Dave (everybody called him Shark Boy), changed places with Big Jesse, and shoveled the rubble onto the vibrating screen while Jesse’s trained eye identified the material left on the sifter. The sun began to have its way with them so they took a water break while Jessie told Dave how lucky he was to have a powered shaker screen.
“When I was an archeology student at the University of Kentucky,” exclaimed Jesse, “We used a two handed screen, that was student powered. We did the work while our distinguished professor; Professor Balls took the credit and the grant money. He got the gold and we got the shaft. Early on, I switched from archeology to geology because there’s more money in finding coal and other minerals than digging up old bones. I still do archeology as a hobby and that’s, of course, what brought me here, I’ve been doing archeological digs ever since but most of them have proved fruitless, but I have, nevertheless, collected enough artifacts to open a museum. When I heard that you found two skeletons, it occurred to me that’s all I needed to open a tourist trap that might be worth more than gold, especially if the skull’s have a hole in them from a musket ball.”
“Well,” said Dave, “I saw two skeletons at the other end of this cave before it collapsed, but it was too dark to tell if they had a holes in them.”
“Of course,” exclaimed Jesse, “if the skulls didn’t have a hole in them a fellow that’s handy with a dremal tool, could make one and stick a musket ball inside!”
“My Dad said their co-conspirators probably killed them to cover their tracks so you might not have to make holes in them. By the way, I never was one to start anything,” said Dave, “but the local archeologist at St. Thomas University called you a grave robber!”
“Do tell,” said Jesse. “And did he tell you that over 90 percent of all the artifacts ever recovered were discovered by amateur archeologists like me, or that we pay for our digs out of our own pockets? That arrogant skunk always has his hand out looking for more grant money, and he doesn’t find squat unless an amateur like me tells him where to look,” huffed Jesse.
“God must love chumps like him because He made so many of them,” growled Jesse.
Dave finished off his water and started shoveling again and just before dark he noticed the edge of a round coin like object. The generator at that very moment sputtered and stopped running so while Jess went after the fuel can Dave picked up the object and stuck it in his pocket. While Jesse re-filled the generator’s tank Dave turned over more rubble and saw several more round objects that he quickly put in his pockets. By the time Jesse had returned to the screen Dave’s pockets were full. “Hmmm,” said Dave to himself at $18,000 a piece it won’t take long to cover my tuition and other expenses. Dave’s next shovel full of rubble included one of the coins and when Jesse’s keen eye spotted it, he picked it up and poured water over it until it revealed its color—”Gold!” yelled Jesse as he danced a jig. “I found it! I finally found it! This must be Black Beard’s missing gold!”
As Dave continued shoveling, the gold escudos started piling up, but one pile was considerably larger than the other. Dave reminded Jesse several times, that the gold was supposed to be divided equally, but Jesse ignored him… Finally Jesse reminded Dave that without his expertise Dave never could’ve recovered the gold, but Dave vehemently reminded him that he found the gold and that Jesse’s part in this deal was helping with the recovery.
Dave said, “Pop stayed out of the deal other than as an advisor because there’s only so many ways to cut a pie and if it gets cut too many times there’s nothing left. I’m not asking for any of the money from the skeletons, which I also found, but this gold is for my college tuition and it’s going to be a fifty/fifty split between us—there’s no other way. My Dad said that three percent of the treasure is normally what goes to the person who finds and recovers it while the rest goes to the investors. But, since there are no investors in this deal, he agreed to a fifty/fifty split between us and that is generous beyond reason–don’t try and ask for any more just because my Dad isn’t here. Furthermore, this is strictly between you and me and if we don’t keep it a secret the government, the antiquities board, and countless other parasites will end up with the gold and we’ll get the shaft…”
Jesse suggested they should sleep there for the night and start digging again early the next morning. Dave agreed but as they argued, he saw Delilah watching them from a distance. She was too far away to tell what they were doing so after they counted the coins and put them in a big wooden box, he motioned for Delilah to come to their camp, but she instead motioned for him to come to her. After Jesse climbed into his sleeping bag, Dave walked to the high outcrop where Delilah was waiting. By then it was dark and he cautiously approached her as she stood up. A warm sea breeze wafted up the cliff face and gently lifted her raven colored hair. Countless stars and constellations sparkled in the night sky, and the phosphorous plankton shimmered under the waves below as they crashed on the rocks—a million points of light above and below them cast a magic spell. Few words were spoken, but once their eyes met Delilah took Dave’s hands in hers and kissed him gently on the lips. Shyly at first, but then with ever more passion, she pulled him closer. Dave thought that Delilah was a man-hater—but boy, oh boy, was he ever wrong. Although he had been wrong about her, he was still, nevertheless, confounded because he promised his mother that he would stay away from the girls at the chicken ranch and his mother wanted him to attend college and finish his education before he got involved with women. But the older he got the harder it was to keep that promise. The more Dave tried to say no, the more persistent Delilah became until she slid her hand into his jeans and unfastened the snap on his pants. His pants dropped like a rock because of the coins that were stuffed in the pockets. He was embarrassed, uncomfortable and nervous. To be continued.
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