All In – Part One

All In - 2

All In – A story co-written by JoAnn Baker and Grace R. Williams

We would like to thank a company of excellent beta readers for their diligent work in helping to make “All In” all it could be.  Kid4ever, Ghislaine, and Penski, we are grateful!

Thank you also to our loving family members for their patience, understanding, and for their “All In” support throughout this process!

JoAnn and Grace

Lobby of the Brown Palace Hotel – Denver, Colorado
Site of the 1887 Meeting of the U.S. Territorial Governors Association

“Conrad? Conrad Zulick!”

C. Meyer Zulick, governor of the U.S. Territory of Arizona, grasped the hand extended toward him. “Governor Moonlight! Let me see, when was the last time…”

“Cleveland’s presidential campaign, back in ’84.”

“Ah, the election. It seems such a long time ago,” Zulick remembered, his eyes lighting with the thrill of a presidential race. He brought his thoughts back to the present. “Good to see you again, Moonie. I haven’t had the opportunity to properly congratulate you since your gubernatorial appointment by President Cleveland this past January.”

“Thank you.” Thomas Moonlight chuckled. “My, what a whirlwind exchange that was! For a while, the Territory of Wyoming was changing governors more often than we Union officers had a chance to change our drawers during the War Between the States. And what an exciting tale you must have to tell about your own appointment, Conrad! Held hostage in Mexico, rescued in the nick of time. I’d love to hear your story, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.”

As the governors talked, they were approached from either side by two gentlemen.

“Governor Moonlight,” Zulick said, “I’d like you to meet my right arm, Doc Donovan, the man who orchestrated the rescue you just mentioned.”

“Pleased to make your acquaintance, Governor,” Donovan nodded.

Moonlight and Donovan shook hands before Governor Moonlight introduced the second man. “Governor Zulick, Mr. Donovan, meet Sheriff Lom Trevors.”

“Sheriff Trevors of Porterville, Wyoming?” Donovan wondered, eyeing the lawman curiously.

“That’s right,” Lom confirmed. He shook the politician’s hand, then Donovan’s, taking note of Doc’s thoughtful expression. “Have we met, Mr. Donovan?”

“No, no. It’s just…your reputation precedes you, Sheriff Trevors. You’re providing security for Governor Moonlight, I presume?”

“Lom is acting as my advisor, Mr. Donovan,” Moonlight interjected.

“Pleasure to meet you,” Doc responded, smiling. “Both of you. And, call me Doc.” Donovan glanced toward Zulick and checked his pocket watch. “Governor, we need to hurry in order to make your next appointment.”

“Yes, indeed,” Zulick nodded. “Moonie, we must get together, rehash old times. This evening, perhaps? My suite?”

“Definitely! See you then, Conrad.”

Governor Zulick’s Suite – Later That Evening

“Moonie!” Zulick greeted, throwing wide the door to his room in welcome. “Sheriff Trevors, so glad you could join us.”

Lom nodded an acknowledgement and accepted the drink Donovan offered.

“Sit down, gentlemen, please,” Zulick invited. “We have so much to talk about; I hardly know where to begin.”

“Let’s begin with the tale of your appointment, Conrad,” Moonlight suggested excitedly. “I want to hear how you narrowly escaped death in Mexico!”

Zulick held up a hand and chuckled. “Nothing quite that dramatic, Moonie, but it was a rather exciting experience. There was a labor dispute, you see, and…”

As Conrad Zulick told his story, Lom Trevors again felt Donovan’s eyes on him. He turned and met the man’s gaze, which distracted him from much of Governor Zulick’s animated telling of the tale.

“…So Cleveland sent Doc to find me, and Doc wisely engaged the assistance of two men,” Zulick continued.

Donovan was still watching Lom’s eyes in anticipation of Zulick’s revelation.

“…Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones.”

Surprise at hearing the two familiar names caused Lom’s eyes to flicker, only slightly, yet Donovan had the information he needed. He raised an eyebrow.

“…Capable men indeed. Capable and honorable. Handled the whole situation without bloodshed, effectively liberating me from Mexico and returning me safely to Arizona in time for my appointment by President Cleveland.”

“Sheriff Trevors, why don’t you and I let the governors reminisce?” Donovan suggested, still watching Lom.

“Yes, why don’t the two of you go on downstairs to the Gentlemen’s Club, enjoy yourselves a little?” Zulick encouraged. “Moonie and I could be talking for hours.”

“Governor?” Lom checked.

“Go ahead, Lom, I’ll be fine. As Conrad said, enjoy yourself.”

“If you’re sure,” Lom decided, following Donovan from the room.

Inside the Gentlemen’s Club

“You going to tell me why you’ve been staring since we met this afternoon?” Lom asked, sliding his empty glass toward Donovan.

Doc filled Lom’s glass. “Just wondering about something,” he replied, cryptically.

“Sometimes it’s best to come right out and ask. What is it you want to know, Doc?”

“Oh, I believe I already have the information I was looking for, Sheriff. A portion of it anyway.” He pushed the glass toward Trevors.

Lom sipped his drink with a casual air. “Care to enlighten me?”

“I believe you and I have mutual friends, Sheriff Trevors. Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones. The men who helped rescue Governor Zulick from Mexico.”

Inwardly fortifying the walls protecting his secret pact, Lom nodded, nonchalantly. “Smith and Jones? Sure I know ’em. Good men. They’ve done some work for me over the past couple of years.”

Donovan smiled and leaned forward, lowering his voice. “Only, both you and I know Smith and Jones aren’t their real names.”

Lom projected a practiced look of innocent confusion. “I’m afraid you’ve lost me, Doc.”

Donovan leaned closer, conspiratorially. “Smith and Jones are really Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.” He waited expectantly, watching carefully for Lom’s reaction.

Lom paused, and then finished his drink in one gulp. He pushed away from the table and rose. “Mr. Donovan, thank you for the drink.” He turned to leave.

Donovan spoke quickly, “And if there is any truth to the rumor that Governor Moonlight is considering amnesty for the two of them, I would like to help. More importantly, I am certain Governor Zulick would like to help.”

Quietly, Lom returned to his seat. Still non-committal about his knowledge of Heyes’ and Curry’s identities, but with an edge to his voice that could have been piqued curiosity, or even anger, he stated, “You’ve got two minutes. Start talking.”

Governor Zulick’s Suite – A Short While Later

Donovan knocked at the door of Governor Zulick’s suite, then, using his key, opened it himself. He and Lom entered.

“Back so soon, Doc?” Zulick wondered.

“There’s something Sheriff Trevors and I would like to discuss with you.” His glance took in both Governor Zulick and Governor Moonlight. “With both of you.”

“What is it?” Zulick asked, and Thomas Moonlight mirrored his friend’s willingness to listen.

“It’s about Smith and Jones, the two men who rescued you from Mexico, Governor Zulick,” Donovan began.

Lom joined in. “And it’s about Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, Governor Moonlight. The two men waiting for the amnesty you promised.”

“I don’t see what this has to do with…” Moonlight began.

Donovan interrupted. “This has to do with the fact that Smith and Jones ARE Heyes and Curry!”

Zulick stood, mouth agape. “What? That can’t be! The men who assisted in my rescue were…”

“They were Heyes and Curry, Governor,” Donovan admitted. “I knew who they were when I hired them. I needed help to get you out of Mexico and when I stumbled across the two of them, well, it was wrong, I know, exploiting their services the way I did, but at the time it sure seemed right.”

“Smith and Jones,” Zulick muttered, shaking his head and taking his seat again. “Wanted outlaws.”

“That’s true,” Lom began, “Heyes and Curry are still wanted, but they have a deal with Governor Moonlight, and before that, with Governors Warren and Baxter.”

“What kind of deal?” Zulick asked.

“Amnesty!” beamed Donovan.

“Is this true, Moonie?”

“Heyes and Curry were promised amnesty by Governor Warren, and myself, yes, IF they stayed out of trouble for a year.” Moonlight shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

“And have they?” Zulick asked.

“They have,” Lom confirmed, “for more than three years.”

Governor Zulick stood, placing a hand on Governor Moonlight’s shoulder, and turned to face the other two men. “Doc, Sheriff Trevors, Governor Moonlight and I need to speak for a moment—in private.”

-ooOoo-

“Is it true that Heyes and Curry could be granted amnesty with a simple stroke of your pen?” Zulick asked his old friend when they were alone.

Moonlight rose and paced thoughtfully. “It’s far more complicated than you make it sound, Conrad. As a governor you should know that no decision is as simple as it seems. If I were to grant their amnesty now…”

Zulick nodded. “The political climate.”

A long silence followed, with Moonlight crossing to the window and gazing at the busy streets of Denver below, while Zulick reclined in his easy chair with his head bowed, fingers flexing thoughtfully in his lap.

Finally Zulick spoke. “You’ve changed.”

Moonlight turned abruptly to face his old friend. “Meaning?”

“Meaning, where is the man I once knew? The officer whose commitment to justice demanded he risk life and limb to pursue Quantrill’s Raiders after the Lawrence Massacre? You do realize, Moonlight, that these young men, Heyes and Curry, are Kansans, like yourself! Their families were victims of…”

“I know their story, Conrad!” Moonlight barked, defensively. “And it doesn’t change the fact that for years they have thumbed their noses at authority, making a mockery of law enforcement by their continual…”

“Continual? Sheriff Trevors says they’ve stayed on the right side of the law for the past three years. Do you have evidence to the contrary?”

“No, no evidence but…”

“So they’ve lived up to their part of the bargain. Especially considering the deal was that they stay out of trouble for one year, yet they’ve succeeded in fulfilling their commitment three times over. This does seem to indicate a marked persistence, doesn’t it?”

“Mmm,” Moonlight acknowledged.

“One might even say they’ve been rehabilitated. And certainly the Territory of Wyoming wouldn’t want the unnecessary financial obligation of incarcerating men for punishment and rehabilitation who have already proven themselves to be, shall we say, self-reformed?” Zulick paused, sending his colleague a diplomatically-perceptive smile. “Yes, self-reformed! Moonlight, you are indeed brilliant! You’ve managed to manipulate these two desperate criminals into mending their outlaw ways, assuring a significant savings to the railroads and banks of your territory, not to mention,” Zulick stood and patted Governor Moonlight’s shoulder, as if in congratulations, “you’ve done it ALL at NO cost to your territory’s tax-paying public! Good work, my man! No wonder President Cleveland appointed you governor!”

Moonlight looked confused, his mouth opening and closing several times while Zulick had been speaking, but finally, he joined his friend in a full smile. “Thank you, Conrad!”

“Tell me, when had you planned to present Heyes and Curry with their amnesty?”

“Well, I, uh…soon, very soon, I assure you. ”

“Wonderful! You can write their letters of amnesty now.” Zulick ushered Moonlight to a desk, rummaged through a drawer for paper and then nudged the inkwell closer to his long-time friend. He watched as Governor Moonlight began composing the documents granting Hannibal Heyes and Jedediah Curry full amnesty.

When Moonlight finished, he stood. “It’s getting late.”

“Yes, it is,” Zulick checked his pocket watch. “I guess you’d better be going if you’re catching the early train back to Wyoming in the morning.”

“Early train?”

“Of course! So that you can file those documents with the Territory of Wyoming immediately. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to our friends, Smith and Jones,” Zulick paused to wink, “before those papers are officially stamped with your seal, Governor.” He ushered Moonlight toward the door and opened it.

Lom Trevors and Doc Donovan, who had been waiting just outside the door, exchanged a hopeful glance and then turned their eyes to both governors expectantly.

“Sheriff Trevors, send our friends a telegram and tell them to get here on the double,” Zulick grinned broadly. “I want to be the first to congratulate them. I’ll let them know the official documents are forthcoming.”

Colorado Springs, Colorado

“You’re not gonna listen to me, are you?” Curry asked, frustrated.

“I’m listening to you. I just don’t share your opinion of our old friend, Governor Zulick.”

“It’s not my opinion of Zulick; he seemed like a real nice guy. I just don’t trust the people around him. You remember Doc Donovan, don’t you?”

“How could I forget him? He turned us in right after he paid us for the job.”

Curry smiled wryly. “He knew where you kept your lock pick, too.”

“Real observant guy, that Doc,” Heyes muttered. “Kid, if I remember correctly, you were the one who wanted to stay in Arizona. ‘We have a friend here,’ I think you said.”

“Yeah, well, I changed my mind. It’s a bad idea. And goin’ to Denver to see him at this governors’ convention is even worse. Heyes, the whole town’s gonna be crawlin’ with lawmen—some of ’em who know us on sight!”

“Lom wants us to come.”

“I don’t care what Lom wants! He’s not the one lookin’ at twenty years in prison!”

Heyes bristled at that. “Well, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to go.”

Curry stared, open-mouthed, at his partner. “And just who is gonna watch your back? Huh? Who’s gonna keep you safe like I been doin’ all these years?”

“Kid, I did a pretty good job of taking care of myself before we partnered up, and I can still take care of myself just fine.”

“Oh, you think so?” Curry leaned in and got in his partner’s face. “You won’t last ten minutes without me.”

Heyes glared back. “Is that so?”

“Yeah, that’s so.”

“I’m tired of waiting around for whoever is governor of Wyoming these days to get around to considering our amnesty. If Conrad Zulick can help us get it, then I’m going—with or without you.”

“What?” Curry stared incredulously at his partner.

“You heard me. I’ll go talk to Zulick, and if this is about our amnesty I’ll wire you here in Colorado Springs. It’s only a two-day ride so you’ll hear from me soon.”

“Well, maybe I won’t be here. Maybe I’ll take that job we were offered out at Cripple Creek.”

“They only had room for one blaster out at the mine.”

“Exactly.”

Heyes’ eyes widened. “Don’t do anything stupid, Kid. Wait here for me.”

“Are you callin’ me stupid?” Curry’s temper flared.

“No, I said don’t DO anything stupid.”

“Sounds like the same thing to me. Alright, Heyes, do it your way—you always do. Just don’t expect me to come after you if you get into trouble.”

Buckhorn Tavern – Denver

Hannibal Heyes sat at a small corner table with Sheriff Lom Trevors. “Is this for real? No tricks or conditions? No ‘one more job to get on the governor’s good side’? I rode two days to get here so it better not be a joke.”

“No joke, Heyes, it’s really true. Governor Moonlight signed your amnesty papers. He returned to Cheyenne to file them proper two days ago. Governor Zulick wanted to congratulate you himself before the news gets out and every reporter in town wants to interview you.” Trevors grinned. “You’d better wire the Kid and tell him to get here on the double. Zulick wants to congratulate both of you.”

“I’ll send a telegram today.”

“Alright, I’ll tell Donovan to set it up. You remember him, don’t you?”

“Sure, I never forget a man pulls a gun on me,” Heyes said, ruefully.

Trevors laughed. “Well, I think he’s had a change of heart. But now, I have to get back to Porterville—I’ve been away too long and I can’t expect poor Deputy Harker to hold down the fort forever.”

Brown Palace Hotel – Denver

“Mr. Heyes?” A familiar-looking man stepped out from the doorway to greet Heyes.

“Doc,” Heyes said, cautiously shaking the man’s hand.

“I’m glad you came. I, uh, understand if you aren’t particularly happy to see me.”

“The last time I saw you it was from behind bars,” Heyes said.

“Yes, well, I really am very sorry about that,” Donovan said softly.

Heyes nodded. “Well, shall we go on up to see the governor?”

“Where is Mr. Curry?” Donovan asked, suddenly wary. “Wasn’t three days sufficient time for him to get here?”

“He can’t make it,” Heyes replied quickly, “but I’m here, so let’s get on with it.”

Donavon studied Heyes’ face for a moment, wondering what could have happened to keep the man’s partner from attending such an important meeting. “Ah, okay, come with me. You’re on his calendar as Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones.”

Heyes nodded. “Sounds like a good idea. And Moonlight? When is he going to announce our amnesty?”

“Right after Governor Zulick has a chance to personally congratulate you.”

“Alright then, let’s get on with it,” Heyes said tersely.

The two men took the elevator and exited on Zulick’s floor. They were met by a man Heyes guessed to be around thirty years old, with dark hair and close set eyes.

“Is this Mr. Smith or Mr. Jones?” the man asked.

The way he said ‘Smith’ and ‘Jones’ made Heyes think the man knew they were aliases.

“Mr. Smith is here to see Governor Zulick,” Donovan replied. “Mr. Smith, this is Mr. Parker, one of the governor’s aides.”

“Thank you, I’ll take it from here,” Parker said.

Donovan hesitated at first, but then nodded and stepped back.

Parker ushered Heyes into Zulick’s suite. Heyes glanced around the room, amazed at the décor and surprised by the size. The suite was larger than many of the homes he had been in.

“I’ll need to hold on to your gun,” Parker said, firmly but politely.

Heyes hesitated, then reluctantly handed over the pistol. Parker led the way through another set of doors and into a room that served as an office. Zulick sat at a desk near the window.

“Mr. Heyes!” Zulick exclaimed, as he rose to greet the men. “Or should I say, Mr. Smith,” he added softly, shaking Heyes’ hand.

“No sense denying it, since that’s why I’m here,” Heyes said with a wry smile.

“Yes, of course. Please sit down. Thank you, Parker, you can leave us.”

The aide nodded and left, closing the doors behind him.

“Mr. Heyes, it’s good to see you. But where is Mr. Curry? He’s well, I hope.”

“Ah, yes, I hope so too.”

Zulick looked back curiously for a moment before proceeding. “Well, let’s get down to it. I suppose Trevors told you that Governor Moonlight signed your amnesty?”

“Yes, sir, and he said we have you to thank for that,” Heyes smiled broadly.

Zulick let out a laugh and smiled. “Well, Mr. Heyes, you certainly get right to the point, don’t you? Yes, I spoke to my good friend Governor Moonlight. One thing I’d like to know, so I’m sure I did the right thing, is it true that you have not broken the law since Governor Warren first offered you a chance for amnesty?”

“Yes, sir; well, mostly,” Heyes hedged.

Zulick frowned.

“We never stole anything for ourselves, and we never hurt anybody,” Heyes said quickly. “Once we had to break into a bank president’s house to prove he’d stolen his own bank’s money.”

“Why would you do that?” Zulick looked confused.

“Sir, he was blaming us, and we needed to prove our innocence.”

“I see; anything else?”

“The only time we broke the law was when we needed to help an innocent person and see that the guilty party was exposed.”

“Why would you risk being caught to help an innocent person?”

“Well,” Heyes said sheepishly, “the innocent person was usually me or the Kid. This amnesty is real important to us. We’ve been doing everything the governors have asked. We stopped robbing and we’ve been working hard to be law-abiding citizens.”

Zulick nodded. “If rescuing me is any example of the way you’ve been conducting yourselves, then I feel comfortable that I did the right thing. You know—”

At that moment, the outer doors opened and Zulick’s aide, Parker, entered and took a few steps into the room. The governor looked at Parker with annoyance that turned to shock when the aide pulled out a revolver that had been hidden under his coat. Before Zulick or Heyes could react, Parker aimed the gun at the governor’s head and pulled the trigger. Parker dropped the gun and raced for the door.

Heyes instinctively grabbed the discarded gun and ran to the doorway. He aimed at the retreating man and squeezed the trigger but the gun clicked harmlessly. Heyes looked down to see his own gun in his hand. He squeezed the trigger again, but still nothing.

Heyes ran back to the governor and saw blood running down the side of the man’s head. He stood there, holding the empty gun as Donovan rushed in, followed closely by Parker.

Jail – Denver

NOTORIOUS OUTLAW ARRESTED!

The headline seemed to catapult from the paper it was written on to the bloodshot eyes of Hannibal Heyes. He shut them, in an attempt to block out the gravity of his situation.

After twenty-four hours on a hard jail-cell bunk, Heyes rubbed at his temples, wishing he could erase this horrible nightmare. But, when he opened his eyes Lom Trevors was still standing outside his cell holding the latest edition of the Denver Rocky Mountain News.

“You want to explain what the devil happened?” the lawman asked.

Heyes glared at his old friend. “I don’t know, Lom, why don’t you tell me? You sent for me.”

“Well, you’d better say something.” Lom pushed a plate of food under the bars, pulled up a stool and sat. “Eat, then start talking.”

Heyes pushed the food aside. “I was set up.”

“Set up by who? And why? You don’t think I had anything to do with this?”

“No. I don’t know.” Heyes sat down on the bunk and dropped his head into his hands.

“Where’s the Kid?”

Heyes gave a reluctant shrug. “He never showed up.”

“Why not? Didn’t you wire him and tell him to come?”

“Of course I did. You know I did. He was supposed to be waiting for word from me in Colorado Springs, but it’s already been four days since I wired him, and I haven’t heard anything, not a word.” Heyes’ shoulders drooped further and he hung his head. “The Kid and I didn’t exactly part on the best of terms.”

“If he had an ounce of brains he’d be as far from here as he can get,” Lom mumbled.

“The Kid’s not stupid, Lom.” Heyes’ own words came back to haunt him, and he regretted every one. Don’t do anything stupid, Kid.

“You think he ran into some kind of trouble? The Kid would never turn his back on you.” Lom bit his tongue before the next two words of doubt could be delivered. No, Kid Curry would never turn his back on Hannibal Heyes, would he? Instead Lom asked, “So where do you think he is?”

Heyes stood and crossed the cell to the small, bar-covered window and gazed out. “Good question.”

To be continued…  All In – Part Two

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

All historical people and places are used fictitiously.

March 2013

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