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 The New Teacher Part One continued (6,750 words)

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The New Teacher Part One continued    (6,750 words)   Empty
PostSubject: The New Teacher Part One continued (6,750 words)    The New Teacher Part One continued    (6,750 words)   EmptyMon Mar 20, 2017 6:21 am

The New Teacher 

(scene 4  2,500 words)

Jed “Kid” Curry


Thaddeus Jones

An hour had passed since the attempted ambush, and Jed “Kid” Curry was allowing his big black gelding to trail quietly behind the school teacher and his pack horse.  He’d left quite a gap, but he could still vaguely hear the man’s interminable monologue.  Theodore Smith had hardly stopped to draw breath.
At first, Kid had been quite interested in the man introductions, who he was and what he did.  The teacher’s brief exposition of his travels to this point had been just about bearable.  But, when he started in on the subject of his mentor, Herbert Somebody, and his thinking on teaching theory, and how it would influence the modern World, Kid’s eyes had glazed over. 

It was like listening to Heyes drone on about the latest book he was reading. Not the story, Kid liked the story part. The stuff about what the author was thinking or trying to say.  Like he wasn’t just trying to tell the story.  How could anyone know what another man had in his head when he wrote something down.

Jeez, the man could talk. 

They could both talk, smiled Kid to himself.  

Kid couldn’t help thinking Heyes and Smith would get along.  They even liked using the same big words.  

Well, he was an old hand at dealing with talkers.  

He let his horse drift further and further behind until he could barely hear the actual words Smith was saying, whilst giving the outward appearance of being on lookout for further trouble.

Actually, Kid wasn’t bothered about the prospect of further trouble.  Thieves had this unwritten code about encroaching on another’s territory.  He’d already seen off the thieves that thought this road was theirs for the taking. 

No, Kid wasn’t bothered by the prospect of another robbery. It was the first robbery that had him bothered. 

He sighed heavily.

That robbery, if you could call it that, bothered him a lot. 

The way Kid figured it; the teacher, Theodore Smith, had lost his money, his boots, and some sacks of food. So, he guessed, there had been a robbery.  And guns were involved, so that made it an armed robbery, which in anyone’s book, was trouble. The very thing he was meant to be keeping out of.  

He sighed again wearily, his face contorting with hard thinking.  He pulled his hat low over his brow and studied his gloved shooting hand as it rested on the saddle horn in front of him.  

It was that hand, that had made the fast draw.  It, had held the gun on the miners.  He scowled hard at it, like it had betrayed him somehow.  Question was, had he done the right thing after that?  Would an honest to goodness, law-abiding citizen have done something similar?  

Kid knew the answer was no, and that was what worried him.  His eyes closed under the weight of that knowledge.  An honest, law abiding citizen wouldn’t have made the school teacher empty his pockets, or remove his boots.  Wouldn’t have sent the robbers off with sacks full of food from the school teacher’s supplies.

Kid scrubbed at his eyes with the treacherous gun hand, and tried to figure it differently.  

He’d been stacking metaphorical poker chips, into piles of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, in his head for some time now.  

The piles were coming up, more or less, even each time he figured it.  But what did that even mean?  Maybe, the money didn’t matter, because Kid had saved the man’s life, and the ‘right’ kinda cancelled out the ‘wrong’.  Could it work like that in the law-abiding world, he and Heyes longed to join? 

That just brought Heyes to the front of the Kid’s mind. Another painful sigh left his lips.  What would Heyes think? And of course, that begged another question.  What would Lom, or the Governor, think about what he’d done?  Had he backslid? 

If Kid hadn’t been wearing gloves, he may well have been chewing his nails by now.  Thinking things out wasn’t usually down to him.  Where was Heyes when he was needed?

Kid closed his eyes again, this was giving him a headache.

He grunted with frustration.

He could do his own thinking.  Despite what Heyes said, they both knew Kid was a match for Heyes at thinking through the practical stuff, and this problem was about just that. What he’d done, not what he was thinking about, or meaning at the time, like some darn author of a book.

It hadn’t felt wrong.  

Technically, yes, he’d just aided in an armed robbery.  But, he’d also just saved a man’s life.  When the school teacher handed over the money to Janx, Kid was pointing the gun at Janx, not Smith. So, that wasn’t like any armed robbery he’d ever been involved in before. Can’t be armed robbery if you’re pointing the gun at the man getting the money, not the one getting robbed.

A small glimmer of hope entered the brain of the West’s most notorious gunslinger. Just as quickly, it was snuffed out.

The boots. 

Kid sighed heavily, his face turning sour with the memory.  He knew that was it. That where he’d gone too far.  That had been pure temper.  He’d taken one look at the well-dressed Easterner.  Held that up to the raggedy, half-starved miners, and lost it.  

He shouldn’t have made the man remove his boots.  

But the thought of No Shoes’ starving children; a man’s whole family taken by a harsh winter, just after that dream about his own family...  

And the school teacher not getting it, and talking about going to the sheriff in Clearwater.  Wait a minute, the school teacher would be wanting to report the robbery to the sheriff in Clearwater. That meant trouble for sure.

“Heyes!” Kid spat quietly under his breath.

He really did need his partner to help him think this through.  He could hear Heyes’ tutting in his head.  It wasn’t a good enough excuse.  Heyes’ voice was repeating the word ‘hothead’ at him and throwing brightly coloured poker chips at the ‘wrong’ pile with heavy clunking chinks. 

Kid eyed his vociferous companion ahead. He was riding in his stockinged feet.  No holes in the socks, noted Kid ruefully, feeling his own toes touching the thin leather soles of his boots.  

He’d had enough of thinking.  

Leave thinking to Heyes.  

That was the rule he’d lived most of his life by and it was beginning to make a lot more sense now.  Least he could do was apologise to the school teacher, for the loss of the boots.

Kid squared his shoulders and shook off all the troublesome debating in his head.  Both piles of chips scattered to the four corners of his mind.  He pushed the heavy banded hat back on his curly head and nudged his horse on up the trail, to flank the school teacher.  

At first, he waited patiently, for a gap in the teacher’s diatribe smiling and nodding where it seemed polite, but soon he realised, there wasn’t going to be any gap.  If he was going to get in an apology, he was going to have to jump right in with it.

“I been thinking” he said, leaving room for the smart come back that particular remark usually earned him.  

Of course, it never came. 

Theodore Smith drew up his horse’s reins and sat quietly, giving Mr Jones both the floor, and his entire attention. 

Kid hadn’t expected that either. It made him question whether, what he’d been planning to say, merited such interest in his companion.  

Well he’d started now, so he might as well get on with it.

“I been thinking, Mr Smith …I might owe you an apology …for the way that I acted back there…  Making you give them miners your boots, like that… I was thinking …that … well …maybe …maybe that was a might excessive of me, and I shouldn’t ’a done it …I should apologise.”

Theodore Smith, eyed Mr Jones shrewdly, perhaps realising for the first time, that Mr Jones hadn’t been hanging on his every word up to this point.  He smiled indulgently at the trail worn cowboy.

“As I said, Mr Jones, I have another set of boots in my pack.  They are older of course, but far more comfortable, and better worn in, than those that I lost. As I’ve been pointing out to you, when you consider all the aspects of social in justice, and rectitude, pertaining to the unfortunate occurrence that befell us, I think it would be churlish of me to fret on the loss of a pair of rather tight, overpriced boots, don't you?”

There was no gap, or expectation that Kid might answer. Which was just as well, Kid was still wrestling with some of Smith’s vocabulary.  

The teacher continued, unabated.

“…No.  The occurrence has given me considerable insight, into the community to which I have been appointed as educator, and no less, to the man, who has both contracted my services in the town’s only school, and is indeed, paying my wages.  Up to now, I have only seen Clearwater through the prism of said employer’s letters. I’m sure you can believe, the man made no mention of starvation, nor indeed, deprivation of any kind, amongst the community which I intend to serve. The mine’s workers, or indeed their families, past or present. It begs the question, what else did he care to omit?”

The man made the briefest pause again to draw breath. 

Kid, fearing he may never get another chance to make the apology, quickly jumped into the gap.

“Well… that might …all be true” he said, hoping the bit about the boots was at least, “But …I let my temper get the better of me, so I apologise for that. I’m usually …more of a peaceable kinda man.  Think …I wasn’t thinking’ too clear…” 

The teacher eyed the tied down Colt shrewdly with a wry smile at the ‘peaceable’ remark, and started in again with a long monologue, that Kid swiftly decided, he didn’t need to concentrate on.

There were more important things on his mind.  

Kid needed to delay their arrival into Clearwater to give him enough time to persuade the teacher to leave out his part in the robbery, when he made his report to the local sheriff.  He was hopeful that the man seemed not to be holding a grudge of any kind.
What he needed was Heyes’ silver tongue.  

His stomach growled loudly. He remembered the smell of good coffee and the promise of a side of bacon, when he’d rummaged around in the food sacks on the pack horse, earlier.  His coffee had run out several days ago, and even then, it had been bitter and rank at best.  He’d been drinking coffee that tasted like his partner had made it for days now, and breakfast seemed to have been an awful long time ago.

This time Kid didn’t even wait for a gap. He just dived straight in.

“We could stop and make coffee, Mr Smith. Give you a chance to dig out those spare boots. I could get us a fire going… Think I saw some coffee and fixings on that pack animal… and I …I got some good tobacco I’d be willing to share” he smiled, thinking he should be bringing something to the feast.

There was at least another hour to go, before they topped the ridge that skirted Clearwater. Theodore Smith smiled his assent back broadly, a short break for coffee and a bite to eat couldn’t hurt.  He liked the idea of coffee after all the excitement.  Yes, building a fire and drinking coffee with Mr Jones would be very welcome.  But he’d be smoking his pipe, not Mr Jones’ no doubt, rough cowboy shag.  

He hadn’t intended to stop this would make a pleasant distraction, after all, he was already late.  Another half hour or so would make little difference.  How would his robbery be viewed in Clearwater, he wondered? Would they think him incompetent? He’d had very few dealings with these Western folks.  

It was hard for him to tell.

The patrons of the supply station, where he’d bought his multitudinous supplies and the pack horse, had advised him against stopping on the road into Clearwater.  They warned of other, well supplied, travellers being waylaid by thieves. 

Of course, that hadn’t stopped them selling him too much of their over-priced stock, and supplying an expensive riding horse to carry it all, instead of the usual mule.  When he failed to buy the old, overpriced firearm, they also recommended, he could tell they thought him a fool. 

The encounter with the miners on the road brought into question the validity of that decision. Should he be carrying a gun?

Well, he’d come West to learn.  He was learning.

One thing Theodore Smith was yet to learn was that he could have bought all the supplies he needed in Clearwater itself.  It was true, supply wagons had been stopped on the trail into the town recently, but only a small proportion of the loads they carried, had been taken.  Most of the town’s supplies were getting through unhindered.

Yes, a stop to gather his thoughts was welcomed by the school teacher.  

Both men dismounted and lead their horses off the trail a little.  They found clear signs that others had used this spot recently.  Some large rounded stones had been drawn up into a circle.  A fire would be easy to light in the old embers and Kid was sure one of the three canteens, he could see hanging on the pack horse, would have enough water in it to fill the coffee pot. 

He got busy. 

Theodore Smith watched fascinated with the efficiency of Mr Jones actions.  He perched on the log and began the ritual of lighting his pipe to cover his obvious interest in the proceedings.  He smiled a warm satisfied smile through the aromatic cloud surrounding his head.

The idea of leaving the train early, and travelling to Clearwater on horseback, had been to gain an insight into the experience of the locals and their offspring. Just as his mentor, Herbart had recommended.  If he was to teach, by engaging the interest of his perspective students, by building on their experiences to date, then he had to first find out what those experiences were. 

Mr Jones looked like a very interesting local, with lots of interesting experiences to share. He may yet prove to have children of his own to educate.  Jones wasn’t a miner, nor he suspected, a railroad man.  Perhaps a law officer then?

He eyed the subject of his study shrewdly.

Innocent of his companion’s thoughts, Kid fished in the packs for the makings of a very good mid-day meal. Truth be told, he wasn’t really feeling in a sharing mood right then, but he too was hoping to get the teacher talking again.  This time he’d be setting the subject.  

He was rehearsing an argument in his head as he worked.  

He just had to convince the school teacher, that all he needed to tell the Clearwater sheriff was, that a man named Janx had robbed him of forty dollars, and leave the bit about Kid coming to his aid, out of it.

 (scene 5  - 1750 words)

Hannibal Heyes


Joshua Smith

Heyes followed the girl’s progress to his teacher’s desk, with a twinkle of mischief in his dark eyes and a promise of mayhem on his lips.

She was a queer little thing. 

Outwardly neat and well presented, yet somehow, she had this air of being unloved and neglected, like some prized possession put aside in a glass cabinet to become forgotten about and covered in dust.

Her eyes were old, way beyond her years; worldly-wise and wary and they never left him. There was a near permanent frown mark on her small brow, yet she knew enough of placating others, to plaster a big false smile across her face as she came to face him.

A born hustler then. 

She obviously incited loyalty in others. Why else would the older children stand and defend her so readily?  She was a puzzle alright, but then, Heyes liked puzzles. 

He was going to enjoy this.

He had a plan.

The kid whipped a couple of familiar looking lock picks out of her apron pocket, and failed to keep the smile in place, as she expertly opened the teachers draw. Charmingly, she closed her eyes and poked just the tip of her tongue out of the corner of her mouth as the mechanism of the desk draw lock clicked open.  He noted there was a brief, but true, small smile of pleasure on her face at this achievement.

Her eyes opened again and fixed on the outlaw leader in challenge as she turned to face him again.  A very definite ‘See’, was sent between their dark eyed stares.

“Hmmmm” nodded Heyes approvingly, taking the lock picks for a moment and examining them.
They felt like old friends in his hands. 

The girl’s eyes started toe tapping. 

He smiled and nodded again, almost reluctantly returning them to the small waiting outstretched hand.

“You practiced?”


“That’s… very impressive” he said staring into her soul and pursing up his lips in thought.

She could give him away at any minute. Call him out for the outlaw he once was.  He liked the fact that he now thought of himself as an ex-outlaw, that he’d truly left all that behind him.  There was a time he thought he may drag Kid back to robbery if things got too tough for them trying to go straight.  Guess he didn’t think that was a problem anymore, but this child…

She could put him in jail and then, all Brent would have to do is wait for Kid to come riding into town asking for news of his partner.

He sighed out a long breath. 

He’d have to do it.  Put his plan into action.  He didn’t like the idea of tricking a small child, but the stakes were just too high.

The class had followed every moment of his interaction with Frankie.  They watched transfixed, pencils floating idly above slates, but as Heyes looked up they quickly dipped their collective heads to their desks.

“Well” he said, addressing Frankie quietly. “I think it’s time to clear a few things up around here, don’t you?”

He didn’t allow Frankie a chance to answer by placing one long tapering finger to his lips. He picked up a large, powerful looking sling shot, resting on some papers just inside the now open teacher’s draw, and lifted it to the light as if trying to examine it from every angle.  He noticed the pale eyes of a young boy in the second row, grow large and round in shock, before the blond mop of curls swathing his cherubic face were quickly buried in the crook of a dirty shirt sleeve and the face disappeared again.

‘Ahh, every class has its sharp shooter,’ thought Heyes.  ‘And sharp shooters have good eyes. Make very good lookouts.’

“OK class” he said with authority, waiting for every head to look up and face his way again. 

“Young Frankie here… has given me an idea.  As this is my first day as your new teacher… I thought… well maybe we should have got started with something a little bit more fun… than a math problem.”

Pencils hit the desks as one and much whistling of relieved breath swirled around the room.  Anything was better than math seemed to be the classes collective conclusion.

“Here’s the deal” continued their new teacher.  “I am going to be Hannibal Heyes… the notorious outlaw leader …of the Devils Hole Gang.”

Heyes plonked his silver conchoed, chalk spattered, black hat on his head with aplomb.

Excited giggles and whispers swept the room. 

Heyes smiled, he had them in the palm of his hand.  He knew half the Kid’s in the West played at outlaws whenever they could.  They, or maybe even their parents, were fuelled up by the ridiculous exploits of the outlaws they read about in the Dime novels.

“Yes.  So… I’m going to be the leader and you… you are all going to be The Devils Hole Gang itself and we’re going to plan us a robbery right here in Clearwater.”

He threw the sling shot to the blond kid, whose pale eyes had gone big and round again with joy at the prospect of being an outlaw. Heyes noted the swiftness of the boy’s reflexes with a smile.

“Here kid… you’d make a good Kid Curry.  What’s your name son?”

“Fred” said the lad, holstering his weapon down the front of his pants, mirroring Heyes’ aplomb.

“Fred?  Yeah, well that’ll work” laughed Heyes.  “You’re on lookout duty… at the window.  I need… er… I mean as leader I would want to know everything that moves out there… especially anyone new in town… or anyone acting suspicious… Things like that… Think you can do it?”

“Yes sir!” Fred nodded vigorously, squaring his shoulders and keeping his gun hand hovering over the slingshot as he stiffly walked over to the window like a gunslinger.

“That’s what my pa usually does” said Tommy Brent, to no one in particular.

“That’s true… As an outlaw gang, we’re gonna have to keep a wary eye out for the sheriff and his deputies… Brent, is it? You’re in charge of keeping watch fer the law.  Pick yerself out a coupla deputies of your own Brent.”

Tommy stood tall, tapping a couple of his mates on the shoulder.  They cocked the thumbs of fully loaded six gun fingers as they walked bravely to the far window.

“Frankie here…” continued Heyes.

He stood, and presented his small apprentice at his side noting the large yellow bow in her hair.

“Frankie here… is going to be Wheat Carlson.”

This amused Heyes immensely. He coughed into his hand to smother the sniggering.

“He… er… She’s going to be in charge… of keeping all you other rowdy outlaws in order… while you help me with my planning.”

He pointed out the small child that had piped up about dynamite earlier.

“We got us a dynamite expert too… see… That can come in real handy when you’re plannin’ a bank job.”

“A bank job?” squeaked Frankie.

Heyes favoured her with a full dimpled beam.

“Yes Darlin’… the Devils Hole Gang are going to come up with a plan to rob the bank right next door to the school here in Clearwater... and it’s got to be ready before school’s out.” 
He smiled conspiratorially at the class, they were hanging on his every word.

“Oh…and of course…” he nodded, as if addressing Frankie’s concerns. 

“A getaway too… Robberies no good without a decent getaway plan.  Get to it… Who knows better than you kids, all the rat runs in and out of this town? Who knows better …how the Sheriff would try to stop me... I mean… us escaping? Who he would get to join his posse… er… Bet you know your daddy’s bank real well, don’t you Frankie? What safe they got? How many tellers? Now come on, get to it… times wasting.  I’m Hannibal Heyes remember. I’m the leader of this here gang and I want the plan done and dusted before lunch!”

Frankie pulled at his sleeve.

He squatted down to her level and looked her straight in the eyes.

“Are you really gonna rob daddy’s bank?” she asked, wrinkling up her brow with confusion.

“What do you think?” he asked quietly.

She was quiet too for just a second thinking this through.

“If you are… will you show me how you open the safe …by listening to the tumblers?”

Heyes wanted to smile, but he dropped his head to his chest to allow him to straighten his face.  As he raised it again, he shook his head slowly and put a sad disappointed look on his face.

“Frankie… you do understand… this is all make believe, don’t you?” he said loud enough for all the other children to hear.  “I’m your new teacher… this is just a fun exercise.  A nice way to pass our first day together.  Better than setting you an essay to write or more math problems, don’t you think?”

All the children agreed loudly, nodding vigorously and sending Frankie warning looks in case she went and changed his mind.  This is the most fun any of them have ever had on a school day and they definitely don’t want to go back to math problems.

“Now…” says Heyes spearing Frankie with a pitying look. “I hope you’re not going to tell anyone I’m really Hannibal Heyes… or that I’m fixing to rob your daddy’s bank anytime soon… after all… no one’s going to believe you… now…. Are they?”

Heyes sent Frankie one last warning look.  He saw the penny drop in the intelligent dark eyes. 

Satisfied he’d dealt with the immediate problem but not feeling good about it, he went over to brief Fred on some of his partner’s appearance, the sheepskin coat and the hat.  He’d need to know the second Kid arrived in Clearwater.  Heyes was sure Abe Brent didn’t know what Kid looked like, but that wouldn’t stop his younger cousin getting himself into trouble in this town.

And then, there was the expected arrival of the real Theodore Smith.

Heyes scowled. 

As he walked to the window, he began giving orders for maps of the town to be drawn, floor plans for the bank to be laid out, for all the World, like a very well-practiced outlaw leader.

Frankie stood quietly where he’d left her looking very confused.


(scene 5 continued 2,500 words)



Hannibal Heyes is definitely, not normal.
I think he must be confused too, because he forgot he was being Theodore Smith and told the whole class he was Hannibal Heyes. And that he was going to rob daddy’s bank. And then, soon after that, he said he was our new teacher, and that I shouldn’t tell anyone he was Hannibal Heyes, and that he was going to rob the bank.

But I don’t even have too.

He’s already done it.

I didn’t tell him he’d already told everyone.  I feel a bit bad about that, but I really want to show him my plan for robbing daddy’s bank, and I don’t want to confuse him anymore than he already is.  For example, he also said Fred Janx could be Kid Curry, which is silly, because Kid Curry is a lot taller and older than Fred Janx. 

Fred Janx is eight like me.

Fred didn’t seem to mind.  I guess he didn’t want to be rude to the new teacher and say he wasn’t really Kid Curry. 

Fred can be friendly and nice like that, sometimes. 

He says that we can be like friends, as long as no one in school knows about it, or his Pa, especially not his Pa, his Pa mustn’t know about me. But when we’re on our own, or with his big sister Mary-Beth, its ok and we can be like friends, which is nice.

Hannibal Heyes is notorious for making the best outlaw plans for robbing banks.  
I really want to know if my plan will work, so I got it written down on a big piece of paper and told the others to just concentrate on planning the escape route.  Of course, I have an escape route planned through the Stumpery because hardly anyone remembers it exists, so it’s like a secret, but Hannibal Heyes said I had to tell the others what to do, so I did.

My bank robbery plan is a really good one. 

I think I’ve thought of everything.  I’ve been planning it for one year, four months, 1 week and three days. Ever since I decided to be an outlaw when I grow up. That was just after my little brother wasn’t born, and my mummy died.
And I know just when to do the robbery too. 

At the end of every third month, like on this Wednesday, when there is the most money in the bank’s safe. Uncle Spencer’s mine needs a lot of money to give to people who work there.

He says

“I can’t imagine what these people have got to spend all that money on… but whatever it is, we better see that we can have our shops supply it …or it’s as good as pouring good money down the drain…”

It means uncle Steadman must give away an awful lot of the money, because I’ve never seen him trying to pour his money anywhere.  Definitely, not down a drain. 

I have seen him put lots of it back into the bank safe.  That’s when I have to wait for him, in the bank. That’s when I do planning, and when I memorised the combination to the safe.

All the money comes into town on one of daddy’s trains, in a new safe Daddy calls Baby.  He bought it specially for Uncle Steadman’s money.

He said

“Even Hannibal Heyes… will have trouble… trying to crack this baby!”

And then, the money has to go into the safe in daddy’s bank, which is bigger, and older than Baby on the train. Then, Uncle Spencer’s guards come to town, with a special wagon that weighs so much it takes six mules to pull it, and they take the money to the mine in the mountains.

I tried to show Hannibal Heyes my bank robbery plans, but he seemed more interested in the Crane twins’ escape plans. So, I pointed out that riding through their stock yard and up the creek would only work if their big fierce dog were locked up. 

It’s true. 

The dog is really loud, and bitey.  Unless you remember to take food with you, and you spend a lot of time showing it you don’t intend to beat it, like the Crane twins’ Pa does.  Then it will like you and it will be really friendly.

Also, I pointed out, you could climb the creek on foot, but it’s hard to climb up the falls on a horse, and you’d have to take supplies on a pack mule to survive the mountain passes.

Hannibal Heyes did staring again, and then he listened to me very carefully.  He asked

“How would you do it, Frankie?”

I said quietly, just for him to hear, that it would be safer to go through the Stumpery, and on out over the ridge in the forest.  There is a little used hunting trail that Mr Maxwell says, was used by the local tribes before Clearwater was founded.  It drops to the train tracks, just passed where the end of the tunnel comes out of the mountain. 

He asked if it wasn’t easier to just go through the tunnel. 

I told him what my Daddy had to say about that, when I asked him the same question, during my planning of the robbery.

“You’d be a fool to try.  The clearance in there… is less than the width of a horse.  And the tunnel is long, curved and on a down grade… Its black as pitch in there. Trains speed up the whole time there comin’ in… If you’re in there and hear a whistle… then you’re already good as dead.”

He swallowed hard.  

And then he studied my robbery plan really closely.  He looked at it for a long time and even did concentrating, putting the tip of his tongue out of the side of his mouth like when he opened the safe by listening to tumblers on daddy’s train.

And then he said

“Did you come up with this all by yourself? This is real good, Frankie… You know… This might even work!”

He looked at me and smiled, then he looked serious.

“I’m sorry…” he said, “I really shouldn’t have called you Wheat Carlson earlier… Wheat would give his eye teeth to come up with a plan as good as this one! Now… why don’t you tell me more about this way out of town …through the Stumpery….”

That meant, he thought my plan was good and it would work. 

It also meant, that he had forgotten my name earlier, just like I thought. 

I thought he’d called me Sweet Darls’n, or something like that.  I couldn’t hear it properly, because he was sort of snorting into his hand at the time.

And then later, he definitely did call me Darlin’. 

I was worried that he might be thinking I wanted to be his sweetheart or something else awful like that.  Like I said, I’m never ever going to be a sweetheart, or a wife, or a mummy.  

I’m going to be an outlaw. 

I’m glad now I know he called me Wheat Carlson because, I remember now, Wheat Carlson is an outlaw too.  I’ve read about him in daddy’s paper. Hannibal Heyes must think I’m a real outlaw, just like he thought Fred Janx was Kid Curry.

Fred Janx has hollered about new arrivals several times while we’ve been talking.  He’s spotted new people coming into town.  One, was a tall man in a suit that Tommy Brent said looked like a gambler.

We went to the window together, and I told Hannibal Heyes that I knew who it was, because I’ve seen a picture of him on a book.

Hannibal Heyes looked sad. 

He said

“That’s the real Theodore Smith huh? … Oh... Right then… everyone …Times up! Put everything back just like it’s supposed to be… Someone wipe that chalk board… I want this place looking just like I… I mean… we… were never here.  A gang has to learn to cover its tracks. Soon as yer done here… schools out fer the day…”

“You mean we don’t get to come back after lunch …to do the robbery?!?” cried Fred Janx.

“First day privileges I’m afraid fellas” sighed Hannibal Heyes. “Half day.  Come on… get to it! Soon as yer done, soon as yer out of here.  Go fishin’ or something…”

Quite a few of the children moaned about it not being fair, but they had to do what he said, because they all knew he was an outlaw now too.

I was still stood by the window, and I was the only one who saw Sheriff Brent come out of his office with his deputies and Theodore Smith, and mount up and ride up the hill and out of town.  They passed another rider coming into town.  He touched his hat to them as they passed.  Theodore Smith waved a cheerful greeting.

It was the real Kid Curry. 

He must be looking for Hannibal Heyes.

The school room was getting very noisy and all the children were talking and moving at the same time.  I don’t like that, so I went out to meet Kid Curry.
When I got outside, he was sitting on his horse reading the banner in front of the school house, and looking at Hannibal Heyes’ horse.

I shook his boot and called his name to get his attention.  And he did jumping and said

“Jeez kid… Keep it down will yer… “

His hand was on his gun and he was staring after the sheriff.

I quickly apologised for biting him on the train, so he wouldn’t fast draw on me.  Then I told him that Hannibal Heyes was in the school house, being a teacher, and that we planned to rob my daddy’s bank, next door. 

I pointed out the bank in case he was confused, like Hannibal Heyes was.
He did look a bit… confused.  He had his mouth open like Sue-Anne does when you ask her a question. Everyone says Sue-Anne is slow.  She isn’t.  She wins all the races.

I untied Hannibal Heyes’ horse and told Kid Curry to follow me around to the back of the school house, because it would be safer for him if he got off the street, because he’s an outlaw. Eventually, he understood.

He waved his hand up and down at me.  

I don’t know why. 

I also told him that we were going to use my plan, to rob the bank, and that Hannibal Heyes said it was a good plan.

He didn’t say anything, he just kept making ‘shhhh’ noises, and waving his hand again.  I guess if you’re the fastest gun in the West you don’t have to do much actual talking. 

I liked him. 

I like quiet people and he didn’t say anything about me biting him.

I think Mary-Beth must like him too, because when she likes someone, she turns red.  She turned very red when she spoke to Hannibal Heyes in the schoolroom earlier, and she turned even redder when Kid Curry said


to her at the back of the school house.

Hannibal Heyes was stood in the small yard next to the wood pile, waiting for his horse. Fred and Mary-Beth Janx were out in the yard too, on the back porch of the school house, waiting for me. 

When he saw Kid Curry, Hannibal Heyes said

“Thaddeus …what took you so long?  I see you’ve met… my er… good friend Frankie. I hate to break this to you … but …we gotta go… now. Did you happen to see …who the Sheriff here in Clearwater is?”

He beamed down at me with dimples that were really deep.  I still like that smile. 

He said

“Frankie... All the other kids have gone off to eat… somewhere… These two said you got food for them… And you sometimes walk home together to the Stumpery… Is that right?”

I told him I didn’t live at the Stumpery and pointed out Daddy’s house.  It’s the biggest house in Clearwater and you can see it from mostly everywhere.  But that I would rather live at the Stumpery, and it was true that I had food for Fred and Mary-Beth and any of the other Stumpery kids that made it to school. 

I always bring as much food from the pantry as I can carry, because sometimes, well nearly always, some of the Stumpery kids forget to bring their food to school.

I’ve got a whole pie in my basket today.  Fred nearly swooned when he peeked in earlier.  I saw he’d fetched my basket out of the school house for me, and it was right on the boards, next to him.  I waved and told him to go ahead and eat. That I wasn’t that hungry anyway.

Kid Curry said, well he more-like hissed at Hannibal Heyes in a loud whisper

“Yeah… I saw Brent. He was headed out of town …with the new school teacher in tow and a posse of deputies. H’…er… Joshua… What’s going on here? Why’re you playing school teacher? How does she even know who we are …And what did she mean…? You’re planning to rob her daddy’s bank!!!…?”

Hannibal Heyes waved his hand up and down, just like Kid Curry did, and said

“There’s no time now K’… Thaddeus… we’ve got to go… Frankie here… knows a different way out of town... And I’m planning on using it.”

It’s sad really, because they don’t even seem to remember each other’s names properly anymore.

Maybe, that’s why I haven’t read about them doing robberies for ages now. 

Maybe, they have both been shot too many times, being outlaws, and can’t remember things like how to do robberies either. 

It’s a good job we’re going to use my plan this time.  I hope Hannibal Heyes still remembers how to listen to tumblers, so he can teach me.  I don’t think I’ll tell him, I already know the combination to the bank’s safe, he might not show me how to do it.

Hannibal Heyes grabbed me around the waist then, which made me squeak with shock, and put me on his horse. He said

“You can show us the way, can’t you Frankie?”

I said I could, but I usually walk with Fred and Mary-Beth.  So, Fred who was rather sticky with pie, got put on the saddle behind me, and Mary-Beth was lifted up in front of Kid Curry. She looked a bit sticky too, and did a lot of giggling, still licking her fingers. 

Even though Mary-Beth is the oldest, it was Fred and me that had to do pointing out the way to the Stumpery.


Last edited by Cal on Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:10 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The New Teacher Part One continued (6,750 words)    The New Teacher Part One continued    (6,750 words)   EmptyWed Apr 05, 2017 10:52 am

Darn, that ended too soon.  I enjoyed that a lot.  He always planned his jobs in such detail, but here he is planning on the fly.  He likes Frankie, see's a lot of himself in her I think.
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PostSubject: Re: The New Teacher Part One continued (6,750 words)    The New Teacher Part One continued    (6,750 words)   EmptyWed Apr 05, 2017 2:07 pm

Sorry gin... I'm writing on the fly too..... Glad you enjoyed Heyes' teaching methods.... I think Herbart would have been proud of him getting the children engaged that way I'll get back to Frankie next.... Soon as i get a break. Calx
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PostSubject: Re: The New Teacher Part One continued (6,750 words)    The New Teacher Part One continued    (6,750 words)   Empty

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