Sounds of hammers, saws, and grunts echoed through Devil’s Hole. A storm came through a couple of nights before causing a lot of damage. The members of the gang worked throughout the compound cleaning up the debris and fixing what needed to be fixed. Heyes and Kid were busy working on the corral fence.
“Forty-six, forty-seven, forty-eight, forty-nine...er…Heyes, what comes after forty-nine?” Kyle called out.
“Fifty,” absently answered the leader of the Devil’s Hole Gang. As the question sunk in Heyes lifted his head and turned to look at the man. “Why?”
“Cause I’m countin’”
“Oh.” Heyes went back to his work. Stopping, he glanced at Kid with a puzzled look.
Kid returned the confused expression. “Kyle, why are you countin’.”
“Cause it’s my job.” He sat hunkered down behind the water trough.
The leaders exchanged another look. Heyes opened his mouth to say something and closed it. Concern spread across his face. “I thought your job was fixing the far side of the fence.”
“Yeah, but I thought this was more important.”
“More important?” Kid questioned Heyes. Then calling out to Kyle, “More important than keepin’ our horses in the corral?”
Heyes stood up and stopped working. “Kyle, what are you doing?”
“Told ya, I’m countin,’” he sighed. “Now ya made me lose count.”
Exasperated, Kid asked, “Why are you countin’?”
“So I know.”
Heyes took his hat off his head, ran his fingers through his hair and put it back on. Taking a deep breath so he didn’t explode, he tried again, “Know what?”
“How long ‘for the dynamite explodes.”
“Dynamite!” Kid exclaimed and then noticed Kyle’s position.
The leaders glanced at each other and then dashed behind some hay bales.
“Yep,” he spit some chew. “Aww, ya talkin’ to me and I lost count again… forty-seven, forty-eight…forty…”
“Kyle!” Heyes interrupted
“Nine…..er, yeah, Heyes?”
“Why are you playing with dynamite?”
“I ain’t playin’. Gotta check when it’s gonna blow.”
“We already know that,” Kid stated, hands lightly covering his ears, head tucked down.
“Only for the good stuff,” the scruffy man asserted.
“This isn’t the good stuff?” Heyes, positioned next to Kid, peaked out around the bale.
“Nope, we’s out of the good stuff.”
Heyes sat up.“We’re out of the good stuff?”
“Yep…forty-nine…er….aw Heyes ya keep interuptin’!”
The partners looked at each other and rolled their eyes. “When did we run out of the good stuff?”
“While ‘go.” Kyle hemmed.
“We still got the regular stuff.” Kid stated.
“Nope, that’s gone too.” Kyle shook his head and spit out more chew. Good thing he kept track of the dynamite.
“So what are you using?” the dark haired leader stood up and looked over the bale of hay.
“This stuff? What is ‘this stuff’?”
The lopsided grin slipped off his face as he shook his head. “Not so good.”
Kid stood up next to Heyes. “How long a fuse did you use?”
“‘Bout a foot,” Kyle stated.
“A foot! Should’ve blown by now!” Heyes exclaimed.
“Ah-ha,” he agreed. Shrugging his shoulders he stood up as the leaders headed over to him.
“Where’d ya get this stuff?” Kid asked.
“Bottom of the lake,” he turned his head and spit again.
“Bottom of the lake! Why are we out of the good stuff and why was this at the bottom of the lake?” Heyes yelled.
A lopsided grin spread across his face, “This were the good stuff, ‘til it fell into the lake.”
Blue eyes stared, imploring more details.
“See, we was movin’ it for the storm, so it don’t get wet…”
The partners turned and looked at each other.
“Spit it out Kyle,” Heyes stated in his leader of the Devil’s Hole Gang voice.
“We was jus’ messin’ ‘round, and the horse spooked so it dumped its load.”
“Messin’ around?” Kid asked.
Kyle shrugged, “It was just one stick.” He shrugged then smiled so big he showed his teeth covered in chew. “It was the good stuff!!! Yep, boy oh boy did it blow!”
“So you dumped the good stuff in the lake,” Heyes groaned.
“We fished it out and dried it.”
The leaders shook their heads.
“We have a job in three days,” Kid sighed.
“That’s why I’s checkin’ it out,” Kyle stated as he puffed out his chest.
“We have to make a supply run before the job, Kid,” Heyes told his partner.
“We gotta give it a chance,” implored the scruffy outlaw.
“You gave it a chance, Kyle,” the blond leader explained. “It’s been, what, five minutes probably longer since you lit a foot fuse.”
“Where’d you plant the dynamite?” Heyes asked.
“Under that pile of branches.” He pointed at a pile of debris not far from them.
As the three took a step towards the pile, BOOM! The pile exploded, the ground shook, and the three men were knocked off their feet as little pieces of wood rained down all over them.
“It worked!!” Kyle exclaimed, getting to his feet he jumped up and down. “I told ya it would!!! See, it’s still the good stuff!”
Heyes shook his head lightly, “Kyle, how much dynamite did you use?” He shook his head and tapped his ear. Picking up his hat up off the ground, he swatted it a few times to get the dusted off before he placed it on his head. Groaning, he got to his feet.
“A whole bunch!!!” He pulled his pants up by the belt loops. “It were wet ya know.”
Kid grabbed his hat and stood up as he brushed the debris off his coat.
Heyes and Kid looked at each other, rolled their eyes and then turned and went back to work on the fence.
“We’s good?” Kyle called after the leaders.
Heyes’ eyes bulged at the question.
“Yeah, yeah,” Kid waved his hand as he stumbled towards the fence.
“We leave for a supply run as soon as the ringing stops in my ear,” Heyes asserted.
“Oh yeah," Kid replied as he rubbed his head.