Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

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 March 2011

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March 2011 Empty
PostMarch 2011


Someone in the Devil's Hole Gang had a secret life. Can you guess who?

Heyes and Kid Curry walked into the El Dorado saloon full of elation from another successful job. El Dorado was one of those small towns with no sheriff that they felt at ease celebrating and relaxing with a few comforts, poker games, and women. But that didn’t stop the Kid from glancing around the room to make certain all appeared safe.

Seeing a man at the bar, Curry nudged Heyes and directed him where to look with a nod of his head.

Heyes glanced at the man and looked puzzled. “How could he, so fast? And why so dressed?

Kid shrugged and the two walked over to the man and stood on either side of him.

“So Kyle, how’d you clean up so…” Heyes began, but abruptly stopped when the man turned toward him. “Pardon us, you’re not Kyle.”

Heyes and the Kid quickly backed away. “Can we have a bottle and two glasses?” the Kid asked as they sat at a table.

“Sorry Heyes, I thought it was Kyle.”

“Sure enough looks like him.” Heyes watched as the man finished his drink and walked over to them. “Here he comes.”

“Excuse me, gentlemen, may I join you?” The man saw the confused and hesitant looks on the faces of the men at the table. “Let me introduce myself. I am James Murtry. And it seems you know my brother, Kyle?”

“Another Murtry… Sure sit down.” Heyes kicked a chair out as a welcome. “Kyle never mentioned a family. We thought he was orphaned. But we can definitely see the family resemblance.”

“That’s for sure. You look like twins; well, you would if Kyle cleaned up some.” Kid poured drinks for everyone at the table. “Did he tell you where to meet him?”

“Well, no…”

Heyes’ brow furrowed. “Then how did you find him?”

“I hired a detective, a very discreet detective, to find my brother and bring him back home with me.”

“And where’s home?” Heyes questioned.

“Originally we come for Somerset England, but have been in New York now for a few generations Murtry’s are a prestigious family—a very wealthy family.”

“So you tellin’ us that Kyle comes from a rich family?” the Kid asked skeptically. “Our Kyle?”

“Kyle’s never mentioned family before. Why would that be?” Heyes asked wanting to know more to protect one of his men.

James Murtry took a drink. “Let’s just say that Kyle was the … the ‘black sheep’ in the Murtry family. He struggled more in school than I. He didn’t quite take to the refinements of our life and became quickly frustrated. One day, without warning, he left a letter on his bed, took $100 from his savings, and took a train west.”

“Well, the being a black sheep sounds like our Kyle,” Kid agreed. “And you haven’t heard from him since.”

“Not a word.”

“And why now? Why are you looking for him?” Heyes asked.

“Father and mother are getting quite elderly and want their son back where he belongs, in the Hamptons, and not associating with wild hooligans, no offense.”

Heyes scowled and took a drink. “And what if he doesn’t wanna go back?”

“And why wouldn’t he? A life of comfort in the Hamptons or traipsing around in this god-forsaken place.” James paused for a moment. “What would you chose, Mr. Heyes?”

The partners exchanged a quick look and Heyes gave Murtry a mirthless grin. “So you know who we are and what we do, thanks to your detective.” When Murtry nodded, Heyes continued. “Kyle don’t have a poster on him yet.”

“Thank God – it would have broken my parents’ hearts. You help me get Kyle back where he belongs and your ‘secrets’ will be safe with me.”

Curry looked up and glared with piercing blue eyes. “Are you threatenin’ us? I wouldn’t, if I were you.” When James looked down at his glass, he continued, “It’s Kyle’s decision if he’s gonna stay or go home with you. And you’ll leave quiet and peaceably if he decides to stay. Do we have that clear?”

“Besides, telling anyone would put your brother at a great risk.”

“Yes, agreed. You are right, of course. Telling any secrets would jeopardize him also.” James glanced around the room. “Where is my little brother, Kyle?”

“He’ll be along; he’s tending to the horses.”

“Of course, he is. He always did enjoy spending time in the ghastly smelling stable.”

Curry stared at James. “You don’t have much respect for your kin.”

“And you do? Kyle is a simpleton. Always has been and always will be.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” Heyes swallowed the rest of his whiskey and poured more for everyone. “Everyone likes Kyle. He’s easy to get along with and follows orders.”

James Murtry rolled his eyes. “Kyle could be in a position of giving orders.” He sipped the whiskey and muttered, “A Murtry following orders…”

A moment later, the rest of the gang rambunctiously entered the saloon, helping themselves to drinks and the women.

Kyle glanced around the room and, seeing Heyes and Curry at a table, came over to them. “Your horses are all brushed down and fed oats and…” His mouth dropped open, with chaw all over his teeth, when he saw James.

“Hello, little brother.”

Kyle turned and ran out of the saloon without saying a word.

“Guess he didn’t expect to see you here,” Heyes said as he watched Kyle retreat.

“I’m thinkin’ he didn’t even wanna see you,” Curry added.

James fumed. “Of all the ungrateful…” he sputtered. “ I come all this way in this godforsaken, hot country and get this kind of reception?” He began to stand to follow his brother out the door.

Heyes held out his arm and held James down in the seat. “Think you better let us talk to him.”

Curry nodded, swallowed the rest of the liquor in his glass, and joined Heyes to find Kyle. When they reached the street, they looked both ways, but saw no sign of Kyle. “Where d’ya think he went? Couldn’t have gone far.”

“Let’s try the livery. Kyle might feel safe being among the horses.”

They entered the stable. “Kyle, where are ya?” Curry hollered. “Me and Heyes wanna talk to you.”

“Alone?” asked a timid response.

“Yeah, we’re alone,” Heyes pointed to a corner of the barn that he heard the voice.

Curry and Heyes made their way over and noticed Kyle sitting on a stool in the corner. They knelt down beside him, one on each side. Heyes put a hand on a shaking knee. “You okay, Kyle?”

“That’s…that’s my brother James.”

“We know. He introduced himself. Don’t you want to say howdy to him?”

“What’s he want here anyway?”

Curry gave a reassuring smile. “Never told us you had family, Kyle.”

Kyle shrugged his shoulders. “They ain’t family. You two and Wheat and the boys are more family than they’ve ever been.”

“He’d like you to go home with him to see your pa and ma.”

Kyle looked at Heyes and panicked. “Go back? You sending me back there?” He shook his head vehemently. “I don’t wanna! You can’t make me!”

“Whoa, whoa,” Heyes said in a calming voice. “No one is going to make you do anything, Kyle. It’s all your decision.”

Kyle nodded, but continued to nervously shake.

“None of our business, but why don’t you wanna go back with him? Sounds like a nice place,” Curry asked.

“A nice place? Always bein’ compared to James. Sit up, Kyle. Mind your manners, Kyle. James and I; not me and James. If you don’t go to an Ivy school, you won’t amount to much.” Kyle shuddered at the memories. “I couldn’t do nothin’ right in their eyes. And mother would have a fit if’n she knew I chewed.”

“But what about the fine meals and the clean clothes. Riding pure-bred horses and meeting nice ladies,” Heyes gently argued to show Kyle what he was giving up.

“But you let me play with dynamite. Can’t do that when I’m there.”

“You’re sure you don’t want to go back with him?” Curry asked.

“If’n it’s all right.”

Heyes grinned and patted Kyle’s knee. “Of course it’s all right. We have to find another explosive expert and they’re hard to find.”

Kyle gave a toothy smile.

“But, I think it’s only right that you tell your brother you’re staying.”

Kyle’s smile disappeared. “I hafta talk to him?”

Heyes and Curry nodded.

“It’s for the best, Kyle,” Heyes continued. “And me and the Kid will be right beside you.”

“Okay,” Kyle said as he stood up and headed out the door. “Let’s get this talkin’ over with.”

“Imagine that … Kyle had a secret life we didn’t know about,” Heyes said in a low voice for Curry to hear.

“And what a life. Who’d have though our Kyle as rich,” the Kid added.

Kyle turned. “You guys comin’?”

“Yeah, we’re coming.”

A few minutes later, Kyle sat down with his brother, joined by Heyes and Curry.

“Hi…hi James,” Kyle stuttered. “You’re a long ways from home.”

“So are you, Kyle. Father and mother want you home now. They say you’ve had your fun and it’s time to come back.”

“But I don’t wanna go back there, James. I like it out here. I get to blow things up and…”

“Blow things up?” James’ brow furrowed.

“Yeah, with dynamite!”

James looked aghast. “If father and mother knew…”

“That’s just it. I don’t hafta worry about what they think and … and… and I’m happier out here.”

“Happier? How could you be happier? Look at yourself. You haven’t had a bath for … how long?”

“Over a month,” Kyle beamed. “I take one when I wanna now.”

“And your clothes! They are filthy and torn.”

“Yep! Don’t hafta worry ‘bout gettin’ my good clothes dirty no more.”

“And… and your hair!”

“I know, it is kinda dirty and long, huh?”

James shook his head in disbelief. “I simply cannot imagine why you are happy here.”

“’Coz I can do what I want, when I want, and not be told to be someone I ain’t.” Kyle took a deep breath. “I ain’t ever gonna be you or good enuf for pa and ma. The boys accept me as I am.”

“And so you are refusing to go back with me?”

Kyle nodded and gave a small wave to Wheat, who was curiously watching what was going on from the bar. “That’s Wheat over there. He’s like my best friend. Found me not doin’ so good and helped me learn the ropes ‘bout livin’ in the West.”

James turned and looked at the older man at the counter.

“He’s like the best big brother you never were.”

James glared at Kyle.

“You know you wasn’t a good brother, James. Me and you both know that.”

“You and I …” James corrected Kyle’s grammar.

Kyle shook his head. “I don’t hafta follow ‘em dumb rules no more.”

Looking at Heyes and Curry, James asked, “Did you two talk him into staying?”

“Nope,” the Kid replied.

“Didn’t have to. He made it very clear that he feels more at home with us.”

“Well, if that’s the way you want it. Stay with these lowlifes! Then I’ll inherit all of our father’s estate.” James stood to leave. “Good bye, Kyle.”

“Bye, James. Say hi to pa and ma for me,” Kyle said with a smile.

Heyes poured drinks around the table. “Kyle, just how much is your family worth?”

“Oh, a couple of million, I reckon, by now.”

Heyes sprayed out the drink he had just taken. “Million…” he choked.

Curry patted his partner on the back and continued, “You just gave up a million dollars to stay here?”

“Let me tell ya boys somethin’ I’ve learned o’er the year,” Kyle said in a quiet voice. “Money don’t buy happiness.”

“If you say so, Kyle.”

“And,” Kyle looked around the room nervously, “could we keep this all a secret from the rest of the boys? I don’t wanna be treated any different ‘coz my family has money.”

“Sure Kyle,” Heyes’ voice returned. “Your secret is safe with us.”

“Thanks. Now if’n you don’t mind, I’m gonna have a drink with Wheat ‘stead of you two.” Kyle got up and walked over to the bar.

“Who’d have thought – our Kyle?” The Kid shook his head.

“Yep, who’d have thought,” Heyes agreed.
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