1887 The West

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by MST3K 4ever, Dec 7, 2014.

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  1. The late morning sun was beaming down on Carson City, Nevada as the U-S Marshall Eric Bauer rode into town a top is brown and white palomino Dusty. As a general rule Eric usually kept his badge underneath his coat, or off to the side so as to not draw too much attention to himself. However since he was new in town and people were already starting to look at him Eric felt in this case he should establish who he was. Not to mention being six foot four and 240 pounds Eric stood out.

    The badge was the only thing identifying him as a U-S Marshall, because Eric didn't believe in wearing a three piece suit on duty. Eric felt it was important to feel comfortable so he wore his favorite blue jeans, black boots, a black button up shirt, with a black hat.

    Eric stopped Dusty in front of the Sheriff's office and dismounted. As he dismounted he could feel the eyes of the towns people all over him. Eric was used to this sort of thing though. His job took him from town to town so to him this was just another job. Eric though was hoping it would be his last one. He was starting to think about leading a life that didn't involve people shooting at him, or him shooting at them. Throwing people in jail and standing before judges to explain himself was getting really tiresome as well.

    After he finished hitching up Dusty Eric looked up and saw a couple looking at him. Eric grabbed the front of his hat and tipped it slightly as he said, "Howdy."

    The couple politely smiled and nodded as they went on their way. Eric entered the Sheriff's office and saw a heavy set Deputy reading the paper with his foot on the desk and in a cast.

    Eric closed the door and the Deputy kept reading the paper. Eric shook his head and walked over to the desk. The Deputy kept reading the paper as Eric cleared his throat. Eric said, "Excuse me Deputy." The Deputy didn't even look up and Eric said a little louder, "Excuse me Deputy." No reaction once again, and that was when Eric picked up a rock that acted as a paper weight. Eric then hit the cast with the rock and the Deputy yelled looking at Eric, "OWWWWW! WHO THE HELL ARE..."

    Eric smiled slightly and glanced at his badge. The Deputy breathing heavy and still in pain said, "Oh you're the new Marshall. Been waiting for you."

    Eric nodded and said, "As long as I was waiting for you to acknowledge me? I'm here to see Sheriff Parker."

    Just then a door adjoining the main office opened and an older gentlemen with silver and black hair and beard to match entered the room and asked, "What's going on out here?" The man wore a silver Sheriff's badge pinned to a white shirt and wearing brown pants. He looked at Eric and said, "Ahh Marshall Bauer 'bout time you got here."

    Eric nodded slightly and said, "Sheriff Parker. Just riding into town I can see the lawlessness running rampant." Eric took a few steps closer to Parker and said, "If I had known that things were so bad here I would've been here a day sooner."

    Sheriff Parker took a step closer and said, "Typical U-S Marshall thinking he has the right to come in here and judge the locals. When they don't know half the time which end of the gun to point at someone."

    The two men began staring at one another and in an angry tone Eric asked, "You still got a bottle of whisky and two shot glasses in the bottom desk drawer?"

    Parker replied in the same tone, "Absolutely."

    Eric asked, "Then what are we standing out here for?"

    Parker replied, "No idea."

    The two men stared at one another for another five seconds, and then began laughing. Eric and Parker embraced one another like brothers and Parker said, "Damn it's good seeing you again Eric! How the hell are ya?"

    Eric replied, "No complaints my friend."

    Parker broke the embrace and motioned to his office. He said, "Let's go. We got some catching up to do." As Eric left Parker said to the Deputy, "Dewey unless the town is burning to the ground I'm not to be disturbed."

    Parker closed the door and motioned to an open chair in front of his desk. He said, "Have a seat Eric." Eric sat down as Parker began fixing two shot glasses and Parker asked, "When did you get into town?"

    Eric replied, "About three days ago. Been more trying to set up my new home and get settled in."

    Parker gave Eric a shot glass and asked, "Where you at?"

    Eric took the glass and replied, "The McCoy Ranch just outside of town. They were looking to off load it quick, and I'm thinking about my life post law enforcement. Thinking cattle ranching is a decent way to go."

    Parker nodded and said, "You're still a youngin' in the law enforcement game Bauer."

    Eric shook his head and said, "Sorry Don. Not a lifer like you and Wyatt. I'm just ready to have a life where I am not shooting at someone and someone is not shooting at me."

    Parker said, "I can respect that. Speaking of Wyatt I heard about what he and his friends did. I also heard Doc ain't doin' well."

    Eric nodded and said, "Yeah saw Doc on the way out here. He's in a hospital in Colorado. That lung disease has just kicked the crap out of him."

    Parker raised his glass and said, "To Doc." The two men clinked their glasses and threw their drinks back. Parker fixed him and Eric another one.

    Parker said, "Hey glad you're here. I could use the help. I got two other deputies that make Dewey out there look like Wyatt in his prime. I could use all the help I can get."

    Eric nodded and said, "You got it."

    Parker said, "Great. Hey there's a poker game going on at the Silver Spur tonight at 7. Nickle, dime, quarter stuff. Give you a chance to meet some others and take their money too,"

    Eric smiled and said, "I'm in." Eric raised his glass and said, "To good times ahead."
  2. Gale smiled though she did not bother opening her eyes, completely satisfied with her world as she considered whether or not to roll up out of bed some hours past sun up. It was a luxury she never tired of reveling in. Already she could feel the warmth of the coming sun filtering past lead glass windows and heavy, ornate drapes. A dry breeze blew against the sash, carrying the sound of hooves clopping and the occasional screeching wheel axel from the hard-packed dirt on the roads below her window.

    But best of all, and the one thing that truly decided her, was the scent of fresh coffee mingled with Mattie's own biscuits wafting up the stairs. Gale was convinced there could be no better breakfast, not even past the Pearly Gates. And it was a repast worthy of moving herself for, since Mattie flat out refused to hike the stairs and bring her breakfast in bed, what with the rheumatism and all.

    Warm skin slid against cool silk as she rolled over the tangled mass of sheets and bedding, taking her own sweet time as she sat upright on the edge of the bed. Her bare feet hovered some inches above the floor, long, thick strands of near blood red hair falling over her face and shoulders. Gale Hogan stayed like that for some minutes, for absolutely no better reason than she could. There was no one shrilly screaming her name to rise from the little attic bed of hay and straw, to come shiver down the ladder and break the ice in the rain barrel outside, so her sullen Papa could have fresh water for washing and her conniving shrew of a mother could finally start cooking the thin, grey oatmeal. Not a single backhanded swing was coming her way, if she refused to check to see what the hens had lain in the cold darkness outside. Rotten, smelly things that had pecked her hands viciously, scraped her with their nasty little talons or beat her terrified with their wings...

    Gale was sure to have at least one roast chicken served to her girls every night.

    Her smile widened further still, and her feet finally hit the floor. Gale padded to the ornate marble-topped vanity, quickly taking up some pins to pull the lengths of her hair back from a still beautiful face. Her ivory skin remained as flawless as ever, while thick lashes surrounding deep brown eyes that could either sing with laughter or remain as somber and serious as a dirge - whatever needs a man had could be found there in Gale's gaze, and all to the tune of his generous coinage.

    She reached for the robe that lay across the edge of her bed, slipping her arms into sleeves of pale pink satin, cinching the waist as she walked, closing her bedroom door behind her. Gale moved quietly down the staircase, the long fingers of one elegant hand resting lightly on the ornately carved railing.

    The dining room of Gale's home was actually a pretty private affair, located right off the well-stocked kitchens and pantries. Although it was as immaculately and tastefully appointed as the rest of the house, with its magnificent oiled bronze and crystal chandelier, the ivory marble hearth, walls of plaster and the mahogany paneling, this was also one of the few rooms where their clients were not allowed. And so Gale's ladies found their leisure here about the massive oaken table, half-dressed most of them, certainly un-corseted with legs tossed up languidly over the chair arms. They struck her not so much as women, but as wildflowers, colorful, beautiful and vibrant, growing where they would and how they would, entirely on their own terms and damn the world.

    Oh, how she loved them.

    A few murmured Good morning, Gale's went up, and she returned the greetings in kind as she grabbed up a plate from the stack on the table, and helped herself to some biscuits and pats of freshly churned butter. She settled into her seat as wide, mostly-amiable Mattie waddled in from the kitchens, carrying a fresh pot of coffee in one thick hand and a sterling silver sugar bowl, heaped high with the delicate little white cubes, in the other.

    "Good morning Miss Gale," Mattie laughed, setting down both pot and sugar bowl next to the madame, reaching for an empty cup and saucer from the nearby buffet. "You're almost up early!" With a sudden huff of air, she blew a random stray tendril of grey hair from over one laughing blue eye.

    "It's going to be a lovely day Mattie," Gale replied with a wink for the older woman, reaching for the pot and cup to pour herself a cup of the deep black brew, and shamelessly tossed in five sugar cubes to sweeten the whole deal. "Just a feeling you know - couldn't let a moment go by."
    #2 Muirgen, Dec 8, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  3. Eric threw back his shot glass and set it on Don's desk. He said, "Thanks for the drinks, and the Poker invite. Now if you'll excuse me I gotta go see Mayor Hutchens get the keys to the office and that kind of thing."

    Parker looked at him and asked, "You haven't gone to see our fearless leader yet?"

    Eric shook his head and asked, "What kind of a friend would I be if I didn't come to see my best friend first?"

    Parker chuckled and nodded as he replied, "Nicely put Eric." Eric stood up and the two men shook hands as Eric said, "See you tonight at 7."

    As Eric left the office and closed the door he saw Dewey with his foot up on the desk. Eric walked by the desk and bumped it by "accident" causing Dewey's foot to fall and hit the floor. Dewey let out a yowl and Eric said, "Oh sorry about that Dewey didn't see ya there." Eric could tolerate a lot of things a lawman not taking his responsibilities to the office he was sworn to uphold wasn't one of them.

    Eric opened the door and began to walk down the street. His office was about three doors down from the Sheriff's office which made things convenient for the two arms of the law to work together. Eric had served with Dan earlier in his career as a U-S Marshall. Don was the Sheriff of a small town just outside of Dodge City. A lot of times there were tensions between Marshals and local lawmen about who had jurisdiction over what. Don and Eric decided that if one of them saw a crime they would stop it. Jurisdiction and all that non sense didn't mean a lot to them. They became friends quickly, but formed a bond as brothers when the two of them were cornered by the Sullivan gang in a ravine. It was just Eric and Don against seven armed men. Eric and Don Between them had 7 bullets meaning that each shot had to be a head shot, and it was at night. The two men thought for sure they were never gonna see the sunrise the next day. That sun coming up was still one of the most beautiful sights Eric had ever seen.

    It was during that time where the two of them met Wyatt Earp and they learned a lot about being a lawman from him. First thing was to take the job seriously and keep the peace. Dewey looked like he could barely keep his pants up let alone keep the peace. From what he heard Dan's other deputies were not much better. Which made Eric wonder; if these three were so bad then why were they working for Don? Don didn't suffer fools and these three were fools going on first impressions. Eric shrugged his shoulder and called it a desperate times desperate measures thing.

    Eric noticed a Victorian house in the distance. It didn't look like it really belonged in this town, but it was beautiful. Eric stopped to actually admire it. Someone went through a lot of trouble and design to make it stand out. As he stared at it someone approached him and said, "That there belongs to Miss Gale Hogan. She and her ladies will show you pleasures that you only dreamed of for a price."

    Eric looked over and started to say something to the somewhat shorter and older gentleman. He stuck his hand out and said, "Mayor Clyde Hutchinson. Nice to meet you Marshall Bauer. Welcome to Carson City."

    Eric shook hands with Hutchinson and replied, "Thank you Mr. Mayor."

    Hutchinson motioned towards a tall building at the end of the row and said, "My office is this way. We'll get you settled in."

    Eric walked with the Mayor and listened as the Mayor told him about the town
    #3 MST3K 4ever, Dec 8, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  4. "Clyde," came the deep, resonant voice from a point well over both men's shoulders before they made it two paces from the spot where both men had been getting an eyeful of a certain destination of his today. "Shaping up to be a great morning, Mr. Mayor." He touched the brim of his black felt hat, nodding to the tall stranger with the badge he couldn't quite make out. He adjusted the slender, wire-wrapped bifocals over his roman nose, taking a moment to appraise the taller man. Yes, a new face here in Carson City, and the look of a law man - he'd be meeting him soon enough, likely to dig a bullet out of somewhere not so vital that he'd have gone straight to the mortician.

    Still, that didn't mean Dr. Alexander Eisner wasn't above breaking up a little conversation he'd overheard, talk that sounded even vaguely disrespectful of the ladies at Gale's. True enough, they were what they were after all, those precious soiled doves. But Gale's ladies were also so much more, as he could attest. His world had gotten lonely since his Edith passed two years ago, and those girls had been so good to him. Sometimes all a man wanted was a little company in the cool evenings, someone to talk with, and listen as you read by the fire. A warm, soft body to lie next to a man in bed, a tender kiss good night and gentle arms to wrap around him as he fell asleep - there was no sin in that, and damn the man who'd say otherwise! Save all the sweating and humping and howling for the younger men with too much spleen and not enough sense that the good Lord and their good mothers gave them. Alexander Eisner's needs were far, far simpler, and Gale's ladies were always so very good to him.

    "Great morning indeed... Let's get on with it then, Bette." He hummed an old hymnal as he let the bay mare have her head, the gentle beast making a beeline for Miss Hogan's house just across the way.

    "Alex! And Bette!" The elderly man's smile brightened to the magnitude of the sun, even beneath his thick white beard and moustaches, as he dismounted before the short picket gate outside the stately Victorian mansion. And really, what man could fail to be moved by the sweet young thing bounding from the house and down the walk in her stocking feet, her green frilly dress only just done halfway up and slipping off the smooth olive skin of one shoulder. The girl hadn't even bothered to put her hair up, lengths of long black curls falling very nearly to her waist, bobbing with every leaping step.

    "I saw you from the window," she said breathlessly as she pulled up in front of rider and horse, fishing into her sash real quick as Bette's velvet muzzle nuzzled softly at her arm.

    "Well hello there Miss Holly," Dr. Eisner said softly, removing his hat before the lady with a formal little bow that never failed to make her giggle. She fished out a palmful of purloined sugar cubes, smiling even wider as Bette's snuffled into her hand eagerly, obviously not the first time girl and horse had gone through this little ritual.

    "Hello Dr. Eisner." Holly kissed the long white blaze on the mare's muzzle, and then beamed up to the doctor once more. "You've come at the perfect time - there's still some of Mattie's biscuits left, and her coffee - "

    "HOLLY!" Mattie's frame almost filled the doorway as she shouted down the walk toward the girl. "You'd best not be giving any of Miss Gale's sugar cubes to that horse, or I'm going to tan your hide!"

    Holly just giggled of course, knowing Mattie would do absolutely no such thing as 'tanning her hide.' But she did gladly take Bette's reins, waving to Dr. Eisner over her bare shoulder as she started to lead the mare back toward the stables. Swiftly he snatched up his black doctor's bag and heavy oak walking cane before Holly got all that far in her youthful exuberance, and turned back to the house.

    "Good morning Mattie!" Dr. Eisner called, lifting his head with that same impish grin. "So I hear tales about a fresh batch of biscuits going on about here, hmm?"
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Eric and Clyde watched as the gentleman who spoke to them went on his way.

    Clyde turned to Eric and said, “That Marshal Bauer was Dr. Alexander Eisner. He’s the one that’s gonna be patching you up if someone puts a piece of lead into you.”

    Eric nodded and said, “Well hope I get to know him for more than just that.”
    Clyde replied, “He’s a good doctor and a good fella too. Damn shame his wife Edith died a couple years back. She was a right nice lady. I think Alexander goes over to Miss Gale’s mainly ‘cause he’s lonely. Well come into my office so we can get you settled in.”

    Eric and Clyde entered the Town Hall. Clyde introduced Eric around to some of the other office staff and City Officials.

    The two men entered Clyde’s office and Clyde closed the door. He handed Eric two keys and said, “Here you go Marshall. One for your office and the other is a skeleton key. It’ll unlock just about any door here in town. Only to be in cases of emergencies of course.” Clyde sat behind his fine oak desk and offered Eric a seat.

    Eric sat down, took the keys put them in his pocket, and said, “Of course Mr. Mayor. Tell me something sir what do you know about Miss Gale and her business?”

    Clyde replied, “What’s on your mind Marshall?”

    Eric shook his head and said, “Nothing major sir. Just looking at that building it just doesn’t look like it belongs here. It looks like it belongs somewhere on the East Coast in a nicer city. Just curious that’s all.”

    Clyde replied, “Ahh fair enough. Miss Gale Hogan don’t know much about her personally. I’ve heard she came from a rough background, very protective of her girls, and she’s a law abiding citizen pays her taxes that sort of thing. There are those Holier than thou who have a problem with what she does, but when there’s someone who needs help she’s one of the first people ready to help where she can.”

    Eric nodded and said, “Okay then. What she’s doing is not illegal and she helps out…” Eric shrugged his shoulders and said, “Can’t ask for much more than that. Some of the previous cities I’ve served in the house down the street was where many an illegal act occurred. I just wanted to know I might have to look forward to. Hopefully not much.” Eric stuck his hand out as he stood up and said, “Nice to meet you Mr. Mayor. Thank you for your time.”

    Clyde stood up and the two men shook hands. He said, “Need anything Marshall feel free to drop by.”

    Eric left the office and walked back to his new office. He unlocked the door and then entered his office. The place had been closed up since Marshall Reed was killed trying to stop an argument between the blacksmith and a disgruntled customer.

    Eric looked around at the dusty, small, basic office. A typical desk, a couple of lamps, a couple of chairs, an indoor bathroom, and a couple of file cabinets. He was pleased that the box he had shipped from his previous job which contained some personal items had already arrived. Eric walked over and looked at it but then was somewhat concerned. The box looked as though it had been opened and resealed. He opened the box, but saw that nothing was missing or broken. Eric figured it must’ve opened up along the way and someone resealed it. Eric usually tried to think the best of someone unless they gave him a reason to feel otherwise.

    Eric said, “Well if I’m gonna help clean up this town I guess the easiest thing to do is to start right here.”

    Eric walked over to a closet where he saw a broom, a dustpan, and some other cleaning supplies. He pulled the items out and began sweeping and dusting.

    Once he was done he sat down at his desk and took out of the box some old photos and began to position them on his desk. There was one of him, Dave, Wyatt, and Doc in Dodge City. Eric standing in front of a hangman’s deck just before the Scott Brothers were hung. That photo reminded him that there was no glory in watching someone die, and killing should always be the last option. Then there was one of his late wife Meredith. A week from Monday would ‘ve been their 10th wedding anniversary, but she died 3 years ago from typhoid along with their unborn son. Eric had tried to move on as Meredith told him to before she died, but it still felt like he was married to her.

    Eric put the picture in a lower desk drawer, and as he put it in he noticed something odd about the drawer above the bottom drawer. Like there was a piece of paper hanging down. Eric felt and realized there was something stuck underneath the drawer. It took some work but Eric managed to pull a file folder. He checked the other drawers and found two other folders. Eric’s curiosity was understandably piqued by all of this.

    Eric opened the files but they looked as though they weren’t meant to be understood. They were written in symbols and numbers. Except for one page which had the message, “In The Word—Freedom! Reed”

    Eric had no idea what to make of that. Whatever Reed was doing he didn’t want anyone to know about it. As he thought about it Eric saw a Bible on the book shelf and just looked at it for a moment.

    “The word of the Lord,” he said. Eric walked over to the bookshelf and picked it up. He lightly skimmed through it until something caught his eye in the book of “Exodus.” There were circles drawn around numbers, symbols next to letter, letters blotted out. Eric realized this was the key to transcribing the files.

    Eric sat back at his desk and began trying to transcribe the first page. After about an hour of frustration and double checking the key Eric had an introduction page transcribed.
    The note read:

    To whom it may concern,

    If you are reading this it means I’ve been killed by a certain sect of the population of this town. This sect is called “The Trust” they are part of a plot to start a second Civil War. I have pieced this information together through a series of events and left clues for you to follow. If they succeed the U-S Government will fall, and they will rise to power making themselves absolute rulers.

    In these files are the beginnings of my investigation. As you read through it will make sense, but you must gather the evidence on your own and continue what I have begun. These people are powerful and there is a source that I trust, whether they reveal themselves to you or not is up to them.

    You must figure this out on your own. The fate of our Nation counts on their failure.

    Good luck and Blessings,
    Marshall Edwin Reed.

    Eric was shaken by this to say the least. He wanted to start digging around, but Eric realized if he suddenly started asking questions it was not going to end well. Eric decided to play things cool for now as he hid the folders and put the Bible back.

    He looked out at the streets and decided it was time to make his presence more known among the towns people. Eric walked over to the General Store and entered. Eric tipped his hat and said, “Howdy I’m Eric Bauer and I’m the new U-S Marshal here.”

    He stuck his hand out and the older gentleman stuck his out and said, “Marshal my name is Alan Carlson I run the general store here with my wife Mary. What can I do for you sir?”

    Eric shook his head and said, “Just doing a basic stop by and letting people know who I am.”

    Alan replied, “Well Thank you sir. Nice to see another law presence in our town.”
    Just then a little boy came from out in the back trying to carry a box. The box was loaded with various dry goods and other food supplies. Eric reached over and got the box onto the counter.

    The little boy said, “Thanks mister.”

    Eric replied, “Name’s Marshal Bauer young man. What’s yours?”

    He replied, “Joey nice to meet you Marshal.”

    Joey turned back to Alan and said, “Got the box ready to go up to Miss Gale’s Mr. Carlson. It’s a big one.”

    Eric had been wondering how he was going to go visit Miss Gale. A U-S Marshal just walking up to a Brothel just seemed kind of off putting to Eric. He needed a semi-plausible reason to go up there and this seemed like it was a semi-legitimate reason.

    Eric said, “Tell you what Joey how about I help you out here. What if I take it up to Miss Gale’s?”

    Joey looked at Alan who said, “It’s up to you Joey.”

    Joey shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know Marshal. Usually Miss Mattie gives me a biscuit and a dollar for a tip.”

    Eric pulled out a five dollar bill and gave it to Joey. His eyes grew huge as he took the money and said, “Wow thanks Marshal.”

    Eric smiled and replied, “You’re welcome Joey.” Joey looked at Alan who nodded with a smile as Joey began a very careful trek up the candy aisle. Eric slung the box over his shoulder as Alan said, “Thanks Marshal.”

    Eric nodded and replied, “No problem Alan. See ya around.”

    Eric began to make his way out the store and as he headed towards Gale’s. When arrived at the front door Eric knocked and said, “General Store delivery.”
    #5 MST3K 4ever, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  6. The sturdy older woman who opened the door gave the new 'delivery man' the once over, eyeballing him boldly as she looked him up and down. One corner of her mouth turned down skeptically as she stood there, filling the entirety of the door frame. Her large, still strong hands on her ample hips, she snorted a laugh through her nose and shook her head. "Well this is a new one," she said sardonically. "Gentleman callers are generally not acceptable before supper time. When you hear the piano music playing? That's just about right... "

    With little fanfare, the woman took the entire package of store deliveries easily into her arms. "Oh, and you can tell Joey too, he'll be forfeiting that next one of my biscuits, if he's going to be handing off his delivery duties to every last man coming to find an early bird special at Miss Gale's. Get on with you now," Her chin jutted toward the street as she made to turn, one foot reaching for the door to slam it shut -

    "Mattie, who is that at the door?" The low, warm voice pirouetted down the stairwell, followed just as gracefully by a scarlet cat of a woman. Her blood red hair piled high on her head, the silks and crinoline of her red and silver silk off-the-shoulder dress rustled softly as she moved, a whisper of an accompaniment with every elegant step. Large, deep brown eyes peered toward the doorway, laughter and intelligence playing in the soft amber lights reflected in the sun.

    "The new 'delivery boy,' Miss Gale," she said with another snort of laughter, and made to shut the door again. But Gale had already made it across the foyer, and simply held the door with one hand to let Mattie in with the package.

    "I suppose we'll just see about that," she said softly, smiling up at the man curiously.

    Mattie peered at Gale, the unspoken question written in the creases of her brow before she turned with a shrug and a very solid roll of her eyes. "You shouldn't encourage them, Miss Gale," she muttered just under her breath, and just loud enough to be sure both parties heard every slightly exasperated word she said. "Vagabonds, scoundrels and all the useless ne'er-do-wells of Carson City will show up on the doorstep if you let them, like feral cats or stray dogs. You ain't supposed to feed 'em."

    Gale only laughed, the sound like the tinkling of fine lead crystal as she turned to look up at the stranger on her doorstep once more. "So," she began easily, tapping her chin with one long, elegant finger as if deep in thought, "So so so... Unless our Joey has managed to grow to a man in the space of a day, you're not him." She offered the man her hand daintily, to take gently in his own.

    "I'm Gale Hogan, and that... " She nodded toward where the older woman had disappeared into the back of the enormous house, "Is Mattie. And you sir, would be... ?"
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Bauer kept trying to say who he was as the large woman was letting it be known far and wide she was not overwhelmingly happy to see him.

    Then came another a voice into the conversation. It was a voice that took Eric by surprise. While the larger woman was loud and authoritative this voice was like fine silk. Underneath the silk though there was a tone of focus, and if pushed it wasn’t going to be a pretty picture. When Eric saw the person behind the silk and steel voice he was impressed by her beauty right from the start. The red hair and brown eyes were stunning to say the least, and her choice in wardrobe was just as impressive to him. However Eric knew that the goal of this visit was to get to the people, and not to just focus in one person.

    Mattie walked away Eric just looked at her for a moment and said, “Ummm…thank you. In Joey’s defense I offered to help.”

    Finally introductions were in order as Gale offered her hand Eric took off his hat and took the hand gently in his. He took it as though it were a rare butterfly and if Eric was too harsh it fly away. He said, “Miss Hogan my name is Eric Bauer. I’m the new Marshal for Carson City.”

    He let the hand slip away ever so gently and said, “I’m not here to cause trouble, I’m not here to scope out your business. What you do here is your concern and it’s all legal so I have no need for…” Eric removed his badge and put it in his pocket and said, “This item. The delivery of the groceries is part of the service part in to protect and to serve. Joey was struggling a bit so I thought I’d help. This is somewhat of a social call actually.”

    As he shook his head Eric said, “Me just showing up here wearing a badge and knocking on the door for no other reason than to just play the ‘big bad lawman’ with a badge just isn’t my style. I’m just trying to get know the people that I am called to serve here.” He looked around the house where he was standing and said, “It’s a very beautiful house you have here Miss Hogan. It really is quite lovely. “

    Eric turned back at Gale and said, “Again I’m not to cause trouble or to stir things up not in the least. I was, to be honest, looking for a reason to come here other than for an evening visit my reasons are simple. The house stands out as an oasis and very refined amongst the typical wooden buildings, the people around here have a high opinion of you, and so yeah my curiosity was naturally…” Eric chuckled a bit as he said, “For lack of a better term aroused.”

    Nodding towards the back he said, “In fact you’re the closest neighbor I have. I bought the McCoy ranch about ¼ mile from right outside your back door. Looking at retiring in the next couple of years. Possibly opening up the ranch for business again. Who knows? I'm just looking forward to a life where I'm not getting shot at or someone is shooting at me. I'll also still be old enough to enjoy my life."

    Smiling for a bit Eric asked, "I realize that I’m not Joey so I won’t be asking for a tip, but would it be all-right if I could get a glass of water?”
  8. One blood red eyebrow cocked curiously as the new Marshall spoke, her crimson lips twisted up in a wry little smile. Such a curious man, come to arrive on her doorstep. Not a young man, no, but old enough to enjoy the company of a woman and to know the worth of said company. 'How quaint... He wishes to "get to know" his neighbors? I suppose it would simply be mere coincidence that one of his first stops is at the home of "Miss Gale" - who, apparently, has the most sterling reputation in this town? He must not have spoken to many wives... '

    Gale tittered softly to herself. "Please, do come in Marshall Bauer. I imagine we can do some better than merely water. Why, it's entirely possible I might convince Mattie to whip up a pitcher of lemonade, playing on her delicate conscience mistaking you for merely another stray dog sniffing about, yes?" The young woman shrugged her shoulders as she stepped back and held open the door, laughing softly.

    "Or at the very least, some ginger water? I'm afraid I'm a terrible liar, Marshall Bauer - Mattie possesses nothing at all like a 'delicate conscience,' and you and I shall have to to simply take whatever she might give us." Gale closed the door behind him, and then easily interlaced his arm into his, as if he were the one doing the escorting here in her own home. "You should know, the lady does run a tight ship."

    "I do have the key to the liquor cabinet though... " Gale leaned up to whisper those words softly in his ear, grinning conspiratorially. "If you would prefer something a little stronger? I won't tell on you, Mr. Law Man. Cross my heart." And she did. Gale was truly incredulous, that a law man was declaring her business 'legal,' though he did not seem so naive as to truly believe she ran a boarding house or, better yet, some type of finishing school?

    "Especially since you've been so good as to let me know, you're not here to 'stir things up,' or 'give us a little trouble,' was it? Though I pray not every man who walks through those doors feels the same way. I should be out of business and out on the streets soon enough, if that were so! My ladies do not mind a bit of trouble, Marshall Bauer. Our business is to soothe troubles, ease the worries that crease a man's brow, and to set him off smiling once more. We here are, if nothing else, endlessly charitable... "

    Gale's deep brown eyes peered up to the Marshall as she walked to the pocket doors to the dining room, calling for Mattie before her attentions returned to the Marshall whose arm she had entwined with her own. "And charity begins at home - and why, you plan to be so close! My goodness, you practically are home, are you not? I do wonder how Mrs. Bauer will take to having such charitable neighbors... "
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  9. As Gale led Eric through the house he reminded himself that this was not an officially duty stop, and that he could allow a sense of pleasure at being escorted by Gale. Yes she ran a brothel and who knew if this was just part of what she did, or she actually was very charming and welcoming? At the moment though Eric didn’t care. It had been sometime that he actually talked to a woman without it relating to a case or telling her she had the right to remain silent. The last woman Eric was with was Misty Collter two months ago, and that was because she was the key in helping track down two guys who robbed a bank in a small town outside of Arizona. Eric had his share of affairs and one nighters since Meredith died, but nothing of substance, and frankly he was getting tired of the games.

    Eric listened as Gale made an offer of several beverages and said, “Whatever is non-alcoholic and at hand would be fine. Not to be a tee-tootler but I’ve already had a couple of shots with Sheriff Parker this morning when I first got into town. He and I are old friends so we shared a couple of shots. Whatever is easiest for you or Mattie. I don’t wanna be any trouble.”

    Eric gave her an easy going smile and said, “I have to admit your sense of who you are and how you feel towards your girls and Mattie is very refreshing. I’ve known others who view those who work for them as nothing more than laborers, or means to an end. You care about those who live here, and according to some around town, the town itself. Very selfless in that sense. I don’t know a lot of people like that. Most of the people I know are lawmen who I question if they are in the right profession, or hustlers who enjoy taking the shirt off of your back.”

    Once Gale mentioned a “Mrs. Bauer” he took a bit of deep breath, but let it out slowly. Talking about Meredith in the past was always difficult for Eric, but it was something that he needed to work through. Eric looked at Gale and said, “There’s no Mrs. Bauer Miss Hogan.” He showed her his left hand that there was no tan line around his ring area. Eric said as he brought his hand down, “She passed away three years ago. Typhoid outbreak in Kansas. Happened while I was out of town, and I got home just in time to tell her goodbye.”

    Eric gave her another easy going smile and said, “Don’t mean to dampen the mood. You are being a very charming and gracious lady Miss Hogan, but talking about Meredith in the past tense is still a little hard. Getting a little easier though, but still takes some effort.”

    Eric was very impressed at the style and elegance of the dining room, and had no question or doubt the rest of the house was just as refined. The Buffet made out of oak, the table was elegant, the plates cost as much as Eric made in a year. Gale was establishing an atmosphere of hospitality and style in her home, but Eric was willing to bet as gracious as she was to him Gale could probably be very vindictive if pushed into a corner.
    He said, “Tell you what. Whatever you or Mattie make, alcoholic or not, I’ll have it. On one condition….” He walked over to the table and pulled out a chair and said, “If you join me as well.”
  10. "Oh Mr. Bauer, I am so sorry for your loss. Having met you, I do not doubt your Meredith was an incomparable and very fortunate lady." And Gale's words were sincere, and she gave his arm a gentle squeeze with her own soft hands. No, she had never experienced anything of the kind. In all these years, there had been perhaps one or two lovers she might shed a tear for if they passed, but to her knowledge not a one of them had so far. And assuredly, Gale Hogan had never been made a 'respectable woman,' wedded to any man. But beneath the veneer of the entrepreneur and calculating libertine, there remained the remains of a once-soft heart still tender and capable of a vast imagination. And if she were utterly incapable of empathy, she would have no business at all soon enough.

    "But no, no Marshall Bauer, you have dampened nothing at all, I promise." A soft, gentle smile returned as she looked up into his handsome face. The sweetness of the offered chair truly touched her, to see that even a man of position and responsibility considered her lady enough still, to offer her that simple courtesy. Many men curried the favor of Gale Hogan, and they offered a dizzying array of gifts and grand gestures. But it was precious and rare, to be offered such grace by a man who, as far as she could tell, seemed to have absolutely no ulterior motive in the least. Marshall Bauer seemed kind, thoughtful and polite and perhaps even just a touch endearingly awkward, at first glance at least. It was refreshing.

    But she still lay her hand lightly over his where he held the chair rail, savoring the rough but warm feeling of his skin for a moment. "I am afraid though, that the dining room is only for the ladies of the house. I pray you understand, and it is meant as no insult, but sometimes we women simply need just one room of this vast house, to be left entirely to ourselves." She had heard his compliment to her, about the her treatment of the ladies beneath her roof, but Gale said nothing on that matter at all. She loved her girls, dearly. Enough to feel protective of even their small private space.

    Gently, she steered the Marshall from the dining room, back across the foyer to an immense parlor. The furnishings within were sumptuous, soft red and cream velvets that begged a man to come take his leisure here, to let himself relax and be entranced by the lead crystal droplets of the exquisite chandelier overhead, and all the crystal-laced lamps set upon marble-topped tables. Doubtlessly in the evenings, the place must simply sparkle with its rainbow-hued radiance - and yes, it most assuredly did. But in truth, none of the grandeur within could hold a candle to the ladies who would come to grace its space nightly.

    But for now, it was simply a U.S. Marshall and a soiled dove who stepped over its threshold. "And yes, if I haven't offended you Mr. Bauer, I'll still gladly take you up on your offer, and join you in a moment. It seems that you'll simply have to let me fetch you some drink though - it seems Mattie has found other things to do. So lemonade it will be - I bet Mattie still has a bit left in the ice box - and then just a splash of bourbon perhaps? Nothing to make you regret the shots you had earlier with Sheriff Parker... " Gale smiled coyly with a shrug of her lovely, bare shoulders.

    "And when I return, perhaps a bit of refreshment can loosen your poor parched tongue, and you can regale me with the tale of how you know our illustrious Sheriff?"
  11. Eric said, "Thank you for the kind words about Meredith Miss Hogan. She was something very special all-right, but..." he shook his head slowly and said, "she's a part of the past, and she isn't suffering. So I can take comfort in that and move on."

    Eric allowed Gale to guide him through the house into the parlor. He said, "Miss Hogan this is your home. Whatever rules or traditions you have established I will abide by willingly and without discussion ma'am." He looked around the parlor and it was a room that Eric felt was very refined just like Gale. The detailing and woodworking of the shelves was impressive, the furniture was one of a kind, and the chandelier was beautiful. Eric was a man of the range and enjoyed working with his hands, but being in this room made him feel two things. One at ease and comfortable, but his wardrobe made him feel like he didn't fit in well with his surroundings. This was a whole new world for him, and Eric didn't exactly mind exploring it.

    The discussion drifted back to drinks and Eric chuckled and said, "I have no issues with whatever you bring me Miss Hogan. I'm technically not on duty right now. I don't start up until tomorrow morning at 6. I'm on my own time, so..." He sat on one of the couches and said, "I can just enjoy myself."

    He crossed his legs and stretched them. With an easy going smile he said, "Some of the stories about Dave and I are best left between he and I, but there are some that I don't see any harm in sharing. Especially the one that involves our first meeting. " Eric with a chuckle said, "When we first met there was no doubt we were either about to become the best of friends, or we'd save the Sullivan gang the trouble of doing us in and we'd do each other instead."
  12. Gale smiled indulgently as the Marshall settled himself into one of the sumptuous parlor chairs, leaning back, legs crossed and stretched before him and entirely at his leisure. This was, of course, exactly the response this room was meant to engender in a man: no matter where he chose to sit or recline, beneath the spotlights offered by a glittering chandelier, or in a darkened corner lit only by the refracted rainbows from the crystal sconces, he was a prince, a lordly man who should be at ease in this realm. Gale was pleased to see the ambience she worked so hard to attain, had the same effect in broad daylight as it did in the evening.

    She laughed softly, her own pleasure intertwining easily with Marshall Bauer’s easygoing manner to make that laughter genuine and sweet. Gale wisely let the talk of his dearly departed pass, and simply cocked another eyebrow at him curiously. “Well this does sound like a story indeed – you should not have to tell it though without a drink. Tale-telling can be very thirsty work, please excuse me if you would… “

    Gale turned to walk through the parlor doors to see what she could drum up, and very nearly ran straight into Mattie. The older woman sidestepped her with an ease that belied her size and girth, gracefully turning with a tray in her hand that would have made a prima donna positively flush with jealousy. For her part though, Gale only jumped a little, stepped back and began to laugh all over again. “Mattie, I swear – “

    “You’d best not Miss Gale,” Mattie replied tartly, “We wouldn’t want you givin’ the new delivery boy here the idea that ladies of quality have the tongues of sailors, now would you?”

    Mattie breezed past Gale, making for the spot where the Marshall still lounged. And for all her smart tongue, the elder woman’s wide face actually softened as she looked at Eric Bauer, shifting the tray one-handed now as she set a glass on the marble top of the end table beside him. The liquid inside was pale and golden, chipped pieces of ice still floating within, the cold drink setting in the hot, humid air making the surface slick with condensation like morning dew.

    “Lemonade, my own, with a shot of bourbon,” she said crisply. “And don’t be looking so wide-eyed now, Marshall.” Mattie turned to Gale, offering her the second glass before tucking the wooden tray beneath her arm. “You just got a good taste of how long a secret not whispered in Miss Gale’s house is gonna to last.” She sashayed away in all her plump and full-bodied glory, leaving the parlor for the momentarily stunned madame and the new Marshall in Carson City.

    “Well!” Gale finally blinked, and then burst into high, sweet laughter, shaking her head incredulously. “Never fear, Marshall Bauer, Mattie is almost completely harmless. She takes some getting used to, granted, but she is more than worth her weight in gold, she is!”

    Her poise returned swiftly, and she pulled a chair a touch closer to the Marshall’s own, setting her own glass next to his on the marble top table. “So, do tell then, the tale of your first meeting with our beloved Sheriff and your dear friend?” She propped her elbow up on the table as well, her chin in her hand as her dark brown eyes lay gently on the Marshall’s face. She knew Sheriff of course – there were precious few men in this town that Gale Hogan did not, not even their good Reverend who wallowed in inequity most Saturday nights, only to be shriven shiny clean and new on Sunday.

    “And before you start, you should know as well – you and the Sheriff are always welcome here beneath my roof.” The fact that the good Sheriff could assuredly attest to that did not pass her lips. A wise madame held a great deal close to her heart, and let little trip off her tongue - particularly matters of gentleman callers. “If you do not have to be to work until tomorrow? Do consider stopping by tonight, and bring your friend the Sheriff as well. There are so many more of your neighbors you’ve yet to meet, and my ladies are quite neighborly. Neighborly to a fault,” she added with a sweet smile.
    #12 Muirgen, Dec 26, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  13. Eric returned the smile to Gale and said, "I'm sure Mattie is a fine woman and is worth her weight in gold and then some." He took a sip of the lemonade and the shot of bourbon added a bit of a kick to it, but on it's own the beverage was just like drinking pure Heaven. The sweetness and the tartness had a very nice balance. Most drinks like this it was either like sucking on a lemon or enjoying sugar water with a splash of lemon. This though was perfection in a glass, and the bourbon was so smooth Eric could've drank it by itself. By itself meaning the entire bottle. This was not just "the good stuff" this was the imported stuff. Everything in this house right down to the glass bespoke a place of style and pleasure. Eric was glad to see that this wasn't just a nice exterior but the interior was just as elegant

    He let out a look of satisfaction and said, "Now this is wonderful. Tastes just like Heaven. Thank you Miss Gale. In terms of me and the Sheriff coming by tonight. We're set to play cards at the Silver Spur around seven. He thinks it's a chance for me to get to know some of the others in town, and I told him I'd stop by. But I never did say how long I'd be there. He and I have played enough hands together that after a while we can only play so many hands before we get too competitive, and forget that we actually like one another. so I think it's safe to say I'll be back again this evening." Eric did realize it but when he said the last part of his statement he was smiling directly at Gale.

    A long drink and Eric stood up and looked out the window into the distance. The area was so wide open and picturesque he could only imagine the view from the top floor at night. Eric bet the stars were so close you could almost reach out and touch them. He gave a slight nod and said, "It was almost 15 years ago in a little town outside of Dodge City there were a string of robberies in and around the area being done by the Sullivan gang. Eight of the meanest S-O-B s you could ever imagine being here on God's green earth. They got outside of Dodge City so Wyatt Earp, yes Dave and I know him and Doc Holiday, telegraphed Dave to warn him they were coming. I was the young hotshot U-S Marshall in hot pursuit." Eric turned back to Gale and said, "I had been chasing the Sullivans for 2 states. I wasn't gonna give up. I had a feeling where they were heading and I was waiting for them. While I was waiting Dave and I had a ah..." Eric cleared his throat and said, "disagreement over who had jurisdiction over this case. While we were arguing the Sullivans blew into town hit the bank, and while trying to shoot their way out..." Eric looked down steadied himself and then looked back at Gale and said, "They killed two people one of them was six year old boy. Dave and I no longer had an interest in who had jurisdiction we had an interest in Justice." Eric shrugged his shoulders and said, "Truthfully we had no intention of bringing them in alive. We were out for blood. Dave and I went out alone problem was The Sullivans were ready for us. We wasted a lot of ammo in their initial ambush. We got one one of them but between Dave and I we had 7 bullets and that was it. We managed to escape but we knew we couldn't go back. One the town wanted the Sullivans to answer for what they did, and two if we retreated the Sulivans would be gone forever."

    Eric took another drink and he finished his glass. He sat the glass down and then sat next to Gale. He continued, "We were hold up in a ghost town. The Sullivans were now chasing us because we killed one of their own. It was night the slightest sound convinced us that they were there. Dave and I realized that if we were going to have any chance to survive, slim as it was, we had to work together. So we improvised some security and explosive devices. We knew we had to keep our wits about us but not dwell on our situation so we got to know each other that night."

    Eric nodded as he looked up to the ceiling and said, "It about 5:30 am when we heard one of our security devices get triggered. wasn't much but we knew it was time." He looked back at Gale and said, "I took position on one roof Dave was catty-corner on another. I raised up and triggered an explosive Dave took out two of them in the head. The rest is kind of a blur all I know is that sunrise we saw was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen."

    Eric leaned back and said, "Dave and I realized we had more in common then not, and we saw we made a pretty good team. That's how it happened for us."
  14. Gale nodded when the Marshall reassured her he would be returning tonight, and she decided in that moment she really rather liked Eric Bauer's warm, utterly unfeigned smile. She wondered how in the world this man did not manage to lose his shirt in poker regularly - he truly did not seem to have a naturally deceptive bone in his entire body. Her head tilted just a little, curiously, as she studied him a moment longer. Perhaps he has, or will, she mused, considering the company their illustrious Sheriff kept, In which case I really ought not be half so glad he's promised to return tonight...

    She was glad to shove these unexpected and strangely uncomfortable thoughts aside as he wove his tale, doing all that a woman of her particular skill set might do as he spoke. Gale listened raptly, her large brown eyes following Eric as he stood, weaving his tale as he spoke - it was truly no hardship at all to do so. His voice was low, deep and comforting and just as she noticed in that handsome, trustworthy face, he seemed utterly unable to hide whatever emotion took him as he spoke. Eric Bauer was utterly guileless, and this was an unexpected, exotic thing to Gale Hogan.

    That he knew the two most famous lawmen in the country, she never would have thought to question. And she liked that he did not drop these names as a boast, simply as a matter of fact. As the Marshall spoke, Gale folded her hands neatly in her lap, quite literally sitting on the edge of her seat until his tale was unwound entirely. She rather liked his tenacity, his passion. She even liked how he leaned back in his chair, completely at his ease and genuinely enjoying this house, his drink, and quite obviously, even the company.

    "A 'pretty good team?' And 'that's how it happened for us?' If I didn't know any better Marshall Bauer, I'd have thought the two of you had simply begun a rather tumultuous courtship." Gale winked at him slyly, a wordless problem she was only teasing of course. "Do you think - "

    A quick rapping, knuckles on wood, pulled her attention from the man beside her to the elderly physician standing at the wide open doorway, a grinning Holly on one arm. "Miss Gale, I don't want to interrupt your visit," he said with a curious glance at the tall U.S. Marshall sitting quite at ease here in a brothel parlor at midday. One white, bushy eyebrow arched as he regarded Eric Bauer unhurriedly for a moment longer before his attentions returned to the madame.

    "But Violet is doing just fine, her fugue well passed. She just needs another day or two of bedrest and she'll be right as rain."

    The exuberant young dove though, had absolutely no qualms about any interruptions. She released Dr. Eisenberg's arm and, slinging her thumb along the strappy edge of her dress that kept slipping off her shoulder, she bounced through the parlor to come kneel beside the Marshall's chair where he lounged, her skirts pooling prettily around her legs like a flower blossom. Her hands slipped over the upholstered velvet chair arm as her lively freckled face looked up into his expectantly. "Hello," she quipped easily.

    Gale simply sighed, rolled her eyes and laughed softly. "Marshall Eric Bauer, this is Holly. And Holly, the Marshall is simply here for a short visit and... Nothing else," she said meaningfully. And though the brilliance of the young woman's face dimmed not even a little, she nodded her understanding to Gale before her gaze still returned to Eric.

    "Excuse me for a moment, Marshall," she said, standing to her feet to cross the parlor to Dr. Eisenberg, "And may I get you another drink?"
  15. Eric watched as Gale listened to his story. He said, "Yeah as I said I though we might end up killing each other before the Sullivans got to us, but in the end we made it work out." He looked up and smirked as he said, "Oh there are other stories to be told, but I'm not one who believes in dominating a conversation."

    As though right on cue there was a knock on the door. At first Eric wasn't sure if he should stay out of view or not. However Eric didn't jump or scurry away. Last time he checked being here was perfectly legal. Be there no question or doubt what went on this establishment, but again it was perfectly legal. Morally there might be some who had issues with what went on here, but Bauer knew he had no business judging others from a moral point of view. There were those times that he "howled at the moon" a little too much, and there might be those who had an issue or two with him gambling. So he wasn't perfect Bauer would be the first to admit he was far from perfect, but if there was a law on the books Bauer would carry out his sworn duty.

    He saw the doctor standing in the doorway. The Marshall made no judgments on the doctor although Eric wasn't sure what the doctor thought of him being there. Apparently the doctor was there on official business and there was nothing wrong with that. The doctor was providing a service and from the looks of things he wasn't interested in any carnal activities, and even if he was it was his business. Sometimes someone just needs to talk to another person. As the doctor looked at Eric all Eric did was give a slight grin with a mild tip of his hat.

    When the young lady known as Holly was introduced to Eric gave her a wider smile and said, "Howdy ma'am. Just here gettin' to know the town and this fine looking home seemed like a nice place to start. Not to mention Miss Gale has been a more than gracious hostess."

    Eric looked back to Gale and said, "I do believe I would like a refill on my lemonade ma'am, and yes I would like that special kick added to it as well."
  16. "Thank you doctor," Gale said earnestly, obviously relieved by his news. Violet's fever had not been so high she feared anything like scarlet fever or the like, but in her lifetime Gale had seen too many - perfectly healthy one moment - carried off to an early and untimely grave days later for what seemed no more than wintertime sniffles at the time.

    "Any time Gale, any time at all - you know you've only to ask... But speaking of asking? I've got a question for you," Doctor Eisenberg said with a vague, near imperceptible nod of his head in Eric's direction. "You're receiving some very strange visitors at even stranger hours it seems, hmm?"

    "Doctor! You're not rendering judgment on a man's morality - or lack thereof - now are you?" she asked with a sly grin, laughing as she shrugged her pale bare shoulders. She kept her voice low, near a whisper to keep their conversation a matter only for the two of them. "No no, I'm only teasing. The only fault that can be laid at your feet is an overweening protectiveness and gallantry that is, in truth, more charming than fault."

    Gale patted her dear friend's arm lightly. "Apparently our new Marshall is actually here for a friendly visit, if you can believe that. Not even a hint of a shakedown, the threat of blackmail or a 'subtle' request for a bribe, to allow me to continue operating in the environs of Carson City. He has even accepted my invitation to return this evening, without so much as a whiff of procuring 'free or reduced cost' discounts for local law enforcement."

    The good doctor's bushy eyebrows rose once more in surprise, a slow and sidelong grin for the madame sidling across his face. "He's not tried to save your soul either, plucked you up from hell fire to mend your devil woman ways? Find a nice husband, pop out a proper brood of a dozen or so babes - or better yet, get thee to a nunnery?"

    Gale slapped a little harder at the doctor's arm, mouth fallen open and laughing in feigned shock. "Honestly... " she said with a grand roll of her eyes, and then turned back to Eric with a nod of her head. "Of course Marshall!" she replied easily, winking at the doctor who put his wide black atop that shock of silver hair, and tipped the brim toward the seated man beside the ever-fresh and lovely Holly.

    "Good day Gale," he said softly to the young woman, touching the brim of his hat once more. "I'll be by tonight."

    "Tonight dear friend," she said softly, knowing the doctor could let himself out as she turned to the kitchens.

    And back in the parlor, Holly lifted herself up to her knees and, her forearms folded one over the other on the arm of Eric's chair, her chin perched there as her sweet, guileless face turned upward to the man's ruggedly handsome face, studying the careworn lines and weathered creases as she spoke. "Yes, Miss Gale is always good to us, and living here is grand! It's the prettiest place I've ever been - and I even have my own bed, and many more dresses than one work frock and my Sunday best in a real wardrobe, all to myself."

    Holly smiled proudly, her gentle light bright and unfeigned. "So we're the first place you stopped then, Marshall?" she asked, intrigued. "I like that. Do you know Miss Gale from someplace else? Do you know lots of folks here in Carson City? Or do you need some help getting around? I know most everybody! If you need a guide, someone who knows their way around?"
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  17. Eric was actually amused by the back and forth banter between the doctor and Gale. To the point he smiled at the doctor as he left and did a slight bow to him. Whether the doctor saw him or not was not the point, but the fact that Gale was also being open and honest about why Eric was there, and more importantly she told the doctor why Eric wasn't there. Not to mention it couldn't hurt being on friendly terms with the man who could eventually end up having to dig a bullet out of Eric at some point.

    The banter also spoke volumes for whom Gale was as well. Eric began to feel already that Gale was someone who could be trusted. Again some may question the morality of her profession but that didn't mean that they had to question her character. Eric had only known Gale for a couple of hours, but already he was ready to have issues with anyone who questioned the character of Miss Gale Hogan. The one thing that Eric made note of was when Gale mentioned the law man's discount and shake downs. Eric was hoping that Dave was not doing any of these things to Gale. If he was not only would Eric have issues with fellow law man pulling that kind of non-sense on a legitimate business, but in the past Dave had more than once taken care of other law men who crossed the line and abused their power for their own gain. Eric hated the thought that Dave would be pulling that on anyone.

    Holly began to talking to Eric and though she was just getting over her fever he was amazed at how outgoing she was. Holly was either dealing with a case of cabin fever, or she really was just a bright and very bubbly personality. She was so young and just full of life again Eric felt himself smiling as he stretched out a bit.

    He said, "Well Miss Holly I know Sheriff Parker from a while back, so I've already stopped to see him. We're old friends and been through a lot together. Other than him I don't know anyone really here. I've met the Mayor and the doctor just briefly. Not to mention Joey the delivery boy who works for Mr. Carlson at the General Store. Otherwise I'm the new guy in town."

    Eric looked back over at Holly and said, "I appreciate the offer Miss Holly, but I think it's best I try to figure out things on my own. Besides it seems like you could use a bit more rest so you can recover."

    He asked, "What brought you here to Carson City?"

    Eric noted to himself to ask Gale that question when she came back in.
  18. Holly laughed brightly, playfully slapping at the Marshall's arm as she shook her head. "Oh no, I wasn't sick! That was Violet, Marshall! I just like Dr. Eisenberg, and he likes me too, and he always lets me take care of his mare when he visits - she's such a pretty thing," the young woman laughed breathlessly, her sweet smile widening as she considered his question. She was not often asked such personal questions, much less asked in such a way it seemed like the questioner might actually care to hear the answer.

    "But me? Oh... Well... " Holly said softly, suddenly and desperately wishing she had some grand and romantic tale to weave for Marshall Bauer. But she did not often find herself in such a position, that any man might expect her to be anything but sparkling and bright, a delightful whirlwind of energy. Weaving fascinating tales to keep a man following after her mystery was never a talent within Holly's repertoire, and so she simply and finally settled for the unadorned truth.

    "Well, I mostly grew up here - or really, just a couple miles out," she said with a nod of her head toward the front door, as if Eric might need proper directions to what "out" might possibly mean.

    "My real Papa passed from typhoid when I was about six years old. We lived in Ohio then. It was really green - that's pretty much all I remember, but I think it was nice. Mama remarried right away, to a man who thought he'd come out here and stake a mining claim. John's his name - I think he's still alive." Holly shrugged her slender, bare shoulders to let the Marshall know that her stepfather's continued existence was not a matter that truly concerned her in the least.

    "Mama died along with my little angel brother who went to heaven with her, and John drank, a lot. His claim never produced much more than gravel, which didn't pay for the gambling and booze he was really liked. I, however, did pay for all that - a lot, if you get me. I was... eleven years old, I think? John used to say I was really mature for my age though."

    Holly shrugged all over again, and then rested her chin on her folded hands with a small smile. "Miss Gale actually won me in poker - no really, I was put up for my stepfather's chips, all he had left and he thought no woman was going to beat him - you should have seen his face!" She laughed, shaking her head with the memory Miss Gale's cold, hard face as she held that deringer in her hand, pointed between John's wide, terrified eyes as he slowly put his own pistol back in its holster. John had been that desperate not to lose her, but Miss Gale had been that good.

    That didn't mean she was going to tell Marshall Bauer about that part though. Miss Gale was also a lady after all, and not one to go bragging about almost shooting a man.

    "And so Miss Gale brought me back here... I was 'bout thirteen by then. She kept me here, fed me, put a roof over my head and made sure I knew how to read and write. I used to do the housework here with Mattie and, when I was old enough, Miss Gale told me I could go if I liked. But I'm not leaving her, you know - the money's great and the work's not so bad. Sure beats washing a man's drawers and a hundred dirty diapers in a cold stream in winter, or trying to figure out how to make a horse pull a plow- "

    "Well hello there you two." Gale's voice glided as gracefully as the woman back into the parlor, another cold crystal glass of Mattie's special lemonade in hand. Carefully she sat it back beside the Marshall, and lowered herself back to her seat once more. "Having a good chat, are you?" she asked with a gentle smile.
    #18 Muirgen, Jan 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  19. Eric listened with great interest to Holly's story. Even more so than usual because he managed to get her confused with Violet which was pretty embarrassing for a man who prided himself upon being observant. Especially since that was what his job called for him to be as well.

    He was especially struck by two things. One that they shared a common bond in the sense that they had each one lost someone to typhoid. Bauer decided that he would keep that part of himself quiet. Mainly because it just felt like the wrong thing to build communication and trust upon. Much like he and Dave rarely if ever talked about the men they had killed and certainly not the night they thought for sure that they were gonna die. The other thing that caught his attention was the fact that Miss Gale was a poker player as well. From what Eric could tell just from his limited interaction with Gale was that she was obviously very good at playing. She was good enough to win Holly. While Eric was not thrilled with hearing about someone being used as collateral in a card game he was relieved that Gale was taking good care of Holly. There was one thing Eric was able to tell these young ladies were very special to Gale, and woe be to the one who hurt any of them.

    As Gale re-entered the room Eric immediately looked back at Gale as she sat down another glass, and then resumed sitting in her seat. Eric took the glass and enjoyed a drink of the lemonade. The tartness, sweetness, and the added kick was a wonderful taste in Eric's mouth as he smiled at Gale. He swallowed and said, "It's been a rather pleasant chat. Holly was nice enough to tell me a bit about herself and how she came to be a resident here."

    He looked back Holly and said, "Thank you for sharing your story with me Holly. It was a pleasure to hear it, and I apologize for getting you confused with Violet. I'm usually much more observant than that."

    Eric turned his attention back to Gale and said, "I assure you I'm usually much more focused on things, but right now I'm just enjoying myself with a wonderful lemonade and some very pleasant conversation."

    Eric took another drink and when he was done he asked, "Holly was nice enough to tell me her story, I was wondering if I could hear some of yours as well." He nodded and said, "I've told you some of mine and I'm willing to tell more, if you are willing to do so in kind."
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