Museum Games

The road to home was frightful
But the whiskey was quite delightful
Home we did not go
Let it snow, blowing snow, blowing snow.

His Nibs and I had a mini-versary last night when there were DIRE WARNINGS about the state of the highways around the city. It was all very Stephen King. “RCMP advise you to NOT LEAVE THE CITY. Travel is NOT SAFE IN ANY DIRECTION. NOT EVEN STRAIGHT UP. RCMP further advise you not to burrow under the city like so many moles.”

Okay, those last two sentences totally weren’t on the advisories, but they ought to have been.

We could have taken the roads. We could have crawled home at 50km/h, trying to see the lines on the road and doing our best not to slide off the highway or follow the arse end of the car in front of us into the ditch. But instead we chose to have dinner and stay in a lovely hotel and have a mini-versary. In other words, we took the road less travelled. And that made all the difference.

I woke up in a museum. It was a Western Development Museum type place, with the majority of the exhibits out-of-doors. I woke up in a cot in one of the pioneer-village buildings. Smarty Pants was there also; he was directing people outside on the wooden sidewalk that ran past the little window of the bedroom, down below, on street level. I looked outside into the late autumn sky, and then down at the wide dust-strewn street below and was surprised to see so many faces I knew.

As it turned out, Smarty Pants and I were running a game together. This was either the beginning of the game when people were just showing up, or it was the end of the game when people were slowly dispersing. I ran downstairs to join him, and grabbed two tin cups of steaming coffee from the bartender (played by Kovbasa, who hasn’t updated his blog in a REALLY long time).

Out on the boardwalk, Smarty Pants was leaning against the wall of the Inn, rather than sitting on the long wooden bench below the window. I wondered briefly how I’d seen him here, under the walk-out balcony from the Inn’s second floor, when I’d been looking through the window of a room that didn’t open on to the balcony, but the fact didn’t concern me overmuch, and I soon forgot about it. Smarty Pants, looking debonair in his jeans and striped cambric shirt, wore a leather vest with a Sheriff’s badge pinned to it, and a black Stetson pulled low over his eyes. He was directing traffic by waiting until someone made eye contact with him, then nodding in the direction he wanted them to go. It was amazing.

He took the tin cup of coffee and winced at his first sip. The coffee was hot. “What’s the score?” I asked him.

He nodded toward the smithy. “I’m sending most of them over there to get their equipment sorted out. The ones that are already kitted out, I’m telling to head on in to the tavern here. We’ll get their character sheets and whatnot to them all at once so we don’t have to repeat ourselves.”

I laughed.

“Right,” he said, and winced again as he sipped his coffee. “So we don’t have to repeat ourselves too much.”

Snoozy and her Chairooby were there, Snoozy in her green brocade polonaise and Chairooby in the getup he donned for their wedding (along with some seriously amazing mutton chops). The Geek who Cooks and Marxymark had also come, both in period-appropriate and very fetching costume. The Geek who Cooks (TGwC) wore a lovely white linen chemise, tightly corseted in red brocade, with a full-length red and black walking skirt, while Marxymark had on a bit of a pretentious smoking jacket (if you must know the truth) with ruffed collar and sleeves, a striped waistcoat and trousers, and he had his pipe, which highlighted HIS mutton-chops quite nicely.

…at which point I began to wonder if this was actually a LARP called Muttonchops: the Sexifying…

TUO and R:tAG were there, he in his steampunk tophat and home-made waistcoat and breeches, She in the burgundy …I think it was also a polonaise she’s made, but I don’t remember. Lovely, at any rate. TUO also had The Mechanical Hand and the Ostrich. MrGod2U had a starring role as the town’s mayor, and he was gathering people up in the tavern to hand out their character sheets and to briefly go over some of the background of the game in-character. Wade’s character owned the Inn, and he’d taken up the best table in the Tavern, with Vi on his knee (insert comment here about Wade’s amazing mutton-chops and Vi’s taffeta with the cinched waist and puff sleeves). Des and Miss Cee owned the general store, Des in a striped shirt with arm garters, and well-fit (although somewhat threadbare) trousers; and Miss Cee in a high-collared cotton shirtwaist patterend with tiny forget-me-nots, the colour of which matched the striping on her seven-panel skirt.

The Rook and G attended. The Rook, playing the Blacksmith (who had, although no one in town knew this but Smarty Pants, MrGod2U, and my own self, Arcane Knowledge) and G was the county judge. Mr. T played the bank manager, The Baron played the local chemist, and Miss Jocie was our teacher, who, bless her soul, also taught Sunday School at the church. Mr. David Gaider ran the local newspaper. My Android was the grain agent. Clark Ferlak was a preacher. Miss Cori was the estranged daughter of a Big City Businessman who’d cut off her allowance. Destitute and stuck in this boomtown, she’d been forced to marry a local rancher, played by Silent Winged Coyote. SWC, in turn, had been kidnapped as a child by the Indians in the area, and when he was returned to his family on the ranch by the dutiful Sheriff (a man who since went missing under mysterious circumstances), had lost the ability to speak.

Jordan and Cindy ran the whorehouse in Wade’s character’s Inn, Emmanuel ran the dry goods store, and Black Pope Marlon IV owned the hardware. Alan was the dentist and my Actor was the doctor.

As people assembled, I began to get more and more nervous. Then Smarty Pants looked at me and said, “You needn’t worry. I hear a duck.”

I said, “What?”

And then woke up. Because I’d set my phone’s alarm ring to “duck”.

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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