Genie of Dodge City

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  1. The incense of cigar smoke and liquor permeated the run-down shack of a saloon. At the back of the rectangular building sat a makeshift wooden stage with stained, velvet curtains and gaudy fake gold cappings. Four girls in stockings, bustled skirts, and corsets that left little to the imagination pranced about on the stage kicking their legs high over the heads of the men who crowded around them. Just to the left of the stage sat an upright piano. On the honky-tone keys this evening was a spindly little man with a spattering of dark hair atop his head and a red face from taking to the bottle too much during the performance.

    A mahogany counter about nine bar stools long with a large mirror and cabinets full of bottles as a backdrop sat closer to the swinging doors of the saloon. Tables filled the rest of the empty space where men in cowboy hats and spurs conversed, drank, or bet on card games. At one table in particular, near the wall across from the bar, sat an auburn-haired woman with an audience of three or four men. Her dress was modest compared to the other wenches who worked in the saloon. A loose blouse settled just under her shoulders, showing off her smooth, unblemished skin and just enough of a line in the middle of her chest to suggest what might be hidden underneath. An under-bust corset hugged tightly to her waist and ended just above her hips where the thin fabric of her skirt took over and flowed down to her calves. Her feet were clad in supple leather boots, no spurs. In her hands she held a deck of cards, shuffled them, and skillfully dealt them out to each player with a flick of the wrist. She was the blackjack dealer.

    "I'm gonna win this time, just you watch!" one of them crooned.

    "Nah, you ain't got the smarts for it," another countered. "I'll bet Joe's the one who walks off with our money tonight."

    "I wish that'd be the case!" the one called Joe hooted. "But I ain't got the luck in me tonight."

    A mysterious smile flickered across the dealer's full lips as she flipped over the first card. By the time all the cards were laid out on the table, Joe was declared the winner. Cursing and back-slapping carried on between the men as the dealer scooped her cards into a pile and arranged them into a neat deck again.
  2. This night the saloon was boisterous, men were shouting and generally content with life as they drowned themselves in the taste of cheap alcohol and the carefree sound of music. Aside from this, at the far left end of the bar, a man sat alone with his mostly untouched whiskey. This man was slightly different from the rest, he did not partake in ogling the women on stage or gambling with many of the other men. Rather, this man sat alone with his head down in thought, looking as though he was trying to piece together some kind of puzzle.

    The man in question appeared to be in his mid-thirties, though this was not easily determined from his face, sun and wind beaten as it was. In fact, most everything about this man looked rough and thoroughly worn. Brown wiry hair poked out from beneath a black leather Stetson which was staring to lighten to grey with age. The wide brim hid his brown eyes from the rest of the saloon patrons. A simple grey button up, black pants, and a holstered .44 caliber Colt 1860 were hidden from sight by a long brown trench coat, ending just before a pair of spur-less brown and black boots. To most he would be an unassuming figure, someone who kept to himself and didn't bother anyone. But a few gave him wary looks here and there. Here was a man that didn't belong to this bar, hardly even to this town. He was a stranger to the area, and while this was not uncommon, prejudice often held strong.

    Though the strange man appeared lost in thought, he was actually very concentrated on the sounds around him. Much was going on, but hardly any of it was lost to him. He could hear the sound of gambling on the other side of the room, but paid little heed to it. He was listening for something else, something more specific. He ignored the strange look the bartender was giving him, and took a another slow sip of his whiskey.
    #2 Tsimmu, Sep 29, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2014
  3. "Another round, gentlemen?" the card dealer called gaily once the congratulatory raucous died down. The one called Joe jiggled the coins in his palm and shook his head with a grin.

    "Not tonight, Vic. I got myself lucky and I ain't going to squander any of it!"

    "Very wise, I'm sure," she replied demurely and turned her violet eyes upon the other two to repeat her question. Neither one responded positively and they went for their hats and coats hanging on the wall. On the way past her table again, one of them flipped a coin onto the table as a thank you tip. She flashed the man a pleasing smile, picking up the dime between slender fingers and depositing it within her blouse. With no other prospective players approaching, the woman pocketed her cards in her skirt and rose from her table.

    It wasn't quite closing time yet, but perhaps after a drink or two her boss would let her go home early. After all, tomorrow was Friday and there was no rest for the dealer in taking away newly earned paychecks at the card table. She pushed in her chair and sashayed over to the counter, choosing to occupy the emptier left side of the bar.

    "A shot of whiskey, Bill, and the regular if you don't mind," she ordered as she leaned with her elbows on the counter. "Leave the bottle." Her eyes travelled over to the nearest patron to her, a lone man who seemed to be far, far away in his thoughts. From his appearance, she'd say he was worth a pretty penny-- for a cowboy. He obviously wasn't drinking himself poor with that half-full glass in front of him. Just maybe she could lure him to the card table---

    "Get lucky again tonight?" Bill asked as he mixed her drink, calling her attention back to her drinks.

    "Barely broke even, actually," she admitted with a laugh. "The House can't win every night, you know. It discourages people and we have a weekend coming up."

    Bill set the two glasses in front of the dealer and offered her a semi-toothless smile. The old geezer had been in one too many bar fights in his day. "Well, there you go, lady. Whiskey's on the house tonight." He winked and lowered his voice. "I'm also looking forward to the weekend."

    Smiling, the dealer raised her whiskey glass high. "To paychecks and single men, may we never see the end of them!" Throwing back her head, she downed the contents of her glass in one swallow and slammed it onto the counter. "Oh, that burns. Pour me another, Bill. And him, too, if he wants it," she ordered with a toss of her head in the cowboy's direction.
  4. If he was being perfectly honest, he hadn't noticed a woman sitting next to him at all until the glass had hit the bar firmly, which had pulled him out of his thoughts. He was fairly certain she hadn't been there before. She seemed to know the bartender well, which suggested she was either a regular tot he bar, or she worked there. He had only vaguely caught the conversation just before snapping back to the present. At the mention of a cowboy, which frankly could have been a number of others in the bar, the man raised his eyebrow and his head turned slowly to look at the woman now sitting beside him. While this man hadn't been a true ranch hand in many a year, his appearance still told others of his roots.

    He gave the woman a slight, friendly smile, nodding his acknowledgement. His green eyes, hinting at his Irish decent, focused on her face, and he noticed the odd color of her eyes. For a moment he thought about how interesting that was, but he did not comment. "Thank you kindly, ma'am." He thought it a tad odd that she was offering him a drink when he clearly had one in front of him that he had hardly touched. Still, he took the offered shot and threw it back without a thought, setting the glass back down gently. Though he hadn't really come here to drink, he wasn't going to turn down an offer like that from a pretty woman, even if there was a hint of ulterior motive in her unusual eyes. Something in her tone suggested she was about to try to coax him, but he was not yet sure into what. For now, the distraction was a welcome one. He could only tolerate his earlier thoughts so much before it turned into brooding, and he preferred not to let himself become too detached, even if the boisterous saloon atmosphere did not particularly interest him. He leaned back in his chair, resting his arm on the bar top, making him appear significantly more relaxed than he had when he was hunched over in thought. "And what does a man owe for such a favor?"
  5. Bill poured more whiskey into the dealer's empty glass after sliding a full shot glass over the counter to the honoured patron and nudged her glass closer until it bumped her elbow. "Ah, thank you." She lifted the glass in a "cheer" gesture to the bartender and downed it at the same time as the cowboy, slamming the glass a second time when the liquid emptied. The dealer flicked a stray curl of auburn over her shoulder and flashed the man a smile in response to his question. "It's a gift," she replied in a light tone, "from one lone soul to another."

    Her attention then turned to the cocktail sitting on standby next to the shot glass for a moment. Cradling it between her palms, she bent down to sip the brimming liquid. It was quite satisfactory this evening though a bit shy on its potency. She dipped her pinky in it to stir it around while glancing at the cowboy in her peripherals. Then ever so nonchalantly the dealer added, "Though, any time you feel like losing the 'lone soul' status, I always appreciate a little extra company at the card table."
  6. So she was the dealer then. Or at least she was one of the dealers here. He smiled at her and had been about to politely decline, as he was not the gambling type himself, but paused as he noticed two new men step into the parlor. They looked about as worn and torn as he did, but significantly rougher around the edges. He recognized these men, but gave no sign that he had particularly noticed them. Best not to draw undue attention to himself now.

    "Well, why not. Not my strong suit, mind, but I'll try a round." He sounded mildly reluctant, but mostly for show. He nodded to the bartender before picking up his drink, slipping a sum onto the bar top that would cover his drink plus a little extra. He kept his head down but his eyes and ears open as he crossed the room to the card table, following behind the lady dealer. The rough cowboy took a seat and tipped his hat back a bit to see the table more clearly, and the cards stacked neatly there as they waited for the next players.

    The two men that had just recently come in sat down at a table near the front of the saloon, looking like they were having a quiet argument. One of them, who look significantly younger and more wiry than the other, seemed to be arguing with his companion. The cowboy took note of how he gestured towards the card table, but the words were far too quiet to pick up. He was not certain, but he thought that the younger one wanted to gamble, while the other showed some reluctance at the idea. After a few more animated gestures they finally stood and started towards the dealers' table. Once they sat down, the cowboy waited silently, sipping his whiskey. He appeared relaxed, but he was far from it.
  7. Surprise, followed by a pleased smile, lit up her features as he accepted her offer and she downed the last of her drink before gesturing to her table. She hadn't expected him to bite so soon, especially with that "Thanks but no thanks" polite smile he'd given her moments before. Though, the dealer couldn't dismiss the possibility that the change in answer might have something to do with the two newcomers to the bar. Her quick eyes and "sixth sense" had noticed him looking over her shoulder briefly and a glance that way as she moved towards the table had singled out the characters. 'Friends, business partners, or enemies?' she wondered, admittedly slightly intrigued. He obviously wanted to keep things low key, so she obliged her customer by keeping her focus off the two men.

    The dealer pulled out her chair and drew her deck of cards across the table to herself, shuffling them loosely. Her peripherals picked up movement by the bar from the two men and a flick of her violet eyes in her customer's direction proved he was causally watching them too. Then they started moving towards her table. How interesting. She shuffled a few more times to give them ample time to weave around the tables to the empty chairs at hers.

    "Evening, gents," she said casually as they sat down, her brow raised and eyes bright with innocent inquiry. "Shall I deal you both in?"
  8. The older man of the two newcomers looked to his younger compatriot, who ignored the look and nodded to her enthusiastically. "Yeah, we're in." He glanced at the cowboy, but it wasn't a look of recognition, more of a snarky look of superiority, though he obviously had a lot fewer years on him than the cowboy did. "Evenin'." He stated to the two men halfheartedly, a very slight smile on his lips as he tipped his hat to them. The cowboy was reclining back into his chair, waiting for the cards to be dealt. He did not leave his eyes on the two men frequently, but she might have noticed his occasional glances. The older man of the two looked significantly more rugged, and wary of the whole situation. He certainly did not seem like he wanted to be there, but apparently he had lost whatever argument he had been having with the kid earlier, so here they sat at the card table.

    Though generally wary, he was giving particularly pointed glances to the cowboy at the table, and his eyes held a hint of recognition that the younger man's had lacked. The cowboy reclined back in his chair looking utterly relaxed, while the older man appeared to be stiffly bent over the table, arms in front of him, two sides of a coin. Each had taken to ignoring the other openly while occasionally sneaking a speculative glance. Abruptly, the big man stood and headed to the bar, muttering something about needing a drink. "Hey, bring back two!" The young man shouted after him, non-the-wiser to the tension at the table. Once cards were dealt, he eagerly took his hand from the table. The cowboy just leaned forward and picked them up almost casually without looking just yet. He glanced at the dealer, giving her an easy smile. "By the way, what's your name, m'am?"
  9. Blackjack-- a game of luck. And as a genie, luck was all she had besides her name.

    The dealer didn't respond immediately to the first cowboy's inquiry. To tell the truth, she'd known it'd been coming. It had to. She'd bought him a drink, he'd followed her to her table. Men always asked once they made it that far. All that was left was for her to collect his meager bet. Her violet eyes flickered in amusement as she slid cards across the table in response to demands from the players. Her hand had started with an Ace. The Ace of Hearts to be exact. She always won with her lucky card.

    But as for her name, that she didn't give easily. In fact, it was safe to say she never gave it out. It just wasn't wise. All it took was for the wrong person to get their hands on her bottle, bind her by name, and she was enslaved until working her way out of her master's service. It'd taken her years to get rid of her last master, obnoxious fellow. But if it was a name the man wanted, then names she would offer him. The dealer turned upon the cowboy with a coy smile.

    "My name, sir? I have many. Which would you like to hear? Stage name? Nickname? Favourite name?"
  10. He returned her coy smile with a grin, but he only nodded at her, leaning back into his seat again. His eyes flicked briefly to the bar, and he still hadn't touched his dealt cards. "I suppose it'll wait." And that was all he said, before the sound of shattering glass broke the atmosphere.

    The rest of the saloon commotion and movement melted away. In an instant he was on his feet, having expected something like this to happen from the moment he saw the two men walk into the bar. He had hoped that he could get them drunk while playing cards and lead them outside rather than start something in here, but he had been recognized by the older of the two men. It wasn't every day your bounty walked right into your lap. He had known they were close by, but he hadn't expected them to stop anytime soon. Seems the younger man had a sharp tongue to convince his partner into these situations like he had.

    The elder man had broken a bottle on the edge of a nearby table and was coming at the cowboy full tilt. He had stood up in time to see him coming, but only just. They were now locked in a struggle with the cowboy leaning back against the table with his back nearly pressed flat to it, holding the wrist of the fist that held the broken bottle in one hand, trying to keep it away from his face. The man's other hand had grabbed his shirt front to pull him in.

    The younger man had sat dumbfounded for the first few moments of this, not sure what had just happened. He had been prepared to play a normal game of cards, but his partner had apparently had other plans. Now he stood, preparing to join the fight that had just started. He was wiry, but by no means was he not a threat. Regardless, the cowboy was prepared as he saw him approach. Using his free hand, he pulled free the Colt at his hip and pointed it in the direction of the approaching young man without looking at him. He put his hands up quickly, not willing to provoke the situation. "I've got this." the cowboy muttered, as though the man had been coming to aid him and not his partner. Using the leverage of his back against the table, he swung his foot upwards between the legs of his attacker, causing him to stagger severely and lose his grip on the bottle, which shattered on the floor. His right hand, holding his gun, did not waver from the face of the younger man.

    "I suggest you quit this nonsense before someone gets hurt." He stated calmly to the irate man he had just kicked in the family jewels. He cocked his gun back as though to make his point clear. And just in case the other man did not care for his partner's safety, his now free left hand swung around to his back, just barely making the tip of a second gun that had been slung across his back but hidden beneath the bulky coat show itself. The sawed-off shot gun bobbed as though to beckon him to stand up straight. He obliged and put his hands in the air, but it was a slow uncomfortable motion as he recovered from the earlier potshot.

    "Better." He hadn't realized his reputation had proceeded him quite that much, but perhaps these men were more desperate than he had originally supposed. It made him wonder. They had probably run out of bullets somewhere down the road and not gotten a chance to restock, making the guns at their hips practically show pieces.

    With a gun pointed at each of the men in question, he glanced back to the dealer who's name he had never gotten. "Sorry 'bout that game, ma'am."
  11. "Not that bottle, you idiot!" the woman shouted a millisecond before the impending shatter of glass, leaping to her feet with her hand outstretched as her chair tumbled backwards in her futile attempt to reach the brute before he smashed the empty gin bottle on the table. Of all the bottles and casks in the saloon, of all the easily accessible pieces of furniture and mugs, how on God's forsaken earth did he gets his hands on her bottle? What the hell had Bill been thinking, putting her bottle in a place where someone might mistake it for fair game? Complete and utter shock dropped her jaw as the bottle broke again and again before her eyes, a de'ja'vu effect taunting her to freeze time just before the bottle struck the wooden surface in an attempt to rescue her home from its impending dome.

    As much as she wanted to, she didn't give in to the temptation, knowing that performing such a feat would only raise speculation, only send someone on her tail again. The dealer shut her eyes and looked away, freeing time to continue on its regular course, a sudden feeling of nausea settling heavily in her stomach. Her home, gone in the blink of an eye. When she came back to reality again, from her internal realm of grief and bitterness, she side-stepped the kerfuffle and set about scooping the meager coins from the center of her table. It took quick reflexes, reflexes no human could possibly possess, to slip her fingers in and out from under the cowboy's back and duck her head out of the way of flailing fists to gather the coin as the cowboy rocked back and forth in his struggle with the man who grasped the remainder of her bottle in his hand. A subtle glint of hatred entered her eye. She hoped the cowboy would get the upper hand and slice the cracked glass across the brute's face. It would serve him right.

    But the fight was over as quickly as it had begun and the rest of her home shattered on the floor as the brute dropped it and raised his hands in surrender. Both men. They both did it. All three. They all three were culprits as far as she was concerned. The dealer glowered, only tearing her violet glare from the two attackers as the attacked offered her a smooth apology about the game. 'Hang the game, what about me!' she wanted to scream, but she pinched her lips together and gave him a curt nod even as tears began to threaten in her eyes. The last thing she wanted to do was break down. Not here, not now, but no matter how quickly she blinked them back, they still spilled into the corners and dampened her lashes.

    She was a loose genie now with no master and no home to tie her to this earth. She had much, much more to worry about now than just a card game. What would happen to her? The dealer crumbled onto her overturned chair, her face now blank, emotionless as the tears slowly trickled down her cheek. The question repeated in her mind.

    What would happen to her?
  12. The cowboy could not spare her too much thought for the moment, though he could tell that she seemed quite upset by the scuffle. He had tried to keep it as contained as possible, but when a man nearly twice your size comes at you with broken glass in his hand that can become quite the challenge.

    It wasn't long before the cowboy had cuffed the two men and handed them over to authorities that had come in to inspect the commotion. The sheriff and his deputy gave him a sour look before reluctantly handing over a very small purse which he quickly tucked away. They had skimped him on the reward for these two men, but he wasn't going to argue. Most lawmen didn't take too kindly to bounty hunters, but it was what he did and he wasn't about to change that.

    Feeling fairly unwelcome now that he had brought trouble into the saloon, he sidled quietly over to the barkeep to apologize for the trouble and give an extra tip to the man for his broken bottle of gin. He didn't like being remembered for stirring up trouble in the towns he passed through, so he often tried to make sure any loose ends were taken care of before he would move on his way. And so he made his way back over to the dealer.

    He didn't know why exactly, but she seemed significantly more shaken from the event than she probably should have been. Maybe not shaken... but definitely upset. He could not fathom what had changed between now and when the fight had broken out, but he felt compelled to give her another apology if she would let him. His look was a careful one "Miss, I am mighty sorry for the trouble back there. Those were wanted men. Are you alright?"
  13. While the cowboy circled his prey with flapping wings and escorted them out of the saloon, the genie took the opportunity of distracted customers to get a hold of herself and think through her situation. She'd never heard of a homeless genie surviving. Once a bottle was destroyed, kaput, that was the end. Oh, how she would like to get her hands on her former master and curse him for his tomfoolery! This wouldn't have happened if she still had a proper genie lamp. This wouldn't have happened if she still had a proper genie bottle. Heck, this wouldn't have happened if she had a proper genie ring.

    One drunk master a little too fond of puns and money was all it took to get her transplanted from her elegant little Persian bottle into that stupid gin bottle. And then the bastard had cracked her beautiful bottle in two and sold the shards to museums for a tidy sum of non-disappearing money. The dealer paced back and forth by her card table, wringing her hands until they became transparent, pacing until her feet disappeared from under her. She collapsed onto her chair again. This was it, the end. Just like that she would wither away into nothing, a wisp of smoke joining the other formless genies in the void.

    The woman folded her arms across her chest to hide her vanishing limbs and rocked back and forth on her perch until a familiar voice broke into her thoughts. A pair of angry, violet eyes snapped to the cowboy's wary gaze.

    "Am I all right?" she chuckled mockingly. "What is it to you, cowboy? Would you even begin to understand? And if you could understand, would you stop to fix it? No... Why should you when you have coins to collect?"
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