Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

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 September 2011

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Penski

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Posts : 119
Join date : 2013-09-26

20170105
PostSeptember 2011

Authentic Experience

A little boy finds out that the authentic experience of a train robbery ain't nothing like what the dime novels says.



Mr. and Mrs. Adams smiled at each other as they watched their son pressing his nose against the glass, watching the scenery fly by.

“Hey, it’s gettin’ hillier now and we just crossed a river,” their ten-old year boy gave them detailed account of what was going on.

“Well, son, Denver is in the mountains and St Louis is in the Great Plains.” Mr. Adams picked up a newspaper.

“So once I see mountains we’ll be close to Denver?”

“No, dear. We have to go into the mountains for a while before getting to my sister’s house.” Mrs. Adams continued with her crocheting.

“And how long are we stayin’ at Aunt Martha’s house?”

“Remember, we talked about this, all summer.”

“And my cousins are girls.” Matthew made a face. “Who’s gonna play sheriffs and outlaws with me?”

“I’m sure there will be a boy in the neighborhood you’ll meet.” His mother looked up from the yarn project on her lap and smiled.

“When are we gonna get there?”

The father sighed. “Tomorrow morning.”

“Tomorrow morning! That’s a long way off!”

“And longer for your mother and I,” Mr. Adams mumbled under his breath.

Matthew sat back from the window and settled into the train bench after a while. He brushed back his blond hair with a hand and looked up with his blue eyes. “Ma, do you have my book?”

“It’s in here somewhere.” The mother searched in her large travel bag. “Here it is, Matthew, but it’s not a book.”

“Sure it is,” Matthew argued. “It looks like a book and has writin’.”

Mrs. Adams smiled patiently. “A book is more of a classic and has a hard cover. That is a dime novel and something I wish your grandfather would not buy you.” She shook her head and mumbled, “Singing the praise of outlaws.”

“They ain’t just any outlaws, Ma. They’re Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry!” Matthew explained patiently, although his mother had heard it before. “They’re the two most successful outlaws in the West. Hannibal Heyes can open a safe by just listenin’ and Kid Curry has the fastest gun ever.”

Mrs. Adams sighed. “Yes, I know, dear, but they are still bad men who do bad things and should not be looked at as heroes.”

“But they ain’t really bad…”

Mr. Adams looked up from reading a newspaper. “They aren’t really bad, not they ain’t really bad. And don’t argue with your mother. Those men are wanted by the law, so they broke the law; therefore, they are bad men.”

“Yes, sir,” Matthew replied as he took the dime novel and sat back to read it. He was soon engrossed in the latest adventure of the Devil’s Hole gang; his mother and father faded into the background.

An hour later, the train made a quick stop in the middle of nowhere.

Mr. Adams folded up the paper and looked out. “I wonder what the…”

“Maybe it’s Heyes and the Kid robbin’ the train!” Matthew exclaimed as he put his nose on the window. “Maybe we’ll get a real genuine experience gettin’ robbed!”

“Surely not!” Mrs. Adams turned to see out the window when a man on a horse passed them. “Oh, Paul, what if the train IS being robbed?”

“Then we start praying for our safety, dear.” Paul Adams put his hand on top of his wife’s hand. “And Matthew, we surely do not need an authentic robbery experience!”

“If it’s the Devil’s Hole gang, Ma, you don’t have to worry none. Heyes will open the safe and they’ll be on their way. They don’t rob from us,” Matthew said with excitement as he watched men approaching the stopped train. “I wonder which ones are Heyes and the Kid.”

A large man with a mustache entered the train brandishing a gun. “Afternoon, folks. You’ll be needin’ to leave the train. If you're packin' a weapon, you best leave it on the train. Wouldn't want no one gettin' excited or nothin' with Kid Curry out there.

Matthew held tight to his dime novel. “Are you the Devil’s Hole gang?” he asked enthusiastically.

“Matthew!” his father scowled.

The outlaw smiled. “As a matter o’ fact, we are!”

“Where’s Heyes and the Kid?”

Now the outlaw scowled. “They ain’t the only outlaws of the Devil’s Hold gang, ya know! Now let’s move on outta here, folks.”

Matthew started moving with his parents and the crowd as they carefully exited the train. “Which one are you? Kyle?”

“No, I ain’t Kyle!” the man answered indignantly. He paused a moment and then pointed his left thumb to his chest. “Name’s Wheat.”

“Wheat? Don’t recall a Wheat.”

“What? You’ve heard of Kyle and not me?” Wheat said annoyed. “Why of all the…” he muttered under his breath.

At the door, a shorter outlaw was helping the people out of the car. “That’s right. Jus’ move on over to that tree so you’re safe and outta the way.”

Matthew jumped down and looked around for his dime novel heroes. “Where’s Heyes and the Kid?”

Kyle glanced up and down the train. “They’re ‘round here somewhere.” He spit out some chaw. “Heyes is pro’bly workin’ on the safe. Why?”

“Can I go watch?”

“No you can’t go watch. You’re ‘pose to go with your folks to that tree over yonder.”

“Okay,” Matthew said dejectedly, his head down and kicking stones as he slowly went over to the group of passengers.

“Oh, Matthew, there you are!” His mother grabbed and hugged him, relieved.

“Ma, not in front of the outlaws!” The boy squirmed out of her reach and watched with fascination. A blond outlaw with a tied-down gun walked from the engine to the baggage car, stopping to talk to one of the gang members. “I bet that’s Kid Curry and he’s gonna see how Hannibal Heyes is doin’ with the safe.”

Matthew glanced around and slowly started edging his way from the group. He made a dash behind a boulder, about half way between the passengers and the train. Then he sprinted to the train.

The boy looked into the baggage car and saw a dark-haired man, sitting on his haunches, with an ear to the safe. “Got it open yet, Mr. Heyes?”

“What?” Heyes jumped and then scowled as he turned the tumbler. “I was until you disturbed me. Who are you?”

“I’m Matthew Adams an’ I’ve read all about you an’ Kid Curry! See?” He held up his treasured book.

“You have, huh?” Heyes barely glanced at the cover.

Matthew rushed on, “Uh huh. Grandpa’s bought me all the dime novels about you two. Can I watch you open the safe?”

“No!” Heyes glanced at his pocket watch and muttered. “Where in the heck is Kid?”

“Want me to go get him?”

“No!”

Curry walked up to the car and looked puzzled down at the boy. “Heyes, you have a visitor.”

“I know that!” Heyes exclaimed, frustrated.

“And you only have a few more minutes until…”

“I know that, too!” Heyes put his ear against the safe.

“Howdy, Mr. Curry! I’m Matthew Adams.” He held out a hand to shake his hero’s hand. “A big admirer of you and Mr. Heyes. I have all of your dime novel.”

“Now is that a fact.”

“SHHH…” Heyes hissed.

“Can’t hear the tumblers if we’re talkin’,” the Kid explained in a whisper.

“Oh… I’ll be as quiet as a mouse then.” Matthew turned to watched Heyes again.

A moment later, Heyes hit the safe. “It’s no use. I can’t concentrate now.”

“I’ll go get Kyle.” Curry turned to leave.

“What? You can’t open the safe? But all the books say…”

“Kid!”

“Got him, Heyes. Come on, kid.” Kid Curry grabbed his arm. “You’re goin’ back to your folks.”

“But, I wanna watch you and Mr. Heyes. How come Mr. Heyes can’t open the safe? He always can open the safe.” Matthew pulled back.

“Well not this time.” Curry lifted up the boy, who began to kick. “Hey,” he admonished Matthew as he tried to avoid the boy’s feet. “Cut that out!”

They walked over towards the passengers and were almost there when the Kid set the boy down.

“Kyle, Heyes wants…” Out of the corner of his eye, Curry saw a male passenger step out of the crowd, pulling his hand out of his pocket. In an instant, Curry’s gun was aimed at the man’s heart. “I wouldn’t, if I were you.”

The man’s eyes grew big as he slowly took his hands out of his jacket and raised them. “I was only going to my son…”

Mrs. Adams fainted.

Matthew ran towards his parents. “Pa!” He began to cry. “Is Ma… dead?”

Mr. Adams crouched by his wife. “No, son, she’s just fainted. She’ll be okay.”

The boy turned to Kid Curry, who was holstering his gun. “You drew on my pa! You almost killed him and my ma!”

Curry shook his head in unbelief at the accusation. “I didn’t… If you hadn’t…”

“KID!” Heyes yelled. “What’s taking so long?”

“Kyle, we need to blow up the safe. Get the dynamite and get busy.”

“Shore thing, Kid! I get to blow up the safe!” Kyle grinned and ran to his horse.

“Yeah,” Matthew spat out. “Mr. Heyes couldn’t open the safe this time. You guys ain’t nothin’ like the books say you are.”

“Well, that’s ‘cause real life ain’t like the stuff you read in dime novels, kid. And I bet we never had to deal with a nuisance like you in any of ‘em, either.” Curry turned and walked back to the train. He paused and turned. “Lobo, make sure that boy stays with his folks and don’t come botherin’ us again.”

Lobo went over and stood by the Adams family as Mrs. Adams was waking up. “Will do, Kid.” He faced the boy. “You heard Kid Curry, don’t you move. Understand?”

“Yeah, I understand. None of you are like the gang in the dime novels.” Matthew threw his dime novel on the ground in disgust.

A few minutes later, Heyes, Curry and Kyle ran from the train. “Fire in the hole!”

“Get down, folks!”

The passengers lay on the ground and covered their ears when the dynamite exploded.

Heyes popped his head up and saw an intact baggage car with a safe, minus a door. “Good job, Kyle!” He patted his fellow outlaw on the back before getting up.

Curry and Heyes ran back in the train and pulled the money out of the safe into bags. As they tied the bags to their horses, Heyes informed the rest of the gang, “We’re done here. They can go back on board.”

“Okay, folks, you heard Heyes; you can get back on now.” Wheat strutted around as the passengers stood up and brushed the dirt from their clothes before heading to the train.

Once the passengers were near the tracks, the outlaws started mounting their horses.

“What’s that?” Heyes asked as he pointed to a book on the ground.

“Hey, that boy left his dime novel.” Curry got down and retrieved the book. “Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry and the Great Train Robbery.”

“Let me see that!” Heyes held out his hand and skimmed through the dime novel as Kid got on his horse. “Hey, you can shoot eight men with one round of bullets! How do you do that, Kid?”

“Give that to me!” Curry rode next to Heyes, grabbed it, and looked inside. “Says here you can open a safe in ten seconds flat! Guess not today.”

“I could’ve opened it if that kid didn’t distract me,” Heyes defended himself.

Curry grinned. “Sure Heyes, whatever you say.”

A few of the other gang members snickered and Heyes grabbed the book back from the Kid. “When we make camp tonight we’re using this to start the fire!” Heyes scowled. “Let’s get outta here!”
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