“She was blonde. She had a nice smile and was pleasant, jolly and well liked.” Such is the way the late Judge Roscoe Wilkes begins the story in his book High Desert Tales about Shorty.
At first, he is describing a woman he thought was named Venice. Maybe that’s not her real name, and it isn’t important to the story anyway. Wilkes says she was not a raving beauty, but pretty nonetheless, and had been greatly favored by nature, too. Wilkes freely admits as a young boy at the time, he noticed such things.
In turn, Shorty, also not his real name, was “Pleasant, reliable, diligent,” Wilkes writes, “and almost always referred to as “Shorty.”
At the time of this story, probably the late 1920s, early ‘30s, in Pioche, Wilkes says Shorty was “pumping gas, changing tires and generally running the front end of Orr’s Garage, located at the corner of Main and LaCour Streets.” The former Miner’s Market once occupied the same premise.
Venice was a single woman, insomuch as Wilkes knew, and lived in a second floor apartment in a building across the street from Orr’s Garage. It’s still there.
She worked in a bar somewhere nearby, and walking to and from, was often times observed by Shorty. His heart was growing more and more enamored and captivated. But him ask her for a date? Not on your life. “He was too shy and lacking in confidence for that. What then?” writes Wilkes.
Shorty may not have been specifically looking for an answer to his dilemma, but one afternoon, he found one.
Apparently, he had been visiting one of the local pubs and had overdone it to some degree. With all the liquid refreshment of a favorite adult beverage, it greatly bolstered his confidence enough for him to consider the pursuit of the desire he had harbored for many days, if not weeks. It was a firm decision, he would make a call on Miss Venice.
He walked across the street, climbed the stairs to the door to her apartment. To his surprise, it was unlocked. He entered.
He went through the front room and found Venice asleep in her bed. But Shorty did her no harm. He wouldn’t have anyway. What he did do though, was fully clothed, lay down beside her on the bed and fell asleep himself.
As Wilkes writes, sometime later when Venice awoke, she was of course quite startled. What happened after that is not recorded, but Wilkes notes Venice was telling friends and co-workers the next day, “When I became half-awake, yet still half-asleep, and in that hazy, vague state of mind, I looked over at the man in my bed and said to myself; “My God, I’m Snow White and in bed with one of the Seven Dwarfs.”