Worth A Thousand Words
by: Storm Richards
The two trail worn riders approached the town cautiously from the west. They rode quietly through, taking in the people, the stores, and most importantly the Sheriff's name hanging above the door to the jail. Both riders visibly relaxed in their saddles seeing the name.
Heyes tilted his head towards his partner, "We don't know a Sheriff Jonathan Carpenter do we?"
With a smile spreading across his face Kid replied, "No, I don't believe we do."
Both riders pulled up to the water trough at the end of the town, dismounted and tied their horses to the rail. Slumping onto the bench next to the trough, Kid stated, "I hope we don't know nobody here. I’m just too tired to get back in the saddle for," he paused, "at least a week."
"Know what ya mean Kid," his partner replied as he scanned the town. "Looks," he stopped himself as blue eyes glared at him. "I was just going to say," Heyes paused and glared back. "I don't know about a week but a couple of days would be good."
Doubting the brown haired one, the blond skeptically said, "You weren't gonna say the town looks quiet?" Shooting up on the bench, Kid smacked his hand on his leg as his eyes bulged; "Now you got me sayin’ it!"
Confusion spread across Heyes' face, "What!"
"We'll we might as well just get back on the horses and leave."
"Kid, you're not making any sense."
"Yes I am. It's cursed, the town is cursed."
"I said the town was quiet. You know that's it for us. I just jinxed us." With his hand gesturing the whole town he added, "Everybody in town’s probably been on a train we robbed. They can probably all identify us."
Heyes chuckled, "Everyone?"
Scowling at his partner, he stated, "Yes, Everyone!" Kid stood up, "Come on."
"We're leavin'." Kid walked over to the rail to untie his horse.
"We just got here."
"Yeah and we're just leavin'."
Totally confused Heyes asked, "Really?"
The man in the sheep skin coat turned towards his partner, placing his hands on his hips, "Really. The town is jinxed so we're leavin'!"
Brown eyes looked at blue and realized there was nothing he could do to change his partners mind. "Okay," he begrudgingly agreed.
The blond mounted his horse first.
After mounting his horse, the brown haired one asked, "Which way?"
Kid thought a minute as he looked longingly at the town.
Heyes opened his mouth but closed it as blue eyes glared at him.
"Don't say it Heyes, don't say nothin’. If you hadn't opened your mouth in the first place, we'd probably be in the saloon right now havin' a drink instead of back in the saddle again."
Heyes gasped but kept quiet.
"Don't," Kid threatened.
His partner shrugged.
Blue eyes looked around. "South. Sign back there said Tannersville was fifteen miles; would make it the closest town."
Heyes nodded in agreement. Turning their horses around they rode out of town.
The sun set a few hours ago but the two riders continued on, urging their horses to move a little faster as they could see a faint glow from the town in the distance. Entering the town, the riders scanned the empty street. The only noise appeared to be coming from the only saloon in town. Directly across from the saloon was the Sheriff's office. Heyes looked at the name on the sign above the door, but said nothing. Kid looked at the name, Sheriff Frank Pritchard, and then at his partner. They rode in silence, stopping in front of the hotel and dismounting. Grabbing his saddlebag, the brown haired ex-outlaw headed into the hotel with the blond following.
Stepping to the front desk, Heyes rang the bell. The pair scanned the lobby as they waited for the desk clerk. Kid rang the bell; Heyes glanced at him but didn't say a word.
"Hold your britches, I'm coming," the desk clerk called out as he emerged from the back room.
Heyes smiled at him and apologetically said, "I'm sorry sir, we've been riding along time. My partner is just anxious to lie down on a bed instead of the ground."
The desk clerk stopped at the counter, looking at the man in the black hat, he snorted, "Bit late gettin' in isn't it?"
A dimpled smile appeared, trying to sooth the situation. "Yes it is but you see, once we could see light from the town, we just couldn't stop and spend another night sleeping on the cold hard ground."
"I see," the man huffed. "What can I get for ya?"
"A room," Heyes deadpanned.
"Yeah, we got them," the clerk said as he rifled through the ledger. "Sign here, I'll get your key."
"Oh and someone to look after our horses," he added.
"Cost ya," the desk clerk grumbled. "Dollar extra."
"Jacob," the clerk bellowed. A boy about fifteen years old came running to the front desk. "Take care of their horses."
Jacob looked at the man in the black hat, then the one with the brown hat and back to the first one.
Heyes paid the boy but he continued to stare at him. Cautiously, the man in the black hat pointed to the front door, "The only two tied up in front of the hotel."
The boy nodded and ran out.
Brown eyes shared a bemused look with blue and then turned back to the front desk. "The room?"
"Sign here, I'll get your key," the clerk groused.
"A front room," Kid stated, "That is if there is one available."
The clerk turned and stared at him.
"The front of the hotel is facing west," Heyes began.
The clerk turned his attention to the partner talking.
"My friend is tired and doesn't want the sun waking him up too early," he explained, trying to defuse what he thought was a little too much concern by the clerk.
The clerk grabbed a key off the peg. "Number four; down the end of the front hallway. Best be quiet, folks are already sleepin' around here."
Heyes nodded, tipped his hat at the man and turned to head upstairs.
Entering the room Heyes lit the lamp as Kid walked directly to the bed and collapsed. "I guess askin' for a bath would'a been out of the question," he moaned.
His partner chuckled, then out of habit, walked to the window and looked out.
Kid rolled over in bed, the sun streaming in the window. Covering his eyes from the sunlight, he scanned the room. Heyes was standing in front of a steaming bowl of water with a razor in his hand. As his partner took the last stoke of the razor he asked, "No baths?"
Heyes finished inspecting his face in the mirror; satisfied he was done, he turned towards Kid. "Have to go to the bathhouse," he stated.
The blond groaned.
"The water's still warm. Shaving will make you feel like a new man."
Kid rolled his eyes. "Shaving ain't gonna get the dirt off the rest of me."
"No, but it will make you presentable so we can go to breakfast and then to the bathhouse."
"I have to look presentable to go to the bathhouse?"
"No, just for breakfast. If you want to go to the bathhouse you just need to get dressed and get your boots on. I figured you'd want breakfast first."
Blue eyes glared at brown.
"What?" Heyes barked.
"Nothin'," Kid grumbled, then mumbled something under his breath.
Heyes stared at him.
Throwing his hands up in the air as he sat up, "I was just looking forward to rollin’ out of bed and into a bath." He glanced at Heyes. "I know, I said we had to leave yesterday, but you jinxed the town."
Heyes opened his mouth to say something but stopped.
Kid stood up and flung his clothes on. Tying his gun belt down, he stated, "Well I'm just gonna have to be presentable without a shave."
Heyes stared at him.
"What?" Kid hollered.
"You look like an outlaw."
Kid stomped to the door and threw it open.
Heyes sighed and followed him.
Stepping out into the sunlight, Kid slammed his hat on his head; pulling it low in the front as he stalked to the café. Heyes noticed the stares from the townspeople and tried to soothe them with a smile and a tip of his hat. Swinging the café door open, Kid almost ran over the man leaving. "Pardon," he grumbled and then made eye contact with the man. "Jim," he happily exclaimed.
"Well I'll be!" Jim stated. "Look what the cat drug in and by the look of you Thaddeus, you were drug in." Jim smiled at Heyes and Kid while brown eyes gave an "I told you so' look. "Thaddeus and Joshua, what brings you to town," he asked as he stuck his hand out to shake.
"Just passin’ through," Kid laughed as he aggressively shook Jim's hand. "It's great to see ya!"
"Good to see you Jim," Heyes stated as he shook Jim's hand. "How's Sarah?"
"Sarah's doin' good," Jim replied.
"You wanna join us for breakfast?" Kid asked eagerly.
"Just ate and I have to run, but maybe we can catch up over a beer in the saloon."
"Sounds like a great idea," Kid said happily, clapping Jim on the back.
Heyes gave his partner a sideways glance.
"We're at the hotel. Come by when you're freed up."
"Will do," Jim said as he left.
The pair found a table and sat down.
"Wow," the blond hair man gushed. "Who'd a thought we'd run into Jim Stokley here?"
Brown eyes looked annoyed. "Yeah," he said, less enthusiastically.
"It's great to see him," Kid paused as the waitress came over and took their order. As she walked away he continued, "Jim Stokley!" Turning to his partner, "I always liked him."
"So you've said," Heyes replied, sounding irritated.
Walking out of the bathhouse into the bright sunlight, Kid placed his hat on his head; sighing with contentment. "Joshua," he paused, "I think it's gonna be a good day."
Heyes chuckled lightly.
"What? Sun's up, there's a nice breeze and we don't know the Sheriff."
Heyes clapped his partner’s back, "Kid, it's amazing how breakfast and a bath can really change your outlook."
Kid opened his mouth to say something, but closed it. Chuckling in agreement he said, "I'm a simple man, with simple pleasures, how about a beer?"
Heyes was about to answer when Jim called out from across the street, "Thaddeus, Joshua." Stopping, the two men turned towards the voice.
Heyes noticed a crowd down at the end of the street.
Walking towards the pair, Jim said, "I was just heading over to the hotel to look for you, see if you wanted to get a drink at the saloon."
"That's just where we're headed," Kid replied with a nod.
Heyes' attention stayed on the crowd as Jim joined them: "What's going on down there?"
"Not a clue," Jim answered and shrugged his shoulders. "Probably brining someone in to sleep it off."
Looking confused Heyes asked, "This early?"
"Some days," Jim nodded. "A hold over from last night. Well, shall we," Jim asked as he waved his hand in the direction of the saloon. Shaking his head as his walked with the pair, "I just can't believe we ran into each other here."
"Why not," Heyes asked.
"No real reason," Jim explained. "It's just I figured I'd seen the last of the two of you when you left Santé Fe." He looked at Kid and Heyes, "It is good to see you both."
The three men stepped up to the bar. "Three beers Jack," Jim told the bartender. Jack placed the beer in front of them and looked towards the batwing doors, as noise could be heard from the street. Taking a sip, Jim leaned on the bar, "So what brings the two of you to Tannersville?"
Before they had a chance to answer, the noise that had been coming down the street burst into the saloon. The three men turned to look at Jacob pointing towards Heyes and Kid yelling, "There they are Sheriff; Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. They robbed the train to South Fork last night!"
"What?" Jim exclaimed as the Sheriff and his deputies came pouring into the saloon with their guns drawn, heading straight towards the three men.
"You have......" Heyes began before being interrupted.
"Hands up!" yelled the Sheriff.
Sighing Heyes and Kid half-heartedly put their hands in the air. "Barney, get their guns," the Sheriff instructed his deputy as he kept his gun pointing at Heyes. "No movement from either of you." The deputy stepped forward and removed their guns.
"Wait a minute Frank," Jim stated as he stepped away from the bar towards the Sheriff.
"Jim, back up!" the Sheriff instructed. "Boys, take them into custody."
The deputies walked up to the partners, motioning them to walk forward.
"Frank," Jim implored.
"Jim," the Sheriff said as he watched the deputies walk his prisoners towards the door. "I'm not gonna talk to ya ‘til I get the prisoners behind bars. I ain't gonna let Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry git away ‘cause I was distracted. You wanna talk t' me, come t' the jail."
Jim threw his hands up in frustration and followed the men to the jail.
Walking through the street towards the jail Heyes took the opportunity to speak. "Sheriff," he said quite pleasantly, "I'm sorry but you have the wrong men. My name is Joshua Smith and my friend is Thaddeus Jones. I don't know where you got the idea that we are the notorious Hannibal Heyes and his partner what's his name but we're not. You see..."
"That's enough," Pritchard stated curtly. Heyes opened his mouth to continue but closed it as the Sheriff glared at him. "Anythin' ya gotta say can wait ‘til ya locked up."
Seeing it was a losing battle, the ex-outlaw leader grimaced and continued in silence towards the jail.
With a clang the jail door slammed and the Sheriff locked the door. Heyes stepped to the bars, "Sheriff, may I speak now?"
The Sheriff gave a tug on the door, satisfied it was locked replied, "Go ‘head."
"Thank you," he smiled. "As I was saying, my name is Joshua Smith and my friend, actually he's my wife's brother, is Thaddeus Jones. We are passing through on our way to Red Gap. His father in-law sent him to there to look at some horses."
"You're married?" Jim chimed in.
"Oh, yes Jim," Heyes continued as pleasantly as he could as Jim walked towards the cell.
"Stop right there Jim, don't get to close," the Sheriff stated as he put his hand up.
Heyes smiled at Jim, "Didn't get a chance to catch up with you, Jim. I got married, my wife is beautiful and an incredible cook. Thaddeus's wife can, uh...cook, kinda." he shrugged. Kid glared at his partner, a look not missed by Heyes as he turned back towards the Sherriff, "Anyway, as I was saying, we were just passing through and ran into our good friend Jim. Thought we would catch up with him before we continued. I'm sorry for the mistake..."
"It ain't no mistake," Jacob whined. "That's Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry."
"Sheriff," Heyes said calmly, "he's just a boy."
"He's right Frank," Jim stated. "Jacob is just a boy. A boy who thinks every stranger that rides into town is Heyes and Curry. Smith and Jones are my friends. Do you remember the trouble I told you I had gotten into? These are the two guys that saved my neck. Now tell me why would Heyes and Curry stick their necks out for me?"
The Sheriff looked at Jacob, then Heyes, Kid and back to Jim.
"Jacob," Jim called out. "What dime store novel are you reading now?"
Jacob pulled a worn book out of his back pocket and proudly held it up. "Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry in the Safe They Dragged Behind and the Trail it Left."
Heyes and Kid exchanged looks.
Jim looked at the Sheriff and rolled his eyes.
"Well they fit the descriptions and they rode into town right after the train was robbed lookin' like, well like outlaws," the Sheriff explained to Jim.
"Lookin' like outlaws?" Kid asked.
"Yep. Mr. Bostich at the hotel said ya came in real late lookin' mean and dirty," the Sheriff explained pointing at Kid.
"Mr. Jones always looks like that before breakfast," Heyes sighed trying to stay calm. "We rode almost thirty miles yesterday, we were tired and dirty."
"That might be but folks don't show up in town at that hour, after a train was jist robbed fifteen miles down the track," the Sheriff stated firmly.
"We came in so late because we just wanted a bed to sleep on. If we hadn't seen the glow from the town we would have stop miles back." Heyes ran his hand over his face. "If we robbed a train fifteen miles down the track, why would we stop at a town so close?"
Sheriff Frank Pritchard contemplated his remarks. "Hmmm, still don't explain the fact that you and your partner match the wanted posters."
"Half the town looks like the descriptions on the posters," Heyes countered. "Half the men in town have brown hair and brown eyes. The other half has blond hair and blue eyes. Heck, if Mr. Jones can be Kid Curry so could Jim!" Everyone stared at Heyes. "Look at them. They look the same." Confusion spread across the faces. "Same color hair, blue eyes, about the same height, weight, age. Jim could be Kid Curry just as much as my partner. "
"No he can't," the Sheriff shrugged off.
"Why not?" Heyes asked exasperated.
"Cause Jim ain't no stranger. Mr. Jones is. And besides what kind of names are Smith and Jones?"
"What?" Heyes exclaimed.
"Well, is it just a coincidence that you and your partner are Smith and Jones?" the Sheriff inquired.
"Yes! There are a lot of people with the name Smith and Jones!" Heyes ran his hand threw his hair as he turned in frustration.
"Frank," Jim jumped in. "Let's be reasonable. I can vouch for the two of them. They saved me from hangin'. They're Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones."
"That's right Sheriff," Kid added. "Jim can vouch for us."
The Sheriff thought for a minute, as the front door flew open and in stormed a man. "Sheriff," the older man nodded his head and scanned the area. Stomping towards the cell he looked the men inside, up and down. "That's them," he stated with confidence.
"Ezra?" the Sheriff asked.
"That's Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. Yep, that's them!" Ezra stated.
Heyes and Kid stood quietly looking at the new threat that just blew into the jail. Heyes studied the man, probably in his late fifties, gray hair, weathered skin, hunched over, overalls. He sighed; it wasn't going to be easy convincing the Sheriff he was wrong.
"You sure Ezra?" the Sheriff asked.
"As sure as I'm a day's old," Ezra replied.
"Ezra, they're friends of mine?" Jim stated.
"Better get better friends then Jim," Ezra retorted. "They robbed a train I was on. I know Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry if I see them."
"Sir," Heyes stepped closer to the bars. "How long ago was that?"
"'Bout five years," Ezra answered.
"People can change a lot in five years," Kid said.
"Hmpf," Ezra swatted his hand at them. "I know what I know."
Jim scratched his head, "I'm telling you, Joshua and Thaddeus saved my neck. If it wasn't for them I would've hanged. They can't be Heyes and Curry. I would bet my reputation on them."
"You know anyone else that can vouch for you?" The Sheriff asked the partners.
"Sheriff Lom Trevors of Porterville," Heyes responded, sounding hopeful.
"Mrs. Sarah Henderson," Jim smiled. "They did some work for her husband."
"Mrs?" the Sheriffs raised his eyebrow.
Chuckling nervously Heyes said, "Her husband was killed."
"By his attorney that was stealin' his money," Kid stated confidently.
"Hogwash!" Ezra exclaimed. "I can prove it! I drew pictures of them while I was sittin' on the train. They were right outside my window!"
"What?" Heyes and Kid swallowed hard, as they looked at each other.
"A picture?" the Sheriff and Jim questioned.
"Darn right!" Ezra stated loudly as he moved towards the door. "I'm gonna go git it and prove t' ya I'm not crazy!"
"Barney," Pritchard turned towards his deputy. "Go with him. Bring him and the picture back as soon as possible. Jacob, you run along home."
"Frank, I know these men," Jim implored. "They saved my life. Do we really have to wait for Ezra to come back with the picture before you release them?"
"Ezra's an upstandin' citizen," the Sheriff countered.
"I'm an upstanding citizen!" Jim declared.
"I know you are now Jim, but even you would admit that you had a colorful youth."
Jim nodded his head slightly.
"Look, Jim, you know I have to check it out. They do fit the descriptions. What kind of lawman would I be if I just let them walk out?"
Sighing Jim nodded in agreement. "I'd like to talk to them."
"Alright, but I need your gun."
"Okay," he stated as he removed his gun belt and then headed down the narrow hall to the cell Heyes and Kid were in. Placing his hand on the bars Jim asked, "How ya doin'?"
"How do you think we're doin'?" Kid asked sarcastically.
"I guess about as good as I was when you came to see me when I was on the other side of the bars," he acknowledged. "Anything I can get for you?"
"The key," Heyes deadpanned. Awkward silence fell amongst the three men. Heyes leaned in close to the bars and the other two followed. "I'd like to say there's fifteen hundred dollars in a bank waiting for you if you get us out but I can't," he said solemnly. "I'm hoping the fact that we helped you out means something."
"Yeah Jim," Kid interjected, "you know we like you."
Stokley raised his eyebrow.
"I know it didn't always seem like it with Joshua and all but I did, I always liked you."
Heyes scowled at Kid and then turn back to Jim. "I only did what I had to do and we did get the murder charges against you dropped."
"Yeah, yeah, I know," Jim, stated. "I just don't know what to do to convince the Sheriff you're not Heyes and Curry. Once Ezra gets back with his drawings I'm sure everything will be settled and you'll be free." Jim looked at Heyes and then Kid. Studying their faces he questioned, "Those pictures will clear you, won't they?"
Heyes gave a nervous chuckle, "You see Jim, we have no idea what kind a drawer Ezra is?"
Jim studied Heyes and Kid's face again. "Something tells me you are hoping he's a really bad drawer."
They shrugged slightly.
Jim took a step back, shaking his head. "Well I'll be. Guess that explains the fast draw."
"Now Jim," Kid started, placing his hands on the bars. "All we're sayin' is that Ezra is convinced we're Kid Curry and that other fellow. What if his pictures look somethin' like us? He already said we matched the wanted posters. What's the Sheriff gonna think?"
"Thaddeus is right, Jim," his partner stated. "Any resemblance is going to convince the Sheriff. It doesn't matter if it's true or not. You heard him, Ezra is an upstanding citizen, we're strangers to this town."
"I already vouched for ya," Jim stated. "What else can I do?"
"Find a way to get us out," Heyes said matter-of-factly.
Jim stared at the pair then shaking his head, walked away.
Kid's head dropped as he continued to hold on to the bars. Under his breath he quietly asked, "Heyes, What are we gonna do?"
His partner shrugged, "Hope Jim decides saving his life is worth helping us out."
Kid turned to look at Heyes, "And if he doesn't."
"Don't know Kid, don't know," Heyes solemnly said as he slumped onto the cot.
"You'll think of somethin', you always do," Kid stated as he walked over and dropped onto his cot.
Heyes sighed and then because he was in a foul mood added, "Good thing we didn't stay in Mountain Spring with everyone in town being on a train we robbed. Who knows, they could all have drawn pictures of us!"
If looks could kill, Heyes would be dead with the look Kid gave him before tugging his hat over his face.
A couple of hours later, Jim was out on the boardwalk when he saw Barney walking towards the Sheriff's office. He was a couple of steps behind him when they entered. Sheriff Pritchard sat at his desk doing paperwork. Kid lay on his cot with his hat over his face while Heyes paced. As the door opened, the Sheriff looked up, Heyes turned towards the door and Kid sat up. "Barney," the Sheriff said.
"Sheriff," Barney replied.
The Sheriff looked around Barney and saw Jim standing behind him. "Where's Ezra?"
Barney motioned with his thumb over his shoulder. "He's still at home. He can't find his drawin's. He was pullin' everythin' out and cusin' up a storm. I told ‘im to bring ‘im in when he found ‘im."
Heyes gave Kid a ‘maybe we're in luck' look.
"Frank," Jim stepped towards the Sheriff's desk. "I'd like to see my friends again."
"Gotta leave your gun," he pointed to the desk corner.
Jim took off his gun belt, placing it on the corner of the desk. Turning he walked back to the cell. With a tight smile on his face he asked, "How ya holdin' up?"
"Same as last time you asked," Kid said glumly.
Stepping to the bars Heyes quietly asked, "Did you come up with anything Jim?"
Jim shook his head.
Heyes ran his hand through his hair, turning away from the bars.
"You mentioned a Sheriff from Portersville," Jim inquired.
Kid nodded. "Lom, he's a friend."
"I could send a telegram to him. Have him vouch for ya," Jim stated encouragingly.
Kid stood up; walking over to the bars he shook his head.
"Why not? You told the Sheriff he could vouch for ya."
"That's when we hoped we could sway the Sheriff by just mentioning his name," Heyes stated calmly.
"So he can't?" Jim asked sounding confused.
"Oh, he can," Heyes assured him.
"Then why......." Jim's words hung. He looked at the two men standing in the cell. In frustration he asked, "He won't or can't?"
"You see Jim, it's kinda like you not tellin' the Sheriff that you're Sarah's brother," Kid explained.
Jim gave an understanding shrug then shook his head in disbelief. "Who'd a thought?" Pausing for a moment he took a breath in and blew it out. "This Sheriff knows you."
"Yep," Kid replied.
"Knows everything," Jim questioned.
"Yep," Kid answered again.
"He won't help you?" Jim asked.
"We won't ask him," Heyes stated. Jim stared at Heyes looking for more. Leaning into the bars Heyes quietly said, "Jim, there are some things you don't know about us."
Jim rolled his eyes, giving a slight chuckle at the comment.
“Things we really can't talk to you about," Heyes looked around to see if anyone could hear. "At least not here."
Jim sighed putting his hands up in defeat, "Okay." Looking at the Sheriff he thought a moment. "I'll talk to Seth; he's the only lawyer in town. See what he can do and I guess we have to hope that Ezra can't find the pictures or is a really bad drawer." Banging his hand on the bars he added, "Hang in there, I'll see what I can do," and then he walked away.
Looking at Heyes, Kid asked, "Do you think he'll help now that we've all but told him who we are?"
"Why are you asking me?" Heyes said sarcastically. "You're the one that likes him so much."
Kid glowered at Heyes and then answered his own question, "Yeah, I think he'll help us even though he knows. We did save him from hangin'."
Heyes shrugged and then went back to pacing, Kid lay back down on his cot.
The pair spent an uncomfortable night in jail. Kid dozed in and out all night long. Each time he woke, he would look over at his partner to see him either pacing in the cell or lying on his cot staring at the ceiling. He never said anything because he knew Heyes was trying to work out a plan to get them out of there. Kid didn't sleep well because he was busy beating himself up for being convinced Mountain Spring was jinxed. Instead it turned out Tannersville was. Not only did they have two people saying who they were, one even said he drew a picture of them.
As the sun started to come up and shine in through the bars on the window, Kid rolled over to see Heyes sitting on his cot. "You come up with anythin’?" he asked.
Heyes shook his head no.
"You will," Kid said encouragingly.
Smelling the coffee that the Sheriff had put on, Kid added, "A cup of coffee will get your mind going." Standing up, he walked to the bars. "Excuse me Sheriff," he called out. The Sheriff looked up from his desk. "Any chance Mr. Smith and I can get a cup of that coffee? It sure smells good."
The Sheriff shrugged. "I don't see why not." The Sheriff stood up, grabbing a couple of cups. "Gotta warn ya," he said as he poured the dark black liquid into the cups, "Most folks around here ain't too high on my coffee."
Kid chuckled, "Oh we can drink just about anything."
Walking towards the bars he handed the cups to the blond, who in turn, handed one to his partner.
Heyes stood up; walking over to the bars he took a sip. "Mmm, good coffee Sheriff."
Kid looked at the murky dark liquid, taking a sip he grimaced, "As good as yours, Joshua."
Heyes shot a quick look at Kid; Kid gave an almost imperceptible shrug in return. "So Sheriff," Heyes began as pleasantly as he possibly could. "How long do you think we'll have to stay in here?"
The Sheriff shrugged. "'Til I can get things straightened out."
Heyes took another sip of the coffee. "Real good," he said nodding his head. "We know that Ezra can't find the pictures he drew and even if he could, he admits it was five years ago. We really have no idea how good a drawer he is. It seems Jacob accuses all strangers of being Heyes and what's his name. Jim can vouch for us. I was just wondering how long it would take to straighten this out. We really do have to be getting on our way. Thaddeus' father-in-law isn't going to be happy about this at all. He really wanted us to check out those horses and get back home as soon as possible. I know my wife is going to be worried sick."
"I understand," the Sheriff said leaning against the bars, drinking his coffee. "It's just what kind of lawman would I be if I didn't check it out?" He took another sip of his coffee as he pushed away, "Oh and ‘bout Ezra, he was a arteeest back east before he decided he wanted t' come out west. Still does some paintin'. I expect when he finds the pictures, they'll be good.
"Oh," Heyes swallowed hard. "How long do you plan on waiting to see if Ezra finds the drawings?"
"A couple of days," the Sheriff said over his shoulder as he walked back to his desk. "He's pretty much keeps everythin' so it might take a while, but I'm expectin' him to find ‘im."
Jim was leaning against the cell bars talking to the boys when the jailhouse door opened. "I got'em, I got'em", Ezra shouted as he came flying in.
Brown eyes meet blue, the seriousness of the situation apparent on their faces.
The Sheriff and deputies gathered around Ezra as he held up a folded piece of paper. Holding it above his head he shouted, "This will prove I'm right!!!"
"Okay, Okay," the Sheriff said calmly. "Let's take a look."
The partners looked on with anticipation. Jim leaned in quietly and stated, "I'll get you out. That's a promise."
Heyes and Kid gave him grateful nods.
Ezra opened up the folded piece of paper. Turning to show it to the Sheriff he said, "This one here is Hannibal Heyes and that one is Kid Curry."
"That one has a mustache," Barney pointed out. "Mr. Smith don't have no mustache."
"This was five years ago!" Ezra hollered. "Hannibal Heyes could ‘ave shaved. You know how many mustaches I could'a had in five years!"
Sheriff nodded his head in agreement. "Still, I'm not sure about…"
Ezra jumped in, cutting the Sheriff off. "Not sure!!! I drew these. This is, Hannibal Heyes and that is, Kid Curry," he stated emphatically as he pointed to the pictures.
"I'm not questioning your drawings, Ezra," the Sheriff said. "Just the fact that they are the same as the men in the cell."
Heyes and Kid perked up.
Jim walked over to the gathering, "Mind if I see them?"
The Sheriff held the drawings so Jim could see. A smile spread across his face as Jim stated, "Well I can't see anyone changing from that picture into the two men you are holding in the cell. Frank, I think it's time to let Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith out."
"Dagnabit," Ezra grunted, grabbed the picture and practically ran towards the cell. Holding up the picture he infuriately stated, "You can look at this picture and tell me they aren't the same men?"
"Yes, Ezra, I can look at the picture and say they ain't the same men," the Sheriff said calmly.
Ezra looked at his drawing and then at Heyes and Kid. "Hmpf!" he snorted, threw the picture up in the air and stalked out.
Heyes bent down and picked up the picture, for the first time seeing it. A scowl appeared on his face.
"What?" Kid asked, as he was not able to see the picture.
"Did Ezra say I had a mustache in the picture?" he asked quietly.
The scowl turned darker and then just as quickly a smile spread across his face so large it reached his eyes.
"What?" Kid demanded.
"Ezra is a real good drawer," Heyes chuckled as he turned the picture towards his partner.
Blue eyes grew large as he looked at it.
Heyes pointed to the man in the picture with the mustache, "This is me." Moving his finger to the other man, "This is you."
"Well boys," the Sheriff came back clanging the keys together. "I'm sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones. Since Jim can vouch for ya, I'm gonna let ya go. I hope there aren't no hard feelings."
"No hard feelings," Heyes happily stated, as he picked up his hat. "We understand; you had to check things out."
The Sheriff opened the door.
Tipping their hats, they walked by. "Oh Sheriff," Heyes turned to face the man. "Mind if I keep this picture. You know just as a reminder of being mistaken for the infamous Hannibal Heyes and all."
"Sure," Sheriff stated. "Ezra didn't seem to want it and I can't be sure it really is the notorious outlaws."
Heyes smiled and nodded.
"How ‘bout I buy you a drink and we can get back to catching up," Jim cheerfully asked as he slapped Kid on the back.
"Sounds like a plan," a very jovial Kid responded.
As they walked towards the saloon Jim looked at Heyes with the ‘cat that ate the canary' grin on his face. "Well?" he asked as the curiosity was getting the best of him.
"Well what Jim," Heyes asked.
"You know the men in that picture?"
"Ah-ha," Heyes smiled.
Kid glared at Heyes.
Jim abruptly stopped. The partners took a couple more steps, stopped and turned to look at him. Jim studied the contrasting faces. Heyes who looked like he was going to explode his smile was so large and Kid, who looked, well, looked absolutely miserable. "You aren't going to tell me are you?"
"Nope," Heyes said gleefully, then resumed heading to the saloon.
"Are you going to tell me anything?"
"When we get to the saloon, we'll fill you in," Kid promised.
Walking into the saloon, the partners headed for the back table, Jim stopped at the bar to get their drinks. "You're enjoying this," Kid said under his breath.
Brown eye danced.
Blue eyes sent daggers towards his partner; he seemed not to notice. "I'm surprised you're so happy Ezra thought Wheat was you!"
The smirk fell from Heyes' face and then, the smile started to reappear. "Could be worse," he stated.
"Got us a bottle of whiskey," Jim said as he joined them at the table. Pouring three glasses he inquired, "So your finally going to tell me some of the details I don't know about you two? To start with, are either of you really married?"
Heyes and Kid shook their heads no.
"Not only not married, not in the outlaw business anymore," Heyes said quietly. They went on explaining their bid for amnesty and the deal with Lom and the Governor as they drank the bottle. With the bottle finished they looked at each other. "Well Jim, I think as soon as Thaddeus and I are done with our whiskey we'll be moving on."
"You were cleared?" Jim stated, sounding confused.
"That may be Jim, but we really don't want to press our luck with Ezra findin' another drawin'," Kid replied.
"The town might be jinxed," Heyes added and receive a cool blue-eyed stare.
"I guess I can understand that," Jim said as he stood up, taking the last gulp of his whiskey. "Well, I do have some things I have to get done." Extending his hand he said, "It was good to run into you both."
"It was great to see you Jim," Kid shook his hand enthusiastically.
"Jim," Heyes nodded as he shook his hand. "Really do appreciate what you said in the jail back there about getting us out."
"I know you would have done the same for me," he responded.
Heyes and Kid nodded in agreement.
"You know, I might have some work in the future if you're interested."
"Always interested, that is as long as it's not too hard on the back," Heyes smiled. "You can get in touch with us through Lom."
"It was good to see Jim," Kid said.
Jim nodded, tipped his hat and left.
Heyes nodded, as a smile spread across his face.
"You're never gonna let me live this down are you."
"Nope," his partner chuckled. "Of course this is your fault. If we had just stayed in Mountain Spring, we would never have seen Ezra's picture."
"You gonna hold that over me too?"
"I'm not holding anything over you," Heyes stated, a little too cheerful for Kid's liking.
Blue eyes narrowed, "That town was jinxed."
"And this one wasn't?"
"Hmpft," Kid snorted.
Heyes took the last swallow of his whiskey and pushed away from the table. "Certainly easy to get under your skin." He smiled at Kid.
Kid looked at his partner and then visibly relaxed.
Heyes put the picture on the table. "Ezra is a good drawer, real good."
"Yeah, gotta admit he is."
"Darn good thing he mistook Wheat and Kyle for us."
"Sure is," Kid burst out laughing.
"Come on Kid, let's get outta here."
"Sounds like a plan."
The barkeep came over to get the glasses on the table and noticed the drawing. "Fellows," he called after the pair, "You left this."
"Oh, you can have it," Heyes chuckled.
The barkeep looked at the picture of two men. Real nice drawings if he knew who the men were. He crumbled the paper up and threw it out never realizing he was looking at a genuine picture of Wheat Carlson and Kyle Murtry.
Mounting their horses Kid sighed, "How could Ezra mistake Kyle for me?"
"I guess Kyle didn't have to draw on anyone," Heyes chuckled.
"Yeah but Kyle. Does Kyle look like the fastest draw in the west? Does he look like he excels in what he does?"
Heyes chuckled. "Does Wheat look like the notorious Hannibal Heyes?"
"He'd like to think so," Kid countered. "Actually, he’d like to think he was better."
"Well let's just be thankful that Ezra might be a good drawer, but not the sharpest tool in the shed."
"That is one thing that we can be thankful about."
"Yep," Heyes replied. Reaching the end of the street he turned to Kid, "Which way?"
"Ah-uh," he replied shaking his head. "I'm not pickin’ which town we go to this time."
Heyes smiled and led his horse to the right.