Deciding on an Alias

Deciding on an Alias

By Maz McCoy

“Lom called us Smith and Jones,” Kid said, before taking a swallow of his beer. His eyes scanned the saloon, watching a pretty girl using her charms on the customers at the bar.

“I know. Not the most original names to pick,” Heyes stated, as he put down his own drink and wiped a hand across his mouth.

“So d’you want to choose something else?” Kid asked. “I mean if you don’t like being Mr. Smith?”

“I don’t know Kid.”

“Why do we need a permanent alias anyway?”

“Because you can’t sign into a hotel register as Mr. Curry if you’re trying to go straight,” Heyes told him. “And Lom needs to know who we’re pretending to be, wherever we are.”

“Oh, yeah.” Kid took another swallow of beer, clearly thinking of names.

“East and West,” Heyes said, suddenly. Kid did not look impressed. “Just a thought,” Heyes told him.

“What about first names? Do we keep our own Christian names? Jedediah Jones and Hannibal Smith?”

“I hate to admit it, but there aren’t too many Hannibals around.”

“So we need new Christian names too?” Kid asked, anxiously.

Heyes nodded.

“Sheesh.” Kid’s eyes opened wide. “This going straight thing’s gonna to be harder than I thought.”

Heyes smiled.

“Jake,” Kid said. “I always wanted to be called Jake, when I was little.”

“Since when?” Heyes scoffed.

“Since we read that book in school.”

“What book?”

“Well I don’t remember the name, but the hero was called Jake,” Kid told him. He thought for a moment. “Or maybe it was Deke?”

“Sheesh,” Heyes said rolling his eyes at his partner. “You are not being called Jake Jones or Deke Jones for that matter.”

“So what do we call ourselves?” Kid asked. Heyes didn’t have an answer for him.

***

“Jonathan Smith,” Heyes said as they walked along the boardwalk. “Jeremiah Jones.”

Kid shot him a sideways glance, but said nothing.

“Jacob Smith, Jackson Smith, Joseph Smith,” Heyes said in turn. He had already dismissed names beginning with the letters A to I.

“Joshua,” Kid offered. Heyes was silent. Kid stopped walking and turned to look at his partner. Heyes smiled.

“Joshua Smith, Joshua Smith. I like that. Joshua Smith. It has a nice sound.” He nodded and put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Joshua Smith. Well done Kid. Now all we have to do is find a name for you.”

Kid gave a heavy sigh.

***

“Horatio Jones,” Heyes said and Kid’s eyes shot up. He was sitting at the table, cleaning his gun. “No?” Heyes asked.

“No,” Kid stated, definitely.

“Isaiah Jones, Levi Jones, Lucian Jones,” Heyes continued, as he sat on the bed and began pulling off his boots.

“Lucian?” Kid asked. “Do I look like a Lucian?”

“No. Why do you like it?”

“No!” Kid put down his gun. “Heyes, will you please stop. You’ve been through the alphabet twice now. Maybe I’ll just be, Jones. No Christian name. It’ll add a little mystery.”

“Kid, we don’t need mystery; we’re trying to blend in. Be normal,” Heyes reminded him.

“Not with a name like Lucian we won’t,” Kid retorted.

“Well I don’t hear you coming up with any bright ideas.”

“I found Joshua for you,” Kid reminded him.

***

“Merrill Jones, Nathaniel Jones, Orville Jones,” Heyes muttered, as he lay on his back in bed, his head resting on his hands. He stared up at the ceiling, thinking.

“Heyes, please! Will you shut up and go to sleep?” Kid pleaded from the other bed.

“Kid we hafta find you a name,” Heyes reminded him.

“Not in the middle of the night!” Kid snapped.

“Well this is when I do my best thinking,” Heyes reminded him.

“Please don’t tell me you’re about to start pacing,” Kid groaned, burying his face in the pillow.

“I’m doing this for you, Kid,” Heyes told him, charitably.

“I’m gonna do somethin’ for me in a minute…with a bullet!” Kid told him, firmly.

“Patrick Jones, Rufus Jones, Stanley Jones,” Heyes continued, ignoring the threat.

“Heyes!” Kid groaned.

“Thaddeus Jones,” Heyes said.

Silence.

“Thaddeus?” Kid asked, as his head rose from the pillow.

“Thaddeus Jones,” Heyes repeated.

“Thaddeus Jones?”

“Yep.”

“Thaddeus Jones,” Kid said, trying out the name.

“D’you like it?”

“Yeah, I think I do.”

“Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones. Now don’t they sound like two respectable, upholders of the law to you?” Heyes asked.

“They sound like real law abiding men,” Kid admitted. “Now can we get to sleep before I shoot ya?”

“Sure Kid. I know you’re not really angry at me. You’re probably just tired. You should get some sleep.”

Kid glared at his partner.

“You know Joshua, I think I will,” he said.

“Goodnight Thaddeus,” Heyes said, and he turned down the lamp.

“Goodnight Joshua.”

ALIAS SMITH AND JONES

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