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    • Montgomery the Pocket Gopher had proven to be lots of fun. Once out of his cage he had proceeded to run up Jemima’s arm and onto her head, and the homely looking girl had had to bend forward to allow Weedy to lift him off and give him a cuddle. Despite his vicious looking incisors, he never nipped at his human overlords, they who knew where the peanuts were kept!   Jemima had something else she wanted to show the diminutive lad, and beckoned him over to a glass tank, a miniature version of the one that Lamia slept in. She pointed to a small, anonymous looking spider in there, sitting grumpily under a bit of decorative tree bark.   “See that, that’s a fiddleback spider: they’re the most poisonous spiders ever. And if it bites you a great big ulcer grows on you and you die a horrible screaming death, foamin' at the mouth and blood spurtin' out of your ears and nose!" she said proudly, as if she were personally responsible for the tiny animal’s toxicity.   “And one time she escaped and we had to look all over for her, and eventually we saw her on the back of the Professor’s neck! And Mrs O’ screamed and near fainted, but I got a jam jar and coaxed it on in there and the Professor said I was the bravest girl he’d ever met!”     @Bongo
    • Her smile was a bit wistful as she added, "There's times I wonder if I wasn't born in th' wrong time an' th' wrong britches."   F. Falmer Browne gave an indulgent smile to this but said nothing. He would have to admit to himself that when he had first lain eyes on Miss Adelaide Chappell, now sat before him in all the becoming trappings of a woman, virtually dressed as a man on her wagon-driving expeditions in and out of town, he had wondered. True, male attire was handier for her trade, but she seemed to go that way at most hours of the day, except for very formal functions like the Ladies (so called!) Society Meeting of this morning.   When he had lived in the vast metropolis of New York, that Sodom and Gomorrah of these disunited United States, he had seen two types of women dressed as men: the first were demimondes of the stage, who dressed as ‘boys’ in fanciful tights to merely titillate their audiences (usually successfully, Browne had to admit) with a well-shaped leg, and secondly, some women of the more bohemian quarters who dressed as men because, apart from their physical form, they were men, in their own minds.   Walking with a friend down Broadway, he had seen two such women, walking arm in arm, and his friend had remarked “See those creatures, Browne? Disgusting! God must weep when He sees such sinful animals on parade. The police should arrest them and some Judge put the filthy animals to hard labor on the treadmill.” Browne had, cowardly he now knew, consented, but really wondered if it was not God Himself who had played such a rotten trick on them. At least in New York, teeming with every nation and type under the Sun, two such ‘creatures’ might find each other. For any man or woman ‘that way inclined’ out here in a small town like Kalispell, such proclivities must result in a lonely and loveless life indeed.   Addy’s talk of Jay Ryker and their evident love for one another did Browne good to hear, despite a slight pang of jealousy: it meant that this lovely woman was not destined for a life of loneliness. There must be others in town, though, hidden and trapped in their unusual sexuality, who were destined to ever drink from the well of loneliness.
    • "Oh, well certainly. If you would rather talk there. Anyplace is fine with us," Clara would have agreed to discuss it even if he had suggested the middle of a river. She just wanted to get it done!   The four of them shuffled back to the rear of the church and through the little-used back door, into the main part of the building where the pews were neatly rowed and the pulpit stood empty at the far end.   The man then offered, "I could fix something to drink? Tea perhaps?"    "No thank you, we do not wish you to have to make a fuss on our account," she gently shook her head in the negative.   “Ooh, It’s no fuss Clara! I’ll fix that, Brother.” Arabella gushed obsequiously “You three will want to talk privately.”   She would also, perhaps a little too optimistically at this point, fetch out a blank marriage certificate, for she knew where Pastor Evans stored them. In fact, she’d had a good root through most of the drawers and cupboards in his little office, off the vestry, and found some amazing and interesting stuff. Her favourites were a collection of pictures in a little book which, she assumed, the good Pastor must have confiscated off some sinful parishioner in the past.   @boshmi @Wayfarer
    • "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.”   @JulieS
    • "Well." Thomas declared, sitting upwards in his chair. "I wonder what Arabella has gotten up to. I do hope I haven't complicated anything by bringing her along. Your wife seemed... er... unenthusiastic about her presence."   As if on cue, there was a crashing noise from the distant kitchen and Arabella’s voice sounded an “Ooops!”, but nonetheless, the two women presently appeared, carrying coffee and cake.   “Now, how are you two boys getting along?” asked Arabella, as if Thomas and Gideon were two five-year olds on their first playdate. Mrs Evans attended to the domestic stuff while Arabella jumped up and down, plexing her fingertips together with excitement.   “What do you want me to play on the harmonium, fellers?!” she asked excitedly, just hoping it wasn’t that well-known mondegreen “Bringing in the Sheep” which required notes that the poor old instrument could no longer sound. Arabella always had to substitute other notes in the same chord which made her playing sound like she’d invented jazz forty years too early.   @JulieS @boshmi
The Old Ranger

The Streets of Kalispell

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"Robinson’s sent several to the gallows. In fact, some say his inability to get Elias is why he retired. Can’t say that’s true. More likely his age and health.” Doc said without clarification on the man’s heath."

 

"Well then Doc, I reckon he just might want to take this on.  Maybe not. Might be real interesting if that circuit judge showed up and Robinson wanted to try those two."

 

"Might indeed. I'd think that the circuit judge would have jurisdiction, but I could be mistaken, not that I haven't been before." Doc Boone smiled with a light chuckle. "Either way, I see them both swinging. Speed nodded in agreement, as he could see no way out for them.

 

"So, about Miss Steelgrave and this hospital and orphanage plan of hers, as you probably have guessed, I, along with Jonah Danforth are both to be on staff when it gets built. My question to you Marshal is, where do you stand on the issue?"

 

"Why, get it built! That's where I stand on the issue. Saw too many a good man die for lack of a proper hospital. And before you say it, it was war." Speed emphasized , "Far too may. The county and the unincorporated towns around us need it."

 

"I saw you with the lady in question at the dance, anything to that?" The older man asked. "I'm far from alone with that question."

 

Speed sat back, brow furrowed in wonder at the question. "I escorted her to the dance, yes. I called on her to see if she wasn't going to attend, as I figured it was a grand opportunity for her to promote  the idea among the Ladies present. She does have a Ladies Society meeting where she'll do just that."

 

"Yes, I know. But there is some interest as a result of you escorting her to the affair. There are those who will want to know if there is something between the two of you, something about your ability to separate your intentions and your duty."

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TBC

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“Hey!! Hey!!! Mr. McVay! I seen the whole thing!!” she yelled at the man as she ran toward him.

 

McVay stopped and turned, hearing his name called, and the phrase “I saw the whole thing.” He smiled, nothing like an eye witness to the crime, or was it crimes? “Yes young lady, yes, saw it all did you? I suppose you and I need to talk then.”

@Javia

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Jay had waited for Addy to bring the boys inside and used the moment to get his bearings back. When she came back outside and sat next to him, he knew there was some need for talking. After all they hadn't seen each other since the dance which had so abruptly ended for him.

He wasn't sure whether she was angry and hadn't had a chance to touch base with her because the old lady had blackmailed him into working night and day on that huge fence.

 

He felt her hand and his and was quick to curls his fingers around hers, then he looked at her and smiled softly.

 

@Bongo

Edited by Jack (see edit history)

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Oh, probably didn't make it real clear, one of my short comings, I 'spose. What I meant was, we fan out , not all that far,  three, four yards maybe, where we can see one another until one of us finds the track we looking for. Then we regroup and take out after him." Speed explained. "We have this one print, so maybe he walked it a few yards then laid sours to him, which would tear up the ground and give us a clear direction, that's what we're lookin' for.

 

Quentin nodded. "And that's why you're the Marshal...sorry for doubting..."

 

"Sometimes my mind outruns my mouth. Let's get to it then." Roberson swung out to the left, Speed swung to the right leaving Cantrell in the middle.

 

Quentin leaned and tugged his Winchester from its scabbard, letting rest in the crook of his left arm with his left hand holding the reins as he watched the ground intently. letting Paladin walk slow but steady in the direction he had intended. He kept an eye to each side to make sure he wasn't moving ahead of his companions.

 

@Flip

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 Clara quickly explained the good doctor did nothing wrong, "That is Dr. Danforth. He escorted Bridget into the building, I let them in.  I told him he could help himself to something to drink and eat. He had my permission. If I overstepped my authority, you may take it out of my wages."

"No, Clara, that's fine."  Taking a deep breath, Emeline smiled and nodded.  "I commend you for giving them refuge."  She glanced at Bridget.  "Are you all right, Miss Bridget?  I think pie is in order...for everyone."

She looked back at Clara.  "We'll give out what food we have prepared, I won't be serving dinner tonight...I'm just..." she shrugged...Clara would understand.

 

"Of course, you just sit down. I will take care of everything. Let me bring out some plates and then we can finish however much pie and later I can give the rest away to whoever wants some," Clara was eager to help and headed right for the kitchen...well not quite, she paused to speak with Bridget.

 

"I wonder if you might help me for a few minutes?" she asked of the redhead, not because she needed the help because she did not but Bridget might like to feel like she was doing something useful.

"Shaken?"  With the young harridan gone to torment the newspaper man, Jonah had ventured into the dining area of the cafe, carrying a tray that had mugs and the coffee pot on it.  "Have a seat, dear lady, and allow us to take care of things."

"Oh, well, thank you."  Sitting, Emeline took the mug of coffee, her hands starting to tremble now.

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[Mr. P.G. McVay & Miss A.S. Mudd, would-be Journalist]

 

McVay stopped and turned, hearing his name called, and the phrase “I saw the whole thing.” He smiled, nothing like an eye witness to the crime, or was it crimes? “Yes young lady, yes, saw it all did you? I suppose you and I need to talk then.”

 

“Sure I did, sure!” declared Arabella, reaching the editor of Kalispell’s premier (and only) newspaper. “Arabella Sumpter Mudd, Miss, at your service!” she said, panting and enthusiastically thrusting out her hand.

 

“You might remember my name, I left a note at the Newspaper Offices last month offerin’ to write a ‘Advice for the Lovelorn’ column in the Union for ya, and advisin’ you to write more stories about Tom Love and his outlaw gang. He’s my favourite. Cole Younger, close second.” She looked around at the carnage and devastation around them. “I mean, look at this mess, Tom Love and his boys would’a done a much better job of robbin’ that ol’ bank than this!” she told him in no uncertain terms.

 

“Anyhow, here’s what happened. I was just walking down the street like this…” she mimicked walking on the spot. “… and then poor Mr. Olsen came a flying out of the bank like this…’They’re robbin’ the bank boys!’” she mimicked the late gentleman’s look of excitement and his last words in his last few seconds on earth. “And then he got shot like this… Bang! Arrrgghhhh!” She clutched her hand to her chest and fell in a dead heap on the ground, she lay with her eyes closed for a second, and then scrambled to her feet and dusted herself off.

 

“Anyhow, then I was real scared, case they shot me too, so I ran screamin’ all the way to the saloon, that’s where I live, see, and I ran in and said to Mr Flandry, he’s the barman, see, I says ‘Mr Flandry, they’re robbin’ the bank!’ and he says ‘Don’t you worry Arabella, I will protect you!’ and I said,…”

 

She carried on for a good five minutes at poor McVey, mostly about her own non-role in the whole affair and how Mr. Flandry had gallantly rescued Mrs Blakeley, stopping every now and again to check he was getting it all down and spelling out hard words for him like M.u.d.d. and F.l.a.n.d.r.y and M.s. E.m. finally she finished, at the point where she had run up to him and totally wasted his time.

 

Finally, spent on that topic, she took a deep breath, then asked “So, how come you never wrote back to me about ‘Ask Aunt Arabella’?

 

@Flip (if he can bear it)

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"No, Clara, that's fine."  Taking a deep breath, Emeline smiled and nodded.  "I commend you for giving them refuge."  She glanced at Bridget.  "Are you all right, Miss Bridget?  I think pie is in order...for everyone."

 

Bridget nodded enthusiastically, this was all very exciting: a bank robbery and free pie all in the same day. The first event, she took quite placidly, even the witnessing of Mr. Olsen biting the dust. Things like that had felt like an everyday event in Deadwood, although it was a bit of a shock to see it happen in this usually placid little town. Free pie, though, that really was extraordinary.

She looked back at Clara.  "We'll give out what food we have prepared, I won't be serving dinner tonight...I'm just..." she shrugged...Clara would understand.

 

The red haired girl frowned now, Ms Em, that strong, calm figure: so like the Mother she only half glimpsed in her oldest of old memories, was starting to seem a little rattled, now the initial, unreal shock of the events was wearing off, and the reality of what had happened, and worse, what could have happened was hitting home. The fussily dressed, and maybe a little dim-witted girl put her parasol down and instinctively went over to Emeline and gently put a comforting arm around her as Clara got her to take a seat.

 

"Of course, you just sit down. I will take care of everything. Let me bring out some plates and then we can finish however much pie and later I can give the rest away to whoever wants some," Clara was eager to help and headed right for the kitchen...well not quite, she paused to speak with Bridget.

 

"I wonder if you might help me for a few minutes?" she asked of the redhead, not because she needed the help because she did not but Bridget might like to feel like she was doing something useful.
 

Bridget nodded, and dumbly followed Clara. Mr Pike had gone, but the handsome and dashing Doctor, who had helped the striking-looking piece of gingerbread out of danger a few minutes ago, moved in on the pretty auburn-haired pie lady. Was no-one safe from his charismatic medical charms?

 

"Shaken?"  With the young harridan gone to torment the newspaper man, Jonah had ventured into the dining area of the cafe, carrying a tray that had mugs and the coffee pot on it.  "Have a seat, dear lady, and allow us to take care of things."

"Oh, well, thank you."  Sitting, Emeline took the mug of coffee, her hands starting to tremble now.

 

As they entered the kitchen, Bridget turned to see Doctor Danforth comforting the Diner’s owner with a brimming goblet of his hot and heady percolated potion. She tapped Clara on the shoulder so she could see, too. “He …” she closed her eyes and forced it out “… He likes ladies.” She observed, innocently.

 

@Bongo @Wayfarer 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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 McVay stopped and turned, hearing his name called, and the phrase “I saw the whole thing.” He smiled, nothing like an eye witness to the crime, or was it crimes? “Yes young lady, yes, saw it all did you? I suppose you and I need to talk then.”

 

“Sure I did, sure!” declared Arabella, reaching the editor of Kalispell’s premier (and only) newspaper. “Arabella Sumpter Mudd, Miss, at your service!” she said, panting and enthusiastically thrusting out her hand.


“Pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Arabella Sumpter Mudd. A pleasure indeed.” he said politely and shook her hand gently.

 

“You might remember my name, I left a note at the Newspaper Offices last month offerin’ to write a ‘Advice for the Lovelorn’ column in the Union for ya, and advisin’ you to write more stories about Tom Love and his outlaw gang. He’s my favourite. Cole Younger, close second.” She looked around at the carnage and devastation around them. “I mean, look at this mess, Tom Love and his boys would’a done a much better job of robbin’ that ol’ bank than this!” she told him in no uncertain terms.


“Tom Love? Is he about? Hadn’t heard he was in the country.” Phinn asked, as this would be the first he had head of Love and his gang. “As for Mister Younger, I believe he is currently doing time, presently.”

 
“Anyhow, here’s what happened. I was just walking down the street like this…” she mimicked walking on the spot. “… and then poor Mr. Olsen came a flying out of the bank like this…’They’re robbin’ the bank boys!’” she mimicked the late gentleman’s look of excitement and his last words in his last few seconds on earth. “And then he got shot like this… Bang! Arrrgghhhh!” She clutched her hand to her chest and fell in a dead heap on the ground, she lay with her eyes closed for a second, and then scrambled to her feet and dusted herself off.

 
Phinn sat, mouth somewhat agape as he watched the demonstration before him. It was as if he were at the theater, not getting a first hand report of the robbery and murder that had just occured.


“Anyhow, then I was real scared, case they shot me too, so I ran screamin’ all the way to the saloon, that’s where I live, see, and I ran in and said to Mr Flandry, he’s the barman, see, I says ‘Mr Flandry, they’re robbin’ the bank!’ and he says ‘Don’t you worry Arabella, I will protect you!’ and I said,…”

 

Phinn Had ceased trying to write down the story of the event and just watched the performance on display in his office. He thought to say something, but figured that saying nothing might be the better tact to take as he was unsure exactly what might happen should he interrupt. So he pretended to be jotting in his notebook instead.

 

She carried on for a good five minutes at poor McVey, mostly about her own non-role in the whole affair and how Mr. Flandry had gallantly rescued Mrs Blakeley, stopping every now and again to check he was getting it all down and spelling out hard words for him like M.u.d.d. and F.l.a.n.d.r.y and M.s. E.m. finally she finished, at the point where she had run up to him and totally wasted his time.

 

Finally, spent on that topic, she took a deep breath, then asked “So, how come you never wrote back to me about ‘Ask Aunt Arabella’?


All but stunned, Phinn looked at Arabella a long moment as he composed himself. “Oh yes, your note. I have and am considering it, however it needs questions to be asked by the, ah, lovelorn before we could do much of anything in the way of a column, and at present, expenses outpace income, though we are growing.

 

He paused, looking at the young girl. “Aren’t you a bit young to be advising these people in matters of the heart?” And the moment it was out, Phinn regretted having asked.

@Javia

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Addy/Jay

 

Sometimes words weren't necessary, and for now, Addy was content to just hold his hand, any questions or doubts she'd had about his feelings for her dispelled by the simple gesture of holding hands.

 

"Ya know," she finally spoke, "I talked ta Marshal Guyer 'bout Weedy, finally, that telegram we got at Christmas, an' since we haven't tracked down any information on th' boy, nor kin, he'll be mine...stayin' with me."

 

She smiled a little as she looked over at Jay.  "Gonna get us a proper home, do ya wanna see it?"

 

She surely wasn't much one for talking, and she had no idea how to talk about what she needed to...what they needed to...heck, she was having a hard enough time admitting to herself that they even had to have that talk.  And out here in the open wasn't the place to o it.

 

@Jack

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Lickskillet, Clara/Bridget/Emeline/Jonah (exit)

 

"Thank you, doctor."  Taking a sip of the coffee, Emeline smiled.  "I'll take some chamomile tea later, once everything is settled."  As much as she'd like some of the soothing concoction now, there were still things that she needed to see to, although Clara was doing a fine job, and she was certain that Bridget would be a good helper to her. 

 

"Then, dear lady, if you don't need my help, I'll go out and see if anyone needs my services."  And disappear before the hooligan came back!  "I'm glad you are well."  He gave her a nod, then stepped out into the day.

 

For a moment, Emeline just sipped the coffee, taking deep breaths, then she finally stood and went to the kitchen.  "Ladies, thank you so much for your help."  She gave Bridget a light hug, returning the young lady's earlier gesture.  "You should set aside a pie to take home with you, if you'd like."

 

Then she addressed Clara.  "Would you mind wrapping up a dozen or so biscuits for me?  I'm going to take that and some stew and pie over to the marshal's office."  She wasn't sure if Barnabas was going to be there, but it didn't matter, she knew that with everything that had happened, there would be a lot of activity there, and that likely food would be an afterthought, and she wanted to make sure they had what they needed.  Besides, she wanted to close up as quickly as they could, so the food that had already been prepared for lunch needed to be portioned out.

 

@Wayfarer; @Javia

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Bridget didn't say anything but obviously was willing to go along with Clara's request as she meekly followed her into the kitchen.  There were actually four pies sitting on the prep shelf, each with a few slices missing from earlier customers. Clara pointed to a stack of plates in one corner right next to the sink.

 

"Bridget, would you take ...maybe four plates please. And that drawer right there has silverware in it," she started giving diections even as she decided she would handle the pies. Keep it simple for the poor thing.

 

As they had entered the kitchen, Bridget turned to see Doctor Danforth comforting the Diner’s owner with a brimming goblet of his hot and heady percolated potion. She tapped Clara on the shoulder so she could see, too. “He …” she closed her eyes and forced it out “… He likes ladies.”

 

Clara glanced but had no problem with the sight, "Well, quite a few men do. He is quite the gentleman and a handsome fellow besides being smart what with him being a medical man."

 

"But he will get no where with her, for she is marrying the town deputy. I know they are very much in love," Clara declared with confidence. She had much less confidence that such a thing would ever happen with her.

 

Clara was still slicing and plating the pies when Emeline already was up and had joined them in the kitchen. Well, that was a short rest?

 

"Ladies, thank you so much for your help."  She gave Bridget a light hug, returning the young lady's earlier gesture.  "You should set aside a pie to take home with you, if you'd like."

 

"That is what you pay me for," Clara sagely pointed out. But honestly it was more than a job to her, she was very fond of Emeline, it was almost like she had a mother again in a fashion.

 

Em addressed Clara.  "Would you mind wrapping up a dozen or so biscuits for me?  I'm going to take that and some stew and pie over to the marshal's office."

 

"Of course but I hope you are not thinking of feeding those malefactors, let them go hungry  if you ask me," Clara responded even as she turned to get the biscuits ready.

 

"You know, I think you should take the rest of the day off. You have been thru a lot and - not sure you have even noticed but....you have some blood on your dress. I can finish out here and close it up then," Clara suggested.

 

 

 

  •  

 

 

 

 

 

 


As they entered the kitchen, Bridget turned to see Doctor Danforth comforting the Diner’s owner with a brimming goblet of his hot and heady percolated potion. She tapped Clara on the shoulder so she could see, too. “He …” she closed her eyes and forced it out “… He likes ladies.”

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"Yes, I know. But there is some interest as a result of you escorting her to the affair. There are those who will want to know if there is something between the two of you, something about your ability to separate your intentions and your duty."
 


“What is it you’re getting at, Doc? Are you saying hat there is some sort of budding romance between Miss Steelgrave and myself?” There was a smile on his face as he sppoke.

 

“That is the rumor going around, and granted it is the work of busy bodies with little else to do in life, but they have managed to get that out there. How much people would be willing to believe it? I wouldn’t hazard a guess.”

 

The smile faded. “Are you saying this, this rumor would damage her chances, or that it would effect my position here as Marshal?” Speed wanted to know.

 

“That sir is the question. Second only to who started the rumor in the first place. That would, in fact, tell us the why of it.” Came the answer. “Small towns. It seems that rumor-mongering has become a real pastime. Some are given to believe such drivel, while others simply consider the source and move on. I’ve not yet figured out the who’s who in Kalispell so far.”

 

“Interesting, but I can see where there might be some that are opposed to me, yes, I can see that. As far as Miss Steelgrave is concerned, I’ve heard those rumors as well. So, given any thought, I’d say it’s highly possible both outcomes could well be in play here.” Speed agreed. “I heard nothing as to anyone considering running for my job, though that could be a possibility kept quiet for now. And, I can certainly see where there are those that want the little rich girl to fail. But a hospital?”

 

“Ah yes, you are most perceptive, Speed. There are those that would be against anything that improves the community, anything that prevents growth, and eventually the loss of control over it’s future, and a hospital, an orphanage, well, fits that criteria to a T!”

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TBC

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All but stunned, Phinn looked at Arabella a long moment as he composed himself. “Oh yes, your note. I have and am considering it, however it needs questions to be asked by the, ah, lovelorn before we could do much of anything in the way of a column, and at present, expenses outpace income, though we are growing.

 

“Oh, that’s all right, I write the questions, too!” Arabella explained breezily.

 

He paused, looking at the young girl. “Aren’t you a bit young to be advising these people in matters of the heart?” And the moment it was out, Phinn regretted having asked.

 

“Uh-uh” Arabella disagreed, shaking her head “Nearly 16’s the best age … I’m still optimistic!” she announced with unshakable logic.

 

“Anyhow, I made a few changes. For a start, I’ve expanded it to medical problems too, they’re even funnier to read about than folks’ love-life woes. Also, I changed the name to Ask Old Sump, I’d better not use my own name in case I give someone some dangerous advice, y’know? They might come looking for me.”

 

The girl then felt around in her apron pocket and produced a piece of paper with writing on it in pencil, in an execrable hand.

 

“I wrote you up a specimen – but I’m holdin’ my best stuff back, case you try and steal it.” she warned, handing him the tatty piece of paper, which read:

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Old Sump,

My friends make fun of me because I smell. What shall I do?

Yours ‘Pongy’ of Main Street.

 

Dear ‘Pongy’,

These people are not your friends. Find some folk who like you even though you have a bad odor. Then take a bath, your friends deserve it!

-          OS

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Old Sump,

I have a painful boil on the place I sit down, I cannot afford a doctor, what shall I do?

Yours ‘Tender’.

 

Dear ‘Tender’,

Sit somewhere else!

-          OS

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Old Sump,

I worry that I am too bow legged to attract a woman, what shall I do?

Yours ‘Cowboy’

 

Dear ‘Cowboy’,

Believe in yourself! Go out and find your woman – she is out there! But don’t try to stop a pig in a alley.

-          OS

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The Beatrice Fairfax of Kalispell beamed proudly as the veteran newspaper editor looked over her journalistic Opus. “You take that with you if you like and think it over Mr. McVey, but don’t dawdle, I think the New York Times might be interested if you ain’t.” she advised him.

 

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“Oh, that’s all right, I write the questions, too!” Arabella explained breezily.

 

He paused, looking at the young girl. “Aren’t you a bit young to be advising these people in matters of the heart?” And the moment it was out, Phinn regretted having asked.

 

“Uh-uh” Arabella disagreed, shaking her head “Nearly 16’s the best age … I’m still optimistic!” she announced with unshakable logic.


Shaking his head in begrudging agreement, as if at the magic age of sixteen the answers of life and love were there for the plucking. And in this case, for the publishing in the Kalispell Union for the entire county to read. He was beginning to fill slightly ill.
 

“Anyhow, I made a few changes. For a start, I’ve expanded it to medical problems too, they’re even funnier to read about than folks’ love-life woes. Also, I changed the name to Ask Old Sump, I’d better not use my own name in case I give someone some dangerous advice, y’know? They might come looking for me.”


“Yes, a risk of being published, to be sure. Old Sump is it?” He mistakenly asked, but it seemed she was preoccupied with something he might not want to now about, and may not have heard a word he said.
 

The girl then felt around in her apron pocket and produced a piece of paper with writing on it in pencil, in an execrable hand.

 

“I wrote you up a specimen – but I’m holdin’ my best stuff back, case you try and steal it.” she warned, handing him the tatty piece of paper, which read:

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Old Sump,

My friends make fun of me because I smell. What shall I do?

Yours ‘Pongy’ of Main Street.

 

Dear ‘Pongy’,

These people are not your friends. Find some folk who like you even though you have a bad odor. Then take a bath, your friends deserve it!

-          OS

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Dear Old Sump,

I have a painful boil on the place I sit down, I cannot afford a doctor, what shall I do?

Yours ‘Tender’.

 

Dear ‘Tender’,

Sit somewhere else!

-          OS

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Dear Old Sump,

I worry that I am too bow legged to attract a woman, what shall I do?

Yours ‘Cowboy’

 

Dear ‘Cowboy’,

Believe in yourself! Go out and find your woman – she is out there! But don’t try to stop a pig in a alley.

-          OS

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Phinias G. McVay was in shock. Never in all his years in the newspaper business had he ever read anything to match the audacity, the credulous disregard for journalistic ability, vain attempt at something print worthy. At least in his newspaper.


But, she was after all, a child, an impetuous, brash, unabashed young woman, so he attempted a smile. He had to think fast of some delaying tactic until he could let her down gently. As gently as would be possible.
 

The Beatrice Fairfax of Kalispell beamed proudly as the veteran newspaper editor looked over her journalistic Opus. “You take that with you if you like and think it over Mr. McVey, but don’t dawdle, I think the New York Times might be interested if you ain’t.” she advised him.

 
“Yes, yes, of course, unlike the Times however, I am bound to investors who would have to see your work,  and then would need to have a vote as to whether or not they could, or would, approve of granting you a column. You see there is a difference between could and would . They could most certainly approve of your prose, leaving the question, would they approve the inclusion in the Union as an on going column. You understand, such is business these days.”

 

“They would need to know if you had obtained an agent, or manager on salary, which also brings into focus, if in fact they would be able to afford you as a paid columnist. Not having the final word on these matters I cannot say how this will proceed, nor how long it might take to receive a response."

 

@Javia

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[Em, Clara, Bridget in the kitchen]

 

Clara glanced but had no problem with the sight, "Well, quite a few men do. He is quite the gentleman and a handsome fellow besides being smart what with him being a medical man."

 

Bridget listened open mouthed to Clara’s description of Dr. Danforth. Sounded like Clara liked him all right! Maybe he should try his charms on her.

 

"But he will get no where with her, for she is marrying the town deputy. I know they are very much in love," Clara declared with confidence. She had much less confidence that such a thing would ever happen with her.

 

That was right, she had met Mr. Pike at the dance: he had the most beautiful, shiny, star shaped badge in the whole wide world. No wonder Ms. Em Loved him. Dr. Danforth had no such badge. The flame haired idiot-savant (all right, so she wasn’t a savant, but the description was half right, at least) was working swiftly, she had already managed to lift two of the plates off the shelves and carried them carefully, one by one, over to the table. The effort was pretty exhausting, but she soldiered on. There was something about ‘silverwear’ too, but she couldn’t quite remember what.

 

Clara was still slicing and plating the pies when Emeline already was up and had joined them in the kitchen. Well, that was a short rest?

 

"Ladies, thank you so much for your help."  She gave Bridget a light hug, returning the young lady's earlier gesture.  "You should set aside a pie to take home with you, if you'd like."

 

Well, Ms Em had seen sense and dumped the doctor. Probably found out he didn’t have a badge, and all. She hugged Emeline back. Hugs were nice. Clara didn’t hug. She wondered if she wanted to. It seemed a little bit unfriendly to leave her out.

 

"That is what you pay me for," Clara sagely pointed out. But honestly it was more than a job to her, she was very fond of Emeline, it was almost like she had a mother again in a fashion. 

Em addressed Clara.  "Would you mind wrapping up a dozen or so biscuits for me?  I'm going to take that and some stew and pie over to the marshal's office."

 

Bridget, inspired by all this bustle, sprang into action: slowly taking the third plate off the shelves. She had to be careful because the shiny porcelain of the crockery felt slippery in her lace gloves and she wasn’t used to doing this sort of thing. Mr Fa would let her nowhere near the kitchen at home.

 

"Of course but I hope you are not thinking of feeding those malefactors, let them go hungry if you ask me," Clara responded even as she turned to get the biscuits ready.

 

Bridget frowned. Ma-la-fact-ers. She didn’t know what they were, but they sounded interesting. Some kind of creatures or monkeys maybe. She’d seen a monkey once. It was funny. And you weren’t allowed to feed them, neither. She immediately resolved to go along with Miss Em. To see the monkeys in the cages.

 

"You know, I think you should take the rest of the day off. You have been thru a lot and - not sure you have even noticed but....you have some blood on your dress. I can finish out here and close it up then," Clara suggested.

 

Bridget stared wide eyed at the blood stains, which were quite big when you spotted them. Blood was notoriously hard to get off, it always left a brown, dirty-seeming stain. She knew only one person who could get rid of such a thing entirely: Charlie Fa. She would let Ms. Em know this, but first she had more selfish ends in sight.

 

“A come … t’see … Malfacts” she stumbled forth the words: out loud, too. She was getting pretty good at this speechifying business.

 

@Wayfarer @Bongo 

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[McVey & Mudd]

 

Mr. McVey had taken and read her sample and the serious look on his face was not exactly what she had hoped for: it was supposed to be entertaining and interesting: informative and funny at the same time. A delightful read for man, woman and child, old and young alike. But the Editor of the Kalispell Union looked like he was reading his own funeral notice. Then the penny dropped. He was clearly in awe of her writing style: shaken to his literary core by the finesse of her style and the light touch of her rapier-like wit. Poor feller was probably torn between jealousy and admiration.

 

In fact, when he spoke, it was in a garbled flow of senselessness, so overwhelmed was the poor fellow. Well, leastways, it didn’t make much sense to Arabella.

 

“Yes, yes, of course, unlike the Times however, I am bound to investors who would have to see your work,  and then would need to have a vote as to whether or not they could, or would, approve of granting you a column. You see there is a difference between could and would . They could most certainly approve of your prose, leaving the question, would they approve the inclusion in the Union as an on going column. You understand, such is business these days.”

 

“Oh sure!” replied Arabella, confused as to what the heck he was actually saying. “And … that’s good is it?”

 

 “They would need to know if you had obtained an agent, or manager on salary, which also brings into focus, if in fact they would be able to afford you as a paid columnist. Not having the final word on these matters I cannot say how this will proceed, nor how long it might take to receive a response."

 

Still not sure what he was rabbiting on about, Arabella decided to make the best of it and informed him: “Well, it’s a cent a word and ten percent of the royalties if they’re ever collected in book form!”  (Mr. Jarman, in one of his more sober moments, had given her that line) “Let me know when you’ve decided! Address is on the back of the paper: A.S. Mudd, Miss, Room at the End of the Corridor, Stardust Saloon, Kalispell, Montana Territories, United States of America.” She helpfully informed him.

 

She made to go, but then, looking back at the kindly gent who had, at least, consented to look over her scribblings, she felt she owed it to him to give him a little advice, free of charge.

 

Facing back to him, she approached Phineas and sort of patting him on the arm, like you might pet a dog or pat a horse, she said “And listen, you know when your speakin’ or writin, it’s best to say it plain so folks can understand what all your jawin’ about. Just a little pointer from a fellow writer.” She gave him a brave smile and left him to think it over.

 

Old Sump himself couldn’t have given a better bit of advice.

 

@Flip [N.B. There might not be any more to say, until the scrap of paper accidently finds its way to the typesetters office and gets printed in the paper, causing a flood of Dear Old Sump letters to the paper's offices ;) ]

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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 [McVay & Mudd]

 

She made to go, but then, looking back at the kindly gent who flummoxed, at least, consented to look over her scribblings, she felt she owed it to him to give him a little advice, free of charge.

 

Facing back to him, she approached Phineas and sort of patting him on the arm, like you might pet a dog or pat a horse, she said “And listen, you know when your speakin’ or writin, it’s best to say it plain so folks can understand what all your jawin’ about. Just a little pointer from a fellow writer.” She gave him a brave smile and left him to think it over.

 

Old Sump himself couldn’t have given a better bit of advice.

 

Phinn sat, befuddled. What had just happened? Thinking he had an reliable eye-witness to the robbery attempt and all that followed, instead he was treated to a torrent of words about the event. A overly dramatic presentation of distorted facts about what actually happened. Totally un-newsworthy. He glanced at what notes he had and shook his head in disbelief at what he had just witnessed.

 

He paused the fractured thought process long enough to open the desk drawer and withdraw half empty pint bottle of whiskey, which was on hand for just such an occasion. He took a pull, re-corked the bottle and replaced it, closing the drawer.

 

It was not so much the re-enactment of the robbery attempt, but what followed, in the form of a newspaper column, that made him shutter. For fear of some bizarre accident where the type was actually set, the words actually printed, and an issue actually delivered to the public, Phinn walked to the stove, opened the door and tossed the paper into the flames.


It had been a most trying afternoon. He would close up early and retire to his rooms at the boarding house.

 

Fini

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It wasn't until Clara mentioned it that Emeline realized that there was blood on her dress, and as she glanced down, she felt a wave of nausea...the events were catching up to her, and suddenly Clara's advice was sounding very good.

 

Then Bridget said something, and it wasn't the something in particular that was of note, but the fact that she had said it, although it took Emeline a moment to make out what she had said.

 

“A come … t’see … Malfacts”

 

"The malefactors?  I'll leave that to Clara."  Certainly, Clara knew Bridget better than she did, so she'd let her decide if she wanted to take her friend with her to the jail, although she doubted that the outlaws would be on display.  "And it is up to Marshal Guyer what he does with what we send over."  She give the girl a gentle smile.  Charity and forgiveness were a virtue, although Emeline suspected her own motives were not so pure, but more of a way of appeasing darkness.

 

"And yes, I'll leave it to you to close up.  I'm going to change and have some chamomile tea, then relax."  She sighed and smiled.  "I will see you in the morning, then."  She'd make sure that Clara got a bonus for her help and that there was a reward for Bridget as well.

 

@Wayfarer; @Javia

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"Sometimes my mind outruns my mouth. Let's get to it then." Roberson swung out to the left, Speed swung to the right leaving Cantrell in the middle.

 

Quentin leaned and tugged his Winchester from its scabbard, letting rest in the crook of his left arm with his left hand holding the reins as he watched the ground intently. letting Paladin walk slow but steady in the direction he had intended. He kept an eye to each side to make sure he wasn't moving ahead of his companions.

 

The three men rode on for a time. Quentin slowed and leaned in the saddle, his head turning and looking left and right, then he sat up straighter and looked into the distance. He curled his lip and let out a sharp short whistle. When he saw the other two men look at him he pointed ahead and down from where he sat his horse. Both men reined around and loped over. Quentin spoke low as he kept pointing.

 

"Looks like he did a circle while he watched his back trail, then he went off in that direction..." Quentin pointed at some nearby hills. "...He's trying to hide."

 

@Flip

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"Looks like he did a circle while he watched his back trail, then he went off in that direction..." Quentin pointed at some nearby hills. "...He's trying to hide."


“Yep he’s headed up that slop an’ over, perty steep on ‘tuther side.” Roberson explained. “Opens into a valley of sorts. Dry crick bed this time ‘o year, but as the melt gets goin’ she’ll run til maybe mid June, then dry up again. Plenty of trees so we best be on the look out fer an ambush. Be what I’d do, was I wanted!”


Speed sat his mount looking at the tracks then at the side of the hill. To have gone around would have been a good hour, maybe two, but that would have connected to a main trail heading west, and there was nothing for miles to the west, just more mountains to climb.

 

“We get to the base we’ll know for sure if he went up and over.” Speed offered. “As far as an ambush, does he know we’re out here? He had a good start on us, maybe enough to have gotten up and over this slope. If so, he wouldn’t have seen us coming, and that does give us an edge, at least until we top out and sky lined up there.”

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@Longshot

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The news about her 'adopting' Weedy was unexpected and then not. The boy had been living with her for a while and they knew his mother was dead. His father most likely, too.

"Wow, that's a big step. I mean it is and it isn't. He's been living with you forever but now it's official, eh? Does Weedy know?" Jay craned his neck to look towards the classroom window but he couldn't see him from out here.

 

"I'd like to see your place. You've already found a new one? We haven't seen each other that long?"

He got up and nodded.

"Why don't you show me."

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Aftermath

 

Pike returned to the jail after helping load the dead animal on a large wagon. The saddle and accouterments went the owner of the wagon, plus two dollars cash. A hefty price to pay for the carcass removal, yet it couldn’t be left in the street.

 

Fresh dirt had been thrown over the blood stains in the street and the undertaker removed the bodies. Already people were donating to John Olson’s widow. It appeared that everyone who had been inside were unharmed, for that he was grateful. Having John Olson’s death to deal with was enough.

 

“My good sir! Would you please unlock this door and allow a man to leave?” The shouting voice would be that of perennial drunk, one Dutton Peabody Esquire. Once a prominent attorney, according to him. Currently leading imbiber in Kalispell, and frequent guest of the Marshal’s office. But he had spent the necessary time to sober up, not that one could actually tell the difference.

 

Pronto walked to the cell block, took the keys from the hook and went to the only closed door. They had locked him in during the excitement. “How’s the head Dutton? Tied on a good’un last night, you did.”

“Well son, if it’s worth doing, by God, it’s worth doing right.” Came the response. As if Pike expected anything less. “You know boy, I was that close to an appointment to the Supreme Court of these United States. Unfortunately the War of the Rebellion interrupted that appointment. Found myself under the command of our current President, Ulysses S. Grant.”

 

“When’s the last time you ate, Dutton?” Pike asked, ignoring the boast he had heard more than once.  “‘Mon out, I’m takin’ ya up tto the Lickskillet and get some solid food in you. Can’t live on that firewater. Much as you believe you can.” Then he half turned and asked, “When’s the last time you saw the Doc, either one of ‘em?”

 

Dutton Peabody had come to Kalispell in one of the wagons from the disaster, though that did not cause his drinking, it just helped continue it. “I have not seen either in some time, perhaps the winter, I don’t know. And yes, I will accept your invitation to break bread. Only because Missus Blakesly is  the kindest, most beautiful, woman in this God forsaken town.”

 

“Great. Let’s get a move on before her dinner fare runs out!” Pike urged, reluctantly.

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Dutton Peabody Esq.

TBC

Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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AFTERMATH

 

With Dutton Peabody in tow, the jail and office doors locked, Pronto Pike, sworn Deputy of Kalispell Montana escorted his former prisoner up to the Lickskillet Cafe to have dinner after a long day. With Speed out on the trail of the last of the bank robbers he was in charge of the law in town.

 

It seemed funny to see the town marshal badge laying on the desk, but Speed had no jurisdiction past the town limits. So, he was acting as a concerned citizen in the matter, knowing no one in Kalispell would mind the methods used to bring in the last one.

 

He opened the door and stepped inside, then led Peabody to a vacant table and sat him down. Then he looked for Emeline but dd not see her, perhaps the ordeal of the robbery was a bit much for her. He did , however see Clara walking toward them.

 

May not be the best of conditions, but he would take them! Peabody, of course, looked a fright, but he was well known in town , as were his habits. They also knew his wild claims, verbatim, of who he had been in his glory days before the war.

image.jpeg.7567f7f95245dd436c75042127f118e1.jpeg

@Wayfarer

 

 

Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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Clara spotted the deputy enter the place accompanied by a disheveled man..oh, yes, the town drunk. How sad that drink brought a man to that state. One more argument to stay away from the evils of alcohol. She headed over there as Pike seated the derelict.

 

"Hello Deputy, are you here to order something or do you wish to talk to Miss Emeline?" she greeted him.

 

"She was pretty shook up by the events of the day so I suggested she go upstairs and I would see to the place til closing. I am certain she would not mind you going up."

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Clara spotted the deputy enter the place accompanied by a disheveled man..oh, yes, the town drunk. How sad that drink brought a man to that state. One more argument to stay away from the evils of alcohol. She headed over there as Pike seated the derelict.

 

"Hello Deputy, are you here to order something or do you wish to talk to Miss Emeline?" she greeted him.


“Yes, on both accounts. Mister Peabody will be eating as well, whatever today’s special is, and coffee, hot coffee.” Pike said.
 

"She was pretty shook up by the events of the day so I suggested she go upstairs and I would see to the place til closing. I am certain she would not mind you going up."

 

“Well then, hold my special till I get back down. I won’t keep her too long, just to see how she”s doing.” He looked to Dutton, “Best behavior Dutton, absolute best, or she has my permission to hit you with s skillet!”

 

“Never have I ever molested a woman by hand or verbiage, you may rely on that. Just not something I would do. I was a jurist in the fine state of Virginia before the secession. Bound for the Supreme Court of the United States, had the states remained United, but no, that could not happen and I, a loyal Unionist, was denied the position due to the state in which I resided for fear I, Dutton Peabody Esquire, would think to take up arms against the Union. Preposterous! I shall remain a model of decorum.”

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@Wayfarer

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About Sagas

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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