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** Lost Gold At The Dead Man's Mine ** A Miners Journal **


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4 hours ago, Reg Wilson said:

 

   Thanks Reg. That's a great one!

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   April 19   1937

 

   I got up this morning feeling better. Slim and John were cooking bacon & rolling smokes by the cook stove. I noticed that Slim had himself a fresh bottle of whiskey as well. The crew had breakfast together and headed out to work. Sarge and Ben took their usual lookout spots and I asked Slim to come up the mountain with John and me and act as a guard for the pit & side of the mountain where the water line ran. He took his bottle with him. He had both Colts and John had given him one of his rifles. He picked himself out a good spot where he could see any movement coming up that side of the hill. On the hike up I asked him if he was still banned from carrying weapons. He just shrugged and said what the law didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them and nobody was going to take his guns from him unless they wanted a few new holes in them. I figured it was his business and he fit the attitude of our crew so I let it sit. 

   We had a good day's dig and ended with two ounces of gold which wasn’t bad for the mediocre ground we were on. When we all hiked back down the mountain I noticed Slims bottle had run dry but he seemed quite sober. It was really hard to tell what he was thinking because he kept his feelings well hidden.

   The boys got a nice campfire going as it got dark and we opened up some beans and cooked more bacon. Slim got himself a fresh bottle. It was his pay as well as grub and a dollar a day so he took what he needed. I grabbed some cold beers out of the creek and we all sat and ate and drank and did some talking about last year and what had happened so far this year. Slim said he would have skinned my brother's killers alive and he said he wasn’t kidding. He told us he’d heard a bunch of wild stories in the tavern about us. I said they’re all true and gave him a wink.

   Slim said the law in town was next to worthless. He told me that he hoped those murderers wouldn’t escape from jail and we should have hung them when we had the chance. He said the deputies were in the tavern as much as they were on duty and drunk half the time. Slim said he hated law dogs with a passion.

   I changed the subject. It seemed like the more Slim was drinking the meaner he was getting. I was hoping he wouldn’t cross John or Sarge. That wouldn’t be a fight I’d want to see. But he seemed to get along with everyone. He said he’d tried gold mining briefly but didn’t have any luck and went back to cow punching. He said he’d gotten pretty good on horseback and bronc busting but his body was getting too old to bronc bust anymore.

   Sarge asked him what it was like in prison. Slim said it was a tough deal. He had spent thirty years inside and it had made him pretty mean. He said he didn’t have much patience with people and he liked to use his fists as much as his pistols. The night was clear and cold and Slim was on another bottle by midnight. I told him we were all turning in except Sarge who would be on watch. Slim said he was going to set out by the fire a spell as he had some serious thinking to do.

   TO BE CONTINUED ..................

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   April 20   1937

 

   About two in the morning I got woke up to the crack of a gunshot. Then three more. I pulled on my boots and crawled out of my tent. The rest of the crew was coming out as well. I looked around trying to get my bearings and there was Slim with both Colts in his hands. Before I could say anything Slim pointed with one of the Colts to the area just outside of the camp. I shined a flashlight and saw a lion laying on the ground. Slim was hooting and hollering to beat the band. He said the lion was sneaking into camp and he let him have it. He was drunk but twirled both pistols back into their holsters without a hitch. Sarge came running over. Slim hollered over to him and asked what was he doing, sleeping? Sarge let it pass. Slim’s bottle had run dry and he went into the supply tent and pulled another. I told the crew to get back to sleep and John and I sat out with Slim for a spell. 

   Slim ended up drinking until nearly daybreak but somehow he had sobered up. John and I had sat up with him for a couple of hours and he was telling us all kinds of things. He said he had demons running around in his head from all his years in prison. He said the law dogs had stolen his youth and he’d lost it forever. I tried to tell him to just start fresh and make the best out of his new and free life. 

   The crew were all pretty tired this morning but we did our jobs, even Slim. He seemed perfectly fine by noon and had calmed down and seemed pretty normal again. We ended up getting one ounce and I was glad to get back to camp where I intended on getting some sleep after supper.

   TO BE CONTINUED ..................

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   April 21   1937   Part One

 

   We had a good night's rest and went right to work early. We had our best day with five ounces. John and I couldn’t believe it. Somehow we had found us a sweet spot of glory gravel. Slim said he’d never seen gold like that but had heard tales in town that we’d mined thousands of ounces out here. I didn’t say much other than don’t believe all the bull shit being passed around about us. 

   After supper Slim said the crew should go into town and celebrate. He kept talking and eventually had John on his side. I, for one, was tired of letting the town people control us so I asked Sarge and Ben if they were good with guarding camp while we went in. They said they were fine with it but didn’t exactly think it was a good idea. So John, Will, Hudson, Slim, and me rode into town and parked at the side lot of the tavern. When we walked in it was really packed. All the tables were taken and the bar was almost full except for a few spots at the far end. Then I saw someone whisper something to another guy and he turned to look in our direction. It was Dutch. He came walking over to me. It was clear he had been drinking and was in a bad mood. He was not happy we hadn’t included him as a permanent member of the crew. Then he spotted Slim. Dutch said he couldn’t believe we had hired on prison trash like Slim instead of him. Slim  heard the remark. I was thinking this trip to town had been a real bad idea.

   TO BE CONTINUED .......................

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   April 22   1937   Part Two

   

   I immediately stepped in between Dutch and Slim. I told Dutch that we hadn’t contacted everyone yet and would have given him a job once we got up and running. I said we just couldn’t afford an extra man until we got back on the gold. I also told him Slim was working just to be with the crew and without any real pay. I told Dutch that I knew he needed to be properly paid so I was waiting until that time to put him either on security or the mining crew. This seemed to calm him down. We shook hands and I told him we’d talk more and I would buy him a drink. However, this didn’t cut butter with Slim and he said he had been insulted. 

   Dutch could have done the easy thing and apologized but it wasn’t in his blood. Dutch was a big guy and younger than Slim by a good twenty five years or so. He also outweighed Slim by at least fifty pounds. Maybe more. Slim told him it was too late to apologize now and he wanted satisfaction. Dutch was half  drunk and told Slim to go find a place to sit down or he'd sit him down on the barroom floor. Before I could say a word Slim had one of his Colts out with the barrel stuck up against Dutch’s throat. The open end was under his chin and Slim cocked the hammer. He told him to get outside and Dutch had no choice unless he wanted to get his head blown off. 

   By now the barroom had gone quiet and all I could think was now we are becoming not only legends but outlaws to boot. The crew followed Slim and Dutch outside and I pleaded to Slim to put the gun away. Slim wasn’t having it. He asked Dutch how much money he had on him. Dutch said he had ten dollars. Slim said to give it to him and Dutch did so. Then Slim told Dutch to get on his knees. He reluctantly did. Then Slim set a full bottle of beer on his head and told him to keep it balanced. He said if it fell he would shoot off one of his ears. Then he walked back about forty paces, turned quickly as he drew his Colt from the right holster, and shot the full bottle off Dutch’s head. Beer went all over him. Slim told him to stay put and walked over to him with my bottle of beer and placed it on his head. He told Dutch not to move and he was going to do the same shot left handed. He stepped off forty paces, turned and fired as his Colt cleared the left side of his holster. The bottle smashed to pieces from the bullet and beer was once again draining down Dutch’s head. 

   Now Slim told Dutch he had one chance to apologize or he would shoot off one of his ears. Dutch told him he was crazy. Slim didn’t say a word and cocked the pistol. Dutch gave in and said he was sorry. Slim told him to get up on his feet. When he did he fired a few rounds alternately from each Colt and the bullets were striking inches from Dutch’s boots. Dutch was dancing up a storm. Slim told him he was going back inside to do some drinking and said to git. He said he was choosy about who he drank with and didn’t like drinking with cowardly weasels like him. Dutch left with his tail between his legs and we went back inside the tavern.

   TO BE CONTINUED ..................

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   April 22   1937   Part Three

 

   When we got back inside the entire crowd was all stirred up. Some had come out to witness the activities while others were watching from the windows. Slim had put on quite a show. One of the guys came over and wanted to shake our hands and buy us drinks. We accepted the offer but Slim had an idea of his own. He hollered out inquiring who was the best whiskey drinker in town. One of the men said Jeff Johnson could outdrink any man in town. Slim told the guy to go get him as he wanted to challenge him to a drinking contest for $50. The guy went to get him. Then Slim came over to me and quietly asked if I’d stake him the $50 as he was broke. I said sure and eventually Jeff Johnson came walking in. He was over six feet in height and must have weighed in at 250 pounds.

   Now the crowd was surrounding the table we were at and Jeff and Slim set up the rules. The bartender would time the contest out at exactly one hour. Shots would be poured for Slim and Jeff as they downed each glass. Whoever had drunk the most shots after one hour won the prize. However, the winner had to keep the whiskey down and be able to walk out of the tavern on his own accord at the end of the hour. The barkeep brought over two bottles and poured out the first two shots. The contest was on.

   TO BE CONTINUED  ................

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Still out on tour with my rock show. More journal to come soon. Happy 4th to everyone!!

IMG_20220617_091639.jpg

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Happy 4th of July to you too Ghost Miner!!

I was just catching up on reading a few pages of the story and it for sure is getting interesting. But it looks like Slim is bad news.  They should have never let that guy join up. Death follows that dude like flies on crap.

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On 7/4/2022 at 10:22 AM, Bedrocker said:

Happy 4th of July to you too Ghost Miner!!

I was just catching up on reading a few pages of the story and it for sure is getting interesting. But it looks like Slim is bad news.  They should have never let that guy join up. Death follows that dude like flies on crap.

I will be getting some posts up today & tomorrow. Been a bust week. Slim is one of a kind for sure.

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   April 22   1937   Part Four

   The shots started going down and some of the crowd was cheering on their local favorite but some were hollering encouragement out to Slim. Slim started out downing a shot a minute. He told us to call out each minute. Jeff was just downing them as fast as he could put them down. After fifteen minutes Jeff had downed twenty shots and Slim was sitting comfortably at fifteen. Jeff was starting to look a little funny and his speech was beginning to slur just a bit.

   Slim kept up the shot per minute pace all the way to thirty minutes where he overtook Jeff. Jeff tried to keep up but at the forty minute mark he attempted to stand up and lost all of his efforts as everything he had consumed came up. He had made it to thirty five drinks. Seeing as Slim had now made the count of forty and had won the contest he stopped. It was hard to believe but he was able to get up and walk out the door on his own. Then he came back in and collected his money. The crowd gave him a big cheer. He bought drinks for the bar and the crew stayed inside while I followed Slim outside and into the parking lot where he heaved up what he had drunk. We went back inside and stayed until closing time. I didn’t see Slim drink anything more that night but the rest of the crew and I had ourselves a hell of a good time. 

   Some of the guys in the crowd came over to me and said how bad they felt when they heard about what happened to my brother. They also thanked us for cleaning out the rif raf that had taken over the area. It seemed that the law was next to worthless there and wasn’t up to doing their jobs. What they had failed to do we did for them. All in all it was a good night except I felt bad for Dutch. I was hoping things would be ok between him and Slim. 

   TO BE CONTINUED ...............

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