The lonely road was nearly impossible to follow as Frank squinted through the windshield of his dusty Winnebago. Desperation had taken him into the desert. He didn’t need money, but he needed to look for treasure. There’s a difference.
He was looking for a landmark, a mountain that appeared taller at night, but he couldn’t see it. He’d been driving all day and the three Rockstars were losing their kick. He pumped the break and skidded to a halt.
The old prospector reclined in his bucket seat and went to sleep.
Frank was a business man. He’d been about the business of making money for 35 years and in that time, he’d created a predictable revenue stream. There were not a lot of surprises. That’s exactly who Frank was, organized and predictable. He was in search of a different stream, one with gold in it. He wanted to find something he couldn’t make or buy.
The morning began with Frank’s schedule. He looked in the mirror he normally shaved with, admiring his grey and disordered beard. The face was finally alive. He checked his maps, grabbed his pack, and secured his pickax and shovel. The mountain smiled at him in the sunlight.
Frank’s friends had warned him that prospecting was dangerous. There were dozens of things that could kill him, rattlesnakes, dehydration, dynamite mishaps, or other prospectors, but he didn’t heed their warnings. He needed to test himself in the way men used to test themselves; to walk into the unknown and take risks for things that can’t be seen.
He stepped out of his Winnebago, admiring the blue river snaking out of the mountain to his left. He’d test the waters and pan for gold. The tumbleweeds and sage brush clawed at his jeans as he worked his way to the stream. It was clear water and he scooped up some pebbles in his pan. The washout left several flecks of gold at the bottom. “This must be the backwater to the biggest gold mine in Arizona,” Frank said. His gold fever was just beginning.