness in his dark brown eyes. Instead, his eyes flash with barely controlled anger. He takes one step toward Wheat, daring him to speak again. Wheat nervously thrusts out his lower jaw in one final attempt at defiance but can not maintain eye contact. Heyes' eyes narrow as he tries to bring his emotions back under control. At last he speaks, his voice reasonable and placating. "Wheat, I'm not trying to take over. I'm just saying that it might be smarter and safer for everyone if we just be a little patient. I'm sure that whatever the Kid has planned won't take more'n a day or two. We can give them that much time, can't we?"

The other outlaws have been watching the exchange between Heyes and Wheat. Wheat glances at Lobo, Skeeter, and Cobb each in turn. "Uh, well, as long as we understand each other…I suppose it wouldn't hurt nuthin' to wait and see what they've cooked up. You know how sensitive Kyle is. He'd probably feel pretty bad if we showed we didn't need his help."

"Good idea. Now let's all just try to relax a little. Why don't you play some cards or something?"


* * * * *

Night has fallen on the town of Rock Springs. The street outside the sheriff's office is quiet. Sheriff Oakes rides his horse down the middle of the road, headed toward home. As he passes out of sight, another rider appears going the same way. In the darkness, the familiar outline of Kid Curry is barely visible as he follows the sheriff out of town, keeping a safe distance behind. He does not want to be spotted.

On the outskirts of Rock Springs sits the tidy, white-washed home of Sheriff Oakes. As the sheriff reaches the road that leads to his front door, he brings his horse to a halt. He sits quietly, as though listening, then glances in all directions, as if looking to see if there is anyone who might be observing him. Satisfied that he is alone, he urges his horse on; not toward home, but further down the road he was traveling. From the shadows, the dim figure of Kid Curry emerges.

A narrow, less-traveled road runs behind the sheriff's home and this is the one he turns onto. After riding a minute or so, he pulls his horse up and dismounts.

Hidden by a clump of trees, Kid Curry watches the sheriff with growing interest, hoping that forcing Cliff to write that note is about to pay off. As he watches, the sheriff disappears from sight momentarily. Then, just as suddenly, he reappears. From where Curry is hiding, he can just barely see that Oakes is clutching something in his hands. With another furtive glance, he shoves the mysterious item inside his shirt. Then he gets back on his horse and heads toward home.

After the sheriff leaves, Curry goes to investigate the spot where the sheriff had stood. Looking around the area, he sees a large rock. On a hunch, he rolls it away. "Gotcha!" Beneath the rock is hidden a canvas bag. Looking inside, he sees stacks of currency. After replacing the bag, he rolls the rock back into place. He picks up another, smaller rock; this one with a sharp, jagged edge. Bending over, he etches a mark into the larger rock hiding the cache of bills. Then, silently, he mounts his horse and rides away.


* * * * *

Early the following morning, Curry and Kyle are in the saloon, sitting at a secluded table far from the entrance. Kyle's back is toward the door. Both men have their hats pulled low over their foreheads. They are waiting for the sheriff to arrive at the appointed hour for his meeting with Cliff.

Cliff and Rosie are the only other people in the place. It is almost ten o'clock and Cliff looks ready to jump out of his skin. He's pacing the floor like a caged mountain lion.

"Calm down, would ya? You're making me nervous just watching you," Curry grumbles.

"Calm down? Calm down? Are you kidding me? We're set to implicate the sheriff in a bank robbery and you want me to calm down? I'll be lucky if I don't end up in jail with the rest of them by the time this is done!"

Rosie is sitting on a stool near the bar, lazily swinging one shapely leg. "Don't be silly, Cliff. You heard what Thaddeus told you. He has Sheriff Oakes dead to rights. But you gotta relax or he will suspect something is going on. Here, have a shot of whiskey."

In one gulp, he downs the shot she holds out to him. As he shakily sets the glass back on the bar, the door swings open and Sheriff Oakes storms in. Under his arm, he carries a brown envelope tied with string. In his foul mood, he doesn't appear to notice the two men in the corner of the room.

"Sheriff! Good to see you. Glad you could stop by." The words flood out of Cliff, his voice slightly higher than normal.

"Don't see as how you gave me much choice." The sheriff's voice is menacing, his eyes seem to bore holes through Cliff's skull. "Next time you need to call in part of my debt, you had better give me a lot more warning. You're just lucky I was able to scrape that much together. I don't like being pressured."

"But you have the five grand? Good, good. May I?" Cliff holds his hand out for the envelope. He quickly unties it and counts the contents. "All here! Now we'll just sign the receipt and you can be on your way. Don't want to take up any more of your valuable time."

"Receipt?"

"Surely you'll want a receipt? To protect yourself and to show proof that you paid up part of your debt." Cliff reaches for two sheets of paper that are close at hand on the bar. "Two copies…one for you and one for the house. We each sign both copies and Rosie signs too…as a witness."

"I guess that makes sense. Let's just get it done. I got a lot of work to do today."

"No problem, Sheriff. Two shakes and we're done." Cliff hands Oakes one copy of the receipt and puts the other in his pockets. With one more venomous look, Oakes storms out.

With the sheriff gone, Cliff slumps against the bar and expels a huge lungful of air. Curry walks over and slaps Cliff on the back. He laughs, "Great work, gentlemen…and lady. The trap has been set and Oakes is about to be snared. Rosie, you ready to go to work?"

"Um-hmm, sugar. Our sweet, young Joe ain't gonna know what hit him by the time I'm through." She smiles in a way that is somehow demure yet wicked simultaneously.

"Be gentle, Rosie. Don't hurt him." Curry laughs again as he watches her leave in a swirl of red satin.

"OK, Cliff. All you have to do now is slip that note I gave you under Sheriff Fuller's hotel room door at the right time. Can ya do that?"

"Course I can. Waddaya take me for anyway?"

Curry chooses not to answer. Instead he turns to Kyle. "Alright, Kyle, this is it. Time to go get Heyes and Wheat.


* * * * *

On the street, about a half a block from the sheriff's office, Rosie is waiting. At last she spies her prey. Deputy Joe Hanks is making his way toward the office for another day of work, catching badmen. He tips his hat at Rosie without stopping. She steps in front of him at the last second, forcing him to halt.

"Rosie," he greets her.

"Hi there, honey. I was hoping to find you."

"Somethin' I can do for you, Miss Rosie? Otherwise, I gotta get on to work."

"Well, that's exactly why I was looking for you, sugar. I want to report a robbery."

"A robbery?"

""Uh-huh. I think someone's been stealing from me. Can you come up to my room. I need to show you my evidence." She smiles sweetly up at Joe, batting her lashes ever so slightly.

"Your room? Uh, I don't think that's a very good idea. Maybe you should talk to the sheriff."

"I would," she moves in close and brushes an imaginary dust mote from his shoulder, "but I feel so much more comfortable with you, Joe. Please?"

"I really don't think it's proper for…" the deputy's protests are ignored as Rosie links her arm through his and propels him up the street away from the safety of the sheriff's office.

Kyle and the Kid have moved to a bench across the street from Oakes' office. They are pretending to doze under hats pulled low. Once Rosie and Hanks are out of sight, the two men sit up straight, ready for action. "OK. This is it," Curry says. "This might get a little dangerous. Are you up for it, Kyle?"

"Course I am, Kid. This is our only chance to save those boys from goin' to prison. Besides, I'm not scared. This is a great plan we worked up…ain't it?"

"Yeah, sure it is. Anyway, it's the only one we got."


* * * * *

With Deputy Hanks otherwise occupied, Sheriff Oakes is alone in his office with only the prisoners for company. He is uncommonly surly from his earlier business at the casino. The prisoners are restless after having been confined for such a long time. "Quiet down back there, ya no-good desperados."

When the door swings open, the sheriff, scowling fiercely, growls, "Yur late!" before realizing that it's not Deputy Hanks who has entered.

"How can I be late? I just got here," Kyle quips.

"Huh? Never mind. I thought you were…" the sheriff stops in mid-sentence as recognition takes hold. They both know that he recognizes Kyle as a Devil's Hole boy, but they both pretend not to know.

"Uh…yeah. I want to visit your prisoner. That there is my brother. I just heard that you had him locked up. I came quick as I could."

In the cells, all five men are staring at Kyle in disbelief. Heyes has a half-smile on his face as though he might already be in on the joke. Wheat and Lobo are stock-still, with furrowed brows, mightily working to process the situation. Skeeter and Cobb mostly just look confused.

The sheriff, playing along, smiles broadly at Kyle. "Your brother, eh? Well, sure you can see him. Course you'll have to leave your hardware with me. That's not a problem, is it?"

Kyle hands his gun to Oakes who keeps it in his hand. Then they walk together to the cellblock. When the two are within reach of the cell holding Heyes, Wheat, and Lobo the sheriff raises the gun and points the barrel at Kyle, pulling back the hammer. "Did you really think you could just waltz in here and fool me with that baloney story, Murtry? I had you pegged the minute you stepped in. You're a bigger fool than I gave you credit for."

The sheriff's attention is focused entirely on Kyle, who is, oddly enough, grinning in his typical fashion. His lack of concern confuses the sheriff, who suddenly realizes he might have made an error in judgment. Quickly he swings around to survey the room. His worst fears are confirmed. Standing not ten paces away from him is another man. This one looks much more formidable than Kyle Murtry. The Kid has his gun drawn and pointed squarely at the sheriff's chest. In an attempt to regain control, the sheriff says, "I guess we got ourselves a little standoff here, now don't we, Mr….?"

"Now you just never mind who I am. I think I'll keep that piece of information to myself. As for a standoff, it might appear that way to the average bystander. But I have a little bit of information that the average person doesn't have."

"Yeah? What's that?" The sheriff asks, eyes narrowed.

"Wellll…ya see, before I sent Kyle in here I made sure for myself that his gun was empty. Not a bullet in it. But this here gun, I keep this one loaded all the time. After all, in my business, you just never know when you might be needing to shoot somebody, understand?"

The sheriff, visibly shaken, swallows hard.

"Kyle, why don't you get the keys from the sheriff now and let our friends out of those tiny little cells. They must be feeling pretty cramped up by now."

"My pleasure, K-," Kyle barely stops himself from calling the Kid by name. In his cell, Heyes rolls his eyes in amused exasperation. Kyle opens their cell first. The three former prisoners hurry out with poorly hidden glee. Wheat throws his arms around Kyle for a quick embrace.

While Kyle releases the other two outlaws from their cage, Heyes retrieves Kyle's gun from Oakes and, with obvious pleasure, shoves the sheriff toward the cell he so recently vacated. Curry whistles for his partner's attention and tosses him a bandana and some rope. "Make sure you tie him up nice and tight. We don't want him making too much noise before we get on our way."

"My pleasure, friend. I'm gonna enjoy trussing this one up. We better hurry up though. The deputy will probably show up any time."

"I don't think we have to worry about the deputy for a while. I think he's gonna be tied up for a little longer himself," Curry laughs. Heyes shots him a bewildered look, then gets back to the job of securing the sheriff.

"OK, let's get out of here. Quiet everyone. There's horses in the alley. Let's try not to attract attention from any of the town folk."


* * * * *

Sheriff Fuller of Rawlins opens his hotel room door. On the floor, just inside the doorframe, is a note. He bends to pick it up and reads:

Sheriff Fuller:

We know who really robbed the bank in this town. The money is hidden on the road that runs behind Oakes house. Look for a large oak tree about 100 yards off the main road. Under this tree, you'll find a rock with the sign of a tepee scratched into it. This is where most of the money is hidden. To get the rest of it and to find out who stole it, go talk to Cliff at the casino. He has signed proof of who stole the money.

Signed,
A friend


He stands in shocked silence for a minute considering the note, then turns and hurries back out of his room and into the street below.


* * * * *

Much later, and miles away from Rock Springs, the gang plus Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes stop to rest for the night.

Heyes is exuberant. "Kid, I don't know how you managed it but you really did it! You came up with a plan that even Hannibal Heyes would have been proud to concoct. Maybe I been underrating your brains all these years. And Kyle! I don't think we've given you enough credit for smarts either." Heyes laughs, revealing perfect white teeth and gorgeous dimples. "I have to say that you two made quite a pair these last few days."

"Yessir, you boys really outdid yourselves this time," Wheat agrees. "It was just like the old days working together, wasn't it, Heyes? Maybe you two should re-think this whole amnesty try. Just think of the jobs we could pull if you boys were riding with me again." Heyes and Curry freeze in disbelief at what they are hearing. They just stare at Wheat for a long moment until he runs out of words. "It was just a thought. You don't have to look at me like that."

The two reformed outlaws burst out laughing. After a pause, the others join in. Heyes does a little happy dance before dropping down onto the soft grass. "Ahhhh…freedom, nothing sweeter." He closes his eyes and drops off to sleep.


* * * * *

A couple of days later, Heyes and Curry have split from the rest of the boys who have moved on to who-knows-where. Heyes is relaxing in their hotel room when Curry returns from a stroll around the town. He is carrying with him a newspaper. He smiles as he enters the room and sees his partner looking so rested and relaxed. Curry tosses the paper to Heyes. "Here, you might be interested to read this."

Heyes unfolds the newspaper and reads the headline. "Rock Springs Robbery Solved. Town Sheriff in Custody!" After taking a moment to read further, he looks up at Curry, who is smiling back at him. "This is terrific. It says here that all the money was recovered and the sheriff finally admitted he robbed the bank. So that clears the Devil's Hole Gang of the whole thing."

"And the way I figure it, since the article doesn't even mention your name, the governor might never find out we were even involved, so our amnesty is safe."

Heyes looks slightly disappointed, "Did you say my name wasn't even mentioned? What kind of reporting is that? They have Hannibal Heyes locked up in their jail and the local paper doesn't even mention that? That has to be the shoddiest reporting I ever heard of…"

Curry lets his friend ramble on for a while, a smile slowly stretching across his handsome face. Heyes finally pauses to take a breath, noticing Curry's wry expression. They share a laugh before Curry says, "Come on, get your boots on. Let's go get something to eat. I'm starved."



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3.2 This Cell Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us! by Leah Anders

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