Adventure in Longwood Day 02byemap©
I awaken with the sky, a few birds chirping outside. As I sit up I hear a wagon moving about, not from my window I am facing the outside of town. I get my clothes on glad to be done with the round eye get up then leave my room a revolver in hand to check on the prisoner. I find Ishmael perched atop a chair snoring a little with the Winchester in his hands.
Walking closer I can't help but giggle a little, round eyes are not terribly observant. Even stomping on the floor doesn't get a twitch out of him, I get his finger away from the trigger. Thinking on if I should take it away or not I decide to just wake him up, tapping on his shoulder doesn't work. I press his nose closed and start pulling on it this way then that. After a little while his eyes flutter open and he looks at me. It takes a moment for him to focus on me, at first confused then memory comes rushing back.
"Janet wasn't it? Sally asked if I could sit watch. I only fell asleep a little while ago I swear."
"Janet yes and you are Ishmael. You round eyes have strange minds. If you could follow me in, he will want food I wager, what I know to do he would refuse."
"We have a cook, I just tend the bar, I will follow you in though yes."
Ishmael gets up as I open the door, it goes inward like mine, I only ponder the why of this a moment, round eyes have strange habits. The prisoner is lying on the bed, he awakens when we move closer and rolls over.
"What on earth happened last night? My leg is killing me and I'm not at the ranch."
"Last night you and another man got deep into the drink and shot dead another man, over cards I wager. I had to shoot the other man with you, I shot you in the leg to keep from running away, I was taking a bath at the time. Apologies on your leg, nude and wet are not good to chase a man in."
"I suppose I deserved the bullet. Blast Mr. McCalbane will be mighty sore at one of us. I could really use an outhouse, and some vittles would be nice, not your injun vittles please."
"Both can be arranged, Ishmael is the cook awake? I find I could do with some vittles myself, get vittles going and come back you can help him walk."
Ishmael just goes with a nod, I watch him go a moment thinking his backside is not bad. Turning back to the prisoner I undo the ankle cuff on the bed then affix it to his free ankle. He decides to try and walk so I affix my hand to his and put my elbow under his. He does not go well, we do go at least so I lead him to the railing and he uses that to get to the stairs and halfway down when Ishmael comes back. Ishmael comes up the stairs to him and gives him his shoulder for support, I follow along after close enough to grab if he falls.
"Vittles are going, enough for all four of us, Amanda has a desire to sit."
"Sally was lax on names, who is Amanda?" I have to ask, I am working here for six months according to the contract.
"Our cook, she takes an interest in women."
Hoping it's not a follow into bed interest I follow after Ishmael and the prisoner to the outhouse behind the saloon. Once he has conducted his business we head back into the saloon. A small woman is waiting for us, she directs us to a table looking at me every chance she can. Once we are seated she rushes off through a door next to the bar.
"Special interest?" I'm pretty sure but best to ask, was wrong before, that one had never seen an injun alive before.
"Ayup, most everybody knows about Amanda." Our prisoner says looking me up and down. "Say if I get convicted and sentenced to hang can you be my last wish?"
"I don't see why not, you are far and away the nicest prisoner I've ever met. Some question on who shot the man I reckon, I didn't see it."
"Me either, I was behind the two and cleaning glasses. I look up and they are standing there with smoke going up, doc said one bullet. Can't find his gun you shot out of his hand, the dead man's had three fired, one was at doc one at you. No telling how long the empty had been in there." Ishmael says then smiles as Amanda comes back with a tray laden with plates.
"I hope eggs, bacon, and biscuits are fine for everyone. If you wish later you can teach me some of your Apache vittles. Now what would you guys like to drink? I've got warm milk and Ishmael can get anything else from the bar."
Amanda puts our plates down afore us then stands there holding the tray to her chest smiling at me.
"I'm a Cherokee I know you round eyes can't be telling the difference it does matter to us. Milk is fine for me."
Milk is the order of the morning vittles, Amanda spends a little while apologizing to me. I send her off with a smack to backside she gets with a giggle and keeps looking back at me. She comes back with the tray laden with big glasses of milk.
"I reckon I should be asking, am I staying here or are you putting me in the cells?" I look at our prisoner minding about it, be easier to put him there, not right but easier.
"I am of the mind to leave you here, have to ask Sally but we can be chaining you to the bar so you can have conversation and some drink in the afternoon. We all gotta work tonight and can't be checking in on you over there. Say what be your name?"
"Chad is as fine of a name as I can muster folks anointed me with it and stuck ever since."
"Better than Ishmael, I don't know what me folks were thinking."
"Ishmael is a fine name, there's a book roaming around with Ishmael as the hero I suppose, read it once, you round eyes have weird notions on things. I admit it was a powerful read though."
"Well you got me there, I've heard tale of this book can't read me self. If you're of the notion doc has a copy of the book, mayhap you can read it to us before we get busy. Say you keep calling us round eyes, only injuns we hear saying that are the Apache trying to kill us, or trying to buy stuff when they come off the reservation."
"I can do that, good thing to pass time with, same reason I read it the first time. I call you round eyes because I come from a reservation, the man appointed to watch over us and give us vittles tried to turn me into a round eye, got me with child, child died soon after birth. He swore twas nature caused it though he had a new babe in his house and wouldn't let me in no more. I got powerful mad learned how to shoot and got myself out of there. Found out then he hadn't been feeding my tribe, twas holding me cause of the babe he put in me. After birth so his men had something to enjoy, used that to my advantage. They taught me how to shoot as a lark, I made sure to shoot a few in the man vittles."
"Well, I think I'm going to not say another word about round eyes. Just to keep my vittles intact." Ishmael looks very worried while he speaks, Chad as well.
"If we are all done Ishmael if you could keep an eye on Chad I shall go take a look see on if Mr. Johnson is in the dentistry."
"He lives above it should be awake and making breakfast knock on his window." Amanda says as I am getting up.
Ignoring a couple older woman making disparaging remarks about me I make my way across the dirt. Stepping up on the walkway I tap on the window to get a come in from inside. I open the door and step inside Mr. Johnson is stepping into the room rubbing his hands in a towel.
"Ah Janet I wished to thank you for saving me last night. Now do you have a medical need or a dentistry need?"
"You are welcome, you rather grow on a gal you are just so nice. I have neither actually, came for a book, Ishmael wishes me to read him the book with him in it."
"Ah yes, I know the book come with me I have it in here I find it best to have books to read, not often to need my skills. A curse and a blessing."
I follow him into the room he just left, he was indeed dealing with morning vittles. Mr. Johnson goes over to a large bookcase laden with books the lower shelf filled with very large books marked Dentistry and Medical. He pulls a good sized book down from higher up, a little worn from use I imagine and hands it to me.
"Here you go, once you finish with that one I'll be happy to give you another. I only read about one a week, should be getting a few more in any day now. Jules Verne has a few books out now that I have missed. I read that one to much, after though if you don't mind I'll come say them, just need to put a sign on my door."
"That would be nice, my round eye speak isn't good."
"Nonsense you speak English quite well, especially for someone with your history." I get ushered out the door, I did interrupt his morning vittles after all.
Crossing the dirt is harder this time, there is a wagon coming, I get a look of some kind from the man in the wagon as he passes me. I go across the dirt then falling into step with Father Darren into the saloon. Sally and the rest of the girls are awake, well not so much awake as sitting at a table. Sally at least is awake, she gets up comes over gives me a once over smiles then moves to Father Darren. She takes him over to the table I had vacated earlier still occupied with Ishmael and Chad.
"I got the book we were speaking on, Mr. Johnson has promised he will come and say the next book." I say to Ishmael as I get over there.
"Oh this is nice, like a play during our slow time. What is this book about?" Sally asks smiling at me again.
"It is about a whaling ship and the crew, one individual above the others, Ishmael, why I went and borrowed it to say."
I climb up on the bar and start to say the book, my fellow whores giggling with the first line. I manage to read two whole chapters before anyone comes in, they are after beer so I get to stay there and say more of the book. The two men who had come in for beer stayed long to listen. When the shadows start getting long Sally bids me to stop for the day. I mark the spot with a piece of paper and hop down asking Ishmael if he has water. He bids me go upstairs to get in something a little more revealing.
Up I go putting the book on my dresser, my revolver back in its holster then remove my shirt. Feeling around to be sure the camisole is in the proper place I head back downstairs. I get a few admiring gazes and two whistles as I move to the bar for a glass of water Ishmael hands over. I drink about half and hand it back, saying three and a half chapters is thirsty work. Two men come in with revolvers on their hips look around then go straight to Chad. They speak to him for a moment then one comes to me, he is younger with slightly brown skin.
"We came to get Chad and Steve, Mr. McCalbane is not happy. Chad says you shot Steve in self defense, all fine and good we can't leave without Chad at least." He looks at me a little fuller while he speaks I am too shocked to make a noise, he looks just like I always pictured my babe to look.
"We're holding him because a man was shot and killed by either him or Steve. Now if you have need of him with no sheriff here yet then I suppose you are free to take him. Here let me go get the keys, the sheriff might come to place him under arrest. Nobody seems to know who shot the man and evidence is pointing at Steve since Chad's gun was lost." I go up the stairs quick shivering a little.
I search around for the key to unlock the ankle cuffs not finding it anywhere. Just about at a loss for where it is I touch my pocket and groan, I had the darn key on me the whole time. I go down the stairs again Sally looking at me a little worried, I uncuff Chad. Watching him get helped out Sally comes over and nudges my elbow.
"Hey you feeling on the well side? Got a tall drink of a man asking for you, not seen him afore."
"Yeah I'll be fine, where's this tall drink?"
"I sent him up to your room at least I hope it was your room, if yours is empty check the ones to either side."
I go back up the stairs, wishing this tall drink of a man had simply followed Sally. I open my door to find he is indeed in my room, when he turns to look at me I gasp. Dan has finally showed up, the new sheriff himself, wondering why exactly he is the sheriff I charge him. We tumble onto the bed Dan laughing his hands all over me as he leans in to get a kiss.
"I think I just spoke with my long dead son, at least he looked just like how I pictured he would look, I got to see his face for a few months after all." I can't help the tears that come, streaking down my cheeks.
"Well I think that merits a story on what happened."
"After we got here yesterday I came up to take a bath, right in the middle of a bath there was a shot, two men shot and killed another over I guess cards. Which one of the two is unknown, the survivor doesn't remember he was too deep in the drink the other I had to shoot in self defense. Both work for a Mr. McCalbane, the two men that had come in came to collect both. They only left with Chad, he is the survivor. One of the two I'll swear is my long dead son."
"Supposedly dead remember you never got to give the body back to the heavens. There was also the matter of the new babe in the house you never got to see. I suppose I better ask, do you think Chad was the shooter?"
"I think no, he is much too nice. Never tried to escape, was very docile and even asked if I would be his final wish. His first words after I told him what happened was that he deserved the bullet."
"Well at least you are getting to know the reason we are here, in a round about way." I look up at Dan, not understanding until he mouths McCalbane.
Understanding falls on me, the years I had been a virtual prisoner on his ranch. The times he had come to me as my man putting a child in me, then claiming my precious babe had died. The state I found the few remaining of my tribe when I did escape, they had tried to seek food from the nearby town. The townsfolk called the cavalry and got most of the people of my tribe killed because they were uprising.
All I could find was some old men and women, to worn out from a lack of food to offer resistance. The cavalry left them there amongst the dead of my tribe I stayed to help send my people off to the Great Spirit. The few remaining bade me to move on to escape the evil clutches once and for all. I did barely ahead of the men I had not left maimed or dead, luckily round eyes do not know the land, can't see their own hand in front of them.
Dan holds me close as I shiver in anger, regret, and sorrow for failing my own people. It had started out well enough, my mother knew English so acted as an interpreter for him we got good meat and basic supplies. He had asked if he could teach me to read and help him with his bookkeeping. My mother suspected he had other things in mind, she let him anyway there was little use in denying him. He taught me the English my mother had not, taught me to read and count. The first time he came to me as my man I was much too young, it hurt horribly. He gave me some time to recover then came to me again and again until I became swollen with his child.
I break down here my son was the only good part out of all of my memories of that time. Dan holds on to me and strokes my hair, saying quiet words of comfort until the tears have quieted then slip away. I look up at Dan a fury taking over me, when I try to get up he holds on to me.
"Let's go kill him now."
"No listen, he can't be charged for killing your tribe, the courts would never hear on it let alone let it progress to trial. Trust me he is a scoundrel and they always break the law. We will stay here and find out what he is doing and put an end to him in a way the courts would try him over. If you or we went to kill him now the courts would try and get us. Think of your new tribe in Kansas City, they would miss you terribly."
I relax against Dan, knowing he is right and yet still wanting to tear on out of here. Then a new thought comes, a quiet calm falls over me as I realize that was my son. Long grieved over his loss and my inability to return him to the Great Spirit I find a new purpose, to win him back. I move to ask Sally if he comes into town only to be held there by Dan.
"Sally asked for payment so I better get a roll before you go anywhere, you will get a cut from her later."
"I am ordering silk sheets tomorrow, these are not nice sheets." I say as I move about on the bed pulling my skirt up.
Dan chuckles as he comes to me, his equipment moving into the ready area of things. I reach down and help him along on that knowing I don't need to be inspecting him. With Dan in the full ready he really comes to me, I let him in with a sigh not for the first time wanting to forget about the bottle of poison. Dan moves above me in the practiced way we have long been at, his movement in me lighting my fires. I can't help but moan as he moves it just feels so good, I see stars and cry out.
I can ask for him to move in certain ways in Tsalagi, I taught Dan long ago. I find I am seeing stars again when he follows my moaned directions. It does not seem long that Dan is with me moving about in his wonderful way. I know it is longer than it seems though when Dan is filling me. I heard two other whores entertain men they had come up while I was crying and finding the fury and already gone back down. Dan slips me another dollar for the sheets before going out the door, I look around for a pail, finding none I check the bath.
In the bath I find my neighbor using the piss bucket, she is the yellow skin I remember seeing last night on my way up. She gives me a smile that I return as I look around for a pail of water.
"What are you seeking?" I have to look at her when she says this her voice does not carry the strange lilt of most yellow skins.
"A pail of water so I can clean myself learned long ago men prefer a gal not leaking the last man."
"I have never heard of this, my first job as a whore. I was born here and know English better than Chinese, always the first question. My name is Chun most of the townsfolk call me chin they can never get it right."
"I know the feeling, call me Janet it is the closest round eye word for my name. Been at this long enough to know to not even bother to try and teach it. I found out on the way here that Father Darren likes to serve as the water if he is around."
"Now that is interesting I've never had a man down there before. I'll have to ask him if he would clean me on the sly. He comes in for breakfast every morning, and dinner most nights."
Chun stands up and offers me the bucket I decline just needing a pail of water. We head down the stairs to find Sally at the bottom she smiles at us and hands over two dollars each. I head into the kitchen after asking after where to get a pail of water Amanda is sitting in the kitchen looking tired.
"Hi Janet, please don't ask for vittles, I fed the dinner crowd just finished cleaning up the kitchen after and I am pooped, sitting a spell afore I tackle the dishes."
"I'm here for a pail of water so I can clean myself."
"You know, I never thought of that, not the pail part but offering to clean the gals. I figure you ain't in the wanting me way but if you would let me clean you I'd be a happy gal. Rest of the gals as well, be a downright feast for me." I have to chuckle Amanda is downright drooling.
"Well I suppose that would work, Chun is wanting to ask Father Darren if he would do that. He cleaned me on the way to town, are you sure you are up for it?"
In answer Amanda gets on the floor and motions me over, I caution her to get what is not in me as well as I get over her. Amanda holds to her promise, her tongue snakes over my legs cleaning what has already come out. When she moves to me she does so with gusto, her tongue moving about on and in me making my knees a little on the loose side. Chun comes in and gasps in surprise, she had been waiting for me to get the pail and show her how.
"Amanda volunteered to clean us whores, nicer than the pail that's for sure." I say as I get off of Amanda who is smiling with a hand under her dress.