Friday, November 7, 2014

Passages (An Adventure Novel): Chapter 17


17

          The boots were the biggest Rolen had ever seen. How do they even make shoes that big? Certainly big enough to squash a boy’s head. To make matters worse, while attempting to tuck his gun behind him, the big-booted man dropped it on the ground only about a foot from Rolen. If the, what Rolen could only imagine as a giant, got on his knees to look for his gun, it’d be the second time in five minutes he would have had a gun pointed in his direction. Rolen wasn’t sure if he believed in signs, but he was starting to lean in that direction.

          Kneeling down, but not lowering his head to look underneath, the giant moved his hand back and forth trying to feel the gun. Rolen lay staring wide-eyed. Gathering enough courage, and knowing that if the man didn’t feel the gun he was going to look for it, Rolen pushed the gun away from himself just far enough for the man’s dirty calloused hands to grab a hold. The man then walked towards his fellow diggers.

          They were definitely talking now. Rolen scooted up so he lay underneath the front fender. He could hear every word. He remembered how well the acoustics were in this field. On one Fourth of July, he and his dad came down late at night, or early in the morning, depending on how you want to look at it, and set off a toolbox full of (illegal) fireworks. Mom said neighbors were calling and texting. Somehow they knew it was the Sparks. Mom had walked down the path to the clearing, arms crossed, scowling. It only took her a minute to join the fun.

          “It’s definitely wood, a two-by-four, I think,” the digger of the hole told the crew. “It’s somewhat long because I can’t budge it from the dirt.”

          “Alright, fellas, I want a fifteen foot circumference. Abandon your hole and start diggin’ here. Dawn’ll be here before too long. No breaks.”

          Why would a piece of wood cause such a ruckus? Was it a buried treasure? Treasure boxes weren’t made from two-by-fours. Were they?

          For the next thirty minutes, Rolen lay on his stomach watching the crew of ten dig a massive hole. “Boss, it’s just one piece of wood. There’s nothing else nearby.”

          “Son of crap!”

          One of the other men spoke up. “Back to our own holes?”

          “No,” the boss responded. “To the truck.”

          Rolen gulped. To the truck? Which truck?

          “Not this truck, please not this truck, not this truck, please not this truck.”
Crap.

          Rolen soon found himself surrounded by twenty boots soaked in blood and sweat as the men surrounded the bed of the truck. One of them spoke. It sounded like the same one that was giving orders. Obviously the one in charge.

          “Who has the map?”

          Without a word a map that had been folded on countless occasions was sprawled out in the back of the truck.

          “Light!”

          Six flashlights clicked on joined by four cigarette lighters inclining the boss to roll his eyes. “Does it look like I’m smoking here?!”

          A digger jabbed his soiled finger on the map. “Was this the last place, Boss?”

          The boss shook his head. “No.” Then there was silence as all eyes perused the entire map. None more studious than the one in charge. “No, because we can always go back to the previous marks." There was sucking sound like one made with a toothpick or something. Rolen pictured the man in boots sucking on a nail rather than a toothpick. "Our calculations may be a bit off or the map may not be all that accurate. My guess it’s just giving us estimations. But, there is one more place we didn’t try yet. Looks like it’s north of here just a hair.”

          Rolen’s eyes widened. North? A hair? Oh please let a hair be miles and miles away.

          The boss continued. “My guess is about a quarter mile from here.”

          Almost yelling out loud, Rolen covered his mouth with both of his hands. That’s a little over one thousand feet! That could be my yard!

          “Problem is,” the boss continued, “It’s somebody’s yard. I passed it the other day while scoping out this place. Nice sized blue house with red shutters. Problem is, they’re night owls.”

          “Holy crap!” Rolen mouthed without making a sound – other than the sound urine makes on denim.

          “We’ll have to figure out the best time to come. Until then, dawn’s coming so let’s roll out. Nothing left behind.”

          The ten diggers piled into the three trucks, spun their tires and were gone – obviously having some practice of packing up and leaving in a hurry. Fortunately for Rolen, he wasn’t seen…or squashed during their exit.

       Rolen noticed a piece of trash that had fallen to the ground during the getaway. Using the light of the moon, he picked it up and read it. It was a Dum-Dum. 

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