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 4.1 Every Man Has His Price by Sally Wheaton

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Join date : 2013-10-13

20150523
Post4.1 Every Man Has His Price by Sally Wheaton


And so Jenkins had stayed silent and still for the last three hours and watched the other man pace, without uttering a word. Every time Heyes reached the bars of the cell door, he would stop, jab his finger angrily against the lock and snarl.

"If I ever lay eyes on him again ..."

He never finished the sentence, but Jenkins knew who he was referring to of course. To the man who had turned him in, the man who had collected the reward, a man whose shoes Cole Jenkins would not want to be in right now. The man who had betrayed Hannibal Heyes.

Kid Curry.



Starring

Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes
Ben Murphy as Kid Curry

Guest Stars


Russell Crowe as Cole Jenkins

Hume Cronyn as Old Man Jenkins



4.1 Every Man Has His Price
by Sally Wheaton


Hannibal Heyes was angry, that much was plain. In the cell next to him, Cole Jenkins watched him pace up and down, up and down, relentlessly. It had been three hours now since he'd been brought into the jail and the pacing had never once slowed. Jenkins wasn't sure he'd ever seen a man so angry. Oh he'd heard all about the great Hannibal Heyes of course, heard all the stories and yet, he'd never quite imagined that the man would be so powerful, so threatening, even locked up in jail. Jenkins was glad they weren't sharing a cell, that was for sure. He had to admit that he felt not a small amount of fear of the man, though of course, he himself was no small-time outlaw. Oh yes, Cole Jenkins had a reputation of his own. Not quite yet in the same league as Hannibal Heyes, of course, but if he had his own way, he would be - one day - soon.

And so Jenkins had stayed silent and still for the last three hours and watched the other man pace, without uttering a word. Every time Heyes reached the bars of the cell door, he would stop, jab his finger angrily against the lock and snarl.

"If I ever lay eyes on him again..."

He never finished the sentence, but Jenkins knew who he was referring to of course. To the man who had turned him in, the man who had collected the reward, a man whose shoes Cole Jenkins would not want to be in right now. The man who had betrayed Hannibal Heyes.

Kid Curry.

Heyes had paced the cell for most of the night. At one point, the sheriff had pushed himself out of his chair and come right over to the cell door to tell him to stop, to let them all get some sleep, but confronted close up by the cold, hard anger in the man's eyes, he hadn't been able to say a word and had returned to his chair, leaving Heyes to pace up and down, up and down.

Finally as the dawn approached, sheer exhaustion took its toll and Heyes flopped down onto his bunk, face down on his folded arms and within moments drifted into what Jenkins could only imagine would be a fitful, disturbed sleep.

* * * * *

Jenkins slumped down onto his bunk. He was bored. He looked across to the next cell and sighed. Hannibal Heyes had spent the whole day so far just staring endlessly out of the small barred window. Jenkins had no idea what he was looking for, but he still harboured that cold, hard look in his eyes. He didn't, in truth, look as if he'd be in the slightest agreeable to conversation.

Jenkins stood up and wandered across to the window in his cell, staring out into the same street. Nothing caught his attention. He glanced once more towards the other man. Well, he reckoned, he didn't have much to lose - and he was bored.

"Still quiet out there," he ventured.

"Hmm?" mumbled Heyes, as if he had hardly heard the words. He didn't even look towards Jenkins, just continued to stare into the street.

"I said it looks quiet out there. Not much happening."

Slowly, Heyes turned his head.

"I don't trust quiet. Always something happening. Quiet just means you don't know what."

Jenkins flinched slightly, but held the other man's gaze. Now that he had his attention, he wasn't so sure that conversation was such a good idea after all.

"True," he nodded and then turned back towards the street himself.

Minutes passed and he frowned. He really was bored. Maybe the other man would lighten up with a little conversation? He couldn't be in a worse mood, that was for sure.

"You could be waiting a while if you're looking for something to happen."

"It's not something I'm looking for, it's someone."

"Oh. Him."

"Yeah" Heyes nodded slowly, thoughtfully. "Him".

Jenkins looked back towards the street.

"You suppose he's still in town?"

"Oh yeah, he's still in town." His eyes narrowed. "Enjoying it to the full. Gloating. Tellin' everyone how he's got ten thousand dollars coming I'm sure."

"Wouldn't that be a little dangerous though?"

"Dangerous?" At last Heyes turned towards Jenkins and laughed slightly. "You think dangerous bothers Kid Curry?"

Jenkins laughed too. "I guess not."

"You guess not right. He thinks his gun will solve everything."

"You disagree?"

Heyes frowned at Jenkins. "Sure I disagree. Brains will triumph over brawn any day."

At Jenkins' doubtful expression, Heyes continued. "I can't tell you how many times I've kept him out of trouble - serious trouble. He owes me. And look how he repays me." He gestured angrily toward the street.

"He really as fast as they say?"

A tight lipped smile crossed Heyes' face. He walked slowly over to the bars between the two cells, beckoning Jenkins closer with his finger.

"You ever met a man yet who could actually live up to his reputation?"

"Nope, I guess I haven't."

"Everyone who tells the story of the Kid Curry fast draw, shaves another split second off how long it really took. Nope, he's not that fast."

There was a long pause.

"What about you?" asked Jenkins "You as good as they say?"

"Ah. Now that's a different story. And that one can't be exaggerated. Either a safe is open or it's not," he shrugged.

Jenkins' interest was piqued. This was what he was interested in. "Without the combination?"

"Yes of course without the combination." This time a broad smile lit up Heyes' face. "Those stories are true."

"And the locks?"

"True."

"The plans?"

"True."

"Silver tongue?"

"True."

There was another long pause.

"Well then, in that case, how come you're the one in jail?"

Heyes slowly let out the breath he'd been holding and shook his head, laughing. He sat down on his bunk, drawing his knees up and making himself comfortable.

"That is exactly what I've been wondering myself." he smiled, visibly more relaxed.

Jenkins settled back on his own bunk.

"So how did he do it?"

"Caught me by surprise. I never expected it. I trusted him," he sighed. "That's where I went wrong. He got the drop on me and at first, I thought he was kidding. Right through though, I never thought he'd go through with it. But he did. We'd been working for an old rancher by the name of Morton, just small jobs, fixing fences mostly. It wasn't much and he couldn't afford to pay us much but his wife was a good cook and it seemed safe enough. After Curry got the drop on me, he held Morton's wife hostage and threatened to kill her if he didn't do as he said. He told Morton to bring me in here and claim the reward - which he did. I don't know what happened to Morton's wife."

"You think he did it just for the money?"

"Maybe. Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money. And we'd been broke for a while of course, but that was nothing new and something always came along."

"Plenty of other ways to get ten thousand dollars though - plenty of banks and trains to rob."

"Well, we'd been going straight."

Jenkins looked up in surprise. "Straight?"

"We had a very good reason." Heyes dismissed.

Jenkins' eyes widened and Heyes grinned.

"There ain't no reason left now."

"Being turned in by your partner isn't against the law, though?" Jenkins looked a little confused.

Heyes' eyes went cold and hard again. "No, it isn't. But when I get out of here, I'm going to find him. And what I'm going to do to him is definitely against the law."

"And how are you planning on getting out of here?"

The dark eyes fixed callously on Jenkins. "I'll get out of here."

Jenkins shuddered once again at how quickly the man's mood could change. Sensing that the conversation was over at least for now, he lay back on his bunk and settled his hat over his face.

Heyes watched him carefully for a long moment and then let a tiny smile slip momentarily across his face.


* * * * *

By evening, the two men had slipped into a much easier conversation. Jenkins had told Heyes about his gang and the pair had traded stories of the jobs they'd pulled and the problems of leading an outlaw gang. The more that Jenkins listened to Heyes, the more impressed he became. He was obviously a man of great ability, respected by his gang, despite his stories of the man named Wheat, capable of bringing unusual solutions to unusual problems. Jenkins had no doubt why he had become one of the most successful outlaws in the history of the West.

Cole Jenkins, however, was a man who prided himself on being able to turn any situation to his advantage and he was becoming more and more interested in the outlaw Hannibal Heyes.

"So after you've got yourself out of here and after you've got revenge on Curry, what are you going to do then?"

"I haven't really thought about that, to tell the truth." Heyes admitted. "I haven't even gotten to how to get out of here yet."

"Can't get past the revenge part, huh?"

Heyes smiled and shook his head. "I guess that comes first."

"Not if you're stuck in here."

"You've got a point there."

Jenkins decided it was time to lay his cards on the table, at least some of them. "I just may be able to help with that part."

He immediately had Heyes' attention and so continued "Tell me more about what you plan to do after though."

Heyes frowned. "Well I guess going straight will be off."

Jenkins raised an eyebrow. "You seriously saying it was ever on?"

"Maybe. Maybe not." Heyes shrugged. "I don't really care any more. Dealing with Curry is the only thing that matters now," he almost snarled.

"You're shocked at what he did aren't you? Why?"

"I believe in loyalty."

Jenkins let out a loud howl of laughter. "Loyalty! Every man is in this business for themselves - there ain't no such thing as loyalty. I take men into my gang when I need them, I throw them out when I don't need them. I'd as soon turn them in to the law if I could gain from it - and I could figure out how of course! You gotta kind of admire Curry for what he did. Ten thousand dollars is a lot of gain. Not to mention getting one over on the great Hannibal Heyes."

Heyes looked up at him, the anger once more evident on his face. "Those were pretty much his words too."

"So that's what's really eating at you?"

"He said I was past it, that I'd lost it. That I couldn't pull off a job now if I wanted to."

Heyes stood and walked across to the window once more. Jenkins watched his every move.

"One more job. A big one. That's what I need." Heyes' tone was once again ominous. "Just one more to show him. Prove I can still do it." His lips tightened into a straight line as he stared down the street once more. "I guess I'll go back to Devil's Hole."

Jenkins shook his head. "Now you ain't thinking straight."

Heyes turned towards him, a questioning look on his face.

"Now where would Curry go to look for you?"

Heyes shook his head. "Well then I guess I'll go join another gang. Makes no odds to me. So long as it's a big job."

A smile lit up Cole Jenkins' face. "Now you're talking, Heyes. I told you I could help get you out of here, well I just might be able to help with the big job too. If you're serious that is?"

Turning towards Jenkins, Heyes nodded. "Oh I'm serious."

"Then let's talk."

Glancing at the sheriff, who didn't seem to be paying them any attention, Heyes came back to sit on his bunk as Jenkins leaned forward and lowered his voice.

"I have a big job coming up - a big job. And there might be room in it for you - if what you're telling me about opening a safe without dynamite is true?"

"It's true. Tell me more." Heyes glanced once more towards the sheriff.

"My gang will be breaking me out of here tonight. There's a shipment of gold being transported back East by railroad on Thursday - this is big. I have all of the details worked out except for one. I need to open that safe without anyone knowing it's happening, but if I use dynamite, then they're gonna know. You might be just what I need."

An enormous smile lit up Heyes' face. "Thursday you say?"

Jenkins nodded.

Heyes laughed out loud. "Curry is gonna love this!"

Jenkins held out his hand and they shook hands to seal the deal.

* * * * *

Later that evening, the quiet of the jailhouse was broken by a commotion at the door of the sheriff's office.

"Evening sheriff" came a female voice.

"Well now, good evening, Lucy. It's not often we see you in here. Is there a problem at the saloon?" asked the sheriff, somewhat surprised to see one of the saloon girls in his office.

"Oh no, not at all," she replied, staring towards the cells "It's just that I heard you had a famous prisoner in here?"

"Oh I see," smiled the sheriff. "Well he's not so special now he's sitting in a jail cell. And you can relax, Lucy, you needn't worry your pretty little head about him, he's safely locked up. He's not going anywhere."

Heyes couldn't help a slight smirk at that. He stood up from his bunk, picking up his hat as he did so. He fumbled it and it dropped onto the floor. He sighed loudly, picked it up and bashed it hard against his leg to shake out the dust. Placing it on his head, he looked directly at Lucy, who was looking intently back at him.

* * * * *

Back outside on the street, Lucy turned into the small alley opposite the jailhouse.

"Well?" prompted the man standing there.

"The answer is yes."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure."

"You couldn't have made a mistake could you? It's important Lucy."

"No, I didn't make a mistake" she sounded a little annoyed.

"OK," he smiled at her more gently. "Thank you."

He dug into his pocket and handed over some coins and Lucy walked out of the alley and back down the street to the saloon. The man stood in the alleyway, staring across towards the jailhouse, worry etched in the blue eyes as his hand instinctively curled across the gun strapped to his leg.

* * * * *

Late into the night, the sounds of the town drifted into the jailhouse. Men on the street on their way to the saloon and later, the drunken singing and shouting of the men returning home from the saloon. A couple of fights were heard but they were over quickly and the sheriff didn't even venture onto the street. Gradually the sounds from outside dwindled away to nothing until the town was silent.

The silence was broken once when the deputy arrived for his night watch and after the sheriff had left, the deputy settled down with a dime novel. Jenkins glanced at Heyes and then sat down on his bunk to wait, his eyes never leaving the deputy. Eventually his patience paid off when the dime novel slipped out of the deputy's hands and on to the floor. It disturbed him slightly but with a loud "hrmph" he re-settled in his chair and started to snore more loudly. Heyes could feel the tension in the air and all of his senses became alert. Jenkins was obviously expecting something to happen and Heyes watched him carefully.

Jenkins stood from his bunk and, still with half an eye on the deputy, he crept over to the window. He peered out into the darkness for a while and then turning back to Heyes, he pointed to the black hat on the bunk next to him and then put his finger to his mouth, indicating to Heyes to remain silent. Heyes narrowed his eyes, placed his hat on his head, adjusting it slightly, and then stood, making himself ready for the obviously imminent escape.

Jenkins took off his bandana and then with a last quick glance at the deputy, he threw it out of the window on to the street. He peered out intently and then hastened to the far side of the cell by the door, indicating to Heyes to do the same. They both hunched low on the floor and covered their heads with their arms.

Seconds later, a violent explosion jolted through the jailhouse. Heyes' eyes widened as an enormous hole appeared in the wall, covering both his own and Jenkins' cell. Someone, he assumed Jenkins' gang, had used far more dynamite than was necessary. Heyes smiled slightly, remembering back to the time in Porterville when two sets of dynamite had produced a similar result.

Pulling himself quickly to his feet, Heyes followed Jenkins out onto the street where four men were waiting with two spare horses. He mounted and spurred the animal to a gallop and the gang headed out of town. As they sped past the saloon, the patrons were already crowding out onto the street to see what had happened and for a split second Heyes' eyes locked with those of the man standing by the doorway.

As they neared the edge of town, they could already hear the sounds of the pursuing posse behind them. The chase continued for some miles but, as they started to climb, the gang were able to twist and turn through the pine trees and it became more difficult for the posse to follow them.

The sheriff pulled his horse to a halt and the other riders came up beside him. He gazed up at the sky. There was hardly any moonlight and it was almost impossible to see anything.

"This is too risky in the darkness, in this terrain," he sighed. The other members of the posse nodded in general agreement, keen to return to town.

"We'd best call it a day for tonight. We can search again in the daylight. There's not much we can do tonight."

The lone rider behind them pulled up into the trees and watched as the men all turned back towards town, leaving him alone in the darkness. As they disappeared from sight, he set off once more up the trail and into the trees, stopping every now and then to check the trail he was following. It was slow going, but he, for one, was not giving up tonight.

* * * * *

Jenkins lead the way into the already established camp and dismounted. They'd lost the posse fairly easily, as he'd expected, and it hadn't taken long to make their way back here.

A tall, older man stepped forward towards Jenkins. "Glad to see you're back, Cole."

Jenkins tipped his hat at the man.

"We may have trouble, though."

"Trouble?"

"Some of the men were in the saloon last night and there's a rumour going round about that train."

"What rumour?" asked Jenkins, almost amused. His men tended to get alarmed when he wasn't around.

"That they've hired a gunman to protect the gold."

"A gunman huh?" Jenkins laughed out loud. "What gunman?"

"Kid Curry."

Jenkins paused. Kid Curry guarding the gold could cause a major problem, but on the other hand, he glanced at Heyes, maybe he had the perfect man to deal with him.

Handing his horse over to one of the gang members, he indicated to Heyes to dismount and as he did so, Jenkins drew his gun.

"Just so we understand each other here," he growled. "I'm in charge and you'll do as I say. I don't want you thinking that you can just hightail it out of here now that my men have got you out of that jail."

Heyes shook his head and smiled calmly at Jenkins. "I have no intention of running out on you - or have you forgotten why I'm here?"

"Curry."

"Exactly. I'm not interested in challenging you, I'm not even interested in a share of the loot. I only want one thing and that's Curry. You offered me a way to get back at him. So I'll do whatever you want me to do. I'll follow your orders, I'll open your safe."

Jenkins nodded, satisfied, and lowered his gun.

"On one condition." Heyes' voice was hard, determined.

"Condition?" Jenkins looked at him dubiously, raising his gun once again.

"Curry is mine. That's all I ask."

Jenkins thought for a second. "And for that, you'll do what I ask of you? I demand that all of my gang work as equals, no privileges."

Heyes nodded.

"All I want is Curry. No-one takes any pot shots at him. Whatever happens, however this plays out, he's mine."

Jenkins remembered back to the man's anger in the jail cell. He believed him and, nodding his agreement to the condition, he holstered his gun. "OK, that's a deal. And you can start tonight by taking your turn as lookout."

He turned to the older man.

"Jim, this here is Hannibal Heyes and," he turned to Heyes "this is my right hand man, Jim Schofield"

Jim's face dropped in shock but he somehow managed to hold out his right hand. "Glad to meet you, Hannibal."

Heyes froze and his eyes turned to stone. "You can call me Heyes," he said harshly and Jim could do no more than nod as Heyes reached out and shook his hand.

Jenkins laughed heartily and slapped an arm around each of their shoulders. "Come on now fellas," he encouraged. "We're on the verge of something big here and we have plenty to discuss. Jim, you have coffee ready?"

Jim nodded, relaxing a little now as Jenkins led the way to the fire.

"Good. Then pour us all some and let's get these plans finalised."

"Jim, Heyes here is going to be working with us on the job."

Jim looked at his leader doubtfully then glanced at Heyes.

Cole smiled. "You remember the one part of the plan we couldn't solve? How to open the safe without stopping the train? Well, Heyes here is going to solve that for us."

* * * * *

Curry moved forward very slightly and stopped immediately as the leaves he was lying on rustled slightly. He peered forward intently, trying to see as much of the camp as he could in the darkness. He hadn't seen any movement since Jenkins had settled into his bedroll, leaving the standard one man on lookout duty.

As quietly as he could, Curry made his way slowly around the edge of the camp, keeping out of sight in the trees until he was close to the single lookout.

Keeping the man in his sight as much as possible, he made his way through the undergrowth. It was low-growing in some places and he had to crawl on hands and knees, meaning he lost sight of the lookout. With the need to remain unseen and unheard by the camp, progress was slow, but eventually he crawled out of the thick undergrowth and came face to face with a gun barrel, only inches from his nose. His eyes travelled the length of the gun and came to rest on the face behind it.

"You really should learn to sneak up on a body more quietly, Kid," whispered Heyes.

"Well I wasn't expecting you to welcome me with a gun." Curry said, looking pointedly at the end of the barrel, which was still pointing at him.

Heyes grinned, re-holstered the weapon and put his arm across Curry's shoulder.

"You're late - trouble?" he asked more seriously.

"Nothing I couldn't handle. What's the deal?"

They moved quietly back across the clearing so that they could keep an eye on the camp, sat down and continued in whispers.

"Pretty much as we thought. Jenkins knows about the shipment and the Old Man's right, he's got plans for it."

"So how's he going to get the gold bars?"

"That's the clever part, Kid, he's going to break into the safe without stopping the train. Then they'll just throw the gold bars off the train at designated points to be picked up by other members of the gang. That way, no-one will even know that the train has been robbed, at least not until hours later and they'll have no idea where to look for the robbers or the loot."

Curry smiled. "But that's where they're wrong huh? I assume you have all the details of the pickup points?"

Heyes nodded, smiling and gave Curry the details he'd need.

"It's a pretty impressive plan, huh?"

"Yeah, well don't you go enjoying this too much, Heyes."

"Kid, this is a legal safebreak and I plan to enjoy it to the full."

"Uh-huh," nodded Curry, smiling. His partner had a point there.

"So what does Jenkins know about the guards?"

"He knows you'll be there."

"He does?" asked Kid, slightly surprised, but pleased with himself. "Well whadaya know, what they say about Lucy the redhead is right."

"Lucy the redhead?" asked Heyes in amazement.

"Saloon girl. Has a reputation for spreading rumours." He smiled broadly at Heyes. "And she did a good job for us."

"So sorry you've had to go to such lengths Kid."

"Now Heyes, don't go making me out to be a hero. I know you would've done the same," he grinned.

"While you were in jail?"

Curry looked hurt. "Heyes. I was only thinking of the job."

Heyes glanced sideways at him, clearly not convinced.

When Heyes didn't reply, he added. "Well, next time, I'll go to jail while you spread the rumour, OK?"

"Deal." grinned Heyes.

* * * * *

Heyes pulled his big grey coat tightly around him as the chill of the night settled in. He leant back against the tree and stretched his legs out in front of him. He thought about Curry's words earlier and went over the events of the past week once again …

… They'd been in the miserable town of Howardsville for a couple of days and their luck was running low. There was no work and worse still, no poker. Money was fast running out and in desperation, they'd spent a chunk of their last dollar telegraphing old friends, hoping for a lead for a job. It was Big Mac McCreedy who finally came through for them. He had an acquaintance who was looking for a couple of good men to do an important job. Big Mac felt they might be just the men to help him and suggested they made their way to Fillmore, New Mexico, to meet with a man named Lucas Jenkins.

"Old Man Jenkins" as it turned out he was affectionately known, was a frail, yet perky old man and obviously rich, too. His house rivalled Silky O'Sullivan's in size and grandeur, though he seemed to live in it alone. He'd greeted them warmly and regaled them with tales of Big Mac. It was obvious to Heyes and Curry that, in his day, Old Man Jenkins had been Fillmore's version of Big Mac, still highly regarded and the most powerful man in town.

Over dinner, the old man had first quizzed them about the jobs they'd done for Big Mac, and then, seeming to finally trust them, he'd explained the position.

"Gentlemen," he began earnestly. "My friend Big Mac tells me you are reliable and resourceful and that I would do well to trust you. I pride myself on my ability to read people and from what I've seen tonight, I believe he is right. The job I have in mind may not be easy. I'll be honest with you, if I had any idea of how to do the job myself, I wouldn't be hiring you."

Heyes glanced at Curry and smiled. He believed the Old Man. Despite his advancing years, he had his full wits about him and certainly wasn't a man you'd want to cross. Heyes decided he liked him.

He lifted his glass and took a slow sip of the brandy.

"I assume the pay will be commensurate with the job?" he asked.

Lucas smiled knowingly and raised an eyebrow.

"You're a shrewd businessman, Joshua. I like that. Yes, I'm willing to pay a fair price for what I have in mind."

"And what exactly is it you have in mind?" asked Curry.

"Gentlemen, I'm an old man as you can see. I'm not going to be around forever and I want to put my affairs in order before it's too late. My daughter, Phoebe, moved back East some years ago and I want her to inherit my fortune - all of it. There are some things I'd like to transport to her now, rather than later."

"Things?" asked Curry. "What things?"

"Jewels and gold bars, mainly. All above board, if that's what you're thinking."

Curry nodded. "Sounds straightforward enough. You want to hire us as security?"

"No," said Lucas, "that's not what I want."

Curry looked at Heyes and then leaned back in his chair, watching Lucas.

"My son, Cole, may have other ideas," he stated flatly.

"Your son?" asked Heyes in surprise. "Cole Jenkins? He's your son?"

"Cole Jenkins the outlaw?" asked Curry

"Exactly" nodded Lucas.

"Well, I'll be." Heyes shook his head slightly.

"He turned to outlawing many years ago. He's been something of an outcast from the family ever since. Truth is, I've always been rather ashamed of him."

Curry looked down and shifted uneasily in his chair. Lucas looked directly at him, as if he could see right through him, thought Curry.

"Needless to say, we've had an extremely difficult relationship since then. The most difficult thing for me has been his jealousy and anger towards his sister, Phoebe. She's always tried so hard with him, but to no avail. She's never believed in her heart that he turned bad. She would give him half of her fortune and then he'd be back to take the rest. I don't want him to have the chance to do that."

Lucas went silent for a few moments as he lit a cigar and then let out a long sigh.

"I believe that Cole may know of my intentions to ship the gold next week and I believe he plans to rob the train and take at least what he considers his share, maybe even take Phoebe's share, too."

"He'd rob his own sister?" asked Curry, clearly astounded.

Lucas smiled at Curry, liking his distaste of such an action.

"I'm afraid I truly believe he would. That's why I want him stopped. I want Phoebe to get everything.

Curry nodded, understanding. "I can see that."

Heyes frowned. "But you said it wasn't a security job. There's more isn't there?"

Lucas nodded slowly. "I don't want him to have another chance. Even if the money gets through to Phoebe, what's to stop him going back East and attempting to rob her? I'm not going to be around forever and I don't want Phoebe worrying about when he might turn up. I want the gold to get through, but I also want Cole stopped… " he paused again, "… once and for all."

In exact unison, Heyes and Curry rose from the table.

"Good day Mr Jenkins. Thank you for dinner but I'm afraid we're not the men for the job." Heyes picked up his hat and prepared to leave. Lucas looked confused.

"I guess Big Mac forgot to tell you that we're not killers," added Curry.

"Killers?" Lucas sounded surprised and then it dawned on him what they had thought and he laughed. "Gentlemen, gentlemen, sit down," he indicated back to the table. "I'm not looking for killers. And actually," he looked at Curry, "Big Mac did tell me that. I know you're not killers. Come, sit down, let me explain."

Heyes and Curry looked at each other, a whole conversation passing silently between them and then they removed their hats and sat down again, waiting for Lucas to continue.

"I want him put in prison - fairly, I might add. I want him caught red-handed trying to rob the train. If he doesn't attempt a robbery then he won't be going to prison, will he?"

It was Heyes' turn to shift uncomfortably in his seat. Lucas was a shrewd man and he spotted Heyes' discomfort.

"It's not about him" he emphasised. "It's about Phoebe. I want her to be safe. I want her to understand, once and for all, that he is an outlaw who would rob his own sister. Maybe then she'll be more careful of him when I'm gone."

"Why don't you talk to the sheriff?" asked Curry.

"The sheriff is a good friend of mine and you can count on his co-operation. But like I said earlier, it's not that easy. If I, or indeed the sheriff, could figure out how to do it, I wouldn't be hiring you two. And yes, before you ask, that's exactly why Big Mac recommended the two of you."

"You mentioned you were willing to pay a fair price?"

"And I am," he replied. "Five thousand dollars."

Heyes pursed his lips, considering. "Each." He stated rather than asked.

"Each?" asked Lucas incredulously, then smiled and added "Big Mac warned me about you."

He leaned forward in his seat. "He also told me you're something of a gambling man."

Heyes raised an eyebrow.

"Five thousand dollars each if you can get him arrested red-handed. If not, then nothing."

Curry glanced at Heyes, concerned. Heyes nodded confidently. "Deal Mr Jenkins". Curry glared at him and Heyes gave him a huge smile back.

"On condition that you also write a letter to your friend the sheriff confirming that we're working for you and have nothing to do with the robbery ourselves. We don't want to get caught up in anything illegal," he added.

Lucas looked right at him. "Hmm. That so?" he asked suspiciously. After a moment he smiled again.

"Big Mac warned me about that too. Just in case you needed persuading to do the job you understand."

Heyes and Curry stole a brief glance at each other, worried.

"Alright, he says I can trust you, so I will. Not to mention of course that I have little choice anyway. And if you double cross me, well I'd rather you have the money anyway than Cole. OK, I'll write the letter." he agreed. He held his hand out across the table and the three shook hands.

"The first thing is, we'll need to find Cole." Heyes mused.

"That won't take long. I know exactly where he is." replied the old man.

"You do?"

"He's in a town about an hour's ride away and he isn't going anywhere too fast. He's in the local jail there. Got himself involved in some trouble there."

"In the jail?" asked Curry, a little confused. "If he's already in jail, what's the point of this job?"

"You're not listening," scolded Lucas. "This is about two things. First, I want Phoebe to understand that Cole would do this to her, and second, I want him caught red-handed so that he goes to prison for a good long time and can't bother her. The rumours are flying around that town right now that his gang will be breaking him out of that jail in the next few days, just in time for a big job. And I have a feeling I know what the big job is going to be, don't you boys?"

* * * * *

As they rode back into town after dinner, Curry was unusually quiet. Heyes glanced at him a couple of times but decided to wait and let Curry brew for a while. He'd get to talking about what was on his mind just as soon as he was ready. If Heyes tried to draw it out of him before that, he'd only get proddy. Heyes guessed he was doubtful about the job and needed time to think it through.

It turned out Heyes was right. As they neared the edge of town, Curry drew up alongside him.

"Heyes, you sure we did the right thing? Accepting this job?"

"You heard the man, Kid. Five thousand dollars - each."

"Yeah. Iffen we get him captured red-handed."

Heyes looked mock hurt. "Ifs don't usually bother you. You gotta have a little more faith, Kid."

"We're not usually tangling with the likes of Cole Jenkins."

Heyes frowned. "It's not like you to be intimidated by a name."

"It's not the name that bothers me, Heyes, it's what we have to do to him that bothers me."

Heyes turned his head to face him. "You're really bothered by this aren't you, Kid?" he asked gently.

Curry nodded. "Heyes, how are we gonna get Cole Jenkins caught red-handed? Have you thought about that?"

"Yes, I've thought about that."

"And?"

"And what?"

"And what are we gonna do?"

"I don't know, Kid"

"You don't know?" Curry shook his head. "You don't know what we're gonna do about it and you can't figure why I'm worried?"

"Yet," added Heyes smiling. Curry simply glared at him.

"You think the sheriff will believe the letter from the Old Man, that we're not involved with the robbery?"

Heyes nodded. "I think so. Old Man Jenkins is a powerful man in this town and the sheriff is his friend. I don't think it will be a problem. Once the Old Man has written that letter and shown it to the sheriff, we'll make sure it's kept secure at the bank, in the safe maybe, where no-one can get it."

"Where almost no-one can get it," laughed Curry. "It sure is a good feeling Heyes, to be the only people in town who can put something in a safe and know it's truly safe."

They'd arrived in town now, and pulled up in front of the hotel. They hesitated, still in the saddle.

"OK Heyes, you have any idea how we're gonna convince the desk clerk that we'll be able to pay him in a few days? Do you think mentioning Old Man Jenkins will help?"

"Maybe," agreed Heyes. "C'mon, let's give it a try."

They dismounted and walked confidently into the hotel lobby.

"Evening gentlemen," the desk clerk greeted them as they walked through the door. He turned his back on them then and Heyes and Curry approached the desk and plastered their best smiles in place. The desk clerk turned and placed a key on the desk in front of them.

"There you are. Room 109, one of our best. I hope you'll be comfortable and have everything you need. I can have baths sent up in an hour if you wish?"

Heyes and Curry looked at each other in confusion. Mighty tempting as it was to just take the room, it didn't feel quite right to Curry.

"Erm, I think there's been some mistake," he started.

"Mistake?" smiled the desk clerk. "I don't think so. Mr Jones and Mr Smith isn't it? Old Man Jenkins took the room for you this afternoon. Told us to see that you were well looked after."

"He did?" Curry was a little surprised.

Heyes glanced at him and quickly picked up the key, smiling broadly.

"Ah, we didn't think he'd have had time this afternoon is all. Room 109 you say?" …

… Heyes dipped his chin into the collar of his grey coat and looked up into the night sky, shivering slightly. Having gone back over the events of the past week in his mind, he was satisfied that he'd accounted for everything. He went back to thinking about Curry's words earlier that night, and in particular his concerns …

… Curry had listened carefully as Heyes had told him of Jenkins' plan and his own part in it. Curry's silence, when he'd stopped talking, told Heyes what he needed to know. Curry was worried. He'd sighed and then stared up at the stars for a while before looking directly at Heyes once more.

"A moving train, huh?"

Heyes nodded.

"At full speed?"

Heyes nodded.

"So how are you going to hear the tumblers and open the safe?"

"I'm not."

Curry frowned. "You're not?"

"I figure I don't have to. So long as Jenkins thinks I can, I don't have to."

At Curry's puzzled look, he explained further, "Jenkins believed me when I told him I could do it and so he's brought me in on the job. That was the important part. If I can't open the safe …"

"If?" interrupted Curry.

"Yes, if." Heyes frowned briefly at Curry's apparent lack of confidence on this point, and then continued "Well anyway, I figure that even if I can't open it, it will look bad enough for Jenkins to be caught red-handed."

"So the train arrives at Pine Summit where the sheriff will be waiting?"

Heyes nodded.

"And what is the sheriff going to think when he finds you trying to open the safe? Is he really going to believe that it's just a set-up, or is he going to think you're involved with the robbery?" …

… Sitting in the still and quiet of the night, Curry's words from earlier rattled around inside Heyes' head. At the time, he'd replied that they had no other choice but to go through with it, which, of course, was true. He'd also told his partner not to worry, but he had to admit, Kid had a point. What was the sheriff going to think? Would the letter from Old Man Jenkins be enough? More importantly, was there anything else he do could about it? Shifting position slightly, trying to get comfortable on the hard ground, he set his mind to going over the details of the plan one more time, but eventually had to admit, he could see only one way around the problem.

* * * * *




_________________
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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4.1 Every Man Has His Price by Sally Wheaton :: Comments

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Re: 4.1 Every Man Has His Price by Sally Wheaton
Post on Sat 23 May 2015, 7:07 pm by royannahuggins


Heyes stared impatiently down the railroad track, looking for any sign of the approaching train. Next to him, Cole Jenkins and Jim Schofield were doing the same. The night was chilly and dark, with hardly any moonlight to help them. They were waiting close to the water stop at Montgomery Peak where they knew the train was scheduled to stop.

A few moments later, it came into sight and the three men nodded to each other and took their positions, securing their horses close by to be collected by other members of the gang later.

As the train finally pulled to a halt, Heyes ran out from behind the rocks and, trying to stay low and out of sight, he ran to the car described to him by Cole, inside which was the safe protected by two guards. He climbed up and, balancing on the small ledge by the large door, he tugged at it slightly. As he expected, it was locked. Fishing in the pocket of his grey coat, he pulled out his lockpick and quickly set to work, as quietly as he could. Moments later, the lock was undone. He signalled to Cole and Jim who ran down from the rocks towards the car and then lay on the ground to stay out of sight of the conductor, further up the track.

They waited silently, and then, as the train slowly began to move again, Heyes flung open the door of the car. In an instant, the two guards were on him and in the scuffle, one of them grabbed Heyes around the neck. As if from nowhere, a hand came down on the back of the guard's head and he fell to the floor. Heyes swivelled around to face the other guard, mouthing "thank you" and then with a quick glance towards Cole and Jim who were now almost at the open door, Heyes raised his arm and at the same time as he brought it down hard, Curry dived to the floor, landing face down in a crumpled heap, his arms flung out in front of him by the door.

Cole and Jim climbed up into the car as the train started to gather speed and Cole pulled the door closed behind them. Cole turned to Heyes, who was now holding a gun on the two guards, who were both still slumped on the floor. Cole took out his gun and nudged Heyes, pointing towards the safe. Heyes' head jerked up to look at him and even in the darkness, Cole could see that cold, hard expression in his eyes. Cole glanced towards the floor, remembering what this was all about for Heyes. Revenge on Kid Curry. But Curry was obviously out cold and Cole needed Heyes to calm down and get that safe open before they reached the pick-up points.

"I made you a promise and I won't go back on it," he said, looking directly at Heyes. "Curry is yours. I won't shoot him." Jenkins' voice too held a note of threat as he continued "But first, your job is to open that safe. It's what you agreed to."

Heyes paused and then nodded. "OK, but I keep my gun and if you so much as think about firing in his direction …." He trailed off without finishing the sentence but the implication was clear to Cole, who nodded and then took his own gun and held it on the guards.

Heyes holstered his gun and moved in to settle by the safe. This wasn't going to be easy. The noise of the train thundered in his ears and he wasn't sure how he'd ever hear the tumblers. The other night he'd assured Curry that he didn't actually need to open the safe, that it would work just as well if he didn't. He knew inside that he hadn't convinced Curry and the truth was, he hadn't convinced himself either. The more he'd thought around the problem that night, he had come to only one conclusion. One way or another, he had to get this safe open. He glanced over at Curry, lying perfectly still on the floor, and then placed his head next to the door of the safe. He made a conscious effort to relax, to clear his mind and concentrate.

The train rumbled on and on into the night. Inside the car, Curry lay still, Heyes sat by the safe, concentrating hard, and Cole and Jim stood, guns in hand, waiting.

Every now and then, Cole and Jim looked at each other, becoming a little impatient for the safe to be open.

"How long's it take Heyes?" demanded Cole.

Heyes sat up straight and turned around to face them, exasperated.

"A lot less time if you leave me to concentrate, that's for sure. What with the noise of the train, I don't need any extra noise from you."

Cole didn't answer, he understood it was going to take time. He was prepared for that, it was just difficult waiting, he admitted.

Heyes turned back to the safe and leant in against it once more. He closed his eyes, trying to regain his concentration. Slowly but surely, the background noise of the train seemed to melt into the distance and the only sound Heyes could hear was of his own breathing, which was slow and steady. He pushed all other thoughts from his mind until the only things in his world were himself and the safe. It was becoming clearer and clearer all the time and he was even beginning to think … there! He allowed a faint smile to cross his lips.

"Heyes!" demanded Cole again. "How much longer?"

Heyes sighed heavily and swung around. "Cole, you've got to be quiet," he yelled. "It takes concentration. I nearly had it then. You keep on shouting like that and it ain't gonna happen."

Cole shrugged and Heyes turned back to the safe again. Still the train sped along and both Cole and Jim were becoming increasingly worried about the delay. They were interrupting him every few minutes, demanding to know if he was making any progress, and they were becoming decidedly twitchy.

Curry continued to lie still on the floor, but he was becoming aware of the growing tension in the car. He wondered if Heyes really was making any progress or whether he was merely using it as a delaying tactic until they reached Pine Summit - and the sheriff.

"How much further to the first pick-up?" asked Jim, his voice raised to be heard over the noise of the train.

"Difficult to say exactly," replied Cole. "We can't be far off now."

Heyes jumped to his feet and stood glaring at them. "If you two don't start being quiet, this safe ain't gonna be open before the first pick-up for sure."

Cole stared at him, starting to become a little suspicious. "Well now, Heyes, that's a strange thing to say isn't it? We're on a moving train in case you hadn't noticed. Now how come that doesn't bother you, but the occasional sound of our voices does?"

Heyes just stared back at him, not answering.

"Are you sure you're trying hard enough? You're not holding out on us for some reason, are you? Not thinking you can open the safe and help yourself to the loot without sharing are you?"

He moved closer to Heyes, who just rolled his eyes at him.

Cole jabbed his gun into Heyes' shoulder. "Maybe you need a little encouragement? A little help here?" He shoved him back towards the safe. Heyes sighed and shook his head, but returned to the safe and settled against it once more.

Every muscle in Curry's body was alert. He wished he could see what was happening. Was Jenkins holding a gun on Heyes? Come on, Heyes, he urged silently, you have to get that safe open. He strained to hear every sound in an attempt to figure out exactly where everyone was in the car and what they were doing, but it wasn't easy with the noise of the train.

Cole was standing next to Heyes, his gun trained on his middle. Heyes pulled his head away from the safe and nodded towards the gun.

"Sure doesn't help the concentration," he said.

"That's your problem. Deal with it," came the reply.

"Cole, you don't have to hold a gun on me," he sighed. "I'm gonna get this thing open." He put his head back to the safe, and went back to work on it.

Curry smiled slightly. Thank you, Heyes. At least now he knew what was happening, though he admitted he wasn't quite sure whether it was good or bad. If the sheriff should discover Jenkins holding a gun on Heyes, then that would certainly help their cause, but had Heyes really pushed them into this situation? Was it really what he'd planned? Or was his plan out of control? Curry wished he could see Heyes. As it was, he had only the sound of his voice to go on which made it more difficult. But he knew his partner well, had seen any number of plans and had even been surprised by many, and, he pondered, he didn't sound as if it was out of control.

Heyes' head was still against the safe, but he was no longer listening to it. He was listening to the sound of the train and he was certain it was beginning to slow down. They were starting to climb towards Pine Summit. Not much longer now. He stole a glance at Cole who was still holding the gun on him, but had stepped back a little. Heyes was confident he wasn't going to shoot him, at least not until the safe was open, he smiled inwardly. The man was looking more and more nervous, though, and that was going to be made worse when he finally figured that the train was coming to a stop. Timing was crucial and Heyes went back to listening to the sounds of the train, trying to judge how it was slowing down.

It was several minutes before Cole looked around him, slightly confused.

"Are we slowing down?" he asked.

"Pine Summit," said Jim, unconcerned.

"Yes, well I know that. But it seems like we shouldn't be going this slowly."

"It's just because it's dark, seems slower."

"Hm. Maybe."

Several more minutes passed and finally Cole was certain that something was wrong.

"We're stopping," he suddenly yelled.

Curry tensed, ready. Heyes turned the dial one last time and then sat up straight and shrugged at Cole, in a gesture of uncertainty.

"Open it! Now!" screamed Cole, lunging forward and pushing Heyes onto the floor. He grabbed at the safe door and as he yanked on it, it flew open. For a second, his face registered shock and then he whirled on Heyes, holding the gun on him with one hand even as the other hand snaked into the safe and grabbed handfuls of the notes and jewels, stuffing them into his pocket.

"I knew it," he roared. "You're trying to double cross me! You're not going to get away with it! This belongs to me and … "

The train came to a final stop. With Cole and Jim's attention both on Heyes and the safe, Curry's hand reached out and released the door. It swung wide open and Curry was suddenly face to face with the sheriff and his posse.

The sheriff raised his rifle, unsure of exactly what to expect inside the car. What he saw was Cole Jenkins standing by an open safe, grabbing the contents and stuffing it into his pockets, whilst holding a gun on a dark haired man and yelling at him. To his side was another man, also holding a gun and also with wads of cash overflowing from his pockets. Lying on the floor, unmoving were two men, one blond and one bald.

As the men from the posse secured Cole and Jim, the sheriff jumped up into the car and finally recognised the dark-haired man and the blond as the two friends of Old Man Jenkins. He helped them both to their feet and dusted them off.

"You two OK?" he asked.

They both nodded that they were, and the sheriff went back to the business of securing the two prisoners and checking on the regular guard, muttering something about going back to town, shortly.

Still standing in the car, Curry turned towards Heyes to check he was OK. Heyes was beaming at him like an eight year old at Christmas.

"What?" asked Curry confused.

Heyes stepped to the side, revealing the safe to Curry for the first time.

Curry stared at it in shock.

"How did you …?" he began, then stopped, too surprised to continue. The door was wide open.

"You gotta have more faith, Kid," grinned Heyes, smugly.

Curry shook his head, then laughed out loud and thumped Heyes on the back before following him out of the car.

* * * * *

It was early the next morning when Heyes and Curry made their way back to the hotel, hoping that room 109 would still be available for them. Still in a buoyant mood after the success of the job, they greeted the desk clerk with a smile, but he didn't smile back.

"Room 109 please" said Curry.

"Just a moment gentlemen, let me check."

He turned to his register and looked down the page. Heyes and Curry exchanged puzzled glances.

"Lucas Jenkins reserved the room for us," Curry reminded him, assuming he had simply forgotten.

"Yes I know. He paid for it until last night, but he didn't pay for tonight."

"Well, I'm sure he would do if we needed him to," Curry replied. "But in any case, we just completed a job for him and as soon as we've collected our pay for it, we'll be happy to pay you ourselves."

"Oh I see," the desk clerk replied doubtfully. "And in the meantime, until you get paid that is, you don't have the funds to pay for the room yourselves?"

"No," answered Heyes, smiling. "But I don't see that it's a problem. I'm sure Mr Jenkins will cover the cost of the room in any case."

The desk clerk snapped the register closed and looked at them sombrely.

"Mr Jenkins sadly passed away yesterday afternoon."

"Passed away?" repeated Heyes.

The desk clerk nodded in confirmation. "So I'm afraid, unless you can pay for the room upfront, there is no room."

"I'm sure this can be sorted out," Heyes reasoned. "He owes us for the job."

"Well, you'll have to speak to Mr Wheeler at the bank about that. But if you get your pay, then you'll be most welcome here," he smiled at them. "And room 109 is still available."

"That's good news, then," Curry muttered under his breath as they turned and left the hotel, in search of the bank.

* * * * *

"Unfortunately I didn't realise that he owed you money for any job," Mr Wheeler, the bank manager said, shaking his head. He seemed a reasonable man but it was looking less and less likely that they'd get their pay.

"I happened to know that he was shipping out the jewels and the gold to his daughter back East. I also knew how concerned he was about his son and so, when I heard the terrible news yesterday, I immediately made arrangements to have all of his funds transferred to his daughter."

Heyes and Curry looked at each other and sighed. Not again surely?

"Of course, I'm sure that Mr Jenkins' daughter would be happy to see that you gentlemen are paid, but it will of course take some considerable time to work out the details. Will you be staying in town for a while?"

"No, I'm afraid we won't," answered Curry, deflated.

"Well then, maybe you could leave an address where I can contact you about it later?"

"Well," said Curry smiling doubtfully "We'll, er, have to let you know on that."

Heyes smiled and nodded his agreement. Then, glancing at each other once again, they tipped their hats, said their goodbyes and made a hasty exit before any more questions could be asked.

Back out on the street, it was Curry who voiced the question on both their minds.

"How much money do we have between us, Heyes?"

"Not enough."

"Then I guess we'll be staring at the stars tonight."

"Kid, it's too cold."

"Hmm. Well …" he paused, considering. "Well, if you want to sleep indoors, there's always the jail? I could turn you in - they might even let me have the reward?"

He laughed heartily and then turned to look at his partner and the look he received sent a shiver up even Kid Curry's spine.

 

4.1 Every Man Has His Price by Sally Wheaton

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