I had just closed the book on an on-going case that had been going on and on way too long. I decided I needed to take a vacation in a place where I wouldn’t see a single person for least a week.
An old friend of mine named Roger Hadley had a cabin way up there where the air is thin and the population even thinner.
Roger did something in international fiancé but I quite honestly had no idea what.
He was one of those guys that always seemed have a huge cash flow but you didn’t wanna ask how he got it. I thought he might have inherited it.
The drive out there was so marked by stunning views from left to right that I could barely keep my eyes on the road.
There were deep mountain valleys, tiny waterfalls tickling down the mountainside and trees taller than downtown.
The cabin looked like a Colonial house from the outside but on the inside it was like a Las Vegas Penthouse.
Roger told me nobody had stayed there in quite some time but when I arrived it seemed like someone might have just been there.
There was a familiar smell lingering in the air – a strong cologne that I’d smelt before.
That next morning I took a long walk through the wilderness. There was a field of spring flowers that made me feel like I’d stepped into an Impressionist painting.
Back in the city I never had the time to stop and smell the flowers but out here I had all the time in the world and no one was around to make fun of me.
So when I bent down t take a whiff and I almost bumped heads with an old man that was popping out of the ground I was more than a little surprised.
He shot me a look of confusion and terror before he stroked his long gray beard and took off running.
The old man was extraordinarily nimble considering he was carrying a large pick axe and a dingy, black sack full of rocks.
For a second I thought I should follow the old guy but I quickly reminded myself that I was on vacation.
I turned and walked about three steps before my curiosity got a hold of my legs making me turn back around to follow.
He was heading toward sheer cliff wall that rose above the valley floor like a majestic castle.
He showed as he approached the cliff and then he turned to see if anyone was watching before disappearing into the rock.
As I got closer I noticed an opening that appeared to be an abandoned mine shaft. I was examining some rusted and twisted rail when I heard a gunshot.
The old man came stumbling out of the mine and collapsed in my arms. He handed me an old, crumbled up map and told me to hide it. He died right there in my arms.
I heard footsteps approaching. I drew my weapon and I took cover. A very small man with a big gun came running out of the shaft.
He frantically searched the old man’s body but couldn’t find what he was looking for. Then he jumped into a mine cart and rolled into the darkness.
I looked at the rocks old guy was carrying. They all glittered with flecks of gold.
Now I understood – these guys were sitting on a gold mind and like everywhere else in the world where gold is found, the blood was flowing as fast as the cash.
I grabbed the old man’s miner’s helmet and ducked in to the mine shaft. As I tramped deeper into the cave I smelled the same cologne I’d smelt the other day in the cabin.
I turned the corner and who should I find standing there smelling like spice and roses but my old friend Roger Hadley.
I didn’t see the little guy until he was shoving a gun in my ribs. “Get the map.” Roger coldly instructed.
When the little guy tried reaching into my pocket I twisted his arm and kicked him to the ground.
I jumped into the mine cart and sped downhill passed sagging wooden beams and the skeletons of fallen miners.
They were right behind me in another cart taking pot shots at my head. As we raced through the darkness I fired back at their wheels and sparks started to fly.
My cart started to slow and just as they were about to ram into me I jumped into their cart, tossed the little guy out and grabbed Roger by the lapels. “Give it up Roger,” I barked.
Suddenly Roger was hit by a heavy black boot and flew out of the cart. I jumped out and found Roger cowering under the barefooted and bleeding old man.
“You think one bullet can kill you old pop.” The old man shouted.
“I’m sorry Dad! I was gonna share the gold with you. I swear,” Roger pleaded.
“Yeah right! I’ve been searching for this gold mine for years and you think you can just blow me away and take it!” griped his old man.
“In fact that is what I was thinking.” said Roger whimpered. “You’re so underhanded and corrupt that I don’t know whether to be proud of you or disgusted.” Said the old man with a hint of respect.
I slipped behind the old guy and cocked my weapon. “Look, I hate to break up this touching reunion but drop the boot,” I demanded.
Then I marched the three of them out of the mine and straight to the cops.
In the end I think I prefer a vacation with a little action. I can stop and smell the flowers when I’m dead.