I waited for the three of them to come out of the store and I expected them to disappear back into the sea of cars and trucks that stretched out as far as I could see. But instead, they walked right towards me! One of them had a baseball bat, the other had a gun. The last one had a frying pan that was just about big enough to crush my body and cook me up before I was even dead. I tried to hide behind a cactus, but I was shaking so hard that it didn't make much of a difference.
"What's going on behind that cactus!?" asked the boy with the red hat.
"It's an ambush!" exclaimed the well-dressed boy with the glasses. He pointed his gun at me. I thought I was about to die!
The three of them surrounded me. I put my hands over my head and quivered like a little brown leaf in the wind.
"Hold on, guys. It's just a baby mole," said the girl. She put her frying pan down and scooped me up off the sand. I was afraid that they might hurt me still, but when the boys put their weapons away, I calmed down a bit. "You want to come with us for a while?" she asked, scratching under my chin.
"Whatever we do, let's do it fast," said the well dressed boy. "This heat is nearly unbearable. We're going to get sunstroke if we just stand here all day."
"Wow, he's smart!" I thought. "He must be a scientist!"
The baseball player took off his hat, put me on his head and put the cap over me so that I would be protected from the sun. I could see out from under brim.
Just like that, we were off.
* * *
A few sunbathers were out taking advantage of the perilously hot, sunny day.
"Aren't you afraid you'll burn yourself?" asked the girl as we passed by on our way to the city of Fourside.
"Aren't you afraid that your dress is 50 years out of style?" he replied.
"Studies show that prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays can mutate one's cells, creating a much higher risk of cancer," said the scientist. "Also, you could wind up with a really wicked sunburn. You can see that I'm very pale. It's for my own protection."
"Okay, then you're blocking my cancer. Could you kids go bother someone else?"
* * *
About two miles later, we came across a sign warning of a very important, missing contact lens. The scientist said it was apparently a family memento of a man named Penetella Giovanni.
"What? The wacky and magical comedy duo of Penn and Teller lost their contact lens? Ness to the rescue!"
"No Ness. It's one man named Penetella," said the girl. "It just sounds the same. That all."
"First I'm going to get Teller to talk!" screamed the baseball player. "Then I'm going ask to see a card trick!"
I think the scientist was upset for some reason after that, but I don't know why.
* * *
The baseball player examined the shiny object in his hand, then gave it to me to hold on to. I gripped it with my little paws as tightly as I could. This was an important job and I wanted to do it right!
"I can't believe we found Penn and Teller's contact lens!"
"I can't believe we found Penn and Teller's contact lens!"
"Actually, neither can I," said the scientist. "The probability of us finding it out here in amongst all these granules of sand was about 1 to 100,000,000,000, or approximately the odds of an Xbox 360 continuing to function after its second day in operation."
"A what box?" asked the girl, scratching her head.
The scientist stopped making eye contact with the girl. "Oh, right, that hasn't happened yet. Just... forget I said anything."
He chuckled sheepishly, scribbled something in his notepad, and was quiet for quite a long time.
* * *
We had only been traveling for a few hours, but I could tell that my new friends weren't feeling very good. It was getting so moist under the cap from the baseball player's sweat that I had to lift it all the way off his head every few minutes to let out the steam.
Then, up ahead I saw a big metal monster! I ducked under the hat and hoped for the best. If anyone could beat that baddie, it was these three!
"Kill it with fire!" I squeaked.
"It's some kind of construction site," said the girl. "But why is it way out here in the desert?"
"Who cares," said the baseball player. "They've got a place with a roof and hopefully some water. Let's go."
We came across a man in a hard hat who was observing a hole in the ground. It looked like a great place to live! Maybe he was building his new home.
The girl gestured with her hand as she spoke: "Excuse me, sir, but my friends and I - "
The man grabbed her hand and started shaking it violently.
"George Montague is my name and mining is my game!" exclaimed the burly man. "And I'm just famished. My wife forgot to pack my lunch again today, probably because she's on vacation in Summers right now. If you kids had any food to spare, I'd certainly appreciate it!"
"Well, actually... if you wouldn't mind letting us rest in your trailer for a while, we'd be glad to share some of our food with you," said the girl.
"What kind of food do you like?" asked the baseball player. "I've got a Calorie Stick right here..."
I don't know where it came from, but I distinctly heard a tiny voice yelling, "You red ruffian!"
"...but it's sort of a good luck charm for us. I was about to eat it myself the other day, but I decided to hold on to it."
"How about a Skip Sandwich?" asked the scientist.
"That would hit the spot!" said George. "I'll tell you what - my brother Geraldo and I are looking for buried gold here in this mine. The first gold I find I'm going to give to you."
A moment later, as George was taking his first bites of the sandwich, a second metal monster roared up next to us! We were lucky that the first one was sleeping, but now we were doomed! I covered myself with the baseball player's hat as if it were a big blanket and prayed for the beast to take pity on us.
"Ah, speak of the devil!" yelled George. A man stepped out of the monster! He had tamed it! We were saved!
"This is my brother, Geraldo."
"Hello!" he said, with a tip of the construction hat.
"Geraldo, could you escort our new friends to the trailer? They've earned themselves a good night's sleep," said George.
"I don't know what you did to make my brother so fond of you," said Geraldo, "but come with me, kids. Looks like you could use a rest."
In the morning we walked into the tunnel that would lead us to Fourside. I was a little nervous - I've never left the desert before - but I was also really excited! I felt so safe with my new friends, I knew nothing bad was going to happen to me. I fell asleep while we walked over the bridge, as the cool, salty air washed over me.
* * *
When I woke up it was night time, but the world was on fire. The tallest buildings I had ever seen stretched into the sky like giant cacti! It was the most amazing thing I'd ever witnessed in my life!
"That guy was your neighbor?" asked the girl. "He was the one that kidnapped me!"
"He was always a huge jerk, but this is low, even for him," replied the baseball player. "Anyway, we don't have time to worry about that right now. The Runaway Five are playing at the Topolla theater down the street. Why don't we drop in on them and see how they're doing?"
The scientist scratched his head.
"Runaway fire? That sounds dangerous... but intriguing."
* * *
The best song I'd ever heard echoed through the hallway of the theater as we stepped out of the big, confusing place with all the lighting and more people than I'd ever seen in one place.
The scientist frowned and rubbed his ears.
"Exposure to music with a high decibel level has been scientifically proven to reduce the effectiveness of one's hearing over time much more quickly than natural causes. Conversely, this band rocks."
The baseball player and the girl had to raise their voices to be heard, even with the doors to the loud room closed.
"Where are we going to get a million dollars?" she asked. "They're really in deep this time."
"We'd have to find buried treasure to come up with that kind of... wait! That's it!" he replied excitedly. "Let's rob a bank! I can put my hat over my face, and you can -"
"I have a better idea," said the scientist. "Let's check in with our new friends, George and Geraldo Montague. Perhaps they've discovered some buried gold by now."
The baseball player caught sight of his reflection in one of the mirrors lining the hallway. He sighed.
"Do you think I should buy some new clothes at the Fourside department store before we head out?" he asked. "This shirt is starting to get a little funky."
"Why waste the money? It's not like we're going to make it into the newspaper or something," said the girl.
* * *
Continued from page 1
Each of them was claiming to be the third strongest of the bunch. It was really bizarre.”
|A picture of one of the|
alleged giant moles.
“It was almost like something was drawing them there,” said Geraldo Montague.
With the mine pest-free thanks to the help of the teen trio, the Montague brothers say they continued digging and came across the million dollar diamond not 20 minutes after the teens left the site. The pair decided it should be given to their new friends as payment for their services, and Geraldo Montague chased after the intrepid travelers, catching up them before they reached Fourside.
“They were very pleased with our reward and they said they knew just what they were going to do with it,” he said.
According to George Montague, he befriended the teens on Monday when they gave the hungry miner a Skip Sandwich.
|One piece of the mega-gem was |
fitted into a gold ring.
George Montague added that at the time they gave him the sandwich, he was hungry enough to eat a pizza, even though he despises the cheesy, saucy treat.
Geraldo Montague says that the teens were on their way to Fourside when Monday’s desert traffic jam stopped them in their tracks. After the trio crossed the Dusty Dunes Desert to beat the bumper-to-bumper traffic, the Montague brothers allowed the teens to spend the night in their construction trailer. It was only by chance that the teens came back to check on the miners’ progress, he said.
So how does it feel to give away a million dollars? Pretty good, says Geraldo Montague.
“Those kids are dynamite,” he said. “They deserve every dime of what we gave them and more.”
Reportedly, the teens traded the million dollar diamond to the management of Fourside’s Topolla Theater in exchange for the Twoson-based bluesmen, the Runaway Five, to be let out of their performance contract. The exchange apparently took place less than an hour after the Montagues parted with the gem.
Topolla Theater officials did not return our phone calls by press time.
The Montague brothers say that excavation will continue until the mine is exhausted of all valuables or until more giant moles move in; whichever comes first.