Monday, December 8, 2014

GOSPEL SHARKS AND JIMJAMS

It was about August  when I first seen signs of things changin’ in Judas Gulch. About that time was the first appearance of our very own Gospel Shark, Luther Brown. This man was like a travelin’ salesman of the One True Gospel, makin’ his way up an’ down the Consumniss and Mowkalummee, the American an’ the Towollomee, makin an ass of himself, but bringin’ the word of the one true god to us tough customers.
Some of us, of course, were a bit partial to some good Sundy talk, but most of us perferred our Sundys to git stuff done was no other time fer in the week, like laundry, er settin’ up the grub fer the week ahead, er, if they wuz like Jamjob, runnin' off a few jugs. Ain’t no way you could git a quorum of mens from any compnee to go hear no gospel shark, but this particklar one set hisself up outside Ollarud’s on Main Street, and I guess weren’t no way nobody in town could avoid havin’ to face that as they went in ta git thar uszhul pizen.
 I was amongst these, that day, who was pleasantly strolling the street, on my way to the Peter Eye, when I sees the crowd gathered around this particklar gospel shark an his wagon. He’s got har like Henry Clay— that is, sideboard and all haywire, an’ he’s wearin' good cloth cut well and straight like drainpipes, an’ hes got hisself a fancy tie, and coat, and durn if it weren’t near ninety nine degrees thar in the hot sun, an’ this man ain’t even fit to shake a wet dog end at.
Anyway. He begins his leckcher I suppose it were on Sodom and Gummora. How vishusly evil men like Ollarud is, to lay sech temptations before fools such as us, and we sech fools as to fall fer the bait, ever time. I culda said a few words to him about how good it was we had a Ollarud  at all har in Judas Gulch. But I set back and lissened.

Itinerant preachers were a dime a dozen in the rollicking and roustabout shantytowns of the Gold Country. Having heard there was gold to be had, and knowing that along with gold, comes greed, the scourge of all devout men’s minds and hearts, the preachers came West in order to find more sheep to bring to the fold. Whether or not there would be much incentive to listen, actually, the preachers took no heed. Because, those with souls to save are never well concerned with whether heed is truly paid, the more important thing is the preaching itself—that these ears might hear and know of the threat of damnation, that was the first point.
Many varieties there were, and most comprised of the Protestant variety, and within that, many varieties themselves. Perhaps the strangest of these were the Mormon variation.
Not content with having taken a large portion of Eastern Nevada as their Goshen, a number of Mormon missionaries joined the fervent rush West to claim the souls of the gold-minded. And also, earn a bit of gold along the way themselves, for the Lord doth help who help themselves. Helping themselves to the Lord’s bounty was indeed the prime goal of most whites breaking the land and peoples of the West. The pure prairie lands rich with grasses and deep top soils generations nourished by the trains of buffalo and tilled by the numerous prairie dog ground squirrels, would eventually be cordoned off, filled with sheep, cattle corn and wheat, and the great seas of tall grass bisected by the iron horse. Men like Stanford and Morgan would make their fortunes skimming from the top of the heap. The railroads would change everything, though in Pat’s day, this was all only the beginning. But never you mind that. In Pat’s time it was a battle for the heathen’s soul and the battle for the lustful, god forsaking miner’s souls, that drew men like Luther Brown.

On the side of the Gospel Shark’s wagon was painted a holy cross and thar were a notion cupboard beneath the buckboard he offin pulled out to make a point, or perhaps, maybe he’d take a pull off one o’ them bottles.  Then he’d have the curij ta git up an’ prattle.
“You men of Judas Gulch,” he began, “You who are long for the home and safety of the pure love of the Holy Ghost! Hear me, you lost sheep of the mighty nation of God! I Luther Brown have come to heal your sore sorry souls and give you a home in the Rock! Yes, for He who is the light and life of the world has given unto me the key to the kingdom, and I call all who wish to come aboard, give up your wicked ways!”
The sound of this man railing away thar in the center of Main Street was such a notion and novelty thet soon he had everone what was around if not on the street then lookin’ out thar windows ta him. And he held up his Bible in his right hand as he took a nip off whatever thet pizen wuz in his notional rostrum and proceeded to set us all straight as to our wicked sins.
“You have been far from the goodwife of the Savior, you have nestled in the breast of wicked licentiousness and cruel ignorance of the gentle beating, bleating heart of the Lamb of God. For Jesus knows your hearts dear miners! He knows how you lust to be rich and make of thyselves an oasis upon the earth— the Earth that the Devil rules, not God! Yes, this wicked Earth which is not thy true home, it but a dream in your mind’s eye to confuse you. God has made a paradise but you and all those around you partake of misery and greed! You chop the land to pieces looking for smaller and even smaller pieces of land— your pathetic little specks of gold! How many of you know how small and seemingly worthless your soul truly is to the Great Deceiver, the one who tells you those lies in your dreams, and gives you all those dreams of wanton lust and lording over your fellow men? How many of you ever ask yourselves “Why am I here an’ why am I doing this?”
A voice sparked up, and et were Jamjob’s.
“I’m here to make a pile and move along! Eff you hed eny sense you would gitcher self gone too, Gospel Shark!”
And Jamjob punctoowated his words with a shot of his cap and ball, someplace off toward the forst and river.
Thet did not dissuade Luther Brown none, however.
“I hear your voice, lost in the wilderness! You wish only to have enough gold that you should not lack for anything. But how long does your gold ever last, truly? Your gold is spent on the first trip to the big city, or the first trip to the whorehouse, or the wiskyman’s barroom, or the gambler’s table! You never think of those who might have wished you “stay here with us, at home, dear loves, we your daughters, wives, and mothers! You have forsaken us and our ways for the outlaw mercenary lives of freebooters” Admit it! You have given the good graciousness of your mothers and wives for the hard, lustful, murderous road of sin!”
“Works fer me!” yelled Jamjob.
“I tell you your soul is in mortal danger,” went on Luther Brown, looking down at Jamjob with a spittle of contempt dripping from his chin hairs.
“Your souls are in mortal danger for you fly from the Comforter to the arms of the Tempter! Of course, he would have you! He would give you the easy way out, yes, he would give you ten sacks full of it, if he could but keep a lease upon it! And where will you be then lost sheep? You will be torn to shreds by his minions, that wait for you with pincers of hot iron, coals of white sulphur, to rip you seamways from your fundament to your wicked mouths, filling the interim with the ever-burning brimstones of hell, for you hear not what I say, you hear not your kind and gentle Savior’s message, and you hear only the wicked voices of your guilty consciences...”
“What’s in it fer us?” Jamjob agin.
“What’s in it for you? Why my poor soul, the very gates of Paradise and forgiveness, the rest and merciful comforts of those forsaken souls you left behind in Boston, your wives, mothers, and daughters! Civilization indeed, you scoundrels, you forsakers of the good!”
“Seems like we were gittin along OK without you ‘til you showed up, Luther Brown!”
Jamjob had gathered a small group of other men who were in apparent total agreement.
“Do you wish a blanket of tar and feathers, then, Luther Brown? For I have a posse here that can oblige ye!”
Luther Brown took a look at the gathering crowd, and weighed his odds. He climed down from the buckboard, stowed away his patent medicine, laid his Bible sadly to rest beside his hat, and stirred his horses. The sight of the buckboard drivin’ off down the main street gave Jamjob and the others a real reason ta cheer. Then we all went inta Ollaruds temple of sin and celebrated our victry.

Now MacDavish come by my cabin one Sundy night ta tell me a very strange story he had about Luther Brown. This wood have been about a week er two after he first showed up, an’ Jamjob an’ his crowd runned him off. Well, MacDavish shore had a story for me.
Et seems thet jes that mornin’ he had picked up his sack o’ dust and set off ta visit Millie, you know, Ollarud’s purty little waiter girl? Well Millicent is an entrepid nurial woman, fer shore, an’ MacDavish has been quite in the habit of makin’ her compnee on Sundys the best he can.
An’ this day, you see, he trucked himself all duded up down t’ Ollaruds, had himself a Fire Eye with Soda at the bar, and then went up ta Milie’s room ta see her since she wern’t noplace in the bar as uszhul.
And he went up ta Millie's door an’ knocketed, but thar warn’t no ansir. And he pressed his ear aginst the door and shore enuf he heard thar were some ackshun going on in thar, the kind you don’t tell yer mama about. He felt rather impinged upon and so took it to himself ta knock.
Thar wuz no ansir so he pounded some. Then thar wuz a big noise like some discommodious persons was wakin up to the fack thar wuz someone, in fack, at the door, and he heard Millie complainin’ in her wheezy voice, “Whose thar!?”
“Why it’s me, Jim MacDavish, Millie! I come to take yer compnee as uszhul fae the aftairnoon.”
“Not now Jim, I’se busy!”
“Yep, I betchoo you ez,” he ansirs.
Then the door bust open and dang if he did not see old Luther Brown, a gatherin’ up his duds, and hastily rushing up his spenders and them garterbelts on his socksa’ flappin’ and holdin’ his shoes in his hands, old Luther Brown come bustin outta thar and heads off down the hallways.
“Heh! Eyenchoo thet Gospel Shark, thet new man?”
“I reckon he’s shore a new man alright” says Millicent. “I guess I gots me the scars ta prove it too.”
“Why, what did he do ter ye, Millie?”
“What did he do? What, my didn’t he try ta do! Thet man is sick! So unnatcherl. I cannot repeat it, James.”
She wuz speckin’ her face with a hankerchif and sose we ought not say much about thet. One kin only imajin the hopped up thangs thet Gospel Sharks have lurkin’ in there hard prudenchul harts. But she calmed down, and once he had her up on her feet, MacDavish take her down to th’ bar an’ buys her her own Fire Eye and Soda.
“Much obliged, dear James. You are a true gennulman.”
MacDavish an’ Millie set thar at the bar an’ drank about four of them apiece, and then he squires her back ta her room where I spoze she gives him the real personul bizness agin. But now the word is out about old Luther Brown.
Some of the boys what wuz thar with Jamjob thet first day sez, we orter organize in a posse agin, an’ go find old Luther Brown an’ show him whut is whut fer. Nobody degrades our Milicent Vermouth, now, ya hear?
But MacDavish sez he would not hear none of this cuz thet Gospel Shark’s soul is now tainted meat an’ thar aint no tainted meat a man like thet kin ever ketch agin, outta the goodness of God, once he hez fallen thus lowly.
I greed with him and he set hisself own at my farplace an’ we cooked areselves a good batch of taters an’ cabbij an’ I slopped it over with some good chicken gravy, and MacDavish broke out his own wisky flask so we drank a few shots to Millie’s health as well.

Now I gots to tell ye about how things came to crackers an’ crums with the Compnee.I spoze ets partly me an’ Transom to blame, but eff that’s true then it ain't no less Suthrun and Jamjob’s fault too. Come to the idear of Californee becoming a genyoowine state. Should Californee be a Free Soyl state, or  Slavery state? Well I reckon I guess you know already how them two boys was feelin’ like votin’ on this, but the real choice weren’t up to them, it were in the State govermint and DeeCee. You had old Henry Clay back thar making the big Pacification out of things, makin’ one half a’ Misery one way, Half a’ Kansas an’ Nebraska the nex, yew had Arkansaw ‘bout to jump heat with them old boys about catchin’ all the slaves they could, you had the Dread Scott decision, war these runaway slaves was had to be sent back inta chains.
Thar was a man a bit like our town’s ol’ Gospel Shark, but more refined, Uneeversultarian minister name of Thomas Starr King. He wuz the voice of human kindness personified, he was. I wuz up in Hangtown one time afore the Statehood came about. I readed some magnificent splenderous pamphlet Mr. King wrote all about the Slavery was a human crime an’ about how wicked this were, keepin’ men fer no wages to work like them was animules.
Suthrun and Jamjob was of a differnt pinion.
“Hell, them are animules,” Suthrun reckoned. “All of them darkies- you call em- Niggers, Chinks, Injuns, Chillymen, Kanakas— ever body was ever born was not a good standing upright white man is by God a son of Cain, and has been curset worse than Adam, to work the fields like a jackass.”
“I seen jackasses do better than some Chinamens,”sez Jamjob.
Jamjob flecked a gob of spit out with his toothpick, and scratched at some slows under the rolled up sleeve of his flannels.
This particular conversation was also overheared by Nicletto. Nicletto, bein' Eyetalian, and bein’ one of the quiet men around the Long Tom most days anyhow, he wanted to know if he were considered a white man, too, or somethin’ Else. I guess half a summer sweatin’ and sunburned under the hot Judas Gulch sun had turned him a fair shade of olive awl.
Jamjob sat back and took a few sniffs, steppin’ round Nicletto like a dog tryin’ t’ figger a sage hen’s nest, and he laughs, an’ says “Well, I reckon you can be an honorary white man, Nicletto, but you smell shore like a garlic patch, an’ your baird needs a decent shave. Hawhaw!”
Nicletto he did not take none too good to that.
“Honorary white man? Transome, MacDavish, Maclokenahee, you hears this? Honorary  white man, he-a calls me! Why a son of a son of a son of Rome, eff I hain’ta no white man, you’re a sack o’ shit!”
And no sooner were it said, than Nicletto has Jamjob by the ear and JamJob is doin his durndest to try an’ reach fer his own pistol, like to put a ball right in Nicletto’s head, but MacDavish come up from behind and trips and flips him over, Nicletto he runs back to his cabin like to maybe git his own gun, er somethin, and Suthrun starts abackin off.
“Now I mean to say this, Mister Suthrun,” goes on MacDavish. “You hold to the idear that a person of colored skin is somehow an animule, do you?”
“I does,” says Suthrun.
“I says you gives the animules a bad name yourself! Why if blood ain’t red an’ brains ain’t grey ever man is the same beneath that skin! God gave us all skin to match our ‘vironments. Injun had Merica, and Merica, was made far th’ red man. Black man wuz made far Aferca, an’ yellow Man was made far Canton! Each of us is leven’ on stolen ground! Stolen!”
“Now jessaminit,” says Suthrun, who can see Nicletto now coming fast back from his cabin, only he ain’t got no gun, but he do have his minin’ pick, and he looks purty steamed up.
“Jessaminit. I did not steal this ground I work on! I boughts it, jes’ like you done, an’ all of us hear, from Mr. Fremont an’ Mr. Sutter. This whole area up an down the San Wockeen done been bought an’ paid fer from the Spanish. An’ Merica won it all from ‘em anyhow en the furst place. So don’t tell me...”
“Mister Suthrun, I urge you to be calm. Here comes Mister Nicletto, and I suggest you make some peace with him. Our enterprise is more important than our differences of mind as to free state or slave state. It’s one great sate, it’s great, an’ we will all be free, goddamnit!
Jamjob had gone for his Fugitive Justice jug, and was slobbering from a large gulp, presumably he had recourse there because if it came to a fight with Nicletto, his courage mght be fiercer summoned.
Then Nicletto returns.
“Well what is it to be’s then, my friends-a? Does Mester Suthrun and Mester Jamjob wish-a to have tooth a-picked? I shall oblige...”
It must have been the will of a angel or somethin’ just then cause right then, it was, Jamjob  his eyes rolled up inna his haid, and he flip on the ground like a grillin sardine, an’ his arms an’ legs is flailin an’ kickin, an’ he’s yellin, “they’re here! they’re here!”
“Who’s here?” says the five of us, now we are lookin down on him and he is wild eyed, crazy, tremblin’ and shiverin’.
“The valkeerees! Odin, Thor, Loki, Balderdash, Roncillus, Regulus, woe!”
We all looked at each other. We new fer sartin wut it wuz. Jamjob had the jimjams!
“Somebody take that there jug awee fa’ him. He ain’t no good far a fight. Ye gae, Suthrun, ye come back tomarra.” said MacDavish. It semed for the moment, leadership of our company were now up to him. Ets times lak thet I swear I loves havin’ a Scotsman fightin’ on my side.
Meanwhiles, Jamjob’s jimjams had not really petered out yet. He still stared, slack jawed, lak a pitcher I seen one time of the old King a Babylon, Nebbookednezzer. Wild and haunted, he starred up at somethin beyond a bility o’ any of us to comprehend, but it were clear he were in fear and trembling.
Eff I did not believe in angels I might say he were not only jimjamming but he were a ver’table prisner of these outworldly riders in his magination.
But then he came to. He snapped. It were almost like he were a balloon thet popped an’ come trailin' back down t’ earth. Soon Jamjob were semi-normal, and me, Suthrun, Transom and MacDavish, we all picked him up by the all fours an’ carried him back to Suthrun’s cabin.
MacDavish capped off the still, and the jug of Justice was laid back to rest beneath the cupboard, and we left Suthrun thar settin on his own bed, washin’ Jamjob’s head with a cold wet rag.
“Ferocious ones, eh, Jammy?”
“Boy, you should have been there.”
“I was, Jammy, I was. and you know what I thinks?”
“What?”
“I thinks you need to leave Missus Likkers alone for a while.”
Jamjob, fer once, contented hisself to the voice of a better man’s reason, nodded his head, and they both set there lying in their stew, as the rest of us all got finished cleanin’ the sluice for the night, and took the pans down to MacDavish’s place to dry out the color. It jes were one of them days!

from Fistfight at Judas Gulch, to be released in early 2015 at Smashwords.Com

Friday, November 28, 2014

TENDERFEET BEWARE!

Sunday morning. The air rings with the sharp rasps of bluejays, flutters with the song of the mockingbirds, and echoes in the creekbeds with the chorkle of frogs. With the sun not yet over the edge of the eastern divide, but the air yet glowing rose and cyan in expectation of the bright return of Sol to the shadowed glades, Sardo Pat is fixing his flapjacks on a iron skillet, whistling a merry tune, harmonizing with an interior ledger line a half forgotten melody. A pot of already hot coffee sits beside the fire, and on the hearth has been set his tin cup, full of  a rich full-bodied blend of mountain grown beans.
One cabin away, just a matter of some yards as the crow stumbles, is the cabin of Transom. Transom sits in its doorway, now starting to squint as the first rays break across the granite line of hilltop. In his hands is a letter he hs just received, but immediately, he wished he hadn’t. Actually this is the fifth time he has read this letter in the last two days, but even so, he can’t quite come to comprehend the message it bears. It is a nervous and uncertain Transom who finally rises, stuffs the letter into a tin biscuit can with his other important papers, and seeks out a needle and thread. There is a shirt he loves and it’s got a dastardly rip in it which needs mending. May as well mend that, if he can’t mend anything else in this life.
Two cabins over is the humble abode of Suthrun and Jamjob. Jamjob is working on his “special project”, which is a new, homemade, batch of Fugitive Justice, ninety-five proof. After tiring of spending half a fortune with Ollarud (and losing the other half in supplying the larder) he has rigged up a contraption with copper vats and spiraling coils of tubing, and is busy applying a pestle to his “special mix” of grits, rye grains, and peach peelings. By the time the viscous liquid has spun its way through the tubing and released itself into the waiting ironstone jug that sits, mouth wide, waiting for the honey, and once that jug has filled, he will have settled his bet with Suthrun and they will have a shot or two each of this Mountain Distillation themselves.
Nicletto has taken his dirty clothing— and by now he has a great pile of it— over to the river to wash it. He will wheelbarrow it back, and hang it from a rope he has stretched between a pondersosa and a sugar pine. He will have it all up before it’s even hit the hour of eight, for it will take a good day for the thick heavy cotton and wool garments to evaporate away the river from them.
MacDavish has decided that today will be his day to court— if that be the term we might politely use? Miss Millicent Vermouth Tabener. He will court with a sack of gold scales marked with “$200” on the side- a fair bargain for the presence of Milly’s attentions, which tomorrow, of course, she will offer to the next high roller. It won’t happen to be MacDavish. While he’s in town to see Milly of course, before he makes that choice of recreation, he will stop at Teasewater’s store, buy whatever is the latest Eastern newpaper is available, he will take his breakfast at Ollarud’s, tip Ling Lu for washing and mending his clothing, and stroll down the main street twirling his crystal-topped cane. With a diamond pin in his boutonierre and his collar crisp, stiff, and knotted with a two-inch tie falling at either side like the droop of his moustache, he will see about this matter of a gentleman’s elief with the lady of the town.
On the Spanish side of town, there are groups of men putting bets on a table marked out for faro, a croupier with a missing ear counting out the cards, and a teller calling them from a table covered with a blue velvet cloth. The men who have stakes wait, hands at the table, eyes on their picks, and the men who don’t stand back behind them, sniggering as to whom they feel might be the next biggest loser.

I spoze now I got to tell ya about some of the other more unsavery characters round about these parts. Now there’s some thet  went out thar and got caught and thar’s some thet ain’t but been caught yet, and I think I spose I orter tell ya about the ones thet are still out thar yet. These people of course is the outlaws, the Pikes, the ones thet come out har lookin not really fer the gold they could bring outta the ground, but thet is already settin in some poor boy’s pockets.
I am gonna spear you the details of Wockeen Murryetta, since thar’s too much confusion over who and what and war he just zackly was, an’ besides he don’t quite fit the period of muh story, but I’m shore you heared about him. No, I have a mind to let you hear about another feller, a white man, his name was Red Langendorf.
Red Langendorf, a Swede, a course, so many of the folks round har is Swedes, an’ I don’t mean the turnip sort. He is known to work the road from Gold Hill to Sackaminnow with a couple of other fellers who is The Junger Brothers. He come har from Wisconsin, like Yon Yonson, and realize within the first wek he’d broke a pick, a shovel, and buried two mules, and there were no way even Sister Sarah could help him with the minin’ busines. Specially if it was mindin’ his own.
So Red Langendorf made it his business to mind other peoples, and mine them fer their pockets. They say his first victim was a feller named Spitzzen, a German a course, who had jes come outta the Assyer in Hangtown with two full mail sacks— his entire fortune, ackshully. Spitzzen wuz found dead as a doornail on the side of the Hangtown-Gold Hill Road, with his horse grazin on his chest rather lonesome. It must have been a few hours time before the Sheriff found him, and he was no fair sight- bullet holes stiched up and down his vest, and his minin’ gear scattered all across the roadside war it happened.
Sherrif Neatness was the first one to break the case, ackshully, and identify it were Red Langendorf was the evil perpetrator of this foul action. Red Langendorf left a calling card, soon to be famous across the landscape— he scattered sardo breadcrumbs across the chest of por Spitzzen, an’ that of course explains why they found his horse nuzlin’ offa him like he wuz a feed bag.
Langendorf’s next victims was a couple Chillymen on their way down to the assyer’s. Held them boys both up an’ farced them t’ strip to their long johns and took several bags worth maybe ten ounces, and earned himself some bad enemies from that. There was sardo breadcrumbs all over the scene of the crime, which included the Chillymen takin’ their clothes down in daylight from the oak tree Red Langendorf flung ‘em into. A course weren’t nobody ackshully witnessed that happen except what the Chillymen says happened, but they swore under oaf to Sheriff Neatness et were the truth, and Red Langendorf wuz ackshully seen in Stockton the next week, buyin’ himself some rather expensive food stuffs. Word is he perhaps has a hideout someplace near Skull Pie Hill and thet’s war him and the Junger Brothers hides out.
There are a few other reckonings about Red Lagendorf, but somewhere along the way the trail for Sherrif Neatness went stale. I heared that there was a posse hunted up to the so called cabin but there were nothin thar when they arrived but a lot of empty oyster cans, bread rappers, an’ California chandeliers.
Sheriff Neatness tole me that eff I ever sees Red Langendorf in the flesh agin he will absolutely deppitize me and give me fair rights to git his scalp even. I sez, I dunno about no scalpin, I’m a Fremont man, and thet sort of thing ain’t zackly fair play.
“Even ef you is a Fremonter, Sardo, I warnt you t’ know I needs ever man I can git to pray tell find this har interloper and set him t’ justice.”
But it’s kinder sad Red Langendorf made hisself so many enemies. Even in the Chinee camps they tend to be purty skeered at least of the Legend. Eff I ever runs inter him I hopes I ain’t carryin’ no color, cause I shore can’t afford the loss.

The great stream of humanity flows across the wide prairies from Independence Missouri West, across the Missouri River, the Platte, the Snake, the Columbia... Into eastern and Southern Oregon, down the Siskiyou into the Klamath, down the Klamath into the Central Valley... Or over South Pass and into Utah and across the Great Salt Plain, the Badlands, southward to Donner and Carson Passes, and over the Sierras into the Valley...
Or it takes flight in steamer and clipper from ports on the Eastern seaboard, from Chile and Brasil, from Ireland and Australia and China and the Philippines... Humanity comes in troops and droves and tribes, driven insatiably by the lure, the promise, the false hope, the illusion of great wealth, fortune to be made, riches beyond measure—the same dream which drove Coronado up from the mouth of the Colorado across Arizona and New Mexico into Nebraska and Kansas, the city of gold, the land of the Amazon, and the Quetzal bird...
Each traveler brought what things he thought he could... The easterners packed huge trunks with clothing and supplies, much of which they found needed to be sold off before they reached Concepcion... the waggoners discovered the oxen they’d purchased died gasping in the dusty sun of the great Southwestern Desert... Horses starved for lack of grass, should have have been started off late, and all including humans found water a precious commodity... On shipboard, passengers crammed like steerage into the holds and on  the decks of the hulking freighters perished for lack of green vegetables or fresh fruit and sickened from spoiled water, thousands on each great tributary died blanching from cholera, dysentery, malaria in the mosquito jungles...
The wagonners also left half the mining gear they’d purchased behind on the shelves of riverbanks and sides of buttes, overburdened by the weight their oxen could no longer pull... only to find when they arrived those same tools could cost up to three times what they had paid back home to replace...
Fortunes were made off these rivers of people by the equippers, the clothiers, the tailors, the grocers, and the bar men—especially the bar men! By the middle of 1850 the wagons and ships often carried enormous carved bar fronts, huge beveled mirrors thirty or forty feet long, and tons of barrels containing Widow Maker, Stump Puller, Cincinnati Whiskey, Taos lightning, Scamper juice, Kickapoo Jubilee, Red Eye, Diddle Liquor, Fool Water, Monongahela Rye, McKinley’s Delight, Tornado Juice, Gut-Warmer, Forty-Rod, Old Joe Gideon, Little Brown Jug, Old Joe Clark’s, Jackson’s Sour Mash...
All these barrels were meant for the men toiling in the sunny gold fields, but many ended up in other hands... for good or ill. The residents of the Plains when all this great migration began discovered the mind-bending powers of the white man’s medicine liquor, and the white men discovered its power over the residents of the Plains— a magical power which could be used to connive, finagle, and in many ways, subdue the red men into doing nearly anything, including giving up all sense of self respect and territory, and soon movement began in the camps of the Indians to resist the magic of alcohol, and reclaim what they were losing. But here in 1850 all was yet too new, and it would be another decade or two and a half before the resistance took its final and most potent form.
Out in the gold fields California’s Indians worked alongside the whites, many of them as indentured servants or slaves, breaking the ore, panning the sluices, and filling in for the whites who felt they were yet still above the hard backbreaking labor it would take to make a claim pay out. The California Republic was yet young, and there were many of these Indians who had known little but the white man’s coming forth and obscuring any sense of a homeland which could remain. The Miwok, Tuolumne, Yosemite, and Yurok were often found in situations forced to defend themselves against bands of marauding whites. The whites drunk on both the gold fever, and the whiskey they flourished about, and the joy of the American victory over the Mexicans in Tenochtitlan which ended ceding the entire California Territory to the brash and burly new United States... California ached to become another bead upon Columbia’s necklace, and men were working ever so quickly to bring that about...

Jes a little ways down th’ road from us here in Judas Gulch is a little town they call Chuwah. Now most of the people thar in Chuwah is what you must say is colured. Yep, in Chuwah whatchoo find is mostly Messicans, Spannards, Californeeo’s an’ Chillymen. All them speak a same language, so they gits a long better than any with us white mens, and besides, most of us white men’s we don’t want no truck with them neither, so it sorta works out OK. Long’s they keep to their side o’ the Consumniss, ain’t nobody really have a lot of trouble.
Well, maybe there’s some do. But on this particular Sundy I was lookin about fer something new t’do an’ ol’ Salpietro Nicletto he asketed me t’ come long wif him, he wuz goin down to Chuwah t’ see the rodeo!
Well how kin I discribe it fer ya, pardner? Chuwah’s rodeo ez probly one o’ the mos’ originul rodeos on the whole west coast. On account of all the caballeros skilled at ridin’ and ropin’, and all them seriously horned cows ranging up and down our republick in and out of fences, with and without brands, Chuwah must have a population of at least three hunderd cowpokes! And bull fitters, an’ matadores, pickadillys, an’ all that other stuff makes a Spannerd git hot blood in him.
I took me a notion when I wuz thar I might have some chance ta maybe play the keno table myself, thow et were something I dint really cotton to an awful lot. But here I had me a excess this week about six dollers and I figgered eff I only gambles one at a time I might come out ahead. So one of the things I was fixin to do in Chuwah was ta find a gamin’ saloon.
Nicletto gits me to the rodeo spot— thar wus lak I sez, hunderts of Messicans, Spannerds, Chillymens and all, and they was settin up a ruckus, fer the first ‘tractions were gittin out an up on the bulls to do the ridin’ and ropin it.
First off was Pancho Zambrino, famous a course amongst the Chillymen fer bein the best man they had in this department. He wuz up aginst a bull name Zweiback, and then thar wuz his competition, Pablo Quedosa, an’ ablo wuz a Spannerd with a fiece glint in his eye, and he rode on El Gorito, who had a even meaner look in his eye.
El Gorito and Zwieback stood off in the pens wal the Chillyman and Spannerd picked up thar lariats and whips and got ready to jump em from the fence. When they pulled up the gates, both bulls come kickin and snortin and squealin outta the pens like they wuz magnificent forces of freak nature. I guess the Chillyman lasted the longes’— (about fourteen seconds)— the Spannerd lasted much less, about seven, and the judge was a little greaser with a ducktail haircut name of Alviso Pardon.
The judge awarded the Chillyman the prize, which wuz a bag fulla gold dust itself about six ounces. That were a fair purse! We watched two more of these matches then Nicletto starts itchin’ in his ‘spenders and tells me he wants to go have a drink and grub.
I smiled cuz now I could drag him off to the gamin’ saloon and we could do all that an’ more!
This saloon, the Borracho Muchacho, set on the Chuwah main street much as the Pewter Eye done in our own town. They did have a keno table— and some fancy machines you dropped in pennies and they spun round little wheels showed pitchers of lemons, cherries, or crossbones. an’ sometimes them little machines pumped pennies back out like puke! And they call that a jack-pot. I didnt see no use in thet tho cause I ain’t even carryin’ no pennies.
Nicletto he tole me I shuld git some from the bartinder, an’ he had a huge sack full of em hid out under the bar with his digger ounces. So I got me some “change” an’ sets down to do some keno chancin’.
Nicletto gits hisself a big plate of fried eggs and cactus leaves and washes it all with some chilly pepper sauce an’ a side of grits, and he smiles an’ licks his chops like he were a Spannerd or Messican too, by god, not jest a greasy Wop from Italy.
“I knew you would like this place, Salpietro!” I sez to him, as I laid out another doller fer the one the keno man done took off the table and stuck in the kitty. I were no good at this, I wuz afeered, but I had some four more afer this one, and I wuz gonna go fer broke.
Nicletto asketed the bar man (Jose Muchacho) fer a bottle of wine and proceeds to polish off one glass an’ then another. He dint ask me eff I wanted none but that wuz okay cuz I was shore I might win me a glass fer free eff I won the keno pot.
So they was callin’ the numbers now, an’ I had one of um! But thet only paid me sevenyfive sense. At his rate I’d not be gittin far. But then they called agin and thar wuz now two more numbers I had, cuz I stuck the sevenyfive cents right in on it. And thar were a lotta losers on this turn, so now I won me five dollers! Boys, that wuz about as good as I could hope for for only throwing down two dollers in the firs’ place.
Well that wuz good, an’ I felt good, so I called the joker’s bluff and pulled my stakes outta the kitty. I got me my own bottle of wine—the name was Rancho Del Canada Loona, an’ et was from Sonoma, not so far aways as the crow chickens out.
Nicletto had him his fat luncheon breakfast and his wine wuz half gone. I had me one fine glass an decidet I wood save the rest fer the affernoon, maybe after we gone back to the Rodeo.
Now somethin strange happened in the saloon. This here ciderhouse, Muchacho’s Borracho Hole, or whatever, et had its own musickers in the back. And they trooped out onta the little stage! Thar were somethin like seven of em— was a trumpet, and a bugle, and a fat old base git-tar, a git-tar (regular), a fiddle, an a girl played somethin like a coupla wood clamshells. An once they wuz all out thar they was a sight, lemme tell ya!
Thar har wuz either sliketed back (eff they war a dude) or eff they wuz a girl (thar wuz two) they had it swep back real severe an’ braided down the back. Them girls had har down to the bewtocks! And then that weren’t all. Each one wored a speshul soot, which were all the same colur, an’ had fancy embroidery and pearls- pearls! Up and down the sides of the sleeves an’ the legs. They was some slick kids!
First off they begun with singin that fine ol tune Celeeto Leendo, “ayayayai! Can’t get no yo-rays!” Man that was hot. Thet girl with the fiddle could play that thing fiercely! And the funny thang were none of them moved but a inch when they wuz all singin and playin. They stayed straight and stiff, like lil tin sojers, and maybe the girls stamped thar feets but et all happened in the same place. I dunno maybe them Spannerds has a word fer this, they call it— macho? Ah gess thet ez the word. Well this were some real macho gal, lemme tell ya. She sung that tune then sang another about someone name Maguelena and then the fat-faced base git-tar guy they called Gordo, as in, “Gordo esta cansione por tu se la bambino negracia enciente!” He git up thar and sing a silly song goes, “Bamba, Bamba; bamba, bamba!” over an over agin like I wuz about ta git sick already but sooner than later they ended the song. Ever song they played they ended the same way— the girl in the front with the fiddle slapped her feet down real fast ONE-TWO! And they wuz done and you knowed it.
Well, after they done these four songs, then somethin real speshul happened. The girl with the purty long har and fiddle announced et were “La encanta, la enspiracion, la especial presenta: Senorita Lola Montez!”
Man you must a about seen the batwing doors flyin back an’ forth so fast the place filled up in a second with Messicans and Chillymen and Spannerds an’ a few genuine Californeeos, jest ta hear this famous girl from Europe.
Now lemme explain t’ yew all somethin’ har. This Lola Montez were no ordinary woman. Afore she came ta Californee, she were the speshul mistress of the King of Bavaria hisself! And she were knowed to have bed-sacked quite a few other famous fellers like (Robert Louie Stevenson, Whore-ass Greely, even maybe Henry Clay, although that, Nicletto said, were a dam lie)— And when she come to californee she tried to git a show goin’ with Wolfram Grizzlepizzle in Frisco, but Grizzlepizzle war on his Jenny Lind kick, and couldn’t be budged fer no “greaser washer-lady.”
That really insulted and hurt Lola, so she headed up here to the gold country, war she earned more money than she could in Frisco, and she decidet she would maybe git herself a cabin er a house up har. An I heared once finally thet war jes what she done!
But today I was quite expecting to see this har girl in the flesh.
She did not dissapoint.Her har were curled all up in lil piglets an’ styled something fierce. She wore pearls herself, but they wuz in a long long necklace wrapped five er six times round her neck thet fell past the end of her volupchus bosom. She had a hat which were lace and had a big ole osterch feather stumpin’ from it. Her dress (mebbe you orter call it her pinafore) were accompnied by a wide bustle thet stuck her butt up a good six inches better than she wuz borned, and she hed tall boots thet were not miner knee boots but laced all the way from the tongue to the top with real twisted brocade, and hed little sparkles— I swears it— on the toes.
This majestic apparition strode herself up ahead of thet little band, and struck up her tune, and friggy lil’ dance, The Tear-an’-Tella, ir the Taranchella Dance. Thet, she called her signature. She then sang a aria from Lucia de Lemmemore and old Donnyzetty culdna sung it no better, an’ he wrote it!
The band pumped along behind her (chuffa chuffa) end fat ole Gordo snuck looks when he could et the fantastic derriere as it twiched away ahead of him. Them girls— well one of them must bin married ta Gordo cuz when the number wuz done she walked up to him an’ slapped him with the big ole comb-piece thet were stuck to the front of her har. Then she set it back in place an’ dint not look at Gordo even til the songs were over. I seened her woppin’ on him some more after they wuz leavin’ the stage.
But  now back to the beautiful miz Lola. I swars I never seen a more cultured lookin gal, and her manner an’ bearin’ were the cats meow fer that, too.
She innerduced the next number as one wrote by her pal Billy Gerta, “a fantastic poet and such you will never know in United States” whut were called Panageeya Jovenalia er somethin like that. The music, she sed, were wrote by his pal Loodyvig Bait-hovin’. Dang eff that trumpet and bugle dint capture the whole show with thet thar little riff!
“Dadada da dadada dada dada da dadadada..”
. Et still haunts me an’ brings tairs to muh eyes.
Nicletto he enjoye Lola Montez most emensley too. By the end of it all, good old Salpeitro war jumpin, shoutin, kickin n clappin like all the rest of them Spannerds in the saloon.
“Etsa besta, belissimo, uh, Pat? Viva! Viva vivace! LOOOOOLAAA LOOOOOLAA!” Nicletto had no shame nor did none of the rest of us. When thet girl strode offa the stage agin in thet twichen bustle, she had the love of ever man thar, they woulda shot the kings of France an’ England ef she called thet tune for em.
Then the little band wuz back, and sang ome more, an’ the big traction war over, so mosta the crowd of Chillymens and all went out in the street, an’ most of um went back to the rodeo.
“Come on Pat, lets go rodeo!” Nicletto grabbed his hat, and I guess I had to grab mine and foller along and I sent a little glass of my good wine up to the purty girl with the long braids an fiddle, special from Sardo Pat, and winked at her on my way out the door.

Now the Messicans, Spannerds, Chillymen, and few Californeeos what made Chuwah their home hed a sartin problem goin’ on wif’ the Republick of Californee. And this har sartin problim et was called the “Furrin Minders Tax.” This har wuz a compinsation due to the Republick on account it war Messicans, Chilymen, Keskidees, Englishmen, etceterra, comin har and mindin’ the gold rat out from under the white Amurricans what was real Republickins of Californee. The excess excise on extraction of the mineral war assessed at twenny dollers a munth. Now some of them boys they had it, and they had good claims, so et never hurt them none to pay it, but thar wuz many others for who it war much worse, and twenny dollers could be haff a munth’s diggins, eff you git my drif.
I spoze thar were plenty resentmint, expeshully on the half of the Californeeo’s —them whut wuz borned heres in the firs’ place affer all- but thet war till the cause of much dissatifackshun an’ mistrust. Cause them assyers started shortin’ on them, too.
I spoze though whut coulda even bin worse wuz what happend to the Injuns. That thar wuz such a thang as the “Digger Ounce” to begins with, an’ fur a very long times et wuz nothin but a secrit between whitemen, but evenchully it all came out in the wash, like my friend Ling Lu might call it.
And this har is how it happened.
Up in the Mokeylumnee tribe wuz a big chief named Kitita Ndukash (Exploding Hawk). Kitita Ndukash was a river-minder too, and had bin catchin’ the “white man illness” fer the purty yeller rocks too fer some whiles, an’ had him a claim on the Mokeylumnee brung him in about sevennyfive dollers a munth. Now he would take thet sevennyfive dollers in dust down to Hangtown and the assyers, and git his spendin’s from them.
Only thing is, the assyer in Hangtown were not a straight man when et come to Injuns.
Under his table with the skale he kept the infamous Digger Ounce. This war a bar of arn— what looked like et war a ounce of arn, but, ackshully war shortend by some measure so et ackshully weight about two thurds of a ounce. An’ when the assyer saw some Injun sashay in with his diggins, why he’d jes pull out thet Digger Ounce an’ use it fer his calkalations lak it war the real one. Happened ever time, an’ fer many a time were not no Injun no wiser. Cept fer Kitita Ndukash happent ta see the differnce (don’t ask old Doddle, Hangtown’s assyer how he discovert, he jest did...) and took a fence to it.
“White man cheat and gyp Injun! You not honest. Me want see real wait.”
“Me sabby you no wait long with your wait, what I sez ez, yer dust comes to a wait of fortyfive dollers!”
“Me bring same size bag dust las’ week to Judas Gulch and Mester Teasewater at store. Me get sixty from Mester Teasewater. How come you only give fortyfive and he give sexty? Me no stupid, me can count.”
Doddle hung back thar and tiched his whiskers some but Exploding Hawk the Injun were not gittin no more than forty five outta him. It would be a crime ginst all other white man eff he give an Injun a far shake. What Teasewater did in Judas Gulch thet war his problim.
But Doddle did not figger on the rage swellin’ up inside of Exploding Hawk’s head and heart. No saree. Now it is the facks thet Injuns doesn’t lak the ideer more n any white man does about gittin gypped and cheated, and Kitita Ndukash tole Doddle he were for sartin askin fer sartin troubles.
But do you think Doddle lissened to any of thet? Why, a course not. Hail no!
Et were a shore shock then to Doddle when the nex night, Kitita Ndukash and some of his warryers shows up outsie the assy house with arruhs an’ tommyhocks an busseted down the doors of Doddle’s smoke kitchin with a fierce venjince. They was so fierce they made out like to scalp Doddle’s little boy, Petey.
Petey wuz shore one scairt little boy when it wuz done. A course, they (Doddle and his Boston wife, who were no unsartin danger hersef) kilt Kitita Ndukash and skalpt him an stuck it up on old Doddle’s assy house flagpole as a jinx so no other Injuns might try any similar type of caper.

So it wuz then thet I get hauled off to see the rest o’ the rodeo by my pal Salpietro Nicletto. By the time we git over thar they done all the ridin’ an’ ropin’ an’ gallivantin’ fer the day, though and we come to git the bullfights.
I guess som Spannerds and Messicans still appreciates them things, but fur me wuz only a grootesk spectacle. The bull was gonna git sackerficed anyhow, and the firs’ one we seen this happenin’ to was no less than El Gorito.
El Groito was a big mother of a bull, built like a steam engine. He had two prong horns comin outta his haid and them were not all the business end of him. They stuck purty littel ribbons on the ends like to make a mockery of him, but his hind quarters wuz jes as fierce. When he kicked in the pen it like ta nearly broke off the gate, an’ it took four strong men to hold back the gate fur the rest of the day. But now thet he was gonna be the object of the bullfight, they let him out, and didn’t he wander.
Up and down the ring he wandered, lookin’ for a loos man to jump off on. Et were not long afore they found him his trouble.
The picadillys came out, with their pickadore dagger darts, like to stickin pins in a Voo Doo doll, en thet made El Gorito even more pissed offen. He took off after one of the pickadillys, a little guy couldna been moren about fourteen, tall, though, and this little guy  got both his little pickadillys n thar. Then he runned off outta the ring.
Was now the time fer the bandy-yerros. These characters make a mockery of the matadore, of course, but they is dressed pretty good like the same sept they gots no cape er sord. The bandy-yerros have bandilleras- there er kinda like the pickydillers exept they got long ribbons, is about a foot long, and when they stick in the hide of the bull they starts to droop. Objeck of this is ta start settin' the bull up fer the let down, piss him off but weaken him. Usually they git stuck in the neck, shoulder, or the back o’ the haid.
 When all the bandy-yerros is done and quit runnin' around and run outta the ring, to the compneemint of some sad bugle and drum music, in comes the matadore, dressed in his cape and silly silk stockings and buckled shoes and micky-mouse hat. He has his sord, a course, an’ with the sord, he uses the red side a his cape like et wuz a flag, and pisses off the bull.
El Gorito was shore one brave bull, even eff he maybe had no idear whut was comin, he kept on turnin', and makin' that matadore dance an bob and weave and jump like a puppet.
But a course, this is always how it ends— the matadore pulls his sord out one last time and runs it inta the branes of the poor critter, and thet is all she wrote, dear minders.
Then the bandy-yerros and pickadillys all runs out while the matadore bows and scrapes to cheers, applause, and many flung rose petals, and they drag the beast off to be butcherd, for the town feast that gits a cookin when the sun is settin’.
Now me and Nicletto, we stayed fer the town feast. We felt invited though we wuz both real white men cuz we had the guts to sit thru the bloodshed and all, and nobody sed we culdn’t stay neither. I seened the bullfights before like I toldja, down in Frisco, en I figgered by gum you done seened one you seened em all, cuz they allus turns out the same in the end, anyhow.




Monday, November 24, 2014

AVAILABLE NOW! CALTROP!

    
 Professor Guilliame Caltrop is a man with problems. He’s surrounded by people who continually bombard him them with issues of their own- seeming friends and colleagues willing to stick the knife in where they can, old warriors from the psychedelic era rampaging at heedless bureaucrats, students who can’t see straight concocting plots to blow up the classroom, rednecks with a grudge out to blow up him.  Will his worthiness as a thinker stand up to the scrutiny of the alphas who run his college and hand him his meal tickets? 


https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/495959

A TRIP DOWN TO FRISCO

When we got to Frisco and was at the corner of Kearny and Market, Cakey tells me he’s goin’ up to Sydney Town and gettin’ a ticket back to Honnalooloo. I tole him good luck and thanks him for all he’s done for me and the company, and just for good measure, I walks him over to Pudent’s saloon and gives him a send off whisky (or two). When that’s all done, he shakes my hand and tells me “Sardo Pat, I hope someday you come to Honnalooloo too! You gone make one good boy happy verry much! Maybe island girl for you too you find, eh bra?"
I said “Thanks then Cakey, fer everthang, and I hopes you has a safe trip.” I knew that Kowakowa would go on to be big shakes back in his hometown with that sack of dust he had...
Well, I got to reckon I was gonna be a little lonesome now since Kanaka Cakey Kowakowa took himself off on that Express Clipper back to Honnalooloo. I figgered I could use some recreation of a type, and so I moseyed over to what was the old Spanish Mission to see me a bullfight or two.
Was at this little old bullring carved inta the hill there, right acrost the street from the Mission. ‘Twas a little ampitheater, with wooden seats, kinda benches, carved inta a soft hillside and made flat with planks. Was about sixtyfive Spannards or so, all types, Messicans, Chillymen, Californios, and such-like, all surmounting this ampitheater and down there in the center was El Toro.
It were the spectacle, of course, but after two or three of these fancy dance-of-deaths with the same durned outcome (the bull always died. Cusset! Couldna been a fair fight no how, since the Toriodor always come out on top!) even after the picodores and the trocoderos and the bandalleros got done with the bugger, then toriodor come alongwith his little cape and sword and finishes him off. Weren’t no fair fight, not atall. I spoze some of them Messicans and all paid a good penny then fer some fresh steaks afterwards, but steaks was not in scarcity no how, and I was feeling gypped of my dollar anyhow. Oh yes, it cosset a dollar just to sit thar. If you were nice to ‘em a pretty seniorita might come by you with a jug of “agua fresca” which weren’t no agua and it weren’t no fresca, but you could give her two bits and get a shot of that retchid cactus juice and join in the hollerin’.
Only I didn’t feel like it none. After a couple hours of this painful sort of boredom, I wandered back to downtown, and I goes to the Parker House to see me a theatrical event— it were no other than old Edwin Booth in MacBeth. Now I heared about this MacBeth character, like he was this old King of Scotland, and he done murdered the real king, Duncan, y’see, and all on account of his wife Lady Macbeth whose a shrew and a half and it wonders anyone anyway how can a man marry such a cuss herself if all he gets from it is a stain he can’t ever get offa hisself. Cause that were one horrific event, and a horrific scene. Even more impressive of course was how the new King-to- Be MacDuff sprung his trick and trap on MacBeth. Disguised his whole army up like trees, and hopitty hoppity they surrounds the castle like they was a forest, until all ready, and “Birnham Wood come to Dunsinane!” and all, and MacBeth is found out and kilt, and there be a righteous justice, the Lady MacBeth falls on her sword, and the whole playhouse erupted in cheers, it were so merciful to see a decent ending to a pair of wicked dealers. Thet man Bill Shakespear were no dummy.
Thet took about two hours offa my day. So I was at the Parker House but weren’t no way I was gonna spring for no meal there, being five to ten dollers, so I went over to the good Old City Hotel, I gets a ten dollar room for overnight, I spends two dollers on steak, taters, sparagus spears, and a glass of Sonoma wine. That being satisfied for my gut, I took to the streets and came to the Fulmar Fandango House, to have myself some sort of dance, if I could find one, with a lady, if I could even find one of that sort.
Now the Fulmar Fandango House is the creation of old Wolfram Grizzlepizzle, a name in his own right, and highly feared in orchestra pits acrost the country each side of the Mississip. They say he had competition in the name of old Lep Phelps, but Lep Phelps could not survive it, an’ committed sewercider but half a years into the game with Grizzle. Grizzle he’s a tough old snake. His Fandango House shore was a alot of fun, though. I reckon I were there a good four hours before I could drag myself outta there. The pretty waiter girls there was for real, but they were also tipped for the house— just like you would spect it in the gambling tables over at City Hotel. Tipped for the house, I tell ya. They must have got me for at least five before I was outta there, what with cigartees, drinks (I had a Pisco Punch, I had two Phlegm Cutters, I had at least one Taos Lightnin’ and one Ginger Pop.) For snacking, they had fired-up peanuts and Injun corn in a sack, with salt and butter, which were purty good, too.
I did get me a dance, and I got to get on home after that, since the purty waiter girl I danceted with were not kind to playing low in the bushes none, not without taking another sack of gold offa me, which I was not about to do! But here I shall digress and give you more about old Grizzlepizzle, since now everone both sides of the Rockies knows who he is, and that’s his fault.
Wolfram Grizzlepizzle I spoze by now is an institution, far as Frisco’s fandango palaces goes. Here’s the dope on him: He was borned in Poland an’ his name- I kin barely spell it lest alone pronounce it— Grczlpczlye— goes back some centries. Both his parents was kilt when Napoleon invaded Warsaw an’ little Wolfram walked his way crost Poland, Germany, Holland, til he got to Brussels, with eighty other little orphan children, led by a monk named Frank Hans, a Dutch Reformist. He took ship with a buncha them to New York, where he grew up on the street, making petty theft with a Polish street gang, until his early twenties, when he made a small pile selling insurance to poor widders. When the Messican War come, he joins the US Cavalry t’ fight Messicans so he can get the free trip to Californee. When that ruckus petered out, he was in Frisco, an’ he took his cavalry pay, and some of what he had left from robbing ol’ widders, and he started his famous Fulmar Fandango House, war he’s bin ever since rakin in the dust, and being merciful to mining folk. Mostly.  I heared (tho I warnt thar) thet last year he caused some sensation by bringing Jenny Lind out here from Pennsylvania. Warn’t too many folks here realized it, but that warn’t no Jenny Lind! That war an imposture, but the ruse was good enough. Grizzlepizzle packed the house a week straight, and warnt no miner the wiser. Not at least til a month later when the newspaper from New York and Phillidelphy come out, announcing on the very dates of the San Francisco engagement, Jenny Lind’s excloosive P. T. Barnum show in Phillydelphy, New York, an’ Dee Cee. Well that mighta cosseted him some miner dough for a while, but it were all soon forgotten, because Grizzlepizzle found a few more attractions—and they were always fresh off the boat— to come and work his fandango house, and as long as the likker flowed, weren’t nobody no sadder.
Many famous musicians of course got their start from Wolfram Grizzlepizzle. Thar’s some say thet Englishman Edward and Crustyman, not to mention Ninefinger Ned, was reglars down thar. Of course, Ned must have been famous way way afore this, but he was said to be friends with Hog Wald and Hog Wald’s acompanist Pearl Genull. Ned came up to Judas Gulch first with a whole cartload full of band supplies and passed them around to all the campers, and anyone with half a lick of sense they was soon sawin and pluckin away. Would not be a fair guess that on any day’s fandago up har at Ollarud’s, thar was six or seven of the boys hampin’ and harpin’ on git-tars  and fiddles and squeezeboxes. When Ned had the money ta shar around he offen went out whole hog. I guess this wuz kinder his way of makin’ friends, turnin’ miners inta minstrels, but durn if it were not appreciated by the likes of John Spondino and Sunbeam Davy. Now thar was two boys was always meant to be wakin’ snakes together or apart.
One weekend, Ollarud set up the bar and a stage (this stage apparently stayed all the rest of our time here at Judas Gulch) on the back wall. Folks could come in and set themselves at a table or set at the  bar and lissen to the purty music, cuz I sed, them boys could play— or they could spend some time tryin’ t’ git somewar with Millie, Ollarud’s flash assistant purty waiter girl.
I ain’t tellin ya much about my “special friendship” with Millie cause ain’t a heck of a lot to tell ya, ‘cept that she would always pick out the pizen I like and set it down nice and easy with a “Well thar y’are, Pat!” ever time. I never so much as asseted her fer a kiss— now that thar was MacDavish’s big talk how he even had done much much more with Millie than that, of course, and he was still payin’ fer it in consequences, too, it was wishperd ta me by Nicletto.
MacDavish he really were also one big “fan” of Ninefinger Ned. When Ned got to strickin’ his banjer (thet wuz like a second instermint to him) and frailin' away and Hog Wald pulled out his harmonicky and blew the blues, and Pearl set up her wailin up a storm like a herd of cats tryin’ a scape outta a sack, well, MacDavish could jes sit thar, hypn’tized, and knock back even more of the Fool Water and Cincinnatti Wisky and cry “More, more!” and stomp his foot like a herd a cattle. Thet one man could make so much racket is a testamint to the glory of the vine, I sez. MacDavish he went down to Frisco and happened to be in on the big Grizzlepizzle— Jenny Lind gyp-o, and dang eff he didn’t throw down his hat and stomp vig’rously upon it when Jamjob came runnin’ in that day we got the newspaper told us war the Real Jenny Lind happened t’ be at that time.
Anyhow. If you want t’ hear a real musicker, you just settle back and lissen to the wondrous tones lucked upon by Ninefinger Ned on his git-tar and English Edward when he tickles the elephant tusk keyboard. Thar was a match thet were awaitin’ t’ happen, although, Edward he sometimes has a little too much Pisco in him, and likes to shoot off his big mouth about us Merricans. Well at least he aint no hard case, ackshully he survived the trip around the Horn with a sad case of consumption, they said. Anyway he found the nice sunshine of El Dorado t’ be much to his likin’, and we have ‘dopted him as our cuzin, brother, and friend, and ain’t nobody— said Sunbeam Davy and John Spondino— could teckle the tusks better n’ “thet man right over thar, wearin’ Millie’s garter on his arm!”
All these musickers what hung at The Pewter Eye war here to make a killin’ off the minders if they culd their own selves. A course, Ollarud war not all thet good to them, they had ta work fir him  each an’ ever single day ‘cept Mundy, cuz Sundy war the biggest day o’ the week for Ollarud, an’ Monday all the minders was back on the river agin. An’ weren’t none that happy for Sundy so they give thar best performances on a Fridy or Saturdy night—by Sundy afternoon all they rilly wanted ta do wuz drink an’ play cards and smoke the cuerda. I cain’t sez I blames them none, who would not git antsy an’ viscious when they is tied to a git-tar or pianner fer eight ares a day anyway? Almost like Ollrud insisted they be music machines er somethin. One day English Edward he were so pissed off at Ollrud he ez “Why doncha git yerself an automatic pianner, you old Fat Swede!” an’ he runs outta thar without his hat. Ollrud takes thet hat and sets it at the end of the bar war he kin see it, and shore enuf, English Eward come a runnin’ back in, spies the hat, tries ta grab it an’ pop it on his head real quick, but Ollarud is swift on the draw he pulls out a sixshooter an’ plugs thet hat fulla holes real quick. I heared English Edward brought thet hat with him all the way from London, but it were not long afore he made his way ta Sackaminnow and got another one, looked jest like it.
Thet is jes’ the way things are up har in the Gold Country. Easy comes and Easy goes, an’ if you ain’t got the gold dust, ya mite as well jes’ scoot yerself on outta town. Eff ya got the dust, then, an you is welcome, thank you but doncha put on no uppity airs around thet mean old Swede bar man, Ole Ollarud! He’s one mean cat. I gots other tales ta tell about him to.
It was talked about town thet Ole Ollarud and Sherrif Neatness had a sorta protection racket goin’ with the minders they liked best. Supposin ta say, them ones what sent the most money on drinks, a coarse, or they tip the musickers well. Anyway if Ole liked you he would send Sherrif Neatness around ta inspect yer claim fer good boundrys. Eff a man were forging boundrys then he were cheatin’ someone, somehow. A coarse eff you was cheatin a Chinaman or a Chillyman or an Injun, thet war a little diffurnt, but, when it come to white men cheatin’ each other, Sherrif Neatness were having absolutely no truck with thet.
I heared thet he run a couple of boys off the River for doin’ this on a man use ta be called Nashua Robbins. Nashua Robbins were an original, he were in the River since late Forty Eight, and he used ta work fer the famous John Marshall who discovered the whole shebang at the start. NashuaRobbins  allus claimed it were him brought the gold to Marshall who then went ta Sutter and it spread from there. But Neatness always douted this.
And yet even if he had has douts eff were sayin’ the honest humbug, then Neatness stuck up fer him when those two whackadoos wuz tryin’ to do a gyp on his boundry.
“Survey says thet Nashua Robbins has this line starts right har,” sez Neatness.
Slone Cawdry, one of them dishonest boys, wuz ready ta argue.
“No it ain’t. Ya see war thet stick is? Thet is his boundry, and I ain’t no Welsher!”
“Slone Cawdry, I is accusin you of stakin thet thar stick on the claim rightly b’longs to Nashua Robbins. He’s bin har since we started all this minin’ and he iz wut I nose to be an onnist man! You two is disgustin’ claim jumpers, an’ if you do not wish to hang by sundown, I might make you the polite suggestion thet you leaves Judas Gulch immejitly, lest I figure ta shoot you straight off an’ finish this bizniss up myself, ‘fore I turn y’all over ta the Miners Camittee!”
Them two boys looked nervis at each other then they change thar minds and packed up thar mules and left. Old Nashua got all his claim, plus, he even set a deal to take their claim too! He got sixty pounds outa thet spot by the end a last year I heared. So it ain’t a good idear ta miss with are sheriff nor none of us onnist miners.