Part 10: Fort Kearney
JULY 16th, 1848
For Cyrus there was no other option; he was simply going to plow through this river and keep going, family be damned. He was sick of having noone to talk to but his unfaithful wife, obnoxious daughter and... well, Cyrus Jr. was a good kid but every time he looked at him it reminded him of the worst day of his life in that doctor's office. And then there was that waffle incident he wasn't too fond of.
Anyway, he was looking forward to getting to Fort Kearney as fast as possible and hitting up a tavern. Surely there must be somewhere to get a drink amongst all the soldiers and travellers at the fort- it was a key connection point that married all the trails coming from the east, the northeast and the southeast. Fun fact: officially they wouldn't be on the real Oregon Trail until they had passed Kearney.
Sarah Jane was starting to sweat bullets and shouting to turn around as she realized the wagon was getting even faster, not slowing down. A shriek went up from the back of the wagon as the first yoke of oxen plunged into the river!
The wagon splashed up onto shore and kept on going. For the first time in a few days, Cyrus wore a smile- that was actually rather fun.
See, Sarah Jane, that wasn't so bad!
Sarah Jane said nothing as she lay catatonic in the fetal position. At least the shrieking didn't last long.
He looked over at his wife reassuringly, who was staring into her lap, wringing her hands. Even after all these years she was still a knockout and deep down Cyrus knew he loved her. They hadn't talked in days, but... he was almost ready to forgive and forget. On the trail they could making a new life for themselves and put the past behind them.
Susan. I've been thinking, when we make it out to Oregon, what color should we paint the house?
Sorry, dear? I was thinking too...
Picture it, from our new house everything we can see will be ours! You can finally start that garden you've been wanting to...
Cyrus Jr. isn't your son!
And Sarah Jane isn't your daughter! Oh God, Cyrus, I can't live with these lies any more! I can't!
You filthy whore! Where'd Baby come from, were you fucking the livestock?!
No, that one's yours.
Cyrus leapt from his seat again and kicked an ox who personally felt it didn't deserve any part of this. He was too distressed to even grab his gun this time; his vision had gone red in the burning white daylight. As he trudged off down a dusty path he could faintly hear Susan explaining things to the kids and he began to sob, big lonely-man tears. He really shouldn't be so surprised. The boy was black for crying out loud (which Cyrus was in fact doing now), and Sarah Jane was born only a few months after they had met. It was naive of him to be so shocked about all of this. It's just that... Susan was the only women he knew who wasn't absolutely hideous; the rest of those frontier crones... he shuddered. He so desperately wanted it to work that maybe he had fooled himself into ignoring what was really going on. In truth, he was no better than the rest of his "family". Somehow the thought actually made him feel a little better. Suddenly very tired, Cyrus plopped down on a dusty patch of dirt.
A few feet to his right, he noticed an unusual stone, propped up on it's side like someone had planted it there. He felt compelled to investigate the oddity, sitting out in the sun a few hundred feet away from the main trail. It was a small gravestone that had clearly been erected in a hurry. Some hastily chiselled words adorned the front.
Poor "andy", didn't even deserve a capital letter. This was probably a child's grave, maybe the kid got bit by a rattlesnake or something. Cyrus briefly pondered the signifigance of the rest of the epitaph. He shrugged and murmured to noone in particular.
I guess peperony and chease are bad for you.
Oddly enough, the child's grave had snapped him out of his temporary stupor and now he trudged his way back to the wagon, eager to get to Fort Kearney and its blessed, blessed alcohol. Not surprisingly, conversation aboard the Good Wagon Hopeless was nonexistent. Luckily, the rest of the trip was uneventful.
At the first possible opportunity, Cyrus hopped from the wagon and made a beeline for a tavern before the oxen had even stopped moving. Who gives a crap what the rest of them were gonna do, not Cyrus, that's for damn sure. He'd find them later; it wasn't a huge camp and he was holding all the cash. They would leave when he was good and hammered... er, ready. Maybe even a few days rest were in order. The tavern wasn't hard to track down and Cyrus eagerly saddled up to the bar where a mustached fatty with a shit-eating grin was pouring drinks.
"What's your poison, stranger?"
One of everything and keep em coming.
The bartender gave him a hearty chuckle and a slap on the shoulder.
No, seriously. I have lots of money.
Night started to set in and Cyrus was pretty sloshed. Soldiers had begun to trickle into the bar as their shifts ended. The two beside him were engaged in a banal conversation, though part of their discussion caused Cyrus' ears to perk up.
In his current state, Cyrus' judgment was not so hot.
Yeah, so what, you skinny son of a bitch? Maybe some people can't haaaul a thousand... of pounds of meat because their family is a bunch of fuggin assholes! You ever thought of thaaat?! And then some filthy mud-fugger is just gunna up and steal it, sure as a hot shit! Can you believe it?!
He promtly passed out on the bar.
Alright, there's nothing to ford around here, which is unfortunate, but we do have a decision to make! The majority of this LP has been written from the perspective of Cyrus, a poor, deluded bastard who married a trophy wife and suffered the consequences. You may think that the rest of these characters are horrible, one-dimensional failures, but that's not true! They're actually horrible, two-dimensional failures! We simply haven't had a chance to get to know them yet. In all likelihood, Cyrus will be incapacitated for the next update and someone is going to have to take over.
Who should we focus on next?
Here's a primer, in case you missed the introductions:
Susan is the unfaithful wife of Cyrus who lives in a world of guilt and lack of self-control. But why does she act out like this? And where did all these kids come from?
Sarah Jane is the eldest daughter, a whiny brat who is petrified of running water. What happened in her past to make her so terrified? What was the deal with her friends and suitor back in Boston?
Cyrus Jr. aka Waffles is Cyrus' illegitimate son. Though he seems to love his father dearly, Cyrus Sr. constantly dismisses him as the biggest failure in his own life. Can he win his father's affection? What is this mysterious waffle incident that keeps coming up?
Baby is not an option, seeing as how its birth defect left it without sensory perception. If you choose Baby you will be violently ignored.
The first person to identify the real-life woman being used as Susan's character portrait gets to decide who we focus on next. It could be a little tricky, so I'm giving each of you a chance to ask one question about the mystery person and I'll endeavor to answer in a timely fashion.
Abe Frohman posted:
Karen Grassle aka Caroline Ingles of Little house on the prairie. Thanks IMDB!
Wow. You can't really credit IMDB for recognizing her so quickly. Care to explain yourself?
Also, you win! Who are we doing next?
Abe Frohman posted:
Actually, I just recognized her from the show. When I was a kid we only had 2 channels and LHOTP was on 23 times a day. Needless to say there wasn't much of a choice in the matter of what to watch.
I say we continue with Waffles, that's probably still the popular vote.