Headin’ Out….Washington 1979

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I caught a guy stealin’ from me, an’ I shot him. Idaho Blackie. Shot him, but I give him a fair warnin’. He’d been comin’ ‘roun’ my camp, makin’ conversation, an’ after three, four times a him comin’ by, I begin ta notice some a my stuff was disappearin’. Nothin’ big, but he managed ta get his hands on one thing er ‘nother. I’d come back from town an’ find him in my camp an’ there’d be somethin’ missin’, a can a corn, a little tobacca, anything he could get his hands on. He’d never take a bunch a shit at once; jus’ little things so’s ya don’t notice right off. He was wearin’ out his welcome ‘roun’ me, an’ fine’ly I told him straight. Told him, “If I ever catch ya stealin’ from me I’ll kill ya. Simple as that. Steal from me, an’ you’re a dead man.” He knew I killed a tramp b’fore, so I figgered that’d throw a scare inta him. He didn’t come ‘roun’ me much after that.

Then one day I was jungled on the Columbia and he comes walkin’ inta my camp. Sez he was waitin’ ta catch out. Now, I was watchin’ him like a hawk, watchin’ so he don’t take nothin’. I was waitin’ for him ta get his train so I could leave my shit an’ go inta town. An’ trains were pullin’ out all afternoon, but he wouldn’t budge. Kept sayin’ he’d catch the next one.

I gotta load a shit ta haul an’ I ain’t ‘bout ta drag it inta town ever’time I buy groc’ries. I can haul it if I hafta, but it’s a hunnert an’ fifty poun’s, an’ that’s with my canteen empty. An’ this guy’s a motherfuckin’ cagy character; he knows I’m gonna hafta leave it in the jungle when I go inta town for food. So he’s waitin’ ‘roun’ like a goddamn vulture. Come late in the day, I got tired a waitin’ on him, an’ I sez to him, “I’m goin’ inta town, an’ keep in mind what I tol’ ya b’fore. Ya lay your han’s on my shit while I’m gone, an’ you’ve had it.” An’ I jus’ ‘bout ran ta town an’ back. No way did I trust that motherfucker.

When I come back, I see he’s got his hands in my food bag an’ he’s stealin’ my motherfuckin’ coffee. I yelled out, “Goddamnit, Blackie, I warned ya. Make your move, an’ it’d better be a good one er you’re dead.” Didn’t think he’d do anything, but he pulled a .22 pistol an’ started pluggin’ away. I dove for my pack, an’ he got me in mid-air, right in the stomach. Bullet went clean through me.  Got a scar where it went in an’ ‘nother one where it went out. I fell on top a my pack, ‘an reached in an’ grabbed my .38 an’ started firin’ at him. I couldn’t get up, so I’m firin’ at him from the groun’.  I had one hand holdin’ my gut, an’ the other hand’s aimed right at him, squeezin’ off roun’s. An’ the motherfucker wouldn’t go down. He wouldn’t stop. He’s shootin’ like a wild man. Shot a hole clean through my coffee pot. Lead was flyin’ all over the fuckin’ place. I jus’ kept squeezin’ the trigger till he fell backwards. Emptied my gun inta him. The sheriff’s deputy said I hit him five times. That guy surprised me. Never figgered on him doin’ a thing like that.