Exploring the World of the Whateley Academy
The Last Ride of
"Black" Jack Kingston, United States Marshal
And His Immortals
by E.E. Nalley
Being a True Account of the Eureka County Mine War - Carlin, Nevada 1874
as told by James Howard "Gentleman Jim" Hallowell
September 1st, 1874
The Crystal Palace Theater and Saloon, Carson City Nevada
Looking back on the days of my misspent youth, and the passions that are the want of young men, I find myself in continuous marvel to have lived to see if not the autumn of my life, at least late summer. And desiring of nothing more exciting than an interesting hand of poker to allow my wallet to continue to fund the lifestyle to which I have grown accustomed, a wiser man would likely have known that fate would arrive to settle accounts at such a moment.
So in September of the Year of Our Lord eighteen hundred and seventy four I found myself a customer of the fine hostel The Crystal Palace Saloon in Carson City Nevada, engaged in a lively game of my profession with a thespian eager to part ways with his cut of the evenings box office draw, a pair of cattlemen fresh with their pay from a drive who fancied themselves card players and the owner of the local chronicler of journalism the Daily Nevada Tribune.
Now poker is a game of odds, those interested in the newly forming science of prognostication, or statistical prediction, note that out of a deck of fifty two cards, the chance of getting any specific combination both increases and decreases with the number of cards in play in any given hand. Thus, if one has any kind of a head for numbers, one can calculate the strength of a given hand not only in its ranking vis-a-vis the rules of the game, but against the statistical likelihood that any of the other players has a combination capable of besting said hand. Likewise, if one is a student of the subtle motions and expressions of ones fellow players, a fair living can be made at the game, and I possess, if nothing else, a fair head for numbers and a keen eye of observation.
So it was that I should be holding three of the four ladies of the deck when in through the front door strolled an old war horse and law dog of my acquaintance, 'Black' Jack Kingston. Now, there are to my knowledge at least a dozen dime novels and God Himself only knows how many Penny Dreadfuls and lurid pulp magazines all scandalously sensational fabrications if not out right fictions about my friend Jack Kingston, but if ever a man could be said to be larger than life, he most certainly qualified. He was a mountain of a man, better than six and a half feet in his boots as he slowly entered, appraising the room. He still wore his union mantled frock coat, much faded now from his cavalry days.