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Not The Best Day


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Mature Content: Add yes, no, or short info if needed (example: Yes, violence).

With: Pronto, Speed, Santee and, Banister
Location: Lickskillet Diner, Residence In Kalispell.
When: December 23, 1875
Time of Day: Morning on.

 

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Breakfast at the Lickskillet Diner sounded like a good idea, of course, he thought that just about every morning and, cold or not it wasn’t that far up the street that a man couldn’t walk there if he was a mind to. He was dressed for it, and he’d just catch Pronto at breakfast before he started in helping Missus Blakesely.  So out of the office and up the street he went.


The door of the diner was open, so he walked in, taking off his hat and heavy coat, hung them on one hook as the early birds would be close behind him. Emeline Blakesleys cooking was well known to the locals.


“Marshal.” Pronto greeted, “Have a sit.”  He got up went to the stove an poured a cup for Guyer.


“Mornin’ Pronto.” He greeted with a smile, not a grin, but a smile. “Got Case Steelgrave overt the Flathead Valley Sheriff's Office resting up, now that would be something was he to get himself elected County Sheriff, wouldn’t it?” Pronto about dropped his fork at the idea of it. Em appeared and took Speeds order then hurried off to cook it when Guyer leaned forward and said quietly, “like you to be my Deputy come Spring. Think on it.”


Pike just sort of stared at Speed, not knowing what to make of a man that would start out his day fooling a body like that. One thing to josh about a Steelgrave as County Sheriff, quite another to offer him a badge.


Speed leaned back having the look of the cat who ate the canary. “Folks are getting settled in wherever there’s room, and most are helping out any way they can. Proud of this town and how they showed up, and are helping out. I heard Miss Steelgrave rented every vacant room in town, and, get this, opened her accounts at the General Store and Mercantile for them folks too. Damned if that makes any sense, but can’t fault her for doing it.”


“I know’d she was sortta her own woman.” Pike responded, not surprised based on what he’s heard of her recently. And word had reached Pronto that the woman in question wanted to meet with him for a business proposition. The idea of it didn’t sit all that well with him. It smelled like gun trouble in the worst way, and that was something he wanted to fight shy of. Deputy or not. Kalispell was a quiet town for the most part.


“Welp, best git to it, like to have the first dish of the day mine. Easier ta swoller that way.” Pronto said, standing up. “I’ll do thet Marshal, I truly will.” And into the kitchen he went.

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The Day Ain't Over Yet...

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It was the lull that happens most days between breakfast and dinner. Of course, the last couple days saw the lull as a very short break, but on this day the place was all but empty by ten in the morning.

 

It gave Pronto and Em time to have a cup of coffee, it was then that two men entered the diner, two men Pike recognized immediately, they were the Steelgrave woman’s men. They wre looking directly at ham as the approached the table. 

 

“Ma’am.” The one called Bannister said as he removed his hat. The other one removed his hat as well. Neither remover their coats or gloves.

 

“Mister Pike, Miss Leah Steelgrave would like to talk to you.” The one known as Santee informed him. “Ma’am, we’ll have him back before dinner.”

 

“Just a parlay Pike, there’ll be no trouble if that’s what yer thinkin’.” Bannister offered.

 

Pronto looked at his guns hanging on a peg, then to Emeline as calmly as humanly possible.

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          Santee                       Bannister

Tag @Bongo

 

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Emeline didn't recognize the men, but she easily recognized the change in Barnabas' demeanor, and she became wary, although she was able to smile as she rose.  "Would you gentlemen like some coffee?"

 

The 'Steelegrave' name sent a chill through her, she'd never had any direct dealings with them, but there were plenty of tales to cause one to be cautious.  And for Barnabas to go off without his guns...

 

Emeline debated, but the waited for Barnabas, if he took the guns, fine, if he didn't, she would give him a hug on the way out and slip him the derringer that she carried in her apron pocket.  It was only two shots, but if something happened, it was better than nothing.

 

"You should take Miss Steelegrave a peach pie."

 

@Flip

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Pike looked at her a long moment then to Bannister and Santee. "Don't reckon she plans to say much, dinner ain't a hour an' a half away."

 

"I wouldn't know. She just said to fetch you and so here we are." Bannister replied evenly.

 

"Yer coffee ain't gonna be cold afore yer back, an Ma'am, abliged for the offer of the pie, but I'd have to ask Miss Steelgrave afore I bung pie to her." Santee informed both of them. Hell- pardom me , Ma'am you won't be ten minutes."

 

"I understand Pike, know what yer thinkin', but Santee's right. Be ten minutes, fifteen at the most. She said it wasn't to take long at all." Bannister added.

 

Pike got to his feet, they had made no moves that said any different, hands weren't near the guns they wore under their coats, he looked at Emeline and smiled, seeing her hand in the pocket where the derringer was. "Won't be necessary, I won't be gone that long." He went to the hook where his at and hat were. He put them on and walked back to Emeline in his arms and hugged her. "Thanks."

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Tag @Bongo

 

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"Take care."  Looking up at him, Emeline smiled, trying to assure herself that there was no threat, certainly if a Steelegrave meant harm to someone it would not be so blatant, but in the middle of the night, hidden.  "I'll be fine, I've plenty to do, and ample time."  She smiled.  "I'll keep the coffee hot."

 

She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, then headed back to the kitchen, but stopped at the door to turn and watch him leave with the two men.

 

@Flip

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Leah turned to see Pike just inside the doorway of the modest shanty where she was staying. He stood, hat in hand, buffalo coat open, the stained apron hanging about his neck, looking absolutely nothing like the gunfighter he was purported to be. Not like the man she had seen on the street, or in Whitefish.

 

He was the dishwasher at the Lickskillet, and hardly looked as dangerous as Santee and Banister made him out to be. But she trusted their assessment of the man, regardless of the way he looked at that moment.

 

“Mister Pike, I have a proposition for you. It will be legal, well, as legal as possible, there are some details that need to be worked out yet before we can make a full determination on the matter.” She began. “Please, have a seat, I have some coffee if you’d like.”

 

“No Ma’am, I’m fine.” He replied

 

It was like she didn’t quite know how to approach him, yet she did, just be straight with him, Santee had said. “I am aware that Marshal Guyer has hired you as his Deputy come the spring, this should not interfere with that position. I’ll not waste your time as I am sure you are quite important to Emeline Blakesley at the diner. I need men that can enforce some projects I Have.”

 

‘Oh, here we go.’ Pike thought to himself.

 

“Doctor Danforth and I are about to begin plans for, and the construction of a hospital, and, in the future, an orphanage. I’ll need men to protect that from my fathers riders, since it’s being built with his money. Secondly, I have purchased the land, also with his money, that will be chosen for the railroad, and the right of way will be immensely valuable to whoever holds it. That will be for the town of Kalispell, Montana.” She eyed him carefully, wondering if his situation with Missus Blakesley might dissuade him from considering her offer. “You would be working with Misters Banister and Santee, and, I’ll be talking with Marshal Guyer as I have with you today.”

 

He sat there looking at her for an extremely long moment. “A hospital, you say? Followed by an orphanage and the railroad?” He asked in succession.

 

“Yes Mister Pike. As I said, I have these projects.”

 

“You’n Doc Danforth?”

 

“At the moment yes, there will be others.”

 

He got to his feet, “reckon I’ll need time ta think on it.”

 

“Certainly Mister Pike, there’s no rush, as I said, I’ll be talking to Marshal Guyer.”

 

Setting his hat on his head he said, “Ma’am.,” in parting and walked out the door.

 

He made his way up the street around the corner and into the diner. "You prolly ain't gonna believe this."

 

Tag @Bongo

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Emeline jumped as the bell above the door tinkled, announcing that someone had arrived, but when she saw Barnabas, she finally started breathing again.  All the time he'd been away, she'd been telling herself that it would be all right, and she had been realizing that he was a part of her life now, and if something happened to him it would be different...in a bad way.

 

Fortunately, there were no customers at the moment, so she smiled and nodded to the table.  "I'll get us some coffee and you can tell me all about it."

 

@Flip

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Fortunately, there were no customers at the moment, so she smiled and nodded to the table.  "I'll get us some coffee and you can tell me all about it."

 

“Didn’t mean ta scare ya, like I said, wasn’t no trouble,” He apologized. As he hung up his coat and hat on one of the pegs. “Ain’t quite sure what jest happened, she’s down in one of the shanties, visualize thet!

 

He walked over to the table they would use between customers and sat down, waiting on her and the fresh coffee. but had to say...“Her’n Doc Danforth are planning ta build a hospital, an’ foller thet with a orphanage.”

 

Tag @Bongo

 

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Bannister drove the buggy while Santee rode his horse. The streets were fairly chewed up from traffic as folks got out between storms. The sun had a way of breaking out on and off, and that helped in the melting of the snow in the streets.


Brute labor of shoveling off the boardwalks had piled the snow to nearly blocking any visibility out of the windows. But openings had been made at every doorway, some wider than others, allowing access to every shop along Main Street. Bannister stopped the buggy at the Municipal Building for a two fold visit. Her brother, and Marshal Speed Guyer. Case would be first on the list.


She made her way the few steps to and onto the porch, stamping her boots to free them of the snow and mud, she opened the front door and walked inside. Guyer had the front office with the Window facing the street, Case would be in the back office which was for a non-existent County Sheriff so she went directly back and through the office door. Case was in is recuperating in the first cell, of which the door hung wide open.


It had all the trappings of some sort of recovery room. He had a table which held a wash basin, bandages for his head wound and an array of medications, such as aspirin, and liniments. He was sitting up when she walked in.


“Little sister.” He greeted. “Seems to me you’ve got Pa in a tizzy. If it weren’t for the snow and the disaster in Whitefish, the boys’d be out huntin’ you.”


“Really?’ She responded. “And you? Which side would you be on big brother? Daddy’s or mine? Loaded questions I know, but I need to tell you I am taking precautions in the event he actually trys to kill me,”


“Kill you? No, no little sister, he wants you back on the Evergreen, where he says you belong.” Case remarked quite candidly. He smiled, “I wouldn’t expect them to be too genteel with you, nor would I expect that you’d ever be allowed to move about freely.” He let that sink in for a few moments then added, but he shouldn’t expect my help, and neither should you.”


“Like I thought you would be there for me against our father? Ha, well, your town is gone, your outlaw friends are either scattered, or on the Evergreen to do daddy’s bidding. Which I might point out leaves us both subject to his wrath.” Leah pointed out.


Case was speechless at her points. So she concluded the visit with, “I’ve business with Marshal Guyer. Take care of yourself, Case, it’s something you’re really good at.” She turned on a heal and walked out of the office and down the hall.

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"A hospital?  Leah...Steelegrave?"  From what she had heard, none of the Steelegraves had any redeeming qualities, so she couldn't help but wonder what the young woman was up to.  "Well, with the town and territory growing, we certainly could benefit from a hospital, and an orphanage...that would be amazing.  I'd certainly be willing to help any way I can."

 

While Weedy was close enough to being an orphan, there were plenty of children, especially from Whitefish, and while many of them had been distributed to local farms, siblings had been broken up and needed to be together.  Besides, the kids needed to be in town where they could get to school.

 

"And what did she want from you?"

 

@Flip

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