Posts : 1467 Join date : 2013-08-24 Age : 63 Location : Camano Island Washington
Subject: Friendship Chapter Ten Part one Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:16 pm
The young deputy came running into Dr. Jackson’s office so totally flustered and out of breath that he had to take a moment to calm down before being able to complete his errand. Doc Jackson gave him a cup of water and a pat on the shoulder, along with the advice to take slow deep breathes etc until the young man finally calmed down enough to speak clearly.
“We need ya over at the Sheriff’s office—right now!” came the flustered message.
“Calm down young man. Tell me what happened.”
“The sheriff’s been injured!”
“No, no. The other one ahhh… Morrison. And one of his deputies too.”
Jackson began to get his satchel ready to take over; putting in most of the items he thought he would need.
“Were they shot?” Jackson asked as he scurried around his office, grabbing items as he went. Although, he reasoned, he hadn’t heard any gunfire.
“No,” the deputy answered, finally getting his respiration back to normal. “just beat up some. They’re both bleeding pretty bad. I think the sheriff has a broken nose.”
“What!? What happened?”
“Humm, I think they were trying to break up a fight between two prisoners.”
“Were either of the prisoners injured?”
“Ahhh, oh,” the deputy had to think on that for a moment. “I tripped over one of them lying on the floor, so I guess he was injured. The other one is on his way to the prison so I guess he’s alright.”
“So three injured men altogether?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“You’re doing an awful lot of guessing here Deputy.”
“Well everything happened so fast!” the deputy defended himself. “They just told me to get over here and get ya!”
“Alright Deputy, that’s fine,” the doctor assured him. “You know where my assistant lives?”
“Yeah, that’s Clive isn’t it?”
“Yes, that’s right,” Jackson confirmed. “Go get him. Tell him what’s happened and that I need him over at the Sheriff’s office.”
“Yeah, yeah okay.”
“Alright. Off you go!”
“Right! I’ll go get Clive.”
As soon as the doctor entered the Sheriff’s office he understood why the deputy had tripped over the prisoner because Jackson did pretty much the same thing. The shackled man was conscious and obviously in pain so Jackson knelt down to assess him but was distracted by a shout from the back office.
“Hey Doc! Never mind about him,” one of the other deputies called to him. “You gotta tend to the lawmen first!”
Jackson realized that the prone man wasn’t in any immediate danger so he got up and headed into the second office. One look and he had to admit that it looked like a war zone. Both injured lawmen were bleeding and in foul tempers. And just like the first deputy surmised; the sheriff did appear to have a broken nose along with a couple of very impressive black eyes that were only going to be getting worse. The other injured lawman wasn’t showing any bruising, but the blood around his mouth and the look in his eye told a story that didn’t need translating. Then they heard the front door opening followed by sudden curses coming from Clive as he tripped over the prisoner sprawled on the floor.
“Oh, sorry Clive,” his companion apologized. “I should have told you about him.”
“Yeah, Billy,” Clive agreed. “that might have been a good idea.”
“Clive!” Jackson called. “Get in here; I’m going to need your assistance.”
“Well what about this one on the floor?!” Clive called back.
“He’s not bleeding, he can wait,” Jackson insisted. “Get in here!”
Clive then showed up at the door of the back office and took a look around.
“Oh Jeez,” he commented. “Some prisoners gang up on you fellas or something?”
“Actually it was just one,” Rick informed Clive.
“Just one?” asked Clive and then jerked a thumb over his shoulder as he headed over to assess Mike’s injuries. “That one out there?”
“Nope,” Richard answered. “He actually didn’t do anything too serious—just forgot where he was for an instant.”
“Rick! Keep your mouth shut,” Morrison growled at him. “Curry tried to break custody and he paid the price!”
“Oh, c’mon! That’s not….”
“Don’t argue with me! That’s what happened!”
“Fine,” Rick relented with a resigned sigh. “At least let me go get Doc Gibson over here to tend to him.”
“NO!” and Morrison instantly grimaced with the pain the expletive caused while Jackson started to stuff padding up his nose to stop the bleeding. “Keep that idiot away from here!”
“Somebody’s got to tend to him,” Rick pushed. “We can’t just leave him lying on the floor.”
“I’m almost done here,” Jackson informed him. “Clive, how is your patient doing?”
“He’s going to need some stitches in his tongue and, it’s hard to tell through the blood, but he may have broken some teeth as well so we’ll probably have to pull out what’s left of them.”
“Okay,” said Jackson. “I’ll do that over in my office. It’ll be easier over there. In the mean time Clive, you can take a look at the prisoner.”
“Right,” said Clive and he gave Mike a smile and a pat on the shoulder and then headed back to the outer office. Mike looked surly.
Curry was still lying where he had been dumped and tripped over a number of times when Clive came out and approached him. Curry’s eyes were closed, but opened half way when the assistant knelt down and put a hand on his arm. The prisoner groaned.
“Your right shoulder looks a little awkward,” Clive commented. “I’m just going to unbutton your shirt and take a look at it, alright?”
Curry gave a barely readable nod and Clive gently went about his business. He knitted his brow a bit when he saw the freshly healed bullet wound but then returned his attention to the current injury and came to his conclusion quite quickly. He smiled and nodded at Curry, then got up and returned to the back office.
“His collar bone is broken,” he announced. “Looks like a clean break though so it should heal up alright.”
“Okay, good,” Jackson acknowledged. “Are you okay to set it yourself?”
“Sure,” Clive answered. “If one of the deputy’s will help me.”
“I’ll help.” Rick offered.
Morrison grumbled something rude about that, but the morphine that Jackson had given him was beginning to take effect and his blusterings weren’t quite up to their usual standard. Rick ignored him and he and Clive were about to leave the office when Jackson stopped them.
“You better give him some morphine before you set it or it will hurt like hell,” He told his assistance.
“Oh, I don’t think that’s….” Rick began, but Morrison cut him off.
“Don’t be telling the Doc his business!” the Sheriff muffled through the padding.
“But Gibson’s trying to….”
“Layton! Shut your mouth. The Doc knows best!!”
In the meantime, Clive had picked up the supply of morphine that Jackson had left on the table and was in the process of mixing a full dose into a cup of water. Rick’s jaw was set tight as he looked over at his boss, and the look that was sent back to him was bleary but adamant about what would happen if Rick interfered.
“Can I at least get the keys to those cuffs so that I can unlock him?” Rick asked quietly.
Morrison started doing a quick but wobbly pat down of his own pockets and then withdrew the keys from their hiding place and shakily held them out for Rick to take.
“Thanks,” Rick mumbled as he snatched them from his boss and then turned and followed Clive back out to the front office.
“Okay Sheriff,” Jackson said. “I don’t want you being on your own for at least twenty-four hours, so why don’t you just lie down on that cot over there and get some sleep. I’ll check up on you later today.”
“Fine Doc,” Morrison agreed, and he carefully got to his feet. Turner offered a hand, but Morrison waved him away and weaved himself over to the cot and settled in.
“Well Deputy,” Jackson said to Mike. “looks like you’re next in line. I’ll get you stitched up over in my office.”
Mike didn’t look too pleased about that prospect, but nodded agreement and stood up to follow the doctor out.
“That must have been one big, mean outlaw to have caused this much damage all on his own,” Jackson commented. Mike rolled his eyes and declined to answer.
A couple of hours later, Curry was in a cell and passed out on the cot in a morphine induced sleep. Rick and Clive had had no problem setting the broken bone and the right arm had again been bound and wrapped snuggly up against the patient’s torso so the break could heal. Rick had been left standing outside the cell door for some time now, watching the man sleep, and worrying about what Dr. Gibson was going to say about this. He had been debating back and forth about whether or not to inform the good doctor about this new event or just hang back and let Gibson find out about it on his own. After all, the damage had already been done and telling Gibson about it now wouldn’t change that. Not knowing anything about drugs in general, it never occurred to him that Curry might have been given an overdose. Still Rick felt like he was obligated to say something, but also knew that by doing so, he would be going against his boss’s orders. What the hell, knowing Gibson he was going to be over to check up on his ‘special patient’ any time now anyways. May as well just leave it alone. Finally Rick pushed himself up off the bars where he’d been leaning and headed out of the cell block. Curry was really no longer his problem. He had been signed over legally into the custody of the Cheyenne Sheriff’s Department and was now Turner’s responsibility. Still, Rick thought, Mike had stayed on to watch over Heyes, so Rick may be asked to do the same thing with Curry, especially since his friend Sheriff Trevors had already left for Porterville. Maybe he’ll start getting an hour a day out of this cell too. Well, no harm in thinking about it a bit more over a glass of beer and a bite of lunch. Once the cell block was again empty of lawmen, the two prisoners on either side of Curry’s cell got up and moved over to the bars on either side of the new inmate.
“Well George, what do ya think?” one of them asked the other.
“I donno Fred. He looks harmless enough.”
“That’s cause he’s unconscious you idiot!” George threw back at him. “Heyes was harmless too when he was drugged out.”
“Well they can’t both of em’ be that ornery!” Fred reasoned. “They’d a kilt each other by now!”
“I suppose,” George conceded. “That is Kid Curry ain’t it?”
“That’s what they’s been callin’ ‘im.”
“Well, ain’t he supposed to be the mean one?”
Fred shrugged. “That’s what they’s been say’n.”
Both men were silent then, looking over at the sleeping gunman trying to imagine how anyone could be more cantankerous than the previous occupant of that cell.
Later that afternoon Rick returned to the jailhouse to find both David and Steven Granger in the cell block discussing the situation. Both men were in the cell, while David was sitting on the cot beside his patient, checking his vital signs. He seemed content that Curry wasn’t going to expire then and there but he was still just barely keeping his anger under control. Granger was also tight lipped at this new development.
“So much for going over strategy today,” Granger was saying. “But at least the Judge has agreed to the hour a day reprieve for now anyway. Maybe we can get him out tomorrow if he’s feeling up to it.”
“We’ll see,” David mumbled, and then noticed Rick standing by the door. “Why didn’t you let me know this had happened?”
Granger was confused for a moment, but then realized that the doctor wasn’t speaking to him and he turned to see Rick standing behind him.
“Morrison refused to let me come and get you,” Rick admitted point blank. “and last I looked he was still my boss. I tried to tell them not to give him any more morphine but they wouldn’t listen.”
“I think I’m going to be having a word with your ‘boss’ about this, very soon.”
“I’d watch my step if I were you Doc,” Rick warned him. “After what Heyes did to him he is in a pretty foul temper.”
“Why? What did Heyes do to him?”
“Broke his nose for starters.”
David never would have thought there would be anything Rick could say that would put a smile on his face, but that did it.
“How come he went down so hard Doc?” Rick asked, gesturing towards Curry. “Hell, I’ve broken my collar bone before and I didn’t pass out.”
“It’s accumulative,” David explained. “His system is still dealing with the first injury and then it gets hit with a second one in the same area. It may just be a simple break, but it was the shock of it that knocked the stuffing out of him. I suppose putting him to sleep for awhile is probably the best medicine right now. I just wish he hadn’t given him morphine.” David sighed and stood up. “Oh well, we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Mid-morning of the next day, David returned to the jailhouse to check up on the patient. Turner took him back and opened the cell door for him and David stepped through with a smile for the occupant. Curry was awake, but very low key. He was sitting on the cot, leaning against the back wall with his knees drawn up, looking like he had just been through the wars and was none too happy about it either. The two inmates on either side of him were eyeing the outlaw cautiously.
“Well Jed,” David began. “how are you feeling today?” As though he couldn’t tell that just by looking at the man.
“I was certain it was all just a bad dream,” Jed admitted. “I woke up to find my arm all bundled up again and thought I was trapped in a nightmare.”
David smiled and went to sit down beside his friend and gave him a conciliatory pat on one of his knees.
“I know,” he said. “But it’s not too bad. It’ll delay your recuperation a bit, but shouldn’t have any other effect. One piece of good news though, Granger has arranged for you to get out of here for an hour every day, just like Hannibal did. So you have that to look forward to. Granger will probably be by this evening to see you.”
“I don’t know how much good I’m going to be to him today David,” Curry admitted. “My brain still feels like oatmeal.”
“I know,” David assured him. “That’s why I told him to hold off until this evening. Give you a bit more time to get that morphine out of your system.”
“Ohhh, yeah,” Curry groaned. “I’m sorry David. I tried to tell that Doctor not to give me any of that, but he had it down my throat before I could stop him. You guys are really good at that sort of thing.”
David chuckled. “Yeah, I know,” he said. “It comes with the territory. Don’t worry about it, we’ll just—start over.”
David turned serious again. “I don’t know. I never saw him,” the doctor admitted. “He’s probably at….well, at the….”
“At the prison by now,” Curry finished for him.
Curry nodded and both men became silent for a moment. Then the sound of Morrison’s voice could be heard coming from the front office, and David practically growled.
“Take it easy Jed,” he said as he got to his feet. “I need to go have a word with the good sheriff.”
“Ohhh, you be careful David.”
David came into the office and was met by Morrison’s black and blue face rounding on him.
“What the hell is he doing here!?” Morrison demanded in a voice sounding like it was fighting its way through a wet blanket.
“I could ask you the same thing!” David answered before Turner had a chance to respond. “Curry is no longer your prisoner, but he is still my patient! Why wasn’t I informed of this new injury!?”
“The local doctor took care of it. Your services weren’t required,” Morrison growled back. “Why don’t you just go home where you belong!”
“Apparently I belong here! You knew I was trying to get him off the morphine, why did you let that doctor give him a full dose of it!?”
“I figure the Doc knew what he was doing.”
“But he didn’t know that Jed has already been on morphine for months and is still taking it! It was dangerous to give him more!” David insisted. “You could have killed him!” Then David went quiet for a moment as a thought occurred to him. “Or is that what you were hoping would happen?”
Morrison’s temper erupted! He threw aside a chair that was in his way and lunged at the medical man. In an instant Morrison had David backed up against the wall, his hands around the doctor’s throat and squeezing with murderous intent! Turner was taken totally by surprise, but two beats later he was on the two men, trying to get the big sheriff to release his hold!
“Come on Morrison, back off of him!” Turner yelled at him, grabbing his hands and trying to get him to let go.
David was fighting for his life! Morrison had a strangle hold on his throat and wasn’t showing any signs of letting go. David could feel the blood rushing to his head and a buzzing in his ears as he started to punch the Sheriff on his broken nose in a frantic effort to get him off. Two deputy’s who were in the back office heard the scuffle and ran in to help and finally, between the three lawmen, they were able to pull Morrison off his victim and drag him over to the other side of the room. David slid to the floor, clutching his throat and gasping for air. He was shaking from the assault—he couldn’t believe the man had actually attacked him! As the buzzing in his ears started to dissipate he could hear Curry shouting from inside the cell block, but David was in no condition yet to respond and just sat on the floor fighting to get air into his lungs.
Inside his cell, Curry was on his feet the instant he heard what sounded like a chair crashing into a wall, then the sounds that followed got his heart pounding and he charged the bars of the cell. He grabbed the door, frantically yanking at it in the hopes that maybe David hadn’t closed it properly when he’d left, but no such luck; the cell door was closed and locked and wasn’t budging. Curry started to yell, still yanking at the door and then hitting the bars out of frustration. George and Fred exchanged looks across the cells and then each man retreated to their farthest corners to keep as much distance as possible between themselves and yet another explosive madman who had been plunked into their midst. Finally the block door opened and David poked his head in, still holding his throat. Curry thought he looked pale.
“It’s alright Jed,” David croaked, and then coughed. “everything’s okay.”
“Jeez, David. You sure?” Curry asked, very concerned.
“Yeah, it’s alright,” then the door closed and David disappeared.
Curry sighed with relief and then turned to go back to his cot. His knees were shaking. He then caught the expression on the face of George, cowering in his corner and took a look over at Fred and was met with the same expression from that corner. Curry shook his head and smiled.
“It’s alright fellas,” he assured them. “I’m not going to self-destruct on ya.”
Back out in the office Turner was in the process of pouring out five shots of brandy (the good stuff) while Morrison and David continued to glare at each other.
“I think everybody just needs to calm down,” Turner stated as he handed the shot glasses around. “tempers seem to be a little high right now. Cheers.”
Everyone downed their drink and it did help to break the tension just a little. David found that the alcohol burned his throat on the way down, and it went straight to Morrison’s already pounding face, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it.
“You two need to find a way to get along,” Turner suggested as he poured out two more shots. “Why don’t you take these drinks, go into the back office and try to talk this out.”
This suggestion was met with silent hostility. David didn’t want to be anywhere near the sheriff and Morrison wished the doctor would just go away.
“Are either one of you intending to leave town soon?”
“NO!” came the unified retort.
“Well then,” Turner shrugged. “better work it out.” then he handed them each another drink and gestured towards the back office.
Suddenly feeling like two boys who had just had the principal catch them fighting in the school yard, the two men took the offered drinks. They cautiously made their way into the other office, David making sure that Morrison stayed in front of him every step of the way. They both sat down on opposite sides of the desk and solemnly glared at each other.
“Alright,” Morrison finally broke the silence. “let’s be honest Doc; I don’t like you and you don’t like me.”
“Nothing to disagree with yet,” David mumbled.
“I think you’re a namby-pamby, lily livered sorry excuse for a real doctor and you think I’m a sadistic bastard who just likes to inflict pain for no reason.”
David just glared at him.
“The Territory of Wyoming asked me to capture Heyes and Curry and get them to trial. The reason they asked me is for one reason and one reason only,” Morrison explained. “they knew that I could do it. My ways are harsh, but those two outlaws have been running wild for over ten years and nobody has been able to hold on to them. It was time to get tough.”
“Getting tough is one thing,” David answered him. “but you go beyond that. You’re right; I do think you’re sadistic, I think you really do enjoy hurting people.”
“I don’t enjoy it Doc,” Morrison disagreed. “I just don’t mind doing it. Not if I know it will get the job done. I studied those two men Doc, I figured out their strongest abilities and then that’s where I hit them. If you go after where a man is strongest then you have to hit hard or they’ll just run right over you. Look what happened with Heyes; I had him right where I wanted him. One look at me and he’d back off and keep his mouth shut, but look what happened as soon as I handed him over to these idiots here. This is supposed to be the securest jail in the whole territory, but Heyes damn near walked out the front door!! It was just by chance he was stopped! That would not have happened if he’d still been in my custody.”
“So the whole idea was to break him?” David asked with a bit of a sneer.
“Break him? No,” Morrison answered. “I just needed Heyes to know that he wasn’t going to get away with pulling his crap on me, and he did know it! I didn’t come anywhere near breaking him; if I had I wouldn’t be sporting a broken nose and two black eyes. No, it’s going to take prison to break Hannibal Heyes.”
“And you’re pleased about that?”
“Nope,” Morrison said. “Couldn’t care less either way. My job is done as far as he’s concerned. I arrested him and I got him to trial. What the judge decided to do with him after that was up to him. I admit I’m glad he didn’t get off. The man’s an outlaw through and through. I don’t care about his past, a lot of us had a hard time growing up—so what. Now maybe the things that happened did make him who he is, but that’s still who he is and if he’d gotten a pardon he would have just gone back to being who he is—an outlaw.”
“But Sheriff, they have been trying to go straight,” David pointed out. “and they have friends who are willing to stand by them and vouch for them.”
“Yeah,” Morrison smirked. “I think those friends got a bit of an eye opener at Heyes’ trial don’t you? Seems he wasn’t staying quite as straight as his friends thought.”
“I think there is more to it than that,” David insisted.
“Well then maybe he should have explained himself in court,” said Morrison. “but he didn’t, did he? Because he couldn’t explain it, he couldn’t justify it. He’d gotten caught and that’s all there is to it.”
“He couldn’t explain it because it would have meant implicating other people,” David pointed out. “Seems to me he was protecting someone else.”
“Yeah,” Morrison agreed. “other thieves! This just goes to show that he’s still thick with them, still working with them. He’s a cardsharp, a conman and a thief himself. Nothing’s changed!”
David decided to let that one go. Morrison had one opinion and David had another. As far as the doctor was concerned, Heyes had good people who were willing to stand by him and that in itself should carry some influence in judging the man. But Morrison was adamant so there was no point in arguing the point. Besides, Heyes’ situation was somewhat a moot point now since the man had been sentenced and convicted and was probably already getting his first taste of prison life. David changed tact’s and brought up another situation that he had felt was above and beyond the call of duty.
“Well, there was no need to shoot that man from the train,” David pointed out. “If you had wanted to get the attention of those outlaws all you had to do was fire your gun in the air.”
“Yup, that’s true,” Morrison agreed.
“Because I didn’t do it to get Carlson’s attention,” Morrison explained. “I did it to get Curry’s attention.”
“But Jed said that you told….”
“I told Carlson I did it to get his attention just to make him feel like he was important, like he actually had some say in the negotiations,” Morrison said. “but Curry was the one who was going to make things happen, he was the one who had to take control of his gang and make them do his bidding. I had to let Curry know—right now—what would happen if he didn’t co- operate.”
“So you killed a man just to get Jed to go along with you, something he probably would have done anyways.”
“I didn’t kill a man,” Morrison countered. “I killed an outlaw, and a two bit one at that. And there was no time for ‘probably’, I needed that situation defused instantly, like I said—right now. I did what I had to do to make it happen.”
David was silent, but he still didn’t look convinced. Morrison shook his head.
“You are so concerned over the death of one low-life outlaw that you’re not seeing the whole picture,” the sheriff carried on. “What do you think would have happened if that gang had boarded the train and come across their boss in custody? Do you really think they would have just walked away from that? They outnumbered us three to one. They would have tried to take Curry by force and who knows how many people could have been killed. Women and children, Doc, they would have been right in the middle of it. You should be thanking me.”
David hated to admit it, but the sheriff was actually starting to make sense. If a full blown gunfight had broken out on that train the results could have been disastrous.
“But still,” David wasn’t ready to give up yet. “this most recent incident. From what Rick tells me, Jed wasn’t trying to break away. There was no need to use that kind of force, indeed it was you reacting that way that set Hannibal off.”
Morrison shook his head again, like he had to explain logic to a child.
“I said right from the get go ‘Don’t let those two get together,’” Morrison continued to explain. “I didn’t want those two seeing one another, or even hearing anything about one another. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop their ‘friends’ from bringing information back and forth, so that part couldn’t be helped. But they’ve proven over and over again; together they’re dangerous! Keep them apart and you keep them off balance. “Dammit, Heyes was supposed to have been gone two hours before I brought Curry over! And the prison coach was supposed to be in the back lane! I don’t know what the hell Turner was thinking! Now maybe I did over react a bit there, but I was mad! I’d had Curry’s attitude right where I wanted it—and then he sees Heyes! God dammit!!! So yeah, I hit him hard. Now maybe in your mind it was too hard, but I disagree. I don’t want these outlaws to like me, I don’t even want them to respect me, I just want them to know their place and to stay there.”
Morrison stopped talking for a minute and took a drink. David remained quiet, just staring ahead. The sheriff sighed and then continued.
“I’ve seen the way you are with these two, treating them like regular folk, calling them by their first names. I hear you talking to Curry, the two of you laughing like you’re old buddies. But I tell you Doc, the only people those two are loyal to are each other. “ Look what happened to Mike. He treated Heyes with a lot more leniency than I ever would have, those damn weekly poker games—what the hell was he thinking!? But did Heyes respect that? No! As soon as Mike got in his way; ‘POW!’ Now Mike’s going to be eating soup for a month,” Here Morrison stopped and shook his head. “And I don’t know what’s going on with Layton. He was my best right hand man—but now….” Morrison shook his head again. “I don’t know.” Then he went back to his original point. “Those two outlaws have just simply been putting up with you because you’re helping them, and right now it’s Curry. Everything he is is tied up with being a gunman and he was scared to death that he was going to lose that. Now here you are, a young up and coming doctor, all ‘back east trained’ and full of ideas and you’re going to make him all better again. He’s just using you, cause that’s what they do; they use people to get what they want and to take what they want. “ You mark my words Doc; if there ever comes a time when you get in between Kid Curry and something he wants you are going to find yourself face to face with a totally different breed of man. How do you think he got that reputation in the first place? By being the nice guy? You just might end up regretting helping him get his shooting arm back in shape.”
A chill went through David as he recognized the same sentiment coming from the sheriff as the one his wife had suggested to him concerning the outlaw’s recovery. He still didn’t feel that he wanted to agree with it, but it was un-nerving all the same. Morrison finished his brandy and got up.
“That’s it for me,” he announced. “You chew on that for a while Doc. If you’ve got anything more to say I’ll see you in the morning. Right now, I’m heading back to the hotel to get some more sleep.”
And with that the sheriff plunked the empty shot glass down on the table and took his leave. David sat there for a few more minutes, just staring into space, his drink still untouched. He felt heart-sick. Was his friendship with Jed just a ruse on the outlaw’s part in order to use him? He didn’t want to believe it, but the sheriff had put forth a convincing argument and David just wasn’t sure what the truth was anymore. Finally he downed his drink in one go and stood up to leave. He decided to check up on Jed one more time before going back to the hotel himself, perhaps just feeling the need to re-connect with the man and to try and reestablish his footing. Unfortunately when he came up to the cell door, it was to find Jed sound asleep on his cot and not looking like he was going to wake up any time soon. David sighed in disappointment and was just about to turn around and leave when George came up to the bars to talk.
“Hey Doc,” he said quietly, not wanting to awaken the outlaw. “you’ve spent time with Curry, is he just as mean and unpredictable as his partner?”
David looked over at the man.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know,” he admitted sadly. “I don’t think I know him well enough to be able to say.”
And then he turned and walked out of the cell block.
Last edited by Keays on Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posts : 1467 Join date : 2013-08-24 Age : 63 Location : Camano Island Washington
Subject: Friendship Part two Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:17 pm
Jesse lay in bed staring up at the ceiling, even though late at night as it was, he couldn’t really see it. His left arm was under his own head, supporting it while it was working overtime in a hopeless effort to try and sort things out. His right arm was around his wife, who was snuggled up against him, apparently asleep. He hadn’t moved or made a sound since they had settled into bed an hour ago but as usual, his efforts to pull one over on his wife was about to end in failure. Without moving or opening her eyes Belle finally gave a resigned sigh, and Jesse heard a muffled “What’s the matter?” coming from the vicinity of his armpit.
“Why does something have to be the matter?” he knew it was hopeless, but he had to try.
Belle pushed herself up on an elbow and gazed at her husband through the darkness.
“You and Bridget returned home from Cheyenne this afternoon and other than the detached announcement that poor Joshua is on his way to prison, neither one of you have said a word about how it went,” Belle reminded him. “Though I wouldn’t be surprised if Bridget is busy filling Beth in on all the details while I’m speaking.” She stopped and waited for some response. When none was forthcoming she gave him a gentle shake.
Finally he sighed and pulled a ‘Hannibal Heyes’ by running his left hand through his hair. Belle knew she had him.
“Do you think that I am a weak minded or indecisive person?” Jesse asked his wife.
“What!?” Belle was flabbergasted for a moment. That was the last thing she had expected to hear. “Why in the world would you think that?”
“All throughout Hannibal’s trial the ongoing theme seemed to focus on what an excellent con man he is,” Jesse explained. “How easily he can manipulate people into believing anything he wants them to believe. Even to the point of disguising his own true character.”
“And you think that Joshua has been manipulating us and the girls?”
“I don’t know,” Jesse said, frustrated. “I just keep remembering back to when we first met them and that sheriff’s posse had the place surrounded.”
“I would never in my life have thought that I would deliberately lie to an officer of the law and yet—I did. I hadn’t had any intentions of doing it, but suddenly I found myself agreeing to that little ruse that would ultimately cheat that posse out of their reward money,” he stopped here, thinking back to that day and Belle waited patiently for him to gather his thoughts. “In hindsight I can see how Hannibal had done it, playing on the girls’ affection for him and Thaddeus and using that to basically ‘guilt’ me into agreeing with their plan.”
Belle settled back down and nestled into her husband. Now that the floodgate had been opened she knew she was in for a long dialogue.
“They were desperate.” Belle reminded him. “Joshua was just using a technique he knew would work in order to save the situation.”
“Do you regret now, promising to help them?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Jesse admitted. “Listening to Hannibal recount the events of his childhood was heart wrenching. Belle, what those boys went through was terrible—and that was just Hannibal’s account, Thaddeus has yet to give his and I find myself dreading it. I know they have led very dangerous lives. When David and I were getting Hannibal cleaned up the day they were arrested, we saw so many scars on him, most of them were minor injuries but there were a few….”
“I know,” Belle answered quietly. “Tricia and I found the same thing while we were looking after Thaddeus. It’s a miracle they’re both still alive. But I think that just explains even more the skills they had to develop in order to stay safe in a very hostile environment.”
“Yes, I know, but now I wonder if those skills have become so ingrained in their behavior that neither one of them can ever truly be trusted.”
“Jesse,” Belle was saddened by her husband’s concern. “they’ve always been true to us, you know that.”
“They are both honourable men, I know it in my heart that they are,” Belle insisted. “Look at how good they are with the girls. Thaddeus could easily take advantage of Beth’s youth and inexperience, but he doesn’t, he’s very protective of her.”
“He knows I’d kill him if he ever did anything improper!” Jesse stated, but there was a hint of a tease in his tone.
Belle smiled. “And you know that he never would!” then she laughed. “and that would be quite the sight, watching you try to outdraw Kid Curry.”
“Oh I don’t know,” Jesse mused. “if I get to him before his shoulder completely heals up I just might have a chance.”
They both laughed a little at that possibility, and then Belle became reflective again. “And the way he’s taken to Jay; he’s so gentle with him and so patient. They’ve had a rough start and have developed some questionable skills, but they both want to change. They just need someone to show them how.”
Suddenly Jesse groaned and he ran a hand over his eyes.
“What?” Belle asked, concerned again.
“Something about Hannibal that I’d wondered about before, but now it suddenly makes sense.”
“What?” Belle asked again.
“You were talking about how Thaddeus has taken to J.J. It’s reminded me how in contrast, Hannibal tended to avoid him.”
“Yes, I’d noticed that,” Belle admitted. “It’s odd. Joshua is obviously drawn to Jay, and yet it seems, deliberately stayed away from him, pushing him on to Thaddeus instead.”
“Yeah,” Jesse sighed. “I wasn’t going to say anything about this yet, but Hannibal had a younger sister, a baby. He even said to me in the court; ‘not much older than J.J.’ That baby died in the raid on their farm and Hannibal blames himself for it. It was something he had forgotten about, or didn’t want to remember and now it just suddenly makes sense, him not wanting to get close to Jay. The whole situation probably scared him, bringing him too close to emotions that had been buried so deeply and for so long that he dare not even look in that direction.”
Silence settled onto them again while both contemplated the tragedy that had been so instrumental in shaping the lives of their two friends.
“I lied in court,” Jesse finally admitted. “I said that I truly believed that Hannibal was capable of reforming and all he needed was a chance to turn his life around. But even then, after hearing those testimonies of the things he had done, I was already having my doubts. Oh, Belle. All the rumours and stories we have heard about him that we had come to believe were extreme exaggerations I now realize were barely scratching the surface. We really don’t know that man at all and I wonder if I have done the right thing in promising to stand by him.”
“I don’t wonder about it,” Belle stated. “I don’t care what he has done in his past, he wants to change and I believe that he is a good enough man to deserve our support. I also know you well enough to know that you will see it as a point of honour to stand by your promise to him, even if you are having doubts about it now.”
“Yes, you’re right,” Jesse conceded with a sigh. “I even assured him of that again the last time I spoke to him. He was looking so scared and vulnerable I just couldn’t turn my back on him,” then he laughed. “and Bridget! She has no doubts at all. She had a hard time hearing some of those truths about her friend, but it was a good lesson too; that loving someone doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be what you want them to be. You just have to decide if you are willing to accept who they really are and stand by them, or not accept it and walk away.” Then Jesse laughed again, a little ironically. “So I guess my own daughter has shown me the way! Hannibal is part of this family and even though he has done a lot of things that I would never approve of, I have given him my word and on my honour I will stand by it. I just hope there is enough honour and strength in him to do the same.”
Now, with having worked his way around to that decision, Jesse became settled and relaxed in his mind. He hugged his wife, kissing her on the forehead and then still snuggled together in each others arms they drifted off to sleep.
Breakfast the next morning was again a vociferous affair! Bridget had indeed filled Beth in on all the details, not only of the trial but of the strategy suggested by Mr. Granger to try and force some action.
“We already got in touch with the newspaper in Cheyenne before we left and gave them our point of view. They promised they would get it printed as soon as they could,” Bridget was telling her mother. “and then Steven said that we…”
“Bridget!” her father interrupted. “Remember what we discussed earlier.”
“Oh, yes. Sorry Papa,” Bridget admitted, and then continued with a slight change. “Then Mr. Granger said that we can start sending actual letters to people once he gets the contact information from Thaddeus. And to start sending letters to the governor! The actual governor—can you believe it?! Stev…Mr. Granger even gave me the address to send it to and everything!”
“Well that sounds like you have quite an undertaking there,” Belle commented. “Do you think you can manage all that from home?”
“Oh yes Momma,” Bridget assured her. “We already have plenty of people we can contact right now and if they can contact people and then everybody can send letters to the governor…we’ll have his office swamped in no time!!”
“You’re awfully quiet Beth,” Belle observed. “is this something you want to help your sister with?”
“Yes Momma,” Beth admitted with a smile. “I was just planning my strategy.”
Jesse and Belle exchanged smiles over the oatmeal. This could get interesting.
“And how do you intend to pay for all these telegrams and letters you need to send?” Belle asked.
“Stev….Mr. Granger said that he would wire us money to cover that cost whenever we need it,” Bridget assured her mother.
“I think we can take care of those ourselves,” Jesse commented. “considering I’m one of the people paying Mr. Granger in the first place.”
The two young ladies beamed smiles over at their parents. The fact that they could finally do something to help their friends was giving them both energy and high hopes for the coming months. Surely now, both their friends would be coming home for Christmas!
“Papa?” Beth began hopefully.
“Now that we are going to be working with Mr. Granger and helping Thaddeus and Joshua, can I come to Thaddeus’ trial next month?”
Strained silence settled over the breakfast table. This was the very question that had been plaguing Jesse all the way home from Cheyenne. He knew that Beth would want to join them for the second trial especially since Bridget would be sure to have filled her in on what happened at Hannibal’s. Was she old enough to deal with it? Thaddeus was someone she had quite the crush on, but it could become a ‘crush’ of another kind if what she might hear at his trial ended up breaking her heart. Hannibal’s trial had been bad enough, but even though Bridget had found it hard to listen to initially, she rallied quickly, and finally knowing the truth about her friend had only inspired her to want to help him more. Would Beth respond the same way, or would she fall apart, and not be able to deal with it? For a man who was head of the household, and could usually make the tough decisions that needed to be made, Jesse found himself looking to his wife for her input quite a lot more lately. Two daughters who were growing up right before his eyes and demanding by right of passage, more and more respect and independence were causing their father many a sleepless night.
“We’ll see,” Jesse finally answered her. “Your mother and I will discuss it.”
Beth and Bridget exchanged smiles.
Betsy smiled sweetly at the blond outlaw sitting at the table ordering supper. Steven Granger she already knew, and the other man who wore a deputy’s badge and who had been referred to as ‘Rick’, didn’t interest her at all. But Mr. Curry was a different matter altogether. He had one arm tightly bandaged up and in a sling—poor dear—but in a way that only made him more interesting and the blond curls and those brilliant blue eyes that smiled back at her just about melted her heart. She couldn’t decide which of the two outlaws she’d met in the cafe was more handsome. But though Mr. Heyes had been gorgeous to look upon, and the dimpled smile he used to flash at her would take her breath away, he hadn’t really seemed to be looking at her. He had just been going through the motions of acknowledging another human being. But Mr. Curry, when he smiled and looked at her, he really looked at her to the point where she felt embarrassed and wanted to cover up even though she was fully dressed. But he wasn’t leering; he was sweet and very appreciative. The other two men at the table just sat back and watched this exchange with some measure of amusement. Where Lom had been irritated by Heyes’ ability to flirt successfully without even realizing he was flirting, Steven and Richard could appreciate an artist at work.
“Would you like some coffee with your supper Mr. Curry?” Betsy asked with a smile.
“Oh, yes ma’am ah, miss,” Curry smiled back. “some good coffee would be real welcome after the swill I’ve been drinking.”
“Jailhouse coffee isn’t that bad,” Rick had to put one in there for the team.
Curry just snorted. “I hear even Heyes couldn’t drink it,” he commented. “Now that’s bad coffee.”
“We’re serving steak and potatoes for supper tonight,” Betsy informed them. “and apple pie for dessert.”
“That’ll be fine Betsy,” Granger answered. “thank you.
Betsy disappeared but was quickly back with the three coffees on a tray and she handed them out with another shy smile at the blue eyed prisoner. Rick reached over and unlocked the bracelet encircling Curry’s left wrist so that he could at least eat his supper with some measure of freedom, but he left the right bracelet intact and the cuffs dangling just in case. Rick had gotten over his scare that Curry would try to make a break for it again, he knew the time for that had passed, but he wanted those cuffs handy just in case Morrison showed up. The mood that Sheriff was in these days, it just didn’t pay to be sloppy. Mr. Granger had been a little apprehensive about having one of Morrison’s deputy’s along on what was supposed to be a confidential discussion between himself and his client. Curry however did not seem concerned about it and had assured the lawyer that Rick was not likely to go running to the prosecution with any overheard information. So when Curry had indicated that he was feeling better and would actually appreciate a decent meal instead of the steady diet of jailhouse food it had been agreed that the café was as good a place as any to have a meeting. Once the coffee had arrived, Granger couldn’t help but notice that Curry’s appreciation of the beverage very closely mirrored his partner’s actions on his first visit here. The two men were very different in many ways and then suddenly something would happen, like the coffee and the bond between them, even though they were separated by a fair distance, would be so apparent it was almost eerie. Curry closed his eyes and savoured his first mouthful—it had been so long since he’d had REAL coffee, he just allowed his senses to be inundated with it. Then he swallowed and sighed with a smile and took another sip. He opened his eyes and found the other two men staring at him. How could anybody make drinking a cup of coffee seem like such an erotic experience? Both men looked at their own coffees, wishing that they could have some of what he was having. It was all the same coffee, but still…. The suppers arrived and the three plates delved out, but the plate placed down in front of the Kid already had the steak and potatoes conveniently cut up into bite size pieces. Curry smiled, he had been wondering how he was going to manage that and now here it was all nicely taken care of for him. He needed to get out of that jail cell more often.
“Well, Mr. Curry,” Granger began between mouthfuls. “what are your thoughts about your upcoming trial? I know it looks bleak after what happened with Mr. Heyes but it would be dangerous for you to assume that the same verdict will automatically come to you as well.”
Curry sent a skeptical look over to Granger while he chewed a mouthful of steak
“Well I don’t see how it can go different Mr. Granger,” Curry answered after he swallowed. “All the prosecuting attorney has to do is ask me the same question he asked Heyes and the trial would be over.”
“So I take it that you would also refuse to answer that question if it were put to you?” Granger asked him.
“Yeah,” Curry answered as though it should be obvious.
Granger sat back in his chair for a moment, considering the options.
“Well,” he began. “we do have the right to keep you from testifying yourself, thereby avoiding the question altogether, but it wouldn’t look good and it would also deny us what could possibly be our best defense; the sympathy plea. But again, it would be dangerous to assume that your trial will take the same direction as your partner’s. Once we get the list of witnesses from Mr. DeFord we might have a better idea of the type of defense we would need to develop.”
“What other kind of defense could there be?” Curry asked. “Heyes and I are partners; we were both involved with the same crimes.”
“Yes,” Granger agreed. “but the prosecution tended to focus on your partner’s ability as a confidence player—a con man. It’s highly unlikely they’re going to try and use the same tactic with you. For one thing Mr. DeFord would know that we would be expecting that.”
“Well then, what?” Curry asked.
“You tell me Mr. Curry,” Granger put to him. “What were your particular abilities that made you so good at what you did?”
“I backed Heyes up,” Curry stated matter of factly. “He came up with the plans, the schemes and I backed him up.”
“With your gun,” Granger stated.
“Well, yeah,” Curry agreed. “But I never actually had to shoot anyone during a robbery. That was the whole point of building a reputation; people would just automatically submit once they heard my name.”
“Hmmm,” Granger thought about it for a moment. “DeFord could go with that. You are a gunman, but then again as you say; you never had to use it during one of your robberies so it would be hard for him to build a case on that alone.” Granger stopped and considered some more while he chewed his steak. “It’s already been stated that Heyes was a master of manipulation,” he finally continued. “We could put it to the court that you were influenced by him. You were used to following his lead ever since you were children and so…”
“No,” Curry stated adamantly. “I’m not putting that onto Heyes. He didn’t ‘manipulate’ me into anything! We were—we are equal partners! We’re in it together!”
Granger sighed. “Your partner is already in prison Mr. Curry. There is no need for you to feel that you have to protect him now.”
“I don’t care where he is!” Curry answered, starting to get angry. “I’m not going to say things about him that isn’t true just to save my own neck!”
“Alright. We won’t go that way,” Granger assured him. “I’m just throwing out suggestions Mr. Curry; if you’re not comfortable with them I won’t force them on to you.”
“Oh. Okay, fine,” Curry relaxed and went back to his supper.
“I received a telegram from Mr. McCreedy the other day,” Granger informed his client. “He was quite adamant in his opinion of the legal system after Mr. Heyes’ verdict had been announced. He is apparently all set to launch an attack on the governor’s office in protest of the whole situation.” Then he smiled as a thought occurred to him. “Perhaps I should get the Jordan ladies in touch with him—that could be interesting.”
Curry smiled. “Good ole’ Uncle Mac!” he mused. “He’s the last person we would have expected to come to our rescue.”
“Just out of curiosity,” Granger began. “I was under the impression that both you and your cousin had lost your entire families in the border wars. How is it you still have an uncle and a rich rancher uncle at that? And why didn’t he take you in when you were orphaned?”
Curry almost choked on his potatoes.
“Ahhh, I’m sorry Mr. Granger,” Curry said, trying to hide his chuckle, but not having much success. “ahhh, Big Mac isn’t actually our uncle. That was just our cover story when the local sheriff got too close to figuring out who we were,” Then Curry gave up the struggle and laughed out loud. “And old Mac, he liked to play it for all it was worth, I’ll tell ya! He’s not a rich rancher for nothing!”
“Oh, I see,” Granger answered. “So is he really on your side?”
Curry went serious again. “Yeah, I guess so,” he admitted. “Uncle Mac coulda' turned us in more than once and he didn’t. Threatened to often enough though!”
“Hmmm. Well, if he’s that powerful a person he just might be what we need,” Granger surmised. “Even though he’s not residing in this territory, a rich rancher like him could have far reaching influence.”
“You never said a truer word, Mr. Granger,” Curry agreed with a smile.
Then Betsy showed up with more coffee and cleared away the empty plates. It seems that everyone had appreciated the steaks!
“Oh!” Curry remembered with a start. “is there any way I could get a copy of the daily papers from the last couple of days? I’d really like to read what they’re sayin' about Heyes.”
“Oh. Ahhh,” Mr. Granger was at a loss. He knew he didn’t have any copies of them.
“Yeah, we got at least a weeks’ worth over at the jail,” Rick put in. “I know the one that you’d be interested in is there as long as Morrison didn’t see it and throw it away. I’ll take a look when we get back. Hour’s almost up anyways.”
Just then the apple pies arrived.
Curry smiled over at Rick. “Time for dessert?”
“Always time for dessert!”
A few hours later, Curry was sitting on his cot, reading the newspaper articles from the last few days. He had to admit that the stories were convincing and he could definitely recognize Bridget’s handiwork in the phrasings and sentiment. This could get interesting. As he was reading one of the last articles on his partner, Curry heard the block door unlock and open and looked up to see Turner and David coming into the block. Jed smiled, happy to see his friend again as it had been nagging in the back of his mind that the doctor had not been round to see him and that wasn’t normal. When David was in town he always came by to check up on Jed in the early evening so for him to not show up was cause for concern. Turner unlocked the cell door and let David in and then clanged it shut and left, leaving the two men alone as usual. David lingered up by the door and leaned back against the bars, looking at the prisoner. Jed felt uncomfortable with the scrutiny, not quite sure what was going on.
“What?” he finally asked.
“No, not nothin’,” Jed countered, reminiscent of discussions with his partner. “Something’s wrong, what is it?”
“It’s just something Morrison said,” David admitted. “It doesn’t matter.”
“Well, don’t believe him,” Jed advised.
“What do you mean?” David asked him. “You don’t even know what he said.”
“Yeah, but I know what he said has you upset,” Jed reasoned. “and that man has no right to run anybody else down, that’s for sure.”
David smiled. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right,” he agreed. “Still, I’m thinking I might head home on the afternoon train tomorrow. I’m feeling a little superfluous here.”
“Sir—what?” asked the Kid.
“Ahhh, redundant,” David explained. “not really needed.”
“Well why don’t you just say ‘redundant’ then?” asked Kid a little irritated. “Don’t go turning into another Heyes on me!”
“Sorry,” David half-heartedly apologized. “Anyway, we can’t do any exercises with your shoulder now, not until the collar bone heals, and you don’t need me for that, so I thought I would just head home.”
“Oh,” Jed answered, feeling disappointed. “I was kinda hoping you would stay.”
“Why?” David asked. “I’ll leave you enough morphine to see you through, so long as you go easy on it. And Dr. Jackson can help you out with anything else you may need. There’s no reason for me to be here.”
“Yeah, but…” Jed hesitated, setting the newspapers aside. “both Lom and Jesse have gone home; I was just hoping you’d stay is all.”
“I’m sure you’ll be kept busy with Mr. Granger, and you have Rick here,” David pointed out. “They’ll stand by you.”
“Yeah, but they’re hardly my friends David,” Jed pointed out. “Granger’s my lawyer and Rick is, well a friendly official is the best way to describe him.”
“And I’m just your friendly doctor.”
Jed sat quietly for a moment; he was feeling a little hurt.
“I thought we were more than…..” he began, but felt awkward. “I just thought…well…” then realization dawned. “Is that what Morrison said to you?”
“That you’re just my doctor and nothing more?” Jed elaborated.
“Ahhh Jeez, David!” Jed admonished him. “don’t listen to that blow-hard, he’s never had a real friend in his life!”
David smiled, surprised at how relieved he felt. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right,” he conceded. “I guess I could stay a little longer. Still, I really should get home for awhile and then, if you want, I can come back with Jesse for your trial. It’ll be interesting to see if the girls convince him to bring both of them along this time.”
Jed smiled with the beginnings of that sentence, but then the smile dropped from his face as David completed that thought. The latter part just wasn’t funny as far as he was concerned.
“Ohhh, David,” he said. “I don’t think the girls should come. Please, tell Jesse I don’t want the girls to come.”
“Why not?” David asked him. “Bridget handled things alright with Hannibal’s trial.”
“Yeah, but…Granger keeps insinuating that he’s going to put me on the stand and…well…. if I have to go back to that day….I just think those girls are too young to hear about that.”
“Could it possibly be any worse than what Hannibal described?”
“I don’t know,” Jed admitted. “I don’t know what Hannibal described. I just don’t think that little girls should hear this stuff.”
David sighed, and then smiled at his friend. “You seem to be making the same mistake that Jesse makes,” he said. “With Jesse, I can understand it; he’s their father. But you? Surely you can see that they are not little girls anymore. Two of Bridget’s friends are married and have started families of their own and a friend of Beth’s is betrothed and will be getting married next spring. They are both young women—adults in their own right.”
“Oh David,” said Jed. “You have no idea how dangerous it is for me to think of Beth as a young woman. She has got to remain a little girl in my mind.”
“But why?” David asked, confused. “She’s about as grown up as…..” and then he noticed Jed looking very embarrassed and signs of a guilty conscience began to show themselves. “Ohhhh.”
“David! Wipe that grin off your face!!” Jed demanded. “This is not funny!!”
“Well what’s wrong?” David asked, still grinning. “Beth is an attractive young woman, and she is obviously very fond of you.”
“’Young’ is the key word David!!! She’s too young! It’s terrifying!”
“Yes,” David conceded. “love can be terrifying.”
“Don’t say that word!!” Jed insisted. He was up off the cot now and very agitated. How could one possibly sit still during this conversation?!
“Oh Jed, come on,” David tried to get serious, but he was having a hard time with it. “Many men take wives who are much younger than they are. Jesse and Belle are a prime example of that and look at what a good marriage they have.”
“That’s different!” Jed insisted.
“Jesse had something to offer!” Jed explained. “What can I give to Beth as a husband and a father…?” And then Jed suddenly turned pale and he realized what he had just said. “Oh my God!! A father?! Oh no no no. No, she can do a lot better than me. I have nothing to offer her! Besides, I’m going to prison! Yes!! Twenty years more than likely! What kind of a marriage is that!? NO! She’ll find someone else, someone more worthy of her! “On top of that Jesse would skin me alive if anything happened! And, you know, I need to watch Heyes’ back! He just can’t stay out of trouble when he’s left on his own, especially in prison; I can see him getting into all sorts of trouble without me there to watch out for him! See? Beth doesn’t need me; she won’t have any trouble finding someone else!”
David continued to lean against the bars, watching his friend pace back and forth becoming more and more agitated as he argued vehemently with no one but himself. Finally Jed realized that he was the only one talking and he stopped pacing and looked over at the man leaning against the bars. Unfortunately the doctor was still smiling apparently not taking the outlaw too seriously at all.
Jed sighed and his shoulder’s slumped.
“Just tell Jesse I would prefer it if he didn’t bring the girls to the trial,” said Jed. “at least not to that part of it. Okay?”
David nodded. “Yeah, okay Jed. I’ll tell him.”
Frances Warren was a relatively new governor for the Territory of Wyoming and was still in the process of getting caught up on all the back issues and endless paperwork left behind by his predecessor. Having been a politician for some time he was of course well aware of the inner dealings of a governmental office, but some of the issues brought to his attention by his assistant were of a most unusual nature. One extreme case in point was the deal made between the Governor’s Office and those two rather notorious outlaws, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. Mr. Warren shook his head in disbelief upon reading the details of this on-going situation and could not understand why his predecessor—numerous times removed—would have agreed to such an outlandish arrangement. He did note that though the one year trial period had long since passed, none of the succeeding governors had felt incline to honour the arrangement, preferring to simply pass the buck on to the next in line. And here it sat, staring up at the new man in charge, expecting him to deal with it. He just shook his head again in disbelief, and with no intentions of honouring the agreement himself, he pushed the paperwork away to the ‘non-pressing’ pile and continued on to more important issues. Mr. Warren did eventually have the pleasure (?) of meeting Lom Trevors, the Sheriff who had originally brokered the amnesty deal with Governor Hoyt, and though he found the man reasonable enough to deal with he did seem to be living a bit of a pipe dream. The Governor did all the right things that a new administrator needed to do; he shook hands with the Sheriff, smiled politely, and offered a drink. He even spoke all the proper placating noises that would put the Sheriff at his ease, and then showed him out the door, rolled his eyes and got on with more important matters. Some months flew by without anything more being said about the amnesty situation, until ‘one day’ the headline news that Heyes and Curry had finally been captured and, more importantly, would finally actually make it to trial this time, reached the Governor’s office. At first Mr. Warren felt a sense of dread; that now he was going to have to deal with these two miscreants and that could very well cost him his office. He had put a lot of effort into developing good relations with the head people of the banking and railroad industries and pardoning Heyes and Curry would simply throw all that hard work away. Then after some careful consideration of the matter, it occurred to the Governor that all he really had to do was ignore the situation and chances were very good it would just take care of itself. After all, who in their right minds would believe that the Governor of Wyoming would actually offer Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry an amnesty? I mean, for goodness sakes, let’s get serious here! Chances were pretty close to guaranteed that both those outlaws would be found guilty and sentenced to numerous years in the territorial prison, certainly for far longer than Mr. Warren’s stay in office was likely going to be. Problem solved. If the next Governor in line decided to pardon them out of prison early—so be it. But at least Mr. Warren’s tenure would be secured. So, when it came to pass that the inevitable Sheriff Lom Trevors came calling, it was a very easy matter to simply shut him out. Sooner or later even that man must surely get the hint that no assistance was to be forthcoming from the Governor’s Office. Eventually word came that Mr. Heyes had indeed stood trial in Cheyenne Wyoming and been sentenced to—‘twenty years to life’? Oh my goodness, that was even better than what that political personage had dared hope for! There wasn’t going to be any further problems from that quarter. One down and one to go!! Even when, a few days after the Heyes trial, Mr. Warren’s assistant delivered to the Governor a number of newspapers from a number of towns which were all suggesting that Mr. Heyes had not been treated ‘fairly’, he saw no reason to become concerned. After a highly publicized trial such as that one had been, there were always going to be some misguided grumblings. When you can’t please everyone, please the ones who mattered. However, Mr. Warren’s flippant attitude began to show signs of distress when that same assistant began delivering letters and telegrams that also stated similar sentiments of unfairness and—yikes!!—broken promises! It was even worse when it became apparent that not all the correspondences’ were from Wyoming, indeed a number of them were from other territories and states, even as far away as Texas and New Mexico! What was going on?? Surely those two ruffians couldn’t be this important! Then, to make things worse, while sitting at his desk and trying to work around the piles of newspapers, letters and telegrams which were still coming in on a daily basis, Governor Warren got word that some of his more powerful supporters were wanting a meeting with him. Sooner rather than later. It did not take a genius to figure out what was on their minds.
“Surely you’re not intending on giving Kid Curry an amnesty?!” was the most prominent concern coming from the head of one of the larger railroads.
“At least Hannibal Heyes is finally behind bars, but he was only half the problem,” stated the Banking Commissioner. “If you know what’s good for this territory (In other words; what’s good for the governor himself) you’ll make sure that the other half of that problem get’s taken care of in a similar manner!”
Indeed, Governor Warren was finding himself between a rock and a hard place. His wealthy supporters were insisting that he stick to his guns and finally dispense with the double edged thorn that had been in their sides for the last fifteen years. Then on the other side of it, the ‘common man, and apparently woman as well’ were putting extreme pressure on him to keep the promises made by his office! Now the business men were fewer in number, but they had the big bucks to throw at the office, whereas the common citizenry may not have the money (aside from a few notable exceptions) but they definitely had the votes! What was the Governor to do?
‘Yes,’ Governor Warren decided to himself. ‘It was definitely time to do something drastic about this situation. Something that would settle the matter once and for all.’
“Mr. Higgins?” Governor Warren called to his assistant. “when is Mr. Curry’s trial due to begin?”
“Next week Monday, sir.”
Mr. Warren settled back in his chair with a satisfied smirk on his face. “Good.”
TO BE CONTINUED
Posts : 483 Join date : 2013-08-31 Location : Madrid
Subject: Re: Friendship Chapter Ten Part one Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:07 am
I think Morrison doubting the boys' friendship says more about him than it does about them, but the conversation between Morrison and David was very telling. Another great chapter.