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Mature Content: No

With: Charlie Wentworth and Reverend Thomas Reed
Location: Kalispell Community (Methodist) Church
When: Late June 1876 (Saturday after the Kallispell Union's stories on the weddings)
Time of Day: Afternoon

 

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Charlie stood out the front of the Kalispell church as he contemplated what he was about to do.  He had arrived in town with some of the hands from Lost Lake.  The boys had headed off to the saloon and he had headed over to his parents' house.  His mother had greeted him warmly. It was evident that she had accepted the fact that Charlie couldn't and didn't want to get out of the commitment he had made to Lorenzo Crabbe.  There was even some mention about his cousin Ben trying to organise some sort of betting.  She couldn't elaborate on it much but the fact that she knew surprised him a little.

 

It was while he was waiting for his mother to return with coffee and something for him to eat, he saw the latest edition of Kalispell Union on the side table near one of the armchairs.  Picking it up, he read about the two weddings that had recently happened.  The first one about the deputy sheriff and the owner of the Lickskillet getting married didn't interest him that much...it was the second one that did.

 

So, Arabella was right, and Clara had married that Lutz fellow.  If he hadn't been more interested in getting drunk on the night of the dance, Clara would still be free.  Now that she was tied to a boy who could only offer her a life of misery, he felt sorry for her.  He also felt sorry for himself, and it was now time to make sure that if someone else came along, he wouldn't make the same mistake twice.

 

Entering the church, he looked around for one of the two pastors.  Pastor Evans was probably at home, so it would have to be Reverend Reed.  Charlie had heard the man preach a couple of times and he was good.  The way the days off rostering system worked at Lost Lake, meant that he could only make it to Sunday services once or twice a month. Still, from what he had other people say about the man made him the logical one to help him.

 

Deciding to wait for a few minutes before going out to the small cottage, where Reverend Reed lived, Charlie sat down and began to formulate in his mind how he would explain what he had come to do.

 

@boshmi

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It had been busy month, what with both weddings one after the other on top of the prevalent Sunday congregation drawn on by summer weather. Thomas had precious little time to himself that month of June, and that which he did was mostly spent in reflection. He had married a young couple, children really, out of wedlock. It had all come out okay, but what if it hadn't? Further still, what outcomes might there be as yet unseen?

 

Thoughts of his own family would inevitably come too, a sort of morbid irony in such a time of happiness and peace. Fort Laramie lay a state and some years away, but would not leave him be.

 

He was in the little room off the chancel that afternoon, looking over a few bits of administrative paperwork come down from the state records office. 'Yes, Mr. King, both the guardians of bride and groom voiced consent before the ceremony. The speed of the occasion was at the couple's behest.'

He looked up from the letter, to the sound of muted footsteps on the church's floorboards. From out in the Atrium came a shuffling of shifted cloth, and then silence.

It was not uncommon for parishioners to come in for advice and assistance off the Day of Worship, but if one needed to see a priest on Saturday, implication being that they could not wait one more day, it would likely be an urgent matter indeed.

 

The old priest rose, pushed in his chair, and exited out into the church, to see a young man sat on one of the pews, a thoughtful look upon his face.

"Can I help you, son?" he asked.

@JulieS

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Charlie stood to his feet with his hat clutched in his hands.  "I hope so, Reverend."

 

He took a deep breath, "My name's Charlie Wentworth.  I work as a hand on the Lost Lake ranch.  I've come..."

 

A frown appeared on his face.  It was still a bit hard to work out what to say without sounding like an idiot.  "I've come to ask your help in regards to a problem I've had for quite some time."

 

He paced around for a few seconds before he stopped and looked at the priest intently, "I want you to witness a contract between me and God."

 

@boshmi

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"My name's Charlie Wentworth.  I work as a hand on the Lost Lake ranch."

"Pleasure to meet you, young Mister Wentworth." Thomas said, wandering down to the pews where Charlie stood.

 

"I've come... I've come to ask your help in regards to a problem I've had for quite some time. I want you to witness a contract between me and God."

 

The young man stared at him intently, and Thomas knew right away that whatever his trouble, Charlie Wentworth of the Lost Lake ranch had been deliberating over it for some time.

 

"I see." he replied cautiously. "What sort of contract do you have in mind?"

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"It's a long story," Charlie replied solemnly, "You see I've had a problem with hard liquor for some time and well...it's finally got me in to a situation where I have agreed to do something I wouldn't ordinarily have done if I was in control of my senses."

 

He lowered his head a little, "My drinking has also caused me to miss out on something...someone, I would have liked to...well it's doesn't matter now as she's gone and chose somebody else."

 

Turning to face the Reverend, he continued, "Well, I don't want to be in position like this again if I can help it and the only way I can see it is to make a commitment...a promise to someone who will make it hard for me to break it.  I've tried promising myself and my family that I wouldn't drink again but that didn't work, so the only one left is God.  I'm a God-fearin' man and I try to get to church when I can so figure that if I make a contract with God and put it writing it will be a constant reminder."

 

@boshmi

 

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"It's a long story, you see I've had a problem with hard liquor for some time and well... it's finally got me in to a situation where I have agreed to do something I wouldn't ordinarily have done if I was in control of my senses."

 

"I see." Thomas repeated. "I'm sorry to hear that, son. Drink can get hold of the best of us."

 

"My drinking has also caused me to miss out on something...someone, I would have liked to...well it's doesn't matter now as she's gone and chose somebody else." Charlie continued. "I don't want to be in position like this again if I can help it and the only way I can see it is to make a commitment...a promise to someone who will make it hard for me to break it. I'm a God-fearin' man and I try to get to church when I can so figure that if I make a contract with God and put it writing it will be a constant reminder."

 

Thomas gestured at the pews to their side. "Take a seat, if you'd like." he offered, lowering himself into one of the rows. "It's admirable of you to come to me, Charlie. Few have the self-awareness to recognize their problem, and fewer still have the conviction to do anything about it. The mere fact that you are willing to try your hardest in breaking this habit; that shows repentance, and I'm sure the Lord will lend you the strength to see this through."

He paused for a moment, considering the young man's request. He'd never had to draw up a physical contract in writing for a sinner's repentance; God tended to work on a more omnipotent level than that of bankers and clerks, but if an empirical obligation held more water than a spiritual one for young Mr. Wentworth, then far be it from Thomas to disagree. It had an air of the Catholic about it too; 'confession' in written form.

 

"Now, about this contract... I should think that putting pen to paper in the house of the Lord would be binding in His eyes, but if you'd like, I could bear witness, as a secondary confidant."

@JulieS

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Charlie pulled out a sheet of paper from his vest pocket.  "I've already written what I wanted to say.  I've mentioned in it that I will be abstaining from hard liquor like whiskey. "

 

He handed the over the paper to the Reverend, "I've also put in something to remind me of the consequences like being tricked into signing contracts and losing Clara to someone else.  Most of all I mention that if I break this promise, I owe God and any man of the cloth an apology and act of repentance."

 

As he waited for the Reverend to go through his contract, Charlie tried to think of anything else he needed to put it before they both signed it.  He wanted to make sure that this time when he went on the wagon that he would never fall off it again.

 

@boshmi

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Thomas looked over Charlie's contract critically. As he'd said, it was literal and to-the-point; outlining the boy's intentions down to the very type of spirits he'd forego. He'd clearly thought this through in some detail, and put consideration into his goals. Too often had Thomas seen a man swear off drink altogether, only to find himself entirely incapable of performing such a feat.

 

"I've also put in something to remind me of the consequences like being tricked into signing contracts and losing Clara to someone else.  Most of all I mention that if I break this promise, I owe God and any man of the cloth an apology and act of repentance."

 

Thomas looked up from the document, to Charlie's solemn face. Would that be newly-married Clara?

"Pardon my asking; were you and Mrs. Lutz... Clara... were you two very close?" He asked, before quickly adding that; "If it's a sore subject, I can leave it be."

@JulieS

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Charlie nodded.  Maybe telling the Reverend about his situation with Clara would help him work out his feelings about her.  "Yes, the newly minted Mrs. Lutz.  When she was working at Lost Lake, we got to know each other.  Unfortunately, some of that time was spent arguing.  She was, is a very hard person to get close to and I usually made a mess of it, if I tried or if I said something that would rile her.  All I could see was that she needed time especially since she had so much responsibility thrust upon her when her mother died."

 

He sighed, "I liked her well enough that I was willing to wait until she was older and had the opportunity to work out what she wanted from life.  I thought she should have the chance to be courted properly and not be rushed into anything until she was ready.  I wanted to take her dances and picnics...you know all the things a woman should do before she settles down.  Her getting married all of a sudden like this...well I didn't expect her to do something this rash with someone she met only a couple of months ago. It seems so un-Clara like."

 

Taking a deep breath, he stared intently at the Reverend, "Even though I lost this time, I don't intend to let it to happen again.  My drinking was part of the problem and that's why I want to make this contract, so I'll never make the same mistake twice where a woman I care about is concerned."

 

@Wayfarer

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"I wanted to take her dances and picnics... you know all the things a woman should do before she settles down.  Her getting married all of a sudden like this... well I didn't expect her to do something this rash with someone she met only a couple of months ago. It seems so un-Clara like. Even though I lost this time, I don't intend to let it to happen again.  My drinking was part of the problem and that's why I want to make this contract, so I'll never make the same mistake twice where a woman I care about is concerned."

 

"It can often be difficult to understand the Lord's intentions. Why he chooses to do what he does." Thomas said, sympathetically. "And in grief, we often forget that he does watch over us. I suppose what I'm getting at is that perhaps it was always meant to be - perhaps, he understood that you would need to endure this loss, before you could raise yourself up, and become a better man because of it."

 

"Now." he continued, as he looked back down to the contract. "If it's alright with you, I might seal this in an envelope... and I should hope that I won't need to break that seal anytime soon."

 

Thomas smiled at Charlie, rising from his seat in the pews and folding the contract in his hands. "This is the right choice, son. Remember, that nothing will impossible with God. Confide in him with your prayers, and hold his strength in yourself. You'll come through this, and better for it."

@JulieS

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"It can often be difficult to understand the Lord's intentions. Why he chooses to do what he does." Thomas said, sympathetically. "And in grief, we often forget that he does watch over us. I suppose what I'm getting at is that perhaps it was always meant to be - perhaps, he understood that you would need to endure this loss, before you could raise yourself up, and become a better man because of it."

 

"Maybe he did," Charlie answered.

 

"Now." he continued, as he looked back down to the contract. "If it's alright with you, I might seal this in an envelope... and I should hope that I won't need to break that seal anytime soon."

 

"Go right ahead, Reverend.  Knowing that I have someone else to be accountable other than my family will be a good reminder for me when I'm tempted again.  It'll remind that I have to answer to God as well."

 

Thomas smiled at Charlie, rising from his seat in the pews and folding the contract in his hands. "This is the right choice, son. Remember, that nothing will impossible with God. Confide in him with your prayers, and hold his strength in yourself. You'll come through this, and better for it."

 

"I hope so and I hope I won't have to come here again with regards to this problem,"  he paused for a moment as he thought of something else.  "If you don't mind could you pray for me as I am thinking of changing a few other things.  All of this has gotten me thinking about where my life is headed and what I should be doing."

 

He got up and held his hand, "I'd like to thank you for your time, Reverend and if there's anything I can do for you or the church, just let me know."

 

@boshmi

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"I hope so and I hope I won't have to come here again with regards to this problem... If you don't mind could you pray for me as I am thinking of changing a few other things.  All of this has gotten me thinking about where my life is headed and what I should be doing."

"I can, and I certainly will. These things take time, don't be discouraged if you don't immediately start feeling better. As I've said; beating addiction is an enduring struggle. If you end up finding a new calling to enjoy in your life, well, that's just a bonus."

 

He took Charlie's hand firmly in a shake, as the boy rose to leave.

"I'd like to thank you for your time, Reverend and if there's anything I can do for you or the church, just let me know."

"Oh, careful son, I just might hold you to that." Thomas said, with a twinkle of humor in his eye.

@JulieS

(OOC: End thread?

OOC: Yep :) )

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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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