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 Fake or Fortune? by MoulinP

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Posts : 419
Join date : 2013-10-13

20161014
PostFake or Fortune? by MoulinP



What could possibly go wrong guarding a valuable statue for a friend of the governor’s? Plenty if it’s Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.


Starring

Pete Duel and Ben Murphy as
Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry



Hannibal Heyes as Carlton Balfour


Guest Stars (in order of appearance)




John Forsythe as John Fleming



David Hyde Pierce as Pilsner



Slim Pickens as Mike



Goldie Hawn as Charley



Judi Dench as Mrs. Bench-Williams



Mackenzie Crook as Grant Bench-Williams



John Cleese as Charles Pinchbeck the third, of Scotland Yard



Jim Davis as the sheriff


Michelle Dockery as Daisy




Fake or Fortune?
by MoulinP
with significant contributions from MonsieurP


NIGHT TIME – GREEN RIVER HOTEL

In the darkness, the shadowy figures of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry dart to the door of an impressive brick building.  The sign on the building reads, “Green River Hotel.”  Under it is another sign that reads, “Tradesman's Entrance.”  Heyes knocks three times.  They look around furtively as they wait and notice the banner stretched across the face of the building.  Large lettering spells out, “GRAND INVITATION POKER TOURNAMENT, 2OTH YEAR.”  A man opens the door.  There is a brief whispered exchange before Heyes and Curry enter.

Once inside, the man leads Heyes and Curry through dimly lit hallways to an office.

“Have you got the letter?” the man asks, gruffly.



Curry picks a letter out of his sheepskin jacket and hands it over.  The man fumbles it open, reads it quickly, and then lets out a deep relieved sigh.  Heyes, in the meantime, is standing quietly in his grey/blue coat watching first his partner and then the man.

The man holds out his hand and nods.

“Good evening, gentlemen.  I’m John Fleming, owner of the Green River Hotel.”

“Thaddeus Jones,” says the Kid, shaking the hand.

“Joshua Smith,” says Heyes.

Fleming starts as he is about to shake Heyes’ hand.  “The letter says I’m to expect a Mr. …”  He consults the letter.  “Carlton Balfour with Mr. Jones.”  He frowns.

A wide Heyesian grin.  “Carlton Balfour is just a name I’ve used in the past on undercover jobs like this.  With great success.  As that fella, I’ve built up a considerable reputation as a card player.  You can rest assured that the $10,000 dollar buy-in you’ll be covering for me is in very safe hands.”  He looks at his partner who rolls his eyes.  “I'll check into this hotel in the morning as him.”

Fleming still eyes him suspiciously.

“Er, Mr. Fleming,” says the Kid.  “The Governor of Wyoming has asked us to do this job.  We’ve worked for him before and he lets us do things our own way.  Doesn’t lay down too many ground rules, if you know what I mean.”  He glances with concern at Heyes.

“So long as it’s legal,” Heyes chips in.  “He gives us a free hand.”

Fleming sighs and sinks into the desk chair that is behind him.  “Well, he does say you’re resourceful men.”  He consults the letter again.

Heyes grins at his partner and widens his eyes, in a reassuring way.

“If a little unorthodox in your methods,” finishes Fleming.  He tosses the letter onto the desk.

Heyes loses the grin and thrusts out his chin, then clears his throat.  “We’ve got a proven track record, Mr. Fleming.  We won’t let you down,” he says, firmly.

Fleming sighs.  “I have no choice.  If Ol’ Wes says you’re the men for the job, I have to respect his judgement.  The Governor and I were at school together and I like to feel I know him pretty well.  If he says I can trust you, then…”  He purses his lips and sighs again.  “I’d better show you what you’re dealing with.”

Fleming gets up and goes over to a safe in the corner.  He glances back and seeing the boys are behind him, frowns.  “Gentlemen, if you don’t mind.  Only I know the combination to this safe.  I’d like to keep it that way.”  He waves them to one side.

Heyes nods, presses his lips together tightly and takes an exaggerated step forward and to one side so he is out of sight of seeing the safe open.  He looks at his partner and smirks.  Curry rolls his eyes at him.  They wait patiently for the safe to open.

Fleming takes out a large wooden box.  He closes the safe door and brings the box over to the desk.  With a glance at the boys, he unlatches the box and drops the side to reveal a gold statue of a stag with a female and baby deer.



“This, gentlemen, is what you’re guarding.”

Curry whistles.  Both he and Heyes lean in to take a closer look.

“This is the table centrepiece for our private dining room.  It’s worth in excess of $50,000 and I’ve reason to believe that a renowned art thief is going to try to steal it next weekend, during the poker tournament.  Which is where you two come in.”

“So it’s going to be on display?”  Heyes widens his eyes in disbelief.  “Knowing that a renowned art thief is going to make a play for it?”  He sounds incredulous.

“It has to be.  It’s tradition.  We’ve been holding this poker tournament for twenty years and it has been present at all the dinners held before the games.  Players touch it for luck.  Folks will ask where it is if it’s not on the table.  The Green River Hotel prides itself on being a respectable, safe and secure establishment.  The damage to our reputation, if it is not there, is incalculable.”

No one says a word for a moment, then Curry speaks.  “You ever think of gettin’ a replica made?”

Beside him, Heyes raises his eyebrows in surprise.

Fleming hesitates.  “Well as a matter of fact… I did.”

Heyes and Curry swap looks.

“Had a replica made in base metal.  Figured I could have it covered in gold leaf.”  Fleming sees their blank looks.  “I got the idea last year when we had the ballroom redecorated.”  He sees more blank looks.  “It’s used for the decorative mouldings!”

“Ah!”  Heyes rocked back in realisation.

Curry rubs his chin, absently.  “How’d it turn out, Mr Fleming?” he asks quietly.

Fleming looks embarrassed.  “Not so well.”  He wrinkles his nose.  “Looked cheap and you could tell it wasn’t real.”  He hesitates.  “It’s going to be right there in the middle of the table.”  He shakes his head.  “Naw, it was an idea that didn’t fly, that’s all.”  He looks at Heyes and Curry.  “Guess we’re back to protecting the original.”

“Do you know anything about the art thief?” the Kid asks.

Fleming growls.  “No.  Only that he leaves a calling card.  Signs it M.  Nobody knows what M stands for.”

Curry nods.  “Not a lot to go on,” he muses.  The partners swap glances.

“The poker tournament, Mr. Fleming, is by invitation.  The Governor invited Mr. Balfour.”  Heyes flashes a brief grin, and then is serious.  “Who invites the other players?”

“No one exactly; it's more like a tradition.  Normally, players are selected by a secret ballot.  They are sent engraved invitations, signed personally by the Board of Directors of the Hotel.  It's considered a very high honor indeed to receive an invitation.  However, with your name already being one of the chosen, they only needed six more.  A list of the players is sent with the invitation so they know who the opposition will be.  Then it is up to them to decide if they want to play.”  Fleming smiles.  “I’m happy to report that no one objected to Carlton Balfour.  It would appear that your reputation is well-founded, Mr Smith.”

Heyes smirks.  Curry nods and they glance at each other.

“Put this back in your safe, Mr. Fleming.  We’ll think on it overnight and Mr. Jones here will come see you in the morning with our plans,” Heyes says, with a grin, slapping his partner on the shoulder.

Fleming nods and starts to latch the box back up.  “I’ll leave word at the reception desk for when you arrive.  They’ll know where to find me.”



OUTSIDE THE CLOSING TRADESMAN’S ENTRANCE

Heyes and Curry step into the street.  The moonlight catches on Heyes’ grin.

“So Kid, how did you like taking the lead in the negotiations?  It’s more difficult than you thought, huh?  Huh?  You have be ready to respond appropriately to whatever they say.”  Heyes is talking quickly.

“I did that.”  The Kid speaks though gritted teeth.

“Even if it’s something you’re not expecting.  You have to shape the conversation.  Steer it in the direction you want it to head.  And away from where you don’t want it to go.”

“I did that, too.”

“For a while there I didn’t think he would believe you.  At first he sounded real suspicious of Carlton Balfour.”  Heyes slapped his partner’s chest with the back of his hand.  “But you managed to turn him around Kid.  I’m proud of you.”

“Good.”

“I mean it coulda gone wrong.  He coulda not believed us.  He coulda thrown us out!  Then what would we have told the Governor?  But no.  None of that happened.  You did it, Kid.”

“Yes, I did.”

“We’ve got a real good job here.  A crime to prevent.  I’m sure we can do that.  It’s not too hard on the back.  You like jobs like that, don’t you?  Huh?  Huh?  That looks like a real swanky hotel so we’ll get to sleep in nice comfy beds.  Have decent meals.  Relax for a few days before the tourna….  Hey, what you doing?”

Curry presses Heyes against a wall.  He holds a threaten finger up in front of Heyes’ face.

“Heyes, I won the bet we had about who’s the most believable.  I took the lead tonight as we agreed.  You don’t have to keep on about it.”

“I don’t?” Heyes asks innocently.

“NO!  You don’t!”

“But Kid, I was extolling your virtues.  It was a difficult thing you did.”  Heyes makes a strangled sound as the Kid’s finger closes on his face.  Cross-eyed, Heyes focuses on it.

“It ain’t WHAT you’re sayin’, it’s the WAY you’re sayin’ it.  You can’t stand it, can you?  Me being able to do something as well as you.”

“Kid,” Heyes whines.  “I was praising you.  Can’t a fella be proud of his partner?”

With a growl, Curry lets him go and stalks off.  Heyes shakes himself and straightens his clothing before going after him.  He has a pleased grin on his face.



LATER THAT NIGHT – THE FRIENDLY HOTEL

“Kid, I know exactly how we can do this.”

Heyes is pacing the floor of a typical run-down western hotel room in his long johns and Henley; it is obvious he has been for some time.  In the double bed, Curry is asleep.  Heyes spins on his heel and faces the bed.  He sighs and stands hands on hips looking at his sleeping partner.

“Kid!”

Curry starts, his right hand automatically reaching for the Colt hanging over the bedframe.

“Heyes?”  He looks around in alarm.

“I got it, Kid.”

Curry lets his head fall back onto the pillow and groans.  “What exactly is it that ya got Heyes?”

“A plan.”  Heyes settles himself on the edge of the bed, shifting his partner’s legs roughly out of the way, as he sits.  “I’ll tell you all about it.  We check in tomorrow and get the lay of the land.  That sorta thing.  Then you get to make a trip to the Hole.  There’s something there we’re gonna need.”

“Me?”  Curry raises his head and jerks his thumb towards his chest.  “Goin’ back to the Hole?  Why?”  He yawns widely.  “What am I gonna get?”

Heyes grins broadly.  “I’m glad you mentioned that…”



GREEN RIVER HOTEL, HOTEL RECEPTION

Heyes, dressed in one of his smart suits, is signing the register.

“Thank you, Mr. Balfour.  Will your wife be joining you perhaps?”  Pilsner points to the ring Heyes wore on the appropriate finger.

Heyes pauses.  “Er…  Ye…s.  Yes, of course.  I can’t wait.”  He plasters on a fake smile.  “We’re so newly married…” he explains and gives an embarrassed laugh.  “Haven’t got used to it yet.”

Pilsner smiles.  “Oh you soon will, sir.  Yessir.  Been married twenty years myself, sir.  Can’t forget the little woman.”  He grins.  “She won’t let me.”  He roars with laughter.

Heyes smiles politely.

Pilsner clears this throat and sobers as he attends to the register.  “The bellhop will show you to your suite on the second floor.  The key, sir, to the Crystal Suite.  My name is Pilsner.  I’m the Hotel Manager.  If there is anything I can do while you are here, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

With a smile, he hands over the key.

“Thank you, Mr. Pilsner,” says Heyes with a charming smile.  “I’ll be sure to let you know if there is anything.”

The uniformed bellhop picks up the carpetbag and Heyes follows him out of shot in the direction of the stairs



GREEN RIVER HOTEL, A SHORT TIME LATER

Curry comes in wearing travel stained western gear, saddlebag slung over his shoulder, bedroll in hand.

Pilsner gives him a look of distaste.

“Can I help you, sir?” he asks.

“Yeah.  Name’s Jones.  You have a room for me?” he says, abruptly.  Curry leans nonchalantly on the desk.

Pilsner looks at the elbow in irritation and consults the register for a moment.  “No.  No I can’t see a Jones.”

“The owner.  Fleming.  He’s expectin’ me.”

Pilsner’s mouth forms an O.  He nods.  “THAT Jones.”  He casts aside the register and retrieves a smaller ledger from under the desk.  He harrumphs as he consults it.

“Yes.  4B.  Staff accommodation, fourth floor.”  

Pilsner slides across a small key attached to a horseshoe as a key fob.

Curry looks at it in disbelief.  “Thank you.”  He tips his hat and is about to walk away when Pilsner calls him back.  He is tapping the ledger.

“You need to sign for it.”

Curry gives him a look and, snatching up the pen, scratches a hasty signature.

“I’ll let Mr. Fleming know you’re here.”

Curry nods and is about to walk away again when he notices a sign at the foot of the stairs indicating on which floor the room numbers can be found.  There is no fourth floor, second is as high as it goes.

Curry turns back, settling his things under his arm.  He looks the question at Pilsner.

“No, not that way.  That staircase is only for our guests.  Staff accommodation is through there.”  He points at a door to the side of the main staircase, marked Private.

The look is given and Curry stalks off.



EARLY MORNING: CURRY, EN ROUTE TO THE DEVIL'S HOLE HIDEOUT

There is as a faint dew on the grass as Curry sets out on his journey.  He is wearing his sheepskin jacket.  Later, the bright sunshine convinces him to shed the jacket.  He rolls it up and straps it behind his saddle.  A few hours later, with the sun high in the sky, Curry stops his horse beside a lake.  He takes a long drink from his canteen and allows his animal to satisfy its thirst, too.

Sometime later, he is picking his way, slowly and carefully and then comes to a complete stop.  He takes out his gun, holds it up in the air and fires three shots.  Then, urging his horse on slowly, rides with his hands up.



Two men are sitting on a rock.  One is looking through binoculars.

“Who is it?”

“Weel, I kain’t tell yet,” says the man with binoculars.

Curry continues to ride slowly with hands up.

The two men on the rock are still watching.

“Somethin’ don’t smell right,” the man with the binoculars says.  “Better flash Lobo.”

In an overhang, one man sees the flash and nudges another.  “Lobo.”

Lobo grunts.  “What?”

“Somebody’s coming.  Kyle’s flashing.”

Back on the rock, the man with binoculars exclaims.  “It kain’t be!”

Under the overhang, Lobo is looking through binoculars as well.

“Well looky here.  If it ain’t Kid Curry.”

Curry stops hands still up.  He doesn’t look around.

“Whoo wee!  Howdy, Kid!”  The man with binoculars appears on a rock behind the Kid, chewing furiously.

Curry looks around and smiles.  “Howdy, Kyle.”

Three more men appear from on top of rocks, all carrying rifles.

“Howdy, Kid.  You come to join up with us again?”

“Howdy, Kid.  Where’s Heyes?”

“You split with Heyes?”

“How’s life on the dodge?”

“Yeah, had enough an’ looking to come back in?”

Curry laughs.  He still has his hands up.  “Fellas, it’s good to see you, too.  Can I?”  He gestures with one hand.

“Oh, oh yeah, ‘course,” Kyle nods.

“Thanks.”  He puts down his hands.

“Why you here?”

“Ah, Heyes asked me to come get somethin’ we left behind.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, I gotta discuss it with Wheat first, fellas.  He around?”

“Yeah, but he’s got the grippe.  He ain’t seein’ no one right now.”

Chuckling.

“Yeah, he’s done lost his voice!”

“Sure is quiet round here right now!”

Kyle hitches up his pants.  “Guess that means I’m in charge.  So if’n there’s any negotiatin’ to do, best do it with me,” he says with an air of importance.

Curry nods.  “Down at the bunkhouse, fellas?  Sure could do with a cup of coffee about now.”

“Sure thing.”



HOTEL LOBBY

Heyes walks in.  Fleming strides towards him with his hand outstretched.

“Mr. Balfour!  How do you do?  I’m Fleming, the owner of the hotel.”

Heyes smiles and shakes the offered hand.

“How are you enjoying your stay?” Fleming asks, drawing Heyes to one side.  Then in a low voice.  “Or is it Smith?”

Heyes grins.  “You just go on calling me Balfour, Mr. Fleming, until this is over.  That way you won’t accidentally slip up.  It’s easily done with aliases.”

Fleming nods.  “If you say so.”  He looks around furtively.  “Where’s Jones?  I thought he was supposed to be guarding…”

“Mr. Fleming,” Heyes interrupts, putting his hand reassuringly on the owner’s arm.  “Mr. Jones has gone to get something we'll need.  I assure you if the centrepiece is still locked up in the safe, then it's perfectly alright.”

Fleming looks doubtful.

“Mr. Jones will be back tomorrow night.”

“This whole thing’s worrying me sick!” Fleming groans.  “I’ll be glad when the tournament is over!”

Heyes smiles.  “Don’t worry, Mr. Fleming.  Everything is going to plan.”

“I hope so.”



HOTEL SUITE

The suite consists of a main room and two bedrooms leading off it.

Heyes starts up from the bed, his hand going for his gun in its holster hanging over the bedframe.  He has a clear view of the main door to his hotel suite as it opens.  When he sees it is his partner, he visibly relaxes and replaces the gun.

Curry’s expression is unreadable as he swings his saddlebags from his shoulder onto a table.

“Never ask me to go to the Hole again, Heyes,” he says, wearily collapsing into a chair and resting his head back, eyes closed.

Heyes walks into the main room, looking expectantly at him.  “Did you get it?” he asks.

Curry opens one eye and looks at him.  He just sniffs, closes his eyes and shifts more comfortably.

“You got it, didn’t you?”  Heyes is eager for news.  “Tell me you got it?”  He is crossing to the saddlebags.  “Is it in here?”  As his hand reaches out, there is a click of a gun cocking.  He looks around and sees his partner pointing his gun at him.

“Now you know, Heyes, how I feel ‘bout folks touchin’ my stuff…”

“Kid!” Heyes growls.

Curry sniffs and returns his gun to its holster.  A faint smile now plays around his mouth.

“Kid,” Heyes growls again.  He folds his arms and gives his partner a hard stare.  “This whole plan depends on you getting it.  Without it I just…”  He shrugs and holds his arms out wide.  “Don’t know.”  He starts to pace.  “I don’t know what we do,” he mutters.

Curry watches Heyes pacing up and down, shaking his head.

“I’m all outta aces.”

Curry lets his partner pace despondently for a few moments.  Then, with a rapidly spreading grin, levers himself out of the chair and crosses to the saddlebags.

“Is this what you’re lookin’ for?”  He holds up something that looks suspiciously like a gold ingot.

Heyes covers the floor quickly.  “Aw, Kid!”  He takes the ingot and holds it reverently.

“Wheat was usin’ it as a door stop!”

Heyes rolls his eyes.  “I go to all the trouble of making it…”

“You sure had some complicated plans back in those days.  We didn’t even use it for that job in the end.”

Heyes gives him a disgruntled look.  “Not the point.  It’s still no way to treat it.”  He strokes it lovingly and smiles.

“So what now?” Curry asks, bouncing on the end of the bed.  “Hey, this is much more comfy than mine.”

“Now…”  A Heyesian smug grin spreads over his face.  “Now we’re in business.”



NIGHT TIME – THE MOON IS JUST RISING OVER THE TOWN HALL

Fleming is walking, carrying a wooden box.  Curry is with him.

“Do you have it?” Fleming asks.

Curry nods and pats the bulge in his jacket.  They look around furtively and then disappear into the blackness.



THAT SAME NIGHT – THE MOON IS ABOUT TO SET

Fleming, the Kid, and then Heyes emerge from a building.  In the gaslight, a sign overhead reads “Henry and Sons Ironworks.”  They look around furtively.  Fleming carries the box again, but this time the Kid isn’t hiding anything.

“Is it going to work?” Fleming asks.

“That was a real good replica, Mr. Fleming.  They’ll melt down the ingot we brought and dip your replica in the fake gold.  No one will even notice the difference between that and the real thing.” Heyes says.

“Where’d you get fake gold from anyway?”

Heyes grins.

“Let’s jus’ say we know the man who made it,” Curry answered and grinned at his partner.  “Right, Joshua?”

“Yeah, you might say that,” Heyes nods with a tight-lipped smile, and then changes the subject.  “We'd better get going.”

The trio creep back to the Green River Hotel.



INSIDE THE HOTEL – LOBBY

Heyes idly picks up a pamphlet from the table and reads the title aloud.  “The History of the Green River Hotel Decorations.”  He flips through the pages and then reads aloud to himself.  “The lobby boasts lighting features that once graced private estates in Europe”  Heyes looks around, sees them and nods.  He reads on.  “Paintings worthy of any fine art gallery dot the walls in the lobby and other public rooms.  Valuable antiques stand in every room.”  He looks around; nodding at the ones he can see.  Then returning to the pamphlet, his eyes light up larcenously and a dimpled smile spreads across this face.  “Pride of place, however, is the large table centrepiece used in the private dining room.”  He tucks the brochure into his inside pocket, and walks away.  



AN ALCOVE OFF THE HOTEL LOBBY

Heyes is standing outside a set of grand double doors.  A sign on the door reads “Private Dining Room: 20th Grand Poker Tournament.”  His hand pauses on the doorknob as his eyes glance around.  Nobody is paying him any attention and he turns the knob.  His eyebrows go up in surprise when he finds the door unlocked.  “Really?” he says to himself and shakes his head.  With a glance back towards the main lobby, he squeezes himself slowly through the door, shutting it behind him.

The room is furnished and decorated ornately.  A magnificent chandelier sets the ambience of the room.  The large circular table is laid for dinner for twelve guests.  In the middle is the centrepiece from the brochure that Heyes found so interesting.  Hands flat on the table he leans over and inspects it from all angles.

“Hmmm,” he nods.  Lips purse in contemplation.  He nods again.  He turns to leave just as the door opens.  It is the hotel manager, Pilsner.

“Ah!  Mr. Balfour, I see you’ve found the venue for the big game.”

Heyes smiles.  “Yes, I always like to check out the room beforehand.  The ambience, lighting, ventilation.  All play a crucial part in the game, y’know.”

“Yes, yes, I believe you may be right.  One has to be comfortable to enjoy a good game.  However, this isn’t where the game will take place.”

“It isn’t?”  Heyes widens his eyes in surprise.

“No, the game will take place in here.”  Pilsner gestures to a door on their right.  “Allow me to show you.”

Heyes follows Pilsner to the other room.  He glances back at the table display as he goes.

Pilsner shows him to a smaller room.  There is a traditional green baize covered table and lowered lighting over it.  There are heavy drapes at the windows and dark wood panelling on the walls; the room exudes masculinity.

Heyes smiles and nods.  “Very nice, Mr. Pilsner.  Very nice indeed.”

They go back into the larger room.

Heyes sweeps a hand around the room and frowns at Pilsner.  “I’m a little surprised to find this room unlocked, Mr. Pilsner, given the value of some of the items you have on display in here.”  He nods to several sculptures around the walls and then meaningfully at the centre table display.  “Anyone could just walk in.”  He pauses and clasps his hands in front of him.  “Just like I did.”

Pilsner looks sheepish.  “The staff has only just finished laying everything out.  I came to make sure everything is in order and lock up.  I have the only key to this room.”  He pats the top pocket of his jacket.  “Once dinner is over, the players will go through into the gaming room.  So that nothing disturbs the players’ concentration, we leave the clearing of the table until the morning.  I personally will lock the room from the outside.  We have a man who will stand guard on the outside door all night.  I can assure you no one will be allowed in this room.”

Heyes nods, looking around the room again.  Turning back, he opens his mouth to say something further, but Pilsner goes on.

“When did you say you were expecting your wife, Mr. Balfour?”

“Oh, soon, soon.  Any day now,” Heyes nods.  He starts to move away, uncomfortable with the direction Pilsner is taking the conversation.

“Good, good.  You must be missing her?  Being newly-weds?”  He looks at Heyes, expectantly.

“Counting the days, Mr. Pilsner.  Counting the days.”  Heyes smiles holds up his key, continuing to back away.  “I think I’ll go up to my room now.  Good night.”  Heyes hurries away, his mind already working on finding a solution to the “wife” problem.



BACK STAIRS OF THE HOTEL

Heyes is making his way upstairs and stops outside the door marked as 4B, Staff Accommodation.  Looking around, he taps the partner’s special knock on the door and opens it.

Curry is lying at full stretch on his bed, hands behind his head.



The room is small and basic.  As Heyes walks in, the Kid sits up.  The look on his partner’s face tells him there is something up.  “What’s wrong?” he asks, quickly.

Heyes rubs the back of his neck and turns away.  “Pilsner asked if my wife would be joining me.”

“You ain’t gotta wife!”

“I know that!”  Heyes starts to pace, fingers on his chin in contemplation.  “But I’ve got to get one from somewhere.”

“Why?”

“'Cos he saw my ring when I checked in and one thing led to another.  Before I knew it, I had this whole story made up that I was a newly-wed!”  Heyes tosses his hands in the air in frustration.  “And that I was missing her and couldn’t wait to see her again.”  Heyes rubs his forehead and shakes his head.

“Why’d you do that?”

“I don’t know!  At the time, it was just talk; you know, to pass the time while I was signing in.  I thought he’d forget but… he asked me again just now.”  He sighs.  “I rather gilded the lily,” he admits quietly

Curry purses his lips thoughtfully, and then shrugs.  “Suppose you could propose to someone,” he suggests, helpfully.

Heyes gives him the look.

“Jus’ a thought.”  The Kid does some more thinking.  “You can get Clem.”

Heyes shakes his head.  “No.  I don’t want Clem mixed up in this.  An’ anyway she couldn’t get here in time.”

“George?”

Heyes looks at him hard.  “George is taking a trip back East, Kid, remember?  To learn deportment?”

The Kid nods.  “Who then?”

Heyes shakes his head.  “I need someone classy.”

“We don’t know any other women like that,” the Kid says, doubtfully.

Heyes stops pacing and looks up.  “Or… who can act classy,” he muses, stroking his chin.  He paces some more.  “Someone who’s… beautiful… smart… charming.”

“We definitely don’t know any women like that.”  Curry shakes his head furiously.

Heyes’ smile is smug now.  A gleam appears in his eyes.  “Yes, we do, Kid.  We just haven’t been thinking hard enough.”  He takes up residence on the bed beside his partner.  “What ‘bout Charley?”

Curry stares at him.  “Charley?” he repeats and looks incredulous.  “You mean… Charley from the saloon in Burton Wells?  The girl you… ah, favoured with your company when we were in Devil’s Hole?”

Heyes grins broadly and nods.  “Yeah, that’s the one.”

“I liked Charley,” the Kid says with a smirk.

Heyes gets up and does some more pacing.  “She isn’t quite what you think, Kid.  I got to know her real well…”

“Yeah, I know you have,” the Kid laughs.  “Amount of time you spent with her.”

Heyes sniffs embarrassed.  “We talked, y’know.  In between…”  He clears his throat.  “Clinches.”  He paces to the mirror and puffs.  Then he turns slightly.  “Anyway she, er, kinda let things drop one time.  And, er, well, I picked her up on it.  Now you’ve got to promise me, Kid.”  Heyes turns completely, reaching out a hand.  “She’ll skin me alive if it gets out.”

“What?”

Heyes considers and smacks his lips.  He hesitates.  “She isn’t… a… western gal.  She’s from Newport, Connecticut and she can speak like she’s real sophisticated.”

“Naw!  I’ve …”

Heyes raises his eyebrows in surprise.

“Ah!”  The Kid looks guilty and winces.

Heyes gives him a long look, and then sets off pacing again.  “She’s saving up to go to Europe.”

“Working as a saloon girl is a helluva way to save.”  The Kid muses as he watches his partner pacing.

“Yeah well, we all have to do what we have to do don’t we?” Heyes admits quietly.  He pauses for a moment and then shakes himself.  “Anyway… I know she could carry it off.”  He stands with his back to the Kid, hands on hips, thinking.  “Besides, she might be useful.”

“For what?”

Heyes pauses before answering and then turns around, rubbing his chin.  “Well she can ask questions we can’t or won’t have the opportunity to.” Heyes narrows his eyes in thought.

“Such as?”

“There’s a dinner before the game.  Charley will keep the conversation away from me while I size up the opposition.  I need to win more than the buy-in, remember?  Otherwise we don’t get paid.  Again.”

“It’s not jus’ gettin’ paid, Heyes.  We need to find this art thief afore they strike.”  The Kid is sitting up now.  “Otherwise we don’t get paid, period.”

“I know that.  Charley can run distraction.  She’s real good at that and as my wife, being polite, she can asks lots of questions.  Nobody’ll think twice about it but our art thief just might let something slip.  When he does I’ll be alert to pick up on it.”

Heyes smiles and shakes his head, fondly.  “That girl could talk for Wyoming in an All-American Talking Contest.”  He nods.  “Yep, we definitely need her, Kid.”

The Kid does his own thinking.  “It’s been over a year since we left the Hole.  Supposin’ she ain’t in that business no more?”

“Yeah, she is Kid,” he says.  “She has a lot to save.  She can’t have saved enough yet.  She’s a nice girl and I’d liked to help her.  Being a saloon girl is no life.”  He sighs.

The Kid thinks for a moment and then nods.  “I like Charley, too.”  He catches Heyes look and grins.  “And not just in that way,” he adds, quickly.

“Okay, then your job is to go get her.”

“Me!”

“Well I can’t go – can I?” Heyes says reasonably, holding his hands out.

“Heyes, there’s a problem with your plan.”

Heyes looks around quickly.  He frowns.  “A problem?  With one of my plans?”

“What’s in it for her?” the Kid asks.  “If she’s savin’, she ain’t gonna do this for free.  Or just for old time’s sake.”

“Yes, you’re right.”  Heyes looks thoughtful.  His brow furrows, he thrusts out his chin and snaps his suspender.  He sucks in a breath through his teeth.  “Offer her five hundred dollars.  That should do it.  No more.  I dunno how much I’m gonna win.”

The Kid rolls his eyes.  “Well okay,” he says, slowly.  “I’ll give it a go.”

“I need her back here by mid-day day after tomorrow.”  Heyes picks up his partner’s saddlebags and throws them at him.  “You’ve got a long ride ahead and not much time.  You’d best get started.”

The Kid opens his mouth to speak...



BURTON WELLS, WYOMING

Curry rides past a sign which reads, “Burton Wells, Wyoming.”  Underneath is the word, “Population.”  Next to it, somebody has scrawled, “Who cares?”  As he reads it, his mouth curves into a grin.

In town, he heads for the Silver Dollar Saloon.  Pushing open the batwing doors, he enters slowly.  He walks up to the bar, pulling off his gloves.

The bartender grins.  “Well howdy, Kid.  Didn’t figure on seeing you again.  Not after you and Heyes left the Hole.”

“Howdy, Mike,” the Kid replies, quietly.  He looks around at the few customers.  They show no interest in him.

“What can I get you?” Mike asks, polishing the bar.

“A beer.”

Mike leans in and drops his voice.  “Say, is it true what I heard?  You and Heyes gone straight?”

Reluctantly, Curry nods.  “Yeah Mike.  It’s kind of a secret though.”

Mike taps his nose.  “Glad to hear it.  I never thought you or Heyes were cut out for a life of crime.  Why, it would be downright criminal to lock you two up.”

The Kid smiles weakly.  “Thanks.”  He pauses.  “The beer?”

“Oh.  Yes.  Coming right up.”

When Mike returns with the beer and Curry hands over some coins.  “Say, is Charley still around?” he asks casually and glances at the stairs that lead to the rooms above.

“Charley?”  Mike frowns.  He looks thoughtfully.  “Yeah.”  He sighs.  “Yep.”  He nods.  “Still here.”

“Is she… around?”

“Yep.”  Mike glances at the stairs.  “Reckon she’ll be down in a spell.”

“Good.  I wanna talk to her.”

Mike grins.  “Well then I reckon she’ll be real glad to see you.”

The Kid nods and looks relieved when Mike is called away to serve another customer.



SALOON – HALF A BEER LATER

Curry stands at the bar and keeps an eye on the stairs.  A scantily dressed woman appears at the top.  The man with her starts down, pauses, grins and gives the woman a soppy wave.  She waves him off with a smile.  When he turns back to descend the stairs, she loses the smile and rolls her eyes.  Turning to go back to her room, she notices Curry.  He raises his beer glass in salute and grins.  She inclines her head, inviting him up.  The Kid takes a gulp of beer and heads upstairs.



UPSTAIRS

The woman shuts the door of her room.  Curry is already inside.

“Well, if it isn’t Kid Curry.  Now you’re a sight for sore eyes and no mistake.”  Her arms snake around his neck.

His arms go around her waist.  “Charley, it’s good to see you, too,” the Kid says, with sincerity before they kiss.

“So, what brings Kid Curry back here?” she purrs, afterwards.  “Into Devil’s Hole country.”

“Heyes,” he grins.

“Heyes!”  She pushes him away in outrage.

“Yep.”

Curry sits heavily in an easy chair, not before removing a stocking from the seat.  He drapes it over the arm.  “Heyes wants a favour an’ he’s asked me to come get you.”

“Oh, does he now?”  Charley stands hands on hips.  “And why does Mr. Big Shot Heyes think I’d be inclined to do HIM a favour?  I don’t see him for… over a year AND NOW HE wants ME to do HIM a FAVOUR?!”

Curry looks uncomfortable.  “Um, he did say it would help you out.  With your financial situation,” he starts.

“Did he now.”

Charley paces to the window and looks out, her arms folded.

“Yes ma’am.  He told me to come get you.”

Charley looks unsure.  “What’s he want me for?”

The Kid grins.  “For his wife,” he chuckles.
Charley’s heads snaps around.  “His wife?”
“To pretend to be his wife.  It’s real important, Charley.  You know Heyes.  He wouldn’t ask if it weren’t.”

Charley is looking out the window again.

“He needs somebody…”  Curry gets up and walks over.  He places his hands on her shoulders.  “Beautiful.  Smart.  Sophisticated.  Charmin’.  An’ your name…”  His arms slip around her waist and his lips are near her ear.  “… was the first name he thought of.”

Charley grins.  “Really?”

“Really.”  The Kid nods, oozing sincerity.

“Well...”  She walks out of his arms.  “I can’t say it’s not nice to be wanted by Heyes ‘cos it is.  Real nice.  After all this time…”  She leans on an occasional table, one hand on her hip.  “How much is in it for me?  I’ll lose business, Kid, and I can’t afford to do that.”

“It’ll be worth your while, Charley.  Heyes won’t stiff you.”  The Kid hesitates.  “He was sure you’d wanna help him out though.  So how does five hundred dollars sound?  And a few nights in a real expensive hotel with fancy food.”  The Kid pauses.  “Think of it as a vacation,” he adds triumphantly.

Charley folds her arms and walks back to the window.  “It’ll be nice to see him again,” she muses.  “Okay.  When and where?”

“Green River, mid-day tomorrow.”

She grunts.  “He don’t leave a girl much time to get ready, does he?”



GREEN RIVER

A stagecoach comes into town and stops a little way up the street from the Green River Hotel.  A porter from the stagecoach company assists Charley out.  Every inch of her outfit spells sophistication.

“Charlotte!  My dearest!”

Heyes hurries from the Hotel steps and rushes to greet her.  She looks at him imperiously and inclines her cheek.  Heyes hesitates.  Then letting out a barely audible growl, he kisses her chastely on the cheek.  Other passengers get off behind them.

“How was your trip?  Not too uncomfortable, I trust?” he says, tucking her hand firmly under his arm.  He escorts her to the Hotel, a delighted grin on his face.

A porter from the stagecoach company follows behind discreetly, struggling with several large bags.



HOTEL LOBBY

“My wife, Mrs. Charlotte Balfour,” a grinning Heyes, informs the desk clerk.  To one side stands Pilsner.  He sidles around the desk and lifts Charley’s hand.

“Mrs. Balfour, what a pleasure!” he gushes.  He presses her hand to his lips.  “I’m the hotel manager, Pilsner.  I do hope you enjoy your stay in our little establishment.  If there is anything I can do to make your stay more enjoyable while you’re here, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

“I’m sure I will love my stay, Mr Pilsner,” Charley beams and glances sideways at Heyes.

Heyes rolls his eyes.

“Mr. Balfour has been counting the hours until your arrival,” Pilsner smooths on.

“Has he?” Charley smiles with interest at Heyes.

Heyes nods.

“How sweet of him,” gushes Charley.  “This is the longest we’ve been apart since we were married.  I expect it was SOO hard on him.”

Heyes visibly squirms and pulls at his shirt collar in embarrassment.  He fixes his smile.  “And on you too, dear.  But we’re together again now at last,” he smarms, patting her arm.

Heyes gives Charley a nudge with his knee.  “Let’s get you upstairs and settled my dear.  I expect you’re tired from your long journey.”

Heyes whisks her away in the direction of the stairs.



IMPRESSIVE HOTEL SUITE

Once the door is closed, Charley and Heyes look at each other with serious faces.  Heyes takes a deep breath and stands hands on hips, looking her up and down.  Charley thrusts her chin out at him, a smile beginning to form on her lips.

Heyes smirks, then grins, then chuckles.  He holds his arms out to her.  “Charley,” he laughs.

“Heyes!”  Charley gives an unladylike squeal and rushes into his arms.

Heyes hugs her tightly, a look of bliss on his face.  He kisses her expansively on the cheek and then draws back.  “It’s good to see you Charley.  I knew you wouldn’t let me down.”

“Hmm.  Well…”  She regards him suspiciously.  “It’s been over a year, Heyes, and not ONE word!”  She holds up an index finger.

“Aw, Charley!  I’ve been busy.”

“Doing what exactly?”

“Trying to stay outta jail and not get killed.  Y’know?  Busy.”

“So it’s true?  You and the Kid are trying to go straight?”

“Yep.”

“Then why am I here?  This some kinda scam?”

“Nope.  It’s a job and I’m glad you came, Charley.  It’s gonna make all the difference.”

“The Kid is very good at persuading.  Against my better judgement, I might add.  This had better be important, Heyes.”

Heyes purses his lips and nods.  “Yeah, it is,” he says, seriously.  “This is a legitimate job.  For the Governor of Wyoming, no less.  And he’s real important to the Kid and me right now.”

Charley looks around the room in pleasure.  “Well I have to say as places of work go; this is a great place to work.  Very nice.”

“You get your own room and everything.”  Heyes indicated the other bedroom.  Charley crosses to the door and looks in.  Then she looks in the room Heyes has made his own.

“I think I might like that this one better,” she grins.

Heyes rolls his eyes.  “Before we discuss the sleeping arrangements in detail,” he smirks.  “Come over here and let me tell you what all this is about.  And what I need you to do for me.”

“Oh I know what I’ll be doing for you, Heyes,” she laughs.

Heyes clears his throat and takes her firmly by the hand.  He leads her over to the sofa.

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


Last edited by royannahuggins on Fri 14 Oct 2016, 2:02 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Fake or Fortune? by MoulinP
Post on Fri 14 Oct 2016, 1:46 pm by royannahuggins


EVENING, AT THE GREEN RIVER HOTEL

Heyes, with Charley on his arm, descends the stairs, dressed in their finery.  They make their way across the lobby to the alcove of the private dining room where classical music is heard.

“Ah!  Mr. Balfour, Mrs. Balfour,” greets Mr. Pilsner.  “We were beginning to worry about you.”

“Sorry we’re late, Mr. Pilsner.  We er …” he clears his throat.  “Lost track of time.”  Heyes smiles charmingly and looks fondly at Charley.

Pilsner clears his throat.  “Well, never mind.  I’ll show you to your seats and introduce you to the others.”

Heyes and Charley take their seats at the dining table.

Pilsner makes the introductions.  “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce Mr. Carlton Balfour and his wife, Charlotte.”  Heyes and Charley smile and nod politely as Pilsner introduces each dinner guest.

Pilsner turns to a middle-aged woman, immaculately dressed and coiffured.  She is seated to Heyes' right.  “May I present Mrs. Judith Bench-Williams.  The young man beside her is her son, Grant.”

“Certainly you may.” Heyes smiles his most charming smile, taking her hand.

“Delighted to meet you, Mr. Balfour.  I’ve heard you’re a formidable card player.  I shall look forward to testing my skills against yours later.”

Heyes smiles modestly.  “I look forward to the challenge but you flatter me, Ma’am.  I dabble a little.  Now and then.”

“My husband is much too modest, Mrs. Bench-Williams,” Charley enthused.  “Why, through his efforts he keeps us in very comfortable circumstances.”

Heyes’ face drops for a moment and then he false smiles at Charley.

She false smiles back and then looks away.  “Oh!  What a delightful table display!  Carlton, do you think we might have something similar for our newly decorated formal dining room?”  Charley looks innocently at Heyes.

His foot connects with her ankle.  A flicker of pain crosses her face.  She gives his hand, which is resting on the table next to hers, a tight squeeze.  It registers on his face.

“Yes, it’s quite striking, isn’t it?  I’ve been admiring it myself,” Mrs. Bench-Williams says.  “I’m surprised that the Hotel has something, so obviously very valuable, on so prominent display.”

“I believe there is security, Mama,” Grant says leaning in.  “Discrete of course.”

Waiting staff are bustling about carrying plates.

“I’ve heard the food here is heavenly,” gushes Charley.  “I do hope I don’t eat too much.  Mustn’t spoil my figure so soon into our marriage.”

She shares a laugh with Heyes as the waiting staff serve the first course.  Heyes leans over as if to kiss her cheek but instead whispers “Behave!  This is important, remember?”



LATER THAT NIGHT

Dinner is finishing and the guests are rising from their seats.  Heyes kisses Charley politely on the cheek, smiles at her as a newly married man would and follows the others into the gaming room.

He looks back as her as he reaches the door.  Charley blows him a kiss.  Heyes shudders in despair at her antics and disappears.

Charley leaves the room after the other wives.

Outside the door, the Curry stands watching.  He is dressed in grey suit and wears a gun.

Charley waves her fan as if she is hot and the Kid smiles after her.

Pilsner ushers every one out, then turns to lock the door.  “There!  Nobody will be able to get in there again tonight!”

“No, Mr. Pilsner, they certainly won’t.  I’ll be right here.  Outside this door,” the Kid says, pulling a padded leather wingback chair in front of the doors.  He sits on it with a flourish.

“Hmm.  Just try not to make the place look too untidy,” Pilsner grunts as he stalks away.



DRAWING ROOM

Charley, the wives and Grant Bench-Williams are enjoying after dinner drinks.  Everyone is smiling and laughing.

Grant pulls out his pocket watch.  After a quick look, he closes it with a snap and rises to his feet.  “If you will please excuse me, ladies, it's ten o'clock and I simply must retire.  Mother and I had a long journey today.  I just don’t know how she can stay up all night,” he says, shaking his head.  “I’m fatigued beyond words.  Good night.”

They watch him go.

As soon as he is out of sight, he stops a maid and pulls her behind the large aspidistra in the lobby.

“Sir?”  She looks alarmed.

“How would you like to make a hundred dollars?”

“Sir!”

Grant smiles.  “Nothing illegal or immoral I assure you.  I simply want to know what the security arrangements are for the game tonight,” he whispers.

“I’ll lose my job if I tell you that.”  She looks horrified.

“I’m concerned for my mother.  Being alone all night with a roomful of men.  If anything should happen…  If I can’t get to her quickly enough…”  He looks worried and then smiles.  “Like I said, I can make it worth your while.”  He holds up a hundred-dollar bill in front of her eyes.

She focuses on it.  Then with a sigh, snatches it and thrusts it into the pocket of her apron.  “Well I suppose I won’t be telling you anything secret.  The dining room door will be locked once the players have gone into the card room.  Mr Fleming, the hotel owner, has engaged a Mr. Jones to sit outside all night.”  She pauses.  “He looks the kind of man who knows his business, sir, if you take my meaning.”

Grant nods, stroking his chin thoughtfully.  “Yes.”  He glances down to the name badge, pinned to the top of her apron.  “Thank you, Daisy.  I know what you mean.”  He smiles.  “That’s very helpful.”

She starts to go but he pulls her back.

“Just before you go, please take Mr. Jones a pot of coffee.  I’d like to know my mother is secure.  It’ll help him keep awake.  Tell him it’s on the house.”  He smiles again and holds up a ten-dollar bill this time.  “You can keep the change, Daisy.”

Daisy smiles.  “Yes sir.”

Sometime later, Daisy crosses the lobby with a tray that contains a coffee pot and cup.  She is making for the alcove.

Behind the aspidistra, Grant sees her.  He steps out, intent on reading the folded newspaper in his hands, as a man turns away from the check-in desk.  Grant knocks into him, sending him sprawling over the table with all the brochures on.  They go flying in all directions.

“I’m so sorry,” Grant apologies.  “Are you hurt?”

Behind him, Daisy puts the tray down on the check-in desk and goes to help the desk clerk pick up the brochures.

“No.  No I’m quite alright.”  The man straightens himself and hurries away.

Satisfied that the man is unhurt, Grant sidles to the check-in desk and while nobody is looking, lifts the lid of the coffee pot.  He drips something into it, replaces the lid quickly, and then goes to help with the last of the brochures.

When all the brochures are once again in neat piles on the table, Daisy picks up the tray.  She smiles at Grant before continuing on her way to the alcove.  He watches her go with a satisfied smile.



DRAWING ROOM – LATER

The clock on the mantelpiece chimes ten thirty.  Wives are yawning and preparing to go upstairs.  Goodnights, promises to see each other tomorrow and polite kisses, etc.

Charley is the last to leave.  In the lobby, she frowns as she sees Grant only now climbing the stairs.  With a shrug, she scoots down to the private dining room, unaware that Pilsner is lurking behind the aspidistra.  He watches her go with a thoughtful look.  The Kid grins as he sees her.  He puts down the coffee he has been drinking and laughs as she settles herself on his lap.

“How did I do?” she asks.

“I thought you were perfect.”

She grins and strokes his cheek.

“Heyes is going to be locked up in that room all night, isn’t he?”

“Yep,” the Kid nods.

Charley gives a deep sigh, looks up at the ceiling and walls in boredom.

“An’ I’m gonna be right here.  Outside this door till mornin’,” the Kid says, knowingly.

Charley puffs in disgust.

“But that don’t mean…”  He grins and turns her head.  “I couldn’t use a little company for a spell.”

Charley smiles and slides her arms around his neck.

There is a few minutes of kissing and then the Kid pushes her away.

“What’s wrong?” Charley asks in concern.

Curry blinks and shakes his head.

“Dunno.  I feel kinda sleepy.”

Charley puts her hands on her hips.  “Huh!  I don’t usually have that effect on my men!”  She gets up.  “Here.”  She pours the coffee and then thrusts the cup at him.  “Drink that!”

Curry has to juggle the cup in order not to spill it on himself.

“I shall say good-night.”  Nose in the air, Charley marches off.



HOTEL LOBBY

The grandfather clock chimes eleven as Charley peers around the entrance of the alcove.  Not seeing any one around, she tiptoes across the lobby towards the stairs.  Her hair and make-up are dishevelled.

Pilsner pops up from behind the desk.  “Mrs. Balfour!  You’re up late.  Is there anything I can help you with?”

Charley jumps and looks around.  “Why Mr. Pilsner, you quite startled me!”  She puts a hand to her décolletage, breathing heavily.  “No, no.  Everything is fine.  I thought I would get some fresh air before I turned in.  I do so hate sleeping alone and Carlton is going to be in that tiresome card game all night.”  She sighs deeply and shrugs.  “I suppose I shall just have to read until I fall asleep.”

Pilsner glances at the alcove from where Charley has emerged.

“Perhaps you would like to… talk for a while, Mrs. Balfour?  Over … a nightcap?”  From under the desk, he produces a bottle of whiskey.

Charley looks surprised and then laughs.  “Why, Mr. Pilsner, whatever makes you think I would drink such strong liquor?”

Pilsner sidles around the desk, bottle in hand.  “Perhaps I could persuade you?”  He glances meaningfully at the alcove.

Charley takes his meaning and smiles.  “Just the one, Mr. Pilsner.  A very, very, very small one.”  She pinches her thumb and index finger together.

Pilsner smiles and indicates the darkened bar.  “Shall we?”

With a nervous glance behind her, Charley allows Pilsner to take her arm.



THE HOTEL LOBBY – MORNING

Pilsner walks into the alcove of the private dining room just as the grandfather clock strikes six o'clock.  Curry is slumped in the chair outside.

“Good morning, Mr. Jones.  I take it there wasn’t any trouble?”

The Kid considers.  “Nope.  It was as quiet as a grave.”  He stifles a yawn.  “Heard nothing.  Nothing at all.”

Now Curry is looking at Pilsner hard.  He is finding it difficult not to stare.  Pilsner has a black eye.

“Good.  Good.”

Pilsner produces the key as Curry moves the chair out of the way.



INSIDE THE GAMING ROOM – THE GAME IS OVER

Players are getting up and stretching.  Smiles, handshakes and congratulations all round.  The look on Heyes’ face says he hasn’t done too badly.  He is smiling as he picks up his chips.

Pilsner opens the door.  “Good morning, gentlemen.  And lady.  I trust you had a pleasant night?”

Four of the players, including Heyes and Mrs. Bench-Williams nod in agreement.  The other three players look less pleased.



OUTSIDE IN THE DINING ROOM

Curry spots his partner and grins, pleased to see him happy.  As he waits for the players to file out of the dining room into the lobby, he glances over at the table.  Then does a double take.  The centrepiece is missing!  He looks horrified.

Heyes sees his partner's expression and frowns at him in concern.  Then, he follows his line of sight.  His eyes widen in alarm.  He sees – or rather, doesn’t see – the table centrepiece.  He looks at his partner and swallows hard.

Curry shrugs helplessly.

“Mr. Pilsner, I thought you said nobody would enter this room after the game started,” Heyes says, seriously.  He notices Pilsner’s black eye and frowns.

“That’s right and Mr. Jones…”  Pilsner is now seeing the empty space Heyes and Curry are looking at.  “Oh!  My!”  He takes a deep breath.  “I’d better wake Mr. Fleming.”

Pilsner leaves the room to Heyes and Curry.

“Kid…” Heyes starts.

“Heyes, I was outside this room ALL night!  I saw Pilsner lock the door.  Nobody went in and nobody came out!”

“And you were outside alone?”

Curry looks guilty.  “Well… not alone ALL night.  Charley visited for a spell…”

Heyes has his hands on his hips.  He gives him the look.

“But she didn’t stay long ‘cos I felt sleepy…  She stalked off in a huff.”

“Wait a minute!  You felt sleepy?”  Heyes points a finger at him.

“Yeah,” the Kid ground out.  “Charley poured me a cup of coffee and then she left.”

“You had coffee?”

“Yeah.  A maid brought it a little earlier.  Compliments of the house, she said.”

“Ah, Kid, the coffee was probably drugged.”  Heyes turns his back and starts to pace.

“No.”  Curry shakes his head vehemently.  “My chair was pushed right up against the door.  They’d have to haul me outta the way to get in.  It was in the exact same spot when I…”

Heyes turns.  “When you what?”

“When I woke up,” he says, quietly.  “But nobody got passed me.  I’m sure of it.”

“Then how do you explain that fact that the reason we’re here is now missing!”  Heyes waves a hand at the table.

“I don’t know.  And it ain’t as if it’s the real thing.  It’s a copy!  The real thing’s in the safe!”

“I know that, but it’s not the point.  We were supposed to stop the crook red-handed.”

“Were we?” Curry seems surprised.  Heyes glares at him.

“Never mind that now.  It’s gone but it can’t have just vanished.  There must be some logical explanation.”

“Well let’s look around,” the Kid says, hastily.  “Maybe something will come to you.”

The pair look around the room, under tables, behind curtains, even under the rug.  Nothing.

Heyes shakes his head and stands hands on hips, looking around.  He is flabbergasted.  “It just can’t!  It’s… impossible!”

At that moment, the waiting staff come in pushing a trolley.  They have come to clear the table.

Heyes and Curry pay them no attention.  They just move out of the way.



Heyes is deep in thought, rubbing his chin.  He shakes his head and looks helplessly at his partner.  “I…  I’ve no idea!”

The waiting staff are busy clearing the table.  One of them drops a plate.  It falls to the floor but doesn’t break.  Rather, it rolls on its edge to where Heyes and Curry are standing.  Ever the gentleman, Curry picks it up and hands it to the waitress with a smile.  She smiles back.

Distracted, Heyes glances at the table.  He stops, open-mouthed and touches his partner’s arm.

“What?” the Kid hisses.

Heyes’ eyes travel upwards to the ceiling.  He blinks at the ceiling rose where the chandelier secures.  He swallows hard, and then moves forward suddenly.  He moves his head from left to right, staring at the ceiling.

Curry looks up too and then back at Heyes.

Heyes is gripping the back of a chair tightly with both hands.  He growls in irritation.

“You see something?” the Kid asks.



THE HOTEL LOBBY

Mrs. Bench-Williams and her son are checking out.  A bellhop struggles outside with their bags.

Pilsner, along with Fleming dressed in a robe, hurry past without giving the departing guests a glance.

Mrs. Bench-Williams gives Fleming a disapproving look.



PRIVATE DINING ROOM

Pilsner and Fleming join Heyes and Curry.

“There, sir!”  Pilsner points at the table.  “Gone!  Vanished!”

Fleming looks and then turns to Heyes and Curry.  Pilsner ushers the waiting staff out.

“You!”  Fleming points his finger at Curry.  “Were supposed to be guarding it!”

“Yes sir, Mr. Fleming…”  He launches into a lecture about sloppy security.

“Mr. Fleming,” Heyes interrupts.

Fleming continues his tirade at Curry.

“Mr. Fleming,” Heyes tries again, a little louder.

Fleming continues.

“Mr. Fleming!” Heyes hollers.

Fleming looks at Heyes.  By now, Fleming is almost purple with rage.  “Mr. Balfour?”

Heyes points at the table.

They all look and then back at him.

“What am I looking at?” Fleming barks.

“Dust, Mr. Fleming.  Or, to be precise, plaster.”  Heyes leans forward and runs a finger over the tablecloth.  He holds his finger up so they can see.  Covering the tip is a white powder.

“What’s that?  Plaster you say?”

Heyes nods and looks up.  When they are all looking up, Heyes continues.  “D’you see it?” he grins.

Looks of incomprehension.

“Around the edge of the ceiling rose, Mr. Fleming.  D’you see the crack all the way around?”

“Yes,” Fleming says cautiously.



OUTSIDE THE HOTEL



A stagecoach drives up and a tall man dressed in eastern clothes gets out.  He looks out of place.



PRIVATE DINING ROOM

“It’s been cut, Mr. Fleming,” Heyes says.  He pauses for effect.  “From above.”

Realisation dawns.

“Pilsner!  Who is in that suite?” Fleming barks at his manager.

Pilsner does a passable impression of a fish out of water.  “Mrs. Bench-Williams and her son, sir.”

“Are you telling me, Mr. Balfour, that you think Mrs. Bench-Williams took it?” Fleming snaps at Heyes.

“Mr. Fleming, Mrs. Bench-Williams was with me all night.  In there.”  He points to the gaming room.  “But her son wasn’t.”

Fleming swallows and looks up at the ceiling.

“Pilsner, go and see.  And you.”  He looks at Curry.  “Mr. Security!  Go with him.”

Pilsner and Curry dash out.

Heyes reaches forward, and from underneath a plate, he pulls a card.  He turns it to show Fleming – it says M.



MAIN HOTEL STAIRCASE AND LOBBY

Pilsner and Curry dash upstairs.  The manager knocks on the suite door.  When there is no answer, Pilsner fumbles for his master keys.  He opens the door.  The room is empty except for an A-frame and pulley in the middle of the room.  The rug is thrown back, the floorboards exposed.

Pilsner and Curry rush over.  They see the cut floorboards, exposing the plaster ceiling below.  A crude brace across the gap is securing something heavy.

Pilsner stares with a lack of comprehension.

Realisation dawns on Curry’s face and he dashes out.



CHECK-IN DESK

The tall man from the stage is standing there.

“Christopher Pinchbeck the Third,” he announces in a cut-glass English accent.  He flashes a smile at the desk clerk.  “Please tell the owner of this…”  He looks around.  “Establishment, that I am here and I wish to see him.  I have a matter of great importance to discuss with him.”

Behind him, Curry rushes down the stairs and up to the desk.  “Where’d they go?” he demands.

Pinchbeck looks at Curry with annoyance at the impertinence of the interruption.

“One moment, sir, while I tend to this gentleman,” says the desk clerk.

Pinchbeck smiles, pleased that he has retained the desk clerk’s attention.

“Where did Mrs. Bench-Williams and her son go?” the Kid insists.

Pinchbeck’s head snaps around again, this time with interest.

Pilsner puffs up behind him.  He is mopping his brow.  “Collins, if you please,” he says to the desk clerk.

“They… just left, sir.”

Curry and Pilsner dash out.

“Most extraordinary,” mutters Pinchbeck.

Outside, Curry and Pilsner look up and down the street.  They don’t see them.  Curry gestures in frustration.



HOTEL LOBBY

Pilsner and Curry return slowly.  Heyes and Fleming join them.

“They got away,” the Kid says.

“Well, Mr. Jones, we’d best get changed and get after them,” Heyes says and heads for the stairs.

“I say, somebody not paid their bill?” Pinchbeck enquires, with a raised eyebrow.

“No, sir,” sighs Fleming.  “A domestic problem.  I can assure you there is nothing to worry about.”

“Hmm,” Pinchbeck says.  “It looked rather more serious than that.  Are you by chance the manager?”

“Yes, sir, John Fleming.”

“Ah!  I thought so.” Pinchbeck rocks backwards.  “I was asking to see you.  And here you are.  Isn’t that nice?”

“Sir?”

Pinchbeck reaches inside his jacket pocket and produces a wallet, which he opens.  “My credentials.  Pinchbeck, Scotland Yard.”

Heyes and Curry pause on the staircase and look at each other.

Fleming and Pilsner look at Pinchbeck with confusion.

“I presume you’ve… heard of it?”  Pinchbeck seems surprised at their reaction.

Fleming shudders.  “Yes.  Yes of course, sir.  My manager, Pilsner here is about to go for the sheriff.  I’m afraid the hotel has been the victim of a robbery.”

“A robbery?  That is most unfortunate.  May I enquire what has been stolen?”

Fleming looks uncomfortable and then resigned.  “A very valuable gold table centrepiece.”

Pinchbeck draws himself up.  “Ah!  Then this is most fortuitous.  I am, at the request of your Government, investigating thefts of art across your country, Mr. Fleming.  After I have finished checking in, I will make myself known to your local law enforcement officer.  I believe you call them sheriffs in these parts.  Is that correct?”

Pinchbeck looms over Fleming, intimidating him.

“Yes.”

“Good.  Good.  I am on the trail, you see, of a thief so devious he has evaded capture everywhere in the civilised world.  He has outwitted the best detectives in London, sir.  The cream of police authorities in your eastern cities of Boston and New York.  I have tracked him across all the miles of this country from there to here.  And I am close!  Closer than I have ever been before sir.  So close I can almost smell him!”  He sniffs in emphasis.

“Yeah, but do you know what he looks like?”  Curry stands with his arms folded.

Pinchbeck turns to look to see who has spoken.  “Unfortunately that fact has eluded me thus far,” he says quickly.

“Well now, don’t you go beatin’ yourself up about it, Mr. Pinchbeck.  You couldn’t of known.”

Pinchbeck blinks and peers at Curry.  “Known?  Known what?”

“That your thief is a woman,” the Kid says, looking like he is enjoying saying it.

At that moment, the bellhop comes in mopping his brow.  “Phew!  Those bags were heavy.”

“The bags!” says Collins, the desk clerk.

They all look at him.

“Where did you take the bags for Mrs. Bench-Williams and her son?” Collins demands of the bellhop.

The bellhop looks confused.  “Er, to the depot for the 6:40 train.”

The grandfather clock in the lobby says 6:40.

Heyes and Curry look at each other.  They move as one and scramble out.

“After them!” barks Fleming to Pilsner, who nods and scuttles out.

“Excitable chaps, you Americans,” mutters Pinchbeck, watching them go.

“They’re going after your thief, Pinchbeck, if you want to see her captured,” says Fleming, preparing to follow.

Realisation dawns in the tall Englishman.  “Ah!  Admiral idea!  I shall be back momentarily, my good man,” Pinchbeck says to the confused desk clerk before strolling out.



OUTSIDE IN THE TOWN

Curry, Heyes and Pilsner, at a run, weave, in and out of the early morning crowds.

Fleming follows, and then stops, realising he is still in his robe.  He growls in frustration and returns to the Hotel.

Pinchbeck, strolls unhurriedly in the direction of the depot, raising his hat politely to passing ladies.



DEPOT – TRAIN HAS JUST PULLED IN AND PASSENGERS ARE ALIGHTING

On the platform, Mrs. Bench-Williams and her son are preparing to board.  She casts an eye back as the porters start to load piles of luggage.  With a satisfied sniff, she allows her son to lead her to the train.



PLATFORM

Curry, Heyes and Pilsner arrive gasping for breath as the conductor shouts: “ALL ABOARD!”

The train starts up.

“What do we do?” Pilsner asks.

“Get on!” says Heyes.

Pilsner looks on incredulously as Heyes and Curry, with practised ease, jump on board the moving train.  He shakes his head, grabs the stationmaster and gestures at the train.  Realising this is important the stationmaster blows his whistle sharply.

The conductor, who is still leaning out of the caboose sees, nods and disappears inside.  A moment later the train squeals to a stop.

A few moments pass.

As Pilsner and the stationmaster look on, Heyes and Curry escort Mrs. Bench-Williams and her son from the train.

“This is outrageous!” she cries.  “How dare these men haul me off the train!  I want them arrested immediately!  Sheriff!”  She wavers her umbrella in the direction of the approaching sheriff.

Behind them, the sheriff arrives.  “What the devil is going on here?” he demands.

Pinchbeck arrives.  “Ah!  I see you have caught the miscreants!  Well done, chaps!  Splendid!”

The long legged man looms over, and then peers down, at the short middle-aged woman.  She cringes back and tries to hide behind her son.

“Judith!  Is that YOU?”



SHERIFF'S OFFICE

A dejected looking Mrs. Bench-Williams sits in a cell.  Beside her sits her son, with his head in his hands.

Curry notices the wanted posters and nudges Heyes.  They sidle sideways nonchalantly to stand in front of the noticeboard.

“Well, now that they're behind bars, would somebody tell me what the blue blazes is going on in my town?” the sheriff demands.  “Why have I locked that woman and her son up?”

Everyone starts talking at once: Heyes, Curry, Pilsner and Fleming, who has hurriedly dressed and joined them.

Pinchbeck coughs discreetly.

Everyone looks at him.

“Allow me to elucidate.”  He steps forward so he commands the floor.  “You hold in your prison cell, Sheriff.  I can call you sheriff, can’t I?”  He receives a nod.  “The scourge of the art world.  The perpetrators responsible for dozens of audacious robberies all across Europe and now here in the New World.”

The Kid looks at his partner and Heyes rolls his eyes.

“It is I, Christopher Pinchbeck the Third, of Scotland Yard, who has at last captured these rogues.  No longer will they terrorise the world of statuary!”

“Now hold on jus’ a minute…” the Kid says, taking issue and stepping forward.

Heyes grabs his arm and shakes his head.  Curry glares at Heyes who shakes his head again.  He nods reassuringly and pats his partner on the arm.  Reluctantly Curry falls back into line.

Pinchbeck clears his throat.  “As I was saying…”

“Yeah, yeah!” says the sheriff.  “We all heard what you were saying.  So, I got me some big time art thieves in my jail house, do I?” he says walking around his desk and looking at the two in the cell.  “Well, well, well.  Don’t look like much, do they?”

Indignant snort from Mrs. Bench-Williams.

“Don’t let looks fool you, my good man,” Pinchbeck says.  He looks at the woman and a flicker of regret crosses his features.  “They’ve led me a merry dance for long enough,” he says, quietly.  “We’ve had several encounters and I’m afraid I…”  He swallows hard.  “Never suspected,” he finishes, barely audibly.

She looks ashamed.  He turns away.  “So, what did they steal this time?” Pinchbeck asks, now composed.

“This.”  It is Heyes, who steps forward and hefts a bag onto the desk with a thud.  He undoes it and lifts out the missing centrepiece.

“Gold table centrepiece from the private dining room of the Green River Hotel,” Heyes says, smiling proudly.  “Worth over $50,000.”

The sheriff gasps and leans in.

“Er…”

Pinchbeck frowns, fumbles in his pocket and brings out the largest magnifying glass ever seen.  He peers at the statue.  “No,” he declares, straightening up.

“No?  What do you mean?  No?” Heyes asked.

“It isn’t gold.”

“It isn’t?” Pilsner and the sheriff ask in unison.

“No,” confirms Pinchbeck.

“Sure looks like gold,” the sheriff muses, rubbing his chin.

“This is made of fake gold,” grins Fleming.  “The real one is in the safe, back at the Hotel.”

“No,” says Pinchbeck again.

Now Heyes and Curry are frowning at him.

“This one isn’t even fake gold.  It purports to be Pinchbeck if I’m not mistaken, a gold like metal my grandfather invented and has been named after him, but this is not it.”  Mr. Pinchbeck purses his lips and shakes his head.  “No.  Not even close.”

“Now just a minute…”  It is Heyes’ turn to step forward in umbrage.  “I…”  Curry elbows him sharply in the ribs.

Mr. Pinchbeck sighs.  “And, as a blatantly poor copy, I have to confiscate it.”  He reaches out to pick it up.

“Now just a minute, that belongs to the Green River Hotel!” says Fleming.

Mr. Pinchbeck gives a deep sigh.  “Oh dear, I haven’t had to do this for SO long,” he murmurs, digging into his inside jacket pocket.  “Here.”  He hands over a paper to Fleming.  “I have the right to seize any object that purports to be Pinchbeck and isn’t.  You’ll find it’s all above board.  You can check it out…”  A long finger snakes over the top of paper and bends down to the relevant point.  “Just there.  They are the authorities who can confirm my credentials.”

Fleming reads.  The sheriff peers over his shoulder.  They look at Mr. Pinchbeck in amazement.  The paper drops to the desk and Heyes snatches it up.  He reads.

“We only have your word that it isn’t Pinchbeck,” Heyes snaps.

“No.  Actually, Mr. Balfour, we have your word,” Fleming says slowly.  “You confided to me the other night that you knew who had made the fake gold.”

“There we have it then,” smiles Mr. Pinchbeck, tucking the paper back in his pocket.  “True Pinchbeck hasn’t been made since 1840.  It has become quite collectable in its own right.  Therefore, you see I really cannot allow this to get into circulation.  So many forgeries about.  One never knows what’s real and what’s not these days.”

With a smile, Mr. Pinchbeck picks up the centrepiece and tucks it effortlessly under his arm.  He tips his hat.  “I’ll deposit this for now into the bank for safe keeping.  Would any of you gentlemen like to accompany me?”

He looks around and doesn’t seem surprised when there are no takers.

“No?  Right!  Good day, gentlemen.”  He glances at the cells.  “Goodbye, Judith.  It’s a shame it has to end this way between us.  No hard feelings, huh?”

Judith huffs and looks away.



IMPRESSIVE HOTEL SUITE

Curry is lying on the bed, hands behind his head.  Heyes is packing furiously.  From the bathroom, we can hear the sound of bathing.

“There’s one thing I don’t understand, Heyes,” the Kid says.  “No.  Two things.”

Heyes grunts.  “Only two?”  He walks to the bathroom door.

The Kid gives him the look.

“Hurry up in there, Charley.  The stage comes in thirty minutes,” Heyes hollers through the door.

“I am hurrying!” we hear Charley holler back.

“Not fast enough.  If I have to come in there…”

Curry grins.  Heyes rattles the doorknob, then walks away grinning as he hears unladylike comments from inside the bathroom.

“Sorry, Kid.  You were saying ‘bout there only being two things you didn’t understand.”  Heyes turns away to finish his packing.

“What did M stand for on the card?”

“Huh?  Isn’t that obvious?”

“If it was, I wouldn’t be askin’, would I?”

“Mystery.”

“Huh?”

“M for mystery.”  Heyes straightens up and spreads his arms wide.  “See?  Obvious.”

“Yeah.”  The Kid sounds doubtful.  He sniffs.  “So tell me again how they did it.”

“Well…”  Heyes licks his lips and sits down.  “While Judith is downstairs playing poker, Grant comes up to his suite pleading tiredness.  He cuts a hole in the floorboards right over where the ceiling rose holds the big chandelier in the dining room.  Once he’s got at the fixing that holds the chandelier in place he can take the weight using that A frame you found, carefully cut around the ceiling rose and gently lower the whole thing to the floor.  Then he climbs down inside the room – you saw how skinny he is – climbs back up with the centrepiece, and pulls the chandelier back in place.  Makes it look like it’s vanished into thin air!”  Heyes gets up.  He gives the Kid a wide Heyesian grin.  “But he didn’t bank on ol' eagle-eyed Heyes.  He forgot one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“He forgot that the table hadn’t been cleared.  When the waiting staff began to clear the table this morning, I noticed that after they removed things there were brighter spots.  There was a layer of plaster dust over the whole table except where the dishes were sitting.  So I look up.  And then, I spot it.  The crack around the ceiling rose went all the way around.  Plaster don’t crack that way.  It was too precise.  That’s when I knew how it was done.  If I hadn’t, Grant and Judith would be long gone by the time some else figured out how he done it.”  He grins smugly.

Curry nods, impressed.  “Very neat.”

“Yep.  Sign of a master criminal.  Y’know, Kid, once we get the amnesty I think I might go into the detecting business.”

“Sheesh!  Who do you imagine you are, Heyes?  America’s answer to Sherlock Holmes?”

Heyes shrugs.  A smile plays round his lips.  “You can be my Watson, if you like.”

Curry frowns.

“No, perhaps you’re right, Kid.  I’d have to learn the violin and I just KNOW that would get on your nerves.”

With a grin, Heyes strolls to the bathroom door.  “Charley!”

The bathroom door opens.  Heyes jumps back and stares.

“I’m ready.”  There in all her glory is Charley, draped provocatively against the doorjamb.

Curry’s eyes widen and he scrambles quickly off the bed and turns his back.  “Heyes!” he hisses at his partner, who hasn’t moved.

Heyes drags his eyes away from Charley and frowns at him.  “What?”

“She’s nekkid!”

Heyes grins broadly.  “I can see that, Kid.”

“Well, stop looking.  It ain’t decent.  Two men and one woman.  One nekkid woman!”

Laughing hard, Charley goes back into the bathroom, shutting the door.

Curry breathes a sigh of relief.

Heyes chuckles.  “What’s got you all so prudish?”  He walks back to his partner.  “You’ve seen her before.  You told me that the other day.”

Curry looks embarrassed.  “Yeah, but she’s your girl, Heyes.”

“Oh, no, Kid.  No she isn’t.”  He grips his partner’s shoulder and gives it a shake.  Then he looks regretfully at the closed bathroom door.  “She’s a working girl, Kid.  That means she’s nobody’s girl.  I’m just fond of her, that’s all.”

“Sure that’s all it is?” the Kid asks, doubtfully.

Heyes nods decisively.  “Yep.”



HOTEL – MAIN STAIRCASE



Heyes and Curry walk downstairs together.  Both are wearing western gear.  They are chatting and laughing as they walk.

Behind the check-in desk is Fleming.  They look at him in surprise.

“No Pilsner?” Heyes asks, looking around.

“No, I decided he had better not show a public face until his…”  He gestures to his eye.  “Clears up.  He’ll be in the back office for a few days.  Well, Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones, a satisfactory conclusion, don't you agree?  Although not exactly the one any of us intended.”

“Nope, but the main thing is that the real centrepiece is safe and sound in your safe, Mr. Fleming,” says the Kid.

“Indeed.  As agreed, I have taken care of your room and hotel expenses.  Including the five baths,” he adds, through gritted teeth.

Heyes rolls his eyes.  “Women huh?” he smiles, pleasantly.  “They do like all this primping and pampering.”

“My advice, Mr. Smith, find a cheaper one,” Fleming says, dryly.  “So there is just one final thing.”

“What’s that?” Heyes says, innocently.

In the background, Curry is smiling.

“The $10,000 buy-in?  The deal was that you could keep anything you won above that.”

“Ah!  Yes of course.”  Heyes chuckles as he digs into his pocket.  “How could I forget?”  With obvious reluctance, he hands over the bills.

“Thank you, Mr. Smith, and with that, I can say our business is concluded.”

They shake hands.

“Make sure you tell the Governor what a good job we did, won’t you?” the Kid says.

“I will, Mr. Jones.  I will.”

They leave and stand outside the door.

“How much did you win last night?” the Kid whispers.

“Six thousand,” grins Heyes.  “Minus the $500 we owe Charley for her time.”

“That all?”

“She was worth it!”

Curry rolls his eyes.  “I meant, is that all you won?”

“I was playing it cool, Kid, checking out the other players, seeing which one could be our thief.”

“And did you?”

“Yes.”

“Were you right?”

Heyes thrusts his chin out, and turns back before his partner could ask again.  “Where IS that girl?” he asks with a frown, before stalking back into the hotel.



STAGECOACH

Charley sits next to the window, Heyes beside her and Curry opposite.  They are the only ones in the stagecoach.

“Did you see that Pilsner fella this mornin’?”  The Kid smiles.

“Yeah,” Heyes says.  “I wonder how he got it?”

“Got what?” asks Charley.

“Pilsner had a black eye,” Heyes laughs.

“Well perhaps he got it because his hands have minds of their own.”  She sniffs, pats her hair and looks away out of the window.

Both of them look at Charley.

“Charley?”  Heyes smiles, leaning forward to see her face.

Charley huffs.  “He was a sleaze ball.  I think he saw me with the Kid.  He tried to…”  She stuck her nose in the air, imperiously.  “Take advantage of me.  And me a married woman, too!”

“So how did he get the black eye, Charley?”  Heyes smirks.

“His eye just…happened…to fall on my…fist.”  She trails off, her tongue exploring her mouth.

Heyes and Curry swap grins.

“Char-ley!” they say together in mock surprise.




Author’s Notes

Pinchbeck is a fake gold.  It was invented in 18c century by an Englishman, called Christopher Pinchbeck, who spotted that there was a market for jewellery that looked like gold but wasn’t.  At the time, gold was only sold in 18 or 22 karats.  He worked on making an alloy until he got the proportions right so that it looked like gold.  It was made of copper and zinc, but the exact proportions were a secret.




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Re: Fake or Fortune? by MoulinP
Post on Sat 15 Oct 2016, 10:43 am by Penski
A first-time writer for ASJ Virtual Season - thank you, Moulin! Enjoyed the story thinking of Goldie Hawn as Charley. Poor Kid not being able to do his job properly - who would have suspected coffee? Glad Heyes had some success so they could share with Charley and have some money in their own pockets. Very good! goodone
Re: Fake or Fortune? by MoulinP
Post on Sat 15 Oct 2016, 12:48 pm by aliasfluffyone
Enjoyed reading and learning a new word pinchbeck. :)
Awesome!
Post on Sat 15 Oct 2016, 8:39 pm by LittleBluestem
What a fun episode, MoulinP! I truly enjoyed it. I have always liked Goldie Hawn and could totally picture her as the plucky Charley. (Interesting how all our Boys' gal pals have names that could be masculine, but the gals themselves are feminine all the way! I like that you carried on the tradition.) In fact, all the casting was great -- especially Judy Dench and John Cleese! I really liked the story, the banter, the reappearance of "Carlton Balfour,"  the clever Hannibal Heyes plan, the unexpected identity of the thief, and even poor Kid having to do the brunt of the labor, as usual -- but also getting his share of...er ...attention from Charley. And our favorite ex-outlaws even had some money in their pockets in the end. Thanks for a highly entertaining VS episode! Well done! happy
p.s.
Post on Sat 15 Oct 2016, 8:43 pm by LittleBluestem
After posting my review, I read the others. Mine sounds suspiciously like Penski's! e.g. "picturing Goldie Hawn," "poor Kid," and "money in their pockets"..... I will just have to attribute the weird similarity to great minds thinking alike!
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Re: Fake or Fortune? by MoulinP
Post on Sun 16 Oct 2016, 11:08 am by Cal
wonderful episode Moulin  and inspired casting... I really made sure to see the cast just as you planned them ...Judy in prison...lol...Mac descending from the ceiling.. John goose stepping around town... Niles... I know he's not called Niles but you know what I mean ...mincing around the Hotel...and Goldie at her comic best.  Perfect.  The banter between the boys was great and entertaining.  I always know I'm in for some laughs and some high jinks with your writing and I wasn't disappointed.  I think this would make a brilliant episode and its hard to believe this was your first try... Maybe I'll get a chance to give it a go next season.... was it very difficult to comply with the strictures of the genre?  Well done well done clap Calx
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Re: Fake or Fortune? by MoulinP
Post on Sun 16 Oct 2016, 11:10 am by Cal
Meant to say...I think Heyes would make a better Belgian Detective...him of the little grey cells and the fastidious moustache.... than Sherlock...brilliant pictures set off in my mind....Heyes in a dear stalker rofl Calx
Re: Fake or Fortune? by MoulinP
Post on Mon 24 Oct 2016, 6:14 am by MoulinP
I've been away and out of laptop and internet range. Back now to find my story aired last week! What a surprise. I wasn't expecting that - thought I still had work to do. Thank you to Penski and the producers for their helpful suggestions and pointing out the English expressions that crept in unwittingly. Thank you to the viewers who left kind comments and liking my first foray into the world of VS.
Re: Fake or Fortune? by MoulinP
Post on Sat 29 Oct 2016, 9:46 pm by Laura
What a great story Moulin. I had to laugh at Fleming, asking Heyes to step aside so that he couldn't see the combination to the safe, as if that would stop him from opening it if he wanted to. I like how the theft played out, of course Heyes would see things others did not. Heyes, Kid and Charley, maybe there is another story there. Pinchbeck and Judith, is there a story there, or did i miss something?
Re: Fake or Fortune? by MoulinP
Post on Wed 04 Jan 2017, 2:41 pm by InsideOutlaw
What a clever story, MoulinP, and it's your first VS!  Kudos for originality and characterizations.  Lots of fun moments, but as small as it was my favorite was the two of them sidling sideways to hide their wanted posters.  For some reason, that really made me laugh out loud.  Loved learning about Pinchbeck and your casting, too.  Nicely done!
Re: Fake or Fortune? by MoulinP
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Stories: Alias Smith and Jones  :: Virtual Season :: Virtual Season 2016-
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