I WAS A POOR boy, growing up in California’s San Gabriel Valley, back in 1955. A guy that I thought that I knew had found a high wage work assignment, maybe twelve miles to the East of the little hick town where we lived. Two workers were needed, and I got a ride out to the job site with the guy, as a last second replacement for a no show. We got to the job site and I was assigned the clean-up of a house site.
With money on the line, I got to work.
My ride guy got into a big argument, with the boss. My ride guy then got into his car and drove off, stranding me.
I worked eight hours, sustained only by a jar of lemon water. At the end of my day, I got $20 in pay and no ride home, after asking around. With no other option, I started to walk back home, along a deserted rural road.
As I walked, I spotted a car parked by the side of the road.
As I got closer, I saw that, in the car, the driver had blood on his head. A bit closer examination revealed the cause of the blood was a bullet wound to the head. Next to the driver were three large duffel bags.
I was a po’ boy who had to take advantage of any economic opportunity that came my way. I took the three duffel bags and the wallet that the driver had no further use for. I carefully wiped off the car door handle, with my shirt tail. I then staggered down the road for a way, carrying the heavy duffel bags. I found a place where I could cross over train tracks, on one side of the road. I made it over the train tracks although it took all of my strength.
I rested for a bit and then hid one of the duffel bags in some underbrush. I then staggered home with the remaining two duffel bags. When I got home, I hid the two duffel bags in the rafters of our garage. I then staggered into the house.
My mother was livid! “Where have you been?”
I said, “Mom, I got a ride out to a job. My ride abandoned me, way out in the East. I had to walk home. However, I made twenty dollars, for a hard day’s work.” I showed Mom my $20 earnings.
Mom sighed and said, “Well, okay, but you can just buy your own school shoes.”
I said, “Fair enough, the boss also told me about a local job, where I can make more money tomorrow.”
Mom then made me some supper, and all was again right with the world.
I got a night’s sleep and awoke, in the morning with many a sore muscle, due to my long hike with the heavy duffel bags.
The next day, I used some of the dead driver’s wallet money, to buy some items that I could quick sell, for a small profit. I then went home, got supper and departed for, ‘a night job.’ I went and retrieved the remaining duffel bag, that was still hidden in the underbrush. I then staggered home with the remaining duffel bag. When I got home, I again hid the duffel bag in the rafters of our garage. I then staggered into the house and showed Mom yet another $20 earnings.
I thought on the matter of the duffel bags, overnight. The duffel bags were each locked, with four rotor locks. It seemed to me that the four rotor locks on the duffel bags would spend a long time in the open position. The open numbers might look just a little different than the other numbers. I used a flashlight, at low angles to the numbers, and found that, after a bit of adjustment, 9, 8, 7, 6 seemed to reflect a bit differently. I then tried 9, 8, 7, 6 and the first duffel bag lock opened.
Inside the duffel bag were $100 bills, in bundles of $10,000! A quick inspection of the other two duffel bags revealed the same thing.
The duffel bags would each contain large amounts of money, enough money so that I would no longer be a po’ boy. I was staggered by the windfall. I thought for a bit and then extracted $4,000, a sum that would fit in my wallet. I hid the money, in the rafters.