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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

Two At Breakfast


Henry S. Guyer II
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The morning air was not quite crisp, not quite warm, one of those mornings when a hint of the coming fall was in the air, not too odd for July, though the day would mature into a normal mid-eighties from the high fifties. But the day promised the normal sunshine drenched afternoon. For the present, the two men walking up the boardwalk to the Lickskillet Diner were enjoying the morning cool.

 

"Life will take a different turn for the Town Council, as well as the Post Office. Looks like Nolan Ashworth takes over again." Speed observed.

 

"He might seek to take Orr's spot on the Council." Phinn pointed out. A direct line out to the Evergreen, you're aware of that connection. Either him, or maybe Cole Latham, the other Steelgrave man in town. Well, that we know of."

 

"I can see that, for sure. Give the old man a voice on the Council, and the knowledge of what's going on." Speed agreed, adding, "I expect maybe Elias might hold sway with some we're unaware of."

 

"You know, you've a point, Speed. To be real honest about it, I have no idea who might be in old Elias' camp. Well, he ain't that old, but mean as he can be, I agree, he's the old man alright."

 

They had reached the door of the cafe, Speed a step ahead stepped up and opened the door, both men stepping inside, hit with the smells of fresh cooked bacon, beefsteaks, and sausage frying. The heady aroma of boiling coffee, all the things that entice the appetite. As they moved into the room they both saw Ben Simmons and Lorenzo Crabbe at a table together. Speed smiled.

 

"So Simmons, I hear there's to not only be a prize fight, but some talk of a stage play? Interesting." Then, "Mister Crabbe, you involved in all of this? doesn't seem to be in your bailiwick. Well, maybe the fight."

 

Phinn stood looking at Crabbe a long moment. "Crabbe, Simmons. You let me know the dates, be in the Union. We do posters and hand bills as well, if printed adverts strikes your fancy for either event."

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@Javia@JulieS

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"So Simons, I hear there's to not only be a prize fight, but some talk of a stage play? Interesting."

 

Lorenzo let Ben field this question, as it was aimed at him. He himself was always careful what he said to the bloodhound newspaper reporter and editor. Not that McVay ever printed lies: but he had a knack of printing what you did tell him in such a way that did quite give the impression of yourself that you had hoped for.

 

Then, "Mister Crabbe, you involved in all of this? doesn't seem to be in your bailiwick. Well, maybe the fight."

 

"Mr McVay, I'm sponsoring and running the whole shebang. And it's going to be an exciting and educational exhibition of the fine science of pugilism, too. We've got local talent in the form of Kalispell's very own Deputy Marshall, Mr. Charles Wentworth Junior taking on a wild young Irishman called Battling Bob Cullen. And it's a real grudge match, too!" he added on a whim. People were more interested in a fight if the two combatants were known to hate each other, rather than a couple of disinterested sluggers throwing hooks and crosses at each other.

 

He'd have to invent a story as to why the two young men hated each other, probably something involving an argument over a girl, that always went over big with the general public.

 

Phinn stood looking at Crabbe a long moment. "Crabbe, Simmons. You let me know the dates, be in the Union. We do posters and hand bills as well, if printed adverts strikes your fancy for either event."

 

"Will do that, Mr. McVay!" nodded Lorenzo "'It pays to advertise' as they say. Soon as I'm sure of the exact time on the 6th, I'll send one of my people around with the details." 'One of his people!' Crabbe thought that sounded pretty grand.

 

"Of course, there will be free entrance to the gentlemen of the Press who will no doubt wish to report 'pon the proceedings!" he added as a sweetener to a, hopefully, favourable piece on the event. A pretty cheap sweetener, too, as Phin was about the only 'gentleman of the press' in town.

 

@JulieS @Flip

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Hearing the familiar tinkle of the front door's tiny bell as it opened, Clara paused in her kitchen work then headed on out to greet the latest customers. She knew them both instantly, Marshal Guyer and the local newspaperman.

 

"Good morning, gentlemen. Pick a table and have a seat," she addressed them but for the moment the newspaperman was conversing with Mr. Simons and Mr. Crabbe so she would wait until they were sitting to take their order.

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"Of course, there will be free entrance to the gentlemen of the Press who will no doubt wish to report 'pon the proceedings!" he added as a sweetener to a, hopefully, favourable piece on the event. A pretty cheap sweetener, too, as Phin was about the only 'gentleman of the press' in town.

 

"Well, not everyday there's a prize fight in town, I will of course wish to be ringside to report on the event." Phinn replied to the most generous offer, one he had not expected but was pleased to accept, and threw in a ringside request.

 

"Good morning, gentlemen. Pick a table and have a seat," she addressed them but for the moment the newspaperman was conversing with Mr. Simons and Mr. Crabbe so she would wait until they were sitting to take their order.

 

"Good morning Clara, ah Missus Lutz.  We'll get to that here in a moment, rest assured." Speed greeted. It already seemed odd that Emeline was not there. "A bit of business to discuss I'm afraid." He couldn't help but notice the blind sister of Frank Grimes. 'Pity,'  He thought, 'saddled with a brother like Frank Grimes.' A man destined to come to a bad end if he continued along the path he was on. He brought to mind Caleb Barnes, who fancied himself a gunfighter. Too many dime novels! He waited on Ben Simmons to elaborate on this proposed stage production which was bound to be a success in Kalispell.

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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"So Simons, I hear there's to not only be a prize fight, but some talk of a stage play? Interesting." Then, "Mister Crabbe, you involved in all of this? doesn't seem to be in your bailiwick. Well, maybe the fight."

 

Ben nodded, "Yes, there will be not just one play but many in the future but first I have to build the theatre."

 

As he listened to the others speak, Ben thought about how he probably wouldn't have to worry about advertising for his theatre.  It seemed that word of mouth was much quicker and cheaper than putting anything in the Union.

 

When Crabbe mentioned the fight being a grudge match, Ben raised one of his eyebrows.  He had no intention of disputing what the man was saying unless it was something of a personal nature.  Charlie was his cousin and after all family was family.  Besides, Crabbe was smart enough to know that if said something against a Wentworth, he would have to contend with the whole lot of them.

 

"Well, not everyday there's a prize fight in town, I will of course wish to be ringside to report on the event." Phinn replied to the most generous offer, one he had not expected but was pleased to accept, and threw in a ringside request.

 

"If either of you two would like to make a wager on the fight, I'm running very good odds on both men.  It seems the town is divided on who will win," Ben said, before addressing Speed, "By the way, Marshall, I run a clean book...you have my personal guarantee."

 

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"If either of you two would like to make a wager on the fight, I'm running very good odds on both men.  It seems the town is divided on who will win," Ben said, before addressing Speed, "By the way, Marshall, I run a clean book...you have my personal guarantee."

 

Crabbe wondered whether he should mention that all of his operations were strictly above board and legal, too, but then realised that this would only serve to weaken Ben's position rather than bolster his own. Guyer was good enough a lawman to have taken Crabbe's measure the first minute he laid eyes on him, and Crabbe was good enough a chancer to know it, and to make sure he steered clear of any trouble with the men carrying tin badges.

 

"My only problem is finding a referee" he said instead "I was going to ask you, Marshall, what we you being a respected and neutral party; but now ol' Charlie's your Deputy, you might be seen as partisan. Any ideas?" he asked. It was a genuine question, the person overseeing the ruckus in the ring needed to know about boxing and been entirely impartial. 

 

He then added one last comment.

 

"Oh, and order some breakfast, will ya fellers, this poor girl's been standin' here an hour." he tipped his head toward Clara. Oh, Lorenzo was always considerate to the ladies. 

 

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"If either of you two would like to make a wager on the fight, I'm running very good odds on both men.  It seems the town is divided on who will win," Ben said, before addressing Speed, "By the way, Marshall, I run a clean book...you have my personal guarantee."

 

Before either could get in a word regarding a bet  on the fight, Crabbe cut in.

 

"My only problem is finding a referee" he said instead "I was going to ask you, Marshall, what we you being a respected and neutral party; but now ol' Charlie's your Deputy, you might be seen as partisan. Any ideas?" he asked. It was a genuine question, the person overseeing the ruckus in the ring needed to know about boxing and been entirely impartial

 

"Well sir, you've a valid point, to be sure. No matter, some would say I was partial, win or lose." Speed replied. "Now was I to be looking for an unbiased referee, believe I'd go with Ralph Flandry for my first choice. I'd consider Doc Danforth, but then he'll likely be at ringside. Maybe Quentin Cantrell, or Judge Robinson, or even Matt Wentworth, of course he'd be suspect on account of Charlie. Looks to be a dilemma."

 

"Well there's always Oskar Winter over at the Gun Shop, or the Reverend Reed. Buut I believe I'll wait to see some odds before I place a bet, see which way the money's going." Phinn stated, not much for a gambling man, but inclined to support anything local.

 

"Oh, and order some breakfast, will ya fellers, this poor girl's been standin' here an hour." he tipped his head toward Clara. Oh, Lorenzo was always considerate to the ladies. 

 

Speed smiled at the suggestion from Crabbe. "Now about that theater, good luck with the project and the Town Council. Though I doubt you'll have much trouble getting it through." Speed said addressing Ben Simmons. Turning to Clara who had been patiently waiting he said, "Beef Steak and eggs, coffee'll do just fine and make that steak medium."

 

"Yes! I'll have the same." Phinn added. "Gentlemen." Both nodded and went to an open table taking their seats. "A real theater, now that'll be something!"

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@JulieS@Javia@Wayfarer

 

 

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Mr. Crabbe took a moment from the conversation to kindly point out Clara was standing there, sweet of him to notice. She nodded acknowledgement but did not wish to rush the customers afterall. Thus reminded both men turned to her then.

 

Turning to Clara who had been patiently waiting the marshal said, "Beef Steak and eggs, coffee'll do just fine and make that steak medium."

 

"Yes! I'll have the same." Phinn added.

 

"Very well gentlemen, two orders of beef steak, medium, and eggs plus coffee. I will get right on that, pick a table when you've finished your conversation," Clara replied then headed back into the kitchen to get right on those beefsteaks.

 

 

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"Very well gentlemen, two orders of beef steak, medium, and eggs plus coffee. I will get right on that, pick a table when you've finished your conversation," Clara replied then headed back into the kitchen to get right on those beefsteaks.

 

Both men smiled at Clara nodding as she turned and walked toward the kitchen. Pinn looked back to Crabbe and added, "I can, rather I will, do up a poster and perhaps a hand bill that you can look over, and if you like them we can talk price. There will be free advertisement in the Union. We'll talk."

 

Speed nodded to the two men then spotted a vacant table. "Gentlemen," He said then turned and walked to the table and took a seat as he considered what this fight might produce insofar as problems were concerned, and enjoying the fact that Phin was actually attempting to provide printed materials for the event. It could be quite the draw locally. Possibly beyond, he suddenly wished Pike was there, Charlie was new, inexperienced, and with the possibility of a large crowd on hand, most anything could happen.

 

"I got them thinking about posters and handbills, Speed." Phin said, still smiling as he sat down. "Take an afternoon to put 'em together. Simple enough. So, maybe we move forward from the Orr tragedy. I kind of like the idea of a theater in town, probably won't be an opera house, but it will be a place that puts on shows, and just might make a good deal of money for Simons."

 

"Sounds like it. The fight, well, that should do okay, but a theater, even if it's in a tent for a while, well, that would be just what this town needs, and I believe with very little Town Council conflicts." Speed agreed, grinning.

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It was about fifteen minutes later when Clara brought out the two breakfast plates ordered by the gentlemen, a medium cooked steak took a bit or it would have been faster. She followed up with returning with cups of steaming coffee, black.

 

"There you go, gentlemen, enjoy and if you want anything else feel free to let me know," smiling never came easily to the serious young lady but it was good customer service to do so. Besides she had learned from Emeline, who was always so pleasant.

 

 

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"Thank you, Clara." Speed said. "have you heard from the Pikes yet?" He thought perhaps Emeline would have written, or sent a wire if they were someplace where there was a telegraph. The fact that they would cross wild country before reaching

 

"Looks excellent, Missus Lutz, just excellent." Phinn added, looking up to hear if there had been any word from the honeymooners on their trip. News was news, and depending on where they had gone on their trip, that would be something to add to the paper, aside from Grimes death, or the upcoming boxing match, which would hold little interest for the ladies of Kalispell, unlike a travelog.

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(sorry for the delay)

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"You are both quite welcome, sirs. Enjoy," Clara nodded and then was about to leave them alone to their breakfast but the marshal had a question too about Emeline and her husband.

 

"Not so far, sir. I would hardly expect her to bother with a letter while they are traveling about though. What is the old saying though? No news is good news?" Clara replied.

 

"I have confidence everything is fine though, they know how to handle themselves."

 

 

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Speed smiled, "Well Clara, if I know Emeline Pike, you'll be hearing from her once they reach civilization. Kind of wonder where it is they headed off to. Pike really never said much about it. But I'm sure we'll all find out in short order."

 

"Your Deputy just took off for places unknown, without so much as a word as to where he was taking his wife?" Phinn asked. "Some hostile country out there!"

 

"Nope, said they were going, and he'd be back, which I reckon he will, sooner or later." Speed stated. "They deserve some time though. Glad they got away for however long, do 'em both good."

 

"I suppose so, Speed, I suppose so. Man and his wife take a trip like this, well, they'll surely get to know one another. That's a fact." Phinn observed. "So, what do you think about Charlie, your other Deputy, getting himself corralled into this fisticuffs match of Crabbe's?"

 

"Grown man, if he wants to do that, well it's up to him. Personally, not something I'd find myself doing for sport. Hurts bad enough when it's in the line of duty, but he's young and he'll heal quickly. Could be a real lesson in it for him." Both men attacked the food before them without another word.

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