Al Goes Missing Again
When the last thing you see of a guy is a hand and a boot
sticking out of a raging stream, it's kind of exciting. OK, OK,
Al Miller only went missing down that Pecos stream for a few
minutes. Dragged himself out after going around a bend or two.
However, it made a tale to end all Al tales. Or so we had thought.
Sunday, Nov. 1, 1992, at the social hour after church, talk
revolved once again around Al. He'd gone missing once more, but
in a puzzling, complicated way.
According to his wife, Mary, a few days ago he'd said adios.
He and his young son, he said, were going to Canada. A few days
later someone at Rip Griffin's truck stop had seen Al and his
kid asleep in their pickup. Next an Edgewood woman said she'd
come home to find Al passed out drunk on her couch.
Nov. 5, less than a week after Dudley arrived at Rattlesnake
Acres, I asked the Livestock Board for hauling papers for him
and our two foals. Lo and behold, not one but two agents showed
up. Normally only one will come out for this routine task. I
recognized Ginger Brigg, a young, pretty blonde. She was the
officer who had come out to inspect Coquetta when I'd asked for
hauling papers for her.
Instead of getting right down to inspecting my horses and paperwork,
Ginger and her companion invited themselves inside. We sat at
our kitchen table.
Ginger said they were the gunslingers that had raided the
McCoy place. I thanked her and showed them the contract Marcie
and I had signed for boarding Dudley. Then I pulled out Lightfoot's
The man stared at the signature. "You know Al Miller?"
"Yes." I was thinking he must have heard a story
or two about Al. "Whatever people may say about Al Miller,
he sure knows a good horse when he sees one."
"Yeah. He sure knows a good horse when it comes time
to steal one."
"Is Lightfoot stolen?"
"No. That one's OK." He reached inside his jacket.
"I got a warrant for Miller's arrest here. Do you have any
idea where I can find him?"
"Sunday his wife told me he'd gone to Canada with his
"Some of his employer's horses have gone missing. We
think Al sold them."
Next Sunday at church I sidled up to Mary and whispered, "Did
you know there's a warrant out for Al's arrest?"
Mary wasn't having any of this whispering business. She spoke
right up. "Yes. It's the third time since we got married."
"The first two times I believed Al. He told me it was
a mistake. He said the county sheriff likes to pick on him. But
three times?" Mary rolled her eyes. "That does it!
I'm getting a divorce."
Our pastor was staring at us. He had always insisted that
a woman has no right to divorce. Nada. Zilch. I evaded the pastor's
eyes and clasped Mary's shoulder. "Good. You deserve a better
A better life. Something nagged at the back of my mind.
As it turned out, Al never made it to Canada. Torrance County
Sheriff's Officer Ron Grist later told me he spent some time
puzzling over Al and his escapades. He dug around until he knew
Al's associations and habits almost better than Al himself. Grist
finally found Al holed up in Las Vegas. He arrested him and transported
him to the jail in Lincoln County. Billy the Kid country. Al
plea-bargained down the charges. He got probation in exchange
for making restitution to his victim, and left the state.
A little bit of Estancia Valley color and chaos had vanished.
# # #
Next chapter: Dudley's New
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Buyer: True Adventures of a New Mexico Horse Dealer