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Fiction #264
(published February 2, 2006)
Letter From Joshua To Alice
by Julio Peralta-Paulino
April 24, 1868

Dearest Alice,

I rode into Virginia City late last night. A city hardly touched by the war. I wish our Missouri had not suffered the way it did. Amazing, it's already been a couple of years.

I came, as you know, for the ore mining business, but all anyone's talking about is the hanging. Some fellow by the name of Millain. Seems he was tried and quickly convicted for the murder of Julia Bulette. The lady had quite a following, at least with the gentlemen and certainly with the Fire Company. Outside her last known residence, D and Union, a goodly crowd of decaying flowers still adorns the entrance. Of course, it's nothing in contrast to the crowds which are assembling here today to witness the hanging. A man using the cognomen of Smithy told me, "We're lucky to have some types of justice. The posse that went after that gang done killed the other two." The avocations related to the hanging are more than several. As the crowds dismount for the spectacle, they are greeted from preachers with the good book in hand to those hawking souvenirs of the event itself. As a law abiding citizen, I thought it too much on the ironic side to purchase any type of token. In any case, with this throng, walking about is easier without something to carry.

All the gussied up ladies look a bit on the harried side on account of all the debris. More than a few of them have taken to kindness with the very man that is meeting his maker. Smithy said, "They's actually right pleased that Madame Bulette is gone. Being nice to the one desperado that's left of the posse that done her in is about all they can do about it."

Now Julia Bulette, to be clear, was a whore. However, it seems that there were also some redeeming qualities which endeared her to more than a few of the men here in Virginia City and — from the looks of this crowd — other parts of Nevada. A man without much sense might either think that there weren't many whores in these parts or that there haven't been many hangings. Common sense and a certain lack of boldness made me reluctant to ask.

I don't know if I shall be attending the hanging of Millain. Even if I do, I doubt there will be anything to see save for the numerous many that are already gathered. There is not much else to do since the whole of the town is in a thrall over this event and I doubt I shall get to meet with anyone connected to the ore mining business before tomorrow. I feel lucky to have arrived safely and even luckier to have secured myself a private room. I wanted to let you know all about my arrival and I will write again soon. In my heart, I'm there with you in Missouri.

As ever,

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