The 4th July
By Maz McCoy
Kid Curry lowered himself into the tub of hot water and sighed. It had been quite a day. He was tired and dusty from hours in the saddle and the warm water soothed his aching muscles. He leaned back and closed his eyes.
He had not been in the best of moods. In truth he’d been pretty tough to ride with, snapping at the Gang, biting Heyes’ head off about nothing in particular, as they rode from the posse. He was exhausted, but then so was everyone else. Kid ducked his head under the water and then resurfaced. He pushed the wet hair back from his head with his hands.
Despite the way he had treated him, Heyes had helped him get the bath water ready and had taken his dirty clothes away for Duncan, the new member of the Gang, to wash. He’d even left him a towel on the chair. Kid made a promise to himself to apologise to Heyes and the men later. The water was doing a good job of relaxing him.
A sudden commotion outside the cabin caught his ears. Kid’s eyes shot open. He listened intently. Voices he recognised sounded alarmed.
“It’s a posse!” someone yelled.
“Take cover!” That was Heyes!
Shots! There were gunshots!
Kid stood up, water cascading down his toned body. He stepped out of the bathtub, water dripped onto the floor, as he searched for the towel. What had Heyes done with the towel? Damn it! He’d told him he’d left one on the chair..but all that was there was…Oh well it would have to do. Kid wrapped the cloth around him and reached for his gun. He opened the door a crack. Gunfire rang around the hideout but he could see no one. He edged out onto the porch, keeping low.
“Kid help!” someone called from somewhere off to his left. Kid burst into the open, trying desperately to locate the Gang; to find Heyes, while avoiding the posse. The gun fire stopped when he was halfway between the cabin and the horses that were tied to a tree. Kid came to a sudden halt when the rest of the Gang emerged from the trees in front of him. Wheat, Kyle, Lobo…all the men had huge grins on their faces. Gun in hand, Kid looked around, confused. There was no sign of any posse, no sign of anyone firing at the Gang, no sign of any danger at all.
And then he heard the laughter. A deep chuckle behind him. A chuckle that could only belong to one man. And as that man began to laugh, so did everyone else.
Kid turned and there was Heyes leaning with one hand against the cabin, a huge grin on his face. Kid realised he’d been tricked.
He was standing, dripping wet, gun in hand, naked except for…and then it dawned on him. He had a flag wrapped around his waist. The flag.
As the sound of laughter rang around him, Heyes pushed off the cabin wall and walked towards his friend.
“You still grumpy?” the dark-haired man asked.
Kid tried to suppress the smile that was threatening to break out on his face. He worked on an angry glare instead, narrowing his eyes for added effect. He could see the absurdity of the situation. A naked, gun-toting man wrapped in a flag. Sheesh, he must look like an idiot; he sure felt like one.
“You still gonna moan at us?” Kyle asked, as he and Wheat walked up to them.
Kid looked from one man to the next and then back to Heyes, just as Lobo let off some more firecrackers.
“Happy 4th July!” Heyes said and Kid smiled.