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 Settling Wheat - Part Twelve (Plans are Made)

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MoulinP

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Join date : 2015-11-29
Age : 57
Location : Norfolk, England

PostSubject: Settling Wheat - Part Twelve (Plans are Made)   Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:49 am

Settling Wheat – Part Twelve (Plans are Made)


Returning from Cheyenne with a lot to think about, the Kid went to see Heyes. There he sat, propped up in bed, wearing the new snowy white nightshirt that Mary had bought him. He was still far from well but he was eating a little, sleeping a lot and very bored. Reading made him sleepy so he had largely given up on that. He was happy to chat to anyone who dropped by to see how he was.


“Sounds to me like an old fashioned ruse might work, Kid,” Heyes said, after the Kid had told him the whole story again. This time he was lucid and could offer his advice.


The Kid stopped pacing up and down at the end of Heyes’ bed and turned on his heel to look at his partner.


“Heyes,” he growled. “We don’t do that anymore. Remember?” he scolded.


Heyes had the good grace to look embarrassed. “Sorry, Kid. Force of habit,” he murmured in apology. He had enjoyed the Kid’s telling of the story and his mind was beginning to buzz with a plan. That was the only way he could help he could provide just now.


“Heyes you know ‘bout fibrous talc don’t ya?”


Heyes nodded. “A little.” He beamed. “Well more’n a little. Sam Flixton told me all about how it’s used in paper making.”


“So y’know Sam Flixton?”


“Yeah. He er needed a part for one of his machines a while back. Hardware Store in Hardy City couldn’t get it for him, recommended he came to me.” Heyes grinned. “I’m getting a reputation for being able to source hard to find things. You’d be surprised what I’m asked for.” He cleared his throat. “So Sam came to me and I got it for him. Went out to deliver it myself, and he showed me round the mill. Outside he had a small pile of what looked like rocks. Wood chips I understood and he had THAT in quantities but not rocks. So I asked him. He explained all about fibrous talc. He grinds it up into powder and when it’s mixed with water as part of the process, it’s magic stuff.”


The Kid nodded and returned to pacing. Heyes followed him with his eyes as if watching the ball at a tennis match.


“I want Pine Lake, Heyes,” he said after a while and came to a stop. Which Heyes was grateful
for as he was beginning to feel dizzy. It didn’t occur to him that might be how the Kid felt when HE did it. “It’s just what I’m looking for.”


The Kid was off pacing again, although slower now.


“Have you seen Grassy Flatts?”


“No.”


“Why not?” Heyes could guess the answer and he wasn’t wrong.


“I want Pine Lake.”


Heyes nodded and pressed his lips into a thin line. It had been a long time since he’d had to deal with a stubborn Kid Curry. Supposing he’d lost the knack? His eyes widened at the thought. So he watched his cousin some more. He really should stop calling him Kid. Jedidiah Thaddeus Jones was a different man these days. Married. A successful businessman. A good golfer, with a handicap of two. And not a gun in sight. Well at least not a Colt. The Kid had mentioned game shooting a time or two. No definitely not the man he used to be.


Heyes sighed and looked away to nothing in particular. He just let his mind wander. Then a thought struck him and he frowned.


“Where does Jeremiah Curry live, er Jed?”


The Kid looked at him in surprise. Heyes hadn’t called him Jed since they were boys. Heyes scrunched up his nose as he was about to confess.


“I oughta stop calling you Kid, Jed. I’ll try but I can’t promise.”


The Kid nodded with a smile. “Awh, Heyes, I don’t mind. Ya’ve called me that for so long now.” He took a deep breath. “His mill is over at Longwater so he lives there I guess,” he shrugged. “Why d’ya ask?”


Heyes leant his head back on the top of the pile of pillows behind him. “Well I was just thinking he probably knows about the Bulmer brothers being arrested by now. I’m guessing he and Bloodstone are gonna be pretty anxious wondering what they’ve said.” The tip of his tongue touched his top lip. “Bloodstone’s bound to have told Jeremiah about you and your interest in Pine Lake. You’ve upped the ante Kid. For all they know you coulda made a complaint to the Attorney General about the way Bloodstone treated you in his office. The pressure’ll be piling up so they’ll be looking to get their plan done sooner rather than later before it all turns to dust.”


“Go on.” The Kid sat down, interested.


“So Jeremiah Curry is gonna be very anxious to get Sam’s mill. So far, apart from the few vague threats he made to Sam he hasn’t ACTUALY done anything. But I reckon now he’ll step up the intimidation on Sam. Make good on his threats against him in the hope that he’ll come round. He needs that mill real bad.”


The Kid nodded slowly. “Then we need to warn Sam.”


“Yes, I’ll come to Sam in a moment.” Heyes licked his lips.


“Y’see I reckon Bloodstone will be lending Jeremiah the money to buy Sam’s mill. See Bloodstone couldn’t come right out and lend Jeremiah the money to buy Pine Lake ‘cos that would be perceived as corruption. Bloodstone’s smarter than that. He knows he can’t be personally involved in the purchase of a piece of land sold by his office. On the other hand, Jeremiah can. Question?”


Heyes noticed the Kid’s finger raised.


“Yeah won’t Bloodstone have to declare a family tie?”


Heyes nodded. “Yeah possibly but he’s going through the correct procedure. He’s releasing Pine Lake on the usual release schedule. He’s writing to the interested party in the same way and at the same time as all the other enquirers. The one thing that has spoilt it for him is the mix up over the letters. He hadn’t banked on you and it sounds like it was a complete surprise to him when you turned up in his office wanting to buy Pine Lake.”


The Kid grinned. “Yeah, Cowdry and me got that impression as well.”


“So Jeremiah purchasing Sam’s mill does two things, Kid, er Jed. It provides collateral so Jeremiah CAN buy Pine Lake AND gives him the means to keep his business afloat. By all accounts, Sam has hit on a novel way of using fibrous talc that distances his product from those of his competitors. So if Jeremiah can get his hands on that formula … why he’s made for life isn’t he? He’s got an operation that has competitive advantage and a source of raw material which is hard to come by in these parts.”


Another finger raised.


“The owner of Pine Lake has to sell the ore at a competitive price so … .”


Heyes shook his head furiously. “Yes and he will but there’s other costs he can charge on top. Delivery, finishing costs, quantity differentials. Kid, believe me the list is infinite. He’ll have a monopoly in these parts and he can set his own prices. He stands to make a fortune and I bet Bloodstone is in on a hefty cut.”


Heyes licked his lips.


“But it all hinges on Jeremiah finding somebody suitably intimidating. So I reckon he’ll be on the lookout for some form of replacement for the Bulmer brothers, right about now.” Smug grin. “So perhaps if Jeremiah Curry, accidently on purpose, meets someone who looks like he might be good at doing the intimidating, then wouldn’t events reach their natural conclusion?”


The Kid nodded again. “So … what are you saying? That I should go ahead and sign on with Jeremiah as Kid Curry?” The Kid was incredulous.


“No! No! That’ll never work!” Heyes shook his head with a frown and cleared his throat.


“Heyes I know I’m not a fast gun no more but … .”


“Don’t get proddy, Kid. Would you pass me the water?” he said, hoarsely. “I meant … Wheat.” He held his hand out for the glass.


“Wheat?” the Kid frowned, passing it over.


Heyes took a gulp and nearly spluttered. “Yeah. Look despite what you think, Wheat does have some brains. I wouldn’t be taking him on as manager of my Salt River branch if I didn’t think he could handle it.” He took a sip of water and swallowed it quickly. “He can. He just don’t know it yet.” He shook his head in frustration at getting side tracked. Talking was still painful and he wanted to get this said before his voice gave up altogether. “He can do this Kid. The one thing I’ve always admired about Wheat … .”


“Admired ‘bout him! You?” The Kid was astonished. He shook his head. “Sheesh! I reckon ya still
delirious!”


“Hush up and let me finish.” He paused to take another gulp of water. “The one thing I’ve always admired ‘bout Wheat is he can follow orders. I know! I know! He moans and groans and fights all the way but think about it Kid. When did Wheat ever really let us down?”


Heyes paused to watch the Kid take that in. There were a lot of memories to trawl through so it was a few moments before the Kid shook his head. “I can’t think of any one time,” he said, finally. “Not where he REALLY let us down.”


“Exactly. I can only think of a few little things but they’re nothing serious. We’re all he’s got now Kid and he’s gonna hang on tight ‘cos there’s nothing else for him. And he knows it.” Heyes swallowed. “So he’s gonna follow instructions and he’s gonna try his dammdest to do it right.”


Heyes left the Kid to contemplate that as he tried to clear his throat. He carried on, painfully hoarse. “Let’s see if Wheat can gain Jeremiah Curry’s trust. We’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain. Jeremiah doesn’t know him from Adam and Wheat can try out his new alias, Walter Brown. Jeremiah will have no reason to suspect that Wheat’s anything to do with you.”


The Kid was frowning. “Trust Wheat?” His scratched his cheek. “There’s a novelty,” he murmured.


Heyes smiled. “I know. It took me a while to come to terms with the concept.” He drained the
glass of water and held it out for a refill. The Kid obliged. “And besides … ,” Heyes’ smile turned into a smug grin. “Jeremiah Curry needs a safe breaker. He can’t wait to see if other methods prevail. If he has Sam’s formula, then from what you tell me, that’s a powerful piece of blackmail. And he needs something real persuasive to make Sam sell.” He pursed his lips. “Wheat could perhaps drop a hint that he knows me.”


“Awh, Heyes, you ain’t up to it!” the Kid cried.


“No I know that but your man might pull it off.”


“Cowdry? NO! I’ve asked him to do a lot of things that aren’t in his job description but breaking into a safe will NOT be one of ‘em!”


“He doesn’t have to. He just has to convince Jeremiah Curry that he’s me. If it comes up. He was mistaken for me before remember? And the er ….” He sniffed. “likeness is apparent.” He shrugged. “’Course I’m better looking. Mary says so,” he breathed, tongue in cheek.


“I dunno Heyes,” the Kid frowned. Things were getting serious. On the one hand, he wasn’t sure how far he wanted to take this. On the other, he knew he was in too deep to leave it alone.


“Sam Flixton will have to be in on all of this.”


The Kid shook his head doubtfully. “I dunno Heyes. He was very reluctant to tell us about the threats Jeremiah made in the first place.”


Heyes nodded. “I can understand that. He’s a cautious man and just wants to go about his business. But that’s not your problem. The law will have to ask for his co-operation. We’re asking him to be bait to reel in a big fish here. I’ve got the feeling that this deal with Jeremiah is the tip of the iceberg where Bloodstone’s involved. Scratch a little deeper and I bet there’s all manner of shady deals he’s had dealings with in the past.”


The Kid pursed his lips. “I figured something similar Heyes. While I was in Cheyenne I looked up Lineaus and Anne.” He referred to a couple they’d known back in the day.


“Godfrey?” Heyes widened his eyes. “They still about?”


“Yeah, not in the business no more. Respectable store owners these days. Got a couple of kids. But they still have their contacts and as a favour to an old friend, they agreed to find out about Bloodstone for me. Didn’t take ‘em long, Heyes. Came back to me the very next day.”


“And?”


The Kid grinned. “Ya right. Bloodstone used to be the local agent for the Department of Land Management up in Helena. Heard there was some trouble with a land deal up there. Nothing was ever proved so he just moved offices. Lineaus reckons the Government are watching him though.”


“Then you need to talk to Lom, Kid. This is way too big for us to handle on our own. He’ll know what to do but in the meantime back to my plan. We need Sam’s formula.”


“He’s not gonna willingly give us his formula! It’s how he stays in business!”


Heyes shook his head. It was getting more difficult for him to talk. “He doesn’t have to but he does need to write a formula good enough to fool Jeremiah Curry. You said Jeremiah doesn’t know the first thing about making paper with wood pulp. If he’s got any sense and can READ, he can find that out. But what he really needs is Sam’s formula to make any money. So if he knows, or thinks he knows, that the formula came from Sam’s safe then he’s gonna accept it isn’t he?”


“Yeah, I guess.”


“So Sam has to report a robbery.”


The Kid thought about what Heyes had said.


“How does that help us?” He thought he knew the answer but just to be sure, he wanted Heyes to spell it out.


“Because then … .” Heyes had to gulp several swallows of water before he could continue. “Then Sam can tell Lom and Sheriff Wilcox over at Hardy City about the threats Jeremiah Curry made to him. They can investigate officially and it’ll all come out.” Heyes was more animated now as he struggled to finish before his voice went altogether. “The land deal. The fibrous talc. Bloodstone’s involvement. Everything.”


The Kid smiled slowly. “Heyes, ya’re a genius.”


Heyes grinned. “Was there ever any doubt?” he asked, modestly then ignored the look the Kid gave him. “Talk to Lom first before you do anything.”


“Me?”


Heyes tried to speak but nothing came out but a gah! He shook his head, pointed at his throat and shrugged. Then he held up a finger and wrote something awkwardly with his left hand on a notebook he conveniently had by the side of his bed. He was working on his next novel. About the only thing he could do was jot down ideas as they came to him. He only hoped he could read his scrawl when the time came to write it in earnest.


Turning the notepad round, he held it up for the Kid to read. The Kid frowned and snatched it from him. He looked at it closely and then looked up at Heyes in disbelief.


“When are you gonna go to Salt River and look at my new store?! Hell, Heyes I ain’t had time!”

Heyes raised an eyebrow and shrugged. After all that’s one of the reasons the Kid had SAID he had come out here. The Kid growled. He knew it too. “Alright, I’ll speak to Lom and then I’ll go over.”


Heyes snatched the notepad back and scribbled something else.


“Go by … what’s that’s supposed to be? A train?”


Heyes nodded and smiled. He mimed riding, shook his head and pointed to his leg and arm. Then shook his head again.”


The Kid understood. “Okay, Heyes I’ll go by train.”


Heyes looked pleased.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The Kid stood at the counter in the newspaper office, waiting for Craig to come out from the back.


“Hey, Thaddeus, can I help you?”


“Yeah. Jeremiah Curry. What does he look like?”


“Hmmm.” Craig frowned in thought. “Well he’s a big man. Taller than you. Late middle age, going grey. Has big mutton chops and a goatee. Why?”


The Kid shrugged. “Jus’ wondered what he looks like. ‘Case I run into him.”



Craig pursed his lips. “One moment, I think I can do better than that. Take a seat. Might take me a while to find something which might help.”


The Kid frowned as he took a seat. He watched curiously, as Craig began opening drawers, rummaging around inside before closing them. After ten minutes, he found what he was looking for.


“Ah! Here we are.”


The Kid joined him back at the counter. Craig was sifting through a small pile of photographs. One he turned round to show the Kid.


“Jeremiah Curry was a co-sponsor of a charity horserace a few years ago. The Bugle took a photograph of all the sponsors with the winner. This is the original photograph.”


The Kid looked at the picture of three men in suits, a jockey and the horse with a rosette in it’s bridle. “That’s Jeremiah Curry, second from right.”


The man was how Craig had described but this was more useful.


“Mind if I borrow this?”


Craig hesitated. He didn’t usually lend out his original material but knowing “Deputy Jones” was investigating an important matter, he nodded.


“I’ll need it back though.”


“Yeah sure,” the Kid smiled and touched the brim of his hat. “Thanks Craig.” 


The Kid left the newspaper office and strode over to the jail. He was taking Heyes’ advice about talking to Lom before he did anything further.


Lom sat back in his chair, fingers laced over his stomach as he listened impassively to everything the Kid had found out in Cheyenne. The Kid also went onto outline what Heyes had planned.


“Ya talking about setting him up, Kid. Not sure that’s legal,” he said, doubtfully when the Kid had finished.


The Kid winced, and then shrugged. “Well is it legal if a lawman, investigating a matter has to go undercover to prove it?”


“Ye-ah,” said Lom, suspiciously. He thought about it a bit more and sniffed. “I suppose I could deputise whoever goes undercover. That’ll be alright I guess. Who have ya got in mind? You?”


“Nope.” The Kid hesitated. He knew Lom wouldn’t like this. “Wheat.”


“WHEAT!” Lom put his head in his hands. “Sheesh!”


“Heyes figures Wheat has jus’ about the right amount of intimidating looks that Jeremiah Curry would believe. Wheat can look real mean when he has a mind to.”


“I know! He scared the s**t outta my deputy the other week!”


The Kid grinned. “Bart?”


“Yeah.”


The Kid frowned. “Say what is it with him? Every time I see him, he looks like he’s about to wet himself.”


Lom licked his lips and looked embarrassed. “Yeah, well he may be a bit slow sometimes but he’s a good kid. He er … well he figured out who ya are.”


The Kid shot forward in his chair. “Y’mean he knows I’m Kid Curry!”


“Yeah and that Joshua is really Hannibal Heyes.”


“Hell, Lom that’s …. a big deal for Heyes living here.”


“Yeah I know so I’ve sworn Bart to secrecy.” Lom shook his head. “He’s too scared of me to let slip.” He hesitated. “I think,” he added to himself.


The Kid sat back in his chair. “You’ll have to tell Heyes.”


Lom nodded. “I will. When he’s up and about again.”


The Kid nodded. “So, what d’ya think of Heyes’ plan. Good huh?”


Despite himself, Lom smiled slowly. “It’s a Hannibal Heyes plan alright and it just might work. Supposin’ Jeremiah Curry wants to meet Heyes? Doubt if Mary will let ya march him up to the bedroom.”


“No. Cowdry can stand in for Heyes if that happens. You saw him. Don’t he look like Heyes?”
Lom widened his eyes. “Yeah, frighteningly so.”


Lom thought some more. “Leave it with me, Kid. I’ll need to talk to Wilcox over at Hardy City and Gunnison at Longwater. This is becoming a countywide operation. As the Government already has eyes on Bloodstone, I’ll need to bring a federal marshal in on this. Don’t wanna jeopardise anything they may already got going.”


The Kid nodded and got up.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Something woke Heyes from an afternoon snooze. He wasn’t sure what it was until he heard the bedroom door shut. He opened his eyes and looked round, expecting to see someone. Instead, he saw a hideous piece of furniture. A wooden straight-backed armchair, with a deep base. He knew immediately what it was and groaned. Reacting in anger, he struggled into a sitting position.


“MARY!”


It was four days since he had come round properly and today had been the first day he really felt he was getting well. He was no longer coughing. No longer felt like death warmed up. He was eating more and sleeping less. The pain in his arm, leg and chest had receded to a dull ache. He was even more grateful that no more laudanum was required. Before he had settled down for a snooze, he had talked with Mary about getting up soon.


The Kid reported back that the Salt River store was fitted out and all ready to stock up. Heyes already had the initial stock on hold but he wanted to know the store was ready before he confirmed delivery. He was anxious for the store to open up. Paying rent on an empty property was costing him money.


“MARY!”


Outside on the landing, Mary had stopped and now stood with her eyes closed, calming herself. This was going to be a difficult conversation. John Beecher and Wheat, who had carried the chair into the bedroom, continued on their way downstairs.


Wheat chortled. “He’s awake,” he said, stating the obvious. “Come’n John lets see about some coffee.” He hurriedly pushed John in front of him and out the front door.


“MARY!”


Mary steeled herself, turned and went into the bedroom.


“You bellowed, GB?”


“Yeah! What the hell is THAT?!” An indignant finger pointed at the chair.


Mary smiled and rested her hand on the back. “I borrowed this from Mrs Tatchbrook. You know, the Town Clerk’s mother? It’s a commode.”


“I’m well aware of what it is! What is it doing in MY bedroom?” He was so incensed he was almost on the edge of bed.


“When Ben came yesterday he said, that if you are well enough today when he comes, we might see if we can get you up to sit in a chair for a little while. I thought if you can do that, then you could use this for … you know … your business.”


Heyes stared at her with his outlaw leader’s face on. “Mary, if I’m getting outta this bed, then I’m walking along the landing to the bathroom,” he growled, ominously low. “I’m fed up with having an audience every time I wanna … .” His tongue explored his mouth. “Take it away!”


“I can’t. This is a very solid piece of furniture. It’s too heavy.”


“Then … get … whoever … brought … it … in … here … to … move … it!”


“They’ve gone.”


“Get … ‘em … back!”


Mary took a deep breath and was about to go do that, when the door opened behind her. In came Dr Ben Albright with a cheery smile.


“Ah! I thought I heard yelling so I knew you were awake Joshua,” he said, cheerfully, shutting the door behind him.


Heyes licked his lips, unable to think of anything to say to that. At least not with Mary present. Sensing an ally in Ben, she folded her arms and waited. Heyes chewed on wanting to say something for a few moments, and then growled loudly in defeat. Putting his hand to his head, he fell back amongst the pillows and closed his eyes.


Ben and Mary swapped smiles, as Ben put his doctor’s bag down and opened it. He pulled out a stethoscope, hesitated and then put it back. Probably not a good idea to begin with listening to Heyes’ heart.


“How are you feeling, Joshua?” he asked, gently.


“Fine,” Heyes breathed out deeply, calming himself down. He took his hand away and sighed. “I feel good doc. Like to try getting up if you think it’s a good idea,” he said, contritely.


“I do. I think it’s a very good idea. You sound much better and you look much better. But before we talk about you getting up, I’d like to examine your injuries. I haven’t looked at them properly while you were ill.”


“Ye-ah, okay.” Heyes looked at him. No doubt this would hurt. “Now?”


Ben smiled. “No time like the present.” He turned to Mary. “Would you fetch me a bowl of warm water and a towel, please?”


Mary nodded and went off to do that.


“Now that we’re alone, what’s got you so upset?”


“That thing!” Heyes gave the commode a death stare. “You know what it is right?”


Ben nodded. “Yes, it was me who asked Mrs Tatchbrook if you might borrow it for a spell.”


“Oh great doc! Now the whole damm town knows I can’t … .!” Heyes closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry doc. I feel like an invalid.”


“That’s because you are.”


“It’s not a feeling I’m used to,” Heyes muttered.


Ben looked sympathetic. “Joshua I can’t allow you to take things too fast. I told you from the beginning that this wouldn’t be a quick recovery.”


“Yeah you did but it doesn’t mean I have to like it though does it?” Heyes said petulantly. He was determined to have the last word.


Ben smiled. “No it doesn’t. And we can use that determination to our advantage but in a
CONTROLLED way.”


Heyes frowned. “How d’you mean Doc?”


“Well I’ve been thinking about your arm. Having it in a splint like that isn’t very practical. Not if you want to get up and start moving about. One little knock and you could damage your arm. You’d have to start all over again and even make its healing worse. Especially as you only have one good foot at the moment and will need crutches to get around anyway. The potential to fall is high.”


“So what are you saying?”


“The hospitals back East are using plaster casts to immobilise broken limbs these days. The advantage is the bone is less susceptible to movement. The patient can be more mobile because there is less risk of injury.”


“Sounds good.” He scowled. “I can feel a but.”


“No not really. Except whether it will be suitable for your particular set of circumstances. Let me assess your injuries, with putting your arm in a plaster cast, in mind. If I’m satisfied with both your arm and leg, then we can talk about letting you get up. Okay?”


Heyes nodded.


After a painful but thorough examination, Ben Alright was able to give his verdict. Mary sat on the edge of the bed and Heyes’ hand found its way into hers. She looked at him in surprise and he gave her hand a squeeze.


“I’m happy that the swelling has gone down on your right knee and that you have flexibility without pain.” Heyes had spent several long minutes with his leg in the air, bending and unbending. “A bit of stiffness is to be expected after a period of inactivity. I am also happy that your arm looks clean enough to plaster. If you still had any serious unhealed lacerations on it then I couldn’t but those you do have are healing well. That’s the good news.” He paused. “What I’m not so happy about is your right foot. I suspected at the time that you have what is called a Lisfranc fracture.”


“What’s one of them?” Heyes asked.


“The Lisfranc is where several small bones form the arch on top of the foot. The severe bruising on the bottom of your foot tells me that you have injured all of them. It’s named after a French surgeon during the Napoleonic Wars who was interested in this injury. It’s a very common amongst cavalry soldiers when they fall from their horses but get their foot stuck in the stirrup. Exactly the type of accident that happened to you, Joshua.”


Heyes nodded.


“But the treatment for this injury requires the foot to be non-weight bearing for a time.”


“How long?”


Ben looked doubtful. “Well a minimum of six weeks, maybe longer.”


“I can’t stay in bed for six weeks!” Heyes groaned loudly. “Awh! Jus’ shoot me now!”


Ben swapped glances with Mary. Neither had realised before that Heyes could be so melodramatic.


“You didn’t let me finish,” Ben said, patiently. “There is something I can do.”


Heyes looked interested. “Anything so long as I can get outta this bed!”


“I can plaster your foot. You won’t be able to put your full weight on it but you will be able to get around with the aid of crutches.” Heyes just looked at him. “It’s the best I can do, Joshua. The alternative is … .”


“Yeah, yeah, I get it! Six more weeks in bed!”


“At least.”


Heyes rolled his eyes celling ward and sighed. “I don’t really get a choice do I?”
Ben nodded. “I’ll come back tomorrow and we’ll do it. The plaster will take about 36 hours to dry completely so I can’t let you up until then.” He paused looking at the disgusted look on Heyes’ face. “At least you’ll know the end is in sight Joshua.”


“Ye-ah. Thanks Ben, I do appreciate all you’re doing for me.”


Ben smiled. “I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ll let myself out Mary.”


Mary looked at Heyes after Ben had gone. “What do you think?”


“It’s not exactly what I had in mind … .” He sighed. “There’s no alternative is there?”


“Well you could stay in bed where I can keep an eye on you,” she said with a knowing smile.


Heyes didn’t deign to answer that. “I’m sorry about earlier. I know you’re only trying to make things easier for me.”


She patted his shoulder. “I know how frustrating this must be for a man like you who’s used to always being on the go. Just make the most of it. Write your novel, spend more time with the children, spend more time with me.” She ended by kissing him. He put his arm round her.


“Yeah you’re right. I should do all of those things and maybe I’ll enjoy them too. Er I mean I WILL enjoy them.” He corrected quickly when he saw her face. “Why did you call me GB earlier?”


“Susan has nicknamed you, Grumpy Bear. You were living up to your name.”


Heyes laughed. “Ha!”

_________________
Kid Curry and that other fella; Hannibal Heyes and whatsname
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