Heyes' brown eyes popped open. He quickly raised up and looked around. Yep, he was back in the hotel room. He picked his pillow up, pushed it onto his face, and yelled. Then he dropped it to his lap and started punching it. After he was done with the assault on the unfortunate feather filled pillow, he threw it across the room. The Kid unlocked the door and walked in right as it hit the wall.
"Mornin' Heyes. Care to tell me what that poor pillow did to you?"
Heyes glared at him as he ran his hand through his ruffled hair.
"Went out to get some breakfast and a paper. Didn't want to wake..."
"Me so you just brought me something back," Heyes finished aggravated.
Kid, walking across the room at the time, stopped dead in his tracks and stared at his cousin. "How did..."
"Because we've had this same converSATION A HUNDRED TIMES NOW!" Heyes was practically yelling by the time he was finished. He stood up and walked to the window. "I'M SO SICK of this hotel room and this dang, wretched town, I'd about ride out to the territorial prison and let them throw me in it."
Curry just stood and watched his raving partner. Softly, he replied, "Heyes...we just got here last night."
Heyes spun around like he was going to attack him and pointed his finger. "NO WE DIDN'T! I'VE LOST COUNT OF HOW MANY DAYS WE'VE BEEN HERE NOW."
Kid sat the coffee, sandwich, and newspaper on top of the dresser, never taking his eyes off his animated cousin. "Caaalm down Heyes," he said slowly.
"I will NOT CALM DOWN!" He started pacing agitately. "There has to be some logical answer to this. It's right in front of me, I know it is."
Kid was beginning to get aggravated himself. Heyes wasn't making any sense at all. He put his hands on his hips. "Answer to WHAT?!"
Heyes walked over and grabbed the lapels of Kid's sheepskin jacket. "How to END THIS STUPID DAY!"
Curry took hold of his partner's wrists and jerked his hands off his jacket. "WHAT ARE YOU TALKIN' ABOUT?!"
Heyes stood staring at Curry. He sighed loudly and his shoulders drooped slightly. "Nothing. Nevermind." He walked over dejectedly and started getting dressed.
"Oh no you don't Heyes! You ain't gettin' out of it that easy. Now what were you goin' on about 'cause you sounded plumb crazy."
Heyes didn't stop dressing. "Just let me finish here and I'll show you something."
Kid rubbed a hand over his face. "You're weird sometimes, do you know that?"
Heyes didn't reply. He pulled on his boots and buckled on his gun belt. "Follow me." He pushed past his partner and went out the door. Kid sighed and followed after him.
Heyes went through the hotel door and sat down in one of the chairs on the hotel's porch. Curry appeared a second later. "Alright Hey...Joshua, what is it you want me to see?"
"Sit down," Heyes said.
Kid furrowed his brow and sat down next to his cousin. "Now what?"
"Just listen. I'm going to tell you things that are about to happen."
"A breeze is going to blow." Momentarily, the wind blew slightly. "A dog is going to
bark." Shortly, Kid heard a bark somewhere down the street. "A lady's going to come out of the mercantile and drop a small box." The lady came out and dropped said box.
Kid's eyes opened wide and looked over at his partner. "How are you doing that?"
Heyes stared straight ahead. "I told you. We've been here I don't know how many days now. At some point every morning, this day resets itself and I wake up to that rooster crowing and getting shot. And it just affects me for some reason. Tomorrow morning, you won't remember anything about what happens today."
Curry was quiet. He didn't know what to say to that. It was an impossible story, but his cousin was telling him things right before they happened. What if his story was true? "But how is that possible?"
"I don't know. I just know it's happening."
"When will it stop?"
"I have no idea. That's what I can't figure out. Apparently, from what I've learned so far, I have to do, or say, or NOT do, or stop, something specific. So far, I've been killed, arrested, chased by a bounty hunter, broke my leg, saved a little girl from getting hurt, talked to Indians, robbed the bank, turned myself in, left town overnight, panned for gold, telegraphed Lom,...and no matter what, I always wake up in our hotel room to that rooster. Then you come in bringing me breakfast and saying you found two jobs in the paper, a delivery, and a barn repair."
Kid rubbed the back of his neck. "I don't know what to say Joshua." They sat in silence for a moment. "Do you have any ideas to try for today?"
Heyes shook his head no. "I'm still thinking. On one of those days, I got you to believe me and you said to maybe try something creative."
"Well from what you've told me, you've tried a little bit of everything."
Heyes sat deep in thought as he watched the town go about its business. "I know one thing I haven't tried."
Heyes face turned into a mischivous grin. "How far away are we from Cheyenne?"
The two ex-outlaws had been riding close to an hour. Heyes wasn't saying much. He was too deep in thought. Curry, on the other hand, had started to announce his complaints.
"Heyes, this is one of the worst ideas you've ever had. It's a five hour ride to Cheyenne. We'll never get there and back to the hotel in one day. IF we get back there at all. I have a bad feelin' we'll be on our way to Laramie before tonight to sleep in a prison cell." Kid stared at his partner as they rode at a lope.
Heyes kept looking straight ahead. "Well, this is the way I see it. If I'm wrong, and this isn't the thing that will break the loop, then no matter what happens to us today, we'll wake up back in Destiny Loop tomorrow. If this DOES break the loop, then it's what I was supposed to do. It'll work out okay and we'll be fine because I've already tried turning myself in."
"But what if just turnin' yourself in to some small town sheriff didn't work, but gettin' arrested and thrown in PRISON does?"
"I say it's the same thing, Kid. In either of those scenarios, I end up behind bars in a jail, which has already happened, and didn't do anything. We wouldn't go straight to prison even if we are recognized and arrested in Cheyenne. We'd stay in jail for the trial first and being in jail didn't break the loop."
"But you said you turned YOURSELF in. What if we're both supposed to be locked up?"
"We both WERE locked up. You were with me when I did that."
"I LET you turn yourself in?! I would never do that."
"You didn't exactly let me do it. You were arguing with me the whole time, right up until the sheriff showed up and I told him who I was. I said that you were just some random man named Marvin but he locked you up anyway."
"MARVIN? Where in the world do you come up with these names?"
"I saw that one in the newspaper somewhere."
"Well, anyway, back to this dumb idea of yours. We can't just go barge in on the governor of Wyomin' and make him sign amnesty papers without at least gettin' shot at. We won't even get in there near him with any guns. You know we'll be searched if we DO happen to make it in the buildin'." Curry was adament with his protests.
"I've already been thinking about that. Everytime we've been searched before, they didn't pay much attention to our boots. All we do is get a deringer and hide it there. I've got one in my saddlebag. I'd rather have two, but since we've got about three dollars between us, one will have to do. You'll be the one handling it of course."
Kid sighed loudly. "I still say we're either goin' to end up shot or in prison."
Heyes grinned at his cousin. "At this point, I'm willing to try it. We'll go in peacefully as Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones, but we'll come out holding amnesty papers proclaiming Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry free men. And we'll make sure there are no loop holes in the documents that the governor could use to say the papers aren't legal. It'll be fine."
"It'll be fine he says..., Heyes, just for the record, I don't agree with this plan of yours."
Heyes looked back to the land spreaded out before him. "I know, Kid." He slapped his reins on his horse's hind quarters and took off at a gallop. The doubting gunslinger followed along behind him.
The two ex-outlaws stopped at a secluded spot just outside Cheyenne to change into their brown and gray suits. They smoothed out the wrinkles as best they could and washed the trail dust off their faces in the small stream nearby. Curry carefully concealed the small deringer in his boot and made sure it wasn't visible in any way. Satisfied that they were looking the best they could under the circumstances, they mounted up and rode on into the city.
As they entered into civilization, they stuck to the back streets so they'd draw as little attention as possible. After a little while, they found the government building that employed the man that could change their lives, be it for better or for worse. Dismounting, they tied their horses to the hitching rail. Heyes pulled in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Well, Thaddeus, here goes nothing."
Kid looked skyward and shook his head. Then he lowered his eyes to look at his cousin. Heyes gave him a look that said 'trust me', and started toward the building's steps. Curry followed close behind.
"Can I help you?" a lady asked from behind a desk in the main lobby. She wasn't very successful in hiding the fact that she was scrutinizing the two handsome men standing before her. Heyes gave her the full dimpled smile. "I certainly hope so ma'am. We're here to see the governor. It's very important."
"Do you have an appointment?"
Heyes held his smile. "Ah, no ma'am. But we're very close friends of a friend of Governor Hale. We have some ongoing business with him and it's extremely urgent we see him today since we have to leave town tonight to return to Porterville."
The lady couldn't help but smile back at the handsome dark-haired man. "Let me see what I can do. Can I have your names please?"
"I'm Joshua Smith and this is Thaddeus Jones."
She nodded, got up, and walked up some stairs to the third floor.
"I still think this is a bad idea Joshua," Kid whispered.
"Your opinion has been noted. If we end up in jail, feel free to say 'I told you so'. But I still think it's a good idea to try this. I don't want to spend the rest of my life reliving the same day over and over again in Destiny Loop."
"And I don't want to spend the rest of my life lookin' through prison bars!"
"You won't have to."
"You don't know that!" Kid's whisper was a little louder than he meant it to be. A couple of people walking in the lobby turned to look their way.
Heyes shushed him. "Quiet down. Your voice will echo in this room."
They stood silently for a few minutes, then looked up as footsteps could be heard coming down the stairs. They both smiled as the lady returned to her desk.
"It wasn't easy, but I convinced Governor Hale's secretary to let you in to see him. You're lucky that one of his appointments canceled today. Otherwise, I don't think you'd have gotten in. You can go up as soon as you hand in your gun belts and are searched." She waved over a security guard. "Sorry, but it's procedure."
"We understand," Heyes said as they both started unbuckling their gun belts. "Have to make sure the governor is safe." They handed over their hardware as the security guard arrived to frisk them.
"Put your hands on the desktop please," the guard commanded. The two ex-outlaws complied. Heyes was searched first. As he was patted down, his gaze slid sideways and he could tell Kid was scowling out of the corner of his eyes. A smile played about his lips. "Alright, you're good." The guard moved over to Curry as Heyes moved. Kid unknowingly held his breath as he was searched. Just as his partner had predicted, his boots weren't checked very well. Curry exhaled slowly as the guard straightened up and said, "They're both good to go." He walked back over to stand at his post near the stairs.
The lady smiled at them. "Okay gentlemen, you can go up now. Governor Hale's office is on the third floor, fourth door down. Stop by here to get your guns on your way out."
"Thank you ma'am," Heyes smiled as they started toward the stairs. Halfway up the second flight of stairs, Heyes stopped and checked out the surroundings. Satisfied they were alone, he whispered to Kid, "Now, take that gun out of your boot and put it in your belt behind your back." Curry did so and pulled his coat down over top of it. "Ready?"
Kid sighed. "As ready as I'll ever be. Let's get this over with."
"I take it you're Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones," an unfriendly, mousy looking man replied as they entered the governor's outer office.
"Yessir, that's correct," Heyes said stopping at the desk. "I'm Joshua Smith and this is Thaddeus Jones."
"Wait here," the man said and then disappeared through the door into the large back office. It was only a minute or so before he reopened the door and motioned for them to enter. Before he left, he made introductions. "Governor Hale, this is Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones to see you." He shut the door behind them.
"Hello gentlemen. I have an hour until my next appointment. Come and sit down," Hale said as he straightened some papers and pushed them to the side of his desk. "I understand you have some urgent business with me. I have to admit though, I don't know how that could be as I've never seen you before today. You said you knew a friend of mine?"
Heyes sat down as Kid remained standing. Heyes looked the governor straight in the eye. "Yessir, that's right. That friend would be Sheriff Lom Trevors of Porterville. I'm sure you remember him."
Hale studied Heyes, then Kid. Looking back to the ex-outlaw leader, he stared at him intently. After a few tense seconds, he replied, "Yes, I remember Trevors. He communicates with me monthly. How exactly do you know him?"
"He's a friend of ours from way back." Heyes stared back at Hale, noticing the man was starting to show subtle signs of nervousness.
"You don't say. And exactly what is the nature of your business with me?"
At this question, Heyes straightened in his chair. His look became all business as he said one word, "Amnesty."
The governor visibly tensed. His eyes quickly turned to Curry standing beside Heyes' chair, but near the desk. Curry's blue gaze was icy as he stood with his hands resting on his hips. Hale licked his lips and turned back to look at Heyes. He cleared his throat. "Your name isn't Smith, is it?"
Heyes grinned deviously at Hale. "No, it isn't."
Hale's hand started to slip under his desk, but stopped as he saw a gun appear in Kid's hand. "How about you keep your hands on the desk where we can see 'em."
The governor's hand returned to the desktop as Heyes got up and walked around the desk to Hale's chair. He bent down and peered under the desk and found a deringer in a holster attached to the underside. He removed it, checked the desk drawers, walked to the door, and locked it. Then he went back to face the nervous governor.
Hale glared at Heyes. "You do know that one yell from me and this office will be crawling with lawmen."
"Yeah, but somehow I don't think you'll do that with Kid Curry pointing a gun at you."
Heyes sat back down and pointed his newly acquired weapon at the big man.
"So I assumed correctly. You are Hannibal Heyes."
"Yessir, that's right. Now, over two years ago, you told Sheriff Trevors that if me and my partner stayed out of trouble for twelve months, we'd receive amnesty and be free men. Over TWO years! We have stayed true to our word and haven't been involved in ANYTHING illegal since the day we first brought this request to Lom. I'd say we've earned that amnesty twice over. Now, we're going to sit here and write out these amnesty papers, without any loopholes letting you go back on your word and declare them as unlegal documents. We don't have to have a big ceremony announcing it, as long as it makes it to all the papers and sheriff offices that we are no longer wanted."
Hale furrowed his brows. "You expect me to give you two amnesty while sitting here at gunpoint? Are you or Curry here going to shoot me if I don't do it? You'd never make it out of this building alive."
Heyes' hard stare never wavered. "No sir. We aren't going to shoot you here. I don't hold with killing folks. You know for a fact the Devil's Hole Gang never killed anybody. But, if you don't do it, you're going to leave here with us and you'll do it quietly. My partner here can always make an exception to the no-killing rule and I just can't control him." He let the threat sink into the governor's brain.
Sweat had broken out on Hale's forehead. "Alright," he said after a seemingly neverending moment. His voice slightly quivered as he answered. "I suppose you have earned that amnesty after all. You're right. I did, after all, say one year. Let me just get some papers from my desk drawer." He looked once more at the steady gun in Kid Curry's hand before opening the desk drawer. Pulling out the appropriate stationary and an ink well, he put them on the desktop.
Heyes smiled at him. "Glad to see you've come to your senses about honoring your word. Now, let's get down to business. When we've finished, your secretary out there can come in and sign as a witness."
Governor Hale sighed loudly as he glared at the most notorious outlaws the west had ever seen. Reluctantly, he dipped his pen in the ink and started to write.
It was night when the now free ex-outlaws rode out of Cheyenne.
"I can't believe that worked! Why hadn't we ever thought of this before?" Kid had a huge smile on his face as he rode.
Heyes was studying the amnesty paper that had given him freedom by the light of the full moon. "Well, I really wasn't sure it would work. It was a big chance and the odds weren't exactly in our favor. But if this doesn't stop the day repeating, we might just try it again when, and if, the loop ever does get broken." He carefully folded the paper and inserted it back into its envelope before packing it safely away in his saddlebag. "It feels pretty good not being wanted."
"What all did you get the governor to write on those papers so he couldn't have us arrested the minute we left?"
"I had him write that at 5:00 pm on today's date, we were officially granted amnesty for all the crimes we had committed, were no longer wanted, and that the decision couldn't be overturned by anyone, including the governor himself. Of course, there were some more legal stuff put in there to make it sound better than that, but that's what it all meant when you got right down to it."
"But it was just after three when we were in his office. Why did you have him write 5 pm?"
"Did you notice what time we actually left his office?"
"It was exactly 5 pm."
"So that's why you asked for his pocketwatch and kept watching the time."
"Yep. When it was exactly thirty seconds before 5, I had you put your gun away and I laid the governor's deringer on the table across the room. Since the amnesty papers have 5 pm written on them, he couldn't get us for holding him at gunpoint because when it hit 5, we were officially forgiven for EVERYTHING we'd ever done, including holding up the governor."
"Heyes, you may just be the genius you think you are!"
"I just might be. Now, I just hope this breaks the loop."
"Me too partner."
"It's starting to get a little late. Want to find a place to camp for the night?" Heyes asked looking around for a suitable spot.
"Sounds good. We can ride on into Destiny Loop tomorrow and get our things from the hotel."
Heyes sharply looked at his cousin. "NO! If this has broken the loop, there's NO WAY I'm ever getting near that town again. We brought the important stuff with us. Whatever was left, the hotel can have."
Kid just nodded his agreement. They rode in silence for a few minutes, then Kid pointed over to a patch of pine trees. "How about over there? The trees would hide us from the road if we go back in them far enough."
"Sounds good." They turned their horses into the trees and found a good place to settle down. They could see the road, but it would be hard for anyone traveling the trail to see them.
They hurriedly set up camp, took care of the horses, and ate some jerky for dinner. Kid reached for a third piece. "Ain't much of a supper, but it's worth it to be free men now."
Heyes took a drink from his canteen then handed it over to Curry. "Well, hopefully tomorrow, we won't wake up in Destiny Loop and we can find a new town to have a nice dinner in,...after I play some poker and get us some more money."
"I'll drink to that!" Curry held up the canteen, then took a drink.
Heyes got up to fix his bedroll. "I'll drink to it when I wake up to a new day that doesn't start with a rooster getting shot..."
Come to the dark side...we have cookies