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 Conviction

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PostSubject: Conviction   Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:16 pm

Time for me to post my first challenge and I hope you'll jump in enthusiastically.  The prompt has been chosen by Hunkeydorey and it's a goodie.  Can you give us your take, in between 150 and 4,000 words, on the prompt;


CONVICTION


Your story can be one of facing the law in court, going to prison, someone with deeply-held beliefs, someone who feels they are doing the right thing, a court scene, prison following conviction, belief, opinion, view, thought, persuasion, idea, position, stance.


Get writing


Writing


And please don't forget to comment on last month's stories before you start writing,  Comments are the only thanks our writers get.
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Keays

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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:35 pm

I promise, I will try not to use TOF for this challenge, though it appears that I am being set up for it!
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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:57 pm

It really does.  Nobody would blame you.  lol!

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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:17 pm

Jail
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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:02 pm


Heyes’ fingers tightened on the back of the wooden bench in front of him, his knuckles whitening as he stared over at the judge at the other side of the court.  “He’s looking over here.”


“Yeah,” hissed the Kid.  “Because you won’t shut up.”


Heyes wriggled uncomfortably in his brown suit.  “I’m telling you, Kid.  If I end up doing twenty years because of one of your needy people I’ll swing for you.”


“And if you don’t stop drawin’ attention to us you won’t even see me comin’.  Just be quiet.  I was only a witness.  I want to see what happens now.”


Heyes caught the sharp eyes of the judge and silently sat back, dropping his eyes and pretended to listen intently to the witness droning on and on about almost everything but the subject at hand.  The woman was clearly relishing being the centre of attention and was making the most of it.  “...and then I took the dolly and started poundin’...”


“Dolly?” the judge cut in.  “A toy?”


“No, your highness.  It’s a tool.”


“I’ve told you before, Mrs. Quimby.  You don’t call me ‘your highness.’  You call me ‘your honor.’”


“Sorry, your honor.”  She pursed her lips theatrically.  “I ain’t never been in a court before.”


“It’s fine Mrs. Quimby, just carry on and tell me about this dolly.”


She nodded.  “Yes, your highness.  It’s a long wooden thing, with something that looks like a three-legged stool at the end.  You use it to move the clothes around in the tub,” her substantial bosom jiggled comically as she imitated the motion in the witness box of stirring laundry around the tub with the dolly.  “There’s a word for it.  I calls it swirlin’, but the boss calls it agritation.  So you know what I mean, your majesty?”


“Agitation is what I think you meant,” the Judge rolled his eyes, “and I’m becoming more and more familiar with it as this case goes on.”  He nodded over to the defense lawyer.  “Please hurry this up, Mr. Clark.”


“Certainly, your honor.”   The lawyer approached the witness and gestured over to a pretty young blonde sitting at the table he had just left.  “Mrs. Quimby, the whole point of this case is the claim that Miss Kelly deliberately damaged a customer’s clothes when they were brought to her laundry.”  He pointed over to the redhead sitting in the front bench.  “Miss Brand contends that Miss Kelly was jealous of the attentions of a young man was paying her, and spitefully damaged the clothes by shrinking them.”


“We know what the case is about, Mr. Clark.  Evidence has already been led by Mr. Jones to the effect that he never courted either woman.  He asserts he was just polite and that was misconstrued by the plaintiff,” all eyes drifted over to the Kid as Heyes shrunk away from him on the public benches.  “He appears to be an example of the type of male pulchritude which can turn the head of an innocent maiden.”  He extricated his spectacles from their case and snapped it shut with a click.  “At least, that’s what he says.  He could have been playing the field for all we know.  He could have been a catalyst for the whole thing by being licentious.”


Mrs. Quimby frowned in confusion.  “You need a license?”


“I truly wish that some people did require a license before playing the mating game,” muttered the judge.  “I really do.  It means lascivious, profligate, dissipated.”   He stared into the blank eyes of the witness who clearly still needed help with translation.  “Over-sexed.”


“Hey!” exclaimed an indignant Kid.  “I’m a perfect gentleman.  None of this is my fault.”


“Silence in court!” barked the judge.  “Who is at fault here is yet to be established.  


“Yeah, shut up,” hissed Heyes.


The lawyer continued.  “Mrs. Quimby, who washed Miss Brand’s clothes that day?”


“I did.  I ain’t too high and mighty to do a day’s work,” she glanced over at her employer.  “Not like some.”


“And who dried and ironed the clothes?”


“I hung them out on the line and I pressed them,” the washer woman asserted.  “I pressed them up right before I went home.”


“So Miss Kelly never touched the clothes?”


“She did.  She took the order and gave them to me.”


“And did she give you any special instructions, Mrs. Quimby?  Something along the lines of how to treat them?”


“Not a thing,” replied the washerwoman. 


“So all she did was hold them for a few seconds?”  The young lawyer gave the red-headed accuser a long hard stare.  “It makes you wonder how this case ever made it to court.”


“Oh, that’s easy.  I can tell you that,” Mrs. Quimby grinned through gapped teeth.  “Maude Brand’s pa owns half the country around here but she’s always been jealous of Mary Kelly’s looks.  She’s a real cow.”


The court erupted in laughter as the redhead flushed puce.


“Silence in court!” was yelled a couple more times as the room settled down.


“And don’t you go lookin’ at me like that Maude Brand.  I ain’t afraid of you.  I’ve known you since you were a snotty little nipper.  You took far too long to potty train too.  You always had wet drawers.”


“Enough!” the Judge dropped his head on the desk.  “This is the most ridiculous case I’ve ever tried.”


“My clothes were damaged,” Maude Brand protested.  “If it wasn’t Mary then it was her.  It was still malicious and I want them to pay damages and be punished.  She just told you all how much she hates me.  How do we know that it wasn’t deliberate?”


“A good question,” the judge mused.  “Mr. Clark, can you lead any evidence to show that the damage was accidental and not malicious?” 

The lawyer shook his head.  “I’m here to represent Miss Kelly.  I haven’t been retained by Mrs. Quimby.  All I can do is show that my client is not guilty of criminal damage.”

“Yeah,” muttered the judge.  “As a travelling circuit judge I have to try to sort these cases rather than depend on legal technicalities.  If I don’t, it just ends up here in a different form for me on my next visit.”

“She deliberately damaged my best dress,” Maude shouted.  “I want her to be punished.”


“Me?”  Mrs. Quimby’s brows rose imperiously.  “The biggest damage you did to that dress was squeeze that thick neck o’yourn in it.”


“It shrunk, it didn’t stretch,” the full implications of the insult suddenly landed and the woman’s eyes widened.  “Hey!”


“Mrs. Quimby, did you damage Miss Brand’s property deliberately?” demanded the lawyer.


“Of course I didn’t.  It was just cheap fabric,” she smiled across the court at Maude Brand.  “Nothing but cheap rubbish.”


“Mrs. Quimby,” the judge scowled, “you are not helping yourself.  Did you deliberately damage those clothes because of your antipathy towards the plaintiff?”


“I ain’t her auntie.”


The judge dropped his head into his hands.  “Look, if this is just a case of accidental damage, explain to me why the only person who had anything damaged was the woman you openly dislike.”


“I can’t explain it.  It was just bad luck.” 


The Kid gave his partner a huge dig in the ribs and gestured towards Mrs. Quimby with his head.


“Madam, unless you can explain yourself you leave me with no alternative but to have the charges laid against you instead.”


“Joshua.”  The Kid’s fierce whisper cut across the room causing the judge to look their way once more.


“Is there something you need to say, young man?”


“Not me, your honor.”  The Kid dragged a reluctant Heyes to his feet.  “My cousin has though.”


The ex-outlaw leader’s dark glower brightened as a he pulled the mask of charm together to face the court.  He stood.  “Your honor.  I think I can help here.  I’m here with Mr. Jones who was a witness.  As you know we’ve been doing some odd jobs for the Kelly family around their boarding house.”


“Is this relevant to the case?”  The judge motioned for him to come forward with his hand.  “Get on the stand and be sworn in.”


Heyes gritted his teeth as he threaded his way through the people standing to allow him to leave the bench, talking all the way.  “I helped Mrs. Quimby by chopping wood for her to boil the water, so as a thank you she offered to do some laundry for me.  Sorry, ma’am,” he wriggled past a well-upholstered woman to the end of the bench, “and I needed some clothes cleaned for a date I’d made with Miss Kelly’s friend.”  He stepped out into the aisle as all heads turned to stare at him, his jaw hardening as giggles started to roll around the room gathering pace until a crescendo of laughter crested all the way to the judge who blinked in disbelief.


“She cleaned clothes for you and shrunk them too?”


“Yes,” he nodded.  “If you need me to go and fetch the shirts, they’re in my room.”


“No need.”  The judge sat back in his chair.  “I can’t see why you’d lie about some shrunk shirts.” 


“I don’t mind.” he unbuttoned his jacket, clearly uncomfortable with the scrutiny.  He gave the Kid an accusing stare.  “I was hoping not to have to do this.  She was being nice and I didn’t like to complain.”


“Aw, ain’t he sweet,” Mrs. Quimby asserted.  “He never said a word.  I’m sorry son.”


“It’s fine, Mrs. Quimby.  You didn’t mean it.  I guess the water was just too hot.”


“Nah, I’ll sort it.  Come and see me afterward this”


“Or you could just go to the town charity box,” quipped someone from the public gallery.”


The room dissolved into laughter as the clatter of the gavel cut through the clamor.  “Order!  Order in court.”  The judge turned to the blond woman.  “Case dismissed.  You are free to go, Miss Kelly.  So are you, Mrs. Quimby.  This is a clear case of accidental damage by an unskilled worker.”


“No!” Maude Brand jumped to her feet.  “That’s not fair.”


“It’s perfectly fair, Miss Brand.  Look at the state of that poor man’s suit, and he’s not complaining.  He’s been prepared to deal with the matter with civility.  I suggest you do the same and come to an agreement with Miss Kelly over damages.  There’s nothing criminal here.  Case dismissed.”  He gave one final bang on the desk and stood.  “I need a drink.”


Heyes stood in the aisle as people filed past him, looking him up and down and smiling.  He glared at the wide grin approaching him.  “Ready for your date, Joshua?”   


“She didn’t clean my suit,” muttered Heyes.


The blue eyes danced with laughter.  “I know.”


“The whole town’s laughing at me.  How can I wear this now?”


“The same way you did any other time, Joshua.  Too tight and with the hems flappin’ around your shins.  Come on.  We’ve got a couple of ladies waitin’ for us.”  The Kid strolled towards the door, turning back to stare at the man who stayed rooted to the spot.  “Don’t give me that hurt look.  I’ve been tellin’ you about that horrible suit for years.”

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Na sir 's na seachainn an cath - Neither seek nor shun the fight      Old Scottish proverb
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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:25 pm

For inspiration, I reached for the dictionary and looked up conviction. Apart from the obvious, it can also mean fervour and vehemence. I think Heyes's mood in this could qualify as this. So continuing the "items of apparel" theme from Silverkelpie, here is a little scene that sprung to mind. I'm afraid it doesn't go anywhere.



Conviction



“YOU SHOT MY HAT!” Heyes yelled after the three men who were riding off with Heyes and Curry’s horses. He struggled furiously against the bindings that held his hands behind his back.



“Heyes,” the Kid began.



“YOU WAIT UNTIL I CATCH UP WITH YOU! YOUR LIVES WON’T BE WORTH LIVING!” Pause for breath. “YOUR MOTHER’S LIVES WON’T BE WORTH LIVING!” Another pause. “IF YOU HAD MOTHER’S …,” he descended into incomprehensible muttering.



The Kid rolled his eyes. “Heyes,” he tried again.



“WHAT?” Heyes yelled at his partner. The Kid sat beside him in a similar state of restraint.



“They’ve gone now Heyes. They can’t hear you.”



“D’YOU THINK I CARE ABOUT THAT? THEY SHOT MY HAT! LOOK AT IT!”



Heyes gestured with his chin to where his black hat lay a few feet away. “WHAT DID IT EVER DO TO YOU?” he yelled again.



“Mebbe it offended their sense of haute couture,” the Kid muttered, blinking at his unusual choice of words. It was as if somebody had told him to say that!



Then seeing Heyes was about to launch himself into another diatribe at the expense at the departed men, said, “Will you let it go?” He was irritable and uncomfortable. “We’ve got more important things to worry ‘bout right now. Like getting untied.”



“They shot my hat, Kid,” Heyes said, more quietly and more petulantly.



“Get a grip!” The Kid waited until Heyes was breathing deeply but thankfully wordlessly. “They did a good job of tyin’ me up. How are yours?”



Heyes growled, winced and squirmed at his binding. “Aw! It’ll take me a while …”



The Kid sat patiently and watched Heyes shuffle, twist, grimace and mutter obscenities for ten minutes. Then with a loud grunt suddenly he was free and unwrapping the rawhide from his wrists. The Kid waited expectantly and then rolled his eyes, growling as Heyes got up and went immediately to pick up his hat.



“LOOK AT IT!” He gave it a brush. Then scrubbed furiously at a mark with his thumbnail. “They’ve ruined it. LOOK!” He poked his index finger through the hole in the front of the crown and shook the hat in the Kid’s direction. “LOOK!”



The Kid coughed. “If you wouldn’t mind, Heyes,” he sighed, rolling his eyes again.



“D’YOU CALL THAT CIVILISED BEHAVIOUR! GOING AROUND SHOOTING HATS! INNOCENT HATS! NOBODY SHOOTS HANNIBAL HEYES’ HAT!” Heyes blustered on in the direction the men had gone. “’CEPT HANNIBAL HEYES. D’YOU HEAR ME?”



“HEYES! THEY HEAR YA! Now would you mind?”



“WHAT?” Heyes turned round furiously and looked at his partner.



“Before you catch up with them. Or do anythin’ to ‘em, would you please untie me?” he asked reasonably.



Heyes growled, slapped the maimed hat on his head and walked back to the Kid. He crouched down and began to fiddle with the rawhide. He still muttered under his breath as he worked.



“We’ll get after them, Heyes. They’ve got our money and guns. I ain’t letting this lie. And when we do catch up with ‘em you can shoot their hats. Alright?”


The Kid was trying to be calming. Appealing to the rational, logical, sensible side of Heyes. Unfortunately, that side seemed to be on a break right now.



“Too right, I will. And I’ll make damm sure that their heads are still in ‘em first!” Heyes succeeded in untying the Kid. “There you go.” He rose to his feet as the Kid finished unwrapping the rawhide.



“Thanks,” grumbled the Kid as Heyes inspected his hat once more. “Look on the bright side Heyes. You’re always complaining about how hot that hat is. Now you’ve got some ventilation!”



The look Heyes gave him would have curdled a lessor man’s blood. “I do NOT complain about it!” He clamped it on his head once more and stood hands on hips, chin thrust out in the Kid’s direction.



“You don’t wear it half the time. You wear that stupid bandana wrapped round your head like a dang indian.”



“I can’t help it if I haven’t got prissy curls that stay put can I? It keeps my hair outta my eyes so I can see where I’m riding.” A finger emphasised the point.



The Kid decided to press on despite Heyes chewing his top lip furiously. “And when we’re riding fast you complain that it doesn’t stay on your head but flips off behind ya and nearly strangles ya!” I say it’s a darn good thing it got shot. Now you can buy a new hat and stop complaining ‘bout it!”



“THE HELL I AM! I like this hat.” Heyes snatched it from his head. “I like the colour. I like the decoration. I like the feel of it. It feels right BECAUSE IT’S MINE! I like EVERYTHING about it EXCEPT for the dang hole where it got SHOT!”



He slapped it back on his head and folded his arms as the Kid got to his feet. He advanced on Heyes dangerously slowly. Heyes to his credit held his ground.



“Well perhaps …” The legendary trigger finger poked at Heyes’ shoulder. “You could sew it up.” Now the finger emphasised every word. “Like. You. Did. My. Derby!”



Heyes swallowed hard. He rubbed his shoulder wincing where the hard finger had poked him. Suddenly his head slumped forward and he sighed.



“How did they get the drop on us, Kid? Are we losing our touch?” He stood hands on hips, shaking his head in frustration.



“Nobody’s perfect Heyes. An’ I’m sorry I was dozing. I shoulda been more awake an’ alert,” the Kid replied, contritely.



“Nah! Kid, it’s not your fault. We’re both slipping up and folks are taking advantage,” Heyes sighed. “Those …,” He threw a hand up in the direction the bushwackers had taken. “Those men didn’t know who we were. If they had, we’d be on our horses heading back to town. They were just opportunists and we were an opportunity not to be missed.” He kicked at a stone, sending it skidding off into the distance.



The Kid slumped back against a boulder. “Yeah,” he sighed, thinking. “Y’know Heyes, I hate to admit this but you’re right. We have been slipping up a lot lately. Powers, the Tapscotts …” He shook his head in despair.


“It’s jus’ not like us. What’s wrong with us Heyes?”



Heyes was far away, staring at a spot on the ground a few feet in front of him. He stared at it for several long minutes, the Kid equally as thoughtful.



“It isn’t us, Kid,” Heyes sighed, finally. “It’s our situation. I think being on the move all the time, not knowing if we’re ever gonna get this dang amnesty is getting to us.”



“So what do we do?”



“Something.”



“What exactly?”



“Dunno yet but I’ll give it some thought as we walk back inta town.” He started to walk away.



“Oh great! Walking. My favourite occupation!”



Heyes looked back and shrugged. “Nothing else for it Kid.”



“I know,” the Kid muttered as he started after his partner. “Jus’ wish somebody would let me know if I’m gonna be walkin’ so I can put some better boots on!”



“Aw, come on Kid,” Heyes said, looking back. “What are you complaining about? At least your hat didn’t get shot and wounded.” He ran a few feet to get ahead.



The Kid gave his back the look as he reluctantly trudged after him.

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Kid Curry and that other fella; Hannibal Heyes and whatsname
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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:31 am

Rites of Spring


Spring had arrived in Wyoming.  Elk moved out of the valleys and towards their higher summer grazing grounds.  The clash of the young bucks’ antlers resounded over the countryside as they challenged each other for dominance.  While snowdrops poked their delicate heads through the frozen surface and the first robins searched for worms, this herd, too, migrated to its traditional grazing ground – the Devil’s Hole.  Like the bucks challenging each other for leadership of the herd, so too did the bucks of this herd battle for pecking order.


All day the woods and hollows of the Hole rang with groans and shouts as champions rose and fell.  Shots rang out, then deathly silence.  At night, dinner was gulped down.  The men gathered in clumps, and the compound filled with mutters and curses as weapons were cleaned, bets won and lost, and tallies totaled.  The fallen staunched their wounds and drowned their sorrows in whiskey as the victors laughed and joked.  Only two remained above the fray.  The Kid and Kyle – each secure in his own position and place in the gang – watched the annual rite; Curry with amused contempt, Kyle with confusion.


This spring, as had happened each year, it was down to the final two combatants seeking supremacy and leadership of the gang – Wheat and Heyes.  Their chosen seconds – Kyle and the Kid – stood tensely to the side, spare weapons at the ready, following their every motion.  The remainder of the gang stood safely back, watching, placing bets, hoping or fearing – given their individual fancies – that this time, this year, Wheat would succeed.


Tension showed on the combatants’ faces although each sought to appear unfazed.  Wheat swaggered forward confidently, hesitated, and, taking a deep breath, reached for his weapon.  A hoot arose from the watching men; Wheat swung around glaring at all until silence reigned.  He wiped the sweat from his brow and took aim.  Groans and cheers arose from the spectators when he missed.  Wheat closed his eyes.  His face set, he turned to Heyes and awaited the kill shot.


Heyes took his time.  He examined the ground, his dimples appearing as he studied his position.  He checked his weapon, chuckled, and handed it to the Kid, taking the Kid’s proffered alternative.  He strolled into position, ignoring the crowd.  With deliberate speed, Heyes positioned himself, turning sideways to his opponent.  He smiled with conviction.  All sound stopped as Heyes, almost without looking, took his first shot.  A murmur arose as the projectile flew cleanly and landed inevitably by its target.


Wheat’s shoulders slumped.  He closed his eyes, muttered a brief prayer, and accepted his fate.  Heyes, having gained the bonus, strode confidently forward, ready to end the battle.  He drew his weapon and fired his shot, the sound ricocheting as Wheat’s ball flew off the plateau, over the side, and splashed into the stream far below.  Without bothering to check the results, Heyes swung his mallet one more time, sending his ball sailing through the final wickets and coming to rest nestled against the final stake.


Once again, Heyes had proven himself master of croquet and master of the Devil’s Hole gang.


Author’s note:  This silly piece was inspired by the recently authenticated photograph of Billy the Kid and friends playing croquet.
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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:46 pm

CONVICTION

Heyes and Kid are running out of time. They are closer than they've ever been to learning out just what 20 years in the Wyoming state penitentiary would be like. The posse is right on their heels and are not about to give up now. They've been following the boys for two weeks, maybe even three.

"Heyes which way should we go? We need to get to Lom as fast as we can!"

"Well Kid, at this point, we are going to have to go north and come back south to get to Lom in Wyoming. We have to stay ahead of this posse so we can't go anywhere but north right now. That's the only way they aren't coming at us!"

The boys headed up to the rocky mountain ledge to try to keep out of sight of the posse. They spotted what appeared to be a cave up the mountain side. Maybe they could at least rest there for a few minutes, or maybe all night, if they can hide the opening from the posse. It was a cave and it was big enough for the boys and their horses. They moved the horses to the back of the cave and they started covering the opening of the cave with bushes, rocks, limbs, anything they could find.

"Heyes I think they are coming. I hear something outside the cave."

"Quiet Kid, if there is somebody out there, they are going to hear you." Heyes said whispering very forcefully.

After a few minutes of listening, Heyes said "No Kid, I think it was just an animal. I don't hear anything. If it was the posse, they'da done been in here for us. Let's get some rest."

The next morning, the boys tore through the covering brush they put in front of the cave opening to see the morning sun rising. They slowly peered around the bushes and rocks to see if anyone else was out and about looking for them again. About a mile away, they saw a faint glow of a campfire. It had to be the posse.

"Kid, let's move mighty quietly in the "OTHER" direction from that campfire! We'll walk our horses down the other side of the mountain but once we are at the bottom, we have to ride like the wind to get a good bit of distance between us and them!"

"Yeah Heyes, I agree. Let's get moving. That campfire is making me nervous! And it looks like people are starting to move around too!"

They didn't even think about how hungry they were. All they cared about was putting distance between the posse and them. At the bottom of the mountain, they did just what Heyes said, they mounted their horses and rode like the wind.

"Kid - It's been more than two years since the governor offered us amnesty and Lom said he was really close the last time we spoke to him. We can't let this posse grab us. We're too close!"

"I know Heyes. We'll get there, we'll get to Lom before they get to us!"

They rode for most of the morning finally stopping to get some food at the first town they came to. It was a quiet little town. Just the kind of town they liked - with no sheriff’s office! They ate, got the horses fed, and it was back on the trail to Lom. They didn't have that far to go now.

They rode for two more days and finally got to Lom's. They told him about the posse hot on their trail.

"Lom - What is the governor thinking these days? We have been straight for more than two years now. Haven't we proven ourselves yet?" Heyes said with hope in his eyes and with Kid nodding in total agreement.

"Lom this posse that is after us right now is relentless. We can't keep doing this. We're gonna have to head to South America if the governor doesn't hurry up!" Kid said with hope in is his eyes too.

"Well boys. Let me tell you. I just came from the governor's office yesterday after I got your telegraph. You got here just in time. The governor said that if you can stand it for one more month, the amnesty is yours. The election will be over and he is expected to win. After that, you will get your amnesty!"

Both boys smiled ear to ear with a sparkle in their eyes! They couldn't believe it. Their running was almost over!

"See Kid. I told you! Our conviction to live on the good side of the law is going to finally pay off! Now Lom, what are we going to do about this posse that will be here in just a couple of days?"
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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:32 pm

I did a second one 'cos the bunny bounced.  albino

Echo



The bird cocked its head, fixing the two curious men with a black beady eye.  The fair head got closer and the beak opened in a curious attempt to take the one of the curls in the thick black beak. 

Heyes turned to Lom.  “I thought you said this was a guard job.”


“It is.  I need one of you to be with this bird at all times and write down anything it says.  It could be vital to getting a conviction.”


“Huh?”  The Kid bobbed back and forth, smiling at the bird imitating his movements with outspread wings.  “A conviction?”


“The bird talks,” Lom scowled at the bird.  “In fact, the damn thing never shuts up.”


“It talks?  I’ve heard about that but I’ve never seen one.   What does it say,” Heyes let out a wolf whistle which was immediately returned much to the boys’ delight.


“Yeah, yeah.  That gets old real fast.  He’s got a whole act full of clicks, whistles and songs and he likes to go through them one after the other,” Lom indicated the blanket on the chair.  “I’ve had to cover him up to get some peace.”


The Kid perched on the side of the desk.  “What’s his name?”

“Echo.”


The bird reacted to his name and opened his beak.  “Hello, Echo.  F*&%!!”


“I forgot to mention.  He’s got quite a mouth on him.  I wouldn’t have him around ladies.”


“Good name for a parrot,” Heyes agreed, “but are you serious?  Guard a bird?”


“Deadly serious.  The Governor wants to know if the bird says any names, so he can find out who the owner met with.  He was a recluse who was found with his head bashed in.  The only person he ever saw regularly was his housekeeper, but she didn’t live in.  The murder happened at night.”


“So she’s not a suspect?” asked Heyes.


Lom shook his head.  “It was a messy one and a hard fight.  A woman would never have had the strength, besides, she’s got an alibi.  With no clues to go on all we’ve got is that bird might repeat something it heard.” 


“Sounds like an easy enough job,” the Kid smiled at Heyes.  “How do you want to do this?  Shifts?”  He arched a brow at Heyes who went for his pocket.  “You can put away that coin.  We both know I’ll end up with the night shift usin’ yours.  Lom, do you want to call it?”       


“Happy to,” Lom turned a beaming smile on Heyes.  “You got the nightshift.”


“F*&%!” replied Echo.


oooOOOooo


Heyes handed the Kid a mug of coffee.  “So have you heard Echo say any names yet?”  He pulled over the ledger they were using to track the bird’s output.  His finger followed down the line.  “Jees, he sure likes Christmas.  Merry Christmas over and over and over again.”


“Tell me about it.  I stopped writing it down and just started ticking it off in batches of five.”  The gunman stretched out his weary frame.  “He likes whistlin’ too.  I’ve been teachin’ him to sing ’I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen.’  He’s gettin’ quite good at it.”


“You aren’t teaching him the words are you?  We’re supposed to be getting stuff out of him, not putting more in.”   


“Yeah?  Well, let’s see how you get on with nuthin’ but a feathered friend for company.  He keeps rattlin’ on about Christmas and it’s only July.”


“I’ll read,” Heyes tossed a book on the desk.  “I won’t be bored.”


A smile twitched at the Kid’s lips.  “You can’t.  He’ll be talkin’ and you have to listen.  You can’t get lost in a book.  He never shuts up and you’ve got to record what he says in the ledger so the Governor knows we’ve been workin’.  I’m pretty relieved my shift’s over.”


“He’ll have to sleep sometime.  It’s night,” the dark eyes sparkled triumphantly.  “That’s why I wanted the night shift.”


The Kid’s face fell.  “You did?”


The annoying grin widened.  “I sure did.  You didn’t think it through, did you?  It’s a parrot, not a bat.  It sleeps at night.”


“F*&%!” Echo croaked.


oooOOOooo


A series of clicks and whistles drifted over from the domed cage.  Heyes smiled.  “What is it, Echo?” 


The creature ruffled its feathers, puffing out those on its head and neck until they stood upright.  His head twitched to the side and he made a series of kissing noises which made the man’s cheeks dimple in delight.  “Aw, you like me, boy?  Do you miss your old friend?  Did you see it happen?”  He reached out a finger and tentatively scratched his head.  The bird gave a fluff of appreciation and moved nearer to the bars on two scaly claws which shuffled sideways along the wooden perch.  “Is that good?  You like that?”  He reached in a bit further and tickled a bit more. 


“Merry Chisma.  F*&%!”


“There you go with all the Christmas stuff.”  He ticked one off in the ledger.  “Can’t you say anything else?  Who’s a pretty boy?”


“Who’s a pretty boy,” the bird repeated.  “Hello, Echo.  F*&%!”


“Hello, Echo,” Heyes repeated.


“Shut that door.  Hello, Echo.  Merry Chisma.  Merry Chisma. F*&%! Merry Chisma.”


Heyes sat back listening to the series of clicks, whistles, and kissing noises coming from the little animal as it danced from foot to foot.  “What else do you say?”


“Put the kettle on.  Merry Chisma, Merry Chisma.  F*&%!”


“Yeah, yeah.  When do you sleep?”


More kissing noises were quickly followed up by another tirade of ‘Merry Chisma’ and many ‘F*&%!s’.


“I guess I’m not getting much reading done for a while.  Frankenstein will have to wait, huh?”


His reply was a loud wolf whistle and a series of loud kisses.  Echo then started to dong like a chiming clock as he pranced about with widespread wings.  “F*&%!”


“Hey, that’s real clever, Echo.  It sounds just like a clock.” 


“Merry Chisma, Merry Chisma, Merry Chisma.  F*&%! Dong, dong, dong...”  He climbed up the bars and hung upside down.  “Put the kettle on.  Hello.  Merry Chisma. F*&%!”


“You’re a real good talker, aren’t you, boy?”


“Hello, Echo.  F*&%,” the bird agreed.  “Ding dong.”


“ You’re very clear with some words, and you do a great impression of that clock.  Who’s a clever boy?”


“Clever boy, clever boy.  Hello, Echo.  Merry Chisma.”


Heyes glanced down at his book and frowned.  “Say that again.”


Echo dangled on one leg and chimed midnight once more.  “F*&%! Put the kettle on.  Merry Chisma. Merry Chisma.”


Heyes removed his pocket watch and noted the time.  “Should I get someone to fetch Lom, or wait until morning.  It’s not midnight yet.  What do you think, Echo?”


“Merry Chisma, Merry Chisma.  Put the kettle on.”  He gave a great cackling laugh.  “Hello Echo. F*&%!”


oooOOOooo


Lom followed the Kid into his office.  “Did you get a name?”


“Kinda.”


“Heyes, it’s after twelve.  What do you mean by ‘kinda’?” sighed the Kid.


“You were in the saloon,” Lom frowned. “It ain’t like I dragged from your bed, Kid.  Why are you complaining?”


“Let’s just say I had better entertainment planned.”


“Merry Chisma, Merry Chisma.  Put the kettle on.  Hello, Echo. F*&%! F*&%! F*&%!”


“Did you hear that?” Heyes demanded.


”Yeah,” the Kid wandered over to the pot bellied stove.  “We ain’t got a kettle, but coffee should do.”


“Not that.  Did you notice anything?” Heyes leaned closer to the bars.


“Nope.  It’s the same jabbering I’ve listened to for the last three days,” shrugged Lom.  “Maybe more swearing.  I’m not sure you too have been a good influence.”


“Didn’t you notice that some words are really clear and others aren’t?”


“F*&%!”


“No, Heyes.  I didn’t.  It’s a parrot, not Sarah Bernhardt.”  Lom rolled his eyes.  “Just get to the point.  I’ve had a long day.”


“What if he’s not saying ‘merry Christmas’?”  Heyes glanced between both men.  “What if he’s saying something else?”


“Like what?” the Kid demanded. 


“What’s the housekeeper’s name, Lom?  Is it Mary?”


“Yeah,” Lom’s mouth dropped open.  “How’d you know?”   


Heyes tapped the cover of his book.  “The clue’s right here.”


“Frankenstein?  Heyes, if you’re sayin’ a monster did it I’m gonna go get the doc to take you to the asylum.”  


He shook his head irritably.  “Mary Shelley.  Mary.  He isn’t saying merry, he’s saying ‘Mary.’ ” The brown eyes pushed home his point.  “Mary.  Don’t you see?  Everything the bird says is clear as a bell until we get to that phrase.  Why would that be?”


“Maybe those words weren’t clear when the bird heard them,” the Kid suggested.  “Everythin’ else is perfect.  Did the old fella have an accent?”


“Nope.”   Lom thought hard.  “His folks came from down south but he sounded pretty much like everyone else about here.”  He paused.  “Apart from his teeth.”


“His teeth?” both partners asked at once.


“He never had any.  Well, he had one kinda gnarly one,” Lom pointed at one of his incisors.  “Right there.”           


“So he mumbled a bit?” asked Heyes.


“I suppose.  I never really thought about it,” shrugged Lom.  “I guess he did.”


“So what could the bird be sayin’ instead?” asked the Kid.


“How about, ‘Mary, kiss me’?”  Heyes paused for words to sink in.  “How about you, Echo?  Is it Mary?  Tell us about Mary, boy.”


The bird watched with unblinking black eyes, effortlessly husking sunflower seeds in his curved beak.  “Dong, dong, dong.  F*&%!”


Three faces leaned in eagerly causing the parrot to back up and ruffle his feathers until it looked like a shocked duster on a perch. “F*&%!” 


“I don’t think he likes the attention,” the Kid observed.  “Maybe we should ignore him?”

              
“Good idea,” Lom agreed as all three men turned their backs on the little creature and stared at the coffee pot simmering on the stove.


“Bong... f*&%!!”


“Ignore him,” Heyes cautioned.


 A series of wolf whistles flowed into kissy-kissy noises before Echo demanded more attention. “Dong! Dong, dong, dong, dong, dong.  Put the kettle on.  F*&%!  Hello, Echo.  Merry Chisma.”  All the turned backs stiffened.  “Merry Chisma.  F*&%!”


“You’re right", hissed the Kid.  “Everything else is real clear.  It’s like the parrot talks without teeth when he says that, or we overthinkin’ it?”

“It sounds like ‘Mary, kiss me,’ to me,” Lom mused.  He turned as the bird launched into a spirited verse of ‘I’ll Take You Home Again, Eileen.’  “Where did that come from?  I never heard him sing that before.”


A pair of admonishing brown eyes darted a warning to the gunman who thought it best to come clean.  “I taught him, Lom.  Sylvia’s been singin’ it every night at the saloon.  I was bored.”


Lom rounded on him.  “For cryin’ out loud, Kid.  What if the killer’s called Kathleen?”


“You said it couldn’t be a woman.  I didn’t think there was any harm.”  He looked into Lom’s angry eyes.  “I was bored.”


“F*&%!”


“I could skin you alive,” Lom retorted.


“Skin you alive, skin you alive,” Echo repeated.  “Bong.  F*&%!”


“Did you just teach him that, Lom?” grinned the Kid.


“Why don’t you all shut and give the parrot a chance?” sniped Heyes.


They all fell silent, looking down at their feet so as not to intimidate the feathered witness who was dangling upside down from the top of his cage wolf whistling, chiming the time away, and throwing kisses at his audience.  “Put the kettle on.  Merry Chisma. F*&%! Merry Chisma.  Merry Chisma.”


All three froze before they turned slowly.  Lom approached the cage speaking slowly and deliberately.  “Mary, kiss me.”


Echo swung back onto his perch and started to dance.  “Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me.”


“Mary?” Heyes ventured.


“Merry Chisma.  Merry Chisma. F*&%! Merry Chisma.” 


“It is,” Lom frowned.  “Or at least it could be.  Mary, kiss me.”


“And I take it she’s married,” Heyes queried.


“Yup, and her husband’s her alibi.”


“If the fight was as hard as you say it was he’ll have injuries,” the Kid added.  “You didn’t see any?”


“He’s a miner and was covered in dirt.  I guess I gotta pay him another visit.”


oooOOOooo


“Skipped town?” Heyes’ brows arched.


“Yup,” Lom wandered over to the stove to pour himself some coffee.  “She went to the pharmacist and bought Vaseline and iodine, saying she’d run out.  That’s wound treatment right there.  He said Mary looked like she’s been beat up a bit too.   I’ve got to send out notices to neighboring towns to look out for them.  They’re the only suspects I got.”

“So, what are you going to do with Echo?” asked the Kid.


“Dunno.  I might keep him here.  He’s company on long shifts and he’ll see more folks here than he would if I took him home.  His language is too salty for anyone but prisoners anyway.”


“Sounds like a good idea,” Heyes agreed.  “Maybe he’ll overhear some confessions in the cells for you?”


Lom’s eyes brightened.  “Yeah.  Maybe he will?  Ya never know.”


“Your very own feathered snitch, huh?”  The Kid held a peanut through bars.  “Could be handy.  He’ll just sit in the office, listen, repeat what he hears, and eat.  I give him three months before he gets promoted.”


“F*&%!” Echo replied.


Historical Notes

Robert Augustus Chesebrough, a 22 year-old British chemist, travelled to Titusville,  small Pennsylvania town where petroleum had recently been discovered.  He noted that workers would smear their skin with the residue from the drill to help heal their cuts and burns.  He patented Vaseline in 1865 under the name of Petroleum Jelly.  It was marketed all over the USA from 1870 as ‘Wonder Jelly’.  Chesebrough travelled around the state of New York in a horse and cart, spreading the word about his "miracle" product by demonstrating on himself – burning his skin with acid or an open flame and then spreading the clear petroleum jelly on his injury, showing at the same time past injuries that had healed with the aid of his protective petroleum jelly.  

_________________
Na sir 's na seachainn an cath - Neither seek nor shun the fight      Old Scottish proverb
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Keays

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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:36 pm

Okay. I know I said I would try not to post anything from TOF, because it was too obvious. But time is ticking, and I've had no bunnies hope. So, here it is. Never say never.



As Hannibal Heyes was finally beginning to regain consciousness, the first thing he was aware of, was the painful thumping radiating from behind his left eye.  The second thing was that the very same eye was so swollen and puffy that he couldn’t even open it.  He didn’t even want to consider what it must be looking like from the other side.  Even the top of his head was hurting! What was that from?  Oh yeah, the bottom of Mike’s chin.
  As the remembrance of what had happened returned to him so also did a sense of guilt.  He knew he’d hurt Mike pretty badly and the big deputy hadn’t deserved that.  Heyes had overreacted again and he didn’t blame Mike at all for the consequential retaliation.  He hoped the fellow would be alright and not hold a grudge for too long.  It’s not good to have someone that big be mad at you.
  Heyes didn’t even want to open his eyes (eye) and indeed had not moved a muscle since awareness started to return to him.  He knew he was sitting in the prison coach, leaning against the front and side paneling, his hands and ankles shackled by chains running through a metal ring imbedded in the floor.  His head was pounding and the jolting vibration of the wagon briskly making its way towards Laramie wasn’t doing anything to help his situation. 
  He stayed quiet in that position for some time, not wanting to deal with the reality that was waiting out there just beyond his closed eyelids.  ‘Please, let’s just stay inside for a while longer,’ he told himself.  ‘Just a little while longer.’   Then someone coughed, someone quite close to him, and it startled him to the point where his one good eye opened unbidden, and reality stared him in the face.
  Still not moving, he looked over and met the gaze of a guard sitting directly across from him.  He had a rifle placed strategically across his lap.  A small half smirk played across his lips.
 
  “Looks like our new resident is finally awake.”
 
  “Good,” responded a voice to Heyes’ left, coming from the back of the coach.  “we’re getting close and I wasn’t looking forward to having to carry him in.”
 
  The first guard’s half smirk developed into a full smile.
 
  Heyes finally shifted, gradually becoming aware of the stiffness in his back and shoulders from having been in the one awkward position for too long.  He pushed himself up straighter and sent a glance down to the second guard.  He was much like the first.  Heyes tried to produce a semblance of a smile.
 
  “Gentlemen,” he murmured by way of greeting.
 
  “Howdy Heyes,” the first guard responded.  “Enjoy your little beauty nap?  That’s some shiner you got there—you ought to fit in to prison life real well.”
 
  Heyes meekly responded with a subtle nod and then giving up all effort at communication, closed his eye and awaited the inevitable.  In some ways this trip seemed surreal to the convicted man, but in other ways it almost seemed pre-destined, as though no matter what he did or how hard he tried to avoid it, he was going to end up in prison.  The harder he fought against it, the faster he raced towards it. And here he was, chained hand and foot inside the barred and armored prison coach with two large guards to keep him company, crossing over the threshold between freedom and misery, silently cursing the promises made that had led him to this.
  Finally, but way too soon Heyes heard the driver of the coach call out to the horses to ‘whoa’ and the vehicle came to a halt.  Within seconds the sound of a key in the locks of the rear door could be heard and then that same door was swung open.  The guard sitting across from Heyes got up and released the chains from the ring in the floor.  He grabbed Heyes by the arm and pulled him to his feet, then shuffled him towards the open door.  The second guard had already stepped down out of the coach and had turned to await the prisoner.
  Heyes’ one good eye was blinking in the bright autumn sunshine as he gazed out the back of the coach, trying to get his bearings.  There were a number of guards out there, all waiting for him to disembark.  He wondered just what it was they thought he was going to do, trussed up hand and foot the way he was.  Still, he surmised, it would probably be worth their jobs if a prisoner of his caliber got loose on them.  They were all making sure that Hannibal Heyes didn’t get a chance to go anywhere he wasn’t supposed to.
  With his feet still in the leg irons, Heyes couldn’t actually step down out of the coach, so he did what was expected of him, and he jumped.  Two of the guards already on the ground grabbed him as he landed and then hustled him off towards one of the doorways of the nearby building.
  Heyes looked around as best he could at his new residence, and even in bright sunshine, he couldn’t remember a drearier looking place, or maybe that was just his mood seeping through.  Doors were opened and then clanged shut as the guards continued to shuffle him along down the corridors. And with every lock that snapped into place behind him Heyes felt his heart and his soul sinking deeper and deeper into oblivion.  Even the atmosphere, the very air he breathed was filled with oppression. 
  Finally, he was taken into a small office where there was a desk and one chair for furniture, and another door in the far wall but nothing else.  Heyes was positioned to stand in front of the desk, and there he waited with an armed guard on either side of him and one behind him.  After about ten minutes the second door opened and a middle aged man in a suit stepped into the room and without acknowledging the prisoner went over and sat down at the desk, reading some paperwork he’d brought in with him.
  Another ten minutes ticked by and then Heyes sighed with the frustration of standing there, waiting for—whatever—to start happening.  Instantly a rifle butt clipped the back of his right knee and his leg very neatly collapsed out from under him.  He went down in a sudden clattering heap.  He stayed where he’d landed, surprised by the suddenness of the retribution until hands grabbed him and pulled him to his feet again.
  Heyes was expecting some type of explanation such as; ‘Well that was your first lesson.’ Etc. etc., but nothing was forthcoming.  The guards continued to stand placidly around him and the man sitting at the desk didn’t even look up but continued to scrutinize the documents in front of him.
  Another fifteen minutes dragged by with the only sound being the paper rustling whenever the ‘suit’ turned over another page.  Heyes stood silently, not making a sound, not moving a muscle.  His eye hurt, his head was pounding.  He was beginning to feel cold, but he didn’t move.  He’d play the game until he figured out what the rules were.
  Finally, the ‘suit’ finished reading the documents, shuffled them into a neat pile and then stood up, looking the prisoner directly in the eye (no pun intended).
 
  “So, Mr. Heyes.  I’m Warden Mitchell,” the suit introduced himself.  “I was beginning to think that we would never be honored by your presence here in Laramie.  That’s quite a shiner you have there but I strongly advise that you cease the behavior that caused you to earn it.  That will not be tolerated here and you will find that punishment for breaking the rules will be far more unpleasant than a mere black eye.”
 
  “Well, I’ll certainly….”
 
  Another quick clip, this time behind the left knee and Heyes went down again.  This was already beginning to get old.  Hands grabbed him and hauled him to his feet.  He just stood there, trying not to let his irritation show through as he might just end up getting clipped for that too.
 
  “You’ll learn the rules quickly enough,” the warden continued without skipping a beat. “For what’s left of today we’ll just let you get settled in and then tomorrow you can start your duties.  Welcome to the Wyoming Territorial Prison Mr. Heyes.”
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Remuda

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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:53 pm

I’m afraid no bunnies hopped this month, so in lieu of anything original, here’s an excerpt from “The State of Colorado vs. Clementine Hale,” a virtual season story from many moons ago.


Conviction

The bailiff called the Court to order. “This is the case of the State of Colorado versus Clementine Hale. All rise! The Honorable Judge Paul Douglas presiding.”

Judge Douglas took his place on the bench.

The bailiff continued, “State your names for the record, please.”

“Ambrose Bartholomew Briles for the State, Your Honor.”

“Chester Brubaker for the defense, Your Honor.”

The judge nodded. “All right, gentlemen, since I’ve heard nothing since the hearing from either of you, I presume you’re ready to try the case?”

“Yes, sir,” came from both tables.

“Good. A jury has already been seated. Mr. Briles, your opening statement, please.”

Brubaker and Clem sat as Briles strode to the front of the jury box. The twelve men sat rapt with attention as the prosecutor’s cadence and enunciation echoed the best of revival preachers.

“Your Honor. Gentlemen of the Jury. I’ll be brief.

“Miss Clementine Hale might be known to some of you as a young woman of strong moral character, undisputed reputation, and high esteem; in short, a good neighbor. But, we will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that she not only associates with known outlaws but also harbors them, giving them succor and creature comforts, while those who seek to keep and maintain the peace search high and low – ultimately, only to fail. And why, you ask? Because those of Miss Hale’s ilk hide them out.

“And may I remind you, good gentlemen, that this winds up wasting the taxpayers’ money – hard-earned by the sweat and diligent toil of ordinary folk like you.

“Where does it end? Criminals must be caught. On that everyone, I’m sure, can agree. And those who hinder that aim, that wish of every good citizen to live in safety and in peace, must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. And so must Clementine Hale be punished for her misdirected and misguided actions.

“Thank you.”

Briles held the jury’s gaze for several long seconds before purposefully striding back to his seat.

Judge Douglas glanced at the defense table. “Mr. Brubaker?”

The defense attorney rose and strode to the same position his opponent had just yielded, his conversational delivery less strident than Briles’, though no less purposeful.

“Your Honor. Gentlemen of the jury.

“Brevity might have served Mr. Briles well in his opening statement just now. Unfortunately, it was a well-rehearsed fabrication, however well-meaning.

“The real truth of the matter is that Miss Clementine Hale is a victim of circumstance, wrongly charged. Indeed, Mr. Briles had one thing correct – Miss Hale is a fine, upstanding, law-abiding, young woman of wonderful and undisputed good character. On that, I believe, you will all agree. Those who have known her all her life, here in Denver, would proudly testify to that fact.

“But, we sadly find ourselves here. Sadly, because this fine young woman’s reputation is being sullied. And why? I posit the reason is votes. Yes, that’s right, votes. This is an election year, and Mr. Briles must run to maintain his position. And that takes votes. So he chooses to pursue headlines with scandal. And it takes the guise of arresting a fine young woman, throwing her into jail, and dragging her into court for no reason other than his own greedy ambitions – votes.

“Mr. Briles is correct in another sense.  The taxpayers’ money IS being wasted, but not by lawmen fruitlessly doing their jobs chasing men who are not even wanted in this state.  Instead, he pursues a case of no merit. It takes time and effort to prosecute someone, and a LOT of money – taxpayer money.”

Brubaker returned to the defense table and stood behind Clem.

“You will find the State’s case so weak, they could not charge her with the felony they so desirously sought. Therefore, she is charged with a misdemeanor, a much less serious offense, but one which the State still has to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. And, gentlemen of the jury, they will not be able to do so, as the preponderance of the evidence will show Miss Clementine Hale innocent of all charges.  At that point, you must find her not guilty and let her go home and resume her life, from which she was so cruelly torn by these events.  Thank you.”

Clem looked up at Brubaker with pursed lips.  He acknowledged her with a smile as he resumed his seat.

Judge Douglas was all business. “With all this talk of taxpayer money, we certainly don’t want to waste any time. Mr. Briles, please call your first witness.”

Briles stood. “Thank you, Your Honor. The State calls Todd Martin to the stand.”

Todd Martin came forward. Per the bailiff’s instructions, he placed his left hand on a Bible and lifted his right.

The bailiff recited, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?”

“I do.”

The bailiff, again, “State your name for the record.”

“Todd Henry Martin.”

Briles stepped in front of the witness box. “Mr. Martin, what do you do for a living?”

“I own a small ranch.”

“And where is your ranch located?”

“About ten miles outside of town down the Parker Road.”

“And what do you raise on your spread?”

“Cattle mostly, and my children have a small goat herd.” Martin grinned, which made some spectators laugh.

“Where were you on the evening of August 14th last?”

“After an early supper with the family, I took up position in the woods opposite the Hale house on Parker Road.”

Briles nodded. “And why did you do that, sir?”

“I was waiting to see if any company stopped by.”

“And why would you be so interested in Miss Hale’s company?”

“I wasn’t interested in just any company she might have had – just particular company, a couple of fellas.”

Briles walked halfway to the defense table and partially addressed Clem. “But, surely Miss Hale is a respected member of the community. Why would you be so interested in her guests?”

Martin grinned again as he spoke. “Because I was hoping to catch some outlaws.”

Briles regarded Clem. “Mr. Martin, why would you be looking for outlaws at Miss Hale’s home?”

Martin also looked at Clem as he answered. “Because she knows Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, and they’ve been known to visit.”

Some spectators gasped.

Briles turned back to Martin. “Surely you jest, Mr. Martin. Outlaws at Miss Hale’s place?”

“Yes, sir, seen them there before with my own eyes, a while back.”

“And what did you see on the night in question?”

“Two men stopped by and knocked on her door. Miss Hale answered and started speaking to them.”

“Continue, Mr. Martin.”

“Well, they were talking for a spell, and I got on my horse and rode out double quick to tell the sheriff.”

“Was that after dark, Mr. Martin?”

“Yes, sir, it was.”

“And how did you know the two men?”

Martin shifted in his seat, uncomfortable under the scrutiny. “Well, like I said, I’ve seen them there before. I rode out right quick back to town to tell the sheriff, and swore out an affidavit.”

Briles walked to the prosecutor’s table and picked up a document of several pages, which he then handed to the witness. “Mr. Martin, is that the affidavit you swore out?”

Martin reviewed the document for several seconds, then looked up. “Yes sir, it is.”

Briles retrieved the affidavit and handed it to the clerk. “Please mark this as ‘State’s Exhibit A.’” Then, turning back to the witness stand, he continued, “Mr. Martin, if it was dark, and you were in the woods, how were you able to see the men clearly?”

“I didn’t exactly see them clearly like in the daytime, but it was a full moon and fairly light. One had dark hair and the other blond, and they fit the description of Heyes and Curry, and Miss Hale talked to them real friendly like, so I knew it was them.”

“Thank you, Mr. Martin. And, how long ago did you first run into these outlaws, and under what circumstances?”

Martin shifted again. “Well, it was last year. Me and a bunch of fellas sometimes take turns watching the Hale house because we’d heard she knew Heyes and Curry. Thought if they ever came by, we’d catch them and split the reward. And one day they did, and that’s when I saw them.”

Briles nodded. “Thank you, Mr. Martin, for your testimony. You and your fellow citizens do the community a great service – watching out for rough and undesirable elements which we certainly don’t want here. Again, thank you.”

Briles strode back to his table and nodded to Brubaker.  “Your witness.”

Chester Brubaker stood. “Mr. Martin, your affidavit – which is sworn testimony – states that you did not clearly see the faces of these men whom you observed at Miss Hale’s home the night of August 14th. Is that correct?”

Martin cleared his throat before replying.  “Yes, sir, that’s correct.”

“And why is that?”

“Well, they had their backs to me.”

“So, let me get this straight. You swore that you noticed two men fitting the general wanted poster descriptions of Hannibal Heyes and Jed ‘Kid’ Curry, from fifty feet away on a dark night and didn’t see their faces? So although you testify you’ve seen Heyes and Curry before, you’re identifying them only from a rear view in the dark of the evening?”

“Well, yes.  But it was a full moon, and it was bright out.”

“Mr. Martin, we are not disputing that there was a full moon that night.  It was a bright night; that’s not in contention. The Rocky Mountain News reports as much for that evening. Nor are we disputing your having possibly met Heyes and Curry before. What I find incredible is how you can definitely identify, without a doubt, two men whom you allege you saw once, very briefly, more than a year ago, in the dark, from fifty feet, from the rear, without observing their faces. Can you answer that?”

Martin’s shoulders slumped. “Mr. Brubaker, all I can testify to is in the affidavit, no more.”

Having betrayed no emotion to that point, Brubaker half-smiled. “Thank you, Mr. Martin, no more questions.”

Briles hastily stood. “Re-direct, Your Honor.” He walked hurriedly to the witness stand. “Mr. Martin, how long did you observe the outlaws, Heyes and Curry, when you first saw them last year?”

Martin seemed relieved. “Well, I didn’t just observe them. I was in their company for a few minutes.”

“Can you tell the Court the circumstances?”

“We let them know they were surrounded, and they said they’d like to make a deal, so the man who was in charge that day went in to Miss Hale’s house and talked to them. After a while, he called to us to come in because they’d struck a deal. It was a trick, and Heyes and Curry disarmed us and tied us all up after we went inside.”

Briles confidently walked to the jury box and looked right at several jurors in the front row as he spoke. “So, allow me to summarize. You were in their company and observed them for some very long minutes, at least enough to make a reliable identification.”

Brubaker jumped up from his seat. “Objection, Your Honor.  Mr. Briles is leading the witness as to time.”

Judge Douglas responded, “Sustained. Mr. Briles, watch yourself, please.”

Briles briefly looked at the judge.  He continued, “Allow me to rephrase, Mr. Martin. You state, here and in your affidavit, that you were in the company of Hannibal Heyes and Jed ‘Kid’ Curry long enough, in your estimation, to be able to identify them without directly observing their faces, under full moonlight from the rear, and you’re quite confident, without a doubt, that it was them?”

Martin sat up straighter. “Yes, sir, Mr. Briles, that is correct.”

Briles smiled at the witness. “Thank you, Mr. Martin.” Then, to the judge, “No more questions.”

The judge glanced at Brubaker, who shook his head. “Mr. Martin, you may step down.”

Martin left the stand and took a seat in the gallery.

Judge Douglas addressed the prosecutor. “Mr. Briles, you may call your next witness.”

Briles announced, crisply, “The State calls Sheriff John Cawley to the stand.”

After Sheriff Cawley took the stand and was sworn in, Briles started his examination.

“Sheriff Cawley, state your occupation, please?”

“I’m the sheriff of Denver.”

“And how long have you been in that position?”

“Four years.”

“So, you are well acquainted with Todd Martin?”

“Yes, sir, he often conducts business in my town.”

“And in what esteem do you hold Mr. Martin?”

“He’s a good man, Mr. Briles – never any trouble.”

“Thank you, Sheriff. Now, can you please relate the events of the early morning of August 15th?”

Sheriff Cawley spoke in a matter-of-fact manner. “Myself and seven deputies went to the Hale place upon suspicion of two wanted men being there, according to Mr. Martin’s affidavit. We reconnoitered the property and nearby woods and found them to be clear. We then knocked on the door and Miss Hale answered. We entered the house to execute a search warrant and questioned Miss Hale briefly before executing a warrant for her arrest on suspicion of harboring and aiding and abetting known criminals. We took her into custody and later continued the search of the property.”

“And did your search yield anything?”

“Yes, sir. We found a diary with references to Heyes and Curry, and several items of men’s clothing, along with several side-arms and rifles.”

Briles went to the prosecutor’s table and picked up a book, which item he handed to Sheriff Cawley. “Sheriff, is this the diary you spoke of?”

Sheriff Cawley examined it. “Yes, sir, it is.”

“Thank you, Sheriff. Would you please read the passage circled on the page hand numbered 25?”

The sheriff thumbed through the diary, found the reference, and read. “January 18. Snow. I wonder how Heyes and Kid are faring up at Devil’s Hole. If it’s snowing this bad here, it must be really bad there. I hope they’re able to get to Cheyenne in time for us to meet up next week.” He looked up.

Briles moved in front of the jury box.

“Sheriff Cawley, have you read the rest of that diary?”

“Parts of it, sir. Not all of it.”

“Have you read enough to testify that there are several other references such as the one you just read, that refer to the names ‘Heyes’ and ‘Kid’?”

“Yes, sir, there are a number of such references.”

“Would you read the first page of the diary, Sheriff?”

Cawley flipped to the first page. “Property of Clementine Hale, Parker Road, Denver, Colorado.”

“So, Sheriff, as an officer of the law and this Court, would you please tell us your conclusion as to the diary?”

“Yes, sir. I would conclude that this diary belongs to Miss Clementine Hale, and that by references in it, presumably in her own hand, that she is referring to Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry as acquaintances, if not friends.”

“And, Sheriff, would you have any reason to doubt the veracity of those statements?”

“No, sir, I would not.”

“Why?”

“Because items in diaries are the personal thoughts of the owner.”

“So, Sheriff, to summarize,” Briles looked at Brubaker as he spoke, “and let me phrase this correctly the first time so Mr. Brubaker does not feel the need to object – you confiscated a diary under a legal search warrant from the Hale home that says it belongs to a Clementine Hale at that address, and in it are references to known outlaws, Hannibal Heyes and Jed ‘Kid’ Curry, possibly known to her and others as ‘Heyes’ and ‘Kid,’ and you conclude that, by that evidence, Miss Hale knows these two men, at least as acquaintances. Is that correct?”

“Yes, sir, it is.”

“Thank you, Sheriff.” Retrieving the diary, he handed it to the clerk. “Mark the diary as ‘State’s Exhibit B,’ please.”

“Moving on,” Briles returned to his place and lifted a sack onto the table. “Sheriff, what other items did you take from the Hale home under the search warrant?”

“Several items of men’s clothing and some firearms.”

Briles removed items from the sack and walked them over to the sheriff.

“Sheriff, are these some of the items of men’s clothing you spoke of?”

The lawman examined the items and nodded. “Yes, they are some of those we removed.”

“And what do you know of Miss Hale’s living circumstances?”

The sheriff looked straight ahead as he spoke. “From what I understand, Miss Hale is an unmarried woman who mostly lives alone. Her father stays with her when in Denver but travels frequently on business.”

“So, it is possible that this clothing belongs to Mr. Hale. Why confiscate it?”

“Because Mr. Hale is portly, and this clothing is too small to fit a man of his size.”

Briles held up a pair of pants in the direction of the jury. “What do you conclude from these trousers?”

“That they’d fit men matching the descriptions on Heyes’ and Curry’s wanted posters, approximately 160 to 170 pounds. So I took them into custody.”

“Thank you, Sheriff.” Returning the items to the sack, Briles handed it to the clerk. “Mark these as ‘State’s Exhibit C.’”

Next, Briles reached behind his chair to pick up several rifle cases. The sheriff identified the firearms as those taken from the Hale home.

Prosecutor Briles then handed the witness to the defense.

Chester Brubaker strode to the clerk’s desk, where he rummaged in the newly marked sack of clothing. Removing two pairs of pants, he turned to the witness stand. “Sheriff, please examine this first pair of trousers, which you already testified about. You said they appear to be for a smaller man than Mr. Hale? I concede you’re no textile expert, but would you please give your honest opinion, as a man who wears and is therefore familiar with men’s clothing, as to the condition of the fabric of these trousers?”

Briles jumped up. “Objection, Your Honor. Speculative.”

“Overruled. Mr. Brubaker has already conceded Sheriff Cawley is not a textile expert. You may answer the question, Sheriff.”

None too pleased, Briles sat down.

The sheriff gave the trousers a thorough, thoughtful inspection. “The fabric appears worn in some areas.”

“Thank you, Sheriff. Could you conclude perhaps, again not as a textile expert, that the pants might be very old? What I’m looking for is, would these possibly be old enough for an older gentleman, such as Mr. Hale, to have worn when younger and thinner?”

“I’m not sure how old they are, but … maybe.”

“Thank you, Sheriff. So, there is some doubt in your mind as to whether a much thinner man, such as Heyes or Curry, might have recently worn these?”

The sheriff hesitated before speaking. “Yes, there is.”

“Thank you, Sheriff.” Brubaker held aloft the second pair of pants he had removed.

“Just for the record, and for comparison’s sake, this is another pair of trousers removed from the Hale home by the sheriff.”

He turned again to the witness.

“Sheriff, continuing in the line of questioning where we concede you are not a textile expert but are testifying strictly as a man familiar in that general capacity with men’s clothing and as the executor of the search warrant in this case, would you please inspect these trousers and tell us your impressions?”

Briles again jumped up but was waved to his seat by Judge Douglas.

The sheriff looked at the judge, who nodded.

“These are much larger. The fabric isn’t worn at all. They look fairly new.”

Brubaker spoke, “And it is your presumption that these belong to Mr. Hale?”

“Yes, sir, it is.”

“Thank you.” The defense attorney took the trousers.

“Sheriff, having been in office for four years, I presume most of the inhabitants of the area are well known to you?”

“Those who’ve lived here for a while, yes.”

“Is Mr. Hale well known to you?”

“Yes.”

“And what is his general reputation?”

“Mr. Hale is a good man, very fond of his daughter and a shrewd businessman who is away much of the time.”

“And how would you describe Mr. Hale’s attitude toward money?”

The lawman raised an eyebrow. “Mr. Hale is considered to be parsimonious.”

“So, would you say it is reasonable for a parsimonious man to hang on to items for which he has no further use?”

“Maybe.”

“And, is it reasonable in your opinion that the smaller, worn trousers that you inspected first might belong to a man who wore them years ago when he was thinner, but hasn’t disposed of because of a tendency towards parsimony?”

The sheriff again raised an eyebrow. “Yes.”

“Thank you, Sheriff.” Brubaker returned the trousers to the sack and retrieved the diary from the court clerk. “Sheriff, conceding the diary does belong to Miss Hale, is it at all possible that the references to a ‘Heyes’ and ‘Kid’ are, at best, hearsay, as to being actual references to known criminals, Hannibal Heyes and Jed ‘Kid’ Curry?”

“Yes, sir, that’s possible.”

“And, further, is it possible that such references are fiction – flights of fancy into the so-called romanticism of the outlaw kind of a somewhat impressionable young woman who might have written this years ago, given there is no year attached to any of the dates in this diary?”

The sheriff hesitated before speaking. “Yes, sir, I suppose it is.”

“So, Sheriff, is it your testimony that there is at least a possibility that references in that diary to known criminals are fiction at best, and hearsay at worst, which hearsay is not admissible into evidence?”

The sheriff paused again. “Yes, sir, that is my testimony.”

The defense attorney smiled at the jury. “Thank you, Sheriff.”

Brubaker returned to the defense table. “Your Honor, the defense moves to strike the diary from evidence, as hearsay.” He offered papers to the bailiff, who handed one set to Briles and another to the clerk.

Judge Douglas regarded him.  “Mr. Brubaker, I’ll review your argument. Mr. Briles, if you’d like to respond, please have the papers to the clerk by tomorrow morning.”

Briles gave an annoyed reply, “Yes, sir.”

Brubaker asked, “Sheriff, why did you remove the weapons from the Hale home?”

“It’s normal and customary to confiscate any and all weapons in executing a search warrant, sir.”

“So they have no bearing on this case but to have been taken in the ordinary course?”

“That’s correct, sir.”

“And, if Miss Hale is found innocent, would the weapons be returned in the normal course?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Thank you, Sheriff. One last item. You previously testified you executed an arrest warrant on Miss Hale under suspicion of felony harboring, and possible aiding and abetting known criminals, yet she is charged only with misdemeanor harboring. Why is that, Sheriff?”

“That’s a matter for the prosecution.”

“Is it possible that the State did not have enough evidence to bring actual charges of aiding and abetting known criminals?”

“Yes, sir, it is possible, but I have no direct knowledge of that.”

“Thank you, Sheriff. No further questions.”

The judge looked at Briles, who shook his head.

Judge Douglas turned to the witness. “Sheriff Cawley, you may step down.”

The sheriff left the stand.

“Mr. Briles, please call your next witness.”

Briles stood. “The State rests, Your Honor.”

“Thank you, Mr. Briles. We’ll adjourn for lunch and resume at one o’clock.” He gaveled as everyone rose and left the bench.

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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:47 pm

Truth and conviction
Well, it's nice to finally meet you.  I've been waiting for your call.
I've noticed you've been crying, and I've watched you pace these halls
Whatever has been hurting you, I can make it disappear.
You know you have nothing to loose, nothing to live for,
nothing to fear.
Thank you, for your invitation . I'll be sure not to leave your side. We will become very fast acquainted. My naive child, there’s no use trying to hide.
I should probably introduce myself. I am your very own dishonesty and I’ll help you to survive.
But, you cannot be angry with me. I am your own future conviction but I’ll make you feel alive.  
One day you’ll feel stupid, falling right into my trap.
I'm a master at manipulation and you’ll never escape my world.
How does it feel to dance with the devil? For he and I are one in the same.
God, has completely abandoned you, so you might as well stay in the game.
Are you honestly going to try and beat me? A useless battle if you want to know.
Go ahead and try for amnesty. I'm in the mood for a good show.
I guess you think you’re special, being so good at being bad.
I'm still around every corner, In the back of your mind. I'm your greatest fear.
I'll always be your dirty little secret. I won't disappear; a vicious cycle, a dirty truth.
The reason you can’t settle and the conviction that you fear. 
It's genius when you think of it.... I am your crookedness.

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