Alias Smith and Jones Fun and Fanfiction
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Posts : 8718
Join date : 2013-08-24

August Empty
PostSubject: August   August EmptyWed Aug 01, 2018 5:10 am

Time for a new challenge. Give us your best take on the topic 


meaning - distinguished, respected, eminent, venerable, hallowed, illustrious, prestigious, renowned, celebrated, honoured, acclaimed, esteemed, exalted, highly regarded, well thought of, of distinction, of repute; great, important, of high standing, lofty, high-ranking, noble, regal, royal, aristocratic; imposing, impressive, awe-inspiring, magnificent, majestic, imperial, stately, lordly, kingly, grand, dignified, solemn, proud

Oh - and it's also the eighth month of the year.

Don't forget to comment on July's stories before moving on to August. Comments are the only thanks our writers get.
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Posts : 460
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 101
Location : Chicago, Illinois, USA

August Empty
PostSubject: Re: August   August EmptyMon Aug 20, 2018 6:10 am

Missing scene from "Fistful of Diamonds." This happens after Heyes and Curry identify themselves to August Binford, and maybe/possibly simultaneously, or just before, Betsy visits Curry in his hotel room.

“Sometimes I think he’s never going to learn, and then, what do you know but – heavens! I’m neglecting my duty as a hostess. More tea, Margaret?”

“Please.” She held out the delicate china cup.

“It’s the same thing, time and time again. Some fast-talking rascal approaches him with a deal that’s a sure thing. It could be a gold mine that everyone thinks is played out, but, oh no, there’s gold every engineer and prospector have somehow missed, and they need money to open up a new mother lode. And, of course, he believes it, and he invests money, and then, boom! It’s gone.”

“Gone? Which, the mine or the money?”

Margaret was rewarded with an irritated look. “Both. Well, the mine still exists, but it’s worthless. Not only is the money gone, but whatever rascal talked him into it is gone, too – with the cash, of course. Not a penny is ever returned on the investment. Even if the con man doesn’t disappear, the mine’s been picked clean. Or, if they do find three ounces of gold, the original owner still holds the title to everything. It’s just another investment gone bad, and there’s no crime to be prosecuted.”

Margaret blew on the steaming tea, stalling for time while she tried to think of something original to say. Inspiration failed her. Each visit for tea meant listening to a long list of complaints that eventually came back to money and the lack of it.

“Honestly. You’d think a banker would know better, wouldn’t you?” 

“Yes, you would! When I confront him about it, he always says, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ Nothing gained and plenty lost, that’s what I say. I’ve told him to stop speculating and concentrate on making his bank profitable for a change, but he refuses to listen to me. It’s like talking to a wall. I’m not a fool, you know. I haven’t been Mrs. August Binford for twenty years without learning something about banking and investments. And the first thing I learned was, don’t throw good money after bad. We’d be better off if I ran the bank and he managed the home, that’s what I think.” She flounced onto the overstuffed sofa, spreading her voluminous skirt carefully around her.

“Oh, Winifred.” Margaret leaned forward to pat her friend’s hand. “It must be so hard for you.”

“It is. If my father hadn’t put this house and land in a protected trust, August would’ve mortgaged it by now, and we’d be homeless. Homeless, I tell you! As the wife of a bank president, I have a position in society to maintain, and I certainly couldn’t do that from some hovel.”

“No, I suppose not.” She held the teacup to her lips, trying to hide her smile. The mental picture of the very proper Winifred Binford trying to rule local society from a broken-down cabin, bossing around her husband while he mucked out a pig slough, was satisfying. She decided to change the subject.

“Are you still planning to go to Europe for a few months? I know you’ve been talking with your husband about that for some time now.”

“Talking about it, yes. But every time I bring it up, August says we can’t afford it, not on his salary. I would think a bank president makes a handsome salary, wouldn’t you? But August says no, we don’t have the money. Sometimes I think even he doesn’t know where his money goes.”

Margaret kept her face carefully blank. Apparently, Winifred was still the only person in town who didn’t know where her husband’s money was going.

“Perhaps next year,” she soothed. “After all, his responsibilities have increased since that terrible robbery when poor Mr. Wells was killed. He has to handle all the manager’s duties as well as his own.”

“True, true. It takes so much of his time. He was away a lot before that happened, but now, he’s almost never home! He’s gone most evenings.”

Margaret’s expression didn’t change. She knew where August Binford spent his evenings. It was common knowledge that he kept a mistress. She wondered, not for the first time, about her duty as a friend. Should she tell Winifred the truth about Betsy, or was it more kind to keep silent? The truth would certainly be painful to hear. On the other hand, the prospect of seeing August Binford and that little trollop face the well-deserved wrath of the formidable Winifred was almost irresistible.

“Anyway,” Winifred continued, oblivious to her friend’s dilemma, “What I wanted to tell you is, he’s changed, truly changed. All the years of speculating on mining stocks and failing are over. Everything has changed.”

“Really! Changed how? You mean August stopped listening to lying rascals and started listening to you instead?”

Winifred reached for a lace fan and snapped it open. Margaret gritted her teeth. She could do without the dramatic pauses. But she was a lady, she reminded herself, and she would behave. Besides, Winifred’s position as the bank president’s wife did give her a high social status, and no woman with hopes of inclusion in decent society could cross her. 

“I really shouldn’t say anything, but . . . oh, for heaven’s sake. Everyone will know soon enough. Margaret, I am SO excited.” She leaned forward, whispering conspiratorially, even though the two women were alone in the parlor. “Now you mustn’t tell anyone, especially that sister of yours whose husband runs the newspaper. I’m sorry to have to say this, but you know what a magpie she is. Anything she hears shows up in the newspaper the next day.”

“Of course, it would. She’s the society columnist. She’s supposed to write about everything she hears.”

“Yes, yes, of course. But not just yet. August wants to make a proper formal announcement.”

“Now I’m intrigued,” Margaret said. “Formal announcement about what? Has he found an abandoned mine with an undiscovered mother lode after all?”

Winifred sat up straight, shoulders back, ample bosom lifted. “Even better. It’s a diamond field. He’s discovered a rich diamond field and he’s organized a corporation to sell shares. We are going to be wealthier than we ever imagined!”

Margaret was too stunned to reply. Winifred reached out and put a reassuring hand on her friend’s arm.

“Now don’t worry. While we will certainly be spending significant time in Europe, we are not going to forget our friends here.” 

“A diamond field? In these parts? I’ve never heard of such a thing. My dear, are you sure this isn’t another hairbrained scheme?”

“Positive!” Winifred pulled back, as if she were insulted. “August has been there himself with the prospectors who discovered it. He showed me the diamonds he found there.”

“He found diamonds? Where, just lying on the ground, like bread crumbs on the floor after dinner? Winifred. Please. No one has ever heard of diamonds being discovered in this part of the country. It must be some sort of devious confidence game. You’ve told me yourself how gullible August can be, how easily he can be taken in by a smooth talker. He’s being fooled again; can’t you see that?”

“Not this time.” Winifred was as close to gushing as she ever came. “Oh, I know what you’re thinking, and I don’t blame you. I’ve complained about August’s failed ventures often, and bless your heart, you’ve been nothing but patient with me and my troubles. And yes, it’s true, he’s been carried away before, but this time, he took an expert with him to inspect the diamond field, a mining engineer, and the engineer certified that it’s real. Absolutely certified it! And now August has set up a corporation and will be selling shares.”

“My goodness! Certified by a mining engineer, you say?”

“Yes, indeed, someone who knows firsthand how diamonds are found in Africa. I doubted the story too, at first. I thought the same thing as you, especially when he told me about the prospectors who discovered the diamond field, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones. I mean, really! I thought those names had to be aliases, but August told me, they have to be real because no crook would be stupid enough to make up suspicious names like that. Anybody knows that.”

“Anybody who’s so desperate for money he’s willing to believe lies told by some charming rascals. Oh Winifred! My husband has seen those two around town, the ones who call themselves Smith and Jones. They spend every night at the saloon, gambling until the small hours. No one knows anything about them, who they really are, where they came from. They have no visible means of support except what they win at the gaming tables. Sheriff Acuff was asked to investigate them, but he said, as long as they don’t break any laws in his town, he doesn’t intend to bother with them. They could be wanted men, for all we know. Even if they’re not criminals, they certainly are clever rascals, the very type of con man who’s tricked August in the past. Why would you believe anything those two would say?”

Winifred shook her head. “I’ll tell you why. It’s not only the report from the mining engineer. August had the jeweler in town verify the value of the uncut stones those two brought in for deposit, and they’re real. And, he sent those raw, uncut diamonds to T.F. Ayres in New York, and they certified that the stones were of the very highest quality. They are worth a fortune.”

“Heavens.” Margaret carefully put her cup in the saucer. “That does make the story more believable, doesn’t it?” Winifred only smiled. “And he’s set up a corporation, you said?”

“Yes, he has, the American Diamond Company. In fact, he’s meeting with Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones right now to get them to sign over the claim, giving the corporation control of the diamond field. He’s so confident, he’s already paying them $50,000 for their claim. Yes, that much. Don’t look like that, Margaret; that expression ages you. It’s a pittance, though, considering the value of the shares. In fact – “ Both women turned at the sound of the front door opening, and both jumped slightly at the sound of it being slammed hard. Heavy footsteps stomped down the hall.

“August, dear, is that you, home so early?” Winifred called out.

The footsteps paused, then continued towards the parlor where the two women sat. August Binford appeared in the doorway.

“Yes, it’s me, dear.” He seemed to notice Margaret suddenly.

“Margaret. Hello. I didn’t know you were visiting today. How pleasant to see you again.” His tone of voice indicated that seeing her was anything but pleasant. The two women exchanged silent looks.

“Of course, you wouldn’t remember, dearest. You’ve been so busy lately with the business of the diamond field,” Winifred soothed. “I’ve just been telling Margaret all about your wonderful new corporation.”

“You’ve been doing what?” His voice rose till it was almost shrill and his face reddened. “You’ve been discussing that, when I specifically told you to say nothing about it until everything was signed? How could you do that, when you promised me you wouldn’t?”

The women exchanged another quick glance, almost frightened by his words and expression.

“I’m sure it’s no harm done, August,” Margaret said. “Winifred tells me everything was being signed today, isn’t that right? And please don’t be harsh with her. After all, you’ll want word to get out, since you’re selling shares.”

“And you’re quite good at seeing word gets out, aren’t you? Or that sister of yours is. Always has her ear to the ground, doesn’t she? Always interfering in other people’s business. Always a busybody.”

“August!” Winifred rose, shocked. “How terribly rude! You do not address guests in that manner! Ever!”

Margaret also rose, but silently. She reached for her hat and put it on.

“I can see that I am no longer welcome here,” she said, but quietly. “Unfortunately, Horace is not coming to pick me up for another half hour, but I can wait outside on the porch. Thank you for your hospitality, Winifred. As always, you are the perfect hostess.” Her chill glance switched to August. “Sadly, I can’t say the same about everyone in this residence. Good day to you both.”

August quickly stepped over to intercept her.

“My dear Margaret, please forgive me. I don’t know what came over me. The stress of this deal, I suppose. It’s the biggest I’ve ever –” He looked desperately at his wife. “Winifred, please tell her. It’s just – help me out, will you?”

“Yes, of course,” she said. “Won’t you sit down, Margaret, and give August a chance to explain?”

Margaret looked from husband to wife and back again and relented. “Well . . . of course, August, I forgive you.” Winifred relaxed, but August, if anything, looked more ill at ease. “And you needn’t blame Winifred. She didn’t tell me any details, only the broad outline. It sounds like a marvelous opportunity.” She reached to take her hat off again but stopped when August interrupted her.

“Actually . . . actually, I think it is best if you excuse us. Some issues have arisen on which I must consult my wife. In private. Very confidential matters, you see. A unique case. If you wouldn’t mind waiting on the porch . . . “

Winifred stared at her husband, her mouth slightly open, but saying nothing. She appeared to be in shock.

“Yes, perhaps that’s best. I certainly don’t want to intrude on a private conversation.” She reached over and took Winifred’s hand. “I’ll just wait on the porch. Horace should be here shortly. I hope you’ll call on me soon, dear.”

Winifred finally recovered her voice. “Yes. Of course.” Turning to her husband, she asked, “I hope this is really necessary, August. You’ve certainly embarrassed yourself, and me, by your behavior.”

“We need to talk,” he said. “Now.”

“I’ll see myself out.” Margaret slipped quietly out of the room, leaving her hosts standing with their fists clenched. It felt good to step outside and close the front door behind her. The tension in the parlor was suffocating. She turned and looked at the door, as if staring at it would provide the reasons for that little scene she’d just witnessed, but the door kept its secrets. She sat down in a wicker chair and settled down to wait. She wished she had something to read.

She had barely gotten comfortable before she heard something from inside the house. She turned sideways and tried to make out what the sound was. Realization made her sit up with surprise – August and Winifred were shouting at each other. She leaned forward, trying to make out what they were saying. It wasn’t August shouting as much as it was Winifred. The words were indistinct, but the tone wasn’t. Then the sound changed – it wasn’t shouting so much as . . . was Winifred crying? And shouting, too? Something crashed, then something else. Were they throwing things? It sounded like something breaking. She hoped it wasn’t the tea set, because it was a very lovely set of china and was probably worth a pretty penny.

 She wasn’t sure what to do. She wasn’t sure what she could do, since her host and hostess had clearly exiled her to the porch so that she wouldn’t hear their conversation. She was torn between putting her ear to the door and trying to make out the words, and walking away, down the path, where she could meet Horace, and where she didn’t have to be witness to the ugliness happening within. A lady, Margaret decided, was discreet. She got up and started walking.

She’d barely walked a hundred yards before she saw Horace coming with the wagon. She stood to the side and waited for him. He pulled up the horses about 20 feet in front of her. He was grinning as she walked up to him.

“Was it that bad, you had to run off?” he asked. He got down and helped her onto the seat, then expertly turned the horses around to head back home.

“How come you didn’t wait for me on the porch, Mama?” he asked. “You didn’t need to walk out to meet me.”

“Mr. Binford came home early. He wanted to talk to Mrs. Binford privately, so I excused myself a little early.”

“Must’ve been pretty important, if he came home in the middle of the day to talk to her. Usually he does anything he can to avoid her and that house.”

“I suppose so,” she said. “How was your day?”

“I saw someone famous. You’ll never guess who.”

“In this town? You’re right, I could never guess. Who?”

“A sheriff from Wyoming, name of Lom Trevors. Used to run with the Devil’s Hole Gang when he started out, then he went straight. Keeps a low profile, but I heard tell the Wyoming governor uses him for all sorts of special secret cases.”

“Really? So he’s on a special, secret case in this town?” August Binford’s pale face flashed into her memory. 

“Guess so. I saw him walking with that Smith fellow, who’s been hanging around town the last couple weeks. Got to be some sort of crime they’re investigating, else Trevors wouldn’t be here. Maybe they’re working on the bank robbery. Can’t think of much else criminal to bring them to town, can you?”

Margaret twisted around in her seat to take one last look at the Binford residence. 

“No,” she said, “I can’t think of much else.”
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Nebraska Wildfire

Nebraska Wildfire

Posts : 151
Join date : 2016-12-10
Location : The Sonoran Desert

August Empty
PostSubject: August   August EmptyWed Aug 22, 2018 11:45 am

“Heyes, remind me again why we are in Arizona in August?”  The Kid took off his brown hat, and wiped his brow, for what might have been the tenth time in the last hour.  “You know if we keep coming down south this time of year, I’m gonna need a hat with a wider brim.”

He looked at the surrounding desert landscape, pulling his hat back down to shield his eyes from the oppressive sunlight.  All he saw was barren earth, saguaros, and palo verde trees.  It could be debated whether they were actually trees.  Curry looked up at the one under which they waited, and seemed thankful for the minimal shade that their thin leaves actually provided.  As his partner had yet to reply, he turned and glared at him, as much as the intense sun would allow.

“Heyes?” he repeated, losing one of the last shreds of his patience.

Hannibal Heyes had his new black hat pulled low over his eyes.  It helped to deflect the sun.  It also kept his cousin’s stares from penetrating his thoughts.

“Now, Kid, I’ve already told you that.”  He finally looked over and met Curry’s gaze.  “This is a perfect plan.  No one will expect us to pull a job this time of year.”

“Maybe that’s because they ain’t crazy, Heyes.”  The Kid was not going to let it go.

“Now, Kid, we just have to wait until Wheat and Kyle get back.”  

“And then, what?”

Heyes glared at his partner.  “I have explain it to you again?  Like I had to for Wheat?  And yet again for Kyle?”

“No, Heyes,” the Kid just shook his head.  “I know the plan.  I just want to know what put this idea into your head.”

“Because it’s brilliant.”

The Kid just stared again at Heyes, until something out of the corner of his vision caught his attention.  “Riders.”

“Where?”  Heyes scanned the flat horizon.

“Heck, Heyes, this land is flatter than western Kansas,” the Kid observed.  “And that’s saying something.”  The land spread out, until it suddenly rose into the surrounding mountains.
“They’re just coming out of that valley,” the Kid nodded.

“Oh.”  Heyes pulled off his hat and wiped his brow too.  “Better be Wheat and Kyle, or…”

“Or what?”  Curry laughed quietly to himself.  “Your plan won’t work?”

Heyes pulled his horse around to face Kid Curry.  “No, Kid.  It’s gonna work.  The train with the payroll should have left Prescott already, and the wagon with the gold from the mine should have left the Superstitions.  They should meet here, right north of the Salt River, in these here foothills.”  Heyes looked around as the sun started to set.  He was hoping they would at least get some shade, if not cooling breezes here in this niche between the two ranges of the Salt River Mountains.  “When did those clouds appear?”

“A bit ago, while you were thinkin’ about your grand plans,” the Kid replied.

“Well, they look quite a ways off,” Heyes dismissed this complication.

They camped that night without a fire.  Wheat, of course, complained.

“So why do Lobo and the rest of the boys get to stay down at the saloon, in, what’s that town called?”

“I think they’re gonna call it Phoenix,” Heyes reminded Wheat.

“What’s a fee-nix, Heyes?” Kyle asked.  “Some sort of wild cat?  Or pig, like them hava-linas?”

“No, a phoenix is a bird,” Heyes answered, as he settled on the ground, his head against his saddle, tipping his hat over his eyes.  “It comes back to life, after burning up.”

“Too bad we ain’t one o’ them fee-nixes,” Wheat grumbled.  “I’m hot enough to burn up.  This wind just ain’t gonna cool anything down.  And I’m hungry.”

“There’s jerky,” the Kid offered.

“And I’m askin’ again, Heyes,” Wheat wouldn’t let it go.  “Why are we up in these here hills, and not down where we can get a cool beer?  And some real food.”

“Don’t want to tip off the local law, with a big group of us,” the Kid offered.  

Heyes used a finger to push up his hat, and glanced over at his cousin.  

“I do listen, Heyes, even if I don’t always agree,” the Kid said, before biting off another bit of jerky.

“I didn’t see much law when we passed through,” Wheat continued to grouse.

“There is in Prescott,” Heyes replied shortly.

“Still don’t understand what that had to do with staying in Fee-nix,” Wheat countered.

“Wheat, like the Kid done said,” Kyle started.

“Ain’t you hungry too, Kyle?” Wheat countered.  “And thirsty?”

“Wall, yes, I reckon, but…”

“This discussion is finished.”  Heyes lifted his hat again, and glared at each of them, the Kid included, who just shrugged and raised his hands.  “I done told you all at least once, that we needed to watch the trail here, to make certain there weren’t any messengers going to either the mine, or Prescott, to tip them off.”  He reseated his hat.  “The rest of the boys are supposed to slip out of town tomorrow, and get up here in plenty of time.”

Wheat and Kyle eventually settled into their bedrolls, but sleep did not come easily to Curry or Heyes.

“I still don’t like this, Heyes,” the Kid said quietly after the others were asleep.

“Why, Kid?”

“We’re getting so that robbing banks and trains go just like clockwork,” he started.

“Yes, because of some very good planning,” Heyes said smugly.

“So why are we trying this?” the Kid asked.  “Lots can go wrong.  Some of the boys can get hurt.”

“That won’t happen, Kid,” Heyes assured him.

“Why?” the Kid challenged.  “Just ‘cause you said so?”

“No, Kid,” Heyes huffed.  “Because I planned it out.  We checked out the men who were going to be guarding both shipments, right?”

The Kid nodded.  “They’re from Colorado.

Heyes returned the nod.  “They ain’t used to this heat.”

“Neither are we, Heyes.”

“Now, Kid, that ain’t true,” Heyes countered.  “We’ve been down in this heat before.”

“Not on purpose,” the Kid shook his head, and then fixed his cousin with his icy blue glare.  “Not to do a job.”

“Come on, Kid,” Heyes captured the Kid’s gaze.  “You gotta have faith.”

The next day dawned clear and hot.  There were a few scattered clouds on the horizon still, but Heyes discounted them.  It was when they started building into a thundercloud that he really started to worry.

“When is the train due, Heyes?” the Kid asked quietly, as they waited, flat on the ground, just behind the crest of the hill.  Heyes had his field glasses to his face, but the tracks were still empty, except for the pile of railroad ties that were heaped on them at a spot not long after they came around the hill, but far enough to be able to stop without derailing.  Heyes picked the spot carefully.  They would be able to mount their horses and be at the tracks just as the train slowed before the barrier.  He could hear the sound of the men talking quietly, and the tack on the horses jingling occasionally.  Luckily the wind was blowing in their faces, so the sounds would not travel down into the valley.

“You know as well as I do, Kid,” Heyes replied and then looked towards his cousin.  “About twenty minutes from now.”

The Kid held out his hand for the glasses, and Heyes handed them over.  The Kid did not aim them down towards the tracks, but up at the clouds.  “They don’t look good, Heyes.”

“This ain’t Kansas, Kid.  The rain won’t make it to this side of the mountains,” Heyes insisted, trying to convince the Kid, and maybe convince himself.

“And what is that over towards the Estrella Mountains?” the Kid asked.  

Heyes took back the field glasses, and said something he had not learned from his parents.

“Dust storm, ain’t it?”  The Kid asked.

Heyes just nodded, his lips forming into a thin, tense line.  He looked at the approaching wall of dirt, and then back where they had hidden the gold shipment wagon.  As much gold as they could stuff into saddle bags was sitting underneath, along with trussed up driver and guards.

“We ain’t gonna be able to outrun it, not weighed down by gold,” the Kid offered.  

“Don’t you think I know that, Kid?”  Heyes scrubbed his face.  “Be quiet and let me think.”

The Kid shrugged, and reached out for the glasses again.  He sighed as he looked at the speed of the approaching storm.

“Go get the boys ready,” Heyes said, more sharply than usual.  

“We don’t need to mount up for ten minutes, right?” his cousin asked.

“Just go and let me scheme.”  Heyes cleared his throat.  “Please, Kid?”

Curry just nodded, and headed down the hill.

They actually managed to stop the train just before the front of the dust storm hit.

Five minutes before the train was due to arrive, they were all mounted, except for Lobo who was watching the train approach from the top of the hill.  He would signal them when it was time to break cover.  Heyes had also left Slick and Hognose behind.  This was not part of the plan.

“Heyes,” Wheat looked upset.  “You sure we still got enough men to pul this off?”  He looked towards where they were guarding the couriers from the gold shipment.  

“You want them to get loose and make off with the gold?” Heyes had pulled his horse next to Carlson’s.  His voice was raised a bit, which showed his annoyance at being questioned, but also was necessary because of the strengthening wind.

“Well, no,” Wheat started, but Heyes interrupted him.

“Then let me do the thinking.”  He turned his horse, to position himself to be first down the hill. The Kid sidled closer to where Heyes waited.

“You worried about whether the gold will still be here,” the Kid said quietly.  “Or the men?”

“They could get loose and hightail it to Prescott to bring the law,” Heyes answered.

“Or choke in the dust,” the Kid replied.

“I told Slick and Hognose to make certain they all had their bandanas over their faces when the dust comes.”  Heyes didn’t look at his cousin.

“You think Slick and Hognose are smart enough to pull up their own bandanas?” the Kid asked.

Heyes finally met his partner’s eyes.  “Can’t leave them here by themselves all tied up with the storm approaching.”

“No, Heyes, we can’t.”  The Kid was finally satisfied, and turned to watch for Lobo’s signal.

“Heyes, you ever gonna get that open?” Wheat Carlson said as he and Kyle Murtry strode into the baggage car where the safe stood.

“Not if you all keep coming in here and making noise,” Heyes replied testily.  “Who’s watching the passengers?”

They had not been able to take the people off the train, like they normally did, as the dust storm hit right after they had boarded the train, and taken control.  They had barely had time to securely hobble their horses in the protection of the far side of the train cars.

“The Kid’s doin’ a fine job, Heyes,”  Kyle smiled and spat into the corner.  He raised his voice over the sound of the wind.  “You be needing the dynamite?”  He patted his coat pocket, gingerly.

“Not yet, Kyle,” Heyes answered with a tight smile.  “But thanks for offering.”  He locked gazes with Wheat.  “You two go back and make certain no one is getting any ideas.”  Another gust shook the train.  “Send the Kid back here.”

“Sure thing, Heyes,” Kyle smiled.  “But just let me know if’n you’ll be needin’ me back.”  He turned to exit the railcar.  After one last glare exchanged with Heyes, Wheat followed.

By the time the Kid had made it back to the baggage car, Heyes had just about given up.  He looked up as Curry came to stand by him.

“The dang wind is just too noisy.”  He shook his head.  “How are the passengers?”

“Not good, Heyes,” the Kid answered, shaking his head.  “They are all anxious from the storm.  Some of the womenfolk are crying, and some of the men look ready to try something.”  He paused for a moment.  “I told Kyle to come on back after they had cleared the car next to us.”

“You had so little faith in me, Kid, that you had to come up with a plan B?”  Heyes looked like he wanted to be annoyed, but then the train shook with another gust.

“I thought that is what my job is, Heyes, to keep you alive and from doin’ stupid things.”  He locked gazes with his cousin.  “I’m going to go back and help Wheat keep ‘em calm.”

Heyes just nodded, and stood up as Kyle entered the car with a big smile on his face.

“We have to use the smallest amount possible, Kyle,” Heyes cautioned him.

The smile started to slide off the short outlaw’s face, but then he just nodded.  “Yeah, there’s some youngens on this here train, so we don’t want anyone to get hurt.”  He sadly looked over his cache of dynamite, and put a few back in his pocket.

Heyes nodded.  “That looks about right,” he agreed.  “You need me back here?”

Kyle just shook his head, his focus now on the job at hand.

“How long do you need?” Heyes asked.

Kyle looked at his supplies once more, and at the construction of the safe.  “Give me ‘bout five minutes, and then have them hunker down.”

Heyes nodded and turned to find the Kid.

In the agreed to five minutes, there was a slight rumble that went through the wheels of the train.  The wind had muffled most of the sound of the explosion.  The passengers looked up momentarily, but then their focus went back to the dust storm visible outside the windows.

“Wheat,” Heyes caught the attention of the larger man.  “Go help Kyle get it all packed up.”

Carlson looked like he wanted to argue, but with the muttering of the passengers, he just cleared his throat and headed toward the back of the train.

Heyes locked eyes with the Kid, and they both also headed toward that end of the rail car.

“What now, Heyes?” the Kid asked quietly, facing away from the passengers.  “The storm is still blowing.”

Hannibal Heyes nodded, staring out the windows, and laughing silently.  “Sometimes I wonder if it weren’t for bad luck, if we’d have have luck at all.”  He turned back towards Curry.  “There enough rope to tie up those who might be trouble makers?”

The Kid turned back towards the passengers, appraisingly.  “Yeah, just, I think.”  He looked back towards Heyes.  “What then?”

“You think you can track us back to where we left the gold?”

The Kid looked again into the swirling dust.  “Yeah, just.”

“Then let’s not waste any more time, and get it done.”

They rode out of the dust storm about an hour away from Phoenix.  They were just heading up into the hills of the Tonto Forest, when the rain started coming down in a deluge.

“Heck, Heyes,” Wheat Carlson seemed unaccountable happy, even if he was shouting into the wind.  “First I get dust in every and I mean every possible crack in my body, and now it’s all turning to mud.  This was another great plan o’ yours.”

“Just shut up, Wheat,” the Kid glared over at Carlson.

“What are you all complaining about?” Heyes smiled even though rain was streaming down his face.  “We got the gold, we got the payroll, and there ain’t no sign at all of a posse.   We’re even getting the mud washed off.  What more can you want?”

“Maybe a new hat with a wider brim,” the Kid hunched into his already sodden coat, as they continued on towards Wyoming and Devil’s Hole.   “And never to be in Arizona in August, ever again.”

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August Empty
PostSubject: Re: August   August EmptyMon Aug 27, 2018 11:45 am


“Did you ever think that we’d end up here?”

Kid Curry stretched his tongue like he was trying to rid himself of a particularly bad taste.  His partner and long-time trail companion, Hannibal Heyes, visibly shuddered.

“Not in my wildest dr… nightmares … Kid… Not even then.”

Heyes squared his shoulders and straightened his neck, breathed in purposefully, and wrapped his knuckles hard on the outer door of the Wyoming Territorial Prison.

Kid groaned and lowered his head till his chin was buried in his chest.  He couldn’t grow a beard in a week like Heyes, he had to rely on the copious trail dust he’d left to crust his face.  When it came to it however, this thin veil of dirt seemed far too inadequate a disguise for his too well-known face.  How could their so-called friend, and ally in the acquisition of an amnesty, have agreed with the Territorial Governor that they were the best candidates for a job like this.

“What do you want!” came a surly voice from the other side of the large wooden door.  The ominous rattle of a large key in the lock accompanied the enquiry. Heyes’ stomach muscles spasmed involuntarily, releasing a fearsome groan.  Kid groaned even louder, wiping at his eyes with his gun hand, removing a layer of precious dirt to fall to the ground and sprinkle his boots. His hand was quickly removed, first reflexively finding the hilt of his Colt, then schooled to his belt buckle.

Heyes gave him an annoyed look of ‘Will you cut that out!’ 
Heyes cleared his throat. His first attempt at speech came out as a squeak, which he rapidly covered with a manly cough.

“Huuum… Deputies Smith and Jones here… Acting for Sheriff Lom Trevors …of Porterville…. On the orders of …erm… the The Governor… hisself…. Here to collect…. a prisoner… that is to say… a former prisoner… and to transport …same… to… erm… himself…. That is to say…. Sheriff Trevors… not the Governor…”

Kids eyes rolled in pain.

The large door swung open, slowly, to reveal a uniformed, buffalo-shouldered, armed guard staring disapprovingly into the daylight.  His pale skin spoke of the darkness behind him.  Heyes reflexively smiled, then realising his mistake, immediately scowled at the guard.

“And …we haven’t got all day …to be about it …neither!”  he stated firmly.

The guard looked.  He took in every inch of the former outlaw leader, and then, purposefully leaned out of the doorway, to give Kid Curry a similar once over.  Heyes saw Kid’s cheeks start to crimp, and shook a warning negative.  Kid tried to look like he thought a Deputy on duty should look, nodding curtly, and quickly turning away to scan the surrounds of the prison for trouble.

The Prison building was at quite a remove from Laramie.  Any trouble would have been more than visible for miles around.
There was none. 

Kid nodded that this was the case to the guard, and repeated the single word,


just in case the over-sized man hadn’t got the message; they were deputies, they weren’t prisoners.

“Hmmmm” said the guard, unimpressed by the vigilance.

“You’d best come in then” he said turning away and disappearing back into the gloom.

Heyes looked stricken just for a second, nodding assent to the retreating guard’s back.  He eyed that black rectangle of threshold like it was a portal to Hell, then he turned to Kid, grabbed his arm, and swung him around like a shield as he marched them both into the Wyoming Territorial Prison like soldiers advancing to war.

They stood in a dark vestibule. 

The enormous guard had disappeared behind a door marked ‘Governor’. The reformed outlaws had a sickening feeling of déjà vu, stood outside such a door, whilst others beyond decided their fate.

They couldn’t look at each other in that place.

“Gentlemen!” came a high, jovial sounding voice from the suddenly open office door in front of them. 

“What an auspicious occasion, that brings two such August Gentlemen as yourselves, to our door.  I must say, I was rather enjoying the anticipation of your visit, and now…Here you are, at last.”

He eyed them up and down, only now taking in their battered dirty clothes, Heyes’ full beard and Kid’s considerable trail dust encrusted face. He shook his head slightly, dismissing as a trifle, his disappointment that they’d failed to look as he’d expected.

“Now that you’re here, I intend to make the most of your visit.  Won’t you come and join me in my office.”

Kid, who had his back to the wall and hadn’t taken his eyes off the outside door for more than a second, grunted and smiled briefly at the invitation but deferred to Heyes’ judgement.  If they were going into that office, there had better be a window to the outside.

Heyes smiled his most charming smile, given the beard.

“August? … Us?  No…no… You must be expecting someone else.  We’re just a pair o’ regular deputies … Here to collect a prisoner … for … erm… well that is to say… a former prisoner… one that’s already paid…”

The Governor beamed happily and gushed over Heyes’ assertions.

“Yes… Yes… I know all about …everything! I’m fully briefed… fully briefed.”

He seemed to delight in the effect his words were having on Wyoming’s most wanted men.  Heyes had stopped in his tracks, his lips still searching for words.

“Everything?” questioned Kid in a cold, calm voice.

“Oh yes… Oh yes…. This is an occasion to be savoured Gentlemen …. Auspicious indeed… Now won’t you come in.”

He stood aside and waved an arm into the Office.  He said no more, eyeing them with the beady eyes of a spider inviting a fly to its web.

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August Empty
PostSubject: Re: August   August EmptyFri Aug 31, 2018 8:38 pm

The first part of this story can be found here:A Case of Mistaken Identity  Just in case you want to read it.

If not, my mini summary is here:

Dental Dilemma

Heyes hummed under his breath as they rode back to the Howard spread. The moon was high in the sky and illuminated the dirt path. Heyes absently patted his vest pocket, checking the money that he knew was there. He’d won $200 and the Kid had won $50 and no one had been a sore loser. All in all, a good night.

“I’ve been thinking,” Heyes said as he caught his chestnut up with his partner’s dark gelding.

“That ain’t exactly unusual,” Kid replied.  

Heyes ignored his partner’s comment with the ease of long practice. “You were right, what you said about us leaving.” 

They’d talked it over during dinner and the Kid was nervous about the sheriff going through posters and said they needed to leave. Honestly, Heyes agreed with his partner but figured they had enough time to win at poker before they had to decide anything. Sheriff Orville Seward hadn’t been suspicious, but it never hurt to be cautious.

“Can you say that again?” Kid asked and although his hat shaded his face in the moonlight, Heyes could hear his smile. “The part where you admitted I was right. You usually only admit it after we’ve got the posse on our tail.”

Heyes rolled his eyes. “I’m just saying we tell the Howards we’re leavin’ tomorrow, collect our money, and go.”

“You won’t find any arguments here,” Kid said and then he suddenly slowed his horse, holding up a hand.

Heyes reined in his horse and saw what his partner had; lanterns bobbing along in the twilight outside the Howard’s house. Had they been discovered? It was the weirdest posse search ever, if so.

The partners listened and then relaxed after the conversation drifted their way. 

“Just wear one of your old spares,” Mrs. Howard said.

“I’m telling you, Alma, I laid ‘em outside. They’re my favorite set!” Mr. Howard replied.

“I’m done looking, you can ask the boys when they come in,” Mrs. Howard said exasperated as she headed inside the house.

Mystery solved, Heyes and the Kid rode to the barn and Mr. Howard walked over.

“Boys! I can’t find my teeth! Take a lantern and look, why don’t you? I’ll give an extra five dollars to whoever finds ‘em.”

“I have to tend the horses, but Joshua here has a buddin’ interest in dentistry,” Kid said with an easy smile.

Heyes gave his partner a look. “We’ll both look, after we take care of the horses.”

“I’m obliged. You can find lanterns in the barn,” Mr. Howard said.

They rode inside and took care of the equines before grabbing lanterns, lighting them, and starting the search. 

Heyes remained inside the barn and so the Kid headed outside. The large moon helped, but he kept the lantern low as he started looking around. Suddenly remembering the first unlikely place he’d found a pair of false teeth, Kid Curry opened the door to the chicken coop as quietly as possible. Just as Kid unlatched the door and held up the lantern, the rooster flew out at him, spurs forward. 

Kid proved he had the fastest reflexes in the west by dodging the incoming talons and managing not to drop the lantern or snuff out the light. 

“Catch him!” Mr. Howard cried from the front porch. “We don’t let them roam at night.”

Kid made shooing noises and gestures, hoping to herd the rooster to the coop. He could just barely remember his ma having a nice old rooster that worked on, but he didn’t hold out much hope. Yep, the cock just tried to run around him. Kid blocked his escape and the two stood facing each other in the yard.

Hannibal Heyes had walked outside the barn and was watching his partner. He grinned when he saw the face off, both combatants staring the other down. 

“You want me to find him a gun belt so everything’s fair?” Heyes asked.

“Shut it,” Kid replied. “Why don’t you go be useful and find some feed?”

“I’m enjoying this too much,” Heyes replied.

Kid gave him a dark look.

Mr. Howard spoke up from the porch. “That rooster won’t come for anything, even food. You’ll have to catch him!”

“Wonderful,” Kid muttered. “Okay, Joshua, go find me a net.  Even if the spurs go through, it’ll buy me time.”

“I’m more interested in your contest, Thaddeus. I’d like to see which one of you wins. I mean, you’re both a little cocky,” Heyes said.

Kid shot a glare in his direction that Heyes couldn’t see but felt all the same. He chuckled.

“All right, all right,” Heyes said, opening the barn door again. “I’ll go look.”

“I’m gonna go check my jacket. Don’t stay out too long, boys,” Horace Howard said as he went inside.

That left Kid continuing to block the bird’s escape. “Go on and roost!” he told it. “It’s nighttime. You’re supposed to want to be in with your hens.”

“Maybe he’s feeling a little hen-pecked,” Heyes said as he returned with a pole fishing net and handed it over. “Try this.”

“Heaven forbid you try to catch him,” Kid said, taking the pole.

“I didn’t let him out,” Heyes replied. 

“Neither did I, he just up and went out,” the Kid muttered, lunging forward to net the rooster who let out an awful squawk. 

Curry twisted the net and ran toward the chicken coop. As he got near it, he dropped the pole and got to the net just as the rooster spurred through it. Kid caught the rooster’s legs and pulled him out, dangling him upside down as he flapped and cock-a-doodle-dooed. Heyes was unable to help due to the fact he was laughing. 

Securing the wings, Curry went to the door. “Open it!”

Heyes was chuckling, but he did open the coop’s door. Kid tossed the rooster inside and latched it. He had feathers on the brim of his hat and his tan leather jacket.

“Sheesh,” Kid said, dusting off his clothes.

Hannibal Heyes brushed the feathers off of his partner’s hat brim. “If you’re finished playing with the poultry, we can get back to the hunt.”

“Oh great,” Kid said sarcastically and the two went back to searching. 

After looking all around the yard, Heyes pulled up the well bucket and took a long cool drink. He was in the middle of a swallow when a pair of ivory false teeth rolled down the side of the bucket. Spluttering, Heyes dropped the bucket and spit out his drink of water.

“What’s the matter with you?” Kid asked, looking inside a pail.

“Nothing,” Heyes said.  He pocketed the teeth gingerly and headed to his partner.

“Hey Kid, I found-”

“Heyes, I got them-”

They both started to talk at the same time then gave each other a strange look. 

“You found them?” they asked each other in unison.

“I just got these out of an old lunch pail by the gate,” Kid said, showing porcelain dentures. “Where were yours?”

Heyes muttered something.


“In the well bucket.”

“How’d you think to look there?” Kid asked, impressed.

“I didn’t,” Heyes admitted. “I took a drink and they nearly bit me.”

Kid laughed.

“It’s not funny,” Heyes said, but he smiled ruefully. 

“It is.”

“Since we both found a pair, maybe we’ll both get the extra five dollars,” Heyes said optimistically.

They walked in the house and held up the teeth they found.

“Those aren’t mine,” Horace Howard said to their surprise.

“They certainly aren’t mine,” his wife declared primly—she still had her natural teeth.

“Mine either,” Kid added with a grin. 

“Or mine,” Heyes said, smiling with his partner.

“They must be yours, Horace,” Mrs. Howard said.

“I meant they aren’t the ones I was wearing earlier. The ones that don’t hurt so much.”

It was only at that point the partners looked at their employer in the indoor light. They looked at each other, incredulous, and then at their employer again. 

Finally Heyes spoke up. “You mean the ones in your mouth…?”

Mr. Howard put a hand to his mouth in surprise and then spat his teeth into his hand and stared before putting them back in. “Yes!”

“They were in your mouth the whole time??” Mrs. Howard started laughing.

“They didn’t hurt so I didn’t feel ‘em!” Mr. Howard tried to explain.

But it was too late and everyone was laughing. 

Eventually, Mr. Howard took the other two pairs. “You found ‘em and two more, so that’s $15.00 added on to your final pay.”

Heyes smiled. “Thank you. Look, Mr. and Mrs. Howard, you’ve been excellent hosts but we’re not gonna stay the extra two weeks. We’re heading out first thing.”

“Oh I hate to hear that, I’ll miss you boys,” Alma Howard said. 

“And we’ll miss you and your hospitality, ma’am,” Curry said gallantly. 

“So sweet,” she said, patting his arm. “You’re welcome to come back anytime.”

“I’ll get your pay gathered for the morning,” Mr. Howard added.

The four parted ways amiably and soon all went to bed.


The sun was shining in through the beige tatted curtains and Hannibal Heyes dared to hope it was going to be a good day. He rolled over and glanced at his partner in the other twin bed. The Kid was still sleeping until the troublesome rooster outside crowed and he finally stirred then stretched. 

Heyes smiled at him, brown eyes warm. “Good morning!” 

“That depends,” Kid replied, stretching as he sat up.


“Whether or not we got oatmeal for breakfast again,” Kid said, smiling.

Heyes chuckled and the two dressed, walking into the eating area with matched strides.

“Good morning boys!” Alma Howard called cheerfully from the kitchen. “We have fried potatoes, sausage, hot cakes and syrup. Sit yourselves down!”

“That sounds great Mrs. Howard,” Kid called to her as he took a seat.

“Where’re those extra teeth? Anyone seen ‘em?” Horace Howard yelled from another room. 

Heyes and the Kid exchanged a glance.

“You’re still standin’,” Kid said. “I’m sittin’ down.”

“So am I,” Heyes replied as he sat next to him. He’d barely been seated when he leapt up again. “Ow!”

“Not anymore,” Kid said as he leaned over and looked. He gingerly picked up Mr. Howard’s lower denture. “Looks like you found one pair.”

Heyes picked up the other half, thankful they were leaving soon even if the couple was nice and the pay was decent.

Mrs. Howard sighed as she entered the room and spotted the teeth, putting down a large tray of hotcakes. “I’m sorry for wherever those were. His second spare pair didn’t get put up either, so keep an eye out,” she said before she left the room to fetch more food.

“How ‘bout you find the other pair, too?” Kid asked innocently.

Heyes gave him a look.

Mr. Howard walked in the room. “Boys! Have you seen my spare teeth?”

“Here’s one set,” Heyes said as he handed them over and wiped his hand on his trousers. 

“Thanks. I don’t know where the other is.” Mr. Howard tucked them into his pocket. Luckily, the ones from last night were still in his mouth.

Kid and Heyes exchanged a look.

“So how many pairs do you have?” Kid asked, curious. Personally, if he never saw another set of dentures in his life, he’d be pleased.

“Oh I have loads.”

Everyone hushed as Mrs. Howard entered with several trays of food. Both Heyes and Curry stood to help her and the three of them got the rest of the food on the table.  If Kid happened to have put the sausage tray closest to him, well, it was a coincidence. 

Alma served everyone, dishing out extra meat to Heyes to fatten him up. As for Kid, she gave him two servings of everything to start with and soon they were all sitting and eating.

“I am so sorry you boys will be leaving,” Mrs. Howard said. “It’s been a delight to talk to people who keep their teeth where they belong.”

Mr. Howard snorted a laugh. “Sorry, Alma, they pinch me.”

“That isn’t any excuse,” she said. “August gentleman like you shouldn’t lay their teeth all over creation.”

“They hurt, I tell you.” Mr. Howard looked at ‘Smith’ and ‘Jones.’ “My advice to you is to take care of your teeth. I can’t even eat a whole sausage, have to cut it up into little bits. Can you imagine not being able to eat everything you want?”

“No,” Kid said with fervor.

Heyes smiled. “He really can’t.” 

“I’ve packed you both a big lunch and slid it in your saddle bags.” Alma Howard was a natural at mothering.

Kid smiled at her. “Thank you, ma’am.”

“You’re welcome,” Alma said and then looked at her husband. “Horace?”

Mr. Howard sighed. “Boys, you’ve done such a good job for us, I want to give you your pay and an extra bonus.” He handed Heyes an envelope. 

“Oh, you didn’t have to do that,” Kid said, eating his breakfast enthusiastically.

“But we’re very appreciative that you did,” Heyes said, never one to turn down money. Not when the folks could afford it and not when he’d just sat on a pair of pointy teeth. 

He glanced inside the envelope and smiled. Mr. Howard had given them an extra $50.00 along with the $15 they’d earned yesterday. They went to get their belongings and Mrs. Howard hugged them both.

“You sure you can’t stay?” Alma asked.

There was a loud pounding at the front door. 

Heyes and the Kid exchanged looks.

“Howard! Open up! This is the sheriff!” a voice boomed. 

“Yes ma’am, we have to be movin’ on,” Kid responded with a trace of irony.

They tossed their saddle bags over their shoulders. 

“Yes, no time like the present,” Heyes said.

Horace Howard gave them an appraising look as he came down the hall. “Go out the back you two.”

“What? Horace, we haven’t done anything—” Alma Howard began. 

We haven’t, Alma,” Mr. Howard said. “But am I wrong in thinking you boys would rather leave than clear it up?” 
He faced Heyes and Curry square on and they saw the look in his eyes. Smith and Jones, huh?, his expression asked. 

“Horace Howard,” the man at the door thundered. 

“Mr. and Mrs. Howard, we’re innocent, but we’re also prudent,” Heyes said. “We’ll just be heading out before your next visitor arrives.”

“Much obliged for all your cooking,” Kid said, glancing out a window. “There’s one by the back door, too,” he said under his breath to Heyes.

Mrs. Howard looked them over. “You two may be rascals, but there isn’t any harm in you. I guess we’ll just have to distract Orville for you!” she said, eyes sparkling. 

“What?” her husband asked.

“These are nice boys!” Alma said and before anyone could think of talking her out of it or stopping her, she went to the front door.

Heyes and Curry started back down the hall but, Mr. Howard grabbed Heyes’ arm. Curry halted, ready, but the man gave them a smile.

“The sheriff will have two deputies with him. One at the front and one waiting by the barn doors. I don’t reckon they know about the root cellar.” 

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry tipped their hats and headed for the root cellar. Curry moved in front of his partner and opened the door a crack. No one was in the line of sight. The gunman eased it open and the two climbed the stairs to the grass. A deputy was by the barn door. How could they distract him?

A man’s yell came from inside the house followed by the heavy sound of a fall.

Heyes and Curry looked at each other and then crept to an open window to listen.

“Oh my land,” Mrs. Howard cried. “I don’t know how those teeth got on the floor like that!”

With the windows open, the clatter had been heard and both deputies made to enter the house. Heyes and the Kid ran for the barn, but they both distinctly heard another yell. Had Mrs. Howard dropped a second pair of teeth for a deputy to slide on? 

They didn’t have time to find out. Heyes and Curry ran for their horses and tacked them deftly. They were out of the barn like a shot and rode like a posse was behind them. The reformed outlaws continued cantering, alternating with trotting until they needed to rest.

Heyes and the Kid both patted their horses on the neck after they halted.

“Think they followed us?” Kid asked.

Heyes shook his head. “Not at first. I think they had their own problems.”

“Y’know, Heyes,” Curry said in a thoughtful tone. “I never thought I’d say this but…I’m glad Mr. Howard couldn’t keep track of his teeth.”

Heyes chuckled. “Me too. Though I’ll be glad not to see any more dentures for a long while.”

“I thought that same thing, earlier,” Kid said, taking a few sips of water from a canteen then smiling at his best friend. “I keep trying to picture Mrs. Howard throwing the teeth on the floor in front of the sheriff and both deputies. I hope Mr. Howard’s dentures aren’t all broken.”

“I doubt if they are. He had more teeth than Kyle has dynamite,” Heyes said with a grin.

“Dunno what we’re smiling about,” Kid said in a half-hearted grumble. “We’re on the run yet again.”

“Well, you know what they say, Kid.” Heyes spoke with a sly tone.

Kid sighed and waited.

“You’ve got to smile while you still have your teeth.”

Curry groaned. “Come on, partner. Let’s put some more distance between us and the dentures!” 

The Kid squeezed his heels into his gelding’s side and the horse began moving once again. 

Heyes laughed and joined his partner in riding swiftly toward the horizon. “I couldn’t have said it better myself!”
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