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 Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions

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PostSubject: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptyWed Feb 01, 2017 6:43 am

Time for me to give your next mission.  Chosen by Keays, feel free to give us your take on your story containing a link to real life, historical events, characters, or inventions in between 4,000 and 150 words.
cowboy 13
That can be anyone, anywhere and with anything from the period.  
Enjoy! and time to write. 
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PostSubject: Re: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptyWed Feb 01, 2017 10:53 pm

This is an oldie hopefully not used here before as a challenge.

“Harry, it’ll never work!"

“Oh, come on, Heyes! How can you say that, with all the plans you’ve made that worked out? We just perfect the plan until it’s foolproof.”

Kid Curry shook his head. “Harry, you’re new here, so maybe you don’t appreciate the way we work. Even if we were able to pull it off, it wouldn’t be worth it – like Heyes told ya, it’s only fourteen ounces of gold. Too much risk for too little reward!”

Harry pushed on. “Kid, it’s not the amount of gold that matters here, it’s being able to achieve the objective!”

Blue eyes rolled. “Whatever ya say, Harry. There’s no talkin’ sense to ya.” Kid turned to his partner.

Hannibal Heyes sighed. “Harry, if you would come up with something we could actually pull off, then maybe. But this is silly. And Kid’s right, it ain't worth the risk.”

“But, Heyes, you’re always up for a challenge, and this would be a big one.”

“A big one? How? It’s small potatoes. It’s just as harebrained as wanting to rob the Denver Mint! And we’d have to melt it down ourselves to be able to do anything with it.”

“Ah, Heyes, that’s where you’re wrong. You don’t melt down a thing of such historical value. You ransom it. Think of it as a kidnapping, except it’s a thing, not a person.”

“But we’re not in the kidnapping business, Harry. It’s not what we do.”

“But, Heyes…”

“No! And that’s final!”

Heyes calmly strode to the stove and poured himself a cup of coffee, his back to the would-be newest member of the Devil’s Hole Gang. He stayed in that position a long few seconds before turning around. To the outlaw leader, Harry appeared crestfallen.

Conciliatorily, “Look, Harry, I’m more than willing to listen to a good plan. But it has to be something we can pull off, and not run too much risk. We don’t want to compromise ourselves. That make sense?”

A smirk. “Maybe. But, Heyes…”

Heyes raised his voice a tad. “No more! If you come up with something more realistic, we’ll talk. But for now …” He shook his head.  “No.”

The outlaw leader did not appear to be finished. Harry and Kid waited, expectantly.

“Besides, that’s one target that’ll remain off limits.”

“Why, Heyes?”

Brown eyes ablaze, the outlaw leader’s anger turned on a dime. His voice rose more than a tad this time, “Don’t challenge me, Harry! The answer’s ‘no,’ and that’s final!”

Kid stepped forward, grabbing a startled Harry by the arm. “Come on, Harry, time for ya to go back to the bunk house. The boys probably have a poker game goin’.  Cool off a bit.” He opened the door of the leader’s cabin and practically shoved the man through the threshold.

Harry turned to see the door slam in his face.

On the other side of it, Kid faced his cousin. “Okay, Heyes, what was that all about? Sure, Harry’s a whiner and a dreamer, but why the reaction? That’s not like you.”

Coffee cup in hand, Heyes sat down at the table. He stared at the dark liquid for a moment, before locking eyes with his partner. His demeanor was quiet. “I guess he hit a nerve.”

Kid pulled up a chair. He spoke matter-of-factly, “Yeah, but why?”

Brown eyes regarded blue for a quick second before contemplating coffee again. “It’s personal.”

“Personal? The golden spike?”

A sigh. “Yeah.”


Heyes regarded Kid. “Guess I never told ya. I was there.”



Kid rolled his eyes. “Where, there?”

“At Promontory Summit.”

“How? We … we were …”

Heyes interrupted. “We’d just broken up. I headed to Utah. You know that.”

Kid nodded.

“Well, I told ya I was scoutin’ for the railroad the last few months …”

“Uh huh.”

Heyes took a deep breath. “I was at Promontory Summit for the ceremony.”

“How …?”

Heyes stood up, obviously frustrated. “Gee, Kid, you’re smarter than that. Do I have to lay it all out for ya?!”

Kid’s brow furrowed. He spoke in a strong, but still quiet, voice. “Heyes, I don’t read minds.”

Heyes leaned against the fireplace, facing it, seemingly lost in thought.

A long minute of silence passed.



Louder, “Heyes?”

A sigh.

Kid rose and walked the few steps to his partner’s side. He regarded him, placed a hand on his shoulder.

Heyes looked down momentarily before locking eyes with Kid for a second, then looked away.


The outlaw leader took a deep breath, which he held for a second before exhaling. He bit his lip, shook his head.

“Heyes? What is it? Tell me.”

Finally, softly, “It’s personal, Kid.”

The blue-eyed man nodded. “Okay.” He squeezed Heyes’ shoulder before heading for the door. “I’ll be in the bunk house.” He reached for the latch.

“Kid?” Heyes turned toward his partner. “Wait.”

The blond man regarded Heyes.

“Sit down.” Heyes nodded to a chair. “Ya always like a story? I’ll tell ya a story …”

Kid stood, frozen, eyes locked on Heyes. He sat down, waited.

Heyes took another deep breath. He paced, stopped, opened his mouth as if to speak … Sighed.

Kid tracked his every movement, anticipated – patiently.

Finally, Heyes spoke, “I guess I should have told you this a long time ago …”


“You there! Heyes, is it?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Over here!”

The wide-eyed youth squinted, the rays of the sun almost blinding him as he stepped out of the grading line and ran the short distance to the man on horseback. He looked up.

“So’s ya got a good eye.”

“A good eye, sir?”

“Yup. Ya sighted them Injun tracks when no one else did; gave us enough time to stop that attack before it even got started. Where’d ya learn that?”

“From my pa, sir. We hunted a lot.”

“Your pa’s a fair tracker, is he?”

Heyes sighed. “He was …”

“Sorry, son. The war?”

The youth nodded, grim-faced. He contemplated the ground.

“Too many good men lost.”

Heyes regarded him. “Yes, sir.”

“You mind your manners real good, too.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“How good a shot are ya?”

Heyes thought. At eighteen, he did not have the speed of his sixteen-year-old cousin, but he was accurate – not as fast, but accurate nonetheless. (Hmm, it would be nice to have Jed there by his side. Oh well. Not to be right now.) But speed wasn’t the question at hand. “I can generally hit what I aim at, sir.”

“And you can handle a rifle, and that sidearm of yours?”

His chest puffed, but just a little. He replied with a tone to match, “Yes, sir.”

“Cocksure of yourself, are ya?”

Heyes shrugged; he sported a lopsided grin.

“How’d ya like to eat less dust? Maybe get off the gradin’ line?”

Enthusiastically, “Yes, sir!”

“We need more scouts out ahead – watch for sign, hunt, forage to supplement the meat. Pays better than the grademen, not as much as the ironmen. Interested in joinin’ us?”

Grinning broadly and dimples in full glory, Heyes nodded. “Thank you, sir.”

“Don’t mention it. I’m Settles. I head up the scouts. Get your gear, then come find me. I’ll go over what ya need to know; show ya where to bunk.”

Another squint.

“First thing ya need to know is I don’t tolerate insolence!”

Heyes froze.

A wink.

The youth smiled.

“Git goin’.”

“Yes, sir!”


Job Settles scrutinized the boy – young man – who stood before him. “How old are ya, son?”

“Just turned eighteen, sir.”

“Mite young.”

“I can do the job.”

Unseen by Heyes, the older man’s brow furrowed beneath the mane of flowing locks that found its way into his face, obstructing his vision momentarily before he raked it back under a weathered grey hat that blended in with the color of his hair. He spoke matter-of-factly, “Sure of yourself, are ya?”

Heyes gulped. Hesitantly, “Yes, sir.”

“Ya don’t sound too sure of yourself now.”

“I … I can do it, sir.”

Settles audibly drew in a deep breath. He nodded, as if in thought. His eyes never left Heyes. “I think ya can, too. That’s why I wanted ya for my detail. Just need to make sure I was right, before puttin’ ya out there. It can be dangerous, this scoutin’ business.”

The youth nodded imperceptibly, relaxing a little.

“We’re almost finished, windin’ down. But we still need to know what’s yonder. And whatever forage you come across doesn’t hurt. Ya got a mount?”

Heyes shook his head.

“Cat got your tongue all of a sudden, boy?”

“No, sir.”

Settles squinted against the afternoon sun, a half smile appearing. “No, sir, no mount? Or, no, sir, the cat don’t have your tongue?”

Heyes visibly relaxed. “Both, sir.”


Scouting detail agreed with Heyes. Freed from the grading line and the constant din of the hammering that followed it, he found freedom on horseback, riding ahead with the other scouts to make sure the way was clear for the advancing iron rails. Indian sign abated after that last sighting, but so was forage scarce in the desert-like conditions of Northern Utah. The buffalo hunters kept the crews stocked with meat, and there was talk of one in particular who reckoned he had felled thousands, far exceeding his contracted-for amount. Heyes only glimpsed the newly named “Buffalo Bill” from a distance, the faraway figure reminding him of a younger version of his mentor, Job Settles.

Heyes thought “Old Job” Settles well-named. Under a gruff exterior existed a soft heart, but perhaps only for the greenest of his detail. However, under his tutelage, the youth’s natural abilities shined, the proverbial patience of his namesake coming to the fore in a way that only Heyes seemed favored to witness, as if some destined connection quickly took hold and germinated. And since most of the other scouts had at least eight years and concomitant experience on Heyes, no jealousy existed. Indeed, after a brief period of playful initiation, they too appreciated the youth’s obvious smarts and shrewdness.

“You’ll lead men someday,” noted Settles. “Hell, you’re just about leadin’ ‘em here!”

“You’re in charge,” came the respectful reply.

Gruffly, “Might be, boy. But nigh on too long, we’ll be done here, and you’ll be off on your own. Ya got a good head for makin’ your way in the world.”

Sheepishly, “Thanks.”

“'Tis true, boy. Ya meet back up with your kin – you’ll both be better off for it. Truer words I never spake.”

Heyes thought for a moment. “I do wanna meet up with Jed again. Stupid what broke us up.” A pause. Softly, “I’m thinking you and me are sorta like kin now. Where ya headed after this? Ya never have said.”

“I got no real plans, boy – I go as the wind blows. Might finally see fit to enter a contest down south – a little bit of somethin’ I can tack on my name.”

Curiously, “What kind of contest?”

Chuckling, “A trackin’ contest, boy.” Settles regarded Heyes. “Ya know, you’d gimme some right competition. Maybe ya follow me for that long, anyway.”

Heyes’ grin grew as he nodded assent. “I like that idea just fine. But I know who’ll win, and it ain’t me.”

The men – experienced and barely – passed a moment of silent agreement, and rode on.


As the iron ribbon of the transcontinental railroad neared its completion, news of a ceremony involving dignitaries and a commemorative tie and spikes filtered through the camps. Indeed, the governor of California personally transported the golden spike from Sacramento via a special train.

Crews spelled each other in a last rush to finish the track. Finally, one last tie remained to be laid, but first a specially made and polished laurel board pre-augered with holes for the golden spike and three others would be put in place for the commemoration.

Delayed several days, the ceremony finally got underway. Due to the significance of the occasion, hundreds of people gathered to watch. Politicians, railroad officials, several companies of the Twenty-first Infantry, men of the various crews, and curious onlookers assembled.

The crowds jockeyed for position to hear various orators. When calls for them to move back went unheeded by some of the throng, Settles and his scouts rode in to keep order.

The chief of scouts ordered his men to various parts of the line, detailing Heyes to the far end on one side – it seeming the more cooperative part of the assembly – while he rode to the far end. However, the youth noted the throng was, for the most part, orderly – their excitement and enthusiasm, palpable; the occasion, auspicious. Colorful pennants waved in the breeze. Children ran forward and parents after them.

The speeches droned on and were difficult to hear at that distance, although the speakers were not that far away. Heyes witnessed the dignitaries – the governor of California, who was also the president of the Central Pacific, and his equal on the Union Pacific’s side – simultaneously attempt to tap the ceremonial spikes into place, missing and hitting rail first before finding the heads of the spikes on the second try, drawing spirited cheers from the crowd.

Less than an hour after it began, the ceremony ended. The dignitaries and officials having quit the scene, workers moved in to extract the commemorative laurel tie and gold and silver spikes, replacing them with a regulation tie and iron spikes.

Souvenir hunters in the crowd surged forward. Settles signalled his men to restore order. Heyes saw his mentor and a couple of other scouts on horseback, trying to move the throng back. He also took notice of knives in the hands of some men in the crowd, slashing at the laurel tie for mementos. Jostling on one side drew his attention away and he galloped off in the other direction in an attempt to quell a potential mob scene.

Order restored, he turned back some minutes later. A few souvenir hunters still did their best to get to the laurel tie, but it was soon out of reach as a crew finally broke through the throng to carry it away.

Heyes reached for his canteen. Although the weather was pleasant, the men of the scouting detail had worked up quite a thirst in trying to control the crowd. As he gulped, Heyes noticed Settles’ big bay roaming freely off to one side. He presumed the older man had dismounted to tend to something pressing; perhaps a lost child had wandered into the midst of determined souvenir seekers and needed immediate protection. Thoughts passed as his attention turned to the warm liquid coursing down his throat, slaking his thirst, if not a feeling of foreboding.


As the afternoon wore on, crowds slowly thinned. Groups of dignitaries and officials posed for photographs and talked to reporters.

Off crowd control, Heyes went in search of Settles. Arriving back at camp, he found several of his cohorts standing around, idle. A few seemed in a state of shock.

The second-in-command looked sorrowfully at Heyes. “Sorry, boy. I know he was like a pappy to ya.”

Heyes froze, his visage projecting the rising panic he felt.

“Ol’ Job. He was hit in the wrist with a blade that flew off the knife of one of them souvenir hunters. Bled out afore the doc could get to him. Damn shame. He never had a chance.”

The breath went out of the youth, and he sank to his knees.


Silence filled the leader’s cabin.

Lips pursed, Heyes stared at the fire. The memory seemed as real as yesterday.

Kid focused on his partner. Quietly, “I’m sorry, Heyes.”

The outlaw leader turned. He glanced at the blond man. “Thanks. It was a long time ago.”

“So you went south after that.”

“Yeah. Wasn’t sure if I should, but it’s what we’d planned on.”

“And you won the contest.”

“Yup. But I shouldn’t have. It was meant for him.”

Thoughtfully, “He’d have wanted it that way.”

Heyes turned back to the fire. “Maybe.”

Kid rose and strode to his partner’s side, clasped his shoulder. “Champeen Tracker of all Southern Utah … You’re kinda proud of it. Means somethin’ to ya.”

Heyes glanced at Kid with a sorrowful half smile. “Hmm. Only because of him.”

“A fittin’ tribute.”

“I suppose.”

Kid clapped Heyes’ back. “Come on. Let’s go see what the boys are up to.”

The outlaw leader nodded.

The two went out on the porch. Harry was waiting for them.


Kid spoke, “Harry, we told ya ‘no.’”

Pleadingly, “But, Kid …”

Heyes regarded the hanger-on. “No buts, Harry. Let it go.” Pause. “Matter of fact, you go, Harry. You’re just not suited for the Devil’s Hole Gang.”

Leaving a dumbfounded Harry in front of the cabin, Heyes turned, walked inside, and shut the door.

Author's Notes: Some creative license was taken for the story. A spectator did indeed have the artery in his wrist cut with a flying blade during the scramble for souvenirs after the ceremony, but a doctor was able to dress the wound in time, and he recovered.

The ceremony at Promontory Summit was quite the event in its day, but faded in importance over time. As well, public sentiment for the accomplishment of the transcontinental railroad turned sour due to the Credit Mobilier scandal a few short years later.

Additional information can be found at

Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
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PostSubject: Re: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptyThu Feb 02, 2017 3:20 am

This is the beginning of one of the stories I've just lost in my computer epic fail!!!!! If I can bear to rewrite the rest I'll post it later on... 

The new Teacher
By Cal
Emelda Francesca
As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to find out everything I can about everything there is to know.  It’s just common sense.  Someday I may need to know that stuff.  Apparently, this is worrying to adults.  I think it’s because some of the ones I’ve met, don’t know very much about anything, and they are afraid I might know more than they do one day.  Anyway, if I’m not normal, then I don’t think I want to be normal.

My parents were first told, I might not be normal, by Trinni.  She used to look after me.  I didn’t have brothers or sisters then, and Trinni said I wasn’t normal because I didn’t like to play with other children.  I also didn’t like her hugging me, or having anyone touch my feet.  This made me not normal, even though, even then, I knew how to tie my own laces and didn’t need someone else to tie them for me.
I remember back then, very well, because it was scary.
Other children never sat still or stopped screeching and they all seemed to be one big thing.  A loud, screechy, moving thing, of hands and feet and bleary colours.  Very scary and very not normal.  There was a book shelf in the nursery, and a small chair, that wasn’t scary.  I think it was very sensible of me to stay away from other children till I got bigger.

I am now eight. 

I am not very tall, but I know now, how to separate the children into different people, and I know now, what I have to say to each of the people, to stop them screeching, or touching me, or saying that I’m not normal. 

For example, if Tom Brent says something stupid, and all the other children laugh, I know now that, that is a joke, and the normal thing to do is say “Very funny.” But you don’t say it like you think anything is very funny, you say it like you don’t think anything is very funny at all. 

That’s normal.

You just have to remember the rules of acting normal, and then you can be quiet, and other people don’t bother you.  I didn’t know the rules then, and no one told them to me.  I couldn’t find a book that lists them.  I know most of what I know because I’ve read about it in a book. 

At school I learn the rules of acting normal. 

I ran out of books to read from the nursery but I was very lucky. I learned how to open locks, and could read all the books in daddy’s study.  I now know, there are more books to read at the library, because daddy said,

“If you want a damned book to read so bad… go to the damned library… and don’t climb all over my study!”

And this is how I know how to open locks. 

When I was five, I was on a train that was robbed by outlaws, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.  I was in the best carriage of the train because my daddy owned the train I was on.  Daddy owns a lot of trains, and a mine, and

“…nearly every damned thing there is to own in this God forsaken hole...” 

Daddy had money in the safe and the outlaw, Hannibal Heyes, opened the safe without the combination, which daddy said was,

“… near damn impossible… How’d he do that?!? Must have used voodoo or something… It’s not natural, the man’s a menace!“

It means Hannibal Heyes isn’t normal either. 

I asked Hannibal Heyes how he was opening the safe, and he said,

“Can someone get this kid outta here … How am I supposed to hear the tumblers …if I got a kid blabbing questions in my ear every five minutes?”

So, I knew he was listening to the safe and trying to hear tumblers.  I have read many books about safes, and I know now, that tumblers are the parts inside the safe that lock it, and have to be moved in the correct combination for the door to open again.

I didn’t know that then, so I asked Hannibal Heyes what tumblers were, and he said,

“For Christ’s sake… whose kid is this anyway? Kid! … Kid get in here … and get this Kid outta my way...”

Which didn’t answer my question, and sounded like Kid Curry would want to try to touch me, and I didn’t want that to happen. So, I kicked Hannibal Heyes’ leg and ran away to the corner of the carriage and hid under my daddy’s desk. I could still watch Hannibal Heyes opening the safe, and ask questions, but Kid Curry couldn’t reach me because I could bite him, and then he said,

“Jeeez! You little … Arhh! …Just stay under there then… but stay quiet will yer… Here… play with these … see if you can open the top drawer of the desk with them like Heyes can…. But do it quiet will yer!”

He gave me two pieces of thin dark metal with hooky bits at the ends, from Hannibal Heyes’ hat band that, I now know, are called lock picks.  I tried to open the drawer but back then, I didn’t know how to open locks yet.  It takes a lot of practice.

After Hannibal Heyes opened the safe, he showed me how to use the lock picks properly to open the drawer.  My daddy’s gun was in the draw, and Hannibal Heyes locked the drawer again real quick, but let me keep the lock picks to carry on practicing because he said

“…what’s it matter …they’re old and kinda worn… it’s not like she’s gonna be able to open it! Might keep her from followin’ me around like some puppy dog though…”

Hannibal Heyes was right. I didn’t open the drawer that time but I did practice until the train pulled into the station.  Uncle Steadman didn’t like it, he said

“What’s the kid doing playing with damned lock picks!?! ... If I ever get my hands-on Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry again ..they’re gonna need more than lock picks to get them out of where I’m planning on sending them!”

I don’t know where Uncle Steadman was planning to send Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, but my daddy said,

“Let her alone will yer … at least it keeps her from asking me any more damn fool questions … I got to write telegrams to Pinkerton’s and Bannerman’s … I’ll have them filthy, money stealing outlaws strung up, if it’s the last thing I do!”

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry weren’t filthy.  They looked quite clean, but daddy didn’t know that, because he was outside, down on the ground with uncle Steadman, when Hannibal Heyes opened the safe, and didn’t see them properly like I did.  He did get a bit dirty himself though, especially on the knees of his new suit.

I am now very good at opening locks with lock picks. I have had three years to practice.  I can open daddy’s study door in twenty-three seconds and I can open the top drawer of his study desk in ten seconds, if you don’t count the time you have to wiggle the drawer a bit because its sticky.  That’s my fastest time ever. 

I can open the school doors and locks of all the draws and cupboards in the school and the pantry door at home, but I have never opened a safe yet. There is a safe in daddy’s study.  I cannot find a book in the library, or daddy’s study, that tells how to listen to tumblers, so I can’t practice opening safes yet.

That’s why I was very happy when the new teacher, Miss Henderson brought to the school room today, was not Mr Theodore Smith that we were expecting. 

Theodore Smith is the man daddy had been writing letters to, about becoming a progressive teacher at this school.  Daddy is very pleased because Mr Theodore Smith is a Herbartian scholar and daddy thinks he will,

“… kick this here town, screaming into the twentieth century.”

Mr Theodore Smith’s last letter is in daddy’s top desk draw, along with his thesis on educating the young.  That’s us. The book was still in its brown paper wrapping so daddy hasn’t seen it yet.  I’ve seen it, and read some of the chapter headings and the summary on the back with Theodore Smith’s photograph. 

I got it sealed up just like new.

It isn’t a very good book, and the photograph is grouchy, so I wasn’t looking forward to coming to school today.  So, it was a nice surprise when Miss Henderson brought Hannibal Heyes into the classroom, and introduced him as our new teacher, Mr Smith.  Hannibal Heyes introduced himself as Mr Smith also, but his real name is Hannibal Heyes and he’s an outlaw. 

I didn’t tell Miss Henderson that Hannibal Heyes wasn’t Theodore Smith, daddy’s new progressive teacher, that was going to

Shake things up a bit at that lame, waste of funding of a school, run by a nanny goat”,

because I’m hoping Hannibal Heyes has forgotten that I kicked him, and is going to teach me how to open safes, just by listening to the tumblers. 

I think Kid Curry must be outside because Hannibal Heyes keeps looking through the windows.  I hope Kid Curry has forgotten that I bit him.  Daddy says he’s a,

“…no good … no account gunslinger.”

Daddy’s wrong about that too. 

Kid Curry is the fastest gun in the West, that means he is a very good gunslinger.


authors note...

1878–1899: Education: Overview
[size=19]Changing Education for Young Children. European influences that helped to change elementary school educational theory and practice came from two of Pestalozzi's disciples, Johann Friedrich Herbart and Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel. Herbart maintained that interest was the most important element in good teaching, and he elaborated a five-step formal teaching method that emphasized student interest, the adaptation of instruction to the past experiences of the pupil, and the unification of the subjects. In the United States a fervid enthusiasm for Herbartian principles developed during the late 1880s and the 1890s. Many American converts wrote articles for teachers and lectured to educators, slowly dispensing the reformist theories throughout this country. [/size]

Last edited by Cal on Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptyThu Feb 02, 2017 3:37 am

The Unusual Suspects - This was written as a VS episode the full story is at the following link

The maid’s eyes widened with alarm as she stared down the barrel of a gun. Kid Curry dropped his arm and murmured a garbled apology, before standing up quickly and approaching her. “Miss? I’m real sorry. You startled me when you just walked in without knockin’.”
She clutched the bale of folded sheets to her chest, tilting her head back to stare into his eyes. “The desk clerk said that you had gone out. I came to see to your room,” she stuttered.
“Only my friend went out, not both of us.” He gave her his most charming smile and slipped a comforting, patting hand under her elbow. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” she stammered, backing off quickly. “I’m sorry. Really sorry. I didn’t know that you valued your privacy so much. I wouldn’t... I would never have...”
He shook his head. “I was just cleanin’ my gun... It was already in my hand. I hope I didn’t frighten you?”
She pulled herself together, her fragile, little jaw setting in stubborn anger. “Guns aren’t toys, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing! You could have shot me!”
He gave her a wry smile, his eyes softening. “I know a little. I wouldn’t have shot you.”
She gave an indignant snort. “I wish I could have been so sure!” She thrust the stack of sheets against his chest with a whump, as her hazel eyes flashed with anger. “Make your own bed! And if you DARE to complain about me, I’ll fetch you a slap! You see if I don’t! I need this job!”
The Kid gave a short chuckle. “Fair enough. Who could blame you? I won’t complain if you don’t. I really am very sorry.”
She turned, giving a little cry of surprise as she walked straight into the arms of Hannibal Heyes, who had suddenly walked up behind her. “Hey! Are you alright? What are you sorry for, Thaddeus?”
“Your friend pulled a gun on me!” she barked.
Heyes fixed the Kid with a look of admonishment. “What on earth were you doing?”
“I was cleanin’ my gun when she came in. She didn’t knock.”
Heyes nodded, smiling reassuringly at her, his eyes like molten chocolate as he purred a reply. “There, I knew that it was a misunderstanding. My friend here doesn’t even like guns,” he slipped into the lie whilst the Kid’s gun slid back into the holster on the table. “Isn’t that right, Thaddeus?”
“That’s right, Joshua. I can promise you, it won’t happen again, Miss...? What’s your name?” he paused, but she stiffened and stalked off down the hallway without providing it.
“Miss, have we met somewhere before?” Heyes called after her.
She whirled round. “I’m sure that I would have remembered that! You two are kind of memorable! Just keep out of my way. Please!”
Heyes nodded, his eyes clouding with thought as he closed the door. “You can be sure of that, lady,” he muttered. “What just happened in here?” demanded Heyes, pressing his back against the secured door.
“Just what you heard, except, I wasn’t cleanin’ my gun. I drew, but I put it away as soon as I saw it was a woman.”
Heyes crooked up an eyebrow. “She didn’t knock, you say?”
“No. Why?” the Kid asked, suspiciously.
“I think I’ve seen her somewhere before,” Heyes replied, pensively. “In fact, I’m sure of it.”
Kid sucked in a breath. “D’you think that she was comin’ in here, to search the room?”
“I’ve got no idea,” Heyes dragged out his bag from under the bed. “But I’ve got no intention of waiting here to find out.”
The Kid flicked up an eyebrow philosophically. “Well, at least we ain’t paid for another night yet.”

The Kid gave a hoarse whisper as they reached the bottom of the stairs. “You see that? Him by the door! You were right. D’you think she was on a train we robbed?”
Heyes’ eyes fixed on the glistening deputy’s badge on the chest of the lanky man who stood beside the main door of the hotel. “Back door,” he hissed, cautiously.
Both former outlaws turned toward the kitchen door and Heyes' fingertips had barely touched its brass handle, when another figure stepped from behind an aspidistra which occupied a mahogany stand in the curve of the staircase.
"Goin' somewhere, boys?" rumbled a deep voice.
Heyes stopped and turned, eye-level with a shiny silver badge. He lifted his gaze to a brown handlebar moustache, then higher to a pair of steely eyes. Heyes let go of the doorknob, not even opening the door to the kitchen, and flashed his most glittering smile as a both men’s hands dropped down to their guns. “Just about to check out, but we wanted to thank the staff for looking after us. Can we help you?”
A hirsute eyebrow crept upwards. “Yeah, sure you were,” he murmured, suspiciously, indicating with his head towards the dining room. “Get in there and take a seat. My name is Sheriff Edwards and I need to speak to you.”
“I’m sure that there’s been some kind of mistake, Sheriff...”
Heyes was cut off by an impatient command. “There’s no mistake! A man’s been murdered and nobody’s leaving this place until I find out what’s goin’ on. Got that? Now get in there, the pair of you, and if I see you tryin’ to sneak off anywhere again you’re headed straight to jail! Got that!?”
“Yes! Now stop makin’ my life harder than it has to be and get in there,” he huffed through the moustache and cast his eyes towards the man guarding the door. “Jake! Get that door locked like I told you, and tell Caleb that if anyone tries to get out of the back; shoot them! You two! What’re your names?”
“This here’s my partner, Thaddeus Jones. I’m Joshua Smith. We have folks who can vouch for us.”
Sheriff Edwards nodded slowly. “Good. You’ll need them. The register says that you were two doors away from the murder scene. Move, boys, now!”
Kid dropped his voice and whispered conspiratorially in Heyes’ ear as they complied with their orders. “Well, Joshua, it looks like they don’t know who we are. We still got our guns.”
They stopped dead at the growling sheriff’s next words. “Jake! Take them guns. They’re all murder suspects. Make sure that none of them are armed.”
Both partners handed over their weapons with a look of resignation, before they turned and continued into the dining room.
The Kid muttered quietly into Heyes’ ear, “It’s bound to be kinda obvious that we had nothin’ to do with it, ain’t it? We never even met the man. This won’t take long.” His face fell as he looked around the room at the assembled suspects; a nun, a priest, a boy of about fourteen, a tearful young woman of about sixteen, a man in his thirties whose white stick and little, round, dark glasses marked him out as profoundly blind, and an elderly woman with a little dog.
They both heaved a deep sigh of resignation and exchanged a long glance before Heyes spoke. “You were saying, Thaddeus?”
“Well, there’s always the staff,” Kid replied, hopefully, as the little animal slobbered and snuffled at the toes of his boots, its little curly tail waving back and forth, flagging up his delighted welcome to these interesting-smelling new suspects.
As if on cue, the door opened and the tall, slim deputy ushered in the five foot tall, bespectacled desk clerk, the plump middle-aged woman who did the cooking, and the tall, hook-nosed woman who doubled as waitress and maid.
“Yeah,” Heyes nodded sagely, before he replied, sotto voce. “Impressive crowd. It’s hard to tell who’s the most bloodthirsty. We could be in serious trouble, Thaddeus.”
“Is that everyone, Jake?” the sheriff demanded.
“No, there’s the handyman and the other maid to come, then we got everyone in the place.”
Heyes indicated to the two seats at the table by the window.
Kid nodded almost imperceptibly as he read the message in his partner’s dark eyes. “Good seats,” Kid murmured, his eyes pointing the way to their fallback exit to the street.
Heyes cleared his throat. “I hate to point out the obvious, Sheriff, but this is a hotel. The public is free to come and go. If there’s been a murder, anyone could have done it.”
The sheriff tossed his hat on a table and ran his hand absent-mindedly through his hair. “I know that, but I got to start somewhere, and this seems as good a place as any. Men just ain’t randomly murdered in their beds by total strangers who wander in off the street.” His brown eyes glanced around the room distractedly as he looked at the assembled suspects as though he were taking inventory.
“So, who’s been murdered?” queried the Kid.
“A man in his fifties by the name of Robert Pastka. Doc reckons he was strangled.” The sheriff gave Heyes and Curry a long, hard look. “His room was two doors down from yours, so I’m told. You’re the closest to the scene, because the room between you and him was empty.”
Heyes cast an eye around the room, drinking in the hands of the frail and the very young. “Strangled? Well, I guess that eliminates a few folks then.”
The sheriff nodded, fixing them with a gimlet eye. “I guess it does, Mister. But it don’t take you out of the frame.”
“If you lay another finger on me, I’ll stick a fork in it!” the pretty, little maid they had met upstairs said, while bustling in backwards and facing the lean lawman with a fierce glare. “Do I look like a murderer?”
Sheriff Edwards smiled down at the young woman, her auburn hair burning as brightly as her fury. “No, ma’am, you don’t. But I guess you’ll be safer here until I can find out what’s goin’ on.” He cast out an arm to proffer a chair. “Please, take a seat.”
All eyes turned to the barrel-chested, bear of a man who followed her into the dining room, his baldpate sparkling with sweat. His fat fingers played nervously with the loose strap of his dungarees like worry beads, the bib remaining attached by only the left shoulder. The man then dropped his denim toy, leaving it to drag behind him like a tail as he walked over to a chair. “I didn’t do nuthin’,” he muttered, defensively. “I was playin’ cards all night with the undertaker and the baker. I can prove it wasn’t me.”
“That’s what we’re here to find out. Tobias Stubbs, ain’t it? The handyman? Is that everyone?” the sheriff queried.
“There was a manager here, when we checked in yesterday,” the Kid added. “Where’s he?”
“His wife gave birth last night. He was up all night with witnesses that include the local doc. He ain’t a suspect.”
“Great!” muttered Heyes, under his breath. “Just us and the local church picnic.”
The sheriff narrowed his eyes. “Yup! It ain’t looking too good for you two, is it? It takes a fit young man to strangle someone Mr. Prastka’s size with their bare hands, and there ain’t many of those in this room. Of those that are, you are the only ones who ain’t got proof that they were elsewhere. Couple that with tryin’ to sneak off, you look pretty guilty from where I’m standin’.”
“We weren’t tryin’ to sneak off,” muttered the Kid.
“No. He loves his food,” Heyes added. “He always tries to thank the cook so he gets good helpings next visit. That’s all we were doing.”
The tall maid spoke up with a wry smile. “I can testify to that. He was always real grateful for a bit extra. Especially the pie. He loves apple pie!” she giggled, coquettishly. “Quite the flirt, too.”
The sheriff gave small harrumph as the handyman glowered jealously at the Kid. “So? He’s a big eater. Cold-blooded killers don’t lose their appetites over a stranglin’. The dead man’s room was only two doors away from his.”
Kid glowered indignantly, sitting back tensely in the high-backed chair. “I never strangled anyone in my life.”
“That remains to be seen, in any case there’s two of you! Now, why don’t we start? Father Stevenson, Sister Quinn, you say you never met the deceased before?”
The priest nodded. “The sister and I are on our way to the orphanage at Sandholes. Our Order runs most of the orphanages in the state.”
“Well,” the sheriff nodded. “I think we can discount you.”
“Why?” demanded Heyes. “No offense, Father, but we don’t even know that you’re a real priest.”
“He’s a man of the cloth,” retorted the sheriff. “And I’m sure that the sister can speak for his character!”
Father Stevenson folded his arms. “Yes, and the Archbishop himself, can confirm our identities! Send him a telegram.”
“Give it up, Joshua. The sheriff ain’t listenin’,” said Kid, ruefully. “He’s made up his mind.”
“Well, I’m not just going to sit here and be railroaded into a murder charge.” Heyes’ dark eyes scanned around the room. “The way I see it, if anyone from the hotel did it, it could only be him or the handyman. No-one else is physically capable of it.” He stood, purposefully striding over to the blind man, his eyes narrowing as the germ of a hypothesis slithered around in their darkness. “Except, maybe, for you?”
He pulled off a glove and tossed it towards the man’s face, as he sat facing aimlessly into the black oblivion of his spectacles.
It bounced harmlessly off his forehead before fluttering to the floor.
“What was that?” queried the visionless man without a flinch.
Kid dropped his head into his hands in embarrassment. “Great work, Joshua! Ain’t nothin’ gonna get a lawman on side faster than treatin’ a blind man like a sideshow. Why don’t you get a few hoops, and try to get one over his head?”
“I’m sorry! I thought he might be pretending,” Heyes stammered. “I wanted to see if he reacted.”
The blind man swept out an arm, groping for the young lad’s hand. “Pretending? Why would I do that? Do you think I like having to depend on my son to get about!?”
“No. I’m sure you don’t.” Heyes sat down, looking sheepish. “I really am very sorry.”
“This here’s your son?” demanded the sheriff.
“Yes. The girl’s my daughter too. We share a family room with a connecting door. I play piano here.”
“So!” Sheriff Edwards folded his arms. “Anybody else got anything to add here?”
The cook’s double chins wobbled in urgency as she pushed forward her own alibi. “Martha and I share a room. I know that she couldn’t have done it! She was with me the whole time.”
The sheriff glowered at Heyes and Curry. “Well, I guess that’s leaves only you two, unless you want to accuse the other maid or the ladies.”
“We shared a room too! How come you let all of them vouch for one another, but not us?” spluttered the Kid.
“’Cos they’re not physically capable of stranglin’ a grown man with their bare hands and you are!”
“They look real shifty too,” added the scowling deputy as he leant against the door. “Especially that dark one.”
Heyes visibly bristled as he glowered back.
“You want to look at that new maid, too.” Martha glared over her hooked nose like an angry hawk at her counterpart. “She only started here the day before yesterday. Positively begged for the job and is doin’ it for no pay, just bed and board! She must have had a real good reason for needin’ to get in here so urgent, if you ask me.”
The girl’s eyes widened in exasperated challenge. “Thanks, Martha! You’re a real pal!” she snapped.
“Well, what do you expect, Hattie!?” Martha gave a little sniff of indignation. “What do you think it does to my position if someone’s prepared to do my job for nothin’!”
“I... well, I needed something! I was desperate! Wouldn’t you rather that I did a respectable job just for my keep, than just do anything for money?”
Martha eyed her suspiciously. “I really couldn’t say! All I know is that the sheriff should know the truth. You arrived the same day as these two men. There ain’t nothin’ ever happened here, not till you showed up. It stinks!”
Heyes quickly took in the glint in the Kid’s eye and the shift in his position to make it easier to spring into action. “We’re on our way to see Sheriff Lom Trevors in Porterville! He needs us to be on time! He’s got a job for us.”
“I don’t care! I’ll contact him, but until I hear back, you two are gonna sit in my jail, right along with this little lady here! I think you’re all in this together.”
“Now, Sheriff, be reasonable,” the Kid drawled dangerously. “There ain’t no call to lock us up. Why would we kill him? We didn’t even know the man.”
Hattie stood, drawing herself up to make the most of every one of her full five foot three inches. “That’s enough! I’m not going to jail and neither are these two gentlemen! Stop being so stupid and start to investigate this matter properly! Have you even thought about who the victim was? What he did for a living!?”
All eyes turned to Hattie, surprised at the commanding voice coming from this sparrow of a woman who was now holding court. “He is... was a bank manager. Sister Quinn and Father Stevenson have an account at his bank, containing the funds they have siphoned off from the orphanages. Are you really telling me that it’s a coincidence that Prastka was found dead the morning after people that dishonest visited him in his room?”
Father Stevenson turned puce and exploded with indignation. “That’s a lie! She would say that—she’s just trying to save herself! Besides, we never went anywhere near the man!”
She turned flashing eyes on the priest. “Save myself? Nonsense! My real name is Harriette Gilbert. I’ve been investigating these people for the last four months! Prastka wanted a cut of their embezzled funds. He had money troubles of his own. I have full reports in my room that I can provide, as well as a record of their accounts.”
“Harriette Gilbert!” exclaimed Heyes. “I knew that I’d seen you somewhere before.”
“Who’s Harriette Gilbert?” demanded the Kid.
Heyes’ eyes glittered with respect as he stared at her. “She’s only the best known journalist in the country! That’s where I must have seen her before. In the newspapers! She’s exposed all kinds of powerful people’s crimes!”
“Precisely! And if you dare to lock me up, my editor will make sure that your name is Mudd. Am I clear, Sheriff?”
“As crystal,” he narrowed his eyes. “But I still ain’t convinced. The only folks backin’ you up are the men I think are in this with ya. I need evidence.”
She nodded and reached into her apron pocket, pulling out a delicate watch on a gold chain. “I kept this out of sight because I had to look poor. But this isn’t just a watch; it’s also a hidden camera. I took pictures of all the comings and goings on that corridor and the only people who went into that room were the Father and Sister Quinn.” She gave a small smile. “Get these pictures developed and investigate the bank details I give you and you’ll have all the evidence you need.”

Kid grinned widely as he plunked down his empty shot glass on the table. His voice rang with laughter as he sat back in his chair and pushed his hat to the back of his head with a long forefinger. “I just don’t know what’s wrong with you, Joshua! How many times have we been in tight spots like that and got out of it so easy? I tell you, our luck’s turnin’, for the better, but you’re sittin’ there with a face like you lost a dollar and found a rattlesnake!”
Heyes raised his eyebrows, still clutching his unfinished drink. “You really don’t know? She had a camera, Thaddeus! She took pictures.”
“Sure she did! And that solved the whole thing. D’you really think that sheriff would have accepted that churchifyin’ folks were more likely to be killers than us without them?”
“No, Thaddeus, I don’t,” muttered Heyes, darkly.
“So? Cheer up! That little lady saved us a whole lot of grief!”
Heyes raised his head and looked directly into Curry’s delighted face. “Cheer up? She took photographs of folks going into a room two doors away from ours. How much do you want to bet that the killers weren’t the only pictures she took?”
The Kid’s face fell as Heyes’ point rammed home. “Do you think she took pictures of us?”
A sickly smile of resignation dimpled across Heyes’ cheeks. “I’m only willing to stake my life on it.”
Kid exhaled loudly through his nose as he considered the point. “Well, we ain’t the killers. She’ll probably just throw the others away.”
Heyes tilted his head to the side. “Sure, or maybe she’ll put them in every newspaper across the country to show folks the faces of the ‘innocent men’ she saved!”
Kid gasped. “You surely don’t think she’ll do that? Do you?”
Heyes lifted his glass to his lips. “Are you willing to take the risk?”
Kid slumped forward onto his elbows. “What are we gonna do, Joshua? Our lives won’t be worth a cent if our pictures got out.”
A pair of dark eyes burned into him, full of determination. “I tell you what we’re going to do. You’re going to take her out to dinner while I search her room.”
“I don’t know. She’s an awful good talker. She seems more like your type than mine.”
“I don’t care, Thaddeus. You’re going to polish up your silver tongue and keep her out of the hotel. It’s got to be me who searches in case there are any locks to be picked.”
“Well, she is real pretty.” Kid flicked up an eyebrow. “Anythin’ to be helpful, I suppose.”
“Make it your best effort, Thaddeus. There’s a lot riding on this.”

Na sir 's na seachainn an cath - Neither seek nor shun the fight      Old Scottish proverb
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PostSubject: Re: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptySun Feb 19, 2017 8:07 pm

The dark Montana hotel room was bathed in an eerie green and blue glow. Light shadows danced around the room as the glow surrounded objects in its path. Kid Curry awoke to silence and a feeling of something strange. He lay and watched, almost hypnotized, by the turquoise shadows waving across the room's door and walls like moonlight on water. Realization then set in that there were no lamps lit, and even if there had of been, they wouldn't be glowing green. He quietly raised up on his elbows and looked over at the bed his cousin was supposed to be occupying. It was empty, but Heyes had been in bed at some point because the quilt and sheet were thrown back diagonally. He glanced quickly around the room looking for his partner. After a couple of seconds, he located him. "What are you doing, Heyes?" he asked sleepily.

Hannibal Heyes stood still at the window, holding back one side of the curtains, gazing out into the night. Softly, he spoke, with a small hint of sadness in his voice. "C'mere, Kid. Look at this."

Curry got out of bed, rubbing down some unruly curls, as he made his way to the window. "What is it?"

"Look," Heyes whispered as he pointed outside toward the sky.

Kid peeled back the other side of the curtain from the window and was instantly awed at what he saw. The sky above the dark little town was filled with what seemed like fluttering walls of delicate, shimmering, green and blue lights. Ever so often, a wisp of orange or red would glide through the lights and then transform into hues of yellow or purple as they seemed to reach all the way up into the Heavens. Curry was silent as he watched the cosmic show glow in varying degrees of brightness.

"Remember the last time we saw something like this?" Heyes asked quietly.

"Yeah, a little. The memory is a little fuzzy though," came the soft reply.

Heyes could feel water wanting to fill his brown eyes as he whispered, barely audible, "I remember..."


September 2, 1859
1:30 am

"Han,...Hannibal, wake up and come down here," Michael Heyes called up to his son.

An eight-year-old dark head looked out of the dark loft. "I'm telling you, Pa, I don't know what happened to the last of the cookies," a mouth being wiped free of crumbs said.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm sure you don't," Michael murmured, then louder, "Just get dressed and come down here."

"'Kay, Pa."

"What's going on? Why are you calling for Hannibal? Where's that strange light coming from?" Keara Heyes walked out of their bedroom tightening her robe. "Why are you dressed?"

"Go put your overcoat on, honey. I want to show you and Hannibal something special."

Keara turned and went to retrieve her coat at the same time Hannibal came practically sliding down the ladder that reached to the loft. Something outside the window immediately caught his attention. "What's that green glow out there, Pa?"

"That's what I want to show you as soon as your mother puts on her overcoat so she'll look decent outside."

Keara returned from the bedroom, her overcoat pulled around her and buttoned. "Michael, why are you even up at this time of night?"

"I was sitting at the table thinking and trying to plan out the harvest this year. Then, that green glow caught my attention. C'mon outside."

Michael opened the front door and Hannibal ran out first. As soon as he jumped off the porch, he stopped dead in his tracks. The night sky was alive with vertical waving walls of glowing greens and blues, purples and yellows. Hannibal was truly amazed. "Wooow," he whispered quietly, his brown eyes wide in wonder.

He was joined a few seconds later by his mother. She too, was staring up, silent, in awe of the celestial beauty. Her hand went down to rest on Hannibal's shoulder. "Oh my, how beautiful!"

"What's causing that, Pa?"

Michael walked down the steps and stood on the other side of Hannibal, his arm hugged around both his son and his wife. "Those, son, are what are known as the aurora borealis, the northern lights. They're usually just seen way up north near the earth's north pole. You rarely ever see them this far south."

"So what makes 'em?" Hannibal asked, his curious brown eyes still watching the skies.

"Well, some scientists think they're caused by electricity high up in the clouds. I have an old magazine from 1837 saved somewhere that has an article about them if you want to read it."

"Can we get it tonight?"

"Let's save that search for tomorrow, okay?"

"How come we can see 'em here in Kansas tonight?"

"I'm not sure, son. Maybe the paper will have something written about them tomorrow morning."

"Will we ever see them here again?"

"I don't know, Han. Why don't you just enjoy them now and we'll take care of the questions tomorrow."

After a few quiet minutes of watching the atmospheric lights dance across the sky, Hannibal came to a conclusion. "We need to show Jed this!"

Michael smiled. "I thought you might say that, so I've already hitched Maggie up to the wagon."

"Well, let's go before they go away!" Hannibal turned and ran toward the wagon waiting near the house.

"Oh Michael, this is truly wonderful! Thank you for getting us up to see it." Keara hugged her beloved husband. "Every now and then, it's a good thing you don't sleep well." She kissed him on the cheek.

"Well, I DO do my best thinking at night."

"C'mon! Let's go show Jed the lights before they go out! You two can do that nasty kissing later." Hannibal was already seated in the wagon.

"We're coming, son." Michael turned his wife and they walked toward the wagon.


The wagon pulled up in front of the Curry farmhouse just as someone emerged from the door holding a rifle. The Curry dog was barking repeatedly beside one of the wagon wheels, his tail wagging profusely. "Nevermind the dog, I'd be more afraid of the owner if I was you," the voice holding the rifle called out, ignoring the strange glow of the night for the moment.

"It's just us, Sean, don't shoot." Michael held up the small lantern to his face.

Hannibal quickly jumped down, petted the overexcited dog, and pointed up. "Look at the lights, Uncle Sean!"

Sean Curry stepped off his porch. "Ah, is that the northern lights? Pa's told me stories about him seeing them every so often while he was still in Ireland. Never thought I'd get to look at them here."

"Jed needs to see 'em. Can I go wake him up?" Han asked hopefully.

Sean smiled at his anxious nephew. "Why not? And I'll go get the girls up."

Han laughed, ran inside and up the stairs. He burst into Jed's room, waking everyone in there. Jed's hand reached for his slingshot hanging on his bedpost. "Jed, get up!" Jedediah's two brothers kind of groaned when they saw who it was in the dim glow of light.

"Shoulda known it was you. Who else would come into somebody's bedroom in the middle of the night without bein' asked or even knockin'?" the eldest Curry boy said. "You're goin' to be in jail for breakin' and enterin' by the time you're twelve."

Han smiled at him smugly. "They'd have to catch me first. It ain't breaking the law until you get caught. Besides, Uncle Sean let me in." He turned to his younger cousin as Jed laughed. "Never mind that though. Get dressed and come outside! Hurry!" Han exited the room the same way he had entered. Jed jumped out of bed and started pulling his clothes on. His brothers followed suit, although at a slower pace while talking.

"We really need to get Pa to put us a lock on the door."

"Wouldn't matter none. Han would probably learn how to pick it open."


Within a few minutes, the whole Curry family was standing in their yard with the Heyes', watching, fascinated by the ethereal glow of the northern lights. Hannibal was busy pointing out the different colors to Jed as they came and went.

Jed's sister held tightly to her dad's leg, a little scared. "What's it mean, Pa?"

"Nothing baby. God's just puttin' on a light show for us."

She gradually let her hold go until she was standing on her own. "Pa, you think Grandma Curry is watchin' the lights from the other side in Heaven?"

Sean picked her up, hugged her, and held her in his arms. "I'm sure she is sweetie."

She waved at the illuminated night sky before she called out, "Hi, Grandma!" Her Grandpa Curry, standing behind everyone, felt his eyes water as he too, waved, in silence.

Emma Curry decided that they should all just have a picnic of past midnight snacks as they looked on. She went inside, got some quilts, some lemonade, and the cookie jar, then brought them outside. Everyone was mesmerized by the light show until the wee hours of the morning. Han and Jed sat happily side-by-side, between both sets of parents, entranced by the aurora borealis.


Both partners were quiet for a moment. "I didn't remember all of that," Kid finally said softly.

"Well, you were only six." Heyes was silent for another minute, lost in the lights and the glow of memories. "That was a special night. I'll never forget it."

It was a few seconds before Kid spoke once again. "So, do you think it's true?"

"Is what true?"

"What my sister asked that night. You think they're all up there watchin' on the other side of the lights?"

Heyes hesitated before he answered. "I'd like to think so."

The northern lights were starting to fade in intensity and sleepiness was taking hold of Kid. "Me too." He lightly patted his cousin's shoulder before returning to bed.

Heyes watched as Kid lay down with his back to him. His attention then turned back to gaze out the window. With a tear in his eye, he waved up at the embellished atmosphere as he softly whispered, "I miss you."


A/N - The aurora borealis, or northern lights are created when solar wind from the Sun interacts with the Earth's magnetosphere. They are predominantly seen in the latitudes near the Earth's north and south poles. A geomagnetic storm, caused by a coronal mass ejection from the Sun hitting earth, can cause the auroras to appear in lower latitudes. The intensity of the storm determines how far near the equator the lights can be observed.

In 1859, an extremely strong geomagnetic storm known as the 'Carrington Event', collided with Earth's atmosphere. To date, it's known as one of the strongest geomagnetic storms to hit the planet. The northern lights were seen as far south as the Caribbean. They were so bright, miners out west got out of bed to start breakfast because they thought the Sun was rising. In the northeastern United States, it was bright enough to read by without any lamps or candles. Telegraph systems around the world failed as the lines sparked and in some cases, caught fire as the high amount of electricity coursed through them. Some telegraph operators actually received electrcial shocks from their equipment and some could still send messages even though their batteries were disconnected.

If a storm of that magnitude hit the Earth today without warning, all of our telecommunication and power grids would fail, probably taking months, even years to get back online.

The magazine article Michael Heyes referenced was “The Aurora Borealis,” by “Francis” (from Youth’s Magazine, April 14, 1837; pp. 43-45)

Sorry for the long explanation. As you can probably tell, I'm a science freak.

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PostSubject: Re: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptyMon Feb 27, 2017 7:34 pm

A bit from an earlier chapter of "In Winter." I hope I understand the prompt correctly, and that this excerpt fits.

“So what’s it like living in the west, Mr. Jones?”

Two bright young faces were fixed on Thaddeus Jones, entranced. Rather than basking in the attention, Jones felt uncomfortable.

“It’s fine,” Jones answered. Christine made a face at him from across the room. Apparently he wasn’t being friendly enough to these college boys from Chicago. He wasn’t sure how he was supposed to answer that question any better, but he tried.

“It’s real fine.” He hoped that was good enough for Christine. She looked at the ceiling in exasperation.
“Daddy’s been all over the west at one time or another, haven’t you, Daddy?”

“Uh huh.”  Christine waited. Apparently nothing more was forthcoming. She almost stamped her foot. He was hopeless.

“I understand you come from Cleveland, Mr. Wysocki,” she said. “Were you born and raised there?”

“No, Mrs. O’Connor. I was born in Poland. My parents were peasants.” The genial student saw  Jones’ puzzled expression and explained.

“Peasants are farmers, Mr. Jones, but not like farmers in this country.”

“How are farmers there different from farmers here?” Jones asked.

“The social class you’re born in is the one you stay in,” Wysocki said. “If you’re born a peasant, you’re tied to the land, and you can never advance yourself. Here, farmers can buy more land, choose what crops to grow, move around, and make enough money so that the next generation – my generation, for example – can do better. None of that is possible in Poland.”

Christine sneaked a sideways glance at her father. He actually looked interested in what Adam Wysocki was saying.

The other student, Dan, was nodding vigorously. Jones had heard his last name when they were introduced, but it was some unpronounceable foreign thing.

“It was the same thing for my folks in Serbia. Of course, the political situation in Serbia was bad and getting worse. They were just shopkeepers, but they saw a war coming. They sold everything they owned to get passage here.”

“They were smart to get out when they did,” Wysocki said.

“Yeah,” Dan agreed. “And lucky. There’s not much left of their home town. It was pretty much wiped out during the war.”

“What are your parents doing now?” Christine asked.

“Our dads are working in the steel mills,” Wysocki said. “Mine in Cleveland, and Dan’s in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.”

“And you two are enrolled at the University of Chicago,” she said. “Your parents must be very proud.” Both young men smiled modestly.

“They’ve worked hard for us to be successful,” Dan said. “They’re trying to achieve what some people are calling the American dream.”

“The American dream?” Jones asked.

“Yes, sir. You work hard, so that your children can have better lives than you.”

“That don’t sound like nothing new to me. Ain’t that what every parent hopes for his kids?”

“Yes, sir, they do,” Wysocki said. “But in many places around the world, it’s not possible. In America, anybody can succeed, if they’re willing to work hard enough.”

“I guess so.” Jones seemed to lose interest in the conversation. The young men waited politely for him to continue. When he didn’t, an awkward silence filled the room. Christine’s heart sank. She’d been hoping that good company and lively conversation would lift her father’s mood, but he seemed as low as ever.

“Mr.Wysocki,” she began, but was interrupted when Pat came in, pushing a coffee cart. Cathleen was behind him, carrying a tray of pastries.

“Are we doing high tea today?” Christine asked.

“High coffee, maybe,” Pat replied. “Food and drinks. Anyone interested?”

Cathleen began pouring coffee and passing out cups, serving Jones first, as the eldest. He took a cautious sip. No Jameson’s in it this time. With that idiotic Prohibition the law of the land, he couldn’t have a drink any time he felt like it. Probably just as well, at least for today. His head wasn’t hurting any more, but his ankle was giving him fits. And walking with the crutches hadn’t been as easy as Pat had made it sound. They chafed his armpits, but he didn’t mind as long as he could get around without depending on someone else. He still needed to figure out how to walk outdoors with those things. The crutches would just sink into the sandy ground, and he wouldn’t be moving any more than the post oaks did.

Jones drank his coffee while Cathleen bustled around the room, serving coffee and cake, and Pat and Christine chatted up the visitors. The college boys were turning out to be different than he’d expected. He’d thought they’d be kind of stuck-up, looking down their noses at him as someone who didn’t do much more than read and write the basics. He wouldn’t mind that so much, because it’d mean they’d leave him alone. If they’d been mean to Christine, though – but she was the wife of a respected physician, and they’d been nothing but polite and friendly.

“Will ye have a slice of me soda bread, Mr. Jones?” It was Cathleen, hovering over him with a delicate china plate holding a slice of some kind of thick bread. “Full of raisins and nuts. I made it special for you, sir.”

He accepted the plate, and pulled off a corner of the bread and chewed it. His eyes got big. Cathleen recognized the appreciative look, and smiled broadly.

“Cathleen,” he whispered. She leaned down to hear him better. “I’d ask you to run away with me, but I’m afraid we wouldn’t get very far with me on crutches.” She giggled so hard that she snorted. The others looked at her and Jones with mild surprise.

“Oh my goodness,” Cathleen said, embarrassed and flushed. “I’m so sorry.” Christine noticed the furtive glances between Cathleen and Thaddeus and smiled. Her father always did love a good meal, and Cathleen was a talented cook. Maybe that simple pleasure would make adjusting to his new life easier. Cathleen beat a hasty retreat, but not without one last glance at Thaddeus. He winked in response, and giggles echoed down the hall along with the rattle of the coffee cart.

Pat settled onto the couch next to his wife, putting his plate on the end table.

“Are you two settling in?”

“Very much so, Dr. O’Connor,” Dan said. “Mrs. O’Connor has been nothing but gracious. You’ve made us both feel very much at home.”

“The boys were telling us about their families, Pat,” Christine said. “How they emigrated. It’s very interesting.”

“We all came from somewhere else,” Pat said. “For example, Thaddeus, your grandparents came from the same town in Ireland, didn’t they?”

Startled by the sudden attention, Jones tensed. He didn’t like being put on the spot, and he didn’t like talking about himself, but the question seemed innocent enough.

“Yeah,” he said. He saw Pat expectantly waiting for a longer answer. “Londonderry.”

“All four of them, Mr. Jones?” Wysocki asked.

“Yeah. Yes. All four of them.”

Dan leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees and hands clasped.

“I hope you don’t mind my asking you some questions, Mr. Jones. I’m very interested in the west. The mythic west, I mean.”

“The mythic west?” Jones asked.

“Yes, sir, the west of the cowboy, the gunfighter, the range wars, the cattle drives, the outlaws and lawmen. The great history of American expansion. Dr. O’Connor was telling us last week, you’ve experienced a lot of that.”

“He told you that, did he?” Jones looked over at Pat, who was wearing a pretty good imitation of his own poker face.

“My father-in-law was born in Kansas. He’s travelled all through the West, haven’t you, Thaddeus?”

“I been around,” Jones said, cautiously. “Mostly Montana, just north of the park, for the last thirty-some years.”

“The park, Mr. Jones?” Dan asked.

“The national park. Yellowstone. My wife’s family and me ran a store there. We supplied the rangers and other folks that worked in the park and visitors. Worked some as a guide and a peace officer, too, when it was needed.”

Both young men clapped their hands excitedly and laughed.

“Yellowstone Park! Everybody’s heard of Yellowstone! And that’s where you lived?” Wysocki asked. “That’s fantastic!”

“It’s supposed to be incredibly beautiful,” Dan said. “I can’t believe you lived there! Even more, I can’t believe you wanted to leave there.”

“The kids grew up and left home, my wife died, and I got sick, so I sold the business and my house and came here,” Jones explained.

More silence. Someone coughed.

“Well,” Pat said. “Well. Would you boys like a tour of the property?”

“Mr. Jones, please forgive us,” Wysocki said. “Neither Dan nor I mean to pry into your personal business. It’s just that, it’s all so exotic to us. I mean, Yellowstone! The Rocky Mountains!”

“Adam’s right, Mr. Jones. We don’t mean to intrude. You must have seen an awful lot. If you don’t mind my inquiring, you were born before the Civil War, yes?”

“Yeah. 1853.”

“I don’t know if I mentioned this to you, Thaddeus,” Pat interrupted, “but Dan and Adam aren’t medical students.”

That was news to Jones. “They aren’t?”

“No. They’re studying American history and literature. They both want to become writers and college teachers in their own turn, right, gentlemen?”

More nods.

“When I told them about you, Thaddeus, they were both so excited, they almost skipped their final exams to come out here earlier.”

“I don’t see why they’d want to do that.”

“We hope to interview you, Mr. Jones,” Dan said.

“Interview me?” Jones wasn’t sure exactly what that involved, but he didn’t like the sound of it. He wondered if this was some idea of Christine’s, but she looked as surprised as he was.

“Yes sir. We’re collaborating on some articles about the second half of the 19th century, with a focus on law enforcement and criminal activity, particularly the famous outlaws.”

Jones realized he was gripping the arm of his chair tightly. His troublesome heart pounded in his chest. Consciously, he took a long, slow breath.

“Why do you think I know anything about outlaws?”

“Thaddeus, I might have mentioned something Chris told me once,” Pat said. “That you’d been to Tombstone and met Doc Holliday, even played cards and won some money off him.”

“Not exactly. I was in Tombstone and I met him, but it was a friend of mine played poker with him, not me. And Holliday ended up winning the last hand after all, so we were stone cold broke all over again.”

“Still, you met one of the most famous characters in the west at that time,” Dan said. “That’s remarkable.”

“Sheesh, that’s nothing,” Jones protested. “Lots of people met Doc. He was a gambler. He’d play with anybody had some money.”

“You met Wyatt Earp then too, didn’t you, Daddy?” Chris asked.

“Yeah. Yeah, I did. Not like he was a friend of mine or nothing. Him and Holliday were still pretty tight with each other back then. Must’ve been ’81, before the hoohah at the OK Corral. But I don’t see why you want to talk me about them two. Last I heard, Earp’s living out in Los Angeles. You can get the story direct from the horse’s mouth. Though anything Earp says, it’s more like to be coming out of the other end of the horse.”

“He’s not available, sir,” Wysocki said. “He’s trying to sell his story to the film industry, and he won’t talk to anybody without payment in advance.”

Jones’ eyebrows went up. “Somebody’s going to make a film about him?”

“Apparently. Not only him, but about everything that happened at the OK Corral. He’s still a hero to a lot of people.”

“A hero?” Jones looked up towards the ceiling for a minute, remembering the events of forty years ago. No one spoke. Christine held her breath. Would she finally hear about her father’s life before his marriage and after running away from the orphanage? She and her brothers had jokingly referred to Thaddeus’ youth as “the lost years of Jesus,” until the day their mother heard them and threatened to wash out their mouths for disrespecting the Lord.

 “He’s no hero to me. What he did at the OK Corral was terrible,” Jones said. “Shooting up the Clantons wasn’t heroic. Even Holliday thought so, and he was part of it. A few years later, I ran into Big Nose Kate in Arizona. She told me, when Holliday came back to their hotel room after the OK Corral, he just sat down on the bed, and he said to her ‘That was awful. Just awful.’

“And what Earp and his friends did afterwards was worse,” Jones went on. “You ever hear of Earp’s vendetta ride?” No one answered. Lost in his memories, Jones didn’t notice everyone staring at him.

“Earp and his men hunted the Cowboys down. You know who the Cowboys were?” Dan and Adam nodded. “It was murder, just plain murder. Earp and his gang wore badges, but there weren’t any arrests or trials. They killed anybody they blamed for Morgan’s death and Virgil being hurt. Yeah, I met him, him and Holliday. They were nothing more than outlaws, and outlaws shouldn’t be anybody’s heroes.”

“This is why we want to talk to you, Mr. Jones,” Dan said. “You’re a contemporary witness. You were around when these events were happening. Your perspective is invaluable to researchers like us. “

“Who’s Big Nose Kate?” Chris asked.

Jones suddenly realized his little girl was listening to him talk about killers and prostitutes. “Ah. . . she was Holliday’s . . . ah . . . She was his girlfriend. Sort of.”

“Oh. Okay.” Christine felt a wave of intense love for her father wash through her. After years of married life in the sophisticated world of the university and big city, she understood perfectly well what kind of female “friend” Doc Holliday might have had. Even so, her father was still trying to protect her from unsavory things and people.

“This is exactly the sort of thing we were hoping for, Mr. Jones,” Dan said. He was literally on the edge of his seat with excitement.

Pat saw Jones’ hesitation.

“It’d be nice to have your story in print, Thaddeus. Sort of like a legacy for the girls.

Despite Pat’s encouragement, Jones wasn’t sure an interview was a good idea. He’d spent more than thirty years trying to escape his past, and he thought he’d done a pretty good job of it. Since he’d retired and moved back east, though, it seemed that his past was all anybody wanted to talk about. The last thing he wanted to do was be one of those old coots who spent their days sitting in rocking chairs, left out to pasture like some broken-down horse, and boring everyone by talking for endless hours about how life was when they were young.

Of course, he’d had a bit more excitement in his young years than most other retirees. Considering the violence of those times, he was kind of surprised when he woke up every day and saw that he was alive. Way back when, he’d expected to be dead or in prison for life before he turned thirty-five. Now, he’d lived almost twice that, and there was still some life left in him.

He saw Christine smiling at him. God, she was a beautiful thing. Having kids changed everything. No matter how grown up she was, and he acknowledged that she was a capable adult, she’d always be his child. Her comment told him she wanted different things from him now than she had years ago. She’d known him as a parent; now she wanted to know him as an adult.

And then there were the girls. Loving your grandkids was a whole different feeling than loving your kids, but it was just as strong. He’d kept a distance from his own kids. He couldn’t imagine doing that with Katie and Annie. Maybe Pat was right. Maybe it was time to relax his guard.
Pat’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

“How about it, Thaddeus? Would you mind helping out the boys?”

“Okay, Pat. If you think it’d help.” He saw more excitement flash across those young faces, and he held up one hand to settle them down. “I didn’t see famous people every day of my life, mind. Mostly it was just trying to survive. I can’t imagine why anybody’d care about ordinary stuff like that.”

“Ordinary life is the most interesting, Mr. Jones,” Dan said. “Besides, even on our short acquaintance, I think there’s more to you than meets the eye. Let’s just talk and see, alright?”

“Okay.” Jones agreed. If they were interested in the day-to-day boring stuff, he could talk about that and skip the stories about gunfights, armed robbery, jail time, being wanted dead or alive, and running from posses and bounty hunters. He’d been lying and hiding for forty years and had gotten pretty good at covering up that part of his life. It should be easy.
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PostSubject: Re: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptyTue Feb 28, 2017 11:51 am

This may be a stretch on the prompt but I wanted to play. This was all I could come up with in the time I had this month.

Real Inventions

Ted rushed to open the door of The Hardware Store when he saw Craig Carmichael struggling to get in. Craig was carrying something that looked extremely heavy. He rolled round the open door, gave a supreme heave and deposited whatever it was on the nearest counter. As Ted closed the door, Craig stood catching his breath.

“Man, that’s heavy!” he gasped, reaching in his jacket pocket for a handkerchief.

Ted returned behind the counter, giving the mystery object a wide berth and eyeing it with suspicion.

“You alright, Mr Carmichael?”

“Yeah. The newspaper office was further away than I thought. Is your boss in?”


Craig glared at the young hardware assistant when nothing further was forthcoming.

“Oh, yes he’s out back,” Ted stammered. “Mr Smith!” he yelled.

In the small warehouse out back, Heyes rubbed his eyes and sighed. All afternoon he had been trying to do his books. This was the fourth interruption and it wasn’t three o’clock yet. Must be a Tuesday. That was always a frustrating day.


“Someone to see ya! He’s got a … thing.”

Curious about the thing, Heyes stomped into the store. He took in the scene. Saw Craig breathing deeply at the end of the counter, saw Ted standing back against the shelves and he saw the … thing. Pursing his lips, Heyes made his way down to the end.

“Hi Craig,” he nodded at the newspaper editor.


“What’s this?” Heyes waved his hand at the … thing.

Craig managed a grin. “Oh it’s a … .” He swept the canvas cover off to reveal a “Typewriter.”

Heyes looked at it, understanding what it was but wondering why it was here, in his store. He smacked his lips and nodded to Craig.

“Yeah, that’s a typewriter alright.”

Craig gave him a look and shifted uncomfortably. His eyes flicked in Ted’s direction and then back to Heyes. Heyes took a deep sniff, realising what Craig was meaning and turned to his young assistant. The author of the stories Heyes had written for the paper were a secret.

“Ted, how ‘bout making some coffee please, huh?”

Ted nodded and slowly retreated out back and out of earshot.

Heyes turned back to Craig and waved his hand at the typewriter meaningfully.

“Joshua, I’ve published four of your Hannibal Heyes stories now. They’ve gone down well and my readers are demanding more. I want to publish more and I know you’ve got more but you have to admit your handwriting is abysmal. I’m having real problems reading it.”

Heyes swallowed and was quiet. He knew his handwriting wasn’t the neatest but he did try. It’s just that when he was telling a story he ended up scribbling so he didn’t forget to get everything down. He nodded resigned.

“So are you saying you won’t publish anymore?” he asked, slowly in disappointment.

“No! I want you to learn how to type!” Craig was emphatic. “This is an old typewriter but it still works okay. It’ll do for a while and when you get the hang of it, we’ll see about getting a newer model. The newspaper will stump up for it.” He could see Heyes was interested but unsure. “Here are the instructions.” He handed over a pamphlet. “Play with it for a couple of days. See how you get on. I can’t show you how it works right now but you like a challenge. I’m sure you can figure it out.”

With a smile, Craig let himself out.

“Oh by the way, it’s heavy. I’d put it in a cart to take it home if I were you. Bye.” He was gone, leaving Heyes alone with the big machine. He swallowed hard. Typing! For this, he gave up leading the Devil’s Hole Gang?


Later, Heyes had trundled the typewriter home in a small handcart the store used for local deliveries. He heaved it onto his desk. Craig hadn’t exaggerated. Boy, it was heavy! As he was getting his breath back, he looked round the small house and frowned. Where were Mary and Susan?

Then he spied a note on the coffee table. It read, “Had to go somewhere suddenly. Susan is with Lom and Janet. Back later.”

Heyes grunted, dropping the note back. He turned and hands on hips he looked at the typewriter.

“Okay, let’s take a look see.” He settled himself at the desk in front of the machine and studied the instructions.

The afternoon became filled with mumblings and murmurings along the lines of “Lay the paper under the paper shelf (F) – where’s F?” After several attempts, he eventually succeeded in inserted a sheet of paper correctly and straight into the machine.

Strike the key with sufficient force and promptness to throw the type against the cylinder, strike but one key at a time …. Strike squarely, with equal, even touch … okay. Hey, I’m typing! Now what? To return the carriage to begin a new line, pull the carriage-lever (170) toward you … okay so what have I typed? The carriage may be lifted at any time to observe results … oooh! Hey that’s pretty neat!”

Heyes was deep in concentration practising typing when Mary came home. She had Susan in her arms.

“Hi,” she called.

Heyes grunted.

“Sorry we’re late.” She deposited Susan on the sofa behind him and stripped off her coat.

“What’s this?” She put her hands on his shoulders and smacked a kiss on his cheek.

“It’s a typewriter,” Heyes mumbled, frowning hard in concentration. Why weren’t the keys in alphabetical order? He snatched up the pamphlet and thumbed through it until he came to a diagram at the back. “ … placed so the letters most used are located to facilitate speed. They’re hopeful aren’t they?”

“Looks complicated,” Mary said.

“Yeah, ‘tis.” Key pressing.

“Don’t you want to know where I’ve been?”

“Mmmm?” More key pressing.

“I’ve been somewhere. Don’t you want to know where?”

“Yeah ‘course.” Even more key pressing, followed by lifting up the carriage and peering at the paper underneath. “Look, I typed that.” He grinned proudly at her. “Mary I can type!”

“Yes very nice.”

“You didn’t look!”

“Yes I did.”

“What did it say?”

Mary hesitated and when she didn’t answer, Heyes growled and turned back to the typewriter.

“I’ve been to see the doctor,” Mary said in desperation.

“That’s nice.”


“Just a moment Mary I’m trying to get the … .” He tailed off and pressed some more keys.
Mary rolled her eyes at the ceiling, waved a hand in the air and shook her head. Right at this moment, her husband was lost to her. She sat down on the sofa and pulled Susan onto her lap.

“Does Pappy deserve to know about your new brother or sister?” she said, conspiratorially in Susan’s ear but loud enough for Heyes to hear if he had been listening.

“No,” Susan said with a giggle.

“That’s what I think too. We’ll just make it our secret shall we?”


“What would you prefer, Susan?” Mary said, in a loud voice. “A brother or a sister?”

“A sister!” Susan was firm.

“Hmmm. Then we would really outnumber Pappy wouldn’t we?” Mary said, louder.


Heyes’ back remained stubbornly turned to her. Mary sighed.

“We could gang up on him. Do you think he’d like that?”


“I don’t think so either but if he doesn’t turn round he’s not going to get any choice!”

Heyes slapped the desk and spun round in his chair.


Mary smiled at him smugly. She watched the emotions playing over his face as he replayed the conversation through in his mind.

“Mary, what are you saying?” he asked, quietly.

“You know we talked about Susan having a brother or sister,” she started slowly. “Well it looks like she might be getting one,” she beamed.

Heyes looked at her as it sunk in then a big double dimpled grin spread over his face. The typewriter now forgotten.


Remington created the first typewriters in the 1870’s. The price of these early typewriters was between $75 and $150. Although expensive, typewriters offered clear advantages over handwriting, in addition to legibility. First, once mastered, typing is faster than the pen. Secondly, typewriters could make multiple copies as carbon paper came into use during the 1870’s and stencils a decade later. The very first model, known as the Sholes and Glidden typewriter, with Sholes responsible for the QWERTY layout we still have today on computer keyboards. However, this first model only typed in capital letters.

Five years later, Remington produced a second model. This new machine was able to type upper and lowercase characters. This is the model given to Heyes.
Remington had several early competitors and a thriving typewriter industry was quickly established. All were under strike machines or blind typewriters. This became the standard office machine throughout the 1880’ and ‘90’s. However, to see what has been typed the carriage had to be lifted. This was a considerable drawback.

It wasn’t until 1893 (Daugherty) and later in 1896 when the more popular Underwood developed the front strike machine that this drawback was overcome. These versions allowed they typist to see they typing as they went along.

I couldn’t find an exact weight for the Remington 2 model but it does look heavy. A similar looking machine weighed 15-25lb. So it is not surprising that Craig struggled to move it!

Mark Twain claimed in his autobiography that he was the first author to submit a manuscript for publication in 1876 with “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. However, later research has shown that in fact it was “Life on the Mississippi” in 1883 – a volume dear to the heart of any ASJ fan!

Kid Curry and that other fella; Hannibal Heyes and whatsname
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PostSubject: Re: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptyTue Feb 28, 2017 1:00 pm

This is one from the old board, but I thought it sort of fits here.

A Twist in the Tale

The child buried his face into his mother’s skirts before peeping at the outlaws with huge, blinking, fretful eyes. The blond man’s piercing gaze scanned the room above the level of the little ginger head, assessing each and every one of the customers cramming against the wall. He stepped back to let more men holding guns make the staff walk from behind the counter, one hunched teller scurrying past a gruff looking man with a moustache who stood beside a small man who was chewing something brown and squelchy.

The boy bit into his lip as a dark man with a dimpled smile instantly commanded everyone’s attention simply by walking into the room. He was the only one not pointing a gun, but he transmitted an air of danger dressed in charm. The boy snuggled further into his mother’s legs. He didn’t like this. Not at all. It wasn’t like the games he played when he pointed wood whittled to look like a handgun at his brother and shouted ‘pchewou’ to let the victims know they’d been ‘gotten.’ His mummy was here and everyone knew that you didn’t point guns at mothers, preachers, or school teachers – well, maybe, it was okay to point them at teachers - as long as you didn’t get caught, but nobody should point one at his mother. He sniffed and wiped his nose on the skirt for courage. Heroes never had runny noses and he had to be prepared. It just wouldn’t do to be laughed at.

The blond gunman shared a look with the dimpled man, who nodded and headed off behind the counter. This was it – his chance to teach the gunman a lesson, but his stomach turned over, churning in fear and anticipation at the daring act he was about to undertake.

He swallowed down his fear and darted forward, ignoring his mother’s cry, and launched an attack on the lean, muscular leg, delivering a mighty kick before grabbing the thigh and sinking his teeth into it as hard as he could.

The blond gunman let out a cry and stepped back, shaking his leg furiously and pushing at the child’s shoulder with his left hand, trying to detach the champing limpet. “In the name of...! Kyle, Wheat! Don’t just stand there laughin’, get over here and get this brat off me.”

The small, masticating man scuttled forward and grabbed the struggling child around the waist. “Is this yours, Ma’am?” he chortled.

The ashen woman nodded furiously. “Don’t hurt him, please! He’s only five.”

“Hurt him?” the little outlaw snickered, “he’s the only one doin’ any hurtin’ around here. Done got Kid in the leg. Ain’t he trained yet?”

The boy found himself ushered back to his mother’s smothering arms, but took a heart stopping gulp as the blond gunman crouched down in front of him and fixed him with eyes of blue fire. “What’s your name?”

The only response was the silent blinking of the boy’s enormous blue globes set in a face speckled with freckles. The gunman narrowed his eyes. “You do know that was a very stupid thing to do, don’t you?” His face softened. “What’s your name?”

“James,” the child stuttered. “Jimmy,”

The man nodded, the smile twitching at his mouth moderating his stern tone. “Well, Jimmy. There are some very bad men around. You should never, EVER do than to a man who has a gun again. We don’t hurt people, so you’re okay this time, but next time you might not be so lucky.”

Jimmy’s chin set in challenge and stood defensively. “You pointed the gun at my ma,” he snapped back. “I won’t let you shoot her.”

Kid’s eyes widened. “I ain’t gonna shoot your ma,” he shook his head. “I ain’t gonna shoot anyone as long as they behave.”

Jimmy pursed his lips. “Why you got a gun then?”

“To make sure people do as they’re told.”

“Hah!” the child snorted, shaking his head. “See!? My ma never does as she’s told. My pa says that all the time. Leave her alone!”

There was a ripple of uncertain amusement in the bank before Kid stood and ruffled the boy’s red hair. “Son, just promise me that you’ll never attack another man who’s holdin’ a gun, and I’ll promise you I’ll keep your ma safe. Deal?”

Uncertainty rumbled in the freckled face, but Jimmy nodded firmly, staring straight into Kid’s clear blue eyes. “Deal.”


In a television studio -1974

“What age are you, Mr. Nicholas?”

“I’m 97,” croaked the elderly man glancing nervously around the television studio.

“So, you’ve met famous people? They are now dead, and we have established that they weren’t royalty, movie stars or entertainers? We’re stumped.”

Jimmy looked into the glare of the studio lights, his forehead beaded with sweat. This questioning was taking much longer than he thought. He was beginning to wish he’d never agreed to take part in this TV show. As though reading his mind, the presenter stepped in to bolster the flagging guest. “So, it looks as though the panel can’t guess your secret Mr. Nicholas. They’ve used their twenty questions. Would you care to enlighten us?”

He nodded. “I’m the last man alive to be in a bank which was held up by Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.”

Gasps echoed around the television set before the fashionable woman with her hair set as solidly as a helmet spoke up. “My goodness! Were they frightening? I bet they weren’t really as handsome as the actors who played them.”

The old man laughed lightly. “Handsome? I guess they were. I was five and bit Kid Curry in the leg for pointing a gun at my ma. He was real mad, but now I’m grown I know he tried to get me to be sensible and keep safe.”

“You bit him in the leg?” The audience rang with laughter. “No wonder he was angry.”

“Yeah, he sure was,” the old man frowned pensively, “but it bothered him... A little kid scared to death for his ma. I could see it in his eyes. I can see it now. That was the last bank job the Devil’s Hole Gang ever pulled. They robbed one train after that... Then they went for amnesty. I’ve always wondered if I had anythin’ to do with that. I knew Kid Curry didn’t like me looking at him as though he was some kind of bum.”

This story was inspired by a newstory announcing that the video of Samuel J Seymour appearing on 'I've got a secret' in 1956, had been uploaded on to youtube. At that time he was the last person alive who had seen President Lincoln be assassinated.
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Nebraska Wildfire

Nebraska Wildfire

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PostSubject: Re: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptyTue Feb 28, 2017 7:11 pm

Hannibal Heyes felt at peace.

This was not a common occurrence for him.  He glanced at his partner still snug in his bedroll on the other side of the fire and smiled.  Curry looked innocent in sleep, and peaceful too.

Heyes looked to the hills surrounding their campsite.  The sun was just starting to add a rose glow to the line where the hills met the sky.  He watched it slowly spread down the hillside, and smiled as he found the time to appreciate the beauty of the place called Coyote Valley.  He added more wood to the fire and brought it back to a rosy glow too.  He made his way to his saddlebags to find his precious bag of coffee, to add to the battered coffee pot already full of fresh creek water, and waiting by the fire.

Heyes sat back down by the warmth, getting comfortable and waiting for the coffee to brew.  He watched as the sun crested the hills, making them blaze in color.  He sighed.

In spite of just rising for the morning, Heyes was still tired.  “Why can’t our life be like this more often?” he murmured to himself.

“You like sleeping on the cold ground, and eating hard tack and jerky for supper?”  Kid Curry uncurled from his bedroll, sat up and ran his fingers through his blonde curls.

“Morning Kid.”  Heyes got up to check on the coffee.  “At least we have a nice warm fire and hot coffee.  Ready for a cup?”

“Of your coffee?” Kid scoffed.  “Let me go take a cold trip back behind those bushes first.  Maybe I’ll be desperate enough for a warm cup by then.”

Heyes busied himself, getting out some more of the reliable jerky, and unwrapping a couple of dried out biscuits.  He set it by the fire, smiling as the Kid returned.

“Boy, Heyes, it sure is cold this morning.” The Kid shivered as he reached for the coffee Heyes offered.  Curry took a swallow and grimaced.  “Well, at least it’s hot.  Can’t say more than that.”

“What?  No thanks for the warm breakfast?”  Heyes’ eyes sparkled for the first time that morning, and a dimple appeared.

The Kid glanced down at the jerky and biscuits, and back up at Heyes.  “So why the heck are we up at the crack of dawn?”

Heyes shrugged.  “Couldn’t sleep, Kid.  I was thinking.”

Curry sighed and reached for the food.  “What it is this time, Heyes?”  He sat down, prepared to fortify himself with breakfast, and patience for the coming discussion.

“I was just thinking.”

Curry took a bite of the jerky and chewed.  He took a swallow of the coffee to wash it down.  Heyes still hadn’t said more.

“’Bout what, Heyes?”

‘Isn’t it beautiful up here in the hills?”

“Yeah.”  He waited.  “And?”

“Wouldn’t it be great to settle down in a place like this?”

Curry chewed some more jerky, and some biscuit.  He washed it down again with more coffee, and grimaced again.

“Heyes, you’d be bored out of your mind.”

His partner tried to look offended, but then sheepishly smiled, one dimple coming out.

“Yeah, I guess so.”  He looked at his cousin.  “What do you think we should do after we get amnesty?”

The Kid was in the middle of washing down more biscuit with Heyes’ strong coffee, and started sputtering and coughing.  “You’re asking me?  Don’t you like to do all our thinking?”

“That’s the problem, Kid.”

“What, with your thinking?  Well, I do have to admit, that once in a while you come up with some of the most hairbrained…”

Heyes looked offended at this comment.  “No, Kid, I didn’t mean that.”

More jerky and coffee were consumed.  “Then what, Heyes?”

His partner sighed, and looked at Curry, with dark serious eyes.  “We’ve been working on this amnesty for what, three years now?”

“Sumthin’ like that.”

“Well, if we ever do get it, what are we going to do?”

Curry looked puzzled.  “About what?”

Heyes looked frustrated.  “About everything!”

“Well, maybe we need to get it first.”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that too.”

The Kid just waited this time.

“Do you think we’re ever going to get it, Kid?”

Curry stopped eating and thought for a bit.  Their partnership normally worked best with him just leaving the thinking to Heyes, except for times like this where Heyes’ mind started swirling in circles.  It was then that the Kid became most important to his cousin.  He was one of the few who could stop Heyes when he was on a spiral.

“Heyes, what other choice do we have?”

His cousin sighed.  “None.”

“Then what’s the problem?” Curry asked.

“Well, what are we going to do?”

Curry sighed.  He looked around the hills, pausing to gather his thoughts.  When Heyes was in a mood like this, the Kid had to find a way to out think him.  It happened more often than anyone but Curry and Heyes realized, but it was often what restored balance to their relationship.

Curry watched as the sun rose higher above the green hills, looked at the river in the valley.

“You know, Heyes, this is a pretty place.  Maybe I’d run cows on these hills.”

“You hate ranch work.”

Curry thought some more.  “Maybe if it was my ranch, I’d like it better.  Could hire some boys to do the dirty work.”

“Where are you getting the money for this?”

“One of these days, Heyes, you have to come away from one of these big poker games, with an actual pot.  The odds have to be way in our favor by now.”

Heyes smiled slyly at his cousin.  “You’re talking about odds?  And encouraging me to have faith?”

“Gotta be a first for everything, Heyes.”  A big grin spread across Kid Curry’s face.  “And didn’t Silky tell us about some big college being founded up closer to San Francisco?  Stanton or something like that?”

“Stanford, I think, Kid.”

“Well, maybe you can go there, or just up to that teacher’s college in San Jose.  Be a teacher or lawyer or …”

“A lawyer, huh?  Maybe I need to read up on verbal contracts, and hold the governor to his promise?”

“Now you’re thinkin’, Heyes.”  The Kid was finishing up his breakfast.

“Cows, Kid, on these hills?”

Kid Curry smiled.  “Why not?”

Hannibal Heyes smiled back.  “Yeah, why not?”  He looked around at the green hills surrounding them and the bright sunshine.

“Well, we better get packed up so we can get these documents delivered for Lom, and get paid.  Then we can pay Silky a visit and relax for a while.”

“Sounds like a plan, Heyes.”
“Yeah, Kid, sounds like a plan.”


Okay, folks.  Here's my first story.  Be kind, but let me know if you have suggestions that would help my future stories.

I took a bit of a liberty with the founding date of Stanford University, but the normal school (college for teachers) that became San Jose State University was already founded.

My apologies to anyone more familiar with the Bay Area than I am.  However there really are cows on the hills that surround the lab in Coyote Valley that I visit often.
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PostSubject: Re: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptyTue Feb 28, 2017 8:32 pm

This story is lifted straight from the history books.  Well, the original guide was named Ferris, and I replaced him with two guys named Smith and Jones, but that is the type of liberty you folks would expect me to take.  This is an old story, but it fit the prompt.

An Authentic Dude

           “That’s gotta be him, Heyes,” Curry announced while studying the train’s sole passenger.

          “What is he wearing?” Heyes jeered.

          The man bounding off the train wore leather pants and a long buckskin shirt embellished with beaded fringe.  Shiny silver spurs jangled off the heels of his alligator boots.  An ornate knife rode tucked in a belt loaded with ammunition.  Against one shoulder lay a Winchester rifle, and a new Colt revolver was strapped to a thigh.  A silk cord dangled from thick spectacles, and a huge sombrero topped his spindly frame.  He resembled a decorated mushroom.

          Heyes blew out a breath and shook his head before greeting the wealthy easterner.
“Mr. Johnson?” he probed tactfully.

          Several seconds ticked away before the dude reacted.  Then his eyes grew round and his mouth split in a toothy grin.  He extended his hand.  “That’s right.  You must be Mr. Jones?” 

          “I’m Jones,” the Kid offered, returning the firm grasp. 

          “Then you must be Smith,” he said to Heyes, presenting his hand again.  “Please, gentlemen, we are going into the wilds together.  Call me Ted.”

          “All right, Ted, I’m Joshua and this is my partner Thaddeus.  How has your trip been so far?”

          “Uneventful, but I’m hoping you two can change that during the next week.”

          Curry chuckled.  “Weren’t we hired to keep things peaceful and safe?”

          “Bah! I came west to see untamed land and find some authentic adventure.  If it’s too peaceful, boys, I shall be sorely disappointed.  If I wanted tranquil, I could have stayed home in New York.”

          Heyes’ smile touched his eyes.  “Where’s your luggage and gear?”

          Ted lifted his carpetbag.  “This is all I brought.  What else do I need?”

          “A horse would do for a start,” answered the Kid.

          The easterner laughed heartily.  “I suppose I will need a mount.   Can we get a suitable one here?”

          “Can ya’ ride?” asked Curry.

          “Tolerably well.”

          “We’ll see what’s available at the livery stable,” Heyes suggested.  “Tomorrow we gather supplies and leave the day after that.”

          “All day gathering supplies!  What do we need?”

          “A tent, a wagon—"

          “Do you usually travel with a tent and a wagon?”

          “Well… no, but comin’ from the city you might want some comforts on the trail,” the Kid replied.

          “Poppycock!  I’ll be fine with whatever arrangements you would make for the two of you.  I’m not to be coddled.  Understand?”

          Brown eyes shot a question to Curry who raised his brows and shrugged.  One side of Heyes’ face creased with a dimpled reply.  “All right.  We’ll find you a horse and tack, pack some food, and get moving by noon tomorrow.”

          “Excellent.  Now, let’s check in to the hotel.  Afterwards, would you two join me in the saloon for some whiskey and a game or two of poker?”

          Heyes smiled wickedly, and Curry rolled his eyes. 

          “We would be delighted, Ted,” Heyes agreed, anticipating easy winnings.

          “Wonderful.  I’m very keen on experiencing the local culture.”

          The next afternoon found the hunting party trotting north under a broad blue sky.  The expanse of the Dakota badlands opened in rippling waves of green, gold, and red; a place where wind sculpted stone sprouted brush and grass.  Twisting through the landscape, the shallow waters of the Little Missouri meandered like a lazy snake while the warmth of the autumn sun was teased away by breezes murmuring tunes through the tall grasses.

          “Beautiful country,” enthused the eastern gent.  “But where are the buffalo?”

          “Ya’ gotta be patient.  We ain’t that far from town,” answered Curry.

          “Ted, where’d you get that knife?  May I see it?” asked Heyes, eyeing the silver workmanship on the scabbard thrust in their employer’s belt.  He thought he saw red and green stones winking at him from the handle. 

          “Of course.”  Ted removed the knife, scabbard and all, and presented it across his forearm, hilt first. 

          Heyes adjusted his reins into one hand and removed the weapon from the scabbard.  “Are those real stones in the handle?”

          “Rubies and emeralds,” Ted affirmed.  “Had it made at Tiffany’s in New York.  Finest tempered steel for the blade.”
          “Tiffany’s?  The jeweler?  They make knives?” asked Curry. 

          “If you special-order, they will.”

          “Who woulda thought it?”

           Heyes handed the knife back to Ted who replaced it in his belt. 

          Late in the day, they crested a rise above a gentle slope where a small herd of buffalo grazed near a shallow creek.  Heyes and Curry swung effortlessly from their horses and landed in unison.  Ted followed more gingerly.  They tethered the horses to a sturdy bush and removed rifles from the scabbards attached to their saddles. 

          Creeping stealthily down the hill, they aimed for a copse of cottonwood and elm trees providing cover within range of the animals.  Ted knelt near a tree and waited for the bull to turn and provide a clear shot.  As he squeezed the trigger a loud crack broke the still afternoon, and the big bull pawed the ground and snorted.  The cows whirled and pranced, unsure which direction to flee.

          “Ya’ hit him in the shoulder, but he ain’t goin’ down,” Curry concluded.

          Ted adjusted his rifle, preparing for another shot.  Suddenly the wounded buffalo snorted and charged at their copse of trees.  Ted froze looking for cover.  Curry shoved him, and they both fled after Heyes toward a cluster of boulders huddled nearer the creek. 

          The dude staggered downhill and toppled into a bush.  Curry skidded on the slope, spraying his companions with dirt and debris.

          The buffalo crashed to a halt.  A thin trail of blood slid down its wounded flank.  It heaved and grunted, before abruptly charging back to the water and herding the cows across the creek and out of the valley.

          The New Yorker, still sprawled in the bush, leaned his rifle against a boulder and brushed dirt and leaves off his buckskins.  “That was invigorating,” he announced with satisfaction.

          “I suppose that’s one way to look at it,” observed Heyes wryly.  He reached down to help Ted out of the shrubbery when he caught his sleeve on a long thorn.  “Are you okay?” he asked intently, pulling the thorn-laden stem away from his arm. 

          “I’m feeling a bit like a pin cushion, but generally sound.”

          “You’re in a thorn bush!” Curry exclaimed.

          “How observant of you, Thaddeus,” Heyes remarked sarcastically.

          “I could use some help getting clear of these stickers, if you two would be so kind.  And after that maybe we could set camp here, and a bit of whiskey would be in order.”

          Stars sparkled in the moonless night like tiny gems spread across black velvet.  The temperature plummeted and the afternoon’s friendly breeze changed into icy fingers plucking at their clothes.  The three travelers huddled around a small fire that hissed and whispered in the quiet.  Trees and rocks loomed as black shadows, and the creek murmured and chattered over a gravel bed.

          Ted Johnson sat on a log dabbing whiskey on the cuts left by the thorns.  He poured the amber fluid into his coffee and twisted the lid closed before handing the bottle to Heyes.  He gathered the dinner dishes and stood.   “I’ll take these down to the creek and wash them off.”

          “You don’t have to do that, Ted.  Thaddeus can take care of it.” 

          Curry lowered his eyebrows and scowled. 

          “Nonsense.  It won’t hurt me to clean up.  Thaddeus shot the rabbit we ate, and you made the coffee and biscuits.  I’d like to do my part.”

          “Thanks for pitching in.”

           Curry waited until their employer was out of earshot before he turned on Heyes.  “I can wash up!  What’s wrong with you?  Arm broke or somethin’?”

          “He’s not what I expected.  Tougher than I thought he’d be.  And he seems to enjoy all this.  What do you think?”

          “About Ted?  He’s a crackpot!  A wounded buffalo chases us, he falls in a prickly bush, and he calls it ‘invigoratin’.’  He’s crazy.”

          “He’s an odd stick, alright, but if he’s crazy, it’s like a fox.  A rich fox.”

          “Yeah.  Can ya’ believe he had his knife made by a jeweler?” Curry wondered.

          “Not just a jeweler.  Tiffany’s of New York.  Like I said, a rich fox.” 

           “Who do ya’ think he really is?” asked the Kid.

          Heyes checked around to make sure that Johnson was still out of earshot.   “We don’t need to know that.  We only need to know that he’s a rich friend of the Wyoming governor who wants an authentic experience in the Wild West.”

          Ted stepped jauntily back into the camp.  He stacked the clean dishes and rubbed his hands together near the fire. 

          “Ted,” Curry started,  “Were you afraid at all when that buffalo charged?”
          “Should I have been?”

          “I guess not,” he replied aloud, and then muttered, “To be afraid ya’ woulda needed some sense.”

           Heyes snorted a chuckle.  “Let’s turn in,” he suggested. 

          The hot afternoon sun bounced off the twisted rock formations to bake down on the three hunters.  The air whistled and moaned through a landscape sculpted and scraped by unceasing wind and running water.  The riverbed was wide and boggy, stranding hummocks of dry earth throughout the channel.  Unseen, biting insects competed with mosquitoes and black flies in annoying both the men and the horses. 

          “I feel like dinner,” groused Curry.

          “We’ll stop and make camp soon,” replied Heyes.

          “No. I mean I feel like I’m bein’ eaten for dinner.  When was the last time we rode through this many bugs?”
          “They are annoying.”  Heyes slapped a mosquito on his neck.  “At least they’ll be gone after dark.”

          “Yeah, then we just have the cold and all the questions from Mr. Sunshine.”   The Kid tilted his head to indicate their employer who was riding ahead and singing a lively version of Sweet Betsy from Pike.

          “He sure is happy, ain’t he?  I don’t think he ever gets tired.  Maybe I can quiet him down by taking some of that fortune of his away in a friendly poker game.”

          “He’s no piker at gamblin’ either.  Aren’t you down over a hundred dollars?”

          Heyes declined to answer.  The easterner stopped his horse at the top of the rise.  While waiting, he opened a book and started reading.

          “That’s another thing, Heyes.  Where does he put those books he’s always lookin’ at?”

          “I don’t know, Kid.  But he sure is a character.”
          Their employer called out, “I don’t see any improvement in the landscape, gentlemen.  Where do you suggest we set up camp?”

          The Kid and Heyes surveyed the area. 

          “What do you think,” the dark-eyed outlaw asked.

          “Let’s camp up here where the ground is dryer.  Those boulders should cut the wind, and there’s plenty of grass for grazin’.”

          “There’s no trees.  What about tying the horses?”

          “Tie ‘em to the saddles for the night.  Use the saddles as pillows.”

          “Should work.”  Heyes called to the dude, “We’ll camp by those boulders.”

          “Bully,” exclaimed their cheerful employer.

          A distant howling penetrated Heyes’ dream.  He grabbed his blanket and tucked it close as he turned, searching for a more comfortable position.   A nervous nicker accompanied a tug on the leather beneath his head.  It jerked again.  A shivering howl split the night, and his head rammed into the ground.  The saddle had disappeared. 

          Heyes jumped to his feet.  Curry struggled with his boots while Johnson crouched in his underwear, holding a rifle, and looking from side to side.

          “What happened?” Heyes demanded.

          “Wolves.  Spooked the horses,” replied Curry, standing in his union suit with a boot in one hand and his Colt in the other.  “They can’t get far draggin’ saddles.”

          “This is exciting!  Does it happen often?” asked the easterner with buoyant enthusiasm.

          “What?  Does what happen often?” grumped Heyes.

          “Wolves around the camp.  Horses bolting away in the night, dragging good saddles behind them.  By Godfrey, but this is fun!”

          “You call this fun!” Curry shouted.  “Joshua, are you havin’ fun?”

          “Calm down.  Things could be worse.  Let’s get dressed and round up the horses.  You comin’ with us, Ted?”

          “Wouldn’t miss it, Joshua.  I wouldn’t miss it.”

          They caught the horses a couple of miles downstream, near the river.  Rather than trudge back up the hill, they bedded down on a sandy spot for what remained of the night.  Heyes woke shortly after sunrise to a wet coldness lapping against his fingers.  He bolted upright only to splash in the water that surrounded his bedding.  He leapt to his feet.
          “Damn!  Wake up!  Ted, Thaddeus, the river rose last night.  Wake up.  We’re in the water!”  Heyes grabbed his saddle and bedroll and sloshed to dryer ground.  Dropping his gear, he waded back to help his partner and their charge.

          Ted gathered his belongings and hummed an off-key tune.  Once they had moved the saddles and bedding, Curry searched through the pile. 

          “My food roll is gone.  Can you find yours?” he asked his partner. 

          Heyes scoured through the pile and shook his head.  Curry trudged into the water looking for wrapped bundles of supplies.  A few minutes later, he returned with an oilcloth bag coated with wet flour and a few strips of sodden jerky. 

          “Well, the coffee was in my saddlebags,” chirped in the happy easterner.  “Shall I start a fire and make some?  It’s a good thing you shoot so well, Thaddeus, we may be depending on you for food.”  He marched off to where the horses were tethered.

          “My gun is wet.  What about yours?” asked Curry.


          “I’ll get the cleanin’ supplies and the extra ammunition.  Then I’ll find somethin’ for us to eat.  At least I get to shoot somethin’.”

          Breakfast consisted of weak coffee and sage hen crisped over the fire.  Curry cleaned Heyes’ gun, while the dark-haired outlaw paced.  Ted bustled about, washing up, humming a tune, and smiling his toothy grin.

          “By Godfrey, but this is fun!  Something unexpected happens each day.  It’s more exciting and unpredictable than New York politics.  And to think, you two get to live like this all the time.  Do your camps get flooded often?”

                    “No.  Not often,” snapped Heyes.  “In fact, in all the years we’ve traveled, this has never happened.   We’ve been chased, shot at, tied up, captured by Indians, snowed in, left stranded in a desert, and robbed, but nothing like this!  What is it about you that these weird things keep happening?”

          Johnson looked hurt by Heyes’ tirade.  “I’m sorry if you’re inconvenienced, Joshua, but I don’t think the misfortune is my fault.”

          “No, of course it’s not.  I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have said that.”

           “We’re gonna need to head back.  We’re almost outta food,” Curry added.

          The threesome rode into Little Missouri well after dark a few days later.  They were tired, cold, and hungry.  Heyes and Curry headed to the livery.  They planned to meet Ted in the saloon for a beer and a meal before checking in to the hotel.

          As they approached the swinging doors, both partners stopped outside on the boardwalk.  The saloon’s deafening silence alerted them to trouble. 

          “Everybody needs more drinks, and four-eyes here is gonna treat,” bellowed a gravelly voice. 

          Curry looked at his partner and rolled his eyes.  “Heyes, what are the odds?”

          “I don’t know, but it’s gotta be Ted.  Those thick glasses, his weird clothes, and that eastern accent are all calling the bullies out of the woodwork.”

          Curry loosened his gun in its holster.  “Let’s go.”

          “Why?  It’s not our fault, and he can afford to buy a few rounds of drinks.”

          “That ain’t the point.  And besides he’s friends with the governor.”

          Heyes’ shoulders slumped in defeat.  They peeked over the batwing doors.  

          Ted sat at a table under the shadow of a filthy hulk.  Cussing and yelling, the bully waved his guns and insisted that Ted buy drinks for the house.  The ex-outlaws slipped inside.

          Catching Ted’s eye, Curry nodded and eased his gun from its holster.  The dude frowned, and shook his head, no.  Heyes placed a hand on Curry’s left arm, asking him to wait.

          “I think he has a plan.”

          “What plan could he have?”

           “Well,” Ted said loudly to the petty tyrant hovering above him.  “If I’ve got to, I’ve got to.”

          As he rose, Ted smashed his right fist into the bully’s jaw.  He followed with a left jab to the throat, before a final right to the face.  When the behemoth crumpled to the ground, his pistols fired harmlessly.  He collapsed into a senseless heap on the saloon floor.

          Curry and Heyes rushed over.  Ted collected the man’s guns and handed them to the bartender. 

          “That was amazin’,” Curry congratulated him with real admiration. 

          “We were afraid you might need help,” added Heyes.
          “Harvard boxing team,” Ted explained.  He shook his fist and sucked on a knuckle.  “It hurts less with gloves,” he concluded.   “A corker of a fight.  By Godfrey, it feels good to knock out a tough like that.  I can’t abide a bully.”

          By the time Heyes and Curry checked out of the hotel the next morning, Ted’s train was already gone.  The clerk informed them that their room charges had been paid by Mr. Johnson, and handed them a package.  It contained a fine quality pocketknife labeled for Thaddeus Jones, and a small leather volume of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for Joshua Smith.  Tucked inside the book was a note scrawled in Ted’s bold script.

          Dear Joshua and Thaddeus,

         Had a marvelous time.  Too bad we failed to bag a buffalo, but it was a bully trip all the same.  In addition to your pay, please accept these small gifts as more personal tokens of friendship.

          Theodore Roosevelt

Historical Notes:

Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Little Missouri in the North Dakota badlands on September 8, 1883.  He was twenty-three years old.  His guide was twenty-five year old Joe Ferris.  The description I gave of Roosevelt was stolen from Ferris.  There is also a picture of Roosevelt in his fringed buckskins and wearing his Tiffany knife. 

Ferris didn’t think that this New York dude would last more than one day out on the range.  They were gone for seven days.  According to Ferris, though he was close to collapse himself, Roosevelt was energized by the entire experience and kept exclaiming, “By Godfrey, but this is fun!”  Ferris said, “You just couldn’t knock him out of sorts… He had books with him and would read at odd times.”

All of the incidents in the story actually happened.  With the exception of the fight at the end, they all happened on the buffalo hunting trip with Ferris.   They were successful in killing a buffalo.  I left out that incident to keep the story within the word limit. The story of the bully in the saloon was described by Roosevelt himself.  I am not sure exactly where and when it happened. 

Roosevelt purchased a cattle ranch on this hunting trip and returned in 1884 after his mother and wife died.  Of his time in North Dakota, Roosevelt said, “I would never have been president if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota.”

I have never been to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  If I have made any mistakes in my descriptions of the area, I beg the forgiveness of those who have had the opportunity to see this land first hand. -

Two other points, Teddy Roosevelt did not use aliases.  I added that detail just to add a touch of fun to the story, and as far as I know, Mr. Roosevelt was not a friend of the Wyoming territorial governor.

When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come.
- Leonardo DaVinci
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PostSubject: Re: Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions    Real historical events, Characters, or Inventions  EmptyTue Feb 28, 2017 9:42 pm

His Office

“We’ll get there sometime, Murray,” said Karen from the driver’s seat of her Jeep, addressing the cat in a carrier. “Maybe we haven't gone far enough yet. Wish I had a working GPS.”

In his mournful voice, Murray said, “Mrow.”

“I know, you want to get out,” said Karen. “Me, too. I’ve been driving all day.” She looked along the Colorado highway for a place where a cat might be able to take a few steps and relieve himself in safety.

Karen cried, “Look! There’s an historical marker. There’s even a tree or two to shade you from all this blazing afternoon sun. Let’s go!” She pulled in near the metal sign.


“Yeah, yeah. But let me take a look at the marker while you go.” Karen got Murray out of his carrier and into his harness. She opened the door of the Jeep and he jumped out. He sniffed around with delicate, feline care. Karen waited impatiently. “Come on, come on, let me read the sign. Well, if you must pee on the sign post.”

“Curry Gulch. I never heard of an historical marker for a gulch before. It says – let me read, you disrespectful beast. This is history! ‘Kid Curry’s horse, Old Crow, is said to have jumped over this gulch during a desperate chase in 1892 in pursuit of a murderer known as Scarface LaRue. Curry and his partner, Hannibal Heyes, the infamous outlaws, had been granted amnesty in 1891. Curry became the sheriff for Louisville, Colorado.’"

“Gee,” said Karen. “Old Crow must have been a champion jumper. Or maybe the gulch has gotten bigger in the last 124 years. Anyhow, it’s cool to be in old outlaw country.”

A few minutes after getting back on the highway, Karen exclaimed. “There it is, the exit for the University of Colorado.“ She steered onto the ramp and onto the local road. “Now let’s find that house where we’ll be staying.”

After twenty minutes of wandering through Boulder, Karen found the unremarkable house in a bland suburb. The key was hidden under a flowerpot. It didn’t take long to get Murray’s carrier inside and to bring in the luggage.

“I better go check in with the Colorado folks so I can get my files and books put away in my office. Here, let’s get you some water and some food. There. You alright, old boy?” The big cat rubbed against his mistress’s jeans, then padded off to continue exploring his new home. “See you soon, Murray!” called Karen as she went to get back in the Jeep.

Karen drove around campus until she found guest parking. She slung her messenger bag full of books over her shoulder and grabbed a box full of files.

Karen walked uncertainly along one of the paths between the stone buildings and towering trees. A voice behind her said, “Are you lost?”

“Yeah, I’m new here.”  Karen turned to address a tall, gawky man with a blond ponytail. “Can you help me find Old Main?”

The stranger smiled. “Sure. It’s just up that path.” He pointed up a steep hill. “It’s a big, brick building with a tower over the front door and another over the back. You can’t miss it. It was the first building on campus - built in 1876.”

Karen smiled back. “Great! Thanks! It’ll be nice to have my office in an historical building, since I do history.”

“You’re an historian?” asked the blonde man.

Karen nodded. “Yeah. I’m a pre-doc fellow, finishing up my dissertation.”

“What kind of history are you working on?” Asked the man.

Karen explained. “Ancient Sumer. It’s in Iraq now. Or part of it is.”

The blond man was impressed. “Cool! Or hot, I bet. Why are you writing here, not over there?”

“I was there last year, but it’s not real safe over there, as I bet you know. The digging is done, and analyzing the material. I just need a place where I can have my books and papers and get some peace to write. It’s kind of weird that I’m here in the middle of so much old West history and I don’t know anything about it. But they gave me an office here and funding. What about you? Are you a professor?”

The blonde man grinned. “Aw, no. Just a PhD student. I’m in mathematics. I’m Wen.” He extended a slender, tanned hand.

 “Hi! I’m Karen. See you around. I better go and find my office. Thanks for the directions.”

“Sure. See you!”

Karen strode up the hill. Once she got past a hedge, she realized Wen was right. You really couldn’t miss the cocky old West magnificence of Old Main.

Karen steadied the strap of her bag on her shoulder and got a good grip on her box of files, then scaled the precipitous stone stairs of Old Main.

Inside, she found polished wood floors and a grand staircase. Overhead were glass and brass chandeliers that looked as if they had once been illuminated by gas. “Wow, great Victorian interior!” Exclaimed Karen.

A middle-aged woman walked out of one of the white painted wood doors leading off the hall. “Thank you! Hello!” She said with a friendly smile. “What can I do for you?

“Hi!” Said the newcomer. “I’m Karen, the new Williams Foundation Fellow.”

“Ah, good. You got here safely. It must have been a long drive from Pennsylvania. Welcome to the University of Colorado! I’m Alice McCall, the fellowship coordinator.”

“Glad to meet you, Ms. McCall.” The two women shook hands.

“Thanks! Your work sounds fascinating! Call me Alice.”

Karen grinned. “Thank you, Alice. What a neat old building! So it was built in 1876?”

Alice nodded. “That's right. When Old Main was built, there was nothing here but grass and wind. In fact, the wind blew out some of the windows before the architects knew what they were dealing with. When you have time, you’ll have to go up to the Heritage Center on the third floor. There are some very colorful pictures.”

“Cool!” Said Karen, “I’d love to see it. But first, I’ve got a bunch of books and file boxes to put in my office.”

“Of course,” Said Ms. McCall, “I’ll get you your key.”

“Great,” said Karen as she followed the coordinator down the hall to her office.

“Here’s your key,” said Ms. McCall. “And here’s the sheet with your campus ID information so you can get onto our server.”

Karen read tag on the key. “Thanks! Room 12. Where is that?”

Alice pointed. “Down the hall to the right. Let me know if I can help you with anything I’ll be locking up soon.”

Karen hurried down the hall, eager to get her things put away before Alice locked up. When she found the room, she put down her file box and dug for her key. Finding it, she looked up. She was taken aback to see, through the glass panel in office door, a man bent over what she thought must be her desk. Karen hurried back down the hall. “Alice! There’s a guy in my office. Could I have the wrong room?”

“What?” Alice was surprised. “There’s no one in the building except you and me. Or there shouldn't be.” She followed Karen back down the hall. “That's your door alright. Did you ask the man who he was?”

“No. I just saw him through the . . . Wait a minute, I thought the glass was clear. It's frosted. I couldn't have seen anyone in there. Sorry, Alice. I don’t know what I saw.” Karen opened the door. There was no one in the office – just a desk, a rolling chair, a lamp, a bookcase with one book on it, and an old file cabinet.

“Funny,” said Alice as Karen began to put her books on the shelves. She spoke uncertainly. “Maybe you saw a reflection in the glass of the guy on that poster on the hall wall behind us.”

“Probably,” said Karen dubiously. “Oh well, I better hurry and move my boxes so you can lock up and go home.”

While Alice went back to her office, Karen went out to get her things.

She was glad to see Wen getting up from a bench where he been studying his smart phone. “Hi again, Karen. You want some help moving your things?” he asked.

“You bet!” Answered the new fellow. “I’ll take you out for pizza afterward, if you’ll show me a good place.”

“It's a deal,” Said Wen.

The pair fetched a file box and a tote bag of books each from her car and hiked back up to Old Main. As they got to Karen’s new office, her new friend grinned.

“Cool!” Exclaimed Wen. “You got his office!”

“Whose office?” Asked Karen.

Wen’s blue eyes shown with enthusiasm as Karen opened the door. “Hannibal Heyes.”

Karen was startled. “You’re kidding me. Why would an infamous outlaw have an office at a university?”

Wen laughed affably. “You're kidding me! You came to be a fellow at the University of Colorado and you didn't know that Hannibal Heyes taught math here in the 1890s? Why do you think they call us the Outlaws?”

“I thought you were the Buffaloes.” Karen sounded skeptical.

“We are, officially. But if you go to a football game this fall, you’ll see a lot of fans in black cowboy hats and hear a lot of people yelling ‘Stand and deliver!’”

As the fetched another load, Karen said. “I know Curry and Heyes got amnesty in 1891 - I read that on an historical marker. But wouldn't Heyes have needed a graduate degree to teach college?”

Wen knew the story cold. “Oh, yes. He got an MA from Columbia University, using an alias. After he and Kid Curry got amnesty, Heyes got a PhD. He taught here for years.”

As they dropped off the next load in Karen’s office, she said, “Um, I had something weird happen earlier. I don’t want you to think I’m nuts, but for just a second I thought I saw a guy sitting at the desk, through the glass, before I opened the door. Alice thought I saw the reflection of the poster over there. But the guy in the poster is a blond. The guy I saw had dark hair. And he was bent over a roll-top desk, like in the nineteenth century. It was nothing like the desk that’s here now.”

Wen’s eyes opened wide. He got out his smart phone and clicked a few times. “Here,” he said eagerly, holding up the phone for Karen to see a black-and-white picture. “Is that him?”

Karen stared at the picture. “Maybe. Hard to tell. Good looking like that, anyhow. But this picture is a three-quarter view. The guy I saw was in profile.”

“Which side?” Asked Wen avidly.

“The right.” Karen didn't hesitate.

“Damn! So you couldn't see the dimple or the scars.” Wen sounded frustrated.

The new fellow suddenly realized what Wen meant. “You're talking about Hannibal Heyes?”

Wen nodded. “It's been years since anybody saw him. I’ve always hoped I would. My great-great grand uncle was Everett Carter, one of Heyes’ best friends.”

“Your uncle was a western outlaw?” Karen asked in disbelief.

Wen laughed. “Nah. He was a math teacher from Long Island. They met at Columbia.”

Karen looked around uneasily. “But seriously, you mean my office is haunted?”

Wen nodded. “Well, at least it used to be. Nobody’s seen Heyes for years. Maybe he’s back. Are you afraid of ghosts?”

Karen said, “Yes. Or, I thought I would be. But the guy I saw wasn't scary. He seemed nice. But let's go get that pizza. I'm starved!”

The two grad students sat at a sidewalk table in front of the pizza place. Karen asked, “So, when people saw the ghost of Hannibal Heyes, what did he do?”

Wen finished a bite of pepperoni pizza. “Nothing bad, don't worry. What I heard was he just showed up here and there.”

“Here and there?” Karen asked.

Wen explained, “On campus, in Louisville where he and his partner had their hotel, and out at Heyes Castle.”

“Heyes Castle?” Karen asked.

“A big, rambling old house he built for his family. It's still there, in the Flatirons, just a few miles from here.”

Karen was interested. “Wow! Have you been there?”

Wen said, “No. It's been closed up for years, and it's on private property. Still belongs to the family, I guess. You want to see it?”

“Maybe. Or not. Gosh, I might have to avoid working late, unless I want company.” The two laughed.

“Has anyone ever seen Kid Curry’s ghost?” Asked Karen.

Wen answered, “Yes. People have said they saw him riding around Louisville. But that was a long time ago. I don't know details.”

The new fellow asked, “Is there an historical society in Louisville?”

“Yes. You want to go over there next weekend?” Wen suggested, trying not to sound too excited. But the sparkle in his eyes gave him away.

Now Karen sounded a little shy. “Yeah. But don't tell them I saw Heyes. If I did. Most historians don't take ghost sightings too seriously.”

“What do you mean, if you did? Who else would you see sitting at a roll top desk in Hannibal Heyes’ office?”

The early part of Karen’s first week at U.C. was taken up with administrative things – getting an ID and so on. Then she added a few pages to her dissertation. Her only outlaw investigations took place in the evenings, as she combed the internet for whatever she could find on Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. On Friday, she remembered the anonymous book that had been lying on a shelf when she arrived in her office. She found it between two of her own books. The gold letting had worn off the spine until it was illegible. Karen opened the antique volume cautiously. The title page read, “A Study in Applied Mathematics, Professor Charles Hawthorne Homer, PhD.” It had been published in 1883. There was an inscription inside the cover. In fading ink, it said, “To Professor H. Joshua Heyes, with affection. I hope you will soon replace this old text with your own. Good luck in Colorado. Charlie. August 25, 1891.”

Karen felt she could practically see Professor Homer presenting the volume to his young protégé, filled with hope for a future that was now over a century in the past. It struck her how that promising future had come and gone as the handsome young Professor Heyes had grown grey in this very room. Had he been happy here? Would anyone any longer know, or care? She remembered a quote from one of the Laura Ingalls books. The little girl had said, “Now is now. It can never be a long time ago.” Karen reached for a tissue.

Karen went up to the third floor of Old Main. A grey-haired lady at a desk said, “Welcome to the Heritage Center. Have you been here before?”

“No. I just started as a fellow. I’m in office 12. I thought I should come up and learn some more about my predecessor there,” said Karen.

“Ah! Let’s see what I can find for you on the subject of Professor Hannibal Heyes.”

“Thanks! I'd like that very much. But I have something for you. This book was on my bookcase.” Karen held out her find.

The lady, identified by a sign on her desk as Mrs. Richards, opened the cover of the volume and smiled sadly. “Ah, yes. Charlie Homer was like a father to Professor Heyes after they met at Columbia. I haven't seen that book in a long while.” She placed it on her desk. “I wish I could show you the references to Professor Homer in the signed copy of the autobiography of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry we had. But it disappeared years ago. We haven't been able to replace it. It's very rare.”

“That's awful that somebody took it!” Exclaimed Karen with the fervor of an historian protecting her nation’s heritage.

“Yes. But we do have some pictures.” Mrs. Richards pointed to a reproduction on the wall among other images of the college’s early years. “This was taken for a newspaper story in 1891. Wasn't he a handsome devil?”

“He sure was!”

Mrs. Richards stepped into an exhibition about the local nineteenth-century photographer Rocky Mountain Joe.  “And here he is, pretending to have a gunfight with his partner, hamming it up for the camera. They ran a hotel in Louisville called The Hideout. Easterners loved it. Here's a picture.”

“Is it still there?” Asked Karen eagerly. “A friend and I are going over to Louisville this Saturday to visit the historic sites.”

“No, I'm afraid not. It burned down long ago. But there’s still plenty to see.”

Wen and Karen drove to Louisville on Saturday morning. They parked by false fronted store that housed the Louisville Historical Museum. A lady was starting a tour just as they arrived, so Wen and Karen joined up with three families and their many children. They started with a model of the historical town. The group listened politely as the guide pointed out the railroad tracks, the saloons, the mercantile, and the bank. Soon the children were getting restless.

“Where’s the Hideout?” Asked Karen.

“Ah, the hotel run by Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes,” said the guide. The guide had their rapt attention again. She pointed at the center of the model. “It's here on Main Street. It was a sensation with eastern tourists, as you can imagine. And there’s the jail where Kid Curry was sheriff, down on Front Street by the railroad tracks. He had a gunfight with the Green River Kid right there in the street – shot his trigger finger clean off!” That fetched oohs and ahhs and shrieks from the children. “And here's Christy’s Place, the saloon Kid Curry and his wife had before they bought the Hideout.”

“Are any of those places still here?” Asked Karen.

“Not the hotel or the saloon, though there is a saloon that's a little younger that you can visit. It's a restaurant now called 740 Front, because of the address. But the jail has been reconstructed to be like it was when Kid Curry was sheriff there in the 1890s.”

“Wow! Can we go there?” Asked a little boy wearing a cowboy hat.

The guide said, “Yes. But first, there’s something here in the historical museum that you should see.”
She led them back to the Main building. They went past displays on the local coal mines. High in the back was a glass case. It held two aged cowboy hats, one black, and one brown. “There they are,” said the guide in awe-struck tones. “The real hats Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes wore when they were outlaws.”

“Ooh!” Whispered the children. “Wow!”

“Is that Kid Curry’s hat with the hole in it?” Piped up a boy. “The black one with the silver things on it?”

“No,” said the guide. “That's Hannibal Heyes’ hat. He was the gang leader. He got shot in the head by a murderer. He nearly died.” The children loved that, but Karen found herself taking Wen’s hand. Neither one of them liked to think of their hero being so badly hurt. Wen didn’t seem to mind at all. He put his arm around Karen’s shoulder. She didn’t mind, either.

After that the whole group walked to the historic recreation jail. They all looked at the sheriff’s desk and saw a reproduction of his tin badge. They looked at the stark jail cells and a rack of rifles. “Hannibal Heyes picked a lot of jail cell door locks!” Crowed the guide. The boys were going wild, pulling pretend guns on each other and teasing the girls for being scared. Wen and Karen left while the guide was taking the group to see an historic house from turn of the century.

They went toward Front Street.  They lingered on the sidewalk in front of where Christy’s Place had been, but there was a chic boutique there now. No historic atmosphere remained.

They went to eat at the 740 Front Saloon, which was cleaned up a great deal from its saloon days, though the carved wooden bar was well worth a look. “I don’t know why I’m disappointed,” muttered Wen. “I shouldn’t have been expecting Kid Curry’s ghost to come out and frighten all the kids.”

“Of course not. But still, I know what you mean,” said Karen. “I liked seeing the real outlaw hats, though. I’m sorry Heyes had to get shot. But I want to get closer. Maybe we could go visit Heyes’ house?”

When Karen returned to her office on Monday, she reached for a book on Sumer and saw, next to it, the very book she had given to the heritage center the week before. She looked up and said, to nobody wh o visible, “Well, if you want it here, then it’s fine with me. But I do wish you’d help them get your autobiography back. Folks could learn from that.”

The next day, as Karen arrived in her office, she noticed something sitting on top of the bookcase. It was well above her head, but she stood on a stool and reached up. It was a book – a big one. She took it down carefully. The gold lettering on the fat spine read. “The Autobiography of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.” Karen’s hands shook as she opened it. Just as she had suspected, it was signed and dedicated in the author’s firm, flowing hand. “To the students, staff, and faculty of the University of Colorado, with affection. Hannibal Heyes, PhD. August 25, 1916.” A shiver went down her spine. She dashed up the steps to the heritage center, gripping the treasure.

“Look, Mrs. Richards! I found it in my office,” cried Karen.

Mrs. Richards smiled mysteriously. She locked the book in a case, saying “You mean his office. But you come read it any time. I think he would want you to.”

That weekend, Karen and Wen rented horses and rode out into the Flatirons. They had no trouble finding the dirt road to Heyes Castle. But a high gate and fence locked them out. A sign said, “Trespassers will be prosecuted.”

“Rats!” spat Karen as they rode away in disappointment. “But I’m no Hannibal Heyes. I won’t break in just to see an empty house.”

“I don’t know,” said Wen. “But I think we should stop hunting their ghosts. Those guys were pretty good at avoiding pursuit when they were alive. You seem to have better luck when you just let it happen.”

“So it seems,” said Karen. She smiled at Wen. 

They rode in silence for a while, following the dirt road. As they rounded a bend, Wen pointed ahead of them. Far in the distance were two riders. One, in a black hat, rode a claybank dun; the other, in a brown hat, rode a black horse. As they got to a turn in the path, the two men in the distance urged their horses into a gallop. Karen and Wen heard two faint, distant cowboy whoops. The riders vanished behind some trees.

Karen whispered, “It can’t be. It just can’t be! It’s just two guys.”

Wen and Karen continued to ride at the walk, resisting the urge to gallop after the men they had seen. When they got to the part of the road there the two men had been galloping minutes before, the two friends looked down. There were no hoof prints on the road, except the tracks of their own horses.

With permission, I have extended the challenge premise to a real historical places. The real places mentioned include Old Main, the Heritage Center, the Louisville Historical Museum, and 740 Front. The people are all fictional.
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