“Hey, look at this,” Ollie yelled. His ten year old brain swimming with excitement.
Stanz and Marshall paid no attention. They were having too much fun splashing in the creek, laughing and attacking each other the way twelve year old boys do.
“Hey,” Ollie hollered a second time. “Look what I found.”
Harold Stanz stood up straight to investigate. Ken Marshall slapped a handful of water in his direction, catching him square in the face. Marshall laughed hysterically. Stanz inhaled a small quantity of creek water and fell into a coughing fit appropriate to the physical assault.
Oblivious, Ollie was persistent if not slightly whiney, “Hey, you guys. This is really cool. Come look.”
Between his thumb and index finger Oliver Stanz held a small coin. It shone brightly in the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees. It’s luster wasn’t caused by the water covering the boys and the coin, however. It was gold in color and content. Real gold. A substance each of the boys had heard of but none of them had ever seen. Not in real life anyway.
“That’s not real,” announced Marshall after a cursory examination of the find. “It’s just a subway token, or a fake coin from one of those arcades, like Chuck E. Cheese or something.”
“Yeah,” Harold agreed. Peer pressure brought on by a companion he wanted to bond with and impress took hold of his judgement and ability to think freely. “It’s a fake.”
“Boy Ollie, do you get faked out easy,” Marshall teased.
“Yeah,” Harold chimed in, “You’re such a dweeb.”
Ollie held the coin tight, casting his eyes from the coin, to the older boys and back again. Fighting for the courage to stand his ground, he retaliated, “It’s got a date on it.”
“Lemme see,” Harold grabbed for the coin, wresting it from his younger brother’s slick, wet fingers.
“It says 1842, right there,” Ollie jabbed a pudgy finger in the direction of the coin. “It’s old I’m telling you. It’s real money.”
“It’s heavy,” said Harold with a hint of surprise, eyeing the coin as carefully as his brother had. Holding it in his open palm he showed the find to Marshall, his best friend, for inspection.
“You idiot,” Marshall chided. “It’s got a lady on the front. Money always has presidents on it. There’s no ladies on money.”
“It says, ‘United States of America’ on the back,” Ollie pointed out.
“There’s a lady on the front,” Marshall screamed in Ollie’s face as if the meaning of the artwork was self-evident.
“Ha,” Harold jeered. “Fake money. That’s why they make it gold I’ll bet, so it looks cool, but it’s not real. It’s not worth anything.” And with that he heaved the coin into the woods with all his might. It sailed toward the dense underbrush surrounding the creek. Careening off a maple tree, it spun wildly into the thicket and disappeared.
“Hey,” Ollie howled. “I wanted to keep it.”
“Don’t be such a baby, Ollie,” the older boys warned in rounds.
Stifling a tear, Ollie sniffled, “Well, I found it.”
“If he’s going to be such a freak about stupid stuff like that we shouldn’t bring him with us anymore,” Marshall announced as if even his most random thoughts were rules he and Stanz should live by.
Harold hung his head and admitted shamefully, “My mom makes me take him. I’ll get in trouble if I don’t.”
Marshall thought for a moment, giving serious consideration to his friend’s rationale. Upon reflection, he relented. “Yeah, I get that.”
“Fake money, huh?” Stanz sunk to his knees in the chilly water, splashing at Marshall with an ambitious swing that kicked up an impressive spray of water but sent it wide of the mark. He laughed and as if by magic the entire episode was forgotten.
Instinctively juking to the right, Marshall cupped his hands together to send a fusillade of wettness square into his friends chest,where it exploded upon impact, drenching Stanz. “Ahhhhh,” Marshall squealed. “Gotcha good.”
The battle continued in earnest, accented by giggles, coughing fits, and the high pitched squeals of young boys engaged in unsupervised fun. Ollie ignored the older boys completely as he trudged into the underbrush, tracked to the maple tree and began a careful search for his missing treasure.