By Mike Stevens
Prospector Jim waited in the dark shadows that surrounded the gold mine, otherwise known as The Money Vault, a savings bank downtown, where most of the residents kept a lot of money. Prospector Jim lived way uptown, and wasn’t wealthy; in fact, soup and a peanut butter sandwich, he thought of as splurging. It wasn’t that Jim hadn’t tried to be able to move downtown, but he’d been mining for years, and the only two things he had found was dirt and rocks, not to mention the blisters he had on his hands. He’d finally decided to dig for gold at the one place he knew he’d find some, The Money Vault. He’d been in the bushes outside The Money Vault for a couple of hours, listening and watching for signs there was still someone inside the bank, had heard and seen nothing, so he started digging. His plan was to dig into the vault, load up a bag with money, and scamper back out the hole he’d dug, then move out of town. He wasn’t sure where he’d move to, but he’d be able to afford anyplace he chose.
He must be close! He’d dug down, then across, then up. As he was thinking this, his shovel struck the concrete of a foundation. He quickly shoveled upwards until he the beam cast by his flashlight reflected wood siding. His pulse quickened; this was it; the culmination of all his hopes and dreams, incredible wealth! As the handsaw cut through the last of the flooring, he suddenly got nervous. He wasn’t a criminal yet, but a few more inches cut, and he would be. But then he thought of all that wealth just waiting for him to scoop up; the mother load, and he renewed his efforts. There, he was through! At last, he was standing inside, although it didn’t look much like the interior of a bank. He stood in confusion, and his eyes fell upon a plaque hanging on the wall. He shined his flashlight upon it, and read,
“Policeman of the Year: Inspector Bulbous Noclue.” What? Just then, he heard keys rattling in the front door, panicked, and instead of crawling back into the tunnel he’d dug, he ran to a small room and shut the door. After a few seconds, he heard a chair being pulled out, and then a T.V. being turned on; whomever was out there, he was watching T.V! Great; now he was stuck in here; and where WAS here? It was quiet in the room where Prospector Jim was concealed, except for the sound of the television, and every so often, the goat-like braying of the man watching T.V. Apparently, he found something hilarious.
Jim had to find a way out of here. He reached in his jacket pocked for the flashlight, only as he was trying to grip it on the way out, it slipped out of his grasp and clattered loudly to the floor. Immediately, the volume dimmed, and then a voice shouted,
“Alright, who’s in there?”
Great; he was going down! He slowly opened the door, saying “Don’t shoot! I, ah, I, ah, I’m supposed to be fixing the plumbing for the bank, but somehow I ended up here!”
“The bank, the bank’s across the way; you must have gotten turned around.”
The wrong building? He never was very good with direction, and now it was going to cost him. You’d have to be an absolute idiot to believe his lost plumber story. “Which direction is west?”
“That way,” said the T.V.-watching man.
Completely in the opposite direction from the way he thought it was. As he was absorbing that fact, he noticed on the television screen it was an infomercial. Just what the man was laughing at was a complete mystery.
“Well, since you’ve got the wrong building, maybe you should find the right building; after all, I’m sure the bank wants their water fixed before they open later this morning!.”
“Yes sir, Mr...Mr..?”
“Oh, forgive me; I’m Inspector Bulbous Noclue. Yes sir, nothing escapes my notice. I don’t want to brag, but see this plaque, Inspector of the Year, me!”
'Nothing escapes your notice but the guy with a pick, a flashlight, and a bag standing right in front of you at 2 in the morning!' “Very impressive; you must be quite proud! Well, I don’t want to interrupt your T.V.-watching any longer, so I’ll just be going; thanks for pointing me in the right direction.”
“Oh, sometimes when I can’t sleep I come down to the station to watch a little T.V., because I don’t have one”
Inspector Bulbous NoClue watched the plumber disappear down his misdirected tunnel, and resumed watching the infomercial for burial plots; hilarious!