Heyes and Kid are frustrated about the delays in amnesty and giving it up until a midnight visitor (is it Clarence... no Grandpa Curry) comes and sets them straight again.A Midnight Visitor
A couple hurried by the Porterville’s sheriff’s office when they heard loud voices inside.
“Lom, the way I see it, the governor ain’t never gonna grant us that amnesty!” growled Kid Curry.
“Would you keep your voices down! Don’t need the whole town knowing about the secret deal you have with the governor.”
“Deal!” Heyes shook his head. “He has what he wants – Heyes and Curry not robbing banks or trains anymore. The bankers and train barons got what they wanted, too. No reason to offer us amnesty. No, he’ll just keep stringing us along.”
“So, you want to go back to being outlaws?” Lom spat out.
“Maybe!” Heyes leaned over the desk menacingly towards the sheriff.
“Beats bein’ without money an’ starvin’ an’ roamin’ from town to town – always havin’ to look over your shoulder for the next posse or bounty hunter.” Curry began to pace the small office. “I gotta get outta here before I…” he didn’t finish his thought. “Are you comin’?” he asked Heyes as he opened the door.
“Right behind you.” Heyes began walking toward the door.
“So you’re both giving up after going straight for several years!” Lom stood up, shaking with rage.
Heyes shrugged his shoulders and answered flippantly. “Sure. Why not?” He walked out of the door and slammed it shut.
Curry was already mounted and holding his partner’s reins. Heyes took them and jumped on his mare. The two horses galloped out of town into the night.
Several miles out of Porterville, Heyes slowed his horse’s gait and the Kid followed his lead.
“I’m so frustrated I could… I could rob a bank!” exclaimed Heyes.
“I’m right behind ya, partner! And to think we wasted several years of our lives for nothin’!”
“Don’t remind me!” Heyes looked around. “Guess we better find someplace to set up camp for the night. Too dark out here with just that sliver of a moon.”
An hour later, Heyes and the Kid were sitting around a campfire finishing their dinner of beans.
Heyes got up and took Kid’s empty plate, tossing it near his. “They can wait until morning.” He rustled in his saddle bag and pulled out a bottle. “Drink?”
“Yeah.” The Kid smiled as he poured out the rest of the cold coffee in his mug and held it up.
Heyes poured whiskey in Kid’s mug and then his own before he sat down. “So now we gotta figure out our next plan – bank or train? Should we go back to Devil’s Hole or start a new gang?”
“Heyes, I don’t care as long as I’m NOT dancin’ the governor’s jig no more.” Kid took a drink and sighed. “That’s hittin’ the spot.”
“Well, I’m thinking a bank for the first job…”
“We can do that without a gang if we do it at night,” Curry continued the thought.
“Right. Now we just have to pick a town.”
“How about Red Gap?”
Heyes chuckled. “Now there’s an idea.”
They finished their drinks and had another as they discussed their first job of getting back into the business of being outlaws.
“We should’ve never have tried for amnesty. I’m sorry I ever met that lady from Boston with her flyer.”
“Yeah, imagine how much more successful we’d have been if we hadn’t stopped.” Heyes swallowed the last of his whiskey.
“Well, I’m turnin’ in. We got us a long ride tomorrow.” The Kid threw another log on the fire and laid on his bedroll.
“Me, too. Glad we have a plan for the future – one that don’t involve starving or having empty pockets.”
Kid yawned. “We’ll still have to watch our backs and outrun posses.”
“Yeah, but we’re doing that now with nothing to show for it.” Heyes yawned and lay down. “Night, Kid.”
At midnight, a star streaked across the sky…
“Laddie, wake up!” An elderly man shook the outlaw awake.
“Huh?” Sleepy eyes looked up. “Grandpa? Is that really you, Grandpa Curry?”
“Aye, tis I.”
“But you’re de… Why are you here?”
“To save you from yourself, Laddie!”
“Giving up on your amnesty! Tsskkk… You oughta be shamed of yourself!”
“But… You don’t understand!”
“No, Laddie, you don’t understand. Come with me!”
“To remind ya of what it was like being an outlaw! Come!” The elderly man grabbed hold of a hand and tapped his cane twice. They found themselves on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.
“Where… Where are we?”
“Just be patient and you will see.” Grandpa Curry sat down on a rock. “Sounds like they’re coming.”
“Who?” The grandson went to grab for his gun. “Where’s my gun?”
“Ya don’t need it – no one can see us while I’m with ya,” the grandfather explained.
Around the bend in the road came a gang of men, whooping and hollering, dragging a safe behind them.
“What were you thinking?”
“I guess we weren’t, Grandpa.”
“Not one of your finest moments.”
“No, it wasn’t.”
Grandpa Curry touched a hand and tapped his cane again. At once they were at a rail embankment.
“Hey, it’s the Devil’s Hole gang with us leadin’ them.”
“Aye, it is. Remember what happened?”
A brow furrowed. “This is when Jake tried takin’ that young girl. Dragged her into the trees.”
Grandpa Curry nodded. “You may have had a rule about hurting the passengers, but your gang didn’t always follow it.”
“Jake was a new member. Just stopped him from hurtin’ her. Kicked him outta the gang right away, in front of the passengers so they would know we didn’t put up with what he’d done.”
“Not easy leading a bunch of hooligans, is it.”
“Nope. Gotta keep your eye on ‘em all the time.”
“Can’t say we were very proud of you two.”
“Aye, your pa and ma and me.”
A head went down in shame, “Oh…”
“Take hold of my hand.”
Two taps of the cane and they were in rugged country near Devil’s Hole. A moment later, they saw the gang fleeing from a posse, right behind them. Bullets were flying in both directions. One of the leaders slumped onto the neck of his horse and the other leader grabbed the reins and continued the flight.
“That must of hurt you both, Laddie.”
“It did – hurt me and it hurt him as he dug it outta me. But that still happens to us, even when we’re trying hard to go straight.”
Grandpa Curry shook his head frustrated at his grandson. “Take hold of my hand.”
“Where we goin’ now?”
“I am going to show you the present that would have been if you had not gone straight.”
Two taps of a cane and they were in the Hale house.
Immediately seeing Clementine crying, the outlaw went to her to comfort her.
“She cannot see you, Laddie.”
“What happened? What has Clementine so upset?”
“Her father is in prison.”
“No he’s not! We made it so he wouldn’t. Got money from Winford Fletcher to pay it back.”
“No you didn’t. If you hadn’t gone for the amnesty, you would not have been able to help Miss Hale.”
“Oh. No wonder Clementine’s upset.”
Two taps of the cane and they were at a graveside funeral with most of the town in attendance.
“Ashes to ashes and dust to dust,” the preacher read from the Bible.
“Who died? Someone I know?”
Two men nearby, holding their hats, whispered amongst themselves.
“Such a shame losing Sheriff Trevors in that ambush.”
“He won’t be easy to replace.”
“Lom?! This funeral is for Lom Trevors?”
“A gang ambushed him at a stagecoach stop.”
“No! We were able to warn Lom. He didn’t die.”
“But would you have rode on that stage if still an outlaw? Been able to warn him with that flag?”
Taking his grandson’s hand, Grandpa Curry tapped the cane twice. They arrived at a rundown ranch with a “For Sale” sign on the post. A family of four bent over hoeing the field, trying to coax the plants to grow.
“Hey, this is the Jordan’s ranch and there are they Jordans in the field. Sure are workin’ hard, includin’ the girls. But last I heard, they sold the ranch and moved to Denver.”
“They couldn’t sell the ranch.”
“But we gave them mone… We wouldn’t have given them money ‘cause we were outlaws.”
“Now you’re seeing the lesson, Laddie!”
“Yeah, I see what you’re tryin’ to show me. Bein’ an outlaw wasn’t no easier than tryin’ for amnesty. And we done some good things lately that we couldn’t have done if we had been outlaws.”
Grandpa Curry smiled as he offered his hand to his grandson, who held it. Two taps of his cane and they were in a beautiful valley with a ranch house, a bunkhouse, and large barns. Standing by the corral watching a young filly was Heyes and Curry.
“Hey, that’s us!” The outlaw moved close to himself.
“Kid, who would have ever thought all this would be ours!” Heyes swept his hands out to emphasize the size of the ranch.
“I couldn’t have dreamed of such a place when livin’ at Devil’s Hole.” Curry smiled. “And now we’re free men.”
“And the sky is the limit on what we can do!” Heyes exclaimed.
“Imagine us ownin’ a ranch. We hated ranch work.”
“That’s right, we hated ranch WORK. That’s why we hire folks to do the work we don’t wanna do.”
“Think our folks would’ve been proud, Heyes?”
“Yeah, I think they would’ve been proud of us now, Kid.”
The grandson turned to Grandpa Curry. “We finally get the amnesty!?”
“Aye, sometimes we have to wait longer for good things than we want to. But we appreciate it more then.” Grandpa Curry put his arm around his grandson. “If you had received the amnesty in a year, Laddie, would you have appreciated it as much as you would now working harder for it?”
“Maybe not, Grandpa.”
The grandfather smiled proudly at his grandson.
“So, we get the amnesty and buy a ranch?”
“Not necessarily. You determine your future. You can be or do whatever you want.”
“We could own a saloon? Or we’re good finding things… Maybe give the Pinkerton Agency some competition?”
“Like Hannibal just said,” Grandpa Curry pointed to Heyes by the corral fence, “The sky is the limit on what you can do!”
“So we need to go back to going straight, waiting for the governor to give us amnesty.”
“You always were a smart laddie! Take hold once more.” The grandfather offered his hand and the grandson readily took it. Two taps of the cane and…
“Grandpa?” Heyes looked around and saw Kid stirring on the other side of the campfire. “Kid, you awake?”
"Kid, you'll never believe my dream!"
"I dreamt about Grandpa Curry!"
"You did? I DID!"
"You did too?"
"Did he show you when...?"
"Yep, and about Clem and Lom..."
"And what might be?"
"So we're not goin' back to bein' outlaws!"
"And we're gonna continue working for our amnesty!"
"Think there was somethin' in 'em beans we ate or maybe that whiskey?"
“Kid, I think we had us a midnight visitor. One who was setting us straight, again.”
“Guess we should go back and apologize to Lom in mornin’.”
“Yep, and tell him the deal is still on.”
Kid settled back in his bedroll. “Night, Heyes.”
“Good night, Laddies; I’m proud of ya!” a voice whispered in the darkness.