Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry rode through Red Rock on their way to Big Mac McCreedy’s Ranch. It was not the first time they had done this. They would never forget the first time but that was ancient history. They were there to spend Christmas with Big Mac McCreedy last year they’d spent it with Lom.
But these days they would be definitely be the gooseberries. With Lom and Miss Sally Porter billing and cooing with each other. So, they decided to spend time with a confirmed bachelor and Mac was definitely that.
He had said he just hadn’t ever found the right woman. Heyes and Kid however decided it was that he didn’t want a woman telling him what to do and to stop him drinking, eating and gambling too much.
There was a bitter wind blowing from the north as they rode. Heyes pulled his collar of his grey coat around him, he felt the warm soft velvet touch his neck it felt nice like a saloon girl’s soft hands touching his neck.
He smiled, Kid looked at him and shook his head, after being with him all these years he knew what he was thinking about. He would let him have his fantasy. He on the other hand thought of a nice warm Kansas day laying in the wheat field hiding from his parents and his sister. Just wanting to be alone.
A shot from a rifle that slammed into the wall of one of the high cliffs that surrounded the canyon brought them back from their fantasy worlds with a jolt.
“Where did that come from?” said Heyes.
“And who fired it is another thing” said Kid as he reined in a frightened Candy.
They looked up and there was two of Armendariz’s men riding towards them. Heyes looked at Kid who rolled his eyes and sighed.
“You know what they think we’re here to do.”
“Yeah and we ain’t. Heyes he mentions getting’ that head back and I am outta there.”
“You want be the only one even if he offers us a million dollars” said Heyes as the riders finally got up to them.
“Hello, senor’s nice see you again I hope this will be the first and last time I see you.”
“Now, calm ya feathers you tell Armendariz that we are not and will not try to get the statue back we are here to spend Christmas with Mac as friends nothin’ more” said Kid.
“Very well my friends you may go and gentlemen Feliz Navidad to you” they said as the turned their horses and rode off.
“And a Merry Christmas to you too” Heyes shouted after them.
“Oh, that’s what they said” said Kid as he and Heyes continued their journey. They arrived at Mac’s ranch a little after twelve in the afternoon.
They big man came out to greet them with a warm and friendly smile, he was still puffing on a cigar and enjoying the finer things in life.
“Howdy, boys it’s nice to see ya again after all this time come on in and sit down” said as he shook Heyes and Kid warmly by the hand and ushered them in to the big room.
He shut the door and said,
“What ya doin’ here? Have ya reconsidered my offer?”
“No, Mac we are not here to get the head back and we will not get the head back. We are here to celebrate Christmas with you as your friends that is all” said Heyes in a voice not asking to be questioned.
“Ok Heyes, Kid I won’t ask ya again, but please stay I don’t have any family and the boys don’t stay here they go home to their families and I feel a mite lonely here all by myself.”
“Ok” said Kid.
Then the boys were shown up to their rooms. They washed and changed for dinner. They went downstairs to join Mac for a pre-dinner drink “Mac here’s to ya” said Kid as raised the glass. Then he took a sip he wanted to savour this it was good Kentucky corn drinking whiskey it was the expensive stuff, the kind of stuff you don’t get in saloons, but you could get in posh hotels in Denver and San Francisco.
Then around eight o’ clock the cook came in and said dinner was ready.
So Heyes and Kid joined Mac in the dining room. This was the first time they had been in Mac’s dining room Heyes and Kid looked in awe at all of the nice things on display. Then Kid’s eyes fell on the rifle above the door.
It was a Winchester 73 one of the first hundred that was produced, how Kid’s mouth watered at the thought of having such a beautiful piece of weaponry.
Mac came over and put his hand on his shoulder.
“She is a beauty is she not?”
“Mac, I envy you I wish I had a weapon like that, you’re right it is beautiful.”
Heyes smiled, and shook his head if there was one thing that could alter Kid’s course from the dinner table it was a fine piece of weaponry.
“Come boys let’s eat.”
So, they sat down, and Kid’s eyes nearly popped right out of his head at the large spread that Mac’s cook had made for them.
After dinner they sat and drank brandy and had a cigar then before long it was time for bed. They said good night to Mac and then went upstairs.
In the morning Kid woke up to a knocking at the door.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Maria I bring you coffee senor.”
“Oh, come on in.”
So, she came in with the coffee and Kid sat up and smiled at the pretty girl that had entered his room with the coffee tray.
“Thank you, is my friend awake yet?”.
“Si Senor he’s downstairs with Mr McCreedy and he none too happy.”
“Because it snow last night and hard and it still doing it now.”
“Ok thank you.”
The young girl smiled and then left Kid to his morning coffee. Once he’d drunk his coffee he got out of bed and peeped around the curtain and yes it had snowed all night and it was still going.
Kid did his morning ablutions and then dressed; the final thing he did was put his gun on then he went downstairs. He walked into the living room to find Mac standing by the fire and Heyes pacing up and down the hearth rug with his face as black as thunder.
“Good mornin’ Mac.”
“Mornin’ Kid ya sleep well?”
“Very well thank you.”
“What? Oh yes morning Kid”.
“Heyes what’s the matter with a little snow?”
“The matter Kid is that Mac says we could be here until spring that was not in my plans.”
“Oh well, we’ll just have to wait and see” said Kid optimistically.
“I intend to see and now I am going out to see if we can get through the pass if we can then that’s fine if not I will not be a happy man.”
“Well, you’re not now.”
“Heyes, I wouldn’t go out there even on that big old mustang the ground is gonna be very treacherous” said Mac.
“Heyes he’s right don’t go.”
“I’ve gotta go I need to know Hermes will be alright.”
So Heyes went and put his coat and hat on then he went out of the door and into the falling snow.
Mac and the Kid watched him as he rode away.
Heyes rode on, eventually he found the pass and Heyes knew they wouldn’t be able to get through it. So, he turned Hermes around just as he did, so Hermes lost his footing and fell Heyes came off and hit his head on a rock and lay there unconscious in the snow.
In the McCreedy ranch Kid and Mac were getting worried about Heyes, he still wasn’t back he’d been gone for almost an hour. In the end Kid and Mac went to look for him.
The snow had stopped now, and it was a little less treacherous under foot for the horses. They moved carefully through the snow and Kid was very careful with Candy. They were approaching the pass when Kid saw Hermes without Heyes.
“I don’t know.”
“Come on Candy let’s rein him in then we’ll go look for Heyes”.
They walked on they got to the pass and there was no sign of him.
“HEYES!” Mac called.
“HEYES, WHERE ARE YOU?” Shouted Kid.
Hermes started to paw the ground in front of him Kid looked down and saw a black boot sticking out from underneath the snow.
“Mac he’s under the snow.”
“Oh, good lord” said Mac as he dismounted with some difficulty.
He and Kid brushed the snow away to reveal a very cold and pale Hannibal Heyes. Kid felt for a pulse he had one, but it was very faint. He lifted him off the floor and Mac saw the cut on Heyes’s head.
“He’s got a bump on the head it’s bleeding rather badly.”
“Take his scarf and wrap it round his head till we get back.” Then he took him and put him on Candy with him after helping Mac get back on his horse.
“Mac, take Hermes will ya I’ve gotta enough to worry about with him without Hermes giving me any bother.” He said as he passed Hermes’s reins to Mac.
They made good time back to the ranch and Blake greeted them.
“D’ya find him?”
“We found him alright” said Kid as he passed the unconscious Heyes to Blake so he could dismount.
“I see that ya did he’s hurt bad.”
“Blake, see if you can go the back way into town and get the Doc out here.”
“Not a chance of it.”
“I’ll ask Ramona to help us” said Mac.
So, Kid took Heyes inside and Mac ask Ramona to help look after him for they couldn’t get to town to get the Doctor. She said she would help for she had worked as a nurse during the recent war.
She said first they should get him warm for he was suffering from Hypothermia and then she would look at his wound. Once he was warm in bed Ramona took a look at Heyes’s wound. She cleaned it up and put a few stitches in it then she bound his head and then left him to rest.
“Senor McCreedy your friend is resting now I think he will be conscious sometime tomorrow”.
“Thank you Ramona”.
Kid sat by Heyes’s bed most of the day and part of the night. Mac came in and told him he had to get some rest himself and that he would sit beside him until morning.
In the morning Kid got up and went into Heyes’s room and there was Heyes awake and looking a bit better than he did yesterday. He asked him what had happened and Heyes told him.
“See Mac told ya not to go out” is all Kid had to say.
A few weeks later it was Christmas day Mac and the boys opened their presents Heyes had a new Journal from Kid and the complete works of William Wordsworth from Mac. He has seen it in Mac’s library.
Mac had a new cigar case from Blake and from Heyes and Kid an exact replica of the bust of Caesar.
Heyes said, “Now the problem has been solved maybe you two can stop fighting.”
Kid was the last to open his presents He had a new gun belt from Heyes and from Mac he had the Winchester rifle from above the door.
“Thank you Mac.”
“Well, you might as well have it and use it than it sit there gathering dust.”
Heyes and Kid were happy that they had decided to spend Christmas with Mac.