Monday, December 3, 2012


by Travis Perry

Burt Jonzn shook hands with the man his cousin had brought out to the boat. The handsome younger man spoke, “Mr. Jonzn, I’m Robin Corpsman.”

“Nice ta meet ya. You can read ancient writin’?”

“Ah, I don’t know. Maybe. I need to see it first.”

Without further comment, Burt flipped open the tarp at the back of his boat. He eyed the face of the young man as he caught sight of the large disk, glinting with gold and etched in some bizarre form of hieroglyph. Robin’s eyes lit up in the open wonder of awe, not the attempted-but-failed desire to hide ambition, the covert lust of greed.

“Where did you find this?”

“Ocean bank. I s’ppose it was an island once.”

Robin leaned in and spoke in a near whisper, “I can’t believe it…”

“Can’t believe what, friend?” Burt studied the archeologist. His cousin Edard stood nearby, tapping his foot with the impatience of wanting to make the sale.

Robin stood straight and met his eyes, his face flushed with excitement. “There is a book by one of the old pioneers that claims to contain ‘angel writing.’ The author, a gent named Ernesto Hanks, was regarded as bugscat insane in his own day…but some few wizards have always maintained his book contained real symbols, that somehow the man really had been in communication with the angels. The symbols here look just like the ones from his book.”

“Really,” said Burt, beginning to acquire some of Robin’s excitement. “Can you tell me what it says?”

“You know, I think I might be able to! I’ll have to go get a copy of the book—it’ll take some time to decode. I don’t have the book’s contents memorized.”

“Oh,” said Burt, surprised with himself that he’d been hoping the young man would be able to read the disk now.

“Ahem,” interjected Edard, grinning greedily. “It looks like we’ve just shown you the greatest discovery in your field since the Founding. Surely you realize we’ll want to be compensated for our efforts in bringing this to you.”

“Ah, whoa, uh, I’ve got a grant for two hundred credits to fund my studies, but that’s all the money I have.”

Edard snorted. “This is worth a thousand times that!”

Robin looked down at the bolted metal of the fishing dock. “Mr. Mayor, you’re right. In fact, if this really is a disk made by angels—heck, even if the pioneers made it—it’s worth more than a thousand times what I have…this is literally priceless. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy for me to get the credits to pay you.”

Edard snapped, “If you don’t, I’m sure that someone else will—“

Burt interrupted, “Two hundred credits will be just fine.”

“Burt!” Edard’s eyes blazed.

“It’s my discovery, cousin. I can sell it as I wish. Don’ worry—you’ll get your twenty percent.”

“You’ve got to be joking!”

“I’m not.” Turning to the young man, he said, “Sound reasonable?”

“Ah…sir, that’s to find the whole Founding…the two hundred, I mean.”

“Oh, sorry, son. How about one hundred?”

“BURT!” Edard’s face raged red and his eyes protruded even more than normal.

“Uh, I might be able to make that work…” Robin’s voice trailed off.

“Still too steep? How ‘bout eight?”

“Burt…” sputtered Edard, “a man…does not customarily…barter downhill!

Robin nodded his head, so Burt extended his right hand, ignoring his cousin. As the younger man took it he said, “It’s a deal then. But one more thing.” He retained Robin Corpsman’s hand in his firm grip.

“What’s that, sir?”

“I want to know what the disk says. Whatever it says. Promise me you’ll tell me.”

“Yes, sir,” said Robin, his eyes widening in surprise. “I will.”

No comments:

Post a Comment