Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

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

Reply to topic
Share | 
 

 It’s No Big Deal - A Calico-McCoy Production

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

Posts : 419
Join date : 2013-10-13

20150530
PostIt’s No Big Deal - A Calico-McCoy Production



Life seems to have dealt Dan and Ellen Loomis a losing hand, but maybe a chance meeting with Heyes and Curry will change their luck. Find out, in the Calico/McCoy episode - No Big Deal.


Starring


Pete Duel and Ben Murphy as
Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry


Guest Starring


Randolph Mantooth as Dan Loomis
Sallie Shockley as Ellen Loomis


Steven Gravers as Tom Mattson


Kevin McCarthy as Dennis Wilcox


John Qualen as Jesse Burford


Robert Middleton as George the Dealer

AND - special guest appearance by:


Don Ameche as Diamond Jim McGuffy


It’s No Big Deal
A Calico-McCoy Production


SALOON – BACK ROOM

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry sit at a poker table. An impressive pile of cash lays before Heyes. An equally impressive pile is in front of the Kid.



Heyes looks at his cards, then tosses a few coins into the pot. He waits for the next player’s response. The Kid’s blue eyes move, appraisingly, over the face of each man at the table in turn. As the next player throws in his hand, Heyes smiles and pulls the pot towards him.

“Well, fellas, I’m gonna call it a night.”

“Me too.” The Kid stuffs notes into his pocket, pushes back his chair and stands.

“You’ll be back for another game, right?” a man asks.

Heyes nods. “Oh, sure. Don’t worry. I’ll give you a chance to win some back.”

“Or lose some more,” the Kid whispers as they turn away.

They push through a beaded curtain re-entering the main saloon, and survey the room. Two saloon gals sit gossiping, quietly, together for want of potential customers. An old timer slumbers, peacefully, at the bar undisturbed by the bartender. A small stakes poker game is underway at the one occupied table. Heyes scans first the pot, then the players. Frowning, he pulls up short.

The Kid bumps into him. “What’s wrong?”

Heyes points his chin towards the poker table. “The young fella in the corner.”

Blue eyes narrow as Curry studies the man. His expression registers doubt – searching – half-recognition.

“We know him,” declares the Kid.

“We do.”

“From where?”

A mute conversation. Brown eyes widen and a dimpled smile forms. “The stage station.”

“Utley?”

“Yeah. Remember the young couple with the baby?”

The Kid visibly racks his memory. “Loomis. Dan Loomis.”

“That’s it, Kid.” Heyes indicates the man in the corner. “That’s Dan Loomis.”

Heyes and Curry study Dan. His clothes are threadbare, his chin unshaven, his shoulders slumped. A half empty whiskey bottle stands before him and, as the boys watch, Dan reaches with a trembling hand to pour himself another drink. Brown and blue eyes shift to the small pile of low denomination coins in front of Dan.

Loomis angrily throws in his hand. He pushes back his chair and rises, unsteadily, to his feet.

“That shouldn’ta happened. I had a good hand. I had a winning hand.”

“No you didn’t, kid, ‘cos you just lost,” says a fella exposing an expanse of shiny forehead thanks to his receding hairline.

The remark itself – and the laughter of the table which follows it – is good-natured enough. Nevertheless, Loomis’ face darkens.

“I couldn’t’ve lost!” He looks suspiciously from one player to the next. “I know what’s going on here. I see what you’re up to.”

The laughter stops.

Resentful glances at Dan from around the table suggest his unspoken accusation has not gone down at all well. A pause.

“Boy, that sounds a little like you’re accusin’ us o’ cheatin’.” A cowboy sporting a fine ginger moustache pushes his chair back.

Curry and Heyes exchange a look and stride towards the table.

“Dan!” Heyes cries. “It is you! I never forget a face.”

The attention of Ginger Whiskers and the other poker players is diverted.

Loomis looks from Curry to Heyes and back again. His brow wrinkles with the effort of trying to recall where he has seen them before. Then, “Hannibal He…”

“Yes!” interrupts Heyes. “Hannah Belle’s brother – Joshua. Joshua Smith and Thaddeus.” He pulls Curry forward. “See, here’s Thaddeus, Thaddeus Jones.”

Loomis’ mouth forms an ‘O’.

“I hate to interrupt this reunion,” says Ginger-Whiskers, “But we were just settlin’ somethin’ with this young fella.”

“Yeah,” chips in Receding-Hairline. “It sounded like he was accusin’ us ‘o cheatin’.”

“Oh, I’m sure Dan wouldn’t do that, would you, Dan?” Heyes slings an arm around the younger man’s shoulder.

“Well, I…”

The Kid steps forward. “You boys don’t want any trouble, do you?” he inquires, affably, his hand hanging – casually – beside his six gun.

The men at the table eye the Colt, then each other. Receding-Hairline shakes his head.

“Come on Dan, let’s go catch up.” Heyes leads Loomis away.

Curry lingers a moment until Ginger-Whiskers, after glancing again at the tied down gun, clears his throat and resumes his seat. The Kid gives the players a friendly smile, touches his hat with one finger and follows his partner.


---oooOOOooo---

STREET

“It’s good to see you, Dan,” the Kid says. “How’s Ellen? And the baby?”

“They’re fine, fine.”

“What’s going on, Dan?” Heyes asks.

“Goin’ on? Hic. I dunno what you mean.”

“I mean – how come you’re the worse for drink, losing at poker and picking fights you can’t win?”

Dan lifts his chin, defiantly. “I don’t see either of you have call to criti-criti... To call a fella for takin’ a drink and pickin’ up a hand – Hic - of cards. What’s the sayin’ ‘bout spots - an’ nettles? I mean pots an’ kettles?”

“True enough,” admits Heyes. “But leaving aside the fact that neither Thaddeus or I are exactly the best example to follow – unlike us, you could be home with your pretty wife and fine son.”

“An’ we don’t pick fights,” adds the Kid. “Not ones we can’t win, anyhow.”

“Same with cards. We go easy on losing.” Heyes thinks for a second. “Well, I do.”

Blue eyes meet his.

A pause. They turn their attention back to Loomis.

“What’s wrong?” Heyes asks, gently.

“Nothin’. Hic.”

“Tell us,” prompts the Kid.

Dan looks from Curry to Heyes. He opens his mouth, changes his mind, shuts it again. He stares hard at his boots, brow furrowing in thought. Then he shakes his head as if to clear it of troublesome thoughts. Up come his eyes, not entirely focused. They search out the batwing doors. “I gotta get back to the – Hic - game, Mr. Jones.”

Heyes smiles. “I’m Smith.”

“That’s wha’ I said, Jones. Hic.”

“Just call us Joshua and Thaddeus,” suggests Curry.

Heyes eyes his partner; “’Cos, Joshua and Thaddeus are that much easier on the tongue than Smith ‘n’ Jones, huh?”

He receives the look. Then the Kid hooks his arm through Dan’s elbow and turns him away from the saloon. “I don’t think we need to go back to the saloon. Fresh air’ll do us all good, huh?”

Dan stumbles slightly. Heyes takes his other elbow. They walk a few paces.

“Where are we goin’?” asks Dan.

“You invited us back to your place for coffee,” says Heyes.

“I did?”

“Yeah. You remember, right?” Curry gives him a smile.

“’Course I did.”

A few more paces are taken.

“Why are we goin’ the wrong – Hic - way?”

Without breaking step the ex-outlaws wheel around 180 degrees.

“Tha’s better,” belches Dan. “So, d’you two win big to– hic -night?”


---oooOOOooo---

“Joshua! Thaddeus!” Ellen Loomis exclaims when she opens her front door to see the boys standing there with her husband. “Come in, come in!”

Heyes and Curry enter, Dan still between them. He looks a little more sober – and a lot more miserable.

The boys look around the small dwelling.

Their eyes take in sparse – though thoroughly dusted – furniture, scanty food provisions set upon a shelf, the much-darned curtain covering a doorway that presumably leads to the bedroom. A tall pile of rough working shirts topped by a thimble, needle and thread sits on a stool beside the unlit fire. Seeing the direction of the ex-outlaws’ gaze, Ellen quickly gathers up the clothing and moves it to one side.

“I was mending some of Dan’s things…” She points to the empty chairs. “Please sit. We’d love to hear what you’ve been up to since we saw you last.”

She casts a nervous glance at Dan, a glance our boys do not miss. The Kid presses his hand on Dan’s shoulder and he sits. With the chairs now clear, the boys do likewise.

“Would you care for some coffee?” Ellen moves to the sink.

“Thank you, that would be good,” the Kid replies.

She opens a tin then shoots an embarrassed look at Dan. “I forgot I drank the last this morning,” she says hastily.

Dan turns to Heyes and Curry. “Let’s go have another drink.” He begins to rise but Heyes places a hand on his arm, stopping him.

“Maybe later.” Heyes exchanges a look with the Kid.

A sudden cry from the back room has Ellen disappearing behind the curtain.

“Dan, what’s going on?” the Kid asks, in a low voice.

The young man slumps back. He frowns. “Nothin’. Times are hard, that’s all.”

“How hard?” Heyes asks.

“We’re supposed to be talking about your adventures, not our problems,” Ellen says with a determined smile, as she returns leading their much grown child by a chubby hand. “Henry, this is Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones. Say ‘hallo’ and then it’s straight back to bed for you young man.”

“Hello there, Henry,” says the Kid, reassuringly. “We’ve met before, y’know.”

Henry blinks at the two strangers, puts his thumb in his mouth and retreats behind his mother’s skirts.

“You weren’t much of a talker then, neither,” smiles Heyes.

Curry walks over and squats down. “D’you know what, Henry, I don’t think you washed real well behind your ears tonight.” His quick fingers make a pass by the toddler’s head. “Look what I found…” A shiny quarter is held up.

Henry blinks doubtfully up at his mother. She smiles and nods. Shyly he reaches for the coin. “Fank who.”


---oooOOOooo---

A SHORT WHILE LATER

The three men sit around the table. Dan is now slumped forward, brows lowered, seemingly wrapped in gloom. Heyes and Curry eye him and exchange a mute conversation, then a shrug.

Ellen re-enters from behind the curtain, walking softly. “He’s asleep,” she murmurs. She joins the men. “So, where did you run into Dan?”

“In the Golden…” Curry sees the warning glance shot by his partner. “Er… Y’know. Just around town.”

“It was in the saloon,” snaps Dan.

“Oh, Dan,” sighs Ellen. “You promised.”

“Well, I broke my promise. I had too much to drink. I played poker – and I lost. So now you can get all your dang nagging over in one hit.” He sees the reproachful expressions of the two ex-outlaws. “Don’t look at me that way. I’ll talk to my own wife any way I choose in my own place.”

“Dan’s just a little tired,” excuses Ellen. “He’s been working so hard…”

“Give it up, Ellen,” snaps Dan. “I’m not tired – I’m drunk. And I’ve not been working hard – I’ve not been working at all. I’ve been living off the money you bring in.” He points at the pile of sewing in the corner. “You don’t think Joshua and Thaddeus believe they’re my shirts – three dozen of them, in assorted sizes?”

“Don’t Dan,” murmurs Ellen.

“You don’t know how it feels,” Dan tells Heyes and Curry, “watching your wife work her fingers to the bone because you can’t support her.” Under his breath he adds, “All because I was fool enough to let that snake cheat me.”

“What snake?” asks Kid Curry.

“All I was trying to do tonight was win a little stake – so I can go get our money back at Beaver Creek.”
“It’s a real shame you’re outta coffee,” sighs Heyes. “’Cos coffee is what he needs – strong and black. What snake cheated you? What’s happened to you two?”

“We had a farm north of here,” explains Ellen. “A chance came to buy the property alongside – it seemed perfect. We borrowed the money using our land as security but…”

“That snake foreclosed – not three weeks later – he cheated us.” Dan clenches and unclenches his fist. “Took the land. Took our home.”

“A bank don’t usually foreclose that quick,” says Curry.

“We didn’t borrow from a bank,” sighs Ellen. “A local rancher offered Dan the money on more favorable terms. So he said. A percentage of the wheat profit to start with, and we’d start paying back the capital next year. But once we’d taken the money and made the purchase – he asked for repayment right away.”

“He told me it was a straightforward contract – and like a fool, I signed,” says Dan.

“It wasn’t Dan’s fault – I read the contract too,” says Ellen. “It seemed fine. Full of long legal words, but he said that was just the way things were done.”

“Let me guess – afterwards you found out he owned land both sides of your place?” guesses Heyes.

“How was I to know he was lying?” asks Dan. He glowers, still not sober, “I’ll show him.”

Ellen bites her lip. “We were foolish, Dan – we’ll both be wiser next time. We can go further west, stake a claim to a homestead, start again…”

“Start again?” Dan scoffs. “Lose all we’ve worked for since we married? Face years of breaking sod and shivering through prairie winters?”

“Don’t you think it would be best?” Ellen appeals to the boys. “To let it go? Chalk it up to experience?”

The boys look from husband to wife. Utter reluctance to take sides is etched across two expressive faces.

Ellen widens her eyes at Heyes, in silent appeal. He shifts in his seat. “Grudges are for folks with bad stomachs, sure enough.”

“Joshua!” protests Dan.

“But there’s no denying homesteading sounds hard on the back.”

“Even-handed advice,” deadpans Kid Curry. He receives the look.

“My plan,” explains Dan, “is to get me a stake, get in the Beaver Creek poker game – I know that snake’s gonna be there. Why don’t I win our money back and wipe the smug smile off his face?”

The ex-outlaws exchange a glance.

“Never thought I’d hear a plan that made homesteadin’ sound temptin’,” says Kid Curry.

Dan looks hurt. “Give me one good reason why it wouldn’t work.”

“Reason one: From what I saw, you can’t figure the odds of drawing to an inside straight,” complies Heyes.

“But…”

“Reason two: You’ve more tells than a flustered chicken in a coop full of coyotes.”

“But…”

“Reason three: You’ve no stake, ‘cos you can’t win a two-bit game against two-bit ranch hands…”

“But…”

“Reason four: If you did get a stake – you still can’t win a two-bit game against two-bit ranch hands, so you sure can’t win at Beaver Creek. Last I heard that game has a $500 buy in. You’ve no chance against the high-stakes players it draws. Once you’re ten minutes more sober – you’ll know you don’t stand a chance.”

“But…” Dan searches for words. His shoulders slump. “Guess you over-estimated how long it’d take me to start sobering up.”

“Reason five…” This is Ellen as she lays a gentle hand on her husband’s shoulder. “You did promise – no more gambling.”

Dan does not look at her. His eyes are fixed, thoughtfully, on Heyes. “You’re right. I’d have no chance in the Beaver Creek game, but you would. Aren’t you supposed to be one of the best poker players west of the Mississippi? You could play for us – win our money back.”

Heyes shakes his head. “I reckon you’re not quite sober ye…” A quick frown. “Whaddya mean – one of?”

“Dan’s right,” says Ellen, slowly. “You could do it.”

“I thought you disapproved of gamblin’?” objects Curry.

“When it risks corrupting my husband, sure.” She gestures at Heyes. “When it comes to …” She breaks off.

“You’re thinkin’ that ship’s already sailed?” suggests Curry.

Offended brown eyes blink.

There is an edge of calculation to her expression as Ellen smiles, appealingly. “Not at all. You’re better men than you think you are. I know both you and Joshua have kind, unselfish hearts.”

The boys exchange a glance at the word ‘unselfish’.

“Ellen and I remember how brave you both were – so willing to sacrifice yourselves rather than see innocent folk hurt,” chips in Dan.

“We were worried about us getting hurt,” corrects Heyes.

“You are so generous – however much you pretend otherwise – I know you won’t refuse to help us.” Ellen’s eyes widen, pleadingly.

“You’ve still got the wrong idea ‘bout us,” says Curry.

“Besides, you don’t have the $500 buy in,” adds Heyes.

“You could use your winnings from tonight,” suggests Dan.

“Risk our money to win yours back?” Heyes blinks. “You really have got the wrong idea about us.”

“If you’re the best poker player west of the Mississippi, there is no risk.”

“Unless of course…” Ellen pats Heyes’ hand sympathetically. “That’s all nonsense and you’re worried you can’t win.”

“Of course I can wi…” Heyes stops himself. “Nice try, but you don’t get me that easily.”

“If you’re as good as you say, you could win our money back and win a tidy bonus for yourself,” tempts Ellen.

Dan leans towards Heyes. “Doesn’t part of you want to sit at the table at Beaver Creek – in front of that big, rich pot?”

Temptation plays across a dimpled face.

“So long as you teach that snake Tom Mattson what it’s like to lose, everybody’s happy.”

Kid Curry is mulling. “Gotta admit, I don’t like to think of you two bein’ cheated outta…”

“Wait,” Heyes cuts in. “Did you say – Tom Mattson?”

“Uh huh,” confirms Dan.

“Even if I wanted to help – I can’t. He knows me.” To his partner; “He was in the game in Lordstown. Remember?” Thoughtfully; “I guess he really does like rich poker games.”

“So?” Ellen asks.

“He doesn’t just know Joshua Smith. He knows – me.”

“Ah.” Her eyes spark with an idea. “You can change your appearance – grow a moustache.”

“No,” says Heyes, simply.

“Makes him look sinister,” explains Curry. He receives the look.

“What about a false beard?” suggests Dan.

“Or maybe a bag over my head? No – I don’t think so.”

Dan straightens up. “Don’t forget we know you too. Not just Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones – you. Maybe we don’t need a poker game to get our money back.”

There is a short pause. Ellen looks reproachfully at Dan. He hangs his head.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”

“I know,” says Heyes.

“We’re sorry too,” says the Kid. “We’d like to help you”

“Leastways,” adds Heyes, “we would if we could do it while turning a profit and without risking twenty years inside.”

Ellen gives a wry smile. “Maybe I did have the wrong idea about you, after all.”


---oooOOOooo---

HOTEL ROOM

Kid Curry is lathering up in a deep tub.



A long-john clad Hannibal Heyes lays on the bed, a book held aloft.

The Kid applies a washcloth, vigorously, between one set of puckered pink toes. “It’s a shame we can’t help ‘em, huh?”

Heyes grunts in acquiescence without looking up. “It’s even more of a shame we hafta miss that big rich poker game.”

“Yup.” The left foot is hoisted out of the water and soaped. “You coulda won so much we wouldn’t miss the money it’d take to help Dan and Ellen.”

“I always miss money, Kid.” A slim finger turns a page. “Even when it’s gone to a good home.”

“I’ve been thinkin’…”

“Thought we had an arrangement on that?”

“I’ve been thinking – I could play.”

“Pfft!”

“Why not? I stayed in the background at Lordstown – playin’ land advisor to your rich investor. Tom Mattson didn’t sit opposite me for hours. I don’t recall him layin’ eyes on me. If he did, it can’t have been for more than a minute or two an’ we know rich folk don’t take much account of…”

“Sidekicks?” suggests Heyes.

He is glowered at.

“Of the hired help,” corrects Curry. “Think of it, Heyes. All that money waitin’ to be won.”

“And our $500 waiting to be lost. I like the pot, Kid. It’s the odds I’m not so sure of. You’re not one of the best players west of the Mississippi.” Another page is turned.

“I’m pretty dang good.”

“Sitting next to Dan Loomis – sure you are.” Heyes surveys his partner over the top of his book. “I guess you might win us enough for a good week in Denver, Kid. Let me think on it.”



“You do that, Heyes. That’s what you’re good at.” Kid Curry tosses the washcloth at Heyes. It lands on the book. The book is lowered and brown eyes narrow as a brow furrows.


---oooOOOooo---

A WEEK LATER - STREET SCENE

The camera pans left, lingering a moment on a sign welcoming visitors to Beaver Creek, then continues onwards to show an archetypically western laden wagon. Specifically, a laden wagon with a problem. A young man, his back toward us, squats beside the axle, his calico-bonneted partner stands beside him holding the hand of a chubby toddler.

The camera angle swings around, showing the young couple with a transportation problem to be none other than Dan and Ellen Loomis. The new angle also shows a trio of well-dressed men, exuding apparent prosperity, deep in conversation, walking in their direction.

Ellen sees them approach. “Oh no.”

Dan looks up, then stands. Hands on hips he glowers fiercely at the central man – on whom the camera focuses. “Have you come to gloat, Mattson?” he calls.

The man he addresses – Tom Mattson – stops. He blinks in surprised recognition, clearly he had not previously registered who the young couple were. “Nope. I’ve come to play poker.” He surveys Dan. “What brings you to Beaver Creek, Loomis?”

Ellen lays a restraining hand on her husband’s arm. “We’re just passing through,” she says. “On our way to Oklahoma.”

“Homesteading, huh?”

Ellen nods, curtly.

“I thought you were settled back in Coopersville?”

“We were,” glowers Dan, clenching and unclenching his fists. “Until you cheated us out of our farm.”

Tom Mattson laughs, mirthlessly. “Cheated? C’mon – all’s fair in love and business.”

“Why, you…”

“Don’t let him make you angry, Dan,” warns Ellen, again laying a hand on his arm. She adds, distress evident in her voice, “Remember your heart.”

Dan shakes off her hand. “Never mind my heart!”

“But, Dan,” pleads Ellen, “you know what the doctor said.”

“You should listen to this little lady.” Mattson runs his eyes up and down Ellen. She flushes but puts up her chin defiantly. Mattson addresses his companions, indicating the fuming young husband with a jerk of his thumb. “Loomis here holds a grudge because he didn’t read the small print in a contract. Someone oughta tell him, grudges are for folks with bad stomachs.”

The camera focuses on the older man accompanying Mattson. His expression conveys mild sympathy for the young couple. He says, not unkindly, “There’s some truth there, son. Not much good ever comes from nursing a grievance.”

A familiar, refined southern accent, says, “It looks as if you’re in need of a wheelwright, ma’am?” The camera pans to Mattson’s other companion. “You’ll find one in East Street. In that direction…” He points. “Past the livery, then left.”

“Thank you, Mr.…?” Ellen looks at him for the first time. She blinks.

“Chauncey Gaylord Brandon, ma’am,” he supplies, quickly, raising his hat. “Entirely at your service.”

The camera lingers for a moment on the features of Kid Curry! He is spruced up and hiding under a moustache. And an alias. Not the Thaddeus Jones alias – that other fella!

“Thank you,” Ellen repeats, quietly.

“We don’t need any help from friends of – of his!” Dan spits at Curry, teeth still clenched with anger at Mattson. “Whatever they’re called!”

“Dan!” reproves Ellen. “Your heart.”

“I beat you, Loomis. Deal with it.” Mattson takes a pull on his cigar. “Unless of course you want to try and win your money back? After all…” He blows a smoke ring. “All’s fair in love, business and poker.”

Temptation flickers across Dan’s face.

Mattson’s eyes narrow in satisfaction. “A $500 buy in, but if you’ve sold up, you’ve got that, huh?”

Ellen watches this enticement working on her husband. She bites her lip.

“Think how much you’d like to beat me, Loomis.”

Ellen blurts out, “Dan doesn’t gamble anymore. He promised.”

“This is men’s business, little lady,” Mattson snaps at her. “Stay outta it.”

She presses her lips together and visibly holds her tongue. Her eyes glance anxiously at her husband.

Curry’s and the older man’s expressions show distaste at Ellen being spoken to in such a way.

“So, Loomis – are ya gonna come win your money back? The game starts in the back room of the Golden Dollar at three.”

Dan, his eyes holding those of Mattson, wavers. Then, “I don’t gamble any more, Mattson. I promised my wife.”

Mattson laughs, scornfully.

However, Kid Curry says, “I think you’re following wise advice there, sir. If I had a good woman at home, maybe I wouldn’t gamble either.” He bows to Ellen.

The older gentlemen checks his pocket watch. “If our big game starts at three, I reckon we better go, Tom.”

He tips his hat to Ellen, as does the Kid. The three men walk away.

Mattson’s voice, raised to be audible, floats back. “I knew he’d be too yellow. He knows he’d lose.”

Dan starts forward, but Ellen grabs his arm. “Ignore him. Let’s just get our wagon mended. I’ll go see the wheelwright. Can you get some feed for the horses?”


---oooOOOooo---

BACK ROOM OF THE GOLDEN DOLLAR

The surroundings are luxurious. Heavy velvet curtains close out both daylight and the glances of the curious. The light from oil lamps reflects back from polished mahogany and gleaming mirrors. Fine oil paintings decorate the walls, their subjects displaying a classical bias toward the female nude.

The camera, from an overhead angle, lingers on a baize covered table, at which a poker game is in progress. It then pans to a middle-aged dealer, whose traditional black cap and green sleeve guards protecting a snowy white shirt, show him to be a saloon employee, not a player.

“If you gentlemen will ante up…”

There is the clinking sound of chips being tossed. The dealer’s hands swiftly dole out cards. The camera pans left to the holder of the first hand.

It is Tom Mattson. “I’ll take one.” It is dealt.

The camera continues left to:

Another familiar acquaintance, the older gentleman we saw earlier: “Just one for me, George.”

“Just one, Mr. Wilcox,” repeats the dealer.

And left to: Another older man, skinny, pinch-faced: “Staying pat here.”

“Good hand, huh, Jesse?” smiles Wilcox.

“Like I’d tell you, Dennis.”

“Mr. Burford stays pat,” says the dealer. “And, Mr. – er – Brandon, was it?”

Both his eyes and the camera move to the final chair where sits the very epitome of a southern gentleman.

“That’s right,” he says, removing the fine cigar from his lips, “Chauncey Gaylord Brandon.” Brandon-aka-Jones-aka-Curry smiles winningly around the table. “A stranger to these parts, delighted to find myself in such good – and lucrative – company.”

Mattson neither smiles nor removes his cigar. “How many?”

“I do beg your pardon. George, I will take two – thank you.”

“Let’s play cards,” grunts Mattson.


---oooOOOooo---

LATER

“…See you and raise $100.” Kid Curry pushes forward a small pile of chips.

“I’m out.” Jesse Burford throws in his hand.

“Call,” growls Mattson.

“Call,” echoes Wilcox. “Whaddya have there?”

Cards are fanned by a smug ex-outlaw. “Full house.”

The two remaining hands are tossed in. Kid Curry pulls the pot toward him.

Curry stands, stretches his back, walks over to twitch back the curtain just enough to peer out. Ellen stands in the street in earnest conversation with a workman who peers at the wagon axle and scratches his head thoughtfully. Ellen’s bonnet dangles down her back. A shaft of afternoon sunlight makes her tawny hair gleam. What looks like wistful admiration crosses the ex-outlaw’s face.



Mattson’s gaze follows that of Kid Curry. He notes his pensive expression and indulges in a scathing eye roll.

“Maybe the luck’s turning against ya, Mattson,” says Wilcox. He stands and refreshes first his glass, then those of his neighbours.

“Maybe. Maybe not.”

“I reckon you’ve had the run of the cards so far, Mr. Mattson.” Curry smiles at the stack of chips still before Mattson and retakes his seat.

Mattson lets his eyes run, disparagingly, over the fancy-suited southerner. “You talk pretty fancy, huh, Chancy.”

“It’s Chauncey.”

“Whatever.”

For a moment there is a dangerous gleam in the blue gaze. Then Curry lowers his eyes to the baize and smiles. “What’s in a name?”

Any further developments are forestalled by a knock on the door. It opens just wide enough for a diffident head to peer in.

“There’s a young fella wantin’ to come in.”

Surprised – though silent – disapproval emanates from the dealer.

“I wouldn’t’ve disturbed ya, George,” apologises the intruder, “but – he says Mr. Mattson invited him to join the game.”

Dan Loomis elbows past the apologetic one.

The players look at him, all surprised – but with varying secondary reactions.
Wilcox: fatherly concern
Burford: disdain
Kid Curry: momentary apparent disquiet, followed by immediate resumption of gentlemanly demeanour.

“I did invite him,” confirms Mattson, a cynical smile creasing his cheeks. “Lost your yella streak and managed to cut the apron strings, have ya?”

“What harm can one hand do?” Dan stares at the chips on the table with the hungry eye of the addict. “Maybe I’ll win enough to…” He bites his lip. “I’m feeling lucky.”

The dealer clears his throat. “According to our rules, all players present would have to agree to Mr. – er…”

“Loomis, Dan Loomis,” supplies Dan.

“To Mr. Loomis joining the game.” The dealer looks at Jesse Burford.

“Fine by me if he’s got $500 to buy chips – which seems doubtful.” Burford allows his disapproving eyes to linger on Dan’s threadbare elbows.

“I got money.” Dan produces from his jacket pocket a long, embroidered stocking-purse and from this pulls a roll of notes carefully tied with cotton. Then another. Then another. Then a fourth and a fifth. He places them before the dealer. “Count them. Five hundred.”

“I’ll take your word,” says the dealer.

Kid Curry’s eyes are on the now empty purse. “Does your wife know you’ve taken this money?”

“Is that any of your dang business?”

A pause.

“I guess it isn’t.”

“Do you agree to Mr. Loomis playing, Mr. Wilcox?” asks the dealer.

“I won’t be the one to stop him, but,” paternal look, “I’d think again, son. You’ve a lot to lose. More than the rest of us, I reckon.”

The dealer turns to Kid Curry. “Mr. Brandon?”

“I think you should listen to Mr. Wilcox,” says Curry. “His sounded like good advice. Think of your wife.”

Dan stares at the ex-outlaw. “A man hasta look out for number one, though, don’t he? Surely you agree with that, Mr. Brandon?”

Kid Curry returns Dan’s stare, but remains in role. “If you gentlemen are happy for Mr. Loomis to join the table, who am I – who you have made so welcome – to argue?”

“Enough talk,” says Mattson. “Let’s play cards.”


---oooOOOooo---

LATER

A deal is in progress. Dan is sweating as he picks up his cards. Then – his eyes widen. His hand trembles. He places his cards face down and keeps his palm upon them. He glances nervously at the faces of the other players. With a pitiful attempt at casualness, he tosses a chip from his visibly dwindled pile into the pot. “I’m in.”

Mattson gives a crack of laughter. “You might wanna work on your poker face, Loomis. I’ll take one, George.”
We see his hand: eight of diamonds, eight of hearts, eight of clubs, two of spades. Mattson’s face is impassive, but his cold eyes narrow as he picks up his fifth card. And, there it is, eight of spades.


---oooOOOooo---

LATER STILL

Sweat pours off Dan. He runs a nervous hand through his hair. He looks, hungrily, at the chips piled in the centre of the green baize.

“I see your two hundred,” grunts Tom Mattson, “and I raise you – four hundred.”

Dan looks at the paltry three chips still before him. He gulps.

Once again matters are interrupted by a knock at the door. The same diffident head as before peers around.

“Don’t tell me we got another greenhorn wanting in on the game?” asks Jesse Burford.

“No, sir. This time it’s…” The voice lowers, respectfully. “A lady.”

“That’s worse!”

“Dan!” It is Ellen’s voice. “Dan, are you in there?”

“Don’t let her in!” hisses Dan.
Kid Curry stares at him, reproachfully. To the man in the doorway; “Please allow Mrs. Loomis in.”

In she comes. She and Dan look at each other. His eyes drop first.

“Dan, you promised.”

“Ellen, you don’t understand. This way I can get us a real stake. I can…”

“I trusted you. Then, when I looked for the money to pay the wheelwright…”

“Loomis.” Mattson’s sharp voice cuts across them. “This here’s a poker game, not a quiltin’ bee. If you wanna throw in your hand and go get henpecked – that’s fine. There’s the door. If you want to stay – you need to tell your wife not to interfere in men’s business.”

Ellen flushes. She opens her mouth to protest, then, shuts it. She gazes, appealingly, at Dan.

“I can’t come away, Ellen,” says Dan. “Everything we have is in that pot.”

“Oh, Dan. How could you?”

"I got a hand of cards here that only comes once in a lifetime,” urges Dan. “I can’t lose. If only – if only I can stay in the game.”

Ellen squares her shoulders. “If everything I have rides on this game – would you gentlemen at least allow me to watch?”

“Watch!?” Mattson gives a crack of laughter.

Kid Curry gives Mattson a chilly look. “Certainly you may watch.” He rises, leaves the table and places a chair for Ellen. “Allow me, ma’am.”

“You’ll understand,” says Wilcox, not unkindly, “you cannot interfere with your husband’s play in any way.”

Ellen nods. She clenches her hands together tightly.

“If you folks have quite finished socialisin’,” says Mattson, “that's $400 to you, Loomis. And you know something, Mr., you ain't got enough left to stay in this game."

Dan clears his throat. “If any of you gentlemen could lend me...” He glances up, trails off at the mixture of stony and embarrassed faces around the table.

“Certainly in the games I’m used to,” says Curry, “loans made player to player would not be usual. Is the etiquette different in the West?”

“Nope,” says Burford. “The first rule of the game of poker, whether you're playing eastern, southern or western rules, or the kind they play at the North Pole, is put up or shut up.” To Dan; “Are you gonna put up?”

“I’m two fifty short,” stammers Dan. His eyes are desperate as he faces the other players. “But my wagon – that’s got to be worth $150 at least. And my team – I paid $200 for them only last week. I’d let ‘em both go for $250.”

Ellen gasps in horror.

Dan turns to her. “I hafta stay in this game. I have to!” To the other players; “Come on! $250 for a wagon and team worth $350.”

“That's a bargain all right,” agrees Jesse Burford. “But a bargain ain't a bargain unless it's something you need.”

A pause.

Dennis Wilcox glances at Ellen. “I’ll buy your wagon and team – and I’ll let you have the full $350 for it.” He pushes chips across the table.

Dan gathers the chips with shaking hands.To Mattson; “I see your four hundred.”

“Too rich for me, I fold,” says Curry.

“I’m in,” says Burford.

“Me too,” nods Wilcox.

“Okay.” Mattson’s eyes are hard as he stares at Dan. “I raise by another four hundred. Which puts us pretty much back where we were.”

“You can’t!” gasps Dan. “You just can’t.”

“The rules were made perfectly clear at the start of the game, Mr. Loomis,” states the impassive dealer. “Are you in?”

“If someone could let me have… I could work it off… Not that I’d need to. This hand can’t lose…” Dan is panicking.

“Are you in?” repeats the dealer.

“Please…”  Dan is actually gasping for breath. “Please…” He clutches his chest. His face twists. He slides from his chair and collapses to the floor still clutching his cards.

“Dan!” Ellen rushes to his side.

The players push back their chairs, stand up.

“Please, could someone go for help!” begs Ellen, bending over her husband’s prone body.

“I’ll go fetch a doctor,” says Kid Curry. Off he goes.


---oooOOOooo—

A FEW MINUTES LATER

Dan is still stretched out on the floor.
Kid Curry re-enters, with the hotel employee we have already seen, and followed by a suited figure carrying the traditional black bag.

“This is Doc Ellstrom,” he announces.

Ellen anxiously watches the doctor bend over her husband. His back is to the camera, but as he turns to rummage in his bag for a stethoscope we see graying temples, a silver flecked beard and spectacles.

“Is it his heart, Doctor?” she asks.

“I reckon so. I need to get him upstairs where I can examine him properly.”

“I’m sure the hotel will be happy to help, doctor,” says the dealer.

Dan presses his cards into Ellen’s hands. “You gotta play the hand for me. It can’t lose,” he gasps. “Don’t let ‘em see…” His face twists again in pain. “Promise me!”

“I promise,” says Ellen.

His eyes close. His head falls to one side.

“Carry him up,” orders the doctor.

The dealer and the hotel employee lift Dan between them. They leave, accompanied by the doctor. Ellen is following, when…

“Did you mean that promise ‘bout playing out his hand,” asks Mattson.

“I don’t make promises I don’t mean,” says Ellen with dignity.

“Then those cards can’t leave the room. You might switch ‘em.”

Ellen blinks.

“Mr. Mattson!” protests Kid Curry. “That’s an offensive remark, especially to...” His glance at Ellen holds admiration. “A lady. A gentlemen ought to be more gallant.”

“I’ll be gallant Sundays,” says Mattson. “Today’s Friday and I’m playin’ poker.”

“While I’ve no doubt we can trust you, my dear,” Dennis Wilcox tells Ellen. “Mr. Mattson is correct about the rules. You must leave your cards here – where we can be sure they have not been tampered with.”

“But – Dan said not to let anyone see.”

“Guess you’ll hafta trust us,” grins Mattson.

Kid Curry eyes Mattson, coolly. “I have already folded,” he tells Ellen. “If you wish, ma’am, I’ll ensure no one looks at your hand while you go settle your husband.”

She stares at him, doubtfully, searching his face. “Very well,” she says at last. She lays the hand, face down, before Kid Curry. “Thank you.”

Straight backed and tight-lipped she leaves the room.

“I think a whiskey is in order, while we wait,” suggests Jesse Burford. He steps over to the bottles and pours.

“A fine woman,” says Kid Curry.

“Too good for that young fool she’s married to, that’s for sure,” agrees Dennis Wilcox.

A pause.

Mattson’s eyes stray to the face down cards left by Ellen. He clears his throat. “I guess we could just…” His hand reaches forward.

Whip quick, Curry’s left hand slaps down over the cards.

“That wouldn’t be wise, Mr. Mattson.”

“You’re not telling me you ain’t curious?!”

“I’m telling you, you don’t get to see those cards.”

His blue eyes meet Mattson’s angry gray ones. There is a battle of wills. The gray eyes drop first.


---oooOOOooo---

A SHORT TIME LATER

Tom Mattson drums his fingers on the table. He shoots a resentful glance at Kid Curry.

Dennis Wilcox shifts in his chair, glances at the clock and sighs.

Jesse Burford sips his whiskey, impassively.

The door opens. In comes Ellen. She is pale and there is a tell-tale dewiness about her eyelashes, yet she holds herself with a quiet dignity.

The men rise – Mattson reluctantly after a glare from Curry.

“How is he?” Curry asks.

“The doctor says Dan may pull through or…” Her voice wavers. “He says he’s done all he can.”

The ex-outlaw sets a chair for Ellen. She sits, and pulls Dan’s cards towards her. The other players retake their seats.

“May I ask a question?”

“Ask anything you like,” says Wilcox kindly.

“How do you play poker?”

The men’s expressions are a picture. Tom Mattson gives a crack of mocking laughter.

She looks from one player to another. A silence.

“Er…” Wilcox scratches his head. “That’s quite a big question, ma’am. Poker’s a complicated game.”

“Someone give me the simple version,” she suggests.

“All right,” says the Kid. “I will.”

“Poker’s a game smart men take a lifetime tryin’ to understand,” protests Jesse Burford.

“And you’re gonna give – her…” Mattson’s thumb jerks towards Ellen, “the simple version?”

“I’m going to try.”

Mattson rolls his eyes. “Go ahead!”

“Your husband, and all these gentlemen who are still in the game – want everyone else at this table to think they have the best hand. Whoever actually has the best hand at the end of the game, wins the pot.”

“And – that’s the pot?”  Ellen indicates the pile of chips.

“That’s the pot,” grunts Mattson. “The $10,000 pot.”

“And if I have the best hand – I win it?”

“IF you are still in the game,” says Curry. “But you have to pay to stay in the game. And,” his voice is sympathetic, “we were waiting on your husband when he was taken ill.”

“And now we’re waiting on you,” says Jesse Burford.

“How much do I need?”

“$400,” he replies.

“And,” she touches her remaining chips. “How much do I have?”

“$100,” says Curry, reluctantly.

“An’ Wilcox already owns your wagon and team,” says Mattson. “So, you’re gonna lose.”

“Unless I can raise $300?”

“But then,” Curry’s voice is very gentle, “if any these gentlemen still believe they have a better hand, they can raise. They can pay still more to stay in the game.”

“So even if I had $300 – it wouldn’t be enough?” Her lip trembles.

“Probably not.”

“My dear,” Wilcox gives Ellen a fatherly smile. “You had much better throw in your hand and go nurse your husband.”

Ellen meets his gaze. “Mr. Wilcox, I’m sure you mean to be kind, but all the money my husband and I have, everything we’ve worked for, everything we’ve saved is here on this table. I can’t just give it up without a fight. If Dan believed so much in this hand, I have to believe in it too.”

“Fine words,” sneers Mattson, “but you’re still $300 short.”

“Then there’s only one thing to be done. I’ll have to borrow the money.”

“Not from any of us you won’t.”

“Certainly not, that would be most improper.” Ellen collects her cards and stands up. “I’ll go to the bank.”

“The…”  Mattson starts to laugh. “You think any banker’s gonna lend…” More laughter.

“My dear,” says Wilcox, “I don’t think… Bankers tend to be cautious men.”

“Most of ‘em don’t like gambling, strong liquor and fools of women,” chips in Burford. “In reverse order!”

“Well, I must try.” She heads for the door.

“You’re forgetting you can’t take the cards from the room, ma’am,” points out the dealer.

“Gentlemen,” Kid Curry exudes reasonableness. “I have an idea.”

He receives five questioning looks.

The dialogue mutes out to music as he begins to speak.


---oooOOOooo---

STREET SCENE

Ellen, cards clutched tightly in her hands, walks across the busy thoroughfare. She is flanked by all four poker players. She heads up the steps of a brick building declaring itself the Cattle and Merchants' Bank.


---oooOOOooo---

INTERIOR – BANK MANAGER’S OFFICE

The camera is positioned behind the silver haired bank manager to focus on Ellen’s desperate face, and the mixed expressions – pitying, gloating, wryly amused – of the other players, as she pleads with him.

“Please. Charge me any interest you like. I swear I’ll repay...”

“Young lady!” The voice is sharp and critical. “Setting aside the fact that gambling is a vice of which I disapprove…”

“But…”

“I cannot allow myself to be swayed by your plight – however sad. The bank lends money for profit. It requires sound collateral. Proof the bank will be repaid.”

“There’s your proof.” Ellen, shielding them from the other players, shows the bank manager her cards. The back of his head blocks them from the camera. “Isn’t that a good hand? Isn’t it?”


---oooOOOooo---

BACK AT THE POKER TABLE

The camera is now behind Ellen allowing us, again, to see the expressions of the other players. These have scarcely changed; pitying, gloating, wryly amused.

“The raise is against you, ma’am,” says the dealer, impassively. “And, while, strictly speaking, no time limit was set at the start of the game, I believe…” He finishes the sentence with a not-unsympathetic shrug.

“He means,” growls Mattson, “it’s time to either p*ss or get off the pot.”

“Sir!” protests Kid Curry, all southern outrage. “That is not language to use in front of the lady!” His cold blue eyes stare down the rich rancher, who drops his gaze to the table and shifts in his chair.

“It would not be my choice of words,” says the dealer. “However, Mr. Mattson has summed up the gist.”

“Everything Dan and I have worked for is on this table. I can’t let it be lost this way.” Ellen’s voice trembles. “Even if I lose Dan – I have a son to think of. Perhaps…” She lays her cards face down on the table. She tugs off her wedding ring, stares at it for a long moment, then – swallowing hard – adds it to the pot.

“Very touching, young lady,” says Jesse Burford. “But at a generous estimate, you still need to find another $280.”

The Kid, who has continued to let his eyes rest, warningly, on Tom Mattson shifts his eyes, momentarily to the window. We see what he sees. Unnoticed by any of the other players, a slim, dapper, elderly figure – his face shaded by a broad-brimmed hat – is striding towards the saloon from the direction of the bank carrying a small grip.

“If I could have – have…” Ellen swallows again and grips the table until her knuckles shine white, then continues in a steadier voice, “A little more time to seek a loan elsewhere.”

Ellen searches one face after another. Kid Curry and Dennis Wilcox shift in their chairs and drop their eyes. George the dealer and Jesse Burford are stony faced. Tom Mattson shakes his head, “Time to throw in your ha…”

He breaks off as the door opens. His jaw drops. It is not alone. From behind the new arrival we see the previously embarrassed or impassive expressions at the table segue to open mouthed incredulity as the banker sweeps off his hat revealing his silver hair, lays a hand on the shoulder of an astonished Ellen, and speaks, “Madam, less than a quarter of an hour ago I gave you advice on the soundness of collateral required to back a loan. I hold by that advice.”

Turning slightly, the banker addresses the other players. “Forty-six years ago, I started lending money in the back room of a whiskey joint. My first customer was a drover named Penny. He wanted $2 on a Brindle cow at six percent interest. He said she gave six quarts of milk a day. You know what I made him do? I made him move that cow into my back yard for a whole week. And I watched him milk her every day. Sure enough, she gave an average of six and a half quarts a day, so I gave him the money at six and half percent interest. Not only that, I kept the 60 pounds of manure she left behind.”

He returns to addressing Ellen. “When you show me collateral, madam, you better make sure it's good collateral. For forty-six years, I've been lending money on good, old-fashioned principles. Yes, ma’am, I hold by my advice. However, I do NOT stand by my decision. That was wrong.”

The banker’s bony hand – veins standing out like knotted cords – gestures at the astonished players, one by one. “I stand here now, gentlemen, to tell you one and all that I've never been offered a better piece of collateral than this lady holds in her hand right now!”

The banker pulls up a chair, sits beside Ellen, places his small grip on the table, opens it and draws forth a small bundle of dollars.

“There is the loan you requested, madam.”

“Are you serious?” demands Jesse Burford.

“Perfectly serious,” replies the banker. “And…” He opens the grip wider, revealing more dollars in neat bundles, “rest assured, madam, on the collateral offered, the Cattle and Merchants’ Bank stands ready to advance you a further $5000.”

“I see your $400, Mr. Mattson,” says Ellen. “And I raise you, $500.” Then, to George the dealer, “Did I say that right?”

“Perfectly correct, ma’am,” he responds.

“Too rich for me.” Wilcox throws in his hand. “Well played, ma’am.”

“It’s a wise man who knows when he’s beat,” says Jesse Burford. “I fold.”

“The play is against you, Mr. Mattson,” says George the dealer.

“This is ridiculous!” fumes Mattson. “It’s – it’s not fair!”

“Poker – like life – is rarely fair,” observes Kid Curry. “But it seems to me, nothing is happening here that isn’t strictly according to Hoyle.”

Mattson clenches and unclenches his fist as he glowers from the pot, to the cards in his hand and back again. The fist lands on the table. “I fold,” he snaps.

“So – I win?” checks Ellen.

“You win, ma’am,” confirms George.

“Now,” growls Mattson to Ellen, “I want to see this famous unbeatable hand.” He moves to snatch her cards.

Like lightening Kid Curry catches his wrist. “You know better than that, sir. Once we have all folded, Mrs. Loomis does not have to show her hand to any one of us – unless she so chooses.”

“I’m not losing $10,000 without seeing the hand that beat me!”

“Do you choose to show your hand, ma’am?” Curry asks Ellen.

“No, I do not.”

“Then, sir,” Curry tells Mattson firmly, “you are losing sight unseen.” He takes Ellen’s cards and, without turning them face up, shuffles them back into the pack.

“Speaking for myself,” says Dennis Wilcox, “while losing is never welcome, I am comforted to have lost to a courageous woman.” He kisses Ellen’s hand and leaves.

He is followed by Jesse Burford who, half-grudgingly, tips his hat to Ellen as he exits.

George has been busily converting the chips back to dollars. He passes Ellen her winnings. “Allow me to offer you a bag, ma’am,” he offers.

“Thank you.” As Ellen gathers the last dollars, she says, “Now I need to go see my husband.” She looks up and pauses. Tom Mattson has positioned himself between her and the door, an ugly expression on his face.

Kid Curry proffers his arm. “You will allow me to offer you my escort, ma’am.”

Ellen looks, doubtfully from him to Mattson and back. Finally, she slips her arm through that of Kid Curry.

“Thank you, Mr. – er…”

“Brandon, ma’am. Chauncey Gaylord Brandon. Still entirely at your service. And, let me assure you, I will remain at your service – and the service of your husband until he recovers – until you are both safely on your way to Oklahoma.”

Throughout the latter part of this speech ice blue eyes hold those of Tom Mattson. The rancher’s gaze falls first. It falls to the gun resting on Curry’s thigh. His mouth twists in frustration and he steps aside to let them pass.


---oooOOOooo---

UPSTAIRS

Kid Curry opens the door and allows Ellen to precede him. Dan, his collar loosened, his eyes closed, lays on the bed. The graying doctor, now in his shirt sleeves, bends over him.

“How’s he doing, Doc?” asks Curry.

“Well…” The doctor, his face still blocked from view, straightens. “Now he’s got his money back…” He turns, removing his spectacles. “He should be just fine!” Grimacing slightly, he tugs at his silvered beard. Off it comes revealing very familiar, dimpled – and smug – features.

Dan sits up and grins at his wife, eyes warm with admiration. “I still can’t believe it worked.”

“Hey!” protests Heyes. “I don’t only play the best poker west of the Mississippi, I lay the best plans too.”

“Of course,” comes a familiar voice, “it helped that the town banker was a sporting man.” The camera pans to a shadowy corner. Hazy behind the dust motes swirling in the late afternoon sun slanting through the window is a familiar suited figure in a broad brimmed hat. “Or, at any rate…” The figure steps into the light. “That he was out of town and had a sporting chief clerk happy to lend out his manager’s office for a small consideration.”

“Thank you so much, Mr. McGuffy,” says Ellen.

“It was a pleasure, my dear. And please…” He preens his moustache with one elegant finger. “Call me Diamond Jim.”

“Thank you,” Ellen repeats, warmly, “Diamond Jim.”

He clears his throat. “On the subject of that small consideration…”

“Of course.” Ellen opens her laden bag. “$200 wasn’t it?” This is handed over.

“And my own consideration…”

“Five hundred?” checks Ellen.

Diamond Jim tucks the money away into the grip he arrived with, bows suavely and kisses Ellen’s hand. “My dear, you were wonderful!” To Heyes and Curry; “Glad I could help, boys.” He leaves.

“How much did we eventually win?” asks Dan.

“This much!” crows Ellen, upending her bag onto the bedspread, smothering the faded roses in green-backs.

“Ah hem,” coughs Heyes, with meaning.

“Okay,” grins Dan. “We won half this much! Joshua and Thaddeus won the other half.” He begins to divide the money into two piles.

“Quite right too.” Heyes sits beside Dan and helps count. “After all, this piece of genius was a Hannibal Heyes plan.”

“An’ we may be better men than we think we are,” says Curry, “but we ain’t exactly Robin Hood!”

“…And that’s it! Fifty, fifty,” smiles Heyes as the dividing of the spoils is completed.

He tucks the boys’ share into his handy doctor’s bag.

Dan hands his portion to Ellen who buries her face in the notes and inhales deeply.

“Careful,” warns the Kid. He nods at Heyes. “That’s how he got addicted.”

“You know,” Ellen remarks, “Today was so exciting – I begin to see the attractions of gambling.”

“Winnin’ can have that effect,” agrees Curry.

“In fact,” Ellen produces a pack of cards from her skirt pocket. “Joshua, how would you like a game?”

“Ellen!” protests Dan.

“Well…” Heyes’ eyes linger on the money now belonging to the young couple. The tip of a pink tongue moistens his lips. “I reckon you could lose a couple of hundred and still walk away with what Mattson cheated you out of…”

“Heyes!” protests the Kid.

“I’m declaring straights allowed, no wild cards and a $10 minimum,” Ellen’s voice is business-like, as is the way the cards stream from one capable hand to the other in an impressive, high-arching spring flourish.

A pair of brown eyes blink.

“Er…” Heyes clears his throat and snaps the doctor’s bag shut on his hard conned booty. “On the other hand, maybe Thaddeus is right. I couldn’t take your money. After all…” He radiates altruism. “We are much better men than we think we are.”


---oooOOOooo---

THE END

NB:
The plot of this episode, as some readers may already have spotted, is lifted with Huggins-like non-apologetic attitude to adapting and reusing from the film: Big Hand for the Little Lady.


(Writers love feedback! You can comment on Calico/McCoy's story by clicking the "post reply" button, found at the bottom left side of your screen. You don't have to be a member of this site and you can be anonymous. You can type any name in the box.)

_________________
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.


Last edited by royannahuggins on Sun 07 Jun 2015, 6:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down

 Similar topics

-
» calico breeding with commons
» Bow Auto Parts (Bow Auto Salvage) - Excellent to deal with!
» Circle making attachment by Calico Chris
» ITV Real Deal Saturday 26th March Penrith
» ITVs Dickinsons Real Deal
Share this post on: Excite BookmarksDiggRedditDel.icio.usGoogleLiveSlashdotNetscapeTechnoratiStumbleUponNewsvineFurlYahooSmarking

It’s No Big Deal - A Calico-McCoy Production :: Comments

avatar
Re: It’s No Big Deal - A Calico-McCoy Production
Post on Sat 06 Jun 2015, 1:41 pm by Penski
What a great way to start and end the Virtual Season 2015 with A Calico-McCoy Production!  You two write great solo and great together.  Such different styles and yet I have a difficult time figuring out who wrote what section.  Loved seeing the Loomis family again, even if they were not well.  No problem - Heyes and Curry can fix just about anything and anyone, except for their dang amnesty.  Fun seeing the Kid as Beauregard again in the Hannibal Heyes plan.  Loved Ellen Loomis part in the con - what an actress - and the ending with her being a card shark.  Clapping hard!
goodjob
Re: It’s No Big Deal - A Calico-McCoy Production
Post on Wed 10 Jun 2015, 4:19 pm by Guest - ASJ
LOVED IT!  clap
avatar
Re: It’s No Big Deal - A Calico-McCoy Production
Post on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 7:22 pm by CD Roberts
Ah, the grand finale. What a fun way to finish the season. I enjoyed seeing the Kid in Southern gentleman mode again. Liked how you reworked the plot to become a Hannibal Heyes plan, and wasn't Heyes in top form and smug about it all? I think there is a Maverick episode in which someone borrows money from a bank to back a sure-thing poker hand, that pre-dates the Little Lady movie, so maybe the movie borrowed from that(but Huggins may not have been producer on that episode-help, anyone?--ghislaine????). I digress.
Good thing the plan didn't depend on Loomis actually having a good hand-he probably really would have had a stroke or MI.
Lovely dialog and lots of laughs with a very satisfying conclusion. Good use of Diamond Jim-and yeah, Heyes as the doctor-but we knew that! cheers
 

It’s No Big Deal - A Calico-McCoy Production

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 

Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You can reply to topics in this forum
Stories: Alias Smith and Jones  :: Virtual Season :: Virtual Season 2015-
Reply to topicJump to: