by Kara Wilson

Hannibal Heyes. That's my partner. We're inseparable. He needs me. It was one of those relationships that was just meant to be. Like bread and butter, like beer and hardboiled eggs. Well, that last one is another story. We've been together a long time. We take care of each other. Actually I think I take better care of him. Lately he hasn't been looking out for me at all. You'd think I'd be angry about this, but really I'm not. I know he's got his reasons. You see there's someone he cares for even more than me. Himself? Don't make me laugh. Sure he's always looked out for himself, but he's not narcissistic if that's what you're thinking. No, he's just interested in staying alive.

I got a hole in me at the last town, but right now he doesn't want to be bothered by my needs. He's more concerned about our traveling companion. Ya see this other fella got a hole in him too. We were on the run from a posse and they decided shooting us was the only way to stop us. We finally ditched them, and man am I covered in sweat and dirt. I must look as tired as I feel. This hole is rather bothersome and I'm filthy.

We finally found a place to rest and build a fire. Heyes laid me on the ground near the fire and promptly forgot about me. The other fella, well that's Heyes' primary concern. Been by his side nonstop. You'd think he'd check on me once in a while. Don't know where this relationship went wrong. I guess I do, Heyes found something of value in the man he's tending. Seems to think he's important to our survival. I hope the guy makes it. I hate to see Heyes look so concerned, so worried, so . . . scared. We'd be okay without this other guy, right? We'd be partners like always. Why don't I think things will be the same?

Heyes finally seems to have done all the doctoring he can at the moment. Our companion is finally asleep, and he looks peaceful. Heyes' finally steals a look my way, and moves me away from the fire onto his own bedroll. I knew he wouldn't forget me. With great concern in his eyes, he absently begins to clean me up. He can't stop looking or checking on the sleeping figure. Finally Heyes' head begins to lull, and he drifts off. Still without taking care of me. I hope things are back to normal soon.

With the rising of the sun on the third day, we're ready to ride out. Our friend is well enough to travel. Still not so sure about me, but seeing the smile pass between the other two I know life is good again. Heyes places me on his head, tilts me back and grins for all he's worth. Yeah, everything will be great. He'll repair me at the next town, now that Kid is going to be fine.