The following is based on a treasure chest of memories, a lifetime of encounters
and all kinds of memorable characters
you run into when you’re out prospecting…
He was a known claim jumper, and a high grader. I’d been warned about this guy several times and had his description branded into my brain – figured I’d run into him sometime. Well, there we were. Out detecting in a place where strangers show up fairly often, when I sensed movement behind me. I looked up and spotted him coming my way. Just like I had him pictured – coveralls and a bad gimp. And uglier than a burnt boot.
So, I already knew who he was, but he didn’t know me. Now, I was switched on and already operatin’ in “Code Orange” (that’s high alert).
“Well,” he said with a lemon sucking grin. “How ya’ doing?”
With a wild crazy look that comes natural for me, I said in a sorta screachin’ scream, “Well, I broke my leg this morning but I’m all better now!!" And I held that crazy look for an extended bit.
He stared at me with his head cocked and his eyes wide, a real look of disbelief and puzzlement, and maybe even some fear on his face. He stood there froze for a little bit then made a funny gruntin’ noise as he turned and scuffed away up the draw and out of sight. He knew he’d been made, right there, right now.
Ain’t seen him since, can’t say as I want to, either. That’s okay, far as I’m concerned we didn’t need his kind, and he wasn’t welcome there in Gopher Gulch, anyway. Don’t wish him no harm though. Ain’t life something? Ain’t human relations a real art? I’m really gettin’ better at it too – developing my “people skills.”