So, the family and our heroes continue the trek to San Jose, parting company when they arrive that evening. The place is packed, and every vendor is doubling their prices to fleece the refugees.
Our heroes — that's David Hood, Father Seward, Jake, Jeb, Ruby O'Flahertie, and Rufina — go looking for a poker game. Jake can't find anything, but Rufina notes a group playing in the dining area of a decent hotel. We arrive and inquire about rooms. The owner charges us $15 a head, but Father Seward takes a page out of George Costanza's playbook and tries to persuade a discount out of the manager by telling the sob story of their trip from Boston to San Francisco (sans occult events, of course). He manages to get a room rate of $8 a night.
Jake plays a game of poker, and loses his last hand before it becomes obvious that a gunfight is going to erupt. He still wins $600. The money is divvied among the group and we go upstairs.
Before heading to bed, the group gathers in one room and discusses what happens next. The group shares its visions from the moon jar gas and their travels. Father Seward explains that he saw the man crossing out the "Population: 191" sign in Sweetwater, Arizona. He further explains his vision of the man who took his daughter — prompting Ruby O'Flahertie to mention her vision, wherein she saw the man in the purple gloves, riding a black horse, delivering Father Seward's daughter to Indians in a cliffside/badlands environment. The Indians called him "Manitou," and the indication was made that they sought Father Seward, but settled for his daughter as she shared his blood. He evidently traded her for a bag of purple dust.
Nobody else has notable visions, although at Father Seward's behest, David Hood shares his vision regarding a boy and a girl, roughly five or six years old, playing "doctor."
As the group is discussing what to do next, they hear someone knocking on a door — one of the doors in the block of rooms they purchased. The knocking moves down the row.
Everyone grabs weapons and takes positions. David Hood stands out of the way. Father Seward also stands out of the way, but just on the other side of the door so that he is not visible. Although he has a rifle, his job is to grab Ruby — who is going to answer the door — and pull her aside in case bullets and mojo start getting thrown around. Jake stands in view of the door with his shirt partially unbuttoned, presumably to offer the appearance of going to bed shortly. Jeb is also in view, and hides his shotgun behind Ruby's back.
Rufina, also out of view, watches this whole scene with macabre interest, as she starts wondering about these people with whom she has started traveling.
When the knock comes, Ruby opens the door. It's the hotel owner. He indicates that he has a letter, and a man downstairs gave him ten dollars to not deliver it. When Ruby asks, it's to a Mrs. Ruby Manning. She says she would be interested, and when she looks for a consensus, Father Seward opens and closes his hand three times, meaning give him fifteen dollars. She offers $15 and the man leaves after muttering about a bunch of men in a lady's room.
Father Seward repays her the $15, and she starts reading the letter. Curious about the man who didn't want the letter delivered, David Hood decides to go downstairs and inquire with the hotel manager. Rufina decides to accompany, and after they leave, the group decides that Jeb ought to follow at a distance with his rifle — just in case.
As they leave, Ruby reads the letter, then shares it with Father Seward and Jake — her husband has evidently seen the error of his ways, and wishes for Ruby to meet him in Richmond.
Meanwhile, David and Rufina go downstairs to find the manager closing up. They ask who paid to have the letter withheld, and after some bickering and money exchanging hands, the manager says it was one of the guys at the poker game in the lobby — by description, we noted him when we entered, as he was a pacing man with a cigar — a fellow by the name of Butler (I'm pretty sure the name was Reginald Butler, but I'm not sure at the moment). He's not our Mr. Butler, but the odds of him being related seem high.
Rufina returns upstairs, although David lingers for a moment to apologize to the manager for her rudeness. Once everyone has gathered together, we repeat our respective stories. Having a few things to ponder, we go to sleep.
David awakens in a cold sweat to his nightmarish visions, while the rest of us awaken normally. Many of us — Father Seward, Jake, and Jeb — awaken to find maggots among our personal effects (we would later note that the maggots emerge from wherever we kept our money, and that $10 is missing from each person so affected). Ruby, unfortunately, discovers this when she puts her foot in her boot and squashes several maggots. She freaks, prompting a tense scene when Father Seward and Jake go to check on her, but Rufina refuses to open the door because Ruby is basically completely nude. At Ruby's behest, she relents, and after we're confident that Rufina didn't try to murder Ruby, we leave her to dress.
With the apparent choices of going after Father Seward's daughter, determining whatever happened in Sweet Water, trying to figure out what is happening with Hood's family, or visiting with Ruby's husband, the group decides to return to Boston to find out what's happening with the Hoods (Jake figures Seward's daughter and Sweet Water can wait, and the group thinks Ruby's husband might be a trap — although Ruby suspects he's just a jerk who deserves to wait a little while).
We also use our new found wealth to stock up on supplies. With many commodities being sold at inflated prices, the money goes fast, but we outfit ourselves with clothes and weapons and feel a little more confident about traveling. Jeb also takes the opportunity to check the bounties — he indicates he was once a bounty hunter — and does not find David Hood's bounty (so it's either fake, which we somewhat suspected anyway, or it just hasn't made it out to California yet). He does note the bounties of several people at the Flesh Menagerie poker game, but since they stand a good chance of being at the bottom of the bay, he ignores them.
When we regroup, we decide to take the train to Boston. We only have enough money for seats, which would make for a very uncomfortable trip, so we ponder ways to get money. We decide on Ruby trying to convince her husband to wire us the money. She sends a telegram.
He comes through. On the day we depart, we receive $300 with a note that he cannot wait to see her. She sends a note back that our train is headed for Boston, and she will get to Richmond as soon as she can.
As an aside, Rufina's player commented that as a group, we're incredibly polite, but we're paranoid and react to anything remotely threatening by readying our weapons. She coined the phrase "guns and politeness," which I think would be a heck of a name for our group, but Nicole wanted a single word that would encompass the concept. After pondering, I settled on the idea that we're strictly gunteel, "gunteel" of course being a portmanteau of "gun" and "genteel."