Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - revised chapters
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|Subject: Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - revised chapters Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:48 pm|| |
Hannibal Heyes goes to New York follows Not Again! in my cycle of stories. I am revising the original chapters, sometimes slightly and sometime more radically, but without ever changing the original plot.
Posts : 1545
Join date : 2013-09-09
Age : 59
Location : West of the Mississippi
|Subject: Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - Revised chapter 1 Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:51 pm|| |
This story follows Not Again! I appreciate all your great support and questions. Kid fans, I confess – this is a Heyes story. But hang in there – the Kid gets some of the best scenes. Cat Christy is back, too. This story is, again, dedicated with love and gratitude to the teachers out there.
I want to repeat my important disclaimer about aphasia, which is what Heyes suffers from here after a gunshot wound to the head suffered in the previous story, Not Again! I have invented symptoms and treatments to suit my own dramatic needs - nothing medical in this story is accurate. This is a very real and serious ailment and I have no intention of making light of it in any way. Also, of course, I apologize for borrowing these characters that other people invented and I have merely enjoyed.
At 10:00 on a cold, bright October morning, Heyes went downstairs at Christy's Hotel in Louisville, Colorado. The retired outlaw was all packed and dressed in his best brown suit. He was carrying his heaviest coat and his carpet bag for the train ride east to New York City. Curry was carrying Heyes' crammed saddle bags. Kid didn't have to look hard to see that his partner was nervous, with his jaw tight and his eyes bright with anxiety. The Kid didn't blame him for being worried. Heyes was without a gun on his hip, without his silver tongue, without his partner, and headed for a place that was utterly strange to him.
Thin, gray, Dr. Grauer had come to say good-bye. “Mr. Smith,” he said, with an emphasis on the name that made Heyes wonder how much the man had figured out, “I wish you the very best in New York. I know you’ll get well, with all the work you’re putting in. Dr. Leutze speaks very highly of your determination. And your intellectual gifts. It’s no surprise to me. We shall miss you very much in Louisville. I hope you can come back and see us now and then.”
Heyes wanted very much to say something, but he knew he couldn’t. The silent outlawed man could only nod and shake the doctor’s hand. This man had saved his life, and then looked after Heyes ever since.
More friends than he ever knew he had in this little town were gathering to bid Mr. Joshua Smith farewell. Heyes smiled more and more widely, his dimple deepening as he shook hands with the bar tender and piano player and kissed all the saloon girls good-bye. It was a happy surprise for Heyes, as shy as he had become since the shooting, to realize how much all of these people cared about him, and how much he really cared about them. The saloon girls and other employees were all so enthusiastic in wishing him luck and saying how much they would miss him. There were customers there, too, including men Heyes had beaten badly at poker. But they actually liked him! It just hadn't occurred to Heyes before that moment that anyone at Christy's place, other than the Kid and Cat and Peggy, and the Doctor down the street, had really paid him any mind. This was the largest group of people outside of the outlaw trade who had ever liked, or even known, Heyes since he had been a boy at school. Some of the saloon girls even tried to get back in line to get a second kiss – Heyes' charms were not lost on them. Heyes knew that he would, indeed, miss all of these new friends. He wished that he could tell them how much they meant to him, and most of all that he could properly thank them. After all, they had all given up $10,000.00 to keep him free, when he couldn't even speak to them. That would be $20,000 if you included the share on his partner. He was already thinking about when he could come back and see them all. Maybe at Christmas?
As he stood by the door, ready to button up his coat and pick up his bags, Heyes took Cat's hand to say his silent good-bye. But the slender golden-haired young woman threw her arms around his neck and gave him a proper hug and kiss. "Come back soon, Joshua. Don't you dare stay too long in New York! Work hard, but come back. Don't wait to get your speech perfect. Just come back as soon as you can. We're going to miss you so much every day. The Kid and I need you – just you come back soon!" Heyes nodded and nodded in answer to her repeated pleas. He blinked hard and wished desperately that he could properly thank her. He would absolutely not have been alive and free without her help. Or as free as a silent man could be.
Peggy the saloon girl who was closest to Heyes was there, too. Despite their cool parting of the night before, he relented and held the quiet little woman in his arms and kissed her thoroughly. As he let her go, she grabbed onto his coat and he kissed her again. As he turned at last to go, he put a little piece of folded up paper into her hand. As Heyes went out the hotel's front door, Peggy opened the paper that Joshua had given her. She saw that it said "2-1=1".
She showed it to Cat in puzzlement. Cat said "I guess that's closest he can get to good-bye, Peggy." Peggy snuffled into her handkerchief and ran up the hotel steps. The relationship between Peggy and Heyes had never been more than physical. She knew well that they had no future together. But she did like him.
As Heyes and the Kid and Dr. Leutze started off, Heyes looked back at Cat, who came out the door to watch him off. She stood just outside the door shivering in the mountain autumn air. He gave her a broad wink and a grin. She wiped her eyes and waved her handkerchief at the departing former outlaw. Maybe he really would be alright, as she had told the Kid that he would.
Heyes and the Kid walked slowly and thoughtfully to the Louisville station with Dr. Leutze. Curry was wearing his old blood-stained shearling coat. Heyes had his old saddle bags over his shoulder and the infamously lost carpet bag in his hand, but he had no reason to bring his rifle or his saddle or his bedroll. This was going to be a different trip than any he had ever taken. There would be no riding a horse on the other side, no camping out in the desert, no small western town, no swinging doors, no dusty hotel rooms. His partner wouldn't be at his side. But Dr. Leutze would be there; that was what counted. The only man on the North American continent who had any real chance of helping Heyes would be taking him to where he could get well again.
The three men stood awkwardly as they waited for the train, Leutze being careful to leave the two partners some space as they awaited a long parting for the first time in many years. As the train east pulled in, right on time, Curry shook Dr. Leutze's hand and wished him luck. Heyes shook the Kid's hand awkwardly. There wouldn't have been words for what he needed to say even if he could have spoken perfectly.
"Joshua, you're gonna be just fine. You know that!" said Curry, his voice hoarse. "You'll be back here in no time, talking a blue streak just like you used to. Maybe I won't complain about it like I used to. I want to hear all about what you see when you get past the Mississippi!" Heyes nodded and tried to smile, but the Kid saw the scared look in his partner's brown eyes.
Heyes mimed writing and looked at the Kid, who nodded and said, "Sure, I'll write to you! When you can, you just got to write back!" Heyes grabbed the Kid in a hard bear hug – no need for a bounty hunter to make him do it.
As the two men stepped apart and the train pulled in, Heyes looked anxiously at the Kid. It had finally penetrated the silent man's mind – he was really leaving not only the Kid, but the West that was all he had ever known. He really couldn't speak, for practical purposes, at all. His two words failed him when he tried to say them to anyone but the Doctor and the Kid. Good-bye and thank-you, the words he needed most right now, were not in his vocabulary even to the Kid. Heyes really was gambling everything on a stranger who didn't even know who he was. The Kid wished he could do something more helpful than to clap his frightened partner on the back and then wave good-bye.
As the train pulled away, the Kid found it unutterably strange to stand there all alone in the cold mountain autumn. He trudged back to Christy's place, looking down and scuffing his boots in the dust of the unpaved street. He didn't look up to see the magnificent snow-capped mountains that surrounded the little town.
Cat was waiting near the door for the Kid, shivering under a wool shawl. She ignored the fact that Jed was blowing his cold-reddened nose more than the frigid weather could account for. Jed put his arm around her and they walked in the door together. Just as the bat-wing doors closed behind them, the Kid turned to look over his shoulder. He saw a thin stream of smoke vanishing into the distance and heard the train whistle echoing off of the mountain sides.
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|Subject: Re: Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - revised chapters Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:03 pm|| |
HW, I could feel the emptiness in these two men as they separated. They have depended on each other so much for their very survival, it must feel like a limb is missing for them to be apart. Great beginning for this next part of the story.
"If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning." Mae West
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|Subject: Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - Revised chapter 2 Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:25 pm|| |
As Heyes and the doctor went to find seats together in the train, Heyes looked down most of the time. Dr. Leutze noticed that his new patient seemed suddenly terribly shy. He barely glanced up to see what seats were empty and to avoid running into people. The medical man realized that this first venture among large numbers of strangers away from the familiar poker table was a serious trial to his patient. He hoped the man’s silent state would be temporary, but there was no way to be sure of that. Smith might have to deal with this disability for the rest of his life; this wasn’t a promising beginning. Every new face they passed evoked from Smith a tight-lipped reaction that the doctor recognized as poorly hidden fear. Smith was not just uncertain and reluctant, but really afraid. Most people would not have recognized it, but the doctor had seen it too often from his patients. Fortunately, the pair soon found a pair of seats together. Heyes was relieved that they were not facing anyone – their seats gave them a fine view of the backs of two middle-aged men’s heads and necks. Heyes insisted on taking the seat nearest the window, where he would be less exposed to the gazes of their fellow passengers.
“Are you alright?” asked the doctor his patient in a whisper, trying to avoid further embarrassing this proud man. Heyes nodded, but it was a silent lie. His anxiety was palpable. The doctor could smell his sweat, although it was cold and drafty in the train. Smith mostly looked out the window in a determined way, looking into the car only briefly to sneak surreptitious peeks at anyone who entered the train car. When he did look into the car, he kept one hand near his mouth, hiding the distinctive dimple that was described all too well on the latest wanted poster for Hannibal Heyes.
The doctor, unaware of his patient's real name and wanted status, was naturally puzzled by this behavior. "What's wrong, Smith?" Leutze asked softly, when no one else was near. "I know you don't like strangers to know you can't talk, but why are you so bothered about their seeing you? No one's going to hurt you – easterners are people, too!" Heyes gave the doctor a startled look – he hadn't realized his fears were so obvious. He tried to behave more normally, but it was hard.
From Heyes' point of view, of course, his avoidance of any interaction with people on the train made perfect sense. He was uneasy about meeting strangers for a number of reasons – sheer human embarrassment being the least of them. As a wanted man whose speaking companion didn’t even know who he really was, he was in a terribly vulnerable position. Should any threat arise, there would be little Heyes could do and no one who would understand enough to help him. But there was no denying it, being unable to speak was unendingly embarrassing. Some people thought the silent man was merely shy, but others had much more insulting reactions.
When they had been riding for over an hour, Dr. Leutze said, “Pardon me, Smith. I’ll go get us something to eat. There’s a girl selling snacks a couple of cars along, I think.” While he was gone, Heyes spotted a pretty blonde girl of perhaps twenty was sitting across the aisle from the doctor’s seat. She was showing off a fashionable pink dress and an elegant hat. After they had ridden for a few minutes in silence, the girl across the aisle glanced in his direction. The reformed outlaw couldn’t help trying out his famous smile on her. The girl smiled back fetchingly, but she didn’t say a word. Heyes, being almost totally unused to polite society, was momentarily puzzled. Then, with a terrible sinking feeling, he realized why she wouldn’t speak. He, as the man, had to speak first. A proper lady couldn’t speak to a man who hadn’t been introduced to her. Her flirting smile began to fade and she looked away. She knew no explanation for why this nice looking man wouldn’t speak to her other than that he was rude or stupid. When she glanced in his direction, he pointed at his mouth and shook his head. The girl, naturally, looked puzzled. Then she looked away. Heyes didn’t know if she had figured out his simple mimed statement or not. Whether she was nonplussed by communication that meant nothing to her, or simply uninterested in a severely handicapped man, she ignored him now.
Heyes sighed and went back to looking out the window, his heart in his shoes. Why had he ever thought he could communicate with any stranger now? He felt at least as rejected as if she had physically slapped his face. He felt even worse when another man, passing down the aisle, easily fell into conversation with the pretty blonde. It was as if a man who couldn’t talk simply didn’t exist. Considering how long Heyes had been trying in vain to elude the wrong kind of attention, it was terribly ironic how much total inattention bothered him. Sometimes Heyes felt excluded by the whole human race.
Dr. Leutze was still away from his seat, taking far longer than made any sense for simply buying snacks. Heyes began to worry. The conductor came around checking tickets. Heyes looked for his ticket, but quickly realized that Dr. Leutze had inadvertently taken both tickets with him. "May I see your ticket, please sir?" the tall, haughty man in the blue uniform asked Heyes. The former outlaw made a show of looking for his ticket and being unable to find it. He shook his head.
"Then where are you bound, sir?" asked the conductor. Heyes was helpless – he couldn't say the words he needed, he couldn't write them, and he didn't have anything printed that he could even hold up that said New York. He just shook his head, then stared at the conductor and blinked. The ex-law’s usual easy aplomb had completely deserted him.
The conductor impatiently asked again, "Where are you going! Where's your ticket." Heyes shook his head and turned away to avoid the angry man's eyes. The conductor touched him on the shoulder and asked him again, now more slowly and loudly. He repeated the question again, yet more slowly and loudly. Heyes tried to get up to see if he could find the doctor and get out of this predicament, but the conductor grabbed his shoulder and forced him back into his seat. People around the car were starting to stare and murmur, the blonde girl among them.
"God damn it!" thought Heyes, starting to panic "Where's the doctor? I feel like a total idiot! What if that stupid conductor thinks I'm a stowaway and calls the law on me?"
"Are you deaf?" shouted the conductor, uselessly. After all, a deaf man would have been unable to hear him. Heyes shook his head and stared at the man, holding out his hands to indicate that he was helpless. "Do you speak English?" asked the ever more furious conductor insultingly slowly and loudly. Heyes nodded.
"Do you understand me?" Heyes nodded more emphatically.
"Then why won't you answer me, you idiot?" The word "idiot" seemed to echo around the train car as riders repeated it, sure it was true. The humiliated Heyes moved to the seat by the aisle and began to stand up. As he was drawing back his fist, Dr. Leutze came back, dashing down the train aisle just in time to put out his hand to stop Heyes from punching the train conductor.
Leutze was embarrassingly apologetic, "I'm so sorry, Joshua. I met an old friend, a fellow doctor, and we got to talking. I'm sorry to leave you along for so long."
Dr. Leutze addressed the conductor, "How can I help you sir?"
"Where are you and this damn idiot going? Where are your tickets!" asked the conductor in rude, jeering tones.
"Here are our tickets. Will you please apologize to my friend Mr. Smith?!" The doctor was really angry now, and the conductor was taken aback. "He's nearer a genius than an idiot – he just happens to be unable to speak because of a severe injury. Please apologize to him! You are very rude and insulting and I will report this to your superiors!" Heyes wished he could vanish into thin air – this was almost as bad as being taken for an idiot.
"I'll not apologize to any idiot!" exclaimed the conductor and stroke away out of the train car.
"Joshua, I can't tell you how sorry I am!" said the Doctor softly. "I'm mortified that you were exposed to that verbal assault. I don't blame you for wanting to hit him! Here, let me give you something that might help. I know it's embarrassing to use, but it's better than nothing, if this happens again."
Leutze sorted through his bag and found a little silver box of cards the size of calling cards. He sorted through them to find the one he wanted, which he handed to Joshua to keep. It read: "I have been injured and am unable to speak or write. I can hear and I understand English." Heyes looked at the card with horror, but he accepted it. It was humiliating, but it might help him out of hard situations. He tucked the awful card away in his coat pocket and hoped he wouldn't need it. But he knew that he would.
Yet even this confrontation with a rude stranger was nothing compared to what worried Heyes the most. His greatest fear was the very real possibility of meeting someone who knew him. He had ridden all over the West and met countless people. It would be deeply embarrassing to meet a casual friend, a former lover, even an old friend. It could be disastrous, even fatal for him to meet a sheriff, deputy, bounty hunter, detective, or rival outlaw – anyone who recognized him and was willing to use their knowledge against him. Even if such a person failed to kill or arrest Heyes, he could cost the mute man any chance of ever speaking more than a word or two ever again by revealing his true identity to the doctor. Now that Heyes was away from the security of Christy's place and the Kid's protective presence, he no longer felt at all sure that Dr. Leutze would be willing to treat a notorious outlaw for aphasia. He surely was glad that the Kid had refused to tell Leutze who his partner was.
Without the Kid at his side or his gun on his hip, it was very unlikely, Heyes hoped, that anyone who didn't actually know him would spot him just from the wanted dead or alive posters. But anyone who actually did recognize him would certainly be a real problem.
The Kid had always thought that his partner tended to look on the bright side of everything even when they were in the greatest danger. Heyes did tend to literally smile in the face of peril. The Kid said that having things go well made Heyes nervous. Actually, having things go well just bored Heyes and got on his nerves. The safe-cracking outlaw tended to look on the dark side of things – and to take a fiendish delight in it. The greater the problems facing him, the greater the high Heyes got from successfully defeating them. He had nearly complete confidence in his gifts and loved putting them to the test. Be it blowing a safe or conning a sheriff, the heart-pounding sense of danger and the dizzying relief of defeating it was a familiar emotional roller coaster ride. It gave Heyes a gambler's rush that was addicting. But now, with so many of his normal advantages cancelled out, and the Kid more miles behind all the time, Heyes felt utterly incapable of dealing with danger or even minor challenges. The thrill wasn't working anymore. His old habit of counting up problems to be surmounted left him feeling not excited but hopeless and vulnerable to countless fears.
Heyes dodged people as well as he could, getting the doctor to buy food for him and to deal with conductors – especially the one who had been so offensive. But some things Heyes had to do for himself. Later that day, during a stop at a station, Heyes was standing in line to get to the wash room. The man behind him, growing bored, asked, “Where are you from?”
Heyes turned to look at the man and shook his head.
The smiling blonde stranger behind him chuckled, “Come on, brother, you must be from someplace.”
Heyes’ eyes fell. He reached for the first time into his breast pocket and produced the awful card that explained his condition – that he was injured and unable to speak or write. He gestured to the still ugly scar on his left temple.
The blonde man’s smile faded. “Oh, sorry Mister. That’s too bad. Must be hard to get along.”
Heyes nodded and turned away. The pity in the stranger’s eyes cut worse than any knife. Heyes had never been so relieved to get to the head of a line.
Heyes settled down some as the train went east, moving away from the areas where the reformed outlaw felt he was most likely to meet people who would recognize him. But even as the train left Chicago to the west, Heyes looked up and straight into the angry sneer of One-ear Carver, the notorious Montana outlaw. Carver and Heyes had had more than one very nasty run-in years before in Wyoming. They absolutely did not like each other. The hideously disfigured Carver was making his way down the train aisle, coming closer and closer to Heyes. The unshaven murderer's right hand started to move toward the gun on his hip as he recognized his old rival. Carver was the kind of man who would not hesitate to shoot a man dead and then jump off the train to avoid arrest. In fact, Heyes had seen him do it. When Heyes looked up and saw Carver he nearly panicked. He surely wished that the Kid rather than Dr. Leutze was sitting next to him. But it suddenly occurred to Heyes that Carver would assume that the Kid was actually nearby, as he always had been.
Heyes glared malevolently at his old rival, who glowered evilly back. Then Heyes, without losing eye contact with Carver, used his left hand under his coat to make the tongue of his belt click against his buckle. Heyes saw Carver jump at the tiny, metallic sound. To the suggestive mind, it sounded amazingly like a gun being cocked. Heyes looked up and past Carver and allowed a slight relieved smile to cross his features. Carver's eyes shifted to the side, but he didn't dare to turn around to check whether the deadly gunman Kid Curry was in fact standing behind him with a cocked gun. He just hurried out of the train car and didn't return. Heyes exhaled in relief, hoping his old rival had jumped off the train. "You saved me again, Kid!" thought the Kid's partner in his enforced silence.
Dr. Leutze, who had observed this tense, silent exchange in wordless horror, quietly asked his new patient, "Was that an outlaw, a murderer?" Heyes nodded distractedly, trying to go back to looking out the window.
But Leutze wouldn't let him alone. He touched Heyes on the shoulder and asked in an uneasy whisper, "Do you know many men as dangerous as that one?"
Heyes looked at his dapper, eastern, doctor thoughtfully. Then he put his hands together and pointed them at the doctor like he was praying, then he held up five fingers. Heyes kept his face blank and watched the doctor carefully to see if he would get what was meant. The doctor took a few moments to solve this visual puzzle.
As he got it, he smiled and saw the answering sparkle in his patient's eyes, "Oh, I get it. You plead the fifth! Oh, very good!"
Heyes nodded and they both laughed aloud. But Heyes caught the Doctor looking at him cautiously after that, as if wondering exactly what kind of patient he had taken on.
Later that day when the doctor was off talking to his fellow doctor friend, Heyes lay down across their two seats. It was as relief to be able to change positions for a while. As he lay, Heyes began to doze. He woke suddenly when he felt something touch his foot and heard a voice say “Pardon me, sir.” Heyes pulled himself up suddenly to take his feet out of the way of a woman who had been trying to walk down the aisle. Heyes tipped his old black hat apologetically.
The young brunette woman smiled at Heyes. “I’m sorry to wake you, sir. The journey does get long.”
Heyes nodded. There was no one behind the young lady in the aisle, so she paused a moment to talk to the nice young man she had woken. “It gets lonely, too. Where are you bound, sir?”
Heyes had been trying desperately to avoid it, but he now felt that he had to pull out that awful card again. The young woman looked at it in dismay. “I’m very sorry for your trouble, sir. How long have you been without speech? Years?” Heyes shook his head.
“Months?” she asked. Heyes nodded and held up his index finger.
The friendly young lady was aghast. She carefully kept her voice low to avoid drawing attention to the wounded man. “Only one month? You could speak normally only a month ago?” Heyes nodded and pointed to the nasty scar on the left temple. He hated to be pitied, but at least the woman was willing to be flexible enough to have something approaching a conversation with him. The former outlaw was achingly hungry for communication with someone besides his sometimes tediously analytical doctor. This young woman might not be as pretty or as fashionably dressed as the arrogant blonde, but Heyes found her far more attractive.
“That must be a terribly difficult change to adjust to,” said the young lady, looking with empathetic anguish into Heyes’ eyes. Heyes shrugged, but then he nodded. Yes, now that he was having to be in public, the difficulties were harder for him by the day, not easier.
“Why do I get the impression that you weren’t one of those famously terse western men?” The brunette gave the silent man an engaging smile. Heyes shook his head with a self-conscious grin. No, Hannibal Heyes had certainly never been accused of being terse. The famous silver tongue seemed gone forever. The young woman recognized his pain. “No. You enjoyed a good conversation. I’m sorry to have to dominate this one.”
“Is there any chance that you might be able to regain your speech or writing or both?” asked the woman. Heyes nodded. At that point, a man was trying to go down the aisle, so Heyes’ new friend had to move away. But she waved back at him. Heyes waved at her sadly. Heyes hoped to see the woman again, but he guessed eventually that she had gotten to her destination. He did not see her pass by again.
The next day, Dr. Leutze saw another side of Heyes. A little boy, maybe six years old, who had been sitting with his parents on the opposite side of the train aisle came over to the dark, quiet man who had just woken up from a long nap under his old black hat. "What did you lose, Mr.?" Heyes looked at him with puzzlement. "Was it your words?" Heyes took a deep breath and nodded. The boy, he realized, had seen the look of loss in his eyes, and somehow understood, as no one else did. "I hope you get your words back soon, Mister. Bye-bye!" Then the boy went back to his seat, as Heyes waved to him. When the little boy and his parents got off the train at the next stop. Heyes waved out the window to the child. He sure hoped the boy would get his wish very soon.
When he wasn't dealing with fellow passengers, Heyes looked out the train window for other reasons than to avoid having people see him. He was headed to a place that had, in fact, always interested him. He was honestly curious about the country and towns they passed through. The long bridge over the massive, busy Mississippi river was a symbolic thrill – he was finally in the east, for the first time. Then they were back on a train, head into the rising sun. Heyes was fascinated by the green hills and the ever larger towns the train passed, every one new to the ex-outlaw. It seemed to him that the sky was getting smaller and the buildings were getting bigger.
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|Subject: Re: Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - revised chapters Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:09 pm|| |
Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York: Chapter 3 Revised
As they came to New York the train went into a long dark tunnel that seemed to go on for an hour. Heyes had never seen anything like it. His heart pounded in the darkness. New York City: whatever fate awaited him, to speak or be silent, it would come to him here. This city was totally strange to him, except the few things he had read about it. He knew it was big and full of people from all over the world. And they had lawmen here, too. They were policemen rather than sheriffs, but Heyes doubted that would help him much. He only hoped they wouldn’t think to look in New York City for one half of the most famous pair of outlaws left alive.
The train pulled out of a tunnel at last to emerge into the coal-dust-tinted New York City late afternoon sunshine, bringing the doctor and Heyes to the red brick towers of Grand Central Depot. It was far and away the biggest building Heyes had ever been in. At Heyes and the doctor got their luggage and climbed of the train, Heyes caught his breath. The platform was inside of easily the biggest room Heyes had ever seen or heard of. He was very conscious of trying not to gawp like a hick. But he couldn't help staring around at the teaming crowds streaming off of trains and pouring out onto the streets of the city. He had never seen so many people in his life and of so many different kinds. This city dwarfed Denver and San Francisco. Heyes just hoped no one would pick his pocket. It would be mighty embarrassing for the master thief to be robbed. He had no Kid here to watch his back.
The doctor put up a hand and expertly signaled to the first in a line of waiting hansom cabs. He steered Joshua into the shiny black vehicle drawn by a rough-coated chestnut. They sat in the little cab with their luggage overflowing across their laps and the driver perched above them on top of the roof. The briskly trotting horse pulled the doctor and his new patient along the crowded streets. The street stank with the leavings of countless horses. Ironically, they had far, far more horses here in this big city than in any place Heyes had ever seen out west. The former outlaw had to make an effort to restrain himself from leaning out and staring at all the cabs and carts and carriages and wagons crowding the noisy thoroughfare with their drivers yelling at one another fiercely. He was impressed by the many, many people crowding the sidewalks and how they all were in such a hurry. The buildings were all taller than he had ever seen before, although the great age of skyscrapers was still in the future.
Soon they arrived at a three-story brownstone building where they got out of the cab and Dr. Leutze tipped the driver. Heyes, luggage in hand, followed Dr. Leutze up a steep flight of stairs to the clinic on the second floor. Leutze introduced him to the receptionist. She was a pretty, smiling young blonde named Polly who made the reformed outlaw feel like an arriving celebrity. "How wonderful it is to have you here, Mr. Smith! Dr. Leutze wired us about you." Heyes could only give a brief, nervous grin in reply.
Polly wasn’t at all surprised that the man from the West couldn't speak to her. It was the first place Heyes had been in where they were used to people who couldn’t talk. A neatly suited elderly doctor named Goldstein warmly shook Joshua Smith's hand and welcomed him. Dr. Leutze then called over a Mr. Hamilton, a slender, dark-haired, middle-aged man who shook Mr. Smith's hand and didn't say a word. Heyes was startled to see the stark agony on Mr. Hamilton's otherwise normal, even handsome, face. God, what had happened to the man?! Then it hit Heyes. Of course – this was a patient – a fellow patient – who probably hadn't been there very long. Heyes wondered if his own eyes had that same terrible look of loss. It occurred to him that even when he shaved or combed his hair looking into a mirror, he had been avoiding looking into the reflection of his own eyes. He was sure that he did have a similar look – it was what the boy on the train had seen. Heyes tried to smile at his fellow patient, but Hamilton was already turning away to go into a therapy room.
A grey-haired elderly lady, who limped slightly, Emma Ross, had been there a year according to Dr. Leutze. Heyes guessed that she must have suffered what Dr. Leutze had told him was the most common cause of aphasia – a stroke. She looked to be in far less mental anguish than Hamilton, although the mark of her trouble was still there to be seen for one who knew how to look for it. She said, self-consciously, "Hello, meet, glad." Heyes soon learned that a lot of aphasia patients had trouble getting their words into the right order.
Heyes choked out, "Hello" in response. It was the first word he had spoken, since the shooting, to anyone other than Dr. Leutze and the Kid. He had put hours of work into that word and was glad to have a good use for it to connect with this nice but troubled old lady.
Heyes felt disconcerted meeting Miss Warren, the plump, middle-aged tutor at the clinic. She looked at him so honestly. He felt as if she cut right past the usual verbal formulas and looked into his eyes with a directness he wasn't used to from anyone but the Kid. Heyes couldn't hide his fears and his pain behind a silent façade as he had most of the trip on the train, and even at Christy's place. Now he was in a world where people understood his loss and insecurity all too well.
"Welcome, Mr. Smith,” said Miss Warren. “Dr. Leutze tells me that you have special talents in mathematics. I look forward to working with you." Heyes found himself blushing when she smiled at him, and she wasn't even pretty.
Dr. Leutze called down the hall to a young man bounding up the stairs about three at a time. "Jim, come and meet the newest member of the 'club!' This is Joshua Smith. He's just come with me from Colorado. Joshua, meet Jim Smith. Jim came here for treatment, but he's done so well that he works for us now."
Jim was a short, slight young man with a mop of unruly black hair. His brown eyes were much like Heyes' eyes – or like they had used to be – flashing with wit and fun. Jim was several inches shorter and more than ten years younger than Heyes, but he bore himself proudly and stuck out his hand to take Heyes' hand without a trace of self-consciousness. Heyes felt more confident just being around this young man. He was glad to see a patient who had apparently recovered pretty well.
Even when Jim Smith spoke, although he stuttered in a furious fusillade of consonants, he seemed fully in charge. "H-h-hello Joshua! S-s-so w-w-we are both S-S-Smiths! Welcome to N-N-New York!" Heyes could easily see the source of his aphasia – Jim had old white scars all over his face, especially the left temple. His nose had been badly broken and not well repaired. It was a miracle he was still alive after the beating he had taken. Heyes tried to smile at the young New Yorker and wasn't sure how well he succeeded in that, and he did even less well in avoiding staring at the scars. "Yeah, S-S-Smith," said Jim, "The g-gangs here are p-p-p-pretty fierce, b-b-but I know my way around – now. H-h-how'd you get yours?" This was bold, indeed. No one else had been so prying as to ask what had happened to the new patient to deprive him of his ability to speak.
Heyes used his left hand to ruffle the still short hair over the long red scar while he mimed a gun with his right hand. "Whew! G-g-gun shot?" Heyes nodded, suppressing a grimace of distress. "G-g-guess you have your own gangs out th-th-there!" Heyes nodded grimly. Of course, he had been shot because the posse had wrongly assumed that Heyes was still leading the Devil's Hole Gang.
Dr. Leutze said, "Jim, I understand you have a spare bed in your room just now. Would you be willing to take Joshua in, at least until he gets settled? I have a feeling you two will get along. I met him at a poker table, Jim!" The doctor winked broadly at Jim, who arched his ragged eye brows with mock skepticism.
"Y-y-you don't snore, d-do you, S-s-smith?" asked Jim with pretended seriousness. Joshua shook his head. With Jim's bent nose Heyes bet the boy did snore, but the westerner was in no position to complain. He just needed a place to bed down. "O-K-K-Kay!" said Jim, "G-G-Get your stuff and we can go d-d-down there now. You c-c-can wash up, then we'll g-g-get some chow."
Heyes looked apprehensively at the Doctor. Leutze had said not to worry about money, that he would provide what was needed. Heyes had been paying his own way since he was just a small boy and it went against the grain that he would have to depend on charity. With his recent poker winnings, Heyes thought he might have more than enough in his pockets to take Jim out to dinner, as long as his taste wasn't too expensive. Heyes didn't know how high New York prices might be. And he wanted to save his cash for poker, if what the doctor had implied was true. Heyes hoped that he could win some pocket money from the local players. At least he wouldn't have to be so careful of giving away his identity by doing too well, like he did out west. But Heyes would have to either learn to speak at least a little, or to teach someone else his poker hand signals. Oh, how he would miss the Kid!
A smiling but silent, stout, middle-aged man in a spotless suit helped Heyes to take his luggage back down stairs. Dr. Leutze greeted the man warmly as Sam, and explained to Joshua that Sam, like Jim, was a patient as well as an employee. Clearly, this patient wasn't making much headway – he couldn't speak a single word and even seemed a bit hazy on understanding speech, since Dr. Leutze mostly used gestures to communicate with him. “We give jobs to as many patients without outside income as we can,” explained said Dr. Leutze. “It helps to pay for the cost of treatment and gives them something productive to do when they aren’t getting treatment.” Heyes wondered if they would find him something to do, and what it would be. He would be happy to do almost anything if it would help him to avoid taking so much of the good doctor's charity. Hard on the back or not, a job would be mighty welcome.
Heyes joined Jim on the sidewalk outside the clinic. The young New Yorker glanced curiously at Heyes' saddlebags, but didn't ask any questions. They were soon weaving their way through the crowds and vendors on the dirty sidewalks and street of the teaming ghetto where Jim's rooming house was, a few blocks south of the clinic. Heyes could feel himself staring as he got his first sight of orthodox Jewish men in black suits, tall hats, prayer shawls, prayer locks, and long beards. The women wore shawls or wigs over their hair and looked after skinny kids. Vendors sold an array of fruit, furniture, cooking utensils, and other goods from little carts. All were speaking rapidly in an unfamiliar language. Joshua raised his eyebrows to imply a question. "That's Y-Yiddish th-they're speaking, J-J-Joshua. Th-that's wh-what J-J-Jews speak." Heyes nodded his thanks for this information. They had arrived at Hester Street - the heart of Jewish New York. Heyes didn't even recognize the lettering on the shop windows – it was written in Hebrew letters. Jim greeted some of the men and women as they passed by, speaking in fluent Yiddish, not even stuttering. Heyes looked again at Jim. Smith sure didn't sound like a Jewish name even to the unworldly Heyes. Maybe this Smith was another alias like Heyes' own?
Up a couple of flights of steep, narrow, dirty stairs was Jim's room, which looked out on the street, thank goodness. The back tenement rooms were dark and smelly and airless. The sink was in the dark hallway, where Heyes had almost tripped over it – and a small child huddled nearby. Unused as Heyes was to anything other than a basin and pitcher, he sure wouldn't complain. But Jim's room, while very small, wasn't so bad. It was cold, but Heyes was used to that. He unpacked as he had so many times when moving into a hotel with the Kid. He put his carpet bag and boots under the bed Jim showed him would be his, leaned his saddle bags in a corner, threw his old black hat onto the bed, and hung his gun belt, with its dangling cord for tying down the holster, over the bed post. He leaned his battered guitar, wrapped in an old feed sack, against the wall.
Heyes finished his brief moving in and turned around to find Jim staring at him open mouthed as if he had grown a couple of extra heads and sprouted wings. "Y-y-you a c-c-cowboy?" Heyes nodded casually, and held up one finger, then more. "You're a c-c-cowboy and other things, t-t-too?" Heyes nodded as he continued to arrange his things, moving his clothes into a little chest under his bed. "Like what? A g-g-gunman? An outlaw?" Heyes shook his head in a visual lie and pointed at his useless mouth and glared at Jim in annoyance. If anyone ought to know that he couldn't explain things right now, it was Jim. "S-s-sorry, Josh! I know. I s-sure know. Hey, m-m-man, don't shoot me! But w-wow, to meet a r-r-real c-c-cowboy! Wow!"
Heyes now noticed that Jim had a pile of dog-eared books on a shelf by his bed – dime novels with titles about Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody and Jessie James and Billy the Kid. Heyes felt himself blushing scarlet when he spotted one about himself and the Kid. He hoped he could cover his reaction with his general embarrassment about Jim's hero-worship of western characters. Heyes hadn't known that anyone had written about the Devil's Hole boys. He sure wished he could figure a way to make money out of it without giving away his identity. It was kind of nice to think that they were heroes to someone.
He supposed it was all garbage. But it was also frightening – what if there was enough truth in the book to help Jim or someone else figure out enough to spot Heyes? How popular might such a book be in New York City? A policeman seemed much less likely to spot him than a sheriff, and Heyes guessed that he would be hard to pick out from all the thousands of dark-haired young men come from the West to New York, but what if someone managed it? Maybe someone like Jim, who read western novels and sure could use $10,000?
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|Subject: Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - Revised chapter 4 Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:55 pm|| |
This chapter is only very modestly revised from the original posted over a year ago.
That first night Heyes and Jim Smith went out to eat at a pretty filthy local dive, which was all Jim could afford. The floor was dirty but the food was good. It was Heyes' first taste of New York clam chowder (from canned clams that time of year) and he liked it. Heyes offered to pay, which he could demonstrate only by pulling money out of his pocket, but Jim wouldn't hear of it. "T-t-treat's on me, J-Joshua!" said the boy proudly. "It's y-y-your welcome t-to N-New York dinner!" They communicated with surprising ease despite Heyes' silence and Jim's wrestling with consonants.
In the back of the joint there was a poker game going between a bunch of rough-looking guys in bowler hats, with knives in evidence and bulges in their clothing that more than hinted at guns. Jim saw his new roomie eyeing the game through the open door. He shook his head firmly in answer to Joshua's questioning look. Instead, they went home early. It probably wasn't a bad idea, Heyes had to admit, since he would be starting the challenging regimen of therapy in the morning. And besides, he hadn't taught his repertoire of poker signs to Jim as he had to the Kid. He would have had a hard time communicating.
Back in their room, Jim lit a lamp and spoke earnestly to his new friend Joshua, telling him that the poker game he had seen included key figures from a rough local gang. Jim thought the newly arrived man had best stay away from such men. Jim struggled to communicate the terrible danger of the New York streets to a man from such a different place, whose background he didn't yet know. "W-w-watch their eyes, Joshua! When you s-s-ee that fear, that's a g-g-gang leader they’re af-fraid of. St-st-eer clear! And w-watch your b-back with the guys around them. I l-l-learned that t-t-too late. N-nothing is t-t-too d-dirty for them! Th-th-ey hurt. Th-they k-k-kill – anyone who c-crosses th-them!"
Heyes looked at the floor guiltily. He thought how much the same thing must have been said about him when he had been a gang leader. Although he had tried to avoid violence as much as he could, he recalled seeing that fear in the eyes of men around him - especially when the Kid was at his side. Heyes had never killed or ordered a man to be killed directly, but he and the Kid had thrown quite a few punches and men had been beaten on Heyes' orders. Doubtless, men had died after Heyes had ordered them to be beaten and left in the wilderness. It had been the only way to stay on top of a gang and to keep from being taken down by rivals. Sheer success, from good planning and strong organization, had been the most important force that had kept Heyes and the Kid on top of the Devil's Hole bunch. But violence had come into it more often than Heyes liked to remember.
Heyes looked seriously at Jim. Jim's features showed the hurt and anger that remained from his violent past. Heyes looked questioningly at Jim's beaten face. The boy nodded and couldn't speak for a moment. Then he said, "Y-y-yeah, H-H-Honeymoon gang b-b-beat me. Th-the w-worst of th-them. And my d-dad, my b-brother. Not j-j-just beaten," Jim went on, with difficulty, "k-k-k-killed. N-nothing I c-could do. I w-was fifteen." Heyes reached over to touch Jim's hand. His eyes showed how he grieved for Jim and his shattered family.
Heyes struggled with his own emotions, but he felt that he had to let Jim know about his similar experience. Joshua could offer Jim much-needed moral support, and hoped perhaps to get some back. This wasn't a subject Heyes talked to a lot of people about. Bringing it up to someone with so similar an experience made it much, much harder. Even to the Kid, he rarely raised the topic of their murdered parents and siblings. Heyes looked up at Jim and tapped his own chest and raised two fingers. Jim easily read the punning sign. He was appalled in his turn. "You too? Your f-family? How many?" Heyes nodded, trying to keep his face impassive, and held up four fingers. "O-o-oh my G-G-God!" stuttered Jim in agonized empathy. "Your f-f-father?" Heyes nodded. "Your m-m-mother? Brother, sister?" Heyes nodded again, swallowing hard. "H-how old were you?" Heyes held up all his fingers but one. "Only n-nine? You were left alone?" Heyes held two fingers, one on each hand, and brought them together – for himself and Jed. "B-brother? S-sister?" Asked Jim. Heyes shook his head and held up his hand on a shifting diagonal, trying to signal, "sort of." He sighed at the difficulty of communicating anything as subtle as a second cousin.
"N-never mind, Josh." Said Jim sadly. "You'll be able to t-t-tell me s-soon. When you want t-t-to. No hurry. I th-think the D-Doc is right. We'll get along f-fine." Heyes gave Jim a crooked little smile. He agreed that they should get along. He would try to be a big brother to Jim. Sometimes it might be the other way around as Jim showed him the ways of the New York City streets.
Much later that night Jim suddenly woke Heyes with a rough shake. "Sh-shut up, man!" he yelled. More quietly, but just as angrily, he said, "You want us th-thrown out of here? I c-can't afford any place better and I wouldn't-t want any p-p-place worse!" Heyes, still panting from a violent night mare, was confused and had a hard time pulling himself out of a deep sleep.
"I th-thought you couldn't t-talk!" Jim said agitatedly, "Who's K-K-Kid? One of the gang guys?" The still very sleepy Heyes looked at Jim in bafflement. Jim, seeing that his new roommate had no idea of what he had said in his sleep, told him, "You were yelling 'N-No K-K-Kid!' like he was t-trying t-to hurt you."
Heyes shook his head and held up one hand as if to protect himself from blows. He held up the same two fingers he had used before to indicate himself and the Kid and brought them together as he had before. "Your f-friend - like a b-b-brother? Protecting you?" Heyes shook his head, still a bit dazed, and shocked to learn that he had been yelling words in his sleep that hadn't returned to his waking vocabulary yet. "You were protecting him?" Now Heyes nodded. Suddenly the violent death of his family was haunting his sleep as hadn't happened to him in years. Here, in this strange place, far from home and from the Kid, Heyes felt like even his own mind was betraying him.
"K-Kid," said Jim, "Th-that's a n-nick-name I've read in b-books. C-c-common out West?" Heyes nodded.
Kid wasn't really that common a nickname, except for outlaws. But Heyes had to cover for his error just now, before he was properly awake. He had slipped and admitted the Kid's nick name and their close relationship! Heyes nearly panicked as he realized how much danger this could put the Kid and himself in, if Jim ever put two and two together. After all, Jim had read about Heyes and the Kid! What if Heyes said more in his sleep than he knew, as he had the first time he was shot in the head? How could he guard his words in his sleep? Heyes hardly slept the rest of the night as he tossed and turned in anxiety.
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|Subject: Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - Revised chapter 5 Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:03 pm|| |
Early the next morning a bleary-eyed Heyes dashed cold water onto his face and apprehensively dressed for his first day at the clinic. He thought about the therapy session to come as he walked up the street, so tired that he felt as if he were walking gradually into a hole. He already knew what hard work therapy was. He had started to feel at home working with Dr. Leutze to probe his memory and find the words hidden there, but that wouldn't ever make it easier. Heyes doubted he would get much work with the Doctor himself now, with so many other patients needing the head man, so he would have to get used to working with someone else.
But it was Doctor Leutze himself who beckoned Heyes into his office and gestured for him to sit down in a comfortable arm chair in the otherwise sparsely furnished office. The doctor sat down behind his desk opposite his new patient. He peered critically at Joshua Smith. "Relax, Joshua. We'll start off slowly. But you don't look well – are you coming down with something?" Heyes sank into the chair and combed his fingers through his hair, trying to pull himself together. The doctor looked at him in concern. "You look exhausted. Didn't you sleep at all?" Heyes shook his head, and tried to keep from fidgeting. He was so sleepy that it was hard to sit in that comfortable chair without drifting off. He had to keep moving to keep awake. "New York is so noisy, even at night. People often have trouble getting used to it." Heyes nodded and looked down at the wooden floor, worried that his anxiety would show too much in his eyes.
Dr. Leutze leaned across the desk to touch his patient's shoulder lightly. Heyes looked up at him. The former outlaw's brow was furrowed and his lips tense. The doctor shook his head sadly. "I wish to God that you could tell me what's wrong. You look so worried. It's more than just being tired and so far from home, isn't it?” Heyes was frightened to even nod in answer to that. ”You'll be able to tell me soon – if it's any of my business. I won't ask Jim unless you want me to."
Heyes shook his head anxiously. The last thing Heyes wanted was for Jim to start wondering what was worrying his new roommate – to start asking more questions that could lead to awkward answers. "Now you have me worried, too! If you don't want me to talk to Jim about it, I won't. But you have to relax and work with me or we won't get anywhere. You have to be patient with yourself. This kind of healing doesn't happen overnight. Why do I get the feeling that you're a man who wants everything at once?"
Heyes looked into Dr. Leutze's pale, sensitive blue eyes with a faint smile on his face. He tried to forget his other fears and to concentrate on their work together. But the reformed outlaw found it hard to do the demanding thinking that he need to do. He was too distracted and much too tired. On the train ride he had felt restless without much space to move in. Now he just wanted peace and the same security that had eluded him all his life.
But he could never have security while those awful dead or alive posters were all over the west. And no one who helped him could be secure, either. He carried guilt about with him. Anyone who helped him could be accused, as the Jordan family had been, of aiding and abetting a fugitive from the law. He kept thinking that it was wrong to be asking so much of Dr. Leutze and Jim Smith and all these people without telling them who he was. He could be putting them all in danger and he couldn't even tell them that.
Heyes and the doctor labored and labored. Finally Dr. Leutze said, "It's just not going to happen today. Go back to bed and get some rest so you can do decent work tomorrow.” Heyes felt ashamed to go back to Jim's little room early and with no new words to show for his work.
That night in Jim's little tenement room, Heyes couldn't settle down to sleep. He kept worrying that he would have another screaming nightmare. Once he did start to have a vivid, troubling dream. He jerked away, panting, with a wordless cry. Jim looked in his direction worriedly in the dark, but didn't say anything. Only in the early hours of the morning did Heyes fall into a deep, exhausted sleep.
Heyes woke suddenly to find himself alone in a brilliantly sunlit room. He didn't need to see Jim's big old clock to know that he had badly overslept. As he sat up in bed, a piece of paper fluttered to the floor. Heyes picked it up and looked at it blearily. A note was scribbled on it: "Josh - The Doc told me to let you sleep as much as you need. You can't do good work if you don't sleep. Jim". Heyes smiled to himself. He was glad to have a new roommate, and a doctor, who were sympathetic to his troubles. He thought about how often the Kid had had to wake him early as they rode out of trouble. Would any of that trouble follow him here?
That day at the clinic, even after getting a few hours of decent sleep, Heyes couldn't manage to recover a single word. He fretted away in Jim's room that night, pacing the floor. His roommate tried to comfort him. "G-g-gsoh, Smith. S-s-some folks take w-w-weeks to g-g-get one word. D-D-Doc says you g-g-got your first word in d-d-days. You'll g-g-get there." It was kindly meant, but it didn't help Heyes much.
Another day went by and another very much the same. Still nothing. On that fourth day, Heyes worked for four solid hours. He sipped from a large cup of coffee, hoping it would help him to keep going. But he found no results other than frustration. He suddenly closed his eyes, looking down and away from the doctor's eyes. Then he started up from his seat and hurled his coffee cup across the room to shatter on the door. Leutze gasped at the sudden noise, but he wasn't that surprised. His patient was so tormented by tension that it had just gotten too much. Heyes looked in anguish at the Doctor, wishing he could apologize properly.
Heyes' felt that his trouble came far more from his own demands than from those of the doctor. What if he never talked again? What would he do? He would be dependent on his friends and the Kid, his only family, for the rest of his life. Even being perfectly able-bodied, he would be a cripple. And if he ever was caught and thrown into prison, the men would eat him alive. He would be utterly helpless.
Heyes wondered if maybe the lack of physical exercise was one of his problems. Maybe he just needed some open space. So he stalked off to walk in Central Park for a while all by himself. It was a cold October afternoon, but he hoped desperately that he could walk off his nerves and make better progress the next day.
|Subject: Re: Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - revised chapters || |
Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - revised chapters