The Hibernater

Hard Rock Shorty of Death Valley

Hard Rock Shorty was in a talkative mood, and the dudes lolling on the leanto porch in front of the Inferno store were making the most of it. They plied him with questions and
Shorty always had an answer that amused them.

“The laziest man I ever know’d was slower than a sand dune on a calm day,” Hard Rock  was saying.

“Pisgah Bill an’ me found this feller sittin’ in his old jalopy which looked as if a flock o’ 17- year locusts had nested in it fer two seasons.

“We asked him where he wuz goin’. ‘Nowheres,’ he said. ‘Don’t need nothin’ so why should I be bustlin’ around Iookin’ fer somethin’. Got a can o’ water an’ a box o’ eggs. Yu don’t need much to eat and drink if yu don’t move much,’ he splained.

“I seen he wuz parked right in the path o’ one o’ them marchin’ sand dunes, an’ I warned him he’d better not stay there too long ’cause a big wind storm’d bury

” ‘Let ‘er march,’ he says. ‘If camels and tortoises can live buried in the sand, so can a
superior bein’ like man.’

“Me and Pisgah figgered we’d done all we could fer the crazy galoot, and we went on an’ left him sittin’ there with his box o’ eggs. It wuz five weeks before we came back that way agin, an’ there wuz that same good-fernothin’ sittin’ in the same spot where we left him. That sand dune had marched right over him and wuz jest leavin’ an the ol’ feller wuz shakin’ the sand outta his hair.

“He told us he wuz- glad things happened the way they did. He’d had a nice long rest. He’d proved that man is as good as them hibernatin’ things like turtles, an’ that box of eggs had hatched out the finest batch o’ fluffy little chickens yu ever seen — which wouldn’t ‘ave happened if he had et the eggs in the first place.

” ‘Sure beats gallopin’ around the country,’ he says.”

– Desert Magazine – Jan. 1958