A Night with Three Gun Bill

We often walked the tracks; it was faster. This night four of us walked under a waning moon, feeling our way along the ties. We sat down on a trestle to smoke, our legs dangling over.

We heard something. A figure loomed in the glow, large and heavy footed, it stumbled towards us.

“You got a cigarette?” He bellowed. One of us produced a Camel for the man. He was easily six foot tall with a beard to beat all.

“Thanks! So, what’re you boys doin’ on my tracks?”

“Just getting around.” I said. “What do you mean your tracks?”

“Hell, you know who I am?” He straightened and took a drag. “I’m Three Gun Bill for God’s sake. Kids…” He shook his head.

“Why they call ya’ three gun?” Caleb asked.

“Cuz’ I’ve got two knives and this!” He grabbed his package and laughed.

“I’ve ridden these rails for thirty years…” He began to tell of trains, fishing, panhandling and living free. We listened, rapt.

“Keep yer powder dry boys!” He was gone.

Caleb looked out into the dark. “I think we just met the last true hobo.”

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