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 The New Teacher Part Two #2 (6,100 words)

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Cal

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Join date : 2016-10-21

PostSubject: The New Teacher Part Two #2 (6,100 words)   Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:04 pm

This is all going to need a tidy up and an edit before its done... But thought I might as well get it down fast as I've started posting... please be forgiving of errors. Ta Calx 
The New Teacher
by Cal


PART TWO continued.....


(Scene 10 1,800 words)

Hannibal Heyes

Mr Maxwell wasn’t anything like what Heyes had been expecting.  He’d been expecting a very old, family retainer come retired gardener. 

Mr Maxwell was sat outside the stump house on its shaded side, smoking a pipe of good smelling tobacco.  He was almost clean looking, with much sculpted facial hair and sideburns.  His clothes though not the cleanest, were obviously of good quality and cut.  He looked sprightly, almost elfin-like, which was almost comical given his current surroundings.  He had keen intelligent eyes, that took in every last thread and buckle of the ex-outlaw leader, in a single glance. 

Heyes judged he was closer to fifty than sixty. 
 
He was a puzzle alright.

“Didn’t I tell you!” bounced Fred Janx, waving a hand at the approaching horse.  “Hannibal Heyes his self …has come to help us rob the bank!”

“You did… you did…” nodded Maxwell, taking a long pull on his pipe.  “And my favourite God Daughter, too, I see… Strange company you’ve been keeping, young lady… Young Fred here tells me… you’ve had an outlaw teaching school today.”

Maxwell had a big warm beam on his face as he looked at Frankie.

Heyes pulled up the horse and gave Maxwell one of his most ingratiating smiles, with a nod of greeting. 

“Hi there. You must be Mr Maxwell.  The names Smith… Joshua smith.” 

He swung off the horse, then handed Frankie down to run to her Godfather. He started right on in with his explanation about accidentally teaching class.  As he did this, he walked around the clearing looking for somewhere to tether the horse to give it some grazing. 

The other stump houses in this group were in very poor condition, abandoned a very long time ago and seemingly not touched since.  They would have been the nearest trees to a fast running, clearwater stream that ran through this part of the forest to feed into the river below, near the town itself. Some fine grasses sprang up near its banks and some larger bushes would offer the horse some shade.  

Satisfied, Heyes hobbled the animal and walked slowly back towards the biggest stump house where Maxwell had set up home.  He rounded the stump, continuing his explanations, throwing his arms wide in feigned incredulity.

“…So, this Miss Henderson… she just abandoned me there… right at the schoolhouse door… What was I gonna do? I couldn’t just leave a schoolroom full of kids to their own devices… and I guessed, the real Theodore Smith would show up soon enough … So… I kept them entertained, as it were... Young Frankie there… She got us started out on outlawing… next thing I know… Young Fred is Kid Curry …and I’m that old devil hisself… Hannibal Heyes. Ha! Sure kept them busy though…”

Heyes came to a faltering stop as he focused in on the double barrels of the shot gun, being held in his direction by the no longer amiable looking Mr Maxwell.

“…Er … Mr Maxwell… You appear to be pointing your gun at me… Surely… you don’t believe… I could be…”


“Hannibal Heyes… as I live and breathe…” 

Maxwell had put down the pipe to hold the large shot gun in both hands. 

“Take out the pistol son, and do it awful careful, coz ol’ Betsy here’s got a hair trigger.”

He patted the stock of the fancy old hunting rifle.  It looked like something you would hang over a fireplace, the better to admire the wonderful engraving, rather than wield as a weapon.

Heyes looked poleaxed, shaking his head and holding the smile in feigned disbelief.

“All right… all right …” he said in his friendliest drawl, shrugging his hands to point at the sky. “But you surely can’t seriously think I’m…”

Heyes threw the Schofield just a few feet towards the log, where Frankie and Fred sat with confused frowns on their brows.  This wasn’t at all what they were expecting to happen.

“Two things you should know, son…” interrupted Maxwell. “One… I’ve worked at Wendell Widget’s side for nigh on twenty years… And I was at his side when a thieving no good outlaw named Hannibal Heyes held up our train, and opened the safe …with the mines pay roll in it… Pay for good honest men… that I had to find the shortfall fer …less they would have all starved…..And… Two… My God daughter is incapable of telling me a lie.  She says she saw you that day… and if she tells me you’re Hannibal Heyes… then … by Golly, there’s no doubt in my mind …You are Hannibal Heyes!”

Heyes wiped his face, effectively erasing the false smile.  He stretched the silver tongue.

“I didn’t say your God daughter was… lying exactly… Confused …is more like… Me… telling the whole class I was that notorious outlaw… like that… It got her a bit turned around… in her head… You know she kinda sees the World… “

Heyes didn’t want to say anything to hurt Frankie's feelings, but he had a two-barrelled hunting rifle pointed at his middle, that looked like it would put a hole right through him, and not leave an awful lot to bury.

“Erm  …different…” he whispered to Maxwell, awkwardly.

“She sees the World, Mr Heyes …Exactly as it is!” spat Maxwell.  “Oh, I know what people think… What the… more unkind ones… say… But Frankie… And her father, fer that matter… I think they sometimes see through a thing … right down to the bones… with no flimflamming, pretty talk to dress it up.  Gets to be very refreshing to live around, after a while …and you get to be very intolerant of fancy talkers.”

He fixed Heyes with a sneer.

“If Frankie says you’re Hannibal Heyes…. You’re Heyes!”

“OK… ok, I get it” said the ex-outlaw leader, letting all pretence drop. 

“What now?”

“Well you can sit down… there…” the muzzle was waved to another convenient log. 

“And I’m in a mind, to tell you.”

Heyes sat.  He dropped his hands into his lap and lent forward to give Maxwell his undivided attention.

“This here is what’s known as a very auspicious occurrence.  My partners and me, find ourselves in need of a large quantity of cash, as surety for an investment.  Our investors …need to know that we can stump up our part of the bargain, before they’ll release our venture capital… We got us some fine prospects… But they’re sending their representative on Thursday…” 

Maxwell chewed his lip, sensing that he was saying too much.  He sneered across at the outlaw. 

“And you … Mr Heyes …are worth $10,000 … that’s a lot of surety.”

There was a click of a Schofield pistol being cocked. 

Both men froze, their eyes widening with shock. 

Frankie sat with an impassive look on her face, holding Heyes’ pistol between her small hands.  Fred had pulled back the hammer and sat at his accomplice’s side trying hard not to grin with excitement.

Both men made excited “Ahhhh-ing “ noises, with placating hand gestures, narrowing their eyes and sucking in their breath with shock.  

When this failed to elicit any action at all on the part of the eight year old Bonnie and Clyde, they both tried on friendly smiles, and tried to find some words to use to defuse the situation.

“Put the gun down Mr Maxwell,” said Frankie, coldly. 

Her hands were shaking a bit with the weight of the pistol.  

Both men’s eyes followed the wobble.

“Mr Maxwell… Fred and me,”

Frankie looked to the side for a moment and the pistol dropped a little to crotch level.  Both men gasped, turning away slightly from the gun. 

“We got us a plan … how to get the money you need ‘fore the ‘vestors representative comes on Thursday.  We’re going to rob the bank … on Wednesday night… and we need Hannibal Heyes to help us do it… so I can’t let you shoot him” she said solemnly. 

“You’re gonna what? How’d you even know about ….? When did…? Why would you want him t’…?” asked Maxwell rather weakly, carefully placing ol’ Betsy on the floor at his side.

“Because we are eight, Mr Maxwell” answered Frankie with a deep sigh. “And we’ve never done it before… and it’s got to work.  Hannibal Heyes… is old… and he’s confused… and a bit out of practice …because he doesn’t do robberies anymore…”

Heyes looked more than a bit indignant at this summation of his current mind set.  He huffed loudly in derision, then he realised the retired outlaw bit may help with Maxwell, and he started nodding along, with his most sincere look on his face.

“That’s right” he said.

“Neither does Kid Curry,“ added Fred helpfully. “Rob banks anymore.”

“But before… When they were doing robberies …They did them the best …and they always got away…” continued Frankie as if no one had interrupted her.

“And in all the Banks and trains they robbed…. They never shot anyone!” shouted Fred, getting far too excited, and helping Frankie keep the heavy pistol level by placing a grubby hand underneath the barrel.

“So… “ said Frankie fixing her god father with her deep brown eyed gaze. “You need to do planning with Hannibal Heyes … not shooting.  You said to Fred’s pa it would save everyone a lot of time if only you could get into daddy’s safe… in daddy’s study… and get the land rights documents that Mummy left you… Well, Hannibal Heyes can open daddy’s safe just by listening to tumblers... He hadn’t shown me how to do that yet … but he’s gunna.”

The two men stared at each other.  

Maxwell’s eyes held a surprised smile, as he realised the best safe cracker in the country was sat by his side. 

And Hannibal Heyes was staring right back, wondering if this was a good thing …or not… and just how was he going to explain any of it to the Kid.

“Can I put this down now… because it’s getting real heavy,” sighed Frankie.

The pistol wavered a little and Frankie’s trigger finger was getting sweaty.  She fumbled with the stock of the heavy pistol, and it fell to the ground. 

Both men dived for cover but luckily, the pistol didn’t fire.  

Heyes recovered first.
 
He reached over and carefully picked up the pistol, un-cocked it, and placed it back in his holster clipping on the safety strap with a relieved sigh.

He fixed the would be Bonnie and Clyde with his best Gang Leaders stare.

“Never…. And I mean …NEVER… let me catch you playing with guns again…. Do you hear me?” he said firmly at the two innocent faces peering up at him from the log. 

“GO… Go play… NOW… Go do something kids your age are supposed to do… GO ON… Mr Maxwell and I need to talk things through… without any guns waved at our... under our noses!”

---oooOOOooo---


(Scene 10 continued…. 1,500 words)

Frankie

Hannibal Heyes is doing staring again. 

He says Fred and me should go play. 

This means he wants us to go someplace else, and be quiet, so he can do interesting talking with Mr Maxwell.
 
Adults always do interesting talking, when they tell you to go someplace else and be quiet.  Mostly, you would have to go an awful long way, away to play, because, as soon as adults think you’re someplace else, they do shouting so you could still hear them even if you’d gone someplace else.  I don’t usually go someplace else.

I usually do sneaking back.  

Outlaws have to be very good at sneaking so it’s like practice.  I show Fred how to do sneaking back, just close enough to hear the interesting talking.  I think it is very sensible to do sneaking back, because you hear interesting things and find out what’s happening in … grownups business… and you don’t have to do guessing, which is silly.  

I know this is true because sneaking back to the Stumpery, when Fred said that it was getting late, and I have to go home is how I know about Daddy’s business. That’s how I know that Daddy’s Railroad Company used local miners to make the tunnel not navvies. 

Fred’s Pa said,

“Why would Wendell Widget waste money bringing in workers from out of State, when he had men right here … already on the payroll …that had worked these mountains all their lives! Who knows the local rocks better than us.  And he knew for damned certain, that with wives and families to feed, we’d get the job done a lot quicker than a pack of Navvies.” 


That’s true.  

Mummy called Trinni my navvy, and Trinni couldn’t build a tunnel, not if you gave her till next Thanksgiving. I asked Mr Maxwell if Fred’s Pa was right about miners digging the tunnel, and not Trinni, and a pack of other navvies, and he said

“I don’t think Trinni would make a good navvy, Sugar… “

I expect that’s why Trinni gave up being my navvy and looked after Mummy when she got sick.  Because she wasn’t any good at being a navvy.

Another time after that, when I did sneaking back to Daddy’s study door, Daddy was laughing with Mr Maxwell.
 
He said

“Trinni as a navvy! I’d pay good money to see that …but I don’t think she’d do as much belly aching about pay and conditions, as Sy Janx… and his gang of malcontents… Always bleating on about safety... They should have been grateful that I’d provided work …especially now the mines just about paid out… The day will soon come… they might all have to go seek work on the railroad.”

The Malcontents are Fred’s Pa’s gang: Mr Jenkins and Mr Laidlaw and Mr Sparrow. And now Mr Maxwell has joined them while Daddy is away and Uncle Steadman won’t have him at the big house.  

When I did sneaking back to the Stumpery another time, I heard Mr Sparrow saying they were as good as outlaws, because Daddy and Uncle Spencer had drove them to it.  And that’s why they kept the seam they found a secret, because… it was their hard graft, not no one’s damned money, that had uncovered it. 

Because I listened to the interesting talking that time, I know what a seam is. 

Fred’s Pa said that the seam was, 

“…riches beyond our wildest dreams… enough to see everyone in work, and fed, for generations to come.” 

So, that’s a good thing because Fred says sometimes his Pa doesn’t eat enough.  I don’t know what the seam is …exactly, but I heard Mr Jenkins say

“… it could lead them back to the motherload, which far as I can tell is headed out under Old man Spencer’s timber.”

Old man Spencer was my Granddaddy.  He’s dead. His timber is on the mountainside and falls all the way down to the river, and my Daddy says it  is …just another damn thing I have to keep track off.

When you do dying, you get to say who has to keep track of your things, at a Will reading.  When Mummy died, there was a Will reading in daddy’s study, and when I did sneaking back, I heard interesting shouting.  Uncle Spencer shouted that it wasn’t fair that my Mummy should tell Mr Maxwell to keep track of the land her Daddy left her. 

He shouted

“…Emm wasn’t right in the head …at the end …That back-stabbing accountant must have poisoned her mind against the family… I’ll fight you for this Maxwell… It isn’t right.  Wendell …surely you can see …this is wrong…”

And my Daddy said quietly,

“It was Emma’s dying wish, Steadman, that Mr Maxwell’s work …keeping both businesses afloat like he has …be recognised.  The land was her’s to bequeath as she saw fit.  Nobody had a sharper mind than your sister….my dear Emma…  She knew I didn’t have need for the land …and I gave her my blessing… Maxwell has more than earned it... The timber rights should give him a comfortable retirement.  You and I both know …Emma and Maxwell …have been the driving force… keeping things going… since your father died…”

Which means that Mr Maxwell owns my granddaddy’s timber, and the land, and the seam.  But Uncle Steadman doesn’t like it.  

When Mr Maxwell first moved into the stump house, and I did sneaking back another time, I heard him tell Fred’s Pa

“I’ve discussed it at length with Wendell …and he’s agreed, Emma meant for me to have the land… and all the rights that go with it…. But… It’s not worth a fig… till I can get my hands on the titles to the mineral rights… and that’s locked up in Wendell’s study safe.  I don’t know what’s keeping him… Wendell promised he’d be back before the new teacher I’ve appointed, arrived at the school. I can’t believe he’d fall for anyone…so soon… As soon as he gets back… he’ll hand over the papers and we’ll go register a full legal claim at the land office…”

That’s how I know that Mr Maxwell needs Hannibal Heyes to open daddy’s study safe because Daddy is late getting back this time.  Uncle Steadman says he’s very happy in Boston and has forgotten the time.  Daddy forgets time a lot.  Mummy said that was to be expected when a someone is a brilliant engineer like Daddy.  He can't be relied upon to remember times, like birthdays and such.

Fred and me are close enough to Hannibal Heyes and Mr Maxwell to do listening to interesting talking.  We’re lying real quiet in the long grass.  

Mr Maxwell is telling Hannibal Heyes about the tunnel, and the seam, and the miners, and the venture capitalists, and the incontestable rights to both the land and its mineral rights, and the safe in Daddy’s study.

I already know this bit, so I do thinking about grass.

“What’s …adventure cap’lists …and incontest’ble rights, mean?” whisperes Fred.

Fred hasn’t done as much sneaking back as me.  The rule with sneaking back is, you only listen, you never say anything. I didn’t explain to Fred about the rules properly, and because I was thinking about grass, I forgot the rules too, and did answering.

“Venture Cap’lists are someone who likes to see money …before they let you make a mine…” I whispered back as quietly as I could.  “… and… incontestable rights… means you’re right… if you want to fight …in a contest.” 

And that’s when Hannibal Heyes said

“I can hear you back there, you know…”

He didn’t turn around.  He was looking at Mr Maxwell, but I’m almost sure he was talking to us.  But we were behind him in the grass doing really good sneaking back.

“I didn’t mind …as long as you were quiet” he said, “…that way… I knew where you were, but if you’re going to start asking questions… and getting the answers … all mangled up… YOU CAN GO … go play NOW …like I told you… GO… GO ON… and incontestable, young lady …means …there’s no point in fighting it!“

Guess …us leaving …was… incontestable.

We stood up.  

Hannibal Heyes was scowling, but he did it with dimples, so I don’t think he was that mad at us.  Guess we were just getting … under his feet.

“We’ll go and find Kid Curry …at the Stumpery” called Fred, pulling me by the sleeve towards the stream. 

There are stepping stones over the stream just past the bend. It’s just a short walk from the stream to Fred’s house and Mr Jenkins house. Mr Laidlaw and Mr Sparrow live in the next Stumpery after that, up the hill, through the trees.

“I thought you said this here was the Stumpery?!?” shouted Hannibal Heyes at our backs.

He must have gotten confused again.

“No…” I shout back.
 
“This here is Mr Maxwell’s house” 

---oooOOOooo---



(Scene 11 -  2,800words)

Jed Curry
Kid smiled at Bridget, Mary-Beth’s mother.  Despite being heavily pregnant, she, and Cora Jenkins, had the Stumpery running like a well-drilled army camp. 

When he offered to help with the chores, just until his partner showed up, he was assigned to the gathering of firewood, and given a couple of likely accomplices in the body of Cora’s twin sons, Matt and Ruben.  

The boys were ten, and they told Kid that the gathering of wood wasn’t as easy as it sounded, on account of how big the trees were here, so you had to gather dead fall, and on account of just how long the boys had been gathering wood for already.  Nearly a year.  You had to go deep into the trees to find good wood.

“Maybe I can get some game while we’re out there,” offered Kid.

Both the women, and Mary-Beth, stared at each other in wonder.

“Really…. You could do that?” asked Bridget.

“Well, yeah…” answered Kid, confused at their incredulity.  “I can usually bag a small deer …or at least get you a couple of rabbits.”

“Lord have mercy…” smiled Cora.  “You make sure to hang on to this one Mary-Beth.”

Mary-Beth flushed crimson.

“Our men… Lord preserve them…” continued Cora, oblivious to the confusion she’d set off in the teen’s head. 

“They know all there is to know …about digging in God’s good Earth… in a mine… But not a blame one of them …knows how to shoot a deer …or snare us a rabbit… We near starved to death this last winter.  We been living off what we could get from the sewing money… and the cleaning money… and we sure haven’t had no meat.”

Kid looked shocked.  

He didn’t really believe there were men that couldn’t provide meat for their families.  He supposed the real reason must be laziness on the part of the menfolk.  He’d assumed the men were out hunting.  This put a different light on things.

“Where are your menfolk now, Ma’am?” he asked innocently.

“Right behind you” came a familiar voice.

“Get your hands up… and this time I’ll be keeping a real close eye on that draw hand of yours.  One twitch…. And I’ll shoot.”

Kid’s eyes closed.  

With the sounds of the excited children all around, he’d had no chance of hearing the men’s approach, but he still berated himself for letting his guard down.  And, he recognised the voice of the would-be robber leader from this morning, the one with the long-barrelled pistol and the broken teeth. 

Janx.

He hadn’t asked Bridget or Mary-Beth their full names.  Cora had introduced him to Bridget, as Thaddeus. These were the Janx gang’s hidden families. The ones Janx had been worried the law or the mine hired guns may find. 
Of course, they were.  Why else would they be living out here, in the woods, in these bizarre dwellings?

How hadn’t he worked that out for himself? 

Kid had Heyes in his head again, 

“Because you were too busy… trying to help the needy… “

He slowly raised his hands and turned to face the men. 

Janx was stood at the edge of the clearing holding the long-barrelled pistol steadily at Kid’s middle.  Behind him stood ‘Top Hat’, who looked even older and thinner than Kid remembered him, even from this morning.

“What is this… Sy?” asked Bridget.  

“This young man rode in here with Mary-Beth… He’s shared his coffee with us. AND… he’s offered to gather firewood with Cora’s boys …and to shoot us a deer.  Why are you waving that old army pistol at him?”

Janx’s eyes narrowed.

“He’s been sniffing ‘round our Mary-Beth …has he?” he sneered. 

“We’ve seen plenty of his fancy shooting already today… Just ask Cress when he gets back about his fancy shooting… Cress damned near talked our ears off …about this fella’s fast draw… and his fancy shooting …ever since he shot the gun right out of Cress’ hands this morning.”

The women looked at each other for a long moment, then turned back to the men as one. 

“And just what did he… have cause to go shooting at Cress fer… Sy Janx?” asked Bridget coldly.  

“You promised me… You said you wouldn’t listen to no more of Old Sparrow’s outlaw nonsense… You promised me …you wouldn’t risk going back to that road… and… and… You didn’t…. You wouldn’t …would you?”

Bridget’s eyes closed.  She could see the answer writ clear across her husband’s blank face.
 
Cora put a comforting arm around her shoulders.

“Where …are my Cress, and Mr Laidlaw, Sy Janx?” Cora asked slowly.
 
“If you two have led them back into your … sinfull…. un-Godly ways… Hasn’t poor Mr Laidlaw suffered enough this past year? …. You have to go risk getting him arrested, and taken to jail, as well.”

Both women sighed heavily with disappointment, slowly shaking their heads.

“It wasn’t us…” wined Sparrow, from behind Janx and the pistol, obviously far more cowed by the women, than the young gunslinger. 

“It was him!” he said, pointing to Kid.  “He held a gun on us… and made us rob that darn fool Easterner… Ain’t that right, Janx… You tell your woman… Wa’d’n’t us… t’was him…. He done made us do it!”

Cora and Bridget came ‘round to face kid, searching his face for a lie. 

“Is this true, Thaddeus? Are you no better than a common thief?”

Kid could lie. He could lie easily, and shame the devil.  

He’d survived for years working for Soapy, lying, and conning, and he had gained the highest honours in his chosen profession. 

But going for amnesty, living honest, that had changed things.  

Lying was getting harder. Oh, he could still excel at poker face when gambling, that didn’t count.  

Lying to Cora and Bridget reminded him of his inability to lie to his mother, when he was just a kid.

“It’s complicated…” he said, fixing the women with his sapphire blue gaze.  

“There was a hold up sure… and, yeah... I was holding a gun on…” 

Kid shrugged one of his gloved hands over towards Janx and Sparrow.  The other stayed roughly pointing at the sky.

“… and the school teacher … he did get robbed …. but….”

“YOU DID WHAT?!?” shouted an incredulous Heyes, walking into the clearing and pointing his Schofield almost lazily at Janx and Sparrow. 

“And just when were you going to tell ME about this?”

Kid looked poleaxed for just a second, seeing his partner appear out of the blue like that. Then he swallowed hard and quickly recovered.

“It’s not like it sounds….er… Joshua… They …were going to kill him… and I had to… t’step in… and… help…. coz I had to!” He pleaded seeing the anger rising in his older cousin’s face.

This was terrible.  This wasn’t how he planned for Heyes to find out about the robbery.  He’d planned for Heyes to never find out about the robbery.

“Oh…. Do tell,” said Heyes, his voice dripping sarcasm.  “Just how did you manage to compel these …poor men ….to rob the school teacher? And just what were they planning to kill him with…. Thaddeus… That relic? … or were they planning on hitting him over the head with a rock?!” 

Frankie and Fred ran out into the clearing.  They ran right out in front of all the pointing guns.

“Don’t shoot Kid Curry, Pa” shouted Fred excitedly. 

“Or …you’ll make Hannibal Heyes real mad …and he won’t open Frankie’s Pa’s safe like he promised …or help us rob the bank on Wednesday.”

“HE PROMISED WHAT?!?” shouted Kid, scowling at his cousin. The best defence being a good offence in his book.

It was Heyes’ turn to look gobsmacked and a little shame faced.  Seems Kid wasn’t the only one not sharing today.

“I didn’t promise anything…” he pleaded, seeing his younger cousin’s hard, blue steel glare.  

“I just said… I might ….be able to help with the safe… is all…”

Heyes realised the tables had been turned on him and went on the offensive too.  

“At least I didn’t go and rob somebody in broad daylight… in front of witnesses!” he shouted.

“And I didn’t promise anyone …I’d go crack a safe …or rob a bank!” countered Kid, still with his hands roughly up in the air, but all his attention was on the argument with Heyes. 

“And …it was ONLY forty dollars… and some food ….and a pair of fancy boots… not a MINE PAYROLL!”

“ONLY?…. ONLY?…. What do you think our mutual friend is going to make of that? …. You ingrate!.... It was ONLY forty dollars… it don’t matter if it was one dollar…. AND A PAIR OF BOOTS…. YOU GOT BOOTS!” shouted Heyes, the pistol pointing more at Kid now than anyone else.

Cora looked around for her shot gun, but it had disappeared.  

Mary-Beth looked suspiciously innocent, looking skyward. 

Janx and Sparrow looked banjaxed.  Janx lamely raised the pistol again and waving it between the disputing cousins, as the argument escalated and bounced back and forth.

“I think we all need to calm down just a little bit, gentlemen,” said Mr Maxwell walking into the clearing, pointing Ol’ Betsy before him.

Bridget rolled her eyes with an audible sigh.  

Cora crossed her arms in undisguised annoyance.

“No one has told me WHERE my Cress… and Mr Laidlaw… are?” she screeched at the men. 

“Are they lying dead at the side of the road… Or have you left them to take the consequences for your actions?!?”

She included an already riled Kid Curry in with this accusation, which he took great exception to, shouting that he never shot no one.

“Probably sheer dumb luck!” spat Heyes.

Janx shouted above it all.

“Cress went to sell them fancy boots …at the trading post!  Mac’s gone with him …to make sure he don’t drink his share of the raid…”

In a quieter voice, he added “He’s OK, Cora…”

Seeing Cora’s, never the less, explosive response coming, he quickly got back to the matter in hand.

“I think you better drop that pistol… sonny…” he said to Heyes. 

“There’s two of us got you covered now.”

He nodded to Maxwell.

Frankie, who had tried to stay quiet and forgotten about till now, because she had promised Fred to not be seen, or heard, when his Pa was at the Stumpery, could hold her council no longer.

“Mr Curry” she said in a loud clear unfazed voice. 

“Could you take out your gun and tell everyone to stop shouting, and do planning.“

Seeing the confused faces of all the adults, she added

“….please.”

Kid looked at her with a tight smile, and addressed her, a little indulgently, through tight lips.

“Gee… I would love to oblige you, li’le lady… however… Mr Janx  …has his pistol pointed right at my belly.  And… I kinda like my belly the way it is…. Without any holes in it.  So I won’t be taking my gun out any time soon.”

“Oh” said Frankie.

Heyes and Kid exchanged a look, and Heyes beamed proudly at his brave little protégé.

“That’s OK… you don’t need to be scared,” continued Frankie. 

“Mr Janx’s pistol is empty… He hasn’t been able to buy any bullets for it …since he used the last one to frighten off a bear in the thaw….”

Janx spluttered and swore, drawing disapproving looks from the womenfolk.

“What’s Widget’s weird whelp doing here anyway?!?” he growled sourly.

“Hey!” jumped in Heyes, coming to Frankie’s defence.

Unfazed, Frankie carried on, regardless.

“And Mr Maxwell said …if he ever fired Ol’ Betsy … whoever he shot would be  pulling buck shot out of their backside for a week… but it wouldn’t kill him… He also said it would probably misfire, because it’s old …and an Air Loom …and you’d have to be much closer than that…”

Frankie pointed over to Mr Maxwell stood at the edge of the clearing.

“…to have a hope of hitting anything.”

“Frankie!” spluttered Mr Maxwell.  

“I told you that in confidence!”

Frankie sighed and shook her head at Heyes, whose gun was still pointing more at Kid than anyone else.  If anything, she looked full of pity for the ex- outlaw gang leader.

“And … Hannibal Heyes …can’t shoot you either …Kid Curry… because Fred and me took all the bullets out of his gun …so we could point it at him and Mr Maxwell … without having to shoot him.  We need him to open Daddy’s safe.”

“You held up Hey… HIM?” asked Kid incredulously, pointing to Heyes with a quiet scoff.

“YOU DID WHAT?!?” spluttered Heyes, breaking his gun and spinning the empty chamber in shock.
 
“What did I tell you about …not playing with guns!” he whined.

Kid’s face broke into a huge grin.  

“You got held up by a little girl? With your own gun!”

He carefully dropped his hands noting the sweat starting to spring up on the men holding useless guns.  He slowly removed the safety from the Colt, and pulled it out slowly, and used it to lift the rim of his hat. 

No one else fired a gun.  

He let out his held breath in a long blow.

“Well now…” Kid drawled.

“Awww” said a disappointed Fred.  “That wasn’t a fast draw!”

Kid laughed at that. 

He relished Heyes’ discomfit as he watched his partner struggle to get the bullets back from Frankie and into his gun as quickly as he could. Frankie had his bullets in her apron pocket and was passing them over, slowly, one by one.

“Come on…” grouched Heyes. 

“If I ever catch you… or your side kick… touching my gun again…”

Kid invited all the other men to go sit on the log, under the shade of the Wagon cover, with an infinitesimally small wave of his Colt.

“I think we all need to sit down …and straighten out a few things … don’t you? … Like our names fer instance… Now… I’m Thaddeus Jones …and this here ingrate… is my partner …Joshua Smith …” he tried, using the Colt to point.

Heyes shook his head holding his breath, knowing what was coming next. He looked to Frankie and Mr Maxwell, but, it was Mr Sparrow who spoke up.

“I wasn’t sure at first … but it is you … isn’t it, Hannibal Heyes? You know… you were just a whelp yer self, back in my day…” 

Heyes stared at the thin, dirty man. 

The top hat seemed to make him look even taller, and thinner. Recognition dawned with a sparkle in the dark eyes, and dimpled smile.

“Is that you … Dynamite Sparrer? … Him that used to ride with Jim Plumber’s outfit?”

Heyes grinned from ear to ear.

“You old dog …How can you still be alive? No outlaw gets to be as old as you!”

Top Hat barked with laughter.

“When that rattlesnake Plumber, disappeared with our haul, Heyes… I did what any self-respecting outlaw would do… given my age… I got me a job on the dynamite crew … down a mine… Got me a woman… and a family.  Gotta say Heyes… I’ve enjoyed following your exploits over the years… I like to think something of what I taught you …rubbed off a little along the way.”

Heyes barked with laughter. He slapped the old man on the back, nearly pushing him over, and righted him again with a hand on his chest.

“Sure did, Dynamite… Dynamite Sparrer… I can’t believe it!  I got to use quite a few of your tricks …over the years… Especially the slow burning fuses… I never forgot them fuses…”

“And you’re here… In Clearwater… just when we need us a safe cracker. You know… I never did really appreciate what you could do back then Heyes… I never saw a need to turn tumblers… not when we had dynamite.  But… Here you are… the best tumble turner in the business… and with the Kid too… We should have known who he was… soon as we saw that fast draw…”

The old man was shaking his head grinning, and starting to re-live the adventures of his younger self in his head, as they walked to the shaded log.

“Oh… he showed you his fast draw …too …. did he?” said Heyes quietly, chewing up his lips and fixing his partner with a very disappointed look, shaking his head.

Kid shrugged and looked pragmatic.  

Fixing the blame on one of the partners this time was going to be near impossible.  

Kid felt like he’d dodged a bullet.

---oooOOOooo---


Last edited by Cal on Wed May 03, 2017 8:02 am; edited 5 times in total
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HannaHeyes

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PostSubject: Re: The New Teacher Part Two #2 (6,100 words)   Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:11 pm

Cal, I just want to tell you that I love your stories! bye And I'm really looking forward to the rest of this one (and the rest of your challenge entry too!)

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Cal

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PostSubject: Re: The New Teacher Part Two #2 (6,100 words)   Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:26 pm

Thank you HannaHeyes... 


Its lovely to get feedback... as of course, you know only too well... Cac has been helping out with making sure i give enough of the actual plot away to make it readable.


You should check out the pictures of real Stump houses that inspired this story.  
www.thevintagenews.com/2016/11/10/trust-us-stump-houses-were-a-thing-2/



Hard to believe I do research right?... I just stumble on things and think... that would make a cool story.  There was a lot of teaching reforms around 1890 in the USA too... 


So that's what I gave them to work with, and this is what they're giving me back. lol... I should give them writing credits.


The challenge this month was all Heyes' idea... showing me his outlaw leader side... before they had any idea about amnesty.  He's quite dark. He's given me about half the plan so far... Like Kid... he often keeps me in the dark till my fingers start tapping.


So glad you're enjoying the ride along with me x
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gin16



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PostSubject: Re: The New Teacher Part Two #2 (6,100 words)   Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:39 pm

Enjoyed the new chapter.  Thank you for the pictures and info on the stump houses, I had no idea.
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Cal

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PostSubject: Re: The New Teacher Part Two #2 (6,100 words)   Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:02 am

Thanks gin16... me neither... I've got to get Heyes and kid bedded down in one of those next...... Its a hard life.... but someone's got to do it! x
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