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Don’t Call it a Roadside Attraction

Don’t Call it a Roadside Attraction


Buffalo Beck shares his latest book, his store, and living with amnesia

“No, no it’s a roadside attraction,” Bruce “”Buffalo” Beck had corrected me when I mistakenly referred to his shop, Buffalo’s Last Stand, off I-36 in Cope, Colorado as an antique store. Beck earned the nickname “Buffalo” from his brother who was inspired by P.E.I. Bonewitz’s book Real Magic. Magic might also have had something to with the publishing of his own book as Beck himself admits was a bit of “a fluke, so to say.”

“Tales of the Metal Fisherman” was released March 7th, 2023. The book follows an unwitting narrator, a proverbial “fish out of water,” is new to town and happens on a bar that has the vibe of watching Cheer’s reruns in modern times. Which is to say, it’s hard to believe that a bar like this ever existed – patrons were so closely bonded they felt like family. The character known as the Captain is what gives the bar a beat, a sense of rhythm and movement that brings life to the story as our narrator’s curiosity is what allows Captain to speak upon his bizarre, yet entertaining, experiences.

According to Beck, the writing process in the creation of this book was like buying ice cream at a shop that let you pick the toppings free of charge. As in, once he got the flavor he wanted, he started adding stuff he thought sounded fun. There was a brainstorming session where he and his cousin came with the concept as they had familiarity with: repo men. Then there was the title, and once that was settled, they began adding elements like the cars and kinds of characters that he wanted to see.

As the wicked never rest, so goes Beck working on his second book. However, this time he’s shifting genres. He wants his second book to be CNF, creative nonfiction, whereas “Tales,” while mostly inspired actual stories, was a work of fiction. This second book one might refer to as a herculean undertaking as it aims to cover Beck’s bout with amnesia. As such, he is taking the very first book that he had attempted to write, working title Abracadabra, and adding to it the way coders update code in patches. “The words stay the same,” he said when I asked about the connection between writing and amnesia.

According to Beck, writing helps with his own amnesia both literally and figuratively. The words staying the same means that they tell the same story, and as long as that story is documented, that moment came to be re-remembered and stitched back together.

The second function that writing has in battling amnesia is reminding Beck how the act of writing itself makes him feel, reminding him of the value that it has to him. Beck is still working towards the publication of his next book.

Until then, he awaits customers at his shop, Buffalo’s Last Stand. Which if you’d have him tell it, may just be the most interesting sight to see in Cope, Colorado. “It’s forty-five minutes from nowhere,” he said of his store’s location. He went on to paint his section of Cope with minimal brush strokes, “There’s a phone booth, a park, a post office, and me.”

Beck urges those who follow their curiosities along the path less traveled to come around and see his shop. You’ll recognize the store, not only by the name, but also by the advertisement in the right front window, “Men’s Crisis Center.” The sign is meant to encourage others to come in and talk, which is a “much needed” service from what I’ve been told.

Among the most notable trinkets is the small art gallery that depicts prints and paintings by the likes of Picasso, Dali, and Dr. Seuss. He is also in possession of hand-painted cells used in classic Looney Tunes animations; in addition, he has several buffalo themed wine bottles, postcards and baseball caps, and, for any retro gamers, there are two pinball machines for sale.

If you are interested in getting a copy of “The Metal Fisherman,” you can find it on nantucketebooks.com, or by
calling (720) 459-8761, and, of course, by visiting Beck at Buffalo’s Last Stand.

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