Hell on Wheels
Bread and Circuses

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Tippi Blevins: B- | Grade It Now!
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Just Another Day at the Office

Later, Mickey leaves the saloon looking glum, only to find Sean sitting outside, as relaxed as can be and puffing on a cigar. "Why are you so glib?" Mickey asks. "We just lost everything." Sean gives a sad chuckle. "I bet it all on the darky. Thirty-to-one. We're rich, brother." He holds up a thick wad of cash. Instead of being relieved, Mickey is disgusted. He accuses his brother of cheating. "Was it liniment? A little pepper powder to the eyes?" Sean jumps up and hushes his brother before anyone can hear him. Mickey is devastated that Sean turned against their only friend. Sean holds up his ill-gotten gains. "This is my only friend." Mickey pushes past him. Maybe Sean will buy him a suit that doesn't look like a baby crapped all over it.

Cullen is still lying on the saloon floor, but now a chicken has joined him for some reason. He gives her a little shove away and she's like, "Man, you are weak." Now Lily comes in and sets a bucket down beside him. "Are you all right?" she asks, a bit amused. "Never better," he mumbles. As she walks away, he calls after her. "Did you enjoy the fight?" She smiles like she's almost laughing and says, "Very much!" Cullen dips his hand into the bucket and splashes onto his face what he was expecting to be water. Something isn't quite right, though. He tastes his fingers once, then twice. He laughs and winces at the pain. Is it urine? Corn likker? Something even more unimaginably horrible?

The next day at his post in the foreman's tent, Cullen hands out the long-awaited pay. Mr. Toole comes to the head of the line for his money and voices his disappointment in Cullen's crappy fighting skills. So Cullen punches him in the nuts and throws a bucket of human waste in his face. Or maybe he just gives him his pay. Next in line is Elam, who identifies himself as the walking boss for the freedmen cut crew. Cullen doesn't argue. He makes a note in his ledger and holds out a parcel of coins. Because he's still a jerk, he holds on and makes Elam pull for it. They glare at each other a bit before Elam finally walks off. Now, realistically speaking, given the levels of hatred after the fight, Elam wouldn't have survived the night, but he'll live long enough to eventually become friends with his enemy. Or until the show is canceled, whichever comes first.

Out on the plain, that young man is still hooked up to the tree. Goodness gracious, how long has he been out there? His father comes to him and wraps an animal hide around him. The wolf man cuts the lashes and the young man collapses. Many Horses catches him and lowers him to the ground. "You've done it, my son. The sacrifice is over." In a shaky voice, the young man describes the vision he had: "I've seen a great steel beast, its breath was smoke. It shook the ground. I killed it." The older men exchange serious looks. Now, somebody go get some salve for this guy's poor nipples.

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Hell on Wheels

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