"Shut up, old man," replied Willie irritated. He pulled out a tiny vial with a quarter of a fingernail-sized flake of gold inside. "Yes, it's right here." Willie gazed at the thin, silvery yellow gold shaving. Last summer, he'd found the sliver sticking to his dive helmet when he was putting away his gear in the locker. Somehow the fragment of gold had attached itself to his helmet and remained there when he was diving and clearing away debris. The piece was from the Goldum gold, Raymond Barry confirmed it.
If only his fragment were as large as the nugget, he saw earlier… He seethed with envy, and his head ached with the desire to possess it.
"Is that for your retirement fund, Willie?" Simon asked, chortling.
"This is gold from the legend. This piece is worth more than you paid for your wife," sneered Willie.
Sean's eyes grew bright. The gold was rare, and only a couple of old townies had any of it. "You're not lying, are you?"
"Hell no. I told you!" replied Willie. With the index finger on his right hand, he made the sign of the cross against his chest.
"Oh, come on now. Not you too, Sean. You're not going to believe this foolishness, are you?" Simon said, shaking his head from side to side.
Willie pointed down at the paper placemat sitting in front of Simon. A ring from the bottom of his coffee cup had encircled the drawing of the town of Goldum.
"It's a true legend!" Sean exclaimed.
"There is no such thing as a 'true legend.' If it were true, then it would be a fact." Sean's stare moved downward as an expression of embarrassment covered the young man's face.
"Well then, what's with this map?" Sean added. Willie had seen the diner's placemat a thousand times but never taken the time to read it. Simon told him he believed it was a cheap gimmick by old Raymond Barry to get people to buy his overpriced trinkets.
"It's foolishness. That map was drawn by a child," Simon said after studying it.
No, it's not." replied Sean. "The Leeegenndd of Goolldumm," he read slowly, pronouncing some syllables longer to make sure he could articulate the words.
"We can read it…" said Simon, looking at Sean down the bridge of his nose. "Did you ever go to school?"
Sean felt the sting from Simon's insult and gazed quietly at the placemat. Willie saw the hurt in his buddy's eyes.
"You're a piece of shit sometimes, Simon," he said. "I'll read it:
"Situated in the icy Baldine Mountains, a band of runaway slaves from the southern territories settled the tiny town of Goldum. Striking a deal with a mystical forest creature, they were kept safe in their golden magical surroundings from those that would harm them."
Simon smirked. "What garbage."
Willie continued to read, "Embedded within the walls of their cliff dwellings was the rarest most beautiful, naturally luminescent gold. The riverbed and lake were covered in golden flakes. They created a natural attraction for fish and forest creatures, which made life easy for the small village. The people stayed within the wall of their settlement. They never traded the gold with any other residents that lived beyond the canyon wall.
One day a mysterious traveling salesman, appearing, warned them of an imminent attack upon his village. Michelo, Goldum's leader, decided to not heed the mystical forest creature's words and bartered with the man, exchanging gold for guns. However, the transaction with the gunsmith never happened, because, on the day of the sale, Goldum and its residents disappeared, never to be seen again."
"BE THE ONE TO FINE THE GOLD!"