By Maz McCoy

“OW! You are a dead woman if you do that again!” Kid Curry warned. “Why?” he asked through gritted teeth. “Did Kyle hide it here?”
“I don’t know but keep looking,” Hannibal Heyes advised.
“I will, but there just might be a blood bath at the end of this.”
“Stop moanin’ and search.” Heyes shoved his hand into a pile of straw, feeling around inside. He found a couple of warm eggs, but nothing else. Across the hut Kid mirrored his actions.
“OW! Dammit!”
“What now?” Heyes gave his partner a tired glance.
“She bit me!” Kid pointed an accusing finger at a serene looking chicken sitting calmly on her nest box.
“No, she didn’t.”
“Heyes, trust me, she bit me!”
“Chickens don’t have teeth, they can’t bite, so it would be more precise to say she pecked you.”
Two ice blue eyes fixed on Heyes. “And it would be real precise to say I’m gonna shoot the next one that does that.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Don’t bet on it.” Kid glanced at the offending bird. “One more time sweetheart and you’re chicken soup!”
“Are you seriously calling out a chicken?”
“I’m not calling her out, just warning her.”
“And you’re supposed to be such a charmer with the ladies.”
“Human ladies, Heyes. Not feather-brained ones.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Some of the women you…” Heyes smiled sweetly when he saw the look Kid gave him.
“Just search.”
Heyes rummaged through the next box and the next. Two chickens clucked at him, one taking to the air in a frenzied flap before settling herself on a beam. Heyes replaced her eggs then brushed several pale feathers from his dark shirt.
“What the…? Oh, you have got to be kiddin’ me…”
Rolling his eyes in patient despair Heyes turned to face his partner once more. “Can’t you just…” He looked at Kid. White blobs, which could only be one thing, dotted Kid’s hat and the front of his shirt. Kid looked up at the birds perched on the beam. He looked across at Heyes. Heyes smiled.
Kid took a deep breath and spoke through clenched teeth. “I. Am. Gonna. Kill. Kyle.”
Heyes shook his head. “No, you’re not, but you are gonna find the money bag.” He stepped towards his friend and patted him on the shoulder, taking great care where he laid his hand. “Let’s find it and get outta here.”
Kid nodded and reluctantly shoved his hand beneath another chicken. “Have you noticed that rooster’s wearing an eye patch?”
“No, it’s not.”
“Take a look! Whoever heard of a rooster with an eye patch?”
“Kid, it is not wear…” Heyes looked at the rooster. “Well I’ll be.”
“I told you. This I no ordinary chicken coop. Rooster’s with eye patches, killer chickens…”
Heyes laughed. “They are not killer chickens, you’re just…Kid, I got something.”
His partner was swiftly by his side, watching as Heyes pulled out a hessian bag from beneath a plump bird. Taking offence the chicken flapped at the outlaw. Heyes opened the bag and peered inside. He smiled.
“That it?” Kid asked.
“So we can get outta here?”
“We can.”
Kid looked around at the chickens now settled back on their nests. “You hungry?”

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