Inquiring Minds Contest Entry
Inquiring Minds Contest
This word means unknown person, or stranger. It also refers to a type of fish, related to the salmon, which is native to Alaska. For the purpose of the contest however it means an unknown person or stranger. It is the root from which we derive the English word, “incognito” which basically means unseen or unknown.
Paul and Phyllis Sanders lived on a mountain in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. It wasn’t unusual for them to see snow in early November at their altitude and the local radio station was calling for just that. The radio station said that it was going to come a very deep snow this particular night. Paul had made sure the fuel oil was filled before cold weather sat in. So he knew they weren’t going to do without heat as long as something didn’t go wrong with the furnace. Now he was gathering in some firewood, as the couple used a fireplace as a secondary source of heat. It was also fun to simply place a blanket in front of the fireplace and lie on the floor snuggling before the blazing fire.
“That should do it for the wood” Paul told his wife. “I have gathered in enough that it should last us a week! The wood box is full and I’ve stacked some extra wood in the breezeway. Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.”
“Thank you honey”, Phyllis replied. “You always take such good care of me. I’m glad you got the last of the wood in though because the radio said the men who robbed the First People’s Bank the other night are heading our direction. I really didn’t like you being out in the dark by yourself with them on the loose.”
“Well I’ll lock all of the doors” Paul replied. “Then I’ll get the shotgun and my revolver. If anybody comes knocking on the door, I won’t meet them empty-handed!”
“Just be careful” Phyllis replied. ”Those men are considered armed and dangerous. Besides you might end up shooting yourself with those guns.”
“I’ll be careful” Paul replied. “If any inconnu men show up here I’ll make sure to point the gun at them before opening the door. For now how about trying to scare us up some dinner?”
“I’m working on it now”, Phyllis replied. “We’re going to have roast beef tonight.”
“It sounds good” Paul replied.
He went into the living room and put another piece of wood into the fire. By the time Phyllis came into the living room he had a nice fire blazing in the fireplace. Phyllis sat down next to him on the blanket and presented him a steaming cup of hot cocoa. He looked at the marshmallows, which were still swirling in the cup from being mixed. He knew before tasting it that the cocoa was delicious. Phyllis never used cocoa from a packet. She always made her cocoa from scratch.
Paul was just getting ready to take a sip of his cocoa when he heard a car pull up outside. He pulled the revolver from his belt and went to the door. He looked out the living room window to see a man and woman approach his house. In moments there was a knock on the door. He motioned for his wife to open the door, which she did. In moments he was standing with his revolver trained on a young couple who stood just outside his door.
“Whoa” the young man cried out when he saw the revolver. “Put the gum away Annie Oakley. We’re just a couple of strangers who’ve lost our way and run out of gas. We were hoping to find some help here.”
“Well until I can confirm that I’m not going to put my revolver away” Paul answered. “The radio said that the couple who robbed the First Peoples Bank in town the other day were headed this direction. I’m not taking any chances with some inconnu couple who just happens to stop by.”
“Listen sir” the man responded “maybe it would be best for us to just leave. We’ll walk if we have to but I don’t want to get my wife shot and I don’t want shot myself.”
“You don’t need to go anywhere on foot” Paul answered. “It’s coming a snow storm and you don’t want to be out walking in it in these mountains. You’d freeze to death before you made it a mile. I’ll put the gun away and you all can come in to warm up. Unfortunately I don’t have any spare gasoline around here with the exception of the small amount I keep for my lawn mower. It wouldn’t do you any good because it’s mixed. There isn’t much of that. The only thing I can really do to help you is call a tow truck and have some gasoline brought out here. By the way my name is Paul Sanders. This is my wife Phyllis.”
“I’m Sam Johnson” the man answered. “This is my wife Tammy. We were just driving through on our way south the Los Angeles. The map said a shortcut through this mountain might be the shortest route. However we weren’t expecting the road to be so full of twists and turns. I guess we just underestimated how much gasoline we’d use to get through the region.”
“It happens frequently” Paul told him.
“So what is the story with these bank robbers” Sam asked.
Before Paul could answer him however there was another knock at the door. Paul looked out the window to see who was at the door. To his surprise he found that his house was surrounded by squad cars! He tucked his revolver into his belt and opened the door to find his friend Tom, a deputy sheriff standing there. “Sir, can I ask you and your wife to step outside” Tom spoke to Sam. “You have nowhere to run. The house is completely surrounded and if you move the wrong way I’ll personally shoot you.”
It was then that Paul noticed the pistol in Tom’s hand. Paul moved aside to allow Sam and Tammy to exit. Soon the couple was in custody.
“We’ve been chasing them for miles” Tom said. “The last report said they were headed over your way. I figured they’d run out of gas sooner or later. I knew that if they did they’d likely come to your place.”
“It might be awhile before I open my door to any inconnu people again” Paul said. “On the other hand, the chances of running into another fugitive are pretty slim.”
He watched the deputy pull away from his house as the first snow of the season began to fall.