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 Water the Chances? Part 1 by moonshadow

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Join date : 2013-10-13

20160916
PostWater the Chances? Part 1 by moonshadow



What are the chances that things could go Heyes' and Kid's way, just for once, when the pair make plans to enjoy a nice, relaxing visit with their old friend, Jim Stokely?


Starring
Pete Duel and Ben Murphy
As Hannibal Heyes and Jed “Kid” Curry


Guest Starring


Monte Markham as Jim Stokely


Sam Elliott as Sheriff Walter Stone


Garth Brooks as Roy Lassiter


Scott Wilson as Thomas Martin


Elinor Donahue as Anne Martin


Michael Weatherly as Jonathan Bascomb


Larry Corbin as Cobb Winters


Tommy Lee Jones as Mitch


Max Thieriot as Carson


Ryan Kelley as Sam


Jared Padalecki as Jesse


Misha Collins as Marty


WATER THE CHANCES?
by moonshadow


Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry slowed their horses from a lope to a walk.  The animals were slick with sweat and covered in frothy lather.  

Curry glanced back over his shoulder.  “Looks like we finally lost that posse,” he commented without enthusiasm.  “I thought they'd never give up!”


“I was beginning to think the same thing.”  Heyes removed his hat and, using his shirtsleeve, he wiped the beads of sweat from his dirt-streaked face.  “We should go a few more miles just to be sure,” he added wearily.

Curry's shoulders lifted in an indifferent shrug.

The pair traveled along in silence until Heyes brought his mount to a stop; the Kid followed suit.  “This spot looks as good as any to spend the night.”

Curry glanced around.  “There's a creek over there by those trees.  We can wash away some of this trail dust an' rest in the shade for a while.”

“Sounds like a plan to me.”

The two men dismounted and began to make camp for the night.  After unsaddling their horses, the pair walked them the short distance to the creek and allowed the animals to drink their thirst away and nibble at the grass while they tended to their own needs.

Heyes' words were muffled as he used a corner of his saddle blanket to dry his face.  “You were right, Kid.  It does feel good to get rid of that trail dust.”



“Yeah,” Curry agreed as he emerged dripping wet from his ablutions in the creek.  With a shake of his head he sent water droplets flying everywhere.  Grabbing his blanket, he briskly dried his backside.  “I feel as if I've got new skin!”

In the process of drying his glistening torso, Heyes paused for a moment, cocked his head to the side and gave his partner a scrutinizing look.  “Well, you do look more presentable,” he allowed.  “Might even manage not to scare off any of the wildlife around here.”

The Kid stopped drying off his muscled legs long enough to retort, “I could say the same about you too, you know.”

“Ah, but I beat you to it,” Heyes countered with a dimpled grin.  “C'mon, let's get the horses tied up to a picket line and work on a plan.”

“That sure was one long chase,” Curry declared as he stretched out on the ground.  Using his saddle for a pillow, he eased back until he could rest his head back against it and released a deep groan.  He watched his partner in silence as Heyes tossed the saddlebags on the ground and dropped down a short distance away.  “Guess buildin' a fire's outta the question, huh?”

“You guessed right.”  Heyes' reply was followed with a deep sigh of weariness as he leaned back in much the same fashion as the Kid.  “Ahh...” he sighed with contentment and closed his eyes.  “You know, this is the first chance we've had to relax in... how many days?  Three?”

“More like four,” Curry mumbled.  “If you count the first night we had to leave... whatever the name of that town was.”  His eyelids slowly lowered, shuttering his blue eyes and blocking out the rest of the world.  “I think... I'm... too tired... to eat...” his last word was slurred by a deep yawn.

Rousing himself enough to answer, Heyes chuckled softly.  “Never thought I'd hear those words coming from your mouth, Kid.”

“Me neither...” Curry sighed.  “Maybe we... should... rest... a bit...”

“Yeah...” Heyes nodded and yawned.  “Plan later, right?”

The sound of deep, regular breathing was the Kid's only reply.


*~*~*~*~*~*

Heyes and the Kid were awakened from their slumber by bright rays of sunlight the next morning.  The pair rose and stretched languidly.  

“After sleeping on that cold, hard – not to mention very rocky – ground, I'm sure lookin' forward to a nice, soft bed.”  Curry arched his back to ease a particularly stubborn kink.

“You'll feel better after we get washed up for breakfast,” Heyes answered.  “Let's get the horses taken care of first.”

Grabbing the halters of their animals, they visited the creek, washed the sleep from their eyes and filled their canteens with fresh water.

“Guess it's jerky for breakfast?” Curry groused.

“Aw, c'mon now, Kid, quit your grumbling; it's better than nothing.”

“Tell that to my stomach!” Curry snapped.  “It missed supper last night an' now all it's gonna get is a piece of tough, dried-up beef!”

“You sure are grouchy when you're hungry!” Heyes teased.  “Tell your stomach that we'll get it something real nice when we get to the next town.  Here...” he held out a piece of the leathery meat.  “This will have to do until then.”

The Kid snatched it from his hand and began to gnaw on it with ill-grace while they broke camp and mounted up to ride.

Curry turned his horse to face Heyes.  “We're still gonna go see Jim, right?”

“Don't see why not,” Heyes shrugged.  “We're far enough away from that posse, and that's why we're headed to Santa Fe in the first place.”

“It'll be good to see him again.  Little Bend Valley's a great spot for Jim to settle down.”

“Let's just hope we don't land in any kind of trouble like we did the last time you two were together,” Heyes retorted wryly.

“Hey, that wasn't all my fault!” the Kid protested.  “I was jus' doin' my job keepin' Jim busy while you talked to Mrs. Henderson!  I really liked him,” Curry grinned.

“I know.  You could've knocked me over with a feather when he told us the truth.”

“Yeah, that was a big surprise, wasn't it?  Boy, were we ever on the wrong track!”

“Well, we were just going on circumstantial evidence and that pointed to Stokely carrying on with a married woman.  How could we have known it was a ruse to protect his family?”

“Yeah, I felt real bad for thinkin' of him that way.  I was real glad Sarah ended up bein' his sister,” Curry grinned.  “Anyway, I'm lookin' forward to seein' him again.”

“His place is a fair distance from Little Bend, too.  That means we should be able to relax a bit out there without worrying about any lawmen showing up unexpectedly.”

“It'll be real nice to stay in one place for a while after bein' chased by that last posse,” Curry agreed.  After a brief silence he added, “Sure hope Jim has somethin' good to eat!”

With a heavenward roll of his eyes, Heyes turned his horse and they began their journey towards their destination.  It wasn't too long before they came upon a weathered sign with the words “Little Bend Township – 10 miles; Little Bend Valley – 5 miles.”


*~*~*~*~*~*

“What are you doing?” the woman in the wagon cried out.  She put a shaking hand to her breast as the three men advanced towards her.  “Why can't you just leave us alone?  I'm not bothering you..”

“We've told you before,” the blue-shirted man snapped, “we don't want none of you homesteaders around here!”

“But I'm not a homesteader!” she protested.  “We've paid for our farm and we have as much right here as you do!”  Her eyes widened as the man wearing a red bandana pulled a knife from his pocket.

“Get down outta that wagon – this time we're gonna show ya we mean business!  Maybe you'll take the hint and vamoose this time!” Red Bandana growled.  He grabbed a bag of grain, hoisted it over the top of the wagon and slit it open with his knife.  He ripped the hole even larger and grain began to rain down upon the ground.

“Please,” she cried and put out a hand as if that might somehow stop them.  “Don't do that!”

“Aw, shut up!” Black Hat growled in warning and took a threatening step towards the wagon.

The woman closed her mouth, forced to watch and helpless to intervene, as he joined the two other men and began to grab supplies out of the wagon and dumped them on the ground.  What the men couldn't stomp on and destroy, they either tore up, busted to pieces or ripped open with their knives.


*~*~*~*~*~*

Heyes and Curry reached the crest of a hill and took a moment to get their bearings.

“We're almost there,” Heyes observed.  “Once we cross over the next hill, it's just a few miles further.”

Curry shielded his eyes from the sun and pointed with his finger.  “Hey!”  His expression grim, he continued, “Looks like that lady down there's in some kinda trouble!”



“Maybe,” Heyes allowed.  “Or, maybe it's just a friendly disagreement?”

“I don't think so.”  The Kid's frown deepened.  “Looks more like she's cryin'.  An' they're takin' all those bags – nothin' friendly about that – it's jus' plain mean!”

Heyes squinted.  “The odds do seem a bit one-sided.”

“Yeah,” Curry agreed.  “There's three strong men against one defenseless woman!  Let's see if we can even things up some.”  He urged his mount forward and headed down the hillside with Heyes close behind.  They took a circuitous route so that they came up on the men from behind.

“Hey!” Heyes called out when they were close enough.  “Is that any way to treat a lady?”

“Must make you feel pretty big to bully a woman like that,” Curry added as he and Heyes dismounted.

All three men stopped what they were doing and turned around in surprise to face Heyes and Curry.

“Mind your own business, mister – she's a homesteader – an' this ain't anything to concern you!”

“What if we make it our business?”  Curry took a step closer.

“You'd be makin' a big mistake!  You shouldn't stick your nose into somethin' where it don't belong!”

Heyes turned to the woman.  “What seems to be the problem, ma'am?”

“If ya havta know,” Blue Shirt butted in before she could speak, “this here is cattle country.  Like I said before, she's a homesteader an' we don't want our range plowed up!”

“So you'd take your anger out on someone who can't fight back?” Curry retorted scornfully.

“This here is a personal matter between this homesteader an' our boss.”

“Your boss?” Heyes scanned the area.  “He around?”

“The boss don't handle small stuff like this,” Blue Shirt snorted derisively.  “He sent us to take care of this homesteader an' the problems she's causin'!  He hooked his thumbs in the belt loops of his pants and puffed up his chest.  “I'm Carson – an' I'm the one in charge here.”

“Well, Carson, it's a good thing that we happened along when we did then, isn't it?” Heyes stated calmly.  “The three of you should be ashamed of yourselves; picking on a poor, defenseless woman like that.”

“Three to one bullyin' a woman sounds pretty cowardly, if you ask me,” Curry added.

“Nobody's askin' you, mister!” Carson growled.  “So you'd best keep your thoughts to yourself or what you're gonna get is trouble!”

“No,” Heyes shook his head, “we don't want any trouble, so here's what the three of you are going to do.  You're going to get on your horses and ride out of here.”

“You ain't my boss and we don't gotta do nothin' you say!  If anyone's gonna do any leavin' it's you two!” the bully growled and took a threatening step towards Heyes.

“In case you didn't hear right,” the Kid pinned Carson with a hard glare before he continued.  “My friend told you to get on your horses an' get goin'.”

“I don't like the way you're talkin', mister!” Carson seethed.

“An' I don't like the way you're actin',” Curry countered with deadly calm.

“Yeah?  Well, we'll see who does the leavin'!” Carson snarled and reached for his gun.  His hand hung empty in mid-air when he saw the weapon already in Curry's hand pointed at him.  His arm outstretched, keeping his hand well away from his gun, Carson spat out, “We didn't mean nothin', mister; we're followin' orders – just doin' our job!”



“Your job's over.”  Curry pointed with the nose of his gun towards the horses.  “Now... mount up and don't look back.”  He cocked the weapon for emphasis.

Carson nodded and slowly backed away.  “C'mon, Sam!” he snapped.  “You, too, Jesse!”

With a show of obvious reluctance, the two men joined Carson and made their way towards their animals.  Once astride, Carson sent Curry one last defiant glare before the trio rode away.

The woman turned from watching them disappear to look at her Good Samaritans.  Her glance came to rest on Heyes.  “Oh, thank you, Mr...?”

Heyes removed his hat.  “Joshua Smith, ma'am; and this is my friend, Thaddeus Jones.”

Curry tipped his hat at her.  “Pleased to meet you, ma'am.”

“I don't know what those three would have done if you hadn't come by and stopped them – their scare tactics are getting worse and worse!”  She gave them a smile of gratitude.  “My name is Anne Martin.”  She paused for a moment and then continued.

“Mr. Smith, would you and Mr. Jones... I don't like to trouble you, but what I'm trying to ask is, would you mind very much escorting me back to the farm?  My father and I don't live very far from here and I'd feel ever so much safer with you two along after what those men did.”

Heyes looked to Curry for confirmation.  When the Kid nodded his assent Heyes smiled.  “We'd be pleased to, Miss Martin.  We're heading in that direction anyway, so it won't be any trouble at all.”

“I could even drive the wagon, if you'd like, ma'am?” Curry offered.

“Well, in that case, I could even throw in a hot meal to thank you for your trouble; how does that sound?”

“That sounds like a real good deal, Miss Martin!” Curry answered eagerly.

“You might be sorry,” Heyes chuckled.  “Thaddeus is a bottomless pit when it comes to eating.”

Curry sent his partner a pained look.  “A man's gotta eat!”

“Yes, he does, Mr. Jones,” Anne smiled.  “I like a man with a hearty appetite, so please, consider yourselves our guests and invited to join us for our midday meal.  In fact, I insist!”

“Won't get no argument from me!”  Curry nodded and the other two laughed.

“How about if we help you get these supplies picked up and back into the wagon?” Heyes suggested.

“I'd be very grateful for your assistance,” Anne answered.  “Maybe we can salvage at least some of them.”

They began to pick up the scattered supplies and load them into the buckboard.  When they were finished, Heyes assisted Anne up into the wagon as the Kid climbed in from the other side.

She smiled as she took her seat beside Curry and settled her skirt.  “Thank you, Mr. Smith.”

“You can call me, Joshua.”  Heyes returned her smile as he mounted up.  “And the same goes for Mr. Jones; he's Thaddeus.”

“Alright then, Joshua and Thaddeus it is.”  Anne turned her smile on Curry as he gathered up the reins to the team.  “As long as you both call me Anne.”

Both men nodded and the trio began their trek to the ranch, talking amicably along the way to pass the time.


*~*~*~*~*~*

“So how long have you lived out here?” Heyes asked casually.

“Not too long; just a few months,” Anne answered.  “We got a great deal on the place from a man named Cobb Winters.”

“Good deals are hard to resist sometimes,” Heyes agreed.

“Do you know many of your neighbors yet?” Curry inquired.

“Well, we've met a few when we went into town to get supplies.  Everyone seems real friendly.”  Anne smiled at the two men.  “My turn.  What brings the two of you out this way?”

“We're on our way to visit a friend,” Curry answered.  “He moved here about six months ago and invited us to come back and stay awhile.  You might know him; his name's Jim Stokely.”

“Jim Stokely?” Anne repeated with a thoughtful expression.  “No, I can't say as I've ever heard anyone mention that name, nor have I met anyone who answered to it.”

“You'd remember him if you did,” Curry grinned.  “He's a real likable fella.”

“Well, maybe if you stay around long enough my father and I will get the chance to meet him.  How far away is his place?”

“Just around the bend and a bit more to the west,” Heyes answered.

“Why, that sounds real close,” Anne nodded with a beaming smile.  “He might even be one of the neighbors whose farm adjoins ours.  We've been so busy getting our own place up and going that we haven't met everyone yet.  Wouldn't that be nice if we were neighbors?  You'd be right next door to us!”

“Very nice,” Heyes answered quickly.

Curry nodded and grinned at his partner's swift reply.

The talk then turned to more mundane things like the weather and crops.  It wasn't long before Anne pointed to the right.

“That's the road that leads to the farm,” she explained.  “We're almost there.”

The Kid opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, Heyes gave him a warning look and a subtle shake of his head.  Curry closed his mouth but his face maintained a puzzled expression as they continued to the side of the house.  He drew up the reins and secured the brake.

“Joshua and Thaddeus, welcome to my home,” Anne announced proudly as she waved her hand in a sweeping arc.  A smile on her face, she stood up to get out of the wagon.

Heyes dismounted and came to the side of the buckboard to help her down.  “It's a real nice place, Anne.”

Curry jumped down to join them.  “You said that a man named Winters sold it to you?”

“Yes, he did.  Cobb Winters.  Why?  Do you know him?  He owns one of the saloons in Little Bend.  Since he sold his place to us, if he's not out making land deals, he spends most of his time there.”

Heyes and Curry shook their heads.

“No, can't say as we've ever met the man,” Heyes answered smoothly.  “But we'd sure be curious to see what kind of deals he's got on land around here.”

“Yeah, an' I've got a few questions I'd like to ask him myself,” Curry muttered.

Heyes sent another warning glance his partner's way and changed the subject.  “We'd be glad to help bring in these supplies, Anne, if you'll just tell us where you want them.”

“Thank you very much; that would help a lot.  Let me just go inside first and make sure there's room in the pantry.  While I'm inside I'll check around to see where my father is so I can introduce you to him.”

Heyes nodded.  “We'll wait right here until you come back.”

“I won't be long.”  Anne made her way to a side door and disappeared into the house.

Heyes and Curry walked a short distance away near one of the corrals.  Even at this safe distance they waited until the door had shut behind Anne before they began to converse.

“Heyes, this is…”

“Jim Stokely's ranch,” Heyes finished.

“But Anne said her father bought this place from that man – Cobb Winters!”

“That's what she said, but it can't be right,” Heyes mused.  “Let's do the math; it's only been about five months since we were here last and Jim never said anything about selling it then.  As a matter of fact, he was pretty happy to finally have a place of his own, right?”  At Curry's nod, Heyes continued.

“We sent that telegram about two months ago to let Jim know we'd be nearby.  He answered it and told us we'd be welcome.”  Heyes paused a moment and then added, “Now that I think about it though, we never did get an answer back from that last telegram we sent telling Jim we were on our way.”

Curry's shoulders lifted in a shrug.  “How could we?  We left that town right after we sent it and we've been on the road ever since.  Bein' recognized an' chased by that posse sure didn't help none.  I jus' figured he didn't know where to send an answer or that he didn't think he needed to answer it.”

“That might be true, too,” Heyes conceded.  “But this business with that Winters fella doesn't make any sense.”

“Yeah, there's gotta be some kinda mistake.  You think that maybe Anne got the name wrong?”

“No,” Heyes shook his head.  “But I'm positive that if Stokely was going to sell, he'd have told us.  At the very least he wouldn't have invited us to come here if the place was being sold.”  His brow furrowed.  “It just doesn't add up.”

“Well,” Curry sighed, “it also creates another problem for us.  It's sure gonna put a crimp in our plans to lay low here for a while.  We don't have a place to stay an' we don't have any idea where Jim is.  I don't like jus' waitin' around doin' nothing – he could be in some kinda trouble!”



“Let's wait and see if we can find out anything over dinner.  Maybe we can get a clue as to what happened or where Jim might've disappeared to.”

Before Curry could respond, Anne came to the door.  “Go ahead and bring the supplies on in to the pantry,” she called out.  “I'll show you where to put them.”

They waved at her and began to walk back to the wagon.

Knowing his partner was chomping on the bit to find out about Jim Stokely, Heyes put a hand on the Kid's shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze.  “We'll just have to be patient and see what Anne and her father can tell us.”

“Whatever you say, Heyes – but I sure don't like it!” Curry retorted as they each picked up an armful of supplies and headed towards the house.

Anne held the door open for them.  “Go straight on through.  The door leads to the kitchen and the pantry is towards the back wall.  You can't miss it.”

They followed her directions and, once inside the kitchen, Curry inhaled deeply and closed his eyes.  “I think I've died an' gone to heaven!” he breathed in deep contentment.

“C'mon, Kid,” Heyes nudged his partner with his elbow.  “We've still got plenty of things to unload from that buckboard.  Your stomach can hold on for a while longer.”

A deep rumbling sound from Curry's belly caused both men to grin.  “I don't know, Heyes; sounds like it just might be disagreeing with you!”

They set their armloads of supplies down and left the kitchen.  Just as they reached the front door, they met up with Anne, who was coming back inside.  At the same time, a man approached them from a room off to their right.  He raised a brow of inquiry when he saw the two strangers in his home.

“Oh, what perfect timing you have, Father!” Anne called out.  “Gentlemen, this is my father, Thomas Martin.  Father, this is Joshua Smith,” she indicated Heyes with her hand.  “And this is his friend, Thaddeus Jones,” she gestured at the Kid.  “They defended me against three of Winters' men on my way home from town today so I thought the least I could do was to invite them to join us for our midday meal.”

“What's this I hear?”  Thomas came to stand beside his daughter and looked her over quickly.  “Three of Winters' men attacked you?”  He put a protective arm around her shoulders.  “Are you alright?  They didn't hurt you, did they?  Why, if they did…”

“No, Father,” Anne brushed his concerns aside and gave him a hug of reassurance.  “Nothing too bad happened to me, thanks to these two men.  Those bullies were destroying the supplies when Joshua and Thaddeus arrived just in the nick of time.  You should have seen how angry they were at having their plans foiled, Father,” Anne laughed.

“Well, I say good riddance to bad rubbish!” Thomas exclaimed and extended his hand to Heyes.  “I owe you both a debt of gratitude for helping to save my little girl from those men today.  Thank you.”  He held out his hand to the Kid.  “They're a real bad bunch – rotten to the core – every last one of them; always stirring up trouble!”

“We just happened to be in the right place at the right time, Mr. Martin,” Heyes replied.

“Please, call me Tom,” he smiled.

Heyes and Curry nodded.

“Well,” Heyes tipped his hat.  “Tom, Anne, if you'll excuse us, we have some supplies to take care of.”

“When you're done, I'll show you where you can wash up before dinner,” Mr. Martin offered.

“Sure thing, Tom.”  Curry tipped his hat to Anne.  “Whatever it is you've got cooking, it sure smells real good, ma'am,” he grinned.

“Thank you, Thaddeus.  It's just beef stew and biscuits, but I've got a peach pie cooling on the window sill, so make sure you two save room for dessert,” she cautioned.

“Don't you worry none, ma'am; I always have room for pie!” the Kid answered quickly, causing the other three to break into amused laughter.  

Curry and Heyes went outside back to the wagon.  Once they had unloaded the supplies and were putting them on the shelves, Heyes turned to face his partner.

“You know, I've been doing some thinking.  I'm wondering if Stokely might have made a deal with that fella Winters.”

“No way!” Curry shot back and gave a vigorous shake of his head.  “That Winters fella sold Jim's place to these people!  I'm beginnin' to get a real bad feelin' 'bout all this, Heyes.  What if something's happened to Jim -- something real bad?”  He set the bag of flour down and started towards the door.

“Hey!” Heyes quickly caught up to his partner, stepped in front of him and gave him a searching look.  “Where you going?”

“I'm goin' right in there an' ask 'em what's goin' on!”

“Now hold on just a minute.” Heyes put his hands on Curry's shoulders and looked him square in the eyes.  “Let's not say anything to bother these nice folks until we have a chance to find out what they know.  Anne and her father could be totally innocent.  If we ask the right questions, we'll learn something.  Trust me.  After a nice, hot dinner we'll all be in a better mood to sort things out.  We just need to be patient a while longer, okay?”

“Maybe,” Curry shrugged with a sigh of resignation.  “I s'pose waitin' a bit longer can't hurt; guess I'm jus' worried about Jim.”

“You know I like it when you worry, and this time's no different.  I promise, we'll get to the bottom of this, or at least get some answers tonight.  Now, let's go find Anne and get the rest of those supplies taken care of.”


*~*~*~*~*~*

THAT AFTERNOON AFTER DINNER

“Anne told us that you haven't been living here long, Tom,” Heyes casually mentioned, looking at the man over the rim of his coffee cup as he took a drink.

“That's right.  When Anne and I first came out west, we met Cobb Winters and he offered to sell us this farm.  We made a sizable down payment; took nearly all the cash we had.”

Anne spoke up.  “Mr. Winters said he'd been making money on the property and, as I shared with you earlier, that he'd decided to retire from farming so he could move into town and take care of his other interests.”

“That's why, with this place being a paying farm, we figured we'd have no trouble making the rest of the payments.”  Thomas sighed and shook his head.  “But, unfortunately for us, it hasn't worked out that way.”

“This fella Winters, did he say how long he'd been working the place?” Heyes inquired casually.

“Not specifically,” Thomas answered.  “But from the way he talked, it sounded like at least a few years.”

“Tom, did you ever hear of anyone around here by the name of Stokely?” Curry's voice was tinged with hopefulness.  “Jim Stokely?”

“No... no, I don't think I have, but then we've only been here for about seven weeks.  Give me just a minute to think back on it.”  Thomas cocked his head to ponder and then snapped his fingers.  “Hold on – now that you mention it, it seems to me I did hear Jim Stokely's name when I first went into town.  It was while I was in the mercantile getting some supplies.  I overheard two men talking, but at the time it didn't mean anything to me.

“I'm sorry,” he sent an apologetic look towards Heyes and Curry.  “I'd nearly forgotten the incident but, from what I can recollect, one of the men said something about him...” he paused, his brow furrowed in deep concentration.  “I believe they said they were concerned about him since they hadn't seen him around for a while.

“It was as if he'd just up and disappeared without a word to anyone.  The other man wondered if maybe he'd gone to visit his sister; seems by the way they talked that was something he was known to do.  That was all they said and I didn't really pay any mind to it.”

“That's too bad,” Heyes replied smoothly.  “We were kind of hoping to visit with him for a while before we headed out to our next job.  We'd sure like to know where he went.”

“Yeah, it's kinda important.  We were countin' on stayin' with him,” Curry added.  “Would you happen to know of any place around here where we could get room and board?”

“Boys,” Tom began and smiled.  “After the way you handled those men and sent them packing today, we'd be right pleased to have you stay here with us.  You're more than welcome to stay in the bunkhouse.  It's not much, but it's empty, it's comfortable and best of all, it's free.”

“That's mighty nice of you, Tom; thank you very much.  I think we'll take you up on that offer.”  Heyes turned to Curry.  “Let's go get our things and put them in the bunkhouse, Thaddeus.”

The two men left the table, waiting until they were outside and well away from the house to talk.

“You're right; there's definitely something fishy about that Cobb Winters fella,” Heyes murmured quietly.  “Why would he say he's owned this ranch for a long time?”

“I don't know, but he can't ever have owned it!  The first thing we've gotta do is find out what happened to Jim!”

Heyes nodded.  “But from the little we've learned so far, that sounds a lot easier said than done.”

Their conversation was interrupted by a wagon filled with men that pulled up to the barn.  Heyes and Curry turned to eye it with interest.

Tom and Anne came out of the house and walked towards the wagon.

“Afternoon, Roy,” Tom called out and glanced at the barrels in the back of the wagon.  “Time to fill up again?”

“I wish it wasn't,” Roy answered glumly.  “It never seems to last long enough.”

“You know you're welcome to all you need, anytime.”

“Much obliged,” Roy nodded.  “Okay, men, let's get this wagon over to the well.”

Heyes and Curry walked over to join Tom and Anne and the four watched the buckboard make its way to the well.  Once there, the men jumped out and formed a bucket brigade to get the water from the well to the barrels in the wagon.

“That's Roy Lassiter; he's one of our neighbors,” Tom explained.  “One of the many farmers and small ranchers who depend on us for their water.”

Heyes arched a brow.  “You mean to tell us that those men, and others like them, are trying to farm their land and raise their livestock – but have to get all their water from here?”

Tom nodded.  “It's mighty tough on all of us.  We're fortunate enough to have the well.”

“Wasn't there a stream of water that ran through all the properties around here?” Curry inquired.  “Seems like I remember seein' one on our last trip.”

“You're right, Thaddeus; there used to be one, but not anymore.  Not since Winters clamped down on it!” Tom snapped.

“Why?” Heyes asked, his frown deepening.  “What happened?”

“Well, you see, fellas, it was this way.  When Winters sold each of us our acreage, we figured the water rights came with the land; that's why we bought it.  Like Anne and me, everybody put down all the hard-earned cash they had on the parcels of land, expecting to get a good return from their crops and livestock the first year, and use the profit to pay off the balance.”

“But when the water got cut off, you realized you wouldn't be able to do that, right?” Curry speculated.

“Right again, Thaddeus,” Tom nodded.  “It didn't take us long to see which way the wind blew, so we went to Mr. Winters.  He told us to read the contracts again and that if we wanted the water rights we'd have to come up with an additional $1,000 apiece.”  He shrugged.  “But none of us had that kind of money so…”

“He cut off the stream!” Heyes concluded.

“Yes, he did.  He diverted it into another channel up in the canyon a little ways from here.  Winters told us that since the property belonged to him, he could do whatever he pleased with the water and that he was under no obligation to share it.”

“Why didn't you jus' ride up there an' divert it back?” Curry asked.

“Well, we did try, but Winters' got guards up there – armed guards – watching over it.  We're just a bunch of farmers and small ranchers; I'm afraid there's nothing any of us can do about it.  He's got the law on his side, whether we like it or not.”

“Selling folks property with a big down payment, then running them off is an old con,” Heyes mused and then his brow furrowed.  “But why is Winters doing it?  Diverting the water, I mean.”

“We figure it's so folks wouldn't find out that he couldn't produce a legal deed if they did manage to pay up,” Thomas answered.

“That's a pretty rotten thing to do!  I bet that's how he got Jim's place – in some kinda crooked scheme!” Curry's countenance darkened.  “If he's done anything to hurt Jim…”

“Easy, Thaddeus,” Heyes cautioned.  “Our best bet is to see if we can help these folks.  If Winters is running some kind of con it should bring him out in the open.”

“The more I hear about this worm Winters, the more I like rattlesnakes!” Curry muttered.

“Most of us feel the same way as you do, Thaddeus.  Winters' made more enemies than friends by the things he's done around here.  In fact, all of us got together and came up with a $1,000 reward for the person who could come up with a way to fix things; a way to put Winters out of business.  Trouble is, nobody so far has been able to come up with a plan.”

“$1,000,” Heyes repeated thoughtfully as a gleam appeared in his eyes.  “For a plan that works, huh?  Maybe there's a way we can at least put a crimp in Winters' bullying tactics.  Tom, could you ask Roy to come over here for a few minutes?  Tell him we're going to need him and his men.”

Once Roy had joined the group, Heyes turned to him.  “Mr. Lassiter, would a run of water save your crops?”

“Sure would,” Roy nodded.  “Not only mine, but all the other farmers as well.”

“Okay, tell your neighbors to get their ditches ready; here's what we're gonna do.  Thaddeus, after we introduce ourselves, you and me will...”  The others gathered around Heyes to listen attentively as he began to outline his plan.


*~*~*~*~*~*

OUTLAW CABIN BY THE DAM

“Hey, Mitch – where ya at?” Carson called out as he, Sam and Jesse came to the door of the cabin.

Mitch appeared from around the corner of the building and stared at the trio's backs.  “You don't have to yell, Carson – I'm right here behind you!  What took you so long?”

The men turned and Mitch stepped around them to enter the cabin.

“We had to show that Martin gal we mean business,” Carson answered.  “The Boss is in a big rush to clear 'em out – he's already got another customer lined up who wants their place.”

Mitch whistled.  “He sure don't waste much time, does he?”

“I'll say he don't!” Jesse agreed.  “Didn't take him no time to get rid of that Stokely fella.”

“Well, that Martin woman – she refused to listen... again.  We were right in the middle of destroyin' her supplies when a couple of strangers butted in and stopped us!”

“Strangers?” Mitch echoed, his eyes narrowing.  “You put them in their place, didn't you?”  When all he received was silence from the men, he pinned them with a heated glare.  “Well?”

While Jesse and Sam fidgeted uneasily under his scrutiny, shuffling their feet and not looking up, Carson merely shrugged.

“It wasn't our fault!” Sam protested.

“Yeah, Mitch,” Jesse added, quick on the defense.  “Those yahoos pulled their guns on us and…”

“Nevermind all the excuses!” Mitch snapped.  “Why can't you three ever get things done right?  This better not be another screw up like that Stokely fella!”

Jesse and Sam exchanged a guilty look before they looked anywhere but at Mitch.  Carson wasn't so submissive.

“We were doing our job!” he snarled.  His hand came to rest on his firearm and he took a step in Mitch's direction.  “And we were doing it the right way, too – until those strangers messed things up!  We had Anne Martin in tears – until they chased us off!”

Keeping a wary eye on Carson's right hand, Mitch held up a placating hand.  “No need to get all riled up,” he said smoothly.  “I didn't mean no offense, Carson.”

With no trace of a smile, Carson stared straight into the other man's eyes.  “None taken,” he drawled in a tone that belied his words.  “Just you remember that if it wasn't for us, you and the Boss wouldn't be where you are today.  We're the ones doing all your dirty work so you can keep your hands nice an' clean.”

Mitch forced a smile to his face.  “I'm well aware of what you do for me, and I won't be likely to forget it. In fact…”  The sound of splintering wood interrupted him.

“Somebody's messin' around with the barricade!” Jesse cried from his position by the window.

“Now who around here would be stupid enough to try something like that?” Mitch growled.

Jesse glanced out the window again before he answered.  “You're not gonna believe it – it's one of those strangers we tangled with earlier today – he's tearin' down the warnin' sign!”

“He is, is he?” Mitch growled.  “We'll see about that!  You three get out there and show him you mean business this time or else!  I better go tell the Boss what's going on; I'll go out the back way and head back to town.”

“Don't you worry none, Mitch; this'll be the last you hear of him!” Carson snapped.  He grabbed a rifle and headed for the door.  “Jesse, you and Sam split up; go around and come up behind him.”

The two men nodded and took off in different directions while Carson took the straight route.  He pointed the rifle towards the trespasser.  “Hey, you there!” he called.  “Whaddya think you're doing with that sign?  This here is private property and that sign is part of it!  Didn't you read what it says?”  He glared at the intruder.  “I've had just about enough of you for one day!”

“You mean this sign?”  Heyes held the broken sign up in the air.  “What's it say?” he deadpanned.  “I can't read.”

Carson's glare intensified as he continued to walk towards Heyes.  “It says 'Private Property'!” he growled.  “It also says, 'Keep Out'!''

“Huh?”  Heyes dropped the sign and cupped his left hand around his ear while he stared straight into Carson's eyes.  “What did you say?  I forgot to mention that I'm also hard of hearing.”

The sound of shots being fired captured their attention.  Still holding the rifle, Carson jumped what remained of the barricade and lunged towards Heyes.  Both men rolled down the hill over and over in the dust and dirt, as each tried to get the upper hand.


*~*~*~*~*~*

_________________
Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, the two most successful outlaws in the history of the west. And in all the trains and banks they robbed, they never shot anyone.


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Water the Chances? Part 1 by moonshadow :: Comments

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Re: Water the Chances? Part 1 by moonshadow
Post on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 11:52 pm by royannahuggins
*~*~*~*~*~*

MEANWHILE...

From his vantage point behind the rocks on the hillside, Curry fired at one of the men who was edging his way towards Heyes.



Sam whipped around in surprise and fired back before he dropped to his knees behind a bush.  “Hey, Jesse – there's another one out here – be careful!”

“Yeah, I saw you duck down after that last shot,” Jesse called out from somewhere behind him.  “He's got us pinned down here; there's no way we can get to Carson without gettin’ shot!”

“Our best bet's headin' back to the shack – I'm almost outta ammo!”

“Same here.  You go first an' I'll keep him busy 'til you get inside, then you cover me.”

“See you down there!” Sam called out and began his way back down the hill in the direction of the building.

Jesse watched the man disappear and fired his last few shots in Curry's direction.

The Kid saw the first man edge his way down the hill, make a mad dash to the door and duck inside.  His eyes scanned the area until he had located the second man.  Head bent, the man was in the act of reloading his weapon.  The corners of Curry's mouth turned up as the man searched frantically for more ammunition and came up empty-handed.  The Kid's grin broadened when the man started to zigzag his way down the hillside the same way Sam had.  He glanced sideways to see how his partner was doing.

Heyes and Carson had finally stopped rolling, with Carson ending up on top.  The man was holding the rifle lengthwise across Heyes' torso, forcing it down lower and lower towards Heyes' throat.  With a solid grip on the rifle from underneath, Heyes was pushing back against it with every ounce of strength he could muster.

Heyes finally gained enough of an advantage to get the leverage he needed in order to get his leg up and under Carson's belly and shoved with his arms and his leg at the same time.  Carson went flying upwards and sideways to the right.  Heyes immediately rolled left.  Both men took shelter behind boulders near them and took a moment to catch their breath.

Curry drew a bead on Carson and waited.

As Carson poked his head around the corner of his boulder, a shot hit the rock and sent fragments flying into his face.  “Owwww,” he howled in pain and ducked back behind the rock.  He raised his hands to rub at eyes that were clenched tight.

“Hey, Carson!” Heyes called out.  “Guess you've probably figured out by now that I'm not out here alone.  That's my friend up there.  He gets a bit irritated when someone tries to hurt me, and right now he's pretty riled up.”

Busy wiping at his eyes, Carson didn't answer right away.  “Yeah?” he snorted when he could finally see daylight again. “That's too bad for him then; I've got two men up there who'll make short work of him!”

“Only two?”

“What's that supposed to mean?”

“I've seen my friend handle eight men and not even breathe hard.  Hope they weren't good friends.”

His eyes now clear enough of sand and grit to see, Carson drew in a deep breath.  “You sure talk big for a man who's about to die.”

“Boy,” Heyes chuckled, “have you got it all wrong, mister.”

“We'll see about that!” Carson snapped.  He searched for Jesse and found him just as he made it safely back inside the cabin.  “Hey you?  Guess what?  The odds are in our favor!”  He took a deep breath, leaped up from his hiding place and took off down the hill using boulders as cover along the way.

Heyes turned as pebbles, rocks and other debris came tumbling down the hill with Curry following close behind.  He stood up as the Kid came to a grinding halt next to him.  “What took you so long?”

“I had two to deal with; you only had one,” Curry pointed out.

“They're all three holed up down there in that shack.  I'll go down to the front, you go around and come in the back way.”

“What if they already high-tailed it outta there?”

“They're not that smart.  They think the odds are in their favor.”

“You set 'em straight, right?”

Heyes grinned.  “No, I thought I'd let them be surprised.”

Curry's grin matched his partner's.  “You ready?”

“After you,” he gestured with his gun.  “You've got farther to travel.  I'll whistle when I'm all the way down.”

Curry nodded and started moving sideways and down the hill.

Heyes waited until his partner had disappeared around the back of the building before he started downwards, keeping the boulders between him and the shack.  It wasn't long before shots started coming his way.  Heyes fired, then ducked back to safety.  A moment later he moved down more and waited for the next shot before he returned fire again.  Once he reached flatland, Heyes let out a shrill whistle.

Instead of the all-clear signal however, two shots were fired in quick succession.  Heyes could hear the sound of crashing wood, accompanied by shouts and yelling.  A series of shots followed, but none came his way.  Taking a deep breath, Heyes stayed low to the ground as he ran, and crashed through the front door just as the Kid was throwing a coil of rope at one of the three men he was holding at gunpoint.  One man was cradling a bleeding hand.



“You were right, Joshua.”  His back to his partner, Curry continued.  “They were too stupid to sneak out the back way.”

His remark earned him glowering looks from the three men.

The sound of running feet caused all heads to swivel in that direction.  “Surround the place!” a familiar voice called out.  A moment later Roy Lassiter poked his head cautiously around the corner of the door.  “Did we miss the party?  Are we too late?”

“No, you're just in time to help get these three over to the sheriff,” Curry answered tersely as he yanked a knot tighter on his prisoner, causing the man to wince.  “Tell him he can throw away the key!”

“Not all three,” Heyes corrected his partner.  He gave the man next to the Kid an assessing look before he added, “We're keeping this one.  We'll send the other two with a couple of your men, Mr. Lassiter.  The rest of the ranchers can get their shovels and knock down that dam.  You'll have running water by this evening.”

As Jesse and Carson were being led away, Lassiter turned back to Heyes.  “Call me Roy, fellas.  You have no idea what this means to all of us, Joshua, 'specially since you had to fight for us the way you did.  Thank you.”

Heyes reached up, gingerly felt his jaw and grimaced.  “You're welcome.”

“And that goes for you, too, Thaddeus.”  When Curry half-turned to face him, Roy's glance lingered on the young man.  “Boy,” he whistled.  “You two sure earned that reward.”  He took a few steps closer to the Kid and the man whose arm Curry was gripping and winced.  “Looks like your face was on the wrong end of more'n a few punches, too,” he sympathized.  “I'm real sorry.”

Heyes closed the distance necessary to bring him toe-to-toe with Curry and eyed his partner critically.  Roy was right.  The Kid's face was sporting a bloodied lip that was already beginning to swell and several bruises were starting to appear.  Heyes reached out, but Curry pulled back and turned away.



“It's nothin'” the Kid shrugged.  “An' I don't need anyone touchin' it!” he added.  “It's bad enough on its own!”

Heyes studied his partner's profile a moment before he asked quietly, “What happened?”

At first it didn't seem as if the Kid was going to respond, but after a grunt of exasperation, Curry pivoted around and spat out, “Carson jumped me as soon as I came in that back door an' before I could turn around, the second fella sucker-punched me!  Then this one,” the Kid's glare intensified as his head turned towards his prisoner, “he tried to turn me into a sieve!”  The ex- outlaw's glance shifted down to the man's bleeding hand.  “He couldn't hit the side of a barn,” he snorted derisively, “let alone a moving target.  I shot the gun outta his hand before he could do any real damage.”

Heyes quirked a brow.  “Might want to do something 'bout that lip,” he suggested.  “It's pretty swollen.”

Without a word, Curry relinquished control of his prisoner to Heyes and headed towards the water pump.  Along the way, he began to undo the knot in his bandana.

Roy stood in the doorway and called out, “Alright, men, go get those shovels – that dam's about to spring a mighty big leak!”

“Yahoo!”

“We're gonna have water!”

“Hurray!”

The men took off running to rip the dam apart.  Roy turned around, his eyes going to the prisoner.  “What are you gonna do with him?”

Heyes studied the man in front of him for a moment before he answered.  “It depends.”

“On what?” Roy queried.

“On how helpful he is.”

The man glowered at Heyes.

“He don't look like he wants to cooperate at all, if you ask me,” Roy observed.

Curry spoke from across the room.  “Well then, we'll just have to help convince him.”  He made a show of putting his hand on his gun.  A motion which didn't go unnoticed by the prisoner, who visibly gulped.

“Well, I wish you good luck, fellas.  I'm gonna join in on the fun and help tear that dam down – see ya later!”  With a wave of his hand, Roy was gone.

Curry walked back over to join his partner.  After a cursory glance at the Kid, Heyes began his questioning.

“Let's start with something easy.  What's your name?”

“What's it matter to you?” the man sneered.

“It doesn't,” Curry shrugged.  “We just wanna know what to put on your tombstone.”

The sullen man's eyes darted back and forth between the two men before he finally spat out, “Sam.”

“Well, Sam, what do you know about a man named Jim Stokely?”

“Nothin'.”

Curry took a step forward.  “He owned the Martin place before they bought it!” he pressed.  “Remember?”

“No, I don't!”

Curry edged closer, an action which brought him up and into the man's face.  “I think you're lyin'.”

The man backed up, but he could only retreat as far as the wall would let him.  “No I'm not!”  He swallowed convulsively while his fear-filled eyes shifted away from Curry and sought out Heyes.  “How should I know?  I'm new – I've only been workin' for Winters a few weeks!”

The Kid grabbed the man by the front of his shirt with both hands and flattened him back against the wall.  Although the man flinched, he couldn't escape.  “You know plenty,” Curry continued, his voice deadly calm.  “An' you'd better start talkin' if you know what's good for you.”

Heyes stepped forward to lay a hand on his friend's shoulder.  “Let him go, Thaddeus,” he said quietly.

Still holding the man, Curry rounded on his partner in disbelief.  “What?”

“Let him go,” Heyes repeated and tightened his grip ever so slightly.

Although the Kid glared at his partner, he released his hold on the man and let him drop back down to the ground.

The man promptly tugged his shirt back into place.  Breathing in short gasps, he looked from Heyes to Curry and then back at Heyes, his pupils dilated with fear.  “I – I really don't know nothin' – honest!”

“Guess what Sam?  It's your lucky day; we're going to let you go.”  Heyes ignored his partner's sharp intake of breath and continued.  “When you find Winters, you let him know that it was Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones who tore down his dam and opened up that stream – and it had better stay open – or he's going to have to deal with us!”  Heyes leaned forward and the man pulled back, flattening himself against the wall again.  “Now git!” he growled.

The man ducked around Heyes as if on fire and ran out the door so fast he caused a small whirlwind in his wake.

“Why'd you let him go?” Curry snapped.  “He was our best chance of findin' out what happened to Jim!”

“After he tells Winters what happened, he'll know we mean business.”

“If you say so,” Curry shrugged.  “I still think he would've talked.”

“He didn't know anything of value to us, Kid.  You heard him; he was new and threatening him wasn't getting us anywhere.  No, he's of more use to us taking my message to his boss.”

When his partner still looked unconvinced, Heyes adroitly changed the subject.  “I've been busy thinking things over.  I remembered about Jim telling us something about a lawyer friend in town; a friend of the family he said.  It would be someone not connected to Winters at all.”

“I guess it's worth a shot,” Curry conceded before he mounted up.  “We sure don't have any other leads.  Maybe he'll know something to help find Jim.”

“So it's settled, then.  Tomorrow we'll ride into Little Bend and see what we can find out from that lawyer.”


*~*~*~*~*~*

THE NEXT MORNING

“The clerk in the mercantile said the office would be right up ahead, across the street from the bank,” Heyes murmured.

“Well, we've never had any trouble findin' a bank before,” Curry quipped.  “This should be easy.”

With a shake of his head, Heyes stopped and looked across the street.  “There's the bank, so this,” he turned to his right, “should be the law offices of one Mr. Jonathan Bascomb.”

“Yep,” the Kid nodded.  “The lettering on the window agrees with you.”

Heyes turned the doorknob and walked in, followed by his partner.  An empty desk was right inside the door and a man holding some papers was just coming out of an office to their left.  He stopped to stare long and hard into the face of each man before his eyes traveled from their hats down to their gun belts.  They lingered there briefly, then continued their downward course to their dusty boots.  He raised his eyes to theirs, then stepped forward.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen.  May I help you?  My secretary just stepped out to get some important papers ready for the mail bag at the train station.”

“Good afternoon,” Heyes answered.  “We're looking for a lawyer named Jonathan Bascomb.”

“Well, you've found him,” Bascomb returned with a faint smile.  “What can I do for you?”

“Mr. Bascomb, we'd like to talk to you about a private matter.”

“A private matter?  May I inquire as to who, or what, the private matter pertains to?  Will you be retaining my services?”

“We're not quite sure,” Heyes began.

“It's about our friend, Jim Stokely,” Curry interjected.

“Jim Stokely?”  Bascomb's eyes narrowed.  “What about him?”

Heyes sent Curry a warning look before he answered.  “The last time we were here, he mentioned that you handle his legal matters.”

“That's right; I do.  I think we had better step into my office to finish this conversation, gentlemen.  Follow me, please.”

Heyes and Curry fell in behind Bascomb.  Once they had stepped into his office, he shut the door and took a seat behind the desk.  Heyes and Curry remained standing.

“What would you like to know about Jim?”

“For starters, we'd like to know where he is,” Curry answered.

“So would I.  Sit down, won't you?”  He indicated two chairs placed in front of his desk facing him.  Heyes and Curry seated themselves and looked at the lawyer.

“You mean you don't know where he is?” Heyes asked.

“Yes, that is precisely what I mean and I'm not the only one who'd like to know the whereabouts of Jim Stokely.  There's the sheriff for another.”

“Sheriff?” Curry cut in quickly.  “Why?  I mean, is Jim in any kinda trouble?  Has he done something the law wants him for?”

“Oh, no, no, no...” Bascomb hastened to assure them.  “Nothing like that; he just disappeared.  There's some talk that he packed up and left, but Sheriff Stone and I don't believe it.  Frankly, if you were to ask me, I would say that I think Jim Stokely's dead.  Murdered.”

Heyes' and Curry's expressions turned grim.

“Mr. Bascomb, what makes you think that?” Heyes queried.  “Do you have any reason to believe that somebody wanted him out of the way?”

Bascomb nodded.  “I have, and that's where the sheriff comes in.  We're working on the case right now.”

“Can I ask,” Heyes leaned forward, “who do you suspect?”

Bascomb pursed his lips together and remained silent for a moment while Heyes and Curry waited for his answer.  “Well, now, the thing is, I'm not all too sure I should be discussing this matter with you any further.”

“Mr. Bascomb,” the Kid looked straight into the lawyer's eyes.  “Jim Stokely is a very good friend of ours – in fact, we helped to save his life last year.”

“Yes, I am aware of the facts concerning that incident.  You,” he addressed Heyes, “are Joshua Smith.  And you,” he turned to Curry, “are his partner, Thaddeus Jones.”

Heyes and Curry exchanged a wary look.

“And knowing who you are, that does make a difference.  I was merely playing the devil's advocate; I wanted to let you know that I know who you are.  Jim spoke very highly of both of you and all the trouble you went through to prove his innocence, even at the risk of danger to yourselves.  I believe he phrased it that you 'Put your life on the line for his,' if I'm not mistaken.  And, if I take all of that into consideration, I don't see any problem sharing what I know with you.”

“We like Jim, too, Mr. Bascomb,” Curry put in.  “A lot.  In fact, we're real concerned 'bout him.”

“What we've found out so far hasn't been good,” Heyes added.  “Unfortunately, so far it supports your theory.  Who's on the list of suspects?”

“Only one name:  Cobb Winters.”

Heyes and Curry shared a look; both were frowning.

“Sheriff Stone and I both agree about that,” Bascomb continued.  “Because Winters and Stokely were having some trouble – a dispute – over the land title.  Winters claimed that Jim's deed was faulty, that he didn't have any claim over the property in the first place and that he held the original title.  Jim swore everything was on the up and up, but Winters insisted that Jim had to vacate.  Things were pretty heated between the two.

“Then one day,” Bascomb continued, “before anything could be settled legally, Jim was gone and the Martins moved in.  Winters sold the Stokely place in less than two days of Jim's disappearance.  He had the whole thing planned out ahead of time.  That I wasn't able to solve the problems before Jim went missing frustrates me to no end.”  The lawyer shook his head.  “I have my own reasons, which I'm not at liberty to discuss, that lead me to my conclusions.  I know there's been some kind of foul play, but my hands are tied without physical proof.”

“You're right,” Heyes agreed.  “Things are beginning to add up, but we need more than just suspicion to go on.  We need…”

“It's gotta be Winters alright!” Curry broke in heatedly.  “If he wasn't so sure Jim wouldn't show up he'd never dare sell that ranch!”

“That's exactly the way the sheriff and I have it figured, too.  But, like me, the law is powerless to act on it without positive proof.”

“An' in the meantime, that weasel Winters goes on robbin' those good folks – or maybe worse.  Can't something be done 'bout that?”

Bascomb shook his head.  “Nothing, I'm sorry to say.”

Curry got to his feet.  “Well, looks like we'll just havta take care of Winters in our own way.”  His hand dropped to his gun.

Although Bascomb's eyes flickered to where the hand rested, he remained quiet.

“Sometimes...” Heyes mused aloud, “when the law can't stop trouble from happening, a man's only choice it to take care of it the best way he knows how.”

Bascomb cleared his throat.  “If you gentlemen are thinking about fighting this with violence and guns, I'd strongly advise you both against it.”  He looked up at the Kid.  “Would you allow me to share a very special story with you, Mr. Jones?  It won't take long and I know you'll be glad you listened.”  He indicated with his hand for Curry to sit down.

With a resigned sigh, Curry dropped back down into the chair, his expression one of cynical skepticism.  He waited along with Heyes to hear what the lawyer had to say.  The two men watched as Mr. Bascomb searched through his desk, rummaging around and mumbling to himself.  The Kid drew another deep breath and slouched down further in his chair.  He glanced sideways at his partner, but Heyes merely shrugged.

“Ah, here they are!” he exclaimed and withdrew some papers.  “I knew I had put them in a safe place.”  He sat down and looked first at Curry and then Heyes.  “Gentlemen, to be a good lawyer, you have to know your client.  To be an excellent lawyer, you should know everything about your client as well.  Earlier, you might recall I mentioned that I knew all about you and I'm about to prove my point.”  He transferred his glance to the Kid.  “This first piece of paper concerns a certain young man who got into a whole lot of trouble by being quick on the draw.  He got himself a reputation for causing a lot of problems for the banks and the railroads.”

Curry slowly came to attention in his chair, his eyes fixed on the paper in the lawyer's hands.  His right hand returned to his gun.

“Ah, I see I have your undivided attention.  As I was saying, there was this other young fella, you might have heard of him...”  He glanced at the paper and then turned it around for Curry to view.  “Goes by the name of Jed “Kid” Curry.”

The Kid's eyes lowered to the paper the lawyer held between his hands.  He stared at it in silence.

Heyes wet his lips in preparation of speaking, but before he could utter a word, Bascomb turned his attention to him and pierced Heyes with a knowing look.

“Kid Curry has a partner; a man who has the reputation of being an expert at cracking safes.”  He held up the second wanted poster in the same manner as the Kid's.  “His name is Hannibal Heyes.”

“You're right, Mr. Bascomb, we have heard of uh, Heyes and what’s-his-name.  However, there's something you may not have heard about those two, and that is that they've quit robbing banks and railroads.  It seems that they've seen the error of their old ways and have decided to go down the straight and narrow path.”

“Yeah, Curry and that other fella haven't robbed anything for a long time!” Curry added earnestly.

Bascomb glanced at the papers in his hands and nodded as he laid them down.  “Yes, what you say is true.  I did some checking into Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry after their last visit to our town.”  When Heyes and Curry reacted to his statement, he smiled.  “Yes, their last visit.  You see, they were unaware that I had recognized them from a train robbery – one which I personally witnessed.  I saw them in the saloon.  I think they may have been a bit too busy celebrating their recent acquisition of a sizable amount of cash for helping their friend, Jim Stokely, to notice me.”

Heyes and Curry exchanged a look of chagrin.

Bascomb saw the look and continued.  “I also spoke at great length with Jim and discovered more admirable traits that put you higher on the ladder of esteem than before.  In my book, I believe that men can reform.  Jim Stokely and the two of you are proof of that.”

“Well, thanks for the advice and your faith in us, Mr. Bascomb,” Heyes returned the lawyer's steady gaze.  “We'll take it all into consideration.  We are trying and we won't do anything to jeopardize our chances, but the fact still remains that something needs to be done about Cobb Winters and his involvement in the disappearance of our friend.”

Curry stood up.  “Winters is behind all this,” he stated with conviction.  “He needs to answer for it an' we're gonna see that he does!”

“But,” Heyes was quick to temper his partner's harsh words, “we'll do it according to the law.”

“I'm very glad to hear you say that, Mr. Smith.”  Bascomb took in Curry's rigid stance and continued.  “And does that go for you, too, Mr. Jones?”  At the Kid's stoic silence, the lawyer sighed.  “Won't you sit back down... please?”

Curry ignored the lawyer's request and asked a question instead.  “So where does this Winters fella hang out?”

Bascomb turned to direct his reply to Heyes.  “He owns the saloon down the street across from the mercantile; that's where he spends most of his time.  I saw him heading that way just before you walked in.”

Heyes nodded.  “We passed it earlier on our way down here.”

“Sign out front says it's called 'The Watering Hole',” Curry muttered, his tone tinged with bitterness.  “Nothin' like rubbin' peoples’ noses in it – braggin' that you've got water and they don't!”

Neither man was looking at Bascomb during this last exchange.  When the lawyer followed their line of sight, he realized that their attention was focused on the two wanted posters laying on his desk.  He reached down, picked the posters up and walked around his desk to stand next to the two men.  There was a big grin on his face.  “Just to put your minds at ease, I myself have not shared your secret with another soul in this town, not even Jim Stokely.  Trust me; it's safe with me.”

“Thank you, Mr. Bascomb.”  As Heyes rose to his feet he reached out to take the wanted posters from the lawyer's hands.  “For everything,” he added with a grin.  Folding the papers into quarters, he stuffed them into an inside jacket pocket.  “When this is all over, we'd like to buy you a drink.”

“I'd be happy to let you.  In fact, I look forward to spending time getting to know both of you... Joshua and Thaddeus.”

The three men shared a smile and a handshake before Heyes and Curry headed off to the saloon to see Cobb Winters.


*~*~*~*~*~*

THE WATERING HOLE SALOON

Heyes and Curry entered “The Watering Hole” and made their way to the bar, looking around as they walked.

“Not very impressive for a man who should be pretty rich,” Heyes commented quietly.

“Yeah,” Curry snorted.  “We've been in places ten times better'n this in some of those one-horse towns we've visited.”

The barkeep showed up and Heyes held up two fingers.  “Two beers.”

When the man returned, Heyes took a drink and set the mug down.  Tossing some coins on the bar, he addressed the barkeep.  “We'd also like to know if Mr. Cobb Winters is around.  We were told we might be able to find him here.”

With a jerk of his head, the barkeep indicated a man standing down at the other end of the bar and walked away.

“Nice, friendly workers,” Curry observed wryly and took a drink of his beer.  Still facing the bar, he added quietly, “What's the plan?”

“We need Winters to talk and that'll require finesse.  I may have to force his hand; keep me covered.”  Heyes turned and walked down to the end of the bar.  He stopped when he reached the man with his back to him.  The man was reading a newspaper and puffing on a cigar in his mouth.  “Cobb Winters?”

“Yeah,” the man answered and continued to read the paper.

“I hear you handle most of the land deals around here.”

“I do,” Winters answered over his shoulder and turned a page.

Heyes waited.

“Why?” the land dealer mouthed around the cigar.  “You interested?”

“Maybe.

At that, Winters turned around and put his paper down on the bar.  He gave Heyes a critical once-over.  “So, what're you looking for?”

“Is there any place we can talk in private?”

Winters indicated with his head to the right.  “My office?”

“That'll be fine.”  As they headed towards the office, Heyes did a quick glance back over his shoulder at the Kid and nodded.

Curry waited until the door shut behind them before he crossed the room to stand casually against the wall next to the office door.  His eyes surveyed the room.  Five of the poker tables were filled with customers.

Inside the office, Winters went to stand behind his desk.  He stared intently at Heyes in silence.

Heyes cleared his throat.  “Something wrong?”

“Sorry.  It's just that your face looks very familiar.  I feel as if I've seen you somewhere before... but I just can't seem to recall the name.”

“I'm sure we've never met before, Mr. Winters.  My name's not important.”  Heyes pulled his gun from his holster and pointed it at Winters.  “But this is.”



The cigar dropped from Cobb's hand into the ashtray on his desk.  “What is this – a hold up?” he blustered as he raised his hands in the air.

“You ought to know.  From what I've seen and heard, you're an expert at that.”

“What do you want?” Winters demanded, his eyes still riveted on the gun in Heyes' hand.

“You're going to give back all the money you cheated those settlers out of in Little Bend Valley and the Stokely deal, too.”

“I don't know what you're talking about!  I never cheated anybody outta anything!”  His eyes narrowed into slits.  “Say, just what do you know about the Stokely deal?”

“Quit your stalling, Winters.  I'm wise to the con game you're playing.”  Heyes gestured with his gun towards the safe behind Cobb.  “Open that safe and start paying up.”

“Listen, can't we make some kind of a deal?”

“Open that safe.  Or do you want me to pull this trigger?”

“Now wait just a minute…”

“The only deal you'll make with me is to give me that money in the safe.”

“That's it!”  Winters snapped his fingers.  “Now I remember who you are!  Standing there pointing that gun at me, robbing me of my money – you're Hannibal Heyes!”

Heyes' expression never altered.

“Yeah... I was a customer in a bank that you and your gang robbed a few years back!  I got a real good long look at your face; a man don't forget something like that!  Hmph,” he snorted.  “Pretending to be here to get the money for those homesteaders, when all the time you're just here to steal the money for yourself!  Well, guess what?  I'm not about to let you have my money!”  Winters suddenly lunged forward and flipped his desk so that it overturned, almost knocking Heyes to the ground.  Winters threw himself towards Heyes and slammed him up against the wall.  In the process, Heyes' gun was knocked to the ground.

Hearing the commotion inside, the men seated at the table nearest Winters' office stood up, their hands going for their weapons.

Curry beat them to the draw and waved them back to their seats with his gun.  “Everybody just relax; it's only a little disagreement.”

Reluctantly the men re-seated themselves, the card game all but forgotten.

Heyes and Winters broke apart and circled around the desk.

Winters glanced towards the door.

“You're on your own, Winters; my partner's keeping your friends busy.”

Winters picked up a nearby chair and smashed it over the table so that he had a wooden leg as a weapon.  Brandishing it like a club, he advanced towards Heyes.

As Heyes continued to circle the overturned desk, he grabbed Winters' coat from the pile and came to a standstill.  Keeping a wary eye on his opponent, he waited for Winters to close the gap between them.  Once Cobb was close enough, Heyes lunged forward, wrapping the coat around Winters' face and head and tackled him to the ground.  In the melee Winters lost his club; he and Heyes began to grapple with each other once again.

As the sounds of the fight inside the office grew louder and more intense, the men began to mutter.

Curry cocked his gun.  “If they need us, they'll call us.”

The men remained seated, but muttered among themselves and directed angry glares Curry's way.

Heyes and Winters came smashing through the wooden door and all hell broke loose.

From where he stood, the Kid saw Heyes' hat and gun laying on the floor inside the office.  He ducked inside and grabbed them before he rejoined the others out in the saloon.  He was just in time to see Cobb Winters push through the batwings and make his escape.

When someone jostled Curry, he turned around, his arm drawn back to flatten them, only to discover it was Heyes.  The two men turned back-to-back to watch the fight going on around them.  Tables were being busted, fists were flying everywhere, bodies of the men who were knocked out were strewn all over the floor.  It didn't show signs of stopping any time soon.



“Let's get outta here!” Curry suggested.

“Good idea!”  Heyes nodded in agreement.

In all the confusion, the two men slipped away unnoticed.  Once outside, they headed for the mercantile where their horses were tethered.

“Winters recognized me,” Heyes shared, casting a sidelong glance at his partner.

“Another one?” the Kid groaned.  “Is there anybody in this town who doesn't know who we are?”  After a short pause he added, “So whaddya think he'll do about it?”

“He can do plenty, especially if he goes to the law.  $20,000 can convince a lot of people to do anything.  For now, let's get outta here; we can head for Stokely's place.  Once we're far enough out we can slow down and take the long way 'round, just to be safe.  Nobody knows we're staying there; I'm sure we can hide out at his place without any problems.”


*~*~*~*~*~*

LATER THAT EVENING, AT THE MARTIN HOME

Thomas Martin and Thaddeus were seated in the dining room, the remains of their meal still on the table.

“Sure wish Joshua and Anne would hurry up with that dessert.”  Curry glanced towards the kitchen door.  “I could smell that peach cobbler as soon as we walked in the house.”

“Patience, Thaddeus,” Thomas chuckled.  “I'm sure it won't be long now.”

A knock on the door interrupted them.  When Mr. Martin got up from the table to answer it, Curry rose to his feet, his hand dropping down to rest on his gun.

“C'mon in and get out of the cold, Roy; join us at the table.  We were just fixing to have a piece of Anne's cobbler and some coffee.”

“Evening, Tom.”  Roy followed Thomas to the table.  “Evening Thaddeus,” he added, extending his hand.

Curry relaxed when he saw who it was and stepped forward to shake the man's hand.

“Well, Roy, why don't you sit down here with us and tell me what's got you gallivanting around out here at this time of night?”  Thomas indicated a chair and sat down.

“I'm real sorry to interrupt your supper, but well, I was in town and I overheard something I think you should know about.”  He glanced at the Kid.  “First off, I wanted you and Joshua to know that those three you tangled with out at the dam are outta jail and lookin' to settle the score.  'Specially Sam.  He's got a lot of anger about that busted hand of his.  He's holding on tight to that anger and blaming it all on you, Thaddeus.”

“Thanks for the warning, Roy.  Me an' Joshua will watch our backs.”

Roy nodded.  “The uh...” he cleared his throat and went on.  “The other thing is that Cobb Winters is stirring up trouble.  I was in visiting with Sheriff Stone when Winters busted in and demanded that the sheriff do his duty.  He, uh, well, he said that Hannibal Heyes tried to rob him earlier today and that you, Thomas, that you're hiding both him and Kid Curry out here at your ranch.”

“I'm what?  Cobb Winters is off his rocker!” Thomas blustered.

“I'm not saying it's true, Thomas.  I'm just telling you what the talk is.  Sheriff Stone is on his way out here right now to see if Winters is right.”

Martin turned to Curry.  “I find that very interesting, don't you, Thaddeus?  Maybe you'd better go in and tell Joshua and Anne that we're about to have some very special visitors.”

“Yes, sir; guess I'd better,” Curry agreed and left the room quickly.  He burst through the swinging door of the kitchen, barely missing Heyes, who was on the other side holding a tray filled with plates of dessert.

Heyes took one look at his partner's face and set the tray down on the counter.  “What's wrong?”

Curry looked over to where Anne was standing at the stove and lowered his voice.  “The sheriff – he's on his way here – now!”

Eyes wide, Heyes' voice was just as quiet.  “What?”

“You want me to go saddle the horses while you grab our stuff?”

“Is there something the matter, boys?” Anne inquired from right behind them.

Both men swung around to face her.

“Uh, no, everything's alright,” Heyes answered quickly.  ”But it looks like we're going to have to leave you for a few days.”

Anne's brow puckered.  “Isn't this rather sudden?”

“Yes, it is,” Heyes nodded.  “But that's how things are sometimes... sudden.  Why Thaddeus and I do things on the spur of the moment all the time, don't we?”

“Yes, ma'am, we sure do,” Curry nodded vigorously.

Both men forced smiles to their faces.

“You're not fooling me one bit.”

Heyes' and Curry's smiles faltered ever-so-slightly.

“I couldn't help but overhear what Thaddeus said about the sheriff.  If you're concerned about us finding out that you're Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, you can stop all that worrying right now.  We've known who you were from the moment you first set foot in this house.”

Heyes and Curry remained silent.

Anne continued.  “My father was on a train that you robbed a couple of years ago.  There was some trouble inside the car he was in.  One of the other robbers wanted to take personal items, but you stopped him.  He said you made the robber give my father back his watch and wedding ring and you even apologized for that other robber.  That made quite an impression on my father.”

Heyes cleared his throat.  “That's, uh, very interesting, but it sounds like a very odd thing for a train robber to do, wouldn't you say?  Your father is very lucky.”

Their conversation was interrupted by a series of loud knocks on the front door.

“That's probably Sheriff Stone,” Anne said quickly.  “You two find a place to hide until he's gone.  I'm going to go back in there with Father.”

When the door swung shut behind her, Curry turned to his partner.  “You think it's a good idea to stay?  Especially after what Anne just told us?”

“For a few minutes; at least until we can find out what's going on,” Heyes answered.  “I'm not too concerned with what Anne and Thomas think.  Let's see what that sheriff thinks; we can still make our escape if we need to.”

The two men crept closer to the kitchen door to listen in on the conversation.

“Why, hello there, Sheriff Stone,” Thomas greeted the lawman.  “Won't you come in?  You're welcome,” he frowned at the man who followed the sheriff inside, “but I can't say the same for the company you keep.”  Thomas gave a curt nod to Winters and shut the door behind them.  The three men joined Roy and Anne, who were seated at the table.  Thomas re-seated himself.  “How about a cup of coffee and some cobbler, Sheriff?”

“We aren't here for no social purposes!” Winters snapped.  “I've got something to say myself to you bunch of lawbreakers when the sheriff gets through.”  He turned to the lawman.  “Go ahead, do your job – get on with it already!”

The sheriff cleared his throat.  “Thomas, Mr. Winters has made some pretty serious accusations against you.  He claims that you're somehow connected in some way with a couple of outlaws.”

“Outlaws?  Here?  Me?”  Thomas shot back in outraged surprise.  “What outlaws?”

“Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.  Well, how about it?”

“I don't have the foggiest notion what you're talking about.  How in tarnation could we be connected to them?!”

“He claims that earlier today Hannibal Heyes came into his saloon and tried to rob him.”

“It's not a claim!” Winters snapped.  “Hannibal Heyes was in my office!  I recognized him from a bank he robbed a few years back.”

In the kitchen, Heyes ignored the groan from his partner, but the Kid's next words caused his mouth to curve up in a grin.

“I don't think we robbed that many banks and trains!” Curry hissed.  “What'd they all do – move to the same town an' wait for us to show up?”

“And that's what Heyes tried to do today,” Winters continued.  “Rob me – at gunpoint!  He tried to hold me up for all the money you homesteaders paid for the land.  That's what he told me.  He said that I had tricked you into the deal and that you wanted all your money back!”

“And that's what you're going on, Sheriff?  A few words from the mouth of Cobb Winters?  Hmph!  Coming out here and accusing us of harboring outlaws – why you know me better than that.  I would never send anybody to do something I could do myself.  If I wanted my money back, I would have gone straight to you, Winters – and told you so!  This is the first I've heard of any of this!”

“Yeah, that's news to me, too,” Roy chimed in.  “You know, Sheriff, if we knew what Heyes and Curry look like, we might be able to help you.”

“These should help.”  Sheriff Stone pulled the wanted posters from his pocket and handed them to Thomas.  Mr. Martin reached for his glasses while Anne and Roy came to stand behind him to read the posters.

“Well,” Thomas murmured, shaking his head, “either these are very poor descriptions of those two or I've never seen them.”

“No, Sheriff Stone, nobody matching either of those descriptions has been around here at all,” Anne added.

“I sure haven't set eyes on anyone looking like that either,” Roy added.

Thomas raised his eyes to look at Winters.  “I think you're barking up the wrong tree.”

“You're all lying!” Winters thundered, shaking a fist at them.

“If you'd like to make this a personal matter, Cobb, we can step outside.”  Roy took a step in Winters' direction.

“Now hold on just a minute; we're only wasting time,” Sheriff Stone interjected and stepped between them.  He turned to Winters.  “Speak your piece and then we can let them get on with their meal.”

Winters stepped around the sheriff to glare at the people seated at the table.  “Your men broke the law when they tore down my dam!  Stealing water is as bad as stealing cattle 'round here!  I'm giving you three days to pay for the damage or I'm having you all hauled into court and taking everything you've got!”

“Can he do that?” Curry whispered.

“Not if we can help it!” Heyes whispered back.  “A lot can happen in three days.”

Back in the dining room, Roy glared at Winters.  “He's just ornery enough to do it, too!” he growled.

“Well, as long as I'm here I might as well take a look around,” Sheriff Stone stated.  “That is, if you don't mind, Thomas?”

Heyes turned and gave Curry a shove towards the pantry.  When they reached it, they got inside, closed the door and leaned against it.

“That's a very good idea, Sheriff,” Thomas nodded and raised his voice a bit.  “Search the whole house; that way you'll know we're telling you the truth and those outlaws aren't anywhere near here.”

“I'll help him,” Roy volunteered quickly.  He exchanged a look with Thomas before he turned to follow the lawman into the kitchen.

“Yes, Roy, please give the sheriff all the help he needs,” Thomas agreed with a wink.


*~*~*~*~*~*

Once Roy and the sheriff were inside the kitchen with the door shut, the lawman began his search of the room.  Roy followed behind for a minute before he stepped up beside Stone.  “Hey,” he said in a low voice.  “I hear tell there's pretty good rewards for the capture of Heyes and Curry.”

The sheriff gave him a measuring look.  “Yes, there are.  Very large ones.  $10,000 each.”

Roy whistled softly.  “You willing to split it?”

“Well,” the lawman drawled.  “Anyone who helps me capture them will get a share of the reward.  The less in on it, the more you share.”

Roy glanced around before speaking in an even lower voice.  “You know that old line shack up in the canyon?”

“Yeah.”

“If you mosey on up that way you might find something interesting there – but you can't let anyone know I told you.”

“Up in the canyon, huh?”

“Yep.” Roy nodded.  “You can sneak out the side door – nobody'll ever know.  I'll tell Winters you had to go; he can find his own way home.”

“Thanks for the tip; I won't forget you!”

Once the lawman was out of sight, Roy went back to the dining room to rejoin Thomas, Anne and a still-seething Cobb Winters.

“Hey, Winters – Sheriff Stone left to follow a lead.  He said for you to head on back to town.”

“This isn't the last you've heard from me!” Cobb snapped, waving a threatening fist.  With a final glare at the trio he stomped away.  As the door slammed behind him, Anne spoke up.

“That is one man who can spoil anyone's appetite!” she exclaimed.

“Uh, speaking of appetites...” Roy began.  “Miss Anne, I sure hope you won't hold it against me if I don't stay and enjoy some of that famous cobbler of yours, but something's come up that I need to take care of tonight.”

“And it can't wait?” Thomas gave the other man a searching look.

“No, it can't.”  Roy returned Thomas' look with a steady one of his own.  “After I spoke with Sheriff Stone in the kitchen, I realized that there was an important job I had to do right away.”

“I see,” Thomas murmured.  “Well, I'm sorry you have to go, but I have faith that you know what you're doing.”

“Thanks, Thomas; I do.”

“And you won't miss my cobbler, Roy,” Anne grinned.  “I'll fix you up some for you to take with you so you can eat it later.”

Roy's grin was ear-splitting.  “Me and my stomach both thank you, Miss Anne!”

Once they were certain that Cobb Winters was gone, Heyes and Curry left the safety of the pantry and exited through the side door.  Reaching the barn, they saddled up their horses and took off in the same direction as Sheriff Stone.

When they reached the outskirts of town, they reined their mounts to a stop.

“Time to put the next part of my plan into action,” Heyes grinned.  “I'll meet up with you tomorrow after I take care of the sheriff.”

“Take care of yourself, too,” Curry cautioned, his brow furrowed.  “I won't be around to watch your back, you know.  Stone's not gonna be very happy when he finds out he's been duped.”

“You know I like it when you worry, Kid,” Heyes grinned.  “Trust me; things are all going right according to plan.”  With a wave, Heyes disappeared into the darkness.

“That's what worries me,” Curry muttered as he watched his partner ride away.  Turning his horse, he headed off in the opposite direction.


*~*~*~*~*~*


END OF PART ONE


(Writers love feedback!  You can comment on moonshadow'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.)
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Re: Water the Chances? Part 1 by moonshadow
Post on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 11:12 pm by Penski
Great beginning, moonshadow!  You have Curry playing knight in shiny armor, a missing friend, a baddie, and a Heyes plan!  Wonderful humor - how many trains did they rob?  Looking forward to Part 2! goodone
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Re: Water the Chances? Part 1 by moonshadow
Post on Sun 25 Sep 2016, 12:05 pm by Cal
Good baddie.....we love a good baddie...and what's happened to Jim?....this is really shaping up....when do we get part two..next week? Love them being recognised by..... everyone....and lots of other interesting characters.... another fine episode...x
Great episode!
Post on Sun 25 Sep 2016, 12:58 pm by Nebraska Wildfire
Such a fun start. Waiting to see what's happened to Jim and what bad might happens with the boys separated...
Re: Water the Chances? Part 1 by moonshadow
Post on Sun 25 Sep 2016, 2:41 pm by adkissonl@bellsouth.net
goodone Enjoying this mysterious plot, looking forward to the next part.
Great episode!
Post on Mon 26 Sep 2016, 6:37 pm by LittleBluestem
I wasn't expecting a cliffhanger! Now I'm dying to find out how it all ends!

What is Heyes's clever plan? Is our old friend Jim Stokely alright? Does EVERYBODY know who our favorite ex-outlaws are? Will the Sheriff believe Winters? And will anyone else tell? And did I detect a bit of romance brewing between Heyes and Anne? (They did take an awfully long time to get the dessert ready...)

What a great beginning to a double episode, Moonshadow -- complete with a bathing-in-the-creek scene! I can just picture the strategically placed shrubbery, etcetera, to maintain early 70s-style decorum. I also enjoyed all the action. It was so vividly explained I could just almost see it happening.

Cannot wait for Part 2!

wow
Re: Water the Chances? Part 1 by moonshadow
Post on Tue 27 Sep 2016, 7:09 pm by Maz McCoy
How many people can you fit on a train? LOL. Everyone seems to know them. That's a cute touch.
So..what's happened to Jim. Guess we have to wait for the next part..next week? OOh the suspense. :)
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Re: Water the Chances? Part 1 by moonshadow
Post on Sat 01 Oct 2016, 12:18 am by moonshadow
I'm taking a few moments to say a VERY BIG thank you for the encouraging words, your enthusiasm and your comments for Part 1. They are VERY MUCH appreciated.
Part 2 will answer all of your questions.
All you "Heyes" gals oughta have a real fun time reading through the story to find out just what Heyes' plan is and what he has to do to make it work.
To give you a small hint: He could be up for an Academy Award for Best Actor, as well as Best Make-Up.
I'm sure his Costume Designer and Hairdresser could qualify as well.
I totally utilized his skills unmercifully and without any guilt whatsoever.  biggrin  
Not to be overlooked, Kid has his moments, too. clap
 

Water the Chances? Part 1 by moonshadow

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