LOTTO 6/49
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HE wasn't your typical Northern Ontario French gentleman. Belligerent, fists always clinched and ready for the least insensitive remark, he spoke a guttural French with a mixture of Ojibway, English and back-woods slang. It was rumored that his mother was a full-blooded beautiful Saulteur maiden.

MINING was his chief occupation but his rough mannerisms and crude ways lost him his first wife. Drifting north to the Yukon, he found solace in the free and open lands. Here, a man could carry a loaded rifle in his truck with a case of beer sitting beside him and still be legal. Rarely would you encounter another vehicle on the roads. Women were even scarcer and the ones that migrated this far north, were tough--especially in the bars where they could fight better than most men.

HE continued in the mines, several hundred feet down, and watched many a cheechako inexperienced in handling the drills quickly get his clothes intangled in the spinning metal, spewing blood everywhere. Darkness in these cases was a blessing for he didn't see the agony and the torn limbs--only heard the cries.

THE north was all about greed and the mistreatment of fellow men was even more pronounced. For those who sought gold in the bush, some never came out again. No one cared.

HIS distrust of the human race grew. He was particularly suspicious of the banks with their mousy men, slender girlie fingers and peakish white skin. For this reason, he took to burying his money in cans thoughout his property and was careful to scrutinize and warn anyone or anything that happened to trespass.

HIS ignorant neighbor was particularly offensive. He'd often told him that his ugly dog wasn't welcome--particularly since digging was its favorite pastime. A feud slowly brewed between the two of them.

HAVING buried a sizeable sum behind the chicken coop, thinking that the chickens would provide the first warning, he sat back upon his chair on the porch, enjoying the afternoon rays.

HE had slowly fallen asleep into that mystic land of reverie so familiar to all Yukon pioneers when a helluva din woke him up. The detestable dog was digging--right where his recent stash was. Life as a thief for that miserable half hound ended there with a shot to the heart.

THE echo rang through the Lodgepole Pines and reverberated back from the neighboring mountains. He had to dispose of the body.

But where?

HIS neighbor must have heard the echo for shortly before supper, the Mounties showed up. Maurice had been good friends with them and spent many an overnight trip into the wilds helping to look for lost prospectors or injured trappers.

IN the Yukon you don't doubt a man's word. But after telling them that he hadn't seen the critter, they persisted in requesting approval to search his property.

He slowly steamed.

WINTER came early that year and the frigid temperatures below 50 sent everyone into a semi-hibernation within their cabins. The main outings were visits to friends for an occasional evening meal while outside, the truck idled to prevent freezing up.

MAURICE had become an excellent cook over the years and was noted for his pastries and meat pies. If invited, you knew you were in for a treat and excellent company for he told stories of unusual adventures in the mines.

ON a particularly cold January day, he invited his Mountie friend and his wife over for supper and put out his best spread. Accolades of the wonderful tasting meat pie with its tangy flavor brought a sly smile to Maurice.

THE evening went quickly, helped by a plentiful source of whiskey and appetizers. Soon it was time for his company to leave.

AS he opened the back door and wished them good-bye and safe trip home, he leaned his hand upon the old chest freezer beside the door - his companion in crime and unsearched temporary hiding place for the dog's body.

THE tail lights disappeared onto the highway and that sly smile grew into a raucous belly laugh - releasing his pent-up steam.

NO-ONE knew that Maurice had also been a butcher in his younger years.

--All Names Changed..True Stories From the Yukon by Gerald Tooley

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