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    • As Weedy walked forward to see the fate of the cute little creature who had been temporarily entrusted to his care, Browne went with him, keeping a comforting hand on his shoulder. Little did he know that the poor lad had already seen much worse tragedy than this in his young life.   Sighing, Addy picked up the miniature gopher, cradling it in her hand as Weedy scaled the fence, looking eagerly from the other side.     "Sorry, Weedy."  Addy shrugged, looking past the boy to Browne...this would tell what sort of neighbors they would be, but the man didn't look at all angry.   Browne, indeed, managed a slightly sad but encouraging smile to the radiant young woman. “Nature’s way, Miss Chappel, nature’s way.” He intoned.   "I didn't mean for that to happen," the boy repeated, even though the Professor had assured him that the little critter was old and likely to die soon anyway.  "Can we bury him?"    “Er, yes, I dare say!” agreed Browne, hoping it would help ameliorate any guilty feelings the young chap might have about the tragic affair, although he knew that Buster would no doubt use any freshly turned earth as a toilet at the earliest possible convenience, thus adding insult to injury.   "I reckon..."  Addy looked to Browne again and shrugged.  "Maybe under a tree, an' you can say some words over him?"  Yes, it was absurd, but it would make Weedy feel better, and besides, it was absurd!   Just then, the Angel of Death herself appeared on the scene and came over from inside the house. “Oh Jemima, I’m afraid there has been a fatality, er, Montgomery escaped and the ginger gentleman from next door that we have seen, er, ‘Buster’ … I’m afraid.”   Jemima just uttered a flat “I’ll get the spade” and clomped off, soon returning with a shovel and a large cigar box.   Falmer Browne encouraged Weedy forward.   “Let us collect up the remains of the departed.” He said in a comforting voice.   Jemima approached Weedy and shoved the cigar box in his hand, it was a big one with ample room for poor Montgomery’s corpse.   “I’ll get diggin’.” She announced and looked at Addy “Where’d you want him plantin’?” she asked.     @Bongo
    • Mr. Smith knew a stacked deck against him when it was presented to him. He wasn't surprised really, the men were sticking up for the pretty gal instead of justice. It was the way of things. But he would try and get at least something out of his misery.   "Oh alright, I won't press charges but only if she pays whatever the doc here is gonna charge me for this here treatment," he answered.   "Of course, Miss Mundee here, well, she’ll have to wait on Anderson to decide her immediate fate.” Speed said. “With those others awaiting trial, have to take her to the County Sheriff’s lock up. Just about looking at a full house, well except for the basement cells.” He smiled at her.   "Fine! Not like I got any say in this do I?  Just a kindly young miss defendin' some poor innocent dog from mistreatment. Yeah, incar....incar..ser..?" Caroline was stumped.   "Throw me behind bars and lemme rot then," she shrugged.   "Hey Doc, you seem like a nice man? Can you let the saloon know where I am, please? Maybe my boss can post bail or somethin'? She is gonna need her singer/dancer tonight," she now addressed Danforth.   She pointed to herself, "That be me! You should come and hear me sometime. I admit my dancin' ain't the greatest but everyone sez I can sing real fine."   ooc: Forgot about this when I came home from my trip! We should be close to finishing it soon anyhow.   @Flip   @Bongo    
    • The good reverend had the kindness to offer to write down justwhat  it was the couple were going to have to recite from memory and scribbled the words down as he said them too. Clara was grateful for that much. Her dripping sarcasm seemingly had failed miserably on Jacob so she was stuck learning this. Fortunately it did not seem too long or so bad. That is if her nerves didn't fail her. Well, she would just have to find out. Besides, even if she bungled the vows, it could be easily sorted, nothing was going to stop them from getting married!   Hearing that all present would have to agree to the marriage gave Clara a bit of a new worry. Unanimous? So it would take only one to ....to scuttle the whole thing? A new thing to be nervous about. Afterall there would be Granny Miggins present.......oh and Arabella too. So far Arabella had been most supportive about the young couple but it was afterall Arabella. Mercurial described the child to a tee.   Clara took her copy, "Thank you, Reverend."   Then Jacob began to recite the whole thing. Now? Both Redmonds turned their gaze to watch and listen to the little performance. Strange.   When he had finished, Clara could only comment, "You are a bit early. This is not the ceremony yet."   Since Aurelian could not help with the ring, he then turned to the minister, "What is the cost of the marriage ceremony, use of the church and such? I will pay for it. It is tradition the father of the bride pay for the expenses."            
    • "Oh, really? Congratulations, then, Mrs. Soon-to-be Pike!" Lucinda smiled warmly, but her smile was tinged with sadness, as were her thoughts. This woman had found someone she liked enough to marry again, but Lucinda doubted that she ever would. Out here, anyway. Back east was a different story.   "I would be glad of the company if you could spare a few minutes," she answered. Now the question was...what would they talk about? All Lucinda wanted to know was news from the east, but it wasn't likely Emeline would know any more than she did. And as far as news went, living by yourself for six months didn't give you a lot of news-worthy things to talk about.   "Could I also have some water? I don't know about you, but stagecoaches make my throat terribly dry."
    • "White... fish?" José repeated, a little incredulous at such a name. Not that Kalispell was much better, but at least it was a name, rather than a color of aquatic creature. "No, I wasn't headed there. Why?"   "Uh, jest that it ain't there no more, an' you'd be wastin' your time huntin' her up.  Wasn't all that much anyway. I mean there was people what lived there, they had stores and all, but it jest never felt right. You know, somethin' off about the place." Carson explained as well as he could.   "Nest for outlaws mostly, a man had ta be careful what he said, an' such-like. But now Kalispell? That there's a growing concern. Most folks 'er friendly, Marshal seems to be a fair man. Yeah, a good place. So, what sortta work you looking for?" It was easy conversation for a lengthy ride across the range, pushing through the cattle when they crowded up.   "You might wanna douse that there lamp. Moon an' stars shed plenty of light out here." What he was thinking was, that a moving light crossing the Evergreen might bring on problems neither of them wanted, or needed.  @boshmi    

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"Well, so long as he's ridin' a white horse, I reckon there could be some quarter given."  Addy shrugged, thinking that armor would be cumbersome anyway, and that she wouldn't want to be burdened by something that made it hard to function.

 

"Glad that armor ain't somethin' they wear anymore, although I'd truly appreciate seein' a man in it...an' a horse, too.  Can't imagine how a horse can move in all that metal."

 

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."

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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.

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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!”

 

Brown_Recluse.jpg

 

@Bongo

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The pocket gopher was cute, and it was fun to pet him and let him crawl up his arm, but Weedy abandoned that amusement as soon as Miz Jemima started talking about spider bites that could make your whole body bloat and then explode with blood everywhere!  How amazing was that!

 

The boy's nose was pressed against the glass as he studied the creature contained inside the transparent prison.  "How did he get out?" he asked, his eyes going (very) momentarily to the woman, then back to the spider.  "Maybe he's lonely and needs a friend?  Where do they come from?  It gets mighty cold here in the winter, he might freeze or something."

 

@Javia

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"At any rate, if yer set on goin' ta Helena with me, you'll need ta pack a few things, spare shirt, britches an' whatnot.  Can't bring too much, though, we ain't got much room, an' we'll hafta have room fer food an' beddin', feed fer th' horses." 

 

She'd make a list, but Addy had done this so much that she had it all organized in her head to begin with, which helped since she couldn't actually make a list! 

 

"Don't worry none on rain gear, I'll have some oil slickers, an' bed rolls, too.  Mostly be sleepin' on th' ground under th' wagon, so th' dew don't settle on us."  The trick was finding a high spot, so it if rained, there were no rivulets flowing under them!

 

@Javia

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The boy's nose was pressed against the glass as he studied the creature contained inside the transparent prison.  "How did he get out?" he asked, his eyes going (very) momentarily to the woman, then back to the spider. 

 

“I think it was the ghost. This house is haunted!” Jemima informed him, with an air of authority. “Either way, he got out. Dunno why he bothered, he’s nice and comfy in there.”

 

 "Maybe he's lonely and needs a friend?  Where do they come from?  It gets mighty cold here in the winter, he might freeze or something."

 

“He can’t freeze in here, Professor’s got a contraption which makes it always hot as Hades in the greenhouse. I sweat like the dickens when I have to work in here, I mean like great big wet patches under my arms, I have to go outside with my arms in the air to dry em off.” she imparted this information like it was vital for the lad to know. Then she nudged him.

 

“Hey, do you dare me to touch him?” she asked, with a strange glow of excitement in her coal black little eyes. “I dare you to dare me!”

 

@Bongo

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"At any rate, if yer set on goin' ta Helena with me, you'll need ta pack a few things, spare shirt, britches an' whatnot.  Can't bring too much, though, we ain't got much room, an' we'll hafta have room fer food an' beddin', feed fer th' horses."

 

After 10 years of trying to forget the ruthless businessman he had once been, Falmer Browne couldn’t help thinking of the possibilities than providing such fodder along the road might provide, then immediately scotching the idea – the inevitable growth of the railroad empires would very soon render the stage and the supply wagon nugatory, in the same way that the spread of barbed wire would soon end the dominance of the cattle kings and kill off the golden age of the cowboy and the wild west. Another twenty years and that would be it.

 

“Will we need to take some precautions against the weather, Miss Chappel?” he asked “I have observed the inclement nature of the seasons here, albeit from within the snug safety of a townhouse, with a warm fire in the grate and a hot toddy at my side.”

 

"Don't worry none on rain gear, I'll have some oil slickers, an' bed rolls, too.  Mostly be sleepin' on th' ground under th' wagon, so th' dew don't settle on us."  The trick was finding a high spot, so it if rained, there were no rivulets flowing under them!

 

“I must say…” beamed the old man, rubbing his hands together “… I’m starting to get rather more excited about the journey that I am, even, about the items that we are going to fetch! I will be able to look all those cowpokes and rough prospectors and trappers in the eye and declare that ‘Yes!, I too have ‘roughed it’ on the Great Plains! I have felt the dew on my face in mornings and rivulets of frosty water running down my collar and out of my boots before they join forces to form the great Yellowstone or Missouri!” he waxed lyrical: 4 parts inspiration to 6 parts Ald Smellie scotch.

 

@Bongo

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"All big, fancy words until yer lips start ta turn blue with th' cold an' th' tip'a yer nose turns white an' falls off!" Addy declared.  Given a chance, she could give Jemima run for her money in the 'gruesome' departement!  "Can't say as how many times I've had ta grow that nose back!"

 

With a grin, she tapped the freckled appendage in question, then laughed.  "Next is a deluge so thick ya can hardly see, so ya fall right off th' road and into th' river...get washed clean ta Puget Sound!  Takes three years ta get back home!"

 

Again, she laughed, then added, "Like as not, you'll get yer adventure, or just die of boredom along th' way.  I'll be sure ta prop ya on th' seat an' get ya all th' way home, though, don't fret none on that!"

 

@Javia

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“Hey, do you dare me to touch him?” she asked, with a strange glow of excitement in her coal black little eyes. “I dare you to dare me!”

 

Weedy looked at the woman with a sly grin.  He was a boy, and he loved challenges, especially when they came with a dare, and secretly he had the idea that Miz Jemima had touched the spider before, more than once.  Maybe she'd even been the one to let it out?

 

"All right, I dare you!"  Then he quickly added, "Then it's my turn!"

 

@Javia

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"All big, fancy words until yer lips start ta turn blue with th' cold an' th' tip'a yer nose turns white an' falls off!" Addy declared.  Given a chance, she could give Jemima run for her money in the 'gruesome' department!  "Can't say as how many times I've had ta grow that nose back!"

 

Falmer Browne chuckled at Addy’s whimsical tall tales, standard fare for amusement round a cowboy’s campfire but an unusual form of conversation in a middle-class drawing room. “Well, I must say that it’s grown back beautifully, Miss Chappel, I have never before beheld such a pretty one!” To be fair, the rough and ready frontierswoman did have a cute one. 

 

With a grin, she tapped the freckled appendage in question, then laughed.  "Next is a deluge so thick ya can hardly see, so ya fall right off th' road and into th' river...get washed clean ta Puget Sound! Takes three years ta get back home!" 

 

The grey-haired man nodded wide eyed as if in a state of total belief. “Indeed?” he asked, amazed “Why if we float there together, I believe there is now a steam ship from Seattle to San Francisco, I should love to visit the Paris of the West with you.” 

 

Again, she laughed, then added, "Like as not, you'll get yer adventure, or just die of boredom along th' way.  I'll be sure ta prop ya on th' seat an' get ya all th' way home, though, don't fret none on that!" 

 

“Well, at least after all that, I shall no longer be a Greenhorn!” Addy’s host laughed “I might not be quite alive, but I shall certainly not be a Greenhorn!” 

 

There was suddenly a scream, but not a very convincing one, and then a laugh from the Greenhouse next door.   

 

“Ah, I wonder how Master Porter and Jemima are getting on with Montgomery!” Browne said, jumping up in sprightly manner. Listening to all of Addy’s adventuresome, if farfetched travel tales had made him eager to get up and go this very instant! 

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"All right, I dare you!"  Then he quickly added, "Then it's my turn!"

 

Jemima's dark eyes burned with excitement. 

 

"I'm scared to, but you dare'd me, so I gotta!" she said with a tremor of excitement  in her usually flat voice. "But if that nasty little spider, he bites me, then you know what you gotta do? You gotta suck the poison out o' where-ever it bites me and spit it on the floor!" she warned him. 

 

"And if some day you ever get bit by a poisonous spider or a snake on the backside and someone's gotta suck out the poison for yuh ... well Porter, that's the day you'll find out who your true friends are." This was supposed to be a joke, but the girl's slow and po-faced delivery made it sound like some kind of dire warning.

 

She put her finger to her lips and, glancing at the doorway to make sure they weren't being observed, opened the lid of the tank and rolled up her sleeve, and lowered her hand  slowly, slowly into the tank, nearer and nearer the spider beneath his piece of bark, glancing worriedly at Weedy, then back at the arachnid, slowly, slowly...

 

"ARRGGHHH!!!" Jemima screamed, yanked the hand from the tank and fell onto the floor, holding the middle finger of her right hand with those of the left and squeezing the tip so it went bright red. "Quick, quick, suck the poison out before I die!!" she pleaded, holding up the offending article as she lay prostrate on the greenhouse floor.

 

@Bongo

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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“Well, at least after all that, I shall no longer be a Greenhorn!” Addy’s host laughed “I might not be quite alive, but I shall certainly not be a Greenhorn!”

 

"Put yer fate in my hands," Addy declared, showing her calloused but smooth hands, "an' ya can rest assured, won't no one accuse ya of bein' a greenhorn no more!"  They'd have plenty of time, and so long as he wasn't averse to getting dirty...there was so much she could teach him, and he did seem curious and willing to learn.  She would, however, draw the line at eating grubs!

 

There was suddenly a scream, but not a very convincing one, and then a laugh from the Greenhouse next door.   

 

“Ah, I wonder how Master Porter and Jemima are getting on with Montgomery!”

 

Addy raised an eyebrow, not sure what was going on, and not sure how worried she had to be.  "What'd that boy do now?"  Of course, whatever was going on had to be Weedy's doing, since Jemima was a responsible adult!

 

++++++++++++++++

"But if that nasty little spider, he bites me, then you know what you gotta do? You gotta suck the poison out o' where-ever it bites me and spit it on the floor!" she warned him.

 

"Really?"  Weedy's eyes widened as he looked at the woman.  "But...it's not polite to spit in the house!"  Addy had taught him that!

 

"And if some day you ever get bit by a poisonous spider or a snake on the backside and someone's gotta suck out the poison for yuh ... well Porter, that's the day you'll find out who your true friends are."

 

He reckoned that was true, and determined that from now on he'd be mindful of where he sat!

 

As Jemima reached into the tank, Weedy was there again, his nose pressed to the glass.  "Be careful," he chided, watching for any aggressive move by the spider, but then he suddenly jumped back at her scream!

 

"ARRGGHHH!!!" Jemima screamed, yanked the hand from the tank and fell onto the floor, holding the middle finger of her right hand with those of the left and squeezing the tip so it went bright red. "Quick, quick, suck the poison out before I die!!" she pleaded, holding up the offending article as she lay prostrate on the greenhouse floor.

 

Well, this was his fault for taking her dare to dare her, and at least the bite wasn't on her backside, and besides, Weedy wasn't sure how he'd explain her dead body in the room.  First, he glanced quickly at the door...maybe he could just slip out and claim ignorance?  'She was playing with the spider and I got scared and left'  But he'd have to go through the rest of the house and likely be seen...

 

Dropping down to his knees beside the woman, he grabbed her finger.  "I'll fix it!" he shouted valiantly, now that he knew this was his only option, "just be all right!"  Then he started to suck!

 

@Javia

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Dropping down to his knees beside the woman, he grabbed her finger.  "I'll fix it!" he shouted valiantly, now that he knew this was his only option, "just be all right!"  Then he started to suck!

 

“Suck harder, I’m dying!” Jemima groaned, rolling her eyes up and making her tongue loll grotesquely. “I think it’s working… oh, I hope I don’t lose that finger…” she said, suddenly becoming more cogent “… that’s the one I pick my nose with!” she added, a mischievous smile illuminating her normally dull features.

 

Weedy’s reaction was as might be expected and the girl rocked with mirth. “He he he, gotcha!” she chuckled deeply, as she scrabbled back to her feet.

 

“You should play that trick on someone” she informed poor Weedy as she tapped the glass tank. “Look, he was dead all the time. The Professor killed him with a special deadly gas. That’s what he likes to do, try out different ways of killing pests.” She informed the boy, her eyes lingering on the spider who was lying on his back now with his stiff legs in the air where she’d flicked him.

 

“Montgomery’s a pest, too, but the Professor's too kind and didn’t have the heart to kill him, so he keeps him as a pet.” The pocket gopher had run away during Jemima’s macabre histrionics but now came back and ran up Weedy’s leg.

 

At that point Falmer Browne and Miss Addy arrived through the greenhouse door and suddenly Jemima was the obedient and biddable house maid again.

 

“Jemima! Go and help Mrs O’Houlighan now, please!” the man ordered the girl and she bobbed an obedient and po-faced curtsey, but before she scuttled out of the strange plant filled hot-house she caught Weedy’s eye and gave him a conspiratorial smile.

 

@Bongo

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“Suck harder, I’m dying!”

 

She didn't sound like she was dying, and honestly, the expression on her face wasn't so much different as to convince Weedy that she was in any more dire straits than before! Still, he tried again.

 

“I think it’s working… oh, I hope I don’t lose that finger…” she said, suddenly becoming more cogent “… that’s the one I pick my nose with!”

 

The made Weedy stop in surprise and sit back, looking at the woman intently, and not so much as the grossness of the idea, but wondering that the stubby appendage could actually serve the purpose she was claiming.  Sure, her nostrils were cavernous, but her fingers were like little potatoes, and he marveled that any one of them could fit in her nose!

 

"It's not polite to pick your nose anyway!" he declared.

 

“He he he, gotcha!” she chuckled deeply, as she scrabbled back to her feet.

 

Looking up at her, Weedy frowned.  She was funning him?

 

“You should play that trick on someone” she informed poor Weedy as she tapped the glass tank. “Look, he was dead all the time. The Professor killed him with a special deadly gas. That’s what he likes to do, try out different ways of killing pests.”

 

"Dead?"  Momentarily distracted from the fact that she'd fooled him.  "Why'd anyone want to kill him?"  It seemed like a waste, unless Professor Browne was mad at it because it had crawled on him?

 

“Montgomery’s a pest, too, but the Professor's too kind and didn’t have the heart to kill him, so he keeps him as a pet.” The pocket gopher had run away during Jemima’s macabre histrionics but now came back and ran up Weedy’s leg.

 

Scooping the little critter into his hands, Weedy held it protectively.  "He's not poisonous," he pointed out, an obvious reason not to kill it....well, besides the fact that it was so cute!

 

He looked over as the adults arrived.

 

“Jemima! Go and help Mrs O’Houlighan now, please!” the man ordered the girl and she bobbed an obedient and po-faced curtsey, but before she scuttled out of the strange plant filled hot-house she caught Weedy’s eye and gave him a conspiratorial smile.

 

At this, Weedy quickly stuck his tongue out at the woman.  She had started a feud, and Weedy was going to play his part.  He didn't know exactly how or when, but they were neighbors, so there was plenty of opportunity!

 

"What was all th' caterwaulin' about?" Addy asked, watching the woman scamper away.

 

"Oh, Miz Jemima almost got bit by this spider!"  Without hesitation, Weedy ran over to the tank, stuffing the pocket gopher into his shirt, then sticking his hand into the tank to 'pet' the spider.  "She says it's the most poisonous spider in the World, one little bite and you just turn to dust and blow away!  Ain't that right, Professor Browne!"

 

@Javia

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"It's not polite to pick your nose anyway!" he declared.

 

“He he he, gotcha!” she chuckled deeply, as she scrabbled back to her feet. 

 

“Everybody does it! Even Elias Steelgrave!” she grinned.

 

Looking up at her, Weedy frowned.  She was funning him?

 

“Yep, she was funnin’ him. 

 

“You should play that trick on someone” she informed poor Weedy as she tapped the glass tank. “Look, he was dead all the time. The Professor killed him with a special deadly gas. That’s what he likes to do, try out different ways of killing pests.”

 

"Dead?"  Momentarily distracted from the fact that she'd fooled him.  "Why'd anyone want to kill him?"  It seemed like a waste, unless Professor Browne was mad at it because it had crawled on him?

 

“Cause they hurt folks. They ain’t as bad as black widders, but there’s more of ‘em and they hide in places folks stick their hands, so the Professor invented a gas that kills them but doesn’t harm folks.”

 

“Montgomery’s a pest, too, but the Professor's too kind and didn’t have the heart to kill him, so he keeps him as a pet.” The pocket gopher had run away during Jemima’s macabre histrionics but now came back and ran up Weedy’s leg.

 

Scooping the little critter into his hands, Weedy held it protectively.  "He's not poisonous," he pointed out, an obvious reason not to kill it....well, besides the fact that it was so cute! 

 

“Yeah, but him and all his little gopher friends burrow under crops and ruins ‘em” Jemima explained, she had imbibed well as the Professor’s shoulder, watching on intently as he sent various nuisance critters off to nuisance critter heaven.

 

He looked over as the adults arrived.

 

“Jemima! Go and help Mrs O’Houlighan now, please!” the man ordered the girl and she bobbed an obedient and po-faced curtsey, but before she scuttled out of the strange plant filled hot-house she caught Weedy’s eye and gave him a conspiratorial smile.

 

At this, Weedy quickly stuck his tongue out at the woman.  She had started a feud, and Weedy was going to play his part.  He didn't know exactly how or when, but they were neighbors, so there was plenty of opportunity!

 

Jemima went off, happily for her. She was going to enjoy a prank war with young Master Porter James. She thought.

 

"What was all th' caterwaulin' about?" Addy asked, watching the woman scamper away.

 

"Oh, Miz Jemima almost got bit by this spider!"  Without hesitation, Weedy ran over to the tank, stuffing the pocket gopher into his shirt, then sticking his hand into the tank to 'pet' the spider.  "She says it's the most poisonous spider in the World, one little bite and you just turn to dust and blow away!  Ain't that right, Professor Browne!"

 

“Yes, well, something like that!” the man frowned as he replaced the lid to stop Weedy playing with the thing, there was a tiny chance that some of its venom might still be viable and transfer to a meddling hand. He would have to have a stern word with Jemima later. Ironically, the last time he had be forced to do that was just before the very same fiddleback had escaped and found itself lost, confused and very bite-y, on the back of his neck.

 

“I see you and Montgomery have become firm friends!” he said, smiling at Weedy now.

 

@Bongo

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"Yes, sir!"  Weedy grinned widely, stroking the little head that was poking out of his shirt.  "He's real smart, and soft, too!"

 

"Well, I bet ol' Buster'd make a snack outta him," Addy declared, "he ain't much bigger than one'a th' barn mice, an' Buster wouldn't know th' difference."  She wanted Weedy to be sure that there was no point in asking for the critter as a pet.  "It's nice'n safe fer him here."

 

Weedy's nose wrinkled up, but he reluctantly held the critter to F.F.  "Can I visit him?" he asked.  "You're not going to use the gas on him, are you?"  Despite what Addy had said, he'd find a way to hide the critter away if its future was to join the spider.

 

@Javia

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"Well, I bet ol' Buster'd make a snack outta him," Addy declared, "he ain't much bigger than one'a th' barn mice, an' Buster wouldn't know th' difference."  She wanted Weedy to be sure that there was no point in asking for the critter as a pet.  "It's nice'n safe fer him here."

 

Falmer Browne nodded. “Indeed, if this Buster is, as I suspect, a pussy cat, then poor Montgomery would not last too long in his company. With his trusting nature, he might as well have ‘eat me’ written upon him, like the cake in Alice in Wonderland.”

 

Weedy's nose wrinkled up, but he reluctantly held the critter to F.F.  "Can I visit him?" he asked.  "You're not going to use the gas on him, are you?"  Despite what Addy had said, he'd find a way to hide the critter away if its future was to join the spider.

 

The scientist looked a little ashamed, that indeed had been his furry friend’s original fate.

 

“Please be assured that Montgomery is quite safe from my experiments, Master Porter. And you may visit with him whenever you please, though I would encourage you to do so at times when Jemima is in attendance; I’m afraid that Mrs O’Houlighan is quite afraid of the little chap, ever since he ran up her, ahem, ... skirts. She says that he is a little too frisky for her tastes!”

 

@Bongo

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Addy chuckled at the thought of the little critter trying to hide somewhere quite intimate.  "Must'a thought he was a chigger!  Ya just make sure ya remember ta knock when ya come over here," she chided Weedy, "an' don't wear out yer welcome, neither."

 

Knowing the boy, he'd be running over here all the time, and while she thought that there was plenty for him to learn here, Addy didn't want the new neighbors to get tired of him.

 

Then she glanced at Browne.  "Yer right, Buster's my scraggly ol' tom cat...got one eye, but he's a great mouser.  I reckon he's like as not ta go between th' house here an' th' freight barn where we was livin' before.  He's right friendly an' likes pumpkin an' chickpeas."  A strange cat indeed!

 

@Javia

 

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Then she glanced at Browne.  "Yer right, Buster's my scraggly ol' tom cat...got one eye, but he's a great mouser.  I reckon he's like as not ta go between th' house here an' th' freight barn where we was livin' before.  He's right friendly an' likes pumpkin an' chickpeas."  A strange cat indeed!

 

Falmer Browne was interested in this tale of feline ferocity, not just for the jocund elements of the story but because of the pusscat’s pulse-eating peculiarities.

 

“Ah, he hunts well still despite the lack of binocular vision, eh?” he ruminated sagely, putting a thoughtful fist to his chin. “And yet is also fond of these unusual side orders. Hmmm.”

 

Falmer Brown was a vegetarian himself, but had no illusions that the omnivorous bulk of mankind could ever be converted to the rightful way of eating unless something as tasty as a big juicy steak could be conjured up out of plant matter. Yes, something as tasty as a big beefsteak, tenderloin, just lightly braised on the outside but still bloody in the middle, smothered in onions and mushrooms, perhaps a peppercorn sauce covering it as he sliced into it with a razor sharp steak knife, before sticking in his fork and raising it to his mouth… NO! NO! He must not think of that. He must remember the cause!

 

He tried to distract himself from the thought of delicious flesh by looking at Addy, oh no! She was just another variety of delicious fleshy delight. He must think of something boring, calming. Ah yes. Supper tonight was steamed carrot and mashed turnip. The blood immediately stopped rushing in his ears.

 

“I should like to meet Buster.” He said calmly, after this internal mini-drama. “On his own turf, of course!”

 

@Bongo

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"A'course, I'm sure he'd be happy ta meet you, too," Addy declared, "I don't doubt as he'll make himself ta home, so it'd be best not ta let him in...he'll flop on yer settee an' never raise another paw nor pursue another critter again!"

 

She laughed and shook her head.  "'Course, given th' opportunity, I reckon I'd do th' same....well, not th' critter chasin' part...don't do that now, an' don't plan on takin' it up any time soon!  At any rate, I'm sure he'll come moonin' around once he comes ta know th' house is his new home."

 

As a tom cat, most of Buster's 'territory' was the whole town, but he always came back to the barn, and now he'd have to learn that the house was home base now.  But cats were smart, and as long as Addy left nightly treats for him, that wouldn't take long.

 

"We can see if he's there now!"  Running to the back door, she stepped onto the porch.  "BUUUSSSSSTTTEERRRR!  HERE KITTY!" 

 

And a moment later, the subject of conversation arrived over the fence, tail held high.

 

@Javia

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"A'course, I'm sure he'd be happy ta meet you, too," Addy declared, "I don't doubt as he'll make himself ta home, so it'd be best not ta let him in...he'll flop on yer settee an' never raise another paw nor pursue another critter again!"

 

In Falmer Browne’s experience, Tom cats sometimes ‘made themselves at home’ in a rather unpleasant way, a rather malodorous one, that would require all of Jemima’s cleaning skills to remove. And Buster sounded like the sort of strong character who always liked to make his mark in life, and on those he came into contact with.

 

She laughed and shook her head.  "'Course, given th' opportunity, I reckon I'd do th' same....well, not th' critter chasin' part...don't do that now, an' don't plan on takin' it up any time soon!  At any rate, I'm sure he'll come moonin' around once he comes ta know th' house is his new home."

 

“You could try the old wives tale about putting butter on a cat’s paws: they say that one you do that, and he licks it off, he knows innately where his new home is.”

 

"We can see if he's there now!" 

 

“Oh, no need to on my account, I….” oh, too late, she was off like a greyhound out of its pen!

 

Running to the back door, she stepped onto the porch.  "BUUUSSSSSTTTEERRRR!  HERE KITTY!" 

 

And a moment later, the subject of conversation arrived over the fence, tail held high.

 

Yes, Falmer Browne recognised the swagger of an alpha male as soon as the handsome ginger and white tom appeared, bounding over to his willing she-slave. He had felt, he had to own, a pang of jealousy when the beautiful Miss Chappel had been talking about her fiancé, the lucky Mr Ryker, but he needn’t have bothered: this one eyed brute was clearly the true master of Miss Adeline Chappel’s heart.

 

Buster nuzzled up to Addy and with his remaining eye gave Browne a look of pure, cocky contempt, as if to say ‘All right, piss off old man, DADDY’s here now’ F. Falmer Browne, once the terror of the New York company board rooms, had to draw on all his reserves of courage to stand-up straight and face down this formidable feline, man to man.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"There's my boy!"  Grinning, Addy bent down to scratch the cat's ears, but Buster was more interested in his new neighbors, and sauntered over to the man, rubbing against his legs then sitting right in front of him and looking up, surprisingly intense for having just one eye, the end of his tail flicking slightly.

 

"See there, he likes ya!"

 

But just at that instant, Montgomery decided that it was getting a little too warm inside Weedy's shirt, and the aroma of 'boy' was getting to be stifling, so the little gopher critter poked its head out, took one look at the cat and took off, scrambling over Weedy's head, flopping to the wooden porch, and the chase was on!

 

Pocket gopher, one-eyed cat, sandy-haired boy and laughing woman charged across the yard!

 

@Javia

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"See there, he likes ya!"

 

“Yes, er, very friendly!” grimaced Falmer Browne as Buster rubbed his body against him as a new territorial acquisition rather than a new friend.

 

 But just at that instant, Montgomery decided that it was getting a little too warm inside Weedy's shirt, and the aroma of 'boy' was getting to be stifling, so the little gopher critter poked its head out, took one look at the cat and took off, scrambling over Weedy's head, flopping to the wooden porch, and the chase was on!

 

Pocket gopher, one-eyed cat, sandy-haired boy and laughing woman charged across the yard!

 

Montgomery had never faced a nemesis possessing the speed and grace of the master hunter who bounded after him as he shot across the garden; the sly but slow moving Lamia had been his only foe. His heart rate beat rapidly, even for him, as he darted away. He had the advantage of speed but lacked a knowledge of the geography of the area outside the greenhouse, and that told rapidly. He was outpacing the one-eyed ginger cat when he came face to face with an unscalable brick wall and had to bounce off it and commit to a 180 that brought him back past the pursuing Buster. Had fate favoured him, and sent him to the Tom’s blind side, he might have survived; but alas things proved otherwise, and in a trice the little furry animal felt the unusual sensation of sharp claws catching his flank and then fangs sinking into his throat.

 

Buster would no doubt have enjoyed greatly letting the little gopher escape, and then catching him again a few times, but he had experienced the strange caprices of human beings before when he had presented them with little trophies, so he picked Montgomery’s still living, panting, blinking body up in his maw, and trotted away to a patch over a fence that he knew that was out of reach to the human creatures who were even now approaching.

 

@Bongo

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"Buster!  Drop that!"  Addy was after the cat, hoping to intervene before it was too late, while Weedy just stood on the porch, his lower lip trembling as he looked guiltily up at Browne.

 

"I'm sorry,"[/b] the boy muttered, on the verge of tears, "I didn't mean..."  He looked dolefully toward the fence, then belatedly chased after Addy and Buster and Montgomery...

 

By that time, Addy had scrambled over the fence and was confronting the cat.  "Drop it!" she chided, not yet moving in, to give Buster a chance to comply.

 

The cat had released the strange critter, but was keeping it protectively between his front paws as he gazed challengingly at his mistress with his one eye.  His prize was new to him, something special to explore, and he wasn't done playing yet!

 

@Javia

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"Buster!  Drop that!"  Addy was after the cat, hoping to intervene before it was too late, while Weedy just stood on the porch, his lower lip trembling as he looked guiltily up at Browne.

"I'm sorry," the boy muttered, on the verge of tears, "I didn't mean..."  He looked dolefully toward the fence, then belatedly chased after Addy and Buster and Montgomery...

 

“There, there” said the sentimental Browne putting a comforting hand on Weedy’s shoulder; his naturally kindly disposition augmented by the whiskey “The genus Geomyidae have but a short time to live, and Montgomery has had a good long life for one of his kind. If nothing else, we can take comfort that, after many months in captivity, he died a free gopher!” he said, trying to placate the boy's feelings of guilt.

 

By that time, Addy had scrambled over the fence and was confronting the cat.  "Drop it!" she chided, not yet moving in, to give Buster a chance to comply.

 

The cat had released the strange critter, but was keeping it protectively between his front paws as he gazed challengingly at his mistress with his one eye.  His prize was new to him, something special to explore, and he wasn't done playing yet!

 

As his heart beat faster and faster, and the crimson lifeblood flowed from his wounds, Montgomery looked up, past the chin of the savage sabretooth who held him fast in the primeval fate of his kind, past the form of the human, silhouetted black against the clear blue Montana sky, and into those very clouds themselves and suddenly a comforting light seemed to suddenly envelop him. As his little heart came to a sudden stop, he found himself once more amongst friends and littermates and even, yeah, the father he had never known and the mother at whose teat he had suckled along with his brothers and sisters. And they were there in some heavenly burrow, in a land where busters did not roam in search of prey and where crops grew high and deep all year round ready for the little winged gopher angels to ruin them.

 

[OOC: This post is dedicated to the memory of Montgomery the Gopher 1874-1876, RIP]

 

gopher-pocket-gopher-shutterstock-com_13

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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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