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
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,
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
Louis died a pauper.
But some might say he struck it rich.
Kelly Garriott Waite on Google+
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge