Prospector


Three weeks after they struck oil in Titusville, PA, Louis Alts decided to become a prospector. He cut a branch from the willow that grew outside his bedroom and announced over eggs and bacon, "I'm going into prospecting."

His father looked at him. "You're a farmer, not a doodle-bugger."

But his mother, a forward-looking woman, nodded. "Look for where the earth weeps," she said, patting his hand. "Begin your search there."


After mopping up the last of the yellow from his plate with a piece of buttered toast, Louis wiped his face, shoved back his chair, and stood. He stepped into the back yard, saddled up Nellie and tied on his bedroll.

Nine days of hard riding brought him to the front porch of Miss Mae's Boardinghouse. Looking at her ivory skin and her slender hips, Louis immediately fell in love. He read the rules, signed the guestbook, and paid twenty-four dollars for two weeks.

For six days, he walked the land, looking for the telltale seep and following it, holding the ends of the sticks in each hand, watching for the telltale dip that indicated something of promise below the surface. Every evening he returned to the boardinghouse dejected.

"Damnation," Louis said, on the seventh evening, sinking into a rocker before snapping his stick across his knee and throwing it to the porch floor.

Miss Mae was at the door in an instant. "Mr. Altz." Her voice was sharp.

He look up.

"You need to refine your crude or pack up your belongings and leave."

Louis stared, lowered his head, as if in prayer. Removed his hat as an afterthought. "I apologize, ma'am."
Louis never did find oil. But he did find himself a wife in Miss Mae. Every evening, after he finished his evening chores, he sat on the front porch for a spell, watching the sun settle down into the horizon, minding his manners under Mae's watchful eye.

Louis died a pauper.

But some might say he struck it rich.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was crude.


Labels:

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Prospector

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Prospector


Three weeks after they struck oil in Titusville, PA, Louis Alts decided to become a prospector. He cut a branch from the willow that grew outside his bedroom and announced over eggs and bacon, "I'm going into prospecting."

His father looked at him. "You're a farmer, not a doodle-bugger."

But his mother, a forward-looking woman, nodded. "Look for where the earth weeps," she said, patting his hand. "Begin your search there."


After mopping up the last of the yellow from his plate with a piece of buttered toast, Louis wiped his face, shoved back his chair, and stood. He stepped into the back yard, saddled up Nellie and tied on his bedroll.

Nine days of hard riding brought him to the front porch of Miss Mae's Boardinghouse. Looking at her ivory skin and her slender hips, Louis immediately fell in love. He read the rules, signed the guestbook, and paid twenty-four dollars for two weeks.

For six days, he walked the land, looking for the telltale seep and following it, holding the ends of the sticks in each hand, watching for the telltale dip that indicated something of promise below the surface. Every evening he returned to the boardinghouse dejected.

"Damnation," Louis said, on the seventh evening, sinking into a rocker before snapping his stick across his knee and throwing it to the porch floor.

Miss Mae was at the door in an instant. "Mr. Altz." Her voice was sharp.

He look up.

"You need to refine your crude or pack up your belongings and leave."

Louis stared, lowered his head, as if in prayer. Removed his hat as an afterthought. "I apologize, ma'am."
Louis never did find oil. But he did find himself a wife in Miss Mae. Every evening, after he finished his evening chores, he sat on the front porch for a spell, watching the sun settle down into the horizon, minding his manners under Mae's watchful eye.

Louis died a pauper.

But some might say he struck it rich.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was crude.


Labels:

8 Comments:

At July 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM , Blogger Alison McDonough said...

I love this. Perfect tone throughout.

 
At July 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM , Blogger Alison McDonough said...

I love this. Perfect tone throughout.

 
At July 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM , Anonymous JannaTWrites said...

The last two lines sum it up so well. Many times the things that make us rich can't pad our wallets. I'd say he struck it rich as well.

 
At July 4, 2013 at 2:51 PM , Blogger lumdog2012 said...

What a lovely sweet story. And I love the double pun!

 
At July 4, 2013 at 6:41 PM , Blogger Draug said...

Very sweet (:

 
At July 5, 2013 at 4:23 AM , Blogger kymm said...

Sweet story!
Look for where the earth weeps. *sigh* <3
I have a friend whose father dangles pendants to find water. But he grows beans for a living.

 
At July 5, 2013 at 6:44 AM , Blogger Kir said...

OH! One of my favorites this week, I love the idea of him "striking it rich" in something other than oil. Love is my favorite thing to gain.

the parts I adored: the sunny side up eggs and the yellow that he lapped up. (I do that), him living in Titusville,PA, close enough to me that I understand that culture and his dad calling him a doodle bugger.

Plus the love story was well written, it was sweet and honest.

 
At July 5, 2013 at 10:48 AM , Blogger Elisabeth Kinsey said...

Love the prevailing theme of looking for material goods and finding a richness in relationships.

 

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