A few things happen to make Kid rethink his partnership with Heyes. This time it was different and Kid decided to end the partnership without Heyes' input and left.Why Must We Make It So Hard?
By C.M. Crowther
A storm had blown in from the ocean that chilled you to the bone. No one in his right mind would be out in it and especially at such a late hour. The rainstorm had been raging for hours. They thought the pounding they heard was from the storm, so they paid no attention to it and turned in for the night. San Francisco can be a lonely and dangerous place for a person by himself, and Kid Curry was about to find this out for himself.
A month earlier
Heyes had awakened to find that Kid was already up. He smiled at the thought that a big breakfast always could get Kid up in the morning, early. No breakfast and Kid was a bear to get up.
Kid had been quiet since they had to leave the last town of Liberty, because of his fast draw. During the ride to this town, Heyes had tried to get Kid to talk but it didn't work. Instead, Kid completely shut down.
When they got into town and got a room, Heyes wanted to go to the bar, get a drink and maybe play some poker. Kid instead took his boots off and flopped on the bed.
“You coming with me for a drink and something to eat?” asked Heyes, who tried his hardest to be pleasant after that horrible ride with Kid, today.
“Does it look like I'm going?” growled Kid.
“I just thought it would do both of us good, to lighten up some, before calling it a night. There’s got to be a poker game going on in a town this size,” Heyes smiled hoping that would help some. “I know you said that you only have $ 7.50 left and I have $ 20. We could at least double that in a short time.”
Kid gave Heyes such a stormy look, that Heyes knew it was hopeless trying to break through Kid’s ill temper, and Kid snapped, “ Will you just leave me alone!? I'm tired of hearing your advice on how to live my life. Will you leave and give me some peace?”
The next morning he hoped that his partner had got up in a better frame of mind. Kid usually didn't stay moody long, especially after eating breakfast.
He hurried into the Hotel's restaurant, hoping to catch Kid still eating, but he wasn't there. He thought he must have gone to the diner, Heyes checked over there. Kid was nowhere in the diner. Heyes was about to leave when he asked, if a man of his height and blonde hair been in. He would've a large breakfast. He was told that the only man fitting that description had coffee and toast. He left knowing that man couldn't be his cousin. He searched all places he could have gotten some breakfast, and no Kid.
Heyes' gut feeling was telling him that something was very wrong. He went over to the stable and Kid's horse was eating away. “Maybe I am over reacting in not finding him. He's probably back in the room wondering where I am," Heyes was hoping.
Heyes went to the room expecting to see Kid lying on his bed and but instead it was empty. He was disappointed and he sat down on the edge of his bed. Heyes was deciding what to do next, when he saw that Kid's saddlebags were gone. He looked and his own bags were lying by the door. Heyes ran back down the stairs and over to the stables and their horses were still there.
Heyes was unsure with which direction to turn, stood in the middle of the street. The town seems quiet and most of the people were just starting to move around at the start of their day. He slowly walked by the jail and the men inside were talking and joking over their morning coffee. He could see that the jail cells were empty. He went back to the hotel and he looked in the restaurant, Kid still was not there. Heyes was about to lose it when he asked at the front desk if he had seen Mr. Jones.
"I'm sorry, but I just came on duty. Did you look in the restaurant?" asked the clerk, who was trying to be helpful.
It took all of Heyes’ remaining patience to control his stressed out emotions. A darkened shadow cast over Heyes' face, had put the clerk in an uneasy position. Trying to look busy, the man shuffled papers around and noticed a message in Mr. Smith's box. Taking it out, the clerk asked Heyes if he wanted the message now or later.
Heyes reached over the desk and grabbed the paper, turned and muttered "Thanks." Walking over to the stairs and reading the note, he came to a dead stop, gasping for air like someone had stabbed him with a knife. The desk clerk saw Heyes’ reactions and the paleness of his face. He was concerned and asked if Heyes was all right. Heyes didn't even answer the man and walked outside the hotel. "No, how in the world, can I be alright?” Heyes rushed back over to the stables and Kid's horse was still there. He couldn't understand what was going on with Kid. “How could this be true?”
The stable hand came up behind Heyes and asked, "Are you looking for a horse? I see that you been looking at this horse. I can make you a good deal!"
"What do you mean? This is my partner's horse!" Heyes was shocked.
"Oh, you must be Mr. Smith. He told me to show you the sale papers so you wouldn't tear the town apart. Plus here's a message from him," the stable hand said with disappointment in his voice on a missed sale.
The sales paper had Kid's handwriting on it. He handed it back to stable-hand and walked over to a pale of hay and sat down and opened the note he was handed.
I hope by now, that I'm a few hours away from this town. You need to do what you can to have the wonderful future that you deserve. It's better this way!
P.S. To save you time, I'll not be using a name you know!
Heyes put his head into his hands, with his arms resting on his knees. He looked like his whole world came crashing down on him. He took out the other note out of his coat pocket, opened it, and read it again.
You know I said that maybe we should go our separate ways for the amnesty. For you, the amnesty is more important. There have been times when you wanted me to have a blind eye on what is going on around me. If I see someone that needs help, I know that I'll jump in without thinking about it.
After yesterday, I know that I have to leave you. I almost got you killed. Did you think that I missed seeing that bullet grazed your shirtsleeve? I can’t have you backing me in gunfights, anymore. After I shot that man's gun out of his hand, his bullet went wild.
Hey-- You could have been killed!
My temper or fast draw will not be responsible for your death. LEAVE THIS BE, PLEASE!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sheriff Lom Trevors was sitting in front of the jail, when he saw Deputy Hanker rushing across the street. The deputy was waving a telegram out in front of him. The big man had a big goofy smile on his face when he announced, "You got a gram from your friend, Jones."
Lom took the telegram wondering where the boys were today.
“They sure can cover the ground from one telegram to the next. I never know for sure where they might end up or what trouble they got themselves into."
He looked at the paper and smiled at the length of the telegram. "Kid must have written this. Heyes sure didn't proofread this."
Lom laughed remembering times in the past, what Heyes did to Kid's notes. Kid's temper would flare up and he would storm away. Heyes always knew how to get Kid's goat.
Sheriff Lom Trevors/stop/Partnership has ended/stop/x-partner not responsible for my actions/stop/Tell Governor to take x-partner's future separately from me/stop/ Thank you for trying/stop/ Help partner see this was the right way to go/stop/TJ
Deputy Harker saw Lom's face turned to a hard expression that revealed the torment that the telegram caused. The Deputy was concerned, "Is there something wrong with the boys?"
"There sure the hell is! What did Hey....'seed' do now, to set Jones off!" stormed Lom.
"What happened?" asked the deputy.
Lom heard nothing the deputy said. He rushed over to the telegram office and stopped short of the door. It came to him that he had no idea where to send a telegram or to whom. The troubled sheriff slowly turned away from the door, and walked down the street with the feeling of complete exhaustion.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Late that night, Heyes entered the hotel lobby, tired and distraught. There was a young woman working behind the desk. Heyes did not notice of her, and was surprised when he heard, “Mr. Jones?”
Heyes looked quickly to see if Kid was there. There was no one else there besides him. Heyes saw that the woman was talking to him. “No, it’s Smith. Have you seen my partner?” Heyes repeated the same tired question, he had asked all day.
“Didn’t he check out this morning?” asked the clerk, who remembered Kid leaving because of her disappointment that the young blond haired man wasn’t staying. She went dreamy at thoughts of the pools of blue that took her breathe away when she first saw his eyes. She could have easily drowned in them.
Heyes brought the woman back to the present, “Did you see Mr. Jones this morning? Did he say anything? Did he ask you anything? I need to find him!” The clerk could see that Mr. Smith was concerned for his partner and she wanted to help him.
“I was on duty when he checked out. There was something about his eyes; I saw and felt a deep sorrow coming from him. Mr. Jones asked what time the diner opened, across the street. I told him around 5:30 a.m. He said ‘Thank-you’ and he left,” stated the lady, and then said, “I hope that helps some.”
The clerk smiled at the memory of Kid walking over to the diner and then leaning against a pole to wait. A satisfied gasp escaped her lips with a dreamy look. That man sure knew how to walk! She realized that men like these two were special and don't come to her town that often, she muttered, “Too bad!”
Heyes, who smiled, noticed her response. Kid has that reaction with most women and Kid is innocent of his effect on them. “How many times did I use that for an advantage? During train robberies, I would've Kid walk around the women and that would have a calming effect. However, it always had an opposite effect on the men. I guess they don’t watch Kid’s walk, the blue eyes and the blond curls like the women do.”
Then it dawned on Heyes, most women would remember Kid. Tomorrow Heyes would go back to the diner and asked the woman that worked there instead of the man. His mind was full of plans on what to do next.
“Mr. Smith, I hope that you are staying with us tonight. I left your saddlebags in your room, you used last night,” asked a young woman who was hoping that she did the right thing. She could have given the room away at least four times, but she saved it for Heyes.
“Oh. I’m sorry. I should have made arrangements with you earlier, but I had no idea that I was staying another night. I'm staying, and here money is for the room and the rest is for your trouble,” Heyes said with relief, “And thank-you.”
Heyes’ whole day had been spent hunting for his partner. Finding no leads on Kid made Heyes irritable. Heyes thought for sure, Kid wasn't in town anymore. He searched everywhere and even followed some of the bar girls home to see, if Kid was with them. There was no trace of him anywhere. Heyes couldn't figure out how Kid could give him, Hannibal Heyes, the slip. Heyes knew that Kid could give most posses the slip in time, but him?
Heyes went up the stairs at a slowly because of the empty room that was facing him. Heyes knew that a working plan to find Kid would come to him, if time allowed it. He pulled a territory and state map from his saddlebag, so he could figure out Kid’s means of transportation. There was no stagecoach until tomorrow morning and no trains in this town.
Heyes unfolded the state map and a note dropped out onto the floor. Heyes raised his eyebrow in wonder, at what that paper was. It was another note from Kid.
Heyes, you need to give up searching for me. I don't want or need a partner, anymore. I have to live my life on my own.
You need to have a life of your own, too. Get some sleep, eat breakfast, and start your new life.
Heyes landed on the bed with a hard thump, when his knees buckled under him. Heyes felt like Kid had just punched him in the stomach.
CHAPTER TWO – What happened in Liberty, Colorado
Curry disliked having a showdown, in the middle of Main Street; however, he couldn't let Jenkins get away with his attack on the young girl, who sings at the Golden Circle Saloon. Kid had seen there was the start of trouble earlier; by the way, Jenkins had acted around the girl. Heyes had put his hand on Kid’s shoulder to hold him back from interfering.
Heyes insensitively informed him, “This is not our problem, and you're always making more out of it then there is. Not every girl is a damsel in distress.”
Later that night, Kid was the one who found Susie in a dark alley, lying like a rag doll, two blocks from his hotel. Kid gently picked Susie up and carried the girl to the doctor’s office. Kid felt accountable for not doing something to prevent the beating. “I shouldn’t have listened to Heyes. She would have been safe, instead of...THIS!”
Kid was distressed with his lack of backbone to stand up for what he believed in. Kid had permitted Heyes to direct him in life and sometimes it had made him doubt his own instincts. “How many more people are going to be hurt or die because of my actions or lack of actions?” Kid went over his misgivings.
Doctor Myers said that Susie had a cracked rib, and her face would not scar from the beating she took. Then the doctor asked, “How did this happen? Who did this to Susie? Aren’t you new in town?”
Kid disliked the direction this conversation was taking, when he heard someone come up behind him. With his hand resting on his gun, Kid turned to check out who it was. Naturally, Kid was relieved to see Heyes behind him.
Kid answered the Doctor. “Yes, I'm just passing through your town, and I met Susie two nights ago. I don’t know who did this to her, but I'm telling the sheriff if he needs help, I’m here.”
Heyes rushed to add, “But we are only going to be here a day or two longer. We have a good job waiting for us, and we have that favor to do for Sheriff Lom Trevors over in Porterville.”
Doctor Myers added, “I know Sheriff Trevors, he's a good man. Porterville is a day and half ride from here, we cross paths, with our travels at times.”
Suddenly Susie moaned and slowly cried out, “Please stop!”
Her cry stabbed at Kid’s heart, which caused him to be enraged and ashamed of his decision not to act. With his head lowered, Kid balled up his hands into fists to keep control his emotions.
The doctor softy said, “Susie, its Doctor Myers. You are safe and you’re in my office. Please open your eyes.”
Susie opened her eye; the other eye had swollen shut. Heyes and Kid saw the pain and distress the girl was going through. Heyes knew that he was going to have his hands full restraining Kid’s need, to take care of the man who attack her. Susie shuddered with fear as she tried to speak.
Kid looked for some water, poured her a glass, and held it up to her lips. Kid had her drink slowly, and the doctor was relieved to see that. “There was no way this young man had anything to do with her beating. He has too much of a heart to do something this dreadful.”
After settling down, Susie recounted what happened, “The horrible man called Jenkins attacked me, because I wouldn’t have sex with him.”
Kid’s eyes turned to an icy blue and Heyes knew that trouble was going to follow. Heyes didn’t identify that Kid’s fury wasn’t just about the girl’s beating. Kid felt that he would've stopped Jenkins, if Heyes hadn't stopped him from interfering ‘with things that don’t concern us.’ Kid didn’t appreciate Heyes steering him away from helping someone, once more.
“You know doctor, I'm not that kind of girl, and my first time wasn’t going to be with him!” She started crying and Kid grabbed the doctor’s arm and in a low threatening tone whispered, “He didn’t rape her, did he?”
Doctor Myers led Kid into the other room,
“No. Oh no! He didn’t rape her. I don’t know what stopped him, because Susie was in no condition to stop him.”
Hearing that Kid stormed out of the office with the door slammed shut behind him, Heyes came rushing in.
“What happened? Where did Thaddeus go?”
“I don’t know. He asked about Susie and I said that he probably saved her life and he left rather abruptly,” said a shaken doctor.
Heyes went running down the street looking for Kid, desperate to stop what he feared most, Kid’s death. It was a moonless night and most of the townsfolk were already in bed. Heyes heard a dog bark, and it sounded like a couple of blocks down, toward the sheriff’s office.
When Heyes got down there, the door was standing wide open and he heard Kid shouting at an older man. “WHERE DOES JENKINS LIVE? THEN WHERE’S HE STAYING AT?”
“Now calm down boy! Or do you want to spend the night in jail?” The sheriff was unhappy about a loud- mouthed young man waking him up. Heyes put his hand on Kid’s shoulder to signal it was Heyes’ turn to talk to the sheriff. Kid backed off, which comforted Heyes. “Maybe, I still will be able to calm down Kid’s temper, before he does something we both will regret.”
“I'm sorry, sir. My friend and I are upset over the beating that Susie, the singer, took tonight. My friend, Thaddeus found Susie lying unconscious in an alley. He took her bloody body over to Doctor Myers’ office,” Heyes cut the talk short, because his partner had gotten fidgety behind him, which meant for Heyes to get on with it.
The sheriff was completely awake now and wanted more information.
“Is Susie alive? Who would do such a thing to a girl like Susie?” asked a concerned sheriff.
Kid said in a huff to the sheriff, “I asked you about Jenkins. He's the one who beat Susie. Now where is he?”
“I don’t know any Jenkins. He isn’t from around here. I’ll go check the hotel,” stated the sheriff as reached for his coat.
Kid announced, “I’m coming with you in case you need help.”
The look on Kid’s face told the sheriff, he was a man you didn’t argue with, when his mind was made up. The sheriff decided he’d rather have the man beside him, instead of running around taking the law into his own hands.
On the way over to the hotel, Kid told the sheriff that Jenkins was an older man, who had graying hair by his temples. He had seen him tonight in the saloon. Heyes was surprised that Kid knew that much about the man. “I should've known that Kid would've that much information about everyone in the saloon. That was his job, while my job was to know the players that I'm playing poker with.”
The three men searched everywhere, but that late at night left many places closed to them. Finally, they woke up the stable hand, and the sheriff asked, “Did someone named Jenkins stable his horse with you?”
“Yes, he came in here drunk and got his horse and road out,” said a very tired young boy. Before the sheriff could ask, Kid spoke up.
“Did you see which way he rode out?”
“No, I didn’t because I was happy that he left, so I could go back to bed,” said the boy sleepily, who was hoping they would let him do the same.
The sheriff explained to the young boy what had happened and to keep it to himself.
“I don’t want more trouble than we have already. Now can you think of anything else about the man?”
The boy thought long and hard, and then a slow smile came on his face.
“I do remember something. The man had been waiting for some men to arrive in town for the last three days. He comes into town around noon each day and stables his horse.”
“I'll wait until Jenkins comes back tomorrow, to arrest him. It’s too dark out tonight to find him, without the unawareness on my side. He would hear me before I could see him,” stated the sheriff as he walked out of the stables and back towards the jail. The sheriff turned back towards the boys and said, “Oh, by the way! Thank-you for your help with Susie and the search. Good night.”
Kid stood and watched the sheriff walk down the street. The sheriff stopped at the doctor’s office and went inside. Heyes stood behind Kid watching him watch the sheriff. Kid nodded his head when the sheriff entered the doctor’s office. It seems Kid was judging the actions of the sheriff. Heyes had an uneasy feeling about all that happened tonight and Kid’s reactions. He wished that he could get his cousin out of town, before his gut feeling came true.
Kid and Heyes walked slowly back to the hotel. Both men had many things on their mind. When they entered the hotel lobby, a young woman was clerking the desk. Kid went up to the desk,
“Room key for Smith and Jones.” and he gave her a beautiful smile when she handed him the key. He looked right into her eyes and said softly, “Thank-you very much, miss.”
The woman blushed at her thoughts about the cowboy, who had removed his hat, when he asked for his room key. She was not prepared to see the golden ruffled hair and those blue, blue eyes! After Kid went up the stairs, the clerk was still fantasizing about him.
After breakfast the next morning, Kid asked the sheriff, “Have you heard how Susie is doing this morning? Is there any word about Jenkins?”
“Susie will be all right. Doc moved Susie in with him and his wife to take care of her and to protect her. Susie calmed down and finally got some rest. So far there is no sign of Jenkins, but it's still pretty early,” explained the sheriff.
“I’ll be down around the hotel, if something comes up or if you need me,” Kid offered.
Heyes walked up to the two men and heard the last remark made by Kid. Heyes and Kid walked away and when Heyes thought they were out of hearing range he asked, “What are you doing? You didn’t think the sheriff had a good enough look at you, that you have to hunt him down for another look? What you did think, he didn’t have enough light to see your face last night? Or that he needed, the see the sun hit your hair to see that it is blond? Before he checks out his wanted posters? And what kind of help are you offering?”
“I'm letting the sheriff make the arrest,” offered Kid. “And what? You have a problem with my hair color?"
"I didn't say I had a problem with your hair, just you spending so much time around a sheriff. It makes me a little edgy. Who would have thought?" Heyes laughed and gave a dimpled smile.
"I guess you must have something to hide. Unlike me, who lives a quiet life," Kid said with an innocent look.
"Yeah, just you and a rocking chair," laughed Heyes.
"Hey, I happen to like rocking chairs," Kid announced.
"Then come on old man, let's go to the hotel and rock those chairs," Heyes laughed and draped his arm around Kid's shoulder.
While Heyes rocked on the porch with Kid, that forewarning alarm was sounding loud in his head. He wanted to get Kid out of that town fast.
Half hour later the stable boy came running up to Kid. “Jenkins... just beat up the sheriff... overpowered him... in the jail... I'm going for the doctor,” said the boy, breathlessly.
“Where did Jenkins go to?” asked a heated Kid.
“He is the saloon,” said the boy as he dashed off.
Heyes jumped up out of his rocker and blocked Kid’s way off the porch, “Where do you think you’re going? You’re not the law!”
Heyes knew he had to try to calm Kid down. However, there is a point that Kid reaches that; even Heyes can't get through to. Heyes saw that the talking wasn't doing any good. Heyes lost his temper because of his concern for Kid and yelled, “Kid, we can’t afford to get involved! Just let it be. Susie has people looking after her.”
Kid was staring Heyes down and he said in an angry icy voice, “You know that you can’t always turn a blind eye on everything. If you don’t like my involvement, maybe you should look the other way!”
Kid stormed off in the opposite direction to the saloon. Heyes was somewhat relieved that Kid walked the other way. He sat back down tried to read the newspaper, but his mind kept going back to his friend. He looked down the street that Kid went, watching for him to come back. Heyes wasn't concentrating on reading the paper, but one might think so, by his appearances. He didn’t want Kid to know that he had been watching for his return. There was calm, relax exterior that reflected off Heyes and underneath a ball of nervous tension. That appearance was broken when he heard the yell, and Heyes jumped out of the rocker.
“Jenkins, get your butt out here NOW!” Kid yelled in his low deadly voice.
Heyes was running down the street, thinking that Kid must have looped around the back of the buildings, to get past him. Now he was standing in the street in front of the saloon. Heyes was still too far away, when he saw Jenkins storm out of the saloon. The swinging doors were flying back and forth behind the angry man. Heyes heard the shouting the two men were doing, but he couldn't make out what they were saying. All he heard was the pounding of his heart in his ears.
Heyes saw Jenkins who didn't look drunk as much as MEAN. Jenkins was twice the size of Kid, which reminded Heyes of the first time Kid was in a gunfight. “What age was he, 14 or 15 years old? He was so small against the older man, who did not think Kid was a challenge. No one even saw the Kid draw; they were all watching the older man’s draw instead. They were expecting Kid to get shot.” Heyes noticed that Jenkins wore his gun tied down like a gunslinger, and he had that self-assured walk too. Heyes felt the same terror in the pit of his stomach; he felt that first gunfight Kid had.
Heyes saw the stance of Kid's, his shoulders squared off and his legs planted. Which meant there was no turning point with him, and Heyes knew what came next.
What Heyes didn’t hear was Kid, “You've a choice to walk over to the jail peaceably... or I’ll take you over forcefully.”
Jenkins looked at the young man and laughed, “What? A pup deputy thinks that he’s man enough to haul me off to jail!’
Jenkins laughed a dirty low laugh and stared Kid down. Kid’s own eyes had turned to a stormy steel gray color and showed no signs of wavering. Jenkins had decided that this pup needed to learn respect towards him, and he was happy to dish out the lesson.
Heyes had reached the right hand side of Kid, when Heyes saw Jenkins go for his gun. Heyes heart was pounding so hard that he felt it hitting his chest. Heyes heard the two shots. Jenkins’ gun went flying out of his hand and Heyes felt the bullet hit the inside part of his shirtsleeve. Heyes closed his eyes. He had waited for the hot poker to hit him and set his body aflame. He knew the pain from a bullet, very well. After a minute passed, Heyes let go his breath, he had held and opened his eyes.
Heyes saw Kid had a shocked, troubled look on his face. Kid glared back at Jenkins that sent a cold chill down the older gun fighter’s spine. That scared Jenkins, because he never had felt that before. He didn't understand how this young man in front of him, could provoke that kind of fear. Kid motioned for Jenkins to head over to the sheriff’s office. There was no hesitation from Jenkins.
Kid and the sheriff came back out of the jail, with the sheriff thanking him. Kid marched right past Heyes without a glance towards his partner. People had gathered around to watch and talk about the gunfight and the arrest of a man called Jenkins. Kid walked right through the crowd and they parted to let him pass. The townspeople tried to talk to Kid, but he had just stared blankly ahead as he walked straight to the hotel, without saying a word.
The town was in high spirits over Jenkins’ downfall. Everyone had a story to tell about the gunfight, and hardly any of them matched. Heyes stood in the background to listen to the stories being told. So far, Heyes hadn't heard anyone guessing who Kid really was. Heyes waited awhile before heading up to the room. Heyes wanted his emotions intact before facing his friend. In addition, Heyes wanted to be sure that he hide the bullet hole in his shirt from Kid. If he had the extra money, he would have replaced the shirt, so Kid wouldn't see the hole. When Heyes opened the door to their room, Kid was throwing things into his saddlebags.
Heyes asked, “What are you doing?”
Kid answered in an angry voice, “What does it look like I'm doing?”
“The room is already paid for tonight,” Heyes said in a weary voice.
Kid stormed out of the room and down to the front desk, “We are checking out! I do hope that you don’t think, that we should pay for today!”
The hotel manager looked into those icy blue eyes and said with a gulp, “Why, of course not. Here your money back, sir. We are sorry to see you leave.”
Heyes found Kid outside with the horse saddled and ready to go. “Here's your part of the room cost!” stormed Kid.
“I didn’t ask you to pay me for the room,” said Heyes as he fastened his saddlebags and bedroll onto his horse, but Kid had already ridden out. The money was sitting on top of Heyes' saddle.
The two of them rode in silence for half an hour, before Heyes tried to talk to his partner. Heyes saw the way his friend was riding in his saddle and knew this wasn't going to be a pleasant ride. Instead of saying anything back to Heyes, Kid nudged his horse forward to put some distance in front of Heyes.
“You know that you don’t have to be so proddy!” Heyes yelled so Kid could hear him. “You know one of these days you’re going to get us killed. On the other hand, if they figure out who we are, because of your gun. Then it’s twenty years!”
Kid made no indication that he heard him. They rode awhile longer with Kid in the front. Heyes nudged his horse to pull alongside of his angry partner, “What's eating at you, Kid? If anyone should be mad, it's me! I thought we agreed to mind our own business?”
Kid stopped and gave Heyes the look that said, “Back off!” Kid’s eyes then traveled to Heyes’ left side and then kicked his horse into a gallop. Heyes thought nothing about Kid looking at his side, because he was wearing his coat.
By the time the boys had reached the town of Collins, Colorado, they were going to spend the night; Kid had made a life changing decision. Now all he needed to do was to get rid of Heyes for tonight. He needed time to work out his plan and set it in motion. Kid knew that this was going to be the hardest thing he ever did, but it had to happen.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Kid had everything ready for his plan. He even got to the telegram office to have two telegrams sent. One sent out tonight, and another was to be sent tomorrow afternoon. Kid counted his money and tried to figure how to stretch it out until he could find a job. He did make some money on the sale of his horse. He lay down on his bed, feeling the weight of the world press down on his chest. It was almost too hard for him to breathe. He knew that he had to turn his mind off, if he was to get any sleep. Kid finally drifted off into a restless, troubled sleep.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
An hour later, he was reliving the gunfight with Jenkins, but this time Heyes was killed. Jenkins was laughing at Kid, who was holding the lifeless, bloody body of Heyes. Kid’s body was covered in a cold sweat when he jerked awake. Kid recalled his nightmare and hoped that it wasn't real. He looked around the room and saw Heyes’ clothes and his saddlebags and he slumped back down into the bed. Kid felt no relief. Instead, Kid slowly turned his head toward the wall and cried slow painful tears.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Heyes was in a good mood, when he entered the room, and he loved to share it with his cousin. Heyes would've awakened his partner any other night, but he felt that the mood Kid was in, he shouldn’t, it was better to let him sleep. He had won over $600, tonight. The cards were very good to him. Heyes thought, “Too bad Kid didn’t play tonight. If the players at the other table played as bad as mine table, we could have easily doubled our winnings. Maybe, Kid will play tomorrow night. That’s if I can get him to stay another night.”
Heyes saw Kid’s rumbled covers, half of them were lying on the floor. He smiled as he recovered Kid up. He had done this since their parents died. This made Heyes feel good by checking on him and making sure that his cousin was safe. In addition, it made Heyes feel like he wasn't alone in the world. Looking down into Kid’s troubled face made Heyes’ smile fade. He wished that he could take all of Kid’s troubles away. Heyes still felt guilty that he led Kid into the life of outlawing. That's why the amnesty was so important. Heyes wanted to get the pardon for Kid.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Before dawn, Kid was in the hallway putting on his shirt and then his boots. He had finished dressing out there so he wouldn't wake Heyes. Kid picked up his saddlebags and bedroll, and then took one last look inside the room at Heyes. He knew that would be the last time, he would see his partner. Kid closed the door on the room and their partnership. For a moment, he rested his forehead on the wall.
“Heyes, I'm tired of looking the other way and seeing people getting hurt because of it. My actions can't be the cause of your death. I am so sorry for any pain that I'll cause you over this.” Kid said to himself, “Come on, I have to get out of here!”
Kid raised his head up and looked at the closed door. Then slowly moved away from the door and went down to the lobby. Kid had written a note and left it with the desk clerk.
“To be given to Mr. Smith after he had asked about me. Please, not before that time.”
The young woman said, “That’s no problem.”
Kid went to the diner and after he sat down, he realized that he wasn't hungry. The traveling Kid had ahead of him, it was unadvisable to start out on an empty stomach. Kid settled for some toast and coffee. He thought he would be able to keep that down. His stomach felt like he had been kicked a couple times. Kid left the diner a short time later, and looked over to the hotel. He looked up to Heyes’ window; the room was still dark. A deep sadness passed over Kid’s face. He was convincing himself,
“I’m doing the right thing for Heyes.”
Kid walked into the stable, “You got that horse ready for me?”
“Yes, sir. The horse has your new saddle on him,” the blacksmith said as he led out the horse from the stall.
“Now, you got it straight about my old horse? You'll have him stabled in the second stall, so he's visible from the street, right? No one is to say anything to Mr. Smith until he asks. Then you can show the sales slip that I sold my horse. Just don’t offer any information about me getting another horse,” Kid stressed the last part and handed the man a $5 bill. “Oh. By the way, Smith has a temper. Just make sure that you show him the slip and hand him this message from me. Don’t worry, he’ll calm down, it’s just that Smith doesn’t like being in the dark about matters.”
“I understand. You’re playing a joke on your partner, right?” asked a worried blacksmith.
Kid forced a smile and said, “Yeah, you’re right it’s a joke.”
After inspecting the horse again, to see if it was the same horse that Kid had bought, he climbed up in the saddle. He looked down the street and there was no sign that Heyes was up. Kid then knew that he had out smarted Heyes. Normally that would bring a big smile onto Kid’s face and complete satisfaction on his part, but there was neither. It wasn’t often he got one up on his partner. However, this time, Kid knew that he had to put time and distances between Heyes and him, to close off that part of his life forever.
When Kid rode into the town, the people stopped what they were doing and stared at the lone rider. They knew who he was, and they would point at him and talk between themselves about the rider. He was sitting straight and tall in the saddle, with his right hand resting close by his 45. The way his hat was positioned, the townsfolk couldn't really see his eyes, but Kid saw everything around him, without moving his head. Kid felt and saw the fear of the town.
Kid stopped in front of the sheriff’s office, got off the horse, and tied the reins to the hitching post. Before entering the office, he took in his surroundings, so there would be no surprises.
The sheriff was sitting at his desk going over some papers, when Kid entered the office. The sheriff looked up and was startled to see who was standing there. The sheriff was trying to find his voice after recovering from the shock, “I would've never believed that I would see you again.”
“Didn’t you get my telegram?” asked Kid in a deep, firm voice.
“Yes, but a lot can happen for you to change your mind,” the sheriff guessed.
“No, I gave you my word in the telegram,” Kid said sternly. Kid’s left thumb was behind his belt and his right hand was resting close to his gun.
“You must have ridden hard,” the sheriff, observed the young man looked exhausted. He looked behind Kid and asked, “Where’s your partner?”
Kid’s eyes turned icy blue and he stated strongly, “He’s not a part of this! It’s just me!”
“Well, all right then. You might as well go in there,” the sheriff was pointing to an empty cell, “Get some rest while you can. It will be a couple of hours before the stage arrives.”
Kid walked slowly over to the cell and the sheriff said, “Oh, I need to take your gun. I’ll hang it right here.”
Kid’s hand brushed the side of his gun, as if he was saying good-bye to an old friend. He leaned down and unfastened the leg strap, and then the belt buckle. He gently rolled the belt up and handed it to the sheriff, turned around and entered the cell.
The prisoner in the next cell saw the expression on Kid’s face and decided to keep his mouth shut. The sheriff threw in a clean blanket and a pillow on the bed. Kid slowly lowered his weary body onto the bed. He rolled up the blanket and placed it on the flat pillow to give more support for his aching head. His pounding head caused his stomach to feel nauseous.
An hour and a half passed by. Kid slowly opened his drowsy eyes to get his bearings. His head was still thumping, and felt like it was splitting from the top of his head to the base of his neck. The dream he had, troubled him. His eyes adjusted to the sunlight that came from the window. Suddenly, he saw the bars of the cell; Kid’s movement was swift. He was on his feet and looking about to see where he was. The prisoner in the next cell laughed at Kid.
“It’s a shock to wake up and see those cell bars. Man, this was worth being locked up, just to see your reaction!”
The man continued to laugh, and the sheriff came in to see what was going on. Kid was standing, or really, it was swaying, in the middle of the cell. The darkness tried to engulf Kid, and he felt some arms around him that held him upright. His mind went to Heyes, “Heyes is always here when I need him.”
Kid was brought back to the present, by the sheriff’s voice, “Boy, I think you better sit back down,” the sheriff was concerned at, how pale Kid looked. “Do you think you can eat something?”
“I don’t know. This headache is doing a job on me,” Kid slumped back down and gently leaned his head back on the cool wall. It seems to help some.
The prisoner, whose hand was bandaged, whacked his cup on the cell bars.
“Does the poor boy have a headache? The headache going to be nothing, compared to what happens when that stage pulls into town!”
His banged his cup some more on the bars and laughed. Kid turned his head toward the man, without lifting it off the wall. Kid’s eyes had a hard cold glare that made the prisoner stop in his tracks. The man quickly backed up from the bars, until he walked into the wall behind him. He wanted to be as far away from Kid as possible. The prisoner believed if this man wanted to, he could come straight through those cell bars after him.
The sheriff smiled at the reaction, this young man could create from this dangerous prisoner. The sheriff decided it was time that the young man eats something and took something from the doctor, for his headache. “I’ll be back. I’ll see what I can get us to eat,” the sheriff promised.
Kid was happy the sheriff had left. All he wanted to do was close his eyes. Kid put his fingers on each side of his forehead, to try to stop the pounding. It didn't work. His mind was over working. “This isn’t a dream, it’s a nightmare. Heyes should know by now that I ended our partnership. I hope that Heyes will be all right! I have to keep him safe from me. Here I am sitting in a jail cell, and things are about to get worse, when that stagecoach comes.”
Kid heard the sheriff, as he entered with a plate of food. The sheriff seemed pleased with himself.
“Miss Lucy made her chicken and dumplings with buttermilk biscuits, they're the lightest that you'll ever taste. Plus we have lemonade to drink with apple dumpling for desert.”
The smells of the food, made Kid realize how hungry he was, and he told the sheriff.
Kid made another effort to stand. When he got to his feet, he let the room stop spinning before he took another step. The sheriff handed the prisoner, in the other cell, the plate of food, and walked over to Kid’s cell.
The man looked at his tray then called after sheriff, “Hey, this doesn’t look like chicken and dumplings to me!”
“You’re pretty smart! That’s beef stew. The sheriff turned his back to the prisoner and said to Kid, “Why don’t you come out into the main room to eat?”
Kid followed the sheriff with his hand semi-bracing himself on the wall. He still wasn’t steady on his feet. When Kid entered the room, he saw the desk covered with plates of food. He took the chair across from the sheriff. Kid could see his gun hanging on the wall. The sheriff saw the young man fondly glance at the gun. The sheriff thought, “I would bet, that young man feels naked without his gun belt.”
Kid took a spoonful of broth and tasted it slowly; he didn’t know how his stomach was going to react. After eating a few spoonfuls, he waited to see, if the broth was going to stay down. When he felt could eat, he started on the solid foods. A smile broke out on Kid’s face, “These are light dumplings, and so are the biscuits.”
“Here, you put butter on those biscuits, and tell me, how you have died and went to heaven,” smiled the sheriff. Then he thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything about dying.”
However, the Kid didn’t seem bothered by the remark, “This is the best food that I have eaten in a long, long time.”
The sheriff said, “Here's something from the doctor for your headache.”
Kid said that some medicine, doesn’t agree with him, and makes him sicker. Kid said no thanks for the pills. The men enjoyed their lunch, and when they were done the sheriff said, “I guess we should talk over the plan for when the stagecoach arrives.”
Kid straightened up in his chair and looked in the sheriff’s eyes, “I’ll be ready to meet the stage.”
“Are you losing your headache yet?” the sheriff hoped, because they had to be ready for that stage. The telegram he received this morning, had confirmed the passenger list.
“My head lost some of the pounding. I think the food has helped some, thank-you,” Kid said hopefully.
They talked over what would probably happen, when the stage stopped. The sheriff took off the sling from his arm and Kid asked, “How much can you do with that arm? Can you shoot your gun?”
“I guess we'll see if I have to fire it.” The sheriff walked over to Kid’s gun belt and took it off the peg. “Here, you're going to need this. Besides that, you look like you feel naked without it.”
“Hey, Sheriff! Deputy! My friends aren't going to be happy about me being in jail. Why don’t you save yourselves the trouble, and let me out. All will be forgotten!” yelled the prisoner, Jenkins.
“Quiet down in there, Jenkins,” stormed Kid. Jenkins shut his mouth; he didn't want to tangle with that young deputy, again.
Kid slipped on his gun and checked to see if it was loaded. The sheriff watched. The sheriff liked this young man, who was calling himself, Thaddeus Jones. Did the sheriff really believe his name was Jones, no?
The sheriff didn’t care who this man was. All he knew was whatever this young man had done; it came nowhere near Jenkins’ actions. The sheriff had seen this man’s character, the night Susie’s attack, a sensitive man.
The sheriff saw Jones, with all his anger at Jenkins, make the decision not to kill him in the gunfight. The bullet grazed the outside part of his hand, which causing Jenkins to drop his gun. The old gunslinger knew talent, when he saw it, so did the sheriff.
When Jenkins told the sheriff his friends would be riding into town to rescue him, the sheriff had asked for help. Kid was in the stables saddling their horses, when the sheriff approached him.
“I know that I don’t have the right to ask for your help, but I really don’t have anyone else, who could handle these men.”
Kid stood there for a moment, before he resumed saddling the horses. The sheriff felt that it was hopeless when Kid didn’t answer right away. He turned to leave when he heard a straightforward response.
“If I help, it’s only me! My partner will know nothing about this, do we understand?”
“I understand, but Smith is bound to hear something,” agreed the sheriff.
“No, he won’t. You said the stagecoach that the men are on, doesn’t arrive until tomorrow, late afternoon. I'm leaving here with my partner now, but I’ll come back for tomorrow, alone. No one is to know about this, but you and me! Do we have an agreement?” Kid asked firmly.
“There's no reason for anyone else to know. I’ll see you tomorrow.” With that said, the sheriff left the stables wondering, if he would ever see the young man again.
Kid walked with the sheriff down the street. People were clearing off the streets and slamming doors behind them. Some of them were searching for a safe place, to watch whatever was about to unfold. Kid could still feel the tension in the air, but the sheriff was calm. Kid was reassured that the sheriff could take care of himself.
Standing on the dusty boardwalk, the two men waited for the stage. The sun was blazing, and the heat was radiating off the ground. As the stage rolled in, the dirt flew behind it in a thick cloud. Kid had ridden enough stages, to know what condition the men traveling, would be in, hot and tired. Kid smiled to himself, knowing their discomfort was to his advantage. The telegram said four men and a man of the cloth, as Kid went over things in his mind. “I got to make sure that an innocent minister doesn’t get hurt.”
The stage made the last turn to end up on Main Street and stopped in front of Kid. He was standing in his gunfighter stance with sun behind him. A man inside the coach caught a glimpse of Kid.
“There’s only one man this side of the Mississippi I know who stands like that…Kid Curry! Oh, God no! How can Kid be here?” Then the man said to the others, “Ugh, guys…I got a problem! I know that young man standing out there and he don’t back a losing cause. Do you really know what went down here?”
“What does it matter? That’s my brother, they got in jail,” fumed Jenkins’ younger brother, who was in no mood to talk.
“Well, listening to what they have to say might be a good idea. We are kind of boxed in this coach, and they could just pick us off,” the man tried to reason with the others. But it didn’t work, and he had only a few moments to decide what to do.
Preacher exited the coach in front of his friend. Kid didn’t react to the Preacher’s presence. Meanwhile, Preacher was trying to remember not to call him, Kid, and to remember the name to call him. “Plus where was Heyes? The Kid is going to need Heyes, against these men.”
Preacher nodded his head at Kid and said, “Joshua.”
“No, it’s Thaddeus,” stated Kid in a low voice. He was surprised when Preacher stepped out of the coach and that he didn’t call him, Kid.
“I can’t keep the two of you straight. You know that Smith and Jones thing,” the Preacher said with a smile.
The Kid gave the Preacher the ‘don’t mess with me’ look. Without Kid taking his eyes off the other men, as they got off the coach, he said in a low voice to the sheriff, “I think you need to check on Jenkins. There’s a man missing, go see if he has company.”
The Preacher smiled. “There isn’t much that Kid misses.” Preacher moved away from the other men, and stood behind Kid. Preacher decided that he wouldn't interfere with the gunfight, but he was going to make sure, it stayed a fair fight.
Jenkins’ brother spoke up, “I hear that you have my brother locked up in your jail!
Kid with his hands resting on his gun belt asked, “Does the fact that your brother beat up a 16 year old girl, so he would be able to rape her, make the difference?”
“No, it doesn’t matter, I want my brother out now,” demand the younger Jenkins.
The stagecoach driver didn't like what he was hearing, and he wasn't going to be caught up in any gunfight. When the stagecoach started to move out, that was the moment, when Jenkins made his move. The other two men moved in different direction to become harder targets. The men started shooting. Kid’s first shot hit the brother in the shoulder. He winged the second man in the upper leg. Kid moved to get a clear shot for the third one, and dodged the man’s gunfire.
At the same time he was firing his gun, Kid heard Preacher yell, “Kid! Watch out!”
Before Kid could react, he heard two gunshots and felt a burning sensation in his back. Kid grabbed a hold of the hitching post and leaned heavily against it. He didn’t attempt to move, because he knew he would fall down. Preacher came running up behind him, out of breath.
Preacher was muttering, “Damn snake in the grass! He was going to shoot you in the back. After you just shooting him in the shoulder, and that’s how he shows his gratitude?”
Preacher had shot and killed Jenkins’ brother. Kid didn’t look back at Preacher, and this stopped Preacher in his tracks. Something didn't seem right with Kid. He quickly came up behind Kid and lifted up Kid’s leather vest. He saw a bloody spot spreading on Kid’s white shirt.
Kid’s head slowly turned toward Preacher, who saw the pain in the blond man’s eyes. In a hoarse voice Kid forced out, “Get me out of here…please… I’m afraid to move... tell me it’s… ok.”
Preacher looked at the wound again, and it was twice the size.
“Kid, you need a doctor.”
“No, doctor. You took… bullets out of me… before… I trust you,” Kid’s voice revealed the pain he was in.
“Can you ride?” asked a concerned Preacher. “Where's Heyes?”
“You get me on my horse, Kid moaned, “I’ll stay on... My horse… is… right down… in front of the sheriff’s office. I…can’t stay here… will find… out who… I am.”
The sheriff didn't see them ride away. He was busy with his new prisoners, locking them up. The sheriff didn't see Kid being shot. All he would recall; was Jones was there one minute and gone the next.
He said that when he had entered his office, a man was trying to release Jenkins from his cell. It was an easy arrest. Jones had it figured right, about a man missing from the stagecoach.”
After the arrest, the sheriff stepped out of the jail, in time to see the gunfight. “I have never seen that kind of shooting before, and the preacher probably saved Jones from being shot in the back. It was something! Jones did what he had promised, and then he was gone.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
About a mile out of town, Preacher grabbed Kid’s reins. By a stream, Preacher led the horses under some trees for some shade. Blood was covering Kid’s vest, Kid’s eyes were barely open, and they showed how weak he was.
Preacher was scared, “Kid, were you trying to get yourself killed? You could've faced down four men, if I wasn’t the one, with them. Heyes should've taught you four to one odds are bad in a gun fight.” Preacher got off his horse and walked over to Kid, “You’re just lucky, I would never raise my gun to you.”
Kid was still in his saddle; he turned and looked down at Preacher, and smiled innocently. The next thing Preacher saw was an unconscious Kid falling from his horse. Preacher caught Kid in his arms, before he hit the ground.
When Kid came to, Preacher was sitting beside him. He tried to sit up and Preacher gently pushed Kid back down on the blanket. He got the canteen and helped Kid to drink some water. While Kid was out, Preacher had cleaned and dressed the wound. Kid put his hand around to his back and felt, “Yes, it’s sore and feels hot.”
Kid asked, “How bad am I shot?”
Preacher saw the worry etched on Kid’s face, but not for what Preacher thought. Kid was desperate to continue with the rest of his plan.
“The bullet cut across a third of your back, but it didn’t enter. Your leather vest slowed it down and it hit you sideways, instead of straight on. You were very lucky! If the bullet had been a straight hit, we would not be talking to each other, now. I would be cussing at your dead body, and telling them in heaven, to send you to hell.”
Kid looked hurt at that last remark, “I thought we were friends, Preacher. Why would you do that?” Kid was sounding like a scolded ten year old.
Preacher felt bad, “Kid, you just scared me to death. Especially, after you fainted off your horse.”
“I don’t faint!” Kid announced.
Preacher got as much water down Kid, as he could. He knew in time, fever was likely to claim his friend. Kid knew this, and he wanted to leave before the fever hit.
“I’ve got to move away from here. I'm too close to town, and every bounty hunter that hears about the gunfight, will wonder if it’s me. If they're in a 50 mile radius, they'll be here in two days.”
“Is there someone tracking you, now?” Preacher was concerned.
“There's always someone tracking me!” Kid answered as truthfully as possible. He thought to himself, “What am I to say? Yes, it’s Heyes!”
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.