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IN NEW ORLEANS

by Barry Wallenstein

Blacktop 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 Blacktop had him smiling and he ceased taking care.

On December 7, 1861, Blacktop killed Miller. His "bestial habits and ferocious manners" changed love to confusion clarified by a blade.

She never knew the newspapers would carry their story and drag it over a course of weeks.

 

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

 



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