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 Wrong Train Too by CD Roberts

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CD Roberts
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Posts : 114
Join date : 2013-09-23

20131026
PostWrong Train Too by CD Roberts

Starring Pete Duel and Ben Murphy



Clay Clinton    Jack Elam


Wade Sawyer     Joseph Campanella


Squirrel-face     Dennis Weaver


Brody   Walter Brennan


Michael Warren Alan Hale Jr


Cole     Harry Carry Jr.


Arkansas     Elisha Cook Jr




Heyes and Kid Curry were walking to the train station of Florrisant Colorado, on a bright clear cold day in October.

"Not bad, we stayed in this town a whole week with no problems," said Curry.

"Yep, no problems, no sheriff's spotting us, no rushing out of tow..."

Curry grabbed Heyes’ arm, interrupting him, and pulled him back to a side street.

“What?” hissed Heyes.

“Over there. Look. That’s Wade Sawyer, isn’t it?”

Heyes groaned. “Again? Did he see us?”

The Kid shook his head. He peered carefully around the corner to keep an eye on the troublesome lawman.

“He sure does seem to show up a lot, don’t he,” observed Curry. “Guess that means we gotta leave town, before he sees us—again.”

“You guessed right partner.” Heyes shook his head.

Sawyer was in the middle of the street directly between them and the train station. “Let’s see what time the next stage leaves.”

"Next stage don't leave for another week, fellas.. Since we got a train station, most people take that," the stage manager said, helpfully. He shook his head. “It’s sure ruining my business,” he added as he stared at the backs of the two men.

Next stop was the livery. “Sorry boys, them’s all rented or sold fer now. I don’t keep many horses on hand no more ‘cause Florissant’s got a train station now, and most folks…”

“Take the train,” Heyes finished the liveryman’s sentence for him. “Yes, we know.”

They left the livery watchfully as if on the alert for Wade Sawyer.

Curry pulled Heyes back one more time after he spied the lawman.

"He's heading for the saloon," said the Kid.

“Hopefully that’ll keep him busy for awhile,” Heyes said.

“Well, you’re the thinker. How do we get out of town this time? You wanna risk the train?”

“Well that would seem to be the only way left, unless you wanna walk.”

“Funny. Guess it’ll have to be the train, ‘cause I sure ain’t gonna walk. I just hope we have enough time to get tickets without Sawyer showing up at the station.”

He paused. “You remember what happened last time we saw Sawyer and took the train?”

“Yep, but the odds that we board a train manned with Bannerman agents has to be close to zero, and anyway Briscoe’s a ‘friend’ of ours now, and he’s nowhere near.”

“True. Guess takin' the train's a good idea. ‘Course it’s really my idea,” said the Kid with a smile.




The two friends arrived at the depot, and looked slightly surprised and discomforted by what met them there.

“Heyes, how come there’s so many people here?”

“Well, I guess the best way to find out would be to ask.”

“OK, you’re the talker, you go ask.”

“You know, I’ve heard you talk, and you’re actually pretty good at it.”

“Yeah, but I thought up the idea of taking the train, so now it’s your turn to do something.”

Heyes shrugged his shoulders, and went to the ticket booth. He returned shortly.

“Well?”

“Well, it’s a company train.”

“A what?”

“A company train, Kid. It’s going to Guffey. Only potential employees of the Bradshaw Mining Company can board it. That’s why it’s so crowded. Most of these people are hoping to get jobs.”

“Well, we can be potential employees, can’t we?”

Heyes looked the Kid straight in the face. “Married employees only. They want a ‘moral’ town. No single folk allowed.”

“Um, well, can’t we…”

“What--be married? Where you gonna find two women to marry so fast?”

“Well, what are we gonna do? I don’t wanna walk to Guffey.”

As they were talking Wade Sawyer came around the corner, and the Kid yanked Heyes back a third time.

“I wish you wouldn’t pull so hard when you do that.”

“What do you want me to do? You never see him. You want me to leave you out in the open?”

“No, sorry,” Heyes grumbled. “Maybe you could sort of warn me first, though.”

“How?”

“I don’t know how. You’re the one who sees him.”

The two ‘discussed’ the finer points of warnings as they walked down a street out of Sawyer’s sight.




They stopped in front of a milliner’s store. Heyes gazed distractedly at the broad window while the Kid continued talking.

There was a green dress on display, and a blue one. Heyes looked at the Kid, studiously.

“Kid, I’ve got it,” he broke in.

“Got what, Heyes?”

“Got an idea. A Hannibal Heyes Plan. How we can get out of town.”

Now the Kid groaned. “Heyes your plans haven’t exactly been workin’ out lately.”

“What do you mean, not working out?” Heyes asked, looking slightly injured.

“Not workin’ out. I think that’s pretty clear, what I mean by not workin’ out.”

“Kid this one is different.”

“Oh you mean it might actually work?”

“Kid, of course it’s gonna work. It’s….”

Kid groaned again. “Don’t you say ‘foolproof.”

“Kid, I wasn’t going to say ‘foolproof.’ I was going to say it can’t miss.”

Heyes continued rapidly before Curry could get another word in.

“Look, its perfect. We’ll buy you a dress, that blue one there matches your eyes, and then we can get on the train as a married couple.”

“WHAT!?”

“I said, we’ll buy you a dress, a wig, a hat, and you can pretend you’re my wife. Perfect,” Heyes finished smugly.

“I am not gonna wear a dress! And I ain’t gonna be your wife. You think this idea is so perfect, you wear the dress.”

“You ain't thinking properly. Let me point a couple of things out for you. One, it’s my idea so I get first say who wears the dress, and two, who’s gonna believe I’m a woman?”

The Kid growled, “me, that’s who. ‘Cause, one, I ain’t gonna wear a dress, and two, who’s gonna believe I’m a woman?”

“Tell you what, we’ll toss a coin,” said Heyes grinning amiably.

Curry looked at his partner skeptically. “And that’s supposed to be fair?”

“You got a better idea?”

The Kid hesitated. Then he finally said, “OK but we use my coin, this time.”

Now Heyes hesitated. Then he said, “I guess that’s OK, but I flip it.”

Curry hesitated, and looked at Heyes skeptically.

“It’s a compromise, Kid,” Heyes said encouragingly.

“OK, my coin, and your toss,” Curry finally acquiesced.

Heyes smiled.

Curry pulled out a quarter and spit on it. He rubbed it until it was shiny.

“Kid, need I remind you, we don’t have much time before the train leaves.” Heyes held put his hand.

Curry dropped the quarter in Heyes’ palm. “Call it!” Heyes tossed the coin in the air.

“Heads.”

Heyes caught the coin and slapped it on his right hand, covering it with his left. He grinned confidently. Curry watched, ready to be disappointed as usual, as Heyes slowly slid his left hand off the quarter.

Heyes’ grin faded.

“What?!” asked Curry in disbelief and joy. He stared at the coin on his partner’s hand. “Well, I’ll be, you lost, Heyes.” He smiled. “You know what? I think maybe this time your plan is gonna work.”

Heyes looked up at Curry. “Two out of three?”

“Nope, you lost. Let’s get shoppin'. Tell you what, Heyes. You get the dress and the hat. I’ll go get you a wig.”




Some time later, they were behind the undertaker’s, which they figured would be the least visited spot in town, and Heyes was struggling into a green dress, over a tightly tied corset.

“You didn’t have to make it so tight you know,” he complained. He was already unhappy with the color of the dress, but the dressmaker didn’t have any black ones available in his ‘sister’s’ size.

“’Course I did. You gotta have somethin' of a figure Heyes. Who’d believe I’d have a wife like, well, a wife…”

Heyes glared at him.

“...Without any fashion sense,” Curry finished happily.

“We are only doing this to get on the train. I don’t care what the latest fashion is.”

“It’s gotta be believable, right?”

“Just give me the wig,” ordered Heyes.

Curry reached into a box, and proudly retrieved his purchase.

Heyes’ eyes widened in disbelief. “It’s red! What did you go and get a red one for? Do you know how that’s going to stand out?”

“Aw, c’mon, Heyes, you’re already going to stand out, being so tall and all, for a lady. And anyway, red was all they had. I had to ask all over town to find this one, they don’t exactly have a call for wigs here, and I almost ran into Sawyer about three times. I took a big risk, gettin' this for you.”

“For us, you mean.” Heyes snatched the wig from Curry and put it on his head.

He stood back and assessed Heyes with a critical eye. “Not too bad, really. Oh, and I got you somethin' else. I had some extra money, ‘cause I was able to get the wig cheap. It’s used, you see; they used it for a play.” He held out a small tin.

“What’s that?” asked Heyes suspiciously.

“Face paint.”

“What!”

“Well, Heyes, you’re gonna have to put a little on to cover your shadow, so to speak.” Curry dabbed his finger in the tin. Heyes pulled his face back.

“Heyes, I ain’t gonna make you look like a painted lady, I’ll only use a little. Everyone will just figure you had the smallpox or something.”

He rubbed some of the face paint on Heyes’ face. “You know Heyes,” he mused thoughtfully as he diligently applied the make-up, “Sawyer is crawlin' all over this town. If he ain’t lookin’ for us, who is he lookin’ for?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. All I want to do is get out of here. That’s enough.” He grabbed the tin from Curry. “Let’s go.”

“Heyes, wait.”

“What?”

“You forgot your hat,” Curry said grinning as he held out the matching green hat Heyes had purchased. As Heyes slapped the hat on his head, Curry put the tin into a black lady’s bag. He pulled the drawstring on it, and looked at Heyes. He shook his head.

Curry reached up and turned the hat around. “It might look better this way,” he commented dryly.




The Kid purchased the tickets while Heyes waited by a barrel outside the station house, and tried to remain inconspicuous. It wasn’t easy, as he stood a head above the other ladies. Between his height and the bright red hair, he attracted plenty of attention.

A couple passed him on their way to board the train. “Hiram, did you ever see such a tall lady? I can’t remember when I’ve last seen a lady so tall,” the woman whispered in a voice that could only be heard by the nearest twenty or thirty people, all of whom turned to look.

“What about your cousin Martha?”

“Oh yes, you’re right. I forgot about her. But she wasn’t quite so broad shouldered, I don’t think, and her hair wasn’t quite so bright. I think Martha’s mousy brown hair was more genteel, don’t you?”

“Hmm, I think I rather like red hair,” Hiram answered as his wife gave him a none none-too-gentle kick. He tore his face from the tall red Amazon in the green dress as his wife dragged him up the stairs.

Another couple passed and the man stared at his hair openly, snickered, and gave a low wolf-whistle. He stared back at the man in an insulted manner, and the man averted his eyes as his wife pulled him away.

The Kid returned with the tickets and Heyes snatched one from him. Curry snatched it back. “I’m the husband, remember,” he hissed. They boarded the train and the Kid handed the tickets to the conductor.

They walked to the second car as the first was filled and found two available seats. The Kid stowed their luggage under them.

“Ladies first.” He smiled as he allowed Heyes to sit ahead of him in the window seat.

Heyes sat down and let out a gasp of relief. “You tied this thing too tight,” he hissed, “I can barely breathe.”

Curry glanced around at the now full car. “You know, I can sure understand why folks want these company jobs,” he whispered ignoring Heyes’ comment, “they’re gonna pay real well. You know maybe when we get to Guffey we should stay on awhile.”

Heyes gave him a dirty look.

“Now remember, you’re supposed to be my adorin' wife,” the Kid added as the train lurched forward.

Heyes doubled the dirty look.

Twenty minutes later a man walked into the car, and coughed and hemmed for quiet.

“Welcome folks; hope everyone is settled in and comfortable. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Michael Warren and I am your liaison with the Bradshaw Mining Company. I’ve got a few announcements to make, and then I’ll let you good people enjoy the trip.

The town we are locating you all in, Guffey, is booming and is well on its way. The Bradshaw Mining Company has built some homes for all of you, and we’ve even built a church and a school. Now most of you don’t need that school yet, but I’m sure you all will soon, and the Bradshaw Mining Company thinks ahead,” he said, winking. He rubbed his hands as his little joke fell flat.

“Ahem, now to continue: you are all respectable folks or you wouldn’t be here, leastways if you aren’t you won’t be in Guffey long,”

Heyes and the Kid exchanged sideways glances, as the representative gave a little laugh, which received no laughter in response.

“Well, to continue: The Bradshaw Mining Company takes care of its own. And just to make sure we have a law-abiding, moral community, the Bradshaw Mining Company has hired an exceptional preacher, the Reverend Arbuckle Buckley and, in addition, one of our country’s top lawmen, to keep the peace, Marshal Wade Sawyer. Reverend Buckley is already in Guffey, but Marshal Sawyer is making the journey with us. He’ll be along in a few minutes to greet everyone. Meantime sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

“Now, if you fine folks will excuse me, I have another car full of future citizens and employees of the Bradshaw Mining Company of Guffey, Colorado to talk to.”

Heyes collapsed back into his seat, closed his eyes and moaned.

“Sawyer is on the train; we didn’t even have to leave Florissant. We could have stayed. I didn’t have to dress like this.”

“What’d I say about ‘Hannibal Heyes' Plans? Anyway, what are you complaining about?”

Heyes gave Curry another incredulous look as he continued. “Well at least you’re in disguise. I’m gonna have to be avoiding Wade Sawyer until we reach Guffey. Maybe you can keep him occupied, or something. Otherwise I’ll probably end up hanging outside the train.”

The Kid got up in disgust.

“With any luck you’ll fall off,” Heyes muttered, and smiled as the Kid was about to leave.

Curry looked down at him and didn’t return the smile. He went to the rear door, and left the car at the exact moment Wade Sawyer entered the front door.

Sawyer tipped his hat after entering. “Howdy folks,” he said in greeting to the car of travelers.

They looked at him expectantly. Not a man given to speech making, he tipped his hat again. He glanced at the passengers, and when his eyes fell on Heyes, he visibly gave a start.

Heyes’ eyes widened slightly, and he turned to face the window.

Sawyer walked over to him. Heyes looked at his hands. Then he looked at his wrists, as if he was waiting for the handcuffs.

Nothing happened. Sawyer took off his hat, and fiddled with it nervously.

“I’m pleased you made it, ma’am. I was searchin’ for you all over town. I was worried sick something had happened to you that might have prevented you from reachin’ the train in time. You didn’t have any trouble getting on board then?”

“Huh?” Heyes glanced to the side at Sawyer, who now sat down in the seat the Kid had recently vacated.

“I did tell the conductor to be expectin’ you.”

“Oh, and, he was,” Heyes gave the obvious response, and waited for Sawyer to explain the mystery.

“I hope you are doing well ma’am.”

“Oh, I am,” Heyes said in an awkward voice. He continued in a stilted manner. “And you?” Heyes returned, and fiddled with his hat in a somewhat feminine manner.

“I’m well, ma’am.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes. Heyes looked out the window and watched the scenery, counting the trees the train passed in a whisper.

“You look just like how Mike described you ma’am, if you don’t mind my sayin’. And how you described yourself as well.”

“Is that good, or is that bad?”

Sawyer gave a low chuckle. “That’s good ma’am. I’m not a man who likes surprises. You’re just what I was expectin’.”

More time passed in silence.

“Am I what you were expectin’, ma’am?”

“Mr. Sawyer you are exactly as I imagined you,” Heyes responded.

Sawyer played with the hat in his hands. “I am sorry about Mike. He was a good man, and the best of boyhood friends. But I am pleased to see that since it’s been a year and all, you are out of mourning, ma’am.”

“Michael was indeed the best of men, and I’ll always miss him,” Heyes said, and watched Sawyer closely as if looking for hints as to who Mike was.

Sawyer helped him out.

“I understand, ma’am. He often wrote of his happiness in meeting you, and his joy in your union. I’m only sorry it was so brief.”

“Too brief,” said Heyes running a finger under his eye to wipe off a nonexistent tear.

“But you will be able to start a new life in Guffey. A new home will help you take your mind off him, as you wrote in your last letter.”

“Oh, absolutely. A new place, and staying busy of course, would surely help me move on with my life.”

“And you’ll have plenty to do to fill your time, ma’am. I’ll be actin’ as mayor as well as sheriff, at least until folks get to know each other and we hold elections. So I’ll be holding afternoon receptions, and suppers, and I’ve got one of the biggest houses in town for you to take care of, outside of the company's representatives, that is.”

“I will so look forward to that, all those social occasions, I mean,” said Heyes smiling through his teeth.

“ ‘Course, I plan to run for mayor and keep the office,” Sawyer continued.

“Why, I’m sure you will be an excellent mayor, and folks will recognize that you deserve the position.”

“Thank you, ma’am. I appreciate your faith in me. If you hadn’t-a encouraged me in your correspondence, I might not have taken on the duties of the office when they were offered. But I think with your support, I’ll be able to do a good job.”

“I think you overestimate my importance, Mr. Sawyer,” began Heyes.

“Overestimate your importance! Ma’am, I could never do that. Your letters have been my inspiration.”

“They have? I mean, I am glad they have provided you with inspiration, Mr. Sawyer.”

“You know they have. Emily, may I call you Emily? And you must call me Wade. After all, as soon as we arrive in Guffey, Reverend Buckley will meet us at the train, and we’ll walk to the church for our vows.

I have to say though, that after having exchanged letters for so long, I feel like we are already married. We already know so much about each other.” He smiled. Heyes’ jaw dropped slightly, and his eyes opened wide. “Emily, I am sorry. I don’t mean to be so forward. I would never want to upset a lady like you.”

“I--, it’s not that. It’s all the--, well it’s the excitement of it all. I feel a little bilious. Mr. Sawyer.”

The marshal looked at ‘her’ significantly, “Wade, I mean,” Heyes said, correcting himself, “if you do not mind, I would like to take a walk, and step out for a little fresh air.”

“Of course, Emily. You do look like some air would set you to rights. I will escort you outside if you like.”

He rose to let ‘her’ pass into the isle. Heyes turned around. “Now Wade, you just sit here. I’ll be right back.”

“But, Emily…”

“I insist, Wade. If you were looking for me all over Florissant, you deserve to rest awhile. And I want to be alone for a moment. You do understand, don’t you? It is all so overwhelming, to meet you for the first time, and seeing the man you are. You know how we ladies are; I simply require a little time for myself. Oh, I can see you do understand. You are quite as I imagined.”

Heyes hurried off before Wade could protest any further. He went into the next car, passed the Kid, and gave him a look that meant to follow. He continued out the back of the car. Curry came out a moment later.

“Well, I guess he don’t know who you are. I looked in and saw you two was talking just like old friends.”

“Funny, and no, he doesn’t know who I am, Kid.”

“So everything is OK then. That is as long as you can keep him talking, and from walking back here. Least I won’t have to go crawling around the outside of the train, and hang on for the trip. I figure when we get close to Guffey I’ll hop off, and we can meet up outside of town.”

“We’re hopping off now.”

“What? Heyes are you crazy? The train is going full speed, and you couldn’t possible hop off a train wearing all that.”

“Kid, he thinks I’m someone he knows.”

“Heyes that don’t make sense. If he knew who you were, he’d know you weren’t whoever he thinks you are.” Curry stopped and frowned.

“Kid, he thinks I’m someone he’s been writing to for the last year. The widow of a childhood friend of his.”

Curry shrugged. “Heyes that don’t sound like it would be so hard for you to handle. You’ve got that silver tongue, and you can talk your way out of anything. Well, most anything.”

“Kid, he and this woman were planning on getting married when they reached Guffey.”

The Kid was speechless. When he could continue he garbled out, “You mean right when they arrive?”

Heyes nodded.

“Wow, that Sawyer sure works fast, don’t he? You haven’t even been a widow that long, I mean she hasn’t.”

“Kid, I don’t think you grasp the problems here.”

“Well, I’m not sure there is a problem. I mean, everyone in Guffey has to be married, don’t they? So I guess it makes sense that Sawyer has to be married too.”

He paused and, thinking it over continued, “Heyes, that ain’t legal, is it? Between you and him I mean.” Curry started to laugh. When he could speak clearly, he continued, “so all you gotta do is slip away when you can after you get to Guffey.”

“Kid, you don’t grasp the full situation here.”

Curry shook his head.

“Kid, the real Emily isn’t on this train. She wasn’t in Florissant. What if she is already in Guffey, and what if she decides to meet the train?”

“Heyes, you do have a problem.”

“We have a problem. I ain’t so sure I can keep this story up. Like I said, they’ve written letters for about a year. According to him, they know everything about each other. I don’t even know what my surname is supposed to be. And, if he figures out who I am, he’s gonna figure you’re somewhere around.”

“Heyes, you’re right, maybe we should jump off this train as soon as possible.”

They both looked over the side of the train. Then they looked at each other.

“Heyes, you know it’s going too fast. We can’t jump now. You’ll have to go back.”

Heyes groaned. “I suppose I can tell him I’m tired, and pretend to sleep.”

“Sure that’ll work. Look, the train’s gonna have to slow if we come to a town, or maybe we’ll make a water stop. Just make an excuse and hurry back here. I’ll make sure I’m out here anytime the train slows. We’ll jump then.”

“Uh huh.” Heyes turned to reenter the train. He stopped. “Kid, isn’t anyone wondering why you’re alone?”

“Nope. A lady asked me, but I said my wife went onto Guffey ahead of me, and she was OK with that. I don’t think the Bradshaw people actually remember who came in with who, or care right now.

Anyway somehow a poker game got started, and a lot of the fellas are all together, and so the women are also in a group talking, and everyone’s too busy to notice me.”

“A poker game?”

“Yep, and Heyes they are terrible. You would clean up.”

Heyes walked back into the car, and passed the group of women chatting, and then the men. He glanced down and saw a man holding a full house fold to a man who was bluffing. He sighed.
Finally, he reached his seat.

“Are you feeling better, Emily? You still look a mite under the weather.”

“I’m feeling tired, Wade. I think I’ll try to sleep a bit if you don’t mind.”

“‘Course I don’t mind. We’ve got plenty of time to get to know each other.”




Heyes kept his eyes closed and waited for the train to slow.

The whistle blew, and the train lurched to a halt. Heyes started to rise from his seat, when the door burst open.

“This here is a stick up! Everyone stay seated, and don’t do nothin’ foolish, and no one’s gonna get hurt.”

A masked bandit waved his firearms in an apparent effort to appear threatening. Another bandit pushed him from behind. “Huh? Oh, yeah.” He moved out of the way so his compatriot in arms could pass.

“You folks ante up your goods into this here hat,” said the first bandit as he stomped down the aisle. “It’s just like church, folks. Make your donations.”

He pointed his gun at the first couple. “C’mon folks, don’t be stingy. Rings, timepieces, money, we’ll take it all,” he cackled. A few people turned to look down the aisle at the rear door.

“Ain’t no one gonna come through that door, lessen it’s some of my buddies. Don’t expect no help folks. We got all the cars covered.”

He moved down the aisle, holding out the hat. “Now you folks hurry it up, and we’ll be gone real soon.”

A blast was heard.

“See what I mean folks. That’s the mail safe. So we’ll be leavin’ in just a few minutes. Here you,” he said to the man in front of Sawyer, “don’t you try to hold out on us. You just put that ring you’re wearing into this hat.”

“But it’s my wedding band,” the man protested.

The outlaw looked at the woman seated next to the man. “Now don’t you worry none, we sure ain’t gonna take her, just the ring. Can’t imagine why you’d wanna keep either of 'em.” He cackled again.

Sawyer moved slightly to block ‘Emily’ to protect her. The sun reflected light off the badge he wore.

“Hey, lookyhere. We got us a lawman.”

His friend in the doorway laughed. “That don’t make him different from anyone else. He’s still gotta pay up.”

“My friend’s right. You just go ahead and put your offerings in this here hat, lawman.”

Another bandit came in from the mail car in time to hear the last sentence. “Brody, whaddya mean, lawman?”

“This fella here, Clinton, he’s got a badge as big as a silver dollar.”

“Well so he do,” said Clinton. “Well, well, well, and what are we gonna do about you, lawman?”

“Clay Clinton,” Sawyer said evenly. “I’ve heard about you and your boys. Didn’t know you were workin’ these parts.”

Clinton walked over and looked closely at the badge. “Well, we are now Marshal. And we plan to work these parts for a long time. So we can’t have you following us can we?”

“It’s my duty, boys. You may get off this train all right, but I’ll catch up with you later. Unless you murder me, that is.”

Heyes looked at Sawyer, jaw dropping at this announcement.

“Are we gonna shoot him, Clinton?” asked Brody.

“I’d like to, but it won’t be good for business.”

“That’s right Clinton. You’re smarter than I’ve heard. You kill me and you’ll have every lawman in Colorado after you.”

Clinton pushed his hat back with his colt. He looked from Sawyer to Heyes. “That’s your woman, ain’t it, Marshal?”

Sawyer stiffened. He stretched his left arm in front of Heyes. “Maybe, maybe not. What’s it to you?”

Clinton reached out and grabbed Heyes by the arm, pulling him up. “Well, I think she is, or you wouldn’t of tried to protect her. But even if she ain’t,” he dragged Heyes over to his side, “I don’t think you’d wanna see anything happen to the...,” he stopped and looked at Heyes from toe to head, and did a double take, “...‘little’ lady.”

“Let’s git goin’ fellas. Brody you finish up and git the rest of these folks belongings. Folks c’mon! Let’s git moving.” He turned and pulled Heyes after him.

“Now you wait just one minute, you just wait,” Heyes protested. “I can honestly say I am not his woman.”

As he said this, Sawyer called out, “Emily, don’t you worry. You stay calm, and you’ll be OK. I’ll rescue you.”

Heyes rolled his eyes as Clinton smiled at him, and escorted ‘her’ off the train.

The horses, left tied to some low hanging branches for longer than they apparently cared for, had spent the time loosening their reins. As a result, two had escaped, and were wandering off in search of something edible.

Clinton threw his hat down on the ground, cursing his men. Heyes sat down on a nearby rock, and watched as three of the outlaws chased after the delinquent horses.

“You know,” he commented dryly as Brody neared a skittish horse that was backing away, “I don’t think your men are all that competent at rounding up horses.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Clinton gritted the words out, “I wouldn’t have noticed that if you hadn’t mentioned it.”

“My pleasure.”

The men finally returned with the two of the three beasts, and began to mount up for the ride.

Clinton stared at his men with ill-disguised impatience and anger. “Forget the last horse,” he ordered, “Two of you are gonna have to double up.” The outlaws sorted themselves out so that two would ride on one pony.

“Who’s she riding with?” whined one outlaw.

“Well, now that you’ve spoken up, Arkansas, I guess she’ll ride with you.”

Heyes looked at Arkansas, and sniffed. “I think not,” he said.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” Clinton began sarcastically.

“I am not going to ride behind him. He’s filthy. Moreover, it is not ma’am, my name is, ahem, Miss. Miss Reynolds. I’ll thank you to address me properly.”

“Miss Reynolds, will you be so kind as to sit behind,” Clinton looked at his grimy men, “Cole, over there.” He pointed at the cleanest outlaw among the group.

“He’ll do, I suppose.”

Clinton helped Heyes onto the horse behind Cole, and the men rode off, but not before Heyes ‘accidentally’ booted Clinton in the face.

After an hour, they stopped to water their horses at a stream, and looked back to see if any one was chasing them. The men splashed water on their faces, and grumbled to each other, while Heyes watched them intently. He gave a start as his eyes fell on the last man.

“Clay, bringing her along was right smart of you. I don’t see no one.”

The men began a round of mutual congratulations on their cleverness. Heyes looked at them, and shook his head, almost in pity. Then looked past them and glimpsed the tip of a familiar Stetson. He rose from his seat on a fallen log, and started to walk towards the hat.

“Stop Ma’am, Miss Reynolds, I mean,” barked Clinton, “just where are you headed?”

“I would rather not say,” responded Heyes, pretending to be embarrassed, “but I require some time alone. I won’t go far, only enough so you cannot see me.” He saw an indecisive look on Clinton’s face. “I will be back. I certainly would not be able to travel far on my own, you surely realize that.”

Reluctantly, Clinton acquiesced. “OK, Miss Reynolds, you have ten minutes. You’d better be back by then, or I’ll come after you myself, no matter what you are doing, you understand?”

“I understand perfectly, Mr. Clinton. I’ll be back in nine minutes.”

Heyes strode off into the trees and undergrowth. Eventually he heard a hiss. “Over here,” the Kid’s voice whispered.

“Those fools left a horse,” he continued, when Heyes neared. “Let’s go.”

“Kid, much as I want to leave, we can’t go now.”

“What? Why not?”

“I can’t believe you’ve been around me for so long, Kid, and you still can’t figure things out. Hasn’t any of my brilliance rubbed off on you?”

“Heyes,” growled Curry, warningly.

“I don’t suppose it has occurred to you that Sawyer’s going to have plenty of time to think before that train reaches Guffey, and he may just figure out who I am by then, especially if the real Emily meets him at the station.”

“So? We’ll be long gone by then. If we get going now, that is.”

“Kid, need I remind you that train has been robbed.”

“Uh huh.”

“And need I remind you that Sawyer just may think I was in on it, maybe to keep him from following.”

“Heyes,” the Kid groaned.

“The way I figure it, we have to get the drop on the gang, and bring them and the money to Guffey to clear ourselves. After all, if he figures I’m involved he’ll figure you were with the gang too,” Heyes said before Curry could interrupt with the objection that Sawyer had not seen him.

“Heyes, there’s seven of them. You aren’t armed; your Colt’s in the baggage on the train. How are we gonna get the drop on all of them?”

“I’ll figure something out. You just keep out of sight. Probably we can get the drop on them after they go to sleep tonight. Only thing that worries me is I’ve seen one of ‘em somewheres, and he may figure out who I am.”

“Is there anything else you haven’t told me?”

“Nope, not that I can think of. Why? Isn’t that enough?” He grinned at Curry. “Well, I’d better get back or Clinton’s going to come after me. We don’t want him to see you now, do we?” Heyes gave the Kid a patronizing pat on the shoulder and went back to the gang.

“Glad to see you keep your word, Miss Reynolds,” Clinton sneered to Heyes. Heyes gave the leader a glance of calm superiority in return.

“Let’s git goin’, Clinton continued, and in a more polite tone of voice, “let me help you up, Miss Reynolds.”

He graciously offered his arm and supported the ‘lady’ onto Cole’s horse again, and was promptly rewarded with another kick in his face.

“Ow, Miss Reynolds, do you think you can be a bit more careful getting up on that thing?”

“I am sorry, Mr. Clinton, but I don’t often ride horses, and certainly never under these conditions. I certainly did not mean to hit you,” Heyes lied.




The Kid watched the outlaws ride off, and trailed in the distance.

They stopped a number of times, as if there were arguments over which direction to take. He noticed Heyes giving a considerable amount of input, and figured that wasn’t helping the outlaws much. At one point, they even traveled in a circle, and lost a lot of time.

By nightfall they were back in the forest, not all that far from where they had started. Curry watched them make camp. They carelessly tied the reins of the horses to some undergrowth. Curry smiled to himself at this. He crept forward and loosened the reins on the three closest ponies.

Then he crouched behind a large fallen tree covered with growth.

“OK Miss Reynolds, we’ve got a fire started. You should be able to make supper soon enough.”

“What?” squeaked Heyes.

Curry grinned, and settled in behind his cover as if he was enjoying the show.

“Cook supper. I suppose you can manage that, being the only woman here,” said an exasperated Clinton. “Your cooking’s got to be better than your sense of direction.”

Heyes looked insulted. “My sense of direction is accurate, Mister Clinton. It is your ability to follow directions that is at question.”

Clinton rolled his eyes. “Fine,” he snapped, “just make supper.”

“If you insist, but I am not certain if I remember how to cook.”

Clinton simply stared at the ‘woman.’

“I’ve had servants for years, and I really have not tested my culinary skills in some time.”

The outlaws all looked at Heyes blankly.

"What's culinary mean, Clinton?" one asked.

“Miss Reynolds,” another whined, “we figure all wimin can cook, leastways better’n we can.”

“Sure thing, I figure Squirrel-face is right Miss Reynolds, ma’am. Your cookin’s gotta be better’n ours.”

Squirrel-face! Curry jumped at the name.

By this time, Heyes had approached the fire, and the frying pan. He held it awkwardly as if he had no idea what it was used for.

“Miss Reynold’s, ma’am, before you start fryin’ maybe you’d better fix somethin' up first,” proposed Arkansas, "to fry, that is."

“Oh, I suppose that is a good idea. What would you like to eat?”

“How about some biscuits, Miss Reynold’s ma’am? You mix them up, and then you can cook ‘em and fry some bacon.”

“Very well, then.” Heyes poured some flour in a metal bowl, mostly unsuccessfully. The outlaws watched dispiritedly as a great deal of their flour landed in the dirt.

“Here Miss Reynolds, ma’am, you just let me show you how it’s done,” offered Squirrel-face.

Clinton put his face in his hands and groaned.

“You know Miss Reynolds, ma’am,” Squirrel-face whined, a whine apparently being his only tone of voice, as he mixed up a batch of biscuits, “I sure could swear we’ve met before. You wouldn’t happen to be one of Mrs. Clancy’s gals would ya?’

The rest of the men all stopped what they were doing in obvious shock.

“Squirrel-face,” yelped Brody, “how could you even suggest such a thing. Miz Reynolds here is a fine lady. You shouldn’t even speak such things to her.” The other men nodded.

“I didn’t mean no harm. I just cain’t help but thinkin’ we’ve met before. I’m sorry Miss Reynolds, ma’am, but you do seem awfully familiar to me.” Squirrel-face hung his head.

Heyes pretended to be shocked and offended. “I do believe I understand what you are referring to Mister Squirrel-face. I do not wish to talk with you any longer,” and Heyes got up and walked away. He sat on a log at a more comfortable distance from the heat, and watched with a look of pleasure as the men finished cooking supper.

Heyes refused to rejoin the men to eat. Eventually, Arkansas brought over a plate of food and some coffee.

“We’s real sorry ma’am. Squirrel-face shouldn’t done and said what he said. He told me to tell you that, and he hopes you’ll forgive him.”

“Arkansas!” shouted Clinton. “Our ‘guest’ is able to git her own food. You git yourself back here. Now!”

“Sorry Miss Reynolds, ma’am, I gotta get back.”

“I do understand Mister Arkansas. Mister Clinton has a considerable temper, hasn’t he? Do you think he will have it under control when you divide up your, er, takings?”

“Miss Reynolds, ma’am?”

“Arkansas, you git here now!” roared his leader.

Arkansas sat with the other outlaws,with a serious expression as if a seed of discontent had been planted in his mind.

Some of the other outlaws, who had heard Miss Reynolds, also appeared to be cogitating as best they could.

Everyone seemed to be somewhat disgruntled, and more than somewhat distracted. Everyone except for Hannibal Heyes, that was. Curry grinned to himself.

The men were so lost in thought, they didn't even noticed the three horses that freed themselves.

Heyes rose to return his plate, but before he could take a step, Squirrel-face jumped up and ran to him.

“Miss Reynolds, ma’am, please let me take this fer you. I’d like to make up fer the terrible thaing I said earlier.”

“Squirrel-face!” Clinton jumped up now. “All of you! I’ve just about had it with you! You let Reynolds take care of herself. If it wasn’t for her we’d be in the next state by now. And you all are grovelin’ to her; that’s grovelin’, I say. You are actin’ like a pack of dumb fools.”

Brody stood and faced the leader. “Miss Reynolds is a real lady, Clinton, and my mamma taught me to treat ladies proper. And you cain’t expect a genuine lady to know her directions right; that’s up to us men, so you shouldn’t be blamin' her. It’s your fault we are here, and no further. You’re supposed to be leader.”

“Uh huh.”

“That’s right.”

“I’ll second that.”

Clinton looked around at his mutinous men. The situation was getting out of hand. Then he noticed that some of the horses were missing.

“You blame idiots! You didn’t tie the horses right again! Three of ‘em are gone! Now you listen to me. I’m your leader. You, Arkansas, Brody, Slim Jim and Frank, you go after ‘em!”

“Now?”

“Of course now, before they git further away, you dunderheads! Do I have to do all the thinkin’ for you?”

“But its dark. How’re we gonna find ‘em?”

“I say we just double up on the remainin' horses,” offered one outlaw.

Clinton turned on his men in a rage. “We have three horses left and there are seven of us, not countin’ the lady. Take the lantern, light it, and look for ‘em, you morons! Now git goin’!”

The four men scrambled to ‘git goin’, and after tripping on each other, and dropping the lantern two times before successfully lighting it, they trudged off into the dark.

The Kid ducked out of their line of sight.

After they were gone, Heyes addressed Clinton. “Mister Clinton?”

“What!”

“I need to excuse myself again for a few minutes.”

“Now?”

Heyes opened his eyes in wide innocence. “I really don’t think it can wait.”

Clinton snorted in anger. “Squirrel-face, you go with her.”

“What!” yelped Heyes and Squirrel-face in unison.

“You go with her so she doesn’t get lost in the dark,” Clinton said loudly and slowly. “You can turn your head when you need to, you idiot, can’t you?”

“Well, I suppose if you insist, then I must allow Mister Squirrel-face to accompany me.”

“Yes, I insist.”

Squirrel-face and Heyes left the campfire and went in the opposite direction of the outlaws searching for horses.

Only Clinton and Cole remained. They stood and faced each other.

“You’re bunglin' everythin',” began Cole. As he drew his breath, the distinctive sound of a pistol hammer clicking broke the silence.

“Howdy boys,” said the Kid walking towards the fire. “You just take out your guns nice and easy with two fingers and put ‘em on the ground real carefully.”

The two dumbfounded men slowly obeyed.

Squirrel-face and Heyes had not gone so far that Squirrel-face could not hear the men at the camp. “What the…” he began as he turned his face towards his friends. Unfortunately, his face met Heyes’ fist while turning, and he toppled over onto the ground. Before Squirrel-face could recover, Heyes had nimbly retrieved the outlaw’s gun from his holster.

“Up,” ordered Heyes in his normal voice.

“Huh?”

“I thought I was clear. I said up. Let’s get back to the camp.”

A dazed Squirrel-face stumbled back to the campfire, Heyes following.

Two jaws dropped when Heyes and his captive approached. Clinton and Cole looked dumbly at the Kid and at Heyes.

Heyes smiled broadly. “Clinton, I sure am glad you had Cole remain behind. He’s just about my size, and he’s a lot cleaner than the rest of your men.” He waved the gun at Cole. “You get out of your pants and shirt.”

“What?”

“I think you heard me, out of your clothes. I need them.”

“What am I supposed to wear?”

“Well, you could wear that dress if you’d like, but if I was you I’d stick to my long johns,” joked Curry.

Cole peeled off the shirt and pants and put them on the ground where directed. While this was happening, Squirrel-face stood scratching his head. He looked at the Kid and than at Heyes and back again. He muttered to himself.

The Kid held his gun at the outlaws as Heyes tied their hands securely behind their backs.

“What about the others?” asked the Kid.

“Oh, I figure they ought to start trailing in here pretty soon. With any luck they’ll get separated from each other, and we can grab ‘em pretty easily.” Heyes directed each man to sit apart from the others after he tied the man. Then he tied their ankles together, and gagged each one.

As he tied Squirrel-face, the man gave him a puzzled look. “I swear I know you two.”

“Well, don’t you fret on it,” replied the Kid.

“My friend’s right,” added Heyes. “It doesn’t matter who we are anyway.”

“Are you lawmen?” The man frowned as he asked the question. Heyes and the Kid shrugged at each other, and Heyes put the gag in Squirrel-face’s mouth.

“I hear someone comin'.” Curry indicated where the sound was coming from.

He and Heyes hid in the trees, and waited for the man or men to arrive. The rest was easy. The hapless men had split into pairs, and stumbled back in the dark. Heyes and the Kid captured them with no difficulties, and after tying them up, Heyes was finally able to rid himself of the 'dreadful dress' with the help of Curry.

The partners sat apart from the trussed up outlaws, and spoke to each other in low voices.

“What now?” asked the Kid. “We can’t just leave them here.”

“Nope. We have to get them closer to town.”

“How are we gonna get them to Sawyer without him arrestin' us?”

“I don’t know. How long do you figure it’ll be before he gets a posse on the trail?”

“The train must have arrived a few hours ago. He’s probably got a posse together now on their way back to where the train was robbed. They’ll probably pick up the trail tomorrow morning when it’s light, and follow it out here; should get here, oh about tomorrow midday.”

“That’s what I figured.”

“If he’s real smart, or got an expert tracker, he’ll even figure out my trail is separate; it don’t follow yours exactly.”

“Hmm. Maybe we don't have to move them closer to town then.”

"Nope."

The next afternoon a good-sized posse arrived at the outlaws’ camp. They found seven men trussed like turkeys, and all the stolen goods neatly displayed. The posse members yelped with joy, and crowed over their easy success.

Sawyer stood and scratched his head at this puzzle. He directed his men to pack up the prisoners and the goods and to take them to town.

“Marshal, ain’t you coming?”

“You boys head on back; I wanna study this some more; see if I can figure out what happened here.”

“As long as we got the outlaws, and the stolen money and such, does it matter?”

“Maybe not,” replied Sawyer quietly.

The posse left and Sawyer waited as if he felt some event was going to occur. He sat on a log, his colt in his right hand, resting on his leg.

He heard a noise and looked up to see Hannibal Heyes approach. He started to pick up his gun only to see Heyes grin. Sawyer heard a click directly behind his head.

He sighed wearily.

"Amateur’s mistake, Sawyer," the Kid said as he reached over and took the lawman's gun.

“Now don’t you go on feelin’ bad about me gettin' the drop on you. I figure plenty’s happened in the last couple days to get a man all muddled up, and let down his guard.”

“The Kid’s right. I wouldn’t feel so down if I were you Sawyer.”

“You two gonna tell me what you’re planning to do with me?”

“Nothin',” answered Curry.

“Nothing?”

“Nothing. Look Sawyer, the Kid and me just wanted to make sure you knew we had nothing to do with that robbery.” The Kid nodded. “It was just a coincidence our being on that train.”

“A coincidence? Do you always go around in a dress, or is that something I just never heard about you before?”

“Well, that’s sort of your fault, Sawyer. We figured we had to get out of town ‘cause of you.”

“ ‘Cause we figured you could recognize us. So we had to get on that train.”

“And only married couples could get on…”

“And we couldn’t get horses or a stage…”

“And we sure didn’t figure you’d be on that train…”

“Stop!” Sawyer looked from one outlaw to the other. “I don’t think I want to know anymore. Wait, yes I do. Why didn’t you take the money?”

Heyes and the Kid shared a glance. “We can’t tell you that, Sawyer. We’re not at liberty to explain it. But we can tell you we don’t do that sort of thing anymore.”

“I have an idea,” Sawyer said slowly, “But I don’t think I really want to go into it. I figure it’s best left as is. I take it I can go back to town.”

Heyes and Curry smiled. “Absolutely,” said Curry. “We’ll just head on our way.”

Then Curry frowned slightly. “You aren’t gonna go back and send a posse after us, are you? I mean we did catch the outlaws and get you back the money.”

“You can see we’re law abiding citizens, now.”

“Don’t start all over again! Just promise me you won’t come back to Guffey.”

“I think we can promise that.” Heyes and Curry turned to leave.

Curry looked back. “Uh, Marshal, I’m just gonna leave your Colt back there where we tied our horses.”

Sawyer nodded.

The men started on their way again. This time Heyes stopped. “Marshal, by the way, was Miss Emily in Guffey?”

“Yes she was. And she’s a sight better looking than you, I can say. We’re getting married tomorrow, because for some reason there wasn’t enough time when I arrived in town to tie the knot.”

Heyes grinned again. He and the Kid began to walk away one more time. Heyes stopped.

“Marshal Sawyer…”

“For cryin’ out loud, what now?

“Congratulations.”
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Stories: Alias Smith and Jones  :: Virtual Season :: Virtual Season 2008/2009-
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