Monday, August 10, 2009

A Deadwood story: a scar to be proud of

This is a story that comes out of an impromptu RP situation that happened in the sim's early days. I told the tale on the fly at the founder's day storytelling session at Miss Addison's boarding house this last Saturday night, and got a kick out of telling it, so I thought I would polish it up a bit as a first-person story and tell it here. Once I committed it to text, I suddenly realized that combined with the previous story, it might give you the impression that I was responsible for accidentally shooting many of my friends and acquaintances. While that is not entirely untrue, I would like to point out that none of them ever died from it.

I jus wanted to tell y'all a story from when I reckon most o’ ye warn't here yet...somethin’ what would kinda give ye an ideer o’ what town used to be like back in the early days.

Now mind o’ the things what set Deadwood apart from other towns was how when somethin happened, it warn't just up to lawmen to take care care of it

Well, fer that matter, we din't have too many lawmen around back in those days...some times none at all.

But even so they was this one gang leader...a feller who terrorized other towns somethin' turrible...but he said one time he hated tryin to raid in Deadwood, cuz he said "when ye raid some other place, the folks stay inside peeking out their curtains waitin’ fer the lawmen to fix things. But in Deadwood, when ye make trouble, every man, woman, chile, dog an’ cat with a gun comes running tryin to kill ye."

Anyhow this is a story o’ that kind o thing, which made us sorta famous:

One day -- I’m thinkin’ twas in early November o’ 76 -- I’m on the street a’ talkin with m’ friend Lockmort...big bear of a man, ye know, an’ usually a peaceable feller. But as we was talkin’ we heard this commotion: "Some rascal is tryin’ to rob the bank!" somebody shouted.

"An’ they has taken a hostage!" someone else yelled.

"Who's the hostage?" says Lock.

An’ the feller who was tellin us this says, “Tis lil’ Geoff the orphan the feller has dragged him up to the second floor of the store next to the Red Bird, sayin’ he's gonna kill the boy if'n we don't give him the money out of the bank!!"

Now Lil’ Geoff was a young’un, mebbe 7 or 8 year old, whose Ma had abandoned him in town an' went off. Funny, good natured lil’ feller, he was. Matter o’ fact, Me an' Sepp done took him in later on, though we ne’er officially sought to adopt him as he had great confidence his Ma would be back fer him someday, an’..well...we jus’ couldn’t see fit to disabuse him of his faith in the woman what had brought him into this sorry, sad world.”

Well...anyhow, when we hear this about him bein’ the hostage, oh, you shoulda seen the look what come over Lock! His face went from its normal sunny an’ cheerful affect to looking like a sky with a thunderstorm a’coming! An’ he growled like a bear, an’ then roared, "I don't take kindly to no one harmin’ no young'uns!!!"

He right up and tears off like a mad bull buffalo, across the street to that store. Well, the bankrobber feller had locked the door, but o’ course that didn't stop Lock. Hell, it barely slowed him down. He threw hisself at the door like a big hairy cannonball an' smashed right thru it! He barreled towards the stairs in back and was startin’ up, when the robber popped around to the landing...then some shots rung out an’ Lock grunted an’ fell back clutchin’ at his leg! Now I had been not far behind Lock, plus there was this other feller who had gone into store right with us. This other gent went next, leapin’ o’er Lock’s sizable frame, an’ as he was rushin’ up the stairs then HE got shot an’ tumbled back...

Well, now I was mad. Not jus’ cuz o' this peckerhead holdin’ a lil’ orphan boy hostage an' settin’ to kill him, but cuz he shot Lock, who I really goddam liked. Real good gunsmith too. Cain’t tell ye how many enjoyable hours I have passed in the company o’ that gentleman talkin’ about firearms an’ studyin’ his various projects. So ye should understand I was sorta seein' red

I proceeded to jump o'er Lock an’ the other feller who’d been shot, an’ I started goin’ up them stairs m’self, firin’ as fast as I could. Now ye see, I had this Spencer carbine, which I had got, man number six: the miner, ye might recall. An’ with a Spencer, ye kin chamber an’ fire a round in mebbe 3’ ye got seven shots. So I commenced by lettin' off a couple o’ rounds as I was goin up towards the first landing, just to make him stay back. An’ when I got the landin’ an' could aim up at him, I used another four rounds as fast as I could lever ’em into the chamber an’ fire.

I shouted fer Geoff to get down, an' hoped he could do so. But I had no idea if he heard, cuz there was smoke an’ splinters an’ muzzle flash goin’...hell of a noisy mess.

Then with the one last round in the gun, I charged the rest o’ the way up the stairs... found I din't need it.

A couple o’ the shots I had fired in goin' up the stairs had found their mark, an’ the robber feller was a lyin’ dead as a goddam doornail...which made number 9.

Anyhow, there I was, jus’ all pleased with m'self, an’ I looked aroun’ fer Geoff, an’ there the boy was looking like a cat what ate the canary, a big ol’ grin on his face, all happy like...

...but a’holdin’ his leg...' he says with great enthusiasm, "Oh Miz Dio! You saved my life!!!”

...then adds somewhat plaintive-like, "but how come you shot me doin’ it?"

"Oh hell," says I, "let me look..."

Well, the boy had been hit fairly bad by a ricochet, so I bound it up an’ got him to Doc Alcott as quick as I could. As I was carryin' him o'er to the Doc's I tol' him he waa gonna have a dandy scar on his leg...

"REALLY?!!" he says, all excited like.

"Yep," says I. "Yer a gonna have a good story an' a scar to go with it, t' share with yer gran'kids."

Oh, and Lock an’ the other feller who got shot tryin' to help, we patched up as well, an’ they made it, I’m sure you will be pleased to know...

...but from that time on, lil’ Geoff loved to tell the story about "when Miz Dio saved my life an’ shot me all in the same day!!"

An' I have every confidence that some day, many years from now, he's gonna be settin' with a passle o' grandchillun' an' shall be happily showin 'em that scar an' tellin' the tale o' how I give it to him.


  1. Another corker, Miz Dio! Now pardon me while I scout about to find one of those fine firearms...

  2. Thanks Rhia.

    Actually Caed Aldwych used to sell Spencers in his store up in Yankton. I'll check to see if he still has them.

  3. I'm startin' to think someone should be ringing the church bells when you pick up yer iron ;-)

  4. Purely a coincidence. It has been ages since I shot anyone accidentally. Not even accidentally on purpose.