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 Anniversary

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MoulinP



Posts : 9
Join date : 2015-10-18
Location : England

20151023
PostAnniversary

Second of the three





Anniversary

 

The alarm clock sounded. Heyes put out a hand, groped for it but missed. Instead, it crashed to the floor; seemingly ringing louder than ever if that was possible. Heyes grunted, leant over the side of his bunk and scrabbled for it. He only succeeded in knocking it further away and nearer to the Kid’s bunk.

The Kid groaned loudly.

“Heyes! Shut the damm thing up!”

“I’m trying!” Heyes superhumanly managed to get hold of the clock and silenced it with a grunt. He puffed and blinked, then rolling his eyes he returned it to the table. He sank back on his bunk with a sigh.

The Kid turned over away from him, dragging his blankets around his shoulders. He had pulled the late shift in the livery last night. He had crept in so as not to disturb a sleeping Heyes, who he knew still had to get up to go to work at the usual time. However, he had been looking forward to his lay in without all this crashing around.

Heyes lay blinking at the ceiling waiting for his breathing to return to normal. He must have been in a deep sleep when the alarm went off as he had woken with a start.

“You awake, Kid?” He looked across.

“No!” came the answer from the depths of the blankets.

Heyes grinned. “Hey, Kid. D’you know what day it is today?”

“No!”  

“It’s our anniversary.”

The Kid moved so he could glare over his shoulder at Heyes. Heyes was nodding eagerly. “What?” The Kid was definitely grouchy.

Heyes chuckled. “A whole month Kid. And nobody has tried to arrest us once!”

The Kid groaned and turned away again.

“A whole month of being free men. I can still hardly believe it. Can you?”

The Kid just grunted non-committedly. He settled more comfortably.

“Hey Kid d’you want to celebrate tonight? We could get all dandified up and go and have a slap up meal.”

There was no answer. Heyes sat up frowning.

“Kid? No answer. “You alright, Kid?”

“Heyes remember that warrant with my name on it?” the Kid said, muffled by the blankets.

“Yeah?” Heyes was unsure where this was going.

“They’re gonna be reinstating it anytime soon now.”

What d’you mean?”

The Kid turned over. “Only this time IT’LL BE FOR MURDER!” He raised himself up on an elbow and leaned over, glaring menacingly.

Heyes swallowed.

“Just trying to be friendly Kid that’s all,” he muttered, as he got out of bed, dressed in his underwear. He looked put out. “Telling you about our anniversary an’ all.” He stood in the gap between the two bunks hands on hips. “I thought you’d wanna know that’s all.” He grabbed up his pants and shirt from a chair at the end of the bunk. He muttered away to himself, oblivious to the Kid’s glowering.

“Go. To. Work. Heyes,” the Kid growled through gritted teeth.

“Alright! Alright! I’m going!” Heyes went out of the room muttering about bears with sore heads.

The Kid fell back on his bunk and settled. Only to start a moment later when Heyes came back.

“Forgot socks,” he said, apologetically, snatching them from the chair. “See you Kid.”

 

---------------------------------------------------

 

Heyes walked to work whistling. Today was going to be a good day. He could feel it. Especially as it was his anniversary and all.

He wasn’t prepared to find a crowd outside The Hardware Store, congregated around the door.

“What’s going on?” he frowned as he walked up.

Art Grainger turned to him and grinned. “Seth’s gone and locked himself out. Man runs a hardware store you’d figger he’d know better wouldn’t you?”

Heyes grinned and rubbed his chin. He nodded in agreement. “Yep.”

On his knees, Seth was wriggling a knife in the lock. He was muttering to himself.

“I can’t understand it. I must of had ‘em last night to lock up.”

Heyes watched for a moment with folded arms, and then put his hands on his hips, frowning at what Seth was doing. Or trying to do. He sighed and reached into the inside pocket of his jacket. He brought out his lock picking tools, in a small canvas bag. He looked at the lock, took a deep breath and selected an appropriate tool. He held the tool out to Seth.

“Here. Try this.”

Seth looked at it and then looked at Heyes. He hesitated.

“Well that looks like a real special tool there Joshua.” He swallowed hard. “You’d best give it a go yourself.” He started to get up. Two of the crowd had to help him the rest of the way.

Heyes sighed and took his place, squatting down in front of the door. He had never opened a door this way with a crowd of this many before. He had best not make it look too easy. He smiled to himself as he remembered the last time he had picked this particular lock. To rob Seth of a load of dynamite to blow the safe in the bank. Of course, now he knew Seth he felt guilty about it and had been paying it off by putting money in the till. He estimated he still owed about half.

Heyes grinned as the lock clicked. He pulled the handle down and opened the door. The few cheers and an odd clap surprised him. He got to his feet, chuckling. The crowd dispersed and only Seth followed him into the store.

“He! He! You made that look real easy Joshua.”

Heyes just smiled enigmatically as he returned the tool to his kit. He tucked it all away again.

“Remember where the key is Seth? I can’t be doing this every morning.”

Seth rubbed his chin. “It’ll come to me. When I find it, I’d best get another key cut for you. Seeing as how you can get in here easily enough anyhow.”

Heyes shrugged. “It’s not a difficult lock, Seth. Might want to consider upgrading while you’re at it,” he said, taking off his jacket.

Seth nodded, considering. “Just might at that.”

Heyes made his way out back to hang up his jacket and hat. “If you’re making coffee, Seth, I could sure use one. Thaddeus was a grouch this morning. Didn’t get my usual start.”

Seth watched him go, rubbing his chin. Not for the first time did he wonder about the man he had taken on. He knew nothing about hardware but he was a resourceful fella and quick to learn. Seth looked round at the clean and tidy store. Folks were even coming in now to buy things! Of course, whether it was the store or just curiosity about the handsome young fella behind the counter. That remained to be seen. Either way he was making a profit again and that had to be good.

 

---------------------------------------------------

 

Heyes had settled into a routine. Mid-morning he would go out to buy a newspaper. Ostensively to look for news about him and the Kid but he loved reading. Everything and anything. Seth didn’t mind if he stood at the counter and read it. As long as he put the newspaper aside when a customer came in or there were chores to do. Which he did.

Heyes had started to write a diary too. He was keeping it on a notepad for now but he planned to transfer it to a proper one later. He had even ordered one and was waiting for it to come in.

He had also started to write down some of the adventures he and the Kid had going straight. It whiled away the hours when the Kid was working late if nothing else. That and practising his cooking which was beginning to be nearly edible now.

So that’s how Lom found him when he came into the store just before mid-day. Leaning on the counter, reading the newspaper. Lom had a folded copy in his hand.

“Morning, Joshua.”

“Lom.” Heyes smiled but lost it when he saw Lom’s sombre face.

“Is Seth around?” Lom asked, quietly, as he reached the counter.

Heyes peered at the back of the store. “Out back. Why?”

Lom placed the newspaper on the counter and tapped an article. Heyes glanced down and read. He stiffened.

“Heyes and Curry in bank heist, Wychwood, Colorado.”

“You know we haven’t moved from here,” Heyes growled in a low voice.

“I know that. I’ll talk to the Governor. But….” He glanced at the back door. “Looks like you’ve got some imposters riding on your coat tails.”

“Why do they think it was us?”

“Safe was a P & H ‘78 for one.”

Heyes groaned. He rested his head on an elbow and closed his eyes. He shook his head then straightened up. “How I done it is in American Science! Remember? I showed you.” Heyes hissed.

“Looks like somebody read it and figured they’d have a go at it.”

“Hell Lom! Is this ….” He glanced at the back door. “Is this gonna be a problem with you-know-what?”

“I know you and the Kid haven’t moved from here in a month. I’m just telling you in case the Governor sends somebody to talk to you.”

“Is he likely to?”

Lom shrugged. “I don’t think he can just ignore it, Heyes.”

Heyes swallowed hard.

“Now don’t go doing anything stupid, Heyes. You’ll have to tough it out. And tell Thaddeus as well. Especially Thaddeus.”

Heyes caught the sudden change of name and looked round to see Seth emerging from the storeroom out back.

Heyes shook his head. “He don’t read the newspaper. Best I don’t tell him for a while.” Heyes looked a little sick.

“I’ll leave you to handle it Joshua.” He touched his hat and nodding to Seth, left.

 

---------------------------------------------------

  

“Thought you wanted to go out celebrating tonight, Heyes?” the Kid, said, looking across the table at his partner.

Heyes didn’t look up as he concentrated on mopping up his plate.

“Changed my mind,” he mumbled.

“Why?” The Kid was immediately suspicious.

“Had a hard day.”

The Kid spluttered. “Hard day! Jeez, Heyes you don’t know the meaning of a hard day! I’m the one that has the hard days. You’ve got a real cushy job in that hardware store.”

Heyes glanced up. “Not always,” he frowned, irritably. “And today wasn’t one of ‘em. I’ve been rushed off my feet.” He stacked the Kid’s plate on top of his own. ”People coming in buying things,” he mumbled, getting up. He turned arm outstretched. “D’you know I had to break in this morning?”

“Break in?” the Kid frowned at Heyes’ back.

“Yeah.” Heyes put the plates into the sink. “Seth couldn’t find the keys. There was a whole crowd and everything.” Heyes grinned looking round. “Had to make it look more difficult than it was.” He nodded, then frowned and turned back.

The Kid looked doubtful. He watched Heyes carefully as he washed up. The set of his shoulders wasn’t quite right.

“There’s something you’re not telling me, Heyes. What is it?”

Heyes looked round, smiling faintly. “Sold the Jackson twins two sink plungers today. Dunno why they want two. They live in the same house!” He chuckled and turned back.

The Kid glared. “That’s not what I meant.” He studied Heyes’ back some more. There was definitely something up. “What is it, Heyes?”

Heyes turned and dried his hands. He threw the towel away. Sighing he leant back against the sink, hands either side of him. “Well, Kid. Yes there is something,” he said, slowly. “But I didn’t want to tell you ‘cos you’ll only get all upset. And I didn’t think it was the sorta thing to tell a man. Not on his anniversary and all.”

“Heyes. Quit stalling. Just tell me,” the Kid sighed.

Heyes licked his lips then took a deep breath. He could see he had no choice.

“You read the paper today?” He crossed to the dresser.

“No you know I don’t. Lessen there’s something in there …What do you mean, Heyes?”

Heyes had picked up the newspaper from the dresser. “Well if you had you’ve of seen this.” He was serious now – his voice was harder. He dropped the newspaper onto the table in front of the Kid.

The Kid read the headline, glared at Heyes, and then picked the newspaper up to read the rest. Heyes returned to his seat while he read. When he had finished, the Kid looked up.

“What’s this mean, Heyes?” he demanded.

“It means that somebody pulled a bank job, using my method, and is blaming it on us,” Heyes said, tightly.

“I know that! But what does it mean for our amnesty? You know what it said! It could be cancelled if we’re convicted of any crime, in any state or territory in the Union within 5 years. It ain’t been a month yet!”

“I know,” Heyes frowned. “Now Kid, don’t get all panicking.” He took back the paper. “Lom knows we ain’t been outside of Porterville. He’s gonna talk to the Governor. Straighten it.”

“That don’t mean that he don’t think we didn’t tell somebody how to do it!”

“Now why would he think that?” Heyes frowned. “’Sides it’s in American Science. The whole world can see how I done it.”

Heyes swallowed hard. The Kid wasn’t convinced. Neither was he if he was truthful.

“Relax, Kid. We just have to tell the truth.”

“To who, Heyes?” the Kid glared.

Heyes hesitated and got up. He walked to the dresser again. “Do you want dessert? I got fruit.” He held up an apple and smiled faintly.

“To who, Heyes?” the Kid, repeated, through gritted teeth. “Who’d I have to tell the truth to? And about what?”

Heyes widened his eyes, sighed and sat down again. He laced his fingers.

“The Governor might send somebody to talk to us,” he said, slowly. “We just have to keep our heads and tell the truth. Lom will back us. We ain’t been out of Porterville and we ain’t talked to anybody we shouldn’t of.”

“I don’t like it,” the Kid, grumbled. He put his head in his hands. “I thought we were free and clear, Heyes. That all this was behind us.”

“And it is, Kid. We didn’t do this.”

“But we’ve still gotta prove it!” He looked up. “How many times did this happen to us when we were going straight?”

Heyes rolled his eyes.

“How many times, Heyes?” The Kid was firmer now.

Heyes licked his lips. “Quite a few times,” he forced out. “Don’t know exactly.”

“Well I do! Four times, Heyes! Four! And every single time we were dead lucky we could prove otherwise. We even had to commit crimes to prove it!” He slapped the table and got up. He paced. “I tell you, Heyes. This news had better hurry up and spread quicker!”

“Kid …”

Heyes watched with a sigh as the Kid strapped on his gun belt.

“Now why are you doing that?” Heyes asked, angrily.

“I’m going out.”

Heyes got to his feet too now and faced the Kid over the table. “Where? Where are you going?”

“To the saloon. To get me a drink!”

“Now Kid ….” Heyes walked round the table.

“You can come if you want to.” The Kid clapped his hat on his head. “Are you?”

Reluctantly Heyes nodded. It was better to be with the Kid where he could keep an eye on him, rather than sit at home worrying about what he was doing. Or more importantly, what he was saying.

 

---------------------------------------------------

Lom looked up as the door opened. A man in a smart suit came in, saw Lom and closed the door.

“Sheriff Trevors?”

“Yep.”

“Sheriff Lom Trevors?”

“Yep. Help you?” Lom frowned.

The man walked over to the desk, eyeing the deputy in the back of the office.

“Need to speak to you in private if you don’t mind Sheriff.” He laid a card on the desk.

Lom glanced at it and took a deep breath. He hesitated then looked round at his deputy. “Er Bart can you give us a minute here?”

Bart looked round, frowning, then saw Lom’s face and nodded. “Sure thing Sheriff. I’ll er make my rounds then.”

Lom nodded. The man waited until the door closed on Bart before sitting down.

“Okay, Mr Farrar, what’s this all about?”

Farrar laughed. “Oh come on Sheriff, you know what this is about.” He leant forward. “It’s about those two no good outlaws you got pardoned. Up to their old tricks. Thinking they’re immune now they got amnesty.”

Lom shook his head. “It weren’t them. They haven’t left Porterville in over a month.”

Farrar took out a notepad and flicked through it. “Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones, I believe they’re calling themselves now.”

“That’s right.”

“I need to ask them a few questions. Can’t just take your word on it Sheriff. You understand the Governor sent me. He’s looking very foolish right now and he don’t like it.”

Lom nodded. “I’m sure they’ll oblige. They want this cleared up as much as the Governor does.”

Farrar sat back. “Before I do Sheriff, I need to ask you about them first.”

Lom frowned. “What do you want to know?”

“How long have they been here now?”

“A little over a month.”

“Any trouble?”

“Nope.”

“And what do they do here in Porterville?”

Lom took a deep breath. “Smith’s working over at the hardware store, Jones is in the livery.”

“Have they left Porterville at all in that time?”

“Nope.”

“And how have they seemed?”

“Settling in real well. Ain’t had no complaints.”

“Have there been any other strangers in town during the time Smith and Jones have been here?”

Lom pursed his lips and shook his head. “Nope. We’re kinda out of the way here. Don’t get that many folks passing through.”

Farrar nodded. “So would you know if they’ve spoken to anyone suspicious?”

“Yeah, I reckon.”

“Okay. I need to speak to them now. Can you round them up for me Sheriff?” He smiled pleasantly.

“Sure,” Lom said through gritted teeth. He didn’t like him. Deputy Attorney General or not. “You want to see them here?”

“That’s probably best,” Farrar, grinned. “Just in case.” Lom scowled. “If you would Sheriff please. I’ll wait here.”

 

---------------------------------------------------

 

Farrar was sitting behind Lom’s desk when Lom came back with Heyes and Curry. A flicker of irritation crossed Lom’s face when he saw him sitting there as if he owned it but he breathed the irritation down.

“Boys this is Winton Farrar, Deputy Attorney General. Farrar, Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones. As requested.” The last was through gritted teeth.

“Gentlemen. Come on in,” Farrar greeted them as if they were long lost friends. He made no attempt to get up or shake hands. “Sheriff would you take their guns please?”

Heyes and Curry looked at each other and then at Lom. Heyes rolled his eyes and shrugged. Lom smiled ruefully. Neither of them were wearing guns. A point in their favour surely.

“They ain’t wearing guns,” Lom took pleasure in saying.

Farrar looked surprised and leant forward to make sure. He nodded and waved them to sit down. They took the chairs by the side of the desk, the Kid in the one nearer to the desk, Heyes in the one a little behind. Lom perched on the windowsill and folded his arms.

“Okay, I’ll get straight to the point. A bank was robbed in Wychwood, Colorado, ten days ago.”

Heyes and Curry nodded unsure. “I believe it was in the newspaper,” Heyes added, looking for confirmation from Lom, who nodded.

“And it has been alleged that it was robbed by Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.” Neither spoke or nodded. Heyes just licked his lips as Farrar looked from one to the other. “You did know that?”

Heyes glanced at the Kid. “Somebody claiming to be Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry did yes,” he murmured.

Farrar nodded. “How long have you been here in Porterville, Mr Curry?” He looked straight at Heyes when he asked that question. He obviously thought Heyes, being the leader of the pair, would sit in the chair nearest to the desk, not the one behind. He was also aware that Heyes had a reputation with words. He was hoping for some slip up by asking Curry the question.

“I’m Heyes. He’s Curry,” Heyes said, irritably. He hated it when folks mixed them up. It wasn’t as though they looked alike.

Farrar smiled. “My apologies, Mr Heyes. How long have you been here in Porterville?”

“Just over a month.”

“And have you been out of Porterville in that time?”

“No.” Then Heyes winced. “Well I took supplies out to the Linley ranch last week ‘cos ole man Linley was ill.”

“When last week?”

Heyes thought and swallowed. “Thursday afternoon.”

Farrar nodded. The robbery had taken place two days before that.

“Mr Curry?”

“No sir. I haven’t been outta town at all. Not even a little bit.”

“And where are you living?”

“We’re renting a house on the edge of town. If you like, we can show you. You’ll find it all neat and tidy. Ain’t much but it’s home,” Heyes smiled pleasantly, then frowned and cleared his throat.

Farrar glanced at Lom for his reaction. He just pursed his lips and nodded.

“No. That won’t be necessary.” He took a deep breath. This wasn’t going exactly how he had thought it would. Heyes and Curry weren’t exactly what he had expected either. He thought he’d find two rough and grizzly, slovenly dressed middle-aged cowboys. Instead, he found two presentable mild looking young men. “Had any visitors? Anybody drop by?”

Both shook their heads.

“Oh ‘cept Lom,” the Kid said. “Came to see how we were doing after the first week.” The Kid smiled pleasantly. Beside him, Heyes rolled his eyes and the Kid frowned at him.

Farrar nodded. He pursed his lips looking from one to the other. “This bank job in Wychwood, is it of some concern to you?”

“Yeah you could say that,” Heyes frowned, in irritation. Beside him, the Kid nodded. “Any closer to finding out who really done it?” Heyes asked.

Farrar smiled. “No, Mr Heyes. But this does bear all the hallmarks of your hand. Did you do it?” He asked the question casually.

Despite himself, Heyes laughed gently. “No Mr Farrar, it wasn’t me. Can’t fly for one. Take two or three days to get down to Wychwood and back from here and I ain’t left Porterville. ‘Cept for the time I told you about. After the robbery.”

“Apart from Mr Curry, who else knows how to blow a safe like that?”

Heyes looked at the Kid, with a grin. The thought of the Kid knowing how to do it was just ridiculous. The Kid frowned at him hard. Heyes licked his lips and looked back at Farrar. He shrugged.

“It’s a matter of public record, Mr Farrar. And there’s an article in American Science telling exactly how I done it. Anyone could see it.”

“Anyone?” Mr Farrar looked surprised.

“No I guess not anyone,” Heyes conceded.

“Well why not anyone?” Farrar seemed to contradict himself now. “If they’re smart enough. Got the right equipment. The article provided quite a shopping list.”

Heyes shook his head. “There’s one thing missing from that article, Mr Farrar. Something only I know.”

“And what’s that?” Farrar frowned. This definitely wasn’t going the way he had thought.

Heyes grinned. “Oh before I tell you that, how exactly did the Wychwood job go down?”

“Why?”

“Well ‘cos it’s kinda important to what I have to tell you that’s why.” He paused. “Mr Farrar?”

Lom raised an eyebrow, amused. How had Heyes managed to turn an interrogation round so he was the interrogator? By his expression, Farrar was wondering that as well.

“What do you want to know?” Farrar sighed.

“What equipment did they use?”

“Bar splitter, Bryant pump, blasting caps, nitro glycerine, rubber tubing, a funnel, safety fuse wire.”

“That’s all?” Heyes looked surprised.

Farrar frowned. “Why? Have I missed something out?”

Heyes nodded. “Yeah. Two things actually,” he frowned. He pursed his lips and nodded his head from side to side. “But I guess you can do it if you have a watch with a second hand. Personally I prefer an alarm clock but ….” He shrugged.

“An alarm clock! Yes there was an alarm clock,” Farrar nodded. “But what’s the other thing?”

Heyes hesitated. “Putty.”

“Of course. Yes they found putty.”

Heyes pursed his lips. “What brand?” he asked quietly.

Farrar widened his eyes in surprise. “Excuse me? What brand?” He was incredulous.

“Yeah. You see Mr Farrar I used a certain brand of putty and a certain type. Wouldn’t use anything else.” He grinned, broadly. “I’m quite particular.” He nodded with a tight smile.

The Kid nodded. “That’s right Mr Farrar, he’s particular.” The Kid nodded and looked at Heyes.

Lom smiled, amused.

“Why does it matter?” Farrar frowned.

“The American Science article didn’t say which brand of putty I used.”

“Putty’s putty! What difference does it make what brand you used?” He was getting annoyed now.

“Oh it matters a lot, Mr Farrar. And there’s a very good reason why the article didn’t mention it.”

“And what’s that Mr Heyes?” He said mister through gritted teeth.

“’Cos it ain’t readily available that’s why. Now that I’m in hardware, I can tell you it’s hard to get hold of. You have to special order it. But it’s the best and just what you need.” He enjoyed Farrar’s face turning a light purple. “Now what brand of putty did you find?” Heyes had lost his smile now and his voice was suddenly lower.

The Kid glanced at Lom. If you knew Heyes then you knew that was a warning sign. Lom looked back, nodding slightly. He knew too.

“Minniver’s Blue”

“Ah!” Heyes grin was back. He looked at the Kid then back at Farrar. “Then they were amateurs. What sort of state was the safe in when it was found?”

“What difference does that make? It was robbed!” Farrar was turning a deeper shade of purple now.

Heyes chuckled to himself. “Well let’s just say that when I blew the safe in Denver. That one the authorities know about? The one the article is about? I only blew the doors off.”

Farrar stared at him for a long while.

“The safe was all but destroyed,” he said, finally, barely audibly.

Heyes grinned. “There you are then. You see Mr Farrar, it couldn’t possibly of been me.” He shook his head in disgust. “That’s just shoddy work. There’s no need to destroy a safe like that. You just have to use the right type of putty. I used Red Seal putty. The quick drying type.” He let that sink in for a moment. “Now I know that’s not in the public record but I know the authorities know what type of putty I used.” He paused. “‘Cos I left it behind.”

Farrar’s lips were tight. Heyes was convincing. Very convincing. Farrar swallowed. He was aware of Heyes’ reputation. He was particular about things and the Wychwood job didn’t fit with the way he did things. He took a deep breath.

“Are you prepared to swear in a court of law, sheriff, that these two men haven’t gone anywhere since they got here?” Farrar asked, irritably.

“Yes Mr Farrar I am. They haven’t.”

Farrar swallowed and licked his lips. “Very well.” He cleared his throat as if something was stuck there. “Then Mr Heyes, Mr Curry …. You may go.” That was obviously hard to say.

“Thank you.” They both leapt to their feet, nodded at Lom and left.

Outside the Kid turned to Heyes.

“Did he believe us?” he asked, anxiously.

Heyes considered. “He’d better had. ‘Cos if he didn’t our future just went up in smoke.”

“So what do we do?”

Heyes pursed his lips then shook his head. “Not much we can do, Kid. We just have to hope he bought my explanation. And that Lom can convince him we ain’t been out to town, or talked to anyone we shouldn’t of.”

“And if he can’t?” the Kid, hissed, looking round to see if anyone was listening to their conversation.

Heyes took a deep breath. “Seth knows I ain’t been anywhere, Walt will know you ain’t either.”  He put his hand on the Kid’s shoulder. “We have to leave it to Lom now. You’ve gotta have a little faith.”

The Kid frowned. “I don’t like it Heyes.”

Heyes shook his head. “Neither do I but there’s no choice. No choice at all.”

 

---------------------------------------------------

 

Inside Lom asked the same question. Farrar rubbed his check in embarrassment.

“It er goes against my instincts, Sheriff, taking the word of an outlaw. Especially two notorious outlaws like those two.” He took a deep breath. “But I’m a good judge of character and I’ve been doing this job for a lot of years now. Heyes did most of the talking but I was watching Curry’s face. Everything he was saying was true.” He sighed, somewhat begrudgingly.  “So yes, Sheriff I do believe them. I’ll report back to the Governor. He’ll let his counterpart in Colorado know that they aren’t looking for Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.”

Lom grinned. “Joshua and Thaddeus will be real relieved to hear you say that.”

Farrar nodded. “I wish ‘em luck Sheriff. Reputations as large as theirs are hard to put down.”

“Reckon they know that. That’s why they’re sitting tight here, earning an honest living and keeping their heads down. They’ve earned this second chance, Mr Farrar and they damm well ain’t gonna mess it up, believe me.” He sighed. “I’ll go see ‘em in a little while. Put their minds at rest.”

“You do that Sheriff. They’re good men.” He looked thoughtful. “Very interesting men. They could prove useful in the future.”

Lom frowned and shook his head. “No Mr Farrar. I think those two have had enough of adventures. They just want to be left alone to live a quiet life.”

Farrar sighed. “Pity. I think the Governor could use a couple of good men like those two.”

“Then the Governor will have to look elsewhere. Those two have a real future in front of ‘em now. They … I don’t want anything to spoil it for them. Do I make myself clear?”

Farrar nodded reluctantly.
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