Heyes and Kid are being followed as they meet Lom, who takes a fall from graceFall from Grace
Mid-morning, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry reined their horses to a stop at a deserted-looking cabin. Another horse was grazing by the trees.
“Looks like Lom’s here already,” Kid said as he dismounted.
“Maybe he’ll have news for us.”
“I doubt it,” mumbled Curry as he carefully looked behind them and listened.
“Still have the feeling we’re being followed? We haven’t seen any evidence in the three days you’ve been acting like this. We even took a longer route – should have been here before Lom.”
“I know. I just can’t shake the feelin’.”
The door opened to the cabin and a man gave them an exasperated look.
“About time you two got here.”
“Couldn’t be helped. Thought we might’ve been followed.” Kid took off his hat and ran his fingers through his hair.
Heyes followed Lom into the cabin. “So Lom, why’d you ask to see us?”
At the table was a bottle of fine whiskey with three glasses, fried chicken and biscuits.
“Fried chicken and biscuits? Either it’s good news and we’re celebratin’ or…” Curry sat at the table, along with Heyes and Lom.
“Or the last supper. Which is it, Lom?” Heyes poured drinks all around.
Lom sighed. “Seems President Cleveland removed the Governor of Wyoming…”
“Again?!” came a unison response.
“BUT, I talked to the new governor and explained the previous deal and what you boys have done to stay straight. And he’s…”
“Willing to give us the same deal in a year,” Heyes continued the sentence.
Lom gave them a rueful smile. “Sorry, boys. I really am.”
“Not your fault, Lom. You’re just the messenger.” Heyes swallowed the glass of whiskey. “May as well not waste this good food.” He picked up a piece of chicken and passed it to his partner.
As Lom, Heyes and Kid were enjoying their meal, four men burst through the doors with their guns drawn.
“Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, you’re under arrest!” shouted a marshal. “Put your hands on top of the table. Now!”
Heyes and Kid glanced at each other as they slowly put down their drinks and did as they were told. Men grabbed the guns from their holsters and then roughly put Heyes’ and Kid’s hands behind their back and handcuffed them.
“Lom Trevors? What are you doing with these outlaws?” asked the marshal once his prisoners were secure.
“Marshal Adams.” Lom looked grim as he watched his friends being arrested.
“Were you arresting them? Why are you with them?” Adams looked around puzzled.
“Looks like they was havin’ a celebration to me, Marshal,” answered one of the deputies.
“It does. Explain yourself, Sheriff Trevors.”
Lom remained quiet.
“Sheriff Trevors, I said explain your actions.”
“I can’t, Marshal.” Lom’s face became unreadable and cold.
Kid looked at his friend, puzzled. “Lom, tell ‘em about the gov…”
Lom glared at Kid. “No!” he said emphatically.
“But Lom,” Heyes tried to reason with him.
“I said no!”
“What won’t you tell me, Lom?” asked the marshal.
“Nothing. Nothing at all.” Lom remain grim-faced and stoic.
Marshal Adams shook his head. “Lom, you’ve been a good friend and a great sheriff, but I can’t overlook these actions. I’m arresting you for aiding and hiding outlaws.” Adams removed Trevors’ badge. “Men, take his gun and handcuff him, too.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
When they arrived in town at dusk, the town’s deputy assisted as the posse pulled the prisoners down from the horses and into the jail. Heyes and Kid were ushered into separate cells by two men and a third took off their handcuffs. The deputy moved to lock Lom in a cell, too.
"Not so fast," said the marshal. "I want to talk to my friend, Sheriff Trevors. Alone." The marshal threw a look the deputy's way.
"Sure thing. I'll see to gettin' 'em supper from the hotel."
Marshal Adams led his fellow lawman by the arm outside, behind the jail.
“Okay Lom, what’s going on?”
“I can’t tell you, Jim.”
“You can’t?” Adams’ expression was grim as he continued, “Or you won’t.”
Lom sighed. “I wish I could, but…”
"If you won't help me out here, I'm gonna have no choice but to lock you up with them, Lom. That what you want?"
Lom's silence sealed his fate.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Later, the prisoners handed the deputy their dinner dishes. He locked the thick wood door behind him when he left, which divided the cells from the outer office.
“You didn’t eat much, Lom,” Heyes stated as he stood up and stretched.
“Not hungry. Besides, I didn’t see you eat everything, either.”
“Lom, why didn’t you just tell the marshal about the deal?” Kid sat on the bed facing his friend and partner.
Lom rested his head in his hands. “I can’t. Governor said it was a secret.”
“But the governor hasn’t upheld his part of the bargain so why should you?” Heyes stood near Lom’s cell with his hands on the bars. “What do you owe him?”
“That’s not the point. I knew what I was getting into when I went to the governor on your behalf and he stated the deal was a secret.”
Curry sighed. “If only we hadn’t gone to you in the first place…”
“Kid’s right, Lom. We should have never gotten you involved. You wouldn’t be in this mess if it wasn’t for us.” Heyes began pacing the cell.
Trevors looked up. “Listen here; you did exactly what you should have done. Granted, I wasn’t too pleased about this whole amnesty idea when you first came to my office, but your commitment has made it all worthwhile. If you hadn’t decided to try for amnesty when you did, both of you would probably be in prison by now, unless some over-zealous bounty hunter decided to...” Lom let the morbid thought trail off.
All three were quiet in thought for a few minutes.
Kid broke the silence. “I realized the danger of us still bein’ wanted, but I guess I never thought ‘bout the risks you were takin’.”
“I know we complained about the governor not keeping his word to you and never expressed our appreciation for you being the go-between.” Heyes stopped pacing for a minute. “We really did… do appreciate you helping us with the governor.”
“I got a chance at going straight and I figured you deserved it too,” Lom answered. “I felt bad telling you each time that the governor said no.” Lom lay down. “Think I’m gonna just lay here and rest; figure out what I’m going to do now, if you don’t mind.”
“Of course not, Lom.” Kid stretched and lay down on his bed. “Got a few hours, right, Heyes?”
Heyes grinned. “I’d say a few hours. I’ll wake you up.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
A few hours after midnight, in the dark jail block, Heyes took off his boot and reached inside for his lock pick. Moments later, he opened his cell’s door.
“Kid!” he hissed.
“I’m up.” Curry stood and walked to his door as Heyes worked on it. “Lom, are you awake?”
“Am now,” Trevors grumbled. “What are you two doing?”
Curry’s cell door squeaked as they opened it.
“Getting outta here,” Heyes said as he went over to Trevor’s cell. “Come on. The deputy is probably sleeping in the office. Heard some loud snoring from out there.”
“No?” questioned Kid. “You’re comin’ with us, Lom.”
“No, I’m not.”
“And why not?” asked Heyes.
“If I escape with you two, I’ll look guilty. And I’m not. No, I’ll stay and take my chances.”
“If that’s how you want it.” Heyes took the pick out of the lock.
“I do. You two be safe out there. And stay outta trouble.”
Kid put his hand between the bars and shook Lom’s hand. “We will, Lom. Bein’ law abidin’ gets to be kind of a habit.”
“Take care, Lom, and thank you for all your help.” Heyes also shook his friend’s hand. “We’re sorry about all this.”
“Just get outta here and don’t get caught!” Lom growled as he lay back down on the bed.
Heyes inserted the pick in the wooden door and quickly opened it. He cracked the door and grinned as he saw the deputy sound asleep. Nodding his head, he carefully opened it further. Kid quickly went behind the man and removed his gun.
“Deputy,” Curry whispered in his ear while Heyes started looking for their guns and belts. “Time to get up.”
“What?” came a groggy response.
Kid cocked the gun by the deputy’s ear. “I said it was time to get up.”
The man woke with a start; his eyes wide open in fright. “Don’t kill me! I have me a wife and baby girl waitin’ for me at home.”
“We aren’t gonna kill you – just detain you for awhile. Stand up and walk into one of the empty cells.”
The deputy stood up. “Okay, okay… Just don’t shoot.”
Heyes found the guns and put on his gunbelt, tying it down. When Curry came back into the office from locking up the deputy, his partner handed him his gun and belt before checking the window.
“Don’t see anyone out there. Looks like a crescent moon and no lights on in town.”
Curry tied the leather thong around his thigh. “For once it seems to be going in our favor.”
“I hate leaving Lom in the mess he’s in.”
“Me too, Heyes, but if he doesn’t want to come with us, it’s not like we can force him.”
“But he’s right about looking guilty if he came with us.” Heyes peered out the door. “Ready?”
The two fugitives escaped into the darkness.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
About a year later, Heyes and the Kid rode down a seldom used path.
Heyes looked up at the position of the sun. “Should be in Porterville before sunset.”
“I’m thinkin’ this isn’t one of our smartest plans, Heyes.”
“You want to know what happened to Lom, don’t you?”
“You know I do. Still feel real bad about leavin’ him in jail.”
Heyes glanced back at his partner. “Me too, Kid. Me too. But I figure if we avoid Ms. Porter, the hotel and Deputy Harker, we should be okay. Just go into the bar for a few drinks and hear what they say about Lom. Heck, maybe Lom is still the sheriff.”
“You don’t really believe that, do you?”
“No.” Heyes ducked down to avoid a low branch. “Just have to go in and come out quick. The bartender might remember we’re Lom’s friends Smith and Jones, but no one else will give us much attention.”
“Heyes, we blew up the bank! We supposedly chased away the bank robbers. More folks will remember us in Porterville.”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
At dusk, two trail dusty men tied their horses to the hitching post outside the saloon in Porterville.
“Well, we know Lom ain’t the sheriff.”
“And we know Deputy Harker’s still around. Looked like him sitting at the desk,” Heyes added. “Let’s go inside.”
They walked into the saloon and up to the bar.
“What’ll you have?”
“Two beers.” Heyes held up two fingers and pulled out a few coins.
“Not very busy,” noted Kid as he glanced around the room looking for trouble. “Don’t seem to be anyone in here that’d remember us.”
“Good. Ahh… Here are the beers, Thaddeus.” Heyes took one of the proffered glasses. “Nice town you have here, mister.”
“Sure is,” answered the bartender. “You folks new or passin’ through?”
“Just passin’ through.” Heyes took a sip of beer. “Seems nice and quiet.”
“Well, I don’t know about bein’ quiet. We have our excitement, too.”
Curry put his glass down. “Oh? Like what?”
“Well, we had us a bank robbery and they done blowed up the bank! Had so much dy-no-mite that it wrecked some of this here saloon.”
Heyes feigned surprise. “Really!?”
“Yep! Course, I wasn’t here then. And then there’s the scandal with the sheriff.”
“You had a scandal with the sheriff?”
“Yep. Seems Lom Trevors, that was his name, was consortin’ with outlaws! And not just any outlaws – with Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry!”
“No! Sheriff was consortin’ with THE Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry?”
“What happened to him?” Heyes asked.
“Well, Trevors’ star was taken away and he had to spend a few months in jail. Heard that he’s a foreman at Williams’ Running W Ranch.”
“Huh…” Heyes finished his drink and tapped the glass for another. “That near here?”
The bartender took the empty glasses and refilled them. “Shore is. Les Williams has a ranch ‘bout a day’s ride away. He and Trevors got along real well. Les says he believes Trevors is innocent or had his reasons iff’n he was with Heyes and Curry. Gave him a job when he got outta jail.”
‘Well, I guess you do have an excitin’ town.” Kid took the glass full of beer. “Are them eggs on the counter free?”
“Yep, if you’re drinkin’ beer, you can have an egg or two.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Later that evening, Heyes and Kid were sitting around a campfire.
“Too bad we couldn’t stay in Porterville. Rooms are clean and the beds are comfortable in the hotel.” Kid poured another cup of coffee.
“Yeah, and I wouldn’t mind going out to the Running W ranch and seeing Lom, but…”
“You know we can’t be seen with him. We’d get him in trouble again.” He added, “And might even get caught, again, ourselves.”
“I know.” Heyes took a sip of coffee as he stared into the fire. “Had some jail time and fell from grace because he wouldn’t break his silence and tell about the governor’s deal with us.”
“And the governor never helped him, either.” Kid shook his head. “Darn governors – have different names, but they’re all the same.”
“Did you really expect him to help Lom by telling others about the deal?”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
A few years later, Heyes and Kid rode into a town and stiffly dismounted their horses by a water trough. They waited a few moments while their mounts drank and then tied them to a hitching post near a bench.
Heyes stretched his back, picked up a paper from a bench and sat down. “I don’t want to get back in a saddle ever again.”
Curry sat next to his partner and put his hat over his eyes. “Me either. I’m so tired of the trail right now. Don’t wanna see a horse for a few days.”
A few minutes later, Kid’s breathing became slow and steady. Heyes glanced sideways at his friend and shook his head in disbelief. “He can sleep anywhere… anytime,” he muttered to himself and went back to reading the paper.
“Ki… Thaddeus! Wake up!” An elbow jabbed into Curry’s side.
“What?!” Kid automatically grabbed his gun handle as he pushed back his hat.
“There’s an article about Lom in here.”
Kid sat up and looked anxious. “Good news or bad?”
“Ready for this? The governor appointed him marshal out of Cheyenne!”
“Cheyenne? Where’s it say that?” Kid looked intently at the paper.
“Right here.” Heyes pointed to an article. “Says the governor was rewarding him for his loyalty and past service.”
“Loyalty – that’d be keepin’ his secret about our deal.”
“Yep. Ol’ Lom is in Cheyenne now – a marshal!”
“Good! He deserves it.”
“Maybe we should send him a telegram congratulating him.”
Curry scowled. “Maybe we should leave him alone and not get him in anymore trouble.”
“Come on, Kid, what harm could it do? The new marshal gets a telegram from two people named Smith and Jones. Nobody would ever know who sent it.”
Heyes got up from the bench and Curry grabbed his arm to keep him from walking off. “I don’t know about this, Heyes. I really don’t think…”
“I know just what I want to say.” His partner shrugged off the Kid’s hand. “Let’s go.”
Reluctantly, Curry trailed behind and when they reached the Western Union office, he tried once again to dissuade his friend, but Heyes was adamant. After scribbling for a few minutes, he handed the paper to the Kid.
“Good news about promotion. Real sorry about what happened. Will steer clear of Cheyenne unless we hear from you. Smith and Jones”
Curry grinned. “Sounds good, Joshua – real good.”
Smiling back, Heyes walked over to the clerk. “We need to send this right away.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
This just came for you, Marshal.”
“Thanks,” Lom Trevors accepted slightly crumpled paper from his deputy. He gave a chuff of laughter when he read the last sentence and sat back in his chair, a bemused look on his face.
“Everything okay?” Deputy Jackson looked concerned.
“Yeah, everything’s good. Just a telegram from a couple of old friends.”