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 Parkersville

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Javabee

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PostSubject: Parkersville   Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:48 am

Parkersville

Part One: Crossing The Line

Kid Curry had been sitting for an hour, jostling awkwardly with the rest of the passengers to the movement of the noisy train. This 
was no luxury car; the seats weren’t much better than wooden benches and the passengers were crowded together like sardines in a can. The open windows didn’t do much towards relieving the heat and he was perspiring under his white shirt. He took off his hat long enough to run his fingers through his dark blond hair.  He was glad they were almost in position; he was more than ready to get on with it.


The law had started to get wise to their tactics, so Heyes had chosen a coal train off the main line that rarely carried anything of value. No one would suspect them to choose this train as their target, just as no one would expect them to know when it carried it’s monthly payroll. A well paid informant and Heyes silver tongue had taken care of acquiring the necessary information. As lady luck would have it, today was payday in more ways than one.


One passenger caught the Kid’s eye, a striking, lovely woman, in her late twenties or early thirties. She seemed out of place on this common man’s train, primly attired in a fine blue silk dress, fashioned in the latest style. Her long black hair was pinned up with pearl stubbed pins, which also held in place a small hat with black netting. A richly embroidered bag sat in her lap. He tipped his hat, and she nodded politely in return.


The Kid was relieved to finally hear the brakemen running along the top of the car in response to the engineer's whistle. Kyle and his dynamite must have successfully blocked the tracks. The passengers were starting to suspect something was up. It was time.


Kid nodded to Lobo, who immediately stepped out the end door and climbed up to the roof. It was his job to run along the top of the cars to the engine and keep the engineer and his brakeman suitably occupied.  


With a routine that had become a well oiled machine, the rest of his men saw Lobo start his climb. It was the signal for them to take their respective cars. Wheat headed to secure the caboose, where the conductor and the other workmen were normally found.  Kid and Preacher stood and turned the business end of their guns on the passengers. 


“Ladies and gents, kindly put your hands up, and no one’ll get hurt,” Preacher drawled. Immediately one of the coal miners reached for his gun, but the sound of both outlaw’s hammers clicking into place stopped him cold. One of the women cried out, tightly clutching her child.


“I guess you didn’t hear him, mister, so let me make it real clear this time.” Kid stepped forward, stared the man down, and scanned the rest of the passengers with the eye of a gunman. “ My name’s Kid Curry. We’re fixin’ to rob this train. Keep your hands off your guns, or I‘ll have to shoot ya.”


Gasps were heard around the car. He heard a few folks mutter, “It’s the Devil’s Hole Gang”. The level of fear had been raised, and although the Kid hated threatening regular folks like this, he knew it was for their own good. Kid was determined that no one would get hurt, and if that meant he had to put the fear of his six-gun in them, so be it. One lady took off what appeared to be a wedding ring and hid it at her breast.  Kid frowned and just shook his head in dismay. A lady shouldn’t give outlaws reason to go digging through her bosom. Lucky for her, they weren’t that kind of outlaw.


“ Now don’t get excited, folks. All we want is just a little donation from the safe, and we’ll take our leave.” Kid found it usually calmed everyone down to know they didn’t aim to rob the passengers.


Under the Kid’s watchful eye, Preacher went row by row, taking each man’s gun and tossing it out the window. Respectable women rarely carried guns, so they escaped the pat down he gave the saloon girls, just in case they had something hid in their unmentionables. 


Kid began his final sweep, eyeing each passenger carefully.  He had an innate ability to spot trouble and had learned not to rush. His boots resounded loudly as he slowly walked the length of the car. He had almost passed the lady he had spotted earlier, when he noticed something out of place.


“Your bag, miss, where is it?” He wasn’t concerned about all the hidden jewelry and money, but the bag, that was a different thing altogether.


“ It’s Mrs., Mrs. Sophie Parker. And I don’t know what you mean, sir. I don‘t have a bag, as you can plainly see.”  Her voice was deceptively pleasant and sweet. She fanned herself with her gloves as she blinked and innocently gazed back at him from behind the netting.


“Stand up,” ordered the Kid. He didn’t have time to play this game. As she slowly stood up, her height surprised him; she was almost tall enough to look him straight in the eye. The bag that she had hidden behind her promptly fell to the floor with a suspiciously loud thump.


“Open it real easy, lady.”  He was starting to lose patience, and she knew it. His gun was pointed just a few inches from her black lace covered bodice. She slowly opened the bag and with two fingers carefully pulled out a small, but deadly derringer. Kid looked at the gun and looked back at the woman with bemusement. What was this prim and proper lady doing with a gun? Lady or not, he couldn’t leave her armed.


“Now, Sophie, what are you aimin’ to do with a dangerous weapon like this?” He took it from her like she was a naughty child, and gave it an inspection. It was clean, loaded, and well chosen for a lady.


“It's Mrs. Parker. And I’m going to shoot it, of course.” Her formerly sweet demeanor began to change. She calmly and pointedly looked at him. “One never knows when one may run into a hoodlum.” 


“Well, Sophie, hoodlum or not, your gonna thank me for relievin’ you of the burden of this gun before you shoot someone, accidental like.” Kid took her gun and threw it out the window himself.


She slowly raised the netting shielding her face, and he saw her eyes clearly for the first time. They were a piercing emerald green and fiercely stared him down. Even her voice changed, no longer coy, but strong and firm.  


“Mr. Curry, I can handle a gun as well as any man, and I assure you it’s no accident that the only person I am likely to shoot,” she paused, “ is you.”


The entire car let out a collective gasp.  It was clear they all thought she had crossed the line.


Privately amused but keeping a poker face, the Kid knew he couldn’t tolerate a challenge like this, even from a woman. A lady standing up to him would shame the men into doing the same, and that was a  situation he couldn‘t chance. He had to get this under control, and fast. 


“Lady, you’re gonna git yourself killed. Put out your hands.” She glared at him with disdain, refusing to move. Kid’s blue eyes narrowed and turned to stone.


“Now!” he barked. Startled, she finally looked away and tentatively held out her hands. The Kid pulled a pair of  handcuffs out of his vest and clamped each wrist one by one. He didn’t put her hands behind her back; she was just a lady, after all. He tugged on the cuffs to see they were firmly in place. He took off his bandanna and in a final effort at making an example of her, he blindfolded her. She slowly sat down.


The Kid glanced around the car. “Anyone else?” The rest of the passengers looked away, unwilling to make eye contact.


“Well then, I’ll be leavin’ you in the hands of my friend here. Don’t cross him. He ain’t as good natured as I am.”  Preacher adopted a suitably fierce outlaw stance that was sure to put the fear of God into them all.


The Kid started to move to the next car to assist Hank, when the passengers began to murmur and peer out the window. Two men were riding towards the train, with extra horses trailing behind. The scruffy one in the rear seemed cordial enough, spitting and grinning with great enthusiasm.  The brown haired man in the lead sat his horse like he was born to it. He paused for a moment at the engine and then rode the length of the train. When he reached the Kid’s car he broke into a dimpled grin, tipping his black hat to the ladies as he rode past.


“It’s Hannibal Heyes!” squealed one of the saloon girls. The redheaded beauty blew him a kiss and Heyes returned the sentiment with a wink and a nod. One of the little boys clutched a dime novel and looked at the picture on the cover for comparison. “It’s him, it’s him!” he yelled. His mother shushed him as fast as she could, glancing at the Kid fearfully.


The Kid stepped into the vestibule between the cars, and leaned out to catch his partner’s attention. He should have known Heyes wouldn’t miss an opportunity to make a grand entrance. Heyes rode up with a cocky smile and the Kid just rolled his eyes.


“I know your enjoyin’ your job, Heyes, but do you think you could take it more serious? I’m tryin’ to work here.”


Heyes looked around, not seeing any trouble. “No need to get proddy, Kid. The rockslide went like clockwork, Lobo’s got the engine locked down, and it looks like you got it under control here. So I don’t see no reason why we can’t be neighborly. We’re already robbin’ ‘em, no need to be rude, too.” He flashed another charming smile back at the passengers.


“Heyes, this ain’t a church social. I’m tryin’ to set a mood so no one gets hurt, and you come ridin’ in here like your everyone’s best friend.” The Kid was annoyed and it showed.


Heyes heard the tone in the Kid’s voice and sobered up real quick. He knew better than to question the Kid’s judgment when it came to security. 


“You’re right, you’re right. What’s gone wrong?” 


“Nothin’ I can’t handle. But I still need to clear the rest of the cars.” The Kid was all business.


“Fine. I’ll ride down and see how Wheat’s doin’ in the caboose.”


For once, Heyes took his chastisement to heart, keeping any further comments uncharacteristically to himself. He rode off, this time assuming an appropriately severe expression, his hand resting on his gun.


Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


A short time later, Heyes found himself standing in the mail car, hands on his hips, admiring the Herring & Co Model 60, with high hopes and just a little confusion. He couldn't understand why such a new safe had been placed on such a low priority route. Regardless, the success of today’s job came down to this: could he pull off another safe cracking miracle? If so, he suspected this miracle might take a bit longer than most. In the rare case of failure, dynamite was an alternative, but unfortunately risked damaging the contents. More importantly, it didn’t take finesse, and Heyes was all about finesse. 


Like a trained musician sight reading a composition for the first time, Heyes continued to eye the safe with respect, as well as a little glee. He had cracked its sister model once before, but it had been a difficult feat. With something akin to both stage fright and the anticipation of a seasoned performer, he felt the adrenaline begin to flow.


Heyes took off his hat and gloves, and stretched his shoulders and neck until he heard them pop. He flexed his fingers and wrists. Kneeling down, he placed one ear to the tumblers. Listening carefully, he adjusted the dial as if he was tuning a fine instrument. Each click played a different note to the music that only he could hear. In what seemed to him like just a few minutes he had found two of the five numbers. He was beginning on the third when his concentration was interrupted.


“10 minutes, Heyes. You need to pick up the pace, partner.”


“Alright, alright.  Some things just can’t be rushed.” Heyes glared at the Kid with annoyance.  He wiped a bead of sweat off his forehead,  and attempted to turn up the tempo.


His one man audience could not have been more appreciative. The Kid was standing in silent ovation, leaning against the open door of the car with gun in hand, arms crossed. He was done grousing at Heyes. After all, despite the earlier annoyance at needing to handcuff a lady passenger, things had been going like clockwork.  Music soothes the savage beast, and watching Heyes crack a safe did just that for the Kid. The bottom line was this: if Heyes couldn’t crack it, then no one could. Kid couldn’t help but smile.


“15 minutes.” As consistent as a metronome, Kid made a relentless timekeeper.


“One more, Kid, just one more.”  Heyes ran his hands through is hair and took a deep breath. Listening carefully, he closed his eyes. Like a bow in the hands of a concert violinist, he gently caressed the dial towards the finale. Hearing the last note, he slowly turned the knob and opened the door. He turned to look at the Kid and his dimples began to dance.


“How long?”


“17 minutes, 18 seconds. Heyes, you‘ve done it again!” The sound of the safe opening was truly music to Kid’s ears. Although the job was going well, he was ever conscious of the passengers on the train becoming restless and difficult for the rest of the gang to control. They really needed to get a move on.


The Kid slapped his partner on the back as they admired the contents of the safe. A large number of bills were stacked neatly inside. As the Kid began shoving them into a bag, Heyes started going through the drawers and cubbies. In the bottom drawer Heyes noticed a small box shoved towards the back. It was locked.


“Well, what do we have here?” He slipped his lock pick out of his boot and began to gently work the mechanism. 


“Just let it go, Heyes. There’s no time for that.”


Heyes was never one to leave a lockbox unopened. He bit his lip and continued to work his magic. A few seconds later he was able to flip the lid and look inside.


Kid glanced up at the sound of a sharp whistle. Looking over Heyes shoulder, he saw what his cousin was admiring. Lined with black velvet, the box held what appeared to be some type of jewelry. It was a large silver disc, perfectly round like a hunter’s moon. The center was inlaid with a single, enormous gem. The two outlaws locked eyes.  


“Heyes, is that what I think it is?”


“Not sure, Kid. It looks too big to be a diamond, I’ve never seen anything like it. Whatever it is, I bet we can get a mighty good price for it. Why, I bet Soapy could help us find a buyer and get enough to live the winter on. Maybe we could go down south, get a nice little villa and….”


“You did good Heyes, but don’t go countin’ your chickens so soon. We still gotta get out of here. Just grab it, and let’s get.”


“No argument there, partner.” Heyes closed the lid, latched it carefully, and slipped it inside the inner pocket of his vest. He put on his gloves, positioned his black hat on his head, and gave his partner a nod.


“Let’s go.”  Kid holstered his gun and grabbed the money bag.  Together, they jumped out of the car to make their getaway with the rest of the gang. 


Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Mrs. Parker casually reached up to push back a stray hair from her face, managing to nab one of her pearl hairpins in the process. She began to work the pin into the locking mechanism of one of the cuffs, hoping Preacher wouldn‘t notice. She knew she could get her blindfold off, but didn’t want to call attention to herself. Being underestimated because she was a woman wasn‘t new, but being talked down to by a man like Curry really got her blood boiling. If she could just get to the derringer in her boot, she would have a chance at stopping him. 


As she worked the lock, she could only hope that the upgrade to the safe she had requested would be enough to stop them from getting her gem and her payroll. She hadn’t heard an explosion, so they had either given up, or Hannibal Heyes was the master safe cracker everyone said he was.  Her musings were interrupted by a tell tale click. She began to work on the remaining cuff. 


It had been a successful job and the Devil’s Hole Gang was ready to ride. Kid signaled to Hank and Preacher to retreat from their respective cars. He wasn’t really worried about the passengers arming themselves fast enough to do any harm; the guns they had thrown out the windows were a ways down the tracks from where the train had finally stopped. Nevertheless, he was determined to be the last man out of harm‘s way.


Kid threw the money bag to Heyes. They shared a look and without a word Heyes caught it and sped off accompanied by the rest of the gang.  Preacher and Hank were just reaching their horses and mounting. The Kid stayed behind to watch their backs. 


Surveying the train for trouble, he spied Mrs. Parker, pulling off her blindfold as she jumped out of the car. He briefly wondered how she had got out of those cuffs, but knowing she was unarmed, he didn’t consider her a serious threat. His eyes moved past her, scanning the rest of the train. Next thing he knew there was the retort of a gun and he felt a bullet brush past within inches of his head. He jerked his eyes back. It was the woman!


“Get outa here!” Kid swatted at the men’s horses, and Hank and Preacher took off like bats out of hell.


Curry always hit his mark, but he didn’t want to hit this one. He had never shot a woman and he wasn’t about to start now. He fired off two warning shots that stirred up the dust right at her feet, confident they would frighten her and stop her short.  Her dual shot derringer was only accurate at very close range and he knew it. Satisfied, he turned and urged his horse to put some space between them. He had properly assessed the weapon, but not the woman.


By this time, one of the brakemen had gotten untied and grabbed a six-gun that has been hidden under the floor boards. He ran outside towards the lady and before he realized what was happening she had grabbed it from his hands. Steadying herself, Mrs. Parker took aim and fired three quick, measured shots.   


When Heyes heard the two shots from Kid’s gun, he turned in his saddle, and saw Hank and Preacher charging towards him at breakneck speed.  The Kid was riding hell bent for leather, not far behind. Heyes was just starting to smile smugly at their close escape, when he heard three more shots fired in quick succession. He watched in disbelief as the first of the three shots took Kid’s hat; it flew off his head like a bird taking flight. Immediately the next shot hit home, and he saw his partner slump in his saddle.


“Nooo!” cried Heyes.


The third shot stopped the Kid in his tracks. His gelding reared and fell on his side, taking the Kid with him. With his heart in his throat, Heyes watched as his cousin plunged to the ground. Heyes immediately began to turn his horse, when Wheat reached out with a steel grip and grabbed his reins.


“No, Heyes! They’ll gun ya’ down!” 


Heyes tried to yank his horse away but Wheat was immovable. Kyle grabbed the horse’s bridle and hung on for all he was worth. Come hell or high water, they weren’t letting him go.


“Wheat’s right, Heyes. You’d be a sittin’ duck. Look.” Kyle tried to reason with him and nodded towards the Kid.


The passengers were finally starting to arm themselves with the guns from up the tracks and the other workmen from the train were getting untied and joining them. The others were crowding around the Kid. Out there somewhere was the shooter, with three more shots left in a six-gun.


Sitting duck or not, Heyes didn’t much care. All he knew was that his only family lay bleeding on the ground, and he had to get to him. Heyes struggled to gain control of his horse by trying to rear him and break their hold. 


Wheat saw the look in Heyes eyes, and decided he wasn‘t taking any chances. He jumped off his horse, grabbed his boss, and pulled him roughly to the ground.  Heyes came up swinging, and slammed into his lieutenant’s iron jaw. Wheat, being the larger man, returned the favor and promptly flattened Heyes to the ground.  By that time Preacher and Hank had caught up with them. Preacher jumped off his horse, grabbed his boss, and held him down. 


“Your not helpin’ that blessed boy this way, son. You cain’t fight the good fight if’n yer dead.” Preacher would not loose his hold.


Heyes struggled to calm himself and shook the stars out of his head. The entire gang was circling him and he knew they were right. If he had a chance at rescuing the Kid, he would need to fight with his wits instead of his heart.  


“You gonna be alright, Heyes?” Kyle sounded worried.


Wheat held out his hand and Heyes took it, stood, and steadied himself. Slapping the dust off his black hat, he positioned it back on his head,  “I guess I owe ya, Wheat. I reckon you kept me from gettin‘ killed.” 


“Could be, but that ain’t why I did it.” Wheat straightened up and looked around at the rest of the gang.


“How’s that?”  Heyes was gazing into the distance, eyeing the crowd forming around the Kid, hoping to see a glimpse of him. 


Wheat cleared his throat. “Well, now, seein’ as how that payroll is still strapped to yer horse, you didn’t think I was gonna let ya ride off with it, did ya?”


For a split second Heyes considered cutting the money loose and letting them have at it. Then maybe he could still get to his partner. But he wisely overcame the notion. He hated to admit it, but Preacher was right. The best way to help the Kid was to safely get out of there so he could find a way to bust him out. 


With a frown, Heyes grunted and resignedly mounted his horse. The rest of the men eyed him suspiciously, as if he was going to try and make a run for it. With one last look towards the Kid, he kicked his mount and took off, the rest of the gang following closely on his tail. As far as Heyes was concerned, the Kid had better be alive and well, or all hell would break loose. He would see to it.

_________________
"If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning." Mae West
coffee 


Last edited by Javabee on Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:05 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Javabee

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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:17 pm

Parkersville

Part Two: What's In a Name

“Heyes don’t look so good.” Kyle was fretting to Wheat and Preacher, as they watched their boss take another determined stroll up and down the length of the bar. The men had never seen him in a fouler mood; Heyes was obviously on his last nerve.

“If that boy don’t settle down and show a little faith, I swear he‘s gonna dig a trench in the floor.” Preacher solemnly watched Heyes pace back and forth with growing concern.

“What are we waitin’ for, Wheat? When can I git my dynamite and bust out the Kid?” Kyle looked imploringly at his partner, hoping someone would come up with a plan to bring this misery to an end.

“Keep yer britches on, Kyle. We cain’t bust nobody till we get that telegram and find out if’n he’s dead or alive, you know that.  Then me and Heyes, we’ll come up with a plan. You‘ll see.”  Wheat was trying to sound confident, but he had never seen his boss in such a state. Then again, he had never seen him without the Kid by his side either.

Heyes was thinking back over the train robbery but couldn’t figure out how things had gone south so fast. They were making their getaway on horseback after an otherwise successful job when shooting broke out and the Kid went down. Armed passengers from the train had crowded around the fallen outlaw, making it impossible to safely retrieve him. Heyes wanted to know what he was walking into before he went to see about his partner, so he had telegraphed his informant back in Parkersville for news. If the Kid was still alive, wild horses wouldn’t keep him away. If he wasn’t, well, then there’d be hell to pay.

If the Kid was still alive……he shook his head in disbelief. Heyes kicked back another shot, slammed the glass on the counter,  and nodded for the bartender to fill it up. The other bar patrons were wisely giving him ample berth as he scowled into his drink. Heyes grabbed his whiskey and finally sat down with his men. 

“I wanna know what happened, boys.” He had been too far ahead of the others to see the particulars of what had gone on when the Kid was shot. His men watched as a frustrated Heyes took off his black hat and slapped it down. A cloud of dust rose forebodingly above the table.

Preacher carefully studied his boss and spoke real calm, like he was trying to avoid a scorpion sting. “One of the passengers came runnin’ up and started shootin’, Heyes.  Me and Hank were the last ones out, and we high tailed it while the Kid covered for us.”  

“What stopped the Kid from takin’ him out?”  Heyes couldn’t imagine the Kid being on the losing end of a gunfight. His partner could have easily silenced the shooter with a single bullet.  It might have injured the man’s shooting hand but it sure wouldn’t have killed him. 

“Well, that’s just it, boss, it weren’t a he.“ Kyle shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

Heyes looked from man to man, still not getting it. Wheat gave it a try.

“It’s like this, Heyes, the he was a she. Hank and Preacher didn’t figure the Kid would need no help up against a little lady, so when he told them to git, well, they did.”

Heyes slowly began to understand. Put the Kid up against a lady, and let’s just say it wouldn’t be the first time his chivalrous nature had been his undoing. He moaned and shook his head in dismay.

“I think he’s startin’ to see the light.” Preacher said softly and took another swig. Kyle chose that moment to make use of a nearby spittoon.

Heyes quickly ran his fingers through his dark hair as he tried to make sense of it. ” Didn‘t you disarm the passengers?”

“Yup, every last one of ’em.”

“Then where did she get the gun?”

“Only God almighty knows the answer to that, Heyes, cause back on the train I seen the Kid take a derringer from her right before he cuffed her.”

“Right before he what?”  Heyes was sure he had heard wrong.

“Yup. She looked him right in the eye and told him she was gonna shoot him. Then he cuffed her. I sure would'a liked to seen how she got out'a them cuffs.” This time Preacher took a swig straight from the bottle.

Once again Heyes thought back on the robbery.  No wonder the Kid was grousing when he had ridden up with the horses like a conquering hero.  He winced at the memory of his own arrogance, possibly tipping his hat to the very lady that shot his own partner.

“Tell me about this lady.  Was she a saloon gal?” Heyes was finally beginning to find someone to pin his growing anger on. 

“Oh no, she was a respectable, God fearin’ lady, all dressed  up in fancy clothes and citified things. She had the face of an angel, Heyes, an angel carryin’ a terrible burden .” 

“What burden?” Heyes wanted to know.

“An abundance of filthy lucre, a burden I would a been happy to relieve her of.” Preacher could even make thievery sound like a holy calling.

“Anything else?” Heyes found himself wanting to know as much as possible about this woman.

Preacher gave it some thought. “Well, there is one thing. She gave her name. Mrs. Sophie Parker.”

Parker?” Heyes appeared intrigued. The significance of the name did not seem to occur to his men.

About that time the telegraph operator appeared in the door of the saloon and hurried over to their table.

“Mr. Rembacker, sir, the urgent message you were expecting is here.” 

Heyes took a deep breath, and gravely took the note. A moment ago he could hardly wait to get his hands on this message and now he didn’t know if he could bring himself to read it. He solemnly looked around the table as they all leaned in to hear him read the telegram. He cleared his throat: 

“To R. Your Gun is locked up. Damaged but being repaired. Please advise.”

Everyone was silent as they let it sink in for a moment. Heyes finally broke into a dimpled grin.

Wheat let out a whoop and slapped Heyes on the back. “I told ya everything would turn out right, didn’t I? Well, didn’t I?”

Preacher took another hit of whiskey, this time in celebration. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve, and slammed the bottle on the table. He was becoming characteristically inebriated.

Kyle just continued to chew as he looked confused.  “I didn’t know somebody’s gun was broke. Whose gun is it anyhow?”

“Never mind.” Wheat quickly elbowed Kyle and shushed him up. 

Wheat looked at Heyes, puffed up his chest, and began his usual power play. “Now I reckon your fixin’ to make a plan, but I’ve got a few ideas and if your smart you’ll listen to me for a change…..” 

The telegraph operator interrupted. “Do you have a return message, Mr. Rembacker?”

Now that Heyes knew the Kid was amongst the living, he was starting to feel like himself again. A plan was beginning to form in his head and the jewel inside his vest pocket was starting to feel heavy. The Kid had obviously underestimated the woman, and he was not about to make the same mistake. This woman with the face of an angel would soon find out that Hannibal Heyes did not share his partner’s weakness.

“Mr. Rembacker?”  The operator was getting impatient. He handed him something to write with, encouraging him to get on with it.

“I have two messages to be sent immediately. In response to this “ he waved the telegram, “just say 'Many Thanks. Stand by. R' “ 

He laid down a large bill for the operators services, and confidently smiled at his men. They all leaned in to hear as he recited the next message under his breath while carefully writing it out.

"To: Mrs. Sophie Parker of Parkersville. I have what you want. I propose a mutually beneficial trade. Hurt him again and I will come after you myself. HH"

The operator greedily snatched up the message along with the generous payment insuring his discretion, and ran back to his office to perform his duties.

As usual, Heyes was one step ahead of his men. All three outlaws looked at their boss like he had finally lost his mind. 

“Heyes, what do you mean you have what she wants? The men ain‘t gonna part with any of the take…..” Wheat’s voice dropped off as Heyes discreetly reached into the inner pocket of his vest and pulled out the biggest jewel any of them had ever seen. Once again the men all leaned in to get a better look.

“Well, ain’t that a pretty sight.” Wheat whispered softly. Kyle’s eyes widened into silver dollars while Preacher reverently began to assess it’s worth.

Heyes turned it gently with his talented fingers, watching it sparkle as the facets caught the light. “Found it in the safe with the payroll money. I have a feelin’ this might explain the mystery of a high society lady with an itch to shoot a train robber. I figure she wants it back real bad.”

The men looked at each other uneasily while Wheat bolstered himself to face his boss and tell him what was on their minds. “That gem belongs to the gang, Heyes. We cain’t just be handin’ it over to no lady. We need to sell it off so all the boys can have a cut.”

If looks could kill, Wheat would’ve been dead and buried. “Kid got shot savin’ the gangs hide, and you want his cut? This is leader’s cut, and we’re usin’ it to barter the Kid free. Does anyone say different?” Heyes was every inch the outlaw leader; he looked daggers at them with his dark eyes and all three men knew to back off.

After an uncomfortable silence, Wheat shifted in his seat and made his peace. “Well, why didn’t ya say so in the first place, Heyes? If’n that’s leader’s cut, well, that puts a different slant on things.“

Kyle sheepishly looked around at the other two contrite outlaws. “Yeah, we’re behind ya, boss. But I think you done made a big mistake. You signed that telegram with your real initials. Now she knows it’s you that’s comin‘ for him.”

“Kyle, that don’t matter. It ain’t what’s in a name, anyways. It’s what’s in the message that counts.”  Wheat didn’t like thinking Heyes name carried any more clout than his. 

“Now I don’t rightly know about that.”  Even after imbibing all that rotgut, Preacher was still lucid enough to see the truth. “It might not be a bad idea to put the fear of an angry Hannibal Heyes in ‘er. Everyone knows that if yer fool enough to mistreat the Kid you’ll have to answer to his partner. It might put ‘er on the straight and narrow when it comes to keepin’ that blessed boy doctored up.”

“I reckon I cain’t argue with that.“ Wheat drawled. “ But come to think of it, Kyle might have a point. Heyes, you sort a tipped her off. Now she knows your comin’ and she’ll have the law ready and waitin’ for ya.”

Heyes would do anything to keep his partner safe, even if it took a little name dropping that might end up putting himself at risk. He thoughtfully slipped the gem back into his vest pocket, positioned his black hat back on his head, and flashed a sly smile at his men.

“I’m countin’ on it.”


_________________
"If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning." Mae West
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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:24 pm

Parkersville

Part Three - A Worthy Adversary 

The Kid shifted uncomfortably on the thin, dirty mattress, gingerly trying to find a position that didn’t hurt. He was concentrating on not breathing too deep, since every breath caused a sharp pain to radiate up through his broken ribs.  The doctor that had seen him was either a drunk or a fool. Even his partner could've done better. Heyes would have at least given him a shot of whiskey to make removing the bullet bearable. Digging at the wound would have been done carefully instead of with the heavy hand the Doc had used, and he would have got his ribs taped up so he could move easier. 


He’d been watching himself for a fever, since no one else was, trying to keep down as much water as they would give him. The meals were coming twice a day: some kind of thin watery grits in the morning, and some beans with a few bits of meat in the evening. He tried to place it, was it goat? He couldn‘t tell. He’d always had a healthy appetite, but even he couldn’t swallow much of this poor excuse for grub. Not that he was complaining, he knew better.


He was wearing the same clothes he’d had on when they brought him in. The dirt and the dust he could take, but the amount of blood caked in his clothes was actually making him queasier than the food. The smell from the honey pot no one ever emptied didn’t help. A bath, that’s what he needed. A bath and a shave. He forgot himself for a moment and took a deep breath, ending up moaning in pain.


“Shut up over there,” the deputy barked. The scrawny young man glared at his prisoner and got back to reading his Wild West Weekly. This one was called “The Fastest Gun West of the Mississippi”. The irony wasn’t lost on the Kid. Evidently this deputy would rather read lies about him than have a conversation with the real McCoy.


“Can I trouble you for some water, deputy?” The Kid had drunk every drop they had given him that morning. The wound in his shoulder was burning and throbbing, and he thought he felt a slight fever building up. It was long past time for his dressings to be changed.


“In due time. Quit whinin’.”  The man was not to be bothered with catering to the likes of this thief.


Kid wasn‘t surprised. Outlaw scum like himself didn’t deserve any consideration, to the contrary.  He guessed he was lucky to have any doctoring at all. Men had been strung up for less than what he’d done. At this point he was just happy to be alive, with a partner that he knew would come for him. And he knew for a fact that Hannibal Heyes would come. 


He began to doze fitfully as the fever began to rise. He was back on the train, disarming the passengers. Making sure no one was hurt. Arguing with what looked like an angel. Or was she a devil? What would an angel be doing shooting at him?  He tossed and turned, hurting his ribs again in his dream state, moaning in his sleep. Gradually it all faded away as he slipped into unconsciousness.


Later that evening the door to the jail opened. A figure emerged and moved gracefully across the room to the single cell, her expensive skirts rustling. She intently studied the prisoner through the bars.


“How long has he been like this?” She continued to inspect the unconscious man from where she stood, noting the uneaten plate of beans, the filth, and the smell. She quickly put a lace handkerchief over her nose.


“All day, I reckon.” The deputy was not concerned; he didn’t even look up from his book.


When she turned, the deputy finally saw her face. Her beauty matched her anger, and she was livid. “You were told to get the doctor if he took a turn for the worse. What are you thinking?”  


“I’m thinkin’ he’s the dirty rotten thief that kept us all from gettin’ paid this week. Seein’ as how his gang has our payroll, he don’t deserve nothin’.” The deputy spit across the room barely hitting the pot. He clearly would have preferred to spit on his prisoner.


She couldn‘t disagree with his sentiment, but the deputy’s neglect of the prisoner may have cost the town what had become one of their most valuable assets.  


“It’s not your place to decide what the prisoner does or does not deserve. Turn in your badge and get out of here.” She took a step towards the man and pointed a manicured finger towards the door. 


“You ain’t in charge here, lady. No uppity skirt is tellin’ me what to do.  I ain’t goin’ nowhere till I hear it direct from the Sheriff’s mouth.” The man finally saw fit to stand up.


“The Sheriff works for me, and you did too until a few seconds ago.”  It was so tiresome to constantly have her authority challenged simply because she was a woman. He apparently didn’t he know who she was. He would soon find out.


The door opened and two well built men, strong and fit from working the mines, entered the room. The taller of the two looked at the deputy, taking in his defiant stance.  He looked at her questioningly. “Is he giving you lip, boss?”


“As a matter of fact, Levi, he is.” She raised a finely shaped brow and looked pointedly from her foreman towards the deputy. The man immediately knew what to do.


“You must be new around here, mister.“ Levi took a quick step towards the deputy and knocked him to the floor with one solid punch to the face.  The deputy cried out as he clutched his broken nose.


“Throw this poor excuse for a man out of my town.” She stood over the bleeding man, hands on hips, glaring down at him with disdain. “And then get back here and help me with the other one.”


“Right away, Mrs. Parker, right away.”


A few hours later, the doctor stood over his patient, frowning. Still unconscious, the Kid had been cleaned up and was laying under pristine white sheets at Mrs. Parker’s house in her guest room. 


“I don’t take kindly to coddling criminals, ma’am. He’s as crooked as a dog’s hind legs, and don’t deserve all this fuss. He should be back in jail where he belongs.” The short, stocky man crossed his arms across his barrel chest, apparently waiting to be given good reason to further treat the thief. She had no problem giving him one.


“Dr. Matthews, if you had been giving him proper care in the jail, I would’ve been glad to leave him there. You have a job to do and you‘d best do it.”  She made no attempt to hide her displeasure; she had known him a long time and had expected better.


“I understand, ma’am. No offense. “ He glanced over at Levi and saw that he was watching the interaction intently. He immediately dropped his arms. “But if he wanted decent treatment he should a seen fit to keep his hands off our pay. How are we gonna get by after what this outlaw trash has done?”  This was a company town, and everyone was on her payroll, including the doctor.


Mrs. Parker had learned early on that there were times when her typically direct approach was best served with a healthy dose of sugar, especially when dealing with a man. She calculated that a conciliatory tone might be more effective on the good doctor. She relaxed her stance and softened her voice.


“Dr. Matthews. Tom.” She gently put one hand on his shoulder and looked in his eyes.  “We’ve been through hard times together before. My husband and I have always been there for you and we’ll get through this too. Please, won’t you hold these for me until you’re paid? ” He watched, mesmerized, as her slender fingers subtly traced her neckline, moving slowly up across her lace covered décolletage. She unclasped the string of pearls that circled her lovely throat, placed the pearls in his right hand, and folded his fingers tightly around them. “Surely you’ll do everything you can to see that he recovers, for the sake of the town?” 


The doctor hesitated for a moment and then coughed uncomfortably. “Uh, alright, ma’am, just until we can get paid. For the sake of the town…..”  He slipped them quickly into his coat pocket. At least he would have something to show his wife. 


“Speakin’ of your husband, ma‘am, when do you think he’ll be well enough to return home and run things again?” 


Mrs. Parker straightened and shot a quick glance at Levi. Levi was doing a good job maintaining his poker face. “It’ll be a long, slow recovery doctor, as you are well aware. He’s in good hands at the clinic back east.“  She was all business once again.


“Yes, Ma’am, but has he told you how to handle this…..,” he glared at the Kid, “situation?”


She took a long deep breath.  Did he actually think she was receiving instructions from her husband? She deftly hid her frustration. “Rest assured that I am doing everything possible, Dr. Matthews. One way or another, everyone will soon get paid.”


“Well then, give him our best, ma’am. As for this one,” he scowled again at the Kid, “ I can’t make any promises. A festerin’ has set in with a fierce fever. If he has grit he might live, but I ain’t sure I can save the arm.” He rolled up his sleeves and set to work.


Later that night she stood vigil under dimmed lights, watching the prisoner ‘s chest rise and fall. Leaning over him, she brushed a damp curl from his face and changed the moist, cooling clothes on his forehead. He appeared almost childlike, with his blond hair and boyish good looks. Almost. Indeed, there had been nothing childlike about him when he had looked at her with those steely blue eyes, pointed his gun at her, and locked her in those cuffs. The skills she had learned as a younger woman had served her well that day. After all, she hadn’t always been Mrs. Reuben Parker. She sat back in her chair, plotting her next move.


Since her husbands accident she had worked hard to reassure the community that the mine would operate as usual. And why wouldn’t it? The truth was she had been gently pulling the strings and calling the shots from the very beginning. Despite the fact that Reuben sadly lacked business sense, most folks had thought of him as the boss and were unsettled at his absence. Her foreman, Levi, had been around long enough to know who was really running things, and had backed her up.  With his support she had been able to convince most of the town that she had everything under control. 


Enter Hannibal Heyes. He and his gang had shaken the peoples confidence she had worked so hard to build. One missing payroll had been enough to send the already tenuous stability of her town spiraling. The truth was that the coal mine had seen more prosperous days; it was no longer producing  more than what was needed for them to limp from payday to payday. The town had desperately needed another source of income to supplement the coal.


There was a light tap and Levi quietly opened the door, taking off his dark gray hat. 


“What is it?”


“Just checkin’ in. How’s he doin’?”


“Too soon to tell. His fever hasn’t broken.” She felt the Kid’s forehead again and frowned.


He walked over to the second story window, checking the locks. He continued to scan the room, noting that the Kid’s good arm was cuffed to the bed frame. Satisfied, he finally found a seat.


“They didn’t just get the payroll, did they, ma‘am.”


“No, they got the gem too. I had it assessed, cut and finished. It was just as we thought. It was a diamond of the highest value and clarity.”


He relaxed a bit and almost smiled. “But that’s good news, ma’am. If we can start turnin’ out diamonds along with the coal, it’ll put the town over the top.”


She stood and began to pace back and forth across the room.


“Yes, but only if we can keep the men working, Levi. The bank loaned me just enough for the payroll, and only God and Hannibal Heyes knows what happened to it. There won’t be more where that came from until we can show the bank some diamonds.”


“I’ll do my best to keep the men on the job, ma’am. Some of ‘em are real loyal, but even they won’t stay long without bein' paid.“


“Just give them whatever they need out of the town stores to tide them over, including free whiskey so long as they don‘t get so drunk they can‘t work.”


“Yes, ma’am. That’ll work for awhile, but it won’t take long before we’re busted. If we don’t get our hands on some cash, Parkersville will soon go by way of the ghost towns.”


She stopped her pacing.  “That’s not going to happen if I have anything to do with it. I’ll go over the books again with the bookkeeper to see how far we can stretch our resources. Have you secured the town?”


“The Sheriff swore in extra deputies and doubled the guards, ma’am. The entire town is on full alert, as you ordered. Everyone’s itchin‘ to shoot themselves another outlaw.” She noticed he still had on the tied down Colt he had been wearing since Curry had been brought to Parkersville.


“Well done. Go get some rest, Levi, you’ve had a long day.”


“What about you?  Let me get one of the ladies to take your place.”


“Not this time. After today, I won’t be trusting the care of the prisoner to someone else.” Reaching under her skirts, she pulled a derringer out of a laced up boot. “Please remind the doctor I want him back here at first light, and inform the household staff to identify themselves before they enter. I’m armed and I don’t want to be startled.”


“Yes, Boss.” He put his hat back on his full head of dark brown hair, stood and moved towards the door.


“One more thing, Levi?”


“Ma’am?” 


She looked at him with appreciative eyes.  She was beginning to see this man as more of a partner than an employee. He had stood by her through thick and thin for many years. She had even been able to trust him with the truth about her husband. “You’re always there when I need you, Levi. Thank you.”


“Yes, Boss.”  Sophie Parker was one helluva woman, and taking down Curry like she’d done was just one of the reasons he thought so. “Just doin’ my job, ma’am. Good night.”  He tipped his hat and was gone.


She picked up the copy of the telegraph she had received from Heyes and read it over again. 


"To: Mrs. Sophie Parker of Parkersville. I have what you want. I propose a mutually beneficial trade. Hurt him again and I will come after you myself. HH"


The concern this outlaw had for his partner clearly gave her the upper hand. There was another way she could get enough cash to keep her mines producing. Hannibal Heyes was not the only one that could make ultimatums. 


Her eyes drifted down the page to the response she had already sent to the presumptuous Mr. Heyes:


“To HH:  I am the one that has what YOU want. Bring back all that you took. If not I will claim his reward, dead or alive. Time is running out. SP”

She knew the stakes were high, but if she played her cards right she could get her stolen goods back and claim the reward on both outlaws. Hannibal Heyes had threatened to come after her. As far as she was concerned, two could play at that game. Let him come.

_________________
"If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning." Mae West
coffee 


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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:33 pm

Parkersville

Part Four - Faces In The Window

The bespectacled young man with the slicked back hair and the brown citified suit peered out the stagecoach window as it jerked to a stop. He had spent the last few hours gazing at the passing scenery deep in thought, wondering what he was riding into. Once the dust finally settled, it seemed his fears had been warranted. Most of the faces in the window appeared to be wearing stars. 


“Parkersville, everybody out!” The driver began throwing bags into the street.


“Hey Deke, what d’ya reckon all those lawmen are doin’ out there?“ The young man‘s hesitation to open the door was barely perceptible, but his fellow passenger hadn‘t missed it.  The two men had gotten to know each other during the long hours of the trip.


“Not rightly sure. Must be after outlaws.” Deke stepped out and was greeted by a tall, lean man who immediately recognized the older miner.


“Hey there, Deke.”


“Howdy, Levi. You sure put on a mighty fine welcome. Still on the look out for that outlaw‘s rescue party?”


“Yup. The Boss asked me to check out all the strangers comin’ to town and I reckon meetin’ the stage is as good a way as any. Who’s this fella you rode in with?” Hands on his hips, Levi scrutinized the young man with a suspicious eye.


“Aw, he’s alright Levi.” Deke stuck his head back in the stage. “ Come on out Henry, Levi’s our foreman. And the deputies, well they won’t bite. At least not much.” He chuckled at his own joke, as well as the subtle discomfort of the new arrival. “I’ll see you boys later, I got to get home to the missus.”  Deke took off, still chuckling to himself.


Resigned, the newcomer pushed his spectacles back on his nose, clutched his satchel to his chest, and stepped off the stage.  He looked around at all the tied down guns and assumed a practiced, but friendly smile.


“Mornin‘, deputies. Lovely day, ain’t it?“ He nodded at Levi and the lawmen congenially. “Looks like you boys got the place locked down tighter than a drum.” 


“Glad you noticed, mister. What brings you to Parkersville?” Levi was courteous, but was in a hurry. He looked the newcomer up and down, noting he wasn’t wearing a gun.


“I’m here about a job, sir. There some kinda trouble ‘round these parts?” 


One of the deputies spoke up. “ Train robbery. We’re on the look out for outlaws, mister.” 


The young man chuckled as if the notion were absurd, and offered an even broader grin. “Outlaws! Well, as you can see, there ain’t no outlaws on this stage, deputy.” He quickly stepped aside so they could see for themselves. 


The tall man grunted, continuing to study him. “The name’s Levi. What do they call you, mister?’


“Hubble. Mr. Henry Hubble, at your service,” lied Heyes.  He pleasantly tipped his hat all around .


“Well, Mr. Henry Hubble. Someone has steered you wrong, cause there ain’t no jobs in this town. The Devil’s Hole Gang has seen to that.”


“Devil’s Hole Gang?” Heyes feigned concern. “How could those scoundrels have anything to do with jobs? Why, I was told this is a prosperous town with plenty a coal….”


Levi interrupted. “I don’t know where your from, mister, but around here it don’t matter how much coal there is if we can’t get paid for diggin’ it out. You have as much chance at findin‘ a job as a one-legged cat tryin’ to bury terds on a frozen pond.” 


“I don’t understand….”


“There ain’t nothin’ more to understand. Now I’m gonna search you, Mr. Hubble, and then you can take a look ‘round  town for yourself. Tomorrow I expect to see you back on the outbound stage. Now hand over that satchel.” Levi was becoming impatient and scowled. He was done with shooting the breeze and wanted to get on with his duties.


After being searched with a fine tooth comb and questioned thoroughly, Levi and the deputies let him go. Heyes took off down the dusty street, taking in the sights like a wide eyed tourist.  


He was glad he hadn’t listened to Wheat and Kyle. They had done everything they could to talk him into riding in and busting the Kid out with a stick of dynamite, instead of using the gem in a trade. But the gem was his ace in the hole. Instead of attempting a quick rescue, he figured it would be worth taking the chance at being recognized and personally case the town before finalizing a plan. His instincts told him that Mrs. Parker was no fool, and he appeared to be right.


In addition to the harrying welcome he had received, there were also armed lookouts posted on every corner and most of the rooftops. They were obviously just waiting for him to make a move. No, if he wanted to avoid a blood bath, his plan would need a little finesse. As he walked Parkersville, he made a mental note of the positioning of the gunmen, and the layout of the town.


Preoccupied, he stepped up onto a wooden walkway, only to be run into by a gang of wild and rowdy children. 


“Hey, watch where your goin’.” Heyes called out, as they ran helter skelter through the street. Caught off balance, he took a step back and bumped into a well dressed woman who was just leaving the general store. He instinctively grabbed her arm to steady himself.


The lady quickly inspected the stranger. She casually wondered what a bookish gent like him was doing in this rough and tumble Wyoming coal town.  Raising a brow, she glared at the hand on her arm, and waited for him to let her go.


“Oh, pardon me, ma’am.” Embarrassed, he quickly released her and offered a sheepish grin.  “The name’s Hubble, Henry Hubble. Sorry to have disturbed you.” Tipping his hat while awkwardly juggling his satchel, he couldn’t help but notice she was tall for a woman; she was looking him straight in the eye.


The lady continued to study the stranger‘s appearance. If it wasn't for that ill fitting suit, she concluded he might not be an altogether unpleasant looking man. She would have to ask Levi if he had already checked him out. 


Relaxing a bit, she returned a strained smile. “No harm done. The town children have been a nuisance of late. We recently lost our school teacher and our parson, otherwise they would be doing their lessons.”


He noticed her discomfort and tried to put her at ease. “I’m sure it won‘t be long before their replacements arrive, ma’am.”


“ Not likely. The town can‘t afford to send for them. At least not yet. “ She seemed troubled by the admission and frowned. 


“ Ma’am?” Heyes was intrigued.


“Never mind, it’s no concern of yours. The town will soon have everything it needs, one way or the other. Good day.” She immediately regretted saying anything; the town‘s affairs were really none of this man‘s business. She picked up her parcel and was gone.


Wondering what she meant, Heyes stepped backwards into the store as he watched her depart. Glancing around, he noticed a tall, gangly shopkeeper watching him. The man was fussing over what appeared to be sparsely stocked shelves.

“If you don’t mind my askin’, sir, who was that fine lady that was just in here?” 


“That’s the Boss.” The man moved on to another task, polishing the counter with the corner of his once white apron.


“Boss? You mean she owns the store?” 


“Well, yeah, that and everything else around here. That’s Mrs. Parker. She runs the entire town.” He paused and looked at Heyes warily. “The store is for miners and townsfolk only. I’ve been ordered to ration the supplies. And I know you ain’t from around here, mister, so don’t go tellin’ me different.”


“Oh, no, sir. Wouldn’t dream of it.” He found the lack of supplies perplexing, but he had something more important on his mind. Her name was Mrs. Parker, and she had piercing green eyes unlike any he’d ever seen.


Heyes hurriedly stepped back outside and quickly looked around to see if he could spot her. He was just in time to see her ride by, driving her own buggy. Her long wavy black hair was tied back out of her face, the ends flying in the wind. She made a striking picture, but Heyes hardly noticed. All he could think of was the sickening image of his cousin lurching off his horse, with the cracking sound of her gun echoing in the air. Anyone watching the newcomer would have seen his jaws tighten and demeanor darken. His brown eyes narrowed as he intently studied her, until the dust rose up and she was no longer in his sight.  


Less than an hour later, Heyes found himself standing on the porch of the Parkersville Bookkeeping Office, surveying the premises. He could see two men’s faces through the window, as they sat at their desks pouring over mounds of paperwork. He took a deep breath to help settle himself into the deception, and stepped into the modestly furnished office.  


Without even looking up, Mr. Blake, the senior of the two, barked impatiently. “Make it quick, we’re busy.” 


Drumming up another winning smile, Heyes greeted them with skillfully fabricated enthusiasm. “Good morning gentlemen. My name is Henry Hubble and I’m here to apply for the job!”


“What job?” Sam, a young man with a receding hairline and a pencil tucked behind one ear, looked up and studied Heyes with a perplexed expression on his face.


“Why, the bookkeeping job. I heard that you needed help with your books and hopped the morning stage to see if I could assist you.”  Heyes looked innocently from man to man, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to hire an unsolicited stranger to pour over the company finances.


Mr. Blake, a robust, balding man with a salt and pepper goatee finally looked up. “I don’t know who you been talkin’ too, mister, but there ain’t no job. Don’t you read the papers?”  He adjusted his spectacles and got back to scrawling his barely legible chicken scratch. “Now quit wastin’ my time, I’m already behind in my work.”


“ He’s right, mister, I’m afraid you come all this way for nothin’. We won‘t be takin‘ on new help, whether we have the work or not.” Sam sullenly looked back down at his desk. Under his breath he quietly muttered, “That cussed, no good, devil of a crook, Hannibal Heyes, has seen to that.“ 


With a cough, Heyes tried to ignore the insults and managed to keep his smile plastered on his face. The towns troubles were of no concern to him, except for the fact that it was affecting his ability to acquire an urgently needed job. The welcome he had received at the stage had made it clear he would need good reason to be allowed to stay in town.


“So, then there is work?” He hoped his insistent optimism would somehow make it so.


Mr. Blake frowned in obvious frustration and annoyance. “Well, yes, more work than me and Sam here can handle. Mrs. Parker just ordered a completely unnecessary audit and won‘t let us hire on any help. But...”


Heyes recognized an opening when he saw one. “Well then, gentlemen, I believe this is what we call a “win-win” opportunity. I’m a brand new bookkeeper in need of experience and I’ll work for nothin’ but room and board, until things settle down.  If you don’t like my work you can send me on my way, no harm done. You win and I win.  How ‘bout it?”  He eagerly glanced from man to man, confident that his gift of gab had worked its magic.


The two overworked men who hadn’t been paid in weeks looked at each other.  Free help was a temptation they could not resist and they quickly changed their tune.


“Well, I reckon that puts a different slant on things, Mr. Hubble. I think I can find somethin’ for you to do. When can you start?” Mr. Blake saw no point in working hard if he could shirk it off on someone else. The room and board that it would cost  Mrs. Parker would be no skin off his back, and he could still tell her he hadn’t hired anyone.


“Please, call me Henry, sir. And there‘s no time like the present.” Heyes was quite pleased with himself. He smugly inquired, “Where do you want me to begin?”


“You can use that desk over there, Henry.” Mr. Blake pointed across the room to a small desk with a thick stack of papers on it. He gleefully began to bark orders at his new minion.


“Tally the totals on all those invoices in a ledger, and then file them away alphabetically in the file drawers.” Mr. Blake pointed to a file drawer located on the back wall. “Stay outa that one. That’s private company files; I‘m the only one with a key.”


Heyes raised a brow and asked. “You mean everyone but you and Mrs. Parker?” 


“Nope, she don’t need to get in there. She gets all her information directly from my reports. Bein’ a woman, she most likely wouldn’t understand it anyhow.  Heck, she wouldn’t be able to run this town if I wasn’t around to keep track of the financials. “  Mr. Blake was apparently suffering from a bad case of inflated self importance, brought on by an elevated assessment of his superiority over the fairer sex. 


Heyes had no lost love for Mrs. Parker, but something about Mr. Blake’s opinion of her mental prowess rubbed him the wrong way. Mrs. Parker may be many things, but she certainly had not appeared feeble minded. 


Mr. Blake continued to enjoy hearing himself speak. “Come to think of it, this afternoon I’m gonna send you up to the big house to give her the weekly figures. I’m tired of bein’ the bearer of bad tidings. Since your new, I’m gonna give you the chore.” Mr. Blake gave Heyes a sly look, as if he had dodged a bullet. It wasn't dignified for a man of his floating intellect and masculine pomposity to be required to report to an inferior female.


The supercilious Mr. Blake continued to ramble on with instructions. “Here’s a copy of the report for you to go over with this weeks credit and debit totals. Make sure the tallying is accurate. When your done with that, get to work on those invoices. I’ll send you over after lunch.”


“Yes, sir. Right away, Mr. Blake, sir!”  The senior bookkeeper did not know the new employee well enough to recognize his subtly patronizing tone. Heyes had already decided he did not like this man. He brought in his satchel from the porch, settled it beside his desk, and started checking the numbers. 


“Oh, and one more thing.” Mr. Blake looked at Heyes. “That outlaw is with her.”


“What outlaw?” Heyes innocently looked up, hoping they did not hear the catch in his throat.   


“Kid Curry. The place is under lock down and you’ll be searched.“ Mr. Blake silently congratulated himself on pawning that indignity onto someone else. “Don’t speak to him or even look at him. Your business is with Mrs. Parker. Understand?”


Heyes tried to hide his anticipation. This was turning out even better than he had hoped. He dug for a little more information. “Yes, sir. But why isn‘t he in jail?” 


“Damn thief almost died, I wish he had.” Mr. Blake almost spit out the words. “She insisted on takin’ him back to the house to doctor him up. I say she should a just let him die like the dog he is, but she wouldn’t have none of it.  He’s worth just as much to us dead, and less trouble.  Don’t make no sense, but I guess that’s what happens when a female’s in charge.” With that Mr. Blake’s eyes turned back to his paperwork.


Heyes became subdued at the man’s caustic words. Anger and concern for his partner continued its slow burn within him. He knew full well that Mrs. Parker’s reason for keeping the Kid alive had nothing to do with her soft, feminine sensibilities. He could only imagine what kind of neglect his cousin may have suffered in her care.


He tried to refocus and concentrate on the task at hand. He reviewed the report, making a few minor corrections. Mrs. Parker’s financial woes had not been exaggerated. It seemed that the stolen payroll had been the straw that broke the camels back. With coal production down and expenses up, she had been hanging on by a string. How convenient for her to have an outlaw gang to blame it all on.  Heyes was not sympathetic towards her plight in the least. Not after what she’d done to the Kid.


After about an hour, the other two bookkeepers stood and stretched. “We’re headin’ over to the café for lunch. I heard they got fried chicken today. Care to join us?” Sam pushed back his chair and started for the door.


Heyes stomach had been grumbling all morning, but as usual, his appetite for information won out over his belly. “I’d like to finish going over this report. You two go on ahead and I’ll head over when I‘m done.”


The unpleasant Mr. Blake grunted, ‘Have it your way. But work commences again in one hour, whether you take the time to eat or not!“ Heyes watched the rotund man strut across the street with Sam in tow, keeping an eye on them through the window until their faces were no longer in sight.  


Heyes didn’t waste any time. Reaching under the inner lining of his boot, he pulled out a craftily hidden lock pick. He crossed the room to the back wall, and inspected the forbidden drawer. Child’s play. Biting his lower lip, he began working the lock. In just a few seconds he found himself thumbing through it‘s contents, locating what appeared to be the most recent file. He quickly scanned it, comparing it with the weekly report. It took a few minutes for what he was seeing to register with him, but he soon broke into a grin.


“That sly dog.” Heyes muttered under his breath. Chuckling, he shook his head in a combination of admiration and disgust. He quickly returned the file to the drawer and worked the lock shut. 


Satisfied, he put on his hat and headed across the street to join the other two men at the café. He could hardly wait to deliver that report and see for himself how well his partner was holding out. But right now it was time to sample some of that fried chicken and have a beer, compliments of his new Boss, the intriguing Mrs. Parker. 

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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:38 pm

Parkersville

Part Five - A Fool and His Money

“Slowly stretch out your arm as far as you can without strainin‘ your stitches. Good. Now, carefully reach to the side.” The Kid winced as he struggled to comply with the doctors orders. The Doc had just finished cleaning and dressing the wound and was testing the outlaws mobility while he was at it. The Kid did his best, albeit tentatively. His ribs were still troubling him as well as the shoulder. It had been a couple days since the Kid’s fever broke, and Dr. Mathews was giving Mrs. Parker a thorough assessment of the outlaw’s progress. 


“ Now just let me finish up…..there.” The short, stocky doctor completed the examination by wrapping a sling around the Kid’s arm, under the watchful eye of his Boss.


“ I reckon we saved the arm. If this keeps up, we can send this low life back to jail where he belongs. In the mean time, I’d still keep a look out for fever, ma’am, you never know when that infection will start up again.”


“Much obliged, Doc.” The Kid could tell the doctor didn’t like him much, but there was some wisdom in being polite to the man that was fixing him up.


The doctor looked at him like he was seeing him for the first time. “Don’t thank me, Curry. It’s Sophie here who got me to take a second look at your sorry ass. If I’d had my way you’d be six feet under.” The doctor abruptly snapped his bag shut and stood up.


“Then it’s you I’m beholden to, Sophie.” Kid looked from the frowning doctor to the aloof, but beautiful woman. He felt uncharacteristically awkward, still cuffed to the bedpost and weak from his ordeal. He pulled his sheet up as far as he could with his one good arm.


“Mr. Curry, I asked you before to please address me as Mrs. Parker.” She was glad to hear he was improving, but had no intention of becoming on first name basis with him. She walked Dr. Matthews to the door.


The doctor continued to ramble on. “Just keep the sling on him, and see if he can keep down a little solid food. I’ll be back tomorrow.” He glanced from the outlaw and back to the lady.  “ Sophie, a lady like you shouldn’t have to deal with the likes of him. I bet you can’t wait to get yer husband home to take all these worries off your shoulders.” Her very pretty shoulders, he silently noted.


“Thank you, Dr. Matthews. Please give my best to your wife. ” She ignored the comment about her husband. The fact that everyone thought her husband’s presence would miraculously solve all her problems was more than annoying to her. She had always been the problem solver in their marriage. 


“Oh, uh, about my wife…” The doctor began to shift uncomfortably. She patiently waited to see what kind of story he would come up with. She had wondered when he was going to finally get around to asking about his pay.


“Well, you know the old sayin’, ma’am. A fool and his money are soon parted, and this old fool gave all his money to his wife and she done spent it all. The pearls were much appreciated, ma’am, but the wife told me not to come home without some gen-u-ine currency this time.” The doctor‘s discomfort was palpable, but in this case he was more intimidated by his wife than his boss. Just barely. He didn‘t have to live with his boss. He nervously wiped his sweaty, furrowed brow with his handkerchief. “If’n that’s ok with you, ma’am.”


Mrs. Parker had already lost the town’s teacher and parson because she couldn’t pay them. Fortunately, there hadn’t been too many folks expire from lack of prayers and lessons, but medical care, now that was another story. The idea of losing Dr. Matthews was unacceptable.


She stepped over to the desk and took a small bag out of one of the drawers. Without a word she tossed it to the doctor who caught it mid air. He weighed the bag in his hands as the coins clinked noisily. Satisfied, he quickly ghosted them into his pocket.


“Thank you kindly, ma’am.” He opened the door and turned with one more parting word. “Get him to take a bath, why don’t you. Those sponge baths ain’t doin’ the trick.” The Doc turned up his bulbous nose with a sniff, glared at his patient with another look of disgust, and was gone.


“Sponge baths?” Mrs. Parker turned  to see the Kid staring at her questioningly, clutching his sheet, visibly uncomfortable at the thought of what may have transpired while he was unconscious.


Ignoring the question, Mrs. Parker leaned out the door, gave some orders to the guards, and returned. The train robber actually looked embarrassed, which she found absurd. How did the outlaw think she had cooled him down during his raging fever, if not with a sponge bath or two.


The Kid saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere with her. He tried again. “I appreciate all your doin’ here, ma’am, but I’d like to know what you did with my things.”  He was trying to be a gentleman, but he was done with feeling vulnerable. He didn’t just feel naked, he actually was, and kept looking around the room to see some sign of his clothes.


She looked at him, apparently unconcerned. “I burned your clothes, Mr. Curry. They were covered with blood.” 


He thought back on those first harrowing moments after the shooting, when he came close to bleeding out. Then he remembered the sickening stench of his blood caked clothes as he laid in jail, thirsty and feverish. The Kid turned and looked at her with the same narrow, steely gaze she had seen him use during the robbery. 


“They wouldn’t a been covered with my blood if you hadn’t shot me, Sophie.” The accusing words were uttered with a practiced calm that had stopped most of his former adversaries in their tracks.


She didn‘t even blink. “Let me remind you again to address me as Mrs. Parker. And if you’d kept your hands off my payroll and my diamond, Mr. Curry, I wouldn’t have needed to shoot you.” 


The blonde outlaw grunted. Neither one of them said anything as they both quietly assessed the other. 


He continued to scan the room. “My hat and boots. Tell me you didn’t burn them too.”


“We never found a hat. Your boots are in the next room.”


“And my gun?”  The same gun that had kept them alive more times than he could count.  The gun he had practiced with until it felt like an extension of himself. The gun that had earned him his reputation; that had defined the man he had become. His gun.


“You no longer own a gun, Mr. Curry, it now belongs to me. A man like you should never wear a gun.” Her cool stare would have chilled a cowboy eating jalapenos in a drought.


That was it.  He could see that any inclination he may have had towards practicing gentlemanly courtesy was wasted on this woman. Hell, she had almost killed him, why bother? Heyes was right, when it came to women, he was a soft touch. Well, not any more, not with this one.


He slowly and very pointedly let his eyes travel over her from head to toe, pausing suggestively along the way to admire her feminine points of interest. He decided he would like what he saw, if only she wasn’t so damn ornery. 


“Well, now, Sophie,” he drawled, pausing to clearly emphasize the name, “ I reckon it’s just as well I don’t have my gun. A man like me, as you say, wouldn’t know whether to kiss you or shoot you.”  


Without missing a beat, Mrs. Parker pulled out her derringer, and pointed the gun directly at his chest. “Either one would be equally unpleasant, Mr. Curry, and I will not sit idly by while being disrespected.”


The Kid met her gaze. “You won’t kill me, Sophie. Heyes must a give you good reason to think I’m worth more alive than dead, or I reckon I would a already met my maker. So, no, I’m not afraid a your gun.”


“You should be.“ Mrs. Parker changed her aim from his chest to his uninjured shooting arm.  “You’re right, Mr. Curry, I don‘t want to kill you. However, I have no problem wounding you, as I have already demonstrated. For the last time, you will address me as Mrs. Parker.” She raised a brow and deftly cocked the hammer. “ Do we understand each other?”


Wide eyed, the Kid finally thought better of toying with her. After all, this was the same woman that had pulled the trigger on him once before. 


“Uh, yes ma’am. Mrs. Parker, ma’am. I think I got it this time.”


“Good.” She lowered her gun but kept it readied.


He continued to study her, trying to figure out how to get her to be less cantankerous. If she thought a man like him shouldn’t have a gun, then what kind of man did she think he was?  Maybe she hadn’t heard about their friendly and downright likeable reputation.


“I ain’t a killer, ma‘am. You seen for yourself how I run a calm and peaceable robbery back on the train, doin’ my best to keep folks from gettin’ hurt. And then you run out and started shootin’.  Why, if I wasn’t a peaceable man I would a shot you dead instead of shootin‘ at yer feet, on account a you bein’ a lady and all.”


Mrs. Parker was unimpressed. “If you think you can threaten folks with your gun and still call yourself a peaceable man, then you are delusional. And as for taking it easy on me because I’m a woman,”  she paused and frowned at  him. “That was just one of your mistakes,” She looked from his handcuff to the wound in his shoulder. “ Wouldn’t you agree?”


The Kid wasn’t quite sure what delusional meant, but he was fairly certain is wasn’t a compliment. He tried to get through to her once more. “ But Mrs. Parker, in all the thievin’ I ever done, I never hurt no one.”


“Do you expect me to excuse you just because you don’t shed any blood during your robberies? There’s more than one way to seriously hurt someone, Mr. Curry. People suffer when you steal their livelihood.  I’m surprised that you and your Mr. Heyes are so naïve that you do not understand this.”  


The Kid was just getting over the idea of someone thinking he and his partner were naïve, when there was a knock at the door. The cook entered, wheeling a cart.  She was an older lady, wearing a white frilly apron, her silver hair tied in a bun. The remains of a fine woman were still visible; she was once lovely and it showed.


“Put it right over there, Bess.” Mrs. Parker directed her to wheel the cart up next to his bed.


“I didn‘t know what to cook, ma‘am, so there‘s chicken soup and toast, in case he‘s still sickly. And if he’s up to it, there’s steak and taters. Oh, and a piece a my famous apple pie. ” Bess stole a glance at the notorious outlaw. She didn’t know what she expected to see, but it sure wasn’t a blonde, blue eyed young man, apparently wearing nothing but a sheet. 


Bess leaned towards Mrs. Parker and in a stage whisper advised, “He ain’t decent ma’am. You ought not be in here alone with him.  It ain’t proper.”


“Don’t worry, Bess. The guards are right outside the door and I’m not really alone as long as I have this.” She nodded towards the gun she still had in her hand.


Bess dared another look. This time the outlaw smiled and gave her a quick wink with his baby blues that set her all a twitter. Her cheeks turned as pink as berries, and she quickly looked away. 


The Kid couldn’t help a little chuckle. Finally, a woman that was responding properly to his charms. 


“Well, I have more pie if he wants it, ma’am.”


“He isn’t a guest, Bess, he’s our prisoner.” Mrs. Parker was not amused.


“Just the same, if I can get the young gentlemen anything else…..” She took another peek. The Kid smiled at her again. As he always told his partner, it never hurt to get on the good side of the cook.


“He’s gettin’ a bit scruffy around the edges, ma’am. I used to barber all my brothers back home. I’ll soon be back to give him a shave.”


“Alright, Bess. Tell the maids to come and change his linens, too.”


“Yes’m” with one last look, the aging beauty took her leave.


Mrs. Parker turned her attention back to the Kid. “I’m going to unlock your good hand and let you feed yourself.  Mind you,  I’ll be sitting right here in this chair with my gun on you the whole time.”


Kid rolled his eyes. “Yes, ma’am. I don’t know where you think I’d go with just a sheet and a bum arm.“ he eyed the derringer warily. “But, yeah, Mrs. Parker. I‘ll stay out a trouble and just eat.  If‘n that‘s ok with you.”


“That’ll be fine. After your meal you’ll have a real bath and a shave. And we’ll find you some long johns.  I’ll be moving you back to the jail as soon as the doctor approves of it, hopefully tomorrow.”


It had been several days since he had kept down anything but broth and tea. This time he seemed to be doing pretty well with the soup and toast, but he just picked at the rest. It was just as well, he was not fully recovered and she was in no mood to deal with his nausea again. While he finished his meal some men brought in a bathtub and filled it with buckets of hot steaming water. 


She discreetly looked out the window while the men helped him into his bath, and spied an unexpected visitor approaching her house.


What on earth is he doing here, she silently asked herself. She watched the citified Mr. Henry Hubble walk his distinctive walk all the way to her front door. Looking up, he tipped his hat, giving her the same dimpled smile she had seen him use back at the general store. With a sigh, she returned a restrained nod. Who she really wanted to see was Hannibal Heyes, not an inconsequential city slicker. Already disinterested, she turned to supervise the blonde gunman, soap bubbles strategically bobbing, as he bathed with his one good arm.


It wasn’t long before Heyes found himself standing before her door with her foreman, Levi. Giving it a knock, he shot Heyes a glance that clearly carried a threat. “Mr. Hubble, I don’t know how you got this job, but since you’re here I’ll go ahead and see if she‘ll let you in. If you know what‘s good for you, you won‘t go wastin‘ her time.” 


Pushing back his spectacles, Heyes innocently shook his head. “Oh, no sir, I wouldn’t even consider such a thing.”


“Come in” ordered a female voice.


Levi stepped in first, leaving Heyes waiting in the hall.


“Boss, there’s a Henry Hubble here to see you. He says he’s here to deliver Mr. Blake’s report and has the proper paperwork. If you don‘t want to see him I‘ll boot him on out, ma‘am. Just say the word.”


The Kid was still taking his bath and looked at Mrs. Parker imploringly. “I’m tryin’ to take a bath here, ma’am. There‘s already too many folks around, do you really need to have a meetin’ in here too?”


Mrs. Parker looked at the Kid unsympathetically. She certainly wasn’t going to change her schedule around to accommodate this outlaw’s sensibilities, and she definitely wasn’t going to leave someone else to supervise while he was uncuffed.


The Kid saw the look in her eye, but figured he would give it one more try. “Please, Mrs. Parker, no more people.” 


“Send him in, Levi.”


“Aw, geesh. Invite the whole town in, why don’t ya‘. The deputies can take turns scrubbin’ my back. ” moaned the Kid in dismay.


From the hall Heyes could hear his partner’s voice. It sounded like he was in distress, pleading and begging. He had heard all over town how everyone wanted the Kid dead, and he could only presume that his care had reflected this attitude. He didn’t know how long he would be able to keep up the act if he had to witness his partner’s pain and neglect.  


Levi motioned for him to enter, and then took off to see about his other duties. As the foreman disappeared down the hall, Heyes heard him mutter, “I can’t believe she’s treatin’ him like that.” Dreading what he was about to see, Heyes resignedly stepped into the room. 


There, sitting in a steamy bubble bath, was Kid Curry, looking a little pale and in a sling, but otherwise appearing well. Two young pretty maids were putting clean linens on his bed and plumping his pillows. A brand new pair of long underwear were laid out and waiting for him.  Next to the bath on a chair was a stack of clean, white fluffy towels.  His face was covered with shaving cream and a lovely, petite older lady was fussing over him, giving him a shave while he sat in the steamy tub. Not far away was a cart full of food that looked like…yes, steak and pie! And overseeing it all was the green eyed, raven haired Mrs. Sophie Parker.


At first Heyes felt nothing but overwhelming relief. But his convoluted emotions soon morphed into being downright peeved. He had been worried to distraction for days about the well being of his cousin, and here he was sitting in the lap of luxury, pretty gals waiting on him hand and foot, getting better treatment than they’d ever had at the finest hotels during their best hurrahs.


The Kid’s blue eyes got as big as saucers. He began to say something, but slapped his good hand over his mouth, just in the nick of time.


“Now, you must hold still, Mr. Kid, or I might cut ya.“ cooed Bess. The Kid just kept his hand over his mouth, not trusting himself to keep from blurting out something that would certainly endanger them both.
 
Heyes was uncharacteristically speechless. Up to this point he had been his usual cocky self, patting himself on the back at having everything under control.  But what he found had set him off balance; he was staring at the Kid with his mouth hanging, like clothes drying on a line.


“ Mr. Hubble?” All Mrs. Parker could conclude from his behavior, was that Henry had never seen an outlaw before and was mute from terror.


“Mr. Hubble, don’t be concerned with him. When he isn’t restrained we have a gun on him at all times. You have no reason to be afraid.” She nodded towards the gun in her hand.


Heyes was unresponsive.  He just stood there staring, rolling the brim of his hat in his hands, apparently from nerves.


“Mr Hubble? I presume there is a reason for this visit? Mr. Hubble?” She sighed with annoyance. This is why she didn’t like dealing with city folk. They weren’t equipped with the grit and gumption needed for life in the west.


Heyes quickly worked to regain some composure. If there was ever a time for his silver tongue to leap into action, this was it.


“Uh, yes ma’am, sorry. I’m just not used to dangerous outlaws, is all.”  He shot an irritated glance at his cousin, who just rolled his eyes at him, and finally turned to face her. The time had come to weave his web of deception on the lovely lady standing before him. He took a deep breath and began.


To Be Continued...

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Stepha3nie

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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:28 pm

Can't wait for the continuation. Please, please, please post soon.
What a great story so far. Excellent descriptions, I feel like I am seeing most of the scenes. Building of tension, drama and action during the robbery (including the gang preventing Heyes from going back) were really good. But I also love the way you delve into the characters, be it Kid, Heyes or your marvellous Mrs. Parker.
She sure is a worthy adversary for the boys: shooting skills to match the Kid (how is her fast draw?) and devious and clever like Heyes (plus handy with picking handcuffs). A truly strong, intelligent, capable woman, with some unusual skills. She also has a caring side - taking care of her town and it's people, and taking care of the sick Kid. I can understand how much it must gall her that all those ignorant men can't see her worth and keep believing that she is just her husband's emissary. It will be interesting to see if she will come to change her views on outlaws. And if maybe Levi will become more than just her foreman. And if she will get the truly deserved recognition in her town.
I always love to see a Hannibal Heyes plan in action. Bold to go in undercover, I cant' wait to see the rest of his plan unfold (and probably get thwarted to some degree or other by Mrs. Parker). He is very lucky that Mrs. Parker was blindfolded while he was showing off to the passengers during the robbery. I am not sure if his disguise would have worked otherwise. I got the impression Mrs. Parker is not easy to fool, even though the accountant seems to have managed to manipulate the books and to siphon off money for himself. It will be interesting to see how Heyes will use this discovery. It will also be interesting to see if Heyes and/or Kid will realise how much their robbery has cost the entire town and if/what they will do about it.
Speaking of Kid - poor Kid. He sure is getting nowhere with Mrs. Parker. Being nice, stern, gentlemanly, intimidating, embarrassed - nothing seems to work, except almost dying of the shot wound in jail. Not a strategy to try more than once. I am a little surprised that Mrs. Parker obviously cared for the Kid herself, even giving him sponge baths. The naughty side of me can't help but wonder how thorough they were... Mrs. Parker has maids after all who could have taken care of the Kid.
The bathtub scene reminded me a little bit of "El Dorado", where the jail never had as many visitors as when a wounded Robert Mitchum was having a bath (and he got more annoyed with each one who came in). Good job Kid managed to stop himself from blurting out Heyes' name (Mrs. Parker sure doesn't belong to the "deaf sheriffs of the West" group of people). And I was laughing out loud at Heyes' reaction of seeing the Kid "sitting in the lap of luxury" after thinking he was being mistreated (well, he was in jail) and pleading. It does take a lot to make Heyes stand around dumbfounded with his mouth hanging open. Priceless. Hopefully all the significant looks/eyerolling were lost on Mrs Parker.

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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:34 am

Hi Stepha3nie,

Thank you so much for your commentary. It is so interesting for me to see how much you have picked up on. When I am writing I often wonder if I have over or under emphasized certain plot points or character traits and your comments are helping me get a feeling for how I am doing.  You are so right about the blindfold; the only reason I put one on her was to make it so she couldn't recognize Heyes when he went undercover. 

I am afraid it will be awhile before the next chapter is posted. Real life is tearing me away from writing for awhile. Thanks for your input, S3.

Java

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Caroline McK

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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:40 am

This story is wonderful. I just found it and can hardly wait for more.
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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:10 pm

Thanks, Caroline, you made my day! Apologies all around for taking so long to post another chapter.

Java

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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:45 pm

I keep checking back to see if a chapter has been added to this story.  Alas, it has not. Kid has been in that bath a long time now, any chance in the not too distant future that he will be getting out of it?  I do like this story a lot.
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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:41 am

Lol, Gin. Imagine how wrinkled up he must be by now. Lol. Very Happy

Fits the latest Picture Caption Challenge...

Javabee - I hope RL gets less (stress)full for you, so you will have more time to continue this story.

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PostSubject: Re: Parkersville   Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:30 pm

Thanks Gin and Steph!

I havn't forgotten about the poor Kid languishing away in his water-logged condition. Real life is such a bore when it keeps me from what I'd rather be doing, which would be to pull him on out'a there and get on with the story! I will try my best, but it has been difficult lately. I am flattered that there a few souls checking back, thanks so much.

Java

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