The Trial of Jedidiah Curry Chapter twelve Part one
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Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: The Trial of Jedidiah Curry Chapter twelve Part one Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:37 pm|| |
The Trial of Jedediah Curry.
Heyes hadn’t slept a wink that night. It had never once occurred to him that the Kid might end up facing a murder charge and possibly be hanged as a consequence. He had assumed that Curry would be charged with the same crimes as Heyes himself had been. They were partners after all. Then either be joining Heyes in prison or getting his pardon and be freed. But the death penalty? That possibility had never occurred to him.
Once the shock of Carson’s words had worn off, Heyes realized that the guard could just be playing a sadistic game with him, but the seed of doubt had been planted. Heyes remained cold with fear throughout the long night and despite the very logical workings of his mind telling him not to panic, it was all he could do to stay calm and focused.
He lay there throughout the night, again staring up at a ceiling he couldn’t see and he worried and stressed and thought about all those things that he couldn’t change and couldn’t stop and berating himself for being so powerless. All those things that had happened anyways, despite his apparent genius, his brazen self-confidence and his downright audaciousness. The fates still had control.
He thought about his sister, how he had let her die a terrible death and had not even tried to save her. He hadn’t even done her the honour of remembering her. Instead he had hidden her away, pushed her out of mind and memory; buried her and covered her over with an over-compensation of self-righteousness and arrogance. She’d be what? Twenty-four now…twenty-five? But she was gone, like the rest of his folks. He was the only surviving member of the Heyes family; indeed his mother had sacrificed her own life to give him a chance at survival and what had he done with it? He became an outlaw, and a convict—a looser. His mother would be so ashamed of him. So disappointed.
Now he was trapped, again in the power of forces beyond his control and his closest friend and partner was facing another life and death battle on his own. Again Heyes was powerless to help him. Maybe Carson was telling the truth and Kid Curry was already dead and Heyes hadn’t even known it. Surely he would have felt something, surely he would have known if his cousin had died that previous morning. Wouldn’t he know?
Somewhere in the bowels of that cold prison the bone chilling screams of one of the inmates in the throes of a nightmare rose up and echoed through the cell block. Tinglings of fear shivered down Heyes’ spine. ‘There but for the grace of God go I’. And Heyes knew that the grace of God may not be with him for much longer and it’ll be him screaming into the night and slowly going mad.
Then the sound of banging reached his ears as the night guard whacked his bully club against the offending inmate’s cell door.
“Wake up Johnston!” came the guard’s voice. “You’ll have the whole place in an uproar. Wake up!”
A chilly morning finally dawned, not that the inmates could see the dawn, just a gradual lightening of the innards of the prison told them morning was there. Of course the loud clanging of the bell and the harsh mechanical clunking of all the cell doors unlocking in unison was also a good indication that the new day had begun.
Everyone had to be up and standing at the door of their cell to await ‘roll call’ to make sure that nobody had actually died during the night. Then the silent procession down for breakfast—usually oatmeal and really, do you call that coffee? Heyes tried to eat, his stomach in a knot; this was not going to be a good day.
Half way through the morning, Heyes was trying to focus on the finer art of making a broom when he felt the presence of one of the guards standing beside him. He tensed, not sure who it was but knowing that he dare not look up.
“Don’t listen to what Carson says to you,” Heyes heard Kenny say quietly. “He likes to play mind games with the new prisoners. Wait until you hear officially. Personally, I have yet to hear the outcome of Curry’s trial.”
Once again Heyes was startled into breaking protocol and his head snapped up to meet Kenny’s eyes. Then he jumped, startled as Kenny’s bully club whacked down on the table barely an inch of where Heyes’ hand was resting.
“Why are you looking at me Convict!?” came Kenny’s demand. “Eyes down! Back to work!”
Heyes instantly dropped his gaze and Kenny moved on, continuing with his rounds.
Heyes found himself shaking, partly from shock, partly from relief. Even though he had already been telling himself that very thing, having Kenny validate his exact same doubts concerning the information, and where it came from did a great deal to ease the inmate’s concern. He would wait before he let despair eat him alive—wait until he heard something official.
It was getting on to 8:00 pm as Steven Granger went over some last minute paperwork in preparation for the trial to begin the following morning. It was dark outside with a definite chill in the air and he knew he should be calling it quits for now and heading home to supper. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day and if Heyes’ trial was any indication, it could be a rather stressful one as well.
He was just beginning to tidy up his desk before heading for home when a quiet knock came to his door. He sighed in disappointment. He really was ready to call it a day and who in the world would come calling at this time of the night anyway? Still, he got up and went over to unlock and open the office door. He was surprised to fine himself looking into the dark brown eyes of a petite and rather pretty young woman. She smiled up at him a little nervously.
“Hello,” she greeted him. “I was told that you are the attorney handling the Curry trial?”
“Yes,” Granger admitted as he opened the door wider to allow her to enter the office. “that’s correct. How may I help you?”
“I have some information that might be of interest to you, I’m not sure.”
“Well, have a seat, Miss…Mrs.…?”
“Miss,” she smiled as she sat down and Granger returned to his chair. “Miss Clementine Hale.”
“Oh. Of course Miss Hale,” Granger smiled back. “Are you familiar with my client?”
“Oh yes!” Clementine answered emphatically. “I’ve known both Heyes and Kid for years! They’re dear friends—both of them!”
“Indeed?” these two clients continued to surprise him. “Well, what’s the information you have Miss Hale?”
“Well…” Clem started, clearly nervous and a little unsure of herself. “I just feel terrible about what happened to Heyes. I should have been here! If I had been none of this would have happened! But they both insisted that if they were ever captured and brought to trial that I was to stay away—that it would be too dangerous for me to be associated with them.”
“Dangerous?” Granger asked. “In what way?”
Clem swallowed nervously, biting her lower lip and not sure how to continue. “Is anything I say to you considered confidential?” she asked.
Granger leaned back and scrutinized the young woman. This could get interesting.
“Yes,” he assured her. “If that’s what you wish.”
Granger nodded, encouraging her to go on.
“Well,” Clem continued. “as I said, I’ve known both of them for years and…well, I have harboured them from the law on more than one occasion.” She took out a handkerchief and began to dab a little at her eyes. “I just feel so terrible, it’s my fault; what happened to Heyes. And if I can prevent the same thing from happening to Kid then I just had to come and try! And, well…maybe I can still help Heyes too.”
“How is what happened to Mr. Heyes your fault?” Granger asked her.
“The name that Heyes wouldn’t give, the reason he was found in Contempt of Court.” Clem stopped, tears truly beginning to slide down her face. She dabbed at them.
“It was my name Mr. Granger.”
“Oh. I see,” Granger responded.
“If I had been here for Heyes’ trial I would have stood up and told the court that it was me!” Clem insisted, shaking her head. “It’s just like Heyes to refuse to give me up! I could just punch him sometimes! Always acting like my big brother!”
Granger smiled at that comparison.
“Well,” he continued. “your doing that might have helped to reduce his sentence, but it wouldn’t have prevented his conviction in any case.”
“But why not?” Clem demanded all indignant. “They did it to help me!”
“Yes,” Granger agreed. “Mr. Heyes did go so far as to admit that he did it to help a friend. But the thing is Miss Hale, it’s not why he did it, it’s the fact that he did it in the first place. By his own admittance it was an illegal act, perpetrated at a time when he and his partner were claiming to be law abiding. I’m afraid Mr. Heyes was going to prison either way. Nothing you could have said would change that.”
“But they didn’t want to do it Mr. Granger,” Clem explained. “I…well…I basically blackmailed them into it.”
“Yes!” she admitted. “They didn’t want to do it. But I was desperate! I needed their help and I knew that Heyes was a good enough con man to pull it off! It wasn’t for personal gain Mr. Granger. My father was being accused of taking money that he hadn’t taken and was going to go to prison if the money wasn’t returned! I needed Heyes and the Kid to help me get the money from the true thief!”
“Don’t tell me,” Granger put in. “Mr. Fletcher?”
“Yes!” Clem was getting quite worked up now. “That lying, thieving no good…” She stopped and took a deep breath. “Mr. Fletcher swindled money from his clients and set my father up to take the fall. I had to get Heyes and Kid to help me get the money back!”
“Why didn’t you just go to the authorities?” Granger asked.
Clem sighed in frustration. “Because it was the authorities who were holding my father and who told me I had to return the money!”
“Why didn’t Mr. Heyes just say that at his trial?” Granger asked. “Surely under those circumstances…..”
“Because what I used to blackmail them with could get me into a lot of trouble with the law myself,” Clementine admitted. “and Heyes wasn’t about to let that happen.”
“What was it?” Granger asked.
Clem looked a little sheepish. “Well, for some years now I have had in my possession something that the law would have given their eye teeth for.”
“And what was that?” Granger felt like he had to pull eye teeth just to get the information.
“A photograph of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.”
“Ahhh… I see,” Granger sat and contemplated this information for a few moments. “So you…threatened to hand that photograph over to the law if Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry refused to help you?”
“Yes,” Clem whispered.
“And you consider yourself to be their friend?” and then instantly regretted the comment when the woman in front of him completely broke down into tears. “I’m sorry Miss Hale, I shouldn’t have said that,” he apologized and then got up to pour her a glass of water.
“Thank you,” She accepted through her sniffles and then gradually started to calm down. “That’s alright, Mr. Granger,” She continued once she was under control again. “it’s really nothing more than what I’ve already been saying to myself. But I was desperate! And I knew, well...if there was nothing in it for them, they probably wouldn't......now I wish the whole thing had never happened!”
The two people sat quietly again for a few minutes. Granger was slowly sifting through this new information and trying to think of how it could be used to assist his client, but wasn’t coming up with much.
“I’m afraid this information is coming a bit too late to help Mr. Heyes,” Granger admitted. “He has already been found guilty of fraud and running a confidence game, as well as contempt of court. His trial is over and he was sentenced and convicted. As for Mr. Curry, this information may not be relevant.”
“What do you mean ‘not relevant’?” Clem asked, somewhat indignantly.
“I have the prosecuting attorney’s list of witnesses for Mr. Curry’s trial.” Granger explained. “And Mr. Fletcher is not on it.”
“Well, that strongly suggests and Mr. DeFord is not going to be building a case against Mr. Curry based on that information. He is planning a different strategy.” Granger explained. “The incident involving Mr. Fletcher is probably not even going to come up in Mr. Curry’s trial.”
“You mean I’ve come forward for nothing?!” Clem couldn’t believe it.
“Possibly,” Granger admitted.
“Perhaps I could be a character witness for Kid!” Clem offered, desperate to be able to help in some way.
“Possibly,” Granger repeated. “It’s late in the game now for me to submit your name as a witness, but it still might go through. However the court and Mr. DeFord would have to approve it. Also Mr. Curry would have some say. If he is adamant against you testifying, then I wouldn’t be able to call you.”
Clem’s expression fell with disappointment.
“Oh dear,” she commented. “They are both so protective of me, I don’t think….can I see him? Maybe I can convince him to let me help.”
“Yes, of course. As long as he agrees,” Granger said. “It’s a bit late, but perhaps we can head over to the jailhouse right now. I don’t think there will be time in the morning.”
“Oh yes!” Clem agreed and she quickly started to dab at her eyes again and tidy up her hair, not that she could see what she was doing, but just acting on reflex. “Let’s go, right now! Yes!”
Over in his cell Jed Curry was sitting on his cot with his back leaning against the wall and his knees drawn up. His arms were out, resting on his knees as he just sat, staring blankly out at nothing. There was a melancholy expression upon his face and a sadness emanating from his countenance.
The other cells around him were empty, Fred and George having long since departed along with countless others who had come and gone during the past month. Those who had shared the accommodations for a time with the outlaw were surprised to find him an amiable enough room-mate and chatter and checkers had come easy and helped to pass the time. But the cells were empty now; one of those unexplained lulls in the flow of time when everything turned quiet and nothing was happening.
David had returned as promised and was pleased to find Jed’s collar bone pretty much healed. It still wasn’t ready for much in the way of stress or exercise but it was doing well. Most maddening as far as Jed was concerned is that David had refused to give him any more morphine, but had left him a dose of laudanum to help him sleep if needs be. Curry was skeptical of its success.
Lom was also back in town in order to lend his support and to testify on behalf of the defense. He would be coming by first thing in the morning to get the prisoner out for breakfast and a shave etc. He needed to be looking presentable in court after all, and four months in various jail cells hadn’t helped him in this regard by any stretch of the imagination.
Last but not least, Jesse had also returned to do his part. When he had dropped by to visit the prisoner that afternoon, he was alone and Curry felt relief that the girls weren’t with him. That relief was short lived however when Jesse confessed to having left both young ladies over at the hotel, despite their protests of wanting to come along to visit with Thaddeus.
“Why did you bring them Jesse?” Kid had asked him with disappointment in his tone. “Didn’t David tell you how I felt about that?”
“Yes, he did,” Jesse admitted. “but there is more going on here than just what you’re comfortable with.”
“They shouldn’t have to hear this,” Curry persisted.
“But maybe they need to,” was Jesse’s counter. “Beth has stronger feelings towards you than just as a friend or a brother. You can deny it to me all you want to, but we both know that’s the truth of it. Now whether you reciprocate those feelings or not is going to be up to you but Beth needs to know the truth about the person who holds her heart before it goes any further.”
Jed sighed, leaning his forehead against the bars of the cell.
“But that’s why,” Kid said, his voice muffled. Then he looked up and met Jesse’s gaze, anguish in his eyes. “What I have to say could break her heart.”
“Better now than later.”
So there Jed Curry sat, alone and quietly tormented about what he might have to divulge to the court and what affect it all might have on his friendships. The furthest concern from his mind at that time was what the next day might bring to him personally. He was beyond caring about that; his best friend, his partner, his cousin was gone. Serving what may as well be a life sentence because knowing Heyes he wouldn’t be able to survive ten years behind bars let alone twenty. And the thing that irked Curry the most about it was his certainty that the Judge knew damn well the truth of that and sentenced Heyes to it anyways.
Curry just didn’t know what would prove to be the better outcome of his trial. If he was pardoned then he could go full out to put pressure on the governor. He knew that Bridget and Beth were already getting their campaign up and in full swing and were still getting letters and telegrams sent out to anyone they could think of to join in on the fight. He could go places and get in touch with people that two young maiden ladies could not properly go near. Adding his efforts to theirs could be all that it might take to make the difference.
On the other had, if he were sentenced and sent to the Wyoming Territorial Prison, then at least he could be with Heyes. They’d be together, watching each other’s back, supporting each other through the hard times—like always. Curry would keep Heyes alive until the girls, and Jesse, and Lom and David and any of their other friends who could be rallied to the cause ‘convinced’ the governor to pardon them.
Which was the best way to go? And how many of those friends would he have left after he gave testimony? Still, they had stood by Heyes despite all the misconduct they’d heard about them committing during all those years they had chosen to live outside the law. But, Curry had a few dark little secrets that even Heyes knew nothing about. Han had known that something had happened during the years they had spent apart, but he never asked what and Jed never told.
Truth be known, it had never occurred to Kid that the things he had done before he and Heyes had partnered up might now return to the surface, but when he and Granger had looked over the prosecutors list of witnesses, not only were a number of expected names not there, but they had been replaced by ones that Curry didn’t recognize. Granger had then been concerned about what DeFord’s strategy was going to be so they could build a defense against it. This had proved to be difficult to do since Curry didn’t know any of them.
It was then that the cold chill of realization had hit the Kid. Like a vulture in his mind circling and waiting all those years, until past deeds resurfaced and it could finally glide down to feast upon them. The Kid just hoped and prayed that Mr. DeFord had not gotten wind of them, or Jedediah Curry just might not get out of this alive.
These were all the thoughts going through the Kid’s mind when Steven Granger entered the block and stopped outside the cell. Curry came back to the present, surprised to see his lawyer back again and so late in the evening.
“Mr. Granger,” Curry acknowledged him. “Was there something more we needed to talk about?”
“That depends on you,” Granger answered him. “A young woman has just come forward wishing to be a character witness on your behalf. She is concerned that you will not permit her to do so, and I’m concerned that it may cause more problems than it solves. Still, the decision is yours.”
Curry was looking more and more confused as this statement continued.
“Who is it?”
“A young lady by the name of Clementine Hale.”
“WHAT!?” Curry was off the cot in an instant and over to the bars. “CLEM IS…..!” Then he covered his mouth and sent a furtive glance towards the office. “Clem is here? Now?” He continued in a whisper.
“Yes,” Granger confirmed. “She’s in the office just waiting for you to agree to see her.”
“Aw Jeez! What is she thinking?” Curry complained. “She shouldn’t be here! What if….well…” Jed hesitated, not sure how much Granger knew of Clem’s involvement in all this.
“Miss Hale has informed me of a certain photograph she has in her possession.” Granger assured his client. “and that she is indeed the person whom your partner refused to name in his trial.”
Kid started to pace, hands on hips shaking his head and mumbling some incoherent choice words concerning Miss Hale and her sense of timing. Mr. Granger waited a few moments for this to subside and then finally decided that it was time to push the matter or they would be here all night.
“Mr. Curry,” he began. “shall I invite her to come join us?”
Kid stopped and stared at his lawyer for a minute, then ran a hand through his curls and groaned.
“It’ll be up to me if she testifies?” he confirmed.
“And everything she says here, between us will be confidential?”
“Arrgg!” he threw his hands up in defeat. “May as well, she’ll never give up otherwise!”
Granger returned to the office and almost instantly the door banged open again and Clementine charged into the block and over to the cell.
“Kid!! Oh Kid, I’m so sorry about what happened! I just couldn’t believe it when I heard what had happened! What was Heyes thinking! I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry!”
And then she grabbed Curry by the lapel of his shirt, pulled him up to the bars and planted such a kiss upon his mouth as would make a sailor blush! Granger and Sheriff Turner exchanged somewhat shocked glances over top of the young woman’s head and then watched in amazement this uninhibited display of affection.
“No…..Clem…..stop…” Curry tried to push her away, but as the kiss continued his protesting hands gradually became caressing. Then he was hugging her through the bars and returning the kiss with somewhat more passion than was comfortable for the other two men watching.
“Alright! Break it up!” Turner insisted as he finally took hold of Clementine’s arm and pulled her away from the prisoner. “That’s enough of that young lady.” and he sent Curry a slightly reprimanding look. “I said you could come back here to talk to him, but not…. what….you were doing!”
“Oh yes, I’m sorry Sheriff,” Clem apologized breathlessly as she straightened out her hair and then her jacket. “It’s just been so long since I’ve seen my friend and so much has happened.”
“Uh huh,” Turner commented. “Well, just you stay away from the bars miss, or you won’t be having any conversation at all. Do you understand?”
“Of course Sheriff,” Clem agreed. “Again, I apologize.”
“Fine,” Turner answered, and then looked to the lawyer. “Mr. Granger, I’ll let you folks have your little confidential chat back here, but she’s to stay away from the prisoner. You understand?”
“Yes Sheriff,” Granger agreed. “I’ll make sure of it.”
Turner nodded and then headed back to his office, closing the door behind him.
“Clem, what are you doing here?” Curry demanded as soon as the Sheriff was gone. “It’s too risky having you here. We told you to stay away!”
“I know Kid, but I just couldn’t sit back and let what happened to Heyes happen to you too!” Clem explained. “Not if I could do something about it!”
“Well there’s nothing you can do for Heyes now, and he wouldn’t want you to anyways!” Curry continued. “If you admit to your part in that scam now then you’d be in trouble too and Heyes would have gone to prison for nothing!”
“I could just explain to them what happened to my father and that I was desperate,” Clem suggested. “I can just say that I asked you to help and you did it out of an obligation to me.”
“That won’t make it any less illegal,” Granger put in. “You’ll only be setting yourself up to be charged and if the authorities find out about the photograph you would be in even more trouble. Which is exactly why I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to take the stand in the first place.”
“But I don’t have to say anything about the photograph!” Clem insisted.
“But DeFord will want to know why Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry were so willing to put their amnesty at risk. I’m afraid just feeling obligated won’t do it,” Granger explained. “He will want to know why and he will dig for it. It’s just not a good idea.”
“And you’re forgetting one other thing Clem,” Curry cut in. “What about Diamond Jim?”
“Heyes wasn’t just protecting you,” Curry reminded her. “DeFord knew we had two accomplices on that job, and he was insisting on both names. How do you think Jim would handle prison Clem?”
“Oh dear. I had forgotten about that,” Clem admitted, but then brightened up. “Well, I just won’t give Mr. DeFord the name!”
“And end up in the same situation that found Mr. Heyes in contempt of court,” Granger explained, then shook his head. “It’s just too risky. Mr. Curry, I strongly advise you to not allow your friend to take the stand.”
“I think I’ll take your advice Mr. Granger.”
Clem pouted and stamped her foot. “But I….!”
“No Clem,” Curry insisted. “It’s just too risky.”
“Fine!” she answered, crossing her arms and pouting even more. Then she wagged a finger in Kid’s face. “But I’m not leaving town! I’ll be in that courtroom tomorrow for the trial and if that no good scheming Fletcher shows up unannounced and causes trouble then I will stand up! And there’s nothing either one of you can do about it!”
“I think that about does it for tonight,” Kid commented. “Mr. Granger would you mind escorting my friend here back to the hotel?”
“I would be happy to, Mr. Curry.!” Granger assured his client. “I will see you tomorrow. Try and get some sleep if you can.”
Then Mr. Granger took hold of Clem’s elbow and started to steer her towards the door.
“Well I never!” Clem continued to protest. “This is ridiculous! I think I can walk on my own Mr. Granger! Of all the….” etc. etc. and she continued to protest as her voice faded further and further away until they had passed through the office and then disappeared out the front door.
Kid rolled his eyes and then released an exasperated but relieved sigh. He was just in the process of turning away from the bars when the Sheriff and one of the night deputies came into the block and up to the cell.
“Hold it right there Curry,” Turned ordered him. “Put your hands through the bars, right now.”
“Ahhh,” Curry slumped in disappointment, but did as instructed. He had been through this enough times with Morrison to know what was coming next.
Sure enough the handcuffs were snapped into place and the two lawmen entered the cell and began to give it a thorough searching. Then Turner came up behind the Kid and gave him just as thorough a patting down as they’d given the cell.
“Just had to make sure, Curry,” Turner explained. “That young lady got a little too close to you for comfort—my comfort!”
Once the two men were satisfied that nothing had been ‘inadvertently’ left behind they exited the cell and Turner removed the handcuffs.
“Have a good night,” The Sheriff commented. “Sleep well.”
“Yeah,” Curry mumbled as he headed back to his cot.
He lay down on his back and rested his right arm across his chest. His shoulder was aching again. He knew that between the pain he was in and the worry on his mind that the Laudanum alone was not going to help him sleep and that this night, of all nights, he needed to sleep.
He sighed, and sitting up reached under his pillow and pulled out the pouch of morphine that Dr. Jackson had supplied him with. He felt a little guilty about not telling David that the local doctor had been supplying him with the drug, but not guilty enough to refrain from taking it. Once the trial was over he would stop. Hell, if he was convicted and ended up in prison he wouldn’t be able to continue taking it anyways. So…either way then—after the trial he’d stop.
The next morning found a very familiar scene in the courtroom situated next to the jailhouse. Some of the key players had changed, of course; instead of Mike and Heyes sitting in the row reserved for the defendant now it was Rick and Curry. Lom and Mr. Granger were back in their original places as was Sheriff Turner and the trial was getting well under way.
Again, Granger was struck by the extreme differences between his two clients. Where Heyes had been agitated and nervous to the point of shaking, Curry appeared calm and relaxed and apparently unconcerned about the proceedings around him.
Lom knew better though. It was just the different ways his two friends dealt with stress. Maybe it was Curry’s special abilities developed as a gunman that allowed him to camouflage his nervous energy and present it to the outside world as calm self-assurance. Or maybe the Kid had already possessed that ability and that is what made him into such a convincing gunman. Lom didn’t really know which came first, but he did know that Jed Curry was very nervous and he stayed close to give whatever assurance his presence would lend. It was going to be a tough day.
Curry had been surprised to walk in on a standing room only assembly. The loud murmurings that had instantly quieted when the party entered the room created an ominous but expectant atmosphere that was hard to ignore. The defendant didn’t even attempt to look around at who might be present, he had a pretty good idea as to who the important ones were and he knew they were there. That was all that mattered to him.
Once the Honourable Judge Henry Parsons had been ushered in and the usual proceedings attended to everyone settled in to witness the trial of; The Territory of Wyoming vs, Jedediah Curry. The charges against the defendant included Armed Robbery (again, too many counts to count.), Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Breaking and Entering. Again, the overly optimistic plea of; Not Guilty due to extenuating circumstances was entered and the trial was underway.
Sheriff Morrison was in amongst the spectators, as he had no intentions of missing a single moment of these proceedings if he was given any choice in the matter at all. However, Mr. DeFord felt that it had already been established beyond a doubt that the defendants were indeed Hannibal Heyes and Jed Curry, so he saw no need to reiterate those statements. Instead the first witness he called forth was Richard Layton.
“Deputy Layton,” Mr. DeFord began, once the necessities had been dealt with. “it is my understanding that you were part of the posse that arrested Mr. Curry and his partner. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” Rick answered. “that’s correct.”
“Now you’re not a regular, full time law officer are you Deputy Layton?”
“No I’m not,” Rick admitted. “I own a spread here in Wyoming and work it most of the time. I only pin on a badge when Sheriff Morrison requires my services.”
“And what might those services be that a regular deputy could not fulfill them?”
“I’m a sharpshooter with a rifle.”
“So Sheriff Morrison felt that there might be a need for a man who is an expert with a rifle?” DeFord asked. “just in case?”
“No sir,” Rick corrected him. “there was no ‘just in case’ about it. The plan was to hit the outlaws by ambush and take Jed Curry out of the equation before either one of them had an inkling of what was happening.”
“Rather drastic wasn’t it,” DeFord asked again. “for two men who are known for their ‘non-violent’ policy during their crime spree? Why would you feel it necessary to shoot one of them through ambush rather than just simply take them by surprise and arrest them?”
“I think everyone in this courtroom is familiar with Mr. Curry’s reputation as a gunman,” Rick commented. “He is the fastest and most accurate shooter I’ve ever heard of. Just because he has never killed during a robbery doesn’t mean he has never killed. We just couldn’t take the chance of him reacting on instinct and going for his gun. He’s just too damn good.”
“Indeed,” DeFord commented. “So, in your mind Mr. Curry is a dangerous man?”
Rick hesitated in answering that question. He looked over at the defendant, feeling that whatever answer he gave, it could not encompass the truth. Four months ago he would have had no doubt of his opinion, but now….”
“If you go by reputation, then ‘yes’, Jed Curry has the reputation of being a dangerous man,” Rick agreed to that much. “But if…”
“Thank you Deputy Layton.” DeFord cut him off. “You answered my question. It has also come to my attention that Mr. Curry attempted on two separate occasions to break legal custody. Don’t you think that is odd behavior for a man claiming to be going straight, even to the point of anticipating a pardon from the governor?”
“Not when you take into consideration the circumstances surrounding them,” Rick countered. “The first time Mr. Curry tried to run he was badly injured and being kept under a strong dosage of morphine. He wasn’t in his right mind and had no clear idea of what he was doing or where he was going. As for the second attempt, I don’t feel that he was trying to escape. He was surprised at seeing his partner and had simply reacted to it. There was no malicious intent.”
“No malicious intent,” DeFord repeated. “and yet you shot him from ambush. Do you regret that now?”
“No,” Rick admitted. “As I stated, he’s too good with that six-shooter. We just couldn’t take the chance.”
“Thank you Deputy. Your witness Mr. Granger.”
In the back of the courtroom Morrison rolled his eyes. What had gotten into Layton anyways? He never used to be so wishy-washy about the outlaws they’d brought in to justice. Instead of being a solid witness for the prosecution all he had done was muddy up the waters.
“Deputy Layton,” Granger acknowledged the witness. “it seems to me that Mr. DeFord interrupted you earlier, so I will put the question to you again. Do you feel that Jed Curry is a dangerous man? In your opinion, Deputy, not according to reputation.”
Again Rick looked over at the defendant and tried to organize his thoughts.
“I have spent the last four months in the company of Mr. Curry,” Rick explained. “I have seen him fighting for his life. I have seen him running scared. I have seen him angry, frustrated, and depressed. I have also seen him excited, exuberant, gentle and compassionate. Only once did I see him ‘dangerous’ and then it was fleeting and he defused it himself. He can also be very tenacious once he puts his mind to it.”
Jed felt rather than heard Lom give a soft chuckle over that one, then the added, barely audible comment; “You have no idea.”
“So do you feel that the defendant is worthy of an amnesty?”
Rick sighed and considered the question. He really did feel torn about this.
“No,” he finally had to admit. “He’s a criminal, there’s no doubt about that and he has done things that need retribution. I do think that their efforts to go straight should be taken into consideration however.”
“Alright. Thank you Deputy,” Granger concluded. “No more questions Your Honour.”
“Fine. Deputy Layton, you may step down,” the Judge responded. “Mr. DeFord, your next witness and I hope for your sake he or she is a little more supportive of your case than this one has been.”
“Yes Your Honour,” DeFord agreed. “I would like to call Mr. Mathew Jaxton to the stand.”
Curry looked around as the witness made his way up to the front of the courtroom. When Granger had shown him the list of witnesses, this name had seemed familiar but in a very distant sort of way. He hadn’t been able to put his finger on it and he hoped that a visual of the man might help. Again, something about him tugged at Kid’s memory, but it wasn’t giving him anything. Lom looked the question over at him, but Curry could only shrug and shake his head.
Mr. Jaxton was a young man, much younger than Curry was himself and he seemed to be both nervous and excited at being called in to testify. But he was animated, as though this were a great adventure and he was determined to make the most of it.
“Mr. Jaxton,” DeFord began. “are you familiar with the defendant?”
“Oh yes sir!” Jaxton exclaimed, all eager to please. “I’ve seen him a couple of times now—though I have to admit I didn’t know who he was until I saw the article in the newspaper about Heyes and Curry being captured and there was a picture of him! Then I thought ‘Woooeee! Imagine that! I guess that kinda makes sense!’ Then I knew I had to come forward to tell you folks what I know.”
Curry was starting to feel a slight dread in the pit of his stomach. He still couldn’t place this young man, but he was getting close and it didn’t bode well.
“That’s fine Mr. Jaxton,” DeFord was trying to keep his young witness focused and coherent. “Perhaps you can tell the court how it is you first became acquainted with Mr. Curry.”
“Sure!” Jaxton agreed. “It was a little over four years ago that I seen him down Matherville way—course he was going by Thaddeus Jones then, but I seen him sure enough—in the fastest gunfight I never thought I would live to witness!”
Ohh no. That’s where he’d seen that youngster before! Not in Matherville, but three years ago in some town he couldn’t remember the name of now. He’d been waiting for Heyes to show up and that excitable kid had accosted him in the saloon, all excited about meeting the man who had out shot Danny Bilson! Damn it!! This could be trouble and the trial had only just begun!
Lom frowned and looked over at his friend, “What’s he talking about?”
Kid didn’t answer. Lom was going to be in for yet another unwelcome surprise.
“Indeed!” DeFord feigned surprise. “By all means, fill us in on the details.”
“Well sure!” Jaxton agreed excitedly. “As I recall Mr. Bilson was a real slick business man. He showed up in Matherville and right away bought up the best gambling house the town had to offer and he didn’t put up with no nonsense neither! You get some of the fellas in there with a little too much to drink and they start loosing at the tables and stuff, well some of em’ don’t want to leave it at that and they start to fighten’. Well, Mr. Bilson, he’d put them in their place right away! Finally one of them fellas who was loosen’ regularly, well he made the mistake of challenging Mr. Bilson to a gunfight! Right in the middle of the street too! Well I swear I ain’t never seen anybody draw a gun that fast! Mr. Bilson he done put that cowboy down so fast he probably never knowed what hit him!”
“Are you saying that this Mr. Bilson killed the man?” DeFord asked.
“Sure as shooten’!” Jaxton stated. “Deader than a fly in honey!”
“And the sheriff in the town didn’t think the incident worth investigating?”
“The sheriff witnessed it!” Jaxton explained. “Yea see, he has the opinion that whoever draws first in a gunfight had better loose, cause he’s the one who started it so it’s his fault. Simple as that!”
“So I take it the young cowboy drew first.”
“Yessir, sure did! But Bilson, he still beat him, and beat him easy!”
“I see,” DeFord commented. “So, what happened next Mr. Jaxton?”
“Well I think it was the next day,” Jaxton continued. “Mr. Jones there…I mean Mr. Curry, he and his friend were outside the livery stable getting their horses ready for travel, I guess they were planning on leaving town.
“Now Mr. Bilson, he comes out of the gambling house and he’s callin’ to Mr. Curry, like accusing him of something. Of course this starts to get people’s attention, especially after what had happened the day before, so everybody’s kinda watchin’ to see what’s gonna happen.
“Now, Mr. Curry, he steps out from between them two horses and he faces off against Mr. Bilson, but they just keep on talkin’. I couldn’t make out what they were sayin’ but it still sounded like Mr. Bilson was accusing Mr. Curry of something. But boy! You could just feel the tension building even out there in the street—you just knowed there’s going to be a showdown!
“Now you could tell that Mr. Curry was ready for a fight, but he stayed real calm and wouldn’t make the first move, though you could tell that Bilson was trying to push him. Then what happened next I still can’t believe it! I never seen nothin that fast! Well, I can’t even say that I saw it that time! And I was watchin’ em! I had my eyes glued onto Mr. Curry because I had seen Mr. Bilson draw the day before and I knowed how fast he was and that there ain’t nobody faster than that!
“ So I was watchin’ Mr. Curry cause, well…” here he got a little shamefaced, but carried on anyways. “well, I ain’t never seen a man die before and I was sure Mr. Curry was gonna die right there on that street and I wanted to see that!”
There was a slight murmur of disapproval from the assembly and again Jaxton at least had the sense to look ashamed at least a little bit.
“Well, you see, I’d missed it the day before,” he explained. “I’d been watchin’ Mr. Bilson, cause he looked like a gunfighter and I wanted to see how fast he was. And boy was he fast!...anyway, Mr. Curry now, he didn’t look anything like a gunfighter other than that he wore his gun tied down so I figured it was just going to be a repeat of what happened the day before. Not knowin’ yea see, that Mr. Jones was actually Kid Curry. Well, I tell ya—like I said, I had my eyes glued onto Mr. Curry cause I thought for sure he was a dead man. And then it happened so fast!!! I swear I didn’t even see it and I was lookin’ right at him!”
“What happened Mr. Jaxton?” even Mr. DeFord was getting frustrated with this ongoing monologue.
“Well, like I said they’d a been talkin’,” Jaxton continued. “then I guess Mr. Curry, he got tired of the game and he turned, like he was going to walk away, and then…” Jaxton stopped and sat there with his mouth hanging open and shaking his head in disbelief.
“Yes, Mr. Jaxton,” Mr. DeFord prompted him. “and then what happened?”
“Well, I just….” Jaxton began, not sure how to put it into words. “I was starin’ right at ‘im and I didn’t see it! One instant Mr. Curry had turned to walk away and the next there was a loud report and the gun was in his hand with smoke coming from the muzzle. It was unbelievable! And I’m not the only one who thought so—everyone who saw it—or maybe, didn’t see it, if you know what I mean. Everyone was just standing there, amazed. I think Mr. Bilson was just as shocked as everyone else, before he died that is. And I missed it again!”
“Yes, how unfortunate for you,” DeFord commented dryly. “So what happened after that Mr. Jaxton?”
“Well, everyone sort of just mulled around for a while,” Jaxton continued. “Quite a few went over to Mr. Bilson’s body just to make sure I suppose. Then the sheriff was talking to Mr. Jones, I mean Mr. Curry and I suppose his friend was Mr. Heyes there, they talked together for a bit and then Mr. Curry and Mr. Heyes rode out of town.”
“The sheriff just let them leave town?”
“Well, yeah,” Jaxton shrugged. “I guess Mr. Bilson was the one who drew first and he was dead, so that was the end of it.”
Mr. DeFord nodded. “Well, this does bring up an interesting point,” the prosecuting attorney addressed the jury. “Here Mr. Curry has been insisting all this time that he’s never killed anyone and yet we have a very clear, eye-witness account of him doing just that. Not only doing it, but doing it during the time when he was supposedly applying for an amnesty. Interesting—don’t you think? I have no more questions.”
“Thank you Mr. DeFord,” the Judge commented. “Mr. Granger, your witness.”
All the time that Jaxton was talking, Curry could feel Lom tensing more and more. This wasn’t good. It had been a fair gunfight, even the town sheriff had thought so, but under their current circumstances it made the defendant look pretty bad. There was going to be hell to pay from Lom during lunch break, Jed already knew that. First Heyes and now Curry had done questionable things that could (and did) threaten their amnesty bid and they had not informed their benefactor about them. And as Curry had surmised earlier, the trial was just beginning!
“Mr. Jaxton,” Mr. Granger addressed the witness. “as you say; you witnessed this whole episode right from the beginning. In your own opinion which of the two adversaries was the antagonist?”
“Ummm, what do you mean?” Jaxton asked, confused.
“Who started it?” Granger explained. “Which of the two men was pushing for the fight?”
“Oh! Mr. Bilson for sure,” Jaxton answered. “Course, I don’t know what happened to get him riled like that, but he was for sure the one pushin’ for the fight that day.”
“And you said that Mr. Curry had tried to walk away, that he didn’t want to fight.”
“Well maybe,” Jaxton hesitated. “Mr. Curry did turn away slightly. I can’t say for sure that he was plannin’ on leavin’. It looked more to me like he was trying to fake a move to goad Mr. Bilson into drawin’ first.”
“But you can’t be sure what his intentions were.”
“Well, no,” Jaxton admitted. “I suppose not.”
“And the town sheriff did not feel that Mr. Curry was at fault, isn’t that correct?”
“Well yeah, but he didn’t know that Mr. Jones was actually Kid Curry.”
“Under the circumstances Mr. Curry’s identity is irrelevant,” Mr. Granger pointed out. “He was either the one at fault or he wasn’t. It would appear that the sheriff felt that Mr. Bilson was the person at fault. Would you agree?”
“Well yeah, I suppose,” Jaxton conceded the point. “It was Mr. Bilson who was pushing for a fight and he sure wasn’t going to let Mr. Curry leave town. That’s for sure!”
“Thank you Mr. Jaxton,” Granger said. “No more questions Your Honour.”
“Fine, you may step down Mr. Jaxton,” the judge instructed. “Mr. DeFord, your next witness please.”
“I’d like to call Mrs. Julia Stanton to the stand.”
A young woman came to the front then, again looking nervous at being put on the spot, but still determined to have her say. Curry sighed with frustration. All these people coming to testify against him and he didn’t have a clue who they were. His only hope was that the witnesses they had lined up for the defense were going to be just as effective.
“Mrs. Stanton,” DeFord began after she had been sworn in. “would you please tell the court where you live?”
“Of course,” she answered quietly. “Me and my husband live in Missouri.”
“Are you acquainted with the defendant Mrs. Stanton?”
Here the young woman, though keeping her head lowered, looked over to the Kid and locked eyes with him. Curry felt the daggers pierce his heart and dread tingled down his spine. This young woman knew him and hated him and he was beginning to think that maybe, he knew why.
“Yes, I am acquainted with him,” she answered her voice hard. “though I doubt that he would recognize me.”
“Would you please tell the court how you are acquainted with him?” DeFord prompted her.
“HE MURDERED MY FATHER!” she sobbed harshly, bringing her hand up to her mouth, the tears starting to fall. “He rode onto our farm and shot my father down in cold blood, right in front of me!” she sobbed again, and grabbed her handkerchief from her purse and tried to regain control.
There was a loud sympathetic murmuring from the assembly while Curry, just like Heyes before him wished he could simply disappear.
In the back of the courtroom, Jesse was already regretting bringing the girls, and those two young ladies were clutching each others’ hands in mutual support and each biting their lower lips to maintain control. As for David, his thoughts could not be read, mainly because he had no real idea what he was thinking himself.
Judge Parsons brought the gavel down in three successive raps.
“ORDER! Order in the courtroom, please.”
The assembly quieted.
“Do you feel that you can carry on Mrs. Stanton?” the Judge asked her.
“Yes, please,” she answered. “I’m sorry, this is very difficult.”
“Yes, I’m sure it is,” the Judge sympathized with her. “If you feel you need a break at any time just say so.”
“Thank you Your Honour.”
DeFord nodded and then smiled encouragingly at her.
“How long ago was this Mrs. Stanton, do you recall?” he asked her.
“Oh yes! I could hardly forget!” she answered. “It was thirteen years ago. I was seven years old and I saw that man ride onto our farm and shoot my father down where he stood. I’ll never forget it.” and she sent another set of visual daggers in the Kid’s direction.
Lom was being unusually quiet.
“Thank you Mrs. Stanton,” DeFord said. “I have no more questions.”
“Mr. Granger. Your witness.”
“Yes, Your Honour,” Granger acknowledged and he approached the stand. “Mrs. Stanton, I realize this is difficult for you, but a man’s very life could hang on your testimony here. You were very young at the time of this assault and it was a long time ago. How can you be sure that the defendant is the same man who came on to your farm that day?”
“I realize that it was a long time ago,” Mrs. Stanton conceded. “and Mr. Curry was much younger then himself, but it was him—I’m sure of it. I’ll never forget those eyes.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Granger accepted that. He hesitated a moment, collecting his thoughts, scrambling for a foothold. Over in his corner DeFord smiled slightly, feeling that he had this trial all wrapped up, it was just a matter of going through the motions now. “The war was a devastating event for many people, especially those living in Missouri and Kansas. Men did things during that time that they would never dream of doing during peace. Do you know in what capacity your father participated in the war Mrs. Stanton?”
Mrs. Stanton drew herself up, sensing that the defense attorney was suggesting something shameful.
“My father was an honourable man!” she insisted. “He fought bravely in the war, and rode proudly with the Missouri Militia!”
Another murmur started to rise up from the assembly, but quieted again as the whole courtroom listened in anticipation.
“The Missouri Militia,” Granger repeated. “fighting along the Missouri-Kansas border?”
“I’m really not sure where he fought,” Mrs. Stanton admitted indignantly. “What difference does that make?”
“As I stated earlier, many terrible things happened during that war, things that men would never dream of doing during peace time,” Granger was feeling his way here, trying to be gentle, but needing to make the point none the less. “The defendant’s family lived in Kansas, close to the boarder and they were murdered by—raiders. Could it be possible that your father….”
“NO!!” Mrs. Stanton shouted at him, tears starting again. “My father was an honourable man!! He would never butcher a family—women and children!! How can you even suggest that!!?” and she started sobbing uncontrollably.
Mr. Granger stood for a moment watching her cry and realized there was no point in continuing. He met the gaze of the Judge and both decided through silent agreement that the witness was done for the day.
“You may step down, Mrs. Stanton,” the judge stated.
Mrs. Stanton nodded through her sobs and quickly left the stand. A young man, presumably Mr. Stanton rushed forward to embrace her and assist her back to her seat. A heavy silence had settled over the courtroom.
Curry felt sick. Those little secrets he had so successfully buried away so that even Heyes didn’t know about them were starting to surface. Somehow DeFord had dug them out and Curry knew he was doomed. He had no defense against these charges because he knew he was guilty and he felt the shame for the things he had done to try and ease a young man’s anger and need for vengeance. All he had succeeded in doing was hurting more people and dooming himself.
“Mr. DeFord,” the Judge said quietly. “your next witness, if you please.”
“Yes Your Honour. I call Mr. Brian Charles to the stand.”
Well, at least Mr. Charles was someone Curry knew about, so there shouldn’t be too many surprises here—he hoped.
“Good day Mr. Charles,” DeFord greeted him. “Welcome back.”
“Yes, thank you.”
“Would you please give a brief account of how you know the defendant and his cousin?”
“Of course,” Mr. Charles agreed. “Well, as I stated at Mr. Heyes’ trial, I also suffered the loss of my family during those boarder raids and was sent to Valparaiso Home for Waywards and Orphans. I was there for a year or so before Han and Jed showed up, and as I also stated before, they made their presence known fairly quickly.”
“Yes, Mr. Charles,” DeFord commented. “You gave a clear description of Hannibal Heyes’ behavior during that time. If you can be as forthcoming as to Jed Curry’s that would be most helpful. What are your memories of his behavior Mr. Charles?”
“Well, as I stated before; Jed was kind of a sweet kid. Quiet and polite, but he was small and scrawny for his age so he got picked on quite a bit by the older boys. We learned early on to watch out for Han because if he got wind of us picking on Jed there would be hell to pay.
“ But Jed had a willful pride too and he often wouldn’t tell Han if he got beat up—only if the bruises showed cause then there could be no denying it.” then Mr. Charles hesitated, and smiled. “Oh but Jed could be quite the little bobcat too, once he got riled. It’d take quite a bit of doing to push Jed over the edge, but once you did—look out!
“And he’d always just go for the biggest boy in the group. It wouldn’t matter how many there were picking on him either; he’d just zero in on the biggest and go for him! It was quite funny actually to watch him,” and Mr. Charles laughed, totally oblivious to the fact that no one else in the courtroom thought this funny. “Seeing this little kid going after a boy a foot taller and twice his weight! Ha! Boy yeah! That was something. He’d have no chance of winning the fight, but he wouldn’t back off, just like a little wolverine! He’d end up bruised and bloody during one of those encounters, but it usually took the Matron, or Han to break it up.”
“Really?” Mr. DeFord commented. “And yet you say that he was a ‘sweet’ kid. Kind of hard to mesh the two extremes Mr. Charles. How do you explain that?”
“Well, like I said; Jed would take a lot of bullying before he was pushed to that state,” Mr. Charles explained. “but once the older boys discovered what it was that would wind him up like that, well they’d use it more and more, just to watch him explode.”
“So there was a trigger?” Mr. DeFord asked.
“A trigger?” Mr. DeFord had forgotten how easily Mr. Charles could be confused.
“Yes,” Mr. DeFord explained. “One thing specifically that would upset him.”
“Oh yeah!” Mr. Charles agreed. “Yeah—his ma. Boy, you say anything against Jed’s ma and he’d just go to pieces. I tell you, it was fun to watch!”
Still, Mr. Charles was totally oblivious to the discomfort his testimony was creating in the courtroom, nobody else thought this was funny. Bad mouthing a young boy’s deceased mother—that was just plain cruel!
Curry himself was having a difficult time maintaining his calm exterior with the memories of that harassment coming back home to him. And the fact that old ‘Bratty’ Brian still was getting a laugh out of it made Jed want to rip the man’s heart out right then and there. Fortunately he had learned a great deal about self-control since those days and he was able to keep his temper in check. But his whole body was tense and Lom noticed his fists clenching and unclenching with the strain of keeping himself in his seat.
“Take it easy Kid,” Lom whispered to him. “he’s cutting his own throat.”
Curry looked over at Lom and the anguish that man saw in his friend’s eyes was enough to make the sheriff forget the anger caused by the previous revelations. Again, this trial was turning into another emotional roller coaster ride for everyone involved and there was just no telling what direction events were going to take them.
“So, in your opinion Mr. Charles,” DeFord tried to get things going in the right direction. “would you say that Mr. Curry displayed an explosive temper, even as a child?”
“Oh, for sure!” Mr. Charles agreed. “Leave him alone and he was a sweet kid, but push him too far and look out!” suddenly Mr. Charles’ smile faded and he furrowed his brow. “Then one day things kind of changed.”
“How do you mean ‘changed’?” Mr. DeFord asked.
“Well, I don’t really know how it came about. I guess one day Jed just got tired of being bullied,” Mr. Charles explained. “The older boys found another opportunity to pick on him again, only this time when they insulted his ma the reaction we got was different.”
“Different?” Mr. DeFord asked. “In what way?”
“It was, opposite to what we were expecting. Instead of exploding and attacking, Jed went real quiet. It was eerie and kind of frightening.”
“Frightening?” Mr. DeFord repeated. “How so?”
“He just stood there, calm as could be,” Mr. Charles continued, but he was uneasy with the memory. “All of a sudden you could feel a chill in the air. All of a sudden, he was dangerous.”
The assembly went quiet.
“Yes. It was his eyes. Something in his eyes,” Mr. Charles shivered involuntarily. “Suddenly they were like—death turned to ice,” and he looked over at Kid, looked into those blue eyes again. A chill went through him and he quickly looked away.
Everyone in the courtroom shivered, the silence was suffocating.
“Then what happened?” Mr. DeFord tried to break the ice, keep things moving.
“Ahhh…” Mr. Charles needed to collect his thoughts. “everyone just kind of backed off of him. Even Gerald who was the biggest bully of them all knew there was something wrong. He tried to cover it up, but we all knew he was scared too. I don’t know what would have happened if Han hadn’t shown up right then. He got into Jed’s line of sight and that broke it up,” then he sighed, a reflective look on his face. “Nobody ever bothered Jed again after that.”
“In your opinion Mr. Charles,” Mr. DeFord asked. “do you believe that at that point Jed Curry was capable of murder?”
“Without a doubt!” Mr. Charles answered without hesitation. “He was just a little kid, no more than ten or eleven years old I’d say, but after that day, none of the stories I was to hear about Kid Curry ever surprised me. Because I saw it. I saw it that day—what he was. A killer.”
Last edited by Keays on Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: The Trial of Jedidiah Curry Part two Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:45 pm|| |
At first this statement was met with silence in the courtroom, and then all of a sudden everyone started talking at once! The gavel was banging out a tattoo to bring the assembly to order. Curry had turned cold with fear and had started to shiver. His initial thought that Charles’ testimony would be easier because it was known couldn’t have been further from the truth. It hit home—like a knife.
Lom put a hand on him, afraid that he was going to have a collapse of some sort, like Heyes had done, but Jed met his friend’s concerned eyes and shook his head. He was alright. It was just having all those memories coming to the forefront again; it was hard to deal with.
“Thank you Mr. Charles,” Mr. DeFord said. “No more questions.”
“Mr. Granger, your witness.”
Mr. Granger nodded and putting a reassuring hand on his client’s shoulder, he stood up and approached the witness.
“Mr. Charles,” Mr. Granger acknowledged the witness. “I find it interesting that you and the other boys at Valparaiso found it ‘fun to watch’ a young boy being bullied to the point of loosing control and ‘exploding’, as you so adeptly but it.”
Mr. Charles squirmed a little bit in his chair as he felt some of the heat being put back onto him.
“You were well aware that the young Jed Curry had witnessed the brutal murders of his family—including his mother, and yet you saw nothing wrong in using those memories as a tool in order to ‘wind him up’ as you said; to get a reaction?” Mr. Granger asked this rather bluntly.
“Well, we were all just boys,” Mr. Charles defended himself. “We’d all been through similar experiences and had learned to deal with them. If Jed was going to allow it to eat at him, then you kind of have to expect to be picked on.”
“So an eight year old boy was expected to have the fortitude to withstand that kind of bullying?” Mr. Granger asked.
“Like I said,” Mr. Charles reiterated. “we all had been through similar experiences. Boys will be boys after all. Any boy who shows weakness like that is going to get picked on; it’s just the natural order of things.”
“The natural order,” Mr. Granger repeated. “Yes, I suppose you’re right Mr. Charles. Unfortunately there will always be bullies. So the rest of us must either stand up to bullies, or accept being tormented by them.”
“And yet, when Mr. Curry did finally stand up to you, you accuse him of being ‘dangerous’…a ‘killer’ even,” Mr. Granger pointed out. “Could it not be that he just simply got tired of being picked on?”
“No,” Mr. Charles was adamant in his response. He looked over at Jed Curry and shook his head. “No, Mr. Granger. You weren’t there, you didn’t see it. After that day you didn’t go near Jed, not unless Han was with him. There was no room anymore to push him. You look at him sideways and he’d come at you and it wasn’t just to bloody your nose, or bruise your face; he’d come prepared to gouge your eyes or strangle the life out of you.” again, Charles shook his head and shivered a little. “No, Mr. Granger, I will not retract what I said earlier. Jed Curry did not turn mean, he turned dangerous. I’m positive if it wasn’t for Han keeping him in check he would have hung from the gallows years ago.”
“So the fact that Mr. Curry has been staying out of trouble for the past five years doesn’t hold any credence to you I take it?” Mr. Granger asked.
“No sir,” Mr. Charles insisted. “And from the testimonies I’ve heard here today he hasn’t been staying out of trouble. Not if that poor young woman is right in her accusation that he killed her father, not to mention more recently that Mr. Bilson fella and who knows how many others! I dread to think what would happen if he’s granted a pardon with Heyes not being around to keep him under control. I dread to think!”
“Alright Mr. Charles, thank you. I have no more questions Your Honour.”
Mr. Granger returned to his party feeling somewhat frustrated. It had been easy to turn Mr. Charles’ opinion around to some degree in Heyes’ trial, but in this situation he was stubbornly standing his ground. There was no point in pushing it.
“You may step down Mr. Charles,” the Judge instructed. “I suggest we break for lunch. Court will resume at 1:00 pm.”
The gavel came down and the courtroom began to buzz. Turner and Rick were very quick at getting Curry onto his feet and headed towards the side door before anyone could intercept them. Sure enough, there were plenty who were rushing to the front in order to try a get a word in with the defendant but they weren’t fast enough. Clementine Hale amongst others got there just in time to have the door shut in their faces and no admittance allowed.
Twenty minutes later Curry was sitting on his bunk looking totally dejected, his lunch sitting untouched on the floor. Lom and Steven Granger were on the other side of the bars, making it quite clear that neither one of them were happy with the mornings’ revelations. Lom was looking almost as dejected as Curry, trying to resign himself to the fact that both of his friends had found it necessary to omit from their reports to him certain decisions and actions they had committed during the past five years.
Mr. Granger on the other hand was livid, which was quite unusual for him, generally being a rather even tempered young man.
“What do you think?! That this is a game we’re playing?!” he was yelling at his client.
“No,” was Curry’s meek reply.
“The whole premise of our defense is that you’ve never killed anyone!”
“During a robbery!!” Kid pointed out, feeling defensive now.
“A very fine line Mr. Curry!” Steven countered. “Mr. Jordan is paying good money for me to defend you, but how can I develop a good defense if you won’t give me full disclosure?!”
“It wasn’t murder!” Kid insisted, standing up now and striding over to the bars. “Bilson was self-defense! Even the Sheriff in that town thought so!”
“Well don’t you think it would have helped us if we could have had him here to testify to that?!”
“It was years ago!” Kid pointed out. “I don’t even remember his name!”
“Given time we could have tracked him down! It’s too late now!” Steven stated. He practically growled to himself in frustration, then sighed and tried to calm down. “What about the other accusation? The one made by Mrs. Stanton? Did you kill her father?”
Kid looked down, suddenly feeling very guilty. “I might have,” he admitted quietly.
Lom groaned. Curry looked over at him, knowing he had hurt his friend. Knowing that, just like Heyes he had let him down and wishing, not for the first time in his life that he could undo the things that he had done.
“I’m sorry Lom,” he said quietly. “It was so many years ago. I was young and stupid and so full of anger and the need for vengeance outweighed whatever common sense I might have had.”
Lom looked Curry in the eye. “Was he one of the men who attacked your family?”
“Are you sure of that?”
“Yes,” Curry repeated. “I’ll never forget the look of fear that came into his eyes when he realized who I was. I’ll never forget it Lom. Then it wasn’t until after I shot him that I heard a child scream and then I saw a little girl over by the barn door and she was staring at me and screaming. It broke my heart Lom. Cause I realized that I had just done to her what he had done to me.”
He stopped and shook his head, full of regret. “I just looked at her for a minute, but I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I took off—fast as the horse could run. I damn near ran that poor beast into the ground. I lost my taste for killing after that. Since then it’s only been Danny and that was self-defense!” he stated the last sentence rather pointedly towards Steven.
Then the block door opened and Jesse came in to join the three men at the bars. Jed found it hard to meet his eyes; Curry felt guilty and angry at the time because he knew that what had been said in court would have disappointed those two young ladies who had held him in such high esteem. But he had also warned Jesse not to bring them, and he had so there was nothing more to be done about it.
“Hello Jesse,” Curry answered him quietly.
“Actually I suppose I should start calling you Jed shouldn’t I?”
“Thaddeus is fine.”
“Not according to the Judge,” Jesse stated. “He made that quite clear at Han’s trial.”
“Well the way things are going you may not have to worry about what to call me,” Curry mumbled. “Just whatever’s on the headstone.”
“Don’t talk like that Kid,” Lom told him. “It’s not over yet and there’s no way to tell which way it’s going to go.”
“Yeah,” Curry answered, though he didn’t sound too convinced. Then he made himself look at Jesse and meet his eyes. “How are the girls?”
“They’re understandably upset,” Jesse admitted. “but more out of fear for you than disappointment in you. I must admit they are both holding up better through this than I thought. They wanted to come see you, but I didn’t think that was a good idea right now, so they’re over at the café. David’s keeping an eye on them.”
Curry nodded. “How’s David?”
“Ohh, I know what that means!” Jed stated. “Same thing as when Heyes goes quiet—he’s worried and he’s thinking.” Then he sighed dejectedly and headed back towards his bunk. “Well, I guess I can’t blame him for that.” he mumbled, and plunked himself back down on the bed.
“Why don’t you eat some lunch Kid? Maybe you’ll feel better.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“Well, how about I get us both a cup of coffee then.”
So the three men left the cell block, with two of them heading over to the café to go over testimonies for the afternoon’s proceedings. Lom got the coffee’s and returned to his friend to keep him company throughout the rest of the break.
“Mr. Granger. If you would please call your first witness for the defense.”
“Yes Your Honour.” Granger agreed. “I call Sheriff Lom Trevors to come forward.”
Again, Lom placed a reassuring hand on his friends shoulder and then approached the bench.
“Sheriff Trevors, if you could please inform the court how it is that you are acquainted with the defendant?”
“Of course,” Lom agreed. “Well, as stated before, I came to know Heyes first and rode with him on and off for about two years before I met Curry. I was aware that Heyes had run with the Kid before we met up, but didn’t really know their history until later since Heyes never really talked about him. We heard some rumours about Kid Curry, that he was building a reputation as a gunman and as far as I was concerned that was all the more reason to stay away from him.
“Then after one of our usual separations I heard that Heyes was up with the Devil’s Hole gang and decided to join up with him again since Devil’s Hole was a pretty safe haven for the winter. When I got there I discovered that Curry had had the same idea and that he and Heyes had buddied up again so I considered just moving on. I didn’t like gunmen since the ones I’d come across were generally mean spirited and unpredictable and I saw no reason to believe that Curry would be any different.
“But by the time I got there it was already late in the season and snow was starting to fly, so considering I had a stake with me to contribute to the winter supplies and that I had always got on with Jim Santana and Heyes I was encouraged to stay. So I did. I figured I could just stay out of Curry’s way until spring and then see how things were then.
“As you can imagine, it’s kind of hard to stay away from someone when you’re all in the same bunkhouse together, so whether I liked it or not I was sort of forced into the Kid’s company. After a few weeks went by I found myself starting to like the man and I realized that he wasn’t anything like what I had thought. I found him to be a quiet, well mannered young man and though he certainly garnered respect for his abilities with a handgun, he wasn’t arrogant or pushy about getting his own way. I never saw any display of an unpredictable or dangerous temper during that time, and still find it hard to understand how he would have warranted that reputation.
“It became apparent during that time as well, that he and Heyes were very close friends and had actually grown up together and had quite an intense history. I also discovered during that winter that they were cousins. The bond between them was obvious. So much so that I wondered why they had separated for those few years in the first place, but I never asked. If there had been a falling out between them it was obviously water under the bridge by then and that they had partnered up again.
“I stayed on with the gang for a couple of years, but then, during one of the winter lay over’s I started doing a lot of soul searching and had decided that outlawin’ was a dead-end and that I should try and get out of it and straighten my life out while I still could. So come that spring, despite Heyes trying to talk me out of it, I packed up and left Devil’s Hole. As I have previously stated, I then approached a friend who was a lawman and he brokered the amnesty for me and I began working for him as a deputy.
“So, when Heyes and the Kid came to me some years later, asking for the same opportunity I felt that I should at least try to help them out. Unfortunately things haven’t gone quite as smoothly for them as it had for me.”
“No, obviously not,” Mr. Granger agreed. “So, despite what you heard throughout Mr. Heyes’ trial and what you have heard here this morning, do you still feel that Mr. Curry is deserving of an amnesty?”
Lom sighed and glanced over at his friend. Curry sat quietly, not quite sure what his friend was going to say about that.
“People can make foolish choices when they’re young,” Lom surmised. “I know that from personal experience. Heyes and the Kid made some very bad decisions which they both now greatly regret. But I also know from their histories that they were carrying around a lot of hurt and were acting out in response to that hurt and the anger created by it.
“No disrespect intended, but I believe that the sentence handed down to Hannibal Heyes was unfair and should be reconsidered. I also believe that despite some backsliding that both Heyes and Jed Curry are sincere in their desire to straighten out their lives and should be given an opportunity to do so.”
Curry smiled quietly and nodded a thank you to his friend. He didn’t know if Lom’s statement was going to help him in the long run, but at least he now did know that Lom was still his friend and was going to stand by him.
“Thank you Sheriff Trevors,” Granger said. “No more questions.”
“Mr. DeFord, your witness.”
Mr. DeFord approached the witness, shaking his head in bewilderment. Lom thought briefly that the prosecuting attorney had missed his calling and would have done well on the stage.
“I’m sorry Sheriff Trevors, but I find myself totally befuddled,” Mr. DeFord admitted. “You feel that Mr. Curry is deserving of an opportunity to straighten out his life even after hearing testimony from two different sources that he is a killer—in fact, a cold blooded murderer. We have also heard from another source that he does indeed have an explosive tempter and that he is dangerous. So much so that Hannibal Heyes is apparently the only one who can control him. How do you justify giving that man a pardon?”
“Taking in to consideration the treatment Jed Curry received from Mr. Charles and others at Valparaiso I don’t really think it’s surprising that he would eventually fight back,” Lom answered. “Actually, I would say that it is to his credit that he put up with it for as long as he did! I also recall Deputy Layton, who was with Curry continuously over an extended period of time stating that he never encountered an ‘explosive’ temper and what might have been considered ‘threatening behavior’ from him was brief and self defused.
“As to the accusations of murder, we have only heard the one side of it on each account. I for one am willing to hold judgment until more information can be brought forth.”
“Well of course,” Mr. DeFord mussed. “You are his friend after all. Still, considering that Mr. Heyes so successfully hood-winkled you I would have thought you would be a bit more cautious in dealing with his partner.”
Lom felt his temper rising and told himself to stay calm, that Mr. DeFord was deliberately trying to get tempers high and the worst mistake was to allow him success at that.
“As I earlier stated; I believe that Mr. Heyes’ sentence was extreme and should be reconsidered. As for deceiving me, he did what he had to do to help a friend and his refusal to name that person is more to his credit than his damnation.”
Curry held his breath at this point, hoping that he wouldn’t hear Clementine’s voice come rising out from the assembly, indignantly demanding the right to be heard! Fortunately all was quiet from that quarter and he sighed with relief for the moment. Still, he would feel a lot better if the line of questioning would move away from that topic—just to be safe!
Fortunately the Judge intervened at this point, seeing a danger of the trial going off in the wrong direction.
“Mr. DeFord,” Judge Parsons commented. “I would appreciate you returning to the trial of Mr. Curry. Mr. Heyes has had his day in court; there is no need to keep going back there.”
“Of course, Your Honour,” DeFord backed off. “I have no more questions.”
“Your next witness Mr. Granger.”
“Mr. Jesse Jordan.”
Jesse once again made his way to the front of the courtroom and was sworn in.
“Mr. Jordan,” Granger began. “you have known the defendant for some time now is that correct?”
“Yes,” Jesse admitted. “I’ve known both him and Mr. Heyes for four years.”
“And you have never been concerned about Mr. Curry being in the company of your family, even after knowing their true identities?”
“That’s correct,” Jesse agreed. “Neither of the boys has ever given me any reason to be concerned for the safety of my family when in their company. Indeed, both are very protective of the girls.”
“Have you ever known Mr. Curry to display a violent temper?”
“No, never,” Jesse answered.
“Have you or members of your family ever felt threatened by Mr. Curry, considering his unique abilities with a handgun?”
“Thank you Mr. Jordan,” Mr. Granger finished up. “Your witness Mr. DeFord.”
“Mr. Jordan,” Mr. DeFord acknowledged the witness. “I realize that when you first became acquainted with Mr. Curry and his partner you were unaware of their true identities, is that correct?”
“Yes, that’s correct,” Jesse agreed but feeling a little frustrated at the redundancy of that question.
“So you were unaware that no more than six months prior to Heyes and Curry arriving at your ranch four years ago that Mr. Curry had in fact, in the middle of the day, in the middle of town and in the middle of a crowded street did willfully shoot down and kill another man. In cold blood, Mr. Jordan! With women and children there to witness it! He did willfully shoot down and kill another man! BANG! Just like that!”
Here Mr. DeFord paused to allow his dramatics to sink in, and indeed a rising murmuring from the assembly suggested that he had produced the desired affect. Then he continued.
“If you had been aware of that fact Mr. Jordan, would you have welcomed those men onto your property and into your home?”
Jesse hesitated. He could see the trap being laid, but could not see how to avoid it other than to lie outright and that would be too obvious. He looked over at Jed and the two men locked gazes. Curry knew that his friend had no solid way out of answering that question, so he simply nodded and sent him a quiet smile to let him know that it was alright.
“No,” Jesse admitted regretfully. “If I had been aware of these facts at the time, I would not have allowed them into my home. But that….”
“Thank you, Mr. Jordan,” DeFord cut him off. “no more questions.”
Jesse was angry. He came down off the stand with a tightened jaw and a hard expression. He couldn’t look at the defendant but just walked straight back to his seat to face the disappointed eyes of his daughters. He sat down and heard David sigh beside him. Both men were very much afraid of the direction this trial was going in and Jesse more than anyone else. He knew he would never be able to forgive himself if Jed Curry were found guilty of murder and executed because he was the one who had pressured both Jed and Hannibal into facing trial in the first place.
Now Hannibal was living a life in prison and if Jed died…well things just couldn’t get any worse. How could he go home and face his wife if that happened? How could he face his daughters—or himself? He felt sick. He needed a drink, a stiff one! Then he felt a gentle hand touch his arm and he looked over into the forgiving eyes of his eldest daughter. She gave him a sweet smile and he couldn’t help but smile back at her. He gave her hand a pat and then held onto it with both of his and didn’t let it go.
“Have you anymore witnesses Mr. Granger?”
“Yes, one more Your Honour.”
“Fine. Call your witness.”
“I call Mr. Patrick McCreedy to the stand.”
There was quite a commotion along a particular row of seats as the big man stood up, and like a man-o-war in amongst row boats, he plowed his way to the isle and lumbered up to take the stand.
Curry had been very surprised when Granger had informed him that ole’ Uncle Mac had announced his intentions of coming to Cheyenne in order to have his say, as his health really was not that good anymore. Still, as Jed well knew, once Big Mac McCreedy decided he was going to do something, well dagnabbit—he was going to do it!
Mac sat down, squeezing himself into the chair and then sat there with his arms crossed and a rather challenging expression on his face. Jed couldn’t help but smile.
Young Steven Granger approached his witness with some trepidation.
“Mr. McCreedy,” Mr. Granger started. “could you please tell the court when and how you came to know the defendant?”
“Sure,” Mac announced. “Those two boys came into my town of Red Rock Texas about five years ago. They were in my saloon when I came in with one of my men to have a drink. There was a little bit of a confrontation and then, well, all three of them being young roosters got to huffin’ and puffin’ and the next thing I know my man was challangin’ young Jones there to a gunfight! Ha ha!!” Mac chortled at the memory. “You shoulda seen the look of surprise on his face when that dusty saddle tramp shot the holster right off its belt before my man even had a chance to draw! Yessir, I knew right then that those two boys might come in useful for some work I needed done. And they did.”
“So you were not aware of who they really were at that time?” Mr. Granger asked.
“Nope. Didn’t know and didn’t care,” Mac announced. “It wasn’t until after they had completed that first job they did for me and had left town when the Sheriff came running up and waving those silly wanted posters. Well that’s when he told me who they were. Now a good business man knows when to take valuable information and store it away for future use, so I just told that sheriff that he was mistaken. That Thaddeus there was my nephew—and Joshua too, so therefore they couldn’t be Heyes and Curry.”
“And the Sheriff believed you?”
“OF COURSE HE BELIEVED ME!” Mac bellowed. “I OWN THE TOWN!!”
Mr. Granger took an involuntary step backwards. Curry was trying really hard not to laugh. Mac’s testimony may or may not help him, but it sure was high up there on the entertainment scale.
“Yes, of course,” Granger responded. “So you found that Mr. Curry and his partner were ah…reliable in pulling off…or, I should say completing the jobs you hired them to do?”
“Of course they were!” Mac answered. “I wouldn’t have kept on hiring them if they weren’t!”
“No..no of course not!” Granger agreed. “So did you ever feel threatened by Mr. Curry at any time?”
“Threatened by my own nephew!?” Mac asked, incredulously.
“Well, he’s not really….”
“Well I’ve come to think of him as my nephew—Joshua too! Good boys, both of em!” Mac expostulated. “All this damn nonsense about Thaddeus being a dangerous killer and having an explosive temper! HE HAS NO MORE OF A TEMPER THAN I HAVE! Sweetest mannered man I ever knew!”
“Mr. McCreedy,” the Judge intervened. “I insist that you refer to the defendant and his partner by their legal names.”
“WHY!?” Mac responded. “I know who I’m talking about and so do you!”
“Mr. McCreedy! Show some respect for this court!” the Judge insisted.
“WHY!?” Mac repeated. “After what this court did to poor Joshua! Best damn poker player I ever met—and an honest one too. You don’t find that combination very often! No! I owe both those boys a lot—more than I can say, and since my letter apparently didn’t hold much water I decided I better get over here and set things right! It’s the least I could do.”
“Why do you owe them Mr. McCreedy?” Granger asked him. “Did you not pay them for the jobs they completed for you?”
“Of course I paid them!” Mac answered all indignant. “You think I would try to swindle them out of their pay? When someone does a job for me, I pay them!!!” Then he calmed down and softened his manner. “No, I am referring to a private matter and I owe them a debt of gratitude that I can never pay back.”
“And what was that private matter?” Mr. Granger asked.
“Well it’s private!! That’s why it’s called a private matter!!”
Curry had his hand over his mouth trying oh so hard not to laugh. Lom looked at him with a very incredulous expression. “What the hell...?” Curry just shrugged, that’s Uncle Mac!
“Mr. McCreedy, please!” Mr. Granger was practically pleading with him.
“FINE! If you must know,” Mac agreed. “Well, Smith, now he—he found me a wife. And a good one too!!”
A wave of chuckling came up from the assembly, everyone trying to imagine this bear of a man actually having a wife.
“That’s important!” Mac insisted. “It doesn’t matter how much money you have, if you’ve got no one to share it with! Yes sir! I owe Joshua a huge debt and Thaddeus too; they both had a hand in it. Then you go and send that boy off to prison for twenty years!! That’s just not right! No sir! So I knew I had to get here to make sure you didn’t go and do something of the like to Thaddeus. He’s a good boy, Thaddeus is! Good boys, both of ‘em!”
“Thank you Mr. McCreedy,” Mr. Granger said. “I have no more questions.”
Then Steven Granger quickly made his way back to his seat, feeling a wave of relief hitting him in the knees as he gratefully sat down beside his client. Curry leaned over to him and whispered; “You did good.” Steven rolled his eyes and let out a huge sigh.
“Mr. DeFord, your witness.”
Mr. DeFord approached the stand looking a little pallid.
“Mr. McCreedy,” DeFord began. “you mentioned that the Sheriff in your town informed you of their true identities and you did nothing about it?”
“Well of course I did something!” Mac answered. “I told the Sheriff he was wrong!”
“But Mr. McCreedy, you must have realized that what you did was illegal,” Mr. DeFord bravely continued. “You assisted two known outlaws to avoid arrest. That is considered ‘aiding and abiding’ and it is a crime.”
“Oh so what?” Mac answered. “This courtroom is full of people who aided and abided. I don’t see any of them being arrested!”
“And I’d like to see you try!” Mac challenged him, puffing his chest out like an old rooster himself.
“Yes, well…moving on,” DeFord wisely decided. “The jobs that you hired Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry for; what were they?”
“Oh well, I was having a bit of a border dispute with one of my neighbours is all.” Mac explained. “Smith and Jones, well they helped to get it sorted out.”
“So they were successful then, I take it?” DeFord asked.
“Of course they were successful!” Mac reiterated. “That neighbour is now my brother-in-law so I would say they were successful!”
Outright laughter followed this announcement and the gavel went to work to quiet the assembly down.
“Was there anything illegal involved?” Mr. DeFord asked. “I understand that the border you are speaking of is the international border between the U.S. and Mexico.”
“Sure is,” Mac agreed. “But there was nothing illegal about it! It was dangerous, that’s all. So I needed a couple of men who didn’t scare easy. And I found them.”
“And what did that job entail?”
“Simply to retrieve property belonging to me that had ended up in Mexico.”
“So, to sneak across the international border and steal an item and then return with it to the States?”
“NOT STEAL!” Mac insisted. “It was MY PROPERTY!”
“Are you still in possession of this ‘unstolen’ item?” Mr. DeFord asked.
“Well, no as a matter of fact.” Mac admitted. “My brother-in-law bought it from me fair and square. And I ended up with a fine woman for my wife—so everyone’s happy!”
“Except that Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry crossed over an international border—twice—illegally.”
“Oh so what!?” McCreedy demanded. “People are doing that every day. Nothing new there!”
“You don’t seem to have much regard for the laws of this land Mr. McCreedy. Why is that?”
“Why should I?” Mac asked. “One thing about being rich is that you learn pretty fast that laws can be bent. They’re fluid; you can make them go any way you want them to.”
“Really?” DeFord commented dryly. “Mr. Heyes didn’t find them very fluid.”
“That’s not over yet,” Mac stated.
“As far as I am aware, Mr. Heyes’ trial is over.”
“You think that because his trial is over, that it’s over?” Mac challenged. “I’m telling you right now; it’s not over! It’s not going to be over until the fat man says it’s over!” Then he quickly looked to the Judge who was staring back at him with raised eyebrows. “The fat man being me, Your Honour—not you! No offense meant.”
“Indeed,” commented the Judge. “This line of questioning is getting us nowhere Mr. DeFord. I suggest you wrap it up.”
“Yes Your Honour,” DeFord answered. “Actually, I have no more questions for Mr. McCreedy.”
“Thank you.” said the Judge emphatically. “You may step down Mr. McCreedy.”
Mac nodded, and then pressing both hands on the arms of the chair proceeded to push it down off of his amble hind quarters while at the same time trying to get to his feet. He finally managed the maneuver and lumbered back towards his seat, sending Jed a quick smile and nod as he went. Jed smiled back with a slight wave and then Lom looked over at him rather incredulously.
“So that’s your Uncle Mac?”
The Judge gave a heavy sigh and then looked over to Mr. Granger.
“Have you any more witnesses for the defense, Mr. Granger?”
“Yes Your Honour,” Granger answered. “I would like to call Mr. Jedediah Curry to the stand.”
Curry groaned inwardly. The fun and games of watching Uncle Mac run circles around the attorneys was instantly washed away by the knot of dread that now attacked his stomach. He stood up and after acknowledging an encouraging nod from Lom, made his way to the front of the courtroom.
The Bailiff approached him with the bible and Jed placed his right hand on it and lifted his left. His right shoulder protested mildly at the movement.
“Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”
“State your full name.”
“Jedediah Edward Curry.”
“Take the seat.”
Curry settled himself into the chair and then just as Heyes had done before him, he found himself surveying the assembly for the first time since the trial had started. For him there were no surprises as to the familiar faces he saw looking back at him and he found himself smiling a greeting to Beth and Bridget and then to David. He couldn’t see Clem, but he was sure she was out there.
Then Mr. Granger was in front of him and Curry took a deep breath and tried to relax.
“When were you born, Mr. Curry?” Granger asked him, again starting him out with easy non-threatening questions.
“Ah, March 6th, 1853.”
“And were you born in Kansas?”
“Yeah, I was.”
“So, your farm in Kansas was the only home you had before…the orphanage?”
“And how many siblings did you have Mr. Curry?”
“Two.” Jed answered. “A brother who was older than me, and a…” here Jed hesitated and he looked down, his jaw tightening. “a younger sister.”
“It is my understanding that you and your partner are cousins, is that correct?”
“In what way are your two families related?”
“My father and Heyes’ ma were siblings,” Curry answered. “Our grandpa came over with his family from Ireland and settled in New York State. My pa was in his late teens when they came over and he met my ma on the boat. They got married shortly after arriving in New York. My older brother was born there. My pa’s sister met an Englishman shortly after arriving there,” then Jed looked up and smiled, a twinkle coming to his blue eyes. “That sure caused a commotion, that’s for sure! Here, Grandpa Curry had packed up his whole family to come to the New World, to get away from the English—and then his daughter goes and falls in love with one as soon as they got there!” There was a bit of appreciative chuckling from the assembly over that one.
“But it all worked out. Once our grandparents got to know Mr. Heyes though, he was declared acceptable. His folks had come over for much the same reasons as ours had—just trying to find a better life,” he stopped again, and sighed at the irony of that. “Anyway they got married and also started a family right away. But things were tough in New York, especially if you were Irish so it was kind of a universal agreement that the Curry clan and the Heyes’ would all move on to Kansas where there was land available for anyone willing to work it. Our folks were lucky enough to get a couple of good farms right next to each other and they settled in to life along the border.”
“Was it a difficult life?” Mr. Granger asked. “Homesteading like that?”
“I suppose it was for our folks,” Curry admitted. “but not for us young’uns. I mean, as soon as we were old enough, we each had our chores to do, but life was pretty good. We didn’t know any different. As I recall, Han and I had a lot of fun,” he smiled. “Ran pretty wild too, I’d say. Fishin’ and ridin’. Had to be home before dusk though. That was the rule. Yup. Trouble along the border, have to be home before dusk.”
“So you remember that?” Granger asked. “There being trouble along the border?”
“I remember being told there was,” Jed explained. “I don’t remember ever seeing any. Not until…well…that day.”
Granger nodded. “And you were at home the day your farm was attacked?”
Curry nodded. He mouthed his answer, but nothing came out. He coughed. “Yes.”
“And how old were you when the attack happened?”
“I was eight years old.”
A sympathetic murmuring rose up amongst the listeners and then settled again.
“And your siblings, how old were they?”
“Ahhh, well, my brother was fourteen and my sister was five years old.”
“What was the first indication of trouble?” Granger asked. “Do you remember?”
“The dog started barking,” Jed answered instantly. “Then I heard my pa yellin’ at my brother to grab our sister and get to the house. I was still in the house, helping my ma get breakfast going. I liked helping her. And she looked so pretty that morning. She was wearing that blue dress that was my favorite, cause the colour of the fabric matched her eyes so perfectly and when she let her blond curls fall loose, they’d frame her face real nice and she’d look so pretty......”
Jed’s voice had started to trail away, remembering his mother and it was so silent in the courtroom that even the mice didn’t dare move for fear of disturbing the recital. He took a deep breath and looking up, saw every face in the place focused on him and then he felt a little embarrassed, talking about his ma like that. Nobody else thought it was silly.
“Take you time Mr. Curry,” Granger assured him. “Whenever you’re ready.”
“Well, I remember hearing gunshots then, and horses galloping,” Jed continued. “Everybody was screaming. The horses were screaming, my sister and my ma were screaming. I was screaming. Even the dog was screaming. I didn’t know dogs could scream. I don’t know what was happening outside, I just could hear banging and men yelling. My ma was at the window, shooting the rifle she’d grabbed from above the fireplace. Then I could smell stuff burning—wood and hay—and meat.”
Jed stopped talking again and sighed, collecting his thoughts. He sat quietly, just looking at the floorboards, and when he continued talking, he did not look up, it were as though he was all alone and was speaking only to himself.
“The screaming had stopped outside, but my ma was still shooting. Then I guess she ran out of bullets or something cause then she turned from the window and ran over to me and she grabbed me and got me behind her and then she faced the front door. I remember, she was shaking and mumbling something—I think she was praying. Then the door burst open and ma screamed and started backing up, pushing me back with her. I couldn’t really see what was happening. Then ah….” Jed stopped. Jaw clenched tight he was fighting for control. He swallowed, took a deep breath and ran a hand through his curls, but he didn’t say anything, it was like he had come to a dead end.
“Oh jeez,” Jesse mumbled, and thought; are we going to go through this again?
“Come on Jed,” David whispered. “don’t lock up.”
Then Curry took another deep breath and looked to the back of the courtroom, to his friends sitting there, as though he had heard their quiet encouragements. He looked at the two girls and smiled at them, as though apologizing for what he was going to have to say next. To his surprise they both smiled back.
“Then they grabbed her,” he continued. “I got shoved back down by the stove and she was begging with them not to hurt me.” He gave an ironic laugh. “They were hitting her and she was begging them not to hurt me. There were three of them,” he stated matter of factly. “One of them pulled the table cloth off the table and sent all the dishes flying and they crashed to the floor. I remember seeing my favorite plate landing by the pantry and shattering to splinters all in slow motion. I don’t know how that happened.
“Then one of the men grabbed her golden hair and pulled her head back and kissed her, but it wasn’t a gentle kiss, not like when my pa kissed her. It was hard and cruel. Then he ripped that pretty blue dress. Ripped it right off her. He pushed her back onto the table and got on top of her and I didn’t understand what he was doing, but she was screaming and they were laughing, and I knew they were hurting her!
“I ran forward and grabbed the six-shooter out of one of their holsters and tried to aim it at the man, but the gun was too heavy for me.” and here Jed’s hands were pantomiming the act of trying to hold up a gun that was too heavy for small eight year old hands to both hold the handle and pull the hammer back at the same time. He shook his head, feeling the frustration all over again. “It was too heavy. I couldn’t aim it and pull the hammer back, and I couldn’t reach the trigger and hold it too. It was too heavy.
“The men just laughed at me—called me a dirty little Jayhawker. They took the gun away and pushed me back into the corner. I could hear screaming and kinda realized that it was me doin’ it and I was wondering where my pa was and why wasn’t he coming to help?
“I don’t know how long they were there, taking turns on the table. Time had no meaning. I just know that ma eventually stopped screaming and finally they were done and then one of them took his revolver and…and he shot her. I was sobbing, I couldn’t stop. I tried to go to her, but they pushed me back again, laughing at me. Then I heard one of them ask;
‘What should we do with ‘the kid’, shoot em?’
‘Naw, leave em to burn.’
“Then they left and I started to crawl to my ma, but they came back again and I jumped into the corner, but they didn’t care about me. They had brands with them from the fires outside and they went around the kitchen, setting fire to anything that would catch easy. Then they backed out the front door and were gone.
“I didn’t hear them leave or anything, I just ran to my ma and started shaking her, trying to wake her up. I didn’t realize that she was already dead. All I could hear was the fire crackling and burning and the room was filling up with smoke and the flames were starting to spread. But I had to wake up my ma, and I was shaking her and screaming at her to ‘please wake up”.
“Then I started coughing and my eyes started to burn and it was getting hard to see. I grabbed Ma’s hand and tried to pull her off the table, but she was too heavy and I couldn’t move her and I was calling for Pa to come help—but nobody came.
“ Then the fire was taking over and part of the roof had caught and burning wood was starting to fall on both of us. I had to let go of her arm, the fire was getting too close, so I grabbed her foot and tried to pull her towards the door that way, but I still couldn’t move her.
“The heat was intense and the smoke was getting so bad, I couldn’t breathe and I knew that I had to leave her. I had to, I couldn’t get her out—I wasn’t strong enough!”
Here his voice turned almost pleading, asking for forgiveness, for understanding as to why he had left his mother behind. He sighed again and continued, back to speaking matter of factly, as though reading a story from a book.
“I turned towards the door, and my feet got tangled up in her blue dress. Her pretty blue dress. I grabbed it and ran outside so I could breathe. I couldn’t run very far though, only as far as the well and then my feet were hurting so bad, I don’t know why, but it was agony and I couldn’t stand on them.
“I just sat there in a heap while the house burned to the ground. Just sat there, sobbing and clutching onto ma’s pretty blue dress. Until Han came.”
Silence in the courtroom. Not a sob or a cough could be heard. Jed sat still, staring at the floor boards, his mind temporarily trapped back in that day.
Finally Mr. Granger got into Curry’s line of vision again and brought him back to the present.
“Do you remember what happened after your cousin arrived?”
Jed shook his head. “Not very much, no,” he admitted. “I remember thinking that ‘thank goodness Han was here, Han could make things right’ but there wasn’t anything he could do. I remember going into town…I don’t really remember how we got there though. And then being hungry and alone—I don’t know where Han was. I was in a strange place. Someone had taken my ma’s blue dress away from me and I didn’t like that. And I was hungry and scared and I didn’t know where I was.
“Then, I remember being at the orphanage, I didn’t realize it was an orphanage at first, just some strange place, surrounded by people I didn’t know. But then Han was there and we pretty much stuck together. So, that was our lives from then on.”
“Do you have any strong memories of Valparaiso Mr. Curry?” Mr. Granger asked him. “Anything that epitomizes your life there?”
Curry looked at Granger, a little confused His mind was still thinking on the level of an eight year old.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Sums it up.”
“Oh, ahhh—hungry, all the time,” Jed remembered. “and scared.”
“Scared of what?”
“Scared of the other boys. Scared of the Matron. Scared that Han was going to get really badly beaten up for stealin’ food. I often wouldn’t tell him if the other boys stole food from me, or beat me up cause I knew it would make him mad and I didn’t want him to get into trouble over me.”
“Yes, I can understand that,” Granger assured him. “According to Mr. Charles’ testimony you eventually didn’t need your cousin to stand up for you anymore. That indeed, again according to Mr. Charles, you yourself became ‘dangerous’. Do you recall what transpired to bring about such a dramatic change in your attitude?”
“Yeah,” Curry admitted, and again he sent a regretful glance back to the two young ladies sitting with their father and listening to all of this. “It was around that time when I became aware of what those men had been doing to my mother,” he hesitated again and looked ashamed of himself. “I was filled with such anger and I remember just wanting to kill those men. But I couldn’t, I was just a child, so I took my rage and frustration out on anyone who gave me half an excuse.”
“Did it help?”
“Mr. Charles also stated that the only one who could control you during one of these rages was your cousin, Mr. Heyes. Would you agree with that?”
“At the time, yes,” Curry admitted. “Han could bring me out of it, calm me down. I have since learned how to control my temper myself—usually.”
“Still you and your cousin do seem to have a somewhat symbiotic relationship,” Granger observed.
Curry sighed in frustration and sent a rather long suffering look towards his attorney.
“What does that mean?” he asked, wishing people would stop using those strange words around him. It made him feel like he was stupid and he knew he wasn’t.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Curry,” Granger apologized sincerely. “I simply meant that you appear to be very dependent on one another.”
“Well yeah,” Curry stated bluntly. “We grew up together; we’ve been through hard times together, watched each others back. That means a lot.”
“Indeed, it does,” Granger agreed. “and yet, a few years after you and your cousin left Valparaiso, you parted company. Why was that Mr. Curry? What brought that about?”
“Well…” Curry hesitated, trying to collect his thoughts. “we were with Soapy Saunders at that time, learning the con. But I wasn’t really fitting in there. Heyes was a natural and Soapy was really grooming him to play the larger rackets, but I still didn’t have a handle on my temper and Soapy knew it. He said that if I couldn’t control my temper then I wouldn’t be able to control the game so I decided to leave and go off on my own.”
“Really?” Mr. Granger asked. “I find it odd that Mr. Heyes would have agreed to that. He knew you had a problem with your temper, he also knew that he was about the only person who could help you to manage it. Why would he let you strike off on your own at that time? You must have still been quite young.”
“Yeah,” Curry agreed. “We argued about it. He didn’t want me to go off alone, but he didn’t want to come with me either. He figured we had found a good haven there. But the rage I had inside me felt like it was burning a hole in my soul and I just couldn’t settle there or anywhere until I found a way to calm that anger. I knew Heyes wouldn’t let me go off alone, if I insisted on leaving, he would have come with me but he would have resented it. So I waited until he was off doing a job and I left. He was going to be away for a few days so I knew that by the time he returned, I would be long gone and there would be no way for him to follow.”
“How old were you then?”
“Ahhh,” Curry had to think about it. “I was sixteen.”
“Sixteen, and on your own,” Granger stated. “How did you survive?”
Curry smiled. “Oh well, Heyes and I had become quite proficient at survival Mr. Granger, it’s not that hard when you know how. When I could find jobs, I took them. When I couldn’t, I stole. It wasn’t any different than being at Valparaiso. I had also become very good with a six-shooter. I decided that I was never again going to be in a position where I could not protect the ones I loved. I learned how to use a gun and ultimately, to my shame now, I learned how to kill.”
A large murmuring of voices came up from the assembly at those words and Curry saw Lom’s shoulders slump as he passed a hand over his eyes. Curry felt guilt and regret over the things he had done during those years on his own, and a huge pain over having to disappoint his friends. Not only his friends here in the courtroom, but Heyes as well, who knew none of this and might very well feel their friendship betrayed because of it.
“I tracked those men down,” Curry continued, looking down at his hands. “Those men who had raped my mother; I tracked them down and I killed them.”
Then, amongst the audible groans and sobs coming from various locations in that room Curry looked up and faced the assembly, the anguish and regret in his eyes apparent to everyone.
“Mrs. Stanton,” he began again, fighting not to choke on his own emotion. “I know you’re out there, listening to me and I know the hurt and the anger you must feel towards me. I know you don’t want to believe that your father could have done such a thing, but he did. It was a time of war and the whole country had gone mad and people did things that…they would later regret. I know it probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but from the bottom of my soul, I apologize. I am so sorry for what I took from you and I came to realize that I had no right. I only hope that one day you will find it in your heart to forgive me.”
Silence enveloped the courtroom. It seemed that everyone was in shock.
Finally Mr. Granger roused himself. He coughed to try and clear his throat and then quietly brought the defendant’s attention and focus back to him again.
“What did you do after that Mr. Curry?” he asked. “Where did you go?”
“I donno,” Jed admitted. “I just ran until the horse I was riding dropped out from under me. Then I don’t know how long I lay in the dirt. I was tormented more than ever. The killing hadn’t eased my rage; it had just added pain to it. Pain in the realization that I had done a terrible thing, that I had deprived a child of her father just as I had been deprived of my family and it was the worst feeling in the world.
“I knew then that killing wasn’t the answer to anything, it only made things worse. I know I haven’t lived a stellar life and I have made a lot of mistakes along the way, mistakes that can’t be taken back. But in all the things I have done since that day, I’ve tried to respect and value the lives of others and to offer protection to those who were weaker or in need. It sounds a contradiction, I know, but even though I’ve lived the life of a thief and a gunman, I’ve tried my best to be an honourable man.”
“Yes, I can see that,” Granger commented and then picked up again with his questioning. “And when did you return to your cousin?”
“It was very shortly after that,” Curry answered. “I felt lonely and lost. You are right Mr. Granger, Heyes and I were very dependent on each other. I had made the worst mistakes of my life when I was on my own and I felt that I needed to get back to the only family I had left. I tracked him down and was surprised to discover that he had left Soapy’s tutorship shortly after I had and was riding with the Devil’s Hole Gang by that time.
“ I was worried at first that he wouldn’t want me around after I had run out on him, but it couldn’t have been further from the truth. He even told Jim Santana, who was running the gang at that time that he would leave with me, if Jim didn’t let me stay on. So, we were partners then and we’ve stayed together ever since—until now.”
“Alright Mr. Curry, thank you. I have no more questions for you at this time,” Granger told him, and then he turned to the Judge. “Your Honour, I request that we adjourn for the day, I’m feeling the need to re-group and I’m sure my client must be feeling much the same way.”
“Agreed Mr. Granger,” the Judge answered. “I believe we could all use some time out. Court will commence tomorrow morning at 9:00 am.”
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: The Trial of Jedidiah Curry Part three Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:47 pm|| |
Twenty minutes later, over in the cell block, Curry and Granger were having a conference through the bars of Jed’s cell. They were trying their best to ignore the numerous voices coming to them from the front office where a number of Curry’s friends were clamoring for the right to come back to see him. Curry himself was not feeling at all sociable and just wished everybody would simply go away and leave him alone.
“Tell me Mr. Curry,” Steven asked him in a tone of utter frustration. “are you intentionally trying to put your head in the noose?”
“Why would I do that?” Jed asked.
“I don’t know,” Granger conceded with a shrug. “Guilty conscience perhaps? That maybe you’ve decided you deserve to be punished. I would expect that my clients would actually wait until the prosecution breeches the subject before they open up and admit to murder.”
Curry didn’t answer him at first; he just stood with his arms and chin resting on the bars, staring into space.
“I guess I just felt that Mrs. Stanton needed something a bit more sincere than that,” he finally explained. “I know I can never return her father to her, but at least I could willingly own up to it and tell her why it happened.”
“Was it worth your life?” Granger asked him. “You are well aware of what this Judge is capable of. He doesn’t hold much with the sympathy plea.”
“Well then why but me through all that in the first place?” Curry demanded, straightening up from the bars. “What was the point?!”
“The jury, Mr. Curry,” Granger explained. “If the jury can be swayed by the trauma you suffered as a child, then the Judge has no choice but to go along with their decision.”
“Well that’s just great!” Curry complained. “They didn’t seem to have much sympathy for Heyes, did they!?”
“No they didn’t,” Granger admitted. “But now they’ve had a taste of public opinion concerning that verdict so they may hesitate to bring the same one down onto you. On the other hand pre-meditated murder is about as serious a confession as anyone can make. But—again, on the other hand there are strong extenuating circumstances.” He sighed and shook his head. “It could still go either way.”
“Great,” said the Kid, sounding frustrated. “I kinda wish you hadn’t stopped the trial Mr. Granger, I just want to get this over with one way or another.”
“I know. But you can bet Mr. DeFord is going to go for the throat, and I wanted you to have a chance to rest and recover a bit from today’s testimony. I know it wasn’t easy for you,” Granger explained. “Get something to eat and try to get some sleep. You’re going to need your wits about you tomorrow.”
“Yeah,” Curry nodded and turned to go back to his bunk.
“Do you want me to send any of your friends back to see you?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Curry said with a sigh as he sat back on his bunk and drew his knees up. “I don’t really feel up to discussing this anymore tonight.”
“Okay, I’ll tell them. I’ll see you in the morning.”
When Mr. Granger returned to the front office a number of sets of eyes turned to confront him and he held up his hands to quiet the barrage of questions that were thrown his way.
“He’s tired,” Granger stated. “He doesn’t want to see anyone.”
“Well he couldn’t possibly mean me!” Clementine insisted.
“Miss Hale, he means everyone,” Granger assured her.
“Well I can certainly understand the lad being tired,” McCreedy growled. “I suppose tomorrow will do. We can celebrate his acquittal from all this nonsense!”
“Thank you Mr. McCreedy,” Granger commented. “Now, why don’t we all retire to the café for supper?” and here he smiled mischievously. “We can plan our next attack on the governor’s office.”
This suggestion was met with a chorus of approval and the group headed as one out the door and into the street. There were however, two notable exceptions from this exodus which went totally unnoticed by the others. One was Lom Trevors who stayed behind to discuss the situation with Sheriff Turner, and the other was David. He had something to discuss with Jed, and the prisoner’s decree that he didn’t want to see anyone did not include his doctor. This was David’s take on it in any case.
As the group left the office, David caught Rick’s eye and indicated the desire to enter the cell block. Rick nodded and getting the keys accompanied the doctor down to the one and only occupied cell in the block.
Rick unlocked the cell door and opened it for David to enter, but the doctor lowered his head and said softly to the deputy;
“Come in with me.”
Rick was surprised at the request, but entered the cell along with David and put himself on alert for anything to happen.
Jed, who was still sitting back on his bunk, sent the doctor a long suffering look when suddenly David made a bee line straight towards the pillow setting on the end of the bed. Jed’s expression changed to one of alarm and he was instantly on the move to get there before David did!
Now if Kid had been at the top of his game he’d have beat the doc hands down. But as it was the sudden movement caused sharp pain to shoot from his shoulder right down through his elbow and into his hand so that David was able to snatch that pouch of morphine out from under the pillow just a hair’s breath ahead of his patient.
Jed didn’t stop there however; he continued to come and would have had David up against the bars in an instant except that Rick was suddenly between them. The deputy grabbed hold of the Kid’s shirt front and pushed him backwards across the cell and with an arm across Curry’s chest, pinned him against the bars like a beetle on a display board.
Curry fought against him for a moment, then realizing the futility of that attempt, sighed and raised his hands in surrender. Rick didn’t release him right away however but still held him pinned against the bars while he sent an inquiring glance back to the doctor.
“That’s alright Deputy, thank you,” David told him. “You can let him go. I expect he’ll be fine now.”
“Okay Doc,” Rick consented and he released his hold. “but I’ll just be out in the office so you give a shout if he tries anything and I’ll hear you.”
“Yes, I will. Here, better take this out with you,” David said and he handed the pouch to Rick.
The Deputy took it and with a warning look to Curry left the cell, closed the door behind him with a clang and then exited the block.
David and Jed sent accusing glares across the cell at one another.
“Do you really think that I’m that big of a fool Jed?” David finally asked him. “Did you really think that I wouldn’t check with Dr. Jackson to see what medications he’s had you on this past month?”
“What difference does it make!?” Jed demanded. “According to popular opinion I’m a dead man anyways!”
David sighed and looked down at his hands for a moment.
“Tell you what,” he said. “if tomorrow the Judge sentences you to hang then I’ll give you all the morphine you want. How’s that?”
“Oh thanks a lot David!” Kid returned sarcastically. “You’re a real friend!”
“Yes, I am,” David answered, looking Jed in the eye. “And you’d realize that if your dependency on that drug didn’t have you running scared right now.”
“I’m not dependent on it!”
“You lied to me.”
“YOU DID!” David insisted. “You deliberately avoided telling me that you were still taking it when you knew that I wanted you off it completely! In my book that’s lying!”
Jed started to lose his blustering. He pushed himself up off the bars and went to sit back down on the bunk again.
“Well I didn’t see the harm in it,” he mumbled.
“No, you wouldn’t,” said David, also softening his tone at this point. “The drug itself is making you complacent. You don’t need to be on it anymore Jed, but your body is at the point where it’s beginning to demand it anyways and it’s making your brain tell you that it’s alright. But I’m telling you it’s not, and I’m asking you to trust me.”
“I just need it to sleep David,” Jed insisted. “How else am I supposed to get through this night?”
“I’ll give you some laudanum.”
“Laudanum doesn’t help!”
“GIVE IT A CHANCE!”
Silence took over for a few minutes while the two friends tried to get over being mad at each other.
“Well,” David finally began. “I’m hungry and since I don’t intend to eat alone how about I ask Rick to bring a couple of supper’s over here for us?”
“If you don’t want to eat alone why don’t you track down Jesse and the girls?” Jed suggested with a tinge of sulkiness. “I’m sure they would appreciate your company.”
David looked over at his friend, understanding where his moodiness was coming from and trying to be sympathetic.
“Don’t you want company tonight Jed?” he asked him.
“Yeah!” Jed snapped back. “But he’s not here is he!?”
David hung his head for an instant.
“I know I’m a sorry substitute for your cousin,” he acknowledged. “but I’m not leaving you alone tonight.”
It ended up being a rough time for everyone in the jailhouse that night. There were two young deputies putting in the night shift, but Rick opted to stay as well and tried sleeping on the cot in the back office. He still woke up every hour or so though and would make a trip into the cell block just to make sure the doctor was still alive.
Jed spent the majority of the evening pacing the cell and cursing, unable to relax or even think about sleeping. David sat on the floor, propped up with some pillows with his back leaning against the bars. He sat there quietly and with a grain of salt accepted every form of verbal abuse his patient chose to throw at him.
“You’re a mean spirited man David!”
“Yes, so my wife tells me.”
“You have no compassion for what other people go through, that’s for sure!!”
“Yup, totally oblivious.”
“That’s why you became a doctor isn’t it? So you could keep people under your thumb! Be in control! You like inflicting pain don’t you!? Goodness knows you keep hurting me!!”
“Well you sure have me figured out.”
And so on and so on.
By midnight the verbal abuse had eased off and the pacing quieted down. By 1:00 am Jed had settled onto his cot and the two men sat in companionable silence for a while. By 2:00 am, Rick came up to the cell for the umpteenth time that night, looking bleary eyed and disheveled himself, and gave a sigh of relief.
“Finally!” he said quietly. “Is he actually asleep?”
“Yeah, I think so,” David answered, just as quietly. “I was beginning to think he would never shut up.”
“You going back to the hotel?” Rick asked him.
“No,” David answered with a sigh. “If you could just open up this other cell, I’ll sleep on the cot in there. I don’t want to leave him alone at all tonight.”
“Okay Doc, whatever works.”
And that’s how Lom found them at 7:00 am when he brought in the morning coffee. Two friends, sound asleep, in jail.
“All rise! the Honourable Judge Henry Parsons residing.”
“Alright, Mr. Curry. I trust you slept well. I also remind you that you are still under oath.”
“Yes, Your Honour.”
“Mr. Granger, do you have further questions for your client.”
“Yes, I do Your Honour,” Granger said, and approached the stand. “Mr. Curry. We arrived at the point where you and your cousin joined up again. Did you ever tell him what had transpired while you were separated?”
“Why not? Since those men were probably the same ones who attacked his home as well, I would think he would be pleased.”
“I didn’t tell him cause I didn’t want to put that guilt and responsibility onto his shoulders as well,” Curry explained. “I’m the one who did it; he shouldn’t have to carry the blame too. I was also ashamed of it. I knew he wouldn’t have approved and I just…I couldn’t bring myself to tell him.”
“So I take it Mr. Heyes was against violence?”
“Well yeah!” Curry answered matter of factly. “I thought that was obvious considering our history.”
“Of course Mr. Curry,” Granger explained. “I’m just trying to establish that the non-violent tendencies of your criminal careers were intentional, not accidental.”
“Oh,” Curry conceded. “Yeah. Heyes was adamant with the members of the gang that there was to be no killing. Even if they were threatened—never shoot to kill.”
“That is certainly to his credit then,” Granger commented. “So, obviously Mr. Heyes eventually took over leadership of the Devil’s Hole Gang. Was there any grumblings about that from the other members, considering that Mr. Heyes was still quite young and relatively new to the organization? Obviously he had jumped the cue—so to speak.”
“Yeah, there was some,” Curry admitted. “Wheat Carlson had been second in command until Heyes came in and took over that spot. Then when Jim went to prison Heyes just kind of naturally stepped into the leadership position. Wheat wasn’t too happy about that.”
“Yes, I can imagine,” Granger admitted. “Was there much of a threat of an up-rising from the other members?”
“No, not really,” Curry explained. “Wheat didn’t have much back up with that. The other gang members recognized Heyes’ intelligence and leadership qualities, and the gang prospered with him in charge. If Wheat did start to grumble too much, well, I had a reputation by then and it didn’t take much to get him to back off.”
“So things were going pretty well I take it?”
“Yeah, they were.”
“So what made you decide to get out of the business?”
“Well, even though we were doing pretty good, we kinda figured our time was running out, that maybe it wasn’t a particularly healthy lifestyle,” Curry admitted. “Then Lom switched alliances and though Heyes felt kinda betrayed by that at first, I think he gradually came around to thinking that maybe Lom had the right of it after all. Still, it took a particularly bad day and a little old lady from Boston handing me a flier talking about amnesty before we started to consider it seriously.”
“And that’s when you approached you friend Sheriff Trevors about speaking to the governor for you, is that correct?”
“But my understanding is that you were not granted an amnesty. Is that not also correct?”
“No, that’s right. We weren’t granted it right away,” Curry admitted, then sent a glance over to Lom, not sure about how much he should reveal of that arrangement. Lom just smiled and nodded at him to go ahead. Obviously the governor wasn’t holding up his end of the bargain, so why should they worry about it. “Ahhh, Governor Hoyt told us that if we stayed out of trouble for a year then he would consider granting us an amnesty.”
“But it’s been five years, and three more governors.”
“Yes, I know,” Curry answered somewhat sardonically.
“And yet, you kept trying for it,” Granger observed.
“It was important to us.”
“That is certainly apparent,” Granger said. “So what was it then that lead you to the killing of Danny Bilson? It must have been quite a serious offense on his part considering your desire for amnesty and your regret over the previous incidents.”
“Yes it was,” Curry admitted and his jaw tightened at the memory of what had transpired back then. He sighed and collected his thoughts, dredging it all back up again and not wanting to miss out on anything important or relevant.
“Heyes and I had just stopped in a town that was putting on a bit of a fair. It was just a nice break for us—kinda fun you know. We watched a fast draw contest for a while and I was kinda tempted to enter it, just to make a few bucks but then this fella comes up and wins the whole thing hands down. I was relieved that I hadn’t entered it then, cause he was fast and I wasn’t so sure I coulda beat him. That was my first introduction to Danny Bilson.
“Any way, later on that day we got to talking with him and it seemed that he enjoyed a good game of poker as well, so we hooked up with another older fella by the name of Seth and settled in for a few hands.
“Well after a few hours of that, we got kinda tired of loosing to Danny so we just sat around for a while, having a few drinks and talkin’. That was when Seth—never did know his last name, just Seth—anyway Seth mentioned that he had a mine that needed working and asked if we were interested. It needed at least four fellas to work it right and he figured we were the ones.
“Heyes and I didn’t have anything else on the go at that time, so we decided to give it a try, and Danny was in too, so that’s what we did.
“We had set a goal for $20,000 and ole’ Seth, he had a bottle of corn whiskey set aside to celebrate with when we reached it. It took us about three months but we did it and then had a high old time getting’ knee walkin’ drunk! At least three of us did. Apparently Danny didn’t join in on the celebrating and after the rest of us had passed out well, he just helped himself to all the gold, all the food and water and left with all the horses.”
“In other words, he left you to die?” Granger asked.
“Yeah,” Curry agreed. “he left us to die. He was successful with Seth. That old guy, he just couldn’t make it and he sure enough died out there in the desert. Me and Heyes, well we just barely made it. We were lucky enough to come across water just when we were about to give it up and that got us through.
“After that, well we were both hurtin’ over Seth and just mad enough at Danny for his betrayal to track him down and at least try and get our money back from him.
“Unfortunately when we did finally find him in Matherville he had already used the money to buy himself a gambling house in that town. We tried to pressure him into selling it in order to pay us back or we’d go to the law and tell them what he had done, but he wouldn’t budge. He knew I was fast with a gun and he already suspected that we were wanted and he called our bluff.
“I was mad. I was real mad. I was ready to call him out for what he had done to Seth, but Heyes talked me out of it. Giving all the right reasons about how we were trying so hard for the amnesty and that it wasn’t worth risking everything we had been working for and all. So he convinced me to just let it go.
“But Danny had different ideas. We were outside, getting the horses ready to leave when Danny showed up lookin’ for a fight. He called me out and he wasn’t going to let it go. He made his move first, but I was faster, so….”
“You killed him,” Granger stated.
“Yeah,” Curry admitted. “The Sheriff witnessed it and knew that Danny had started it and that he had pulled his gun first, so as far as he was concerned it wasn’t murder. So Heyes and I left town just as broke as we had been when we arrived, and I had one more killing to deal with.”
“Alright Mr. Curry,” Granger said. “I have no more questions.”
Curry sighed. Here it was barely mid-morning and he was already exhausted. He just wished this whole thing could be over and done with. Then he found himself face to face with Mr. DeFord and knew that the worst may be yet to come.
“Mr. Curry,” Mr. DeFord acknowledged the defendant. “that’s quite an interesting story you’ve told us. Just out of curiosity, has anyone ever beaten you to the draw? Anyone?”
“Ahhh, yeah. One fella did,” Curry admitted, having calmed himself down somewhat`. “A Bannerman Detective by the name of Gaines outdrew me once about five years ago.”
“Really!?” DeFord exclaimed, feigning amazement. “A Bannerman Detective?”
“Well one up for our side then,” DeFord commented dryly. “So tell me, Mr. Curry, if a Bannerman Detective outdrew you and actually had you in his sights, why didn’t he arrest you?—or better yet; shoot you down where you stood?”
Again Kid fought to keep his temper in check. DeFord was really pushing him and Curry forced himself to answer the question calmly.
“He was unaware of who I was,” Curry explained. “It was a minor dispute and we were able to settle it without gun play.”
“How unfortunate, especially for Mr. Bilson,” DeFord observed. “that the only person to succeed in outdrawing you was so ill-informed that he didn’t realize who it was he had in his sights. It might have saved us all a lot of bother.”
Again Curry declined to answer. He was beginning to find this baiting getting old, but then Mr. DeFord changed tactics once more and Kid began to sense a trap in the making.
“Mr. Curry,” DeFord began. “exactly how many men have you shot?”
Kid opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He didn’t just sense the trap anymore, now it was clearly laid out in front of him, but with no way that he could see to avoid it. Not without blatantly lying.
“Ahh…I can’t really say,” Jed admitted.
“Why not Mr. Curry?” DeFord asked. “Too many to count?”
“Well—no,” Curry admitted. “Often I didn’t have to shoot. Usually I’d outdraw my opponent so easily that they wouldn’t have even cleared their holster. Just seeing my gun pointed at them so quickly would simply end it then and there.”
“Well how admirable of you,” Mr. DeFord commented. “Perhaps I should re-phrase the question. How many times have you pulled and aimed your weapon at another man?”
Curry shook his head. “I’m sorry Mr. DeFord, I can’t say.”
Mr. Granger groaned. Lom closed his eyes, shaking his head. This was not going well at all.
“Well let’s make it a little easier then,” DeFord offered. “How many men have you killed? Or is that number too high for you to have kept count as well?”
Curry swallowed almost feeling the bile wanting to rise up.
“Ahhh, four,” he answered.
“Four? You’ve killed four men?” DeFord asked him.
“Yeah,” Jed confirmed quietly, and looked to the back of the courtroom to the Jordan’s’ and the heartbreak in the girls’ eyes just about made him sick.
“Well we know about two already,” DeFord pointed out. “Please Mr. Curry; bring us up to date on the other two.”
“The first was…an accident,” Kid explained, looking down at his hands. “I was young, no more than sixteen. I was fast, but I wasn’t accurate. This young fella, he saw that I wore my gun tied down so he figured he’d make a show in front of his friends and he started pushing for a fight. He wasn’t very fast, I beat him easy and I was just trying to wing him or at least scare him off, but I missed and got him in the gut,” a few groans rose up from the assembly. “He died a couple of hours later.”
“What happened after that?” DeFord asked.
“I threw up,” Curry answered bluntly.
“Yes,” DeFord moved it along. “What about after that?”
“I left town. The Sheriff, he knew those boys and knew that they were trouble-makers so he didn’t blame me for it, said he probably had it coming. But his friends were out to get me, so I high-tailed it outa there.”
“Hmmm. How convenient that the local sheriffs' always seem to be around to witness these killings—and it’s never your fault. What a shame we don’t have any of these gentlemen here in court with us today,” DeFord commented.
Granger agreed with that statement wholeheartedly, but Curry made no response; he was learning how to recognize rhetoric when he heard it.
“So that was the first,” DeFord continued. “What about the second one?”
“He was one of the men who attacked our farm,” Curry said. “It took me over three years to find those men, but I finally did. One of them I didn’t need to find. Apparently he was killed the day of the raids on our farms. I assume it was over at the Heyes’ place. The second one was a two-bit outlaw himself by the name of Clyde Ross. He was running with a band of thieves down Arizona way. Once he figured out who I was he came at me with a two by four yellin’ that he shoulda cut my throat just like he did my brother’s. That was the last thing he said.
“The third one was Cal Wissen who was Mrs. Stanton’s father. And I’m sorry Mr. DeFord but the Sheriff wasn’t around to witness those ones,” Kid added, with a bit of heat. “Only his daughter witnessed the last and I don’t think she has any doubt as to who’s to blame for that!”
Mr. Granger groaned again. His client really was trying to get himself hanged. He was just about to call for a recess to get the man calmed down again, but then Curry managed to do that himself.
Kid sighed again, and then added; “The fourth was Danny Bilson.”
“Yes, here we are back to Mr. Bilson again,” DeFord observed. “I’m curious Mr. Curry. You claim to have lost your taste for killing after your revenge rampage choosing instead to slightly wound or—intimidate your adversaries into submitting. And yet you killed Mr. Bilson. Why didn’t you simply wound him and leave it at that?”
“Because Danny was a killer!” Kid shot back, getting mad again. “Mr. Jaxton told you about the young cowboy Danny shot the day before. Well Heyes and I witnessed that shooting as well and there was no reason for it! That kid was no gunman, certainly no match for Danny’s speed and Danny KNEW THAT! But he killed him anyways! I knew that if Danny and I squared off it would be to the death.
“I also knew that if I beat him and only left him wounded then he would come after me and knowing then that I was faster than him, it wouldn’t be a straight up gunfight! He’d come at me from behind, he would not let it rest until one of us was dead!”
“Did Mr. Bilson know who you were?” DeFord asked. “Did he know he was challenging ‘the great Kid Curry’?”
Curry’s jaw tightened even more, but he tried not to take insult from DeFord’s tone. He knew the man was deliberately trying to get under his skin.
“Like I said before,” Kid answered. “he suspected, but he didn’t know for sure.”
“Well even suspecting,” DeFord continued. “you would think that would have been enough to convince him not to challenge you.”
“Not necessarily Mr. DeFord,” Curry contradicted. “Nine times out of ten a reputation will cause the person to back off, but there’s always that one who thinks he’s faster, and wants the reputation for himself and Danny wanted the reputation.”
“Well certainly, that would be quite a feather in the hat for the person who could out shoot ‘the great Kid Curry’!” DeFord commented dryly. “But you don’t know for sure that he knew or even suspected that you were a professional gunman. If Bilson was not aware of whom or what you were and you killed him, well that could be tantamount to murder, don’t you think?”
Kid gritted his teeth. “It wasn’t murder!” he insisted, his fist hitting the arm of the chair in frustration. “It was SELF-DEFENCE!”
“Temper, temper, Mr. Curry,” DeFord reprimanded him with a slight smile.
Curry sent him a cold stare, but he still had enough wits about him to not send him his deadly one. He knew he had to calm down or Mr. DeFord was going to back him into a corner he would not be able to get out of. Just like he had done to Heyes.
“It seems convenient to me,” DeFord continued. “that the only shooting you will admit was in cold blood is the one where we have an actual witness who has already testified to that, so you really can’t deny it. The other three killings were ‘accidental’ or in ‘self-defense’—according to you. But since we have no witnesses to collaborate that we only have your word that that is how they transpired. You claim that two different lawmen supported you in that it was self-defense, yet I don’t see them here in the courtroom willing to testify to that. The other—you claim—was an outlaw who came at you in a threatening manner. But again—no witnesses. All we have Mr. Curry, is your word.”
“That’s how it happened,” Curry insisted quietly. “Considering I have already agreed that the killing of Mr. Wissen was in—cold blood, why would I need to lie about the others?”
“Well, one murder—considering the circumstances surrounding it, might simply warrant you a prison term,” DeFord explained. “But four? I think you know that four cold-blooded murders cannot so easily be explained away. Four would suggest that you are exactly what certain witnesses here today have accused you of being; A cold blooded and dangerous killer.”
“You heard Mr. Jaxton’s testimony,” Curry answered quietly. “He described the gunfight between myself and Danny Bilson and told you that Bilson drew first. That backs up what I already described as how it happened.”
“Yes it does,” DeFord agreed. “But, by your own admittance, you were also aware that according to the sheriff of that town, whoever made the first move in a gunfight was automatically the one at fault. You knew you could not draw first because then, even if you won you would be arrested for murder. Mr. Jaxton also stated that he saw you and Mr. Bilson in conversation, though he could not hear what you were saying to one another. You apparently turned to leave and it was that action that prompted Mr. Bilson to draw his weapon. Now, the question that comes to my mind Mr. Curry, is this; was it truly your intention to walk away, or was it a deliberate feint to push Mr. Bilson into making the first move, thereby absolving you of any guilt?”
Curry hesitated, trying to think of the best way to answer that one.
“It may not seem like it to a casual observer,” Kid explained. “but being the one who walks away from a gunfight involves subtle strategy and the ability to read your opponent. Danny was determined to push that situation to a fight; I simply offered him the opportunity to do so. It was his decision to take it.”
“Indeed,” DeFord conceded. “And a fatal decision at that. I also find your explanation concerning the subtleties involved in a gunfight chilling to the bone. In fact I feel that it only serves to support the opinion that you are a calculating and cold-blooded killer and that it is past due for judgment to be brought down upon you.”
“Do you think that I don’t carry the guilt of those deaths with me every day?!” Curry demanded. “Even Danny Bilson continues to haunt me and will for the rest of my life!”
“Well, you can take some comfort in the probability that they won’t be haunting you for much longer then,” Mr. DeFord prophesied dryly. Then he sighed and looked to the Judge. “I have no more questions for Mr. Curry Your Honour.”
“Thank you Mr. DeFord. Mr. Curry you may step down.”
‘Oh finally!’ was all Kid could think as he pushed himself to his feet and returned to sit back down again beside Lom. He could feel the tension in the air and the look he exchanged with his friend was not encouraging.
“Gentlemen,” the Judge continued. “court will break for lunch. We will resume at 1:00 pm to hear your closing statements.”
“Lom, will you please talk to me? You’re hardly sent two sentences in my direction in just as many days!”
Lom had just secured Curry back into his cell and had turned to leave when the Kid’s heartfelt request stopped him in his tracks. Lom sighed, tried unsuccessfully to relax his tense stance and turned to face his friend.
“I’m not mad at ya,” Lom finally commented. “I’m just havin’ a hard time adjusting to all a this.” He hesitated and furrowed his brow, and then continued with a little bit of irritation. “No! Actually I am mad at ya! You keep quiet about all this for fifteen years and then decide to confess in the middle of a courtroom?! What the hell you thinkin’!?”
Curry shot up his hands in frustration.
“I know! I’m sorry!” Kid admitted. “But they already had me for Bilson and Wissen and I figured if I was gonna hang for them I may as well put the other two to rest as well.”
“Kid, you don’t know it’s gonna go that way,” Lom softened his tone a bit. “You just made it appear a whole lot worse by admittin’ to the other two, that’s all. And I just wish you’d a told me about it!”
“I didn’t even tell Heyes, Lom!” Kid pointed out. “I was just….I’ll never forget that little girl lookin’ at me like that. Knowing what I had just done to her…what I had just taken from her. I guess I thought that if I didn’t talk about it, it would just go away—that guilt. But it never did. I should’na done it Lom. He wasn’t even armed and I shot him down in cold blood and if the law decides that I should be hanged for it—well, then maybe that’s right.”
“No Kid, it ain’t right,” Lom said. “There were extenuating circumstances with all of them, even Wissen. You were young and had witnessed a terrible thing. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must have been like, but I know it ate at ya and drove ya to do things you never would have dreamt of doin’ otherwise. You’re not a cold-blooded killer Kid. I know that—and so does Heyes.”
Just then the block door opened and Steven Granger came in. Lom and Curry both straightened up from the bars where they’d been talking and addressed the lawyer.
“You need to talk to your client?” Lom asked, surprised. “Thought you were working on your closing statement.”
“No time,” Granger announced. “Judge has called the court back in session. Something’s come up.”
Back in the courtroom, everyone sat in strained anticipation of what new evidence had become available. Curry was racking his brains trying to think of anything he hadn’t already confessed to that could possibly damn him even further than he had already damned himself. Nothing was coming to mind.
The court was brought to order and everyone waited anxiously.
“I apologize to the jury for calling you back into session so quickly,” the Judge stated. “and I apologize to this court for apparently wasting your time.” Then he sent a rather disapproving look over to the defendant. “Jedediah Edward Curry, you will stand and face the bench.”
Aww Jeezzz, what’s going on? The Kid was visibly shaking. He knew that all eyes were upon him as he pushed himself to his feet. He kept a hand touching the table in front of him just for added security as his knees felt as though they were going to give out beneath him at any given moment.
“It would seem, Mr. Curry, that Governor Warren has allowed public opinion to addle his brains! Apparently the law abiding citizens of this territory are going to have to be satisfied with just Mr. Heyes paying the debt that you both owe! Be thankful Mr. Curry, for the ‘lucky’ twist of fate that brought your partner and not you to trial first, because as sure as I’m sitting here, I would have seen you hang before the next sun had set! As it stands, Mr. Warren has seen fit to grant you your amnesty!”
Instantly the courtroom was alive with turmoil! The noise was almost deafening, from whoops and clapping and loud shouts of approval and relief to boo’s and hisses to yells of anger and the pounding of fists on wood demanding justice be had! Kid himself just about fell over. He could barely believe that he had heard right! After all this time, it was just to be handed over to him in such a volatile and conflicting atmosphere such as this. It certainly was not how he had imagined it.
The Judge’s gavel was working over time to bring the assembly to order.
“Court is not adjourned ladies and gentlemen!! Quiet down and please take your seats!!
It took a few moments for the gathering to heed the Judge’s order, but gradually everyone complied and the courtroom quieted.
“The governor’s office is still in the process of getting the paperwork in order,” the Judge continued. “Mr. Granger, as soon as I hear word that they are ready, I will inform you and then you and your client will meet with the governor at that time to get them signed. You will also need a witness Mr. Curry, make sure that person accompanies you. I also say to you Mr. Curry that in my opinion the outcome of this trial is a disgrace and I can only hope that you will realize the opportunity that has been handed to you and that you will not throw it away! But I warn you; if you ever stand before me in this court of law again, even for so much as expectorating in public I will make sure that the full force of the law and the punishment that you deserve will be delivered upon you—do you understand?!”
“Yes, Your Honour,” Curry answered quietly, wondering how it was that he was still on his feet.
“The court is adjourned!” BANG!
Again, an eruption of voices and clamoring, and everyone on the move at once. Curry suddenly found himself in the midst of activity as people he knew and didn’t know were assaulting him with hand shakes and slaps on the back
He heard Clementine coming “Kid!! Oh Kid!!” and then suddenly there she was with her arms wrapped around his neck and yet another very affectionate kiss planted upon his lips. This time he didn’t even try to push her off and wrapped his arms around her slim waist and returned the kiss wholeheartedly accompanied by more back slaps and loud “whoops” from the numerous males in attendance.
If Kid had thought to look up however, he would have been met by one very horrified look coming from another particular young lady. Beth Jordan had rushed forward to congratulate her friend, when she was brought up short by someone else beating her to it. Who was THAT WOMAN kissing HER THADDEUS with such…well…such affection!? And why was Thaddeus returning it with such… well….such…well… RETURNING IT?!
Poor Beth just stood there with her mouth open not sure what to do or even where to look. Fortunately her sister was not deterred by the usurper and did not hesitate to cut in and present Thaddeus with her own congratulatory hug. So following Bridget’s example, Beth then also came forward and the two young ladies ended up one under each arm. Clem backed off, not at all offended, but staying close and continuing to chatter.
Then Jed felt someone touching him on the shoulder. He turned to find himself face to face with Rick.
“Deputy,” Jed greeted him.
“No,” Rick corrected him. “just Richard Layton. I have to get back to a ranch that needs tending to. If you ever need a job….”
“As a ranch hand?” asked Curry skeptically.
Rick smiled, “Yeah, I know.”
Then Rick held out his right hand and Jed, unwrapping his arm from around Bridget’s shoulders, grasped it and they shook. “Goodbye Mr. Jedediah Curry. And good luck to you.”
Curry smiled. “Thanks,” he said. “Goodbye MISTER Layton.”
Rick turned and walked down the isle towards the exit, removing his deputy’s badge as he went.
Then Steven Granger took the opportunity to nip in and have a quick word with his client.
“That certainly ended a lot better than I thought it would,” Granger understated. “I know you and your friends will want to celebrate, but I suggest that you don’t go far or drink too much. You will need to be sober to sign those amnesty papers. It shouldn’t be too long before the governor has them ready for us.”
“Yeah, of course,” Curry agreed. “I don’t think we’ll be going far. And Mr. Granger, thank you—for everything.”
“You’re welcome, Mr. Curry,” he responded with a smile. “I’ll come and join you soon.”
He turned to leave, and then Bridget quietly slipped away from Jed and following Steven to the exit, she caught up with him and slipped her hand into his. He smiled at her and they left the courthouse together. Jed smiled at that himself and then did a quick scan of the room looking for Jesse. There he was, talking to Lom and David. He hadn’t noticed his eldest daughter slipping away. There was going to be fireworks later!
Then Jed looked down at the young lady who was still under his left shoulder, with her arms wrapped contentedly around his waist. He was met with such a warm and congratulatory smile from his young friend that he couldn’t help but smile back at her. Then suddenly he almost ended up going headlong into the floorboards when Big Mac, who had taken a little longer than everyone else to arrive at the front, gave Jed such a wallop on the back as to set his teeth to chattering.
“What did I tell ya!?” Mac expostulated. “The law wouldn’t dare hang ya with me in town! Shoulda been here for Joshua! That’s for sure! But that’s not over yet! That’s for sure, it’s not over yet!!”
“Hey Mac,” Kid greeted him once he’d gotten his wind back again. “Good to see ya. And thanks for comin’.”
“Anything for my two favorite nephews!” Mac insisted. “Just sorry I wasn’t here for Joshua. He’s a good boy, but that’s not over yet—no sir!!”
“Oh Mr. McCreedy, you are such a bear!” Clem stated in a teasing manner.
Mac instantly put on the charm. “Well, thank you Miss Hale,” he said, tipping his hat. “Would you care to join me for some refreshment?”
“Why, Mr. McCreedy, how kind of you to offer,” Clem accepted with a smile and a twinkle over to Jed.
“Now Uncle Mac, you be careful!” Jed called after them. “Remember you’re a married man!”
“Beth! Where’s your sister?”
“I don’t know Papa.”
Jesse was looking around with furrowed brow. The courtroom had pretty much emptied out now, but no Bridget in sight. Where in tarnation had that girl gotten to now? Keeping track of his two young ladies was like trying to keep two squirrels on a leash and it was starting to wear on his nerves.
“Well, come and help me look for her,” Jesse told his youngest.
That young lady slumped her shoulders in disappointment, being quite content to simply stay where she was.
“You go on Beth,” Jed told her. “I’m sure I’ll be seeing you at supper and I need to talk to Lom for a bit.”
“Okay Thaddeus,” she agreed. “I’m so glad that everything has worked out.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Jed approached his two friends feeling a little apprehensive. He knew that all this had been very hard on both of them, and he hadn’t been so far gone last night that he didn’t remember some of things he had said to David. But as he joined them, both men turned to him with smiles and congratulatory hand shakes.
“Well Kid, has it sunk in yet?” Lom asked him.
Jed sighed and shook his head. “No, not really,” he admitted. “For one thing this isn’t the way it was supposed to be. Heyes should be a part of this. I never would have made it this far without him.”
“I know Kid,” Lom acknowledged. “We were just discussing that very thing with Mr. Jordan. We’re not going to stop in our efforts to get Heyes pardoned. In the words of your ‘Uncle Mac’; this isn’t over yet.”
“Yeah,” Jed agreed. “Well, what now? I’m certainly not going back to that jail cell!!”
Both Lom and David smiled at that.
“No!” Lom agreed. “We’ll get you a room over at the hotel. Then you can get a bath and a shave and some clean clothes.” The three men started to head for the exit. “You’d probably appreciate a beer too huh? And I must admit the ladies over at the saloon are all very pretty….”
“Uh huh,” Jed commented. Then…”David?”
“What’s expectorate mean?”
TO BE CONTINUED
Posts : 483
Join date : 2013-08-31
Location : Madrid
|Subject: Re: The Trial of Jedidiah Curry Chapter twelve Part one Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:16 am|| |
Wow! What a rollercoaster of a chapter! So the Kid is free to go and poor Heyes is in Jail? I'll certainly be catching up on this soon.
|Subject: Re: The Trial of Jedidiah Curry Chapter twelve Part one || |
The Trial of Jedidiah Curry Chapter twelve Part one