1861/11/04 Behind Bars: One Way Or Another
Scene Behind Bars: One Way Or Another
Characters Jack Andrew
Place Railroad Terminus and Black Star Saloon
Date 11/4/1861 Afternoon

The first sight coming and the last sight going along the laddered teeth of iron and steel tracks is Grimwood, Colorado's terminus. It's nothing fancy, and that fits its status as a little bump on the map. Constructed entirely of wood, the terminus platform stretches alongside the railroad tracks just enough to accomodate a train with a standard load of passenger cars. It's attached to a small, simple building with paned windows facing out from every side save the one that faces the platform, which has a door that leads into the building right next to it. Protecting those gathered to leave or those arriving, a large awning stretches above it almost twelve feet high, supported by outer posts lining the platform and a few interspersed in the middle. A sign facing the tracks and a sign facing out into the town, each tacked to a post, bear painted letters announcing the town's name.

When the train pulls into the station today, the conductor actually steps off of the platform and marches to the Telegraph Office. "Get me one of your law men. Now." is demanded of whomever is there at the time. Maybe they run off themselves, maybe they send someone else, but after that, he gestures for two attendants to step forward. They're flanking a somewhat dirty and dusty young man…who might not yet be twenty at best guess, and have him by the arms, pulling him towards the platform. His hands are tied behind his back but he doesn't look terribly upset about the situation. He doesn't look thrilled, but neither does he look frightened or upset.

"If you're gonna leave me here," is offered in a heavy New York accent, "You're gonna give me my bag, right? Unless you want me to tell the cops here that you're thieves." Cops. Cute.

The conductor sneers and nods for one of the attendants to go back and get the kid's satchel while they wait. "By rights, I could take anything in that bag of your's to pay for your fare up to this point, but I can't imagine you'd have another that'd make it worth it. You got some gall, kid, but this is your last stop."

Andrew Silverton was a frequent presence when the train pulled in. Since buying the Black Star Saloon he can be found a couple of days a week at least picking up a shipment of something to improve the building or stock it shelves. It just happens this very day he is waiting with a wagon to pick up several kegs of alcohol from the freight car on the train.

The younger man says nothing as his belongings are discussed. Sometimes it's better to keep one's mouth shut. He doesn't fight being held, but green eyes do flick around at the platform and the wooden station and the town beyond. "Where -are- we?" he asks of either the attendant or the conductor or…anyone who might be in earshot, actually. It sure as Hell isn't California! It's too cold for that!

It just so happens that a certain Scotsman is in earshot. Taking a break from rolling kegs into the wagon, Andrew walks over to the young man and says, "This is Grimwood, Colorado Territory, and the end of this particular rail-line. Sounds like you hopped onto the wrong train sir."

Both the Conductor and Attendant frown as someone gives the answer, but the younger man just grins, "Naah, it got me this far, didn't it?" Although getting to the West Coast may be difficult from here. He's given a shake and falls quiet as the Conductor insists, "And you'll be staying here, in the jail, if I have any say about it." Which he seems to think he has. He then addresses Andrew, "Where's your Sheriff? I want this kid arrested!"

Andrew was a big fan of law and order but he did not take questions like arrest orders on faith. "Arrested you say? On what charge murder? rape? kidnapping? Did he rob a strong box?" We don't take kindly to that sort of activity around here. So which is it?"

"Oooh, you got a strong box?" is cheekily asked to the Attendant who just gives the kid a shake. The Conductor makes a sour face at Andrew and answers, "He stowed away on my train. Didn't pay a cent from Chicago." It -is- a long trip, to be fair.

"We have really criminals in this town you know. Just the other day someone stole a bunch of dynamite from the general store. And you want me to bother the sheriff with a stowaway?" Andrew reaches for a billfold on the inside pocket of his jacket, "And how much could this man possibly owe you that you want to clog our jail with his presence?"

"T…welve dollars," the conductor states, stammering just a little. Maybe that's the cost, maybe he added in a little extra? It's not inexpensive, sadly, as it's a rather distant trip. "He cost the railroad…they're the ones who help you keep this town up, you know," as if all towns are reliant on their business.

The saloon owner laughs, "Well I was going to give you the twelve dollars but if you continue to go on about how important the railroad is….clearly not important enough to figure out this situation better than harrassing me about a sheriff." He opens the billfold and making it very clear that there is considerably more than twelve dollars in it. He then pulls out the twelve dollars to hand to the railroad man, "His ticket has been paid so give him his bag and quit your whining.

The younger man's eyes widen as the cost of the ticket is given and he actually looks between Andrew and the conductor as the Scotsman says he'll pay it. "Uh…" he starts, but thinks better of it…especially while he's all tied up and still being manhandled. The other attendant returns with a well-worn satchel and, at the conductor's nod, tosses it towards Andrew's feet. The conductor then takes the money and the teenager is shoved at the Scotsman, "Now he's your's to deal with. Good luck," even though he still isn't untied.

The teenager, however, watches as his bag is tossed and then staggers a couple of steps as he's shoved at the other. Only when the Conductor and his attendants are a little more out of earshot does he look to Andrew, "You didn't need to do that. I can't pay you back." He's been riding the rails for a bit of time if one judges by the state of his clothes and the stale smell about him.

"Well they were pompous shites, so the sooner we are rid of them the better." Andrew brushes some of the dust off the man and adds, "And I well knew that you didn't have the money to pay me back, else you wouldn't have failed to pay for the ticket. But if you do have a moment you could help me finish loading these kegs into the wagon. I own the Black Star Saloon here in town."

His eyebrows shoot up at the names given to the Conductor and Attendants, but the younger man then grins. "Yeah, they sure were. Hey, where are you from, anyhow?" That's not an American accent he's picking up on. Andrew is watched for a moment before he turns his back, "Yeah, sure, but you gotta get these off of me or I won't be much help. Can't roll the barrels with my feet. I ain't that talented."

Andrew smiles, "I am originally from Scotland, then I went up to Oregon for a couple years. Honestly recently settled here." He unties the Jack's hands, "I should have stiffed them a dollar to pay for having to untie you." Throwing the small length of rope onto the wagon he asks, "Mind if I ask what has you California bound?"

"Scotland, huh? And you came -back- from the Western territories to here?" He looks around again b ut then grimaces and offers a "Thanks," as his hands are cut free. He rubs at his chafed wrists for a moment, "What'd they think I was gonna do, huh? Jump off the train?" He did think about that, actually, but he's not -that- stupid.

The question gets a shrug, "I dunno…new place, gold…seemed like a spot a guy can find somethin' to do, huh?" There's a pause before he holds out a hand, "I'm Jack. Thanks again. I owe ya. So, where are those barrels we're movin'?"

Andrew extends his hand back to Jack, "Nice to meet you Jack, I am Andrew Silverton." He motions over to the open freight car and his rented wagon parked at it, "Well this is a mining town, though I don't know how good it is for prospecting. I'd like to think of my saloon as my gold mine. Let the miners and ranchers do the hard work while I just sit back and ply them alcohol, games, some music at times."

Jack grabs his satchel and slings it over a shoulder, "I don't know if I'd be so good as a prospector myself, but…figured there were other things needed in new towns." He looks around some more, "Although if you got a saloon, it probably ain't so bad here," and he gives a grin before moving towards the fright car. It's similar to the one he spend a few nights in…although his was emptier. "You got girls in your place? I read about these Saloons out in the Western territories. Probably like our Music Halls back East, yeah?"

"Well I got some girls selling drinks, but no whores. There is another saloon in town that does have whore but it is not a very classy place even when one removes whores from the equation. I do have lady who sings on occassion but I think she will need someone to accompany here on the piano. Got that on the train a couple weeks ago." Andrew jumps into the wagon and stands up the kegs he had already rolled in and adjusts them so they stay in place for the trip to the saloon."

Jack looks a little disappointed when he says there are no whores, "Eh, couldn't pay for 'em anyhow," is offered, maybe mostly to himself. He'll move the barrels as best he can, although strong-work isn't really his forte. "You brought a piano out here? What kind?" As if anyone would casually know about different types of pianos.

The number of barrels do not amount to anything to intimidating and after securing them Andrew says, "Nothing fancing, just an upright I managed to get from another saloon further down the tracks that fell on hard times. If you'd like to take a look at it I am bringing these to the saloon now."

"Well, I figure I owe you twelve dollars, so…" Jack just shrugs and gives that cocky grin again. "You want me to come and help unload these, I got no other place to be." Because maybe he doesn't want to show that he's in any way interested in said piano.

The Scotsman hops up onto the front of the wagon to take the reins, "Well I reckon I could use the help. And you look like a man who could use a drink….the drink will be on the house. I like to give everyone their first drink free. Good to establish goodwill, particularly when I do have competition in town."

"Seeing as it'll probably be my only drink for a while, sure. I'll take you up on that." Especially if he won't have to owe even more. He could probably use a bath even more, but those seem to be hard to come by. He might be able to find a stream before it gets too cold. Jack also hops up onto the wagon and settles his satchel in his lap. "Well, you saved my behind back there, so there's my loyalty."

Grimwood's so-called clean saloon it is free from the rat-infestation and whoring that defines its competition in town. Now under new ownership, the saloon is undergoing renovation with its normal furniture currently facing some competition from crates with fresh goods waiting to be unpacked and installed. The bar is shiny, the decks of card on the gaming tables crisp and fresh, the liquor selection improved. Gone are the bloodstains, for now.

Loyalty, now there was a word Andrew considered to be worth its weight in gold. Pausing after the first load of kegs come in Andrew points to the piano in the corner of the room right before the door to the storeroom, "Like I said nothing fancy. But it sure excited some of the locals around here. I guess any piano at all is a luxury to some of them. It is properly tuned and everything."

Jack looks to the piano for a moment before he says, "Might as well get the others out of the wagon, huh?" When he's told it's tuned, he has to ask, "Tuned before it was moved or after? If you got someone here who can tune it, why aren't they playin' it?"

Andrew nods as he makes his way back towards the wagon with Jack, "Well I suppose Miss Adelaide can probably play as well. But her true talent is in singing. But she tuned it after we moved it. It sounds like you play yourself?"

His interest betrayed him! Sometimes Jack can't stop himself before he lets that through, but it's no crime, is it? He makes a face, mostly at his own idiocy for letting it be that obvious but he then moves to help with one of the barrels, "Worked in a Music Hall for a little while. Picked up a few things."

"Well if you are looking for work. I could hire you on as the piano man. Wouldn't pay as well as some place back east. But it would be enough to be able to afford lodgings and save a little if you really want to go to California still." Andrew sets down the barrel he was carrying short of it destination. He really should have hired a couple young drunks to lift those. "The job is yours if you want it and can play half decently. But only if you actually want it. No need taking the job just to try to pay back the debt. Avoiding jail overcrowding was a worthy cause regardless."

Jack nearly drops the barrel he was hoisting but manages to catch it before anything happens, "You gotta be kidding, right? You ain't even heard me play. I could sound like a dying cat." Although that's more the violin. He looks at the area around them for a moment before looking back at Andrew, "How different can it be from a music hall, right?"

"Well if you sound like a dying cat, I might accidentally think you are killing one of the cats we have protecting the town from the rat epidemic….of course then I would have to shoot you to protect the cat. And then your playing skills would no longer be at issue." Andrew chuckles indicating he would not seriously shoot the man if he sucked, "Assuming you played piano at all in the music hall I am sure you are at least adequate. Besides if your skills are too poor it just would mean I would get more credit for my vision with my customers when I replaced you with someone better."

He regains his grip on the barrel to move it to its proper place inside, "I bet the rats can't be worse than in New York. They're vicious." Jack looks back to the piano for a moment, "It's been a little while. Can't really promise much…" it's been at least a couple of months since he played. "But sure. Might be nice to stay away from trains for a little since it's getting cold."

The barman nods, "Well that railroad does not deserve the honour of your presence so we shan't have you get stuck back there." Andrew then pulls out his change purse retrieving three dollars worth of coins and handing them to the man, "There is a boarding house just up the street where my wife and I have a room. You should be able to find a room there. And cover whatever necessities you have had to ignore. We can take it out of your pay going forward a little at a time while you get yourself back on your feet so to speak. You probably wouldn't want to venture to California before spring at this point anyways. By then you should be able to have some money saved if you still want to go."

Jack takes the money a little reluctantly and gives a wary glance to the barman, "What's the catch?" he can't help but ask. People aren't this generous…they always expect something in return. "Sure, I get that the railroad guys were asses, but what's the catch?"

Andrew pulls out his bill fold and briefly gives Jack a good enough look to see that it is very well endowed before placing it back in his jacket. "No catch really. If it works out I have a good employee who values their status with me. On the frontier it is good to have friends. And I really don't have anything to lose. I mean I suppose you could run out of town and I would lose money, but how is that different than a bad hand of cards. Gambling on you seems safer and more rewarding than a hand of poker."

Is that a test? "You don't know me from Adam. How do you know I won't rob the bank here and then take off into the sunset with my posse?" Someone's been reading serials in the papers. "You think I'm a good hand then, huh? You might be the first one."

"If you had a posse you wouldn't be riding in a freight car from Chicago to Colorado. And if you had a posse you could rob me of money just as easily as it has been lent to you. If you are a bad person there is nothing I have done that is going to make it worse." Andrew chuckles, "Who knows maybe I am just a poor gambler. But I will take the risk nevertheless."

The man has a point. "All right…" although he's still a little unsure, as if some favor is going to be demanded of him at any moment. "Thanks." The three dollars are looked at a moment before hs stuffs them into his pocket. He may use it for the Boarding House…or he may find somewhere else to sleep and get cleaned up that's cheaper. He has yet to even explore this town! "So…when do you expect me to start playing? I mean, is it something you're doin' all day?"

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