Forty-two micro-stories set in Old New Mexico, each less than 500 words long, and many based on actual people or events. Includes:
Rattled. On the Santa Fe Trail, two men dispute a rifle’s origins.
Trapper in Love. A language barrier comes between a trapper and his woman.
Edward and Augusta. The future warden of New Mexico’s first Territorial Prison takes a wife.
Decision Point. Word of the Elizabethtown gold strike reaches Denver.
Thicker n’ Snot. Miners from around the globe adjust to the Sangre de Cristo mountain climate.
The Lost Soul. A young man defies his community’s expectations.
Darker Than a Wolf’s Mouth. A settler fails to heed his wife’s warnings.
Author Information: Loretta Miles Tollefson grew up in the American West in a log cabin built by her grandfather. She lives in New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo mountains, where she researches the region’s history and imagines what it would have been like to actually experience it. She blogs about her research and other aspects of Old New Mexico at lorettamilestollefson.com.
Trapper in Love
“I had me a little señorita once,” the old trapper said. “She was a real firecracker, that one. I never did learn Spanish real good and she could pull herself up all royal-like and tighter’n a beaver trap all set to snap and not near as useful. She’d start spittin’ Spanish at me like some kinda wildcat and I didn’t know what she was sayin’ but I knew enough to let her be ’til she got over her fuss. She’d push her black hair away from her fire-flashin’ eyes and let out with ‘Es más feo que un dolor de estómago!’ and then she’d yell ‘Es más sabio que Salomón!’ I didn’t know a word o’ what she was sayin’ but I could tell from her tone that it was high time to skedaddle on outa there and go huntin’.”
The old man shook his head. “Guess I went huntin’ one too many times, ’cause one day I come back with a nice big cougar pelt and she was done gone. Too bad. That was the prettiest skin I ever saw.”
He leaned forward. “What’s that you say? I was uglier’n a stomach ache and thought I was smarter’n King Solomon? That’s all she was sayin’? Here I was sure she was ready t’ take a knife t’ me or send her brother Sol t’ do it for her. An’ all she was doin’ was grumblin’? Hah! Well, if I’d of known that I mighta stuck around more and tried lovin’ her back into some kinda reason. She sure sounded god awful unreasonable at the time.”
The old man sat back, clicked his tongue against his teeth, and shook his head. “Huh, ” he said. “You don’t say.”