Posts : 8723
Join date : 2013-08-24
|Subject: March Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:51 am|| |
It's March, so there can be only one topic for the story challenge for this month
That can mean the month, or the verb, or any other take on it your cunning minds can turn to.
Time to start writing!
Posts : 834
Join date : 2013-08-25
Age : 45
|Subject: Re: March Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:32 pm|| |
“Aha, mateys, a pair of knaves!”
Hannibal Heyes smiled at the sailor. “They’re called jacks, and you’re not supposed to show us your cards.”
“No matter—jacks, knaves—call ‘em what ya will but I have what it takes to open, accordin’ to your rules!” The grizzled neophyte poker player bared a grin in the ex-outlaw’s direction as he waved his cards to the players. “Ah, ya mateys taught me well.” Without further ado, he took three cards from his hand and laid them face up In front of him. “’I’ll be havin’ tre cards.”
The fellow to Heyes’s right grabbed the cards of the sailor next to him, only to be slapped on the wrist by the beginner. “Ya’ll leave ‘em where they be!”
“They’re supposed to be face down!” the slapped one explained. “And be warned, fella, ya touch me one more time and we’ll settle this in the street!”
The sailor smirked. “No need o’ that, matey. I’se just followin’ your rules. My cards’ll stay right wheres they are.”
The fellow to Heyes’s right stood up suddenly, almost upending the table. His hand had barely touched his holster when he heard a click behind him. He turned to see Jed “Kid” Curry motioning to him with his Colt to return to his seat.
Kid’s blue eyes held no threat. “Now, this is supposed to be a friendly game. The sailor fella there just learned to play, so why not give him a chance to get it right before gettin’ all excited.”
“I don’t see no badge on ya!” challenged the man standing.
Curry shrugged and widened his eyes, motioning with the Colt for the man to sit down.
He did, simultaneously muttering, “I don’t want no trouble.” He placed his hands on the table in full view lest the blue-eyed gunman behind him go from calm to trigger happy and shoot him in the back.
Heyes’s poker-faced glance slid from his partner to the man to his right. “None of us do.”
The man sighed audibly when he heard the slap of leather behind him as Curry holstered his pistol.
The dealer found his voice after remaining silent. “Okay, gents, your cards. We’ll start a new hand.”
The sailor picked up his three discarded cards and held them tightly in his hand. “No, siree, I got this pair o’knaves, and I’m openin’.”
“Come on, fella, these gents are right. Your cards have to be face down and known only to you,” the dealer explained. “Sorry if we didn’t make that clear.”
“Nope, we’ll play this one out,” insisted the sailor. He re-placed his discarded cards on the table in front of him, this time face down. “There, just like ya want ‘em. I’ll still take tre.”
You could hear the proverbial pin drop for the next several seconds as each of the gamblers eyed each other in indecision. Finally, Heyes threw in his cards. “I’m out.” The others followed in turn.
The sailor looked dumbfounded. His dander rose. “What’s this?! Ya sit down to a game and none o’ya will own up to playin’! What’s the sense in it, then?” He threw his cards down in disgust. Eying the ante, he said, “So, not fair I have to lose a nickel over ya mateys not followin’ through. Ain’t none o’ya navy men, I suppose.”
The dealer spoke up, “Man, you won.”
Before it sunk in to the sailor, the fellow to Heyes’s right said, “Let it ride.”
Heyes spoke to the man in a calm tone, “Come on, friend, he won, fair and square, like it or not.” He put up a palm as the man started to sputter. “We all threw in our cards.”
“That’s right,” the dealer did not lose a beat in picking up where Heyes left off. “The ante’s yours, sailor, but from now on you don’t show any of your cards or you don’t play, got that?”
The sailor’s eyes had followed each of the speakers as they spoke, and he took a moment to digest all that was said. Finally, he looked at each of the other five gamblers in turn and rose and started to walk away.
“Good, we’re better off playin’ without ya,” said the fellow to Heyes’s right.
The sailor stopped in his tracks and turned toward the table. “No, siree, matey, ya’ll not be gettin’ rid o’me that quick. I’s just marchin’ myself over to the bar for whatever rot gut that bartendy can serve up. I’m gonna need a good stiff one if’n ya’ll be expectin’ me to play with my sails down!”
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
Posts : 52
Join date : 2019-09-15
Age : 46
Location : United Kingdom
|Subject: Re: March Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:11 am|| |
March Challenge Story.
Curry didn't know how on earth he'd let his partner talk him into this. They were usually careful to avoid work that was hard on their backs, or that might bring them into long term contact with anyone who might recognise them, or be smart enough to put two and two together. Yet, here they were riding on a week long trip, with some pretty sharp lawmen to help capture a gang of outlaws that likely included three members, maybe even more, who they'd thrown our of their own ex gang for being too violent. He shook his head, not sure he really wanted to ask, but the unsettled silence between them was starting to get on his already stretched nerves.
"Tell me agin, why we're doing this Joshua?" Curry put deliberate emphasis on the alias with just enough drawl to it, to annoy his friend. He was mighty sick of Heyes ragging him on the fact he wasn't always careful with his use of names. Like he was the only one...
"Well, Thaddeus, our mutual friend seems to think it's mighty important that we stop this gang's march across the west and we ain't in much of a position to argue." Heyes's tone was as tetchy as his own. The tension was getting to them both and Curry had to appreciate his partner's point, but he didn't have to like it.
"You think he's playin' us agin?"
Heyes shrugged, then smiled, "We're gonna find out in about a week, as long as no one figures out who we are before, oh and of course as long as we don't get killed during the ambush."
"Jeez, H..Joshua, you sure know how to improve a man's mood."
"I always make a point of bein as honest with you as I can, K..Thaddeus. You sure get mad if I ain't." Heyes gazed sidelong at him, his expression blank and Curry couldn't see his eyes easily in the sunlight under his hat.
Curry glared as his hand twitched slightly on the handle of his gun, but after a few seconds he realised there was no point in causing an argument, especially as he knew they'd been given little choice but to agree. He managed a smile as he said,
"Well, least ways we get to eat more then beans for a few days. "
"There's always a silver lining Thaddeus," agreed his partner.
They lapsed into a more comfortable silence as they rode side by side.
Posts : 538
Join date : 2013-08-25
Age : 65
Location : Colorado
|Subject: Re: March Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:12 pm|| |
This one is for Wichita Red. She posted a great picture on Facebook and, when I saw it, this story wrote itself.
“Heyes, hey, Heyes, come on over here and take a gander at this,” yelled Wheat Carlson across the smoke-filled saloon. The piano player stopped pounding out a tune and eyes turned. First, to the tall mustached man doing the yelling and then to the scowling, dark-haired outlaw leader seated with his partner.
“You think he’ll ever learn?” said Heyes with a sigh.
“Nope.” The Kid smirked and took another sip of good whiskey. “Lucky for us Maisie shuts it down to let us whoop it up in here.” He glanced around the Golden Spur’s private gambling hall. The entire gang in one place made him nervous but the boys had to blow off steam somehow or they’d be causing trouble in the Hole. It had been a good job and the money was burning a hole in all their pockets. The lovely young lady on his lap giggled and squirmed her way out of his arms, scooping up her tray of filled glasses. “I’ll see you later, darlin’,” drawled Curry with a wink. She stooped and gave him a provocative kiss before continuing her circuit of tables.
“Yeah, and it’s gonna be real unlucky for Wheat if he someday does that in front of the wrong folks,” growled Heyes. The piano player had started up again but Wheat was still waving to him and getting ready to bellow again. “I’ll go see what he wants.” Standing up, Heyes grabbed his drink and drained it in one gulp. “Order us another round, will you?”
“I’m comin’ with you. I gotta see what’s got Wheat so excited.” The Kid’s chair scraped back as he rose to follow Heyes. From the balcony skirting the upper half of the far wall, he could see Maisie watching the tables. Next to her stood Bart, her right hand man and her muscle. Bordello ownership was a rough and complicated business for most men, let alone a beautiful woman, but Maisie had surrounded herself with loyal, capable men to make sure it all ran smoothly and, most importantly, her favored customers were not bothered while they relaxed. The Kid smiled. If the he and the gang were her favored customers, Heyes was her favorite. He saw her eyes track his partner as Heyes sauntered to the back table next to the bar. It didn’t bother the Kid any. Maisie was a handful and Heyes liked a challenge. Him, he preferred his women a little more compliant. As though she had heard him thinking her name, Maisie nodded at the Kid as she started down the stairs.
Wheat was nearly dancing with excitement and half the gang crowded around him. Kyle, Preacher, Hank, and Lobo all grinned like jackals.
“What’s up, Wheat?” asked Heyes. The bigger man was shielding something behind him from his leader’s view. The boys were chuckling with delight and the Kid was beginning to wonder what sort of prank they were getting ready to pull. He walked over to join his partner. Judging by the expensive scent in the air, Maisie was coming up next to him. Curry turned slightly and pulled her forward making sure no one was between him and Heyes.
“Go ahead, Wheat, show him,” she said with her soft British accent.
“Show me what?” said Heyes, now smiling as he realized Maisie was in on whatever was happening.
With a flourish, Wheat waved his arm and stepped aside revealing an instrument Heyes had only read, and dreamed about. A top box, wall-mounted telephone. It was brand new and the mahogany exterior glistened with polish.
Kyle’s face split with a huge, tobacco-stained grin. “Lookee, what Miss Maisie’s got, Heyes. It’s a gen-u-ine tellyphone!”
His partner’s face lit up with delight and the Kid relaxed. He hated doubting his own gang but he was all too aware that his and Heyes’ tenure as leaders was only as long as his ability to keep everyone in line and his partner’s ability to keep their coffers full.
“Where’d you get it?” Heyes was looking like a kid on Christmas morning. He stepped into the space Lobo vacated for him and lifted the handset. “Does it work?” he asked hopefully and Maisie nodded. Lifting the handset, Heyes held it to his ear and heard a crackling sound. He bent to the mouthpiece and spoke loudly, “Hello? Hello?”
After a moment, a voice came back to him through the miracle of modern science. “T. A. Wilson speaking. Is that you sweethe…” Maisie’s hand gently pulled down the cradle and disconnected the call. Disappointment blossomed on Heyes’ face and the Kid had a feeling it wasn’t all about the call being cut off.
“It’s not a toy, boys,” said Maisie firmly while slipping her arm through Heyes’ and skillfully leading him away.
Curry sat down in an empty chair and watched the couple. “Good going, Wheat. Heyes owes you for this one.”
“I thought he’d be happy!!” protested Wheat. The whole gang was watching their leader now.
The Kid shook his head. “Does he look happy?”
“He don’t look so happy, Wheat,” offered Kyle.
Heyes stopped Maisie at the foot of the stairs. “Who was that talking to me?”
“Why, I believe that was T. A. Wilson, dear.”
“And who exactly is that?” growled Heyes, turning to face her.
She smiled winsomely and cocked her head slightly towards the steps. “That is the gentleman who installed the telephone. Shall we go up?”
Jaws clenched, Heyes stood rooted to the spot. “And why does the gentleman need to have a telephone that goes directly to you?”
Batting her eyelashes demurely, Maisie sidestepped around Heyes and started up the stairs. Looking over one bare shoulder, she smiled. “A lady never tells.”
Heyes could see that this was getting him nowhere so he smiled wolfishly.
An evil smile formed on her pouting lips. “Why he’s the new marshal in Laramie.”
“What would a law-abiding man want with you?” sneered Heyes, his voice as cold as his eyes.
No longer smiling--in fact--frowning in an unattractive manner, Maisie pulled herself up her entire five foot three inch height and snarled, “Who do you think you are?!” Alerted by his boss’ tone, Bart started towards the handsome couple.
“I’m thinking I’m the man walking away from you.” Heyes turned away.
“You…you...how dare you judge me?! You have no right…” Furious, Maisie grabbed the back of Heyes’ shirt. “Don’t you walk away from me! You two-bit, sonava…”
“Very ladylike,” stated Heyes as he gripped her wrist until she released him.
“Get OUT!! Get out of my place or I’ll have you thrown out! Bart! MARCH THEM OUT OF HERE--GET OUT!!” She was screaming shrilly. Bart pulled his gun.
The Kid drew as well but stood up and walked between his partner and the angry woman, his gun trained between Bart’s eyes. “Now, you don’t mean that, Maisie. Heyes, tell her you’re sorry. You know we love you, darlin’.”
Heyes’ response was to cross his arms and adopt a mulish expression.
“The first time I saw you pair of knaves, I knew you’d be trouble! Him, all sweet-talking and smiling like butter would melt in his mouth, those dimples begging me to…and, you…you acting like you were the easiest--going man in the world. But you’re not, he’s not. You’re crooks! I’m calling the law!” Maisie signaled to Bart and, together, they plowed down the stairs. Maisie pushed past the Kid. The Kid stepped forward and stiff-armed Bart, forcing him to stop. Both men pointing guns at each other until Bart wisely lowered his. The rest of the gang had been stunned by the fireworks and had quickly retreated out the door of the Golden Spur.
But Heyes stood his ground. His frown wavered and he smiled as Maisie pushed aside chairs when she passed him. He followed in her wake righting them as quickly as she upended them. When she reached the phone, she snatched up the handset. “T. A., T. A., it’s Maisie. I need you!” She froze when she cast an ugly frown over her shoulder at Heyes and saw him holding up a frayed wire with a self-satisfied smiling carving the aforementioned dimples. She threw down the handset, curled her long, slender fingers into two fists, and stomped her foot like a two year old. “DAMN you, Heyes!” She shrieked as he pulled her into his arms and she fought him hard as he buried his face into the curve of her neck inhaling her scent. She felt his lips tracing a line across her heated skin. Involuntarily, she moaned, pulled him tighter to the length of her, and whispered, “I hate you!”
“You say that to all your men,” laughed Heyes into her skin.
She stilled in his arms and he braced for the explosion he expected. She shook once and a soft sound escaped from her. It was quickly followed by a choking sound changing swiftly to a bubble of laughter until she was pushed away from him, nodded her head vigorously, and crowed, “I DO say that to all my men.”
Heyes reached out and captured her hand, chuckling. “Let’s go upstairs and you can tell me again. And if you tell me real nice, you can even tell me again.” He drew a giggling Maisie up the steps and into the first door on the left. It shut with a loud click.
Bart and the Kid started as though awoken from a dream. The Kid’s gun snapped up instantly, Bart’s meeting it muzzle to muzzle a moment later. Both men glared at each, then stared for a long time, then smiled. The Kid holstered his gun with a showy flourish and Bart simply put his away. “I’m good, Kid. How ‘bout you? You good?” asked the slightly older man.
“Never better, Bart. Thanks for askin’.” Curry patted the other man on the back. “What d’you say we
go find the gang and leave those two lovebirds alone??”
“Lovebirds?!” Bart was still looking up the stairs. “Five minutes ago, she’d have paid me triple to shoot you two dead. Now she’s…if’n I live to be a hundred, I’ll never figure women out!”
The Kid threw his arm over Bart’s shoulders. “But let’s have us a good time tryin’.”
Hannibal Heyes walked stiffly down the stairs the next morning as the sun hit the plate glass window in the front of the building. Beams of light illuminated dust motes suspended in the stale air.
“I see you’re still in one piece,” smirked the Kid from a table behind Heyes.
Swiveling around, the dark-haired partner grinned sheepishly. “Barely.”
“You were walkin’ away last night, what made you change your mind?” Curry tipped his head.
Heyes considered the question for a while and then shrugged. “When she started squawking about calling the law, I got to thinking. All she had to do was walk down those steps and she could’ve had the law on us like that!” Fingers snapped, and Heyes smiled.
“The thought had crossed my mind.”
“And then I thought about Miss Birdie.”
Blond brows drew together. “The little old lady from the Columbine job? What were you thinkin’ about her for? That was months ago and, and, she’s OLD!”
Heyes choked. “I wasn’t thinking about her THAT WAY!”
“Well, you sure were thinkin’ about somethin’ that way,” dryly drawled the Kid.
“Look. I started thinking about that amnesty.”
“The amnesty? I thought you said that was for…”
“I KNOW what I said. Kid, those telephones are gonna finish us. Sheriffs, bankers, pretty soon they’re all gonna have them.”
The Kid jumped up from his chair. “And the minute we pull a job, they’ll be callin’ the law. Heyes…”
“We gotta get outta this business!”
“The purpose of life isn’t to arrive at death in perfect condition but to slide into it sideways with your hair mussed, your clothes disheveled, a martini in one hand and chocolate in the other, shouting ‘Whooeee, what a ride!’”--Hunter S. Thompson
|Subject: Re: March || |