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Sunday, December 29, 2013

RANCHO REYES Chapter 16 Now for Some Fun

John Put his Gold Coins in a Large Trunk
Having concluded their business Mandrel took their gold and set sail back to the plantation.  John decided to spend a few days in New Orleans visiting with old friends.
There was a lot more to the city than slime pits where most people plied their trade.

He stayed at a plantation that rivaled his own island holdings.  The parties were lively with pretty young ladies some of which were not very lady like when alone.  John wasn’t very impressed with them for he figured that most were looking for a man they could control and dominate.

So many of the men were mama’s boys and John didn’t like to associate with them.  

The word came that the war was spreading closer to New Orleans and there was an air of uncertainty among the people.  This caused John to decide to go home and get away from all the dying that was sure to follow wherever the war spread.

He thought about Rancho Reyes and the cattle and horses and the demand there would be for them.  Thinking about the ranch made him a little home sick for that was the only real home he ever had.

Over the next four years ships would come and load the coffee and then either run the blockade of New Orleans or make a deal with them and enter for a fee.  John didn’t want anything to do with that part of the business.

While they felt isolated on the island, it was better than being in the midst of the war. As the war wound down there were a few young men from other islands that were coming to see Lorry.  She was blossoming into a very pretty woman.

Mandrel was hoping that John would take an interest in her but that never happened.  It would be a little too much to say he was haunted, but the fact he had killed men and violence had been a part of his life at times and so far it still was.

Once again John was becoming restless and he felt it was time to move on. He told Mandrel that there were a couple of men he could depend upon, and he should let them be his protectors for he was leaving.

He said he had decided to go to San Francisco for the war had not had much effect on it.  Mandrel said he didn’t have the money to buy him out to which John said that it had been his when John had won it in the poker game and now it would be his again.

John packed his gold pieces in a couple of trunks and sailed from New Orleans for San Francisco.  There were times when he wasn’t sure they would make it but finally they sailed through the Golden Gate.

John got his luggage and found a Hansom cab to take him to the largest bank for he didn’t want to have to continually protect his gold coins.  He just kept enough to take care of himself and pay his way.

He didn’t know what he wanted to do if anything at all as he had enough money to take care of himself for the rest of his life.

It wasn’t long before word got around the there was a dude with a lot of cash in town and the shysters began to show up with all kinds of money making schemes.  He listened as if he was interested just to get the lay of the land and what he considered to be thieves.

There were a couple of men who seemed genuine but he wasn’t ready to get involved in something he had to watch over day and night.

The one thing he did was to find a nice place to live in one of the upscale hotels where the food was not too fancy but was tasty.

It seemed that a lot of men wanted to get him into a card game.  These were all rich men who just played for entertainment and not trying to make their living that way. John won just enough from these men to keep the games friendly and not to try to make a killing.

John kept his two derringers handy.  One in his sleeve which was spring loaded and the other in his vest pocket.  Over the weeks he had to take a half dozen sharps who tried to cheat these men out and have a talk with them.

A couple of them paid the price of trying to get huffy with John and he alerted the hotel that these men were sharpies and shouldn’t be allowed back in.

The word got around to the honest men, about what John had done and they appreciated it and told him so.  More than one said; I thought they were dishonest but couldn’t catch them.  

They told John they didn’t mind losing to him for it was worth it to have him in the game. He got to know a few of these men who knew how to make money honestly and they were always trying to get him to invest with then.

He finally got talked into some deals that were money makers and would continue to be over the years.  The next three years his net worth increased several times.

Still he missed the ranch life and had bought a small place where he kept a couple of horses that he rode almost every day.  Finally he couldn’t stand it any longer he said goodbye to his business partners and to friends he had made.

He had, had all the good times and parties he could stand and decided to try the train back to New Mexico.  It had been several years since he left there and he was anxious to see his old friends.

When he arrived he saw that a few things had changed but mostly it was the same.  He had sold his small ranch and horses before he left San Francisco because when he got to Santa Fe he wanted to buy an Arabian.

To be Continued

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