Jump to content
Sagas of the Wild West
  • Forum Statistics

    192
    Total Topics
    5,801
    Total Posts

The Same Old Song and Dance


Recommended Posts

 

content-divider.png

 

Mature Content:  Probably not

With: Caroline, any of the saloon staff and any customers present
Location: Stardust Saloon
When: Last Weekend of April
Time of Day: Evening

 

So far things had been going just swell, Matilda had to admit. Her singer/dancer hire had begun work the day after being hired earlier in the week and results were good so far, very good. That very first night the saloon regulars liked what they had heard and just as important SAW up on that stage. And in a small town word got around fast enough too. There was this pretty young gal at the Stardust and she could strut her stuff and sing like an angel (not that anyone had ever heard an angel sing) too. A side perk was between songs she made a point of mingling with the menfolk at the bar and around the tables too. She had a big smile and said all the right things, made each man who chatted with her feel like she valued them as the most important person in the room for those few precious moments.

 

Matilda had taken no chances and had paid Phineas McVea to use his printing press to run off a whole passel of circulars advertising the arrival of the FAMED MISS MUNDEE to the Stardust. Those bills were then tacked all over Main Street so all could see the news. She knew that Saturdays was when the saloon drew the biggest crowds as lots of the ranches let their cowboys blow off some steam that evening. She hoped the place would be packed.

 

And it was!

 

***

Caroline knew what to expect also and she was ready to shine. She wore the most low cut dress she owned, a bright red one that tempted the menfolk with just a glimpse of cleavage and the sleveless garment showed off pale white bare arms. Her hair was up and her face accented with eye liner and lipstick just like those fancy East coast performers. Why even her fingernails were brightly painted a red to match the dress. And that smile of hers, why it lit the place up.

 

But Caroline was far more than looks, though she had that in spades too. She had a great voice and she showcased her range with a wide variety of songs ranging from a romantic ballad to some more lively and definitely bawdy numbers.

  And when the selection called for dancing, she did that too with a nice combination of energy yet grace too. In the risque ones, she made it a point to lift her dress at tactical moments to let the customers get a glimpse of her shapely (and bare) legs which drew hoots and hollers of approval. When a few wags would inevitably shout something up at her, she often was quick with a funny retort.

 

After her first set already she had men surrounding her to buy her drinks, which she only agreed to if they bought ones for themselves too. They toasted her, they praised her, they asked a whole bunch of questions of her some of which she ignored but most she answered without ever seeming to reveal a lot about herself.  No one seemed to mind.  At one poker game she boldly sat on the lap of one player and even gestured which card he should discard in his hand.  He did and he won the hand too. (Of course she actually had nothing to do with that but some might say the new gal brought the fellow luck).

 

Caroline basked in the limelight, this was what she lived for. She would never strut on a Washington DC playhouse stage or do Shakespeare in New York for the upper class but here she was a star. Life didn't get any better than this.

 

Yet she did not forget what she deemed to be other essentials to the job. She made a point that everyone paid for their drinks, she praised the place's fine owner, Miss Devereau, she chatted with Ralph in the few instances she had a bit of time not taken by customers, and after each song/dance, she made it a point to acknowledge as she declared, "my wonderful little piano player, Arabella Mudd" as a windup just before the applause sounded.

 

(Anyone who wishes can start up a thread with her as she would make it a point to mingle with as many folks as possible. Just go for it and I will respond   😃<span> 

 

content-divider.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike took a good look around the crowded saloon and smiled.  The Saturday night crowd was bigger than usual, no doubt to the new attraction the Stardust had on offer.  Word had gotten to Lost Lake a couple of days ago about the new gal singing at the saloon and most of the hands were eager to see what it was all about.  Sam had gone off to see if he could find a good spot to watch the show.  Charlie had volunteered to stay put at the ranch.  Well, volunteered was a bit of understatement, it was more of a case of wanting to avoid Arabella Mudd and somehow getting tricked into taking another trip out the mission.

 

Another smile came onto his face as he knew that the trip to the mission, had knocked some sense into Charlie and the trouble he could get himself into when he drank too much.  Hopefully it was the kick in the pants that Charlie needed to curtail his drinking.  It was one thing, he could be thankful for where Arabella was concerned.

 

Before he could do anything else, the music started and Miss Mundee took to the stage.  As he watched, he remembered when he had first met her.  It was a couple of years ago at some saloon in Dodge City.  He couldn't remember the name of it but it had been the first one he had gone to after arriving in town at the end of a long cattle drive.  All he knew was that he was in the right place at the right time.  Caroline (who he later found out was adamant about being able to look after herself) had found herself in a spot of trouble.  After helping her to get out the situation, the two of them had spent the week together just as friends.

 

There was something about Caroline that reminded him of his sister, Mary.  It was that sort of relationship that developed between them, him being the older brother and someone to talk to that didn't take advantage of the situation.  Caroline had confided in him a little, probably because of the fact that he wasn't staying in town for long and she never expected to see him again.

 

Now, here they were in the same place for the foreseeable future.  He would make a point of saying hello if she came up to him. There would also be offer of help if she ever needed it and he would leave it at that.  For now, he was going enjoy the rest of the show.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When she wasn't performing as in musically, she mingled, it was an important part of her job. Caroline had just finished chatting with a rather inebriated customer who kept asking her if she wanted to marry him. Another man asked the drunk what was he gonna do with his current wife. The fellow waved his hand and assured Caroline his wife wouldn't mind.

 

"Oh hon, I will have to think it over but I will let you know, huh," she chuckled and added, "Say that glass looks empty, you should get that filled up."

 

The man now turned toward the bartender to do just that and Caroline took advantage to slip off. She was confident he wouldn't remember a word of that whole conversation when he woke up the next morning. She then continued roaming about the room. That's when she saw a face she had not seen in quite some time, not since....yes, Dodge City! Even thru the haze of the smoke she recognized him and headed toward the man.

 

"Well, well, if it ain't Mike. Mike ...Wentworth, right? Been awhile, hon," she grinned and held open her arms for an expected hug.

 

imageedit-10-9824932456.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Arabella had tied her best ribbon in her hair for Caroline’s ‘Big Night’, but that was it. She knew better than to risk her one good Sunday dress around Saturday evening’s beer spilling, tobacco spitting crowd. It was ironic: Caroline Mundee, the young woman who had barged into her life, stolen her dream job,  invaded her bedroom, nay even her very bed, the person whom, if she could have picked anyone to be tarred and feathered, she would have picked, this  … this … Jezabel, was now the focus of her rapt attention; she was doing her darndest to make her sound good. The hatred and the angst had to be pushed to one side for the moment as the piano playing scullion did what they’d rehearsed and modulated her volume with the foot pedals so that the tinkling piano gift-wrapped and presented Caroline’s undeniably beautiful voice. rather than warred with it or tried to dominate it.

 

She’d played her part, done her job professionally, and with a little bow from the stool at the final acknowledgement "my wonderful little piano player, Arabella Mudd" she could get back to hating her, at last. There’d be another set to play later on, but for now she wanted to get out of Caroline’s presence: she’d be stuck with her all night after all: snoring and murmuring in her sleep and taking up three quarters of the bed! And as for that gun under the pillow!

 

Well that was the plan, but as she got up to go, she noticed Mr Wentworth was there. She stayed herself, tidying up her sheet music as a delaying tactic while she wondered what to say to him. She actually had a good reason to talk to him now, since his younger brother had accompanied her to the lakeside mission house.

 

She rehearsed greetings. “Oh (surprised) hello, Mr Wentworth! How’s Charlie after his trip to the Mission?” or maybe more serious and concerned “Good evening, Mr Wentworth, how is Charlie, did he enjoy his trip to the Mission.” Or maybe just a curt and quick nod to show she wasn’t fawning over him: “Mr Wentworth!” Hmm, maybe just play it by ear. She got up and made her way to the door to the back rooms but made sure she passed by him.

 

Urgh! There was the odious Caroline approaching him! Mike wouldn’t have anything to do with a hussy like that! But Arabella skidded to a halt, open-mouthed in shock, as the wanton singer actually held her arms out to him!! Oh this was going to be good: she was about to enjoy watching her upright and moral hero have absolutely nothing to do with her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Well, well, if it ain't Mike. Mike ...Wentworth, right? Been awhile, hon," she grinned and held open her arms for an expected hug.

 

Mike smiled, went forwards and scooped Caroline up in a big hug. After he had placed her feet back on the floor, he held out her at arm's length.  "Caro, you look great."

 

Looking around the room, Mike noticed most people were ignoring them and only one or two were taking an interest in his interaction with the saloon's newest star.  For a moment, he wondered what Sam was making of this moment, if he had indeed seen it.  If Sam was watching, he had no doubt he would be answering a lot of questions later on.

 

However, that was something he wasn't worried about right now.  Turning his attention back to Caroline, he smiled again, "I think I have enough to buy you a glass of champagne.  I don't know what type they serve here exactly but I'm sure it's good.  Matilda Devereau doesn't skimp too much on what she serves here.  If it isn't up to your standards, then we can always try the hotel.  I know where the owner keeps the good stuff."

 

He gave her a quick wink, before taking her by the hand and leading to nearby table that was being vacated right at that moment.

 

@Wayfarer @Javia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike smiled, went forwards and scooped Caroline up in a big hug. After he had placed her feet back on the floor, he held out her at arm's length.  "Caro, you look great."

 

"Of course I do! Because when the time comes I don't look great anymore, I won't have this job," she laughed, but she had a point. A lifestyle and career like this usually was not a long one. No matter, it was always her nature to live in the moment and the future be damned.

 

"Who you looking around for, dearie? Your wife? Did you finally let some lucky woman rope you in?" she teased.

 

Turning his attention back to Caroline, her old friend smiled again, "I think I have enough to buy you a glass of champagne.  I don't know what type they serve here exactly but I'm sure it's good.  Matilda Devereau doesn't skimp too much on what she serves here.  If it isn't up to your standards, then we can always try the hotel.  I know where the owner keeps the good stuff."

 

"Champagne? Damn! You really are happy ta see me," she seemed surprised for an instant, "We got some but it costs a pretty penny."

 

"And, Mike, you know I can't just waltz over to no hotel.....I'm working now," she felt compelled to point out the obvious but did accompany him over to a suddenly emptied table.

 

"So, I can't stay long, gotta get back to makin' the rounds but tell me, how you been? You look handsome as ever. I take you work at some local ranch?"

 

God, she hoped it wasn't the Evergreen ranch. Addy had said that place was trouble and the owner a dangerous man.

 

@JulieS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike smiled, went forwards and scooped Caroline up in a big hug. After he had placed her feet back on the floor, he held out her at arm's length.  "Caro, you look great."

 

Arabella stopped and blinked and stood with her mouth open, completely dumbfounded. Somebody said something in her ear but she didn’t hear them.

 

Her bête noire and her dream man were talking and laughing, and he was leading her to a table, and they were sitting to together and laughing some more and…

 

She didn’t even realise she was doing it, she walked slowly toward them both in a shocked trance: no fuss, no tears, no emotion at all. She just floated on over there and stood like a sleep-walker at the side of their table. She looked at Caroline, and then she looked at Mike and then she looked back at Caroline and then, sort of staring off into the distance, tilted her head like a curious puppy.

 

 "And, Mike, you know I can't just waltz over to no hotel.....I'm working now," she felt compelled to point out the obvious but did accompany him over to a suddenly emptied table.

 

"So, I can't stay long, gotta get back to makin' the rounds but tell me, how you been? You look handsome as ever. I take you work at some local ranch?"

 

They didn’t even notice her. Of course they didn’t notice her. It was so obvious now.

 

"And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith" Acts 9:18

 

“I’d better … I’d better collect some pots.” She muttered distractedly to herself and floated away like a ghost.

 

She started to collect empty glasses up, and take them back to the kitchen and wash them up and dry them up and take them back to the bar and then collect some more up and take them back to the kitchen and wash them up and dry them up and take them back to the bar and then collect some more up and take them back to the kitchen and wash them up and dry them up and take them back to the bar…

 

This was her, this is what she was, this is what she’d always be. She wasn’t going to be a famous singer or an admired actress or a glamorous spy or a newspaper agony aunt or a vivandière in a war or a girlfriend or a fiancé or a wife: thank you Jesus, thank you for showing me the light, thank you for making me see the truth! Feeling sorry for yourself Arabella? She stood by the third sink full of glasses and paused a second to pinch herself on the arm, hard. That would teach her to feel sorry for herself.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike grinned, "So many questions and as always so little time.  I have a few of my own but first I'll answer yours."

 

Leaning forward, he went on, "First of all, I wasn't looking for my wife as I still haven't found one who can tolerate me but my brother...well the one I came here with tonight.  I'll introduce you to him sometime. As for the champagne, I think you're right, it might be a bit too much for now but I promise to buy you one day. Instead I'll buy you a drink after your next performance."

 

"So, I can't stay long, gotta get back to makin' the rounds but tell me, how you been? You look handsome as ever. I take you work at some local ranch?"

 

"I'm foreman over at the Lost Lake ranch,  A few of the boys are here tonight and I would be obliged if you would keep an eye on them once you get to know them.  I don't know how much you know about the situation around here but anything you can do to help will be greatly appreciated.  I know Matilda and Ralph keep a pretty tight rein on this place but they can't be here all of the time."

 

A thought suddenly crossed his mind.  "This might be too soon to ask since we're just renewing our friendship but the ranch keeps me busy and I can only get into town once maybe twice a week but there is someone I would like you to keep an eye on."

 

@Wayfarer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"These local women must not only be blind but stupid if they haven't snagged you up yet, dear heart," Caroline grinned, "Yer far too modest."

 

"Don't worry about the champagne, let you in on a secret..." she lowered her voice and eased in closer to his face, "I don't even like the stuff. Gimme a good shot of bourbon or scotch anyday. "

 

Then he explained where he worked and what he did. She was glad it was not that Evergreen ranch.

 

"Foreman? Well good fer you! Bet yer a good one too," Caroline sat back but patted him on the hands in a supportive gesture.

 

"An eye on 'em? I don't know...well, regardless who folks are I do always try to do my best to prevent trouble breaking out on the floor. More times than I care to remember I found myself stepping in the middle of fights to separate the hotheads. Took a few punches for it too," she shrugged.

 

"This might be too soon to ask since we're just renewing our friendship but the ranch keeps me busy and I can only get into town once maybe twice a week but there is someone I would like you to keep an eye on."

 

"Oh yeah? Who might this be? That brother you mentioned?" she was curious.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Lost Lake hands were not the only ones who had heard about the Stardust Saloon's new attraction. Brendan was there with a few other hands, but he was sort of by himself since Billy and Greer hadn't come into town. They were doing...something else.

 

This Caroline girl was quite the singer and quite good-looking. Good-looking everywhere, it turned out when she revealed the upper parts of her legs during her set. Now that was a woman. He looked around, half-expecting to see Clara dressed in similar get-up so he could compare the two. But of course she wasn't there. She probably didn't believe in drinking.

 

When he glanced back, he had lost his chance to talk to her. She was over being regaled by Charlie's brother, who he had learned after the dance was the foreman at Lost Lake. Well, damn. They were already nice and friendly with each other, and he wasn't sure that interrupting would be a good idea. Sure, he wanted to talk to Caroline, and he wanted to keep Mike from having her, but was it really a good idea to butt in right now?

 

There had to be some way...he glanced at the bar and saw the back of Arabella's head. Aha.

 

He went up to the bar, and, ignoring Ralph, leaned on the counter until Arabella came back with some clean glasses. "Psst! Arabella! Reb!" That was what some people called her, wasn't it? He followed that salutation up with a little upward whistle like he would use for getting a horse's attention.

 

He must be desperate if he was coming to Arabella for help, he realized with a regretful shake of his head.

 

@Javia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • JulieS locked this topic
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...