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TE | Staff

Brewster Hudspeth

Our Man in West Texas
An Introduction
Brewster literally came into our lives "out-of-the-blue". We had had a flat tire in west Texas between Wink and El Gato Mio del Rio Frio (My Cat from the Cold River). Brewster appeared silently; his thin form creating a partial eclipse of the sun as we attempted to loosen lug nuts. We braced ourselves for the usual acrid smell of sweat and alcohol that road people normally splash on before hitting the road, but we were pleasantly surprised by a whiff of cologne over soap with a base note of Pine-sol.

He appeared to be somewhere between 45 and 80 with no identifying marks or tattoos. His face had a just-shaved smoothness and a pink glow like an old hand-tinted photograph or maybe a baby's behind. He was a facial type - a slightly long face like Jason Robards, but not quite as long as John Huston. Maybe as long as James Coburn - but certainly not as long as Max Von Sydow's. Let's just say he had a long face.
BrewsterHudspeth
Brewster (left) at the UFO crash site outside of Wink, Texas, 1947

Man at right was the bulldozer operator who dug the mass grave and later died in a freak boating accident.
He introduced himself by his familiar-sounding name and said he'd inflate our tire in return for a ride to Frio Gato (as the locals call it). He didn't say he'd "change" our tire - he said the word "inflate". We weren't about to turn down help since we didn't have a wrench. We had been trying with little success to loosen the lug nuts with our fingers.

He removed the lug nuts with a tool he took from his back pocket and placed them in his mouth. "Suh eh dunt lussum," he mumbled in explanation. He raised the wheel, pursed his lips, took a deep breath and inflated the tire with the same effort a normal person would use on a child's float ring. The tire was inflated in no time - to the point where he even had to let some air out. He pinched a peanut-sized piece of asphalt from the road and worked it into the hole, bouncing the tire repeatedly. We asked him if that helped seal the tire, but he said, no, he just liked the way tires bounced.

He spat the lug nuts into his hand one at a time as he put them back on. He apologized for the one he swallowed. He said he could return it in a day or two - but we told him we'd pick one up at the parts store.

Driving Brewster to town, we asked him why his name sounded vaguely familiar. He chuckled and said he had only come up with it last month after awakening in a Sanderson motel with no clothes, no ID and no memory. He said it was just like the punch line to an old joke - including a $20 bill taped to his chest.

He went on to say that the only other item in the room that wasn't provided by the management was a large "vegetable skin" under him on the floor - which he described as being "like a sleeping bag made of green tobacco leaves". His last memory had been attending the State Fair in Dallas.

In 1948.

We thought we had misheard him, but when we asked when he was born - he told us in a matter-of-fact tone - "1860". "Let's see," he said, "that'll make me about 141 years old this November."

Well, that shut us up. Brewster went on to say he could remember just about everything from 1867 to 1948, but not his name. He didn't go to the authorities, for he knew they wouldn't believe him - and he'd probably be held for observation.

He knew he'd be needing a name, so he picked up a hotel map/ place mat and combined the names of two West Texas counties. He had toyed with using Ward Reeves or the Southern-Latin sounding Jeff Davis Presidio. But in the end he decided on Brewster Hudspeth.

He told us that things had changed since 1948 (like we needed to be told) and he was letting the changes soak in a little at a time. He had been spending his days between the county library and the Frio Gato domino parlor -filling in the gaps.

Since Brewster said he had been to nearly every town in West Texas - and has met many familiar names, we couldn't pass up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this. We asked him if he'd write for us and he agreed.

So, that's the arrangement we have with Brewster. We feed him and give him some "walkin' around money" and he makes coffee in the morning. We've also agreed to help him find his true identity. So, if your town is one that Brewster has visited, or has once lived in - the chances are he'd probably have his version of what actually happened in your hometown.


August 2001
John Troesser

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