Chapter 16

This entry is part 17 of 44 in the series Smile

Chapter Sixteen — Yaqui Gold

Had it not been for Bill and Nell I would have had a sad homecoming. I drove out to their house and Bill about rung my hand off. Nell hugged me and wept on my shoulder. At least these two hadn’t let me down. Tears came to my eyes.

“So you came through Joe,” said Bill. “Why th’ hell are you looking so depressed?”

I told them about Maria. I could always talk to them about my personal problems for they were an understanding pair.

“Aw, Joe,” Bill said, “go back and kick the hell out of Olsen. Maria didn’t know you were coming and she was probably lonesome. You shouldn’t have sneaked up on her like that. Besides, what’s a few kisses?”

“Maria doesn’t stop at kisses,” I said, “I know!” I got up and paced the floor. There was a pain in my foot.

“What’s the matter with your foot. You got jungle rot or something?” asked Bill.

“No, I must have stepped on a rock coming up the trail”

I sat down and took off the shoe. It didn’t look swollen but it hurt like the dickens.

I told them about the big mud lake. “There’s millions there. Now all we have to do is take it out.”

We sat for hours making plans for the dredge; a suction dredge powered by a diesel electric plant, the best that money could buy.

“I’ve kept the Texans informed,” Bill said, “and they’re ready to go. It will take some time to have the dredge built and get everything in order. That’s my job. The financing is available and the two old boys are still enthusiastic.”

I gave Bill the contract we had with Price and he examined it carefully. “You did a good job Joe, I’m proud of you. Now, I’ll report to you. I’ve been busy too. I’m having a new camper built. Not just a little pickup truck, but a full-sized job installed on a new two-ton Chevy truck, all modern with hot and cold water, gas stove and refrigerator — the whole works. It’s being built over in Los Angeles by the Sport King Company and it’s almost a palace. You can drive back to Nicaragua in it.”

“Sport King” I laughed, “The natives get everything backwards down there so I’ll be the King of Sports.”

“While you’ve been away,” Bill went on, “I spent quite a bit of time down in Mexico. There’s a fellow here in town named Child, Orren Child. He’s part Yaqui Indian and he has spent years in Mexico. He told me about a place where there’s a whale of a lot of gold, a cave full of it, melted into forty pound bricks. It belongs to the Yaqui Indians. They’ve had it for many years but if they sell it to the Mexican Government they will get very little out of it, if anything. It would probably be seized as treasure. This fellow Child has a deal with the Yaqui Chief to buy the gold for twenty dollars an ounce and I can sell it for thirty-five. Each brick is worth about twenty thousand dollars and can be bought for about fourteen, leaving a nice profit. Child doesn’t have any money so I made a deal with him. If the gold is really there, I would put up the money to buy it, a brick at a time, as this would be the safest way. Besides, that is the only way I can afford to handle it. Once the first transaction is completed, it will be a simple matter to dispose of the gold, and I have everything worked out with a gold buyer. Child and I flew down to Hermosillo and I met the man in charge. His name is Cortez.”

“Did you see the gold?” I asked eagerly.

“No, they’re cautious — won’t bring out any of the gold until they see the money for it.”

“I can understand that all right.”

“I have the money to buy the first brick, so you will be able to make the transaction on your way to Nicaragua. You’ll have plenty of time because it will take a couple of months to get the dredge built and shipped down. We get two-thirds of the profit and Child gets one third. Okay?”

I nodded, and thought to myself, “good old Bill.”

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