There is only one gas station in Bisbee; the Circle K Station enjoys a virtual monopoly. It’s on the north side of town, and the only alternative is to drive past the garishly-colored copper mine wasteland on the south side of town, get on Rt. 92 at the roundabout, and drive a few miles to San José, a commercial strip at the edge of the Sulphur Spring Valley. The Safeway store and the laundromat as well as a hardware and lumber store are out there, so most Bisbee residents make that trip regularly.
The other day I was airing up a leaky rear tire on my truck at the Circle K. I noticed a typical Bisbee character standing a few feet away from me, a ragged-looking man with unkempt long white hair and a long beard. Bisbee seems to be a magnet for old eccentrics and hippies. He looked at me as I fed quarters into the air compressor and I could tell he was nerving himself to approach me.
The man walked up to me just before I got into my truck. He had something in his outstretched cupped palm.
“I got pesos,man! I need a buck — how about I give you these and you give me a dollar?”
I looked at the miscellaneous pile of Mexican change in his hand.
“Y’know, I don’t plan on going into Mexico anytime soon. Sorry, but I just can’t do it!”
The man looked away and scowled. As I drove away I saw him approaching another customer.
I wish I had gotten the back-story! Why did he have all of that Mexican change? How did he end up in Mexico, as he seemed not to have a vehicle? What did he want one dollar for?
I’ll probably see the man around town; perhaps I’ll hear his story one of these days!