Our gang had made its plans. We had decided that the time was now ripe for us to make a raid on Mill Creek Mine. It had shut down two or three weeks ago. We had been watching the place to see when everybody would finally be gone. The mine was now deserted. The time had come for us to do the job. There hadn’t been a soul around the place for a week now. Looking around an abandoned mine is great fun. We planned to go into the mine, gold coast clear carts and maybe we would even go to the face. The face was what the miners called the place was they actually dug loose the coal and loaded it into mine cars so it could be hauled outside to the tipple to be cleaned and loaded into railroad cars.
Smasher, Smokey, Joker, Wizzer and me were going on the raid. Mole couldn’t be with us today. He had been grounded for fighting with his sister. Those of us that had brothers or sisters understood just what he was up against, being grounded, cheap guns for sale and most of us had been in that same predicament at one time or another.
The shops at Mill Creek Mine had supplied us with many a steelie for our slingshots in the past. Now that it was closed, we had reason to believe that there were more steelies for our slingshots, and just maybe there would be some other things that we could cart away for our use as well.
When Wizzer and me met to go to our hideout, he was carrying his rifle. That set me back on my heels. When we had planned this job, nobody had said anything about carrying rifles along with us. Wizzer and me traveled through the woods to the hideout without saying much. I was thinking about not having a rifle and why we weren’t using our slingshots instead. Wizzer knew I didn’t have a rifle. He knew too that particular fact was bothering me so he wasn’t saying anything either. When we reached our hideout, more site visit:-https://ferall.si/ Wizzer suggested that we try to sneak up on the guys in the hideout without them spotting us. We did. In fact, we snuck in so slick that we didn’t have to use our special signal to let them know that we was friends. We just lifted the camouflaged trap door and crawled into the hideout, startling the rest of the gang. Smasher got mad and started jawing at us about doing things in a proper manner.
“Why didn’t you guys use our signal? How’re we gonna scatter if you don’t? You two could’ve been somebody else that wasn’t supposed to be here.”
“If we had been somebody that wasn’t supposed to be here, Vegan leather bags you would’ve all been dead ducks sittin’ here on this log doin’ your quackin’. There’s supposed to be a guard posted when anybody’s gonna be here fer long. None of you didn’t even see er hear us sneakin’ up on you. We snuck in here as pretty as you please,” I smirked. That shut him up. The look that he gave me told me though that he was none too happy about what we had done. I looked around. Each of the fellows had his Twenty-Two rifle with him.
“What’re you guys doin’ with the rifles?” I asked. “There was nothin’ in our plans about anybody bringin’ their rifles.”
“Aw. We was jist figurin’ on doin’ some plinkin’ at tin cans n’ bottles if things don’t work out at the mine,” Wizzer said. “Squirt, fashion tape you kin take turns with me shootin’ my gun.” The other guys held their peace. They knew that I didn’t have a rifle. One other time I had snuck away from the house with my older brother Zip’s rifle. For that trick, I had gotten my hide tanned from my dad and a good thumping from Zip in the bargain.
Joker spoke up then and broke the silence saying, “We better git goin’. We got us a full days work ahead of us if we’re gonna check the whole place out.”
“Squirt, since Wizzer n’ you done such a good job of sneakin’ up on us, you n’ Wizzer kin scout out the mine to see if anybody’s around. If the coast is clear, give our signal, n’ we’ll meet you down at the big oak tree.”
Wizzer and me snuck away from the hideout stealing our way down through the woods toward the mine looking and watching all the while. About a hundred yards from the mine there was a big Oak tree that was perfect for spying on the mine. I climbed up into the tree and Wizzer followed me. It was understood by both of us; Wizzer and me would whisper or use hand signals to talk to each other until we had checked to be sure the mine was deserted. We settled ourselves in notches of the tree and began our watch of the mine. The whole place was as quiet as a sleeping babe. Twenty minutes or so passed. Not a soul stirred. The place seemed deserted.
“It looks OK. Let’s call the guys in,” I whispered to Wizzer. He shook his head from side to side. He was telling me that we should wait and watch a while longer. Wizzer had eyes like a hawk, and he hadn’t seen anything. Yet, he still didn’t want to give the signal. He was afraid. He didn’t have to say so. I saw it in his eyes. So I let go with the signal, two short sharp whistles, and started down out of the tree. When I reached the ground, the guys were coming down through the woods. Wizzer climbed down behind me. He wasn’t happy that I had called in the other guys without his say so. The dirty looks he gave me told me as much so I let him tell the other guys that we hadn’t seen anyone around the mine.
“It’s clear,” he said, “There don’t seem to be anybody around. We better go slow though. You never know. . . .” He didn’t get a chance to finish whatever he was going to say. What Wizzer had suggested wasn’t Smasher’s way.
“If it’s clear, then we ain’t gonna go in there slow!” Smasher said. With that, he started at a good pace toward the mine office. It was padlocked. Smasher took one swipe with the hatchet he carried and the office wasn’t padlocked anymore.
Joker came up to him and said, “Smasher, you’re plumb crazy. There could’ve been somebody in there.”
Smasher just laughed. “You dumb cluck. What do you think they done, crawled out of a window er something to put the padlock on the door? Let’s go inside now n’ check things out.”
There wasn’t all that much to see in the office. Dirty, Army green file cabinets stood against one wall. Another wall was covered with a blackboard just like the ones in the schoolhouse. When Smasher saw those blackboards, he let out a whoop like he had struck gold. His hatchet was out of his belt before any of us could blink.
“Stand back boys. This here is work for the Smasher,” he shouted. Smash! He destroyed one slate, sending chips flying around the room. Lines streaked outward from the gash that was made where his hatchet had hit that board. Smash! Smash! With three swipes of his hatchet he had turned those three slates of the blackboard into what looked like giant spider webs that no self respecting spider would ever consider crawling over. He turned toward us. With a smile on his face like one of those little Angels that you see on valentines, he said, “I wish I was in the school house right now.” If Smasher had been in the schoolhouse just then, I wouldn’t have given half a nickel for every blackboard in the place.
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