Yellow Mama Archives II

Lester L Weil

Acuff, Gale
Ahern, Edward
Allen, R. A.
Alleyne, Chris
Andes, Tom
Arnold, Sandra
Aronoff, Mikki
Ayers, Tony
Baber, Bill
Baird, Meg
Baker, J. D.
Balaz, Joe
Barker, Adelaide
Barker, Tom
Barnett, Brian
Barry, Tina
Bartlett, Daniel C.
Bates, Greta T.
Bayly, Karen
Beckman, Paul
Bellani, Arnaav
Berriozabal, Luis Cuauhtemoc
Beveridge, Robert
Blakey, James
Booth, Brenton
Bracken, Michael
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Carrabis, Joseph
Cartwright, Steve
Centorbi, David Calogero
Cherches, Peter
Christensen, Jan
Clifton, Gary
Cody, Bethany
Costello, Bruce
Coverly, Harris
Crist, Kenneth James
Cumming, Scott
Davie, Andrew
Davis, Michael D.
Degani, Gay
De Neve, M. A.
Dillon, John J.
Dinsmoor, Robert
Dominguez, Diana
Dorman, Roy
Doughty, Brandon
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fagan, Brian Peter
Fillion, Tom
Fortier, M. L.
Fowler, Michael
Galef, David
Garnet, George
Garrett, Jack
Graysol, Jacob
Grech, Amy
Greenberg, KJ Hannah
Grey, John
Hagerty, David
Hardin, Scott
Held, Shari
Hicks, Darryl
Hivner, Christopher
Hoerner, Keith
Hohmann, Kurt
Holt, M. J.
Holtzman, Bernard
Holtzman, Bernice
Holtzman, Rebecca
Hopson, Kevin
Hubbs, Damon
Irwin, Daniel S.
Jabaut, Mark
Jermin, Wayne
Jeschonek, Robert
Johns. Roger
Kanner, Mike
Karl, Frank S.
Kempe, Lucinda
Kennedy, Cecilia
Keshigian, Michael
Kirchner, Craig
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Kondek, Charlie
Koperwas, Tom
Kreuiter, Victor
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lester, Louella
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lukas, Anthony
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Margel, Abe
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Milam, Chris
Miller, Dawn L. C.
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Myers, Beverle Graves
Myers, Jen
Newell, Ben
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Plath, Rob
Potter, John R. C.
Prusky, Steve
Radcliffe, Paul
Reddick, Niles M.
Reedman, Maree
Reutter, G. Emil
Riekki, Ron
Robson, Merrilee
Rockwood, KM
Rollins, Janna
Rose, Brad
Rosmus, Cindy
Ross, Gary Earl
Rowland, C. A.
Saier, Monique
Sarkar, Partha
Scharhag, Lauren
Schauber, Karen
Schildgen, Bob
Schmitt, Di
Sesling, Zvi E.
Short, John
Simpson, Henry
Slota, Richelle Lee
Smith, Elena E.
Snell, Cheryl
Snethen, Daniel G.
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
Temples. Phillip
Tobin, Tim
Traverso Jr., Dionisio "Don"
Turner, Lamont A.
Tustin, John
Tyrer, DJ
Varghese, Davis
Verlaine, Rp
Viola, Saira
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Al Wassif, Amirah
Weibezahl, Robert
Weil, Lester L.
Weisfeld, Victoria
Weld, Charles
White, Robb
Wilhide, Zachary
Williams, E. E.
Williams, K. A.
Wilsky, Jim
Wiseman-Rose, Sophia
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zackel, Fred
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zeigler, Martin
Zimmerman, Thomas
Zumpe, Lee Clark

The Hard Man


Lester L. Weil


He was a hard man.

The coal mine had made him hard while still a teenager. The WWI trenches had made him harder yet.

His daddy and uncles were also hard men. Coal miner hard. But the coal gas explosion took many a hard man that day. One hundred and thirty-seven out of one hundred sixty-eight died on that day.

And the hard man mourned his daddy, uncles, and neighbors.

* * *

When Hunter Brothers Coal decided not to reopen the mine, he packed his sisters and mother into an old Model T and took them west to her folks over in Bell County. He headed further west toward Russell County where Hunter Brothers Coal had two more mines, for he meant to hold them accountable for his daddy and uncles. Cutting corners on safety was common practice and usually only the miners paid the price. He figured it was time the owners paid as well.

Driving along the dark county road, he made a mental list of what he needed. Up ahead shone the lights of a roadhouse doing a good business on a Friday night. He turned in and sat in the poorly lit parking lot, surveying the cars, watching people come and go, looking for anything on his list. A half hour later a Model A cop car with a star on the door pulled in and the driver went inside. Looking around, he found a rock, the largest that he could still get his hand around, and climbed into the back seat. He settled down on the floor to wait. There was no love lost between the hard man and lawmen. They always sided with the owners over miners.

After a couple hours he began to doze but started awake at the sound of the door opening. As the driver settled into his seat, the hard man rose and struck the man’s temple a savage blow. Pushing the unconscious man aside, he started the car and drove down the road until finding a side road to pull into. He dragged the still unconscious lawman deep into the woods. After tying him with his shoelaces and belt, the hard man cut off the lawman’s shirt, using it to secure his neck to a tree.

 He drove back to his Model T, took off the plates, and left the key in the ignition. Someone would sooner or later make it disappear. After taking time to splash muddy water to obscure the star on the door, he drove the cop car west toward Russell County. He figured he had at least eight hours before the lawman was discovered, time enough to get into Russell County and find a place to hide the car.

In one action he had obtained three things off his mental list: a badge, a revolver, and a car appropriate for a police officer. Also some much needed cash. Tomorrow he would  find a place to stay and buy a decent black suit and hat. Later he just needed to steal a good but inconspicuous car for his getaway. No hurry, it was five days till payday.

* * *

On Thursday evening just after dark, Mrs. Kenneth Hunter answered the door to find a man holding a badge and asking for her husband. In the drive she saw a black car with a star on the door.

“Kenny,” she called to her husband and hurried back to Jack Benny on the radio.

Hunter came to the door in shirtsleeves holding the evening paper.

“Sorry to bother you sir,” holding up the badge, “but there’s a problem at the mine. Could you please come with me.”

“What kind of trouble?”

“I’ll explain everything in the car. Do you want to get your coat?” to deflect any more questions.

“Yeah. I’ll be right back.”

In the car on the way to the mine, he told Hunter he was from the state police and they had information about a robbery planned for tomorrow morning. He had been sent here to help the locals.

“But I have the usual Pinkerton payroll guards there tonight and tomorrow.”

“I know, but we also want to post some of our own men and we need to plan everything tonight. When we get there, could you ask the Pinkertons to come with us into the office.”

The hard man hated Pinkertons. Whenever there was any labor unrest or strike, Pinkertons, or like goons, were sent in against the miners. He hated their brutal tactics that were always sanctioned and protected by the local law. The hard man carried a scar on his forehead thanks to a Pinkerton thug.

When they arrived at the mine the hard man held back as Hunter talked to the guards. Unlocking the office, Hunter entered with the guards while the hard man followed behind, taking the revolver from his pocket. He shot the nearest Pinkerton in the head and the other guard had only started to turn before he was also shot. Hunter cowered against his desk while the hard man shot the guards again, making sure.

The hard man turned to Hunter. “How many miners died at Hunter Mine #3?” Hunter only stammered and did not answer. “One hundred and thirty-seven. One hundred and thirty-seven. Think about that while you open the safe and take out the payroll for Mine #1 and #2.”

When the hard man had the money, he asked Hunter, “How many died at Hunter #3?” Hunter only got to “One hundred and thirty-sev…” before the hard man shot him in the face.

* * *

       As the hard man crossed the Mississippi River in the glow of the dawn sky, he thought about a warmer California sun. After a year when things quieted down he’d come back for the other brother. But in the meantime, he’d enjoy the warm sun and plan out his new profession, a profession where a hard man feels right at home.

Did I Ever Tell You About the Time…


by Lester L. Weil



“Hey, Sheila. Couple more Dos Equis. Dave here's still dry.” As she brings the bottles, “You know what Sheila means down in Australia, don't you?”


“Yeah, Sam. It means I don't watch Australian movies,” as she turns away.


“Guess Sheila's having a bad night,” said Sam. “But as I was sayin', kids today are getting dumber and dumber.”


“Yeah,” adds Dave. “I asked my grandson the other day who JFK was. The kid thinks he owns an airport.”


“And all they know about guns is what they see in movies and on TV, which is apparently made by people as ignorant as they are. For instance, see my latest acquisition,” pulling up his shirt to reveal a big army .45 auto stuck in his belt.


“Another Colt 1911, how many does that make now, four?”


“Yeah, but this'n has a nice history. I'm driving back from San Antonio the other day and it's 'bout to rain—sky's black as sin—and I see this kid with his thumb out. So I take pity and pick him up. We go about a mile, and he pulls out this big Colt, holding it sideways like the movie idiots. Tells me to pull over.


“So I pull over and look at him holding this Colt that's way too big for his hands. He says to give him my wallet, so I reach in my pocket and pull out my little .25 Beretta instead. He gets a little nervous and says he ain't scared of that puny li'l thing 'cause 'his is bigger'.


“So I tell'm that what I have is a gun and what he has might as well be a club, and he says, 'Whadda ya mean?', and I say you can't fire that until you cock it and I can shoot you five times before you can do that. 'Wadda ya mean?', he says, 'this's a automatic, all I have to do is pull the trigger.' I tell you, the ignorance of kids these days.


“So I patiently explain that the Colt he has is semi-automatic after the first shot, but because it's single action, it has to be cocked before the first shot. He just looks confused. So I grab it out of his hand, pull back the slide far enough to see there's no bullet chambered, cock it, and put the safety on and give it back to him. I love to fuck with ignorant kids. 'So shoot it now,' I say, 'c'mon, shoot me,' and he actually tries to pull the trigger, but of course he can't, 'cause the safety's on.


'Then I say, 'Did you rack to slide to chamber a bullet?', and he's still confused. He has not one clue about how the thing operates. 'You have to pull the slide back to chamber a bullet, go ahead—like they do on TV.' And he tries, pulls hard as he can, but of course he can't, because the safety's on. I'm having so much fun with this kid, I have to stifle a laugh.


“So I grab it again, drop the magazine, and show him it has bullets in it. I flick off the safety and rack the slide, showing him the round being chambered. I flick on the safety, 'cause I don't want to shoot the kid accidentally and then point it at his head. 'Now it's ready to fire and all I have to do is pull the trigger,' I say. The kid's shitting himself, and he reaches behind him for the door handle and falls out the truck backwards. I leave him there by the side of the road in the mud and pourin' rain, one dumb, unhappy kid.”


By now Dave is laughing his ass off.


Sam smiles. “Did I ever tell you about the time . . .”




Lester L Weil is an ex-professional bassoonist, ex-professor, ex-custom furniture builder, ex-house builder, ex magazine editor. He is retired in Arizona near the Mexico border. 

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