Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Long-Awaited Economy Rant

     For as long as I have had this blog I have resisted talking about the economy or my place in it. I suppose that is because I do not enjoy whining or putting up with it. But now I have come to what I feel is an untenable position in my life. I suppose a little background is in order.

     About ten years ago I began working as a volunteer with the Friends of the Library in San Francisco. Within 9 months I had made headway enough into the organization that I was hired full time.  I kept this position for four years, until the Board of Directors decided there was not enough money in the till to carry (someone) and I was now the odd man out. Canary in the coal mine, as it were, for between 2008 and 1020, six more well trained, useful, and necessary employees all fell under the budget cut axe, after myself.

     I began looking for work nearly immediately after this came own in July 2008. After heeding my doctor’s advice to take one month off before resuming my job search, and holding a generous severance package, this was a do-able situation. Further taking the advice of my doctor I moved from San Francisco, as the background noise and general stress and pressure of urban life had led me to a case of hypertension.

     Back on the SF Peninsula now, in a town close to where I had grown up, I took up cycling daily and this greatly improved my health. I found a job (after eight months of steady looking) with a bookstore, which turned out to be a farce in more ways than one. After a year and a half of putting up with no raises, no promotions, nothing but the same thing day after day, having been promised register training but never receiving it, an eventually moving to a town closer to the job, and being promised I would not be, the owners laid me off. They lay off half of the store employees rather than admit that a clerical error had caused them not to set aside money to pay their IRS bill.
Another year ensued of seeking work while volunteering with an online library for the blind. This led to a job which paid me quite well for writing, however, the “marketable need” of persons skilled in writing descriptively for the blind is almost nil. There was one person in the whole country, basically, paid to do this- me. And when the work contract ended the project itself was rather defunded and reverted back to volunteers. So I needed a new job, again.

     I had a friend with a lead to a job crossing kids for the Los Altos Schools. This job, actually, I have continuously held while seeking full time work ever since, however, because it is only a few hours a day, it is never enough to meet my financial obligations.  Jobs that would come up promising “full time work” turn out to be inevitably short-lived. I begin to feel that society wants to cram me into this little “crossing guard” role which is completely inadequate for what I am either truly worth as a worker, and inadequate for  the modest living expenses I have (which have just been increased by $200 a month) and that society has begun to factor “my age and experience” against me, not as pluses, but negative strikes against me.

     I am better than having to hold a three-hour per day job. I worked for far too long far too hard to even acquire the benefits of the job I held in 2008, let alone end up being treated like a young and inexperience child all over again.) Or, an “overqualified” superfluous senior.) I still see myself with a good ten years ahead of me in my professional life, but feel that society is, in fact, ignorant and unintelligent by continuing to ignore me and not allow me what I feel is a rightful place at the table.
Yes, there is always more to me than meets the eye. I play music, and I write, but I hold those things aside so I might earn a living and keep a roof over my head. once that is taken care of, then we can deal with the “real me.” Nobody I work for ever really sees this “real me” by the way, since I’m rather busy satisfying their needs than I am with gratifying my creative ego. What I do on your time is your business, what I do on my own is mine. And I like keeping it that way. I also like having the means of affording supporting myself. But the last six or seven years of “economic recovery” have been neither “recovery” nor growth.  The retirement account I set up working with the Friends is long gone- it went to cover my basic rent. The basic rent I pay is going up as well, leaving me “underemployed” and unable to exist without the help of government programs. All I really want is a chance to pay for myself. I do not wish to be either a slave, a serf, or a tool of government and do not want a hand out- only a hand up. At this point I am fairly insulted by the way I have been treated by some of these interim employers, as if I am “too old to know anything useful” when I have not even begun to consider myself as “old.”

     I live in a world of manifested greed through and through. Google practically own the town I live in, and its City Council. The CC will do whatever it needs to kiss ass to Google and keep the money rolling in. Google are buying up property right and left and encouraging developers to tear up perfectly good apartments to create fancier, higher-priced hideouts for their nouveau-riche uber young workers. Older and established residents watch as the community goes to hell, all of it made over to the new Masters.

     So I care for the children of these new Masters, those with the wealth enough to walk about and flaunt their progeny like the trophies they surely are, often risking my life (high speed expressway red light runners pass me at 65 mph, while the speed limit is posted a calmer 45) but- who ever gave a thought about my kids? When did my children ever matter to anyone other than myself, I who was judged long ago “unworthy of inclusion” into the vast human gene pool, due to my poverty, my predilection for being unapologetic about the good psychedelics had done for me, with my artist lifestyle and my musician mentality- who would ever give a shit about me and mine, and my place in this society, other than myself ,and maybe one or two others every bit as extremely fringe as myself?
Added to the load on the back of the camel of course is the fact that while I always have been highly intelligent, I never finished college. I knew what I wanted to do, as an early graduate from high school, and I set out to do it. Returning to college was not part of the picture, once I had a taste of the Real World and Hiding From The Draft was not an ambition I sought either. I did not have the patience to keep sitting around in school listening to idiots tell me abut things I might just well learn by reading about on my own. My grammar skills are in the top 95% of any “recent college graduates” to begin with, and I do reckon they are better than most of those who played the game society’s way rather than jumped in feet first to get their feet wet in reality But that’s just another straw I never let it discourage me from applying for jobs I am experienced at. It’s another sign the hippie revolution failed to score points, however, since so many of the same stupid familiar rules seem built in to society’s stupid game. And don’t deny it! Society is stupid, when it takes a college degree to work at companies that were formed in the first place by “college dropouts” like myself. To equate intelligence with proof you can stand sitting around sponging off your parents.

     That’s why I am giving the game another ten years of playing at “their” rules before I completely call in my chips, take my bat and ball and go home. Society  dos not owe me a living, but I do feel society owes me a chance to regain the living that I once knew, that I worked so hard to earn, and which has apparently dissolved into the smoke and mirrors of the “economic recovery” and the unattainable American Dream. If it were truly an economic recovery, it would float all boats, including my own. That it has not is a severe indictment of what it now takes just to get by in America. Land of Opportunity- for some.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

SILVERSONG (fragment from a work in progress)

Silversong was fading! The signs had been rather clear to me for some time. Her eyes were beginning to lose the sparkle and the charm that were her usual characteristic, and her gaze was often far away. When you spoke to her, she seemed to wait some while before speaking in answer, and it was as if she hadn’t actually heard you, and her answers sometimes were very disconnected from what you hoped for as far as relevance to the question.
I decided it was up to me to bring this to Commander Kandeliac’s attention. As the ship’s chandler I was well aware of the stock of lux available to our crew members, and I knew that we didn’t actually have enough to make it to Earth—our destination, our last assignment for this mission, and the one we all knew would perhaps be the most perilous before our return to Lux.
Kandeliac was in his cabin, resting, and reading up on some of the more disturbing situations which had developed since our last visit to earth three decades ago. Things continued to go in  fashion “against us”— meaning that, we, the faerie kingdom, were held now in even more disbelief than ever. It was not easy, whereas, two hundred years ago, we still held some sway and power over the dominant creatures, the humans. Now they sneer at the idea that we even exist. Whether this was due to the overabundance of their religious zealots, or the manifestation of grievous popularity of what they now termed “materialist reductionism in science” was unclear.
Actually it was moot Kandeliac had told me because either way, our once prominent influence over them was, like Silversong, beginning to fade into the lost regions of the past.
“Commander, I wish to inform you that—”
“Yes, Metaleaf?”
“—That it seems to me that we’re losing Silversong. She is beginning to fade...”
“You know this?”
“I suspect it. She has taken to wearing dark glasses, she is evasive and reluctant to answer when queried, and she seems so... distant nowadays.”
“Steward Silversong is one of my most highly regarded crew members, Metaleaf. You should not make such allegations lightly.”
“I’m not, Commander, but it just feels to me that the symptoms are becoming undeniable. She needs Lux, or she will indeed, be faded before we complete the mission.”
“I made sure that she had the supply she would have needed before we shoved off. Now what could be going on that she should have run out of supply so quickly?”
“I do not know sir. Perhaps she has been abusing—I mean, over-doing it at meals.”
“And we have how much in our stores?”
“We have barely enough to make it back to Lux as it is once we leave Earth.”
Kandeliac scratched his chin and wrote something on a clipboard.
“I want Silversong to report to me at the start of her next watch. It would be terrible for us to lose one our most valuable and respected elders before we have a chance to return. The Oberon’s mission has been rather successful so far, don’t you think? And regardless what they say back at Central Command, no fairy is expendable. We never leave one behind. And I do not wish to return to Lux with a sick crewmate. Then CC will only ask questions, and for those I myself have no answer.”
I silently nodded. I left the Commander to his reading, and made my way to Silversong’s quarters.

When I found her, she was herself staring out the portholes toward the galaxy Andromeda. It was something many of us did if we felt homesick, although we were as much a part of this great Milky Way as any other lifeforms here. For some reason  though, Andromeda held a mystical pull for us, much as it’s said the planet Venus has for humans. I quietly walked up behind her and tapped her shoulder.
There was barely a flinch or a budge, but slowly, she turned and faced me. Her wings were folded under her arms, and again the listless cloudiness of her eyes was frightening. 
“Metaleaf. How kind of you to visit me. Have you brought my lux?”
I could not tell her that the lux stocks were actually so low for the ship that they were not being distributed on request any longer, but only to be used in extreme emergencies.
“Silversong, Commander Kandeliac would like you to grace him with your presence on your next watch. Immediately, before it begins.”
“I understand. Do you know what it is like, Metaleaf? To know you are fading? How little time we really have, when we begin we feel we have unlimited time. Yes, being immortal has its drawbacks too! Nobody tells you that one day you will fade. Everything is fine so long as you manage your lux correctly. But alas! I can feel it. You do not need to tell me you notice, I know, everyone notices. There is a certain spell that drops over you, like a curtain falling on a sudden scene, so quickly that the victim hardly realizes. But I have known this for many years now. I began hoarding my lux and taking it more often than I really  needed. Perhaps this was my vanity that has brought me to this! “
“Metaleaf, I do not know, and do not know if you told the commander”—
“That I did.”
“Then that will be what he needs to discuss with me. How bright you are, Metaleaf! Lose never that bright spark within you! O for the woe of me, that my own should have flown so close to the flame! Now I must pay for it, I fear. Yes, Metaleaf, I will go to see the captain.”
I thought I saw one tear rolling down her cheek, but, embarrassed, I said nothing, turned, and went back to the inventories. I had much to prepare for when we reached Earth, for as chandler, I needed to bring all the essential elements for the great celebration when we returned to Lux. They would all be expecting it there—the pollens, petals, stamens, pistils of four dozen different earth flowers and plant seeds, and it was up to me to be sure our foraging parties achieved our goals.

Of course I was the correct one for the job. I had been to Earth before, and my training at the School of Knowledge well prepared me to know all the flora and fauna of Earth by sight as well as by name. How I love the cypress, laurel, pine, aspen, and olive! The pine, elm, poplar, birch and cedar! The maple, mulberry, hawthorn, ash and rowan! And long to taste my self of the nectar of hibiscus and roses! There are plants, indeed, in high demand back on Lux, and to think of the tons needed to keep the thousands of fairies who would be attending our King’s Celebration, my head was almost dizzy. But such high demand meant we would be busy yet for days, the Oberon moored in some sylvan glade, our cloaking fields on full stealth as my shore parties flew from dawn to dusk in search of the requisitions. But I had thought that all I need worry about ha been my task— I had no idea that I might be the one to discover Silversong’s ailment, and to bring it to Commander Kandeliac’s full attention.
Silversong had indeed been to Earth before, as Kandeliac reminded me. Kandeliac himself was too a veteran of our last great era of conquest of the humans... some four hundred years ago now, by the manner human time is reckoned. The retreat was sudden and no one held it against our King to have called it. But after thousands of centuries when we strode the Earth with impunity, until the age when the humans began to mock us and use us as figures of satire and literature, our patience had worn thin with these upstart creatures.
I mention that I have the power of speech with the other animals. And that, indeed, I might call any of them to me by name. These I know and mean are my favorites of all— the deer and rabbit, especially. How good it is when we are gathered near a favorite bush and they tell us how much they prefer it too! Or that they will let us get “first pick” of something, for they know we are both their shepherd and their superior, even though we be alien to their world. Our evolution suffered little from our time on the earth—indeed, there was a theory long held at the School of Knowledge that our own characters had been longtime impressed by the strictures of the earthly physic. So much so that it was often easy to get the humans to believe that we were a part of their world and not from so far off away in their space-time. One of our greatest (and final) accomplishments had been getting the humans to believe we were their ‘nature spirits” indigenous to their world! It surely helped our propaganda and our usual relations with humans, at least for a long long while. Until Oberon called the retreat, and left behind only few intelligence reporters. It was the morale of those we were most worried about, and were a secondary cause for the mission.
Those who had remained behind on the earth fought an ever uphill battle. Human psychologists and scientists had been busy for those four hundred years in convincing their fellow humans that in some fashion, we were not real. As most of us had fled, and there were few to challenge this assumption in the minds of most mortals, it might be easily seen how this could be believable in the mass. But there was also their science itself, which truly was our mortal enemy. The humans had declared their own positive dominion over their world, and entitlement to every thing upon or within it. So that they smelted metals and forged strange devices to transport themselves thereabouts. Nothing on the level of our interstellar technology, of course, but worrisome in the highest degree.
The humans had learned the composition of elements of their atmosphere and lithosphere and used this in order to better oppress not only each other, but all the flora and fauna which had flourished under our care. But even as they gained this knowledge, they undid themselves mightily with the characteristic chauvinism of ignorance, that even as they claimed this dominion, they should begin to foul their own nests, lining them with fancy paper (or gold) and depositing their wastes willy-nilly beside them. It was most unseemly, that a race that believed themselves so grand could act so outrageously, but we were never truly the shepherds of their condition—for as we could tell, their “science” led them ever further astray by the day from their original status as planetary stewards themselves. And above all it claimed that simply we “did not exist!”
All the same. My job was to bring back the food for the festival and not to quibble about what the Central Command considered the propaganda value of this voyage.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


 It was one of those rarely warm San Francisco summer evenings— for once the fog had stayed away, and the sun had warmed the avenues and the Haight. I watched it going down westward from the Park... no, not Golden Gate, the other one at Buena Vista peak. With me was Mimph and Puzzle. We had shared out our last wine and Mimph told me he still had some weed back at his place, down the street. He offered to take me over there and show me and smoke me out while he was at it.
Puzzle had a few sheets in his pockets and he couldn’t sell them the night before, so he tore off a good chunk and gave each of us three hits. I had no idea if I was going to take it tonight or not, but I decided not to, and left them in my pocket. Him and Mimph scarfed them up though, and Mimph declared he really was thirsty now, even after the wine he’d like a coffee.
So we trundled ourselves down the hill to the Street, and made our way along, feeling a little giddy and tipsy but surely higher than most of the folks down there.
Those folks looked out at us with commuter eyes as they passed us riding the buses down the hill, and probably thought we were up to nobody’s good.

     No, up to nobody’s good, but nobody’s bad, either, just some freaks walking down the street. We passed up the stores along the way, the little cafe-bar-restaurants that had sprung up over summer and shown us up for the change in our pockets had been scrounged and our clothing was half grubbed out of the free boxes that also sprouted, mushroom like, along the side streets.

Mimph’s place was inside a little thrift store that one upon a time had another life as a produce market, a bank, a used clothing store, but as a thrift shop now took in any old rags people wanted to let go of for a small song. It might get you enough for your next meal to trade in a coat or pair of trousers, you never really knew. It seemed like half the folks on the street met the world each day in clothes that had originally began as somebody else’s.

Mimph had a sweet deal  there. The owners had let him take over the upper floor, a balcony-like feature that while open to the room still afforded him privacy behind some hanging velvet curtains he had thrown up. Behind the curtains up a stairway, and you were in Mimph’s lair. I guess lair might be a good word to call it. There were three twin bed mattresses thrown down, and mercifully each had a fair allotment of thick wool blankets, so nobody that ever crashed at Mimph's could complain of being cold, not at least in the summer. He had space heaters, a small hotplate, a Chinese tea crate that held his supplies (mostly rice, flour, oil, and a skillet and coffee maker.) It was that coffeemaker we were headed for.

“Get yourself a reefer out of this, Muggles,” he said, handing me a large shoe box which was full of a fair bit of grass. Stems and seeds had made their way to one side of it, the other was a heap of scrub that wasn’t bud and wasn’t trash- some folks might call it “trim” but it did the job. I settled back on one of the mattresses with it, sitting on my knees, an I fished out some papers from my wallet, and threw a j together.

All this time I am thinking about what the chances are this night I might meet some good looking chick or something. I’ve been up on the street a week and a half now, and have seen a few I like, but haven’t had a lot of luck beyond just a cup of coffee at the Piano. I have been hanging out with Mimph and Puzzle because it’s actually been pretty cool to find folks that are pretty much just like me, but they’re guys, and, guys just get boring on me after a while. I figure you might get bored too hanging out tripping and toking with the same folks for a week or more yourself. Well, that was just where I was at.

I had dough in the bank to set another couple weeks at least before I needed to look for work so for now it was a lot like being a tourist except for the sleeping bag part of it. My sleeping bag had seen me through  a good seven thousand miles or more, from California to Colorado to Iowa and back twice, and my backpack though worn, held everything I felt I needed except a record player and a guitar. How I lost my guitar I still really can’t explain but I had enough in the bank that I could get one pretty quick again.
If I chose to spend that money on it. I might too, I don’t know.

But I got the joint rolled and passed it to puzzle to light as Mimph kept fidgeting with his coffee maker. Finally he had it just right and you could hear it perking. The j went to Mimph and he took one of his trademarked “big wide” tokes and handed it back to us. It was nearly half gone! That was just Mimph and the way he did things. “You can roll another one if you aren’t getting high enough,” he told me.
So I rolled another one, and wished I could roll one just to pocket, but that would not have been cool, and I was a guest there.

The curtains on the ceiling too were something special as I looked up and noticed them. they must have come from Goa because there was a particular design I remember seeing when I was there four years before- it was banana trees and milkmaids all in a repeated pattern. I laughed just to think of it.

Mimph poured us all coffee, and we sat on the mattresses while he started telling us about something he had read, that actually seemed esoteric but had to have been a little Gnostic in the world we were living in.
“The Greeks took acid, man! The Elysian Mysteries were founded on ergot drinks!  Did you know that? It’s all here in this book!” Mimph tossed me a small book and I guess it was Hofmann and Wasser's treatise.  I wondered how many people actually knew about this?
 “Our entire Western civilization and it’s based on people getting high! What do you think about that? Why our government won’t even let us partake of it, and the whole edifice is kept from falling apart by being based on the truth being forbidden! That is completely bogus, man!”

Mimph was cool to have turned me onto that book, and I would look for a copy of my own when I got out the trip I was on then. But we were hanging out and like I said, I was getting a little antsy to get a woman and put something else together than this running around with him and Puzzle.
 We smoked that second j, and then Mimph tells us “Hey, lets go up on the roof!”

Another stairway led to the roof, and up there there were clotheslines, a short parapet that kept things a bit apart from the neighboring store roofs. Most of them were pretty different heights, so it was a bit like being on an island in the middle of the city, being up there. There was a fire escape, or from where I was standing, it looked like one. Mimph walked over that way.

And that was about the last thing I remember for sane times, because Mimph walked in the direction of the fire escape, and as I turned to look toward the now pink sunset, Mimph went over the edge.

Puzzle and I just looked at each other.
“What the h—?”
We ran to the edge of the roof and looked over. What we had thought was a fire escape was actually something a lot like a diving board, and Mimph had probably done a swan dive! But as we looked down to the street below- the back street that was the boundary of the store- we didn’t see him. Probably the dark was getting on, but we did not see Mimph.
Well, now our whole reason for being in the store was gone, so Puzzle and I decided “we’d better get out of here, man!” and we made our way down the stairs into Mimph’s pad. I turned off his coffeemaker, pinched a little of his grass for later (he probably really wouldn’t mind, I’d decided) and with my three hits of acid in my pocket, I had (at least) a means of buying somebody a drink or two before the end of the night. So we split.

On the street, Puzzle and I split up. I wanted to check things out as they were going to pan out , and Puzzle maybe had had enough of me in the last couple weeks as well. So I just nodded to him “See ya later” and headed west towards Golden Gate Park. Maybe there would still be some folks up on Hippie Hill and there I could sleep, at least, if I needed to, some ways back beyond it, in one of those other eucalyptus groves. Whatever.
There were people there, actually, when I got there, happily. It was about fifteen folks and they were pretty sauced  and half of them would be sleeping  there themselves that night.  And by some luck, half of them were girls, too! I was happy to find one of them had a guitar, and I sat and played for them a while. Really this living without a guitar was not the way to go. I decided that tomorrow, I’d go the music store an spring for one. But the girl who owned the guitar really dug what I played  so she warmed up to me.
Her name was Gloria and she was down here from Bend Oregon. I knew that place only a little, had been stuck there for six hours on my way down from Portland once. But this girl had a wide, fine, happy smile, she had zongas like plantains and legs almost like an ostrich, although that was just my funny riffing on being high and short first impression.

The sun had gone down completely by now so she and I walked up back to Haight Street together. On the corner at Clayton she ran into a group of friends, and they invited her (and me too) to a party.
I was really kind of shocked when it turned out to be at Mimph’s place, only down below, on the floor of the thrift shop! After hours they had locked the doors and were only letting people in who knew their “secret password” and the party was held in a room behind all the clothes, still on the first level. I could not help but wonder if Mimph was the noises I heard up above me. but I was way too interested in Gloria and getting it on with her than in finding out.

The people in that little back room were about my age, I suppose a couple of them were a few years older. There were one or two who looked like hardcore Haight Street types, like they had been there a year or two at least, to go on, and maybe one of them was part owner of the store, or something. He was friendly enough, but by the look in Gloria’s eye I had the not-so-faint notion that she’d be into balling me sometime soon. Like, it was a pretty good prospect and possibility.
So in order to more or less initiate something I borrowed back her guitar an played them a few songs. If they didn’t recognize them that was because they were the ones I wrote! But Gloria liked them.
“Where do you live?” she asked me.
“The street, pretty much, for now. Don’t have a place yet.”
She looked a little own like she might have preferred getting taken to some bitchen pad, but, I haven’t even been here yet long enough to have a life, and bitchen pad it not yet in the picture. So I left with her and we went up to hers. Her place was around the corner, wouldn’t you now, on the same side street Mimph disappeared over.

She let me up the stairs and let me into her kitchen. She was sharing the place,  of course, but her roommate wasn’t in after all and the place was relatively well furnished, if I compared it to the little landing that was Mimph’s place or any of the other places I had crashed at the last couple weeks. The kitchen had a number of different sized pots hanging on the wall, a solid wood cutting board, and shelves behind glass that held cups, plates, saucers on one side of a sink and food of various sorts behind the same type of shelves on the other. The kitchen had some interesting blue and green tiles above the sink as well. It was a pleasant little space. She had a little radio and turned it on to one of the local channels, they were playing some old stuff, but I don’t remember much what it really was. Mostly I remember her because she’s a great memory!

I broke out the little bit of pot I pinched from Mimph’s stash and set it on the table. I was able to get two medium-sized j’s rolled out of it, and we lit one up. Thank god she smoked like a normal person, (not like Mimph!) and we were able to stretch that j out a good five minutes or more, and by the time we were both high there was still a sizable roach left. And she came near me and began wrapping her arms around me as I was sitting there, and soon it was, she was kissing me, and led me into her room itself. When we had smoked the weed I remembered I had the acid still so I gave her a hit, which she ate right then. Not wishing to harsh the experience at all for her, I dropped one of the other two and kept the last one in my wallet.

And so we were getting into it, she sitting on my lap and me kissing her. Soon I was fondling her ample zongas, surely they would be a sight for sore eyes if I got that chance. And I would. Because once the acid began coming on, she soon peeled off her clothes and indicated I should do the same.

Naked we were on the bed together, just holding each other. There was no need to hurry or rush anything. She got up and went to the other room for a while and came back to tell me she had called out for Chinese food- just some chow mein and fried rice, but there would be enough for us both.

“I haven’t eaten all day and don’t feel like cooking,” she said.

Now with the acid coming on I was looking around her room. There were shelves of books on the wall- a lot of poetry by people I had never heard of, modern day one-offs, as well as a lot of philosophy and gardening books She seemed to not really need much. There were records, and a small portable record player (mono) with a little speaker and she put on Ravi Shankar while we waited for the food to show up.

When it came she threw on a bathrobe and collected it at the front door and paid off the delivery guy. Now I was more than hungry not only for the food, but for her!

There is a place in every trip where you almost feel like you are on the verge of a real insight about your life. This time for me it came while we were sitting on the bed naked sharing the chow mein right out of the paper takeaway boxes. And the insight I had was that somehow I knew I had been through all this before with her. Was she a soul mate? Well that wasn’t as clear though as the distinct déjà vu, of eating this meal with this other person, maybe it was back in old New England, or England itself, or Holland, or somewhere.
When we had glutted ourselves then she seriously went down on me and things went from there to me reciprocating, and then we did it together, and the experience of being totally clear yet fully ripped on acid while we were sexing it was another one of those “only once in a lifetime” kinds of things.
She was great! She knew exactly how to move how to squeeze, how to lean off just at the point of almost-there, and take it back down and build it back up. I was surprised when the next time I checked her little clock that four hours had gone by and we still had not taken it to the conclusion. But that realization put the tiger in my tank and I got her real wet again and then it happened- the final orgasm was a lot like a rain cloud opening over the fields, and when I was spent she was as well. There was not much need for saying anything other than “That was fantastic!”

And we slumbered after tripping another three hours or so, talking about all kids of things—then until dawn when she got me into doing it all over again then at eight she was out of bed, had a shower, got me one and we did it once more (for good measure) and she was off, herself, on what she said was an appointment, and I was out the door as well.
When I hit the street of course I was coming down by then and the fog had finally come in and socked everything over, so thick you could not see more than about twenty feet ahead of you. As I came down the street I noticed there were all kinds of cop cars and a hospital wagon pulled up behind the thrift store. I kept walking, turned the corner, and in a second I was back on Haight. There was Puzzle, hanging out in front of the Piano.
“What happened to Mimph?” he asked me.
“I just don’t know,” I said, burying my hands in my pockets and we scooted down the street looking for more people to buy hits off his sheets.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Well,  it was on this las’ trip over t’ Stockton that I guess I come to’ the answer I was lookin’ fer about the strange people out o’ the future you know, them huckadoo bummer writers, an’ Sam Clamhands? Well I reckon I could put a few things together after this lil’ experience.
Like I says, I was headed t’ Stockton, an’ this time it was t’ buy me more o’ my supplies— I needed more lard an’ flar, an’ eff I could find any, an egg er two, an’ I  needed terbacky an’ cigartee papers an’ possibly I could use some store bought whisky, stead o’ that copper-rust-enfewsed Fugitive Justice o’ Jamjob’s.It was in a little box gulley offa Goose Crick not too far outta El Dorado an’ I set me down t’ make a far an’ hopefully git some victuals in me. My pinto Sackagrool were there, an’ I strung him up t’ a small cottonwood, an’ he were set, since he also hed a feed bag and I slipped et on him fer a couple ares.
I was rustling about fer tinder an’ kindling, when I seen ‘im. I mean, like right outta nowar, there he wuz. An Injun! I figgered he were some type big cheese from the marks on his arms, but he weren’t dressed up like no chief, but then he looks et me.
“Truckee,” he said.
I says nodding, “Truckee you too. Howdy doo?”
“Me good. You good too.”
“Yep, I’m gittin’ along here.”
“Me know you’re not normal white man.”
“Oh I’m normal alright and if I weren’t I’d be settin in the calaboose.”
“No— I can tell from your eyes. You not like other white men. You onnist, no hate.”
“Eh, I gots my dislikes. I don’t hate Injuns though. I don’t hate nobody but people gots hate in their heart.”
“That what I mean. You no hate Injun. Not normal for white man. What you do here?”
“You mean, what am I doing here? This place?”
He nodded.
“I’m headed t’ Stockton fer stockin’ up my cabin. We’re gonna have another feeroshus winter.”
“You not know this place?”
“Nope. Should I?”
“This very special place. I am guardian of Hukish Kaishtish. Sacred spot, hita tushtak hatakt’gi at’getak, “Place Where Time Ends.”
“I’ll be danged.”
“Maybe you be danged anyway. My job, keep place holy. You must not tell, this is door from one spirit world to another. You see anybody come this way?”
“Eh, can’t say.”
“I know place has been used. I find many tracks lead off, some each direction. Maybe white man figure out secret of Spirit Door, some day in future. He come by here. You sure you see nobody?”
It still didn’t hit me thet he were maybe talkin’ about them writer boys.
“No, I seen nobody. Jes’ on my way down to Stockton.”
“My name Hutchne’ash Tatamnu’ish... Runs Walking. I am chief, say white man anyway, from Mokelumne tribe. I not chief. I just have this job, job from my father and his father’s father, from the ancestors. We watch Spirit Door. If there are evil spirits, evil people use this door then we...”
He drew a line acrosst his neck, an’ there were no doubting what thet meant none.
“But you not evil. And you not use Spirit Door?”
“No, I reckon I not use Spirit Door. Can’t think of nothin’ I needs it fer.”
Unless, I thinks later, eff I could jes git me a ten cent egg!
Runs Walking, like most o’ his tribe, looked like a perpetually hungry dog, an’ so I made a double batch o’ everthin I was eatin’ an’ invited him to set an’ get him some grub in him too. This I am sure made him very grateful. I tells him who I am, an’ how I comes from Judas Gulch, an’ how sorry I is that he as a Free Citizen o’ the Great State of California cain’t vote, cuz he are a Injun. This made him smile, an’ thoughtfully, he continewed t’ tell me the story o’ “This Place, Hukish Kaishtish” as he called it.
“Many many snows ago, far back when the Creator made the world, there were four Sister Goddesses responsible for holding the great clock of the stars. Manch-Gitko-P’na was goddess of Time Passed. Tankt Gatpannapkshme was goddess of Time Not-Yet-Come. Atu Hatkt-Gi was goddess of Present Moment. Atu Kayutch-Tata was goddess of Time Never-Ever Come. Of course, Atu Htkt-Gi of Present Moment was full of pride, for she felt she was most powerful of these four Sisters. Mach-Gitko-P’na, Time Passed, she was always sad, for  she was always feeling like her time come and gone. Tankt Gatpannapkshme of Time Not-Yet-Come was jealous of both of them, for she would never come into her power, she felt, and Time Never-Ever Come, she thought, was always holding her back from everthing.”
“One day, then, Time Not-Yet-Come she had a plan. What if she can go back to Time Passed and  get her to trick Present Moment into thinking she was Time Never-Ever Come? Maybe then she would slip her power, and Time Not-Yet-Come could gather some of that power for herself.”
“So she decided she would do this. She would trick Present Moment. The place she chose for her ambush, it was right here, where Spirit Door— Hukish Kaishtish— now is.”
“That’s all intersting. But how did the Spirit Door git har?”
“Me tell you next. Be patient, Sardo Pat.” He shifted a bit an’ as he did, embirs flew up from the fire as tho riven aside by a ghost.
“Time Not-Yet-Come went to her sister Time Never-Ever Come and asked her a favor. Time Never-Ever saw her approaching, think, “Here come my weakling sister, always complaining about her Time Not-Yet-Come, she not even like her name. She weakest Sister of all of us!”
“She hold out a pipe for Not-Yet, and Not-Yet smoke with her then ask her big favor she came for.”
“Make me a door, Time Never-Ever, so I can catch Present Moment and trick her to think she really Time Passed. Put door in this spot. When I call her, Present Moment will come, and will remember Time Passed, and door will catch her, and she will have to hold door open.”

I begun to see his point. The goddess o’ the Present Moment keeps holding the door open fer Not-Yet-Come, so thet Never-Ever will send Present Moment inta Time Passed.
“When Man come to Planet, Man walk through door and not even know it. But Creator say “Present Moment cannot keep holding door open all the time. Present Moment must be free, she has other business to do.” But once in a while Man must come through door, to learn lessons. These lessons, though, can be Evil for the Wrong People to learn them. The People must guard the Spirit Door to make sure the ones who go through Hukish Kaishtish to Time Passed will be only good people— or otherwise, Evil will come to Time Not-Yet-Come.”
“Many times, Time No-Yet-Come arrive at Hukish Kaishtish and think she fool one sister or the other. But always Present Moment and Never-Ever come trick her back. Never-Ever she make things so human beings can use door. If human beings Never-Ever meet Not-Yet-Come, then world will keep its Sacred Circle, and rain will follow snow, and light will follow Winter, and Winter will be Spring, and then Spring Summer. Always Present Moment rules, even though Not-Yet-Come has hope door is staying open. When human beings come to Spirit Door, most not even know it. Some think they can get past Present Moment and slip past Not-Yet-Come. But most often, they run back into Time Passed. It very hard to make good for Time Not-Yet-Come so she let human beings go see future. Maybe Never-Ever help her, but our job, is to work for Never-Ever and the Creator, make sure, all evil spirits fly away with Never-Ever. In this way, the birds come back in spring, and frog grows out of mud again, snow become river, and acorn fall from tree.”
“Some human beings, they think that if they go back to Time Passed, that they can make changes happen to Present Moment. But Present Moment is not enamored of that sister. She shun her, make her all finished, washed up. When Human beings land in Time Passed, maybe they get back to Present Moment, but if Present Moment not like them she send them to Never-Ever, too. You sabe?”
I nodded to him. I thought agin about ole Sam Clamhands an’ eff he were evil er not. Maybe he war an’ maybe he warn’t. I could not dismiss that possibility, seein’ as he were a Copperhead, a darn tarnation tarnished Copperhead if I never seen one. Later on en life I figures maybe he larned somethin’, but when I runned acrost him, he were jes’ as spiteful as Suthrun about my feelings about Mr. Starr King, and all. Still, a man has a right t’ his pinions, stupid though they might be, an’ he mighta been a prideful cuss, but somethin’ about Clamhands made me think well, he might be OK. And maybe Time Not Yet Come seen somethin’ in him worth saving him fer. I dunno. So agin, I says nothin’, an’ thunk some about them other fellers.
Them might have been strange but they wasn’t no evils neither. About the only people truly evil around these parts is the Pikes. A Pike will strangle his Injun guide, girrott his Chinaman with his pigtails, an’ sharpen his knife on a Chillyman’s belt buckle eff you tell ‘im thar’s gold en it fer him. I gets so tuckered out o’ these Pikes, specially the ones come here with no woman, an’ ain’t no Nesters, an’ ain’t good for nothin’ but jumpin’ claims, stealin’ hosses, an’ livin’ off the keno table. This type of man I agrees for Tankt Gatpannapkshme’s sake, should never come to Spirit Door...
I tells Runs Walking that longs as I live, ain’t no way I’se gone tell no Pikes about Hukish Kaishtish, an’ maybe nobody else (sept you settin har readin’ what I gots to say!) I didn’t want no evil t’ come to Not-Yet-Come myself, after hearin’ all this, myself. So as I was about t’ turn in, an’ Runs Walking stayed awake by the far, I am sure, keepin’ his lookout fer evil men, then I says t’ myself, “None of them boys was evil, I reckon Runs Walking don’t really even need t’ know about them.” an’ I goes to sleep.
When I wakes up o’ coarse, there ain’t no sign o’ Runs Walking an’ there ain’t no way o’ even knowing war the Hukish Kaishtish were, as he had not even told me. But I knew et were “someplace around here.” So I made me a mental note o’ it so one day, maybe, eff the hankerin’ gets too bad, I can come back here an’ see eff I can head myself up to Time-Not-Yet-Come, an’ give her a big kiss an’ a howdy, an’ see eff she won’t give me no prospects on a ten cent egg.
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Monday, January 12, 2015


Then there wuz a time come t’ a determination o’ the status of are compnee an’ comparin’ it t’ other folks an’ what they wuz profiting, against the ex-spenses, which wuz gettin’ har an’ seemin’ t’ be a real threat t’ us all. Now I mean no ill aginst my pardners— they wuz all quite froogull mens an’ didn’t really pull no inordinit ex-spenses or nothin’ lak that. But it were the comin’ o’ the hydrollickers an’ the water compnee was a-gonna do us in, big times.
I reckoned, and Transom an’ MacDavish too, thet ever day we wuz takin’ in from a half-ounce t’ four ounces o’ tailin’s as our net group profit. But we reckoned it aginst the water compnee—see, we did have there the river, thet was one thing. But when the compnees come all the way down the river an’ insisted everone minin’, now had t’ pay inta the common flue they wuz a bildin’ an’ all compnees an’ individjools had t’ spend about forty dollers per munth jes’ t’ git three ares of sluice right, well, we begun t’ see the writin’ on the wall.
That there forty dollers et wuz ekull t’ our daily profits. Sure we still ended up at the end of a munth with about a couple o’ hundered or so. But out o’ that we paid the water compnee forty t’ a hunnert sixty, since Jamjob an’ Suthrun didn’t want t’ hear no nothin’ ‘bout what it really cosseted an’ they wuz pullin’ more water from the flues “cuz they’re thar! Thass why!”
We had so t’ say a seperation o’ the minds now. Us Union men, we decided thet the days o’ the compnee was ackshully numbert now.
I remembers the day the water compnee sent a man round t’ fetch us all inta the scam. It were some shady lil feller, looked t’ me like a Boston fer shore— had hisself a liddle hat on his head twicet as big as might fit, thet hung down an’ made the shades fall over his eyes, like you might not a warnted t’ see t’ begin with, but, nevertheless it wuz this “Mr. Stockton” came round t’ us wal we wuz all hackin’ on boulders an’ settin’ things up fer a big sluice job.  Everone had his partition, an’ then Mr. Stockton was a pon us.
“So, I sees you is all a compnee are ye? Wal, we gots a great invessmunt for ye! The Twollomee Water Compnee is offerin’ ever minin’ compnee on ever tribbertary o’ the San Wockeen speshul rights t’ are new sluices come offen are Great Flues! Thass rat, ever compnee on ever tribbertary is a gonna have a claim, since ever tribbertary is a gonna have a flue fer themselves. Why, we are already jes’ fifteen miles away from ye, down in Butcher Pass, an’ building ever so fast, we expeck t’ be har in jes’ another week! Now howabouts you boys take a notion t’ sign on, er git left out o’ the biggest disterbution o’ fair water fer yer sluices as has ever bin?”
MacDavish, he would not bite, at first.
“I gots me this har river, an’ I gots this har shuvil, an’ pistil, see, Mr. whatever-yer-name-is, an’ thar water ets free by God an’ these bullets costid a nickel apiece. You warner arn one the hard way er yewanna shove off right like civilized?”
“Now, now, please, Mr. MacDavish”—
“Howd you know mah name?”
“Well, see, I been to the county reckerds office an’ looked ya all up. I knows all the major officers names o’ ever compnee on the Consumniss!”
“You does, huh?”
MacDavish looked askance lak he seened this sumwars before.
“Yes, I do, and I know thet yer parder Mr. Necletto thar is ackshully a fugitive! The govamint of Italy wants him brought back, did ya know this?”
“Even eff they did, Nicletto is a free Murrican, an;’ that is cuz I sez so.”
MacDavish were gonna get this Stockton feller a hard time eff he could.
“An’ I knows Mr. Jamjob over thar kilt a man in Texas jes’ to see him die, too. You gots some tricky characters har, Mr. MacDavish, I’ll be a-warnin’ ya...”
“We must hold a miner meeting and consider yer flue an all the rest of it, afore we cast are bread on trubbled wafers, Mr. Stock-tin.”
I wuz happy MacDavish did not jes’ enlist us all rat away.
But we did hafta hold our miner’s meetin’, cuz thar wuz no way all o’ us coulda seened it all the same ways. Nicletto, ackshully, he wuz var scairt then people knew he wuz on the lam from his own countree, but MacDavish put the keebosh on his fears.
“Nicletto, good sir, you are here in Californee. We is a free republic an’ thar iz no extra-diction treaties wif the govamint o’ Italy— no sar, not yit. So relax your mind good sir. Thet man was a-countin’ on that scarin’ ye. I tell ye ye are fine so long as ye are friends of mine! And I know yore a good man, an’ can cook a right something speshul too, so ye is a good man.”
“Now to are bizness. Who har wants t’ jump hand an’ foot inta this flue bizness?”
Suthrun raised his hands. He mebbe thought by raisin them both it might count as two votes, but MacDavish wuz no dummy.
“Ez thet all I har? Jes’ Mr Suthrun?”
Jamjob an’ Transom meekly held up thars, too.
“Well now we gots a logjam. Three aginst three ekulls ekull, an’ then so, thar ain’t no motion t’ accipt nor is thar a motion to deny. The presedent then shall take et under advisement. All are welcome t’ submit to me yer reasons why you feels this way, an’ do so in writin’ so I kin take it t’ the water compnee man and say “this ez why— we iz on the fence about yer offer.”
That were not the half of the problem tho. Immejitely, Suthrun brings up the fack thet the drollickers wuz comin’ down the river too, jes’ like the flue wuz. Why the drollickers wuz offerin’ mens an’ thar compnees hunnders of dollers sight unseen fer claims some wuz worked t’ smoke an’ dust already!
“The drollickers, they pay good money,” Suthrun says. “I wonders how we kin hold out et all ennymore or even eff we should. How much we makin per soul heah anyways? We splittin two hunnert dollers six ways ever month an’ ever one is makin about two hunnert a month as it is. Eff we sells out to the drollickers we kin all make thet much an’ more! I say we do it. Then we’ll each have for er five hunnert, en we kin go back t’ Frisco, er back wherever, an’ we’ll have that.”
“Mr. Suthrun, your reasoning soundeth rather specious to me. As president of this compnee, I do hear your concern. But are we not better men for makin’ our two hunnert a month ourselves, rather than, taking the easier money which will give us less, in the long run? The longer we keep are company intact, the longer we’ll each of us have thet two hunnert t’ call are own. Eff we sells out then what? Et wuz all for nothin? I figgers each of us, eff he saves each month a hunnert of thet two, then within a years we’ll all have over a thousand, an’ then maybe we kin think about sellin’ out to drollickers.”
“Wal, mebbe I don’t have the stamna ta last another yar at this. Mebbe Is’e-a gittin’ tard.. Mebbe I’se gittin’ old an’ ain’t got no stomick fer none o’ this back-brakin’ nonsense no mores.”
“Mebbe you are, Mr Suthrun. But the rest of us, consider! An’ if ye did sell out, an’ yer claim is smack en the middle o’ the rest o’ us boys, how d’you think we feel er might ‘bout the Drollickers comin’ en t’ mine yer shar ovair the rest o’ us? What does that do t’ what we have?”
“ I dunno ‘bout that, Mister Davish. But all I knows is, now I’se itchin’ t’ head home t’ Tennessee an’ about ready t’ call it quits. In fact eff you warnts t’ buy me outta here, I would go fer thet today.”
“Well, that’s another notion we’ll save fer our next meetin. Let’s make that a week from now, OK? Give ye time to think about it, and mull it over, and all. I respects yer opinion Mister Suthrun, but ye know this is a democratic Arcadian Mining Compnee, an’ all decisions...”
“I know, I know, et rests a pon the group. Lissen, I’ll jest tell ye, I’m tard o’ the work too. I’d ruther be settin’ in Frisco in a easy char an’ seppin’ on a julep than be breakin stones lak I wuz a nigger en a chain gang. Now I getcha, you might be willin t’ buy me out, an’ you all gotsa think about thet. But speakin’ as me fer me, I’m gittin’ tard of cold wet boots an’ a far ever night jes thinkin’ “someday I’se gonna be rich!” I ain’t rich, an’ I ain’t smilin’ happy either. Thes ez a curset life, t’ be a miner. I’ll tell all the boys back home “keep yer wimmen an’ yer sense an’ doncha go t’ Californee. Yer a fool!”
“Well, ye made something of a name fer yersef while you wuz har, Mr Suthrun. As I said, we’ll tike up th’ mattair next week...”
Thet about broke up the meetin’ sept that Nicletto still looked like a man who’d caught a trace o’ the hangman out on the breeze.

MacDavish looked at me an’ says rather crafty, “Well Pat, I think it will come t’ a voot. Let’s call a compnee meetin’ ternght. Meet at my cabin. Everone must attend!”
“That sounds far, James.”
So it were that, once everone got their evening grub, we all assembled en MacDavish’s cabin t’ talk about the futures en the compnee. Suthrun an’ Jamjob war the first t’ speak up.
“We’re tard of sharing this patch of river with peoples got no durn self respeck an’ thank darkies gots sartin rights. Let us set this all straight. We wants to cash out are shars. Since Cakey gone back to Sandwiches, all o’ us have a even pot—sixty-sixty. We warnt t’ take are one third o’ this har compnee an’ do with et what’s we wish.”
Suthrun bothered with his beard, an’ jammed his fingers in his spenders, right stubborn like.
“Ye cannot remove your stock withoot a voot from th’ othair sharholders, Mester Suthrun. T’ do so we must hold plebskite. Et’s a democracy, lad, an’ ye can’t partic’pate en a democracy with tyrant idears. So we’ll chat another two minits er so on this, an’ then we will voot. Any other comments f’m the sharholders?”
Jamjob takes his turn.
“Yes. My comment is, well, since it’s ben me thet supplies y’all with my Fugitive Justice, I reckon thet y’all must pay me in arrears fer all I have donated fer free so far. Yes, most of y’all paid me on the barrel— I gots no problems with that. But now I want retro-active benefits fer the Christmuss party las’ year, an’ Transom’s birfday, an’ the Statehood party. Y’all concede thet a man’s got a right t’ the fruits of his labor, right? Well, I’m plum tuckered out of bein’ mister hospitality. Y’all pays me, er I leaves here with a big grudge.”
Nicletto spoke up.
“Mester Jamjob, I-a unnerstanna your complain. But what about-a me, eh? It is-a I meks the spaghetti and-a meatball you eat at-a Christmuss dinner! It is I who cook sage hens for-a everone for-a Thanksgeeving, who catch-a the hares, who make-a the beeg supper fer the State-ahood party! Me! Should I have-a nerva to asket everone musset pay me fer alla these? Eh?”
“Whale you kin eff you has a mind to...” Jamjob offered.
“But no! I shall not! Ees insult-a to asket back fer what one givved in free! You know whatta you-a iz, Mester Jamjob?”
“Yes, I am a man not impressed with this operation no longer.”
You-a izza an INJUN GIVER!”
That were purty much the doggone lowest thing annyone coulda calt Jamjob, but he jes’ sat thar and took it.
Now MacDavish raised up his hand and puts a cease to all of it.
“Now now—men, compnee, sharholders. We are aware o’ we have reached most dangerous impasse. Shall we voot? All in favor of granting t’ Messers Suthrun and Jamjob full recompense o’ their shars an’ absolving them from all future divedend an’ profit from this compnee, raise yer hands.”
Was not a single one of us did not have his hand in the are.
“I reckon then, this ez the unanimous decision. Let it be known henceforth thet Suthrun an’ Jamjob are no longer members of this partnership. Th’ Treasurer will read the accounts, an’ will disperse the proceeds t’ the ex-partners accordingly, immejitly, startin’ now.”
Transom were our Treasurer. He solisittid the account book from MacDavish’s bureau, an’ looked down the rows o’ entries fer the last month.
“As of now, sharholders, the total liquid proceeds of this compnee is Twenty Pounds Four Ounces. Let me do the long division fer a moment. The ackshul figger of our compnee’s worth is Two Hunnert Fifty Six ounces, or Five Thousand One Hunnert Eighty Four dollers. Divided by six that is Fifty-Four ounces fer each man. Suthrun and Jamjob, do all agree to the dispensation?” Transom shut the account book, and smiled.
Agin, were not a one of us but dint have a hand in the are.
“Then let it be so. I shall make the dispensation.”
MacDavish, bein the most prominent member, had him a little safe where he keppit all the stray dust we pulled from the end-sluice each day. As you jes’ heard, by now we had twenty pounds o’ it thar, locked up, an’ now two o’ the party was takin’ off. I reckon weren’t none o’ us others had any botheration ‘bout lettin’ these boys go. After all what is a compnee eff not a organization o’ like mined individjools?
Transom collected the scales from MacDavish’s bureau, an’ we set about t’ weighing out their shars. Each of them had his alligator eye on it, makin’ sure they was not gone to git gypped. Warn’t no digger ounces en Transom’s treasury, no how, regardless.
But weren’t no need fer their worry. We was not about to gyp them, bein’ onnist men.
They took their little bags and filled them full. What was left over, they poured inta their hats, an’ carefully held them t’ their chests.
“Gentlemen, those fifty four ounces t’ aich o’ ye makes Eight Hunnert Sixty Four dollers Troy fer each o’ ye. I am shore ye will find yer ways t’ git rids o’ et somehow, fer good irr evil.”
MacDavish bowed t’ them, an’ they bowed back, an’ you could hear Jamjob complainin’ as they walked away, “I wished it haint had come to that, Suthrun. You know it weren’t all so bad, workin’ with a couple o’ em. I guess I mighta blowned it.”
“I reckon perhaps you done thet, Jamjob, but less go back t’ the cabin an’ think what we’re a gonna do nex’.”
Then MacDavish called us t’ order agin an’ had Transom announce what the new kitty was.
“Gennulmen, we now have One Hunnert Forty Eight ounces held t’ are four names, and thet gives us Three Thousant Four Hunnert an’ Fifty Six dollers Troy. I move we hold these funds en common until such as happens any oth’r man o’ us decided he’s had ‘nuff of this har minin’ bizness.”
Everone agreed. The gold were put back inta the safe, an’ Transom spun the big combo lock like a roolet wheel, an’ satisfied we hed driven the outliers back on the road t’ the inn at Bethlehem, we all shared a bottle of brandy, pulled from MacDavish’s pantry wall, an’ sipped from gilt-edge shot glasses.
As fer Suthrun and Jamjob, we dint see neither of them the next day. We did see ‘em on Sundy, they was carryin’ things over to a mule-cart, an’ they said they wuz headed to Hangtown, an’ up thar, they was shore t’ find whiter men an’ fairer pastures. I was not sad t’ say the lease t’ watch thet cusset mule drivin’ those two jackasses away.

So then it come down to a majer reorganizing of the compnee. On account of it bein’ Sundy, we decidet to hold our reorganizashun meetin on Mundy nat. Agin we meets et MacDavish’s cabin, an’ the four of us passet around a little jar o’ leftover Fugitive Justice, just t’ warsh the bad taste outta our mouths.
MacDavish then he gits down t’ bizniss.
“Gennulmen an’ sharholters. We bein’ the Arcadia Cosmopolitan Mining Compnee, are gathered now t’ reorganize this compnee in the absence of orijnul foundin’ membars. Given thar wars six o’ us, and aich men hae’ a ten foot long claim, the resulting twenty feet of lost claim shall be divided four ways, eekully amongst us all. Do that nae be far, gennulmen?”
Heads nodded, all wuz agree.
“Therefore, aich of us gits an additional five feet added on to our claims, accordin’ to war ye ez on the scale o’ war they wuz. Whoever wuz in the middle, ye gits two ana haffet feet added aich ways. Eff ye ez arn the ends, ye git that added in whichever direction. Eff you...”
He stopped. Nicletto had his hand up.
“Does thissa division MacDavish mean-a thet now we works another a-twenny five percenta more-a too?”
It was hard to tell from his curious expression if Nicletto wanted to work more, er he dint, really. He might warna go either way.
“I will git t’ that, Mester Necletto. Ye still works jes as much as ye likes. We will take a voot now on who will do the duties of the former Jamjob, who took the sluice ends in.”
“I wote it be for me, cause I ees on the end now,” nodded Nicletto.
“Anyone feel enny differnt?” Mac Davish looked about him.
Seein’ no dissent, he nodded and granted the sluice end box ‘sposibilites to Nicletto.
“Now, we’s gonna haffa decide on how we approaches the Water Compnee.”
Everone without a seption rolled thar eyes. The Water Compnee! Weren’t none of us even thought o’ them for a coupla months even. Now the Water Compnee was a-talkin’ ‘bout jackin’ up the rent an’ turnin’ down the water fer the sluice til it got paymints. But the Twolomee an’ Goose Crick Water Monoplee were quick becomin’ the dogginest pest o’ all the miners, even beyond the deleterious malarious skeeters. Now they hed everone up an’ down the river jumpin’, hoppin’, an’ a’skippin’ to their tune. It were not a pleasant one, neither, as ever month the rents jacked up more.
“Each of us will now need to contribute more parportionally t’ the bill, gennulmen, it is my regret to inform you. Thet means we must all collectively chip in at, yes, agin, five percent more what we war.”
“Thet’s Robbery!” yelled Transom.
“Et’s robbery alright, but et’s legal robbery, George.”
“Dang eff I wants t’ arrange fer my own stickup! How much you talkin’?”
“Right now ets hat fift’en dollers per man. An’ et nigh now be eight’en.”
“I’ll pay,” I said. “Aint no percentage of likeable, but durn eff I am gonna git runned off my claim eff I do not pay it.”
“They willa even charge us in winter, no?” asked Nicletto.
“”Yes, Salpietro, they will even charge us in winter. That’s stankin robbery t’ me, too, but eff we don’t want to lose the claims, we gorts t’ pay the piper.”
“Seems to me like this piper can go ‘ hell with the rats!” offered Transom. He were getting rather blitzed from his little jug.
“We can do what we like over winter. Pat, I presume you still have your holes. Any luck with those?”
“Some. I gesset I can keep ya all bizzy with pocket diggins eff ya ainta got some o’ yer own. That can keep us wall the river’s still high. But when she drops agin’...”
“I know,” said MacDavish, holding up his hand again. We knew it were time fer a new pointa order.
“Now gennulmen, we will have the payments of the Water Rents. Each o’ ye, eighteen dollars, please.”
We all scratched and muttered and coughed and rustled about en are dust-pouches, an’ the scale come out, and Transom, bein’ most aggrieved, weighed out his part first, an’ then took the rest o’ us by turns— Me, Nicletto, and finally MacDavish. Everbody done ponied up alright.
When it was done, he took the princely sum an’ secreeted it en another pouch marked “Water Compnee” an’ set thet sack inside the safe. It would be MacDavish drove it up t’ Hangtown on Toosdy.
And when they got back down from Hangtown they had everone’s cash right pleasant t’ hand. Et were decidet thet the money leftover fer the common kitty et would git all us a big feest, Californee style. We decidet since Nicletto war the best cook o’ enny o’ us, he’d git the major chores. Meanwhiles, everone wrote down the things most wanted t’ eat an’ maybe somebody could fetch it all in Sackaminnow— another long trip, but if et were a really good feest we wz gonner have, thet meant we hed t’ do thangs cirreck.
So everone rote down them thangs especial tasty they looked fer an’ et made a big old list thet got delivered t’ Transom on the cupple days before the plan. Et would be on a Sundy, that’s fer shore, cuz on Sundy everone would be tard o’ minin’ an’ tard o’ washin’ an’ tard ‘f this an’ that, an’ all o’ everone t’ best be inna mood fer a feest ennyway.
An’ so it were thet finally thar came to the conclushun a big showdown—et were gonna be us, the minders, aginst the water compnee an’ the drollickers. Seems thet everone in the Gulch now had some kinder steak in things. Folks like Ollerud an’ Teasewater dint, rilly, only thet people keep on comin’ an’ buyin’ stuff from em. Maybe they seemed they had loyalties to us miners, but rilly, eff et were someone with gold to plunk down, dint matter it was a miner or a drollicker for them.
Things wuz differnt fer us miners tho’, speshully the ones like me been har since near the start of this all. But now the drollickers wuz buyin’ up our clems an’ washin’ out the riversides an muddyin up what was all the everones river, all the way downstreams, an’ the gold, well what thar wuz, they wuz not rilly gittin much more than we wuz, t’ a sartin ecks tent, but they wuz gittin everone they could be quite peaked about things. Eff they hed thar way the hole entire river wuz gunna be all thars t’ pillij.
An’ it was then, see, thet the drollickers all decidet t’ git tagether an’ form up a battalion o’ mens t’ come an clean us up. Alla us. In Judas Gulch. Cuz it were mens like MacDavish an’ Transome an’ me wuz makin the most noise, see, an’ MacDavish war a desint organizer of mens an’ hed a way with words. I guess. And foks like Nicletto an’ the Messicans in Hangtown an’ the Injuns up the Mokeylumnee was all fearin’ — here’s are way of livin, n’ hars an end t’ it! We gonna take this? No sir!
There wuz a big minder’s meetin then were gonna take place on the first Sundy en November, when most of the minders had all got their gear offa the river, an’ folks wuz either headin’ to Frisco er Stockton er Sackaminnow soon, er hunkerin’ down war they wuz, cuz when the winter rains came they was gonna raise up the river an’ send everone inta their holes as it wuz.
Minder’s meetin’ was a great success. MacDavish got everone all rileyed up an’ poured drinks fer a lotta the boys over at Olleruds when he were done. But then, dang, maybe about an hour inta that, here come the batallion of drollickers, marchin’ down Main Street inta the town, all their finesest war bonnets and helmits an’ weapons brandished quite boldlee, an’ formed up in ranks, five men acrost, an’ seven er eight rows deep— Forty-five of em prolly, an’ wuz thar thet many minders on hand at Ollarud’s even? One of the boys, I fergit his name, sed he was riding away quick t’ Hangtown an’ comin back with sum Messicans t’ act as reinfarcemints. He lit out out the backdoor, an’ we never seen him, nor any Messicans, after all, en the thick of this, as et turned out anyway.
The drollickers called a halt outside Ollerud’s, an’ ole Ollerud hisself went out thar on the street an’ askited whut wuz the prollim?
The prollim, you see, sez the big fez up front, iz thet the minders o’ the Consumniss is bein’ obstinate obbstackles t’ progress. The drollickers an’ water compnee both iz willin to pay us fair shakes fer our clems. An’ eff we don’t like it, well, we wuz standin’ in the way of God, evolushun, an’ the whole enterprize of ‘Murrican life! We wuz not bein good Chrischuns nor wuz we bein’ desint ‘Murricans.
Seemed I never hears sech malarkey en muh life, but, while this big shot wuz runnin’ his lips I could har the clickin’ o’ men’s six-shooters in the bar, an’ unnerstood mens wuz gittin’ weapons ready fer a real fight.
Cuz what were this drollicker batallion doin’ in the middle of our town ennyhoo if they wuz not har to start an’ pick a fight cuz they wuz all so surely ready fer one?
I dunno who it wuz inside of Ollarud’s took it fer the suggeschun, but it were an obvious no-brainer an’ lickety split, sure ‘nuff, within moments o’ the queschun bein asketid, there wuz boys takin up positions inside the Pewter Eye, near the winders, jest inside the batwing doors, an’ even a cupple o’ boys went upstairs inta Millie’s chambers so they might git a shot down from up above. Word from them later wuz Millie herself got a cupple o’ potshots off, down inta the drollickers, when the heat o’ battle wuz worse.
Thet left another good twenny mens er so, an’ I guess then it wuz Transom led ‘em all out onta the street.
The Drolliker Batallion moved back as eff there wuz a real force o’ oppuzishun in thar face. Well, thar wuz! Et were every white man in Judas Gulch had a thing t’ do on the Consumniss, all out an’ ever man reddy t’ kill if they had t’, t’ defend thar rats.
MacDavish spoke a little low t’ the bigshot drollicker.
“So, you think we miners is en the way o’yer progress? Then sar, please do tell us what yer progress really means. Does ‘t mean that us must all pull up what roots we hae’ made, an’ walk away from the good airth that hae’ given us our sustinince these sev’ral years? Does it mean that now, ye are our masters, an’ ye would be o’so happy t’ keep us hair eff we only do our little pickin’ an’ shuvlin’, whale ye warsh down the mountainsides an’ muddy th’ cricks fer ever’one has tae live down river? Does it mean that nae, yer slag heaps an’ quicksilver pots will supercede all our good onnist handiwork? Why, I heard last week of a friend of mine, who went t’ yer compnees, ye might a knowed his name, Jamjob!”
There wuz a big roar from the miners, cuz weren’t none of us dint remember Jamjob (er his Fugitive Justice). People wuz wavin’ thar hets an’ yellin’:
 “Jamjob! Jamjob!”
“I haired Jamjob died f’m a merkery pot, he wuz pizened by yer “magnificent teknolijee!” Merkery vapors sent him over the Styx! What kinder future are we gain’ have, when thar ain’t no reggalatin’ an’ all thar ez ez yer giant moniters eating off the land? We wuz happy an’ we was in hairmony with what we had, we wuz — never mind some minders ain’t got no faith en thar Mother Nature er nothin’ —but we sure gots more of thet than you fellers! Ye wan’ have a scrap? We’ll give ye one!”
Thar wuz a big ruckus amongst all the minders wut wuz buddies with Jamjob. Dead? Dead! An’ it were thet drollicker merkery what doned it? Why tarnation, ‘bout ever man thar thunk himself a friend o’ Jamjob wuz gittin’ madder than adders, an’ I heared a few pistils bein’ cocked.

Transom stepped up behinds MacDavish, an’ he’s whistlin’ some fine old tune, an’ he starts t’ look all loopy at one er two of them drollicker fellers an’ ya kin jes feel everbody’s tamperture goin’ on the rise beyond the thermomitter. Et wuz about as silent as a skunk in a pigeon coop, an’ twicet as nerviss.
An’ then— I don’t have no idear who et wuz, but some feller in the bar let off a shot, an’ soon, thar wuz a real war happenin on the Main Street. Miners wuz hettin’ drollickers with fists, shuvils, even picks! It were bloody.Some of the drollickers hed thought t’ bring guns, an’ then thar wuz more gunfire, but et seemed nobody wuz rilly gittin shot, ‘cept one o’ the fellers up the stairs in Milly’s bordello got hit in the arm with a bulit, an’ had t’ have his arm scraped out with Red Eye an’ a pocket knife down et the bar, later on, when the scrap were all done.
Inside Ollarud’s bar, a cuppla drollickers made thar way in an’ wuz bustin’ stuff up. They took Ole’s great magniffisint nude pitcher of a Yerapeein woman an’ smashed et aginst the glass bottles on the back wall. That were enough t’ piss off Ole bad enuf he brought out his bungbuster an’ smashed one o’ them’s hands with it. Musta broke some fingers, I gess, cuz thet drollicker run off screamin’ inta the street.
Transom an’ MacDavish wuz punchin’ et out with the biggest loudest drollicker meanwhiles, an’ I come over with a char an’ slugged him over the head, an’ thet drollicker fell down, he was kayoed. We then proceedit t’ fight our way down the street, an’ dint stop till we had hit the trail led back t’ our cabins, near the river. It were not easy t’ tell who war winnin this fat, though, cuz seemed everone wuz en it, nobody wuz dyin’, but everone hed some kinder wound regardless.
I spoze this would be the way white men has fats. We ain’t the Chinese nor the Injuns, when we fite et’s kinder fair, an’ everone gits to keep his har on, anyways. But all three of us when we gits t’ the cabins, we locks ourselves en, sets up our rifles, an’ we waits. Nothin’ happent tho an’ we lissened wal the war on the street wound itself down. I went t’ bed, ackshully but all o’ us went back down thar in the mornin t’ see who wuz left. And then the man come back from Hangtown with his cussit “reinfarcemints”— too little, too late. Well. I dint ask no questions how it took so long t’ git jest forteen miles an’ took an all night trip, but I spoze MacDavish askedit him thet.

So I gesset thar weren’t no sartin winner en the big fat en town. Them drollickers got all smashed up an’ pulled a retreat, but then thet musta bin the last o’ the good days, cuz soon after, any minder hed made his stack already started pullin up steaks an’ headin back t’ Frisco. Left mostly us Arcadia boys, some o’ the Chinee and Chillymen, an’ o’ coarse wuz allus the Injuns, tryin’ ta take back what little they could o’ their own territory. I had the idear too, I better git down t’ Stockton, cuz thar were a sack a sugar I’d be needin’ now, an’ I had a sore hankerin fer some real fruit, an’ I heared there were a lot o’ et still in the wearhouses thar.

The water compnee an’ the drollickers, they lost the battle but seems thet they wonned the war. Cuz are compnee wuz not long fer makin’ it on jes’ four mens. An’ we could not be the only ones left on the river, no siree, not surrounded by all them other not-Mericans an’ them flues and merkery sluices makin’ a purty durn mess outta the water an’ all. Wuz a time thet the water still ran clear en the river, but ain’t no way I’d be drinkin thet merkery water now, no sir! Eff I had t’ be a pocket minder an’ jes make my life outta little pockets and pannin’ strate up, well, I knew I could do it.