New Orleans, Louisiana
November 18, 1833
Esau Burdock sat on the balcony of his hotel room overlooking the street, with his muddy boots up on the wrought iron railing. It was 10 p.m. and black. The stars were fiery pellets flung across the sky by the fistful. He was tired,but couldn’t close his eyes for the show. He’d seen these showers before — every year,in fact — but all of them were pale beside this one. People were taking note of it. Some wondered if it were the end of the world. One heard wails and lamentations,but one also heard horns and exclamations of wonder.The entire state of Louisiana was fixed and in its thrall. Not even the blind could look away. He had come down the Missouri River to pick up a stallion shipped from Kentucky for the wild herd he was grooming back in New Mexico. The western ponies were agile and quick and had great endurance, but the stallion would bring size and strength to the herd. Burdock had always liked New Orleans and looked forward to his few days in the city, even though he was almost hanged there as a young man. That wasn't the first time he risked a hanging, either.
Burdock, was over-sized and ruddy, even from birth fifty plus years ago to a common criminal in an alleyway in London.He nearly split his mother in two while he fought his way out.Her natural hair was nearly white, but his was thick and red;he still had most of it, augmented now by a full red beard. The only thing his mother taught him before she died was how to pick a man’s pocket. He never knew his father, nor did she.Pretty near as soon as the boy could stand, she taught him to toddle up to a likely prospect and hang onto a man’s sleeve until the man gave him a coin or shook him off. While Esauhad the man distracted, his mother lifted the wallet from his pocket. This gambit continued to work until her fingers twisted with arthritis and bony knobs stood out on her gnarled wrists. It got so that she barely left her old straw mattress for the pain. Esau stole whatever he could whenever he could, to get them through a dreadful winter. He’d stalk the back streets looking for drunks, and if they were passed out he’d swipe everything in their pockets. If they weren’t passed out, but only staggering, he learned that hitting them over the head with a lead pipe more than made up for a victim’s strength and stature. If the man were very tall Esau would bang him on the ankle, and then, when he bent down to clutch it, crack him hard over the head.
Esau Burdock, Slave Trader - NEXT!