Dog and His Boy
Chapter 2: A Real Bargain

Copyright© 2011 by TC Allen

Linda looked outside and said, "Honey, let's go back through Nevada and take the northern route home. I want to stop in Las Vegas and win some money. Wouldn't it be fun to gamble a little?" She had an expectant smile on her face.

"Linda, you know very well people don't win all the time in Las Vegas. They don't even win much of the time. If they did, the casinos would all go broke." Gage's Dad was a practical man, not given to dreaming. He wasn't about to give his money away to just anybody.

"Ask your father to go back to Silly Mountain." the growly gruff thought came into Gage's head. "If you dig a small hole between the two cactus plants growing right next to each other on the south side near the top, you will find two gold coins. Quick now, ask him."

"Uh, Dad?" Gage asked.

"Yes, Son, what is it?" His dad was glad for anything to get the conversation away from those guys in Las Vegas who waited to get at your money if you ever stopped in their town.

"Uh Dad, in all the excitement we been having, well, I guess you could say we been having some exciting times." Gage hemmed and hawed because he couldn't quite figure out how to tell his dad about the two gold coins without sounding nuts.

"Yes, Gage, we have been through some sort of times here. Now what is it you want to tell me and you don't want to tell me?" No matter how slick Gage tried to be, his dad seemed to be just a little slicker sometimes.

"Well, I sort of left some coins behind up on Silly Mountain and I think they might be worth something." He hesitated. Gage just didn't like to lie to his parents, even though sometimes it was hard to tell all the truth. It's the kind of problem most kids face every now and then, especially the boys. If you say too much you're going to have trouble and if you don't say enough, you might be lying by omission because you didn't say enough. Gage decided it was real hard to be a guy nowadays. He thought someone ought to do something about it.

"What are those coins? Were they quarters, or dimes or what?" His dad still wasn't biting.

"No, Dad, they were more like gold." There, now he ought to get interested. His dad didn't, "Oh you mean those dollar coins with the gold coloring on them. Right?" Now his dad was smiling at him in the way adults do when they are making fun of a kid. Gage hated being patronized, even by his parents, especially by his parents.

"Help me now." Gage thought desperately to his new friend. Suddenly he got a perfect mental picture of a Roman Emperor looking guy with some real strange writing stamped on the face of the coin and a picture of a man riding on a big lizard on the other side. Gage decided to omit the lizard rider or his dad would think he had found breakfast food prizes.

"Well, they are about the size of a half dollar and they got a picture of this guy and he looks like one of those old Roman guys on it. I haven't really looked very close at them, though they are real heavy." There, Now Dad ought to show some interest.

"I don't know, Gage. It would be forty miles out of our way to go back there. You should have taken them when we were there, son. I mean, people like us never find gold. Other guys find the gold and all people like us ever find is the place where the treasure was before we got there.

"Dad. It's real gold I just know it. Please? I'll do the dishes for a month without griping if you'll turn around and go back and if they aren't real gold." To Dog he thought, "There better be gold there. I just traded my life away. A whole month of doing dishes and not even able to gripe about it, yuck." (Mental image of Gage as he stuck his finger down his throat and threw up.)

"This I got to see. Gage does the dishes without one gripe or grump? Go ahead, Honey, we got the time. I want to see Gage do dishes for a month and be glad to do them." His mom had a big, evil grin on her face.

"Well, okay," his father said doubtfully. "We better get going, then." As soon as everything was ready, they took off, retracing their way back to Silly Mountain, halfway between Apache Junction and Gold Canyon. Once they were on the freeway, Steve had the big motor home purring down the road at seventy miles an hour. They quickly came to the end of the freeway and covered the other couple of miles more slowly.

As soon as the big coach stopped, Gage opened the door and hopped out. Dog came flashing out behind him. "Wait, Gage, I want to go up there with you." His dad got out and said, "Lead the way."

Darn. This was going to be a problem. If his dad saw him dig where nobody had ever dug before and then come up with the two coins, somebody was going to ask questions somebody else didn't want to even try to answer. (Mental picture of two guys with "Funny Farm" written on their hats chasing Gage with butterfly nets while Dog laughs his dumb head off.)

"Not to worry." Dog threw the thought at Gage as he ran on ahead up the hill and started digging furiously between the two barrel cactus plants.

"The coins." Gage shouted and went running ahead of his father. As soon as he reached the busily digging Dog, he rummaged through the freshly turned up dirt and found the two coins. They were heavy, much heavier than he anticipated. He held them up in the air like trophies.

His dad puffed his way uphill to the pair and took the coins from Gage and looked at them. "Hey. These just might be real." He looked at Gage suspiciously, "How did you know these were there?"

(Uh oh. Funny farm here we come.) Gage tried to think up a non-answer. He did not like to lie. On the other hand, well the truth definitely might cause problems. "Uh, well, you see, Dad... ," he stammered and then had it. "You saw Dog digging right there again. You can thank Dog." There, while not exactly the truth or even an answer, it sounded good and the guys with the butterfly nets wouldn't be coming after him this time. It's getting harder to be a teenage boy now a days, it really is, he decided.

"Nice job of dissembling, my furless little friend." Dog thought at him.

Gage mentally sneered at him. Then remembering his manners, said, "Thanks, Dog."

Dog's big wide grin was hard to tell whether he was happy or just getting ready to eat someone.

"Don't mention it," Dog growled in Gage's mind.

"Oh sure. Thanks, Dog. Wow, son, wait until we show these to your mom." His dad was really excited. You could tell because his eyes were twinkling and he was grinning. Usually his dad was so calm laid back and mellow he hardly ever showed any emotion other than an easy going smile, not like the big grin on he now had on his face.

They hurried back to the motor home. Gage's mother was on the phone talking. "Well yes, we'll be there and we'll bring Dog, too." She turned the phone off and turned around in her seat and said, "I was just talking to the wrestler's wife. They want us to visit them at their house outside of Minneapolis and, ... Holy smoke, are those things real? Her already large eyes grew larger as she saw the two gold coins in her husband's hand. "Here, gimme." She reached her hand out and took one. "Holy smoke."

"Hey, wait a minute, those are mine. I found them." Gage protested. "Gee. I found 'em and you guys take them away from me. No fair."

"Life just isn't fair, ever." The voice mocked him in his head. "Poor little pink creature." Dog punctuated his thought with a "Woof." He continued, "Besides, I knew where they were and told you their location. So they're really not yours either. Don't be so greedy. See how happy your father and mother are."

Gage considered his parents happiness for a minute and grudgingly agreed. "Yeah, you're right, Dog. Still I wish I had just one of them."

Dog sent another thought to Gage, "Tell your parents to take the coins to Las Vegas and sell them there. They can get the best price for a quick sale at a small specialty shop which deals mainly in rare and exotic collectibles, including coins."

"How come you know all this?" Gage was curious about how Dog knew.

"Well," Dog growled in his mind, "Just because I was out in the middle of the desert for so long doesn't mean I stayed out of touch with things. Besides, I saw it on the 'Antiques Road Show' on your TV last night." It irritated Gage how Dog was able to sound so smug without and never make a sound.

"Dad, it was on Antiques Road Show last night. This collector in Las Vegas goes real ape over coins and stuff." His father wanted to wait till they got back to Minnesota to research how much the coins were worth.

"Don't say ape, Gage," Linda ordered. Moms always try to make their kids talk "right," and kids always want to invent their own languages so what's Gage to do?

"Yes, Mom," he answered politely.

"Hey," his dad asked, "How come you know what was on Antiques road show? You never watch that stuff."

Darn. His dad was just too quick to find flaws.

"I guess because it was a rerun." Gage answered with a smile and went back to his game while he was ahead.

Gage's father squinted one eye like Popeye and looked at his son, wondering if all the excitement wasn't affecting the boy's tender little brain.

"Well, since plan to go through Vegas on our way home, okay. We'll stop and listen to what this guy has to say you didn't see on TV last night because it was a rerun, and you know all about anyway. Some times I worry about you Gage."

Gage also knew when to shut up while he was ahead. "Let's play chess," dog interrupted his thoughts.

"I don't play at all very well. You'd probably beat me," Gage answered. He was getting the hang of talking with Dog in his head and with the rest of the world with his voice.

"Well, of course I'd beat you because I have much the superior intellect," Dog answered him smugly. Gage got irritated when Dog acted like he was so much better than everybody else.

"Well, if you know you're going to beat me, why play?"

"For one thing playing the game itself is something I find enjoyable." Dog was quite insistent he wanted to play chess.

"What do you think will my parents think if they see you and me playing chess together?" Now he'll shut up, Gage decided. It didn't. "Well, to start with, I'll imagine the chess board in my mind and you can look at it there and make your moves by thinking them." Dog had an answer for everything.

"Well, all right, I'll try." A doubtful Gage sat down and closed his eyes. All at once right in front of him he saw the fanciest chess set in the world. The knights looked like real knights in armor on rearing horses. The pawns were little foot soldiers in medieval costume. The rooks were great elephants with riders. The king and the queen for each side were regal looking people, standing straight and tall. Hesitantly, Gage tried to touch them. Real as they appeared to him, his hand went right through where they seemed to be.

"Silly boy. You can't feel imagination." Dog chided him. "I told you they were in my mind. You have the rare privilege to see a true manifestation of my superior intellect."

 
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