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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.

Night Whispers


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Posted (edited)

Mature Content: No, surely not! (Well, maybe...)

Author: Arabella Sumter Mudd, Miss, Spinster of this Parish.

With: Caroline Mundee
Location: Caroline's Room, Star Dust Saloon.
When: Summer1876, the night of Horace Potee's Downfall.
Time of Day: 1am in the Morning

 

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Arabella's big, bony feet were ideal for creeping along the creaking floorboards of the Stardust Saloon's upper level, and she knew just the right way to pull and twist on Caroline's door knob to get it to open quietly. Had it been locked: a precaution she herself had taken ever since Fortner had taken over, if truth be known, she would have had to have resorted to the hair pin. The blonde probably didn't know she was even there until the springs creaked as she got into bed with her.

 

"Wake up, I need to talk to you." she whispered urgently. "I need to talk to you about tonight."

 

Caroline didn't like her sneaking into bed with her, and since Brendan had been on the scene it hadn't been an option anyway, but tonight was about more than just comfort, she needed a serious pow-wow.

 

"Listen, I seen what happened tonight, I seen how that rat Fortner made you help him cheat Mr Potee out of his farm, and well, this time it was you what was forced to do a rotten thing, and next time it might be me.  Well, I been thinking... I been thinking for a awful long time Cara', and I got a plan, see? I just need to run it by you and see what you think of it and then we can go to sleep, yeah?"

 

"... or have a cuddle. Just like old times." she couldn't help adding. 

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Caroline started to come to with the movement of the matress but the voice which followed did the rest. It was Arabella, she had climbed right into bed as she did so often. In this heat Caroline only had one thin sheet over her but was otherwise naked.

 

"Wake up, I need to talk to you." the girl whispered urgently. "I need to talk to you about tonight."

 

"I'm awake, hon.............now," Caroline softly replied turning under the sheet to face Ara.

 

"Listen, I seen what happened tonight, I seen how that rat Fortner made you help him cheat Mr Potee out of his farm, and well, this time it was you what was forced to do a rotten thing, and next time it might be me.  Well, I been thinking... I been thinking for a awful long time Cara', and I got a plan, see? I just need to run it by you and see what you think of it and then we can go to sleep, yeah?"

 

Well, that much was a relief, Caroline had been half worrying the girl would be furious with her for her part in it. At least she understood how it  had been.  Maybe she really was growing up finally.  Part of that maturity was knowing the world wasn't black and white but a whole shit load of gray!

 

"Oh yeah, well, I'm listenin' hon," Caroline softly smiled.

 

"... or have a cuddle. Just like old times."

 

"Nope, I was drunk that time, I'm not now though a part of me wishes I was after what went down," Caroline sighed, "Besides you have yer little Jew girl and, don't get me wrong, I'm glad you do. I want you to be happy."

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"Wake up, I need to talk to you." the girl whispered urgently. "I need to talk to you about tonight."

 

She gave the other girl a poke in the side "Oooh, you're all nudie! Anyway, wake up." Arabella, of course, was dressed for bed in about ten layers of nightgowns and the same black wooly, over darned stockings she'd been wearing all day.

 

"I'm awake, hon.............now," Caroline softly replied turning under the sheet to face Ara.

 

The Clinch Mountain girl told her partner what she was here for.

 

"Oh yeah, well, I'm listenin' hon," Caroline softly smiled.

 

"... or have a cuddle. Just like old times."

 

"Nope, I was drunk that time, I'm not now though a part of me wishes I was after what went down," Caroline sighed, "Besides you have yer little Jew girl and, don't get me wrong, I'm glad you do. I want you to be happy."

 

"Well, I ain't happy at the moment workin' here, that's for sure, and I reckon we need some insurance in case things get worse. Who knows what that varmint's going to get us caught up in next with his dirty tricks and his spilled coffee and his pencil thin moustache. Anyway, what I'm saying is: we need a tow hole in the outside world." She meant toe-hold, presumably. 

 

"So... you still awake?... so, I'm gonna quit tomorrow. I'll come back and work nights pumpin' the piana for ya, but I'm gonna work fer Mr Jolly in the days and live with Bridget. Oh also, Mr McGregor wants me to give piana lesson to his daughter, Dear Little Ruth. Also, we'll teach Frances your whole load of songs you sing, just in case she needs to cover again, like when I had brain fever that time, remember?" She had been explaining this while absent-mindedly stroking Caroline's fine strands of golden hair. 

 

"Anyway, this way, if we need to quit, we'll have somewhere to go and something to live on, so we can afford to stand up to Fortner if'n he starts, you know, pushin' our buttons!" She illustrated this idea by pushing a couple of Caroline's buttons. It was pretty clever of her to find them in the dark. 

 

"Whatdya think?" she asked "If we say Ms Devereau had already agreed with it before she went, do you think Ralph would tell him the truth?"

 

@Wayfarer

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Seemed like Arabella was full of schemes this night. Caroline would hear her out, not like she had much choice at the moment.

 

"Well, I ain't happy at the moment workin' here, that's for sure, and I reckon we need some insurance in case things get worse. Who knows what that varmint's going to get us caught up in next with his dirty tricks and his spilled coffee and his pencil thin moustache. Anyway, what I'm saying is: we need a tow hole in the outside world."

 

Caroline wasn't really following, though she couldn't help but agree with much of it. Neither of them liked what had gone on with Poteet. She let the girl continue.

 

"So, you still awake?"

 

"Course I am, I'm just listenin' to you right now," Caroline frowned.

 

"so, I'm gonna quit tomorrow. I'll come back and work nights pumpin' the piana for ya, but I'm gonna work fer Mr Jolly in the days and live with Bridget. Oh also, Mr McGregor wants me to give piana lesson to his daughter, Dear Little Ruth. Also, we'll teach Frances your whole load of songs you sing, just in case she needs to cover again, like when I had brain fever that time, remember?"

 

"How can I ever forget? Wait was that the first time or the second?" Caroline was being sarcastic there.

 

"I don't know...what if Fortner won't let you come back on yer own terms? Live with Bridget? You serious?" Caroline wasn't sure she liked this plan. Ara wasn't done yet though.

 

"Anyway, this way, if we need to quit, we'll have somewhere to go and something to live on, so we can afford to stand up to Fortner if'n he starts, you know, pushin' our buttons!"  

 

Arabella, being Arabella, then poked the saloon girl's tits which drew a quick slap, "Told ya, we ain't doin' that sort of thing no more."

 

"Whatdya think?" she asked "If we say Ms Devereau had already agreed with it before she went, do you think Ralph would tell him the truth?"

 

"I don't know, hon. I'm not quite sure what Ralph thinks about our new boss. But we can be sure, Ralph is one of us. I trust him. I think though you better be careful how you tell this to Fortner. Besides, you might be walkin' out on a raise in pay. He told me that today. It's a bribe of course. He seems ta think I'm the kinda woman to take bribes. I don't think he understands me," Caroline now shared her views.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Arabella filled Caroline in on her cunning plan. "...Also, we'll teach Frances your whole load of songs you sing, just in case she needs to cover again, like when I had brain fever that time, remember?"

 

"How can I ever forget? Wait was that the first time or the second?" Caroline was being sarcastic there.

 

"Fifth." replied Arabella, squarely. "I used to get it sometimes when I was a young'un. My Mama said I was just puttin' it on to get out o' chores. Mind yer, she said that about our neighbor when he fell in his threshin' machine, steppin' too near the horse-power, and got all mangled to death. Lord, they coulda buried that boy in four different counties he was so pulled to bits. An my Mama she just says 'oh that Wills boy'd do 'bout anything to get out of work!'" Arabella chuckled "Oh, she was a funny 'un, my Mama. You remind me of her. She was very beautiful, like a angel, with lovely golden hair, even when she was dying she looked just so pretty. Pity I inherited the Mudd looks."

 

She was going off tangent, but a sleep-interrupted Caroline brought it back on track. 

 

"I don't know...what if Fortner won't let you come back on yer own terms? Live with Bridget? You serious?" Caroline wasn't sure she liked this plan. Ara wasn't done yet though.

 

"Oh, well, we'll just tell him it's a fait accompli, that's like a 'done deal', Mr Pettigrew taugh me that. You noticed how refined I done become since I been hangin' around with that old boy?" Arabella rabbited on. "Anyway, this way, if we need to quit, we'll have somewhere to go and something to live on, so we can afford to stand up to Fortner if'n he starts, you know, pushin' our buttons!"  

 

Arabella, being Arabella, then poked the saloon girl's tits which drew a quick slap, "Told ya, we ain't doin' that sort of thing no more."

 

Arabella pouted in the dark, forgetting Caroline couldn't see her. 

 

"Whatdya think?" she asked "If we say Ms Devereau had already agreed with it before she went, do you think Ralph would tell him the truth?"

 

"I don't know, hon. I'm not quite sure what Ralph thinks about our new boss."

 

"Who knows what Ralph thinks about anything?" wondered Ara out loud "He's a 'nigma. Don't you think he's kinda mysterious? When I watch him standin' there polishin' the glasses, I always think he looks like he's ponderin' the mysteries of the Universe, or reminiscing about some long lost love affair. In fact, he's probably just thinkin' 'Mmmm, that's a nice clean glass!'" She actually stopped talking for a second and then said "Y'know Cara, if I was a girl, I'd probably fall in love with Mr. Ralph Flandy. But as things stand, he's more like my sorta stand-in Pappy."

 

"But we can be sure, Ralph is one of us. I trust him. I think though you better be careful how you tell this to Fortner. Besides, you might be walkin' out on a raise in pay. He told me that today. It's a bribe of course. He seems ta think I'm the kinda woman to take bribes. I don't think he understands me," Caroline now shared her views.

 

"Well, I guess he just judges others by his own yardstick. That varmint'd sell his own Grandmother up the Swannee for a dime. Forty shekels, Cara, Forty shekels!! 'For the love of money is the root of all of evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.' First book of Timothy, Chapter six, verse one." Arabella always got a bit biblical if she was allowed to stay up too late. 

 

But then her gadfly mind flitted back to a previous topic as she yawned and snuggled up to her friend as if settling down for the night.

 

"Did you ever consider falling in love with Mr Flandry?"

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Five brain fevers? That girl was just plain crazy. Or a liar because those bouts of fever always seemed to quite conveniently coincide when she had done something getting people (OK, most Caroline) angry with her.  But the saloon girl was not going to bring that up, she didn't want to argue.

 

Ralph now came up amongst all this scheming and planning. The two ladies actually agreed on their assessment the man was quite the mystery.  He had always been tight lipped, not much of a conversationalist at all except with the most mundane exchanges with customers buying drinks from him at the bar. He wasn't mean though - least not to the women working the saloon. And you could just simply count on him to come to one's rescue with a surly or drunken customer and woe be to that poor jasper. He had even surprised though when he did not go with Matilda when she sold the joint and headed for California. She had never thought the two had been romantic though but certainly good partners in the running of the saloon. Still Caroline was definitely happy when he chose to stay.

 

Eh, the girl was quoting Bible verses...at least Caroline was pretty sure they were, not like she read the thing. Ara could make up pretty much anything on the fly and she wouldn't know.

 

"Did you ever consider falling in love with Mr Flandry?" Ara suddenly asked out of the blue.

 

"Where'd that come from? No, I never did. We work together, we've become friends. Besides you know I don't fall in love with anybody anyhow. Fallin'in love and bein' a saloon girl are a bad mix. I've never wanted to get married and certainly not be a mother, I'd be shit at it," Caroline answered. Not that she physically could ever have a baby but she wasn't admitting that secret to of all people Arabella. Might as well put it in the town paper.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

"Did you ever consider falling in love with Mr Flandry?" Ara suddenly asked out of the blue.

 

"Where'd that come from? No, I never did. We work together, we've become friends. Besides you know I don't fall in love with anybody anyhow."

 

"Well you don't know what you're missin'!" Arabella chided. "Oh, Cara, it's the most wonderful, awful feelin' in the world! I wish I could fall in love with lots of folks but, course, y'gotta be true to one. Maybe I should become one o' them Mormons, then I could fall in love with hundreds of different people. Course, they'd all have to just be in love with me." she considered. 

 

"Fallin'in love and bein' a saloon girl are a bad mix. I've never wanted to get married and certainly not be a mother, I'd be shit at it," Caroline answered. Not that she physically could ever have a baby but she wasn't admitting that secret to of all people Arabella. Might as well put it in the town paper.

 

"Aw, you'd make a good Mammy. You'd be [yawn] good at singin' the baby to sleep. Might have to change the words of some o' your songs, o' course. And you couldn't stay in bed all day. But ... well, I'd like you to be my Mammy. And.... and" she yawned widely again and started talking nonsense (even for her) always a sign she was about to nod off "... the cuckoo, it's a pretty bird.... flies..." and she was gone, her head resting on Caroline's naked breast and snoring her head off.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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