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 The New Teacher Part Two #3 (3,700 words)

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Cal

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PostSubject: The New Teacher Part Two #3 (3,700 words)    Wed May 03, 2017 8:00 am

The New Teacher
by Cal


PART TWO continued.....

(Scene 12 – 2,000 words)

Heyes

Heyes was feeling light headed.  He hadn’t eaten since early yesterday.  But when he looked at the paucity of the families’ dinner, simmering over the fire, he felt obliged to turn down the offer of food from Cora and Bridget, good though it smelt, saying that he and Thaddeus had a lot to catch up on and to discuss between themselves, in private.

Kid looked a bit disappointed at first, but caught on quick as usual, nodding along with his partner’s words.  His face turning just a little sour at the end, not relishing the prospect of explaining the robbery to his older cousin.

Heyes gave him a huge beam to confirm that an explanation was way over due in his opinion.

Kid had holstered his gun.  There wasn’t a man there thought that they had any chance against Kid Curry in a gun fight, and there wasn’t any appetite for more gunplay anyway.  

A fragile, friendly alliance had been decided upon between the men of the party, by the mutual consent of sitting drinking the last of the coffee around the cooking fire, and pointedly not to talking about anything that had occurred in the clearing since the men had entered it.

Top Hat Sparrow had his girls on his knees.  

Sophia was nearly six and Michelle was eleven.  The girls were beauties, of the most angelic type of female loveliness, in complete contrast to their father. They cooed and charmed old Sparrow, and had him completely in their thrall. 

Heyes smiled, seeing the old goat so obviously proud and in love with his daughters.

Their mother must be a beauty, he thought, Coz they sure didn’t get them looks from their father!

Heyes noted that neither girl paid the least attention to Frankie.  

This bothered him somehow, though Frankie didn’t seem to even notice.  He couldn’t imagine her gasping and giggling at the coloured ribbons, produced as if by magic, from the old outlaw’s pockets. But Sophia and Michelle ran off into the nearest stump house to play, very happy with their haul.

Fred reached into the apple bag and produced his treasure, smiling at Frankie.

“Say thank you to Thaddeus, Fred” reminded his mother.  “He kindly brought apples for everyone.”

“Thank you….Kid,” smiled Fred devilishly, his eyes twinkling in wonder and taking a big juicy bite.

“It’s Thaddeus… And you’re welcome” corrected Kid before Cora could get in her admonishment.

Frankie, seeing the apple bag, and hearing that the apples were for everyone, decided she was hungry now.  She reached into the bag, removed Homer’s apple and took a big bite.

A small gasp escaped Cora’s lips before she could stop it. The other adults quieted, seeing and hearing Cora’s distress.  Bridget patted her shoulder, frowning at Frankie’s insensitivity.

Frankie remained oblivious, munching the apple.  When she saw the adults were looking at her, she belatedly spat out a muffled

“Mmmmm…Thank…” …munch …munch … “you…Thaddeus ...Kid Curry” ...swallow.

And wiped the sweet apple juice off her face with her arm in a very unladylike and un-angelic way.

Heyes, who’d been pulling his partner away from the main group to have a quiet word with him, felt compelled to cover up for her social faux par.  He smiled at Fred, and tossed the lad a few coins.

“Don’t you think it’s time you walked Frankie home, Fred?” he smiled at the top of the tousled head.

Fred was busy counting coins in his grubby little hands.

“If that store is still open in town, why don’t you go buy some more of them juicy apples.  Maybe, your Ma can bake y’all a pie tomorrow…. Just like that big heavy pie …Frankie …carried all the way to school today …just to share with you and Mary-Beth.”

This last was addressed more to the adults on the log.  Heyes noted the surprise registering in several sets of eyes, with satisfaction.  He didn’t feel the need to mention that she’d stolen the pie from the pantry, from right under Trinni’s nose. 

Though the image of it, made him smile.

Not just the privileged little rich girl now, huh, he thought.  A privileged little rich girl …with a big heart … and a talent for thieving.

He beamed at her, as she stood and walked towards him.  

Frankie looked confused, hearing herself discussed in this way and seeing Hannibal Heyes seemingly so happy at the thought of her leaving the Stumpery.

“I don’t need Fred to walk me home” she said, looking up at Heyes seriously.  “I can do walking back on my own.  I nearly always do.  Fred’s Pa don’t like…”

“Come on Frankie” called Fred impatiently.

He’d already run to the edge of the glade.
 
“I want to make the store… before it closes,” he pleaded.

Frankie said goodbye to Mr Maxwell.  She didn’t look at the other adults.  They were all muttering amongst themselves and looking ...elsewhere.  She set her mouth in a tight line and fixed, first Kid, then Heyes with her dark, bespectacled gaze.  She studied their faces closely as if looking for something from them.

They both smiled encouragingly.

She looked very disappointed.

“You will …be here …tomorrow… won’t you?” she said carefully.  

“And …you will be doing planning …with Fred’s Pa …and Mr Maxwell… won’t you?”

She sighed heavily, looking back at the others, sat on the log, for the first time.  They shifted uneasily under that gaze. She closed her magnified eyes with a sad shake of her head, and turned back to Heyes.

“They really do need your help, Hannibal Heyes.  If the ‘Venture Capt’lists don’t see enough money on Thursday morning… and Mr Maxwell can’t …get his hands on the mineral rights …to Granddaddy’s land… Then…those Malcontents… “

Frankie pointed a finger back to the adults, who were now looking at Frankie in wonder, and not a little chagrin at being called malcontents.

“They won’t get … riches beyond their wildest dreams, enough to see everyone in work, and fed, for generations to come…And that would just be silly. If you’d just shown me how to listen to tumblers on the train… not just lock picking… I could’ve done it! But I can’t… yet…. So you’ve gotta do it.”

Heyes quickly crouched down to Frankie’s level, waving a hand up and down to stop her spilling more of his actions on the train that day.

“Frankie… I told you…. Kid and me… we don’t do that anymore.  We’re trying to go straight… I hardly ever open safes anymore… And if I helped you steal all that money from your daddy’s bank… they’d put us in jail… for the rest of our lives!  You wouldn’t want that now… would you? Tommy’s Pa ...he knows who I am… I can’t afford to stay ‘round here…”

This wiped the smile off his face. 

He wondered how he was going to explain to Frankie that after some food and a rest, he and Kid would be heading out.  Away from Clearwater, and out of her life forever.  

As these thoughts came into his mind, he was caught by the jolt of emotion welling up behind his eyes, and the lump catching in his throat, and the heavy stone wedging itself over his heart seeming to crush it. 

Frankie crossed her arm and sighed heavily.

“You’re confused again, Hannibal Heyes.  I told you.  Uncle Steadman collects the money at eleven thirty on Thursday morning.  You just take the money out of the bank on Wednesday… to show to the ‘Venture Capt’lists’ agent on Thursday morning… so the Malcontents can make a mine with the seam… then… you got to put it back in the bank safe …before Uncle Steadman collects it and gives it all away to the miners.  You can’t keep it… that would just be silly.”

Heyes was totally wrong footed and shocked. 

Both with the strength of the emotion that had hit him, just at the thought of leaving Frankie. And, at the sheer brilliance of her scheming.

He barked a shocked laugh and hugged her.

This didn’t go down very well with the object of his affection. She went rigid and pushed at his chest till he let her go.

He wiped the smile off his face and replaced it with as much sincerity as he could manage under the circumstances, making a show of removing his hands and getting them back under control. 

No hugging. 

Check.

“Erm… yes… of course we’ll be here…” he heard himself saying.

Next to him, Kid groaned almost imperceptibly, and rubbed at his eyes. He dropped his head and purposely lent towards the genius. 

“Heyes?” he breathed in warning, under his breath. 

“Of course, we’ll be here tomorrow,” confirmed Heyes, almost pushing, but not touching, Frankie to follow Fred out of the clearing. 

“We’ll be here … you’ll see …after school …tomorrow…”

Kids arms were folded across his chest.  He was looking at Heyes as if he’d never seen him before.  Then he blew out a long breath and shrugged up his shoulders.

“Hell… No one knows who I am in town…” he spat out, fixing Heyes with a blue steel glare of challenge. 

“And I just got paid… and I been eating nothing but dust all day… So… I think I’ll just go get me some dinner …in town …and a drink. I definitely need me a drink!”

“Noooo….” Started Heyes, shaking his head and grabbing at Kid’s arm.

Kid looked.

Heyes tried a conciliatory smile.  Kid was just trying to weasel out of a difficult conversation.  They needed to talk.  Then he got a glimpse of the mule jaw, as Kid pulled his arm free, and realised, Kid wasn’t asking permission. 

Kid stalked across the clearing to his horse throwing up the saddle.  As he cinched it, he threw over his shoulder,

“There’s plenty of trail grub in these packs… I even got us whiskey.  You can pick yourself out a nice…. Stump! Me… I’m finding me a feather bed …and some accommodating company.”

“Kid… we gotta talk” said Heyes.  

“You’re staying in town? That could be real dangerous…”

“Now you want to talk… sounded to me like you’d already made up your mind, Heyes.  Like I said… no one knows me in town… Its no more dangerous for me there... than sticking around here? …Playing house! So… I’ve decided a hotel will suit me best.”

Kid mounted the horse looking back down into Heyes eyes.

“I’ll see you in the morning …Partner…” he said loud enough for the others to here and touching his hat in farewell to the womenfolk.

Heyes stayed silent as he watched Kid ride out under the trees. 

He knew Kid was just avoiding a resumption of their earlier row, and he couldn’t find the words to explain to Kid, why he’d suddenly decided to stay overnight instead of running.  

Heck, Heyes didn’t understand that decision himself.  

He felt lost for words.  

That was an unfamiliar feeling.

“That’s if you haven’t decided on a whole new career by the morning, that is…” came Kid’s voice from the trees. 

“…and decided to go teach school again!”

Heyes stood facing the shadows where his partner had disappeared, his hands finding his hips, eyes closed.  He snorted out hi frustration and hollered,

“I couldn’t even if I wanted to… The real teachers turned up now…. Remember!? … He’s the one you robbed this morning! … Remember?!... Don’t think I’ve forgotten that… Coz I haven’t… and WE WILL BE DISCUSSING IT!”

Kid didn’t answer.

“AND…” Heyes sighed heavily, dropping his head.

“I’ll make camp with Sparrer…. You’ll have to come find me… You can look for my horse… AND BRING BREAKFAST!” he shouted at the trees.

“Sleep well” came a distant laconic reply.

---oooOOOooo---


(Scene 13 – 1,600 words)

Frankie

(I’m not superstitious… which is just silly… so I told Cal I didn’t mind writing scene 13)


Fred really wanted to get to the Sugden’s store before it closed. 

He said

My Mom makes the best apple pies in the whole of the territory… best in the whole united space probably… So, we gotta run …and catch the store before ol’ Ma Sugden puts up the shutters.

We didn’t run far, which is just as well, it’s dark under the trees and there’s roots to do tripping on. It’s worse than strings. I could have kept up with Fred if I had to, but Kid Curry was following us on his horse, and he said

Hey there… Well now… Anyone around here want a lift?”

Fred and me were the only other people …around.
 
I checked.
 
No one else was following us. 

Kid Curry said

“You folks are going to town, aren’t you?... Well… I happen to be going that way… My horse won’t mind taking a little extra… just as long as …the extras …are as light as you two… What about it?”

Fred sort of squealed yes, and Kid Curry pulled him up behind the saddle.

I did looking.

Kid Curry didn’t say he was gonna stay at the Stumpery and do planning with the Malcontent gang, but Hannibal Heyes did.

Hannibal Heyes is an outlaw.  

Which means that, he’s allowed to tell lies and shoot people, but he did say he was going to stay in the Stumpery until tomorrow, after school.  I should’ve made him do a pinky promise.  

If you break a pinky promise, you get old, and do shrivelling up and die. 

Kid Curry doesn’t look very shrivel-ly, well maybe a bit shrivel-ly around his eyes. Maybe Hannibal Heyes has dimples because he’s broken pinky promises and has had to do shrivelling.  But he’s not following Kid Curry to town.

It’s confusing.

I take Kid Curry’s hand and I tell him I know how to stay on a horse and he doesn’t need to hold me on.


---oooOOOooo---


(scene14 – which isn’t 13)


We were nearly out of the trees, when Mrs Sparrow came rushing towards Kid Curry’s horse.  She was all pink and crying.  

I like Mrs Sparrow.  

She is French American.  

Which means that, she only talks when she has to, ‘coz it makes her mouth all small, and she sounds funny.  And she can cuss real loud, and no one knows she’s done it.  She says that makes up for people being unkind, about how she sounds.  She is usually smiley, though she did do crying when Mr Laidlaw’s children, and his wife, died.

Kid Curry said

Hey… What’s the matter? Did someone attack you? … Hey now… it’s OK …it’s OK…”

And he did jumping off the horse, and hugging, which is strange because Mrs Sparrow isn’t married to Kid Curry. Mrs Sparrow is married to Mr Sparrow.  Mr Sparrow was an outlaw once.  Maybe Mrs Sparrow just likes outlaws.

She said

“It’s terrible… merde… they ‘ave locked up poor Mr Laidlaw… for stealing BOOTS! … It is terrible… Everyone knows Mr Laidlaw can’t abide shoes… He has always preferred… ‘ow you say …nothing on ‘is feet…. He would never steal boots! C’est impossible! But they ‘ave locked him in the jail … I must tell zee others… It is terrible, N’est pa?”

“Terrible…” repeated Kid Curry, sounding really sad.

He even looked like he may cry too.  He must really like Mr Laidlaw.
 
“Are you sure it was the BOOTS… Ma’am?  They locked him in jail… just for a pair of fancy BOOTS? … they didn’t mention money … at all?”

“Non… Yes… BOOTS! … BOOTS! … I told you… He would never have stolen BOOTS!”

Kid Curry asked Fred and me if we didn’t mind finding our own way to town so he could take Mrs Sparrow back to the Stumpery.  I told him, we knew where town was, and Mrs Sparrow knew fine well where the Stumpery was by herself also. 

He said 

“Good.”

And left with Mrs Sparrow.



---oooOOOooo---


(scene15 – which isn’t 13 neither)


By the time we reach town, I have done planning. 


My plan means Fred is going to get into trouble.  

I don’t want Fred to get into trouble, but it’s the best plan I can come up with for just two of us to do.  If Kid Curry had stayed with us, instead of showing Mrs Sparrow where the Stumpery is, which she knows fine well, well, then there would have been three of us, and maybe Fred wouldn’t have had to get into trouble. 

Which means that, it’s not really my fault, its Kid Curry’s.  

But Fred said

“Jeez Frankie… I’m in trouble with Old Ma Sugden anyways… even ‘fore I get into her store… Just fer being me… just fer breathing! … It will be a real pleasure to give her something to shout at me about fer real … You leave that part of your plan to me… I’m like an es’pert at making ‘stractions.”

I tell him, to be sure and buy the apples before he makes Ol’ Ma Sugden do shouting.  The ones for his Ma’s pie, and hide them in the alley where we left my basket after school, so I can find them and keep them safe for him.

I don’t usually call Mrs Sugden, Ol’ Ma Sugden. 

Mrs Sugden and her husband are always nice to me when I go to the store with Daddy at election times.  They always give me something from the store and say

“Be sure and tell your Daddy where you got it,” and do smiling, a lot.  

But Fred says they don’t do smiling when he goes there with his Ma, and if he takes anything from the store, they do shouting and calling the Sheriff.

Sheriff Brent is afraid of Mrs Sugden. 

When I was doing, election visiting with my Daddy, and I did sneaking back to the sheriff’s office, I heard Sherriff Brent tell my Daddy

“That woman could turn a man… to the Priesthood… She scares the bejeebers outta me… That voice could cut glass …. No wonder Sugden’s deaf… guess that was his only way out!” 

That’s how I know, if Mrs Sugden screams, Sherriff Brent will want to stop her screaming very quickly.

I don’t usually do hugging, but… Fred is going to get into a lot of trouble… because of Kid Curry… so… I do …quick hugging …and tell him he’s being brave. 

He walks to the store.

I walk to the Sheriff’s Office.

When I hear, a window breaking and screaming, I wait in the alley at the side of the jailhouse. 

Sheriff Brent and Deputy Hogan and Deputy Firth do panting and waving guns as they run to the other end of the street.

I go into the jailhouse, and find the keys to the cell.  Sheriff Brent let me play with them once, so I know they are on the hook above his desk, and that you have to stand on the chair to reach them.

I open the cell, and tell Mr Laidlaw that we are doing a jailbreak, because Mrs Sparrow said that he wouldn’t ever steal boots, and he shouldn’t have been locked in jail, so it was alright to escape like an outlaw. 

He said

“OK”

He looked a bit confused.  

Maybe he was confused, because Mr Laidlaw isn’t an outlaw like Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, and he never did a jailbreak before.
 
I have.  

I did a jail break for Mr Sparrow, when he did too much drinking. But that was alright too, because Mr Sparrow was an outlaw, so he can do escapes.

Mr Laidlaw is quieter than Mr Sparrow was, and it’s a lot easier to get him to do putting the keys back on the hook, and sneaking out the back door, and locking the door from the outside with my lock picks. 

He was very good at sneaking, and said he was going to do more sneaking all the way back to the Stumpery.
I hope Fred isn’t in too much trouble.  

I find the basket with the new apples in it, but I don’t go into the street because there are a lot of people, and they are all doing shouting. 

It’s horrible, and I feel sick.

But I didn’t cry.

Then Fred grabs me from behind, and I do really big jumping!

He didn’t say sorry.

He said

“The ol’ bat even smiled at me …when she saw I had money… but that didn’t stop me from making a real good ‘straction.  I got my slingshot back!”

And he waved his super powerful slingshot that Hannibal Heyes had given him back this morning.  Fred never misses with that slingshot.  He nearly always uses the slingshot when he gets into trouble and I have to get it back for him when Miss Henderson has forgotten about it.  That’s how we became friends.

“Did you do it Frankie? … Did you break Mr Laidlaw outta jail?”

I told him to be quiet, and do sneaking back to the big house, and this time I remembered to tell him the rule about not talking.  I told him it was best if we didn’t tell grownups about the jailbreak.  

When I broke Mr Sparrow outta jail, he told me it was best to keep it a secret… an outlaw secret.  Outlaw secrets are like the best kept secrets. 

He said

“You can’t tell nobody an outlaw secret… Honeylamb, not even your own gang… or family …Because you never can tell …One of them hootyowls …might just go and get themselves locked up one day …and start singing like a canary.  Real outlaws gotta know know how to keep outlaw secrets.”

I don’t know what a canary is, but I guess that Hannibal Heyes wouldn’t have let one of them join the Devils Hole Gang.  Fred agrees with me.

Fred did heart crossing and said that meant double for an outlaw secret, then he took the apples to his Ma.

I had to go back to the big house.

I hope Trinni has forgotten about the pie I borrowed from the pantry this morning. Trinni is very good at making pies and she can make another one, she’s really good at it.

Trinni isn’t very good at forgetting.



---oooOOOooo---




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The New Teacher Part Two #3 (3,700 words)
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