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Copyright © 2012 by Jim Yoakum

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves.”

– Confucius


Bacho looked down. About a cup of precious water had spilled out of his canteen while he was playing mind games with Doyle. “Oh shit!” He stooped down to try and save what little liquid that he could and that was when his eyes grew wide. No, it couldn’t be… He poured some more water on the rock and then brushed it with his hand.

“What the hell, you’re wasting your water!” Doyle cried.

Bacho gaped at the rock and poured more water on it.  “Doyle… Hey, Doyle – look at this…” He pointed at the rock. The part of the rock where he had spilled water was gleaming in the sun, a bright golden hue.

“Holy shit… Is that…”

Doyle fell to his knees and poured water from his canteen onto the rock. It was flecked with bright golden specks. They looked at each other – can it be?

“Gold…” Bacho said. “Doyle – it’s gold… IT’S GOLD!”

“Son-of-a-bitch… ‘Pack it in, huh?’ Now what do you say?”

They began to whoop and dance and act crazy. Half way up the mountain Sanchez stopped and turned at the sound.

“Hey – Sanchez!” Bacho shouted. “SANCHEZ!”

Sanchez turned and retraced his steps down the mountain. By the time that he got to where Bacho and Doyle were they were acting like two kids at Christmas: laughing and yelping and sloshing water around. Sanchez was mad.

“Why are you wasting water like that?” he demanded.

Bacho stopped dancing and pointed at the rock. “Sanchez – it’s gold! Look, look… You walked right past it, you loco Mexicano…  Why, it must be a fortune!

Sanchez screwed-up his face and then he bent down to examine their find. He scratched at the specks with the blade of his knife. He stuck the flakes in his mouth, bit them, tasted them, and the he spit them out.

Some guide you turned out to be,” Doyle laughed. “Aww, don’t worry, we’ll still cut you in.”

Bacho was watching Sanchez, waiting for his pronouncement. “Well?”

“It’s gold alright,’ Sanchez said.  “Boys – it looks like we hit the mother lode!”

Doyle shouted in joy, but Bacho peered at Sanchez strangely. “What do you mean ‘we?’”

Sanchez scratched his chin with the blade of his knife. “How’s that, Bacho?”

“Now, wait just a second, me and Doyle found the gold. You walked right past it. Seems to me that -”

“Bacho, what are you talking about?” Doyle said quickly. “We had a deal.”

“Deal – huh! I’ll tell you what I’m talking about, I’m talking about whose gold it is, Doyle,” Bacho said. “I mean, we found it… fair is fair.”

“Come on man,” said Doyle. He had a worried look in his eye. “That’s not right, this was all Sanchez’s idea. He found the spot. He’s entitled to the gold as much as we are.”


“Your friend speaks the truth, Bacho,” Sanchez replied. “This is my expedition.”

“Oh it is, is it?”

“Yes. If it were not for me, you and Doyle would be at some Applebee’s in Tijuana, drinking frozen peach Margarita’s and shitting out fried Chili Pepper Poppers.”

“Bacho, come on man…” Doyle pleaded.

“Look, all I’m saying is that it doesn’t seem right that we should share equally, that’s all,” Bacho said. “Now I don’t want to be a hardass, but you only put in five hundred bucks, Sanchez. We put up the majority. …Well, I put it up.”

“I’m sorry, Sanchez. I don’t know what’s gotten into Bacho.”

Bacho turned on Doyle with fire in his eyes. “Don’t be apologizing for me, Doyle!”

Sanchez smiled.

“What’s so funny old man?”

“No, it’s okay Doyle… Bacho, he’s got the fever. Gold fever. I’ve seen it many times before. It takes hold of a man. Turns him into an animal.”

“Oh, so I’m an animal now, am I?” Bacho picked up a pick and threatened Sanchez with it. Doyle reached for the pick, but Bacho pulled it away and they struggled. Sanchez began to laugh, which caused the two men to stop their scuffling.

“Come on, Bacho. Put the pick down. Can’t you see the old man’s crazy?”

This only caused Sanchez to laugh even harder and to slap his knees. He did a little laughing jig. Bacho and Doyle eyed him as if he were a lunatic.

“You want the lion’s share, Bacho?” Sanchez said. “Hell – that’s fine by me, amigo! Me? I’m an old man. I don’t need much to last me the rest of my days…” Sanchez ambled past the pair, still chuckling. He slapped Bacho good-naturedly on the back. “Come now, take it easy Bacho. There is plenty of gold to go around.”

Bacho was confounded by the old man’s behavior and he slowly lowered the pick. Doyle snatched it out of his hands, just to be safe, and Bacho did not even resist.

“We have work to do if we want to camp here for the night,” Sanchez called. He was unloading the supplies from the back of the burro.

“Camp?” Doyle said as he peered up at the sky. “But it’s still light out.”

“Night falls fast in these mountains,” said Sanchez. “Soon it will be as dark as the inside of a squaw’s coochie – and cold too. We camp here.”

end of excerpt


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