(from June 9, 2012) At the Mink Ranch: More campfire tales of Mink Rancher


Folks stoppin by the ranch still ask me: “Rancher, what was it like when you rode with the G-Man?”

I reckon he wasnt a bad sort. What I never could abide by was the goddamned monkeys. He had a whole pack of em that followed him everywhere in those days. I heard they had a bad fallin out later. Nights like this, weed be sittin around the fire. Those monkeys just sat there chewin their grub and I never felt xactly comfortable with em.

Those were the days of the Wells Fargo stage coaches carryin the mail out west. Now those monkeys were mighty good with a coach hold up, the way theyd jump off G-Man’s horse, subdue the drivers, and terrorize the passagengers into submission.

Yip, Mr. Henry Wells’ stagecoach line, and he started up the Wells Fargo Bank and American Express Company – now thats historical fact.  He done right good, if the truth can be told, for a fella who all his life suffered from the most godawful stutter. He even offered to privatize the U.S. Postal Service. But he got no takers.  Was that Old Hickory? Naw, must a been before Old Hickory’s time. Now Old Hickory, he set out to fix the banks cuz he could see they was up to no good and it would lead to bad trouble down the line. He thought that was the most portent thing a presdent could do for the nation back in them days.

So in one of them holdups I took a piece of lead in the leg. Had to cut it out mysef with a Bowie knife, a bottle, and stick in my jaw. So I gives the slug to G-Man and says: “Just a few more o these and pray my luck dont run dry first. Then I’m goin to settle down and start a Mink Ranch.” Most things dont turn out the way you planned, or when you planned or have any resemblance to what you think it was gonna be.

“Then best of luck to ya,” he sez, “but I’m takin my loot and headin for Prague.”

“The hell you is!” I hollared. We took to a terrible fight, and I woulda won if I hadnt been swarmed by the goddamned monkeys that pushed me off the edge o the bluff and went rollin like tumbleweed down into a creek where the current carried me for a few miles. But thats another story.

Becuz you see Empress Marie turned up bout that time, only what I cant remember is exactly when or how, so iffin you go askin me about the Empress, I” have to do some remembering first.


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