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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: The Family Jewels
By Joshua Janoski


Rob and Tim are brothers, very competitive brothers.

Born fraternal twins, they fought to see who could get out of their mother’s womb first. Tim won that battle, but Rob did his best to eclipse his sibling in every other event since then. Growing up, both boys decided on football as their sport of choice. Rob was the popular running back of their high school team and snagged the captain of the cheerleading squad. Tim spent his time alone warming the bench as a second string replacement.

College proved a bit more fruitful for Tim, as he met his future wife in Chemistry lab. She was a girl struggling to pass the class, and he was a sophisticated brainiac that seized the opportunity to create dates, or as he liked to call them, “study sessions” with her.

Fast forward several years, both brothers are married and each has a son. Rob decided it would be fun if he and his brother took their sons camping for some “male bonding.” Tim wasn’t keen on the idea. Usually when his brother talked of bonding, it was an excuse for him to brag and show off. Their last male bonding exercise was a fishing trip that ended with Rob mounting a forty pound bass on his wall. Tim had to throw back the sticks that he caught. He knew he would regret it, but Tim agreed to go camping.

On the way to the campsite, Rob’s son Daniel needed to use the bathroom, so they stopped at a little shop on the side of the road. The shop was run by an elderly gentleman that clearly defined the term “mountain man”. His shop had an assortment of souvenirs and handmade Indian crafts.

After using the bathroom, Daniel noticed a sign in the shop that said – “Bucket of dirt $10.00.” He asked the shopkeeper why he was selling dirt.

“Well son, it’s not the dirt that’s so valuable. It’s what you might find inside it. This dirt was taken out of some mines. It has the possibility of yielding gold or other precious gems.”

Daniel ran to his dad.

“Can I get a bucket of dirt dad? Please!” Daniel begged.

“Anything for my boy!” Rob said as he looked over at his brother.

Tim took this as a challenge. He always felt like he had to compete with Rob. If Daniel was getting a bucket of dirt, then so was his son Parker, even though the bucket wasn’t exactly “dirt cheap.”

The two men paid the shopkeeper their $10.00. They were taken outside behind the shop. Several buckets were lined up there, each filled to the top with hard packed soil.

“Pick a bucket and dig in boys!” the shopkeeper shouted with a smile.

Parker and Daniel each took a bucket and began to dig through it. Like their fathers, these cousins were also very competitive. Rob helped Daniel sift through his soil while Tim looked through Parker’s bucket with him.

Several minutes later, Daniel jumped up with joy, clasping a shiny gold nugget in his hand.

“This will pay for the bucket and part of your college tuition Daniel!” Rob exclaimed.

“It looks like you can buy us a fancy dinner tonight” Tim said with a chuckle.

“Sure, I’ll buy you a Big Mac brother” Rob said with a guffaw of laughter.

Tim and Parker’s search yielded no gold. Instead, they came out with a small round rock that Parker decided to keep because it “looked cool.” Tim was forced to endure his brother’s bragging during the entire camping trip.

Three days later, the guys returned home. They went into a jewelry store to get the gold nugget appraised. The store manager noticed Parker was tossing his rock up and down.

“Can I see that rock?” the manager asked.

Parker handed the rock to the manager.

He took it in the back. A few minutes later he returned with the nugget and the rock. Rob waited to hear about the fortune he would be receiving.

“Well gentlemen, It turns out that this nugget is actually copper pyrite a.k.a. fool’s gold. It’s not worth much. However, this rock when cut open contains amethysts. While not extremely valuable, it is definitely worth more than the nugget. Would you care to sell it?”

Rob and Daniel’s jaws dropped in disbelief. Tim and Parker laughed.

“It’s ok Rob.” Tim said. “There’s a McDonald’s across the street. I’ll buy you a Big Mac.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/31/08
The story of the two brothers was good for the topic--but later, when the younger lad found the "fool's gold", you may have been too close to a literal interpretation of the proverb.

Why are men so competitive, I wonder? You captured that very well.
Marlene Austin01/31/08
Nice detail throughout. :)
Laury Hubrich 02/02/08
Very good story telling! I like the contrast between brothers. Keep on writing!
Holly Westefeld02/05/08
This was a fun story, especially after it picked up with the cousins.
Perhaps this could have started with a phone conversation extending the invitation for the camping trip, filling in the history through dialogue and/or thoughts as the story progresses.
I loved the last line!
Julie Arduini02/15/08
This is a story many can relate to whether they want to admit it or not! Again, given the word limitations I think you've done a great job giving us a snapshot of the characters. Keep up the strong writing!