Former Friends

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry were riding slowly towards the town of Old Upton, Wyoming along a sun-baked road, heading west. Letting their horses walk was an unusual experience for them, and the men were enjoying a brief period of calm in their normally hectic lives. They were heading towards a meeting with sheriff Lom Trevors, for yet another discussion about an amnesty that had the frustrating habit of retreating as they advanced towards it.

"This must be the longest day of the year," Curry said to his friend in a somewhat irritated voice. The irritation wasn't with his friend, but with the dullness of the trip. "Heyes, is this the longest day of the year? I swear it must be. How long have we been riding, anyway? It seems like forever; there ain't nothing on this road to look at. Heyes? Heyes, are you listening to me?" "Uh huh umm." Heyes yawned. "I'm listening. What?" "I said is this the longest day of the year?" "Nope Kid, that's uh, that's later." Heyes thought for a moment. "The shortest day is December 21st, so the longest must be July 21st. It's called the uh, ahem", and carefully he enunciated each syllable, "the eeeqweenox." "I didn't know that. That's got a real scientific sound to it," the Kid said in a pleased voice. "Read it in a book Kid. You can learn all sorts of things from books. You know you really oughta read some more. It'd do you good. You know, after we get our amnesties, we're gonna wanna get good jobs. You're gonna need some education for that." "If we get our amnesties, you mean. I mean, here we go again, meeting Lom and for what? For another favor for the governor." "I know, Kid. But I don't see that we have any other choice. At least we'll get a chance to talk directly to Lom again, and find out where we stand." They rode on for another few minutes. "Heyes, I don't see why we have to arrive so early in Old Upton. Lom's not gonna be there until the 16th, and it's only the 12th."


"The telegram said he might get there a few days earlier from Colorado. I just don't think it would look good if Lom was already there when we arrived. Kid, we wanna look eager to help the governor out, and keeping the sheriff waiting, even if he is our friend, won't impress no one." "I suppose you're right. I just don't like the idea of having to be in one town for so long. What if the sheriff knows us?" "Kid, Lom would not meet us somewhere where the sheriff knew us. In fact, I think he picked Old Upton 'cause it's a small, nothing town, way on the border of Wyoming. You ever hear of anything ever happening in Old Upton?" "Well…" "So stop worrying."

On arriving in Old Upton the two friends rode towards the town's saloon for a beer. Passing the sheriff's office they stared in pleased disbelief. "Heyes, do you see what I see?" said the Kid pointing to a large sign that read "closed" nailed to the door. "I sure do, Kid. I sure do. C'mon, let's head on and get those beers, and relax. We can find out what's going on over there." In the saloon they ordered their two beers, and then walked over to a poker table with room for more players. "Mind if we join you?" asked Heyes. "Not at all. I am Dr. Richard Phelps, town physician, and these two gentlemen are Frank Read and Tom McGrady. Frank's a local rancher, and Tom's been dealing faro here inbetween jobs for the railroads." The Kid and Heyes sat down. "I'm Joshua Smith." "Thaddeus Jones." "Smith and Jones. You're joking?" Tom asked, laughing.


"No really. We met a few years back on a drive up from Texas. I think being named Smith and Jones is why we fell in together, kinda amusing that; and being the only Northerners among all those Texans we became friends," Heyes lied suavely. "Now that I understand," Frank said and he shuffled the deck of cards. "Draw poker, no wild cards." Dr. Phelps chuckled. "I'm glad to see you're on your toes Tom. I'm beginning to have some confidence in you, although I was skeptical at first." "What does that mean?" asked the Kid puzzled. "What Dick means is that I'm running for the office of sheriff." This bit of information was of interest to Heyes and the Kid, and they listened more alertly. "Sheriff Marshland got himself shot and killed last week, so we're holding elections for a new sheriff next week." Tom straightened up as he spoke, Dr. Phelps' words reminding him to display his skills as a lawman. "I thought Old Upton was a quiet town," asked Heyes. "I hope you don't mind if I ask how your sheriff died." "Yeah or why you'd wanna take his place," added the Kid. "Oh, we're a quiet enough town. Marshland was fool enough to leave his gun loaded and on the counter in his kitchen. His cat jumped up, knocked it off, it hit the floor, went off and got him right between the eyes." Tom shrugged. "Frank, are you ever gonna deal those cards?" Heyes and the Kid stared at each other. "Now you're joking," said Heyes. "Nope. It's the truth. So now we're out a sheriff. Tom here is gonna run in the election and Cyrus Boone is gonna run against him. Tom's our man. His job for the railroads is riding shotgun. So he is an experienced man. The only thing Cyrus has going for him is he claims to be a descendent of Daniel Boone. Not too much upstairs, if you know what I mean," Frank put the deck on the table for Dr. Phelps to cut. "So you wanna tell us what you're doing in Old Upton?" Tom raised his glass to drink, took a sip. He put the glass down, stacked his chips in neat piles, leaned back and crossed his arms, all the while observing Heyes and Curry with an intent expression. That is except when he glanced out the corner of his eyes at Dr. Phelps and Frank, making sure they were aware of his capable manner as a potential lawman, and his abilities at questioning strangers.


Heyes smiled. "Well, if you're looking for a couple of criminals to bolster your election hopes, I'm afraid it won't be us. We're waiting to meet a friend of ours, Sheriff Lom Trevors. Maybe you've heard of him?" "Uh, well I believe I have." "He's the sheriff of Porterville," added the Kid. "Old friend of ours." "That's right, a real old friend." Both outlaws smiled in a friendly manner at the prospective sheriff. Dr. Phelps and Frank laughed. Frank finally started to deal. "Alright boys, I think that's settled. Let's get down to business," said the doctor.

A few hours later, and a few dollars richer Heyes and the Kid left the saloon. Walking into the daylight they yawned and stretched. They heard a shout. "Hey-ah ah ah hey you. Fellas. Hey fellas." A group of men began to approach them diagonally from across and down the street. A tall blonde was waving excitedly. He was still calling out 'hey you' as they neared. "Oh no. Heyes, do you see what I see," the Kid groaned. "Uh huh. This could be a problem." Heyes grimaced at his friend, then turned and grinned at the approaching men. The big blonde put his arms around the Kid and gave him a big bear hug, while the Kid stood uncomfortably still. After finishing by slapping him on the back three times he turned his attention to Heyes and threw his arms around him. Heyes rolled his eyes for the Kid to see and the Kid raised his eyebrows. "Sorry I almost shouted out your name," he said in a loud whisper in Heyes' ear, but I couldn't believe my eyes seein' you two here in Old Upton. Caught myself real good though, didn't I?" He stood back and held Heyes shoulders in his hands grinning, then punched Heyes on the right shoulder happily.


"Yeah, yeah, Harpe you did just fine," Heyes said in return in a low voice. He looked around, first at Jack Harpe, then his two brothers Ned and Jim, then Bill Bowers, and finally at a young stranger, who couldn't be more than nineteen he figured. "Look fellas, Heyes is Joshua Smith and I'm Thaddeus Jones." The men continued the conversation, voices low, keeping an eye out for the townsfolk. "Sure, sure. We gotcha," said Ned. The men shook hands all around. Jack Harpe introduced Heyes and Curry to Randy Carter, the nineteen year-old; his new "reecruit." After the introductions, Jim Harpe stood back a pace and looked at Heyes and Curry in admiration. "How'd ya ever come up with such great names? I couldn't have ever thought of any as good as them two." "Jim you can't even come up with the time of day," Ned snickered. "Uh, you boys got different names you want us to use?" asked the Kid. "Who, us? Naw, we're just small potatoes. The law cain't be bothered with us. We're out to MAKE a name for ourselves," said Jim. "Yeah, and at any rate, there ain't no sheriff in this here town so it don't matter none if anyone hears our names." Ned pointed to the "closed" sign. "No sheriff this week at any rate." Heyes arched his back as if to straighten it out after Jack's effusive greeting. "Next week is an entirely different matter." "Whaddya mean?" asked Jack. "The folks here are holding an election for a new sheriff next week, so it won't be so free and easy around here after that," answered the Kid. Jack and his boys laughed, all except for Bill who had been standing quiet throughout. He nodded. "That's OK then," said Jack, "That'll be plenty of time." "Whaddya mean, 'plenty of time'? Plenty of time for what?" questioned Heyes, giving the men a sharp look while smiling at them. "Smith, you know what I mean," Jack responded in a very low voice waving his left arm in the direction of the bank, causing Heyes to grimace at his lack of caution. "And since


you know, and I know you know; I think maybe we oughta get together later and talk it over." The other members of the Harpe gang looked at Heyes and Curry expectantly. "Meeting you two here can only make a good idea better," added Ned. The saloon doors swung open, and Dr. Phelps walked out of the saloon. Seeing the men grouped together he stopped and stared at them in a thoughtful manner. The Kid glimpsed the doctor and gave Heyes a slight nudge. "Jack, boys, you are right. We need to talk. But not now, later." "Sure, Smith, later." "You staying in town at the hotel, right?" The men nodded. "Ok, Jones and I'll come by; let's say ten o'clock tonight. OK?" "Sure thing. We'll see you then." Harpe and his men walked into the saloon. "Heyes, you know what they're planning." "Yep, and so do you. We'll hear it from them tonight. Then we'll have to talk them out of it. Can't have the bank robbed before Lom gets here with us in town." "We'll talk them out of it? And just how do we do that?"

The small hotel room had seen better days. The wallpaper had faded from a red to a pink floral pattern punctuated with irregular rips. The dresser and chairs had numerous chips and scratches, and the beds groaned with every movement sounding as if any additional weight would plunge them to the floor. "Alright Jack, just what is it you boys have planned?" Heyes took a sip from a glass of whisky, and then leaned forward on the back of the chair he was sitting on legs astride. The bottle, having made its round, was returned to Jack who placed it on the dresser. He turned to face the others in the room. Ned and Jim were sharing a bed, heads propped on


pillows, legs crossed; Randy was in a chair leaning back against the window ledge, while Bill stood next to him. The Kid stood beside the door, glass in hand, arms crossed with an expressionless face. "That bank of course, Heyes. We're fixing to rob it. It'll be a cinch since there ain't no sheriff. We'll be able to walk right in, get the money and go. There's no one in this town to stop us." "That's right," added Ned. "But if you help us Heyes we can do it smarter. With your brains it'll be as easy as pie and no risk at all." Heyes shook his head. "We aren't in that line of business anymore, and even if we were I don't think we'd rob the bank in Old Upton. They may not have a sheriff but they have two candidates itchy for the position and real eager to prove themselves. Plus the bank is too exposed. You boys should think about this more." "OK the bank is exposed," said Jack. "We know that. Look, we could take it by daylight. I'm sure of that, 'cause no one is gonna fight us. But you're right it's exposed. So it would be even better if we robbed it at night. You know with a Hannibal Heyes plan," and doing a double take, "what do you mean you ain't in this line of business no more?" "We've quit. There's no future in it. That's something you should think about too," said the Kid. "Especially you Randy. Just how old are you, anyway?" "I'm nineteen in five days, sir." Randy looked at the Kid with worshipful eyes. "I've read all about you two, wanna be exactly like you. I'm already a pretty fast draw." "Never mind all that." Ned sat up. "I don't believe you two quit. What's really the matter? You think we ain't gonna give you your fair share?" "Well if that's the problem, it ain't no problem at all." Jack raised the bottle looking at each man in turn to see who needed a refill. "We'll give you thirty percent of the take, flat out, and split the remaining…" he calculated a moment, "seventy percent between us five. Can't ask for a better deal than that." "Sure," added Jim. "And if you like I'll throw in my brand new Bowie knife. Its real fancy." "What?" the Kid mouthed at Heyes. "Jim, don't help us, OK," said Ned. Heyes shrugged his shoulders. "You may not believe this, but it's not the money…" "Heyes," began Jack, "you'll have a chance to crack a Brooker 404. Now don't tell me you can pass that up."


"That's right Mr. Heyes. We piped the bank today. They have a Brooker 404 that they're real proud of," added Randy. Heyes dropped his chin, and then raised his head, shaking it. "No," he said quietly. He stood and walked to the door to leave. "Heyes, Kid, think it over. There's still time to join us and the haul'll be well worth it." Jack smiled at them, raising his glass in a salute. "No. You think it over. It's not worth the risk." The Kid looked at Jack, eyes narrowing. They left the room. As the door closed they could hear a snorting sound, "Huh, what risk? Never thought I'd see the day that Heyes…" The Kid and Heyes returned to their room. "You worried, Heyes?" The Kid removed his gun belt and boots. "Kid, I can't decide if I should worry that they're gonna try to rob the bank, or that they're too stupid to rob the bank. Or that they're too stupid to know they're too stupid to rob the bank." He scratched his neck. "You know I think we can talk Jim out of it. So that's one. Randy, he really admires you, though I can't say that I see why." The Kid glared at his partner. "You oughta talk to him some more. He seems smarter than the others. Maybe he'll listen if you tell him robbing banks isn't what he thinks it is." "OK, that'll take care of two of them. I suppose that even Jack Harpe isn't stupid enough to rob a bank with only three men."

The next day Heyes and the Kid sat in front of the hotel reading the newspaper after breakfast, waiting for the Harpe gang to emerge. "Joshua what's purple-al fever?" "What?" "Purple-al fever. It says here that Mrs. Thomas Mason of Dripping Springs, Wyoming died of purple-al fever after days of agony." "Don't know Thaddeus. I've never heard of it." He looked over his friend's shoulder to read the paper.


"Pyew-er-per-al fever," he muttered. "That's puerperal fever I believe. Mind if I join you?" They moved over to allow Dr. Phelps to sit. The Kid handed him the paper. "Yes. Puerperal fever. That's childbed fever. We don't know what causes it, and unfortunately we don't have a cure either. Mrs. Thomas Mason, hmm, that's a shame." They sat quietly for a moment looking at the street. The town had been 'gussied up' for the upcoming election with red, white and blue bunting, bows and ribbons. A sign was being nailed to a nearby post that read "Vote For Boone For Sheriff, The Rite man for The JoB." "Looks like the town is going to go all out for the sheriff's election," observed Heyes. "It's an important one for us. We've always been a law and order kind of town." Heyes and the Kid exchanged a quick glance. Dr. Phelps cleared his throat. "Mind if I ask you a question?" "Not at all," said Heyes. "About those friends of yours…" "Oh, well, those aren't exactly our friends, they're more like uh like," began the Kid. "Acquaintances," finished Heyes. "We met them briefly a few years ago. We don't know them too well." The Kid nodded in agreement. "That's right. We only spent a few days with them on a cattle drive." "I'm glad to hear that. They seem to have no employment or reason for being here. It's somewhat suspicious, a group of men like that." Dr. Phelps stared down the street, and then faced Heyes and the Kid again. "You mentioned you are waiting for Lom Trevors?" Dr. Phelps held out the newspaper. "That's right Doc. We help him out occasionally, jobs for the territory of Wyoming. Of course, because it's governmental, we aren't at liberty to talk about the nature of the work with you." Heyes took the paper. "I understand perfectly. No need to go into details. Lom is a good man. I am acquainted with him. You see I have a sister in Porterville."


Dr. Phelps looked directly at Heyes and the Kid. "He used to be an outlaw." "We've heard that," said the Kid. "We met him after he quit, quit being an outlaw." "Yes, I suspect so. Well, have a pleasant day." Dr. Phelps rose and walked away. "Joshua, WHAT was that about?" "I'm not sure Kid, but it seemed like some kind of a warning." "You don't suppose he knows, do you?" "About us? No. You heard him. This is a law and order town. He'd turn us in if he knew who we were. But he's worried. He's worried about the Harpe gang hanging around here. Five suspicious looking fellas with no jobs…he's worried about us knowing them. That's for sure." Jack Harpe and his friends emerged from the hotel looking well fed and satisfied, Jack holding the newspaper. Ned was using a wooden pick to clean between his teeth. Jim announced his presence with a loud belch that elicited guffaws from the others. Heyes elbowed the Kid. "Randy," the Kid said loudly, and Randy turned towards him. "Mr. Jones, sir." "Take a walk with me. I think, if you're interested that is, that we have a matter of mutual interest to discuss," and the Kid patted his holster. "Yes sir," Randy's eyes lit up. "I know a spot just outside town, sir. I've been practicing there every morning. I'd be real grateful for pointers, sir." "Let's go then," and as he rose he said quietly to Heyes, "If he calls me sir one more time I'll have to call him out." Heyes chuckled. Randy and the Kid walked down the street, and Ned's eyes followed the two of them with a slightly suspicious gaze. Heyes noticed the look. "What's the matter, Ned? Nothing wrong is there? You know we're alright." "No I don't," Ned responded sharply. "No I don't know you're alright. Not after last night." "Well, what exactly do you think Jones is gonna do? Tie him up? Kidnap him?" Heyes asked with an amused expression.


"I don't know, you tell me." "Ned - stop it," Jack said in a calm tone to his brother. "We all been friends a long time. No reason to be so ornery. Last night we all had a small misunderstanding, is all. I wanna have a little talk with you about that, Smith." Jack sat down next to Heyes on one side and Bill sat on Heyes' other side. "Jim, Ned, you go to the mercantile and pick up those things we need that we talked about at breakfast." He winked at his brothers. "Things?" Jim looked blankly at his brother. "Yeah things, stupid. C'mon," said Ned in an irritated voice. He steered his brother across the street towards the store, glancing back at Heyes with a sullen stare. "Sorry 'bout that, Smith. You gotta forgive Ned. He's always been a little hasty iff'n you remember." "Uhm," Heyes grunted in assent. "It's Jim I wanna talk to you about." Jack shook his head sadly. "Jim, what about Jim?" "Smith, he's sick, he's real sick." Jack sighed deeply. Heyes raised his eyebrows. "Looks healthy as a horse to me." "Looks can be deceiving. He ain't one to show how much he's hurtin'. But its real bad, and that's it you see." "No, Jack, I don't see. That's what?" Jack looked around carefully. "That's the reason we gotta do this job. We need the money to fix him up. If we don't he'll die - a long, painful death." Bill nodded in agreement. "Now I know you, Smith, you wouldn't wish something like that on your worst enemy, much less an old friend like Jim." "I wouldn't?" "Now don't you go joking, no you wouldn't. He's gonna need one of them newfangled operations back east, and we gotta pay for the trip, and them doctor bills. I just know you'd wanna help us out 'cause of the terrible burden." Jack was really warming up to his story now, and the words were flowing convincingly off his tongue, or so he felt. "Jack, that's real good, especially for you. What's this disease Jim's supposedly got?"


"Ain't no supposed about it. He's got purple-ral fever," Jack said grandly. Heyes took the paper from Jack. "Jack I'm really impressed with you. You've been reading the paper. Of course, I have been too." Heyes paused a moment, smiling and looked directly into Jack's face. "Jack, I'm a bit better educated than you. Men don't get puerperal fever. It's a woman's complaint. But I'd say you're coming along nicely Jack; you've made a big improvement in lying since I saw you last." With that, Heyes got up and walked briskly to the mercantile, humming to himself, leaving Jack and Bill to stare at each other, jaws agape.

The Kid and Randy were at an abandoned homestead standing a few feet from a wooden rail lined with bottles. Randy drew quickly and shot five out of the six bottles. "Not bad," observed the Kid, "could be better though. I'll show you." Randy ran to replace the bottles, then ran back to stand next to the Kid. The Kid drew and the six bottles were gone. "Uh-oh-ah. Oh sir, that's purely wonderful. I'd be happy if I could be half as accurate and fast at the same time. 'Course if you help me…" "Randy." "Yes, Sir?" "Don't call me sir." "Yes sir, uh no si…uh." The Kid pursed his lips wearily. "Look Randy, you're good, but you're not good enough, and there's no way you're gonna be good enough in time to rob the bank. You are just too inexperienced." "Well, si-Mr.Jones, I know I'm not as fast as you, but Jack says we won't need to fast draw to rob the bank." "You don't know that. You don't know what'll happen. My being fast has saved our lives more than once, and drawing fast can keep you from having to kill someone, and that


means the law won't want you for murder. You draw and shoot the way you're doing you'll probably kill someone by accident. Have you thought about that?" "No, but I'm thinking about it now." Randy stopped and looked at his feet. "Guess it means I'll have to be extra careful. I don't wanna kill no one." "Don't be an idiot, Randy. The only way you can be sure you won't kill someone is to NOT rob the bank." "I'm not an idiot, SIR. Maybe I'm not as fast or accurate as you, but with a good plan I won't need to be." "Where are you gonna get that good plan from? Jack? You think he can do this? Because you sure ain't gonna get it from Heyes." "Jack is smart enough. He says he can do this and I believe him. And I don't see where you can go around telling people not to do what you have done." "I can tell you because I've been there. I know what it's like. I know what it's like to be chased by a posse until you are exhausted, what it's like to always worry about the law always being after you. About being caught and put in prison or maybe even getting killed.You don't have that, and if you're as smart as I think you are, you never will." "I don't see any posse after you right now. And it don't look like you two are walking around in fear of the law. So I appreciate your advice, but no thank you. I'd like some adventure, like you had. I've lived all my life in a sod house on a dirt poor farm and I want a good life, even if it's a short one. And you have no right to tell me what to do. "That's right, Randy - you tell him," said Ned walking over. "Thought I'd head over to see what you two were up to. Good thing I did." "Ned, what Randy and me are talking about is none of your business." "I don't see it that way. I don't think you should talk to him no more." "Are you going to tell me what to do Ned?" The Kid looked steadily at Ned. He'd had no luck with Randy, and Ned just plain rubbed him wrong, what with his sharp temper. He stood looking calm with his arms crossed. Ned returned his look. He'd seen the Kid in gunfights, and knew the pose and what it meant. "Whaddya gonna do, Kid? Shoot me in the back when I turn 'round? You know I'm no fast draw. C'mon Randy let's go. Let's go back to town, and get away from this loser." They turned towards the town leaving the Kid simmering with rage.


Entering the mercantile, Heyes glanced around quickly until his eyes fell upon his quarry. Jim was in front of the candy counter with a puzzled expression; the clerk behind the counter had all the appearance of a man whose patience was draining fast. "Now you say this here chocolate's got walnuts in it, and this here has got peanuts in it. So I'm asking you which is best?" "Mister, whichever you like is best, the same as with the taffy, the licorice, the caramels, the…" The clerk looked up at Heyes. "Well I see I have another customer, now you make up your mind and call me when you are ready." "But wait now, I ain't done yet. I wanna know…" "May I help you, sir?" "As a matter of fact I'd like to buy some candy," Heyes said pleasantly. "Candy. Oh. You wouldn't by any chance happen to know what kind of candy you'd like?" in an exasperated tone. "Give me two chunks of that chocolate with walnuts." "Thank-you, sir!" The clerk hastily wrapped up the chocolate, obviously happy to be concluding the purchase so rapidly. Heyes took the paper wrapped chocolate, and turned to Jim. "C'mon, let's go for a walk. I'll give you a piece of my chocolate." "Well thanks, uh…uh…" Jim looked at Heyes. "Smith…" Heyes mouthed at him, turning his head from the clerk. "Smith, yeah thanks. OK um let's go." Walking slowly down the street they shared the chocolate. "Jim, you know I really like you. The Kid and me, we think a lot of your friendship over the years. I still remember that time back in Salt River when you helped us get away from that sheriff. You remember that, don't you?"


"Yeah sure do. I remember it like it was just…wait a bit. Wasn't it you that helped us escape?" "Was it? Why I could have sworn it was you who helped us out. Doesn't matter. What matters is one good turn deserves another, right?" "Well, yeah uh Hey… uh Smith. That's true enough." "So now it's my turn to help you out." "That's real good of you Hey…uh…" "Jim, Jones and I are heading south soon and we want you to come with us. We've got a really good business deal coming up and we want you to share in our good fortune. Not much work and a good payoff." "That's real kind of you…" "But, and this is important, Jim, you can't take part in that business of your brother's. We can't have you taking the risk; you understand that, don't you?" Jim stared at Heyes blankly, muttering to himself for a few moments. "Oh Oh I got it. THAT business." "Right Jim, that business," Heyes gave Jim a friendly pat on the back, smiling and nodding. "Now we want you to come with us instead, OK? It's important to me and we sorta owe it to each other don't we?" "I suppose. But Jack's counting on me. What do I tell him? I mean he's my brother and all." "Now don't you worry about that, Jim. I'll tell him. What I need you to do is ride on down to Bisbee and wait for me and Jones there, but I need you to leave now. I want you to get us a room, understand?" "Bisbee? Ain't that in Arizona?" "Well yes it is. You know the way, don't you Jim?" Jim nodded. Heyes put his arm around Jim's back and steered him in the direction of the livery stable, keeping an eye on the street. Perfect timing, he thought. A large crate had been placed in the center of the road, and Daniel Boone's great grandson had mounted it, the better to harangue his audience, Heyes figured. Jack Harpe and Bill joined the crowd to enjoy the midmorning diversion. And what a perfect diversion it was, thought Heyes.


Not giving Jim any time to think it through, although inwardly Heyes figured the odds were about one to one hundred that Jim could think it through, he helped him saddle his horse, gave him money for the trip, and saw him on his way, out the back of the stable taking care that Jack and Bill didn't see him. Congratulating himself on a good morning's, no - make that a good day's work, and a good deed as well, Heyes turned and entered the saloon passing the electoral stump speech. Cyrus Boone was doggedly reciting a list of his duties as future sheriff while attempting to ignore the crowd's heckling. He had gotten as far as dogcatcher when a boy unbalanced him with a pellet from a peashooter, much to the general amusement of the crowd. Boone almost fell off the edge of the crate but caught himself in time. The crowd cheered. "There's something Cyrus Boone can do better'n Tom McGrady," someone shouted. Some good-natured laughter followed.

Somewhat later the Kid walked into the saloon sore and dusty to find his friend, beer in hand, booted feet propped on the table. "Hey, How'd ya do? Or should I ask?" Heyes put his feet down, and sat up. He waved a saloon girl over and ordered the Kid a beer. "How do you think I did?" The Kid dropped into a chair. "I swear I'm gonna belt that Ned Harpe," he said in a low voice. "I wasn't doing too well with Randy to begin with, and then that fool shows up, makes it worse." "Ah, so that's the problem. Hmm. We'll have to think this over. Try another approach with Randy; I still think he's a weak link. Good thing is Jim's gone. I sent him on down to Bisbee." The Kid took a gulp of his beer, and shook his head. "No you didn't, partner. The road to Bisbee is the same road to where Randy practices his shooting. He and Ned stopped Jim and turned him 'round. Watched them from behind a boulder. Good thing it was there too. Couldn't hear what they said but Ned's boiling mad now, Randy too. They both had their guns drawn. If they had seen me, no telling what would have happened; I would have hated to shoot them both though." He shook his head again. Heyes groaned. "Oh that's just great. They probably told Jack and Bill by now." "Uh huh. So what do we do?" asked the Kid.


"I don't suppose you have an idea, do you?" "Nope." "I figured that. Neither do I…I suppose we'll have to talk to them again tonight." "Oh that's just great. You mean if they don't shoot us first I suppose." "Well, I don't think they'd shoot us in the hotel. Not yet at any rate; it would interfere with their plans. So we'll just stay out of their way until tonight." "That's the best you can think of?" "I do have one other idea." Heyes shrugged and finished his beer. "What's that?" "Turn 'em in." The Kid choked on his beer.

Heyes was thinking through what he would say that night while he walked up and down the main road. He'd been right about the Harpe gang. They had met and entered the saloon, talking loudly and angrily. He was glad the Kid had left to exercise his horse. The way his and Ned's tempers chaffed at each other could only lead to trouble. He scratched his lower back. He really needed to relax so he could think things through. A poker game would help but he couldn't enter that saloon, not now. He decided to try the small gaming hall on the side street, turned the corner and walked right into the barrel of Jack Harpe's six-shooter. Behind Jack were the rest of his men. Heyes was startled to say the least. How in hell did Jack Harpe figure out he'd head this way? "Howdy Heyes, we've been waiting for you." "I can see that. You must be dead lucky Jack, I don't usually head this way." "Heyes I know you think I'm stupid, but I'm not and this'll show you. I know you, and I figure you'd be wanting to play poker sometime today, you're pretty predictable about that. But you're avoiding us. I figured you'd head for the small saloon. And it doesn't take


a genius to go out the back door so's not to be seen. So we just went 'round the back and here we are." "That's true, here we all are. You have that pointed at me for a reason?" "Sure do. You owe me and the boys a favor, after all the trouble you been trying to cause us. I don't appreciate you trying to send my little brother out of town seein' as I need him here." "Jack, I'm doing it for you. I like you, you know that. I don't wanna see you boys get hurt." "We're not gonna get hurt, especially now. You know why? 'Cause you are gonna think up a plan for us." "Jack, will you lower that thing? What are you going to do? Shoot a plan out of me? That's not really gonna work, is it?" "Heyes, if I lower my gun Ned's gonna raise his. Now you don't want that, do you? Anyway you're right, we need you so I'm not planning on shooting you, it's the Kid we're gonna shoot if you don't help us." "You have the Kid?" How could he and the Kid be so stupid? They should have never separated earlier. Never underestimate your opponent he thought ruefully. "Naw, we don't have him yet, but we will," offered Jim. "Shut up stupid," hissed Ned. "He didn't know we don't have the Kid yet. Now look what you've done." Heyes grinned. "Why, thank you, Jim." Jack grabbed Heyes by the arm and pushed him down the alley where their horses were tied. He pulled Heyes' gun from its holster and handed it to Ned. "We'll get the Kid, no problem there. We got you easy enough. Get up on that horse. C'mon let's go." "Just where is it we're heading, if you don't mind my asking?" "That abandoned homestead just out of town. Nice and quiet there, and you can get a lot of thinking done while you're waiting for the Kid to join you." Riding out to the homestead gave Heyes plenty of time to think, and plenty of time to talk, and talk he did. "Hey, Jack, I don't want to spoil your plans and all, but how do you think you're going to catch the Kid. I mean, he'll know I'm gone and be on the alert." He pursed his lips


thoughtfully. "Might make him a little angry too. I wouldn't want to be facing an angry Kid Curry." Jack and Randy shifted uneasily in their saddles, while Ned gave Heyes an irate stare. "I don't think you'll be able to sneak up on him now. You know Jack; I think you made a serious mistake taking me first. Not only is it the Kid you've left on the loose, but without him you've lost your leverage. I'm not likely to go ahead and help you plan this robbery." "Heyes, we could always kill you if you don't," Jack pointed out. "That's true. But be honest Jack. It's not in you. And I don't mean because we've been friends a long time, you won't kill me because you're not a killer. You and I both know that." "Shut up," muttered Jack. "Now Ned there, he might try to kill me," Ned turned, "he's sure got the temper for it, but I don't think you'd let him." "Heyes iff'n you don't stop talking I might just let him." "Now Jack…" "Shut up!" Jack shouted and Ned pulled his gun. Heyes decided it was time to keep quiet. When they reached the homestead they took Heyes inside. Jack had Randy tie Heyes' hands behind his back and his ankles together. Randy pushed him into the only remaining chair. "Heyes, me and the boys are leaving now to get the Kid. Tell you what, I'm gonna leave Ned here to keep you company." "Leave me! You can't leave me Jack. You're gonna need me to help catch the Kid." "Ned, you do as I say. There's four of us and we'll get the Kid. I want you to stay here with the big mouth. I figure he won't try anything with you." "Well OK Jack, guess I see your point. He tries anything at all, I'd be happy to shoot him." "It's OK with me if you leave Ned here. I'm sure he'll be good company. Good luck catching the Kid." Heyes smiled broadly.


Ned walked over to Heyes. He placed his gun to Heyes' temple. "Heyes I don't want to hear one more word out of you, understand? Just nod yes." Heyes nodded and Ned removed the gun. "He's not gonna give me any trouble. You just bring that other one back." "We will. See ya later, Ned." Randy left followed by Bill. Jack looked at Heyes and Ned. Satisfied he too left. Ned sat on the floor between Heyes and the door. He made a great show of playing with his gun for a few minutes, then moved to a wall he could lean against while watching his prisoner. Heyes began to stealthily work at the bonds tying his hands together. Another mistake of Jack's he thought. He let a greenhorn, Randy, tie him up, and no one checked the bonds. They weren't really all that tight and it wouldn't take long for him to work through them. One half hour later the bonds were off. He held them behind his back. He was going to have to wait until Ned left the cabin. He cleared his throat. "You have something you wanna say?" asked Ned. Heyes nodded. "Alright, but keep to the point." "I'm thirsty." "Good. You can stay thirsty til the others get back." Well that didn't work. Ned's horse whinnied from outside. Then it walked directly past the front window. "What the he…how'd she get loose?" Ned got up and left the cabin. Shaking his head at Ned's stupidity in not checking his bonds before leaving, not to mention leaving his horse unhitched, Heyes quickly untied his legs. He grabbed a broken board from the floor and stood behind the door. He could hear Ned's boots on the wooden porch nearing and raised his arm. A blonde head appeared and Heyes nearly clobbered it, catching himself just in time. "Hey, whaddya think you're doing?" asked the Kid clearly irritated. "I thought you were Ned. Kid you gotta be more careful sneakin' around like that."


"I've gotta be more careful? What about you?" "Well, no harm done anyway, Kid. What happened to Ned?" "I knocked him out when he came 'round the corner of the house." "Let's go tie him up before he wakes. Those others are looking for you." "Yeah, I know. I started on out here soon as I saw all the horses missing, including yours, from the livery. They left a trail like a herd of buffalo." On the way back to town they met Jack and the others. "Heya Jack," Heyes called out. Jack sputtered "What the? How did you get free?" "Jack, you're just not up to kidnapping." The Kid kept his hand close to his holster. "You know, Heyes is right, you should seriously consider another line of work." He and Heyes started to ride on. "Oh Jack, Ned's tied up to that old oak tree behind the cabin," Heyes called out as they passed.

Heyes and the Kid went to have a late meal at the diner. They figured that Jack and his boys would be in the saloon by then. But the members of the Harpe gang were still finishing their meals in a glum manner. Heyes and the Kid took a table as far from the five sullen men as possible. Heyes tipped his hat in greeting to Dr. Phelps and Tom McGrady as they passed them. The two men nodded back in a preoccupied manner then began to speak softly to each other watching the Harpe gang. "I don't like this Joshua," the Kid spoke in a quiet voice for his friend to hear only. "Me neither. Those boys are not good at hiding their feelings; they look like trouble, and you'd have to be deaf and dumb not to know it." "Right. And Dr. Phelps is definitely not deaf OR dumb."


The Harpe gang rose to leave. On the way out Ned kicked an empty chair out of his path. "Nearly forgot boys I wanna ask that purty waitress over there something." His friends waited at the door. Passing Heyes and Curry he asked the waitress for an evening out and was promptly turned down. "Damn" he swore, and angrily turned to leave. He deliberately rammed into Heyes' chair hitting his elbow into the back of Heyes' head. Heyes looked up at Ned with controlled anger. The Kid started to stand up. Heyes looked at him quickly and shook his head. Turning back to Ned he simply said "Ned." Ned looked from Heyes to the Kid and back. His body twitched. From the door Jack's voice echoed "Ned." There was a moment's quiet as Ned remained standing panting slightly, anger etched on his features, eyes hard but unfocused as if he was so enraged he couldn't think. Finally he spoke. "I am so sorry," he said sarcastically, "I really should look where I am going." He turned before Heyes could respond. As he approached Jack, his brother put his hand on his shoulder, and the gang left the diner. Tom McGrady rose and followed them at a distance. Dr. Phelps came over to the table Heyes and the Kid were seated at. "Apparently you aren't friends with those men after all. That's a good thing. After our poker game I had concluded you two were decent men. I don't feel that way about those five." He picked up the saltshaker and turned it in his hand while continuing. "I don't suppose you have any idea what they are up to, by any chance." "No," Heyes frowned, "you saw how they were with us. I don't think they care for us too much." "It's not likely they're gonna tell us much of anything, is it?" added the Kid. "No, I suppose not," mused the doctor. "That's too bad. I'd really like to know what it is they have planned. Or, looking at the type of men they are, when they are going…" his voice fell off and he looked vaguely in the general direction of the bank. He turned his gaze back to Heyes and Curry. "You sure you don't know anything?" "No, nothing. I wish we could help you," responded Heyes in a sincere manner. "I'd better join Tom then." The Kid and Heyes watched him leave.


"Oh great. You just told Doc Phelps we don't know what they are gonna do. Isn't that aiding and abetting or something like that?" "Well, no. I don't think it's as bad as that. Unless they get caught and tell someone we knew what they were gonna do. Then we're in trouble." The Kid closed his eyes in mental anguish. Then he spoke rapidly in a near whisper even though the two of them were now the diner's only remaining customers. "They're gonna get caught. You know that. And they're so stupid they'll say we knew everything, which we did." "Uh huh. Plus they're so angry at us right now they'll probably mention our names on purpose. I wouldn't put it past Ned to want to make us as miserable as he'll be in jail. He's a kind of a spread the misery type." "Joshua I vote we leave. We leave a message for Lom and head out. Tonight." "You're not thinking. We've been in town for days. We've been seen with them more than once; it's probably lucky the doctor and Tom saw how angry they are with us, but I'm not so sure that'll help us much. They can still mention our names, hell, they could say we were part of the plan and pulled out. Who wouldn't believe that? I know what I'd believe if I were the governor, and then our amnesty's gone. I mean how do we explain knowing about this and not telling the law?" "Maybe they'll get caught and not mention us. We are friends, aren't we?" "After what happened today? You wanna take a twenty year chance on that?"

The Harpe gang returned to the Harpe brothers' room shortly after 1 A.M. Heyes and Curry had been playing blackjack in their room across the hall without much discussion listening for the gang. The Kid put the deck of cards away, and they went to the room across the hall. Heyes rapped on the door. Ned slowly opened it peering around behind it, gun in hand. "Well, look who's here again, boys." "I'm sure you don't mind if we come in, do you Ned?" The Kid walked on in, while Ned pulled back stiffly.


"Oh I don't mind but my friends might object. What do you say fellas You wanna let our two friends in?" Heyes walked over to the dresser and poured himself and the Kid shot glasses of whisky. "We need to talk, and you'd better listen." "Go on Heyes, have your say. I'm not asking you to sit though." Jack yawned and reclined on the bed. "That's alright Jack, I'm not planning on staying long. Just long enough to talk some sense into your heads." He leaned against the wall next to the Kid. "You boys are kidding yourselves if you think you are going to take that bank, and I'm going to tell you why. You are too stupid to rob this bank and get away with it. Look at what happened today. You don't know how to think this through. But I still like you boys. I'm telling you this as a friend." Ned got up to interrupt. "Don't," said the Kid. Ned dropped down again. "You've been watched since you got here. You're five out of work, suspicious looking men. You're obviously up to no good, you might as well have worn signs and advertised that you're gonna rob that bank. You can't rob it at night; you don't have the know-how, and the whole town is just waiting for you to make a move. You go in there during daylight and they're gonna jump on you so fast you won't even know what happened. You'll be lucky if you get away with your lives, much less prison time." "Well thanks for telling us that, friend," Jack crossed his arms, "but you are not the only people who can rob a bank. Now this is a good chance for us, and we figure it's worth the risk. The town is too busy with this election, and speeches and all the rest to care much about us. Maybe they got two men who wanna be sheriff but they ain't sheriff yet so's there's no one here to organize a posse, is there?" "A posse?" the Kid asked in disbelief. "What makes you think they'll need a posse? My guess is with you boys they'll shoot you down and capture you in town; they ain't gonna need no posse, no offense meant." "You know Kid, I've had just about all I'm gonna take from you!" Ned stood up and flung a chair at the wall. "You two think you are so smart. I think we can manage just fine on our own, and you'll find that out real soon!" They were interrupted by a knock on the door. "Hey you fellas in there fighting?"


Randy opened the door. "What do you want?" He asked the two men standing in the hall who were dressed in pants and undershirts. "Nothin'. It's just that we're in the room next door, and we heard something crash. Thought you might be fighting." And he peered into the room eagerly. "No we're not fighting. Sorry we disturbed you, mister." "Naw, we were up anyway. But look if you do have a fight will you call us?" "Yeah," added the second man. "We haven't seen a good fight in a long while." "We're not having a fight, but if we do you'll be the first to know." Heyes called out. "Hey thanks mister. That's real kind of you. Night." "Night," said Randy closing the door. "Does the word vigilante mean anything to you?" asked Heyes. "Because this town has vigilante written all over it. You boys are getting yourselves into deep trouble. If you don't stop and think this through clearly, we may have to go to the law. Before anything happens." "You may what?" Jack almost shouted. He looked from Heyes to the Kid stunned. Then he collected himself and chuckled. "Well, and what are you going to tell the law? That we're planning to rob the bank?" "It'd be for your own good Jack. I don't wanna see you get hurt, or put in prison, and that's what's gonna happen." Jack stood and walked to Heyes stopping inches from him. "Well you just do that. You go to the law. Just don't forget to tell them that you're Hannibal Heyes, 'cause I sure won't. Then we can all be in jail together." "Jack, you wouldn't do that." "You've got some nerve, Heyes. You tell me you're gonna turn me in, and you think I won't tell them who you are. Maybe you ain't so smart." "Jack, the way this town is we'd be saving your lives. You'd thank us later." "You just try it Heyes and you'll see how grateful I'd be. Now get out. Both of you."


Back in their room the Kid sat on the bed to remove his boots. He looked at his friend and shook his head sadly. "Heyes what got into you? I think that was the worst idea you've ever come up with. You know, I think we are lucky that we left that room in the vertical." "Kid, there wasn't anything left to try. I thought maybe if they saw how serious we were about the whole thing they'd have second thoughts. You know you could have helped me out there a bit more. A few words from you might have convinced 'em." He unstrapped his gun belt. "Heyes there is nothin' I could have said that would have convinced them. So now what do we do?" He draped his gun belt on the headboard and began to unbutton his shirt. Heyes sat on the bed and removed his boots. "We do what I told you before, what I told them. We turn them in." "Heyes, you're joking. Are you out of your mind?" "Kid there are no other options. Unless you have a better idea, that is." "I don't believe it. You really mean it. Heyes they are our friends. We can't turn them in." The Kid stood in anger his voice rising. "Kid our friends tried to force me to plan a bank robbery for them. Something they are still planning to do. Something they'll get caught doing. Do you still think they won't name us? Or better yet, they'll get hurt or killed. Is that what you want?" He stood as well and the two friends were now face to face. "No I don't want to see them get killed. But they are friends. You don't turn in friends." "Oh I see there are rules to this amnesty. We only turn in crooks who aren't friends." They paused to try to control their anger. Heyes swallowed and began again. "Look Kid, I'm not doing this because I want to. I just don't see any other option." The Kid took a deep breath, and let his body relax. "OK Heyes. I know. But it still don't make no sense. If we turn them in they'll turn us in." "Kid we're not gonna tell the law, well the almost law, here. We're gonna ride out tomorrow morning and meet Lom. We'll tell him. Then we'll pick a town to meet him at later. He can ride in here, and see that those boys are taken care of without involving us."


"Heyes it still won't stop them. They'll get out and try it again somewhere else. And on top of that they'll be mad as a hornet's nest at us. " "That's true." Heyes paused. "But we'll have done all we could here. Hopefully they'll cool off with time. Maybe they'll think more about a life of crime. Leastways maybe Randy will. He might not like the idea so much once he's been in jail." "Maybe so. I'd like to think so at any rate." The Kid started to remove his pants. "Heyes, telling Lom-it's such a simple idea. How come you didn't think of it earlier?" "I did Kid. I just was hoping we wouldn't have to do it." Heyes dropped on the bed still in his pants. "I'm tired." "Heyes, what if those boys decide to rob the bank tomorrow, before we get to Lom?" "Kid, it's nearly three in the morning. Even the Harpe gang isn't stupid enough to rob a bank without any sleep. No the way they've been drinking tonight they'll have to wait a day or two, get rested, get sober…" he fell back on the bed. "Heyes, you don't think Jack's smart enough to figure we'd go to the law somewhere's else, do you?" He yawned. "You know that might make him wanna try something sooner, you know what I mean?" Heyes snored in response. "Great," muttered the Kid. Heyes had fallen asleep in the center of the bed. He began to push him to one side. "Partner you are heavier than you look." He toppled down next to him, and was soon snoring as well.

The next morning a warm, lazy breeze blew in through the curtains over the sleeping men. Heyes and Curry were suddenly awakened by the sound of gunshots. "What?" The Kid looked around dopily. "What the hell? Kid you don't think?" Both men jumped from their beds and raced to the window. Looking down on the street below they could see the gang members in various positions, some crouching with guns drawn to return fire, some desperately running for their horses. In spite of the lack of rest, or because the lack of rest impaired their judgment, they had made their play for the


bank, and had made it early. As the Kid had suspected they second-guessed Heyes and his possible plans. But it was obvious things had gone terribly wrong. They had misjudged the town as Heyes had pointed out, and had misjudged it badly. This was no small, weak, helpless town; this was a Coffeyville, and what the citizens in that town had done to the Dalton gang was being reinacted here in Old Upton. Tom McGrady was much in evidence directing his fellow townsmen, barking orders. In a matter of moments three members of the gang were lying crumpled on the boardwalk or in the street. They were dead. They couldn't be anything but dead. Ned was lying spread-eagle in the road on his stomach; Jim had toppled over a wooden railing, and was on his back, one foot hanging over the bar grotesquely. Bill was against the wooden front of the bank building, seated with his head hanging down as if taking a siesta. Heyes and Curry watched in horror. Randy and Jack threw their weapons out into the street, raising their hands in surrender. "Don't shoot, boys. Don't shoot," yelled Jack. "We ain't got no weapons. We give up." "Alright. You walk out into the street with your arms raised. Raise 'em high," Tom yelled out at them. There was quiet. The two bank robbers walked slowly into the street. Carefully Tom approached them from the saloon. Frank followed, bending cautiously to pick up the guns. One by one the townsmen entered the street closing in on the two men. "We got 'em," someone suddenly shouted in exultation. A low murmuring began as the town's men grouped around Jack and Randy. The murmuring increased, turning into a continual dull growl as the crowd began to move restlessly. A sharp voice was heard over the rest "Where's some ropes? Who's got some ropes?" "Oh no. Oh God no," Heyes moaned. The Kid turned to the chair, grabbed his pants and pulled them on over his long underwear. "What are you doing?" asked Heyes sharply. Not responding, the Kid put his boots on after his pants. Ignoring his shirt, he picked up his gun belt. "Kid what do you think you are doing? Do you think you are going down there? They are going to lynch those two." "I know that. That's why I'm going down there."


"Are you crazy? What are you going to do? Are you going to try to stop them? Do you think you can? They'll kill you too." "I don't know what I'm going to do, but I can't stay here and watch this happen. I'm going down." He turned and left the room. "Kid. Kid!" Heyes rushed to get his boots on. "Damn him," he cursed under his breath, "what the hell does he think he is doing?" He followed the Kid as quickly as he could. Racing out the door he skidded into the banister, and almost threw himself downstairs. His mind was racing almost as fast as his feet, but he couldn't arrive at any clear idea of what he was doing. Was he going down to stop the Kid? Could he stop the Kid? Talk the crowd out of - what? - lynching Jack and Randy? - that wasn't likely. Back the Kid up? Get killed along with him? Rushing out the hotel door he stopped. He looked around wildly. The Kid was only a few feet in front and to his left. Dr. Phelps was directly in front of the Kid facing him, back to the crowd. The doctor had his hand on the Kid's shoulder as if to hold him back, but not by force. Force wasn't necessary. The crowd was so thick it was impossible for the Kid to get through. The only movement of the mob was the inching forward of the mass to watch events as they unfolded. Heyes felt a momentary wave of relief. His eyes met the doctor's. Dr. Phelps nodded and Heyes approached them. He put his hand on the Kid's shoulder from behind and Dr. Phelps lowered his arm. Dr. Phelps shook his head with a look of resignation, as if to say, "There's nothing, nothing to be done. It's out of our hands." The doctor turned around to watch. Standing in the back of the crowd the three men could see little that was occurring. But they could hear. The crowd had become silent again as preparations were made for summary justice. Mostly they could hear Jack. Now that he was captured and facing the noose, his courage had failed him. It sounded as if he was being dragged, and was struggling to resist. "Boys. Boys. I didn't kill no one. I didn't kill no one. You let me go and I'll disappear. I won't do nothing like this again, never. I swear it," he cried out in a sobbing voice. "Jack Harpe, begging for your life won't make any difference. You're a thief and an outlaw. You tried to rob our bank and that's enough for us. The matter is settled." Frank Read was apparently organizing the hangings. "But what about a trial? I'm entitled to a trial."


The crowd began to murmur again. "Settle down folks. There ain't going to be any trial. Waste of taxpayers' good money. You're guilty, and you're going to hang so you don't try this again anywhere else." It was Tom's voice. Men called out seconding this opinion. The crowd was in no mood to wait for a circuit judge and a trial. "Don't hang me. Oh God, don't hang me. Send me to prison; I'll do my time." "Jesus Jack, take your punishment and die like a man." Randy's could be heard, calm and steady. "You're being an idiot." "Oh my God, if you are gonna hang me, at least break my neck, at least make it quick. I don't wanna die slow. You will make it quick, won't you boys?" Jack was frightened but could do nothing but resign himself to the inevitable. "Of course we'll use a box, Jack. It'll be fast; we'll make sure." The discussion among the 'executioners' could be heard about the placement of the box for the guilty men to stand upon, and the rope for the noose. The crate used in yesterday's stump speech was brought over and turned on its side for height. When all was arranged Jack was lead up to and on the box. The noose was placed around his neck. Jack was high enough on the crate to be visible to the entire crowd. "Do you have any final words, Jack?" Jack looked over the crowd in a wild manner, trembling. He took a deep swallow as if trying to compose himself. "I guess I can't say I'm innocent 'cause you all saw what we done," Jack said in a loud shaky voice. "I'll see you boys later." The crowd was silent. Then the sound of the box being kicked out from under Jack could be heard, and Jack dropped suddenly. "Neck's broken. That's one done for." The Kid stood rigidly. Heyes deepened his grip on the Kid's shoulder with his right hand and wiped the sweaty palm of his left on his pants leg. Sounds of approval came from the mass of men. Frank Read prepared the box and the second noose.


"Up you go Randy." Randy could be seen on the box. Quickly the noose was around his neck. "You got any last words, son?" "I never done nothing like this before, and I guess I won't do anything like it again. I'm sorry for what I've done and the trouble I caused you good folks. Guess I'm going to meet the Maker of us all now, and I'll be having a good long sleep. That's all." Not waiting for the box to be kicked from under him, Randy jumped.

When all was over, the crowd slowly dispersed. As was customary in many towns of the west, the two bodies would be left to hang for a day before being removed for burial. Heyes and the Kid remained in front of the hotel staring at their former friends long after the rest of the men were gone. It was as if they were frozen, not wanting to look, but unable to turn their heads. Not wanting to believe their friends were dead, but unable to argue the truth of what was before them. Finally they too turned and left. They walked silently back into the hotel.

The next morning Lom rode into town. He passed the bodies stopping briefly to look. He rode to the hotel where Heyes and the Kid were seated. "That's Jack Harpe, isn't it?" "Yep," answered the Kid. "Who's the other fella? Don't know him." "Fella by the name of Randy Carter." "They try to rob the bank?" "Uh huh. The rest of 'em too. Ned, Jim and Bill Bowers. You remember him?" asked Heyes. "Yep. Quiet fella. Never spoke much. Sheriff let the town do this?" 31

Heyes waved indicating the election décor. "No sheriff, yet. Suppose things might have ended up different if there were." "Maybe. I'm hungry. I had a long ride. I'll stable my horse and meet you at the diner. We have business to discuss." Lom rode on down the street. "Heyes things could have turned out different." "How?" "We could have gone to Doc Phelps right after talking to the boys. We could have turned them in then, prevented all of this." "Is that what you've been thinking about?" The Kid nodded. "You were willing to do that? Willing to give up twenty years?" "Heyes they died." "You didn't answer my question." "I don't know. I don't know if I would have done it any different. Maybe we should have thought of doing it different." "OK Kid, and maybe they should have thought of not robbing that bank. They made their decision." "Does that make you feel better Heyes? Saying that? 'Cause it don't make me feel any better." He got up and started down the street. Heyes followed him. He put his hand on the Kid's shoulder. The Kid stopped and they looked at each other. Heyes lowered his hand and they started again towards the diner.