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I’m sitting at the poker table, panning the room. A place just opened and I’m checking out who’s up to join our game.

The seat beside me is empty now. My partner is gone. He went upstairs with his chosen lady of the night. The other players think I’m easy prey now. It’s just too obvious. I would love to laugh out loud, but I keep my face straight and innocent, my talk nice and easy.

Isn’t it funny how folks are always trying to put people in boxes? They look, but they don’t see, and still they judge the world from their limited point of view.

I heard them calling Kid Curry my pet, my tamed gunman, living only to back me up, giving him no more value than the speed and accuracy of his gun.

How wrong they are.

Usually I do the talking, the thinking, but that doesn’t mean the Kid has shortcomings in that department, neither am I unskilled in shooting. We just made an agreement; one we both are comfortable with, using our respective talents to our mutual advantage.

Kid Curry is a keen man, wise, wiser than me some people would say, if they knew him as well as I know him. I would have met my maker a hundred times without him or ended up in prison. Maybe he has more common sense than me. He grounds me. Would I ever tell him? Hell, no! He would never grow tired of throwing it back to me with a straight face or a smug smile depending on his mood. He knows what he has to know. That I trust him. Always.

He would never talk back in front of others, that is, unless I really get carried away and things get dangerous. In that case he would never hold back with his opinion. He’ll always back me up if things get out of hand, but if it was my fault, he’d be sure to make me regret it as soon as we are alone. He has a way to make me pay over and over again. Never get fooled by those innocent blue eyes of his.

Some folks see his strength, his iron will. They would never underestimate him. They tend to take me as foolhardy - as his pet - a leader by his grace. They call me his puppet who interacts with the world for him, he who likes to keep his thoughts to himself and rather observes inconspicuously from the background.

Does he play me? No. He’s frank and as straight forward as a man can be. He would never trick me.

Would I manipulate him? Well, I’ve got to admit, I’ve tried. Did it work? Rarely. Did he notice it? Often. Did I regret it? You bet!

Has it always been that way? Of course, not. Perfection doesn’t grow on trees; you’ve got to earn it. In the beginning we had our fair share of disagreements and fights, both of us strong-headed and born to lead. We had our lessons to learn, but now we have reached a point where we are hard to match.

We complete each other; step in whenever it is needed, knowing the other one better than ourselves - heart and soul. Together we are more than the sum of our skills; so much more. We don’t own one another. We’re friends, a team, equal partners. Never cross one of us. You never will deal with one of us alone. And together we’re unbeatable.