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 3.13 The Search for J. Wesley by Sally Wheaton

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20150523
Post3.13 The Search for J. Wesley by Sally Wheaton



Curry did what he always did. He watched his adversary carefully, his ability to read even the smallest sign and anticipate their movements never failed to give him an advantage. He watched the eyes especially - there weren't many he couldn't read.

Unfortunately for Curry, Heyes also did what he always did. He plastered such a cold, detached look in his eyes that they turned almost to stone and became totally unreadable, even to Curry.

The expression jolted right through the Kid. He'd seen that look before of course, had watched it used to great effect. But it had never, ever in his life been directed at him. He blinked but managed to keep his poker face in return.

He wasn't sure he could do it. He just wasn't sure he could. This was Heyes standing in front of him, his friend and partner, his best friend, heck, his only true friend. How could he do this?



Starring

Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes
Ben Murphy as Kid Curry

Guest Stars


Robert Redford as Sheriff Morgan Rogers


Tom Selleck as Martin Mackay


Charlie Sheen as Henry Wallace



3.13 The Search for J. Wesley
by Sally Wheaton



"Evening Joshua, Thaddeus" Sheriff Rogers smiled and tipped his hat at the two men as he passed them on his way out of the saloon.

Ordering two beers at the bar, Heyes turned to Curry. "Did you see the way he looked at us Kid? I swear he knows who we are."

"Yeah Heyes, I saw him. He smiled. If he knew who we were, we wouldn't be standing here, now would we?"

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry had spent the last several days in the small but flourishing town of Silver Junction without any signs of trouble - and it was making them downright nervous, more especially it was making Heyes nervous.

"Heyes, I think you're looking for trouble where there isn't any. Forget it. He doesn't know who we are. Come on, you'll feel better after you've won some at poker."

Heyes nodded. Maybe Kid was right. Nothing untoward had happened at all since they'd arrived in town, but the three weeks previous to that had been a different story. They'd been recognised several times and had spent most nights sleeping out on the trail, only feeling safe enough to spend a night in town on a couple of occasions. Maybe he really had got so used to trouble that he was now seeing it everywhere. If Kid thought all was well then he'd trust his instincts - for now at least.

The evening passed without even a hint of trouble. Heyes won more than his share at poker and enjoyed the thoroughly pleasant company of his fellow players. His mood had lifted substantially during the evening and he said as much to Kid as they prepared for bed back in their room.

Curry was relieved. He'd been a little worried about Heyes recently. He'd seemed more nervous and jumpy than usual. But then, they'd spent so long now running, always looking over their shoulder, always alert for trouble, always afraid of being recognised. He hoped that Heyes was just tired. Maybe a few days in a nice town like this, a few challenging but profitable games of poker and he'd be back to his normal self. Until then, Curry would just do what he could to counter Heyes' over-sensitivity to possible trouble.

Three hours later, Heyes was still wide awake, lying in bed staring up at the ceiling. The gentle snores emanating from the other bed told Heyes that his friend had been sound asleep for hours. Something was nagging at the back of his brain though, preventing him from sleeping.. Had been for days. He hadn't been able to pin it down and it was bothering him. He'd always had such good instincts - and he'd always trusted them. Countless times his instincts had kept them out of jail. Right now they were telling him to run, but he couldn't put any logic to it. But then, there'd been times before when he'd followed his instinct when it didn't seem logical to do so - and it had turned out to be the right thing to do. On the other hand, he admitted to himself, there were also times when it hadn't been the right thing to do.

He looked over at the other bed. The Kid's instincts were good too and he trusted them. At the moment, Kid seemed to think that Heyes was over-reacting and that there was no danger. Maybe Kid was right. Or maybe he wasn't. Leaving town would be the safer option, and even if there was no need to, what would they have lost? A few nights in a comfortable town. They couldn't stay forever anyway, they'd have to leave sooner or later. Why not just make it sooner?

Knowing sleep was a long way off, he climbed out of bed and padded over to the window. Pushing back the drapes a little, he gazed down into the main street. Everything was still and quiet. But, he decided, there really wasn't anything worth risking staying for. It would be safer to leave. He'd talk to the Kid about it in the morning.

He was just about to get back into bed, when he saw Deputy Bradshaw come running down the street. Young Robert Bradshaw was not the brightest of men, but he was a likeable type and was popular in the town. A few seconds later he returned with the sheriff and three other men. They were running and they were carrying guns and Heyes knew exactly what that meant. They were after someone, probably about to form a posse.

Heyes cursed himself for not listening to himself, for not trusting himself earlier.

Approaching Curry's bed, he shook him and called urgently "Get up Kid. Now. Posse's forming outside."

As Kid roused suddenly, Heyes caught the hand that moved automatically towards his gun and repeated quietly "Posse's forming."

Curry was wide awake in an instant and within a few moments they had grabbed everything important, dressed and pulled on their boots and gunbelts. Thank goodness they had at least found out where the back door to the hotel was when they'd first arrived. They made it safely out and into the livery where they managed to get their horses saddled. They checked again for any sign of danger before riding out onto the street and just as they thought they were going to make it safely, Sheriff Morgan Rogers stepped out of the shadows in front of them.

"Well now boys, this is interesting. It's the middle of the night. I'm roused by my Deputy who has seen four men breaking into the bank. It seems they've got away with ten thousand dollars and a diamond necklace. I'm in the middle of forming a posse to go after them, when I bump into you two boys sneaking out the back of the livery. In the middle of the night too. Now what on earth do you suppose that is all about? Makes a sheriff mighty suspicious I can tell you."

Heyes closed his eyes and sighed. The Kid was right. He was getting too nervous lately.

* * * * *

Barely half an hour later they found themselves sitting in a jail cell, guarded by the youngest and most junior of the deputies, while the sheriff led the posse after the bank robbers.

* * * * *

The posse didn't return until the next morning, but when they did there was a great commotion in the streets. People were running and shouting everywhere, though it wasn't easy to make out what they were saying. Heyes and Curry pressed up against the tiny barred window, trying to see what was happening.

It was clear that three of the men who had ridden into town were tied up, obviously the captured bank robbers who would presumably shortly find themselves alongside Heyes and Curry in a jail cell.

Some of the townsfolk were holding guns on those tied up, but the group had stopped not outside the sheriff's office, but outside the doctor's office. Heyes and Curry watched as Deputy Bradshaw was gently lifted from his horse and carried into the doctors' office, accompanied by much shouting and waving of arms from the townsfolk who were clearly most unhappy. The mob followed the group of riders to the sheriff's office and had now become extremely angry as the three prisoners were hauled from their horses and thrown roughly into the jail cell.

Slamming the door on their cell, Sheriff Rogers turned towards Heyes and Curry in the cell opposite.

"Well, it's been a long night. We've captured three of the four, but the one who got away is the dangerous one - and the one I, and they" he said, pointing outside at the mob "really want. He's the one who shot Deputy Bradshaw."

"He gonna be OK Sheriff?" asked Curry, genuinely concerned. He'd had dealings with many lawmen over the years of course and generally speaking, he wasn't especially fond of them. He'd only been in town a few days, but he had to admit that what he knew of the young deputy, he'd actually liked. He certainly didn't deserve to lose his life.

"Touch and go. We won't know for a day or two. But I'll tell you this much, I'll find a way to bring that man to justice whatever happens. Right now though, I'm going to go and get a few hours' sleep and then boys, I'm going to come back over here and try and figure out just what to do about you two. I've got a feeling you're both Wanted and I think I might just find your descriptions in my pile of Wanted posters."

With that he turned and walked out of the door, stopping only to open a drawer in his desk, take out a pile of Wanted posters and place them on top of his desk ready for his return later.

* * * * *

By late afternoon, Morgan Rogers had returned and was sitting in the cell with Heyes and Curry.

"See, two hours ago I thought I had two problems. Then I finally figured out that what I actually have is one problem and one solution. I need to catch a bank robber. The town is in uproar and they're going to blame me for Deputy Bradshaw getting shot, after all I was the one who formed that posse. Unless I can bring the man who did it to justice, I'm going to be a pretty unpopular man round here. That man is dangerous though. To be honest I don't fancy my chances alone. I would need a couple of capable and willing men to help. Now, finding capable men is one thing, but finding willing men is another problem entirely, especially since we're talking about someone who shot Deputy Bradshaw. Everyone in this town is more than a little wary of the man."

"So, that's when I got around to thinking about my second problem. Why you two were running last night and who you might be? I must admit I haven't come up with any answers yet."

"Then I got around to wondering how capable you two might be. More to the point perhaps, how willing you might be?"

He paused before continuing.

"I could walk out of here right now and start going through those Wanted posters. Or we could all three of us walk out of here right now and prepare to go after a bank robber. If you'd be willing to take the job, then I'd pay you of course. Let's say 300 dollars apiece. What do you say?"

The two ex-outlaws' eyes met, an entire conversation passing between them. They knew they really had no choice.

"What's to stop us running out on you as soon as we're out of town?" asked Curry.

"Well, 300 dollars apiece for one thing. I figure you could use that. If you run out on me though, then I'll have no choice but to search through those posters - and as you've already seen, this town is very good at putting a posse together. They usually come back with prisoners, and if they don't, well boys, you can also see that I am a very determined man and when I want to bring a man to justice, I'll find him. I have a very good record of getting what I want." he said pointedly.

Heyes nodded. He didn't doubt it for a second. Morgan Rogers was a shrewd man. In fact, Heyes was pretty sure he already knew who they were.

"And just in case you were thinking of killing me, there'd be a sealed letter left with my banker, to be opened if I didn't return." He watched them intently. "But I don't think you two would do that. You haven't killed so far and I don't think you'd want murder on your record now would you?"

Heyes smiled, at least his mouth smiled, and without breaking eye contact, said, "Five hundred apiece."

The sheriff smiled back, nodded and put out his right hand to seal the deal.

* * * * *

They had been riding for over an hour the next morning and still Morgan hadn't told them any more details. A couple of times Heyes had tried, unsuccessfully, to get him to explain more, which had left Curry silently amused. He knew the curiosity would be tearing Heyes apart by now. They'd been riding in silence for several minutes and, glancing at his partner, Curry could detect a slight edginess. Oh nobody else in the world would have seen it, but Curry had not spent so many hours with Heyes without understanding what made him tick.

So it was then that Curry was not at all surprised to hear Heyes try one more time, just a few moments later. This time though, he met with more success.

"Joshua, you are a very persistent man, but OK, I guess there's no harm in telling you a little more. First of all, the main problem we have is identifying the man we want."

"Identifying him?" asked Heyes puzzled

"Yes, I don't know what he looks like."

Heyes pulled his horse around to look straight at the sheriff in astonishment. "You don't know this man?"

"Well of course I have a description of him but I don't actually know what he looks like, no."

"Description?"

"Dark hair, blue eyes. Tall."

Heyes shook his head. "So, how are we going to identify him?"

"Don't worry about that, I have a plan. First we have to concentrate on following his tracks."

The sheriff, unconcerned, moved on a way ahead leaving the two partners slightly behind.

"Don't worry" grumbled Kid, more to himself than anyone else. "Funny how those words always seem to precede trouble."

"I suppose you do actually have a name for him?" called out Heyes.

"Yes of course" the sheriff called back "John Wesley Riggs"

Heyes and Curry stopped their horses and, turning to face each other, mouthed in unison "John Wesley Riggs?" Heyes' eyes widened and he shook his head.

"Kid I don't believe it. Riggs is... well, he's .." he paused, for once completely lost for words.

"Crazy is what he is" supplied Curry. "By reputation anyway."

"You know what they say about him Kid?"

"That he's fast and that he likes nothing more than to show off how fast he is in a gunfight. Yes I heard that."

"They say he'll pick a fight with anyone else he thinks is fast just to prove that he's faster."

"Yes I heard that too."

"Kid, I think I'm beginning to see where this might be heading. He does know who we are and he thinks Kid Curry might just be fast enough to provoke Riggs into challenging him."

"Yep, I think you're right Heyes."

"What I still don't understand though is how he's going to identify him for certain? OK, say he plans to set you up as a fast gun and wait for Riggs to challenge you, how's he going to know for certain it's him?"

"Easy. By his gun."

"His gun?"

"They say he has J Wesley engraved on the barrel."

"That so? In that case, assuming Sheriff Rogers knows that, then it looks like that's his plan?"

Kid simply nodded in agreement.

* * * * *

Hannibal Heyes was angry, very angry. Slowly he stood, looked directly at the sheriff as if daring him to even contemplate challenging him on this. When he spoke, it was calmly, although his voice was cold as ice.

"No. That's not how it will go. We'll find another way. Now if you'll excuse me sheriff." And with that, he was gone.

Curry watched him leave with, he admitted to himself, slight amusement. He'd give him a few moments to calm down a little and then he'd follow him.

In the meantime, he watched the sheriff's reaction to his partner's sudden departure. The sheriff was a little surprised but was trying not to show it, Curry decided. In fact, he was trying to pretend that this was the reaction he'd expected.

They'd been having dinner, a pleasant affair until Morgan had told them of his plan to find and capture Riggs. It was the part about Joshua and Thaddeus taking part in a mock gunfight that had got Heyes so riled. Curry was intrigued about the sheriff's reaction to that - presumably he thought that "Joshua" did not want to face "Thaddeus". Curry of course knew that had nothing to do with it. It was an interesting scenario for sure and probably not one they'd choose, but there was no danger in it. No, Curry knew that what had got Heyes so angry was that he'd seen where the set-up was leading and what the sheriff wanted to happen next.

Curry decided it was time to go and talk to Heyes.

"Well Sheriff, thank you for dinner. I guess I really should go and talk to my partner though."

"Yes you probably should" the sheriff nodded. "You might do well to remind him how the two of you got yourselves into this to start with. I hold the upper hand here and your partner would do well to remember that."

"Yes sir, I'll remind him" Curry gave him a reassuring smile before standing to leave.

"See you in the morning Sheriff. Goodnight."

* * * * *

Heyes didn't seem to have calmed down much by the time Curry got to their room. He was pacing as Curry sat calmly on the bed.

"No, no, no. We're not playing it his way on this. Kid, you know what he's looking for on this, don't you?"

Curry nodded. He understood the sheriff's plan fully but he let Heyes continue to rant, hoping he'd get it off his chest.

"He's hoping to goad Riggs into challenging you. What he really wants is a shootout between you and Riggs. He wants to use you to get Riggs to identify himself."

Curry nodded again.

"Kid he has a reputation. It's a crazy idea and it's not going to happen. If a setup gunfight between you and me is going to lead to that, then we're not going to do it."

Heyes fell silent but continued to pace, and for several minutes Curry let him.

"You sure it's not that you're afraid I might beat you?" asked Curry eventually, with a small smile.

"Of course it's ..." Heyes began to shout back, but as Curry's words sunk in, he allowed his anger to subside and smiled back at him. His partner certainly had a way of diffusing his anger.

"No of course not" he gave Curry his most confident smile "Now why would I even think that?"

"What then, you afraid I might not beat Riggs?"

Heyes' face instantly turned serious.

"No Kid, I'm not afraid of that. You know that."

Curry nodded. He did know of course. Heyes' total confidence in him had always meant a lot to him and at times had been the very thing that had swung the advantage his way. Curry hadn't failed to notice where his partner stood whenever someone challenged him.

"It's just that ..." Heyes continued and then paused, looking at his partner and friend earnestly.

"It's not going to happen that's all."

Curry nodded. It was something he didn't think about often, but he did understand the risk Heyes faced every time Curry was involved in a gunfight - the risk that one slight error could take his partner from him.

Curry patted Heyes reassuringly on the shoulder and looking right at him, added more gently "I know Heyes, I know."

Heyes gave him a small smile, glad that he didn't have to explain further. "Don't worry Kid. There's another way of doing it. There has to be. All we need is to find a way of getting Riggs to use his gun to show off how fast he is and then find a way of taking a close look at his gun to identify him properly, right?"

Kid nodded.

"There's another way of doing it" repeated Heyes "and I'll find it."

"Yep, I know you will Heyes."

* * * * *

Curry had been right of course. Heyes had come up with an alternative plan and as they neared the town of Black Ridge, Sheriff Rogers was giving them their final instructions.

"We travel into town separately." He turned to Curry before continuing "Thaddeus, we don't want anyone to know that you know us, so you go into town this afternoon and take a room at the hotel. Joshua and I will sleep out here tonight and come into town tomorrow morning."

Curry gave his partner a wide smile. He liked this plan. A nice comfortable hotel bed for him and the cold, hard ground for Heyes - and they hadn't even had to toss a coin for it.

"We also don't want anyone to know that I'm a sheriff and so from now on, my name is Morgan."

The three men were standing on a ridge overlooking the small, dusty town. It didn't appear to have much going for it. The last that Morgan had heard, it didn't even have a sheriff. It hadn't taken them long to track Riggs here and tomorrow they'd put their plans into action.

* * * * *

The crowd was getting more and more excited. They'd been gathered around the Shooting Contest booth most of the afternoon. Almost everyone in town had taken their turn and with no-one as yet having turned in an outstanding performance, the three hundred dollar prize money was still up for grabs.

Heyes and Morgan had been working hard, encouraging people to have a go. The contest had been successful in as far as the town had had great fun. It had not yet, however, been successful in producing any great shooting displays. They felt sure that John Wesley Riggs had not taken a turn.

Curry stood on the opposite side of the street, watching the proceedings. Morgan had agreed to give the contest a go, but he'd insisted that Curry come into town separately in case it didn't work.

Curry surveyed the crowd of people around him. A bunch of young cowboys stood to his left, probably from a local ranch. They'd all had a go at the contest and not done too badly. Standing next to them, cheering everyone else was an old man who'd already taken his turn and hardly hit a thing. To Curry's right was a tall man in a suit who looked like a city slicker, more like a lawyer than a gunman. Curry noticed he did wear a gun but he didn't look too keen to use it and certainly showed no signs of entering the contest. Beyond him a lone cowboy caught Curry's attention, a shifty looking character, older than himself he judged with greasy dark hair and a moustache. The description they had didn't mention a moustache but he'd had time to grow one Curry figured and so he couldn't be discounted. Taking his turn at the moment was an aging cowboy, dark hair greying slightly and with a limp. He shot nine of the twelve cans, better than anyone else, though he appeared somewhat disappointed and annoyed with himself.

There was a lull after that, with no-one else coming forward. Morgan was shouting out, trying to encourage people to have a go, but to no avail. His eyes met Curry's, telling him it was time. The sheriff had agreed to let the contest run its natural course in the hope that it would be enough to entice Riggs to have a go. He had, however, insisted that if that didn't work, Curry should have a go himself, setting a high standard in the hope that Riggs would respond to the stiffer competition.

Heyes and Curry had discussed this between themselves. They weren't keen on the idea - believing that it could be enough to push Riggs into drawing on Curry anyway. Heyes was also still concerned about just how much Morgan really knew about them. He was worried that this could also be a ploy to prove their own identities to him. In addition there was always the danger that fancy shooting in public could make others suspicious. On the other side of the coin was the fact that they really had little choice but to go along with the sheriff who, they were fairly sure, did know their identities - why else after all had he so definitely chosen Thaddeus to do the shooting rather than Joshua? In the end they'd agreed they would go along with it, but that Curry would do no more than was necessary.

Curry made his way across the street. He made brief eye contact with Heyes and he knew he was telling him "We have no choice. Do it. But no more than ten."

Curry took out his gun and fired six shots - each one sending a can flying. He reloaded another six bullets and hit a can squarely with his first four shots. Ten down. He took aim at the eleventh can, hesitated slightly and then sent it flying into the air The crowd cheered loudly, egging him on for the twelfth. He glanced quickly at Heyes, who was cheering and clapping along with the rest of the crowd. His eyes though told a different story.

Curry took aim at the last can. He knew he could hit it and he had to admit, he was mighty tempted, but he had to keep a cool head and remember why they were here. He took aim and paused as Heyes' face appeared in his mind's eye. He smiled to himself and pulled the trigger. The bullet flew through the air as the crowd held its breath. But instead of hitting the can squarely as the others had, it grazed the edge of the can finely, rattling it slightly but leaving it standing. The crowd let out a disappointed "ooh" but Curry smiled to himself. Yes, that had been quite a shot. He looked up at his partner, knowing that only the two of them would ever know just what a shot that was. Curry smiled. Heyes did not. He was seething.

As Curry turned to walk away, the crowd cheered him and his eyes met the long, hard stare of the lone cowboy, who removed his gun from his holster, spun it and then paused with it in his hand before returning it to his holster, breaking eye contact, turning and leaving. Curry stared after him.

What he didn't see, just to his left, was the city slicker run his hand slowly and deliberately across his gun.

* * * * *

"We agreed." yelled Heyes "You agreed. Just enough, no more than was necessary. And in my book ten beats nine, not eleven. Not to mention that fancy shooting on the twelfth. I still can't believe you did that. What? You want to go around with a great big sign over your head - I am Kid Curry?"

"Yes Heyes, I agreed." Kid yelled back. "But you know what? I couldn't resist. You know why? Because I'm just a no good gunslinger. When it comes right down to it, I'm no better than Riggs."

Heyes calmed instantly.

"No Kid, that's not true. You're not just a gunslinger - and you know it."

Kid tutted but didn't reply. He wasn't totally convinced. He hadn't acted any better than a gunslinger this afternoon and he didn't need Heyes to remind him of the dangers of being recognised.

They'd managed to snatch just a few moments alone in the room shared by Heyes and the sheriff. In order to cover that Heyes and Curry didn't know each other, Curry had his own separate room but since they'd arrived in town, Morgan had kept a very close eye on them, keeping one of them in his sight at all times.

Heyes was just about to open his mouth to try again to convince his partner, when the door handle turned and the sheriff entered.

"Well boys, we gave it a go but it didn't work. Looks like it's time to try something else."

"The trouble is, we don't like the something else you've got in mind" objected Heyes.

"Well now, I don't remember exactly asking you whether you liked it. I don't recall ever actually giving you any choice in this matter. Remember I said I'd find a way to bring him to justice? I meant that. I'll use whatever means I can. If you refuse to do this, I could just start a rumour, something like maybe, Kid Curry himself is in town. Now don't you think that would interest Riggs? And maybe a few others as well?"

At the cold look on Heyes' face, he decided to change tack. He really didn't want to have to force his hand, but he would do if necessary. He wanted Riggs. He sighed, and laid his cards on the table.

"Look, he shot a man who is not only my deputy but also my friend. He has a wife and two young children. For all I know, his wife may be a widow by now. What am I to do boys? What would you do if you were me? As I see it, we don't any of us have any choices here. I am in a position to force you boys, but you know, I'd really rather not have to. I'd rather you just chose to work with me on this. How about it?"

The two ex-outlaws looked at each other. The sheriff's voice held a note of weariness and neither of them were left untouched by his words.

Curry understood completely. He knew exactly what he'd want to do if he were in the sheriff's position. Heck, he had been there himself once before and in the final analysis, he had killed.

Gunplay was never Heyes' favoured way of resolving a problem, but nevertheless he did understand. He also understood that it was the way some needed to deal with things. Understanding though, did not mean he had to like it.

"OK" he heard Curry say to Morgan. "We'll do it."

Heyes rose without uttering a word, reached for his hat and left the room.

"Joshua, I ..." the sheriff called after him but Kid stopped him.

"Let him go." he said.

At the sheriff's questioning expression, Curry continued. "It's OK, he'll do it. He's not afraid of what you think he is you know. He has no fear of facing me if that's what you think?"

Morgan looked more puzzled, clearly that was what he had thought.

"It's what follows that bothers him."

"You facing Riggs?"

"You know, every time I face a man, he stands to lose more than I do."

"How do you figure that?"

"I could lose my life of course. He risks losing his partner."

Curry looked away and out of the window and saw Heyes sitting on the front porch.

"Well, I guess you'd have to know more about us to understand that."

"Maybe not" mused the sheriff.

Curry gave him a tight-lipped half smile and then left the room in search of his friend.

* * * * *

He sat in the chair next to Heyes on the porch and they sat in comfortable silence for a long time, just watching the world go by, each pre-occupied with his own thoughts.

"I want to do it" ventured Curry finally.

"I know."

"That bother you?"

There was a long silence before Heyes replied. "What do you want me to say to that? No, it doesn't bother me? Well, I'm sorry Kid, I can't tell you that. Of course it bothers me."

"Yeah, I know."

Another long silence followed before Curry continued. "But knowing that doesn't make me not want to do it."

"Yeah I know" Heyes turned and smiled fondly at his friend. "I don't expect it to. It's part of what makes you who you are."

Curry gave him a small smile.

"Because he shot Robert Bradshaw" Heyes said quietly. It was a statement, not a question, but Curry nodded in reply anyway.

"He has a wife Heyes, two children. He was just doing his job."

Heyes turned to look at his friend. "And I thought you said you were just a no good gunslinger? No better than Riggs?"

Curry didn't answer, but he had heard the words and he turned them around in his mind as he stared down the street. Maybe, just maybe, Heyes was right.

* * * * *

Upstairs from his hotel room, the sheriff watched the two of them on the porch and acknowledged a new found respect and admiration for them. He couldn't of course be absolutely certain of who they were, but he was pretty convinced. If he was right, then he hoped that the rumours he'd heard about them going straight were indeed true. When he'd first heard those rumours a few months back, he couldn't, and hadn't, believed them at all. But now? Well, now, he realised, maybe he could.

* * * * *

Curry did what he always did. He watched his adversary carefully, his ability to read even the smallest sign and anticipate their movements never failed to give him an advantage. He watched the eyes especially - there weren't many he couldn't read.

Unfortunately for Curry, Heyes also did what he always did. He plastered such a cold, detached look in his eyes that they turned almost to stone and became totally unreadable, even to Curry.

The expression jolted right through the Kid. He'd seen that look before of course, had watched it used to great effect. But it had never, ever in his life been directed at him. He blinked but managed to keep his poker face in return.

He wasn't sure he could do it. He just wasn't sure he could. This was Heyes standing in front of him, his friend and partner, his best friend, heck, his only true friend. How could he do this?

Heyes saw the tiny flicker of doubt on Kid's face, undetectable to everyone else but crystal clear to Heyes. He knew it was his only chance.

He made his move.

Curry, however, was not known as the best for nothing and his gun was in his hand in an instant. Heyes' gun had cleared his holster, but only just.

For the first time in his life, Hannibal Heyes started to appreciate what it was really like to face Kid Curry. And yet, he realised, in truth he didn't understand at all and never could. Because now that the gun was drawn and pointing directly at him, he felt no threat, no danger. In fact, he had to bite back a smile. Of course it had played out as he knew it would, but he'd succeeded in unnerving Kid Curry for just a split second using the only "weapon" he had against him - Curry's feelings about their partnership. Inwardly he smiled, but tried to remember that to make this look real, he really needed to show at least a hint of fear at this point. It was harder to do than he'd imagined though, and so he settled for his best poker face and hoped it was convincing enough to those who didn't know him.

Curry, for his part, was trying to look hostile. He was trying to remember the times when he'd felt angry at Heyes, but it wasn't working too well. Anger at Heyes was different to anger at anyone else; he just couldn't associate any degree of threat with it.

So Curry tried to unfocus his eyes and conjure up the picture of another face in front of him, but that wasn't too successful either. Everything about Heyes was so familiar to him that it was impossible not to recognise who was standing there even if he didn't focus on him.

Curry realised the room was waiting for him to make the next move. Heyes was standing motionless, looking right at him, waiting.

Finally, Curry used his annoyance at the situation to work up some aggression and growled at Heyes. "OK, you leave the game."

Heyes leaned forward and picked up his winnings so far but before he could even straighten up, Curry growled again. "Now place that on the table in front of me."

Heyes froze. Curry had gone too far now.

He looked at his partner and realised that he really had no choice,. He could hardly object, given the circumstances and the fact they were trying to make this look real. This time, however, he let his eyes convey his feelings to his partner as he placed his money in front of Kid.

It was Curry's turn to stifle a grin. He was sure he'd regret this later. Heyes would surely have plenty to say about it, but he hadn't been able to resist.

Slowly, he re-holstered his gun, picked up the cash and walked out of the saloon, pushing roughly past the city slicker in the doorway. Heyes just stared after him. As he left, the saloon breathed a collective sigh of relief and went back to what they'd been doing. The show was over, but it had made an impression on everyone and they were all now busy discussing the fast draw, the likes of which they'd never seen before.

At the table in the corner, the lone cowboy rose, took his gun from his holster, ran his fingers along the barrel and replaced it. He gazed after Curry and then followed him out onto the street,

Heyes glanced at Morgan, a chill running down his spine. This soon? He stood perfectly still next to the poker table from where he'd watched Curry leave. He could still see his partner walking up the street towards the hotel. Outside the saloon, the lone cowboy watched him too but didn't move. When Curry entered the hotel, he turned and walked in the opposite direction.

Heyes let out a sigh of relief.

So, the "bait" was set. All they could do now was wait and see what happened. The ball was in Riggs' court. From now on though, Curry must remain on his guard and alert at all times.

Heyes walked over to the bar to join Morgan. The bartender, a friendly, talkative man in his fifties, poured a glass of whisky and handed it to Heyes.

"Here young fella, you look like you could use this."

"Thanks" murmured Heyes and downed the shot in one go.

"I'm sorry that had to happen here."

Wasn't your fault Mister."

"Joe. Call me Joe" he smiled, refilling Heyes' glass. "I prefer to keep the gunfights out of my saloon but there's not much you can do in a two-bit town like this."

"Happen often then?" asked Heyes.

"Sure it does," nodded Joe "There's always some young cowpoke wants to show off his skills. It aint gonna get no better any time soon either." He shrugged resignedly, before adding, "I aint never seen anything quite like that though. That was really something."

"Sure was" agreed Heyes with that not quite real smile. This kind of talk around town was exactly what they didn't need.

"Come on Joshua, drink up" urged the sheriff. "I think I'd better get you out of here before you get yourself in any more trouble."

Heyes followed him out of the saloon, frowning - wasn't that usually the Kid's line?

* * * * *


_________________
Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, the two most successful outlaws in the history of the west. And in all the trains and banks they robbed, they never shot anyone.
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3.13 The Search for J. Wesley by Sally Wheaton :: Comments

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Re: 3.13 The Search for J. Wesley by Sally Wheaton
Post on Sat 23 May 2015, 2:10 pm by royannahuggins


Setting: Heyes and Curry are in Curry's room, looking down onto the street.

"Are you still certain you want to go through with this?" Heyes asked his partner.

"Yep."

"We could always just leave town, take our chances against the sheriff?"

"No Heyes, I'm certain. I want to do this."

Heyes nodded.

As he looked out of the window, Curry saw the lone cowboy from the contest cross the street towards the livery. He nudged Heyes to draw his attention to him.

"You know anything about him?" he asked Heyes.

"He was at the shooting contest, but he didn't enter. I've seen him around town since. Why?" Heyes was immediately alert and already scanning the street for possible accomplices while Curry steadfastly kept his eyes on the cowboy.

"I just got a feeling about him is all. He was certainly interested in the outcome of the shooting contest" explained Curry.

* * * * *

An hour later Heyes was back in the saloon playing poker when he spotted the lone cowboy walk in. Curry was still up in his hotel room so he wasn't concerned about that but thought he'd take the chance to find out what the bartender knew. Excusing himself from the table, he headed for the bar and ordered a whisky. As the bartender filled his glass he answered his question.

"Not much I can tell you really."

"He a stranger round here then?"

"Yes, he arrived a day or so before you and your friend."

Heyes' interest was piqued. "You know his name?"

"He goes by Martin Mackay."

"He say where he's from?"

"Now you know men like him don't go round giving out that kind of information."

"Men like him?"

"If you ask me, this town'll be a happier and safer place when he's gone."

"I see what you mean," replied Heyes, smiling.

"Of course, it got the town talking, all these strangers suddenly arriving in town," volunteered the bartender.

"There were others?"

"Well you already met one of 'em - that fella by the name of Jones. He's the one that gave you a spot of bother earlier."

Heyes nodded, trying to look serious.

"You know any more about him?" Heyes thought it best to show a similar interest in all of the "strangers".

"Not really. Seemed like a nice fella - until earlier that is. You saw the way he won that shooting contest and the way he drew that gun this afternoon - well the whole town is talking about it. That sure was some draw."

Heyes nodded in agreement. He didn't like the sounds of the whole town talking about Curry's fast draw. For one thing it would certainly draw Riggs' attention and, he admitted to himself, he'd been harbouring the hope that the plan wouldn't work. For another thing though, it always made him nervous when too many people were aware of Curry's abilities with a gun - it was all too easy for someone to put two and two together.

"Then there's Henry Wallace."

"Henry Wallace?" asked Heyes, puzzled.

"Well he says he's a banker over at Cartersville and is in town for a few days. No-one seems to know the man though. Sneaky sort if you ask me."

"Tall, dark hair?" asked Heyes

"Yeah, that's him. Now tell me, how many bankers you know who carry a gun?"

Alarm bells started to ring in Heyes' mind.

"You seen him use the gun then?"

"Oh no, just carries it is all. He probably has no idea how to use it," laughed the bartender.

"Probably not" Heyes laughed with him and dropped a handful of coins on the bar. He downed his whisky and then made his way out onto the street.

The bright sunlight was a stark contrast to the dimness of the saloon and Heyes paused to let his eyes adjust. Gazing down the street, he watched as Henry Wallace crossed from the hotel and walked up the steps to the bank. Heyes let his mind mull over the things he'd learned. Martin Mackay sounded so obvious and Kid was probably right about him, but Heyes couldn't push Henry Wallace, the city slicker, from his mind. Something was nagging at the back of his brain about him, but he couldn't quite place it.

As Heyes watched him, Wallace paused at the top of the steps, looked around him and then deliberately placed his fingers on his gun. A memory trickled into Heyes' mind, the vision of Wallace at the shooting contest, watching Curry walk away after winning. Slowly it came to Heyes what it was that had been nagging him. As Curry had walked away from the contest, he'd walked past Wallace who had watched him all the way and placed his hand purposefully on his own gun.

* * * * *

It only took Heyes a few moments to pick the lock. As he quietly opened the door, he was glad to see the gun pointed straight at him.

"Glad to see you're alert Kid," he grinned in the dim light creeping around the edges of the window blind.

"Heyes, ya gotta stop doing that." Kid sighed and re-holstered the gun as he lay back down in bed.

"Why?" asked Heyes "I didn't want to knock - it might have woken you."

"Well, whatever it is you wanted to tell me, I'm not interested."

There was a pause before Curry continued, his eyes still closed.

"And you can remove that expression from your face - it won't work. I'm sleeping, Heyes."

"What expression?" asked Heyes feigning hurt.

"I can't see it but I know it's there" insisted Curry

"Aw come on Kid, get up. We've got work to do."

"Work?" Curry half sat up and squinted one eye open, trying to see Heyes in the darkness. He couldn't, so he gave up trying and flopped back down into the bed and closed his eyes again.

"Work is for the morning Heyes, go back to bed."

"OK Kid." Heyes agreed amicably and started to leave the room.

That got Curry's attention and he opened one eye again. "What?"

"I said OK. If you don't want to help me, then I'll just have to break into the bank on my own."

"Break into the bank?" demanded Curry, sitting up abruptly.

"Yeah. Shame you don't want to help really, because you're the best darn lookout I know. Still, don't you worry, You go back to sleep."

"OK, OK, Heyes. I'm awake. Now come back here and tell me what's going on."

Heyes perched on the foot of Curry's bed and began to explain.

"The loot Kid. I've been thinking about the loot from the robbery. Where is it?"

"Probably hidden safely somewhere out there if Riggs has got any sense."

"If your cowboy friend Martin Mackay is really John Wesley Riggs then I'd agree. But what if it's Henry Wallace who is really Riggs?"

"Your banker friend?"

"Well, he's not exactly my friend," Heyes pretended to be offended, "but yes, that's who I mean," confirmed Heyes. He'd managed to sneak a quick five minutes earlier to tell his partner about his conversation with the bartender.

"You're thinking he just might have placed the loot back into a bank in another town?" Curry looked doubtful but then nodded as he started to see Heyes' logic.

"Exactly" nodded Heyes.

"Very clever," mused Curry. "Who would think to look for a bank loot in a bank?"

Heyes raised an eyebrow at him.

"And you want to break into the bank to see if it's there?"

Heyes nodded.

Curry sighed. Unlike Heyes, he did not do his best work in the middle of the night, but he had to admit his partner had a point and if they could find a way of resolving this without a shootout, then so much the better - well that of course was assuming that they could get into the bank and out again without getting caught.

Curry climbed out of bed and started to get dressed.

* * * * *

Heyes had been working at the safe for about an hour now. He leaned his head back and ran his fingers through his hair. It was a stubborn one but he was making progress. Curry glanced up at him and then returned his full attention to keeping lookout as Heyes returned his head to the side of the safe.

Half an hour later Heyes looked up at his partner and smiled as he swung open the safe door. Curry stayed where he was while Heyes went through the contents of the safe.

Ten minutes later, Heyes shook his head and looked up at Curry again.

"Nothing, Kid. At least nothing that gives us any clues."

"You sure?" Kid sounded surprised. Heyes' logic had made sense and he'd expected him to find something.

"You take a look, in case I missed something" invited Heyes. They swapped places with Heyes keeping lookout while Curry looked through the contents of the safe, like his partner, being careful to replace everything exactly as it was. He came up blank too.

"Nope, nothing that helps us." he confirmed

Heyes returned to the safe and peered in one more time. "A lot of money though" he almost drooled

"Sure is." agreed Curry.

Both of them gazed at it for a moment, before Curry's voice broke the silence.

"Come on, you've done this bit before Heyes. Close the door."

Heyes pushed the safe door closed and shook his head. "I can't believe it though. I really thought we'd find something."

"Me too Heyes."

"We've missed something."

Heyes stood up from the safe and looked around him. What had he missed? He knew the bank loot was here somewhere, but where would it be?

"Come on, let's get out of here" encouraged Curry.

"Yeah, OK," agreed Heyes, disappointed.

He was about to turn and follow his partner, when what should have been obvious from the start suddenly hit him.

"Kid, the lock boxes," he whispered. "If you were going to put bank loot in a bank, you'd put it in a lock box right?"

Kid's face lit up with a smile - of course!

It only took them a few minutes to locate the row of lock boxes - eight of them!

"Better get to work Heyes," grinned Curry and settled himself once again to keeping watch.

After the first two, Heyes was able to open the boxes fairly quickly. The first three however revealed plenty of jewels and money but not the bank loot.

In the fourth one was nothing but a small red book. Heyes picked it up and looked quickly through it, not quite sure what to make of it. On each page there were handwritten lists of numbers and letters. Some of them were circled and some had squares or triangles drawn around them. Heyes was intrigued. The book was obviously a list of codes, but it wasn't clear what the codes were used for.

He would have liked to have been able to look at it properly but he knew he didn't have time. He replaced the book, closed the box and locked it again.

The next two boxes were empty, but the seventh one yielded a small tan bag. Heyes peered into the bag and smiled. Inside were several wads of cash and another smaller bag.

"Hey Kid," he whispered, beckoning his partner over. Kid peered into the bag as well and smiled.

"Looks like you were right Heyes."

A quick count of the cash revealed that there was indeed ten thousand dollars there. Opening the smaller bag, Heyes pulled out a gleaming diamond necklace.

"So someone did place the loot in the bank," grinned Heyes.

"Wallace?"

"Seems likely Kid."

"But we don't know that for sure do we?"

"No we don't. The only thing we know for sure is that the bank loot is here."

"Well then if you don't mind, I'll just go on keeping a close eye on Martin Mackay. I've had a bad feeling about him all along."

Heyes nodded, prepared to accept Kid's intuition.

"So how do we tell Morgan that we found the bank loot?" asked Kid.

"Short of telling him we broke into the bank and looked, I don't think we can."

"That might make him just a little suspicious huh? One of us can shoot and the other can open safes." laughed Curry. "If he didn't know who we were before, he'd soon work it out from that."

"You're right" grinned Heyes. ""No, we have to find another way to prove who Riggs is or prove that the bank loot is here. So we'll just keep this information to ourselves for the time being and see what happens."

Kid nodded his agreement.

Carefully they replaced the bag, locked the box and made their way out of the bank, checking meticulously that they left no evidence that they'd been there.

Back at the hotel, Curry returned to his own room and Heyes silently let himself back into the room he was sharing with the sheriff, undressed and climbed back into bed.

* * * * *

The next day was a long one. It was stifling hot and the air inside the saloon was thick with smoke and the stench of unwashed cowboys. Curry had been waiting all day, trying to stay alert, trying to have eyes in the back of his head. Heyes and Morgan had never been far away, both of them watching and waiting too.

Curry had entertained the thought that it wasn't going to happen - but only for the briefest of moments. He could feel in it his bones. Somehow he knew that whoever Riggs was, he would call him out.

Martin Mackay, the lone cowboy, had been around the saloon for most of the day. He'd eyed Curry a few times but nothing more.

Henry Wallace, on the other hand, had not been seen all day. From what he'd seen last night in the bank, logic told Curry that Wallace was the man he had to watch, but nevertheless, he still had a bad feeling about Mackay.

Curry threw his cards in. He'd been involved in a game of poker for the last hour but his mind wasn't really on it. Despite that, he'd done pretty well and now had considerably more in front of him than he'd begun with.

One of the other cowboys in the game also tossed in his hand and then collecting up his winnings, made his excuses and left.

The hairs on the back of Curry's neck stood up. He could feel a pair of eyes on his back, became aware that he was being watched. He knew it was Mackay immediately, knew the man was behind him.

He looked up towards the bar where Heyes and Morgan were standing. From where he sat, Curry could see Heyes watch Mackay walk across the saloon. He also saw Heyes scan the area behind Curry. When Heyes looked directly at him, Curry knew that it was indeed Mackay approaching but that there was no other obvious danger behind him.

As he came into his eyeline, Curry returned the man's hard gaze.

"May I?" asked Mackay, indicating the empty seat. Curry nodded and Mackay sat opposite him, the pair never breaking eye contact. The tension between them was tangible and sent a shiver down the spine of the young man sitting between them. Clearly there was going to be trouble.

Standing at the bar next to Heyes, Morgan watched the proceedings with the eye of a lawman who had seen it all before. Deciding it was high time he joined the poker table, he made his way across the room.

Joe, the bartender, shook his head. "Your friend's a dang idiot if you ask me."

"Huh?" Heyes asked confused and not in the mood for small talk.

"Playing cards with that fella Jones," Joe replied, pointing across the room.

"Oh. Yeah." Heyes acknowledged distractedly, his mind on the scene in front of him.

"If ya ask me, he'd better get the man to give him a receipt if he wins," Joe was laughing out loud at his own comment which he obviously thought was most amusing. "He'll be taking it all back off him in a gunfight if he don't."

Heyes turned sharply to look at him.

"What did you say?" he demanded urgently.

"I said, he'd better get the man to give him ...." he started to explain, looking over at the table and then turning back to Heyes, he stopped. Heyes had already gone.

* * * * *

"Good evening Mr Smith. Your key?" asked the hotel desk clerk.

"Yes please"

Heyes took the key and started towards the stairs, but then turned back.

"Actually, I know it's late, but I was wondering, would it be possible to get a bath brought up?"

"At this time?" asked the desk clerk, somewhat flustered. "Well, I really don't know, it's very late." He stammered.

"Well, could you check please? I would surely appreciate it." Heyes gave him a polite and encouraging smile.

"Well, yes, I suppose so." he replied and hurried off.

Heyes quickly reached across the desk and locating the hotel journal, he quickly scanned the pages for the names of Wallace and Mackay. Finding them, he noted the room numbers and returned the journal, just as the desk clerk returned, even more flustered.

"I'm terribly sorry Mr Smith, it seems that we can't do that."

"Oh dear. Well that is a shame," sighed Heyes in mock disappointment. "I suppose it can't be helped though. Thank you for enquiring for me."

He nodded politely whilst scanning the room keys hanging behind the desk clerk. Spotting that the keys for both rooms were there, he smiled and turned.

The desk clerk sighed in relief as he watched Mr Smith make his way up the stairs. He'd expected the man to be far more angry.

Heyes made short work of the door lock once again - they really should improve the locks at this hotel he thought. Within moments he was inside the first room. On the far side of the room was a large dresser with several drawers but a quick search revealed nothing of significance. Next Heyes moved on to the wardrobe, but again found nothing. The carpetbag on the chair also revealed nothing.

Heyes looked around the room. He couldn't see anywhere else to search. Maybe there was nothing here to be found. He didn't believe that though. He was convinced there was. Scanning the room once more, he sat down on the bed to think. If he wanted to hide something important in this room, where would he put it?

Smiling, he stood up again and then turning back to the bed, he lifted the edge of the mattress. He reached his hand underneath to search around. Finding nothing, he moved to the other side of the bed and tried again. This time his fingers touched a folded piece of paper.

He pulled it out and unfolded it quickly. It was exactly what he had been looking for. But was he in time to stop the gunfight?

* * * * *

Heyes ran across the street at full speed, dashed through the saloon doors and stopped dead in his tracks. He was too late. In front of him he saw the very scene he had been hoping to prevent.

Curry was standing with his back to the saloon door, facing Henry Wallace across the saloon. Heyes took a few steps forward and a couple to his right until he was standing a few paces behind Curry and fractionally to his side. If Wallace fired and missed Curry, he would hit Heyes. But Heyes had no fear. That wasn't how this was going to play out.

Curry's mind was totally concentrated on the man in front of him and he didn't consciously register Heyes' presence. And yet, somewhere inside, he instinctively knew he was there, just behind him and to his right.

Everything about Curry was calm. He was totally in command of the situation as he always was. It was just one of the things that made him the best. He looked right into Wallace's eyes, reading the man, reading his reactions, with absolute clarity. As Wallace went to make his move, Curry read him and with a smoothness and a speed which defied the eye, Curry simply drew his gun and fired.

The saloon fell into stunned silence and Wallace's eyes grew large in shock. He'd never seen anything like it. It had been unbelievable. He looked down at his hand. It was stretched out in front of him and it was strangely empty. He looked around him in confusion and seeing his gun on the floor, realised that his gun must have been shot clear out of his hand. Shock made it impossible to move and he stood rooted to the spot, still unable to comprehend what had just happened.

Morgan walked across the saloon and picked up the gun from the floor. Turning it over, he studied the barrel. Heyes came up behind him and peered over his shoulder. There on the barrel, in tiny lettering, was engraved "J Wesley".

Heyes looked up at Kid and nodded.

* * * * *

"Well it looks like it's all sorted out now." reported Sheriff Rogers as he came out of the telegraph office to join Heyes and Curry who had been waiting outside for him. "I sent a message back to Silver Junction and they are sending some men over to help me escort Riggs back. They should be here within a day or two and Riggs will be safe in that jail cell till then. I'll be keeping a close eye on him believe me."

"I guess the town was happy to hear the news?" asked Heyes pointedly.

"They sure were." smiled the sheriff, deliberately ignoring the point he knew Heyes was trying to make. He didn't intend to make this easy for them.

"What about Deputy Bradshaw?" asked Curry.

"His injuries are serious, but he'll live."

"That's good news."

"He won't be riding in a posse again any time soon, but he should make a full recovery in time."

The two former outlaws looked at each other. They were nervous - unsure now that Riggs was safely locked up, exactly what would happen to them. The fact that they were in the street with the sheriff rather than in the jail cell with Riggs gave them some hope, but still, they'd feel better once they knew for sure. Curry gave Heyes a look which clearly said "ask him."

"So sheriff, now that you have Riggs" ventured Heyes sounding more confident than he felt, "what are your plans for us?"

"Do you know boys, I haven't given that much thought really."

"Still thinking about the fact that you've got Riggs?" asked Curry

"No, not exactly."

"No?" Curry was surprised

"No. I was thinking about where the loot from the robbery might be - and whether you two would help me search for it - seeing as how we made such a successful team? It's just that, knowing you as I do" he paused, looked deliberately from one to the other and then smiled "I thought you might?"

Heyes glanced at his partner. This could be trouble. He really didn't want to admit that he knew where the loot was, but on the other hand, how likely was it that Morgan would let them go until they'd found it? If he let them go at all, that was. Heyes admitted to himself that he was beginning to feel less and less sure about that. And if they went out looking for it, they wouldn't find it of course because it was in the bank. If the sheriff ever discovered that they knew where the loot was, then he might assume they'd been involved in it all along. On the other hand, if he admitted right out that they knew, might that not make the sheriff think they were involved anyway? And in any case, how could he explain away the fact that he'd opened the safe without the sheriff realising for certain who he was? What to do?

"Sheriff, what do you plan on doing with us once this is over?"

"I told you, I haven't given that any thought. All I'm trying to figure out right now is how to find the loot. If I return to Silver Junction with Riggs and the loot, I think that would safely put the issue to bed, so to speak."

He stared off down the street, before adding "Like I said before though, I'm willing to do whatever it takes. As you know, I'm not averse to starting the odd rumour, maybe that..."

"Yeah, yeah, we know, that Kid Curry is in town," interrupted Curry.

The sheriff raised his eyebrows in mock surprise.

"Actually no. That Hannibal Heyes is with him."

Heyes and Curry looked at each other and once again agreed that they had no choice but to trust this man.

"It's in the bank, in a lock box." said Heyes, somewhat deflated.

"The bank?" the sheriff didn't appear quite as surprised as Heyes had expected him to be and suddenly he was glad he'd told the truth, anything less would have been dangerous.

"Hmm... So how exactly do you know that?"

Heyes took a piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to the Sheriff.

"It's a receipt from the bank for the things he placed in the lock box - ten thousand dollars and a diamond necklace. It was in his room. It has his name and everything on it too. I found it just before the shootout. I was hoping that this could all get sorted out some other way, without the gunplay."

"I see." Morgan looked at Heyes disbelievingly "And that's how you know the loot is in the bank? Because you found a receipt?"

Heyes hesitated only a second. He knew he had to continue with the truth.

"No. I know the loot is in the bank because I've seen it there. I found the receipt because I went looking for it to prove that Wallace was Riggs before he drew on my friend here."

The sheriff nodded. "I see. You know, I must admit that I thought the worst of you two at one stage. But clearly I was wrong. You can't be who I thought you were, you're too honest."

Heyes and Curry glanced at each other.

"Now why don't you two go over to the hotel and start packing? I'll go over to the bank and sort this out and then I'll meet you in the hotel dining room for dinner. I trust you'll be staying long enough for dinner?"

The pair smiled at him, relieved, and made their way down the street towards the hotel.

Morgan watched them go, just as relieved as they were, because they'd told him the truth.

So, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry are in town he thought to himself and that rumour I heard is true.

He smiled to himself and continued on to the bank.

* * * * *

The three men were sitting at a table in the hotel dining room, having just finished dinner.

"Well boys, I've got a lot of details to see to, so I'll have to take my leave I'm afraid."

Unsure where this left them, Heyes and Curry both looked at him questioningly. Seeing their discomfort, the sheriff continued.

"Oh, well, being as we had so successfully sorted out my first problem boys, I came to a decision about my second problem. I decided that the town of Silver Junction would be happy enough with the return of Riggs and the money and the necklace, that they would hardly notice if two notorious outlaws slipped through their fingers. Here," he handed each of them an envelope "I've been carrying these around with me since we left Silver Junction, kind of an insurance you might say. You can have them now though,." He smiled at them and stood from the table.

"Joshua, Thaddeus, thank you for all your help and for being so," he paused "willing. I'll be wishing you luck in the future - I don't suppose you'll get a chance to return to Silver Junction again - well at least not in the immediate future," he stressed the last words before tipping his hat and leaving.

Heyes and Curry opened the envelopes. Each one contained five hundred dollars in cash and a folded sheet of paper.

Guessing that it was their Wanted posters, the pair quickly unfolded them. Then, staring at them in disbelief, they looked at each other and burst out laughing.

"Wanted: Reward $500 - Tom Gates" read one and the other "Wanted: Reward $500 - Bill Barnes"

 

3.13 The Search for J. Wesley by Sally Wheaton

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