Chapter 1



Eddy was very happy to be living in his own house instead of a rented house, and he was happiest because it was HIS house. He loved the carriage house because, since childhood, he had equated affluence with having a carriage house with a real horse and carriage in it! Now that he was marshal of Sacramento and part owner in a successful freight hauling business, he could afford all this and he was very pleased with himself.

Martha and their daughter, Alice, were happy to be in their own house, too, but for different reasons. Martha's happiness was, like Eddy's, keyed to owning her own home, but Alice, at 2 years old, was just happy to be where Mommy and Daddy were.

The two parents doted on Alice and tried to make sure that she had everything she needed and they thought she wanted. Alice was just this side of being spoiled, but somehow managed not to cross that line. She had a Chinese nanny and was learning Chinese from her along with the English she had from her parents and grandparents. Alice was remarkably intelligent and showed it every day.

Eddy was in his office at the jail doing some of the interminable paper work when an old friend walked in. "Tom Watson, I haven't seen you in a coon's age. Where you been?"

"I've been tryin' my luck in the gold fields, and that's why I'm here. You know I went up there right after I got Mary and the two boys settled from when we got in with that last wagon train of Jasper's. It was a damn fool thing to do, 'cause I barely broke even. Anyway, I'm lookin' for a job an' I wondered if you knew of anythin' available to fit my talents."

"As a matter of fact, I do! I'm looking for four more deputies. I know you're qualified; are you interested?"

"I shore am. What's the pay and when do I start?"

"The pay is $75 a month, with the first month prorated from when you start. If you take the job, you start today. You'll start out on the night shift, which runs from 7:00 PM 'til 7:00 AM. You sleep here when you ain't out making rounds. I'll tell you that the reason the pay's so high 'cause you don't git Sundays off. The city supplies shotgun and shells, the rest is up to you. Do you still want the job?"

"Where do I sign? I'm ready to start right now!"

"OK, let me git the forms and I'll swear you in."

Tom was sworn in and selected a shotgun from the arms locker and took some shells to fit. Eddy said, "Come back about 6:30 this evenin' an' I'll introduce you to the other deputies. And if you know anybody else interested in the job, bring him around."

Tom left to tell his wife the good news and Eddy started his daily walk around the business district of Sacramento. One of the first places he stopped in was the Silver Dollar Saloon. He greeted the bartender, Jim Hanson, with, "Howdy, Jim, how's it goin' today?"

"Tolerable, Eddy, tolerable. How 'bout you?"

"Oh, I'm doin' pretty well, everythin' considered. I do need some help, though. I got approval from the City Council to hire more deputies, so I'm lookin' for three good men. You know anybody whats lookin' for a job that might meet the requirements?"

"Matter of fact, I do. You see Sam Weatherly over there? He's a good man an' tough enough. He just lost his job out at the mines for poking the foreman in the nose. Now, I know both him and the foreman, and I'll tell you, that there foreman's been looking for a poke for a good many years. So I say that Sam's a good candidate for you."

"Thanks, Jim, I'll talk to 'im right now, if you'll excuse me."

"Shore thin'. Glad to he'p"

"Sam Weatherly? Got a minute?"

"Shore, Marshal. What kin I do for you?"

"I'm looking for a deputy and Jim tells me you might be available. If you're interested, kin we go back to my office an' talk about it?"

"Shore thin', Marshal. I could use a good job right now."

They walked back to Eddy's office and Eddy asked, "How come you poke that there foreman, Sam? That looks to me like a good way to git yourself fired."

"Yeah, I know. He was picking on a Chinaman we had doin' odd jobs; he'd been doin' it for a couple of months an' I jus' couldn't take it any longer, so I poked him to git him to leave the little guy alone. I admit that I didn't think 'bout the consequences when I done it. But, I ain't sorry. He deserved it!"

"Well, you know that if you gits this job, you can't go around pokin' people for doin' sumpthin' you don't like."

"Shore, I know that. I jus' hate bullies, but I kin usually hold it in."

"Well, Sam, I like you an' I'm gonna offer you the job as deputy. Do you want it?"

"Yes, Sir, I do! What's the pay an' when do I start work?"

"The pay is $75 a month for a 12 hour work day, 7 days a week. You don't git Sunday off. The new men start out on the night shift. Do you still want the job?"

"I shore do, Marshal. How do I sign up and when do I start?"

"I'll pull out the paperwork right now and swear you in. You kin start today. While I'm diggin' out the paper, find yourself a shotgun from the rack and git some shells outa the drawer. You have to furnish everythin' else."

Eddy swore Sam in and gave him some more information about the job. Sam said he would return at 6:30 to meet the other deputies and get set up.

Eddy figured that this was a good start to the day. He finished up the paperwork for hiring Sam and Tom and set out on his uncompleted round of the business district. He finished in time to make it home for lunch, which he tried to do every day, if possible.

Martha had hired a Chinese cook and was in the process of training her how to make western dishes. Martha thought she was a little too free with the spices, especially hot pepper, but Eddy liked it, so Martha didn't complain too much—the woman was learning. The woman was from that province of China were they cooked a lot like Mexicans; Eddy couldn't remember the name of the place, but he did like it.

Both the nanny and the cook were working out well, Mr. Wang Fu had found the women and recommended them highly. That was enough reference for Eddy and Martha, they were hired on the spot.

Eddy thanked Ti, the cook, for the excellent meal and headed back out to keep an eye on his charges. It was a beautiful day, typical for early summer in Sacramento, and there were a lot of people on the the streets. "Hello, Eddy. How are you, this fine day?"

"Well, howdy, Mr. Samuelson. I ain't seen you for a long time. How're the legs? You're lookin' good!"

"Now that you ain't an employee, I'd like for you to call me Jasper. My legs are coming along right well, everythin' considered, thank you."

"I heard you moved to Oakland. What are you doin' in Sacramento?"

"I'm here on business. With my legs, I had to give up on bein' a wagon master, so, now, I'm in the lumber business. Construction is boomin' an' I have a big lumber yard in Oakland servin' the whole bay area. Most of the prime lumber near the bay has already been harvested, so I'm settin' up to cut jus' east of here. I'm in need of a hauling firm to move the lumber for me from the sawmill to the river; I'll ship by boat to Oakland. Know anythin' 'bout Johnson and Goodalls? I hear they're reliable and good at what they do."

Eddy laughed and said, "I'm the Johnson of Johnson and Goodalls! We think we're good and provide the service we contract for. I don't know the current situation, so you'd have to talk to the manager, Cyrus Magnuson. Tell 'im I sent you and you're a friend. He'll give you the best rate he can."

"Much obliged, Eddy. I'll go see 'im right now." With that, Jasper scurried off as fast as he could with his two canes to help him.

Eddy spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the Sacramento business district, making sure that everything was going as smoothly as it could. He was back in his office by 6:00 and waiting when his two new employees showed up at 6:30. "Howdy, men. I want you to meet Tom Abernathy. He has the day shift this week. Tom, this is Sam Weatherly and Tom Watson, the two new deputies I told you about. Tom, show them around and where to find thin's, if you please. Zack should be along in a few minutes."

"Shore thin', Eddy. Come on, boys. I'll show you were the bodies are buried."

A few minutes later, Zack Wilson walked in. "Howdy, Zack. We got two new recruits for you to break in tonight. Think you can handle the chore? Tom is showin' them around the place, right now."

"Oh, shore, Eddy. Piece of cake!"

A minute of so later, the three came into the office and Eddy introduced them.

"Men, Zack will take you with him on his rounds tonight and show you the ropes. Stick with him the next two nights and then he'll switch to days an' you two will become the night shift for a while. At least, 'til we git some more men."

Eddy and Tom left for the day and Zack showed them his routine while he got ready for his first round. "OK, time to go. Our main job on the night shift is to make sure that all the shops are locked up and safe, and to pick up any drunks what might be wanderin' around so they kin sleep it off here in a safe cell instead of getting robbed in some alley. We'll also stop an' visit a minute with any of the business men who might still be workin' as we go by."

Zack made sure that each one learned the proper technique for testing a door to be sure that it was securely locked; they had plenty of practice that night. They stopped by the Silver Dollar Saloon to be officially introduced as the new deputies. They were talking to Jim, the bartender and owner of the saloon, when a clamor was heard coming from across the room. Zack said, "This looks like your first official action. You two go see what's goin' on."

Two men, obviously very drunk, were shouting at each other across a table. Some cards and coins were lying on the table and a crowd had gathered to enjoy the show.

Both drunks were still seated and Tom and Sam pushed through the spectators and each one placed a hand on the shoulder of a drunk. Sam said, "Come on, fellows, what seems to be the trouble?"

Tom's drunk said, "Thish bashtard tried to cheat me at poker!"

Sam's drunk replied, "Wazh not cheatin'! Charlie's jush too drunk to know a Jack from a King!"

Tom said, "It looks to me like neither one of you kin see your cards straight. Them are Queens you're arguin' about!"

The two drunks looked at the cards and both said, together, "Oh, shit!"

Sam said, "Come on, men. You've had enough for tonight. Let's go down to the jail where you kin safely sleep it off. You'll both be fine, tomorrow." They helped the two drunks to their feet and picked up the loose money from the table. This was followed by an unstable, but steady, march to the jail. Sam dropped the loose money in a sack to be sorted out after the men were sober and locked the drunks in a cell.

Zack said as they walked out, "You two handled that jus' fine. Let's hope the rest of the night is no worse."

They finished the early round and grabbed a few hours sleep back at the jail. As they were leaving for their second round, Sam asked, "What's that funny glow over on that side of town? I swear, it looks like a big fire."

Zack looked where he was pointing and yelled to Tom, "RING THE ALARM BELL! IT LOOKS LIKE ALL OF CHINATOWN IS ON FIRE! COME ON, SAM, LET'S SEE WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP!"

Tom started frantically to ring the alarm bell, and Zack and Sam left for Chinatown as fast as they could run. Zack shouted, "FIRE! FIRE IN CHINATOWN!" over and over as they ran.

The two deputies reached Chinatown in only a few minutes. One whole block was completely engulfed in flames and the fire looked as if it would jump to the buildings across the dividing streets. A stiff wind had come up and was fanning the fire to a blistering inferno. People were already on the roofs trying to stamp out the embers as they blew across the streets.

As the deputies ran up, an old woman leaned out of an upstairs window and screamed for help. She was shouting in Chinese, but there was no doubt what she was saying. This was the only building on the block that was not already a mass of flames and it wouldn't be long before it, too, was burning. Sam yelled to Zack, "COME ON!" as he ran into the building. Zack didn't hesitate as he followed Sam.

They looked around and found the stairs leading to the second floor. Smoke was billowing throughout the hall as they ran to the stairs and up to the next floor. Smoke was causing them to cough and wheeze by the time they reached the second floor and they had trouble seeing anything through the smoke. The only light was coming from the fire showing through the window at the end of the hall.

They ran down the hall and stopped at a closed door where they could hear a woman screaming on the other side. They tried to open the door, but it was locked. In her panic, the woman had obviously forgotten to unlock the door!

The two men stepped back and simultaneously jumped against the door. It cracked in a couple of places, but didn't open. They stepped back and jumped again. This time the door flew open and they fell into a bedroom. A old woman was screaming out the window and an old man was lying on the bed, apparently unable to move on his own.

The woman turned to face them as they burst through the door, screamed one more time, and fainted. Sam yelled, "YOU CARRY HER, I'LL BRING HIM!" Zack picked up the woman and ran out with her slung over his shoulder. Sam leaned over to pick up the man from the bed, but the man tried to fight him. In desperation, Sam struck the old man on the side of his head and the man stopped fighting. Sam picked him up and ran to the stairs.

Some of the steps were already burning, but Sam never noticed as he fairly flew down the stairs with the old man in his arms. Flames were everywhere, but, fortunately, Sam remembered where to find the door. He lowered his head and dashed through. Both Sam and the old man were coughing so hard by this time that they could hardly breathe. Sam ran through the door and collapsed in the street, but, luckily, didn't fall on the old man.

Somebody ran up and splashed a bucket of water over Sam and the old man. Their clothes were smoking and the water probably saved them from developing serious burns. Sam turned to thank the person with the water bucket, but fainted before he could utter a word.

By the time Sam recovered consciousness, he was lying on a bed in a strange room and surrounded by people speaking a language he couldn't understand. He was naked, with a towel spread across his crotch. Several women were gently patting him with damp cloths and crooning a song that he couldn't understand, but it was very soothing. He was able to see Zack and some other people getting the same treatment in nearby beds.

Sam lost consciousness again and, when he woke up this time, it was daytime and he was terribly hungry. A woman noticed he was awake and disappeared for a few minutes. When she returned, she brought a bowl of soup which she carefully fed to Sam; he had never tasted anything more delicious! He devoured two bowls of that wonderful soup and and lapsed into a normal sleep.

When he woke up, again, he was consumed with a painful need to piss. He signaled to one of the women in the room, and, when she came up, managed to use some gestures and sound effects to make his need known. She brought a bucket and Sam sat on the side of the bed and relieved himself. He thought he was going to overflow the bucket before his bladder was finally empty, but the woman nodded in apparent satisfaction as she carried the bucket away.

Sam spent two more days in what must have been a hospital somewhere in Chinatown. By the end of that time, he felt that he would go crazy if he couldn't get up and walk around. He found some clothes on a small table beside his bed, so he got dressed. He was a bit dizzy by the time he finished dressing, but he would be damned if he was going to lie down again. He staggered out of the room into a long hall.

A woman saw him and rushed up. She took his arm and guided him to a bench where, though not in English, she told him in no uncertain terms that he was to sit until she got back!

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Story tagged with:
Historical / Violent /