Posts : 8715
Join date : 2013-08-24
|Subject: Curry Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:14 am|| |
Time for a new challenge and this one should be easy for all the lightsiders in our midst. Can you give us your best take on the promt in between 4,00 and 150 words?
Your topic for October is
Not only is that the name of an old Irish family, one of our favourite outlaws, but Curry is the name of the spicy Indian food comes from a Tamil word, kari. It was first used in English in the late 1600s. You can curry a horse with a currycomb, and you can also "curry a favour" which means to seek a favour by perhaps devious means or manipulative means. That should suit the Heyes girls in the gang too.
Don't forget to comment on September before moving on to October. Comments are the only thanks our writers get.
Posts : 151
Join date : 2016-12-10
Location : The Sonoran Desert
|Subject: Re: Curry Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:45 pm|| |
My current story arc was inspired by a discussion about what might keep the boys apart and not searching for each other. My challenge entries the last two months told Heyes' side of the story. I had promised a couple of fans of the Kid to post his side this month, so I was thrilled to see that the prompt fit perfectly.
He was the last thing we had expected to find that day.
Frank and I had been riding down a game trail, looking for signs of the deer we had been tracking. He was home from university for the summer. We were enjoying time in the woods and looking forward to venison. Father would be happy to have some, when he was home from this round of the circuit court.
The wildflowers were in full bloom. Goldenrod and Indian paintbrush lined the trail. We had been meandering, watching for tracks, but suddenly his horse shied. We had noticed the vultures circling. That did not bother us so much, since they had probably come upon a bear or wolf kill. What had bothered us was the possibility that the wolf or bear was still lurking. We were watchful, trying to calm our horses. Frank already had his rifle handy, but decided to get down and tied off his mount. There was a fall of boulders to one side of the trail. I joined him on the rocks and we cautiously started to climb them, glancing everywhere, but did not notice any animal tracks. Then off to one side, it looked like the ground might have been disturbed, as if brushed. Something could have been drug through here, and the area that was disturbed was large.
Frank and I slowly crested the top of the boulders, and he aimed his rifle as we peered down. There was something under an overhanging rock. It did not look like a bear or wolf kill, unless they had attacked a man.
We took another look around for any predators, and did not see any signs. Then and only then did we proceed down into the crevasse. The man did not look like he had been attacked, other than the blood on his shirt, and some on his head. It looked like he had been laid out, with a trail blanket over him. It has been dislodged somewhat, and his hat also.
We were not certain if it was from animals sniffing, or if the man was still alive. We cautiously approached and crouched next to him. He felt cold, but Frank put his hand on the man's carotid artery, as he had been taught at medical school. There was a slight, barely detectable pulse.
His shaggy curls reminded me of the goldenrod that we had noticed on the trail where we found him.
Frank had tended to him with the help of the local doctor. They had removed a bullet from his side and cleaned the scrapes on his head. I had nursed him ever since.
He finally regained consciousness. He blinked some, but his vision probably remained blurred from his concussion.
"Are you feeling better?" I asked.
"Depends on what I'm supposed to feel better than." He closed his eyes again. He turned a little green.
"Well, at least you're answering me." I moved to the bedside table and softly placed a hand on his arm. "Here, the doctor said this pain powder should help. I mixed it in some apple cider, so it shouldn't be so bitter." I put my arm behind him, helping to lift him enough so he could drink some of the elixir from the cup.
He rested a moment and then tried to open his eyes again. He still seemed to have problems focusing.
"Ma'am?" He closed his eyes again. "Can you tell me where I am?"
Confusion covered his face.
"Ma'am. I'm sorry but I don't remember your name."
I laughed softly. "Considering the state you were in when Frank and I brought you here, I didn't bother to introduce myself. I'm Bessie. And you are?"
He looked like several names spun around in his head, but couldn't come up with just one.
"Don't strain. With your head wound, and the bullet in your side, you are lucky to be alive." I settled the covers back around him. "I'm certain it will come back soon."
He was going to nod, but it looked like it hurt his head. He drifted off to sleep instead.
When he woke next, his gaze was more focused.
"Good morning!" I walk over and sat gently on his bed. "I'm Bessie. Do you remember?"
"Yes." It seemed easier for him to answer than to nod.
"You look much better this morning." I smiled. "Are you ready for some more pain powder, or some breakfast?"
"Maybe some of both." He tried to smile, but it looked like everything still hurt.
I patted his arm, and came back in a few minutes with a tray. He had fallen asleep again, but woke as I sat down.
"Let's get this pain powder into you first." I helped him with the cup, and then turned to the eggs, feeding him slowly.
He seemed hungry at first, but after just a few bites, he was too tired to eat.
"That's wonderful." I beamed. He looked askance at me, but I still smiled. "Small steps are better than none." My face clouded. "The doctor did not give us much hope when we brought him to look at you. But I prayed and now you are doing very well. Either God favors you or you have the constitution of a mule."
"I'm betting on the mule, ma'am. Don't know for certain, but I'm thinkin' God probably doesn't bother with such as me." He was able to return a shadow of my smile.
"God cares for the lilies in the field and the birds in the air. He cares for you ..." I looked at him thoughtfully. "Not to bother you, but do you still not remember your name?"
"No." He closed his eyes, as they moistened, almost as if he thought it was wrong to let someone else see him cry.
"There were a couple names you muttered, but it sounded like you were calling out to a friend."
"What names?" His face tensed.
"One was distinctly Joshua." I tried to remember. "You also said, hay, or hey, like you were calling for a friend, but it might have been Hayes. Do any of those sound familiar?"
"Joshua." He looked thoughtful. "Yeah, that sounds right. I have a friend named Joshua." Suddenly his face was filled with panic. "Is he here? Was he hurt too?"
"You were alone when we found you." I said soothingly. "What about Hayes?"
Something passed on his face, like he recognized the name, but then he shook his head.
"No, I don't think I have a friend named Heyes."
"Well, that's some progress." She smiled. "Ready for breakfast?"
He gained strength as the days progressed, but gained little in memory.
Frank and I managed to get him out on the veranda, to get some fresh air. In the sun his curls glittered like gold, and his eyes were the deepest blue pools I had ever seen.
I took ahold of myself and bustled about, settling a quilt around him. That only afforded me another look into those cerulean eyes.
“Would you like some water? Or tea?” I tried to get myself back into the proper, professional nursing demeanor, like I had been taught at school.
“Actually, Bessie, I’d love some coffee.” He smiled up at me and I melted.
“One cup shouldn’t hurt.” I turned and fled into the house.
Health slowly returned to our patient. He always had a smile for me, and his blue eyes would follow me as I tidied up the room. He had an appreciative appetite as he felt better, and once I learned he enjoyed “Tom Sawyer” we spent time in the afternoon reading.
I had just finished a chapter, when I looked over to see his eyes closed. I put my finger in the book, and paused to look out of the window at the brilliant afternoon.
“I think my name is Jed.”
I turned to him, surprise and pleasure on my face. “When did you remember?”
“I … I’m not certain.” His blue eyes clouded.
“I’ve had a couple names floating around in my head, and I’m still not certain which is mine.” He met my gaze. “But I think I remember being called Jed when I was little.”
“What other names are in that … that head of yours?”
“I think I’ve been called Thaddeus too.”
“Hmmm.” I looked at him, evaluating. “Jed? Thaddeus? I could see both.”
A light came into those lovely blue eyes. “That’s it! I’m Jedediah Thaddeus.” He shrugged, but winced a bit. “Guess I must have gone by my middle name sometimes.”
“Any thought on last name?”
His eyes clouded again. “Just names swirling.”
“Don’t push yourself. I’m certain you’ll remember by the time you’re healed.” I paused.
“That might be a while yet,” He smiled shyly into my eyes.
“No rush, Jed.” I smiled back.
It was a few weeks before he was up and about the house. Our reading sessions had moved out onto the porch and eventually into “Huckleberry Finn.” Jed was still weak, but seemed like a man who needed to be busy. Frank found him a knife and some scrap wood. Jed became a favorite of all the children in the area, as he turned out an amazing number of cats, dogs, horses, and whatever else was requested.
The sheriff had come by a time or two, trying to get Jed to remember how he had come to be shot, but that memory had yet to return. He was never comfortable around the sheriff. I asked him why but he had no answer.
One day, as the summer slide into fall, it came time for Frank to return to his studies. Father was often away on the circuit court, and a serious question arose.
“He’s not well enough to leave, and that’s my professional opinion!” I stated rather emphatically.
Father nodded, but captured my gaze. “Doctor Samuels agrees, but Bessie, don’t you see, you and he cannot stay here in the house together, once Frank is back at school, and I’m gone.”
“I’ve stayed by myself before!”
“Bessie,” Father shook his head. “You know that’s not the issue.”
We turned as Jed walked slowly into the room. “I’m sorry I’ve had to be so beholdin’ to you all. I can leave.”
“And go where?” I asked in my fierce nurse voice. “And do what? You’d collapse doing any full day of work. You’ve still not recovered from all the blood loss.” I shook my head. “You don’t even have enough money to purchase a train or stage ticket out of town.”
“Appears to be a room above your shed out back.” Jed said quietly.
“Oh, but you’re much too unwell …”
“Shouldn’t be by the time your pa needs to leave for his next round of lawyering.”
I had to admit that Jed was recovering very quickly for a man who had been at death’s door when we found him. He had been well enough to bathe himself lately, but the first couple of weeks, I had done that for him. My nurse’s training had kept it on a professional level, but it did not keep me from noticing this was not the first time he had been shot. I wondered anew who he really was.
In the end, he did move out into the room above the barn where we kept our horses. He picked up odd jobs around town, from chopping the Widow Simpson’s winter supply of wood, to dealing at the saloon when their regular man was under the weather, to delivering documents as needed from the county courthouse. As his strength returned, he tended to favor the last, often timing out of town trips, for when Father was gone, but not always.
I worried about him catching the grippe in some of the cold weather, but he assured me that he could remember being out in worse.
I also stopped asking him if he remembered more. It always seemed to bother him, so I stopped. He had settled into life in our town.
Father was on his last circuit trip of the year, before the holidays came and it turned bitterly cold. Jed had come in to share a dinner of beef stew and cornbread.
“I think I’ve remembered my last name.”
“Oh, Jed, that’s wonderful!” I smiled, but my eyes turned away from him. There would be no reason for him to stay any longer, if he had another life waiting for him.
“I think it’s Jones.”
“Jones?” I looked back at him. “Are you certain?” He was such a remarkable man, I could not see how he had such a simple name as Jones.
“Well, not really, but it’s the name that always keeps comin’ to mind.” His blue eyes looked off into the distance. “Thaddeus Jones. That sounds right to me.”
“Not Jedediah Jones?”
“Nah, must have been going by Thaddeus.”
We both stopped pursuing that train of thought. His gun belt fit him too well, and his gun, even now, was too well cleaned, for him to be just a drifter.
“So Jedediah Thaddeus Jones?” I asked. It sounded better that way.
“Yeah, I think so.” He nodded and seemed happy to finally have a name.
I accompanied him to the sheriff’s office one crisp afternoon. Jed was not happy.
“What if you have a wife and child waiting to hear word?” A chill besides the cold December wind went down my back.
“Nah, I don’t remember no wife. Or child.” I could see thoughts swirling on his face. “Just Joshua.”
“Do you remember Joshua’s last name?”
“I wanna say Smith, but that would just be silly, wouldn’t it?” He looked at me with a half of a smile gracing that face and those blue eyes.
I smiled back, drinking in the sun glinting off the curls under his hat. He really needed a haircut, but I loved those curls so had yet to suggest it.
The sheriff had not received any notice of any Jed Jones gone missing, but said he’d send a few telegraphs up and down the line.
Jed took a deep breath of the fresh crisp air, after we left the sheriff’s office.
“Don’t know why, Bessie, but I just can’t take to that man.” He shook his head and those wonderful curls swirled. “Just don’t feel right to me.”
I put my hand in the crook of his arm as we walked down the street.
“Sorry to take such a liberty, Jedediah, but this winter wind is biting, even with the sun out today.” I huddled against him, telling myself it was because of the cold.
“Cain’t have you getting the grippe before Christmas, can we?” He smiled down at me and put his arm around my shoulders. I gladly put my arms around his waist.
He was warm in his sheepskin coat. I had gotten most of the blood out of it. It was a good thing, since he had refused Father’s offer to purchase him a new coat. Jed had said it was like an old friend, one he still remembered.
Father and I thought about buying him a new coat for Christmas, but I settled for making him a couple of new shirts.
“Let’s stop into the mercantile. I need some more embroidery floss to finish the handkerchiefs for Father.”
“Let me buy that,” he said as we entered the store. “I need to help pay if they are supposed to be from both of us.” He had been earning good wages delivering documents, so I nodded.
“I’ll need some almond extract too, for the baking I’ll be starting.”
He smiled. “I’ll be more’n happy to buy that for you too. Your bakin’ is some of the best I’ve ever tasted.”
I do not know how he managed it, but Jedediah sat next to me during Christmas Eve services. Propriety dictated that I sit between Father and Frank, who was home for the Christmas break. Father was on my left, with Frank beyond him, but Jedediah was to my right. As the church was filled to bursting for the holiday service, Jedediah and I sat closer that night, than we had ever before. The winter wind blew in snow that night, but I was warm next to him.
Father had pulled out the brandy after we arrived back home, to warm us up before we all headed off to our separate, cold beds. Jedediah was once again sleeping in the spare bedroom. With Father and Frank home, and the rooms above the barn impossible to keep warm in this winter weather, my reputation was not as important as Jed avoiding the grippe.
I had tried to read for a while, but I just couldn’t settle with the winds howling. I put on my wrapper and slippers, thinking a warm cup of tea might help me finally find some sleep that night. I crept quietly down to the parlor with its warm fireplace. Father had banked it before we went up, but I thought I should be able to coax back enough fire for tea.
As I came in, I was surprised to see flames crackling. Then I saw Jedediah ensconced in one of the wing chairs. He looked up as I came in, the fire reflecting in his eyes, making them glow, with the smile on his face.
“I just came for some tea,” I said lamely, not confident standing in front of him in my night clothes.
“I have coffee warmin’ on the hearth, but I can go grab the tea kettle for you, Bessie.”
He made to get up, but I stopped him with a hand against his chest. Our eyes met in the flickering twilight. He pulled me into his lap and kissed me.
That holiday season was the happiest I had known, at least since we had lost Mother. I cooked up a storm for my three men. We ate, laughed, played cards, sang. We took the sleigh out on crisp, bright days.
I think both Father and Frank knew Jed and I did more than drink tea when we stayed up after the two of them retired for the night. I know Father had hoped I would marry a doctor or lawyer. After I had come home from Denver to keep house when Mother died, there were not many such choices in the town in which we lived. They had come to admire and trust Jed, and I had come to love him.
January came. Frank had gone back to school, and the bitter cold had settled. Jed had continued to sleep in our spare room. Occasionally during the frigid nights, after Father was fast asleep, one of us would creep into the other’s bed. We would no longer feel the chill.
After one of the particularly bad storms, Jed had gone out to clear snow off of the roof. I had offered to go out with him, but he insisted that he was fine, and it was too cold for both of us to be out.
I was in the kitchen baking bread when I heard him slip and fall. I grabbed my cloak and rushed out. He was lying in the snowbank that had broken his fall, but was stunned after hitting his head on a patch of ice. Father and I managed to get him back into bed, and I watched him like a hawk for the next two days. He was disorientated and dazed for a day, but then his eyes cleared.
“Bessie, I’m fine. You should go rest.”
“Let me see your eyes.” I tested his responsiveness, and even to my critical review, he seemed fine.
I didn’t notice how detached he had become.
It came to me over the next couple days. I tried to attribute his change of attitude to his recovery. I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t come to my bed for the next couple of days. I was tired, and assumed he was too.
Father had retired early after supper that night. He had a touch of the grippe and I had encouraged him to get some extra rest.
Jed had come in from a final check on the animals. I got up from where I had been sitting by the hearth, to help him out of his coat. I had worried that he would just head to his bedroom as he had the last couple of nights.
He turned to look at me, and I saw sorrow in his eyes. It touched me so intently that I put my arms around him to hug him. He was stiff at first in my embrace, but then let himself melt into my arms. We stood that way for a couple of minutes. As he started to pull away, a sigh escaped me. I knew I needed to find out what had changed, but at the same time knew it would end the idyll we had enjoyed.
He looked into my face once more, seeing the sense of loss I was feeling, and I saw a decision come into his eyes. He bent his head and kissed me.
It was a couple of hours later, when we were lying entwined under the comforters on my bed, that he shattered my dreams.
“Hmmm?” I was as relaxed as I ever remembered being, not wanting the moment to end, knowing it had to soon, as dawn was coming.
“I remember who I really am.”
I raised my head off of his chest, and met his eyes in the glittering twilight of my room, the moonlight streaming in the window, glinting off the snow outside.
“It means I can’t stay.”
“Why?” My voice trembled a bit, even though I tried to control it. “You said you didn’t remember a wife.”
“No, darlin’. I ain’t got no wife.”
“I have someone I have to find.”
“Partner? Law partner?”
He laughed that lovely low laugh, that even then gave me tingles down my spine.
“No, Bessie. Kinda the opposite kind of partner.”
We were quiet for a while.
“So, you are an outlaw?”
“Oh.” I put my head back down and snuggled against him. He stretched against me. “Then why can’t you stay?”
“I’m still wanted.” He sighed. “Cain’t bring that upon you and your family. Not with your father being a lawyer and all.”
“Can’t Father help you?” My mind whirled. “I’ve heard of outlaws getting amnesties …”
“We’ve already tried that. Been promised that for a couple years, if we went straight, but it’s never a good time to grant it.” His sigh this time was deep.
“Who are you?”
I didn’t think he was going to answer me, but finally he said. “My name really is Jed.”
“Jed? That is your real name? But you said …”
He stilled me. “It’s not Jed Jones.” He stroked my arm, and then continued. “It’s Jedediah Thaddeus Curry. Kid Curry.”
My intake of breath was sharp and I raised up to meet his eyes again. There was knowledge in them I had not seen before. I lay back down and started to cry silently.
Posts : 1447
Join date : 2013-08-24
Location : Over the rainbow
|Subject: Re: Curry Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:35 pm|| |
I was also delighted to see the topic for this month. A gift!
Alter Ego - Part Six
"What do you want?" Abigail groaned as she stared into Heyes’ laughing eyes.
He watched the maid's departing back and took a seat in the parlor beside the huge fronds of the potted palm which filled the corner of the room with lush vegetation, making sure he spoke loud enough to be overheard by her.
"You've missed your publishing deadline. I called to see you yesterday but you were out."
He dropped his voice to a whisper. "Yes. You publish dime novels, remember? I’m your publisher."
She sat simmering at him as his face displayed his unconstrained amusement at her obvious annoyance. "This isn’t a game.”
"Get McCully in here. On some pretext or other."
"Why? I thought you weren't here for him?"
"The Kid isn’t. I never said anything of the sort."
Abigail glared at him. "Get out of here, right now."
"Nope. I need to speak to him. If he thinks a publishers around he might be less likely to get trigger happy. He may think he's being watched and written about."
"I'm warning you."
"Leave it out, Abi. What’s the harm in a little subterfuge?"
"When you're involved in it, the potential harm in unquantifiable."
Heyes chuckled as she stood and stormed towards the door.
"I think you'd better leave."
Abigail's stomach sank as she saw the unmistakable cropped, blond hair of Frank McCully approach the parlor, his broad shoulders betraying his bullish body language.
"Meg said you had a visitor. I thought I'd come and see who was calling, this far from your home town."
He opened the door and looked around the room as Heyes stood and proffered a hand in greeting.
"Perceval Walter. Perceval. Miss Ansell promised me a draft of her story about her time with Heyes and Curry. It's late."
Frank McCully's eyes darted over to Abigail as he closed the door behind him and leaned on it, blocking the exit from the room. His chilling blue eyes transmitted an earnest warning. "My name’s Frank McCully and she’s workin’ for me. It ain't her real name, mister. Suppose you tell me the truth?"
The smile dropped from Heyes’ eyes but the grin remained as thought set in ice. "I know that. I wasn't aware anyone else did. Suppose you explain how you know it?"
"I’m payin’ her."
Heyes nodded and sat again, but Abigail noticed he concealed a Derringer in his right hand, crossing his legs casually before he glared at Abigail.
"What are you playing at, lady? You promised me the story; exclusive! Now I find you've been dealing with," he threw out a hand towards McCully, “Mr. McThing here."
"McCully. Frank McCully. And I ain't a publisher."
"No?" Heyes enquired, innocence oozing from every pore. "What are you and what business do you have with this woman? I have a contract and she has a legal obligation to fulfill it."
"That ain't none of your business," snapped McCully as his eyes narrowed. "What's her real name ? If you know her, you know it."
Heyes looked Abigail full in the face before he turned to McCully. “Her name’s Mackinnon and she's the only woman ever to be held by Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. I want that story, mister and I'm prepared to fight dirty to get it. I have a female readership that’ll pay dearly for it."
"How’d you find her?" McCully demanded.
"Her mother. She writes to her. Now suppose you answer my questions. Who are you and what do you want with her? If you think for one second I'm about to lose out another prize to Street and Smith you got another thing coming."
McCully paused, sensing the anger simmering beneath the surface of a man so single-minded in pursuing the prize.
"I told you. I’m Frank McCully!"
Heyes snorted dismissively. "You keep saying that as though it’s supposed to mean something. Am I supposed to know who you are?" He tensed. "You work for the New York Daily Tribune maybe? The name’s vaguely familiar. I promise you, if you're planning on running a series I'll tie you up in court for years.”
“I’m McCully. You must have heard of me.” He turned puce, his starched collar looking tight and uncomfortable around his thick neck.
“You write books about men who’re either fantasists or liars. Do you really think all those tales are true?” He thrust a thumb towards his chest. “There are true heroes out there who face down the worst criminals in the West and you’re not interested? Men like me?”
Heyes shook his head and affected a slightly mystified air. "Nope. I can't place you. Are you a friend of her mother’s? She mentioned a florist called Mac -something. Or her hairdresser maybe?”
McCully glanced at Abigail, his annoyance growing. ”I did more’n a woman keeping company with a couple of outlaws. I’m a bounty hunter. The bounty hunter."
"Bounty hunter?" Heyes shook his head in confusion. "Nope. Never heard of you. Who are you after around here?"
McCully paced across the room and glared at the smiling man who refused to be intimidated by his bellicose demeanor.
"Surely if you were that good I'd have heard of you? Who’ve you brought in?" Heyes pressed, seemingly oblivious to McCully’s mounting ire.
McCully's hands formed into fists but Heyes was comfortable enough to push him.
"Some of the most dangerous men in the country."
"Yeah?" Heyes looked vaguely interested. "Like who?"
He opened his mouth to respond as Heyes’ head turned to face the opening parlor door. Kid Curry strolled casually into the room, a newspaper thrust under his arm. His blue eyes glittered around the room before he spoke. "I hope I ain't interruptin’ anythin'?"
"Nope. Just ready to leave Mr.?" Heyes stood and smiled at his cousin.
Kid Curry thrust out a hand. "Black. Jonathan Black"
Heyes’ eyes lit like a Christmas tree in recognition of the name. "Not the Jonathan Black."
The Kid adopted a coy look and dropped his head. "Yes. Have we met?"
"No. But I'd like to," Heyes eyes sparkled as he strode ever to meet him. "The Jonathan Black. You are the type of man I want to speak to. Walter Perceval. Knight Percival Press. We're always interested in speaking to men like you. I'd like to publish your story."
"I've never heard of Jonathan Black. What's he done that's so all fired important?"
Heyes’ eyes glittered in McCully's direction. "Sir, if you knew anything about the West you'd know who he is."
He stood and put an arm around the Kid's shoulders as they wandered out to the hall, leaving Abigail with a seething McCully. Heyes’ voice drifted behind them as they walked away. "You have so many tales and I'd like to talk to you about a publishing deal. I can arrange a ghost writer -" He turned and looked straight at Abigail. "Miss Mackinnon, we have a contract. I need the first draft by Tuesday and no excuses."
Meg snapped open the leather valise, her eyes darting around as she realized she had made more noise than she had intended. She paused; sure her rasping breath could be heard even in the hallway. She was not an experienced malefactor but she was the most obvious choice of accomplice to search Jonathan Black’s bags as a maid had a ready excuse for being in anyone's room.
Frank McCully had worked his magic on the gullible girl until he had persuaded her she was the most bewitching creature he had ever laid eyes on and their fortunes were inextricably linked from this point on. She had to find out about the mysterious stranger attracting the publicity and money that should be going to her Frank so he could afford to marry her.
Her trembling hands raked through the clothing and paused on the battered notebook. She opened it and out dropped two folded documents. Wanted posters. There was nothing out of the ordinary about them as few bore more than a rudimentary description, as the cost of reproducing photographs was prohibitive. Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry were wanted dead or alive - everyone had heard of them, but why would he be carrying these around with him?
The notebook contained cryptic notes; lists of banks with an amount of money beside each one, trains and stagecoaches also had a price beside each one along with a place name. As she flicked through the pages she could see a few rudimentary maps one of which was labeled ‘D.H.’. The rest of the scribbling meant nothing to her so she tucked it back under the blue shirt and picked up the bank book.
She gasped as she saw the quantity of money in his account, every penny of it paid in sums of thousands of dollars .The most Meg had ever seen in one pile had been one hundred and seventy two dollars, so a total of over sixty thousand dollars was unimaginable to her. Jonathan Black was a rich man. Probably the richest man she had ever met.
"Lookin' for somethin'?" Kid Curry stood in the doorway staring at her with a furious glower.
Meg dropped his bank book and swirled round to face him, her heart thumping against the panic rising in her breast. "I'm sorry. I I was just "
He strode over to her snapped the bag shut, towering over her as he stood inches from her face. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't get you sacked? Right now."
She shook her head furiously, her light-brown ringlets dancing against her shoulders as her blue eyes widened in entreaty. "Please, I need this job. I've never done anything like this before. I was- ”Her voice drifted off to a choked grizzle, unable to finish the sentence against the scrutiny of his chilling gaze.
He opened the bag and rifled through the contents before he closed it again, satisfied everything was still inside. He arched a threatening eyebrow.
"It looks like everythin's there, but you never know. Maybe I should search you?"
She gasped and backed off. "I never. I never stole anythin' in my life mister."
"No? Then you'd best tell me why you were in my bag. What were you lookin' for?"
His hot breath burned into her face as she stammered her reply. "I was curious. Search the bag. Nothin’s missin’. Honest!”
His eyes narrowed as he stared in to her eyes, appraising her before dismissing her with a curt twitch of his head. "Go. Get out of here, before I change my mind but if I find anythin's missin’ later I'll skin your hide."
"There's nothin’, honest,” she stammered as she made a bolt for the door. "Please don't tell Mrs. MacPhee."
Kid Curry watched her retreating back, his grim face brightening with a wry smile after the door was closed behind her. So, the first bite of
the bait had been taken. It would soon be time to play in earnest.
"I don't understand. What was in the notebook?"
"Directions to a place called D.H. and lists, lots of lists of banks, railways and coaches with prices beside them. Huge prices."
"Prices or amounts? Amounts stolen perhaps?"
"I don't know." Tears welled in her eyes as she felt browbeaten and put upon." He caught me. He’s really scary when he's angry. I was lucky to get out of there alive."
"Why? What did he do? What did he say?"
She shook her head. "It wasn't what he said it was how he said it."
Frank McCully sneered, disingenuous about how frightening Kid Curry could be when he put his mind to it. Hardened criminals took pause at one glance, so it didn't take much to scare a simple farm girl.
"You stupid ”he bit back his words, aware he may still need to use her. He strode over to the window and gazed out at the back garden, trying to ignore Mrs. MacPhee’s substantial bloomers fluttering on the line and using the moment to swallow his irritation at the girl. "I'm sorry. You ain't used to this life." He turned and smiled at her. "Only two wanted posters? Heyes and Curry, lists of what could be holdups and a map to various places, one called D.H.? You don't remember details?"
"No. why should I?"
"Hmmmm. He’s got a real interest in Heyes or Curry. He was probably listing all their jobs. D.H.? Devil’s Hole, maybe? They’re rumored to lie low there sometimes.” He turned to face her again." Did you see any other names?"
He paused, ruminating on her potential usefulness before he spoke again. "Can you bring me the book?"
"No! He’s dangerous. I'm not going near him. If you want that book do it yourself."
He glowered through narrowed eyes, realizing he had to string along an annoying, dim-witted woman even though she had outgrown her usefulness. It would be easy enough to avoid her though, as Mrs. MacPhee was determined to keep rigid social boundaries in place. He smiled. "I don't want to place you in any danger. Meg. Leave this to me."
"Mr. Black?" Kid Curry looked up from his newspaper, into the crystal blue eyes of Frank McCully. "Do you have a moment?"
The Kid dropped his paper, leaving it open at the page he had been reading, his newspaper was local and over a week out of date. McCully pretended not to notice as his eyes flicked back up to meet his.
"I can spare you five minutes. Is it to do with a commission, perhaps?"
McCully sat in the opposite chair. "I couldn't even discuss anythin' like that until I got a better idea about what you do."
"That publisher fella knew you real well. I can't say I've heard of you but he knew you."
The Kid gave him a wry smile.
"I guess that works both ways mister. I ain't never heard of you either."
McCully tugged at his collar, clearly irritated. "I've worked as a bounty hunter for the last eight years. There ain't nobody who can compare with my record."
"If you say so, sir."
McCully’s color rose. “So? What exactly do you do? What’s he know you for?"
Kid Curry delivered his best enigmatic smile. "You'd best ask him that, but I’d say it was discretion and success. I don't aim for fame. I get on with my work. The quieter the better in my mind. I’m not interested in his publishing deal."
McCully’s gaze dropped to the newspaper. "That's an old copy. It’s out of date."
"I know. I always like to get up to date in a new town."
"You're readin’ about the robbery. The Devil’s Hole Gang. Do they interest you?"
He folded the newspaper and tilted his head at McCully. "Robberies always interest me. They probably interest you too."
"Sure do. But why that one in particular?"
"I never said it was that one in particular. If you'd arrived five minutes ago you'd have seen me read about the town drunk doin' ten days for startin’ a fight with a horse. You think I'd have a specific interest in that?"
"I think you're interested in Heyes and Curry."
"You're welcome to your opinion, sir, as long as you know that’s all it is."
McCully leaned forward and fixed the Kid with determined eyes. "Look, if you're after them we could be conflictin’ with one another. I’m out for them too and we could get in each other’s way."
The Kid’s brow creased. "Why are you tellin’ me this? Surely if we're competin’ with each other it makes more sense for you to keep me in the dark?"
"Who else could you be here for? There ain't anyone else for miles around who's got a bigger bounty on their head and you turn up after the robbery."
The Kid sat back and began to tap the arm of the plump chair with his long fingers. "Are you suggestin’ a partnership?"
"Could be. If you're interested?"
The Kid nodded and leaned forward. "Or are you tryin' to find out what I'm doin' and what I know?"
"No. There ain't no point in competin’, standin’ on each other's toes while we both miss out it makes sense to pool our resources and get at least half each."
He sat back again and faced McCully with a grin. “Did you send the maid into my room?"
Kid Curry chuckled. "Yeah, right. If that's the standard of your work I don't want nothin' to do with you."
"She don't look like she'd be too hard to break. Do you want to reconsider your answer?"
McCully paused, assessing the hard eyes and understanding for the first time why Meg had been so afraid of him. "I wanted to know what you were doin’ here."
The Kid’s mirthless laugh rang through the room. He stood, folding his newspaper and jamming it under his arm. "I guess that's the difference between a professional and a keen amateur. You ain't heard about me because I keep my head down and can blend in when I have to. Law enforcement and those in the know have heard all they need to about me. I don't care about anyone else and I’m not interested in bein’ famous. Is that clear?"
"Maybe you'll reconsider when you've had time to think. It’s bad enough tryin' to bring in Heyes and Curry without trying to duck each other as well."
He turned as he reached the door. "You don't have to worry about tryin' to duck me. I ain't interested in Heyes and Curry, leastways not at the moment. They’re all yours. I got bigger fish to fry."
"Too big for you, sonny. All you need to worry about is keepin' on the right side of the law so I ain't involved in lookin' for you too."
McCully's jaw firmed. "Some people might say that sounded like a threat."
Kid Curry opened the door, the ghost of a smile playing around his lips. "Really? I must have said it wrong. I didn’t want to leave you in any doubt."
Na sir 's na seachainn an cath - Neither seek nor shun the fight Old Scottish proverb
Posts : 244
Join date : 2015-11-29
Age : 60
Location : Norfolk, England
|Subject: Re: Curry Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:05 am|| |
This is an exert from near the end of Settling Wheat but I've amended it so it doesn't give anything away!
CurryThe Kid looked up as Heyes handed him a glass of his good whiskey. Nothing like a companionable drink after a satisfying meal. Even better when it was in Heyes’ study.
“Thanks,” he said, and watched Heyes settle himself in the opposite wing back chair and propped his recently liberated foot up on the pouffe.
“You’re looking more like your old self, Heyes. It’s good to see.”
Heyes pressed his lips together into a tight smile and nodded. “I’m feeling much better. Now I’ve got rid of that cast.” He widened his eyes at his foot.
The Kid nodded in understanding. It must have been difficult to drag that around while he was on crutches, especially as he had use of only one serviceable arm. Now Heyes just needed a walking stick to steady himself.
All the bruises and lacerations had healed, including the wound on his cheek. Despite Wheat declaring it would scar, it had faded to a faint discolouration. It was barely visible. His ribs only hurt now if he twisted awkwardly. He tried not to do that. The cast on his arm remained but Ben had trimmed it when he had removed the cast from his foot. He now had full use of his elbow and in another couple of weeks, the whole thing might be gone.
Heyes was looking like he wanting to say something but was hesitating, bouncing his fist on the arm of the chair and alternately putting it to his lips.
“Kid … ,” he began, then cleared his throat and laced his fingers over his stomach.
Heyes sighed. “Well now that I’m nearly recovered … .” He licked his lips. “Well … how much longer … can you stay?”
The Kid shifted in his seat. That was something he had been thinking about in the last few days. Before he could answer, Heyes spoke again.
“Gonna miss you.”
The Kid nodded. “Yeah Heyes I’m gonna miss you too but … .”
“I know … .” Heyes nodded in understanding.
“Caroline’s my wife Heyes. I need to get back and if I don’t go soon I might get stuck here for the Winter. I want to get back in time for the baby. And then there’s the boys. I bet they’ve grow. Hope they still recognise me.”
Heyes smiled faintly. “Yeah. I understand Kid. Really I do. I know I’d feel the same if the roles were reversed. You have to be there for the Curry family just as I have to be here for the Heyes family.” His grin widened and he rolled his eyes. “Or the Smith family, I should say.”
“You’ve got a good life here, Heyes. Thriving business, burgeoning … .”
Heyes interrupted with a splutter. “Burgeoning!”
The Kid scowled. “Yeah it means developing, flourishing.” He gave Heyes the look. That man was trying to keep a straight face. “Heyes I live in a house with a library the size of a small town. It’s hard not to absorb some of the knowledge it contains. It’s right there!” he said, by way of explanation.
“Must permeate through the walls then,” Heyes muttered and smiled when he got the look again. He cleared his throat. “You were saying,” he said, casually taking a sip of his drink.
The Kid hesitated then continued. “You have a BUGEONING writing career, beautiful wife, who’s an excellent cook, good kids, nice home. You’re doing well, Heyes.”
Heyes looked a little embarrassed. “Thanks Kid. I have to admit, I am enjoying life right now.” His eyes drifted around the study. “This house is the icing though, Kid. If it wasn’t for Soapy leaving me that money, we could never afforded to buy this land and have this built. Came at the right time too. Dunno how we woulda coped trying to bring up three kids in Mary’s little house.” He sighed. “Here they’ve got space to run about and play. Y’know kinda like we did.” He looked thoughtful for a moment and then he started. “Say I almost forgot. Soapy left you something as well. Guess I haven’t had the chance to give it to you afore now.” He started to lever himself out of the chair with difficulty.
“For me?” The Kid was amazed. Soapy leaving Heyes something in his will didn’t surprise him at all. Heyes had known their old friend a lot longer. He had met him when they had separated as teenagers and Soapy had tutored him in the art of grifting. It was apparent from the Kid’s first meeting with Soapy that the old man had a soft spot for Heyes. His relationship with Soapy, however, although amicable was never so close. Soapy remembering the Kid in his will was somewhat puzzling.
Heyes winced as he put his weight on his bad foot and limped over to the bookshelves.
The Kid raised his eyebrows as Heyes pulled several books off a lower shelf and then smirked when he realised they were only half books. Behind was a small safe. Of course, Heyes would have his own safe to play with! No need to cosy up and put his ear to his one, he knew the combination. The Kid watched fondly as Heyes had the safe open in a trice, rummaged around inside before taking out a couple of items.
“Here.” Heyes held out one of the items and beamed, both dimples cracked wide. “I kept it wound for ya,” he said, flopping back down.
“His pocket watch?” the Kid said, recognising it. He immediately thought it was an odd choice.
“Open it. There’s an inscription inside.”
The Kid nodded but his eyes washed over the other item Heyes held – a mysterious white envelope. Heyes gestured at him to do as he asked.
Knowing he wouldn’t learn the mystery of the envelope unless he did so, the Kid opened the watch.
Heyes made a fist, put it to his lips thoughtfully and watched him read the inscription. All sorts of emotions flickered over the Kid’s face until finally he looked at Heyes with a frown.
“I don’t understand,” the Kid said. “Is this … my Pa’s watch?”
The inscription read: To Thaddeus Curry on your 21st birthday. Your loving brother Jonathan.
Heyes took a deep breath, swallowed hard and then held out the envelope.
“I don’t know exactly what is in this but I suspect it’s an explanation.” Heyes nodded at the watch in the Kid’s hand. “For that.”
The Kid hesitated and slowly took the offered envelope. He dropped it into his lap and stared at it for several long minutes.
“I don’t think I wanna know,” he said, finally. He looked across at Heyes. “Do I?”
Heyes licked his lips nervously and nodded. “Yeah you do. Otherwise it’ll just eat at you.” He paused. “And I can’t tell you,” he said, quietly.
The Kid widened his eyes. There was all sorts of implications in that statement.
Heyes looked reluctant to say, sucking in air through his teeth, licking his lips, bouncing his fist on the chair arm. Finally, he winced. “It’s not my secret. Read the letter,” he ground out before biting his thumbnail.
“Ya been keeping secrets from me?”
“Read the letter,” Heyes growled. “It’ll explain Soapy’s side of things.” He hesitated. “I’ll try and explain mine when you’ve read the letter,” he offered in further explanation. He motioned to the Kid to get on with it.
The Kid gave Heyes a lingering look before his thumb inserted itself under the lip of the envelope. He broke it open with a flourish.
Heyes watched nervously as the Kid took out the contents, and then checked to see there was nothing further inside. Then suffered another look from the Kid, before he watched him unfolding the single sheet of paper. Heyes swallowed nervously as the Kid’s eyes settled on the hand written page and began to read.
I hope this letter doesn’t come as too much of a shock. As you read it, please keep in mind that you mustn’t blame Heyes for not telling you these things.
I expect you are wondering how I come to be in possession of your father’s watch. Well I have to tell you, Jed, that your father, Thaddeus Curry, was my younger brother. He and I, had an unfortunate differing of opinion before you were born, regarding how I chose to make my living. MY father, of course, agreed with him. With the exception of my sister, Susan, Heyes’ mother, I had no further contact with my family. As Heyes will tell you, I visited his folks when I could and I corresponded regularly with my sister. So, I have been aware of you since you were a small boy and I was delighted that I was able to know you as an adult.
Despite our estrangement, I was fond of my brother, your father. I stayed away because I wasn’t welcome by him or MY father, your Grampa Curry. Although I didn’t always agree with their philosophy on life, I respected their viewpoint. Sadly, I could understand it and it was out of respect for Thaddeus, not MY father, that I accepted it and stayed away. It is to my everlasting regret that Thaddeus and I didn’t get the chance to repair our relationship before he died so horribly. Perhaps in the next life things will be different.
When we first met, you had recently been living with that poisonous old toad of a father of mine. I don’t regret not reconciling with him! Knowing where you had received some of your upbringing, I doubted if you would have anything to do with me, had you known then who I was. Nor been willing to accept the truth had I divulged it at that time.
So please don’t blame Heyes. I swore him to secrecy and you know he’s a man who takes his promises seriously. It was my decision and mine alone not to tell you before now. Heyes was only abiding by my wishes. I knew how you felt about your folks but I also knew how your folks felt about me. It seemed a disastrous combination. I decided it wouldn’t do either of us any good for you to know that I was your uncle. And I have to confess that I liked getting to know my other nephew.
I can’t make up for keeping this knowledge from you all these years but I hope you can understand why I thought it necessary. Teaching you, in particular, the tricks of my trade was difficult for me, remembering as I did your father’s opposition to it. In a way, I felt as though I had let him down by drawing you into the criminal world. Yet by the time we met, you were already on the outlaw trail and I convinced myself that I was only imparting skills that would keep you ahead of the law. I soon had great confidence in your abilities to do that. In some respect, you picked up the nuances that I taught you better than Heyes. I am much relieved that those days are over for you both and that Hoyt, in his wisdom, saw fit to give you the opportunity to resume your lives. I’m glad to see that you are both back on the course your lives should have been from the beginning.
Heyes tells me that you have been fortunate to marry a wealthy woman and that you have fallen into a new career which holds great promise. So I have concluded that leaving you money would not be appropriate or necessary. Instead, I have left you your father’s watch. He was delighted when I bought it for him as a present for his twenty-first birthday. He had never had a watch of his own before and I could see that it meant a lot to him. When he threw it back at me on that terrible night when we last saw each other, I saw the pain in his eyes. Just for a moment. Before, the old man dragged him away. So I feel had things been so very different, it would be yours by rights. I wore that watch every day for the rest of my life and it reminded me that I had a brother, who despite it all, I loved. And he had a son who I’ve also loved. I have tried to keep my eye on Heyes and you as best as I could, in memory of my two lost siblings. It hasn’t always been easy and I suspect the amount of grey hair I have ended my days with has something to do with the two of you!
You may look like your mother, Jedidiah but there is a lot of your father in you too. And you should be gratified to know that, now the youthful impetuous ways are over, and speaking as one who knew him, that you are a man your father would be proud to call son.
I hope that Jedidiah Thaddeus Curry, my nephew, has a happy and successful life. Knowing what a stubborn and determined man you can be, I believe you will.
Don’t think too badly of me will you? Your loving uncle, Jonathan Curry.
(Although I won’t be too aggrieved if you prefer to remember me, as you have always known me, as Soapy Stevens.)
The Kid stared at the letter for the longest time and Heyes sat quietly, watching him carefully. Finally, the Kid looked up and he looked sad.
“You lied to me, Heyes.”
“No I didn’t,” Heyes said, firmly. “I told you I had found Uncle Jonathan and that he had introduced me to Soapy Stevens.” He paused. “What I didn’t tell you was that they were the same person. I didn’t lie to you.” He paused again. “I just couldn’t tell you the truth.”
“You couldn’t tell me?” he asked, in a whisper.
“No,” Heyes said, shaking his head. “It was Soapy’s decision and he made me promise. I had to respect his wises. You can see that, can’t you?”
“Yeah.” The Kid looked down at the letter and watch in his lap, his bottom lip trembling. “But why?” he burst out. “I kinda understand why he didn’t wanna tell me at first but surely later… ?”
Heyes looked uncomfortable, swallowed hard and leant forward, resting his hand on the Kid’s arm. “That has a lot to do with Grampa Curry. The ole man shut his elder son out of his family. You lived with Grampa Curry after … .” He licked his lips and couldn’t finish. He didn’t need to. The Kid knew he meant after they had separated over the choice of destination, post Valparaiso. Heyes was determined to find Uncle Jonathan, the Kid just as adamant in finding Grampa Curry. Both had succeeded in their goals. “Well did he ever say anything good about Jonathan?” he almost snapped.
The Kid considered, finally shaking his head. “Naw! He didn’t mention him regular but when he did … no.” He shook his head. “No, nothing good.”
“Jonathan knew he could never overcome that, knowing how you felt about Grampa Curry and your Pa. He’s not saying they were wrong, Kid. Just that he wanted to have a relationship with you, that started with a blank sheet. So he couldn’t tell you who he was. It would never have worked.” Heyes hesitated. “And if he had told you it might have made things awkward between US and he didn’t want that. He didn’t want US falling out over something that wasn’t our argument.”
The Kid looked down and swallowed hard. He frowned and nodded. “It woulda been nice to know Heyes that I had another living relative ‘sides you all these years.”
“Yeah,” Heyes sighed, regretfully. “And for that reason I tried to persuade Soapy to tell you on several occasions.” He shook his head. “But he was always adamant. You weren’t to know until … .” He gestured at the letter. “Now,” he finished quietly.
The Kid looked at Heyes, tears in his eyes. “And ya couldn’t tell me?” he asked, almost a whisper.
Heyes shook his head, biting his lip. “No. I know it was selfish of me and I apologise.” He paused. This was difficult for him and his voice caught. “I nearly did on several occasions but the promise I made to Soapy always stopped me.” He put his head. “I’m sorry, I just couldn’t.”
The Kid nodded in understanding. “That’s alright Heyes I understand.” He re-stuffed the envelope with fumbling hands. “You were in a difficult position.” He sat quietly for a moment. “I liked Soapy. He was a nice ole gentleman.”
Heyes smiled and nodded. “Yeah.”
The Kid sat quietly looking away from Heyes, who he knew was watching him. Finally, the Kid took a deep breath and looked back, a faint smile on his face.
“Wasn’t jus’ Soapy was it? I have ‘nother cousin, his daughter, Rose*.”
Heyes smiled. “Yeah. Rose.”
Now the Kid was smiling wider. “Now I understand why you always tried to shy me away from her. An’ there was me thinkin’ it was ‘cos YOU were sweet on her.”
Heyes laughed. “ME?” He shook his head. “No.” He smiled fondly. “No Kid she’s not my type.” He hesitated, a wry smile on his face. “She has too much Curry in her.”
Heyes received the look, pressed his lips together and nodded in acceptance.
*This is NOT the same Rose as Cowdry’s Rose in Settling Wheat. I just happened to call them by the same name at different times. This Rose featured in a previous challenge so as both stories are posted, I can’t backtrack!
Kid Curry and that other fella; Hannibal Heyes and whatsname
Posts : 32
Join date : 2017-04-18
|Subject: Re: Curry Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:02 pm|| |
This is the middle section of a potential story. Apparently this formatting has a mind of it's own. I can't get rid of the bold in a section in the middle no matter what I do or remove the links in the notes.Curried Curry and Heyes A warm but fierce October wind howled along narrow valley where two riders rode alert in their saddles, peering up the sparsely wooded slopes of a narrow valley. A turban topped man drove a team of solid-looking draft horses that pulled a faded painted caravan along the valley floor. The brunet rider in front rose up in the saddle and peered intently towards the right in the fading light of the day. He raised an arm and called a halt. The blond, stationed at the back of the small group, came swiftly riding to the front and conferred with the leader. The horses stamped uneasily amid the red and gold leaves swirling around their legs as the two men talked.A small panel on the front of the caravan slid open and a black-haired young woman pushed her head through the opening. “ਪਿਤਾ ਜੀ ਕਿਉਂ ਅਸੀਂ ਰੋਕ ਰਹੇ ਹਾਂ? ਕੀ ਖਲਨਾਇਕ ਆਏ ਸਨ?[ Father why are we stopping? Are the robbers coming back?]”Hannibal Heyes heard the inquiry, although, he couldn’t understand the language, he surmised the intent and offered information. “There appears to be an abandoned homestead just up ahead. It doesn’t look to be in too bad of shape and we can stop there for the night. My partner and I think we should be safe there. I doubt we’ll see those bandits again, after the display Thaddeus put on. Plus, they’ll need to see to their injured. Ma’am, don’t you worry, we’ll get you town safe.”The Punjabi Mr. Bhatt nodded his agreement with the partner’s plan, while speaking over his shoulder, “
ਧੀ ਦੀ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਨਾ ਕਰੋ, ਇਹ ਲੋਕ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਸਾਨ ਫਰਾਂਸਿਸਕੋ ਲਈ ਸੁਰੱਖਿਅਤ ਦੇਖਣਗੇ. [Don't worry daughter, these men will see us safe to San Francisco.]” Switching to British Indian accented English, Manjot Bhatt replied, “I am no longer worried, I know that you will see us safely to San Francisco. Yes, we must set up camp for the night. The women are very fine cooks. They will cook for you in thanks for your timely rescue. You will like butter chicken curry, rice and chapaatis.”Curry’s stomach rumbled at the thought of food and he encouraged his mount back into motion. Heyes remained where he was and corrected Mr. Bhatt’s understanding of the situation. “We’d appreciate the dinner and we will make sure you get to town without any further trouble. But we agreed to take you to the next town with a railroad where you can sell the caravan and horses and buy tickets to San Francisco. We’re not going to San Francisco with you. You’ll be perfectly safe on the train.”Bhatt senior smiled and shook his head. “No, it is you that are mistaken, Mr. Smith. Mr. Jones agreed to go all the way to the big city where my brother is waiting for us to join his jewelry business. My daughter Jasleen spoke with him and he said this was so. This is the Wild West, yes? You said yourself that traveling by caravan from town to town, selling our wares along the way is not safe because of bandits. You advised us to go by train, which is much faster. But there are train robbers in this part of the country, yes?”Heyes shifted uncomfortably in his saddle and had to nod affirmably, admitting that there were indeed train robbers in this part of the country, even if Manjot Bhatt did not know how close some train robbers, or rather ex-train robbers actually were. He started to walk the horse while continuing the conversation as the caravan rumbled slowly after Kid’s black gelding in the direction of the cabin and rundown barn.The Punjabi continued confidently, “Mr. Jones was kind enough to offer your services as guards. My wife Chandra, my daughters Jasleen and Jayanit, my son Amandeep, and I are very grateful. We will negotiate a satisfactory fee for your services. Mr. Jones is most excellent with his gun. You are a good guard as well. I am very good with my dagger and my British friends back in the Punjab have taught me to use their English guns but I do not own one. My brother when he wrote from London and then your San Francisco did not say to bring one on our journey to America.”“You will not need a gun once you get there, Mr. Bhatt.”“Please call me Manjot”“Manjot, the odds of the being robbed on your journey are low. But if you ever met a train robber you will be safer without a gun. Your lives are worth more than the materials of your craft.”The Jeweler smiled, confident in his belief that they would be well protected. He had watched the young gunman as the Bhatt’s told their story. The Bhatts were most excellent salesman- hard negotiators all - they knew how to target a potential customer and close the sale, and Thaddeus Jones seemed very susceptible to his eldest daughter’s charms. Mr. Smith was somewhat a harder sell but Manjot liked a challenge, he was sure it only remained a question of the price.“Yes, yes, I know we will be very safe. Very safe with you so we don’t need a gun. My family and my precious stock will not be stolen with Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones as guards.”Heyes took a deep breath and shook his head in mild annoyance at the Punjabi’s dismissal of Heyes’ words. He’d talk to Kid and the both of them united would get the point across. Brown eyes traced the blond gunman’s movements as Kid dismounted in front of the shabby deserted homestead. A moment of doubt rose up as Heyes recalled Curry’s stubborn adherence to his code of honorable behavior, that going straight had only reinforced.
Heyes strode up to doorless opening of the still serviceable barn and peered inside. Curry had apparently had been busy. Old musty straw had been piled up along one side of the structure. A bale had been thrown down from the loft and broken apart, the dryer and cleaner straw was strewn around the floor of where the stalls had once been. Kid had secured the four horses and was tending to their needs. Heyes glanced back towards the cabin, which was being made habitable for the night by the Bhatts and prepared to talk sense into his partner. Kid was bending over a sack, sniffing, the telltale trail of grain spilling from a mouse chewed hole in the bottom across the floor giving proof of the contents. He looked up at the sound of footsteps.“Smells okay, I think it’s safe to feed it to the horses,” Curry informed his partner. “The homestead doesn’t appear to have been abandoned for too long. See if you can find a pail or some sort of container while I take care of groomin’ the horses.”Heyes nodded and slowly turned around, sweeping his eyes over the surroundings.Kid pointed and asked, “Hand me that curry brush from over there.”Heyes picked up a brush from atop a half-opened bale of hay, turned it over in his hand, inspecting it, then knocked the brush a few times against a barn post, loosening some dirt and debris, before handing it over. He remarked matter-of-factly, “You do know that Jasleen is currying favor by cooking a curry for Kid Curry, don’t ya.”“They don’t know I’m Kid Curry and you’re Hannibal Heyes.” The blond started brushing down Heyes’ bay, which was closest to him.“No, but she’s lookin’ at you as her Lancelot.”“Lancelot?”“You know, Sir Lancelot, a knight in shining armor from King Arthur’s round table. Jousting and all that. Remember the stories about Camelot.”Curry straightened up and looked his partner in the eyes. “I know who Lancelot is, Heyes. I do remember you reading those stories. I liked them. Lancelot is the knight who was carrin’ on with Guinevere. I’m not like Lancelot, I would never two-time my best friend and the King by sleepin’ with his wife behind his back. I’d be one of the other knights.”“Yeah, probably Sir Galahad, without the purity part,” muttered Heyes under his breath before raising his voice. “Glad to hear it Kid, but we’re getting off track here. The fact is that once again Kid Curry went riding to help damsels in distress and their family, shooting the villains with exceptional skill. The point is that just because we rescued them once doesn’t mean we have to act as guards all the way to San Francisco. We’re not obligated.”Curry finished with the bay and squeezed past Heyes to start on his black.“I guess we don’t but I think we should. They’re traveling with their life savings, not to mention all the gold, stones and jewelry.”Heyes appeared unmoved about the Indian’s predicament as he found a stool to sit on while he talked some sense into the impulsive one of the duo.“So are we, minus the gold, and jewels, which doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Unless they want to part with a some of that gold they’re on their own no matter how pretty the women are or how well they can cook. It’s less than a week’s ride by train to the coast. They’ll be perfectly safe. You know they could even hire guards in town, as long as it’s not us. We have other jobs lined up.”“Heyes, you can negotiate our fee but I’m gonna make sure they get there safe. They’re new to the west and have no idea of the problems they could find. Plus, what happens if they get mistaken for Indians, I mean our Indians. You know American Indians not Indian Indians. We thought they were natives when we was far away, although with funny clothes.”Heyes objected, “I knew they weren’t no American Indians. How many braves do you see wearing a turban and with a caravan. Sheesh!”Curry chuckled as he moved to the other side of the horse. He leaned over the black’s back and looked his partner in the eye. “Sure, you did, once we got close enough. But admit it, at first you weren’t sure on who was attacking who or why or if anyone was going to be friendly.”“Well, they are from India, the Punjab in the north, says Manjot, so no one should harass them or kick them off the train or try to steal their trunk of gold, jewels and jeweler’s tools.” Heyes stood up and changed positions to the other side of the horses as Kid moved on to the first horse of the draft team.“You’re sure ‘bout that, ‘cause I ain’t. Besides, the job waitin’ for us is a ranch job. We hate ranch work and sittin’ on a train for a few days guardin’ the Bhatts sounds like a better proposition. Speaking of food, you planin’ on findin’ something to put the grain in for the horses. I’ll bet they’re hungry and I know I sure am. Whatever the women are cookin’, it smells like nothing I ever ate before, strange but good.”“It’s that chicken curry.” “We’ll stick around so I can try some of those kebab things and tandoori, Jasleen mentioned those as her specialties, since we’re apparently having butter chicken curry, whatever that is tonight. The bucket, Heyes?” Heyes grumbled to himself, something about a hungry Kid Curry thinking with parts of his anatomy other than his brain. But he did find a bucket and fed the horses while admitting that Kid might have a point about the relative merits of ranch work versus bodyguarding a family of Punjabi jewelers.
************************The little group rode into a typically dusty growing plains town. Heyes and Curry unobtrusively scoping out the usual landmarks such as the sheriff’s office, which obligingly posted the name of an unknown sheriff, a hospitable hotel, the choice of two saloons, and the railroad station at the end of the main street.Groups of small children, dressed in colorful costumes, carrying half-filled sacks darted in and out of the normal hustle and bustle of small town life. The newcomers noticed and Heyes found himself trying to explain the customs of celebrating Halloween to the curious Bhatts.Curry was left with the women, young son, and the unloaded contents of the caravan at the train station while Heyes and the Bhatt patriarch proceeded to the livery to sell the horses, gear and caravan. Kid went inside to purchase tickets and make arrangements for crating the household goods for shipment to San Francisco. The blond shook his head in amusement as he took stock of the two piles of what was being shipped and what they would be toting with them. The back and forth between Heyes and Manjot was entertaining but Heyes had the edge in that negotiation.Heyes was impressed in spite of himself. He considered Kid and him, well him, at least, as pretty good horse traders. Kid had a gift for quickly sizing up and picking mounts to meet their immediate needs and Heyes almost always achieved an advantageous bargain. But Manjot Bhatt, Heyes was coming to realize, was a master negotiator, not to be underestimated due to unusual clothing in the West. The Punjabi jeweler managed to obtain a very good price for the draft team and caravan.The two groups met back up in front of the train station and discussed the plans for the intervening time until the westbound train left later that evening. It was decided that they would rent a hotel room for the Bhatts to rest, while the partners checked out the saloon.Heyes grabbed the saddle bags and Mr. Bhatt had a solid hold on the two valises containing the precious metals and jewels as the two men started towards the hotel. The rest struggled to keep up. Amandeep toted the tools, Chandra, Jasleen and Jayanti carried a bag of clothes and essentials, while Kid once again wondered why he turned into a human pack mule ladened down with everything else. A small tow-head boy in a buckskin outfit, a ragged feathered pseudo headdress, and streaks of red painted across his flushed cheeks shuffled bravely up to Manjot Bhatt and Heyes as his three friends watched from a safe distance down a small side street. He looked curiously at the Punjabi in his richly hued cotton churidaar pajama suit and turban.“What are you supposed to be?”Heyes interpreted, “Halloween. He thinks you’re wearing a Halloween costume.”Manjot nodded his understanding and smiled kindly at the young boy, “I’m a Punjabi Indian, a Sikh.” “I’m an Indian too, an Apache brave. I ain’t heard of Punjabi Indians. Where you from? I didn’t know Indians grew long beards, is it real? Where’s the feathers in your hat?”Curry smirked knowingly at Heyes from behind the women.With a smile in his voice and in Punjab British accented English Manjot leaned down to answer his curious new acquaintance, “My family and I are from the area of Punjab in Northern India across oceans and seas. We have traveled very far to make a new life in your American West. My kind of Indians grow long beards and my hair on my head is very long under this turban. Alas, we do not have feathers for our hats. I can see you are a very brave brave. Here is a treat, as your custom, for bravery and some for your friends, who are not so brave but still did not desert you.” Manjot pulled a few shiny copper pennies from his pocket and held out his hand for the wide-eyed tow-head. A grubby hand reached out to pick up the pennies and as he ran off towards his waiting friends shouted, “Thanks mister, happy Halloween.”Suddenly Heyes turned and bounded up the stairs into the hotel without explanation, leaving Kid to glance around apprehensively. Sharp blue eyes honed in on a tall, black-haired, man in his 40’s, wearing a large U.S. Marshal's star. Kid hustled the Bhatts inside, trying to keep them between him and the marshal, who was walking towards the saloon.
************************Curry and Heyes huddled together at the lobby window while the family was busy repacking their belongings more efficiently upstairs in the rented room, the partners talked through their predicament and tried to come up with a plan.“We’ve got to get out of this town without anyone noticin’.”“I know Kid. The question is how. The train is probably safer than trying to buy back our horses and gear. The livery owner is sure to remember us then.”“As long as I go to the livery alone, I should be alright. You sold the horses, not me and the marshal on that posse run never got a good look at me. You, he’s sure to recognize. As long as we’re not together it should be alright.”“I don’t want to take those odds. Nah, we’ll stick with the train. The trick will be to get from the hotel to the train. Wait, I got an idea. We’ll dress you up in Manjot’s spare clothes so you can escort the Bhatts and I’ll wait to the last minute and catch the train.”“I’ll never pass for an Indian. I’m too fair, my hair, eyes are the wrong color, and I certainly can’t grow a beard in a few hours. I don’t even get 5 o’clock shadow.”“It’s Halloween, you don’t have to look a real Bhatt.”“Adults don’t wear costumes to walk around the streets, Heyes.”“Well your name is Kid, Kid.” Heyes was immune to the blue-eyes gunslinger’s glare. “Let’s go up and see what we can get you to wear.
************************Later that evening, with just enough time to stroll sedately to the train station, the Bhatt family of Mr. and Mrs. Bhatt, their young son, three dark-haired daughters, and the blond gunman checked out of the hotel. The Punjabi males were wearing traditional Punjabi Churidaar suits and the women brightly colored cotton salwar kameez tunics and pants with silk dupattas draped tightly around their heads and artfully around their upper bodies. Everyone was wearing western style cowboy boots, although, suspiciously five of the Indian’s boots appeared very new. They boarded the last passenger car.Unknown to the group, the marshal had spent a profitable afternoon in the saloon before boarding the first car of train. He had stowed his carpet bag of belongings and the heavy case of federal marshal service shackles and handcuffs on the overhead rack. Marshall Ricker looked forward to relaxing on the journey home after the tense mission of delivering a ruthless bank robber to meet justice in the town. Notes:Punjab: A geographical and cultural region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, comprising areas of eastern Pakistan and northern India. The boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts. Until the Partition of Punjab in 1947, the British Punjab Province encompassed the present-day Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, and Delhi, and the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory. It bordered the Balochistan and Pashtunistan regions to the west, Kashmir to the north, the Hindi Belt to the east, and Rajasthan and Sindh to the south.The people of the Punjab today are called Punjabis, and their principal language is Punjabi. The main religions of the Punjab region are Islam, Sikhism, and Hinduism. Names:The surname Bhatt is based on the name of a subgroup of goldsmiths in Punjab. It means ‘the learned one’. The first names were taken from a list of common Punjabi names. Male Sikhs have "Singh" (Lion), and female Sikhs have "Kaur" (princess) as their middle or last name.Culture:Language - The major language spoken in the Punjab is Punjabi. In the Indian Punjab this is written in the Gurmukhi script. Pakistan uses the Shahmukhi script, that is closer to Urdu script. Hindi, written in the Devanagri script, is used widely in the Indian states of Himanchal Pradesh and Haryana. Several dialects of Punjabi are spoken in the different regions. The Majhi dialect is considered to be textbook Punjabi and is shared by both countries.Religion:About 60% of the population of Punjab state is Sikh, 37% is Hindu, and the rest are Muslims, Christians, and Jains.Clothing:Salwar is a generic description of the lower garment incorporating the Punjabi salwar, Sindhi suthan, Dogri pajamma (also called suthan) and the Kashmiri suthan.The salwar kameez is the traditional wear of women in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The Punjabi suit which is most common in the northwestern part of India (Punjab region) is worn by males. The Punjabi suit also includes the "churidaar" and "kurta (Knee length tunic)" ensemble which is also popular in Southern India where it is known as the "churidaar".The salwar kameez has become the most popular dress for females. It consists of loose trousers (the salwar) narrow at the ankles, topped by a tunic top (the kameez). Women generally wear a dupatta or odani (Veil) with salwar kameez to cover their head and shoulders. It is always worn with a scarf called a dupatta, which is used to cover the head and drawn over the bosom.Food:There are many styles of cooking in Punjab. In the villages many people still employ the traditional infrastructure for cooking purposes. This includes wood-fired and masonry ovens. Tandoori style of cooking commonly known as tandoor. Tandoori cooking is Biryani, lamb and chicken· Kebab: braised minced lamb meat, commonly served with naan.· Keema : Braised minced lamb meat, commonly served with naan.· Lamb : including Rogan Josh, Bhuna Gosht, Kadhai Gosht, Raan Gosht, Dal Gosht, Saag Gosht, Nihari, Rara Gosht, Paye da Shorba· Shami Kebab, Chicken karahi, Amritsari Tandoori Chicken, Punjabi Karhi (The Chicken yogurt curry of Punjab), Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka, Paye.Along with all types of main dishes chutney is also served.Dishes called 'curry' may contain fish, meat, poultry, or shellfish, either alone or in combination with vegetables. Additionally, many instead are entirely vegetarian, eaten especially among those who hold ethical or religious proscriptions against eating meat or seafood. Curries may be either 'dry' or 'wet'. Dry curries are cooked with very little liquid which is allowed to evaporate, leaving the other ingredients coated with the spice mixture. Wet curries contain significant amounts of sauce or gravy based on yoghurt, cream, coconut milk, coconut cream, legume purée, or broth. x combinations of spices or herbs, usually including fresh or dried hot chillies, The main spices found in most curry powders of the Indian subcontinent are coriander, cumin, and turmeric;Most Punjabi dishes are prepared using Tadka, which is made with the frying of a "masala", which is a mix of ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes with some dried spices. This is followed by the addition of other ingredients, water, and occasionally milk. Normally spicy, spice levels vary greatly depending on the household itself. Ghee and Mustard oil are the most commonly used cooking fats. Many popular Punjabi dishes such as Butter Chicken and Rajma are curry-based. These dishes are usually served with steamed rice and Chapaatis.
Posts : 1355
Join date : 2013-08-27
Age : 45
Location : The Hideout
|Subject: Re: Curry Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:03 pm|| |
I haven't gotten to play in the monthly challenge here lately, so here's just a couple of short scenes that really have no direction. You don't even need to put this up for polling. I just wanted to contribute something.
The late evening autumn air felt brisk as it rolled across the plains. One dark-haired eight-year-old, and one brownish-blond six-year-old, were out in front of a Kansas farmhouse raking fallen leaves into a pile well away from the house and barn. Their mothers were inside in the kitchen busily preparing supper while their dads were seeing to the Heyes family's stock.
Momentarily, from inside the barn, a deep voice yelled out. "DANG IT, HANNIBAL! DID YOU HIDE THE CURRY COMB AGAIN?"
"You took one of Ma's combs?" Young Jed Curry asked his wide-eyed cousin.
Han's brown eyes slid sideways as his eyebrows lowered to rest on his young working companion. "No, Jed. Pa's talking about a comb to groom the horses."
"Well then, wouldn't it be called a 'Heyes' comb since it belongs to your family?"
"No, that's just the name of..."
"HANNIBAL! GET OVER HERE, NOW!"
"I'M COMING. I'll be back in a minute."
Jed watched Han run across the yard to the barn door. He decided to take a break while he waited for his cousin to return so he sat down on the grass and started plucking the green blades, throwing them up to watch the breeze carry them away to parts unknown.
Inside the barn, Han was searching for the missing curry comb. His Pa was growing angrier as he waited.
"Hannibal, how many times have I told you that not being able to find the curry comb doesn't mean that you don't have to groom the horses when it's your turn?"
Han wisely stayed silent as he searched in the stalls for the missing grooming tool.
"Well?" Michael Heyes asked as he watched his only son run around on his hunt.
"I really didn't mean to hide it this time, Pa. I just forgot where I put it." He ran out of one stall and into another.
"Sure you did. At least slow down. You're bothering the horses."
"Over here it is," Sean Curry called as he walked toward his brother-in-law carrying the now found comb. "It was between two hay bales." He couldn't help but smile at the look on his guilty nephew's face at that revelation.
Han's expression quickly changed as he smiled sweetly at his red-faced Pa. "Oh yeah, NOW I remember. What happened was..."
"GO finish your chores in the yard, son, before I change my mind and tan your hide."
Han heard a couple of choice words being softly spoken as he ran out of the barn and back over to his impatient cousin who was now trying to balance the rake on top of one hand.
"'Bout time you came back. I ain't rakin' leaves in YOUR yard by myself."
"You could get your brothers to help you," Han helpfully offered.
"You know they're out repairin' that hole in Uncle Michael's fence. C'mon, let's get this done. I'm hungry."
"You're always hungry..."
"Ma says I'ma growin' boy and so's I need to eat a lot."
"Aunt Emma didn't say that."
"Naw, she just said you eat a lot. I heard her telling Ma."
Jed rolled his eyes as he went back to raking leaves beside Han. "Well, I'm doing' my part, then I'm quitting' no matter if'n you're done or not."
The two boys worked in silence for a few minutes when Han came up with something seemingly out of the blue.
"You know something, Jed? We ought to start learning to cuss."
Jed stopped and looked at his older cousin. "Are you crazy? Our folks would kill us both."
"No they wouldn't. Men use words like that all the time. I've even heard Pa say a couple. It'll make us sound more grown-up," Han explained.
Jed thought for a minute then agreed. "I'd like soundin' more grown-up."
Han smiled. "Okay then, when we get done and go in to get cleaned up for supper, I'll say something with 'he11' in it and you say something with 'a$$' in it."
Jed grinned in agreement.
Twenty minutes later, the boys had finished and entered the house to clean up.
"Boys, is that you?" Keara Heyes called from the kitchen.
"Yeah, Ma," Han answered.
"Both of you come to the kitchen for a minute."
The two cousins entered the kitchen. Both mothers turned to look at them.
Keara looked at her dark-eyed boy. "Hannibal, what would you like with supper?"
Han thought for a second before answering. "Well, he11, Ma, corn bread's always good."
Keara's eyes widened as what her son had just said sunk in.
Han turned instantly anxious when he saw those pale blue eyes turn angry.
"Hannibal! WHAT did you just say?"
Han stared at her a second before he stammered, "Well,..." He then turned and ran out of the kitchen, his Ma hot on his tail.
"HANNIBAL HEYES! YOU GET BACK HERE YOUNG MAN!"
Han ran past the front door into the back of the house where his room was. Before he could get the door shut, however, Keara was already there.
Jed listened from the kitchen, hearing the unmistakable sound of a whooping taking place. Then he heard a door slam.
"AND DON'T YOU DARE COME OUT OF THAT ROOM UNTIL I SAY SO," Keara finished her tirade.
The young blond turned to face his own mother. "Yeah, Ma?"
"What would you like to have with supper?" Emma asked.
Jed answered without thinking. "I don't really care, but you can bet your a$$ I ain't gonna ask for corn bread."
Come to the dark side...we have cookies
Last edited by HannaHeyes on Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:01 am; edited 1 time in total
Posts : 334
Join date : 2016-10-21
|Subject: Curry Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:37 am|| |
Curry – Challenge for OctoberContinues straight on from September’s challenge….. a glimpse of the gunslinger from the wanted dodgers....“See… He puts on that mean face… It keeps everyone away… when we’re shooting….” Heyes beamed into Kid’s frozen, black visage. “It wouldn’t be safe t’ let anyone too close around professional Shootists… Not when you’re shooting two bullets …with just one gun … or…or …shooting a holster right off a man’s hip… or…or… shooting a cigar …out of a man’s clenched teeth… now is it?”Heyes watched awe build in the townfolk’s faces.“And… and …safety… is our number one priority. We never… hardly ever… killed anyone… not even close!”Kid sighed out a disbelieving head shake, but caught himself and changed it to an exasperated nod of agreement.“Never…” he stumbled, changing his mind to a head shake again.“Not one…. Never.”He turned back to his partner and shot Heyes a warning glare. Time to wind this up and get outta here.Heyes, far too satisfied with own genius, sat back stretching his long legs, unflustered, watching his words sink in for this group of men who had believed, up till now, that a log chopping contest constituted letting their hair down, and blowing off steam. Slowly, he became aware of Curry’s continued disquiet, hearing the slow, controlled, shallow breathing of the gunslinger’s barely contained temper. He liked it when Kid worried. Meant he could rely on Kid to keep him safe. He beamed innocently into the room, and gave Kid a rather patronising pat on the shoulder. He was grinning both at his own cleverness, and mentally rubbing his palms together with glee, picturing the pile of money they could rake in, with just a few trick shots and some judicious wagers, come Saturday’s Hairdown. There was a little excited whispering between the townsfolk, then Lucas was pushed forward.“We were thinking…” he began.Heyes’ face turned to innocent curiosity, as Lucas explained that the Townsfolk were wondering if they could prevail upon the two famous Shootists to put on a bit of a show for Lesbastion, come next Hairdown. Heyes looked dumbfounded as if the thought had never occurred to him. At first, he prevaricated, saying they didn’t have their costumes, and all their show paraphernalia, as it went ahead of them by train. He included Kid in all the objections to them complying, and for just a second, Kid thought Heyes had come to his senses.“No… sorry…we won’t be able to put on hardly any of our usual trick shots… Joshua has an injured arm… We don’t have any costumes…or props… It would just be me…” he smiled genuinely for the first time in ages, beginning to rise thinking they would be leaving at last.“It wouldn’t be much of a show… Hardly worth your money…” Heyes grabbed his arm and pulled him back into his chair. The whispering began again in earnest. He loved it when a plan came together. He said nothing, allowing the menfolk’s thirst for entertainment to pare down the expected show, to just some demonstrating of fine shooting, for which they were prepared to be generous in their reward. “We’re not expecting him to be… KID CURRY… nor nothing…” contributed Sheriff Lesley P Alderly rather sulkily looking up at Kid's wanted dodger.“Just a little fancy shooting… is all we want.”“Oh… Thaddeus is right…” said a regretful Heyes, cupping his shoulder and wincing again. He was rather enjoying all this talk of the famous gunslinger, after the earlier exchanges about the humour to be found in his own name, and his Partner's delight in it. “It would just be …Thaddeus here… and we sure ain’t saying he’s anything like KID CURRY…” Heyes’ eyes narrowed, considering his words, and seemingly disagreeing with himself.“Well… I guess... Thaddeus IS probably closest there is to Kid Curry ...fer speed… But then again… I don’t think KID CURRY goes round putting on shows… dressed as a Mexican… shooting at targets… and performing trick shots now does he?! He’s too busy robbing banks and trains! So …I guess we’ll never know.”This sparked loud, excited talk amongst the menfolk, who seemed more determined than ever to get the show to go ahead. Eventually, Heyes relented, and gave them a price that he thought reflected his own incapacity to perform, and their lack of proper props, far below their usual rate. Seeing the nod of agreement from Lucas, he stood to shake the man’s hand, almost apologising for taking their money, which he explained, they ‘d be needing in advance, in order to prepare for the show. The Townsfolk wanted to seal the deal with the lighting of cigars, and the office was quickly searched for the necessary. Heyes pocketed the money and excitedly turned back to where Kid had sat quietly throughout this charade, with his back pressed hard up against the jailhouse wall. Heyes’ gleeful smile melted as his eyes came to rest on the ice-cold stare of KID CURRY, every inch the very riled and bristling gunslinger of the wanted dodgers. Kid set his hat low over his smouldering eyes, and pushed his chin to the door. They were leaving.
---oooOOOooo---Seeing the town’s two newest celebrities rising to leave, Lesley P Alderly, rushed to unlock the door for them, and followed them out onto the Boardwalk.“You get yourselves settled over at the Hotel there … and you be sure to remember all them TOWN ORDINANCES I BEEN TELLING YOU ALL ABOUT…” he said rather loudly from the jailhouse door. His eyes swivelled in all directions, and he took his voice up a notch, as he spotted Olive loitering over by the Undertakers, seemingly admiring coffins.“REMEMBER… NO CUSSING IN THE STREET… AND TAKE ANY FIGHTING TO THE BACK OF LIVERY YARDS…” In a quieter, more conspiratorial tone he added, “The ladies don’t rightly take to the smell of the sh …er…well …the waste ….heaps there…. So… what goes on …out the back there… don’t bother them none.” Heyes and Kid had barely cleared the steps back to where their horses stood patiently at the rail, when the door of the jailhouse slammed shut again, and the key turned in the lock once more. From the front, the office once again, looked unoccupied. Heyes shook his head in wonder. “They must have sure have some fierce ladies here in Lesbastion …to have all the menfolk running scared like that.” Nothing came back from Kid.Heyes smiled a nod of acquaintance over to Olive, who was acting as if she were surprised to see the young men again, and gave them a little wave. Heyes waved back, using his newly restored right arm, extravagantly rotating it to gather his horse and show her it was still working. It wasn’t. It had started to bruise and swell.“Ow!” he winced. “That’s getting real stiff again.”The top of Kid’s hat, just visible over the saddle, shook side to side slowly. The irritated gunslinger was untying his belongings, but because of his temper, the knots were fighting back. “Henry says …your shoulder ….is going to swell… and hurt REAL BAD ….when the alcohol wears off …and the bruising comes out…” The words came slow and dark, from the other side of his horse. Kid made it sound like he thought the pain might just be justified. “Henry says ….you’re gonna need a coupla days ….to heal up… SO WE HAVE TO STAY…. in this God-Forsaken Town…. till at least Wednesday… NO CHOICE!” A leather tie snapped in his fist, and he seethed a curse, very quietly under his breath. Heyes thought he heard something like, “******!…excuse f’r a Partner!” His own eyes narrowed, and he scowled over at the top of Kid’s hat.“What’s eating you now?”Grunting menace issued from the other side of the Gelding. Thinly disguised cussing and more snapping ties accompanied the white knuckled fist that grabbed the saddle bag and bed roll off the gelding’s back.Heyes sighed heavily, seeing his Partner may be in need of a little silver-tongued reassurance. He did like it when Kid worried. Usually, it meant they both stayed safe, but Kid could make worrying into an art form. He could be a regular Leonardo Da Vinci of worrying. Heyes stretched the silver tongue again.“You saw the way …Lesley… was handling your gun… I had to come up with something… And make it sound good… or he just may have taken his self another look at them wanted posters in there…”The brown hat became very, very still. The tongue was stretched again, but Heyes wasn’t sounding so confident anymore.“You just have to have a little more faith in me Kid…”Kid looked up, the blue eyes still and unblinking. He said nothing. Heyes smiled his full dimpled, most ingratiating smile, over the saddle between them reassuringly.“Now …we got us some money… we can afford to go to the Hotel over there… take us a room… with two beds! … Order baths …one fer each of us… And… I’d be willing to bet the whole darn lot…. you’re just busting a gut …to get your teeth around a nice juicy steak dinner… aren’t you …Kid….hey….Kid?“Nothing.“Well …aren’t you?” prodded Heyes a little testily.“That’s all possible….. ‘cause I got us a job.”Nothing.“ME… I got us a paying job… A WELL PAID ONE… at something you happen to be good at… that ain’t too hard on the back… ME…. I DID THAT!”Heyes was beginning to like his own argument, it was just annoying that his partner wasn’t demonstrating any gratitude. He leaned over Kid’s saddle a little.“Are you even listening to me?”“I heard you” came the sullen reply. Kid walked around his horse and handed his reins to Heyes, grabbing up Heyes’ possessions. He didn’t look even a little grateful to the genius. He sighed out a huge exasperated breath and shook his head again. He knew there was no point arguing with Heyes in this mood. Heyes would argue till the cows came home. Words wouldn’t cut it.“You get the horses settled at the Livery… I’ll get us a room” he said quietly.Too quietly, it unsettled Heyes. Kid had started walking off towards the Hotel without looking back to see if Heyes had even agreed with this arrangement. Suddenly he stopped without turning around.“I’ll meet you …at the back of the livery …when I got us a room.” Heyes silver tongue felt dry and he licked his lips.“WHY?” he called loudly to the gunslinger’s back. Kid had resumed his march to the Hotel.“I’ll just come meet you… over at the Hotel… You can order me a bath too… And then... we can get us some dinner….right?”Kid Curry stopped in his tracks again. His voice came back to Heyes, low, cold and deliberately slow.“Coz …Lesley said …We had to take our fighting to the back of the livery yard…And that’s just what I’m planning on doing… I’m taking my fight to the back of the Livery Yard….AND …I’M GONNA FLATTEN YER!”"But my arm hurts..." whined Heyes rather lamely.He couldn't keep the grin off his face as he watched the Wests most dangerous gunslinger stalk the rest of the way to the Hotel, and near take the door off its hinges with the force of the slam.
[url=file:///C:/Users/Admin/Documents/Curry Challenge October.docx#_msoanchor_1][A1][/url]
Posts : 834
Join date : 2013-08-25
Age : 45
|Subject: Re: Curry Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:15 pm|| |
Kid Curry stared into the still glowing embers of the dwindling campfire. The chill of the autumn morning might bow to the warm sun of yesterday, or it might not. It was hard to predict an afternoon’s temperature with the recent cool, crisp, clear mornings so common to mid-altitudes in October.
He wrapped his arms around his torso to stretch cramped back muscles and rub warmth into his body. Sleeping on hard ground at any time of year was never comfortable, and pretty as the days could be during a fall afternoon, once the sun set, the temperatures dropped like the proverbial rock. A campfire emitted so much heat, but not enough to offset a chilled ground. As well, he and Heyes slept further from the fire this time of year, having to extend its perimeter lest falling leaves or detritus from a squirrel’s dinner or winter preparation landed in the flames and caused sparks to alight on one’s blanket.
A good-paying ranch job had extended a month longer than planned when a bonus for staying on enticed them to linger, despite the sometimes back-breaking work they tried to avoid. Now flush for winter, warmer climes beckoned, although a decision on a destination had yet to be made.
All possibilities had their drawbacks. The foster uncle in Texas offered a respite from the trail but he had a knack for drawing them into some hair-brained scheme they would prefer to stay clear of. The colonel in New Mexico would likely have a few delivery jobs just when they would prefer to take it easy after the ranch, so perhaps was best saved as a fallback for when funds ran low. That left the wealthy friend in San Francisco with the luxe accommodations and the finer things in life. A body could get used to that, but their savings would last but a short time in such surroundings.
So, for now, they had the trail. Feeling a bit under the weather, Curry let Heyes take the initiative to go hunting to have meat for a broth. It was a role reversal, but they had always taken care of each other. Nothing serious, really – a few sniffles and small cold. After Heyes left, he had dozed off again, only to waken at the sound of a gunshot.
Shaking the cobwebs from his brain, he rose and looked around for dry branches to throw on the fire. The task was easier said than done, though, as most were still green. Grabbing an axe, he ventured a little ways from camp and spied a fallen pine. Small as it was, he imagined its jagged trunk spoke to the lightning strike that had likely felled it some time back. Yawning into the breeze, he chopped a couple of pieces to lug back and add to the fire, taking note of its location for when they needed more wood.
With the fire ablaze, he partook of the coffee his partner had made. Its bitter taste went down good and warmed him. Not hungry and sated for the moment, he regarded the place where they had spent the night.
The campsite was located in an opening in a pine forest with a mix of new growth and older trees that had stood sentinel to the ages. It was not dense, and the sun’s rays filtered through like points of a star. It evoked a magical quality, lighter and brighter than the advancing twilight of yesterday when they had stopped. Rushing daylight, they had set up camp without time to spare, with jerky a meagre supper just as the first shadows of nightfall overtook them.
With that thought, a sudden chill sent tingles down his spine. Grandpa Curry had related to them it was on such nights as those as a boy in Ireland he would spend time with his family in the local church yard on All Hallows’ Eve before lighting candles at home to guide the souls of the faithfully departed ancestors home. There were other, more lighthearted customs for the children, but that one stuck with him. It had all seemed so serious to him as a youngster, and he reasoned later it was the sight of the solemn, wide-eyed stares of his grandchildren that kept Grandpa Curry telling the stories year after year. Serious stories, indeed, but told with a sly grin! Yes, Jed Curry might not be a philosopher, but the thrall in which the older man had kept the young-uns, well, that was another story unto itself.
His partner’s arrival brought Kid back to the present. He sneezed.
“It’s cold out here and we don’t need you getting worse.” Heyes laid his rifle and prey on the ground and neared the campfire in an attempt to shake off the chill. “Better get this stewing so we can warm up.”
Curry regarded his cousin with one of those wistful looks that begged a response.
He shrugged. “Nothin’. Just rememberin’.” A pause. “I’ll tell you about it sometime.”
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
|Subject: Re: Curry || |