The ‘We Find It crew left the mining office in Grand Rapids and took US 31 to South Bend, Indiana. There they jumped on to I-90 that went all the way to the Pacific and would pass through Idaho just south of where they wanted to go.
The trucks made a real convoy. Tiny had one fast pickup at the rear and one at the front of their line of vehicles. All of them were painted a distinct sand color so that all the other vehicles matched Big Bertha’s colors with signs on their side telling who they belonged to. Each vehicle had a miniature flag of Texas on one fender and the USA on the other.
Cassie had suggested the paint and signs; to her the paint being the same mix felt the same to her ‘feel or sight’. Tiny thought of the flags. Before leaving Grand Rapids all of them had been run through a commercial truck washing facility so they hit the road sparkling clean. In fact they almost looked like a military convoy with the color of their vehicles. By the time they pulled out of South Bend most of the men were wearing old battledress they either already had or they picked up at Army-Navy stores on the road.
Tiny had one problem that was unexpected. He had said nothing about it to Cassie and she had not picked up on her own. All the young guys, especially the interns, were in love with Cassie. He had started rotating the drivers of Big Bertha to try and keep control of the situation.
Two of the interns had even gotten into a fight over whose turn it was to drive Big Bertha. Of course the real fight was who was going to ride with Cassie. There were no overt sexual acts involved; it was just Prince Froggy falling for Princess Cassie and tripping over his own feet anytime he was around her. This year Tiny had five interns and at this rate he might not have any when they reached Idaho. It really did not help that she was normally the only female within miles of them.
Tiny thought that Cassie was finally catching on. She had been so oblivious to them hanging around with puppy dog eyes that all the old timers were laughing themselves to death over it. They had highballed around Chicago so nobody had a chance to blow off steam. Tiny had been in this business for years and he knew that this work could be dangerous and that the men working with the equipment like theirs, had to have some outlet or they would make one.
His plan was to lay over in Minneapolis for a couple of days and let the crew get some relaxation before hitting the field in Idaho. He picked up his cell phone to contact a friend in Minneapolis about parking their trucks.
After making arrangements for the trucks he called Cassie.
“Cassie, I’m planning on taking a break in Minneapolis to let the crew blow some steam, get some good sleep, throws back some brewskis and eats some food they don’t have to cook for themselves. What you think?”
“Tiny, I have nothing to say about it. I don’t know what is involved. I would like a good meal myself. Maybe go to a concert. A movie or TV is worthless to me. I have noticed that the interns seem all up tight for some reasons.”
There was a pause as Tiny thought for a minute. “Yeah I noticed that myself. Cassie, I think they all got a case of puppy love on you. None of them know how young you are, I mean remember, I thought you were seventeen when I met you myself.”
“You’re kidding right? Oh my god, you are not. I can see it now. Wow, that is just so funny Tiny. What can I do?”
“Nothing, just don’t favor one over another. There has already been one fight over driving Big Bertha, as if I believe that was the real motivation.
We will spend a couple days there. We will have to park most of the vehicles in a secure lot, and that includes Big Bertha. We will get some rooms at a good motel.”
As they highballed down I-90, Cassie sat back and thought about what Tiny had said. She had just never thought of boys in that way before. Sometimes, when Sarah had spent the night with her, she had listened as Sarah talked about this boy or that boy. But she just never had an opinion. Then she had her run in with Harry Hankins. That could have turned her completely against boys except that she could tell that most of them were nothing like Harry.
She thought for a minute. There was Richard Jenkins in her History class; he seems like a nice enough person. He was a good student and also an athlete and now that she thought about it he had acted a lot like the interns were doing here, always staring at her and dropping things. Could it be that he was aware of her as a girl?
She shook her head for a minute; no, she was sure he had a girl friend.
Lying back in her seat she took a nap. It was still dark when she woke up. Teddy was driving now, so she sat up and turned toward him. “Teddy, what time is it? Has Tiny said anything about stopping?”
“Oh, you startled me Cassie. It’s 7:30. We will be hitting Madison soon so we are stopping near there for the night. Tiny knows a truck stop that has overnight parking for over-the-road trucks. He thinks we can stay there. He also said they got great food. It’s in a town just north of Madison called DeForest.”
“Well wake me when we arrive.” With that, she leaned back for forty more winks.
Cassie woke up again when Bertha exited I-90 and they stopped at the top of the exit road at a stop sign. She could ‘see’ the truck stop. There were dozens of trucks refueling or parked in the rear lot. In the restaurant was a crowd of men eating. Teddy followed their convoy as it swung wide around the building to enter the far side of the parking lot. There they could all park together.
She sat up and exited on Teddy’s side of the truck. She had never exited from her side since the first time when she was chided for not allowing Teddy to check for danger and help her down. It was convenient to have Teddy’s help getting down from the height of that driving compartment.
The men were all gathered, talking loudly about every subject men will talk about. She blushed as some of those comments were not meant for young ears. But she felt good, too, because the men treated her as one of the crew. Most of the old timers did not even think of her as a girl; she was one of the ‘boys’.
Tiny waited for her to come to him and walked with her to the restaurant. The crew was spread out around them covering their backs without thought.
They pushed through the doors into the warmth and noise of the restaurant where Tiny stepped up to the hostess.
“Ma’am, I got thirty five and it will be one bill so where do you want us all?”
“Oh my, thirty five orders on one bill, let me see.” She turned to the kitchen area.
“Bill, we need to open the rear dining area. Lissie, you and Grace will be working the rear area. It’s one bill so split any tips in that room. You two let the other girls know they will have to hold the front down for at least an hour maybe two.”
She turned back to Tiny and grabbed a stack of menus, “Follow me!”
With that she led the way through the main dining room. As the crew followed her, the room they tracked through fell silent. The crew was made up of some big men. You had to be strong to wrestle with drilling rigs. Even the Hispanic crewmen were big; shrimps just could not get the job done. Wesley, a big black man, was so big and strong that he could probably pick up an NFL defensive lineman in each hand.
The rear dining area was big enough to seat about fifty, but this crew of thirty five men packed it. Music started playing as some of the men peeled off and started loading a juke box with dollar bills. There was no conflict. Most of these men had worked together for ages and had learned to compromise personal tastes. The new ones gave way to the veterans.
So, mostly it was working men’s music with Country western, some Latino and some R&B. It was all interspaced so no one dominated. Cassie liked it all and her foot tapped to the beat. The waitresses were busy, but they were also veterans. One took drink orders the other started on the food. They did the ordering five people at a time. Cassie was surprised how short a time it took them to get the order turned in. Everybody had a drink as the first orders started hitting the table.
Most of the food was steak, potatoes, gravy, beans and deserts. One of the intern’s orders was a chef salad and the room got silent. Then laughter rang out and, his face turned red with embarrassment. Cassie noticed that when his order came back he had changed it to a large chicken fried steak with French fries. Later, when the meal was over he looked shocked to find himself wiping his plate clean with a roll.
Cassie was a little surprised at how much she had put away. When you worked as hard as they had all been doing, your body wanted calories.
The discussion rolled around to finding a place to throw some beer down and finding girls.
“Guys, hit the sack. We’ll be leaving real early in the morning. Be here at 4:30 for breakfast then, by 5:45, I hope to be on the road. We are stopping in Minneapolis for a layover. By leaving that early, we should be there early afternoon. We can get ourselves settled in and then you have two days to relax. A whole weekend! We’ll pull out on Monday, so get it done this weekend.” Tiny had stood up to tell them this. “Tonight, I have reservations for all of us next door at the Motel; just tell them ‘We Find It’ crew. Rooms 101,103 and 105 are taken. I got 101, and Cassie has 103. Teddy, John Boy has 105. And guys let the girls know how much you appreciated their service.”
He waved at the waitresses who had paused until he was through speaking.
He went to them and gathered up all the checks and pulled out some money and gave each of them their tips. It must have been good because both broke out in huge grins.
Tiny then escorted Cassie back to her vehicle where she quickly gathered up a bag with some clothing and then walked across the front parking lot to the Motel.
They each picked up their key cards and went to their rooms. Cassie took a bath and a long soak. When she was through she drained the water and took a quick shower to wash off all the soap. She then collapsed into a warm soft bed.
Cassie dreamed of a roaring stream of mountain water running down off a mountain. She stood on a bank of the stream and behind her, on an old County Rd., sat Big Bertha. She carefully stepped into the flowing water. Squatting down she used a small shovel to dump a load of gravel and dirt into a pan almost as large as a wash basin. Then she filled the pan with water. She slowly rotated the pan letting the floating dirt wash away. She added more water and continued rotating the pan until no more dirt floated out. Then she let the last of the water spill over the edge and stood upright stretching her back.
She picked through the gravel and grit left in her pan. Most was just pieces of granite and feldspar. But some of the grit was too dense and if she could actually see, she would have seen a tint of yellow to them along with a small nugget. She looked at the area where she had gotten the shovel load. She examined the flow of the stream, watching the water push grit and dirt into the pocket she had shoveled out.
Her sight went up stream, slowly following the flow. She began to walk up the stream. Soon she came to another small stream entering the flow. A sample upstream, past the new creek, found nothing along the banks. She came back to the new creek and walked up it until she found a bend where the water flowing down was diverted by the bank. A new sample on that bank again found a couple of small nuggets and lots of gold grit. She looked up that creek and a short way up it, the water came over a small waterfall.
Again she climbed and walked up the small creek until she was above the falls. The water was shallow just before it went over the falls.
She waded out into the water and took a shovel full out of the bed of the creek and dumped it into her pan. Again she rotated the pan, until all the dirt was washed clean. The bottom of her pan was full of golden grit with a dozen little nuggets. Cassie looked further up the creek where it narrowed coming down the mountain side. She knew she was off their exploration lease, but the mother lode was still up higher on the mountain. She looked around and saw mountains to her left and behind her. County Rd 111 was a couple of miles away. She stepped out of the water and sat down on a log. She relaxed and narrowed her focus to sweep the creek banks for over two miles. She pinpointed every spot that had a good placer deposit.
She noted when the amount of gold started falling off and came back down the mountain mentally. There she “saw” a bigger deposit; a small rivulet flow into the creek about a mile upstream. There were more deposits below it than above where it flowed into the creek. She relaxed a minute and refocused up that rivulet. Just at the edge of her range the water flowed through a crack in the rocks lined with broken up quartz. There she “saw” a wide band almost a foot in width of gold that was six inches high. It was at least six feet in length of broken quartz all laden with pieces of pure gold. The vein from which it had broken off extended down and out toward the center of the mountain.
She scanned around her and could not detect a trail or road within two miles of this discovery. She stood and her foot slipped out from under her and she fell into the creek. A scream erupted from her throat as she went under the ice cold water.
Cassie found herself setting up in her bed with ‘Tiny’ banging on her door. “Cassie, Cassie are you okay? Answer me girl!” the door shook with his hammering. “Let me in!”
It took her a minute to get oriented before she scooted over and out of her bed. She stumbled to the door and unlocked it. Tiny picked her up in his arms. “Girl are you okay? What were you screaming about?” Shaking, she tried to make sense of what had happened. She shivered with the feel of ice cold water over her body. Pushing back from Tiny, “It’s okay Tiny, just a nightmare.”
She also found herself surrounded by bellicose crewmen, with balled fists looking for someone from whom they could defend the girl. None of them were looking directly at her as she was stark naked in Tiny’s arms.
“I’m sorry guys. I had a real bad nightmare. Thanks for all of you coming to help me.
“Oh well, it 4 o’clock so it’s time to get up anyway; guys let Cassie have some privacy.”
Slowly they began to depart, one or two at a time. Tiny pulled free from her grasp and started to back off. “Tiny, you got your maps of the lease lands? Bring them to breakfast. I need to see them.”
He stopped and looked at her, “Okay, Cassie I’ll bring them.”
Then he grinned, “Well the interns might start having some competition, girl you are one fine looking woman.”
She turned and quickly closed the door behind her. Not long after that Cassie was waiting outside his door with her bag when Tiny stepped out of his room.
Once more the men filled up the rear dining room where the waitresses were joking and kidding the men. They had been told about the tips the waitresses from the night before had gotten. Plates of eggs, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, and a wide selection of sausage and bacon were spread out on all the tables.
Cassie led Tiny to a vacant table where he spread out the maps of his lease properties. Cassie got a plate and loaded it up with food then she sat down at the table with the maps. As she tried to look at the maps she nibbled on her food. “Damn, Tiny, the ink is not thick enough for me to make out details. I am looking for a place that has a Mountain north and a Mountain east of it. There’s a county road running north on the west side of one of your leases and a stream through the lease.”
“Hum, let me see.” He began to shuffle through the maps. He finally spread out one particular map, “Here’s one but I see nothing spectacular about this.”
He spread it open, “It’s pretty far north, almost in Canada… and way out in the boondocks. But here’s the lease with a county road right on the boundary of the lease on the west side. There’s a stream right through the lease. This is really a placer exploration lease, on both sides of the stream. You are not supposed to remove any mineral with an exploration lease, but a lot of locals get one of them and go placer mining. It’s cheaper, a lot cheaper, than an actual mining lease where you can legally remove mineral. They might find a couple of ounces of gold and that’s almost three thousand dollars.”
“Okay, look at the northern edge on the west side of the stream through that lease, just before the county road turns west. There are multiple small pockets of gold with a few nuggets and dust. Then follow that stream on northward off your lease. Just about every bend has some color. Now find a creek dumping into the stream from the west. There will be more color at every bend. Now follow it up to a very small waterfall. There is lots of color caught at the top just before the water goes over the falls.”
“Now, about a mile or mile and a half upstream of the falls, on the right, there is a very small rivulet. The water flows down through some broken rocks and there is a streak of high grade ore inside those rocks. This is about one foot wide and six inches high and there’s about six feet of this broken off. This band goes right into the center of the mountain. I would think that there are a couple of tons in easy reach, and that is high grade, 90% gold.”
“Cassie, you are talking about millions of dollars!”
“I know that’s just the parts that are broken off. The quartz band goes on into the mountain. There is no telling how much a proper mine could take out.”
“Tiny, I just realized that I can probably find places where they quit mining a foot from a major vein in some of the old mines. The land may have shifted and the rock broke with the earth shift moving a band just a couple of feet or even hundreds of feet but I can find those broken off veins and restart them mining.”
“I really hate what we are doing Tiny, mining and smelting is really messing up the surface. The waste lays toxic material everywhere.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen it all over the earth. It does not matter what, mining or drilling, wherever we bring up the resources needed to keep civilization going we leave toxic waste. But Cassie, if we can keep control, then we can earmark a percentage to clean up after our selves. We can put money into detoxification to do cleaner smelting, and turn tailings into solids that do not dissolve in the water.”
“Cassie, we may not be able to get our vehicles up in there. There are no trails or roads anywhere near by.”
“Yes, I know. The way I see it, we have to follow the stream up to the creek, then the creek up to the rivulet. We would need to cross the creek before the rivulet then follow it until we reach the gold. We would have to lay our own road up to there. I think even Big Bertha would have problem doing that. Hum, could we mount a blade on Bertha’s front end?”
“Yeah, but I think the easiest way to handle this is to go as far as we can go, which I think will be where that county road turns west. I think we should start there and follow that stream northward then up that creek as close to the rivulet as we can and still be able to cross over the creek and go up that rivulet. Which will probably be above that waterfall?”
“When we have to start building a road, we are going to need to rent a dozer and bring it in. We probably can get the bulldozer, a truck and carrier in Coeur d’Alene. I did some research when I was planning this trip and have checked they have a couple of heavy equipment rental places there.”
“Cassie, we will need to get to the county assessor’s office and check their land plat to determine who owns that land. Do we need an Exploration Lease or a Bureau of Land Management permit? If it’s BLM then we could apply for a Land Surface permit to build a road up in to there. It’s time to get the lawyers working on this.”
“There is a lot of federal land in Idaho; over 60% of the land is federal. Mineral claims are a lot clearer under federal law. If you find minerals on land that is open for mining claims then you stake and file and it’s yours for 10 years.
They have three types of claims; mills, placer and lode. It’s been a while since I looked up Federal law on this but I am kind of hoping its Federal Land. Placer claims are 20 acres. A lode claim is 3,000 feet long and 600 feet either side of your center line. That’s about 3,000 x 1,200 feet. You’ve got to place a discovery monument and it is from this monument that all metes and bounds of the survey are measured. The discovery monument must be very prominent and the name of the claimant and the metes and bounds must be posted at this location. Each of the four corners of your claim must be staked. They cannot be open ended pipes or perforated ones for wildlife protection. After you make the claim, you must report them to Bureau of Land Management. Each person can make one claim of each type. The placer claims can be worked together as an association of up to eight claims. A corporation is counted as one person.”
They had been eating as they talked and the food was now all gone. Tiny gathered up his maps and lease agreements and stood up. He then did as he had the night before; he gathered the food check tickets and paid the waitresses the tips for the orders. Cassie noted that all of the men left sizeable tips for them too.
At the front, where Tiny paid for all the orders, the manager was standing behind his hostess with a big smile on his face. “We really appreciated your business and hope you make it back here again.”
Tiny looked up at him, “Great food, very good service! If we are ever in the area we will make it a habit of stopping here.”
As they exited the restaurant, the sky to the east was just beginning to lighten up. Cassie took her bag to her living area in the rear and stored it. A trip like this could become boring with nothing for her to do so she needed to find something productive that she could do.
Big Bertha pulled out on the road once more. She was third in the convoy. The lead pickup pulled out first, then Tiny’s pickup and then Big Bertha. Behind Bertha, one by one, the trucks and men fell in.
Cassie heard Tiny on the CB, “Listen up guys, the fuel attendant back there told me that about 15 miles down I-90 the state police like to set up a speed trap, so let’s keep legal here. Let’s do the speed limit and maintain a legal distance between vehicles. I’m betting they pull Big Bertha over because it’s so strange looking. If any of the vehicles gets a flashing light, go on the radio and tell us. All vehicles will act as one, so we all stop.”
Cassie reached for the mike on the dash, “Tiny, you still got my custody papers. Read them and see if it does not state that I must remain in your custody at all times.” She laughed in the mike.
“Doesn’t that mean if you get arrested I have to go with you and the same for me?”
A quiet settled over the radio, “Cassie, remembering what those paper said you are right; those papers are a Federal court order prohibiting the separation of you from me, but it states from me and any protection that I supply. Heck that could include the whole crew.” A hum of laughter boiled over the radio.
Cassie sat back and waited. Periodically she would scan ahead. Finally, she clicked the mike on again. “Police are about one and three quarter miles in front of our lead pickup.”
There was a line of cars and some trucks pulled over to the side of the Interstate as they started to pass. About the time Big Bertha pulled past the police cars one of the motorcycles pulled out and got behind Bertha and turned on its lights.
“We are being pulled over Tiny.”
“Okay Lead, find a place on the shoulder that can take all of us and begin the pull over.”
“Follow Tiny, Ted”
It took about five minutes and Cassie could tell the Motorcycle cop did not like the distance that they took before stopping or that a big drill rig pulled up right on his tail as, one by one, they pulled over. A police car had pulled out and joined the Motorcycle.
One of the officers from the car was waving for the drill rig to pull back on the road and continue. Then he saw that the whole convoy had pulled over. Tiny got out of his truck and walked back to Bertha. The cops did a double take as they looked at Tiny, then at the other men as they got out and stood by their front bumpers. All were wearing pressed and neat looking battledress.
Ted helped Cassie down out of the driving compartment and she waited for Tiny to join her.
“Listen, all you people get back into your vehicles and continue down the road. Only the people in the vehicle we stopped stay where you are.”
“Afraid we can’t obey that order, it’s illegal.”
A policeman with sergeant stripes came marching up to Tiny. “What do you mean illegal?”
Tiny handed him a piece of paper. It was a copy of the Federal Court Order. The policeman read it carefully. Then he looked up at Tiny.
“Who is this Cassandra Howly Howard?”
“That would be me, sir.” Cassie said. As she pushed past Ted until she was next to Tiny. Her tap, tap, tap of her cane echoed in the open air.
The State Police Sergeant looked at her then at her cane. “Are you blind Miss? What is this all about?”
“Well you should be able to verify this; in the last year I have been attacked, run off the road and finally kidnapped. My family is rich so my Dad made sure that I had protection for my Geology internship over the summer. I had two US Marshals escort me to Tiny here and serve that court order on him.”
“Now why did you pull us over?”
“That vehicle is very unusual we need to inspect it to be sure it complies with our motor vehicle laws.”
“Did you see the license plate? I know it’s a little high, but there was no place lower to mount them. There is a little tag on that plate showing that the vehicle is in compliance with the ICC rules for interstate transportation. They are licenses for a motor home. It was felt that I needed special protection so they took an MRAP military vehicle with armor and made a motor home for me.”
“Being a ‘home’ you cannot search it without due cause or a search warrant. I think by the time you could get one here we could get a court order from a friendly Federal Judge with US Marshals here as well. So do you have just cause or just pure curiosity?”
“Damn it Miss, I was told by my commander to stop and search that ‘monstrosity’ now what am I suppose to do?”
“I see, and I understand. I had teachers that gave stupid orders. Tell you what, we’ll open the doors and let you look inside so you can see that the back 85% is a motor home. The front is all about driving the home, would that satisfy you?”
“Yes ma’am, and if I am satisfied that will be it.”
“Ted, will you please open up all three doors.”
They stood there while Ted crawled up into Bertha and opened both front doors then went through the back to open the rear door. The sergeant went to the rear and climbed up the ladder steps so he could see the length of the home on the back. Then he climbed down and walked up the other side to the passenger door and climbed up to looked in.
Finally he stood in front of Tiny, looking up his height.
“Tiny? Huh, I see why they call you that.” Tiny grinned and looked down the length of vehicles and hollered “Wesley, get up here!”
Looking at the sergeant, he said, “We been thinking of giving this guy the nickname of Shorty.” Wesley walked up and looked down at Tiny. “Yeah boss?”
“GOOD GOD ALMIGTHY, What the hell do they feed you guys in Texas?”
“Steak, eggs, biscuits and gravy and lots of hash browns.” Wesley answered.
Cassie started to laugh, “That’s what I had this morning.”
The sergeant laughed with her and then offhand asked, “How tall are you Miss?”
She cocked her head and answer. “Five feet four inches, and I weigh 115 pounds, but I am only 13. I still got some growing to do.”
He looked at her, wide eyed, and said “Well, you folks have a good trip!”, turned and walked back to his car. He said something to the motor cycle policeman and they both drove off.
Cassie looked at Tiny, “Let’s get this circus back on the road.”
Tiny looked down the line of vehicles and waved his hand in a circle and pointed up the road. Everybody piled back into their vehicles and engines began to rev up.
It was late that afternoon as their convoy pulled into the suburbs of Minneapolis.
At the parking lot that Tiny had arranged, the men moved all the tools and supplies that were in the pickups and stored them on the trucks that were staying. After looking over the available transports, Tiny pulled his phone out and made arrangements to rent some vans for those with no trucks to ride.
Cassie got into Tiny’s super cab with three of the interns. They sat in the rear seats. All of the crew followed Tiny in the rental vans to the Motel where they were staying. It was a top of the line Motel with all entrances to the rooms inside the building.
They checked in and everybody started getting cleaned up to get something to eat. The guys were making themselves look snazzy. Food was not the only thing on their minds. They were planning to blow off some steam tonight after dinner.
Cassie and Tiny, with three of the interns ended up at a place downtown that was recommended as a regular dive but with a great singer. None of the interns wanted to be left out of Cassie’s group but only three of them would fit in Tiny’s truck.
The place was wall to wall weirdoes and crowded and dingy. Cobwebs hung from the corner ceiling and there was dust on all surfaces that were not in use. The smell of hot wings permeated the place.
The guys all ordered the pitchers of draft beer. Cassie got lemonade. One of the interns asked about hot wings and a huge basket of wings landed on the table. They were the absolute best Cassie had ever tasted which was really saying something with Marie as a cook.
The music was good and the singer lived up to her reputation as being great. Cassie sat back and enjoyed herself. There was small cleared area near the band and a couple of locals were trying to dance. Over the next couple of hours, more and more of their crew showed up, made contact with some local girls, then left and came back.
All the interns tried to get her to dance with all promising not to let her trip. She laughed, knowing that she would be the last one to trip here. Cassie had not noticed that when her glass got empty one of the interns filled it up from the pitcher. Neither had Tiny, or else he decided that she needed the experience.
More baskets of wings and more pitchers of beer appeared on their table. More regulars had shown up and the place was bulging at the seams. The end of the night happened very abruptly. What must have been the local college football team had settled in over in a corner and became rambunctious. One of them was arguing with one of their crew about dancing with one of the local girls.
Next thing Cassie knew, one of the football players grabbed her arm and lifted her up and dragged her on to the floor to dance. Every member of their crew in the place stood up. This brought silence to the place. There were only about fourteen of them but when the average weight was 200 plus pounds, fourteen men represented a lot of muscle.
“Ugh, I don’t dance.” Cassie told the man holding her.
“What you don’t want to dance with me?” He sounded angry.
“Well you see I am blind so I never have learned to dance.”
“What a load of crap. We are going to dance.”
“You might be right, but it’s not the kind of dance you want to be doing.” She broke his hold on her arm and stepped back slightly and pulled her baton from her sleeve holder. With a snap down at the floor it expand it full 36 inches.
With a sweep of her baton she took his legs out from beneath him and the fight was on. At first, she tried to extract herself from the mob of people that had gone crazy around her. Then she ‘saw’ a person hold up a chair to hit Ted over the head. One of the other interns was rolling on the floor clutching his groin.
She began to flow. People around her began to land on the floor, over tables and upside down against walls. She cleared a path to where the interns were definitely losing the fight. Cassie took up the front position and cleared the area around them. They slowly got to their feet which was something they had not been able to do before she got there.
“Watch my back and side’s boys!”
Cassie then began to shepherd them toward the exit. Soon more and more of their crew joined them. Not too long after that they controlled the doorway. The fight slowly ended as none of the locals could reach their crew. Anybody that got close to Cassie was out of the fight. The locals regrouped near the music stand.
The football players were mainly lying scattered on the floor. The room was a mess with, broken chairs and tables all over the place. Everybody was staring at Cassie. She stood upright, hair blowing in a non-existent breeze, like an avenging Angel with a sword except it was a blind person’s cane which anybody could see now.
Cassie took a deep breath, “I’d like our tab now and put a pitcher for everybody on it.”
With that all the locals cheered and turned to the waitresses nearest to them. Soon pitchers were being served like mugs. The football players were slowly climbing to their feet. The one that had started the whole fight laid there on his back in the middle of the dancing area staring over at her. “A female Daredevil?” he sat upright and reached for a pitcher. “What a dance!” He toasted her.
Tiny made his way across the room. She noticed that he had left a pile of bodies crawling to their feet from where he had backed into a corner.
“Girl, never tell your dad about this! He would never let me live it down.”
For the next couple of days, Cassie tried to find something a little less exciting to do.
It was late the next day before she could fall out of her bed and stumble into the bathroom. Her stomach felt like it was committing suicide and her head was home to an exploding atomic bomb.
She groaned or screamed at anybody that tried to talk to her. She wore a wet towel over her head. Every time Tiny saw her he laughed loudly, which made her imagine tying him to a stake and roasting him over a very hot fire.
By the second day she was beginning to feel human again. That night, when they went to supper, every man in the crew came by to say something to her.
“Tiny, what is up with the men?”
“It’s just their way of saying you are one of us. You stood your ground, you fought with them, but even more, you won!”
“They will follow you into a collapsing mine, into a burning forest, or into flood waters now. They know you will not break. The word will spread out about you now. Crews come and go. I have worked with most of these men for over twenty years. We will lose about 15% at the end of the year and pick up their replacements. Next year it will be the same. Every one of them will talk about the other night. In a year, half the roughnecks in the States will have heard about the fighting blind angel, Cassie. In less than a year, if you ask a couple of hundred men, they will all brag they were there that night.”
“Cassie, you are the stuff that legends are made of. You are bigger than life itself. If the gold is where you said it will be and is as big, in the years to come the story will be that you walked up there to that mountain and smashed it with your cane and the rock split and gold poured out. No matter that, the truth is even stranger than the legends will be.”
Monday morning, they pulled out of Minneapolis headed for Idaho.
My thanks to Grumpybear for his editing and proofing help. But the final results are mine and all criticism should be loaded onto my shoulders.
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