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 May

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PostSubject: May   Tue May 01, 2018 8:11 am

Time for a new challenge and the month has provided it for us. Your new story prompt is 
 

confused May  Bouquet


That can be a woman's name, the month, the spring blossom, the expression used to express possibility as well as for asking for permission.


So, what are you waiting for?


Get writing.
Writing


Don't forget to comment on last month's stories before starting  on May. Comments are the only thanks our writers get. 
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Cal

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PostSubject: Re: May   Mon May 07, 2018 10:31 am

May


“Beautiful day for a wedding… isn’t it?”


Hannibal Heyes stepped out into the street, tipping his hat to the undertaker’s wife and brushing off the cuffs of his stylish brown suit.


“Sure is.  Beautiful sunshine. Music in the air. All these spring flowers. Scent on the breeze…”


Kid pulled at the front of his blue suit jacket, wishing it would feel just a little less tight. The suit had been tailored in leaner times. He pulled his hat forward to shade his eyes and grin at his partner.  Heyes gave him a quizzical look.  It wasn’t like Kid to wax lyrical on nature.


“… Martha is sure gonna make one beautiful June bride” finished Kid with a poetical flourish.


“It’s May” stated Heyes, raising his eyebrows to the poet. “And its Martha and Red, not Romeo and Juliette.”


“Do we know them … Did we go to their wedding too?” asked the gunslinger guilessly.


“No… I think we may have missed that one Kid… by a coupla hundred years or so” said Heyes, shaking his head in amusement.  “So… we better make the best of this one… What d’yer say?”


“Oh yes..” grinned Kid.  “We’re gonna be drinking, and eating, and dancing, and… everything! I say … we enjoy ourselves royally.  I’ve made sure we ain’t getting disturbed”


The small white church was just at the top of the street.  A parade of small children in their Sunday finest, each holding a small clutch of freshly plucked wildflowers, streamed passed Heyes and The Kid. The boys stopped to let them pass.


“The Murtry’s …sure know how to …multiply …don’t they” grinned Kid in wonder.


“Yeah…” agreed Heyes.  “Weird thing is… even the little girls have a look of Kyle about them. Kinda makes me worry … if any of them posies contain dynamite.”


“Hah! Don’t worry Heyes.” Reassured Kid.  “This here wedding may be Kyle’s idea… but its Martha calling the shots.  I never saw anything this complicated… get organised so quick…”


“Yeah… Anyone would think she’s been planning it for years” smiled Heyes ruefully.  “A plan like this …Kid… don’t just come together by itself… overnight.”


Kid’s face contorted in thought.


“Sure is strange.  Kyle being so dead set against Red ever marrying his youngest sister… and now…. this!”


They’d arrived at the beautifully arranged floral arbour at the front of the church.  Two fiddle players were funnelling the cheerful wedding attendees through to the pews beyond.


“Welcome Brethren” said Preacher solemnly, waving Kid in to take his place.


Kid tipped his hat to Heyes and left him outside, waiting for the bride. 


Kyle had asked the leader of the Devil’s Hole gang to stand in for an absent father of the bride.  Heyes had reluctantly agreed.  He was also footing the bill for this shindig, well technically, Wells and Fargo were. 


Heyes looked back up the street towards the only Hotel Harristown had to offer.  The bridal party was on its way. Martha, in lace bonnet and ribbons, Sunday best dress and enormous bouquet of Spring flowers was surrounded by an adoring entourage of her sisters and mother.


Heyes beamed in their direction.


“Hold up! Hold up! “cried Kyle, waving at them furiously to slow them down.
“We ain’t got the groom into the church yet! It’s gotta be done proper!”


He waved his shotgun about, earning him a scolding from his eldest sister, Rosalind.  


Kyle spat voluminously, straightened what looked like a floral cravat around his not-too-clean neck, and turned his back on the bridal party.


From the undertaker’s store room, the only place in Harristown that had ever been used as a jailhouse, Red was wheeled out into the street.  His leg was shuttered in planks, where Doc said he’d had to dig Kyle’s bullet out, and he looked like someone else had dressed him, in someone else’s clothes.
 
Heyes took a fair guess the clothes had once belonged to a certain absent father of the bride, from the look of the cut and stiff collar.


Red smiled over to Martha, and patted the flower in his lapel. Then seeing the cussed look on Kyle’s face cast his eyes down.


“Git moving!” ordered Kyle, thinking that everyone should just remember that he was running things today and that this wedding was out of necessity ...as he’d come across… well … never mind what he’d come across. Just the thought of what he’d come across, sent a bright crimson wave of colour up his body to the very tips of his ears.


“You are marrying Martha today… and…. I’m seeing its done right!”


Heyes stood aside to let the grooms party enter the church.
 
With just a slight readjustment of the floral arbour, resulting in Red’s lap being filled with petals and Kyle looking like he’d already been showered with confetti, the church was set to receive the bride.


Heyes extended an arm to Martha with a broad dimpled smile as her mother and sisters also took their places on the pews.


“Shall we?” he said impishly.


“At last!” smiled Martha conspiratorially.


She looked up at the beautiful flowers over the door and paused for just a second.


“And Heyes…. Thank you …. for figuring out how to bring Kyle round… I was beginning to think this day would never happen.”
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Nebraska Wildfire

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PostSubject: May   Sun May 13, 2018 10:10 pm

   
Years


The sun shone brightly in the brilliant, blue sky, bathing the rolling plains in pure, white light.  The thin, graying man put his hand in front of his eyes as he looked up, as if he had not seen the sun for a very long time.  He grimaced, but then let a genuine smile cover his face, probably for the first time in years, as the sun warmed him.

He had always made good use of the limited time they had been allowed in the yard, stretching, walking briskly, avoiding fights, to keep himself in as good of shape as possible.  It had saved his life a time or two, and even the Kid’s once.  In there, even the sun had a tinge to it that it did not seem to have here, outside.

He took a deep breath.  Even the air smelled different outside.  He grimaced again.  It had to, away from the sweat and misery of so many men.  He looked back towards the doors out of which he had just walked.  He swore never to pass through them again, unless it would result in the release of the Kid.

Heyes had almost refused to accept his parole, when he had learned that his partner would have to remain, working off extra days that had been added to his sentence, for disciplinary reasons.

Heyes briefly closed his eyes.  Some of those reprimands were for fights when Curry was keeping Heyes alive.  The warden had told Heyes if he wanted to be released at the same time as the Kid, he could remain in the prison, until Curry was eligible for parole too.  All that resulted from that was a glare from his cousin, which said everything Heyes needed to know.   He was still very worried about leaving the Kid alone, without someone to watch is back, but finally decided he might be more use to his cousin on the outside.  

Heyes thoughts turned inwards as he trudged down the dirt road towards Laramie.  When he had asked about a ride into town when he was released, the guards just laughed.  He had given them the glare that even now men noticed and walked out the door.  

With the Kid still inside, he felt so alone and adrift back in the world.  How he wished their old friend, Lom, was still alive.  Heyes shook his head sadly as he walked down the stairs of the prison onto the dirt road.  Lom had been killed by a mangy, dirty outlaw who had shot him in the back.  Heyes huffed.  For all he and the Kid had tried to keep above the general riffraff on the outlaw trail, and tell themselves there was honor among thieves, he was surprised that someone had not taken Trevors out years before.  Lom knew too much about too many outlaws, from his days on the other side.  Heyes smiled slightly.  Maybe it had been because they were worried that they would have to deal with Curry and Heyes.  He sighed again.  Sadly, for Lom, they had not been around when he really needed them.  They had already been in prison for armed robbery.  If not, Heyes knew they probably would have ended up in prison for murder.  Luckily for Heyes now, the law had caught up with the scum that had murdered Lom.  Luckily for that outlaw, they had simply hanged him.  If he had ended up in the Wyoming territorial prison, the boys would have made certain it would not have been for long.

Of course, that would have meant that one or the other of them, maybe both would have received either life imprisonment, or perhaps they would have made a trip to the gallows themselves.

Before all his years in prison, Heyes would not have thought about going after the man who had killed Lom.  He might have devised a scheme that would have resulted in the law catching up with the no-good scum, but he would not have plotted murder.  He sighed.  Even the Kid would not have purposely gone looking to kill him.  Prison changes a man.  Heyes sighed and straightened his shoulders.  Maybe he could again learn to think like they used to.  Maybe not.  It depended on what was all needed to get the Kid out of that awful place.

Heyes looked up and slowed as he came upon a farm wagon heading the same way he was.  It was loaded with hay and chickens.  As he started around it, he smiled at the farmer holding the reins, nodding, and touching the brim of the raggedy hat that they had given him to wear out of the prison.  Where his black and silver hat had gone, he had no idea.

“Morning,” Heyes smiled at the man, intending to walk on by.  He assumed the farmer was well aware from where he had come, given the ill-fitting clothes he now wore, and his gaunt physique.

“You’re more than welcome to ride in the back, mister,” the man said. “Long as you don’t pester the chickens.  Gotta be settled in order to be sold in town.”

Heyes paused, not ready to trust anyone after all these years.  Even before prison, it was only the Kid he had really trusted.

The man cleared his throat.  “Got me a boy up to the prison.  His name’s Thompson.  Sam Thompson.”

Heyes nodded.  “He works in the kitchen.”

The man’s eyes held a light they had not before.  He nodded.  “He was a good boy.”

“He’s being a good man now,” Heyes replied.

A smile might have washed over the man’s face, but then he just nodded towards the back.  “Should be comfy enough with all the hay back there.”

Heyes again touched the brim of his hat and nodded towards the back too.  “Thank you kindly, sir.”

“Just Thompson,” the man replied.  “And you?”

Heyes hesitated for a moment and made a decision.  “Smith.  Joshua Smith.”  He held his hand out to Thompson, before he turned to hop on the back of the wagon.

“What were you in for, Smith?” Thompson asked, as they started again towards town.

Heyes laughed roughly.  “Nothin’ that matters now, Mr. Thompson.”  He shook his head.  “Nothing at all.”

 
Heyes had slumbered as the wagon made its slow way into Laramie.  Thompson has quieted after Heyes continued to give answers that said nothing.  He leaned back into the fresh smelling hay and his eyes closed of their own accord.  It had been ten years since he had felt comfortable enough to let down his guard so completely.  He listened to the birdsong, the insects chirping, and he wagon wheels rumbling.

As they came into Laramie, he started to hear other voices, and his eyes fluttered open.  He was so tired, but could not trust anyone.  

“I’m going to Clarkson’s Feed Store,” Thompson offered.  “That’s by the train depot.  That do to drop you too?”

“That sounds mighty fine,” Heyes agreed.  He started to search his pockets, to offer the farmer something for the ride.  All he had was the twenty dollar gold piece that Wheat and Kyle had sent.  He was shocked that the warden had actually placed it in his hand.  He was surprised it had not made its way to one of the guards’ pockets.

“Don’t worry about it, son,” Thompson smiled at him as he eased down off the back of the wagon.  He did not remember getting so old and stiff in prison.  It must have happened while he was fighting to stay alive.  The farmer nodded towards a saloon across the street.  “May there will give you a free drink, if you ask politely.  She had a boy who didn’t make it out.”

Heyes looked up at Thompson, who had a worried look on his face, obviously thinking of his own son.

“Your boy’s learned how to follow the rules real well, Mr. Thompson.”  
Heyes drug up a brilliant smile.  “I’m certain he’ll get out for good behavior soon.”

“Thanks for the kind words, Mr. Smith.”  Thompson shook his head.  “Wisht he had learned that afore he ended up there.”

“Don’t we all, Mr. Thompson.”  Heyes nodded towards the saloon.  “May, you say?  I definitely could use me a drink.”

“You got any money, son?” Thompson asked, even though he couldn’t be much older than Heyes was now.  In spite of everything that had happened, there was still something of a boy in Heyes.  He was not certain if that was good or not.

He nodded and smiled wryly.  “My friends sent me enough to get me on the train, but not enough for a good drunk.”

Thompson laughed.  “Well, I doubt if May will put out for more than one shot, even with that smile of yours, but at least it will cut the dust.”

“And maybe a bit more.” Heyes still smiled, but something floated in his eyes as he touched his hat again.  “Many thanks, Thompson.”

“Good luck, Smith.”

Heyes nodded, took a breath, and headed toward the saloon.
 
May Jamieson was not quite as old as Heyes, but life had not treated her well either.  She was big, blonde, buxom, and had a sadness in her eyes that even her booming voice could not cover.  She saw Heyes for what he was the moment he walked into her saloon.

“Boys!” she hailed her customers.  “We got us another survivor of the modern penal system.”  Everyone in the bar clapped, bringing an angry blush to Heyes’ face.  When they then calmly went back to their own drinks and poker games, he took another deep breath and dredged up a dimpled smile for May.  He leaned against the bar, as he had not in years, but found old habits coming back.  He pulled out his gold coin, but May waved it away.

“I’ll spot you this first one,” she smiled back.  “Mister?”

“Smith,” Heyes replied smoothly.  He reached out for the shot, and as much as he wanted to down it in one gulp, he sipped.  It burned like he remembered and he chanced to close his eyes for a moment.  

May laughed lowly as his eyes reopened sooner than most men she had seen come out of the prison.  “I didn’t hear that any Smith was released today.”  

He tensed, meeting her gaze, but her eyes twinkled, and he relaxed again, as she said nothing further.  She left him in peace to finish his glass, and went to wait on a rancher and his foreman who had come walking into the saloon.

Heyes took the opportunity to observe the other patrons.  It was still light this time of the afternoon, but there was a poker game going in one corner.  He sighed.  It did not look high stakes, but if he played it right, he might have enough for buy in for the game, and still have enough left over for his ticket to Cheyenne, as well as a couple beers, and maybe something to eat.   If luck were with him tonight, he might come out with enough money for a room for the night.  If not, he would play poker as long as he could, and then catch a nap on the bench on the train depot platform.  He had done it before.  He smiled slightly.  He figured he would probably do it again.

May came back to his end of the bar just as he had tilted the glass to get the last drop to trickle down his throat.  

“Need another, Mr. Smith?” She smiled broadly.

“Not right now,” he smiled back.  “But I’d appreciate it if you could make change for this.”  He held out the twenty dollar gold piece again.

May gave it a good look, scrutinizing it like she wanted to bite into it.  Then she looked back at Heyes, and shook her head, taking it to the till.  She opened the drawer to get Heyes the change he needed.  “Better keep some for supper.  In spite of my friendly spirit towards you boys, I ain’t a charity.”

Heyes nodded. “Gotta keep some for a train ticket, but thought I could maybe sit in on a game or two.”

“Oh,” May became seriously interested.  “You leaving us soon?”

“Unless you have a job for me?” Heyes smiled shortly.

“Oh, honey,” May smiled broadly.  “I could think of a few things I could use you for, but I doubt if you’d want to stay here in Laramie.”

Heyes’ eyes actually twinkled for the first time since he entered the bar.  “You’d make it worthwhile, May, but I got friends with a place in Cheyenne.”

“Well, then, just watch out for Curly Jed.  He likes to cheat.”

A shadow flickered across Heyes’ face, but he plastered his smile back on.  “The others don’t?”

“Oh, sweetie, that was careless of me.”  She paused and touched his arm.  “Some of them know who you are.”

Heyes gaze became sharp.  “How?”

“It was big news, Mr. Smith.”  She looked at him fondly.  “They’ll be polite.  Just wondering if they’d get the chance to play with you.”

“I might be a bit rusty,” Heyes cleared his throat, and looked over to the table.  

“They’ll be right proud, no matter what.”  She smiled again, letting her eyes dance this time.  “Mr. Smith.”

“Howdy, boys.”  He smiled as he had sauntered over to the table.  “Got room for one more?”

 
It was as he had thought, just a small stakes, friendly poker game.  He enjoyed it more than any game he could remember.  He had smiled softly at that thought.  It had been so long.

May had been right.  The boys at the table who knew who he actually was, were just tickled to play with him.  He figured they would capitalize on bragging rights for some time to come.  They slipped now and again, forgetting to call him Smith, but they just all had a laugh and continued to play.

After he had won a couple hands, he succumbed to the luxury of a beer and a sandwich.  He almost enjoyed the ham sandwich more than the beer.  He had not had either in ten years.  As the table was filled by mainly local boys, they did not play until dawn, but later than he thought they might.  The saloon was quiet after they shook his hand and smiled, heading on to their homes, hardly able to wait to share their story.


Heyes calculated in his head once more, whether he had enough for a room.  He did, but if he just went to sit on the bench at the train station, he’d have enough to pay back Wheat and Kyle.  He figured he would end up owing them plenty before it was all said and done.

He had decided he did however have enough for one more beer.  May had been shooing a last few drunks out of the saloon, but came back up to the bar as Heyes approached.  She began pouring two shots, when Heyes started to object.  May waved him off and continued to pour.

“Darlin’, you need another whiskey.”  She smiled seductively at him.  He thought she must have been a beauty when she was young, as she was still a handsome woman, in spite of the hand life had dealt her in the years she had survived.  “For you, I’ll break a rule, or two, and offer you another free.”  She handed him the glass, and their hands touched.  She did not break eye contact.

“May,” he finally had to look down.  “I’m more flattered than I can tell you, but I might be out of practice on that too.”

“Seemed to remember how to play just fine.”  She downed her shot in one go.  “Let me close up.”  She held his eyes until he gave her the answer she wanted.  He sipped his whiskey, while she bustled around, finishing up only what was needed.  As she shot the bolt on the front doors, and turned towards him, he drained his whiskey, and a deep smile covered his face.  She walked slowly back towards him, until he could not stop himself and he reached out towards her, taking her in his arms.


He found that she was right.  He remembered just fine.
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chelseagirl



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PostSubject: Re: May   Fri May 18, 2018 9:05 am

A Brand-New Game

“May we go play outside?”  Thaddeus Curry asked his Auntie Ella.  

His younger brother Joshua (and Jed had had way too much fun naming his offspring after his and his partner’s former aliases, Ella reflected, not for the first time, or even the hundredth) tugged at her sleeve.  “May we?  Please?”

The Currys were raising their children to be polite, that was for certain, she reflected.  And she hadn’t been asked to watch them in a long while, and after all, Jed and Sandy deserved a romantic night at that lovely inn over in Roches Rouges for their anniversary, didn’t they?  The boys had been good as gold the first day, only getting a bit rambunctious in the evening.  But then, Heyes had been there, amusing them and keeping them in order.  When he wasn’t chasing them around the yard, and vice versa, that is.

But this morning, he’d surprised her with the announcement that he had forgotten all about promising Kyle Murtry that he’d go fishing with him this weekend, and after all, it wasn’t nice to poor Kyle to just abandon him like that.

Ella had suggested that he take the boys along, but he’d looked at her with horror.  He’d reminded her that he and Kyle were likely to get to reminiscing about the old days, and it just wasn’t right to expose the boys to that kind of talk.  And then he’d left quickly, before she could remind him that he and their father talked about those same old days with some frequency, right in front of the boys.

So here she was, and admittedly she was not at her best with a pair of vigorous young boys of six and seven years old.  She sighed and put her book down, again.

“Well . . . “ she hesitated, “it’s just that your sister and Bella are sound asleep and . . .”  She trailed off.  How parents had the energy to keep up with multiple children running in multiple directions was one of those things that constantly amazed her.  One was nice.  She liked having one.  “You may go outside, but is that really what you want to do?”

“Yes!” shouted both boys.

After all, how dangerous could it be to let them out on their own?  As long as they promised to stay on the property.

Let me count the ways . . . they could climb the apple trees and break their necks.  They could dash out onto the road and get run over by a passing wagon.  They could fall into the creek behind the house and drown.  They could catch the influenza like Rachel had, all those years ago, and never recovered.  She knew that wasn’t fair to the children, that she couldn’t keep them locked away.
 
Locked away.  Made it sound like she was keeping them in jail or something.  One of them could distract me for the moment, while the other made his escape.  She sighed.  Polite boys, but mischievous ones.  They were really growing up to be just like their father and their uncle Heyes.  Come to think of it, now there was an idea . . . .

So that afternoon, when Kid Curry and his wife returned to the Heyes’s house to fetch their children, they were treated to an unexpected sight.

The children were arrayed on the lawn, and various pieces of furniture had been brought down from the porch and set up almost as if . . . almost as if it were a courtroom.  Their eldest son appeared to be defending their younger.  He was cross-examining his baby sister, Sarah, asking her about his client’s whereabouts on the night of the twenty-third.  He didn’t pronounce whereabouts exactly correctly, but close enough.  

Meanwhile, little Arabella Heyes, clearly meant to be the judge, was seated on her mother’s lap, on the porch steps.  She was presiding over everything, waving a gavel aimlessly about and occasionally whispering to Ella.

An assortment of dolls, stuffed toys, a china dog and several potted plants made up the jury.

And Jed swore to Heyes later that Thaddeus, after simply nodding his greetings to his parents, was heard to say clearly and distinctly, “May it please the court--“

[author's note:  I ended this here because it just seemed to work best.  But I shared this coda with a couple of friends, who liked it, so . . . ]

Thad explained to his parents.  “Auntie Ella said we oughtn’t to play Cowboys and Indians, like the other boys do at school, because it’s disrespeck . . . disrespectful to mama and grampa.”

“So now we play Outlaws and Lawyers,” Joshua concluded.

Heyes, having overheard the conversation, whispered to Ella, “So after you get Bella to bed, what’s say we play some Outlaws and Lawyers ourselves?”

Ella gave him a stern glance.  “You left me.  On my own.  With four children under the age of eight.  Four very active children.”

“Who I spent all yesterday afternoon and evening with. While you sat there reading.  It was your turn, honey.”  And then he gave her that smile that always made her insides go all funny, even after all these years.

“Well,” she said, with a hint of reluctance.  “I suppose you have a point . . . Counsel will take it under advisement.“

He just looked at her, with his warm brown eyes.

"Counsel withdraws the charges."

He winked.  "See you upstairs in a little bit . . . "








*this one is dedicated to Nebraska Wildfire, who totally sparked this idea . . .


Last edited by chelseagirl on Sat May 19, 2018 7:16 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : expanded ending . . .)
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