The Fight-Chapter eighteen
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: The Fight-Chapter eighteen Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:23 pm|| |
The Fight-part one
Heyes sat quietly in the visitor’s room. He had no idea who was coming to see him and in a way that was kinda fun too, like being presented with a gift and you had to wait before you were allowed to open it. He smiled a little in anticipation. He doubted that it was the Kid again; he wasn’t due for another couple of weeks. Wouldn’t be Harry, he’d already put in his token visit and probably wouldn’t have the nerve to come back. Might be Sister Julia. Hmmmm. Well, whoever it was Heyes wished they’d hurry up and get there as he was starting to get a little antsy.
Finally the outer door opened and OH, it was Lom! Heyes smiled broadly, pleased to see his friend, but then the smile suddenly dropped from his face when Lom was quickly followed into the room by Steven Granger. The lawyer? Oh no, Heyes thought, did Kid go ahead and tell them what the Warden had said? And that after Heyes had told him not to say anything! Dammit! This is what comes of letting Kid out on his own!
“Howdy Lom,” Heyes greeted his friend.
“Afternoon Mr. Heyes.”
“You’re lookin’ better than the last time I saw ya’,” Lom commented. “You could still stand to put on a few more pounds though Heyes, we don’t need you getting’ sick again come winter.”
Heyes smiled. “Yes mother.”
Lom gave him a nasty look. Then he and Steven glanced over at the guard standing by the rear door.
“Guard,” Steven addressed him, “would you please give us some privacy?”
Murrey pushed himself off the wall and then with a last look at the prisoner he turned to leave.
“I’ll be right outside the door if you need anything,” he assured the two men.
“As long as you’re not right up against it,” Steven cautioned him.
Murrey sent him a bit of a smirk and then left the three men alone.
Heyes looked confused. And impressed.
“How did you do that?” he asked. “Every time I tell them to go away I get rapt with the bully club!”
Steven smiled as he and Lom sat down at the table.
“Being officials of the court does have its advantages,” Steven explained. “I sent the warden a telegram stating that we were planning to appeal your sentence and I requested some time with you in private in order to discuss that issue. Legally he is obligated to grant you time to discuss your case with your lawyer—in private. So, here we are.”
“Oh,” Heyes responded and then was back to a broad smile again. “and are we going to appeal my sentence?”
“We are trying to Mr. Heyes,” Steven assured him with a sigh. “Unfortunately the Judge is anything but co-operative and Governor Warren is fighting other fires right now and isn’t too interested in seeing us.”
“Ah,” Heyes accepted that, but disappointment settled over him again. “So what do I owe this visit to then? Not that I’m not happy to see ya’ Lom, but it seems an awful lot of trouble to go through just to say ‘hello’.”
“The Kid told me about the little arrangement the warden is trying to make with you,” Lom admitted. “and I just thought it would be a good idea for you to inform your lawyer about that—just so we all know what’s going on.”
“Ah,” Heyes commented again. “I asked Kid not to tell ya’. I guess I’m going to have ta watch what I say to him from now on.”
“C'mon Heyes don’t be so cynical!” Lom admonished him. “Kid only has your best interests at heart, you know that. I for one am glad he told me. We’re all on the same side here; it’d help if you would remember that!”
Heyes had the good graces to look a little embarrassed. There he was mouthin’ off again and allowing the frustrations he was feeling over his predicament to be dumped onto the very people who were trying to help him.
“Yeah, you’re right Lom, I’m sorry,” Heyes apologized. “It’s just—I don’t see what you can do from the outside. Like I told the Kid, you try and put pressure on Mitchell then the next thing you know you’ll be gettin’ a telegram informing ya’ that Hannibal Heyes was shot while trying to escape.”
“You’re quite right Mr. Heyes,” Steven put in. “It would be safer for the moment if Warden Mitchell doesn’t know that we discussed this. As far as he is concerned all we talked about was your possible appeal. But I believe it is important that we all know exactly what Mitchell wants you to do and just how far you intend to go with it.”
“Well, again like I told the Kid,” Heyes explained, “Mitchell wants me to spy on the guards and the other prisoners and then report back to him with anything suspicious that I might become privy to. If I agree to do this then I can not only expect to retain my current privileges, but that he will then also be more open to granting me a pardon in a year or two—if he’s happy with the job I do for him.”
“And if you don’t agree?” Steven asked.
“Then he will make my life a living hell,” Heyes answered sardonically. “As though it weren’t that already.”
“Yes,” Steven nodded. “And how optimistic do you feel about the warden granting you your pardon?”
Heyes snorted derisively then he sent a bitter smile over to Lom.
“What is it with these government officials Lom?” he asked his friend. “Why are they always tryin’ to wheel and deal and then slime their way out from under? Mitchell is no more likely to grant me a pardon than Warren was in granting me an amnesty. I’m beginning to think that politics is a bigger racket than robbin’ trains!”
“They’re not all dishonest Mr. Heyes,” Steven assured him. “Most of them are just trying to watch their backs, like everybody else.”
Heyes snorted again. He wasn’t convinced.
“So what are your intentions?” Steven continued. “Have you decided what answer you are going to give the warden in regards to his ‘offer’?”
“I’m not going to do it,” Heyes answered decisively. “I’m not going to turn snitch for anybody.”
Steven nodded with a sigh. “I’m not surprised at that,” he commented. “Considering our past history I pretty much expected that to be your answer. But might I suggest that you play along for now? Simply agree to carry on with what you have always done in watching your own back and if by chance you hear of anything you warrant is worth bringing to his attention, you will do so.”
“I donno Mr. Granger,” Heyes looked skeptical. “some of the other inmates here already know that I tried to make peace with the law before. If they even get a whiff of me possibly leaning that way again I could easily wake up one morning to find that my throat had been slit. It’s a dangerous game.”
“Yes, I realize that,” Steven agreed. “But if you refuse the warden outright then he could do just as bad, and you’re right; there really is nothing we can do to stop him. Using prisoners to spy on other prisoners is not anything new and any punishment he delves out to you can easily be made to look legitimate. Do you have any friends in here at all Mr. Heyes?”
“Ahhh, yeah,” Heyes considered. “One of the senior guards, Kenny Reece tends to watch my back a bit, but not so much as anybody else would notice. Then the Doc over in the infirmary; we get along alright.”
Steven glanced over at Lom. “Do you know any of these men?”
“Yeah,” Lom answered. “I met both of them when Heyes was sick. Reece seemed like a solid enough fellow, but that Doc struck me as a bit of a lush.”
“Aww, Morin’s alright,” Heyes defended him. “Just don’t let him offer ya’ a drink, that’s all.”
Lom smiled, and then continued. “Kid said that Reece was willing to get in touch ‘unofficially’ if he felt that Heyes was in any danger or if anything suspicious happens, so it sounds like he’ll be a good contact.”
“Really?” Heyes asked, surprised. “I didn’t know that Kid and Reece had spoken at all. Hmm, that’s interesting.”
“Yes,” Steven agreed. “It does seem you have friends all around you Mr. Heyes. Do try to keep that in mind when things get tough. And please consider what I said about how to deal with Warden Mitchell and we’ll do what we can about setting up an appeal for you. If we’re lucky the Territory of Wyoming just might have a new governor by Christmas—perhaps one who isn’t quite so gun shy.”
“Yeah, alright Mr. Granger. Thanks,” Heyes agreed. Then he smiled. “How’s Bridget?”
Steven brightened up considerably.
“She’s great!” he exclaimed. “She’s picking up the routine at the office very quickly and already knows more about some of my cases than I do. I think she’s going to work out just fine!”
“Yeah, in more ways than one, I hear,” Heyes commented with a grin.
Steven suddenly went a little shy, but he smiled with pleasure anyways.
“Yes, I certainly hope so,” he admitted.
“How are things goin’ otherwise Heyes?” Lom asked him, letting Steven get off the hook. “You sure you’re eatin’ enough?”
“Yeah Lom! Stop pestering will ya’?” Heyes showed some irritation. “And aside from the bed bugs, no heat, cold coffee, lumpy oatmeal, guards tryin’ ta get me to slip up so they can beat me to a pulp and other prisoners tryin’ to knife me in the back, everything’s fine!”
Lom sighed. “Yeah, okay Heyes. I’m sorry.”
Heyes looked contrite. He really was in ‘mouthin’ off’ mode today.
“No, Lom, it’s not you,” Heyes apologized—again. “It’s just this place. Some days are harder to handle than others.”
“I know,” Lom assured him. “We’ll keep on tryin’ at our end and you keep on playin’ your cards close in here, okay?”
“Yeah, okay. Thanks for comin’.”
“Alright Mr. Heyes,” Said Steven as he stood up. “I will keep in touch.”
Then Steven walked around to the inside door and knocked. After a couple of seconds it opened up and Murrey came into the room.
“Thank you,” Steven said to him. “We’re done for now.”
“Fine,” Murrey answered and then walked over to the prisoner. “C'mon Heyes lets go.”
He took the inmate by the arm and pulled him to his feet. In that instant before Murrey shuffled him around and back into the prison proper, Heyes locked eyes with Lom. All the regrets and frustrations of their present predicament flashed between the two friends before the contact was broken. Then Heyes was gone, back into the miserable existence that had become his reality and Lom and Steven made their own exit, neither one of them feeling that much had been accomplished.
Once Heyes had been released from his bindings and allowed a certain measure of freedom for the rest of the afternoon he decided to return to his cell to read and think. It wasn’t a bad spring day out in the yard, but he wanted to be able to let his mind wander and not have to worry so much about his back. So, having learned his lesson from the previous incident it was off to his cell he went.
As soon as he stepped across the threshold and into his room, he knew something was wrong. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, just a feeling; but he knew there’d been a ‘home invasion’. Someone had been in his cell.
He quickly did a scan of the area, not too difficult considering the size of the shoebox. Nothing was out of place and yet something was wrong. He stepped in further and looked closer. His books were all in place; his cot had not been disturbed, and the box under his table which held his letters did not appear to have been moved. Then a sudden and terrible thought came to him and he grabbed the box and quickly started to rummage through it.
He flipped through the letters, becoming more and more distressed as he got deeper into the pile and wasn’t finding the one he sot. 'Don’t panic yet,' he told himself, 'you might have just missed it. Look again, slow down, it must be here!' But a second run through still did not produce what he was searching for. A chill of dread went through him and then the heat of rising anger; Abi’s letter was gone.
He turned and looked out into the isle way, his lips tightening with indignant hostility. In an instant he was out of his cell and heading down the stairs towards the outer doors; he knew who he was looking for and he knew exactly what he was going to do once he found him.
Even through his anger a little voice in the back of his mind was nagging at him, trying to make the rest of his body see reason but he was doing his best to ignore it.
'Don’t do this!' his little voice was saying. 'You know what you’ll get for fighting! Do you want to spend two days in the dark cell? Do you? Do you want to lose your privileges, hmm? It’s not important—you’ve read that letter so many times you know it word for word, you don’t need the actual letter, you’ve got it stored in your head! C'mon Hannibal, don’t do this!'
But his legs and his heart weren’t listening to what his mind was saying and he burst out the door and into the yard fuming and ready for a fight! He did a quick look around the enclosure and then he saw them; Boeman and Harris over by the far wall. He headed straight towards them at a fast walk, his eyes locked onto Boeman like a cougar stalking its prey. His intent was obvious.
Boeman saw him coming and with a sneering smile of anticipation he straightened up and squared off; finally he’d found something that would rattle Heyes out of his lofty indifference to the natural order of things! Carson saw the two adversaries heading for a confrontation and holding his rifle at ease, he crossed his arms and settled back to watch the two rutting bucks lock horns.
Then all of a sudden; Dammit! Where did he come from!? Kenny was in Heyes’ face, blocking his bead on Boeman. The guard grabbed him by his shirt front and shook him but Heyes was so focused on his intent that he walked right through Kenny. The guard did not relent. He dug in his heels and leaning his weight into the convict he then slapped him hard across the face.
Just for an instant guard and inmate stared at each other, challenging the dictate. Then something akin to reason came back into Heyes’ eyes and dropping his gaze he backed off and submitted. The charged atmosphere in the yard came down a notch in disappointment. The other lesser wolves in the pack had had their appetites whetted for blood and they had circled hungrily to watch the two dominates rip each other apart. Now it appeared it wasn’t going to happen.
“Convict, follow me,” and Kenny turned and walked towards the main door back into the prison proper.
Heyes was seething but he was becoming too conditioned to following that particular order to ignore it. None the less he still turned to look at Boeman and in that one quick glance the two men reached an understanding; a confrontation was coming—this wasn’t over yet. Heyes turned eyes forward and followed Kenny inside much to the grumbling of the most senior guard and the other inmates in the yard.
Heyes felt his anger starting to come down, but he was trembling with the adrenaline rush that had built up and then suddenly had no where to go. He kept his eyes focused on Kenny’s back but his mind was racing. Now that he was calmer he realized that he couldn’t even be sure that it had been Boeman who had taken the letter. It could have been Harris, it could even have been Carson hoping to set up the confrontation. But Boeman hadn’t been surprised by Heyes’ challenge, indeed he seemed to be expecting it so….damn! Maybe all three of them were in on it together, wouldn’t that be a treat!
Finally the two men arrived back at the scene of the crime and Kenny ushered Heyes into his cell. The guard slid the door closed and locked it manually.
“You stay in here for the rest of the afternoon Heyes,” Kenny said quietly. “Take some time to calm down.”
Then he was gone, leaving Heyes standing with his back to the isle and thinking that maybe he just might take the warden up on his offer after all—and mean it!
Finally he sighed and sat down on his cot and pushing himself into the corner of the wall he mumbled and cursed and gave himself time to start thinking reasonably. That had been a stupid thing to do—again! He seemed to be doing a lot of stupid things lately. He just wasn’t thinking clearly anymore. What happened to his devious mind set? What happened to being covert? That was stupid charging down there to attack Boeman in plain sight of everyone—of course he’d get punished for that! And Abi certainly wouldn’t have been impressed; he could hear her in his mind admonishing him in her obstinate Scottish accent telling him exactly what kind of an idiot he was!
Heyes groaned audibly and ran his hands over his scalp—there being no hair there for the purpose of abusing. He hadn’t done himself any favours with his ‘over reaction’ that was for sure. Kenny was mad at him, he could tell and the last thing he wanted to do was push the patience of that particular guard. Carson could send him to the dark cell, but Kenny by withdrawing his support could send him to the insane asylum.
Then a thought suddenly came into Heyes’ mind and he furrowed his brow and turned still as stone while the thought took hold and spread out, slowly becoming a plan. It was a dangerous plan as he would very likely be hurt and almost a certainty be spending time in the dark cell. That thought sent fear shivered through him and he almost backed off the whole idea. But it wouldn’t go away and he knew that he just might have to accept that punishment if he was going to play games with the warden and the other inmates and still manage to keep himself alive.
Yes, the plan took hold and the more Heyes thought about it the more he was convinced that it just might work. And I believe that it is safe to say that if it wasn’t for the fact that we all know Hannibal Heyes so well, it would have been an easy thing to mistake the subtle smile that played about his lips as being one of malicious intent. But since we do all know Hannibal Heyes so well…….
Two weeks later Kid showed up for his usual visit and Heyes could tell right off the bat that Curry was concerned about what Heyes was going to do about the warden’s offer. Of course the Kid knew about Lom and Steven’s visit and what was discussed, but he still wasn’t too sure how Heyes was going to respond. They didn’t jump into it right away, but sat across from each other as usual and started off with the typical small talk.
“How ya’ doin’ Heyes?” Kid asked. “You stayin’ outta trouble?”
“Sorta? What does that mean?”
“Almost got into a fight a while back, but Kenny stopped it in time.”
“Oh. Well that’s good. What was it about?”
“Someone went into my cell and stole Abi’s letter.”
“Oh!” Kid was surprised. “Who would do that?”
Heyes shrugged. “I donno,” he admitted. “I thought I knew at the time, but the more I think about it the more I don’t know.”
“Well, why would somebody do that?”
“One of the other inmates here keeps trying to push me into a fight,” Heyes explained. “At first I thought it was him that took it, but then I thought that maybe it was….” then he stopped, remembering that Murrey was standing behind him. “….well—someone else trying to set up a confrontation between us.”
Curry let out his breath. “Geesh, you really do have to watch your back in here.”
“That’s a shame about Abi’s letter,” Kid commented. “I know it meant a lot to ya’.”
“Oh, I got it back again.”
“Ya’ did? How?”
Heyes shrugged again. “Whoever took it put it back the next day.”
“Oh brother!” Kid rolled his eyes. “Somebody’s playin’ games with ya’ Heyes.”
“Speaking of which,” Kid asked quietly. “you made up your mind about that other thing yet?”
“Yeah, uh huh,” Heyes answered, but then cocked his head just slightly and rolled his eyes towards the guard standing at the door behind him.
Kid didn’t follow Heyes’ look, didn’t change his countenance at all but he still got the message; what Heyes was going to say next was for the guard’s ears and was to be taken with a very big grain of salt.
“I think I’m going to take the warden up on his offer,” Heyes commented. “It sounds like a fair arrangement and I think he will stand by his word.”
“Yeah,” Kid agreed. “I got the impression that he was an honourable man. It certainly won’t hurt ya’ to be on good terms with him.”
“Hmmm, that’s what I thought,” then Heyes smiled, changing the subject. “I see you don’t have the cane anymore. Your feet healed up?”
Kid returned the smile, the mood lightening up a bit. “Yeah, they’re good Heyes. I’m back working for Jesse again—oh and I took Karma over to meet her new boyfriend and we’re all hoping that magic will be made.”
“Ahhh!” Heyes’ smile broadened. “The diva’s going to be a mother is she?”
“Well, we’re hoping,” Kid repeated. “Throughout the whole trip she was squealing and carrying on like she always does when she’s in season so hopefully this time it will amount to something. I’ll be going to get her again in a couple of weeks and if she doesn’t come in to season again next month then I guess we can figure she’s pregnant.”
Heyes nodded. His smile dropped and he turned serious again. “That’s good,” he said. “I hope Jesse gets a good colt with her. He deserves some payback for all we’ve put him through this past year.”
“That’s for sure,” Curry agreed. “That bothers me sometimes. I feel like I owe him, but I don’t know what to do about it. Geesh! He’s still helping me out; letting me stay at the ranch and giving me work. I donno Heyes, part of me feels that I should move on, start making my own way.” Then he became reflective. “Sometimes I think it might be better all around if I just disappeared for a while.”
“Why?” Heyes asked. “Do ya’ get the feeling that they want ya’ to leave?”
“No! No, not at all,” Curry insisted. “But….well, Belle said that what Beth was feeling for me was just a teenage crush, if I give it some time she’ll probably get over it.”
“Yeah, but she’s not gettin’ over it Heyes!” Kid pointed out, a little louder than he’d intended. “Just the opposite! It’s kinda awkward.”
“Well maybe it’s not just a teenage crush, maybe she’s really in love.”
Kid sent Heyes a look suggesting that that comment wasn’t even remotely funny. Heyes was doing his best to stifle a smile; it wasn’t very often he saw Kid at a loss as to how to deal with a young lady’s affections.
“Yeah okay,” Heyes acknowledged the look. “So as you stated last month; you’ll just have to be strong,” he reminded the Kid. “What’s the problem?”
“The problem is; she can be pretty, well….you know…..she can be really….well….”
“What?” Heyes was enjoying this; he didn’t get much entertainment these days.
“Enticing! That’s what!’ Kid yelled at him looking embarrassed and frustrated all at the same time. “I’m worried that one of these times I might just…well…you know. And then jeez, oh man! Jesse would skin me alive! So, I’m thinkin’ maybe it would be better if I just left, give her a chance to meet some young fella closer to her own age.”
Heyes nodded, considering that option. “Well, why don’t you then?” he asked. “You could always head over to Red Rock and work for Mac for a while.”
“Yeah, I know. But another part of me likes being at the Jordan’s place. I got friends there—and family, I guess, so it’s hard to get motivated to leave. Besides if I head over to Texas well then I wouldn’t be able to get in to see you and I wouldn’t feel right about that.”
“Yeah, I can understand that,” Heyes sympathized. “but jeez Kid, ya’ got your own life now, ya’ got a chance to build something for yourself. Don’t go throwin’ it away on a lost cause.”
“What do you mean ‘a lost cause’?!” Kid threw back at him. “I know damn well that Steven is working on an appeal for you—we’re gonna get you outa here! And don’t you even think for one minute that I’m going to turn my back on you and walk away! That ain’t gonna happen Heyes!”
“Okay, okay!” If Heyes’ hands hadn’t been shackled he would have thrown them up in his own defense. “I’m just sayin’; I wouldn’t be mad at ya’ if you decided to….”
“No!” Kid was adamant. “It ain’t gonna happen Heyes!”
Heyes just nodded, silently relieved but still feeling that he had to put the offer out there anyways, just in case.
“So, you think Jesse is just keeping you on out of the goodness of his heart?” Heyes asked. “Is there really no work for ya’ there?”
“No actually, that’s not the case at all. Just the opposite. Sam bought a small place just outside Brookswood and he’s going to be getting’ married next month so he won’t be around as much. He’ll still be working the ranch, but of course once he has a wife, he’ll be goin’ home at night!” Then Kid smiled as another thought struck him. “I think his mother is going to be sellin’ her place and movin’ in with them—hope that don’t end the marriage before it rightly gets started!”
“Mmmm,” was Heyes’ only comment.
Kid sent his cousin a frustrated look. “Yeah, I know,” he said, “you’re not really interested in what Sam is doin’. But I’m just explaining why Jesse kinda wants me to stick around some. I thought about taken’ Rick Layton up on his offer to come work his spread for a while, but Lom don’t think it’s a good idea for me to come back here to Wyoming permanent cause too many people here don’t agree with how my trial ended. He figures I should give it a few years, let things calm down.”
“Yeah, that makes sense,” Heyes agreed. “Don’t want ya’ gettin’ shot in the back.”
“No,” Kid agreed. “And besides that, Morrison is the Sheriff in that town close to Rick’s place so…I don’t really want to be running into him, if ya’ know what I mean.”
Heyes’ eyebrows went up and he nodded emphatically, totally agreeing with that sentiment. Then he sat quietly for a moment and considered the Kid’s options.
“So,” he continued with a shrug, “you may as well just stay on at the Jordan’s for now and stop worryin’ about it. Ya’ got a job there and friends like you say, plus Mr. Granger is handy now that he’s in Denver and who knows, maybe that appeal will come to something and I could be outa here by next Christmas.”
Kid smiled. “That’d be great Heyes!” he said with some enthusiasm. “I just don’t feel right about striking out on my own, not until all this nonsense in cleared up, so yeah, I think you’re right and I’ll stay put for now. I’ll just have to be real careful where Beth is concerned.”
Heyes smiled. “I got faith in ya’ Kid!” then; “How’s your shoulder comin’ along? Think you can hit the side of a barn yet?”
“Yeah Heyes! I can hit the side of a barn! Not too good with the smaller stuff yet though,” then he turned serious. “Still kinda slow too—I think even Belle could out draw me now.”
“What does David say about it?”
Kid shrugged, looking heartbroken. “Just to keep at it. To keep on with the stretching every day and keep practicing and it’ll improve.”
“Well that’s good isn’t it?”
“Yeah but, I asked David how long will I have to keep on with the stretching and he said probably for the rest of my life!”
“Yeah,” Kid reiterated. “He says that if I stop stretching out those muscles then they’ll just seize up on me and get stiff and I’ll never get any speed back again—and even at that he figures I’ll never be as fast as I was.” Kid’s voice caught a little on that last bit.
“I’m sorry Kid,” Heyes sympathized, knowing how hard that decree would be for the Kid to accept.
Kid nodded, then he forced himself to brighten up and he smiled. “Still, David also said that the one time he saw me draw my gun I was so drunk I could barely stand up and he couldn’t believe the speed of it! So if I keep workin’ at it, then maybe I’ll be able to get some of that speed back again even when I’m not lubricated with alcohol!”
Heyes chuckled. “There ya’ go Kid! I always knew drinkin’ was good for something!”
Not surprisingly, shortly after the Kid left the prison, Heyes found himself once more standing in the middle of the warden’s office. Mitchell was again sitting back in his comfortable chair behind his desk, arms folded while he scrutinized the inmate. Heyes stood quietly, waiting for Mitchell to get done with his little attempt at an intimidation ploy so they could get down to business. Ho hum.
“So, did you and your partner have a chance to discuss our little arrangement?” Mitchell finally asked through a sleazy smile.
“Yes sir Warden,” was Heyes only response. He knew damn well that Mitchell was already aware of what he and Kid had discussed. This little game was getting old.
“So,” Mitchell continued with a bit of a shrug. “care to elaborate?”
Heyes took this as permission to speak freely.
“I thought about it Warden,” Heyes reasoned, “and I figured that, well…I ain’t got no friends in here anyways, and all you’re askin’ me to do is just carry on doin’ what I’ve already been doin’….so I don’t see no harm in it. So long as I can keep my current privileges.”
Mitchell’s smile was so self-satisfied it almost made Heyes give up the game and throw the warden’s offer back in his face. Fortunately he was beginning to regain his devious mind set and remained subservient and accommodating.
“Of course, of course!” Mitchell agreed. “And, like I said; I can do even more than that for you if I’m pleased with your efforts. I’ll arrange for you to see me about once a month, or if something urgent comes up, well you just let Murrey know and he’ll bring you here. How’s that?”
“Yes sir, Warden.”
That night Heyes lay on his cot staring at a ceiling he couldn’t see and thinking about the lion’s den he had allowed himself to be walked into. He was so focused on this new challenge that he almost forgot to send Abi his nighttime thoughts at 10:00 pm. Almost forgot. It was so much a part of his routine now that it came into his mind unbidden and always at around the same time every evening.
He sure did miss Abi—hadn’t seen her in ages but being in this place just made him miss her even more. He had a lot of reasons to try and stay alive through all of this and one of them was the hope of being able to see her again. See her and the life they could have had together, might still have together—maybe. Heavy sigh.
He had to stop thinking about that stuff. He had to stay focused now on what was going on around him, now more than ever. He couldn’t allow himself to daydream—that could be fatal. He had to stay alert now, watching for any sign at all. He couldn’t make his move until Boeman did, and when he did Heyes had to be ready to react instantly and explosively. For it to work, for it to be believable he had to send himself back to the dark cell.
The next couple of weeks down on the work floor were very stressful. Heyes kept on reminding himself that he had to appear relaxed, to just carry on with his duties and ignore everyone else. The way things were now, everybody was watching everybody so nobody was making a move. Boeman wasn’t that stupid (though Heyes liked to think that he was.), he knew Heyes was watching for him and he wasn’t going to try anything while Heyes’ guard was up.
And speaking of guards, well it wasn’t just Reece keeping a closer eye on things; the other guards had been warned that there was bad blood brewing between the two inmates and not to let them get too close to one another. Heyes had to relax, and let everyone else start to relax as well or things were just not going to happen.
The first day back at the infirmary after the near-fight out in the yard, Kenny made it very clear to Heyes what he thought about the inmate’s behaviour. As the guard was walking him over to begin his day helping Morin, Heyes found himself being verbally reprimanded in such a way as to remind him of his days at Valparaiso. The fact that Heyes had once been the most successful leader of that infamous outlaw band ‘The Devil’s Hole Gang’ didn’t seem to impress Kenny Reece one little bit.
“I don’t know what the hell you thought you were doin’ Heyes,” Kenny was going on. “I thought you were supposed to be smart! It’s bad enough that you were launching sneak attacks on the other inmates just cause they ticked you off—and don’t even think about denying it cause I know you were doin’ it!”
Heyes had no intentions of denying it. There were no direct questions in this onslaught anyways so how was he suppose to be able to deny it, even if he were thinking about doing so?
“You seem to be taking your privileges for granted these days,” Kenny continued, “but believe me you can loose them just as quickly as you got them so I suggest you smarten up and start toeing the line a little bit! You think you’re so high and mighty just because you got friends looking out for you and a lawyer coming to see you—you think that means that you can get away with starting a fight with another inmate?
“ Believe me it doesn’t! You start doing stupid things like that and you are going to end up in real trouble—then what in the hell am I suppose to tell your partner? He thinks I’m in here looking out for you! But if you are going to insist on being stupid well, then you will be on your own cause even I can’t stop you from being punished for fighting! I hope you’re listening to me Heyes! I hope you hear what I’m saying!”
'Oh God!' Heyes thought miserably, 'How can I not hear! Oh thank goodness, here we are at the infirmary!'
“Here ya go Doc,” Kenny announced as they walked in. “I hope he doesn’t give you any trouble today!”
Then Kenny was gone, back to the work floor to carry on with his day, leaving Heyes standing in the middle of the office, looking sheepish. Morin sent him a speculative look.
“Just can’t stay out of trouble can ya’ Heyes?”
Heyes sighed and rolled his eyes. If this was the flak he was getting hit with for some minor indiscretion, what was going to be the fall out when he deliberately goes out of his way to create an ‘incident’?
“Yeah, I know Doc,” Heyes admitted, playing the game. “It was stupid.”
“Hmmmm,” came the response. “Just don’t let it happen again—I need you over here.”
Aww jeez, now comes the guilt trip. So not only was Kenny ticked off at him, but once things really get lit up, good ole’ Doc Morin was going to be pretty pissed too. Oh well. He sure hoped he wasn’t going to be cutting his own throat here.
Three weeks after the Kid’s last visit, things on the work floor and in the prison proper had settled back down into the usual routine. Just about everyone had forgotten about the near fight out in the yard and Heyes had begun to relax his stance. Maybe Boeman wasn’t going to make a move. Maybe he was waiting for Heyes to make the first move. Well that wasn’t gonna happen. Sooner or later, Boeman was going to start something and Heyes knew it, all he had to do was be ready for it.
Then, when it finally did happen, it wasn’t Boeman making the move, but Harris. And the intent wasn’t just to battle it out for dominance; it was to commit murder.
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: The Fight-part two Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:29 pm|| |
It was laundry day for Heyes and he was up on the third level as usual, putting in his day of washing and folding and distributing prison garb and other materials back to their respective cells. Everyone else was down on the work floor and aside from the usual noise made by the production activities the cell blocks were quiet and uninhabited.
Heyes had just dropped off his final pile of clean laundry to the linen room and was heading back to finish up the last of his duties when a sudden movement in a cell to his right caught his eye. He didn’t even have time to recognize it as a threat when he suddenly felt himself being propelled over to the railing and then a hand grasping his left ankle and hoisting him up and over.
Heyes let out a yell of shock and instant terror when he saw the work floor, three levels down come spinning up towards him as he went over the railing head first. Heyes’ insistence that he could move like a whip snake at the first sign of trouble fortunately was not an exaggeration. His left hand made a frantic grab for the hand rail just as his torso came over and down, quickly followed by his hips and then his legs. But his grip on the railing held and the momentum of his fall carried him around and his swing continued with his right hand grabbing hold then and carrying him on through the arch and he catapulted himself up and over the railing again, to land gracefully very close to his take off point.
All of this happened in the flash of an instant, and once he was upright again, all he got was a fleeting glance of Harris’ face and a pair of eyes filled with fear and surprise at the failure of his assault. Then he was gone and running like mad towards the stairs and the lower levels. Heyes took off after him—his blood was up and he was ready for a fight.
The inmates and guards down on the work floor had all glanced up at the sound of Heyes’ yell and now the whole area was in an uproar as every convict was voicing encouragement to their own favored pit bull. The guards were instantly busy, some trying to get the assembly back under control, while others were attempting to intercept the two antagonists and prevent a brawl.
Heyes didn’t even hear the uproar coming from the floor beneath him, or acknowledge the orders from the guards to stand down! Any game plan that he had worked out and intended on following at this point was gone from his mind and out the window. Harris had tried to kill him and Heyes had every intentions of reciprocating.
Harris reached the first stairway and ran down them three at a time, but Heyes got there right behind him and didn’t bother with the steps at all. He leaped, from a flat out run and landed squarely on Harris’ back. He grabbed hold, pulling both of them over and tumbling down the last few steps and onto the landing of the second level. They both felt the air knocked out of their lungs, but they were too far gone to care. Harris twisted around and plowed the heel of his right hand into Heyes’ nose. Heyes grunted, his eyes watering; he fell back against the wall, losing his grip. Then Harris was up and sent a kick towards his adversary but Heyes dodged it and grabbed hold of the foot, intent on bringing his quarry down. Harris twisted away again and pulled free, leaving Heyes holding onto an empty shoe.
Then the chase was on again, but by that time Murrey and Pearson were on their way up the first flight of stairs, their bully clubs out and ready for action. Harris saw them coming and grabbing the hand rail, leapt over the railing and landed hard in amongst the other inmates who were more than happy to grab him and send him on his way. Heyes instantly followed suite and was given the same reception as soon as he hit ground level. The inmates were cheering them on, giving them running room and doing their best to block the guards and preventing them from interfering.
Murrey and Pearson had instantly turned on their heels and came charging back down the stairs again, their clubs swinging to clear themselves a path. By this time Davis and Reece had joined Carson on the floor, trying to restore order but the mob mentality had taken hold and it was turning into a free for all!
The alarm klaxon was screaming out its warning and the prison proper instantly went into lock down while every armed and ready officer on duty made a dash for the work floor. All fire arms were locked up to prevent an inmate from overpowering an armed guard and getting hold of the weapon, so only bully clubs were brought to bear Many of the inmates had grabbed hold of broom handles and other convenient pieces of equipment, preparing to meet the onslaught of the guards, and the riot was in full swing!
In the mean time Harris and Heyes were totally oblivious to any other battle going on aside from their own. Harris was running like mad through the work area, knocking over benches and work tables in an effort to trip Heyes up. But Heyes just leapt over them and kept coming. Harris twisted in his run and threw tools at him but Heyes just dodged any projectiles that came his way and he kept coming.
Two more strides and Heyes was on to him, grabbing the back of his shirt. Harris scrambled and got hold of a broom handle and twisting again he yelled his war cry and swung the handle around, aiming for Heyes’ head. Heyes brought his left arm up just in time, blocking the blow and didn’t even feel the wood breaking against his elbow. He was seeing red as he lunged at Harris and got his hands around his adversary’s throat. The two men went down with a crash and Heyes started to squeeze, his lips drawn back in an animalistic snarl.
Harris suddenly found himself fighting for his life! He twisted and squirmed, punched and kicked but no matter what he tried he couldn’t get his assailant off him. Then out of no where Heyes felt an arm come around his throat from behind and instantly the tables were turned and Heyes was the one fighting for air! His hold on Harris loosened and that convict pulled away from the grip and was instantly on his feet and gasping.
Heyes came to his feet as well, desperately reaching behind him, trying to get some kind of hold on whomever it was choking the life out of him. He dug his heels in and pushed backwards, sending himself and his assailant tumbling over a knocked down work table. The hold on his throat loosened and he twisted around to come face to face with Boeman.
Heyes’ rage came up another notch and as both men scrambled to their feet again he sent a right handed punch straight into Boeman’s face, breaking his nose. But all that did was enrage his adversary even more. Boeman retaliated with a power drive of a blow to Heyes gut and then a sharp upper cut to his jaw, sending him staggering backwards right into the waiting arms of Harris.
Harris took the advantage and grabbing hold of Heyes, he held his arms back in a vice and Boeman came forward and began his assault with his fists. Heyes kicked out at him, but whatever blows he was actually able to land did nothing to slow Boeman down. He he came on with his attack until Heyes tasted blood and mucus and knew he was on the edge of passing out.
Meanwhile the scuffle between the guards and other inmates was violent but short-lived. The guards were well trained in the techniques of squashing an uprising and the thin broom handles were no match for the disciplined and effective onslaught of the bully clubs.
It didn’t take long for the main insurgents to be beaten into submission and then the rest of the rioters were quickly subdued and pushed and prodded and cajoled back into their cells for the duration. At the same time as the group was being handled, Carson, Reece and Pearson came at a run to the three combatants who each seemed determined to demolish the work floor in their battle for supremacy.
Each guard grabbed an inmate and pulled them apart, but all three convicts were blinded by their battle rage and fought everything and anybody who came within reach. Pearson managed to drag Harris away and as that particular prisoner bit and kicked just for the sake of fighting, Pearson cold cocked him with the club and put him onto the floor. Then with the convict only semi-conscious, Pearson began to drag and haul him over to the stairs and back to his cell. One less to worry about.
But Reece and Carson still had their hands full. Once Heyes felt himself freed from Harris he head butted Reece and lunged at the subdued Boeman, again going for the throat. Carson, Boeman and Heyes all went down in a heap and then Boeman was loose from Carson and he and Heyes were at each other again, fighting for the upper hand!
Carson was getting trampled by the two convicts and when Reece ran in to grab Heyes, he got nailed again with a staggering blow from Boeman that had been aiming for Heyes’ face, but missed. All four men were still sprawled on the floor, Kenny shaking his head from the blow and trying to get back on his knees and bring his club into play. Boeman was sandwiched in between Carson underneath him and Heyes on top and was frantic to get himself out into the clear.
He swung again at Heyes, this time hitting him square on the side of the head, knocking him over and then Boeman rolled clear of Carson and was attempting to get to his feet when Heyes grabbed him again. Boeman twisted, kicking out, but Heyes caught his leg, pulling him off balance and then made another lunge at the man and this time, getting a hold on his throat that wasn’t going to break loose. Boeman was lashing out, boxing Heyes on the ears, trying to kick at him but nothing was working and he was fighting for his life!
Reece was on his feet and hitting Heyes behind his knees with the bully club, trying to bring him down, but all that happened was that Heyes took Boeman down with him. Carson and Reece both had hold of their respective inmates, trying to break Heyes’ strangle hold on his adversary.
“HEYES!” Reece was yelling at him. “LET HIM GO!”
But Heyes only squeezed harder. His lids were closed to slits and his eyes had rolled back so that only white was shining through, he was in a blood lust and heard and felt nothing. Boeman was turning blue.
“GOD DAMMIT HEYES! LET HIM GO! I SWEAR I’LL BREAK YOUR FXXXING ARM! LET HIM GO!”
Finally, seeing no other way to end it, Reece stood and raising the bully club over his head he brought it down in a crushing blow to Heyes’ left forearm. There was a resounding crack as the bone broke in two and Heyes’ left arm loosened its hold and dropped to his side. He was still hanging on with his right, but Carson had grabbed his wrist and squeezed it until the fingers started to release and Boeman suddenly gasped in a lungful of air.
He started to scramble away from his assailant but then Heyes’ lids opened wide and his eyes rolled down again and the rage that was in them was feral and beyond reason. He tried to lunge forward again and re-claim his hold on Boeman’s throat with his right hand, ignoring the pain coming from his left, but Reece had too strong a lock on him and he couldn’t quite reach his goal.
Still he wouldn’t let up and he kept fighting against Reece while Carson got in between Heyes and Boeman and was trying to use his club to punch Heyes in the ribs, to block the onslaught. But it was cramped quarters and Carson couldn’t get any ‘umph’ into it and Heyes just didn’t feel it. Finally, Kenny, seeing no alternative again, resorted to extreme measures and brought his club down on the back of Heyes’ head and finally ended the battle.
Heyes sank the rest of the way to the floor and lay there unconscious, his arm broken, his rib cage battered and bruised. Blood covered his face to the point that he was unrecognizable.
The two guards breathed sighs of relief and pulled themselves back into sitting positions on the floor, taking in deep lung fulls of air and giving the adrenaline time to settle down. Boeman dragged himself away from his adversary and then lay on his back, mouth open gasping for air with a hand to his throat. Like Heyes he was bleeding from his nose, his mouth and his ears not to mention the numerous cuts and bruises obtained throughout the wild rampage through the work stations. He omitted the occasional groan.
Finally Carson got his breath back.
“All three of ‘em,” he stated between gasps, “two days each in a dark cell. Beginning now! They can have the privilege of seeing the doctor when they get out!”
Reece was in no mood to argue.
When Heyes woke up he was instantly hit with a wave of panic, thinking he had gone blind! He tried to scramble to his feet and was assaulted by nauseating pain as his left arm collapsed under him and his head started to spin. He lay there for a few moments, still as stone giving himself a chance to stop trembling and listening to his racing heart gradually slow back down to normal.
As he lay there staring into the darkness his mind became rational again and he realized that he wasn’t actually blind, but simply in the dark cell. At least that part of his plan had worked out. As for the rest of it, he closed his eyes and groaned. That had not been part of the plan; he had known he was probably going to get hurt to some degree, but this had been way over the top—he wasn’t a masochist after all!
He knew damn well that Boeman was behind the attack. His antagonism towards Heyes had reached new levels. Still, Boeman was smart enough to know that he couldn’t get away with actually killing Heyes, so next best thing was to convince someone else to do it for him. Obviously Harris was just aggressive enough and stupid enough to allow himself to be manipulated into doing it. Or at least trying to.
The only good thing about the viciousness of the ensuing battle was that now, hopefully both Boeman and Harris would leave him alone. That just because Heyes had, on the most part, been avoiding a fight, it didn’t mean that he couldn’t hold his own if the fight was pushed onto him. He just hoped that Kenny wasn’t going to hold too big of a grudge.
Heyes sighed and pushed himself up into a sitting position. He gingerly cradled his left arm and thought miserably that there wasn’t one square inch on his body that didn’t hurt. Even his head was pounding. He leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes, trying to relax. He thought ruefully that the one good thing about the situation was that he was so exhausted and beaten down that he just didn’t have the energy to conjure up the dark terrors that generally assaulted him in this cell. As long as nothing crawled over him.
He wasn’t aware of the passage of time but eventually he slipped into unconsciousness again and when he woke up the second time, he was hot and feverish. And he had the shakes. He was wishing he had his warm blanket to wrap around himself but not having it he simply curled into a ball, partly for warmth and partly to protect his hurting body.
Then the nightmares started and the hallucinations took hold so that even in waking the darkness still held the creatures of his imagination. He would push himself into a corner and scream out his terror to a world that couldn’t hear him and didn’t care. He’d pray for death to take him and this misery that was his life could be over and done with and he could find peace again.
But life went on despite his rantings and by the time his punishment was over and they opened the cell to release him he was only semi-conscious and he had to be dragged out into the light. He was carried over to the infirmary and left in the good care of Dr. Morin and Sister Julia.
They got him bathed and patched up, and Morin set the arm and administered Quinine for the fever and to help him sleep. The doctor then got him settled in to one of the cots and left him to recover. Sister Julia stayed by his side through most of the duration to help him through his fever—again. She did also tend to the other two inmates who were there to recover from their various injuries, but as fair with her time as she tried to be, she still tended to spend most of it at the bedside of her friend.
She would sit beside him, cool compresses against his forehead and listen to his quiet ramblings, mostly about ‘The Kid’. But some were about his sister or about someone named Bridget, and then Abi and then other mumblings that made no sense and would gradually peter out into nothing.
She worried about her friend, not only about his chances for long term survival in this awful place, but also about the sanctity of his soul.
Of course she knew that neither he nor Thaddeus were church going men, not many single men were in this hard land. It often took a wife and a family to bring a man to the church. Then once she learned of her friends’ true identities, it made even more sense that they had neglected the spiritual part of their lives. Therefore she had been pleased to learn that Joshua at least had been attending chapel here at the prison and would perhaps find a new path for himself.
But as time went on she realized that he had slowly but surely decreased his attendance to Sunday services, preferring instead to remain alone in his cell, reading his books or writing letters. And now, after seeing the end result of him allowing the dark part of his soul, the dark part that we all carry with us, to burst forth and wreck such havoc she couldn’t help but feel worried and disappointed. She wanted to help him find his way back and she only hoped that he would let her.
Of course she was totally unaware of the complex game Heyes was playing or of the strategy involved with setting up his persona as a dangerous inmate. Despite the fact that events had gotten somewhat out of hand to the extreme, it was all still playing in with what Heyes was trying to accomplish. Hopefully he had made his stance clear to the other inmates now and would never have to set himself up to accept such abuses again. Guards and inmates alike would look at him now and see ‘trouble’, and hopefully the last thing they’d be seeing was ‘snitch’.
Curry had come in to town with Sam to help with supplies on the morning that he had received that very unusual telegram. He stood out on the steps of the telegraph office, not quite believing what he was reading;
'J.C. (stop) Don’t come (stop) HH privileges revoked one month (stop) Started riot (stop). K.R.'
Jed stood there and read the message a couple of times over before shaking his head and mumbling to himself;
“He started a riot? What the hell was he thinking?”
Then he sighed and turning around went straight back into the office to send a reply.
'K.R. (stop) Coming to see you (stop) When and where? (stop) J.C.'
The next day Jed got his reply back.
'J.C. (stop) This Sat. 8:00 pm (stop) Jail Breakers Saloon (stop) K.R.'
Curry arrived at the saloon on Saturday evening at 7:45, ordered himself a beer and sat himself down at one of the tables. He deliberately chose one that was over in the far corner where he could not only keep watch on the front door, but would also give them some measure of privacy once they got to talking.
Shortly after he got settled, Kenny arrived and going up to the bar to order himself a beer he then turned and casually surveyed the room looking for his contact. Curry spotted him when he entered the establishment but didn’t recognize him at first. He had only met the guard once before, after all—and tonight Kenny was off duty and wearing civilian clothes so the older man really didn’t stand out as anyone special. But as he approached the bar, Curry picked up on the body language and meeting his eyes, he nodded to him in recognition. Kenny responded, and picking up his beer he headed over to the table.
Curry stood up and they shook hands in greeting.
“Mr. Reece,” Curry acknowledged him, “thank you for meeting with me.”
“You know, you may as well call me Kenny,” the guard responded as he sat down. “I get the feeling we’re going to be chatting a lot as time goes by.”
“Yeah, good point. Name’s Jed,” Curry informed him while at the same time noticing that Kenny was sporting a black eye.
Ken gave a small knowing smile. “Not ‘Kid’?” he asked.
“Naw. Only people who knew me as an outlaw call me ‘Kid’,” Jed explained. “More and more folks are callin’ me ‘Jed’ now.” Then he smiled ironically. “Guess it’s time to grow up and move on.”
“Hmmm. As with all things….” Kenny prophesied and took a swig of his beer.
“Yeah, I suppose,” then Jed looked at him speculatively. “So what’s all this about Heyes startin’ a riot?”
Kenny swallowed his beer and rolled his eyes.
“That was crazy!” he expostulated. “I don’t know what the hell has gotten into your partner! As I mentioned to you before he has always been a bit hard to handle but this past month it’s almost as though he’s deliberately asking for trouble.”
“Well what started it?” Jed asked. “What set him off?”
“He and another inmate, Boeman have been circling each other like wolves ever since Heyes came to us,” Kenny explained. “Now it’s normal when a new prisoner comes in for things to get stirred up a bit, always a shuffling of the pecking order, you know. Everybody finding their footing again. Generally things get sorted out with just a look or a bit of gesturing, but not between those two.” Kenny shook his head and sighed. “I guess what really sat in Boeman’s craw is that he was sending out challenges to Heyes and Heyes was simply ignoring him. Kind of an insult I guess.”
“Yup,” Jed commented. “Heyes is good at insultin’ people without even opening his mouth.” Then he smiled. “Even better at it when he does open his mouth.”
“Uh huh,” Kenny agreed. “Then something happened about a month ago. Heyes came out to the yard and made a bee line straight towards Boeman and was looking for a fight. Fortunately I was able to defuse it that time, but trouble was brewing; we could all feel it, we all knew it was coming. I tried to talk reason to him, get him to stand down, to think about what he was risking by starting trouble, but I knew he wasn’t listening.” Kenny paused here, took another drink from his beer and then blew out a sigh. “Jeez, what a mad house! I don’t know for sure what set it off. One of the guards who was on the floor at the time said that another inmate by the name of Harris tried to throw Heyes off the third level walkway.”
“Ohhh,” Jed groaned.
“Yeah,” Kenny agreed. “He failed, obviously. But Heyes just went crazy! It ended up down on the ground floor level and had the three of them; Heyes, Boeman and Harris all going for blood. Of course that got the other inmates all worked up and the next thing you know we had a riot on our hands.”
Jed just shook his head and the two men sat in silence for a few minutes.
“How is he?” Curry finally asked. “Did he get badly hurt?”
Curry closed his eyes and groaned.
“Aside from the damage that the three men did to each other, I had to get pretty rough on Heyes myself—again! just to stop him from killing Boeman,” Kenny admitted. “He just wouldn’t back off.” Then he sighed and looked over at Jed. “I guess one of the reasons I was willing to meet you here is that I hoped that you would have some insight into why your partner is behaving like this. He was always very careful before, making sure he didn’t get caught breaking the rules. Now all of a sudden it’s like he just doesn’t care anymore.”
“Yeah,” Curry mumbled. Then he looked over into Kenny’s grey eyes and saw honest concern there.
Jed ran his hands through his hair and then came to a decision for better or for worse. He was going to trust Kenny explicitly until such time as the guard proved himself unworthy of it. Jed hoped that he was right in his instinct about the man; cause if he wasn’t it could become even more dangerous for Heyes inside that prison. But Jed also knew that Heyes needed someone to watch his back in there and since Curry wasn’t available to do that he just had to hope that Kenny was true to his word and was already doing it. That being the case, the more Kenny knew of the true situation, the better he’d be able to watch out for Jed’s partner.
Jed gave a sigh and took the plunge.
“Do you know anything about the deal Warden Mitchell made with Heyes?” he asked the guard.
Kenny creased his brow. “No,” he admitted. “What deal?”
“Mitchell ‘recruited’ Heyes to do some spying for him,” Curry divulged. “Just…you know….keep on doin’ what he’s always been doin’ in watchin’ his own back, only now he was to report anything ‘suspicious’ to the warden. In return the warden assured him he could keep his privileges and maybe even be pardoned in a year or two.”
Kenny snorted. “That’s a hoot! I can’t remember the last time Warden Mitchell pardoned a lifer. That’s not gonna happen.”
“Yeah, we already figured that,” Jed assured him, knowingly. “But the warden also made it very clear what direction Heyes’ life would go if he refused the offer. So, Heyes decided to play along with the warden, pretend to agree and then heavily censor whatever information he passed on to him.”
Kenny slowly let out his breath. “Ohhh, that’s a dangerous game.”
“Yup,” Curry agreed. “But we couldn’t think of any other way out of it.”
“Sooo….” Kenny speculated, thinking it through and then putting it into words, “all this sudden tendency towards aggression is really just a ruse on Heyes’ part to make it appear that he’s a dangerous criminal. Therefore he would be the last person anyone, guards and inmates alike, would suspect of being in cahoots with the warden. When in fact he really isn’t in cahoots with the warden, but makes it appear to that gentleman that he is.”
“Yup,” Curry concurred, “that’s pretty much it.”
Kenny sighed again. “That’s smart. And devious.” then he gave a half smile. “And just the type of behaviour I’ve come to expect from him.” He turned serious again and looked Jed in the eye. “But like I said, very dangerous. He’s walking a fine line.”
“Yup,” Curry concurred again. “So I’m hopin’ you’ll watch his back, and maybe cut him some slack on the punishment end of things.”
“I’ll do what I can,” Kenny agreed, “but Carson is senior to me and has the last say on that, but still I’ll try and watch out for him,” he hesitated and knitted his brow. “That still doesn’t really explain the ferociousness of this last confrontation. There is no doubt in my mind that Heyes was going to kill Boeman; just how was that suppose to help his situation?”
“Ahhh, I have a feeling that wasn’t part of the plan,” Jed admitted sheepishly. “Heyes suspected Boeman of taking something that was real important to him and when everything came to a head, well; I think he kinda lost control.”
“Yeah! Just a bit,” Kenny emphasized with raised eyebrows. “You shoulda’ seen the carnage left behind!”
Jed gave a little laugh. “Yeah, okay,” he conceded, and then sent the guard a hopeful glance. “Sure there’s no chance of getting’ in to see him tomorrow?”
Kenny sighed and sent him a rather frustrated look. “I had a feeling you were going to ask me that.”
Jed smiled and threw an inquisitive look back at him.
“Well,” Kenny speculated. “Heyes will be in the infirmary for another day or two just to make sure the fever is gone.” Then he stopped and thought about the pros and cons. Jed waited it out. “Carson’s not working tomorrow, so….maybe I can sneak ya’ in the back way.”
“Maybe!” Kenny reiterated. “And not for long!”
Kenny sighed again. “Okay, come up to the prison tomorrow after breakfast and ask for me at the reception and I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thanks! I really appreciate it,” Jed insisted.
“Yeah,” Kenny shook his head, frowning. “What is it about you two? You always seem to manage to get what you want.”
Jed simply smiled his answer.
Then the two men finished what was left of their beers and called it a night.
Following Kenny down the corridors deep within the bowels of the prison really was setting Jed Curry on edge. Even knowing that he was a visitor and could turn around and leave this place at any time, he could still feel the oppressive atmosphere weighing down on him. And that weight became heavier and more suffocating with every door that was unlocked and then clanged shut again behind him. It truly was a cold and daunting journey into hell. Jed had to constantly remind himself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and not to panic.
Finally Kenny unlocked one more door and ushered Jed in to an open ward that could be nothing other than the medical facility. There were a number of cots lined up along the far wall, some occupied, most not, and if that wasn’t enough to give it away, the place just smelled like a hospital; sterile and sickly all at the same time. At least it was light and airy, with windows running down the opposite wall making it seem a little less oppressive albeit the windows all had bars on them. So still, obviously a prison.
Kenny touched Jed’s arm and nodded over to the far cot where a rather pale and dejected looking convict sat with his left arm in a sling. He was staring off into space with a haunted and distant look to his eye. All the other times Jed had come to see his friend, Heyes had known that he was having a visitor so obviously he had adopted a demeanor to match the occasion. But now Kid was catching him off guard, catching him without his mask on. Seeing that expression coming from his partner sent chills through Jed’s chest. He had to remind himself to keep breathing; it was terrifying, as though little by little, breath by breath, Heyes’ soul was dying.
Then something caught Heyes’ attention, some little movement over by the far door that brought him back to the present and caused him to glance over. The last person Heyes had expected to see walking in to the infirmary was his cousin so when their eyes met the change in the convict’s countenance was instantaneous. His face lit up with a smile that brought the sparkle back into his eyes and the bedevilment returning to his persona. Jed grinned back.
“Hey, hey Partner!” Heyes greeted him as he got up off the cot. “What are you doin’ here? I didn’t think I was getting any visitors for a month!”
“Yeah, well Kenny snuck me in the back way,” Curry informed him, “so I could see how you were doin’.”
“Aww, great!” Heyes was thrilled and threw his right arm around the Kid’s shoulders in a big friendship hug that had been a long time coming.
Kid returned it and couldn’t help but think how skinny his cousin felt underneath the coarse prison garb, but decided it would be best not to mention that just then. Heyes sent a quick apprehensive glance over towards Kenny who was busy talking to Dr. Morin at that moment. Obviously he was expecting to get reprimanded for the physical contact, but when no reprimand was forthcoming he relaxed and smiled again. He slapped the Kid on the back and then rested his hand on his cousin’s shoulder, not wanting to break away.
“How ya’ doin’ Heyes?” Kid asked him, concern in his eyes. “Ya’ look like you’ve been through the wars here. And what’s with that bump on the back of your head?”
“No, no, nothin’, I’m fine,” Heyes insisted as he led the Kid back over to his cot and indicated a chair for him to pull up and use. “I just had a little trouble with the locals, you know.”
“Uh huh,” came the skeptical response. “Kinda went a little over the top though didn’t ya’? It’s one thing to convince the other inmates that you’re a bad egg, but another to actually get yourself killed doing it.” Kid’s blue eyes were filled with concern. “What is it with you these days Heyes? What is this, the third for forth time you’ve totally lost it? You used to be the cool headed planner and I was the one with the explosive temper, remember?”
Heyes sent another quick glance over towards the guard and lowered his voice.
“Yeah, I know,” he agreed a little sheepishly. “I guess it’s just being cooped up like this. I don’t know…I just…I’m trying to adjust to it, but it just seems like things bother me a lot more now and once my temper flares up I don’t seem to be able to bring it back down again.” He put a hand on the Kid’s arm and sent him one of his impish smiles. “I know I did kinda lose control there for a bit, but it worked though, didn’t it? Nobody’s gonna suspect anything now.”
“Uh huh,” Kid commented again. “I hope you’re right. But even Kenny thinks it’s a pretty dangerous game you’re playin’.”
“You told Kenny?” Heyes asked him a little skeptically.
“C'mon Heyes,” Curry assured him quietly, hearing the doubt in his partner’s voice, “you said yourself we could trust him, and I needed to have someone in here watching your back.”
“Yeah, I suppose.”
Kid put a hand on Heyes’ right arm and gave him a gentle shake. Heyes looked up from his brooding and met his eyes.
“You needed someone in here watching your back,” Curry reiterated. “Kenny’s the best bet we got.”
Heyes smiled, bringing himself out of his doubts and letting Kid take the lead on this one.
“Yeah, you’re right,” he conceded, “of course. It’s good.” Then he brightened up and gave Kid a gentle punch on the arm. It was as though he was looking for any excuse to indulge in the physical touch while he could. “How’s my favorite girl? Is she in ‘the delicate’ way?”
Kid snorted. “Your brain is addled Heyes; there ain’t nothin’ delicate about her ‘way’!” then he smiled, “but yeah, Jesse’s pretty sure she is.”
“Ha, ha! Good!” Heyes was all excited, smiling from ear to ear. “Now you gotta keep me up to date with this, right Kid? Keep me informed as to how she’s doing and all.”
“Yeah, of course Heyes,” Kid agreed. “and you can bet that Beth will be writing ya’ letters all full of what Karma is up to and who knows; ya’ might even be home in time for the new arrival. It takes eleven months ya’ know.”
“Oh,” Heyes became thoughtful. “Well, maybe.”
Kid looked up, startled and then a huge smile broke across his face.
“Sister Julia!” he greeted the familiar face and habit. “Ho ho! Heyes told me you were helping out here!” And he gave her a big hug and a kiss on her cheek. “How are you?”
“I’m fine Thaddeus,” she assured him, obviously very happy to see him. “I’m so glad things have worked out for you—you deserve it.”
“Well, I don’t know about that Sister….”
“Now don’t get going on that stuff again Kid,” Heyes interrupted him. “Just be happy with what the fates gave ya’. Besides, like I said before; I need you out there to help me get outa here!”
Kid looked repentant and smiled. “Yeah, you’re right Heyes,” his smile brightened up. “I’ll try to be more appreciative of the luck of the Irish.”
Over on the other side of the ward Kenny stood quietly leaning against the counter and watching the three friends bantering back and forth. He’d known Heyes for almost a year now and had never heard him laugh before—at least not like this, not without the bitter and sardonic undertone to it. It made him wonder and not for the first time, at the legitimacy of the penal system that he worked in these days.
It was one thing to lock men up (and some women too) in prison. If they had broken the laws of the land or were dangerous to the citizenry of the country then of course they had to be dealt with. But the strict rules of no talking, and no physical contact between the prisoners with members of their family or of close friends, that just didn’t seem right somehow. He wondered at the long term psychological effect that those rules might have on an individual; it was just so contradictory to basic human nature.
Seeing Heyes come alive when his cousin walked in to the room, seeing his face light up with a smile, seeing him reaching out for the physical connection that is normally denied the inmates, brought all these musings back on to Kenny with a vengeance. The Hannibal Heyes whom Kenny had come to know was stoic and unpredictable and some might even say; dangerous. But there was intelligence there and a thinking, logical mind and Kenny also knew that a lot of Heyes’ behaviour was in response to Carson’s bullying. Still, Heyes’ response was often very aggressive. The guard was always careful around him and had even wondered sometimes at the wisdom of allowing him to work in the infirmary. But Morin liked him and it seemed to help the inmate find some stability, so….
Admittedly, after this last episode Kenny was ready to accept that he had made a mistake in recommending Heyes for Morin’s new assistant; that the convict really was too volatile and that he could not be trusted. Then he had met up with Jed Curry and was given a whole new insight as to what exactly was going on. And then there was this nun; Sister Julia who obviously knew both these men and seemed to think that they were worthy of her time and friendship. Food for thought again.
Then he was back to watching Heyes. He was an enigma and Kenny wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do with him. Then he thought that it probably wasn’t going to be up to him anyways. Heyes’ privileges had been revoked for a month when normally the behaviour he had exhibited on the work floor would have warranted a far harsher punishment and privileges revoked indefinitely. If, after the month was up and Heyes was back working in the laundry room and the infirmary then Kenny would know that what Jed Curry had told him was probably true; that Warden Mitchell believed that Heyes was working for him.
If, on the other hand, Heyes’ privileges were not re-instated after that allotted time then Kenny might be safe to assume that Jed had lied to him in order to protect his friend from further punishment. Their loyalty to one another obviously transcended prison walls and one would apparently be willing to sacrifice anything in order to insure the safety of the other. Kenny sighed; like he thought before, Heyes was an enigma. Only time would tell what was really going on here and to be honest, Kenny wasn’t sure which way he hoped it would go.
TO BE CONTINUED
Posts : 483
Join date : 2013-08-31
Location : Madrid
|Subject: Re: The Fight-Chapter eighteen Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:27 am|| |
Heyes is in trouble! At least the Kid finally seems to be getting a grip on things and doing better. He needs to stop wallowing and help his friend. Stunning description of the fight!
|Subject: Re: The Fight-Chapter eighteen || |
The Fight-Chapter eighteen