At 6:45am, Homer drove by the storage units; there was no sign of Haydon. He parked a half block away, and lit a cigarette. He coughed on his fifth cigarette of the morning. During a normal day he smoked ten Camels the entire day, but today wasn’t a normal day. He heard the familiar chugging of Haydon’s diesel truck before he saw it. Haydon drove past him and pulled into the Storage unit’s driveway. Homer followed.
Homer watched Haydon put a card into a slot and the chain-link gate roll open. Homer followed in the wake of the old Chevy’s diesel fumes as they drove through the maze of units until Haydon stopped and got out. Homer remained in his Blazer a couple of minutes looking at the security cameras before donning his old cowboy hat and getting out. “Mornin’ Haydon,” Homer said.
Haydon, grinning like a wild man unlocked the unit door, said; “You feel rich today?”
“Not yet,” Homer replied.
Haydon rolled up the double door. Homer was almost hoping someone had stolen the box during the night, but no, there it sat where they had left it. Haydon retrieved a large tool box from the back of his truck and carried it inside. Homer stood just inside, in the shadows looking out at the security cameras.
Homer nearly had a heart attack, when Haydon struck the padlock with a hammer. Homer rushed in, “Damn, Hayd’ can’t you do this quieter?”
Haydon grinned at Homer and tapped the lock, “Do you think tapping will break it open?” Haydon whacked the lock again. Homer winced. “Tough old lock,” Haydon said. Homer glanced back outside. “What you need it a bolt cutter,” he said.
Haydon stood up. “You’re right, Hom’; why didn’t I think of that.” Haydon rushed outside and from behind his truck seat he pulled out a long, red handled bolt cutter. Kneeling, once again at the box, Haydon said, “Here we go, buddy.” The bolt cutter cleanly sliced through the old padlock.
Homer had mixed emotions; it would be great to be rich, but he was still afraid that they would go to jail. He watched Haydon remove the padlock and try to open the lid. The lid was stuck. Rust and hundred year old dirt sealed the lid. Haydon removed a wood chisel from his tool box, and with a hammer, he tapped all around the lid. The dirt and rust fell from beneath the lid. Then using the chisel, Haydon tapped the lid until it popped open.
Homer leaned forward, looking over Haydon’s shoulder as the two men stared at the contents of the box. There were four separate compartments, and each compartment was filled to the top with what looked like black marbles. The globules were two different sizes. “Is that gold?” Homer asked.
Haydon reached into the box, but the black marbles were stuck together. “I don’t know, Hom’; I thought gold turned green. Get me a large screwdriver.”
Homer got a screwdriver from the tool box and handed it to Haydon. Haydon dug the screwdriver deep into the black marbles, loosing them up. Then he scooped up a handful and stared at them. Then he began to laugh. Homer stared at his friend.
“Homer, do you know what these are; they are mini-balls, bullets - for the old muskets.”
Homer was suddenly swept with equal parts of relief and regret. He laughed. “Are they worth anything?” Haydon shook his head, “I doubt it.”