TITLE: Simon and the Miniature Treasure Chest (Part 2) 5/8/20017
By Richard McCaw
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While Simon waited on Jamie to come, he followed Edgie back to the front porch. He tried to watch him tidy up the go-cart, but every time Edgie picked up nails from the tiles, he saw cents. All he could see were his twenty-three dollars. He thought of chocolate sundaes and his mouth watered as he thought of the what he would buy, if ever he got back that money!
A broad smile spread across Edgie’s lanky face as he gloated over his handiwork. Soon Simon heard the hum of a VW engine as it shut off and the squeaking of the front gate. His heart skipped a beat. Edgie grabbed his go-cart and his slim form disappeared stealthily into the front room.
Jamie, short, fat and wearing a pleasant smile appeared closing the gate behind him, dressed in the finest suit Simon had ever seen. He walked with a carefree gait up the paved garden path, swinging a blue traveling bag in one hand. Simon hurried down the stone steps to meet him.
"Jamie!" Simon breathed. He grabbed on to his arm. A scent of flowers surrounded him.
"Hey!" exclaimed Jamie.
"You're going to the Ocho Rios!" Simon stated tensely.
"Course!" muttered Jamie, eyeing his arm.
"I want my money, now!" Simon blurted out.
"It's only for a few days, Simon!" Jamie tried to sound calm, but his quick breathing betrayed his stifled anger. "Let go my arm!" He tried to wrench free his arm.
"You can't get away this time!" Simon declared, tightening his grip.
"Let go, Simon!" Jamie screamed, opening his small mouth and pulling as hard as he could.
Simon threw his arm around his neck and squeezed his neck in the crook of his arm, and both tumbled on to the grass.
"Let go!" Jamie screamed even louder. "You're dirtying my clothes."
"Give me my money! Give me my money!" Simon began to chant.
"O.K!" sighed Jamie. But Simon continued to chant and held him by the scruff of the neck.
Just then, Edgie came running down the steps. "What's this?" Edgie said, and bending down, tried to part them.
Simon still held on. "Where's my money?"
“You’ll get it," Jamie breathed hard.
Simon hesitated. "On your honor!" Simon growled.
"On my honor!" mumbled Jamie. Then, Simon let him go and they stood up looking at each other. Jamie grinned widely from ear to ear revealing his evenly pearl-shaped teeth. Then he reached for his bag on the ground. From between folded shirts and jeans, bottles of perfume, and a bag of biscuits, he took a golden miniature treasure chest.
Simon's eyes sparkled. He grabbed it away from him.
"There now!" grinned Jamie. He brushed grass from his suit and backed away towards the gate, clutching his bag.
Suddenly, Edgie turned to Simon: "Open it, Simon!"
Simon looked up like a flash to see Jamie with one hand on the gate latch. "Give me the key, Jamie!" shouted Simon, and began to run towards him.
Jamie chuckled. "You want the key?" he laughed dangling a key in the other hand. "Catch me if you can!" and darted through the gate.
Simon raced towards the gate, followed quickly by Edgie. When he came on to the road, Jamie was climbing into the VW still dangling the key over his head as the car began moving off. Then, the car slowed down. Suddenly, he threw it into the air over the fence.
"Jamie!" screamed Simon. He darted back past Edgie through the gate to where he thought the key had fallen. Then they both began hunting for the shiny glint of the key. They pulled grass, kicked stones and pulled more grass out of the way. Simon breathed angrily. Suddenly, his eye caught the gleam of something shiny in the pathway of the steps. "What's that?" he said, and hurried to pick it up. Edgie came up behind him. Simon smiled.
"Here it is!" he said triumphantly, holding up the key. It flashed in the evening sun. Clutching the chest against his stomach, he tried to fit the key into the hole. Edgie bent over anxiously watching. But it did not fit. He tried it another way. It was a twisted key. Then, his face fell.
"Is this one of Jamie's stupid jokes?" Simon asked angrily. "I'm not laughing!" Finally, after trying it again several ways, he threw the key to the ground and could not help the tears streaming down his coffee-colored face. Then, he ran up to the verandah and grabbed the hammer Edgie had been using. "I didn't want to break the lock like this," Simon said reluctantly.
"It's the quickest way, Simon," said Edgie.
Simon held the chest once more against his knee and tapped the tiny lock as gently as he could, and it snapped. Then, he pulled off the lock and opened up the chest. But all he saw were small white limestones, as tiny as marbles, and he lifted them out one by one, hoping against hope that perhaps, just perhaps, underneath everything would be some of the money he had taken so long to save. But as he flung each stone away from him into the grass, the anger inside him seemed to rise to a great height, and he came to the very last stone...and there was nothing. Not even one little cent left.
"Sorry, Simon!" said Edgie, and headed up the steps toward his go-cart.
Simon turned sadly away without saying a word. Edgie took the chest from him and stared inside unbelievingly and handed it back. Simon walked with tears streaming down his cheeks out down the rest of the garden path, through the open gate and on to the road and headed for home.
It was a hard lesson to learn. But how could he forget it? His mother had often warned him about keeping company with the wrong kinds of friends.
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