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The Testimony of Boomer Bill

The following was submitted by George Bates in the May 1988 issue of the Los Angeles Live Steamers.

There had been a railroad accident in which several people were injured. Some lawsuits resulted and in the trial of the first case, the attorney for the defense had as one of his principal witnesses an old "boomer" brakeman. After properly identifying him and establishing his status as a witness, the attorney said: "Now Bill, I want you to tell this jury all you know about this alleged accident. Where you were and why you were there; where the other members of your train crew were, and what they were doing, where the train was located and all other facts and circumstances in connection with the affair. Just turn right to the jury and tell them the whole story in your own words."

Bill was rather embarrassed and looked doubtingly at the Judge, who nodded to him and indicated he should proceed. Bill switched his quid over into the other jaw, turned to the jury, and told this story:

"We was heading' south with 456 - 32 loads and 10 empties and we had a meet order with 2 for 149 at 4:15. There was a dynamiter in drag and it looked like we was goin' to stab 149 about 15 but the bronco quit buckin' and the hogger wheeled them, so we got to 149 at 4:10. We went in on the cold end of the passin' track and closed the gate, drifted down to about ten lengths from the south target and grounded the kettle. The hoghead got down and went greasin' her ankles and the tallowpot was in the cab hustlin' diamonds. Cap was back in the crummie shufflin' tissues and the hind-shack was in the doghouse bullin' a Yahoo that was dead-headin' on a Zulu outfit. Me, I was sittin' on the pilot waitin' to twist the monkey's tail and head out on the main when 2 cleared.

"I seen her comin' through the cut and she was workin' steam and puttin' up a feather. Hogger cut off at the limit board and she come in greasin' at about 25. When she passed the target, the ponies split the switch and the took the siding. The hogger big-holed her but she jumped the rabbit and took the country.

"I seen a smash was comin' and joined the bird gang. I hit the cinders yellin' 'Spread yer wings, fellers,' and when they came together, I was on the other side of the main scratchin' gravel. I dodged into the palace and told the brass pounder to tickle the Supe and tell him we had two on one spot and there was Hell to pay."

The above is an actual account of testimony from a trial handled on behalf of the AT&SF by Attorney Luther Hudson.

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