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In New Orleans

Beautop Jackson, the owner of the house, carried a 15-inch sword sheathed to her thigh. Her
lover, John Miller, had a buck fifty* across his cheek, no left arm, and wore a chain with an iron
ball on the stump to wave in its stead.

Before they met and after, he did worse than pick his teeth with a blackened pinkie. He smelled
bad too & had no influence, just a lover's swing--the danger spinning off the end of his callused
stump. But Beautop had him smiling and he ceased taking care.

On December 7, 1861, Beautop killed Miller. His "bestial habits and ferocious manners" had
changed her love to perplexity – a state clarified by a blade.

She never knew the newspapers would drag their story around the stands well into spring.

*A buck fifty=a razor cut that requires over 100 stitches to close up


  Barry Wallenstein