Second…Third…Fourth…Frank shifted into Fifth and the roadster ate up the road. He merged onto the asphalt artery with the other traffic and took the turnoff into the desert. When a car gets moving fast enough on desert sand, it billows into a cloud and Frank couldn’t see anything behind him, but that didn’t matter because he was only thinking about one thing, gold. Frank had money, but gold is different than zeros in a bank account. It wants to be gazed at by greedy men. Gold changes reasonable folks into fools; it reprioritizes relationships; and when it is found, nothing will ever be the same again.
Frank turned into the flood zone. The debris changed everything. He looked for markers so he could find his way back to the plane, but the only thing that looked the same was the mountain. The dust behind him was like an enormous wall that blotted out where he had come from. Frank started to feel like he didn’t have anywhere to go. The desert is like that; it will test a man in unusual ways. He stopped the Jaguar right when the sun rose above the mountain top. He was looking for anything; a sign; and then something glinted in the distance. Frank had to drive slower. He kept his eyes fixed on the reflected light, but something was throwing him off. Something glinted through the dust behind him. Frank knew the desert plays tricks on the eyes, but he had nothing left to trust, and he had to believe the plane was in front of him.
He parked at the top of the canyon, and there was the plane farther down. The skeletal pilot was leaning up against his red baron; his ivory bones tanning in the sun. Frank felt guilty moving the skeleton a second time because the dead need to rest, but the living also need to make a living so Frank opened the door anyway. The skeleton didn’t seem to mind. The bags of gold were where Frank had left them. He grabbed two and walked up the canyon. This went on for hours. If the bags had been filled with concrete, they would’ve stopped most men by midday, but they were filled with gold and Frank had more energy with each bag he dropped into the old Jaguar. Frank found a Luger at the bottom of the pile and he checked the magazine. It was full, so he put the old German weapon in his back pocket.
The stars were popping out as the sun when down. Frank turned on the headlights and both bulbs blew up. Pete could work on cars, but he didn’t know shit about electrical. Frank had to navigate the debris fields by moonlight. It was a good thing too because the menacing eyes were staring at him through a telescopic sight.