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Sagas of the Wild West
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Well, Can Ya Fix It ?


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Mature Content: Maybe some unladylike language.

 

With: Caroline Mundee, Oskar Winter
Location: Gun Shop, Main Street
When: Late June, 1876
Time of Day: Early Afternoon

 

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One thing about Caroline, she never failed to enter a place like she owned it, sauntering on in with all the confidence in the world. It might have been an act of course but she sold it each and every time.  Most locals recognized her right off by now and opinions about her varied. The proper sober God fearing townsfolk glared at her or avoided her approach like she had the plague. Some of the menfolk though admired her looks and if they spent time in the Star Dust saloon, most loved her performances  and not just for the songs. She had a real shapely pair of legs too.

 

Now Caroline was without a hat or any head covering, she refused to abide by such feminine decorum. She did wear makeup and painted her fingernails like those saucy East coast theatre actresses though. Her dress was bright red and to say it had a low neckline did not truly describe it. Much lower and folks would  catch a glimpse of another pair of her body parts besides the legs. More than once she had been called 'whore' or 'harlot' while strolling down the boardwalk to which her usual reply was  "Fuck off!" or "Go ta hell!"

 

Closing the door behind her she gawked about the place, it was crowded with all sorts of shelves filled with guns of all sizes and sorts. Immediately she called out in a clear ringing voice, "Anybody here? You got yerself a customer. A payin' customer at that!"

 

@boshmi

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oskar would likely have never heard Caroline's entry into the store, regardless of how loud she had been, for around the back he had his nose buried in some of the most exciting reading he'd ever laid eyes upon. Early in May he'd sent for the schematics of the new Winchester 1876, and finally, after months of waiting, he'd received his model, and the means to produce more. It's showing at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia had been impressive by all accounts. A high-caliber, repeating, centrefire rifle! Truly, they were living in the future, and Oskar had spent much of the morning poring over every last intricate detail of this weapon.

 

"Anybody here? You got yerself a customer. A payin' customer at that!"

 

A clear and shrill voice rang from the front of the store, and Oskar froze in his reverie. A customer! Now!?

 

Slowly and reluctantly, he lowered the scheme sheet carefully to the side, tucking it beneath the half-assembled rifle to which it belonged. He'd just have to finish up later...

 

"Good afternoon, Miss." Oskar greeted cheerily as he emerged into the front of the store, taking in his 'paying customer.' A rather scantily-clad girl stood behind the counter, wearing attire reminiscent of the cancan dancers in Paris. Not that he was one to judge, or so inclined to care all that much about the female physique in his old age.

"How can I help you this afternoon?"

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Well, there was someone. Had to be the owner or gunsmith, he did not look like a simple clerk to Caroline. She smiled, "Aha, good day!"

 

"Good afternoon, Miss." Oskar greeted cheerily as he emerged into the front of the store. "How can I help you this afternoon?"

 

"Miss Caroline Mundee, I'm fine with just plain Caroline. It's a pretty name, don't ya think?" she gave an airy introduction then followed it up with, "Hot damn! Nobody told me the gunsmith would be such a distinguished lookin' fella such as yerself, hon."

 

That was said without even a hint of sarcasm, Caroline had a way about her that made most everyone she conversed with feel like they were chatting with a longtime friend.

 

"Don't tell me, lemme guess, before you arrived here in town you were a governor or maybe one of them congressmen sorts. No, they're crooks and I'm bettin' you gunsmiths are fine upstanding professionals," she grinned.

 

"So.....I didn't just show up to have a friendly chat though those are always nice too. I got me a gun and it don't work fer shit so wonderin' if you might be able to take a look see and maybe fix it?"

 

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"Miss Caroline Mundee, I'm fine with just plain Caroline. It's a pretty name, don't ya think?"

"Oh, yes, quite." Oskar affirmed. "From the Latin Carolus, I believe. A name shared with the former King of Sweeden, if my memory serves me correctly!"

"Hot damn! Nobody told me the gunsmith would be such a distinguished lookin' fella such as yerself, hon. Don't tell me, lemme guess, before you arrived here in town you were a governor or maybe one of them congressmen sorts. No, they're crooks and I'm bettin' you gunsmiths are fine upstanding professionals."

 

"Well, miss Mundee, consider me charmed at your assertion." he continued, indeed feeling a cautious relaxation at Caroline's chumminess. "I have rubbed shoulders with a few governors, dukes, and freiherren, but I'm afraid I have never been one. As you say, a decision probably made for the better." She seemed a very bubbly sort of girl, all happy and carefree, which really begged the question; what was she doing in a gun store?

 

"So... I didn't just show up to have a friendly chat though those are always nice too. I got me a gun and it don't work fer shit so wonderin' if you might be able to take a look see and maybe fix it?"

 

Oskar frowned. "Of course... you er... say you got the gun recently? Allow me to take a look." he offered, clearing some of the documents and items from the counter to make space.

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Caroline laughed, "Well, not sure I wanted to hear I share the same name with some king of Sweden. He should have stuck to male names, ya know?"

 

The man admitted he had mingled with some pretty swell sorts of individuals such governors, dukes, and some unknown bunch but he agreed with her opinion his choice of calling was probably a wise one.  She liked his accent too. It only added to his gentlemanly look. But she really had come here for a practical reason not chatter so..........

 

"Alrighty then, gimme a minute..." she reached into some pocket of that scarlet dress of hers and then extracted a small firearm, a derringer.

 

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"There ya go...don't worry. It ain't loaded, not like it would matter. The damned thing can't be trusted," she plopped it down on the counter.

 

"And no, I didn't just get it. I've had it a few years. Worked just fine ...well, I think. But last time I needed it to shoot, it missfired. Almost got me killed too," she gave a dramatic sigh.

 

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"Alrighty then, gimme a minute..." and with that, Caroline deposited a little Remington Model 95 Derringer onto the table.

 

Oskar made a thoughtful 'hmm' as he looked over the firearm. It didn't appear broken from the exterior, but broken or misfired weapons seldom did.

He picked it up, and with his thumb he eased back the hammer, checking the little space between the firing pin and trigger mechanism for anything that might have slipped in and jammed it. There didn't appear to be any foreign objects when he lowered his eye to the gap, but he did notice that the spring was coiled unusually tight, as though it was struggling against something.

 

He lowered the hammer and put the derringer down, still with an expression of thought on his face. "Well, what was the nature of the misfire? Was there a poor powder burn? That is - did smoke emerge from the barrel at all? Or would it simply not fire and the hammer never fell?"

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The man picked up her gun then and began to examine it so she watched him, especially the expressions on his face. He certainly was focused from what she could tell.

 

Then the fellow lowered the hammer and put the derringer down, "Well, what was the nature of the misfire? Was there a poor powder burn? That is - did smoke emerge from the barrel at all? Or would it simply not fire and the hammer never fell?"

 

"Nature of it? The damn thing didn't work," Caroline frowned but he had follow up questions.

 

"Nope, no powder burn. No smoke, cuz nothin' happened when I pulled the trigger. The hammer moved but no bang ...no nothin. Then the fella whose face I was aiming at got mad and slapped it outta my hand to the floor then belted me a good one too. I thought I was a goner then when he pulled out his own gun, a revolver, don't ask me what kind. Lucky for me, another fella shot him down like the dog he was. He got blood splattered all over my dress too when he fell on top of me."

 

@boshmi

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"Nope, no powder burn. No smoke, cuz nothin' happened when I pulled the trigger. The hammer moved but no bang ...no nothin. Then the fella whose face I was aiming at got mad and slapped it outta my hand to the floor then belted me a good one too. I thought I was a goner then when he pulled out his own gun, a revolver, don't ask me what kind. Lucky for me, another fella shot him down like the dog he was. He got blood splattered all over my dress too when he fell on top of me."

 

"That sounds quite frightening." Oskar told her compassionately. "and a lucky thing too, that it turned out alright."

The fact that the hammer moved but the gun didn't fire suggested either an issue with the ammunition or the hammer spring itself, and either way, the barrels would need to be removed to ensure it wouldn't happen again.

"Just a moment, let's see if we can't figure this out." he said, ducking down below the counter to collect a small turnscrew; one suited to the derringer's unique size. With nimble fingers he released the catch, pulled up the barrels and swung the weapon open. A few turns of the lug at the hinge would free up the barrels, and he first raised them to his eye, to check for any issues with residue.

When he saw nothing, he moved on to the striker itself. Giving the hammer a quick pull and a snap of the trigger, he found the striker lowered itself in rather a roughshod manner, as though the notches on the trigger wheel had been worn, or had come disconnected somehow.

 

"Were you using any special ammunition?" he asked, narrowing down the potential diagnosis. "Anything other than .41 short?"

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"That sounds quite frightening." Oskar remarked, "and a lucky thing too, that it turned out alright."

 

"Very lucky. Oh well, when it's yer time to die, yer gonna die but not before. It's fate," Caroline shrugged. "And yeah that was the second most frightened I've ever been my whole life."

 

She watched as he continued to examine and then even dismantle the gun with complete confidence and focus.  It was plain he took his job as earnestly as she took hers. He also had a question again.

 

"Were you using any special ammunition?" he asked, narrowing down the potential diagnosis. "Anything other than .41 short?"

 

"Special? I don't know, just the rounds they came with when I bought it. Tell ya the truth there, hon, they all look kinda short to me," she grinned.

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"Special? I don't know, just the rounds they came with when I bought it. Tell ya the truth there, hon, they all look kinda short to me."

"Hmm? Oh, yes. Aha." Oskar absentmindedly responded, uncertain if there was a rude joke being made or not. "Well, if it wasn't the ammunition, I'm afraid I'll have to open this up..."

 

He set the turnscrew upon the frame of the derringer, and carefully set about removing the grip, then separating the body. The screws in question were tiny little things, matching the tiny little gun in which they sat, and so it was no small effort to set them all in a little pile to the side of the counter. Finally, Oskar removed the top half of the frame, revealing the guts of weapon - it's trigger, lug, camwheel and hammer.

 

"Aha!" he said, as prospector might upon finding a thick vein. With steady fingers he reached down to pluck out the camwheel, and held it up to the afternoon light. "Here is your culprit, Ms. Mundee. The wheel's notches have worn quite severely. Likely the hammer was not falling with sufficient energy to strike the primer."

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(OOC: piece number 5 is causing the trouble!)

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