It was over twenty years ago and Lucija was a new wed bride. Unfortunately her husband (Robert) had entered into a business arrangement with a couple of city slickers/investors/men with cold dead eyes in double breasted pin stripe suits. This was a few months before the wedding and Robert forgot to mention it to her.
The slickers had heard about some spanish gold that had been buried in the Arizona desert. Apparently the spaniards had a bit of a run in with some apaches and the spaniards lost. Having little use for the gold the apaches' buried it. Somewhere there was a fortune and all you needed to do was 'stake a claim'. The investors invested and Robert claimed some land for about $100. Then he took the other thousands of dollars to Las Vegas and lost it in the casinos. But now the slickers wanted to inspect their portion of the desert and, hopefully, be there when golden dubloons were discovered. Let's worry about the taxman later.
The day arrived and Lucija and Robert arrived to collect the city slickers. They were all dressed up in brand new cowboy outfits. Probably expecting to blend in. One of them still had the price tag on the back of his hat though. Lucija was in blue jeans and with her six shooter in a well worn, strapped down, gunslingers holster. She was not impressed with the slickers.
Off they roll to the Arizona desert. Superstition Mountain here we come.
Just before they arrive at the claim they run across a stampede of tarantulas across the road. I kid you not, apparently it happens. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Lucija hears one of the slickers giggling in the back seat so she looks in the mirror to see what's going on. One of the slickers has a tarantula in an open topped glass jar. Its creepy legs just starting to feel over the edges of the jar. Lucija conspicuously checks the loads in her six shooter and says over her shoulder "Time to lose the hostage". The slicker turns a bit white and throws the jar out of the window.
They arrive at the appointed place. The claim. Robert piles bits of brushwood over the car to disguise it. Like a red convertible with a green roof covered in brushwood is going to be inconspicuous in the middle of the desert. Nobody's going to notice that heap of weeds with headlamps are they? Lucija suspects she is not among the greatest thinkers of the century with these.
They start wandering about to look for the spanish gold. It's hot. Lucija's carrying the water and the men are carrying the tents and dynamite. A couple of hours go by and then Robert starts jumping up and down. Running around in circles too probably. He's found a horseshoe. "Look, look, a spanish horseshoe" he cries. "This must mark the spot.".
They start digging but, after a few feet, there's no gold. They put a stick of dynamite in and blow it. The horseshoe leaves a dent in the side of Roberts car. Lucija takes a drink of water. The hole was deeper and a bit wider. They throw another stick in and now they've got a wider hole but it's not much deeper..........and still no gold.
They reckon that they should embed the dynamite in the hole before they blow it. That works (sort of) now they've got a hole about ten feet deep but still no gold. Those apaches must have been prolific diggers.
The slickers go down again, plant another stick and light the fuse. Lucija's watching them. "That fuse looks a bit short doesn't it?" she says. The slickers look back and there's only about half an inch left. They start frantically climbing up the walls. Lucija and Robert hit the deck. The edge of the blast hits the slickers and they perform graceful pirouettes through the air and land with a dusty thud. A stray rock goes through the side window of Roberts' car.
Well, that's enough explosions for one day. Lucija makes a fire for coffee while the men put the tents up.
They're sitting there drinking the coffee with liberal applications of whiskey when they see a movement off to the left. It's a cow wandering towards them. It ambles along with its eyes on the fire and the booze.........and then it falls head first down the gold hole. Just its back legs waving in the air. Not even a moo. They tie a rope around its back legs and pull it out. Off it goes without even a thank you.
Back they go to the coffee with even more whiskey in it.
But there's a black dot in the distance. Slowly it moves closer and closer but it's difficult to make out what it is through the shimmering of the desert air. Five minutes (during which you can probably whistle the theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) and they can see that it's a man. Older than Gods' dog and carrying a shotgun. He accepts a mug of coffee. Well actually he throws the coffee away and accepts a mug of whiskey, but he seems friendly enough.
He's been watching the party blowing holes in the desert all day. He's got a hole of his own and offers to show it if they promise not to steal it. Everyone agrees. Lucija checks the workings of her six shooter to make sure all the dust flying about hasn't blocked it up. The slickers are now feeling considerably out of their depth and their fancy outfits can't really compete with Lucijas' gunslingers holster.
Well, the old dude has a hole alright. Quite a considerable hole since he's been digging it for decades. There's a knotted ladder? Too old to climb a rope that long, or does it matter?)hanging from a nearby tree that goes down there. Lucija drops a rock down to see how deep it is but gives up listening for an impact after about half a minute. That is one impressive hole.
The intrepid party go back to their camp. Nice campfire. More coffee, refried beans and hogsjowls. The men climb into their tents and Lucija sits at the campfire with her coffee/whisky and looks at the sky. Very clear, and very bright, with trillions of stars.
Superstition Mountain, a ragged horned lizard on the horizon sprawls.Tall black figures stand, in single file. It’s Apache Leap, where myth has it they chose suicide to capture by the Spaniards.
A faint sound came from the mountain where it became louder & louder until it was a thunderous growl.
It faded, then returned.
It's a beautiful place but there's no need to hang around. Lucija and Robert quietly pack their gear and drive off. No doubt the investors will be able to make their own way home from the desert. And if not then they can probably work for the old dude with the enormous hole.
Either way they wouldn't be bothering Lucija and Robert any more..........:)