This story along with the other ones I will be writing are about real people I have met and things I have encountered in my 70 years. I met this man some 29 years ago.
The Kissing Bandit was born in Michigan and a yankee. He was about 12 years old when he made up his mind to be an outlaw. He never had much as a youngin’. His folks followed the crop. He wanted to be a bank robber and he had a wandering spirit that burned in his soul. He didn’t know why he wanted to be a so called bad guy. I'm not quite sure he knows why up to this day. The feeling was there along with that roamin’ fever, as my momma called it. The two things together made it real tough on the kid but he still stayed around as long as he could till he couldn’t fight that feeling any more. At the age of 14 he just took right off and set out for Texas. Why there? He never could explain it. Maybe one to many cowboy movies. He just felt he had to go and go he did. He hopped a train, headed west bound and was determined to be an outlaw. He rode the train for some distance before he met and joined up with some fellas who were considered real type of Hobos. They let him sleep in what they referred to as the hobo jungle, with all different type of men. He wasn’t scared at all, in fact he was having the time of his life.
In this “jungle” he met a fella called Doc. Doc had once been a rich man. He had everything, not just money, but a woman, a house, cars. Seemed to be living the dream. He had it all and then he fell in love. A woman would bring him to his knees, go figure. The woman was unfaithful to him and it had hurt him so bad that all he could do was walk away and leave everything behind. He turned his back on life as he knew it. He hit the road, never looked back and eventually became a "hobo," roaming the country.
The wanna be outlaw hung on every word. He thought about all the things this man said and his desire to be an outlaw grew. Doc went on his way and the kid his, the next day they made it to El Paso. The kid and two other of the “jungle’s” residents went into town, they were downright starved but no money. The kid thought due to his age no one would look twice at him while he pocketed a few items, so he went into a store. He watched the store keeper, who seemed to be going about his business and when he got the chance he grabbed what he could and ran like the wind. The other two soon followed him and they hid in a box car, thinking they were free. They were laughing and joking and carrying on, wolfing down the stolen goods. Then like a storm the box car door flew open and standing there was the sheriff and some city police with guns in hands. With their eyes wide, they swallowed hard and slowly put their hands on their head. The police hauled all three of them off to the jail house. The outlaw in training told the cops he was the one who committed the theft. The others just happened to be there. This was the wannabe’s first run in with the law but not his last. When the time came to go in front of the judge he gave him 30 days working on the chain gang. It was his first taste of life inside the slammer. After his time was up the cops gave him a few dollars and told him to get out and stay out of Texas. It took him 9 or 10 days to walk and hitch a ride all the way back to Michigan. His trip was over for now but it wouldn’t be long before he met with the police again.