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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (April 27, 1913)
THE SEMI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE SECTION
CERN 1 NO
H I H A LI) FBI FAD of mine used
AI 'v jvi, i cuii, lVilla
77if tclrtjrapli man in his office
(Hit west, out west
When til came it man n-Uhnut n
Or ftitil . i"c
Ho nevci t.0u1il sing, mid it is n poor effort, nnv
uii.v, tending to levity mi serious subjects; but it
happens to sum up the situation in Dodd Citv on the
night of Sepli'iiiber "J2. A. I). 11111.
At ten of the clock the stntion agent was bunched
in a chair in a semi-comatose condition, waiting for
the click of the instrument which should notify him
if the approach of the Cannon Ball. The Cannon
Ball lurches through Dodd City once a day. and, when
il does not run off the track, frequently attains a
speed of twenty miles an hour on the ballasted
stretches. A hatless man, in his shirt-sleeves, came
in and leaned on the counter with the languid case
of practice. The agent roused, glanced once, and
felt surreptitiously of his waistband to make certain
that his gun was within reach, for the stranger's
appearance would never have begotten confidence in
timid souls, and the station was a mile from any
whoro. Thus did a plutocratic railroad slight Dodd
"Howdy," said the stranger. "Gimme a ticket to
He was slab-sided and very tall, and the agent
could not quite determine to his own satisfaction
whether he was a lightning-rod peddler or a sewing
machine man. But il was none of his concern how
I he gentleman had arrived, provided he had the
necessary money to depart, so he stamped the ticket
in the listless fashion peculiar to his species and
((united out change from a twenty-dollar bill.
"(lot your credentials'"
"I'li-iih 1 ain't a regular drummer," was the
answer. "What made yon go to think I was?"
"Oh, the cut of your mug!" said the agent, in a
The other pocketed the ticket nml
took possession of the chair that
held the door open. Not feeling in
clined to conversation, the agent
trimmed the lamp and fell to sort
ing a pile of llimsy.
TOK a long time there was si
lence. The night was growing
cold, on the heels of a day of
blighting heat. Outside was the
Hat, dead stillness of lone regions
after dark. A mosquito piped his
' bin song. Once an owl hooted
troin I he track, and a bull-bat,
wheeling in erratic llight, iuxaded
the oHlce for an instant, swept close
to the lamp and darted out again.
Evidently the quiet grew irksome
to the traveler.
"Say," he said abruptly, "if uu
hear anything of a doggone team
running loose around these part,
notify Jake Beaslev at the Citv.
will you ?"
The agent turned reluctantly to
look at him.
"I done hired a team from Jake
and they run away with me. You
know them sorry grays of his?
Well, where the road makes a sharp
turn up here about half a mile 1 couldn't turn as
sharp as the road did. That 's where 1 lost my hat
and coat. But wait 1 did n't lose my luggage."
Very gravely he produced a ilask'from his hip
pocket and tendered it to the agent. That func
tionary hesitated for a moment; then, in response
to an urgent "Take a sip, anyhow," said "How" and
swallowed a goodly gulp. His eyes began to bulge,
and he shuddered and groped blindly about for a
glass of water.
"That 's sure stout," he remarked.
"You can't getai.y other kind in these towns no
more. No, sir; since this plains country went drv,
there 's been thousands of healthy stomachs ruined."
Saying which, the lank individual took a long pull
without blinking an eyelash and returned the flask
to his pocket.
HP HE AGENT turned again to a scrutiny of the
-- llimsy, but it was apparent that a more sociable
footing had been established. Try as he would, he
could not look so sternly preoccupied ns before.
Meanwhile the stranger rocked one leg over the other
and hummed a tune. Presently the telegraph instru
ment began to tick.
"Dinkhoiitcd her on top of a burro ...... and off they went down the mountain ide"
"Gee! She won't bo here for another two hours,"
said the agent, in intense disgust. "I never will catch
up with my sleep. What do you know about that?
Fours nights now, hand-running, I 've sat here until
midnight, waiting for that doggone Cannon Ball.
I swan, a man with n wife and family ain't got any
right to stay in railroading."
Nodding comprehension and sympathy, the trav
eler put in : "Speaking of railroading, did you ever
hear the one about the engineers?''
"I 've heard a right smart of 'cm," was the caulious
reply. "Which one do you mean?"
The traveler told the story, and the agent fairly
howled. Leaning back in his chair, he allowed him
self to relax and accepted a cigar.
"Say, do you play euchre?" he asked.
"No-oo. I can't say 1 do. But 1 'in a wolf at
Without more ado the agent took a deck of cards
from a pigeonhole and made room for him at the
"Come on 'round. I 'm some casino plaver my
self." he added with a grin. And there ain't anything
you can steal here."
A cordial relation being thus established, they
began the game.
"It's right queer," remarked the traveler, "but I
ain't played casino in years. Is n-'t it funnv how
time will change a feller's habits, though? 1 mind
when I used to play most every night. And there
were no Hies on me in them days", neither."
"Yes?" said the agent, raking in big casino.
"DOTH knew all the finer points of the game. They
played for half an hour, with scarcely a, word ex
changed. The agent observed that his opponent was
not having much luck.
"No, but it'll come." He shullled the pack and
handed it to'the other. "I always say that timo will
do most anything if a feller only gives it a chance.
What 's your idea?"
"Sure," the agent replied. "It 's a long lane that
has no ash barrel."
The telegraph instrument started
its monotonous tack; tick-a-tack;
and the oflicial hurriedly shoved
back his chair. After listening a
moment : "That 's just my luck
every time. Consarn it! Got to
relay some stuff. Hey? No; wash
out on the Canadian. I reckon
we'd best not start another game.
Don't move. Take it easy."
The other settled back, lighted
the stub of his cigar and cocked his
feet on the desk. For a space he
listened to the agent receive. Then,
in a break, he said musingly:
"Yes, sir, time will cure most
anything. A feller 's a fool to let
himself get worked up over things.
If he'll only wait, everything '11
come out right. And if'it don't,
what does it matter?"
To which the agent, bending over
the key, retorted: "What's the
"There ain't no answer. But I
was just thinking Are ahead.
Don't let me cut in on you there.
I just happened to remember about
a case that proves what I said."
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