Page 313 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                293
             Buildin west toward Twin Peaks like a line between us an the
             rich folk we work for. It were terrible after the shakin woke us
             all up yellin in our longjohns runnin out into the streets at
             5:12 in the AM. The Chronicle paper says 60,000 us souls live
             down South of the Slot, & we was all runnin for it, tryin to get
             away from the fire that started in a Chinee laundry near Ma
             Sloat’s at Third & Brannan. It just spread & spread through
             all the broken wood & gas mains shootin flames into the air. I
             don’t want to make you sick, dear Benny, but there was lots
             of men, some of um I knew, trapped in the wreckage & beggin
             at first to pull um out till they was beggin anybody to shoot
             um, & they was shot, because they was about to be burned to
             death. It was a vision of hell. Nothin none of us could do to
             keep somethin like 3000 souls alive in our disaster. Somethin
             like 500 looters was shot on site includin 2 fellas I knew who
             was just tryin to get their pants out of the wreckage. Gun fire
             & flames & smoke & explosions. I left Ma Sloat’s with nothin. I
             don’t know where I’m gonna live, despite rumors of Tetrazzini
             singing at Lotta Crabtree’s fountain for us survivors at Geary
             & Market, as I am now campin next to a tent in Golden Gate
             Park which you may recall I once told you you’d like since I
             could see us walkin there, hand in hand through Paradise. So I
             was wondrin if you wanted to come out here to the ruins (ha ha,
             but I mean it) because you said you were needin work & there’s
             lots of it. Just so’s you know—I been takin my once-a-week
             salt-water at the Sutro Bath that’s as fine as any building
             at the St Louie Fair. Maybe we could work for room &  board
             for Ma Sloat. She says she’s rebuildin over on Folsom Street
             upstairs over where her brother Hallam has a piece of property
             for a new saloon because he believes in the future of Frisco even
             South of the Slot. She says he believes in the future of thirst, &
             he be namin the little street next his after their father the older
             Hallam. If you have work there in St Louie then maybe you
             could send your old secret chum a couple bucks to help out, but,
             dear Benny, if I have to start over, & I do have prospects, I’d a
             damn sight rather start over with you by my side here in Frisco
             cause you never know what’s gonna happen next, but this sur-
             vivor can tell it’s gonna happen here, & it would be good for us

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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