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 Storm Clouds (The Third Haff and Wong Tale) ... 4,700 words

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PostSubject: Storm Clouds (The Third Haff and Wong Tale) ... 4,700 words   Storm Clouds (The Third Haff and Wong Tale) ... 4,700 words EmptyTue Feb 07, 2017 10:00 am


Storm Clouds
(The Third Haff and Wong Tale)

by Cal


They'd ordered ham, eggs, biscuits and gravy ...and pie ...Well they were cel-ebrating.


Before leaving the last town, early as it happened, Heyes having been rather too fortu-nate at the poker tables the night before: Kid had decided to let Lom know they were moving on. He'd sent a brief telegram, *Be in Torrents Gap in one week. Smith and Jones*, and was surprised to receive a reply. * Judge Handley recommended you for reward. two hundred. will wire to TG soonest. Lom. *  

‘Well …well, miracles! Paid for once. That was a new experience.’ 

Kid had taken the time to stock up on supplies for the trail.  The horses had made good time to this thriving little mining town, the third such town they'd visited since leaving the stage at Clarksville, and heading north.  They'd secured their favourite type of hotel room; front with a view down the main street and they'd had baths, and barber shaves, and slept in soft beds, one each!  

They'd decided to give their finest threads an airing this morning, as they would have to visit the bank, even their white shirts had been laundered and ironed for them over-night.  Kid thought all he needed now was a big breakfast, and he may just begin to be-lieve their luck was set fair.  

Two gingham clad lovelies had vied with each other, to be the one, to take the order from two of the handsomest visitors their little town had seen, in a very long time. Kid’s face had broken into a hundred-watt smile, blue eyes twinkling, as the winner ap-proached.  Heyes shook his head ruefully as the inevitable flirting ensued.


Kid was now giving his full attention, to his breakfast.  

Heyes, who'd picked at his, pushed it aside. He was holding a thin journal the banner of which declared *...Torrent Tribune. If it’s happening, you'll read about it here! * Heyes looked really bored, seemed nothing much was happening in Torrents Gap. His coffee was refreshed, the waitress lingering over their service.  

"Thankyou" he dimpled eliciting a warm giggle.  "I think Mr Jones will be ready for that pie shortly.” 

He watched the retreating rear appreciatively.  

"What you thinking about Heyes?" smirked Curry.  

Heyes faced Kid and set his features in their most innocent arrangement.  

"I was thinking about Clem...."

"Sure you were."

"Ok, I was thinking about the goofy look on your face when she introduced us to those two marshals."  

Curry visibly shuddered 

"Don't remind me think I aged ten years!" 

Annoyed that Heyes had tried to put a crimp into his good mood, Kid fixed Heyes with a blue eyed stare and smiled broadly. 

“Don't think I was as shocked as you ...When we saw those two guys” Curry shook his blond curls ruefully. “...All I could think was, we really should've stayed in the closet!"

Heyes' keen eyes caught the disappointment writ large on the face of the approaching waitress. 

She plonked pie in front of each handsome face, with a small shake of her head, and an exhaled sigh. She returned to her friend with a resigned lift of her shoulders, and a wistful look back to the two handsome strangers, for what might have been.  

Heyes was horrified ...Curry oblivious.  

Knowing he had to set things right quickly; Heyes, shaking his head at his exasperating partner and summoning his deepest ex outlaw leaders voice, called for the check. When it came, he slapped Kid a little too hard on the arm and pronounced to the World, 

“Better not eat too much of that pie Thaddeus, we got to get you fitted for your wed-ding suit. Can't have my wife saying I let you marry the mayor's daughter in that tired old blue thing."

Curry was baffled, in short order he was bundled out onto the boardwalk before he'd had a chance to find out if either of the young ladies would like his company later that day.  

"What did you say that fer? We might have to wait round here till next week for that money to arrive, I think they kinda liked us."  

Heyes wasn't about to explain what he'd read in that waitress' face to the Kid.  He pulled at his collar, as though suddenly it had become too tight, shaking his head in wonderment at the innocence of the fastest gun in the west.  Gathering his thoughts quickly, the silver -tongued one enlightened his partner, 

“See Kid it’s a plan ...a Hannibal Heyes plan …them waitresses sure to be gossips, ...soon everyone in Torrents Gap will know we're here as a last hurrah ‘fore your nup-tials.  We can sleep late ...go drinking and gambling one will think anything of it ...and no one will call us transients.  We’ll have us a fine ol’ time."

"Well yeah ...but..."  Curry looked confused, he'd been having a fine ol’ time, but he didn't like the idea of anyone calling them transients again.  His hand fell to the butt of his trusted gun.  Last time he'd been called a transient; the law had made him walk round nekkid!  

"I guess Heyes" he smiled, nodding.


As it turned out Heyes had been right.  Why, that very afternoon, Sheriff Helmut Hauser had shaken Kid’s hand, and wished him luck in his coming wedding with a knowing wink. People were disposed to buy him drinks, and the local fallen doves saw the handsome blonde’s proximity to wedded bliss, as a challenge. 

Heyes got so into his role, that he'd invented a convoluted back story for the romance, so much so, that Kid was getting confused.  

"So my fiancé is your brother’s cousin...right?"  

It was very late Saturday night, and they'd had a lot to drink, and were just swaying their way past the bank on route to the hotel.  

"What does it matter Kid. They won't remember either ...anyways ...our money'll be in the bank Monday, and we'll light out o’ here.  Don't want to outstay our welcome do we?  … Hey?"


"Nothing ...Couldn't a been ...Thought I saw Preach ...naaa… " 

And with that, the partners decided to entertain the generous folks of Torrents Gap with a little singing 
     ...fade out
           ...fade out!


They didn't attend church the next morning.  Curry managed breakfast ...just before the hotel dining room closed.  Heyes spent the day with his hangover.  As the afternoon came on so did the storm clouds, dark and loaded with rain. 

Kid hadn't given much thought to the towns name, but looking out of their hotel room later that night he whistled, 

"Sheesh! ...Torrents in Torrents ...What a night ...even dogs shouldn't be out in this."  

"Fine night for ducks and outlaws" laughed Heyes, still nursing his head but feeling a lot better. " We used to tell the boys it was good for them coz there wouldn't be no tracks for a posse...remember?"  

"Yeah ...well I sure am glad we gave all that up.  Don't mind sitting here looking out at it ...wouldn't want to be out there, in it ...that's for sure."


It was three in the morning when the explosion woke the town. Like all the other resi-dents of the hotel; in hastily pulled on pants, boots and guns, Heyes and Curry tumbled out onto the porch, to see the front of the bank in flames, its door flat on the board-walk.  

The partners looked incredulous at each other, then alarm spread on their faces as they heard the big sheriff calling out for heroes, to make up a posse.

Back in their room, accompanied by the pounding hooves of the posse’s departure in the street below, Kid is maniacally packing their things.  

"Wait a minute Kid ...This has nothing to do with us ...We don't need to go fact how would that look?"

"But Lom ...and the judge ...they know we're here ...and..." 

"Yeah ...And I think they'd back us up.  Sure one time Lom would ‘a come here gunnin for us ...but..." 

"What? Back us up, that your brother’s cousin's sister's, marrying ...Sheesh! Heyes ...I can't even back us up!"

"No... no... Kid ...We're in the clear for this ...You'll see ...No one’s looking at us, for this ...We're strangers, so they won't think we should've joined that posse.  And our mon-ey's not even in the bank yet! We're ok.  This has nothing to do with us ...We'll just send a telegram, to Lom, in the morning, ...explaining."

Heyes shakes his head, eyes closing.  Does he even think that will work?


Kid looked uncomfortable: It was a new experience to be in a town, after a bank rob-bery.  He'd overheard the lovely waitresses saying ‘Devils Hole gang’ at breakfast, but there was no mention of him, or what’s his name.  Surely this was way off their patch?  But he guessed things had changed since their day.  

Heyes had started acting weird, smiling too much, talking too loud.  When they got back to their room, he swore loudly that their money better @#£%! be there tomor-row!

The storm really hit.  

Curry looked out at the relentless rain, the mud churned up by wagons in the main Street.  Two workmen were rehanging the banks door, struggling under the weight.  He sighed and shook his head.  He should have known their luck couldn't hold. 

“Think I've had enough of Torrents Gap ...When there's a Gap, in the Torrents, I think we should be moving on anyway.  Did you get a reply from Lom yet?"  

"Not yet Kid ...We'll just sit tight is all."  

Heyes opened a book, so Kid took gun oil, a cloth and his Colt to the seat by the win-dow, and kept a close eye on the street below.


Later that night

A commotion below, got a light sleeping Curry to his feet.  He grabbed the Colt from the bedpost, stood behind the window frame and twitched the curtain aside.  The he-roes were returning, tired but elated.  A few whoops were heard.  Someone shouted a questioning greeting from the saloons batwing door.

"We Bagged us an outlaw!"

Kid looked for a body slung over a horse. Saw none.  Confused he studied the riders straggling up the muddy main street, trail worn and wet.  Even under their rain slickers, he could see none of the riders were tied up.  He looked back at the big sheriff at the head of the column, pulling his huge sorrel to a halt in front of the jail.  As he dis-mounted, Kid got a clear view of the diminutive prisoner, tied into the saddle of a small mare on his far side.  His eyes went wide in recognition.

"Oh, no…" said Heyes, now at Kid’s shoulder



Heyes had seen it. That look Kid gets when he throws caution to the wind and goes in to save the day, all guns blazing.  He didn't miss his partners sudden interest in the jail, and how many deputies were on duty, and when. They hadn't discussed it over break-fast, or as they’d walked to the telegraph office, to collect Lom’s reply, but he could feel it coming…
                             ...the real storm.


"But it’s Kyle! ...Not just anyone! ...Kyle! ...That's all there is to discuss.  Of course we're going to break him out!"  

Curry was mean, loud and dangerous, his face inches from Heyes'.  

They'd been going at it, since they'd got back to the room. Heyes had reasoned every which way, and was feeling exhausted.

"Kid ...Lom says if we have anything ...Anything! ... To do with that robbery, that's it! ...No second chances ...All that effort wasted!  We break Kyle out ...that's having some-thing to do with the robbery!  Lom will come arrest us himself!  ...That what you want?  Get arrested! ...No amnesty! ...Twenty years in jail!"

"But it’s Kyle! ..." 

And so it continued.


There was a knock on the door, a polite cough. 

"Laundry" called an oriental voice.  

The partners realised their voices had been rising. Heyes walked to the door but didn't open it, until Kid stood with his gun drawn, just out of view. 

"Oh, our shirts? ...Thankyou ...Just put them on the bed, there."

The diminutive Chinese man entered the room, turned and smiled up at Heyes

“Hello again Mr HeyesMr Curry. Perhaps you should close the door, and it might be prudent, to also lower your voices."  

Heyes looked at the little man confused for a second, then at his partner. Kid came to stare down at the unexpected visitor, still holding the gun, still fuming. The man's poker face was impressive, in the presence of a riled up Kid Curry.  He didn't flinch.

Kids face broke into a wide smile.  
"Wong? …That you?  Didn't know you there for a minute, not without the beard, and moustaches.  You here to get Kyle out?   Is Haff with you?" 

Wong’s eyes slid to the window. 


Down below, a small figure in old robes and a coolly hat, was sweeping the boardwalk in front of the jail. As if feeling their gaze, Haff briefly glanced up.  

"How did you know we were here?" 

Asked Heyes, not at all pleased to see the two newest members of the Devils Hole gang, now lead by Kyle Mertry's partner, Wheat Carlson.  He owed Wong a debt for sav-ing Kid’s arm, maybe even his life, after the Kid had taken a bullet in a posse chase from hell right back to the Devils own country, but he didn't think now was a good time for Wong to collect.

"I've been in town for weeks.  You'd be amazed how people talk, when they bathe, or sit in a barber’s chair. Imagine my delight when I heard the bank manager, worrying his safe would not be strong enough, for the mines payroll when it rested at his bank over-night, before going up to the mine on Monday.  Or my delight, in seeing my two good friends, Mr Heyes and Mr Curry."

"What! We had baths!  You shaved us?!? ...@#£%&!  That's amazing ...Why didn't you say something?"  

Kids voice was getting loud again, as he looked at the little man incredulously, the smile growing wider.  

"Why would I, Mr Curry?  Weren't you just telling me what I already know?  It was very comforting. You see; Haff and me, we are invisible in your west.  They have made want-ed posters for us now you know.  I have seen them ...The Chinaman, wanted dead or alive, reward two thousand dollar.  The picture is drawn from a dime novel villain.  My own mother would not know me.  Haff's is worse.  The Devils Apache, picture looks like Sitting Bull!" 

Kid laughed heartily.

Heyes watched and worried.


Kid needed air, he'd leave the two geniuses to argue. 

There was a break between downpours, which gave the air a scrubbed quality, good and fresh.  He took a cigar out of his pocket, settled himself into a chair on the hotel porch, and pushed back onto two legs. Hat pulled low, he watched the jail and the bank, thinking.  

A small figure headed down the street, toward the livery corrals that spread out at the rear of the street, almost to the bank itself.  

‘…almost to the bank ...Ahh…’ sighed Kid, ‘That's how they did it.’

He stood, and quietly strolled over to the bank. Then, cutting down one of the side al-leys, made his way slowly to the farthest corral, which held a pair of familiar looking mules and a beautiful paint mare mountain pony.  Next to the corral, stood a ram-shackle mule wagon.  There were a few sacks scattered on the flat bed, but Kid’s keen eyes soon noted the very sturdy, solid-looking construction of the wagon’s seat.  He leaned on the rail, pulling mud off his boots on the bottom one. He caught a slight movement over by the back of the wagon.

"That payroll box never left Torrents Gap, did it Haff?  But how did Kyle get taken?"

The little Indian made a show of giving apples to the mules.  The pony ran up and tried kicking her rivals for Haff’s attention away, in a spirited show of dominance. 

"Feisty mare." appreciated Curry.  

Haff lowered his voice 

“Wheat and Kyle went in, Lobo had the horses out back. Preacher ‘n’ me, lookouts both sides. Kyle blew the safe. Wheat grabbed the box.  Took it straight to Wong, who'd got the wagon real close. The boys took off, all different directions. Of course, it was raining so wouldn't have mattered, but that was the plan.  

Wheat was gonna send a telegram, a week or so later, Wong’s brother was ill or some-thing. Wong pays a labourer: Me, to load his barber chair on the wagon, easy getaway.  Blow box later.


Kyle hadn't come out.  His horse was still there.  I thought he'd blowed hisself up!  Wong said, I should trail the posse. They took off, rode a few miles in the rain. Holed up in a barn, for hours, just sending a couple of men out now and then, to scout for tracks."  

Haff shook his head at the futility of this.  

"They must’ve had enough. I seen they was heading back fer town, so I took off cross country, to beat them back.” 

Haff face twisted in disgust.  

"I should a stuck to them.  Kyle must’ve come to. Found his horse, and let her drift him out of town.  But he was in a bad way, some burnt and deafened most like.  If I'd seen him first..."

"Don't worry we'll get him out" comforted the gunslinger. 

Haff looked up for the first time.  

" You gonna help?" he smiled.  

"Oh yes. If there’s one thing Heyes n me do, better than robbing trains n banks, it’s jail-breaks.  Let me tell you about this one time, I had to give myself up, to free a good friend of ours called Belle Jordan..."


Heyes' silver tongue was in overdrive, he had to get the cunning Little oriental to see this from their perspective.  

"Kid ‘n’ me, we need that amnesty Wong ...We're not invisible ...And its twenty thou-sand, dead or alive! ...How do you think Kid got in that state last time? ...Maybe we won't get so lucky next time ...And its twenty years they want!  Now, we like Kyle but..."

"Mr Heyes, Kyle is not needing another explosion, right now.  When Wheat comes back, and he will, he'll bring Dynamite …lots of it. But, you could open the locks with-out Dynamite. We would see Kyle away, no one would ever know you were involved…"

"Lom would ...And there's this judge..."

This argument had been raging sometime, when the shouting from the street below pulled them both to the window.  

"Seems your partner, and mine, have decided without us Mr Heyes. Men of action, it would seem, however foolish…"  

Heyes watched, unable to take his eyes off, what was surely going to be a disaster, be-low.


Haff, now in an Indian blanket and large black hat, staggered his way loudly along the boardwalk directly into the path of deputy Hauser, the arrogant young nephew to Sher-iff Hauser. The young, would be Wyatt Earp, backhanded the pint sized drunken Indian.  

"Get outta my way haff -breed!"  

Haff, anticipating the blow, threw himself over the rail and landed dramatically, mud splattering in every direction, at the feet of Kid Curry.  

The Kid, sounding not to sober himself, pulled Haff to his feet.  

"No one talks to my drinking buddy like that.  Don't think I like your attitude...HIC!"  

Then a man mountain, the family resemblance to the sheriff obvious, came to stand next to the deputy eying the drunks.  

"Don't you take that from them son. You're a town deputy, now".

"That's right! ...You shouldn't be talking to me that way!"  

The young punk squared up to Kid, hands on his gun belt. 

‘Why don't he just arrest us?’ thought Kid.  

He hadn't really reckoned on a gun fight, and now, there were two of them. He watched, trying to keep up the drunk act, saw the movement and... Bang!  Bang! Two holsters hit dirt.  

Haff had managed to cover Kid’s shooting hand, from the jail side, with his blanket so the sheriff running to them hadn't seen the draw.  Now he leapt at Kid, knocking him off his feet and into the welcoming mud, in mock congratulations for the fine shooting. 

Kid played along, allowing his Colt to fly from his hand, to land at the feet of the stunned deputy.  

"What's going on here Mason?  Is that Jones?" 

The sheriff eyed the mud wrestlers. 

"He been drinking this early?  Who's firing off bullets in my town!"  

The deputy; Mason, was coming to his senses. 

Kid and Haff horsed around some more to give him time to pick up Kid’s gun, wave it at them, and demand they walk to the jail.

"Not sure I want them in the jail that! ...And I don't want a drunk Indian in my jail, any longer than I have to.  You make sure you throw them out, soon as they sober up ...I'll have to go look for Jones’ partner ...I thought this here was the sensible one!" 

And with that the sheriff stalked off.

Kid was put in the cell adjacent to a sleeping Kyle. If they'd known Kyle was resting, they wouldn't have put quite so much mud on their faces.  They'd half expected to be greeted ‘Well howdy Kid, Haff!’   He took a little pleasure, in riling-up the young deputy again about needing to practice his fast draw, just enough so Mason, eyes blazing, threw the near unconscious Haff into Kids lap with only a cursory pat down for weap-ons, shouting 

“Here you like Indians so much, see how you like sleeping with one, in the same cage!"


that night

Mason had drawn night duty and was nodding in the chair over by the sheriff’s desk.  Kid had filled a grateful Kyle in on the plan.  Haff was grinning, adding feathers to his headband and ferocious war paint to his already mud coloured face. When they were ready, Kyle held the gun they'd smuggled in, Haff stood on the cot behind Kid, took a handful of blond curls and brandished a wicked looking blade to the hapless Jones' neck.  Kid tried and failed to look terrified.  

"Come on you two, quit horsing around.  We gotta make this look good" whispered a very tired sounding Kyle. 

They all took a deep breath.

Curry screamed. 

Haff let out a terrifying war cry.  

Masons eyes flew open. 

"Deputy, you better get back here with that key real quick ...Not sure how long I can keep the Apache, from scalping that drunk… " drawled Kyle showing the muzzle of the gun through the bars.

When they'd got the wide-eyed deputy tied up and gagged, on one of the cell cots, Kyle turned from Haff, who was pushing a still terrified hostage at knife point to the back door, to add 

“and iffn your thinking o coming after us ...I just might let him have that scalp understand?"

Kid smiled when the back door opened under his hand, and he saw Kyle’s little mare, the black gelding and the paint pony, all tied up and fully loaded with their gear, at the rear of the jailhouse. 

‘Thank you partner’ he grinned, though he knew Heyes would be long gone.


Heyes and Wong had ghosted down the back stairs of the hotel, almost as soon as they'd seen the jail door shut, behind their partners and the hapless Mason.  

Heyes'd heard enough to know, he'd have to get the Sheriff running all round town looking for Smith, to ensure only the young deputy, who didn't seem too bright was there to lock up the drunks.  

Wong was shaving a customer, when Heyes passed the shop later, in his game of cat and mouse.  

"You want shave sir?  Good hot towels". 

Heyes smiled and shook his head. ‘Wong was right ...invisible...’

After dark, he waited for Kid to make a move.  He heard his partners dramatic scream, which made his eyes roll, followed by a blood curdling war cry from Haff. Laughing, he’d quickly had the rear door to the jail open, in time to hear Kyle's threat to let The Devils Apache scalp poor Jones.  

He watched as all three passed him on their dash to freedom.


Next morning, as the sun was just putting in its first appearance in days

Heyes, looking rather dishevelled, and hung over, wobbled up main street to meet the sheriff as he approached the jail house.  

"Sheriff!" He hollered, then faked pain in his head. “Hear you got my drinking buddy … I mean partner a cell.  There was no need..."  

"Yes, there was,” insisted the Sheriff. “There was gun play in the main Street ...And he was drinking with an Indian. We don't hold with buying Indians liquor in these parts." 

"That sneaky Indian, drank us under the table ...They left me in a ditch ...back there ...Said they were gonna find themselves couple a..."  

Smith, under the disapproving glare of Sheriff Hauser had the sense to stop talking.  He smiled up at the Sheriff. 

“Well I sure hope Thaddeus has seen the error of his ways.  And I'd like a word with that Indian, I think I was robbed!"


Heyes' is playing the distraught friend of the abducted Jones to the fullest. 

"Scalped!  What will my wife say? and the mayor!"  

Oh he's enjoying himself far too much.

A couple of miles out of town

The three desperadoes pull up behind some rocks just off the main trail. Haff is return-ing to town, to watch his partners back, till the telegram from Wheat arrives.  The rain has stopped but he's already wet enough to start wiping off the war paint.

"Bye Haff, stay safe and keep Wong safe." 

Kid offered a handshake.  

Haff beamed. 

“My friend, Kid Curry, would make good Indian!" he laughed at Kids muddy face.  "See you back at the Hole, Kyle!" 

And with that he was gone.

"You gonna be alright Kyle?" 

Kid looked at Kyle's tattered clothes and smoke blackened face.  

"Oh, sure Kid ...Wong’s been showing us how to be invisible ...He says, we don't need to hightail it hell for leather after a job …We just melt into the night..." 

Kyles eyes became wide, his voice dropping to a conspiratorial whisper.  

"Good" nodded Kid bemused, wiping his face with a bandana and water from his can-teen. "Well you stay safe, you hear?"  

Kyle looked up into the handsome, smiling face of his statuesque companion, noting the boyish clear skin, the distinctive blue eyes, the straight white teeth, and let out a heartfelt sigh for Kid’s misfortune.  

"See Kid, you and Heyes ...You just stands out too much in a crowd... That's probably why you have so much attention from the ladies…"  

Kyle shook his head in quiet consolation for Kid’s shortcomings.  

"Don't suppose you could ever melt, like me an’ Wheat. Trouble’s always gonna be able to find you Kid!"

Curry watched as Kyle walked his little mare away. 

‘Lot of truth in there’ he thought.


Sun down

Kid wasn't going to be sleeping on the ground, not an inch of which was dry, though the storm had passed. He reached into his saddle bag, sure that his partner wouldn't have forgotten to pack food, and found a note.  

*K, you hot head, but well done. Head North. I'll collect our money, and tie up loose ends here.  Meet up in two days. H.  
ps. money in bedroll 
     pps. you need a bath 
           ppps. be very careful who shaves you!  
                 pppps. stay outta trouble!

"Guess you were a long time waiting in that alley Heyes" said Curry ruefully, shaking his head.

the end
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Storm Clouds (The Third Haff and Wong Tale) ... 4,700 words
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