Watching the Parade Go By
By Maz McCoy
“All right, let’s go over this one more time.” Hannibal Heyes looked down at the roughly drawn map laid out on the table. Members of the Devil’s Hole Gang gathered around him studying the outline of the Branfield sheriff’s office, general store, livery stables and, most importantly, the bank. “Lobo, you’ll be here,” Heyes tapped the map, “keeping an eye on the street. Wheat and Kyle…”
“We got the dynamite,” Kyle interrupted enthusiastically.
Heyes nodded his approval. “That’s great, Kyle.”
“Don’t see why I hafta help, Kyle,” Wheat muttered.
“Wheat,” was all Kid needed to say.
“Just saying,” Wheat added.
“So, Lobo’s watching the street, Wheat and Kyle have the dynamite, Preacher, you’ll hold the horses, here.” Another tap of the map. “Riggs and Huggins…” Heyes paused. The man named Huggins was seated at the table scribbling on a piece of paper.
“Huggins, you listenin’?” Kid asked.
Huggins looked up. “Sure, just making a note.”
“Of what?” Wheat asked.
“What Heyes is saying, so I know what I gotta do.”
“You gotta keep watch, at the back of the bank,” Heyes informed him and the man scribbled it down on the paper.
Kid and Heyes exchanged a look. Kid shrugged.
“If my information is correct the bank will be holding $20,000 for just one night,” Heyes stated. “They’re keeping the movement of this payroll quiet so I don’t expect there to be more than four guards. We can’t mess this one up. We’ll leave early tomorrow morning. I want to make Branfield before dark.” The men muttered their understanding. “Everybody get some sleep.”
The following afternoon, the Devil’s Hole Gang sat on their horses on a bluff overlooking the town of Branfield.
“There it is boys,” Heyes informed them unnecessarily. No one replied. The tension they felt before any job was palpable. Kid had spent all of the previous evening cleaning his gun and checking and then rechecking it. Heyes had studied the map until he could draw it blindfolded, not that that particular talent would be required. They were as ready as they could be.
The leader looked to Lobo then followed the direction he pointed. A wagon, accompanied by four outriders appeared from behind a distant ridge. “That it?” Lobo asked.
Heyes smiled. “Sure looks like it.” He exchanged a triumphant grin with the other men as the wagon threw up a trail of dust on its way to Branfield.
The dark-haired man looked over to his friend. “What?”
Kid pointed back to the wagon.
Heyes looked and his eyes opened wider. Following behind the payroll wagon was a column of cavalry soldiers. A lot of cavalry soldiers. Heyes counted and by the time he reached thirty he’d lost his sense of humour.
“Looks like a parade!” Kyle announced with a smile.
Heyes shot a look at Kid. “$20,000,” he said sadly, shaking his head.
“It was a good plan,” Kid informed him.
“Yeah, before the parade turned up.”