Elgin’s father claimed to have always been a cowboy though no knew where he’d come from before he’s arrived and wooed the fair Jessica Beauty. He claimed that he was a member of the local tribe, that he’d actually been borne in Beauty, though he had no proof. He claimed to be one half Native American and a member of the local tribe, again with no proof. His winter pass time after his wife vanished was a long term campaign to get ‘his’ cut of the tribe’s take from the local casino and tourist industry, spending many hours writing long rambling letters to various people, papers, officials and offices about his terrible plight. Never to any avail.
His sixteenth birthday fell on an early fall school-day Thursday. Elgin left his father on the lean-to porch leading to the Airstreams door, kicked back on a rickety old chair had looked like it was about to collapse with the coffee on his belly streaming steam in the cool dry air. The two had exchanged glances and no more before the already wide shouldered boy walked out to catch the bus.
That evening Elgin returned to find his father still kicked back in the old chair, the coffee cup in the same position but empty eyes closed, face peaceful. The flakes of snow in the air were settling on the older man’s body, already the same temperature as the cold evening air. It was at the burial that Elgin found out that his father had been a week less than forty.
After that Elgin was taken care of by an until then unsuspected, network of cousins among the locals. Quite a few of whom were or at least looked like they were, full blooded Indians. The blond blue-eyed Elgin often looked out-of-place among his cousins, but he didn’t complain when he had to play the bad white guy again and again. He was never much trouble though he often hung around with the local hooligans. And though a ‘good looking boy’ and reasonably ‘common sensed’ he was never a good student or a hard worker, with his school work, though neither lazy nor dishonest.
He drifted into adult life with no plan and no ambition. At twenty nine Elgin still lived in the Airstream and worked at the ranch job he’d ‘inherited’ from his father. He wasn’t exactly a drunk, or a pot head, but he wasn’t sober much of the time away from the ranch. His only companion was a huge cat called Humphrey.