The Big Chief Bar looked like a cyclone had hit it, and Max Evans was responsible. That’s why he was in jail in Raton.

So was his friend, an ex-jockey, and the jockey’s monkey, both of whom shared the cell next to Evans. It was really the monkey who started the bar brawl that night way back in the late 1940s, while Evans, his new buddy, and the buddy’s pet primate were all having a friendly drink. (In those days, monkeys were allowed in Raton bars.) Then the spunky simian sprang onto a nearby table, where a couple of would-be society matrons and their big bruiser boyfriends sat. The liquor bottles toppled over, someone got whiskey on their nice white dress, the two angry suitors began cussing out the monkey and, well, Evans had to step in, all for the honor of a monkey. Fists started swinging and furniture went flying. Evans and his pals got a night of free board in the local jail. The next day, Evans returned to the Big Chief Bar and paid for the damages.

Now a thousand years old, the Albuquerque resident and writer can write off such carefree and youthful indiscretions as part of the price he paid to have adventures. “We called them wrecks,” Evans said of the many tussles he has taken part in. “And the great mystery in the sky does not allow you to have all that fun unless you have some wrecks.”