"This is between you and him. You started it. And he is askin' you nice. Besides I'm sure you'll get your gun back...........sometime."
The sensible thing would have been to hand over the gun, of course. Hand over the gun and take the ensuing ridicule from his fellow rounders and no-good-ne'er-do-wells on the chin. In a way, that would have been the braver thing to do. Perhaps, had it just been the two of them, he would have done just that, and lied about what had happened to his friends later on.
But Frank Grimes had never been sensible. And he had seldom been brave: at least not when and where it mattered. And he was too cowardly now to face the shame of handing over his gun to this fancy dressed city slicker. He licked his lips, aware of all the eyes upon him. The cowpokes, the girls, the barkeep... the old man who surely couldn't hit an elephant at that distance... the man pointing the pistol at him.
He took a step back, despite the blood rushing in his ears he heard himself shout "The Hell I will!" and went for his gun!
There was an impressive silence that was finally broken when Priest eased back the hammer of his gun. CA-CLICK. "You should take his advice and listen to the gentleman. It would be a crime if such a pretty piano player got caught-up in any potential gunfire."
"Oh! Do you think I'm pretty?!" started Arabella in reply "Just that... YUULLP!" she made the oddest sound as Caroline pulled her out of harm's way.
"YOU! Get outta their way!" Caroline yanked at Ara's one upper arm and clamped down on the bony thing then glanced at the newcomer, "Sorry, we'll be right outta yer way. Just hold on a second!"
With that she led the girl off back toward the piano and way out of the line of fire, glaring at her as she hissed, "You askin' ta get shot? I have no desire to lose me my piano player, hon!"
"Aw, that's so sweet of you to rescue me from rescuin' Mr Grimes!" beamed Arabella, throwing her arms around Caroline. Grimes was now covered front and back by the levelled pistols of Fortner and Priest, he held up his hands in supplication "Hey, come on fellers, now this ain't fair is it? Two against one!"
Fortner calmly asked the cowpoke, "I have strange habit."
"Hope it ain't a dirty habit!" grinned Grimes nervously. If that was intended to amuse the man pointing a gun at his forehead, it didn't seem to work.
"Do you have any habits?"
Grimes frowned. What the Hell was this fancily dressed dude with the quick draw and the backup man raving on about? Habits, habits... ?
"Er... chew a little?" he hazarded a guess in the form of a question. He somehow didn't think his addiction to chewing tobacco was what the stranger was driving at.
"I take you mean the whiskey," Ralph replied dryly then reached for a more expensive bottle of the stuff, "Irish whiskey, genuine article, that work for ya?"
He poured a shotglass up to the brim, "Price comes dear though, that'll be a dollar."
Ralph Flandry had to be nice to all the paying customers, of course - at least those who didn't cause trouble. Those rules didn't apply to the handful of loafers, thumb-twiddlers and general miscreants who were hanging around the bar at this time of day instead of doing an honest day's work. One of them had wolf-whistled and uttered a derisive cry of "Say fellers, get a load of this city slicker!" when the well dressed Fortner had walked in.
With the unerring attraction of a bully to a weaker looking person, this same scruffy individual now approached and spoke, making sure that the other men, that he was showing off to, could hear him clearly, of course.
"Well, well, buyin' the good stuff, eh, Mr Fancy Pants? Must be more money than I thought in being a perfume salesman!" This got a laugh from the other roughs. "Or mayhaps you're one o' them French Dancing Masters like they got back East" (Grimes himself was actually from Cincinnati, hardly the Wild West) "Why don't you give us a demonstration of that there fancy dancin' Mister? And if The Reb's pianna playin' ain't music enough, I can add a little percussion of my own!"
He went for his six-shooter, obviously intending to play the oldest Western trick in the book, shooting up the floor at the rube's feet, making him dance a dangerous and humiliating jig.
It was too late. The bubbles were merely air expelling out of the dead lungs. Richard Orr was elsewhere, examining the padlock on the Pearly Gates.
One of the men in the bucket line, and who was getting kinda tired of the work, to be honest, ran over to join the Doctor, the Newspaperman and the charred form on the ground.
"It's Dick Orr!" he yelped "Shit, I was with him but ten minutes ago!! I recognise his boots." Frank Grimes cried. He had come back after parting ways with Lorenzo Crabbe and seen the fracas breaking out.
"It was him, HIM!" he pointed a finger at Phineas. "It was him run in and tried to rescue the poor bastard. Jesus Christ, McVay, you're a God damn hero!" Soon people were murmuring, not just about the startling demise of the town's Postmaster, but also about the thrilling deeds of the local newspaper editor, running into a burning building to rescue the man he had so recently castigated in the pages of his editorials.
More people were arriving, coming out of stores and their homes on hearing the shouts and hullabaloo. On hearing what had happened, both Mrs Orr and Mrs Wigfall had fainted right there in the street and had to be carried to their homes to have the smelling salts presented to their noses.
Hector Wigfall had gone to attend to his mother, but his sister Jemima pushed through the crowd and stared down at the blackened body with a look of odd satisfaction on her usually placid face and was heard to give a dismissive sniff and then mutter "Huh! Well, guess that's him dead."
The next figure to push through, though, was a different kettle of fish: Anæsthesia Orr threw herself bodily onto her father's charred remains, covering her fashionably tight white dress in blood and charred skin fragments before looking up and holding out an imprecating hand to Jonah.
"Oh Doctor Danforth! You must save him! Please!! Oh, poor father! We had quarrelled so! He cannot go like this!!" she wailed, tears streaming down her sooty face, making interesting white rivulets through the black grime.
Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.
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