Saturday, October 29, 2005

Death & A Pack of Cigarettes Circa 1894

I finished my 4 mile run hard, stopping just short of the Cottagewood General Store. It was 1994, late October, and the weather was unusually warm. As I walked past the front of the store (sweating from heat, exertion and the dead calm that envelopes a resting runner) I encountered an old man. He was wearing a blue and red flannel shirt, and seemed rough and ornery. “Could you give me a cigarette?” He asked. I thought to myself - “Hey! I am not a likely candidate for a smoke, buddy”, but I politely I just said no. He jerked back and grumbled.
I strolled slowly and rested, then turned to walk the final 2 blocks to my home on Park Avenue. Thinking about the old man I looked back - but he was gone.
*** *** ***
A Friday night in October 1894. There was a banging on the door of the Cottagewood General Store. It was 9:30 pm and the owner was resting in the upstairs apartment. He bundled up and came down to meet the noisy visitor. “ Open up!” The scroungy old prospector shouted. “Let me in I need cigarettes”.
The shop owner was sleepy and suspicious. “We’re closed” and he pointed to the sign: CLOSED.
The angry old man pulled out a 38 revolver and shot the shop owner squarely, dealing him a mortal wound. He then broke into the store to steal the cigarettes he wanted so badly. He was never seen again.
- It isn''t much, but it is true.


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