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 Not Again!

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Silverkelpie

Silverkelpie

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyThu Jan 23, 2014 12:02 pm

I just had a long read and caught up again.  Good to see Heyes on the mend and Cat's a very smart lady isn't she?  I'm sure she won't turn them in.  A great story, Helen!

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Na sir 's na seachainn an cath - Neither seek nor shun the fight      Old Scottish proverb
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HelenWest

HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyThu Jan 23, 2014 6:25 pm

bye Hi Keays and SK! I'm glad you like Cat. The Kid agrees with you. It's great to have you along for the ride. 
HW
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Silverkelpie

Silverkelpie

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Jan 26, 2014 8:59 am

Looking forward to the next part, Helen

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Na sir 's na seachainn an cath - Neither seek nor shun the fight      Old Scottish proverb
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HelenWest

HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Jan 26, 2014 9:44 am

Heyes is with you on that, getting mighty restless. I'm working on it, but facing the fact that in later chapters I wrote myself into some corners. I think I can get it all resolved. You can see what you think.
HW
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HelenWest

HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Jan 26, 2014 4:28 pm

Here is the revision of Not Again! chapter 9. The first part is entirely new and there are a lot of changes in the second part, as well. None of this changes the plot, but it brings some things to life that were just implied before.


It was snowing in the Flatiron Mountains, again. Soft late morning light reflected from the snow came in the windows of Christy’s Place. Hannibal Heyes walked around the front room wiping tables and putting out coasters. Cat Christy walked in wearing her stained old apron. She was yawning. No one else, in this night-owl establishment, was up yet. “Thanks so much, Heyes. It’s very sweet of you. When everybody else is so tired from the late nights, it’s a big help.” Heyes shrugged, his eyes dull and distant. He spent no time on the saloon floor after the place opened. He couldn’t stand for strangers to realize that he couldn’t talk. So he was the only one at Christy’s Place who got to sleep early most nights.

Cat looked compassionately at the reformed outlaw and touched his shoulder. “You’ll get better! You will! Doc Grauer is still looking for help for you. He’ll find it, if it’s out there in the world.” Cat was desperate to keep Heyes from despair, but it seemed an impossible task. They had no idea if there was any help for a man who had lost his speech, writing, and reading to a bullet. Heyes turned away from his hostess and went back to work in silence, his posture slumping. Heyes wasn’t the gallant outlaw anymore. Now he was a severely handicapped man. In the terms of the day, he was an illiterate mute. And he was a wanted illiterate mute. He might as well get used to such routine work as wiping saloon tables. Unless he had a miraculous recovery, the once mighty Hannibal Heyes would be limited to menial labor for the rest of his life. That would be if he was fortunate enough not to be imprisoned or shot in the back. It was very possible that he would be doing his menial labor in prison.

An hour later, as Heyes was putting out decks of cards, Joe the bartender arrived. “Hey there, Joshua.” Heyes nodded unsmilingly at his co-worker. Within a few minutes Ted the piano player, Bruce the helper in the saloon, and then the working girls were arriving. The customers would be arriving before too long.

Heyes waved to the Christy’s folks and vanished into the back rooms. There he found the Kid tying down his gun. A Colt .45 was part of Curry’s work uniform, as he made sure nobody caused trouble. “Thanks, Heyes. We appreciate it.” He clapped his partner on the back, but Heyes turned away as his partner went out front. He felt like all his friends pitied him; to Heyes, there was nothing worse than that. It helped to have Peggy to cuddle with, but she was out of town for the moment, visiting with her sick mother back East. Her mother wasn’t very happy to have a daughter making her living the way Peggy did. Heyes wondered if she would ever come back.

Heyes started his usual routine of boring hiding for the day. When he had been too weak to stay awake all day, it had been bad enough getting through until he could creep upstairs for a long nap. But now that he was more nearly back to full strength, his boredom was terrible. Unable to speak, or read, or write, he felt helpless and unmanned. Being able to understand, but not to answer what people said to him, almost made things worse. It was too cold for him to go out, and he couldn’t have stood to encounter strangers anyway. And what if he met the sheriff, or a bounty hunter, or a fellow outlaw? It didn’t bear thinking about – the silent man would be helpless. So Heyes hung around the back rooms, polishing silver, petting the cat, or playing his guitar softly. He picked the lock of the storage room and relocked it and picked it again. He played with the hotel safe for a while, but, figuring that would look really bad if anyone saw him, he gave up on it. It wouldn’t have taken him long to open anyway. When Heyes got really bored, he played dominoes with himself on the work table. Finally, inevitably, Heyes would turn to pacing back and forth across the larger of the two back rooms.

Finally, Heyes had had enough. He walked through the door that led to the saloon, walked quietly past the floor where customers were drinking, laughing, and gambling. Heyes went upstairs to his room. Then he came back down the stairs, with his hat on his head and his gun at his hip. Hannibal Heyes was breaking out.

A guy none of the customers ever remembered seeing before walked slowly down the hotel stairs. He sauntered into the saloon, looking around him. Some of the girls turned to look at the handsome dark-haired man who walked like he was somebody. He went to lean on the bar. Joe almost didn’t recognize Joshua with his hat on and such a confident attitude. Heyes snapped his fingers for attention and put up two fingers. Any bartender knew the signal – two fingers of whiskey. Joe looked at Joshua in surprise. “Why, Joshua,” he said, “you want . . .”

“Beer,” said the Kid very quietly from behind his partner’s back. “He wants a beer, Joe. I told you before: doctor’s orders; no whiskey.”

“But, Mr. Jones he . . .”

Curry repeated, “He wants a beer, don’t you, partner?”

Heyes turned to face his partner, his eyes aflame with rage. The Kid took him by the shoulder and steered him to the back rooms. When they were back where no one else could hear him, Curry spoke in a low voice. “No whiskey, Heyes. It ain’t gonna be like it was before we went straight. You can have a beer, but not a drop of whiskey. The doc said no whiskey. Do you want to talk again or don’t you?”

Heyes looked as if he was going to burst, between all the things he wanted to say to – to shout at - his partner.

“I know, partner. I know. Come out and have a beer with me.”

Heyes turned away and walked farther into the back. The Kid knew where he was going. He called after Heyes, “And by the way, I’ve put a wax seal over the doors to the whiskey store. See? There it is, with the CP for Christy’s Place stamped in. So don’t you try to sneak in and steal none. I’d know who done it, and so would Cat. And I know where you keep your pick locks, Mr. Heyes. All of em. Don’t make me take ‘em away. I know you and drink in hard times. I don’t hold with messing with a man’s things, but to save your life, I’d do it. Don’t you mistake me – I would.”

Heyes turned and went back to the room where the Kid was. Heyes walked up to his partner, fuming. He started to throw a punch at his partner’s handsome face. Curry caught Heyes by the wrist. The brown eyes and the blue eyes locked gazes. Heyes fought to free himself, but Curry forced the fist down with comparative ease. Heyes was getting his strength back day by day, but the Kid was still much stronger. The darker of the two partners closed his eyes and bowed his head in sheer infuriated frustration and defeat.

Curry tried not to sound condescending, but just friendly. “Come on, Heyes. Have a beer with me.” Heyes glowered at his partner bitterly. But finally he sighed and nodded. He was beaten. At least for the moment, he gave in. Later, in the long, lonely nights, he would have plenty of time to think about how to get around this, and all the other countless barriers in his way. He had been thinking and thinking, and still nothing had come. But he wouldn’t stop trying.

The two men walked out to the bar and leaned there, side by side, as they had done many a time. “Two beers,” said the Kid.
“Yes, sir,” said Joe. “A beer for Mr. Jones and a beer for Mr. Smith. Enjoy.”

The boys took their beers to a table and sat down. Heyes gave a little snort that was almost a laugh. What were they going to do? They couldn’t play cards – Heyes couldn’t read even the few digits and letters on them. And any conversation would be terribly one-sided.

Heyes stared down at a hand of cards that lay on the table left over from an earlier game. Other than just to put out decks for the customers to use, he hadn’t handled cards since he had been shot. There had been no use in it. But now he stared at the cards, pushing them idly across the table. Curry fell silent, wondering what was going through his partner’s mind. He thought that Heyes was thinking more clearly these days than he had been, but with so little communication possible, he couldn’t really know. And there were moments, like what had just happened, when Heyes seemed still on the borders of madness.

An unshaven cowboy walked by on his way to the bar. “Hello, Mr. Jones. And Mr.?” He looked at Heyes, expecting an answer. Heyes looked up at the man in bitter silence. The cowboy asked, turning to Curry but pointing at his partner, “What’s wrong with him? Don’t he talk?”

Curry shook his head sadly. “Not since he took a bullet in the head, he don’t.”

“That’s too bad,” said the cowboy, looking at Mr. Smith in pity.

Heyes glared at his partner and at the pitying cowboy as he walked away. Other customers were turning to look at the quiet partner. Heyes started to blush. He picked up his beer and downed it in one swallow. He slammed the glass down on one of the coasters he had put out himself that morning. Then he got up and stalked across the floor to the door to the back rooms. His attempted escape from boredom had been a humiliating fiasco. His pride was in tatters. He sat by the work table with his head in his hands. The Kid knew better than to follow his partner. He left him to grieve by himself.

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

The next afternoon, Heyes was in the back room of the saloon back in the same dull routine. The cat was off catching mice in the barn, so Heyes had gone to pacing even sooner than usual. Just when he was about to go out of his head, again, the door from the saloon opened. Curry came through it with some papers in his hand. “Here, Heyes, I brought you something.” He handed his partner a copy of the little local newspaper. Heyes shoved the paper back at his partner. What was this, some kind of sick joke? The Kid knew Heyes couldn’t read! “No, partner – see? It’s got pictures in it – some pretty girls. Thought you might like that.”

Heyes stared at the paper. And he kept staring. He looked up at the Kid with his mouth opened in excitement. Heyes pointed at an article and nodded his head hard at his partner. The Kid stared at him. Heyes nodded again and almost smiled. Finally, the Kid understood. “You can read! Oh my God, you can read!” Heyes nodded eagerly. Yes, at last. It was another breakthrough.

Curry ran to get Cat and brought her in from the kitchen. “Look Cat – he can read! He can read!”

Heyes nodded at her and pointed his hand along the lines of words. Yes, he could read it! “Oh, Heyes!” Cat sobbed, and wiped her eyes with her handkerchief. “Oh thank God! Jed, put on your coat. You’ve got to go get Doc Grauer! He’s got to see this!” Cat put her arms around Heyes and he hugged her back, hard, while Curry went to get the doctor.

Soon the grey-haired doctor was there. “So, Mr. Smith, your partner tells me you’re able to read now?” he said, carefully resisting smiling until he was sure. Smith nodded. “Let’s test this out. Let me see that paper. Alright, here, have it back, Mr. Smith. Point at the word ‘the.’ Any example.”

Heyes quickly found the word and pointed. He was able to do “that,” and “horse,” and a range of other simple words. The doctor was starting to believe. “Alright, what about ‘habitual?’ If you even knew the word before.”

Heyes nodded. In a minute, he had found the word and pointed at it. The doctor continued the little test. “That’s right – and ‘deleterious.’ Can you find that one?” Heyes found the word quickly on the page with its few articles.

The doctor smiled broadly. “Well, Smith, you’ve convinced me. You can read. And you’ve got a good vocabulary, even if you were a man who hadn’t taken a bullet in the head. It’s a miracle. You can’t talk but you can read. Jones, can you bring me some cards? Let’s see about numbers.” When Curry had produced a poker deck, the doctor pulled out a 2, covering the symbols on the center of the card so his patient couldn’t just count them. “What’s that one, Smith?”

Heyes held up two fingers. The doctor nodded. Then Heyes identified a five, a ten, and a queen by holding up five, ten, and ten followed by two, fingers. ”Very good, Smith! That’s amazing progress. But can you write? Cat, do you have paper and pencil we can use?”
Cat fetched her ledger book and opened it to a fresh page and handed Joshua a pencil.

Mr. Smith took the pencil and wrote fluently for some time, the characters under the pencil extending well down the page. The Kid and Cat gasped in amazement. They had had no idea that Heyes could write as well! But then, he hadn’t exactly had the opportunity.

But when the Doc looked at the sheet, he looked intensely puzzled. He held the ledger book up for Cat and Jones to see. “What on earth? Look. There isn’t a word on it. Just numbers! That’s sure a complex series of mathematical equations. Look at the fractions, parenthesis, square roots! Smith, try again – can you write your name?”

He handed the book back to Smith. The wounded man took the pencil and held it over the page and breathed hard, concentrating like mad, but then he flung the pencil away in frustration. He couldn't do it. Even his signature, the most automatic writing process the world, was impossible for him. The thought process to write just wasn't there. The doctor picked up the pencil and handed it back to Joshua. “Try, Smith – any word – any letter – anything except numbers – try it.”

Heyes sweated as he held the pencil. He touched it to the paper and picked it up again. He shook his head. It wasn’t possible. He couldn’t do it.

“You haven’t gotten back speech, have you?” asked the doctor. “Maybe try numbers, since they seem to be in a different place in your head than letters?” Joshua shook his head again. No, he couldn’t say anything.

"How peculiar!" exclaimed Doc Grauer, "I guess words and numbers are in different places in your brain, Mr. Smith. And so are reading and talking. I've never seen the like! But if some parts are healing, maybe the rest will too, in time." Joshua looked at him like a starving man with a meal just out of reach. The doctor looked back at the equations he had written. Doc asked, "Mr. Jones, does Mr. Smith often write equations like this? Or is this new since he was shot?"

Curry answered casually. "Oh no, he's always done that. These are longer, but he's had more time to think about it, I guess. Maybe when he's just sitting there, staring into space, he's working problems. It wouldn't surprise me none. He loves math. He works problems for fun. He says . . . said, 'there's a formula for everything.'"

"How far did he get in school? This looks like advanced algebra. Did he go to college?" asked the doctor earnestly.

"College?" Thaddeus hooted derisively, "He didn't finish the 7th grade and I didn't get to 5th. We . . . well, we missed a lot of school, one way and another. But Joshua . . . he . . . he knew . . . a man who had been a teacher and gave him a book on math – algebra I think. Joshua about memorized that book, before he lost it in a river crossing."

While they were talking, Joshua was reading the paper hungrily. But when he heard Curry talking about his little schooling, Heyes had had enough. He hated to hear people talking about him when he couldn’t answer for himself. When it came to hearing the Kid making fun of his little education, he couldn’t stand it any longer. It had always been a sore point for Heyes. He glowered angrily at his partner and stalked out of the room and up the stairs to his room. He took the newspaper with him.

The Kid stared after his partner. When he was gone, he said. “Doc, I was thinking. It’s just a few days ago that Smith could hardly hold up fingers to show me 5 plus 3 plus 2 equals 10. Now he’s doing these long number things?”

Doctor Grauer answered thoughtfully, seemingly explaining to himself as much as to Jones, “I suspect, Mr. Jones, that what you were seeing wasn’t any trouble with calculations – it was trouble with expressing them. Now that he can write, we can start to see what’s been going on in his head all along. I suspect that your partner is a pretty smart man.” Curry nodded. That was no news to him.

The doctor left, but Curry remained in the back room with Cat for a while. “It’s a relief to have him reading, and writing numbers. He loves numbers. That’ll help with the boredom, help keep him out of trouble.”

Cat chuckled, “Yeah, I suppose a bored Hannibal Heyes could get into a ton of trouble. I caught him picking locks back here the other day. He locked them all again and didn’t take anything. But I’ve seen him staring at the bank. It must be a terrible temptation to him. If we can find enough for him to read, maybe it’ll help . . .”

Curry nodded. “Yeah, reading is a help. But I wish it was more. I don’t see how it helps with keeping him safe or helping to make a living. But hmn.” The Kid fell silent and paced up and down for a moment as he partner often did. Cat went back to the kitchen to let her lover think.

A few moments later, the Kid was in the kitchen. Cat was stirring the stew she would serve for dinner. Curry asked, hopefully, “Say, Cat, do you need help with the books? I mean, I don't know how your math is. I'm not implying anything. But, like you just saw, Heyes is really good at math. I mean really good at math. He kept books for a saloon before and he saved that lady who owned the place a lot of money. I don't mean to imply you have any trouble with the books, but it sure would make Heyes feel a lot better if he could do something useful. It's about driven him nuts to just be dependent on other folks. He's used to being in charge."

Cat thought for a minute. "Used to being in charge. Poor man! Jed, I'd be delighted to have someone to help me keep books. I hate doing math! No one at the hotel is any better at it than I am. Neither are you, and we both know it. But there are words in that book, too, not just numbers. If I couldn't tell what words the numbers were about it wouldn't mean anything to me or to anybody. If he can't write words, only numbers . . ."

The Kid went to find Heyes in their room. He was sitting on the bed, still reading the newspaper. He was reading every word, even the classified ads. Curry showed the account book to Heyes. “Look, Heyes. This is the Christy’s Place accounts book. If you could keep books for Cat, she’d love it. It’d be real favor to her. But, like she says, there’s words in there, too. If you can write numbers and not letters, it wouldn’t mean much to her. Can you figure it out?”

Heyes bit his lip and tried again to write words – and failed. He tried again and failed again. But he thought about it for a bit. Then he looked at the first page of the book and pointed at a phrase – poker chips – and underlined it and wrote the number 1 next to it and circled the number. Then he found the word "Cards" and underlined that and put the number 2 next to it and circled it. He went down the pages and gave a number to every word that recurred – all the standard expenses of the hotel and the names of the employees and the sources of income. Dates, of course, were easy to indicate using just numbers. Heyes had solved the problem of the missing variable – the thing he couldn't do - just like an algebra problem. Each category would have a number to indicate it and Cat would soon learn the system.

Heyes beckoned his partner over with his finger and showed him what he was doing. He pointed at each circled number in turn. Heyes mimed writing and pointed to a blank page at the back of the book. The Kid understood. Curry wrote out the complete list of words and the numbers that stood for them in the back of the book in his rough hand writing so Cat could consult it. Heyes wouldn't need to; he had the meanings of the numbers all memorized as soon as he wrote them down.

As he finished his own task, the Kid stared thoughtfully at his partner. It struck him how he had just assumed that Heyes would come up with something, and implement it effortlessly. Curry realized how much he had always casually counted in Heyes' brilliance – not just his memory, but his creative ideas. The Devil's Hole boys wouldn't have gotten far without Heyes. Other than the Kid's gun hand, and Heyes' many talents, there hadn't been any outstanding abilities in the bunch. In fact, some of the guys were a little slow – and therefore less likely to rebel against Heyes' strict rules and complex plans. They had always just done what Heyes told them to do. That had been enough to keep them successful, until Heyes and the Kid went straight. Then the gang had lapsed into obscurity.

As Curry finished writing the list in at least approximate alphabetical order, he felt Heyes’ hand on his wrist. The Kid looked up at his partner to see the brown eyes that had formerly blazed with anger now filled something quite different. Heyes couldn’t say “Thank you,” or “I’m sorry,” in words. But he put as much of those sentiments into his eyes as he could. The Kid clapped Heyes on the shoulder. All was forgiven – and not for the first time between this pair of partners.

With Cat's happy approval, Heyes immediately started on his new job. He sat in the back room at the work table, looking almost normal for the first time since he had arrived. The ex-outlaw dipped a pen into ink and neatly filled in figures. Cat was glad to have a bookkeeper and was overjoyed to see Heyes happily occupied.

But doing the hotel books was a small job. By late the next afternoon Heyes had been through the whole account book and had it all straightened out and had started a new system of entries. He showed Cat what he had done and an instance or two of where she might save money, which pleased her. But Heyes was at loose ends again. He still couldn't utter a single syllable or write a single word. He wandered around the hotel, reading an old poetry anthology that Cat's late mother had owned. He was like a bird whose cage had been enlarged a bit, but not opened.


Last edited by HelenWest on Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Keays

Keays

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Jan 26, 2014 6:35 pm

Well I can certainly understand Heyes' frustration but even he must be able to see that he is healing.  He just needs to give it more time.  Still he is a man of action and hanging around waiting for things to heal could be hard for him to do.

Clever plan using numbers to represent words and it does give Heyes something worthwhile to do.  He'll probably find ways all over the place to help Cat save money and turn her business into a real going concern.

Liked the Dr.'s comments about higher education etc.  The planting of an idea perhaps?  Heyes could be and do anything he wanted with the right motivation.  This could be a real positive step for him.
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HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Jan 26, 2014 7:30 pm

By the end of chapter 9, Heyes does start to see that he really is healing and that his friends are helping him to make it. But what he is going through emotionally is brutal and he isn't always thinking straight. And the loss of dignity and control is very hard. It is easy to blame it on the man who has to enforce it - the Kid - rather than on just the situation. It's so much easier to punch the Kid than to deal with blind fate. But even that turns out to be hard.
HW
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Silverkelpie

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyMon Jan 27, 2014 12:58 pm

Poor Kid, taking the brunt of a frustrated Heyes, although I like the way you have him responding to the challenge.  What a great idea to have him solving puzzles.  Did that idea come from research, experience a sheer guess?  Inspired anyway, and the perfect rehabilitation for a man like Heyes.

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Na sir 's na seachainn an cath - Neither seek nor shun the fight      Old Scottish proverb
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HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyMon Jan 27, 2014 3:59 pm

Thanks, SK! I'm glad you think it is inspired. But the way Heyes deals with such puzzles turns out to be far more than random chance.
HW
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Javabee

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyMon Jan 27, 2014 4:56 pm

Heyes is certainly showing signs of healing, but not being able to talk is certainly wearing on him. Being so dependent, dealing with folks looking at him with pity, and not being in control is definitely a blow to his ego. His sauntering around like nothing is wrong shows him trying to regain his old self back, but he's just not ready.
I was wondering if it is typical for people with aphasia to recover their numerical ability before verbal, or does it vary from patient to patient? Just curious.
Java

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"If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning." Mae West
coffee 
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HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyMon Jan 27, 2014 5:12 pm

I made that up about the numbers, JB. There are a few correct facts about aphasia in my cycle, but most of it is pure invention for creative purposes as I state at the start of each story. In this case, I made it up for very particular reasons that you will discover later.
HW
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HelenWest

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PostSubject: Not Again! Revised chapter 10   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyFri Jan 31, 2014 11:13 pm

The next afternoon, once he felt that the gambling floor of the saloon had settled down, the Kid went into the back rooms in search of his partner. If Heyes wasn’t yet comfortable to come out, at least the Kid could make time to go back and see his partner. But the guitar lay on the work table, silent. The cat was curled on a pile of rags in a sunny spot inside the back door – unpetted. No one was polishing silver or washing glasses. Heyes was nowhere to be seen.

Curry could hear someone busying around the rooms upstairs. So he climbed the stairs. He found Cat making beds in the hotel rooms. The Kid asked, “Cat, you seen Heyes?”

Cat looked up from the bed. “No, not since he finished wiping up this morning and when back like he always does. Isn’t he downstairs?”
The Kid shook his head with a worried frown. “No, I can’t find him anywhere. He sure ain’t in the saloon again.”

Curry went next door to Heyes’ room. He called back to Cat. “His coat’s gone. He must have gone out by himself.” Heyes’ partner sounded concerned.

Cat hurried to join Curry in Heyes’ room. “Jed, it’s warm today. Maybe even above freezing. He must have just gone for a walk. Poor guy’s going stir-crazy just being in the back rooms alone all the time. You know that.”

The Kid was getting agitated. “After what happened yesterday? What if he meets up with the sheriff? Or a bounty hunter? Or somebody who knows us? I’m going after him.”

Cat said, “Go ahead, Jed. You’ll find him soon, I’m sure. He can’t have been gone long. I heard him playing his guitar just a few minutes ago.”

“Maybe it’s good he’s gotten up the nerve to go out. I mean, this is Heyes,” the Kid started to say. He stopped suddenly.


There was some kind of commotion happening out front of the hotel – there was a rumble of voices. Cat and the Kid looked up at the same moment as they heard someone yelling “dummy.”

“Sounds like that crazy old miner who’s been hanging around!” said the Kid as he hurried down the stairs as fast as his boots would go. Who else but Heyes would the eccentric old miner be calling by that word?

Curry ran through the startled gamblers and whores on the saloon floor and burst out the front door into the sunshine. Sure enough, the old miner was on the board walk shouting at Heyes, "Get out of the way, you dummy, I got gear to move! Got to get out while there's a thaw. You damn dummy, move!"

The people on the street were gasping and shouting as the old man and Heyes faced each other. Both had their guns in their hands. Heyes' eyes were blazing with fury. He really did look dangerous and not quite sane.

Considering Heyes' pride in his intelligence, it must be hurting him badly to be called "dummy" by anyone. Every time the old miner used the offensive slur, Heyes bristled and his eyes blazed more fiercely. He could reach his breaking point at any time.


The old miner, with his mule tied in front of the hotel, yelled and stared at Heyes. A pile of ropes and a pick axe and other mining gear was at the old man's feet. When he saw the Kid he said, "Get that dummy out of here! He was in my way and now he's gonna shoot me! He's a mad man! Get this dummy put away or I'll call the sheriff to lock him up!" A book lay on the boardwalk in front of Heyes, who had obviously been walking along reading. He must have lost track of where he was for a moment and gotten in the old prospector's way. Heyes was still a bit absent-minded. Now it could cost him his life, or at least his freedom.

The Kid grabbed his partner's gun hand with his left hand and drew his six-gun with record speed with his right. The Kid was as riled as he ever had been in his life. "Shut up, old man! If you call my partner that – that word one more time, I'll shoot you myself! And Joshua, put up that gun right now!"

Heyes struggled to escape Curry's hold, but the Kid held firm. As weak as Heyes still was, even the Kid's left hand was more than a match for Heyes' right. The old miner gave way and holstered his own pistol. "Mr. Jones'" reputation with a gun had gotten around town quickly. The old miner loaded up his mule. He went off down the street leading the animal, muttering, but he didn't show any signs of calling the sheriff.

Curry pulled the gun out of his partner's hand. He hauled Heyes off the street into the saloon. Once he got his partner into the back rooms, he put Heyes' six-gun in its holster and took Heyes' gun belt off him like a parent undressing a naughty two-year-old. Heyes stared at the Kid with fire in his eyes. He looked like he was about to hit his partner as he had tried to the day before. Kid took Heyes by the arm and said, "Joshua, don't let that old coot get under your skin. You know he don't mean nothin' about your brains – just your damn mouth!"

Heyes drew away from his partner, who still kept Heyes' gun belt out of his reach. Heyes looked at Curry with fury at his betrayal. The forgiveness of the day before had evaporated. Heyes stalked out onto the saloon floor. The Kid went after Heyes and then stopped. He and everyone in the saloon stared after Joshua as he went up the hotel stairs, fuming. Curry just let Heyes go. Anything he did now would only make things worse. Heyes' wounded pride would heal in time – hopefully without the interference of Sheriff Wilde.
Curry went back into the back rooms. He looked down at Heyes' gun belt in his hand. Cat had come downstairs on Curry’s heels, so she stood next to him.

Curry looked at his lover in concern. “Cat, you know we can’t trust Heyes with a weapon, not the way he is now. I should have put it away before. But where can I put it that he can’t find it? Sure not in your safe. I’m afraid he could have that opened in no time.”
Cat thought for a minute, then answered. “I think I know, Jed. There’s a high cabinet in the kitchen that nobody uses. He’d have to get a box to stand on to find the gun there. If he was searching around for a box, I’d hear him and stop him. Here, let me show you.”

As the Kid watched the saloon floor that afternoon and into the early evening, he kept an eye on the stairs. Heyes never came down again, that the Kid saw. But there were a few hot arguments that Curry had had to break up, and some tense card games he was watching. Finally, the Kid broke away from his duties to check on Heyes in his room. The poetry book Heyes had been reading lay, face down, on the bed-side table. But the bed was empty. Heyes was gone. His coat was still hanging on its hook, so he had to be indoors.

“Damn!” said Curry as he ran down the stairs. He went straight to the office where the hotel safe was. As the Kid opened the door, Heyes got rapidly to his feet. He had obviously been working on the safe door. Curry sighed – loudly so Heyes could hear him and realize how stupid he looked. He did realize it and looked away from the Kid pointedly.

Heyes tried to walk past the Kid as if he hadn't seen him. Curry caught Heyes by the arm and said in a low voice, "If you rob Cat you'll regret it! If you want money, come play poker with those guys out front. You could beat them with your eyes closed." The Kid knew it wasn't money that Heyes was after – it was his gun. Curry felt sick to think what Heyes might want it for. Not to shoot the old miner, that was for sure. Only rarely was Heyes a vindictive man. And besides, the old man had already left town.

Heyes glared furiously at the Kid. He would be delighted to play poker, but how could he? He pointed at his own useless mouth and shrugged elaborately in frustration. How could he play poker if he couldn't talk?

"Come on Heyes!" pleaded the Kid, "You're getting better. You just gotta have patience. But even if you can’t talk yet, you figured out the account book in a hurry. You can do the same thing for poker. There ain't many things to say – just bet or stand pat or pass or fold and not much more'n that. The money in your hand will tell anybody what you want to bet. You can write numbers fine. If you have any trouble, I'll bet I can translate for you. You know we don't need our mouths to talk."

Heyes looked at Curry thoughtfully for a long moment. Heyes was biting his lip and his brown eyes looked pre-occupied as he followed Curry to a back table where they and Cat would eat dinner. The Kid could almost see the wheels turning in his partner's head. The Kid had seen that look many, many times before. He smiled to himself. His partner was planning something. Now that was more like the Heyes the Kid knew!

After dinner, Heyes went to the back store room and brought out a deck of cards. He opened the deck and smoothly shuffled it a few times. The Kid could see the pleasure with which he partner handled cards again, now that he could read them. Heyes dealt himself a hand. He held the cards in his left hand and patted the table with his right. He caught Curry’s eye.  “Stand pat,” said the Kid. Heyes nodded at the correct translation of his silent signal. Then he made a swift sideways gesture. Curry thought for a second. “Oh, I get it. Pass.” Heyes nodded again. The process went on as Heyes taught his partner the signs he would need to communicate whatever he wanted to say at the poker table. When everything was clear, Heyes gestured toward the door. He was ready to hit the tables.


But Curry paused for a moment. He looked earnestly into Heyes’ brown eyes. “Now, Heyes, those guys out there are friends of mine. They’ve been good to us. There are some mine owners with a good lot of ready cash, but most of the other boys ain’t what you’d call rich. And we’ll be here a while yet, I’m thinking, while you heal up. So don’t you skin those boys too bad. I’ve got to live with ‘em, and so do you. Take it easy, will you? You got that?”

Heyes nodded, but then he eagerly led the way out the door and onto the saloon floor. Curry followed him. The Kid couldn’t help worrying a bit. After what had happened the day before, what might happen when Heyes tried again to emerge into the society of the saloon? But Heyes looked pretty confident. He was ready now, as he had not been only a single day before. Within the tight confines of the poker table, he was prepared to communicate.

Heyes walked up to the central table, where three regular players were waiting for more players to join them. Curry spoke to the men, “Gentlemen, you know Mr. Smith’s been in back healing up. Well, now he’s well enough to try a little poker – if you don’t mind a silent partner.” The men chuckled softly at Curry’s weak pun. The Kid went on, “He’s got some signs figured out for poker – I’m sure you’ll pick ‘em up in no time.” Then he introduced the men at the table to Heyes, including a mine owner and his foreman and the man who ran the dry goods store down the street.

Gordon Cable, the mine owner, shuffled the cards and dealt them, saying, “Welcome Mr. Smith. It’s good to have you at the table.” Heyes nodded. It was good play cards again. Heyes played with his usual cool precision. Curry could practically see his partner counting cards and figuring and refiguring odds in his head, as he always did. Heyes always had a better idea of where all the cards were and what the odds for any hand were than anyone else at the table. And he didn't neglect the characters involved. It was a bit unnerving for the local men to see the keen gaze of the silent man as he glanced up to study their faces for the most subtle signs of their intensions. Heyes walked away from the table early, but with more money in his hands than he had brought to the game. It was a good thing, since most of his cash had been borrowed from his partner.

The following day, Heyes was not quite so quick to withdraw from the floor as the customers arrived. His success at poker was building his confidence. And reading helped him to pass the time until he and the Kid would sit down at the tables after dinner. He could hardly wait.

A new man was sitting at the table when Heyes and the Kid emerged from the back rooms after dinner. The new player was a neatly bearded, well-dressed, middle-aged man. “Smith, Jones, let me introduce you to Samuel Leutze. He came in on the train this afternoon,” said Cable the mine owner.

“Nice to meet you, Leutze” said the Kid, shaking the new man’s hand. “This is my partner, Joshua Smith. He took a bullet in the head a while back and can’t talk.” Heyes couldn’t hide the fact that he hated having this pointed out, but he knew some explanation for his silence was needed. “But he can play poker just fine if you don’t mind him talking with his hands.”

The other men at the table laughed jovially. They already knew that Joshua Smith played more than fine, but they wouldn’t say anything obvious to tip off the new player. Let him find it out for himself, as they had.

“Glad to meet you, Mr. Smith,” said Leutze, “And you, Mr. Jones. I’m on my way to New York, but there’s nothing to say I can’t enjoy myself by playing some cards on the way. Tell me about this town, boys. I’ve never been to Louisville before.” The players around the table gladly obliged with talk of the mining and other pursuits of the little town.

Heyes, who had gotten up later than usual, stayed at the table much later than he had the previous night. And he won more openly, especially taking considerable cash off the newcomer. But Leutze didn’t seem to mind. He kept chatting affably as he played past mid-night.

But as he played, Leutze couldn't hide that he was watching Heyes, fascinated by the mute man. The Kid supposed it was kind of an unusual sight. Heyes' signs were so clear and so swift that the men at the table quickly forgot that he didn't actually say a word aloud. Tonight Heyes was getting a little carried away, winning too much, it seemed to the Kid, with the stranger as a ready mark. Curry was worried by how closely Leutze studied Heyes with a strangely knowing look and a slight smile. And Leutze didn't exactly ignore Curry, who communicated so well with Heyes, silently. The Kid was a little uneasy, despite the winnings he took away from the table.
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HelenWest

HelenWest

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PostSubject: Not Again! Revised chapter 11   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Feb 09, 2014 2:43 pm

Not Again! Revised Chapter 11

The next morning Curry and Heyes sat side by side at the breakfast table, while Cat hurried back and forth with food for both the pair and a few customers out front. Curry said, quietly, “Heyes, what do you think of that guy Leutze?”

Heyes mimed holding a hand of cards, and then threw the invisible cards on the table. He shook his head dismissively. “Yeah, he’s not much good,” agreed the Kid. “Just good enough to get into trouble.” Heyes nodded, but then he raised his eyebrows. He wanted to bring up something more. The Kid watched him carefully. The mute man paused for a moment, trying to think of how to let his partner know what he meant. Curry could see that it was something serious. Heyes pointed his right forefinger and middle finger at Curry’s eyes. The Kid tried to figure out what his partner meant. “His eyes – his – oh – how he was watching you? Right?”

Heyes nodded. He drew a question mark in the air. Curry voiced what he thought his partner meant. “Why was he watching you? And me?” Heyes nodded crisply, eager to move on. It was annoying to deal with the slowness of having to get along without words. The Kid tried to pick up on what his partner wanted, and what made him uneasy as well. “Well, why do guys watch us? He ain’t a sheriff, that’s for sure. He’s as eastern and citified as they come. Bounty hunter?”

Heyes shrugged. The silent partner gestured to his own cuffs, and where a tie would be if he were wearing one. Again, Curry translated, making sure he understood Heyes correctly. “Yeah, with those fancy gold cufflinks and the diamond tie-thingy – I ain’t seen a bounty hunter dressed that fancy. Why be in that dirty line of work if you already got cash?”

Heyes’ tilted his head in puzzlement. He held up his fingers in circles around his eyes as if he were wearing glasses. The Kid took a moment to think what he meant – Leutze didn’t wear glasses. Heyes looked frustrated. While he and his partner knew each other about as well as anyone could and they understood each other pretty easily, even between them this serious game of charades was demanding. The partner who couldn’t talk mimed reading and then writing, then looked at the Kid. Had he gotten it? Curry thought more. “You mean he’s had a lot of schooling?” Heyes nodded and looked relieved that he had found a way to get his ideas across. “Yeah, I ain’t seen a bounty hunter like him. But you know we’ve run into a Negro bounty hunter, a lady, why not an educated guy?”

Heyes nodded again, but he looked skeptical. Curry agreed, but he wasn’t happy. Heyes pulled out his pocket watch and gestured around the dial clockwise. “Yeah, if he’s one of that scum, why’s he waiting to turn us in? I got you – Leutze’s not your everyday bounty hunter. But he’s got something going about us. He’s still here and said he’d stay the night, so we’d better figure out what he’s got going on. And we’d better figure it out quick. How do we get him out of here and alone?”

Heyes agreed. He went to Cat’s desk and got a pencil and paper. Heyes made a drawing and showed it to his partner. It took a few more gestures and translations, but soon the pair had a simple little plan in place. It was a warm morning, for late fall in Colorado. So Heyes had no problem with taking their plan out of doors. As Cat had already mentioned, he was going stir-crazy indoors.

So after breakfast, Heyes went out the front door of the saloon and toward the livery stable. Heyes paused on the porch of Christy’s Place and made sure that Leutze, who was still finishing a late breakfast, could see him clearly. Soon, Leutze had his coat on and was following Heyes at no very great distance. Heyes took Clay out of the stable and walked him to the blacksmith's shop. The former outlaw communicated with the blacksmith with swift but clear gestures that anyone could understand. He easily made it clear than Clay had been slightly striking a front heel with a hind hoof when he was going flat out. This was a fault easily corrected by the right shoeing. Heyes really was clever at talking with his hands and there was Leutze just across the street, watching. Heyes stood and watched with critical eyes while his horse was shod. And still, Leutze was watching.

As Heyes dropped off Clay at the stable and walked out a side door and down an ally, there was Leutze again, following Heyes. And there was Curry behind him with a stern voice and his gun drawn. Heyes turned and stared hotly at the Easterner, looking as dangerous as his partner, even without a gun tied down on his hip.

The Kid said, "Hands up, Leutze. Hold it right there. Now why are you watching every move my partner makes? Why are you following Smith around like a hound after a coon?" Leutze froze. He looked surprised and he reached for the front pocket of his coat. "Hold it, Leutze!" said Curry, and the easterner, innocent but not stupid, obeyed. Heyes reached into the pocket and found in it a silver case filled with business cards. They read "Dr. Samuel Leutze, specialist in Aphasia." and gave his address at a clinic in New York and a list of schools and degrees and awards.

Heyes looked puzzled as he handed the card to his partner. Curry's mouth dropped opened. He knew the word aphasia now, even if Heyes didn't yet. So the Kid knew that, at last, Dr. Grauer had found what he had been sending messages about. Leutze explained, "I'm a specialist, gentlemen, in aphasia. It's the thing that is plaguing the silent Mr. Smith – the inability to speak or it can be trouble with other ways of using language like reading or writing or even understanding speech. Dr. Grauer has been putting out communications looking for an aphasia specialist, and that's what I am. I'm the leading one on the continent, so it's a good thing I happened to be coming back from San Francisco right now and could change my route to come through Louisville.” Heyes was breathing rapidly. His eyes were fixed avidly on the doctor.

Dr. Leutze went on. “I apologize for staring, Mr. Smith, but I wanted to see how you behaved. I've never seen anyone who has adapted as quickly and well as you have. I can't believe you've been without speech for only weeks – you do as well as men who have been without speech for years. It's amazing that you could do this all on your own, without anyone to teach you." Heyes kept looking intently at Dr. Leutze with a hungry light in his eyes and his lips a little parted. The one man who might be able to help him was standing in front of him!

Curry exclaimed, "Oh my God! Can you cure him?"

"I don't know," said Dr. Leutze, frankly. "Some people can recover completely, some partially, and some not at all. We aren’t even sure of how much recovery comes from therapy and how much might have happened naturally without it. So I won't promise anything except to try as hard as I can, Mr. Smith, if you will let me." He directed his remarks at Heyes, rather than routing around him as so many people did, now. Heyes reached eagerly for the doctor's hand.

Curry interrupted the exchange. "We don't have a lot of money, Doctor," he said, “except what my partner won from you last night."

The doctor answered rapidly, "Oh, don't worry about that. Nothing would stop me from taking on such a brilliant and fascinating patient. I can't wait to get started." Heyes grinned, just a brief flash of his teeth, but it the first time he had smiled at all since he had been unable to talk. So soon after being a dummy, he was brilliant again. And maybe he would be talking again soon; or maybe not.

Leutze looked at the silent former outlaw, addressing him earnestly. "Mr. Smith, the only thing I can promise you is that this won't be easy or fast. We don't really understand what is at work in aphasia. Doctors are only just barely starting to understand the anatomy of the brain and how injuries can affect it. Our study is in its infancy. A doctor in Germany has made some discoveries in recent years, and I am trying to build on those. But it is slow work and the patient's part is very demanding. Are you ready for some hard work? Very, very hard work?"
Heyes looked serious and his eyes had a determined gleam. He nodded a crisp, business-like nod.

"Good!" said Dr. Leutze. "Come to my room and we'll get started right away. I have a lot of questions. Mr. Jones, if you can come along, you can help with anything that Mr. Smith can't communicate, or doesn't remember from when he was unconscious. And can you please bring Dr. Grauer over here? We may need him." The Kid was off down the street as fast as his legs could carry him.

It was less than an hour later that the men and Cat met in Leutze’s hotel room. Leutze did have a lot of questions. Dr. Leutze studied Joshua's head wound and asked countless questions about its healing: the transition from being unable to understand English to being able to understand, his ability to write numbers but not letters, his ability to read but not speak, and much more. Curry was nervous about talking about the shooting – what if the doctors asked the wrong questions? But they didn't – they stayed with medical questions rather than asking about the patient's earlier background.

“It’s so striking,” said Leutze, “how you can write numbers but not letters, yet, Mr. Smith.”

“Mr. Jones, Tell me more about these mathematical equations Mr. Smith has been writing – could I see some of them?” asked Dr. Leutze. Cat brought out her ledger book to show Drs. Leutze and Grauer what Heyes had written. But at the back of the book, behind the work the former outlaw had done for Cat’s business, they found evidence that Heyes had done a lot of additional work during his copious spare time. There were several pages of dense, complex equations unlike anything the Kid or Cat had ever seen.

Leutze looked at Joshua's pages of equations with rapt fascination, with Dr. Grauer looking over his shoulder. "Goodness!" Leutze said as he looked at the intricate strings of numbers, then up at the man who had written them. "This is very advanced work, Mr. Smith, for someone with no college background! I'm not sure I can follow all this any longer – it's been so long since I took my college math classes." The Kid tried in vain to keep his jaw from dropping. Heyes could beat a college-educated man at math? He had always known his partner was pretty sharp, but he had no idea that anyone who really knew math would be impressed.

On the last page, there was the drawing of a shape with lots of lines and angles – some three-dimensional shape that Thaddeus had never seen before. Joshua tapped his drawing and pointed to a long equation he had written with lines of complex calculations above it and on the previous pages. The Kid looked on in puzzlement. But Leutze knew what his new patient had drawn. "My goodness! That's a dodecahedron – a twelve faced shape with pentagons for sides! It's one of the most complex regular solids – you know, Mr. Jones, like a cube – all the sides alike. This must be the formula for the volume of a dodecahedron! Look at all the lines of figures it took to figure out that final equation. I wonder if he read it somewhere and somehow memorized it – which would be pretty amazing in itself. Mr. Smith, did you see it in a book?" Joshua pointed at the shape and nodded. Then he pointed at the lines of figures and shook his head. Then he tapped his finger on his own chest emphatically, three times. "You saw the shape in a book?" said Leutze. "But the equations you did yourself?" Joshua nodded calmly. "If it's right, it's pretty impressive. Can I have your permission to mail this to my friend, Dr. Homer? He's a professor of mathematics in New York City."

Joshua nodded, but cautiously. He was sure he was right. Well, he was almost sure. Well, he thought he might be right. He sure hoped so. To be wrong in front of two doctors and a professor of mathematics and his partner as well would be too much. He had put hours and hours of thought into this, distracting his mind when he had nothing more constructive to do.

But without a teacher at hand, Heyes had been feeling his way in the dark. Which was pretty much how he had been trying to get back to talking – all alone in a frighteningly dark place. Now he had a teacher; now he had a chance.

000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Later that night, when the Kid and Cat were getting into bed, the lady who ran Christy’s Place had questions. “Kid, I know everybody always said Heyes was smart – but all this math stuff. Did he always do that? Must be a lot of work.”

Curry shook his head and looked thoughtful, running his hands down his lover’s slender arm as he talked. “No, Cat. Heyes never was one for a bunch of work. He’d practice his fancy deals, practice on locks, do the math he needed to do for plans, sure. But then he’d just put up his feet and take a nap. Or he would when he wasn’t reading anything he could get his hands on. And sometimes he’d do up math stuff with no use I could see. But that kinda’ work in the back of your ledger book – I never have seen it out of him. The docs figured it must have taken hours and hours. Funny he’d start it up after he got shot, when everything’s already so hard for him. It was all so easy before.”

“Well, don’t you think maybe that’s it?” said Cat, as she snuggled into Curry’s bare side.

“What’s it?” Curry asked, baffled.

Cat said in frustration, “Don’t you see, Jed? When it’s all so hard, when he has to work just to talk to anybody – seems like it’s gotten Heyes going.”

Jed wasn’t buying it. “Huh? Don’t make sense to me. When everything’s so much work for Heyes, why do more work yet?”

Cat sat up and looked at the Kid. “But Jed, it was so easy for him before, maybe he just got bored. You’ve told me how he gets bored easily, and I’ve seen it. Maybe when he was bored he’d quit trying. Now he wants to work. Now he’s got a challenge.”

Curry laughed. “You don’t think he had challenges before? Running from posses and ducking bounty hunters and running and getting shot and all that stuff? When he hardly got out of stuff alive?”

“Jed! That was physical. This is different. It wasn’t his body getting bored – it was his mind. This math stuff is mental. I guess you’d say intellectual. It’s the intellectual stuff where he’s finding out that he can do a whole lot more than he, or you, ever knew. He’s getting a kick out of it. It might be the only joy he’s getting, now.”

“Ha!” Curry scoffed. “You mean other than winning at poker.”

“He’s just been doing that for two days. Think of the weeks before when he couldn’t talk and he was alone so much – especially when Peggy wasn’t around. Heyes has been thinking about this math stuff the whole time, if you ask me. He’s been finding out new things about himself. What if he’s a lot smarter that you – or he - ever knew?” Cat leaned back up against Curry, pulling his arm around her.

Jed sighed. “Not that old genius stuff all over again!”

“Genius stuff?” Now Cat was the puzzled one.

“There was this guy who rode with us back in the old days with the Devil’s Hole. He’d been a math teacher before he got onto the wrong side of the law. He taught Heyes a bunch of math and gave him a book that he read cover to cover in no time. I guess Heyes learned real fast. The old teacher said he thought Heyes was a genius. What a load of crap! But Heyes started to believe it. He about drove us nuts about how we had to do what he said because he was a genius.”

Cat sat up again and looked hard at the Kid. “But Jed, what if he really is?”
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Keays

Keays

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyMon Feb 10, 2014 12:00 am

My but you have been busy!  Again Heyes is showing his frustration and his typical insistence that everything happen NOW!  Good idea of the Kid's that Heyes get back to playing poker as that really did seem to give him something to start thinking about and enjoying.

And now there's a new doctor in town.  Someone who can help Heyes get his silver tongue back again.  I'm interested in learning more about how the healing process works and how quickly Heyes will be back to his normal self.

Of course he's a genius!  He's just lazy.  If there's not a big payroll at the other end of the equation then why bother working it out?  Having nothing better to do sometimes has its advantages.
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Silverkelpie

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyMon Feb 10, 2014 12:37 pm

A specialist?  Well, now Heyes stands a chance of getting back to his old self or even better if her can learn some new things.  I could see that someone like Heyes may not see the point in applying himself to learn unless there's a payoff at the end.  I have met people like that. 

Great story, Helen.  I love the way you're taking this into a different direction to other fanfics but use that as a device to explore canon and build upon what we already know about the characters.

_________________
Na sir 's na seachainn an cath - Neither seek nor shun the fight      Old Scottish proverb
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HelenWest

HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyMon Feb 10, 2014 7:04 pm

Ah, yes, you caught me being self-indulgent, Keays. When I get an idea, it's too tempting to neglect work to write it up and post it. It's fun to go back to these early episodes and see what I can dramatize better with the twenty-twenty hindsight I've gained from writing many later chapters. 

Thanks so much, SK! This cycle came to me a long time ago, but it's readers like you who have helped me to figure out how to make it really work. It's a matter of learning moment by moment, just like poor Heyes is. And the Kid and Cat have a lot to figure out as well. It's left more in the background, but they are figuring out how an outlaw can settle down and find some stability. It's what the boys were looking for throughout the series.

I really have no idea what this kind of therapy was like in the 19th century. The German discoveries about brain anatomy are true. But on therapy, what I'm writing is more symbolic of human communication than anything about real medical practice. Poor Heyes is dealing with a lot of frustration. How soon will the silver tongue be back? Will he ever be quite the same? Maybe different could even be better? Or will there be loss forever? He just doesn't know. In fact, you'll hear sentences about that over and over throughout the cycle. It's all discovery.
HW
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Keays

Keays

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyMon Feb 10, 2014 7:13 pm

The best kind of ride--the one of discovery.  We really have written parallel stories, but still different enough to be our own.
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HelenWest

HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyMon Feb 10, 2014 7:27 pm

Now I really do have to get back to your story, Keays! I promise, I haven't read more than snippets of it until very recently. I sure wasn't copying you. I can't wait to find out about the parallels. The titles of my later stories must tell you a lot, but I hope you'll keep on with it chapter by chapter. And I'll get along back to yours.
HW
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Keays

Keays

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptyMon Feb 10, 2014 8:17 pm

Of course you weren't copying me!  You wrote your story before I wrote TOF, and I hadn't read yours before.  I am reading it chapter by chapter as you re-post as I don't have time to read more than that at once.  Just like yourself; I'm busy continuing on with my own story.

I just thought it funny that we both pushed the boys in direction they would never have gone in if not for an unfortunate incident. Now I'll shut up before I give too much of my story away.
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HelenWest

HelenWest

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PostSubject: Not Again! Revised chapter 12   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySat Feb 15, 2014 7:35 pm

As the clear, cold, October dawn woke him the next morning, the Kid looked over at Cat. She looked back with anxiety in her blue eyes. “Jed, you be extra nice to Heyes. This is a big day for him.”

Jed nodded as he stroked Cat’s long, blonde hair. “I know it, honey. That doctor just better be able to help him! Heyes is . . . was . . . the talkingest man I ever met in all my born days. I’ve told you that. You just got to hear him – one of these days. Maybe he is a genius. Talks like it. With all he’s been thinking and can’t be saying, he must be about to bust.”

Cat got up and started to brush out her hair as they talked. She looked back over her shoulder. “I would love to hear Heyes talk more than about anything. But Doctor Leutze didn’t promise anything.”

The Kid was pulling on his pants. “Except hard work. Heyes don’t generally like hard work any more than I do. But for this, I can’t see him slacking off none. He don’t like to get up early, but he was stirring around before you opened your eyes.” Cat smiled to herself. Since he and his partner had come to Christy’s Place, Kid Curry had done plenty of hard work. Every day he was cutting wood, clearing snow, hauling groceries, wiping glasses, making decisions, and keeping the peace in the saloon – without a word of complaint. He had his own motivations to work hard.

As they dressed and headed downstairs to get breakfast, Cat and Curry could see that they were both right. In fact, they could smell it and hear it. Things were going on in the kitchen before Cat got there. When Cat and Jed got to the kitchen, Heyes looked sheepishly over his shoulder at them from the stove. The so-called lazy former outlaw was busily frying bacon and scrambling eggs. He had coffee going already. He hadn’t been able to wait for anyone else to cook for him.

“Good morning, Heyes!” said Cat. “Thanks for getting breakfast going. Let me take over from you so you can sit and eat. I surely do hope things go well with the doctor.”

Heyes shrugged, trying to pretend that he wasn’t excited about the day. But the burning intensity of his eyes betrayed him even as he sat down to eat breakfast.

Before his friends had even finished eating, Heyes had gone to search out the doctor. He couldn’t wait to get started. Heyes’ work with the doctor surely would keep him busy while he was waiting to hear back from the mathematics professor in New York.


The Kid didn’t see his partner again for hour after hour. Food vanished from the kitchen around lunch time, but there was no sign of Heyes and only a glimpse of the doctor. The dinner hour came and went, and still no Heyes. Curry paced up and down outside Heyes’ room. Finally, a good hour after he and Cat had finished dinner and cleaned up, Jed saw Heyes coming up the stairs. Curry looked at his partner anxiously. Heyes was grey with weariness and his steps faltered as he got to the landing.

Curry was about to say, "Well?", when Heyes collapsed so suddenly that Curry hardly had time to leap forward and catch his partner before he hit the floor. Heyes woke up quickly and looked silently into his partner’s eyes. But he was utterly exhausted. And evidently worried. 

Heyes ate a late dinner on a tray, in silence, avoiding Curry's eyes. What on earth was the Doctor doing with Heyes, or to him? One thing was for sure – it was no use to ask Heyes. Curry was reluctant to ask the doctor. He didn't want to meddle. It was, after all, Heyes' health.

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The next day, at the end of the session before the regular dinner hour, Heyes looked nearly as exhausted, although he didn't fall off his feet. But he was just as silent. And the following day was the same. Heyes' eyes got duller and wearier with each session. But he didn't give up. He kept trying whatever it was they were doing, alone in the doctor’s hotel room, just the two of them. The Kid saw little of his partner. There just wasn’t much time for it, between the long sessions and when Heyes fell, exhausted and still silent, into bed each night.

Leutze came to Thaddeus in the hotel's back room during his lunch break on the fourth day. The doctor stroked his neat beard and thoughtfully said, "Now, Jones, I want to warn you. The emotional strain on an aphasia patient is terrible. Many feel they aren't even human if they can't talk. At first, they can't even think in words. It's terribly frustrating and confusing. To find the right way to think so they can deal with words again is so hard. It can be impossible. It just depends on what the physical damage to the brain really is.  There could be hope, or none. We can’t know. With Mr. Smith, I can’t be sure yet. But I start to think maybe . . ."

The doctor paused to take a bite of his sandwich, leaving the Kid hanging. Why couldn’t the man talk with his mouth full? Finally, the doctor swallowed his bite and continued, “But if we do start to make progress, try not to get too excited. Your emotional reaction could make it much worse – it could cause a lot more pressure on Smith. Don’t make a big deal when – if - he can say a word or two. Some people can get back a word or two and never get any more. Ever. So don't get your hopes up too much and don't get too excited if anything does happen."

Curry couldn't contain his curiosity any longer, "But what're you doing with Smith, Doc.? That first night – did you know he collapsed? He fell right into my arms – out cold! What kind of 'work' does that to a man?"

The doctor shook his head regretfully. "Hard work, Mr. Jones. It takes the most intense concentration – a unique kind of mental work. He has to try to find those places in his mind again where the words are, as the bruising starts to clear up and maybe give him access. The old automatic thought process is gone, at least for now. He has to find it again – if he can. I can’t prove that what I do even helps that process, but at least we’re trying. Without guidance, some people with injuries or strokes just give up on talking because the healing takes longer than they know. Your partner refuses to give up.

It is exhausting work. You know how, when you've been thinking hard, trying hard to solve a problem, you can suddenly realize how tired you are after only an hour, or even a few minutes? Consider what it would be like doing that for hours on end. I keep trying to stop Smith from doing too much, but he just refuses to stop work until he's too tired to possibly go on any longer. If I won't work with him, he tries on his own. So I don't have much choice but to stay and guide him. I just hope he doesn't do any lasting damage to himself – or to me. It's hard for me, too – but nothing like it is for him!"

Curry shook his head and swallowed hard. Heyes had always been an impressive guy, at least in some ways, to his younger cousin. Of course the Kid was reluctant to tell her partner this. Now Jed Curry could start to appreciate that in one of Heyes' darkest hours, he was putting up the bravest fight of his life.

When Heyes came through the back room that evening, late for dinner again, Curry was waiting for him. It was hard for the Kid to look like he was only casually interested in how his partner was, but he tried. He pretended to be going over the account book and just looked over his shoulder to ask, "You getting anywhere, Heyes?"

Several long, silent seconds went by. Curry couldn't turn away from the struggle visible in Heyes' features.

Then, a low, hoarse voice came, with a visible effort: "Yes." The man’s dark eyes were blank with emotional exhaustion.

The Kid caught his breath. He had thought he might never hear his partner's voice again. And now he wasn't supposed to react? Heyes could talk! He absolutely couldn't believe that "Yes" was the only word his partner would ever say. He would be the old silver-tongued Heyes again, the Kid was sure of it. Curry took his partner's hand in a congratulatory handshake, but didn't say a word. Heyes closed his eyes and turned away in shame at his continuing weakness, but turned back with a look of determined hope.

The next day a letter arrived from New York for Dr. Leutze. He broke off his work with Joshua and went to gather Joshua, Thaddeus, Cat, and Dr. Grauer in his room to share the contents of the letter. The Kid joined Heyes in the room, while Dr. Leutze was still down the street fetching his fellow doctor.

As Curry entered the doctor’s room, unsure who all was there already, he heard a soft, hoarse, unfamiliar voice say, “Hi.” The Kid tried not to start too hard. It was Heyes speaking. He must have recovered that brief syllable just that morning.

“Hello, partner,” said the Kid, trying with only fair success to sound as if hearing his partner speak was still an everyday thing. He couldn’t suppress a broad smile.

Before Curry could say anything else, the two doctors came into the room followed by Cat. They gathered around Dr. Leutze, who sat in an armchair. Dr. Leutze unfolded the letter. “It’s from Dr. Homer in New York,” said Leutze happily. “He confirms that Joshua Smith’s formula that we sent for the volume of a dodecahedron is exactly right – every number and every sign. He had no trouble with the alternate signs you used in place of letters, Joshua. They’re clear enough. And the calculations that you used to figure out the formula – well, he terms them ‘eccentric,’ but he says they are perfectly correct. Good work, Joshua!” The New York doctor gladly shook his patient’s hand.

“That’s amazing!” exclaimed Dr. Grauer. “Absolutely amazing! If the equations are eccentric, they must all really be his own – not remembered from anywhere.”

Dr. Leutze was increasingly excited. “That is just stunning. I can't believe it. With almost no training, he can do this. You’re a mathematical genius, Smith!"

“Sure sounds like it! You’re a cowboy genius!” laughed Dr. Grauer, leaning over to shake Joshua’s hand himself.

Heyes flashed a sparkling grin at his doctors and his partner and Cat. Heyes tried to say something, but all he could get out was "t – t - t." Heyes went from blushing in triumph to blushing in shame and looked at the floor with both fists clasped to his head in frustration.

But the Kid didn't skip a beat. He had guessed what Heyes would want to say right now. "Yeah," said Curry just as if his partner had spoken a sentence, "You did tell me so. Over and over. For years. Alright, so you're a genius. Big deal."

Curry folded his arms and looked peeved. Both doctors and Cat laughed at the mock-solemn Thaddeus. Heyes laughed, too - the booming laugh that Curry hadn't heard in so very long. Curry found himself laughing, too. He just couldn't stay mad at Heyes; not when the news was so good.
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Keays

Keays

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Age : 62
Location : Camano Island Washington

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Feb 16, 2014 8:25 am

That's kind of nice for Heyes to have his genius intellect finally being confirmed.  Now he really is going to be insufferable.  Looks like he's well on his way to healing, especially when it's someone like Heyes who just doesn't give up.

Obviously Jed and Cat are moving ahead in their relationship.  It'll be interesting to see where that goes once Heyes is doing better.  Is this going to be where their partnership goes through some changes?  It's bound to happen sooner or later.

This chapter ended far too soon; I haven't finished my morning coffee yet!  Now I have to go and try to find something else to read.  Looking forward to your next posting.
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HelenWest

HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Feb 16, 2014 2:01 pm

Hi Keays!
Sorry it was so short - next few are as well. But I'll flesh them out some. Try to get you through that coffee! Yes, Heyes will be insufferable - but not with only two words under his belt. Life is still hard.
HW
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HelenWest

HelenWest

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PostSubject: Not Again! Revised chapter 13   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Feb 16, 2014 8:01 pm

Or was the news all good? It wasn’t long before Curry was starting to wonder.

After their little meeting, the Doctor, who begged off to catch up with his paperwork from his clinic – and honestly, to rest. Heyes walked into the bar to celebrate. There was a little swagger back in his stride and his gun was back on his hip. He kept his face straight and tried to stay casual, despite his recent triumphs. He couldn’t exactly brag about them yet. The Kid went behind the bar to help Joe the bartender with the afternoon rush. Heyes leaned on the bar. He snapped his fingers and pointed to one of the beer taps. Curry stifled a smile – Heyes wasn’t going to make a wrong move and go for whiskey now that things were starting to break his way. And besides, his watchful partner was behind the bar.

“Hi, Joshua,” said Joe as he brought the darker of the two partners a frothy beer. He expected, as usual from the silent Smith, no more reply than a nod.

But Heyes’ lips opened. He was going to reply with one of his new words. Joe, who had heard about the therapy going on, looked on in eager expectation.

But nothing came out of Heyes’ mouth except a breath. The Kid looked at his partner in distress, but quickly looked away. He remembered what Dr. Leutze had said about putting pressure on the patient. Heyes began to breathe a little hard and finally shook his head. His new word had deserted him again.


“What is it, Jones?” asked Joe in concern.

“Nothing, Joe,” said Curry with soft urgency. The portly bartender glanced at his colleague. Seeing his serious face, he quickly stopping trying to question Joshua Smith. He would learn more later, when the man himself wasn’t standing, sweating, at the bar across from him.
Peggy came up behind the man she had spent so much time with before she had gone back east to visit her mother. “Joshua!” she cried. “I got back day before yesterday, but I ain’t seen you at all. Thaddeus says a doctor’s helping you.” Heyes turned to her and smiled. She gave him a fond kiss. Heyes put his arm around her and returned her kiss, but she could tell something was wrong.

Joshua turned to Peggy and tried to greet her with one of his new words. She looked at him, feeling the tense struggle within her lover as he tried to speak.

Again, Heyes couldn’t manage to say his word, or even to make a sound. Heyes glanced helplessly between Peggy and his partner. The silent outlaw was sweating even more. Peggy ran a hand through his hair and murmured, “Ah, honey!” She felt for him, but her obvious sympathy didn’t help. Heyes turned away from his lover in shame and dropped his arm suddenly from around her waist. Peggy looked at Joshua Smith in confusion.

“Just let him be, Peggy,” said Curry. “Give him some air.” Peggy touched Joshua’s hand delicately, but he didn’t respond. She walked away to find another customer who would buy her a drink with better grace. She had no allusions about the depth of Joshua’s feelings for her. If he wasn’t up for her company right now, so be it. There was always time later.

“It’s alright, Joshua,” said Curry. “Don’t worry. It’ll get better - you know it will if you keeping working so hard. You gotta’ be patient. Let me get a beer. Table three’s open.”

Heyes shook his head and walked to the back rooms, leaving his beer unfinished at the bar. Curry didn’t follow him. As he had said, his partner needed some air. He also needed to find his doctor. A gentle session followed that afternoon, but Heyes was still silent and concerned at dinner. Obviously, this recovery wasn’t going to be totally smooth and easy. And it certainly wasn’t going to be fast.

The following morning Leutze came to Thaddeus and Joshua and Cat, who were gathered in the kitchen to clean up after serving breakfast to the hotel denizens. The New York doctor looked sorry to tell them, "Wonderful as it has been to work with you, Mr. Smith, I simply must return to my practice in New York. There are patients there waiting for me. They've already waited more than a week past when I told them I would return. They'll be losing progress if I don't get back to them very soon."

Heyes, Curry, and Cat all looked stricken. Realistically, they had known that Dr. Leutze could not stay long in Louisville working with Heyes. But how could they give up when Heyes had just started to get better?

Dr. Leutze smiled uncertainly at Joshua and asked, "Mr. Smith, would you consider going to New York City with me? I would be glad to add you as a patient at my clinic for aphasia patients. I'm sure I can get funding to support your treatment. You are doing so well, so quickly, and you are clearly so promising. It really should be easy to convince one or more of my regular supporters to give the necessary funds not just for treatment but for room and board and other expenses. You would have nothing to worry about except for your work to get better. Will you think about it, Mr. Smith? I don't know how long it will take, and I can't guarantee anything, but will you come and try?"

Heyes looked back and forth between Dr. Leutze and the Kid and Cat in open desperation. New York City? Could he go there without the Kid? He couldn't ask the Kid to leave Cat and go to New York City, could he? In the great eastern city, after all, they had wanted posters and law men just like they did in the West. And what would the Kid do in New York? He couldn't just hang around looking after Heyes. He had to make a living, which he could do in relative safety at Christy's Place. With Sheriff Wilde perhaps winking at their wanted status, since he had seen the two men enough to recognize them and yet had never turned them in, the Kid might be safe in Louisville. But in New York? And Cat had her home and business in Louisville – she couldn't just pick up and leave. And it was becoming increasingly clear that Cat Christy was part of the package with the Kid, now, almost the way Heyes had been for so long.

But for Heyes to leave the Kid and go to someplace so strange and so far away? To be alone when he was so vulnerable? To leave the one man who understood him even without words? Heyes really was frightened. They could see that in his wide eyes as he looked back and forth between the Kid and Leutze. He was desperate to work with Dr. Leutze and get better, but he was just plain scared to go on his own. No one in New York would, or could, know who Heyes was. No one knew when he would be able to tell anyone. Until then, at least, he would be truly alone.

The Kid looked into his partner’s eyes and read the questions there. "Joshua," she said. "You have to do it. I can't come. The doctor's supporters won't be paying for me – I can't ask that." Heyes nodded – he understood. He still looked stricken, but he understood. "But if Dr. Leutze can get the money to treat you and put you up in New York, you have to go with him. You've got to! You've got to learn how to talk again! You can't let anything stop you."


Heyes had at first had the instinctive reaction that he couldn't leave the Kid; he had always felt that he took care of his younger cousin. But rationally, he knew that as he was, he couldn't take care of anyone – not even himself. So his leaving would be no hardship for the Kid, except that Heyes guessed his partner would miss him. He sure would miss the Kid! And he would miss Cat, who had become almost part of the family in the last several weeks.

Heyes turned to the Kid with the question in his eyes – was the Kid really sure? Their eyes met and they were sure. Heyes turned to Dr. Leutze and shook his hand.
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Keays

Keays

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Feb 16, 2014 8:18 pm

Well short but sweet.  The story moves ahead and Heyes is off to New York.  A new era begins!
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HelenWest

HelenWest

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PostSubject: Re: Not Again!   Not Again! - Page 2 EmptySun Feb 16, 2014 9:55 pm

A new era, indeed. A long journey, including a key part of water, as a fortune teller might put it. Can you guess why I chose Leutze for the doctor's name? A bit of symbolism. Think of a famous painting at the Met.

The chapters tend to get longer as they go. Yours start off long!
HW
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