TITLE: Simon and the Miniature Treasure Chest
By Richard McCaw
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Simon held tightly to Edgie's waist, as the go-cart careened around the corner of Jersey Crescent. He had met Jamie Brown on that very corner three weeks ago and had suggested that they start a partner business. They would save every day little by little, from lunch and pocket money, run a lemonade stall, shine shoes, and wash cars. They would become big businessmen, own long swanky cars, a big house on the hills, a yacht, and...
Now, Simon was determined to find Jamie and Edgie was helping him. But Stacey Lyon's words rang in his ears: "Every thief's a liar, Simon and Jamie tells lies!" A gnawing feeling in the bottom of Simon's stomach told him all was not well with Jamie.
Suddenly, the go-cart bumped into the sidewalk curb, and leapt into the air, throwing Simon and Edgie on to the sidewalk grass, almost hitting a light post and went crashing into the barbed-wire fence nearby.
Simon, a freckle-faced eleven year old, jumped up like a jack in the box and brushed grass off his bright red-striped shorts and dirt off the printed Mickey Mouse on his blue T-shirt. Edgerton Todd, his wiry, twelve year old friend adjusted his turtle-shell glasses and stuck a pencil back behind his large ears, and limped to his feet.
"My ankle!" His long face grimaced. Simon rushed to his side and helped him to stand upright. "I'll be alright!" muttered Edgie, as he brushed sand off his skinny elbows, and tried to walk. "Let's check the cart." He hauled it from beside the fence. "The axle's twisted!"
Simon bent down to look, arms akimbo. But even then he could still see himself counting out small change into Jamie's fat little hands...twenty-three dollars. How could he forget the wide grin that stretched from ear to ear across Jamie's chubby face as he locked the miniature chest with the golden key. His heart skipped a beat. He would get back every cent!
"Show me where Jamie lives!" he whispered through rabbit-like teeth.
Edgie pointed over the hill to a large dilapidated building less than half-an-hour’s walk away. "See that house?"
Simon's dark brown eyes quickly drank in the scene. He nodded solemnly. "Thanks!" hissed Simon with a vengeance. His ivory-colored teeth glistened in the morning sunlight.
"I'll drag the go-cart home!" Edgie called, grabbing the front-end. "See you later!"
About half-an-hour later, when Simon checked the house, no-one lived there. Despondently, he kicked a stone out of the way, wondering why he had ever befriended Jamie Brown. His mother had warned him not to make friends with strange boys on the street. He hobbled out to the main road, the hot sun streaming all around him and mopped sweat from around his brow with his checkered handkerchief. Then, he saw Farmer Allsopp driving his donkey cart some distance up the road, and broke into a run. He always enjoyed riding with the old farmer and talking with him.
Forty-five minutes later, Simon sat knock-kneed on Edgie's front porch watching the bent form of his friend, as he sat on a small wooden stool carving out a new axle with hammer and chisel.
Edgie held a yellow pencil between his teeth, his spectacles on the hump of his hawk-nose, his large lips screwed up in concentration. His skinny elbows swung back and forth like a rocking horse to the steady rhythm of the sandpaper against the wooden axle now taking shape.
Suddenly, Edgie stopped sandpapering and squinted over the top of his spectacles at Simon, "What're you going to do?"
Simon sulked without replying, his square chin in his right palm, his elbow on his thigh.
"Don't you know any of Jamie's hideouts?" muttered Edgie, fitting the newly made axle through the axle holes of the cart.
Simon shook his head and his eyes fell to the white floral tiles with scattered pieces of wooden chips at his feet. He picked up chip after chip and absent-mindedly began breaking them between coffee-colored fingers. Suddenly, his face lit up.
"Today's Wednesday!" he jumped up and flew passed Edgie like a flash and into the living room.
Edgie's long face screwed up again in a big question mark. This time, he put down the axle, took the pencil out of his mouth and shouted: "Wednesday? Why?"
"Jamie eats at his aunt on Wednesdays when she works half-day!" Simon shouted back. Soon Edgie was beside him, looking over his shoulder as he ran his finger down a list of scribbled names and telephone numbers at the back of an old dilapidated directory.
Suddenly, Edgie's bony finger pointed to five numbers scribbled in pencil: "There!" he exclaimed.
Simon grabbed the phone. Edgie held up the directory and the sun streamed through quivering white curtains on top of the back page of the directory. Simon dialed. He waited. "Line's busy!" muttered Simon.
"Wait and try again." suggested Edgie.
After a few moments, Simon trembled as he dialed again. This time it rang. Then came a woman's voice. "May I speak to Jamie, please," he asked politely.
"He's in the bath!" screeched the voice. "He's rushing to the country."
Simon coughed nervously. "I've got to see him!"
She interrupted: "Hold on!"
After a few seconds, Simon heard Jamie's familiar voice, "Simon!" How could anyone mistake that cheerful, innocent tone of his voice!
"Jamie!" Simon breathed nervously into the telephone. "Ca-ca-can I see you?"
"Of course!" Jamie replied lightheartedly. "You've got to come now! I'm heading for Ocho Rios right now. I'm at Jellico Street. My aunt's...ha, ha!"
"You know I can't come down there!" objected Simon. "My mother would never let me!"
"O.K." giggled Jamie. Where're you calling from?" he exclaimed.
"Edgie's," shouted Simon excitedly.
"Soon as I finish lunch," chuckled Jamie, and the scrunch of biscuit echoed into the receiver, "my cousin will bring me be over!"
"How long will it take?" asked Simon.
"Trust me!" laughed Jamie. "Not more'n thirty minutes!"
When Simon hung up, he looked at Edgie, who was trying to listen in at the receiver, drinking in every word. Simon realized that he was trembling.
"Is he coming?" Edgie asked anxiously.
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