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Do the Right Thing


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Mature Content: No

With: Marshal Guyer
Location: Marshal's Office
When: Early April 1875
Time of Day: Morning

 

content-divider.png

 

 

Excuses were easy to come by, and Addy had scores of them, but courage was something else, and it had taken some time for her to finally do what was right, even if it meant consequences that she didn't want to face.  But she'd lingered long enough, too long, and there were no more excuses.

 

Taking a breath, she stepped into the Marshal's office, having spiffed herself up with a wool skirt, and a real ladies shirtwaist, she had her hair in a neat braid and had left her slouch hat at home...this was business, and she wanted to look...business-y.

 

"Mornin', Marshal, sir."  She smiled and nodded to Speed...a good man, she knew he'd have the right answers.  "Might I have a moment of yer time?"

 

 

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Quickly sliding his boots off the desktop, and sitting up straight, he said; “Addy, hello. Been a spell. Come in, have a seat. Got coffee on if you’d like a cup.” She was dressed far differently than normal, and her trademark slouch hat was missing. Something was up.

 

Though out of the ordinary, a visit from Addy could hardly be construed as cause for alarm, and the way she was dressed said something else entirely to Speed, who had been thinking of other problems he knew were headed his way. “So, what can I do for you?”

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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They were friends, and had been for some time, and Speed's easy manner reminded her of that...he would help her and give her good council, and hopefully not bite her head off for lingering on the matter.

 

"Coffee'd be good, thanks."  She gave him a nod as she flopped into a chair, then dug in her pocket and pulled out the telegram, dated December 24, 1874, and handed it to him.

 

"Seems like that Weedy's Ma was in Whitefish durin' th' storm," Addy explained, "not exactly sure what happened, but I couldn't tell him on Christmas..."  Surely, Speed would understand that.  "Been meanin' ta tell him, meanin' ta come ta you, but there was always somethin'..."

 

Shaking her head, she shrugged, then looked Speed in the eye.  "He's a good boy, happy here, he quit askin' on his ma a time ago...I was afraid...I'm afraid he'll be shipped off ta some home, alone, with no one ta see after him.  He's happy here, got lots'a friends -- you, too, right?  People been lookin' after him most all his life anyway, an' he'll pine in an orphanage..."

 

Well, there it was, she laid out her argument, although she wasn't even sure what sort of legal say Speed had on any of it.

 

(Telegram:

Miss Adelaide Chappel, Millegan Stage Co. Kalispell, Mt

 

Miss Chappel,

 Regarding Porter James, it has come to our attention that you sometimes care for the boy.  If you know his whereabouts, please contact local authorities regarding his disposition following the tragic death of his mother, Mrs. Chloe Porter, in Whitefish, Mt this week past.)

 

@Flip

 

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Speed listened as she explained her visit, as that’s what friends do, and as she spoke he pondered the problem at hand, it was not just about her or Weedy it was about this town, his town, her town, Weedy’s town. The boy was a part of Kalispell.

 

“Best we get a hold of Miss Mercer and see if we can’t toss a wrench in this. Ain’t no way I can see Weedy being uprooted much less put in an orphanage!” He said. “ If you’d like we can go hunt her up right now. I afraid it’ll take a lawyer to keep that boy here.” Then he smiled. “‘course, you’ve done what was asked, you have contacted, what was it? Oh, the authorities. That would be me. Shame about Chloe.”

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Addy's nose wrinkled up, she wasn't too keen on lawyers, even if it was someone as nice and good as Harriet, but she had already reckoned that was going to have to be done. 

 

"Woman didn't deserve ta die," she agreed, but then shrugged.  "But truth be said, I allow as how it's better fer Weedy she's sure an' gone, not just...not there but there?"  Certainly, Speed would know what she was talking about.  Chloe was more often than not drunk or occupied with a man, so that even when she was in town, Weedy avoided her.  It was sad, and un-Christain, but Addy was relieved that that was over with and the boy could go on with his life.

 

"I know that don't make me a good person, but..."

 

@Flip

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“There is no but, Addy. Like it or not, you are a good woman, and a good person.” Speed interrupted. “That boy ain’t your concern, but you took him in anyway. Now why on earth would you do such a thing? I mean, what’s in it for you? There’s a church in town that could have provided care for Weedy, but no, you took on that responsibility.”

 

“No one in the Whitefish disaster deserved to die. Not a one, but the fire and the storm didn’t take that into account. Both did what they do and the results were terrible, plain and simple.” Speed explained. “I guess what I want to get a handle on is why you got a telegram and no one else has come to me with one like that.”  He considered that aspect a moment.

 

“Perhaps there’s a Mister Porter? Or other family around?”

 

Tag @Bongo

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Addy's frown deepened as she felt her chest tighten at the suggestion that there might be a father somewhere.  Of course, she'd considered it, for a few seconds, but had then dismissed it.

 

"Don't know what become of his pa, nor even if his mother is certain who it was.  She told th' boy he was killed by Injuns, but I don't know the truth of that, nor his name, nor if her name was his..."

 

Maybe there was a man, somewhere, but how would they ever find him, and what were the chances he was alive, and what were the chances that Addy wouldn't just take Weedy and move to Mexico?

 

"I hate this," she muttered, "it ain't fair..."  Although she didn't specify if it wasn't fair to Weedy, her, or both.

 

@Flip

 

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“I’d figure if anyone would Weedy’s family history n town it would be you. But, having said that, where was Weedy born? Do you have any idea?” Speed quizzed. “And who is that telegram from? The very first thing I want to know is, what is their authority, and secondly, why is that the only such telegram that’s been received.”

 

Without a name and their authority attached it was just a meaningless document. How was anyone supposed to get back to whomever sent it in the first place.

 

“You don’t worry about a thing, Addy, you’ve done what was asked by reporting to me. Now I’m going to hunt down the telegrams sending. There should be a record. Then I am going to see Harriet Mercer about the options that we have in this. No reason for you to go with me, but know you’re welcome to if you want. Let’s get to the bottom of this!”

 

Tag @Bongo

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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"I never did see th' need ta ask questions...didn't think I should make Weedy dwell on it, an' never did talk much ta Miz Chloe."  She shrugged.  "Boy showed up one day, dirty an' scrawny, started helpin' with th' chores without me askin'...I started feedin' him, then got him clean clothes...was near a month before we really even talked."

 

She wished now that she knew more, but then, maybe the boy did?

 

"Reckon th' man at th' telegraph office'd know who sent that?  An' then I reckon we should find Weedy."  Boy might not be her own flesh and blood, but she'd fight tooth-and-nail for him.

 

@Flip

 

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"Well then, let's go see the man and find out who sent this. Odd the name and how to contact them, or him, or her is missing." Speed advised. "We'll get to the bottom of this, and then we'll know who we're dealing with and what our options are."

 

The telegraph office was not far and the operator was a friendly sort, so he saw no problems finding out who had sent the telegram. Then he could find out why. The telegrapher should have a book with records of all in coming and out going telegrams, meaning it should be simply enough to get the name they were after.

 

"Don't you worry Addy, we'll make sure young Weedy stays right here in Kalispell." Speed promised.

 

Tag @Bongo

 

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Addy nodded, smiling slightly, glad that she had Speed on her side...he'd do whatever he could for the boy.

 

At the telegraph office, the man there told them he hadn't been on shift when that telegraph came through, but there was a record in the books.

 

"Looks like there were several telegrams sent at once, from..." he ran his finger down the list, then nodded, "Silas Grimm, he's an undertaker from Helena who came out to sort the mess in Whitefish."  He looked at the pair.  "Guess the name was left off because there were so many.  Anything else I can do for you folks?  I could wire him for more information."

 

@Flip

 

 

 

 

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Speed ;looked at him, then to Addy and back. "You do that, and you put my name to it. No need of a message to go with the request, just need to find out what an undertaker's concerning himself with a boy whose care for."

 

He looked to Addy, first we'll see what this fella wants with this knowledge. Like to see all of those telegrams, but I got no legal right, at the moment. Provided there's copies."

 

There was something not right about the request to start with. He wasn't sure he liked a man from Helena getting involved with Kalispell business. "You ever hear of this Silas Grimm?"

 

Tag @Bongo

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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"Never heard of him before now," the man answered with a shrug, "but never been to Helena.  I suppose the officials sent in someone to sort all the carnage out?"  From what he had heard, there had been dozens of dead, something that would attract the state officials.  "Many of the survivors were brought here, so it makes sense they'd be sending notifications here."

 

Addy nodded.  That made sense, but then, she wasn't sure how those things went.

 

"I'll do what I can to find out about the other telegrams," the man added, "should take an hour or so." 

 

@Flip

 

 

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Speed smiled, “We appreciate that, sir. You needn’t bother trying to find me, I’ll stop by in couple of days and see what you’ve found out. Odd that a man unknown in this community would be requesting information regarding citizen of both Whitefish and seemingly Kalispell as well. And to know at least one child by name. "Well, thanks again.” He looked to Addy, “Well, shall we?”

 

This Grimm fellow, whoever he might be, didn’t sit well with him. There appeared to be a plan of some sort afoot. An undertaker interested in survivors now that just didn’t ring true, unless there was an ulterior motive which could be just about anything from his representing an orphanage, to supplying a child work force, that is if it was children he was after. He didn't like this one bit!

 

Tag @Bongo

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With no specific answers, Addy nodded and followed after Speed, perplexed, but at least thinking that the longer there was a mystery to this, Weedy was safe.  "Seems like that if they could find his pa, they would'a sent th' telegram ta him, doncha think?  What's th' laws on that?  I mean, if he ain't got kin, he can stay with me, right?"

 

It wasn't as if she didn't have the means, and she'd been essentially looking after him for at least a couple years, making sure he had what he needed and went to school.

 

"I might just..."  Well, better not to say that aloud!

 

@Flip

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 With no specific answers, Addy nodded and followed after Speed, perplexed, but at least thinking that the longer there was a mystery to this, Weedy was safe.  "Seems like that if they could find his pa, they would'a sent th' telegram ta him, doncha think?  What's th' laws on that?  I mean, if he ain't got kin, he can stay with me, right?"


“I’m no lawyer, Addy, I wouldn’t know about that. What I do know is no undertaker from anywhere is going to come into my town to take anyone!” Speed declared. “Maybe we need to seek out Miss Harriet Mercer on this, but we’ve heard nothing more since the first telegram, so I don’t know.”
 

It wasn't as if she didn't have the means, and she'd been essentially looking after him for at least a couple years, making sure he had what he needed and went to school.

 

"I might just..."  Well, better not to say that aloud!


“Might just what, Addy? What? Run off with him? Make yourself a criminal?” Speed asked. “Listen Miss Mercer can help with this, we just need to give her a chance. Then you'd lose him for sure! And like I said, we’ve heard nothing more from this Silas Grimm, so let’s give the law a chance to work before anybody does anything rash.”

 

@Bongo

 

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"They'd hafta find us first," she grumbled, surprised but not that he knew what she was going to say.  "I'll give yer way a chance, an' I reckon if anyone could untangle this, it'd be Miz Mercer.  Ought we ta find her now, get this started?"  Then she'd have to find Weedy and finally talk to him, although she suspected he suspected, how could he not, what with his mother gone so long this time?

 

"Not lookin' forward ta talkin' ta Weedy, but best get that done before he hears from someone else."  Wouldn't take long for word to spread, and even though there might not be any malicious intent, someone might ask him questions that would be awkward, especially if he hadn't been told.

 

@Flip

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 "They'd hafta find us first," she grumbled, surprised but not that he knew what she was going to say.  "I'll give yer way a chance, an' I reckon if anyone could untangle this, it'd be Miz Mercer.  Ought we ta find her now, get this started?"  Then she'd have to find Weedy and finally talk to him, although she suspected he suspected, how could he not, what with his mother gone so long this time?


“You know the law would be after you, and I know you, this isn’t you, kidnapping. Thanks for giving me a chance to straighten this out before it gets even crazier.” Speed said, though she looked and sounded determined, and he had no illusion that she would not follow through.
 

"Not lookin' forward ta talkin' ta Weedy, but best get that done before he hears from someone else."  Wouldn't take long for word to spread, and even though there might not be any malicious intent, someone might ask him questions that would be awkward, especially if he hadn't been told.

 

“Do you want me to give it a try? We seem to get along, him and me.” It was going to be difficult, no matter who was the one to tell him. Even if the boy had an inkling that his mother was gone. “I could go with you, if you’d like.”

 

@Bongo

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"Law might try ta find us,  but good luck with that!" Addy declared, grinning, although it was with a mixture of determination and teasing, "although if anyone could do it, it'd be you."  She surely didn't want him tracking her to Mexico, or Canada...

 

Then he offered to talk to Weedy and she shook her head.  "Needs ta be me tells him, but I surely would appreciate ya bein' there."  She nodded as she headed toward the barn.  "I've a mind not ta give him th' telegram, though, just yet...maybe when he's older."  Sighing, she slowed, maybe trying to postpone the task, even though it had already been over three months.

 

"Just...gonna tell 'im, no hedgin', right?"

 

@Flip

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"Law might try ta find us,  but good luck with that!" Addy declared, grinning, although it was with a mixture of determination and teasing, "although if anyone could do it, it'd be you."  She surely didn't want him tracking her to Mexico, or Canada...


“Not something I’d look forward too, but there may be no reason for you to do that. We don’t know who this man is, or why he’s interested.” Speed said.
 

Then he offered to talk to Weedy and she shook her head.  "Needs ta be me tells him, but I surely would appreciate ya bein' there."  She nodded as she headed toward the barn.  "I've a mind not ta give him th' telegram, though, just yet...maybe when he's older."  Sighing, she slowed, maybe trying to postpone the task, even though it had already been over three months.


“The I reckon you best do the telling and I’ll just be on hand.” Came his response. “Well see Miss Harriet Mercer on this and see if we can’t find a solution to this situation.”
 

"Just...gonna tell 'im, no hedgin', right?"


“Nope, no hedgin’.”

 

@Bongo

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"No hedgin'..."  Addy stopped a few paces from the barn, tempted to turn back, but then Weedy spotted the pair and ran out to meet them.

 

"Miz Addy!"  Proudly, he presented a crudely carved animal of some sort.  "I made a horse for you!"  The boy had gotten a pocket knife for Christmas, and had been practicing with it.  "Hello, Mr. Speed."

 

"That's right nice."  Addy took the gift, turning it over in her hands a few times, the ruffled the boy's hair.  "I got somethin' I need ta talk ta you about.  Let's go inside." 

 

She didn't want to do this out in public, so Weedy didn't feel exposed.  Steering him to a bale of hay, she had him sit, glanced at Speed, then took a deep breath.

 

"So...Weedy..."  Where was a bear to fight when you needed one?  "No easy way ta do this.  I got a telegram some time back, it said yer Ma was in Whitefish when that storm hit, she died, that's why she ain't been around.  But doncha worry, ya know ya got a place here, with me..."

 

Lord, but that had pierced her heart!  And the look on the lad's face...

 

"Is not..."  Weedy spoke slowly and his tone was low as he looked from one adult to the other, trying to convince himself that this was some sort of joke or trick, even though he knew neither would do that to him.  "She's really..?  ...gone..."

 

"Yeah, 'fraid so."  Addy shrugged and reached to touch his arm, but he pulled away as she tried to add, "Not sure why she was there, but ya know she loved ya..."

 

But Weedy was gone...he had backed a few steps, then turned and walked out of the barn, his hands balled into fists.

 

"Tarnation..."  Addy shook her head.  "Reckon I best go after him."

 

@Flip

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Speed stood, saddened by the boys loss, it was hard and he knew, on Addy and especially Weedy. There was little that the Marshall could do  to ease the pain of either of them, and now Weedy had walked out with Addy in pursuit, so he just followed suit.

 

There was no telling what a boy his age might do in this instance. He'd never dealt with a boy who'd lost his mother, or anyone else, though he had written too many letters during the war for men lost in the struggle for the nation. This was far different.

@Bongo

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At least the boy hadn't run, that was something, Addy reckoned, but he was walking with determination -- to where she didn't know -- with his head down and hands still clenched into tight fists. 

 

"Stab me in my heart," Addy muttered, on the verge of tears, afraid that this was something she couldn't make right, no matter what she did.  She glanced at Speed, then started following after the boy, who looked back at them, then quickened his pace.  Addy wasn't sure, but she was afraid he'd just keep going and never come back.

 

A passing wagon blocked their view for an instant, and after it had moved on, the boy was gone.  Sighing, Addy looked at Speed.  "So...reckon he might head fer th' place his ma stayed, or maybe under th' bridge off Main, he'd hide under there sometimes."  It was at least worth a try to find the lad, explain to him...

 

"I can look at th' shack if you wanna check th' bridge?"

 

@Flip

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“Sure thing, Addy.” His heart was heavy about the boy. Maybe the woman wasn’t the best mother to him, but she was his mother and that had to count for something. He headed for the bridge with long strides, hoping that one of them would find him.

 

A boy, angry at the world, and he suspected that would be an apt description of Weedy, would be liable to do just about anything, and that worried him. There was no telling the amount of trouble a boy could get himself into in that state of mind.

@Bongo

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He was young, yes, but never had Weedy felt the emotions that were overwhelming him, and he wasn't sure what to do with them, or about them.  Sure, he'd been mad and sad and confused, but there had always been a clear reason, and an end to it at some point, but this was just so deep and seemed so endless.

 

And he knew that Miz Addy was going to try to hunt him down, and part of him wanted her to, and part of him didn't, and that just made things all the more confusing, so instead of going 'home', he headed for the bridge, where he scrambled down the bank into the cool darkness below the structure.

 

For a few moments, he just stood there, staring at the light shimmering on the water, but he had pent-up energy, and he finally picked up a rock and threw it in, rippling the surface, then picked up more, throwing them in with increasing force, letting out his anger.

 

@Flip

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