The Captain’s Wife
(As mentioned in The First Bank Job)
By Maz McCoy
“I’m not doing it!” nineteen-year-old Kid Curry stated firmly. Turning away from his friend he headed across the street towards the saloon.
“Jed! Kid!” Hannibal Heyes hissed and ran after him. Catching hold of the young blond man’s arm, he pulled him to a halt.
“Let go of me, Heyes!” Kid glared at his friend.
“Will you just listen to me? It’s easy work for good money. Really good money. We can’t afford to turn it down.”
“Then you do it!” Kid shrugged off Heyes’ hand and continued towards the saloon. Heyes looked skyward for inspiration, and then took off after his friend again. He pushed through the bat wing doors and followed Kid to the bar. Kid caught the eye of the bartender and ordered a beer.
“D’you want one?” he asked, when Heyes stopped beside him.
“Suit yourself.” The bartender set the beer in front of Kid.
“Can we talk?” Heyes asked, indicating a free table in the corner of the room.
“Will I get a word in edgeways?”
Without giving an answer Heyes headed towards the table. Kid gave a heavy sigh, picked up his beer and followed him.
“Well?” he asked as he sat down.
“All Mr. Goldman wants us to do is get the envelope back. He saw Captain Alvarez put it in his briefcase. So, all you have to do is go into his room, find the briefcase and get the envelope.”
“And what will you be doing while I’m breaking into his room and robbing him?”
“You’re not robbing him, just retrieving Mr. Goldman’s property.”
“And while you’re doing that, I will be keeping the Captain entertained and away from his room.”
“Why don’t I keep him entertained while you break in?”
“Because I have the silver tongue.”
“Well it ain’t working on me!” Kid took a swallow of beer. Twenty-one-year old Heyes sat patiently. This might take longer than he thought.
The two young men stood in the shadows, on the boardwalk, opposite the hotel. A few passers-by eyed them suspiciously, but they gave everyone a pleasant smile, tipping their hats to the ladies and acting as innocent as they could.
“His room is that one,” Heyes said, when they were finally alone. He pointed to the room on the second floor at the far left of the hotel. “If you get onto the balcony you can climb in through the window. That way you shouldn’t be seen.”
“And while I’m risking spending a few years in jail for burglary where exactly will you be?” However, Kid already knew the answer.
“I’ll be in the hotel restaurant, delaying the Captain’s return to his hotel room. You are not going to get caught. You’ll be in and out of the room before anyone sees you. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get over there.” Without another word, Heyes headed across the street towards the hotel. Kid followed, reluctantly.
Captain Sebastian Alvarez was seated in the far corner of the hotel restaurant. He was a tall, elegant Mexican gentleman, with a black moustache. Heyes estimated the man to be in his late forties. He looked up as the dark-haired young man approached his table.
“Captain Alvarez?” Heyes asked.
“Yes.” His eyes quickly assessed the man before him.
“My name is Hannibal Heyes, I’m sorry to interrupt your meal but I wonder if we might have a word?”
“What about senor?”
“Something that I hope will be to our mutual advantage. A good friend of mine…” Heyes pulled out a chair and sat.
Watching from the doorway, Kid couldn’t hear what Heyes was saying, but he knew once his friend sat down the poor man was stuck with him, at least for the time being. With Heyes buying him the time he needed, Kid headed outside and towards the stairs at the side of the hotel. When he reached the top of the stairs he crept quietly along the balcony, crouching down in front of the last window. His eyes scanned the street below. Nothing moved. No one was about. Kid removed a knife from his boot and slid it carefully between the two windows. He gently prised the catch open. Looking around he made sure no one could see him before raising the window, pushing back the curtain and climbing into the room. He pulled the window down again. It stuck halfway. Using more force, Kid finally managed to close it.
He left the curtains open at first, allowing the moonlight to illuminate the room enough for him to find a lamp. Striking a match, he lit the lamp, and then pulled the curtains closed. Kid looked around and quickly spotted a briefcase on the floor beside a small bureau. He placed the lamp on the desk, picked up the briefcase and opened it. Goldman had described the envelope he was looking for; small and brown, about four inches by six inches with the word ‘Colorado’ written on the front. It was said to contain a letter of introduction to one of Mr. Goldman’s friends and a map giving the location of a mine. Kid had no idea why, having given the Captain the envelope Goldman now wanted it back, but he knew Goldman was paying good money for its return. That had been enough for Heyes.
There were several documents and envelopes in the bag. Kid thumbed through them. Finally he spotted the one he wanted. Taking it from the briefcase he placed it on the desk, closed the bag and…
“Hello? Who’s there?” a voice asked, behind him.
“I know!” Captain Alvarez exclaimed, excitedly. The wine had been flowing freely and the Mexican had already forgotten why Mr. Heyes had joined him in the first place. “I once owned a horse that was just like that.” He laughed as he regaled Heyes with the story. Heyes stifled a yawn. How long had he been enduring the man’s tales of life south of the border, his rise from rags to undoubted riches and his hopes to extend his growing interests into mining? Heyes didn’t know, but he hoped it had been long enough for Kid to retrieve the envelope.
“And now my wife is here, I am a happy man,” the Captain was saying.
“I’m sorry?” Heyes’ interest was suddenly sparked.
“My wife. She arrived earlier today. We have been apart for several months. A man misses the company of a good woman. You know what I mean?”
“She’s here?” Heyes looked around the room, searching for the lady.
“Yes, but she was tired after her journey and is resting in my room.”
“She’s in your room?” Heyes poker face failed him momentarily.
“Who are you?”
Kid looked at the young woman sitting up in bed, a white sheet pulled up to her neck. Her eyes opened wide in surprise.
“Don’t be alarmed, ma’am. I won’t hurt you,” he assured her. She looked at him and smiled.
“I am sure you wouldn’t. My husband is an army Captain. He would be most angry if you harmed me.”
“You’re perfectly safe with me.” He wondered how he was going to get out of this. The Captain’s wife ran her eyes over him and liked what she saw.
“Why are you in my room?” she asked, curious rather than afraid. She was a beautiful woman, no older than twenty five. Long dark hair hung around her shoulders, large brown eyes focussed on the handsome young blond man standing before her. He looked no more than a boy.
“I was looking for something,” Kid told her honestly, feeling the table behind his back and searching, with his hand, for the envelope.
“What were you looking for?”
Kid’s hand fell on the envelope. Picking it up he tucked it into the waistband at the back of his pants.
“I’m in the wrong room,” he told her and moved towards the door. Swiftly she dropped the sheet, was out of bed and in front of the door before he reached it.
“You don’t have to go,” she told him, as she blocked his path. Kid did his best not to look down. She wore a thin, make that very thin, positively diaphanous, nightgown. Its gathered neckline had already fallen off her smooth, bare shoulders, revealing the top of an ample bosom. Kid swallowed.
“Ma’am, I really should be going.”
“I hope you won’t.” Her eyelashes fluttered. She stepped towards him. “What is your name?” Her eyes met his and Kid was momentarily mesmerised. She was beautiful.
“Your name, what is it?”
“It is short for something, this Jed?”
“Jedediah,” the blond man told her, his eyes fixed on her moist lips and she smiled at him.
“Je-desire?” she asked, her eyes sparkling with mischief, as she rolled the name around on her tongue, then rolled her tongue across her lips.
“No ma’am, Jed…” he realised she was toying with him.
“I like this name Je-desire. You are such a pretty young man,” the dark haired woman cooed seductively as she advanced on Je-desire Curry. He took a step backwards, bumping into a table as he did so. “Such beautiful blue eyes.”
“Ma’am, I…er…I think I had better be going…” Jed stammered. He pointed to the door. “Your husband might be…He could return anytime…I’m in the wrong room and…”
“You are afraid of what he will do if he finds you here?”
“Yes ma’am,” he admitted. “He might get the wrong idea.”
“And what idea is that?” She placed a hand on his chest. With the table behind him, Kid had nowhere to go.
“He might think we…er…You know…I should leave.”
“But we do nothing wrong.” She stood in front of him, her cleavage rising and falling. That nightgown sure was thin! “We do nothing wrong…Je-desire…nothing yet.” Her eyes met his and she smiled. Jed felt like a fly caught in a spider’s web. Not an entirely reluctant fly. In fact a fly that was beginning to warm to the situation. She moved her hand down his chest. He really shouldn’t. He slid sideways, moving away from her clutches.
“Ma’am I’d best be going,” he headed towards the window.
“STOP!” she cried. Kid did just that.
“Don’t shout please.”
“Then you will stay a while longer. Keep me company. Or I might call for help. I might scream!”
Kid held up his hands.
“Oh no, please don’t do that. I’ll just leave through the window and…”
“Please stay Je-desire. I have been very lonely. My husband he has neglected me. You would not neglect me if I was your wife, would you?”
“No ma’am,” he admitted, truthfully.
“You would treat me well?” She took a step towards him.
“I have been so alone.” Another step. “So afraid.” Step. “I am not afraid of you. Your eyes are so kind. So blue.” Step. Step.
She was standing in front of him now. She took another step closer.
“It has been so long since I felt a man’s strong protective arms around me.”
“You have such strong arms for one so young.” Reaching out she touched his biceps. Holding his arms she did not let go. “Such strong muscles.”
“Thank you ma’am.” Kid tried to remove one of her hands from his arm. She shivered.
“I am cold.”
“Don’t you have a robe?” he asked helpfully, as his eyes searched the room. She sure wasn’t wearing much, no wonder she was cold.
“I think it is you…you make me…excited.” The Captain’s wife moved against him and placed her head on his chest. “Would you hold me?” Two pleading brown eyes looked up at him.
“I don’t think I should.”
“Please?” she whimpered. “Just to keep me warm.”
Never one to turn down the request of a lady in distress, Kid wrapped his arms around her and she snuggled close. He’d only hold her for a minute or two, it would be fine. Kid sighed. If her husband found him here…
“You can kiss me if you want to,” she told him. Kid had to admit, the view he had sure did make it a tempting offer. The Captain’s wife stood on tip toes, her mouth close to his. “Don’t you want to, Je-desire?”
Well now you mention it, what harm could it do? He was a young man in his prime; she was a good looking woman in need of some comfort. What would it hurt to have one little kiss? Kid leaned down, his mouth close to her, her lips puckered up and then they heard footsteps in the corridor.
“My husband!” she gasped. “Quick, you must go. If he catches you here, he will kill you!”
Kid turned towards the window. He reached it in three strides, pulled on the bottom window but it didn’t move. He looked at the catch. It was unlocked. He pushed upwards. The window was stuck.
“What the…” he exclaimed as they heard the footsteps draw closer.
“Hide!” The woman hissed. “Under the bed.”
“I’m not going under the bed!” Kid headed towards the door.
“Stop! You can’t! If he does not kill you, he will kill me!” Her eyes pleaded with him. They listened. The footsteps were going away. They breathed a sigh of relief. Kid opened the door a crack and peered out into the hallway. It was clear. He turned to face her.
“It’s been a pleasure ma’am, but I have to go.” He smiled and stepped into the corridor.
“Wait!” He turned back and she kissed him. As her mouth covered his, Kid didn’t pull away. She sure could kiss. In fact he was soon lost in the desire of her kiss such that neither of them was aware of more approaching footsteps.
There was a shout, a sudden barrage of Spanish, a tall man glared at Kid; his eyes moving between the young blond man and his scantily clad wife. Kid turned to get away and fell over a pot plant beside the door. He stumbled, landing on his knees. Two hands grabbed him as he struggled to get up. There was another barrage of Spanish. A fist collided with his jaw. Kid’s head snapped backwards and stunned by the blow, he fell to the floor. The Captain caught hold of Kid’s shirt, hauled him to his feet and floored him with yet another blow. Kid tasted blood but he was alert enough to move out of the way, as the man swung his fist again.
Kid shuffled rapidly backwards along the floor as the Captain advanced on him. Bruised blue eyes spotted a movement behind the tall man. Heyes! Where the heck had he been?
“Captain Alvarez!” Heyes called. “What’s going on?”
The Captain snapped off a few harsh words to his wife, who disappeared into their room. Alvarez glared at Kid and then followed his wife, completely ignoring Heyes. Kid took the opportunity to get to his feet, hoping the fight was over.
“You all right?” Heyes asked his young friend.
Kid was about to answer when the Captain appeared again, this time brandishing a sword.
“What the…!” Kid exclaimed. The Captain lunged at him, the blade slicing through the air in the space where Kid had been standing not a moment before.
Kid drew his gun.
“Don’t come any closer!” he advised.
“You dog! You defile my wife and then you will not face me like a man!”
“We didn’t do no defiling!” Kid told him. “I didn’t touch her.” Even Heyes knew that wasn’t true. Sheesh all Kid had to do was get an envelope, not make love to the man’s wife! The sword swished through the air once more.
“Put down the weapon and face me!” Alvarez yelled.
“He doesn’t have a sword!” Heyes cried from behind them and received a glare from Kid. Sheesh Heyes, what if the man had a spare? “Captain I think your wife is distressed. I think she needs you. Why don’t you let me deal with this dog for you?” the dark-haired young man suggested.
“I am a man of honour senor.” The Captain addressed Heyes but did not take his eyes from Kid. “I deal with those who insult me.”
“But he’s holding the gun,” Heyes pointed out. The Captain looked at the blond man and the Colt, held confidently, in his hand. Two blue eyes fixed on him.
“We didn’t do anything,” Kid told him. “And I will use this to defend myself, if you don’t put that thing down!”
“You were kissing her!”
“She…I…we…It’s not what it looked like.” Kid saw Heyes roll his eyes.
“It was exactly what it looked like!” The Captain lunged forward causing Kid to take a step backwards.
“Stop that!” he snapped, levelling his gun on the man once more.
“Sebastian stop! Please!” The Captain’s wife pleaded. The military man turned slightly, allowing him to see his wife while still keeping an eye on her defiler. The woman was now wrapped in a long velvet robe. “This young man saved me from a thief.”
Everyone was surprised by this revelation. The three men looked at her, interested to hear her explanation.
“There was a prowler in my room. I called out and Je-desire was passing in the corridor. He came to my aid.” Heyes eyebrows rose in amusement at this particular pronunciation of his friend’s name. Senora Alvarez continued. “The man escaped. I was so frightened that I foolishly clung to him. I forgot myself, Sebastian. Can you forgive me?” The Captain was not sure what to believe. His wife turned to face Kid.
“Oh Je-desire, I am so sorry.”
Heyes was smiling, arms folded across his chest, eyes sparkling with mischief at Je-desire. Kid wanted to wipe the smile off his face. Kid took a moment to compose himself. He wiped his hand across his mouth, instantly regretting it. He grimaced.
“S’okay ma’am,” he told her. “It was a pleasure, to help.” Her eyes met his, something passed between them, something Heyes did not miss. It seems it had been a pleasure for her too.
“It appears I owe you an apology,” the Captain said, reluctantly. “A mistake on my part.”
“No problem,” Kid told him. He could tell the Captain still did not like what he had witnessed. However, he was not about to call his own wife a liar; at least not in front of these men.
“I think it would be best if we leave the Captain and his wife alone,” Heyes said, ushering Kid towards the stairs as the door to the couple’s room closed.
“Just what the heck were you doing in her room?” Heyes demanded as he closed the door to their room on the floor below. Kid leaned against the wall, getting his breath back.
“Just what you asked me to. That man coulda killed me! Why didn’t you tell me about his wife?”
“I didn’t know she was here.”
“You didn’t know? You’re supposed to be the one with the brains! It was your plan!” He took off his bandana and held it against his bleeding mouth, cringing as he touched his bruised jaw. Heyes walked to the dresser and poured water from the jug into the white basin.
“I know but… even I can’t know everything.” Two blue eyes glared at him. Heyes removed his own bandana and dipped it in the water. “And why were you kissing her anyway?” He walked over to his friend and placed the wet cloth on his bruised cheekbone. Kid flinched.
“She was kissing me.”
“It looked pretty mutual from where I was standing.”
“She said she was lonely…”
“I had to practically fight her off!”
“Didn’t look like you were putting up much of a struggle.”
“I didn’t want to hurt her feelings…”
“Of course not.” Heyes was clearly unconvinced. “I bet you just turned those big blue eyes on her and she melted into your arms right? Je-desire.”
“Aw shut up Heyes!”
The dark-haired man, swapped his bandana for Kid’s and rinsed the latter in the basin, the water soon turned red with his friend’s blood. His expression turned serious. He had not wanted Kid hurt.
“So did you get it?” he asked, turning to face Kid.
“Yes I got it.” Kid reached into the back of his waistband, pulled out the envelope and held it out to Heyes. The dark-haired man smiled.
“I knew you could do it!” Heyes threw an arm across Kid’s shoulders. “Come on Je-desire, I’ll buy you a drink!”
“Heyes you keep that up and I’ll flatten ya.”
His friend grinned and headed towards the door.