Tiffany Blue

There were three maybe four of them. When I saw them sneaking in, I grabbed my rifle from atop the mantle and hurried from my house to a position behind a boulder at the front of the mine. It wouldn’t take them long, maybe a minute or so for them to sort through my tailings or chip off a fragment of the turquoise that still clung to the walls. Then they would come out and slink off to their pueblo with prize in hand.

Well not today. I fixed the barrel of the rifle on the opening to the mine. Today, they would get more than they bargained for. This was my mine! My turquoise! I filed the claim! I got the rights to sell to Tiffany Co!  I’d be damned if some redskin was going to take away from my profits to sell his tribal fetishes to some TB case at the sanatorium in Santa Fe!

I heard Indians coming before I saw them. They were speaking their funny Keresan talk or maybe it was Spanish. I can’t understand either.

When they emerged, I fired hitting the first out of the mine squarely in the gut. He tumbled to the earth. The others fled in all directions.

I reloaded and took aim at another as he crossed open grassland, but the shot flew far right. Within seconds, he reached relatively safety of the pinyon and juniper scrubland. The rest were gone too, scattered by the sound of gunfire, like wild dogs.

I chambered another round and headed towards the entrance to the mine. The one I had caught lay there clutching his stomach and babbling something I didn’t understand. In his hand were several pieces of the Tiffany Blue, though they looked mostly red now on account of all the blood. Collectively, they were probably worth about a $1.10.

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