The Reunion Part 2
By Maz McCoy
I had not intended for this story to come in parts but somehow there seemed to be more to tell…
The sound of someone shouting dragged Hannibal Heyes from the arms of a beautiful, dark-haired woman. She leaned forward, her warm breath on his face, her moist lips so close to his own. She was just about to…Heyes opened his eyes and found himself lying on the hard ground beside a campfire. The shouts came again. It was still dark, but the fading glow of the fire cast enough light for him to see Kid, tossing and turning beneath his blanket. The blond-haired man was muttering in his sleep, lost, in an all too vivid dream.
“No!” he yelled, suddenly sitting bolt upright. Heyes didn’t move, just kept his eyes on his friend. He could hear Kid, as he struggled to get his breathing under control.
“You alright?” Heyes asked after a while, trying to sound unconcerned.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Kid lied. He was still panting and sweat covered his forehead.
“Uh huh?” Heyes didn’t sound too convinced. “Bad dream?” he asked.
“Yeah, I guess.” Kid said. He cast a quick glance over his shoulder to where his friend lay. Heyes looked at him. “Go back to sleep Heyes. I’m fine.”
Heyes closed his eyes and eventually Kid lay back down. Heyes’ eyes opened. In the darkness, he watched and lay listening for a while. When Kid’s breathing slowed to a steady rhythm, he knew he was asleep at last. Only then did Hannibal Heyes allow himself to drift off to sleep, hoping to find that dark-haired beauty waiting for him.
“No! No!” Kid cried. “I can’t…I can’t let you…Leave him…”
“Wake up! Kid! Kid! C’mon wake up!” Heyes called, as he gently shook his partner. Kid did not wake. He was deep in a dream, or more accurately a nightmare. Heyes shook him harder. “KID!”
Suddenly two blue eyes shot open. They fixed on Heyes and the dark-haired man was shocked to see the fear in them. Kid struggled to get away from the man holding him, but Heyes held onto his friend’s arms and then, slowly, Kid realised who it was. As Kid calmed down, he became embarrassed. He tried to pull away, but Heyes clung on until he knew his friend was okay.
“Are you alright?” Heyes asked, fixing two brown eyes on Kid.
“I’m okay. I’m okay,” Kid snapped, angrily. “Let me go!” Heyes did just that and Kid collapsed back against his saddle.
“You were dreamin’ again.” Heyes stated, studying his friend’s face. “D’you wanna talk about it?”
“Nothin’ to talk about,” Kid said, dismissively.
“Is that like there was nothin’ wrong with your arm?” Heyes asked, sarcastically. Kid shot him a look; the circles beneath his eyes seemed even darker this morning. “You woke up last night yellin’. You’ve had another bad dream this mornin’. I call that something, Kid, I really do,” Heyes told him.
Kid remained silent. His expression stern. He couldn’t meet his friend’s eyes. They were still finding their way together after their reunion the previous day. They were still not sure if things could be the way they had been, growing up together.
“What the hell happened to you?” Heyes asked, concerned.
“Leave it Heyes,” Kid told him. “Just leave it.” He leaned back against the saddle, staring off into the distance, as beside him, Heyes sat back on his heels, not wanting to leave it alone, but knowing that, for now at least, he had to.
Kid rummaged in his saddlebags, found his wash kit and got to his feet. Although they had made camp where Kid had fallen from his horse, the day before, there was a stream not too far away at the bottom of a wooded incline.
“I’m gonna freshen up,” Kid announced.
“Should take you a coupla days from the look of ya,” Heyes said with a smile.
Kid shot a look at his friend but didn’t dignify that with an answer; instead, he headed into the trees, following the sound of running water.
Heyes packed away the coffee pot, grabbed his own wash kit and headed for the stream. Kid heard someone approaching as he was shaving. At least he was trying to remove the stubble on his chin with a very blunt razor. Kid paused mid-stroke, his chin covered in soap. Placing the razor on a nearby branch, his right hand dropped to his gun. He waited, checking that it was his friend, before picking up the razor and continuing to rasp away at his face. Heyes smiled when he saw Kid, stripped to the waist, the bandage still around his arm, his face covered in soap as he peered into a tiny mirror propped on the branch of a tree.
Suddenly Heyes stopped in his tracks, his face clouded over, as he stared at Kid’s torso.
“Heyes, can I borrow your razor?” Kid asked, looking up from the mirror. He saw the expression on Heyes’ face and immediately knew what he had seen.
“Kid?” Heyes asked, as he looked at the bruises, all shades of brown, yellow and purple, covering his friend’s body. “Is that nothing too?” he asked.
Kid didn’t answer him.
“When are you gonna tell me what happened to you?”
“Not everybody’s impressed by my reputation Heyes,” Kid stated, flatly.
“What happened?” Heyes asked, more gently than before.
“I got beat up,” Kid stated. “Just leave it,” he added, hoping that was going to be the end of it, but knowing full well it wasn’t.
“Who did it?”
“I was in a poker game. Some guy was cheatin’,” Kid said, hoping this was enough to satisfy his friend.
“And?” Heyes prompted. Kid sighed, he should have known.
“Another man called the cheat out. I sat back, but the man was about to get his head blown off and I’d lost quite a bit to the cheat…”
“So you stepped in?” Heyes finished.
“Couldn’t help myself,” Kid said with a smile. “You know me. He drew on me and I sent him on his way.”
Heyes didn’t say anything; some how he knew Kid was lying to him; he knew there had to be more.
“He and his brothers were waiting for me when I got back to the hotel. He may have been slow on the draw but he had the hardest punch. I woke up in a ditch.” He looked up at his partner, meeting his eyes.
“Is that the story you’re sticking with?” Heyes asked, after a moment.
“You don’t believe me?”
Heyes didn’t reply.
“I thought you could take care of yourself,” Heyes said after a while. “Isn’t that what you said when you rode off?” His thoughts went back to the day they had split up.
“I can take care of myself,” Kid stated, his anger rising again.
“Well I haven’t seen much evidence of it yet,” Heyes told him, tersely. “Shot in the arm, beaten up, no bullets, starving hungry, sheesh some gunslinger you are!”
“Hey. I do alright!” Kid said, angrily.
“No you don’t!”
“You’re just not seeing me on a good day!”
“Oh you have good days?” Heyes asked, wide eyed with scepticism.
“I’ve done okay, Heyes. I’ve built a reputation for myself…”
“Yeah, as a gunslinger,” Heyes said with disdain.
“I’m not a gunslinger. I just happen to be fast.”
“Oh and there’s a difference?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact there is!” Kid told him. “I’ve never killed anyone in cold blood and I DON’T HIRE OUT MY GUN!”
Suddenly Heyes smiled.
“Well I’m glad to hear it Kid ‘cos if you did I might hafta flatten’ ya,” he said with a smile.
Kid looked at him and, slowly, his expression softened.
“What about your arm?” Heyes asked.
“I told you. I was bushwhacked,” Kid said.
“Is that when you lost all your bullets?”
“And the dreams?” Heyes asked, hoping Kid would reveal a little more now that he was talking.
“Don’t push it Heyes,” Kid said, turning away.
Heyes watched as Kid finished shaving. He was lucky he didn’t cut his own throat the angry way he was using the razor. Kid wiped the last of the soap from his face.
“What are the dreams about?” Heyes asked, casually, as Kid packed away his shaving kit.
“I said leave it,” Kid told him. Heyes looked at his friend, his own face now covered with soap. Kid’s eyes were ice blue. He was not to be swayed on this Heyes could tell. Maybe there were some things that he would never know about Kid’s time when they were apart.
Turning away, Kid walked back up the hill to the campsite.
Kid was saddling his horse when Heyes returned. The blond man shot a quick look in the dark-haired man’s direction but said nothing. Heyes wondered if Kid was regretting meeting up again. Was he about to ride off? He hoped not. He replaced his shaving kit in his saddlebags.
“Here,” Heyes called.
Kid looked up.
“We can’t have Kid Curry going around with an empty gun can we?” Heyes said and threw a small box at Kid. Kid caught it and looked down at the box of bullets.
“Thanks,” he replied. “I’ll pay you back.”
Heyes watched as Kid removed his gun belt, sat on a boulder and loaded his gun. He filled his gun belt too. Standing up he strapped the belt around his hips, removed his gun and twirled it a couple of times, checking the balance, and then dropped it back in the holster. Heyes suppressed a smile. He had always been impressed by Kid’s ability with a gun and knew how many hours he had practiced. Kid stuffed the remaining bullets in his saddle bags.
“You ready to talk about what really happened yet?” Heyes asked.
“Nope,” Kid told him, pulling himself into the saddle.
“You sure you still want to ride with me for a while?” he asked, dreading the response.
“I said I would.”
Heyes couldn’t ask for more. He mounted his horse and when both men were ready, they rode away from the camp.
They rode in silence for sometime. The scenery changed but the tense atmosphere between them didn’t. Suddenly Heyes pulled his horse to a halt. He could stand it no longer.
“Look we’re gonna be at Devil’s Hole later today and I’m not taking you in there unless you tell me what the heck you’ve been involved in,” Heyes told him, straight.
“What I’ve been involved in?” Kid asked, incredulously. “What do you think I’ve done? Robbed banks and trains like you?” he asked, flippantly. “Or maybe you think I’m a killer, now. Is that it, Heyes? D’you think your little cousin shoots to kill? Hires out his gun?”
“You said you don’t”?”
“That’s right I don’t.”
“Well there’s something going on. I just don’t know what ‘cos you won’t talk to me about it,” Heyes told him, exasperated with his friend.
Kid just gave him a look.
“That’s because I got nothin’ to say.”
“Well you sure are gabby in your sleep!” Heyes reminded him.
Kid shot him another look.
“Your dreams are giving you away, Kid,” Heyes said, his tone more gentle. He dismounted and tied his horse to a tree.
Kid looked embarrassed and angry. He watched his partner’s back.
“What’s scaring you?” Heyes asked, looking up at his friend.
“Nothing,” Kid told him, fixing two cold blue eyes on his partner. Heyes knew he should drop it, knew he was pushing Kid too far. He sat down on a boulder, waiting. There was a danger Kid would just ride off. He hoped he had judged this right.
Slowly, Kid climbed from the saddle and stood beside his horse, twisting the reins in his hands.
“So it’s nothing?” Heyes asked. “Shouting out in your sleep is nothing?”
Kid didn’t meet Heyes’ eyes.
“Did someone get to you, is that it? You afraid your reputation will be hurt if people know you’re scared?” Heyes needed to know what was wrong.
“Just drop it,” Kid told him though gritted teeth.
“Kid Curry, famous gun fighter, too scared to face his own demons. The fastest gun in the west running away from trouble, too frightened to even a talk about it.” Heyes stood up, walking towards his friend. He was mocking Kid now. “Boy if our folks could see you now, shootin’ from the hip and runnin’ from the shadows; wouldn’t they be proud?” Heyes laughed and the punch caught him square on the jaw, sending him reeling backwards. Heyes landed on his butt in the dirt. Stunned, he touched his lip, tasting blood.
“Well that’s a few years overdue,” Heyes said, looking up at his friend. “If you’d done that before, maybe we wouldn’t have had to split up.”
“GET UP!” Kid yelled, his eyes full of anger, his fists clenched.
“Why? So you can knock me down again?” Heyes asked, calmly.
“Yes,” Kid told him, through gritted teeth.
Heyes pulled himself to his feet. Kid let fly with another punch, making contact with Heyes’ jaw. Once again, Heyes fell backwards. He gently touched his jaw, as he lay in the dirt.
“Not a bad punch. You might want to keep your left up, though,” he advised.
“Get up!” Kid told him.
“No,” Heyes stated, firmly. “You owed me two, that’s all,” he said, remembering…
“GET UP!” Heyes yelled at his friend. Kid looked up at him, blood running from his mouth, where Heyes’ punch had caught him. Two sad blue eyes met his partner’s angry brown ones. Slowly Kid got to his feet. Heyes balled his fist and knocked Kid to the ground again.
“Fight back!” Heyes snapped, but Kid did not move.
“No,” he said. “I’m not gonna hit you Heyes.” Kid got to his feet and walked away from his friend.
“What are you doin’?” Heyes demanded to know. “Oh that’s right walk away. That’s always your answer isn’t it?”
Kid turned fast and glared at his friend.
“What you gonna do draw on me?” Heyes asked, sarcasm dripping from every word. Kid glowered at his friend.
“Don’t push it, Heyes,” he warned.
“Then fight back!”
“I’m not gonna fight ya,” Kid said and Heyes was suddenly unsure of himself, suddenly worried by what he saw in Kid’s eyes.
Kid headed towards his horse and, in a single move, pulled himself into the saddle.
“I’m leaving,” he stated.
“Where you goin’?”
“I don’t know,” Kid told his friend, unemotionally. “Just away from you.”
“You comin’ back?” Heyes asked, just a hint of fear in his voice.
Kid didn’t answer him.
“Take care of yourself Heyes,” Kid said, wiping blood from his mouth with the back of his hand. “Now you can go do exactly what you want without me holding you back.”
“I didn’t mean…” Heyes began, but Kid wasn’t listening.
“Just be careful because I won’t be there to watch your back anymore.” Kid turned his horse away.
“Kid? Kid? I’m sorry alright! You don’t hafta hit me. Can’t we talk about this?” Heyes called, as he watched Kid ride off. Kid did not turn around. Heyes couldn’t believe his friend was actually leaving. They’d both threatened to do it over the past month, as their nerves were frayed, but he never expected Kid to… “I’m sorry,” Heyes said, his voice little more than a whisper, as he watched his friend disappear into the distance.
As Heyes wiped the blood from his mouth, Kid stood over him, his fists balled, trying desperately to control his anger. And then he turned and walked away.
“That’s what you did last time. Walked away,” Heyes called after him and Kid stopped. He saw Kid’s shoulders stiffen. “Is that still your answer?”
Kid turned back to face him.
“There was no poker cheat was there?” Heyes asked. Kid met his friend’s gaze, taking a moment to think.
“No,” he stated, flatly.
“So what really happened?” Heyes asked, as he got to his feet. Kid didn’t say anything. “Did you shoot the wrong man? Run with the wrong gang? Maybe you took a liking to the major’s daughter? Was that it? Did someone catch you climbing from a bedroom window? You must have got someone real mad for them to do that to you. So what is it, huh? Come on Kid you know you want to tell me…” Heyes went on and on, almost taunting Kid with his desire to know the answer. “Come on Kid, what made the fastest gun in the west have nightmares?”
“They wanted you,” Kid said, finally, not meeting his friend’s eyes.
The man with the silver tongue found himself momentarily lost for words.
“Wh..what?” Heyes babbled.
“They wanted you,” Kid repeated, finally looked at Heyes.
“Who? And why?”
“They wanted you to open a safe for them. They had a job planned but couldn’t use dynamite. They’d heard of your reputation,” Kid told him.
“Who?” the dark-haired outlaw asked again.
“A gang led by a man named Brannigan,” Kid explained. “One of them knew me by sight. He knew we used to ride together.”
“And?” Heyes prompted.
“They wanted me to lead them to you. I told them I wouldn’t.”
“So they beat you up?”
The look Kid gave his friend was answer enough.
“Not at first.”
“You could have led them to me; let me know what was going on. I’d have thought of something,” Heyes told him.
“I didn’t know how you’d react to seeing me,” Kid told him, honestly. “I didn’t know if you’d want to see me at all. You might have thought I was working with them.”
“How could you think that?” Heyes asked, incredulously.
“We didn’t part on the best of terms, Heyes,” Kid reminded him. “People change; you’re running with the Devil’s Hole Gang now.”
“You’re my best friend Kid,” Heyes said, stunned by Kid’s revelation.
“I was, your best friend. I don’t know how things are between us now.”
“Well they’re a little awkward at the moment but we’ll get over that,” Heyes told him. “And I still don’t see why you didn’t lead those guys to me instead of letting them beat you half to death.”
“Because they were gonna kill you,” Kid stated.
Heyes looked shocked.
Falling to his knees, Kid Curry spat a mouthful of blood into the dirt. The fist had caught him hard in the stomach and he doubled over in pain.
“Get up!” Brannigan snarled, but Kid didn’t move. “Get him up!” he ordered and two men pulled Kid to his feet. Brannigan grabbed Kid’s chin twisting his face towards him. Out of bruised and bloodied eyes, Kid stared at the man. His face was so close to Kid’s he could smell Brannigan’s stale breath.
“You gonna take us to your friend now?” Brannigan asked.
“No,” Kid stated and a fist dug deep into his side.
They had jumped him on his way back to the hotel, dragged him into the alley and knocked him unconscious. Now they were in a wood and Kid could hear a river, somewhere off to his left. He had no idea how he’d got there. Moonlight broke through the trees, illuminating the angry face of Brannigan, standing before him.
Kid had been approached by Matt Brannigan in the saloon the previous evening. The large bald man offered to buy him a drink. Kid was down to his last few cents and he didn’t see what harm it could do, to listen to what the man had to say and get a free beer in the process. His suspicions were soon roused when the man told him he knew he was Kid Curry. Kid had not confirmed it, just tensed his shoulders a little and dropped his hand to his side, just in case. Then a small man, with a thin scar down his right cheek, joined them at the table.
“Hello Kid,” the man said, giving the young blond man a smile, which revealed gaps in his crooked front teeth.
“Hello Angelo,” Kid replied, knowing there was no longer any point in denying who he was. Another beer arrived and Brannigan talked about some plans he had for a big job up in Montana. Kid was welcome to join them if he wanted, it might make him a lot of money. Kid didn’t agree to anything, waiting patiently for the real reason Brannigan was so interested in him. Eventually, the conversation turned to Hannibal Heyes and Kid grew even more cautious. There was a safe in a house Brannigan wanted opened, but no one was to know about it, so dynamite was out of the question.
“Imagine how lucky I felt when Angelo told me who you were,” Brannigan told Kid. “Your friend Heyes is just the man we need. I know he’s the best safe cracker around.”
“We don’t ride together anymore,” Kid stated.
“But you know where he is. I mean we all know he’s riding with the Devil’s Hole Gang now.”
“But I don’t,” Kid said, flatly.
“But you could get in there, go see your friend.”
“Got no reason to,” Kid told them.
“I want you to go see Heyes, ask your friend if he’ll work with us.”
“Why should I?” Kid asked, still suspicious of these men.
“Because I will make it worth your while,” Brannigan told him and then he offered Kid a lot of money. “You look as if you could use it too,” the bald man said, smiling at Kid’s scruffy appearance. Kid had to admit he was a little short of funds. To a man down on his luck, wondering if he had enough money to buy himself a meal, let alone a room with a bed, it was a real temptation.
“What about Heyes? What do I offer him?” Kid asked. Two blue eyes flicked from Brannigan to Angelo, as he considered the proposition.
“Half what I give you, but you can tell him whatever you want, just as long as you get him to do the job for us,” the bald man replied.
Kid wondered what Heyes would say, if he’d be interested. He hadn’t seen his friend in a long time and the thought of meeting him again was appealing. However, would Heyes want to see him? They had not parted on friendly terms. In fact Kid could still remember how hard Heyes’ last punch had been.
“I’ll need time to think about this,” Kid stated. “I’d take a big risk riding into Devil’s Hole alone. Heyes may not be as pleased to see me as you think.”
“You’re old friends. Of course he’ll want to see you,” the bald man said, confidently.
“I wouldn’t be so sure of that,” Kid told him.
“You have until tomorrow,” Brannigan said, as he pushed back his chair and stood up.
Kid watched the men leave, wondering what Heyes would say if he rode in to see him.
As Kid headed towards the saloon the next day, he saw Angelo talking to another man. Something made Kid slip into the alleyway and wait as they walked by. Fate made the two men stop not far from where Kid hid in the shadows, allowing him to eavesdrop on their conversation.
“Brannigan says we’ll kill them both, once the job’s done,” Angelo said. “You’ll have to be quick with Curry, he really is as fast as they say with a gun.”
“Don’t worry I’ll take care of him,” the other man stated confidently. “Ain’t plannin’ no fast draw contest. A knife in the back works fine for me.”
“What about Heyes? I hear he’s real smart. Brannigan seems to have some sort of grudge against him. Said it was something that happened a long time ago.”
“He told me to bring my skinning knife for that one,” the man said. “I think he has something special planned for him.”
Kid leaned back against the wall and gave a heavy sigh. It seemed he would have to ride to Devil’s Hole after all.
“I over heard them talking,” Kid explained to his friend. “After you’d opened the safe for them, they were gonna kill you. Started talking about just how they’d do it too. It was gonna be slow and unpleasant. I don’t know why; something about Brannigan having a grudge against you. There was no way I was gonna lead them to you after that.”
“So you took a beating instead?” Heyes asked, grateful to his friend. He saw Kid soften and look embarrassed.
“Well it didn’t feel that noble at the time,” the blond man told him. “Actually it was pretty painful.”
When Kid failed to show at their agreed meeting, the three men went looking for him. Kid had brought his horse from the livery stable, intent on leaving town and heading to Devil’s Hole to warn his old friend somehow. The men had spotted him and lay in wait, catching him by surprise and dragging him into the alleyway before throwing him over his horse and heading out of town. Brannigan had them work Kid over, hoping to persuade the young man that it would be in his best interests to agree to work for him. As the blows rained in, Kid began to wonder if it wouldn’t be easier just to lead them to Heyes. After all what did he owe his old friend? The last thing Heyes had done was hit him. They hadn’t parted friends. It had been a long time since he’d seen him. Heyes may not want to see him or welcome him back. But as Brannigan landed another blow, catching Kid in the ribs, he knew it wasn’t true. He wouldn’t betray his old friend, no matter how much it was hurting.
As Kid dropped to his knees, Brannigan finally realised just how stubborn Kid Curry could be.
“Damn it! D’you want us to kill you?” the bald man cried with exasperation.
“Not particularly,” Kid mumbled, through a bloodied mouth.
Brannigan called his men off. He had no desire to kill Kid Curry yet. Maybe they would need to find another way to get to Hannibal Heyes.
“I’ve never heard of Brannigan,” Heyes told Kid.
“Well he sure knows you. From way back, apparently.”
“What about your gunshot wound?” Heyes asked. “Was that them too?”
“Yeah. They got sloppy, the man they left on guard fell asleep and I managed to get away. When they realised what was happening, they started firing. They chased me through the woods until I jumped in the river. I got caught by a lucky shot, I reckon, ‘cos they weren’t hitting nothing before that”
“I’m sorry Kid,” Heyes told him.
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“Not then, but maybe before,” Heyes said and Kid knew what he meant.
“That was a long time ago,” Kid told him. Two blue eyes met Heyes’ brown ones, and then dropped to his partner’s spilt and bloody lip.
“But…” Heyes began.
“Heyes,” Kid cautioned, as he turned back to his friend. “For once, let it go.”
The dark-haired man considered this and reluctantly nodded. Kid turned back to his horse.
“You didn’t just happen to be in the saloon yesterday did you?” Heyes asked, after a moment. Kid remained silent. “Did you?”
Kid let out a heavy sigh and once more turned to face Heyes.
“I thought they might find someone else to lead them to you,” Kid explained.
“So you were keeping an eye on me?” Heyes wanted to smile but suppressed the urge.
Again, there was no reply.
“How long you been watching me?” Heyes wanted to know.
“I followed you from the bank job,” Kid stated.
“You found me four days ago?” Heyes asked, incredulously.
“Well you boys weren’t hard to find. You made enough noise to raise the dead and left enough of a dust trail, half the Bannerman Detective Agency could have followed you.”
Heyes looked a little sheepish. It was true, they hadn’t exactly left town quietly, nor made an effort to cover their tracks. Maybe they were getting overconfident? He’d have to talk to Big Jim about that. Or maybe…? Heyes shot a sideways glance at Kid.
“You think we should sneak in and out? Be a little more cautious?” he asked his friend.
“I think you should cover your tracks or every lawman for miles will be able to follow you back to Devil’s Hole.”
“Maybe you could explain that to Jim?” Heyes suggested. “I’ve tried but he just sees me as the ‘safe man’. The guy we’ve got handling the security side of things isn’t the brightest of men. He’s tough but, you’re right we need to be more careful.” Heyes sat on a large boulder. He shot a quick look at Kid out of the corner of his eye. “So how would you do it? Cover our trail, I mean? There’s a lot of men to hide.”
Kid looked up and saw the look on his partner’s face. He smiled and shook his head.
“Nice try Heyes, but I’m not stupid.”
“I never said you were,” Heyes said, innocently.
“I know what you’re trying to do,” Kid told him.
“I’d like to catch up with you Kid,” Heyes told his friend honestly. “And you need to rest up. It’s safe at Devil’s Hole and a good place to heal. And we really could use you, if you decide to stay.”
“Heyes, from what I’ve heard of the man, I can’t see Jim Santana inviting me to stay.”
“I’ll talk to him,” Heyes said, trying to hide the desperation in his voice. “Please Kid. I could use a friend in there.”
Kid looked up to see Heyes looking, hopefully, at him.
“You should split up after a job. Agree who takes the money. Leave a few false trails.”
“I know,” Heyes agreed, hoping Kid was seriously considering riding to Devil’s Hole.
“And your men are too talkative. I knew where you were just by listening to their conversations.”
“You should tell Jim that.”
Kid considered this.
“Does that hurt?” Kid asked, pointing to the bruise developing on Heyes’ jaw.
“Yes,” Heyes admitted, rubbing his chin.
“I’ll survive,” Heyes told him, bravely.
Kid pulled himself into the saddle and looked down at his friend.
“So you need my help with the Gang huh?”
“Advice Kid, I could do with your advice,” Heyes corrected.
Kid said nothing, waiting as Heyes got back on his horse.
“Do I tell Big Jim I’ve ridden in to give him some advice?” Kid asked, his tongue firmly in his cheek.
“Not unless you want to get your head blown off,” Heyes told him, suddenly worried as to just how Kid would approach the, sometimes volatile, gang leader.
“Is he quick on the draw?” Kid asked, as he urged his horse off.
“Kid, don’t go challenging him,” Heyes warned, not sure if his friend was joking.
“Well I gotta reputation too Heyes,” Kid called over his shoulder. “I can’t have him making me look bad.”
“Kid, don’t even think about challenging him, please,” Heyes called, anxious to catch up to his friend.
“Well you invited me Heyes, so I’ll expect you to back me up. Maybe we could take over?”
“You’re joking right? You not suggesting we run the Gang?” There was no answer. “Kid? Kid?”
The blond man turned in his saddle and smiled.
“And, if you were following me for four days, why the heck didn’t you say something before?” Heyes demanded to know. Kid smiled and shook his head as he rode on. “Kid? Kid? Damn it if you don’t answer me I’m gonna flatten ya!”
THE END OF THE BEGINNING ONCE MORE.