Of Cowboys and Kings

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Romance, Supernatural, Fantasy, Thriller, Space Exploration, Slice of Life

There it was. One of the largest bars on the bad side of town. Filled with gangsters, looters, criminals and all sorts of the undesirables in one easy to find location. No one in their right mind came here looking for workers.

But Careen Calliente wasn't exactly known for having the sanest of ideas.

Strolling in to the joint, she caught immediate attention. Just as she was hoping. Dressed in an all-too-fancy business suit, Careen looked like she was about to walk in to some meeting about Global Economy, not ask for a drink at the bar. Grinning wide and resting her hands on her hips, she made a loud AHEM. Making sure to get the attention of anyone that hadn't bothered looking back at the door.

"GENTLEMEN. I bring anyone listening a proposition."

"HEY THERE, LADY! I GOT YOU A PROPER POSITION RIGHT HERE!" chortled somewhere from the back.

"Har de har har. I'm serious, assface. I have a job. A nice big fat juicy one if you're man enough to take it!" There was some snickering, but no one else was chiming in. Careen went on! "As some of you might know, I am Careen Calliente and I now own a good forty-five percent of this shiny little planet. Big enough to start a country. And that's just what I aim to do! So I'll be needing some minions in my country, maybe an army, nice towns people, an-"

That's about when the whole room erupted in to laughter. Careen's fingers tapped in irritation. It figured no one would take her serious. "LAUGH IT UP. I'm offer cold hard cash and property! At least one of your stupidass drunks want to do more than piss your day away, right?"
Jim was almost too busy drowning his recent concerns in a bottle (that he wasn't entirely sure he could pay for) to hear the ruckus nearby. He had just came into town on one of the caravans that had hired him, but he had ran into some poor luck with negotiations to keep on. It wasn't that he was bad at what he did, it was just that the caravan master's daughter was looking his way. He felt fairly confident in believing that, anyway.

Despite his self-delusions, he wasn't in any kind of mood to hear this kind of yelling. He lifted his head off the bar, blinking through the haze in his head to take stock of who was speaking. She looked to be about his age from what he could tell in his current state, possibly younger. He sat up somewhat straight and took a generous swig from his bottle of whiskey, smacking his lips.

"You ain't foolin', chickadee! You're not a man!" Jim stood up as though he had said something profound, swaying slightly and playing it off for switching his posture. "I can tell, you've go--..."

He pointed his index finger at her, wobbling as though he were trying to push an imaginary button. "Did you just say cash 'n property...? What else I get? ... Fancy drawers like them?"
"Not a man?" Careen snatched up a bottle and was about to crash it over his head. But seeing as how he was taking her bait, and all the other jerks there were still cackling, she put on her 'sweet' look.

"Why, yes! For your participation in becoming a bonafied citizen of the great country of Calliente you will receive all expenses paid living. Of course, you'll be doin' your job of helping me keep undesirables off my land. Building towns, running a country with an iron fist. But I think you-" she paused at that. He was drunker than hell. "...might be up for it."

"On second thought, maybe I need somebody that doesn't smell like whiskey and look like he can't even ride a horse."
Jim puffed up in indignation and raised his voice in what he hoped sounded like a confident tone. "I'll have you know! ..... I am a very fine horse rider! I can even do it with both hands tied 'round my back!"

He wasn't sure what possessed him to add in the last part, but he rolled with it. He took a few steps down from the elevated bar platform towards Careen, swilling another mouthful of whiskey. " 'N there's nothin' wrong with smellin' like whiskey. Whad'you smell like? Pretty flowers? Betcha smell like a man since ya dressed like one!"

The comment gained a few chuckles from the bystanders surrounding them, though some were returning to their drinks. He recalled at that moment that he was out of a job, and a place to live... and that it wasn't in his best interest to insult the lady. He wiped the grin from his face and made an attempt to clear his throat. "Uh. So, how bigs th' room?"
Careen gave him a cool long stare. Her fingers were itching to reach in to her manly suit for her gun and blow his balls off! Looks like she was gonna have to sober him up.

After she showed him who was Queen of Country.

"It'll be big enough for your dead body!" Smiling sweet as sugar, Careen leaned just to the left as she scooped up an empty bottle in to her hand. With a quick swing, she clobbered him over the head with it.

Careen wasn't surprised that he went flailing backwards to the floor. But she WAS looking surprised at the bottle. Damned thing didn't even crack. Hard-headed male. Perfect!

She tossed the bottle aside and grabbed his legs while he was still trying to come to his senses.

"You're hired! You now officially belong to me." Careen was dragging him for the door.
Jim crumpled in place as though his bones had turned into straw. He didn't even have time to wipe the absurd half-smile off of his face. He was vaguely aware that he was bleeding now, and outstretched an arm forward in desperation. It was there. He could almost reach it. He could fix this whole situation, if he could just get one finger on it.

He did manage to get one finger on his fallen bottle of whiskey as it drained what was left inside on the floor, giving it a pathetic roll towards himself. It wasn't enough however, as Careen grabbed him by the ankles and began dragging him outside. A long, drawn out, frustrated "annngh" was all he managed as his brain fought to catch up with current events and slowly part from the prospect of getting more alcohol.

He latched onto the door frame just as he was about to pass through, clinging for dear life. His grip was failing quickly due to the effects of a mild concussion and a blood alcohol content that would make most county sheriffs giddy with glee. He managed to slur a few words out however, sobering up a bit as he took stock of his situation. "Where you takin' me! I didn't do nothin' to you! How come you spilled my drink?!"

A few bar patrons looked on, shaking their heads slightly. Just disgusting.
"Now that you belong to me, I require you to be sober a majority of the time." Careen was still dragging. There was a bit of a stall at the door when he had to go and out up a fight, but she had him out and dragging across the ground - dirt, rocks and all - in no time. It all most seemed like she was going to drag him right out of town that way, but she finally stopped in front of some large fancy fountain.

Careen dropped his legs. Long enough for her to bed over the edge of the fountain to pull out a bucket full of water. Of which she proceeded to dump over his head! She eyed him, but decided a second bucket was necessary. A second splash over his head.
Jim only managed a few grunts and grumbles as he was dragged over the rock-covered dirt. He tried to speak again when he felt his feet hit the ground, eyebrows furrowing angrily in defiance as he tried to wobble his way into a sitting position. "Wha'the hell you mean, 'belong--' "

His sentence was cut short by the first cold bucket of water that struck him. It even managed to knock him flat again and deprive him of his hat, which only annoyed him more. He coughed and spluttered as he rolled to one side to collect himself, glaring up at her balefully like a stray dog. "What the hell d'you think yer doin'?!"

The second bucket drenched him even more. But he wasn't as drunk as he was before... at least not as much as he was irritated and angry. "ENOUGH DAMNIT! I SAID ENOUGH!"

He tried to leap to his feet. He wasn't quite able, but he did manage to look really angry while he stumbled to a standing position with a wobble. He squared off on Careen, his dripping short hair spilling into his eyes. He was apparently putting honest effort into appearing angry, but whether due to alcohol or the blow to the head, it instead came off as someone upset over being woken up too early. "You... you better start talkin', uh uh uh... lady wearin' men's clothes. An' you better convince me why I shouldn't jess... riddle you with holes!"

He couldn't remember what her name was.
"Christ, how drunk are ya to be forgettin' stuff I told you three minutes ago?" Careen obviously didn't care he was mad. Dripping wet and swaying on his feet he didn't look too impressive. She was frowning as she tossed the bucket back in to the fountain and rest her hands on her hips. He'd need SO much work. The first official citizen of her country couldn't look like she just dragged him out of the gutter.

"I'll speak sloooow for you. You just agreed to work for me. Remember, yeah? Money and property. Lots of it. In fact an entire country's worth of it. Mind you, it's all mine. But being my first citizen and all, you'll get some right nice privileges. ...at least once we figure out what your job is going to be." Careen crossed one arm over her waist and tapped her chin as she circled around him. Didn't look smart enough to be Advising Counsel. He'd have to do a peasant's job.

"I'm Careen Calliente. You may call me Your Majesty. Do you have any skills? ...at all?"
Jim wrinkled his nose and narrowed his eyes at her comment about his memory. Even through his drunken haze he still knew that it was lucky for him to be awake after that blow to the head, much less remembering anything. Still, he figured he'd hear her out. It couldn't hurt any worse than his head at the moment, and he knew it was the only way to get anything out of this whole crazy assed encounter.

Then the veins in his forehead stuck out a little from her revelation that he had agreed to work for her, and her dubious comments about him having any skills. Particularly the part about calling her 'majesty' got to him. He was starting to reconsider hearing her out and was instead wondering if anyone would notice if he shoved her into the water and ran off...

"Your hu-what? Majesty? Yeah... we ain't doin' that." He blew through his lips for a moment to rid himself of some of the water on his face, then took a few steps forward to retrieve his hat carefully. "I'll decide what I'm gonna call you later, lady, but 'majesty' ain't... ain't on that list right now."

He took a few more shaky steps forward, then sat on the edge of the fountain after nearly teetering into it. He still wasn't quite sober, so he had to think about each statement in turn before responding. " 'M good with pistols. I can play cards... uh, I can ride a horse. The hell you need, an... an accountant?"
"Seriously, have you not been listening to a word I've said?" God damned, how drunk WAS he? Careen was fairly certain she explained it real good. She nearly gave him a little "help" in falling in to the fountain.

"I. am. building. a. country. From the bottom up. Which means I need a country's worth of staff. You will be calling me Majesty as you'll be working for Queen and Country." Getting the feeling he wasn't going to get THAT either, Careen sighed heavy as she rubbed the back of her head.

"...whatever! You're going to ride horses and shoot things for now, okay? And follow me around and attempt to look threatening. If you can even do that... Anyway, do want to go SEE my new glorious nation? I've already hit up all the other places in this looking for staff and you're the only thing I got."
Jim adjusted his hat and leaned back slightly as he listened to her speak, regarding her with a lidded expression as someone would if they were hearing nothing but nonsensical gibberish. That was until he heard her quip about him looking threatening and making a dig about him being the only thing she had available. That stung some. He leaned forward, bobbing slightly as he fought to keep himself balanced.

"An' what if I say 'no'? Y'know lady... you... you ain't treatin' me right for someone so down on'er luck! I think I deserve somethin' extra!" The impish enthusiasm included with his last word was accompanied by a cheesy grin. "I think... you need to call me 'Duke Bonney' from now... an' say pretty please!"

Jim had added an over elaborate pointing gesture with the 'pretty please'. He scooped up a handful of water to take a sip while he waited, pausing to look over to her with bleary eyes as an afterthought lit his expression. "Oh... an' I get everything a duke gets."
Down on her luck? Duke? She was going to clobber him right there.

...but then she started laughing! Cackling so hard, she ended up coughing!

"Bonney? Your name is Bonney?!" she spat out, fighting another wave of giggling. By the time Careen got a hold of herself, she was wiping tears from her eyes.

Careen smirked wide. "Alright then, my wee Bonney Duke. Demands granted. Will you please come work for me as Duke and Gun, whilst I build the most bonny country the universe has ever seen?" Clearly his name was amusing. For that alone it was worth saying please.
The scowl on Jim's face was transparent when he raised his head to look at her again. This woman had a nerve. But he considered the fact that she caved to his wishes, even if only partially. He wiped the scowl from his face, quickly replacing it with drunken skepticism. He adjusted his hat to sit higher on his head, made uncomfortable by the alcohol content in his veins at the moment.

"M'names Jim. Jim Bonney.
" What the hell was so funny about that, he wondered. "... I'll come work for ya. Just... just don't ferget what we 'greed 'pon."

He started breathing heavily from the effort and concentration it took to rise to his feet, approaching her with an outstretched hand. "Careen's a damn funny name anyway, ain't gotta make jokes for that'n."
Careen took his hand and shook it. For a woman she had a good solid handshake... then again, he was pretty drunk. Everything might have seemed solid to him.

"That's a right smart way to talk to your queen. Seriously, we need to get you un-drunk and real fast." That water splashed on him hadn't done a damned thing. She might have tipped him in to the fountain, but with her luck he'd probably drown.

So after switching hands, Careen was now dragging him down the street. She passed a few curious spectators and gave them a cheeky salute. Not get any countrymen, my ass! One down, just a few to go! From the looks of it, she was dragging him right on down the road and heading out of town.

"I've got a horse and a donkey. Didn't really want the donkey, but apparently he's in love with the horse and had to take them both. ...In any case, I'll show you where you will be working and living for the rest of your life. Excited my Bonney Duke?"
"H... HEY!" Jim flailed slightly as he struggled to keep pace with Careen. "What'n the hell d'you think yer doin'?!"

Just what was with this woman? She shows up in the only bar in town, just when he was busy drowning his sorrows-- sorrows born of not finding any work-- then hires him damned near on the spot. Now she's dragging him through the street like she owned him. He was almost at a loss for words, or would have been if something she said hadn't perked his interest.

"Where I'll... where'll be workin' for the rest of my life? Now wait jessa damn minute, you can't... you can't jess... I go where I want to...!"

He wished that he was a little more sober. That way he might have been in better control of his voice, and used proper inflection to speak his feelings. As it was, it just sounded like he was whining.
"It's too late for that now, you done went and sold your soul to the devil!" Careen shouldn't be harassing a drunk like that, but if he went and whined any louder she might just turn around to clobber him over the head with her pistol and drag him back out cold.

"You're gonna go where I tell you to go and you're gonna get a pretty chunk of change for it. And you try to escape I'm gonna brand you like a prized bit of cattle and send out a bunch of hairy mercenaries to drag you back." Careen wasn't even the least bit kidding. But this one would learn that in time.

At the edge of town, she very nearly shoved him right in to the tall grey spotted horse that was tied to a tree minding it's own business. Next to it was one sad looking, very mangy donkey. Careen eyed both of the animals before she was none-too-gently- trying to usher her new minion up on the much stronger (and less likely to kill a drunk) horse!

"Just quit yer bitchin' and get on the horse!"
Jim regarded Careen with a deadpan look, eyes half-lidded and swaying on his feet ever so slightly. His tone was completely dry. "Yer not the devil. Y'got tits."

The sober part of his mind was swooning, however. Just what he needed. A psychotic with delusions of grandeur putting him on house arrest. The only thing that could possibly complete this was to find out that he had actually agreed to work for a male brothel. He eyed the horse suspiciously. It should have been a serious sort of look, full of hesitation and drama... but with Jim drunk, it just came off as weird. The kind of weird you get when someone forgets their keys and locks themselves out of their home.

Her pushing finally got the better of him, and he gripped the saddle with one hand while trying to find the stirrup with his foot. After some failed attempts, he finally got his foot into it and instinctively swung his other leg over to seat himself... but the coordination wasn't there. His leg ended up kicking the horse in the ass instead, and the animal darted forward a few paces which caused Jim to lose his footing and topple directly onto Careen.

It was going to be a long night.
Careen was rolling her eyes. Again. "I'm SO glad you noticed my ti-AARGH!" THUMP! PLOOF! With both of them hitting the ground, a nice pile of dust rose up around them. Careen coughed and growled, shoving at him to get off.

"Holy shit you're heavy! Eeyuugh! And you smell like damned cabbages! Why? Why?" He couldn't even get on a horse! SHE was going to need a drink at this rate! Abandoning her shoving, she just resulted to jabbing him in the ribs several times until the harassment had him rolling his own damned self off.

The moment she jumped back up to her feet, she didn't bother dusting herself off. She was kicking him! "I swear to every god in this bloody galaxy it WOULD be my luck to grab the first idiot that volunteered!" It seemed she was going to sober him up by beating the daylights out of him. "Here's your first damned law! No more drinking! I'm going to get you so damned sober, you'll be able to see in to space!"
"Hey, that ain't nice to say!" He rolled over slightly, about to get up himself when the kicking started. "O... OW! Hey! Quit!"

Her feet landed in his ribs and shoulder sharply as he fought to shield himself. Finally one stray blow struck him in the nose and whipped his head backwards. He didn't like that much. A sturdy grip found her boot and held it at bay from hitting him a second time. "I said quit."

Blood ran freely from one of his nostrils, and he was clearly angry over the whole thing. He sniffed up some of the blood unconsciously, releasing her foot and standing up on his feet. He squared off on her with a wobble, looking stern and upset.

"Whad'ya mean, 'No more drinking?!' " He whined.