40th Anniversary Tribute
Written in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the airing of the Alias Smith and Jones Pilot episode, January 5, 2971, for Virtual Season.
Setting – Town of Red Rock (State – Unspecified)
Location – Universal Studios
January 5, 2011
Two former outlaws relaxed, puffing cigars, hats pulled low, boots propped comfortably on a porch rail in front of The Swerling Hotel.
“You’re tellin’ me, a whole group’a writers, women and men, have been sittin’ around all day every day for the past FORTY YEARS spinnin’ tales, and they can’t find nothin’ better to write about than a couple’a washed up, has been outlaws who can’t get their act together long ‘nough to convince ONE,” Kid Curry emphasized his long-winded question with a raised index finger, “measly little governor to give ’em amnesty?”
“What do you think they ought to do for creative release, clean their Colts?” Hannibal Heyes shook his head and gave a low chuckle that seemed to rumble from somewhere deep within. “This is the twenty-first century, Kid! 2011! Wake up and smell the coffee!”
Beneath a brown hat, a smug grin lurked. “I did, Heyes. ‘Cept it was your coffee.”
A silent threat was delivered, unseen by Curry but, nonetheless, perfectly conveyed.
“This tale-writin’, the pay good?”
“These writers don’t write for money.”
“You mean they write for free?” Incredulous, Curry let the two front legs of his chair drop with a thud and his hat fell forward, landing in his lap. “Not much for brains, are they?”
Heyes pushed his hat back with one finger and laughed, revealing a set of dimples that could have melted the cold-blooded heart of Blanche Graham, back in San Juan, Mexico. “I wouldn’t say that. On the whole, I’d say they’re a pretty intelligent bunch.”
“Don’t they got jobs? Families? They got time to sit around, just writin’ and not gettin’ paid?”
“Sure they have jobs and families, but they make time. They write because they want to. And because they like us. Look, you know Glen Larson and Roy Huggins, the men who concocted us? Well, these writers hold them in pretty high regard. Some of them even think those two were a couple of geniuses.”
“Thought YOU were the genius, Heyes.”
“‘Course I am, and thanks for noticing.” He paused for a moment of self-adulation, then regarded his partner. “Ya know, you’re no walk-off in the mental aptitude department, either.”
Nods of mutual appreciation were exchanged.
“But see,” Heyes continued, “these writers hold Larson and Huggins in even higher regard since the whole idea of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, two pretty good bad men… Well, it was theirs.”
“Not Butch and Sundance?”
A roll of brown eyes.
“The whole idea of Heyes and Curry, two former outlaws, working toward amnesty, was Larson’s and Huggins’. You and me, we’re just figments of THEIR imaginations.”
“Now I know you’re talkin’ through that black hat’a yours. This is me you’re talkin’ to!” A trigger finger jabbed at his own chest. “Kid Curry! Fastest gun in the West an’ all that.”
A safe-cracking finger poked back. “And where would YOU have been, Mr. Fast Gun, if not for your friend, Monty?”
“Monty?” The Kid’s gunfighter glare wavered.
“Monty Laird. Remember him? The man who showed you how to draw that thing,” a slender digit pointed toward Curry’s low-riding weapon, “and reminded you to quit going ‘Pccchhhooo’ every time you cleared leather?”
“I remember.” The Kid paid homage with only mild reluctance. “Good man, Monty.”
“And a whole slew of other people. Writers, directors, extras, crew, guest stars…”
“Speakin’ of guest stars, ‘member how much fun we had both times Sally was guest-starrin’?”
“Sally guest-starred twice? Hmm. I can only remember once.” Heyes returned to his previously interrupted thought. “…Not to mention the fans, Kid. Where would we be now, without those faithful fans?”
“Fans… Who could forget them? Hey, do you remember when…” A long sigh and an expletive accompanied Curry’s recollection of some particularly memorable fan-encounter.
A quick shake of Heyes’ head reminded his partner of the stringent television regulations of the early seventies.
Still, the Kid’s devilish grin lingered. “So, anyway, you’re sayin’ people actually read the stuff these writers write?”
“If the hits counters on their websites are any indication, someone must be reading it.”
“Think we ought’a take a look?”
He shrugged. “I’d love to, but I’m pretty busy these days, with real estate deals and what-not. Don’t find much time for reading fanfic or Virtual Season.” There was an interruption, as Heyes’ cell phone chirped.
The Kid sat, observing his partner. Heyes seemed, strangely, taller. The hair was lighter too. And the hat… Different. Definitely different.
The cell phone was flipped shut. “I hear you read lots these days, Kid.”
“I do? I mean… I do!”
“Maybe you should take a look. See what kinds of adventures these new writers have written us into.”
“Sure.” Heyes shrugged. “You might even decide you’d like to get together with a handful of those writers. Readers too. Just for dinner.”
“Maybe.” Curry checked his pocket watch. “Well, it’s been good re-hashin’ old times with you, Heyes, but I gotta go.”
“Let me guess. Gun fight at high noon?”
“No.” There was a full smile and a shake of an attractively graying head. “Tennis!”
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.