Interlude - Kentucky.   Posted by The Keeper.Group: 0
The Keeper
 GM, 187 posts
Mon 18 Jul 2016
at 16:37
Interlude - Kentucky
By the time Adler's Honda rolled into Bourbon County, the cloud cover had broken, large expanses of blue becoming visible as the dark clouds lightened to a pale gray, sunlight dappling the rolling country as the rainfall was reduced to small pockets, before disappearing entirely. As Adler steered onto Highway 62, farms began to dominate the landscape, tractors, cultivators, and farm trucks moving over the terrain; animals, especially horses, gathering in small clusters near fence lines. As she drives, Adler cannot help but notice the quiet that has settled over the car, the constant noise of Cincinnati far behind her.
Dash
 NPC, 20 posts
 Blaine Couch
Mon 18 Jul 2016
at 16:38
Interlude - Kentucky
Cleaned up and the recipient of fresh clothes and a haircut, Dash was almost difficult for Adler to recognize when she picked him up from the safe house that morning. Although cheerful and willing to talk, Adler notices that the man is frequently distracted by the passing landscape during the hour and a half drive. At one point, he finally admits, ĒSorry, Jane. I guess itís been so long since Iíve been out of the city, Iíd almost forgotten what the country looks like. It sure is beautiful out here.Ē

As the car passes through Millersburg, Adler can sense that Dash has more questions, but for the moment, he is content to keep them to himself. As the car exits the small town, entering the last stretch to Joel Adlerís farm, the detective catches Dash smiling at the sight of a trio of sorrel quarter horses trotting through a nearby field.
Jane Adler
 player, 420 posts
Tue 19 Jul 2016
at 06:26
Interlude - Kentucky
"I hope you like animals, or at least can tolerate them.  Joel will probably have you shoveling horse crap before the week is out."  She smiled to herself, slightly amused at the change in the homeless man.

Their morning had already been very productive.  After picking him up with breakfast in hand, they'd made the quick trip to Summit Behavioral Healthcare.  The look of surprise on Mets' face when he saw Dash had been priceless.  She'd brought Mets the candy she'd promised, but the trip was really to let the two old friends catch up.  She hung around while they talked about old times, enjoying their stories and the camaraderie the two shared.

The drive down had been peaceful.  She took the opportunity to draw more out of him, learning about his past and personality, though didn't mind the long periods of silence.  Driving through the country always relaxed her.  While she was still worried about leaving Greer to get into trouble without her, it was nice to leave the case behind for a bit.  She didn't even realize how much stress she'd been under until they'd crossed the river and were well into the Kentucky hills.  By the time they reached Millersburg, everything had melted away and she was focused on the present rather than the chaotic shitstorm she'd left behind.

A little past town, she slowed and turned right onto Vimont Lane (though street signs were scarce), just before a little mom and pop convenience store.  The road was paved, but hadn't been patched in a while.  The surface was bumpy and uneven, riddled with potholes and dips.  Jane slowed to a crawl and rolled down her window to enjoy the fresh, clean air.  The scents of the farm, of animals and fresh growing things, of corn, alfalfa, and hayseed, brought back so many memories.  Only a precious few were tinged with pain and sadness.

Pastures and tree-lined fences rolled past on either side, only occasionally broken by a mailbox and gravel drive.  They entered a small patch of wood that shaded the road as it sloped upward.  As they crested the next hill, a large farm spread out below.  It was nestled into the hills on the right that dipped down into green pastures to the left.  Most was fenced off, but there were a few wild areas, patches of forest, a pond, and dense thicket.

From their vantage, they could see several buildings on the property.  The main house was closest.  It was a modern-style log cabin, one and a half stories, with a wrap-around porch.  The tin roof was a deep forest green that blended naturally into the surroundings and sported several gable windows.  A paddock and barn were situated on the other side of the pasture.  Another structure, likely a workshop or shed, was just barely visible through the trees on the far side of the eastern pasture.

Jane was grinning by the time she parked the car at the main house.  "I think you'll like it here," she said to Dash.  Leaving her bags in the car, she got out and stretched.
Joel Adler
 NPC, 1 post
Tue 19 Jul 2016
at 06:27
Interlude - Kentucky
Almost as soon as they were out of the car, the screen door slammed and a young man appeared on the porch.  No more than thirty, he was tall, standing an inch or so over six feet, medium build, and square-jawed.  His close-cropped hair and stubble were brown, the same shade as Jane's hair.  As he stepped out into the sun, he slid on a weathered cowboy hat and ambled down the stairs to meet them.  If the property hadn't given away his profession, his tanned skin and clothing would have.  He looked the part of a typical cowhand in worn boots, dusty dungarees, and a checkered button-down shirt.  Deep lines formed around his eyes and mouth as he smiled, giving him a friendly, approachable demeanor.

"Janey!  You made it!"  Without further warning, he swept his sister into a bear hug, squeezing tightly as he swung her around.

Laughing when he finally put her down, Jane turned toward Dash and waved a hand.  "Dash, this is my brother, Joel Adler.  This is his place.  Joel, this is Blaine Couch, but most people just call him Dash."

"Nice to meet you,"
Joel said warmly, offering his hand.  It was clean, but roughly calloused, proof enough that he was a working man.  "And welcome to the ranch.  My sister said a lot of good things about you.  I'm hoping you like it here and stick around.  Heaven knows I need the help."

This message was last edited by the player at 07:20, Tue 19 July 2016.

Dash
 NPC, 21 posts
 Blaine Couch
Tue 19 Jul 2016
at 17:53
Interlude - Kentucky
Dash clasps Joel's hand readily, a smile that is immediately distinguishable as genuine, rather than polite, overtaking his features. Adler can perceive that Dash is experiencing a sense of acceptance and respect that he very likely never anticipated receiving again in his lifetime.

"I'm really...really happy to be here, Mr. Adler," he replies, "I appreciate you giving me a chance. You won't regret it, sir. I'll work hard for you, every single day."

He glances over at Adler, a mixture of emotions visible in his eyes. Adler recognizes that part of his reaction is based on the fact that she has brought him to a member of her own family for help. Returning his attention to Joel, Dash adds, "It sure is a beautiful place you have here, sir."
Joel Adler
 NPC, 2 posts
Wed 20 Jul 2016
at 00:33
Interlude - Kentucky
Joel gave his hand a firm shake.  "Thanks.  I've been working on it for the past few years, trying to get it up to snuff.  Our parents always raised and trained horses.  For riding, not racing.  I figured that once I got out of the service, that's what I'd end up doing, too.  It hard work, but it's honest and rewarding.  I hope you wont balk at shoveling horse crap."

Jane burst out laughing, eyes dancing to Dash.  "I should have placed a bet on how quickly that'd come up in conversation," she teased her brother.

"Well, we do!  Horses crap a lot." He grinned.  "So what'll it be, Dash?  You want a tour of the place first, or you want to rest a bit?  I have a meatloaf in the oven and taters on the stove, but they'll be a bit longer."

Jane looked at him dubiously.  "Mom's meatloaf recipe?"

"Hell, no!  Mine.  Well, really I got it from Lon, but don't tell him I stole it."

"Good.  I couldn't stomach another brick," she said with a chuckle.
Dash
 NPC, 22 posts
 Blaine Couch
Wed 20 Jul 2016
at 01:09
Interlude - Kentucky
Dash grins and laughs, clearly enjoying the siblings' banter. "I've got no objection to cleaning stables," he replies, "It doesn't bother me a bit."

Turning, he takes in the collection of buildings, pausing to admire the main house and the stretch of rolling pasture beyond it. Shifting his attention back to Joel, he says, "If it won't spoil dinner, I'd really like a chance to have a look around."
Joel Adler
 NPC, 3 posts
Wed 20 Jul 2016
at 03:58
Interlude - Kentucky
"Alright, then.  Let's go." He waved them around the side of the house where he'd parked his John Deere Gator utility vehicle.  It had seats for four and a small truck bed behind for hauling.  He climbed in to the driver's seat.  Jane took one of the seats in the back and waved Dash into the front.

Joel started off once they were all seated and pulled back onto the road, driving back the way they'd come.  After driving through the shady trees, he turned right at a narrow road that was sandwiched between two lush, green pastures.  In the distance to the left, a trio of dappled Appaloosas were grazing in the sun, tails swatting lazily as they moved.  The Gator rolled to a stop at the next turn and Joel pointed to the left.

"Over there's the barn and the feed silos.  We've got a small stable over there and tack shed next to the riding paddocks and a couple of arenas we use for training.  We keep the heavy equipment in the barn.  Lon can show you what's what in there later."  He turned right.  "Up here is the main stable.  We like to rotate the pastures to keep them well fed and give the grass a chance to grow.  Both of these are empty right now.  We still use them for riding when we're rotating."

He pointed off to the left as they drove.  "All that land past the fence is mine, too.  Keep going and you get to the river.  We're kind of penned in by it back here.  It tends to flood when the rains get heavy, so we don't use it for pasture.  It's good for hunting, though.  And far enough away from the horses that they don't get spooked.  We set up a temporary paddock sometimes and let the horses roam around down there when the grass gets too high, but you gotta watch them.  Some don't like the water.  Others flat out don't care.  They'll swim across just to get to the neighboring field."  He laughed.

"There's a large pasture back there that I rent out to the neighbors.  They're into cattle.  Got about thirty head back there right now.  One will get out occasionally, but they're easy enough to herd back in.  Here's the stable."  He pulled to a halt at the U-shaped building.  The stalls faced inward toward the center courtyard and had sliding doors with drop-down grates.  Two curious heads appeared, nickering in greeting.  Joel smirked.  "If you haven't ever been around horses, you'll soon find out that they all have their own personalities, but they are all inevitably greedy.  They love their treats."

Jane leaned forward, poking her head up front.  "You still have Sherlock?"

"I wish I didn't sometimes, but yea.  He's still as ornery, as ever.  Got him over in the eastern pasture."  He shook his head at Dash.  "Jane named that horse, by the way.  Can you guess why?  He only likes her, too.  He just tolerates the rest of us."

"Us private detectives gotta stick together," she laughed, sinking back into her seat.

Pulling out of the stableyard, he continued down the road toward the next curve.  Ahead, past the road, they could see two buildings.  "Here's the workshop.  Doesn't get much use, right now, but sometimes we need it for the occasional project.  Beside it is the cabin that you can stay in, if you want to put some work into fixing it up.  It's old.  I think it was the original house on the property and hasn't been renovated in a few decades.  But if you want to put the work into it, I'll buy you whatever materials you need.  Lon said he'd help us out, too.  It's not fit for living right now.  Too many leaks, bugs, and critters."

He stopped in front of the cabin and climbed out.  "Hey, Lonnie!  You in there?  Come out and meet the new guy!"

An older man, probably in his fifties, exited the cabin.  He was dressed similarly to Joel sans the hat and covered in sawdust and cobwebs.  Dusting himself off, he approached the trio and grinned.  "This the guy you suckered in to shoveling horse shit?"

Joel laughed.  "Yea, this is Blaine Couch.  Goes by Dash."

"Dash, huh?  I hope because you're so fast.  You're gonna need that speed the first time one of those damned cows get out over yonder."  He offered a large, meaty hand.  "Lionel Richards.  People call me Lon or Lonnie.  Nice t'meetcha."
Dash
 NPC, 23 posts
 Blaine Couch
Wed 20 Jul 2016
at 13:46
Interlude - Kentucky
Dash shakes Lonnie's hand with a smile. "Good to meet you too. Yeah, the nickname came from me being fast on my feet when the need came up." He shrugs. "I've never chased a cow before but there's a first time for everything."

He steps closer to the cabin, his eyes regarding it searchingly. Reaching out, he touches one of the exterior walls, his fingertips resting on it for a long moment. His eyes become briefly distant, a smile crossing his face, as though he is suddenly able to the see the cabin as it will be, rather than how it is.

Turning to Joel, he says, "You know, Mr. Adler, when I was welder, I lived in Cleveland. I did a lot of work downtown, especially in the warehouse district. I had a hand in restoring a number of old buildings, turning warehouses that had been there since the city started up into offices or apartments. I even worked in an old theater once. It was really rewarding, bringing those places back to life. Making them new again."

"I'd definitely like the chance to fix this cabin up."
He grins, glancing over at Lonnie. "But I'm sure I'll need all the help I can get."
Lionel Richards
 NPC, 2 posts
Thu 21 Jul 2016
at 05:16
Interlude - Kentucky
"Welding?  Well, that's something.  Come in and take a look at the workshop.  We got an acetylene torch, but don't use it much.  I'm shit at welding." He wave Dash to follow and led the way inside the workshop.

The interior was what one might expect.  One wall was covered from waist to ceiling in wooden shelves that held storage containers of nuts, bolts, nails, and miscellaneous hardware.  Another was covered with pegboard, hooks, and hanging tools.  Some were things that Dash would have seen during his time in construction.  Others were particular to horse ranching and leather working.  A workbench ran the length of three walls and one had the makings of one of Lonnie's projects, which looked to include some old school wood carving.  The floor was littered with sawdust and metal shavings from whatever Lonnie had been working on.  Part of the floor space was reserved for power tools -- table saw, drill press, band saw, planer, lathe.  A couple of tanks sat in the corner with other welding equipment and a bin of scrap metal, angle iron, and rebar.

"This is it.  Just mostly do various projects for the ran.  Repair work and the like.  Sometimes I get time to do something fun."    He glanced at Dash.  "You ever use woodworking tools before?"

This message was last updated by the player at 05:16, Thu 21 July 2016.

Dash
 NPC, 24 posts
 Blaine Couch
Thu 21 Jul 2016
at 04:27
Interlude - Kentucky
It was the scent that found him first, the warm smell of sawdust lingering in the air, mingled with the sharp, rich aroma of recently worked metal. Dash breathed it in and smiled, even as a hint of tears found their way to his eyes. Until just this moment, he hadn't realized how much he had missed working with his hands, taking raw materials and creating something new, something useful from them.

His eyes lingered on the tanks in the corner before they absorbed everything on the shelves, the workbench, and the floor. For an instant, he struggled to find his voice. "This is...this is a great shop you have here."

He turned to face Lonnie, shaking his head. "I know my way around carpentry tools, but most of what I've done is framing, mostly light frame construction, with a little bit of pole framing here and there. But nothing...honestly artistic, like building furniture."

He stepped back over to the workbench. "But I'd really like the chance to learn, if you've got the time to spare."
Lionel Richards
 NPC, 2 posts
Thu 21 Jul 2016
at 05:06
Interlude - Kentucky
"Sure! Hey, I'll teach you a bit of woodworking, if you teach me how to weld without it looking like a three year old did it."  He gave Dash a friendly clap on the shoulder, probably a bit harder than he intended, but he was a big man.  "You have no idea how much I need a helping hand.  It's easier with two. I mean, Joel does what he can, but he's mostly busy doing his impression of the horse whisperer."  Lonnie snickered.
Joel Adler
 NPC, 4 posts
Thu 21 Jul 2016
at 05:13
Interlude - Kentucky
"Hey!  That was a good movie!"  Joel said with a laugh.  "He's right, though.  I get tied up with the horses.  I get horse duty, Lonnie is busy with repairs and helps me when he can.  Kyle is our other worker.  He's fifteen.  Lots of energy.  Good for doing all those things that the old guys can do any more.  You'll get to meet him tomorrow.  He comes around before and after school to water and feed the horses.  In exchange, I let him stable his horse here and he can come ride whenever he wants."

"What's the name of his damned horse?"  He rubbed the back of his neck the way Jane often did when she was thinking.  Probably a family trait.  "I can never remember.  Something nerdy from one of those sci-fi shows I don't watch."
Jane Adler
 player, 421 posts
Thu 21 Jul 2016
at 05:16
Interlude - Kentucky
"He named his horse Gallopfrey," Jane provided.  She laughed at her brother's confused look.  "It's a play on a planet from Dr. Who.  I only know it because he made me watch the first season.  Well, the first season from the reboot.  I don't think I could handle sixties television." 

She looked at Dash.  "Well, Dash, think you can fit in here?  Try to make a go of it?  If this isn't your thing, well... I can always find you somewhere else to go.  It's your life.  I just want you to be happy with it."
Dash
 NPC, 25 posts
 Blaine Couch
Thu 21 Jul 2016
at 14:20
Interlude - Kentucky
Dash's gaze travels from Jane, to Joel, to Lionel, then back to Jane again. He smiles, a gleam of hope in his eyes that Adler hasn't seen previously,  "Yeah, I think I could make a run of it here," he says, "I'd really like to stay, if you guys will still have me. I'll shovel crap without a single complaint. This place is amazing."
Joel Adler
 NPC, 5 posts
Fri 22 Jul 2016
at 05:35
Interlude - Kentucky
"We'd love to have you," Joel assured him.  Lonnie nodded in agreement and gave Dash another solid clap on the shoulder.

Joel gestured to the door.  "Well, how about we go get some grub on.  I'm starving.  You're probably starving.  I know damned well that Jane could stuff her face on any occasion."  He laughingly ducked the mock swing she threw at him.  "Jane can show you your room while I throw some rolls in the oven.  I'd let her do it, but she could burn water."
Jane Adler
 player, 422 posts
Fri 22 Jul 2016
at 05:37
Interlude - Kentucky
"That was one time!" she protested.  She threw Lonnie a scowl when he laughed.  "Just for that, you're uninvited to dinner."
Lionel Richards
 NPC, 3 posts
Fri 22 Jul 2016
at 05:41
Interlude - Kentucky
"I have other plans, anyhow, lassie," Lon retorted.  "Maggie's making my favorite tonight -- fried chicken liver!  I'll be finishing up at the barn while you're eating dinner and heading home.  See you all tomorrow." He glanced at Dash.  "Good to meet you, Dash.  Hope you like it here.  Fair warning, I'm a huge pain in the ass."  He grinned and went outside.  They heard a motor start and his old Silverado pulled away, heading toward the barn and silos.
Joel Adler
 NPC, 6 posts
Fri 22 Jul 2016
at 05:46
Interlude - Kentucky
"Maggie is his daughter," he explained to Dash.  "He lost his wife a few years ago in a car accident.  Nearly lost Maggie, too.  She's lucky to be alive.  Didn't make it unscathed, though.  She's confined to a wheelchair, poor thing.  Paraplegic.  Still gets around, though, and does all his cooking and cleaning."  He frowned.  "She doesn't come around much, anymore, though.  She loved horses.  I think it hurts her not being able to ride one.  Lonnie's been working on a special saddle for her the past few months, but can't get the bracing quite right.  Maybe you could help him with that."

This message was last edited by the player at 05:48, Fri 22 July 2016.

Dash
 NPC, 26 posts
 Blaine Couch
Fri 22 Jul 2016
at 14:31
Interlude - Kentucky
Dash nods, his eyes traveling back to the assortment of tools and materials in the shop, his mind already conceiving of possible solutions to the problem. "I'd be proud to help him out. Between the two of us, I bet we could come up with something that works."

Glancing back at the open door of the shop, he asks Joel, "Would you mind if I paid the stables another visit before dinner? I won't take long, I promise."