“Two beers,” the dark-haired man said holding up two fingers of a gloved hand to confirm his order as his blond-haired partner, leaning with his back on the bar, surveyed the saloon.
A moment later the bartender placed two full glasses on the bar in front of them and the trail-dust covered men downed them without another word.
“Two more,” the blond-haired man ordered and the bartender took their empty glasses with a smile.
“Thirsty on the trail?” he asked, conversationally.
“Very,” Hannibal Heyes confirmed.
Kid Curry wiped the foam from around his mouth with the back of his hand and continued to assess The Fancy Lady’s patrons. A small stakes card game was in play on one table, an older-timer was asleep at another, a past-her-prime saloon gal did her best to entertain two gentlemen clad in suits and behind a worn curtain Kid could see only the back of a dark-haired man in deep conversation with someone who was out of sight.
The sound of glasses placed on the bar drew his attention momentarily back to the bar and when he returned to look at the curtain, the dark-haired man, who he did not recognise was leaving, the curtain pulled back to reveal…
“I don’t believe it!”
Kid’s statement caught Heyes’ attention and he followed his partner’s gaze to the table and…
“What are they doing here?” Heyes asked, although he did not expect his friend to know the answer.
“I don’t know but we’d better get over there before Kyle calls our names across the room.
Grabbing their beers the two men headed to the table at which sat Kyle Murtry and Wheat Carlson. As predicted Kyle called out to them the moment he set eyes on them.
“Hey to you too,” Heyes cut him off.
“Kyle, Wheat,” Kid acknowledged, as he pulled out a chair and sat.
Heyes did the same. “What are you boys doing here?”
“I could ask you the same thing,” Wheat grumbled.
“But Heyes asked you first,” Kid stated and the look he gave Wheat told him precisely who he expected to answer.
“We were just negotiating a sweet deal that’s all,” Carlson stated as sat back smugly in his chair.
“One that’ll make us twenty thousand dollars richer,” Kyle added much to Wheat’s disapproval.
“Twenty thousand?” Heyes eyebrows rose and he gave Kid a look that suggested he was impressed. “And just what bank or train do you boys have to rob to earn that kind of money?”
“It ain’t a train or a bank,” Kyle informed them enthusiastically.
“It ain’t?” Kid asked.
“No it ain’t,” Kyle replied.
“So what is it?” Heyes looked from Kyle to Wheat, knowing that Wheat’s desire to boast would get the better of him. He was not mistaken.
“A delivery job,” Carlson stated.
“And just what do you have to deliver?” Kid asked before taking a swig of beer.
“We don’t know yet,” Kyle informed them.
“You’ve agreed to deliver something and you’ve no idea what it is?” Kid asked, incredulously.
“For twenty thousand dollars we have,” Wheat informed him.
“And if it turns out to be a wagon load of dynamite?” Kid asked.
“Wouldn’t bother me,” Kyle said with a smile.
“You might rethink that when you’re drivin’ it, believe me,” Kid stated, knowingly.
“They didn’t give you any idea?” Heyes asked Wheat.
“All the man said was we were the perfect men for the job on account of our special knowledge.”
“Special knowledge?” Kid queried.
Wheat nodded. “That’s what he said.”
“And he said he’d heard a lot about us.” Kyle looked pleased.
“What had he heard?” Heyes asked.
“He didn’t say exactly,” Wheat replied, “But he said he’d studied the Devil’s Hole Gang’s robberies and that made us the perfect men for what he needed.”
Heyes’ brow furrowed as his expression darkened. “He told you he’d been studying the Gang?”
“He have a name?” Kid asked.
“Douglas Harper,” Wheat stated.
“He say where he was from?”
“For twenty thousand dollars I didn’t ask for his family history, Kid,” Wheat scoffed. “The man wants us to help him deliver some very valuable merchandise, alive”
“Alive?” Heyes looked up from his beer.
“Yeah, come to think of it he did say that. Valuable merchandise, alive.” Wheat considered this.
“I sure hope we ain’t expected to deliver cattle,” Kyle muttered. “I never like workin’ with cows.”
Heyes looked at Kid Curry who also had a troubled look on his face.
“Twenty thousand dollars to deliver something alive,” Kid stated.
“Yeah, sounds familiar.” Heyes looked worried and his eyes scanned the room.
“It sure does,” Kid agreed as he pushed his chair back.
“We have to leave,” Heyes stated as he stood up. “If I was you boys I wouldn’t trust Mr Harper.”
“You’re just sorry you ain’t part of the deal,” Wheat stated.
“No, Wheat,” Heyes assured him. “I’m worried Kid and I are very much part of that deal.”
Carlson considered what Heyes said. “You think…?”
“Yeah, we do,” Kid assured him, “See you around boys.”
“But hopefully not too soon,” Heyes added.
“Come on,” Kid Curry said, pulling his friend by the arm towards the back door of the saloon.
“D’you think they’d have stayed longer if we’d cut them in on the deal?” Kyle asked as the back door closed.
“No,” Wheat stated. “And something tells me we might be turning down the deal too.”
“What? Oh sheesh, you think it is cows after all?”