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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
Caroline Mundee

The Same Old Song and Dance

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He didn't look stupid! Brendan beamed. Some people said he was stupid, but of course they were wrong. He watched the bustle of Caroline's dress as she made her way to the bar, waited on their drinks, and back again, except when she was coming back he was looking at her bust rather than her bustle. Both were quite nice to look at.

 

"Here ya go, hon! I know you only said one but a big strapping fella like you ain't gonna be satisfied with one glass of beer. And beer makes me piddle too often so I settled for a cheap whiskey."

 

"Gee, thanks." Brendan grinned, basking in Caroline's praise - until he realized he had to pay for both beers, but it still didn't dampen his spirits too much. He dug in his pockets until he found the equivalent of thirty cents, and then on impulse dug out an extra dime. "Here ya go, Miss Mundee," he said genially, "a little somethin' extra."

 

He was a little surprised at the way she downed her whiskey, but he'd met a few other girls who could drink it that easily. He drunk his beer at a slightly more sedate pace.

 

"So," he said after a minute, "how'd you end up here in Kalispell? Or is it too long of a story to tell over two beers?"

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As she returned with his drinks and her pseudo-drink, he seemed quite pleased with her doubling up his beer order, pleased enough he tipped her a dime. Of course she pocketed it with a nod and smile.

 

"Oh how nice a you, hon!"

 

"So," he said after a minute, "how'd you end up here in Kalispell? Or is it too long of a story to tell over two beers?"

 

"Ain't that much to tell. I ended up here cuz I arrived by stage," she quipped.

 

"Knew from an acquaintance of mine there was a job opening and ...well, I filled it," she added.

 

"Now, tell me a little about yerself, Brendan,"she leaned forward to listen closely, although in truth he could have spoken in Bulgarian and she would have seemed just as interested. It was part of the job to act like she cared and Caroline was very good at her job.

 

 

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Brendan grinned at Caroline's quick wit. Came on a stagecoach. That was good. He'd have to remember it the next time someone asked him how he ended up at Evergreen...not that anyone ever did.

 

Then she asked him about himself, and he beamed. He liked to talk about himself to pretty women, and with Caroline's encouragement and the extra encouragement from the beers, Caroline was in for more than "a little" about him. Probably.

 

"I happen to have an appreeshiashun fer fine song an' dance like you just done, even though I'm just a cowhand. But I'm good at what I do." He puffed his chest out as he paused to take a drink. "I don't come to town often, but I'm gonna be comin' more now that you're here, Miss Mundee."

 

He suddenly remembered that Arabella had offered to let him meet Caroline when she wasn't performing. "Say, if I come into town some time durin' the week, what d'you do in the mornin's?"

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"Well then, if you have an appreciation for my song and dance, then I would have to say you certainly have good taste," Caroline smiled.

 

As to his bragging, nothing wrong with that. Young man probably was right good at his trade, he looked intelligent enough and appeared to be a good physical specimen not that Caroline actually knew all that much about being a cowboy.  But damn, if those cows and horses weren't big so she had to respect the men for that much at least.

 

"Good to hear it," she nodded at his self-compliment.

 

"I don't come to town often, but I'm gonna be comin' more now that you're here, Miss Mundee."

 

"Ahhh, that is most flattering, I appreciate it. Yer always welcome," she encouraged the young man.

 

"Say, if I come into town some time durin' the week, what d'you do in the mornin's?" he suddenly asked.

 

"Umm, well I sleep late of course cuz I have to stay up late. Then when I get up I have me some breakfast or maybe even lunch depending how late it is," she answered.

 

"Why do you ask, hon?"

 

 

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"Weeellll..." Brendan drank half his first beer and leaned forward conspiratorially, as if sharing a big secret. "Arabella said I might get to see ya practicin', and I sure'd love to see that. I know you might not be dressed up as fancy as you are right now, but it'd still be somethin'."

 

What was this, now? Three beers? Four? He still had the second one that Caroline had brought him, and by the time he got through that one, it would probably be time to call it a night. But he was planning to stick around for Caroline's next set, so he wouldn't throw in the towel just yet.

 

He darted a glance toward the bar where Mike Wentworth had gone. It wouldn't be a good idea to be too forward with Caroline just yet. Maybe next meeting they had, when Mike wasn't around to see that he "remembered that Caroline was a lady," whatever that meant (he had a sneaking suspicion it meant not to flirt too much), but tonight was a night to test the waters.

 

"That is, if the practices aren't re-served for people like Wentworth," he added, unable to keep a touch of jealousy from coloring his tone. The rivalry between Lost Lake and Evergreen was affecting him more than he'd like.

 

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"Ahhh, Arabella says so, huh? Well, bless her heart but if I were you I wouldn't always believe what that girl tells ya," Caroline seemed amused.

 

"That is, if the practices aren't re-served for people like Wentworth," the young man added.

 

"No, hon, they aren't. But we don't allow folk to come in before we're officially open. You see if I let you in special, then I'd have to let others in too. Kinda makes a mockery of the whole  'we are closed to the public' thing, now wouldn't it?" she patiently explained.

 

"So sorry then, but no's the answer. I don't make the rules, I just work here," she hoped he would understand, that is if the alcohol wasn't clouding his thinking.

 

However, she did suddenly think of something. Yeah, he looked like he would do just fine.

 

"Tell ya what though, cowboy, some days before I have to begin my work shifts, I like to take a leisurely stroll down the boardwalk, take in the sights, enjoy the fresh air. That sort of thing. Now if you were to show up I'd be right pleased for the escort," she suddenly made an offer.

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Brendan pouted at Caroline's reasoning about not letting him in, but it did make sense. That didn't mean he liked it, though. "Yeah, I s'pose so."

 

He tilted his second beer back and finished it off quickly, then set it down with a soft thump. He wasn't one to make a big deal out of disappointments like this, even though it was a disappointment. Miss Mundee was very pretty, and there happened to be a shortage of women around The Evergreen ranch. He was sure every other man in town was dealing with the same "spring fever" he was, but with Miss Mundee he'd either have to give up...or try a different tactic.

 

Her offer surprised him and made his head swim slightly - or maybe that was the beer. "Really? You mean it? Shoot, I'd be glad to es-cort you." He flashed her another smile, this one slightly goofy-looking.

 

"I'll see if I c'n get away from Evergreen some days." He said the name of the ranch without thinking, or without thinking enough. He didn't really care that she knew he worked for Evergreen, but it might affect her view of him, especially if Mike Wentworth had been bad-mouthing Evergreen to her before he came up.

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As she expected the young cowpoke was apparently tickled to accept her offer of escorting one of her leisurely strolls down what passed for main street in this small town.

 

"Excellent!" she too was pleased. A lot of men were more than glad to mingle with her within the saloon itself but for various reasons might not wish to be seen in her company out in public. She was saloon folk and many townsfolk looked down on such people.

 

"I'll see if I c'n get away from Evergreen some days."

 

"Ahh, Evergreen huh? So you work there? I ain't heard much of anything good about that ranch or rather it's owner. But none of my business I figure. As long as you pay in American money, I don't care where my customers work," she shrugged.

 

Abruptly she arose then, "But sorry, hon, I really gotta go mingle with other customers. Men'll get mad if you hog me. Don't forget that walk though."

 

ooc: I'm good here, if you want to add something fine, if not this thread is FINIS.

 

A new one continues at :     

     

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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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