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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

Cause to Celebrate


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Mature Content: No

Author: Jonah 

With: Leah Steelgrave, Jonah Danforth
Location: Hotel Dining
When: Mid July / 1876
Time of Day: Evening

 

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Jonah made good use of his time, and fortunately, Mrs. Tillery's eggs were well-known to the local bakers, so he'd been able to strike a good bargain with the chef at the Belle-St.Regis, so dinner was taken care of, and now there was a good deal of room in his larder for more 'payments' from his patients!

 

Wearing his best suit -- black trousers and frock coat, as well as a gold-brocade waistcoat -- he made his way back to the Belle-St. Regis, where Leah was going to meet him.  He was looking forward to supper, and conversation that would have a positive, optimistic tone to it for a change!

 

@Flip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This was the happiest she had been in quite sometime, perhaps since the moment she had secured the final right of way, and considered what that would mean to the town, and to her plans for the hospital and the orphanage.

 

She dressed in her favorite gown, as this was a special occasion for her, and Jonah as well. Actually, it was a special occasion for Kalispell, a signal it was moving forward as the Territorial county seat. Given to it as the largest town in the county. Montana was laying the groundwork for statehood, with counties, and the required seat for said county. Though she was unaware of counties appointing or electing and county commissioners, or other county designates, other than Sheriffs to serve those counties.

 

Once dressed and ready she stepped out into the evening, as the three men across the street got to their feet and then followed her into town at a respectable distance, and to the hotel where they stopped as she entered. They would sequester themselves across the street. There was no immediate need for them to be inside.

 

"Good evening Jonah. My don't you look dapper this evening?" She observed. "I am famished!" She announced offering her arm.

@Bongo

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"Dapper?" Jonah chuckled, taking her arm as he ushered her inside.  "I suppose for this back-water town, but I have no intention of going anywhere more modern, so this will do!" 

 

He chuckled, then returned the compliment.  "And you are stunning, even if this was St. Louis or Boston, you would turn heads!"

 

They were escorted to a corner table near the front window, and Jonah sat opposite her after holding her chair for her.  "It's going to be nice to have a positive conversation, to be able to move forward and know the future of things!"

 

The whole dynamic could shift now, and they could start talking about the actual logistics.  "You say you have the materials?  Does that mean there are plans as well?"

 

@Flip

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"Flattery, Doctor, will get you anywhere." Leah stated. "I do so like the window seat with the slipping away. The colors are so beautiful this time of day."

 

They were escorted to a corner table near the front window, and Jonah sat opposite her after holding her chair for her.  "It's going to be nice to have a positive conversation, to be able to move forward and know the future of things!"

 

"Oh isn't it ever!" A statement more than a question, "It seems that for so long it's just been one setback after another, but no more. Tomorrow I will wire for the men and materials to come ahead."

 

The whole dynamic could shift now, and they could start talking about the actual logistics.  "You say you have the materials?  Does that mean there are plans as well?"

 

"Oh yes. I have men and materials standing ready, and yes, there are plans for the hospital. Oh my! It has just taken so long to reach this point, I intend to enjoy every single moment of this!" She was beaming as she spoke. "It will take perhaps a couple of weeks for them to arrive, oh wait, they should be in Polson, down at the base of Flathead Lake, so sooner than that."

@Bongo

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"That's good to hear," Jonah agreed with a smile, "you'll be able to get things started well before the bad weather sets in."  He assumed that she knew of builders, and who could clear the land, and...well, now that he thought about it, there were a lot of details to building something as large as a hospital that he'd never even considered before.  Of course, it wasn't his problem, he would be looking at a totally different aspect of the operation.

 

"I'll have to find out how long it's expected to take, so I can figure out when to order equipment."  He sort of had a list of the major equipment, and some of the lesser things, but it was still 'sort of'.  "I'll have to get with Dr. Boone to see what he suggests."  It dawned on him that this was really going to happen, and his headaches were about to start!

 

The waiter came by and Jonah ordered champagne.  "We're celebrating!"  Then he waited for Leah to order what she wanted to eat.

 

@Flip

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Leah actually giggled, "Oh Jonah, let's not get in a panic, I shouldn't think this will be completed for months yet, possibly next June, if everything goes as planned." She said. "Oh, I'm sorry," she said to the waiter, "Perhaps a steak, medium rare, no, just medium will be fine. And whatever comes with it aside from beans." She looked at the young man and smiled.

 

"So, Jonah, here's the problem, the men I that I retained are the best at what they do from clearing the land to the actual construction. My family has used them before and were quite satisfied. They build the Evergreen in a matter of months. But they began at the end of May and finished in early September. We won't have that luxury, I'm afraid."

@Bongo

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"Perhaps Mother Nature will smile on your project and hold off the worst of her wrath for a few weeks?"  It would be hard to have to wait with the project half-done, and he could easily imagine the damage that could be done to the partly-built building just sitting there.

 

"I suppose we'll see, at least get as far into it as possible." 

 

He paused as the waiter returned with champagne, pouring a small amount into a flute for him to taste, and after he nodded approval, two flutes were filled.

 

Once the waiter moved away, Jonah raised his glass, smiling.  "To the Kalispell Hospital and Home for Children, and the continued success!"

 

@Flip

 

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She smiled at the toast, as it reflected her wishes exactly. She raised her glass and took sip. "We have a lot to look forward to. And yes, I too wish that we could have gotten started in the spring as I had hoped, but local politics and a certain amount of greed as well as prejudice have us where we are."

 

A bigger crew of workers might speed things up, something she would look into. If they could get the framing and walls up, and the roof on The rest could either be worked on over the winter months, or wait for spring. That was a good idea, but her knowledge of construction was limited, but she would check.

 

"I'm not sure what has come over Ben Robertson, it seemed like he was the sticking point with Richard Orr. No matter, I'm just thrilled that this is finally coming together, for all of us." She said with a bright smile.

@Bongo

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"I just hope they don't find a way to stop things," Jonah commented, immediately regretting even bringing that up...there was no sense in dredging up negative possibilities while they were celebrating victory.

 

"At least now the worrying will be over progress," he added, "and that will be far more pleasant than the process so far."  There would undoubtedly be set-backs, but at least those would be related more to circumstances and not stupid, petty people!

 

He smiled then, and said off-handedly, "And I understand you want to paint the building pink and orange, so it stands out?"  A means of lightening up the conversation!

 

@Flip

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"At least now the worrying will be over progress," he added, "and that will be far more pleasant than the process so far."  There it was, that feeling that no matter how good things seemed to be going, they could not be sure something or someone, wouldn't upset the apple cart. But rather than fall back into the doubt and fear, she smiled brightly. "Not a Chance, Jonah, not a chance. This will get done tomorrow morning, and we'll get on with it!"

 

She was too happy to allow anything to upset the evening. "At least now the worrying will be over progress," he added, "and that will be far more pleasant than the process so far." 

 

"Yes, but that is to be expected under the best of circumstances." She was aware of delays and such things, and that had to be an accepted part of such an undertaking It was he statement about her choice of colors for the place. "What? Jonah Danforth! Wherever did you get such a notion. It will be stark white as a hospital should be, with perhaps a suitable trim for a pop of color." Then she laughed, she had not even thought of paint.

@Bongo

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There it was, that spontaneous, unrestrained laugh, and Jonah couldn't help but laugh with her.  "I thought it would be rather fashionable, and certainly distinct!"  He took another sip of the champagne, letting the bubbles tickle the inside of his mouth for a second, then asked, "If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?"

 

Of course, it could be argued that she could go anywhere if she chose...she had the money, and there wasn't anything to tie her here, besides the hospital project, but before that...

 

"I'd go to Paris," he mused, "or maybe Constantinople."

 

@Flip

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"Oh. Paris, yes. And Rome perhaps, oh I don't know, Jonah, I'd never really thought of leaving the country. Kalispell, even Montana, yes, I have thought of San Francisco, or New York, even St. Louis or New Orleans. But now? I couldn't think of leaving here now, I mean, even if somehow the hospital situation forced a relocation to Columbia Falls, I couldn't dream of leaving until it's complete." She went from laughing to an earnest woman determined to see her project through.

 

But then she had invested so much of herself in the dreaming and planning for it, leaving, or just the thought of it, was out of the question. But when it was done, then she could do whatever she wanted, go wherever she wanted. That was till a ways off.

@Bongo

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"Of course you wouldn't leave," Jonah commented with a smile.  The question had been rhetorical, an attempt to get her talking about something else, but of course, she was passionate and excited about the hospital project.   Hopefully, it would be all she was imagining, and wouldn't be a let-down once there was no active project to do.  But then, he imagined that Miss Leah Steelgrave would find another passion, if she didn't already have one waiting for its time.

 

"If things go as planned, Kalispell will rival some of those towns, at least as far as it can be, considering that we're quite remote."  But maybe one day they'd have a proper opera house, a library, a school that was more than a small, single-room...

 

"It will grow, no doubt, because of the hospital.  Given a choice, people will want to live close to a hospital."  He chuckled and shrugged.  "You'd think the town council would be drooling over the potential taxes."

 

@Flip

 

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"Oh lord!" She exclaimed, "I hadn't thought of the tax money that would be available and maybe that is the plan, although who builds the thing is not who'll be tax liable. Hmm, food for thought as I'm sure Robertson has thought of the tax revenue that would be possible, not that there's a lot of taxation in Kalispell.

 

"Land tax is almost non-existent. The big ranches don't pay anything that I'm aware of, and businesses, not all that much, some kind of sliding scale based on annual profits." She smiled. "You know, no matter how they will assess taxation on the hospital, it won't be a great deal, but to the town, it will be a boon!"

@Bongo

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"There will still be new businesses to support the hospital, new residents."  Grinning, Jonah shrugged.  "Politicians will find all manner of ways to raise revenue, and they are quite creative in that."

 

The food arrived and he thanked the waitress, then smiled.  "It smells good!"  Better than most of his daily fare, but then, his 'daily fare' was no different from most people, and it made a treat like this all the better!

 

"Regardless, the more 'civilized' institutions we have in the territory, the better the chances at statehood, so projects like this can only be beneficial."

 

@Flip

 

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"Exactly what Governor Houser said when I was i Helena last winter working towards this. And you are correct, the hospital will bring in new businesses and new homes. It will bring people, doctors, nurses, dare I say a higher class of citizens without sounding uppity about it. But Jonah, it is true." she replied as she looked over her supper appreciatively the smells of the food wafting up to tantalize her senses.

 

"You know, they say we eat with our eyes first, I'm thinking the noses come in a close second." She explained, "This is such a treat. I cannot wait for tomorrow and the end of this bickering over progress, and who gets to make it. The town can't afford to build it, and it it's not the Steelgrave's or the Thornton's to do it, then all of the work withers on the vine and Kalispell get nothing. Maybe that's how the Orr's and the Robertson's want it." Then she smiled. "But, that's not going to happen this time."

@Bongo

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"They have taken on a formidable opponent," Jonah observed, "and, because of your fair sex, I believe they have underestimated you, but that is their downfall."

 

So often, men tended to judge someone 'beneath' them, be it because of gender, race, social status, and think that they are incapable of doing anything well.  And that was a huge advantage for Leah, and even better, she knew that and embraced it.

 

He took a bite of the steak and smiled.  "For a back-water town, they surely know how to make a good steak!"  At least the evening was well-worth it, the food was an amazing treat, and the company even moreso!

 

"I think there are good things ahead for Kalispell, so long as it is managed properly."  Not that he was interested in managing anything!

 

@Flip

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Leah smiled at the idea of Kalispell being managed properly, not that with the right men was that not possible, but so far, at least in her estimation, the wrong people were at the helm, and heading for the rocks. "Perhaps, Jonah. perhaps. We'll have to wait and see. So far I'm not sure we'll get the right people in a position of authority to make good things possible for Kalispell, as much as I would like to see that happen. But things change, people change. All things are actually possible."

 

Yet to her all things meant good and bad, and even though the pendulum needed to swing in a different direction, she worried that it would be more of the same. "And yes, good things are on Kalispell's horizon, if only it could be let through. Perhaps that is in the future, even the immediate future, what with the railroad coming. That will be a great day for this town."
@Bongo

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Railroad, civilization, prim ladies forming society...as much as Leah was excited for Kalispell to grow, eventually it would be too big for Jonah and he'd have to move on.  Fortunately, that was a few years off, and maybe he'd feel differently by then...maybe circumstances will have changed by then.

 

"The railroad would certainly make getting equipment here more efficient," he commented, "as much as Miss Chappel is reliable, it takes much longer to have things shipped to Helena, then hauled in here.  Some of the equipment is rather delicate, and bouncing over these roads doesn't do it any good!"

 

Not to mention, if he ever had to go anywhere, he'd much rather take a train than a stage!

 

"I'm surprised those heathens on the town council aren't opposing the train, unless they happen to own  some coincidentally placed land."

 

@Flip

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Posted (edited)

The railroad would certainly make getting equipment here more efficient," he commented, "as much as Miss Chappel is reliable, it takes much longer to have things shipped to Helena, then hauled in here.  Some of the equipment is rather delicate, and bouncing over these roads doesn't do it any good!"

 

Not to mention, if he ever had to go anywhere, he'd much rather take a train than a stage!

 

"Yes, that's true, and I'm afraid that for the foreseeable future that is how everything will arrive, jostled and bounced in the back of wagons. I'm afraid that the railroad is a ways off yet." Leah explained, suddenly realizing that it may be some time before the actual rails would be laid, but it would be coming through Kalispell in the near future, and the town had the right of ways, which she had mistakenly give to Judge Robertson

 

"I'm surprised those heathens on the town council aren't opposing the train, unless they happen to own  some coincidentally placed land."

 

"I can imagine, Jonah, that they are frothing to get there hands on the prime locations, and then, perhaps not. A station will be constructed which I'm told will house a warehouse for goods coming and going aside from the ticket office and waiting room." She said. "I want the hospital a ways from it and the noise it will bring." It was clear to her that the arrival of the rails would expand the town.

@Bongo

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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"You are right on that, sick people have enough to deal with, they don't need all the noise and commotion."  Jonah grinned.  "And neither do I, not to mention the stress all the vibration would put on the equipment." 

 

Those were things that people didn't think about, until it was a done deal and too late to change.

 

"Do you know where they are planning to run the tracks?"  Or was that just speculation at this point?  There were so many politics involved, and land speculation, so people might try to make a good guess and buy up the property so they could sell it to the railroad at an outrageous profit. 

 

"Just our luck they'd decide to run it by the hospital, even if you put it in the middle of a river in a narrow canyon!"

 

@Flip

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No, no that is already laid out, surveyed sometime back they'll be out again, but the route is laid already. And, they wanted Kalispell as a stop, a regular stop, not just for passengers on or off, but for all manner of supplies.There is a plan for Kalispell to feed those supplies to the entire area." She explained. "Columbia Falls is out of the way, the road will head north after leaving town here and then west, although, there was talk of blasting though the mountains."

 

"Now, the plan for the hospital will be east of town proper for that very reason. I have spent a good deal of time looking since we did. East is open and a good place for it and the orphanage. Far enough  from town to help muffle the noise of the trains, which is what will wok the best. I did mean to get you to go with me, but I understood you were busy, and, you were involved with Miss Aoife Leane, I believe she was your nurse, and I didn't want to intrude."
@Bongo

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"I hired the young woman, yes," Jonah defended, "but that was the only involvement."  He wasn't really sure why he wanted to make that clear.  "She was a good worker, knowledgeable, it was a pity to lose her."  Not only losing her as a worker, but now, with a vacancy for a nurse, he was afraid that one Jemima Wigfall would get wind and want to 'help'.

 

"I'm sure you put in considerations in the location that I wouldn't have even thought about."  He grinned.  "I would have been smart enough not to put it in the middle of town, or next to the 'gentleman's club', otherwise, I would have just plopped it anywhere!"

 

Another advantage on the east side, was that it was closer to his home, so he wouldn't have so far to travel if he was called out in the middle of the night, but that was a ways off.

 

"Maybe tomorrow, after the deal is sealed, we should wire Dr. Boone and give him the news?"  Certainly, the man would be elated!

 

@Flip

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"A splendid thought! I'm sure he'll be glad to know about the progress. I only wish we could have him here, working with us." She paused, "But we'll get a staff you can count on, I'm sure of that. Nurses, other physicians. And locals that need employment in a range of positions. That will be costly, but I've prepared for that eventuality."

 

She smiled across at him, "Now, perhaps we'll find you another nurse as competent as she was, and another doctor as good as Josiah is, if he can't always be on hand here, what with his practice in Columbia Falls. Don't you think?"

@Bongo

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  • 2 weeks later...

"I'd be happy for any help right now.  Mrs. Tillery does a good job keeping the clinic clean, and she's an amazing cook, but yes, a good nurse would take off some of the burden." 

 

He savored another bite of steak, then commented, "I'd love to lure Dr. Boone back, but even so, he's...well..." how to put it delicately? "of an age that he'll be wanting to slow down.  And besides, new blood will be helpful.  It's probably a good idea to start thinking about that sooner than later, so that those arrangements are in place before the building is ready."

 

Yes, there was a lot of planning still ahead, and Jonah didn't want to be caught behind, but there was no good way to not jump the gun and start the internal logistics too soon...

 

"I'm afraid I don't have much good experience with planning this sort of thing.  I suppose I'll have to learn."  If he didn't get spooked and light out before the hospital was done.

 

@Flip

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