Finally we managed our way to the peak. At the top a solitary ranch style house sat in a field with a commanding view in all directions. A driveway circled the house. We followed it around back. There the driveway went right next to the house and up to a window that sported a built in counter. It looked much like any fast food drive in establishment. Once we pulled up, I could see inside was a large room filled with refrigerators and coolers. A man there quickly filled Earl’s order for a case of beer. I was surprised that even bootleggers offered modern conveniences like drive thru service. We pulled away just like normal shoppers leaving a legal mart. Earl offered me no beer, maybe since it was still morning. We slowly descended the same road we followed up and I was let off at the highway as Earl made hi way back in the other direction. With not much traffic, it felt like a good time to have a hike.
Sometime later I ran into Larry. He did not have a car but approached me on foot. He quickly made an offer to come to his house and have a beer. As he explained, “I got some beers to drink, but I’m all alone sitting in my basement, and that’s no fun. So if you want, I got a case and you can have a few and we can listen to music.” A few beers in a cool basement on a day that was getting too warm for much more enjoyable walking seemed like a nice idea. Since Larry seemed harmless, I accepted. We spent a good part of the afternoon sucking in dingy air and dank beer. It was obvious Larry had a considerable head start on me in consuming beer. It also was apparent that he spent much time in this activity and probably was depressed. I got to listen to quite a litany of complaints about the negative life style he had. As his guest, I just listened. Then he relayed a disturbing piece of information that perhaps answered why I was invited to share in his gloom.
Larry had lifted a case of beer that belonged to his uncle. It was hidden and kept cold in the creek behind the house. In dry counties where bootleggers are in business, cold creeks often act as refrigerators. The problem was that his uncle was due to return today. Larry feared that if his uncle came home and found his beer gone, he would be irate. And, if he found evidence Larry was culprit, he may turn homicidal. Larry needed help getting rid of the evidence. Luckily, since Larry began his crime the previous day, we did not have much work to do to dispose of the rest. Quickly we finished our task, got rid of the empties and walked up to a roadside café for a hamburger. While waiting around a buddy of Larry’s summoned him, “Come here Larry, I want to show you my new revolver and show you how it works.” Larry turned down the request. It was reiterated, “Come on, you’re going die some day and I only want to help you get where your going. It’s only the Christian thing to do.” It may have sounded funny, but contained a veiled threat that I would not accept either.
We returned to Larry’s and he settled in for a night of watching television. I did not like the taste of our encounter at the café, and the threat of an irate uncle appearing, made me feel like continuing my hike. Larry seemed sad, I would not stay for the evening. Larry seemed sad anyway, so I stuck with my plan to leave. It was only a short walk out of town to a nice field that offered peaceful; sleeping accommodations once I unfurled my bedroll.