Kid Curry unbuttoned his shirt; easing the denim-blue linen from his tanned and tautly muscled…
He stopped. Keen cornflower-blue eyes took in the deep cedar-wood tub filled with steaming, subtly fragranced froth; the same eyes took in the huge, fluffy towels waiting to enwrap his glowing, golden flesh after he had bathed his magnificent nakedness in the caressing water; he took in the fact that although he was unbuttoning a shirt, he appeared to be completely without pants, or indeed any other clothing. In one seamless, whip-quick movement, he reached for his hat. He rolled his eyes; he knew what this meant.
“I’m in another of those dang Cally Coe stories, ain’t I? Butt nekkid and about to be up to my ears in bubbles?”
“It’s what I call ‘Sud’s Law’,” confirmed Cally Coe from her position on the silk-swathed bed, laptop resting against her fantasy thighs (these being slimmer, longer and less European in hirsuteness than real thighs). “…Now, get over yourself and throw the hat back on the hat-rack. No one’s looking!”
“YOU are!” he protested.
“Only for accurate description purposes. Besides, you know what they say: ‘A cat may look at a thing’.”
A brow furrowed under blond curls as the Kid thought about that one.
“Never mind the ‘modesty is the best policy’ hat hiding,” went on Cally, “…I need help with a story challenge.”
A wave of déjà-vu swept over Kid Curry. He mopped it up with one of the towels. “Again?”
“What’s the title this time?” sighed Kid, stepping into the tub and sliding a good portion of his 165 pounds beneath the surface.
“We can pick any proverb we like. I thought I might use: ‘Curry’n’Heyes, Repent at Leisure’.” A pause. “…It’s a play on: ‘Marry in Haste…”
“…Repent at Leisure’,” finished Kid. “Yeah, I get it.”
“It sucks, huh?”
A shrug from an ex-outlaw too polite to agree.
A sigh from Cally. She put down the laptop and, picking up a bottle of Sandalwood essence, came over to the bath. “Shall I ‘pour more oil on bubbled waters’?”
“Sure, ma’am,” Broad shoulders relaxed as fictionally well-manicured fingers massaged them. “In the Old West, foam is best,” he sighed.
“Over onto your right side,” instructed Cally.
A blissfully happy Kid, enjoying the pampering, complied. Cally’s skilful hands worked beneath the surface. Outraged at this shameless side-swapping from a self-proclaimed Heyes gal, Kidettes everywhere flattened envious noses against the inside of the laptop screen trying to cut and paste themselves into the story.
“Now – the left.”
“Nah – I’m real comfortable.”
“You don’t want ‘the ass to be always cleaner on the other side’, do you?”
Another furrowing of the brow beneath the curls. “You do know none of these are actual proverbs, ma’am? Listen,” Kid hooked one shapely leg out of the tub and reached for a washcloth with dextrous pink-puckered toes, “…I got the perfect phrase: ‘Only the fair-haired deserve…’ I mean, “‘Only the brave deserve the fair’.”
“Go on,” prompted Cally Coe. It was a good old-fashioned proverb and did seem to offer plot possibilities. “What’s the story?”
“There’s this handsome, blue-eyed, blond ex-outlaw – who’s also real smart, though he don’t always get his fair share of lines.” Kid cleared his throat and tried to look nonchalant, “I’ll leave the casting to you. There’s also this gorgeous gal – really gorgeous… She’s about nineteen…”
“Mid-forties,” corrected Cally, who had rushed back to her laptop and was typing fast.
“Slim but with…” His hands gestured indicatively.
“Keep it clean!”
Kid blinked. He was up to his neck in steam and soap – how much cleaner could it be?
“She gets captured and manhandled by a real mean villain. But I ride to the rescue and outdraw him – ‘cos there ain’t no one that fast – this gal is real, real grateful to me and says, ‘Aw Kid, none but…”
“Got that bit,” interrupted she of the rapid keyboard clicks.
“…They walk off into the sunset. The End.”
“It’s a bit thin,” remarked Cally Coe, “and, there’s nothing for the dimpled one to do. I’d have to write in a plan and some silver-tongued yarn-spinning and…” she frowned, “That’ll make it too long.”
“Y’know what they say: ‘More Heyes, less speed’. Anyhow, whats-his-name ain’t here.” The Kid preened, “I guess you finally realised, ‘the Ben is mightier than the…'”
“Hey!” warned Calico. “No real-life names!”
“For Pete’s sake,” grumbled Kid, “…What did you think I was gonna say?!”
“Besides, of course the other fella is here. He’s topping up his tan out in my secluded and wonderfully scented fictional garden.”
Chagrinned, Kid hefted himself out of the tub and padded damply to the window to view a lean, dark-haired figure draped on a lounger.
“He’s butt nekkid down there!”
Cally thrust a laptop into Kid’s hands.
“You finish the story. I have to go ‘make Heyes while the sun shines…'”