Jump to content

Announcements

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Recently Used Characters

  • Posts

    • F. Falmer Browne was as impressed with Addy’s barn and selection of transportation impedimenta, including the draught animals who pulled the things as he was with Addy herself.   “Splendid! Splendid!” was all he could say as he peered about the place with a quick and intelligent eye. “A veritable Aladdin’s Cave!”   "Wagon's there," she nodded, "an' once ya check that over, I'll introduce ya to th' horses.  Ya got a saddle mount'a yer own?"  If he didn't have a horse, she could just bring Arabesque, the mare was accustomed to being ponied behind wagons.   The slightly eccentric older gentleman approached the vehicle in question, hands clasped behind his back, head bent forward slightly, in a pose of complete and curious absorption – as if he was seeing, for the fist time, some fabulous beast of lore. He ducked down, quite lithely for his age, and came up again smiling broadly at Addy, a look of supreme satisfaction on his face at the condition of Miss Chappel’s springs.   “May I?” he asked, indicating that he would like to climb up onto the land ship.   Whilst happily bouncing there, he answered her question about the horses. “Yes, I would like you to take care of all the arrangements around horses, equipment, even hiring another hand if you think it meet, Miss Chappel. I leave all in your hands, no expense spared.”   He was clearly very pleased with the bounce on the wagon as well that of its driver.   “You know, I have many times observed you, reins in hand, piloting this very vehicle. If it is not too impertinent of me, may I ask from whence you obtained these skills, so unusual in an attractive young lady?” the old masher asked.  
    • "Yes, Miss Clara."  Grinning, Weedy handed her the bread.  She was at that awkward age for a boy, that she was too old to refer to by her given name, but really wasn't so old as to be a 'Ma'am'!   "Miz Addy sent some bread," he explained, holding out the package, then telling Clara what he'd told Wyatt.  "She got it from the Lickskillet, so she didn't cook it."  He grinned.  "She makes black bread!  And then the whole room smells burnt for a week!"  It was safe to say that, since she wasn't here!   @Wayfarer
    • As unorthodox as she was, Addy wasn't adverse to having her chair held, nor a door opened, and to that end she gave Mr. Browne a chance to open the saloon doors for her.  But the big doors to the front of the barn were something else, and she took it on herself to push one of the huge pair aside, flooding the open breezeway with light and eliciting eager nickers from the barn's occupants.   "Wagon's there," she nodded, "an' once ya check that over, I'll introduce ya to th' horses.  Ya got a saddle mount'a yer own?"  If he didn't have a horse, she could just bring Arabesque, the mare was accustomed to being ponied behind wagons.   @Javia
    • "Marshal Guyer?  Of course."  Emeline smiled as she poured coffee.  "I guess that means you can have whatever you'd like."  While it didn't happen often, it wasn't unheard of that someone was sent over from the jail for a meal, and they usually took full advantage, ordering a steak and potatoes, then pie.  She didn't mind, she was always paid.   "Oh and say.....could I have  Little Miss Pigtails wait on me? I'd like ta talk to her?"   "Oh, I'm sorry, there's no one here by that name."  Emeline smiled sweetly, really wanting to pour hot coffee in the boy's lap!  "So, what can I get for you?"  Mister No Manners, she added silently in her head.   @Wayfarer  
    • She stopped, a rider was coming, it only took a moment to see that it was her Pa, she lowered the Henry. That was a normal reaction for her to begin to shoulder the weapon. A woman on her own should take no chances.   She was anxious to hear all about Kalispell and the people he had met while he was there. It would be like him to stock up on goods while he was there, unless there was a problem with his getting paid, which happened time to time. Though she was not one to wear anything fancy, she did like to know about what the women he saw were wearing. She had trained him to notice.   He came into the yard with the pack horse in tow, obviously with a load of groceries. He paused a moment, as he usually always did before dismounting.   "Dang McClellan, ain't near a s comfortable as it once was." He complained as he usually did. "Might have ta get me one of them modern high backs. Might make this old man feel a sight better."   "I'll believe it when I see it, Amos Conroy." She had heard that one before.   "Lotsa calico, seen lotsa calico, but did see a couple ladies in their finery, Not like we saw in Denver, but purty high-falutin just the same." He reported.   "Thanks Pa." She smiled as she spoke.   "Saved the best fer last. Never guess who I run onto in town." He waited, but she didn't take the bait. He led the horses to the corral where he tied them.  Alice began unpacking the supplies, each taking part of them and starting for the house. At what they call the Municipal Bulidin' sittin' in his office was the town Marshal." He paused, she glared at him. "Speed Guyer, badge an' all." Still she said nothing but went about what she was doing.  "You remember Captain Guyer?"   "Thought you'd like to know." He said to her silence.
The Old Ranger

Starting All Over Again Part 2

Recommended Posts

Mature Content: Maybe

With: Caroline, Lorenzo, and others  (also open)
Location: Kalispell Main Street
When: April 1876
Time of Day: Late afternoon

 

content-divider.png

 

Crabbe1-jpg-703501d527bae9d17ec1cb041868

The collected and edited letters of Miss Caroline Mundee would have made a rather slim and meagre volume, but amongst them might have been included two telegrams that were now stuffed, somewhat crumpled, in the middle of one of the trunks that accompanied her atop the stage to Kalispell.

 

The first, crafted by the hand of Lorenzo Crabbe, who always saw writing a telegraph, where you paid by the letter, as an exciting test of how much message you could get across with the least expenditure, read as follows:

 

Telegram Office: Kalispell, Montana Territory.

To: Mundee Clark Hotel Helena.

 

Poss opening here stardust sln apl ms devrogh [sic] [stop] Do not mention yt crabbe [stop]

 

Or, as he hoped his old colleague at the Kiyus Saloon in Helena would read it:

 

“Dear Old Mundee, Having heard of the recent incendiary demise of our good old stamping grounds of the Kiyus Saloon, and knowing that you would be desirous of alternative employment, I forward to you the intelligence that an appropriate position has arisen here in Kalispell at a venerable watering hole which carries the appellation of the Stardust Saloon. Enquiries should be forwarded to Ms. Devereau at said address. Please forebear to mention the author of this missive, as such a disclosure might possibly injure the reception of your application for the post. Signed this day by your Good Old Pal, W. Lorenzo Crabbe.”

 

A second message, typed out on the same thin telegram paper, had travelled across the wires and been decoded at the other end by an operator of the Western Union office. On hearing that the the pretty blonde girl, who used to sing and show off a little flesh and a lot of lace while he relieved her admirers of their dollars at the Monte table, had secured the job, Crabbe had sent a slightly less cryptic:

 

Telegram Office: Kalispell, Montana Territory.

To: Mundee Clark Hotel Helena.

 

Hooray [stop] Wll meet y off stg [stop]

 

And, as good as his word, both he and the Chinaman Charlie Fa were there at the Kalispell Stage office to meet her and help her with her luggage, at least as far as the swinging doors of the Stardust Saloon. Miss Bridget Monahan was also in attendance at this august occasion, excited to meet the 'Famous Singer' that her Guardian had described. 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Caroline had climbed off the tall seat on the stage, winced a bit as she hit the ground but glad to have all that damnable bouncing over with at last. She said her goodbyes to Addy, who had proved to be fine company that made the exhausting journey a more tolerable one. As they pulled into town, she made a point of inviting Addy to come into the saloon in a few evenings and see her perform - well, if she was a mind to. She also padded the invite with a promise of a couple of drinks on the house.

 

And there who should she see but none other than old (not in the literal sense) Lorenzo Crabbe, the very man who had sent her news of this here job opening. Now Lorenzo could be quite the oily scoundrel but she met a lot of all kinds of low lifes in her career and at the very least he always treated her right. Same could not be said of all her fellow saloon folk.

 

The outgoing girl did not hesitate but took a few confident strides toward the fellow who was accompanied by his personal chinaman and some red haired tart. She ignored them for the moment as that big smile of hers, which could light up a room, preceded her greeting.

 

"Well, well, Lorenzo Crabbe! You're lookin' your usual self, dapper as always. So are you here  to stick up the stage or just waitin' for little ol' me?" she teased with a grin.

 

 

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

The outgoing girl did not hesitate but took a few confident strides toward the fellow who was accompanied by his personal chinaman and some red haired tart. She ignored them for the moment as that big smile of hers, which could light up a room, preceded her greeting.

 

As Caroline approached, Crabbe regaled her with the words with which she had been introduced at their old place in Helena. “Here she is! The Chicago Siren! The Songthrush of the Territories! The Helena Nightingale! Miss Caroline Muuuunndeeee!” He finished it just in time to take her in his arms and give her a comradely kiss on each cheek, like French people and showbusiness folks did, then stood back to take her in and nodded appreciatively at the sight.

 

The Emden family from the stagecoach, passing by, looked horrified and disgusted at this open display of affection, but Crabbe just tipped his hat at them with a friendly “Sir! Madame! Sonny!” and for the peevish looking girl trailing behind them, even spared a “Hello, what’s your name?” at which she gave him a terrified stare and quite rightly ran to join her parents.

 

"Well, well, Lorenzo Crabbe! You're lookin' your usual self, dapper as always. So are you here to stick up the stage or just waitin' for little ol' me?" she teased with a grin.

 

“Oh, we just happened to be passin’” he teased back “– you remember Charlie?” he indicated the Chinaman, who gave her a little oriental bow and uttered an ingratiating “Miss Caroline.” It looked like he wasn’t even going to bother introducing the redhead but following Caroline’s gaze remembered her.

 

“Oh, ‘n’ that’s Bridget. She ain’t a whore.” He said matter-of-factly, just because he knew that the singer would assume she was, being with him. “ She’s more of a… erm, well, kind of a, urm…”

 

“Waif and stray” offered Mr. Fa, and Lorenzo seized upon the phrase gratefully.

 

“Yeah, that’s it, ‘waif and stray’: I ‘ve come over all charitable in my old age” he laughed “Why we even help disreputable saloon singers with their luggage” he added, taking her arm and walking her back to where Addy had unloaded the various trunks and valises onto the ground from their perch atop the stagecoach.

 

“Which ones are y… oh, they’re all yours, ain’t they?” Crabbe frowned, looking at the pile of stuff in dismay. There was an extremely heavy trunk, which they piled with other baggage and which Crabbe and Fa lifted with a grunt, one at either end; a few other odds and ends Caroline had to carry herself, and Bridget ‘helped out’ by lifting up a single, quite light-looking hatbox. To be fair, she was already carrying her own paraphernalia: parasol, clutch purse, and a large china-faced doll whose overwrought dress matched her own.

 

Still, the hat box itself made Lorenzo double take - one of Mundee's little quirks was that that she never, ever, wore a hat or bonnet of any sort and, when he had known her, hadn't even owned one. The girl was virtually allergic to the things. The hat box must contain something else, or he was a Dutchman.

 

As they trudged to the saloon, Crabbe, lifting his end of the trunk a little higher, (so Fa got the brunt of the weight), warned Caroline: “Listen Mundee, I can’t come in the saloon, persona non grata, but [pant] I wanted to tell ya, there’s a girl that works there that plays the … Jesus Charlie lift it will ya?! … plays the piana pretty decent, stage-struck type, y’know: if you can get her on side it’ll save ya having to pay a percentage out for an accompanist.” He panted and looked like he was going to collapse in a heap by the time they got to the swing doors of the saloon.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post

Lorenzo did have quite the memory as he dramatically announced her presence using all the old names from Helena. Just then the Emdens were alighting the stage and they took in this scene with a mix of shock and disgust. Lorenzo tried to be friendly but he might as well have been trying to smooze with a pack of rabid coyotes for all his chances. The Emdens rapidly departed, Caroline just rolled her eyes. Folk like that were best ignored in her opinion.

 

They embraced and exchanged air kisses on the cheeks followed by some teasing on both of their parts. And then introductions.

 

"Hello Charlie, you can just call me Caroline, none of that Miss stuff," she nodded to the chinaman then looked over the red haired gal. The way she just stood there gawking and holding a doll too, she looked...well, odd and something about her expression too. Lorenzo was quick to point out she was not a whore. Good heavens, Caroline hoped not. The girl was not all there.

 

"Hello Bridget, I like your dress and ....nice doll," she flashed the other young woman a very bright and genuine smile.

 

Lorenzo professed he was being charitable by taking in this waif. Caroline eyed him dubiously for an instant, "Well, you better."

 

He also offered to carry her luggage, something he seemed to almost immediately regret once he caught sight of it all. Caroline wasn't about to let him out of that offer though.

 

"Oh splendid. How gentlemanly of you, you're a dear," she boldly reached out to pat his cheek.

 

“Which ones are y… oh, they’re all yours, ain’t they?” he swallowed.

 

"Well, not all...........just the big trunk...oh and that one, that one...and that one also," Caroline carefully pointed to each item.

 

The procession to the saloon then began, needless to say at a rather slow pace as the men struggled with the trunk. Caroline could have taken one of the carpet bags but too much enjoyed their misery to do so. Instead she gawked around the town as they trod the boardwalk.

 

"Oh there it is, the Stardust saloon. Looks nice enough on the outside," she announced but then listened to Lorenzo fill her in on what he apparently believed she needs know.

 

"Honestly, you got thrown out of the joint? What, did they catch you cheatin' at cards? Will you ever learn, hon?" Caroline huffed a bemused tone.

 

"Oh good they have a piano player. You know I ain't able to play a note. So some girl huh? What? Some hooker who escaped you otherwise why you so interested in her? Don't give me the line you just are looking out for my profit percentage either," Caroline liked Lorenzo, she really did, but trust him to tell the truth. Only when it was to his benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

"Hello Charlie, you can just call me Caroline, none of that Miss stuff," she nodded to the Chinaman.

 

“Thank you, Miss Caroline” he bowed again. ‘Call me Caroline’ indeed: these Western barbarians might not be civilised, Mr. Fa could never forget that he was a gentleman at home, a Mandarin, 3rd Class to boot.

 

"Hello Bridget, I like your dress and ....nice doll," she flashed the other young woman a very bright and genuine smile.

 

Bridget nodded excitedly with a big smile too, and wanted to stammer out that her doll’s name was Dolly (all her dolls were called Dolly, a fact that lead to much derision from Arabella, and who had renamed them Martha, Jenny, Lucia and Clara-Anne), but she was too overwhelmed at meeting the famous and glamorous singer from Helena, and returned to staring open mouthed at the girl who looked even more dolly-like than her dollies.

 

Between them, they managed to carry all of Caroline’s junk over to her new place of work.

 

"Oh there it is, the Stardust saloon. Looks nice enough on the outside," she announced but then listened to Lorenzo fill her in on what he apparently believed she needs know.

 

“As you can see, it’s already built, so there was no need to pack all these bricks!” grunted Lorenzo, dropping his end of the enormously heavy trunk with a thud and what sounded like the muffled tinkling of breaking china. “Don’t worry about that” he grinned sheepishly “There’ll be another one inside, under your bed, no doubt.” He looked at the place. “Well, I’d like to drag this ten ton weight in for ya Mundee, but what with bein’ barred from the place…”

 

"Honestly, you got thrown out of the joint? What, did they catch you cheatin' at cards? Will you ever learn, hon?" Caroline huffed a bemused tone.

 

“Oh no, they thought I was trying to steal their piana-playing pot girl and put her on the game” he explained without batting an eyelid “I’m laying off all that now anyway, for a while, I’m opening up a Pho-tography business instead, that’s where the money is!” he announced, but the songstress was more concerned with her own schtick.

 

"Oh good they have a piano player. You know I ain't able to play a note. So some girl huh? What? Some hooker who escaped you otherwise why you so interested in her? Don't give me the line you just are looking out for my profit percentage either," Caroline liked Lorenzo, she really did, but trust him to tell the truth. Only when it was to his benefit.

 

“No honest, I just wanted her to play the ivories at the time, mind you, she has modelled for me since. Nothing ornery, of course.” She might have waited for the ‘yet’ but it was not forthcoming. “Say, if you want any nice publicity plates making, I’ll give you good rates, what with you bein’ a pal. Yeah, wear one of those high cut, low cut numbers like you did in Helena and I bet I could sell them pictures by the bundle.” His magnified eyes became almost glassy at the prospect. "Or maybe some more 'artistic' poses..."

 

There was a noise within.

 

“Ooh! We’d better go! Listen, drop in and see me some time and we’ll talk about them pictures!” he said hurriedly. “We’re situated down at the old Funeral Parlour, down there” Crabbe pointed as he got ready to skedaddle.

 

"And remember, don't tell 'em that you know me!"

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post

"Ha! Those aren't bricks in there, it's gold nuggets. I did me some prospecting during my stage ride," Caroline joked.

 

Lorenzo tried to explain to her the reason he had been banned from going thru those saloon doors but it didn't make a lot of sense to the girl. Just how good a piano player was this gal? More likely she was beautiful and he wanted her for a business Crabbe oft engaged in, running a brothel. Despite his declarations of doing a good deed with the brainless redhead, Caroline was still a bit worried that poor thing might be part of the man's scheme. That just wouldn't be right, using a half-wit like that.

 

“No honest, I just wanted her to play the ivories at the time, mind you, she has modelled for me since. Nothing ornery, of course.”

 

Modelling? Sure, right. The gal had to be a looker then or at least possessing a pair of impressive attributes. Caroline kept listening which is not to say believing.

 

 “Say, if you want any nice publicity plates making, I’ll give you good rates, what with you bein’ a pal. Yeah, wear one of those high cut, low cut numbers like you did in Helena and I bet I could sell them pictures by the bundle.”

 

"No thanks, I want menfolk to have to come into the saloon to ogle me not be able to stare at some photograph. It's all about drumming up business for the saloon afterall," Caroline pointed out, quite the sharp mind when it came to anything involving saloons.

 

"Or maybe some more 'artistic' poses..."  he continued.

 

"Artistic huh, sure I'll do it if you spend enough money on drinks in the Stardust," she smirked.

 

The way it worked is she would get customers to buy another drink and then of course one for her too.

 

There was a noise within.

 

“Ooh! We’d better go! Listen, drop in and see me some time and we’ll talk about them pictures!” he said hurriedly. “We’re situated down at the old Funeral Parlour, down there” Crabbe pointed as he got ready to skedaddle.

 

"Funeral parlor? That's a perfect place for your schemes," she laughed.

 

"And remember, don't tell 'em that you know me!"

 

"Of course, we're old friends ain't we?  And new ones now too, see you later, Bridget - I might even have a dress for you," she smiled at the dim young miss.

 

And with that, Caroline took a deep breath, steeled herself, assumed a confident air and strutted right thru those batwing doors like she owned the place. It was time to get a job!

 

Share this post


Link to post

Arabella had been scrubbing the floor in the saloon when she heard voices outside. It sounded like Mr. Crabbe and she wondered if Bridget was with him. Also, she had a bone to pick with him. Sure, he’d taken that nice photey-graph of her in her cantinière uniform and even given her some copies gratis, but he’d also put an advertisement for his services up in the Undertaker’s which included the picture. It read:

 

“Mr Lorenzo Crabbe is pleased to offer his services, producing a loving memorial to your departed.

 

Expertly and lovingly captured Memento Mori portraits.”

 

Then there was the picture of Arabella, and the legend underneath read, in surprised tones:

 

“Why! She looks nearly alive!”

 

But before she could get out there, a rather gaudily dressed, bonnet-less creature came in from outside. She looked like a hussy or, maybe more like a floozie. She definitely looked a bit like Jenny, Bridget’s yellow-haired dolly, except Jenny’s smile was a mite more genuine. Either way, Arabella didn’t much like the look of this unwelcome ingénue as she invaded her saloon.

 

She looked the blonde piece up and down and then bent over sideways and saw the pile of luggage through the gap under the swing doors.

 

“Hotel’s over there!” she pointed in the general direction of the Belle-St. Regis before folding her arms and frowning at the interloper. She had a bad feeling about this.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post

 Caroline took in the place, noting the long bar with a not to be scoffed at selection of bottled liquors displayed on the shelves behind it then the dozen or so tables scattered about.  Ahh yes, and even more crucial at least regarding her future employment, there was a piano in the far corner and a small stage too. Perfect! She liked it already.

 

Now there were a few customers within. At one table two old men were playing cards, half drained beer glasses keeping them company as they studied their cards. Another man, a cowpoke, leaned up against the bar, conversing with a bearded bartender. Could that be Mr.....Mr...Flandry, yes she was pretty sure that was the name. As for the woman owner, no woman was currently in sight.

 

Not quite true, there was a girl now eying her, she had paused in scrubbing the floor. At least the business tried to keep their place cleaner than some joints she had been in.  The young missie did not look pleased for some reason.

 

“Hotel’s over there!” she pointed in the general direction of the Belle-St. Regis before folding her arms and frowning .

 

"I know, I can read signs, child," Caroline smirked.

 

She then turned to address the bartender who by then was aware of her presence as apparently were all the men in the place. She was used to be gawked it, didn't bother her none.

 

"Excuse me, mister but is the owner of this fine establishment present? I am eager to tell her the good news," she smiled confidently.

 

91e6713d9a721080f7ec52dd194db07e.jpg

 

Ralph paused then replied, "She is upstairs. Good news you say, miss?"

 

"Oh indeed, I can't wait to meet her. Her search for an entertainer is over. I'm here! " Caroline announced.

 

Ralph had to break into a bit of a smile himself at this bubbly and bold young woman, "You don't say? And you would be....?"

 

"I am Caroline....Caroline Mundee, and if I wasn't so modest I would add 'simply the finest saloon singer west of the Mississippi.' And if you don't believe me, you will once you hear me sing."

 

Share this post


Link to post

“Hotel’s over there!” she pointed in the general direction of the Belle-St. Regis before folding her arms and frowning . 

 

"I know, I can read signs, child," Caroline smirked.

 

Child?! Hmph!

 

You can read?” asked Arabella, sounding surprised. But the woman dodged the potgirl with all the skill of a Yale football player, and  had moved toward Mr Flandry at the bar.

 

Arabella gave a hard stare at all of the fellers staring at this up-town fancy girl, some of them looked like they’d about twist their own heads off, the way they were craning their necks around. Arabella waved her hands at them, teacher like, to indicate that they should get back to their drinks and cards, and followed after the interloper.

 

"Excuse me, mister but is the owner of this fine establishment present? I am eager to tell her the good news," she smiled confidently.

 

Ralph paused then replied, "She is upstairs. Good news you say, miss?" 

 

"Oh indeed, I can't wait to meet her. Her search for an entertainer is over. I'm here! " Caroline announced. 

 

Ralph had to break into a bit of a smile himself at this bubbly and bold young woman, "You don't say? And you would be....?" 

 

"I am Caroline....Caroline Mundee, and if I wasn't so modest I would add 'simply the finest saloon singer west of the Mississippi.' And if you don't believe me, you will once you hear me sing."

 

There wasn’t much room between Caroline and the bar, but Arabella managed to somehow sidle into it and get between the hussy and poor innocent Ralph, who, not seeming to have much to do with women, in her opinion, might be taken in by this painted lady.

 

“Not today, thank you!” she announced brightly. “We already have an entertainer, and that’s called me!” she told Caroline, jerking a thumb at her flat chest. “Singin’, Dancin’, Piannerin’ Cartwheels and telling funny jokes. And also, I’m an orphan, so the management don’t have to pay me one red cent!” she explained. "You look kinda pricy!"

 

“But don’t give up.” she continued, in mock helpful tones “There’s a town called Whitefish, just down the road, I hear the saloon there is looking for some…” she looked the curvaceous bimbo up and down “… ‘ singers'.”

 

Then she turned and shook a warning head vigorously at Mr. Flandry, as if to say Don’t be tempted by the pleasures of the flesh my son, even if there is a good deal of it on show!

 

But he wasn’t even looking at Arabella, he was staring at the demi-monde, polishing the same glass, with a stupid silly grin on his bearded face the like of which she’d never seen before. Maybe this entertainer did hypnotism, too, she thought; that’d explain it.

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
  • Made Me Laugh! 1

Share this post


Link to post

Caroline had just tossed one of her best lines at the bartender who was certainly giving his full fledged attention to her when the scrub girl squeezed between the bar and the newcomer.

 

“Not today, thank you!” the child announced brightly. “We already have an entertainer, and that’s called me!” she told Caroline, jerking a thumb at her flat chest. “Singin’, Dancin’, Piannerin’ Cartwheels and telling funny jokes. And also, I’m an orphan, so the management don’t have to pay me one red cent!” she explained. "You look kinda pricy!"

 

Caroline eyed the brat, "You want the best, you need to pay for it. But I'm well worth it when it comes to bringin' customers in."

 

Then she returned her gaze to Ralph, "Is she always this annoying?"

 

Ralph chuckled, "Mostly."

 

The little harpie wasn't done yet though, “But don’t give up. There’s a town called Whitefish, just down the road, I hear the saloon there is looking for some…… ‘ singers'.”

 

The cowboy leaning on the bar now jumped into the conversation though not really taking his eyes off the pretty stranger, "Now girl, you know Whitefish is a ghost town now. From what I hear you was there even when it burnt up."

 

"So.....add deceiver to your list of talents then?" Caroline smirked at the girl, now at times saloon work could be competitive too for those women who made it their trade. Rivalries cropped up, personalities clashed, Caroline had seen it all. She'd be damned if she was gonna lose this job thanks to this scrawny devil-child.

 

Ralph snapped out of it with a sudden frown, "Now Arabella, you git back to those floors. Especially the far corner where that salesman fella threw up last night. And behave yerself."

 

"Miss Mundee, you wait right here and I will go get the owner. She will want ta see you...that I'm sure," he informed her.

 

Reaching down below the bar he came up with a bottle of whiskey and set it in front of the cowboy, "If you want another shot, pour it. Put the dime on the bar."

 

And with another sharp glare at the troublesome Arabella, he turned then headed up the stairs bellowing as he did so,  "Matilda!"

 

Caroline spared the child a Cheshire Cat smile,"You heard your boss. A good employee does what they're told. "

 

Just then the cowpoke spoke up once more, "Ummm, Miss Mundee, can I buy you a drink?"

 

Caroline turned to the man and her smile instantly switched over to innocent sweetness, "Oh? Why you are such a gentleman, hon. You most certainly may, my throat is parched from that long hard stagecoach journey."

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Caroline eyed the brat, "You want the best, you need to pay for it. But I'm well worth it when it comes to bringin' customers in."

 

“Humph! Well, there’s no point throwin’ good money after bad.” Retorted Arabella primly, folding her arms, looking pleased with herself and not quite realising that she’d just actually insulted herself with that line.

 

Then she returned her gaze to Ralph, "Is she always this annoying?"

 

Ralph chuckled, "Mostly."

 

What the heck was wrong with Ralph? wondered the Virginian girl… he was being all … nice. It fair made her skin crawl.

 

The little harpie wasn't done yet though, “But don’t give up. There’s a town called Whitefish, just down the road, I hear the saloon there is looking for some…… ‘ singers'.”

 

The cowboy leaning on the bar now jumped into the conversation though not really taking his eyes off the pretty stranger, "Now girl, you know Whitefish is a ghost town now. From what I hear you was there even when it burnt up."

 

“Oh yes!” agreed Arabella, almost forgetting about Caroline for a second at the chance to relay her favourite, most dramatic story all about herself “A whole house fell right on my head, and when they dragged me outta there and brung me to Kali, they pronounced me dead and put me in that there barn over there with all the dead folks…” she pointed out towards the street “… and if you don’t believe me, there’s a picture of me in the Funeral Parlour and it says it’s a Rigor Mortis portrait.”

 

She looked Caroline up and down and added triumphantly "I bet you ain't got your photy-graph in no funeral parlour!"

 

"So.....add deceiver to your list of talents then?" Caroline smirked at the girl.

 

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me!” sniffed Arabella, still with arms folded and nose in the air, pleased that she had cleverly won that argument. She felt it just needed just one more thing to round it off nicely, so she stuck her tongue out at the unwelcome stranger, too.

 

Ralph snapped out of it with a sudden frown, "Now Arabella, you git back to those floors. Especially the far corner where that salesman fella threw up last night. And behave yerself."

"Miss Mundee, you wait right here and I will go get the owner. She will want ta see you...that I'm sure," he informed her.

 

Reaching down below the bar he came up with a bottle of whiskey and set it in front of the cowboy, "If you want another shot, pour it. Put the dime on the bar."

And with another sharp glare at the troublesome Arabella, he turned then headed up the stairs bellowing as he did so,"Matilda!"

 

“I think she’s gone out!” lied Arabella loudly "Maybe you better call back next month."

 

Caroline spared the child a Cheshire Cat smile "You heard your boss. A good employee does what they're told."

 

The pot girl couldn’t disobey a direct order from the mesmerised automaton that was once Mr Flandy, so, giving the sickening Miss Mundee one last withering look, Arabella started to walk slowly back to “Vomit Corner”, but not before hissing the word “Traitor!” to the Cowboy at the bar and muttering “I always did hate Mondays!” to herself.

 

Just then the cowpoke spoke up once more, "Ummm, Miss Mundee, can I buy you a drink?"

 

Caroline turned to the man and her smile instantly switched over to innocent sweetness, "Oh? Why you are such a gentleman, hon. You most certainly may, my throat is parched from that long hard stagecoach journey."

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
  • Made Me Laugh! 1

Share this post


Link to post

“I think she’s gone out!” lied Arabella loudly "Maybe you better call back next month."

 

Ralph was already determined to find his business partner and besides, he was used to not listening to much of what Arabella blathered on about. At times the child could almost drown one in words.

 

Caroline chided the brat to do as her boss told her to. It seemed she was going to have to deal with a good deal of hostility from this one. No matter, she had always tried to get along with fellow employees, she really did. But that did not mean she would put up with guff. Saloons were roughhouse places and personality conflicts sometimes turned into physical confrontations and violence. Caroline was not above such things. Like that time a ill-tempered cook and her brawled in the kitchen. It was name calling at first but then escalated into slaps and fists. When that did not solve the issue, the cook had reached for a knife. Caroline still had not backed down but ended the fight finally when she walloped the bitch with a roundhouse swing of a frying pan. The gal didn't wake up for almost an hour.

 

Hopefully it would never come to that with this kid because she would not enjoy hurting the girl but if she had to, she would. She was going to work here come hell or high water, that was that.

 

***

 

By the time Ralph came back down, this time accompanied by another well dressed blonde woman, Caroline had already downed her drink and saw to it he had paid for two. Three dimes were on the bar top. She turned then to face what must be the most important individual in the joint, the person who would make the decision to hire her or not.

 

Ralph presented the lady, "This here is Matilda Devereau. She owns the Star Dust and exactly the person you want to speak with. And this here is...."

 

His hesitation at remembering her exact name gave Caroline her opening.

 

"Well, how do you do, Miss Devereau. I am Caroline Mundee. I am pleased to meet ya," she closed the distance.

 

Matilda-again.jpg

 

Matilda was looking her over up and down, something fully expected. She was smiling but it was guarded, "Miss Mundee. Ralph here sez you came about the entertainer job?"

 

"Certainly did, I came all the way from Helena to snap up this here job of yours. I love the look of the place too by the way. But it's missing something.....I mean you got a piano and a stage. But I've heard you don't got a professional entertainer. Well, you do now. Me!"

 

Matilda smirked, "Oh I do? Helena...how did you know we were looking for help by the way. Just curious."

 

"A friend sent me the advertisement," that was close enough to the truth.

 

"So you can sing then I assume?" Matilda inquired though she knew the question would be answered with a 'yes'.

 

"And dance too. And mingle with the customers, get them to buy drinks, serve them drinks, hell, I can even get behind the bar if you need me to," Caroline assured her.

 

"Do you play piano?" Matilda asked.

 

"Nope, don't know how to read music but was told you got a piano player," answered Caroline.

 

"We do. That would be the young lady right over there, her name is Arabella. Come over here, dear," Matilda gestured for the girl to approach.

 

Caroline closed her eyes for a brief instant. So that is the piano playing girl Crabbe was talking about? She had not put two and two together it seemed.  But she recovered quickly and smiled.

 

"We already met," she left it at that for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

"Do you play piano?" Matilda asked.

 

"Nope, don't know how to read music but was told you got a piano player," answered Caroline. 

 

Arabella, kneeling on the floor, pretending to clean up the sick, was watching the whole proceedings suspiciously, peeping over the top of one of the tables. When she saw Miss Matilda turn in her direction, she dived down and then came up again, all surprised smiles that she was being summoned. She was terrified of the owner of the Saloon; the more things she did wrong, the more scared she became of being told off about them, it was a weird and destructive circle of attention seeking and wrongdoing and mortification about being brought to task about her trespasses.

 

"We do. That would be the young lady right over there, her name is Arabella. Come over here, dear," Matilda gestured for the girl to approach. 

 

Caroline closed her eyes for a brief instant. So that is the piano playing girl Crabbe was talking about? She had not put two and two together it seemed.  But she recovered quickly and smiled.

Arabella approached with the demure smile and steady tread of a bride walking up the aisle, she was on her best behaviour now that Mz. Devereau had her beady eye on her.

 

"We already met," she left it at that for now.

 

Arabella smiled so pleasantly that even her teeth looked less wonky than usual.

 

“Did I hear that you require a piano playin’?” she simpered sickeningly “Why, that would be my real pleasure. Do you have sheet music Miss Grungy, or will you give us a popular tune I might know by ear?” she asked with a saccharine smile like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, as she deliberately got Caroline’s name wrong.

Share this post


Link to post

"We already met," Caroline left it at that for now.

 

Arabella smiled so pleasantly that even her teeth looked less wonky than usual. Caroline didn't believe it for a minute. The little witch was playing up to her employer.

 

“Did I hear that you require a piano playin’?” the girl simpered sickeningly “Why, that would be my real pleasure. Do you have sheet music Miss Grungy, or will you give us a popular tune I might know by ear?”

 

Matilda wasn't stupid and she knew Arabella quite well by now so she decided to chime in, "And you will do your very best to hit all the correct notes, is that not so, Arabella?"

 

Caroline was thinking on what she should sing. She did not have sheet music on her as that sort of thing was packed away with her luggage. She wanted to sing something lively, while she could do them, maudlin ballads were not exactly favorites with customers in her experience.

 

The newcomer now looked at the girl as she replied, "Just call me Caroline, hon. Since my last name is obviously too complicated for you."

 

"I have heard that this establishment was blessed with a fine piano player so I'm lookin' forward to performing with someone of yer talent.  The last place I worked the piano player butchered those keys on a nightly basis."

 

She'd have to hope for the best now as she returned her focus on the Devereau woman. Hearing her speak, Caroline had a pretty good idea the woman was not hailing from the South.  But just to make sure, she decided to float her song idea and see if it sank.

 

"How about John's Brown's Body? It was popular enough back some years ago during the war years. Granted I was a mite young."

 

Ralph, a Union war veteran,  piped up, "I like that one!"  

 

Matilda shrugged, "That's fine. Always thought it catchy enough myself."

 

"I'll sing that one then. So, hon, you know that one?" Caroline looked to the girl with the obvious southern accent.

 

"If not I can sing it without accompaniment," she smiled then.

 

ooc: Couldn't find a good version with a female singer but Seger's version used one of the verses that later versions left out as a bit controversial for a healing nation.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Matilda wasn't stupid and she knew Arabella quite well by now so she decided to chime in, "And you will do your very best to hit all the correct notes, is that not so, Arabella?"

 

“Oh of course, Ms. Devereau!” Arabella complied, even giving a little curtsy “Anything painful to the ears in the next five minutes will not be emanating from my direction. And I’m sure Miss Gumby will attempt to be equally in tune.”

 

The newcomer now looked at the girl as she replied, "Just call me Caroline, hon. Since my last name is obviously too complicated for you." 

 

“Why, I always feel callin’ folks by their first names is so common, but as you wish Caroline.” She smiled smarmily.

 

"I have heard that this establishment was blessed with a fine piano player so I'm lookin' forward to performing with someone of yer talent.  The last place I worked the piano player butchered those keys on a nightly basis." 

 

Again, Arabella fluffed herself up into her idea of injured dignity. “Well, I ain’t no Clara Schubert, but I like to think I can play a little.” She said, affecting a modesty she didn’t really feel. “So, what are you going to try and sing for us, Caroline?” she asked, as if she were part of the auditioning panel, too.

 

"How about John's Brown's Body? It was popular enough back some years ago during the war years. Granted I was a mite young."

 

“Not that young!” murmured Arabella, but then remembered that she was supposed to be acting all nicey-nicey in front of Matilda.

 

Ralph, a Union war veteran,  piped up, "I like that one!"  

 

The way Mr. Flandry was goggling at the floozie, he’d have probably liked it if she’d sung a song called “Men with Beards Need Kickin’”, but it turned out that the owner of the bar liked it too.

 

Matilda shrugged, "That's fine. Always thought it catchy enough myself."

 

"I'll sing that one then. So, hon, you know that one?" Caroline looked to the girl with the obvious southern accent. "If not I can sing it without accompaniment," she smiled then.

 

John Brown’s Body? Seriously? This strumpet was going to sing a song about a quasi-religious martyr! She should change the lyrics to ‘John Brown’s body lies a-spinning it its grave”!

 

“Of course I know it!” replied Arabella airily “I may be a daughter of the South, but my Father was an abolitionist, and actually worked on the Underground Railroad to the great peril of himself and his family!” she added, rather snootily, and marched on (rather like soul of the eponymos hero) over to the piano.

 

As she placed herself on the stool, she announced “John Brown’s Body. Tempo: Strident, Forte.” She thought that sounded very professional. She didn’t like the gusied-up fancy piece of womanhood at all, but she knew in her heart of hearts it was because Caroline Mundee was doing what she hoped to do herself one day: be an actress or singer (or perhaps a circus trapeze artiste). The blonde woman had the drop on her in other ways too, she was undeniably good looking, and had mountainous bumps where Arabella had flat prairieland. Mind you, that was probably all padding and corsetry, Arabella grumped to herself.

 

“And what key would you like to attempt it in?” she asked sweetly, swivelling on her piano stool.

 

Then a curious thing happened that only another musician or performer would understand: much as she hated this interloper into her little world, Arabella strangely wanted her to do well. In fact, she actually felt anxious for her; empathetically recalling how nervous and worried she sometimes was before playing the harmonium in church when all ears and eyes were on her.

 

She turned again on her stool and looked up at Caroline and, for the first time, actually met the brassy young woman’s shining blue eyes and wondered if, beneath all her bluster, she was nervous.

 

“Well, ‘break a leg’, I suppose.” She heard herself saying the traditional thespian good wishes – it was bad luck, a veritable curse, to wish a body ‘Good Luck’ before any kind of performance. She turned, a little confused with herself, and looked down at the black and white ebony and ivory keys.

 

She played a few introductory bars, to give Caroline a feeling for the tempo and pitch of the song, and listened carefully to how the girl would tackle it: a good accompanist always concentrated as much on what the singer was doing as what their own hands were playing.

 

It was with sort of mixed horror and vast relief that she heard Caroline Mundee open her mouth and sing… brilliantly.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
  • Made Me Laugh! 1

Share this post


Link to post

"Why, I always feel callin’ folks by their first names is so common, but as you wish Caroline.” Arabella smiled smarmily.

 

"Yet you always call me Ralph," the bartender pointed out.

 

Caroline huffed in amusement. If that attempt by the girl was to rile her, it signally failed. Now the hostile child did surprise her though in her reply about John Brown's Body.

 

"Of course I know it!” replied Arabella airily “I may be a daughter of the South, but my Father was an abolitionist, and actually worked on the Underground Railroad to the great peril of himself and his family!”

 

"Well, good for him. Sounds like a brave man," Caroline was always willing to give someone their due.

 

The girl paraded over to the piano but Caroline decided she was not going to bother heading up on stage for one short song. This dress was not one of her performing dresses anyhow.  Her reluctant accompanist asked which key and when that was settled, began a few introductory bars. Caroline jumped right in and never hesitated. The girl did not let her down with any off-key notes. It wouldn't have stopped her anyhow because she'd done this number countless times and had not just every word of the lyrics down pat but all the gestures she featured were well rehearsed too.  She didn't just stand there but moved back and forth as if addressing an audience packed before and below her, playing up to the nonexistent crowd with a mix of solemn looks at the right time and fervent enthusiasm when the words fit, especially the stirring choruses.

 

Most important of all maybe, for all her cockiness this young lady really did have a beautiful voice to go with her easy on the eyes looks. You only had to listen to her once to know that much.

 

Matilda realized it and exchanged glances with Ralph who barely nodded but his eyes showed he was impressed. Matilda was smiling by the time the song finished and Caroline did a stage appropriate bow. Even the two old fossils had stopped playing cards at their table and joined in the clapping.

 

"Thank you, thank you, "Caroline beamed, she lived for this sort of thing but she did not leave it at that holding out one hand in a gesture of acknowledgement to the piano player, "And to our wonderful piano player too."

 

"You can sing alright, Caroline. So why aren't you still employed?" Matilda got back to business quickly, it was her way.

 

"Cuz the saloon burnt down in a fire. Owner declared he wasn't about to rebuild and left town," Caroline had the answer.

 

Matilda nodded, satisfied with that answer then continued, "I would expect you to work long hours, bein' you'd be it as far as the position."

 

"Good! I am more than willin' ta work every day yer open. Long as I get time for meals and sleepin'. I've lived all my life in saloons since I was just a kid, this kinda thing is my world. Like I said, besides singin' and dancin', I can mingle with the customers, convince 'em ta buy drinks, I'm not averse ta going behind the bar too if you need help there," Caroline poured it on.

 

"Gracious, gotta love the enthusiasm, I will say that," Matilda admitted.

 

"I do have one condition and that's one I won't compromise on," Caroline got serious real quick.

 

"Oh? And that would be?" Matilda raised one eyebrow.

 

"I ain't and never was and never will be a whore. I don't do that at all. I would just simply quit and walk on out before I would consent to such," Caroline asserted with a finality.

 

"We don't have hookers in this place, my dear. Not to say some enterprising young misses don't on occasion take one of our customers on out and engage in their business on their own," Matilda informed her.

 

"Excellent! That's it from me then. Other than talking money, I am ready and willing to accept your job offer and start as soon as you tell me," Caroline was back to smiling.

 

Well, Matilda was not about to discuss money in front of any customers. Only Ralph knew about that part of the saloon operation and even he left the details and accounting to her.

 

"Very well, why don't we head on upstairs to my office and we can come to a suitable arrangement regarding your wages," she gestured with a wave of her hand toward the stairs.

 

Caroline nodded but just before she started up along with Matilda she glanced at Arabella and flashed a smug smile. Then up the two women went to finalize things.

 

Ralph realized the girl had not finished her scrubbing yet but he certainly wasn't oblivious enough not to realize this was not going as Arabellla had wanted and was no doubt going to make a fuss about it least wise til time eased the disappointment.

 

"Say, you want a saspirilla, kiddo?" he offered.

 

 

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

"Thank you, thank you, "Caroline beamed, she lived for this sort of thing but she did not leave it at that holding out one hand in a gesture of acknowledgement to the piano player, "And to our wonderful piano player too."

 

Arabella didn’t turn around, she just sat numbly and dumbly staring at the piano keys. The invader was a success, a great success, and she had even helped her. What had she done? She asked Lord Jesus and God the Almighty, what had she done to deserve such a horrible, terrible fate? What sin in deed or thought had she committed, that she be sent this aggravating nemesis?! She had sinned, she knew. She had sinned in thought. Maybe it was all her own fault, she decided, self pityingly.

 

She listened dolefully as her surrogate ‘parents’ welcomed in this undeserving prodigal daughter, it was sickening, hearing them heaping praise on her about her talent: sickening because it was true.

 

Caroline nodded but just before she started up along with Matilda she glanced at Arabella and flashed a smug smile. Then up the two women went to finalize things.

 

Arabella turned then, and caught the triumphant look: but she was now too crestfallen and defeated to offer any resistance, she just nodded sadly. That was it. Done. The world had ended.

 

She stood up and on shaky legs started to look around for where she’d left her bucket and flannel, almost in a daze.

 

Ralph realized the girl had not finished her scrubbing yet but he certainly wasn't oblivious enough not to realize this was not going as Arabella had wanted and was no doubt going to make a fuss about it least wise til time eased the disappointment.

 

"Say, you want a saspirilla, kiddo?" he offered.

 

Arabella just looked at Mr Flandry blankly for a second: then it happened, her face flushed and the two old card players in the corner later testified that steam literally blew out of her ears!

 

“Sarsaparilla? Sarsaparilla?!!” she panted, hyperventilating… but she could put it into words, the feeling of sadness, betrayal, self-pity, anger: she just couldn’t find the words to express them and explain why she felt so utterly, utterly broken by the floozy getting the job as their resident singer. So, she did the next best thing, and just yelled “AAAARRGGGHHH!!!” and marched out of the door to the back kitchen, trying to hold back the tears.

 

Two seconds later, she marched back in. She'd forgotten that she still had to clean up the floor. But before she did, she skidded to a halt and turned on the bearded barman.

 

“And for your information, Mr. Flandry, I only ever called you Ralph oncst, and that was when I was so worried and upset that you’d been shot by them bank robbers and was so glad to see you alive and safe!!” she blurted, before resuming her march to the corner, shouting an emotional “What’re you gawkin’ at?!” to the two card players, who quickly looked back down at their cards, before throwing herself onto the floor to clean up the sick.

 

Self-pity is a wonderful incentive to action on occasion. Later inspection of that corner revealed that there was not only no trace of the salesman’s vomit to be found, but the floor-boards in that small area were scrubbed  totally clean of wood varnish, too.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

OOC: This scene is now closed. However the story continues in the Stardust Saloon forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

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.

Connect With Us On

discord_white

If you would like to join the Sagas' Discord server or are already a member, click the image to open the Discord web application.

Site Credits

Founders: Stormwolfe & Longshot

Sagas' Rating

sagas-rating

×
×
  • Create New...