“We gotta do something about this,” Maggie Winslow complained as she held up a wad of hair larger than a softball which she’d pulled from the dryer’s lint trap. “And I don’t even wanna think about what it’s doing to the washer.”
Her husband, took the hair from his wife and sighed, “I’ll do a better job. I promise.”
She wrapped her arms around Harm, “I know it’s not really your fault. I’m jus’ frustrated with it, that’s all.”
“Well, I’ll do a better job about not making a mess with all this hair,” Harm responded.
He stepped into the garage and dropped the mass into the garbage can. Harm reflected back, realizing that he couldn’t remember a time in his adult life where it hadn’t been this way.
Each month, he readied himself for the hunt, purchasing used-up clothing from various second-hand stores, placing clean clothes in a gym bag, tucked behind his trucks’ seat. Each month, he returned home with a dozen or more coyote hides to be prepped, cured and set for sale in Southern Oregon and Idaho.
The next morning Harm kissed Maggie as she lay in bed, “I’ll be back in a couple of days.”
“Okay,” she smiled. “Be careful. I love you.”
“Love you, too.” Less than two minutes later, he backed out of their driveway, pointing the truck north and east towards his hunting ground.
“Let’s see what this bird can do,” the Nevada Army National Guard pilot stated to the other four men over the CH-47F Chinook helicopter’s internal audio system. It was a few minutes after sunset as the aircraft lifted off from the Reid Army National Guard Training Center near the Stead Airport, north of Reno, proceeding north-east over the open terrain of the high desert.
Night time training was nothing new to these men a they’d done it several times before. In fact, training at night was a particular thrill as the two side-door mini-gun operators and the rear-door gunner could firing their weapons.
Twenty-minutes later, and far from known civilization, the first request came from the rear-door operator, “Permission to get wet.”
“Roger,” came the response, followed by a sudden burst and slight shudder through the craft.
Below, racing to avoid the rotor wash and heavy thumping sound, three packs of coyote’s sprinted towards the nearest hillside. Each gunner took turns blasting away at the frightened animals as soon as they came into sight.
“Holy crap!” shouted the gunner on the port-side of the craft, “Did you see the size of that one?!”
“No,” responded the other operators. Someone then asked, “Did you get’em?”
“I think so – led him for a burst before he tumbled out of sight.”
The pilot, listening in on the conversation, moved the helicopter closer to the ground and passed over the area in which the animal went down. After the third fly over, they continued on mission, completing a full shakedown of the Chinook before returning to the training center.
Day four since her husband, Harm had left for his monthly coyote hunt and Maggie began to worry. The full moon had long since lost a sliver of it’s once bright self in the night-time sky.
“It’s not like him to disappear like this,” she cried to the Washoe County deputy taking her report. She had given him a note Harm had written a couple of years before, explaining where he like to go hunting and where to look if something happened.
Two days later, a local resident walking her dog along Hungry Mountain Road noticed a blue truck parked along County 165. It had been there over a week and suspicious, she called the sheriff’s office to report it.
Within half-an-hour, two deputies pulled up near the vehicle to check it out. After radioing in the license plate, they confirmed it belonged to the missing Harm Winslow.
Though no one suspected foul-play, a full-out search began. It was two men, searching, driving an off-road-vehicle that first noticed the chewed up ground and the strewn about and decaying carcasses of coyotes and called it in.
Less than an hour later search crews discovered the naked, torn up body of Harm Winslow. He’s been raked by a large-caliber weapon, but had somehow managed to crawl under a creosote bush before curling up and dying.
“Naked and shot to death?” was the resounding question of anyone who viewed the scene, followed by, “It doesn’t make any sense.” In the distance and out of sight of searchers and investigators, a group of coyote’s howled in raucous unison from the base of a nearby hillside.
When the deputy and the chaplain came to Maggie’s front door to tell her that they’d found Harm deceased, they thought her response strange when she half-laughed, half-cried, “And to think, he promised to take care of the hair problem.”
Suspecting, Mrs. Winslow was not handling the news very well, “Can I call someone for you?” the chaplain offered.
“Yes, Harm’s niece,” Maggie said. “Her name is Alycn. Here’s my cellphone.”