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Thursday, August 13, 2009

HOM: Vegas Bound

It was early 1984. Jerry, though he wasn't my partner any longer, had volunteered to watch the store while I made the trip -- the reservations had been made quite a bit in advance and he didn't want me to forfeit the table rents. We were staying with the Hoodenpyles in Glen Canyon City (Big Water, UT), and were between gun shows. SLC was done and the great Las Vegas show was coming up. Don & Sandy planned on going to Vegas with us in a convoy, then returning to GCC after the show while we went on to Los Angeles for another show, but things did go somewhat "gang aft agley," like Burns predicted. When our scheduled departure time of Thursday morning dawned, it lit up a new feature in the landscape: A pickup stuck in the sand over by his neighbor's. At that time, GCC consisted of a couple of houses and a lot of vacant lots and trails laid out in the sand. The pickup had plowed through a makeshift gate on one of the lots and gotten stuck. Don & I walked out to see what was going on and found a hungover guy trying to excavate the rig. He said he was the passenger and that the driver had walked off to the highway and left him alone. Since the passenger side of the truck cab was packed with stuff I had a little trouble believing him so I took a little pass around the truck at a distance looking for tracks. He saw what I was doing and got mad, said he didn't know where the other guy went. Nope, there were no other tracks. He kept getting madder and finally told Don that for a dollar he'd whip his ass. Don quietly dug out his billfold, pulled out a dollar, and held it out to him: "You want it?" That brought things to a standstill for a minute -- he refused the dollar, saying we'd both gang up on him. Not true, Don was way more capable of handling that situation than I was. Well, unless I used the pistol I had in my pocket, but that was for an extreme emergency, not a fistfight. Don's action defused the guy's temper though, or at least disengaged his mouth. His energy started going into shoveling instead of spouting off. We were giving him a hand and keeping an eye on him when the lady that owned the damaged gate drove up. She knew Don, but not me, and she was mad. When she picked me to ask what was going on (loudly!) I was pretty quick to back up, raise my hands, point at Don, and say "I'M WITH HIM!" I may have stuttered -- she WAS upset. Yeah, Don thought that was funnier than I did. Still does. We left things in her wrathful hands and went back to the house. Don didn't want to leave with the potential troublemaker still in his yard, so to speak, so we sent Sandy & Lyn off to Vegas in his Chevy truck while we hung around. When the guy & his imaginary sidekick finally got the rig unstuck and drove off, we waited a little bit longer and then headed west in the Datsun ourselves. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)