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 Reservation

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PostSubject: Reservation   Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:19 am

Time for a new challenge and at least we have a little more month to complete it in this month. Your prompt is


Rolling Eyes  Reservation No


That means your story can be based around so many takes on the word; from having doubts about someone or something, Native American Lands, a booking in a hotel or a train (or anywhere else for that matter), or to keep something back. You have all those or anything else your ingenious minds can come up with.


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Don't forget to comment on February's stories before moving on to March. Comments are the only thanks our writers get.  
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PostSubject: Re: Reservation   Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:26 pm

This is an old story. My apologies to those who may have read it elsewhere. Still it fit the prompt and I'm not sure if I'll be able to come up with something or have the time to write this month.

So... another apology is in order, please take the story in the manner of which it is intended - harmless fun. No disparagement is intended to Native Americans. I have done absolutely no research into customs, habits or beliefs of Native Americans. The story is based on a mish-mash of childhood un-politically correct vague ideas. 
 
It Never Rains But It Pours

Under a brilliant blue sky, unbroken by even a wisp of white, two men rode their listless horses at a slow walk. In no particular hurry, they engaged in companionable conversation as they threaded their way through the saguaro cacti and rolling tumbleweeds. The heat waves shimmered in the distance and the time of day was rapidly approaching when all sensible creatures sought shelter from the relentless rays of the sun. The dark-haired one of the two lifted his arm and pointed to the red, brown, and yellow striated cliffs in the middle distance. A floppy brown hat was adjusted to better shield blue eyes and the blond nodded his agreement. The two swerved to their right and headed towards the mesa. 

Kid Curry was hot. He was sweating. He was uncomfortable and thirsty. He didn’t like the desert heat; he didn’t much like the cold either. And he didn’t care that Heyes seemed to tolerate extreme climates with aplomb, especially when Heyes kept reassuring him that at least it was dry heat. Kid thought, of course, it’s dry, it’s the desert where it hadn’t rained in God knew when. Even the hardy desert plants looked thirsty to him. Kid hoped the small spring at the back of a cave was still running. They had enough water to last them to their destination, if they were careful, but a chance to replenish the water supply was welcomed since the partner’s lives was rarely without incident. 

A slowly moving shadow crossed the horse’s path and both partners looked up. Soaring in lazy circles ever higher on the wind currents was a magnificent large eagle. The eagle swerved and swooped sharply down, straight at the Kid before pulling up yards from the partners. A large white-tipped brown feather drifted down to and fro in the resulting breeze from the bird’s sudden dive. Heyes scanned the ground, trying to spot possible prey and finding no signs of life looked up in time to see his stunned partner pluck the drifting feather from mid-air. Kid pulled his hat from his damp curls and placed the impressive eagle feather in the hat band. Satisfied with his new adornment, Curry remarked, “Maybe it’s a good omen” as he reseated the hat upon his head. Heyes smirked indulgently and the partners continued onward.

“What do you think?” Heyes peered into the dark mouth of the cave they had planned to rest the afternoon away in. The larger cave at the end of a rocky outcrop, if they remembered correctly, was the one, among the several, that contained the small spring. 

“Only one man in moccasins and the tracks look fresh to me,” Kid replied thoughtfully, while examining the soft ground. 

“We might be crossing the Reservation but I’m pretty sure we avoided all the Indian settlements; don’t know why a lone brave would be here. There hasn’t been any rain in ages and the air is still as can be, they could have been here for a while.” 

“We’re not in Southern Utah, Heyes, so your tracking skills aren’t champion-like. You aren’t looking very closely are you. The edges are still pretty sharp and there aren’t any insect tracks crossing at least the one set of tracks. I don’t know about you but I sure don’t want to surprise any Indian.”

“It’s pretty quiet, let’s just scout the cave out. Do you really want to continue riding in this heat?” Heyes looked knowingly at his sweaty, sunburned partner.

Curry sighed, unhooked the hold on his holster and dropped quietly from his buckskin mare. He nodded at Heyes to stay where he was, atop the sorrel gelding, and as silently as he could he crept into the cool dimness. 

Several minutes later, finished with his scouting and ready to report his findings, Kid slowly backed out along the side of the cave. The gunman drew his Colt at the sudden sight that greeted him.

Heyes, still atop his horse, was not alone. A male Indian, somewhat older than the partners, was engaged in a surprised starring standoff with the ex-outlaw. The brave was dressed in native moccasins and shirt but with western style jeans and hat and his only weapon appeared to be a sheathed knife hanging from the intricately tooled belt. The three men stood stock still until Kid raised his left hand, palm outward, his right hand still pointing the revolver straight at the stranger. 

“How”

Heyes rolled his eyes at Kid, contemplated their situation, and decided that Kid was the only one seemingly hostile at the moment. 

“What are you doing here? Who are you?” asked the Indian.

“Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones,” Heyes explained while helpfully pointing to himself and his partner. “Thaddeus, I think you can put your gun away. Excuse him, we aren’t used to encountering English speaking Indians, actually, we try to avoid Indians altogether. We were planning on resting ourselves and our horses during the heat of the day, replenishing our water supply, too. Didn’t think anyone would be here.”

“I’m Soaring Eagle, I prefer Ed. It’s a long story. Come on in out of the heat.” Ed slipped into the cave, keeping a wary eye on Kid as he did so. Heyes and Curry glanced at each other then at the retreating back of the nonconventional Indian, shrugged and settled their horses just inside the cave. 

Two ex-outlaws and one Indian lounged around a small fire a few feet from the cool spring. Conversation passed easily between the men as they shared a common meal. 

“So, let me get this straight, Ed, you’ve spent most of your life in Washington with your father, a tribal representative, no wonder you speak English so well, and now that your Grandfather is getting older your tribe has decided you have to start training to take his place as the medicine man? Sheesh, you don’t seem the medicine man type, no offense intended,” Heyes stated.

“No offense taken, Joshua. I’m not. I’ve been trying. I’ve got most things straight, the plant remedies, and the basics down but I’ve been faking the entire mystical thing. This is my test. I’m supposed to meditate, use visons to commune with my spirit animal to bring much needed rain. Only the eagle has been silent, my visions are anything but mystical and there isn’t a drop of rain anywhere. I told Grandfather to choose my brother but the old man is stubborn. I can’t stay out here much longer and I can’t go back without at least some rain drops.”


Curry wondered, genuinely curious. “Have you have any visions? What are they about?”

Heyes smacked the Kid on the arm, “Thaddeus, that’s personal, you don’t ask a medicine man something like that.”

“It’s okay, I don’t mind. Yes, I’ve had visions out here, after all, the mushrooms help.” Ed rummaged around in a small leather pouch hanging at his side and drew forth several small dried mushroom buttons. “I want to be an elder of the tribe, just not as a medicine man. The visions I have, plus what I’ve learned living with the white men, will do the tribe more good than I can ever accomplish as a medicine man.” 

Ed suddenly sat up straighter and focused on the large perfect eagle feather that was tucked in the silver hat band on Thaddeus’s hat. “Nice feather, you have. Maybe the eagle will speak through you. You want to help a poor Indian out?” 

Kid threw a bewildered gaze at Heyes, which quickly turned into a scowl at his partner’s barely contained sniggering. 

“Thaddeus loves to help needy folk out, don’t you Thaddeus. Why he can’t help himself, everywhere we go he’s gets involved in someone’s problems. He’s a regular do gooder, he is.”

“Cut it out, Joshua,” snapped Curry. “I don’t think I can help you, Ed, I’m not Indian and I don’t know nothin’ about visions or making it rain.”

Ed caught Heyes’ twinkling eyes and became a little more enthusiastic about the idea; if nothing else it would relieve the boredom. 

“I can work with you Thaddeus, why don’t you give a try, it can’t hurt. Who will know but us? Joshua won’t tell a soul, will you Joshua?” 

Heyes crossed his fingers surreptitiously while he prodded Ed Soaring Eagle on, “What’s he gotta do” 


Two men stood appraising the third critically and nodded satisfactorily at the blond dressed in ceremonial Indian dress complete with appropriate amulets hanging down his bare chest and face paint. The impressive eagle feather was incorporated into the headdress that sat incongruently on blond curls. Kid, finished chewing on one of the mushroom buttons offered by Ed, and hoped he wasn’t being poisoned. He knew he should feel utterly ridiculous but strangely he wasn’t bothered at all. 

Ed took Thaddeus by the hand and walked him through the basic steps of a rain dance. Thaddeus caught on quickly and started to move according to an internal rhythm as he thought of music in the sounds of a rain storm. 

“This is never gonna work,” laughed Heyes enjoying the sight of his partner making a fool of himself, especially since the Kid didn’t seem to care. 

“Nope, probably not, but nothing I’ve done has worked either.” 

“Come sit down and tell me about what you really rather do, while we keep an eye on Thaddeus.” The two men settled themselves back down just inside the cooler cave and resumed conversation. 

“Well, the way I see it, white men like to gamble and they like to drink but not in front of their women folk, so much. And they’re willin’ to spend a lot of money doing it. Us Indians have got reservation land that’s not worth much and it’s getting harder to survive. I think that the tribe should build a big saloon right along the railroad tracks at the end of the reservation, a big one, a great big one with lots of gaming tables. It needs long bars with whiskey of all kinds and girls, don’t forget the girls - white girls, china girls, black girls, all kinds. Everyone’s money is good money. The tribe owns the house, employs many of our people. We build a hotel next to the great big fancy saloon and stores to sell our genuine handmade Indian wares. Actually, the stuff we make is pretty good. The tribe has some talented jewelry makers, squaws who make real pretty bead work, pottery, blankets and such; we’d sell them to the men to take back to their wives and girlfriends. The railroad builds a station so they can make money running trains out for the gamblers to have a good time without being bothered and then they go home. We get rich.”

Heyes nodded as Ed talked, it sounded good to him. He felt compelled to ask skeptically, “You saw this in a vison, must be mighty fine mushrooms? How are you gonna convince the elders of your tribe?”

Ed Soaring Eagle grinned, “In a vison no, I’ve been developing this plan ever since I came back west but it’s not tradition and I’ve only explained small parts of it. The elders are not impressed. They only think in terms of mystical visions not true business vision. I know it can work, but I’m a man ahead of my time” 

Kid Curry was in his own little psychedelic world swaying and stepping in tune to the colors of the desert swirling around him. He smelled rain, heard it in his head, and felt his skin tingle with anticipation. Curry danced on. 

Heyes and Ed bandied suggestions back and forth to improve upon Ed’s plan for some time. Ed muttered, “It won’t come to anything though unless I can convince my grandfather that the spirit showed me the way. And that won’t happen unless it rains, which it isn’t going to do. Just a few drops over the village, that’s all I need.”

Heyes had to agree, it was a good plan, might even happen someday but Ed’s chances of convincing a tribe of peaceful traditional Indians to jump into the saloon, gambling and whorehouse business in a big way was as likely as Kid making it rain.

A low rolling rumble came roaring across the dry desert. Loud booms reverberated off the mesa and the ground shook. Huge towering steel gray clouds scudded across the sky. Lightening crackled in the distance. Low blankets of dark gray trailed behind the thunder clouds to cloak the brilliant rays of the afternoon sun. 

Heyes and Ed Soaring Eagle jumped to their feet, mouths hanging open in disbelief. 

Sheets of soaking rain advanced, drenching the desert with life-giving water as far as the eye could see.

Kid Curry stood still, the majestic eagle feather askew, rain sluicing down his glistening chest, and his eyes shining with pride. He lifted his arms to the sky and threw back his head to let thousands of cooling, tiny prism raindrops hit him full in the face. Turning to face his companions Kid calmly announced, “It never rains but it pours.”
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PostSubject: Re: Reservation   Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:14 pm

So, here is my revised version of young Hannibal Heyes' younger years. It's a little different from the usual history, but it fits.


   The first ten years of Hannibal’s life had been what every little boy dreamed of having. His father had been strong and extremely intelligent. He could have done anything with his life, but the desire to own land and be his own boss out-weighed any other interests. In his spare time; when he had spare time, he wrote poems and stories. On those dark and cold winter nights, when all the chores were done, he would delight his children by reading to them. Once they got to know the stories, they would assume roles and enact plays, giving the tales new magic and life.

   Hannibal excelled at it. He seemed able to change his voice, his mannerisms, and even his physical appearance to suit the character he was portraying. His father often teased him that he was wasted being a farmer’s son and should find his path upon the stage. It never occurred to anyone, that the farmer’s son would turn this talent to more nefarious activities.

   Another thing Hannibal excelled at was his school work, even though his behavior in class would have suggested otherwise. He drove everybody to distraction, teacher and students alike, with his shenanigans and outright misbehaving. Their teacher was young, but wise in the ways of education. She discovered early on that Hannibal’s main problem was that his mind was too agile, too quick to stay focused on anything for long. As soon as the lesson had been explained once, he had grasped it, and boredom would set in.

   As difficult as this behavior was to deal with, what was harder, was seeing how Jed would get pulled into mischief with his friend. Jed was a bright boy in his own right, but he learned differently than Hannibal. He needed more time to grasp new concepts, but Hannibal refused to give it to him. Jed would be right on the verge of understanding the lesson, when the older boy would pull his attention away and distract him with antics that were significantly more fun than learning his ABC’s. Jed hero-worshipped his cousin, and his education suffered for it.

   Every summer, Hannibal and his mother would make the journey into Wyoming to visit her people for a month. Her father had insisted, before he gave permission for Kimami to marry this white man, he must agree that she not lose her connection with her ancestors. Edward Heyes had agreed. Every year, Kimami would return to Crowheart Butte in the Yellowstone, where her family spent their summers hunting and fishing and preparing for the winter months that followed.

   While living in Kansas, as the wife of a white man, Kimami adapted to that lifestyle. She wore the acceptable clothing, spoke English as though she were born to it, and agreed that her son should have a white man’s education. She went to church on Sundays and participated in the socials on Saturdays. She was well liked in the community, and with her name anglicized to Kimi, many forgot about her Shoshoni heritage.

   But Kimami did not forget. While her husband made sure his children were well educated in the English literary classics and were aware of the most recent scientific and medical advancements, Kimami would take her son to the side, and in the language of her people, insure his education became well-rounded in this area as well. Whenever she could discreetly do so, she’d tell her son about his other people, his Shoshoni people. Hannibal would go out of his way to help his mother prepare meals or with the cleaning up afterwards, just for the opportunity to hear stories of his ancestors and of the Spirit Guides, of great warriors and strong women. He absorbed it all.

   Kimami also insisted on taking her son with her every year when she returned to her family home.
Hannibal loved it. He not only got to play at being an Indian, for one month out of every year, he was an Indian! He developed friendships with the other boys his age, learning how to play their games and function within their social system. He ran wild, his dark hair growing long and adorned with feathers. His skin tanned, and his body firmed to the point that his friends back in Kansas would not have recognized him.

   His uncle, Mukua, taught him how to track game and to ride a horse, Indian style, so that even as a young boy, he had developed these skills far beyond that of the average white man. Learning how to hunt with a bow and arrow, his eye/hand co-ordination was so acutely developed that he became an even better shot with a rifle than his father was.

  He loved his grandfather and would sit for hours in the evenings just to listen to him talk. To young Hannibal, he appeared to be ancient in both years and wisdom. He was the medicine man, Nat-soo-gant, to this tribe, so he was respected by all members, and his words of council were always considered before any major decisions were made. Hannibal burst with pride to be the grandson of such an important man, and he so wanted to grow up to be just like him.

   His homecoming to Kansas was always bitter sweet. He never wanted to leave Crowheart and if it had been up to him, he would have stayed there forever and become a full Shoshoni warrior. But it was not up to him, and Kimami knew she had to return to her husband. She would miss her family and look forward to their next visit, but she loved the man whom she had married. Even without the disgrace that would befall her if she left her husband, she would never have considered such a thing. So, Hannibal would leave behind his feathers and bone breast plate, re-don his Anglican cloths, get a haircut, and board the coach back to Kansas with his mother.

   Jed was always over-joyed at Hannibal’s return. That one month without his cousin’s company seemed longer than all the other months of the year put together. He counted the days and often couldn’t sleep the few nights leading up to his friend’s homecoming.


   Hannibal had to admit that, he too, would become restless and excited as the train took them closer to their homestead. Once they disembarked, they still had to catch another coach that would take them closer to their town, then wait for his father to drive in with the buckboard to complete the journey home. By the time all this was accomplished, Hannibal had stopped missing his Shoshoni family, and was anxiously awaiting the reunion with his best friend.

   All the rest of that summer, Hannibal would show Jed the new things he had learned while away. They would go hunting and fishing and riding the old plow horse when she wasn’t working the field or too heavy with foal. She wasn’t quite the same as galloping across the open plains upon the back of a wiry mustang, but she was better than nothing.

   Jed would absorb it all, and Hannibal would be placed even higher on the pedestal that Jed had constructed for him. By the time Hannibal had reached his tenth year, he was already seeing himself as one separate and above his peers. It was an attitude that would stay with him well into his adult years and would cause him more trouble and misery than even his wise grandfather could have foreseen.

   Returning home from Crowheart during the summer of his tenth year, he was not to know that it would be his last visit there as a child. Terror and devastation over-ran the family shortly after Kimami and her two children returned to their Kansas farm. Nothing was the same after that. Both Hannibal and Jed lost their families through horrifying events, then thrown into an orphanage. His father’s family, enraged over a heathen marriage, denied any connection to the orphaned Hannibal, and life at the orphanage only brought him and Jed more misery.

   Once they left the Home, Hannibal tried to get them back to his Shoshoni family but was unable to do so. Life wasn’t finished beating them up yet, and the need for food and shelter kept them close to the larger cities where it was easy to disappear into a crowd. Even then, by the time they were taken in to become flim-flammers, they were a sorry, desperate pair of teenagers. All that mattered to them then, was survival, and Hannibal forgot about his Shoshoni family.

   Then Jed left him.

   Hannibal could not admit to being heartbroken. His grief came out in anger, spurred on by feelings of betrayal. His younger cousin, who was always following in his footsteps, always hanging off every word Hannibal said, always putting him up on that pedestal and gazing upon him with blind admiration, had walked out on him. Gone off to find his own way in life, a life that did not include Hannibal.

   Hannibal tried to find him, but anger and betrayal clouded his eyes and deafened his ears. Besides that, he had taught Jed, too well, how to hide his tracks, and Jed had put those skills to good use. Hannibal gave it up.
Then Wyoming began pulling on him again. He returned to Crowheart Butte; to the Shoshoni people, and the only family he now had left. The white man’s world had given him nothing but misery and betrayal, so he went home to the last place where he could remember being truly happy. He threw away his Anglican heritage and return to his true family; to his mother’s people.


   He went through the rituals, going into seclusion to receive his vision and the image of his talisman that he must always have with him for luck and to keep him safe. He was also given his adult name during his contact with the spirit world, and just like the child’s name his mother had given him, it was sacred and powerful. He would become full Shoshoni and disappear from the white man’s world.

   But it was too late.

   His vision told him that it was not to be, but he did not want to accept it. A coin was his talisman, but the Shoshoni had no need for money; it was not their way. Money was the white man’s burden.

   The name his spirits gave him, Napai’aishe; Two At The Same Time, indicated that he would never be just one person and never settling in just one life. Always, there would be ambiguousness, complexities and contradictions.    He was a man apart, and his main path in this lifetime was to reconcile with all those different people whom he was, and to ultimately find acceptance and contentment.

   When he first arrived at Crowheart, he was welcomed with open arms. A feast was organized in his honor. There was dancing, and music, and many stories were told. A sadness fell over the gathering when Hannibal spoke of his mother’s fate and of all the ordeals forced upon him since then. But his grandfather assured him that sad as this news was, it was not unexpected. With so many years having gone by since Kimami’s last visit, her family had smoked and entered the spirit world to ask of her fate. The Spirits showed them chaos, fire and blood, and much screaming. But nothing more; nothing concrete. Still, for those wise enough to know how to read the Spirits, it was obvious that Kimami was lost to them.

   Since it is not polite to speak of the dead, nothing more was said on it and Hannibal continued in his blessed ignorance of a lost sister whom he had forgotten ever existed.

   He stayed with the Shoshoni through that summer and into the early fall, but try as he did, even Hannibal knew it wasn’t going to work. He had been too long in his father’s world and the simpler life of the Indians soon began to wear upon his brilliant mind.


   As a young child, he had naturally adapted to the different culture, making friends quickly and holding no judgement. But, as a young adult, even those boys he had laughed and ridden and hunted with, now looked upon him with adult suspicions. And his uncle was no longer with the tribe. Hannibal no longer fit in, and he knew it. It was awkward, and he was unhappy.

   When his grandfather called him to his teepee one evening, his heart sank because he knew what the discussion was going to be. Accepting the truth himself was difficult, but hearing the same dictate coming from his grandfather was another heartbreak for the young man to endure.


   If might have been different, his grandfather said, if they had still been living free and clear on their own land. But they were on reservation land now, and subject to certain conditions. Eventually the Indian Agent would know, and Hannibal would be forced to leave anyway. A white man would not be permitted to remain living with the tribe, and Hannibal was a white man now. He had been a white man’s son and raised within the white man’s world, so there he must return.

   “There has also been other trouble, that you do not know of,” his grandfather stated. “Netuá: my son, and your uncle, is no longer with us.”

   Hannibal’s heart sank. “Mukua is dead? How?”

   “No, he is not dead. He is simply not with us. The white man’s agents came and tried to take Mukua’s son from him. They have taken many of our children to go live at the Residential Schools to teach them White Man’s ways. Mukua did not want this for his son. He killed the white man who had taken the boy.
   “Many of us here thought it was a noble thing. He was protecting his family, so it was an honorable killing. But the Indian Agent did not see it this way. He came here, searching for Mukua, telling us that we must hand him over to face white man’s justice. But we did not see it this way.
   “Still, Mukua could not stay here. He left behind his family and has disappeared, so, to us, he is dead.
   “Since it is impolite to speak of the dead, I tell you this for only one reason. It is not safe for you here. As said, once the white man knows you are here, he will take you away. Normally they leave us alone, and we could hide you, but not now. They watch us, and often drop by without being invited, which is very rude. But they are looking for Mukua, and they will surely find you.
   “I don’t understand the logic of the white man. Though you are a young man now and have completed the necessary rituals to move into adulthood, the white men may still see you as a child. They may try to put you in one of these schools; they may try to convince you that your mother’s people are worthless. That you should be all white man.
    “Even though you must leave here and live among the whites, I pray to the Spirits that you will not forget us. That you will honor your mother and your people.”

     Hannibal’s eyes filled with tears. Not just because he had to leave, but because of the tragedy that had befallen his uncle and friend. And for his grandfather, who had suffered such losses. He nodded his acquiesce.


   “I will, Grandfather. I will always honor you. I promise.”

   Hannibal’s grandmother, Daa’za, made him a special gift. Traditionally, when a young man came of age, she would make him a breast plate of the finest quality, using only the best elk bone, buffalo leather, and silver acquired through trade with the more southern tribes. But since Napai’aishe would not be remaining with the Shoshoni, she used the same materials to make for him a fine belt.


   The belt was long enough, that Hannibal also had a hat band made from it. He cherished these items for the gifts that they were, and he wore them all his life.


   It was with a heavy heart that he set out for lower ground before the winter snows began to blow. He felt lost and confused, and very much alone. He, literally, had no family left. His parents and siblings had all been massacred. His father’s family had rejected him as an inferior before he was even born, and now his mother’s family, though acknowledging kinship and affection, had also sent him on his way. His cousin had abandoned him, and as far as Hannibal was concerned, that was the end of it. He had no one left.

   So, he decided; if neither world would accept him, then he’d have to make a whole new world for himself. He’d do it, too. Using his own intelligence, his finely tuned skills and the courage of his forefathers, he’d show them all. The West would come to know the name: Hannibal Heyes, and he would be respected; he would be somebody. And he didn’t need anybody else to help him get there.
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Nebraska Wildfire

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PostSubject: Re: Reservation   Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:18 pm

I think this piece can stand on its own, after some discussions we've had about what might happen if the boys became involved or married before they received amnesty.  However if you are interested, I have posted earlier chapters of this storyline in the August - November challenges last fall.


Reservations


The harvest been plentiful, in more ways than one.  The Kid had stayed to help bring in the abundant crops.  He also was surprisingly good with his little namesake, Thaddea Jerusha.

I had asked Ellie if she really wanted to saddle such a tiny baby with such a big name, but she simply nodded, and said it had not seemed to bother me any.  She has walked away with a slight smile on her face, while all I could do was scowl.

Ever since the Kid had showed up again, things between Ellie and me had been, to put it mildly, strained.  To put it honestly, she had asked me if I loved him more than I loved her.  It did not help matters when I hesitated before answering.  I knew she could feel my reservations.

“Ellie, he’s my cousin,” I tried to explain.  “My only remaining family.”

“And what’s me and Dea to you then?”  Her eyes flashed.  The last time I saw her so animated, was before her father and brother were killed, and she was scolding them.  In some ways, I think she treated me like a child.  I had come to her shot up and on the brink of death.  I do not think she’d gotten over that.

“What you and I and Dea have, well, it’s different.  You gotta know that.”  I pleaded.  It did not sit well with me to plead, but I didn’t know where else to go with this discussion.

Her eyes bore into mine.  “Oh, I realize all too well, that your feelings for me are different.”  She then stalked off to finish her canning.

Surprisingly, she and the Kid got along wonderfully.  I think it had something to do with his bond with Thaddea, but that wasn’t the extent of it.  He had no problem being mothered by her.  She’d often tussle his hair, and give him a hug, and more smiles than I had ever received from her.  Granted, when he showed up, he looked like a skeletal version of his old self, which of course had brought out Ellie’s compassion.  It seems when I left him for dead, I wasn’t far off.

He had told me about the amnesia, and the long road he had traveled to recovery.  He told me about Bessie and his reservations on how he had left her.  Our eyes had met, and we both looked over to Ellie bouncing Dea on her hip while she stirred the soup for supper.

“You’ve not told her, Heyes?” he asked quietly.

I simply shook my head.  My gift of words had not completely returned.

“You know we can’t stay.”  He sighed and looked down.  Then he refocused that still blue gaze on me, the one that said I might be the smart, scheming one, but he knew better how to assess the threat.

It all finally came to a head one night Sheriff Newcomb came to visit.

I had of course met him back when he had come to tell Ellie about her father's and brother’s deaths.  He had not seen anything in me other than a drifter down on my luck, and someone who might watch out for Ellie for a while, until I had to move on.

I know we had surprised a few of the folks in town when we married.  Many let it go, when Ellie started to definitely show later in her pregnancy, but some thought it might have been better after all, if I had just moved on.  Ellie had always been able to take care of herself, long before I showed up.  Many thought she’d be better without me around.  They figured she had already supported enough lazy outlaws.

Surprisingly Sheriff Newcomb had let me be.  I’m certain he had his reservations, but as long as Ellie was happy, he left things as they were.  When the Kid showed up, he paid us a visit.  Ellie just smiled at Newcomb, since when he arrived the Kid was actually dawdling Dea on his knee.  The sheriff had a strange look on his face, but just smiled back at Ellie, and declined her invitation to supper.  He would give the Kid and me that same strange look, whenever we were in town for supplies, but then just nod at us, and saunter back down to his office.

The next time the sheriff came to visit, the look on his face was different.  It was a look of mixed regret and agitation.  

I had been walking back from the barn after settling the animals for the night.  The Kid was still off on a final round of the perimeter.  Some habits die hard.  Some needed to.  I saw him stop at the tree line, when he noticed the sheriff riding onto the place.  I gave him a nod to come on in to us.  I didn’t want the sheriff any more suspicious of us than he already seemed.  Besides, honestly, the two of us could easily take him.  The Kid would have let me know if the sheriff had not arrived alone.  Old habits reassert themselves easily enough, especially if they have kept you alive in the past.

“Sheriff Newcomb,” I gave him my best smile, but he just sighed.

“Boys,” he shook his head.  “I hate to do this to you.”  He shook his head again and looked sadly at me.

“Do what?” I asked, but I already knew.

“Boys, a bounty hunter came through this afternoon.”

The Kid was already still, but his eyes became glacial.  “He still around?” He knew he was not on the place, but we wondered about town.

Newcomb shook his head.  “I sent him on towards Bardstown.”

The Kid’s tension stepped down a level, but mine rose.

“He said he had been trailing a notorious outlaw, who had been going from town to town, looking for his partner.”  The sheriff looked from the Kid to me.  “I told him no one like that had come through town.”  He looked down.  “I’ll give you good odds that he’ll be back soon enough.”

I nodded.  Newcomb knew who we were or would figure it out soon enough.  I agreed that we had to leave.  Thoughts were swirling in my mind, and plans were formulating.  It was sluggishly from disuse, but coming up to speed quickly enough.

Then I looked up and saw Ellie standing in the doorway.  

Time stilled, then stopped.

She knew who we were.  I could see it in her eyes.  I had not seen that knowledge before, but it obviously had been there.  I wondered what else I had missed.

Her eyes glittered with unshed tears, as she turned back into the darkness of the house.

The Kid and I had stayed in front of the house after the sheriff had departed, discussing our plans.

He looked towards the house, as we heard pots banging, the noise eventually waking Dea.

“You need to go in there, Heyes?”  He nodded towards the house.

I took a deep breath.  “Eventually.”

“She’ll just get madder,” said the people’s philosopher.

I nodded but did not move towards the house.  My reservations had me paralyzed.

“Heck, Heyes, sometimes I wonder how we ever managed to rob a bank or train, as much of a chicken as you are at times.”  

He started towards the house.  I grabbed his arm.  He looked down where I touched him, and then back up at me.  Somehow, I expected the look he always gave folks who disagreed with him and got in his way.  What I received, before he pulled free and headed in through the doorway, was pity.

Even as he walked into the house, and I heard the soft murmur of his conversation with Ellie, I could not move.  My silver tongue was rusty.  I was not certain what to say.  I sat on the porch, for a while longer, looking out over the fields and all I had come to know here.

Finally, the Kid came to the door, with Dea in his arms.  She gurgled at me, and my heart almost broke, until I took her in my arms.  I was not quite certain what look passed between the Kid and me, but my reservations were gone and I was able to finally walk into that house.

Dinner was fairly quiet, even silent, except for Dea’s coos.  I held her as Ellie efficiently fed us.  Luckily it was chicken and dumplings, so I could hold Dea while still eating.  I did not know if I could even say enough to Ellie to be able to hand the baby to her.

As we finished, Dea became fussy.  Ellie got up, took her from me, and went into the sitting room to feed her.  No words passed between us.  I tried to catch her gaze, but she refused.

I sighed and put my elbows on the table resting my head on my hands.

“What am I going to do, Kid?”

“Go talk to her,” he answered.

“No, that’s not what I meant,” I started.

He stood up and put his hand on my shoulder.  “I know that, Heyes.”  He started clearing the dishes from the table, but turned back to me, nodding with his head.  “Go ‘fore I have to make you.”

Ellie was rocking in the chair in the corner, looking out into the gathering darkness.  Tears were streaming down her face.  I could hear Dea suckling quietly, but Elllie had covered her with a blanket, something she never had done before when it was just us.

“Ellie,” I began, but she just shook her head.

“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” she asked, the anger was gone from her voice.

“That I was an outlaw, and was wanted?  You knew that.”  I was stalling.

“No, that you were Hannibal Heyes.”  She finally looked at me.

“When did you figure it out?” I asked quietly.

She looked towards the kitchen, from where we heard a splash and a mild curse.  We did not hear any breaking crockery, so Ellie smiled for the first time in days.

“When he showed up, I knew you couldn’t be anyone else.”

“How?”  I scowled.  “You know there are a lot of men out there that fit those descriptions on our wanted posters.”

She actually laughed, softly, so as not to wake Dea, who had settled into a nap.

“Probably not any who call each other Heyes and Kid.”

It was my turn to laugh.  Dea fussed in her sleep, and Ellie handed her to me, so she could fasten up her blouse.  I laid her on my chest, patting her gently.  A burp released, and she settled, contented.

“When you told me about your quest for amnesty, it got me thinkin’.”  She looked out into the night.  “Who on earth would the governor be able to string along for two years?”  She looked back at me.  “Had to be someone awful dumb.”

I started to protest, but Dea stirred, and I subsided.  A sharper look might have been directed towards Ellie.

“Or someone awfully desperate.”  She met my gaze.  “I knew you weren’t stupid.”

“Desperate about covers it,” I said sadly.  “I never meant to hurt you.”

She nodded.  “Me either.”

I knew I was about to shatter her heart, and I was not feeling so good myself.  My reservations no longer had me paralyzed.  They had forced me into action, but I only felt worse.

Before we left, I told her how to contact Lom, if she needed.

“I’ll be fine,” she insisted.  Her hard shell was starting to surround her again.  She appeared to have no reservations, but I knew better.

I kissed her desperately before I mounted my horse and followed the Kid out of the clearing.

I did not look back.  I would not have been able to leave if I had.
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Remuda

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PostSubject: Re: Reservation   Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:15 am

So, the story behind this nonsense.  For lack of bunnies recently and since I'd never written anything about the guys’ post-amnesty life, a challenge was presented to me to do so.  Had no idea where to start, so started scribbling, and this was the result.


Testament


Special to the New York Herald via the Bismarck Tribune. 

The latest in our series of interesting notes on the Old West – now in 1912 declared no more. 

Today, we continue our glimpse into the notorious careers of Hannibal Heyes and Jedediah “Kid” Curry, considered by some to have been the most successful outlaws in the history of the West.  We do not seek to be voyeurs; no, indeed.  The gentlemen are still quite alive and with us; and hopefully, as now upstanding citizens, will be with us for a long time to come, God willing.  Here, then, we present a little known event, perhaps bordering on narrative anecdote; but, we are assured by those who have knowledge of these circumstances, at least somewhat true.

So after the unfortunate, or perhaps fortunate, events at the aftermath of the Junction City affair, Hannibal Heyes and Jedediah Curry, having been left penniless theretofore, left their birth state of Kansas behind, yet again, to seek calmer and more prosperous climes elsewhere.  Not wanting to again find themselves in such a bankrupt situation; subsequently, and with great, diligent, and undivided focus, said gentlemen saved their respective earnings from delivery and other various and sundry jobs, together and separate, for one Colonel Harper (retired), until they had a substantial sum (the total of which sum is unknown). 

After consultation with their friend and mentor, Sheriff Lom Trevors, they deposited most of said sum with Sheriff Trevors in furtherance of their secret quest for amnesty from the Governor of the Territory of Wyoming; as well as for said sum’s protection, lest Messrs. Heyes or Curry lose it under temptation – at the poker tables or otherwise (we will not deign to imagine such other temptations of the time here).  Under the circumstances, and also to further protect them and himself, Sheriff Trevors thought it wise to have legal documents drawn up to declare and direct the disposition of said sum.

To effectuate said process, at Messrs. Heyes and Curry’s recommendation, Sheriff Trevors sent for the esteemed Chester Brubaker, Esquire; who represented Messrs. Heyes and Curry at the conclusion of the Junction City affair; and who both knew their real identities and was trusted with that knowledge.  After acquiring pro hac vice status for this purpose in the State of Colorado, Attorney Brubaker drafted, finalized, and had executed, and witnessed, the Testaments of each of Hannibal Heyes and Jedediah Curry.  Mr. Brubaker had the foresight to bring with him his trusted secretary, notary, and friend, a Mr. Ambrose Day, who being in Mr. Brubaker’s employ, was considered trustworthy to a fault; and who also obtained a notary public commission in Denver City (as the town was then known) for the occasion.

Now, yes, it was at first true that Messrs. Heyes and Curry had reservations of signing “final papers,” as they called it; superstitious as they were of the process.  However, once they understood how important it was to Sheriff Trevors that they do this, they followed through; the amnesty’s being of such import to them.  They reasoned Sheriff Trevors carried enough of a burden on their behalf; and if what he really wanted them to do was to have them sign papers protecting him, them, and their legally and diligently obtained sums, they would do it.  And so, they did; but with a caveat that the final act of life not be stated as such.

Now, after attaining pro hac vice admittance in the State of Colorado, under the auspices of a trusted former law professor and mentor of his; and for the purpose of representing such stated “special clients” only in this matter; Attorney Brubaker personally drafted such documents in the fashion, and with the finest boilerplate, of the day.  Given the notoriety of such special clients, a mutual decision was reached by all parties to meet at sundown, on the date duly chosen, at the home outside Denver City of a friend of the special clients; which friend might have acted as a witness but for her personhood as a woman, thereby having no legal authority and negating her presumably female desire to act as such a witness to help her friends.

That mutual decision at sundown – anticlimactic though it was in the understanding of that phrase in the common consciousness of the romantic vision of the Old West – actually was of great fortuity.  You see, another noted marshal who was known to the special clients was in Denver City that day; and the little house in the further reaches of town was just enough out of the way to evade his path.

And so, our tale ends with the various special clients and parties (not of the first, second, nor even third part) going all their merry ways back to from whence they came, task finished.  Yes, it is all very anticlimactic, and probably as nonsensical as one should never have heard; especially in the romanticizing and notarization of the notorious.  However, as well we remember, Messrs. Heyes and Curry did finally attain amnesty; albeit, long after they first sought it.  But, to cure curiosity, we leave you with one example of the documents signed that evening – a testament, identical to the other, but with names changed around, but very little else; to wit:


Testament

I, Hannibal Heyes, being of sound mind, do hereby declare and set forth my testament as to disposition of certain of my property in the event of my capture and incarceration, or worse.

Article First:  It is my stated wish that my share (namely, half) of certain moneys entrusted to Lom Trevors, duly appointed Sheriff of Carbon County, Territory of Wyoming (“Sheriff Trevors”), by myself and my associate and cousin, Jedediah Curry (“Mr. Curry”), for any of the following stated and enumerated purposes be, and the same hereby are, used for those stated and enumerated purposes only:

One:  Any expenses incurred by Sheriff Trevors in his endeavors of interceding and advocating for amnesty on behalf of myself and/or Mr. Curry, with the Governor of the Territory of Wyoming and/or any other officials in authority in their individual and/or several, legal, and duly appointed and/or elected, and binding capacity, as such, in the Territory of Wyoming, or elsewhere as needed or required by law (“The Authorities”);

Two:  Any expenses related to the furtherance and disposition of jurisprudence, directly or indirectly (this latter at Sheriff Trevors’ discretion), on behalf of myself and/or Mr. Curry; such as bail, attorney, and/or court costs and/or expenses, or any other purpose in respect thereof, for myself and/or Mr. Curry;

Three:  In the event of my capture or incarceration, or worse, that the same hereby be, and are, used for the defense, upkeep, and/or any other maintenance and/or rehabilitation, of Mr. Curry, as needed, and/or as required by law;

Four:  Except that in the case of both of my and Mr. Curry’s capture and incarceration, or worse, that the same hereby be, and are, kept by Sheriff Trevors, for his time and trouble, in interceding and advocating for said amnesty on behalf of myself and/or Mr. Curry, with The Authorities; and for also being a kind and loyal friend and advocate, and mostly trusting in us to do the right thing, even as others (such as The Authorities) failed to so believe;

Five:  In the event of any future marriage and/or issue of myself, this paragraph supersedes Article First, paragraph Four, and the same hereby be, and are, to be used (i) half as stated in Article First, paragraph three; and (ii) half for the sustenance, upkeep, and/or maintenance of any future wife and/or issue of myself; and

Six:  In the event of both my and Mr. Curry’s capture and incarceration, or worse, and in the event of any future marriage and/or issue of Mr. Curry, and none of myself, this paragraph supersedes Article First, paragraph Four, and the same hereby be, and are, to be used for the sustenance, upkeep, and/or maintenance of any future wife and/or issue of Mr. Curry.


Article Second:  It is my stated wish that in the case of my capture and incarceration, or worse, that any and all property of mine, real or personal, other than the moneys addressed in Article First herein (the “Property”), shall inure to the benefit of Mr. Curry, unless:

One:  In the case of only my capture and incarceration, that any and all Property, not in my direct use, care, or control, shall inure to the benefit of Mr. Curry;

Two:  In the case of the capture and incarceration of both myself and Mr. Curry, or worse, that any and all Property, not under my direct use, care, or control, shall inure to the benefit of Sheriff Trevors;

Three:  In the event of any future marriage and/or issue of myself, this paragraph supersedes Article Second, paragraph Two; and any Property shall inure to the benefit of any future wife and/or issue of myself; and

Four:  In the event of both my and Mr. Curry’s capture and incarceration, or worse, and in the event of any future marriage and/or issue of Mr. Curry, and none of myself, this paragraph supersedes Article Second, paragraph Two; and any Property shall inure to the benefit of any future wife and/or issue of Mr. Curry.


Lastly, the shortened, defined terms used herein are for brevity only; and in all such cases mean the fuller and legal terms as if they were stated at length herein.


I do hereby declare, and set my hand and seal, that the aforementioned terms of this Testament be, and the same hereby are, valid and binding, this Ninth day of September, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty One.

Signatory:  Hannibal Heyes


Signed, sealed, and delivered in the City of Denver City, County of Arapohoe, State of Colorado, United States of America, by Signatory Hannibal Heyes, in the presence of:

Witness:  Lom Trevors, Sheriff, Carbon County, Territory of Wyoming

Witness:  Jedediah Curry, Citizen, United States of America (no known address)

Witness:  Chester Brubaker, Attorney at Law, State of Kansas


County of Arapohoe:
State of Colorado:

In my presence came Hannibal Heyes, Signatory to this Testament, and Lom Trevors, Jedediah Curry, and Chester Brubaker, separately, Witnesses to this Testament, this Ninth day of September, One Thousand Eight Hundred Eighty One.

Signed:  Ambrose Day, Notary.

My commission expires December 31, 1884.


Endnote:  Hannibal Heyes and Jedediah Curry did finally obtain amnesty at the time of Wyoming Statehood; albeit, some declared said act to be a mistake which sullied the new State’s reputation.  You see, in early 1890, several months before that event, the last Territorial Governor, in winding down the affairs of the soon-to-be-late Wyoming Territory, sought to clear old business of the Territory, and signed older declarations that had yet to be put into full force and effect; amongst these documents was a declaration from 1880, signed by the then Territorial Governor, and assigning provisional amnesty to the named parties; to wit, Hannibal Heyes and Jedediah Curry. 
 
The declaration stated that if the two then outlaws remained on the right side of the law for a period of one year, their provisional amnesty would yield to complete amnesty; and all charges against them would be dropped.  Attached to the declaration were affidavits containing witness accounts of the then outlaws’ good character, along with statements of their good friend and emissary to the Territorial Governor, the same Sheriff Lom Trevors, who stood as their witness in the Testament appearing above; who represented and enumerated the then outlaws’ numerous missions as agents acting on behalf of the Territorial Governor; to wit, if not to repeat, thereby risking their lives, in carrying out missions for, and acting as direct agents of, and on behalf of, and under direct orders of, the Territorial Governor.
 
These various and sundry documents were found in the safe in the Territorial Governor’s office, and spanned several terms of former Territorial Governors.  Taken together, it was felt by their supporters a decade later that this had long constituted provisions for the granting of full amnesty; and it was granted.  The opposition to this act argued the two would still be rotting in prison if they had been caught; and should long have been spat upon as the wretched felons they were, and deserved to go down in history as.  Of course, these arguments were used in an attempt to negate the good deeds of two men who risked their lives in dangerous missions on behalf of a decade’s worth of Territorial Governors; all of whom found it politically inexpedient to grant what had long been promised.  And although Wyoming, now as a State and then as a Territory, bucks most other jurisdictions in having no statute of limitations on criminal offenses, these same statutes of limitations would have long run anywhere else.
 
Therefore, whether a mistake, a technicality, a sham, or otherwise, the men walked free as the day they were born; albeit, now fully clothed.

_________________
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
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MoulinP

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PostSubject: Re: Reservation   Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:33 pm

Continuation from last month - still not finished

Reservation

How it happened.


Later the day of the Fair, the partners realised that they couldn't stay in town that night. Every hotel and boarding house was filled to overflowing. Provisioning themselves, they rode a little out of town to a nice spot and set up camp. The Kid had bought himself a cheese sandwich to tide him over until supper was ready. Not exactly a starter, more of an amuse bouche perhaps? With Heyes tending the fire, the Kid was munching away when both looked up at the sound of horses coming along the road at speed. Hands straying to their right sides, they got to the feet. The sheriff and several of his companions skidded to a halt and dismounted quickly.


"Get 'em boys," the sheriff ordered, gun already drawn. "Okay you two are under arrest. Get those hands up!"


With a glance at each other, they had no choice but to do as asked. They kept their hands up as men quickly whisked their guns from their holsters.


"What's this all about Sheriff?" Heyes inquired.


“Ya under arrest.”


“For what?”


“Hey!” the Kid protested, having the sandwich he was holding, plucked from his hand. “That’s my supper!”


“Nope. It’s evidence that’s what that is.”


“Ev .. evidence? Owh!” The Kid winced at his arms pulled behind his back.


“Evidence for what, sheriff?” Heyes gave a similar wince at the same treatment on him.


“Stealing the wheel of cheese from the Guess the Weight stall.”


The partners swopped glances. They must be dreaming. This was so bizarre!


“Someone stole it?” Heyes' eyes were out on stalks.


“That’s right. Took right out from under ole Jacob's nose. Turned round to talk to the Widda Norman an' when he turned back it was gone. Like it vanished intake thin air! Darnedest thing.”


“What makes you think WE took it?” Heyes said first to recover.


“You were showing interest in it.”


Heyes grinned widely. “Well sheriff that’s ‘cos it was a Guess the Weight stall. You HAVE to show interest to be ABLE to guess the weight!”


“Yeah us and half the town,” the Kid added.


“So if you’ll just remove these here binds we’ll be on our way. No harm done,” Heyes said, smiling pleasantly.


“Nope, can’t do that. Not when I find ya in possession of the evidence.” The sheriff gestured with the half-eaten sandwich.


“I BOUGHT that from the café!”


The Kid’s appeal fell on deaf ears. Before they knew it, both were on their horses and on the way back to town.


In the jail and secure in a cell, the deputy undid the binds.


“Say Deputy?” Heyes called.


“Yeah?”


“There’s a book in my saddlebags. Any chance I could have it?” The deputy looked doubtful. “Y’know pass the time ‘till we get this sorted out.”


The deputy looked at the sheriff for instruction. He shrugged. On his desk were the boys’ saddlebags, placed there by another of the posse.


“Don’t see why not. This yours?” His hand went to the buckle of the top pair and Heyes nodded. “I’ll have to check it y’know.”


Heyes pursed his lips. “Go right ahead. Nothing to hide.”


“Except for his dirty socks. Watch out for them. They’ll blow ya head off!” the Kid grinned and then sobered when he saw the look Heyes was giving him. He shrugged. “What? Jus’ looking out for my fellow man.”


Heyes smacked his lips.


Exercising extreme caution the sheriff dug into saddlebags and found the book in question. He leafed through the pages and shook it vigorously until he was sure there was nothing secreted inside. Frowning at the cover, he brought it over.


“The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe. That’s a little highbrow Mr Smith,” he said, passing it through the bars.


Heyes grinned widely. “Thanks Sheriff. It’s a real good book. Let you borrow it after I’ve finished with it.”


He swung his feet up and settled on his bunk, casually flicking through until he found his place near the end. Then sniffed contently and settled down to read.


The Kid gave a groan and settled down on HIS bunk to sleep under his hat.

ASJASJASJASJ

And now …


Heyes grinned and put out a hand to touch the Kid’s arm. That man removed his hat and turned his head to look at his partner. Seeing Heyes’ grinning face, he raised his eyebrows. Heyes nodded and inclined his head in the direction of the gently snoring deputy. The Kid grinned and started to move as Heyes reached down and extracted his knife from his boot.


The Kid acted as a shield in case the deputy woke and to mute somewhat any noise Heyes might make. It didn’t take long and Heyes was slowly opening the cell door. He winced slightly when it grated. They both glanced fearfully at the deputy, who just smacked his lips and turned his head, before settling again.


“I’ll be a couple of hours,” Heyes whispered, putting on his hat. The Kid nodded as Heyes slipped out. A nervous minute as Heyes relocked the cell from the outside this time and he was on his way, tiptoeing to the door. With a brief wave, he was gone.


The Kid settled once more on his bunk and placed his hat over his face. He was nearly asleep when … .


“Wowh!”


Under his hat, the Kid smiled. The deputy was awake! The Kid listened as the deputy recovered from his start. Heard the chair settle again and then feet hit the floor with a thud.


“What?”


As feet in a panic quickly travelled across the floor to the cell, the Kid removed his hat.


“Somethin’ wrong, Deputy?” he asked innocently.


The deputy spluttered, sleep muddled brain unable to articulate words. He pointed at the empty bunk.


“Ooh, where’s Mr Smith?” the Kid said, in fake astonishment, sitting up.


“That’s … that’s what I wanna know!”


“Well … .” The Kid pulled back the blanket to see if Mr Smith was there. It was obvious even to Ludlow's
finest that he wasn’t. “Not there, deputy.” He peered under the bunk and then his own. “Not there either.”

Now on his feet he shrugged at the open-mouthed deputy.


“Where’s he gone?”


“How do I know? I’ve been sleep.” Just like you deputy he could have added. “Perhaps he went for a walk?” The Kid rattled the cell door, proving that it was locked. “Perhaps … .” He stroked his chin and took
on a thinking face. “He vanished inta thin air!”


The deputy groaned. “I’ve gotta get the sheriff. Jus’ … don’t YOU go anywhere!”


“Nope. Weren’t plannin’ on goin’ anywhere, deputy.” He settled on his bunk again. “I’ll be right here when ya get back.”


The deputy made a bolt for the door and the Kid grinned. He didn’t want to be in HIS boots for the next little while.


The Kid was just dropping off again when the street door opened with force.


“See Sheriff I tol’ ya he ain’t there!”


“I cen see that! What ya done with him?” Without waiting for an answer, he turned on the Kid. “Where is he? Where’d he go?”


“Beats me sheriff. When we woke up, he was gone.”


“GONE? JUS’ LIKE THAT?” the sheriff roared.


The Kid shrugged. “It would appear so.”


“How’d he get out?” He turned on his deputy. “D’ya leave this door unlocked?”


The deputy shook his head furiously as the Kid rattled the door, still locked.


“Where’d he go?”


The Kid shrugged. “How should I know? He jus’ wasn’t here when WE woke up that’s the nub of it.”


The sheriff looked at the Kid suspiciously. It took a few moments to digest what the Kid had said. “WE? WE!” He looked at the deputy who took a step back. “WE! Darn it Elmo you were asleep weren’t ya?”


“Er … .”


The Kid turned away and returned to his bunk. He wasn’t about to get much more sleep but the roasting the deputy was getting wasn’t any of his business.

ASJASJASJASJ

At daybreak, the Kid came awake as the Sheriff, who had decided to relieve his sleepy deputy for the rest of the night, stepped out back. Under his hat, the Kid waited and then heard the street door softly open, cautious footsteps enter, and the door close. Next, the faint scrapping of blade on lock, followed by the soft, slow squeaking of the cell door opening. The Kid pulled his hat away from his face and looked up to see his partner closing the cell door.


“Alright?” he whispered.


Heyes nodded, winced as he locked the door, made a circle with his thumb and forefinger as he turned away to his bunk. Not a moment too soon, he dived onto the bunk. Hat settled over his face, fingers laced together over his stomach and prone by the time the sheriff came into the office fully.


Where he stopped and stared. “WHAT?”


The jail’s two somnambulant occupants jumped awake, snatching off their hats and sitting up in panic.


“Sheriff? What’s the matter?” the Kid asked, in concern.


“YOU!” the sheriff pointed at Heyes.


“Me?” Heyes pointed at himself, his face a picture of innocence.


“How’d ya … ? Where … ? Where … ?”


The sheriff gripped the bars of the cell, his face turning several shades of red into puce.


“You weren’t here!”


The partners looked at each other.


“What d’you mean sheriff? We’ve both been asleep.”


“No you ain’t! YOU mebbe.” He pointed at the Kid. “But YOU weren’t here!” He shook his finger at Heyes.


Heyes shrugged. “What can I tell you, Sheriff?”


“Say Joshua I was having the weirdest dream when we woke up,” the Kid grinned and brushed Heyes’ knee with his fingertips.


“Yeah?” Heyes said, lying down on his bunk. “Tell me about it in the morning huh? It’s still early yet.” He yawned expansively. “Still have some more sleeping to do.”


The Kid nodded and resettled on his bunk. The sheriff looked from one to the other incredulously. He must be losing his mind! He knew the dark haired fella the one called Smith hadn't been there before. Yet now he was! As he walked by the cell on his way back to the desk, he gave the door a rattle. Locked. Definitely locked. Under their hats, both ex-outlaws grinned.

ASJASJASJASJ

“Well how did ya get on?” the Kid asked, quietly as they ate the breakfast provided.


“Mmmm, good,” Heyes replied around a mouthful of egg and bacon. “I was right. I think the cheese was used for smuggling cards.”


“Huh?”


Heyes shook his head. “I don’t understand it either but … I’ve gotta lead.” Heyes was eating as though he hadn’t eaten in days instead of last night. “Trouble is I’ve gotta get out again to prove it.”


“Could be tricky,” the Kid said, flicking his eyes towards the sheriff, tucking into his own breakfast.


“Uh huh that’s why this isn’t gonna agree with me.” He gestured with his fork at his plate. “He’ll … .” The fork flicked towards the sheriff. “have to call the doc to come take a look at me.”


“How’s that gonna help?”


Heyes grinned an eggy grin. “Remember Chad Walker?”


The Kid frowned. “I know the name.”


“Yeah he left the Hole not long after you got there. ‘Bout the same time as Lom left.”


“Didn’t he … .” Realisation dawned on the Kid’s face as a wide grin. “Wanna go to medical school. You mean he’s … HERE?”


“Yep. Bona fide doctor. Right here in Ludlow City. Ran into him last night. He was on his way back from an emergency.” Heyes chuckled. “Nearly had one of his own right in front of me. He was a mite surprised when I stepped outta the shadows.”


“Yeah,” the Kid nodded. “I would be.”


A flicker of a disgruntled frown crossed Heyes’ face, but then he chose to ignore that remark. “We ended up going back to his house. I told him all about our little sojourn in here … .”


“Sojourn?” the Kid queried. He looked up and met a grinning Hannibal Heyes.


“I thought you were reading that book, Thaddeus?” His eyes flicked meaningfully to the book on the Kid’s bunk.


“Perhaps I ain’t GOT that far!” the Kid scowled.


Smiling, Heyes turned his attention back to his breakfast. “It means temporary stay. I also told Chad WHY we was here. He wasn’t surprised.”


“He thinks WE stole it!” The Kid was incredulous.


“No! I told him what I suspected. Seems I was right.” He swallowed a mouthful and seeing that he had the Kid’s attention, continued. “There’s a by-law in this town. No gambling. Dunno how we missed THAT!"

Heyes shook his head in despair.


"We were having all the fun of the Fair. Didn't make it to the saloon remember?"


Heyes nodded. “Yeah, remind me never to do THAT again. Anyway, Chad thinks that there is a certain element in the town who … .”


“HEY! You two! Either speak louder so I cen hear ya or shut up!”


“Sorry, sheriff,” they chorused, contritely.


A silent conversation passed between the two. Heyes pursed his lips, wanting to tell the Kid more but only able to convey the accepted, “go along with me.” The Kid nodded.

ASJASJASJASJ

“Oooh!”


The Kid looked over at his partner. Heyes was pulling a pained face and rubbing his stomach.


“Owwh!”


“Something wrong, Joshua?” the Kid asked, calmly. He turned a page in the book he was forcing himself to read.


“Yeeah! Guts feel like they’re gonna explode! Oooh!”


Feeling like he should show some concern, the Kid sat up. He throw his legs over the side of the bunk. He picked up the pitcher of water.


“Want some?” He poured a glass and held it out.


“Nooo!” Suddenly Heyes sat up quickly on the side of the bunk. He looked wide-eyed at the Kid.
Swallowing hard, he whimpered, “Oh no!”


Then he lurched sideways.


The Kid wrinkled his nose as Heyes deposited the contents of his stomach on the cell floor. It always amazed him how Heyes could do that on demand. It was a ruse. Heyes had perfected it in Valparaiso and it had come in handy a time or two since. Eat quickly and take in lots of air appeared to be the answer.


“Er Sheriff. We gotta problem over here,” the Kid called.


Heyes groaned loudly and looked up. His hair was over his face and he was sweating. Or, he appeared to be. Only the Kid had witnessed the drops of water Heyes had quickly patted over his face.


The sheriff appeared at the bars and took in the scene. At Mr Smith’s pale, almost green tinged face, at the mess on the floor, at Mr Jones’ look of concern for his partner.


“Awh! Sheez!” He sighed. “Okay I’ll send for the doc.”

ASJASJASJASJ

When Dr Chad Walker arrived, the pair were in a different cell. Heyes sat with a bowl on his knees just in case.


A grumbling Elmo was finishing clearing up the mess in the old cell.


“Well Mr Smith what appears to be the problem?”


Heyes groaned. “It’s my stomach doc. Feels like its twisting inside out.”


Chad nodded and set his bag down next to his patient.


“Sheriff may I have a few minutes to examine my patient in private please?”


The Sheriff sighed. “Sure, Elmo ya finished?”


The deputy nodded. He mopped to the door of the cell “accidently” sweeping the mop over the toe of the sheriff’s boot. Keeping a straight face, he picked up the bucket and went out.


“What about him?” the sheriff growled, glowering at his deputy, nodding his head at the Kid.


Chad looked at the Kid. “Looks like he can go back to the other cell.”


The Kid trooped back to the original cell, flumped onto his bunk, wrinkled his nose at the faint smell of vinegar used to clean the floor, sighed and picked up the book yet again. This charade had better be worth it. He didn’t know how much more readin’ he could take!


“Lie down, Mr Smith and tell me where it hurts.”


Chad waited until both lawmen had left. “Just as you suspected Heyes, the cards were hidden in the middle of the wheel. Stealing the cheese is a diversion and so are you. While the sheriff is investigating, he’s not paying attention to who ELSE has arrived in town. The big game’s tonight but I don’t think I can get you into it Heyes.”


“Chad if they’re big time players like you say, they’re gonna recognise my alter ego, Carlton Balfour. He’s a legend … .” Heyes pulled a face. “Even if I do say so myself,” he muttered. “They’re not gonna pass up an opportunity to play poker with Carlton Balfour … .”


“Yeah I know but I've given it some thought and ... .”


“Chad if the Kid and me don't get outta here soon, the sheriff is gonna start looking at wanted posters. And guess who he's gonna find.”


“And if he finds out I helped you, then I'm in big trouble. I can't do it Heyes. I've gotta family. Now where d'you say it hurts? There?”


Heyes grunted as Chad pressed on his stomach. “Yeah. Owh! Right there, Doc.”


“Chad you've gotta help. For old time's sake, huh?”


Chad hesitated, sighed and finally nodded. “Alright. I'll come see how you are later. You'll have my decision then, at sundown.”


Heyes smiled and nodded.  “Thanks Doc.”


Chad left sometime later, telling the sheriff that he’d be back to check on his patient in the early evening.


The Kid returned to be with Heyes.


“How ya feeling?”


“Better. The doc gave me a powder to settle my stomach. Told me to rest. He’s gone away to look something up. Be back to see me later. He’ll let me know then what he’s decided,” Heyes said, emphasising words with a nod or widening his eyes. Both were aware that the sheriff was listening.


The Kid climbed onto his bunk again.


“Do you trust him? We ain’t had much luck with doctors, Joshua.”


Heyes pursed his lips thoughtfully. “Yeah I had my reservations at first but I do feel better.” He smiled weakly. “I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.”


“That’s not like you Joshua.”


Heyes put a hand behind his head and looked at the ceiling. “Ah well folks change as they get older. Somethings aren’t quite so important as they are when you’re younger.” He paused and looked at the Kid intently. “Like money for instance.”


The Kid looked doubtful. Chad knew who they were and $20,000 was a lot of money for a small town doctor.


“Are ya sure ‘bout that?”


“Yes.” Heyes was emphatic.


The Kid looked away, shaking his head. He picked up the book. “Well all I can say Joshua is I sure hope next month's prompt helps MoulinP write us outta here. I'm fed up with lying in this cell reading this dang book!”

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Kid Curry and that other fella; Hannibal Heyes and whatsname
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PostSubject: Re: Reservation   Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:41 am

Pure Devil

"Now, I usually don't hire boys your age, so's you best do a good job. I've done turned most all the critters out to the corral. I'll be back later ta check on ya and I expect this livery ta be perfect," said Rusty, the stable owner. He started to walk off, but stopped and turned around. "Alright, listen, I'm only gonna tell ya this once. Look in there at the stall near the back side. Tell me whatcha see."

The dark and blond haired boys looked where Rusty was pointing.

"Looks like a big, black horse," Jed Curry said.

Rusty grinned. "Nope."

"What?" Hannibal Heyes asked, sure the old man had lost his mind. "That is too a horse."

"No boys. That there's puuure evil. Name's Satan. Meanest horse I ever did lay eyes on. Only one man in town that can control that demon and he's gone away fer a few days. Left this mornin'. I don't expect ya ta clean that there stall. But, if ya DO manage ta get it clean, I'll give ya an extry five dollars. But, if'n I was you, I'd sure have myself some reservations about goin' near that she-devil." Rusty grinned again, walked out of the livery, and around the corner to a bunch of eagerly waiting men. "Okay fellers. Got myself some good-uns this time 'round. Offered 'em five extry dollars. They's won't resist that I'm purty sure. Who wants ta make the first bet on them gettin' Satan's stall clean?"

All the men started talking at once and placing their bets. Rusty started grabbing money, pretty sure the two teenagers would try to clean Satan's stall for the extra cash since they looked dirt poor. After he took everybody's bet, they all headed to the saloon laughing to wait a few hours for the young men to do their work...or  get injured.

oooooasjooooo

Hannibal Heyes rubbed his hands together. "Well, Kid, much as I hate to, let's get to work."

"How many times I told you ta quit callin' me 'Kid'? I ain't five no more."

"Are you younger than me?"

Jed blew out in frustration. He knew what was coming. "Yeah, Han, ya know I am."

"Well, then to me, you're the Kid."

"I wished way back when, I'd started flattenin' you everytime you called me that. Maybe it would've stopped after I'd split your lip a few times."

Han turned to Jed and smiled annoyingly. "No, it wouldn't have." He started walking toward the wall to collect a couple of pitchforks leaving Jed muttering to himself.

oooooasjooooo

A little later, the boys had collected everything they needed to muck out the stalls.

"I got an idea," Han popped up and said.

"Oh God, here we go..." Jed murmured.

"Since there's only one wheelbarrow, let's pitch all the used hay and manure in the walkway here and that can be the last thing we do. One of us can shovel it up, and the other can go dump it."

"I bet I know who gets to do the shovelin'" Jed said to himself.

"What was that?"

"Nothin'. You gonna stand there yakkin' all day or you gonna start workin'?"

Han smiled and began removing the feed and water buckets from the stall he was starting in.

Jed rolled his eyes as he followed behind him carrying the pitchforks, a shovel, and a broom.

oooooasjooooo

It was mundane, and heavy on the back work, but at least somebody had finally given them a job, even if it was for just a day. They'd just ran away from the Valparaiso home three weeks earlier and this was only the second time they'd had an actual job. Not many people wanted to hire boys their age. At least the money they'd be getting would feed them for a while so they could stop stealing food every chance they got. But, if Han would admit it, he enjoyed the thrill of getting away with something that broke the law. It was like his small way of getting back at a big world that'd done nothing for him. Little did he know that Jed felt the same way.

They'd made their way to almost the end of one side when they noticed the next stall to be cleaned was right next to Satan. The big, black mare was already snorting and stamping her hoof in aggitation. Han started to walk toward her.

"Now if you go over there and get your hand bit off, don't come cryin' to me."

Han stopped, studied the horse a minute as she swung her head back and forth a bit, then joined Jed in the adjoining stall.

And since Jed had went in first, he chose to work on the side away  from the so-called horse from hell.

"Thanks alot, Kid," Han complained as he made his way to the other side of the stall. "Why don't this place have bigger walls between stalls?"

Jed just smiled and removed the buckets.

Han hadn't been digging through the hay long when Satan reached her head over and snapped at him. "HEY!"

Jed turned just in time to see her snap at his arm again as Han jumped away from the wall. He started laughing.

"SHUT UP, KID."

But Jed kept on laughing. "I wouldn't turn my back to that wall if I was you."

Han smirked at him and stared at Satan. She snorted at him as her ears flattened backward. He looked at her and started softly talking. "It's okay girl. We're just cleaning up some for you. We're not a threat. Here." Even though her ears were back, he decided to slowly extend his hand toward her to try to let her sniff him to make friends, but she decided to nip at him once again. He quickly pulled his arm back.

"Guess you found a girl you can't charm," Jed smiled.

Han spoke menacingly. "I said shut...up." Eventually, the mean mare pulled her head back into her own stall and he got back to work.

A few minutes passed quietly while both worked until Jed had a question. "How much are we gettin' paid for this? It better be worth the trouble."

Han turned to answer him, completely forgetting where he was standing, and as a result, Satan reached over and plucked his hat off his head. This startled him and he stumbled forward while trying to turn around.

Jed was really laughing now. "I told you to watch your back."

Han swung around. "YOU'RE supposed to be watching my back."

"I am. I warned you not to turn your back to her."

Han huffed up as he couldn't argue that fact. He threw down his pitchfork in frustration as he turned to face Satan. She had his hat in her mouth, throwing her head up and down. "You are NOT keeping my hat, horse." As if in defiance, she dropped it to the floor beside her and turned to stare at him.

"Looks like she's plannin' to!"

Han chose to ignore Jed as he thought about how to get his hat back. He started to pace, well away from the wall, when his attention returned to the pitchfork. Maybe, if he stood on one of the bales of hay they'd carried in, he could stick the handle over the wall and pull his hat up if Jed would get her attention. He walked out of the stall and pulled a bale back with him. "Hey, Kid. Go out to the front of her stall and distract her."

"What do ya want me ta do? Talk to her? You done tried that and it don't work."

"I don't care what you do. You could dance for all I care. I just need you to get her attention so I can use the handle here to get my hat." He climbed up on the hay bale.

Jed sighed heavily. "Fine." He left the stall, went to the feed bag, got some in a bucket, and then stood in front of Satan, just out of biting range. "C'mere girl. Get yourself somethin' to eat."

Satan actually walked closer to the door to sniff at what this creature was holding. Han seized his chance and quickly stuck the pitchfork handle over the wall and tried to get it in his hat. Satan's ears turned back and she heard him. She turned and latched onto the pitchfork. Han wasn't ready for that and she jerked it out of his hand. It took it's place on the stall floor next to his hat.

"YOU CRAZY ANIMAL!" Han jumped down, backed off, and after letting off some steam with a few choice words, started to think of another way to get his hat.

Jed reentered the stall and picked up the shovel. "You're just gonna have ta leave it I guess, unless you want to wait around for her owner to come back."

"I...am...NOT...LEAVING...WITHOUT MY HAT!"

"You better watch it or you'll be leaving with some broke bones. Rusty was right. That animal is a demon in a horse suit."

Han paced as he thought hard. Finally, he made a decision. "I'm going in there and getting my hat."

Jed turned astonished. "Are you crazy?! That horse'll turn you into a bloody mess."

"I think maybe if I go slowly, with some feed, she'll be just interested enough when she smells it that she'll want to eat and see I'm not any threat."

"And I think I'm gonna be packin' you off to the doctor in a few minutes."

Han shot Jed a look, left the stall, got the bucket of feed Jed had just sat down minutes ago, and turned toward Satan. He and the mare stared at each other like gunfighters facing off in the street. "Okay girl. Now there's no need to be tempermental. I've got some nice feed here for you."

Han slowly crept forward. Satan walked up to the door, her ears upright. "That's right. I'm no threat at all. Just bringing you some lunch." He stopped just short of the door to see how the horse might respond. Her ears remained forward and he could see her nose moving, sniffing at what was coming toward her.

He took this as a good sign and dared to walk a little closer. The mare still stood alert, but was looking at the feed bucket. Han went on up to the door of the stall and held the bucket in front of him, ready to jump back if Satan looked like she would snap at him.

The big mare lowered her head slowly and cautiously to sniff at the bucket. She actually nibbled a little at the feed.

Han smiled as his confidence shot through the roof, so, still holding the bucket out, carefully opened the stall door and slid silently inside the stall. Satan's attention was on the feed bucket so he sat it down near the corner opposite him. She started to eat.

Han watched her a moment to make sure she was going to keep eating, then he took a few steps and stopped to watch her. She still had her nose in the bucket so he started slithering his way along the left side of the wall to get his hat and the pitchfork.

He'd just bent over to pick up the items when Satan's ears turned back and she swung her head around to look at him. Immediately, she backed up and reared, flailing her front legs and snorting her disapproval of Han being in there. Han looked up and had to start jumping and ducking back and forth holding one arm up, trying to not get hit. He eventually grabbed his hat and the pitchfork and threw them over the wall into the other stall. Satan's legs hit the ground and she started pawing the floor. Then she reared again, letting out a high-pitch whinny.

Jed had been watching all the action and couldn't help but laugh. He saw his cousin run for the stall door as the angry mare came down again and go after him.

Han ran out, Satan on his heels, and slammed the door shut before she could get through it. He quickly locked it and backed up, trying to catch his breath.

Jed was still smiling. "FINALLY, I get to say, 'I told you so.'"

Han looked over at him. "For the last time, SHUT UP, KID! You can't say nothing. I got what I went in there for."

Jed shook his head and turned back to his work. He was ready to be done with this job. Maybe they could have a decent supper tonight.

Han walked to the front of the stall Jed was working in and started dusting himself off some when he noticed some men standing in the livery doorway. They were quietly laughing. Han wanted to say something sarcastic to them, but since he was working for one of the men at the doorway, he stayed quiet and just waved at them. He hoped they hadn't saw what had just taken place. "Hi," he called out to them. "We're almost finished."

Right after Han said 'hi' to their audience, Jed, having his back mostly turned to the outside, had picked up a shovelful of manure and slung it out to the walkway without looking. He thought Han was out of the way.

He wasn't.

The foul mess hit him squarely on his side, from top to bottom. For a few seconds, he just stood there stunned.

The quiet laughter at the doorway turned into a roar.

"KID! WATCH WHAT YOU'RE DOING."

Jed turned, not knowing what his cousin was talking about, and saw him standing there, brown stained, wet hay and a few other clumps of something all over his left side. He couldn't help it. He started laughing too.

Han angrily threw his hands up, and sighing deeply and loudly, went in the stall to finish the job. He didn't put his hat back on until he was done working near Satan.

oooooasjooooo

"Here ya go, boys." Rusty handed over their pay. He thought for a second then handed them an extra five dollars. "That's fer the entertainment. Ya might not have cleaned Satan's stall, but ya sure put on a good show." He started laughing again.

Jed turned his head and stifled his laughter as Han took the money and through clinched teeth said, "Thank you."

"Anytime you boys are back this way, come find me. You's can work fer me again!"

"I don't think so," Han said. "That's the last time I dance with the devil." With that, he walked out of the livery, clearly agitated. Jed followed behind after he shook Rusty's hand.

He was still trying not to laugh when he walked up next to where his manure-covered cousin was standing outside, looking around.

Han gave him a glare of death and then, out of pure frustration yelled to whoever could hear him, "WHERE'S THE BATH HOUSE?"

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