The Mountain Man

Our story this week is a harrowing tale of a man meeting a world he tried to avoid. I’m calling it “The Mountain Man.”

Traffic was heavy on the 405 when the stranger rode into town.

As he tied his horse up next to a convenience store, people were stunned by his appearance.

The clerks inside exchanged a quick glance before one of them tentatively asked, “May I help you?”

“Name’s Bill,” said the stranger, “I’m new in town and need a place to put my horse while I have a look around.”

A TV producer witnessed this exchange and, smelling money, stepped in to offer a hand.

“I got a ranch,” he said, “You can park your horse there if you’d like. What brings you to town?”

“Well,” said Bill, “I’ve been livin’ in the mountains and figgerd it was time to come down.”

“You’ve NEVER been into the city before?” said the producer, visions of wealth before his eyes.

“Nope,” said Bill, “Not ever. ‘preciate the offer of a stable. Starbuck’s real tired and I could use a rest m’self.”

Bill held up a piece of paper and asked the clerks, “Y’all by any chance have some of this?”

“Sure,” said one, “Do you want Diet, classic, or Zero?”

“If I wanted zero, I wouldn’t have asked you now, would I?” said Bill. “I had one of these when I was a kid and liked it”

“I get you a bottled water,” said the producer. “You wouldn’t like what the new Coke tastes like.”

Bill squeezed the bottle with his fingers, “How’d you make the glass soft like this? This don’t feel natural.”

“We’re in LA,” said the producer, “Nothing feels natural here. Let’s get you up to the ranch.”

Bill followed him home, noticing the dude spent a lot of time talking into a little hand box.

After settling Starbuck into the stable, Bill returned to the house to see a strange sight.

Hundreds of people gathered around him and began asking him all kinds of questions.

The producer told Bill that he was now famous, and that many people wanted to hear his story of his mountain life.

“You’re going to be in all the papers!” he said, “You’re a major news item!”

One strange looking man stepped forward. “So what makes you a tough old mountain man?” he asked.

“Old?” said Bill. “I’ll show you old, you pinky haired twerp!”

The man ran crying away.

Another man stepped forward and questioned whether or not Bill was a true American.

Bill kicked him in the necessaries and glared as he fell to the ground with a whimper.

A third man who had been preening himself like a woman stepped forward.

He poked a finger in Bill’s chest and demanded an apology for the guy Bill kicked in the nuts.

Bill’s anger boiled over, his vengeance on the finger poker swift and absolute.

“You did this!” he roared at the producer. “You brought these idiots here! I came here to see what civilization…”

“…was like, and you drop me in front of a bunch of simple minded lunatics! To HELL with you!”

Ignoring the pleading looks in the eyes of the other attention seekers, Bill turned on his heels.

He saddled up Starbuck and taking one last look at the madness, rode quietly into the sunset.

The producer’s cat, one Mr. Sprinkles, was not amused to see him leave.