Sunday morning. The air rings with the sharp rasps of bluejays, flutters with the song of the mockingbirds, and echoes in the creekbeds with the chorkle of frogs. With the sun not yet over the edge of the eastern divide, but the air yet glowing rose and cyan in expectation of the bright return of Sol to the shadowed glades, Sardo Pat is fixing his flapjacks on a iron skillet, whistling a merry tune, harmonizing with an interior ledger line a half forgotten melody. A pot of already hot coffee sits beside the fire, and on the hearth has been set his tin cup, full of a rich full-bodied blend of mountain grown beans.
One cabin away, just a matter of some yards as the crow stumbles, is the cabin of Transom. Transom sits in its doorway, now starting to squint as the first rays break across the granite line of hilltop. In his hands is a letter he hs just received, but immediately, he wished he hadn’t. Actually this is the fifth time he has read this letter in the last two days, but even so, he can’t quite come to comprehend the message it bears. It is a nervous and uncertain Transom who finally rises, stuffs the letter into a tin biscuit can with his other important papers, and seeks out a needle and thread. There is a shirt he loves and it’s got a dastardly rip in it which needs mending. May as well mend that, if he can’t mend anything else in this life.
Two cabins over is the humble abode of Suthrun and Jamjob. Jamjob is working on his “special project”, which is a new, homemade, batch of Fugitive Justice, ninety-five proof. After tiring of spending half a fortune with Ollarud (and losing the other half in supplying the larder) he has rigged up a contraption with copper vats and spiraling coils of tubing, and is busy applying a pestle to his “special mix” of grits, rye grains, and peach peelings. By the time the viscous liquid has spun its way through the tubing and released itself into the waiting ironstone jug that sits, mouth wide, waiting for the honey, and once that jug has filled, he will have settled his bet with Suthrun and they will have a shot or two each of this Mountain Distillation themselves.
Nicletto has taken his dirty clothing— and by now he has a great pile of it— over to the river to wash it. He will wheelbarrow it back, and hang it from a rope he has stretched between a pondersosa and a sugar pine. He will have it all up before it’s even hit the hour of eight, for it will take a good day for the thick heavy cotton and wool garments to evaporate away the river from them.
MacDavish has decided that today will be his day to court— if that be the term we might politely use? Miss Millicent Vermouth Tabener. He will court with a sack of gold scales marked with “$200” on the side- a fair bargain for the presence of Milly’s attentions, which tomorrow, of course, she will offer to the next high roller. It won’t happen to be MacDavish. While he’s in town to see Milly of course, before he makes that choice of recreation, he will stop at Teasewater’s store, buy whatever is the latest Eastern newpaper is available, he will take his breakfast at Ollarud’s, tip Ling Lu for washing and mending his clothing, and stroll down the main street twirling his crystal-topped cane. With a diamond pin in his boutonierre and his collar crisp, stiff, and knotted with a two-inch tie falling at either side like the droop of his moustache, he will see about this matter of a gentleman’s elief with the lady of the town.
On the Spanish side of town, there are groups of men putting bets on a table marked out for faro, a croupier with a missing ear counting out the cards, and a teller calling them from a table covered with a blue velvet cloth. The men who have stakes wait, hands at the table, eyes on their picks, and the men who don’t stand back behind them, sniggering as to whom they feel might be the next biggest loser.
I spoze now I got to tell ya about some of the other more unsavery characters round about these parts. Now there’s some thet went out thar and got caught and thar’s some thet ain’t but been caught yet, and I think I spose I orter tell ya about the ones thet are still out thar yet. These people of course is the outlaws, the Pikes, the ones thet come out har lookin not really fer the gold they could bring outta the ground, but thet is already settin in some poor boy’s pockets.
I am gonna spear you the details of Wockeen Murryetta, since thar’s too much confusion over who and what and war he just zackly was, an’ besides he don’t quite fit the period of muh story, but I’m shore you heared about him. No, I have a mind to let you hear about another feller, a white man, his name was Red Langendorf.
Red Langendorf, a Swede, a course, so many of the folks round har is Swedes, an’ I don’t mean the turnip sort. He is known to work the road from Gold Hill to Sackaminnow with a couple of other fellers who is The Junger Brothers. He come har from Wisconsin, like Yon Yonson, and realize within the first wek he’d broke a pick, a shovel, and buried two mules, and there were no way even Sister Sarah could help him with the minin’ busines. Specially if it was mindin’ his own.
So Red Langendorf made it his business to mind other peoples, and mine them fer their pockets. They say his first victim was a feller named Spitzzen, a German a course, who had jes come outta the Assyer in Hangtown with two full mail sacks— his entire fortune, ackshully. Spitzzen wuz found dead as a doornail on the side of the Hangtown-Gold Hill Road, with his horse grazin on his chest rather lonesome. It must have been a few hours time before the Sheriff found him, and he was no fair sight- bullet holes stiched up and down his vest, and his minin’ gear scattered all across the roadside war it happened.
Sherrif Neatness was the first one to break the case, ackshully, and identify it were Red Langendorf was the evil perpetrator of this foul action. Red Langendorf left a calling card, soon to be famous across the landscape— he scattered sardo breadcrumbs across the chest of por Spitzzen, an’ that of course explains why they found his horse nuzlin’ offa him like he wuz a feed bag.
Langendorf’s next victims was a couple Chillymen on their way down to the assyer’s. Held them boys both up an’ farced them t’ strip to their long johns and took several bags worth maybe ten ounces, and earned himself some bad enemies from that. There was sardo breadcrumbs all over the scene of the crime, which included the Chillymen takin’ their clothes down in daylight from the oak tree Red Langendorf flung ‘em into. A course weren’t nobody ackshully witnessed that happen except what the Chillymen says happened, but they swore under oaf to Sheriff Neatness et were the truth, and Red Langendorf wuz ackshully seen in Stockton the next week, buyin’ himself some rather expensive food stuffs. Word is he perhaps has a hideout someplace near Skull Pie Hill and thet’s war him and the Junger Brothers hides out.
There are a few other reckonings about Red Lagendorf, but somewhere along the way the trail for Sherrif Neatness went stale. I heared that there was a posse hunted up to the so called cabin but there were nothin thar when they arrived but a lot of empty oyster cans, bread rappers, an’ California chandeliers.
Sheriff Neatness tole me that eff I ever sees Red Langendorf in the flesh agin he will absolutely deppitize me and give me fair rights to git his scalp even. I sez, I dunno about no scalpin, I’m a Fremont man, and thet sort of thing ain’t zackly fair play.
“Even ef you is a Fremonter, Sardo, I warnt you t’ know I needs ever man I can git to pray tell find this har interloper and set him t’ justice.”
But it’s kinder sad Red Langendorf made hisself so many enemies. Even in the Chinee camps they tend to be purty skeered at least of the Legend. Eff I ever runs inter him I hopes I ain’t carryin’ no color, cause I shore can’t afford the loss.
The great stream of humanity flows across the wide prairies from Independence Missouri West, across the Missouri River, the Platte, the Snake, the Columbia... Into eastern and Southern Oregon, down the Siskiyou into the Klamath, down the Klamath into the Central Valley... Or over South Pass and into Utah and across the Great Salt Plain, the Badlands, southward to Donner and Carson Passes, and over the Sierras into the Valley...
Or it takes flight in steamer and clipper from ports on the Eastern seaboard, from Chile and Brasil, from Ireland and Australia and China and the Philippines... Humanity comes in troops and droves and tribes, driven insatiably by the lure, the promise, the false hope, the illusion of great wealth, fortune to be made, riches beyond measure—the same dream which drove Coronado up from the mouth of the Colorado across Arizona and New Mexico into Nebraska and Kansas, the city of gold, the land of the Amazon, and the Quetzal bird...
Each traveler brought what things he thought he could... The easterners packed huge trunks with clothing and supplies, much of which they found needed to be sold off before they reached Concepcion... the waggoners discovered the oxen they’d purchased died gasping in the dusty sun of the great Southwestern Desert... Horses starved for lack of grass, should have have been started off late, and all including humans found water a precious commodity... On shipboard, passengers crammed like steerage into the holds and on the decks of the hulking freighters perished for lack of green vegetables or fresh fruit and sickened from spoiled water, thousands on each great tributary died blanching from cholera, dysentery, malaria in the mosquito jungles...
The wagonners also left half the mining gear they’d purchased behind on the shelves of riverbanks and sides of buttes, overburdened by the weight their oxen could no longer pull... only to find when they arrived those same tools could cost up to three times what they had paid back home to replace...
Fortunes were made off these rivers of people by the equippers, the clothiers, the tailors, the grocers, and the bar men—especially the bar men! By the middle of 1850 the wagons and ships often carried enormous carved bar fronts, huge beveled mirrors thirty or forty feet long, and tons of barrels containing Widow Maker, Stump Puller, Cincinnati Whiskey, Taos lightning, Scamper juice, Kickapoo Jubilee, Red Eye, Diddle Liquor, Fool Water, Monongahela Rye, McKinley’s Delight, Tornado Juice, Gut-Warmer, Forty-Rod, Old Joe Gideon, Little Brown Jug, Old Joe Clark’s, Jackson’s Sour Mash...
All these barrels were meant for the men toiling in the sunny gold fields, but many ended up in other hands... for good or ill. The residents of the Plains when all this great migration began discovered the mind-bending powers of the white man’s medicine liquor, and the white men discovered its power over the residents of the Plains— a magical power which could be used to connive, finagle, and in many ways, subdue the red men into doing nearly anything, including giving up all sense of self respect and territory, and soon movement began in the camps of the Indians to resist the magic of alcohol, and reclaim what they were losing. But here in 1850 all was yet too new, and it would be another decade or two and a half before the resistance took its final and most potent form.
Out in the gold fields California’s Indians worked alongside the whites, many of them as indentured servants or slaves, breaking the ore, panning the sluices, and filling in for the whites who felt they were yet still above the hard backbreaking labor it would take to make a claim pay out. The California Republic was yet young, and there were many of these Indians who had known little but the white man’s coming forth and obscuring any sense of a homeland which could remain. The Miwok, Tuolumne, Yosemite, and Yurok were often found in situations forced to defend themselves against bands of marauding whites. The whites drunk on both the gold fever, and the whiskey they flourished about, and the joy of the American victory over the Mexicans in Tenochtitlan which ended ceding the entire California Territory to the brash and burly new United States... California ached to become another bead upon Columbia’s necklace, and men were working ever so quickly to bring that about...
Jes a little ways down th’ road from us here in Judas Gulch is a little town they call Chuwah. Now most of the people thar in Chuwah is what you must say is colured. Yep, in Chuwah whatchoo find is mostly Messicans, Spannards, Californeeo’s an’ Chillymen. All them speak a same language, so they gits a long better than any with us white mens, and besides, most of us white men’s we don’t want no truck with them neither, so it sorta works out OK. Long’s they keep to their side o’ the Consumniss, ain’t nobody really have a lot of trouble.
Well, maybe there’s some do. But on this particular Sundy I was lookin about fer something new t’do an’ ol’ Salpietro Nicletto he asketed me t’ come long wif him, he wuz goin down to Chuwah t’ see the rodeo!
Well how kin I discribe it fer ya, pardner? Chuwah’s rodeo ez probly one o’ the mos’ originul rodeos on the whole west coast. On account of all the caballeros skilled at ridin’ and ropin’, and all them seriously horned cows ranging up and down our republick in and out of fences, with and without brands, Chuwah must have a population of at least three hunderd cowpokes! And bull fitters, an’ matadores, pickadillys, an’ all that other stuff makes a Spannerd git hot blood in him.
I took me a notion when I wuz thar I might have some chance ta maybe play the keno table myself, thow et were something I dint really cotton to an awful lot. But here I had me a excess this week about six dollers and I figgered eff I only gambles one at a time I might come out ahead. So one of the things I was fixin to do in Chuwah was ta find a gamin’ saloon.
Nicletto gits me to the rodeo spot— thar wus lak I sez, hunderts of Messicans, Spannerds, Chillymens and all, and they was settin up a ruckus, fer the first ‘tractions were gittin out an up on the bulls to do the ridin’ and ropin it.
First off was Pancho Zambrino, famous a course amongst the Chillymen fer bein the best man they had in this department. He wuz up aginst a bull name Zweiback, and then thar wuz his competition, Pablo Quedosa, an’ ablo wuz a Spannerd with a fiece glint in his eye, and he rode on El Gorito, who had a even meaner look in his eye.
El Gorito and Zwieback stood off in the pens wal the Chillyman and Spannerd picked up thar lariats and whips and got ready to jump em from the fence. When they pulled up the gates, both bulls come kickin and snortin and squealin outta the pens like they wuz magnificent forces of freak nature. I guess the Chillyman lasted the longes’— (about fourteen seconds)— the Spannerd lasted much less, about seven, and the judge was a little greaser with a ducktail haircut name of Alviso Pardon.
The judge awarded the Chillyman the prize, which wuz a bag fulla gold dust itself about six ounces. That were a fair purse! We watched two more of these matches then Nicletto starts itchin’ in his ‘spenders and tells me he wants to go have a drink and grub.
I smiled cuz now I could drag him off to the gamin’ saloon and we could do all that an’ more!
This saloon, the Borracho Muchacho, set on the Chuwah main street much as the Pewter Eye done in our own town. They did have a keno table— and some fancy machines you dropped in pennies and they spun round little wheels showed pitchers of lemons, cherries, or crossbones. an’ sometimes them little machines pumped pennies back out like puke! And they call that a jack-pot. I didnt see no use in thet tho cause I ain’t even carryin’ no pennies.
Nicletto he tole me I shuld git some from the bartinder, an’ he had a huge sack full of em hid out under the bar with his digger ounces. So I got me some “change” an’ sets down to do some keno chancin’.
Nicletto gits hisself a big plate of fried eggs and cactus leaves and washes it all with some chilly pepper sauce an’ a side of grits, and he smiles an’ licks his chops like he were a Spannerd or Messican too, by god, not jest a greasy Wop from Italy.
“I knew you would like this place, Salpietro!” I sez to him, as I laid out another doller fer the one the keno man done took off the table and stuck in the kitty. I were no good at this, I wuz afeered, but I had some four more afer this one, and I wuz gonna go fer broke.
Nicletto asketed the bar man (Jose Muchacho) fer a bottle of wine and proceeds to polish off one glass an’ then another. He dint ask me eff I wanted none but that wuz okay cuz I was shore I might win me a glass fer free eff I won the keno pot.
So they was callin’ the numbers now, an’ I had one of um! But thet only paid me sevenyfive sense. At his rate I’d not be gittin far. But then they called agin and thar wuz now two more numbers I had, cuz I stuck the sevenyfive cents right in on it. And thar were a lotta losers on this turn, so now I won me five dollers! Boys, that wuz about as good as I could hope for for only throwing down two dollers in the firs’ place.
Well that wuz good, an’ I felt good, so I called the joker’s bluff and pulled my stakes outta the kitty. I got me my own bottle of wine—the name was Rancho Del Canada Loona, an’ et was from Sonoma, not so far aways as the crow chickens out.
Nicletto had him his fat luncheon breakfast and his wine wuz half gone. I had me one fine glass an decidet I wood save the rest fer the affernoon, maybe after we gone back to the Rodeo.
Now somethin strange happened in the saloon. This here ciderhouse, Muchacho’s Borracho Hole, or whatever, et had its own musickers in the back. And they trooped out onta the little stage! Thar were somethin like seven of em— was a trumpet, and a bugle, and a fat old base git-tar, a git-tar (regular), a fiddle, an a girl played somethin like a coupla wood clamshells. An once they wuz all out thar they was a sight, lemme tell ya!
Thar har wuz either sliketed back (eff they war a dude) or eff they wuz a girl (thar wuz two) they had it swep back real severe an’ braided down the back. Them girls had har down to the bewtocks! And then that weren’t all. Each one wored a speshul soot, which were all the same colur, an’ had fancy embroidery and pearls- pearls! Up and down the sides of the sleeves an’ the legs. They was some slick kids!
First off they begun with singin that fine ol tune Celeeto Leendo, “ayayayai! Can’t get no yo-rays!” Man that was hot. Thet girl with the fiddle could play that thing fiercely! And the funny thang were none of them moved but a inch when they wuz all singin and playin. They stayed straight and stiff, like lil tin sojers, and maybe the girls stamped thar feets but et all happened in the same place. I dunno maybe them Spannerds has a word fer this, they call it— macho? Ah gess thet ez the word. Well this were some real macho gal, lemme tell ya. She sung that tune then sang another about someone name Maguelena and then the fat-faced base git-tar guy they called Gordo, as in, “Gordo esta cansione por tu se la bambino negracia enciente!” He git up thar and sing a silly song goes, “Bamba, Bamba; bamba, bamba!” over an over agin like I wuz about ta git sick already but sooner than later they ended the song. Ever song they played they ended the same way— the girl in the front with the fiddle slapped her feet down real fast ONE-TWO! And they wuz done and you knowed it.
Well, after they done these four songs, then somethin real speshul happened. The girl with the purty long har and fiddle announced et were “La encanta, la enspiracion, la especial presenta: Senorita Lola Montez!”
Man you must a about seen the batwing doors flyin back an’ forth so fast the place filled up in a second with Messicans and Chillymen and Spannerds an’ a few genuine Californeeos, jest ta hear this famous girl from Europe.
Now lemme explain t’ yew all somethin’ har. This Lola Montez were no ordinary woman. Afore she came ta Californee, she were the speshul mistress of the King of Bavaria hisself! And she were knowed to have bed-sacked quite a few other famous fellers like (Robert Louie Stevenson, Whore-ass Greely, even maybe Henry Clay, although that, Nicletto said, were a dam lie)— And when she come to californee she tried to git a show goin’ with Wolfram Grizzlepizzle in Frisco, but Grizzlepizzle war on his Jenny Lind kick, and couldn’t be budged fer no “greaser washer-lady.”
That really insulted and hurt Lola, so she headed up here to the gold country, war she earned more money than she could in Frisco, and she decidet she would maybe git herself a cabin er a house up har. An I heared once finally thet war jes what she done!
But today I was quite expecting to see this har girl in the flesh.
She did not dissapoint.Her har were curled all up in lil piglets an’ styled something fierce. She wore pearls herself, but they wuz in a long long necklace wrapped five er six times round her neck thet fell past the end of her volupchus bosom. She had a hat which were lace and had a big ole osterch feather stumpin’ from it. Her dress (mebbe you orter call it her pinafore) were accompnied by a wide bustle thet stuck her butt up a good six inches better than she wuz borned, and she hed tall boots thet were not miner knee boots but laced all the way from the tongue to the top with real twisted brocade, and hed little sparkles— I swears it— on the toes.
This majestic apparition strode herself up ahead of thet little band, and struck up her tune, and friggy lil’ dance, The Tear-an’-Tella, ir the Taranchella Dance. Thet, she called her signature. She then sang a aria from Lucia de Lemmemore and old Donnyzetty culdna sung it no better, an’ he wrote it!
The band pumped along behind her (chuffa chuffa) end fat ole Gordo snuck looks when he could et the fantastic derriere as it twiched away ahead of him. Them girls— well one of them must bin married ta Gordo cuz when the number wuz done she walked up to him an’ slapped him with the big ole comb-piece thet were stuck to the front of her har. Then she set it back in place an’ dint not look at Gordo even til the songs were over. I seened her woppin’ on him some more after they wuz leavin’ the stage.
But now back to the beautiful miz Lola. I swars I never seen a more cultured lookin gal, and her manner an’ bearin’ were the cats meow fer that, too.
She innerduced the next number as one wrote by her pal Billy Gerta, “a fantastic poet and such you will never know in United States” whut were called Panageeya Jovenalia er somethin like that. The music, she sed, were wrote by his pal Loodyvig Bait-hovin’. Dang eff that trumpet and bugle dint capture the whole show with thet thar little riff!
“Dadada da dadada dada dada da dadadada..”
. Et still haunts me an’ brings tairs to muh eyes.
Nicletto he enjoye Lola Montez most emensley too. By the end of it all, good old Salpeitro war jumpin, shoutin, kickin n clappin like all the rest of them Spannerds in the saloon.
“Etsa besta, belissimo, uh, Pat? Viva! Viva vivace! LOOOOOLAAA LOOOOOLAA!” Nicletto had no shame nor did none of the rest of us. When thet girl strode offa the stage agin in thet twichen bustle, she had the love of ever man thar, they woulda shot the kings of France an’ England ef she called thet tune for em.
Then the little band wuz back, and sang ome more, an’ the big traction war over, so mosta the crowd of Chillymens and all went out in the street, an’ most of um went back to the rodeo.
“Come on Pat, lets go rodeo!” Nicletto grabbed his hat, and I guess I had to grab mine and foller along and I sent a little glass of my good wine up to the purty girl with the long braids an fiddle, special from Sardo Pat, and winked at her on my way out the door.
Now the Messicans, Spannerds, Chillymen, and few Californeeos what made Chuwah their home hed a sartin problem goin’ on wif’ the Republick of Californee. And this har sartin problim et was called the “Furrin Minders Tax.” This har wuz a compinsation due to the Republick on account it war Messicans, Chilymen, Keskidees, Englishmen, etceterra, comin har and mindin’ the gold rat out from under the white Amurricans what was real Republickins of Californee. The excess excise on extraction of the mineral war assessed at twenny dollers a munth. Now some of them boys they had it, and they had good claims, so et never hurt them none to pay it, but thar wuz many others for who it war much worse, and twenny dollers could be haff a munth’s diggins, eff you git my drif.
I spoze thar were plenty resentmint, expeshully on the half of the Californeeo’s —them whut wuz borned heres in the firs’ place affer all- but thet war till the cause of much dissatifackshun an’ mistrust. Cause them assyers started shortin’ on them, too.
I spoze though whut coulda even bin worse wuz what happend to the Injuns. That thar wuz such a thang as the “Digger Ounce” to begins with, an’ fur a very long times et wuz nothin but a secrit between whitemen, but evenchully it all came out in the wash, like my friend Ling Lu might call it.
And this har is how it happened.
Up in the Mokeylumnee tribe wuz a big chief named Kitita Ndukash (Exploding Hawk). Kitita Ndukash was a river-minder too, and had bin catchin’ the “white man illness” fer the purty yeller rocks too fer some whiles, an’ had him a claim on the Mokeylumnee brung him in about sevennyfive dollers a munth. Now he would take thet sevennyfive dollers in dust down to Hangtown and the assyers, and git his spendin’s from them.
Only thing is, the assyer in Hangtown were not a straight man when et come to Injuns.
Under his table with the skale he kept the infamous Digger Ounce. This war a bar of arn— what looked like et war a ounce of arn, but, ackshully war shortend by some measure so et ackshully weight about two thurds of a ounce. An’ when the assyer saw some Injun sashay in with his diggins, why he’d jes pull out thet Digger Ounce an’ use it fer his calkalations lak it war the real one. Happened ever time, an’ fer many a time were not no Injun no wiser. Cept fer Kitita Ndukash happent ta see the differnce (don’t ask old Doddle, Hangtown’s assyer how he discovert, he jest did...) and took a fence to it.
“White man cheat and gyp Injun! You not honest. Me want see real wait.”
“Me sabby you no wait long with your wait, what I sez ez, yer dust comes to a wait of fortyfive dollers!”
“Me bring same size bag dust las’ week to Judas Gulch and Mester Teasewater at store. Me get sixty from Mester Teasewater. How come you only give fortyfive and he give sexty? Me no stupid, me can count.”
Doddle hung back thar and tiched his whiskers some but Exploding Hawk the Injun were not gittin no more than forty five outta him. It would be a crime ginst all other white man eff he give an Injun a far shake. What Teasewater did in Judas Gulch thet war his problim.
But Doddle did not figger on the rage swellin’ up inside of Exploding Hawk’s head and heart. No saree. Now it is the facks thet Injuns doesn’t lak the ideer more n any white man does about gittin gypped and cheated, and Kitita Ndukash tole Doddle he were for sartin askin fer sartin troubles.
But do you think Doddle lissened to any of thet? Why, a course not. Hail no!
Et were a shore shock then to Doddle when the nex night, Kitita Ndukash and some of his warryers shows up outsie the assy house with arruhs an’ tommyhocks an busseted down the doors of Doddle’s smoke kitchin with a fierce venjince. They was so fierce they made out like to scalp Doddle’s little boy, Petey.
Petey wuz shore one scairt little boy when it wuz done. A course, they (Doddle and his Boston wife, who were no unsartin danger hersef) kilt Kitita Ndukash and skalpt him an stuck it up on old Doddle’s assy house flagpole as a jinx so no other Injuns might try any similar type of caper.
So it wuz then thet I get hauled off to see the rest o’ the rodeo by my pal Salpietro Nicletto. By the time we git over thar they done all the ridin’ an’ ropin’ an’ gallivantin’ fer the day, though and we come to git the bullfights.
I guess som Spannerds and Messicans still appreciates them things, but fur me wuz only a grootesk spectacle. The bull was gonna git sackerficed anyhow, and the firs’ one we seen this happenin’ to was no less than El Gorito.
El Groito was a big mother of a bull, built like a steam engine. He had two prong horns comin outta his haid and them were not all the business end of him. They stuck purty littel ribbons on the ends like to make a mockery of him, but his hind quarters wuz jes as fierce. When he kicked in the pen it like ta nearly broke off the gate, an’ it took four strong men to hold back the gate fur the rest of the day. But now thet he was gonna be the object of the bullfight, they let him out, and didn’t he wander.
Up and down the ring he wandered, lookin’ for a loos man to jump off on. Et were not long afore they found him his trouble.
The picadillys came out, with their pickadore dagger darts, like to stickin pins in a Voo Doo doll, en thet made El Gorito even more pissed offen. He took off after one of the pickadillys, a little guy couldna been moren about fourteen, tall, though, and this little guy got both his little pickadillys n thar. Then he runned off outta the ring.
Was now the time fer the bandy-yerros. These characters make a mockery of the matadore, of course, but they is dressed pretty good like the same sept they gots no cape er sord. The bandy-yerros have bandilleras- there er kinda like the pickydillers exept they got long ribbons, is about a foot long, and when they stick in the hide of the bull they starts to droop. Objeck of this is ta start settin' the bull up fer the let down, piss him off but weaken him. Usually they git stuck in the neck, shoulder, or the back o’ the haid.
When all the bandy-yerros is done and quit runnin' around and run outta the ring, to the compneemint of some sad bugle and drum music, in comes the matadore, dressed in his cape and silly silk stockings and buckled shoes and micky-mouse hat. He has his sord, a course, an’ with the sord, he uses the red side a his cape like et wuz a flag, and pisses off the bull.
El Gorito was shore one brave bull, even eff he maybe had no idear whut was comin, he kept on turnin', and makin' that matadore dance an bob and weave and jump like a puppet.
But a course, this is always how it ends— the matadore pulls his sord out one last time and runs it inta the branes of the poor critter, and thet is all she wrote, dear minders.
Then the bandy-yerros and pickadillys all runs out while the matadore bows and scrapes to cheers, applause, and many flung rose petals, and they drag the beast off to be butcherd, for the town feast that gits a cookin when the sun is settin’.
Now me and Nicletto, we stayed fer the town feast. We felt invited though we wuz both real white men cuz we had the guts to sit thru the bloodshed and all, and nobody sed we culdn’t stay neither. I seened the bullfights before like I toldja, down in Frisco, en I figgered by gum you done seened one you seened em all, cuz they allus turns out the same in the end, anyhow.