A Chance

By Kassidy

 

 

 

Curry threw back a large swallow of his drink, finishing it, and put the glass back down on the bar. “Well, it’s decided. We’re gonna take those bank jobs, ’cause I’m not goin’ naked one more day.” They’d been labeled “transients” by Lom’s deputy and had their guns taken away.  Curry’s description was accurate—both of them felt completely unprotected without the weight of their weapons slung around their waists.

Heyes kept quiet. He knew enough not to press his luck, even though he dreaded the temptation working in the bank presented. After all, Curry had backed off the fight with the two men in the bar earlier, entirely because Heyes had asked it of him.

 

“Don’t you push him. You can’t back it up,” Heyes had said, then turned to the tall man at the other end of the bar. He’d spoken carefully. “Sir, I would like to apologize for my friend, and also want you to be sure you keep on noticing he’s not wearing a gun.” Heyes had spread his vest wide, making sure the other man realized he wasn’t armed. “Neither am I.”

The fellow had turned his words around on them instead, pulling his own gun and sliding it down the length of the bar to Heyes and Curry. “Neither am I. Don’t let that stop you in case you feel like reachin’.”

Curry had turned, his blue eyes implacable and somehow resigned. “Okay, Heyes, step aside.”

Heyes’ heart sank at the soft tone. “No! You can’t!”

“He’s askin’ for it.” Curry wouldn’t look at him—his mind was on the business at hand. And just like that, Heyes knew there was nothing he could say or do that would persuade or cajole or charm Curry to see it his way. 

So instead of telling the Kid anything, he’d asked. “All right, I’m asking for something, too! Something we ain’t never had a chance at.”

“We ain’t got no chance now. That eyeballer knows who I am.” But at least Curry was looking at him now, rather than through him.

“He can’t be sure, not unless you’re gonna prove it for him!” The intensity in Heyes’ voice had made Curry look at him again, really look, and maybe he’d seen what Heyes was really asking for: the possibility of a different future, one that didn’t involve them dying, gut-shot and bleeding in the middle of some dirt road leading out of yet another blank-faced, anonymous town—anonymous and blank-faced because it was only another town and not home, because they were outlaws and didn’t have a home unless you wanted to count Devil’s Hole, and by-damned if that wasn’t pathetic.

So he’d asked Curry for a chance at finding a place they’d call home someday. Someplace they didn’t have to run from every time the wind picked up and blew a whisper of a word like “outlaw” or “bank robber” their way.  He’d put all of himself into the asking of it. Curry saw it in his face, in his desperate eyes.

And Kid had swallowed his pride and done what was asked of him.

 

Because Curry had heard what he really wanted, their chance for amnesty, slim though it might be, was still alive. So Heyes made no protest when Curry announced that they were going to work for the bank, even though when he shut his eyes all he could see, clear as day, was a stack of green bills, so many of them that they reached clean up into the sky. He couldn’t stop imagining them. It was gonna be hell, working right there with all that money.

Seeing it. Touching it. Smelling it.

Which then brought Curry’s “naked” comment back to him.

“You comin’?” Curry said.

“I’ll catch up,” Heyes said. “You go on.” He listened to Curry’s footsteps walk away.

After a few minutes, Heyes asked the bartender for another whiskey. He drank it with his eyes shut, smiling, imagining Curry naked and writhing beneath his touch on the orange and white checked bedspread up in their room. Only he could barely see the bedspread under Kid’s body because of all the money that covered it: a never-ending carpet of fresh, green, newly-minted bills. 

Of course Kid made Heyes’ mouth water more, but just how close the money came in second was nobody’s business, now was it?