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 Beans (The second Haff and Wong Tale) ... 4,300 words

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Cal

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Join date : 2015-11-11

20160121
PostBeans (The second Haff and Wong Tale) ... 4,300 words

---ooooooOoooooo---
Beans
(the second Haff and Wong Tale)

by Cal

---ooooooOoooooo---

Somewhere in Mexico

"More beans!" Curry. sniffed at his plate.  "Sick of beans" he snarled.  

"Not just beans Kid, I added chilli" beamed Heyes.  

"Oh great, so my tongue's going to be numb for a week!" scowled the blond ex outlaw.  

"Well this is Mexico Kid, it’s practically the law" Heyes laughed. “Now shut up and eat your darn beans fore they get cold".

Kid gave the beans another sniff. "You know Heyes, I'm beginning to look at rattlers and thinking, mmmmm, yum!  Now that’s worrin’!"

Kid got to the beans, then fanned his mouth dramatically, giving Heyes the full gun-slinger glare.  Heyes just threw back his head and howled laughing in full dimpled delight.

They'd dipped south of the border for their health, but had failed to plan for the trip; no provisions, no money and no idea what to do next.  They'd already dodged a border patrol of Mexican soldiers, by pushing a little further south, and were now resting in the only shade they could find near some water.

"We should get back to the right side of the border, soon as we can Heyes.  Every time I come South, someone either locks me up, or threatens to shoot me or beats on my body with their fists.  Being here makes me nervous." Curry looks North as though he can see the stars and stripes calling him home.  

Heyes is glad to be out of the saddle, and is in no hurry to start another long ride anytime soon.  " It isn't always that bad Kid."

Curry's eyebrows raise in question.  

Heyes frowns, thinking. His head cocks to one side as he cups his chin with a gloved hand, his lips move, he shakes his head, eyes narrow, another shake.  "OK… it is always bad, but there’s gotta be a first time for it to go our way!"  

The eyebrows disappear under the floppy brown hat.  "We can't even speak the language Heyes, and I don't really want to find out if I like the taste of snake."

Curry eyed his beans with a little more enthusiasm.  

Heyes looked his younger cousin and relented. “You know; I think that’s a good idea of yours.  Tomorrow, we should head back North."  

Curry smiled. "We're going to do what I think?"

Heyes made a ‘can’t think of anything better’ face.  

Curry nodded to himself and sat a little straighter.  "Yeah we are! " He stated smugly, more to himself than Heyes.

---ooooooOoooooo---
The next morning, having got very little sleep, two grumpy ex-outlaws haven't had coffee, and are eyeing cold beans as though they have been brewed in a witch’s cauldron.  

They both decide to pass.

"Our money will go farther this side of the border, right?  If we find a pueblo, we could get some coffee, maybe some breakfast?" opined the blond one, shaking sand from ...everywhere.  

"I thought we were going to do what you said for once, and head North?" Heyes looks incredulous, "Give you the lead for once, and you go and change your mind!"

"No, this is just finessing my plan, Heyes. We eat and drink coffee first ...then, we head North." Kid explains it like he's talking to a particularly slow child.  

"Well genius ...What we gonna use for money?" Heyes snorts back.  

A huge Curry smile splits the handsome face. "Glad you asked me that because…"

Pause for dramatic effect; the floppy hat is removed and brandished, blue eyes twinkle towards his partner.  

His hand is searching round the brim…

                                                       …searching,

                                                                         ….more searching.

Kid gives the hat his full attention with a scowl.  

The larcenous one is looking skywards, trying to find his innocent face. He flicks his eyes towards Kid’s questing hands.

"I know it’s in here somewhere ...I put it aside for just this sort of occasion ...a whole dollar bill..."  Kid is grumbling to himself.  

"Ermmmm ...Kid ...Kid?" Heyes can’t let this go on any longer, he’s feeling the need to unburden himself.  

The blue eyes look up confused, meet dark pools of apology...

                                                                                                   wait for it...

"What!  How? ...When? …Why?" sputters Kid. "Heyes that was for.... How could you!?!" There are no more words, just another look.  

"Well we always said ...What’s yours is mine ...We always share..." Heyes isn't looking at the affronted one, his head is wagging from side to side, his shoulders raise, arms wide, palms up. "Didn't think you..."

Curry grabs a handful of shirt front, and pulls Heyes' face round to meet his glare,

                                                       “...'d mind." he finishes an octave higher.  

"Turn out you pockets! " Spits out Kid, really feeling the lack of caffeine now. "I feel like doing me some sharing..."  

Heyes pats down, removing a small coin from here, then from there.  

Kid glares some more and raises his eyes to Heyes' battered black hat.

Heyes fishes in the rim, another small coin is produced with a ‘Well, will you look at that?’ smile.

Curry studies his cousin from top to toe.  

“Boots!”  OH, we’re at the monosyllabic stage.  

"No!" Heyes shakes his head as if this is a really stupid idea.  

Curry's eyebrows are not convinced.  

"Well...?"

One more coin is produced by a frankly disbelieving, ‘Where did that come from?’ Heyes.  

"But that's it! ...That's all I ...I mean we ... got."  Heyes' arms are wide again and he can look Kid in the face now, because this time, he's really telling the truth.

Kid still looks like he's considering turning Heyes upside down and shaking him.  

"Is it enough? " Kid doesn't feel the need to qualify that statement.  

"Here, in Mexico? yes ...I think it just maybe, as long as we're real careful with what we order."  Heyes shakes the few coins around in his hand, then, as if by an act of pure generosity on his part, he passes them to Curry.  

Kid pockets their meagre riches and stalks off to the horses,

"Well there ain't any breakfast round here, come on I need coffee"

---ooooooOoooooo---

A pueblo

The brightly coloured Adobe buildings sang in the sunshine.  Even Curry couldn't nurse his bad temper in the face of such gaiety. He was as watchful as ever, but smiled in spite of himself.  They left the horses in a shady lean to, which had some water and took a look around.  

A small man greeted the two Americanos and, although they didn't understand the words, they soon followed him into a cool shady room filled with small tables, clean linen and green leafy plants.

They flashed their meagre stash of small coins at the waitress, who came to greet them.  She took three of the coins with a smile, and ushered them to sit, sit ...A long stream of Spanish was sent to the back kitchen ...Smiles again for the boys and she filled their glasses with warm, not too clear water.

"Coffee?" asked Kid "Dos?"

"Si, si Cafe" the fourth coin was taken.

And that was it ...They were going to get breakfast…

  ...of course Kid didn't know yet

     …that breakfast was going to consist mainly of
               
        …beans!

---ooooooOoooooo---

After breakfast

They pushed back their chairs, Curry pushed a couple of spare tortillas into a pocket, and they drained their coffee cups in that synchro way of theirs.  They called thanks to the kitchen and braced themselves for daylight.  They could hear a bit of a commotion on the other side of the square, but at that moment they were both temporarily blind-ed by the bright sunlight. They each set their hats low over their eyes and strolled to the horses.

"You know Kid, if you allow a bit more finessing of your plan, we should cross back over the border just where we came in. They'd never expect that. They'd think for sure we'd hole up here for a spell, or at least head East or West before we tried to re-cross the border.  Doing what they least expect, that's what kept us in front all these years.  ‘Course, it’s still your plan though."  Heyes nodded, and looked to Kid for acceptance of his idea.

"Yeah.  I like it,” Kid nodded.  “But we're still following my plan, right."

A dimpled nod from Heyes whilst mounting.  

Kid had one foot in the boot when the noise from the other side of the square started sounding ugly. He watched, mounting in slow motion.

Four men had two mules surrounded. One mule was loaded as a pack animal.  On the other, sat a diminutive Indian. His hands were tied behind his back and a noose was be-ing pushed over his head.  The rope was thrown over the eaves of nearby building and tied off. One of the men was shouting Spanish in the Indian’s face, hands at his throat, shaking him.  He reached at a silver disc worn on a leather thong round the Indian’s neck and pulled it free, spitting a final insult.  The Indian remained passive.  On closer inspection, Curry concluded, he'd taken a hell of a beating and was probably fighting to remain conscious.

"Haff?" questioned Curry

"Yep!" Heyes' curt reply.

A mute conversation between the partners, taking just seconds.

The lynching was going on at a pace, the mule was slapped twice but remained reso-lutely under Haff.  Finally, the one doing the slapping, took out a pistol and pointed it at the sky, his figure squeezing the trigger.  

The mule leapt forward, and Haff dropped.

Curry's first and second bullet cut the rope.
Third, sent the pistol spinning.
Fourth, sent a sombrero flying.
Fifth, sent dust spurting between the feet of the one holding the pack mule.
Sixth, took a second pistol skyward, it had been pointed at Haff’s head as he kneeled on the ground retching.  

Heyes kicked his horse to cover the width of the square in just a few strides.  Dropping low, he lifted Haff by his bound arms and threw him across the front of the saddle, kick-ing on outta town. Curry was at his heels, keeping low over his horse’s neck, as a few belated shots rang passed them from the group in the square.

Kid quickly took the lead.  Heyes’ reins were loose now, as he was struggling to free the noose round Haff’s neck.  As it came loose, he noticed the handle of a knife in a scab-bard between the Indian’s shoulder blades. He grabbed the knife and cut the thongs binding Haff’s hands, no mean feat on a galloping horse.  

As soon as Haff felt his hands free he pushed himself up, straddled the horse and took the reins. Heyes pushed back in the saddle, still holding the knife, he daren' t try put it back at this speed.

Haff pulled the horse off the trail and headed towards high ground. Heyes hollered to stop Curry and bring him back to leap from his horse, use some brush to wipe their tracks, jump straight back into his saddle and tear off after Haff and Heyes.

Haff made another turn from the track, climbing a steep bank onto a flat plateau. When they were far enough back from the edge to be hidden, he pulled Heyes’ mare to a halt.  He threw his leg over the horse’s neck and fell to his knees, retching again.

Kid joins them.

The ex-outlaws watch, while Haff pulls the rope over his head, coughing and gasping.  He closes his eyes and stills, fighting for control of his breathing. When his eyes open again, Heyes and Curry are at his side.  

"Thankyou" he croaks. He's still having trouble breathing.

"Why were they trying to hang you?" asks Heyes.  

"Did!" gasps Haff.   He pinches the skin on the back of his hand and waves it at Heyes.

“Cause you're an Indian?" Heyes doesn't believe that.

“Will someone explain to me, why I am still in Mexico, getting shot at?" puts in Curry.  "If we’d have kept going, we'd have been at the border before night fall!"

"Mules." whispers Haff.  

Curry looks incredulous.  "I know he didn't just say we still here because of no damn mules!" he spat. "Come on let's get going!"

"Right behind you partner." Heyes rises to mount up.  Since when was Heyes so good at following orders?  

Haff is shaking his head, which is painful, and waving for them to shut up, so he can explain.  "Gotta get it back...." he managed.  

"What?" asked Heyes curious.  

"Supplies...medicine... for Wong...sick" the Indian manages between gasps.  

"Wong’s sick and they stole his medicine?" translates Curry.  "Where is he?  He here?"

"Tombstone," Haff spat out some blood, his breathing was getting easier though.  "I know where they've taken ...our mules ...I’m getting our stuff back …tonight."

The partners are having a mute conversation over the head of the kneeling Indian. It goes back and forth a few times, eventually, Heyes squats beside Haff.  

"Show us this place, if we can help get your things back we will, but no promises, we're not wanted in Mexico and we want it to stay that way."

"And then, we’re gonna do what I said and head straight back for the border," empha-sises Kid, jaw set and head nodding.

---ooooooOoooooo---

later outside a small farmstead

"This is definitely it.  There’re the mules.  Looks like they took your stuff inside the house Haff. We'll keep a watch awhile, see how many there are of them, then we go in after dark."

Heyes is back giving the orders.  He’s lowered the opera glasses, and offers them to Curry.  

"I can see all I need to see.  Should be a piece of cake."

Curry is pursing his lips, seeing the assault on the house in his mind’s eye.  Not too long after that, they’ve seen enough.  

"Come on, still plenty of daylight.  You look like you could do with resting up for a spell Haff."  

Heyes leads back to the horses.  They take themselves back more aways, and make a small camp.

Haff is eating the beans rejected this morning with relish, Curry pulls out the pocketed tortillas and offers one to Heyes.  Heyes shakes his head. They still have no coffee, but he'd rather just sit and poke the fire.  

"Why were they really trying to hang you Haff?" he asks to fill the silence.

"They did hang me!" insists Haff.  

Curry looks uncomfortable.

“I’m sorry it took two bullets" he mumbles.

"S OK" Haff consoles rubbing his neck.

‘What!’ thinks Heyes. ‘Who else but the Kid, could have cut a hangman's rope and scat-tered the lynching party from the other side of the square, from a moving horse!  And he's apologising!’  

He shakes his head in disbelief.

---ooooooOoooooo---


Later again

Kid is lecturing Haff,

“Now I know I've said this before, but there's no need to kill anyone tonight.  Heyes and me we're not wanted in Mex..."  

Haff has had enough.  

" I know.  I know.  You said, and he said, but they hanged me, and I am!"

He’s got his voice back then.  

"You are what?" says Kid looking confused.  

"Wanted, in Mexico.  So's Wong. We're both wanted ...for murder ...so what would it matter?"

“Is that why they were fixing to hang you? …For murder!?! ‘Cause if they were the law, and we just..." Heyes’ brow darkens into a frown, his dark eyes bore into Haff’s face.  He needs the truth.  

"No, no!  They're crooks. Double crossing, murdering crooks!" Haff flashes the red welts round his neck for emphasis. "No, Wong and me, we just killed a few overseers, when we escaped from the mines."

"Wong killed?  I thought you said Wong didn't like guns?" Heyes said shrewdly trying to search out a lie.  

"We didn't have guns."

Haff pulled his knife across his throat. The boys look aghast.  Seeing their faces, the small man frowned, and addressed the ground.  

"They needed killing.  They didn't use guns either.  If you dropped, they’d just kick the soul out of you.  Leave you there, as example to others.  Wong… well he got my soul back for me, but neither of us would have lasted much longer."

"What were you doing there? " asked Curry in a quiet voice.

"I'm not full Apache ...Was for a while ...I was taken by the tribe from ...before I can remember ...I have a strong soul of a warrior!"

Haff smacked his chest for emphasis.

"I survived! ...An old shaman, he took me for his son ...I was a Brave then ...but when he died, the tribe sold me to the mines."

Haff looked a little ashamed.

"And Wong?" a quiet voiced Heyes.

"I know a little. He was a shaman too I think.  To a big chief in China. The Chief had a favourite wife, very beautiful. The wife had a favourite too ...Wong ...Oh, he's not as old as you think, and I'm not as young as I look."  

Haff laughed.

"The Chief wanted Wong dead so Wong took a boat across the sea to the West, but the sea made Wong very sick. The journey was terrible and when they got here, the Cap-tain sold Wong to the mines."

"So you escaped, and went over the border, but your both wanted for murder here?" asked a frankly surprised Curry.

"Yes, we weren't doing so well either.  We weren't good at towns, and people, well the West, but we were helped by our two very good friends."

Haff smiled and nodded at them.  The partners looked perplexed and shook their heads.  

"Wheat and Kyle of course!"

Haff thought this obvious.

"Wheat..." smiled Heyes.

"And Kyle!" finished Curry.  

There was a silence needed filling.  

"So your real names aren't Wong and Haff then?" deducted a latter day dimpled Sher-lock.  

"No."

Haff looked as though he'd been caught out.

“Wong daren't use a name that might be recognised by his Chief’s men.  They would take him back to China."  

Haff made this sound worse than death.

"Wong is ..."

"…An alias?" finished Heyes helpfully.

"No, I was going to say, like Smith to Chinese ...Many of them!"

Haff grinned at Heyes surprised face.

"And Haff?" asked Curry "Is that Jones, in Apache?"

"No!"

Haff grinned some more, shaking his long black mane.

"Haff isn't my name, it’s what I'm called …Haff breed …Haff starved …Haff brained..."

He doesn’t seem to mind in the least.  

"But you must have got a name?" Kids eyebrows are heading north again.  

Haff is thinking.

“No... well, I got this ...but they got it now ...it’s hard to explain ...I’ll show you tonight if I get it back."

---ooooooOoooooo---
After dark

"I know.  I know.  No killing" hissed Haff as they approach the farm house.

He pulls out the knife and Heyes looks frantic.  

"Put that away!"

Haff looks crestfallen.

"Go get your precious mules, Kid and me will deal with the farmers."  

Heyes jerks his thumb over his shoulder at the window he's about to force open.

Haff leaves.

The boys stand either side of the window. Heyes does his thing and the window soon opens, and they disappear inside.

Two scenarios play out simultaneously.

From the outside of the house we hear a fist fight.  Much ow...ing and ahhhh...ing and those really unrealistic punching noises.  Kid’s getting his second dose of Mexico.

We see Haff loading the mules through the kitchen window. Sack after sack is added to the load. Coming in for a close-up, we see the word BEANS stencilled across each sack. The larcenous Indian has also purloined a wad of cash.

---ooooooOoooooo---
The early hours of the morning before sun up.

A battered Kid Curry and a rumpled Hannibal Heyes, are walking their horses along the trail by the light of a full moon. Haff is nodding on his mule behind them, leading the laden mule.  I think they may have been sleeping in their saddles.

"Oh hello America " breaths Kid to himself "And to think, I only got shot at and beaten up.  No jail this time!"

"That's the spirit Kid, look on the bright side" smiled Heyes.

He looked over his shoulder at the very quiet Indian.  He was still worried about a few things.  

"Haff, why did you go back in to the farm house after we told you we had them trussed up like Christmas turkeys? You didn't..."

Heyes ran his hand across his throat.  

"No! They’d taken this."  

Haff showed Heyes the silver disc on the broken leather cord.  

"I Had to get it back."

"What is it?" asked Heyes.

"Haff?" Curry called from up ahead, "You got Coffee and food on that mule of yours?"  

Haff nodded.

"Then we're stopping right here till sun up."  

All agreed.

---ooooooOoooooo---


"Show me."  Heyes reached for the disc as they sat at the campfire.

The moon was still high and the sky was beginning to lighten.  Heyes saw that the disc was a flattened lid of an old pocket watch, a crude hole punched in one end to make a charm of it.  Haff spoke quietly, his face dancing with shadows from the fire.

"The old shaman said I was took from my father's arms, and so strong was my grip, that I brung my father's heart with me, …still beating. He used to taunt me with it. Then, when he died, I took it back. That's all there is of it now."  

Haff pointed his chin at the silver in Heyes palm.

"Wong says my name is written on it, but he can't read it."

Heyes turned it over in his hands slanting it to the moon and to the fire.  There was a pattern. He spat on the disc removing his bandana.  

Haff flew across the fire with murder in his eyes.  

Kid leapt and caught Haff half way to Heyes.

“Easy, he's just cleaning it up to get a look.  My partner's real smart. He maybe can read it."  

Haff’s eyes went wide.

Heyes smiled and rubbed some more.  

"Yes ...There's initials ...Real fancy script."

Proclaimed the centre of attention.  Haff was holding his breath.

"Ee…ni…shals,” he repeated in wonder.

"What? No, in ..itials...That's a thing ...Like words ...Not a name ...No its says …C...A... L!"

"Sea..ay..elle" repeated Haff in a whisper.

"So that makes me …Sea..ay..elle…"

A huge smile crossed Haff’s battered face.  He took the disc from Heyes and walked out of the circle of light from the fire.  

Heyes felt the need to call after him, to explain about initials, but he stopped when Kid grasped his arm and slightly shook his head.  

"Well done Heyes" he smiled.  

"But?" Heyes was confused.

The eyebrows said enough already!

---ooooooOoooooo---

The next morning

Haff is taking his leave of the partners, to head to Tombstone.  Kid and Heyes have de-cided to visit "uncle" Mac in Red Gap.

"Thanks again" Haff rubs at his neck.  

"You take care Haff" says Kid, then he looks quizzically at the little Indian "Or is it Sea..ay…elle?"

Haff grins conspiratorially.  

"No, Han'bal is Heyes," Haff looked quizzically at Kid.  

"Jedidiah" he supplied.  

“Jed...er...riah is Kid.  Sea ay elle ... is Haff.  It'll be our secret!"

He smiled and shook the proffered hand.  And with that he started his mules down the left fork.

"Wait up Haff" shouted Heyes. “Wait here Kid just be a minute."  

Heyes rode up to the mules out of Kids earshot.  

"Haff, you saved him, now he's saved you.  That's it, we're even. I'm guessing Wong’s medicine is packed in with the beans, right?  We're trying to go straight, trying for am-nesty and we can't get mixed up with no drug smuggling. Wong’s not sick is he?"

Haff dropped his gaze.  

"No more than usual. OK. We're even, but I thank you anyway Heyes.”  

Haff passed something to Heyes.  

"This make us even too I think," and with that he booted his mules on.

---ooooooOoooooo---

it's a long trail to Red Gap...

"You know Heyes hearing Haff’s story like that, and seeing him so happy, you giving him a name an all..."

Curry has a faraway look in those blue eyes.  He’s put a lot of thought into this.

"I never gave him a name..."

Heyes would have to clear this up. He’d never meant ...enough ...we know.

"Well, it’s made me realise we been looking at what happened to us from the wrong end."

Curry continues unfazed.

"Mmmmm?"

He might as well get this over with.

"We should be thinking ...we had ten ...or twelve for you ...of the best years with family ...the best! We should be thinking how we was lucky."

"They were good years Kid ...the best!" Heyes smiled dreamily.  

The blond one is very satisfied that he's said something profound and is quiet for quite a while.

Then,

"It's a good job he told us about that old watch and all..."

Curry is very much back in his saddle

"Mmmmm?" Dark eyes plead ‘what now?’

"Cause if I thought he'd just dragged us back there, for that hill a beans, I'd of flattened him!"

Hah! Curry’s been nursing that one.

Heyes had the perfect solution, to say he knew his cousin well was a bit of an under-statement.  

"How would you like me to buy you, a big, steak dinner Kid?"

"Awww …Nice one genius ...What we gonna use for money?" said Kid ruefully.

Heyes removes his battered black hat and,

Pause for effect,

  a huge, full dimpled beam is sent Kid wards.

       "Ta..dah!!!"  

He produces a hundred-dollar bill from the brim.

"Ohhhhhwwww!" Kid looks at the bill like he's fallen in love, "I'm so hungry, I'm not even going to ask you where you got that from.  …Yes!”  

A huge Curry full beam smile.  

“A steak dinner

    ...and definitely

              …no BEANS!"

The End
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