Emery Shaft

by Tony Diem


The blow was sharp, along the part of the jaw line that mates perfectly with a fist, the sound like that of a hard line-drive coming off a wooden bat. Old Willie and Maggie in search of gold. Brock relaxed his stance as he watched the effect of his assault; John Holcomb’s eye’s rolled back, his arms dropped and he crumpled to the floor. The sound in the arena was deafening as the thousands looked on through the layers of blue smoke that filled the arena in Carson City Nevada. Brock Hutchinson let out a roar and was hungry for more, as the referee raised his gloved hand in victory to all four sides of the ring. And with that Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson escorted Brock back through the tunnel and out of the frenzied crowd.

But that night was a distant memory and a broken eye socket ago. Brock was now in a humid dark corridor, filled with the smell of electricity, fuel soaked dirt, burnt metal, perspiration and just the hot earthen dankness of being several hundred feet below ground. There were no shadows, only darkness. A darkness that filled Brock with disgust, five years of his life was lost to this wasteland. It was hours later and the rain was falling just as hard as it was when Bill was standing in the forest with the men he formed an agreement with years before. Now he sadly followed Brock into the third bar of that night. Brock was down to the last of Jack and Bills pocket money, he took a pinch of gold from the small bag and sprinkled it on the bar. The bartender filled a glass and Brock started in about his fight that night in Carson City, but there was no one there to hear it.


As more and more development was occurring in and around Nevada City, Mark grew more anxious about the Forest Service and mine owned land behind his house. Mark appreciated the fact that he was buffered by a short strip of Forest Service, but concern grew as the mine began selling more and more parcels to shell off some of its assets and tax liability. Mark had worked with the mine and knew the director and implored him to let Mark know when the acreage behind him would be up for sale.

The bar was a living museum. A collection of historic artifacts, pictures, junk and memorabilia. The dust on some of the items was as old as the town itself. The bar was hand carved and brought in from St. Louis at the turn of the last century, worn in elbows could be seen at most every part of the bar top. Robert turned on the working lights, which lit up the bar like Mark had never seen. Robert went along the walls and there among pictures of some of the towns most historic and famous citizens was a picture of Maggie with some miners panning gold along a creek, a head shot of Willie holding up his fingers signifying the size of the nugget. “Not that big Willie,” Mark thought to himself and giggled.