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 3.3 Never Get Involved In Another Man's Feud by Dusty Boots

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Join date : 2013-10-13

20150511
Post3.3 Never Get Involved In Another Man's Feud by Dusty Boots

"I don't understand what you're complaining about. It's been dry for days, we had a nice fat rabbit for breakfast and there's no posse in sight. Really Kid, you should appreciate our current situation a bit more than you're doing now." Hannibal Heyes said with mock concern.

"Heyes, we spent 2 extra days on horseback because you supposedly knew the way, last night we had to sleep on rocks and that rabbit was scrawny." was Kid's down-to-earth reply. Heyes' smile faded - how was he to counter that one?

"You know, my grandma always said…"

"Hold it right there!" a voice suddenly called out of nowhere. The two ex-outlaws immediately obliged, scanning the area to see who was calling them. Kid's hand went for his gun, but he stopped when the voice said,

"And leave that gun where it is! I got you covered! Put those hands up!"



Starring

Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes
Ben Murphy as Kid Curry


Guest Stars



Paul Newman as Bartender Morgan Hadley

Gabriel Byrne as Mayor Jonathan Burrows

Ron Howard as Gideon McCartney

Barbara Babcock as Abigail McCartney

Colm Meaney as Bull O'Malley

Diane Ladd as Mrs O'Malley

Billy Boyd as Attacker / O'Malley in jail

Johnny Cash as Poppy O'Halloran

June Carter Cash as Mrs O'Halloran

Drew Fuller as #1 / Malachy O'Halloran


Never Get Involved In Another Man's Feud
by Dusty Boots



"I don't understand what you're complaining about. It's been dry for days, we had a nice fat rabbit for breakfast and there's no posse in sight. Really Kid, you should appreciate our current situation a bit more than you're doing now." Hannibal Heyes said with mock concern.

The two ex-outlaws Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry had been riding for several days in a landscape that was boring to say the least. They had spend a nice couple of days in the little town of Boots Hill and only left because they never liked to stay in the same town for long. For reasons of security, Heyes said. Unfortunately for Kid this meant that he had to leave a rather comfortable bed and the delicious meals that Alice Carnegie made in her kitchen. To make things worse, Heyes had been very optimistic that the next town was only a two day's ride, but he had taken the wrong turn, which resulted in some extra days on horseback and outdoor sleeping. And a grumbling Kid Curry.

"Heyes, we spent 2 extra days on horseback because you supposedly knew the way, last night we had to sleep on rocks and that rabbit was scrawny." was Kid's down-to-earth reply. Heyes' smile faded - how was he to counter that one?

"You know, my grandma always said…"

"Hold it right there!" a voice suddenly called out of nowhere. The two ex-outlaws immediately obliged, scanning the area to see who was calling them. Kid's hand went for his gun, but he stopped when the voice said, "And leave that gun where it is! I got you covered! Put those hands up!"

"You reckon Joe Sims had a brother?" Kid whispered as he held his hands up, but Heyes could not answer, as he was as confused as his partner was. The confusion changed to surprise when a young man walked up to them, an old rifle pointed at the two ex-outlaws. He was in his early twenties, his hair was fair and spiky, but what was most remarkable was the size of his nose. It was huge. And as a nice bonus, it was also bright red.

"You sure picked the wrong men to rob - we've been out for days and ain't got a nickel on us. We were on our way to the next town, trying to find us a job." Heyes started, but he was cut short.

"I don't care about your money! Show me your ears!"

Now Heyes and Curry were really confused. Slowly they reached for their hats and took them off. Their attacker nodded approvingly.

"They're ok. Carry on."

And with that, he turned around and left. As they put their hats back on, Heyes wondered, "What do you suppose was all that about?"

But Kid only shrugged.

"Probably the local idiot."

They continued on their way. The wind started blowing and they pulled their bandanas over their faces to protect themselves against the sand that freely flew up and stung their eyes.

"Hold it right there!" a voice suddenly called again, "Or I'll blast yer heads off!"

"What the…"

From out of the undergrowth came another man, again in his mid-twenties. His hair was short and bright black, but most noticeable were his ears. They were big, to say the least.

"Take off your bandanas, I wanna see your noses."

Wearily and not having much choice, they did as told, and Heyes noticed that Kid's mood wasn't improving. The stranger rubbed his chin thoughtfully, and then nodded. "Alright. Carry on."

Kid leaned forward and grabbed the man's collar. He gave him an angry glare and asked, "Why on earth are people in this area checking out every newcomer's face, now huh? A mile ago, there was a guy, who wanted to see our ears! What's next? A beauty contest?"

Apparently Kid said something wrong, although he didn't have the foggiest idea what. The guy with the big ears exploded.

"Your ears? Who wanted to see them? Where the devil did that guy go?"

"Oh, he went that way." Heyes pointed in the direction where they just came from. He still had no idea what was going on, but thought it was quite humorous.

"Thank you, sir!"

Their attacker politely tipped his hat in gratitude and before Kid could stop him, ran off in the direction Heyes had shown him.

"There are some weird people walking around here." Kid said as they watched the man disappear.

"Uh-hm. You'd fit right in. " Heyes nodded in agreement. He turned to Kid and added with a wicked grin.

"Now what's that supposed to mean?"

"Well, you're fair like that first guy, not to mention you can be a bit weird at times… and your nose..."

He stopped as he caught Kid's eye and quickly turned his face, looking at the road ahead, shaking his head with a little smile as he prompted his horse to walk. "Come on. We might make it before nightfall."

* * * * *

They reached the little town of Gold Hill late in the afternoon and the first thing they noticed was that, unfortunately, there was a sheriff's office, which meant they had to check out who the sheriff was before they could settle themselves for some big glasses of cool and wet beer.

They got off their horses and tied them to the fence in front of the saloon annex hotel.

"Do we have to, Heyes?" Kid complained as he looked at the sheriff"s office.

Heyes clasped him encouraging on the shoulder. "Come on. It'll only hurt for a minute."

"That's what the blacksmith said to the horse before he got kicked." Kid continued sadly, causing Heyes to grin.

They were on the sidewalk, about to enter the building, when a man stormed out. He halted on the street, stopped and looked on his vest. He pulled off a tin star and threw it away. On the doorstep, a brown haired man with worried eyes called after him, "Jake! You can't do this!"

"You bet I can!" was the angry reply. The angry man marched into the brothel and slammed the door.

"I say we head for those beers right now." Kid said.

"For once, I'm in total agreement." Heyes grinned. They tipped their hats to the man in the doorstep, turned around and headed for the saloon.

The bartender stood behind the bar and was busy cleaning glasses. Heyes, noting the small wrinkles around the man's steel blue eyes and his lightly graying hair, estimated the man to be in his early fifties. He also reckoned he had been a bartender for a quite some years, because as the two ex-outlaws entered the saloon, they were discreetly measured up. They seemed to get his approval, when he warm-heartedly greeted them. "Well good afternoon, gents. What can I do for you?"

"Two cold beers please!" Curry ordered eagerly, as he sat down and leaned with one elbow on the bar.

"And we would like to have a room too." Heyes added as he gave his partner a slightly disapproving look. It was a quiet afternoon and they noticed they were the only people in the saloon. The bartender returned with their beers. Having not much else to do, the bartender asked them if they'd travelled far.

"Why actually…" Kid started but then someone called from behind them, "Take off your hats, strangers! I wanna see your ears!"

Heyes coughed - nearly choking in a swallow of beer, whereas Kid was on the edge of losing his temper. He swirled around and faced another guy with an enormous nose. He threw off his hat and snarled, "There - happy now?"

"Yes - they're no O'Halloran ears." The stranger said, as he ordered a drink from the bartender.

Heyes coughed a final time and croaked, "I'll drink to that."

"I got the ears of a C... Jones. "

"Well, that's worth a drink. Cheers!"

The three men turned to their drinks, but then a second voice said, "And you're lucky not to have that big beak of an O'Malley!"

And before anyone could prevent it, each man threw down a table and dove behind it. Kid realized quickly where this was leading when he noticed the man closest to him reached for his gun.

"Down!" Kid yelled, pulling Heyes to the ground. It was just in time as within seconds they were caught in a shootout. Fortunately it didn't last long - two dry clicks announced that the guns were empty. The guy behind the nearest table grumbled and headed out the saloon, shortly after followed by the guy behind the other table.

"This ain't over yet, O'Halloran!"

"You bet it ain't, O'Malley!"

After the two men had left, Heyes and Curry slowly rose again. Kid carefully took his hat off and shook it, creating a small waterfall of glass. He looked at Heyes. "You ok?"

"Sorta." His partner grumbled. Heyes had left his hat on the bar when Kid pulled him down and now his face showed pure disgust as his fingers went through his beer-soaked hair.

The bartender carefully peered over the bar again and groaned at the state his saloon was in. Several bottles were shattered, as well as a mirror on the wall.

"How am I supposed to run a saloon this way?" he muttered as he shook his head.

Feeling a bit sorry for the bartender, Kid ordered two new beers and asked the bartender to tell what exactly was going in his town. The bartender, who went by the name of Morgan Hadley, got Heyes a towel and fetched two new beers. And while Heyes dried his hair, Morgan started to talk.

"Well gentlemen, as you just saw, there's an old war going on between two of the town's most respectable families, the O'Malleys and the O'Hallorans. Lord knows when it all started and the devil may know why. Fact is that whenever an O'Malley spots an O'Halloran, or the other way around, they start shooting at each other. The O'Malleys all have big red noses, and the O'Hallorans have big ears - that's how they recognize each other."

"What happens if someone has a big nose or big ears and he's not an O'Malley or an O'Halloran?" Heyes wanted to know as he ran his fingers through his hair to see if all the glass had come out.

"Then he's in big trouble. But most anyone with any resemblance to the two families and a bit of sense has already left town."

"But if they keep shooting each other, there can't be many of them left, now can there?" Kid said.

Morgan smiled slightly. "Hate to disappoint you, but there's plenty of them left. In case you hadn't noticed, they're lousy shots. Howdy Mayor."

Morgan quickly got up from his chair, but the grey-haired gentleman entering the saloon motioned him to sit down again. He took a chair and joined the three men at the table. The man introduced himself as Jonathan Burrows. Heyes noticed that the mayor appeared as a cheerful, warm person, but his eyes were worried and his hands nervously played with the chain of his pocketwatch.

"Another argument, Morgan?"

"Mayor - it can't go on like this. People are staying away. A couple more rows like this and I have to shut the place down!"

"How often do these eh… arguments happen?"

"It was the third one in the saloon this week - and it's only Thursday! You've got to do something!"

"Morgan, this has gone beyond me." Jonathan sighed "And now Jake has left too..."

"You mean we got no sheriff?" Morgan asked incredulously.

The mayor worriedly shook his head.

"As of this morning we don't." He turned to Curry and Heyes who barely managed to hide their relief. Then they felt the question coming. "You two looking for a job?"

"Surely you don't want to ask those two to become sheriff?" Morgan interrupted "They only just got here and I kinda like them. It's been a while since we saw some new faces around here. On top of that, they haven't paid me yet and I don't prefer to bury clients who have debts with me. Besides, everybody knows it's impossible to solve that feud!"

"If you ask me anything is possible, as long as you put your mind to it." Heyes declared as he put his hat back on and Kid looked at his partner with a disagreeing frown. His eyes signalled a clear "Heyes - don't!" but Heyes smiled it away.

"Why, Mr. Smith, I'm afraid I've been too long in this town. I don't see how this can be solved. But maybe you, as a stranger, might go and talk to them. Perhaps they're more eager to listen to someone who is not from here." the mayor said thoughtfully.

"Gentlemen - will you excuse us for a minute? Josh?" Kid angrily nodded with his head to signal that he'd like to have a serious word with his partner out of earshot. Outside, he hissed angrily at his partner. "Heyes - what are you doing? Don't you think that being involved in one feud is enough?"

"Well, it can't hurt to try, now can it?"

"Excuse me? Only half an hour ago, we nearly got killed and you say it can't hurt?" Kid got angry, "We can't get involved in this just because you are bored and need something to do!"

"What?"

"That's right. We haven't had a posse on our tail for two weeks now and you're getting restless. I know you Heyes!"

Heyes rolled his eyes and glared impatiently away from Kid, into the street. He knew his partner was right and that irritated him more than he was willing to show.

"Besides, how would you solve it? You got a plan?"

"Well, how about paying both families a visit, hearing what the problem is and trying to solve it by getting them to negotiate."

Kid was baffled. "Heyes, they're Irish."

"Yeah, so?"

"They're too stubborn to listen!"

"Funny you should say that!" Heyes could not resist remarking with a smirk before turning serious again. "Look, I never asked you to get involved."

"Good, 'cause I ain't!"

"You ain't what?"

"Getting involved. I'm telling you Heyes. If you want to be part of this, you're on your own here. "

It was a desperate attempt to change Heyes' mind, but unfortunately for Kid, it had the opposite effect. Heyes too dug in his heels, not willing to change his mind. "You finished?"

"No."

"Good."

And with that, the two men headed back into the saloon again.

"Mr. Burrows - what would be the reward if the feud was ended?" Heyes asked the mayor.

Mayor Burrows looked up hopefully. "You say you're willing to take the job?"

"Yes sir, I am."

Morgan rolled his eyes.

"Can't believe I'm hearing this! I took you for a smarter man, Smith."

The look on Kid's face told him that for once he agreed with a complete stranger.

* * * * *

The next morning, after a quiet breakfast in the saloon with a stubbornly silent Curry for company, Heyes saddled his horse and headed for the O'Malley farm. The place seemed deserted, so he called out, "Anyone home?"

He was greeted by rifles pointed at him from several windows and a voice calling, "Hands up, and hold your nose in the sun so we can see it!"

"My name is Joshua Smith. I'm not an O'Halloran, if that might be the question."

The door opened and a red-haired man with big ears appeared. His clothes looked as if their high-days were long over. Heyes spotted several tears and patches.

"In that case, you're welcome."

"I was looking for the head of the family." Heyes said.

"He's inside. Please, come on in." O'Malley stepped back and let Heyes into the farmhouse. Inside, he was greeted by two young children crawling over the floor, playing with some wooden toys. A young boy, Heyes guessed he must eleven or twelve, sat at the kitchen table, working on what looked like homework. And then there was an older man, sitting near the window, smoking a pipe, discussing something with his son. The man was tall, his face showed signs of a long life spent working on the fields.

The man who let Heyes in, introduced himself as Aaron O'Malley.

"Pa? Here's a Mr. Smith, he said he'd like to have a word with you."

The older man ended his conversation and his son shooed the others out of the room. His eyes reminded Heyes of glowing black coals, but apart from the sharpness, he thought he also spotted a glimmer of humor. The man greeted him with a thick accent that betrayed his Irish descent.

"Good morning, Mr. Smith, I'm Bull O'Malley. What can I do for you?"

"Well, I am new to the area and I kinda got lost. I hoped you would share a meal…"

"Why sure!" Bull said enthusiastically and Heyes thanked him with a smile.

"You'll have to wait though, two of my boys rode out an hour ago to fetch some water and they haven't returned yet."

Heyes looked out of the window and frowned. Only a hundred feet away, behind a fence, was a stream with bright, clear water.

"They've been away for an hour? But there's a stream only feet away, just behind that fence!"

Bull's peaceful mood faded slightly as he explained,

"That river is in O'Halloran land and they don't want us to use the water. Ten years ago, there was a great drought and I suffered nearly as much as I did back in Ireland during the famine, but I didn't ask a drop of water from the O'Hallorans! And they washed their skinny behinds in the river, just to bait us! Floating on their backs in that dang river of theirs, waving with their handkerchiefs!"

During his speech, Bull got more and more riled up and it reminded Heyes a bit of Kid, because the more Bull got angry, the louder he yelled. At this point, he leaned forward over Heyes and his black eyes burned dangerously as he continued, "Even if they delivered it in silver buckets, I'd rather die than take their water - understand!"

One of Bull's sons worriedly entered the room. "What's going on, pa?"

Poppy pointed angrily at Heyes and spat accusingly, "He wants me to use O'Halloran water! He's a spy!"

Smiling as apologetically as he could, Heyes began to talk in his most humble voice, "I'm a what? But sir, no, you misunderstood, I…"

But O'Malley junior prodded him in the ribs with a rifle and Heyes slowly put his hands up in the air. He knew when to throw in his cards. Minutes later, he was back on his horse, speeding off from the O'Malley farm.

* * * * *

As many problems as his partner had, so easy seemed the life of Kid Curry. Shortly after Heyes had left, Kid had asked around for a job, just so he could kill time and earn some extra money. In the grocery store, he had met Gideon McCartney, a nine-year old boy with bright red hair, a face full of freckles and sparkling green eyes. When Gideon heard Kid needed a job, the boy had offered Kid fifty cents if he helped him whiten his aunt's fence. The only other job the store-owner could come up with was rebuilding the telegraph office, which involved carpentry. Kid's thumbs started itching at the bare thought of having to hold a hammer, so he took Gideon's offer on the condition that it had to be in agreement with his aunt.

Gideon's aunt, Mrs. Abigail McCartney, was a lady in her late fifties. She was a bit suspicious at first ("What grown man would take a job whitening fences for that little money?"), but quickly fell for Kid's charms. She soon was happy with Mr. Jones' help. Not only would the job be done faster, but it was a calming thought that someone would be looking after her nephew. This way she could do her chores inside without worrying too much. All in all, it turned out as a pleasant day for Kid. Gideon was nice company, talking almost non-stop about all things important to a nine-year old.

At three o'clock, the fence was done and Mrs. McCartney treated her two workers to a glass of cool lemonade and a good piece of delicious cranberry pie. When they were finished, a friend of Gideon walked by and asked if Gideon was up for a swim. Kid said goodbye to Gideon, who paid him his fifty cents. Since Mrs. McCartney didn't have the money to pay him anything extra, she invited him to dinner. Kid thanked her for the offer, tipped his hat and headed back to the hotel to see if Heyes had returned yet.

He found his partner in the livery stable, where he was unsaddling his horse. Kid quickly stepped back when a saddle was thrown at his feet. Then he ducked when a rolled-up blanket flew through the air, nearly hitting him. He grinned and leaned comfortably against a beam. "Any luck?" he asked with a suppressed smile.

If looks could kill, there wouldn't be much left of Kid Curry. Heyes was angry. Very angry. "Don't!"

"Don't what?" Kid asked confused.

"Don't give me that "I told you so" speech. I hate that. As a matter of fact, I'm beginning to dislike the Irish in general." And with that, he threw the brush aside, and marched out into the street.

"So when are we leaving?" Kid asked calmly.

"Tomorrow. Dawn. Preferably sooner!" was the growled reply. Curry decided that it might be wiser to let his partner cool down for a while and silently they walked towards the saloon.

But Heyes knew he could forget a little peace and quiet when he saw the mayor. The older man stood up and failed terribly to hide his excitement. "Mr. Smith! How good it is to see you again! Please tell me - was your... excursion successful?"

Heyes was about to sneer something cynical, but then he realized that the man looked rather desperate. With great effort he managed to hold himself back and said, "Quite frankly - I think they should sort it out themselves. The only reason that I am still alive is that none of them could hit a hole in a ladder! Really, mayor, I think you should let them find the solution themselves. I mean, if they don't want to reason... Besides, it's only small fights..."

"Mr. Smith - I'd be more than happy to let them sort it out themselves if it was just small fights." the mayor sighed, as he ordered a whiskey. "The thing is, they obstruct everything that might benefit this town. They fear that the opposing family might benefit from it. Last month, they blew up the telegraph office, two weeks ago it was the milk factory as retaliation from the other family." He leaned forward on the table, his thumbs playing with the edge of his glass. "I really don't know what to do!"

"That's true. You saw that new bridge about a mile out of town?" Morgan asked. "Well, it's gonna be opened come Saturday, but the way things are going now..."

As if to emphasize his words a loud explosion was heard outside. The four men ran into the street. On the north side of town, a thick cloud of smoke bellowed in the air.

"Oh no!" the mayor said alarmed, followed by a sad "And I practiced so hard. I knew the speech by heart!"

The two friends did not really know what to say, so they quietly turned around and left.

* * * * *

In the evening, Heyes was surprised to find out that Kid had been invited for dinner. It was a pleasant evening with the McCartneys, but their cheerful mood quickly changed to concern. When they returned to their hotel room, they found two notes that had been slid under the door. They both picked one up.

"What's this?" Kid wondered. Heyes unfolded the sheet of paper.

"Mind your own business. O'Malley." he read aloud "What does yours say?"

"Leave while you still can. O'Halloran." read Kid's note. "What did you do this afternoon?"

"We're leaving in the morning, so what could happen?" Heyes said with a shrug and a smile, seemingly unconcerned. "Really, you're worrying too much. I mean, you've seen them shoot."

"I've seen them use dynamite too."

"You just relax. What you need is a good night's sleep. Tomorrow we'll be leaving this whole mess behind."

But despite Heyes' arguments, Kid could not shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen and the young ex-outlaw had a bad sleep that night.

* * * * *

His outlook was no better in the morning, and so they left Gold Hill with Kid quietly grumbling and Heyes wishing his partner was in a better mood. They passed what was left of the destroyed bridge and both frowned as they now saw for real that the mayor had not been exaggerating. The feud was a disaster for the entire town.

As they crossed the ruined bridge, a shot suddenly rang out from the woodlands before them. It missed Heyes, but hit his horse instead. The animal panicked and he had to put in all efforts to stay in the saddle. A second shot only just missed him, but he was thrown off his horse and fell hard to the ground. To make matters worse, the wounded horse lost balance and fell on top of him. Curry, seeing all this happen before him, had a hard time staying on his own horse. He expected more shots, but it became very quiet. In the distance he thought he could see two men with big ears running away. Curry let them - he was concerned about Heyes, who lay very still in the dirt and sand.

* * * * *

Several hours later, Kid looked down at his partner lying in a hotel bed back in Gold Hill. The doctor diagnosed a light concussion and some bruised ribs. He would heal, but since the doctor could not see if Heyes' spine had any damage, he was ordered to lay flat down for a while.

With his partner wounded but looked after, Kid went to the mayor, but not as fast as he wanted to. For outside the saloon, on Main Street, he met with an O'Malley, who asked with a big grin on his face, "How's your friend? Learned to mind his own business?"

It was all Kid needed to hear. He ran over to the O'Malley, whose bravery quickly vanished as he noticed the cool, angry look on Kid's face. He tried to pull his gun, but Kid beat him to it. With a single shot, he sent the man's gun flying into the street. O'Malley looked desperately for a way out as Kid slowed his walk and marched straight toward him, gun still drawn.

"Look mister, it was an accident. We just..." he never got to finish his sentence. With a blow, fuelled by rage, Kid knocked him out cold. For a moment, he didn't know what to do. Then, still angry, he heaved the unconscious form over his shoulder. By this time, a crowd had gathered and all watched, not believing what was happening. Their gazes followed Kid as he marched into the sheriff's office opened a jail and dumped O'Malley on the floor. He walked out of the cell and closed it.

"Mister Jones - what do you think you're doing!" the mayor asked shocked as he walked in.

"Throw him in jail."

"On what grounds?"

"He tried to kill me and my partner earlier today." Kid answered.

"But you can't!" the mayor objected. "This is not legitimate! What would happen if everybody threw everybody in jail just like that!"

Kid gave him his meanest stare and involuntarily the mayor stepped back.

"Listen here, you weasel. Ever since we got here, you've been complainin' about these two families. Instead of complaining and sipping that whiskey, you might get more results by actually doing something about it. And that's what I intend to do. Understood?"

* * * * *

Half an hour later, the mayor left the sheriff's office somewhat shaken. Kid sighed as he wished he was a bit more rational like Heyes. Then he wouldn't have gotten himself in this... mess. He didn't know where to start or what to do. All he knew was that he had to take some action as talking would not help. Maybe he could learn something from him or the papers left by the previous sheriff. He decided thinking was easier to do on a full stomach, so he went to the saloon.

"Well, hello mister Jones! What a delight to see you again!" Morgan roared cheerfully from behind the bar as Kid entered the saloon. "I'd be even more delightful if you changed that look on your face, you're scaring my customers away."

Kid wanted to sneer something at the overly cheerful bartender, but Morgan gave him a waggish grin and despite his mood, Kid returned it.

"Want a beer?" Morgan asked. Kid shook his head.

"Later. Want to check on Joshua first." He excused himself, but Morgan waved the excuse away.

"Don't you worry. Checked on him ten minutes ago, he's sleeping like a new-born baby."

Kid strolled over to the bar, eager to hear some news. "Did he say anything?"

"As a matter of fact, he did!" Morgan said, cleaning the last of his glasses. Kid frowned, knowing the consequences of a feverish Heyes talking too much. Trying not to sound too curious, he asked, "What did he say?"

Morgan's grin grew even bigger. "That if you stopped by, I shouldn't let you go without a good meal. It seems that the fuller your stomach is, the better your mood. Got some stew for you."

After a good meal, he returned to the sheriff's office. As he walked by the alley behind the jailhouse, he heard a loud collision of swear words and insults coming out of the sheriff's office. Kid walked around and saw an O'Halloran standing at the small cell window, yelling abuse and insults at the O'Malley inside. Kid quietly took out his gun and said in a decisive voice, "Alright. That's enough. You're under arrest."

"You can't arrest me!" O'Halloran objected "On what grounds?"

"Disturbing the peace. Now, up with those hands."

By now several people peeked cautiously into the alley, wondering what that new sheriff was up to. Kid lead O'Halloran into the sheriff's office. O'Malley greeted them with a huge grin on his face.

"Got any guns or weapons on you?"

"No."

"Name?"

"Malachy O'Halloran."

"Alright. Malachy, this way."

And to the horror of both prisoners, Kid opened the cell that was occupied by the young O'Malley.

"You're kidding, right?" Malachy said, not quite believing what was about to happen.

"You don't think I want that rodent in my cell!" the O'Malley objected even louder. Kid said nothing, but his face clearly indicated that he was not kidding. Malachy moved away from the cell again, but Kid grabbed his arm, twisted it on his back and pushed Malachy into the cell, slamming the door shut as soon as he was in. Malachy stumbled over his own feet and fell into the arms of the O'Malley. Soon the sounds of fighting were heard outside and the people talked excitedly about their heroic new sheriff.

* * * * *

Nothing happened during the night. Heyes spent most of the time asleep and in the end Kid got bored and went to bed early, because he expected visitors from either the O'Hallorans or the O'Malleys the next morning. As he got up in the morning, he swore that should he ever get that amnesty he'd get a job where he could have more sleep. He checked up on Heyes, but learned he was still asleep. He positioned himself on the roof of the sheriff's office, behind the big sign.

Just before ten in the morning, Curry spotted a group of seven men with big ears coming from the east of town. They were armed with rifles and headed into the main street, straight to the sheriff's office. From the opposite direction came another group of men. They had big noses and were armed with rifles as well - the O'Malleys. The people who already were in the street quickly searched for a safe place to hide as the two families stood face to face.

"What are you doing here, you buncha coyotes?" an O'Halloran asked.

"They're gonna lynch Zachary O'Halloran!" Kid called without being seen. It was all he had to do to start a massive free for all. After about ten minutes, Kid fired twice in the air. The fighting stopped abruptly and everybody looked up to see who was shooting.

"Right fellas - party time's over, so hear me out." He held up a small parcel. "I got some sticks of dynamite in here. I promised the mayor and the rest of the town to solve this darn thing. So I'd be more than happy to use it to blast you to pieces if that's what it takes to settle the matter."

The men murmured, shocked by this bold statement.

"Don't be stupid, sheriff" one called out.

"Great - now you come on over and exchange ideas and all in this jailhouse here, so that the town folk get some peace and quiet."

Still terrified by that madman with dynamite on the roof, the fighting men timidly lined up and walked into the jail.

"Now, leave all that hardware outside." Kid ordered as he stood at the top of the stairs that lead to the roof. He descended and opened the cell that was already occupied by the two now bruised and battered jail mates.

"Unfortunately this jailhouse isn't prepared for such big families, but if you stand up and hold your breath, you should be able to fit in."

As he closed the cell and turned around, he noticed someone standing in the door. It was Heyes, with a look of sheer disgust and suspicion on his face.

"Why, how strange is that? I'm the one who fell under his horse and yet you're the one with the brain injury."

"Well, next time you can do all the talking again." Kid cut him short. He didn't like the way his partner was looking at him, it made him feel like a 10-year old being told off for stealing apples. Kid quickly tried to move so it was out of sight, but it was too late. Heyes' eyes narrowed as he spotted the tin star on his partner's vest.

"Wowowow… What is that?"

"What is what?" Kid turned around as if something unusual was hanging on the wall, but knew he was only delaying the inevitable.

"Don't be funny, what are you doing with that... thing?" Heyes asked, unable to hide the disgust from his face when he noticed the tin star on his partners vest.

"Mayor made me sheriff. Said if I started to throw people in jail, I'd better do it legally. "

"Thought you didn't want to get involved?"

"I didn't! But Zachary O'Malley pulled a gun on me and I eh..."

"Is he..." Heyes asked alarmed. Kid thumbed to the cell behind him.

"No, just sore fingers, that's all. Well, that was before I locked him up."

"Kid - what's gotten into you?"

Kid let out a heavy sigh, "I don't know. This is going too fast for me. What are you doing up anyway? Doctor said you had to lay down for your spine."

"Mayor came in, prancing about that great new sheriff he found. Got me curious. You know how I feel about new sheriffs."

Kid rolled his eyes, indicating that it hadn't been his idea either. Heyes walked in, and nodded at the two families in the cell. They had already started to push each other around and he guessed it would only be a matter of minutes before the jail would explode.

"So - that's your plan? Put them all in jail?"

"Well actually, there is a second step." Kid said hesitantly, as he scratched his neck. Heyes walked over to the stove and poured himself a cup of coffee.

"There is?"

"I'm going to see Bull O'Malley and tell him he can collect his sons under the condition they won't cause any more trouble." Kid delivered the message as if he was going to the grocer's to pick up supplies.

"That won't work. He'll never listen to you."

"Uh-huh, that's what I thought. So you're going."

"I am?"

"Well, you're the one with the silver tongue."

"In case you hadn't noticed: I tried talking to him two days ago and nearly got shot!"

Kid nodded thoughtfully. "He never shot lawmen. Reckon I could make you deputy, if that makes you feel safer."

The shock of that suggestion made Heyes spit out his coffee and it splashed all over the floor. The look on his face clearly read, "you're what?" as Kid looked at him in innocent surprise.

"Anyway, that was then. This time it's going to be different." Kid said as Heyes wiped off his mouth. Heyes handed his mug to Kid for a refill.

"Oh, really? How do you know?"

"As my sage old grandpa said, A boy's best friend is his mother and there's no spansel stronger than her apron string."

As Heyes face clearly showed confusion, he continued, "Bull O'Malley may not listen to you, Heyes, but I got the suspicion his wife will."

"Oh, will she now?" Heyes clearly wasn't convinced. "I would still have to pass her husband before I get to her though! I am not going!"

"Yes you are." Kid said, very happy and optimistic, "Reckon how glad that town will be when we have solved that feud!" Heyes gave no reaction until Kid continued with the hint of a threat,

"Not to mention their joy when their newly elected sheriff caught one notorious outlaw with a 10,000 dollar bounty on his name."

There were some days that you just couldn't win an argument with Kid Curry.

* * * * *

And so Hannibal Heyes found himself on the way to the O'Malley farm again, muttering curses and thinking of all the painful torture he would inflict on his partner upon his return. Like last time, he was greeted at the farm with several shots. He waited until Bull had to reload and then headed straight to the front door. He pulled his gun and swung the door open.

"Drop that gun, O'Malley. I got a message for you from the sheriff!"

"Sheriff? What sheriff? Jake Logan left two days ago." Bull said.

"Yeah well, there's a new one. He says, he's only letting your sons out if you make peace with O'Halloran."

"Never! You can keep the boys! I'd sooner die than make peace with O'Halloran."

"That could be arranged." a soft, yet decisive voice from the kitchen door. A small woman with kind features stood in the opening. With repressed anger she continued, "For years I've been working my back off, because you and the boys are hardly ever around. Fighting the O'Hallorans for God knows what reason."

"But blossom..."

"Don't you blossom me, Bull. This has been going on long enough. It's about time this nonsense stopped. If you don't like that, well I guess you should find yourself another bed to sleep in." she turned to Heyes and said, "You let those boys go, mister and I promise you they won't cause the O'Hallorans anymore trouble."

Heyes sighed with relief and gave her his brightest smile. "Thank you, Mrs. O'Malley, that's all I needed to know."

After that, he rode straight to the O'Hallorans, where the the greeting ceremony repeated itself.

"O'Halloran - it's Smith here. Got a message from the sheriff!"

Poppy O'Halloran came out on the porch, a rifle in his hands. "I give you exactly two minutes!"

"Sheriff wants you to know that he'll be releasing the O'Malleys today."

For the first time since Heyes had met the man, O'Halloran seemed truly horrified.

"And you are leaving me here alone? Without my boys? That's a legal offence!"

"Sheriff's letting them go too... if you make peace with O'Malley."

The result was predictable, Poppy O'Halloran exploded in rage. "Never! Do you hear? Never!"

"Alright, I'll tell him you turned the offer down. Why, never thought I'd see the day that Mrs. O'Malley would be a lot smarter than you are, Poppy." Heyes had half turned his horse when Mrs. O'Halloran declared, "She was right, you know. I am more than fed up with these rascals and their stupid feud!"

"Sugar, why..."

"Don't you start, Poppy. You heard me. Mr. Smith, you let my rascals out and I promise you that they won't cause any harm to those O'Malley rascals!"

"But sugar..." Poppy begged desperately, but he was cut short by his wife.

"But what?"

Poppy stopped as he noticed his wife tighten her grip around the broom in her hands. And with the O'Hallorans settling their argument, Heyes headed back to town.

* * * * *

That night, just after midnight Heyes and Curry were hiding in some trees and bushes just outside O'Malley land. There was a pale moon and they had waited for nearly an hour for all the lights to go out on both farms. During his visit that afternoon, Heyes noted that both families also had dogs, but they were locked during the night. So he didn't worry about an alarm from them.

* * * * *

"Heyes - this is insane." Kid Curry whispered worriedly.

"Not any more insane as you being sheriff." Heyes replied defensively. It worked, Kid was unable to come up with a good counter to that. Heyes sighed impatiently as he glanced for the hundredth time at the two homes in the distance. Just when would that last light go out?

Then he glanced at Kid again, who was still chewing on something. Heyes found it hard to figure out what was on Kid's mind when he was in such a mood, but experience taught him he would find out sooner or later. He glanced at the house again for the hundredth time in the last minute, when Kid whispered, "So, what are we doing here?"

Inwardly Heyes sighed with relief when he noticed Kid gave in and let it rest. He knew it might just as easily have gone the other way. He calmly explained what he was up to. "We made a deal with Mrs. O'Malley and Mrs. O'Halloran, right?"

Kid nodded. "Right."

"So now we're gonna see if the ladies keep their word."

"How?"

Finally - the last light had gone out on the O'Halloran farm.

"I'll show you. Let's go."

They snuck upon the O'Malleys haystack, which stood a fair distance away from the farm. When they reached it, Heyes reached into the pocket of his coat and dug up some matches. Kid eyed the distance between the haystack and the farm.

"You sure it won't get to the farm?"

"Yeah, the wind is off the farm. So it should be pretty safe. Besides, it won't get that far."

Kid didn't reply, but his face clearly said that he was not yet completely convinced about that. He silently watched as Heyes lit a match. As soon as it caught fire, he held it against the remaining matches and both men watched as the flame quickly got bigger until it nearly reached Heyes' fingers. Then Heyes threw it in the hay, where it rapidly grew. They quickly returned to their hide-out at the edge of the field and hidden in the undergrowth, they watched expectantly for what was to come.

Quickly they noticed several faces behind the windows, followed by shouts for water. Within minutes the O'Malleys came out of the main building from all doors and windows, running around, searching for water and buckets. Sparks flew up in the air and landed dangerously close to the barn. Bull O'Malley stared horrified at the burning haystack, realizing that, without any water on the farm, he risked losing not only his hay, but also his barn and stock.

At the other side of the fence, the O'Hallorans appeared, staring at the now rather large fire. Kid noticed they elbowed each other, pointing and laughing at their neighbours' misery.

"Throwing them all in the same cell may not exactly have been brilliant, but this is just plain senseless!"

But Heyes saw what he had hoped for. Behind the laughing O'Halloran men, Mrs. O'Halloran appeared, again with broom in hand. He pointed it out to Kid and together they crossed their fingers.

"You should be ashamed! Why don't you go help those poor people!" she said accusingly to her husband.

The two ex-outlaws heard Poppy roar with laughter. "Help them! Hell no, I gave my word I wouldn't attack them anymore. I never said anything about helping them!"

"Is that so?" said his wife and with that, she gave him a good whack with the broom.

"But Hannah! Not in front of the boys!"

Five good hits and three minutes later, Poppy gave in. He glared at his angry and decisive wife a final time, got up and roared at his sons, "What are you looking at! Get some buckets and bring them water!"

Setting the good example, he went to the barn, fetched a pair of buckets and filled them with water.

"Considering the alternative, being shot at by Poppy was not so bad after all" Heyes grinned.

But Kid didn't share the joke as he spotted Bull O'Malley walking up to Poppy, who was climbing the fence. He elbowed his partner. "Heyes."

"Back off, O'Halloran! You're not going to walk over my land!"

Poppy sat down on the fence and explained, "Look, we're here to help you put out your fire with our water."

"You can keep your water!" Bull yelled angrily, "We let this fire burn, it's my fire. An O'Malley fire, you hear!"

Heyes spotted Mrs. O'Malley as she marched towards the two men. Tiny as she might seem, she simply grabbed her husband by his belt, turned him around and pushed him away from the fence. "Oh Bull, shut up!" she sighed wearily, "I've had enough of that nonsense!"

Within minutes, the men had made a chain from the river to the now burning barn, passing buckets with water to extinguish the fire. The youngest members of the families ran back and forth to collect the empty buckets and bring them back to the river. It was only because of their cooperation, that just before dawn someone yelled, "Fire's out!"

It resulted in a big cheer on both sides of the fence, which subsided in a strange and uncomfortable silence as both families realized what was happening. From their hiding place, Heyes and Curry saw Mrs. O'Halloran and Mrs. O'Malley walk towards their husbands.

"Right, you two. Hannah and I, we've had a word yesterday and we'll make you the following offer. Either you two make up your minds and shake hands or we are leaving." Mrs. O'Halloran declared.

"You're WHAT!" the men roared in unison.

That's right. You've heard her." Mrs. O'Malley backed her up. "So, what's it going to be?"

The men stared at their wives, not able to comprehend what was happening.

"Leaving?" Bull finally managed to get out in a barely audible voice.

"Yes. Leaving."

"You wouldn't!" Poppy blurted out, "Where would you go?"

"My sister Gladys plans to open a tearoom. We'd be more than welcome." his wife replied.

"But she lives in Boston!" Poppy roared frustrated at the injustice of it all.

"Aye, she does."

The two men looked at their wives again and saw that they were determined to push it through. Then they looked at each other, not daring to look each other straight in the eye.

"Well, I don't know about you, O'Malley, but I'm not willing to give up my wife." Poppy finally said, after he gave it some thought. "Why don't we call it a truce?"

He stretched out his hand. But O'Malley did not take it straight away, but eyed up his nemesis.

"Come on, take it already!" Heyes and Curry sent several prayers upwards as they watched. And sighed with relief as Bull finally took the hand and shook it. For the second time that morning, a roar of joy filled the air.

"You can use my water now." Poppy offered.

"Who needs that water?" Bull laughed, "I got some fine Irish whiskey in the cupboard, want some?"

And with the arms around each others shoulders, the two men walked towards the O'Malley house. Heyes and Curry quietly slipped out of their hiding place and headed back to town.

* * * * *

Several hours later, Morgan risked his life without even knowing that he did. At half past seven sharp, he started to bang on Curry and Heyes' door.

"What the ..."

Kid, always alert for a posse, immediately sat straight up in bed, gun in hand before he actually was awake.

"Who is it?"

"Ah, Mr. Jones, what a delight to hear you're up and dancing on this lovely day!" Morgan voice sounded from the other side of the door. Kid groaned, as Heyes made a strange sound from under the blankets. It sounded like a snore, but Kid suspected it was a suppressed snicker. Kid glared at his partner, then involuntarily got out of bed, put his pants on and staggered to the door. As he opened the door, he saw Morgan nervously playing with the string of his apron.

"Morgan, what is it?" Kid asked, as he stifled a yawn and leaned heavily against the doorpost.

"I got two O'Malleys in the saloon."

"And?"

"I also got two O'Hallorans in the saloon."

"And?"

"Well, it's just..." he quickly glanced sideways to see if no-one was listening and lowered his voice, "I'm not used to O'Malleys and O'Hallorans being together in the same room and behaving! It just ain't normal!"

Kid rolled his eyes. Ow, that bed was really calling.

"Morgan, is that all?"

"What do you mean, is that all!" Morgan blurted out, "You're the sheriff, do something!"

"Did they shoot anything?"

"No."

"Did they fight?"

"Well... no, but..." Morgan started confused, but Kid cut him short.

"Well, in that case, there's nothing for me to do. See you later, Morgan."

And with that, Kid closed the door, crawled back into bed and pulled the blankets over his head. Then someone knocked on the door again.

"Heyes. I know you're awake. Open that door or I might have to shoot you."

Heyes, usually the first to be awake, got up and answered the door. Seconds later, he called, "Thaddeus? It's Morgan again."

The only reply he got was a muffled grunt from under the blankets. It sounded remarkably much like "Tell him to get lost."

"Well, I forgot to tell you something. I hate to break it to you son, they want to have a word with you. You've got to be downstairs within..." Morgan quickly checked his watch, "Two minutes."

"Or else what?" Kid moaned.

"Mrs. O'Halloran is coming up." Morgan said. Heyes remembered the scene from the night before and as a picture of Mrs. O'Halloran waking up Kid Curry emerged in his mind, he added, "I think you'd better get up."

But Kid didn't respond. Morgan mumbled, "May I?"

Heyes shrugged. "Sure, but he might not be delighted if you do."

"Son, if you've been a bartender as long as I have, you know how to handle situations like this."

And with that, he walked to the bed, pulled off the blankets in one swift move and before Kid realized what happened, Morgan heaved the mattress up and Kid tumbled hard on the floor.

"Now, get up! I don't know what part of the world you're from, but around these parts, it ain't bonafide to let a lady wait. You get washed, dressed and shaved and you're downstairs within the minute."

Heyes watched in amazement how the most dangerous gunman west of the Mississippi merely nodded as he was drilled like a schoolboy.

And with a loud "Only, thirty seconds left, Mister Jones!" he left the room, slamming the door shut behind him. Heyes looked poker-faced at his friend on the floor.

"Well, you heard him. Come on, get moo..." he stopped, coughing as a pillow hit him in the face.

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