If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time
He led me to a slit in the earth, and I slid through it into the sunshine. “Don’t forget me,” the Old Man whispered as I gulped fresh air and took in the scene around me. A fenced enclosure. A horse or two. My own land. When I squinted, I saw the metal of my still gleaming through the trees on the other side of the divide.
And, so it was that I commenced the grand art of cave tour guide, taking paying customers through a crack on my own land. With the Old Man’s help, we charted the biggest drop-off’s, the darkest caverns, the bits with the biggest echo for target practice, and the best spots for adult refreshment. It was an underground respite from the stuffy, judgmental world.
I led my charges crawling on hands and knees across foot-wide ledges with no barrier to break their falls. We used Chinese fireworks to light up the tightest spaces. Some of the men challenged each other to duels of honor, their guns reverberating for hours around the buried spaces. We drank. We broke bottles, shot them to smithereens.
Sometimes, before the lights went out, I saw the Old Man, shimmering in the fringes, an elusive smile stretched across his skull. He left tokens, little pieces of the place for people to take as souvenirs of their visit to his grave. A rock. Some fur. A dried fish with no eyes. A startled bat.
I made more money underground than I did above it. In fact, I became a very rich man.
It was several years before the Old Man extracted his payment……….
A fiction series to explore a place. Who knows where I will go, but it will NOT be Wonderland. Read the first installment here, the second installment here, the third installment here and the fourth installment here.