Money to Blow

By Laura Virgil

"Heyes, it'll never work," Kid Curry stated, definitely sure of himself this time. He sat reading a dime novel as Hannibal Heyes concocted a new, and what he considered brilliant, plan.

Heyes made no comment, only turned up the flame in the lamp and continued his calculations.

"Heyes, are you listenin' to me?" Curry demanded.

"Sure," Heyes answered offhandedly, his mind elsewhere.

Curry rolled his eyes and went back to reading, stopping now and then to laugh loudly.

Heyes, exasperated, put the pen back in the inkwell stand and turned to glare with dark brown eyes at his partner and cousin. "You drive me crazy, Kid! Can't you keep quiet for five minutes?"

"Heyes, listen to this!" Curry laughed.

"I ain't interested." Heyes pulled off his boots and was taking off his brown corduroy vest when Curry started reading.

"'He stalked down the dust-whipped street … a cold gleam in his black eyes, a glint reflecting from the Bowie knife between his teeth. Mothers screamed in fright and those who didn't faint hurriedly grabbed their young children out of the path of his cruel fifteen foot bullwhip. A low gurgle of vehement laughter emitted from his throat and past the Bowie knife. Even the strongest of men quaked in his presence. His reputation was well-known, and no one dared draw against him. When he came to town, loving husbands tearfully provided their wives with a handgun and a single bullet. Dogs tucked their tails and scurried out of his way. After all, he'd violated countless women and kicked any dog that happened into his way. But, today he was looking for his partner, and nothing could stop Hannibal Heyes from searching the town for Kid Curry…’”

Heyes turned to look at his cousin in despair. "What?!" He scrambled to look at the magazine that Curry held up for him. He quickly re-read the paragraph and then looked at Curry, a hurt expression on his face. "I never once kicked a dog!"

Curry burst out laughing and fell back on the bed, unable to catch his breath. He finally opened tear-filled eyes to look at Heyes, who was attempting to ignore him. "All right, Heyes… I'm sorry… I didn't mean to laugh at you. Have you got that plan all worked out yet?" he asked.

"Almost," the dark-haired outlaw replied. "If I can find all we need to do it, we'll go for it Friday. They won't expect it then because the payroll comes in on Wednesday, and it ain't payday 'til Monday."

"Sounds good to me," Curry smiled, running a hand through curly blond hair.

"You'll have to go round up Wheat and Kyle and the boys and meet me there."

Curry looked distraught, "Now?"

"Well, it's more than a day's ride up to Devil's Hole, and that'll give you just enough time to get the boys and get back," Heyes said, relaxing on the bed.

"Why always me? Why can't you go round up the boys?" Curry wanted to know.

"Because I'm the genius. I have to stay here and take care of plans. Now go on… get dressed and start on out of here, will you?" Heyes lay back against the pillows as his partner stared incredulously at him. "Well, go on!"

Curry got up from the bed, mumbling and cursing all the way.. As he dressed, he all but yelled at Heyes, "We'd damned well better get something for our trouble this time, Heyes, or you'll be havin' all the gang to mutiny on you, including me!" Curry pulled on his boots, slapped his hat on his head, strapped on his gun, and stormed out the door, slamming it behind him.

Heyes grinned and then dozed off into a restful sleep.

Hannibal Heyes paced the boardwalk and had done so for the past three hours. The gang was late. Maybe Curry couldn't find them, or maybe they had gone off to form their own gang and left him alone. Heyes stopped in his tracks and felt sweat breaking out on his forehead. Maybe… maybe they'd all turned against him and were going to turn him in for the $7,000 reward on his head. It was awfully tempting. After all, it'd just been raised from $5,000. His skin crawled when he felt a hand on his shoulder and heard a voice call him by name. He turned to look into the face of Kid Curry, who misread Heyes' look.

"What's the matter with you? Someone recognize you?"

"No, I thought maybe you got caught," Heyes replied shakily. "You're late."

"Yeah, well, Kyle's horse threw a shoe. We had to find a blacksmith," Curry explained.

"Where are they anyway?"

"I sent 'em to say hello to the sheriff, Heyes," Curry answered sarcastically. "What do you think they're doing? They're at the hotel. I told 'em to meet us in our room at 7:30."

"Good." Heyes rubbed his gloved hands together. "Now, how about some-supper?"

"Heyes…" Curry caught his friend's arm. "We're gonna blow a bank tonight, and all you can think of is food?"

"Well, I'm hungry and I've already piped the place. All that's left is for us to relieve them of their bounty."

"I wish you wouldn't use that word." Curry's face soured as they walked across the street to the hotel dining room.

"Anything exciting happen while I was gone?" Curry asked as he looked at the menu.

The waitress arrived to take their orders as Heyes said, "Not really. Somebody tried to rob the bank yesterday just as they brought in the payroll."

Curry's face drained of color and he managed to gasp a forced, "What?"

"Two fellas tried to crack the safe last night and got caught red-handed. I'll have a steak, ma'am, and a potato and some coffee, please," the last he said to the waitress, and he winked at her for good measure.

"What'll you have, sir?" She turned to Curry who was staring at Heyes.

"I lost my appetite," Curry managed to say.

"He'll have the same thing as me, " Heyes said and watched appreciatively as the girl walked away. "Kid, you can't pull a job on an empty stomach, you know that."

"You're not serious, are you? You're not still planning to try this after someone got caught at it?" Curry was aghast.

"Sure, why not?" Heyes’ expression was that of a newborn colt.

"Are you crazy?" Curry nearly stood. "They'll be waitin' for just such a stupid stunt like that!"

"No, they won't," Heyes smiled and Curry scrutinized him.

"You know somethin' I don't?" Curry tried to relax and not make a commotion.

"Uh, huh," Heyes leaned back in his chair and grinned. "There's a pretty red-headed teller over at the bank, and while you were working on getting the boys, I been working on her."

Curry smiled. "And…?"

"Once they realized their vault wasn't burglar-proof, they transferred their funds to a brand new safe. It's a Pierce and Hamilton 1878."

Curry was suddenly downcast. "That's good news? Heyes, if I recall, we read about that not too long ago and it's virtually unopenable. Even you couldn't hear the tumblers. And if you can't hear them, you cant open the safe. And it also can't be opened with dynamite."

Heyes continued to smile as the waitress brought their food and coffee.

"Heyes, stop sittin' there grinnin' at me like that, damn it!"

"We don't need dynamite or good ears either one," Heyes informed him, cutting into his steak.

"Oh, yeah? Then how do you propose to get into it, genius?" Curry lifted his coffee cup to his lips.

"Nitroglycerine," was Heyes' single-word answer.

Somehow, Curry managed not to spew coffee everywhere and gagged it down instead. By the look on Curry's face, Hannibal Heyes just as easily could have stood up and announced his identity. Finally recovering his wits, Curry said under his breath, "You don't know nothin' about nitro!"

"I been doin' some readin'… I know enough," Heyes said defensively.

"But you don't know how much to use!" Curry protested.

"Kid," Heyes leaned toward him. "There's a mathematical equation for everything, and I got one figured out for this. Trust me."

"I shoulda joined the army!" Curry shook his head and stared back at Heyes. "But I'm tellin' you, if I get killed. I'm never workin' with you again, Heyes."

"Nitroglycerine?!" Wheat Carlson and Kyle Murtry chorused. The other three outlaws were too stunned to speak.

"I told you he was crazy," Wheat said to Kyle as he reached for his hat and headed for the door of Curry's and Heyes' hotel room.

"Now, hold it!" Curry's voice boomed. "I know it sounds a little crazy…"

"Not to mention a little lethal," Kyle interjected.

"…But Heyes has it all figured out." Curry tried to smile a genuinely confident smile. "It's all a matter of timing and mathematics, and he knows he can blow the safe open."

"Look, Kid, I respect Heyes as much as any of the boys here," the outlaw named Monahan spoke up. "But even Heyes ain't handled nitro, and no offense, but I ain't too awful keen on bein' in the bank when it blows sky-high."

"You don't have to be there," Heyes finally said, getting up from the bed. "Three of you will be lookouts; the other two will hold the horses. Only me and the Kid'll be in the bank with the nitro."

Curry looked up, eyes wide, "We will?”

"Sure." Heyes put a brotherly arm around Curry's shoulders and gave him a pat on the back. "Sure, we're not afraid, are we, Kid?"

Curry forced a smile, "No...we...we ain't afraid.”

Wheat looked around at the other Devil's Hole gang members and shrugged. “I guess I'm willin' if everyone else is."

What followed was a reluctant chorus of "yeahs" and "sures".

At ten o'clock, it was almost totally dark outside because there was no moon that night. Except for a dimly lit saloon down the street from the bank, the town had long since drifted off to sleep. All the gang members of Devil's Hole took their places.

Heyes and Curry, each holding a carpetbag, stalked along the shadowed alley and arrived unobtrusively at the back door of the First National Bank. Heyes was clutching the carpetbag containing the nitroglycerine with all the care of a mother holding her newborn babe.

Curry looked around cautiously as Heyes gingerly set his carpetbag on the ground, pulled a small, thin metal tool from his boot, and inserted the lock-pick into the door's lock. To Curry, spooked already at the thought of using nitroglycerine, the noise made by the scraping lock-pick sounded like artillery. It took several minutes, but, under Heyes' expert touch, the lock clicked and the door finally opened. Heyes turned and grinned reassuringly at his cousin as he carefully picked up the carpetbag. "Told you it'd be easy."

"Sure," Curry replied sarcastically, following Heyes inside. He immediately checked to make sure all the shades were drawn, then turned to watch as Heyes lit a lamp and removed the objects from the carpet bag Curry had brought in.

"Shade the lamp, Kid," Heyes said. "All we need's a nosey sheriff noticin' the light."

Curry looked around and found a large bulletin board, took it from the wall, and propped it in front of the lamp so that the light was cast only on the object in question--the Pierce and Hamilton 1878.

"You wanna give me a hand. Kid?" Heyes asked as he inserted a rubber tube between the crack of the safe doors. Curry moved to kneel next to him, and Heyes gave him a handful of Red Seal Putty -- the quick dry kind.

"Start workin', Kid. Put it all around the cracks of the doors."

"What for?"

Heyes looked exasperated. "Don't ask questions -- just do it."

Once the putty had adhered to all the door cracks and to the seam between the doors, Heyes set the alarm clock he'd brought with him. "Get comfortable. Kid; it's gonna be 45 minutes."

"That's quick-dry putty? I hope Wheat and the boys know it's gonna take this long," Curry complained as Heyes blew out the lamp and settled down to wait.

"They know where they're supposed to be and when… if they can tell time."

Forty-five minutes later. Curry was awakened rudely by the alarm clock. He scrambled to shut it off as Heyes re-lit the lamp.

"Heyes," Curry said under his breath. "I swear, you're gonna be the death of me!"

"I'm tryin', Kid." Heyes grinned back at him and connected the end or the long rubber tube to something Curry wasn't familiar with.

"What is that, Heyes?"

"It's called a Bryant pump, and it's gonna take all the air out of the safe" with your help. Start pumpin', Kid." Heyes leaned back against the wall and relaxed as Curry stood, took the handles of the pump in his grasp, and started working.

"How long do I have to do this?"

"Not long. Fifteen minutes. I’ll tell you when to stop."

Curry looked exasperated. "I don't suppose it ever occurred to you that we could take turns with this thing, did it?"

Heyes smiled and closed his eyes. "Nope. Never did. But, I'll give it some thought.

Fifteen minutes later, Curry had worked up a good sweat when Heyes said he'd done enough. He nearly collapsed from exhaustion and aching muscles. "Now what?"

"Now, we take out the hose and put in this funnel." Heyes demonstrated, turning the mouth of the long-necked funnel upward. He bent to take the nitroglycerine from its cotton packing within the wooden box and turned slowly back to Curry.. "I want you to hold that funnel real steady. Kid." Heyes grimaced as he tugged carefully at the cork stopper in the bottle. Both outlaws sighed with relief when the cork came out and the contents didn't explode. Heyes tipped the bottle slowly, the liquid rolling toward the mouth. "Now, if everything goes right, the vacuum we've created inside the safe should suck in the nitro."

Curry caught Heyes' hand in a vice grip. "If? Did you say 'if’ everything goes right?"

"Yeah, why?"

"You mean you don't know whether or not this is going to work?"

"Never done it before, Kid. You know that. How can I know if it's gonna work?" Heyes replied. "Now let go."

Curry stared at his cousin for what he feared might be the last time as Heyes started pouring the thick, clear liquid. His blue eyes widened, and he held his breath as the nitro sat motionlessly in the mouth of the funnel then slowly started to drain into the safe. After what seemed like an hour, Curry realized the nitro wasn't going to blow and he breathed a heartfelt sigh of relief.

"Hand me the blasting cap, Kid," Heyes said as he took out a coil of red-colored fuse. He attached the fuse to the blasting cap and secured it to the safe with more of the putty. He looked at Curry. "You ready?”

"No, but that's never stopped you before," Curry replied. "Let's get this over with." The two unrolled the fuse as they moved to the other side of the tellers' windows and sat huddled on the floor as Heyes took a match from his pocket and struck it.

"Well… here goes nothin'!"

"Heyes, you don't have to put it quite that way," Curry said as Heyes touched the burning match to the end of the fuse.

Heyes dropped the sparkling and sputtering fuse, then Curry and he looked at each other and quickly sat back against the wall, bracing themselves for the blast and putting their fingers in their ears.

Seconds ticked slowly by, and after about two minutes, both outlaws opened their eyes to look questioningly at one another. They got to their knees and carefully peered over the counter between them and the safe. The fuse had burned right up to the blasting cap.

"A dud!" Heyes shouted, cursing his luck. "A damned dud!" He started around the counter.

"Heyes, I don't think…" But Curry's words were never heard as the safe exploded in a flash of brilliant white light and with deafening thunder.

Curry was knocked flat, and Heyes, hit by the concussion, was flipped over a desk and had the breath knocked out of him when he landed hard on his back. He could see nothing but stars from the blow on the back of his head he received when he struck a paperweight on the desk. It wasn't for a long time afterward that he realized his gun had flown from its holster; all he could hear was Curry's frantic shouts.

"Heyes! I been shot! I been shot!!" Curry was clutching at his left thigh which was bleeding profusely, and then he saw the ignited black powder smoking from the Navy Colt that belonged, unmistakably, to Hannibal Heyes. "Damn you! We're gonna get caught because of you!”

Fortunately for them, Wheat and Kyle had become concerned because of their delay in the bank. The safe had blown, and neither Curry or Heyes had emerged. They hurried through the back door to see the near-total destruction and their wounded leaders.

"Get him out of here before I kill him!" Curry shouted at them.

Kyle spotted Heyes' smoking gun and couldn't help laughing. "Your own cousin shot you?"

Wheat tried, unsuccessfully, to suppress a laugh and said, "C'mon, Kyle… let's get these two geniuses outta here."

"What about the money?" Kyle wanted to know.

"He used too damned much nitro," Wheat observed, looking at the shreds of paper money blown all over the office.

Wheat helped a very dazed Hannibal Heyes out the back door and to the waiting horses while Kyle went to help Curry. That is, until he spied a small canvas sack of coins still intact inside the remains of the safe.

"Will you forget that and help me?!" Curry shouted, hearing the sounds of the town coming to life.

"It appears to me you just ain't as smart as you think you are, Kid. You're gonna need money for doctor bills, you know," Kyle reminded him.

"Fine! Wonderful! Help me up!"

Kyle did as he was told and soon was helping Curry onto his horse.

"Idiots," Wheat mumbled, looking at the Devil's Hole leaders. "I told 'em to use dynamite!”

“Wheat, I think we’d better get outta here,” Kyle said nervously.

“I do believe you’re right, Kyle. Besides, we gotta get these two straightened out,” Wheat replied, thumbing toward Curry and Heyes.

With a net profit of $73 in the pocket of Kyle Murtry, and a bullet in the leg of Kid Curry, seven mounted figures emerged at a dead run from behind the First National Bank of Hanford, Wyoming.

HEYES -- "I do my best thinkin' in the middle of the night. I thought of the Hanford job in the middle of the night, remember?"

CURRY -- "Heyes, I got shot in the leg in that job, and it netted us $73, remember?"

HEYES -- "The idea was good."

From the Alias Smith and Jones episode "Everything Else You Can Steal"

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