1861/10/17 Pretend you already lost the money.
Scene Pretend you already lost the money.
Characters Mercy Adolph Isolde Monty Cooke andrew
Place Black Star Saloon
Date Monday oct 17th 1861, Evening
Scene Theme Paint it Black

It's later than Adolph is usually here; past his bedtime, as it were, but he'd found a group of people to play a game of penny dominoes with, and in his enthusiasm for the evening he'd had not one, but TWO whole drinks of whiskey. Look at the prim little tailor, letting his hair down. And lo and behold, as the night gets later, the saloon gets rowdier, and Adolph's dominoes-companions all go on home, but Adolph finds himself with a deck of cards he's shuffling at a newly mostly-vacant table, smiling as he does so. He remembers playing cards. He hasn't done so in a good while.

Jed Cooke is also in the Black Star, not that the hour of the day means much to him. He's reclining at one of the tables, feet up, bottle and glass to hand, just keeping an eye on the coming and goings of the day in this cheery little township. He's seen the group playing for pennies, they caught his interest until he realised they weren't serious. Then they leave, and there's the young lad at the table all alone with a deck of cards. Now that could be worth some sport.

Cooke shifts and takes his booted feet from the table, he stands and grabs his drinks then moves through the saloon, weaving past the tables. He plonks his glass and bottle onto Adolph's table. "Gonna deal those or just sit admirin' the pictures?" he asks, taking a seat.

Monty's been here for a while. Making himself as unknown as possible. He's been lingering and listening and watching and pretty much casing the joint the entire time he's been here. He's been making sure to drink and look forever the part of the normal saloon patron as he's been wandering around the saloon at random. He's mostly been spending time chatting up various womenfolk that he ends up nearby. He takes a few moments to watch the table that's being taken over by a couple of people and he heads in that direction. "Fellas." He takes a moment to hold his glass up and motions randomly to the table at in question. "Mind another?" is asked in the most affable of tones.

Late evening finds Isolde leaving her room on the upper floor taking the steps slowly but with purpose. It gives her time to study the floor, both of her icy blue eyes sweeping across the tables and washing down the bar. An empty bottle of what was probably some form of alcohol is idly held between three slender, yet fingers; As she rounds the stairs, it's gently placed on the end of the bartop with casual grace and a faint, empty clink.
Quietly, the blonde girl has replaced it with a fresh one, a kind, if indifferent smile flashed to the bartender. Just as quietly, and with the only indication of her mild interest a half-lifted eyebrow, Isolde approaches the table and rests her unburdened hand on Adolph's shoulder with little pressure; More an announcement to him that she's there, than anything, as if he'd not taken notice. "What's the game?" She asks, her voice even, yet brushed with faint spikes of a German accent.

Ironically enough with all the people in the bar, its new propreitor was elsewhere. But as if drawn magically to the activity Andrew Silverton makes his way back in and replaces the saloon girl who was manning the bar while he was out, freeing the girl to deliver drinks and flirt with patrons. The first drink order he fills is his own pulling out a bottle of rum and pouring himself a shot which he downs immediately.

Adolph smiles easily at Cooke, for all he's grizzled— those drinks have mellowed him right out, haven't they? He shuffles— in no fancy wise, but competent, not letting them slip all 'round like a neophyte may do. "I don't have much money, but I can play a penny-ante hand or two," he offers. He's up a whole nickel from his dominoes game, and feeling game to gamble, even if he doesn't have but coins in his pocket to lose. He quirks a brow Cooke's way to see whether the stakes are agreeable to him before sliding the deck toward him and letting him cut. He lifts a hand to wave cheerfully at Monty. And then there's something on his shoulder, and he glances to it, to the hand there, and then back to the person it's connected to, the easy whiskey-blush draining from his features in a startle, then comes rushing back, back brimming with tension as he's NOT SURE WHAT TO DO WITH HIS SHOULDER. "Hummamn—" he mumbles. Something. Where did chill!Adolph go? He was here a second ago.

Cooke gets happier by degrees as more come to the table, could be an interestin' game! "More the merrier, ain't that so?" he drawls, "And sure, we can start with pennies, it's all in good fun, right?" he takes the time to give an affable nod to his friend the saloon owner before filling his glass from the bottle he brought over, then emptying it again in the general direction of his mouth. He wipes his chops on the back of his sleeve.

"Thank ya' kindly. 'Preciate it." Monty takes a moment to tip his hat in Isolde's direction since she's arrived near the table as well. He tries not to grin too much as he slides down into the chair nearest him and leans back. "Been playin' all night. Startin' t' think Lady Luck's mad at me." He digs into his pocket for his coins so that he can prove that he's capable of getting his ante up on and all that. "You fellas go easy on me, now." Monty grins.

A good barkeep know what is going on in his bar, and the tailor's talk of pennies reminds him of some business he needed to attend to. A nod is give in the direction of Cooke, before Andrew leaves the bar and makes his way over. "We can't let poor Herr Schneider start off to short now can we." Andrew takes off his jacket and sets it on a chair near the tailor, "If you could take of mending it this week I would appreciate it." He then places a dollar and a half worth of coins in the young man's hand before returning to the bar.

Isolde's head cants down at Adolph with the odd mumble, her half-lifted eyebrow waxing it's way to a full crescent. Her own cheeks and eyes are ringed in their own whiskey-rose that flares ever so slightly with a faint cough that's caught in her throat, an expectant little noise in reponse to his own, though sharper.
"… Right." Just as laconicly as her steps down, Isolde settles into the chair next to Adolph. Without paying much attention to the others gathered around, the half liter of whiskey's cork is drug out with a muted, somber whump and set to the side. "I don't mind losing," The blonde says with just as little affect, fumbling around in a small leather purse. A few coins of her own clatter against eachother as they're laid out. Halfway through her drink, Isolde glances at Adolph again with a look that's far more expectant than the curt cough.

Adolph might have gotten some relief when Iso let go his shoulder, but that way she looks at him all… rosy… and then just sits down right next to him… it drives the redness from his cheeks up into his eartips, and, "Gosh," he murmurs. Is it warm in her, or is it just him? Speaking of warm, Andrew is coming to give him some reprieve by way of work to go do. Hey! Work is always good. He's about to object that Andrew should pay Mr. Olmstead once the work is finished, but then Andrew's walking away, and he draws his lips together after a brisk, "Yes, sir." Oh, well. He'll just put the coins onto Andrew's account at the store and record it therein. But he can't help be pleased to be drumming up work even in his off-hours, and he takes up the jacket and folds it in his lap, putting the money for Andrew's account in one pocket and taking out his own spending money from his other pocket. It's some forty three cents, plenty for some penny-ante poker, as long as it doesn't go crazy into the betting. He tosses a penny into the middle for the ante, and looks over to Cooke, who… does he still have the cards?

Jed leans back in his chair, drumming his fingers on his glass. "Well ain't that nice" he comments at Andrew's cash injection, "Wish I had a friend like that, boy. So. How 'bout you get them cards movin'? Now we have a full table and all.." He nods in turn to Adolph, a young man looking to get fleeced. Monty, an obvious rogue with probably more than an ace up his sleeve. And Isolde, the most dangerous person at the table, barring his own self. Cooke reaches into his duster and produces a small leather bag that clinks when he places it on the table.
Andrew has disconnected.

Monty looks as innocent as possible during this entire thing. He doesn't look like he's doing anything remotely shady and just seems to be smiling. There's a lot of smiling from someone that's lost as much as he's claimed to. "Yeah, let's get this goin'. Lookin' forward t' a fun game!" See? There's nothing rougish about this guy at all! He's just trying to have some fun with a couple of new friends? People? Associates?

Isolde doesn't let her eyes linger on Adolph for much longer, spilling down to the cards, and then back to the scattered coins in front of her. They're idly separated into piles by denomination, all told, three dimes, five nickles, and nine pennies. A warm, if half-hearted and alcohol-addled smile crosses her lips as her hand is offered to Cooke. "Isolde." The amicable, if lackluster smile is shared with the rest of the table, before she starts to collect her cards from Adolph with sun-lazy feline interest.

The door to the Saloon opens, letting in the autum chill for a moment as a Habit wearing, tall, catholic sister enters the Saloon, she of cours,e isnt here for any of the fun that's to be had, but more for her own interest, as in, can this place possibly bring Daveys out of business, she hasent sseen any whores, and it sounds abit subdued and not as rowdy, so that's a good start. Mercy places her hands behind her as she walks along the bartop, before turning to the table, gambling… well, maybe someone will make a donation… the schol children DO need some more supplies. "Good evening." She says as she moves twoards the table, a card game, pitty she doesnt understand how it works, nor does she have money to gamble with, but… let the childrne have their fun.

"We'll play five cards-draw, without any wild cards, one penny ante and a nickel raise limit," Adolph announces mildly, having been sufficiently distracted, for the moment, from the— woman— sitting next to him. He's sitting half-sideways in his seat, one knee crossed over the other with his leg kicked away from Isolde in a bit of body language that might read subconsciously protective of his genitals— or else he's just trying very hard not to accidentally brush her with his leg. That would be a DISASTER. Oh, almost as much of a disaster as having a nun come judge him as he gambles like a regular sinner. This is going to be a fun hand. But he presses together an apologetic smile to her as he sorts his cards tightly before himself, and begins a round of betting, adding two more pennies to match his penny ante with enough confidence, even unnerved as he is at present.

Cooke nods, lifting only the corners of his cards at the edge of the table so hee can see them "I guess I can live with those stakes for now. I'm in" he tips a few coins from the leather bag onto the table and pushes some forwards. His eyes lift to the approaching nun, but his mouth stays shut on that score. Too easy to offend the clergy.

"Hey Sister. Joining us?" Monty is just the friendly sort that barely even knows that he's tossing in a few pennies himself to make sure that he's in for the hand. He doesn't want to seem over friendly or eager or anything but he's just trying to be as inclusive as possible. It may be weird that Monty may or may not have even looked at his cards yet. Weird.

Isolde's cards are still scattered in front of her when Mercy enters, and the blonde German beside her earns a skewed eyebrow. "Are you okay?" She can't see the entry well from where she's at, but Adolph's reactions to the nun clue her into the arrival; A glance over her shoulder preambles the lift of whiskey to her lips, washing whatever apology or guilt she might feel away with the alcoholic burn.
Two more pennies are pushed in with her ante, matching Adolph's raise and Cooke's call without fanfare.

Mercy raises her hands gently. "No no, I cannot, though I am interested in the rules of such a game?" She asks as she takes a seat, abit ways off, next to adolph, trapping him between two of the most dangerous women in town. "I just wanted to see how davey's competition is doing… I'm pleasently surpised."

Adolph finds pennies in all across the table. Everyone's matched his bet— their cards must be quite good. Or else they're not as poor as he is and hardly think two pennies is a thing to worry about losing. He remembers vividly when he'd work his winter-numbed fingers to the bone trying to get together a nickel for some third day's bread. The remembrance makes him wonder for a moment at the forty cents stacked tidily in front of him, waiting to be gambled away. How times have changed. The external shame from the sister's presence starts to seep into a more personable guilt, but, since there's no upping the bet at this point, he just discards two cards, thumbing a third one toward the center of his hand for a moment before doing so. "I'll take two," he announces. And he does. Then the Sister is sitting next to him. But at least she's… well. She's the Sister. It's not like she really counts as a woman. So if she inflicts any discomfort upon him it's a general sense of unease you usually feel when you're doing something you shouldn't before the eyes of any sort of clergy. "What, is Davey still in business?" is a dry little joke he even manages. He's never been in there, himself, ecept for the once when Iso dragged him in there to look for rats. Well, they found some.

Cooke scratches his chin, this is not a usual game, but then nothing about this town seems to be as expected. "Two for me, too" he smiles at his terrible quip, pushing two cards face down over the tabletop.

"It's the same here. Only with clutter," Isolde notes while picking up her cards, canting her head towards an inconvenient stack of crates. Her cards are fanned out, arranged, and three passed towards the center discard pile. Adolph's dry humor earns him a curl of half of her cracked lips, before they thin themselves out to glassline again.
"Sister. How is cat herding?" She asks, sipping off of her half-liter of whiskey before offering it to Mercy, an act that has her, or possibly Mercy, oh-so-dangerously close to accidentally touching Adolph.

Adolph keeps everyone well-supplied with cards while they pass their trash in to discard, and, that done, he racks his back against the back of his seat, letting Isolde reach in front of him and almost holding his breath to keep his chest from brushing her arm. He finagles his cards up before his face, investigating his new ones, and, less than encouraged, he waits until the arms have passed whatever will be passed before him, then nudges but one extra little penny out to join the pot. Not confident in this hand, nope.

Mercy blinks at the whiskey, she tilts her head abit, it's common for catholic clergy to drink wine, as long as it's been 'blessed' but whiskey, she hasent tried, and the irish part of her is screaming 'give us a sip lass' so she takes the offered glass and makes a cross over it, and will probably do more chores for this, before taking a sip, the glass immediately goes back to isolde as she coughs abit. "Blessed mary, what do you put in -THAT-? She asks as she clears her throat. "The cats are doing fine, and the rat problems are starting to fade."

Cooke flicks a penny into the pot and nods, silently. He takes a moment to refill his glass from his bottle, this time only sinking half of the liquid in one gulp. "We gonna have a plague of dogs, next?" he asks, tilting his hat back.
Monty has disconnected.

"Fold. Mmn. I see," Isolde says with an amicable smile cast across the table towards Mercy. There's a slightly smug creep that crescents the blonde's lips again at Cooke's joke, her left brow climbing at Mercy. "I asked that same thing," Isolde notes to the cheerful criminal beside her. Accepting her drink back, she takes her own sip, though there's little cough from her, just a slightly blearly dip of her eyelids, ringed as they are with glassy inebriation.

And here nobody's raised on his penny bet, and Adolph, even if he doesn't really hope that he can win, at least is bright-eyed at the notion of being in at the end of the hand and able to see for free, as it were, with no additional calling required on his part. He tosses his cards face-down, now that the bets are over. "A pair of queens." Which is hardly an exciting hand. "And I hope not. I can only imagine the coyotes coming all up and down the streets after the cats," he frowns. Or pouts. Yes, his lower lip protruded just slgihtly there, that definitely counts as a pout.

"Queens is it?" says Cooke raising an eyebrow. "Well you've got me beat there, boy. Mebbe all these shiny pennies will be yours, wouldn't that be fine" The crimi-ahem-card player throws in his cards.

Mercy blinks. "Oh I have somthing for the cyotes if they venture into town, don;t you fret." She says as she looks to isolde, but doesnt say anything before looking to adolph's revealed hand. "Arent you suposed to have cards that match dear?"

"I can shoot a coyote easier than a rat," Isolde says matter-of-factly to Adolph, sharing a smug quarter-smile with Mercy while Adolph collects his winnings. The revelation from Mercy causes that quarter-smile to turn to a smug half moon. "Depends. Do they have faces?"

Adolph won? Adolph won! A nice collection of pennies, indeed. Fourteen of them, to be precise. That's a dime and almost a whole nickel besides! Adolph can't help but look pleased to increase his pot, "They do match, Sister, see?" he notes the two queens with a touch of his first two fingers. And he's taking in his winnings when a pang of further guilt hacks at his innards, and his beaming smile turns more meekly, and he scoots his winnings toward the Sister. "For your poor box, Sister Mercy," he mumbles contritely. Gosh if he isn't the worst buzzkill to a night of gambling.

Mercy chuckles and scoops up the winnings. "Thankyou adolph, you are a good man." She says as she pats him on the head, she knows he will probably freak out, but, the german man has grown on her, almost like he was her own child. "Though I really need someone to teach me this game, without the gambling aspect of course."

Cooke rolls his eyes theatrically at the giving away of such an extravagant sum. "My how generous. As your luck seems to be in, how about we raise the ante a touch. A nickel, say?" he empties his drink, and drums his fingers over the leather bag containing the least bloodstained of his money.

Maybe it's the four or five additional half-shots of whiskey that Isolde's plugged from the uncorked bottle next to her, but a faint, warm smile is directed at Adolph as he gives up his winnings to the nun. "Nickel's fine," She notes, sliding one of the silvery coins towards the middle, bookending the action with a drag of her upper teeth over her lower lip, momentarily contemplating on Cooke for a long moment. "So. What is it you do?"

Adolph feels… less bad about gambling if it's going to help people who are as poor as he once was. He looks at his now-diminished stack of coins. Thirty nine cents. Of which he takes a nickel to put into the pot and another nickel to buy himself a third drink, though— that serving lady Andrew's let loose to flirt with the patrons as she dispenses drinks makes him think better of it, just yet. "Alright, a nickel ante," he agrees. Interestingly, the pat to his head doesn't seem to bother him nearly so poorly as Isolde's hand on his shoulder. It's still not entirely comfortable, but it's more like his mother is mussing his hair in front of his friends and less like his heart's about to implode with anxiety. "My father and I used to play for buttons at home," he smiles to remember. "It's a fun game, but it's easy to get carried away with the gambling if you don't mind your pot size."

Mercy sits and watches, a nickle, that IS alot of money… she blinks a few times, but that gaze is stuck on Cooke, the back of her neck tingles as if somthing is off, but she keeps herself quiet, aside from a small shift in her chair.

Cooke smiles, pushing his own shiny coin forwards, "Glad we all find that raise friendly" he says. He looks askance to Isolde, unused to such a direct question from a female. At least a question not about an imminent exchange of cash for flesh. "Tracker, mostly" he replies, "Some hunting, a bit of small trade here and there. How about you?"

"Pretend you already lost the money," Isolde offers as a professional tip to Adolph, looking slightly more relaxed as more of the alcohol weasles its way into bloodstream. She sniffs once, then reaches down to undo her leather purse, liberating a cheap ceramic pipe and a pouch of tobacco. "Horses." "Mostly," Isolde tacks on, with a weak smile to Mercy.
While Adolph deals another hand, she busies herself with packing the pipe, and then works at getting the smoldering embers to something manageable, only having to go through two matches and one half-finished swear before she's content and settled again.

Adolph heaves a soft sigh, "Yes, I think it's lost already," Adolph murmurs. Still, he puts in a penny bet on top of his five-cent ante, just to see whether he can see his way to the draw. He anxiously tries to get the attention of the new barmaid, who's really— just too pretty for Adolph to look at for any extended period of time, which makes getting drink service difficult. He misses the old proprietor, sometimes.

Cooke quirks a half-smile. Mostly. The 'mostly' is his favourite part. He briefly glances at his cards. "Hmm, guess I'll see that, and here's a couple more for your luck" He winks, and seeing Adolph's ignored pleas for libation, proffers his own bottle. "Why don't you have a fill of this" he plonks the bottle in front of the young man.

Mercy flags down the waitress and tells her that adolph needs a drink, before looking to him, and the bottle cooke is offering and smiles. 'I'd rest easyer, Mr. Cooke, if he didnt take a drink from a stranger, I don;t think my heart would fare well were he to go ill drinking somthing stronger then he has too."

Isolde's smile crescents wider on one side, an outlaw of a mischievous glint flashing across the blue pools of her eyes when Adolph continues to struggle with his drink order and propriety. She can't take it anymore. Luckily, Mercy's flagging the barmaid down, and she's free to draw another lungful of smoke in through the cheap pipe. It's held while the blonde tilts her cards up and brushes two off to the side. She meets Adolph's bet, then settles back into her chair with a squeaking complaint of its legs.

Adolph is a lightweight, isn't he, buying his whiskey by the glass rather than toting a bottle about? Oh, well. Adolph can suffer to be the lgihtweight in a crew such as this. He blushes faintly — if he ever really stopped — when the Sister speaks up in his defense against Cooke's liquor, and he gives the fellow an apologetic glance. "I'm sure his drink is just fine, Sister." Still, he's buying a glass from the house, dipping into his gambling money to pay for it. The two-penny raise from Cooke has him shaking his head, at last, "I fold," he tosses in his cards, at that. A six-cent loss on the hand won't be turned into an eight-cent loss. And he catches a wisp of Isolde's pipesmoke, meanwhile, and suddenly is struck with a craving for his own. But instead he has his third (third!!) whiskey of the night. He's going to be in for it now!

Cooke shrugs, "As you please, bought this bottle from the house anyway, same crap as what you're drinkin' anyways, if'n you'll pardon my cussin', Sister" he nods to Mercy, then takes back the bottle, filling his own glass in the process. He raises an eyebrow at Adolph's fold. Maybe the boy isn't as stupid and/or drunk as he appears. "Well now, guess I'll have to take two" he flicks two cards onto the table.

Isolde holds the pipe between her teeth for a few moments while she studies her cards, those half-vacant glassy blue eyes of hers rolling to the apex of their orbits to study Cooke for another moment. Two of her own cards are plucked out and slid across to the discard pile. One of them flips over, the six of clubs. She frowns, momentarily, glaring at Adolph for a moment as if the blonde youth had something to do with it. It fades, though, as she rakes rugged fingers through her hair and tucks an errant lock behind an ear.

Mercy looks at cooke and tilts her head. "Tell me, sir, are you freashly new in town? I havent seen you around before?" She asks, of course, people talk about the nun, they talk about how she protected people from injuns, and how she probably shot the former preist because he was whoring (Not true).

The great part about being too shy to make eye contact with women is that you miss most of the dirty looks the give you. Count Adolph blessed in obliviousness and content to watch the game play out on the table, dealing in between sips of whiskey. But, no, he's not very drunk, only pleasantly so, and he prefers to remain that way. And yes, he knows how to play, even if he's not much of a killer at the table. He listens, but remains quiet to see how the hand will play out.

"I think I can venture another penny to the pot" says Cooke, pushing a corroded coin over the table. "How about it, Miss?" he looks direct to Isolde. The smiles slowly and turns his head to Mercy, "New enough. Just finding my feet, as they say"

Isolde purses her lips when she lifts the edges of the two cards Adolph gave her. "Alright." Whether she likes what she sees or not isn't really all that obvious, most of her attention split between the bottle, the pipe, and the conversation. A more pointed look at Cooke follows that, her eyes academic in their flicker of a study. "It's been nice. I think I'm staying." At that point, she flips her cards over, showing a pair of sevens with a king high.

"Sevens.." repeats Cooke, "And that is a mighty fine pair if I may say so" he scratches his chin, then grins, laying his cards down. "Don't beat a pair o' queens though, such a shame" He leans forwards and scoops the pot towards him.

Adolph finds himself yawniing despite himself as he nears the end of his third whiskey of the evening. It's making him warm, and the warm is making him cozy, and the cozy is making him sleepy. "Oh, look!" he murmurs. "Poor luck, Fraulein Krause," he empathizes. "And well done, Mr. Cooke," he adds. "I think I had better go back to my room and go to sleep. I fear I've suddenly come across all tired." He's down four cents from the first hand, six from the second, and five for the third whiskey. From 43 cents' spending money that's 28 left, and that's not bad for an evening of drinks and games. "Thank you for a fine game," he utters solemnly on rising, inclining his head to the gentleman. And bashfully fingerwaving good-bye to the ladies.

Isolde offers something in the way of a non-commital shrug at Cooke. Her silver coins are collected and passed over to Mercy, the pennies passed off to Adolph. "Pretend like you already lost it," She reaffirms to Adolph, by this point a step and a half past 'buzzed' and into 'warmly drunk,' with a calmer, more pleasant and relaxed voice, something of a tired-yet-friendly smile on her face.

Cooke chuckles, "Sleep seems to be a-callin' me, too" he says, nodding to Adolph. He scoops his winnings into the leather bag, which then goes into a pocket. "I've been tracking a herd of deer up in the forest, reckon' I know where they'll be come daybreak, and I want to be there to meet them" He stands, adjusting the angle of the rifle at his back. "Been a pleasure, hope your evenin' is a pleasant one" he touches the brim of his hat to Mercy, "See you Sunday, Sister" and again to Isolde, "Miss" He moves away from the table, grabbing his bottle as he goes.

Mercy smirks. "You may wan to watch yourself sir, there are reports of cheyenne in the area." Granted the cheyenne havent been agressive, and have had problems with the navajo, just like the town, but… if the man is shadey, and tries to go after the injuns, well, Mercy's newly healed wounds can attest to their feirceness.

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