Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.
Before I leave Dennis Tolliver in the dust of history I’m going to share a couple of other anecdotes with you to round out your understanding of the sort of man was, might still be if he’s alive.
During the years I lived in Socorro I’d frequently stop in at Mel’s furniture store for coffee. Often we’d stroll around the corner to Tolliver’s used car lot for the novelty. Mel King
Mel and Dennis were close friends and both were trapped in self-images including a strong measure of outlaw-billybadass. Nothing much was said about it, but it hovered in the background as scenery too solid not to be real.
One day we were huddled in the car lot office when a Navajo from the Alamo Rez came in with a small caliber pistol he offered as a down payment on a truck. Dennis noted it was loaded with a round in the chamber, examined it and scowled.
Dennis: This pissant thing? What the hell do you think I’d want with it?
He handed it back to the guy.
Navajo: It’s a good pistol.
Dennis: Good pistol my ASS. Shoot me with this damned thing!
He stood up and threw his arms out to make a better target.
Dennis: Shoot me anywhere you want to with it! If I have to go to the hospital I’ll give you the damned truck free!
The guy looked at the pistol, looked at Dennis, seemed to be considering it. Then he just shook his head, stuffed the pistol under his belt and left.
Dennis: Bastard was trying to set me up. If I’d taken that pistol from him I’d have had cops all over this place. A convicted felon in possession of a firearm! If that bastard was real he’d have shot me and tried for the free truck.
I was more closely acquainted with a guy who’d grown up with Dennis, who enlisted in the army with him, served with him in Vietnam. A man who had no use at all for Dennis Tolliver. One day he explained his reason.
Several years before Dennis did his armed robbery trick in Grants the two of them found themselves in possession of some dynamite and blasting caps. They were drunk, and went out on the Interstate blowing up traffic barrels, abandoned automobiles, whatever presented itself.
Eventually a police car came over the horizon behind them, lights and siren providing the drama. Dennis floorboarded the truck, but the cop was on the tailgate in no time.
Dennis: Light that stick of dynamite and throw it out on him.
The cap was taped around the dynamite stick with electrical tape. The guy telling me the story said he lit it and tried to throw it out, but it slipped and rolled under the seat of the truck, him fumbling around under there for it.
Dennis, calmly: You really need to get that out of here or that cop’s going to have us.
Finally the guy found it, tossed it out the window soon enough so’s it exploded outside the truck, blew out all the windows and the truck rolled into the ditch. Dennis came out unscathed, but my bud got all his hair burned off, ended up in the hospital, then jail.
Pissed him off royally, because he was charged and convicted for the whole mess, while Dennis walked. Dennis even testified against him.
“Worthless bastard!” was all he had to say about Dennis.