Slim and wiry, bears himself well. Usually fancily dressed, as befits his profession. Face is dominated by the thick spectacles he wears.
Traits & Characteristics
A pretty nice fellow, all things considered. Others may disagree, but that how he sees it.
Ex Trapper, buffalo hunter, legitimate trader, cattle drover and placer miner who saw the light and turned to pimping and sharping. Now hoping to cream off some money from Canadians coming down through Kalispell for the Black Hills Gold Rush.
Sniffing out money and human frailty.
Can shoot straight with his glasses on.
Knows about trapping, mining (shaft and placer) cattle and horse-stock, but would rather others do the work and he relieve them of the profits.
Speaks a little Crow.
Aliases / Nicknames
Looking for a suitable building to open a theater/brothel/casino/you name it, in Kalispell.
Kith & Kin
Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters may or may not still be alive and kicking in Bowling Green, he doesn't know and doesn't care.
Born and raised: Bowling Green, KY 24th August 1846 - 22nd August 1864
Ran away from being conscripted by both sides in Kentucky, 1864.
1864: To avoid conscription by both sides in the civil war, he moved to West eventually making Fort Pierre, South Dakota to work as a trapper.
1867: a trader at Fort Berthold in the Dakota Territory and, for a time, married to an Indian woman, the sister of a warrior named Limping Bear. Subsequently a cattle driver, trader, placer miner.
1873: His annus mirabilis. Finally seeing the light at Frenchman’s Ford, Montana Territory, he stopped giving his hard earned gold to dance-hall managers, pimps, card sharps and underhand traders, he joined their ranks instead.
1875: Realizing that there was more money to made in the impending Gold Rush taking money off successful miners than panning for gold himself, he came to Kalispell to bottom out the options.
"Look I don't know. Annatesa Orr might want me to become something more permanent if I pay her too much attention. Look at Clara, Klutz paid too much attention to her and now they're getting married. I'm too young to get married. I don't even have enough money saved for a trip to Helena."
“Oh, Helena’s a dump!” said Crabbe quickly, dismissing that matter. ”And who cares if the Orr girl falls head over heels in love with you, that’s her problem. Just cut her loose once she’s served her purpose, tell her it’s ‘you not her’ or some mushy shit. Main thing is to get ol’ Clara jealous.”
After taking a good slug of his drink, he sighed, "If I had the money, I could go to Clara and tell her that she can have a place of her own here in town or anywhere else she wanted. Women want a place of their own more than anything. With money, I could buy her all the poetry books she wants. Heck, with a few extra bucks, I can even buy her dinner at my brother's hotel."
Crabbe shook his head sadly at Charlie’s innocence. It always beat him how a feller could be in love with a girl and understand her so little. Maybe not understanding someone was an actual precondition of falling in love with them? Now, he’d met Clara just the once and reckoned he could read her like a book. She’d be a leather bound, self-consciously respectable, ostensibly erudite but easy-to-read book, too, like an abridged and bowdlerized translation of Voltaire’s La Pucelle d’Orléans.
“No, no, no, no, no!” Crabbe tutted, nursing his drink until Charlie bought another bottle. “That gal don’t want stuff handed on a plate to her like that, she’s a natural Matryr. She likes the romance of the struggle. Right now she’s getting that struggle from walking out with a two-bit dirt farmer with a face a mother couldn’t love. We gotta swap that out with the struggle of you an’ her having ‘a secret and heart rendin’ connection whilst both being committed to another’, that sorta bull-shit. Now let's get the low-down on this Orr piece.” he instructed.
Arabella came back in then carrying some newly emptied spittoons and gave the two of them a baleful glance.
“Hey, Fort Sumter, c‘mere.” shouted Crabbe. She wanted to ignore them, but she had a weird and irresistible penchant for customers calling her nicknames. It was odd really, but whereas ‘Arabella’ might just get her attention, ‘Muddy’, ‘Reb’, or ‘Virginia’ brought her running. In fact, Caroline once informed her that she’d made a loud and involuntary, almost orgasmic grunt of satisfaction when one old gent summoned her with “Hey you, Bonny Blue Flag! Gimme two fingers o’ redeye!”
“Yes? What you two talkin’ about?” she asked them grumpily, sensing Charlie’s already inebriated condition.
Staring at Crabbe, he nodded, "Yeah, there's others like the one I had to escort at some birthday party...hmm...come to think of it, I think it was hers. Her name was Ana...Anna..."
“Come on think!” encouraged Crabbe “This could be your ace in the hole!”
He frowned again, the girl's name was proving harder to say and remember now that he was well and truly drunk. Then it came him all of sudden, "That's it. Anastasia Orr."
“Oh, you mean Anaesthesia Orr.” Corrected Crabbe, he had heard the name spoken in gushing admiration enough times. He used to think that when he saw women whispering together, they were discussing men. However, since Arabella had started hanging around with Bridget, and he had been forced to listen to the one sided drivel that made up their ‘conversations’, he’d come to realise that women mostly talked to women about other women: I swear Jemima Wigfall’s eyebrows are getting’ thicker every day! And did you see that pimple on her nose?! And say, is Clara Redmond getting fatter or are her big feet just getting smaller? And, Oh, Bridget, you should’a seen Miss Anaesthesia Orr at Church on Sunday, why she looked just like a angel! And so on and so forth ad nauseum.
Happy that he had (sorta) remembered the girl's name, he took another drink in celebration. When he finished off the glass, he shook his head slightly, "I don't know about her though, she was a bit...well you know a bit."
“Yeah, a bit rich, beautiful and accomplished: why she’s just perfect for my little scheme to make your little Clara girl green with envy!” Crabbe fair rubbed his hands together with glee, he was getting caught up in this little bit of social engineering now.
A realisation then hit him, “Sheesh...I gotta get out more. Maybe that’s it. I can make Clara jealous by showing her that are plenty of other girls who would be willingly to take her place.”
“Why suuuure!” Lorenzo’s oily tongue caressed Charlie’s willing ears “Just imagine the look on that little waitress’s face when you waltz into the diner or church or what not with that beautiful doll on your arms. She’ll look at you in a nice suit, nice girlfriend, and then that Klutz bumpkin in his shit stained over-hauls and think ‘time fer a change’!” He chuckled to himself.
He had no expectation that poor Miss Orr, to be used as a mere tool in this romantic intrigue, would actually pique Charlie’s interest. Life didn’t work like that. A feller got a woman’s image in his head, his heart said ‘that’s the one’ and come hell or high water, she’s the one he’d moon about for the rest of his natural life. He drifted off for a second as was back in Bowling Green, around 1861, just before he’d run off to avoid the war; he wondered what had ever become of her.
"All right, if this has anything to do with getting rid of ol' Klutz, then I'll do it," he said in a slightly slurred tone. The whiskey was now starting to affect his speech, "Clara's gotta see that I'm the better man."
Crabbe nodded. He wasn’t exactly sure what he was hoping to get out of this situation, but he had made a living, the last six years of his life, by exploiting other men’s passions, and this young feller had passion in spades. Lorenzo recognised it for the sort of dangerous, jealous, twisted, brooding passion that so often haunts the hearts of men where women are concerned, and knew it would have to be handled with kid gloves to benefit himself any.
“Problem is, he’s ensorcelled her with these here love poems.” Lorenzo slyly took up a theme that Charlie himself had mentioned. “You attack him, she’ll just cleave tighter to the stupid lookin’ bastard.” He’d never seen this Klutz feller, but it didn’t harm to insult him in Charlie’s presence.
“We gotta work on her.” He said, thinking fast. “First of all, we gotta make you a more attractive proposition, er, make her kinda jealous of you, see? Make ol' Clara see you in a better light. Hmmm, you know any girls? I mean, not like Arabella, pretty girls.”
“Crabbe, here!” He called to the man, “It’s loaded so be careful.” He tossed the Army Colt to him. There was something about the man he disliked, but then, there were not a whole lot of men not in uniform that he did like.
“Thanks Mac’” Lorenzo smiled disingenuously. “I’ll try and make myself useful with it.”
When Lorenzo had caught the revolver that the scout threw at him, he’d thought it rum to warn him to be careful! He checked over the weapon, opening up the loading gate to check it was actually going to be of any use to him: as expected MacIntosh had a ‘cowboy load’ of five out of the six chambers to ensure he didn’t accidentally shot himself in the foot. Maybe throwing the weapon to him hadn’t been as dangerous as it seemed.
Hmm, five shots, enough to wipe Mercier off the face of the Earth. He kept the weapon’s hammer over the empty chamber and shoved it in his belt for now, keeping both hands on Greedy’s reins to keep him close to the troopers in this part of the column – they could absorb any Indian bullets that ripped their way.
“They come straight on, not send others around yet!” Ke Ni Tay stated.. The key word being ‘yet.’ Because the chances were that the Indians would try to flank the troopers. The best way would be to get some up high, where MacIntosh and the Apache were, and, they there were enough warriors, send some around. The Troopers would surely be able to halt the first attack.
Crabbe heard the Apache’s sharp eyed report, but it was the leader of the arms traders that he was keeping his eyes on through those thick pebble glasses.
Charlie looked at Crabbe, "You know that's the first thing you've said that I like. Shall we?"
As they walked to the table, Lorenzo chuckled. “Well, that's about the one thing that most fellers can agree on: when women get you sore, you need a good slug of good old licker to anaesthetise the sting!”
After finishing off another glass, Charlie began to pour another and as he did he continued his rant, "You know Crabbe, women who act one way and then another really get my goat. Take Clara for instance, one minute she's like a rock and hard to break, next she's all gone all soft just 'cause some skinny runt starts sprouting flowery words."
“Oh, is that how he got her?” nodded Crabbe “The sneaky bastard.” He was enjoying the booze, but wasn’t keeping up with Charlie’s rate of consumption, no way.
"You know I was willing to wait for her. She's been through a lot with her ma dying and having to take over the responsibility of helping to look after her brother but there was always the chance that she could live a life of her own or at least find out who she really is...now that's all gone for her. Now that she's getting married, she going to have to start having kids while she is still one herself. She's in a sure fire rush to grow up and get old."
The young feller had it all worked out in his mind, that was clear. But that was maybe the problem, in Lorenzo’s experience, thinking about a thing just drove you crazy and nothing actually got done. The exact right moment never came; best just to do a thing now and hope for the best. True, that attitude had landed him in big trouble plenty of times: but that was better than wallowing in doubt about ’what might have been.”
Looking over at Crabbe, "You know what I mean, don't you?"
“Why sure” the slick Lorenzo assured the love sick pup “Your problem is you care too much for this little girl, you did what’s best for her… selfless-like.” He massaged Charlie’s feelings, going with the flow of the lad’s rant. “Meanwhile this Klutz feller sneaks in with his flowery verses and his oversized farm produce and mixes her all up. Made her forget that she’s supposed to be waiting for you to tell her how you feel.” Yes, it was hardly logical, but when alcohol and aching hearts combined, logic was the first thing to fly out the window.
“Still…” Crabbe had adopted a frown of intense concentration, nodding to himself as if the greatest idea in the world had just come to him. “I reckon you might just have one last throw of the dice, if you’re willing to act and not just brood on the matter.”
Most people saw Lorenzo Crabbe as an oily, untrustworthy operator, but he had his creative side, too. He soon decided that taking pictures of dead outlaws, or whoever these fellers were, was a one-dimensional job. Having missed the opportunity of photographing Arabella lying on top of Billy (damn it) he’d done a couple of straight shots of the bodies, and still had a few extra plates with him.
Next, he moved his camera back and got two shots of the crowd gathering round the three stiff and stark forms. He had a feeling that these would be the more interesting compositions, despite – or maybe because – of the inevitable blurring effect of some of the townsfolk’s movements. The bright sunlight meant he didn’t have to open the cap over the lens for as long as usual, so that blurring would be minimised, at least.
Hmmm, last plate. He saw one boy come in close and stare into the face of the youngest corpse, either on a dare or looking for the reflection of his killer (that old wives tale!) and then a quite plain older girl come in and do the same. She even stooped and touched the body, morbid bitch, then got out a hanky and dabbed it to the poor boy’s bullet wounds, as if gathering a relic of a saint!
Crabbe suddenly had a great idea for his last plate.
“All right, let’s have one last shot with all the kids in!” he jubilantly cried, there were certainly enough of them looking on, ranging from a tot of five to the dumpy nineteen year old Jemima Wigfall herself, with her newly sanctified handkerchief. It didn’t take much encouragement to get the youngsters gathered round the corpses and frowning sullenly at the novel camera contraption. Jemima herself, feeling that Crabbe was staring at her through the gun-like camera, crossed her arms defensively. "All right, don't smile, then, y'little bastards." Lorenzo muttered to himself as he opened the cap and the light and dark of the composition streamed into the camera and onto the reactive glass plate.
Oddly, it was the postcard of this print which sold the most, and over a hundred years later featured on the cover of the catalogue of a fancy New York photography exhibition entitled “Death In the West: Funerary photography on the American Frontier 1856-1902” in which the artistry of Lorenzo Crabbe was extoled both in written and visual form and which overall gave the impression of a gentle, sensitive soul far from the grasping conman who lived and breathed this fine day in Kalispell in 1876.
Seeing that there was no more to be said until she had more information and was able to work out a plan, she decided that it was time go. "Well, thank you Mr. Crabbe for enlightening me about Bridget's situation but I must be going, I promised to visit the president of the ladies society and have lunch at her home."
Crabbe stood and holding his hat in his hand gave another little bow, he knew when he was being told to scram, if in the politest of terms. “Must be goin’ myself Mam, but it was such a darlin’ pleasure to meet you today.” He smarmed. To bridget, he gave a curt “Come on you. You’ve eaten all the cake, might as well get you home and brush all them crumbs off of your dress.”
The ginger girl managed to get up off her seat on her one good leg, shoving the penultimate piece of Victoria sponge into her maw with one hand, and grabbing the last piece with the other, a truly spectacular and acrobatic feat.
She turned to Bridget, "It was lovely meeting and I do hope we can get to know each other better."
“MMM MM” replied the girl, through a mouthful of half chewed cake. Crabbe gave them all an ingratiating smile and dragged her off by the arm.
"Mr. Crabbe, am I right in guessing that you are the sole income earner and if this is case, how does Bridget fare when you are at work? Does she go to school?"
Crabbe listened carefully to the questions that Rebecca was asking, as much the tone as the words themselves. This old bat was after something, but what? The last one made him laugh, despite himself.
“School? Well…” he looked at Bridget, who was masticating the cake even as she was still shoving it into her mouth, getting crumbs everywhere, and then turned his magnified eyes back to the proper-looking lady on the other side of the table “… you do realise that the girl is a complete cretin, don’t you? I mean, we only just got her to be able to talk out loud, before that she’d just whisper in people’s ears. It was kinda un-nerving, you know?”
To be honest, that was Charlie Fa and Arabella’s doing, that therapy, he’d have been content for the ginger sponger to keep her trap shut forever.
“Besides, we don’t rightly know how old she is, but I worked out she must be about, ohhh… nineteen years of age or so, she’d kinda stick out in a school room.” He wondered what the hell the teacher and the other kids in the class would make of her. Probably just use the big dummy as a door stop. What had Mrs Wentworth’s other question been? Oh, money and who looked after Bridget. Well, actually the three of them were pretty well set up moneywise and any girl who could survive as a one legged cripple on the streets of Helena didn’t need him to look after her. However, he decided to go with the flow and see where the Wentworth Matriarch was trying to steer this boat to.
“I’m the sole breadwinner, Mrs Wentworth, and I don’t mind telling you it’s been hard this last year, trying to take care of Bridget. Many’s a time I’ve had to go out to find a hard earned crust and had to leave this poor simple minded soul to her own devices. Then sometimes I’d come home and find she’d escaped and gone wanderin’ off, into heavens knows what dangers.” He shook his head sadly “It’s been a worry and a strain, I don’t mind telling you, Ma’m. You know there’s some pretty nasty characters out there in the big wide world’d take advantage of a pretty girl like that, that don’t have much brains.”
Bridget looked at Crabbe with interest, as she always did when he was lying, wondering what he was up to, she also glanced at the person being lied to, sometimes they looked suspicious, sometimes they looked believing, especially if the lie was to their taste.
Seeing that Crabbe was being pleasant, Charlie decided not ask too much about what he did and just stick to being cordial, "It's going fine, other than the fact that I'm looking for Ben as well. It seems we both had the same idea that he could be found here."
Arabella poured Crabbe a beer and insisted on him paying for it there and then, rather than set up a ‘tab’ that would never get paid off. She had learned to do that in her dealings with him early on.
“Hmmm.” Said the bespectacled man, moving back and surveying the youngest scion of the Wentworth family with some interest. “Say, er, Charlie..” he said, venturing to use his new acquaintance’s familiar name, “… you seem like a pretty nicely set up young feller. You ever been in a fight?”
Arabella couldn’t help remembering seeing Charlie’s brother Mike, much to her shock and disgust, giving the young man a knockout punch to the jaw at the barn dance. On the other hand, Charlie had been totally drunk at the time and probably would have had difficulty defending himself against an ant. She carried on with her glass polishing duties, humming a tune, but listened with interest to his reply to Crabbe’s question.
Crabbe watched this bizarre pantomime of the troopers pouring oil on the traders' wagons with as much mystification as if they'd been pouring the flammable stuff on their own heads! "What the Hell are they doin'?" he asked out loud to the troopers he was with in the section who were looking on, idly waiting to be deployed.
As the flames caught, the gun-less, ammunition-less Lorenzo felt a pang, he needed something to kill Mercier with and, almost as an afterthought, defend himself with. He hadn't come this far to be denied. He tore his eyes away from the cavalrymen and their arsonistic antics and scanned the horizon again to see what the gathering Indians were up to.
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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