1849 was only two years ago and the ships have flooded Yerba Buena cove. Whispers were going around that they were going to call that place San Francisco. I am across that damn bay drinking in a haphazard wooden shack bar that seemingly feels like it’s about to collapse. I am enjoying the fire of whiskey burning my throat. After the sun sets, I jump aboard a boat filled with three fishermen and we row ourselves across the bay. One day, they will build a damn bridge, I thought. As soon as I docked into the cove, I can hear the sounds of laughter coming from the gambling bars made from broken down ships and sounds of an accordian and feet stomping to music. I eat some clam chowder from this nice stern Italian fellow and then make my long walk to Chinatown which I enjoy the most. I love being there because of the unique cooking smells, the bright red colors, the lanterns. It was nice to go there. I wanted to get ready to take my travels up north pass Sacramento into the Sierra Nevadas, to make my fortune in gold and one day come back and be able to live on the sharp hills of Yerba Buena in a big stone mansion with servants to draw me a hot bath every night. I would dine on prepared meals served in nice China plates with bright shiny forks and spoons where I could see my reflection. I looked at my knapsack and only have a stale piece of bread which I will soak in hot beef broth as soon as I can find that old Chinese lady that sold those delicious bowls of soup filled with a mountain of noodles. It is a lovely night. I find a place to board at the Chinatown border. It cost a shiny coin for a whole week. Tomorrow, I will get me a horse, supplies, and gear to start my journey north. I find my Chinese woman. She’s missing most of her top teeth but she was pleasant as can be with a ferocious temper that came out at times when conducting her business. When I got back to my room, my things were stolen. I’m pretty sure it was the inn keeper. He watched me too much which I didn’t like. I’m sure he saw me leave. That bastard. I told him I was missing stuff but he shrugged and continued helping another poor schmuck who came to lodge for the evening. From there I kept my mouth shut and bought a bottle of whiskey from his establishment and took a big swig and went out back behind the wooden inn. After I took a piss, I poured all the whiskey on a straw heap for horses and lit the pile on fire. There was a bunch of yelling and hollering as the inn burst into flames. I could smell the nice timber smoke and laughed like a fool as I watched the wretched innkeeper sink down in misery as firefighters and townsfolk tried using buckets to stop the flames.
Categories: Elle Peyarre's Short Stories (fiction)