Chapter Two

This entry is part 2 of 36 in the series Bend

Chapter Two

The following morning Al got into his pickup and drove to Prescott. The snowplows had been busy. What little snow was left had turned to slush. By nightfall, most of it would be gone.

As he approached the town, Thumb Butte looked exactly like its namesake, the thumb of a hand, pointing straight into the air. It was still white with snow and would be for some time. The altitude was much higher here.

He turned off of Garvey onto Whiskey Row. This famous street was much the same as it had been over a hundred years ago. At least, that is what the local merchants claimed.

The St. Michaels Hotel and Bar were truly old. There was the Western Bar, the Bird Cage and others. Also on the block was the famous Sam Hill store. If someone couldn’t find what an item for which they were looking, they’d go to Sam Hills, as that store had most everything.

In the middle of the block there was a restaurant and several stores that sold Indian jewelry, along with a travel agency.

Al pulled in along the curb in front of the travel agency and shut off the motor. He got out and went inside. A girl seated at the desk greeted him.

“What can we do for you today?” She asked.

Al grinned, “I want to take a trip to Nicaragua, what do I need to get there? I intend to do some hunting while I’m there. What am I allowed to take along?”

The girl smiled. “I can answer some of your questions. First you will need a passport. Do you have one?”

Al shook his head, “No I don’t. How do I go about getting one?”

“Get your birth certificate and take it to the local

Post Office and they will help you. It usually takes around a week.”

“What then?”

“Bring it in here and we will fix you up with a ticket. Do you wish to stop at any places on the way down, such as Mexico City?”

“I hadn’t given it any thought. I might just as well see the sights between here and there, if it doesn’t cost too much extra.”

For several minutes the girl was busy checking rates and the different places Al could stop over. She handed him a sheet of paper. “This will help you decide.” She smiled. “Anything else?”

“How about guns? I intend to do some big game hunting. What am I allowed to take?”

The girl frowned; “ I don’t know. They are always having a revolution down there, either that, or a big earthquake. I am not sure; maybe you had better talk to Mr. Saunders. He has been there. He is not here right at the moment, but if you will come back tomorrow we will have this information for you.”

Al left the office and returned to his pickup. The first thing to do was to go back to the ranch and find his birth certificate. It was probably in the family Bible.

The big snowstorm was over, and water was running everywhere. He circled the block, got back on Garvey and headed back toward the ranch. Strange, he thought. Why had the sudden urge struck him to go to Nicaragua when he had opened the letter from John Kirkland yesterday? Why did he ask his father if he would come down there? A strange feeling had come over him; he knew he must go down there, but why?

Could his behavior be just like a salmon fingerling that leaves its spawning grounds for the ocean, where as a parent it returns years later to the place of its birth? Is man like the fish? Does he have some sort of built in device that guides him home? If built into the fish, then why not into man?

Lately he had read everything he could get his hands on regarding the Nicaraguan country and the people who lived there. It was not only a land of revolutions and earthquakes; it was also a land of voodoo and witchcraft. Was someone down there sticking pins in his relatives? Well he was damn sure going down to find out!

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