Like the Loch Ness, there is the legend of Old Bob from Lake Omalata in eastern Washington and while the citizens of Burrell know that Old Bob does not actually exist, the citizens of Burrell keep the legend alive so that the tourist trade continues to thrive. Old Bob is part of a Spokane Native legend that keeps getting bigger each time it is told until he is the size of the small lake he inhabits, but Lewis Shonee is making sure that his legend continues to keep brining in the summer tourists until one day a Big Wig from Seattle comes in to prove that Big Bob is no more than some made up story.
This story is one of the stories in my recent collection entitled Shipwreck Diaries.
This story is one of the stories in my recent collection entitled Shipwreck Diaries.
There are legends and then there are legends that live in the hearts of the people of certain special communities. Old Bob is the latter, perhaps not as famous as the Loch Ness monster, but to the citizens of Burrell, in eastern Washington, Old Bob is just as notorious to those who reside near scenic Lake Omolata where Burrell occupies the eastern shore that is reputed to be the home of Old Bob. Many a tourist drawn to the quaint locale of of this once booming logging camp where this legend originated at the turn of the twentieth century, is well aware of the legends of Old Bob, but if for some reason they are not, one trip into Aggie's Café where one of walls are filled with photographic evidence of Old Bob's existence next to racks of post cards and other memorabilia on sale, they will leave knowing of his existence.
In the rugged hills covered with pine trees and the freshest air anywhere in the country, Lake Omolata adds to the scenic splendor of this treasured land and while Sasquatch occupies most of the headlines, for the citizens of this tight community, Old Bob is far more celebrated. There are ancient native stories that speak to his origins, but it seems that everyone that comes into Aggies for a slice of the best pie in the lower forty-eight, has a story of an encounter with Old Bob. All you have to do is go down to the public pier where Shonie's Boat Rentals and for ten dollars an hour, rent a glass bottom boat and row out into the two mile wide blue gem.
Because, you see, Old Bob is a fish, but not just any old fish, no, Old Bob is an ageless trout that is nearly one hundred feet long if you believe the scuttlebutt of the regulars at Aggie's who spend a lot of their time fishing out there. Some of the lumberjacks from the original camp talked about snagging the legendary trout, but none of them ever did and their first hand accounts added to the growing lore of Old Bob.
One of the more famous legends of Bob's origin came from a native story of a renegade of Chief Joseph's Nes Pierce who was being chased by the U.S. Cavalry and as he was being surrounded, he came to this lake with the still blue waters and a silvery full moon reflected in the lake like a mirror. In desperation, the warrior prayed to the Great Spirit for a place to hide from his tormentors. The Great Spirit heard the warrior's prayers and turned him into a trout where he could hide with the other fish in the lake. The soldiers searched the area for days trying to apprehend the renegade, but to no avail and so this trout grew to an enormous size, still hiding from the soldiers in Lake Omolata.
Old Bob is a malevolent creature, though some encounters have a different twist on the area's most famous fish that are more sinister, more like Melville's famous whale, Moby Dick, where Old Bob, tired of being pursued throughout his long existence, will react in a very violent way. Dick Shaw, the one legged cook at Aggie's will spin a different tale, claiming Big Bob rammed his boat when he and a couple of his high school friends were doing some midnight fishing on the lake while drinking a couple of bottles of Boone's Farm.
"Lost my leg to that monster." He will scowl as he puffs on a cigarette from the corner of his mouth, but he will not mention the cherry bombs him and his chums tossed in the water to rile the giant fish in the first place. His hobby as he hobbies on his wooden leg to have a smoke in the only place he's allowed to light up these days, is to tell his tale of woe to any of the wide eyed tourist who happen by.
"Came up from the Deep, mouth open, seizing my leg before I knew what was happening. Outright drown Mikey. I heard him yell just before Old Bob drug him to the bottom with only his camouflage vest floating up to the service to prove he had been there at all." Dick's face becomes like stone as he tells his chilling tale to his unwitting audience.
"Full of malarkey, he is." Lewis Shonie, owner of the rental place down by the pier, shrugs when one of his customers repeats Dick Shaw's story, "Teach you not to mess with things you don't understand though." He crackles as he takes the customer's money. While Lewis is part native from an undetermined tribe, he is a large bellied man from being a regular at Aggie's, who wears jeans and a long flannel shirt to hide his muffin top from his customers. His jet black shoulder length hair and angular face that usually has a smile affixed on it, makes him one of the more memorable characters in the small town of Burrell. He posted a sign near the open portal in his rental shop that reads, "While Old Bob has been seen by many tourists in my rentals, this establishment does not guarantee a sighting of Old Bob." The sign is the result of an old lawsuit filed against him by an unsatisfied customer many years ago. Lewis owns two dozen glass bottom boats and two dozen canoes, all of which may be out in the lake during peak season, all crowding onto the small lake searching for Old Bob. The sight of all those boats out on the lake all at once makes Lewis smile.
He drove up to Burrell in a Cadillac, he wore an expensive Stetson, two sizes too big for his small graying head, but no one in his entourage was going to point that out to him. His name was Willard Cowley from Cowley Enterprises specializing in urban design and engineering. While a small man in physical stature, his self image was that he was the biggest man in the room. He made no secret he was going to capture Old Bob and have him mounted at his headquarters building in the shadow of the Space Needle in Seattle. As part owner of the Seahawks, Willard Crowley was not some rubes to be trifled with.
It was Thursday which meant there was an informal town meeting at Lewis Shonie's two story classic century old Victorian built on the side of one of the rising hills surrounding the north side of the lake up on Sawband Road two miles from town. Isolated by the pines, Lewis's house had once been a getaway for the lumber company bosses at one time. With playing cards spread across the kitchen with empty bottles of beer discarded among tow large empty bowls of chips and containers of clam dip that was starting to feel a bit, there was an unusual gathering of local citizens, perhaps unexpected rather than unusual since Lewis was sitting next to one-legged Dick Shaw, both slightly inebriated along with Owen Saberley, owner of Aggie's Cafe and Deputy Dan Dobson joining them in conference of a very serious nature. While the usual gathering was all about the cards, the crowd was more concerned about the arrival of Mr. Cowley who was staying at the Lakeside B and B owned by Myra Jennings who was seated next to Owen, her boyfriend and quasi leader of the group since his establishment was the hub of the town.
"Does anyone know anything about this big wig?" Owen wondered aloud.
"I googled him and wow his wig is extra big." Lewis affirmed.
“What the Hell is he doing in Burrell?" Myra shrugged before lighting a cigarette, but she thought better of it when she saw the disapproval on Lewis' face, its just that after having a few beers, her Marlborough's were more appealing.
"Dunno." Deputy Dobson, still dressed in his uniform shrugged. "I tried to find out, but his bodyguards kept me away."
"I, for one, do not like it one bit." Dick shook his head.
"None of us do." Owen frowned as Myra snuggled closer to him on a cushioned chair made for only one. Wearing his trademark sleeveless sweater vest, he turned his head to kiss Myra.
"This is a fine pickle we could be in." Lewis declared not happy Myra chose hanky-panky since she could not have a cigarette in his house. His kids were in the den in the next room playing video games and sex was still an unopen Christmas present laying undisturbed under the tree and he wanted to keep it that way.
"I've heard he is bringing in a diving bell." Dick nearly gasped.
"Great." Lewis snapped already agitated at what was taking place in his chair, "He will find out. He will go to the media and tell."
"Hold it, hold it." Owen managed to say after removing his tongue from Myra's mouth. "This guy may be all hot air and no substance for all we know."
"That's not what Google says. Google says he's close friends with the Gates and that when he snaps his fingers, things get done." Lewis stood up feeling cornered like an opossum by his hounds, "what if he takes the bell to the bottom of the lake and finds the truth…"
" What?" Dick grunts, "That there ain't no such creature as Old Bob?"
Silence followed Dick's declaration of the truth that was still so hard to admit out loud even though they all were part of the secret. No one had ever intended this to be so, but lies build upon lies until the lie becomes more acceptable and more believable than the truth. Each of them had a part in this from Shonie's Rental where Lewis had a pedal when pushed would inflate the trout colored inflatable rubber balloon making it appear that a giant trout was casually swimming in the murky waters beneath the hull of the glass bottom boat. If it was inflated enough the customer's in the canoes might catch the image of a shadowy creature churning up the water below. If tourists knew that Old Bob was nothing more than a rigged balloon like the ones at the Macy Parade, tourism would dry up leaving just them to sit in Aggie's staring at each other everyday.
“They must never know.” Myra averred, but everyone just looked at her helplessly.
“And how will we stop him?” Dick snorted.
“We could disable the bell.” Lewis suggests without any hesitation.
“And the thing malfunctions and he dies. That’s murder.” Owen shakes his head.
“No, no, disable it before the dive.” Lewis revises his thinking.
“I dunno, this is beginning to sound criminal.” Owen continues to shake his head.
“Well we’ve been making our own fortunes on Old Bob who is some story that was made up long before any of us were born. Our whole existence is based on a figment of someone’s imagination.” Lewis had his arms out from his side as he spoke and made sure he looked everyone in the eye. “So we have a choice to come clean with the truth or find a way to sabotage Mr. Conley’s attempt to find Old Bob who is no more than an inflatable balloon of sorts.”
All eyes were on him as he finished and then there was a pause before Owen stood up and said, “Then it’s settled, we are going to make sure that his bell is found to be unseaworthy.” And a cheer from the rest of the group rose up.
When it came down to it, each of them had a vested interest in Old Bob since their business well-being depended on the tourist trade that swarmed to the lake during the summer, but Dick Shaw it was personal, because his story depended on Old Bob chomping his leg off and killing his high school friend. The reality was the two boys were drinking, but in his attempt to get up Forger Hill where Timmy Riley lived he had to scale the two lane road with the switchbacks and sharp curves. That evening it was raining to make matters worse and Dick who was behind the wheel missed one of the curves and his prized Mustang went plummeting over the steep side of the hill where two hundred feet later the car came to a stop due to an immovable Ponderosa Tree. With his right leg so damaged in the accident, Dick would have his leg amputated, but that was nothing compared to the death of his best friend who had continued to go through the windshield landing nearly fifty yards from the vehicle. As the paramedics were wheeling Dick to the ambulance, he was told not to look at the other crew who were putting the pieces of Tim Riley into a body bag, but curiosity got the best of him and he did look and because of his indiscretion, instead of turning into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife, he vomited all over the inside of the ambulance. The jury that found him guilty of manslaughter could have had him put away for a while, but the judge listened to his tearful plea along with his right leg that had just been amputated, he only served a year in juvenile hall. Telling his tale about the legendary fish made him a celebrity as he could tell this story with a deadpan face complete with vivid details.
Lewis had grown up as a reservation kid even though his father was white, but his mother, Alma was pure native, but there was some confusion concerning her blood line so she just told everyone on the Spokane Reservation that she was that and no one seemed to care. Lewis' father was a carpenter who had done work for the tribal council when he saw Alma, age eighteen at the time, swimming in the river without a stitch of clothing. Her soft brown skin and gentle curved line made his pulse quicken as he hammered some nails on a loose board in one of the dwellings, but found himself striking his thumb more than the nail due to this delightful distraction he could not seem to take his eyes off of and when she waded onto shore with the water falling from her naked body, he knew right then he had been struck by an angel. When he went to the Dance that was the central social activity of the reservation, he bought her a beer and sat with her at one of the tables. Introducing himself, he asked her to dance and for the rest of the night James Shonie danced with Alma Cuddlestone even though he was twice her age. Six months later, Alma and James were married at the courthouse before Alma began to show and five months later, Lewis was born. He would turn three years old when he saw his father for the last time. Lewis spent twelve years attending the reservation school where his teachers did not share the same color skin as he and they tended to treat the students like wild savages, because in their view that's what they were. Lewis only learned one thing while attending the school and that was he had no intention of staying on the reservation and a day after he got his diploma, he kissed his mother on the cheek and thumbed his way across Washington to Seattle where he got a job selling beer and other concessions at Seattle Mainer baseball games, but when the season ended in October, he learned how to sell cocaine. That lasted until he sold an undercover detective a dime bag. In lockup, he noticed most of the guys had the same colored skin including Slim who was another res kid who got caught pickpocketing tourists near Pike's Fish Market.
It was great having someone who understood your background to run the streets with after being released on your own cognizant. Slim liked to run with scissors, meaning he liked to play on the edge and one night, Slim brought home a .38 revolver he had lifted from an unlocked pickup. With a bottle of vodka he had also pilfered, they played Russian Roulette without a bullet in the chamber that Slim referred to as Russian Light. The only problem was Slim had not checked all the chambers of the stolen pistol and there was a bullet the former owner had put in the gun. So as they smoked some fine dope as they drank vodka from the bottle, Slim put the barrel to his head and pulled the trigger. Lewis did not know what freaked him out more, the explosion of the gun going off or the wall behind Slim that was instantly covered with his blood and brain material. It didn't matter. Seeing and hearing was enough to cause the trauma that would haunt Lewis for the rest of his life. Every now and then he would catch a glimpse of his friend's ghost following him with that smart ass smirk on his face.
Myra Jennings was a stripper starting in San Francisco the summer following the infamous Summer of Love as a high school dropout at age fifteen. She looked at least twenty and no one thought to question her age. Due to her sparkling blue eyes and endless blonde curls, Myra was molested by Doug, her mother’s boyfriend at the time and a known drug dealer. While she loathed the creep, he did open her eyes on the real world as she made connections that would further her career in the service industry. When she turned seventeen, she was making pornography movies that had a lot of technical flaws in them, but most customers had no idea about such things, it wasn’t what they were looking for. In 1976, Myra turned to prostitution becoming a high paid call girl, but one night she got careless and wound up in jail. Sentenced to five years, Myra found Jesus while in the state penitentiary and she also found out she had an aunt living in Burrell who owned a quaint bed and breakfast along the lake. After being released, she went to see her aunt who had plenty of room, because no one ever came to Burrell despite the beauty of the surrounding area of this simple lake nestled up against some rugged mountains. On the other side of these mountains were the flat desert lands which were not as appealing.
She met Lewis who told her of the scheme he had devised. It was quite an undertaking, but people were gullible and therefore Myra thought that this might work.
“I have some old tires from a junkyard. I have a cousin who can put these together and we will make one big bladder type thing. Then I can attach a hose and a pump. Once filled with air this thing will begin to rise and appear to be swimming.” He explained in Owen’s living room. Owen had also expressed some interest since he had just open Aggie’s for the third time in the last thirty years. Not located on one of the main thoroughfares, Owen was afraid he would not be able to draw in the customers.
“There is a legend from the reservation about a giant trout.” Lewis addressed the same gathering in Owen’s living room as he had when Mr. Conley had showed up in town with a diving bell in the back of a flatbed. Listening to him back then, everyone was hopeful that he could pull this off and tourist dollars would start flowing in by the bucketful. That was the term he used, bucketful. Now the term was scam and each of them could be liable. All of them had some experience with past transgressions that if they surfaced would be treated like pond scum, so it was imperative that everyone keep their past submerged like the big old rubber tube at the bottom of the lake that Lewis could move to the surface using this leg pump under his desk. For nearly five years, they had managed to pull it off and just as he promised, the money came in by the bucketful.
The name was highly disputed as Lewis tried to come up with a native sounding name from some mythology he had heard as a boy, but he had forgotten most of it since the teachers had discouraged any association with their savage past. Bob was a palindrome and easy to spell and remember. Why wouldn’t a giant speckled trout be named Bob? He had heard plenty of fisherman in the waters around the area name the fish simple anglo names that made it easier for them to relate and communicate with the fish they were trying to catch. Old Walter had once haunted the rivers in the high country while Jed was a legend around the Snake River and any sportsman worth his lures would gun for Jed since he was rumored to be over fifty years old. He could easily feed a family of six or more. But Bob grew each year. In the beginning, Lewis claimed Bob to be about six feet long and over two hundred pounds, but now Old Bob had grown to epic proportions that defied any earth proportions. Pumping his leg pump, Old Bob would begin to rise so the tourists could see him moving in the murky waters below. When Lewis was assembling Old Bob with his cousin, they boys were able to color Bob and even add a realistic looking dorsal fin. The Chamber of Commerce was overjoyed with Old Bob as he drew in more than his share of the revenue for the small businesses in Burrell.
Up until now. Mr. Conley was pulling at the straps of the diving bell as Lewis ambled on up to the rig, “So this thing got a camera on it?”
“State of the art.” Conley grunted satisfied with the rig.
“I think you’d be better off just renting one of my glass bottom boats and use your phone on your cell phone like most folks. Most of them come away with pretty good photos of Old Bob.” Lewis nodded as he spoke, but Conley did not even turn to give him the courtesy of paying attention.
“Fraid not.” He patted the diving bell with his hand.
“Ya know Old Bob bit off Dick Shaw’s right leg.” Lewis added now that the multi billionaire was facing him.
“I just find that hard to believe.” His attempt at a smile did not work. “Trout, by nature, are not carnivorous.”
“But Old Bob is so big-”
“I’ve heard enough tall tales to know that Old Bob is more fiction than non, more malarkey than hard fact.” Conley wink and patted Lewis on his back as he passed to the Burrell Bed and Breakfast Myra was standing on the porch smoking a menthol cigarette. Dejected, Lewis walked over to Aggie’s and sat at the counter where Dick and Owen were sitting in a booth since there was no one in the place. Lewis walked behind the counter and got himself a cup of coffee.
“He’s gonna put that thing in the water tomorrow.” Lewis’ head sank between his shoulder blades.
“You told him about my leg, right?” Dick asked.
“Yup, told me no trout would bite your leg off.” He sighed.
“Jig’s up.” Dick sniffed and frowned.
“We could get Deputy Dobson to put an injunction on that thing.” Owen suggested.
“He’d bring an army of lawyers in.” Lewis shook his head.
“But it’d give us some time.” Owen shrugged.
“Not worth the trouble.” Lewis grunted.
“It will take him five minutes to figure out Old Bob is a hoax.” Owen sucked the air through his yellowed teeth.
“Like that Cardiff Giant all over again.” Dick sighed.
“The what?” Owen’s expression turned into a question mark.
“Happened in upstate New York a long time ago when some farmed claimed to dig up a petrified body of an ancient man who measured over ten feet tall.” Dick knew a lot of stories and was never shy about telling one when the situation was calling for it. “They toted that thing all over the place while they were building the Erie Canal until they took a closer look and found it was just a plaster casted hoax. They made a fortune up to then.”
“Yeah, it does sound like Old Bob.” Lewis could not help but chuckle as he envisioned those folks taking this plaster giant all around the state. Old Bob on the other hand did not require any transportation.
As the sun was yawning over the early morning sky, the lake was as calm as glass when Mr. Conley and his crew puttered out to the middle of the lake sending waves in their wake, breaking the calm of the lake.
“We measured yesterday. It’s about a hundred feet to the bottom.” One of the technicians reported.
“Quite deep, eh?” Conley blew on his hands as the late summer day was a bit more crispy than he was used to.
“Nothing Old Mary Ann can’t deal with.” The other technician patted the door with his open palm.
“I hope not for what I’m paying.” Conley growled.
“I got Pat and Nolan to guide you down there.” The older technician smiled under his silver mustache. Both of them appeared on deck when they heard their names.
“Are we ready for a swim?” Nolan asked as he finished his cup of steaming coffee.
“Got the camera all hooked up.” Pat added as a boast.
“Five minutes.” Nolan was taking one last look at the bell.
“Better safe than sorry.” Pat concurred.
“Ever since I heard about this fish story, I knew they had made it all up. Today, we will see for ourselves.” Mr. Conley chuckled.
Lewis came out of his rental store when he heard the motor of the crank start up on board the barge. He watched as the technicians attached the bell to the hose. Three men entered the hatch and then the hatch was secured in an air lock. Slowly the hoist raised the bell with the three men inside into the air over the deck before swinging the bell over the blue water.
Teacher at the school once told him that the Battle of Wounded Knee was a justified military engagement, but he knew different. His cousin told him that the history taught at the school was a “whitewash.” Manifest Destiny made America strong regardless of all of the native people that were displaced.
The Bell went into the water, slowly submerging as the hoist motor continued to whine its protest.
“Don’t you boys talk in your language, English only please.” Mrs. Noonan waved her ruler like a weapon at Lewis and his cousin catching them speaking in the Spokane language in passing time in the hall.
Now he could no longer see the bell, but the hoist engine was still running.
“Mr. Shonie, this is the fifth time you’ve been sent to my office.” Mr. Willigar the principal yawned, “You are going to be one of those boys who will go to juvie before graduating from this school.” He was on the school to prison pipeline, but then his cousin was already there for armed robbery. A week later a few of the Aryan Brotherhood cornered him and beat him to death near the laundry where he was working. His aunt was told he died because of an accident. Slipped on some soap in the shower. Closed casket as recommended by the mortician.
The motor quit whining and Lewis knew that the bell was on the bottom near the tubing that was Old Bob.
“Why doncha teachers ever tell the truth?” He once asked and the ugly expression on Mr. Tupple his history teacher was filled with hatred and contempt.
Unable to watch any more, Lewis began to walk the trail he did when he was feeling he needed to get away from all of the B.S. he had been fed since he was a child. Just another big fish story left to linger on a fishing line.
Truth is in the eye of the beholder. That’s what his uncle told him when he took Lewis on a vision quest up the hill he was now on. At the time Lewis just chalked up his uncle’s words as a continuation of the lies adults were fond of telling their children. But now that he had done what had been done to him, he realized the wisdom of his uncle’s words. A month after his uncle’s son was murdered in prison, the old man drank some muscatel and went to fly like the eagles off of Shobotte Landing. In his last moments in this world, he felt the freedom of the soaring eagle just before gravity laid its claim on him one last time.
Did the Ghost Dancers really believe their shirts would stop the soldiers’ bullets?
Upon his return everybody but he was present at Owen’s house as Conley emerged from the bell declaring Old Bob to be nothing more than a tall tale.
“What are we going to do now?” Owen looked around the room at their glum expressions and silence that spoke louder than a scream.
Instinctively Lewis ended his hike at his old friend’s house.
“Where have you been?” Owen asked in a less friendly tone.
“Having a chat with my ancestors.” His smile was forced and Owen was not amused.
“He went to the press.” Dick with his arms folded across his chest reported.
“He’s having the tubing brought up.” Owen shook his head.
“How?” Lewis squinted.
“Couple of divers and that crane.” Myra snapped her gum.
“Cardiff Giant all over again.” Dick proclaimed.
“Yeah.” Lewis sank into one of the dining room chairs next to the deputy.
“Mr. Tuttle, how could Columbus discover America with all the Indians living here when he got here?” Lewis asked abruptly in class as his classmates tittered. “Lewis Shonie, get out of my classroom, NOW!”
“I have nothing to apologize for.” Lewis was staring at the shag carpet beneath his feet.
“He wants an inquest.” Deputy Dobson confirmed.
“Let him have it.” Lewis smiled, shaking his head vigorously.
“He wants lawsuits.” Dobson pursed his lips.
“For what? What harm did Old Bob do?” Lewis stared at the deputy.
“He was a sham.” Dobson answered.
“So what? Half of what you hear isn’t the whole truth and yet we accept it, eat up with a spoon.” Lewis rolled his head and now had his eyes fixed on the cheap chandelier on the ceiling. “What are you saying? That we all should move to Seattle? Give up? We had them fooled. We won. For once those of us who were forced to eat the mythology of those like that idiot forced on us eating from our hand. We were winning for once. Sure it wasn’t meant to last, but we were WINNING!”
“Not any more.” Owen snapped as he glanced at Myra who rolled her eyes at him.
“We weren’t supposed to win.” Dick stood up gingerly on his wooden prosthetic.
“How did it feel when we were?” Lewis’ eyes reached into Dick’s soul.
“Damn good.” Dick nodded.
“Damn right.” Lewis snarled. Expression began to change as Lewis raised a glass of water he had commandeered, “To Old Bob!”
“To Old BOB!” came the cheer from the others.
True to his word, Mr. Conley had Old Bob raised from the bottom of Lake Omolata amid a crowd of reporters who were reporting on the hoax of Old Bob.
“You know I kinda was hoping he was real.” One of the reporters said to his fellow reporters. Lewis and Owen looked on at the hoopla developing on the shore a few yards from his boat rental.
“Hey buddy are you open?” One of the reporters asked Lewis.
“Yeah, but there ain’t no Old Bob.” He shook his head.
“Yeah, I know, I just filed my report back to San Francisco.” He chuckled.
“Why would you want to rent a boat now?” Lewis asked.
“Look at it.” The reporter pointed to the crystal blue water of Lake Omolata.
“What’s your name?” Lewis got out one of his rental agreements.
“Bob. Bob Hampton.” He answered. Lewis could not help but smile at the mention of the reporter’s first name. “So you are the one who set this whole thing up?”
“Guilty as charged. Sign here.” He put the paper on the counter in front of Bob Hampton and the balding man signed it handing Lewis a Jackson.
When Lewis went to get change for the twenty, Bob Hampton waved his hand, “No sir, you keep it.”
“Much obliged.” Lewis nodded placing the bill of the man who displaced an entire native nation into the till. To make the moment even more memorable, Bob Hampton was joined by his comrades in what would become one of the most lucrative days of the mother for Shonie Rentals. Lake Omolata was filled with glass bottom boats and canoes in a regalia that made Lewis and Owen smile.
“To Old Bob.” Lewis declared.
“To Old Bob, then.” Owen nodded as he walked back to Aggie’s to get ready for an actual lunch rush.