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    • "We'll have to get on over to the dinning room them. Afraid it's liable to be a bit more like Kalispell than Frisco." He said. "But it'll be good food, just not what we've been used too. Will be up on the hill, for sure.  I was told this is the best hotel because it was a ways out across the river from town, and it was solid built."   "The wealth on the hill is such that all most everything around it is growing at a fast pace. You'll really see that when we visit the Capitol, Carson City. Supposedly discovered by Kit Carson and General John Freemont on their way to Sacramento in. At least Freemont named the river after him back in '43 or '44. Nothin' was there then."   "All that made me hungry too, let's go eat an then take us a walk across the river, or along it, which ever you want." @Bongo
    • That did not take long. Cookie rang the triangle and shouted his best but in the end he sent the kid to roust all but the closest to him. Rance joined young Wheeler in the line, a bit out of the wind, but mostly in it for the moment. It seemed calmer up by the wagon.   "That had ta be bad back there. The wind drivin' the dust an' the smell, but should this wind let up you'll be on flank, left flank, then right, then back to the drag. It'll be me, Dallas, an' Dixie. eatin' dust tomorrow. But at least we got hot grub, won't always be that'a way out here though, every trip is different."   And they moved up steadily. @Bongo
    • "Nothing to discuss? I am surprised, Jonah. Why, if we have time for breakfast, there will be much to discuss regarding the hospital as well as the start of the orphanage. Hopefully that the railroad will be completed, or close to it by then." She smiled brightly. "Things will be different by then."   "My hope is that we get through all of this without my fathers interference causing delays, or real problems with the builders. You know we could get well into October before the snow flies, but I'm not counting on that. The winter will stop construction until the thaw." She stated, but the smile was still there, "But it will be well underway!" @Bongo
    • "Pleased ta meet ya, Rance."  Justus gave the man a nod, then lined up with the others for grub.  Maybe he could get some sleep despite the wind.  He surely was tired enough, and until there was something that concerned him, he didn't need to be concerned.   First, though, a full belly!  As the line progressed, he he nodded to the kid who was the cook's help.  "Times like this, I bet yer glad ya don't have ta be on th' downwind end of a herd'a cows!"   @Flip
    • "It's good to know you'll have the best working on the project, you've come this far, you don't need to risk the quality with less than the best working on it."  Even though he had no doubt that the crew would be excellent, it was reassuring to know that the man hand picked for the job would actually be on site overseeing it.  That way, too, he'd be there if Leah needed to discuss anything with him, and Jonah had a good feeling that was going to happen!   He grinned and took a sip of coffee.  "Just think, this time next year it will all be over!  We'll have a fine hospital with the best equipment...and nothing to discuss over breakfast!"   @Flip  

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Mature Content: No.

Author: Arabella Mudd

With: Caroline Mundee & Saloon Folk.
Location: Kitchen, Bar, Bedrooms.
When: Early July, 1876 (two days after the Evergreen/Lost Lake shootout)
Time of Day: Late - 10am.

 

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She’d never really looked at it in the daytime, the ceiling above her bed. Someone must have plastered and painted it years ago. Someone had stood right here where her bed was now and done it, they’d missed a bit there. Maybe that person was dead now. Time was funny, she felt the sheet under her hands. Why was she in bed in daytime? The ceilings, the brush-marks of the paint, the uneven pattern of dirt and oil smoke marks from her lamp and cobwebs and cracks, they kept her mesmerised for the longest time.

 

Why was she in bed in daytime?

 

She had been ill, feverish. She had been having nightmares. The same scene had repeated again and again and again in her mind. Billy Blood, maggots crawling out of his mouth, Brendan Blood worms slithering over his face, Caroline, no that didn’t go: Billy Blood Brendan Blood Caroline, no that didn’t go: the same puzzle revolving around and around and around like a Magic Lantern show.

 

Now her head was suddenly clear, and she drew her eyes away from the fascinating ceiling. She needed to pee. It was the prod she never to twist onto her side and try and get out of bed. She felt fine. She must’ve lain in bed all day. What day? She got up and felt around for the pot under the bed.

 

Clomp, clomp, clomp. Down the stairs her boots sounded and she lolloped into the kitchen where Mammy Cookie was cooking and Caroline was sitting at the table. Mammy turned around as she entered.

 

“Well look what the cat dragged in! How you feelin’ chile’?!” the rotund Messalina McMahon beamed and met the Virginian girl in a big hug. “We was worried about you! You had that fever bad!”

 

Arabella shrugged. “I can’t remember nuthin about it!” she said. That wasn’t true. Some bits were so vivid in her mind that she couldn’t look at them straight on,. To stop having to picture them she flounced over to Caroline.

 

“Hey, it’s me! Who played the pianna for you last night? I coulda swore I heard you singin’ downstairs and me playin’ the pianna, but I was lyin’ in bed in the dark, it was the queerest thing!” she beamed.

 

@Wayfarer

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Caroline was sipping her coffee and chewing on a slice of well done bacon when Arabella walked in. Instead of greeting the child like she used to, the saloon gal simply ignored her.  The cook didn't though.

 

“Well look what the cat dragged in! How you feelin’ chile’?!” the rotund Messalina McMahon beamed and met the Virginian girl in a big hug. “We was worried about you! You had that fever bad!”

 

"Not all of us," muttered Caroline into her coffee cup. She wasn't going to care about somebody who didn't give a damn about her. Two can play that game.

 

Arabella shrugged. “I can’t remember nuthin about it!” she said.

 

"How convenient," Caroline then crunched into the crip bacon and chewed, still refusing to even glance at Arabella.

 

“Hey, it’s me! Who played the pianna for you last night? I coulda swore I heard you singin’ downstairs and me playin’ the pianna, but I was lyin’ in bed in the dark, it was the queerest thing!” 

 

Caroline purposely took the longest time to finish chewing then swallowing before replying in a cold tone of voice, "What do you care who it was? It wasn't you and you are the only person you care about. "

 

If that little bitch thought she was going to get away with pretending like nothing happened between them, well Caroline was not going to cooperate.

 

 

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“Hey, it’s me! Who played the pianna for you last night? I coulda swore I heard you singin’ downstairs and me playin’ the pianna, but I was lyin’ in bed in the dark, it was the queerest thing!” 

 

Caroline purposely took the longest time to finish chewing then swallowing before replying in a cold tone of voice, "What do you care who it was? It wasn't you and you are the only person you care about."

 

 Arabella’s happy little face fell and a frown crinkled her brow.

 

“Wha…?”

 

She thought back. It seemed a lifetime ago, but her last normal memory of Caroline was the early evening show they always did to get passing folks to come into the saloon as they were on their way home from work: uptempo numbers like Camptown Races, The Girl I left Behind Me, Mulligan Guard, and so forth. She herself had been feeling a little lightheaded, sort of hot and sweaty, but the show had gone well. Caroline had gone into the back; oh, that’s when someone had rushed in and shouted about the men who had been shot. Then her memories got a little hazy. Billy, dead on the street; waking up in bed hearing voices. A man’s voice next door. Caroline slapping her.

 

“Why you.. why you being so mean to me?” she started to cry.

 

She turned and called to Cookie. “Caroline’s being mean to me and I never done nuthin’ and I been real poorly an’ she should be nice to me cause of that and…” she burst out proper crying now ,and her words became incoherent an she rushed over to the rotund black woman for a cuddle.

 

“I … sniff … coulda died …sniff … an … uhuh uhuh uhu … she bein’ cruel to me, now..”

 

Messalina rubbed her back, dabbed her eyes with her apron and peeled the disconsolate girl off her.

 

“Now you run along and see Mr. Flandry, he’s been plumb worried about you. He wanted to call the doctor!” the cook shooed her out of the room. Once she was gone, she walked over to where Caroline was sitting and stood over her, arms folded.

 

“Now what the Dickens was that all about?” she asked in a tone of voice that signalled that the redoubtable woman was determined to get to the bottom of this latest emotional scene.

 

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@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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“Why you.. why you being so mean to me?” the brat started to cry.

 

Caroline was unphased, simply rolling her eyes.

 

Arabella turned and called to Cookie. “Caroline’s being mean to me and I never done nuthin’ and I been real poorly an’ she should be nice to me cause of that and…” she burst out proper crying now ,and her words became incoherent an she rushed over to the rotund black woman for a cuddle.

 

"Oh stop the drama, you ain't on stage now," Caroline huffed and reached for her coffee, "And I ain't fallin' fer it."

 

The girl buried herself into Mamie's ample bosom and was wailing and blubbering. Caroline was quite willing to let bawl all she wanted.

 

“Now you run along and see Mr. Flandry, he’s been plumb worried about you. He wanted to call the doctor!” the cook shooed her out of the room.

 

Then the negro woman turned to Caroline, “Now what the Dickens was that all about?”

 

"What's that all about? Maybe I ain't willin' to put up with her doubledealing any more. The other day....evenin' ....she burst inta my room where I was helpin' a friend of mine and suddenly laid into me sayin' the most awful stuff about me to him and right to my face," Caroline snapped.

 

"She called me a demon, she said I was tricking people and sending them to hell. She called me Beelzebub and said I was the worst person of all. And me - I tried from the very first day I showed up here to be nice to her, to befriend her. I was the one who insisted Matilda pay the girl for her piano playin'. I bent over backwards for her and that's what I get in return?" Caroline was furious now.

 

"So now I'm the bad guy? Gal...whatever. That girl has no sense of gratitude and doesn't know the meanin' of the word -friendship. And I've had it with her," Caroline stood up then.

 

"I'm a professional, I can work with her while we perform. But I don't have to like her or trust her and I don't believe for a minute she had some brain fever or whatever that evenin'. She was out to hurt me and it worked, I was hurt."

 

"And if you don't wanna believe what I just said and choose to instead believe her, that's just fine. I'm gonna go take a walk now, don't try'n stop me," Caroline glared then headed toward the back door.

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Then the negro woman turned to Caroline, “Now what the Dickens was that all about?”

 

"What's that all about? Maybe I ain't willin' to put up with her doubledealing any more. The other day....evenin' ....she burst inta my room where I was helpin' a friend of mine and suddenly laid into me sayin' the most awful stuff about me to him and right to my face," Caroline snapped.

 

Listening at the crack outside the kitchen door, Arabella’s eyes widened. The wild, bizarre and, frankly, erotic fever dream had actually been real?! Brendan had been next door? She had really done and said all those things? It was … no, not so much shocking or upsetting, it was… it was exciting!

 

"She called me a demon, she said I was tricking people and sending them to hell. She called me Beelzebub and said I was the worst person of all. And me - I tried from the very first day I showed up here to be nice to her, to befriend her. I was the one who insisted Matilda pay the girl for her piano playin'. I bent over backwards for her and that's what I get in return?" Caroline was furious now.

 

“Well that ain’t nuthin’!” countered Messalina, not to be outdone “Why, when she had that fever on her, she called me a Christmas Puddin’! Sure, said I was a big, fat, black, round Christmas puddin’ and she was gonna stick a sprig o’ holly in my head and eat me up and she hoped she found the nickel hid inside so she could make a wish. Well I didn’t take offence none – that’s just the fever talkin’!”

 

“You gotta be a little more understandin’, Caroline. Y’see, saloon folks is like a family, we gotta…” but the singer cut her off

 

"So now I'm the bad guy? Gal...whatever. That girl has no sense of gratitude and doesn't know the meanin' of the word -friendship. And I've had it with her," Caroline stood up then.

 

“Where you goin’” asked the cook concerned “You kids has got a show to do tonight, you can’t go flouncin’ off, Miss Deverau…”

 

"I'm a professional, I can work with her while we perform. But I don't have to like her or trust her and I don't believe for a minute she had some brain fever or whatever that evenin'. She was out to hurt me and it worked, I was hurt."

 

“Oh, now come on..” but Mammy Cookie’s words fell on deaf, hurt ears.

 

"And if you don't wanna believe what I just said and choose to instead believe her, that's just fine. I'm gonna go take a walk now, don't try'n stop me," Caroline glared then headed toward the back door.

 

Arabella had managed not to laugh out loud at the Christmas Pudding part but now was concerned Caroline was going to escape her. This reminder of the drama two nights ago had her hungry for more. She bolted through the main bar-room, greeting Ralph with a cry of “I’m-better-now-thanks-for-wannin-to-call-the-doctor!!” as she ran, and crashed through the swing doors, skidded on the boardwalk outside, ran around the corner and headed Caroline off in the alley that ran between the saloon and the building next door.

 

She threw herself into a saltire shape to block the way.

 

“Don’t go!! I’m sorry!! I’m just so sorry for all the terrible things I did and said!!” she shouted, kind of aware that apart from one fussy couple who hurried on with a gasp of “Well, really!!” one or two other loafers had stopped to witness whatever un-respectable behaviour those un-respectable saloon folk were up to now.

 

Arabella threw herself onto her knees and clasped her hands in front of her.

 

“Please! Please! You gotta forgive me!! I can’t live without you!!!” she cried. “I’ll do anything you say! I’ll crawl in the dirt like a … like a snake in the grass! That’s what you called me, I remember. A snake in the grass. I’ll crawl in the dirt for you! Please, I’ll do anything!!” she begged.

 

She wished she should cry right then, that would have been the icing on the cake but, Lord!, she was enjoying herself too much. What the Hell was wrong with her? That feller had been right, she needed to see a doctor.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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“Well that ain’t nuthin’!” countered Messalina, not to be outdone “Why, when she had that fever on her, she called me a Christmas Puddin’! Sure, said I was a big, fat, black, round Christmas puddin’ and she was gonna stick a sprig o’ holly in my head and eat me up and she hoped she found the nickel hid inside so she could make a wish. Well I didn’t take offence none – that’s just the fever talkin’!”

 

"I've seen my share of sick folk and when she burst inta my room she did not have any brain fever. So go ahead, take her word on it, I choose not to," Caroline was not to be dissuaded.

 

Caroline was determined to go take her morning stroll and get away from that crazy child who had successfully conned the cook at least.

 

"Where you goin’” asked the cook concerned “You kids has got a show to do tonight, you can’t go flouncin’ off, Miss Deverau…”

 

"I don't start my shift til this evenin', I have plenty of time to roam about town. So I can fuckin' flounce off where ever I want," Caroline was in no mood to argue about this. Arabella had the cook wrapped around her little finger it seemed. Wisely (for she had been warned,) Mamie did not try to step in Caroline's way.

 

Once out in the alleyway, who should come racing up but the fever-stricken bitch. Oh for god's sake, not again! She just wanted some peace.

 

“Don’t go!! I’m sorry!! I’m just so sorry for all the terrible things I did and said!!” she shouted, kind of aware that apart from one fussy couple who hurried on with a gasp of “Well, really!!” one or two other loafers had stopped to witness whatever un-respectable behaviour those un-respectable saloon folk were up to now.

 

Aha! So just moments earlier the girl had no memory of what had transpired and now suddenly she was apologizing for it all. Two faced fraud! Caroline just glared.

 

Arabella threw herself onto her knees and clasped her hands in front of her.

 

“Please! Please! You gotta forgive me!! I can’t live without you!!!” she cried. “I’ll do anything you say! I’ll crawl in the dirt like a … like a snake in the grass! That’s what you called me, I remember. A snake in the grass. I’ll crawl in the dirt for you! Please, I’ll do anything!!” she begged.

 

"I no longer trust you. I treated you like the little sister I never had. I insisted with Matilda that you get paid for your piano playing. I kept yer secrets. And you stabbed me in the back.  Well, I'm not gonna fall for this act of yers. Not again. Live your life, Arabella. Without me," Caroline retorted.

 

"And don't follow me, I mean it," and with a withering look of almost disgust, Caroline sidestepped the kneeling girl and continued on her way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Arabella looked up wide eyed as Caroline roundly told her off. God she was magnificent, so beautiful in her wrath!

 

"I no longer trust you. I treated you like the little sister I never had. I insisted with Matilda that you get paid for your piano playing. I kept yer secrets. And you stabbed me in the back.  Well, I'm not gonna fall for this act of yers. Not again. Live your life, Arabella. Without me," Caroline retorted.

 

“You can’t leave me!” the younger girl panted, drawing on the language of melodrama as her only source of vocabulary to hand, though in the dime yellow press the words would normally be spoken by a wronged maiden to a caddish man. “You made love to me! You made me a woman!!” At this point it would have been pretty neat to have dramatically torn her top open or something but, well, she didn’t want folks peepin’.

 

“And don’t follow me, I mean it,” and with a withering look of almost disgust, Caroline sidestepped the kneeling girl and continued on her way.

 

“Why, what will you do? SLAP me again?!” yelled Arabella falling forward to reach for the hem of Caroline’s dress as she passed and deliberately missing it, her fingers grabbing at the dust dramatically. As la Mundee virtually stepped over her, she growled in a devious low voice that only the departing Fury could hear. “’Cause you know I like that.”

 

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Meanwhile in the kitchen Messalina carried on with her cooking tsking and tutting and shaking her head at Caroline and Arabella’s moods and antics. “Hmph! Never heard such language!... Never know'd such goin's on!... Hmph! Men in her room and all!... Hmph! Christmas Puddin’ indeed!”

 

As mistress of the laundry, she had noticed that by some osmosis all four women living in the close proximity of the saloon had gradually fallen into the same rhythmic cycle and there was at least one week in the lunar month when, well, there was a certain fetid hothouse hysteria about the place. Of course, Cookie herself wasn’t too bad, but phew!  - those other three!!

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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