Sunday, May 31, 2015

That Was No Revolution

     The 1960’s “Counterculture” has come to full maturity and fruition as a quality of “mainstream” America. This year, the Grateful Dead celebrate their fiftieth anniversary of their incarnation: A peek into an old dictionary gave the shimmering golden name to a bemused Jerry Garcia, about half a year into their life as “the Warlocks” It could not be said that this was the “birth of the Sixties” even if it was, more or less, the birth of this particular “Sixties band”. But there are parallels in the life of the Grateful Dead and their stumbling, cursed, rise to respectability which ebbed and flowed with the fate of the concomitant “sixties Counterculture” they purportedly went on to represent (for four and a half more decades.)

     One of the misleading assumptions, first of all, is that the “counterculture” actually amounted to anything, in and of itself. That somehow (this was one of its biggest conceits) just having had the LSD experience somehow qualified a person thereafter into a “better” sort of personality, a “novus humanus” or in its Iron Curtain sense “New Soviet Man.” Of course, psychedelics themselves did no such things. Many people DID benefit from the awareness they received therefrom as to the qualities of their personalities, but personalities aren’t so easily washed away, nor is human nature so easily wished away. The “Psychedelic Revolution” of the “groovy Sixties” actually was pretty much all about access to illegal drugs, and the right to use them. An entire economy grew out of the marijuana smuggling trade and burgeoned into pop culture arcades such as High Times. One might get the feeling, were one to peruse its back volumes, that there had always been this somehow incredibly intense and international marketplace where substances banned by the Customs Departments of innumerable nations had an actual agora, and centers of distribution. The truth was, of course, as usual, much, much dumber than that.

     When I say that it has “come to fruition” I mean in the sense that, only now, as the validity of the idea of marijuana being a medicine, has come into a majority among the population, “recreational” marijuana is gaining a legitimacy it had never achieved before, and this, of course, is the result of the hard work and patience of the millions who grew up expecting legalization to occur within their “lifetimes”.  And the Treasury Departments of numerous states make calculations and projections based on the profits they can bring in from revenues attached to taxation schemes.

     This, itself, is a rather gauche and offensive development itself, for in states where it is re-legalize, there is probably not bound to be any state funded reparation made for all the thousands those states have imprisoned while cannabis was still under its “outlawed” status. And it’s offensive as well to many who grew up expecting the price of an ounce of marijuana to cost no more than ten, fifteen, or (tops) forty-five dollars. Perhaps a reason for this massive inflation in price (and conversely, state tariff expectations) was primarily due to the fact that, back when High Times magazine began publishing, the international marijuana smuggling “industry” (composed primarily of rogue pilots, ex-servicemen,  and entrepeneurs) wisely decided (for their benefit) to add the costs of obtaining legal representation to fight court cases (if caught) into the risk expectations of their profit margins. So the price of ounces began their long, inexorable climb to the execrable status they now hold today- $260 in California, alone.

     Whereas, an individual in a legalized state reserves the option (if they can obtain seeds, that is) of always growing their own. A yard of six plants will yield well over two pounds, in proper conditions, which ought to be well enough to provide a single smoker, and his friends, of at least a year’s supply. This is speaking conservatively, but really who actually and truly wishes to smoke it every single day? Despite all contrarian claims, there are aspects of heavy marijuana use every bit as obnoxious as chronic alcoholism.  Everyone knows what you are up to since you smell like what you’ve been up to, you begin to center your life around the daily expectation of its rewards “to unwind” and similar to a life living on a diet of chocolate cake, very soon, it isn’t really very special anymore. But surely growing your own is the individual's  very best personal defense against the ever-greedy “marijuana industry.”

     And so it has never really been “ a revolution.” Were it a revolution, truly, it could never have taken this long even to achieve the turnabout in status which cannabis now holds amongst the nation. Cannabis itself is but one small emblematic icon of the “Peace and Love” generation. Generational outlooks aside, the hope of a “more peaceful planet” has not exactly come about either, as the Sixties generation assumed roles of power, such as Barack Obama, current occupant of the White House, elected as the “peace candidate”, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just for being elected, and waging his own wars in several theaters and ignoring the consequences of his inhumane use of unmanned mobile weapons upon civilian populations in a nebulous “war on terror” where the world itself is a battlefield.  It is a harsh thing to judge a younger man so, but when one has been around a while, one has a keener eye for discriminating hypocrisy and lies. That enough people keep swallowing the lies, well, people are always going to be swallowing lies. And no, it wasn’t a revolution. Because love of money and power are attributes of our human nature, and men are corruptible.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Sean Kaatz was kidnapped by fairies and taken to their home planet. (What? You thought fairies were from the earth, and imaginary? You thought wrong!) Remnants of an ancient and vastly superior technological society, fairies once ruled over our Earth- AND human beings! It's now become Sean's task to bring their message to the people of Earth- cease your senseless rape of your planet, or prepare for war!
Sean's mother writes fairy tales for a living, but hardly believes in them, cynically. When Sean returns from his time as a Missing Child, his story is not taken seriously by a single person in the grownup world. And the fairies WILL be coming back!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

PICKLEBELLY (excerpt from a work in progress)

Fionula Kaatz, mother of Sean Kaatz, was by this time in her life an accomplished writer of “young adult’s fantasy”. Her books were based in large part on archetypal “fairy tale” themes, and indeed, “fairy story” denizens such as elves, fairies, gnomes, and dwarves all featured prominently.  The vast fame this success had given her allowed her to create of her own property (and that of her husband) a veritable wonderland landscape populated by stone, terra cotta, or plaster of Paris, representatives of the magical world. Topiary bushes and small garden signs such as “BEWARE OF OGRE” added whimsy and atmosphere to any visit to the Kaatz home.
Indeed, such a thing as a birthday party for Sean in the backyard would have been remiss without some manner of a reference in deference to Fionula’s fame and her means of its acquisition. Party favors such as exploding paper crackers, Chinese handcuffs, and miniature parasols were de rigueur, and each of Sean’s friends would receive , in turn, their own small gift, as a way of returning the favor of their attendance. This was also a custom which both earned and lost Sean several friends over the years, but his mother was not to be dissuaded, she felt that as a famous member of the community , she was obligated to somehow “give back” to those less fortunate than herself. Naturally, this meant any or all of Sean’s friends.
Hr obsession with faerie had so insinuated itself into her garden that she took to the creation of a small, “elf-sized” dwelling in the garden, carved into a particularly recalcitrant yew stump. This dwelling place featured even a small window, which she curtained with doll house sized curtains and furnished with doll house furnishings. It had a small (six inches high) door which could be opened as well in “Dutch” style— the top opened to let in air.
Therefore it ought to have been to no one’s surprise when an actual fairy took up residence in the stump. Picklebelly was a rotund and near corpulent survivor of the flight and exile of Oberon, who had been left behind by the faerie forces, on Earth, to serve as a “monitor” (“spy”, if you would) and send back reports to the Central Command on Lux. Picklebelly outfitted his little dwelling with a radio transmitter (to do his reportage) and redecorated the interior more to his own liking.
Fionula Kaatz herself was no believer in faerie though indeed she had capitalized famously on the suppositions of most fantasy readers that, perhaps, if it did exist,  that things might probably happen “like this.” In her disbelief, then, she actually presupposed her own ignorance of the way things actually worked for the “Children of Oberon” and Picklebelly soon realized he could use this to his advantage.
Her son Sean’s hypersensitivity began to show itself soon after Picklebelly moved in—whether this was due to his own proximity to Sean, or Sean’s own growing awareness of his mother’s unusual subject matter, was something that could be debated.
What could not be debated was the fact that soon after he came, Picklebelly was using all his means and wiles to lure Sean away from his usual filial loyalties and more under the sway of faerie spell.
Such it was that Sean eventually discovered there really was an actual fairy that lived behind the “fairy door” in the stump.

The little “fairy door” led to the hollowed-out interior of a yew tree. Inside, their was at least a square foot of space, enough for Picklebelly to have installed a little stowable hammock, set up a desk for writing and using his wireless transmitter, and even some space on his wall for some bookshelves- such books of spells which he might still find useful in his enchantment of the Kaatzes. There were tiny candles made of beeswax, brought from Lux at no small expense (such as were his other furnishings) and one of these was alight on the evening Sean had ventured outdoors with Pepper to see if there were any fireflies about that night.
Usually the fireflies would gather under the porch light, and there would be at least four or five of them, but tonight there were none. While Sean was looking up at the porch light was when he noticed, from the side of his eye, that there was a light on— inside the fairy stump!
He walked over and leaned down to take a better look.
The sight of an enormous human eye leering into his window caused Picklebelly to jump and quickly douse the light, and put down the message he was beginning to set into cipher. After his first disconcertion, he decided to take the bolder step. He would confront the human!
Picklebelly got off his little stool at the desk and walked calmly to the door. He opened it.
Sean jumped back. This was not to be expected! Let alone that there might actually be a real fairy behind the fairy door!
“I am Picklebelly,” he announced.
“And I am Sean.”
“I know that,” retorted Picklebelly, “I have been watching you all for some whiles now.”
“You are a...”
“Yes, I am a fairy. I am one of the last who remain, in fact.”
“Why are you here?”
“Why? Why are anything anything? Why are rivers wet and skies blue? Why are plants food for the many, and creatures food for the few? Because that is just how things are, silly boy. That is just how things are.”
“I was told not to believe in you... fairies... you are not real!”
“Oh I assure you I am very real. Here, touch this!”
Picklebelly held out his little pen, the quill of which pricked Sean on the forefinger.
Sean leapt back again.
“See? It is a very real pen, and I am a very real fairy!”
“My mother writes books about fairies.”
“I know she does. Full of lies and inaccuracies, of course! But guess where she gets the ideas?”
“Where? Her imagination?”
No!  From me! I am in charge of the operations here around your household. If you do something wrong I might even break in and cause more mischief! For now, it is good enough to plant these ideas in your mother’s mind. At the least, her fantasies help keep alive the idea that we, we fairies, indeed have some place in the history of your world!”
“And I have been working on you, Sean, as well. it might not have been my intention to have you discover this place, my hideout Although I suppose it will all work out, in the greater picture of the Plan, eventually.”
“What plan?”
“Why, the Great Plan of What Is! What else could you call it?”
“I don’t know. I never thought about things like that much. Mostly  like to chase after butterflies or think about how to be nice to people.”
“You should be nice to people. Just as important you need to learn to be nice to things that are not people! You will learn, I am sure.”
“I’m going to tell my Mom there is a real fairy outside. Then she’ll believe in you!”
“You will not! You will do no such thing! Telling your mother will bring you troubles you cannot conceive of, at this point! No, Sean, keep this a secret! We will meet again, and I will teach you more. But no breaking secrets, promise?”
“Good! Now, go back and tell them there’s no fireflies! The fireflies have other business tonight than gather around your back door.”

Picklebelly soon received instructions from Central Command that he was to proceed at creating all manner of threats, coercions, and subliminal manifestations of dread as he might exercise on Fionula. But he was to let Sean develop on his own with no such strategy employed upon him. Fionula and her husband, then, were subjected to month after month of subtle nightmare.
These episodes eventually worked themselves into Fionula’s writing. She saw them, unfortunately, not as nightmares, but as inspiration. And so it was that the intentions of Central Command to Picklebelly were actually backfiring. Because of her unbelief, her true feelings that fairies did not exist and were only a means of her realizations of literary success, Picklebelly’s impulsions actually set little if any true fear of fairies in Fionula’s mind. This made a most vexing problem for Picklebelly. Along with many other fairies he had grown all too weary of the humans’ disregard of the old relationship as it had long stood in faerie’s favor. With each new great ‘leap forward’ of human science, less and less stock were put in “myth” and “legend” and the more hostile humans actually became toward the material world (and their place in it.), the more the materialist and reductionist viewpoints grew into the outlook of humanity and its destiny.

This, (the fairy Central Command) found ultimately tragic and not to their liking. So Picklebelly had, in Sean, now a mind that was both pliable, and hostage, to faerie’s strategic interests. and when the Oberon was within 6 LY of Earth, on its return, to bring the sick, fading Silversong to Lux, they sent word to Picklebelly to prepare for the abduction of one Sean Kaatz, the general purpose of which FCC would not reveal to Picklebelly, for he must now proceed only on a “need to know” basis.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


We've been privileged to obtain reproduction of the familial coats of arms of four of the most nefarious characters whose actions are documented in THIRD EYE PATCH and DEATH CO. From top to bottom, these are the heraldic crests of: President Philip Hammer, "Gog" (Dellingsworth Hogsmouth III), Senator Wilbur Prescott, and F Walker Piltdown, Director of the National Agency of Science and Technology.

For more information on the activities of these individuals check out THIRD EYE PATCH and DEATHCO at SMASHWORDS.COM!

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.

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.