The Rifle

The Rifle

By Maz McCoy

 

Hannibal Heyes sat on the large Queen-sized bed, legs stretched out in front of him, socked-feet crossed at the ankle. He wore jeans and his white Henley, sleeves pushed up to reveal an appealing amount of dark hair on his arms. In his hand he held a book. Heyes was reading.

Kid Curry, clad in pale blue shirt and snug jeans, gun-belt hanging ruggedly on his hips, stood at the window peering out through the net curtain.

“Heyes, I’m worried,” the blond Adonis said.

“Hmm,” came the reply.

“We gotta do somethin’.”

“Uh huh.”

“This could get serious.”

“Mmm.”

Kid turned away from the window and stared at his partner. “Heyes, are you listenin’ to me?”

“Uh huh.”

Kid strode toward the bed and stood next to Heyes. The dark-haired, dimple-cheeked, ex-outlaw leader looked up. “What?”

“Have you heard a word I’ve been sayin’?”

“Sure. Blah blah blah, worried, blah blah blah gotta do somethin’, blah, blah…”

“All right. So what we gonna do?”

“About what?”

“About Maz!”

Heyes placed his book, open pages down, on the bed, saving the page he was reading. “What about Maz?”

“She’s bringing Elizabeth Darkly back.”

Heyes smiled. “She is?”

“Yeah.”

“Good.”

“No, Heyes, it’s not good. When Elizabeth’s around, I get hurt! I hafta spend time with the woman! I get teased and I’ll probably end up shot or wrassling a cougar!”

Heyes nodded. “That could happen.”

“So what we gonna do about it?”

Heyes considered this. “I could ask Maz to write me a few more scenes with Elizabeth.” His smile broadened.

“Forget it! She ain’t gonna write you those kinda scenes.”

Heyes sighed. “You’re probably right.”

Kid strode across the room, then back again. “You know I even heard that cat-woman you like tellin’ Maz she hasta become an outlaw! Can you believe it?”

Heyes swung his legs over the side of the bed and sat up. “I heard that too but don’t worry.”

“Don’t worry? Are you crazy? Of course I’m worried! She wants her to become an outlaw!”

“It’s not for real.”

“Heyes, she was talkin’ about train times. I reckon she’s plannin’ on robbin’ the train headed for some place called Bir-min-ham.”

“It’s for a party.”

“Huh?” A brow furrowed, attractively, of course.

“Calico is having a party and its fancy dress.”

“Gotta go smart huh?”

“Not that kinda fancy. For this you go in costume. Dress up as different folk. That sorta thing and Maz is gonna be dressed as an outlaw.”

Clearly relieved Kid smiled. “She is?”

“Yes.”

“Anyone we know?”

“Well not Hannibal Heyes or what’s-his-name.”

“Who then?”

“Jesse Wales.”

“Never hearda him. Or her.”

“Me either.” Heyes shifted back on the bed and stretched out his legs.

Kid walked back to the window. “You know this is all cos’ of that darn challenge.”

“What about it?”

“Maz, is stuck. Don’t have any ideas. That’s why she’s brought Elizabeth back. Reckons she’s got some ideas for what to do with us with Elizabeth around.” Kid scoffed. “I bet she has.”

Heyes picked up his book and searched for the line he’d been reading. He’d just found it when Kid spoke again.

“You know if we help her with the challenge, maybe she’ll forget about Elizabeth.”

“S’possible.” Heyes acknowledged without looking up. He read the next line.

“I reckon we can think o’somethin’.”

“Well, it’s your area of expertise.”

“It is?”

“Sure. I reckon someone left it there when they were on a picnic.”

“A picnic?” Kid considered this. “I guess. Odd thing to take on a picnic.”

“Not if you’re British.”

“Yeah, that’s true.” Heyes made it through one more line of text before Kid said, “So why’d they leave it there?”

“Maybe it started to rain.”

Kid thought about that. He nodded. It was possible. “Yeah, but why didn’t they go back for it. I mean it’s a valuable thing.”

Heyes chuckled. “Only to you.”

“Only to me? Heyes that thing is worth…” Kid pondered the cost. “Well sheesh, a lot of money.”

“For a trifle?”

“It’s no trifle!”

Heyes looked up at him. “Huh?”

“A weapon like that is…”

“What do you mean a weapon?” Heyes interrupted, clearly confused.

“The rifle. It’s a really good weapon. Not that I’m an expert with one, prefer my Colt to…”

“A rifle?”

“Yeah.”

Heyes laughed. “I thought you told me someone left a trifle next to a tree.”

Kid stared at his friend, his disappointment evident. “Heyes.”

“Yeah?”

“Go back to your book.”

 

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