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 After Dinner Musings

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AuthorMessage
MoulinP



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

20151023
PostAfter Dinner Musings

Third of third






After dinner Musings

 

“Heyes, you sure you can’t play poker?” the Kid asked, wearily as Heyes scooped all the cards yet again. They had been playing snap.

“I’m sure, Kid,” Heyes nodded. “That’s … that’s a slippery slope I don’t wanna go down.” He patted the cards into a neat pile. “But you can go play,” he added.

The Kid sighed. “No. Wouldn’t be right.”

“I appreciate that, Kid but you ain’t addicted.” Heyes peered at him. “Are you?”

The Kid frowned. “No! I ain’t addicted.” He glared at Heyes hard. “I’m not entirely sure you are either,” he grumbled.

Heyes pursed his lips and shuffled the deck in a gambler’s ripple. He grinned.

“No? Sure looked like it to me.”

The Kid rolled his eyes ceiling ward. He shook his head and then sat back, folding his arms.

“So if I went out to play poker, what would you do with yourself while I was gone?” The Kid looked suspiciously at Heyes.

Heyes sniffed. “Well I … bought me a new book. Kinda like to get started on it.” He shrugged. “Washing up needs doing. It’s your turn but I’ll do it for you ‘cos that’s the kinda fella I am.” He grinned for a moment. Then he put his head down and was serious. He tapped the cards on the table and licked his lips. “Go to bed, maybe. Get an’ early night, y’know.” He shrugged and idly shuffled the cards.

The Kid watched him thoughtfully. He knew staying away from poker or any card game for money was hard on Heyes. But it was his decision. Once they had the amnesty Heyes had decided that he would never play cards for money again. He was too darn good at it for one. Any player who was too good raised an awful lot of questions - best avoided. Both of them had seen what gambling could do to a man, for two. Heyes was right not to risk it. The amnesty had been hard won and gambling could so easily set him, the Kid too, down the criminal road again. Neither of them wanted that.

The Kid nodded. “Yeah,” he breathed and got up. “I’ll do the washing up.” He patted Heyes on the shoulder as he passed him.

Heyes nodded and flicked the cards in his hand. “Thanks, Kid.” He dealt out twenty-five cards and spent the next few minutes making five pat hands. When he had finished, he sat back and smiled in satisfaction.

“Remember Big Mac McCreedy?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Uncle Mac? Yeah.”

Heyes chuckled. “Yeah. Wonder why he decided you were his nephew and not me?”

The Kid chuckled too.

“Now I come to think on it,” Heyes started. “There is a family resemblance,” he finished, with a grin, tongue in cheek. He looked round at the Kid for his reaction.

The Kid glared at him. He turned back to his chores. He was now up to his elbows in bubbles. “Bet Big Mac doesn’t have to do washing up!” he muttered to himself. He concentrated on what he was doing for a while. “We met some good folks while we were going straight, didn’t we?”

“Yep,” Heyes nodded. “We sure did.” He paused. “Lots of wrong uns as well.”

The Kid shrugged. “Guess they must balance out though don’t they?”

Heyes chuckled. “Dunno Kid. Never kept score.” He was laying cards out to play patience.

“Well Heyes, if you think about it, that’s kinda the way life is ain’t it?”

Heyes rolled his eyes and then glanced round, frowning.

“What d’you mean?”

The Kid scratched his cheek, thoughtfully, leaving bubbles on it. Heyes smiled and turned back to the table.

“Well it’s just the way life is,” the Kid frowned. He waved the knife he had been washing. “Good things happen, bad things happen. The folks we meet along the way are either good folks or bad folks. In the end it must all even out.”

Heyes smacked his lips. “Yeah.”

The Kid turned back to his chore.

“I mean it stands to reason.”

Heyes winced. The Kid had found a topic of conversation that would turn out to be one-sided.

“If you were to add up all the good folks and then add up all the bad folks, I bet you they would come out even!” He nodded, pleased with his theory.

Heyes blinked. “You could be right, Kid,” he mused, peering at his game. “For all I know,” he muttered.

“You’ve been writing down some of our stories, haven’t you?”

“Uh-huh.”

“How many you got?”

Heyes sniffed and pursed his lips. “Haven’t written ‘em all yet, Kid.”

“Okay, but how many have you got now?” The Kid had finished and was now wiping his hands dry.

Heyes glanced round and frowned in irritation.

“You done those pots properly?” he asked, testily.

“Yes!”

“Better had,” Heyes mumbled. “Don’t expect to find yesterday’s dinner on ‘em when I come to cook tomorrow’s dinner!”

“They’re done proper!” The Kid came to stand by the table and looked at Heyes’ game. Heyes looked up at him slowly and glared at him until he moved away.

Heyes studied his game again. “I’ve got twelve finished if you must know. About three more that I’ve started. Made notes on half a dozen more. But there’s a lot more I ain’t got to yet.”

“I know, I know,” the Kid sighed. He walked across to the easy chair and sank into it.

Heyes glanced at him. He sighed and cleared the table of cards.

“What’s on your mind, Kid?” he asked, seriously.

“Just wondering if we’ll ever meet any of those good folks again.”

“Maybe.”

“Perhaps when we leave here we’ll go look some of ‘em up? Big Mac, the Jordans, the Tapscotts.” The Kid listed them. “Harry Briscoe.”

“Harry Briscoe!” Heyes frowned. “He ain’t good folks.”

The Kid smiled. “He ain’t exactly bad either. Guess we leave him in the middle for now, huh?”

Heyes looked doubtful.

“What d’you reckon, Heyes? When we leave here what d’you say we go a visiting? ‘Till we decide what to do with ourselves, I mean.”

Heyes didn’t answer. He looked away.

“Heyes?”

Heyes rested his cheek on a fist.

“Heyes?”

“I dunno, Kid,” he mumbled. “I can’t see the point.”

The Kid had suspected for some time that Heyes was settling in Porterville. The longer they stayed the harder it would be to get him away. Realisation was beginning to dawn on the Kid that if HE wanted to leave he would be going on his own. The Kid licked his lips. That was something he wasn’t sure he wanted to do. On the other hand, his job in the livery stables wasn’t exactly fulfilling.

Heyes patted the cards into a neat pile. He placed them deliberately in the middle of the table and scrapped back his chair. He looked back at the cards, hesitating. Then he wrinkled his nose and walked away. He stopped by the Kid’s chair.

“I’m gonna go to bed. If you want to go play poker, go. Just don’t wake me up when you come in, huh?”

The Kid nodded. “Sure thing, Heyes.”

After Heyes had gone the Kid sat in the chair, thinking. Sometime later, he got up and went into the bunkroom. Heyes was on his side facing the wall. As quietly as he could the Kid undressed and got into his bunk. He had just settled when Heyes spoke.

“Thought you were gonna go play poker?”

“Thought about it.” He paused and sighed. “Sometimes life’s a gamble ain’t it? Right now, I think I’m winning. Figured I’d like it to stay that way.”

Heyes grinned at the wall. “Night, Kid.”

The Kid turned over to face his wall. “Night, Heyes.”
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