This is one of my favorite stories that I heard from a buddy of mine up in Alaska back in the ’90s. He was a bush pilot before he decided he needed another more refined kind of life and he ended up down in Texas where I met him years earlier when we both were studying engineering.

“I was sitting at the bar and this mean ugly looking guy turned to me and said,’Do you like blacks?’

‘Oh shit,’ I thought. I stole a furtive glance at him and decided that the winning response was no so I replied, ‘No.’ He said something to the effect that I was alright by him and he bought me a drink.

 A little later he asked me,’Do you like Portuguese?’ Well shit I figured if not liking blacks was worth a drink then not liking Portuguese was worth another so I answered, ‘About as much as I like blacks.’

He hollered, ‘I’m Portuguese,’ and made a lunge at me, tripping over my stool. My buddy Luke and I headed for the door like all of the wraiths from hell were on our heels. We expected the whole bar to spill out into the parking lot but the only person who came out was this gal that I had been dancing with. I had bought her 4 or 5 drinks and all she wanted to know was where the party was moving to. I told her that Luke and I were just going to pick up a bottle and go back to the hotel for a couple of drinks and that she was more than welcome to join us.

 Luke and I got back from flying the next day and we were no more than through the front door of the hotel then we were informed that we’d have to move. We were being thrown out. The proprietress informed us that, ‘Drunken orgies were disturbing to the other guests and that oh, and by the way, Salinas was looking for the chap that had been screwing his girlfriend.’ She just had to add the last bit with a malicious gleam in her eye. The vindictive old bitch must have ratted me out to this Salinas, whoever he was.

 We checked into another hotel and as I was opening the door to our room the maid asked me why we were moving from the X Hotel. I said, ‘Because it seems a certain Salinas didn’t like me screwing his girlfriend.’  Oh shit did she light up! Come to find out that this old gal wasn’t the maid but was Salinas’ wife and that we’d just checked into their hotel. It seems Salinas’ old lady was a native gal and it turns out that it was she that had the money to buy the hotel and it was she by working her tail off was able to make it successful and that Salinas wasn’t doing diddly except living off of the sweat of her labor.  If he wasn’t whoring or boozing he’d be riding around with that damn jade collared doberman dog of his in that new pickup truck and not doing a lick of work. She was more than just a little pissed off and I could tell that this new found hard evidence had put blood in her eyes.

 A couple of days later on our last night in town we were sitting in a bar having a few drinks when who should walk in but old Salinas himself. He looked around the bar and seeing us he let out a growl, came over and cursed us for being the sorry gringos that we were and informed us that as of tomorrow morning we’d best be out of his hotel and glowering he added, ‘If we were smart we’d clear the hell out of town.’ All threats aside with only two hotels in town and not another for 40 miles he thought that he had us in a pretty  fix and he would have to if we wouldn’t  have wrapped up all of our work that day. Still Salinas’s menacing presence kind of put  a damper on our drinking  so we decided to call it a night.

 On our way back to the hotel a barking dog lunged at us scaring the shit out of the both of us. Thank god the beast was penned up, especially seeings how it was a doberman. Upon closer inspection we discovered that this was Salinas’ dog as surely there could  only be one damn dog in the whole state of Alaska with a jade collar.  Luke said, ‘Looky here, his pride and joy.  His pickup truck riding friend’.

 Back in the room Luke asked me if I still carried a pistol. I said that yeah , I was . He wanted to see it so I pulled it out of my pack and showed it to him. It was just the little .38 snub that I carried for these backwater supply missions. He flipped open the cylinder to see if it were loaded and saw that each of the six chambers had a round in it. He stuck it in his pocket, smiled, and ambled out the door.

 It wasn’t a minute later that I heard a ‘bang’ and then  the clump of boots running up the back woodsteps of the hotel. He stepped into the room, jammed the pistol back into my pack, and smiling handed me the jade collar.

 I got to guess that at street level the sound of the bowling alley across from the dog’s pen masked the sound of the shot”.

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