Coins in the Cave

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Ever heard of the Mexican Treasure that was lost in a Texas county? No, I didn't either until I was doing some research on Indian wars.

Ernest Grub stood just over six feet tall when he was full grown, could have been a tad taller if not for the accident.

And Earnest had a scare that went down the left side of his head. The poor boy was listening to his Walkman and looking at some baseball cards while sashaying along the railroad tracks. Well, don't you know that the train clipped his left side and it took three doctors to patch him up; he pertinear died.

 

"Ernest isn't the brightest diamond in the jeweler's case," his Mama says. "But the boy has good old fashioned horse sense," she counters.

She also says that Ernest gets his good horse sense from her side of the family, but the brightness come from his father's side.

Well, I guess you've figured out that all of this information is leading up to a story, so let's get to it.

***

Ernest was out by the barn drinking beer and shooting at beer cans that were lined up on the top of the fence-posts. That's when his Uncle Cecil come to visit.

"What the hell ya do-in, son?" Cecil asked as he rolled his 250 plus pound carcass out of his pick-up truck.

"Drinkin' and shootin'," Ernest stated very matter-ah-factually.

"Ain't nothin' better than drinkin' and shootin', if you got no girl to chase around with," Uncle Cecil replied.

Ernest laughed and stated, "You got that right!"

"Where's your Daddy?" Cecil asked while looking around.

Ernest replied, "He's workin' on a Fracking job for some start-up Oil Company. It's about 60 miles due south. He's the driller, so he should be home in a month or so.

Then Ernest asked, "What brings you up to this neck of the woods, Unc? I ain't seen you in a Coon's-age."

"Been busy, boy, real busy. I ain't had a day to myself in a week or so. And that's why I'm here, I need your help."

"Doin' what, you know I ain't too keen on physical labor, not since the train accident. Besides, if I'm caught do-in anything like work then they may decide I'm not fully disabled after all. I could lose my disability income."

"Not to worry, boy, all you have to do is to reach down a hole," Cecil said with a smile on his face.

Then he went on to say, "I need someone I can trust to keep a secret, you know, family like secrets. Can you do that, Ernest?"

Ernest smiled, and shook his head, "Yes", but he was thinking Cecil had built another moonshine still somewhere.

The local sheriff arrested Cecil, twice, and had busted up the stills. So Cecil swore he was never gonna do that stuff anymore.

"The third one's the charm!" Cecil said. If I'm caught again, it's up the river I'd go, and for quite a spell, too. Best I find another line of work."

So thinking that Cecil wanted help with hauling Moonshine, Ernest replied, "I'll keep your secret, but I ain't have-n nothin' to do with Bootlegging."

"Oh, No, it's nothin' like that," Cecil said very quietly, "I found a treasure, boy, a real treasure. It's in a cave down by the river, and the cave's on my property. But I'm have-in a dickens of a time getting it out of the hole it's in. I need help."

Ernest's eyes grew wide, and then he asked, "A treasure, you mean like gold and silver?"

Cecil smiled and then stated, "Yep, it looks like it might be the Mexican gold and silver that was promised to the Cherokee Indians way-back-when. Rumor has it that it was hidden when the Texas Army ran the Cherokee and the Mexicans out of Tyler county. You heard the story, ain't you?"

Ernest nodded his head.

Then Cecil continued by saying, "The rumor had it that the treasure was buried underneath Little Cypress Creek, in Upshur County. But that must have been a diversion story to keep people from really findin' it. They must have put it in that cave instead.

The wooden chest is all rotted and the coins are just laying there. But I can't reach very far into the area, and I can't get more than one hand into the crevice, so all I can get is a coin at a time.

You're thin and tall, and you got long arms so you should be able to reach in there easier than me. I figure that two of us will be able to get the coins out twice as fast, and I'd give you a cut of the takings."

"How much?" Ernest asked.

Cecil thought for a moment, then explained, "I found the loot, and it's on my land, so when it's all over I suspect that I should have one hundred percent of the gold coins and ninety percent of the silver. You'd get ten percent of the silver coins as a helper's fee."

Ernest rubbed his chin and said, "Oh, I don't know, ten percent seems rather stingy to me. How about fifty-fifty on the silver?"

Cecil turned beet red in the face, then he said, "There ain't no way in hell that you're gonna get half of the silver for a few hours work. I'll give you one out of every four silver coins that we take out of there, not a silver coin more."

Ernest smiled, then he said, "Agreed, but only if I get some gold, too."

"How much Gold?" Cecil questioned.

Ernest replied, "One in every twenty."

"No way! Remember, it's my land and my cave, so it's really my coins! I'll give you one in every hundred!"

Ernest scratched his head with the bill of his baseball cap, put the cap back on his head, and then stated, "Without my long arms you ain't gonna get all the Gold outta there, so I figure one in fifty should be worth it."

Still red in the face, Uncle Cecil stated, "I'll give you one silver coin for every three we pull outta there, but you ain't gonna get any of the Gold!

That's my final offer, so I'll let you chew on it for awhile. You got until Monday to let me know, Ya or Nay. If it's no then I'll just have to find someone else with long arms.

And with that said, Cecil rolled himself back into his pick-up truck and drove away.

 

Ernest's Mama came out, and onto the back porch to toss out the dishwater. And when she did she asked, "Ernest, what was all that yelling about?"

Ernest replied, "It was Uncle Cecil."

Leaning on the porch rail with both arms, Mama asked, "What did that no-account want?"

"He wanted me to help him, that's all," Ernest replied.

"That's your Father's brother, for you, always wanting free help from family," Ernest's Mama stated.

"Oh, he was willing to pay, Mama, but we haven't settled on how much," Ernest said, with a smile on his face.

"This isn't about Bootlegging, is it?" Mama asked, looking very concerned.

"No Mama, it ain't nothin' to do with that," Ernest replied.

Mama put the dishpan down on the porch rail. Then she came down the steps while wiping he hands with a dishtowel. That's when she asked, "Well, what in Sam's Hill was on his mind, Boy?"

Ernest shot back with, "I can't say, I'm sworn to secrecy."

Mama smacked the boy on the head with the partially wet dishtowel, then she asked, "What kind of secret is it that you can't tell your loving Mother? I gave you life and I was the one at your bedside after the train accident. I am the one who has cared for you for all these years. So tell me again why you can't tell me Cecil's secret!"

Ernest cowered under the relentless towel lashing, not that it hurt any, but still, he knew that it was best to act that way. If he didn't, Mama would tell his Daddy, and Daddy would really give him what for.

So Ernest told his Mother all about the treasure and what Cecil had said about the payment for the work he was to do.

Suddenly Mama looked angrier than a polecat, that's when she said, "That land ain't Cecil's, he's just a squatter there 'cause he's got nowhere else to live. It was my Mama and Papa's property, God rest their souls, and he's got no rights to anything!

Where did he say the treasure was?"

Ernest thought for a time, then he replied, "I don't know exactly, somewhere near the river and in a cave of some sort." Then Ernest told his Mother everything else Cecil had said about the treasure.

 

After much thought, Mama told Ernest, "Get yourself over to my property and stay hidden. Then follow Cecil until he leads you to the cave. Once you know where it is, come back here and let me know."

So Ernest did what Mama said and he reported back about midnight.

He told Mama, "No wonder no-one ever found that cave before, I think it was under water until some Beavers built a Dam up stream.

I remember helpin' Grandpa clear beaver dams before they became a nascence.

Just think, if Grandpa had left the Beavers be, then he may have found that cave himself. He and Grandma would have been rich."

Mama looked sternly at Ernest, then she said, "You may not think so, but my Mama and Daddy were the richest folks I ever knew. And there wasn't anyone around that didn't appreciated their kindnesses."

 

The next morning, Mama told Ernest to call Uncle Cecil. She told Ernest to tell Cecil that he had a new proposition for him, even better than the last.

Then Ernest asked Cecil to meet him for lunch at the Bar-B-Que Roadhouse, out on the interstate.

Mama knew if Cecil got anywhere near the Roadhouse, and their Barbecued Beef, he'd be there for at least two hours.

Then Mama loaded up four pillowcases with a camping lantern, two flashlights, three large soup spoons, two ladles, and a fireplace Ash Scoop, with handle extension. Then off she and Ernest went.

Ernest and Mama watched Cecil's trailer until Cecil left for his supposed meeting with Ernest, that's when Ernest lead Mama to the cave.

You know, it is surprising how fast two people can clear a cubbyhole full of coins with the right reaching tools, such as soup spoons, ladles, and a fireplace Ash Scoop, with handle extension.

And as soon as they came out of the cave, Mama handed Ernest a stick of dynamite. That's when she said, "Ernest, go clear that Beaver Dam, we're gonna put a cave back under water."

 

And so it was, Cecil got to keep a few silver coins that he had managed to reach by himself, but boy was he disappointed when he returned to find the cave was missing from view.

Mama thought it best to sell the land so Cecil couldn't keep searching for the cave; not that he had a clue where the cave might be.

Oh, and the Grub family lived happily ever after.

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

12-24-2020


Submitted: December 25, 2020

© Copyright 2021 D. Thurmond aka JEF. All rights reserved.

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Comments

AdamCarlton

A tall tale which positively rolls along, drawing you in. Made me laugh.

Sat, December 26th, 2020 8:23am

Author
Reply

Thanks Adam, happy it got a laugh.

Sat, December 26th, 2020 1:33pm

Serge Wlodarski

Cecil would have just got into trouble if he got his hands on a lot of money.

Sat, December 26th, 2020 10:51am

Author
Reply

Yeah, and like it always goes with guys like Cecil, it would be gone before he knew it. Like, there was holes in his coin pocket.

Sat, December 26th, 2020 1:32pm

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