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Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

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Everything posted by Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

  1. Linn Keller 1-25-13 The grey-bearded old patriarch regarded Matthew's flint rifle with interest. The ramrod was broken, the fore end was broken most of a foot back from the poured pewter nose cap, and the octagon barrel had a visible upward bend. And a couple gouges on the corners of the octagon. He looked at the sky, well up above the mountain, remembering the sight of young Matthew, bloody and struggling, pinned under the dead grizzly. The rifle's muzzle was still in the dead bear's mouth. Matthew tore off his shirt and wiped as much blood from his face and chest as he could, then he half-hopped, half-wallowed his way down the mountain to a stream and washed himself, making sounds of disgust -- or perhaps distress, for the water was probably freezing cold, in spite of its rapid travel over rocks and down hill. Matthew was thawing out in front of the stove now, shivering under a draped-over blanket, a mug of tea gripped tightly in his shaking hands. The old man considered that this rifle must have a good amount of luck in it, and so he took his own rifle down from over the fire place and put Matthew's in its place, and there it hung for about three generations, until the cabin caught fire and the rifle was lost, but that was many years yet in the future. Sean was back among his Brigade, or at least in the firehouse: the Brigade saw the Cincinnati upstarts off and good riddance to his way of thinking: the damned Easterners with their puffed-up pride and their contempt for the West were a plague upon a man's patience, and when that damned Porter and his beloved Welshman got into it in the middle of the apparatus floor, instead of taking each by the back of his shirt and knocking their hard skulls together, Sean not only let them fight, he shouted encouragement to Llewellyn and even bet heavily on the man. He won, too, collecting happily from those damned Easterners, but he didn't take all they'd bet: they would need money enough to get home, and by that time Sean would have been willing to foot the bill himself just to get rid of them. He looked at the empty space in the middle of the bay and remembered the sight of the Welsh Irishman launching himself with a roar at the sneering Porter, and how the two hammered at one another, grappling, rolling on the floor, knees and elbows and fists all in play, and even as he re-lived the fight, he remembered the look on the Welshman's face as he spoke to Sean of the pretty young schoolteacher. "Dinna' be in such a hurry, lad," he murmured aloud, and the mares turned their heads at the sound of his voice: "she'll wait on ye, mark my word." The mares' ears swung about, then their heads, and Sean looked to the doorway, for he knew he was about to get company.
  2. Speaking of not being able to get several hours of your life back, and it's not even a spaghetti western: try Hateful 8. That movie was so bad I kept watching thinking it had to get better...
  3. My life really hasn't changed. We live out in the boonies on a cattle ranch. I spent the last two days fixing fence around our bull pasture, should be finished today after I install a rock jack that I built yesterday. Once that's done it's back to cutting firewood for the coming winter. Shooting I do outside my reloading room door...
  4. Nate did mine, but that was before I knew Boothill Bandit. Bandit would get my first vote, Nate second...
  5. I read a piece on Facebook (take that how you want) that was accredited to a dairy farmer who said that the milk processing facilities are geared mostly toward the school lunch sized milk cartons and with no schools in session it's taking a while to retool the processing lines to produce larger containers of milk. Consequently, the processors have a backlog of milk in storage so new milk gets tossed. Don't know if it's true or not...
  6. All of the above having been said, isn't it sacrilege to even mention 9mm and 1911 in the same sentence?
  7. Linn Keller 1-25-13 The Welsh Irishman found himself at once put at ease, and yet most uneasy: he listened to quiet voiced assessments of his character, his finances, his habits: he heard Sarah, seated beside him, holding his hand, observe that Dolly most frequently stopped beside him and not the others of the Brigade when they were in the Silver Jewel, because of all the good full-blooded firemen, he and he alone could be counted on not to run his hand up her leg, or pat her backside, or take other unseemly liberties with a mere dancing girl, and his words to her were consistently gentlemanly and courteous, without the lewd, lascivious and suggestive jests that were part and parcel of most addresses to women of her kind. The Sheriff spoke approvingly of the man's thrift and clean habits. Levi spoke to the man's investments and work habits. The Irishman soon felt as if he were a specimen under a microscope, being discussed in a lecture-hall full of analytical scientists. Levi and the Sheriff looked at one another; each had the look of a thoughtful man, and each looked suddenly shamefaced, and each laughed. They both looked at the Welsh Irishman, their faces reddening a little. "Llewellyn," the Sheriff said, " a father is forever planning and considering for his family. I fear I was about to speak to how and where you two shall live." Levi nodded, smiling a little, his own face feeling rather warm as he too admitted, "I had the same thoughts." "That is for the pair of you to work out." The Sheriff shifted in his chair, apparently uncomfortable. "A Daddy doesn't like to think he won't be providing and protecting anymore." His eyes were a little sad, his eyes went to Levi, who nodded: "I was never a father to Sarah, and ever since I found out that year ago and more that she was of my get, that has been my greatest regret." Sarah bit her bottom lip, hard, a tear running down her cheek, for this was the first time the Sheriff spoke to his feelings for her, at least in such a setting. "How soon do you two intend to jump the broom?" Bonnie pressed her lace-trimmed kerchief to her nose: her head was bowed and she was shaking her head slowly. Levi turned his head; alarmed, he laid a hand on Bonnie's back, between her shoulder blades, and she leaned her head into his shoulder, sobbing. Levi turned his chair and ran his arms around his wife: the Welsh Irishman, alarmed, looked at the Sheriff, then at Sarah. Sarah put a finger to her lips; the Sheriff raised his hand just enough to make a stand-fast, palm-down gesture; it took a few minutes, but Bonnie was finally able to get enough wind into her lungs to say something. "S - S - Sarah," she sobbed, "is m - m - my little girl." She looked up and if it were possible, the Welsh Irishman's face would have twisted itself into a question mark, for Bonnie was smiling, or trying to smile. "I'm so ..." Bonnie's face screwed up again -- "happy!" -- and she dropped her face into Levi's breast and sobbed again, and he held his wife and patted the back of her head like he was soothing a troubled child. Normal, the Sheriff lipped silently, pointing one finger at Bonnie and winking: the Welsh Irishman nodded, slowly, one time, wondering yet again if he would ever understand the female of the species. Sarah's hands tightened on the Welshman's arm and he looked at her and she looked at him and they both looked at Bonnie, for the woman raised up suddenly, took a long breath, pressed the kerchief to her eyes, blew her nose with a most unladylike honk, then stood. "Sarah," she said briskly, her voice nearly normal, "we need to talk. There are some things you need to know." Sarah rose and the two women swept out the door, chins in the air, for all the world two matrons on a mission. The door shut with a solid, woody sound and the three men looked at one another, for the atmosphere was the stillness that follows a tornado after its departure. The Sheriff stood, walked slowly around the end of his desk and leaned down: he opened the bottom drawer, took out three glasses and a bottle of something light-amber and not over 30 days old. "The Daine boys," he said, "gave me something ... they made this with honey in the batch instead of just grain. He said something about not having enough sprouts and damned if he's going to make that cheap corn likker." Bottle neck clinked against heavy glass as the man poured: he set the bottle on the desk, handed the Welshman and Levi each, then took his own. "Mr. Llewellyn," the Sheriff said, "I congratulate you, sir, for you will find Sarah to be a dedicated and loving wife, but I warn you, sir, provoke her not to anger, for she can fillet and gut you with a spoon, drive you into the ground like a fence post and kick your backside over the Texas moon, and faster than the human eye can follow, should you ever make her mad!" The three hoist their glasses; there was a triple-clink to ward off evil spirits, and the three downed their fiery salute. When they came up for air they decided the honey batch wasn't bad at all, so they tried another sampling, and that was good enough they put the bottle away: the Sheriff sat on the corner of the desk again and looked at his old friend. "Levi," he said, "which of us will walk her down the aisle?" Levi considered for a moment. "Sheriff," he said, "if I am any judge, I will have to hold Bonnie, for she will either fall apart, or she'll try to run screaming to yank her little girl to safety, or maybe she'll pass out." The Sheriff laughed. "I doubt that, Levi. She is a strong woman." "Don't I know it," Levi muttered, draining the last of his second glass. "We could toss coin." "No." Levi handed the Sheriff his empty glass. "Linn, I would be most honored if you would walk your daughter down the aisle." The Sheriff nodded slowly, set his own glass down on the desk, then rose and thrust out his hand, and Levi shook it. "Now, Mr. Llewellyn," the Sheriff said, "have we set a date?"
  8. Linn Keller 1-24-13 Matthew Daine held still, still as the log he sat behind. His rifle was thrust out over top of the log; he'd chosen his hide carefully, knowing a bear will return to a food source, knowing the bear that raided their hives would very likely be back. Matthew Daine sat with his stump thrust against the log; his back was against a stump, the rifle was in just the right position and he waited, silent, unmoving. He had his mouth down inside his coat, breathing into the coat to hide the steam of his breath; the extra warmth was welcome, for sitting still in the cold was a good way to catch a chill. He thought of the artificial legs he'd looked at in the Sears and Sawbuck catalog, as he called it, or the wish and want book as his Mama called it: none really satisfied him, so he went about making his own. The doc said his stump would shrink with time and he should wait until the stump was shrunk up before he made a socket, elsewise it would have to be tightened up or rebuilt entirely, and so Matthew waited -- not entirely patiently -- for his leg to finish healing and shrinking up. Matthew knew his brother was coming along shortly and his brother would lay ambush with him, for two rifles were better than one for taking down a big grizzly ... and any grizzly, he knew, was a big one, even if only a cub. Matthew heard something whisper-light behind him and smiled a little, for his brother was apparently trying to sneak up on him. Matthew's quick ear heard something else, the sound of something breathing ... something that wasn't his brother. Matthew threw himself flat on his back, shoved his flint rifle's octagon muzzle into the grizzly's open mouth and yanked the trigger. Daciana, in her exercise tights and brief skirt, stood spread legged, swinging the handled cannonball between her legs, and up in front of her to eye level: her rhythm was slow, measured; when the cast iron ball came to eye level, she released the big, cast handle and it rotated, once: she caressed it once with her finger tips before seizing the handle again, two-handed, swinging it down between her legs and under before bringing it back up again. She turned her head and smiled as the door opened, then closed: she was warm and warmed up, she'd been exercising most of the morning, going through her circus routine, working on the trapeze, tumbling, stretching herself with a combination of running dance and acrobatics: she like to begin and end with Russian kettlebells, and the one she was swinging now was her favorite to finish her morning's routine. Sarah skipped over to her and hugged her happily and Daciana hugged her back, laughing: they whispered to one another, their heads inclined a little, and Daciana gave a little squeak, her hands to her cheeks, and she jumped up and down on her toes, her eyes big and shining. The Welsh Irishman's eyes followed them, divining correctly that they were talking about him in some manner: Daciana and Sarah ran over to him and Sarah introduced them. "Mr. Llewellyn," Sarah said quietly, for it was hushed in the circus-tent-sized barn, "is one of our Irish Brigade. Daciana --" "Ve haff met," Daciana breathed, her eyes shining, her cheeks flushed: steam rose from her shoulders and her hair, and the Welsh Irishman half-bowed, taking her hand and raising her knuckles to his lips. Daciana, in spite of her short skirt, returned a formal, old-world curtsy. "What," Llewellyn asked curiously, "were you swinging?" "Ist kettlebell," Daciana laughed. "Komm, you try!" The Welsh Irishman found himself drawn by both hands across the sawdust covered floor to the abandoned cannonball: the ladies drew back, giggling, and the Welsh Irishman grabbed it with both hands, as Daciana had held it, and he found to his surprise it weighed considerably more than he'd anticipated. "Ist eighty pounds," Daciana explained. "I show." Daciana seized the tapered D-handle and backed up a step, swinging it easily, then flipping it up to eye level again and letting it make one revolution before catching it and swinging it down again. Later that day, the Sheriff hesitated before taking the Welsh Irishman's hand. "Let me show you something," he said quietly, releasing Llewellyn's punished paw and making a fist. "When we punch -- so -- the fist is up-and-down. We know this. If the knuckles are crosswise -- so -- the bones of the hand" -- his off forefinger sketched the carpals, brushing the back of his own hand -- "are easily broken. "There are better ways. Sarah?" Sarah and the Sheriff squared off in front of the fireman. "If Sarah punches my face" -- Sarah's closed fist moved, dead-slow, toward the Sheriff's cheek bone -- "she will hit bone and bone tends to break bone especially on a hard punch." He nodded to Sarah, who brought her arm back. "Now if she doesn't use a closed fist --" Sarah extended her blow again, but her hand was cocked back, landing the heel of her hand at full extension on the Sheriff's cheek, but dead slow, for illustration. "Strike with this part of your palm" -- the Sheriff held up his own hand, ran a forefinger in an oval around the heel of his hand -- "a hard strike will break a man's jaw, his nose. "Now for the collar bone" -- he made a fist -- "vertical down like this will do fine and it won't break the bones in your hand. "You don't want to bust up your knuckles as young as you are. Arthritis sets in and they hurt like hell." "I don't think I want to bust my knuckles any older," Llewellyn murmured, grinning, and the Sheriff laughed. "That is why God invented a war club," he agreed. "Have a set, you two, and tell me what's on your mind." Sarah settled with her usual feminine grace into a chair, settled herself onto polished, finished wood like the Queen on a velvet throne-cushion: Llewellyn remained standing as the Sheriff parked his backside on the corner of his desk. "Sheriff," Llewellyn said, considering how flowery he could make his words and abandoning the effort before it was begun, "I ask your advice." The Sheriff nodded, turned a hand palm-up: Go ahead. "I wish to pay court to your daughter Sarah," Llewellyn said, "and I intend to ... pursue her hand." "Pursue her hand." "Aye." "What about the rest of her?" Llewellyn turned and looked frankly at Sarah. "I'd like to pursue the rest of her as well." The Sheriff nodded. "You said something about asking my advice." "Aye." Llewellyn frowned, shifted his weight. "It is right and proper that I ask this of her father," he said, his accent becoming more prominent: "... and so what I ask you is this: "Do I ask this favor of yourself, or do I ask this of Levi Rosenthal, or of her mother?" The Sheriff considered for a moment, looking at Sarah, then looking at Llewellyn. The door opened; Levi and Bonnie stepped inside the Sheriff's office. "To answer your question," the Sheriff said. "Yes." Frederick picked up Deborgille and climbed the stairs. Behind them, the raucous sounds of the Silver Jewel faded and were forgotten, for each had eyes only for the other. Frederick did not set down his bride; he managed to unlock the door of the finest suite in the house, and open the door, and even pull the key from the lock: once inside, he carried his wife over to the bed, laid her gently down, then strode back to the door, shut it, turned the key in the lock and lay the key on the dresser. Deborgille bounced up off the bed, laughing, and ran over to Frederick, and Frederick caught her and spun her about, laughing with her.
  9. I think I'll just let what little hair I have left grow...
  10. She most definitely ain't hard to look at! And she plays that fiddle pretty dang good, too!
  11. I have a question for you, sir, and I hope that you don't take offense, as none is meant: does every one of your gun purchases have to solve a problem? Not trying to stir anything up, just curious... The above having been said, I love my Grendel. Mine has a 20 inch standard profile barrel which is laser beam accurate. Brass and loaded ammo are getting easier to find (except maybe now) and it's easy to load for and death on coyotes a long way out yonder. The Grendel has been used for deer, elk and other game with appropriate bullets. It is also considered to be an 800 yard steel target cartridge should one be so inclined. Regarding the 300 BLK: your lower will work fine. I have one that I built as an 8 1/2" pistol, and it's a kick in the pants to shoot. Brass can be made from .223 brass by the simple expedient of cutting down the length and running it through a 300 BLK sizing die. I've been using 110 grain Nosler poly-tipped bullets and H110 powder. If you decide to build one I can give you a list of parts suppliers so you can build it as cheaply as possible. I built mine this past winter and I think I have about $400 in it including a red dot sight. Hope this helps.
  12. Thanks for the referral, Blackwater, but I don't do what he's looking for. I am in the business of facilitating self-publishing; I don't have the means and resources to buy an author's manuscripts and publish and promote them. If self-publishing is something the OP would be interested in, I'd be happy to discuss it with him. Stay safe, y'all!
  13. Linn Keller 1-24-13 Mr. Llewellyn," Sarah murmured, "you're sweating." Mr. Llewellyn was experiencing a curious phenomenon men observe when something they've wanted, for a very long time, is finally tickling their fingertips. His mouth was dry, his hearing acute; the colors in Sarah's dress, her cheeks, her -- God help me, he thought, those eyes! -- he dare not look at her lips, for fear that he may feel ... improper ... "Look at me, Mr. Llewellyn," Sarah murmured, stopping: they were in the middle of the street, out in the middle of everyone-can-see-us, and Sarah took both the Welsh Irishman's hands and turned so she was facing him squarely. "Look at me." He did. "Are you a horseman, Mr. Llewellyn?" The fireman blinked, surprised. "I, why, no, not -- I don't ride -- our horses --" he looked toward the firehouse and Sarah knew his memory was seeing the matched mares that drew their steam machine. "Mr. Llewellyn," Sarah said, her mouth curling slightly in a smile, the smile of someone remembering a thing she liked, "there is no feeling like riding a spirited horse. When a horse leaps a tall fence or across a yawning chasm and you are saddled on that horse, there is nothing closer to flight on this earth." Sarah's eyes shone and Llewellyn knew he was seeing -- hearing -- a thing that she truly loved. "Unless I can get my saddle on an eagle the size of a draft horse, or perhaps a Chinese mine-dragon, that feels like true flight ... and it is one of the most exciting things I have ever known." Llewellyn saw a mischief, a merriment in her eyes and he had the same feeling he did as when a floor sagged beneath his feet in a fire structure and he knew the floor was about to collapse out from under him, for he was falling and falling hard and right into those gorgeous blue eyes, those shining eyes that made his chest feel tight and made his belly feel like it was soaring in a limitless sky just like that great scaly dragon she dreamed of riding. "Mr. Llewellyn, I have known great adventure. I have ridden the stallion of adventure and I have skated the thin ice of danger. I know what it is to die and I know what it is to live." Sarah laid a hand on the Irishman's bib front, and he could not help but look at her lips and feel her breath and he wanted to hold her to him and taste those lips and feel her warm and solid against him -- "Mr. Llewellyn, if you marry me it will be interesting." "Aye," he breathed. "Be very sure it's what you want," Sarah warned, and Llewellyn's arm slipped around the small of her back, holding her gently to him. "The Chinese have an ancient curse," Sarah whispered. " 'May you live in interesting times.' " Her eyes studied his face, studied him closely. "Interesting is not always what one expects." "There you are!" Jacob's shout broke their spell and Sarah turned to see her brother running toward them. "You're just in time! Get in here!" His hands were heavy, demanding, on each of their shoulders and he steered them toward the little whitewashed church. "The parson is inside and he's got his book all warmed up and you're just what we need!" Llewellyn's arm was still around Sarah as they were hustled into the Firelands church and up the aisle. Another couple stood there, before the Parson, and the Parson's wife sat at the piano, smiling. "We need a pair of witnesses," Jacob explained, "and you're just the ticket! I'd like you to meet friends of mine. Sarah, you may remember --" Sarah nodded, smiling. "I remember," she said. "And this is --" "Yes, I knew her sister." "They're getting married." Llewellyn saw that same mischief in Sarah's expression. "How long have you two known one another?" Sarah asked, and the couple looked at one another and laughed. "She walked into the line shack about two hours ago," was the reply, "and I knew when I saw her ..." "Two hours," the bride-to-be nodded in agreement. Llewellyn and Sarah looked at one another and shared an unspoken observation: They will say we were precipitous, that we were in too much a hurry. At least we knew each other more than two hours! The Parson opened his worn, familiar book. "Young man, you stand here on the right, just so. Face your bride. And remember to look at one another. You're -- no, look at her. She's better looking than me. Young lady, look at your husband, you're marrying him, not me." The couple laughed a little, dissipating the nervous tension that naturally builds at such moment. "Now." The Parson smiled a bit, for weddings were perhaps the favorite of the sky pilot's many duties in the community. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here for the happiest purpose for which family and friends can assemble, and that is to join two good friends in holy matrimony." Sarah looked up at Llewellyn, then she closed her eyes and leaned her head against him. He hugged his arm around her shoulders and lay his cheek -- the uninjured one -- down on top of her head.
  14. Linn Keller 1-23-13 "No one has ever said such a thing to me before, Mister Llewellyn," she said softly. "Thank you." Sarah's fingertips lingered on the man's cheek and she saw -- as if she were watching a performance from a box seat in the theater -- that her hand was trembling. She frowned a little. Her hand could throw a knife accurately and drive the sharpened steel through the ace of spades at eight paces. She could split a card edge wise at twenty feet, shooting with that same hand. That hand had caressed a frightened child's hair, wiped a skinned schoolboy's knee clean of dirt and blood, plucked a splinter, sewn and embroidered and disassembled a rifle for detail cleaning, and that hand saddled horses and washed little sisters' faces and tied ribbon bows, and that hand never, ever trembled. Never. Sarah swallowed, willing her hand to steady, and felt the tremors spread and spread fast, and beneath her skirt she felt her knees start to shiver. Part of her wanted to snatch at her skirts and run crying like a foolish girl. Part of her wanted to run up the stairs of her house and slam the bedroom door behind her and fling herself face down on her bed, sobbing. Part of her wanted to slap herself for being so utterly weak. "Mister Llewellyn," she whispered, for she did not trust her voice, then she hesitated and cleared her throat and whispered again, "Mister Llewellyn," and swallowed. Llewellyn felt her sway a little: alarmed, he ran his arm around her, and Sarah seized his free arm, her grip strong, tight: steadied, she bit her bottom lip, looked at the ground and then back up into the Welshman's eyes. "Mr. Llewellyn," she said, taking a deep breath, "I believe we need to speak to my father, and to my parents." Llewellyn grimaced, for Sarah's grip on his arm was right over a bruise, earned in his recent contest in the middle of the firehouse floor with that Cincinnati upstart Porter, but his grimace was for more than pain. He was kicking himself for the ring he kept under his pillow, on his bunk, back in the bunkroom, was still under his pillow and not in his pocket. In that moment he would have given a good percentage of his eternal soul to be able to go to one knee before her, and slip that ring on her hand, right there on the depot platform, in front of God Almighty and the whole damned Irish Brigade, who was staring at them and grinning and nodding, clapping one another on the shoulder and starting to shout as they always did. The Brigade turned and headed for the Silver Jewel. Llewellyn and Sarah turned the other way and descended the steps.
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