The cell phone was ringing again. Florida summer heat brought in a wave of friends and family calling for favors, but this time it was Alvin.
With a sigh, Jay answered, “Hey Al!”
“Man, I hate to ask…” Alvin’s tone of voice was equal to a grimace on a face. “It’s my Air Conditioner…”
Rubbing his forehead, Jay retorted, “Lightning didn’t hit it again, did it?”
There was silence on the other end. The heat of Alvin’s frustrations coming through with no words needed.
“I’ll be right over,” sighed Jay.
Alvin was pacing in the driveway when Jay pulled up in his grey F150 complete with the ladder rack and toolbox. Jay got out, nodding a hello and followed him around to the side of the house. Charred panels and a spider web of yellow and burnt grass were tell-tale signs that lightning had indeed struck again. Living in Florida, we all knew lightning not only strikes twice, but also keeps striking the same spot until a rod was installed or the obstruction attracting it was removed. Rubbing the side of his jaw, Jay pondered over the situation his friend Alvin found himself in.
“Let me get this straight.” He started, crossing his arms and knotting his brow at Alvin. “Your wife’s car was hit the other week, and now the air conditioner has been hit twice.”
“Wife’s car has been hit twice, almost three.” Alvin flustered, hiding his face in his palms recalling the accounts in his mind.
Jay laughed, “You need to put a rod in or something.”
“I thought when they built the tall ass apartment complex next door it would stop, not increase,” cried Alvin.
Jay pondered on this. “You think you have minerals built up in the ground? Like a big pile of gold?”
Alvin laughed, “Florida doesn’t have gold deposits, but that’s most likely what’s happening. I wonder…”
Jay walked to his truck, pulling a shovel from the back. “Wanna start digging?”
Alvin shook his head in refusal, making a sour face. He held his chin stroking his goatee when he gasped with a sparkle in his eye. Diving into his garage, jumbling and clanking around, he reappeared with a metal detector. They both hovered over the dust-covered device, mumbling to one another on how ancient it looked. It was a family heirloom of sorts, but like Old Faithful, it turned on without fail with fresh batteries. Swiping about, both men grew excited as it screamed non-stop, announcing a large presence of metals, and possibly silver, lurking under the surface. It was all they needed to justified digging a hole.
Grabbing up his own shovel, Alvin and Jay picked the most favorable of the spots in the grass by the garage. The sun’s heat pounded down on them, the weight of it increasing with each toss of the dirt. Sweat dripped down their faces and arms. The silence between them gave way to an evening cicada squealing in an old oak across the street; it felt as if the insect was laughing at the grown men who were on a treasure hunt.
They looked to one another. Alvin had hit something solid, something metallic.
He had to make sure they weren’t imagining it the first time. Excited, they leaned down, hands digging and wiping. The metal object was large, smooth and round with white paint adorning it. Eager to see their prize, they grabbed the shovels up once more, widening the hole to make way for the unearthing of the massive metal dome.
Their efforts were slowing now, the object far larger than they expected. The wide curve was falling down further into the earth and the white paint broke apart and under the stain of dirt was some blue writing. Whatever it was, it was not gold nor silver; a steel object as large as a huge loveseat. They gave one another a bewildered look. Alvin scrambled for the water hose and Jay held the nozzle towards the muffled writing. Alvin spun the spigot, but Jay’s paling face and burst of laughter made him cut it off.
“What’s the matter? What’s it say?” He was marching back to the hole.
Jay caught his breath, “Tilt-a-whirl!”
Laughing harder, Jay teased, “Your house was built on a carnival ride graveyard!”