Who: Charles & Kerr When: December 20th, Afternoon. Where: Backstage. What: Conversing after his show. Rating/Warnings: lowish Status: complete and closed
Kerr took the reigns from the performer and brushed her hand over the mane of the steed. “Hope she did a good job for you today.” She said, leading the horse the distance from the performance area to the small stables set up for the few they had. It was a bit of a walk, but she didn’t mind. “How is the new saddle working?” She inquired curiously.
She knew she had to be at least a little better at talking to people. Even though she was in hiding, being someone who obviously kept away from other people made people curious. But those who people know as acquaintances are more likely not to really be thought of much or questioned. Kerr was just always afraid she’d say something or do something that gave away she wasn’t what she seemed- and that someone might try to turn her in.
— The show had been a blur of high energy and thunderous gunshots, yet through it all the applause and cheers of the crowd never faltered. Every time he performed the gunslinger did his best to mix things up a bit; keen to always try new, more daring, things. This time around Charles had tossed a bit of knife throwing into the mix with great success. Still when the show came to an end Renmont felt drained. Knowing that sooner than later that headache of his would return. Presently though, as he dismounted and handed the horse over to one of the crew, the modern cowboy found himself still feeling fine. Sure he took a swig from his flask, as a way to hopefully numb himself before the migraine struck. But when Kerr spoke up he paused to flash a smile.
“She did well out there, as always. Swear this old girl has been the real star of the show more often than not; ain’t many others that can hope to keep pace with her. Plus she knows the pattern of our run better than I do, to the point that I just need to stay in the saddle and she’ll get me where I need to be.” Oh Charles and his steed had practiced daily, running the route he’d take during the performances. Still the beautiful mare took to it all with truly impressive speed. “Reckon the new saddle is working out just fine. Still needs to be broken in a bit, but that’s to be expected.”
“I think she likes it too.” Kerr said, “Doesn’t pinch as much; more comfortable.” Or at least that was the impression she got since the mare seemed to be in better spirits after performing. As they approached the stables, she stopped at the hitch to tie off the reins. Part of her assumed that Charles would continue the walk into Zion proper. “I did catch the end of the show.” Having shown up to be ready to take the animal once they finished. “Looked real good. New finale?”
-- As laid back, and usually less than sober, as Charles could be the man still cared a great deal about his horse. After all she had been his partner throughout most of his career. Always there to carry the cowboy through his act, and a faithful mount that was good natured and well trained too. Most show horses didn’t last very long; all the traveling, constant practices and performances, tended to take a toll. Yet Bluebell had been a saint as far as he was concerned. So to hear that the saddle was working well for his steed warranted a nod, and a warm smile as he reached out to brush her mane with his fingers. “Glad to hear it. She still being treated to the good feed, right? Don’t care what it costs, just keep her well fed and groomed. Bluebell deserves nothing but the best I reckon.” After taking a moment to pat the horse, the gunslinger finally took a step away; pausing to hand roll a fresh cigarette before lighting up at last. When the question about the finale was raised he inhaled and exhaled for a moment, letting a small cloud of smoke escape his lips before finally chiming in. “Yeah, figured mixing things up is the way to go. Tend to add more targets or use moving ones in my act. But I wanted to try something new this time around, so tossed in a bit of knife throwing into the performance and the crowd seemed to like it.”
Kerr nodded, reaching under Bluebell to unbuckle the saddle. “Yea, she’s being treated well.” Even when she tried, to hide it, her accent tended to still be a bit more on the proper British side than most vernaculars at the Carnival. At least she had a lower voice for a woman, which made her sound more like a higher pitched boy. “And even though she’s very demanding, I like taking care of her.” Kerr hefted the saddle off the horses back and moved it to the rack outside the stable. She had grown in strength since she’d arrived. Though her form was still slim, when she did manual labor, one could see the firmness of her muscles. She wasn’t going to be winning any contests, but she could do her job.
“They did.” She nodded, grabbing a brush to do a quick brushdown of the horse before she was stabled for the evening. “The day shows definitely seem to bring a bigger crowd than the night- probably because of Bluebell.” Seeing as night shows were more trick shots and stuff inside a tent. “One of these days I might get a chance to see the full show.”
-- Truth be told the gunslinger had had little contact with the crew who took care of his horse. Mostly because he was deep in his cups right after a show, and barely sober for very long. Still Hawkins had been a familiar face; one that Charles had seen more often than not whenever he swung by to check on Bluebell. Earnestly his steed always seemed to be well cared for, so trust had been long since established when it came to leaving his prized stallion with Kerr. Hearing that Bluebell was demanding had the man chuckling for a moment even as he paused to gulp down a bit more of his potent cocktail. “Well she’s a brat to be sure; spoiled her with sugar cubes and fresh apples when we were on the road. Still if she gives you trouble just fed her a piece of bread soaked in whiskey. She loves the stuff, almost as much as I do.”
Renmont’s head nodded along when Kerr spoke about the show drawing a bigger crowd of late, yet when Hawkins mentioned that he hadn’t gotten to catch the full show the cowboy frowned for a second. Folks here worked hard, and the crew doubly so. So it made sense that Kerr had been too busy to kick back and watch the performances. For his part the modern cowboy tended to show up, perform, then slink off to go get hammered. Oh he showed up to practice every day, yet he knew he barely worked even half as much as Hawkins did. Not sure what to say the man drew the large bowie knife from its sheath on his belt, and proceeded to toss the sizable blade straight up high into the air. Not even bothering to look, or pay it any mind. Instead Charles just closed his eyes and brought the flask back up to his lips...only to reach out with his free hand and catch the knife by the handle as it came flying back down. Twice more he hurled it heavenward, eyes closed tightly, swallowing a few more gulps all while practically juggling the knife with seemingly inhuman ease.
At last though the flask was put away, and as the blade came back down the man took a half step forward; placing himself directly beneath that razor sharp weapon. Without missing a beat his head tilted upward, and as the knife came tumbling down to his face the cowboy opened his mouth and caught the blade in his teeth. With a wide grin his eyelids opened at last, and Renmont grabbed the bowie knife by the handle and sheathed it once more before turning his half glazed gaze back to Kerr. “That’s the new bit I added to the show. Just, well that while I’m on the back of Bluebell and blindfolded.” Charles couldn’t explain how he did it; how he could toss and catch that large knife a hundred times without ever even getting the faintest scratch, or without missing and dropping it. Earnestly Renmont always just figured he was lucky as hell. Sure the man had some sharp reflexes but really even the gunslinger knew he must possess the devil’s luck or something, since anyone else trying to do the same act likely would’ve ended up dead...or worse, ended up accidentally killing someone else. Yet with him there was no fear at all, since he always just seemed to know the exact moment to move or to act thanks to his gut.
Kerr applauded briefly with a small laugh. “Impressive.” She said, brushing Bluebell. “Definitely more daring than I could ever be.” She was a bit surprised that the horse was so calm during the act. Spoke her her training and temperament.
As she finished up with the brush she grabbed the reins and lead the horse to her stable. “Can you hand me the feed bag?” She asked, gesturing to a bag sitting on a table at the end of the small row of horse stalls. Kerr, meanwhile, worked to unhook the reins and bit from around the horses head.
— With a soft smile the cowboy offered a tip of his hat before shrugging at her remark about daring. “Honestly it ain’t all that impressive since I...well stuff like that just comes naturally to me. Same goes with shooting, poker, and darts. Always had a knack for things other folks would call daring. Don’t hurt none that I’m lucky as hell either.” Oh he knew that it was all dangerous; his act and hobbies should’ve put Charles in the grave a hundred times over by now. Yet he somehow breezed through life without getting a scratch. The only pain he dealt with was the skull splitting headaches that seemed to plague him for most of his life, and the drugs/drink offered some semblance of numbness for the agony. Sure it tended to leave him drifting through his days in a chemical cloud that addled his mind. Still it was a small price to pay to not feel like his head was going to crack open.
When she asked for the feed bag Renmont nodded and turned his gaze to where she had gestured. Taking a few steps to retrieve it and move back beside Kerr and Bluebell. “What about you? You always been one for handling animals and the like?” He had seen Hawkins around a lot, yet now that he thought about it Charles realized he knew so little about Kerr.
She strapped the bag to the horse, petting her gently. “Not really.” She replied with a small shrug. “Before this, well before jail- I worked in a factory. It was really just something so I could eat. But it wasn’t enough.” That’s how she ended up arrested. “I mean, there were strays on the street that were nice, but I’d never had a pet or anything. When Kristoph let me stay, I sort of worked all over until one day… I just sort of mainly was assigned to work with the animals.” Kerr shrugged again. “I just... sort of understand them better than people I suppose.” And they didn’t question anything about her.
An eyebrow arched slightly when Kerr mentioned jail, yet there was no look of concern or judgement either. Times were rough and the gunslinger wasn’t a stranger to waking up in a cell from time to time. Well at least not back before he joined the carnival. Sure that had more to do with being drunk, or having gotten into a scuffle with folks who thought Charles was cheating at poker. Still the cowboy wasn’t one to judge another. Hearing that she had never had a pet though was a bit surprising since Hawkins seemed to possess a natural talent for dealing with animals. With just a glance to Bluebell he could see how at ease his horse was with the handler, and that steed could be downright ornery more often than not with anyone who wasn’t Renmont. “Well I reckon we’re lucky to have you here. Ain’t seen Bluebell take to most others, so it’s fair to say that you’ve got a way with animals to be sure.” With a snort the large steed seemed to nod in agreement, though it was just as possible that the cowboy was seeing things since he could feel that drink of his already settling into his system. “If you ever feeling like losing some cash, you should swing by the mess tent at night and join in on the card game. Any friend of Bluebell is a friend of mine, so I’d be willing to save a seat at the table for you.”
Her criminal past wasn’t a complete secret. She tended to hide (or be hid) when the law visited the Carnival. Even though the warrant for her was a girl, not the boy she pretended to me- the risk was still there. “Oh, thanks.” Kerr brushed tucked some hair behind her ear as she had when it was longer. “Honestly though, I’ve never played cards before. I probably wouldn’t be very good.” She admitted.
-- Hearing that she had never played cards before caused that smile of his to return so brightly; eyes slightly glazed over thanks to the drugs, yet a sparkle of genuine amusement could be seen there too. “Well I reckon we will have to play for low stakes, and just ease you into the game. Poker ain’t hard to pick up by any means. Mostly we just play for the fun of it too, so you’ll do just fine.” Sure Charles tended to win more often than not, but he also had a tendency to pass out mid game...and lost his fair share of cash to the others. Which wasn’t really troubling to the gunslinger since the crew were the ones who tended to carry him back to his wagon at night more often than not.
Kerr considered it as she cleaned up the bit and bridle and put them away. “Maybe I will… at some point.” It wouldn’t be bad yea? Playing cards, making friends. She had to open herself up to people more. So used to people leaving her, and now, being found out. But the threat was states away, wasn’t it? No one here was looking to do her harm… so why did she keep putting people at arms length. “Do you have a regular game? Or is it just when people are together?”
-- For a moment the cowboy paused to lean against the wall; taking out a small bag of tobacco and his rolling papers. After rolling himself a fresh cigarette, and lighting up, Charles inhaled and slowly exhaled a puff of smoke before chiming in once more. “I tend to host a game every night or so. Though from time to time a few of us will just head into town and see what manner of trouble we can get into as well.” There was no set schedule when it came to his card games. Mostly Renmont just made his way over to the mess tent for dinner when he was sober enough to do so, and after the meal he’d bring out the deck of cards and others would soon join in.
She nodded. “I’ll have to keep my eyes open then.” Kerr moved over to one of the other two horses and got feed hooked up to them before she proceeded to brush one of them. Even though they weren’t performance horses she tried to pay attention to them as she got the feeling they might be jealous of Bluebell. “And not be late to dinner I suppose.” Which was something that happened frequently.
His smile grew for a moment as Charles nodded again, happy to hear that Kerr would consider swinging by their table some time. When Hawkins remarked about not being late for dinner though the man chuckled warmly before offering a slight shrug. “We don’t stand on ceremony or nothing, lad. Personally I tend to show up whenever I wake from my nap, and we usually end up playing till late as is. At least I reckon we do. More often than not I just wake up the next day back in my wagon, but the crew play long after I’ve called it a night.” Already he could feel that dull ache slowly forming within his head, like the first frost of a cold winter reaching out across his mind. With a little sigh the gunslinger took another drag from the cigarette before a slightly trembling hand quickly pulled from that silver flask once more. “Looks like it’s time for my midday sabbatical. Begging your pardon, but I should head back and try to catch a bit of shut eye for a spell.” Mostly the man just wished to drink in peace, to dull the pain that was undoubtedly just around the corner. Drink and pass out for a while before he would rise around dinner time once more. Tipping his hat to Kerr the cowboy slowly turned to leave, already taking a few gulps of the concoction within his flask before putting it away anew. “I hope to see you around, Kerr.”