1861/11/16 A Leading Lady
Scene A Leading lady
Characters Rob Bess Katie Maggie
Place Smoke and Mirrors
Date Nov 11th evening
Scene Theme

Some loose piano music is the order of the evening, no great headline act just yet, but no small number of ranch hands and who-you-pleases are gathered together in the establishment, most drinking, some dancing, some doing a little of both or not much of either but watching and laughing and enjoying themselves in a general atmosphere of light-hearted revelry. Bess, for her part, tends to just go as the guys on the ranch go, and she won't be left out of the games just a-cause of her skirts. She drinks hard, with the rest of them, nor seems she dizzied by it, and as for dancing, well, she dances as well as the odd cow-poke, which is not to say very well at all, but she sort of gallumphs about the place and enjoys it better than is good at it.

Brand new in town, Katie had first found a place to stay to store her trunks and luggage. With that done, she had gone in search of the theater, looking for the proprietor to begin her job search. It was a toss up. Would she remain in town or move on for a position? As she enters, the familiarity of it all strikes her and she gives a delighted smile. Music, dancing, cards, tons of folks. It already felt like home! Now, to find the owner and convince him he couldn't live without her.

Bess and her posse (well, not really her posse, but they're all crowding the place together, so it kind of counts), well, they're just making it hard for Katie to find much of anyone, much less the proprietor. Bess there, tromphing about like she's got a hate-on for everyone's toes, she's not helping at all, and when she spies Katie entering, all posh and glamorous, she raises up a finger-whistle to what can only be the most recent entertainment.

Delicately, Katie steps to the side out of harms way while she watches the festive dancing going on. Yes, it must be a.. Wednesday night? Any night would do though and she wears a smile as she attempts to get to the bar, around the dancing masses. The whistle draws her gaze and she laughs softly, dipping her head in acknowledgement for the calling out. "Good evening," she says, but likely can't be heard over the music.

The music stops and one of the drummers in the pit makes a drum roll as the curtains spread and Rob stands in the center of the stage. "Ladies and gentleman, I hope you enjoyed the music so far, but now it's time for a bit o' comedy, My name is Rob, and I'd like to welcome you to the smoke, an mirrors!" he says with a loud texan accent as the band plays a little tune. The man drips with charm, he is at home on the stange. "Now letshave a look at you all, Hmm, I need a volenteer… you' in the back by the bar, you'll do, come on up!" He says, as he motions backstage and an apple is brought to him.

Bess bounds up toward the fore when the music ends, jockeying for a good spot in the crowd and ending up with one hip perched on the side of a table, one hand on the surface of the furniture as she leans forward to listen to the announced entertainment. Comedy! It's her favorite. She cups hands about her mouth and gives a great shout of glee, looking back ovr her shoulder to see who's been picked back by the bar.

When the music stops, Katie automatically turns towards the stage, ready for whatever was going to come. At the man that walks up, she smiles, glancing around at the offer of the volunteer. Surely he hadn't meant /her/ right? Her eyes fall on the whistler from earlier, surely he meant her, the outgoing, shouting, whistling patron? She nods towards her, encouraging her to go to the stage while she, herself, tries to move closer for a better view.

Rob smiles. "You, with the stunning red hair and white and green dress." he points to her. "Don't be shy now, if ya impress me, I'll give ya a job on the spot!" He says, granted, it's usualy a joke, but he always keeps things open for potential satage workers. An older man comes out, kinda fumbling. "Boss, you arent going t' do the apple trick to that young lady are ya?" He asks in an almost less then smart redneck accent. "Course I am, You just stay back there and make sure the second act is ready, is the lion starved enough?" The stage hand looks dumbfounded. "Boss we aint got a lion.." Rob rubs his face. "You let her escape? Jeez, git back there." he says as he shoos the man off, maybe there was a lion, who is now loose in the town, or maybe they were playin'

Bess is pretty sure Rob didn't mean her— she's not back by the bar, after all. And much as she might like to perform all fancy like before people, she's got pigs to tend and butter to churn and— well, just who'd take care of all that if she ran off to join the stagefolk? She'll make her wage and spend it enjoying the entertainment, even with a longing eye that belies the fact she sort of wishes it were her called up there in hopes of being made a star. The japes about a lost lion tickle her plenty, at least, and take her mind from it, only excited to find out what this apple trick's all about.

Katie realizes it's her that has been called out. Well she's never really backed down from a challenge and with a tilt of her head, she gives a whimsical smile and parades directly towards the stage, watching as the crowd parts for her arrival. Once at the edge, she takes an offered hand to ascend to the higher surface and she dips into a curtsy. Her accent is north eastern somewhere and her smile is warm and mysterious. "I will make sure I do a good job then, if that's the reward." Even the mention of the lion brings a titter of laughter, after all it was a comedy show right? Straightening, she hams it up a touch, "Not the apple trick!"

Rob nods at Katies. "yes the apple trick." he says though as she walks around the ladie. "Friends…" he says adressing the crowd. ".. fer yer inspection." He says as he takes her hand leading her in a twirl, to show her off to the auciance. "Now You have a name Miss Ma'am, or am I going to have to name you after my missing lion." Then the stange hand, bumbles over, let's call him slim pickens, Says. "But boss we aint.." Rob covers his mouth and moves himt to the side in a stage whisper. "I'm workin Slim, now, get those guys in the back ready for our second trick." The stage hand nods and runs backstage as Rob turns to face the beautiful woman on stage.

Bess leans forward, drawing one knee closer to the edge of the table and planting an elbow on top of it, watching, rapt, with keen grey-blue eyes fixed on the trick, mind obviously working to figure out what's about to go on.

Her mouth turns down in a playful pout but Katie can't deny her natural exuberance and the smile blossoms once more, "Katie Belle," she tells the man, leaving off the last name she seldom uses. "I came here all the way from New York." An amused glance follows the stage hand as he hurries backstage, and she looks towards the man, seeming to be comfortable on the stage. "What is the apple trick?" she asks the question likely on most of the minds out there.

Rob smiles holds up an apple. "Glad you asked Miss Belle, what I'm gonna do here, is place this apple on yer head, then, bein' the espert gunslinger I am, I'm gonna shoot it off yer head.' He whispers os only he and lkatie hear the next bit. "It's safe, I aim high and have never missed." He then places the apple on her head and draws his revolver, just them Slim comes from the back and runs over. "No nonono, Y' can't be shooting at her like that boss, ah want her to be mah sweet heart." Rob blinks and gives the crowd an evil smirk. "Then go over there and tell her." he says, of course the moment Slim looks embarassed and blushes, a hidden gun comes out of Rob's sleeve, and he fires, the apple now has a clean hole inside it, Slim points in shock as he goes over to her, mouth agape and his finger out. "Jeez slim, you gave me a real gun…" Rob says to his dumbfounded stage hand.

Maggie was running a bit late, but she made it just in time to see the apple trick! She paused, blinked, and when the crowd cheers and applauses, so does she! As the applause dies down, she glances around and shimmies over to an unoccupied seat.

One of the gals from the bar bring Magggie over a cup of coffee and a tall glass of lemonade. "Hi Miss Maggie, Rob is in rare form tonight! he was wonderin if you were gonna show up, I bet he is happy t' see you." She says as she vanishes back behind the bar.

Bess wraps her arms around herself, almost dying of laughter when Slim tries to court himself a sweetheart in the middle of the act. Then the gun goes off all suddenly and, even as bold-hearted a lass as she is, she has to jump slightly at the noise, to gape at the hole in the apple. But the gaping only lasts a moment, then is repaced by an uproarious hooting and hollering. "You see that? It went clean through. Might be it went in one a' Slim's ears, out t'other on its way past— though you'd never know it to harm him, much," she cackles, cracking her own wise to whoever might be seated nearby her.

The apple is placed on her head and Katie steps back just a touch. She smiles at the reassurances, not quite sure if he was really going to follow through on the trick. It wasn't rightly safe at all! Her eyes round a touch even as the stage hand runs over, but the exchange of words only make her laugh. Surely it was all in jest. The gun goes off and she squeaks. The apple is shot before she even has a chance to realize it was really going to happen! Alive, well, she reaches for the apple and turns it so the whole room sees the hole in it, before she deftly and playfully slides it over the extended finger of Slim, giving Rob a smug look. "If that's act one, I can't wait until act two!"

Even Rob laughs at Katies antics. "Looks like she courted you Slim." he says as he walks over. of course, slim had heard bess' comment and points at her with the apple still on his finger. "I'll feed you t' the lion Miss." She says, but rob shakes his head. "But we aint got a lion, wait.." Then as the reversal of the joke sets in, he takes the apple from Slim's finger and tosses it to Bess in the crowd. Slim runs off to get the second act ready. "Now…" Rob ways as he promanade walks Katie to the center of the stage. "We are going to make stage pie, it's real simple." He says as slim comes back with the rolling tray and pans. Rob looks at the lack of ingrediants, and steps back to let katie tell him off.

Maggie glances up to the woman that approaches and she flashes a bright smile. "Oh! Thank you kindly! I wouldn't miss it for the world." She seems just as pleased as punch with the beverages. The coffee is first taken and she sits back in her seat, sipping from the hot brew. She immediately looks as if she is relaxing, or defrosting, likely both. She glances to Bess and she laughs along with her. Stage pie. Maggie blinks and looks back, canting her head curiously.

"Ain't got no lion, but Slim done saw a big ol' rat an' scairt his self," Bess makes with the cheeky aside, full glowing with having been called attention to. "Shoutin' out, "Lion, Lion!" Well— he was lyin'," she cackles, her laugh rough and rustic as her manner. For her efforts, she gets one (1) apple, slightly bulletholed. Which she'll go on and inspect, just to see if it was shot at for-real or swapped out somehow for one with a hole cored in it.

There is a playful look about Katie despite the apple /sauce/ in her hair from the bullet and the apple. With a toss of her head and a confidence in her step, she allows herself to be led to the center of the stage. "Stage pie?" Curious, she watches, but the antic of the patron responding to Slim catches her attention and she outright laughs. By the time the moment passes, she turns her attention back to Rob and it does take her a moment to realize. Instead of chastising, she laughs, reaching for one of the pans.

Rob Chuckles. "Slim, get the ingrediants!" he says as he gets his own pan and sets it down. "Now, if ya work fer me, ya gotta know how to make stage pie, Now.." he says as slim comes back wit hthe other ingredints. "Now, first y' take yer bottom, and place that here in the pan." he says as he takes a bit of dough and places it on the bottom. "Then you fill 'er up with cream." he says then filling it up with cream. "And serve!" he turns and smashes the cream pie into slim's face. As the pan falls to the ground to reveal a white faced cream covered slim. "Boss y' forgot the cherry." he says as rob snaps his fingers and put the cherry right on slim's nose. Before turning to look at Katie.

Maggie leans over to look at the apple as well. "Oh wow." She says softly, now sipping from her lemonade. There is a pause as she looks to the beverage, nodding in appreciation to the delicious flavor. But, she turns her gaze up towards the show once again. When Slim gets a pie to his face, she blinks before busting out laughing! Poor Slim.

Some older gent in the crowd comes and jostles at Bess' shoulder, catching her in the middle of a good guffaw at the cherry nose Slim's got put on. She looks aside, then pulls out a regular sulk. Someone's pa wants her home. She'll take the apple with her. It's just a little gunpowdered. It's still good!

With her pan in hand, Katie watches as Slim goes off to get the ingredients. "Here I thought I was making apple pie." Cutting a look to Bess and giving her a smile when she notices her looking at the apple. Only as Rob starts instructing her on the art of pie making, does she get back into it and plays along more. "The dough first?" Trying to seem inept at making a pie, she works on smoothing it out into the pan, biting her lip in concentration. "Then the cream?" Making a show of it, she adds even extra cream, laughing as Slim is getting the pie in the face. "And I serve it!" Lifting it, she aims like she is going for Slim, but instead, she redirects at the last moment, putting the pie right in Rob's face! "Stage pie!"

Slim gasps in true horror as Rb gets hit with the pie, as the pan falls, Rob hand hands on his hips. "You forgot the cherry katie." he says as slim takes the cherry off his nose and places it on rob's. As two towels are brought in from oneof the stage girls, rob and slim wipe of their face, before rob takes a dollap and places it on the end of katie's nose. "That was good! Now fer act three, it's you and slim, see, slim here has a problem, he dont sin too good, if yer gonna work for me, you have to teach slim how to sing while I set the backdrop for the next show!" he says with a smile as he vanishes behind the stage, and slim is left on stage, blushing at katie.

Maggie blinks as the pie is redirected! The look on Rob's face is priceless and she just howls with laughter. It's too much! As Bess gets up to leave, she looks to the older man escorting her away. Aww, shame. Though, she just remains in her seat and drinks her beverages, enjoying the show.

Katie is rather enjoying herself and she reaches for the cherry from Rob's cream pie covered nose and dangles it in front of Slim even as the dollop is landed on her nose. She looks at him aghast, or pretending to be, before she pretends to taste it. "It's good!" Back to the show though, "If you are hungry you can sing for your treat, Slim!" But she hops out of reach even as Slim seems to follow her, opening and closing his mouth to try and get the dangling berry from her fingers. A look as Rob heads back stage to prepare things for the next show, she improvises and holds up her other hand. "Okay stop there," she tells Slim, who does his best to follow her direction. "Now, move to the left a little bit?" She grins as he moves to the right. "No your other left. A little more.." Slim looks confused but tries moving in the directions, finally flabbergasted. "No! Back, further back! Not so close. You're going to fall off the edge!" When Slim corrects, she laughs and shakes her head, "Wait, start where you were," she still dangles the cherry. "No, back over here, forward and to the right. Far, far right…"

While Katie and slim are doing their bit on the stage, Rob comes out with a sun prop and tries to hang it, of course, he doesn't know she is talking to slim, so he begins to move as she directs, only the audiance seeing how he is moving like a mad man to keep up with her, and slim. Until he goes far right and off the stage propper. "Uh… ah don't think they can see the sun from back here."

Maggie is confused at first as she watches the antics. But, it soon all becomes clear. More laughter comes from her, especially as Rob dissapears Stage Right. She sort of cranes her neck a little to see past the tall gentleman in front of her, but with a giant smile on her face.

Katie hears the crash right after she says far, far right and the look she gives is rather comical. She winces and sloooowly peers over towards him as she hears the voice of Rob but doesn't immediately see him. When she does, him and the sun, she blushes and offers a look to Poor Slim, who looks confused, and finally Katie has mercy on him and gives him the cherry. He forgets all about it though as he howls with laughter as Rob falls off the stage.

Rob hopping up, he walks to the fore of the stage. "And that's our act, hope you all enjoyed it, and I hope you all will come back to see more of Miss katie bell, our new lead woman!" He says as he and Slim take a bow. "Say goodnight katie!" he says giving her time to say goodnight before the curtains close to a standing ovation. he turns to slim and nods. "Nice work max." He says as slim, or Max, nods. "Cheers gov! that was the best show yet!" So the mississippi redneck is actoualy a manchester brit! Rob turns to Katie and smiles. "You did perfect, you have the job, Now, if you will go with max, he will show you around the backstage, also you might want to wrangle the girls up for their burlesque show.. Me and Canary will show you about our style later." he says as he pats her on the shoulder and vanishes from the curtained area, walking over to maggie. "Hello Darlin, what did ya think?"

Katie takes a bow and steps back, excitement glittering in her eyes when she is called the new lead woman! A wave to everyone as the curtains close and she remains behind them, "Thank you! Thank you." Max gets a look of delight as she discovers he was internationally cultured. "I can do Burlesque also, I do adore dancing and singing. I will go take the tour." And as he disappears beyond the curtained area she walks off to explore with Slim. Aka Max.

Maggie stands up with the audience and gives an uproarus applause herself. "Huzzah!" She calls out from her place. More applause. Once the people begin to disperse to head home for the night, Maggie moves to meander through the crowds in Rob's direction. "That show was so much fun!" She says in excited tones once she is close enough to him.

Rob chuckles. "I'm glad you liked it, I'm also Impressed with katie's performance, she has some good acting chops on her." he says as she leans up to kiss her on the cheek, being short for a man, you could swear he was tall on stage.

Maggie blinks and there is a blush and heat is felt on her face. Her eyes flutter a bit, "Oh my.." She is at a loss for words and seems to be shuffeling her feet a bit. Finally, her bright eyes lift to look upon him, "I umm.. I uh.. " She stammers a little. "I really did enjoy it. I umm.. I saved you some pie at home."

Rob smiles and offers her his arm. "It's the kind that doesnt go on mah face is it?" he says with a wink to her, hard, after being on stage, to turn the charm and wit off, which is what maggie has right now, a charming little devil of a man that is smitten with her.

Maggie laughs, "No! Nono no no. It's apple pie. Putting that in someone's face is rather… " She pauses, looking for the right words, "A loss of pie." She nods. That works. "I thought after a hard night of work you might want a little something." She slips closer to him, tucking her arm into his. "Do you have to remain here for a while or can you come home?"

Rob smiles and looks up at her. "I can go, Max is going to handle the burlesque shot tonight, which is him running around trying to get the girls to focus and get on stage… don;t envy him." It's another reason he got katie, because now she can handle the girls, slim can handle the men, and Rob can handle the business. "So, do soft kisses come with that pie?" he asks as he walks twoards the exit with her.

Maggie smiles, "I am sure they can be difficult. I know -I- can be difficult, especially when I have my mind set on something." She walks along with him towards the exit, "I am sure that they can be." There is a little wink in his direction. In fact, she leans in and steals a kiss from his cheek right there!

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