Three men had gone into that tunnel and only one had come out, the other two buried by an ill-timed explosion. The fuse had been prepared by the survivor, a newcomer to the mining camp who had spoken in a thick Scottish brogue. In his difficult to understand tongue he had bragged about his expertise with demolitions learned, so he said, while on the battlefields of the Civil War. But now two of the camp’s bravest miners lay under the earth and the stranger lived.
Sitting alone in the meal tent or smoking his pipe atop the powder kegs that made his living, rumors began to swirl around him. Some say he had lied about his expertise, others that he had never served in the Union Army. Worse yet, some of the dredgers told tales that he was a mole planted by management to rid the camp of labor organizers and agitators.
The miners thought of their buried friends and the living Scotsman for many days. They ruminated on this until an evening of drinking culminated in them heading to the dynamiter’s hut only to find him hanging from the I-beam in a noose of his own making.