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 The Adventures of Avery Averill by C.D. Roberts

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Join date : 2013-10-13

PostThe Adventures of Avery Averill by C.D. Roberts

Starring Pete Duel and Ben Murphy

Bob Denver as Avery Averill

Joan Blondell as Bessie

Marie Wilson as Mary Lou

Forrest Tucker as Sheriff Hart

Jack Carson as Matt Prescott

Frank McHugh as Bob

J Pat O'Malley as the liveryman

“It’s a dollar a day to stable and feed them horses.”

“A dollar a day! That’s highway robbery,” yelped the Kid.

“That does seem a bit steep for the horses,” added Heyes. "Perhaps we can compromise on, oh, say, fifty cents?”

“A dollar a day. That’s cheap here. Hotel’s three dollars a day.” The liveryman turned and spat onto the ground.

Heyes and Curry exchanged looks.

The man continued, “’Course there’s some boardin’ houses. Mattie’s is a good one and it’s only a dollar and two bits a day.” He held out an open palm. Heyes counted out a dollar into it. “Thanks. Avery, take these here two horses back. Avery? Avery! Avery Averill, you git yourself over here and take these two horses. C’mon now, these two gents don’t got all day.”

A goggle-eyed young man, of approximately twenty-five years, shook his head as if clearing it, and shuffled over. He took the horses’ reins, and stood still with his mouth hanging slightly open.

“Well,” said his employer.


“Take the horses back to the stalls. Avery, do I gotta do all your thinkin’ for you?”

The three men watched Avery walk the horses slowly into the stable.

“Don’t you fellas worry. We’ll take good care of your horses. Avery’s the reliable sort, even if he ain’t much to speak of in the upstairs department. And he really ain’t normally that slow; I must’a woken him from a nap.”

“Uh huh,” said the Kid in a bland tone.

“Can you tell us where Mattie’s is?”

“Sure thing. Go that way down Main Street, and when you see the sheriff’s make a left around it. It’s right in back.” The man smiled. “It’s the cheapest, and it’s the safest, place to stay in town.”

“Well, how do you like that partner, it’s the safest place in town.” Heyes smiled at the Kid.

“And the cheapest,” returned his friend.

They started to walk away. Heyes stopped as if remembering something, and turned, asking, “That wouldn’t be Sheriff Rogers, would it?”

The liveryman pulled at his ear and replied, “Nope. You must be thinkin’ about some other town. Sheriff here is Hart, John Wesley Hart.”

“You’re right: my friend must be thinkin’ about some other town. Mebbe Redcliff.” The Kid tipped his hat.

They walked down Main Street.

“Heyes, we ain’t really gonna room behind the sheriff’s are we?”

“You heard what the man said, Kid. It’s the cheapest, and the safest, place in town. Anyway, I don’t know a Sheriff Hart, do you?”

“No, but it still makes me kinda nervous, being so close to those bars.”

“Me too, Kid, but until we get some more money, it’ll have to do for now.”

“Suppose so. I tell you, Heyes,” said the Kid in a wounded voice, “some of these mining towns are just too dang expensive. A dollar ‘n two-bits for a boardin’ house room? At least we were honest when we robbed folks.”

“I know, Kid. But, look at the bright side; there must be a lot of money in this town, and a lot of poker players, probably mostly miners, and if they’re like most miners, not as good at keeping money as they are digging it out of the ground.”


Mattie’s Boarding House was clean, if a bit on the tired side. The bare wooden walls were dry, and if you made the mistake of running your hand along them you would pick up a considerable amount of splinters. The room was only large enough for a bed and a table that played at being a dresser, but it rated, marginally, as adequate.

There was no Mattie; a retired miner, who answered to the prestigious name, Gapped-tooth Freddie, managed the rooms. Freddie, wearing a stained and torn apron, was frying up some ham for his ravenous new boarders.

“Weel, I give up on the minin’ as on account of it bein’ so hard on the back. I ain’t so young no more, and once I set aside ‘nough to buy me this place, I done so.” He turned and spit tobacco juice into the spittoon placed beside the stove. Then he did a cursory check on the biscuits in the oven. He turned and faced the two men sitting at the small table in the kitchen that served as the dining area at Mattie’s.

“How long ago was that ?” asked the Kid politely.

“Oh goin’ on three years now. I bought this house from Jim Treacher who had it fer, oh, say, two years and before him was Clay McPherson.”

“Was there ever a Mattie?” Heyes queried with a smile.

Freddie shrugged his shoulders and spat again for his response. Then he raised his face and sniffed. “Hope you boys likes yer ham and biscuits on the well-done side.”

Freddie turned and removed the now extra-crisp biscuits from the oven and some very black ham from the skillet. He plopped the food on two plates, and placed these in front of his boarders. Observing their looks of dismay he said, “Weel, what do you expect for two bits?”

“Man has a good point,” said Heyes, digging in, followed by Curry. Hunger had a way of making even burnt food tasty, and the two men ate greedily for some few minutes. Heyes swallowed, and looked up. He saw Avery Averill’s face plastered against the window.

“He want you?” he managed to articulate mid-swallow.

“Huh? What in tarnation! Avery Averill, what are you doin’ here? Shoo! You no-good. Git!” Freddie waved a towel at the spying man as he tromped towards the window.

Avery’s face dropped out of sight.

Curry and Heyes exchanged a glance and continued eating.


Avery Averill walked into the gunsmith’s shop. He looked at the rifles on the wall, shook his head, and went to the display case to examine the revolvers.

“Howdy, Avery, can I help you?”

“Howdy Matt. I was lookin’ at these here revolvers. I wanna git one but I ain’t got much money, so I need one that’s cheap. But I want the biggest one you got that’s cheap.”

“Well, the biggest one I got is this Colt Walker 1847. It’s kinda old though.”

“Wow, that sure is a big one, and it’s a beauty too. I don’t care how old it is.”

“I gotta be honest Avery; I would recommend this Colt over here. It’s not as big, and it’ll cost you some more, but it’s more reliable-like.”

“Oh, no, Matt Prescott, you ain’t gonna pull one over on ole Avery Averill. You said this Walker here is bigger and cheaper. It’s just what I need.”

“Look, Avery, I like you, and I gotta tell you this ain’t the most reliable shooting gun.”

“I ain’t gonna shoot it.”

“Well, if you ain’t gonna shoot it; what do you want it for?”

“Never you mind, Matt, it ain’t any of your business.”

“Well, I guess if you ain’t gonna shoot it…”

“That’s right.”

“OK.” Matt took the elderly revolver out of his display case.

“And I want some ammo fer it.”

“Avery, you just said you weren’t gonna shoot it.”

“I ain't, but it’s a gun and a gun needs ammo.”

Matt Prescott shook his head, and went to get the ammunition for his customer.


Avery Averill hid alongside the saloon and peered around the corner. The Walker was big, and heavy. It also was a difficult gun to load since it used round shot so Avery struggled with the gun and the bullets.

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry left the boarding house and approached the saloon. At the same time, a man emerged from the sheriff’s office in front of the boarding house and leaned against its wall. His emergence could have been a coincidence; he pulled his hat low, no doubt to guard against the sun, and languidly observed the men. He did not demonstrate any outward signs of suspicion.

Heyes and Curry were engaged in conversation, or at least Heyes was, and the Kid was engaged in listening. The watcher leaned forward, and turned slightly. The reflected brightness of the sun shone from a star on his chest. He leaned back against the wall and pulled his hat even lower.

Curry put his foot on the boardwalk in front of the saloon doors, and Avery came around the corner, trying to raise his nearly five pound, fifteen inch revolver. He did not succeed.

Curry looked at the man trying to control the large weapon and walked towards him. He took the heavy weapon from the man while Heyes continued his conversation, oblivious.

“Joshua,” interrupted the Kid, “will you look at this?” He held out the gun.

“Huh,” grunted Heyes. Then he looked at the revolver. “What is that?” he asked with a bemused expression.

“This is an 1847 Colt Walker. They only made a thousand of these, so it’s real rare to see one.” He handed the weapon to Heyes.

“Sure is heavy,” remarked Heyes. He raised it awkwardly, and aimed it upwards over the buildings across the street.

“Don’t fire it, Joshua!” exclaimed Curry in mock fear.

“Why not?” Heyes lowered the gun.

“There’s a good reason they only made a thousand of ‘em. They used ‘em in the Mexican War and found out pretty quickly that somethin’ was wrong with the metal when a lot of ‘em exploded on shootin’.”

Heyes hurriedly handed the gun back to the Kid.

“And most of the rest of ‘em have a rebound problem.” The Kid studied the revolver with genuine interest. “Looks like this one’s never been fired.” He gave it back to Avery. “You got yourself a real interestin’ collector’s item there Avery. It’s Avery, right? You’re the fellow who works at the livery?”

Avery nodded.

Heyes and the Kid tipped their hats and walked into the saloon as Avery watched. He looked down at the gun in his hand dejectedly.


In the evening, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry played cards in the saloon. A small amount of money traveled from man to man, mostly in the direction of Heyes. It was a slow night. The saloon was empty except for the players and a lone man watching them from another table.

The lone man was Avery Averill. He nursed a beer with half-closed eyes. His head slowly drooped towards his chest.

“I think it’s time to call it a night.” The Kid stood and raked in the small winnings in front of him.

Avery was awake now.

Heyes followed suit, raking in a slightly larger pile. “You fellas know a good road we can exercise our horses on? Road coming into town from the south doesn’t have much shade.”

“Don’t take Main Street north or south. If you was me, I’d take Bailey Avenue, by the mercantile, and go west. Shady ride in the morning.”

Several of the men nodded in agreement.

“Thanks, much obliged,” said Curry. He and Heyes left.


The next morning Avery Averill stood, leaning with his hands on his hips and panted. He was on a hill beside the large boulder he had managed to prop up with metal rails. He had placed a heavy board part way underneath the boulder. Now he could rest. He wiped his brow.

He had a beautiful view of the valley below and the mountains across the way, not that he demonstrated any interest in the scenery. His eyes were on the road below.

Avery hid behind the boulder. Soon he saw two riders, one wearing a black hat with silver conchos reflecting sunlight, and one with a brown hat. He spit on his hands and began to leverage the board, grunting.

The boulder began to roll. Unfortunately, by applying so much force, Avery weakened the ledge he was standing on. The earth below him disintegrated and before he could scrabble back to safety he began to roll down the hill as well.

He bumped his way down, unable to stop or to balance himself. In addition, he hit a few rocks on his way and with each hit yelped a loud ‘ouch.’ Finally, he reached bottom and rolled onto the road. He was on his back and looked up at the sky and the hill as the dust settled.

Two shadows appeared above him.

“You alright, Avery?” asked one, lifting his black Stetson slightly. “That was some fall you had.” Heyes bent down and helped Avery into a sitting position. Then he started to brush some of the dust off him.

The Kid squatted down beside him as well. “You sure are a lucky fellow. That ledge givin' out and the boulder goin' down, why you’re lucky to be alive. Anything broke?”

Avery shook his head.

“Here, Thaddeus, let’s see if he can stand.” The two men helped him up.

Heyes looked at him in satisfaction. “Nothing broke. You look OK. My friend’s right. You sure are lucky.”

Avery looked from the boulder to the road to the men and to their horses and back to the men.

“I know,” said Heyes with a wry smile, “we’re lucky too. If my friend’s horse hadn’t thrown a shoe, we wouldn’t have stopped and we would have been right under that boulder.”

“Avery, you look a little shook up. You need a ride back to town?” asked Curry.

Avery shook his head.

“You sure?”

Avery shook his head again.

“Alright then. You be careful. You know Joshua, this road ain’t so safe. Maybe we oughta exercise our horses on another road from now on.”


Heyes threw his ante into the center of the table. He had accumulated some winnings, not too much yet, but more than the prior night. The saloon bustled with activity this evening. One saloon girl, pretty, with red hair, was serving the entire room.

Curry glanced up, and saw her standing by the bar, watching him, and wiping her forehead. Simultaneously they smiled at each other. Another saloon girl walked through the bat-wing doors, and approached the bar.

“Sorry I’m late, Jess. Won’t happen again.”

“Tell me another, Bessie. If you weren’t so darn good-lookin’, I’d a fired you long ago.” The bartender blew on the glass he held and wiped harder.

“I’ll make it up for you in tips, Jess.”

The first girl took Bessie by the wrist and drew her close.

“Maybe we can get more’n tips tonight, Bessie,” she whispered in the second girl’s ear. There’s two good-lookin’ fellas at that table over there. Now that blond one, I could sure go for him, and his friend, well I’d take either one, but I think the blond likes me. And his friend, the fella next to him there on his left, is the winnin’ type. He’s already won two out of three hands. They’re gonna have some money to spare, and they might as well spend it on us.”

She turned Bessie towards the table as she spoke. The Kid had lowered his head again after taking a long appreciative glance at Bessie. He didn’t see her eyes pop wide with shock. She quickly relaxed her eyes, composed her features and then smiled at her friend.

“Mary Lou,” she whispered back, “honey, you are ever so right. Those are two good-lookin’ men, and they’re gonna have money to burn. Come here.” Bessie pulled Mary Lou to a corner table spoke to her rapidly in a low voice. Occasionally Mary Lou squealed with delight and both girls giggled, attracting the attention of even the most intent gamblers in the room. Heyes looked at them; his eyes lit up and he grinned. He looked at the Kid.

“Girl talk,” said one of the players at the table in a slightly condescending voice.

“Uh huh,” said Curry, “but they sure look good doin’ it, don’t they partner?”

“Sure do, Thaddeus.”

Avery Averill entered the saloon. He went to the bar, ordered a drink, and drank it slowly and morosely. He turned and watched the room and its occupants.

As the night wore on the crowd in the saloon thinned out. Eventually the game broke up. By that time, Bessie and Mary Lou, who had jumped to bring them their drinks, had sidled up to Heyes and Curry. The other players left and the saloon girls sat in the empty chairs beside the boys although they quickly managed to lean against their chosen man, and soon were partly in the boys’ laps. They had some more drinks, shared some jokes, and talked loudly.

“You know what I think?”

“No, Bessie, why don’t you tell me what you think,” Heyes said, lifting her chin up. He gave her a quick kiss on the lips.

“Well, I think all four of us, becoming such good friends and all, well, I think we should go for a picnic tomorrow, seein’ how Mary Lou and me got the day off.”

“Oh, a picnic!” squealed Mary Lou, turning to Curry. “Oh, wouldn’t that be fun? We can go to Miller’s Spring. It’s the best picnic spot around. It’s a few miles out of town, and the ride is so pretty, and I haven’t been on a picnic in ever so long. Oh, please say yes.” She actually batted her eyes at the Kid, who looked at Heyes with a half-drunk silly grin.

“We’ll prepare the basket; we’ll even bring some lemonade. All you two have to do is buy a bottle tonight so’s we can have a little something extra to drink.” Bessie stroked Heyes hair. She leaned towards him and in an earthy voice purred, “You are the handsomest man I’ve seen in a long time, honey.”

Heyes looked at Curry. “Thaddeus, what do you think?”

“Oh, please, please, say yes, please,” Mary Lou’s squealed in a high-pitched, urgent voice.

The Kid smiled indulgently. “Well, seein’ as we don’t have nothin’ planned for tomorrow…”

“Oh, thank you, thank you!” Mary Lou bounced on his lap, and put her head on his shoulder. The Kid grimaced slightly as the last thank you had landed in his ear a little too close for comfort.

Heyes went over to the bar where he purchased a bottle of whiskey for the coming event. He raised it and waved it at them with a flourish. Bessie smiled broadly at him and Mary Lou clapped her hands.

The four of them walked unsteadily upstairs, Bessie with Heyes and Mary Lou with the Kid.

Avery Averill watched them, apparently in deep thought, and wrinkled his brow in concentration.


It was early morning. Avery Averill stood up and dusted the dirt off his hands by brushing them against the sides of his trousers. He admired his handiwork, hands on hips. You could not see the hole at all. He had done an excellent job of camouflaging it with brush. Under the brush were large branches and sticks that criss-crossed each other. “Yep, this’ll do.”

He walked to the road and turned to look back. He gave himself a nod. “Sure is pretty here. Just the sorta place I’d take Mary Sue fer a picnic.” He sighed, and shook his head as if clearing it.

Avery Averill walked back to town, whistling “Oh Susanna,” slightly off key. He went to the mercantile and stood in front of the doors, waiting for it to open for business.

Bessie Lowe arrived when the doors opened. She stood outside as Avery entered to conduct his transaction. He reemerged with a small paper bag, and she went in.

A few minutes later, she came out with an identical paper bag.


Matt Prescott watched Avery and then Bessie emerge from the mercantile. He scratched his head. He went back into his shop. Under his breath he said, “Oh, Bessie Lowe.”

The sheriff observed all this from in front of the jail. His arms were crossed, and, as usual, he tipped his hat low to cover his face. He watched Matt Prescott turn over the ‘open’ sign to read ‘closed’ in his window. Matt came out, locked the door, and left.

Avery rode out of town first. The wagon with the picnickers followed. Matt took up the rear, following the wheel ruts of the wagon at a very discreet distance.

The sheriff uncrossed his arms and rubbed his jaw pensively.

Bob Andrews, the owner of the mercantile, walked across the street to the jail.

“Got a problem, Bob?” asked Sheriff Hart.

“Not sure, Sheriff. I had a couple of unusual purchases this morning.”

“Avery Averill and Bessie Lowe?”

“That’s right, Sheriff. How’d you know?”

“Oh, I just been keepin’ an eye on things this morning, Bob. Saw ‘em both about an hour ago.”

“Sorry I didn’t come over earlier Sheriff, but I was busy with customers.”

“Saw that too, Bob. What did they buy?”

“Laudanum. Both of ‘em said they was having bad pain, but if you ask me they was both lyin’. They just wasn’t actin’ pained. The more I thought about it, the more I figured it just couldn’t be a coincidence.”

“I think you’re right, Bob.”

“I hope it ain’t nothin’ serious,” replied Bob eagerly. “You gonna do somethin’ about it, Sheriff?”

“Oh, it ain’t nothin’ serious, Bob.” Bob’s face fell in disappointment. “I’ll take care of it. Later.”

“OK, Sheriff, I guess you know best. You always take care of things right for us. Gotta run. Got a customer.” Bob scuttled across the street. “Mrs. Harris, I’m a comin’. I’ll be right there.”


Avery Averill hid behind a large bush with bright red flowers in the environs of the proposed picnic. He had a bottle of whiskey identical to the one Heyes had purchased the previous night, along with the paper bag from the mercantile. He took a small brown medicinal bottle out of the bag and pulled the cork, sealing it out, using his teeth. Opening the larger bottle, he poured some of the contents from the smaller bottle into it and re-corked both bottles.

The picnickers arrived. They spread their blanket in the shade alongside the camouflaged hole, not on it, as it was too “rough a spot” according to Bessie and Mary Lou. The hole was now located between their parked wagon and the blanket.

“Oh, isn’t it a beautiful day?” squealed Mary Lou. She removed plates from the picnic basket.

Bessie took out some cold chicken and served it. “That sure looks good, Bessie. You gals cook that yourself?” asked the Kid.

“Don’t be silly, Thaddeus. Us cook?” Bessie smiled at him. “Is your friend always this amusing?” she queried Heyes. “Oh! Where’s the whiskey?”

“I can say for a fact that Thaddeus is always this clever,” answered Heyes with a small grin. “We left the whiskey in the wagon. I’ll go get it.”

He walked to the wagon, directly over the branch-covered hole.

Avery winced. “Not yet,” he muttered uneasily, under his breath.

Heyes retrieved the whiskey and walked directly back over the covered hole to the saloon girls.

Avery sighed with relief.

“Silly us,” said Bessie, “we’ve left the watermelons in the wagon.”

“Watermelons? You brought watermelons? I didn’t see any melons.”

“Mary Lou and me packed two. They’re under the blanket.”

Mary Lou giggled. “We’ll probably eat both. Will you get them, please?”

Heyes and the Kid were already on their feet. “Of course we will, Mary Lou,” said the Kid in his most courteous manner.

They went to the wagon. Avery Averill covered his eyes with his hands, but spread his fingers so he could peak through. He dropped his hands and stared in amazement as Bessie waved discretely to signal Mary Lou. Mary Lou uncorked the whiskey while Bessie took a small brown medicine bottle out of her skirt pocket, opened it and poured its contents into the bottle Mary Lou held. By the time the men returned, everything was back in its place, and both women sat primly and expectantly.

The afternoon wore on. The two outlaws and the two women talked, ate, and laughed. Avery yawned. He stretched out flat on his stomach and placed his head in his hands. He glanced sorrowfully at his laudanum-tainted whiskey. Occasionally one or another of the picnickers walked or rolled onto the covered hole. It happened so frequently Avery stopped wincing.

Heyes and the Kid finally became groggy.

“Boy, I sure am feelin’ tired, Josh-u-a. This sure mus’ be stron…strong whishkey.”

“Uh huh,” grunted Heyes, blinking his eyes.

“Oh dear,” mewed Mary Lou. “Perhaps you two should have had more lemonade and less liquor.” She stroked the Kid’s hair.

Curry looked up at her cross-eyed. “Meb-be we shou’ head back.”

He attempted to rise, and promptly fell back on his rear.

“I don’t think that is such a good idea, Thaddeus. You just go ahead and take a little nap, honey.” Mary Lou stroked his head again.

“Mmm, I thin’ may-be the ladies are righ’, Tha, Tha Thad.” Heyes gave up on the third try, dropped his head and began to snore.

“I dunno,” said the Kid. “I don’ feel so good. I thin’ I gotta go and get me some air.” He struggled to get up again, but was unsuccessful. He collapsed near the edge of the trap.

Bessie and Mary Lou smiled at each other. “OK, honey; let’s get the rope and tie them up.”

They walked towards the two prone outlaws, stopping on the camouflaged trap. Mary Lou giggled.

“Oh no, you don’t. Oh no, you don’t! They’z my prisoners, them two.” Avery tromped over to the women and stood between them and the wagon.

“What do you mean they are your prisoners, Avery Averill?” snapped Bessie.

“I been tryin’ to catch ‘em all week, and I ain’t gonna let you two take ‘em out from under my very eyes.”

“Avery Averill, what are you talkin’ about? These two are dangerous men. They are Hannibal Heyes and…”

“…Kid Curry. I know’s that Mary Lou. I’d a knowed that since I saw ‘em ride into the livery stable. I been plannin’ and plottin’ and, well, I been after ‘em all week. Almost got ‘em, too, with this here pistol.” He pulled his Colt out from his belt.

“Don’t you go waving that gun at me and Mary Lou, Avery Averill. It won’t do you no good at all. We got ‘em to come out here and we got ‘em to drink drugged whiskey and we’re gonna tie them up, and they are our prisoners, not yours. We did all the work, and you can’t just come up here and steal them from us.”

“Bessie Lowe, are you plumb out of your mind?”

The three had been arguing so intently they hadn’t noticed the arrival of Matt Prescott.

“Matt Prescott, what are you doing here? Were you a-following us?”

“I was a-followin’ you, Bessie. And it’s a good thing I did, too. You may be the smartest and prettiest woman in town, but you got the craziest ideas. I knew…I just knew you was up to somethin’, sneakin’ that brown bag this mornin’, and you and Mary Lou gigglin' and whisperin’ and all. Are you tryin’ to get yourself killed? What are you a-thinkin’ of, tryin' to trap two no-torious outlaws like them two?” Matt pointed to the two prostrate, snoring men on the ground. He strode over to the women and Avery.

“Matt, this isn’t dangerous. Bessie and me, we got ‘em all knocked out. Bessie knows what she is doing.”

“No, she doesn’t, ‘cause they are my prisoners. I set this here trap for ‘em early this morning.

Bessie put her hands on her hips. “Avery Averill, you couldn’t set a trap if your life depended on it.”

“I couldn’t? Well I’ll show you, Miz Bessie Lowe.” Avery started to jump up and down.

Finally, after being walked over so many times, and with the weight of four people on it, the branches gave way.

There was a loud crash followed by some loud swearing, both male and female.

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry raised their heads and looked at each other blearily.

“You hear som’thin’, partner?” asked Heyes.

The Kid closed his eyes painfully. “I don’ thin' so.”

Both men dropped their heads simultaneously.


“How long we been down here?” asked Avery.

Matt pulled out his pocket watch. “I suppose we’ve been down here two, maybe three, hours now.” He turned to Bessie.

“How much laudanum did you give them? You got any idea when they’re gonna wake up?”

The four occupants of the trap sat in the dank hole. Their nails were dirt-filled and their clothing had rips and tears from their escape attempts.

Bessie leaned wearily back. “I dunno, Matt. I don’t know that much about medicine.” She turned on Avery. “Why’d you go and dig this stupid trap of yours so deep anyway? In fact, why’d you go and dig a trap in the first place if you were gonna drug them?”

Avery opened his mouth and closed it.

“It’s a good trap, Avery.”

“Thanks, Matt. I guess, well, I guess I wuz worried they would ‘scape me agin.”

“But Avery, you have a gun.” Mary Lou looked at the hapless man with doe-like eyes.

“It’s empty, Mary Lou.”

“What!” shrieked Bessie.

“Curry said it were a dangerous gun. Could explode by accident, so I figured it were best to leave it empty.”

“You were planning to capture two outlaws with an empty gun?”

“But Bessie, the gun was just fer show.”

Bessie opened her mouth to berate Avery some more.

“Now Bessie, I imagine that’s why Avery dug the hole and drugged the whiskey.”

The voice came from above the hole. Four sets of eyes strained to see out of the trap.

“Is that you, Joshua?” Bessie asked in a cajoling tone of voice. “Will you help us out?”

“Well, we might, Bessie. But the way we see it, we’ve got a little problem,” Curry responded.

“What problem do you have? You have weapons. You have us at a disadvantage. We can’t get out of here without you.”

“Matt Prescott, don’t you go and tell them things like that and help them. They are outlaws. As soon as I get out of here I am going straight to the sheriff, and I am going to tell him. And he is going to chase you two down and catch you two. And take you to prison. I haven’t spent three hours down this hole to lose my twenty thousand dollars.”

“Our twenty thousand dollars, Bessie.”

Bessie glared at Mary Lou.

“We kinda reckon she’s our problem, Matt,” explained the Kid.

Heyes continued. “We figure we could help you out. But we’ve been listening to you talk, and we figure Bessie isn’t going to give up so easily. Now, we could get you out of this hole and ride off, but what’s to keep you from going to the sheriff?”

“We have to go back to town to get our horses. Even if we take the wagon we won’t get there any faster than you,” added the Kid.

“You could tie us up,” suggested Avery.

“That’s true, Avery. We thought of that.” The Kid peered over the edge.

“Problem is, you folks are new to capturing outlaws,” continued Heyes. “You ladies didn’t bring enough rope to tie up the two of us, much less the four of you, and Avery, you forgot to bring any rope altogether.”

The Kid looked at Heyes. “You know, Heyes, we could use the gals’ dresses. Rip those up and tie ‘em with that.”

“You will do no such thing! How dare you even make such a suggestion? And you, Matt Prescott, and you, Avery Averill, are you men or mice?”

The two men stared at her. They looked at each other. Avery shrugged. “Mice, I guess.”

Mary Lou began to laugh.

Bessie opened her eyes wide with anger. “You forget we have a gun.” She turned to Avery. “Point your gun at them, Avery.”

“But it’s…”

“Just do as I say! Oh, here.” She grabbed it from him. “I’ll do it.”

Heyes and the Kid began to laugh.

“I have a gun, and I’ll use it. What’s so funny? It’s not funny.”

“Bessie, Bessie, you can’t shoot us from down there, and even if you could, the gun’s empty,” said the Kid.

“Bessie, did you already forget we’ve been listening to you?” added Heyes.

Matt chuckled, and Mary Lou giggled.

“Mary Lou, did anyone ever tell you, you got the sweetest laugh?” asked Avery.

“Why no, Avery.” She paused. “You know, Avery, I think your plan was brilliant. I think you’re a lot smarter than folks have been sayin.’”

Bessie rolled her eyes in disbelief.

“Bessie, why don’t you give me that gun?” asked Matt gently.

“How could you sell Avery a gun that doesn’t work? I am still going to the sheriff,” she added. “They can’t stop us unless they shoot us, and I don’t think they are gonna shoot us or they woulda done that already.”

“Bessie, I do think you are calling our bluff. C’mon Kid, let’s go walk that drug off for awhile. Let them talk it out.”

Curry and Heyes moved away from the hole, out of sight of the occupants.

“No! You can’t leave us down here! You come back!”

The response was silence.

A few moments later, they heard Bessie again. “Have it your way, Matt Prescott! Alright, I won’t tell the sheriff who you are,” she shouted unconvincingly. “Will you help us out now?”

A few feet away, Curry and Heyes talked. “Heyes, what do we do? We can’t leave them down there. If we help them out, I don’t see as we can trust her. We can’t walk from here to the next town and get away, and if we get our horses and ride out, a posse will be right behind us.”

“I know, Kid. We’re just going to have to trust in human nature. Would you trust the other three if they promise not to go to the sheriff?”

“Well, yeah, I suppose,” the Kid responded slowly.

“Where are you? Help us out! Now! You see, they are just two cheap, rotten outlaws. They’ve left us. I tell you all as soon as I get out of here…”

“Heyes, you really think we should help them out?”

“Uh huh. Like you said, Kid, we can’t leave them there.” Heyes sat down. “Of course, we can leave them there a little longer.”

“What good will that do?’

“Kid, sometimes you worry too much and don’t think enough. Tell you what. Let’s have dessert and then help them out.”

“Heyes, she’s still yellin'.”

“Uh huh.” Heyes cut the pie. He licked his finger. “Mmm, blueberry. You like blueberry, don’t you, Kid?”


Heyes cut a piece for Curry and put it on a plate. He handed a fork to his friend.

“They are good-for-nothing-outlaws!” The voice was still yelling but not as loudly.

“She goin’ hoarse, Heyes. That what you tryin’ to do?”


“Didn’t suppose so. She could still write a note to the sheriff.”


“Heyes, then what?”

“Kid, these people have known Bessie a lot longer than we have.”


“So, they should be able to handle her.” A loud cry came from the trap. “Better than we could, that is.”

“You sure, Heyes?”

Heyes opened his mouth to reply.

“I hate you, Matt Prescott!”

He looked at the Kid. “I have to say Kid, I wasn’t too certain before, but I am now.”

“That don’t sound like handlin’ her to me.”

“Have a little faith, Kid. You heard Matt. He came all the way out here because he was worried about her. That’s gotta mean a lot to a woman.”

“Heyes, she just said she hates him.”

“Kid,” said Heyes patiently.

“Oh. Oh yeah,” said the Kid remembering some of his experiences with the opposite sex. He smiled.

“I figure we just wait a little longer. Let them sort it out.”


“Mr. Heyes, Mr. Curry,” Matt called out a half hour later. “We have come to an agreement.” Heyes and the Kid walked over.

“What kind of an agreement, Matt?”

“Mr. Heyes, we have all given our word to each other, and now we give it to you, that we will not tell the sheriff who you are, not now or ever in the future.”

“Bessie, that agreement, does it include you?” asked the Kid.

“Yes,” Bessie responded sullenly. She sighed. “I give my word I won’t tell the sheriff who you are.”

Curry and Heyes helped the four out.

“Ladies first,” said the Kid, as Matt and Avery raised Bessie in reach of Heyes and the Kid, who pulled her out. Mary Lou followed. Then Avery stood on Matt’s shoulders so the outlaws could grab him. To get Matt out the three men dismantled part of the side boards of the wagon at Avery’s suggestion. With pieces of the wagon and rope, Avery jimmied together a small ladder that they dropped down to Matt. Climbing the ladder put him in the man’s reach and they pulled Matt up and out.

The long summer day was now ending and it was dusk. They loaded the wagon and started back to town.

When they were back on the road, they saw a rider approach, leading two horses.

“Kid, if I’m not mistaken, those are our horses, aren’t they?”

“They sure are, Heyes.”

“Why, it’s Sheriff Hart!” exclaimed Mary Lou in surprise.

Heyes and the Kid exchanged glances. Matt took Bessie’s hand and looked at her.

When the sheriff was near enough for them to make out his features, the Kid and Heyes exchanged dumbfounded glances that the others, too tired from the long day, did not notice.

Heyes opened his mouth and closed it.

Mary Lou piped up. “Oh, Sheriff Hart we have had such a day. We had a picnic, but then Bessie and I wanted to go to the river, and then we fell in, and Matt and Avery jumped in to rescue us. That’s why we are so dirty and how we tore our clothes. And Matt and Avery were so brave…”

“I heard you went on a picnic. Got worried as it was gettin' so late. Figured I better make sure you were all OK.” He looked at Heyes and Curry. “Brought your horses. Heard you were plannin’ on leavin’ town today.”

“Uh well…” began the Kid.

“…you heard right, Sheriff. That’s just what we were planning to do,” finished Heyes.

Mary Lou and Avery looked at each other, and over at Bessie nervously. Matt squeezed Bessie’s hand in his.

“That is exactly what happened, Sheriff,” she said flatly. She stared at Sheriff Hart. She raised her eyebrows and looked sideways at Heyes and the Kid.

“You’ve had some excitement then,” he said ignoring her tone of voice and her glare. “I suppose you four will want to get back to town as soon as possible. I have to ride out to Myer’s ranch so if you two don’t mind, I’ll ride with you some ways.”

“That’s fine with us, Sheriff.”

Bessie opened and shut her mouth as if she could not believe the sheriff’s blindness. “But…”

Matt quickly cut her off. “We certainly do want to get back to town as soon as possible. We’ve got some promises to keep,” he said pointedly. Bessie pouted.

The wagon drove on to town. Once it was out of range Heyes and Curry turned to the sheriff.

The Kid chuckled. “Dan Austin. Dan Austin, you old dog. So this is where you ended up.”

“We wondered what happened when you didn’t come back to the Hole that night. You just disappeared.”

“Decided I wasn’t cut out to be an outlaw. The banks were OK, but I couldn’t handle workin’ the trains. Too much for me. Decided not to return that night. Traveled around and came here eventually. Started a new life with a new name. I’m a good sheriff. I can handle all the small stuff, and the fellas, well, they usually steer clear of my town when they realize who I am. Sort of a professional courtesy. So I don’t worry about the big things, like bank robberies or such.”

“Everyone did always like you, Dan, and everyone knew you were fair and square.”

“Yep, I figure that’s why they don’t bother me none when they realize who Sheriff Hart is.”

Heyes gave him a pat on the shoulder. “Sounds like you’ve done good for yourself.”

“We, uh, well we’re sorta startin’ over too,” said the Kid. “We can’t really say…” His voice trailed off.

“I know you two ain’t been up to anything. Wheat and Kyle came through town a couple of months ago. That’s why I left you alone. But when I heard Avery and Bessie bought laudanum, I figured they were up to no good.”

“Well, Dan, if you figured they were up to something, why didn’t you come out sooner? You sure could have saved us a lot of trouble.”

“I didn’t see any reason to risk them finding out who I was, Heyes. If I’d a come sooner I’d a probably have to do some explaining to convince them why I wouldn’t arrest you. I like my job. I couldn’t risk them knowing I’d a been an outlaw myself, not too long ago. And anyway, I knew you two were smart enough to handle it. Well, it got late and I had to ride out this way anyway, so I figured I’d bring you your horses and belongings. Like I said, I like you two. I just don’t want you in my town.”

“Dan, what about Bessie? She promised not to tell you, but it sure looked to me like she was tryin’ to drop you hints about who we are.”

“Kid, Bessie doesn’t think there is a man alive who’s got any sense. If I don’t pick up on her hints it’ll just confirm her opinion of men.” He shook his head. “Poor Matt Prescott.”

The three men smiled at each other.

“This is where I leave you. You boys be careful. I don’t wanna hear bad news about you.”

“Neither do we,” replied Heyes. They shook hands, and went on their way.

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, the two most successful outlaws in the history of the west. And in all the trains and banks they robbed, they never shot anyone.
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The Adventures of Avery Averill by C.D. Roberts :: Comments

Re: The Adventures of Avery Averill by C.D. Roberts
Post on Sat 01 Mar 2014, 5:55 pm by royannahuggins
Comments from the old story site:
Sep 24 2009, 4:41 PM EDT
A great start to the new VS--Congratulations! This is a fun story and casting Bob Denver as Avery was inspired!

1. RE: Comments
Sep 24 2009, 5:57 PM EDT
What a fun episode to start off the virtual season! Loved Bob Denver as Avery, too!


2. RE: Comments
Sep 25 2009, 6:55 AM EDT
We're off to a great start! Wonderful characters Ms. Roberts!

3. RE: Comments
Sep 25 2009, 9:32 PM EDT
What a start Mizz CDR...
I love Avery - or should that be Wiley E Avery???
Love him having the gun taken from him...
ADORE him jumping up and down on his own trap!!!!
Brava! Brava!


4. RE: Comments
Sep 28 2009, 12:44 AM EDT
Well worth the wait and a fantastic start to the season. Very funny - could watch it in my head!

5. RE: Comments
Sep 28 2009, 8:13 AM EDT
Clapping Hands. What a wonderful premier to the eageraly awaited VS season! The casting was inspired and went a long way towards establishing characters at the very start. The comedy of incompetence was LOL funny. I especially liked Kid's response of taking the gun from Avery to examine it, declaring it dangerous and the Avery carring it around unloaded since Curry said it could explode. The trap was another great story device. Well done!!!


6. RE: Comments
Sep 29 2009, 11:13 AM EDT
Terrific job! A lovely way to start off the VS. I could so picture the bumbling Avery, stymied at every attempt to capture those two "notorious outlaws". And I definitely didn't see the suprise ending coming! I loved it! Imagine, another ex-Devil's Hole member being a lawman.

7. RE: Comments
Oct 1 2009, 6:04 PM EDT
Virtual Season Starter
Sep 27 2009, 12:29 PM EDT
Lovely start to the Season.

Great fun CD and I could see the boys faces as they reacted to poor Avery with that gun.


1. RE: Virtual Season Starter
Oct 1 2009, 6:08 PM EDT
Aw, thanks. I did enjoy the gun bit as it was actually researched, and that particular gun really did blow up!

2. RE: Virtual Season Starter
Oct 7 2009, 1:18 AM EDT
Excellent season premier with absolutely perfect casting!

3. RE: Virtual Season Starter
Mar 15 2010, 4:46 PM EDT
Ha, ha, ha, this was funny!! Bob Denver as Avery Averill could so picture that. Thanks for a good read on a cold, yucky day.

re Virtual Season story 09/10
Oct 1 2009, 2:09 PM EDT
fantastic story. Have enjoyed all your ASJ fanfiction. This story was lots of fun to read, the characters seem to walk off the page. The dialogue fit the characters. It was as if you could hear them speaking. The OCs were also wonderfully done and full of 'life'. Thank you for sharing.

The Adventures of Avery Averill by C.D. Roberts

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