Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

Buckshot Enterprises Presents a site for posting and reading Alias Smith and Jones Stories
 
HomePortalFAQSearchRegisterLog in

Reply to topic
Share | 
 

 3.6 If You Can’t Trust a Lawman, Who Can You Trust? by Leah Anders

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
royannahuggins
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 419
Join date : 2013-10-13

20150410
Post3.6 If You Can’t Trust a Lawman, Who Can You Trust? by Leah Anders



“All you need to do is go on over to the Sheriff’s office and tell him you heard a couple of men getting into it over at the saloon. Say you heard them say they was gonna shoot it out.”

“Why would I do that?”

“Well, the sheriff and us are good friends, ya see. We go way back. We just want to play a little practical joke on him. Just in fun, nothing serious-like.”

“Friends, huh? What’s the sheriff’s name?”

Heyes stared down at the boy, his chocolate brown eyes narrowed with irritation. “Seventy-five cents. And you don’t ask any questions.”




Starring

Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes
Ben Murphy as Kid Curry

Guest Stars


Tyne Daley as Emma Crabtree

Harry Morgan as Hank Jameson

Larry Linville as Wesley Watson

Clint Howard as Trevor



If You Can’t Trust a Lawman, Who Can You Trust?
by Leah Anders



"How much money you got, Heyes?" The two cowboys had just arrived in town, saddle worn and chilled to the bone, after spending several days and nights on the trail, settling for whatever meager shelter they could find.

"Why?"

"Cuz I'm cold," Kid's words puffed out of his mouth in steamy little clouds.

"Hmmm?" A chill wind whispered past them where they stood on the boardwalk in front of the hotel. It carried with it various and sundry bits of debris that had been accumulating on the street in anticipation of just such a breeze. Heyes squinted his eyes into the wind and pulled his oversized gray coat tighter around his body.

"I said I'm cold. I'm not sleeping outside again tonight. We need to get a room. How much money you got?"

"Naw…this ain't cold. Why, I remember one night back in eighteen, seventy-"

"Heyes. How much money you got?" Kid pronounced each word carefully to make sure he had his friend's undivided attention.

Feigning offence at being so rudely interrupted, Heyes glared pointedly at Kid for a moment before reaching into his pants pocket and bringing out a few silver pieces. Heyes studied the contents of his open palm intently before meeting Kid's eyes again. "Ninety cents. You?"

"Even less than that. How much you figure a room would run us?"

"About three bucks a night, I reckon."

"Figure they'd let us pay later?"

"Not likely."

"Well, we gotta try. I'm cold!" Kid bounced lightly from one booted foot to the other in a vain attempt to ward off the icy chill seeping into his joints.

"Kid, I'm surprised at you. Making such a fuss over being a mite chilly."

"A mite chilly?" He looked up at the gray and overcast sky. "Heyes, it's starting to snow." The wind whistled past them from the north, threatening to steal the hats from their heads.

"OK, Kid. You win. If you're gonna let a little thing like snow bother you…" his voice trailed off as they entered the lobby of the hotel. Heyes plastered a confident smile across his ruggedly handsome face and leaned his arms on the counter. "A room, please."

The clerk was a rather weaselly-faced little man; the type who thought he was infinitely better than his station in life implied. His pointy nose crinkled up as he gave Heyes and Curry a contemptuous look through his too-close-together eyes. Finally satisfied that the pair was-marginally-acceptable, he handed Heyes a pen and gestured towards the guest register. "That'll be three dollars."

Heyes accepted the pen, still smiling, and said, "Yeah, right, can we pay that later when we check out?"

Quick as a snake, the clerk snatched the pen from the outlaw leader's hand and slammed the register closed with a sharp snap. Heyes looked up at him, startled, but still maintaining the smile he reserved for people he didn't particularly like. Kid, who wasn't smiling at all, watched his friend and waited to see what was going to happen next.

"Up front…cash!"

The smile slipped from Heyes' face as he replied, "Well, see…we don't exactly have that much right at the moment."

"But we'll have it before long. All we have to do is-"

"Sorry. No money, no room," the clerk said with finality, his beady eyes never blinked even once.

The two stared at Weaselly a moment longer. He was too dim to realize that he was skating on thin ice, especially with Kid. Heyes sighed in resignation and turned to his partner, "Now what, Thaddeus?"

Kid glared at the clerk. "Any other hotels in town?"

"This is the only one," he answered with an arrogant sniff through his pinched nostrils.

Heyes and Curry started towards the door, pulling their coats closed against the chill that would soon hit them.

"You could try Mrs. Crabtree's, I suppose," Weaselly called after them.

In unison, they wheeled around and headed back to the counter.

"Mrs. Crabtree's?"

"Yes. She runs a boarding house down at the end of Cedar Street. You might be able to get a room there. And I hear she's looking for some help around the place. That old house is falling down around her ears. An eyesore, that's what it is. Ought to be torn down, I say."

"Cedar Street, you say? Thanks. Let's go Kid."


* * * * * *

The house at the end of Cedar Street was pretty much as the desk clerk described it. At some time in its past it had been a handsome home but now it was in serious need of some repair. There were shingles missing from its tall, pitched roof, the front porch sagged, and shutters were hanging, or missing altogether, from some of the big windows facing the street. Curry and Heyes stood looking at the house for a few minutes before venturing across the street to its front steps.

"Whaddaya think, Kid?"

"I think anything is better than freezing our tails off. Let's go see about getting a room."

A shiny brass knocker hung precariously from the front door. Curry grasped its handle and rapped it a couple of times. It smacked soundly into the heavy wooden door, before coming loose from its hinges in Kid's hand. He was still holding it, wondering what to do with it, as the door swung open. Hastily, he stuffed the knocker into his coat pocket. In an aside, he said to Heyes, "I'll fix this later." Heyes stifled a grin.

"Yes? Can I help you boys?" The woman who stood there staring at them curiously from the other side of the doorway looked like she should have had about a dozen grandkids swarming around her. She was a little woman, all billowy and soft looking like a gramma should be. Her gunmetal gray hair was tied in a tight braid and wound around her head from bottom to top and back again.

"Uh, yes ma'am. My name is Joshua Smith and this here is my friend, Thaddeus Jones. We heard you might have a room to rent for a few days?" Heyes asked. "Cheap?"

"Yes, I do happen to have one room available…Why don't you come in? We're letting all the cold air in."

"Much obliged, ma'am." She stepped aside and let the pair into the house, cozy warm from the heat of a fire blazing in the nearby fireplace. The inside of the house was in much better condition that the outside. It looked immaculate, not a speck of dust to be seen anywhere. Still, there were things that apparently needed repair even here.

"How much is the room?"

"Don't you want to see it first?"

"Does it have a bed?"

"Why, yes, of course!"

"It's perfect. How much is it?"

"Three dollars a night. Up front."

"Up front?"

"Certainly. That includes two meals a day."

"Well, that's surely a fair price, ma'am. Only problem is, we don't exactly have the money right now…"

"But we expect to have it shortly, don't you worry."

"Oh, I believe you, but you see, I really can't afford to take the chance." She leaned towards them and whispered, "I've had boarders skip out on me in the middle of the night without paying, can you believe?" Speaking in a normal tone again, she continued, "Now I don't imagine that you boys would do anything like that…you look like nice young men, but I'm afraid it has to be paid up front."

"Oh." Kid's face sagged in disappointment. He tipped his hat to Mrs. Crabtree. "Thanks anyway, ma'am." They turned to leave. As an afterthought, Kid dug into his pocket and brought out the brass doorknocker. "I think this belongs to you. Sorry about that."

They were just pulling the door open to head back into the cold evening air when Mrs. Crabtree called to them, "Just a second, boys."

Once again, in unison, they spun around on their heels and faced the matronly lady of the house. "Ma'am?"

"First off, stop calling me Ma'am. Just call me Mizz Emma. Everybody does. Now, I think maybe we can work something out." She looked them up and down, appraisingly. "You look like fine strappin' young men…you don't mind a little hard work, do you?"

"No Ma'am…uh, Mizz Emma. Hard work is what we do best…when we can't find somethin' else to do, at least."

"How'd you like to help me do some repairs around this old place? I'd give you free room and board, three meals a day, for as long as you're willing to help."

"Free room and board? Sounds pretty good, eh, Joshua?" Kid was anxious to take her up on her offer. He was not looking forward to another night out in the cold.

However Heyes was not ready to seal the deal quite yet. "How about free room and board plus three dollars a day?" He paused and added with a charming smile, "We gotta get a stake for when we're ready to move on."

Mizz Emma frowned and looked ready to put them out, unwilling to accept Heyes' terms. Curry was just about to intervene when she said, "You drive a hard bargain, young man, but I'll agree to pay you what you ask. It will be so wonderful to have this old place looking nice for the holiday."

"Your room is upstairs, first room on the left. Get yourselves settled in there. You can have this evening to relax and tomorrow you can start on the repairs around here. Supper is at six. You'll get a chance to meet my other boarder, Mr. Jameson, then. I know you'll all get along famously."

As they walked away to find their room, Kid asked Heyes, "What holiday is she talking about?"

Heyes shrugged his broad shoulders, "Must be Christmas. That's the only holiday I can think of coming up."


* * * * * *

Supper was served promptly at six, as promised. As Heyes and Curry entered the dining room, they were welcomed by enticing smells of Emma's home cooking coming from the attached kitchen. The table was set, well-used china marking four places. An elderly man was already seated at one of the places.

"Ah. Our new boarders, I assume. Smith and Jones, is it?”

"Yes, sir. That's right. I'm Jones and this is my partner, Smith," Kid extended his hand. "You must be Mr. Jameson."

"Bingo, boy. So what are you waiting for? Sit. You're in for a real treat tonight. Emma has made one of her specialties. Brisket with mashed potatoes on the side. Purely melts in your mouth I tell ya. And I'm pretty sure I smell some of her delightful buttermilk biscuits coming out of the oven."

"Much obliged, sir." The two had barely pulled out their chairs and planted themselves before the door leading into the kitchen swung open. Mizz Emma backed into the room, struggling slightly under the weight of a large platter that she set down in the center of the table.

"I hope you're hungry, boys. I always make more than just two of us can eat. I still haven't adjusted to not having more family around for meals," she chuckled. "You'd think by now…aw well, old habits are hard to break, you know. And at my age, old habits are the only kind I have."

"Well, don't worry Mizz Emma. I'm hungry enough to eat the whole cow," Kid answered. Heyes smiled fondly at his partner, knowing that he was probably exaggerating just a little.

"That's what I like, a young man with a good appetite."

"You don't know the half of it, Mizz Emma," Heyes grinned, earning the expected glare from his partner.

"Go ahead and get started then. I'll be back in a minute with the rest," she said, rushing back into the kitchen.

By the time she returned with the rest of the meal, all three men had dug into the brisket, helping themselves to hefty chunks of the savory meat. Once the mashed potatoes and gravy and biscuits with freshly-churned sweet butter were added to their plates, Kid Curry looked like he thought he had died and gone on to heaven.

Around big mouthfuls of the food, he said, "This is delicious. Just like my gramma used to make."

"Emma is the best cook in town. She's gonna make some lucky man very happy some day," Mr. Jameson grinned with a wink.

"Oh, Hank! You stop that now. Don't tease me so!" Emma's kindly face warmed and she giggled like a schoolgirl.

"So how long have you been living here, Mr. Jameson?" Heyes asked, focusing his dark brown eyes on the older man.

"Let's see. I think it's been almost two years now, isn't that right, Emma? It was shortly after I retired from working. Forced to retire actually."

"Forced, Sir?"

"Yep. Never really recovered from that bullet I took. Couldn't fulfill my duties as sheriff anymore-"

Heyes' choking and sputtering over the mouthful of coffee he had been trying to swallow cut him off.

Kid was alarmed, both by Heyes' outburst and by Jameson's statement, but managed to cover nicely by talking loudly over the sounds of his friend, who continued to gasp and wheeze even as Kid thumped him soundly on the back.

"Sheriff, huh? That's great. That's really something. Never met a real sheriff in person before."

Heyes, whose face had turned a rather unusual shade of purple, finally recovered enough to squeak out a few words, "Wrong pipe," he croaked miserably, holding his throat. "So you were saying…you've lived here for two years?"

"Yes, he has and it's been a real pleasure having him around too. A quieter boarder I couldn't hope to find. And since my daughters married and moved out, he's been a great comfort to me too."

"And how long have you been running the boarding house, Mizz Emma?"

"Since right after Mr. Crabtree, God rest 'im, passed on. Almost five years, it's been. I had my daughters to support so I had to find a way to bring in some money. Never regretted it even once either. I'm hoping that you boys can stay on a while, leastways 'til you get some things fixed around here."

"Ma'am, you keep cooking like this and we're likely to start breaking things just so we can stay on a little longer," Kid said, pushing away from the table to give himself a little more breathing room now that his plate was polished clean.

"Yes, ma'am," Heyes laughed nervously. He was still thinking about Jameson and wasn't one hundred percent sure they'd be staying on too long at all!

"Good. That's settled then. Now I'd like to see you get as much done by Thanksgiving Day as-"

"Thanksgiving Day?"

"Next Thursday, of course. Oh, it'll be so nice to have you boys here to help celebrate the holidays. I don't expect my daughters will make it home this year," Emma said sadly.

"Oh, sure---Thanksgiving Day. Uh-huh." Heyes and Curry exchanged an uncomfortable glance. Without a word, both men pushed their chairs back from the table and rose as one. "Will you excuse us, Mizz Emma? Thank you for the fine dinner."

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Jameson."

Emma looked surprised but said, "Yes, of course. Breakfast is at 6:00 am," she called after them as they rushed from the room and made for the stairs and the privacy of their room.

She looked at Hank. "What strange young men."

He shrugged his shoulders, bewildered as her by their sudden departure.


* * * * * *

Heyes and Curry took refuge in the room at the top of the stairs. Whoever had decorated this space had a passion for pastels and lace. A delicately stitched quilt of many colors, pink, lavender, blue, and pale yellow, covered the full-size bed. A girl's room, it probably looked much the same as when it was lived in by one or both of Emma's daughters. The two rough and ready cowboys seemed out of place and too bulky to occupy such a room.

"Heyes, help me out here. What's Thanksgiving Day all about?"

The ex-outlaw leader looked surprised at the question, "Kid, don't you remem-"

Frowning, Heyes stopped in mid-sentence and took a different tack. "Well, near as I can figure, it's…uh…" Heyes shrugged and continued lamely, "a day set aside for giving thanks."

"That's the best you can do? A day set aside for giving thanks? I had that much figured out myself."

"Awww, whaddaya want from me, Kid?"

"I just expected a little more from you, is all, what with all that book readin' you do. I'll tell you this though. I don't plan on having no Thanksgiving Day. What've we got to be thankful for anyhow? Look at us, no home, no family, no steady jobs. Heck, we don't even have use of our real names anymore. Smith and Jones-what kind of names are those?"

"Kid, I'd like to argue with you, but I gotta admit you're right for once. There ain't much in this world that I can rightly say we got to be thankful for. But it don't make no sense for us to up and leave right now. Thanksgiving Day is still a ways off. Let's stick around here where we got a roof over our heads and three squares for a while, but we'll head out before the holiday gets here. How would that be?"

"Yeah, that'll do, I reckon."


* * * * * *

Sleep did not come easy to Jedediah "Kid" Curry that night. As he lay on his half of the bed that he shared with his long-time friend and partner, thoughts and remembrances thrashed through his head. He found himself thinking about a happier time; a time that he had almost forgotten ever existed, it was so far gone. He had a family once, a mother, a father, brothers, but he had been on his own for so long that sometimes he couldn't even remember their faces. Sometimes when he tried to conjure up the people he loved all he could muster was a vague silhouette.

Tonight was different. Lying there in the cool stillness of the room; Heyes' even breath giving some small comfort, slow and steady; Kid had a picture in his mind of a woman he once knew and loved with all his heart, loved beyond all reason. Her face floated there behind his closed eyes. To him, she was the most beautiful woman in the world, always had been, always will be, although her face bore the lines and sorrow that a life on the rough and dangerous plains of Kansas would inevitably bring to anyone.

Tonight, he envisioned her how he remembered she was in the evenings, after all the chores were done, after all the children were tucked into bed. She would come to his room, the one he shared with his brothers, to give him a good night kiss. Some nights, she would be dressed for bed herself in a long flowing nightgown. Her corn silk colored hair would be loose around her shoulders, not knotted at the nape of her neck like it was during the day. Her hair was always shiny and soft, her crowning glory. Not even the harsh Kansas weather could take away from its beauty.

Jed liked to twist small sections of this hair around one of his chubby fingers as she leaned over him to give him his kiss. She would always smile at this; after all he was her baby, her youngest. He remembered the feel of her hair in his hand, so fine and soft, and he remembered the smell of it too, like lilacs, heady and sweet.

If he lay real quiet and didn't breathe, he could even imagine he heard her laugh, sweet and melodious as a church choir, as she wrapped him in her loving embrace that carried him down to sleep.

In his childish mind, Jed thought he would stay with her forever, basking in the reflection of her love. But of course, childish dreams have a way of vanishing in an instant and this one was no exception. Those happy memories were lost when people he didn't know and never got the chance to repay snatched his family away from him.

Thanksgiving Day, a day for families…not a day for people like him. Orphans, vagrants, transients as Deputy Harker had put it…there is no thanksgiving day for people of their ilk. As sleep finally claimed his troubled soul, a single tear, silent and solitary, slid down his cheek until it was swallowed up by the pillow cradling his head.


* * * * * *

Heyes was lost in his own thoughts. He knew Kid was awake. It was apparent in the restlessness of his breathing and the little twitchy movements he made as he tried, unsuccessfully, to shut his mind off. He didn't disturb his partner with talk though, he had his own demons he was wrestling with.

He lay staring up towards the ceiling in the gloomy darkness. All the colors that had brightened and cheered the room during the day had been sucked out by night's black vacuum. And there was a blackness in Heyes' heart to match.

He was good at concealing his feelings from most of the people he met. Oh, he knew that sometimes his more intense emotions shone out dangerously through his eyes and the set of his smile or lack thereof, but most of the time he had a pretty good poker face and he used it for more than playing games.

About the only person who could read him right most of the time was laying there next to him. That's why, on nights like this, he was glad for the darkness. He wouldn't want Kid to see him like this, jaw clenched so tight it hurt, all worked up by his emotions and memories of a time that he wanted more than anything to put behind him once and for all.

His breathing wouldn't give him away. He had practiced the slow and rhythmic inhale/exhale so many times that he was sure Kid had no idea that he was even awake. All his turmoil was bound up inside of him as he lay there, rigid, staring wide-eyed into his past.

The headmaster was a devious man, with a black heart and no compassion for the lost and pathetic children put in his charge. But in order for him to continue receiving full funding from the state, he had to carry out the charade of a Thanksgiving Day dinner. The President of the United States, after all, had made the proclamation of a national day of thanks.

Under threat of beating, all the children were expected to be there in attendance as some of the city's big shots were going to be there, to see what a fine place this charitable home for unfortunate youth was.

Hannibal didn't care about the beating though. Lord knew he had already had more than his share, but not more than most everybody else had got too. There wasn't any way he was going to be marched out there in front of all the rich folk just to make Headmaster Glock look good.

But he didn't intend to go hungry either. So while everyone else was going about their business, he snuck into the kitchen and stole what he wanted. It wasn't hard; he'd done it a lot of times before.

Then just as the dignitaries were beginning to arrive, after all the boys had been scrubbed up and given something decent, meaning anything better than the rags they normally walked around in, to wear; Hannibal disappeared into his secret hiding place to enjoy his 'thanksgiving' dinner in peace. The food tasted good, but not as good as it could have. It was somewhat tainted by the knowledge that his current exploit was likely to earn him a whippin' to end all whippins' by the end of the day.

Heyes remembered how alone he felt that night, sitting there in the shadows of his secret place. He was tough, but sometimes he didn't feel so tough. Sometimes he felt like that little boy who still missed his family.

Remembering, Heyes saw himself as that young boy, already so full of the knowledge of how the world can be. He thought about the wall that he had felt going up around his soul as a boy. Then he thought about the only person who had been able to crawl over, break down, and ultimately destroy that wall before it had destroyed him.

Heyes remembered how the boy had shown up in Heyes' secret hiding spot the night of the big Thanksgiving feast and how the two of them had shared the food he had stolen from the kitchen. He remembered how glad he had been to see him there, peeking around the corner in the semi-darkness of his hidey-hole, risking his own beating by sneaking away to join his best and only true friend.

Hannibal hadn't felt so alone anymore that night. That night, they made a pact to always be there for each other. They swore to it in blood drawn from their fingers with Heyes' pocketknife. That was the second time they had made such a pact, the first had been at a happier time, not long past.

And in all these years since, that boy, now a man, had been the only thing that was constant in his life. Everything, everyone, else had come and gone, by choice or by force, but Kid was always there for him, holding him steady and strong against a world that sometimes seemed determined to destroy him. For that he was thankful, little else.


* * * * * *

Sunlight breaking through baby blue lace curtains woke Kid. Heyes was still asleep, lying on his stomach, mouth open, the side of his face smashed into his pillow.

Kid considered his sleeping friend for a moment before giving him a gentle nudge on the shoulder, "Heyes. Get up. It must be nigh on six o'clock."

"Uhhngg," Heyes muttered in return. His eyelids didn't so much as flutter.

"Heyes." Kid said again, more insistently this time. "Wake up. You're droolin'. You're gonna drown if you don't close your mouth." He nudged Heyes as second time, not quite as gently as the first.

"Mmmmm…I'm up, Kid. Leave me alone." Slowly, Heyes opened his eyes, first one and then both. They felt gravelly from lack of sleep. He hadn't fallen asleep 'til very early in the morning, haunted by the memories of his time spent in the orphanage. He didn't know why Kid didn't remember that time, the one and only Thanksgiving they had shared, but it was probably better that way anyway.

"And I'll have you know, I don't drool," he muttered with all the indignation he could work up at such an early hour.

"Uh, huh," Kid smiled, his blond curls tousled and wild from his restless night.

Heyes met Kid's smile with a frown. While Kid was busily getting dressed, Heyes sneaked a look at his pillow through sleepy eyes. His frown deepened and he flipped the pillow over before resting his head on it for another quick minute.

"C'mon, Heyes. You can't sleep all day. Besides, breakfast is waiting."

Heyes sighed, "How come you always have to be so full of energy in the morning? Would it kill ya to sleep in once in a while?"

"It's just my nature I guess. I'm a morning person. You…well, I'm not sure what you are, but I like mornings. 'Sides, we don't wanna miss breakfast. So get up!"

Something landed on Heyes' head with a soft plop. "Here's your shirt. Get dressed!"

Heyes had a pretty good idea what was really driving the Kid. The smells of bacon frying and good strong coffee brewing drifted up the stairs and through the gap at the base of the bedroom door. If there was anything that motivated his friend, it was food.

Kid was in a pretty good mood this morning, the sadness that accompanied his fitful passage into sleep replaced by a feeling of serenity. After finally drifting off, his dreams were visited by the same lovely face he had remembered while awake, but in his dreams, her beauty re-assured him that things were going to be alright, and he believed her.


* * * * * *

They found Mizz Emma in the kitchen, putting the finishing touches on breakfast. When she saw them, she smiled cheerfully and shooed them back out to the dining room. She didn't have to ask them twice to sit and eat. Heyes inquired as to Mr. Jameson's whereabouts.

"Oh, he's out for his morning constitutional. He never eats breakfast, just a cup of coffee. But you boys go ahead. You have a lot of work ahead of you today."

Not really liking the sounds of that, but grateful for the food, they ate.

Mizz Emma kept them company while they had breakfast. She kept up a steady stream of chatter; commencing with the list of chores and repairs she wanted them to do. The list was considerable. Before she had finished counting them off, Heyes and Curry had exchanged more than one glance, undoubtedly wondering if they had made such a good deal after all. Mizz Emma was determined to get value out of them.

When she finally paused, Mizz Emma reached into the deep pocket of her apron and pulled out the brass doorknocker. She handed it to Kid, saying, "You can start with this. You'll find nails and whatever materials you need in the shed out back."

Kid grinned sheepishly, "Thank you, ma'am."

Once breakfast was over, they set to work. Kid had fixed the doorknocker good as new, with Heyes' careful supervision and unwanted advice. Then they both moved on to the once white picket fence surrounding Mizz Emma's home. Several of the pickets had started to rot out and needed replacing. They were busy tearing off the old boards when Mr. Jameson approached them from behind. He studied them thoughtfully for a few minutes before he made his presence known to them.

"Howdy boys. Hard at work, I see. Good…you know what they say about idle hands."

"Yes, Sir. That's why I enjoy poker so much."

"Huh?"

"Oh, nothing Sir. I was just saying that there isn't much danger of our hands being idle as long as Mizz Emma is in charge. Did you enjoy your walk?"

Jameson frowned and cleared his throat noisily, "I guess so. Mostly I just do it to keep this dang leg from stiffening up on me. Ain't been the same since I took that bullet."

"Yes sir, you were saying that. Mind if I ask how it happened?"

"To be truthful, it was just a senseless accident, I suppose. Would you believe I was shot by my own dang deputy? Blamed fool. Should never have been carrying a gun, let alone wearing a badge, that one. Dumb as one of those posts you're fixin' in that there fence."

"Were you chasing outlaws when it happened?"

Jameson guffawed bitterly, "I wish…no, we was in the office and that dimwit was cleaning his gun. I'm just lucky he didn't kill me."

He paused, recalling the event, and then added, "You know what makes it even worse? The blamed fool is my own nephew! Can you believe that? My own sister's son. You just can't trust anybody in this world."

"That's too bad, Mr. Jameson. What happened to him? Is he still deputy?"

Jameson laughed again, "No, he got booted out same as me. Now he works as the desk clerk down at the hotel. Say, you mighta met him. Shifty looking little character? Name's Wesley."

Heyes and Curry nodded, remembering the weaselly clerk from the day before. "Yep, we met him. You say his name is Wesley? Somehow, that seems to fit, don't you think, Joshua?"

"Sure do, Thaddeus."

Jameson turned to go. As he walked away he repeated, "Yep, that's my nephew. Just goes to show you can't trust anyone. Let that be a lesson for you boys."

"So Weaselly…I mean Wesley was a deputy. How's that for luck, Heyes? We've met three people in this town and two of them are ex-lawmen. The way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised to find a tin star pinned to Mizz Emma's dress under that frilly apron she wears."


* * * * * *

At supper, later that evening, Mizz Emma was not her usual cheerful self. Although she tried valiantly to conceal her discontent from the three men seated at the table around her, frustration radiated off her like steam from a hot stone on a cold day. Mr. Jameson asked, "What's wrong, my dear? Has something happened?"

Emma looked up from her food that she had been attacking as though it were still living and she wanted it dead. Her face was set in an unhappy scowl, which she attempted to smooth out when she realized that she was being appraised by 3 pairs of curious eyes. "Oh, it's nothing. I'm just being silly. Don't mind me."

The three men, being men, did as she asked. They went back to eating their dinners, not minding her. Emma stared at the three bent heads for a moment longer, her frustration rising to a new level. Suddenly, with a loud clank, she dropped her silverware onto her plate. Three heads snapped up in unison as she started, "I stopped in at the mercantile this afternoon to pick up a few things."

Heyes, Curry, and Jameson waited expectantly for more. Emma sat looking at them for a few seconds, then shrugged her shoulders and said, "Oh, never mind. What's done is done." Then she picked her fork back up and, taking a deep cleansing breath, started to eat again. The men, seeing this as a signal that all was fine, did the same.

Clank! Down went the fork again. Up came three male heads. This time it was up to Heyes to speak. "C'mon, Mizz Emma. Something is obviously bothering you. It's not good to keep it bottled up like that. Why don't you tell us?"

"Well, alright…like I was saying, I stopped in at the mercantile this afternoon."

"Uh, huh. Go on."

"Well…I wanted to pick up a few things for the Thanksgiving Day dinner and also, I had asked Carolyn…you know Carolyn, Hank…"

"Of course, my dear…go on," Mr. Jameson encouraged.

"I had asked Carolyn-you men will probably think this is silly-but they had the most beautiful bolt of fabric in the store a few days ago, a very pretty yellow with little pink roses on it, and I had asked her to save me enough material off that bolt to make a dress for the holidays. It would have made the most beautiful dress and you know I haven't had anything new for so long. Anyway, I went down there today to buy that fabric and you won't believe it, but she had sold every scrap! Said she forgot I had asked her to hold it for me." Emma looked as though she might start to cry. This made the men squirm in their seats.

"I'm sorry, Emma. Maybe there is some other fabric you could buy that would work just as well. The mercantile must---"

Mizz Emma dismissed this line of thinking with an impatient shake of her head. "There wasn't anything else in the store that even came close to that material and now it's gone. Why, come Thanksgiving, I'm going to have to watch Mrs. Jenkins parading around in a new dress made out of MY fabric. And I thought Carolyn was my best friend! You just really can't trust anybody now, can you?"

As she talked, high points of color had appeared on Emma's cheeks. Heyes and Curry looked at each other, trying not to reveal their amusement at Emma's plight. Heyes knew she was truly upset about the loss of the fabric and wouldn't take it lightly if one of them so much as smiled, but it was hard to keep a straight face, nonetheless. He just looked at her; lips set in a sympathetic line; and shook his head slightly to demonstrate his empathy to her plight.

Getting it off her chest seemed to help a little. The color receded and she picked up her fork again, seemingly more calm, at least on the outside. In a more normal voice, she continued, looking at Mr. Jameson. "Oh, by the way Hank, when I was down town I ran into your nephew."

"Wesley?"

"Yes. He asked if you could stop in and see him tomorrow morning while you are out. Says he needs to talk to you about something."

"Oh? Did he say what?"

"Well…" Emma glanced over at Heyes and Curry before continuing. "He did say a little more but he told me not to say anything to anyone but you." After a short hesitation, she went on to say, "But I don't think it would matter if you boys heard. Wesley is always up to some great scheme. I'm sure this is no different."

"So what did he say, Mizz Emma," Heyes asked, curiously.

She leaned forward conspiratorially, "Well, seems he has some plan to get his job back." She turned to Hank for confirmation, "You know how he hates working at the hotel and thinks they should never have let him go after…well, you know. Seems he heard something that he is sure he can use to convince them that he should be a deputy again."

"Saints preserve us if that ever happens, Emma. If he expects me to help him get that badge back, he's crazier than I gave him credit for. I'll stop by and see him alright, but it won't be to help him, it'll be to talk him out of whatever fool scheme he has cooked up for himself."

While Mizz Emma recounted her encounter with the weaselly Wesley, Heyes became increasingly uncomfortable. The little hairs on the back of his neck started to rise in a feeling of dread. He looked over at Curry and could tell by the hard set of his jaw and his unblinking gaze that he was feeling it too.

As one, both men pushed back from the table. With a tight smile glued to his face, Heyes asked, "Will you excuse us?" Without waiting for an answer, they made for the safety of the little room at the top of the stairs once again.

Emma, startled but not entirely surprised, looked after them as they hurried from the room. After they were gone, she turned to Hank and said, "Sweet boys and hard workers too…but rather strange, don't you think?"


* * * * * *

As soon as they shut the door behind them, Heyes started to pace the room thoughtfully, running his fingertips over his lips as he did so, brown eyes focused on a spot on the floor always before him in his circuitous pattern. Curry allowed his partner a few minutes of this routine, never taking his eyes off his moving friend as he sat slouched in the only available chair in the room. Soon his patience wore thin. He wanted to talk about what this might mean and what Heyes thought Weaselly's plan might have to do with them, if anything.

"Heyes…" Rising from his chair, Kid walked over to the spot where he would intersect Heyes' path, positioning himself in such a way that Heyes would have no choice but to give him his undivided attention. When Heyes got close enough, Kid reached out both his arms and laid his hands on Heyes' shoulders, stopping him in his tracks. "Heyes, what are you thinking?"

Heyes raised his eyes to meet Kid's. Brown eyes met blue ones and held for a heartbeat's time before he spoke. "I'm trying to think back to when we were in the hotel talking to Wesley. Did we say anything that might make him suspicious of us?" His face wore a worried expression.

Curry knew that Heyes wanted him to say something reassuring. After thinking about it for a few seconds, he answered, "I don't see what, Heyes. We weren't in there more'n a few minutes. What could we have possibly said or done to arouse Wesley's suspicions?"

Heyes' expression cleared a little. He looked relieved and with a decisive nod, he said, "You're right, Kid. What am I worried about? No, whatever Hank's nephew has cooked up…it has nothing to do with us."

Kid smiled at Heyes, glad to be able to help set his mind at ease. He had no intention of revealing his own niggling doubts that they had indeed done something to raise Wesley's hackles. The best thing to do would be to just wait until after Hank had seen his nephew and then try to find out what plan had hatched in Wesley's mind. He'd worry about that tomorrow.

Turning the conversation to safer ground, Kid said, "You know, Heyes, I been thinking."

"Great."

"Seriously, I been giving this Thanksgiving thing some more thought and I was wondering if we really needed to set out before it gets here. Mind you, I ain't sayin' we got anything to be particularly thankful for, but what harm is there in joining these folks for their celebration?"

"Ain't no harm in it, exactly. But what made you change your mind all of a sudden?" Heyes teased. "It wouldn't have nuthin to do with Mizz Emma's good cooking would it?"

"Heyes, you know me better than that. Course not. I'm just thinking of how happy Mizz Emma is gonna be if we stick around. You heard what she said about how lonely she's been since her daughters up and married off."

"I'll tell you what. If you can think of one thing that you are genuinely thankful for between now and Thanksgiving morning, then we'll talk about staying. Otherwise, I think we ought to get moving on."

"One thing?"

"Yep, but it has to be something you're genuinely thankful for."

"Hmm…I think I can manage that. You're on."


* * * * * *

Early the next morning, the two cowboys were already hard at work repairing the sagging front porch of Mizz Emma's home when Hank Jameson returned from his morning jaunt. His limp, a result of the errant gunshot, was a little more pronounced this morning. Kid saw his approach before Heyes and gave his partner a gentle nudge with his elbow. Trying to appear nonchalant, they waved hello at the older gentleman. Hank returned the wave cautiously. As he got closer, he tried to smile but his attempt fell short of genuine.

"Howdy, Mr. Jameson. Uh…nice day, ain't it?" Heyes asked, wanting to engage Hank in conversation long enough to find out what Wesley had said to him. The old man looked weary already, and it wasn't even nine o'clock yet.

"Yeah, I guess it is, for this time of year." Jameson looked them over for a long time, his eyes coming to rest on the holster tied to Kid's thigh. "You always carry that gun, Thaddeus?"

"Yes, sir. I do. It's sorta become a habit, kinda like putting on my pants in the morning. Why do you ask?"

"Hmm? Oh. No reason, just thinking about something, I reckon." After one more curious glance Hank tipped his hat and said, "You boys don't work too hard now. I'll talk to you later. I gotta go sit for a spell now." He turned and walked towards the front door, every step seeming to take more effort than the one before it.

Heyes watched him leave, his brow furrowed with renewed worry about what Wesley might have shared with his uncle. Frowning, he turned to Kid and said, "What do you make of that, Thaddeus? You still think we ain't got nuthin' to worry about?"

"I ain't sure, Joshua, but I think we oughta find out."

"Yep, we oughta, all right. Got any ideas how?"

"Actually, I think I do. C'mere." Kid led the way around the side of the porch. Sure enough, the window to the front room had been left open a few inches, allowing the day's unseasonably warm weather a chance to get inside.

Heyes stopped at the edge of the window frame. Cautiously, he leaned forward and peaked one eye around just far enough to see into the room. Satisfied, he slowly pulled his head back and whispered to Kid, "They're in there, all right. Both of 'em. Wouldn't hurt to listen for a while, now would it?" he smiled.

Kid returned the smile, then ducking low, moved to the opposite side of the window. From where they stood they could hear everything that was said inside the house.

Hank had apparently gone directly inside and found the closest comfortable chair to rest in. He looked physically and emotionally worn out, both from his walk and from his meeting with his weaselly nephew Wesley. From where he sat, the men outside could see his profile. Emma was standing next to him, with a concerned look on her matronly face.

"Land sakes, Hank. What is wrong with you? You don't look so good. Do you need me to get the doctor over here?" With motherly instinct, she reached out her hand and laid her palm flat against his forehead, measuring his body temperature against hers.

He gently removed her hand from his face, holding it for a second longer before releasing it. In a falsely gruff voice, he said, "Stop fussing over me, Emma. I'm not sick. Well, I take that back, I am sick. Sick about what that no-account nephew wanted to tell me this morning."

"What, Hank?"

Before answering her, Hank stared off into space for a minute, confusion muddling his thoughts. His eyes met hers and he said, "I'm not sure I should even repeat what he said. It's plumb crazy!"

Outside the open window, Heyes and Curry listened intently. Heyes willed Jameson to continue. They had to find out what Wesley had told him. If it came down to it, they better be ready to ride out of there a lot quicker than they had planned.

Under his breath, Heyes encouraged, "Come on, Hank. What did your over-anxious nephew tell you…"

On cue, Hank started to tell his story as Emma and the two wanted outlaws listened. "This might just be Wesley's latest half-baked idea to get his deputy job back, I guess. You know how bad he wants it." Emma nodded silently in confirmation, she did indeed know how bad his sister's son wanted to be a lawman again. Heck, she was pretty sure everybody in town knew it.

"Seems as though he's got the notion that your two young boarders might not be exactly what they appear." Outside, Heyes and Curry made eye contact across the space of the open window. "Apparently, as they were leaving the hotel the other day, he swears he heard one of 'em call the other 'Kid'." Hank paused for dramatic effect. Heyes was stunned. He didn't remember letting Kid's name slip out that day, but if Weaselly heard him say it, then he must have! His eyes locked on Kid, wide and worried.

Kid could tell by his partner's expression that he was ready to high tail it out of town, NOW! With a slight shake of his head, he let Heyes know that he should simmer down for a minute, at least until they heard the rest of what Hank had to say. To his way of thinking, a few more minutes wasn't going to make any difference. Besides, if Hank believed what Wesley had told him, then why hadn't he pulled his gun on them when he first came home like any good ex-lawman would? Kid figured there had to be more to this story and he aimed to hear what it was.

From where they stood, cautiously peering around the edge of the windowsill, they had a good view of Emma's face. She was still just looking at Hank, waiting expectantly. Finally she said, "I'm sorry, but I don't understand. So what if one of them called the other Kid? It's probably just a nickname. You know, like Butchie or Doc, something like that."

Hank smiled wryly. "Of course, you're right, Emma dear, but my nephew doesn't see it that way. He thinks that our friends Joshua and Thaddeus may be hiding something…like a criminal past."

Emma gasped quietly and laid her hand against her ample bosom. Her eyes widened as she said, "Oh my! Is that possible, Hank? No, I don't believe it. They are such nice young men. Wesley is just stirring the pot, looking for trouble…don't you think?" she finished doubtfully.

"To tell you the truth, I don't know what to think. We don't know those two very well. As much as I hate to admit it, Wesley might be right. On the other hand, the thought of my nephew pinning that badge back on his chest sends a shiver down my spine."

"OK, well. Let's just say he's right, they are outlaws…what does he intend to do about it. He can't really prove it, can he?"

"Don't know. He's sure that if he looked through those old wanted posters over at the sheriff's office, he'd turn up a couple with those fella's descriptions on 'em. He'd be over there right now, 'cept he's gotta work all day at the hotel."

"Well, I say let him look. I don't believe it for a second. I think I'm a pretty good judge of character and I say those two sweet boys are just that…sweet boys!"

Hank laughed to himself. Emma thought everyone was sweet. Heck, Billy the Kid hisself could be sleeping in her upstairs bedroom and she'd think he was a sweet boy. Good judge of character? Not likely.

As much as he hated to admit it, there was a chance that Wesley was right. The only problem Hank had was he wasn't sure that Wesley being right was such a good idea, especially if it meant he might get his wish and become a lawman again. Hank figured the townsfolk hereabouts weren't ready for that. He certainly knew HE wasn't ready for that!

Emma tenderly patted his shoulder, rousing him from his thoughts. "You're looking a mite better, Hank. Why don't you just rest here a while longer? I have some things I need to attend to in the kitchen."

He nodded and smiled gratefully at her. He laid his head against the back of the chair and closed his eyes after watching her make her exit.

Outside, Heyes and Curry quietly tiptoed away from the open window and around the back of the house where they could talk privately. "Whaddaya think, Heyes? You think we oughta get our things and get out?"

"Probably."

"OK, you sneak up to our room and get our stuff. I'll go get the horses." Kid turned to leave, anxious to put some space between themselves and Weaselly Wesley.

"No." Heyes reached out and grabbed Kid by the forearm, stopping him dead in his tracks.

"Huh? I thought you said we were going?"

'I said we oughta be going…probably."

Kid looked crestfallen. "Awww, Heyes. You mean we're not going?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Kid, think about it. If we leave now, it's gonna look like Weaselly is right."

"Weaselly IS right, Heyes!"

"Course Weaselly is right. I know that and you know that but if we leave now, he's gonna make sure everybody in town knows. We'll end up running again with a posse dead on our heels. I think there might be a better way."

"What, Heyes? Tell me."

"You heard Hank say Weaselly is gonna go look through the wanted posters, right?"

Kid nodded, waiting to hear more.

"We're just gonna have to get there first, is all. We'll get our posters before he gets the chance to look for them. Then he won't have any proof of who we are."

Kid looked skeptical. "So lem'me get this straight. Your plan is to walk into the sheriff's office and ask to look through the posters so we can just take ours? Heyes, you really are slipping. That's one of the worst ideas you've ever-"

"Now wait Kid. Hear me out. First of all, we won't have to waste a lot of time searching through posters. Remember, we're a couple of the most wanted men in the whole of the west. Our posters won't be shoved away in some drawer gathering dust. They'll be out in plain sight where the sheriff can see them everyday."

"You're making this sound so much better," Kid said sarcastically. "Now the sheriff has the posters where he looks at them everyday! So how are we going to get them past him? Ask him to cover his eyes?"

"Don't be ridiculous, Kid. Why would the sheriff cover his eyes? I'm starting not to like your attitude. I've a good mind not to tell you the rest of my plan. Let's go."

"Just tell me one thing, Heyes."

"What's that?"

"Even IF we manage to carry out your plan and stop Wesley from proving who we are, how do we know we can trust Hank? His suspicions might be enough for him to decide to do something himself."

"Good question, Kid. I don't know, I just got a feeling about Hank."

"A feeling? You're risking our freedom on a feeling?" Kid followed Heyes down the street heading down town, shaking his head with misgivings.


* * * * * *




_________________
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.
Back to top Go down

 Similar topics

-
» Crown Lynn Museum.... The Portage Ceramics Trust
» If you cannot trust your co-workers............
» Things that I trust more than ...
» My Meningitis trust Action Man badge collection
» I can't find a number for this wall vase - It looks like this is the 581 Small Cone
Share this post on: Excite BookmarksDiggRedditDel.icio.usGoogleLiveSlashdotNetscapeTechnoratiStumbleUponNewsvineFurlYahooSmarking

3.6 If You Can’t Trust a Lawman, Who Can You Trust? by Leah Anders :: Comments

avatar
Re: 3.6 If You Can’t Trust a Lawman, Who Can You Trust? by Leah Anders
Post on Fri 10 Apr 2015, 11:39 pm by royannahuggins

Kid and Heyes stood in the middle of Main Street, surveying their surroundings. Heyes was looking for something, that much was clear to Kid. What or who, he wasn't sure. Kid-well, he was just watching out for Heyes, keen eyes on the lookout for anything that might spell trouble for them. Sometimes his partner got so wrapped up in the details, it was hard for him to see the whole picture. That's where Kid took over. And the big picture was that this town might not be safe for them too much longer. They already had two people suspicious of them, Hank and Wesley. Who's to say Wesley hadn't been blabbing his mouth all over town?

Suddenly Heyes' eyes lit on a boy about twelve years old, give or take, walking slowly towards them, chewing on an apple and kicking an old tin can down the boardwalk. Heyes gave one sharp whistle from between his teeth. When the boy looked up, Heyes gestured to him. "Hey, boy. Come over here a second."

Warily, the boy looked the men over. After debating with himself for a moment, he walked over to where Heyes and Curry stood, leaned up against a building. Heyes smiled his most winning smile.

"Yeah?" the boy asked, taking a big juicy bite from the piece of fruit in his hand.

"What's your name, kid?"

"Well, it ain't really none of your business, but my name's Trevor," he answered, chewing on the apple.

Slightly put off by the boy's manner, Heyes continued, "Ok…Trevor. How'd you like to earn fifty cents?"

This piqued the boy's interest. Fifty cents was a small fortune for a kid. "What do I have to do?" he asked suspiciously.

"All you need to do is go on over to the Sheriff's office and tell him you heard a couple of men getting into it over at the saloon. Say you heard them say they was gonna shoot it out."

"Why would I do that?"

"Well, the sheriff and us are good friends, ya see. We go way back. We just want to play a little practical joke on him. Just in fun, nothing serious-like."

"Friends, huh? What's the sheriff's name?"

Heyes stared down at the boy, his chocolate brown eyes narrowed with irritation. "Seventy-five cents. And you don't ask any questions."

"Make it a dollar and you got yourself a deal." Trevor stuck out one grubby hand, palm-side up.

Heyes glared at him while he considered his options. Kid was still leaning against the building, arms crossed calmly across his chest, watching the exchange between the two, amused that Heyes was getting his tail whupped by this young pup.

Finally, with a deep long-suffering sigh, Heyes extended his hand, palm-side up, in Kid's direction. In no particular hurry, Kid reached deep into his pants pocket and pulled out the coins he carried there and placed them in Heyes' hand.

Heyes turned out his own pocket and added some of his own change to the small sum Kid had come up with. This, in turn, he placed into the lad's still upturned palm, but not before one last admonition, "Now you do your best to make sure the sheriff stays in the saloon for as long as possible. Make like you can't remember who you heard talking or something. It's real important that he doesn't come back too soon, you hear?"

"You don't worry about me, mister. I know how to handle myself," Trevor said proudly, tossing the remnants of the apple into the dusty street.

"Yeah I guess you do, kid." Heyes and Curry watched as Trevor walked into the sheriff's office. After a few minutes, they watched the sheriff hurry out and make his way down the street to the saloon. Trevor followed right behind, grinning at his two benefactors behind the sheriff's back, enjoying his great adventure.

Once the sheriff was out of sight, Heyes lightly touched Kid's sleeve. With a sideways nod of his head, he motioned towards the office and they casually set off across the street. Luckily, there were few people out on the street this morning. The two outlaws slipped unnoticed into the empty sheriff's office. They had already asked around and knew that the sheriff worked alone so they weren't afraid of having a deputy walk in on them at an inconvenient moment. If they had only thought to inquire as to the sheriff's name while they were asking around, they would be fifty cents richer right now.

"OK, Heyes. Let's get those posters and get the heck out of here. This place gives me the willies." Kid unconsciously kept his hand close to the butt of his gun. He was tense and wanted to get away as soon as possible. Sheriff's offices were not places he liked to frequent any more than absolutely necessary.

"Calm down, Kid. We'll be out of here in a second. All I have to do is grab our--" Heyes was busily scanning the wanted posters fixed to the board near the door, sure that he would find the two they needed in short order. It didn't take long for him to realize that their posters were NOT part of the assortment mounted to the wall.

Puffed up with indignation, he threw his hands in the air and huffed, "I don't believe this. We have to be just about the two most successful outlaws in the history of the west and this place doesn't even keep our wanted posters on the wall."

Kid had already moved to the big wooden desk that took up most of the space in the little room. He was moving fast, searching through its drawers, looking for a stack of posters. "Never mind that, Heyes. C'mere and help me find 'em." He had the pile of posters clutched in his hand. Dividing them up, he handed half of them to Heyes.

Heyes frantically started thumbing through the sheets of paper Kid had given him. He was still carrying on under his breath, "I don't know how this sheriff, whatever his name is, ever expects to catch anybody if--" when Kid put one calming hand on his forearm. When he had Heyes' attention, Kid motioned for him to be silent and then pointed towards the door.

Heyes had been so busy being annoyed at the slipshod way the sheriff's office was being run that he hadn't heard the voices coming from just outside the front door. As they watched, the doorknob started to turn. Wide-eyed, both men gathered up the piles of papers they had been going through and looked around for a place to hide in the small space of the office.

Desperate, and seeing no other option, other than the cells at the rear of the building (which they wanted to avoid for obvious reasons), they threw themselves to the floor and crammed themselves, side by side, into the small opening under the desk just as the door began to swing inward.

They listened as a pair of girlish voices entered the room. Kid's keen senses detected the smell of hearty beef stew. They heard, "I hope Sheriff Taylor likes his lunch today. I don't want him comin' back over to the restaurant later complainin' about it like he did yesterday. Bad for business…grumpy old coot," followed by agreeable laughter.

Beneath the edge of the desk, they could see two pairs of feet and the hems of two dresses, stopped directly in front of where they were crouching, trying not to breath, beneath the desk. Kid's holster was digging into Heyes' side. He prayed for the women to finish up their business quickly and get out before the sheriff got back and caught them hiding under his desk. He was pretty sure the grumpy old coot wouldn't take long to find their descriptions on a poster THEN.

"Set the basket on the desk and let's get going. The lunch crowd is going to be showing up real soon. Ma will need our help."

"OK, just a second." From below the desk, Heyes and Kid could hear the gentle scraping sound of a picnic basket being placed on the surface of the desk. "Ready. Let's go." The feet retreated out of their line of vision as the girls made their way back to the front door.

Kid was ready to take a sigh of relief when it caught in his chest. "Wait! Something doesn't seem right." A feeling of foreboding came over him as he waited for what seemed like a very long time. "Oh, I know. Ma said to be sure to bring back yesterday's dishes. Can you grab them?"

Finally, the two girls left, closing the door behind them. Heyes and Curry scrambled out of their hiding place. Heyes smiled. "That was too close, Kid. Have you found anything yet?"

"As a matter of fact, I have," he replied, holding up the familiar posters with their descriptions emblazoned on them. Heyes whooped and clapped his partner on the shoulder, smile widening to reveal pearly white teeth and impossibly deep dimples.

Curry laughed, blue eyes crinkling at the corners. "OK, let's get out of here before Sheriff Taylor gets back. Only this time, let's go through the back door."

Heyes took the two posters from Kid and after folding them a couple of times, stuffed them into his jacket pocket. Then they set off towards the back door. Kid stopped, pausing for a moment before heading back to the desk. Peeking under the red and white napkin covering the contents of the picnic basket, he reached in and grabbed two biscuits from within before heading back to where Heyes was waiting and watching with amusement.

Kid tossed Heyes one of the biscuits and said, "What are you waiting for? Let's get out of here."


* * * * * *

"Heyes? Remember how you said I needed to come up with one thing I was thankful for so's we could hang around here a while longer?"

"Uh, huh." Heyes was lying on his side of the bed in the room at the top of the stairs. He had his nose stuck in a book that he had found in the highboy dresser. His boots were off, revealing a small hole in one of his socks near the vicinity of his left big toe. As he read, his lips parted slightly as he silently absorbed the words.

Kid, with his back to Heyes, sitting on the opposite edge of the bed, was in the process of removing his own boots, tugging at first one and then the other, dropping them unceremoniously to the floor, where they would lie until the next morning. "Well, I think I thought of something."

"Um, huh." Heyes answered, without moving his eyes off the page in front of him. His eyebrows were knitted together in concentration as his mind soaked up the information contained in the yellowed paper.

Kid swung his body around to look at his friend, his boyish face set in a frown. "Where'd you get that book?" he said in exasperation. "I'm trying to talk to you…" After a few more seconds of watching Heyes' eyes move back and forth across the page, Curry's thoughts turned inward. He wanted to remind Heyes of the time back when they were still boys, that last fishing trip they took the morning of the day before their folks died.

That was one of the last happy times he had had as a kid, lying there fishing; eating and drinking the biscuits and honey and sweet coffee Heyes brought with him from his mama's kitchen.

Kid remembered the two of them sitting there on the bank of the little creek in the woods behind his house. Seemed like Heyes…Hannibal and he were always together back then. Kid smiled, thinking that not much had changed in that department even now.

Summers were the best times, filled with lazy days fishing, the occasional game of tag with his older brothers, riding horses, and all the other activities young boys enjoyed; always after the day's chores were complete, of course.

That day, relaxing there in the sun, Heyes lit on the idea that they should be blood brothers. He took out that old fishing knife he always carried and washed it off in the creek. Then they used it to slice into their palms just enough to get some blood…

Ouch, that stung! Kid grimaced at the memory and looked down at the palm of his right hand. If he looked real close he could still see a thin scar. He had been scared to let Heyes cut him, but he told him it was the only way they could be blood brothers so he finally went along with it.

He absently ran the thumb of his left hand over the scar, back and forth, as he thought about that bright sunny morning that had happened a lifetime ago. He could see them in his mind's eye, two young boys lying there on the creek bank, not a care in the world, it seemed. They had had no idea that their simple existences would be coming crashing down upon them in short order. And when everything else was taken from them, it was only natural that they would find a way to hang onto each other.

So now after listening to Emma and Hank's stories about not being able to trust the people in their lives, he knew that he was lucky to have a friend like Heyes. Trust between them was never a question…it just WAS!

Kid was so absorbed in staring at his palm, examining that old scar, that he didn't notice when Heyes took his eyes off his book and turned his head slightly to watch him. Holding the book with one hand, Heyes looked into his own palm for a while, squinting in his search for the matching scar. "Lucky we didn't get tetanus from that rusty old knife," he said, chuckling softly, rousing Kid from his revere.

"Were you saying something, Kid?" Heyes smiled widely at Kid, dark eyes twinkling with a mischievous gleam. He knew how much his partner hated it when he started in on a new book. Kid wasn't much for talking most times, but he couldn't stand to be ignored either. Just about drove him plumb crazy. That's probably why Heyes took so much pleasure in it.

Curry gently took the book from him and quietly and deliberately closed its cover. He set the book on the table next to him and then turned his attention back to Heyes. "I was trying to tell you that I think I finally came up with something I'm thankful for…but if you're too busy to listen, well then I guess I just won't tell you."

"OK…Can I have my book back then?" Still grinning, Heyes reached across the bed towards the table where the book way lying.

Curry snatched the book away just before Heyes' fingers closed around it. "Alright. Here's what I was thinking. I'm thankful for…" Heyes' dark eyes were trained expectantly on Kid, waiting to hear what he was thankful for. Suddenly, the realization of what he was about to reveal hit Curry! He stammered, "I-I'm…I'm thankful that…that Wesley never found those wanted posters!" The last words came out in a rush. Kid was relieved that he had come to his senses before he said something unseemly.

Heyes smiled benignly, pretty sure that Kid had been about to say something different and equally relieved that he hadn't. They both knew how important their friendship was to the other. No sense in talking it to death. "Good, Kid. I feel exactly the same." He glanced once more at the vague scar in his palm, running his thumb over it for a moment, unaware that he was copying Kid's gesture from moments before.

Finally able to relax again, Kid said, "Now that we got that out of the way, do you think it's safe if we stay for the Thanksgiving dinner?"

Heyes cleared his throat and blinked a time or two before answering. "Well, let's think about this for a minute. Wesley no doubt is down at the sheriff's office right now, rummaging through those wanted posters. Since he's not gonna find what he's looking for, he won't be able to confirm his suspicions that way. And since all he has is a suspicion, brought on by my calling you Kid, he's not gonna be any closer to knowing who we really are now than he was a few days ago. Since tomorrow's the big day, I think it might be alright if we stay, but just to be safe, we probably better plan on leaving right after, don't you think?"

"Sure, no problem. Just so's we stay long enough to get some of Mizz Emma's pumpkin pies she was baking today."

"Ok, it's settled then. Let's get some shut eye." Heyes rolled over onto his side and turned out the kerosene lamp next to the bed. Before long, the room was filled with a chorus of masculine snores.


* * * * * *

The next day dawned crisp and bright, with not a cloud in the sky. From where he laid, staring up at the ceiling, waiting for Kid to start stirring, Heyes could hear Emma downstairs in her kitchen, banging around more than usual. He suspected she was down there preparing for the day's festivities. He wondered what the day had in store for them.

When they opened their door a little while later, they could hear Emma and Hank deep in serious conversation in the front room below. "So Wesley didn't turn anything up last night, Hank?"

"Nope, not a thing. But that doesn't mean he's given up. He's still convinced these two are trouble."

"Oh pshh! I still don't believe it."

"Well, he could be right, but until there's proof, I don't intend to do anything about it. We'll talk about it later, right now I have to go change and get back over to Mabel's. She's expecting me to walk with her and Wesley this morning." Hank started up the stairs, walking slowly, favoring his right leg.

"Hank?" Emma said, stopping him. "We're doing the right thing, aren't we? I mean, trusting those boys?"

Hank smiled fondly at her, "We're doing the right thing, Emma. Those two haven't done a single thing to cause us to be suspicious of them. Maybe I've mellowed in my old age, but until I know otherwise, those fellas are just Joshua and Thaddeus, nothing more."

Emma smiled back, relieved, as Hank continued his trek up the stairs.

Heyes and Curry ducked back into their room, closing the door softly behind them, until Hank had passed. When the way was clear, they stumbled down the stairs dressed for work around the house, safe in the knowledge that Wesley had nothing on them yet and that Hank and Emma could still be trusted.

Mizz Emma took one look at the two of them in their stained workpants and torn flannel shirts. Her brow knitted with lines, she said, "Oh, dear. This is not going to work at all. You boys march right back up those stairs and put on something nice."

"Huh?"

"You don't expect to go to church looking like that, do you?"

"No, ma'am. I don't expect to go to church at all, thank you," Heyes replied, cocking an eyebrow at Kid whose expression was frozen in one similar to his own.

Emma was resolute. With one hand firmly planted on an ample hip, she asked, "When was the last time you two set foot in a church?"

The pair of outlaws shrugged. She pursed her lips and said, "Well then, I don't imagine it would hurt you none to go with me this morning. It is Thanksgiving and the reverend will be expecting us."

"Us, ma'am?" Curry asked.

"Of course, everyone in town knows I have some new boarders. How would it look if you didn't come to church? Now, march back up there and get dressed."

Seeing that it was useless to argue, Heyes and Kid turned and marched back up the stairs. A few minutes later, they marched back down and waited to see if they passed Mizz Emma's inspection. After she looked them up and down, and front and back, she declared them fit to be seen in church with her and they set off for the chapel.

It was a short walk from her house to the church and they strolled down the avenue, Mizz Emma's arms linked daintily within the crooks of the men's elbows. Emma stopped and greeted everyone she met, being sure to introduce the two handsome cowboys escorting her.

Back at the house, Hank was ready to leave himself. Walking down the short hallway that connected the upstairs bedrooms, he passed the room shared by Joshua and Thaddeus.

A few paces past the door; almost at the head of the staircase, he suddenly stopped. He stood still for a moment, having been struck by an idea. Already feeling a little guilty for what he was considering, but being even more curious than guilty, he turned around. He contemplated some more before he went to the door. Before long, the lawman inside him won out and, hesitantly, he turned the knob and swung the door open.

The room was neatly picked up, just the way Emma would have liked it. Hank looked around. Two satchels stood near the dresser, empty. He opened the drawers of the dresser, one by one. Men's clothes and toiletry items were placed neatly in each of them. With mixed feelings, Hank searched through each drawer, not really sure what he was looking for and feeling more and more guilty with each pass.

Finally satisfied that there was nothing unusual in the dresser, he closed the bottom drawer and turned and surveyed the room once more. As he was about to leave, he picked up the book on the nightstand next to the bed. "Walden" was printed on the spine. Henry David Thoreau. Impressed at Joshua or Thaddeus' taste in reading material, he opened the book and scanned some of the pages.

Wedged between two pages, Hank came across some crumpled sheets. His eyes locked on these papers, not sure if he really wanted to know what was printed on them. Dropping the book on the bed, he slowly unfolded the sheets of paper. Lips moving slightly, he read the words printed there. Stunned, he read them again a second time and then a third. After he was satisfied that he understood their meaning, he carefully folded the sheets again and placed them in his pocket.

Closing the door gently behind him, he moved slowly down the stairs, feeling every one of his sixty-nine years.


* * * * * *

In the church, once the initial discomfort of being in an unfamiliar place passed and the congregation was well into the opening hymn, Heyes and Curry began to find the experience "tolerable".

The church was a simple rough-hewn building, unadorned by stained glass, gold, or silver. Behind the utilitarian altar was a polished and gleaming wooden cross. The pastor's prayer book was open and lying on the altar, dead center. The congregation sat on unpadded and uncomfortable-looking wooden benches that took the place of pews. Kid silently prayed that the service wouldn't last too long…sitting on them was likely to get mighty tiresome before too much time passed.

The voices raised in song were not all good, but it appeared that they were all passionate in their desire to lift their voices up in praise. They listened as the first off-key, monotonous strains filled the small chapel unaccompanied by any instrument. Mizz Emma passed each of them a hymnal and showed them where to turn. Gamely, they joined their voices with the rest of the congregation, while Mizz Emma gazed on them with motherly affection before joining in herself.

They were still suffering the curious stares of the parishioners but they were mostly friendly stares, some more friendly than others, of course. The young women and girls of the congregation could be caught sneaking quick glances at the two rugged, well-built cowboys. These glances were met by small, easy smiles from one or the other, or both, if they happened to be looking in the right direction at the right time. That brought sweet blushes to the cheeks of the girls. If their mothers happened to be the ones who caught them staring, their glances were answered by sharp tugs on the sleeves of their Sunday best.

Sitting on the bench opposite Emma, Heyes, and Curry were Hank and his family; his sister Mabel and her son, Wesley. The looks coming from Wesley were not nearly as friendly. He hardly took his eyes off his two suspects the entire service. A couple of times, Heyes and Curry returned his glare with smiles, Heyes sharing the smile that he reserved for people he didn't particularly like and Kid treating him to a steel-eyed sneer which sent a little shiver down Weaselly's spine. Still, his eyes were drawn to the two, even though he was more than a little afraid of the blond one.

Hank's stares were more unsettling to Heyes. There was something in his eyes that he couldn't read and it made him more than a little uncomfortable. Hank's looks weren't hostile like the ones coming from Wesley but they weren't quite friendly either like Heyes would expect from someone who didn't suspect him of anything. If he had to guess, he would say Hank looked unsure of his own feelings and maybe a little worried. Heyes hoped he would get a chance to talk to Hank soon and draw some information out of the old man.

After church was through, Heyes and Curry escorted Mizz Emma back to her house. Emma chatted cheerily while they walked. "Wasn't the Reverend especially eloquent today? Thanksgiving sermons are so moving, don't you think?"

"Ummm…very nice. Will Hank be joining us for dinner, Mizz Emma?"

"Hmmm? Oh, no, he'll be spending most of today with his own family. That's why I'm so glad I have the two of you to share the day with. Otherwise, it would be a very lonely time for me."

Heyes frowned, "Too bad. I was hoping to get to talk to him some today."

Unaware of his partner's newfound concerns, Kid asked Emma. "So you never heard from your daughters then?"

"No, I don't expect they'll be making it home this year. It's quite a long way by wagon and the children are small. Ah, well. Maybe for Christmas," she said wistfully.

Kid and Emma continued talking casually until they reached her house. Kid didn't notice that his friend had gone silent and not uttered another word after inquiring about Hank. He was already thinking about the dinner Emma would be setting before them later.


* * * * * *

At Mabel's house across town, Wesley was hounding his uncle. Hank was slumped in a fatly cushioned chair in his sister's front room, watching his nephew pace back and forth in front of him. Wesley was in a froth. "Listen Uncle. You need to help me get the goods on those two."

Hank attempted to wave Wesley off, but Wesley would have no part of that. He continued to badger his uncle, intent on finding a way to regain his former job and stature in the community. Hank watched his lips move, fascinated with the way his nose twitched as his mouth formed the words.

Staring, unhearing, at Wesley as he droned on and on, Hank found himself thinking about the two men staying in the house across town. He had allowed the notion that Wesley might be right about them, that they might be men with a price on their heads. This would not be out of the realm of possibility.

He had considered that the two might be wanted, maybe a couple of small time thieves or rustlers. But when he had opened out those two wanted posters, Hank was stunned to find out that Joshua and Thaddeus were actually Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, notorious outlaws wanted for numerous train and bank robberies.

Now he needed a little time to think, to try to figure out what he should do about them. If only Wesley would just get out of his face so he could concentrate a little…He was seriously considering repaying Wesley in kind for shooting him in the leg when, presently, Mabel called from the kitchen for her son to "stop pestering your Uncle Hank and come out here and help me with dinner".

Wesley stomped towards the kitchen, muttering something about "women's work". Watching him walk away, Hank drew a deep breath and expelled it slowly, blowing through his lips, silently thanking his sister for rescuing him.

Exhausted from the morning's developments, he closed his eyes and tried to wrap his mind around the problems facing him. They unfolded this way, near as he could figure…First, he was an ex-lawman. He had a duty to uphold the law and that meant turning Heyes and Curry in. On the other hand, if he did this, he'd be helping Wesley get what he wanted, his deputy job back. Hank would sooner shoot himself in the other leg than see that happen.

On the third hand, if he let them just ride off into the sunset, so to speak, there's no telling what crimes they might pull in the future. Running out of hands, he remembered that he had, a while back, heard a rumor that Heyes and Curry were trying to go straight. When he first heard it, it had seemed pretty unbelievable and he hadn't given it much thought since. But that had been several months already and to be honest, he hadn't heard of the pair being involved in any robberies since, so maybe the rumor was true after all. Then again, maybe it wasn't.

By the time Mabel called him to the dinner table, Hank's head was positively spinning from confusion. He could barely taste the turkey she had spent much of the day carefully preparing. His mind was still off somewhere else when she served the apple pie and homemade ice cream she had made for dessert.

The only thing he was rightly thankful for that particular Thanksgiving Day was that Wesley didn't want his mother to know what he had in mind, so there was no discussion or wheedling done at the table. Unfortunately, before long, dinner was over and Hank retired to the chair in the front room to "relax" and digest his meal. Wesley was right on his heels, picking up where he had left off earlier. Hank gave up any hope of properly digesting anything as he vainly attempted to block out his nephew's whiny, nasal voice.


* * * * * *

Across town, Heyes and Curry were locked in a conversation of their own. Emma had gone directly to her kitchen as soon as they stepped in the front door, tying on the apron she had left draped over a chair as she went. The men could hear her in there, busily working, clattering things about, so they weren't concerned that she might overhear what they were discussing.

Heyes told Kid his worries about Hank. "I'm telling you Kid. It was like he was a completely different person."

"How so?"

"If I had to describe it…I'd say he looked more like a lawman than a retired lawman. You know how lawmen are, always looking at a fella sort of suspicious-like. That was Hank this morning in church."

"Can't say that I noticed. But I'm more than willing to go along with what you say. So what do you think we oughta do? You think we oughta leave?"

"Probably."

"OK. Let's go then."

"Uh, uh."

"What?"

"I said we probably oughta go. But we ain't gonna."

"Oh, Heyes…again?"

"Fraid so, Kid. If we leave now it's gonna look mighty suspicious to everyone, not just our friend Weaselly and Uncle Hank. We gotta stay at least until after dinner…then we'll go, nice and casual-like."

"If you say so, Heyes…I just hope we get that chance."


* * * * * *

Hank's eyes opened slowly. "Wesley…Wesley!" he raised his voice, trying to get his nephew to shut up and listen for a minute.

Wesley stopped talking in mid-sentence, pursing his lips, annoyed at being cut off. "Yes, Uncle?"

"I was just thinking how nice it would be to have some of that rhubarb wine that Mrs. Brown sent over last fall. It's down in the root cellar isn't it? Would you mind going down and grabbing a bottle or two?"

Grudgingly, Wesley agreed, "Alright, but you wait right here. We have more talking to do."

"Oh, I will, I will."

Hank watched Wesley leave the house. The entrance to the root cellar was at the very rear of Mabel's home. The cellar itself was a dark, dank, cool hole dug into the ground. It was an excellent place to store the produce that Mabel lovingly preserved each harvest season. Hank just thought of another use for it.

He got up from his chair, old bones creaking, and as stealthily and quietly as he could followed his nephew outside. By the time he got near the entrance to the cellar, the wooden door was propped open and Wesley was down in the hole. Hank could hear him searching around through the glass jars and bottles arranged on the shelves below, looking for the rhubarb wine. The light from the lantern he had carried down with him reflected eerie shadows off the walls below.

Quietly, Hank took hold of the wooden plank holding the door open. Working quickly, he closed up the opening and barred it with the plank. From below, he could faintly hear his nephew yell. The cellar was pretty much soundproof so Hank wasn't worried Mabel would hear her son anytime soon. Hank figured Wesley could just cool his heels in there for the night. Tomorrow he would come and let him out, no harm done really.

In the meantime, he had things to do. He would handle Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry his own way, eventually. Leastways, he wouldn't have to worry about Wesley getting in the way.

Hank went back into the house and settled himself on the divan. A self-satisfied smile spread across his face as he made himself comfortable. "Finally, some peace and quiet," he thought. Then he drifted off to sleep, content to worry about Heyes and Curry later.


* * * * * *

"Sure smells good in there Mizz Emma. Anything we can do to help?" Curry asked their hostess on one of her many trips from the kitchen to the dining room.

"Oh, no, you boys just sit there and relax. Have some more of that rhubarb wine while you wait. Mrs. Brown makes the best wine in the whole county. Prize-winning, actually."

"Thank you, don't mind if I do," Heyes smiled, bringing the bottle with him to the front room and filling his glass and Kid's, too.

"You don't know how much it means to me to have you boys here. The thought of spending Thanksgiving alone…well, it's just too much to bear." Emma stood looking at her dining room table for a moment. "Alright, it looks like everything is here. Are you boys ready for dinner?"

"Yes, ma'am," Curry answered, joining her in admiring the heavily laden table, set for three.

"Looks great, Mizz Emma."

"Well, I hope you're hungry. I think I cooked enough food for-"

She was interrupted by the heavy tap-tap-tap of the doorknocker hitting the front door. Startled, she asked, "Now who can that be?" Before she could answer it, the door burst open. Emma's eyes widened in surprise and joy to see her two daughters and their families rush in. "Rachel! Sarah! What-How in land sakes did you get here? And look at these children!"

"Mama, you didn't think we'd let you spend Thanksgiving alone if we could help it, did you?" Her daughters, one with a baby in her arms, rushed to hug their mother. All three women had tears in their eyes as they embraced. When they finally disengaged themselves, Emma bent down to look at the two little boys toddling around their mothers' ankles.

"Look at you two! You have grown so much since the last time I saw you! Come give Gramma a hug." She opened her arms wide and the two little ones dove in. Planting kisses on both little heads, Emma looked like she might start to cry. "This is the best gift anyone could give me," she said.

Finally standing up, she introduced Joshua and Thaddeus to her family. Then she and her daughters headed for the kitchen to grab more place settings for the table. "Good thing I cooked enough food to feed an army," Emma joked happily.

"There was never any doubt in my mind that you would, Mama," one of her daughters quipped in return.

A little while later, they were all seated at the table, ready to enjoy the Thanksgiving feast. Emma said grace, and then the food was passed. Everyone was eating and enjoying their food when suddenly Rachel reached into her skirt pocket and pulled out the brass doorknocker. "Mama, this fell off when we knocked on the door. You really need to have someone fix it."

Emma and Heyes looked at Kid, who had frozen in mid-bite. Then two of them burst out laughing at the third's wounded expression. Kid reached across the table for the doorknocker. "I'll fix that later."

Heyes grabbed it before Kid could get ahold of it. "Maybe you better let me fix it, Thaddeus."

Early the next day, Heyes and Curry were in their room, getting ready to leave. Once their bags were packed and ready to go, Curry said triumphantly, "Well, Joshua, looks like we didn't have anything to worry about after all. It don't appear that Wesley or Hank has any idea who we really are. I bet we could stay on here---"

Heyes was looking at the book that he had been reading a couple nights before, searching through the pages, first casually and then becoming increasingly agitated.

"What's the matter, Heyes?"

Heyes looked at his friend with a wide-eyed, nearly frantic expression. "Kid, did you take the wanted posters out of this book?"

Kid shook his head slowly, "I didn't even know they were in the book."

"I think maybe we better get going. Now!"

"Maybe you're right. Let's go."

The two men tiptoed out of their room and down the stairs, hoping to avoid running into anyone else. Just as they hit the bottom stair, Mizz Emma came out of the kitchen. "Boys. Come have breakfast. Everyone is just sitting down."

"Uh…Sorry, Mizz Emma. We can't. We gotta get moving on. We just remembered someplace we gotta be. Soon."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. It's been such a joy having you here and you've done such marvelous work around the place. I'm going to miss you."

Heyes and Kid were in a rush, edging towards the door as Kid spoke, "We'll miss being here too, but we-"

"Well, wait just a minute anyway. Let me go and get the money I owe you."

After collecting their money and saying their final goodbyes, the two men bolted from the house and down the steps of the porch, thinking they were finally in the clear. Just as their feet hit the pathway, they heard from behind them, the too-familiar click of a side-arm's hammer being drawn back and locked.

Instinctively, they froze in their tracks and raised their hands to where they could be seen. Then they slowly turned to see who had gotten the drop on them.

Hank was sitting in the rocking chair on the porch, six-shooter in hand and aimed squarely at Kid and Heyes.

"Hank," Kid groaned.

'Mr. Curry…Mr. Heyes."

"What are you doing, Hank? What's the gun for?" Heyes asked.

"Oh, this? This is just a little insurance. You see, I need to talk to you boys and since Mr. Curry here has quite the reputation with a gun, I just thought it would be prudent to be prepared."

"So now what? You gonna turn us in?"

"Well, I been thinking about that. Barely slept a wink last night. You boys have created quite a problem for me, you know."

"Sorry to hear that."

"Course, I should turn you in, seeing as how I was sheriff here for over twenty years. Not to mention that reward…"

Hank rose with difficulty from his chair and made his way stiffly down the stairs to stand just a few feet away from Heyes and Curry.

"But if I do that, my no-good nephew would find some way to turn it to his advantage and get his job back. I can't let that happen."

"You're right, Hank. That would be a bad thing, a real bad thing," Heyes agreed.

"Uh, huh. You sure wouldn't want that."

"But I can't in good conscience let two notorious crooks like you fellas just walk away scot free."

The two outlaws looked defeated.

"Only thing is, I really like you boys and I know Emma would be crushed to find out I got you locked up. So let me ask you this…any truth to the rumor that the two of you are trying to go straight…to get amnesty from the governor?"

"Uh…we aren't really free to talk about that but given the circumstances, you holding that gun and all, we ain't gonna deny it either."

Hank stared at them, eyes narrowed into an appraising squint. "OK, that's good enough for me. Now you need to get out of this town. Don't stop until you're a good piece away either. Wesley is gonna be jumpin' mad when I let him outa that cellar and-"

"Cellar?"

"Uh…you let me worry about him. You better go." By now, Hank had reholstered his gun.

"Thanks Hank. Pleasure meeting you." First Heyes, then Curry shook Hank's hand hurriedly. Then they both turned away, eager to get their horses and head on out of town.

"Oh, boys. One more thing." Hank reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out some papers. Heyes and Curry knew without being told that these were their wanted posters. "You might as well take these. I don't have any use for them."

"How did you-"

"It don't matter how I got 'em. Get moving before I change my mind…and don't come back."

"Yessir. You don't have to tell us twice. C'mon Heyes. Let's go."


* * * * * *

Later that day, after putting a considerable distance between themselves and the town, Heyes asked Kid, "So whadaya think of Thanksgiving?"

After giving the question some consideration, Kid answered, "It was good, Heyes. Only next year, maybe we just oughta skip it."

.


Fanfic inspired by this "episode"
The Discovery and Lost
A conversation between Heyes and Curry in this episode also inspired Leah to write two new fanfic stories giving her take on the events of their childhood. The two stories - The Discovery and Lost - can be found on the fanfiction.net site at https://www.fanfiction.net/u/897756/LeahAnders

 

3.6 If You Can’t Trust a Lawman, Who Can You Trust? by Leah Anders

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 

Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You can reply to topics in this forum
Stories: Alias Smith and Jones  :: Virtual Season :: Virtual Season Stories prior to 2008-
Reply to topicJump to: