Four Boys and the Golden Treasure


This is a story that I wrote when I was about ten years old. I’ll have you know I won finalist in the local contest for it. I reproduce it here exactly as it was originally printed, and then give the all-new author’s commentary version.


 

There were four of us, Jack, Tim, myself, and Bill. We were our fishing one day in a sailboat when Tim felt a tug on his line. He reeled in a large Chinook salmon. “Well I guess that’s our dinner,” said Bill.

“Don’t look now but it might not be,” I replied looking at our pail as the salmon flopped it over.

As the salmon flopped toward the edge of the boat, Jack, the oldest and strongest leaped to grab it. Unfortunately, when he landed he lost his balance and fell into the river. He sunk down into the deep and landed with a bump on the river bed. When he gathered up enough courage to open his eyes, he saw a dark opening that looked like a cave. “I wonder if an octopus lives in there,” Jack thought as he swam towards the cave. When he reached the cave entrance he looked in cautiously. In the dim light he could barely make out five burlap sacks. One of the sacks had fallen over and a few nuggets of gold were scattered on the ground. “Oh boy! I’m rich,” thought Jack. He quickly grabbed a bag of gold and swam towards the surface.

I was startled when Jack’s head popped out of the water and nearly fell in the river myself. Bill and Tim were relieved that a shark hadn’t eaten him. Jack brought the other bags up to the boat one at a time because the bags were heavy. We sailed to shore and headed home.

On our way home we talked about our gold. “I’m giving one nugget of gold to Mom and Dad, you three get one nugget among yourselves. I will keep the rest!” said Jack.

Just the Mrs. Sanders walked by. “Whatcha got in them bags, you guys?” Mrs. Sanders scowled.

“The fishes we just caught,” lied Tim, the youngest.

“In burlap sacks?” questioned Mrs. Sanders.

“You betcha,” replied Bill. “You boys are sure strange to do that,” she said with a small chuckle as she walked away.

“I think that we had better get home before someone stops us again,” I said to Jack.

“Good idea, they might ask to see inside the bags.” We ran the rest of the way home. Jack went and hid his treasure in his wall safe and hung his dinosaur picture of a Velociraptor over it.

That night I couldn’t get to sleep so I go out of my bed and turned on the late night eyewitness news. When I turned it on it said something about a car accident. Then it said “Mrs. Sanders saw four boys carrying burlap sacks today. The boys claimed that the sacks contained the fish they had caught. She told the police about it when she heard that five sacks of gold had been stolen from the St. Petersburg Museum. She identified the boys as Bill, Jack, Tim and Lemme Carter.”

“Holy Cow!” I yelled waking up my brothers.

“What’s all the noise for, Lemme?” asked Jack.

“The treasure you found was stolen from the museum.” I said. “Mrs. Sanders has gotten the police after us.!”

“Are you sure?” asked Tim.

“It was on the news,” I replied.

“Let’s go back to bed now,” said Billy sleepily.

“Good idea,” we agreed. Then we climbed into bed and went to sleep.

The next day a police officer came to our door. “Do you have any treasure?” asked the policeman.

“Yes,” I said nervously.

“How much?”

“Five bags full,” Jack said joining me with Bill and Tim.

“Then you’re under arrest for stealing five bags of gold,” said the policeman.

Hearing this, Tim dodged past the policeman and ran into the street.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but now it’s gotten into me too,” said Bill as he raced past the policeman and into the street.

“Those two sure can be strange sometimes,” said Jack with a sigh.

“I can be strange sometimes too,” I said racing past the policeman.

“Come in and sit down,” said Jack. As the policeman stepped into the house Jack ran through the open door.

“Quick! Into the storm drain!” yelled Jack loudly. We climbed into the storm drain and started running as fast as we could. Aften ten minutes or so we stopped and looked around. Seven feet off the ground was a pipe we could climb into and hide. We climbed up into the pipe and started crawling as fast as we could. All of a sudden we heard shuffles behind us. The policeman was after us! We began to crawl faster. The policeman was faster than us and was coming closer…closer when we saw a light up ahead. We crawled for all we were worth towards the light. Finally we came to the end of the tunnel. We looked out and saw the river below. We leaped into the river and sunk down to the bottom.

When we opened our eyes we saw two dark shadowy figures swimming towards a cave. “Hey, that’s the cave I found the treasure in,” thought Jack. “And those people must be the thieves who stole the treasure.” Jack motioned to us to go up to the surface.

“I’ll tell the policeman,” thought Bill as we swam upwards. “Hey, mister, get down here!” yelled Bill, “We found the real thieves!” The policeman jumped into the river and followed us to the shadowy figures. He handcuffed and took the thieves up to the surface and out of the river.

“These guys are the Buddy Brothers, the police have been after them for years,” he told us.

Later we returned the gold and were given a reward for catching the Buddy Brothers and recovering the gold to grateful proprietors of the St. Petersburg Museum.





And now, here is the version with author’s commentary!


 

There were four of us, Jack, Tim, myself, and Bill. Yes, that was stolen from the beginning of Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. We were our fishing one day in a sailboat when Tim felt a tug on his line. He reeled in a large Chinook salmon. “Well I guess that’s our dinner,” said Bill.

“Don’t look now but it might not be,” I replied looking at our pail as the salmon flopped it over.

As the salmon flopped toward the edge of the boat, Jack, the oldest and strongest leaped to grab it. Unfortunately, when he landed he lost his balance and fell into the river. He sunk down into the deep and landed with a bump on the river bed. I hadn’t learned about the whole buoyancy thing yet. When he gathered up enough courage to open his eyes (What was he scared of? Not running out of oxygen apparently. I suspect this was a reflection of my childhood fear of getting water in my eyes), he saw a dark opening that looked like a cave. “I wonder if an octopus lives in there,” Jack thought (the first of many logical thoughts in this narrative. Oh, and holy POV fail, Batman! This POV is called “first-person psychic”) as he swam towards the cave. When he reached the cave entrance he looked in cautiously (still more concerned about an octopus than oxygen deficiency). In the dim light he could barely make out five burlap sacks. One of the sacks had fallen over and a few nuggets of gold were scattered on the ground. “Oh boy! I’m rich,” thought Jack. He quickly grabbed a bag of gold and swam towards the surface (buoyancy making up for lost time).

I was startled when Jack’s head popped out of the water and nearly fell in the river myself. Bill and Tim were relieved that a shark hadn’t eaten him. Wikipedia says there are indeed freshwater sharks. These are sharp kids to know that. Jack brought the other bags up to the boat one at a time because the bags were heavy. We sailed to shore and headed home.

On our way home we talked about our gold. “I’m giving one nugget of gold to Mom and Dad, you three get one nugget among yourselves. I will keep the rest!” said Jack. And that was OK with the rest of them.

Just the Mrs. Sanders walked by. “Whatcha got in them bags, you guys?” Mrs. Sanders scowled. Old people talk funny, obviously.

“The fishes we just caught,” lied Tim, the youngest.

“In burlap sacks?” questioned Mrs. Sanders. Burlap?! For fish?! Apparently I knew about some unwritten rule of fishing back then that I have since forgotten.

“You betcha,” replied Bill. Oh no, now the old person slang has got Bill. “You boys are sure strange to do that,” she said with a small chuckle as she walked away. Another realistic line of dialogue.

“I think that we had better get home before someone stops us again,” I said to Jack.

“Good idea, they might ask to see inside the bags.” We ran the rest of the way home. Jack went and hid his treasure in his wall safe and hung his dinosaur picture of a Velociraptor over it. I had that picture. This was right after Jurassic Park came out. I was a fan.

That night I couldn’t get to sleep so I go out of my bed and turned on the late night eyewitness news. When I turned it on it said something about a car accident. Then it said “Mrs. Sanders saw four boys carrying burlap sacks today. Mrs. Sanders, as usual, requires no introduction. The boys claimed that the sacks contained the fish they had caught. This is action news, folks! She told the police about it when she heard that five sacks of gold had been stolen from the St. Petersburg Museum. Fact: museums always display gold in burlap sacks. By the way, when I wrote this, I did not know that St. Petersburg was in Russia. She identified the boys as Bill, Jack, Tim and Lemme Carter.” I love how the police went to the news and compromised their identities, and didn’t actually come get the treasure. Good thing thieves don’t watch the news.

“Holy Cow!” I yelled waking up my brothers.

“What’s all the noise for, Lemme?” asked Jack.

“The treasure you found was stolen from the museum.” I said. “Mrs. Sanders has gotten the police after us.!”

“Are you sure?” asked Tim.

“It was on the news,” I replied. I was naïve and thought this statement answered the question.

“Let’s go back to bed now,” said Billy sleepily. Bill temporarily had a nickname.

“Good idea,” we agreed. In unison, apparently. Then we climbed into bed and went to sleep.

The next day a police officer came to our door. “Do you have any treasure?” asked the policeman. Ah, he approaches the matter casually. Wouldn’t want to be too specific.

“Yes,” I said nervously.

“How much?” He prepares his clever trap.

“Five bags full,” Jack said joining me with Bill and Tim. And they jump right in.

“Then you’re under arrest for stealing five bags of gold,” said the policeman. Rats! Four bags of gold is only a misdemeanor.

Hearing this, Tim dodged past the policeman and ran into the street. Not the pride of the academy, this guy.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but now it’s gotten into me too,” said Bill as he raced past the policeman and into the street.

“Those two sure can be strange sometimes,” said Jack with a sigh.

“I can be strange sometimes too,” I said racing past the policeman.

“Come in and sit down,” said Jack. As the policeman stepped into the house Jack ran through the open door.

“Quick! Into the storm drain!” yelled Jack loudly. I was small when I wrote this. This made sense to me because I could have fit into the opening in the side of the curb into the storm drain. We climbed into the storm drain and started running as fast as we could. Aften ten minutes or so we stopped and looked around. Seven feet off the ground was a pipe we could climb into and hide. We climbed up into the pipe and started crawling as fast as we could. All of a sudden we heard shuffles behind us. The policeman was after us! We began to crawl faster. The policeman was faster than us and was coming closer…closer when we saw a light up ahead. We crawled for all we were worth towards the light. Finally we came to the end of the tunnel. We looked out and saw the river below. We leaped into the river and sunk down to the bottom. There goes buoyancy again.

When we opened our eyes we saw two dark shadowy figures swimming towards a cave. “Hey, that’s the cave I found the treasure in,” thought Jack. OK, why isn’t Jack the protagonist? “And those people must be the thieves who stole the treasure.” Jack motioned to us to go up to the surface.

“I’ll tell the policeman,” thought Bill (Oh good, I can’t keep the POV on the same wrong character) as we swam upwards. “Hey, mister, get down here!” yelled Bill, “We found the real thieves!” The policeman jumped into the river and followed us (because of that great relationship of trust we built earlier) to the shadowy figures. He handcuffed and took the thieves up to the surface and out of the river. He is a very strong swimmer, and does not require oxygen to survive or read Miranda rights.

“These guys are the Buddy Brothers, the police have been after them for years,” he told us. They should have tried to arrest them underwater earlier; it’s the only place where the police are competent.

Later we returned the gold and were given a reward for catching the Buddy Brothers and recovering the gold to grateful proprietors of the St. Petersburg Museum. Ah, falling action and resolution in one sentence. I was done writing I guess.

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